Happy Birthday, Honeybee!!!

It's hard to believe, but one year ago today this beautiful baby girl was born.  We hadn't yet met each other. We didn't yet know one another existed.  How wonderful it is that God saw fit for our paths to cross.  We love you so much.  May you be blessed in all things great and wonderful!!!

We love you!!!!

Happy Birthday, FatherWinter!

Ephesians 2: 10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepped beforehand, that we should walk in them."

May your day be blessed with all things great and wonderful.  We love you!


Recap: Honeybee's MinnieSwank Birthday Party

Hi everyone!

We are soooo overdue for this post, but it has been an absolute madhouse here.  All last week we were watching the weather ahead of a predicted snow and ice storm.  We were so worried we would have to cancel the event.  We were right.  On Saturday morning, we sent out mass emails and texts and canceled the event until the next day.  The roads were just too dangerous.  We were disappointed, but it gave us more time to get other things done.

The next morning, we loaded up the cars and made our way to church.  There was a lot to load up!  We actually got to church late.  FatherWinter, Superbug, and Honeybee went inside the sanctuary to hear the remainder of the service.  I realized we were much later than I thought we were and had a lot more to do, so I stayed in the fellowship hall and started decorating.  Fortunately, for me, Ms. Flourishing Hope arrived to save the day.  She was an amazing help (thank you!!!)

Minnie Bow-bites

I wish we could share photos of her face or of the video of our singing happy birthday to her.  We also have additional decor photos. But God willing, we'll be able to share all of that soon.  Overall, we had an amazing time.  Ms. Flourishing Hope was amazing and we could not have done it without her.

Here's our rundown.

Theme:  #MinnieSwankAffair (Invite from Sherry K Designs.  Free downloadable)

Colors:  Pink & Black

Menu:  Mickey's Pizza, Daisy's Meek n' Mild Wings, Cinnamon Sticks, Minnie Bow Tie Pasta Salad, Chips, Mickey Trail Mix, Minnie's Pudding Cups (strawberry yogurt and chocolate chips), Pete's Meatballs, Minnie Bow Tie Bites (strawberries and blueberries), Fruit Plate, Birthday Cake

Snow Day!!!!

YES!!!!!  Okay.  Okay.  I have to be very honest.  Our household has been practically praying for a good old fashioned snow day.  Not enough to make life unbearable, but enough snow that would allow us to play and spend time together as a family.  It seemed like every other county had experienced one in recent weeks except us.  Our neightbors to the North were receiving enough to shut things down for a couple of days.  We were getting next to nothing...not even a dusting.  Then, a couple of days ago, the weather experts began hinting at a major storm, something that was going to drop more than a few inches on our neck of the wood. Dare we hope?

It started yesterday.  Conveniently enough everyone had the day off for President's yesterday.  After a pretty yummy breakfast and completing chores, I decided to take Superbug with me to run some birthday party and grocery errands before the snow started.  First stop was the Dollar Tree.  As previously mentioned, our theme is #MinnieSwank.  I don't really want to feature Minnie Mouse's face, but more her silhouette and a central pink and black theme.  I won't give away too many details right now, but I think we got off to a great start.
Dollar Tree score!!
Great favor idea!
We left the Dollar Tree and went over to Party City because I still needed table skirts.  I really love Party City, but I am not a huge fan of their prices.  Fortunately, I was able to find some really cute items that matched theme without being all Minnie focused and NOT breaking my budget.  I am super stoked about this event.  Satisfied with our haul, Superbug and I had originally planned to make two more stops.  The first was to be at the local grocery store.  They make the most amazing cakes even though it's "just a grocery store".  (Never judge a book by its cover).  Plus, I love this particular store's customer service.  I like to pick up little cakes and confections for various work functions.  They are always on time, friendly, and so helpful. Plus very reasonable.  I have used them for the last few of Superbug's class birthday celebrations.  So, the plan was to go to their store, order Honeybee's birthday cake, and then head to the grocery store.  But, as soon as we walked out of the Party City, there it was....SNOW....

Yes, the snow arrived early.  It was falling at a pretty frantic pace and I knew that we would have to go straight to the grocery store because people were going to panic.  I was right.  We pulled into the grocery store parking lot and there were people EVERYWHERE.  I mean it.  It was chaos....

