Thursday, October 28, 2010

At the Pumpkin Patch

One of our favorite things to do each fall is visit the local Pumpkin Patch. Will had been looking forward to it for a few weeks and Kate had no idea what she was in for! We went with our sweet friends and the kids had a blast together. This is the first year that I wasn't able to get as many pictures of Will ... he ran so fast from one thing to the next too excited to slow down for mama's camera. Don't worry - there are lots of pictures still, just 350 instead of my usual 500! Kate loved the animals until one Mr. Goat got a little too close and and was a little too grumpy. I hope she's not scarred for life! Will was really into the maze this year. His technique - run as fast as you can no matter what. Run like the wind to the the dead end and then turn around and run just as fast back! We all enjoyed the hay ride and picking out our favorite pumpkins. Sometimes, in the midst of enjoying such a wonderful day together, I stop and think about how fast time is flying. I wonder how many more trips to the pumpkin patch Will will really look forward to. Maybe this has to do with the picture that Will brought home from school this week - FROM A GIRL!

I'm okay. Really. For now, I'll treasure every moment.

Papa & Nana

Will and Kate (and John and I too!) had the best visit with Papa and Nana a few weeks ago. We went to the zoo, drove, to Kansas and back for a little ceremony (see post below), and played, and played, and played. They played baby dolls, coloring, and dress up with Kate and then switched to legos, animals, and UNO with Will. Everyone enjoyed the after dinner dance parties! Papa had Will laughing so hard one afternoon I thought Will would run out of breath. Kate LOVED playing ball with Nana. We can't wait until they come back!

Child's play

Is there anything better than watching your kids play ... like lost in their own imagination far away from any danger or bad thing, laughing, squealing, running, jumping, play? I love to sit back (a-n-d take pictures :o) while Will and Kate are playing. They bring me so much joy. I am one blessed mama!

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD ..." Psalm 127:3

So long Captain's bars

Some of you probably know and lots of you probably don't, that John joined the Air Force Reserves last October. It was a difficult (more like, painful!) decision to separate in March of 2007. He spent 2 1/2 years convincing me that the Reserves was a good idea ... I wanted both feet in or both feet out. I don't know how he did it (just wore me down, I reckon!), but we decided to go for it last summer. He now serves one weekend a month and a couple of weeks during the year. Since leaving active duty, John had missed wearing the uniform (crazy, huh?), he'd missed the camaraderie of the AF life, and probably most of all, he'd missed the smell of jet fuel in the morning! Well, now we think we have the best of both worlds ... he's back in uniform (which doesn't have to be dry cleaned), wearing boots (that don't have to be shined!), and smelling like jet fuel (ew!) one weekend a month and the rest of the time he's at home working hard at our church. We found out in April that John was selected to promote from Captain to Major and he pinned on his new rank on October 2nd. John's parents made the trip out for his ceremony. I'm so proud of my airman, and if I do say so myself, he sure is handsome in that uniform!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

