Monday, December 31, 2012


Since I've sat down to write this post, I've had to:
1) Remove cat food from Lydia's mouth
2) Start "Up" for Naomi
3) Build a Lego tower with Caleb
4) Remove Lydia from being stuck under the dining room chair
5) Get a drink for Naomi

If this post gets completed with any sense of coherency, it will be a miracle! I think kids know when we sit down. They can be playing, quietly, happily ... but as soon as Mama stops moving, some kind of little sensors go off in their brains and they suddenly need. Mama needs to just sit down!

Today is the last day of 2012. Looking back over the past twelve months that have shaped this year, I feel like I'm standing on the top of a mountain, taking in an enormous sight. We started the year with the celebration of our precious Liddybug coming into this world, pink and sweet and wonderful. I suddenly felt the impossibility of being pulled in three completely different directions and somehow, I've learned how to be in three places at once. Miraculously. We mourned the loss of our precious Aunt Pam and we felt (and continue to feel) the weight of her absence, while celebrating the person she was and the joy she is experiencing now, finding our peace in the hope of heaven. And loving the legacy she's left behind. My husband and his brother started their own business, opening new doors for possibility, with all of its potential opportunities and risks. A new adventure. I have found the friendships in my life to be all the sweeter, walking through big changes with those God has given me. I am now, more than ever, so thankful for my best friend and the joy, encouragement, and camaraderie we share together. I am only almost thirty, but wow, the value of friendship means more to me every day.

As we celebrated our Christmas this year, I found myself scanning the room, taking in the sight around me: My family and extended family, our kids laughing and playing, a room overflowing with joy and love. An overwhelming sense that this moment is fleeting, and relishing in gratitude because we are experiencing this moment, and what a precious privilege that is. If I have learned anything this year, it is to take in every sweet thing and keep it close to me, never taking for granted the joy before me.

Happy New Year's Eve, friends.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Still, still, still.

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
the world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the Eve of our Saviour's Birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the Eve of our Saviour's birth.

Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.

(Austrian Christmas Carol.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Week.

Last week was crazy, running errands and preparing for the craziness of this week: School party, school program, family Christmases beginning, church performance, family in town ...

... and it all came to a screeching halt when poor Cub got a high fever on Saturday. 

Poor buddy just did not feel good. So, halt did we. Instead of running around as planned, I spent my days (and very long nights) snuggling my chickadees as one by one they got hit with the nasty bug. 

And I wouldn't have changed a thing (well, except the illness). In light of recent events, my heart is heavy for those who have suffered loss. And I found myself keenly aware of every sigh, murmur, and coo from my kids as each took a turn in our room. I prayed over my children, aching for those who will never hold their own again. God knew the turmoil in my heart and used this time to remind me to be thankful for what I have on earth. I have no doubt that while I was here, snuggling my sick babies, He was snuggling those sweet children in heaven. He reminded me in my moments of helplessness that they are His, and His alone. We dedicated each of our children as babies, but I rarely question what it would be like to continue on without them. My faith has wrestled this week and God has been near.

I painted this canvas a few weeks ago and I needed that reminder this week. To take our long pause to be still and pray, openly, honestly. To cry. To believe His promises and rest in them. To be thankful for the ones we hold in our arms.

Hopefully, we are on the upswing. And, thankfully, this pause has prepared us to celebrate the true Joy of Christmas, to remember its Meaning and its Miracle. To marvel at the hope we desperately cling to.

 Cubbie's Class Christmas Pajama Party

Merry Christmas season, friends.

Have a lovely day.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My heart breaks for the families affected by the Connecticut elementary school shooting this morning. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones--parents who lost children, and children who lost parents. We live in a fallen world and the depravity of man knows no bounds.

I'm Here! I'm Here!

Yep, I'm still here.

The ol' bliggity-blog tends to get ignored in the midst of the hustle and bustle of, well, life. But, fear not, for I am still around and alive and doing quite well! Here's a sneaky-peek into my oh-so-exciting life the past few days (iPhone style):

I got sick. So, when I say we're doing well, I mean we're doing well besides that pesky little sinus infection that invaded my face a few days ago. This is me in Urgent Care (chuckle, chuckle) where it only took three hours to have a (very nice) doctor write me a prescription for something that I realized later makes me throw up. Fantastic! It turns out NyQuil works fine, too. I'm much better now.

