Monday, December 12, 2011

Silly Elf

I don't know who is having more fun... the parents or the kids.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Greatest Gift

The past few years at our old church we were stretched and challenged to give our greatest gift to God for Christmas, it is his birthday after all that we are celebrating. It was pretty simple. Take a look at how much you spent on the biggest gift and challenge yourself to give that much and more back to God. It's not strictly related to money. It could be any number of things. This year I'm really putting some more thought into what I would give God besides our offering. As I said it's not just about money. I need to consider time, talent and treasure.
To make it a bit easier I had to go back and look at what it really means to tithe (I'm just using this as one example of giving). God obviously does not need our money, it's the simple act of reverence in giving back a portion of what he has given you. To acknowledge that none of it really belongs to you, it all belongs to him anyway, and he only asks for a small portion. Most of our married life Michael and I have given back to God what we barely had enough of for ourselves. It was a trust thing. We both steadfastly believed that God would take care of us no matter what and so we gave, believing His promises.

I suppose you could easily say that time was just as valuable as money, sometimes even more so.

And talent... How often do I use talents God has given to me to give back to Him?

And so this is where my challenge lies. How can I put these thoughts into action. I can think of a few things. I can also think of a few ways to involve the family with me. They are on my Christmas bucket list.  Just wanted to let you know where my heart was.

(Why does it seem like I can get all my thoughts out in a few sentences? Do you prefer reading drawn out blogs? I guess I don't and so I summarize everything. Oh well, makes for a good quick read.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

20 days til Christmas! What?!

I secretly love the fact that the kids get to open up a gift every, well, almost every day.

Even though I've wrapped their old Christmas toys, (which by the way Ayden is VERY aware of by now) they both still really enjoy it!

I did  discover that Logan doesn't care what time or day it is he will go open a present when the desire hits him. Good to know. Guess the real gifts won't make their way under the tree until Christmas Eve.

Yesterday we were able to celebrate our 2nd Thanksgiving day since my parents were out of town during the first one. We had a great time. We also did a little craft project as pictured above. I can't disclose on it just yet because I have much more in store for this project.

And of course our favorite elf made his appearance. Lucky for him the candle did not get lit that day.
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just a few things

The kids finally got to open another present. These were those books I was telling you about from last year. Logan was ecstatic. Ayden said "I think I already have this book" haha. It was a nice addition to our bedtime story routine.

Bumblebee finally made his appearance! It took all day for Ayden to find him. But when he did he was so overjoyed to see him. Bumblebee didn't bring any letters with him today. I think Santa must have been having problems with his letter head and he was too tired to fight it and decided that he need to go to sleep instead. Moving on...
And here is our tree. It's hard to get an up close picture and also include the star. I've had this crazy idea for years now to make a Dr Suess-like tree. I love it! It took a drawing to convince Michael and after he saw what I had in mind he liked it too. (it's also a way to add even more ornaments!)

Well, that's all for tonight. Tomorrow we get to have our 2nd, or is it 3rd Thanksgiving? I'm not sure, either way I'm excited about green bean casserole.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

New tradtions, Tips, and Freebies

I promise I have not forgotten to blog. Trust me, it's been on my mind. We had a rough start to December but it's the weekend now and I know that things are looking up. I've made our Christmas bucket list and we are crossing things off.

Day 1 the kids got to each open a present. They got their first little snow globes! Ayden's only lasted about 10 minutes before he dropped it and broke the glass. It will be hard to find a replacement but I have an idea just in case I can't. This night they kids were supposed to decorate their bedroom trees. But due to bad behavior and a call from the principal, this activity was postponed and replaced with homework.

Day 2 was a bit better. We did put the final touches on the tree. The plan was a movie night with a favorite holiday movie. Said movie had to be replaced half way through because it was scratched so bad it kept skipping. Luckily, thankfully we found an equally good Christmas movie on Netflix. While we snuggled with our blankets watching the movie, daddy put the lights up on the house. I think we are 95% decorated.

Tonight's mommy work includes pulling Bumblebee out of hiding and writing letters to the kids from Santa with this awesome FREE Santa Claus letterhead Free letter from Santa paper.

Tomorrow I promise to take pictures when the kids get to open their 2nd presents of the countdown gifts and their reaction to Bumblebee with the letters from Santa.

