Thursday, December 31, 2009

Amanda's interview on the news

This is only the first part of the interview, if the other parts post on the news' website, I will put those here as well.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Please keep praying for the Buckland family


I want to start out by thanking everyone again for their prayers and support for Amanda. I've only seen a portion of the support she has gotten and I am in awe! Our local community, as well as the blogging community, has done so much already, but Amanda still has a long road of healing emotionally ahead and can really use prayers! :-)

I've been able to be in contact with Amanda and have seen some messages she has left through facebook. She and Ayllissa are working on moving into an apartment. (They have been living with family these last couple weeks.) It sounds as though, through local donations of furniture, she is almost set with big furniture needs as well as some small appliances. They are also set with clothing needs and anything that they are getting multiples of or their needs have been fulfilled is going to be donated back to others who are in need.

As far as donations through Paypal, I feel that the amounts are personal to Amanda as any donations at the funeral would have been. Amanda shared with me a couple times the amounts, so I could pass the info on to John and Jen at Cake Wrecks, and I will tell you that it was awesome! Cake Wrecks posted her story at 9:30 am last Monday and by 4:15 when Amanda and I chatted, she had already received an amazing amount. That amount more than doubled within the next couple days! I have no idea what has been donated since, but all I hope and pray is that it is enough that she doesn't have to worry about money and can focus on herself and Ayllissa.

If you would like to hear from Amanda about all that the community has done, she will be interviewed by a Fox 2 News anchor (Detroit news) today at noon, so the interview will most likely air tonight. (I'm guessing the interview should also be online for those of you who do not live in the area. http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/)

Through a personal e-mail with Amanda, I know she and Ayllissa are going to both be seeing someone to help them deal with all the emotional pain. Amanda also mentioned that a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders during the walk through with the fire chief. She had been feeling guilty about the fire and the fire chief assured her that there was nothing that she could have done to prevent what happened. She said she felt a lot better that day. I know I haven't been able to stop thinking about her and to know that she felt at least a little better was a huge blessing. God is answering prayers for comfort for Amanda and I pray that she continues to feel that comfort and healing. :-)

One last thing. If anyone still wants to donate something to Amanda, but doesn't want to donate to the trust fund, she mentioned that gift cards are a welcome form of donation. Here is the address again:

Ullenbruch's Flower Shop
c/o Amanda Buckland
1839 Lapeer Avenue
Port Huron MI 48060

And, of course, the Paypal donation button is still in the upper left hand corner of my blog.

Again, please continue praying for Amanda. After losing her husband and babies and I cannot imagine how long it will take for her to be able to move on, but I know she can use all the prayers and support she can get throughout the healing process. :-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009

This Christmas was quite busy for us, but a lot of fun!

We started off Christmas Eve with Rich's parents stopping by to drop off the kids' first gift-pj's!

Then we left for Oma and Opa's to spend time with my side of the family. Morgan and Blake got to see their cousins, open gifts from all over Europe (from my parents' travels) and get a brand new beautiful sled!
From there, we went to my aunt's house to spend time with my mom's side of the family, before going home and preparing for Santa's visit...

and then Santa came Christmas morning! The kids' stockings were full, presents were surrounding the tree and the cookies, milk and carrots (for the reindeer) were gone!

Morgan and Blake LOVED their presents from Santa, but didn't have a chance to open their gifts from mom and dad before having to leave to go to 'Grandma with Tractors' house (Rich's grandma) for breakfast, lots more presents and the traditional shot of peppermint schnapps/whisky/juice (for the kids). (I'm sorry, but I forgot to get pictures at Rich's grandma's with the 30 some people there. What kind of mom blogger am I, right? LOL!)

Still not done with Christmas gatherings! We went on to Rich's parents' where the kids were read Christmas stories, Blake got to hand out Christmas presents, 'Uncle' demonstrated Morgan's new guitar and Rich posed with a few of his new gifts! LOL!

