Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In Our Home it Looks Like This...

Have you seen the pictures where there is a dog sitting, waiting patiently, on the side of the road waiting for his boy to get home?  Maybe there is a school bus driving off in the distance or a car with the boy looking out of the back window.   I am pretty sure I've seen that image before somewhere, and even have seen a couple of different interpretations of it.  The idea behind the image is that the dog can hardly wait for his boy to get home.  Maybe the dog sat and waited in the same spot for his master to return so he could resume having fun with his person again.

In my failure to find said image, I found these instead:

So cute, huh?

In our home, it looks like this:

That's The Little Man waiting for his sister to finish up homework.  He stands and waits patiently everyday (well almost everyday he's patient) for her to finish up so they can hang out together. 

He may not be a soft, sad faced, sweet puppy, but I happen to think this is much more precious.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Reason 438 For Loving My Girl

She can turn a laundry room into anything but...

We can't be the only ones out there who are using our laundry room to hatch and grow Brine Shrimp. 


Oh, and don't kid yourself.  Since I am not one of the authorized personnel allowed into my own laundry room, you know what that means. 

I just got out of cleaning towels and sheets. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Word

Since all the hype about New Year's Resolutions has somewhat quieted down, I thought now would be a good time to share my One Word for the New Year.  Hey, at least it's still January, which is better than I did last year.  It's all about improvement.

I love choosing one word instead of listing off a whole list of things I hope to do or not to do.  It's about having one word that will encompass my entire year.  The one thing I want to focus on and grow in the most.  It's going to be a bit deeper than "Getting into the habit of drinking eight, eight ounce, glasses of water a day".  (Which is totally on my list of things to do this year, by the way.)  No, this is more about changing who I am as a person in my heart, and growing closer to God.

In the past two years that I have done this, I feel like there was transformational growth in my heart.  The first year, I chose the word "Others".  I was hoping to grow a heart that was more "Others focused" and less "Me focused".  God opened my eyes in many different ways to the way others live, hurt, need, love, worship, give, and serve.   The world around me really opened up as I took my eyes off of myself and looked at others instead.

Last year, the word I chose was "Still".  I have to laugh at that now.  I can't begin to tell you all the different ways that God taught me how to be still last year, but it began with Him lovingly forcing our family, and our way of life, to a complete and total halt.  We were plain shut down.  We could do nothing but be still.  But in the stillness, we learned so much about God.  How He loves, provides, and carries.  We learned about His strength, sovereignty, and power.  I would have missed all of it had I not been forced to be still.  When I first chose that word, it was because I thought I needed rest.  I felt like I needed a break from life.  You know, like a coffee break or a vacation.  While our lives became a crazy ride, I let go of many things I was holding on to way too tightly.  Things that wore me out.  Things that took away peace.  Things that kept me from rest, and in letting go, I rested.  In the stillness, He was my complete and perfect rest.

Now that I have two years of the One Word Challenge under my belt, I know what an impact choosing one word can be.  So, I did not take this on lightly this year.  I spent time in prayer, and really spent time searching my heart.  I learned so much in our crazy last year.  I came to a whole new understanding of what it means to be sustained by God, and how God strengths can be made perfect in my weaknesses.  I have never had to rely on God the way I had to this past year, and in that complete surrender, I was able to do more.  I was stronger.  I was more capable.   I also learned how to be OK with the fact that, on my own, I will fall short.  It's just the hardcore truth. 

This year, I am ready.  I feel like I've rested, and I'm ready to tackle this new year.  I want to scream, "BRING IT ON!"  Except, this time, I don't say that thinking that I am going to do much on my own.  No, this time I say it knowing I can't.  Instead, I will be solely relying on God.  So, what is my word?  It's "Reckless". 

This year, I want to be "Reckless" in the way I love.  I want to love the people around me with a reckless love that can only come from our Savior.  A love that isn't concerned with loving only if it's fair.  A love that loves even if it might not be returned.  A love that might get broken and bleed.  A love that isn't earned or deserved.  On my own this kind of love would be scary, heartbreaking, impossible, and down right nuts.  But when this love is the love that overflows from my heart, and whose source is Christ, it's a different love.  This is Christ's love.  A love that is patient, and kind. A love that does not envy or boast, and isn't proud.  A love that is not easily angered, and keeps no records of wrong.  A love that protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.   A love that never fails. (1Corin 13:4-8)   This isn't my love.  It's impossible for me to love like this.  This love is the perfect and sacrificial love of Christ.  A love that is to be shared. 


This year I want to recklessly love my husband, kids, and family members.  But I don't want to stop there because that would be comfortable, not reckless.  I want to continue beyond my comfort zone and love those in my neighborhood, church, school community, and city.  And like a ripple in water, I want to reach further.  I want to recklessly love those that have wronged me, those who don't get a second look, and those who don't know love at all, in hopes that they too may experience the love of Christ themselves.

This song says it all.

"Bring your love to life inside of me
Why don’t you break my heart ’til it moves my hands and feet

For the hopeless and the broken
for  the ones that don’t know that you love them
Bring your love to life inside of me.

