Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! 2013 Here We Come

God closed out the very last day of 2012 with the most beautiful sunset. I couldn't help but, linger outside in the chilly air just to gaze at the glory all around me.  The most majestic painting splashed across the Heavens; a gift from the creator, to all of us below.  
Tonight we are ringing in the new year from the comfort of our cozy couch.  We ordered a ton of take out sushi and even Daisy devoured a few rolls happily, until she got a super spicy roll on accident and then she was completely disinterested.  We hope that didn't ruin her love of sushi for good!
Now are watching some flicks while listening to the steady crack and pop of fireworks outside.  It's a wonderfully relaxing evening...my favorite. 

 I don't generally make New Year's resolutions but, I do love the refreshing feel of a full new year ahead.  Lots of new places to visit and people to meet.  Four wonderful seasons to experience all over again and adventures to be had.  More importantly to me though, is the never ending adventure of learning more about who I desire to be as I continue to learn more about who Christ is. That is what I look forward to most at the start of each new year.  What are your resolutions for this New Year?

I hope that you all have a wonderful night ringing in the New Year. 2013 here we come!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Few Of Our Favorite Christmas Things...

There are a lot of little things that awaken the Christmas spirit for our family each year. One such thing is when we first begin to see the lights and decorations appear on people's homes.  There is something so delightful about a house illuminated by twinkly lights and adorned with wreaths, garland and ribbons. I wouldn't mind stealing the house below as it is SO beautiful and similar to what I imagine my dream home looking like.  I'm sorry..that was not very Christ-masy of me...I digress...lights so festive!
and it's even more exciting when we begin to put up our own lights..which we continued to add to for weeks. hehe...It's hard for me to stop (yes, I have a problem) and each year we seem to add a little more than the year before.  Oh dear, Griswold family here we come.  I'd love a giant star over the garage next year, a huge nativity on my front lawn (anyone want to make me one??) and more lights on the bushes! That's not ridiculous at all is it?  Fortunately for me, my hubby shares my love of lights and enjoys putting them up.  Yes, I am blessed.
 Bringing our decorations down from the attic is always festive and fun (the messes around the house for days...not so much!)  I am especially fond of our scripture nativity and Daisy gets to play with it to her heart's content. If it breaks...I'll buy another.  It's worth it to see her enjoying it!  This year she gave baby "dejus" a "baff" nearly every day.  He must have been pretty dirty laying in that stable after all. 
Venturing out on a chilly night to pick out the perfect Christmas tree is so much fun.  Nothing like plunking that tree down in the living room and filling the house with the smell of fresh pine.  LOVE that smell and I have to say that our tree smelled awesome this year.  We ended up getting our 7 ft tree from Home Depot this year.
One of my favorite Christmas things is snuggling up (usually in the morning with my little girl) on the couch with the twinkling tree in front of me.  It's so calming and peaceful especially if the Christmas carols are playing quietly in the background...my favorite Christmas albums being Kenny G, Martina McBride, Chris Tomlin and Third Day this year. Chris Tomlin's CD especially got me pumped up. 
There is nothing like a cheerful holiday coffee cup to get me in the spirit and let me just say that in the spirit of Christmas I consumed a lot of Dunkin and McCafe coffee;-). 
Of course there are little things like wearing holiday socks.  It's actually quite incredible that a simple pair of Christmas socks can totally brighten my day.  I bought a few pairs this year because I enjoyed them so much.  I just wanted to sit on the couch and stare at my feet...no, not really but, I did take a picture of them and post it to instagram. hehe  
One of my favorite things is going to our mail box with Daisy each afternoon to gather any Christmas cards that we may have been sent. Thank you to everyone who sent us a card this year. I just LOVE getting mail that isn't a bill for a change and I LOVE seeing the smiling faces of all the people we love all around our kitchen!
Then of course cookie baking parties are always so much fun when you have little ones...though the extra five pounds on my thighs...not so much:) 
And potluck dinners with awesome neighbors are becoming an annual Christmas tradition that we all love and enjoy.
Seeing the stores and malls all decorated, Santa sitting in front of an enormous Christmas tree (and maybe getting a picture if the line isn't an hour long like it was this year (crazy!) and even walking amongst the other jolly (generally speaking) shoppers always gets me into the holiday spirit.
I mean how could you look at this face and not be excited about having a holly, jolly Christmas??
And then there is the local parade right in the heart of a darling downtown nearby. This is our second year attending with some good friends of ours and this year Daisy was in hog Heaven. All the dancers, jump ropers and city council members sitting on top of cars were princesses according to her.  She loved the bands and all the lights.  She also required that we hold her nearly the entire parade and that wasn't easy but, the super mom in me rose to the occasion.  lol Oh the things we do for our children. Yup, the parade is definitely festive celebration that gets us in the spirit!
Now that our little one is getting older we get to create new traditions with her.  This year we visited a life sized nativity at a church not far from us.  I really wanted to give Daisy a tangible connection to Jesus...who happened to be absent from the nativity all season long?? lol Regardless, the nativity was a HUGE hit!!! More on that later...but, this will be a special tradition for years to come.
 We always try to make it to our church Christmas Eve service if we are in town.  It's such a special way to spend the evening as a family.  We generally dress up (for like the first time all year) and we gather in a large room that is jam packed with other people who have come to worship Jesus and thank Him for all that He is.  It refocuses our distracted hearts and minds on the most important thing in life, Jesus!  I got Daisy out of her Sunday school class early to join us for the candle lighting portion of the service because she loves candles and fire (hmmmm).  She was mesmerized as she watched the candle flickering in front of her face in the dark room and listened to the sounds of carols being sung all around her.  It was bsolutely beautiful in every way. 

