Monday, December 24, 2007


This year I'm experiencing my own version of "A Christmas Story". You know the movie..."You'll shoot you're eye out!"

So, normally on Christmas when we don't go back North, we go to dinner on Christmas Eve with Matt's sister's family and then we get with them on Christmas Day for a big lunch.

Not so shockingly...she called me Sunday night to tell me that her daughter had just started throwing up.

Great. I swear...the illness is relentless down here!

So, tonight we headed out solo to our favorite Chinese Bistro..PF Changs...and had chinese food for Christmas Eve. Our waiter was highly amused that we'd found our way there after a Christmas disappointment and in his pity, he gave us free stuff.

We are officially "just us" this year. We have big plans of staying in our pj's all day and eating! I'm sending half of our food to Matt's sister smothered in complete compassion for what she's going through. Eh....

Then, maybe we'll do something crazy like see a movie tomorrow night?!? I guess it's totally up to us?!?


To my family back home and my sweet BFF...I miss you all so much and hope your day is really great. If you feel an unexplained sense of's not that you need more pie-it's my absence! :)

Love you guys!

Me, getting attacked by the boys when they opened up their Christmas pajamas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Family Christmas Movie

Well, today was our 4th annual Family Christmas Movie Day.

We've sort of made a little tradition that on our Christmas school break...right before Christmas, we take the boys out to a movie and an expensive dinner.

Two weeks beforehand, I make special invitations and leave them for each family member and in them they find the date for the special day and that family member's special job for the day. (Pick the movie, pick the restaurant, pick the after dinner desert and game, and of course, the BIG one...pick the movie snacks!)

I know alot of families probably take their kids to movies and dinner all the time but really...this is the only time of year we can afford to do the whole big deal. I'm happy about that, though. It makes it really special for the kids.

I wish there always was a great Christmas movie out that we can take the kids to but many years we have to hope and settle on just the latest release. This year we found one of the last theaters showing the "Bee Movie". We had to drive a bit to get to it but it was worth it. Really cute.

Afterwards we went to Carrabas to eat (this year it was MY job to pick! Yeah!). And now the boys are hovered over a gingerbread house and I'm watching "Little Women".

I'm learning to lower my expectation over the holidays and just enjoy those few moments that seems so special. Who knows what the next hour will bring? For now...the Christmas spirit is in full bloom at our house and I'm thankful for that!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No One To Deck The Halls...

...Of our school.

So, the germ of the century appears to have invaded our school. I've been told not to despair-this is actually probably going on in every school but to me, it just feels personal.

Josiah apparently has caught the same bug as me.

Yesterday and last night he threw up for 17 straight hours. It was horrible. I just kept thinking, "This will be the last time...SURELY this will be the last time!"

I called the doctor today and he put him on a medication to stop the vomiting so he could drink. Thank the Lord for this medication. It totally worked. I was freaking out this morning, trying to figure out how I was going to get the meds with this sick baby and Matt had the insurance card 30 minutes away in a Math class..and I needed other grocery items....AHHH!

I called a CVS with a drive through and was pleased to hear the voice of one of our Prasso students on the other end. She totally bumped my prescription to the front, dealt with the insurance and then took my grocery list and shopped for me to have things waiting at the drive through when I came. Providence.

Oh...and the CVS is right beside Starbucks so I got the meds and an Eggnog Latte. A latte can heal a multitude of concerns and get an exhausted mom through a long day.

Poor baby...He has to miss his first class Christmas party tomorrow and I was suppose to help host Sam's at another mom's house. My e-mail tonight let me know that Sam's party is now at the school "due to sickness at the Gray's house".

Ah-oh. Another one bites the dust.

So many kids are sick and I'm glad for the break. I never thought I'd say this but...we need to let things die at school!

If you pray (notice I'm desperate. At this point, I'll take prayers from ANYONE!) Pray for Sam not to get it. With his blood sugar stuff, this will land him in the emergency room. I don't want him to suffer and I don't want to spend Christmas in the hospital!

Are you guys healthy?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sweet Boy

Okay...this is like the sweetest thing I've heard in a long time. My husband posted it on his blog and I loved it! If you're a mommy-get your kleenex box ready!