When we left there, Blake fell asleep in the car and didn't wake up until the next morning. My parents came by to see what everyone got with the exception of what we didn't get to open that morning. The presents did get opened, though, first thing the next morning before we left to go to Henry Ford Museum to see the Lego display. The kids got some new clothes, a couple books and their Hallmark Keepsake ornaments! :-)
Since I took SO many pictures at the museum, I made another slide show. We really had a wonderful time-it was a great place to take the kids! :-)

Sunday afternoon was spent with Rich's dad's extended family where the kids opened even more gifts, then Rich and I left from there to have dinner with some old classmates of his. (The kids spent the night with Rich's parents). They were all in an advanced math and science program together throughout high school. (Sorry no pics of the old classmates.)
We finally finished our Christmas gatherings last night when we met up with Rich's aunt and cousins for a pool party, pizza and presents at a local hotel. Morgan was a little fish, while Blake stood by the edge of the pool (making me extremely nervous). He did enjoy the inner tubes though!
I have to share a video I took of Blake with his new truck from Rich's aunt and cousins. He thought that truck was the greatest! :-)



And that was our Christmas, minus a couple hundred pictures! LOL! Fun, right? :-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm still here!

Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We have one last Christmas get-together tonight and then our 5 days of Christmas celebrations will be done. It's kind of sad that this season is winding down, but a bit of a relief at the same time-LOL!

I hope to be back within the next couple days with updates and probably a ton of pictures from all of our Christmas get-togethers, so be prepared for a long post! ;-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Please remember, as we are all opening gifts this Christmas, what this holiday is all about. God sent his Son on Christmas day over 2000 years ago to die for our sins so that we may be saved and live eternally in heaven. I cannot think of a greater gift! Merry Christmas everyone! :-)

*This picture is of the first ornament Rich gave to me on our first Christmas together. Isn't he the sweetest!? ;-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Even more support for Amanda

I am really overwhelmed by the support than Amanda has been receiving! I was hoping to reply to each comment and personally thank them, but the whole 'noreply-comment' thing is getting in the way. I am deeply grateful to each of you whether you sent kind words, prayers, spread the word or donated-THANK YOU!


I have had more offers to help Amanda that I wanted to share. Helen from Stone Fusion Etsy Shop has offered to donate every cent she makes from now until the end of January to The Buckland Family Trust Fund. Please stop by her shop and see her beautiful necklace creations made from stone, leather and recycled timbers found in the Goldfields of Western Australia.




I was also asked to do a guest post by Jennifer at J. Leigh Designz which posted today. (If you take time to read it, I apologize for all the code. Please do your best to read through it. For some reason it didn't go through well when I sent it to her.) Not only did Jennifer help by sharing Amanda's story, but she has also contacted numerous sponsors to see if there is anything that they can do as well. I cannot thank you enough Jennifer! You've been amazing!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Amanda's Story on Cake Wrecks

I just wanted to share what Cake Wrecks is doing for Amanda today. They are in the midst of their 14 day Charity Challenge/Countdown where they are asking each of their readers to donate $1 to each charity they have selected in hopes of raising money for these worthy causes. Even though Amanda isn't really a charity, when they heard her story they still wanted to help. (Here come the tears-it's been overwhelming!) If each of their readers were to give just $1 (that would only be $14 per person) to each of the charities, they could raise $80,000 per charity. Isn't that amazing!?

Thank you so much John and Jen from Cake Wrecks! Your support of Amanda has been more than I could have ever asked for!

There have been several others who have blogged/tweeted to help Amanda as well as others who are trying to help in other ways. I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with thanking each and every one of you in a post, but please know that I am deeply grateful and I know that Amanda is as well. THANK YOU! :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some updates and some extras

Thank you again to all of you who have been praying for Amanda and her daughter. I want you to know that Amanda shared a lot of what has been done for her already and I want you to know that your prayers are being answered! Please continue- she has a long road of healing ahead.

