Thursday, December 18, 2014

christmas lists

The other day Zach had the idea of saving the boys' Christmas lists each year so that we and they can look back when they get older and so that we can remember all the crazy things they think to ask for.  Considering I grew up with a younger brother who asked for a wheelchair every year all the way through high school, I thought it was a great idea!

  Every year since I can remember we have gotten the big toys r us toy catalog and the target toy catalog in the mail.  As soon as Micah was old enough to look at it and since they've always spent time checking them out and wanting all these new things.  For some reason we never got these in the mail this year and I didn't really think anything of it and neither did they since they never asked.  However I noticed, after looking at their lists, that because they didn't have this big catalog of 'you know you want this' staring them in the face everything they asked for came from their own thought and imagination and produced very short lists of simple, and peculiar in some cases, desires.  I actually had to encourage them to put a few more things since I knew we were sharing these lists with a two grandparents and some friends.  I will definitely be testing this phenomenon out again next year!

Micah's list
Books- Sheila the Great, The Long Haul, Captain Underpants:  The attack of the talking toilets
lead pencils and lead
football helmet
Auburn Jersey
Power ranger sword
A big notebook and a pocket notebook

Connor's list (Connor illustrated his entire list)
stuffed cheetah
99 pencils
Auburn Basketball shorts and shirt
Baymax costume
Power Ranger sword
Power Ranger phone
A car you can drive

Logan's list
and as of two days ago lightning mcqueen slippers

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

advent activities 11-15

On Day 11 we made "snow" with baking soda and shaving cream.  It worked perfectly and the boys had a great time playing with it.  They made quite a mess though!

For Day 12 we went to the Behold the Lamb of God show that a local church was doing.  Zach played guitar, accordion, and key board and sang.  

Another Christmas movie night was Day 13 and we watched The Grinch.  So many good one liners in that movie!

Micah had his first ever piano recital on Day 14.  He played Jingle Bells and did SUCH a good job!  Later that evening we went to my Crossfit Christmas Party.  A fun time with fun friends.

On Day 15 we played baby Jesus hide and seek which just means we take turns hiding the baby Jesus from our Little People nativity and the others have to find him.  Super easy and pretty fun actually!  The boys also spent over an hour putting on a Christmas Concert in the backyard.  It was so darn cute and they did a great job!  I'll be sharing video as soon as I can get Zach to help me with it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I am tired.  Plain tired.  I am almost positive that any woman can say that at almost any time of any day.  Whether you are married or not.  Whether you have kids or not.  Whether you work out of the home or not.  It's just a common side effect of being female.  I think it's our brains.  The non stop thoughts that process through them.  The non stop activity around us.  The non stop feeling in our hearts to the things we see and hear about.  There is just always something isn't there?

Somehow my October just blended into November which is now blending into December and oh December.  We are two weeks in and almost all of that time has been spent with illness.  Illness of children and myself and I know I am not the only one.  I can name flus, stomach bugs, RSV, colds and even appendicitis that has gone through the friends around me.  I also have to mention this GIGANTICALLY HUGE project that someone decided at my husband's work was a good idea to have happen in the middle of December.  

I have watched and slept and prayed and gotten frustrated for him as he has been up for all hours on countless conference calls multiple nights in a row.  I have been tempted to make an appointment with whatever uppity up made this call to let them know that it was absurd, ridiculous and all the other less appropriate adjectives that spew out of me when I'm eating dinner with the boys and a man who has to have a black headset attached to his ears.  I am most thankful this is a virtually nonexistant part of his job at normal times but seriously there's nothing happening in the months of January through March.  Why not then!?

And then both of these situations are also followed by me getting annoyed with myself as I realize I'm just being a brat since I've spent so much time complaining over virtual blessings in my life.  Children who I love and want to take care of in sickness and in health.  A husband who has a great job and is a bright light of Christ in the middle of a corporate world.

I need to remember that overworked or not, sicknesses or not, overwhelming schedules or not, the beauty can not be taken out of December.  The joy that is known through advent and the celebration of the birth of our Savior and Lord is there always and in everything no matter what, but I do, sometimes, have to fight to see it.  I have to fight against the distraction, the frustration, the ongoing duties, and the sorrows and memories holidays so often bring.  I have to fight against my flesh that wants to get upset when things don't go the way I've planned, or my to do list just keeps getting longer, or my body is worn out and just won't do what I want it to, or the voices that follow me around whose only communication is through a whine or the brief but sweet time of prayer and reading that happened in those wee hours before children wake seem like a distant memory by the end of a day.

So I seek his face.  I repent yet again of trying to do it all on my own and make my own way.  I rejoice again that I have everything to give praise for and none is, or ever will be, due to my circumstances.  Again, I remember his promises.

