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14 December 2012


Around here...via Instagram...
Happy boy


Didn't take him long to learn to climb up the swingset. Our neighbors GAVE it to us! Such a blessing.

Bath time is always so fun. Especially since Brett does all the work. :)

Guard dog

She decorated the Swedish tree...the 2 horses needed to be next to each other because they're twins.

Ten years of hanging this ornament. Thanking God for each and every moment.

Pajama soccer

Sweet puppy

Trouble. Truett has discovered a passion for climbing.

Christmas cookies. Someone's got a sweet tooth.

Maren drew Santa.

Pretty girl

All is calm...

I spent an afternoon with my best bud, Jaime, picking out her baby quilt fabric. Exciting for a number of reasons! {It's a girl!}

New linen stockings for the 4 of us.

Washi tape...decorating lots of packages these days.

Packages ready to ship to Michigan.

Preschool Christmas concert day.

Unwinding with some hot cocoa and Antiques Roadshow.

life rearranged

13 December 2012

The long-awaited Preschool Christmas Program

Maren has been preparing for her preschool Christmas program for quite some time. She has secretly practiced the songs in the safety of her own room. She worked hard and almost kept the handmade ornament she would be presenting to us a secret. She has been planning her outfit and telling us to remember 'program Thursday'.

Well, program Thursday did not disappoint. Maren looked sweet in her new Christmas dress.

She could hardly contain her excitement. And, I couldn't either, if I'm being honest. This was one of those things I used to dream about when we were struggling with infertility. I love Christmas. I love Christmas music. I tear up every time I hear a children's choir sing. I longed to have my own child up there on the stage. And this year I finally got to experience that joy. Friends, it was a special morning.

Hi Maren!

Maren glowed throughout the entire program...it did a momma's heart good. I've mentioned before that her name (Maren Eleanor) means 'longed for light'. She certainly lived up to that today.

Here she was walking out. Thank goodness for those layers of fluff.

The not-so-secret ornament was darling. It's her handprint and the fingers are painted like little snowmen. Obviously, Maren didn't paint the snowmen. Still, it's sweet to have a momento of her tiny handprint from this season.

Maren and her good buddy, Morgan. Can you believe how cute those purple glasses are?

Maren loves her teacher, Mrs. C.

...and Mrs. B.

We missed Papa, but were so glad that Gigi was able to come to the show.

We don't have pictures of Truett because he was a little under the weather. (A lot under the weather...I've got the laundry to prove it!) 

I'm so thankful God chose me to be Maren's mom. I love her so very much. Today was indeed a gift.

And guess what?! I won a giveaway over at Hannah's blog today. Icing on the cake.

11 December 2012

A Christmas Song, by Maren

I can't stop smiling when I watch this. Please enjoy Maren's latest work.

10 December 2012

Santa 2012

We made our yearly visit to Santa on Saturday. Brett's bank hosts a fun little event with cookies and a very convincing Santa...with a real beard. My kids loved it.

Maren was not particularly interested in sitting on Santa's lap, but she was sure to communicate her wishes, complete with illustrations.

Our little family...

Truett mostly just chased his ball around the bank all morning, and ate a lot of cookies. This was as close as he got to posing for a picture...maybe next year?

I love looking back at how our family has changed through the years. Here was Maren visiting Santa for the first time...

And here was Truett last year...

29 November 2012


On Saturday our family will begin our Advent preparations. Maren and I have had a few talks on the way to preschool about Advent...and preparing our hearts for the celebration of Christ's birth. We'll be using Truth in the Tinsel this year, and we'll decorate the printable ornaments (found here). I'm planning to use the same book next year, and we'll do the more time-intensive ornaments when Maren and Truett are able to work on them together next year. Remember my desire to simplify this year? Well, using the simple printable ornaments fits into our plan. *wink*

Last year Maren and I made an Advent Tree out of toilet paper rolls. You can find the original tutorial here.

Hello, 3-year-old Maren!

Do you have any special Advent plans? I'm looking forward to pausing each day to reflect on the wonder of the season...and to be sure our focus in on Christ, the true miracle of Christmas.

Not the enemy

At some point during my engagement to Brett, someone gave me a valuable piece of advice. I wish I could remember who shared this with me...because it warrants a handwritten thank you note.

Your husband is not your enemy. He is on your team.

As a soon-to-be-brand-new-wife, I didn't realize the significance of this advice until a little later. I knew marriage would be a lot of work, but I didn't realize how easily Brett would become a target...a target to take my frustrations out on, whether merited by him or not. We fought our way through the occasional misunderstanding or personality conflict. But wasn't I surprised to learn how swiftly I began to make Brett pay for other frustrations...annoyance with a coworker? Lash out at Brett later that night. Disappointment with a friend? Brett gets to deal with sulky Kate. My failure at anything? Brett can atone. See where I'm going? Brett was 'safe' to me. I knew he would never go anywhere...and so it became easy to dole out my emotional frustrations on my husband. 
Enter best advice I got while engaged...Brett is not the enemy! He is on my team. It took me a while, but when I finally learned to allow Brett to help me through some of those frustrations, I was amazed by the outpouring of love and support he was able to offer. Ten years later? We still fight. Thankfully, not very often at all. But I do slip up and occasionally lash out at him...sometimes for something completely out of his control. Most of the time, though, I've learned to allow Brett to walk though things with me. And, as it turns out, God did an excellent job of blessing me with a man who would be my perfect teammate.

28 November 2012


Brett and I have almost been married for 10 years. I am infinitely grateful for the lessons we've learned together throughout these years. Some hard lessons, some funny lessons, some lessons it seems as though we continue to 'learn' over and over again.

Here we are way back in 2000. This was almost our first date...Brett's Senior year football banquet at Wheaton. He brought me roses...and won the Most Respected Player award. I barely knew him...but quickly became smitten.

I am hoping to spend some time in the coming weeks reflecting on the lessons we've learned...in preparation for Christmas, and in anticipation of our 10th anniversary coming up on the 22nd of December.

I am thankful for God's patience with us both as we navigate this life together. And, I'm thankful for the amazing leader God's graciously given me and our family in Brett. As this Christmas season approaches, we've chosen to take things a bit more slowly than is typical for us. It's funny, considering how introverted I am, that we often fill our November and December to the brim with comings and goings. Not this year. Brett and I have been learning the value in slowing down a bit...and in choosing intentionally how our days are spent. We decided to forgo the Christmas Choir at our church, something we both genuinely love, in favor of spending Thursday evenings quietly...as a family. We've chosen not to host our usual Christmas party...another tradition we always love, but that often leaves us a bit weary. It's hard, sometimes, to let go of 'good' things in life. But, we're trying to hold tight to the best things right now. Two of those best things happen to be named Truett and Maren...

Seriously...he's got the most amazing lashes...

This kid just loves life.

And one silly 4-year-old...

...my beautiful, creative girl...

Thank you, Lord, for teaching us this lesson right now...before we've missed these best things.

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

Isaiah 50:4