Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mommy's Moment: 2011

Laura Beth encouraged me on her blog to reflect a bit on the past year.

And as I read her blog, I was reminded of how eventful 2011 was for many. Friends, family, our own nuclear family, all experiencing some drastic changes.

As a Christian, I know these changes to all be a part of God's magnificent plan. A plan that to us, looks all a blur as we stare at it up close. But I know there is a big picture. A big picture that when revealed is one that will most glorify the Lord and will be for our most good. Will we ever fully understand it? I don't think so on this side of heaven, but I know it to be good and best.

Romans 8:28 says, "And I know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose."

2011 started out with a bang for us. My heart sank when John walked into this very room I am sitting now to tell me he lost his job. It was one of those circumstances that you think would be the unthinkable, especially with me being a stay at home mom and having no other source of income. But as John and I walked through it, I was often reminded of how the Lord provides grace for us to deal with the situtations He puts us in. While anxiety and heartache was there, it was not consuming. I was reminded...

"My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9

And as I look back on this year, I'm still a stay at home mom. This is nothing short of a miracle. Our circumstances screamed impossible. With John starting a new business that, like any new business, takes time to gain momentum, our finances were low. And yet, the year before John lost his job, he got a promotion. A promotion that allowed us to FINALLY put money into savings.

A savings that the Lord used for us during this past year.

And guess what? When we emptied that savings, almost to the day, the Lord poured financial provision on us through eight sold jobs in a matter of days! This after several months of no leads and definitely no sold jobs.

And I'm thankful. Thankful that in this financial "crisis" of sorts I'm still at home with my kids. It's my heart's desire to be at home with them. I believe the Lord, in our situation, has been faithful to provide in such a way for me to do that. And He has provided through John, a hardworker who has served us by doing whatever job available to make money for our family.

And as Laura Beth reminded me in her blog, our situation could be worse. The Lord could have chosen and could choose to move us in a different direction. I know there are so many more who have suffered and are suffering in more devastating ways. And I am reminded that our only hope in good times and in times of heartache and disappointment is the Lord.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite hymns that says,

"On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand...

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace...

Hi oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay."

2011, a year that flooded us with opportunities to trust the Lord and to be reminded He alone is our Hope and our source of true Peace regardless of the situations we find ourselves in.

May 2012 continue to strengthen us in the Lord and draw us even more close to Him and may we cling to Him, the Solid Rock, no matter what the coming year holds.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Life Insurance

Some may be embarassed by this.





But I'm not.

As I often say, "you dare not believe it."

But, we Harman kids, well, we tend to get along just fine.

Wait.

Not all of the time.

Like that time Hannah pushed me when I said I didn't want to play Jack and Emily. Or that time she pushed Kate because she kept knocking down her dollhouse. Or when she shoved me down the stairs. That was just plain malicious. And Kate, well, she likes to hit us as hard as she can with her milk cup. Or pull our hair. Mainly Hannah's because let's face it, Mommy and Daddy keep mine pretty short these days. And I, yes I, have been known to scream "I don't like you Hannah!" while burrowing my eyebrows and poking out my bottom lip.

So Mommy, maybe these pictures are for you.

You know, when we yell those things or shove each other down the flight of stairs secretly hoping the other will get hurt and you'll sympathize with our reasoning in pushing them.

It's for those times.

Times where you need to remember how awesome we are. How our bond is thicker than blood. How we genuinely care for one another.

So, this post is for you.

And for us.

Because let's face it. If these kindle warm fuzzy feelings inside of you, thus dispersing those, well, angry feelings it may just save us some harsh discipline.

with love,


your kind, loving, best friendies kids

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mommy's Moment: Christmas

I've been well intentioned to document our Christmas festivities this year. However, blogging has been hard to get around to. Nevertheless, I'll give you a brief overview of our celebration this year.

Of course we started with the decorating of the tree.


Kate has been gracious and kept her little hands off of it for the most part. Here she is admiring an ornament from her first Christmas...way back last year.



Thanks to Grandmama, we had two ornaments to make while practicing patterns. We made a candy cane and a wreath.



We also enjoyed making decorating the gingerbread house. Thankfully, Publix, the awesome place they are, preassembled one. That works great for me because I lack any engineering expertise and apparently it comes in handy when putting one together.




We've also enjoyed an advent activity and our first attempt at a Jesse Tree. Half of it is accomplished. We'll try again next year.

We've drank hot cocoa, listened to Christmas music, and enjoyed the lights around town while also hosting a birthday party for Jesus and going to a friend's to decorate cookies. At night we read an advent storybook with an advent calendar. And as Grant enthusiastically exclaimed last night, "Mommy! We're almost to Beflehem!"