Our Advent activities have been a total blast. The kids love it and it keeps me on my toes, too. Here are a few of the things we've done thus far:

A Christmas craft and our Advent Wreath ...

... some (very easy-to-bake) Christmas cookies ...

... and this activity, which is my favorite thus far. I loaded the kids in the car and told them we were going to go on a Bell Ringer Hunt, to look for three Salvation Army bell ringers. They each took some change from their piggy banks for the red kettles, and my sweet sister-in-law rode along with us as we perused town to find the volunteers. Note: They usually show up at 10:00. We left at 9:00. just gave us an excuse to get some coffee! As if there's ever need for an excuse ... anyway. Every time we spotted a red kettle, we'd hoop and holler and park the car and unload the kids (quite a process with three kids in three car seats) and together we'd shake the bell ringer's hand and explain what we were doing. The Salvation Army volunteers were AWESOME. Each of them hunkered down to my kids' eye level and asked if they knew where the money went. Cub would shyly explain that it would help kids who didn't have good food to eat or fun toys to play with. It was so much fun and I can't wait to create a tradition for the years to come. It was sweet.

I've seen these "I Love You Because ..." boards floating around Pinterest and I finally made one for my hubby. It's easy--buy a frame, put some pretty scrapbook paper in it, and use a dry-erase marker to write on the glass. My husband is pretty shy when it comes to public praise. He cringes if I brag about him to others, or tell people when he's given me a nice gift or done something nice for me. He's just ... well, quiet. Unlike yours truly. And I love that about him! But, I realize that it keeps me from affirming him as much as I should, since he sometimes makes me think that he doesn't need affirmation. But oh, he does. And this is a simple (and private) way for me to affirm him (privately) where only he can see it. I'm going to try to add to it every day. A good exercise, for both of us.

This is little Naomi, dressed like a "wiseman!" for AWANA's Nativity Night. Please note the There's-No-Place-Like-Home red sparkly shoes, my green tunic with a pink sash, and the quickly whipped up homemade paper crown. She loved it. Definitely had to capture this one.

Our most recent Advent activity--seeing Christmas lights at a local college. So fun.

See? I am still alive. And busy. 'Tis the season, y'all!

Have a lovely day!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Calendar Ideas.

I received an email from a friend, asking how I chose the activities for my Advent calendar. The clothespin-and-paper idea came from Pinterest and the ideas I came up with on my own, based on the things that I know my kids like. This is the first year we've done something like this, since Cub and Naomi are old enough to actually enjoy it. We also read verses from an Advent Calendar I purchased last year. So, I figured I'd just show a list of our daily activities, if you want some ideas. It's still early enough in the month if you want to start!

Day One: Christmas Craft
Day Two: Light A Candle (Advent Wreath)
Day Three: Make Christmas Cookies
Day Four: Drive around to look at Christmas lights
Day Five: Add a piece to our Christmas village
Day Six: Give goodies to our neighbors
Day Seven: Visit the Festival of Trees with Memere
Day Eight: Make s'mores
Day Nine: Light A Candle (Advent Wreath)
Day Ten: Christmas Craft
Day Eleven: Make Christmas cookies (um, yes, again)
Day Twelve: Find three Salvation Army bell ringers (and give change from their piggy banks)
Day Thirteen: Visit a local college to see their Christmas lights
Day Fourteen: Christmas Craft
Day Fifteen: Donate two toys to Goodwill
Day Sixteen: Light a Candle (Advent Wreath)
Day Seventeen: Christmas Craft (yes, I know, lots of crafts ...)
Day Eighteen: Go Christmas Caroling
Day Nineteen: Make treats for friends
Day Twenty: Drive around to look at (different) Christmas lights
Day Twenty-One: Find three Salvation bell ringers (again!)
Day Twenty-Two: Christmas Craft
Day Twenty-Three: Light a Candle (Advent Wreath)
Day Twenty-Four: Christmas Eve Service
Day Twenty-Five: Christmas!

There you have it! Bring on the fun ... and the coffee. ;)

Have a lovely day!