Saturday, December 31, 2011

I learned a very important lesson last night...

just say no to muscle relaxers. Last night at around 1 am I got desperate for some kind of relief. My legs has been aching horribly all day long (this is actually pretty standard for me, but it was worse yesterday for some reason). I tried everything I could to fix them.

Hot bath = no relief
Tylenol = didn't even make a dent in the pain
Wrap my legs tightly in a blanket = I was desperate but nothing.

I was exhausted and in pain and so I stumbled to our medicine cabinet and saw some muscle relaxers. The instructions said, "Take as needed for muscle pain." So I decided this was such an occasion and I took one. A little while later I fell asleep the pain in my legs gone.

Here's the problem, 12 hours later (one in the afternoon), I still wasn't able to function as a human. The medication was still taking effect and I could not shake the drug induced haze that surrounded me.

I kept trying to move, get myself out of bed, after all I have a sermon to write, a newsletter article to finish, a book to read. Not to mention I just needed to get out of bed. (Thank goodness Marcus has the day off).

Here I am it's 3:46 pm. I don't have any pain but I'm pretty sure I could nod off to sleep any second.

Just say no to drugs, that's the lesson I've learned. Muscle relaxers are not for me.


Anyone have a similar experience? Is this normal to feel like a zombie 16 hours later? I don't hurt, but I can barely stay awake.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Library Love...

Last week, I decided after living in Mayberry for almost 6 months it was time to check out the library. I'm a huge book lover but I have had my reasons for avoiding it. (Mostly because a member of my congregation works there and for some reason that bothered me).

However, I decided to get over that weird little quirk of mine and so off Eli, Emerson and I went. The library is tiny, which I already knew, and the selection was minimal. Plus, there were books on the shelf that in my opinion should always be checked out. (Also a few of the books I checked out had never been read despite being the shelf for several years, poor lonely library books). Although considering 70% of the community I live in is Spanish speaking and there's only a few shelves with Spanish books explains some of this.

Emmy loved the library. She picked a few books of the shelf. Grabbed a chair and immediately set about reading them.

It was one of the most adorable things I've ever seen and had it just been her and I that day it would have been a very pleasant library expedition.  (I apologize for the picture it's from my cell phone).

Eli also had a great time. He found a stool with wheels on it...

He might have rolled himself all over the library. Maybe... I can't say for sure.

Anyways, Emerson was very excited at the prospect of choosing a few books to take home with us and when you let a 2 year old pick out their own library books this is what you get:
1. Maisy's Halloween by Lucy Cousins
2. El Comercio por Patria E. Gutman
3. Quique Duerme Fuera de Casa por Bernard Waber

A halloween book and two books in Spanish. I found her selections hilarious. Although I really don't mind reading to them in Spanish. Eli also grabbed a few books of the shelves, they were from the adult fiction section and he was just being naughty (this has been an issue lately) to avoid trying to figure out where they came from I just checked them out.

And, because I live in Mayberry as soon as I arrived home from the library, the librarian (the member of my congregation called me about something pertaining to the library). Oh small town living... it's weird, and there's no such thing as being anonymous.

Review: The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow

Jeffrey Zaslow's newest book The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish For our Daughters chronicles the journeys of eight brides who all purchase their wedding dress from Becker's Bridal in Fowler, Michigan. The book also chronicles the history of Becker's Bridal and the four generations of Becker women who have made that store their livelihood.

I'll be honest when I heard the premise of this book I could not figure out how he wrote a book about a Bridal shop. Where's the story? I imagined scenes similar to those we might see on television in the advent of popular wedding shows like Say Yes to the Dress.

I was pleasantly surprised that Zaslow offered commentary on marriage, history of Becker's bridal and some commentary on how the wedding business has shifted throughout the years, and finally the part I enjoyed the most was the chronicling of eight brides as they searched for their wedding dress.

Zaslow, chronicled not only their shopping quest but also background into the lives of each of the women. Who they were, who their families were, and what factors led them to the Magic Room of Becker's bridal. (The Magic Room is where the bride sees herself in her wedding dress surrounded by mirrors and under perfect lighting).

