Wednesday, December 26

Making Christmas cookies with Daddy

Sometimes my husband truly amazes me. Just when I am about to collapse for the day, he steps in and give me a much needed break.
I have to step back and tell myself what a good husband and father he is. Not that I don't think he is at other times, but you know what I mean. Exceptionally good. This particular night after dinner, I notices him puttering around in the kitchen. I asked him what he was doing, and he said that he wanted to make cookies with the kids. I said okay, just make sure you guys clean up your mess. So, with the help of my 4 wonderful men, I had nice warm cookies at 8 p.m. I love watching my boys with their dad. It's so fun to watch them bond.

How Old?

Although my birthday this year was a bit hard to swallow, it was wonderful to have my family around me for support and encouragement. The night before was really hard, as I really didn't feel like I wanted to turn the age that I am, but my mom (my rock), was there for encouragement. I don't know what I would do without her. Even though we don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, she is the most special woman in the world to me. I treasure her, as someday I hope my children treasure me.


"Sisters, Sisters... there were never such devoted sisters" -- White Christmas.

This is definitely a true statement, when it comes to my sisters. Even though there are times, when we are not at our best, our best thoughts are always with each other. There is a bond between sisters, and mothers, and grandmothers, that is important to remember. We are all mothers. All the same, all wanting the same things for our children. All wanting the best that money can't buy. This is something that never changes throughout a mother's life. You are always a mother, no matter how old, and you always cherish your children most.

This year I bought each of us a Mom bracelet. My Grandma, My Mom, My Sisters, and I. I didn't get to explain why I did this, and hopefully they are reading this, so they can know why. It's a reminder of our womanly bond. Motherhood. It's important, it's special, it's everlasting. It's a reminder of the the love we share for each other, all the same. Even with our different personalities, and our different outlooks on life, we love each other. We are Moms!


Skaterboy's girl cousins wanted him to dance at my aunt's wedding, so they carried him to the dance floor. He protested, but secretly I am sure he enjoyed the attention. I mean, what 14 year old boy wouldn't enjoy being carried by two cute girls anywhere, even if they are your cousin?

I am a God Grandma!!!

I am proud to announce, that I am a God Grandma. My Godson is a father. Can you believe that I once held this handsome man, in my arms, and kissed his sweet little blond head? I can still remember at my wedding, when he was just a little boy, walking down the isle, as our ring bearer, ever so slowly. He walked so slow, and was so cute, all eyes were on him. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen. That memory is imprinted on my heart forever. And now, he has a son, who looks just like him, when he was a baby. What could be better than that? I am definitely a proud Godgrandma!!!

How old do you think we are?

This year, one of my oldest and dearest friends, who I might add, is two days OLDER than I, celebrated a milestone birthday. As you can easily figure out, so did I. I am not telling how old we are. Can you guess? Luckily, for us both, we don't look our age, and one of us is a grandmother. Can you guess who?

Aunt Carda

We had such a wonderful time at my aunt's wedding. Skaterboy and her have such a special relationship. She babysat him when he was a baby for quite some time. She means the world to me, and would not have missed her wedding for the world. Something very ironic. She was married on my birthday, and I was married on hers. Isn't that funny?

The Perfect Tree

It is a Bailey family tradition to have the children pick out the tree of their choice at the local tree farm and cut it down. This is generally an enjoyable tradition, and therefore we have continued doing it. However, this year, after the experience we had with this particular tree, we may plan differently next year. You see, this beautiful 7 footer in the above photo is the "perfect tree" that the children so enthusiastically chose this year. Looks beautiful, doesn't it? But, as most things are, beautiful on the outside, and not so beautiful on the inside, as was this tree.

