Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic


I’ve read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella many times. This is a wonderful light read story that has me laughing out loud and smiling the whole way through.

This story is about Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who knows nothing about finance. She is in debt up to her ears and can’t seem to quit shopping. Her bank keeps calling, her credit cards keep writing to her demanding payment and Becky makes half hearted attempts to straighten herself out.

Becky has unique fantasy where she dreams about getting a raise or winning the lottery in which describes exactly what she will buy and the parties she could have. Becky is a little selfish and very naive and get herself in to trouble and frustrating situations that only she could get in to.

Becky does eventually redeem herself at the end and does find a unique, only Becky Bloomwood could do it, way to finish off this hilarious story.

I know that there are some people that do not like this series of books because of the money aspect and how bad the economy is as it stands, but I don’t think that they are giving it a real chance. I think that there is great character development and it’s a great starting off point to a series that has grown into something awesome. This book is meant to be light and funny and easy, if you are looking for something deeper than you should look else where, but if you are looking for something to read and just enjoy, look no further.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guns


We are not gun people but as times progresses I think about changing my mind. This is how I imagine things in the next 10-12 years:

Michael will be out on our front porch sitting in some kind of rocking bench/chair/swing type contraption, widdleing something out of wood (have I mentioned that Michael is from the south?). He would be rocking back and forth with a large knife in hand waiting for Sidda’s date to come to the door. Next to him, leaning up against the house is a rifle of some sort. The idea is to instill fear into whatever boy thinks he will take advantage of our beautiful daughter. He will fear that Sidda’s daddy will come after him with said rifle or knife and cause him harm if he even thinks of

a: bringing her home late

b: making her cry

c: trying to kiss her

or

d: making her mad


These are the things I think of. I also imagine MJ waiting with Michael in an attempt to aid in the protection of his big sister. I am sure that this all sounds stereotypical but sometimes being old fashioned can help in protecting your family. I’m sure Sidda at 16 or 17 will be able to take care of herself but what girl wouldn’t want her daddy willing to keep her safe and sound and watching out for her benefit.

These are the reasons I consider allowing a gun in my house. Michael is probably online now trying to decide what kind of gun he’s going to but after reading this. Michael: you are not buying a gun. SIdda is too little to need your protection from boys. She will not be dating at 5 years old so get off the gun websites.

Sidda and the Ice Cream

This is a video of Sidda when she was about two and a half. Please ignore the state in which our house was in at the time. I have mentioned before that I am not a domestic goddess and at the time I had just had a baby and was back to working full time. Our house does not look like this any more.


Hair

My daughter has beautiful hair. I may be biased but I've never seen hair like Sidda's. When Sidda was born she had a dark tuft with a blonde streak right in the middle. As she has grown her hair has gotten longer, has curled and still has that blonde streak right in the middle. Sidda's hair is easy to manage because the curls are loose and natural and a brush easily runs through it. Her curls are the beautiful kind that fall wonderfully around her head that make me nervous when she grows up.

Sidda has the hair that I have always wanted. My hair is straight and flat and boring. I don't like to put too much effort into it because it never turns out how I want it to be. Everyday after I do Sidda's hair I am jealous. I think many people are jealous of her hair.

I get asked regularly if I highlighted her hair and why answer is "Why would I do that? She's only (insert age here)." I've been asked this hundreds of times over the last five years. I know that there are parents out there who will gladly die the hair of their young daughter, but I am not one of them. I barley maintain my own hair color. Besides, why would I mess with the beauty that God already created upon her head?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

There's a Sniper in my House




You'll never see him if you visit. He has his hiding places. He likes to be left alone, he doesn't like to be touched. I'm talking about Sniper, my cat. My father in law does not believe that Sniper exists. It doesn't surprise me since I almost never see him.

Sniper does have one friend in the house and that it Midnight. If Sniper is out in the open he is at Midnight's side. The play together until Midnight is too tired to continue (which is fairly quickly) followed by cleaning time in which the clean themselves and then lick each others faces.

