John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

This Christmas was a little different than other years and I am really happy with the way everything turned out. Christmas started for me on December 16th when I got off from work and started my very own Christmas vacation! I had a couple of days without the boys because they were still in school/daycare. I used my time very wisely and wrapped presents and did any last minute shopping and running around that I needed to. I ended up checking Kobe out of school early on Tuesday ...just because. On Wednesday morning Samuel and I woke up bright and early and got ready and went to Kobe's Christmas party at school. We ate breakfast foods and hung out for a little while and when it was all over... we all came home! On Wednesday night we had a Christmas party at church. It was so much fun and we got to hang out with some of our best friends and talk and the kids got to play and it was just a really fun time. We didn't want to leave! We hung out at home most of the week except for the few times we needed to run to the store for something we forgot or something I thought of and we had fun just being at home together. Friday night when John got off from work we set out to the mall and  out to dinner. We had fun just us. Hanging out. Saturday was Christmas Eve and John and the boys headed out for their annual tradition of shopping on Christmas Eve. This year I went with my parents to pick up the Christmas ham and a few last minute gifts. I always think of something else I wish I had bought or something I would have liked to buy but didn't and go back and get it anyway! I finally got home and cooked my side dish for my grandmother's house. This was the first family get together that we have been to in over a year so I was anxious and excited to see how it would all play out. We dropped off our food and went to Christmas Eve Communion at the Ark with a good friend and my parents. After communion we all (including our friend Mario) went to my grandmothers for dinner and presents. It was very nice to sit and talk to my family and especially my grandfather and my grandmother. I am really glad we went. The kids had a great time and have already asked when we would be going back. That evening when we left we went to see the Christmas lights (our family tradition) and sing Christmas songs in the car. When we got home we realized that Santa had already come. We missed him! We weren't home so he left the boys a note and some pajamas and nicely told them that they better get their little rear ends in the bed if they wanted him to come back. Each year, he does this, and each year the kids act like they can't believe it! It is so funny! So, we put on our Christmas Eve pajamas and sat out our cookies and milk and our apple for Rudolph. We sprinkled our Reindeer food on the lawn and went to bed. Samuel didn't think it was fair that we didn't go get in our bed too... he wanted to wait until we did... already a little too smart for his own good! We decided that Santa would take a backseat this Christmas. We let him come to our home but we told him he would only be bringing a few small gifts for each child.  Finally... around 1:00 AM John and I headed to bed. At 6:30 two little very excited boys came and tapped me on the shoulder and said Santa had come and wanted me out of the bed! So John and I got up and watched them ooohhh and aaahhh over their new presents and then we unwrapped out gifts under the tree. Everyone really enjoyed what they got this year and I am so glad that they did. I put a lot of effort and time (and money) into all of this and so it was really rewarding to see them so happy and excited. Although, I could have stopped after one gift...Kobe stopped doing anything once he saw his ipod touch and Samuel was only interested in his Batcave

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

At my grandparent's house on Christmas Eve--Kobe and my grandfather, Samuel and my daddy

Samuel is on the right and Kobe is on the left... fast asleep...waiting...
"..While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads..."
Santa came to see the dogs!
Kobe was visited by Santa
Samuel was visited by Santa and Santa even left his big red bag!

Our Christmas Tree


I told John I wanted a puppy for Christmas. He said no. I sent him a few pictures of some potential dogs that I thought might win him over. The answer: NO! So, I let it go for a little while thinking he might come around. That following Saturday morning he woke up and asked me didn't we have somewhere we needed to go?? I said no. I was still a little ill over not getting my way, you see. He finally came around to telling me to get my stubborn self in the car and he took us to the local animal shelter. He said he had been praying about the dog situation and doing a little bit of research. He said a Pug would be perfect for our home. He said if we found a dog that really needed us to rescue it we would bring it home. So, you know me....every dog I saw... Oh this is it! No, this is it! We also made the mistake of taking Samuel with us. He was unimpressed. He didn't go crazy over anything. Sure, he thought they were cute but I figured he would want each and every dog he saw. We were on the last row and nearly to the last cage and I was beginning to think we were not getting a dog! Until, at the very last cage there sat a PUG. A sweet little Pug that had to be taken from its owner due to abuse and neglect. One of his eyes had been poked "out" (the eye is still there but doesn't look like the other one) and he had been left out in very extremely cold temperatures with no food, water, or shelter. The lady that worked there said he needed a home very soon. The way she said it was to let me know this dog would be put down soon if someone didn't take it. She led Samuel through the rows one last time and asked which puppy he wanted to take home. He led her right back to the very last cage and chose the little Pug. Of course, that dog came home with us. He is the sweetest little dog and we all love him very much...except Buster who is still a little apprehensive of the new guy! He is very loving and follows me every step I take and loves our boys. He is a great addition to our home.

