Tuesday, December 31, 2013

goals for 2014

My goal this year is to be intentional.  This idea has been floating around the blogosphere for a while and it really speaks to me.

I want to be intentional in how I spend my time:  Everyone has 24 hours in their day.  I want to make sure that I use mine to the fullest.  Once I finally got adjusted to staying at home, I feel like I've gotten lazy and I really want to get more out of my day. 
I've been going to bed too late and then laying around in the mornings because I'm too tired when Bryce is ready to get up at 6:45.  My goal is to go to bed earlier and get up earlier.  I want to get up before the kids and exercise.  I've fallen off the wagon on exercise and also let my diet go.  I'm hoping with better sleep, eating healthier, and more exercise, I will have more energy and get out of the lazy rut I'm in.
Bryce no longer takes naps which doesn't allow me much "me" time or time to do things around the house.  He does have a quiet time and I want to be more intentional in how I spend that time.  I'm going to use this as my quiet time in God's word.  I bought a few new books to help guide this time. 

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit how little scripture I really know.  I've wanted to read through the Bible before, but never did it.  I'm hoping this Bible will help me achieve this goal. 
I saw so many people reading this in 2013 and I was very interested.  I don't want to be overwhelmed in my attempt to be in His word so we'll see if I do this this year or wait until next year.
I also want to be intentional in how I spend time with my family and friends.  Emmy and I get lots of quality time during the day when Bryce is at school so she's covered!  After Bryce and I have our quiet time during Emmy's nap, I want to focus the remainder of the time on him.  I had started to teach him to read and then we got busy.  I want to focus on reading and playing with him more.  I want to put everything down and just get on the floor and play!  Jason and I have time together once this kids go to bed, but just being in the same room doesn't count.  I want to put down the computer and have conversations with my husband.  Social media is going to take a backseat which means the blog may as well.  I will definitely still use it to update family and friends, but I want my posts to be intentional and not a waste of time.
I want to be intentional in how I spend our money.  Since staying home, we have had to change our spending habits tremendously.  This doesn't mean we used to spend aimlessly, but we did spend more frivolously than we do now.  I've done a great job tracking our expenses and only spending money on necessary things.  As the holidays approached, we let our guard down some so I just hope to get back to where we were!
I want to be intentional in my relationships with others.  Many of my friends have suffered tremendous heartache this year and I have been in constant prayer for them.  I started a prayer journal this year and have spent my nights in prayer for others.  I want to continue this, but also be there personally for my friends.  I want to remember to send encouraging texts, cards in the mail, and make time with them and encourage them in person.  I want to show God's love in all my relationships, not just with my Christian friends.  I want to be brave in my attempts to not only show God through my actions, but in my words as well. 
I also want to make an effort to perform random acts of kindness through the year (maybe one a month). 
Cheers to 2014 and being intentional today!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 year in review

As I look back on 2013, I realize how very blessed we were this year.  I know so many people who suffered loss and heartache this year and I pray for a better 2014 for them.  We're also praying for a wonderful 2014 for our family and friends!
Highlights from our year:
1. Emmy celebrated her 1st birthday.  This little girl has brought so much joy to our lives and we enjoy watching her grow each day!
2. Bryce started t-ball/baseball.  He did t-ball in the spring.
Bryce was able to move up to coach pitch in the fall and Jason was the coach.  Bryce had SO much fun!

3.  Jason grew a beard.  Thankfully he finally gave in to the fact that he couldn't grow a real beard!

4.  We got a new (to us) car.

5.  I gave my mom a photo shoot for a 4 generations picture.  These two women are the best role models in my life and I only hope to be as good of a mom to my two kids as my mom is to me!

6.  Emmy was diagnosed with a peanut allergy.

7.  Bryce started his last year of preschool.  He will be in kindergarten next year.  Tear.

8.  Bryce has made some great friends and I've made some new friends as a result! 
 9.  Jason and I celebrated 10 years of marriage and celebrated in Charleston. All ten years have been fabulous, but this last year has been the best!  I am so lucky to have him by my side and I am so thankful for the father he is to our children and the Godly example he sets for us all.
10.  Bryce made his acting debut this year with two different programs at church.  He seems to do really well with memorizing lines and his shy personality disappears when he's on the stage.  I can't wait to see how this plays out!

10.  We kept God at the center of our family and He reminded us of his promise throughout the year.

Hope you have found some peace and happiness this year and best wishes for a happy 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

chirstmas re-cap

We start our Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve and I just love it.  I love Christmas Eve just as much as Christmas Day!  The kids and I made some cookies for Santa that morning.  One day I hope to make "real" cookies for Santa with the kids!  Sometimes easy is better!
My family has always opened gifts on Christmas Eve.  It's a great tradition and it makes it easier to celebrate with all of Jason's family on Christmas Day.  My mom's pretty table all set for lunch!

Emmy might make her way to the big table next year!

I just love my mom's Christmas meal (it's her Thanksgiving meal too), but I just LOVE it because we only eat it twice a year! 

I could not wait for Emmy to open this present from my parents.....

She loves playing with vacuum cleaners at other people's houses, so I knew she would love it.  She has taken it everywhere with her since she has gotten it and she puts it away in her closet at night before she goes to bed.  So precious!

After lunch and presents, we headed to church for the kids Christmas Eve service followed by our traditional candlelight service.  Jason and Bryce were shepherds in the candlelight service.

Bryce did such a great job with his lines!

Once we were back at home and the kids were in bed, we got to work on preparing for Christmas morning. 

Bryce's favorite toy!   

Emmy didn't have time or the interest in posing for a Christmas morning/Christmas pj picture.