This is Logan's Theology Lesson. A little boy in Texas that called into a radio show to share some thoughts. Steph, you'll love's all about his favorite pet.

It's not long...Enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

School Christmas Party

Thankfully by Friday night my appetite had returned from the "bug" and I was ready to party!

I love our school. Seriously, I work with some of the kindest, sweetest people around. Salt of the earth. I enjoy them so much and they are quickly becoming family to us. They think Matt is so cool and that brings me real joy. Mostly because I've always known how cool he really is and it's great that all on their own, they've discovered it too!

We will spend Christmas night with my friend Maria and her family and I'm expecting a great time!

(Me and Maria)

So, my boss treated us to a fancy dinner which is REALLY appreciated by a room full of poor Christian school teachers who have to save up just to go to Chick-fil-a!

(Matt, Jill...our administrator, and Me)

We all put it down! Everyone looked so pretty all dressed up and my table was full of my colleagues that work on my side of the school. Fun, Fun, Fun.

(Me and Sarah..Jo's teacher that works next door to my classroom.)

I can't wait until next year already!

(Doesn't Matt look SO nice? I will NOT tell you what a drama it was to get this guy dressed up! Ridiculous. If you make it this far on this post then please send a "Compliment Comment" to my hubby so he will know how nice it is for a wife to see her husband dressed in something other than a ripped up flannel!)

The Bug

After the parade I caught the infamous "Bug" that is travelling around our school. me, "bug" doesn't describe it. "Bug" implies germ but seems so harmless.

This is not what I encountered.

I don't know...maybe if I knew more deadly bugs it would feel accurate?

4 days. That's how long I was away from school. Two of those days I seriously have only a ten minute recollection of.

This was actually WORSE than the Easter bug that took out 18 of my family members at one time a few years ago. Yes, Jules....I said WORSE. All I could think of was crawling into my sister's room in '04 and being sick with her on the floor. I wanted to call you, Julie but when I tried to hold a glass of water and dropped it on my blanket, I was too sick to get up and get a new one. I laid ALL DAY under a wet blanket.

Having my Mom's mentality that you should be dying to miss work, I tried to go in three days into it and when I turned the corner to tell my boss I had decided to come in, she immediately told me to "get out-go home"

I busted into tears....the last bit of liquid left in my body.

They tried to get me to the hospital for an IV but I declined, promising to drink something.

I think I seriously have post-traumatic stress from the whole thing. I'm very afraid of getting it again. It was really bad.


Harmlesses On Parade

Two Saturdays ago, we got asked to ride along in a local parade and promote our school. I've never been in a parade before so it left me wandering what it might be like??

Total blast. Of course you have to factor in that my little family idles at "crazy" so we really hammed it up (I DID do the princess wave!). Matt worked the crowd and was, as usually-a total hit. Parents and children alike seem to love him.

Afterwards we all hit the local Mexican restaurant and had a little "Parade Party".

Really...we are dorks but we're dorky together and that's what counts!

Scarey Santa Matt yelling "Ho, Ho, Ho!"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

First Annual Ornament Exchange

My church has these ornament groups.

I guess the first one was started some ten or so years ago. 8-10 women get together and for some time beforehand, you are required to make a homemade ornament for all of the other people in your group. You get some sort of predetermined menu and talk...while exchanging your gifts.

You're lucky if you can get in to one of these groups. They fill up fast and unless someone moves or quits, there are no open spots. You do have the choice of starting one of your own group but...ehhh...who wants to go to that trouble?!?

It's very depressing every year to know everyone is taking off for their party and you're not in a group. It's similar to high school. Thus, I responded as a 10th grader:

Whining, complaining, pouting, griping, accusing...etc,etc,etc. ANYTHING to send the point that I NEEDED to be included!

Well, this year I got the grand invitation! A new group was started and while I'd never met the lady that developed the group she said when she started putting out feelers for who to invite, my name kept coming up in EVERY conversation!

Hmmm...go figure!

Well, I only spent about 10 minutes doing my ornaments before I wanted to quit! I'm not so crafty anymore and the pressure to make something clever or cute or just transportable was intense! I was completely stressed.