You see, we let Skaterboy cut the tree down this year, and he did the most wonderful job, cutting the tree down, you would have thought he had done this before.
We put it on the truck, had it shaken out, paid for, and drove the mile or so, home. Once home, Scott and Skaterboy carefully carried the tree inside. It was picture perfect. We placed it in the stand, screwed all the bolts real tight, and low and behold, the tree nearly fell over. Scott caught it before it hit the ground.
We never thought to look at the trunk of the tree before we cut it. It was "crooked like a question mark" as Forrest Gump would say. Twisted all the way up.
So, after cutting 2 feet off the base of the tree, it stood, like it should. Scott said it was the biggest PITA. But it's there as a reminder of our perfections, as human beings, that something that looks sweet, isn't always sweet, but quite often bitter.

The Polar Express

After decorating our tree, we all sat down to watch The Polar Express. This is a yearly tradition at our house. The boys get their pillows and blankets, and we have hot chocolate (of course), and fall in love all over again, with this film.
Before this movie was ever made, I acquired the book, while working at the grade school. I love the book, and truly feel that the movie does the book justice. My favorite line in this book/movie is: "The most real things in life, are those that you can't see..." Isn't that true?
I also have "the bell", that we add to our tree every year, before watching this movie.

Green Christmas

Yes, it is sad but true. We did indeed have a green Christmas this year. The weather in central Illinois has never been consistent, therefore I am not surprised, but just disappointed. It just didn't seem like Christmas, with 50 degree temperatures, and a green front lawn. I was hopeful that it would be white, as only a week ago, we did have a compilation of 5+ inches.

So we had Christmas, and it was nice. The kids proclaimed that they got everything they wished for. And so we succeeded in bring joy into the faces of our children. Since they only receive 3 presents each, from Scott and I, they are asked to list only 3 items they wish for, hence the satisfaction.

Everything was just lovely, that I received as well. Scott did great this year. I have such an insightful husband, he listens very well over the year, and knows what my tastes are quite well. This year I received the Mother and Son, Willow Tree collectible, that I have been wanting. It is of a mother and a teenage son. I already have the mother and baby, and the mother holding two small children. Although there are other Willow Trees I would personally love to have, I feel that at least, my children's collection is complete. I also received from him, a craft light, for my scrap booking desk. It projects the light in just the right way, to portray colors perfectly. I have wanted one for quite some time. The light in the family room, is quite dim anyway, and so this was a much needed gift as well. And lastly (my 3rd gift), he bought me the cutest snowman cookie jar, from the Cracker Barrel store. I just love snowmen, and would love to find a way to incorporate them into my home decor all year. I haven't figured out how to do this yet, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

With all this Christmas hub bub, add moving my dh's mom, brother, and son, into an apartment across town. Yes, we have had house guests for 15 days now. Surprisingly, I have kept my cool, and have not run away from home yet. Close.... but not. Someone once told me, that house guests are like a dead rat, after about 3 days, they both start to smell. This I know to be true, in more ways than one. You see, I can put up with my MIL's cackling laugh, and her annoying habit of continually doing my laundry, on the wrong wash cycles. Or her brothers annoying habit of nosing into conversations, and incessant chatter. But, worst of all, is their disgusting hygiene. My MIL doesn't make my dh's brother, or her brother shower on a regular basis. She also doesn't enforce them to wear deodorant. I don't know if she thinks that because they mentally are about 7 years old a piece, that she should treat them as such, but they stink. Really bad, and they make my house stink. We have deodorant here for them, but it is a fight to get them to wear it. They are like 7 year olds with attitude. It's such a dilemma, because we have 3 children of our own, and making sure they keep up their hygiene is our main concern, add 2 more, and running a household with 8 people in it, can drive you nuts. I am grinning and bearing it, and hopefully Scott will have their beds together tonight, so they can stay at their apartment by Friday. That is my goal. Then it's fumigation time.

I am trying not to over consume myself with all of this, as my MIL means well, and has an extremely giving heart. While moving, she has given us her refrigerator, so now we have 2. Her stove, which is much nicer than our stove, her outdoor table and chairs, her outdoor glider swing, her water softener, as we don't have one, and a brand new huge generator. Plus, numerous other items, I haven't listed. I am very grateful to her for these things, and it will be nice to have them just across town.