 I will say that while we were driving home I asked Daisy how Sunday school was and excitedly asked if she learned about baby Jesus and this is what she said, "uhh I hitting someone but din I say soweee." [Sidenote: we are having a little hitting issue with Daisy lately and yes, we are working on it of course but, it will take time.  If kids take toys from her she hits them instinctively.  A two year old at her finest!]  So then I said, "oh honey remember how you are supposed to say nicely, "stop please," when someone is taking something from you and we give hugs and kisses not hits?"  To which Daisy says, "uhhhh okaaayyyy yes momma and din I poop."  So she hit a kid and pooped for the teacher and not in the potty on Christmas Eve....oh my...poor teacher.  I think I had a mommy crisis driving home.  At least it's a funny story and it will be told for years to come that's for sure.  
And last but, certainly not least we have yet another new tradition that really helps to bring the spirit of Christmas to life for our family...baking a cake on Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Just another fun and tangible way to help little ones understand what it is we are celebrating.  Daisy loved, loved, LOVED this activity and more on this activity to come in another blog post as well:).  The stories revolving around these activities are too good not to get a blog post of their own!

There you have it.  These are a few of our favorite Christmas things. What are some of yours?  I loved seeing all the pictures on Facebook and Instagram of all the wonderful Christmas things everyone did.  It truly is a magical time of year for young and old alike and though it all goes by so fast it is nice to turn the page and be given a fresh start with the dawn of a new year...2013 here we come! 
  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sweet

Christmas has come and gone for another year.  I can't believe how fast it all goes.  I've got lots of pictures to share and stories to tell so stay tuned.  Daisy had an absolute blast to say the least and I had a blast with her.

 I'm beginning the long process of going through my oodles and oodles of iphone pictures and trying to start actually blogging some of my favorites. These go back to October but, I love them so.  What mother doesn't cherish sweet memories captured with their little ones.  Priceless.

Daisy is my little buddy and when I give her my full attention we actually have a lot of fun together.  Just tonight I took her to get a Happy Meal in Daddy's truck.  We almost never drive Daddy's truck because we only have one car seat in my car but, Daddy was using my car so we got the truck.  She thought it was very special to be driving in Daddy's truck and she kept saying, "dis is special mom.  I having fun. Thanks Mom." As much as her chatter can tire my ears at times it is also a total treat to get a little peak into the thoughts bouncing around in my daughter's mind.  Her sweet and simple words give me a much better idea of what she is thinking and how she is feeling and it is a joy.  

Well, Merry Christmas all!  Today was a day of cleaning up boxes, washing dinner dishes, tidying other random holiday messes and playing with our new goodies.  Tomorrow will probably be a day of shopping! yeah:).  Night all.







