Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope you are all enjoying time with your families and even finding a little space to reflect on what coming to earth meant for Jesus. It's a little different from what Christmas means for us. What sacrifice and what love!

I plan on taking a short blogging break until the first of the new year. Until then we'll be visiting with family, playing with our boys, celebrating our anniversary, and doing normal life/work/church stuff too!

This is what Christmas looked like for us.

I look forward to seeing you in 2014! I have lots of new content planned for our new year and I'm eager to share it with you! 

Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cincinnati, Presents, and Christmas Cards

Today was Micah's genetics appointment in Cincinnati. He goes on a four month rotation now (far different from the every other week rotation we did when he was a baby!)

Obviously he was having a great time in the car this morning. They were more than pleased with him and did the normal bloodwork. 

But let's talk about the Christmas present we made for Micah's metabolic doctor. Yes, because he's awesome. I have mentioned that he called us from vacation- in HAWAII- to check on Micah when he was sick once? Oh, and there was that Christmas when Micah was sick and we talked to him on the phone or by text approximately 9,000 times a day while he was visiting his family in another state. He gets a present. 

We made this adorable thumbprint ornament! Tell me that's not cute? It was super easy too, just some craft paint and a cheap ornament. 

I wrote his name and the year on the back. This is a horrible picture but the bulb reflected the light wherever I stood. And I used a gold paint pen. It's amazing. My new best art friend, I think. I'll collect several. 

Then we made chocolate chip cookies. I used a wide mouth mason jar and stacked cookies in the bottom of it. (You have no idea how hard it was for me to make cookies that were sure to fit in this jar!) Then I set the ornament in some muffin liners that I had fluffed so they would hold the ornament safely.  Then I put a green and red curling ribbon around the top and tied it in a bow. 

I cut some kraft paper out in the shape of the lid of the jar and wrote on the top with my gold paint pen. It turned out remarkably hard to see on the brown paper so I outlined the left side of the letters with a red colored pencil. Then I hot glued the paper to the lid.  Cute, right? I hope it wasn't too cheesy :/

And there's a Christmas card saga. We had the family pictures made. We ordered the cards the day after Thanksgiving so we would have plenty of time to mail then. They shipped the next day. The postal service lost them in Memphis for two weeks. They refunded our money over the weekend. What? I was so sad because we had actually done everything to order the cards this year! But Justin whipped up this beautiful card for us and we saved our money! 

And really....if that's my biggest Christmas problem I am one blessed lady! 

(I promise I'm working on my photography skills. I know they're terrible!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Learning Takes Time

When Polish pianist Ignace Jan Paderewsky played before Queen Victoria, he won her enthusiastic approval. "Mr. Paderewsky," she exclaimed, "you are a genius." Paderewsky shook his head. "Perhaps, Your Majesty, but before that I was a drudge," he replied, alluding to the number of hours he spent practicing every day. 
I'm learning- slowly- to play Canon in D on the piano right now. It's so slow progress because my practice time is limited and divided among several endeavors. But I'm working on it and measure by measure I'm learning it. 

Of course a more experienced pianist would have no problem with this song. But it's not really fair to compare my four years playing experience (as an adult) to someone else's decades of playing, is it? We all start as beginners. And we slowly practice and learn and get better. 

photo courtesy of stock images/

This isn't just for playing the piano. It's true for mastering any new skill really. And yet I often forget this when I'm teaching my children. If I need time and practice to learn something new, why wouldn't my one and three year olds? 

It's easy to get frustrated when I'm explaining and demonstrating the same concept over and over.  But it's like learning Canon in D. Repeat short bar measures over and over until it's mastered. Then add a little more. Then practice the part that's already learned so you don't forget it. And slowly add more. I don't expect myself to play the whole song competently when I first sit down with the music. Neither should I expect my children to learn new concepts in one day. Learning takes time. 

So here's to more patience. For me and my children. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Prepping for New Year's Resolutions

We all know what will be happening in a few weeks- New Year's Resolutions! While I've cemented my direction for the new year I have not yet written down my goals for 2014. But I've been thinking about them. 

photo courtesy of stuart miles/

I've written off all the usual ones. I'm not going to promise to work out for an hour every day or never drink Dr. Pepper again. Or get up at 4 in the morning. All things I know that I cannot do on a daily basis for a year, or probably even a week. Four in the morning without some caffeine? I don't think so. 

