Tag Archives: Christmas

Clothed In Righteousness

19 Dec

Dear Stacy, and Mom, and every other Mom I talked to today,

Thank you.  Thank you a thousand times over.

As you know, today I suffered from a severe case of Irrational Mommy Guilt.  It began at approximately 12:07 this morning when my head finally hit the pillow after an evening of rehearsals, church, more rehearsal, cutting pineapple into stars, transforming strawberries into santa hats, assembling snowman heads out of styrofoam cups, and frantically finishing last-minute gift knitting.

At that fateful minute I realized two things, 1)  I never finished knitting Peter’s Christmas sweater and 2) my daughter didn’t own a beautiful, sparkly, preschool-program-worthy Christmas dress.

The tears, phone calls, and monopolized conversations you all endured are precious to me.  I thank you, because despite the materialist, covetous, prideful nature of my problem, you gently forgave my weakness, shored me up with your words of encouragement and offers to help, and met me with your own parental misgivings.

You are dear women.  Models of motherhood.  Sisters in Christ.

So with you, I share my joy.

Preschool Program

The dress is more beautiful than I ever could have hoped for.  Sleeves.  It has sleeves.


And I promise, there are sparkles on there.  Cele wasn’t going to leave the store without sparkles.  Talking her down from the glittery, taffeta, rhinestoned purple number was a chore, though.

Pete and Cele

I didn’t photoshop this with some “soft” filter. That blur is just powdered sugar residue left over from my Mommy Guilt about holiday candy.

And although the sweater is not technically finished (I’m going to uncharacteristically not point out it’s raw edges to you, though.) (The armholes.  I totally haven’t put the ribbing on the armholes yet.  I can’t help myself.) he was thrilled to finally be able to wear his “brown.”


And the tie, “like Daddy does,” was the real star on top of the tree.

The best part of the evening wasn’t their clothing, though.  And it wasn’t my fleeting sense of Mommy accomplishment.  It wasn’t even three-year-old giddiness at new duds.  It was hearing my children remind me that the Maker of everything came as an itsy-bitsy baby, held in his own mother’s arms, which probably rocked a little less violently than preschool hand-motions might lead you to believe.  And that his coming as a man was for the purpose of forgiving my sins.  My sins of worrying about tomorrow and fretting over clothing.

And that’s the Joy I want to share with you, too.

In the Love of His Incarnation,

Cele and me

As soon as I pulled this photo up I realized that I lost one of my earrings. So, if you see it hanging around school . . . but I’m not worried about my clothing. No, not at all.

The Pits

5 Dec

What do a cherry pitter and Christmas tree lights have in common?

Cherry Pitted Lights

Nothing.  That is, until they fall into the hands of Evil Twin Genius.

_________________________________________________________________________________words worth

Cousin Chaos

4 Jan

We all had a really, really good time together.  See:

Wait, that doesn’t really capture it.  How about this:

Still not exactly representative of the family togetherness we all felt.  Let’s give it one more shot:

Never mind.  You’ll just have to take our word for it.


Wonder where we are?

28 Dec

You should go back and read this.  Oh, and we’re having a great time.  A REALLY, GREAT, LOUD TIME. 🙂 lol


From Our Families to Yours

25 Dec

For You and Your Kin

23 Dec

Earlier this afternoon our family exchanged gifts, and now I want to share a little of that giving and receiving mood with you, our readers.  That’s right, it’s time for our first ever Giveaway!  Okay, so we’ve given away virtual certificates, used turtlenecks, and bragging rights before, but this is for real.  An actual object, to a random commenter.

What will it be, you ask?

Don’t worry Abe, it’s not your hand-me-down Christmas socks.  Remember, we already tried rewarding people with used apparel, it wasn’t a huge success.

How about our boys’ favorite stocking stuffer . . .

three-packs of invisible tape.  It would be my favorite stocking stuffer too, if it were actually invisible.

No?  Well, how about Cindy Lou Who from When the Grinch Stole Christmas?

Sorry, we’re keeping our girl and her curl.  We might be willing to part with our new vegetable serving dish.

Pete’s always giving us an ear full.  Of peas.

It is Friday, after all, so I suppose it would be most fitting to give away a book.  And, I know just the one:

The Very First Christmas  by Paul Maier is a standard around these parts.  My sister even mentioned it earlier.

Look, it won a pretty sticker for excellence in Evangelical Christian Literature.

In addition to being a professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University and one of the Vice Presidents of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, Dr. Maier was Jerry’s Pastor when he was in college.  He’s written several entertaining, and informative books aimed at adults, but in this children’s book he puts to rest some of the myths of the Christmas story and gives an historically accurate rendering of the story.