Sidda loves Sniper. She loves him because she can never get close enough to him to pet him. Petting him is her only desire. But as soon as she is with in a couple of feet of him he takes off to one of his many hiding places (one of which is under her bed).

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Favorite TV Show


My favorite show is Friends. Now I am perfectly aware that the show ended in 2004 (wow, has it really been 7 years) but it is still in my number one spot on all time favorite tv show. I have 2 sets of all the DVDs for all 10 seasons because we watched them so much the first set started to wear. I own Friends Scene It Game, Friends Trivia Board Game, Friends Playstation 2 Trivia and some Friends Trivia Books. We're a little crazy about Friends in this house (It's mainly me but Michael likes them too.)

I've seen every episode so many times that I don't think anyone has ever beat me in any Friends type battle. You would think after watching it so much it would no longer be entertaining but I still laugh constantly at the antics of Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, Joey, Rachel and Ross.

You can view one of my favorite scenes by clicking the link:



Sometimes all you want is Coffee

I have not been sleeping well for the last few nights. I've been ranging somewhere between 2-3 hours a night for the last three nights in a row. I have never really had any kind of insomnia before so this is all new to me. I'm really starting to feel the lack of sleep weighing on me.

It's not like I have any reason to be awake until 2 or 3 or even 4 in the morning, I just can't sleep. I sit there tossing a turning trying to will myself to sleep. Next I'll try reading and will read until I feel my body begin to relax; I will put my book aside close my eyes and get ready to drift off to dreamland only to realize that I am still awake. I will then finally just watch tv. I will turn on my trusted xbox 360 load up my netflix and find some sitcom that I will not be too interested in watching. Eventually I will fall asleep on the couch and wake up on the couch within 20 minutes of being asleep. I will get up, go back to bed and finally, finally be able to sleep for about the next two hours.

When you finally go to sleep around 3-4 am 6 comes quickly. Six o'clock in the morning is the consistent time that MJ wakes up everyday. Luckily, Michael will get out of bed to take care of him, but I will be awake again. About 15 minutes later it's time to get up and start showering dressing and getting everyone ready for the day. Between running errands, dropping off and picking up from school and feeding everyone else I almost never get the only thing I want after only 2 hours of sleep... I want coffee. I want caffeine from the coffee coursing through my veins and helping me to keep my eyes open on those unending days. Most days I do not get said coffee; I end up settling for a diet coke somewhere around lunch time.

I'm hoping tonight I get to sleep with no trouble. It would be a blessing to me. I need a solid nights recharge so I can face the world, my husband and my kids.

Finding Me

Sometimes I think that I failing at being a mom. I just believe that I am not very good at it. How can I be called to something I am not good at? Because God wants to stretch me, take me out of my comfort zone and make me more than I alone would strive to be.

I think I’m still getting used to this whole stay-at-home-mom thing. I’ve been doing it for about 15 months and sometimes I still fell lost. I seem to be having a hard time finding a balance between being wife, being mom and being Jessica. Maybe that is why I started the blog in the first place. To get my thoughts down and out of my head; maybe an attempt to organize it all. Hopefully through this I can have an outlet for me to think and move in the directions that will benefit myself and my family.

I want to be a better mom. I used to be very creative and have energy to do things and play games but lately all I am is tired. I want to be the mom that has her scrapbooks of her children up to date instead of just a baby book of my oldest. I want to plan wonderful outings and have my kids actually want to eat healthy foods instead of always being home and them refusing carrot sticks and begging for chicken nuggets. I want to be able to run around and play with my kids without feeling like I am killing myself.

I feel like I am failing as a mom but I also feel that mom is the only thing that identifies me. I feel like I’ve lost myself in this plan of having a family. I do not want to be someone outside my family, I just want to be me within it. How can I make this happen? I’m not seeking to please I just want a chance to grow within myself again. Is there anyway to make this happen?