In our Christmas letter I sent out this year, I stated that we had a rough 2007. This is true. We not only lost my FIL in May, but his aunt in November, and 2 dogs. I am requesting that 2008 be better. It can't get much worse, that's for sure.

One thing I am pleased about, is that I finally figured out how to put pictures into my blog, so that they are no longer at the bottom.

That's all for now, and if I don't get back to this before next Tuesday. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 14

The Week's Not Over Yet...

I must admit that this week through me for a loop. Next week is no better I'm afraid. A whirlwind of activities, and events are creeping up, and all that with last minute shopping still to be done.

Yesterday, I hosted the homeschool co-op here, at our home. We had 13 children show up, and 5 adults. The theme was Advent. The children watched a short video on Advent, and then proceeded to make their own advent wreath out of card stock. They turned out very cute, and it appeared that everyone had a great time.

After the kids were done creating their advent wreath, they slowly trickled outside to our back yard to light saber. Yes, girls are in the minority in our homeschool group. Hence, the lightsabering. Luckily, the boys found enough lightsabers for each boy to have one. This is our 2nd generation of Star Wars toys, as my husband was first, then Skaterboy, Truthseeker, and Thumbody. They do get quite rambunctious, so I prefer they do their lightsabering outside.

Tonight I am hosting our homeschool co-op's Mom's Night Out. Mom's come and meet in our family room, and we scrapbook, craft, crochet, whatever... and do plenty of talking. This group has come to mean so much to me, as we all share something very important to us, and that is homeschooling our most precious gifts from God. When you are home all day, it is so nice to get away for awhile, even if it is only to my own family room. I am blessed with a wonderful DH who watches our 3 so I can have this time for myself.

My MIL, her brother, and my DH's brother are coming tonight, and staying until tomorrow. My DH is taking her to see her new apartment, that they will be moving into next month. With Scott's dad gone, it was so much easier for her to get rid of her house, and all the responsibility that came with it, and move down by us. It will be nice to have them so close.

Tomorrow night, Skaterboy is having his birthday slumber party. I can't believe he will be 15 on Sunday. Am I really that old? He invited 3 friends to spend the night, and hopefully I won't regret the outcome.

Sunday is Skaterboy's official birthday, and we will be celebrating as a family on that day.

Tuesday we have friends coming over for our Annual Christmas Party.

Wednesday is Scott's Work Christmas Party, and that will be eventful I am sure.

Thursday is our annual 4-H Christmas Party.

Does it ever end.....

I actually am looking forward to the upcoming events scheduled. When it's all said and done, I will sit back quietly and say to myself, Whew..... 12 more months 'til we do it all again.

Tuesday, December 11


Two weeks ago we were blessed to participate in our 4-H clubs tree decorating project that they do each year at the nursing home here in town. The kids decorated 4 trees for the residents, and then were provided a nice snack of hot chocolate and cookies, by them, as thanks.
This was not a fun experience for me. This was a very bad day indeed. Thumbody had not had a nap, and therefore was running around wildly, and I was truly embarrassed. I took him out to the van 3 times for a talk. I was so thankful when it was all over, and I could go home and relax. By the time we got home Thumbody was asleep. Go figure...


Michelle is definitely my soul sister, and I think everyone should have a person like her in their life. We can talk about anything, whether it's kids, husbands, gardening, finances, redecorating, etc... we probably have discussed it, at some time or another. For nearly 9 years I have been blessed by our friendship. I am so lucky to have someone like her in my life. MERRY CHRISTMAS MICHELLE!


The kids had so much fun playing outside last Friday, after our first snowfall of the year. A neighbor boy who is also homeschooled came over to play outside with our boys. As you can see, there isn't very much snow. It was so nice for me though, I could set up for our next lesson, and relax with a nice cup of tea before they came in.


Nothing is better than a nice cup of hot chocolate after an hour of playing in the snow. Our first snow fall came with little warning last Friday morning. The kids awoke to the ground blanketed in a thin layer of snow.

As part of our December curriculum, the boys made yule logs from the left over trunk of our Christmas tree. They decorated them for the most part by themselves. Truthseeker needed a little help with the glue gun. I think they turned out just beautiful. They each have their yule log in their bedrooms, making their rooms smell nice and piney.

Sunday, December 9

Small Blessings

This morning we woke up to a blanket of ice covering everything, including our vehicles. We were debating whether or not to go to church, but we had a delivery to make there this morning, and we needed to find out whether the Christmas parade was still going on or not, so we decided to go. We took the truck, incase we needed 4wd, and the roads weren't nearly as bad as I had anticipated that they would be.

At church, we found out that the parade has been reschedules for Thurs. night at 7 p.m. So we will be braving the cold weather that evening, I believe. The kids really want to see Santa. He was supposed to be at the Oasis right after the parade today, but we will have to find out if he will be making his appearance on Thurs. night.

We came home, had lunch, and put the little one's down for a nap. It was quiet and enjoyable. I went into our family room, and started rearranging my scrapbook area, and did some cleaning for my busy week I have this coming week. If I get everything done this week, it will be a miracle. I just love this time of year. This Christmas especially. I am starting to really enjoy homeschooling, and am learning how much fun I can make our day, and instill in my children's minds the true meaning of this blessed holiday.

Truthseeker woke up just as I was finishing the family room. He was very disappointed because Skaterboy had gone down the hill with a neighbor friend to go sledding. We have great sledding hills here. Scott and I made the decision that Truthseeker is too young to sled without adult supervision, thus the disappointment. So I changed the subject quickly, and offered to play a game with him. Of course, he chose his favorite board game, Pay Day. I put on some Christmas music, and by the light of the fire, we enjoyed about 6 rounds of Pay Day. He was very pleased that he beat me, again. I felt truly blessed that I had an afternoon to spend alone with my 6 year old. Scott was in the LR watching the Patriots game. Truthseeker and I played and talked, and just had a nice time together. So in effect, the ice was a small blessing after all. I just pray Scott makes it to work tomorrow without going in the ditch. In the past two years, he and I have gone in the ditch 3 times, each time doing lots of damage to our vehicles.
This year will be different though, I can feel it.

Last week, the kids and I constructed an advent wreath, for the first time ever. We have one at church of course, but I never really incorporated it into my curricullum before. The wreath turned out beautiful, and we all have enjoyed taking turns lighting and blowing out the candle, for the first week of advent. Tonight, of course we start week 2. This is truly a tradition that we will carry with us every year from now on.

Last Friday the kids made their yule logs for their bedrooms; another new tradition. Our 7 foot tree we cut down at the tree farm last week, soon became a 5 footer, when we realized how crooked the trunk was. All in all, it's a beautiful tree, and we had enough trunk to make 3 beautiful yule logs.

I have been getting up with Scott lately in the mornings. It's nice to chat with him alone, before he goes to work. We can discuss the day ahead, and plan our week. After he leaves in the morning, I pray, and do my devotionals. It's so peaceful, and beautiful with the Christmas tree lights twinkling in the background.

A few weeks ago at our small group meeting at church, I mentioned that I was struggling with my alone time with God. There just didn't seem to be enough time. At least that was what I was trying to express, if someone didn't understand it that way. After we returned home from Missouri, after Thanksgiving, I started waking up when Scott did in the morning. Believe me, 4:30 is early, but I have adjusted somehow. I feel like God has revealed to me that I need to schedule time with him, not just go to him hap-hazardly. So I have been faithful lately. I am really enjoying our date together each morning. He is revealing things to me through his word, that I haven't seen in this light before. I feel truly blessed. A Christmas gift from God this year. What could be better?

We are trying to keep things simple this Christmas, and trying to get by with less stuff, and more giving to others in need. I need to keep this locked in my brain on Tuesday, when we do our Christmas Shopping for the kids.

Skaterboy turns 15 one week from today. I can't believe it. I can still remember the moments after his birth. The time passes so quickly. I pray that I get to experience the feeling of having another baby grow inside me, and to hold that little bundle, and watch him/her grow. In God's time....not mine.

Blessings, Amy