Friday, December 20, 2013

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

While the weather outside is warm and sunny, Christmastime is upon us, and this year, my heart is completely overwhelmed by God's love that He's lavished on my family. For us, this year has been a lot less about braving the hurried shopping crowds and furiously baking up goodies in the kitchen, and more about being still and knowing that He is God.

Sure, there are the afternoons spent snuggling on the couch with my boys watching The Polar Express. We spend many nights driving around enjoying the Christmas lights in our community. We tediously glue googly eyes and red pom noses onto popsicle stick reindeer. Liam squeals with delight every time he sees a snowman figurine. But while Santa may sit on a throne at the mall, my desire is that Jesus sits on the throne of our hearts. Not just this Christmas season, but always.

Last night was rehearsal for our church's Christmas services, and we discussed how so often we are engulfed by an anxious spirit that accompanies our desires to give the perfect gift, decorate our home to the likeness of a Southern Living magazine, bake Pinterest-worthy recipes that our neighbors swoon over, and meet everyone's demands of our time and energy. We end up way too weary to celebrate the birth of our Savior, the most excellent reason for this season.

My prayer for all of us is that, as we turn our eyes upon Jesus, the things of this world grow strangely and wonderfully dim compared to His magnificent light. May we all experience the true peace and joy that comes from knowing and celebrating His most excellent gift!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Happy half-birthday, Riley! (Well, it's two days from now, but I can't sleep, so I figured I'd be productive.)

Has it been half a year, or am I just dreaming? HALF a year. Crazy. So, let's see. Just in the past couple of weeks, Riley has started sitting up really well by himself. In no time at all he'll be a pro at it! He also started solid foods without a hitch right around five months old. I'm glad I gave him a few weeks instead of forcing it at four months. He eats so well, and this boy is not picky! I've followed the French guidelines for solid foods and skipped cereals, heading straight for flavor-packed produce. So far, Riley's eaten leeks, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, green peas, green beans, avocado, and some banana mixed with a little coconut milk (leftover from Liam's "ice cream" treat I made).

I've been making his baby food, and I'm telling ya, this is the way to go! A $.99 bag of carrots made five days worth of food for the same price as one prepackaged container of baby food. And it's so healthy! I recently snagged a used copy of this French baby food cookbook, Bébé Gourmet, which beautifully illustrates how to make fresh veggie purees and fruit compotes, along with helpful tips for feeding times. My hope with Riley is to help him explore and come to love a wide variety of different tastes and textures. If you decide to make your own baby food, I highly suggest that cookbook!

He has lost interest in his paci and overpowered the swaddle, both of which I'm not sad to see go. He's learning how to wave, even though he holds his palm facing him and basically just drums his fingers into a fist. It's adorable. He also knows how to give kisses and then chuckles when I squeal in delight, and he is highly entertained when I play guitar and sing for him. I hope that never changes. Maybe one day we'll start a band...

To honor Riley's six-month mark, I decided to mimick Liam's half-birthday photo session in the exersaucer, which Riley now loves and Liam is jealous over. Are these two brothers, or what? I can't believe how bald Liam was compared to Riley...

Liam at six months:

And Riley currently:

I'm in love with this boy's eyes.

Ok, so this one is blurry, but I had to post my favorite of his expressions for the world to see.

Look at that little smirk.

Carrot top.

Working real hard.

Monday, December 2, 2013


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! We were in Mississippi with my husband's family. The boys had a blast playing with their cousins, who are growing just a little too fast, in my opinion. :)

Here's a photo I managed to snag of the little bunch. The quality is not the greatest, but I thought it was too cute not to share. (This is what happens when you have multiple people taking photos of five squirmy kiddos!)

I never get tired of this smile!

He LOVED the trampoline. We may have to get one some day.

I love the way this girl loves her cousins.

Slap. Wore. Out.
My husband and I just finished reading the book "The Noticer" by Andy Andrews, given to us by my father-in-law. It's a must-read for sure! One truth that I gleaned from the story is that whatever we focus on increases; if we focus on our needs, then our needs will increase. But if we focus on the blessings in our lives, we will become increasingly blessed. What an amazing concept! Thanksgiving is such an important holiday, but a heart of gratitude is something we should cultivate all year long.

I have more things to be thankful for than I could possibly share on my blog, but here are five things I'm especially thankful for this year:

1. Riley. Not to take anything away from my heart towards Liam, but Riley came at the most perfect time this year. It just shows that while the mountaintop is exhilarating, new life grows in the valley.

2. Freedom in Christ. Probably the biggest, most life-changing lesson I've learned this year is the extent of which Christ has set us free. We are free from legalism, from guilt and the burdens that life, and others, can place on us. We are free from the paralyzing grip of oppression, even while in the midst of it. I love how God has set my heart free this year.

3. Friends that stick like glue. I'm completely humbled by how much our support system has grown this year. We've met some amazing people that we are so thankful to do life with!

4. Our home. We've enjoyed living in our first house for a year and a half now, and there were times this past year when we weren't sure we'd be able to keep it. We don't take for granted living one day in this beautiful home that God has given us!

5. Hope for the future. The longer we go through trials, the smaller that light at the end of the tunnel can seem. But the Lord keeps giving us evidence to cling to that confirms He's in control, that He's still at work in our lives. He hasn't, and will never, leave us nor turn His back on us. That truth allows me to look ahead with eager anticipation.

What are you most thankful for this year?