Sunday, December 27, 2009


Okay, now everyone with me, take a deep breath -'s over! :D Christmas festivities came to a close tonight with the celebration in Walnut Grove. It's been a wonderful Christmas season. Quite out of the ordinary, all around. Let me give you a little run down of the last week...
We started out on the 20th with Kelly's folks and brother's group. It was a quiet and peaceful evening. The kids of course opened their presents, and we adults enjoyed watching them play and share together. We usually spend Christmas Eve with the Quinn's, but Tiffany was scheduled for induction on the 23rd. We wanted her to enjoy the night, and not make the kids wait till after the baby got here.
I went to get my nieces, Molly and Emmalea, Tuesday night. They were going to stay with us while Mommy and Daddy went to get the baby from the hospital. ;) It's the first time I've kept Emma Lou, and she did great. She and Caleb are very close, but fight pretty good at times. They both like to be in charge! Mommy delivered HAILEY ANNE QUINN Wednesday evening, and came home late Christmas Eve. We had had a very busy week by this point, and Kelly made the decision that we were staying home for the evening - bypassing the Christmas Eve Service at Evergreen. I was very disappointed, but ended up having a great night with just Kelly and the kids. We had Santa arrive a little earlier this year with our family gift, and we played our new Wii on our new big screen tv all evening! YAY!! We ended the night with the Christmas story from Luke, and tucked the kids in so Santa would be able to bring the rest of their things. I know, lucky ducks, right? Two deliveries from Santa in one night?!? Well, there are perks when HoHo is your uncle! ;D
Christmas morning dawned earlier than it ever had in our children's lives. Kelly and I made the mistake this year of commenting on the fact that our kids always slept in on Christmas morning. We told them we could remember waking our parents up before the sun came up and beg to start opening presents. Well, they thought it sounded great, and they were on our bed at 5 AM!! (Stupid, stupid, stupid Mom and Dad!!) I got up with them and let them open their stockings. We couldn't get Kelly up for that round, so I begged off and went back to bed. They had plenty of new things to play with, and they let me go back to sleep till about 8. We then all got up and had a great time opening and giving gifts.
We did not get to see my extended Craker side this year, only the second time in my entire life that that has happened. I thought I would be sad, and I was - a little. However, the day turned out to be great. My parents and sister Ariel and her clan came out to play the Wii at our house, and it was a lot of fun. We laughed till we hurt! Even Paige and Caleb got in on the action - hysterical!! If you ever need a good laugh, put two toddlers on a Wii balance board and listen to all the adults and kids yell, "Left! Left! No, your other left!!" I should remind you that Paige is 3 and Caleb is 1 - they barely know their body parts, let alone their left from right! LOL!
Yesterday, we celebrated with Kelly's mom's family in Branson. Nearly everyone was in attendance, so it was quite a group. Even my 3 day old niece, HAILEY ANNE, made her debut, making the Hartzell clan number 39! We met Kelly's cousin Stacey's boyfriend Kyle for the first time, and I don't THINK we scared him off...we'll just have to wait and see! :) My M-I-L and her siblings offered to watch all their grandkids so us cousins could go out and have some fun. We went out for a while, but ended up at Matt and Angel's house to play cards and catch up in a quieter environment. It's so fun to see how this group has changed. Some of the cousins weren't even in their teens when I came into the family. Now they are grown men and women with their own lives, starting families and serving our country. I'm so blessed to have this family. We joke, we fight, we love each other fiercely. As Kyle said last night as a newcomer - "You guys are tight." He has no idea, yet!
Mom and Dad/Meemaw and Papa's house was today. Gma and Gpa (my mom's parents) were there, as well as us 3 sisters and our families. All except my beautiful nieces Allison and Madison, who are in Idaho with their Dad. They are always missed. It was a great day, and we started making plans for New Year's Eve - can you believe it's only 4 more days till 2010? I am in amazement at how fast this year has gone.
It's been great, but I'm pooped. I'm ready to join Santa to "settle in for a long winter's nap". Merry Christmas, everyone! May God bless you in the new year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Addition...

