Saturday, February 15, 2014

It's Always Fun In Astleyland!

Our house is rarely quiet.  We have three children and most of the time we encourage them to express themselves, have fun and be creative.  We turn up fun music and the kids will dance.  The dancing is cute and makes me laugh, but my favorite part is the sound of their laughter filling the house.  Every night Logan draws a picture for me on the Magnadoodle and brings it to me.  He always writes, "To Mom, From Logan.  I love you," somewhere on the picture.  Alex will randomly walk up to me, give me a hug and say, "I love you, mom.  You're the best mom ever."  And Kaitlyn runs to me, hair bouncing, huge smile on her face.  I catch her and she hugs me SO tight and then pats me on the back.  I say, "I love you so much," and she says, "Love you."  The Astleys are a happy bunch who enjoy spending time together.  We just make each other happy!

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. We love to have any excuse to do something special for our three gremlins and Valentine's Day is no exception. Jacob and I don't do the traditional flowers, candy, jewelry stuff.  Flowers just die, candy isn't good for you and Jacob says jewelry is expected and he wants to surprise me.  (He buys me jewelry when there is no occasion and DOES surprise me!)  This rule applies to the gremlins as well.  They don't need a lot of candy so we don't buy them candy.  This year the boys received Thunder shirts and brownies (who doesn't love brownies). They have to ask before getting them (unlike candy where they just sneak pieces and eat it all day).  Kaitlyn loves Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  She got a new DVD of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and was so excited when she opened it.  She held it up and shouted, "It's Mickey!"  
                              Kaitlyn's Mickey and Minnie holding hands!

I love Sara Bareilles.  She is a brilliant pianist and songwriter and she has the most amazing voice!  Jacob gave me the DVD and CD of her live performance at the Variety Playhouse and the sweetest, heartfelt card.  It was perfect and, as usual, he did an awesome job surprising me with something amazing. 

It's nice to go out and do something together--shopping, eating out, seeing a movie.  It's also nice to just sit on the couch together, eating York Peppermint Patties, watching a show we both enjoy and just being together.  We just love being together--whether it's decorating the living room for a fun movie experience, playing board games with the kids, acting out story books, cooking together or dancing around to fun music. I am blessed to have these four amazing people in my life and I thank God for them each and every day! There is never a dull a moment in Astleyland--and I wouldn't want it any other way! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bright Spots

                     My gremlins eating their special Valentine's Day breakfast.

One of my very best friends always tells me to look for bright spots when life keeps knocking me down. Now, whenever I think about bright spots, I can't help but think about her.  I'll admit, there are days when I have to really hunt for bright spots, but honestly, they are always there.

The past 6 weeks have been filled with Jacob taking me to and from the emergency room.  I had surgery and was in the hospital for nearly a week and was at home sick and on pain medication off and on for different reasons. The kids have been sick off and on as well. Alex currently has strep and, of course, we have other "exciting" things going on. It is as if we just keep getting hit with one thing after another.  I spent Wednesday morning in the ER and then that evening Alex started running a fever.  Jacob laughed and said, "I guess this is our life now."  It HAS been crazy and it seems that every day we are hit with at least one more stressful situation.

"Look for the bright spots."  My friend, Rene', has said this to me so many times that it just automatically pops into my head now (which is great)!  There are so many bright spots in my life.  My husband has a good job. He is so helpful with the kids and makes me feel so special and so very loved. My children have plenty of food to eat.  They have beds to sleep in, clothes that fit, coats, more toys than any three gremlins need!  They are healthy and happy. I have wonderful in-laws and parents who are always willing to help!  I have some truly amazing friends who are definitely bright spots in my life! The health issues I have experienced have been stressful and overwhelming at times, but we're thankful that none of them are life-threatening. The one that potentially could have been life-threatening came back benign. That is a SERIOUS bright spot.

Today is Valentine's Day.  Jacob and I always get something for each other and then get something for each of the gremlins. We try to make it a special day for the kids and we tell them that Valentine's Day isn't just about being in love and all that mushy stuff--it's about caring for those people who mean the most to you and showing them how you feel in fun and creative ways.  I made the kids scrambled eggs and heart-shaped waffles for breakfast this morning with a red sugar drizzle on top--they loved them!  I loved sitting with them and listening to them talk about kid things.  They can be so sweet to each other.  I love moments like that!  Today has been filled with bright spots!

No matter what life throws your way there are always bright spots . . . even if you have to go searching for them.  I'm so thankful for these bright spots and for the reminders to not overlook them!

What are the bright spots in YOUR life??

Monday, February 3, 2014

I Am No One Special

I am no one special.  I didn't grow up to be famous.  I haven't cured any diseases or invented some world-changing device.  I haven't written the next great American novel. I am not wealthy.  I am not well-known.

I am me.

A friend told me this morning that she respected me because I am my own person.  I like what I like.  I dress how I dress.  She said I have my own style and I am my own person. (That's a good thing, right?)  Then she said, "Yet, you are kind and go out of your way for people, especially those who are your favorites!"  I laughed and said, "Thank you," thinking she had momentarily lost her mind. She said, "I'm serious!  Look at your kids and your life!" Again, I laughed.

I am no one special.

Then, I started thinking about the people I love most.  My amazing husband, my awesome gremlins, my family, those wonderful friends in my life whom I love and respect so much.  Are they no one special?  No way!  They are VERY special--beautiful women in my life raising children of their own (some with special needs), reaching out to those in need, working full-time jobs, encouraging and supporting me.  A husband who works hard every day to support our gremlins and me--making me smile and feel loved and beautiful all along the way.  Three gremlins who test my patience, give out numerous hugs and little voices filling my ears with laughter and "I love you!"--making my heart swell.  I have so many amazing people in my life and when I look at them I don't see "No one,"  I see some really awesome "Some ones."

When you look in the mirror who do you see?  Do you see some one or no one special?  I know my children see me as some one special (at least for now, anyway).  My husband seems to think I'm some one special.  The amazing friends in my life seem to think I'm more than "No one special."

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget that we DO bring something to the table.  We all offer something.  YOU offer something.  YOU ARE some one special.  Remind yourself of that.  Look at your life.  Focus on the many blessings you have and know that those wouldn't be given to "No one special."  They were given to some one special, and that some one is you.