Photobucket

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Four Pack Reunion and Christmas Cookies

It has been a good while since the four pack has been all together in one place. I think the last pictures taken of all four of them was after church on Easter Sunday and truthfully I don't recall ever posting any of them here on this blog...I think that must have been about the time that my blogging started slowing down. whoops.  The Chaisson family invited us all over to decorate some Christmas cookies.  Thanks for hosting such a fun get together guys! 

 This was a first time activity for Daisy and she absolutely loved it.  I haven't seen an activity keep her attention as long as this did in quite a while.  All of the kids had a blast and I was genuinely impressed by how well they decorated their cookies.   This isn't to say that they didn't dump the entire bowl of sprinkles on one cookie a time or two but, overall they were really focused and interested in doing a good job.  So stinking adorable.  
How festive and adorable is Lindsey's attire! Loved it:)Lindsey is momma to Sam and also baby Eathan now. 
Lila was having a great time and she looked at my camera and smiled so many times....so rare for a 2 year old and so stinking cute!
And sweet Sam gave me a pretty awesome smile when prompted also....how cute is he!
and Raelyn the host toddler. Such a beauty!
The four pack all together again...miraculously all sitting down in one place with no one crying...uh-mazing! :) They pretty much all had an instrument of some kind and no that wasn't planned but, it sure helped keep them in one place.  (Shhh....don't tell Daisy but, I think she is getting this little instrument set for Christmas this year:). lol  These kids will all be three in just a few short months.  It really blows me away.  In some ways the past 3 years have gone slow but, for the most part they have just blown by and it feels like we were all gathering together at the hospital to greet these little ones not long ago. Sam, has a little brother now, Raelyn has a little brother on the way and Lila has twin sisters on the way! So much has and is changing.  And I know you are all thinking it so I'll just satisfy your curiosity...no, I am not pregnant.  Yes, I wish I already had another little one or was about to pop one out...no, I do not miss pregnancy or get envious of women who are.  I really didn't like being pregnant at all and have never once missed it but, I want more kiddos badly and Daisy is SO great with babies.  She'll be an amazing big sister someday.
Sam and his Daddy making cookies
Daisy and Raelyn have nearly identical expressions in this picture....hehe.  Daisy is fascinated by the color stained marks on her hands from the sprinkles and Raelyn is concentrating on scooping lots of candy cane bits onto her cookies.  I would say it is the expression of wonder and awe! lol They had a blast to say the least and I appreciate the Chaisson family letting us all make a big mess in their home.  I for one, look forward to the next cookie decorating party!
Photobucket

Friday, December 7, 2012

Beautiful

What a lovely hymn with words so wise.   I love both writing and reading songs and poems and I especially appreciate the ones that can proclaim such monumental truths in a single page.  My soul says yes and amen.

 I have been through the valley of sorrow and weeping 

 I have been through the valley of sorrow and weeping, 
The valley of trouble and pain; 
But the "God of all comfort," the "God of all comfort," 
Was with me to hold and sustain.

 As the earth needs the clouds and the rain with the sunshine,
 Our souls need both sorrow and joy,
 So He places us oft in the fire of affliction 
The dross from the gold to destroy.

 When He leads thru the valleys of trouble and sorrow, 
 His mercy and love there we trace; 
 For the trials and sorrows He sends us in wisdom 
 Are part of His lessons in grace.
 Yet how often we shrink from the purging and pruning, 
Forgetting the Husbandman knows 
That the deeper and closer the cutting and paring,
 The richer the cluster that grows.

 O how well does He know that afflictions are needed; 
He has a wise purpose in view, 
 And within the dark valley He whispers to comfort, 
 "Hereafter thou'lt know what I do." 

 As we travel the pathway thru life's shadowed valleys, 
Fresh springs of His love ever rise; 
And we learn that our troubles, our sorrows and losses, 
 Are blessings just sent in disguise.

