Friday, December 31, 2010

What's Minnesota?

A week ago we drove to Minnesota.
Bruce and I talked the entire way.
Ella and Talia watched movies.
On the way there, Talia asked, "What's Minnesota?" about 20 times.
 "Minnesota is where Mommy grew up."
"What's grew up?"
"Minnesota is where Mommy was a little girl."
"Like me?"
"Just like you."

New Ulm, MN...where I was born.

My girls don't like to wear mittens. They learned shortly after this shot that they really do need to wear them.
Talia fell in a snowbank when we crossed the street and cried, "I'm all wet." I remember those days.

The guys spent some time playing in the snow, too.
Ella surprised us all when she said she wanted to ride. She loved it!
Little man Isaiah let Ella go ahead of him. What a gentleman. :)
I took this from my Auntie Mary's picture window in her living room. Isn't it dreamy to LOOK at?
The sky looked even bluer than usual against the blanket of white.
In the next few days I'll have a few more posts about our trip north.
For now, though, if you've been without snow and wanted some, I'm sure Minnesota won't mind if you ogle theirs. Actually, I know plenty of people who live there that wish you'd just take it with you.You can put on boots and mittens if you want to.
I'm pretty sure that's what Talia thinks Minnesota is.
For some extra Ella and Talia fun, check out my girls on the A Little Knitting blog.  
Carisa's not just my personal knitter, she's a Hyacinth to me. And she knows what that means.
Click over and let her know how much you love her and her knitted styles.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day Entertainment

Are we the only ones just hanging out waiting for dinner to start today? We're trying to entertain our kids and ourselves. Here's a glimpse of what we're into this morning.

Talia has fallin' in love with A Christmas Story on TBS in the past 24 hours. She's glued to it. Her uncle Jason will be so happy to know that. He loves that movie more than anyone I know. And it is funny.

Talia is going to grow up thinking you're the coolest uncle ever because you have one. 
I'm assuming the leg lamp is up...right????

Bruce is loving Awkward Family Photos this year. This is laugh until you cry funny. We've rated the website as PG-13. You never know what you're going to get, so you've got to keep in mind it might not be for your little ones; but you will be laughing. I promise.

Ella is face down into a new Mickey Mouse coloring book she got from her Nana and Papa. She's going old school. Coloring anyone?

It never quite seems like Christmas to me until I hear Handel's Messiah. I am posting Tabor College's version of the Hallelujah chorus, which I listened to twice this morning. Take a few minutes. Close your eyes and listen. Whatever pieces of me that I have not given over to Jesus this season fall before his feet when I listen to this. There other portions of this years performance on Youtube as well, which I'm thankful for because I missed attending the live performance.


He shall reign forever and ever.
Can I hear an Amen?

Friday, December 24, 2010

From Our Home to Yours

One of my favorite Christmas activities is planning our Christmas card, even though there are things about it that stress me out. The ideas for our cards can come pretty easily, but it's the actual taking of the picture we struggle with. Who will take it? What will we wear? When will we pull this off? In addition, Ella is going through a phase (pretty much since she could scoot away from me) where she doesn't want to have her picture taken. I avoid trying to cause unnecessary stress to all of us by not taking too many family pictures.
 Long about October, Bruce and I started to talk about The Advent Conspiracy
How could we "Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All" this Christmas? We decided that we would not focus on a card and give the money we would normally spend on cards and postage to a couple of charities. 
(We chose Charity Water and Main Street Ministries, a local charity, to donate to. Accountability is good, right?) 
 I didn't think I would enjoy "sitting out" this year, and there were times that my attitude was less than on board. There was a little pang of hurt every time someone said they couldn't wait to get our card.  I slowly began to realize that because there wasn't anything about the card this year that I was a slave to, I could experience more freedom in Christmas than I had in a long time. 
And truthfully, I enjoyed your cards so much more!
So, here we are. 
Posting a card that we gave very little thought to. 
And not cringing a bit as we do.

Comfort: in our "play clothes". 
Joy: Happily together.

Comfort and Joy: Silly faced picture of us
 together in our play clothes.

Merry Christmas, friends.
You bring us much comfort and joy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Random Christmas Photos

Here are a few random pictures from this December. There isn't really any rhyme or reason to them, other than I want to remember things about each picture. They may have become posts, but the days are running out for Christmasy pictures. Today is the day to enjoy what is merry.
Proof that I really do sit around in my wedding dress on my anniversary.

Tree reflections.
A 10th anniversary.
An art exhibit.
Christmas programs.
A book read every Christmas.
His cake.
There is more to celebrate, yet.
Bring on some more merry!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Holiday Winner

I fully planned on announcing the winner of the gift card this morning. And then life swirled as it does, and I got sucked in to other stuff. Stuff like work, impromptu social fun and still other stuff that is what is known as the First Grade Christmas party.
I don't know who is more excited about Christmas break...Ella, or me? By looking at her face, I'm guessing maybe she's a tad more excited than I am.

Okay, but back to the announcement of the winner of the $15 gift card from Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime or Athleta. Random generator picked number 12:

Beth said...

I LOVE the Holiday!

I love The Holiday, too, Beth. Email me at kimberleejost at yahoo dot com to claim your prize. Congratulations, and Merry Christmas from someone who loves giveaways as much as I do.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Giveaway Day!

I've mentioned before that I love a giveaways. So, you can only imagine my excitement when I heard from a friend this week and she surprised me with a gift card. To give away. On this blog.
Is that awesome, or what?

Here's what's up for grabs: $15 at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime or Athleta. You get to choose where you'd like to spend it.

