Tuesday, December 17, 2013

thankful tuesday, 12/17

  • a few dozen of those guys up there calling my name to do some christmas baking
  • that little women is on in the background while i online shop and make christmas lists and thankful lists
  • christmas in new york and christmas in our little town just days apart
  • rockefeller tree sparkle and boyscout pancake breakfast with santa - each as sweet as can be
  • the first snow storm
  • our snow covered backyard under the full moon
  • baby girl's first steps
  • living room sleepovers 
  • peeking behind tiny advent calendar doors 
  • opening the mailbox filled with beautiful faces and christmas greetings 
  • warm coats, boots and mittens
  • that we get to celebrate this joyous season
okay a wee hard to type through little women induced tears, time to curl up ... xo!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

thankFULL tuesday, 12/3

bits & bobs from our few days celebrating...
baby girl's first birthday
tree cutting
christmas trimming
movie watching
book reading
cookie decorating
barn feast primping
thanksgiving / first birthday celebrating
advent reflecting
heart rejoicing

 a most special happythanksfirstbirthdaygivingadvent weekend indeed!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

advent calendar...updated

it's the first day of advent so wanted to pop in for a quick look at this year's family advent calendar.  some of you may remember my homemade mitten one we've used the past few years.  well, after last year i knew we needed a new one...mine had some flaws.  

problem one - when i made the mittens that first year, i wrote in pen the verse and fun activities for each day of the season.

problem two - this design meant that  a "saturday" activity (i.e. sleepover in the living room under the christmas tree) had been bumped to a monday.  i love my kids and all, but not quite enough to have a fun living room sleepover on a school night!  similarly, going out for donuts before school wasn't as exciting when the activity fell on a weekend.

problem three - my kids can read.  meaning i couldn't just make-up the activity to be something else.  
it was time for a new one.  one that was most importantly about the bible message, but that also allowed for some flexibility to have the activities land on days when we could enjoy them.  
i loved these calendar cards by the talented melissa beaver at the lovely words.  each card includes a bible referenced designed in a way that is just so beautiful.  so, i ordered a set and have clipped my own little activity cards to the back.  

now all season long we'll look forward to flipping to see, read and reflect on what will become a wall full of beautiful messages.  this version also allows some flexibility if mama elf needs to change things up a bit by switching the activity cards around based on changing schedules.  on that note, i also remembered to plug the activities into my calendar this year... again, lesson learned from last year's surprise & scramble to have gingerbread house kits ready on the right day.
i wanted to share, not because i think you need to have one exactly like this, but because this is one of our most favorite family traditions.  preparing our hearts, serving others and enjoying the best parts of this season...the best!

in case any of you are planning activities of your own  - i thought i'd share the verse & defoyd plans in case you want to join us! 

merry christmas friends!

day 1: isaiah 41:5 /decorate gingerbread cookies
day 2: isaiah 52: 7-10 / mail letters to santa
day 3: isaiah 40: 9-11 / watch the grinch who stole christmas
day 4: genesis 3:15-18 / decorate bedroom doors for christmas
day 5: genesis 15: 1-6 / have hot chocolate with breakfast
day 6: deuteronomy 18: 15-19 / buy toys for kids in need
day 7: psalm 89: 1-4 / christmas craft
day 8: isiah 11: 1-10 / sign silent night by candle light
day 9: zechariah 6: 12-13 / listen to christmas music really loud
day 10: michah 5: 2-4 / go out for donuts before school
day 11: malachi 3: 1-6 / go for a flashlight walk after dinner to see the lights around the circle
day 12: john 1: 1-8 / put money in the salvation army bucket
day 13: john 1: 9-18 / go out to the movies to see frozen
day 14: mark 1: 1-3 / have a sleepover in the living room under the tree
day 15: luke 1: 5-13 / write & illustrate the christmas story
day 16: luke 1: 14-17 / wear pajamas and go for a drive to see the christmas lights
day 17: luke 1: 18-25 / watch charlie brown christmas
day 18: luke 1: 39-45 / make cards for teachers
day 19: luke 1: 46-56 / donate item for collections at karate & gymnastics
day 20: luke 1: 57-66 / go to bennett's christmas concert
day 21: luke 1: 67-80 / make treats & deliver to neighbors
day 22: luke 7: 10-14 / donate blankets for project just because @ church
day 23: luke 1: 26-45 / deliver gifts to teachers
day 24: isaiah 9: 2-7 / open one present
day 25: matthew 1: 18-25 / have birthday pancakes for jesus

