Wednesday, December 31, 2008
It's been a year of big decisions for Cale and me. We finally began the adoption process after almost 9 months of waiting. We realized that the Lord was leading us to a new place and so we left what had been our church home for over 5 years. We sent Haven off to preschool one day a week and simultaneously began our home schooling journey with her.
2008 has been a year of growth, both personally and in our marriage. Cale and I have worked through a lot of difficult things in our 6+ years of marriage and this year has been no different. We've made decisions that no one else agreed with and pressed on together, confident that we were following the direction that the Lord gave us. We were reminded oh so frequently just how hard marriage can be. But we also have tasted and seen just how good is, too.
This year has been full of blessings, truly beyond what we could have ever imagined. I haven't said much about it here, but the mom's Bible study that I've been a part of all year has been invaluable. These women have walked alongside me through some hard times and have been a constant encouragement and support. When I think of 2008 I will definitely remember the way the Lord brought this small group of women together. I am so thankful for each of them!
And then there's Haven...she is amazing. Cale and I are constantly in awe of this wonderful little girl. It amazes me to think back on all she's learned this past year and how we have seen her develop and experience endless new things. Her soft little heart, her encouraging words, her grasp of concepts and language, her enthusiasm for pretty much anything and let's not forget her sassy little attitude. The Lord has used this past year to further grow Cale and I as parents and what a refining process that is! We are savoring these closing days of having one child, but can hardly wait til we have 2. If ever a child were made to be an older sibling, it's Haven!
And so it ends. The final hours of 2008 are here and I'm ready to say goodbye. It hasn't been a bad year; it hasn't been a great year. It's just been life; really high highs and terribly low lows and a whole lot of in betweens. But we have always had The Faithful One leading us through, moment-by-moment. He alone carries us into a new year and I can't wait to see it unfold!
Monday, December 29, 2008
One of the gifts I knew she would be very excited about- a carrier for her baby dolls. She is all about being a mommy and taking great care of her babies.
Our budding musician playing both her new "pean-o" and horn (AKA a Saxoflute) at the same time. There is video of this moment, but it's a little hard on the ears so I decided to spare you!
And now it's the Monday after Christmas. We returned home from Nashville last night where we spent the last few days with our family. We spent lots of time hanging out, playing games (we got a new one called Imagniff- really fun!), and trying to keep tabs on 6 kids who were so excited to be together. My sister-in-law took us around the greater Nashville area on Friday to several different thrift stores and we all scored some major deals. We ate a lot of good food prepared by my brothers- both great cooks. They just have quantity issues and make waaay too much of everything.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Here's the face of a happy kitchen helper enjoying the perks.
This morning found us all home together for breakfast and some buttermilk that needed to be used up. So I whipped up a batch of these pancakes and then recalled seeing Rudolph on the Little Nummies site (which is so fun to browse through and get great ideas on making everyday food a little more fun!) Here's my attempt. Haven loved it! She thought it was so silly to eat M&M's for breakfast!
The next few days will find us hanging out with friends, playing, eating, travelling, enjoying our little family and our extended one, too, and celebrating the One who makes it all possible!
Monday, December 22, 2008
It's not looking likely that there will be any snow on the ground come Christmas morning. But what do those weather people know anyways! I'm still holding out hope (and yes, even praying a small prayer or two) that my dreams will come true. And if they don't, I have mastered the art of delusion regarding this matter. The blinds and curtains will remain closed for the duration and we'll just pretend that the glow from outside is just the sun reflecting off the new fallen (imaginary) snow.
I'm so not kidding.
Here's to hoping for a white Christmas- one way or another!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Cale and I looked at each other and were marvelling over the sweetness of her answer when she interrupted and said, "Oh, no. I mean that was back when I was still in God's belly, right?"
How right she was with the first answer!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Welcome! So glad you stopped by for BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes and arrived here at our happy home! Come on in and check out our tree. We are so happy with our "little" Fraser fir that we found this year. It's full of ornaments from all over the world and tells the story of our family. I love it! A few presents have found their way under the tree, but the wrapping is slow going just yet.
Our nativity and one of my favorite things- perched atop the entertainment armoire.
This is kind of an odd picture but shows off our advent calendar that my mom made. It's very similar to the one that we used growing up and is a treasured part of our Christmas traditions.
I have recessed shelving in my kitchen that always houses a variety of objects from vases, pictures to cookbooks and candles. Christmas finds it filled with another nativity, my favorite giant hot cocoa mugs and various Christmas-y odds and ends.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I haven't been so happy to see a Saturday looming in front of me in quite some time. I've got a long list of things I hope to accomplish for the weekend, but for today, for this afternoon, I'm going to watch these little snowflakes trying hard to be classified as "snowing" and enjoy my book.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I had been dragging my feet all afternoon over the tasks I needed to accomplish and didn't feel much like making an effort to have a quiet time. But I knew I needed to- I always need to! So I did something I haven't done in far too long; poetry and music. I laid down on the couch, turned on my new favorite Christmas music and read some selected poems from "Miracle on 10th Street and Other Christmas Writings" by Madeleine L'Engle. Her writings are like old friends and I read through several short poems before the tears came. I laid there, in the moment; just being.
