My Birthday, Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

I had to sing the title as I typed it. Well, at least that last part.

2013 was a wonderful year. I met and exceeded many of my goals. I wrote a book, attended a writer’s conference and ended the year with a clean kitchen.

Those who were following me at the beginning of last year might remember my word for 2013 was “determined”. I was determined all the way to the end to finish the year out strong.

Here are a few blog posts of note in 2013:

Why I Started the New Year with 1000 Kicks (We’re doing this again this year.)

Conquering the Chore Monster

How to Baby Proof a Kitchen in 8 “Easy” Steps I need to do another post like this with Elisabeth as a toddler. We have not put a baby gate up at all to our kitchen this year.

Finding Beauty in Imperfections

These are just a few to show what we have been up to during the year.

I also wrote a book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment” which you can download for free here. You can also read the blog posts I wrote to go along with my book. I plan to finish the 31 Day Building Commitment series and write a more in depth book from that theme.

December was a very busy month. Our children were sick the week before Christmas. I caught it the day before my birthday. 

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Birthday Presents from My Husband and Kids

I shared this on Facebook about my Birthday.

“Thank you, everyone, for the Birthday greetings! I had a wonderful day. 

My younger children gave me one roller blade and a floaty.  Now I can skate on one foot in a swimming pool without drowning.

My oldest son gave me a beautiful necklace. And my husband took me out for dinner and bought me a Keurig.

When we came home we had birthday cake made by my kids, ice cream, and coffee made in my new Keurig.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day! — feeling loved with Scott Maness

I had quite a few comments asking, “What’s up with the one roller blade and the floaty?”

I promised to write a post about that and then immediately the busy-ness of the season set in and I never stopped to post the rest of the month. So I will now give you that explanation. 

My children have sweet, caring hearts even if at times they are a bit misguided in their efforts. They believe that a Birthday is not complete without a gift being given some time during the day.

My younger children felt bad that I didn’t already have a gift so they ran to their rooms and grabbed probably the first two things they found on their floors as a present to me. It just so happened that those two gifts were a roller blade and a deflated floaty which they wrapped in a baby blanket. 

They brought it to me and when I opened it I smiled and with all the excitement only a mother can give for such a gift, I exclaimed, “Wow! Now I can skate on one foot in a swimming pool and not drown!” I gave them all hugs and thanked them for the gift. 

My 15 year old son later in the day gave me a necklace he had bought a month earlier. I was very impressed by his having thought to get me a gift that far in advance. It was very sweet and a sign of his growing up. 

My husband took me out to eat and we shopped for Christmas presents and bought a Keurig for my birthday. I have only been drinking coffee off and on for about a year and a half now. Two years ago I would have never dreamed I would want a Coffee Maker for my birthday. It’s amazing how much we grow and change in just a few years.

We spent Christmas with my family and enjoyed seeing my sister and her family as well.

Did you have a good 2013? Are you as excited as I am about the things to come in 2014? What type of posts do you like to see on my blog? Is there anything you would like to see more of? Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments or if you follow my blog by email just hit reply if you would like to talk with me privately. 

It took me long enough to get this post written. I have quite a few goals for this year. My word for the year is “organize” and I’ll be sharing more about that soon. I will also tell you about the goals I have for this year. I’m looking forward to a lot of great things to come. 

Have a very blessed and productive New Year!!!

~~ Anastacia ~~

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15 Years of Parenting

Our firstborn son turned 15 yesterday.  It was a busy but fulfilling day. 

Today, I want to share a few pictures and memories I have from Joshua’s life.

Joshua's first horse.

Joshua’s got his 1st horse on his 1st Birthday.

 

The months my husband and I were expecting our firstborn child was exciting. We waited until the day he was born to find out whether he was a boy or a girl. When we picked out his name we agreed we wanted to give our children Bible names. We chose a family name for his middle name.

We named him “Joshua” from the Bible and “King” after his father’s middle name. If he had been a girl he would have been named Ruth Ann.

I had just learned to crochet and taught my husband. Scott was so excited that he crocheted a baby blanket that started off small (because babies are small) and then got tighter and tighter toward the top. It looked like a bell. We decided it would make a beautiful wall decoration for the baby’s room. 

The day before Joshua was born I walked through the freshly cut woods on my parents’ property.  They had sold the trees to build an addition onto the house my dad had built for us. I was already 2 days overdue. Yet I was climbing over trees and limbs. 

That night my husband had gotten home late from working the night shift. We sat in the kitchen looking up at the clock. We just laughed at my irregular contractions. I had decided I was going to be pregnant forever.

My husband headed on to bed. I went to use the restroom when… My waterbroke!

