Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas can be a Train Wreck.

Our small group watched a speaker on the message of Christmas last night. The speaker was Louie Giglio and we saw him deliver this exact thing last year when he toured with Chris Tomlin. It's funny how you can get something entirely different from the same words. Only from the living Word. So, I'm completely plagiarizing his message. But I thought it was so applicable I've been thinking about it all day.

The first thing he does is set the scene for the actual story of Christmas. Mary, at FULL TERM PREGNANCY, has to ride on a donkey, for taxes, of all things. She's with Joseph, who is not even her husband at this point. And everyone is probably thinking she's a tramp. (he didn't say that but that's what I think). So, it's tax day, they arrive late, there's no place for them anywhere, so they go hang out in a cave. With dirty animals. And through all of this Mary's prayer must have been, "Lord, PLEASE do not let this baby come tonight." Labor is scary; she had no one she knew to help her. It's messy. It's bloody and awkward and painful. And she was in a stable, far away from her family, while her not-husband, who is also not the father, is dealing with taxes. All in all, it was one of the most stressful days of her young life. And, though the Lord didn't answer her only prayer, He was working through her in amazing ways.  He was at work, fulfilling an awesome promise and doing something beyond her wildest dreams.

So the very first Christmas was a pretty awful day, in many ways. My heart is so heavy for people in my life going through terrible, scary times. It's hard to see it anyway but it's even harder to know that they're facing this at Christmas. But what's amazing is to realize Mary and Joseph were too. And the Lord came down to the middle of it all and met us here, in the messiness of our humanity, and is offering us joy in the midst of it. That is what I want to hang onto this Christmas, that God is with us here, in the middle of all this. That He's working, active, has a plan, and it's for our good. Even when our only prayer is going unanswered. Because we know Jesus is God's word incarnate, and He is full of grace and truth.

And why is it a surprise if Christmas is messy and hard? The very first one was. The only thing perfect about it was the baby.

So, this year, while we spend time with family and friends, I will fix my eyes on the baby. The only thing eternal and life changing is the baby. And He came in the middle of the mess we've created and offers unspeakable joy. A chance at life, a FULL life. I'm so thankful he came, so thankful he completed his work. And He lives! The most amazing thing of all is that he STILL LIVES! So this year, I'm focusing on what was perfect then and is still perfect now.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Things

We've seen Santa a few times and had a Christmas party at Harris' school I hadn't posted about. Santa visits our neighborhood every year. Do you think Harris was happy to see him?

He's never gotten a gift from Santa and we don't talk him up. And he STILL adores Santa. Here's his pic from last year.

I wasn't going to scan in the one we have from when Harris is two, but then remembered we paid $40 for 2 5X7's and some wallets, so I'll get my money's worth and put it on here.

This was at our work Christmas party and we weren't going to even wait in line to see Santa because we didn't think Harris knew who he was. But Harris caught a glimpse of him on our way out the door and was overjoyed. He started clapping and pointing, so we went back and stood in line. Harris marched up to him, plopped on his lap, and posed like a supermodel. Santa looks like he's not sure what to think about this. Maybe he was anticipating tears. Since I posted every other year, might as well post the one year old pic.

Look at that chubby little leg. And I was far too paranoid about germs to take him when he was a few weeks old. But I do have this classic......

Santa has always given out a candy cane or been associated with some sort of treat, so maybe that's the draw. Whatever it is, one Goolsby is a fan. Walker was content to stand a safe distance away and holler, "Hiiiiiiiii Santa!" That was the first time we saw him. The second time Walker just completely ignored him. And I don't have any pics of the second time we saw him because it took me awhile to figure out how to take my camera off record mode. I accidentally set it in glue at Harris' Christmas party and it's not working quite as well as it should. I just realized there are absolutely no pics of Walker with Santa. He's never liked being held by strangers, much less large, loud ones, so we never forced it. Here's the best we have.

An oldie but goodie.

Harris' school Christmas party was super cute and he loved it. Tom took Walker for a little while so I could help out. Here was their spread:

And they have a little prayer/song about being thankful that they say before they eat. The funniest part of this pic is all the paparazzi. Also, the lady in the striped dress in the background is 6 months pregnant. I had to stand next to her tiny little self about half the time. I really wanted to lie and say my due date was hours away, or something ridiculous, but since they'll all see me in January I guess that's not super believable. Though EVERYONE would have understood.

They did a little book exchange, and the idea was that they kept passing books around in a circle until the music stopped, then you took home whatever book you were holding. Sounds simple enough, but it was easier said than done. There was a book pile up for awhile in one corner, so it took some parent intervention.

