Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Gifts

It has been so "cold" the last few mornings that our morning workouts have been slippery. I keep pinching myself and thinking, is this really December? We are still outside every morning and though we can see our breath, it is wonderful to be able to walk and run outdoors yet.

Christmas came and went. Unfortunately this year, the most popular gift was the pukes. It was awful. The flu spread like wildfire through our family. I think everyone experienced it in one way or another.

So, the new year starts tomorrow and I pray that it will bring good health to everyone. Goodbye 2011 hello 2012.  Here is a photo recap of our Christmas.

 Feeding the reindeer before Christmas Eve church. They are OUTSIDE, mind you, without a sweater or jacket :)
I missed getting a photo of her playing at the piano, but Maleah was one of the pianist's before church on Christmas Eve. Here we sit in our pew with our candles ready to sing Silent Night.
Then we went to Grandma Bonnie's and ate a ton of soups and breads. Then we opened presents from her.
Pajama cousins. I heart the Children's place.
We opened gifts at home on Christmas morning. Then after daddy had to use a saw to cut the rusted running boards off the Suburban (do you really even want to know why?) we headed to Scotland, SD.
 Where we opened more gifts.
Addi loved her Furr Real Pet from Grandma Gordon.
  Gavin went to work putting together his lego's a few minutes after opening them.
 Uncle Russ and the girls.
 Most of the afternoon was spent outside. The kids picked up several buckets of walnuts and the boys played football. Later on we started a fire and some even sang carols. What memories!
Gavin snapped this photo of Nora the morning after Christmas. I think she needed some quiet time. Is that even comfortable?

See you next year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fancy Nancy

The hamster kinda calmed down the "there is no snow so my birthday is going to the worst ever" syndrome. (Thank you Grandma, kind of :))
Anyway, Nancy entered our lives and she is loved. Let's hope she makes it. The birthday party came and went without an accident or anything. The girls chose a movie and then cold stone creamery. Then we had to "hurry" home to play with Nancy. Maleah is now officially ten.

I am really old and tired, but it's not all about me.

Now, the Christmas marathon of wrapping paper and missing scotch tape begins.

Bring it.

Soon we'll be singing to Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

a decade of Maleah

 One year old
 Two years old





Happy Birthday to the best Christmas present I have ever had.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Come, Lord Jesus

I am not sure what it is like at your house on the morning of the Church Christmas program. But here, it is a flurry of pantyhose, curling irons, mismatched shoes and bow tying. It feels like I run a marathon before we leave the house. Every time I leave with my hair pulled back into a pony or clip because there is just. not. enough. time. This past Sunday was pretty much the normal chaos. We made it, nonetheless. I was watching my children sing the songs and say their lines and then it hit me. What part are they going to remember, the crazy frenzied hour before we arrived here or the 15 minute program? I sure hope it's the latter.
I am such a bah humbug when it comes to this season. I am way too distracted to enjoy the real meaning. We caught up on the Jesse tree devotions last night. We were a week behind. Pathetic. The kids were losing interest by the third one so I skimmed. I skimmed the Bible verses that I want my children to hear and learn and appreciate. I tried to glean all the important parts for them. I pray that they soaked up one or two words.
Back to church, so I am watching people go through the communion line and I saw a single mom mouth the words, "Hi, I love you" to her child. The child who lives between her ex-husbands home and hers. The child who juggles time among parents, siblings, grandparents and extended family. The child who may not experience the chaos of hose and curling irons, may not have family devotions at the sticky table after supper, the child who sees her mom every other Sunday as she goes through the communion line at church. I suddenly appreciated my unorganized chaos. I pulled my baby closer to me in the pew. I tried to ignore the tug at my heart as the tears rolled down my face. "Are you okay mom?" my eldest asks. Yes, I am. I am okay. I am blessed. I have four beautiful healthy children and a husband. It doesn't matter if our hose have holes and my son is wearing a clip on tie. We are together. No matter what.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Photo Shoot

It was a beautiful day today, so after the church Christmas program we came home and took pictures in the backyard. Then we grilled brats for lunch. It felt like summer. I don't think Maleah will be getting her sledding party this week :)

How did the chicken cross the road?

Right before the sun went down my dog Shiloh and I scooted out of town for a run. We took our regular route. Man was it gorgeous. Near the end of the third mile I stopped to snap a photo of the sunset.

