Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This one's for you, Bilbo.

James has accused me of packing our schedule too full this Christmas season, and now as I'm soaking in "recovery" week, I can see that he had a point. This is basically how Christmas happened...


With that being said, there was no shortage of fun! 


We enjoyed a "Classy Christmas Party" at Caden & Ashli Huenefeld's house. I had the luxury of two handsome gents to escort me! Games, hors d'oeuvres, drinks, chit chat, giggles, and a gift exchange. Classy pants.  



We had Christmas parties for several days in a row, and after all the hustle and bustle, Trevin continues to ask if he can open presents.  Gratefulness is not in a child's nature, unfortunately. I'm still trying to explain why we give/receive presents at Christmastime, might not be totally comprehensible for a 2-year-old. 



Trevin took part in his very first Christmas program! We've been practicing his songs for a month. (For proof, check out the video on my Facebook page.) His class sang Away in the Manger and Come on Ring Those Bells. 
Trevin and Cousin Marah
I was one proud mama. Although, he didn't sing a single word on stage.. He just stood there. All that work... was totally worth it! We still sing his Christmas songs daily and we'll still be singing them in July. 

Trev's in the 2's and 3's class, so there was two 3-year-olds singing along with the two teachers. And everyone else just stood still and stared at the audience. That is, until... 


The bells came out! C'mon Ring Those Bells! That's one way to get 2-year-olds to participate.



Christmas morning bed head. He can achieve this hair volume every single day. And most days, it stays that way. 

We're starting our own family Christmas traditions and it's been fun to create our own special experiences. We start out by reading the Christmas story from Trevin's Storybook Bible. Then we sing Christmas carols, this year included the only two songs Trevin knows. Next we open presents and make ebelskivers to devour. 



Ebelskivers with powdered sugar and homemade peach jam, bacon, and coffee. Can it be Christmas every day? 

I gave them Legos. This moment makes it worth every ounce of pain I'm going to experience stepping on Legos for the rest of my life. 

Listening to the Christmas story. 

*Some of my favorites*



And we had to play some games, of course! One bad roll of the dice and Scotty had to get beautified. Yes, yes we did send a picture to all of his friends on SnapChat. Hey, there is a use for SnapChat!



"He is Mighty God. He is Prince of Peace."
Auntie Gracia surrounded by some of her ornery boys. Don't feel bad for her, she can handle them with ease. Growing up with James makes these guys a piece of cake for her, no doubt. 
Not much will give me baby fever, but this... this might. 








This gathering took place and these people are some of the best. They keep a party interesting and a night memorable. High school friends are the greatest. But The Game of Things was certainly entertaining with these folks. 




I wish that I could capture every moment of the holidays, for I know, inevitably, the traditions will end. But for now, I'll cling to the laughter shared, the food consumed, the gifts given, the games played, the memories made, the hugs received, the conversations exchanged, the songs sang, the family gathered, the smiles spread, the time spent, and most importantly the Christ celebrated. 

Grandpa Mart celebrating his 80th birthday with his great grand kids. 

James and I attended an Ugly Christmas Sweater party at Gracia's. James and I legitimately like our outfits from Goodwill for the party. I wouldn't be shocked if James attempted to wear his mallard shirt to church. Keep your eyes peeled. And my sweater was an old man sweater, that fits me and just feels right. I don't know how I feel about this, but I'm just not fighting that feeling. And the only real reason I shared this photo was to show off my zipper earrings. Yes, zipper. They were one of the greatest hand-me-downs handed down to me from my older sister, Brooke. Can't believe she let these out of her sight. I only break them out for special occasions and this party was screaming for some zipper earrings. (I literally just checked Amazon for zipper earrings and they are totally a thing. Of course mine are vintage, but you buy your very own. And amazingly they're dirt cheap! Text your friend and split the shipping! Call me when you wear them and we can match.) 