To enter, answer this question in the comments section:
Which Christmas movie is your absolute favorite? 
The contest will close on Wednesday, December 22nd at 9 am CST.
One entry per person.

Cool friends rock.
That means you, little miss anonymous.
The comments are now closed. I'll announce the winner later today!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Thing Called a Christmas Program

If I've seemed a little unfocused lately, it's because I've added Christmas program director to my plate this season. This is my second helping, and you'd think I'd have it all down the second year running, but I don't. And the program is today!!!!!

Most of the kids know their parts. The question is, do I know all of their parts? Am I ready?
I can't wait to see what the program brings. Lines said. Songs sang. And someone's little girl lifting up her dress in the front row. I wonder if this year, she'll belong to me? :)
All the pictures in this post were taken by Bruce. I love his take on things.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Free Shipping Day

I wasn't going to post today due to my crazy work schedule, but when I read about Free Shipping Day this morning, I knew I had to pass it on to all of you.

Here's hoping you are joyful and triumphant in your final week before Christmas!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ten Years Ago Today

Happy Anniversary, Love.
I love you more than Dr. Pepper, J.Crew, cheesecake and Facebook.
Don't worry, you don't have to tell me that you love me more than cinnamon rolls, Springsteen, coffee, and itunes. You've made it perfectly clear that I'm number one. I love that about you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Birthday Party for Jesus

My neighbor Tami, along with her family, threw a birthday party for Jesus last night. 
Ella watched as the cars pulled up and couldn't wait to get out the door to Rylie and Austyn's house!
Tami invited the guests to bring a toy from their own toy box to giveaway to a local ministry that would give the toys away. I welcomed the opportunity to talk to my girls about giving others our best/favorites. I was surprised how easy it was for Talia and Ella to decide that they would give away one of our baby dolls and a musical Dora book. Tami also asked that we bring along a bag of food for our local food bank.

When we arrived, we had an evening of  birthday party fun planned for us. 
Tami read us a story about the brightest star.
She then asked us to go upstairs, where we found a huge star cake.
Tami asked the kids to make the star bright like the star that shown over where Jesus was born. Do you see where this is headed? 
That's Sprinkle heaven. She had bought about every color of sprinkle and decorating gel that you could imagine!
The kids were all over making that the star the best...with the most sprinkles of course.
Those of us grown ups couldn't help but say, "Uh, that's a bit much, don't you think?" I sort of laughed at myself for even thinking this. There is no amount of sprinkle love that is too much for Jesus, is there?
With the twinkle lights from the tree glowing, we lit the birthday candles and sang to Jesus.
Then, we ate His cake.
Not all of us...
...but most.
Before we left, we did a small ornament craft of what else? A star!
Both Ella and Talia hung theirs on our tree when we got home.
Since then, we haven't just talked about the party...we've talked about Jesus non-stop! I love it when thoughts about Jesus are spoken so freely. It's so....childlike. And who couldn't use more of that?

There's a song that's been in my heart and on my lips today. I learned it for a church  Christmas program when I was growing up. I have no idea who wrote it, or from what musical it's from.
What can I give to a King? 
Give to the One who has everything? 
What can I give?
What gift can I bring?
What do I give to a King? 
What do I give to a King?
I am reminded that the best gift I can bring is myself.
It's the best gift any of us can bring him.

Thank you, Tami for inviting our little family to fully celebrate our Savior King last night.
We love you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Kid Gift Idea: Zingo!

Sometimes things show up in my house and I have no idea where they came from. Things like books, dvd's, playing cards, candy, Poptarts, cake, and now Zingo!
I'm on to you, Grandma.
Talia has really gotten into this game. It's Number Bingo. The first time we played it she learned to identify the number five.
Each card has two sides. This is the side we've been playing.

This is the side I want to get Ella to play. Maybe during Christmas vacation???
I think she likes the little "chips" more than the counting...I hope that doesn't mean she has a future in Vegas. She is learning about numbers and their values, and she doesn't even know it.
I love sneaky education. In fact, I live for it.
And she lives to beat me, which she did, twice.
Because we're just 11 days away from Christmas, I checked out where you can buy Zingo!
Amazon, Target, and Toys R Us all have it. 

Happy Zingo-ing!
Thanks, Grandma. We really do love it when you sneak stuff into the house...especially Poptarts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Caroling We Went

Our church hosted a caroling party last night. Does anyone carol anymore? It's been about five years since I had gone, but I grew up caroling. We went with school groups, church groups, and with my cousins. I have missed caroling.
I have missed hearing the older ones sing in four part harmony.
I have missed watching the little ones sing out without being able to read the words.
I have missed singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" as the final song at each stop, indicating we are moving on.
I have missed the hot chocolate, and the snacks afterward. Kids chasing each other, wild with the Season...I even missed that.

As we were leaving, Ella said, "Was fun!"
I am fairly certain this family has become a caroling family.
I can't wait until next year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What I Love About Sunday

Three snugglers + the fireplace = true love.
I took these last Sunday afternoon.
We will repeat this today, I hope. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ten on Ten:: December 2010

Here's the idea:
Take a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month. 
Document a day of your life and find beauty among the ordinary moments. 
Then share your beauty with us!
Here's what happened: 
I took a picture nearly every hour until 1 pm.  I was booked full of massage appointments today and used my better judgment NOT to ask people if I could photograph their backs. I'm sure they'll thank me later.
I picked up my camera at 7 pm and finished the rest of my Ten on Ten day.
 Happy Weekend to all, and to all a good-night!
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