Sunday, December 21, 2008

An Unexpected Tough Question


When I walked in the dining/living room and saw Chistopher sitting on his stool, I could tell something heavy was weighing on his mind. When I asked him what was wrong, I was completely caught off-guard by his response. Now, most children ask where babies come from - and when that question comes, I think I'll be ready for it. But Christopher's question on this day pulled at my heart-strings in a way I could never begin to explain. He wanted to know WHY his baby wasn't coming. I tried not to read too much into the statement and asked which baby, each time he pointed at himself and said emphatically, "MY baby!" His eyes pleaded with me to help him understand. When I finally mustered the courage to ask him if he meant the baby that was in my tummy (a year ago), he nodded his head. As my heart broke with his, I wrapped my arms around him and reminded him that baby went to live with Jesus (for those of you who don't know, we had a miscarriage at the end of December last year). He then asked, "Why won't Jesus give my baby back?" As tears filled my eyes, I could only hug him in response.



When I shared this with David later, his eyes filled with tears. Christopher's words today were echoing the very same questions we have been asking God! Christopher wants a little brother or sister so bad. He loves playing with Cobh, the little boy we watch on the weekends. Christopher is so loving and patient with Cobh, and when Cobh is hear - they act just like brothers!



We would also love to have more children. We have been trying again since the miscarriage, since we now know that we can get pregnant. But, for reasons we may never know, God has not yet blessed us in that way again. Due to financial constraints, we aren't ready to adopt again. And we don't think Christopher's quite old enough to understand the fostering process. We went through the classes to be in the foster-to-adopt program a couple years ago, but didn't complete the process. David's mom gave us some very wise advice - she said that Christopher might watch these other children come and go and wonder if one day he'd have to leave, too. It's hard enough on the foster parents to watch the children leave, but I don't want Christopher to ever worry that his place with us is in any jeapordy!

Please pray with us that God will grant the desires of this little boy's heart (as well as the hearts of his Mommy & Daddy) and bless us with a little brother and/or sister for Christopher! We know God CAN do it, we believe He WILL do it, we just don't know WHEN it will happen! I hope that I don't have to wait, as Sarah & Elizabeth in the Bible did, until I'm past the age of child-bearing, but that day is drawing ever closer! However, if that's what God choses to do, then I know He will bless us beyond anything we could ever imagine and that He has a great plan in doing so (just as he did for Sarah & Elizabeth)! :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa Claus, Bad Attitudes, and Such


Probably the most popular question asked of young children at this time of year is if Santa is coming to visit or what he will bring. Now, we all know that Santa has a Nice List and a Naughty List. Children on the Nice List get toys and fun things in their stockings. Children on the Naughty List get lumps of coal and switches in their stockings. So, what list are you on?

Well, when Grandma Jansen (David's Mom) asked Christopher what Santa was bringing him, he almost got me put on Grandma's Naughty List! ;) His response to Grandma was something like this: "Santa's not coming to see me this year because I have a bad attitude." Well, as any self-respecting Grandma would do, Grandma Jansen decided to set this matter straight. She would not have her only grandson missing out on Santa's presents if there was anything she could do about it! The thing is, when she called to talk to me about this, it was the first I had ever heard of it! While I have talked with Christopher on many occasions about his attitude, I never once threatened Santa's Naughty List as a consequence! I try never to threaten anything I can't follow through on - and everyone knows Santa's in charge of his own list...and of course, he checks it twice! ;)

On the other hand, others have asked Christopher the same question and he replies that Santa is bringing him a "Monster Truck" - again, no clue where this is coming from! We've never seen monster trucks, to my knowledge, never played with monster trucks, never even talked about them...and yet, on the days when Christopher thinks he might be on Santa's Nice List, this is what he is convinced Santa is bringing! It's funny what these kids come up with! I just love how his little mind works sometimes! :)

As an update to our lives...David had outpatient surgery this week. Nothing major...just something that needed to be taken care of - so he did while he was able to take time off from work. Needless to say, it hasn't exactly been a fun week around our house. Besides the normal complications of surgery (soreness, pain, & inability to lift anything over 10 pounds), David is allergic to Codeine (the pain drug of choice among most surgeons). We made certain at every turn they knew about his allergy, so the doctor gave him Percocet (sp?) - well, all was fine the day of the surgery, but the next day, David couldn't keep anything on his stomach. Come to find out, Percocet is a derivative of Codeine! Imagine that! So, once we switched to Tylenol and the Percocet got out of his system, things were better! Christopher was so concerned, that he asked his teachers several times, "Will you pray for my Daddy?" How precious it is to see his complete faith in God to make all things better! Whenever something is bothering him, he always asks us to pray about it...and when we do, you can tell it gives him comfort. I think this is what the Bible refers to as Child-like faith! I need to work on that in my own life! :)

By the way, for those of you wondering if you got cut from our annual Christmas letter list, the answer is no! :) The quite honest fact is that I have yet to write it. There are many reasons for this. I could blame it on being busy, which I have been - but that would not be the whole truth. The real reason is that I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. This really bugs me, too! Christmas is my favorite holiday - but this year, I just can't seem to muster up whatever it is I need to feel jolly & merry! I'm usually chomping at the bit to put in my Christmas music - but this year, I was caught off-guard by hearing it on the radio before I even thought to pull out my Christmas CD's. I also usually start writing my Christmas letter in October - at least the first draft - because I just can't wait (and it's usually in the mail sometime around Thanksgiving)! This year, it was mid-December before I even thought about it! And when I did try to write it, the tone was so depressing, I couldn't stand it! Yes, we've had a rough year, probably the hardest year I've ever faced - but that shouldn't completely take away from the joy of the season...or the REASON why we celebrate CHRISTmas in the first place! So, what's wrong with me? I really don't know. I just pray that I find my "Happy Attitude" (which is what I tell Christopher to find when he gets grumpy - and he's SOOO much better at finding his than I am mine!) - and that I find it before Christmas! As for my letter, I've decided to make it a New Years' letter this time around - mainly because one thing I'm counting on is that 2009 will be a MUCH better year for us! :) So, don't worry...as soon as I find my "Happy Attitude" - or can at least fake it enough to write a letter that encourages rather than depresses, my letter will find it's way to your home - as long as I have your mailing address, that is! :)

Merry CHRISTmas
to you and your family!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christopher's First School Program




On Thursday, November 20th, Christopher had his very first school program. It was the most precious thing I've ever seen! They started by walking in while singing "God Bless America" - which has become Christopher's new favorite song, as he sings it all the time! They then sang several other songs, this video below is just one of them (the video was taken during rehersal just before the program):

video

After the program, there was a special Thanksgiving luncheon for the kids, their parents & grandparents. Since the rest of the school has their Grandparents' Day on a Friday, when no Pre-K students are at school, the Thanksgiving program was the also the Pre-K Grandparents' Day! Grandma Jansen joined us for this special day. Christopher is very blessed to have Grandma J living so close so that she can have such an active part in his life. These are the memories that Christopher will probably remember for the rest of his life!



