Wednesday, December 31, 2008

reflection

God is so good to us. Always. Even in the difficult times, God is still good. Praise Him that He never changes. I can't tell you how grateful I am for that.
Over the past few weeks, I've been reflecting on how different this holiday season has been in comparison to last year.

Last year we were jobless - this year Ben and I both have great jobs.

Last year we were inexperienced parents taking care of a barely three month old baby - this year we're getting the hang of this parenting thing and chasing after a very, very active toddler.

Last year we were living wth my parents - this year we were able to celebrate the holidays in our home with my family visiting us.

Last year we had no idea where 2008 was going to take us - this year we can't wait to see what 2009 will bring.

Last year we needed help making ends meet - this year we were able to help someone else make ends meet.


God taught us so much during the time when Ben was laid off...it was a LONG time. Ben got laid off September 15, 2007 and didnt start his new job until June 16, 2008. Maybe it doesn't seem like long to some people but to us it was an eternity. I'm so thankful to be where we are right now.


There are always positives to any story...there were plenty of positives to the time when Ben was laid off. We were blessed with amazing family and friends who took care of us the entire time. We never went hungry, we always had a place to live (living in my parents house while it was for sale was such a blessing) and God kept steady with his promise to never forsake us. Jackson NEVER got sick when we didnt have insurance. Not.one.time. We got to spend so much time together as a new family - that part was truly amazing. I even refer to the time that Ben was laid off as a gift from God because it was. There is something very precious about being overly aware of just how desparate we are for God. We are always just as desparate - we just aren't as aware of it until we are in a dire situation. I find myself missing that overwhelming surrender that I felt daily during our storm. Ben and I are completely different people now. We are better at managing our money, we're on our way to becoming completely debt free, we don't take any blessing for granted and we are above all else so thankful for everything we have...we know it can all be gone in an instant.


At one point I could not wait for 2008 to be over but now, as I think back, I'll be sad to see it go. 2008 will always hold fond memories in my mind and I can only hope that 2009 can beat it.


Here's wishing each of you a very Happy New Year.


Love,

Bethany

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

We hope all of you are having a very Merry Christmas. We pray that your families will be blessed beyond measure in the coming year. I hope that in the midst of all of the presents and wonderful time we spend together today we will all reflect on Jesus, the greatest gift ever given.

"...But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus." Matthew 1:19-25


Merry Christmas!

Love,
Ben, Bethany and Jackson

Scary Santa??

Dear Santa,

Thank you for all of my presents. I got so much stuff! I'm not sure if anyone else even got anything since you brought so much to my house.

Oh and just so you know...I'm thankful for the presents but I'm still not sure about you.

See you next year,

Jackson


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12/24 - Name That Tune

Wow - could it be that we have finally stumped Lindsay? The last post (12/23 Redux) is still unsolved. I know it's tough - I didn't get it the first time I saw it either- but keep trying.

In the meantime - here's another puzzler for you:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Name That Tune 12/23 - Redux

Okay, well apparently at least two other people submitted the right answer today for Angels We Have Heard On High but it didn't go through. My apologies to those of you whose answer didn't show up.

Sooooo - Let's try another one!


Name That Tune - 12/23


Okay people - get to guessing!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Name That Tune 12/22

As we inch closer to Christmas, I'm trying to make these a little more difficult.




Saturday, December 20, 2008

crazy cat people

Sweet Oscar
Man I feel like I need to clarify what Ben said about our house o' cats. We sound like crazy cat people! OK, so we are crazy cat people...but let me just share how we got this way. First and foremost I have the most tender heart of them all when it comes to animals. Ben always talks about buying 20 acres and building our house on that but I just know it would be all the excuse I needed to take in every stray in the surrounding area. I digress.
So, when Ben and I were engaged we went to Petsmart and saw this super cute black and white cat. He was the last one left and we were told by one of the workers that a 3 legged cat was picked over him - how pitiful is that?!? So, we took him home. He was our first child and since he was already almost a "big cat" he was easy breezy. For those of you who have never had cats, even as kittens you show them their box ONE time and they've got it. No potty training like with dogs. Anyway - our sweet first "child" Oscar went outside most of the time, came in for food and a little love and was content just doing his own thing. That was in October. In May I decided I wanted a kitten this time. Ben and I often talked about how we wondered what Oscar was like as a kitten and so I made up this big fat lie about "hearing" a kitten outside our house when really I called a lady who had an ad in the paper for kittens and picked one up. (read previous posts where I admit to being sneaky) Just like parents say having 2 kids is waaay different than having one, it's true for cats too. This cat, originally named Emmy which somehow evolved into Foofy, was nothing like Oscar. She's moody..."skanky" as I like to call her. Oh and she LOVES Ben. Like, gives me a look like she'd be OK if I died so she'd have Ben all to herself" kind of love. Seriously. So, that was it. Our two cats.We got foofy in 2005 and in the summer of 2006 Ben and I went to eat lunch at toad suck park where we came across Milo.

