Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Dad

This is a little tribute to my awesome dad! He is the best dad anyone in this world could ever have. I had so much fun working with him this weekend. He is so handy and knowledgable. He taught me his secret painting tricks. Every bone in his body is creative. And he has the energie of Natalie. It'd be 10PM and Scott and I would be dead tired. My dad would look at us and want to know what the next project was. Even early this morning before they left, he wanted to know if he could quickly help me rearrange the stuff in my kitchen soffets. (The only project we didn't get to this weekend.) So I just wanted to take a post to give him a huge THANK YOU!!! You are amazing! Scott and I are so blessed to have you in our lives! We love you so very much! When April comes around, we'll have Natalie's room to do as well as all of our flower beds to freshen up! Rest well until then!

Nana and Papa!!!

My parents were here this past weekend. We had so much fun with them! My dad helped Scott and I completely re-do our bedroom. We painted and refinished furniture. We shopped and shopped. Then when we were all done with the room we put up pictures and accesories all over the rest of the house. I will post the before and after pictures of our room just as soon as my new duvet cover gets here. Hopefully it will come this weekend. I will post the before and after pictures of my kitchen later today. I need to get curtains up in the living room and then I will post after pictures of it. We also are still waiting for our new furniture, but that may be a little while before we get that. But before I get to that, here are some highlights from our weekend...

Nana bought Natalie new slippers. They are little maryjanes with Shimmer on them. (Shimmer from Miss Spider.) Don't you just love those Helga buns?!

Without Nana, we would not have been able to do our room. She and Natalie were inseperable this weekend! They did water paints, colored, made cookies, played Barbies and dollies, read books, painted their nails (15 times at least), and about a million other "jobs" as Natalie called their projects.

Here they are with their watercolor pictures on the fridge.

Yeah, so we tried to get a nice family picture, but as you can see, that didn't happen!

Natalie would sit nicely with Nana and Papa.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More Christmas Pictures...

I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures of our time in Ohio at Christmas. I had totally forgotten about them until my girlfriend posted her Christmas pictures the other day. I realized that I still had photos to post. Here ya go...

Natalie and McKinley

"Best Friends"

Scott and Natalie, Uncle Tony and McKinley (Tony is McKinley's Papaw)

Mamaw and the girls

The original Ball family

Papaw and Natalie taking a nap after everyone left.

Oh, and today is Scott's best friend's 29th birthday! Happy Birthday Chad! Wish we were with you and sharing stories of Super Dave.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Truly Unexplainable

I only just had my miscarriage last night.

Yeah, how crazy is that?! Friday I began to have cramps and what I thought was my monthly friend. By Sunday afternoon the cramps and bleeding had only gotten worse. Yesterday morning I called my midwife and she said that while that can be quite normal for the first couple months after a miscarriage, if I don't think it's normal for me they want to check it out further. She asked that I call her on Wednesday to let her know how I was doing.

The cramps had increased by yesterday afternoon to the point that they were full blown contractions. They were so painful that I couldnt speak through them. I fell asleep for a bit late in the afternoon and when I woke up I felt alot better. I made dinner and went about life. I put Natalie to bed and went to take care of my personal needs. As I was, I felt something slip from my body. (Sorry if this is gross...) It was the gestationaly sack, the size of a deflated golf ball. I am absolutely stunned by this. I had dealt with the loss and thought that I had been done for weeks, then all of a sudden--There it is! Ten weeks after the pregnancy ended and 7 weeks after I found out about it, it finally passed.

My girlfriend told me this morning that she was amazed at how well I was handling the whole situation. But I can honestly say that I had already come to terms with everything and had begun to move on. I'm just so stunned that it happened now.

I even went in last week for my follow up appoinment and my midwife gave me the go ahead to start trying again if we wanted to. All my bloodwork had come back that I was done. Pregnancy test came back negative. If I would have had a second ultrasound like they wanted me to, they would have seen everything. I'm sure they would have wanted me to have a D&C. God knew better. He knew that I could handle it on my own. It may take my body a while, but eventually I'll get it done.