All in a Day's Work

We (okay, I) volunteered to keep our friend's 3 kiddos while they were away celebrating their 10th anniversary. I heard myself saying to Jenn as I convinced her this was a good idea, "Oh, come on, it's just a couple of days ... how hard could it be?" I'm pretty sure that sometimes my thoughts don't match up to reality. BUT, it was for a great cause and so I jumped right on in. Really, we had a blast. The kids were great and loved (almost) every minute of it. Here are some observations I made over the 57 hour period (but who's counting!?!) of life with 5 kids:
  • I said "no" or "no, no" at least 5,000 times. This is just an estimate, but I'm sure I said it to each kid at least 1,000 times particularly in the hour before dinner. "No, you cannot have a snack. No, you cannot have candy. No, you cannot have cheese crackers. No, you cannot have a banana. NO!"
  • Two 6 year olds who have been at school ALL day are no more worn out than they were when they left that morning. Particularly when they return home to a 4 year old who has anxiously been waiting to play with them all day.
  • When your 6 year old has friends over, you do not try to feed them grilled chicken and sauteed vegetables. You should stick with the list your 6 year old gave you : pb&j, tacos, pizza, spaghetti, chicken fingers, and pancakes!
  • It's amazing how the two little girls (22mos. and 19 mos.) sounded like a group of 17 year old girls when we put them to bed the first night. They couldn't believe (and I really couldn't either!) that we put them in the same room ... the squealing and laughing lasted for over an hour, but they did sleep!
  • There is no good place to pause Mario Galaxy 2 ... every time I needed the big kids to help with something and they were playing the wii, it was "Hold on, we're almost to the next star ... level ... bowser ... piranha plant." ***Side note, I tried to observe this game and I have no idea how they even know what direction they are headed in next.
  • It is definitely a good idea to have the Daddy take all 5 kids outside to play after dinner. Even if they get soaked in the water table, muddy from digging in the dirt, and stinky from all that running around, bath time is coming (brace yourself!) and the kitchen gets cleaned in peace.
  • You're pretty much always feeding someone or cleaning up from feeding someone. The pancakes that John made the week before and froze were a HUGE lifesaver. And everyone's lunch should be made the night before ... it's not a good idea to wait until the two little girls are crying at your feet to get out the jar of pb. Just sayin'.
  • Call me crazy, but trying to do two different hw assignments with 2 1st graders is ALMOST impossible. Did you know they can hardly read a thing? :o) Actually, they are both very good students!!! It might have been the 2 little girls waiting (patiently, yes that's it!) for their snack or the 4 year old who had been waiting ALL day to play Mario Galaxy 2 (yes, I learned that the 2 is important in Mario Galaxy 2). Oh, and I'm pretty sure that none of them knew their Awana verse for this week. With 3 different ones to learn, they were all saying each other's but nobody could remember the right one! Aaaaahhhh!!!
  • Bath/shower time was actually pretty good. The little girls loved it. Just so you know, it takes a 6 year old girl a whole lot longer to take a shower, put on pj's, brush teeth, and brush hair than a 6 year old boy. Some things never change!
  • Thank you, John, for letting me get the minivan with the DVD player in it. We usually only watch movies on long trips. But it was a huge lifesaver with our hour long wait in two different carpools each day. I'm pretty sure I have memorized every line to "Curious George plays in the Snow." But I have slept since then, so please don't quiz me!
  • Sleep! The first night I could not sleep. I was worried that one of the baby girls would wake up and then wake up the other baby and then they'd wake up the big kids and how in the world would I ever get them all back to sleep. The second night, John says I was snoring by 8:30 (yes, I had them all in bed by 8:30!!! Jenn, please don't ask what time we went to bed the first night!!!!)
I really enjoyed having a house full of kids (for a few days :o). They are great friends and I loved watching them have fun together. So, to all you moms out there of 3 or more ... I was already impressed, but NOW, you have achieved Yoshi status in my mind. (Okay, I don't really know what or who yoshi is, but it's something that is really cool on Mario Galaxy 2!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's a Date

Life. It's great, but it can sure get in the way sometimes. Seemed like John and I had been passing in the hallway lately, barely scraping together a conversation across the dinner table in between Kate's "more, more" and Will's knock-knock jokes. These are the days of our lives, and I love them. Really, I do. But then someone threw us a rope ... a chance to escape, get away. OU football tickets for the game vs. Air Force. A whole afternoon T-O-G-E-T-H-E-R. Just the two of us squished together in the middle of row 20, section 105 seats 15 and 16 for 4 whole hours. There was no deep discussion or a grand "light bulb moment" discovering the solution to our crazy days. But there was lots of laughing, cheering (I think John was silently cheering for AF even though he was wearing red), high-fiving, jumping up, sitting down, just being us ... not Mom and Dad, but John and Ans. I'm pretty crazy about him.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'd like to buy a vowel ...

We've entered that phase where we are understanding a lot more of what Kate says to us. The average passer-by, however, would still not have a clue. So, in an effort to assist Kate in her progression of language skills, apparently John decided that she needed to work on her "diction" while he was getting her ready for bed last night. All day today, I've been listening to "booK", "ducK", "caT", "eaT" (with the occasional "no,no" thrown in just for fun). She's even adding "K's" and "T's" to other words ... "blankie - T", and "shoes - K". It was funny, for the first hour. Thanks honey!

*** The best thing I've taught her to say so far is "Da-ddy, where are you?" Now, if I could just get her to say that from her crib on Saturday mornings ...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stories of Bedtime

I have the best discussions with Will at bedtime! About a year ago we sponsored a little boy through World Vision named Charles. He is 8 years old and started the 1st grade last winter. Our family is SO blessed to be a part of his precious life, but that's another post. We received a picture and note from him today, something we always celebrate! In the picture, Charles is holding a goat and there is another goat standing beside him. During my prayer time with Will, I said something like, "Thank you for Charles and his family. Please help them to take care of their farm and goats and give them Your protection." Once I ended my prayer, Will said, "Mom, I'm pretty sure they eat that goat." Oh, dear. Me: "I don't think they eat goats, Will. I think they use the milk the goats make. We do eat the meat of some animals but not others." Will: "Yeah, we eat cows and pigs." Me: "And chickens." Will: "Chickens? Mom, we don't eat chickens!" Me: "Well, where do you think chicken comes from? Will: "Mom ... pigs!!!" We moved on from that and talked about a few more things. Me (getting up and walking out of the room): "Sleep good, I love you." Will: "I love you too, and I don't eat chickens!!!"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Apology to the Parents of my First Grade Students

My mama raised me right ... say you're sorry when you need to. So, here goes.

Dear Parents of my First Grade students,
Hi. It's me, Mrs. Schloss. Yes, it's been 6, 7, 8, or 9 years since I was your child's first grade teacher, but maybe you still remember me. I was born to teach. Every minute in the classroom was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of mine. Truly, I loved teaching YOUR child. It was so exciting to see their eager faces at the beginning of each year and a true joy to watch them learn and grow over 9 months of precious time together. I loved them as if they were my own and I gave every day my very best.
However, there was always something that I thought was just a little odd. The parents of first graders. Some of you were "hoverers", others had long lists of how I should care for your child, and most were teary the first day/week/month of school. I just couldn't understand why you were still outside of my window 2 and 1/2 hours after school started. Or why you needed to know every detail of what happened during our school day. The kids and I were just fine with each other, why did you feel the need for one (or five) more hugs!?
We-e-e-ll, fast forward 6 years. Guess what!?! I am the parent of a 1st grader. This Thursday will be his first day of 1st grade and the first time that he is in school for a full day. I've been dreading this (yes, dreading!) all summer long. I know that he is ready for 1st grade. He loves to learn, he loves to be around other children, he LOVES recess, and most importantly, he loves his Spiderman lunchbox! It's me. I haven't been ready to let go. I've loved learning with him, seeing the world through his eyes as we've had so much time together. I've loved coordinating play dates and finding new places for fun experiences. I've loved our time at the park and the playground and on the swings in the backyard. I've loved eating lunch with him for the past 6 years. And while I am happy for him, that he is about to embark on an incredible adventure, I am sad for me.
So with tears in my eyes, I need to say that I'm sorry for thinking you were odd. And with a smile on my face (even though there are tear-stained cheeks!) I'd like to add that I now think you were perfectly normal. And just to make you feel even better ... tonight was "meet the teacher night." Will has the sweetest, young teacher. This will be her third year of teaching. As I started to go into my list of all of the special things about Will and how she could teach him best, and wanted to show him everything in the room (where his desk was, where he would hang his backpack, where he could find the trashcan...), and started to think that I should probably be prepared to "hang out" a little bit after the drop off time, I noticed that his teacher was looking at me as if I were a little bit odd ...