Thank you also to those who have offered to send donations and to those who have spread the word by tweeting and by blogging. I cannot thank you enough for your support! There is now a Paypal account set up for those of you who would like to donate online. Just click on the button below and it should take you straight to the donation page! :-)







In my last post I mentioned a safety reminder that I want to stress again. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE check your smoke detectors and if you do not have any-please get some! Our local paper printed some statistics: From 2003 to 2006 40% of fire fatalities resulted from homes without smoke detectors. On top of that 23% more of fire fatalities were in homes that had smoke detectors that were not working. Smoke detectors do not cost much (I found a 3 pack at Amazon for under $17.00) and they save lives!

I would like to end this post with the following poem that Amanda requested be read at the funeral today:

If Tomorrow Never Comes

If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time, I could spare an extra minute or two
to stop and say "I love you," instead of assuming, you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day,
well, I'm sure you'll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance to make everything right.

There will always be another day to say our "I love you's",
And certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do's?"

But just in case I might be wrong and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget,
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them and that you'll always hold them dear,
Take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay".
And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.

Author Unknown

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Please help if you can....


At 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, an old friend of mine lost her home, her belongings, her husband, her 4 year old son and her 8 month old daughter to a fire. She was saved by a neighbor who put a ladder up to her bedroom window. Her 12 year old step daughter also made it out on her own. The neighbors tried to put a ladder up to the children's window, where their father was trying to save them, but were unable to due to the smoke and flames. The fire department was able to remove her husband and children from the home within 10 minutes of arriving, but as I already mentioned, it was too late.

I've been having a hard time keeping my eyes dry for the last couple days. I know her story and this isn't the first time I've cried for her. When we were in high school, I remember going to the funeral home for visitation for her mother who passed away. I cried again for her at her wedding where they had a rose and picture of her mother set up front with the thought that her mother was smiling down on her wedding from heaven. At those times I couldn't imagine going through life and getting married without my mom by my side. Now I couldn't imagine the rest of my life without my husband by my side and watching my children grow.

This friend, Amanda, is only 27 and has suffered unimaginable loss. She could use a lot of prayers right now and, because she has lost everything, she is in great need of financial support as well. I don't have a very large reach on my little blog, so I was hoping that some of you could help me spread the word by blogging about this as well.

Her work place has set up the 'Buckland Family Trust Fund' at the Eastern Michigan Bank, but they are also accepting donations, for those who cannot make it to the bank, at the following address:

Ullenbruch's Flower Shop
C/O Amanda Buckland
1839 Lapeer Ave
Port Huron, MI 48060

***Update: There is now a Paypal account set up to accept donations. You can reach the donation page by clicking on the button below. If this donation button doesn't work, please use the one at the top of my sidebar (upper left-hand corner of my blog).






Again, I know this time of year is super busy and times are tight, but if you can please help spread the word and/or send a donation-no matter how small, every little bit helps. Of course, if you don't have the means to help in either of those ways right now, prayers are greatly appreciated! :-)

Thank you to everyone who has expressed their condolences already and to those of you who have been praying for Amanda and her daughter. I will be sure to pass on your thoughts and prayers to Amanda when I see her at her family's funeral tomorrow. (Typing 'family funeral' is not easy! Phew!)

*I also want to send out a safety reminder to anyone who reads this. Make sure you have smoke detectors installed in your house and that you change the batteries twice a year. (The recommended times to change them is when you change yours clocks for daylight savings time.)

**If you would like to read more about this horrible trajedy, you can do so here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Asking for Prayers


My eyes are red and my stomach is in knots as a write this tonight. I just found out that a good friend of mine from high school not only lost her home to a fire early this morning, but also lost her husband, her 4 year old son and her 8 month old daughter. (If you would like to read more about what happened, please visit this site. There is also a news video that can be found here.)

I cannot imagine the pain she must be feeling today and how hard this is going to be for her to overcome. I'm asking for prayers for her and her 12 year step daughter who survived the fire. (There will also be a fund set up soon and if there is a way to donate online, I will give an update on this post for those who may be interested.) They will have a long road of healing and I'm sure they could use any support that they can get. Thank you so much in advance! :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Weekend of Christmas Festivities!

Christmas is definitely in the air! We spent much of our weekend doing Christmas activities. Friday night the kids got to stay up late and watch a Christmas Special on TV, 'Yes Virginia'. I remember looking forward to the older, unanimated version every year when I was little, so I really wanted to see the new one with the kids!

Morgan got to help pop the popcorn for the movie!

Enjoying the popcorn-apparently Morgan was going at it with both hands! :-)

**************

Saturday I put up the rest of the Christmas decorations-including my Precious Moments Nativity!

Saturday night was the church's Christmas musical "A Baby Changes Everything". I didn't take any pictures, but it was a wonderful program! It was very moving and a great way to remember and celebrate the reason for the season! :-)
*****************

Sunday, after church, was the firefighter Christmas party. It's always a wonderful party with great food, music and Santa!

Blake couldn't wait to go get a present from Santa. He kept watching as Santa handed out presents thinking that they were all his! Good thing he was patient and didn't scream! When his name was called, he practically dragged Rich to the front to get his present! LOL! (Morgan wouldn't go anywhere near Santa, so no pictures of her with Santa :-( )


Blake got a phone.


Morgan got a doll.

Mom got a poinsettia!

Actually, I got three! Each year the wives of the firefighters get a 3 foot tall poinsettia! It's huge for our little house, so I always give it away to my mom or mother-in-law. So this year I saw that they had smaller ones (about a foot tall) and thought one of those would be SO much better and I could actually keep it. Rich asked about getting a small one instead of the big one and somehow I ended up with 2 small ones and 1 big one! So much for trying to get less-I ended up with more! LOL!

**By the way, Rich got something too. I'm pretty sure the food (prime rib) and the drinks (rum and cokes) were all Rich could have wanted from the party! LOL!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Our Christmas Tree

We decided to pick out a tree from behind Rich's Grandma's place this year, instead of going to a tree farm. So on Sunday we met up with Rich's parents and brother, picked out our favorite and Rich cut it down in a split second with the chainsaw. (I thought I'd have a nice picture of him cutting down our tree with a regular saw, but it didn't quite work that way-LOL!)

Sunday

As you can tell, from what Morgan is doing, the chainsaw is a little on the loud side. :-) Doesn't Rich look like a lumberjack? :-D

Monday

I thought we'd decorate the tree Monday, but Rich had something going on after work, so then I thought we'd at least get it up and put the lights on. Every year we've struggled to get the lights to work and this year was worse than before, so we gave in and decided that I'd buy new LED lights when I was out with my mom the next day.

Tuesday

Turns out one $12 strand of LED lights wasn't going to be enough...

Wednesday

The kids decided the tree had been empty long enough and did a little decorating of their own with some toys.

Wednesday Night

Finally, with enough working lights, we got the tree decorated!

Now for the hard part...making sure the kids leave the ornaments and the presents alone until Christmas...LOL!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lighted Farm Implement Parade

Last Friday night Rich and I took the kiddos to a nearby town to see their lighted farm implement parade. This parade is special to Rich and I because it is where he took me for our first date 5 years ago. We try to make it every year, if we can, and now we actually go a little early and hang out at a friend of Rich's family's business that is along the parade route. It's so nice to have some warm food and a warm place to go if it's too cold outside! (We are very grateful to them for inviting us!) :-)

I put together another little slide show of some of my favorite entries in the parade. There are a few pics of the kiddos mixed in as well (of course! LOL!) Please excuse the picture quality-I think my camera can do better, but it needs a better photographer using it! ;-) See if you can find my typo too! I was too lazy to go back and fix it after I had already published it-LOL!

Enjoy! :-)


Music: "Sleigh Ride" from the 'A Cowboy Christmas' album by the Flying W Wranglers.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Advent Calendars

I don't remember having an advent calendar growing up, but now that I have the kids, I love the idea of them! I've seen SO many that I like-I could probably have at least 5 calendars to do with the kids each day! LOL! We have 2 right now. One is Morgan's and the other is Blake's.