What can I tell you about this kid? 
+His giggle is the best thing that I've ever heard. +Currently his favorite place is "Stockham Church". +He loves Sunday School and literally throws a tantrum when we have to leave church. (Dobson never gave advice on dealing with kids who don't want to leave church, so basically we don't know how to deal with that.) +His favorite song is This Little Light of Mine and he shouts the last verse when we ask, "Where do we go church?" "Stockham!!" "Shine it over Stockham, I'm gonna let it shine..." +He can spot an excavator from a quarter mile. +And can here the word "candy" from about as far. +His words are funny and his mispronunciations are endearing. +He only knows the color black, everything else he just plays the guessing game, he may be the next Batman because of this. "If anybody has black parts I need them, ok? I only work in black. And sometimes very very dark grey." -Lego Movie
+Oh and he loves the Lego Movie. But I do too, so we're happy. +He's so much trouble and so much sweet. +He has bed head 90% of the time. 




My latest obsession is "Oh to be Loved" by Thad Crockrell. This song has been on repeat all month. The raw melody is simply alluring; the lyrics are honest and emotional. 

My other obsession... homemade applesauce. I have many memories of epic bowls of homemade applesauce at my Grandma's house. Brooke has reawaken my desire by generously sharing some with me a couple weeks ago. So I immediately bought apples and made more, and canned them. This is more valuable than gold to me. It is gold(en delicious. haha! Apple pun.) I'm a canning addict and there's no negative side effects. Booyah. 



One of my favorite Christmas gifts was from Rashton. She and JT gave us a gift card to go out to eat and offered to keep the child while we had a date night. We dined at Red Lobster and caught the final Hobbit movie after. Not going to lie, I had tears in my eyes as the final credits rolled. It was the end of an era. The LOTR series started when I was in elementary school and we made it a tradition to go see it in theaters as a family. Years later, the tradition came to an end with finish of Biblo's adventure. Bilbo is my hero. The Baggins' bloodline is strong. 

Merry Christmas!


And a happy New Year!

2015 coming soon, growing on the farm... 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Frosty Who?


Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! And so the sprint to the New Year begins. 



We've noticed something about Trevin lately. He is fully aware that he is a farm kid. We didn't have to tell him, or reinforce our lifestyle. He fully embraced it and thrives in it. For example, one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while making food for the day. This was the first year that Trevin was really able to join in on the tradition and I was excited to see his reaction. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. The first float that Trevin saw was  Sesame Street. I tried to make a big deal of it, "Look how tall it is! Oh my, it's Big Bird!" And then this is what Trevin said, "Look a trailer!" Sure enough, the float was being pulled on a trailer. I mean this thing was 2 stories high, ridiculously colorful, and totally geared towards kiddos. And he was overcome with joy to see the trailer on TV. 
Then the other day Ashton was showing Trevin a magazine and he didn't want to look at it so she said, "But it's Christian Bale on the front!" Trevin says, "Feed bale to cows." It's been fun to hear his unique thoughts come to life. His mind is always farming. 


One of our Christmas traditions is the Parade of Lights in Sutton. It's a great way to get excited about the season, and to motivate me to get prepared. 




Hayrack rides, cookies, apple cider, lights, hot chocolate, stocking caps, warm hearts. 


This cookie was almost as big as his face. He had no problem with it. 


Another one of our favorite Christmas traditions is the Behold the Lamb of God concert put on by Andrew Peterson. This was the 5th year James and I had gone and it honestly gets better every year. So good. 

It was Ashton's first time! She was thrilled and couldn't stop smiling. 





We go Christmas caroling every year, and it turns out we don't know the words to Frosty the Snowman. I was especially embarrassed because I played Frosty in the school play years ago. There's probably a reason I've blocked out that song from my memory...



And Christmas shopping with my boy! Can you tell we're in the Christmas spirit? Lots to do! 