  I have been doing the She Reads Truth advent study this month and each day has been wonderful.  As I've traveled through old testament prophecies and reading after reading of people and places that served their purpose in the story that leads up to Christ, I have been struck more than ever about the promises of God.  A prophecy is merely a promise, something told long ago that God promises to happen in the future.  The things angels told when they appeared to Zachariah, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph were promises.  Every word God spoke or left with us in His Word was a promise of what will come, of what he'll do, and of who He is and not once in all of time has he broken any of his promises.  Not once did someone look at what he said and not see what he had done.  No it didn't, and still doesn't always happen in the ways our feeble minds can imagine or even comprehend, but My Father, your Father, the Father of our Savior, has never broken a promise.

  I had this thought the other day about what God may be thinking as I was struggling with the past and of how it still effects my present and my future while sitting in my car, tears streaming down my cheeks wondering why.  Why do I still struggle over and over with this same thing?  In the innermost part of my heart the Spirit calmed me with His promises.  I could just imagine my Heavenly Father tenderly saying I promise it's ok, I can see the big picture, I can see the beauty that is being created all around the yuck. I promise I will never leave you, I will never forsake you, I will be faithful to complete this work in you, all of this will work out for your good and you have nothing to fear.

Far better than even the most well intentioned promises I make my baby boys and the most genuine love I heap upon them, is the comfort of a Heavenly Father who knows no end and the promises He has made that can never be broken.


Monday, December 15, 2014

advent activities 6-10

Day 6 a very rainy Covington Christmas Parade.  We spent the best portion of that previous week with two boys missing three days of school due to fevers and coughing and this mama spending two days so congested I could barely function.  We woke up to a rainy Saturday morning but after having already promised a parade and finally feeling somewhat normal after four days of yuck we were determined to go.  I am so glad we did.  It wasn't crowded.  We had a fun time with friends and had a fun family time together!

Day 7 was a Christmas party with our church Community group but I didn't take any picture.  We had a Feliz Navidad theme with some yummy enchildadas and some homemade churros stuffed with cream cheese.  I'm not telling how many of those I ate!

Day 8 we made Cheerio bird feeders.  They are really easy and I've been making them since Micah was younger than Logan.  Connor thought it was fun to give the birds (and squirrels) a Christmas present ;)

Day 9 we made gingerbread cottages that I bought on clearance after Christmas last year.  All of them were super in to it.  Logan just wanted to put all the pieces anywhere he wanted including himself, Connor just went with whatever popped into his head, and Micah the oldest rule following fellow painstakingly followed the example picture on the front of the box to make sure he did it exactly 'right'.  They all turned out really cute.

Day 10 was mama needed a milkshake day so we met a friend at Chikfila after school and each of the boys got to pick one thing for snack and mama got a cookies and cream milkshake and didn't share it with anybody!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

sunday song

This will be the first year in 8 years that we haven't seen Behold the Lamb of God put on by Andrew Peterson and friends.  It is such a wonderful part of our Christmas tradition and a difficult thing to miss for a lot of reasons.  For 5 of those years we saw the show at the Ryman in Nashville.  The show will be tomorrow evening but as it's usually a Sunday night I couldn't not pick a song from it for my sunday song.  It is impossible to pick a favorite.  They are all amazing and full of truth and beauty.  Yesterday the reading in my advent study spoke about this idea exactly, about the Lamb of God who takes our sin and that nothing we do however draped with good intention can ever be enough.  Praise God for the Lamb, the hope of man.

Behold, the Lamb of God
Who takes away our sin
Behold the Lamb of God
The life and light of men
Behold the Lamb of God
Who died and rose again
Behold the Lamb of God who comes
To take away our sin

Broken hearts--behold our broken hearts
Fallen far--we need you
Behold the Lamb of God

Behold, the Lamb of God
Who takes away our sin
Behold the Lamb of God
The life and light of men
Behold the Lamb of God
Who died and rose again
Behold the Lamb of God who comes
To take away our sin

Son of God--Emmanuel
Son of Man--we need you
Behold the Lamb
The hope of man
Behold the Lamb of God

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

advent activities 1-5

We do not do big Santa stuff around here.  It doesn't bother us if the boys believe in Santa right now so we technically don't discourage it but we don't really do anything to encourage it.  Therefore there are no elves sitting on shelves at our house that move or destroy things or tell secrets or whatever it is they do.

  Instead each morning the boys get to open an advent box and inside they find a piece of candy for each of them and an activity for us to do that day.  I never fill the boxes ahead of time because I never really know what the next day may hold.  Our activities range in variety but they are usually all pretty easy and it's a great way to incorporate our typical traditions without getting overwhelmed as well as try a few new fun things each year.

So far we've had a fun time.  Here's what we've done...

Day 1:  Christmas Lists

Day 2:  Hot Chocolate and Christmas stories before bed

Day 3:  Making the "best Christmas snack ever!" 
 a.k.a muddy buddies a.k.a puppy chow a.k.a white trash

Day 4: The Gingerbread Man game

Day 5: Christmas movie night with Arthur's Christmas

If' you've never seen it's pretty funny cartoon and they all British accents which always makes things better in my opinion!