Friday, November 21, 2008

No Bad Words!


Lately, Christopher has been almost obsessed with figuring out what is and isn't a bad word...and he has become the "Bad Word Police" as a result! Now, in my precious little 4-year-old's mind (and in the minds of most kids who go to FBA), "stupid" is a bad word. Thankfully, this is about as far as his concept of bad words go! :) And he is on a mission to clear this word from everyone's vocabulary!



A few months ago, we were at Grandma Jansen's house and Uncle Chuck was talking about the "stupid Tampa Bay Bucs" (which he happens to support - but was not currently happy with their performance)! Well, before any of us knew what was happening, a little four-year-old finger shot out and started wagging away...followed shortly by Christopher's rebuke, "Uncle Chuck, we do NOT say that word! That is a BAD WORD!" Now, for the first time I think, Uncle Chuck was rendered completey speechless as he tried to figure out just WHAT he had said! :) We informed him of the "s-word violation" and after a moment of processing it, appolgized to Christopher, which finally ended the slightly uncomfortable, but completely hilarious moment!



A couple nights ago, we were watching Law & Order when Christopher woke up with a bad dream. We let him stay up with us for a little bit and eat some dinner (he had fallen asleep shortly after we'd gotten home from school that day & slept through dinner time). Well, apparently one of the characters on the show must have said something that caught Christopher's attention - because he said, "Daddy, that guy on TV said a bad word. Can we pray for him?" This totally caught David off guard and at the same time completely blessed my heart! While David was trying to figure out how Christopher thought of that, I was remembering what happened a couple weeks earler...



I had gone to the public school where I used to work so I could deliver some Avon. As I was leaving, he art teacher was talking with me about some of the crazy things going on in the school. She was using some choice words - but whispering the ones the world considers inappropriate for children out of courtesy for the young ears with me. But, since our standards are higher than that, there were bad words she wasn't aware were bad, therefore she felt no need to whisper those words. I could hear the gasping in the back seat (we were car to car while talking), but thankfully he was respectful enough to say no more until the conversation was over. As I drove away, it was obvious that the discussion had troubled him. As he asked me, with deep concern in his voice, why that grown-up lady was using bad words - I wasn't sure what to say. The answer must have come directly from God's mind to my voice as I explained that the reason she used those words was because she didn't have Jesus in her heart & didn't know any better. Then I asked Christopher if he wanted to pray for her & he seemed relieved that I'd asked! :) So, right there in the car, we prayed for the art teacher's salvation!



As I re-lived this moment for David, my heart swelled with appreciation that Christopher has such a concern for others and such a belief in the power of prayer! And, I must admit, there was also a little pride that the impromptu lesson had such an impact on this precious gift God placed in our lives to guide and direct! :)

(P.S. For those of you who may be wondering, yes...the picture was staged!) :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tagged by Teri


I have been tagged by my friend Teri to share the following information with you:

  1. Where did you meet? In the singles group at church
  2. How long did you date? Officially...just a little more than a month, but we were friends for about 2 years before that...actually, when I think about it, we didn't really "date" - it was more like courting! :) We spent a lot of time together with our group of mutual friends from church...it was only in that month or so between our "first date" and our engagement that we were descerning the possibility of marriage. :)
  3. How long have you been married? 6 years this past September
  4. What does he say that surprises you? That I'm beautiful
  5. What is your favorite feature of his? His loving eyes, sweet smile, happy laughter, and his strong, loving arms (oh...was I supposed to pick just one?)
  6. What is your favorite quality of his? There are so many, it would take forever to list the all...but if you were to take a peek at the "Most Important Qualities in my Future Husband" list that I prayed over during my single years, you'd soon see that God created David according to that list...David loves God with all his heart, mind, & soul; he is the spiritual head of our household, he loves me unconditionally, and he is an amazing father! God is sooo good! :)
  7. Does he have a nickname for you? Sweetheart/Honey
  8. What is his favorite color? red
  9. What is his favorite food? Seafood, particularly salmon
  10. What i his favorite sport? Chicago Cubs baseball (it's the only one he watches)
  11. When and where did you first kiss? On March 30, 2002 after the worship service, at the fountain in the courtyard of our church, just after he asked me to marry him (and I said yes)! :)
  12. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? Go to amusement parks...particularly Universal Studios, since that's where we started to see each other as more than "just friends"
  13. Do you have any children? Yes, Christopher (4) & we are praying God will bless us with more children in the near future! :)
  14. Does he have a hidden talent? He's very good at building things out of wood...he can imagine it and then create it - no plans or anything! He built the most amazing movie cabinet/book shelf I have ever seen - from nothing more than the image in his head and a few items from Home Depot! :)
  15. How old is he? About 9 years older than me (we're both at that stage where we'd rather not tell our actual age! Ha! Ha!) Let's just say we were both alive when man first walked on the moon...but only one of us was old enough to remember it! ;)
  16. Who said, "I love you" first? Don't really remember...but I love the fact that we both say it to each other several times during the day, and always before we leave each other's presence!
  17. What is his favorite type of music? Country & Contemporary Christian
  18. What do you admire most about him? That he usually thinks things through before acting - he RESPONDS to things, rather than REACTING to them like I sometimes do!
  19. Do you think he will read this? Ordinarily, I'd say no...but since he saw me typing it & I wouldn't tell him what I was typing, then probably yes! :) Love you, sweetie! ;)

I tag my friends Rhonda, Kelly, Kim, Cherie, & Amanda! I'll be checking your blogs, girls! ;) I can't wait to read all about you & your hubby! God bless!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God Bless Ameica!