Sigh. He was living in a pavilion at Toad Suck and was so hungry that he ate our leftover Taco Bell nachos. Needless to say tender hearted Bethany couldn't take it. I talked Ben into letting us take him to our vet, get him fixed, his shots and we'd find him a home. 2 1/2 years later I'm looking at him as we speak across the room. Unbelievable. In December of 2007 Oscar had enough of Jackson and Milo and ran away...or was stolen. At least this is what I tell myself. It's hard for either me or Ben to talk about because he was seriously part of our family and we miss him so much.
But it gets even better...or should I say worse. We were back to two cats. Milo and Foofy. Well, we move to our new location due to Ben's job and around the first week of September Ben finds two kittens, maybe 4 weeks old, outside his office building.

Mind you, there isn't much other than parking lot, street and airport flight line around so we're pretty sure they were dumped. They were so tiny, so malnourished that he couldn't leave them there. It was also going to be a crazy thunderstorm that night so we decided that he would bring them home and we'd feed them, get them cleaned up and find them homes. I did try to find them homes but nobody was looking for a kitten in September. Alas we've added Gus and Jules to our brood. I'm lucky that Milo lives outside 95% of the time and Foofy goes out side from sun up to sun down. And the kittens are still tiny so it's like only having 2 cats. OK fine - we're crazy cat people. At least we have good intentions... right?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Name That Tune 12/19 Part 2

Today's answer came so quickly that I thought you all deserved another shot.


This may be too easy...

Name That Tune 12/19

Lindsay is 3 for 3. SOMEBODY out there needs to step it up and give her a run for her money. I know the ABH readership is an intellectual crowd.

Happy guessing!











Keep checking back today, I have a feeling we might go for two puzzlers today...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Name That Tune 12/18

Congratulations again go out to Lindsay who came in with the correct answer at 9:33 a.m. So far, she's in the lead and is 2 for 2. Good job!

Now for today's quiz:

A little tougher today, I think...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Name That Tune 12/17

Congratulations to Lindsay who submitted the correct answer yesterday morning at 10:32 a.m. - almost before I posted the question. So remember, it pays to check the blog early.

Ready to go again? Here's your Christmas song/phrase for today:


GO!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Name that Tune

In the spirit of the season, I would like to present a little holiday game. It’s called, “Name That Christmas Tune” Each day we’ll post a picture riddle and you can submit your guesses as to the name of the song. Now, some of them are song titles and some of them are just famous lines, but they are all VERY recognizable. Today we’ll do an example and a real one so you can get the hang of it. I will be posting the winner of the quiz each day, so check early to get first crack at it. Okay, ready? Here's your example:








Answer: "It's Lovely Weather for a Sleigh Ride Together With Ewe"

*cue rim shot*

Now for the real thing:







Answer will be announced tomorrow morning. Happy guessing to you!

Christmas, Cats and Ben's Imagination Gets out of Hand

Ahh.. the Holidays! Our house is full right now…and about to be even more full. Full of the smell of a fresh Christmas Tree, full of frisky kittens and lazy cats, full of sweet treats courtesy of Bethany’s “12 days of Baking”, full of the sound of a 14 month old singer/percussionist/dancer/athlete named Jackson, full of love…that intangible, irrepressible warmth that abounds within us, between us and (sometimes) in spite of us. how could life get any better? Oh yeah, Bethany’s mom and little (big) brother Madison are coming this weekend with their animals (the more full I mentioned earlier). The more the merrier. They are always a wonderful addition – it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

Their animals are like family to us too. LuLu, Rebel and Pearl our like cousins to our cats, and always get their own stockings. We used to bring our cats over to Bethany's parents house every time we came over. I think Oscar actually liked living with them better than he did with us. On Christmas Eve, Traci would break out the tuna and give all six cats a special treat. People say that you'll never get Israelis and Arabs to sit down at the table of peace, but the real sign of peace on earth is six cats eating tuna side by side. Six lapping tongues, six tails standing strait at attention, six contented tummies. The mere memory warms the heart. Unfortunately, we've lost a few and added a few, and the changes have created discord in the cat realm. I'm not sure how it will go this year, but I expect there to be a power struggle between the traditional powers of Queen Pearl of The Mountain, aging K├Ânig Rebel of Deutschland, and the local powers of Queen Foofy of Bee Branch and (possibly dying) King Mighlough of Toad Suck. The kittens may be in jeopardy because of rumored ties to certain Memphis cat familes of questionable repute. Bottom line, no cat is safe- all cats Watch Your Back! I'd put nothing past Pearl, and Mighlough has not been cleared as a suspect in the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of King Oscar I, the first ruler of the McGhehey Household. I think I've said to much already.

The cats aren't the only ones who have changed though. I met Bethany when Madison was 9, back when he still liked to line up and sprint into the living room like a race horse on Christmas morning. He would behold the splendor of his Christmas bounty and go from toy to toy grinning like Spongebob and emitting a mischievous squeal. Last year, we couldn’t get him out of bed for anything. My how time changes us. He’s a full blown teenager now. This year we are preparing a toy bounty for Jackson. I absolutely can not wait. He's so much fun right now - I had no idea that parents had this much fun at Christmas.

~ Ben



Sunday, December 14, 2008

worth 1000 words

I've been trying to reorganize and delete random pictures to make room for more pictures in the future and came across this picture in the February 2007 album. Ben and I found out we were pregnant on Jan 29th, 2007 and about one week later I started getting sick. I stayed sick until I was 20 weeks along but February and March were the worst. On top of being sick and prego I was in my last semester of classes in Grad School, saw clients at the counseling center and taught 3 aerobics classes. Ugh. Needless to say, this was the ONLY picture in the entire February album. Can't imagine why.

Friday, December 12, 2008

from the horses mouth

Hi. My name is Jackson. In case you didn't know everything about me, let me fill you in on a little something. I'm all about strong flavors. I like spicy food like chili and salsa and every form of stinky cheese you can get your hands on. I'm not a big fan of bland. My mom usually gives me juice but every now and again she throws in a cup of straight water. I'm not having that.

Today, after my first cup of juice, my mom gave me water. During snack time my mom couldnt find my cup. Finally she found it - I had thrown it in the trash. Maybe now she'll get the message. I only want juice lady. Juice.

uh oh

Jackson has learned to say "uh-oh" and it seems like he's saying it all the time now. I'll be in the living room and from his room I can hear "uh-oh mama, uh-oh"... well I know I'm in for something when I go in there. Bless his heart, he tattles on himself and doesn't even know it.

I ordered him this stocking today and it is SO cute. I can't wait for Santa to fill it up with lots of goodies:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

deals revisited

So...Walgreens is having a four day sale starting today...some highlights:

Arm and Hammer detergent 1.99 with coupon in ad at the front of the store
go to www.armandhammer.com and print a 1.00 off coupon (as many as you can) making your final price .99

Sure Deoderant isn't marked BUT its on sale for 2.01 and there is a 1.50 off instant saver coupon in the easy saver catolog (small narrow coupon book) at the front of the store usually under the weekly ad making your final price .51

Kelloggs Cereal is on sale for 1.99 ( no instore coupon needed) and print a 1.00 off coupon here http://www2.kelloggs.com/ making your final price .99 Not sure if it will let you print out more than one but try. There are also coupons in the red plum from 11/09

Quilted Northern 9 big roll bath tissue sale for 3.50 - use printable coupon found here http://www.quiltednorthern.com/coupons.html and get it for 2.50

Now, here's the icing on the cake: spend any 25 dollars BEFORE coupons and get 5 dollars in Register Rewards which is basically like a 5 dollar walgreens gift card to use on your next purchase.

Scenario:
2 Arm and Hammer Detergents - 6.99 each before coupon
1 Cereal 1.99 before coupon
3 deoderants 6.03 before instant value coupon
1 Quilted Northern 3.50 before coupon
Total: 25.50

- 10.00 in ad arm and hammer coupon
-2 printable arm and hammer coupons
-1.00 printable cereal coupon
- 4.50 easy saver instant sure coupon
- 1.00 printable quilted northern

Final out of pocket = $7.00

THEN get your 5 dollars in register rewards for next time - it's like spending TWO BUCKS. Seriously.

My only advice is to wait to give the cashier your coupons until AFTER they hit the original total so your register rewards print out for sure.

There are other items on sale (aleve, walgreens brand ibuprofen, cokes, hersheys candy) if you can print more than one or two of the coupons mentioned above, for example the arm and hammer, you could buy four arm and hammer detergents, pay 3.96 before tax out of pocket, get 5 in register rewards and it's like Walgreens just paid you 1.04 to buy detergent. I'd love to hear about the savings you end up with...Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

FREE movie and calendar

Go to this site and register for a free copy of "Amazing Grace" and free Walden books 2009 Calendar:

http://www.walden.com/walden/walden/newsletter.php

Monday, December 8, 2008

shizam!

We started painting jackson's room back in September...we got the brown walls done and the base coat on the wall that we were going to experiment with...well we finally finished this weekend and we are pretty darn excited about how it turned out! We left our new camera at Regina's house over thanksgiving but here are some pictures we took with our old camera:




Friday, December 5, 2008

daily devotion

Here was my devotion for today and I wanted to share...I hope each of you experience nothing but peace and joy this holiday season.


“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)

Devotion:
God gave each of us what we needed most—a Savior to save us from ourselves. Therefore, the holiday season should be a time of cheer. For some, however, it can be lonely and depressing. While the days leading up to Christmas should be filled with peace, joy, and hope, sadness over past mistakes can hover like clouds on a rainy day. We all have a tendency to define ourselves by what we have or haven’t done.

We tend to label ourselves by our past mistakes, and then we wear these labels as if there were no alternative. Failure; Unfaithful; Unfit Parent; Liar; Gossip; Addicted; Bitter.

The Bible tells us that as a person thinks, so they become. Therefore, if you want to live an unhealthy life, you can. If you want to punish yourself, you will. However, being self-destructive is not God’s plan for your life. In fact, to think this way is to see yourself outside of God’s saving grace.

That’s why the Christmas season offers such hope … because God gave us what we needed most—a Savior to save us from ourselves. The key to putting your past behind you, and moving forward with a bright and hopeful future, is to accept Christ’s forgiveness for you.

You’ll find it comforting to know that you are not alone in your troubles. The Bible tells us, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV). That means there is not one perfect person in the entire world. We have all made mistakes. I know I’ve made my share. Still, no matter how hard we try to do everything right on our own, we can’t. So God gave His only Son as payment for our sins. In other words, Christ paid our debt. This payment is a gift of God which He freely offers to you and me.

The awesome thing is, we don’t have to earn this gift. Through Christ’s death on the cross, God simply says, “Your sins are paid in full.”

All you and I have to do to receive His forgiveness is to agree with God about our sins. You might say something like this in prayer. Yes, God, I did that thing … I receive your free gift of forgiveness for the wrong I have done, and I accept heaven as my eternal home. Cleanse me and change my life. Fill me with your love, hope, joy and peace.

If you sincerely mean what you’ve confessed, then you have been forgiven. Your slate is clean. God remembers your sins no more. It is as if they never were. That’s the good news of Christmas and the open doorway to peace!

The next thing you must do is forgive yourself. You will stay in bondage if you continue to label yourself as a bad or unworthy person for what you have done instead of focusing on the changes God can bring about in you. You must stop defining yourself by your past and read the Bible to learn how God defines His people.