Leviticus Buddy (thanks to Sam) Rainey---Levi for short

Thankful Thursday 12-22-11

Some of you will notice, and others won't have a clue, but I skipped a week on Thankful Thursdays. I didn't mean to. It's not like I didn't have anything to be thankful for but I just simply ran out of time! I am going to try to get these last few posts of the year in ...because after that... I hope to order my first blog book!

So... on with the things I am most thankful for:

1. God. For sending His son to this Earth to walk among us and teach us how to love and be more like Him.

2. Jesus. For taking a beating for me and my sins. He took it for you too! Next time you want to judge someone or feel like someone is "below" you... look at them and think that Jesus loved them enough to die for them too!

3. John. For loving me even when I don't love myself.

4. The boys. MY Boys. OH MY! Not enough space to type about them. I love them so very much that sometimes I feel like I could BURST!

5. Happy. For John wanting to see me happy. This time it meant we got a puppy for Christmas! I love my little Leviticus Buddy Rainey. Samuel named him his middle name... We call him Levi.

6. Christmas Break. After I finished high school this term lost a lot of its meaning to me because I worked in college and shortly after had Kobe so "Christmas Break" didn't mean I had NOTHING to do because I would still work even if I had a break from classes. After college it went out the window except it became a little stressful because I always had to find somewhere for Kobe and then Sam to go when school and daycare closed. NOT. THIS. YEAR. I finally get a Christmas Break! I love my new job.

7. My Church Family and Pastors. They all mean so much to me and although we don't get to see them enough (two days a week is hardly enough) I enjoy when we do.

8. My Parents. I am so glad that we have my parents. They are always there for us and we enjoy having them around!

9. Patience. I have been so patient for the last 17 months and I finally got an answer on something BIG. I am going to have to ask that you be patient on this as I don't want to reveal this big surprise just yet until it is completely final...but in time I will reveal it!

10. Faith and Confidence. I am so thankful that I Have the Faith to remain Confident in Jesus Christ... that He will work it all out!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

52 Home-- Week 50

My Christmas present...his name us Leviticus Buddy (per Sam) Rainey
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Family Portraits 2011

We had our portraits done by Lauren Burrows (Pastor Lauren at our church) and here are a few of our favorites...

Callum, Samuel, and Kobe... I love Samuel's little hand on this one

Our most favorite! Lauren did such a great job!

Love this group of people!

I am not exactly sure what Kobe was scared of...but... this could have been a great picture!

Sweet Boys

Kobe and Callum were unsuspecting when they let Samuel behind them... the placement of Samuel's hands and the look on his face says it all!

I have ALWAYS called him my Silly Little Sam!

I love this little monkey man!

My sweet little Kobe Ko growing up...

This one is a little too close for comfort because it reminds me of Senior portraits...which aren't that far off...

I love these boys

The Raineys

I think Samuel is SICK of pictures

52 Home---Week 49

This year's Christmas Card:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Five on Friday 12-9-11 (Toppings)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: Toppings

1. What’s your favorite ice cream topping? **Caramel Syrup**

2. What’s your favorite pizza topping? **Cheese**

3. What’s your favorite thing to sprinkle cocoa powder on? **I would say whipped topping on top of hot chocolate**

4. What’s your favorite thing to put whipped cream on? **Pumpkin Pie**

5. What do you like to put upon a cracker? **A thin spread of port wine cheese and a little piece of ham, turkey, and a pepperoni!

                                                Ice_cream_scoop : ice cream cartoon with cherry isolated over white background. vector

Experiencing Santa Claus

Last night I went on a date. With two guys! They were really handsome and very polite. They were dressed so nicely and I was very proud to be their date. Their names were Kobe and Samuel! These two boys know how to treat a lady!