"You Made me Upset and Make Me Cry"

This is something that MJ tells us regularly. When he doesn't get what he wants he begins a fake whine and says "You made me upset and make me cry." He blames Michael and me for every unhappiness that he may encounter (He wasn't allowed dessert, he had to go to bed, he got in trouble and doesn't want to be in the corner, etc...) Meanwhile he is only 2 years old. I don't know where he learned this phrase and why it has entered our lives here at the Abell household but every time he says it I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing.

Maybe this is the way I will start responding to things that don't go my way. Guy cuts me off while driving: "you made me upset and make me cry." My groceries cost more than I expected: "you made me upset and make me cry." Rude people in general that you can run in to at anytime: "you made me upset and make me cry." Maybe by expressing myself in this way it can take people by surprise and maybe get them to crack a smile.

Maybe I can learn things from my 2 year old.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Getting in the Way

How much do we stand in our own way? We let fear take hold of us or pride? Or anything else that stops you from doing something, pursuing something, anything really. Sure there are many times that others block our paths but how much is it really ourselves?

I’ve stood in my own way a million times. I fear others reactions, I fear my own. I ask myself questions on whether it’s really worth it to do something? Will it cause problems, will it change me? Will it change how things are?

I remember being about nine or ten and I was in gymnastics. I wasn’t great at it but I was ok. I could do most things fairly well but the thought of a doing a back handspring could make me nauseous. I had mastered the back walkover, the front walkover, the front handspring and even a back walkover switch (in which you switch your legs mid back walkover) but I had so much fear in hurting myself that I could not do a back handspring. It wasn’t something that was impossible; I could do it if someone was standing right next to me “spotting” me, giving me confidence that I wouldn’t fall on my head. I would end up in that instance doing the back handspring without fear but the moment they would step away my mind would race to the possibilities of what could go wrong and I couldn’t do it anymore.

I think that we’ve all these moments in life. There are so many times that we get in our own way. We don’t make the choices that will lead us in directions to take us where we want to go because we’re afraid, or we let our minds wander to the worst case scenario leaving us missing out on the wonderful things that life has in it.

This was the same for the Israelites. They liked to stand in their own way and let fear take over. In Exodus 14 it talks about how they had just been released by Pharaoh through the help of Moses by God’s hand. But Pharaoh, being the kind of man he was changed his mind about setting his slaves free and decided to go after them. When the Israelites saw that they were being pursued they said “Why did you do drag us out here if we’re just going to die anyway?” The Israelites grumbled the whole time about Moses taking them out of Egypt. They didn’t want to take a risk. They would’ve rather served the Egyptians for all time than move forward. But then Moses tells them in Exodus 14:13-14:

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see
the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today
you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

After this Moses parted the Red Sea. Through God’s hand, His people were delivered. They were not only in their own way but in God’s way too. If they had not stepped out in faith and let God be God and do what he had planned for them they would’ve never made it to the promise land.

I still feel like I get in my own way. I know that there are times that I feel like I get in God’s way in my life. I feel like not taking risks or trying new things will keep me safe, but I miss out on so many of the good things that God brings to us. I know that times things are hard and sometimes I’m fighting a never ending battle with my own head but I just remember now “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” I need to be still in my mind. I need to be still in my spirit. I need to be still and wait for God to show me how to move so I don’t get in the way.

I eventually was able to do the feared back handspring and did them all the way through high school but it took a long time to get out of my own head. I do not want to stand in my own way anymore from the things that make life worth living; or things that can make me happy if only I gave it chance. I need to let go of myself and be still.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tucker...



Tucker was the second animal we got as a family. We rescued him just a couple of months after Midnight. While Midnight is our scaredy cat Tucker is our socialite. Is is odd to call him that? Anyway, Tucker has no problem coming up to anyone that enters our home. He is a cat that will get in your face and you almost can not get him off. As you can see in this picture Tucker has places himself on my brother in law Eric. Eric is not a cat person, but this does not matter to Tucker. He will sit on, rub up against and just plain annoy anyone that comes within a foot of him.