I hollered for my husband. He was in a far bigger hurry than I was. I had heard that a first time mother could take 8 hours to have her first child. My husband grabbed my things and rushed me to the car.

We arrived at the hospital. My husband joked with the attendants, “Help! My wife swallowed a watermelon!”  

Joshua riding a pony when he was about 3 years old.

Joshua riding a pony when he was about 3 years old.

While the doctor was getting ready to deliver my baby she was telling the nurse of her dream that night that she delivered a cow with no skin. My only thought was that my baby had better have skin. That was also the start of my groaning to my husband, “Why did Eve eat the forbidden fruit?” Yes, we humans are prone to blame someone for our trials. I blamed Eve during the birth of Joshua’s younger siblings as well. 

After 4 hours of labor Joshua was born. Red faced and angry. We knew his lungs were healthy. 

Joshua riding a horse that he is training. He'll be teaching Hannah to ride on this horse.

Joshua riding a horse that he is training. He’ll be teaching Hannah to ride on this horse.

Many things have happened in these 15 years. He went from riding a toy horse, to riding a pony, riding horses, and now he is learning to train horses. 

For his 15th birthday we had a full day. I had a doctor’s appointment for Elisabeth. We came back home about the same time Joshua got off work. We fixed lunch, baked a cake, and then I took them all to the Library. Joshua and Ruth got to participate in some games and activities for the teens at the library, while I walked around, and chased the younger siblings. (That is a whole ‘nother blog post. Let’s just say I got a work out.)

We arrived home where their daddy was waiting to take us to the cook out with our neighbors and Joshua’s employers down the road. They have a pond that the kids have been anxiously waiting to swim in all summer.  There were other friends that had come as well making Joshua’s day even more fun. 

At the end of the day, as the mosquitoes were just coming out, we all loaded up into their Gator and Mule and helped feed and take horses out to pasture. 

We all had so much fun. But the time had come to go home.

15 Candles on Joshua's German Chocolate Cake

15 Candles on Joshua’s German Chocolate Cake

Joshua hadn’t opened any presents at this point. I had wrapped his presents in plastic bags and hid them inside a big cereal box. We asked him to clear a spot for his cake. He started moving the box and we told him to make sure it wasn’t trash in the box. I’m not sure at what point he figured out we had hid his presents. He laughed though.

We got him a new Cowboy hat to wear places other than work. His work hat had gotten quite dirty and we started having to request he not where it anywhere besides his work. He was very happy to receive a new hat.

I had been having my good coffee cups disappear. One day they all reappeared in my kitchen sink. He had been taking them in the mornings to work and kept forgetting to bring them back. So his next birthday present was a large mug. He’ll be able to take coffee in it and then fill it with water while he is working. It’s so big he shouldn’t forget it too often. 

The next thing he received was a Action Bible Story book. It is Bible stories done in Comic Book format. We also got him a book on how to write comics. He loves to draw and enjoys writing and drawing comic book characters. So both these books were right up his alley.

We want to encourage our children to use their interests and talents to improve their surroundings and bring honor to God. We got the Action Bible for him so that he can see what a Christian can do with that talent.

In what ways have you encouraged your children to use their talents? Do you have any special traditions were started with your firstborn? Feel free to share with me in the comments.

I am richly blessed to have such a wonderful son.

And to my son…  

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage;

be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:

for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

-Joshua 1:9

I love you, Joshua! I pray your 15th year will be a blessed one.

Love,

~♥~ Mom ~♥~

 

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Elisabeth Rose 1 Year Old

484864_473876542689528_1240994137_nElisabeth turned 1 year old two weeks ago.

I have a whole lot I can write about from this past month. But for today, I just want to write about Elisabeth.

 Elisabeth Rose is our 6th child. She has been in our family for 1 whole year and we already can’t imagine life without her. 

I’ve found that I am so much more laid back and less worried with 6 children than I was when we had only 2. I’ve learned quite a bit about patience over the years.

We celebrated Elisabeth’s birthday with a small party over at my Mema’s house.  We enjoyed a delicious chocolate cake. This was Elisabeth’s first taste of chocolate.

She seemed to like it, once she realized she was supposed to eat it. 

And of course, most of the fun is taking pictures of her messy face. She had cake all in her curly hair.

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Elisabeth is a little young for me to really describe her personality. I think she is a bit between Ruth and Hannah’s personalities. Ruth is quiet and precise. Hannah is jumpy and excitable. I think Elisabeth will be somewhere between those two. 

I think she may have a stubborn streak in her personality. (I wonder where she gets that from.)

She refuses to walk. She stands up by herself. She’ll even stand up and clap. But whenever we try to get her to take her first steps she drops to the floor and crawls.