About this time, Walker made his appearance and did great. He sat at the table drinking juice while the class did a craft. He has been SO MUCH easier to handle at Harris' school. I'm really hoping the two week break doesn't make him forget this new-found good behavior.

And, for the record, this party took FORTY-SEVEN emails to coordinate. FORTY SEVEN. I was trying to describe to a couple of people just how detailed this got and I didn't do it justice. FORTY SEVEN. That cannot be normal. But it was a success.

Here's me with my people.

I can count on one hand the number of pics I have with these guys, so it's nice to remember to take them.

And I was inspired by the success of this pic to take some of Tom with them on the way to church. Not as easy. But Tom was trying his hardest.

I tried to get some after church, too. You can see the chase, then the capture, then (inevitably) Walker's retaliation.

Brotherly Love.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 19, 2011

Harris' Birthday

I finally got my camera charger so I have pics of Harris' birthday. It was a Spiderman extravaganza.
This toy straps to your arm and shoots spider webs across the room, complete with sound effects. It was a biiig hit.

By far his favorite thing was a box of legos, though. He has built things for hours.

We went to Chuck E Cheese, where Tom  Harris had a blast.

He also got to have a sleepover with his BFF and they both had so much fun. They begged and begged to sleep in the same room, so we caved and let them. There was a serious amount of little boy giggling, for quite awhile. I think it took Harris a good three days to recover from the excitement.

Walker probably rode this train 10 times. He got the hang of putting his token in the slot and then would ask for "mo' money" when the ride stopped. Mo' money, mo' problems, Walker.

But he was a champ the whole time about the attention and gifts Harris got. He didn't try to play with Harris' new toys or act out that he wasn't the focus of all the action. He did great!

Also, Harris' school recognizes the birthdays at their weekly chapel. I almost blew this one. What his teacher told me was, "I could come if I wanted to." I wasn't really gung-ho about going because I wasn't sure how Walker would do but decided to try it one more time. I'd tried going to chapel with Walker once before and it wasn't a success. I am SO GLAD I went because, all the birthday kids go on stage and every single one had one (or both!) parents with them. If little Harris had been up there by himself that would have been awful. In his teacher's defense, I pick Harris up early so she doesn't have much time to talk to me and I've got Walker with me so my attention is divided when I'm there.

This sweet little boy was wishing him a Happy Birthday. He's wearing a crown his teacher made for him and he is SO proud of it.

Here we are on stage. Can you imagine if he'd had to be up there all alone, while every other kid had a parent? Oh my gosh, I would have felt so, so bad.

And Walker did great while I went on stage with Harris. Someone stayed with the stroller and just handed him goldfish and I didn't hear one complaint.

Another birthday in the books. I think every parent says this about every kid, no matter what birthday it is, but I really cannot believe he is already four. The time has absolutely flown by. And our lives look so so different from when he was born that it's almost hard to remember what life was like then.

Here he is as a newborn:

One year:



I remember finding out I was pregnant and being excited/terrified. Really, mostly terrified. I'd never changed a diaper, fed a baby, I don't even think I'd HELD a baby! But trial by fire is a great teacher.  I can't even count how many times I got pottied on during diaper changes. I learned to dodge and cover by the time Walker was born. But, I never imagined how much fun it would be to be a parent and how in love you immediately are with your children.  The past four years have been the most fun and rewarding (though the most challenging) of my life! I'm glad he survived (is surviving) all my parenting mistakes. He is turning into a sweet, compassionate, thoughtful, loving little boy and we are so thankful for him every single day. Happy birthday, Harris!

Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I am behind on blogging! Harris' birthday came and went and the pictures are trapped on my camera. Somewhere in the melee of the massive reorganization this house is going through, I lost the charger to my camera and it's dead as a doornail so I can't connect it to the computer to get the pics. is coming to my rescue soon.

My mom was here for a weekend while Tom was out of town and I used that time to take every single item out of my pantry and put it back in it's own spot. It's awesome.

There wasn't much that had to be thrown out but I have double the space as before, just by taking things out of boxes and grouping things together. I went to the Dollar Tree and got probably 40 plastic bins and just went to town. The rest of the house may be chaos but the pantry is FABULOUS. I can find things so much easier and can clearly see what's in there. It's such a simple change but it makes a big difference. I did the same thing with our medicine cabinet. It has already come in handy because I nearly sliced my thumb off cutting a bagel and was thankful to know just exactly where the band aids were. And also, I decided not to eat the bagel. If it's so hard that I had to use that much force to cut through it, maybe it's not suitable for consumption.

Harris has been talking for a few days about how he made a gingerbread man at school and wants to make one at home. I was not super excited about that project because it's such a big mess and I thought I'd have to make the dough from scratch, etc. Finally, Harris mentioned he made the gingerbread man with Play-Doh. Fabulous! We can do that all day. So we'll be a gingerbread factory next week. We made cookies (from scratch!) and decorated them yesterday and ad the BEST morning. We didn't leave the house, just stayed in our pj's and decorated cookies, listening to Christmas music. Walker didn't want to decorate any cookies but I think he still liked the low-key day.

By early evening though, they were going stir crazy but we still couldn't really leave because it was raining. I threw glow sticks in the bathtub, turned off the lights, and they played for about 45 minutes. Happily. I'd heard of this idea several times but didn't think it would be that big of a hit. When your kids are bored, it's a lifessaver. I need more glow sticks.

Tom's aunt shared an article about tantrums that was so timely. I had two rough (and PUBLIC) experiences with Walker recently that just weren't pretty. And I'm also starting to sweat how on earth I'm going to run this show when a baby is around. But I'll worry about that later. For now, the article just went through the "cycle" of a tantrum and, most importantly, talked about the fastest way to get through it. The advice was to ignore the screaming/rage part. That's what my pediatrician said as well and it really does seem to work. The problem comes in when you happen to be in public and are getting some nasty looks for ignoring your tantrum-ing child. There is no possibility of talking Walker off the ledge and it just seems to prolong the anger, which the research supported. It's just nice to have some scientific back-up that this seems to be the best way to handle this stage. And I keep telling myself, "It is ONLY a season. It will pass." And it seems that the more verbal he's getting the less angry he's becoming. Hopefully he's talking up a storm by baby #3's arrival!!

I've been reading a book, "Grooming the Next Generation for Success" and it talks a lot about "setting your child up for success" by telling them how you expect them to act in any situation. So I've been telling Walker for days what I want him to do when we pick Harris up from school (hold my hand while we walk). He always agrees until right before we pull in the parking lot, then changes his mind. Today I went over it AGAIN before we got out of the car and he did it!! He nicely held my hand the ENTIRE time. Walking into the school, in Harris' classroom, where we had to wait for quite awhile, and all the way back to the car. Normally, I either have to carry him (while he whines loudly) or literally drag him by the arm because he is so insistent that he doesn't want to hold my hand. Yay!!! It's so encouraging to see progress!! I praised him as if he'd just won the Nobel Peace Prize and he was really proud of himself. I know that sounds like a ridiculously minor thing, but it had gotten to the point that I really dreaded picking Harris up because it was such a battle and there didn't seem to be a good solution. And it was embarassing. So it took probably a week's worth of talking and talking about it but it made a big difference.

I've realized I have got to be more caught up on current events than I am so I've been making an sincere effort every day to check out or some other news source. Anyway, the iReport section had a question about how non-believers celebrate Christmas. I have been curious about this myself so I checked out some of the responses. This one summed up some of what I've been thinking about this year. The response is titled, " Not really a religious holiday anymore." And I think that's what it has become to the masses, certainly what it was to me a few years ago. Some of the responses focused on the giving, and time with family, which is great. But that doesn't have anything at all to do with Christmas. I know our family does want to celebrate Christmas for what it actually is, not what appears to be the mainstream view, and that's going to take making decisions that aren't mainstream. This isn't a huge issue for us right now but it becomes more of one every year as our kids grow. I don't really have any conclusions as to how to handle it but it's on my mind. I've been all over the place with different ideas but I think it comes down to how we live the other 11 months of the year how our kids will feel about Christmas. If Jesus is important the rest of the time, his birthday will be exciting. If he's not, then why should they care? Harris absolutely blessed me with this yesterday. He made a "manger" and put Baby Jesus in it.

I love that his little heart was thinking of this while he was playing. And yesterday was also a good reminder that mornings at home are needed every so often. We'll have to balance it with some sort of outside activity, even if it's a walk in the rain, because they were nuts after about 4, but the first several hours were absolutely perfect. Walker brought me books to read, Harris did creative little things that let me see what's going on in his head and it was relaxing for all of us. And I got some laundry done, which was a bonus. And I since there's not a pic of Walker, here's one just so he's not left out.

I might have already posted this but even if I did, it's worth looking at again. I could just kiss and kiss that little face.

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve
1 Peter 5:2

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Faves

I saw a post on someone's favorite things and thought that was fun! I like to see what other people like and get ideas. This person kept their faves under $30 and most of mine are too. So here are my favorite things, in noooooo particular order.

Modern Family!!
Has everyone been watching this? It is hands down my favorite show of all time. Bold statement, I know. But true. However, I liked the old Lilly better than the new one but maybe that's just because I can't handle any more change right now. I'm sure the new one is fine and I'll warm up to her next season. Post pregnancy hormones.

This is a pregnancy must have, by the third trimester anyway. The little wedges are good in the beginning but by the time you're at the end, you need this enormous thing.
Tom probably hates this as much as I love it. I googled images of it but they were so ridiculous with people showing how to actually use it that I just couldn't post that. But it's heavenly.

Hot rollers
 I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but they are one of my favorite things. It's really the only way I know how to fix my hair since I don't seem to be capable of blow drying it with any style. At one point I even went to my stylist for a LESSON on how to dry my hair because it ended up being a frizzy mess every time I did it. Still can't do it right. So my hair either has to be short enough that I can just stick gel in it or long enough for hot rollers. There is no in between.
Thankfully I've only ever lived in Texas and Oklahoma. If we ever move to the east coast people are going to talk about me as "the one that uses hot rollers."

Thomas Egg Express Train

Technically this is Walker's favorite thing but it brings him so much happiness it's become one of my favorite things too. It's the first thing he asks for every single morning. "Train?? CHOO CHOOOOOOOOOOOOO" is what he's saying before I even open the door to his room. He rolls it on the table, the walls, the floor, his legs. He holds it while he eats, just looking at it lovingly from time to time. He watches it roll across the floor, saying, "Choo Choooooo" and grinning. I don't think I've ever seen a kid so into a toy. So it made the list.

The Shark!!
Only a mom could love the Shark so much. There is oatmeal or milk spilled on our floor every single day. Cracker and goldfish crumbs are all over the place. They are no match for the Shark!

I love that you can vacuum up first, then steam. The floors around my kitchen table used to be slightly sticky because mopping every single day (really, five times a day, between meals AND snacks) was just not going to happen. But I steam mop while they're napping. It's easy, not messy, quiet, and effective. I still wince just a little when they're eating their after nap snack and the floor gets destroyed again but what can you do. Writing this reminds me how shocked I was when I quit working and realized how FILTHY the house gets when you are home all day. Toddlers constantly eat, drag out toys, or just get into things, so you are fighting an uphill battle to maintain any semblance of order. When I was working most of our time in the house was spent DOING things. We didn't just hang out all that often. Not on the weekdays anyway. Wow. It still amazes me sometimes how fast the house can go from clean to trashed. I hope that doesn't come across as complaining, because it's really not. That's just life with little ones; it's just astounding to see it in action sometimes. That one was over $30 but I love it so much I couldn't leave it off the list.

I cannot imagine driving around without Klove. I try to surround myself and our kids with positive influences and KLove is awesome for that. And it's good for reminders about how my attitude SHOULD be throughout the day, too. Shuttling two toddlers around, buckling and unbuckling car seats, lugging their gear, gettings errands run, and trying to make sure we all are happy can be challenging. Especially while pregnant and not at my most patient. KLove is great because every song is a reminder of the awesomeness of the Lord and makes my problems/irritations seem very insignificant. I have been known to crank it up to drown out a screaming child or two. Whatever it takes. :)

Stella and Dot Pave Hoop Earrings

These aren't for everyone because they're on the small side. But I love them. They're dainty, they go with everything, and they're simple. And I can wear them with a hat. Perfect!

The Voluspa Candle

This is the King of all Candles. It smells AMAZING, lasts forever, and looks good sitting out on your countertop. What else could you want in a candle? I feel like a competent hostess when this candle is burning. That is much easier than preparing lots of appetizers and cleaning the house. Just light this candle.

Carnation Instant Breakfast!
This is another thing I only like during pregnancy but it is fabulous. It's the only breakfast that manages to keep me full without being 1,000 calories. It's got more protein than an egg and when you drink it with skim milk it's low cal as well. And SO good. I started letting the boys have it for breakfast too. They think it's a treat and it's a good way to get protein in them. We buy it by the canister. Forgot those little packets, we need the economy size tub.

I could keep definitely keep going but that's getting to be a long list. Oh, I did think of one more crucial thing.

Particularly the jumbo smarties, which are harder to find. I love all things candy and this is the absolute top of the line of the sugar-y, full of un-ponounceable chemical, candy. My mouth is watering just typing about them. <Sigh>
On that note, there's really nothing left to say.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17