*The idea about a gift a day came from the advent calendar. I'm too frugal to go buy 50 new things (25 days x 2 kids). While I was pulling out Christmas decorations I found our Christmas themed books and play toys. I immediately thought about wrapping these up. After all, it's been a year since the kids have seen them. I'm hoping this goes over well. I figure if I throw in a few new things like the snow globes listed above, and I thought the kids would love a box of candy canes,  I knew I was good to go! Wrapping paper makes everything more fun!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Christmas Traditions

This year feels like a good time to start new traditions. The boys are old enough to both enjoy new games/crafts/and fun events. I always have good intentions to do lots of special things each year around this time. Don't we always have good intentions? What normally happens is I save no time for just our family. Time speeds by and before you know it it's time to take down the decorations and December 25th is 365 days away again.

This year our church is emphasizing a "simple Christmas". It has been my hearts desire for several years now to incorporate simplicity into our lives, especially around Christmas time. We rush around buying gifts, filling up the calendar with parties and events, rushing... rushing... rushing.... This year will be different, however. I will slow down, because as everyone knows mom sets the tone of the household. (Have you noticed that?)

This year we are starting a Christmas bucket list. A list of things to do in anticipation of Christmas day. There are so many things I have great intentions to do but never make the proper time for them. A new tradition this year will be doing a special thing each day from that bucket list. I will try and post at least one picture from each day to share things from our bucket. I think this will be loads of fun especially since I already have everything ready to go starting December 1st (which is tomorrow!) 25 things to do. Who's ready for some holiday cheer!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Sorry for the overload of pictures in this post. There were far to many to choose from

What's a parade without the view?

From left to right: Lauren, Logan and Jakob

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 24

Happy Thanksgiving!! wow, I cannot believe this has come so quickly. Well... Maybe I can. If growing up makes time move faster, then I feel like I am moving a warp speed (seems like ludicrous speed sometimes). On the topic of Thanksgiving, mine was bittersweet. My parents were out of town and so this year we spent a little more time at the in-laws. It was wonderful not to be rushed, but I felt a little pang not being able to see my parents. This morning we got up early to head downtown to watch the HEB Thanksgiving Day parade! It was a brand new experience for all of us. I don't know who had more fun, me or the kids. Either way, it's definitely already on the calendar for next year.

Moving on to what I am Thankful for. (Besides the above)
I'm not sure how to express this, but I'll certainly try. And hopefully someone can identify with me on this. As tradition our local Christian radio station begins playing Christmas music on Thanksgiving. It's great for me because I LOVE Christmas music. I like modern songs, but I can't get enough of the traditional ones. For the last few years Christmas music has made me very emotional. I couldn't begin to tell you why, until now. I would just get all tight chested and watery eyed. Even going as far as bawling to some songs. I am not sad by any means, in fact, I think the opposite is true. I am extremely joyful. I still couldn't tell you exactly why.

The thought hit me tonight as I teared up to the first traditional song I heard. I am pretty sure it was "Noel".
Our family is getting pretty excited. And it's not about the holidays. You see, my dear sister in law is expecting her second child very,very soon. As it gets closer, the excitement builds and builds until you get that call that baby girl is on her way. I think everyone can relate to this. Most people have experienced a birth at some point.(other than their own of course). There is just something so exciting and wonderful about a precious new life being brought into this world. It's pure joy! So think for a minute of when you've experienced this for yourself.... Do you feel that excitement yet?

I cannot possibly begin to imagine the excitement and the joy that the whole heavens experienced waiting for the birth of Jesus. And I'm not just talking about the people in heaven or he angels, ALL of creation was waiting for this moment. The very stars in the sky waited in anticipation. They knew this little baby Jesus was the Savior of mankind.
So the tension is building, I imagine during the birth you could pierce the silence as all of creation held it's breath during this beautiful moment. Then suddenly... utter rejoicing, proclamations of peace on earth, thunderous applause, the angels singing hallelujah! Glory to the newborn King!

WOW, what a moment! That my friends is why I tear up listening to these songs. I can almost imagine the noise it must have made. "Joy to the world, the Lord has come!" "Do you hear what I hear?" "Noel, Noel born is the king of Israel" "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" "O Holy Night"
You get the idea. I hope. (by the way, I am tearing up now)

I enjoy other Christmas songs as well about Santa and sleigh bells and Frosty the snowman. But my dear, dear friends... If that satisfies your heart for Christmas... You are missing out.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 17 18 19 & 20

Could it be? Really!?!

No, I did not fall off the face of the earth.

It just so happens that the reason I've missed these last few days is the very reason I'm so thankful. I know I've posted about this guy before, but I don't think one post can due him justice. He's my twinkie, my love. He makes me smile when I'm down in the dumps. He loves, honors and protects me. He puts up with my ever changing moods. He brings home the bacon (turkey cause he cares about my health ;). He gives me everything I could ever wish for and more. And even better, sometimes he knows what I need even when I do not. He's my handy man. My shining star. He has given two amazing, handsome boys. Their are lucky they got his smarts!