I just talked to the nurse and she was as surprised to hear this as I was. She'll talk with my midwife and call me back if I have to go back in.

So anyway, I just thought I'd give everyone an update. I tried not to be too graphic. This is just so bizarre!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Unexplainable

FYI: This is the longest post I have ever written. It is deeply personal and I share it with an open heart. It is the hardest story I have ever had to tell about my little existance here on earth. I have been trying to write this for many weeks now. As I wrote today, fresh tears and sorrow came. The tenderness of loss may remain for a lifetime, but it makes us stronger through the strength of Jesus Christ. "I can do all things through Chrsit who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

On October 18, I found out I was pregnant.

I was pretty surprised to be honest with you. We had been trying for about 6 months or so, but had just decided to stop for a while. I just felt that the timing wasn't right and that I was not supposed to be pregnant. So when I saw the positive results on the test, I was shocked, confused, a little irritated (hey, I'm being honest!), and scared. I was so confused by it that I didn't even tell Scott for a couple days. I remember calling one of my dearest girlfriends and telling her that I wasn't sure how I was feeling about it. I think part of the reson why I was so confused is because we'd been trying for a long while to get pregnant and now that I was, I wasn't happy about it or even the least bit excited.

After a couple days of mulling it over and seeking God for answers, I couldn't keep it a secret from my hubby any longer. It was Thursay night (the beginning of our weekend) and pizza night at the Ball Room. So I told Scott that I was going to go and order the pizza and wait for it. I told him I had another errand to run anyway. So I went to Season's and the whole way there, I racked my brain to come up with a clever way to tell Scott about the baby on the pizza. (With Natalie I was so totally freaked out that all he got was a frantic phone call during band practice.) I wanted this time to be more special even if I wasn't excited about it.

So I ordered our favorite pizza--Greek pizza...mmmm. I asked the lady behind the counter if they could use the olives to make a #2 on the pizza. I explained that I had just found out I was expecting again and wanted to tell my husband in a sweet way. She stepped from behind the counter to show me her bulging 7 month belly. She said she would personally do it herself. The whole place ended up finding out about it and everyone was congratulating me. I was terrified that someone I knew was going to walk in and hear about it before I had even told Scott. So with my pizza in hand, I headed home. I was so nervous, that I totally forgot about the other errand I needed to run.

When I got home, I took the pizza in the kitchen where Scott was. I told him that they forgot to cut it and asked if he would cut it. He opened the box and began cutting when I came running back in the room. He was cutting into my #2! I asked him if he saw what they had written. He said that he just thought it was an "S" for Season's. Now seriously! We've been going to Season's for almost 2 year and getting the greek pizza just about every time and they have NEVER put and "S" on the pizza. (Only a guy would say that.)

I told him it was a #2. He looked even more confused. I finally had to just come right out and say, "We're having another baby!" He was as shocked as I was. I quickly took a picture because I knew that eventually, when I got excited, I would want to post this cute story of how I told him about baby #2 on my blog.

So the next few weeks were rather uneventful other than the major fatigue that comes with early pregnancy. I went to the doctor and they said, "Yes in deed, you are most definately pregnant!" I was given the due date of June 21, 2007.

Still, I waited for the excitement to kick in, but deep down inside I knew there was something not right. I ademently refused to tell anyone, much to Scott's dismay. (He hates to keep secrets like this.) I just wanted to wait until I could share in other's excitement. Scott couldn't wait, so he began to let it slip out here and there. We told our families and very close friends with strict instructions to keep it quiet.

Around 7 or 8 weeks along Scott posted on his blog that we were expecting. (More than anything else, he just wanted to see if anyone actually read his blog. Click on The Atmosphere to the right to read his blog. He would love it!) So more and more people sloooowly found out. It was also around this time that I began to get over the initial shock and confusion. I was actually starting to look forward to having a baby again, to being a mommy again. I began to fess up to my girlfriends who were not too pleased with me for keeping it from them for so long! (They had shared my sadness each month while we were trying when I would find out that I wasn't pregnant.)