Christopher has been singing the song God Bless America for the last few weeks...or at least his variation of the song. I have yet to capture it on video, though. He's very funny about it - he doesn't want anyone singing along with him (I tried a few times to help him with the words) and he doesn't want any recognition that he's singing...otherwise, he stops singing and refuses to go on. I'm pretty sure this song is part of the PK Thanksgiving Program at his school...so, I'm a little anxious to see how that will go!

Something else that I'm a little anxious to see how it goes is life under our newly chosen President of the United States. Not anxious, as in scared...because I know God is in control and there is NOTHING that Obama can do without God's permission! But rather, anxious as in uncertain. I've found it interesting how Obama made statements & decision that at the time were convenient for his campaign...and then changed those statements & decisions if they became inconvenient, expecting that Joe Public (not to be confused with Joe the Plummer) would not notice...which, apparently they did not. David, being the history buff that he is, has been sharing with me some rather uncanny similarities in things that Obama is saying to things Hitler said when he was first elected into office. I can only hope that America will not be so tolerant that we repeat the mistakes made in Germany several decades ago and soon become a dictatorship rather than a democracy!

The other thing that has me wondering what this new term will bring is realizing just how close we are to the end times. While I have always been interested in Revelations, the second coming of Christ, and the end times, I am not one to stand out on the street corner with a sign declaring the end is near. However, as I read scripture and see just how many prophesies have been & are being fulfilled, I do suddenly feel more of a sense of urgency than I ever have before. I can remember as a young teen, my grandfather shared with me that he thought Jesus would return sometime during my lifetime. Even though it initially excited me to think that such a grand event would actually happen in my lifetime, the thought now is rather sobering. I completely believe that no one will know the exact day and time of Christ's coming, and at the same time, I also believe that He gave us the signs of His second coming for a reason - so we could be prepared and reach others for His kingdom.

I do not know if we will be able to recognize & socialize with each other in Heaven as we do here on earth, but I sure don't want to get there and miss a single friend or family member...especially knowing that if they aren't with me, they are spending eternity in a place called Hell - where there is eternal darkness, blistering fire, and constant pain & suffering. I've often heard the saying that for Christians, earth is as close as we'll ever get to hell...but for those who reject Christ as their Savior, this is the closest they will ever get to Heaven. What that says to me is that as bad as things are here on earth, they will be a gazillion times worse in hell...and on the flip side, the best things on earth pale in comparison to how amazingly wonderful Heaven will be! Can you imagine walking streets made of gold, without the worry of someone knocking you over so they can rip it up for themselves? Can you imagine a world where there are no more tears, no more sickness, no more suffering, no more anger...only love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, & self-control? How amazing Heaven is going to be!!! Are you ready??

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hallelujah Night

After some debate, Christopher decided that he wanted to be a Robot for Halloween/Hallelujah Night. Trying to be thrifty, I decided I could make the costume myself out of an Avon box (actually the sleeve that comes over 3 stacked boxes to make it one package). Boy, I had no idea what I was in for! After a few struggles, though, this is what we came up with:

Our first stop of the night is always at Grandma's for our only Trick or Treating experience. Please forgive the orientation of the video below...complete user error. Someday someone is going to make a fortune when they create a camera that automatically adjusts to the correct orientation when taking a video!

video

Before heading off to Hallelujah Night at church, Christopher takes a moment for a photo opportunity with Uncle Chuck & Grandma.

Once at Hallelujah Night, we stopped by the Sticky Wall booth so Christopher could show his robot costume off to Miss Betsy & Mr. Jim. The decline of the costume had already begun, as his "robot legs" were now human again!

Much to my dismay, once the above picture was taken, the robot costume came off and didn't go back on. For the rest of the evening, this is where his robot costume remained:

Thankfully, I had thought ahead a bit and realized the costume probably wouldn't last all night, so he had on a robot t-shirt under the costume - which is what he wore most of he night. In fact, one of my friends who saw me later in the night (while Christopher & I were in line waiting on a game & Daddy was in the back, standing guard over the costume) thought that WAS his costume! Ha! Ha! :)

Christopher had a great time playing all the games - and he was quite good at the ones that involved throwing balls, bags, and other assorted items! Someday he's going to make a great pitcher! Of course, the best part of playing those games was the loot...

And of course, the eating of said loot...


And just as important is the burning off of the extra energy gained by eating way too much loot...
Christopher spent quite a lot of time climbing up the inflatable slide and sliding down. Funny thing is I can remember not too long ago he was terrified of these inflatable playgrounds! He would not step foot in a bounce house, let alone a 10-12 foot inflatable slide! The boy is growing up! Once I showed him where to get on the slide, he just kept going in circles...if he knew we could have something like this in our backyard, we'd be in MAJOR trouble! Ha! Ha!

And who should we find at the inflatable slide, but the Preschool Director at Christopher's school! As you can tell, Christopher loves Miss Sherri!

Among other special friends we found at Hallelujah Night was Ra-Ra (Robyn) & "Uncle" Jeff and their dog Romeo! Romeo had his own booth where he showed off all the tricks he knew and let the kids hold him for a picture. Christopher actually got to help with some of Romeo's early training in preparation for Hallelujah Night! Fun!




We quite literally closed down the night at Hallelujah Night at 10pm - and the only one NOT ready to go home was Christopher! He really got into Hallelujah Night this year and I'm so glad it was on a Friday Night so we could let him stay up late and enjoy all the fun he wanted!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Coupon University

Well, it's finally happened! I've become one of those stay-at-home moms who clip coupons! You know - the ones you hate to get behind at the grocery store! Yep, that's me - fist full of coupons, basket full of groceries...just trying to see how low I can get that grocery bill to go! I even have a fancy shmancy coupon holder! Of course, it's not anywhere NEAR as fancy as my friend Teri has...that girl's got a touch of coupon clipping OCD, I think...but the funny thing is I'm aspiring to be just like her! :)

My Mother-In-Love (hearafter referred to lovingly as Mom J) & Sister-In-Love (Betsy - David's middle brother's wife) have been coupon queens for years. And bless her heart, Mom J has been passing coupons along to us for the last 6+ years we've been married. We've used a few here and there - but when I was working, David did most of the grocery shopping - so consequently, not many coupons got used because he usually stopped on the way home from work and the coupons were almost always here at the house. But not anymore! Now, thanks to my handy-dandy coupon holder (which I'm quickly outgrowing, by the way) - those coupons now get filed away and taken with me to the grocery store on Sundays!