After opening presents at home, we headed to Jason's parent's house for breakfast and gifts with his family.  These kiddos were super excited.

Unfortunately, this is where my picture taking stopped.  We went to Jason's grandparent's for lunch, then to my parent's house for stockings, then home to play with our toys for a bit, and then to Jason's Grandma's house for dinner before calling it a night.  We had a great Christmas and we are so blessed with such a wonderful family! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

the cross

On this last day of Advent, we celebrate the cross.  Jesus was born a baby just like everyone else.  But he didn't stay a baby.  He grew to be a man and eventually was put to death on a cross.  He died on the cross for our sins, only to come back to life and conquer the grave and the cross.  And that's what Christmas is really about - that Jesus would love us enough to come to earth in order to die in our place.  Jesus' birth is a celebration and reminder of what He would do for us on the cross. 
I have absolutely LOVED doing Truth in the Tinsel with Bryce this year.  Each day's craft was intended to be an ornament for a tree, but I decided to display them all in order so we could see the progression of The Christmas Story.  If you are looking for a fun way to really help you focus on the real meaning of Christmas, I highly recommend purchasing this ebook next year for your little ones!

Day 1 - light Isaiah 9:2-7
Day 2 - kingdom Isaiah 9:2-7
Day 3 - Zechariah Luke 1:5-25
Day 4 - Gabriel Luke 1:26-38
Day 5 - Mary Luke 1:26-38
Day 6 - Mary/Elizabeth Luke 1:39-45
Day 7 - song Luke 1:46-56
Day 8 - sun Luke 1:57-80
Day 9 - Joseph Matthew 1:18-24
Day 10 - dream Matthew 1:18-25
Day 11 - Jesus' name Matthew 1:18-25
Day 12 - census Luke 2:1-7
Day 13 - Bethlehem Luke 2:1-7
Day 14 - stable Luke 2:1-7
Day 15 - manger Luke 2:1-7
Day 16 - cloths Luke 2:1-7
Day 17 - sheep Luke 2:8-20
Day 18 - angles Luke 2:8-20
Day 19 - shepherds Luke 2:8-20
Day 20 - temple Luke 2:21-40
Day 21 - star Matthew 2:1-12
Day 22 - wise men Matthew 2:1-12
Day 23 - gifts Matthew 2:1-12
Day 24 - cross Philippians 2:6-8

Monday, December 23, 2013

a few days full of fun

Saturday night I went to my friend Jenny's annual Christmas wine tasting party.  Everyone brings a dish to share and a bottle of wine to taste and each year she picks a charity to donate to.  In the past, we have donated prom/bridesmaids dresses and coats.  This year we donated stuffed animals.  She even hid an elf for someone to find and win a prize!  Such a fun night and don't worry, I didn't taste all those wines!  I only like white wine and there were only 4 of those!
It was in the 70's on Sunday and I had no idea how to dress the kids.  I've been trying to get Emmy in all her Christmas outfits so I knew what she was going to wear even though it didn't fit the forecast.  Bryce insisted on wearing shorts and I couldn't really deny him since it was warm enough, so we went with it.  At least he wore red!

It was our Sunday to teach Bryce's class so we combined with his mom's class and had a birthday party for Jesus!

They're praying, can you tell?!?

Yummy cupcakes!

Sunday night we had a get together with all of our high school friends and their kids.  Our friends who hosted have a new house and it was SO beautiful.  Emmy loved playing with someone else's toys and I've decided that dress up clothes/SHOES need to be on her birthday list this year!

We weren't able to go to the Boar's Head Inn to build a gingerbread house this year so Bryce picked out a kit from Target and we decorated it this morning.  Jason assembled it last night so it would be ready for the kids!

Emmy is forever playing with my camera.  When I started taking pictures with it this morning, I noticed it was black and white and only some color was showing up.  Even though I've seen people do this with pictures and apps, I thought my camera was broken.  Turns out it just has this fun feature!

The finished product (before the snowman fell over).

Advent day 21 - star
Advent day 22 - wise men
The wise men followed the star to Jesus!
Advent day 23 - gifts.
We made a cinnamon ornament to remember the precious smelling gifts the wise men brought to Jesus. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent catch up

Advent day 18 - angels and day 19 - shepherds. 
Luke 2:8-20 - The Shepherds and the Angles
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying a in a manger."  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about".  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in a manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said the them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 
Bryce and Jason get to dress as shepherds during our Christmas Eve service and tell this portion of the story.  Bryce has heard it so many times that I hope he'll be able to memorize it since he proved to be a pro in his play a while back! 
Day 20 - temple
Luke 2:21-40
Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

our christmas card

Nothing stresses me out more than getting the perfect picture for our Christmas card.  This year we decided to take our own pictures.  We purchased a remote for our camera so we were able to take some family pictures too!  My mom tagged along and stood behind the camera to get the kids to smile!  Here are some of my favorites from our shoot!

This picture is for MeMa.  Those dimples!

Jason had shown me a "beard yourself app" and I told him I thought it would be funny if we did a Duck Dynasty themed Christmas card.  If you know us, this is totally not like me, but Jason was all for it, so we went with it.  Here they were pre-beards (the boys couldn't smile in order to have a good pose for the beards to work)!
Here they are all bearded up!  My friend, Beth, at Sunshine Ink Studio, did our cards for us this year.  I loved how they turned out!  Thankfully I got them in the mail before the media slammed the Robertson family and people started changing their views on the Duck Dynasty name.  We obviously still support their family!
And because I had to have a normal Christmas picture too, we did a double sided card with this sweet picture.

My friend Beth also created this Facebook cover photo for us with our Christmas pictures.  She is adding these to her shop so you should definitely check it out!
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!