Each of the stories offered about the women were unique some full of loss, pain, heartbreak, others full of faith and love. Each culminating in the marriage and the beginnings of a new life.

Overall this was a really enjoyable read and I would recommend it. I appreciated the idea that in the midst of the wedding dress shopping, brides and their friends and family are doing so much more. They're preparing for a new life, a new future, and the histories of many generations of people are coming together.

However, my biggest critique is that the women Zaslow writes about are not a very diverse group of women. Yes, they're all different ages, some are entering into second marriages, but they are all part of the dominate, white, heteronormative culture. Perhaps this limitation comes from the location of the bridal shop in Michigan but I would have liked to see a broader diversity of brides.

To read more about Jeffrey Zaslow and to join in on some conversations visit  the blogher book club Magic Room Discussion.

Note: This is a paid review by blogher book club. However, the opinions expressed are all mine.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Final Christmas Post...

Surely Christmas deserves three posts right? Well even if it doesn't that's what it got.

Christmas morning this year was different because Christmas fell on a Sunday and I had to lead worship. My immediate thoughts weren't really on Christmas but instead work.

Eli and Emerson went to bed so late on Christmas eve they didn't wake up until after 9 (much to Marcus' disappointment he was very excited about Santa).

Eli came out first and didn't know what to make of the scene in our living room. He held back and just stared at the toys.

Emerson emerged a few minutes later and slowly made her way up to the new toys, which then allowed Eli to go to. The trikes were the immediate favorite, especially for Eli he spent all day sitting on his trike.

They also both found a sucker in their stockings from Santa and were really excited to be allowed candy in the morning. Emmy kept saying, "Thank you Santa Sucker" I'm pretty sure the sucker and the trike would have been sufficient for both of them.

After discovering the suckers in their stockings. It was christmas so they were allowed to eat them in the morning (yuck). 

They got some new hats from their sunday school teacher. Emmy wore her new piggy hat for most of the morning. 

Eli is an aspiring photographer. He's obsessed with our camera and was even more taken with it when he discovered our tri-pod. On Christmas Eve he had the camera and kept taking pictures and saying, "Happy Birthday"

Christmas made me tired. 
New Sleeping bags from Gram and Grandad

Christmas dinner. After a bath we sat them on the counter and essentially spoon fed them real food. After a day of candy and cookies they needed to be forced to eat something of substance.

Eli wasn't really into unwrapping presents. He mostly wanted to eat candy and sit on his new bike. Emmy understood the idea of opening presents but she went very slowly. We were still unwrapping around 2pm.

Then we had Eli and Emmy lay down and watch a movie in hopes they would nap (they didn't). I did though :~).

It was a very nice Christmas. I'm so glad my in-laws could join us. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Christmas Eve...

I love traditions and I've been so grateful that Marcus and I have been able to create family traditions of our own while also maintaining some of the traditions from when we were growing up. One of the traditions from my childhood is that we have snacks and appetizers on Christmas eve. My mom figured out pretty early that with six kids making a full meal on Christmas eve was not worth her effort, since we were all too wound up to eat. Eli was particularly fond of the chocolate in the cookies. 
He helped himself to several cookies...

At the chocolate out of it and then moved onto another cookie. 

Our Christmas Eve feast haha.

In Marcus' family their family tradition was to get matching Pajamas on Christmas eve, and so that lives on as well. My mother in law was encouraging Emmy to jump off the couch it makes for some great action pictures.

She loves jumping

And Eli wanted to play too.

Our family in matching pajamas. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

We had a Merry Christmas...

 We had a really good Christmas.
My first Christmas Eve service as a pastor went really well and we had a nice amount of people.
Marcus' parents drove down to celebrate with us, which is always exciting for Eli and Emmy.

Emmy loved her Christmas dress and requested to put it on several hours before church. 
Eli had way to much chocolate on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The boy has a sweet tooth. 

 Emmy really didn't want Santa to come to her house, so we tried not to talk about it too much the night before. I didn't want her to be scared. She also insisted on a necklace because I had a necklace on for church. 
I'll post more tomorrow.
I'm so tired and my house looks like a tornado hit it, but it was a nice Christmas. 
We are blessed. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today made me tired...