The illustrations are quite lovely, and just learned that the artist, Francisco Ordaz also worked on E.T. and Return of the Jedi.  So, there’s that.

And how does one win this glorious book?

Well, here at the blog we’re kind of selfish, so we want to something in return.  We want to pick your brain.  That’s right, in order to be entered in this giveaway you need to leave one (1) comment with the answer to the following question:

What is your favorite Christmas Book?

Old or new, for young or aged, based in fact or fiction.  We’re not picky.  And if you don’t have a favorite seasonal tale just name any ol’ book that floats your boat.  And if there are no books that you enjoy, then you might want to rethink your interest in this giveaway, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Since we’re going to be living life unplugged for the next week-plus, this giveaway is open until 2012.  That’s right, you have until December 31, 2011 at 11:59 to get in the game.  We won’t announce the winner until next year.  But don’t worry.  It will still be Christmas.


For Us and Our Kin

22 Dec

Things I (We) Love:  Time on the Interwebs


Things I (We) Love:  Time with our Family

Something’s gotta give.

Therefore,  during the 12 Days of Christmas (please recall my earlier rant explaining the proper dates,) or for at least the Octave of Christmas (the week between Christmas and New Years’ Day) we intend to err on the side of familial festivities.  Instead of digitizing our every memory, we plan to make a few.  We will replace emoticons with actual smiles, lol’s with audible joy, and the all caps of our children’s voices with ear-splitting excitement.

Santa, did I mention that earplugs are inexpensive and would totally fit in my stocking?

But we do have a few more treats for you to pop out of this virtual Advent calendar.  Tomorrow will be our first ever book giveaway.  Saturday, Stacy has something up her sleeve (at least I’ve bossed her around and told her to do so.)  And if you’ve been nice this year, there might even be a special Christmas morning surprise for you.

After that, we join generations of elementary students in skipping out of the classroom on a Christmas party sugar high and hollering the most clever of all second grade adieus:

“See you next year!”


Can we say cheese?

21 Dec

My children learned everything they know about posing for pictures from Stacy’s children.

At last, something that can’t be blamed on me.


Going on Book Tour

16 Dec

I’m supposed to talk to you about a book today, judge it by its cover, and give you the whole entertaining scoop.  But, things are very messy around here, and I can’t seem to focus on a book.

Okay, let’s be honest, I can’t seem to focus on much of anything.

So instead, let’s start off Christmas Vacation with a tour of everyone’s favorite death tourist trap, our house.  We’ll even make this fit our Friday theme and make it a Bibliotechnic Tour.

Shall we begin?  Please watch your step.  No seriously, don’t stub your toe on the potato bin the Twins rolled into the living room or pierce your foot on that Imaginext guy’s sword.

Our first stop is the dining room.  Here, underneath our table is our collection of Christmas books.

Some people may prefer to keep their seasonal books under the tree, but then again, they don’t display them in such a classy box, either.  Many of the Christmas books aren’t in here.  In fact, let me thumb through these quickly . . . yes, just as I thought:  These are the ones we haven’t actually read yet, which means that there are approximately 37 other Christmas/Snow/Winter/Santa/Arctic Animal books elsewhere in the house.  Please try not to slip and fall when you step on one.

Next let’s head towards our school area.  Yikes!  Please avert your eyes as we walk past the dining room table.  It looks like the babies have been at it again.

Ah, here’s our eldest, Simeon.  He has one final math review to finish before officially enjoying Christmas Break.

Don’t worry,  “phone a friend” is not an acceptable method of math tutoring at our house.  Talking through your math problems on a toy cell phone in an imaginary conversation with your cousin Owen and good friend Daniel is, however.

And see these?

These are worth three cheers.  Ready?  Hip, Hip, Hooray!  Really, that’s all the better cheer I can get out of a virtual tour group?  Lame.  Well, let me tell you their significance, and maybe I can hear some all caps out of you yet.  In August when I sat down to do long term lesson planning for the year it was my goal to finish these math, astronomy, and ancient history texts by Christmas.  We made it!!!  Can I get a HIP, HIP . . .

Oh, well.  On to my desk.

This stack of books has been edited by some clever elves who wish to keep Christmas presents a surprise.  So now, aren’t you wondering if you are one of the nuts to whom these books will be gifted?

The kitchen is home to many recipe-free books at our house.  Here’s a smattering of what we have on our counters.  First, a hymnal.

I had a bit of work to do this morning, so it’s hanging out here by the computer.  You can tell by the dirty spots on the second page that this hymnal is no stranger to close encounters of the kitchen kind.

While we’re here, please note that we begin observing The Great “O” Antiphons tomorrow.  It’s a great way to count down to the Holy Day.  Also, and get ready because this is a little soap box I like to stand on, the Twelve Days of Christmas actually start on December 25 and carry on until January 5.  We are not in them right now.  That is all.  Rant off.

Under the hymnal is another tome that is rarely out of arm’s reach for me this December.

I’m nearing the end, see?

Will I make it in time to enjoy Christmas Present?

Then there’s the back side of this little work.

I tend to agree with the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events. But, I might be speaking out of turn about ASUE, I only read one volume, and that was nearly eight years ago when I was operating on a touch of baby blues, and only a pinch of sleep.  Maybe they aren’t as dismal as I remember them.

Nah.  They’re bad.  But, on his Aunt’s advice, I will be allowing my son to try them on for his own dismay.

Let’s see, where to next?  How about we wrap up our little tour in the living room.  Did you ever wonder where the books go when you put them in the book drop?  Apparently, right here:

See that book about Petunia.  She wants a pet skunk.  It’s funny stuff.

If you look immediately behind you, our half decorated Christmas tree would be happy to illuminate the room, except, well, we can’t keep it plugged in while the babies are awake.

Our final stop on today’s tour is a book on top of the piano.  This is where, in the context of singing our morning prayers, we read the actual, real life, straight from scripture, Incarnation of Christ, Christmas story.  It’s a Must Hear.

This is a page from the wonderfully helpful resource called Bible Stories for Daily Prayer by Karl Fabrizius.  If you’re looking for a great question/answer/devotional format to read through the Bible with your family, and have Christ illuminated through all of scripture, you should definitely check it out.

So here, in our messy house littered with pages and pages of words, and in our even messier sin-littered hearts, comes The Word to dwell and leave us clean in His forgiveness.

This concludes our tour.  Please stop by the gift shop, and wrap a few items for me while you’re there.  I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation.  We plan on doing the same.



It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

15 Dec

Thing I Love: The little things (Christmas style)

Today I have a laundry list of things I love. Laundry, shockingly enough, is not one of them. Here we go.

Walmart*: I’m pretty sure I’ve done this one before. If not, I should have. Judge if you will, but this place does our family such a service. It’s price-matching alone saves us billions of dollars every week. Yes, billions. The mere fact that I don’t have to cart my boys over the river and through the woods to every sale-touting grocery store is a brilliant gift. Today was a special day at our favorite bargain barn, as their staff was Out Of this Discount World helpful. The photo man rushed my one-hour service. My clerk ensured I price-matched items of which I had no prior knowledge. And today I got car side service. Yes, one of their employees donned winter apparel to assist me with my cart-ful of groceries and little boys. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Christmas Carols: Yeah, I know. Everyone loves these. But they are playing a unique role in my 3-year-old’s world these days. We are regularly regaled with completely original Carol Mash-ups like “Up on The Holly Jolly Housetop” and “Jesus is Coming to Town”. He’s also been fitting little lines from these songs into his daily communication. The other day he beguilingly asked me “Won’t you drive my sleigh tonight?”, and last night as he was saying good night to AJ and I he wished us “a merry Christmas and a happy new year”.  And often he gets confused by dated lyrics. He regularly sings of “the timings of Christmas”. Good timing.

House Guests: Because I rarely allow people exposure to our chaotic abode, hosting TWO get-togethers in the next week has me cleaning and organizing places I had forgotten existed. Today I was excited to find a savings bond gifted to my 3-year-old upon his birth 3-ish years ago. I was also super pumped to know that I had not one, but 4 bottles of Zyrtec. Oh, and opened dark chocolate doesn’t age well. Just an FYI.

Sweet Potatoes and allrecipes.com: These candied tubers are on sale a lot these days. In addition to making loads of Henry food I have found a muffin recipe that pleases each of my male minions (and some that aren’t mine). Try them.

Christmas Carols: What? I did this already? Ah, well. Bear with me. This time our incessant listening has created in our Eldest a love of The Jackson 5, because of this song. We’ll let the young Michael Jackson play a role in his life. Why not?

This blog and its readers (Hey! That’s YOU!): When my sister and I landed on the idea to do this blog I had no idea how much joy it would bring me. I find comfort in the wise, silly, and creative antics of my sister. I love collaborating with her. It’s almost as though she doesn’t live 11-ish hours away. I also love sharing my life with others who so respectfully and kindly take part. Thank you.

So, that’s it. My cup of cocoa runneth over.