First, we went to Hobby Lobby (my choice, obviously). This wasn't their favorite stop of the night but I have to say that they were very well behaved and allowed me to look at everything I wanted to and I was very pleased.

Next, we made a straight shot to the mall. This was their choice. You may think that is odd for my two boys to choose the mall as a date destination...but... that is where Santa Claus lives for a few hours a day during Christmas! We entered through the back entrance and while we were making our way to the front of Santa's Village the boys were trying to get sneak peeks of him. Samuel, of course, had to touch anything that he saw and pick up everything that wasn't nailed down. I think I shared in a previous post Samuel's new found love for "wood crackers". He has found that he really admires Nut Crackers and at the entrance to Santa's Village there a several larger than life sized Nut Crackers. He was so excited. He saluted them and spoke to them and walked behind them to see if they were "real". I don't know if you know this... I didn't until Samuel enlightened me, that you can tell if they are real by checking to see if they have a handle to use to open their mouths... YEP they had one ... they were real! He asked to bring it home for his collection (my mother started him his very own Nut Cracker collection this year)...he was very disappointed with my answer. Finally, it was our turn to see Santa! The kids had been excited about this all day long so it really shocked me that they both "choked" the minute they saw him. Neither of them would go near Santa. Finally, probably out of embarrassment, Kobe went forward and sat on Santa's knee. Even seeing his big brother upon Santa's knee did not give Samuel the needed persuasion to hop up on the knee of the big fat guy in the red suit.But, finally with some gentle coaxing bribery he went and sat upon Old St. Nick’s knee. Kobe got so nervous once he saw him he couldn’t even tell him what he wanted for Christmas!  I bribed him by telling him that if he would go up there for a picture with Kobe that we would go anywhere he chose for dinner. Once he got up there he would barely speak and when it came time for pictures… he was ready to get off of that man’s knee! The lady couldn’t get him to smile for anything… not even a sucker! Poor Santa… I know he was ready for a quick return to the North Pole. We tried bribing Samuel to smile but it just wouldn't work. The lady asked if I wanted to go ahead and get the picture taken. I said yes, of course. I figured it could be our "Santa" picture. You know, the one that most all families have of an unhappy child to document how funny they looked! In true "A Christmas Story" style, at the very last minute, Kobe finally managed to tell a couple of things he wanted to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Samuel managed to mutter "Batman" but nothing else. I told Sam to tell him that we would have cookies and milk waiting for him on Christmas Eve and to find out his favorite kind. All Sam would say is "Cookies" and then a quite "Milk". Santa wished them a Merry Christmas and lowered them off of his knees. They both happily took their suckers and candy canes and moved (quickly) on their way. As we were walking off Kobe threw his hands up in the air and told us that he had indeed forgotten to tell him a few very important things. Samuel kept looking back in horror like Santa might hop the fence of candy canes and come after him. Once we were safely away Samuel began to talk about how much he loved Santa and how cool he was... yeah... OK Sam!

We continued on and went to the Collector's store to look at sports cards and action figures. Then onto Finishline to look at shoes and finally Samuel said he was really hungry and ready to go. I asked where he wanted to go and he said he was having a "Zack Attack!" and I asked what that was... apparently that means he wants to go to Zaxby's. So on to eat chicken we went. We enjoyed being a little silly at dinner and singing along with the songs that were playing and just chatting and having fun.

We then headed to Kirkland's and Lifeway Christian Book Store. The boys went straight to the back to watch the movie they were playing while I looked for what I needed. I wanted to make them get up and come on but they were being so sweet just sitting there that I hated to make them move! We made our final purchases and headed home.

We apparently passed by an obvious landmark in Samuel's eyes because he blurted out that we were going to church. So, we turned and headed towards church. John was there practicing with the Praise and Worship band so we snuck inside to hear a little before we headed home. They were singing my most favorite Christmas song ever. O Come Emmanuel. We sat and listened for a few minutes but it was past bedtime and time to head home. We drove home and sang Christmas songs. Each of them ended up falling asleep in the backseat. I looked in my rear view at them and at that very moment... all was right with my world.

My dates!

Sam isn't so happy and Kobe is a little nervous!

Thankful Thursday 12-8-11

1. God. He has been really showing up and showing out in our lives lately!

2. Jesus. Just to hear his name makes my heart feel so full of love.

3. Answered Prayers. John and I got in agreement and prayed a VERY specific prayer and I KNOW God heard us because He answered it and He answered in the way and at the specified time we asked Him to. He is so good!

4. John. It really does a heart good to see my husband stretching himself as a Christian and pray for others and be obedient to Christ.

5. My boys! Last night Kobe and Samuel took this mommy on a date. First, they took me to see Santa, to the Collector’s store (they like looking for the cheap basketball/baseball cards and at the dolls action figures, to Finish Line, to Romancing the Stone, and finally out to dinner at Zaxby’s. We had a *great* time and I do not believe I will ever forget hanging out just the three of us!

6. My Job. I am SO very thankful for my job. I love love love it! I love my co-workers and my boss and every single thing about it! I am so grateful!

7. My Church Family. My church, Pastors included, really showed me what “family” is all about. John and I have been dealing with some legal issues (nothing bad and when the time is right… I will share) and we had a court date last week. I had people calling me and coming to me asking to be there to show support for us. The hall was overflowing with people just wanting to be there for us. During the time of people pouring out love and support for us the Lord reminded me that at one time in life... hardly any one would stand by me and Many times not many people would show support or love to me and he showed me that this was his way of restoring what was lost. That is one of His promises to us and He definitely came through loud and clear on that one. He says that he will restore what has been taken or lost... My sense of love, self worth, self esteem, and support from others had been taken from me at one time but He restored it more than I could have ever hoped for! They were there and prayed over us and our family and were in intercession for us the entire time. I am so very thankful and deeply grateful for each one of them.

8. Our Friends. We have some really good friends. I am so thankful that God has placed these people in our lives. I love them more than any words I can ever type on this page. Particularly, “Uncle” Aaron and “Aunt” Lori. They were so good to us this past week and went out of their way to show love and support to my family that no words could ever thank them enough.

9. Peace. There is nothing like PEACE. Last Friday night, for the first time in probably ten years, I laid my head down on my pillow and I had peace. Peace that I could not ever describe. It was like a mighty tsunami of the Lord’s precious peace came over me. I am so thankful for peace and rest.

10. Restoration. I have had some ugly things said about me and some accusations pointed to me and I knew that I wasn’t wrong in the way I did certain things or handled certain situations. It broke my heart, especially because it had to do with my mothering abilities. I knew that this was the enemy trying to plant things in my head to make me feel unworthy or not “good enough”. The Lord whispered to me and told me that I need to lift my head and not worry about a thing. He told me that I could just step back because He would step in and defend me. And… He did. The Lord says that what the enemy meant for harm He will restore and He will turn it into good. He always works everything together for our good!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!

This year, since I was off the same days as the boys, we decided to put our Christmas decorations out while John was at work on Black Friday. Callum and Kobe carried boxes and decorations from the attic and Samuel and I put them where they belong. Sam put our stocking holder together all by himself this year and we all put the tree up together. We decorated it and then tested it to see how pretty it looked. We then decided that we needed hot chocolate and Christmas movies to finish up our decorating time and while I decorated the dining room and front porch they each put up their Christmas trees in their rooms. It was very sweet and we had alot of fun hanging out and decorating together. We even all pitched in after it was all done and cleaned the floors and picked the house up so that it would be all nice and neat and clean for the weekend. I always enjoy getting that one box down... the one with all of the handmade ornaments and Christmas decorations that my children have made over the years. I see the themed trees and think of how nice they are and how beautiful they are... and for ONE split second I think of how nice it would be to have that beautiful, matching, themed tree... and then I remember the tiny handprints on clay, the glittered stars, the cotton ball beard on the Santas, the slightly colored/painted angels, the wreaths that are now missing some of their rhinestones or beads, the sweet crayola colored popsicle sticks that frame my children's sweet faces that hang on my tree and I remember why I don't have a themed tree. I believe that even as my children move off there will always be a "childhood" tree in my home to help me recall these memories.

One day as we were passing by a home, that was very small (that is saying a lot coming from me, considering our home is quite small) and was aging in appearance and upkeep, Samuel said he wishes that was our home. Kobe asked WHY??? Why would you want to live there? Sam said, "Because they have Christmas there." I looked closer and there was a wreath and a nativity set on their tiny porch. He wanted to live there because they had Christmas decorations and a baby Jesus and we had not put anything up just yet. I often wish we could all be as innocent and non-judgemental and non-materialistic as our children.

I am very, very excited about our Christmas break this year because I will be spending it with my babies at home. I plan for us to do our good deeds of Christmas like we do every year and I plan to bake cookies and POSSIBLY a gingerbread house. Every year the kids BEG me to buy one of those kits...this just may be the year to try that out.

It is closing in quickly. Between holiday parties and gathering and school functions we are pretty much booked solid this month but I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy getting to spend time with friends and family that we love. Every year I start getting stressed over details... this year I have decided to not allow myself to get to that point. I don't want my children to remember holidays as stressful situations. I want them to remember the love and time we put into them.

Our tree

Monday, December 5, 2011

52 Home---Week 48

Kobe's first basketball game for the Trojans! 12-3-11

Five On Friday 12-2-11 (BRRRRR!!!!)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE  I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: BRRRRR

1. What’s your favorite thing about cold weather? **Getting to wear my furry boots that John bought me for Christmas last year!**

2. Soups and hot beverages seem to be everyone’s favorite cold-weather culinary combatant, but what’s another food that seems to take the bite out of the cold? *Pot Roast with carrots, potatoes, onions, and celery served with warm rolls and mac & cheese! Or for those SO cold morning... a family favorite of ours is Cinnamon Rolls!**

3. When the weather is just starting to turn cold but is not yet in full frigidity, what do you add to your bed until it’s time to break out the heavy artillery? (I said what, not whom!) **John puts a heating pad on his side of the bed about 20 minutes before he is ready to lay down to get it nice and warm and I take my nice comfy blanket that my mom made me to bed with me.**

4. What household chore seems especially unkind in these colder months? **Cleaning off the front porch and steps!**

5. Among people you know, who seems most oblivious to cold weather? **My dad. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all!**

                                                   Chicken Soup With Noodles

Five on Friday 11-25-11 (Leftovers)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE  and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE  I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

**This week's Friday5 is compiled of questions that would have been included on the lists... had Friday5 been Friday6... according to their website.**

This Week's Topic: Leftovers

1. Leftover from April 17, 2009: What’s a creature comfort (practically unnecessary) you must take with you on an overnight trip in the great outdoors? Please consider a phone something that has practical necessity! **MY pillow from home. Even if I am camping in a camper or in a tent… I MUST have my very own pillow and John always takes his knee pillow.**

2. Leftover from August 31, 2007: What did yesterday cost you? ---Thanksgiving in the U.S., but answer it for wherever you are and whatever you did! **Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day … It cost me $52.54 for a late lunch/early dinner and the time I spent with my family was priceless.**

3. Leftover from January 25, 2008: What was your excuse the last time you were REALLY late for something? **I am ALWAYS late. Most of my friends HATE that about me…but it is just part of being me! The last time I was REALLY late I had a legitimate reason. My doctor’s appointment was LONG because of my wait in the waiting room.**

4. Leftover from February 18, 2011: What was your first online purchase? **It was likely tickets to some show or toys for Kobe.**

5. Leftover from December 25, 2009: Which of your gifts do you think you do not put to its best, fullest use? **Probably the candles that I store away in my cookie safe… I don’t know WHAT I am saving them for!**

Leftover Food Storage - csp5808431

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday 12-1-11

Top Ten This Week:

1. God. I am so thankful that God loves me with an everlasting heart.

2. Jesus. So very thankful that He is in intercession for me RIGHT now.

3. Prayer. It changes things.

4. Great Pastors. I am so thankful for pastors who care about their church family and treat them as such!

5. God's Timing and His Will. It Is perfect. Enough Said.

6. Faith. I put my hope and trust in the one who is MOST High!

7. Royal Bloodlines. I am a daughter of a King... A Co-Heir of Christ!

8. God's Promises. He keeps His word. He watches over it to preform it.

9. Praise and Worship. I am thankful for time that I can spend just magnifying His goodness.

10. No need to do it myself. God promises that vengeance is HIS! He said that He will step between us and our aggressors and defend us.