Relax, Refresh & Renew

I sit here at my computer, thinking about my blog and realizing it was almost this exact same time last year that I thought starting a blog back up was a great idea. Now here it is...a year later...and I've made a seriously pathetic number of posts so far. I started this blog as a way to remind myself to be motivated, be creative, be inspired...maybe even to help keep my goals. I still want this blog to represent that...and everything about life that I love so much - God, family, home, writing, crafting - living my life to the fullest. Enjoying every moment and hoping that I make the people in my circle feel as blessed as they make me feel.

There are reasons...or to why I have neglected to post - we really have had a very busy and very productive (!) year. We went from a family of 3 to a family of 6 almost overnight. That all started about mid-year...right after we were licensed to be foster parents. We started on the fostering journey thinking eventually we might adopt a child, maybe even two that came into our care along the way. That all changed pretty suddenly when 3 little blessings came our way, and the only way I can describe how it all happened is that it was meant to be...pre-destined, pre-determined...God's plan for our life. Everything that happend was simply too unbelievable, too coincidental to have happened by some happy accident. These 3 kids were meant to become a part of our family, from the very beginning...all roads have led us here. I know this. our happy little family of 3 is a happier, larger (and of course, busier) family of 6. The 4 kids we always dreamed of but knew we could never have...well now we have them. Life is good, God is amazing.

So now, here I am...seemingly back to where I started. Right after Christmas, vowing next Christmas I will be more prepared, ready ahead of time and have made most of our family gifts. That didn't happen for this Christmas - but I am even more determined than ever to make that happen next Christmas. I realized this Christmas just how hectic it is and how fast it goes with 4 much faster than it went with just our daughter. I think I took for granted her first 11 Christmases, the calm, the time we were able to spend together just enjoying the season. Things sure went differently between work, therapy appointments, doctor appointments, shopping for more gifts than I've ever imagined buying for one occassion. And although next year we will also be busy, decidedly so, at Christmas...that is pushing me even more to vow that I will be 95% ready for Christmas by December 1st (5% reserved for baking which can't really be done that far in advance, haha). The reason we need to be ready so early? Because over the week of Christmas, to celebrate the first Christmas after finalizing the adoptions, we will be on a family vacation to Disney World! I am so excited about that...and want everything to go smoothly. The first 5 days of vacation will be spent at the parks, and the last 2 relaxing and enjoying each other. We plan to drive to the coast and spend Christmas Eve watching the sun set over the Gulf. So you see...I really do need to be more organized, more productive and more prepared for 2010. I have set several goals and I am hoping that I can see most of them to fruition.

Goals for 2010
Lose 5lbs (or more) per month
Continue to pay down debt
Save for and plan Disney Christmas Vacation
Work on Christmas gifts for 1 'family' ('family' here means any set group of people, ie teachers) on our list each month
Have all Christmas gifts made or bought by December 1, 2010

I will have to get creative and really push myself to make sure I meet these goals...usually I rely heavily on home-made goodies (candies, cookies, etc) as gifts for friends, family and teachers - however having to have all things made by December 1st that really will limit food gifts this year. I will still probably do a few things but I want December to mainly be un-scheduled and un-stressful, so I won't be doing very many food-gifts at all. I have come up with a few ideas though - I have a really neat idea for my Sister in Law and her husband...a "Family Scrabble Board" where you take and alter a scrabble board with scrapbooking supplies and use the tiles to spell out their names, and words that symbolize 'family'. I think it will be really neat. I also found an idea for altering Starbucks 4-pack Frap can do so many things using scrapbooking supplies and a little paint and ribbon, they turn out so cute. I have seen ideas for hot cocoa gift sets using those (two bottles filled with hot cocoa mix, one with marshmallows, and one with peppermints) which is something I'm definitely planning on doing...the only thing I would have to do *after* December 1st on those would be add the marshmallows (wouldn't want to add them too early and have them get stale or clumpy...eww). I also make a killer chai tea mix so I am thinking I could come up with some ideas along those lines also, just have to figure out what to package with it. Maybe just some festive store-bought christmas candies? The one other idea I am excited about is making fleece pajama pants. I am definitely making them for my 4 kids, my SIL's 4 kids and also my cousins 3 kids. I might even think about making them for some adults on our list. I have tons of ideas saved in a folder in my e-mail, so I will be going through those over the next month or so to see if there are any good things to add to my list also. I'm pretty excited about this right now...I just hope that I can stay this excited/motivated about it! If I can, then I'm sure I will be more than ready for Christmas 2010 and our Disney Vacation well ahead of my December 1st goal :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. For me, although hectic and crazy, and except for a few not-so-great moments, it was one of the most wonderful Christmases yet.

God Bless and have a happy and SAFE New Year!