Being still. Being quiet. Being broken. Being open and available to whatever the Lord had for me.
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel" was the soundtrack for the moment and the tears flowed without me understanding why. And they just kept coming. In those moments, there was a release of things I didn't know I was holding on to and a filling of His peace that I knew I was missing. I've tried so hard to enjoy this celebration of Advent the last week. I've made every effort to be in the moment, not trying to create the perfect one. But today the Lord knew I needed something more. And He met me right where I was at, and let me just be.
"The ordinary so extraordinary"
He came, quietly impossible,
Out of a young girl's womb,
A love as amazingly marvelous
As his bursting from the tomb.
This child was fully human,
This child was wholly God.
The hands of All Love fashioned him
Of mortal flesh and bone and blood,
The ordinary so extraordinary
The stars shook in the sky
As the Lord of all the universe
Was born to live, to love, to die.
He came, quietly impossible:
Nothing will ever be the same:
Jesus, the Light of every heart-
The God we know by Name.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The whole idea of the Veggie Tale Christmas is to provide parents time to get some Christmas shopping done and even passed out coupons to parents as they left the building. So we did just that! It had been snowing all day long and provided the perfect backdrop for us to finish up our Christmas shopping. We ventured out to the local outlets and had a good morning shopping and just being together.
After one more stop this evening I am delighted to report that I AM DONE Christmas shopping! Honestly it isn't that great of an accomplishment because we didn't have that many presents to buy, but it still makes me feel good to have everything crossed off my list. I am also happy to say that we have stayed within budget and have made every effort to get thoughtful gifts, not just bought stuff to buy it. Know what I mean? That fills me with peace on earth (well at least my home!) and goodwill toward men!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I love our big colored lights that so many people think are tacky. I love the star on top that is too heavy to ever stand straight. I love our square tree skirt that (gasp!) Cale designed and my mom and I sewed our first Christmas together. I love the old blue glass ornament with silver stars that once hung on my grandfather's tree. A grandfather I only met through stories my dad told. In my mind I can still see my dad smile when he would pull that ball out of the ornament box and thoughtfully find a place for it on our tree growing up. There was always a great sigh of relief that it had survived another year. Now I'm the one pulling it out and remembering, not one, but two dads who are gone.
I am so glad that Cale and I started collecting Christmas ornaments on our honeymoon and have added to our collection each year when we celebrate our anniversary. So many ornaments, and so many memories...Haven's first Christmas and her little hand print ornament, the peach that graced our tree in Namibia, the cross stitched ornaments my mom made for me growing up, the ornament a thoughtful friend had made for us of our wedding day, the glass and wooden hand painted balls from places all over the world...
I guess our tree does have a theme. It tells a story of our life and the places that we've been and the people that we've loved. Memories that belong just to us; it's the story of us.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
My two favorites, after the big show!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Friday morning, my mom, sister-in-law (who is 7 months pregnant) and I were just a few of the crazy people out shopping early. I picked them up at 5am and we were on our way! We have done this together the last few years and it is always so much fun. We went to 6 different stores and stopped for some nourishment and we're still back by 11am. We actually had to stop shopping because the back of my mom's SUV was filled with gifts! We got some amazing deals and made some great memories.
Saturday was probably the highlight of the weekend for me. Growing up my grandpa and his wife used to take our entire family on a sleigh ride at Christmas. By whole family I mean, my grandpa's six kids and spouses and his 10 grandkids. Some of my favorite childhood memories of Christmas are riding around their small western NY town singing Christmas carols and laughing with my cousins.
As our Christmas present to my brothers' and their families, Cale and I arranged a horse drawn sleigh ride for everyone. We found a place that could accommodate all of us and we rode out through the snow filled woods on a beautiful, crisp afternoon. We also rented a small cabin on the property and each of our nieces and nephews got to "drive" the horses as we rode out on the sleigh to the cabin. We brought snacks and hot chocolate and warmed up at the cabin while singing some Christmas songs. It was wonderful and everything I hoped it would be. I think that we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. My seven year old niece gave me a note when we got home thanking us for the gift. She said it was "the awesomest thing I have ever done in my whole life!"
Here's our little family on the sleigh (not that you can tell where we are!). Yes, I look like a dork wearing my sunglasses with my hat, but it was bright out in the woods!
We ended our holiday weekend with a loooong drive home, but we had an important engagement last night: Haven's Christmas Program! More about that tomorrow!