SuperBug and I managed to get inside to get our few groceries and a promised toy for him that his grandparents had acquired via a gift card and came outside to a LOT of snow sticking to the parking lot and people not being nice as far as traffic was controlled.  I honestly don't know what it is about this area where one snowflake or drop of rain can cause a semi apocalypse.

Once safely in the car, I told Superbug we'd take the back way home as I didn't trust the main roads.  Turns out I was right.  I think I got two local traffic alerts on my phone about crashes that were now blocking the main artery home.  Ahh yes....snow.  Twenty minutes later (about ten minutes later than usual), we were pulling into the driveway and unloading the groceries and party supplies.

Once everything was unloaded FatherWinter asked if we'd made any plans for dinner.  I hadn't but was ready to cook something when FatherWinter asked if I would be so kind as to call the local sub place and place an order for pick up.  I looked at him questionably and he volunteered to pick the food up.  It was only five minutes up the road, but I was still nervous about it. I placed the order and was surprised when Superbug decided to accompany his dad back into the falling snow.  With the men going on their food run, I found myself extremely nervous and worried.  I was literally posted up at the window awaiting their return.

After what seemed like an eternity, my men were back.  I'd previously picked with FatherWinter about moving things around in the garage so my car could fit inside instead of just his car especially with the snow coming.  I was just teasing, but found it very sweet that immediately after arriving from their food run, FatherWinter moved moved some things around and brought my car inside.

After moving the car, FatherWinter and Superbug went outside to knock down some of the snow off the driveway before it got too high.  They hadn't even eaten the food yet, but made sure to take care of the driveway.  I love them!

The guys finally came in, got out of cold and damp clothes and bought the food inside.  We set everything up and then, in a rarity, the entire family piled in front of the family room television with our subs and chicken tenders and had a fantastic meal while watching Justice League.  It really was a great time.  After the movie was over, FatherWinter and I gave Superbug some free time play.  He asked if he could take his sister with him to play in the playroom.  We readily agreed.  I love the bond they share.

I'm in the habit of checking up on my little people, partly to make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing and partly to see the bond that my children share.  I like to stand off to the side and watch the kids watch TV together or play with blocks. Tonight, the kids were playing with toys.  Superbug had given her a huge Transformer and a box.  He's shown her if she tapped the box with the Transformer it made a noise.  So while he played with a separate Transformer beside her, she was tapping her box beside him.  Love their bond!!
Sibling bonds

Soon after that it was time for bed.  Looking out the window, I knew it was going to be a snow day for the kids and most certainly a work from home day for me.  I wasn't, however, really prepared for this beautiful sight when I woke this AM.

After a healthy breakfast, the boys were once again on shovel patrol, while I donned some heavy duty snow gear and introduced Honeybee to her first real snow day.

She was not impressed, lol.  As soon as she realized that the white stuff wouldn't let her crawl or stand, she was pretty much done lol.  She did enjoy sitting on the stoop watching Superbug and FatherWinter with shovel though.  

Very shortly thereafter, I realized that she was ready for a nap, so I took her inside, gave her a big lunch, and laid her down.  Once she was in her crib, I was able to log into my computer and start teleworking. It was about thirty minutes later when I received a call on the home phone from FatherWinter asking me to come out to see the job they'd done on the driveway.

SET-UP!  I knew it immediately lol.  So, I first went to the front door and opened it.  I didn't see FatherWinter or  Superbug.  Sigh... I knew what that meant.  I grabbed my boots and snow gear, got wrapped up, and made sure to cover my head.  I stepped outside and FatherWinter started telling me about their work.  Superbug was nowhere to be found which was why the snowball against my back didn't surprise me lol.

I immediately turned and engaged in a snowball fight with my son while my husband filmed.  I got the better of my son and then we made snow angels in the soft white fluff.  As we were in the molds, Superbug finally got me back with another snowball attack and FatherWinter joined in.  I imagine we made quite a sight to our neighbors rolling around in the snow.  But we didn't care.  We had a great time and were all very cold once we were complete.  FatherWinter even captured everything on camera.  Hopefully, he'll remember to share that with me so I may share with you guys.

After the battle, everyone doffed wet clothes at the door and came inside for pizza and mozzarella sticks. We started planning a CD for Honeybee's birthday party and discussed the fact that the schools have already issued closing information.

The rest of the day here has been pretty by the books.  We've watched movies, shared some bible study, and basically enjoyed each other's company.