I'm honestly too exhausted to go into details about today but we had some less than stellar moments.

The day started with me having my 6 am prayer service, crawling back into bed, Marcus leaving early for a training, and both Eli and Emerson crawling into bed with me.

I fell back asleep, Eli & Emmy did not. Very bad parenting move on my part. I woke up to discover that they had an entire box of chocolate for breakfast.

Then, later in the afternoon I was separating the laundry and they were playing quietly (or so I thought). Emerson brought me her pig, covered in maple syrup and said, "wash mama, bubba did it."

Curious to see what he did, I found him with a bottle of maple syrup. He poured it everywhere. Inside their car, inside his toy stroller, all over our sidewalk, all over himself. He was having a great time.

I got the hose out to try and clean everything up, and Eli and Emerson decided this would be a good moment to play in the water (our hose doesn't fit quite right and a lot of water shoots of at the spout).

The only saving grace is that he took the maple syrup outside and not in the house.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas and infertility...

Marcus and I are among the success after infertility crowd, but I haven't forgotten the deep pain of infertility, especially around the holidays.

In fact Christmas is something that I will always associate with our infertility, because we were home for Christmas when we received the phone call with our diagnosis. The news that having a biological child  was not an option, the news that having a child would require medical intervention.

We've made great strides since then, we've become parents x 2, but I haven't forgotten.

I continue to be surprised by those around me who also experience infertility. Particularly, when the pain and the language surrounding the loss of infertility is so similar to my own. I've been reading a book by Miro.slav V.olf (I don't want him to google his name and find my blog haha), called F.ree of C.harge. He's incredibly well known in the field and was my theology professor in graduate school.

We have absolutely nothing in common. He's a 55 year old man from Croatia. He's brilliant, a giant in the field, author of countless books. Our paths crossed briefly in the Fall of 2008 when he was my systematic theology professor, but I'm sure he wouldn't even remember my presence in that class.

Yet, as I was reading his book I discovered that he and his wife suffered through infertility, 9 years they tried to have a child, 100 months of trying. And in his book he expressed, in words almost identical to my own, what it's like at Christmas and in Advent to experience infertility, he writes;
"The season of Advent was the worst. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given," I would hear, read, or [sing] in hundreds of different versions. But for me a child was withheld. The miracle of Mary's conception, the rejoicing of the heavens at her newborn child, the exultation of Elizabeth, all became signs of God's painful absence, not God's advent,... at Christmas, I felt like a child in a large family, the only one to whom parents had forgotten to give gifts. Others' joy increased my sadness. "And his name shall be called, 'wonderful, a mighty God..." No, not wonderful; at best puzzling. No, not a mighty God; at best, a sympathetic but disappointing divine observer. (page 31).

These words, these emotions, are the things I felt, are things I expressed, it's the pain I bore. It's the pain that so many are still bearing as they mourn the absence of a desperately desired child. I am remembering them right now as we approach Christmas. The pain of what seems to be God's absence, in the midst of celebrating miracles of conception.

I imagine that there are some who wonder if I'll ever "get over" the infertility. After all we have children, the end goal of all of this, and in some ways I have. In the book V.olf refers to infertility like a poison, and after he and his wife adopted their two sons he wrote, "Since [infertility] gave me what I now can't imagine living without, [that] poison was transmuted into a gift, God's strange gift. The pain of it remains, of course. But the poison is gone" (32).

That's exactly how I feel. The poison of infertility is gone, and infertility is a poison; it brings out some ugly, crazy, painful emotions, thoughts, and feelings, which once consumed me and made baby showers, birth announcements, pictures, pregnancies etc., a painful and ugly reminder of what we couldn't have. That poison is gone, and I'm so grateful for that, but the pain is something that will always remain.

And so with just a few days before Christmas I remember and offer a prayer of hope and strength for those still in the midst of both the poison and the pain.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things my kids say...

I realize that these posts are probably only really interesting to me and Marcus and maybe my MIL who reads this blog, but as their language skills progress, I continue to be amazed and amused by them.