I know, I know - Sunday is probably the worst day in the world to go shopping because everybody and their brother is also at the store doing their weekly shopping...but, in some strange way, there's something fun about that because you never know who you might run into while doing your weekly shopping! :) I actually choose Sundays because that's when the paper with all the coupons comes out! One less stop I have to make during the week.

Today, I was so proud of myself! My first stop was Costco, where I saved $30.50 with coupons on stuff we use anyway (some of which will last us a long, long time...but that's OK because it's non-perishable)! :) Then after a brief stop at the bank to deposit my Avon monies, I headed off to Publix. I am so very thankful for the BOGO tip! If you find the Buy One Get One Free sales at Publix & have 2 coupons (each good for $ off 1 item), then you can use both! For example, Kellogg's cereal was on a BOGO sale this week at Publix & I had two $1 off 1 box coupons. One box of cereal is usually about $4, but today, I bought 2 boxes of cereal for $2 - that's a dollar a box! Gotta love that! I saved $63.89 at Publix today (could have been more if I'd remembered to use the $5 off $25 coupons...oh well, I'm learning!), again, savings were on stuff we use anyway! My rule is I don't use a coupon unless it's something I'd buy anyway...and I'm trying to use them on BOGO sales as much as possible! :) The lady at the checkout wasn't too happy with me & she was obviously not very familiar with coupons. It took a long time to check out because she first took time before checking me out to study the coupons I'd have so she'd know what I had coupons for & then proceeded to find the coupon for each item I purchased (and considering I had a coupon for almost everything I bought today, that was a lot)! I just kept apologizing to the poor souls who showed up in line behind me...only to decide after a few minutes that they'd be better off finding another line! :) If I hadn't realized when I got home that I saved almost $100 today, I might never have clipped another coupon! But, the coupon bug has bitten! Think I'll be signing up for lessons from my couponing friends & family so I can save even more! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tonsillitis Strikes! Yikes!


I took Christopher to the doctor today because he started running a fever last night and was complaining of a sore throat. Christopher is very rarely sick, and when he is, it's usually something minor. So, as I packed him up to go to Dr. Wilson's office, I thought maybe we'd get a prescription, directions for rest and fluids, and he'd be back to school tomorrow or the next day. But oh no...not this time! I knew it was going to be different the minute the nurse told me to hope that the throat culture came back positive for strep! What!?! I never thought I'd see the day I actually HOPED my child would have Strep Throat! But, I'm here to tell you...that day has arrived!


Christopher is such a trooper! He actually likes going to see Dr. Wilson - but he was a little concerned that he might get a shot. He kept telling me, "Mommy, I don't want a shot." Fortunately, no shots this time...but he had to endure his very first throat culture. Bless his heart, he sat there better than most grown-ups and let the nurse poke that Q-tip thing down his throat. Tears welling in his eyes and the gagging noises were all that gave any indication what he was experiencing was at all uncomfortable. He didn't fight or pull away, he just obediently let her do what she needed to do. When she was finished, he simply said, "I don't like that." Bless his precious little heart!


If you read the title to this post, then you've probably already guessed correctly, the quick test came back negative for Strep Throat. They'll send it off to be sure, but Dr. Wilson said he'd be surprised if he got a different result. Since Tonsillitis is viral, there's not much we can do but let it run its course. So, Christopher's home from school for at least the rest of the week...maybe next week, too - depending on how he's feeling. We can give him Tylenol or Motrin for the fever & pain and we're supposed to get him to eat whatever he will and to drink lots of fluids.


The good news is that he doesn't seem to feel all that bad. He'll tell you his throat is sick, but he's still playing - just a little more quietly right now. Shortly after we got home, he told me, "Mommy, I'm all better now!" I'm not sure if he thinks just going to Dr. Wilson's office makes him all better or if he's somehow realizing that he's going to miss out on some stuff we'd planned to do this week. Hopefully, he really will be better soon and be able to go to school next week. :) Please say a prayer for us!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Update on Us

I look at all my friends' blogs every day...and I know that feeling of disappointment when there's nothing new to read, and yet, I'm just as guilty! So, here I am trying to catch those who read my ramblings up on our life!


The first thing I have to share is that Christopher FINALLY had a fully green week at school! YEA!!! Up until now, he's been 3 green & 1 yellow (see my post on the Highs & Lows of PK4 to see what these colors mean). Then a couple weeks ago, he was home sick two of the four days - but got Green tickets both days. David and I decided that it might be the opportunity to follow through on his reward so he could see what was at stake if he earned 4 green tickets! Well, it must have done the trick...because he's now had FIVE green tickets in a row (4 last week and one today)! So, last Thursday, we drove up to Carvel and Christopher got to pick out his own ice cream (blue something-or-other) and add as many sprinkles as he wanted (they have a self-serve sprinkle bar)! We'll see if we can make it 2 full weeks in a row!

The next fun thing is Christopher is starting to learn sight words and recognizing them in text other than his special books from school. His favorite one (probably because you can find it in just about any story) is "the" - here's a video of him finding it on a page of his children's Bible (never mind the orientation of the book):

video

It was a very impromptu moment. We were relaxing on mine & David's bed just before bedtime & Christopher decided he was going to read us a bedtime story (which he almost always does from his story Bible - probably because he can read the pictures fairly well! Here is an example of him "reading" to us from his Bible:

video

Yes, he was got a little sidetracked by finding one of his sight words - he was SO excited! I hope he always stays this excited about reading!