I have been studying the various names of God with the boys this year and so I decided to make "Names of God" ornaments. A good buddy of mine ordered the lettering for them and Matt and I attempted to paint the inside of the glass ornaments. This is not as easy as some might think. Long story...One for another day.

Needless to say, I finished them and made my way to the party with Amy.

It was great. I met a BUNCH of new women who I instantly felt close to. Each ornament was unique to everyone's personality and I ended up with 10 really great pieces for my tree.

The most special part of the evening was getting to know my friend Monica better. Monica is fighting stage four lung cancer and although she spent the day dealing with a new difficult diagnosis, she still loaded up her handmade ornaments and laughed the night away with us. She is lovely...that's the only way I know to describe her. I made Monica her own individual ornament with the name "Yahweh Rophe" which means "The God Who Heals."

Monica is a mom that is my age with small kids. To look at her situation, one shudders to make sense of it all and imagine how they would deal with it. I choose to not look at what is happening to her but at the God who is allowing it. He is good and right and just and He only does what is best for His kids. Monica's presence alone reminded me of what Christmas is really about. The nearness of God in our lives, giving us a hope in spite of our pain.

My ornament group. Another blessing from God affirming I'm right where I need to be for now.


Prasso #7 down...

Last night was the last evening of this fall's session.

Loved my buddies that facilitated other groups.

Loved it..loved it...loved it.

This term's group. Cara is to my right and she is my new walking buddy and chiropractor. We should not have been allowed to sit together! I'm suppose to maintain some sort of credibility as a group leader but she brings out the worst in me!

Me and Linda...Long time leader (aka: Butt kicker)

Me and sweetest other mom

Me and Cathy..she co-led with me.
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Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Life In A Snapshot


This is a common occurrence on Charity's blog when her life becomes fast and furious and there is little time or energy to update. Days and days with no post and then 25posts ALL IN A ROW! But I decided to condense it all into one blog with pictures of what life has been these past few weeks.

Dad is feeling better and even found the gumption to climb in the car and join me for Thanksgiving. I felt a little bad for agreeing because it was obvious that he still didn't feel well but we recently decided that we won't be able to come home for Christmas so I'm thankful for the quality time together. I'm hoping it lasts through the next holiday but...well...I have my concerns.

We have had a ton of things going on from holiday parties to sicknesses to school events. I can't seem to keep up with the calendar as the days seem to soar by. My mind has been focusing on keeping up with all the events and it doesn't seem to be letting up any time soon. Three more holiday parties in the next couple of weeks, my first ornament exchange, one Christmas program, a baby shower and work, work, work. Besides this, The Harmless family has "gone green" in the past couple of months and I'm attempting new grocery skills and recipes with organic and local, farm fresh items. I may address this later in another blog as it has been challenging but fun to see if I could succeed in feeding my family in a more healthy, safe way on our teeny budget!

(...I feel a book in the works!)

So, here is our last couple weeks in a nutshell of pictures. I'm not posting any of the all-nighter that we did for our high school but it was alot of fun and completely unreasonable at our age! How did we ever do this year to year?

Oh and HUGE NEWS FLASH...Josiah is reading. Whole Books. Several sentences on each page. He's also doing double digit math! This is totally amazing as he couldn't identify ONE LETTER when he started school in September. Not "A" or "B"...Nada. They are awesome at his school. And Sam made the all A honor roll. So proud of both of my brainiacs!

If you're reading (after weeks of my absence!)..send me a note and say "hi!". I'm feeling the whole homesick thing and it will be good to hear from you guys!


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The Girls at our Annual Shepherding Group Christmas Dinner. So Fun!

My two sick boys...both home with bad colds all in one day!

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Sweet Josiah on Thanksgiving Day.

Poor Dad! Still willing to carve the turkey despite being sick!
Mom and Sam

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My table all ready for Turkey Dinner.

Josiah...trying to distract Mom so He and Matt could still some turkey!

Sam and the boys in his class at their Thanksgiving Party.

Me and Mom on Thanksgiving Day

Pilgrim Jo

Jo's Class and behind him..the rest of our the Thanksgiving feast.

Me and Sarah..Jo's teacher and my good buddy.

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Theresa, Me and Beth...the school Librarians.