Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas - and a little more...

This year's Christmas was full.  Full of traditions, new and old.  Full of family and friends.  Full of activity, crafts, and performances.

Jarrett had a Christmas performance for school...

And another Christmas performance for church....

We started a new tradition with our Elf on the Shelf, Lucy.  I love how Jarrett named her so quickly and she was immediately party of our family.  I only wish we had gone to the Elf Adoption Center earlier so we could have spent more time with her.  At least we'll get more time next Christmas!

Jarrett and I along with some other family went to hear the Asante Children's Choir.  Amazing!

We also had the double privilege of having two of the girls with us from Rwanda.  Kurt and Lindsey were one of the host homes for the children's choir so our Christmas was filled with music, dancing and the sweet example of Jesus in these two girls.

We Skyped with distant family
Had brother bonding

Opened lots of presents (and had some little ones to "help")

And some amazing gifts like this handmade custom fort for Jarrett by his Aunt Jessica.  This was amazing....window, door, name imprinted on a pocket to hold all of his treasures.  Already this has brought hours of fun.

Marshmallow wars....

But one thing that rang constant in my heart over the last several weeks is Jesus.

Just recently my pastor had his leaders together for prayer and worship.   One of the songs we sang was a remake of the old hymn, Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

  1. What can wash away my sin?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
    What can make me whole again?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
    • Refrain:
      Oh! precious is the flow
      That makes me white as snow;
      No other fount I know,
      Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
  2. For my pardon, this I see,
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
    For my cleansing this my plea,
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
  3. Nothing can for sin atone,
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
    Naught of good that I have done,
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
  4. This is all my hope and peace,
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
    This is all my righteousness,
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
  5. Now by this I’ll overcome—
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
    Now by this I’ll reach my home—
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
  6. Glory! Glory! This I sing—
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
    All my praise for this I bring—
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus

This rang true to me like never before.  Even though you can be surrounded by family, doing things you love - you are never really complete without the blood of Jesus.  Sometimes old hurts and even new hurts try to creep in and separate you.  Leave you incomplete.  Feeling yucky.  It's the blood that gives me the "whiter" that I need.  It brings me peace.  Sometimes there is a part of me so deep that feels like it is missing.  Like a lost piece of the puzzle.  Only the Peace of Jesus can replace that "piece".  You may not see the missing piece on the outside - its very deep.  And most of the time I don't want to admit it or talk about that place in the core of my heart.  But it is there.  And it needs Jesus.  I need Jesus.  I do. 

And as I learned again on Christmas day, 

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty GodEverlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6 

So from my family to yours, may you discover the Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Whiter than Snow, the only one who can bring you Peace - Jesus - this Christmas Season.

with love,

p.s.  thanks to Dad and Lindsey for the pics.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just the 2 of Us

We recently went on a little fun trip.  "We" meaning just Jeff and me.

I can only imagine that there are other women out there who feel guilty leaving their kid(s) while you go and have fun.  I personally really struggle with this.

I mean, after all, it was by the grace of God that I have a son.  So long trying to get pregnant and stay pregnant.  Every moment I have with him I cherish...(ok, let's get real - I try to cherish.  But I do get frustrated more than I want to admit and at times lose my "saintly mommyhood").

But leaving, on a date, OVERNIGHT?  are you kidding me?

Yes, we did it.

And it was so needed.

Just recently some friends of our reminded me how important this is.  Without our alone time as a husband and wife, life starts to just go through the motions.  It's easy to let relationship slip and habit take over.

That's not the life I want - one purely out of habits and motions.

I want real.
I want relationship.
I want us.

And it was fun.

Like the humor we found when taking a picture of this theater.

I took it because I loved the vintage sign.

But then when we walked around the corner....guess what we saw?

If you are Catholic, please don't take offense.  It was just so comical to me to see Nuns right across the street from this signage.

You see, its funny moments like this that create memories that you can laugh at again and again.  But unless you spend the time together to discover them and make them - memories are replaced with motions.

So we took the time - 24 whole hours of just us.
We window shopped through the streets downtown and saw some great things.
Like this chair made out of forks and spoons in a coffee shop.

We lingered in the Fireside for a cup of coffee.

Of course, Jeff was wearing his Zags shirt - so we met lots of people who wanted to talk a little basketball.  
 It seemed everyone in Spokane is a fan of the Zags.  And most people don't get to watch them.  Hearing everyone's curiosity and even jealousy of how we got tickets made me realize just how fortunate we were.  
Even more so that I was going to an ORU game (Alumni for me).  Even though we were opposing teams, really I couldn't lose either way.

We really were blessed.  
Tickets (5th row center court) - a gift from a business relationship
The Historic Davenport Hotel - a door prize he won at a Christmas Party
Town Car Service to the game - compliments of the Concierge
Jarrett taken care of for the night - compliments of Nanny & Poppa (thanks mom & dad)

Overall amazing time to spend as friends - compliments of mr. & mrs us!

Of course we were glad to be home.  However when I asked Jarrett if he had fun or missed us, his reply was, "Mom, next time can you be gone for 5 days instead of 1?"

Yes - our friends were right.  He will be okay without me for a bit.

In fact, he will probably be better - because WE are better.

with love,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Handmade Christmas - Family Night

There are so many things I love about Christmas.  However, probably the thing I like the most is being with family.  I love just hanging out, laughing, playing games, drinking coffee and cider - just everything that family does to make the Christmas traditions.

Yet isn't it sad that when we give gifts, most of them are for individuals - not the FAMILY as a whole.  This year, we made a family gift to go along with their other gifts for one of our relatives.

A Year of Family Nights.

I saw this gift idea on Pinterest (sorry, I didn't pin it and can't remember where I saw it).  They were doing a year of date nights - so I tweaked it for families.  

A basket filled with family night ideas for each month.

Just cut out envelope template on your paper - I chose a multipack of different prints.

Make a coordinating card on color card stock.  It was so much fun coming up with ideas.  I tried to use things that go with the theme of the month.  For some months, I used local events (like balloon stampede, apple pressing, etc).  For others, I did a twist on holidays and other events (like March madness). 

 Really, when it comes right down to it, there are no limits - just get creative!

Add a few embellishments - twine, glitter letters for the month - then put together in the basket.

For this gift, I had most everything on hand - just $1.99 for twine at the store.  What a great way to use up supplies and give a gift that brings family together for the entire year!

You see, it doesn't take long after Christmas is over and the decorations are put away, that families can get back into old habits of doing things separately.  TV, video games, work & friends - all distractions that keep us apart.  For 2012, my prayer for you is that are united with your families again.  That is what Christ came to do for us - to reconcile us to our heavenly Father.  He came as a babe at Christmas to walk out His purpose - ultimately leading Him to the cross.  All of this so that we could have "Family Night" with Him every moment of every day.

I think of this when I hear the song, "O Holy Night".

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Yes - The most majestic family night of all!

with love,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Craft Night

I woke up this morning felling a little crafty.  I had been on Pinterest last night (which I'm just now beginning to see what is with this crazy obsession) and found a very cute graphic which I wanted to use somehow.  

Then - LIGHTBULB!  Christmas Lightbulb that is - Christmas craft night was born.

We started by painting clothes pins red (great for young crafters).

Then I took over by downloading the graphic from the blog adventuresofabettycrockerwannabe that I found on Pinterest.

Put this in a frame with a little hot glue, ribbons and glitter letters.  Add a few Santa pics (yes - it may seem a little weird to have scripture AND Santa.   However to me, this makes perfect sense).

You see, in the center of all of the Christmas hustle and bustle, we have Christ.  He is the reason we celebrate.  We know it is this gift of Jesus that is the greatest gift of all - and we celebrate it wholeheartedly.

But we also like the make - believe part of Christmas.  Santa - the reindeer - the stockings.  All of the things that make are "fun". 
....so Yes....  Scripture in the center of Santa pics.
Here is the finished product.  A way to hang the Christmas cards that come in.

So, how do you display your cards?  Leave me a comment or post a link so I can see.   I'd love to see what the really fabulous crafters do to show their Christmas Cheer!

with love,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We've Been Jingled....

Today seemed a little tough - ok, to be REAL, it was just plain stressful.  It seemed like in every area, I was stressed.  By the time I walked through the door tonight, I was one big, tight ball of knots and kinks.  I'm so thankful for my husband taking care of dinner tonight for us.

But then things turned around.

A little "tap, tap tap" on my door and then  - SURPRISE.

A package was left on my front door with little note.

You've Been Jingled!

The Christmas Elf is jingling around.
Ringing the bells of the homes he has found.
Leaving some goodies for a happier season.
Continue this jingling, you have a good reason.

First, post this Elf near your front door.
Please do it soon or you may get some more!
This will let the other Elves know of your visit.
Be sure to participate, you don't want to miss it!

Second, make two goodies & two copies fromwww.beenjingled.com
Deliver them to two neighbors, try to stay calm.
Jingling the door bell, its certainly fun,
To act like an Elf and then Run, Run, Run!