Love come to life, bring love to life inside of me."-Big Daddy Weave, Love Come to Life

Sunday, January 15, 2012

She's Got Style

D: Mom, I think I finally know what my style is.
me: What?  You're style?
D: Yea, I think my style is definitely heels and boot cut jeans.
me: Are we talking about the way that you like to dress?
D: Yup, I just love wearing heels and boot cut jeans.  It's the perfect look.

While I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, I wish you could have been there to see my face.

And in case you are wondering; no, I won't be taking her on a shopping spree anytime soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

More Pictures for Your Viewing Pleasure

As I continue to get caught up from my "Lack of blogging, but still taking pictures" phase of life I am in, I present to you: The Girl and her 9th Birthday.

First up: her nine year old pictures.  Each year this is proving to be more and more difficult, yet easier at the same time.  How is this even possible?  First, The Girl likes outdoor pictures.  Well, the funny thing is, her birthday lands in January...every single year.  I find it difficult to find interesting locations with the lack of outdoor beauty that we have in comparison to the summer or fall months.  While I think the snow is gorgeous, and love taking pictures in it, it isn't always a guarantee that we will have some on the ground.  It's more likely that we will just have brown.  All over.  And let's say we do have snow on the ground.  Snow equals cold.  Very cold.  I've found that she and I both tend to be a bit grouchy when trying to work pictures in the cold.  So there you have dilemma number one.  Dilemma number two:  She's nine.  I want to pose her like she's older, but not too old.  I want to dress her hip and cool, but not too old.  I want to make her look like the beauty she is, but not too old.  Are you seeing where I am going with this?   There is a fine line, people.

It also has gotten easier.  Since she is nine, she has her own ideas for what she wants her pictures to look like (and they are good ideas, too), she has an opinion on what she would like to wear/what she thinks is cool (thankfully, she is pretty modest, and her style isn't too far out there), and The Girl can pose.  I mean not just, "You stand here, and smile like that" type of following directions posing, but she can "Work the camera like she was born to work it" type of posing.  I give her very little direction, and she just goes with it.  I love that.

Here's my not too old, dressed appropriately, and "working the camera like no one's business" nine year old girl:

This picture and the one after it are probably my favorite of the session.  I just love the way they look snowy and cold (and it was so cold that day...not so snowy, though).   They are exactly what I hope for in a outdoor winter shoot:

Since I can't choose the second image for my wall (it goes the wrong direction), I think I might go with this one.  I like the wood background, and I love her real smile.  She was laughing at herself:

This is The Hub's choice for the wall. I like this one too...not sure which way I'll go:

Later that week, we also had her birthday party.  This year, we came up with an idea, picked a date, and sent out invites for just a few days later.  It was a whirlwind for sure.  I thought no one would be able to come with such short notice, however, each friend she invited was able to make it.  She decided she wanted to get her nails done and have pizza at a local salon and pizza place very close to home.  Well, neither place took reservations, down payments, or offered party packages.  So, I kindly let them know that 10 little girls would be coming, and the day and time.  They were thankful for the forewarning.  We were in and out of the nail salon in 30 minutes, and then they all walked a few doors down to the pizza place where we stuffed ourselves with pizza and cake, and played a fun game of "Would you rather" (which third grade girls find hil-ar-ious).  Just goes to show, you can throw together a party, where everyone has a great time, out of thin air.  It was two hours of giggly, squealing, girly chaos, and I survived. 

Here are some pics:

Showing off the nail color they picked:

Getting the toes done:

Dry time:

Everyone's finished product:

The wild crew on our way out of the salon:

I'm sure the salon owners were happy to see us leave...not to mention the other unsuspecting customers who came to relax and have a pedicure after a long week of work.

Here they are at the pizza place:

And blowing out the candles:

The pizza place had some difficult lighting, to say the least.  I rarely (like this was my third time) use my flash on my professional camera.  So, needless to say, I need to get into the manual and figure out the flash on that baby.  As you can see, there was a lot of photoshop correcting done to that last image due to the flash totally annihilating the image.  I'm a little sick over it since she only blows out her nine candles once.  I wish I had something better. 

Since I was able to survive this party, I'm sure I will be able to muster up the strength to somehow survive not getting the perfect shot of her blowing out her candles.

And I've survived posting the second half of our photo album called "Catch Up". 


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I've Been Meaning to do This For A While...

So, last month, when we were going nuts finishing up school, attending "Holiday Concerts", being a part of the Annie Jr. production, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, and doing all of our Advent calendar stuff, I had all these great ideas for blogs that I wanted to write about each event.  I even took pictures.  Seeing as how now we are almost a month past some of these things, I thought it would be better if I just slammed all the pictures into one post, wrote a little something about each one, and then tied a bow on top and called it good.


Here we go:

(OK.  I lied.  The Pictures start back in NOVEMBER.  Shameful.) 