Last night, Christopher and I had to fight off some monsters! It was a little after midnight and I had finally been able to settle down enough to just about fall asleep when I heard a terrified little boy calling for his mommy from across the house. I practically leapt from our bed and sprinted across the house to Christopher's bedroom (I'm sure it was quite the sight to see...thankfully, David was snoring soundly and there were no witnesses to my lack of agility)! Tears pouring down his face, sobs racking his body, I could tell it was a bad dream. I scooped him up in my arms and held him tight - he held me tighter. I asked him if he wanted to tell me about his dream. Between sobs, he told me it was about monsters and they were biting him! Poor kid! After awhile, he finally relaxed enough that I could lay him down, but his heavy breathing told me the fear was not gone. so I lay next to him - rubbing his back & running my fingers through his hair. When his breathing slowed down, I decided it might be OK to head back to my own bed. My actions were met with a very tearful "I wanna go you bed, Mommy!" I decided under the circumstances, it would be OK. So, I scooped up frightened little boy and his Cars pillow and headed back to our bed. Even nestled between Mommy and David, he still needed the reassurance of holding my hand to finally fall asleep.

We rarely let Christopher sleep in our bed - for many reasons, but partly because he is NOT a very good bed partner (bless his poor wife someday). For some reason, he always sleeps sideways - his head is almost always sharing David's pillow or somewhere on David's body...his feet (which are NEVER still) are on ME! Finally, around 5am, I had endured enough of the kicking and figured the crisis was over, so I again scooped up my little boy and his pillow and escorted them back to Christopher's bed. I think I got about 45 minutes of good sleep before the alarm clock went off this morning! Yawwwwnnnnn!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

FIREPROOF







If you have not already seen the movie FIREPROOF, I highly recommend you go see it as soon as possible. It is only supposed to be in theaters until Thursday, unless something happens (i.e. ticket sales) which causes the theaters to keep it longer! I personally think every person over the age of 12 should see this movie, particularly married couples and single adults who hope to get married some day. Some of the scenes are a little too intense for young children (nothing inappropriate, just intense emotional stuff), so if you have young or immature children, I suggest you get a babysitter.

David and I went with our Bible and Life Group (also known as BLG and Sunday School) today and it was amazing. Kirk Cameron plays the lead role - a firefighter who risks his life to save strangers, but isn't willing to put forth much effort to save his marriage. That is, until he embarks on a "Love Dare" from his father. This is one of those movies that takes you through the whole range of emotions! Be sure to bring your tissues, but also be ready to laugh. One of my favorite lines from Steel Magnolias says it best, "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." There will definately be tears, laughter, and even some intense action drama for the guys!

This movie was made by the same people who made Facing The Giants. I haven't seen that movie, but I've heard great things about it, and if this movie is any indication, then I plan to see it first chance I get!

If you are interested in finding out more, you can click on a link in the "widget" above. You can see a trailer of the movie, or learn more about it. And if you get the chance, please take the time to see this while it's still in the theaters. I know, money is tight for everyone (we haven't seen a movie in the theaters since...hmmm, I don't know when - it's been that long!)...but this one is definately a must-see! :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Favorite Sound in the World


My absolute favorite sound in the whole world (without question or hesitation) is the sound of Christopher laughing. I've always loved the sound of children's laughter - perhaps that's because of the doll my grandmother gave me that would laugh when I threw her up in the air...or maybe just because that's how God made me. But, it's been something I've always enjoyed. And I don't know if it's because I have the joy and priviledge of being Christopher's mommy...but I find something extra special about his laughter. There's just such pure joy in it - no matter whether he's running and playing with his friends or being tickled by his Mommy & Daddy (which is exactly what I did for the sole purpose of getting his laughter on video)! Maybe you just have to hear it for yourself (click the arrow below):


video

Yes, he's still sucking his thumb...but mostly when he's tired or watching TV. Unfortunately, we can't throw his thumb away like a pacifier...but we're working on eliminating this habit of his. We even tried that stuff you put on the nails to keep him from sucking it - didn't work. Oh well...we'll keep working, and with any luck, he'll be free of this habit before he goes to college! Ha! Ha!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

ebay - America's Online Garage Sale



Well, I'm back in the world of ebay...that great online garage sale! I sold some things on there about a year ago...I thought that I was going to make a full-time income from it. I'm figuring out that I'm either too honest or not smart enough to do that. But that's ok, I found AVON to help me with that! Now I'm working from home most of the time (except when I step in as a substitute teacher) and LOVING IT!


ANYWAY...David and I decided it was time to get rid of some stuff we've got around the house. So, I'm trying my hand at this ebay thing again! I took some pictures (except of most of David's hardback books...those I could get stock photos & info through ebay) and then started setting up my listings. If you are interested at all in seeing what I might have for sale, you can click here to view all my listings.

I'll be adding things over the coming days, too - so check back if you feel so inclined! :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Biggest Loser Wannabe


First of all, I LOVE this show! I have watched every episode since the very first season! We are now into Season 6 and I'm still hooked (which is unusual for me with Reality-type shows)! It's the one show I'm faithful to make it home to watch (or tape it if there's any chance I might be even 5 minutes late)! I think I just love to watch lives being transformed. There's something about watching people not only transform on the outside, but also gain confidence and self-respect on the inside...some of them for the first time in their lives!

I also think I live vicariously through them...as if watching the show alone would make me lose weight! ;) Actually, I have many, many times thought about signing up for the show (even printed and filled out the application a couple times)...but there's just a few things that hold me back:

  1. I couldn't be away from David and Christopher that long (especially without talking to them - though that actually might be harder).
  2. There's no way I'd want to get on a scale where the whole world could see what I actually weigh...I don't even like getting on the bathroom scale with just me looking!
  3. I'd never survive a Bob or Jillian workout - I'm too big of a wimp. Even though I know that's exactly what I need (someone urging me along - though I respond better to loving encouragement than the yelling and name calling Bob & Jillian do - especially Jillian!)...and though I might rise to the occasion with a quarter mil on the line...chances are higher that I'd break down and cry like a big fat baby! Which leads me to...
  4. I hate crying in front of people, so crying in front of the world on national TV would be total humiliation for me (maybe not in the moment, but certainly when I saw myself on TV later)!

