MASON’S CHRISTMAS LIST, AGE 6
Mason is still growing like a weed! He is in a size 4 tennis shoe, and he wears a size 8-10/medium in clothes.
- I want Pokémon cards.
- I want a Yoda stuffed animal.
- I want a Star Wars Darth Vader costume.
- I want some Skylander toys.
- I want a Power Ranger Mega-Force thing. It’s like a little thing that you shoot a Mega-Force ball out of.
- I want a telescope. And a sword.
- I want a Jacksonville Jaguars Blake Bortles jersey.
- I want all the Southern division mini football helmets. And their jerseys, like NFL teams. College teams, too.
- I want a Star Wars book that comes with a Lego inside of it.
- I want a disco ball. Like a real one.
- I want some Star Wars movies.
- I want some Wii games.
- I want a 3D toybox PlayStation and characters to go with it.
- I want some Skylander movies.. And the new Thomas the Tank Engine movie.
Last year, we were blessed to have a Secret Santa in the form of my beautiful blogger friend, Miss Terry. If I did not believe in miracles, she made me. We had the absolute best holiday ever thanks to her, and it could have been a disaster. I promise, Miss Terry, to pay it forward this year and every year I am able. I will never be able to thank you enough! I snapped this a few days ago. She has already gotten out her Christmas PJs, and Baby King George never leaves her side, of course.
My kids want for nothing, and I am so grateful for all of my family and friends who generously think of them, as well.
That being said, I have started buying a little at a time for them this year, because I will not have them on Christmas and want to make the holiday extra special when they return, focusing on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am a TERRIBLE shopper and wait to the last minute, a la my Daddy and Bomba, so I am sort of excited that I am stock-piling. They will be getting mostly things they need, like clothes and books and shoes and items to support their growing passion to learn about our faith; however, it is fun to see what they want and give them a few fun surprises.
I also love going back through our annual Christmas lists to track how much they have grown and how their tastes have changed.
MISS JULIA’S CHRISTMAS LIST, AGE 5
- A sewing machine for kids that I saw at Target.
- A shape maker with jewels that you spray with water, and it doesn’t break when you pick it up, and it makes these animals and hearts and stars. I saw it on TV.
- A makeup set with red lipstick
- Cheek powder
- I want some new nail polish.
- I want some new hats that have Cinderella and Belle and Jasmine and Ariel and Brave on them.
- I want some new baby dolls. I want a new Bitty Baby. I want it to have green eyes that blink on and off and it should have brown hair. It should have pink nails. It’s name is going to be Julia. It has white toe nails.
- I want a new American Girl doll. I want Maryellen. She needs blonde hair, and she should have a shirt with polka dots with buttons, with tennis shoes that are black and white with ties, white socks, and she should have a tie with polka dots on it. And she should have a skirt with a poodle and a hair bow and a leash attached to a hair bow. And I want the radio player (i.e. juke box).
- I want a typewriter that works.
- I want an onion in my stocking.
- I want a Barbi doll and want the Barbi car that is pink and it has a Barbi face on it.
- I want Barbi to have her LOVE, Ken.
- I want to get my Mommy something. I want to get you some new makeup.
For our friends and family that usually ask, Miss Julia wears a size 7 and needs winter clothes. She is also growing into a size 13 shoe.
I work at the best high school in this nation. I am so blessed that God put me in my job. It was not an easy find. I searched and searched while I was on maternity leave for Miss Julia, and I had so many doors closed on me. I knew in my heart that God wanted me back in the classroom; however, the opportunity did not arise until my current job came over in October of that year. Talk about a leap of faith– it was a temporary position! But I knew as soon as I met with the administrative team that this is where I was supposed to be placed. I am now in my fifth year.
Just last night, Miss Julia said, “Mommy I am glad you’re not a lawyer. I love your school. And, if you weren’t teaching, we wouldn’t have our Aunt Kaitlin.”
The time this job has given me to spend time with Mason and Jules is absolutely priceless!
