Resisting the "Norm"

There are some seasons in life that are just plain busy.
We are preparing for Thanksgiving and Ella's sixth birthday. 
It is all so exciting and busy.
After that, it will be time for Christmas.

I am not ashamed to say it is one of my favorite times of year.
Not because of the presents.
But because it seems like most people have a joy that is sometimes missing the rest of the year.
Families come together and celebrate.

Sometimes, this special and sweet time can be difficult.
We always struggle with how much "stuff" our little ones accumulate from all of our gatherings.
It becomes quite overwhelming.
Pretty soon, it becomes what Christmas is known for.

We are slowly establishing what we want for our Christmas traditions.
We have never desired that it be about the presents.
We occasionally discuss gifts, but we talk about giving more times than not.
We talk about our Savior and his birth- what a great gift.

It's amazing how subltly the world creeps into our lives and steals away the good.
It slowly and intentionally makes Christmas about receiving and spending.
It becomes a gluttonous occasion, instead of a season to marvel at our Saving Grace. 
We are working on it... it is slow coming, but we are laying the framework that will
hopefully leave our kids with memories of giving and sharing.

There is a Calm, somewhere...


Sometimes it's quiet around here.
We spend our time watching The Wizard of Oz and eat sliced up pears.
There's a lot of crumbs on the floor and toys and crayons spilled everywhere.
And, with that, I don't have much time to sneak away and write.

I have been praying a lot.
Praying for our home and those who live in it.
Praying for our friends who are struggling,
and for family that needs the Lord to scoop them up.

We are preparing for family to come visit this weekend.
Mark will get to spend some time with his brother,
and the kids and I will hang out with my sister and the four girls that always tag along with her.
It will be time that is much needed and will leave me wishing they all lived closer.

 They will leave and life will get back into the busy rhythm that accompanies the holiday season.
It is going to be an exciting next month, or so, for us.
We have a lot going on- family time, musical tickets, birthday parties, Christmas parties-
you name it, we are probably doing it!

I'm soaking up the slowness before the chaos.


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When Will She Stop...

... growing up?
I love seeing her become her own little person, 
but the older she gets,
the harder it is for me to see her as the little baby I brought home six years ago.

The first six weeks were some of the worst.
Not because of her, but because I had no idea what I had got myself into.
She came and rocked my world- hard.

She was always very attached to me as a baby.
She rarely even ventured onto her daddy's lap until she was two years old.
It was always me and this girl- doing life together.

She grew in so many ways when her baby brother was thrown into the mix.
She loved on her daddy in a whole new way,
and became more independent of mommy.

Then, she became a big sister again.
This time, it was a little girl we brought home.
When I was pregnant she kept telling me it was a girl.
Then, when Guinnyth was born, I got a big I told you so.

She helps me in so many ways.
She constantly teaches me about Christ.
She is always talking about Him to her siblings.
Sometimes, in public, she will just start preaching the Word to random people.
It's a gift.
I want to hush her, but then I realize that God made her to glorify His name to all the nations.

She is loved beyond measure.
I had no idea what this one little girl would do to me.
How she would prepare me to love her brother and sister so much better than I could have had she not made me a mother in the first place.

It's always bitter-sweet to watch her grow.
It's exciting and new,
but it also erases a little of the past I had always wanted to hold onto.
The sweet coo-ing she made as a baby.
The way her rolls lined up behind her little hands.
The voice that God gave her that made me melt in my tracks when she spoke.

All those things are getting harder, and harder to remember.
Her baby voice is getting replaced by her almost six year old giggles.
And, when I think about it, I guess I'm okay with that.

A ballerina, A turkey, and A poodle

It is a fun evening to dress up and haul some major candy.
Aside from that, I feel like it is pretty much torture.
Obviously, Guinnyth agrees.

All the in and out of the car just isn't my thing.
Although, I do think my poodle was about the cutest thing I have ever seen.
Too bad I couldn't manage to get a good picture of the said poodle.

 Ella was our little ballerina.
She leaped and plied all across town in her toe slippers.
She kept asking people,
"What do you get when you cross a rooster and a poodle?"
"A cock-a-poodle-doo!"
Then, she laughed hysterically and marched to the next door.

Liam was our little turkey.
My kids always manage to pick costumes that have no pattern available,
leaving my mom to figure out how to make it.
Luckily, she is super talented and pulled it off beautifully.
That is one good-looking turkey.

 Then, there is this little nugget.
She was happy as a clam as long as I was holding her.
The moment I put her down, she was screaming up a storm.
I just know she is going to give me grief when she's 16 and looking back at pictures and there aren't any good ones of her.
It is her fault, really.  She won't let me put her down long enough to get a decent shot.
She's still about as cute as them come.  Even with the remains of tears in her eyes.

Now, onto the month of thanks.
Love it!