That said, as I watched the people this past Tuesday night get up on the scale and weigh in for he first time, I realized that I would fit right in there with them. That is certainly not something I'm proud of...and something I can't believe I'm putting up here on the blog. But, God has really been speaking to my heart a lot lately about pride and humbling myself. Our women's Bible study at church (RefresHer) is doing a study on praying God's way...and guess what one of the blockers is to our prayers being heard...yep, PRIDE! In some of my conversations this week...what came up? Yep, PRIDE again! Then tonight in church, our pastor talked about...what else? PRIDE! And we're not talking about a group of lions here, either! It's that nasty stuff that comes before a fall (according to the Bible)!

Now, I never really thought about myself as a prideful person...but then again, I guess no prideful person really does. But, God has really been teaching me some lessons in humility lately. And I need to humbly admit that I need to lose weight. I know that's no big shocker for anyone who knows me...but it's a hard thing for me to admit...and even harder for me to deal with. My weight has always been a touchy subject for me. I have been overweight most of my life. I think the last time I was really thin was when I was 4 years old...and that was an odd year, I guess. I was a big baby (9 pounder), chunky toddler, husky child, overweight teen...well, you get the picture. There was one time in my life where I lost about 80 pounds and actually achieved the weight my driver's license said I weighed (closest I ever came to thin in my adult life)...unfortunately, those pounds quickly found me again and even invited their friends along...and being the nasty guests that they are, those friends moved right on in!

I'm not asking you to be my food police...I've had way too many of those in my life and I know that only leads to resentment and unhealthy habits on my part. What I am asking is that you pray with me about this issue and ask God to heal the parts of me that cause me to overeat and for Him to give me a desire for healthier foods (and less of them)! I have literally tried every diet known to man (including the sour kraut juice diet and even starvation) and I know that's not God's plan...that was ME trying to correct the problem in my own strength...otherwise known as PRIDE! I realize that I can only overcome this by the grace of God and I need your prayer support to get through it! :) Thank you for taking the time to read through my ramblings and for your prayers! That means a lot to me! God bless you!!!! :)

P.S. Amanda, if you're reading this...sorry for all the !!!'s! ;)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Blessing of MOPS


No, I'm not talking about those stringy dirty things we use to clean our floors (or did before the era of the Swiffer)! MOPS stands for Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers...and was such a blessing for me!

I joined the most amazing group of women yesterday morning at my church - women who are, for the most part, in the same stage of mothering that I am! There are two women who no longer have preschoolers at home...their children are all grown up and they now have grandchildren...they are our Mentor Moms. One of these Mentor Moms was also my teaching mentor my first year of teaching. Dee Todor is one of the most amazing women I know. When I moved here and started my first year of teaching with a tough group of kids and their parents, Dee took me under her wing and guided me through my journey. She never once made me feel foolish...but always guided me with love to help me become a better teacher. I still have a note she wrote to me after observing my class one day...it became a part of my teaching portfolio! So, I'm thrilled to know that now I have the opportunity to tuck myself beneath her wing again and this time learn how to be a better mom!

The group is lead by my friend Jennifer P., whom I've known as long as I've lived here. We both started teaching the same year at FBA and our lives have been intertwined in one way or another since that day...something for which I am very grateful! We have shared both joy, uncertainty, and sorrow together...always willing to pray for one another.

Another precious friend, Jennifer G., is also one of the leaders in this group. She has a sweet little boy named Andrew who is one of the cutest little guys I've ever seen!

My dear friend Terri also gets to be a part of this group this year. We were both teaching up until this year, so this is a first for both of us. Terri's oldest son Hunter is one of Christopher's best buddies, she also has a precious little baby boy, Nathanael.

I was so blessed to know so many of the women in the group - I was so afraid I wouldn't know that many people (and the only ones I knew would be there were all leaders). If you know me, doing anything new, no matter how much I want to, is always hard for me. I'm just so uncertain, not sure if I fit in, that sometimes I hold back and miss out on so much. But, as I walked in the room, I saw some ladies from a Creative Correction class I took a few months ago through our Ladies Ministry and they invited me to join them at our table.

We had some time to get to know each other, heard the beautiful testimony of one of the members, and listened to a message from MOPS International. I am so looking forward to going back in a couple weeks! I've always longed to do "Mommy-things" like this and I enjoyed every single minute of it! If you have the option to join a group like this, I hope you will! Words alone are not adequate to tell you how much my heart was blessed by attending this group...you may just have to experience it yourself!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Pre-K4

We are now 4 weeks into the school year and Christopher came home today with his very first Take-home book from school! When I took it out of his backpack, he said, "I can read that to you!" Believe it or not, he did! Here's a video of him reading his book!

video


Ok...so it's not exactly Gone with the Wind or even Charlotte's Web...but it's a start! What I love is that he's so excited to read! He read it to me several times, then he read it to Daddy when he came home! We've always known he would be a reader...he has held books and studied the markings in them (we know those markings as words) since he was an infant! I have always been amazed at how he would just hold a book (even one without pictures) and look at it for hours, turning pages...if you didn't know any better, you would have sworn the boy was reading! Below, you can see an actual page from the book he read above:

As you can see, his High Frequency Word this week was "MY" - all other words had a picture to help him figure out the words. One step at a time!

Unfortunately, all is not gold in the world of Pre-K4! Each day, the kids come home with a ticket that tells the parent what kind of behavior they had that day. Green is the best, Yellow is not so good, and Red is the worst (and results in a visit to the Pre-K Director and a call home). Thankfully, we haven't experienced any red tickets (and if Christopher knows what's good for him, we never will)...but, sadly, we have seen a few yellow tickets. These are not acceptable...and David and I both believe in the philosophy that if you get in trouble at school, you also get in trouble at home! Having been a teacher, I know how important it is for teacher and parent to work together to correct behavior. Thankfully, Christopher has a wonderful teaher this year and we are most certainly working together! Please pray that God will give us wisdom to know how to handle each situation that arises as we seek to guide Christopher to be the man God wants him to be.


This week, I had the blessing of talking with the mom of a child who was in my Kindergarten class eight years ago. This child also had some behavior issues that his mom and I worked very closely to correct. As I talked with his mom at a Homeroom Mom's meeting this week, she shared with me that this child had no more behavior problems since that time and is now a straight-A student in 8th grade. It blessed my heart not only to get the update on C.A. but it also gave me hope with Christopher!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

School Is Downright Exhausting!

Christopher has ALWAYS been a night owl (just like Mommy) - so getting him to go to sleep at night has been somewhat of a challenge...that is, until he started school! It's the most amazing thing...we tell him at 7pm that it's time for "Bath and Bed" and there's (usually) not even the slightest fuss about the sun still being up! He takes his bath, makes sure to remind us to "read just one story," and then goes on to bed. Sometimes, he likes to "read" the book for a little while in his bed after Daddy or I have read it to him. Before school started, I would go in his room before going to bed myself and find multiple books in his bed that he had "read" before falling asleep...or sometimes, still find him up reading! But, not anymore! Sometimes he doesn't even ask to "read" the book himself. I keep putting "read" in quotation marks because he can't really read yet...but if you didn't know that and just saw him with a book, you'd believe he really was reading! He's been like that since he was old enough to hold a book! He'll even pick up books without pictures and "read" them for the longest time (turning pages, and all)!

Anyway, one night David read a story to Christopher and then left him with the book. He went back to check on him a few minutes later, then came and asked me for my camera. Then he brought this picture back to me!



Christopher had fallen asleep on top of his book & didn't move...even when I removed the book from under him! I'm lovin' it!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mommy Taught Middle School

I had my first taste of teaching Middle School kids this past Friday, Aug. 29th. I was a sub for the Middle School (6th-8th grade) History teacher at Christopher's school (FBA) and surprisingly enough, I LOVED it! Of course, I don't have any delusions that I'd be ready for middle school kids in the public school, by any stretch of the imagination! And if anything, my day of seeing how things run from the "inside" only confirmed the fact that we need to keep Christopher in that school at all costs. Can I just say that I was totally blown away by how great these kids are? Yes, they are very normal kids with very normal inclinations to get into mischief (and try the sub to see if she really knows the rules), but the rules and consequences that are set in place AND followed, makes it easy for the kids to know exactly what is expected of them.

Middle school was a little bit of a change for me, I've always taught elementary grades - but I've been around the older kids at church and such. All the same, it was a little intimidating the first time I walked into the room and realized they were my responsibility for the day! The middle school principal came in at the beginning of the first few periods to make sure that the kids remembered that when the tardy bell sounded, they were to be in their seats and completely silent...and much to my amazement, they were! Then, he would introduce me as their sub for the day and would leave me to do my job.

During the second period of the day, the school had its first fire drill of the year. I didn't have a class that period, so I simply had to walk out to where the kids were. This is was the most amazing thing I had ever witnessed. I watched these kids, Kindergarten to 12th grade, walk silently (single-file, no less), to their appointed place on the field. Even the teachers were silent - no reminders to get in line, no asking the kids to be quiet...they didn't need to! I was totally and completely blown away! I never would have believed it possible if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes!

The best part of the day was the first group of 8th graders that came in my room during 3rd period. You see, I taught many of them when they were in Kindergarten (which was also my last year teaching at FBA). It was great to see how some of them had grown up - to see how some had changed so much, and others really hadn't (except they are taller now)! That class was a lot of fun...and they are still SOOO good!

My last class, also a group of 8th graders, was my toughest...and yet, still nothing I couldn't handle. The other classes had been so wonderful, I was begining to think I had stepped into some sort of fairy tale. But these rambunctious teenagers brought me right back to reality!

Usually, on the first day of school (when I was a regular teacher), I would tell my class that I could be one of two kinds of teachers - either nice or mean - and it all depended on their behavior. If they listened and followed directions, I could be really nice. If they didn't, well, it was not a pretty sight! I didn't feel the need to make this statement all day...until the last period of the day! It was obvious they had no intentions of settling down unless I made them...so, I made my "two kinds of teacher" speech. When I got to the good teacher part, one girl piped up and said, "I choose that one!" I told her that was a good choice, and reminded the class that they chose the type of teacher by their behavior...and also reminded them that Mr. Mac (the principal) had told me that if anyone gave me any problems, all I needed to do was send them to his office. I really didn't need to say more! Respect for authority is a BEAUTIFUL THING!!!!

Now, as much as I love my precious son, I do realize he has a tendancy to get into trouble if the opportunity presents itself...and in public school, I learned while teaching there...it presents itself quite often! When I was told as a 1st grade teacher that using profane language (words that, if used in a movie even once, would qualify it for an R-rating!) was NOT a discipline issue, I knew something had gone terribly wrong with our public school system! I want my child to have the best education possible...but there are some things I hope he NEVER learns to do (such as taking the Lord's name in vain & using profanity). And so, unless something changes, I can't see that my child will ever have a public school education.

Being a product of the public school system, I never thought it was bad and always believed that's exactly where my child would go when the time came. But, you learn a lot when you see things from the inside...and what I saw from the inside of our public school system is not pretty! That's not to say that private school is always the answer, or even always the best, but for my child at this place and time, it is. As long as God leaves us here and provides the ability to do so, our child (and hopefully someday childREN) will attend FBA and/or be home-schooled!

Wow! I really didn't mean to go off on that tangent there...I really just meant to talk about my day as a middle school teacher-for-a-day! Sorry for that - let me step down off my big ole' soapbox before I really get started! Oh, me! ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Christopher's First Day of School

Today was a big day for the Jansen Family! Christopher is finally big enough to go to school (can it really be true???)!!! He started his first day of Pre-K4 at First Baptist Academy today! What a Big Boy!!! Daddy went in to work a little late so he could go with us to take Christopher to his class the first time. Another mom was taking pictures of her little boy who was also starting Pre-K4 today and she took the family shot above for us! After we checked in and Mommy & Daddy got our visitor badges, we walked Christopher down the all-too-familiar hallway of our church. As we did, Christopher asked "So, where's my school?" He's been used to visiting Mommy at a different building when I was teaching in the public school, so he didn't quite understand that his school was in the same building as our church! But, I actually think it made it easier for him (and us) to drop him off (believe it or not, I didn't shed a single tear!) because the surroundings were so familiar to us! When we got to his room, we paused for a minute just outside the door so Mommy could take this precious photo below (by the way, in case you're wondering...sock are required with ALL shoes - it's part of the dress code!):


Christopher was greeted by his sweet teacher and her assistant, who helped Christopher find his cubby and put his things away. Christopher was so glad to see his buddy Jack in his class (and Jack was glad to see Chistopher!) - there was just one problem...

