Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Morning, 2013

Christmas mornings. We can all remember the excitement that we had as children when we saw our presents for the first time. If presents were the measure of a good Christmas morning, then we did well. The kids loved everything! From mittens to post it notes, to a new big toy, they were very excited. John and I totally missed each other in the present department and we're returning most everything, but the Asheville trip put us in a good enough mood to last us for quite a while. 

But, word on the street is that Christmas isn't about presents. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

This Week's Menu

Over Christmas, both my kids got to sit at the cousin table for dinner; my dad made an incredible vegetable soup that I was skeptical about; and the kids wanted to eat breakfast on the kitchen floor before opening presents. What the what? 

And for my weekly menu post:

Jenny's salsa roast, sweet potatoes, lima beans
Dad's better-than-I-thought vegetable soup
Veggie Night: sweet potato fries, brussels, broccoli, berries
15 bean chili and sausage

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ten Years Together

Four Days. Just Us. In Asheville. Celebrating 10 years of Marriage.

Our families graciously loved on our babies as John and I slipped away right before Christmas for a little anniversary trip together. We ate so much great food, visited the Biltmore, explored several waterfalls, relaxed in a beautiful condo, talked in complete uninterrupted sentences, and enjoyed being together. I'll let the pictures show what we did...

The trip was good in so many ways, but two things stood out to me: we had so much fun being together and we need to get away more often. This trip served as a reminder to ourselves that car rides to the grocery stores or exciting overnight trips, we benefit from carving out time and space to connect with each other. 

It feels so monumental to say that we've been married for TEN.WHOLE.YEARS. I get so bubbly if I try to talk about our marriage with any sort of clarity, because I am extremely grateful for it all. Our marriage has always been good, but we want it to be great! We do what we know works: realize that it's all a big fat gift from the Lord-that's what we say almost daily, "we've been given so much." At this point, I think the biggest tool we've been given in our marriage is good advice and counsel. We've been occasionally to counseling (which I would highly recommend!) and we've been surrounded by older people in our church and lives that are great about talking to us about marriage. 

There are so many good things about being married to John and about this trip together and about celebrating ten years of marriage. Whenever I get excited about something, I always choke on my own words, and this is proving a hard thing to conclude. Instead of trying to find the simple words myself, I'll leave it with a quote by Walt Whitman (that I saw on social media, not from my personal readings):

"We were together, I forget the rest."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sibling Christmas Picture

Nailed it. My mom asked for a picture of the children from the waist up sitting in front of the Christmas tree. She knew exactly which white tops she wanted them to wear and how she wanted their hair fixed. With the help of Daniel making a fart noise on his arm, I got the picture above. I'm obsessed with it. I am so happy that I captured each of their natural smiles. As much as I love the perfect one, I adore the goofy outtakes: 

These sweet children interact well together, have little conversations, make each other laugh, and are such a sweet pair of siblings. We're in love with them. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Lights 2013

It was teary-eyed, goose bump, big smile exciting. Last weekend we went downtown for local pizza, rides on the free local shuttle, and Christmas windows! The kids were so excited and so into it. Seeing it through their eyes was a true gift. They are at the perfect age for this. 

The Christmas windows were perfect, but then there were "room" windows. A kitchen, a boy room, and a girl room. I about died because the boy room had a white bunk bed, fire truck, and jammies like Burl, and the girl room had jewelry, dolls, and a cupcake birthday party. My face hurt from all the smiling I did watching my kids connect to the windows. It felt so real in their little world.

It was one of those nights that made us realize what an amazing gift it is to have these babies in our lives. I know that this season of life is short, and that's hard to accept at times. However, I enjoy these kind of nights out to give us a special memory that we can take with us after this time is over. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Kid Christmas Party

On Monday these two precious babes hosted a party at our house. Well, I did most of the work, so we can call it a group effort. I made simple sandwiches, thumbprint cookies, drinks, and threw some pretzels in a bowl. Oh, and I made a delicious dip for the moms to share. It was pretty painless to prepare for-especially since I let the kids hit up the snack table instead of make breakfast and I forgot to brush Burl's hair. Let's just say it was VERY casual. 

The party was a large, rowdy playdate with snacks and a visit from Santa. Burl was happy to have his friends over to fight, and Fern the introvert even enjoyed playing with everyone and told me her favorite part was "Friends!" That was simple and great, until...

We gathered everyone for Santa's visit. I asked a very excited and willing college kid from church to dress up as Santa. Rob was an incredible Santa. He was so excited to hang out with the kids and most of the kids were willing and excited to go tell him what they want for Christmas. I just said excited four times...very telling of the party!

Once he arrived, Santa texted me that he was in the front yard and everyone gathered in the front room for Santa. He busted in with "ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!" It.Was.Epic.

While I had a great time throwing a party for my children, I was really surprised by the feedback that I got. Several of the moms texted me after the party thanking me for it and saying such kind things. It seemed really special to everyone beyond just a party, and I've been trying to think about what it was. I didn't get very deep, but I believe that moms like to get together and all moms like to give their kids excitement. Santa and their very own party is exciting!

To top the day off, Lauren stayed for two more hours and we were able to talk while our kids played quietly and perfectly. The whole day was amazing and it's thinks like this that makes Christmas time charming!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bundles Of Fun

This mama loves her some pretty packaging. I'm actually not that good at wrapping with paper, and every year my mom seems to point out my bad wrapping job. I make up for it though.  I like simple, pokey knots over big perfect bows, and I just die over some cute gift tags. That's where it's at in my opinion. 

Above are my cookie boxes I gave this year:
White boxes. 
Mountain gift tags
DIY Wonky stars (tongue compressors and hot glue gun)

Below are gifts this year:
Wrapping Paper (white, kraft, and some inexpensive patterns from Home Goods)
Ribbon from our local ribbon factory and twine
Animal gift tags (so our family right now as Burl wants a pet bear for Christmas)

My mom and I are the only wrappers in our family, and we always laugh as my brothers tell everyone to close their eyes as they hand us our gifts, get this, RAW without wrapping. We laugh every.time. 

Happy Gifting!