Just think; this could be a Christmas where you experience real peace, joy, and forgiveness. It’s why Christ was born … to set you free.

www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/encouragement

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Santa's Day Out

For those of you with a Kroger....today they are having a 9am to 9pm sale...some highlights include:

Kroger Eggs .99c
Tostitos 1.77 (regular 3.50)
Kroger Peanuts .99c
Deluxe Ice Cream 1.50
Oscar Meyer lunch meant 1.99 (regular 4.99)

Check the inside of the flyer at the front of the store for the rest of the deals. Happy Shopping :)

Edited to add:

They also have Arm and Hammer laundry detergent for 3.99 (regular 7.99) but this is anytime through Tuesday 12/9. You can go to www.armandhammer.com and print out a 1.00 off coupon making it 2.99. Crazy! They even have one that is "free of dyes" for those of you with babies or allergy prone skin.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"daaaad" and the "yee-yees"

I haven't blogged about Jackson in a while and since I'm pretty sure everyone is needing their fix here goes:

Our little man is 14 months old now. CRAZY. He is SO much fun these days. Like, "I never knew a child could be this much fun" kind of fun. He is developing a sense of humor that keeps me and ben laughing all the time. For one, he's decided that tooting is funny - no idea where he got that from but he will try to push one little one out and just roll laughing. I've always said - being a boy is hard wired into him. He is no longer my human garbage disposal. Used to, you could give Jackson just about anything and he'd eat it...not anymore. Breakfast used to be a cereal bar and a banana but now he won't touch a cereal bar...he wants me to make him scrambled eggs, biscuits and give him a smoothie. Ben said you can't blame him, he'd rather eat that too. He's also not eating nearly as much as he used to. In previous months, I couldnt keep him full and now it's just a nibble here and there. He's got all 4 of his molars coming in though so that could have something to do with it. If it's bland, he wont eat it, but if its a casserole or something with a strong flavor he's all over it. He's over baby food and only wants to eat what mom cooks...I secretly love that.

Jackson absolutely LOVES Christmas. He loves, loves, loves going down the center aisle in Kroger and will yell, as loud as he can, "ooooooooh, aaaaaaahhhhh, ohhhhhhhh" looking at the decorations. We put up our tree last night (I'll blog about that later) and this morning he wanted it plugged in so he could ooh and ahh all morning. It never gets old.

We've got a little musician on our hands. I've been making up songs his whole life but lately he's started chiming in and making requests. There's a song on the Wiggles (yee-yees to Jackson) that ends in "Shh, Shh, Shh" and he'll dance and clap his hands and sing just that part which means 'get to singing mom'! He also sings a song that started out as an ode to his dad but has branched out to Nonni, PawPaw and Gigi. Ben swears he has natural rhythm with his little instruments. He showed him how to play his jingle bells correctly and has been on it ever since. Regardless of talent, he absolutely loves music and wants it playing constantly. Mostly so he can dance all day long - so my child. Also, his vocabulary (both spoken and signed) has really taken off lately. You can basically sign something one time and he's got it. It's crazy what that little sponge brain will pick up. We're really having to watch ourselves these days...nobody wants him to be the baby on Meet the Fockers :)

He and Ben continue to be best friends...me going to work has only strengthened this bond. If we go somewhere and Ben wanders off or goes to the bathroom, Jackson will scream "daaaaaaaaad!!! daaaaaaaaaaaaad!!!" until he comes back. Ben is most definitely Jackson's favorite person in the whole world. He's such a little person now, no longer a baby...but he hasn't been a "baby" for a while. I can not tell you how much I love being his mom and watching him grow up. It is one of my greatest blessings in life.

So, we're busy as bees chasing after the energizer bunny...but when it's all said and done you could give the boy his dad, the wiggles and a ball and he's good to go :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

lazy lazerton

ok - so I'm really not lazy. Well, not that lazy. I've just been super busy and haven't been in a blogging mood. We had a nice visit with everyone for thanksgiving and I realllllly enjoyed the cabin we stayed at with my inlaws the Wednesday before thanksgiving. It was so beautiful and peaceful...I've already decided that's where I'm spending all of thanksgiving next year so if anyone would like to join me, let me know.

We're back home and getting back into the grind. I went back to work tonight...boy was it hectic. Nothing like the holidays to bring out the neurosis in all of us. I was busy from the time I got there until 20 min after I was supposed to leave. sigh. Welcome back indeed.

I think we're going to get a fake tree this year - something I swore I'd NEVER do. I'm seriously in mourning but I think it'll work best for us this year...Jackson is just toooooo curious. Mah.

Tomorrow night we will be tree decorating, chinese food eating and christmas vacation watching. Christmas is officially on its way :)