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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas with my family.

We enjoyed our family Christmas on the morning of Christmas Eve.
In many ways it started like any other morning. The boys had no expectations of toys waiting for them under our tree. They had no idea we would be spending our morning together opening gifts. So when Holden caught site of it all, he began yelling for Pax to come down right away. He's our passionate little boy.
As you can see, Pax was a little more low key.
Pax is our pretender. He loves to play make believe. So this little grill was a fun new gift for him.
He's also our little songbird. So he loved his new kareokee machine.
And remember how Holden has developed a passion for photography? Well, now he has his own little camera.
They opened one gift from one another.
And their stockings that were filled by mommy and daddy.
No family picture. This was the best that we could do.
And the next day, Christmas Day, we received a wonderful gift. Snow! Holden has been wishing and hoping and praying for snow. How awesome that it all came down on Christmas Day.
The boys enjoyed a snowball fight with daddy. :)
We've been enjoying the time Jeremy has had at home with us. Just a few more days to go, until it's back to reality. I'm trying to soak it all up!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from us!!

Last week, behind me in the car, Holden was looking at a Christmas storybook he had received as a gift.  On the front cover was a very traditional picture of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. As he pretended to read it to himself for the first time, I heard him say "I have good news. You're going to have a baby!"
I hope this week you can whole heartedly celebrate this Good News. He was born for us all!
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.  Matthew 1:21
Merry Christmas from our little family!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

So far this season...

It's been a joyful and fun season for our household so far. Today in church as we sang several Christmas carols, I just stood in silence with tears. O Come Let Us Adore Him...we sang that one today and I was wishing my little boys were there standing beside us. We've been singing this chorus with the boys each night after our Jesse Tree story. I tell you, Christmas has never meant so much to me as it has the past 3 years. I think that is mainly because my kids are old enough now that they are starting to understand this incredible story more and more. So we are constantly talking about Jesus' arrival and why it all happened. I also think the insignificance it's had on my heart in years past, is a big reason I feel good to let go of so many of our cultural norms. Some of the choices we've made for our family are some that I never imagined for us. But honestly, I think it's the only way it would work for us. I don't think I could do any justice for Jesus if we celebrated Christmas any other way. I know others can do it well and so they do. But I just don't think I can. 2009 was the year we really settled on how we wanted to celebrate Christmas with our family. Then last year, I came across this read. It made me feel normal and solidified our decisions. The post is full of grace and much humor (in my opinion). She doesn't make it all black and white. So it's a great read if you're navigating your way through how to celebrate Christmas with your family. Maybe I just liked it because it encouraged me and the decisions we were making. Maybe you'll personally hate it. I don't know.
But without further ado, I present to you the fun we've had as we approach this blessed day!
We surprised the boys one night with a late night looksy at Christmas lights! We got them all ready for bed with Christmas jammies on, then placed in their carseat cupholders some delicious egg nog, cranked up the Christmas tunes and loaded them in. It was a fun surprise. Holden, especially, LOVES driving around to see Christmas lights.
We enjoyed a candy cane and read one of our favorite books, J is for Jesus.
We played this game that we've done in the past, recommended by a friend. This year they loved it and asked to play it over and over again. So we did. I just hid these little stars all around the room and they had to find them all. Then we read another favorite book, A Star for Jesus. And we talked about the significance of the star that pointed the men to baby Jesus,
We spent a few hours at Bass Pro's Winter Wonderland and had our picture made with Santa. We did decide to nix Santa back in 2009, but we still get our picture made with him. :)
They loved riding the reindeer carousel.
And playing with the train set, remote control cars and other toys that are out on display for the kids to enjoy. It was a very fun morning for my boys.
The boys picked out their Christmas ornaments for 2012. Holden chose swimming as he became a full fledged swimmer this summer. And Pax chose golf, his favorite sport these days and the theme of his 3rd birthday party! We really hoped to find a super hero for him since that's been a huge interest of his this year. But golf was a great 2nd choice.
We had a snow day! We did some snow crafts and the boys enjoyed these cute little snowmen donuts that daddy put together one weekend morning for breakfast. Sadly, it probably hit 70 degrees on this day. I'm just not enjoying the mild December weather over here. Give me cold and SNOW! We may just have to make a trip to the mountains to get our snow fix!
And this picture is not very Christmas related. But I've mentioned here that Jeremy has been working a ton of extra hours. Lots of weekend hours and evenings. It makes my sweet Holden a little blue. He is a daddy's boy! He's been such a good boy for me and a trooper with Jeremy's absence. But every single morning, his first question has been "Is daddy going to work today?" And pretty much every single day the answer is "yes." Though there have been a few exceptions. But once Holden hears the news, his head drops and my heart breaks a little bit. So today after naps, I thought the boys needed a visual reminder of how many work days Jeremy has left until he gets 12 full days off with us!! I'm so excited about his upcoming holiday time. But Holden doesn't quite get it and just wants him home now. So after making these chains, we ripped one off. 4 days left, boys. We can do it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

celebrating our first decade!

Jeremy and I had this past weekend all to ourselves to celebrate our first decade of marriage! 10 years! That sounds like such a long span of time. To be married! And to think we have many more decades ahead.
The weekend was really good. We did a little Christmas shopping on Friday morning. Then we made our way to the other side of the metro to our swanky hotel that had been recommended to us (and was pretty darn CHEAP!). Jeremy introduced me to Top Golf on Friday afternoon. I was terrible, but it was still really fun. It's a fun, upbeat place even if, like me, you're absolutely no good at the sport. I really had a great time and I would play it again in a heartbeat. All day Friday was definitely the highlight of our weekend in my opinion. Well, sleeping in 2 mornings in a row and unrushed, quiet meals were a bonus also. Here are a few pictures from our trip.
See the straight left arm? I hear that's correct form.
See, the bent left arm? Not so good. I really stunk it up. But still, it was a fun game. Go play yourself a round.
We had to work really hard to get this picture together. Bright flash, in the dark vehicle made for a blinding experience. But we normally don't like to ask strangers to take our picture for us. So instead, we attempt stupid things like this.
By Sunday we were ready to see our little guys. My parents stayed with the boys while we were gone, which we were thankful for. We normally do these getaways once a year. And we always come home calmer, refreshed and with shoulders down. It's amazing what just 2 days alone can do for us. I cherish these weekends and also the important date nights that we're able to have throughout the rest of the year. And I'm very grateful for the outside support that helps to make them happen. Cheers to 10 years!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New and old traditions.

Advent - the coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important.
Depending on what you're using, Christmas Advent begins on different days. We began our fun little advent calendar today, December 1st. Our first little thing was opening a present. It was just their Christmas jammies, but they were so excited and happy about it. :)
We began our Jesse tree 2 nights ago. This is only our 2nd year to do the Jesse tree but it is already my favorite tradition. On day 1 as I read to the boys about Advent and the anticipation of baby Jesus, I got a little choked up. Who am I kidding...I got really choked up. And once again, I had a repeat conversation with Holden about crying and happy tears. You've heard all of this before. And then I think I may have started talking to them like they were 8 instead of 3 and 4. I just want their young hearts to feel the impact of Christmas. Yes, they understand that we are celebrating Christ's birth. And because they are still young, they don't equate Christmas to the overload of gifts they will receive from everyone. I'm not even discussing that topic with them because I'm not really wanting them to think about it right now. They'll just be surprised once it all hits. But the Jesse Tree is such a special journey to Christ. I learned so much last year and I'm loving it now. Especially the first few days as we walk through Genesis, the book we've been thoroughly studying in BSF. I definitely recommend checking out the Jesse Tree if you haven't already. I have some great info that I don't mind emailing to anyone. Just a post a comment and I'll send it your way.
And a new tradition this year...Well, I've mention that 3/4 of this household are bookworms. I counted the children's Christmas books we've collected in 4 years and the total came to 12. I know, I know. I think I may have a sickness. But that was a good enough reason for me to steal an idea I had read about recently. Each night in December leading up to Christmas Day, the boys will take turns choosing a wrapped book from the basket. That boy will open the book. Then as a family, we'll cuddle under the Christmas blanket and have one extra bedtime story before they head upstairs to bed. It's a good mix of Jesus books and others like Mickey Mouse and Amelia Bedelia. I just thought it would be a fun family memory to start now. So I've collected another 12 books to add to my stash and we started this new little tradition tonight.
It's the perfect time to celebrate Jesus and reflect even more on the Gospel. And it's such a great time to create fun family traditions that our children will remember forever. Having my own little ones has definitely caused me to rethink (more than once) everything I've known about this holiday. But I do know it's a great cause for celebration and worship. And that is something that I know we can do.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


One of my favorite days of the year...decorating our home for Christmas. Jeremy decorated the outside on Saturday, while I did most of the indoor stuff. Then with the boys, we decorated the tree on Sunday evening. I probably say this every year, but decorating the Christmas tree was always a big to-do at our house growing up. And I love making it a special tradition for my little family. We eat a fun, not so healthy dinner. It usually does not include vegetables. :) We turn up the Christmas music and we decorate. The boys really got into hanging the ornaments this year. Pax even more so than Holden. Pax really enjoyed being my helper. Of course they each seemed to drawn to their own individual branch and just kept piling them on and on and on. Once they were distracted with something else, I did a little rearranging. They seemed to enjoy seeing special ornaments and listening to me explain why it was their ornament and the little piece of history behind it. Like Holden's obsession with airplanes when he ws 18 months landed him an airplane ornament in 2009. Here are a few pictures from our night...
And now we are Christmas-fied at our house. I'm loving it. I love the tree lights on at all times when we are home. It's one of the first things I do in the morning. I'm seriously as bad as Holden...and that boy loves some Christmas lights. We are headed into a very special season and I always hope and pray we're doing it right for our kiddos.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 years!

Last Thursday we hosted Thanksgiving for some of Jeremy's side of the family. I didn't take a single picture. I was busy cooking up a storm! But I was very thankful for 4 solid days with my little family. Jeremy is working hard these days and he will be until the end of the year. It's an unfortunate season for him to be tied up with work for long hours at a time. But I have much to look forward to. In less than 2 weeks he and I will have a weekend away to celebrate 10 years of marriage. Black Friday was our 10th anniversary! Our wedding was almost a week before Thanksgiving, back in 2002. But it seems like more often than not, our anniversary falls right around Thanksgiving day, as it did this year. Back in the spring, I talked Jeremy into this vacay, claiming it would be an anniversary trip. But we've decided to celebrate one more time. After all it's #10!
I do want to make mention of this. Last year was challenging for us. Jeremy is super committed to his committments. So if work gets demanding he puts in the hours and works his tail off. I've always known this about him. Long before we married I knew of his strong work ethic. I've always admired this about him. And let's face it, children change things in a marriage. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it definitely changes the dynamics. I would say that pre-kids our relationship was pretty effortless. But throw kids in the mix, a sometimes demanding job and Jeremy taking on a new little proejct of flipping a house (yeah, he didn't sleep much last fall), and somehow our relationship wasn't where it should have been all along. So last January we enrolled in a class called Dynamic Marriage through another church in our area. I had randomly heard about it in conversation through an acquaintance and I was immediately interested. Things weren't terrible at home, they were just a little...stale. I'm not okay with stale. With a husband that was willing but not really wanting to do this class, I enrolled us. And it was amazing! You can even ask Jeremy. It changed us and made our marriage so much better. Just like everything I had read about Dynamic Marriage. It really was exactly what we needed. So I encourage anyone out there that wants their marriage even a little better than what it is now, go find yourself a class. It's a heavy committment: 8 weeks, daily homework, a little discomfort, but the results can be incredible if the effort is put forth. I've heard amazing stories about how God is using this class to save marriages that are on the verge of divorce. It really can be that beneficial. I don't doubt that we may even retake the class in our future. Good stuff, people. Check it out.
So this year, I feel like our celebration is an extra special one. Not just because it's the big 10. But because 10 really does feel so good. We've always been committed - til death do us part. But it's nice to be lovingly and happily committed. And that I am. I'm a lucky girl!

Recent highlights

So blogging takes a little more work these days. Jeremy just showed me my new process, in order to keep our little family blog free. I'm sure I'll catch on quickly but I'm a little behind in posting because I just haven't wanted to take the time to learn the new process. So here is a little of what has been going on recently.
In August I started BSF for the first time ever. It was just what I needed and I've loved it thus far. I've been learning so much and have really enjoyed the study on Genesis...which honestly, I was a little disappointed when I learned we'd be starting with Genesis. A little bonus is that my little boys get to attend a class just for them and are learning the exact same material on their own level. They are also learning some hymns. Two weeks ago, all the children filed in and led us in worship with the hymns they had been learning. Honestly, I wasn't sure how it would go with one particular boy, but he surprised me. He made me really proud.
I did take a picture of Pax, but he was a bit of a blurr. The very next day the boys had a cute little Thanksgiving parade at their school. All the parents showed up about 30 minutes early that afternoon to watch them march around the parking lot. It was cute.
My little Indian made his Indian call most of the time he was parading around.
And my big brown turkey. He really is a big dude and one of the youngest in his class.
Turkey turned Pilgrim.
We normally go to the public library weekly. We check out 10-12 books. Read them. Again and again and again. They memorize them. I get sick of them and then we do it all over again. They love books so so much and they just love to be read to. I'm so thankful for this and I hope it sticks.
With the inconsistent cooler weather, the boys had their very first taste of hot coco. They were big fans!
Holden finished off his soccer season with a bang. By the third game he loved playing and scored 1-2 points for his team at every game since that time.  He did occassionally help the other team out by scoring for them as well. ;) It was a short and fun season, but I'm glad to return to our lazy Saturday mornings at home.
Holden getting his trophy.

Holden and his buddy, Luke.
More updates are coming...