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I don't usually write much for advice; a lot of times I don't feel worthy to give anyone else advice because I don't have much figured out. But there's been something I've figured out this year and it's been life changing.  2014 has been the best year for me and setting a morning routine. I've finally found a positive start that really points me in the right direction and gives purpose to a small part of our day. It all started on February 11, my birthday. I meet with a "Moms" group at church once a month for fellowship and growth, and on that particular day a sweet gal, by the name of Charyse Harvey, spoke to us and referred to the book called, Together: Growing Appetites for God (http://www.amazon.com/Together-Growing-Appetites-True-Woman/dp/0802404480). It's the story about a mom of 3, 4 and under, (if I remember correctly, I haven't actually read the book). She had this growing question in her mind. "How can you pass a love for God's Word along to your children if you struggle with it yourself?" That question hit me like a ton of bricks. In reality, I think that was the same question that I had been wrestling with for months, but hadn't put my concern into words. For years, I've had this on-again-off-again relationship with my Bible and I was afraid that my lack of routine would influence Trevin, or worse yet, I wouldn't be a living display of the impact God's Word should have on your life.  
The author decided she was going to read through the Bible, one chapter a day, with her kids. That was her plan. It was a simple plan, but not necessarily an easy plan. I was totally convicted and decided that I needed a simple plan, just like her. So we began on February 12, reading straight through the Bible, starting with Genesis 1 and hopefully ending with "Amen" in Revelations before he graduates... I decided that breakfast would be the best time to fit this into our daily routine. Here's how we do it. When Trevin wakes up, I make him breakfast and sit at the table with him, bible opened. As he eats, I read. This generally works well because he's less likely to interrupt and more likely to sit still. The first couple days were challenging. He was a crazy 20-month-old boy, when this began, who barely ate because he was so busy. As you'd expect we had many delays for fits and strange outbursts of giggling/crying/whining/singing/screaming/babbling.. But we pushed through. And after that first week, he expected it in our routine. 
The first several weeks and even months went really well and we stayed consistent and diligent. But before you think this is too perfect, I'll assure you that there are days where he literally screams "NO BIBLE!" or cuts me off mid-sentence to say, "All done reading." But all I had to tell myself in my mind is that he needs to see this as a priority. This is first. Not toys, not movies, not work. And you know what? It's paying off. It's making an impact. Because if I'm feeling lazy and would rather skip our reading for the day, he reminds me that it's "time to read Bible." He holds ME accountable now. Some days I finish the chapter and I close the book and he looks at me and says, "Read more!" It's on those days that I realize the hours we've spent over the past year have absolutely made a difference. This summer I failed a lot of days to make reading a priority, but was so determined to jump back in without regretting the days we missed. Believe it or not, we started the book of 1 Samuel today and I'm thrilled with what we've accomplished.
Some of you might be thinking that this is "great and all" but it's all going over his head. It's too much for him to understand. Maybe you're right, but I trust that God will use it in his precious little 2-year-old heart. Even if he doesn't understand a single bit of what I've read these past few months, I'll be glad that he's learned the Bible is so important to us. And as he gets older, more will be revealed to him and he'll ask questions and be able to experience God's heart with every chapter.
After we finish reading each day, Trevin goes to play with the toys he's missed all night long, and I pour a cup of coffee (Yeah, I started coffee this month... what about it?) and make up some breakfast of my own. While he plays I sit down and read through a short devotional with my breakfast. After the first couple months, I felt like I still needed my own quiet time. My own study. When I got my new phone, I learned about an app called "She Reads Truth". It's been a great tool for my personal devotion time and I'd highly suggest it. This is how we do mornings. I learned that once I stopped making excuses for myself, I was able to start my morning out with purpose. I hope this is an encouragement to someone, because this was an area that I desperately needed encouragement and I've seen first-hand how God has used it each day. Psalm 143:8 "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."




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We play a lot these days... 





And he's taken to this ugly baby doll that he found at my mom's house. On this particular day he read to the baby for a 1/2 hour. He is hinting. James is hinting. You are hinting. And I'm plugging my ears and singing, "la la la la!" One kid is so many.


And this little lady has been around a lot recently to help fill the baby fever. 


Mitch and Nicole made the move to Aurora, so we had several bonding days during the move while they were in between houses. 


And we made runzas for the freezer. I think we ended up with 54 runzas and 4 bags of filling. Not too shabby for a couple of gals who don't cook. 








This sweet family was my last family session. I've been in a bible study with McKenzie for the past 8 weeks and it's been nice getting to know her and her littles. They snagged the last awesome day of fall, and we had a great shoot to show for it. 







My grandpa turns 81 today. Happy Birthday to the one and only, Martin Nuss! 


Let's celebrate with a doughnut. BRING ON THE SPRINKLES. 



This christmas parties begin tomorrow and don't end until the first week in January. So I'll see you 10 pounds from now.
Merry Christmas baby. 

Keeping it real, growing on the farm...