First up: The Girl.  She was in a play that her class put together to wrap up their studies on Greek Mythology.  The Girl is all about acting/drama this year.  She loves it.  Here she is delivering her lines:

Here are the kids on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  They are kicking off the Christmas Season with our annual viewing of Polar Express in our bed with hot cocoa.  It's a fun tradition, that I am afraid one day they will grow out of.  If not because they feel like they are too old for it, but just because they just grow too big to fit in our bed.   Seriously.  There was a large amount of elbowing going on.

Compare that pic with this:

See how well we all fit when they were small.  However, they. Will. Not. Stop. Growing.

I had this great, super funny, blog post in  my head about the day that my Nativity Set was massacred by my "table".  I put the word table in quotes because I don't know if you can call it a table since it falls over quite frequently, and for no apparent reason.  I guess it just doesn't understand that it's a table and it's only job is to stand up.  If you think you are sensing frustration, you are correct.

So as my table decided to lay on it's side again, it also took out my Nativity Set.  Somehow, time got away from me and you missed this hilarious post. 

You're welcome.

Remember when The Little Man had to pick a career?  When it was time to actually dress up as what you wanted to be when you grew up, The Little Man ditched his idea of being a Game Show Host, and decided that being a pilot sounded pretty cool.   What made it even better was that our new neighbor is a pilot, so he lent us all his gear. The Little Man looked super sharp!

Next, are probably some of my most favorite candid pics of the year of The Girl.  They were taken during her Annie Jr. performance.  I love how when I look at them, I am reminded of what a fun day it was.  I spent the entire day with her behind stage as a make-up person, and watched them as they got in costume, practiced lines, and prepped for the show.  She had such a great time this year in Drama Club, and I am proud of all her hard work. 


Dressed as a servant (she was both an orphan and a servant):

More singing orphans:

Final curtain call:

The Little Man was the next performer.  Notice he is back row center.  That's the spot they save for the tall kids:

I've included these next two pics not to prove that my son has friends, but to further prove the tall factor he's got going on:

*Sigh* My sweet gentle giant.

My Little Man also enjoyed his first day on the slopes.  He did great, and wants to go again soon:

Christmas was great this year.  Here are a few of the kids' favorite gifts:

The Little Man wanted Lego Harry Potter years 5-7 for his DSi more than he wanted to eat.  That is saying A LOT:

If it was possible for him to want anything more, this would have been the gift: Harry Potter Diagon Alley Lego set:

Even though it wasn't on her Christmas lists, Santa had a pretty good idea that The Girl would just love her own keyboard and some piano lessons to go with it:

And really, what girl isn't happy with a pair of shoes.  Especially, if they are a pair of Toms:

We spent some time with cousins for the New Year at their cabin.  One of the days we took the kids up to a tubing hill and had a seriously fun time.  I am happy to report that there were no injuries (unlike last time when my tailbone took a brutal beating), and The Girl's head did not get ripped off.  I was able to save her by screaming like a mad woman, "LIFT UP YOUR HEAD!!! LIFT UP YOUR HEAD!!" as she thought it would be wise to tip her head back as she enjoyed hurtling down the hill at high speeds. 

I had a slight heart attack.

The Cousins all together with their animal hats.  (This animal hat craze is....different...Cute, though.)

The two:

And that's how we ended our year.  The week after Christmas was one of the better weeks of the whole year. We were able to really enjoy the time together as a family, and The Hubs was actually able to take some time off of work which made the time pretty much perfect.  I was thankful to return back to our busy lives feeling rested and refreshed. 

When is our next break?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Girl...She's 9

Sweet Girl,

I'm not sure how it happened, but yesterday you turned nine.  Nine years old!  I can hardly wrap my mind around it.  For a long time I would think about this day, and feel like it was so far away.   I could not imagine you at this age.  I would see clothing at stores that were the size a nine year old would wear and just marvel at the size of them.  It did not seem possible that you would one day fit into those clothes.

And now, here we are.


It came so much faster than I ever thought it would.

We've had a wild ride this last year, and I am so proud of the way you have taken it all in.  You have grown out of the little girl phase and are starring dead on at the "tweens".  I'm starring at the "tweens" like a deer in the headlights.  I won't sugar coat it: I'm totally terrified.  Unlike the first few years of your life, my heart now has complete understanding of how fast time moves.  I don't want to waste a single second with you.

I love how you can sit and have deep conversations with me now.  We discuss things like friends, emotions, troubles with school, and Jesus.  I pray that you will continue to come to me to talk.  I don't care if it's about your favorite color, some crazy dream you've had, or if it's more on the serious side.  I pray that you always know that, no matter what, we (daddy too) are here for you.

You are one amazing little girl.  You have one of the biggest hearts I have ever seen.  Through this year, I pray that God would fill every square inch of that heart.  That you would come to know Him  better each day, and that your heart's greatest desire would be to seek Him and please Him in all you do.  I pray that in coming to know Him better, your heart would know how much He loves you.  You are treasured, you are sacred, and you are His.  I am so grateful that He has chosen to share you with us.  These last nine years have been a wild and wonderful ride!


Here is your birthday montage: