delaying the inevitable...

with christmas nearly here and being busy,
because my laptop is down,
and the pictures are in the camera and can't be loaded to the laptop,
because my desktop is slow and i have no patience,
even though, i have a lot to blog about and lots to share,
the guilt of not doing it is so intense and i am frustrated,
lack of time, lack of resource and lack of patience,
i decided to stop delaying the inevitable and post an out to lunch sign like my friend, erin did!

so with that said and the decision off my shoulders... i plan to be back and blogging strong after the holidays, hopefully with a new laptop courtesy of santa! or atleast a fixed one.

until then, don't look for my christmas card and letter in the mail, because they haven't been sent, let alone ordered. they have taken residence with my thank you notes and jaelyn's birth announcements. oh and the christmas letter i planned to write and post here, will be a happy new year letter -- maybe it will make it on here by 2010!

from our family to yours: we hope that you have a wonderful wonderful christmas holiday! enjoy what means most during this time - your friends and family and celebrating the amazing birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.


the beautiful mess...

i am so excited to blog about this today!!! for me it is an early christmas present and an anniversary present all wrapped in one!!

two saturdays ago, our family had the most amazing photo shoot with some very talented photographers, husband and wife team, candice and daniel lanning!! they own and operate the beautiful mess. we had such a great time during our shoot. my kids did so well. candice and daniel came to our house. with the kids in their own environment, they were able to capture our family in such a special and unique way. the photos are completely real and show who we are as a family!! there are no poses and goofy chin tilts - just all natural. jamil who in the past has dreaded family photo day even had a great time!! the kids didn't fight us or fuss about it at all. they feel like candice and daniel are like family now!!! they got to show off and be themselves. i knew the photo shoot went well and couldn't wait to see our photos!

today, one week before christmas and our ninth year anniversary, candice posted our pictures to her blog! i am so excited to be able to share our family pictures with you! just click here and you can see some pics and view our slideshow!! leave a comment and let me know what you think of them!!!

i am so thankful for the wonderful work candice and daniel have done. pictures are so important to me and capturing our family the way they did is such a tremendous blessing!!! words can't express how excited i am to have these photos!


menu plan monday...

ok, here is what we are having this week for dinner...what's on your plate???

monday.... spaghetti & meatballs (frozen not homemade!), salad & dinner rolls (again-frozen not homemade)

tuesday... for jamil and the kiddos...grilled cheese sandwiches & vegetable soup (from the can) and i am heading out for a girl's night of appetizers and desert!!!!

wednesday...easy beef stroganoff, fruit & dinner rolls

thursday...chicken tacos & refried beans

friday.... pizza night for the kids... jamil and i are going out for a date night!

saturday...chili & cornbread (oops forgot to order the mix when i did the online shopping!)

sunday... early Christmas dinner with my family

another week done!


holiday tag....

my friend, beth, tagged me to do this fun holiday post!!! so to start off my holiday blogging this year i am going to take part in the fun! thanks for tagging me beth!!

1. Egg nog or Hot Chocolate?
hot chocolate

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
santa doesn't get any credit for the presents under the tree - we give them and wrap them! we are not santa believers, although we are not anti-santa either. we are truthful to who santa is and remind the kids why we celebrate this season. "jesus is the reason"

3. Colored lights or white?

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
no. i am afraid if we hung mistletoe we would have like 8 kids instead of 4!

5. When do you put your decorations up?
the weekend after Thanksgiving - although this year we haven't put them all up - we are going very simple this year!

6. Favorite holiday dish?
hmmm...we don't really have a big holiday meal, so I don't know. this year my favorite dish will be the one i can eat in peace without having to manage 3 kids and a nursing baby! so it will probably be whatever jamil and i eat on our next date night!!! hurry up date night get here soon!

7. Favorite childhood memory?
i don't have one big memory, here are a few favorite traditions as a kid.
~looking for the 6 little elves that mom hides each year
~traveling to baltimore every Christmas morning to spend the day at my grandparent's house
~opening our presents on Christmas eve b/c we traveled the next day
~sleeping with my sister in one of our beds on Christmas eve and listening for santa
~traveling home from baltimore and having to go potty sooooo bad and there was like nowhere to stop, finally i think we found a place to stop

8. When/how did you learn the truth about Santa?
hmmmmm... good question, i know i "believed" but can't remember when i stopped, i guess i kind of outgrew it???

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
as an older kid, we opened all of our gifts then

as for our family now, we are starting the tradition this year, we will all open one present on Christmas Eve and it will always be pajamas for all of us - that way our Christmas morning pics we all look coordinating!!!

10. How do you decorate the tree?
hmmm... this year I opened the box, the baby started crying, so while i was nursing her, the kids put ALL of the ornaments on the tree. and i haven't taken the time to "fix" what they have done. i may not. so pretty much the kids decorated it this year. wow - i have really let go of my control issue this year!

11. Snow. Love it or dread it?
i HATE snow - grew up with A LOT of it up north. so i dread it. i am ok with one pretty day and watching the kids enjoy it, but i would be ok never to snow again - i am not a fan of cold weather.

12. Can you ice skate?
probably could do it but wouldn't want to b/c of disliking the cold so much!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
i think that my favorite "gift" would be my husband! in 1999, we got married a week before christmas! and then as a belated christmas gift we found out 6 weeks later we were pregnant with our first son - a honeymoon baby - which was right before christmas!!!

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you?
being with my family and watching them get so excited about this time and celebrating the birth of jesus!

15. Favorite holiday dessert?
i haven't met a dessert i didn't like - bring on all the sweets - love them!

16. Favorite Christmas Tradition?
over the years we have taken on some traditions for our family. i love all of them. this year we brought an elf into our family - so every day the kids look for "elfie". they love it - it is fun. they think he watches them and reports to me and santa how they are behaving.

17. What tops your tree?
a gold star

18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?
my love language is gifts - so i like both!! over the last year or so, giving has taken on a whole new meaning so i really really LOVE giving - and it doesn't have to be at Christmas. unfortunately, our budget is restricted so i can not give to all the people who we love and cherish at Christmas time like i wish we could.

19. Favorite Christmas song?
wow, i haven't listened to much Christmas music yet this season! but i like o holy night and come let us adore him

20. Candy canes. Yum or yuck?
a big YUCK!!!!

21. What do you want for Christmas?
this year i really do not want anything... i have my eye on a few things but there is nothing i really really want. i am so content with my family. my new baby girl is the best gift i could have this year!! you can't top that one!!

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party?
last year we attended a party at some friend's house - and thought we were going to attend this year but they had to cancel it :(

23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear P.J.'s?
depends on where we are!!! last year it was comfy clothes. this year we will be at elevation - so i am sure we will dress up!!!!

24. Do you own a Santa hat?
we have 2 hats for the big kids to share/wear. the baby actually has 5 or 6 different little santa hats that came with several outfits that were handed down to us from chelsea and from my other kids were babies!

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
christmas eve we spend with the Carr's, this year we will get together during the day and then go to elevation for the evening. Christmas day we spend the day together just our immediate family (jamil, the kids and me!). we will celebrate Christmas with my parents the weekend before Christmas. we will see jamil's family at some point during the holiday! they are our neighbors so they will just stop by at some time!

tag you are it.....
i am choosing stephanie, erin, patti, kelly h, heather d, teri, marybeth and chelsea (you've been tagged twice so you have to do this!) to join in the fun!!!


back on track...

today, on our way home from school, joshua informed me that "j" walked by him and kissed him on the forehead. joshua has known "j" since they were babies. i told him that "j" is a sweet loving girl and that they have been friends forever and that was sweet. althouhg i was wondering if his teacher had caught this? then he said, mom, "p" also likes me too. and to top it all off he says... wow, 3 girlfriends now i am back on track. he said "j", "p" and "r" all like me and now i have 3 girlfriends, cool. "j" and "p" are from school and "r" is from church.