Tomorrow, I will probably try and return to work.  Superbug will more than like accompany FatherWinter to work.  I will stop and get Honeybee's cake ordered and we can hope that we'll have a very great 1st Birthday party on Saturday.

We look forward to checking with you.

Have a great week!


Our Valentine's Day recap

Happy Monday!  I hope you weekend has been a great one for all of you.  It turned out to be a wonderful for our family.  True to post, Saturday morning I woke up early, went downstairs, and began cooking breakfast.  The french toast casserole was already pre-prepped, so I simply placed it in the oven.  The fruit salad took no time at all and the scrambled eggs and bacon were a wonderful staple.

Superbug had been most excited about this breakfast and when he came downstairs, he literally screamed with joy  Shortly behind him came my mother in law (who'd spend the night) and FatherWinter.  Everyone sat down and raved over how good everything was. Can I silently admit that made me feel better than any gift or trinket they could have purchased?  I love when my family enjoys things that I've worked hard to do for them.
French Toast Casserole
Anywho, the family enjoyed the meal and their place settings which featured golden mats with heart shaped boxes of chocolate on top of them.  After breakfast was over, I was just about to clear the table and clean the kitchen when NanaWinter announced that she would do it instead and that she would be watching Honeybee so that I could attend the Women Ministry Breakfast Fellowship at our church.  This particular meeting was slated for the Young Adult women (one of the ministries within our church) and NanaWinter wanted to be sure I was able to attend without being distracted.  I LOVE HER!

Honeybee's Valentine Balloon
I initially balked because I know how much she enjoys these meetings as well.  I told her I could easily stay home with Honeybee or even bundle her up and head with the guys to FatherWinter's church league basketball game.  NanaWinter wouldn't hear of it of course.  She made valid points that it was really much more frigid than she or I felt comfortable taking the baby out in.  She also made the point that the message for the breakfast would probably be more geared toward my generation than hers.  So, I decided to go.

FatherWinter and Superbug went to FatherWinter's game and I went to our fellowship meeting.  It really was an enjoyable time.  The guest speaker spoke on "When your flesh says YES and your spirit says NO".  She was a great speaker and very open about her own experiences.  I was glad to have had the opportunity to hear her.

When I returned home, NanaWinter and I conversed about the event and laughed discussing our favorite Valentine's memories. We then switched the conversation to how much older the guys are getting.  We were talking about aches and pains and as we were talking, FatherWinter and Superbug walked in.  It turns out despite a hard fight, the team lost.  After giving us a brief synopsis of the game, NanaWinter and I shared a smile because the entire story spoke of "we're old".

After the boys arrived, NanaWinter left and I was about to start prepwork on our annual Valentine's Day dinner when FatherWinter announced that he and Superbug were going to make it instead.  I have to admit...I was a bit worried.  My Winter men don't typically find themselves in the kitchen.  However. I was pleased just for their thinking of me.

So, while I busied myself with upstairs work, the boys left the house for "supplies".  A bit later, they returned and bid me go to the man cave and wait for them.  Superbug bounded into the room with a beautiful bouquet of tulips, followed by FatherWinter carrying a beautiful bouquet of roses.

Both of my guys wished me a Happy Valentine's Day and then bought in the meal they'd "prepared".

There is something wonderful about soul food that seems right whenever it appears!  We settled down as a family and watched a movie.  Everything was going great and wonderful..until our power went out.  Yep! Power went off.

The wind in our neighborhood was terrible on Saturday.  We had burn restrictions and wind warnings.  The wind chills were below zero.  It was very COLD!  So, the wind picked up and somewhere, for some reason, we lost power.  Not just us, but our entire street. Yep.  Fortunately for us, it was at the end of our movie and we had the emergency kits ready.

After walking through a very dark house, confirming it was secure, and making sure everyone had extra blankets on their beds, FatherWinter and I settled in to bed where he lamented not being able to share the last surprise for me--a bubble bath.  Awww.  I told him the sentiment and thought was more than enough for me.  But rainchecks are always in order ;)

All in all, it was a wonderful Valentine's Day and I'm so very glad that we were able to share it as a family. We did take a few pictures of Honeybee on this day that we'll hopefully be able to share in the future.  She really enjoyed her Valentine's Day.  FatherWinter as well.

Have a great evening

Of sickness and apologies (aka Worst mommy ever)

It wasn’t his fault—not really.  He’d only been trying to do what FatherWinter and I teach him. He was only trying to be a bit independent and handle those tasks that he was old enough to do.  It ended in a big mess, a frustrated sigh, and a lot of milk. 