So, if all goes well, in about 12 hours or less, I will have a new niece or nephew! Yay! I have my beautiful nieces, Molly and Emmalea, here with us tonight, and I so enjoy them! They are precious girls, and I love having time with them. The six of them are having a great time having a campout in the living room and watching Diego, and jumping on the hide a bed - which, by the way, they aren't supposed to be doing! ;D But, hey, it's a sleepover, right?!?
How many of you had family get togethers that inevitably ended in sleepovers? I know our family had plenty. I'd pretend to fall asleep in my cousin Ryan's room, just hoping Mom would let me stay the night. I think just about every weekend was spent either at our house or theirs. Such great memories, and I want my kids to have those same kinds of memories with all of their cousins. I know I should have them in bed right now, but I am just enjoying their giggles and fun as much as they are!
Their lives are about to turn upside down - in a good way, of course. But nevertheless, it's going to be different. Every new addition changes the dynamic of a family. There are new schedules to manage, new needs to be met, and most of all, a new somebody to love and care for. They are spread farther apart than my first 3 are, and I managed fine. But my heart still goes out to Tiff right now. I know all you moms out there understand what I mean. I wouldn't change any of it now that I can look back on all of it, but it's still such a time of craziness that you sometimes feel like you are losing your mind. There will be times that the girls will feel left out, or pushed aside, and I truly feel that it's my job to give that extra hug, or take that extra trip to McDonald's with them, or have that extra sleepover night. It's a job I'm thrilled to have, because Tiff did it for me. And I know our family is closer for it.
I can't wait to hold the new little one!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No real subject. just need to vent. Sorry for the rant. Don't even bother reading this, it won't make sense to you. Well, maybe one of you will get it, but my apologies to the rest of you. I'm warning you now, to not waste your time, because it is truly nonsensical and just getting my frustrations out so I don't actually let words come out of my mouth that I will regret later...
please disregard all typos and such, because i'm not in the mood. I dont get why I have to - no wait. that is not how I want to start.
I don't know how to be the bigger person. I try. I really do. But every time my featheres get ruffled, I can only sit there for so long befor I start squawking. I know that's not going to make sense to most, but I just don't know how to get this off my chest in a decent way withough bfeeling bad later. I just want to hid in a hole and be an only child or an orphan or both. It's so hard to be a family member in this family sometimes. I feel like I'm so very different from them and they never understand my perspective. that I have to apologize forwho I am, and for who my kids are. Why???? Noone else have to apologize for who they are, or for who their children are. So why are mine picked out like this?/??? I don't feel like I favor my kids over the others. On the contrary, I feel like I look over MANY events so save one from the yelling from his parents.
I under stand my oldest so well. I don't always agree with his behavior, or approve of it. But I see myslef in him. He wantes everything to be fair, he wants to explain/justify his every move and every decision. When sometimes jus a simple apology will make everything better. It usually meands justice and fairness will be ignored, but at least peace would be restored for a (very) short time. I'm the same way. I want every minute detail accounted for, every step of the process noted, then we can get down to business. His "Yes, ma'am, but..." that gets him in trougble even with me me. His desire to explain his side comes across as back talk or disrespect, when I know it's not intended to be. I know this because I was exactly the same way. On the other hand, I know I should tell hime to respect whatever adult is getting on to hime by just aplolgizing, but his tendency to want fairness and justice is so like me, that I find it hard not to listen.
She basically said tonight that mine get away with everything and use hers as the fallguy. That they pick on him and bully him and get away with it. Really? So why does this not come up in other relationships? I don't have any of the people who are with them the MOST say anything remotely like this. And what's worse, when HE backed her up! Was I surprised? NO, not at all. Did it hurt? Heck, yeah, it did. If we could have a moment where he praised or complimented me or any of my kids, I think I would seriously have a heart attack. I flat out said, it didn't matter the situation, I'd be the bad one (or my kids would be) every time in his AND her mind.
I know a lot of the problem is the way we've let our kids play. DH is SUPER into roughousing and wrestling. It almost always ends up in tears. Do I approve? Of course not. Would I rather they play quietly and safely? Definitely. But I'm glad he plays with them at all, so I try not to complain too much. I know the boys get rowdy, and somebody usually ends up hurt. But if it's mine, I tell them to suck it up. If it's somebody else's, I look like the parent with the unruly kids. 9 times out of 10, though, it's one of mine hurt. So what do I do?
I sat them all down tonight at bedtime and talked to them about respect. Respect for adults and respect for your friends. It's not a good quality trait, and not very Christian to look at every situation and think about self-preservation first. About not having to justify yourself all the time and simply apologizing. I hope it sinks in. I am so not looking forward to the 28th now, though. I let her vent and hopefully she feels better. I for one don't. :(