Tucker is the favorite cat of most of our family visitors though because of his friendliness. He is also the only one of our 3 cats that will actually adventure beyond our front porch. He takes advantage of whatever he can to make himself comfortable and stretch out. He is awesome!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Love to Read

Do you love to read? I have found that not many people in my life love to read as much as I do. Sometimes I feel like my reading is a little superficial. It's not like I'm sitting around reading great literary classics (which one day I'm hoping I will someday do). No... I'm currently reading Confessions of a Shopaholic for the umpteenth time. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but it's light and easy and makes me laugh. There are six books in this series and I will read them one after the other and enjoy every bit of it.

Half way through last year I found the website goodreads.com where you can list the books that you've read, give them a rating and write a review. I've been adding books as I go ever since. In January Goodreads started a challenge to read a certain amount of books in a year. My personal goal this year is 75. So far I have read 25. I'm suppose to average between 6 to 7 books a month. Somehow in January I got a little ahead of myself and read closer to 11 or 12, but by March I have been slowing down and having a harder time deciding what I want to read. Hence, I am back to reading the Shopaholic books again. Maybe after I go through the series again I will work on getting back in to new books and also more heavy literature.

If you want to checkout my profile at Goodreads just click here: www.goodreads.com/jlea1982

Deathly Hallow Part 2 Trailer

Confessions of a Harry Potter Addict



I love Harry Potter. I am a self deemed Harry Potter nerd. I have read the books several times and even went to the midnight premier of the last movie that came out.

To me, there are no other stories that compare to the talent of J.K. Rowling in her creativity. She made a link between everything that occurred from The Sorcerer's Stone to The Deathly Hallows. I fell in love with the characters and was hooked on their relationships with each other. I would laugh and I would cry with them. No other book has sucked me in as the Harry Potter series has.

There is so much to why I like these books so much that I can't even think of where to start. I read the series from beginning to end at least once a year and I still find things that I didn't remember from reading the time before. I still cry at certain parts even thought I can now see it coming pages before it happens. This happens most often within The Deathly Hallows. I cry every time I read about the death of Dobby the House Elf. I do not just cry; I ball. It may be that through out the series Dobby has become one of my favorite characters and is so important to so much that happens (I was so disappointed at how much Dobby was removed from the movies).

Voldemort and Dumbledore's back story are extremely fascinating. I don't even know where to start. I love knowing the reasons why behind actions that people take. Showing Voldemort as a child helped you empathize with him though did not really change your mind about him because lets face it, the dude was crazy. Dumbledore on the other hand his past showed a side of him that none of expected, but showed how people can change to for the better and not let the desires they have that could bring them down get in the way of helping every one else. Did that make sense? I'm not really sure.

Regardless, I love Harry Potter. I'm glad that I decided one random day to pick it up and read it. It has brought endless entertainment to me and I hope that when my kids are old enough they would like to read it too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Will my Past Come Back and Bite Me?

The world scares me when it comes to my children. I was influenced by this world before I found Jesus and knowing how much my kids are like me I know I have my work cut out for me.

I was not the best person growing up. I couldn't have been easy on my mom, and during my pre- and early teens our relationship was strained. I was a know it all. I was an adult but only in my own mind. I had no idea how the real world worked or how much pain I caused her until I finally changed my life around. It's the same kind of pain you see reflected in mothers whose children decide that they do not want to be with God. I know quite a few of these people and I fear that I will be in the same place one day.

What do you do when you want to be liked by your peers? You do what they do, and they do what their older siblings, cousins, tv or their favorite rock star is doing. So if my friends thought smoking was cool and that was something I could do too I would do it. What was the big deal anyway? So I was only 13 and I started smoking. It was then that I really felt I needed to start hiding things from my parents.

I don't plan on getting into all the wrongs I've done here, at least not right now. This is still too new of a platform for my to really bare my soul. But I will say that I was not as bad as some but worse than others. I made poor choices. No... I made really bad choices and I do want these to be the same kind of choices that my kids make. I pray constantly that because I am raising my kids in a God loving and a God fearing home that they will make better choices in life. Better than what I ever made. The only really good choice I ever made was to take Jesus into my heart and let him lead my life. Everything just fell into place after that. By loving Jesus I have been blessed more than I have ever deserved.

