A merry Christmas

I got the flu for New Years.  I don’t know, I think that doesn’t bode  well for 2015? 🙂  It’s been 8 days now, and I’m starting to come out of the fog and exhaustion.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had the flu before but, wow, it’s a doozy.

I’m making a cup of coffee, lighting a candle, and going back through Christmas pictures, our favorite little moments from this year to share with you here.


We had such a lovely Christmas, quiet and simple as it was.  We really love being home on Christmas morning and creating our own traditions as a new little family.  We are spoiled to have family nearby and we do love to try and see them around Christmas, but Christmas morning is sort of sacred.  With two kids’ birthdays the week of Christmas, it’s essential to be really picky-choosy about what we can manage

I so much want our kids to have a happy and cozy home to be in, a place where there is love, laughter, good food, forgiveness and grace, and a lot of the Spirit of Christ.  I want to create happy Christmas morning memories like I have of our home growing up.  Of course, our Christmas morning was sweet + fun, and also filled with lots of tears and petty fights that had to be settled.  You know, the usual.

I made these Eggnog Cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and they were a WIN.  Yum.


We got going slowly after that.  We don’t want to make the day all about the gifts, the getting, the materialism, but at the same time, we love giving the gifts.  There truly is something magical and plain GOOD about a time of year when you just want to shower everyone you love with good things.  We’ve seen some lean years in our nearly nine years of marriage, and it was a happy joy this year for both Brandon and I to be able to give each other gifts.  We find ourselves around Christmas easily sucked into all the consumerism and wanting to give our kids All The Things, so we tried a little system this year that we heard from some friends.  Each of us got four gifts: something to read, something to wear, something you want, and something you need.  It really helped us be intentional with our gift-giving and keep ourselves from getting carried away with plastic toys.

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After all the opening was done, and naps were had by all, my brother + sis-in-law came over for Christmas dinner.  What a sweet thing it is to be together over a meal and celebrate what Christ did for us, leveling all the obstacles, clearing the way for us to come back to God by coming down to earth.  Emmanuel, God with us.

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Hope so much you had a Merry Christmas, too, and already having a happy start to the New Year!  I’ll leave you with this little sequence of pictures, a slice of real life. 😉

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So, life has been a little busy lately.


We are all sorts of tired over here, back in the midst of the beautiful crazy that a newborn brings.  The holiday season is upon us, and two of my favorite little people have birthdays coming up the week of Christmas, too.  It’s the best (and busiest) time of year!

We’ve been doing lots and lots of this lately:

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This time around, I know how quickly that little newborn will morph into a toddler.  How soon her little baby fuzz will fall off and these sleepy days will become wakeful (and more rest-less).  I’m being more intentional this time around to just spend time holding and savoring this little one while she’s this little.

A few days after our littlest was born, Thanksgiving was upon us.  Though we really probably shouldn’t have been out with her yet, we couldn’t resist the Thanksgiving feast with our sweet family nearby.  (I told Brandon later, I truly don’t know anyone who cooks as well as my parents do.  We often are treated to dinner at their house, and it is hands down better than any restaurant I’ve ever been to!)

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One of our favorite Christmas traditions is finding a little local Christmas tree farm and chopping down our own tree (see last year’s endeavor here).  Since I was just days out of the hospital, we didn’t feel like we could risk traipsing around with a newborn in December looking for a tree so we went to our favorite nursery nearby to pick it out.  It was still fun!  It is what you make it, right? 🙂

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(the kids decorated their own tiny tree for their room)

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It gets more and more fun every year to celebrate the Christmas season, building memories and our own little traditions and seeing these little ones come alive to the wonder of the season.  It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

I’d love to hear your favorite traditions and memories surrounding Christmas!  Hope your holiday season is full with all the fun things that draw families together and make for a warm home, and full of what draws our hearts to Christ and to remember the beauty of His incarnation.

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Oh, Christmas tree!

This month is so full and busy for us.  There’s more celebration packed into it than we hardly know what to do with, BUT it is wild joy.  Both of our babies were born near Christmas, two years and three days apart.  So we have birthday festivities amongst all the Christmas festivities.  Between holiday parties, family gatherings, parades, gingerbread house making, extra church celebrations, etc., we find ourselves having to be pretty intentional about how to slow down and savor this month and all it holds!  We can get overworked, exhausted and irritable in a hurry if we aren’t careful.

With every weekend packed for the whole month of December, we headed out into the freezing cold on November 30th to chop down our Christmas tree.  If it didn’t happen then, it just wouldn’t have happened.  Both babies were pretty sick so we were in and out as quick as could be.


A little tree farm we just love.


^ Setting off to find our tree… ^Image



^ showing me her ribbon to tie on the tree ^



^ can you tell I love this red barn?? ^


^ so sick and yet smiling, as usual ^



^ found the one ^



^ and busy right away with decorating ^



A tree inside all covered in lights and color and memories makes us all so happy!

When you don’t want Jesus

What if at the bottom of it all, at my deepest core, I don’t really care about Jesus.  I don’t really want Jesus.

What is wrong in my heart that the greatest gift could become of so little consequence in my estimation?  What is wrong in my heart that some new clothes, books, or a device are more appealing to me than Jesus?  What is wrong that I could be more excited over birthday and holiday parties to come, over planning for events and chopping down a Christmas tree and decorating the house, over Christmas cards and music, than Christ Himself?  What could have caused such a shift that what is priceless and perfection and the answer for my every longing would be lost under the pile of material things?  (Things supposedly done in the name of celebration over the Savior’s birth.)  That when the words “He is the greatest gift are whispered to my soul, my soul isn’t satisfied?  Or exhilarated?  That I don’t feel much of anything.  Maybe it’s just me.

This is why I need Advent this Christmas.  This is why I need the journey, the slow and steady and deliberate plodding from the Garden to the Manger to the Cross and the empty Tomb.  Because my heart is bent away from God.  Because lesser things continually come in and slowly, quietly, choke out the good things.  Because I want to see Him again, anew, as the greatest gift, as the best and highest and most precious thing this Christmas season.  Because I don’t want to miss Him and I don’t want a Christmas I can buy.  Because I want my heart at its core to want Jesus.  Because “the greatest gift we can give our great God is to let His love make us glad” (Voskamp, The Greatest Gift).

May He be found anew and treasured more highly than all else!

“We must be sure of the infinite good that is done to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that we may be ravished in love with our God and inflamed with a right affection to obey Him, and keep ourselves strictly in awe of Him.”  -John Calvin