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Couple's weekend

Aaaaaaaaah-mazing! That's all there is to say about it! This was the first time since we've become parents that we've gone away for the weekend. There's only been a few times that either of us have been away from all the kids at once. I think we've only had all four of them gone overnight one time. It was a long awaited getaway, and it didn't disappoint!
I can't tell you how great it was to get away with our best friends and just relax. We got to eat a nice dinner and take our time. We went to see one of my husband's musical icons in concert. We went back to the hotel and visited till 2 in the morning. We had uninterrupted adult time. He held the door open for me. He helped me into my coat. We held hands everywhere we went. It was a real live, genuine date night! I can't get the smile off my face! :D:D:D:D:D:D
We came home to our children who had missed us only a little, but had had a great weekend of their own with their grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousins. I don't think we'll do it again for a long time, but I think that's ok. We cherished our time together, but we cherish our family time, too. I know a lot of people work out of necessity, and others work for the break it gives them from their spouse/kids. And I have no problem with that. To each their own! But I know that for us, having me be able to stay at home and homeschool the kids and having Kelly work the shift he does is truly a blessing. There have been a lot of sacrifices in order to do it, but it's worth them all. It may not be the ideal situation for many families. But I have no doubt that it's an excellent fit for this family.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I was so blessed by my husband this weekend. He let me take off last night around 5:00 for Branson with some ladies to fellowship and go shopping. He was beyond gracious about it. He encouraged me to go, to stay as long as I liked, and to enjoy it thoroughly. Not only did he keep the 3 little ones - Connor slept over at a friend's house - he took all 4 of them to Chuck E Cheese's today. Not his favorite place in the world, I assure you! :D
It may not seem like a big deal to many, or even a big getaway to some of you. But to me it was enough. A time to collect myself, relax, converse with adults, take my time in a store, and just do something for myself. I love my children, and I love staying home with them and homeschooling them. Some people don't think it is necessary for me to do it, to leave my kids in order to appreciate them. ;) Some have even gone so far as trying to make me feel guilty for doing it. But I truly believe days like these make me a better wife and mommy.
I hadn't gone away overnight in over 2 years. I came home to 4 happy children, a not-too-terribly-messy house, and a loving husband that was very glad to see me. There were no tears, no complaints, just a cheerful homecoming and lots of snuggling!
It probably wasn't the best weekend to go. I missed a family gathering, and I have someone very upset over it. I came very close to cancelling my plans to please other people. In fact, I already had it in my mind that I wasn't going. Then in rode Prince Charming. Kelly "put his foot down" and told me I WAS going. He reminded me I needed this little break. That plans were made, and had been made for many weeks. He wasn't about to let me please someone else and give into others' demands and guilt trips as I've done so often in the past. He just wasn't going to allow it.
I love him so very much. Again, it may not seem like a big deal to many, but to me it was enough. Having him on my side, no matter who else is not, or what else is going on, I feel loved and protected. I am such a blessed woman.
Did I mention that he's taking me away next weekend, just the two of us? How lucky can I be? :D

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Christmas time, and I saw snow for a brief moment this afternoon. I always enjoy it more in fuzzy socks and with a mug of hot chocolate in front of the fire looking out the window. My Christmas tree is set to twinkling lights - my favorite setting. What a beautiful life.