More than anything I don't want them to feel as lost as I felt at points in my life. I want them to be found in Jesus and have the blessings that He is able to offer. I want them to be happy. I want them to be the opposite of what I was and closer to the kind of person I am now. Is that too much to ask? Is it too much to worry about when they are only five and two?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I am not a Domestic Goddess

I hate cleaning. It is not something that comes naturally to me. I feel like my house is always a slight disaster. There are people I know that just keep things clean and are able to keep there homes sparkley clean and can still put out fresh baked cookies for their kids and a hot meal for their husbands when they get home.

This is not me. Not even a little bit. I am not a clean person. I am not filthy, but I could clean my house and it would be messy again with in a day. This is because not only am I a messy person but so is my husband and my two children.

We leave things out, we don't put things away right away. We let the laundry pile up and don't take out the trash immediately when we should.

These are the reasons that now being a stay at home mom is difficult for me. I have to clean now. I no longer have the excuse of being at work for the house not being how is should. But the thing is... I hate it! I don't want to be responsible for the household and its upkeep. I want to read, I want to play with my kids, I want to do the things I want to do and cleaning is not one of them.

Laundry is the worst of it. I hate doing laundry more than any other chore in existence. This includes changing dirty diapers. I could change diapers all day longer if I never had to do laundry again. From start to finish, it's really an unending cycle. I hate rotating laundry. I hate folding laundry. I hate putting it on hangers, I hate doing every part of it. There was one day a few weeks ago that somehow the washer moved itself in front of the laundry room door blocking me from entering the room; I took it as a sign of me not doing laundry that day and I was fine with it. Unfortunately, Michael came home and moved the washer, unblocked the door making it available to continue the never ending chore.

What is funny, though, is that as much as I do not like to clean, I have a very particular way that I would like the house to be. I always feel better when things are picked up, the carpet vacuumed, floors swept, dishes done. But it only takes a couple of hours before it all looks like it did before.

I try regularly to be the domestic goddess that I believe I should be and I usually last about a week of constant cleaning, cooking and errands before life just gets in the way. I'm beginning to settle for middle ground. The goal is that every night before bed that the dishes are done and the living room picked up and vacuumed. With a little help from everyone we can manage a clean home so that when we know that we will have visitors we are not rushing to clean but instead just straightening up and taking it easy.

I don't know how likely it is but I think I will live by what my mother in law tells me: "My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy."

Meet Midnight


This is Midnight. He is the first animal we took on after we married. Michael and I each brought an animal into the marriage but unfortunately my dog Dudes and Michael's cat Bandit both passed in our first year together.

Midnight is obviously a large cat but when we picked him out he was tiny. He was only a few weeks old and as of a scaredy cat the you can imagine. The first day we had him he found a tiny hole in our kitchen cabinets that he decided to squeeze himself in to causing us to break the inside of a cabinet in order to get him out. We weighed Midnight recently and he now weighs a huge 16.4 lbs! He is no longer tiny.

You probably think that his name is Midnight because he is pitch black, but that is not why we named him that. The first night we had him he decided it would be good to start meowing loudly at midnight until we woke up and gave him attention. He is still to this day more a night cat then a day cat. He still enjoys waking us up in the middle of the night, but no longer is it only meowing in to the surrounding darkness in order to get attention, now Midnight devises plans that include nipping at sensitive skin, including the underarm and side by the ribs. It doesn't hurt much but instead scares you out of deep sleep causing you to be awake and by being awake Midnight now gets the attention he has so desired.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The One Who Started it All


Well, obviously God started it all, but I am not talking about him right now. I am talking about Michael. Michael is the one who came into my life that changed it for the better. I was well on my way to change but at the point that I met Michael I was at a fork in the road. I had two options to what my life would be and I chose the one that made my life the best.

Michael helped in my building a relationship with Jesus and making better decisions that would be better in the long run. But more on how he changed my life later, right now I want to talk about the first time we had ever spoken to each other... More like the first time I spoke to him.

