Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Quick Hello

image

Just popping in for a minute with a hello.  Hello!  Hope your Christmas was all that you wanted it to be.  I wanted to share a quick Christmas recap before it seems like way too far after the event.

Christmas Eve was full of fun.  We turned on White Christmas and ended up watching the second half the next day.  The kids had their first experience playing "Secret Santa" and thought it was the best thing ever.  We read Christmas Day in the Morning and since I started crying on page 2 while trying to read (not unlike this year's reading of The Gift of the Magi or The Three Trees or any other Christmas book we pulled out), the husband quickly took over.  We recounted the events recorded in Luke 2 with the kids and reflected together on the birth of our Savior.

Christmas Day was lovely.  The morning started out when we finally woke everyone up(!) at 8 and did a quick unwrapping/soaking it all in.  Then off to the in-laws for Christmas breakfast and more present opening and enjoying the kids having fun with their cousins.  We hurried home from breakfast to bathe everyone and head out the door to church.  My kids actually looked happy and sang the words when the primary went up to perform (Christmas miracle).  The husband dropped the boys and I off at home so the muffin could go down for his nap while he headed south to pick up my dad for the afternoon festivities.  A visit was had, dinner was eaten, and the kids did a whole lot of playing.  And then we went to bed.

In the days leading up to Christmas, the husband spent about two days straight working to get my shelving done for Christmas Day.  It looks fantastic and has given me quite the organizing/decorating bug.  Shelving aside, the amount of time spent and his thorough approach to get things right were selfless gifts.  Another favorite gift? A gorgeous painting of our home done by a dear friend- I need to scan it in so I can show you the beauty. It is a priceless treasure and I can't wait for it to find a home on a new gallery wall in my entry.  

Hope everyone is enjoying the down time this week with family and friends.  I'm sure I'll be scarce, but I'll definitely be back in time for the New Year.  This blog is about becoming better and I can't pass up the chance to talk resolutions.  :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Last Few Days

gorgeous wreath found via pinterest

I'm at that stage before Christmas of trying to soak up all that is left of these last few days before the big day.  Not that the days after Christmas aren't also enjoyable, but there is just something special about the days before.

There is a crazy amount of hustle-bustle to be found as I look at my lists of things left to do.  But there is also part of me that wants to just cozy in and forget about any to-do lists.  I did a marathon of errands this morning in less than an hour thanks to my father-in-law who came and played with the kids so I could go unencumbered.  I need one more big trip to Target for the customary toothbrushes/toothpaste and a few other stocking odds and ends, and I have 2 or 3 other small trips to various stores, but I'm starting to get to the finish line of the preparations.  Neighbor gifts line the counters waiting to be passed out after 4 double batches of granola (and honestly, I probably still have about 2 more to go).  My house is still torn apart mid-shelving project.  I haven't wrapped a single gift (although not unusual for me considering my undesirable tradition of Christmas Eve wrapping).  I still have a few straggler Christmas cards to send.

But really, none of this Christmas preparation progress report really matters.  Somehow, it will all get done in between Miss A's big piano recital tomorrow night and the muffin's 2-year check-up in the morning and all of the other life happenings.  The biggest things to me right now are that the husband is home until after Christmas and I couldn't be more thrilled. We're still giving our best efforts to the gifts we've chosen to give the Savior.  The kids are filled with excitement regarding the presents they're making for each other.  I have menu planning to do which always makes me happy to feed my family delicious food.  Things are good.  I'm not sure I can say all is calm, but all is most definitely bright.

Hoping to check in again before Sunday, but in case I don't make it, Merry Christmas, friends.  Be back soon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

7

Miss A at 5 weeks
Today I'm setting aside my Christmas preparations to celebrate my girl. 
Miss A somewhere between 10-13 months

Today she is 7.  Time flies.  
Miss A around 18 months

I could never have imagined the joy I would find in being her mother.  
Miss A around 2 1/2

She couldn't be more helpful or creative or fun or clever.  
Miss A age 3

She was elated with every gift this morning with shouts of "I love it!".  
Miss A age 4

I'm so glad to know her, to know her likes and dislikes and what makes her tick, to love her more than I ever knew possible.  
Miss A age 5

She has changed me for the better.  
Miss A age 6

Happy Birthday, Miss A.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five on Friday

free printable via 
1.  My week has been spent cutting and gluing (along with the weeks of my friends in Primary).  I'm taking a quick break (although I shouldn't be) to write this post.  I'm hoping to make it to the copy place before they close at 6 to get the laminating order in.  And then I will give the Primary kids candy canes next year instead of biting off more than I can chew.

2.  Last night we went to the Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert.  I had two other extremely tempting invitations, but the concert won.  It was lovely as always, but the best part was the drive back and forth and being able to talk to the husband without interruption.  We don't get nearly enough time together lately.

3.  I'm more behind than I think I've ever been in the Christmas realm.  In the big picture I know that's not what matters, but I'm looking forward to a week without running kids all over the place next week so I can (hopefully) get things done.

4.  I'm guest posting over at Someone in Mind today as part of the Finding Christ in Christmas series.  Click over, and then check out Erin's great blog while you're there, and then say a prayer for her while she's recovering from massive surgery the week before Christmas.

5.  This weekend will be full of family in town, birthday celebrations starting early, more shopping, and hopefully some relaxing.  If I'm really ambitious I'll start neighbor gifts, but I'm pretty sure those will be happening Monday.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11 days

adorable free(!) printable gift tags via


Don't mind the silence around here, just in the middle of one of the busiest weeks of the year.  Hope to be back soon!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Quick Friday Night List

14 week photo from Instagram (beebetter in case you want to follow me)

-I'm 14 weeks today.  I look like I'm a lot more than 14 weeks, but there's nothing I can really do about it, so I may as well just embrace it.  Things were good at my appointment today, and in a short 5 weeks we'll be headed to see what this baby might be.  Everyone in the family is hoping girl, but I have a slight feeling it's a boy.  I hope I'm wrong just because if not I'll have 4 slightly disappointed people on my hands.

-My house currently looks like a mixture of holiday cheer and complete chaos.  We decided to get some new shelving/media solutions going, and things are in total disarray with the current armoire/tv/entertainment stuff spread out everywhere as well as what's going to be taking its place.  I'm hopeful that by the end of tomorrow night things might be put back together, but considering the husband will be gone form 7-4 tomorrow the odds are not good.

-This past week was spent being sick and making lists.  Obviously blogging didn't really fit in- sorry about that.  I'm feeling probably 95% better, but the muffin has quite a hacking cough going thanks to his asthma that makes a little cold sound a whole lot worse.  The almost two weeks until Christmas thing also has me feeling a little frantic, especially with several birthdays between now and then and so much to do.  It will all get done, I'm sure.  I just need to get myself more organized and keep my family healthy.

-Amazon packages currently arrive almost daily.  Thank you Amazon mom for my Amazon Prime trial.  Bless you.

-Clementine consumption is at an all time high.  I can easily eat half a dozen daily.  I suppose there are worse things I could be eating.  Don't worry, they are definitely eaten as well.  Really all I want to eat right now is veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, and party appetizers.  Instead I have attempted to make dinner.  Pioneer Woman's mac and cheese is the best  in case you're needing a recipe (I added broccoli, cauliflower, and chicken and my family gobbled it up).

-Not that I want to reveal all my secrets, but if you're needing seriously amazing Christmas card deals check out cardstore.com.  (Thanks to my awesome friend Candis for the tip off.) These people do discount codes for 60% off- who does that?!?  I ordered all my cards with return addresses and mailing addresses printed on the already stamped envelopes for not much more than I would've paid for the postage alone.  Amazing, I say.  They have made a believer out of me.  Anything that helps me avoid the post office makes a believer out of me.  I'm pretty sure I'll be using them for any of my "send something cute" needs.

-In the midst of the busy-ness I ordered some new Christmas books and sat down to read them this week before we read them as a family.  Not sure how I'm going to make it through them without crying when we read them over the next few weeks.  They're good ones.  I'll have to share some favorite titles soon.

-Time to get back to list making/gift ordering/house cleaning.  These things don't finish themselves.

Hope all of you busy elves out there are checking things off your lists and finding time to enjoy the season!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bare Bones

via pinterest via frufly-a beautiful blog that I can't read a word of!

Ugh, friends.  I am under the weather (again) as seems to be fairly typical this time of year.  Sunday night was bad.  From 10-3 I rotated between coughing and throwing up (with several tests of bladder control while coughing thrown in for good measure, and since I'm pregnant and have already had 3 kids, I lost).  I woke up at 7 and begged the husband to stay home so he could help with the off-to-school rush, but he was already late and had a busy day ahead (busy enough that he didn't get home until 3:30 this morning).  I rescheduled piano lessons and cleared my schedule and we did the bare minimum to survive.

Around 1 I realized I really needed to use the meat in the fridge, so I threw together a beef stew knowing that it could simmer all afternoon and I'd be thrilled that I didn't have to make dinner later.  I called my in-laws and they picked up Addie from school while Sam watched a show and Charlie and I napped.  Well, I napped for an hour, I'm pretty sure the muffin never really fell asleep.  After that I was counting the minutes until bedtime, but somehow we managed to have a really nice family night.  The kids and I spent some time watching a few of these gorgeous videos depicting the birth of the Savior.  We listened to one of my favorite Christmas songs (In the Bleak Midwinter sung by Mindy Gledhill, lyrics from the poem by Christina Rosetti) and I asked them to pay attention to the last verse.

What can I give Him
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him
Give my heart.  

Then we sat by the Christmas tree and talked about gifts.  Why do we give gifts at Christmas?  What are the most important gifts we can give?  What are the best gifts we've received?  Is it more important to give gifts or to think about what we want to get?  How do we give our hearts? Their answers were sweet and humbling as they already seemed to know that Christ gave us the best gift when He came to earth and eventually gave His life for us.  We had already discussed something we want to give to Him as a family, but they talked about individual gifts they hope to give to Jesus this year.  I was grateful for such a sweet time together with my little chicks.  It was a bare bones day.  Everyone was fed physically and spiritually, and that was about all that happened.  But it was enough.  Small efforts were blessed and magnified, and it was enough.  Sometimes less is more.  

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Hope you're finding time to enjoy the beauty and wonder of this season.  Check out the amazing series at Someone in Mind on Finding Christ in Christmas.  It's been fantastic!  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Today

where he spent last summer, photo by Melissa


Today I'm celebrating this boy.  Two!  Can you believe it?!?  His first year was a complete blur, so we've spent a lot of time this past year making up for lost cuddles/babyhood.  But he's not much of a baby anymore.  One of the biggest lessons I've learned from him is the amazing timing that the Lord has in our lives.  He came to our family at the perfect time.  I realized it shortly after his arrival, and I've said thankful prayers for that timing a hundred times since.  Oh, I love him.  Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

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Today I'm enjoying the nice words about Bee from Simply Utah.  Such a kind feature!  And if you're new here, welcome- I hope you'll stay a while.

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Today I'm looking forward to a productive weekend.  Aside from birthday celebrating I'm hoping to finish decking our halls, check off some more shopping, catch up on some primary projects, and spend some time with the husband.  All of that in between large doses of sitting by the Christmas tree and remaining indoors as much as possible to avoid the cold/wind that showed up this week.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Love Note

via

Dear December-

Welcome back.  Although the weather you bring is not my favorite, you still manage to make me pretty happy.   You've brought two of my kids along with birthdays for several other family members.  You make my house look better than it does most of the year (except not right now, so please no one come over in this half-decorated state).  You bring some of my favorite foods and my favorite songs and my favorite movies and my favorite books and it's actually acceptable to eat/sing/watch/read instead of looking crazy for partaking of those things in the wrong season.  You bring gatherings of my favorite people.  The twinkly lights on our tree help me to take a minute to relax every night, happy to find some quiet time amidst the busy pace that tends to happen.  You put a spring in my step as I excitedly find the perfect gifts.  You fill my heart with an extra dose of compassion for those around me.  You always feel like the fastest month, but somehow it's just perfect.  I'm excited to enjoy our time together this year.

Love,
Me