With greatest admiration,
Mrs. Schloss

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

Did you think I had fallen off of the bandwagon already? Nope, I'm really determined to keep blogging this time!! We have just returned from the Happiest Place on Earth. Now let me just say that there were many people there who didn't look or sound all that happy ... but I get what WDW is trying to accomplish. John's parents treated our whole family to few days in the parks and a 4 night Disney cruise to celebrate their 40th anniversary. That's my kind of celebrating! It was SO much fun and it was HOT and exhausting. We made some wonderful memories with our family, here are some highlights:
  • We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was SO nice. Will and Kate loved looking at all of the animals on our daily treks (Papa figured out it was a quarter mile one way from the elevator to our room door) to and from the room. Nana and I had fun trying to find all of the "subliminal" Mickey's in the decor. We found him on our soap and shampoo, in the carpet, curtains, and shower curtain. Stephen and I even thought we saw a few Mickey shaped clouds! If anybody could do that, Disney could!
  • BELIEVE the warnings outside of the Dinosaur ride in Animal Kingdom. I can't remember what exactly they say, as Will and I were running from the building once we got unbuckled, but something about it being turbulent and frightening. It. was. John joked that Will and I were in the "tuck and roll" position through the entire 2 minute and 34 second ride. Bill has a pretty hilarious picture of this ... maybe I'll get a copy, then again, maybe I won't!
  • Hollywood Studios was a great place to meet characters. Will had a blast getting his picture made with Mater, Lightning McQueen, the Blue Ranger, Buzz, and Zurg. Kate L-O-V-E-D the playhouse Disney show. She clapped, danced, and yelled hooray! through the whole thing. So fun to watch your child soaking it all in!
  • At Epcot, we had dinner in Mexico and it was delicious and also very nicely air conditioned (a huge plus, as we had to ring our clothes out at the end of each day!). Nana and Papa took Kate back to the room after dinner and the rest of us got to ride lots of rides pretty quickly. The guidebooks are right on when they advise you to ride rides after 6pm ... we hardly waited in a line!
  • The Magic Kingdom was just like I remembered. I think this was my favorite day in the park just because there is so much to do there. Will had to be coerced into each ride (leftovers from the dinosaur ride!), but once he got on, he loved them all. Kate slept through It's a Small World, but Papa was holding her, so I think he enjoyed it even more. She liked the Winnie the Pooh ride and the Jungle Cruise. She loved The Country Bear Jamboree and both kids were amazed at the parade. It was so cute to see Kate waving to all of the characters. We were smart enough (we think!) to walk through the insanity waiting on the fireworks over Cinderella's castle and go just to the outside of the entrance. We saw the whole beautiful show AND caught the first shuttle back to our hotel. Victory!
  • Next came the cruise, and I just can't say enough about how terrific it was. Everyone was so kind and especially intent on making sure Will and Kate had a great time.
  • This is where we found out that Kate wasn't so fond of the Disney characters. After standing in line (of course!) to meet Donald, we had our family picture taken and as we were leaving, John (who was holding Kate) turned for her to see Donald and she started screaming - not crying - SCREAMING "No! No! No! No!" Wow, point made!
  • Well, fast forward 24 hours and Mom sees Belle and thinks, oh Kate will feel differently about a princess! Nope. More screaming "No!" Needless to say, we do not have a picture of Kate with Mickey Mouse.
  • We spent a morning at Disney's private island Castaway Cay. It was really nice, the weather wasn't. After about 30-45 minutes on the beach, it started pouring rain. Pouring. Rain. Will and Kate had almost as much fun dancing in the rain as they did playing in the sand and we didn't have to rinse off before we got back on the boat ... we did have to dry off :o).
  • Finally, I have to say that we had the most wonderful, kind table hosts. Arvin and Victoria (from the Ukraine!) went way above and beyond. Arvin did magic tricks for Will and Victoria came running anytime Kate thought about fussing. They always had chocolate milk waiting on the table when we arrived and kept the bread basket full. They were a big blessing to our family!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Papa and Nana ... it was a dream vacation!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In the words of Kate

It's unbelievable, but Kate is almost 18 months old. In the past month, I feel like she has literally grown up right before my eyes. One of the things I love most about this age is how hard Kate works to communicate with us. She's like a little copycat running around the house (yes, we've already had discussions with WT about this!). So, just so I don't forget, a list of her words (as of today!):

Mommy ... I LOVE this one, somehow seems more personal than mama to me!
Da-ddyyyyyyyyyyy ... usually screams with loud laughter when he comes through the garage
Bubba ... the first word she says to me when I get her out of her crib in the morning (usually
Bubba? - like "Nice to see ya mom, but where's the fun guy?")
Momly ... our kitty cat, Molly, who is typically running away from Kate
Pops, Mimi, Papa, and Nana ... she can identify all of them from a picture (so sad that we live so
far away that she has to identify them from a picture!) Funny thing about this is that
she whispers Pops and Papa
up ... which could mean "up" or "cup"
dog-dog ... her most favorite bed time buddy OR her fav real furry fella, Phelps
nack ... snack, the first word after her nap
peas and andju... please and thank you (music to a mother's ears!)
ep me ... help me - might be what we hear most during the day
baby ... she loves to "play" baby and she loves to see babies
all done ... at the end of a meal OR when she's DONE being in the car seat (can't you just picture
the two 1800 mile trips I took her on this summer!?!)
ni ni ... good night
Along the lines of food, she has versions of juice, cheese, pizza (sounds like pisa pisa), cookie, and pancake.
She can say and identify eyes, nose, ears, mouth, foot, and knee.
And for some reason, I feel like we're learning our animal sounds out of order (as if there was one!), but she can give the sound for cat, monkey, cow, and lion ... this just seems like an odd combo to me!
She "talks" in lengthy conversations, but so far this is all I can understand. Better run, I hear "ep me" coming from Will's room!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Birthday Buddies