The teacher had put them at different tables (smart woman!) - and neither Christopher nor Jack was happy about this arrangement. When I tried to get Christopher over to his seat, he said, "No! I sit by Jack!" I at least got him to stand by his seat so I could take a picture! Not sure how it all turned out after I left, though!


After a long first day of school, I picked him up and we headed to the Cafe' for a dish of ice cream (complete with sprinkles!) and to talk over his first day. Our conversation started with this classic exchange:



Mommy: How was your first day at school?

Christopher: Good.

Mommy: Did you have fun?

Christopher: Yes.

Mommy: What did you do?

Christopher: I don't know.




As a teacher, I knew better than to leave it at that - so, after a little more probing, I found out that they colored a picture, sang songs, played "I spy with my litte eye," and ate "snack" ("We didn't eat lunch, Mommy - we ate snack!"). Oh, how I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to watch him on his first day! I just can't believe he's so big already! Ok...now I might cry! Sniff! Sniff! Anyone got a hanky? (wink, wink!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tropical Storm FAY came to visit...and left a little something behind!


Tropical Storm FAY came through early this morning while we were still sleeping. We got up this morning to find that we had our very own water park in our backyard! Christopher, as you can see above, had a blast splashing in the water! We made him stay on the driveway, especially since he didn't have any shoes on, but he had plenty of water to play in there! However, when he first looked out this morning and saw all the water around his precious playground, his expression was quite different. He whirled hid body around, looked at us with his hands on his hips and proclaimed, "That's NOT 'septable!"



I guess he was mainly worried that he would be stuck inside all day long! When I went outside to take some pictures, he quickly became my shadow. I had to send him back inside to get dressed (he was just in his undies) - but he made me promise to wait on him and not come back inside (knowing that if I came inside his outside play time was over)! I took a few more pictures and he got dressed in record time! As you can see in the video below, he had fun playing in the rainwater! This was in our driveway just behind our cars.


video


While Christopher was playing, I had the great idea to go get our yard stick to see how deep the standing water was - and I instantly had a volunteer to "help" me measure! The picture below is taken right behind David's car - it's only about 2 1/2 inches deep there - but in some places around our house, it was as deep as 5 1/2 inches!



Of course, when I let Christopher do the measuring, it suddenly got a LOT deeper! Just watch the video below and you'll see what I mean!



video


Thankfully, it's not REALLY that deep - or we'd have a swimming POOL instead of just a water park! Hmmmm...I've always wanted a pool - but I prefer the man-made kind that starts with a hole in the ground which is lined with concrete!


Overall, we had very little damage...but, we did have one casualty...


David's computer! It would not boot up this morning and since mine works fine, we're not sure if it's because of the storm or it just died of old age! But, nonetheless, David's computer is kaput! He's been pouting all morning...even asked me if we could send our new a/c unit back so he could get a new computer!

Oh yeah...you don't know about the a/c unit yet unless you've talked to me personally! A few days ago, we realized our a/c was dying it's own slow death! It would run all day, but wasn't cooling the house. We had the repairman out last week to see if he could fix it - and he confirmed what David had pretty much figured out, we needed a new unit. The repairman said that usually a/c units last about 10-12 years in FL & ours was 15 years old - so we got a few extra years out of it...not that it helped us that much right now! So, yesterday, just before FAY came to town, the guys spent the day at the house putting in our brand new $7,000 a/c unit! OUCH!

So, needless to say, our bank account is taking quite a hit right now. Not sure where money is coming from to take care of things...but God knows and it's all in His hands anyway!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And where do all roller coasters end?

That's right! Right back where they started! Ha! Ha! Ok...so here's what's happened in the last five days (has it really ONLY been 5 days?!?). If you read my last post, you know that I thought it was all settled...and yet, still had some suspicion that it wasn't. Well, on Friday, I get a call from April again to set up the interview, which I thought was already set. As we were talking, she asked me a question I didn't expect - "Kara, do you think you'll really be happy being an aide?" April and I have known each other since I moved to Naples nine years ago, so I felt completely comfortable in answering her question honestly. I told her, quite honestly, that I wasn't sure what I wanted...except that I wanted to do God's will - but that at the moment, I had absolutely no idea what that was! After a little more conversation, she said that since I had to interview with Mr. Rider no matter which position I filled, that we would just set up the interview and maybe after talking with Mr. Rider I'd have a better idea of what God wanted me to do. I can't tell you how true that statement turned out to be...oh wait, maybe I can! Ha! Ha!

Over the weekend, David and I had done lots of talking and praying about this decision, and were leaning toward me taking the substitute teacher position, but still had some uncertainties. It would be nice to have the regular schedule the Pre-K3 Aide position would offer - just three halfdays a week. But, I already had 2 events on my calendar in the next couple of weeks that would mean taking those days off (of course they fell on the days I'd be working). I had also been looking forward to attending MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) at my church, which meets on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of every month. There were other concerns, too - which were confirmed during my meeting with Mr. Rider.

When I walked into Mr. Rider's office this morning, he asked me about the Pre-K Aide position - so, I told him pretty much what I'd told April. He shared with me some additional information about the Pre-K Aide position that I didn't know (which turned out to be just the piece of the puzzle I needed to make the right decision) and said that selfishly, he would really like for me to be a substitute teacher because that was his greatest need - but like me, he didn't want to step outside of God's will. He suggested we both pray about it for 24 hours and asked me to call him in the morning to let him know where I felt God was leading me. He also said he was pleased to have me on board! :)

After I left his office, I called David and told him about my meeting. As I was sharing with him about my meeting, it became abundantly clear what I needed to do. Just in case, we decided to pray on it until after lunch (which we met for at Longhorn). After that time of prayer, I realized there really was no need to wait the full 24 hours - that peace I'd been seeking all along finally came. After struggling with the decision for several days, it was finally clear that the position I set out to apply for really was the one that God had for me. My roller coaster has finally come to a complete stop (I think!) and, as all roller coasters do, it ended up right where it began! Whew! What a ride!!!!