This Christmas: 1st Year at Home, 1st Non Disaster Story

I guess you know which stocking is mine.

This might have been the easiest Christmas in 14 years of April and Alan family Christmases. We only had to travel two hours, and we woke up on Christmas morning IN OUR OWN HOUSE. Have you ever??? I mean, we had almost never!! Do you do this? Do other people do this every year??  It was so nice!

I mean have you read my other Christmas stories???

Our Nightmare Before Christmas

The Funeral, Christmas Trip

New Years in San Francisco

Well, I’m happy to tell you this is NOT one of those stories. We did go and see our families, but we were able to do all of that and still be at our own house on Christmas morning.

Around 7 or so a.m., we heard Boy #1 begin talking to Boy #2. They simply chatted calmly in bed. Some of the boys woke up the other boys. I don’t remember who got up first, but a miracle happened…..

No one came and jumped on us…..

They gathered themselves in the living room, just the four of them in the living room to patiently wait for their parents to get up.

Whaaa???? We were so pleased with all this that we didn’t make them wait. We went ahead and joined them.

My heart brimmed over with awe at the fact that they were all sitting in the living room, waiting patiently.

I love watching my children open their presents. Christmas is a whole other level of special for children. When is it that we lose that? Let’s get that back.

Caleb, opening a present they WEREN’T expecting: Lego Dimensions

Yes, he’s actually CLAPPING. He’s so excited. There were a few To: Caleb and Daniel presents this year. They may look ages apart, but it’s actually only a 3 year gap. Some kids are tall. Some kids are shorter.


Be sure to see the 50 second JD video on Facebook, and share in the excitement.

We all went to church together. It was nice, though nothing topped the Christmas Eve service.

Christmas Eve service

There was something about the meaning in lighting these candles and taking communion with so many fellow believers that made Christmas more real to me this year. We sang Silent Night, and I wanted this moment to never end.

Too quickly, we were all headed back to our houses when so often I just want to curl up at the altar and soak it all in…

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”       Luke 2:10-12

…But it was back to Christmas as usual, and I can’t help but wonder. Are we entering a new phase of our lives?  There simply isn’t a BABY anymore. JD is 3 1/2 now. No one is a baby. Life is c-a-l-m-i-n-g down. No one wore a diaper, no one carried a sippy cup, and no one got out of their seat. No one even colored on himself.


I think I might cry!

No one was sick this Christmas either. JD caught a cold, accompanied by a very pink eye, but even that ended in two days.

OH, and guess what! Once Christmas day was over, Alan took my minivan to the shop, and I now have a clean minivan, with a heater that heats, and a functioning defroster! Somebody get this man a trophy!!

I feel like we just had the perfect Christmas. I can safely say that because Christmas is fully over. Saying Christmas was perfect can’t possibly jinx it now.

Of course, I did find one baby to hold.

Ah, sparkling pretty lights. I may never take my Christmas tree down. Plus, I’m hoping Alan will do it for me. Hmmm…I wonder if Alan is hoping that I will do it. I seriously don’t even want it taken down. Let’s just leave it up until next Christmas!

Hallelujah! And may we never forget what it’s all about. This is an incredible excerpt from the Passion of the Christ. You do have to click the link to YouTube to watch, but it’s so worth it:


Wishing you all a blessed 2017! May your kids behave. May your rain be snow, and may all your prayers be answered.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”        Luke 2:13-14

The Adorable Singing Daniel

I spent all of my computer time house-shopping on the internet. Still didn’t decide on anything. So today let’s just let Daniel entertain us. Here are three ridiculously adorable videos of Daniel singing. He gave us an impromptu after-church concert, and Janet filmed it. He made up the words as he went along, and this may be the best home video we have ever made.

Each one is different, short, and equally cute, so you gotta watch all three!

Sing it with us now! aye-yie-yie-yie-yie-yie-yie-we-love-Jesus. 🙂 Happy trails!