My sweet Will and I share a birthday. When people first find out about this, they usually say something like "How sweet" or "Isn't that fun" ... but I get the biggest kick out of "Did you plan it that way?" YEAH RIGHT!!!
Will's due date was June 26th. My sweet mama flew out to California to stay with us on my due date. Because most babies are born near their due date, if not before, right!?! Well, the next week and 6 days were the longest re-arranging the nursery, re-washing the baby clothes, and re-packing the hospital bags days of my life! Finally, 12 days past my due date, the Dr said those wonderful words ... we're going to induce you. So early on July 9th Johnny and I headed to the hospital with our bags, the diaper bag, our carseat, and hearts full of anticipation. The induction didn't work, and around 5 pm, Johnny and I headed back home with our bags, the diaper bag, our carseat, and hearts full of frustration!!! I was convinced I would be pregnant FOREVER. Well to spare you all of the details ... I went into labor on my own around midnight on July 9th and after 20 hours and 20 minutes of labor, it was finally apparent that Will really was going to make an entrance into the world. The kind labor nurse leaned over and asked "Is it okay with you that your son is going to share your birthday?" I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or scream. I surely had no idea what day it was at this point ... it's probably good I was wearing an oxygen mask! So at 8:25 pm on July 10th, 2004 William Thomas Schloss made his grand entrance and an everlasting imprint on his mama's heart!
Will, I love sharing my birthday with you. You ARE the best birthday gift I've ever gotten!
Oh, and if you are wondering ... I did get to eat cake on my 25th birthday. Remember, I told you my mama came to take care of us. There's never been a better Mom/Mimi!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Accidental "Green" Experiment

I love paper products ... paper plates to be more specific. Can you guess where this is going? Yep, I ran out of paper plates and at the MOST inopportune time. It's been at least 175 degrees here lately and I have not wanted to schlepp the kiddos in and out of the H-O-T car not to even mention how much fun it is to shop at Wally World with my precious babies when the temperature is normal. SO, I thought I could probably get by for a few days without my beloved paper plates until I could do what every mom of young children dreams about ... grocery shop by myself!!! Well, there was a small change of plans. Some friends needed to leave town quickly for a funeral and John and I were more than happy to host their three kids for the weekend. I was more than happy until I opened the pantry to serve my first meal to five kids.

Dun. Dun. Dun. NO PAPER PLATES!!!

Well, I survived. I now know the full potential of my dishwasher. (That's the Pollyanna in me :o) And I now love paper plates even more. I somehow managed to wait a few more days after our house guests left ... still determined to get some alone time! After 1 whole week, the pantry was re-stocked and more importantly, I now have 462 dixie paper plates just waiting to be used!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grand Re-Opening

A fresh start, a new beginning, take two ... whatever you want to call it, I've decided to give blogging another try. Over the last few months (okay, many months) one or two people have mentioned that I haven't posted anything. I had no idea ANYONE was reading this! Since then, I've really enjoyed following a few blogs but my real inspiration to give it another go came a few weeks ago when I was reading my sister-in-law's blog and noticed on the sidebar that she had a link to mine!!! I regularly click on people's "blogs I follow" list (although I have no idea how to put one on my blog ... Matt). That is the moment that I knew I couldn't have someone clicking on that link only to find a pitiful, dried up blog. So, thanks, Abigail ... really, I mean it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ain't no other like MY brother