it is hard to believe my eight year old has 3 "girlfriends". i am not sure how i feel about this. obviously he thinks he is "back on track". hmmm...



just minutes ago i finished nursing the baby and told jesiah that it was time to get ready to get the big kids from school, here is the conversation...

mom: hey jesiah, it's time to get the big kids from school. so then you will have someone to play with. are you ready to go?

jesiah: no, i like alone. i don't need none people to play with.

so that is how my three year old feels about "people" aka: his big brother and sister.

i literally laughed and had tears in my eyes. that kid cracks me up!

menu plan monday...

...even though it is tuesday!

my friend marybeth reminded me of her menu plan monday blog post when i was struggling with meal ideas. there are a lot of blogs that post a menu plan monday. so i have started looking at hers and others to get some ideas for cooking for my family. each week i struggle with what to cook. and this really helps me get some ideas. each week after i make a menu then i create a grocery list. we have been using the harris teeter express lane for our shopping, it has really helped me out. i order my groceries for the week online and then jamil picks them up on his way home. for us the online shopping has helped our budget because i don't impulse shop - b/c i am not seeing it and throwing it in the cart and neither are my kiddos. i also don't feel stressed when i am shopping. when i actually go into the store, i get really stressed because i don't want to be there and so i start putting extras in the cart but i still have to return the next week anyway. my next goal is to start using coupons to save some money.

ok, so here is my menu plan (dinners only!) for the week....

monday: meatloaf muffins, mashed potatoes & green beans
tuesday: beef tacos, chips and salsa & fruit
wednesday: chicken & dumplings in the crockpot
thursday: scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns & blueberry muffins
friday: pizza dip, french bread, buffalo chicken dip, chips and celery
saturday: beef stroganoff in the crock pot and dinner rolls
sunday: leftovers


blogging block...

everytime i begin to write a new post, i feel like i need to start with some kind of disclaimer or apology for the lack of posts, or the lack of depth or quality or meaning in my posts. and then i start to get frustrated and overwhelmed and a lot of times i don't end up writing anything or finish what i wanted to write. and then i begin to wonder why do i do this blog thing? is it for me? is it for those of you who read this? what is it for? and then i wonder about the purpose of my blog, what is that? i am not sure anymore of what i want this blog to be. is it a journal, a scrapbook, a diary, or all of those or none of those?

i think i have gone through this before and i guess i am just there again. i guess sometimes my writer's block leads to questioning why i keep this blog. so, i am going to take some time to figure out why i blog and exactly what i want to blog. i am going to work on a mission statement of sorts for myself for this blog. a few weeks ago i took down one of the boxes on the side which explained who is my j crew. once i figure out the goal and the purpose to this blog, i plan to put that in there. i also would like to change up a few things on the side bar.

i also wonder sometimes who reads my blog, sometimes i wonder if anyone does. i know that the numbers on my counter go up but sometimes i don't think anyone reads it. and then i wonder why i care if anyone reads it because i am keeping this blog for me and not for you... aren't i? who knows...

i also get really frustrated at the lack of time i have to keep this blog going. i love to write but i rarely have time to do it. i know that is just the season of my life right now.

and the most frustrating thing is when i come up with a great idea for something to write - usually in the car - by the time i can get to my laptop i have forgotten what my idea was.

so with all of that said... i am off to bed. i do feel like that lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. maybe i should just keep this as a draft and not post it. oh, who knows?


thankfulness not forgotten....

my mom and jaelyn

my grandparents with jesiah

my four cuties (omg - i have four kiddos)

my sister and me

jamil and his girls

big and little sister

here are just a few pictures from thanksgiving day. i have been meaning to write a post on what i am thankful for - even though the thanksgiving season has gone by i am still thankful for so many things.

the pictures above are representative of a big part of what i am thankful for - which are my family. somehow though, my dad didn't make it into a picture that day. but i am thankful for him.