That being said, my favorite time here is Halloween, because the entire school decorates its hall, and the faculty dresses up. Our theme this year was “Dr. Seuss” and I was assigned The Cat in the Hat.
I am not a huge Dr. Seuss fan, but I did have most of the costume pieces, so it was easy. And the hall turned out so stinking cute!
Here I am with my buddy Danna.
My two kids thought my costume was hilarious, and they were proud when all the kids at their school at pick-up liked it, too. Aunt Kaitlin was out of town for a wedding, but we did her door up fancy.
I think this was my favorite theme yet. The best part is that we use this event to raise funds for a club called “Alumni Defenders.” The money raised is spent on goodies for our former students serving in the military, especially overseas.
I am thankful for my health. Truly. And the health of my children. My Daddy has told me my whole life that as long as I had my good health I was wealthy, and I am.
My childhood best friend, Sunshine, struggles every day with her cancer. And her heart. And her seizures. And her medicines. We are only a month apart in age, and she has suffered for so long.
Yet she still manages to smile and keep her faith. We chat every single day now, and I am learning so much from her about focusing on God and not the situation. She is an amazing inspiration to me and a sweet, sweet spirit.
In my First 5 lesson for today (the First 5 app is FREE), there is a reminder from Lysa Terkeurst that “Great good can come from circumstances that don’t appear good at first glance.” She points to Genesis 50:20 which states, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
I do not know why Sunshine is in so much pain. I do not know what God has in store for her future on Earth; however, I do know that Jesus has a place in Heaven for her when her work is done here. For now, she ministers to me, prays for me and my kids, encourages me, and makes me smile. I am blessed to know her and have her in my life, for she is helping me to draw closer to God. And I know she does all these things for so, so many others.
I love you, Sunshine! Your better day is coming, soon.
Today, I am thankful for food. I have never known hunger and neither have my children. But hunger is real. According to Feeding America, one-in-five children in this country are impacted by hunger; and, as a teacher, I have seen it first-hand.
In rural South Georgia, where I started my career, we had no issues with truancy. When I talked to the guidance counselor about this she explained that even the worst students would come to school to eat the two meals provided in our cafeteria through government subsidies.
Even where I work now, on then “good side of town,” I have learned to stock my office with canned foods and snacks so that students can come to me if they are hungry. And they do . On more than one occasion, I have gone across to Publix and bought weekend supplies for students whose families did not have enough groceries to make it through the week. I am honored to do this and only share it to say that hunger can hit anyone, anywhere.
We are a nation of the working poor.
I am currently helping to coordinate our school’s food drive to benefit Second Harvest of the Big Bend. However, no matter where you are, you can give back through the Feeding America network.
If this does not touch your heart, I do not know what will.
I am eternally grateful that God made me a Mommy to these two extraordinary humans.
They have made me whole, and I would be nothing without them. I am grateful for their health and safety, most of all. I will never take those things for granted. And it cracks me up to see Miss Julia’s full smile. She sticks her tongue to her teeth just like I do. It’s amazing what genes get passed on!
I am grateful for my family. This weekend, the kids and I went home to where our roots are. We stayed at my Daddy’s and visited with him and my Uncle Mike.
We went to the local high school football game, where we were surrounded by friends who hugged us and loved on us, even though I haven’t seen some of them in 20 years. It was so great seeing Latresa, the Hairs, Anthony Carter and his wife, Angie and Travis, Travis’ mom, Rhonda Tilley, and Monica Cason.
We went to visit Conner’s A-Maize-Ing Acres and felt like family.
Then we fellowshipped with the Nelsons and Smiths while trick-or-treating and later headed up to Nahunta to cook out with my cousins, the Lloyds, and spend the night with Sam and David in their beautiful home that is filled with my Mama’s furniture and belongings.
We were sent off on Sunday morning by Charlotte, who fixed us a Southern breakfast fit for royalty, and my Uncle Mike, who enthusiastically handed over Jackson and Molly for the ride home.
There was not a second of boredom at home this weekend, and we barely scratched the surface on visiting our loved ones. My kids are cherished there, and it feels good to belong.