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

be brave

yours truly is a puddle of tears today.  the good kind of tears.  but also the ugly sob kind of tears.  the kind where your heart and every bit of your soul just pours out of you until you feel like you have nothing left ... but yet you have everything and can see and feel and smell and love in a way that words cannot express.  and even if you can't express it with perfect words, you try, because these are the moments that you want to remember.  these are the moments that matter.  so...dear readers a bit of my heart as i remember and reflect on what those words up there have meant to me this past year.   

a year ago today thanksgiving had come and gone and i was still very very pregnant.  i was a wreck.  i didn't think the little person growing inside me would ever come. i was petrified of having to have another c-section.  petrified.  every bit of me was anxious and exhausted.  i remember getting home from a morning doctor appointment where she told me if the baby didn't come by thursday then i'd be scheduled for a c-section.   i came home and fell apart...completely to pieces...the ugly, sobbing, weeping puddle of tears that seemed to take over every piece of my being.

goodness i was afraid.  oh so very afraid.  and though on that day a year ago i obsessed over the fear of a c-section, deep down i was afraid of so much more. really afraid. really really afraid.

afraid about what life would be like with a little baby. afraid what a new baby would mean to our family, the kids, our marriage.  we had been out of the baby phase for a few years, and now we  were about to go back.  and though we were excited, i was afraid, what was that going to do to us? 

afraid that my kids would be jealous, resentful, angry.  afraid that wes and i would become off, distant, lost.

afraid of the crying and exhaustion.

afraid of our lack of space at home and our plans to stay there for another year or two in the little blue house on mansion street.  we weren't planning to move.  we were planning to stick it out, make it work.  i was afraid that wasn't going to work.

afraid of the holidays.  that i wouldn't be able to do it.  that my kids would notice.  that this would scar them.

afraid of the years to come.  that a holiday season meant to be filled with joy - would be really hard for our family.  with now 2 birthdays, thanksgiving, christmas and all kinds of year-end excitement that it would be a blurr...and not the good kind.
a year ago today...goodness i remember that meltdown like it was yesterday. i remember the urgent email i sent to girlfriends asking for prayer.  i remember crying so so hard. i remember praying with every bit i had left that the lord would make me...brave.  

brave because i knew it was going to be hard.  brave because i knew it was going to throw us for a crazy loop.  brave because with him by my side i should be...i could be...i needed to be.

and i can remember the very moment a year ago when peace washed over me... and the the lord made me that... he made me brave.  just like that he wiped it out.  just like that he took my fear away.

i went to sleep that night with such peace. i slept so very sound.  i woke the very next morning, my water broke, i went into labor, i delivered (without c-section)...i met my baby girl.  he made me brave.  and he has been doing it around every bend this past year.

he made me brave during labor and delivery ...one without c-section.  he made me brave when that scary car accident happened to wes and the kids after jane was born.   he made me brave when we were devastated by the tragedy in newtown...at a time when i was trying to figure out this mama to three kids thing and needing to know that nothing is more important than loving these precious children.  he made me brave to embrace our defoyd family thanksgiving, christmas and birthday season in an even more special way ... to feel blessed by it, not overwhelmed, but blessed.  then he made me brave when my emergency appendectomy happened 3 days before christmas and bennett's birthday.  he made me brave to hold tight, to trust him.

then he made me brave when we decided to buy the new house.  he made me brave to trust it was the right time, the right decision, the right house for us.  he made me brave when we packed and moved in just 30 days.  he made me brave when in the midst of all that i accepted a new role and went back to work.

and he's made me brave to process and reflect on all the change that happened in those first 6 months and this past year.  he made me brave to look to him to help figure out where  to go when i often didn't know which way to turn.  he made me brave to see and know that even when things are really scary that dreams do come true.  he made me brave to see and know and love and do in new ways...at home, with my kids, in my marriage, at work, in my community.  that being brave is when he works.

a year.  what a year it was. a year that changed me. a year that changed us.  a year to be brave.  a year to celebrate and remember.  be brave dear friends, be brave.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

all aboard!

what's better than a train ride with a bunch of pre-school boys?
not much i say, not much!
 these buddies joined us for our one stop ride to the next town.
the anticipation of the train's arrival is the best part!
hearing it approach...seeing the lights...
knowing that's it's coming for us...that we get to board!
 and then there is the conductor - with real tickets!
and for these mamas the conductor who made our day by giving us the ride for free!
 one stop later we were in the next town,
with just enough time for a snack and visit to the library.
 the perfect pit stop for a quick story 
and very entertaining puppet show!
 and then it was time to head back to the platform 
to catch the train back home.
 the perfect adventure...a treasured ticket keepsake...a happy boy.
all aboard!