10 Things to Try When You’re Feeling Achy

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Have you ever felt old before your time or just achy all over the place?  I keep wondering. Is this just getting older? Or is this a problem that can be fixed? And how do you know which is which?

Several of my readers liked the video with the stretching tips for hip pain, so today I’m including a stretching video for heel/foot pain and swelling. This is another nuisance that I deal with that I think is very common.

So I’ve learned a few things, for those of you on the age-speed-train with me.

#1. For the heart as well as the back: Walking. Just walk everyday. It’s good for every single thing about you, so as long as your body allows you to do so, walk.


#2. For the shoulder: I’m ordering this book:


They say that not taking time to do relaxing things can actually cause strained muscles and tendonitis, which my body has in multiple places. Stress could actually be killing us. Who knows? It’s worth a shot!

#3. Swollen heels are often caused by tight calf muscles, so my physical therapist gave me this exercise:

#4. CONSTANTLY monitor your posture. Sit and stand as straight as you possibly can. 

#5. Do something relaxing. Today I am going shoe shopping and eating lunch BY MYSELF. Some of you may not find that relaxing, but for me it is perfect.

Or maybe I should have JD give me a head rub.

Here’s a perfect example of #5, doing something relaxing. JD calmed his cousin ever-so-easily with a little head rub:

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Crying baby, meet John David.

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calming baby

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His work here is done.  


#6. Buy bigger shoes. Never wear uncomfortable shoes or high heels.


my tired, achy, red-arround-the-edges feet…(Truth is, I’m a stay-at- home mom. I mostly don’t even wear shoes.)

Did I just post a photo of feet!!??  I’m seriously all girl, so this one is terribly sad for me. I mostly gave up high heels around 5 years ago, and that kept my feet problems at bay for a long time, but that alone is no longer cutting it. Today I’m buying bigger tennis shoes. It’s important for shoes to fit.

#7. Become a better friend.

I received my very first get well card in the mail last week, and I can’t tell you how much it meant to me. Several people have come up to me at church to tell me that they are praying for me and ask how I’m doing. Wow! How encouraging to know!

I’ve always said that I have the best friends.

From this, I am learning how to be a better friend. This goes back to that lesson about not over-scheduling yourself too because if we are so busy with all of our own obligations, how can we ever take time to encourage anyone else?

#8. Pray and read your Bible! Allow the Lord to go to the mat for you.

The other week, I was at yet another doctor appointment, for even more medical tests. There was some confusion about my appointment time, which threw off my whole schedule, and getting an appointment with this cardiologist is difficult. My results appointment was for Tuesday, so the tests needed to be done before that, or there would be no results to share.

The receptionist said, “There’s no way we can get you in before Tuesday. Well, we could have it done at the hospital, but then that might be hard with billing….”

I was so finished caring, or maybe I cared too much. Either way, I leveled with her, staying as calm as I could, though I’m sure I had tears in my voice.  “I have been through so much this year, I do not care. I don’t care what you do or when you do it, or how. You just tell me where to be, and I’ll be there. I’m going to go sit down in the waiting room.” (I still had another test to do.)

I know, I wasn’t easy going. I was not breezy.  I’m afraid I’m becoming Maxine, way before my time.

OKay. So you’re wondering what this story has to do with prayer. Hang with me.

I sat back down in the waiting room, and I prayed, “Lord, I’m so done dealing with this! I don’t even want to go to any more of these stupid appointments, but Lord, if you could just help me. You fix it. I can’t. I give up.”

It didn’t take long for the desk girl to reappear. “April?”

I slowly walked back to the desk.

“You can come tomorrow. Anytime you want.”

Prayer, people. I’m telling you. Prayer.

“Can I come at 4:00?”

“Great! Thanks!”


#9. Hang out with people who make you laugh.

My people are funny. (Don’t worry. He’s doing the crossed-eyes on purpose.)

Laughter is healing.

#10. Get more sleep.


…because that’s my answer to everything..





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