When I reflect back on years gone by, I usually remember each year for one or two specific events.  In 2003, we graduated college.  In 2004, we tied the knot. In 2005,  we purchased our first home.  The list goes on.  It’s hard to narrow this year down to just one or two major events.  It was a crazy year, but I think it’d have to be categorized as the year of medical miracles.

My mother in law and cousin are the medical miracles in our family for this year.  My mother in law was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in the summer of 2010 – definitely not an optimistic diagnosis.  She had a couple of major surgeries and 15 rounds of chemo.  She had a scan in June of 2011 that came back clear.  She had scans in September and December that continue to show no signs of cancer in her body.

My cousin was in a nasty motorcycle wreck in July.  He suffered a traumatic brain injury.  He was unconscious for weeks.  His medical outlook was also far from sunny, but God showed up on his behalf as well.  In December, he got his drivers licence again and will be able to go back to work.  Absolutely amazing, considering the shape he was in just five months ago.

I’m so thankful for God’s faithfulness to my family in 2011.

 

My husband is a wealth of information on all things tech related.  The other day, I was exasperated at the length of my ‘to do’ list and the fact that bits and pieces of my ‘to dos’ were spread out from writing them on the fridge, jotting a note in my phone or making a task list when I was on the computer.  I wanted to be able to have one list going that seemlessly connected between my computer and my phone.  I never have time to simply peruse for computer and phone apps so Jesse’s knowledge of what exists is so helpful.  He suggested Remember the Milk.  It syncs with google calendar.  I gave it a try and it is really useful.  I’m using the free edition so it also didn’t cost us anything.  You can set due dates, tag items for specific categories, etc.  I’ve been using it all week and it has been a great tool in keeping me organized.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a wonderful Christmas this year.  On Christmas Eve, we went to church.  We go to a large church and there was no nursery.  The sanctuary was completely full and there were little kids everywhere.  The pastor got up to speak and told all the parents to “relax, and enjoy the service.  Don’t worry about the kids.”  It was one of the best things he could have said.  As we sang songs and the pastor had a quick 10 minute sermon, there was a buzz of kid noise the entire time.  But, it really felt like the kids buzzing was embraced.

After church, we headed to my inlaws for dinner and exchanging gifts.  We ate bread bowl soup and Trent played the role of elf.  Everyone had a good time.

The next morning, we continued our family tradition of new matching pajamas for Christmas morning.  Trent is old enough to notice that he and Sean had the same pajama pattern.  They were excitedly dancing around them room at this realization.  Sean was the first one up at 5:30.  Trent woke up soon after.  We continued the tradition of three gifts for each child.  They usually end up playing together, so some of our gifts to them were coordinated.  Trent got a bunch of play food and Sean got a shopping cart.  It’s so much fun to see them include each other when their imaginations are going in full speed.  They were super excited about all of their presents and played nonstop, running from one new gift to the next.

We had brunch at 11 and then a lazy day of playing with new toys for most of the day.

As a mom, Christmas always makes me reflect on my family.  I feel so incredibly lucky to have the family that I do.  They bring me such joy!

Hope you had a delightful Christmas celebrating Christ’s birth!

 

With it being the holidays, I have food on the brain.  We’ve had cookies, peppermint bark, and other festive goodies at our house throughout the past month.  I started thinking about how we treat food (and others).

Some people are passionate about food.  Others, simply eat to survive.  Some people make an idol out of food, and others judge people because of food.  However you view food, food should bring people together.  It’s an experience.  In the reading we’ve done for the adoption, it actually explains how feeding one another is a bonding experience and helps build relationships.

Food is one of God’s gifts to us.  He could have easily made us like cows, to live on grass and water, but he didn’t.  He gave us a plethora of options to sustain our daily living.  Just think of the incredible variety of vegetables, fruits and meats that we have at our fingertips!  Each and every item has its own nutritional benefit and unique taste!

I am the first to admit that with little ones right now, I pass on making massive, fancy meals.  My boys want my attention.  They do not want their mama slaving in the kitchen for hours.  They get frustrated when I make a 30 minute weekday dinner, so I can only imagine how an all day cooking adventure would turn out.  Our solution this year is to have Christmas brunch.  Everyone loves breakfast food in our house and it’s easy to make.  I have some great casserole recipes to make the night before.  Less stress and more family time – yes, please!  :)

 

 

 

We went up to Tennessee this weekend to spend time with my parents before Christmas.  We went to Gatlinburg one day and Pigeon Forge the next.  Both towns are fun day trips.  We walked around the shops in Gatlinburg and ended the trip with lunch at Johnny Rockets.  I love their milkshakes, but it was also a fun place for the boys to eat.  Great music playing, dancing waiters and free balloons – they were happy campers!

The following day, we went to Dixie Stampede. The show was awesome!  It managed to hold the boys attention through the entire show.  (A huge accomplishment for Sean, who usually has a short attention span)  There were a ton of animals in the show and their nativity portion brought tears to my eyes.  It was really well done.  They have a preshow with bluegrass music as well.  Dixie Stampede does shows all year round, but if you are ever around Gatlinburg, TN or Branson, MO at Christmas time, check it out!

Today, we’ve been playing catch up.  I’m behind on laundry, bulk cooking, and getting a few things done before Christmas.  After a much needed trip to Costco, the boys were running around this morning while I tried to catch up on the cooking.  They have their own way of preparing for Christmas…

Advent Calendar 1211

 

Sean boxes 1211

 

As we count down to Christmas, Trent found a new place to put the advent calendar christmas tree marker.  Sean was a itty bitty baby last year so this year will be his first year of opening Christmas presents and playing with the boxes.  Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

 

Sean had his 12 month checkup today.  The appointment went well.  The important facts for his online baby book…

He is 30.5″ long (75th percentile), 22 lbs 8oz in weight (50th percentile) and has a 18.5″ head circumference (60th percentile).

And for fun (because this mama has been nostalgic the last few days) – this picture is from one year ago:

 

 

 

 

Toddler boys have incredible amounts of energy.  The second they wake up it’s GO GO GO.  We have a couple of games at our house for getting the wiggles out.  One is ’round circle.’  We have an open floor plan.  Our top floor has our living room, kitchen and dining room.  Round circle is just as it sounds.  Trent (and one day soon, Sean) runs circles around the upstairs as fast as he can.  He goes round and round and round.  It sounds chaotic, but is especially helpful on cold, rainy days for getting some of that energy out.

We also have a park about a mile from our house.  It’s a big open field with picnic tables.  We go here fairly often to play tag and soccer.  I don’t know if anything gets energy out like running after and kicking a soccer ball.  Trent loves it.  I usually wear Sean in the Ergo on my back while we play.  Sean thinks the game is hilarious and laughs the whole time.  This is what we did today.

TJ 121211

 

Sean 121211

 

Another easy activity is going for a walk.  I still occasionally run with the boys in the double stroller, but they’re getting pretty heavy for the hills in our area.  So, I’ll put Sean on my back and we’ll go for a walk around the neighborhood.  It’s a great chance to have Trent read street signs, talk to neighbors, and of course, get those wiggles out!

 

Sunday – I had dinner with the women from my life group at church.  The women in the group are fun, encouraging, and admirable.  I love being around them.

Tuesday – I had the women from our Tuesday morning bible study over for brunch.  It was another enjoyable time of fellowship and food.  Tuesday afternoon, we took the dogs to the vet for their annuals.  They came back with a good bill of health.  I can’t believe Duke hits double digits this year.  How did 10 years go by that fast?!  On Tuesday evening, I had dinner with my girlfriends from the YMCA.  They are another incredible group of women.  We are all so different, but we support each other so well.  I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Wednesday/Thursday – We are taking our Christmas vacation break from Tot School right now.  Trent loves school.  He soaks it up.  He asks for it daily.  I love that he enjoys it so much, but it makes it hard to stay ahead of him.  He recognizes all the letters and knows the sounds they make.  He knows his numbers and counts well.  I had not been following a specific curriculum because he’s still young to be in formal school.  I’m trying to figure out what to do when we start back up again in January.  In the meanwhile, he continues to play the games/lessons we’ve done already, so it serves as a review.

Friday – I had a an all day class on teaching group exercise classes.  It was enjoyable and interesting.  It was a mix of information on nutrition/exercise/anatomy/physiology/kinesiology all rolled into one.

Today – We are serving at a Foster Care christmas party.  I’m looking forward to playing with the kids and meeting some of the families in our county.

 

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