As I've started considering goals for next year I found a quote on Pinterest.
 You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
The secret of  your success is found in your daily routine. 

What can I change in my daily routine that will change my life? Where do I need to make corrections? Maybe it's in something small. Changing something big is much more dramatic but usually not as effective. 

What do you need to change? 

And while you're considering, don't waste your December

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Obedience or Feelings?

This might come as a shock to some but you don't have to feel good about something to do it.  I know our society screams that we should do what feels good or what fulfills our deepest dreams but that's a lie. We can make excuses for the world but we have no excuse. As Christians, is that our criteria for how we make decisions? What feels good? It shouldn't be. 

If God says it, that's enough.  We could remove so many problems from our lives if we would act in obedience instead of on our feelings. 

Obey. Just obey. 

Obey when you feel like it. 
Obey when you don't feel like it. 
Obey when you like the command. 
Obey when you don't like the command. 

Of course we want to bring our feelings around. We don't want to feel miserable if we don't have to. God doesn't command us to be miserable; actually He commands us to rejoice. But feelings follow actions. We can't will feelings into existence. 

1. Practice thankfulness. If you are obeying, thank God for the blessings He promises for obeying. Thank God for every single thing you can think of. 

2. Remember the goal. What are you working toward? Obedience is the only way to get there. What are you trying to do today? 
-training your children
-building your marriage
-becoming God's lady
-leaving a legacy of godliness

Jesus is always our example. He always obeyed even if He didn't feel like it. Read Christ's prayers in Gethsemane. Going to the cross was not what He felt like doing but He submitted to the will of the Father. He kept the end goal in mind: the redemption of mankind. 

When I've done more for Jesus than what Jesus did for me I can start feeling sorry for myself. Until then, I'm going to work on obeying. 

Whether I feel like it or not. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Helps for a Well-Run Home

The approaching holiday season, current holiday season is pretty much in full-swing since Thanksgiving is already over and Christmas activities are ramping up. This time, probably more than any other, causes women to freak out about the state of their home. But rather than just fix up the problems for a few hours when company is coming why not FIX the problem so your family can enjoy the benefits? 

I want to have a well-run home and I don't want to be crazy doing it.  Nobody benefits from "Crazy Mama." You all know one. It's not pretty. 

How to not be crazy. 

1. Know the goal.  Our home is not a museum. I don't want it to be a museum; I want it to be home. I could have unattainable standards and be frustrated over life. Instead I realize that we will blocks scattered around the house and toys that need picked up. That's ok. 

2. Have a cleaning schedule. Right now we are cleaning on Mondays. Before we did a little every day. I'm sure that over the years this will change again. And again. But find what works for you where you are. 

Commit to something and do it. Tweak it along the way but don't wait for something perfect to start cleaning regularly. 

3. Do laundry regularly. Start a load as soon as you get up. I do most of our laundry on Mondays but average a load every day the rest of the week. 

Teach your children not to unfold your just-folded laundry. Don't make yourself crazy! For that matter, teach them to help you pick up and clean too. 

4. Have a meal plan. There are a variety of methods for this. I print out a two week calendar and write in the meals. You can keep it on the computer. You can just list seven to fifteen meals and cycle through them. You can use meal plans that you pay for. Do something and shop accordingly. 

5. Add in a little at a time. Don't decide to revolutionize your homemaking in a week, especially not these weeks before Christmas. Pick one thing and start it. Then next week, pick another. 

6. Clean your kitchen after meals and before bed. There's nothing nicer than a clean kitchen. And nothing more discouraging then a dirty one. 

This is what I want my kitchen to look like when we're done using it. And yes, I do have fall decorations up and a Christmas centerpiece. It's a work in progress. 

7. A little is better than nothing. Can't do it all that day or week? Just do what you can.  Do something even if you can't do it all. 

8. If you clean the house well every week if you have to skip a week it won't be a big deal. Say, "we'll get to it next week" and then go on with life. 

9.  Remember what's important. People aren't coming to your house to criticize (and if they are, they will find something regardless! You should probably find new friends in that case too). They are coming to enjoy your family's company.

Should I think of something else to have a number 10? Maybe, but that about covers it. I think it's interesting that half of the list is actual physical tasks and the rest is mental. How we think about what we do matters.  

Don't be a crazy lady- at least if you can help it!- keep that house in line!