He planned this amazing get away for us to spend some much needed time together. I cannot begin to express how much all of his planning and researching means to me. What did I do to be so lucky?

I almost forgot to mention the reason for the trip, we celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary.

I remember that day clearly. Cannon in D still brings me to tears.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 16

I love our Wednesday night tradition. No matter what the week (or even the day of sometimes) holds, we count down the minutes until we get to spent this quality time together as a family. We have been supporting a local business every week. That is something that is important to us. We do what we can to support the little man, especially with Michael and I both running small businesses. We've gotten to know the owners and sometimes it feels like family. I feel extra special when we walk in and their already have our favorite pizzas prepped and ready to go into the oven. Yep, Joe and Uncle Sal are like our Italian family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 14 & 15

Wow, yesterday just slipped my mind.

I'm thankful for the God given gift of patience. Because patience and homeschooling go together. That pretty much takes up our Monday and Friday mornings. I LOVE the home school part, even when it doesn't go smoothly. I enjoy getting to see Ayden practice what he has learned at school during the week. He has come SO very far since the first day of kindergarten. (He's half-way through 1st grade now)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 13

I'm thankful for super late night cleaning sprees! You know, the ones where you just keep going and going until there is nothing left to do. Yep, that's what I did last night. I finally said farewell to the clutter and hello to clean counter tops and bare floors. It is just such a great feeling because it has been months since I have felt like doing much de-cluttering at all. And man does that stuff pile up... in piles... everywhere.
Long story short, I am so thankful that I finally had the energy to get busy. (and I haven't stopped yet!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 12

I would like to say that I am thankful that others have been blessed with the gift of poetry and music. I really believe that these gifted people tap into the heavenly praise and help us catch a glimpse of what's to come. I mean really, how can someone write a song that touches the hearts of some many who hear it? We struggle with the same struggles. We also find delight in the things of the Lord. I'll share my favorite hymn.

  1. I hear the Savior say,
    “Thy strength indeed is small;
    Child of weakness, watch and pray,
    Find in Me thine all in all.”
    • Refrain:
      Jesus paid it all,
      All to Him I owe;
      Sin had left a crimson stain,
      He washed it white as snow.
  2. For nothing good have I
    Whereby Thy grace to claim;
    I’ll wash my garments white
    In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
  3. And now complete in Him,
    My robe, His righteousness,
    Close sheltered ’neath His side,
    I am divinely blest.
  4. Lord, now indeed I find
    Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
    Can change the leper’s spots
    And melt the heart of stone.
  5. When from my dying bed
    My ransomed soul shall rise,
    “Jesus died my soul to save,”
    Shall rend the vaulted skies.
  6. And when before the throne
    I stand in Him complete,
    I’ll lay my trophies down,
    All down at Jesus’ feet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 11

It's about time I mentioned the coolest sister-in-laws in the world! These ladies are so incredibly talented and God fearing women. I am blessed beyond belief to have them be a part of my life. Although they are not sisters by birth, God knew exactly who I needed when he placed this ladies in my life. So today I am extra thankful for the gift of you Abbey Moore and Melanie Brazzell. I am constantly amazed by your craftiness!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 10

I am thankful. But today it was very difficult to find anything to be thankful for. Let's just say this is one of those top 5 famously bad days. I am thankful for tomorrow and being able to look forward to new starts every day. Not only is it possible that tomorrow will make for a better day, making it to tomorrow means that I survived today.

I am thankful for:
running late
missing homework assignments
waiting in uncomfortable office chairs
forgetting family pictures
last minute homework assistance
a sink full of dishes
laundry that needs to be done
mortgage payments
surprise Thanksgiving concerts
bad grades
pick eaters
new diets
mid day caffeine headaches
potty accidents
unpainted toes
gas prices
little high pitched voices
loads of homework
temper tantrums

As funny as it sounds I really am thankful for all that. I can think of at least one good thing that came from all that. Want to know what I'm doing right now? Sipping a cup of lukewarm mid day coffee, listening to my son reading Dr. Seuss by himself, watching my baby play, smelling the dinner that is almost done, waiting for prince charming to get home, and just letting the day slide off my shoulders. I am thankful that I started this being thankful thing several days ago, without expressing it everyday I have a feeling a would not have viewed this day the same way.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 9

