My friend Laura told me about a sale on children's shoes that she had found. By the time I got to check it out, there wasn't much left. But I was able to find 4 pairs for $6. That's not a bad way to end my day of savings, is it! If you want to see if they have anything left in your size (rather, your children's sizes), here is Laura's blog. She has the link to the sale.
I had a doctor's appointment this morning at 11:40. Whenever I go into town, I try to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and get some shopping done. John took the day off because he had some vacation to use or lose, so I was able to leave Sarah Beth home with him. My sweet husband let me go shopping all by myself! It has been a long time, if you don't count the grocery store.
First, I went to Walgreens. I didn't buy much because they didn't have much on sale that I wanted or needed, but I was able to get all of this (a $23 value) for only $7. And there is a $3 rebate so I really only spent $4. Wow! I have been enjoying the smell of candles as I work around the house, so I was pleased to get these for almost nothing thanks to coupons that Crystal from Money Saving Mom posted on her site.
Next, I went to JC Penny. I've decided that I really like shopping there. For one thing, they are one of only two department stores in our mall that carry maternity clothes. I was able to buy that watch with a gift card that my parents gave me for Christmas, so it only cost me $6. Then I bought a new leather jacket. I wasn't really looking for one, but I passed by the coat area and saw that these were very much on sale. It's a $200 jacket that I got for $50. That money didn't even come out of our normal budget. We have coin jars, and I took mine in a couple of months ago. I have been saving that "free" money for something special. There you go! I cannot button the jacket right now, but I should be able next year. I cannot wait for some cold weather so I can wear it. (It's been a warm winter so far down here in Georgia.) I also got a couple of maternity tops that were on sale from $17 to $7.
Then, I went to the calendar area in the mall. I always buy my calendars at this time of year because they are 50% off. I got a wall calendar and a pocket calendar for $11. I forgot to take a picture of them.
I have to say that I am pretty proud of myself for this shopping trip. I never find deals like this, so I am excited when I do!
I really enjoyed spending so much time with my family on Christmas Day. However, I also enjoyed opening my presents, even though I already knew what I was getting. Here are pictures of my favorite presents. My sweet husband blew our gift budget when he bought me this set of knives. I had been using knives his mom let him use while he was in college about 10 years ago. I needed a new set, and he got me a much nicer one than I expected. The more I use them the more I like them. I may start picking out recipes based on how often I can use my knives in making them! The second picture is a nursing cover that my mom made me. I found some on the internet, but they cost about $40, and I knew she could make me one for much less. And this way I got to pick out the fabric! I can't wait to use it, but I've got to. The last picture is of Sarah Beth's favorite present: her stroller. She has pushed it all over the house the past couple of days. The only problem with it is that it won't hold all of her treasure. You cannot tell from the picture how much stuff she has piled into it!
What about you? What did you receive for Christmas? What was your favorite?
I don't know about you, but yesterday wore me out. I was up early cooking breakfast for my mother-in-law and her husband who were staying with us, my family, and my parents who came over for breakfast. I enjoyed doing it, but it started the day off with my being tired. I was able to get a nap in the early afternoon. When I woke up, it was time to cook again. My whole family, that is, my two brothers, my sister, their families, my parents, and my mother-in-law and her husband got together for supper. Thankfully, we met at my sister's house, and I only had to prepare a couple of things. We all had a really good time, but I was exhausted when we got home. I put Sarah Beth to bed and then climbed in myself.
My mother-in-law and her husband left this morning. I enjoyed having them, but it is nice to have the house back. I have so much to do today that I really should not be blogging right now, but I needed a little break already. The whole house needs tidying, not really cleaning, but straightening, putting things away, stuff like that. Most of the kitchen is done already, but there is so much more to do. And I cannot believe the piles of laundry that I have. Well, it won't all get done today. I, also, need to rest and relax some. Yesterday reminded me that I am pregnant and that I cannot just go and go. I've got to sit down and rest occasionally.
I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas Day and that you are able to get back to normal soon yourselves. I need to get to work!
My favorite Christmas carol is "Joy to the World." I love how joyful it is and how triumphant each verse starts: joy to the world!, joy to the earth!, no more let sin and sorrow grow!, and (my favorite) He rules the world! You just have to stand to sing this hymn, don't you? What about you? What is your favorite Christmas carol? I wish we would sing them all year long to remind of us of how special it was that Jesus gave up His earthly throne to become a poor, little baby boy.