Michael and I were both leaders within our youth group but never, ever talked to each other. I noticed him a couple of times but I figured he was on the quiet side. He didn't talk out much; at least not while I was around. It was a Thursday Night that I really began to notice him. He wasn't standing to far from me; I thought that he was cute, (hey, I was 17 years old, these things are important.) so I stood closer to him. I don't know if he really noticed me standing near him, he seemed very unaware of what was going on around him.

As I got closer, the smell of him closed the deal for me. He smelled clean and fresh, not overdosed in cologne or any other weird things that teenage boys might douse themselves in. So it was the scent of him that hooked me. So I slided up closer to him, stood on my tiptoes so he would for sure hear the words that would come out of my mouth: "You smell like shaving cream" I told him. Michael looked at me like I was out of my mind. But I apparently did not scare him off because with in two weeks of this we began dating. It's now been 10 years together and we are about to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. I learn things daily from Michael. He is my best friend and my ultimate influence. He is wise and silly and makes me laugh. He is wonderful with our children and he himself strives to be a children's pasture when his studies are over. Michael is the one I love. I found him, loved him and never looked back.

Here Comes Trouble... His name is MJ



Michael John. That is my son. Right now at two and a half he is deemed "Trouble." I don't think I've ever encountered a more stubborn child in all my life (and that includes Sidda). MJ was born June 20, 2008 and weighed a whomping 8lbs 4oz (that's right, almost 2 lbs bigger than his sister) and 21 inches long.

Though he is stubborn now as a baby he saw a Godsend. He slept through the night practically right away and was always a happy baby. Even now MJ is happy. He is the family clown. He swiped the title away from my husband the moment that he could start talking. How is it that when you are ready to describe something about your child all examples just fly right out of your head? I will have to fill in later just how MJ is funny but he makes me laugh most of the day, though he is prone to not listening, not even a little bit.... But that is all a part of the things you work on with kids.

This is Sidda
















The first question that I am usually asked when it comes to my daughter is "What? What is her name? It's Sidda? Where does that mean?" My husband Michael would tell them that Sidda meant "conquerer of worlds." That is the kind of things he likes to try to make people believe. The truth of the matter is: it has no meaning that we are aware of. I had watched the Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood. Sandra Bullock characters name is Siddalee. We took that as the base of her name and named our little girl Sidda Lea.

Sidda was born December 29, 2005. She was so tiny. Our doctor had predicted that she would be close to 8 lbs but she was a tiny 6lbs 9 oz and 19 1/2 inches long. She was so little and so dependent on me that I was scared to take her home and be left all by myself. Soon enough, it all fell into a routine and it became natural to take care of her.

Sidda is now a five year old independent girl who is loves to laugh and tell stories and is starting to learn to read. Sidda also loves God. She has a lot of questions about everything and every night she reads her Bible with her Daddy, sings a song with me and we pray together. Watching her grow up I understand why God called me for this, it's where I belong.

My First Call

I was eighteen years old when I was first called to be a mom. No, that's not when I first became pregnant, no it's not when I had my first child, but it was the day that God put the call on my that I would be a mother... it is what I was called to do.

I was at a winter camp with my youth group. It was the second night that we were there and I was praying. I was at a stage in my life where I knew that it was almost time to take the next step in where I should be going. High school graduation was just around the corner and life was changing. That night I had a very clear message from God...

Let me take a second and explain something. I did not want kids. I wanted to be selfish and have freedom my whole life. I wanted to be married one day, yes, but kids were never in my plan.

... so, I had a very clear message from God, I was going to be a mom and I would marry a pastor. So, all through high school I was busy making my own plans of all the things that I would be doing in adulthood and motherhood was never part of the plan, but God's plans are always better.

Four years later I married my high school boyfriend and ended up getting pregnant on my honeymoon. That was when my call into God's plan started to fall into place. His timing is always perfect. My husband and I now have two beautiful children and he is currently studying to become a children's pastor.

It was just about ten years ago that God put this call on my life and I wouldn't change a moment of it.