I am so very thankful for the gift of sight. It's been about a year or more since I had the gift of good vision. I finally went and had my eyes checked and received a trial pair of contact lens. I cannot express how thankful I am for that. You don't realize how blind you are until you look through a pair of glasses, or in my case contacts. Things that were once blurry are now oh so clear and sharp. Thank the Lord because I was starting to get squint wrinkles! Now I just have to remember to put them in every morning.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 8

I'm super thankful for my sewing machine. I'm no professional, but I do remember most of the things my mom taught me over the years. Without my sewing machine, this table runner would still be just a piece of fabric.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 6 & 7

I'm late on this one because I was so super thankful that Michael jumped on the cleaning bandwagon with me yesterday. We were sorting and picking up toys all day long yesterday. We were about to remove a huge box of things the boys no longer play with. I plan on donating them to one of my favorite groups that will hold a garage sale to raise money for their cause. I don't know how many time I told M that I was thankful for his help. At first I did it to make sure he knew I was, then as time bore on I just kept thinking about how much time he was saving me and how I probably would have quit long before we actually did.

I did not realize until I woke up this morning at 5am, ready to go, that I was so thankful for daylight saving time. It is hard for the body to get adjusted, but waking up earlier is so much easier.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 5

I am thankful for clothes. Not just to have them and wear them, but I am thankful for the abundance of options that I have everyday. I will be real honest and say that I have a rack full of clothes from tank tops to winter coats and everything in between. (Because you never know what Houston weather will throw at you.) And the sad thing is I find that I only wear a couple of things from that rack. I have my favorites and the rest just sit there until the rare mood hits me. And so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am making a purposeful act of donating items that I have in abundance of: shoes, clothes, jackets etc...
I am one of those people that keep most everything, otherwise known as a hoarder. (Not serious enough for medication, but serious enough to make me feel the need to change) The desire to hold onto unnecessary things has definitely been passed down through my family. Here is hoping to break that cycle.

And this is where I refuse to post of picture of the Mt Everest of clothing... (and the closet is still so full)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"I'm thankful for.." Day 3

I am thankful for spontaneous trips to Austin. A camera with a timer and
these two amazing children I can call my own.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

24 Days of "I'm thankful for.."

November is the most "thankful" month of the year in my opinion. Thanksgiving makes sure of that! I'm working on having a grateful heart 365 days a year though, and so I thought, "what better way than to start this month off with a good habit?" I missed yesterday so I'll add two today.

I'm SO thankful that we finally got around to making our bi-annual family reunion in Louisiana. It's so wonderful to see all the family and get the little cousins together often. It's also great to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We miss the camp fires and smore's. A billion stars that light up the sky instead of city lights. Not to mention GREAT food! We were unable to go in March this year so you can imagine how anxious we were to load up the car and go! This time around we didn't get to fish, but we did get to eat bear meat! Tastes like lean beef.

I'm also thankful that Halloween only comes once a year. It's on the same day every day time so I should know when to start working on the costumes. But nevertheless, I waited til last minute as usual. I think this year was one of our best. The kids were Mario and Luigi of course. Two superhero brothers! Michael decided to play Wario, the bad guy. He had a heck of a time finding overalls that fit. I was a lesser know character, but one you've probably seen before. He does have a name, which surprised me, Lakitu. Anyhow we took the kids to a church festival this year and skipped the typical trick or treating. Good thing to because the kids got plenty of candy at the church.

Here's a better picture of Lakitu, remember him now?

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rossdale Bike Ride

My good friend Melissa and I are preparing to ride in the MS 150. This will be her second time. I am excited/nervous/ all of the above you can imagine. I feel pretty prepared for it. I think my body was built for cycling.
I meant to post this a few days ago. I meant to make it just as exciting as race day was. But alas, time has gone by and the exciting has worn off. I have another ride on Sunday and I will absolutely journal that one so that you can imagine yourself in my shoes (or pedals). =) By the way, these pictures were all taken with my camera phone. It is very hard to take a good picture while you are trying to go uphill... just in case you were wondering.

First rest stop! :)
This pictures doesn't do the scenery justice, it was a beautiful ride in Austin Texas!
Ok, here is where it gets interesting! While I'm riding the "arm" completely came off my bike! I mean what? How does this happen? Twice...? Thankfully the rest stop was less than a 1/2 mile away. I should have taken a picture when the arm was still off... Crazy never fails to leave me, even when I'm in Austin. Let's keep Austin weird ya'll!

One of the best parts of the ride was the gorgeous scenery. These awesome churches were just some of the things we marveled at on our route.
I can't wait to show you the next one!
*Oh and update since I started this post. I found a road bike! Yay me! Or should I say my ever helpful loving husband found it for me. He rocks! Can't wait to see how much of a difference it makes!