Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Nutcracker

The day started with a fancy lunch at one of our favorite local Itallian restaurants downtown.  Nana and Auntie Amber came up for our special girly date.  We had amazing seats!  This Nutcracker performance was beautiful and put us all in such a festive mood.  I have fond memories of seeing The Nutcracker with my mom and grandma when I was little, I still have the Nutcracker souvenir from that day.  I bought each of the girls a Clara ornament as a keepsake.
 The girls with "Clara".  She was an amazing ballerina for her age!  I'm certain she's going places, and she was so sweet to boot!
 Here they are with another amazing ballerina.  Chloe was pretty tired at this point, can you tell?
And the best part of the whole day?  That evening, the girls asked for Nutcracker music, dressed in their ballet outfits, helped each other put buns in their hair and danced around the living room with Nutcrackers in their hands.  And of course, asked daddy to do lifts with them.  I wish you could have seen the glee on their faces as daddy treated them like prim a ballerinas, priceless!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Autumn Mae at Nine Months

 Mommy's precious baby girl!
 Snugglin with Nana
A nap with daddy on the guest bed.  Is it just me, or does that little foot peeking out of her blankie just beg to be eaten?!!!  I'll post some crawling pics soon, baby proofing is in full swing over here!

In My Own Little Corner...

Last month, I took the girls and my mom-in-law "Grammy" to Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at our local performing arts center.  The afternoon started with a lunch date and then it was off to the show.  I have vivid memories of seeing these productions as a little girl with my mom, at the very same performing arts center.  It was where I developed my love of theater.

 This was the girl's first live musical.  When the lights dimmed and the music started, I got teary watching Emma and Chloe on the edges of their seats in excited anticipation of what they were about to see.  It was as if I was a little girl again, feeling all those same feelings of wonder and excitement. 
 Here they are getting Cinderella's autograph.  They were too shy to pose for a picture with Prince Charming;).
And of course we had to talk to the silly step sisters, such great acting!

And the fairy godmother of course.  It was such a special day, one vivid childhood memories are made of.  Next weekend we have our Nutcracker date with my mom and sister.  Oh how I love my girls!  Thank you Jesus for the gift of daughters!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Homemade Avent Calendar- The Greatest Gift

This mama has been a busy bee for the past month creating this special Advent calendar.  Three years ago, my good friend Lindsay displayed her version of this calendar at our moms ministry auction.  I have wanted it (but have never been able to bid high enough at the auctions) for three years.  So this year, when my paddle had to come down, I buckled down and committed to making one myself.  I'm so glad I didn't win the bid this year, because now I have a handmade-with-love by ME keepsake that will hopefully stay in the family for years to come!  If any of you would like all the instructions and patterns for this, let me know and I can email them to you.  I'm so excited to open our first pocket tonight!

 Each pocket contains an ornament that represents an attribute/name of Jesus along with a devotion for that day.  Each devotion takes you through scriptures that tell of who Jesus is.  Just like the Bible, it all points to our only Hope, Jesus Christ.  The devotions are short enough for the little ones, but deep enough for the whole family.  And the ornaments are a visual memory cue for remembering each attribute, I love it!
 You wrap each ornament in tissue paper so that opening each one is like opening a gift.  Each member of the family takes a turn doing this of course.
 Here are the ornaments (I'm not quite finished with them, still need to fill with fleece, tack together fronts and backs and sew on all the snaps).  The star is ready for tonight's devotion though:).
 Here's what the devotion cards look like.  Each one has a song as well, that you can either sing if you know it or read as a poem if you don't.
 A close up of some of the adorable ornaments.
With the help of this calendar, I hope we can keep our eyes on Jesus this Christmas season, on the author of our Hope and Salvation, truly the greatest gift we've been given!  Happy Advent!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Autumn Just Crawled! (So I won't forget)

At 8.5 months, Autumn Mae just put her first knee forward to crawl!  For what you might ask?  A plastic sword.  I will take this as a sign that my sweetie will grow to be passionate for God's Word, the Sword of Truth, LOL!  A mother can think that way right?  Anyway, just had to pop on here to commemorate the milestone so I won't forget.  And that makes her my earliest crawler I do believe, the girl is going places, yikes! 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sick Lessons

Lessons during times of sickness:

1.  if you think getting up once a night with a baby makes you tired, remember it could always be worse... like being sick with a cold yourself and getting up with multiple children all night long.  Lesson?  Don't complain, it could always be worse.

2.  When mama is sick, housework doesn't get done... but it certainly continues to pile up.  Lesson?  Ask for specific help from well family members when your sick, they aren't mind readers after all.

3.  A baby's cough can wake a mama from the deepest sleep and spring her to her feet faster than lightning.  Lesson?  Stop worrying that you won't hear them or wake up if they need you, I'm pretty sure the angels shake mamas awake when they are needed.

4.  Sometimes, the whole family just needs to sit around and watch movies all day.  Mindless snuggles when you're sick are very important.  Lesson?  It's really okay to do this, don't feel guilty about it!  It takes voice power to read to the kids, mama's sore throat no likey, give yourself a break!

5.  Even the nastiest virus's/ infections do go away eventually, so take heart!  I always try to remember this when I think of those with terminal illnesses.  Again, it could always be worse.

So what am I going to do right now?  Go snuggle with Chloe:).

Friday, November 04, 2011

A Concerted Effort

So I think I'm ready for some more bloggy action!  Yes, I want to post on here more and be on facebook less, lofty goals I know, but if you aim for nothing you'll hit it every time right!;).  So here I am with a random post to relieve the pressure I feel to only write the deep and eloquent.
- Chloe had her nursery rhyme festival at school today.  She made an adorable Little Miss Muffet!  Each student was to recite their nursery rhyme to the class, but Chloe has a bad case of stage fright, so guess who ended up saying her rhyme for her, DADDY!  Now that's real heroism!
-I'm getting my football gear on tonight for our mom's ministry's annual fund raising auction.  There is a homemade nativity calendar, made by my friend Lindsey, with my name on it!! I WILL be the highest bidder, so just keep your paddles down ladies!
-Chloe wants me to play with her, and they only do that for so long right?, so I'm saying yes!:)  Gotta run!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sacred Marriage- Chapter 2

This was a great chapter!  I love how Gary brought us back to the Biblical and primary purpose of marriage, which is to model God's love for and relationship to the church.  Our marriages are supposed to be a picture of divine reconciliation.  A reconciliation that involved commitment and sacrifice and complete selflessness.  Gary says, "If I believe the primary purpose of marriage is to model God's love for his church, I will enter this relationship and maintain it with an entirely new motivation, one hinted at by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians: "So we make it our goal to please Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9)."  We have been given so much in the Salvation we received because of what Christ did on the cross, it should be our priority in marriage and in every other area of our lives to please God.  It's an act of worship, a big "thank you" that we can't say enough.  God is clear in the Word that committed, lasting marriages are what pleases Him.  He gave the analogy of how extremely wet forests rarely have devastating forest fires, so there are some extremely old trees in those forests.  I'm going to get quote happy here, but I underlined a lot in this chapter.  Gary says, "Strong Christian marriages will still be struck by lightning- sexual temptation, communication problems, frustrations, unrealized expectations- but if the marriages are heavily watered with an unwavering commitment to please God above everything else, the conditions won't be ripe for a devastating fire to follow the lightning strike."  The thing that really struck me while reading this chapter is how we  need to guard ourselves against the world's view of what marriage should be.  Gary says, "The key question is this: Will we approach marriage from a God-centered view or a man-centered view?  In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met.  In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator."  And really what it all boils down to is that the world teaches us to be selfish, to always be looking out for our best interests instead of going to God for all our needs and then laying our lives down for others.  My prayer as we continue in this study is that I will be constantly reminded to put my relationship with God first, to go to Him when I have need or struggle before burdening Travis with unrealistic and misplaced expectations.  I praise the Lord for giving me a renewed sense of "for better or worse" after reading this chapter, a renewed commitment to making our marriage one of those oldest trees in the forest, for His glory, as we water ourselves with God's word and presence and power to "do all things through Him who gives us strength"!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Oh Little Blog of Mine!

Oh little blog of mine, all dusty and neglected.  I have not forgotten you, sweet place where my heart gets voice.  You see, dear friend, life is full... full of good things and people who need my love and serving.  Your season will come again, so sit tight.  But for now, living life well is far more important than writing about it and time is limited, I must be a good steward of it, for the days are evil and time slips away all too quickly.  Thank you for waiting...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Story- "Sacred Marriage Study"

