Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Lights In Atlanta

Centennial Park is located at 265 Park Ave West in the heart of central Atlanta.

We have enjoyed this park several times since moving here, however, this was the first time we came to see the Christmas display. This is a free event and is open daily during the holiday season. The lights were beautiful and the weather was nice. It is sure to become a family tradition!

The Beautiful Christmas Tree
Me And My Oldest Son, Roman
CNN World Head Quarters

Outdoor Skating Rink
My Son, Wishing He Was A Tad Bigger
Beautiful City

Stones Depicting Athletes 

Statues Depicting Athletes

In Commemoration Of The 1996 Olympic Games
 Across the street from Centennial Olympic Park is The World Of Coke and The Georgia Aquarium. Between the two is a small park called Pemberton Place. There you can see all the large ornaments from The World Of Coke as well as the red and white Christmas lights in true coca cola fashion.

The World Of Coke
The Georgia Aquarium

The View From Pemberton Place

Yes, He's A Ham

The American Cancer Society International Headquarters

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Banner

I went through all my old Christmas cards the other day and reminisced (my favorite). I had quite a few and wanted to use them in my decor, so I decided to make another (yes, another!) burlap banner. Here it is:

I picked out cards that had a similar color scheme. For these I did red and green (I had a lot of blue and gold cards as well).  I sized out my triangles and then using Modge Podge glued them to the burlap triangles. I stacked books on top of triangles until it was dried to prevent curling. I used a whole punch and red sheer ribbon to lace through. Super cute! The second banner is simply velvet ribbon with JOY written with a Sharpie on the burlap. I like the overlapping look of the two.
As for my chalk board sign, I made that a while back. I change the phrases to go with the seasons. Its nothing more than a piece of plywood painted with chalk board paint and some scrap burlap.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mason Jar Snow Globe

I love, love, LOVE Anthropologie... HOWEVER, I do NOT love their PRICES!
I fell in love with the pins on Pinterest floating around with other peoples versions.... so I decided to make my own:
I collected my jars that I have been saving. Ran them through the dish washer and with a little vegetable oil and a rag I removed all labels and residue left behind.  I bought little bottle brush trees and tiny winter figurines from Walmart. I sized them out on my lids to be sure each would fit and used a hot glue gun to glue them to the lid.
I used white glitter for the snow. I used about an inch of glitter in each jar.
Then with some burlap and red ribbon I made a cover for the lids. Using a hot glue gun, I secured the burlap onto the lids. 
Once the burlap was tied down, I then trimmed it so I didn't have too much hanging over.
And done! $40.00 for one Anthropologie Jar, $12.00 for all 8 of mine! *Pats self on back*

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Repair

It was the Friday before Sophia's surgery:

 I was desperately trying to get all my errands done for the week because I wasn't sure what was gonna happen once she had the surgery. So I had the girls with me and we did some grocery shopping at Walmart. I went into the check out line and was greeted by a young girl, wearing a high school hoodie and a sweet smile. It was an extra sweet smile because I could see a very distinct scar across her lip and I was very aware of that meant  I tried not to stare... but it was really hard. I wanted to ask her about her scar, ask her if she gets teased in school or did she have to go to speech therapy as a kid, did she have to do genetic testing, who did her repair, was she insecure about it, did people ask her about it all the time... a million things were racing through my head. I thought maybe I could bring it up by moving my strategically placed blanket in Sophia's car seat and exposing her mouth... and making it seem like I didn't notice HER scar... slower and slower I placed things on the conveyor belt, panicking.
And then she asked, "How old is your baby?"
"Uh.... 3 months." Just then I reached in the basket as she watched and rearranged the blanket that was near her face. The young girl locked eyes with Sophia, smiled, and with out flinching, without even seeming surprised, began telling me how beautiful she was. It was strange, yet comforting. She didn't acknowledge the lip verbally, yet I kept hearing "it'll be ok" in my spirit.

God is so good.

I have never seen that girl at Walmart before, and almost a month later, I still haven't. I look for her every time I go.

The evening of the surgery we struggled. 11 pm was the cut off for her feeding and she was not to eat until the following day, AFTER her surgery. I was a nervous wreck as to how I was suppose to deny my infant food for 9+ hours... but we had a lot of people praying for her, and let me tell ya.... not a peep.... at all... the whole night....


The following morning I handed my infant over to the nurses as they walked her in their arms down the hallway, through the double doors and around the corner. I cried. This was the 6th time in the last 2.5 years that I had handed one of my children over to a surgeon. I tried not to think about a knife approaching my daughters sweet and precious face. It was overwhelming.

2 hours in the operating room and a lot of prayer between myself, my husband and God.
Some silence.
Some small talk.

"Do you think shes gonna look different?" I asked my husband.
"Yeah. I think shes gonna look a lot different. A good different." He said.

I was so anxious to see what she looked like and after 2 hours in the O.R. it was time...

I had been reading on the internet about these parents who would go through a sense of mourning after their child's cleft lip repair. Some said it was like seeing their child again for the first time. Others were kinda disturbed by holding a child that they knew was theirs but looking nothing like the child they knew.

They wheeled her in on this giant bed. A tiny baby with a very horse cry and swollen face. The nurse said it was alright to pick her up, and so I did, sat in the chair and studied her. It was very difficult to process....

I think back to when Sophia was first born. I remember holding her and staring at her. While I was processing what I was looking at, all the nurses just kept saying over and over- "The lip isn't that bad." and "They are gonna fix her up and you wont even tell." I could hear the chatter bounce around the room and at the same time was trying to understand what I was feeling. I guess unless you have been through something like this you cant really understand. I'm having a hard time even explaining. But it again felt kinda like that.

"She looks totally different." I said, in shock.
"Oh, wow. She looks like a completely different baby." My husband said, surprised himself.
"It doesn't look like her." I said as I looked at her swollen and bruised face. "Wow, this is weird..."
The nurse said that everything  I was saying and feeling is completely normal, that "Everyone reacts differently, but you are not out of the norm. You will get used to it."

I spent the next 36 hours by her side. Staring at her like I did when she was first born. Reflecting on the journey that was "Sophia!" Reflecting on God's goodness and favor, even in the less favorable of situations. Starting to feel a sense of purpose from that initial pain.

This repair represents so much more than just a cosmetic, elective surgery. The repair to her lip caused a major repair in my relationship with God. As I struggled in my day to day life with the challenges I faced, this one shook me to the core, from conception till repair. I lacked faith, greatly, and that has been restored. And as I lead this special kind of life, I have gained new perspective. And that God is the only person who could possibly love our children more than we do, and a love so great has no ill will.

Sophia is doing great by the way. We go to our post op appointment next week and I'm anxious to hear what the surgeon has to say about her recovery :) Thank you all for the prayers, from start to finish!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Twas The Month Before Christmas

I have heard this before, but thought I would share.... I challenge you- for every person who says "Happy Holidays" this season, to simply respond back with "Merry Christmas...." Here's why:

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through the land
Not a Christian was praying 
Nor taking a stand.

See the PC Police had taken away
the reason for CHRISTMAS -no one could say.

The children were told by their schools not to sing
about Shepherds and Wise Men 
and angels and things...

"It might hurt peoples feelings," the teacher would say,
"December 25th is just a Holiday."

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit,
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

CDs from Madonna, an XBOX, an a I-pod....
something was changing,
something quite odd!

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
in hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down,
at Lowes the word "Christmas"was no where to be found.

At Kmart and Staples and Pennys and Sears
You wont hear the word Christmas, 
it wont touch your ears. 

Inclusive, sensitive, DI-VER-SI-TY
are words that were used to intimidate me!

Now Daschle, now Darden, now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen!
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!

At the top of the Senate, there rose such a clatter.
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.

And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith.
Forbidden to speak about salvation and grace.

The true reason of Christmas was exchanged and discarded.
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.

So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"
while sipping your Starbucks, listen to me: 

Choose your words carefully, choose what you say,
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not "happy holiday!"