Brothers are best ... well mine is! I've loved that boy from the second he was born (sidenote: I wanted a sister until the second he was born, but I quickly changed my mind!). He was my baby as far as I was concerned. Since I was the mature age of 5 1/2 when he arrived, I already knew everything I needed to know about taking care of a baby. He winked at me and I was sure he must be the smartest baby that ever lived. I remember it like it was yesterday. He was only a few weeks old and he was laying on his back in his play pen. I would hang on the side of that play pen just watching his every move and then it happened ... he winked at me and I knew we'd be best buds for all time. When he was the ripe old age of 2, we (he and I) began his education. Our classroom (my bedroom) was the perfect environment for me to teach him everything I knew and I did. I corrected his work with my mom's very best red pen (she was a teacher so she had plenty to spare!) and then I sent him back to his room with homework. He loved it and I take all the credit for his SAT scores and full scholarship to college. :o) As he grew older, he taught me how to shoot a basketball, fight with a sword (foam swords, of course), and how to set the perfect pirate traps (we lived in a very dangerous neighborhood!). He came to all of my choir concerts and school programs and he loved it, or at least pretended to. When I left for college, I wondered how things would change. We talked on the phone pretty regularly and he even wrote me several letters! I would drive home for his football games, and I'm sure I was his biggest fan. Years have past now but I love how some things stay the same. He called yesterday - yep, he called me, usually does, I should work on that! I love seeing his number on caller ID. It means that we're gonna catch up. We usually talk for 45 minutes to an hour. Not only does he love to talk, but he's a great listener. He's very smart but he also REALLY cares. I love that boy! (Oh, and for the record, he picked an awesome wife ... or maybe she picked him ... either way, my sister-in-law, you know that sister I was hoping for, she rocks!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Sometimes I've wondered if New Year's resolutions are really worth it. I can't really think of one I've ever kept for a whole year. Even so, I decided to give it another try this year - I have 3. I am hopeful that I will be able to give a positive report this time next year. One of them is to read the Bible through this year. I got a Chronological Bible this Christmas and so far I'm really liking it. Yesterday, I was reading about Noah and I wanted a little more info, so I got out my study Bible and what I found in the notes has really made an impression on me, so I thought I'd share:
"For Noah, obedience meant a long-term commitment to a project (120 years to build the ark!). Many of us have trouble sticking to any project, whether or not it is directed by God. It is interesting that the length of Noah's obedience was greater than the lifespan of people today. The only comparable long-term project is our very lives. But perhaps this is one great challenge Noah's life gives us - to live in acceptance of God's grace, an entire lifetime of obedience and gratitude." Study notes from The Life Application NIV Study Bible

I think I need to take my commitments more seriously - starting with my New Year's resolutions!

Are your eyes fixed on Jesus?

I'm not sure why I didn't notice before. Well, I noticed, but I didn't think about it. Every time I would walk past the table at our front door, I would see that the nativity pieces had been moved. I'd quickly fix them back and go on about my day (I was most likely doing laundry - I'm ALWAYS doing laundry!) The next time I'd walk by, there they were again all moved around. Then I saw that the same thing was happening with 2 other nativity sets I had out. Baby Jesus would be in the middle of the stable and EVERYONE else was crowded around Him pushed up as close as they could get to Him. As I stood there "fixing" the nativity scene, Will came around the corner and said, "Mom, they came to see Jesus!" Lord, thank you for blessing me with this precious, smelly, dirt covered, LOUD, knock-knock joke telling, won't eat a thing his mama cooks for him 5 year old boy. He gets it ... we're here to see Jesus.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." Hebrews 12:2

Unexpected Christmas

This Christmas was not what I expected it to be. Our sweet Kate got a stomach bug the day we left to FLY to Virginia. Unfortunately, all four of us got "the bug" and passed it on to our family in Virginia and Georgia - no fun. There were no big Christmas dinners, the time for opening presents was frequently interrupted, and extended family decided that they would wait to see us another time (who could blame them?). As I was wrapped up under piles of blankets trying desperately to stay warm, I wondered, why did all of this have to happen. Then I was gently reminded that a change of attitude would serve me well. Will came over to sit with me and said, "Mom, this is my best Christmas EVER!!!" I couldn't help but think of Mary and all of the unexpected things that happened in her life leading up to that first Christmas. Many of them most likely came with negative consequences, frustrating circumstances, and many a chance to complain but Mary's response was simply, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said." Luke 1:38 I bet it was her best Christmas EVER!!