As I started up again, Shiloh was no where to be found. There is a farm on the corner with lots of free range chickens, ducks and geese. Shiloh and I have run this route for over a year now and she has never chased a bird. Until tonight. The highway traffic was busier than normal so I called her name a few times as I crossed the road. I turned my head when she finally caught up to me to see her carrying a beautiful red/orange bird in her mouth. I was MORTIFIED. The chicken was flopping and bobbing in the dogs jaw. I immediately grabbed her collar and pried the thing out of her mouth. Handfuls of feathers fell to the ground along with the stiff chicken. It's head was cocked to one side and it was as flat as a pancake. 

It was just dark and I could see into all the windows in that farmers house. I just knew he had witnessed the whole ordeal. I didn't know what to do. I speed dialed Ryan and told him to come and get his murderess dog and to bring his wallet so I could pay the farmer for his loss. By this time I was consumed with grief for the poor chicken and I felt sick about telling the family about it. What was I gonna say, "My dog killed your chicken, Merry Christmas."

Ryan picked me up and we crossed the road to the farm where I got out and knocked on the door. I burst into tears explaining to the lady that my dog mauled her egg bearing chicken and I wanted to pay her for the loss. She said over and over, "It's okay, I have lots of chickens and refused any cash." At one point she hugged me, most likely because I was an emotional wreck. 

As we pulled away, Ryan was telling me I should change my route. He stopped mid sentence when we got to the corner. "Is that your dead chicken?" He said. We both watched a skinny bald chicken scamper across the highway and duck down into the farmers yard. I could hardly believe it. 

The chicken came back to life. And then it ran home.

Ryan said it was a Christmas miracle. I laughed. In fact I am still laughing. Good grief. Do they go into shock or something? How in the world? I had to write this one down, because I can scarcely believe it happened and I was there.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I participated in a cookie exchange last weekend. I have to tin up the cookies immediately or else they get me.

 Addison and Nora pose before Addi's Preschool Christmas program.
 The whole nursery class at the church after the program.
 Addison is very thoughtful, asking Santa for gifts for everyone, don't you think? Poor Gavin.
 I am not sure why the pom poms aren't all on the hand print tree but I do know that it is beautiful.
I am waiting on a few addresses and then all 75 of these will be in the mail. I think I deserve to crack open a treat tin, no?

How is the pay it forward going in your world? I have been on the receiving end all week. Wonderful blessing have been poured on our family and each time I have almost been moved to tears. This is the season I have been waiting for. The Love that has come down to be spread around. I can't wait to hear how you have blessed others or how you have been blessed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

less than 12 days

It's getting closer...I finally decided what to do for Maleah's birthday next week. She has been BEGGING for a snow party, sledding or skating but since we have neither snow nor ice...we'll see.

I am still crazy busy. I quickly typed a Christmas letter that took me longer to condense to two pages than write in its entirety. Sigh.

A friend was telling me her Christmas plans. They plan to take their kids to the big city, give them some cash and let them choose how to "pay it forward". I LOVE that idea. I just think it would be an amazing memory making and character building activity. She told me days ago and it is still all I can think about.

One of the blogs am reading, Average Moms Wear Capes, is doing something cool. She is doing the 12 days of fitness with a new activity each day to help battle those calories from cookies. I have eaten my share and more of bing bars already so I am participating:)

For these last few days before Jesus' birthday I am challenging all my friends, family and readers to listen to Matthew West, and my pay it forward friend, and Give This Christmas Away.
Do something for someone, it doesn't have to cost money, it could be opening a door or holding a hand. Do something. Come back here and let me know about it. I think you will be amazed at how wonderful it will make you will feel. 'Tis so much better to give than receive!

I can't wait to hear about every one's experiences giving!

Thursday, December 01, 2011


You know what posting everyday for a month about thankfulness taught me? How unthankful I really am. Read my mood by my words and follow the madness in my thoughts as the month goes on. How disappointing! I am sort of a gloomy winter person, but this little exercise has really highlighted my self pity.

Last night one of Ryan's sisters was admitted to the ICU. She has been ill for over a week but just trudging through. I feel awful that I have been wrapped up in my own sadness and haven't been able to look outside to see how others are doing.

Yesterday Ryan and I spent a good amount of time googleing gifts for the kids. We never actually came up with something we could agree on. It was such a futile attempt and a major time waste. Then on facebook this morning I saw this.

I want that,too. How can I teach my kids how to not want? They have so much yet they want more.

Last night, the kids and I completed the second day of the Jesse Tree journey. The theme was God's love. We were created from dust of the earth out of LOVE. I think that is what is missing in my world right now. Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone woke up every morning and led their day in love? Said only loving words, performed only loving actions, used their talents to show love in every thing they do...The world would be an amazing place. Heaven.