Next, you have only one day to act, so begin.
Leave it at a door where the Elf hasn't been.
Deliver when the time is just right.
Ring the doorbell and stay out of sight!

The Jingling Elf wants to bring everyone Joy
Visiting the homes of good girls and good boys.
This is all in good fun and we are trying to say,
Have a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

That was it - GAME ON!

Jeff and I ran around our house looking at what we could put together for a little basket to leave on someone else's door.   Some football cozies, a sleeve of golf balls, candy, Carmel corn - yep, the baskets filled nice and fast.

I made Jeff be the elf and run around the neighborhood looking to see who we could surprise (after all, it is downright frigid out now).  So off he went in this beanie and shorts with flashlight in hand.  He did kinda look like an elf (but shhhh.....we won't tell him that).

Tap Tap Tap
Laugh Laugh Laugh

What a way to brighten my night - a little bit of good neighborly holiday magic.  

Yes, I'll take it any day!

With love,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I think I'm a bread snob....

It's small business Tuesday over at Three's {4} Me and while this isn't my business, I have to share this incredible little bakery in our town.


This is an old carhop that Karen & Ty converted into a bakery.  You can read more about it here.  

Karen LoNardo (owner, LoNardo's Gourmet Bakery)

This place has character - not the typical bakery where you can sit and enjoy a delightful pastry.  No.  This is a mix of  kitchy and industrial  - just squeeze in and get your order to go.  But that is not a bad thing.  You go there with a purpose - knowing that whatever you buy will be a special treat and whoever you share it with will be delighted with sweet gooeyness.  

That is what I did this morning.   I was in charge of picking up the office pastries for a staff birthday and while I was at it, I ordered a fresh multi-grain loaf for us at home.

I must admit - the moment I came home for lunch, I had to open this up.  It was still warm - even hours later when I cut a slice to go with my soup at lunch.

Let me just say lunch was delightful.  Homemade chicken noodle and fresh, FRESH bread.

It still had the smell of the oven.  And the first bite?????  AMAZABALLS!

The crunch of the crust - the melting of the bread.  Every grain you could imagine was in there...and you could taste it all.  It was as this moment I realized that I was a bread snob.

Just like the passion a coffee snob has about their french press, or perk, or espresso.  I felt that passion knowing that I now had my bread of choice.  How could I ever again go back to store-bought bread when I make homemade soup.  I can't do it.  I just can't!

I had the passion for the crispy crust - the fresh scent of yeast, butter and flour, the crunch of the grain with each bite.  It was amazing that as hearty as this loaf was, the lightness was still there.

It was a masterpiece.

I think LoNardo's must be a distant relative of Leonardo's.  However don't even dare to call them that....I think so many people mispronounce the name of the bakery that there is rumor of a temper that comes out very similar to the soup nazi.  It's LONARDO's - don't put in the extra "e".  Trust me.  I'm just saying.

But, with a masterpiece like this bread, they have every right to be pronounced correctly.

So if you are ever ANYWHERE close to the Tri-Cities...you must stop in and buy some.  You won't be disappointed.

with love,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Morning Coffee solves it all...

This weekend did not go as planned.   I mean, 'Come On People - its Christmas Party Season!'  However, Jarrett's tummy had other plans Friday morning when he woke up.

There is nothing worse than a sick little boy.  I would rather be sick myself then to have him hurting and nauseous and everything that goes with that.  I have to admit, part of that reason is a bit selfish though....I hate cleaning up "bodily functions".  But the main reason is I hate it when he is crying that his tummy hurts.  I just want to cuddle him and rub it for him.

At one point during the weekend, I found myself feeling a little bummed that all the holiday hustle and bustle had to be postponed.  However this Monday morning, drinking coffee out of my new coffee mug (thanks Mom for my super cool 'just because' mug), I looked on the weekend a little differently.

My "Just Because" Scooter mug - from mom
So, that meant that I had to miss Jeff's Christmas party Friday night.   However, Jeff had fun and came home with gifts - BIG GIFTS!  He won the raffle for a hotel stay at our favorite hotel in Spokane - The Davenport Hotel.  If you've never stayed there or even heard of it, you must check it out here.  And the kicker, we already have a trip planned for going in 2 weeks and now we can stay at a WONDERFUL hotel instead of a Priceline bargain.  So rather than feeling sad I didn't go to the party, I get to have an even better time - Thanks honey for picking the right ticket!

Morning - he woke up feeling good.  We went to basketball, I went to a mother/daughter tea with my mom and sister-in-law, then we all when to see Santa.  It was so precious to me when he asked Santa for a firetruck (especially with the electronic age we are in and his obsession with superheroes).  It was just sweet and innocent.
Night - now Jeff and I were feeling a little rough and called it good night a bit early.
Thanks for the great day everyone - including going to bed a little early!

We woke up to "Mom, my tummy hurts!" - followed by every expression of bodily function.  Here we go again!  So Sunday was slow -  again.  But my parents came by to check on their grandson and pray for him to feel better.  He really does have the best Nanny and Pappa!

The cool thing is that during all of these slow days, I did things that I wouldn't normally do.  And I did them at a slow and steady pace.

I got most of my shopping done - on-line & 1 trip to the store.
I wrapped Christmas presents.
I learned 3 new Christmas songs on my Uke
I spent time snuggling  - A LOT!
I cleaned the bathrooms - A LOT!
I cleaned out the fridge, the microwave and everything else that had the remote chance of spread germs.

So MONDAY morning, I'm now drinking my coffee, reading a few blogs (must read Greta's Picnics in the Park to see their new car - absolutely adorable!) and I hear "Mom, my tummy....."

(wait for it!)


Yea!!!!!  Happy Monday to me!

I think that deserves a second cup of Joe!

with love,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

...Santa Claus is coming to town.....

I am loving Santa Claus right about now.
Jarrett - 12 days old
We've been getting out all of our Christmas books and reading them.  We've learned that St. Nicholas and Santa are the same....kinda like "purple and violet."  We know all the reindeer by name, have watched the claymation movies, have Christmas music playing in the car ALL THE TIME.

No, I don't BELIEVE in Santa...but I do think it was ONE SMART MOMMA who came up with the idea...

You know...as the song goes...

You better watch out
You better not pout
You better not cry
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

This makes working through bad attitudes of a 4 year old easy breezy....

Am I just awful for using SANTA to help turn a pouty face to a happy face?!?
Should I feel guilty?
Am I a bad elf?

Maybe... BUT....

...when bad attitudes or just plain naughtiness is taking place....


Jarrett - Age 2
...when he doesn't want take a nap.....


Jarrett - Age 3

...when he would rather just play and not come to dinner....


Jarrett - 1 month 

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

I do realize that when Christmas is over, it's back to me being the "bad guy" when it comes to all these things.  But in the meantime, I'm working the Christmas Magic as much as I can.

Now don't hate me....we also know the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas.  The birth of our Savior, the story of the wise men (not only 3), the manger, all of it!  

But, Santa is just fun.  And as you can gather from this post...I'm definitely having fun with it!
In fact, I think I'll just hum this little tune and grab me some egg nog!

with love,

p.s.  I'm linking up with the blog hop.  Be sure to visit Miss-Mommy and the other blogs joining in on the hop!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

vintage, antique, just plain old...and lovely.

Any way you look at it, these are old but lovely.

Over Thanksgiving, we visited Jeff's Grandma and other family.

So, in tribute to "GG" (as Jarrett calls her), here are some things that have seen many days and nights...

Pictures of Jeff's Grandma & Grandpa....  These aren't the best copies, but they are vintage...and I feel privileged that I have this little bit....

Jeff's Grandpa died in an accident when the kids were young....  GG raised 4 kids as a single parent - I can't even imagine it.  But you do what you have to as a parent.


Why, oh WHY would you want an 80 year old outhouse at the beginning of your driveway?  But they love antiques and that this would be the perfect place for the garbage cans....so a backhoe was used to move this thing.  I didn't even ask if it was empty...I didn't really want to know the answer.

But Jarrett got to "drive" the tractor.  He was excited!


I don't really want to call GG "just plain old", but that is what Jarrett called her.  Not out of disrespect, but when I told him who we were visiting, his response was, "is she the really old one?".

Out of the mouths of babes....


When you go on a trip like this it puts things in perspective.

GG sold her house this summer and is now in a retirement facility.  Most of her things are not with her - they are in boxes at her son's house or disbursed to other family.  She has her necessities, her Bible, her kitty, her chair.  She is ok with it all - I think she actually enjoys it more than she thought she would.

When you think about your life and all the "stuff" you think you need - in the end it doesn't really matter.  You can't take it with you.

What matters is the relationships you make, the impact you have on the lives of your family and loved ones, what you did for Jesus.  This is what makes up your legacy.  Not your financial status or things you filled your home with.

I need to learn this again and again I think.  Thanks GG for the life lesson.

with love,