So if you don't want to read the things my two year olds say no worries but I want to remember.

~As I've mentioned before Eli is still in love with his bottle and he asks for one all day long. If he hurts himself, and cries, he has figured out this is a good opportunity to garner some sympathy and request a bottle (this almost always works with his dad). I however will not give him a bottle during the day I'm the mean mom.

Lately I've been telling Eli that bottles are for little babies and he's a big boy. So today Eli says, "bottle?"

And I told him he was a big boy. His response was, "no bottle baby" over and over he kept insisting that he was in fact a baby I should just give him a bottle.

~ Around 5:30pm we were all getting antsy so I decided we would go for a walk with the wagon and see some of the christmas lights. We made a brief pit-stop at the store so I could get a soda (I needed some caffeine it's my only vice :~).

Eli did not want to get out of the wagon, but I finally coaxed him inside. The entire time we were in store Emmy kept reassuring Eli saying, "One minute bubba, one minute bubba"

Because I had told them it would only take one minute. When we got back to the wagon Emmy said, "See bubba all better."

Haha, she can be so sweet.

~I also continue to get a big kick about her re-telling of their visit to santa. Tonight on our walk we saw a santa decoration. Emmy pointed out santa and said, "Santa, I crying, candy, markers, book"

Her way of explaining that she cried when she saw santa, but he gave her some candy, crayons, and a coloring book. She's pretty matter-of-fact about the whole thing. I think the surprises from santa helped make up for the trauma of crying.

~ Finally, Eli's newest thing is to flip whatever we say to him back to us. For example if we say:

"Eli do you need a new diaper?" He'll respond, "No you need diaper."

"Eli you need to clean up." "No you clean up"

"Eli eat your dinner" "You eat dinner"

"Eli be nice" "You be nice"

He says these things with a big smile on his face as though he's making the funniest joke ever, and pointing back at us. Emphasis on the you. He's not being naughty or talking back, he's truly just joking around, (the best I can tell from his mannerisms).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Today was busy...

and I'm incredibly tired.


~Preparation for my open house

~Open house at the parsonage

While caroling we stopped at the house of an older man that I've never met. He saw me at the funeral I officiated last week, and so tonight he says to me, "I saw you at the service I thought you were just a child, no older than a junior in high school, but you sure are cute as hell."

Normally, these "being too young" comments bother me but from this guy it was just hilarious.

I also discovered that in the tiny little town of "Mayberry" there's a whole section I haven't explored. Very educational to carol around the small town.

~Soup and fellowship following caroling at the parsonage.

I didn't get my Sunday afternoon nap. Now onto this week. Christmas eve service and a Christmas day service to plan before my in-laws arrive.

Plus I haven't made any Christmas cookies yet and really feel like I should...

How is it already a week until Christmas?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

They're not Santa Fans...

I felt like a bad mom for the few seconds that it took to take the picture, but I just had to do it.

This was our third trip to visit Santa. I was hoping that with a few visits they would get comfortable and I wouldn't have to deal with crying kids. (I really, really don't want them to ever feel uncomfortable or scared for a photo opt. It's never my first option). 

Our second trip went really well. Eli brought his stuffed puppy to meet Santa and asked for candy. He must have forgotten because today it was just tears for both of them.

However, as soon as it was over they both thanked Santa for their candy and happily wandered off with their candy cane, so it must not have been too traumatizing. All day today Emerson has been saying, "Santa, candy, I crying," she's pretty matter-of-fact about the whole experience. 

P.S. Isn't Santa's face hilarious? We had three options to chose from but when I saw Santa's face in this one I couldn't resist. 

They also really like Santa from a distance, they mostly just don't want to sit with him. 

P.S.S. In another episode of weird things people say. We were at the grocery store and a women asked if they were twins. (That's not weird, it's pretty standard). Then she says, "Oh look how cute, your daughter is blinking."

Umm... why yes she is.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

St Lucia Day...

Today, we haphazardly celebrated St Lucia day. I was so proud because I was way more on top of it this year than last and I was planning on finishing everything I needed to do for it yesterday.

Then I couldn't move at all yesterday so there went those plans. Instead I had to drive Marcus to work at 7 and then I did errands with Eli and Emmy for 3 hours this morning. That was a nightmare.

Then I quickly created Emerson her wreath crown, Eli his star-boy outfit, we whipped up some Cinnamon rolls (because once again I wasn't on the ball enough to make something authentic).

Before I was out of commission, I was planning on delivering treats to the people in my congregation. That didn't happen. We only made it to one house before we called it a day. Plus neither Eli or Emmy would wear their head pieces. Oh well, there's always next year.
Going to the house of my parishioner to deliver some treats. 

Inside, playing.
Trying to get a picture.

Our star boy, he looks very enthusiastic. This is the only picture I could get with his hat on. 

Trying to get a picture of both of them. 

Our little St. Lucia the only picture with her wreath on. 

Then they had a great time playing at the church. 

And had to be carried home by their dad, because they found all the piles of leaves and didn't want to come inside. 

Here's the paper I printed up to give to those we visited. Most of the information came out of a children's book I have called Lucia Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde. It's a very simple explanation so that people would have a basic understanding of what we were doing. 

In Sweden on December 13th is the Feast of St. Lucia. The Swedish people love St. Lucia because she saved Sweden from famine in the middle ages. On the darkest day of the most terrible winter, they saw a boat sailing towards them. In the front of the boat stood a beautiful maiden, dressed in white and glowing. When the boat reached land St. Lucia handed out sacks of wheat for all the people to eat.

Lucia also means light. In Sweden, the winter nights are very long, with only a few hours of daylight. So St. Lucia is associated with the return of light.

Today, the oldest girl in the family dresses in a white gown with a red sash. She wears a wreath of candles, which helps light the way and keep her hands free to carry food. On December 13th the oldest girl sings and delivers food to family and friends. The other females in the family dress as attendants also in white but without the crown wreath of candles.
The boys in the family dress in white, with a white pointy hat and are known as Stjärngossar (Star boys) and accompany St. Lucia as she delivers her food. The traditional food on St Lucia day is a Lussekatter Bun, (I was afraid to try and make them for other people) so instead we bring you a Cinnamon Roll in celebration of this day as we celebrate and remember our Scandinavian Heritage.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not a good health day for me...

Last night I was in immense pain. I couldn't move without every joint in my body screaming in agony. Today wasn't any better, in fact, it was worse.

I'm not sure if I'm sick or if this is a Crohn's flair up. Crohn's can cause joint pain and I without a doubt have joint pain. It hurts to exist in my body at the moment.

Thank goodness Marcus had today off because I was useless. Mostly, I laid around, tried to stay warm, and tried to avoid moving. 

When I was resting in the bed Emerson brought me 5 blankets to cover me up. Funny girl.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's hard to take pictures with 2 year old twins...

but on thanksgiving day, it was my husband who was causing the problems.

Well this one it was Marcus and Eli...

And Marcus again...

And again (isn't his frowning ability impressive?)

And again...
Finally, we settled with this one and moved on with life.

 I was wondering why my sister kept having to take picture after picture. It was Marcus' fault. And my curtains are very green in these pictures aren't they? 

You should see the pictures my mother-in-law tried to take many years ago with Marcus and his two brothers. It was like this but with three adult males acting like children and I thought toddlers were bad.... and well toddlers are awful too.

Tomorrow I'll show you the toddler edition. Eli, Emerson, and their cousin Hannah. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's washing day...

For Eli's blanket and Emerson's piggy.

Cue, epic meltdown times two. With cries of "Piggy, piiiggggyyyyy" & "blankie, blankie"

Poor kids, I hope they wash and dry quickly.

Do your kids freak out when it's time to wash their security item?

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Today, I met the newest little member of my congregation at just a few hours old. Mama and baby doing amazing. He was so tiny and perfect. It's funny how quickly you forget how small a newborn is (and how small mine must have been considering this little guy was almost 8lbs compared to their 3lbs).

Then on Saturday I'll officiate my second funeral and we'll say good-bye to another member of the congregation. The cycle of life and death.

I feel blessed and humbled t to pay witness, offer blessings, and prayers in both events.

