Thursday, December 29, 2011

I know it's not Way Back When-esday but...

Actually at this point I am not sure what day it is. We are throughly enjoying our Christmas vacation. :-)

We have been able to spend time with both of our brothers and sis-in-laws this month, and each time we see them it becomes clear that my son favors both his uncles in looks AND personality. :-)

Uncle Drew:

And Uncle Eric (and you can also look at the pic on the blog header...I see some similarities there, too.):

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The fun has only just begun....

Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Love Hope Faith Religious
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View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Reason

I've been overcome the last few weeks with just how incredibly lucky I am. I never waste a single moment telling my husband and my children, "I love you." I never say no to an opportunity to lay on the bed and watch TV for a few minutes with Jake before school and I almost always let Brooklyn stay up "5 more minutes" if it means snuggling with her on the couch. I find myself staring at the kids in awe at just how beautiful and healthy they are. I am so incredibly lucky.

I am also lucky that I have been given the opportunity to give back. God not only gave Chad and I the gift of music, but also the gift of ministry. Every Sunday night, we are blessed to be able to share God's word and his news through music at church. And, every December, the band gets the opportunity to bring music to the homeless community at the local night shelter.

This Monday, we loaded the band up and headed over there to sing some original songs, some praise and worship songs, and of course, some Christmas carols. I am not gonna lie....we had a rough start. Steve was unavailable to come and play drums so we decided to go "acoustic." Unfortunately, acoustic was still too loud and we had to make a quick last minute run to the church for a microphone that could plug into Chad's guitar amp. Chad wasn't feeling well all afternoon and once he started to sing in practice, realized that, to keep himself standing, he probably shouldn't sing too much. So, it really ended up being Emily and I sharing one mic (thank you, Altoids!) hitting the songs in our "girl repertoire."

We started a sound check, singing "Open the Eyes of My Heart." There was one man there standing in line to enter & check in who said "Oh, I love that song! Will you sing that again?" Well, we really don't make it a practice to repeat the same song twice in a row, so we told him we would play it again at the end. After about 15 minutes, he asked again, saying "I really need this for my heart today." That caught my attention and I told Chad that we needed to do this for him. We played for about 30 minutes more when they started clearing the room out. I told Chad, "we really should do that song again for him." So, as he was leaving, we called to him and said, "here you go!"

Well, you would have thought that we gave him a million dollars. He walked over, sat down in a chair right in front of us, closed his eyes, and with tears streaming down his face and hands lifted, sang with us.

It was all I could do to make it through the song.

To me, that was Christmas. Not only giving a gift to someone- but giving a gift that they truly needed. And for a man that probably needs a heck of a lot, it was truly humbling to realize that our song was what he needed that day.

The story doesn't end there. It turns out that this man also gave a dollar (maybe his only dollar?) to baby Silas, who was there with us. Tucked it right into his back pocket "because he was beautiful." And there was the other man who handed Brandon a Christmas card for us. It was a card he had received from a church (maybe the only card he received this year?). But, he re-wrote it to us as a thank you card for coming and sharing our gifts. Two men who have so little to give, yet giving all they had. It's like the woman in the Bible who gave her last coins in the temple. True God moments everywhere that night and I was so thankful, once again, to experience it this week.

I am truly blessed and I really do have all I need, but I can't say I am always completely satisfied with my wardrobe, my home decor, or the balance in my bank account. But I thank God again for the reminders this week that (1) I am richly blessed, and (2) of course, it's always better to give than to receive.

Especially when it's the perfect gift.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Way Back Whenesday: The Big Guy Edition

Let's take a peek down Memory Lane, shall we?

Christmas 2005: Picture Picture
Christmas 2006: And the fear begins...

Christmas 2007: I didn't even argue.

Christmas 2008: I always make sure I wear something neutral and/or festive at this point.

Christmas 2009: Considering I didn't want a 6 week old baby laying on a cootied Santa lap, we just all planned on being in the pic this year. :-)

Christmas 2010: Jake's Santa pics at school did NOT go well so I didn't even try this year.

Christmas 2011: Again, didn't get a good report from the Santa visit at school this year, but we still went to the mall to "visit." Had the line not been a million feet long, I would have tried, but we'll's only December 21st. :-)

Ho, Ho, Ho, friends!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pre-School Christmas Party- 'Tis the Season!

This afternoon was Jake's school Christmas party.
Same table, same chair, same snacks...different decorative plate.
However, this time, Haley's mom made some yummy Christmas cookies for the party and let the kids all pick their favorite. Jake was more than happy to oblige.

They also received a sweet gift from Haley (obviously her mom is awesome). They LOVED their boxes just as much as what was inside.The stars aligned and Jake actually stood still long enough to take a picture in front of their hallway's tree. I am ignoring the obsence amount of stains on his clothing from said Christmas party snacks and focusing on that sweet, sweet grin from my best boy. I seriously could eat him up with all that cuteness and charm.
And this is what I get when he is done taking pictures...
A very strained "cheeeeeese." :-)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Deck the halls...

Brooklyn and I were playing around with the camera tonight, taking a few pictures of the Christmas decorations.
This year, we have both the "family tree" and also our Chrismon tree. (Chrismons are ancient Christmas symbols used as Christmas ornaments.)

Our family tree is about 6 feet tall this year. We only were able to put about a third of our ornaments on it, but that's OK because I tried to put out all the "memorable" ones. I also had to strategically place them because of a precious, yet semi-wild two year old living in the house. :-)

In placing the ornaments on the tree, I started thinking about the fact that the more I get "help" decorating each year, the higher the chance I may lose one or two each year to an unfortunate fall. I thought that, maybe, I should snap a few pictures of some of my favorites

There's no way this one will break, but maybe in 30 years when it's still one of my favorites and a bit faded, I will want to remember this sweet ornament made by Brooklyn in pre-school.

This was a gift to us from and made by my friend, Stacey, after we were married. I LOVE this one.

These ornaments were made by my grandmother. Every year, since when I was very little, my grandmother always made us homemade ornaments for Christmas. I have a ton and love every one of them! And it made it really easy when I left home and married to have a good "start up" supply of ornaments for our first Christmas tree.

This star is among about 5-6 stars that were made by my sweet sister in law, Caroline.

This was one of Brooklyn's "First Christmas" ornaments.

And this is a pic of Brooklyn on that "First Christmas." My bald princess!

These dance shoes were a gift from my childhood dance teacher, Blanche.

This star was made by my Oma. She used to make a ton and I have memories of learning how to make them as a young girl. They are so fragile, however, and I only have one left.

This trumpet is one of Chad's childhood ornaments. He has memories of placing this trumpet as the last ornament on his tree every year.

I love this "First Christmas" ornament we received as a gift after we were married.

I absolutely LOVE this ornament I received as a gift from Jake last year. This was made at his preschool and it was the picture they snapped while trying to get a cute pic of him underneath the tree with a Santa hat.

This was an ornament made for me after our annual Christmas dance performance, The Magical Night Before Christmas." It was a dream to get to be old enough to be a "red lady" that danced to "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town."

My "First Christmas" ornament.

And Jake's "First Christmas ornament" with that sweet baby boy face.These are just a few of the very many ornaments that mean so much to our family. They really all do tell a story. Chad and I have already started a collection of ornaments for each of the kids so that, one day, they too will have plenty of ornaments on their "first tree."

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Or in other iPhone photo dump. :-)

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