Okay folks, don't faint with shock, but I'm actually going to do a thinking  post!  At least I'm praying my thoughts come coherently.  I'm starting a study on the book titled, "Sacred Marriage".  My dear childhood friend Jenn (and current bestie, yes Jenn, I just reverted to junior high and called you that;)) is hosting this study and I'm so excited to dig in.  A couple of years ago I attended a conference that Gary Thomas, the author of the book, spoke at.  I remember being particularly drawn to this book and his message about it, but never did buy the book, sort of put it on the mental back shelf as a "when I have time to go to the bathroom, let alone read a book" book.  I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for it to arrive in the mail so I can crack it open.  Going in to this study, I'm ready to go deeper.  Here's the description of the book: 
"Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply. Scores of books have been written that offer guidance for building the marriage of your dreams. But what if God's primary intent for your marriage isn't to make you happy. . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God" 
For those who may not know, Travis and I have a long history.  We've known each other for over half our lives actually.  We met in Junior High, 7th and 8th grade (I'm a year and a half older than him, yes a craddle robber).  Having met so young and having been so young in our walks to boot, we were not short of struggles in our dating relationship, many to do with the temptation of physical intimacy.  But looking back, even though our struggles in our physical relationship seemed to be the all-encompassing struggle, I can now see that there were many other things going on that have shaped what our marriage is today.  My dad was dying of brain cancer shortly after we met.  Travis and his family became an escape for me as a self centered teenager, it was the way I found normal in a very overwhelming family crisis.  My dependence on Travis became immense, I was very needy and I counted on Travis, not the Lord, to meet all of my needs.  It set the stage for a very claustrophobic Travis who started to pull away as my grip tightened.  We had a brief separation during our dating years when my neediness got to a boiling point which forced me to the well I had been neglecting, my relationship with God.  I finally found what I really needed all along and Travis and I experienced great freedom from it, which brought us back together.  Through all of our struggles and triumphs, we are continually humbled to see God at work in our individual hearts and in our marriage.  My hope for this study is that God would get to the deep places in my heart that need refining, that He would continue to bless and grow our marriage as we are open and moldable before Him.  I am so thankful for the blessing of Travis, this man that God has entrusted to me to love and honor and care for!  I am thankful for his friendship and commitment and openness, for his willingness to share his heart without holding back, to confess his temptations, sins, hopes, and convictions and to listen when I need to share my own heart.  I am thankful for the ways he serves and provides for our family, the ways he lays down his own life and interests for us on a daily basis, the way he partners with me in the care and raising of our four children, often up in the night with them even more than I am.  He is a treasure to me, a treasure I never want to take for granted.  And I am convinced, now more than ever, that our story is not a story about us, but rather a story about God and what He can do.  It is a story of His glory despite ourselves, a story that I pray will point all who know us to the One who is the source of all life and hope and true joy, the author and perfecter of our faiths.  I'll be back with more thoughts from the study as we go along, but if you are so inclined, please pray that this study would be used by God in my life and the lives of all who are participating.  And join in if you'd like!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sawyer is three!

I'm so late getting this up, I try to get these birthday posts up day of, but I digress.  Sawyer turned three on Friday!  Yes, my baby boy isn't a baby anymore (although he'll always be mine).  I feel like Sawyer has changed so much from two to three.  His language has taken off, it's now very rare that I can't understand what he's saying.  And his will has taken shape to be sure, and he gets right in there playing with the girls. He's no longer the annoying toddler, but rather the much desired cast member to many dramas.  In fact, Emma and Chloe often fight over who Sawyer seems to favor on a given day, shmoozing him with sweet talk and promises of treats and toys in order to come out on top.  He knows his power and it's pretty cute to watch him revel in it. Oh what sweetness escapes every pore of my little man's being!  Travis often says he's got me wrapped around his little finger, and I really can't deny it, after all, he is my only son.  And truly, after seeing these pictures, is there any wonder why I'm so smitten?  Sawyer Michael, you are such a gift!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Autumn Mae, Six Months!

Somebody just turned six months old today!  This little somebody is now rolling around, sitting all by herself (with pillows behind her) and eating her first foods!  She is spitting and babbling and squealing away her time, putting everything she can get her hands on in her mouth and continuing to be doted on by all who know her.  She has bright eyes that nearly pop out of her head when she's excited or scared and a smile that can brighten up any room.  She's got her own look, but most often we get that she favors her big brother Sawyer.  I still see more of myself in her than any of my children, but there's something unmistakeably daddy in her little mouth.  And something about the way she pops her little eyes so bright reminds us of grandpa Mike, which blesses my heart.  I don't have a current weight and height for her yet as her six month appointment is later this week, but she seems to be continuing to move in the tall direction, imagine that!;).  So without further adieu, I give you my little six month old "Tulip", the prettiest little tulip in the flower bed!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day of School 2011

I have two big girls at school now, I repeat TWO big girls at school!  Emma is a big second grader and Chloe a Kindergartener!  Today as I was taking the girls to school, under the effects of Ibuprophen for the nasty bug I came down with last night and that has had me in bed all day today, the girls could not contain their excitement.  Emma sang Chloe songs she learned in music class last year and told her all about recess and how much fun she was going to have in Kindergarten.  I was nervous that Chloe would have a hard time with me leaving her, but she completely surprised me.  She was so excited, she sat at her little table just beaming, gave me a big hug and kiss and said, "bye mom, I love you!"  No tears or clinging or any of the things you might expect on the first day of kindergarten.  And Emma was equally pumped up for her first day, she was all smiles.  And after school she told me all about the new friends she made and how much she loves her teacher.  Emma even had homework tonight, which she promptly completed right when she got home at her little desk in her new room.  Chloe was jealous that Emma had homework and she didn't, so Chloe practiced writing her letters.  It was a good first day for my sweeties, as these pictures tell.  If only mama had been feeling better:(.  Travis had to take some sick time, that's how rotten I felt.  Feeling a little better tonight, so hoping we can all get some good rest tonight and continue getting into the swing of the school year.