Hannah reminds me often that "the best Christmas gift is Jesus."

Though I am sure the limited focus on presents in short lived, I am thankful for Grant's response when asked what he wants for Christmas. "You can get me whatever you want Mommy."

While Hannah reminded me of the same today saying "we'll still play with it even if we don't like it because you get what you get."

Ha!

I'm thankful that, for now, the presents aren't as big of a focus as they could be.
Though I look forward to giving them their gifts just as the Lord delights in giving good gifts to His children.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.





Praise be to God for His most precious gift, His Son.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing



I'm beginning to think it may just be possible to have too much of a good thing, in this case, chocolate. Do you ever feel this way after over indulging: bloated, low energy, and just plain sick to your stomach? It ain't pretty. Next time I'll take smaller bites, eat more slowly, and wait 15 minutes between sessions to make sure I need those next 15 bites. Lesson learned.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Can I Get Down Now?


Sometimes, climbing in trees isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stud






There's an occasional time when I take off my p.j.'s and don something, well, more refined. Especially if it's because Mommy says we've got to take some pictures for our Christmas card.

Feeling rather photogenic, I agreed to let Mommy shoot some pictures of me in front of the fence. She was feeling out the lighting. I simply provided some eye candy.

And while modeling will never, EVER, be in my future (let's face it, my dad's a hunter, I'm destined to become one too), I will relish in a little photo op for the blog and one day that scrapbook that has only a few pages of me while Hannah's consists of two solid books of photos of her...but that's another story for another day. Hey, at least I have a book, poor Kate doesn't even have that going for her.

I digress.

So, eat your heart out Nick Jonas, Justin Bieber and whoever else may be my competition for the camera's eye. It landed on me, I'm afraid it may just stay.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mommy's Moment: Why I am a Homebody

My friend, Laura Beth and I found ourselves amazed at how difficult it is to load three kids into a car. A feat, that, to many, seems simple. However, not for us. Our conversation today reminded me of last Thursday.

Sit down, have some coffee, this may take awhile.

Thursdays are our errands day. Usually that consists of a run to Publix and possibly CVS. This past Thursday both of those were on the list as well as a local consignment store. And, in the back of my mind, I added Chick Fil A or McDonald's. Hey, we'd be gone through lunch. And while that may seem like a small feat with three kids, it paled in comparison to loading them into the car. Let me explain.

There is an art to loading the car. Especially when it's cold outside and you've got a few things to add to the loading besides the kids. It's an art that sometimes I've got. And other times, I don't. Thursday, I didn't.

First, there's the obvious. Get the kids dressed to be presentable. You laugh, but that's hard. This requires brushing teeth, hair, and finding matching clothes as well as a matching bow for Hannah. And, now that it's cold it means rounding up socks. Socks that Grant can't yet, or I believe refuses, to put on by himself.

Then there's the timing. Kate is napping. Kate likes to be held for a bit upon awaking from her nap. Errand day does not allow such a priviledge. I have to factor this in, meaning, upon getting her out of her crib we all have to be ready to go straight to the car. Otherwise, we'll have a screaming, clinging baby on our hands.

And guess what, I got her out too soon.

After dressing my already fussy Kate, I realized I forgot to load the items to take to the consignment store. In fact, I never rounded up a bag for them. I had to put Kate down to do this.

She screamed.

I frantically rounded up my consignment items to the tune of "AAAAAAAAAAAA!" while screaming to Hannah and Grant to get their shoes on. And in the process of finding their shoes, there always, ALWAYS ensues a search for a missing shoe to a pair. On top of that, I couldn't let Kate go shoeless. Not a cold day. What kind of mother would I appear to be? In all reality I'm really totally fine with letting her go in just socks but, I knew I'd get comments. And putting shoes on Kate is like putting a shoe on an elephant. It's impossible. She's squirmy. Her feet hardly move easily into them. This alone sent my blood pressure up.

I snag my coupons and grocery list, grab the consignment clothes and toys, make sure the diaper bag has wipes and diapers...

And then,

race outside to place them all in the car. While there, I realize one carseat was uprooted. Have I ever mentioned I HATE carseats? It was Kate's seat. She still sat in the infant carrier (hey, she's small). Not today. Today was a day of change because Mama had no time or patience to rework the infant carrier. So, I head to the garage where a booster seat sat. It was time to move Kate up in the world anyways. No, not in a booster seat. That would be Hannah's. I'm not that crazy. I throw the booster seat in while Kate comes toddling out of the house in the cold air screaming. Thinking we'd be leaving in a jiff, I plop her into the new big kid car seat and strap her in tightly. I throw Hannah in her booster seat while trying to answer her inquisitive questions about the new seating arrangement.

Back in the house, Grant refuses to leave without blankey. On a search, he whimpers as he tries so hard to find him. Thankfully this attempt did not end in a meltdown as it so often does. After blankey was recovered, I added him to the car. Buckled him in. Went back to the house to lock the door. And jumped in the driver's seat. Ready to go. Finally.

No keys.

I looked all over the van. In the meantime, the kids were freezing. Kate, now having sat there for too long, looked unhappy with the situation. And, having left in a, uh, hurry my kids had no coats. Not to fear, Hannah says, as she pulls a coat off of the floor of the van. Being messy came in handy that cold day.

Believing I left the keys in the house I return to the front door only to realize it was locked.

A bit frantic, I go back to the van to be reminded of how cold my kids wereEnvisioning frost bite and the whole story of ALIVE I think, We'll just drive to a friend's house. Only to be reminded I have no keys to do that. It must have been delirium setting in. Thankfully, common sense returned to me and I realized I had the garage door opener and possibly, quite possibly, the door to the house inside the garage door was unlocked.

Eureka. Success. It was.

I reenter the house. The search begins. Hearing Hannah screaming at the top of her lungs back in the van, I realize I've been in the house too long and still had no keys. I go back to the van to search, making sure this time to leave the house unlocked. No luck.

I return BACK to the UNLOCKED house to finally find my keys sitting in the most obvious spot.

Close the garage door. Lock the front door. Shut all the van doors. Get in the driver's seat. And BAM. We're finally ready to go...only oh, 45 minutes after we had planned to leave.


And that folks is the long version of why I am a homebody.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Mommy's Moment: Picnic Time



I like to create memories for the kids.

You know, those times they'll look back on when they're older and say, "hey, remember when...yeah, that was a lot of fun."

The problem is, those memorable moments always look like a "Kodak Moment" in my mind and yet fail to translate so picture perfectly in real life.

Why should I be surprised?

One thing I like to do with the kids is have indoor picnics. We make a special meal, spread a blanket out in the den, and watch a movie.

What could be disasterous about that?

A LOT.

That is, when a 13 month old child jumps in.

And not to mention a rental from the Blockbuster kiosk that disappoints.

John was hunting overnight.

The kids and I were on our way to Publix to snag a $1 movie rental. First disappointment. I'd been building up watching Cars 2 for the day. They were pumped.

Until, Cars 2 was not available. Strike one.


Trying not to miss a beat, I exclaim with an overly enthusiastic tone that they have other great movies to rent.

Like Rio (soon to be strike two).

Back at the hacienda...

All was moving quite well. The kids were preparing the picnic blanket. I was making french fries, heating up some nuggets, with a warm fuzzy feeling inside about our fun night head.

The movie was playing in the background. It looked cute. The kids were being drawn in...

Until...

it froze...well for a second...then we'd get a snippet of action before it froze again. Repeat this sequence for about five minutes. It was as though we were on a rollercoaster that couldn't quite get going. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Until you feel like you have whip lash. 


Dead set on making this work, I restarted the movie after blowing in the DVD player and wiping down the DVD. Thanks to Hollywood, we were forced to watch all the previews again. Ask me anything about the Yogi Bear movie. I'll deliver.

As soon as we returned to the movie, I discovered my efforts proved fruitless. We were back in the awkward jerking pattern. Yet, I was still relentless.

We started it again. and possibly again. While the kids were perfectly fine, my blood was boiling.

To add to these memorable moments, my head strong Kate refused to sit in her booster seat to eat. What did I do? Well like any good, disciplined, focused mom...I allowed her out. And what ensued was icing on the cake. As she meandered around the den with french fries and nuggets in hand she managed to leave trails of half eaten food. When she gummed all her food and left it mercilessly on the carpet, she then proceeded to pilfer from her siblings causing what could have become World War 3.

So, there we sit, watching Rio in half second snippets while Hannah and Grant hover over their food like it was their last meal as Kate totters about leaving a trail of wet, smashed nuggets and fries as though they were part of an egg hunt.

Again, a reminder that in motherhood, it's best to go into every situation with no expectations...especially if that expectation is a Kodak Moment.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Rite of Passage

A rite of passage apparently in the Harman Hood is pushing your older sibling in their big wheel. It started with Grant pushing Hannah...



And, it continues with me, pushing Grant.



Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking...that Kate is buff. I am tough, I will admit. And strong. And I ain't skeerd to work those attributes for all to see. Toddlers and Tiaras..whatever. More like Babies and Bulge for me.