Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jesus, Emmanuel

Christmas use to be my favorite time of the year.  And, so many things about it still are, but as I have become older, I have come to view this time of year as  more stressful than it use to be.  It is probably mostly due to being older and having more responsibilities, not being prepared and planning ahead well, and just the chaos of this world. 
It is so easy to get caught up in the worldly reasons we celebrate the Christmas holiday.  The presents, the endless displays of materialism on TV, and the multitude of ideas on Pinterest that make you feel like such a slacker and discontent. Or, maybe it is just me struggling with these things.  But in a country and world who fails to recognize the actual reason for the season and who wants to take Him out of everything it is hard to stay focused. 
I want to bring Christ back into Christmas.  I want my children to understand that there is more to this time of year than baking goodies, decorating the house and getting presents.  I want them to understand that Christ came as a baby. God became a baby boy.  He came to this world knowing He would die for the very people who ignore Him. He left His throne and was laid in a manger.  He abandoned His home in heaven to live in a world of sadness, sin, and despair.  He was great but became the least-a little baby.  He is Noel, Jesus, Emmanuel.  And He came here.  Mary got to stare into His eyes, the eyes of our Savior, King and creator.  He changed the world more than anyone ever has.  He had tiny little hands that would one day be stretched out to save all of us.  He is God with us, Emmanuel.  He went home to prepare a place for us, leaving behind His Spirit and giving us a joyful countenance. 
I hope that for the rest of this season and for years to come, I can keep Jesus in the center of it all. 

There is too much going on in our world today and we need Him now more than ever.  Everything and everyone around us is falling apart.  We ignore Him,  the only true Peace, the one True joy. 

Jesus, Thank you for coming to this world.  We are so undeserving of Your love and provision.  You left everything good to come here.  Thank you.  Thank you for stretching out your hands and being nailed to a cross for me, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, and for every person who will ever live.  Forgive me when I ignore You and keep my mind focused on the peace and joy only You can provide.  Help me to remember that if I am looking for happiness in a bigger, better home, things, and people I will never find it.  The only true place where I will find happiness is in a deep relationship with You. 

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ava's Birthday Brunch

Boy, am I glad that I didn't go all out for this birthday!  She was just so excited to have her cousins there, that nothing else, not even presents and a cupcake, could top that!  The best was FREE ENTERTAINMENT!!!  Love you Jack, Maddie, Ash, and Syd!  <3

Ava was blessed so much by her family being there for her on her special day (or the day after).  She loves people and it meant more to her to have all of them there more than anything else. 

She had a very simple get together.  We had a store bought cake and cupcakes (I slacked off there), I made Apple French Toast Bake with butterscotch sauce and apple spice syrup, a cheeseball with crackers and chicken salad spread with crackers and bread, and donuts.  It was simple, but perfect. 

She got some adorable clothes and jammies, a magnadoodle, books, a felt Christmas tree, Olaf,  a Sophia car to drive around, and some cash.  Did I say she was blessed? 

Thank you to all my family who came out on a wet, dreary Saturday in December to celebrate her birthday with her!!!!

Happy 2nd Birthday my sweet, silly Ava!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ava's 2 nd year letter


12 months ago you were still my baby.  Quickly, you have evolved into a little girl.  You have changed so much over the year.  People are not kidding when they tell you not to blink, because when you do, you open your eyes to a big girl instead of a baby girl.  I still feel like the days of infancy are not long enough to enjoy.  Your sister is going to be a year old 2 months after you turn two and I can't believe it and I don't like it.  Where have my tiny babies gone?


Shorty after your first birthday, you helped us welcome a new baby into our family.  You were amazing at the transition....much better at it than I was.  You instantly wanted to love on her and help with her.  And, if I must say, you have been a great big sister since. 

This Easter you got to join your cousins and do an Easter egg hunt.  You caught on to the concept really quickly and had a lot of fun.  Of course, after all your eggs were found, you didn't want to waste any time cracking them open and eating until your hearts content.  

 One of your favorite things to do then was swing.  Now you have switched to enjoying the slides. 
 You went to your first strawberry farm and did a very diligent job picking out bright red strawberries.  You were not thrilled when I took them from you to put in the fridge. 

 Your favorite cabinet was the Tupperware cabinet.  It is not as thrilling to you today. 
 You enjoyed Ashleigh's soccer game but wanted to be in the middle of it. 

You are still my picky eater and prefer fruit and sweet things to anything healthy.  I am afraid my sweet tooth has been passed on to you.  
You have had your fair share of sore throats and runny noses this year.  You sure are pitiful when you are sick, but oh so cuddly. 
Winston is your buddy even if he would not always agree with that.  You are very gentle with him and I know he appreciates that.
Writing in chalk is an activity you find entertaining, but like most other things,  it will only entertain you for about 5-8 minutes.
Taking walks and holding daddy's hand is something you excel at.

Water play is always a fun time for you, but not a fun time for mommy when it is time to call it quits.
Somehow you manage to get the little bit of food you do eat all over your face.   

Happy Thanksgiving in your Thanksgiving dress from Mimi and PopPop.

 And you love spending time with your friend Eli. 
Ava, there aren't enough words, or any words, for that matter, that can explain the way I love you.  Even in your worst moods, I love you like nothing else.  You are a sweet and loving little girl.  You have been so sweet when you hug me when you can tell I am upset about something.  You know how to comfort your tired mommy when you put my head in your lap and play with my hair.  You are excellent at protecting and looking out for Sally Jean.  You bring smiles to our faces on really hard days. You are such a beautiful gift from God and there is nothing I have ever done or will ever do to deserve such a blessing.  Even though you are growing up into a little girl, you will always be my baby.  I will love you forever and always!  Happy 2nd birthday sweet girl.