Yesterday, while sitting at work, I suddenly got hit with a wave of nausea and fatigue.  It came out of nowhere and I simply was not prepared.  I felt hot and cold at the same time and I suddenly did not want to be bothered.  Like really didn't want to be bothered...

When one of my dear colleagues presented me with a ridiculously difficult task in a ridiculously short timeline, I was uncharacteristically gruff.  I didn’t mean to be, but I was and I wasn’t happy about it.  I worked the document still feeling awful until I realized that I didn’t have a choice.  I had to leave.  The family had a church leadership conference to attend that started at 7:30.  Here it was 5:30 and I’d not yet picked up Honeybee from the daycare nor prepped dinner for the meal.  So, I left, picked up my daughter, and went home.  When I walked through the door with a sleeping Honeybee, my Superbug greeted me with his cheery “Hi Mommy!”  I responded with a polite “Hi, sweetie”.  He knew something was wrong because it lacked energy and exuberance.  I told him that I wasn’t feeling very well and that I was going to go upstairs for a while.  I laid Honeybee in her crib and I went to the bedroom. 

FatherWinter was already there with blinds drawn, lights off, and in bed resting before we had to leave.  I decided I’d lie down for just a few moments, but as soon as I lay down FatherWinter asked me to turn the heat off downstairs.  I was immediately frustrated.  I wasn’t feeling well.  All I wanted to do was to rest, but I sighed loudly, went downstairs, turned off the heat, and began to cook dinner.
In the course of cooking, my stomach started rolling.  It was all I could do to keep myself focus and NOT go running back to the bed.  I managed to make a hamburger stroganoff and plate it for FatherWinter and Superbug.  I then went upstairs, washed, and got Honeybee.  The guys had finished their meals and we left for church—late.

Because I was still feeling so yucky, I was not talking.  I wasn’t chipper.  I wasn’t too happy about being outside in cold weather and certainly not happy about attending the church lecture series late.  However, when we walked in, it was awesome.  The speaker was amazing.  He was articulate, engaging, kept our attention, and stepped on our toes with good WORD.  He was a great teacher and I enjoyed listening to the lesson until Honeybee got antsy.  By now it was approaching her bedtime and she wanted nothing to do with sitting still and listening to someone talk, so I excused myself and went to our fellowship hall where I fed Miss Honeybee her baby food and a follow-up bottle.  When she was done, so to was the service L.

As I walked back into the sanctuary past the exiting crowds, the wave of nausea hit me again and instantly my mood soured.  I was ready to go, go like right now; but it wasn’t to be.  Yesterday was my father in law’s birthday.  He turned 67 years young.  He has truly had a blessed life and I was happy that he was able to see it.  However, I STILL wanted to go home.  FatherWinter, however, had other plans.  He arranged for the entire family including all available siblings in laws to go to IHOP.  It was now 9:30 p.m.  Work would need to be attended the next day.  SuperBug had school.  I still hadn’t eaten because the thought of doing so didn’t appeal to me and now, now at almost 10 p.m.my husband wanted to go to eat pancakes?!

NOT Happy. 

BUT I remember a conversation my husband and I had many months ago where we discussed sacrifice.  There is no guarantee that any of us will see another day, let alone another birthday.  Why not take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with someone to express how much you love them?  So, not feeling well at all, I and our family trudged to the local IHOP where we met up with sister in law and a couple of brother in laws. For two hours, I stayed quiet while they laughed and discussed football, basketball, Kobe, Lynch, Superbowl, and finally (when I could barely keep Honeybee from fretting), we left.  My in laws were very happy to have been loved and celebrated.  I was pleased to have been able to do so.  But make no mistake about it.  I still wasn’t feeling that well.
So, when we got home, I went inside, changed Honeybee into sleeping attire, brushed my teeth, and went to bed.  Head. Pillow. Out.  I barely remember FatherWinter giving me his goodbye kiss this AM.  When the light streamed through the blinds, I knew something was wrong.  Light streams through blinds way too late for that to be the first thing I notice when I awake.  I looked at the clock and saw 7:40!  I was supposed to have been up at 6AM!  I immediately grabbed my phone and was so angry at myself to see that I had forgotten to set the alarm on my phone.