This one is Morgan's and it is SO cute! The kids love playing with it! Each day we move the star and put them into the little pockets on Santa's belly, then Santa says something different about Christmas, the reindeer, Mrs. Claus, etc. I'll admit that it's quite fun and I played with it a bunch when Rich's parents gave it to Morgan. :-) (It came from Lowe's a couple years ago, so I'm not sure if it can still be found.)

This one my parents got for Blake last year from Germany. It has little drawers that I put German chocolates in last year, but this year I put 2 Hershey's kisses in them for both Morgan and Blake. They love this one just as much as the Santa one because they get chocolate! LOL! (I keep this one in the kitchen and out of reach so the kiddos don't get into it when I'm not looking-LOL! It also still has rubber bands around the drawers, which is how I stored it so the drawers wouldn't fall out.)

Both the ones we have are really neat and a lot of fun, but I'd also love to get one that tells the story of Jesus's birth. I've really liked some wooden nativity advent calendars in the past and they would still be great, but then I came across this one at Out With the Kids. It has a small book for each day of advent that tells a part of the Christmas story. How neat would it be to read a little bit of about Jesus's birth to the kids every day leading up to Christmas with this advent calendar! I know I don't really need another one, but this one is just too cool! :-)

If you have an advent calendar, what is it like? I think the tradition of doing an advent calendar is great and would love to hear about yours! :-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tooth Fairy Pillows

When I was little, I had always wondered how the 'tooth fairy' had gotten my tooth out from under my head and left money without me even knowing. That tooth fairy must have been really tricky to not wake me up! Since having little ones of my own it has been a concern that when they start losing teeth that the 'tooth fairy' will accidentally wake them up and ruin the whole thing for them.

Then I came across tooth fairy pillows for the first time on a blog about a year ago and thought they were the neatest thing! With a tooth fairy pillow there would be no concern of waking the little ones because the tooth wouldn't be under their head! Neat, right? (I seriously have no idea why I have thought about these things when the kids are so far off from losing teeth...LOL!) So, of course, I've tried winning one anytime I've come across them since, and I finally got lucky!

Take a peak at these cute little pillows!


I actually only won one of them, then I was offered free shipping on the other if I wanted to buy it! How cool is that?! They cost $15 plus S&H (usually) and there are a ton of designs to choose from. The pillows are only 6"x8", which makes them even cuter than they already are! I love them and can't wait for the kiddos to get them as gifts (when they are a little closer to losing their first tooth.)

If you would like one of your own, check out the site Tooth Fairy Pillows. The Certified Dental Assistant who offers these is super sweet and easy to work with and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I just liked the pillows that I won/purchased and wanted to share their cuteness with you! :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First Carousel Ride

When my mom and I took the kids to get their pictures taken on Tuesday, we also did some Christmas shopping and ended up in the food court at the mall for lunch. Morgan and Blake begged to go see the horsies, so they ended up going on their first carousel ride! (I happened to have my camera in my purse in case we went to see Santa, but I didn't get up the nerve to try that one! Maybe next time...or next year-LOL!)

Getting buckled in. (See Blake down in the corner watching-too cute!)

The carousel just starting. Morgan is pretending to be scared and Blake is having a blast....

Now the carousel is really going! Morgan is no longer scared and is laughing and squealing and just having a blast! Blake is no longer thinking this is fun though. He grabbed on to my shirt, pulling it off, as he tried to get me to hold him (which I did eventually being tired of my bra showing! LOL!)


I don't think Blake will be begging to see the horsies again, but I imagine Morgan will be! She is already asking, as I'm typing and she is looking at the picture, to go again next weekend-LOL!

(Please excuse the lack of make-up. I get so used to not wearing it, being home all the time, that I forget that I really should smear some on when I leave the house-LOL!)

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