After Thankgiving, my girlfriend Susan and I went to Indiana for a couple days. It was all business for her and half business, half play with my niece and nephew for me. When we go there we crashed, but the next morning I didn't feel rested. In fact I felt more exhausted than I had the night before after a 13 hour drive. I moved in a haze that day. I remember Susan kept asking me if I felt ok. I did feel ok, I just was so tired. The next day I went back to my brother's and was even more exhausted. I couldn't carry the babies. I could barely carry myself. I got the sniffles and thought I was just getting a cold.

The next morning I woke up with a few little cramps. I knew something was not right because I don't cramp during pregnancy until I am in labor. When I used the restroom I noticed that there was a tinge of blood. I didn't say anything to anyone for most of the day, because I didn't want anyone to freak out. Finally in the afternoon, I did talk to Anissa about it. She had had a miscarriage before and would know if I should be concerned about the bit of pink. She told me not to worry about it unless it became dark and the cramps increased.

About an hour later that was exactly what happened. I called her into the bathroom and asked her if I should be concerned about that. She told me to call my midwife right away.

The midwife asked me to come in as soon as I got home for an ultrasound. We left the next day and the cramping increased, but the bleeding remained consistant.

That Friday morning, December 1st, 2006, Scott, Natalie, and I went to the ultrasound and saw nothing. We didn't see a heartbeat. We didn't see movement. We didn't see toes and fingers. We didn't see a baby. I was 11 weeks along, so we should have see all of that. We were told nothing but to return to the midwife. The midwife then explained to us that there was no baby. No baby at all. Just a gestational sack that was only measuring at 8 weeks. She said that had the baby developed even to five or six weeks along they would have been able to see something in the gestational sack.

I had what's called a blighted ovem. It's when an egg is fertilized, but doesn't really develop much beyond that. It's caused by a chromosomal dysfunction in the egg.

We had no baby.

My mom had just given me two precious little sleepers for the baby. One in yellow and one in white with little yellow ducks all over it.

We had no baby.

How could that be?

How could there not be a baby?! I was pregnant! I had the morning sickness! I was beginning to grow. I was pregnant! It was my little boy. My bubby. My son.

No baby.

But God is ALWAYS faithful!! He is so good. He has a PERFECT PLAN for my life and for my family. This miscarriage is a part of that, no matter how hard it may be. My amazing man put it best...

"On Dec 1, 2006, at 4:24 PM, Scott Ball wrote:

Hey Everyone,
Each of us have in our lives pillars. By pillars I mean places that we look to, remembering God's faithfulness, mercy and grace, so that we in turn have a place to turn when times get tough, or when the "rug gets pulled out from underneath you."

A few weeks ago, we shared with you some great news that Melissa and I are having another baby. You all rejoiced with us, and we are getting excited, expecting a little miracle baby sometime this June. Through this God remained faithful!

Melissa went through the 1st trimester with very little sickness, something we were all praying for, and God remained.

Pillars are awesome. They are not only things that you can see from a distance (these things are huge!) They are also so big that you can easily lean on them when its hard to stand. God is so faithful.

This morning I was leaning on some of those pillars. Melissa was in Indiana this week, and started having some issues with the pregnancy. After the mad rush to the hospital, sonogram people, and her doctor we found out that we had lost the baby.

God always remains. I keep thinking of Moses. When times got tough, he leaned on God. So much so that he told God if you are not near, just end this whole thing right now! God answered him. It was amazing! He never said it would be easy, just that He would go before us. He was so faithful!

So here we are. What do we do now? Well, first of all, this was God's child, He has the prerogative to do whatever he wishes. Second of all, He ALWAYS has a plan. We are just seeking what that plan is. Thirdly, we have some awesome pillars to lean on! God has, and continues to do some amazing stuff in our lives, in our family, in our ministries, in our congregation!

Melissa and I are walking in places where we have never walked before. And I know that there is a light unto our path, and we have a Guide/Comforter/The ULTIMATE GPS to help us through this, and HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL.

You can continue to pray with us as we walk, God never said that it would be easy, just that He would never leave us alone to our own devices ;)

Thanks for all of your prayers! Especially for Melissa as her body heals, and recovers.
PS and Melissa

Scott Ball . Worship Pastor . First Assembly Elkton
[ p. 410.398.4234 e. w. ]"

I spent a lot of time on the phone that afternoon calling friends and family. Each time I told the story, my faith rose. My God got bigger and His plan got greater. My spirit began to soar inspite of the deep valley I felt inside.

For the next month, my feet did not touch down. I had my moments of sorrow. I sobbed for my baby boy that I would never feel moving inside me. I wept for the baby that would never nurse. I mourned the loss of my son whom I would never hold. That was the hardest part... knowing I would never hold my baby in my arms.

My baby was gone.

But my God never left my side.

Even today as I write, the wounds are still fresh and still so very tender, but HE is right here. He has always been here.

Christmas was tough. Lots of talk of pregnancy and a baby boy (JESUS!) being born. Scott gave me the most amazing gift ever. I don't think that there will ever be a more romantic gift given by him or any other husband. Each Mother's Day he and Natalie get me a Willow Tree Figurine. Every year he blows me away with the thoughfulness of the figurine. For a long time I have wanted the one of the pregnant woman, but I was never pregnant over Mother's Day. After we lost the baby, I told him that I wanted the figurine to stand as a symbol of the pregnancy and baby. As I opened the box, I saw that it was a figurine and assumed it was the pregnant woman. This is who I pulled out...

I was so confused. How could he do this to me? I said, "But I don't have a baby." He said, "I know. You told me that the hardest part of this all was that you were never going to be able to hold your baby. I saw this and thought that now you'd be able to hold your baby." We sat there and wept together for the first time.

I couldn't put her down. I couldn't put my baby down. If you look closely at the picture you can see that the baby is sleeping. My baby is sleeping in my arms.

The caption for this figurine is "So loved, so very loved." Even though I wasn't initially happy or excited, this baby was so very, very loved and so desperately wanted! Someday I will see him and I long for that day. But until then, I have to stand and believe!

GOD IS SO FAITHFUL AND SO VERY GOOD TO ME! If I don't stand and if I don't believe that He is who He says He is, then I have nothing. If you go through the good times of life on your own and wait to call upon God until you have a dark moment, you'll have nothing to run to. It is in those good times that we build our faith and are made stronger for those times when we feel so low. God is always there. We are the ones that pick and choose when we want Him around.

I had a good friend once, who went through an unbelieveable battles. She used to say all the time, "It's not about me!" It's about God. It's about Him only! We exist only to glorify HIS name! We go through struggles and tests so that we have a TESTimony of God's glory through us. It's not about us! Nothing ever is! It's all about HIM! It's all about Him! Forever and ever, it's about Him.

It's been about six weeks since we found out about the miscariage. Natalie still thinks there's a baby in my tummy. I can't watch A Baby Story yet. I have friends who are pregnant and I am able to honestly rejoice with them. When the time is right, another baby will come. I have no doubts about that. It's all in His timing. It's His perfect plan, after all. So until that time, I enjoy my little girl and I enjoy my husband. I live life and I enjoy everything that God has done. He is good and He is faithful.

"The Ball Room"
Scott, Melissa, and Natalie Ball
Williamsburg, VA
October 2006

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Our Early Christmas

So because we left right after Christmas Eve service for our national Christmas tour of the relatives, we decided to have our Christmas a bit early. If we waited, we wouldn't have had time to enjoy ourselves. We opened presents on Friday morning. Here are some pictures of Natalie opening her gifts. It was so cute because as she'd open them we would say to her, "what is it Natalie?" Sometimes she would guess and be totally right on and other times she would say, "I don't know! Let's find out guys!" She'd say it with such enthusiasm, we could help but laugh!

I couldn't find a cute enough dress for her this year, so she wore her's from last year. Here it is last year...

And here she is this year right before we left for the Christmas Eve Service. The hat and purse are new. The dress is still as adorable as last year, but much shorter. Even the shoes are the same. Can you believe they still fit her?!

Thursday, January 11, 2007 2030!

Before Christmas I was going through some boxes in the basement trying to get organized and I found our wedding video. I haven't seen it or even thought about it since our 1st anniversary. So I decided to pop it in to the old VCR that is downstairs and watch it. Well, or course, I was blown away at how gorgeous my dress was, so I had to bring that out and try it on. I knew that it wasn't going to fit, thanks Natalie!, but I wanted to put it on anyway--just to feel like a princess again! Natalie was so excited about the movie that when I pulled out my dress, I thought she was going to bust. I'm sure you know where this is heading... Yep! She had to try it on too! Ha, she's 3 feet tall and my dress could easily swallow her up and no one would find her for days. It's huge even without added crenolines! Once I put her up on a chair, it seemed to work better. Here is an early glance into what we will see in 20-30 years!

You should have seen the look on my husband's face when I told him about what we had done! I thought he was going to fall over! Then when I showed him the picture he got all sweaty and told me to delete them immediately! I thought he was going to have a heart attack! I guess I should have given a bit more warning before springing the pictures on him. He had just been watching Elmo Doctor with Natalie and then he sees her in my wedding dress. It was a bit much for him. After all she isn't even three yet! I have to admit that when I got her all settled standing on that chair and the tiara just right, it was alot for me too. I got all teary and quickly took my pictures so I could get her down. Now, you may be wondering if I was so teary about it, why did I take pictures? Well, that's simple... At her wedding in 20 - 30 years there will most likely be a video or halograph at some point, and I knew that this moment just had to be a part of it! Isn't that why parents take pictures?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Christmas Worship Experience

On December 17, 2006, Scott hosted his Second Annual Christmas Worship Experience. It's a combination of Christmas caroles and worship songs. Some were instrumental, some are solos, and of course the choir sings throughout the evening. Between songs are Scripture readings, dramatic presentations, and stories. It's very low key and definitly NOT a Christmas contata! It's about the farthest thing from a contata I've ever seen. It's really not even a concert, nor is it a typical worship service. I think it's the coolest Chrstimas event I've ever seen, and I hope it continues for a long time. Here are some pictures of the evening...

My Man...

The Band...

The Choir...

My girl, Debbie Miller...

The Giesing Children on the recorders...

My girl, Jackie Benicky...

Bill Chaffey reading the Christmas Story...

My little Christmas Star!

Natalie was so tired this evening, so she was pretty hyper. We were sitting right up front and she wanted to dance and clap. I let her at first, but she began to test me more and more. I told her that she could dance as long as she stayed close to me. She was ALL over the place, though. I was so irritated with her blatent disobedience. I had given her a couple of warnings and had to follow through on them, so I took her out of the sanctuary as Pastor spoke and took care of things. When I walked back in, Pastor was talking about NATALIE!!! I was horrified, thinking that he was saying what a distraction she had been, but I quickly realized that not only would Pastor NEVER say that, he was actually speaking positively about it. He said how he had watched Natalie and thought how wonderful it would be to freely spin and dance like she had. He shared about how many times we hold back because we're afraid of what people may say or think, and encouraged us to abandon ourselves in worship like Natalie had done. It was precious! After service I had lots of people comment to me how sweet she had been and even a couple people who had the nerve to reprimended me for disciplining her when I should have been encouraging the "free worship." What those people didn't realize was that what did begin as worship, quickly turned into a game. The game was testing Mommy, which is always unexceptable. I just thought the whole episode was funny.
Here's a picture of Pastor Alan talking about Natalie...

Monday, January 08, 2007

MK Product of the Week

I'm going to try a new feature here on my blog... the MK Product of the Week. Each week I will spotlight a different product from our extesive line of cosmetic products. If you would like to know more about the products or just want to share your love of it, leave a comment or email me. I'm sure you will find that you love these amazing products as much as I do.

I'll begin this great new feature with our brand spankin' new TimeWise® Cellu-Shape™ Contouring System. I have been using it for a little bit now an am so excited by my results! Here's a little more about it.

Women are spending significant amounts of money to fight visible cellulite. And many women don’t want or need the extreme measure of surgery. They are looking for an at-home anti-cellulite system proven to work — and I can deliver it with clinical results that show a reduction of up to 1⁄ 2 inch on each thigh.*

The TimeWise® Cellu-Shape™ Contouring System is for anyone who wants to reduce the amount of visible cellulite on her body and hydrate her skin at the same time. The system’s powerful mix of ingredients, including botanicals, helps level out lumps and bumps and leaves skin feeling perfectly hydrated all day long. And there’s no need for any heavy-duty rubbing — just gently massage into skin as you would a body lotion. Extensive testing in our Mary Kay Skin Care Laboratories found that the innovative ingredients:

• Reduce the amount of cellulite-causing cells.

• Stimulate cellular activity.

• Strengthen the skin’s support system so cells are less able to break through and cause dimpling on the surface.

Plus, the TimeWise® Cellu-Shape™ Contouring System is formulated to improve microcirculation.

The TimeWise® Cellu-Shape™ Contouring System works day and night to fight cellulite with an advanced, multitargeted approach. TimeWise® Cellu-Shape™ Daytime Body Moisturizer is a supercharged formula that stimulates cellular activity, significantly increases the skin’s hydration level and begins the firming and toning process. TimeWise® Cellu-Shape™ Nighttime Body Gel completes the firming and toning process, strengthening the skin’s support system in problem areas so the visible signs of cellulite are minimized. It also moisturizes the skin so it feels silky-smooth to the touch. Plus, there’s no need for heavy-duty rubbing with either product — just gently massage into skin as you would a body lotion. In the morning, gently massage TimeWise® Cellu-Shape™ Daytime Body Moisturizer into skin over entire body, avoiding the face. In the evening, gently massage TimeWise® Cellu-Shape™ Nighttime Body Gel into cellulite-prone areas of the body.

The sooner you start using the daily system, the quicker you’ll see results. In addition to the dramatic benefits seen by dermatologists in clinical testing, in consumer testing, 6 out of 10 women saw skin that was significantly firmer, more toned and smoother in just 3 weeks.

*Those are the powerful results a dermatologist saw in a 12-week clinical study at an independent laboratory.

10 Things in My Kitchen I Can't Live WIthout

10. My Drain Strainer - A kitchen without a garbage disposal cannot function properly without a strainer for the drain. It keeps all the little foods from going down the drain and clogging it. It's dishwasher safe, so everyday when I run the diswasher, I throw this little guy in and it comes out sparkly clean. (I also bleach it and sterilize it often.)

9. Freezer Storage Bags: Quart and Gallon Sizes - I use these for everything. They're perfect for storing leftover chicken nuggets, pork chops, or burgers. The quarts are the perfect size for one pound of ground meat (like when you buy the large family size and then split it up into 1 lb bags for convenience). They're also great for those last few rolls from dinner that you'd like to keep (hey-one of the kids is bound to eat it tomorrow for snack). The gallow sizes work great for marinating meat in. (ALWAYS use SLIDER TOP gallon bags.) They are also great for storing toys with little pieces, small puzzles, etc.
(I have to say at this point that while Press n' Seal did not make the list - I don't use it on a daily basis, it is vital to a functional kitchen. It is perfect for sealing single serving filets of fish or chicken, hamburgers, cookie dough, etc. Once you have them sealed tightly, put them all into a slider top gallon freezer bag and label it with what's in there and the date. Press and seal also weorks great for leftover tomato paste. You know like when a recipe calls for a tablesoon--what do you do with the rest of the can? Put the tomato paste on the press n seal in tablesoon size drops, seal them in and freeze them for the next time you need just a tablespoon. That tip is compliments of Scott's mom!)

8. My Calendar - I put everything on there! For years it has had a place on the side of my fridge. Recently I have embraced the wonders of a small planner. Due to increasing business and activities, I needed to be able to always have my calendar with me, so while I no longer put all of our daily activities on there, I still use it daily. I am in the habit of referring to it often throughout the day as I plan my life.

7. My Drawer Full of Towels and Washcloths - Who can't live without these!! I mean really! No one can.

6. My Scrubber Thing - I know it looks a bit icky, but I took this picture right before I changed the pad. I have tried just about every hand scrubber that's available. I've tried the expensive Williams - Sonoma kind and the cheap Walmart brand. About 3 years ago I found this one and fell in love. I have had many of these over the past three years, but I never stray from this design. It's by Rubbermaid and the store always has the pads in stock when I need them. They are very reasonably priced! An absolute must in any kitchen!

5. Egg Timer - We received this exact egg timer for as part of a wedding present. I use it for all sorts of fun stuff: Natalie's time outs, cooking, baking, napping. I like it better than the timer on my stove or on my microwave, because it's portable. When I have something in the oven, that I don't want to forget about, but I'm also working on laundry or upstairs, I just take my little egg timer with me. It's starting to die now. It doesn't really ring anymore. It just kinda dings and stops ticking. I have been looking for a long time for a replacement, but I haven't connected with any other egg timer yet.

4. Clorox Wipes - Need I say more than that? They are in my kitchen, every bathroom, and even the basement.

3. My Dustbuster - Oh, how I love my dustbuster!!! Where do I even begin with this little miracle? I use this ALL the time! It's just your basic Dustbuster, but it is like gold to me! It helps with messy spills, bot dry AND wet! It sucks up my dirt pile after sweeping. (So much easier and cleaner than a dust pan!) It's a beautiful thing!

2. My Dishwasher - I was blessed to grow up always having a dishwasher. When I went away to college, I experienced for the first time, what it was like to live without a dishwasher. I didn't know what to do with myself. Since sollege, I have again been blessed to always have a dishwasher, but it wasn't until I had Natalie that I realized how very, VERY blessed I was to have a dishwasher! Washing a half dozen bottles, nipples, caps, and pacifiers a day can be very tedious. I found out once how much my dishwasher really meant to me. At the time I had this rickety old dishwasher that had been around since the mid 80's. It was horribly loud! I had to go to the opposite end of the house just to make a phone call. When it finally went out, I had a few days until the new one came and I washed bottles, nipples, and pacifiers till my hands ached. That's why my dishwasher is number 2 on my list!

1. My Daily Flip Calendar - My Number One! My greatest treasure. The whole calendar is based upon friendships and it has a place of honor in front of my sink. My very best friend in the whole world gave this to me for my birthday 12 years ago. We were juniors in high school and having what we thought was the time of our lives (we weren't far off). Everyday for the past 12 years, I have been reading the day's Scripture verse, thought, or inspirational quote. It's to the point now, that I know what is coming. I know what my birthday says, I know what Christmas says, and I know on what days my favorite quotes will come up. Each morning as I come to make breakfast, I flip the calendar and read the thought. It has begun to fall apart, but I just keep flipping. I never read it without thinking of Morlie'. I never read it without giving thanks for our Rock solid friendship 14 years strong. And I never read it without saying a prayer for my best friend. She's the cocoa to my vanilla, the Barb to my Barb, and the only one I will throw carrots with. I love her to pieces!
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