I was also sorely disappointed to find that the nausea and lump of ugh in my belly feeling had not gone away.  I rushed into the bathroom, got ready, and rushed downstairs.  Immediately I was happy for two things (1) Honeybee would be at home with NanaWinter today so I could make up a bit of time getting to work since I didn’t have to drop her off and (2) SuperBug was up and functioning.  When I went downstairs, he gave his cheerful greeting and asked for cereal.  I reached up, grabbed the yellow box, and deposited it beside him.  I then realized that even though Honeybee would be with NanaWinter, she still needed to be fed and changed for her morning.  So, I left SuperBug downstairs and slowly climbed the steps and went to Honeybee’s nursery.  I still felt too sick to do pretty outfits this morning, so I put her in her purple sleeper and bought her downstairs to feed.  And stopped mid-step.

The kitchen was chaos.  I don’t know how I missed it last night, but there was a pan that had cooked the stroganoff still in the sink.  There was burned food on the stove that, again, I’d missed the evening before.  While Honeybee was waiting for her food to warm, I started scrubbing stovetops, pots, and plates left in the sink the evening before.  The timer dinged to let me know Honeybee’s food was ready.  I grabbed it and her and bought them to the family area so that she could eat.  As I did so, I was again hit with a massively sick feeling such that I was on the verge of vomiting.  I closed my eyes and realized things were taking a turn.

I was sitting at the table, sick as all get out, the craziness of the day surrounding me, Honeybee vocalizing she wants more to eat and I hear “Mommy, I don’t think I want all of this”.  I knew he wouldn’t want all of the cereal he’d poured.  It was way too much and I told him to just toss the leftovers.  That’s when it occurred.  As Superbug tried to move the overloaded bowl, he dropped Cheerios and milk everywhere.  It was on the newly cleaned stovetop, the floors, his clothes.  He was a mess.

I heard him say “I am sooo sorry” and I felt the sincerity of it.  I didn’t yell.  But I was terse.  I told him I would get it.  I told him to go upstairs and clean.  And I watched his little lip quiver and his eyes well up as he left the room.

Worst. Mommy. Ever. Sighhhhh…..

While Superbug was upstairs, I cleaned the mess, finished packing his lunch, and waited for him to come downstairs.  When he did, I asked him to come beside me.  I then knelt in front of him to get eye level and explained that Mommy was not upset at him.  I explained that I was frustrated because I was not feeling well and that I seemed to be a bit overwhelmed.  I told him that it was not his fault and he had done nothing wrong.  I told him that I loved that he wanted to be a big boy and help out and that I appreciated him and his thoughtfulness very much.  I told him that I loved him to the moon and stars and back and that I always would.  And then, I told him that I was very, very, very sorry that I’d hurt his feelings and caused him to think that I was upset with him.  I reached out and gave him the biggest hug that I could possibly manage.  And he returned the same.

Later, after I was on the road driving to the office, still feeling poorly, I found myself extremely sad.  I’d hurt my little one’s feelings and I didn’t mean to at all.  All day long that feeling stayed with me.  It was the feeling that I’d hurt someone, not just anyone, but my firstborn, my heartstring.  I was ashamed and knew that even in sickness my being short with him was not a fair response.
When the work day ended, I rushed home, but wasn’t greeted with my usual “hi Mommy” and I was worried.  It was okay.  He was upstairs and hadn’t heard me arrive.  As soon as he knew I was home, there were hugs and kisses and stories about the day.  When I reminded him again that I was very sorry about being so short with him that morning, he simply shrugged it off. 

“It’s okay, Mommy.  You weren’t feeling well and you apologized.  So, it’s okay. Thanks for saying sorry though”

I love that kid.  Seriously, I love my son.  I’m so glad he is who he is and his heart is as big as it is.  I pray he never changes.

So, here we are tonight preparing to hear another night of the leadership series.  While I’m still not feeling the best (more tired than anything), I’m hoping tonight will be less stressful.  I have one stop to make (Valentine’s Day cards for class), but other than that; it should be a pretty good night.

Talk to you soon, family.


Next up...Birthday central...

Ah boy. We are rapidly approaching the time of this month that can drive me a bit batty.  There are a bunch of family events coming up and because I love to make people smile, I'm hoping this year won't be an exception.

First up is Valentine's Day.  In traditional circles, Valentine's Day has always been a more feminine-driven holiday where women get catered to in a bevy of chocolates and roses.  Well, I have a tendency to walk to the beat of my own drum, so I like to make Valentine's Day special for those I love.  That means I create beautiful tablescapes, enjoyable culinary experiences, and thoughtful gifts.  Or at least I try to.  Last year was perfect! I planned a beautiful surprise for them.
This year, things are going to be a bit..er..exhausting.  My father in law's birthday is a few days BEFORE Valentine's Day.  Not a problem.  The family typically likes to gather together for a celebration.  It's a minimum of 28 of us at any birthday function.  We have to call ahead for a large place setting and then wait until every member of our party is there before seating.  If someone is running late....sigh...

Then there is FatherWinter's birthday, which occurs a few days after Valentine's Day.  Yep.  A FEW days AFTER Valentine's Day.  Not a surprise.  It's been this way since my days of courtship with FatherWinter, so I'm not unprepared except for one thing.  Our Honeybee's first birthday is the day AFTER FatherWinter's.  Yep.  You read that right.  Back to back to back events.  (insert scream of horror here)

So what does that mean?  It means I'm going to be putting the event planning skills I learned in college to good use.

I can't do much about my father in law's birthday.  We never know where we are going until the day of because it has to correspond with his schedule.  So, we may do it on a weekend or we may celebrate on his actual day.  No telling there.  We just have to be as flexible as possible.

The plan for Valentine's Day is simple.  Since it is on a Saturday this year (woohoo!), I'm waking the family up with a Valentine's breakfast complete with recipes from my favorite sites and blogs.

Paula Deen's Baked French Toast
Casserole with Maple Syrup
Fruit Salad from Allrecipes.com
Photo courtesy Abigail's Kitchen.
But I'm making my own version
Afterwards, there is a church league basketball game for FatherWinter.  We'll attend that as a family. Afterwards, I want to try and make the rest of the day nice for the family. Valentine's Day lunch will be wraps and salads with Valentine cupcakes.  I'm not yet sure what's going to happen for dinner, but either I will prepare (and if I do, I'm going for surf and turf) or we will go out together.  Seafood is at the top of my mind though as I REALLY have a taste for crab cakes.  But hubs is a meat-meat man, so I'm thinking crab cake, a nice steak from a favorite restaurant (I'd rather leave it to the professionals), a nice spring salad, mashed potatoes, and a Valentine's day surprise (his mother's peach cobbler).  Shhhh.....

So, I've locked on the Valentine's Day stuff in my head, but the following weekend is Honeybee's birthday party.  We've spoken of a few of the details.  I'm looking forward to coming to the birthday location early for decorations.  I found an awesome sale online last night from Cookieskids.com.  I purchase a couple of really cute and inexpensive dresses from the site and will have a couple of surprises for Honeybee to open on her birthday. She is still so small for her age, but so very feisty as well.  The dresses chosen will more than match her personality--cute and bold :)

I am still holding mental hands with my sisterfriend at FlourishingHope.  She'll be helping me with some of the more intricate details (like everything haha).  I just hope I don't scare her off...

Just a bit of inspiration...calm down...calm down....

I really just want everyone to come and have a great time and celebrate wonderful meetings with Honeybee.  Prayerfully, she will one day be able to look back at this birthday beside FatherWinter, Superbug, and I and know that she has always been loved and cared for, and that her milestones are ALWAYS cause for celebration.  :)

Now, I have one more quandary.  What on earth to do for FatherWinter's birthday?

I wanted to go all out and plan a massive surprise party!  BUT FatherWinter nixed that one. Sigh.  So, I went with plan B.  I've contacted his favorite baker and she is preparing to bake him a cake. I'm also going to be presenting him with several of his favorites, so these guys will be making an appearance:

IHOP Omelette
Full Rack Baby Back Ribs
Macaroni and Cheese
A bit of coleslaw will accompany and then we'll cap everything off with his special birthday cake. As for gifts? That night, I am presenting him with three very special gifts.  But I can't tell you what they are just in case some of the family read the site and accidentally tell him.  Hopefully, if all goes as planned, I'll be able to share them with you later!

All in all, it's going to be quite interesting.  FatherWinter is very appreciative for everything he receives, but he likes what he likes. So anything to keep him smiling is a boon for us.  (Plus, our family is super competitive.  I have to bless him with a birthday on par or better than what he did for me last year). 

Looks like our household is going to be jumping for a while.  I wouldn't have it any other way!
I'm looking forward to the journey and the challenge...and of course sharing it with you all.

Hope to write you soon!


71 degrees...we'll take it.

What a really awesome day was had by our family.  We woke up this morning and were excited to hear on the news that it would close to 70 degrees today.  We went to our church's early morning service, ate breakfast, and attended Sunday school.  There was a wonderful discussion about loving our neighbors and the parable Jesus told the Pharisees about the Good Samaritan.  It was such a great discussion and I really enjoyed being a part of it.  I had no knowledge that I would be putting that instruction into use so soon.

After returning home and completely the day's chores, I suggested a walk around the neighborhood.  What a great idea that turned out to be. It seemed like everyone had the same idea as we did and were out grilling, flying kites, or simply enjoying the day.  We walked to the park--FatherWinter, SuperBug, Honeybee, and I. It was such a nice day.

Working on their handles before taking it to the court.
FatherWinter and SuperBug played basketball for a bit working on handles and playing.  Then, SuperBug decided to try and play with some of the older teens.  I am always a cautious mother and wanted to tell him to come away, but the kids were very nice.  They let him shoot the ball and would wait until after he shot to continue their game.  They were so very cordial and I was very happy he got to enjoy the playground.  While we were at the park, we had the opportunity to meet some of our neighbors.  We spoke of the upcoming events, received information about her eczema and a possibly useful salve should her flares become unbearable like this summer, and discussed changes we would love to see in our community (i.e. new grocery stores, clubhouse, etc.).

FatherWinter and I tossed the football around and Honeybee took in all the sights.

After the playground, we decided to walk the short distance to my honorary parents home.  It's awesome that they live in the adjoining subdivision because it's much easier to visit and spend time with them.  We arrived at the house and spent some time just enjoying their company.  My honorary parents have an adorable little puppy.  He was super excited to see new guests, but Honeybee was so frightened of him!!  She can't walk yet, but she was certainly trying to climb the walls as he would excitedly come over to sniff her.  She was not having it!  We found it amazing that she can be so close and loving with our feline fur babies and so completely uncomfortable around the puppy.  Superbug loved him, of course.  That wasn't the only surprise of the evening.  We also found it amazing that it was several degrees warmer on their street than it was on ours.  It's funny how the geographic landscape works like that!

It should be stated that the interactions with her grandchildren were a welcome distraction for my honorary mother.  On yesterday, our families attended the funeral of a beautiful young woman who was called home after a lengthy illness.  My honorary mother and she shared quite a few trials and achievements together.  Her passing was very hard on her and her grandchildren were a wonderful blessing today.

Today, after we laughed with the family and enjoyed their company, it was time for us to walk back home.  It was a nice walk and an enjoyable time with the family.  Once we made it home, we had a pretty good dinner and everyone else is now resting...preparing diligently for tomorrow.

As I watch the news tonight, it seems the temperature reached 71 degrees.  It was such a blessing and the time out and enjoying the company of each other was certainly appreciated.  It won't last this week though.  By Friday, the temperatures should be back in the low 30s.  Sigh....you really do have to love this weather.

Have a great night everyone.


Playing Catch Up

Yep, things have been more than a bit busy around our way lately.  I have been trying to share some of our family doings for a while now, and truthfully; I’ve just been too tired to share.  Forgive me for that one.  Because I know there are some family and friends from afar who use this blog as a “what’s going on” board, let me see if I can play catch up.

Welcoming the newest member.  A few days ago, we were able to post a picture of the newest addition to the family.  Both mommy and daughter are still doing well.  FatherWinter and Superbug saw her on her first day home.  As Honeybee still had a bit of green mucus, I decided not to go.  I can’t wait to hold and love her though!  She’s such a big baby already!

SuperBowl .  In true Winter family tradition, the family gathered at one of the siblings homes and watched SuperBowl.  It was a nice time for the most part…minus that last play.  (REALLY?!) 

Only two people of the 20 or so gathered were cheering for the Patriots, so every other face in the place ended up looking like this…

(Thanks, Clark Mitchell and Chat Sports for the swipe)

Yeah, it was a shocking development.  I heard on the news this morning that the Seahawks coach says he wakes up at night thinking of that call and that play.  Hmmm….I bet he does. 

I think one of the highlights of the game for some of the guys was the Katy Perry halftime show.  I mean, it was pretty okay.  I liked the “lion” moving across the ground with the team and her roar, but this show wasn’t my favorite in SuperBowl performances.  I think the highlight for me was seeing Missy Elliot.  I had fun reliving some high school and college moments with her appearance.  It was all blue and gold and band dances for a moment...
...sorry, marching band flashback.  Thanks for letting me see how the new heads do it now that I've flown the coop :)

But still, I think the show was just okay.  (Don’t go off on me, Perry fans.) Katy is a super talented artist, but I think she and her performance was a “safe” choice for a sporting event that has seen more than it cares to remember in the way of controversy (a la Janet Jackson anyone). 
Overall, it was a pretty good night for family, food, and fellowship. 

2nd Semester Awards.  On last Friday evening, Superbug came home with a letter informing us that he would be receiving an award for the 2ndSemester on the following Monday.  He was very excited as he has been working very hard this semester.  All weekend long, he reminded me of the ceremony and was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it.  Fast forward to Monday morning and I awoke about 20 minutes earlier than I usually do so that I could make sure everything and everyone was ready to leave the house on time.  Instead of allowing Superbug to catch the bus, I drove him to school and then drove Honeybee to her daycare.  I immediately dropped her off and then returned to the school to watch the awards ceremony with 15 minutes before start time!  Woo hoo!
A couple of weeks ago, Superbug’s class had to learn portions of famous speech’s.  Superbug decided to learn the 2nd half of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.  I was unable to hear him recite the speech (which was so sad for me), but was pleased that he was the only student in the class to receive a 4 (highest) on his speech!  As the awards ceremony began, I was surprised to see my Superbug on stage with three of his peers reciting the speech.  Superbug had the hand motions, the articulation, and the voice control down!  I was SO proud of him!  I couldn’t stop snapping pictures!
After the recitation, the third grade teachers handed out earned semester awards.  These awards focus on the core character values taught at the school.  I was very pleased and humbled when Superbug received the Helping Hands award.  According to his teacher, Superbug has a massive heart and is always the first to help teacher, staff, or student.  He goes out of his way to make life easier for everyone else.  She spoke other very kind words about him as well.  I was SO very, very proud of him again.  He’s only 8, but he already has so much love in his heart.  He puts me to shame sometimes J .

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and give glory to your Father which is in heaven (KJV) .  That’s our Superbug to the letter.

1st Birthday Party.  Yep, I’m super excited.  Our Honeybee is about to turn 1!  In a previous post, FatherWinter calmed down a massive planning.  So, I’ve adjusted fire and we’re still doing a nice birthday party with pink and black d├ęcor and color scheme.  Think Minnie Mouse meets chic fashion.  Yeah, it all works in my head!
Pinterest and Vistaprint have been great helps.  The board has given me some great ideas and my fellow blogger @FlourishingHope has been wonderful in the encouragement and creativity department!
No, Honeybee's name isn't Rylee, but isn't this
a cute cake?!

Honeybee will have a host of her family and friends at the event.  We’re even including her Interim Infant Care family and her social worker Ms. Care.  I can hardly wait to share pictures of the day.  I’m still disappointed that we can’t share photos of her face from that day, but it will still be fun to show everything else.

The Hearing.  From my previous post, you know that Honeybee’s TPR Appeal trial was continued until some legal requests from the judge and GAL could be fulfilled.  The wait is excruciatingly long AND each day there is something else to thin about with regard to the hearing.  Today, Ms. Care contacted us to inform us that this may not be an over and done with hearing come the continuance date in the Spring.  Without getting involved in all of the legal and personal information related to our Honeybee, a legal intent statement was via email today that completely set my mind in a different and none to pleased place. 
It likewise caused Ms. Care to be extremely frustrated.  It is very frustrating to know that you love your child so much, are giving them everything they need, some of the things they want, and have been doing so since shortly after their birth, but someone else who has never even seen or acknowledged your child has the ability to cause so much strife.  Sigh, you all keep praying for us.  This road is stressful to say the least.  I know that whatever the outcome, God will have his glory, but I would be lying if I said my thoughts have always been butterflies and rainbows.  Sometimes I’m just so frustrated that I find myself wishing it was already done by now.  But I know there is a blessing within every struggle.  I’m just tired of walking in that struggle.
Hopefully and prayerfully, this will come to a resolution in a few months.  In the mean time, we're going to continue to love Honeybee as best as we know how...with all of us.
We hope you have a great evening and check back soon.  Plenty of upcoming things in our Winter family.  Keep us in your prayers please.