Both life changing...

The celebration of a new life just beginning, and the celebration and remembering of 89 years well lived.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nativity Scenes...

I love Nativity Scenes. Especially, because there are so many that are so unique. In another life (A life where I had unlimited resources) I would have made a point to collect a scene from each country I've been too. However, since all of my international traveling thus far has been on a student's budget that didn't happen.

Here are the three I currently have in my possession.

This is the scene I've had the longest. It's an expensive set from Wal-mart I think. We got it the first year we were married and it's been a part of our Decembers for the last 9 years.

This is the Willow Tree Nativity Scene that my mother-in-law bought me several years ago.
I love it and that camel is the one that Emerson couldn't stop kissing.
This one is probably my favorite. I had it made by a local artist in 2005 while I was in Zimbabwe. It's made out of the stone that's so prevalent in the country (my brain isn't working right now so I can't remember what it's called, anyone know?)  and was hand carved just for me. The price was astounding to me too, only $20 for a hand carved set. I think it's so unique and I love it. 

"Bubba did it"...

This is Emerson's new favorite thing to say. Poor Eli he's speaking skills aren't quite as advanced as his sisters at this point and he gets blamed for everything. I just had this conversation with Emerson as she brought me a broken ornament off the tree.

Emmy: Here mama, tree.

Me: Uh oh Emmy, it's broken we're not suppose to touch the tree.

Emmy: Oh gosh... (this is also new it cracks me up).

Me: Emmy did you break it?

Emmy: No bubba did it.

haha I have no idea who actually broke the ornament but anytime I find a mess, a tipped over table, something moved that they know not to touch, lately it's been, "bubba did it."

Poor Eli he better learn to defend himself soon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh Christmas tree...

Before I really start my post, Marcus has been dissecting the song O Christmas Tree. The line "Thy leaves are so unchanging" really bothers him. He argues that pine trees don't have leaves they have pine needles to that line in the song is not only unnecessary it's also wrong. Plus, he thinks the whole song is dumb... In my opinion it's way better than the 1984 song called, "Do they know it's Christmastime" which has brilliant lines like, "and there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas" the whole song is so incredibly dumb. P.S. I live in CA and there won't be any snow here this Christmas either.

Okay, now onto the real point, but I think I could do an entire post of bad Christmas songs. We went shopping for our Christmas tree finally. Eli and Emmy ran around the Christmas tree yard say, "this one, this one, this one" and pointing to a million different trees. We eventually picked on and brought it home.

Eli helped Marcus cut the tree, bring it inside, and then water it.

In fact they both had a great time watering it. They didn't want to stop. 

Then it was time to decorate. When we first turned on the lights for some reason Emmy kept trying to blow them out like a candle it was adorable. 

Then on with the ornaments. First they both just sort of tossed them in the tree. Then we showed them how to hang them on the branches so they were all really low and in one spot. 

Emmy putting on another ornament.  
Sometimes at home she likes to dress herself and I let her. She seems to think the bottoms that come with dresses make suitable pants. Whatever works for the girl I suppose. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Countdown with Books...

Last year, somewhere on the internet I saw the idea of wrapping 24 children's books and unwrapping and reading one each night to countdown to Christmas. (This year that idea is all over pinterest as well).

At that point in time I had exactly 3 children's Christmas books to my name and didn't have the money to go buy 22 more, but I did hold onto the idea for this year and put it in to action. I had 14 books that I owned and my MIL bought a few, and also let us borrow some from her collection to fill out the days. The rest was easy...

All the books ready to be wrapped. I probably spent way more time than necessary planning the order in which they would open the books. But there were a few days that I had specific books in mind. For example on December 13th we celebrate St. Lucia's day and so we're reading a book about her and the celebration on the 12th night in preparation. 
Then I wrapped them all up and put a number tag on them. I follow a blog called Clean Mama. She's doing the same thing with her kids and created these adorable tags that you can download and print for free. If you haven't ever looked at her blog or her etsy site you should. It's adorable. I've ordered a couple of things from etsy, including a custom made worship planning sheet to use when planning my sunday services. Seriously, her blog and site are amazing I love it. Go check it out immediately. (She also often has freebies like these cute tags).
All the books go under the small tree in our family room. Eli and Emerson got to open the first one tonight. They are finally starting to grasp the concept of unwrapping. 

And they did a good job sharing the job. Although when Emmy finished unwrapping this one she immediately headed to the tree and said, "I another one." Once I told her we were going to read the new book she was fine. We all climbed onto our couch in front of the Christmas tree and read the book. 

Then we took the tag, punched a hole in it and hung it on our countdown tree. By Christmas the whole tree will be filled with count down numbers (Sorry for the bad picture the lighting and shadow were not being my friend).

I'm so in love with this new tradition and I hope we can continue it forever haha (I asked Marcus if I could have an adult version with 24 novels for me he didn't think that was a very good idea).

And in case anyone is interested here's our list of books and the days we'll read them. We'll read the book on the 25th first thing in the morning before church.

1. The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
2. The Christmas Story with Holly Babes
3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Adapted by Rick Bunsen
4. A Night in Santa's Great Big Bag by Kristin Kladstrup and Time Jessell
5. Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
6. Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson
7. The Last Straw by Fredrick H. Thury
8. The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry
9. Elf A Short Story of a Tall Tale As Told by David Berenbaum by Buddy Hobbs
10. The Little Christmas Tree Illustrated by Susanna Ronchi
11. Ten Christmas Lights Illustrated by Jo Parry
12. Lucia Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde
13.  Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Jane Chapman and Karma Wilsom
14. Biscuit's Christmas Eve by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
15. Santa's Toy Shop By Al Dempster
16. My Christmas Stocking Filled with God's Love
17. The Christmas Story
18. Zeek the Christmas Tree Mouse by Richard H. Schneider
19. What's Coming for Christmas by Kate Banks
20. The Mitten by Jan Brett
21. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
22. Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
23. The Animals' Christmas Eve by Gale Wiersum
24. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
25. Today is Christmas by P.K. Hallinan

CLEAN MAMA: Holiday Gift and Advent Labels - Freebie

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I read in November...

1. Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life by Lauren F. Winner ****
2. Crossed by Ally Condie ***
3. Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo*
4. The Litigators by John Grisham ***
5. What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins***
6. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant*****
7. Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison*****
8. Escape by Carolyn Jessop****
9. Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz*
10. Believe It, Be It: How Being the Biggest Loser Won Me Back my Life***

I'm pretty satisfied with 10 books this month. I'm still hoping to break over 100 before the end of the year but we'll see how it goes. Advent is a pretty busy time in my business :~)

Total books read in 2011: 92

P.S. the * mean how many stars I rated the book. You'll notice a couple of one stars. That's always a bummer when a book just isn't good.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today I had some precious one-on-one time with both my kids. Eli took a very long nap this afternoon so it was just me and Emerson for several hours. She chatted, helped me wrap some presents, found every snowman in our Christmas box, and then asked me to take their pictures.
She held them up and said, "cheese" then politely said, "thank you mama"

And another set of snowmen. (At some point she decided she no longer wanted to wear her pants this afternoon). 

Then tonight I put both kids to bed at their regular time. Emerson fell asleep instantly, Eli however because of his nap did not. After he was in their for about an hour it became apparent that he wasn't yet tired and I didn't want him to wake his sister. So I had him come out and sit with me.

Of my two kids Emerson is louder, more vocal, more demanding, and requires way more attention. So I especially cherish my time with Eli. Tonight sitting on my lap in his quiet soft spoken voice he asked me about Charlie, Hannah, and Grammy. (Charlie and Hannah are cousins). He then said "home?" 

He doesn't often initiate conversations he mostly just parrots everything we say, so I adored that he was  communicating with me. 

Then he went and got these small santa and snowman figures that light up and plug into my computer. As they changed from color to color, we practiced saying each of them. 

Of course then his daddy came home and Eli pretty much went crazy with excitement.

I hope that I have more opportunities each day to spend time with my kids one-on-one. I love having time with each of them, they're so different and I love the opportunity to cherish and honor the things that make each of them, so beautifully and uniquely them.