We were so busy yesterday at work; we filled over 200 prescriptions. To put that in perspective, when I was hired a few years ago, we thought that doing 180 with 2 pharmacists and 3 technicians during a week day was a lot. Yesterday, it was just two technicians and I. But you know how there are two different kinds of busy-ness? One where everything goes wrong, and you can never quite catch up. The other where there is a lot to do, but it is possible to get it all done because most things go according to plan. Thankfully, yesterday was the second kind of busy. I think people were panicking because they thought we were going to be closed today, tomorrow, and Tuesday. We will actually only be closed Tuesday.
Tomorrow is my last day of work until June!! I cannot tell you how excited I am by that. I only work one weekend a month, so I do not work very much, but it is still tiring to be on my feet for ten hours at a time, especially when I am pregnant. By the way, I am a pharmacist at Wal-Mart. Somehow I accrued enough vacation this year that I am able to take Sunday off this weekend which is nice since it is the Sunday before Christmas. When I get home from work, I am just dead tired; all I want to do is sit down and put my feet up. John and I talked and decided that I did not need to work in January because I will be 8 months pregnant. Of course, in February I will have the baby. Then I will take three months off to be with my new little one.
In case you cannot tell, I do not enjoy working. I would much rather be home, but my working does have a few benefits. I bring in a little extra income that we are saving for some home improvement projects. Working keeps me current in the pharmacy world, that is, the new medications. And most importantly, it gives John a chance to see what my days during the week are like when he is at work. I cannot help but hope that we will be slow tomorrow since everyone will be busy shopping for Christmas, but I will have my running shoes on, just in case.
Today I finally finished this bear for my mother. I wanted to make her something for Christmas because, well, you know that handmade things are more special than store bought. Anyway, I thought I would make her a table topper, but she didn't want that. Yes, I asked before I spent many hours making something she would never use. (I learned my lesson a few years ago when I made her an afghan; she had a golden retriever and didn't want to get dog hair all over it.) She found this teddy bear and said that she wanted it. So I made it. It did not turn out quite as well as I had hoped, but I think it will do. It's the first animal I have attempted. She knows how much work goes into these things, so she will appreciate it. In case you are wondering how this bear was made, it was crocheted.
Are all toddlers as silly as mine? Sarah Beth has started talking on the "phone" lately. Her favorite "phone" is the remote control for the tv, but she will use almost anything. I caught her in the car the other day using a pair of her rolled up socks. At my mom's house, she has used a dog bone. It is really funny watching her walk around the house talking on the phone; she pauses as if waiting for a reply, and sometimes she laughes as if she has just told a joke. You would think that I spend all day on the phone, but I don't. I hate talking on the phone, and the longest I spend on the phone is with my mom, and that is only about five minutes once or twice a week. Where did she get this from? I don't know. Will she be one of those teenagers that you cannot get off the phone? I hope not!
Don't you just love going to the post office? Actually, I don't mind. We live in a small town, and I have come to know the women who work in the post office. When I have a package to pick up, and I am unable to tote it to the car along with my little girl, I just hand her to them, and they play with her for the couple of minutes it takes me to take the package to the car. Today, the man behind the counter offered to carry my package out for me. And the longest line that I have ever had to wait behind was two people. Two, and that is unusual. The ladies told me that some people drive half an hour or more just to use their post office. I can understand that.
Sarah Beth "helped" me unload the dishwasher yesterday. She loves to hand me plates, and she is very careful with them. She enjoys playing with the plastic cups, especially her sippy cups, and tupperware.
This morning John came into our bedroom and said, "Welfare's up." I was still asleep, and he was gone before I could say, "What?" He came back through a few minutes later, and I said, "Welfare's up?" And he replied, "Yes." I said, "So?" He looked at me funny and said more slowly, "The well froze up." Oh, everything makes sense now. I understood the important of what he said and why he was dressed so warmly. For those of you who don't have wells, let me explain: when the well freezes, we have no water. And it is worrisome when the well freezes because you don't want the pipes to burst. It's worse than when your outside faucets freeze. So my sweet husband was outside this morning in the 20-degree weather thawing our well. It's going to be cold again tonight, so I think he is going to take some precautions.
Rain, Rain, please don't go away; please come back another day!
We finally received some much needed rain. I'm not sure exactly how much we got, but I want to say that it was around three inches. This is the first significant rain we have gotten this month. We didn't get much in November or October. And of course, we always have a drought during the summer months. Yesterday was dark and cloudy and rain, but it was a beautiful day! Today really is beautiful with bright sunshine, but there is a cold wind blowing. It's one of those days when I am glad to stay inside.
This time I think that I am done with my Christmas shopping. I think. I don't want to get too cocky again and have something come up. I did talk with my mom, and she gave me a suggestion for my dad. Thank goodness for JC Penny online. I don't have to brave the mall traffic, and if Dad doesn't like it, he can take it back to the store without having to send it back. How nice! Now I just have to get everything wrapped; my little "helper" makes it difficult to do when she is awake. I wonder if she will leave the presents alone after they're wrapped. Hmmm.
I thought I was done with my Christmas shopping. I thought I was done early and could relax until Christmas. I thought wrong. When I was talking with my mom this morning, she told me that my dad does not need what I was planning to get him. Ugh! I have tried hard this year not to give people junk, you know, stuff they don't need that just takes up space. Now I have to figure out what to get my dad. What do you get the man who has everything he needs and just about everything he wants? A gift card! But I gave him one of those for his birthday which was at the end of November. I think it's too soon to do that again. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Next time I see her, I will pick my mom's brain for her suggestions.
Today I finished my Christmas shopping. I think this is the earliest that I have ever accomplished this. I'm sorry, but I will not post a picture of all my purchases for obvious reasons. Maybe when I get everything wrapped. Before you start hating me, I have to admit that I do not have many people to shop for: my parents, John's mom and her husband, Sarah Beth, a white elephant gift, and gifts for one of my nieces and one of my nephews. I am waiting for some things to come in the mail because I love to order stuff off the internet, and I hate shopping. Of course, something will probably come up between now and Christmas, and I will need to brave the ever-increasing shopping crowds, but as far as I know, right now I am done!!
I only have to buy for one of my nieces and one of my nephews (I have eight) because we draw names based on how many children we have. Since I have two (one here and one on the way) I draw two names. My sister has three children so she draws three names. It is so much easier than having to buy for all eight.
The white elephant gift is for my siblings. We play a kind of dirty Santa game where you can pick a gift or steal someone else's. We have a lot of fun doing this, and it is so easy since you can just buy something that you like. We used to buy for everyone, but who knows what to get for your sister-in-law? And it gets so expensive. We tried drawing names, but we decided it was ridiculous when my husband and my sister's husband exchanged $25 gift cards to Home Depot.
Notice that I said that I am done with my shopping. I am making something for my Mom, but I am not finished yet. I'm almost done with the easy part then comes the hard part. I should have it done soon. When I do, I will post a picture because, if it turns out like the picture, it will be really cute and Mom doesn't read my blog. She already knows anyway because she asked me to make it.
I read an article in World today about a ministry in Africa that helps refugee women. They make bags, toys, home decor, etc. in order to support themselves. This ministry teaches these women how to be self-sufficient. I went to their website, and it has some neat things. Very colorful things! I think this might make a good Christmas present for Sarah Beth. Shhh! Don't tell her. I just need to speak with John about it first.
Yesterday, I caught Sarah Beth trying to put my bedroom shoes on. She loves playing with shoes; mine, hers, or John's, it doesn't matter. She tried to put her daddy's shoes on the other day but was not successful. She was finally able to get my shoes on her feet and to walk around a little. Note that one shoe is on backwards!!
Are all toddlers this silly? This morning Sarah Beth pushed a laundry basket around with her puppy in it. (That toy was a life-saver on our trip to Louisiana for Thanksgiving.) Then she climbed into it with her puppy. Yesterday, I took the picture of her in her old swing. She has started climbing into swings when she finds one. She does it every Sunday when she is in the nursery. Monday we were at a friend's house, and she fell trying to climb in their swing. What a silly girl! I guess she doesn't realize that she is too big for these swings!
Sarah Beth loves to read; rather, she loves to be read to since she is only 18 months old and does not know how to read yet. She inherited that trait from both of her parents since John and I love to read; however, she acquired her love of books from me. (I always wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. It didn't happen, although John says that I am trying to obtain enough books so that I will have my own!) As you can see, she will make a pile of books and sit in the middle of them. She loves to flip through them by herself. She also likes for John or me to read to her, although if we take too long turning pages, she will take over that task. There are times when she will bring one of us a book, have us read it to her, throw it on the floor, and get another one with eight or nine different books in a row! It gets tiring sometimes, but reading is such a good thing that we try to encourage her as much as possible. I have to admit, though, that there are a couple of books that John and I cannot stand, and we hide those so she won't bring them to us to read. Is that bad of us?
Speaking of reading, I just read two really good books, and I am looking forward to reading the third when it is published. The series relates the story of Noah's ark and Noah's family who escaped the flood. It is told from the point of view of Shem's wife. The first one is The Coming Wrath, and the second one is Mabbul. They were written by John K. Reed. You ought to check them out because they show fascinating depictions of life during those times. For example, one woman talks about waiting 20 years for something and how that is not a long time for someone who lives centuries. I haven't checked Amazon.com yet to see if they can be found there, but I bet they are.
Yesterday when I browsed through the ads in Sunday's paper, I found a great deal. Toys R Us is having a sale on some of their children's games, and the manufacturers (Hasbro and Milton Bradley) are offering rebates on these same games. With the sale and the rebates, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and Memory are $2.99 each. Can you believe it? Sarah Beth is not old enough to enjoy these games yet, but they will make nice birthday or Christmas presents in a couple of years. A deal this good is hard to pass up!
Yesterday, two things happened that made me step back and think for a minute. The first one came in the mail, and you won't believe what it was. AARP sent me a membership card. I have been feeling a little achy and old lately, but I figured it was just because I am 6 months pregnant. Do they know something I don't?
The other has to do with my pony Stormy. Those pictures above are of her. Anyway, we loaded her up into the trailer yesterday to take her to a trainer so that we can sell her. This pony is very special to me, and I will explain why. We bought her mother Shea several years ago in the fall. By the time summer came around, she had gone from her sweet self to an ornery one. Her whole attitude and body language said quite clearly, "Leave me alone!!" She would not let us catch her in the pasture, and she bucked when I rode her. So my trainer suggested breeding her to settle down her hormones in the hopes they were causing the problems. I bred her to a cute, little pony so that I would get one for my children. This solution worked for a few weeks, then Shea reverted to her ornery self. We decided to sell her, so we aborted the baby because who would want a horse bred to a pony? (Note: I believe whole-heartedly in the sanctity of human life but not of animals.) She turned up lame when we tried to sell her, so we brought her back home, and she is such a pretty mare that my sweet husband let me keep her to breed her. Well, lo and behold, she turned out still to be pregnant. The vet had never seen anything like that before. So, Stormy is my pony that shouldn't be here.
From the very first day when she was born, Stormy was friendly. She would come to us when her mother ran away. She loves getting attention to the point that she is a pest sometimes. She has stolen many hearts of people who know her. She is the sweetest horse I have been around. I can imagine the fun (and trouble!) that Sarah Beth and Stormy could get into when they are both older.
Stormy turned three this past summer, and I finally got around to breaking her. However, then I found out that I was pregnant, and I did not need to be working with a barely-broke horse. Realistically, I do not know when I will have the time to train her properly, and so we figure the best thing for her is to get her trained and sell her to a family who will love and appreciate her as we have. It was a hard decision, one that I dragged my feet on for a long time, but it is the right thing to do. She is still my pony, and I can always change my mind, but I don't think I should or would.
Recently, a friend had a link on her blog to an article about a woman having an abortion because she thought another life on the earth might harm it. How can a woman justify killing her unborn child in order to "save" the planet? Besides the fact that children are a gift from God, they are also a delight to have. I love my little girl for lots of reasons, but one of them is because she makes me laugh. She does the funniest things like trying to put her socks on my feet or trying to strap her teddy bear into her old swing. And she does all of this with a serious face because it is serious business to her. Of course, she also does silly things because she knows they will make me laugh. My point is that I delight in my daughter, and I cannot imagine my life without her.
This week in our town, a woman stabbed to death her one-year old and her three-year old in a convenience store bathroom. Here is a link if you want to see the whole story http://www.wjbf.com/midatlantic/jbf/news_index.apx.-content-articles-JBF-2007-11-30-0038.html This act is another one that I just do not understand. I can see how a woman could kill her unborn baby because she has never actually seen him. But this woman raised and, apparently, loved her children for years. What could make her stab them to death with a steak knife? No matter what happens to our situation, my husband and I will always cherish our children and try to do the best for them. What could make a woman do this?
This morning, I was reading an article in a parenting magazine about a child with Down's syndrome. The article stated that 90% of babies are aborted when their mothers find out that they have this disorder. The author expects the percentage to rise as younger women are screened for Down's syndrome. I do not have a retarded child, but my sister does, so I know some of the tons of work that is involved in caring for one. However, I cannot imagine destroying this life just to ease mine. My husband and I will take the children that God gives us with thankfulness, even if it means hard work. The handicapped adults and children I have been around greatly enrich the lives of those who interact with them. They have such sweet, unassuming personalities. I cannot imagine this world without them.
Needless to say, what is this world coming to when people will kill their own flesh and blood? Of course, this is not a new thing; Cain killed Abel because he was jealous of God's favor. But when it is one's own child, what depravity of the mind justifies destroying that life?
First, I am a child of God, adopted into His family through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Second, I am helpmeet to my husband John of fifteen years. Third, I am mother to Sarah Beth who is nine years old, to Daniel who turned eight in February, to Rachel who turned six at the end of January, to Mary who turned four in December, and to Hannah who was born in February.