Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Freshness of a New Year

Christmas came and went very fast this year.  
Maybe it was how busy we were leading up to Christmas and how busy Philip was throughout the holiday weekend.
We celebrated Jesus' birthday by opening gifts with family FIVE different times.  
It started Friday and ended Monday.
The kids were overjoyed. :)
Needless to say, I had a mild anxiety attack over all of the extra toys in the house and went on a get-rid-of/simplify mission the day after Christmas. :)
And I have been on this mission ever since...

But there is something fun about starting a new year, isn't it?
It's exciting and bittersweet at the same time.
Exciting as we move on to new adventures, new dreams we have for our family.
However it's time that will never happen again.  The kids will keep on growing, changing.
Our life will keep changing.

2011 was filled with lots of different changes, surprises and God's faithfulness.  Tangible, real life examples of His faithfulness.  New job, new home, new friends, new vision, new dreams.
This new year I would love to take more pictures, go on more dates with my husband, have more one-on one dates with my kids, take more field trips, organize a few closets, and {maybe} drink a little less coffee. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I have always struggled with worrying about different things and it seemed to have come to a whole new level when I had kids.  All of a sudden you are thrown into a world where everything feels a bit scary and you question everything.  

When they were babies it was...Are they developing ok?  Are vaccines safe? 
Were they just around someone sick?  Do I have the best car seat?  Should we eat all organic?  

Now it's...How can I keep them safe from the evil people in this world?  
What will happen if something happens to Philip or I?  Why does Oliver only like hotdogs? :)

Not only do I struggle with fear with my kids but also in my own life.  A few years ago, I finally admitted to God that I wasn't sure he had my best interest in mind.  I didn't know if He saw my dreams and really cared about them.  
Only because life wasn't exactly how I had pictured it.  
So I had figured I better take control of the situation before I was left unhappy and far from my dreams.  
It took me some time to slowly let go of my grasp on certain dreams and hopes and trust Him with them.  
Actually, I still have to remind myself to let go.

How often have I let fear affect my decisions? my parenting? my life?

In John, chapter 6, we find the disciples out on a boat, in the dark, in the middle of a storm.
Here comes Jesus walking on the water towards them and they were terrified.  
I mean...can you imagine seeing something with your eyes that just wasn't possible?  
He reassured them that it was really Him and told them 'do not be afraid'.  

But after all these years...I missed something in these verses.

Not only does Jesus do this miraculous thing of walking on water, 
it says, in verse 19, that their boat was 3.5 miles from the shore!  
Jesus comes and finds them in the middle of the storm.  
He knows their fears and assures them that they don't need to be scared.

He knows our fears and finds us in our storms no matter how far away we are from the shore.
And He asks us to trust Him.
Trust Him with our fears, our dreams, our hurts, our kids, our life.

And speaking of fears...our sweet Anna finally overcame her fear of being on stage!  
She was able to sing two Christmas songs with her CBS class in front of an audience!! :)
We were so excited and proud of her!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Homemade Gifts

Some of my favorite gifts I have given and received are gifts that were handmade.
There is just something about making something for someone else...

A friend gave me some of these last year...they were eaten very quickly :)
 (photo from Bakerella)  This recipe is SIMPLE!

This is another easy recipe that Anna likes to help me with.
I think we will attempt to make these for our neighbors.

This is a fun thing to make that a handful of people have received from me...
it takes some time but once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty smoothly.
(Although my first one left me with a lot of hot glue burns :))
I love how the finished product looks.  I am in the process of making one for my own wall.
Here is a great tutorial!

I think this would be a cute idea from Martha for a kids's room.  It's a cork board so you can hang things on it, too! (And...I love monograms!!)

This is a sweet gift that Anna has made before...but this one uses fabric.  
So easy for kids to create!

And how cute are these ornaments??

There are SO many ideas out there...but I will stop there so I don't 
give away my ideas for this year!! :)

Happy gift making!

Monday, December 5, 2011

He Came to Us

It's beginning to look like Christmas in our home.
The kids had a great time decorating the tree...well Anna was an excited helper...Oliver liked to find the ones that were glass and try to throw them on the tree.  Just the glass ones.

There is something about pulling out your decorations and your ornaments each year and remembering what they represent.  Memories are within these decorations.  Nutcrackers that were given to Philip each year, since he was little, by his Gram.  Things from when we were first married, a cupcake ornament for Anna, an owl ornament for Oliver.
Physical, tangible memories of our life together.

But how do I make them see the wonder of Christmas?
That it is more than presents, decorations, and ornaments?
That the God who we serve, sent his Son, to us, his beloved.

To this place where fear seems to reign, where evil happens everyday 
and injustice is common place.
How do I make them see this grand gesture of love that happened?
He came to us.

Mountains would have bowed down.  Seas would have roared. Trees would have clapped their hands. But the earth held its breath.  As silent as snow falling, he came in.  And when no one was looking, in the darkness, he came.   (The Jesus Storybook Bible)

Because this baby came to chase away the darkness and help people to see.
Hoping that as I try and show my children this wonder this Christmas, 
that my heart would be in awe right along with them.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Favorite Things

Ok.  I really am wanting to host a Favorite Things Party.  It sounds so fun to do with friends!

These are a few of my favorite things right now...

Modern Family.  My favorite show.  It honestly is one of the few that make me laugh out loud
every single week!  I think it may have even replaced my first love, The Office?!

We were introduced about a year ago to Pho (a Vietnamese soup pronounced 'fuh')...and have been obsessed ever since.  It has kind of replaced our cravings for Thai food.  If you haven't tried some it!! :)

And...I think I wear these almost everyday.  Literally. 
My other shoes are feeling very neglected.  But, these are the most comfortable shoes I own!  Gap City Flats.

This book has helped change my focus from what I don't have to the 
thousands of blessings, from God, that I do have.  
Naming and counting your blessings.  Life changing.

Philip makes fun of how obsessed I have become with coffee.  I do not deny it. :)
Actually just last night he made a late night run for this creamer 
so I would have it in the morning.
Good husband.

And, last but not least...this video of a 5th grade public school choir in Staten Island.  It brought me to tears the first time I saw it.  Maybe it's the teacher in me...watching a gifted music teacher do something extraordinary with his students.  Maybe it's watching them not care about anybody around them and singing their heart out.  
I can learn from this.