 So we'll follow Him faithfully where'er He leadeth, 
The pathway be dreary or bright; 
 For we've proved that our God is the "God of all comfort, 
The God who gives songs in the night.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Soul Food for the Weary Of Heart

"...Weeping may endure for the night but, joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5

It's "The most wonderful time of year!" So much excitement and such a festive spirit in the air.  I know I absolutely love Christmas time and everything about this season.  I love the baked goodies, the smell of fresh pine, the twinkling lights on my neighbor's homes, the carols both old and new and the celebration of Jesus with my family.  I absolutely love it all!  Christmas time is such a welcome distraction from the day to day hardships but, for some people even Christmas time doesn't relieve the heartache, the pain or the suffering. 

A friend sent me this video a few weeks back and it has blessed me on more than one occasion since then, so I thought I'd share it with you all. For anyone in the midst of any kind of trial, season of struggle or suffering this is a great encouragement.  Our family trial continues on and has become a considerably long season...well over 2 years now. It's interesting how much long hard seasons shape us and open our eyes to things that we just weren't able to see before. I am so much more aware of the suffering and hurt around me and so aware of the fact that people are desperately in need of encouragement, hope, healing and truth. People are desperately in need of someone that they can be raw and real around.  People are weary and broken down.  For some, these hard seasons are quite short but, for others they carry on and on.

The little girl that we named our daughter after continues to battle cancer and fights for her life every day.  Her family fights to find joy and peace in the midst of such a painful trial.  Yes, life is hard for so many and I am convinced that it will inevitably be hard for us all at some point or another.  Pain is inescapable on this Earth but, what we learn from pain and how we let it shape us is depends on each of us.

It's understandable and completely natural that hardships might make us angry with God but, I have seen what unresolved anger can do to a person and it isn't pretty.   It might be just about he hardest thing in the world to submit our will and control to God in the midst of the hurricane but, I do believe that, that is where the greatest blessing lies. Sometimes faith is a moment by moment surrender.  Sometimes trusting in God is so hard but, as Beth Moore so awesomely puts it, "you will never know my Christ until he has brought you through something all by your little lonesome self and you chose to be obedient to Him and He was faithful to you. You will be marked forever!"  If you know what I am talking about you know how true that statement is...how powerful it is.  There is an enemy who longs to destroy our hope, our peace and our joy but, we must press on!  Another Beth Moore statement that I loved from this video, "God's got promises to fulfill...If you get gutsy enough to believe Him over your own emotions over your own destructive desires it's going to turn out well!" 

So for anyone battling chronic illnesses, job loss, relationship troubles, financial woes, family issues etc. be encouraged today...God is faithful and He will never leave you or forsake you!

Please, please take a minute to watch the Beth Moore video below and be encouraged today...