She does walk holding onto her walking toy. And she’ll walk holding on to one hand. I know she could walk by herself if she wanted to but she hasn’t figured out the value in learning that skill yet. 

She has curly hair, that we all love. If she were one of our boys, those curly locks would have gotten chopped off by now. I think once her hair grows out her hair will be wavy like mine. Right now it’s a little on the unruly side. But unruly hair is cute on babies.

She has six teeth. Four on top and two on bottom. Two of her teeth came in the same week as her birthday. 

That automatically leads into the subject of weaning. I’m not in any hurry to wean her. I’m not a die-hard breastfeeder but I prefer my babies to wean themselves. Its so much less emotional stress when the process isn’t rushed. Although she has been warned that every time she bites me could be her last. She doesn’t bite me very often now. I can tell when it is just an accidental bite versus an on-purpose bite.

312206_473878232689359_2004387060_nWhat other major milestone should I mention?

She can say a few words. “Ada” means just about anything. “Ba ba” is “bye bye”. “At” is “hat”.  And “Ama” is “Amen”. Her favorite word is, “Uh Oh!” 

I’m trying to get her to say “drink” but right now she prefers to bang her mouth against me whenever she is thirsty. I’m afraid she views me as her personal vending machine. So when am I planning to wean this girl again? Hmm…

 She got quite a few fun toys for her birthday. She loves to play with them all. Whenever she plays with a push toy she “vrooms” like a car sound. I’m guessing she learned that from her brothers. 

I have learned so much from this little girl. She is a true blessing in our family’s life. 

There are still challenges. Especially at church when I want the children to be quiet. Elisabeth seems to be bent and determined to be the loudest and steal everyone’s books while she is at it. So even though this is my sixth child, I’m still learning.

How about you? What are some things you have learned from your children when they were little? If you don’t have children, what have you learned from your little nieces, nephews, or cousins? Please share with me in the comments.

I took a break from blogging last month in order to organize my home and schedule. I still plan to do less on social media. But I think I can now resume blogging at least once a week. 

There are some changes I hope to make in the next few weeks to my blog. All good changes. I even have a manifesto I am currently working on and it looks like I’ll be able to finish it soon. I’ll be writing more about that in a future post.

Thanks for following me! 

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

 

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Finding Beauty in Imperfections

These are a few bonus pictures that I want to share from the dentist appointment we had the other day.
JonathanThis is 5 year old Jonathan. He is our budding photographer.

2013-03-21 14.35.01-2This is where we can be thankful for modern digital cameras. Back in the day of film developing, I probably would have just tossed these pictures.

Instead I’m embracing my son’s creativity and posting his pictures on my blog.

2013-03-21 14.05.54Sometimes we just have to find the fun in life. And smile.

These pictures may not be perfect but neither am I. However I see the beauty in these pictures despite all their imperfections. phoneThat’s one step in building a strong rock solid family. We need to be able to see the beauty in the imperfections.

Our children need to see that we love them, even when they make mistakes. They need to know we are proud of them even though they are not perfect. We must show them that they are still beautiful, inside and out.

How about you? Have you found beauty in the imperfections?

Feel free to share with me in the comments. If you received this in your email, you may also hit reply and I’ll email you back as soon as I am able.

Today is Hannah’s birthday. Hopefully things run smoother than they did on Elijah’s Birthday last week. At least I have eggs now. 😉  But a perfect day or not I’ll be sure to post about the beauty I find in it.

Sign up for my free email updates, so you won’t miss anything!

Today I’m linking up with Darlene Schacht at Time Warp Wife. for her Titus 2sdays link up party. You can click on the link to read other wives’ and mothers’ posts on marriage and family. 

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Happy Birthday!

We celebrated Jonathan’s first Birthday a few days ago. We didn’t really do a big party but we had a few friends over and baked a chocolate cake for the occassion. It was Jonathan’s first time to have chocolate cake. That is a tradition we have had for each of our children, on their first birthday they get their first taste of chocolate cake. It is also fun for pictures.

The kids and I spent his birthday making a few gifts. Joshua learned how to use the sewing machine. Meanwhile, Ruth wanted to sew her gift by hand. I helped cut out a Zebra shape for Joshua, and helped cut out a circle pillow for Ruth. The circle turned out looking more egg shape but it still turned out well. The material Ruth used for the pillow she made had dinosaurs all over it. The zebra Joshua made was made of black and white striped material. I made a dinosaur out of the same material Ruth used. We decided that the pillow she made could be the dinosaur’s egg.

Scott also bought him a toy that has about 5 rings that stack in order over a cone. Our guests gave Jonathan a car that has popping balls inside of it. He really likes pushing it down the hallway. I will post a few pictures that I know everyone is wanting to see. I will try to post a few more later on as well.
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