Friday, November 30, 2012

Life As Of Late

The darling picture above was taken by my friend, Emily Camp Photography

Life is quite busy these days, as I'm sure it is for most families.  The holiday season is in full swing and I am hustling around getting Christmas presents from this store and that, decorating our home to my delight and trying to keep my hyper toddler busy with lots of play dates through it all.  The hubby has been putting up lights and running lots of errands with me.  The weather has gotten a bit chillier so we are spending less time outside and more time inside which is not my favorite with a 2 year old. lol.  We've been playing lots of lovely Christmas carols and filling the house with the aroma of fragrant holiday candles...my current favorite being apple spice:).  I'm missing my Gram especially during this holiday season and continually working through my emotions since her passing.  I still can't believe that I can't pick up the phone and chat with her when I want/need to or that I won't get a phone call from her on my birthday singing me happy birthday in her awful singing voice (sorry Gram but, you know it was right?:).  I miss her so much...but, somehow life moves on as it always does.
So, what have we been up to lately? Well, we continue to work through potty training with Daisy. She has gotten so much better but, we still have occasional accidents, so I have actually kept her in pull ups, because it is so much less stressful for me and less mess to clean up. For the record we tried wearing big girl panties and it did not improve the potty situation so we know that pull ups are not the issue.  She currently has a cold and it seems that with every cold or flu comes a potty training set back. I have no idea why but, it has been that way every time.  Daisy is very smart and I know she could be completely potty trained by now but, whenever we are in a store or in someones home she gets nervous and doesn't like to tell me or anyone for that matter that she needs to go and that is when we have accidents.  She does great when we are at home for the most part unless she is having to much fun playing and forgets to go in time.  Oh my. Potty training is a very long term effort for us that's for sure.  I still have the toddler potty out for her (I realize this is very bizarre to some people...sorry but, if anything makes my life simpler I am all for it!) for the time being though she uses it much less these days.  The toddler potty has been great.  I have no complaints.
 We are in the process of transitioning Daisy into a big girl bed!  I realize that I have done this process much slower than a lot of people but, Daisy has always been so content in her crib and has never attempted to climb out so I savored her confinement as long as I possibly could. hehe  I think she would be content to stay in her crib until she was 18 but, the fact is that she is outgrowing it and I want to give her the right of passage that she deserves. So, Daddy set up the big girl bed last night.  It was a craigslist purchase and looked so cute online...setting it up at home has been a drag.  Long story short we got jipped and the bed is kind of flimsy as a result but, it will do for now.  I still need to get a box spring, a bed rail and a mattress protector so Daisy hasn't actually slept in it yet but, hopefully one night in the next few days.  For now she gets to adjust to the big girl bed being in her room and I can tell she likes it but, that she is also not crazy about it...almost as if it is weirding her out a little.  She seemed almost relieved to sleep in her crib again last night. HAHA.  My girl is so silly.  I'm planning to do a very simple room update with her decor.  I'll admit I was actually sad last night as my hubby was setting up her bed.  I stared at the crib and leaned on it and felt a sadness that the baby chapter is rapidly coming to a close.  I told my husband that I wanted her to sleep in her crib another night so that I could say goodbye to that season so to speak.  I always like to make sure that I get healthy closure before making a change.  For whatever reason this process has always helped me to have less sadness and regret looking back on things.  That's just how I am.   
 I have been really busy with my photography over the past couple of months. Just wrapped up a couple of family sessions, a maternity session and shot a lovely night wedding in November.  I'll be editing for a while to say the least but, I have been really enjoying this creative outlet.  So thankful for photography.  Though it hasn't been an easy thing to pursue it has kept me distracted and given me a satisfying sense of accomplishment in the midst of a life of mom-ness...if that makes sense.  It has also provided for our family in little ways and that has been such a God blessing!  I never would have dreamed that I would shoot a wedding, let alone do it on my own and I can truly say that I love it.  It is the most amazing feeling to be a part of such a special day in two people's lives and to have the honor of capturing the love and joy of their celebration.  I don't see myself shooting many weddings as a mom with young children, because they are a lot of work (both the weddings and the children! lol) but, one every now and then is a huge treat!  I love looking through all the pictures that I take after a session or event is over and smiling and laughing as I remember the moments that I have captured.  I feel the love when I look at the wedding shot below.  The bride and groom were dancing their first dance as husband and wife and the moment was so tender and sweet.  Then, I find myself smiling when I look at little Levi's serious face (two pictures down).  He wasn't interested in looking at the camera but, somehow I managed to get this beautiful and serious shot of his handsome face.  Those deep brown eyes melt my heart and seem so full of mystery!  Then I find myself cracking up when I look at the maternity picture (3rd picture down)....little Lila was not interested in kissing mommy's tummy initially as we were requesting of her but, I thought this picture captured real life so perfectly.  Photos are such a treasure and they all tell a story of some kind.
A few weeks back my sweet photographer friend, Emily Camp, (who is oh so talented!) and I exchanged skills and shot each other's Christmas family sessions.  We set up a couple of hay stacks and a few Christmas decorations and did a quick little mini session for each other.  It really is such a blessing to have such talented photographer friends because I don't know that I could afford to pay for a family session each Christmas!  Emily did a fantastic job.  I absolutely loved our pictures and will cherish them forever.  I even got a couple printed on a large canvas to hang in our living room:)!  Daisy cooperated quite well, which surprised me and we were able to get a couple cute shots of her looking in the general direction of the camera.  Yeah!  I will say that I am not a fan of family picture day....not at all.  Somehow even when I plan way ahead, pick out our outfits in advance, set up early, get dressed early etc...things seem to unravel in some way or another and I find myself incredibly relieved when it is all over.  It must be worth it though because, I continue to do it ever year:). lol  Enjoy the pics and sorry that this blog post was so long.  I suppose it is to be expected with how little I blog now though. hehe :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails