Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Random Advent Reflection

I love this picture.

It almost looks magazine worthy. The little train going around the track. The mix of homemade and coordinated ornaments that reflect my love for everything red and white at Christmastime. Even the ornaments hanging in the window.

But what you don't see is the process that went into my beautiful tree and lovely window. You know...the boxes and chaos.

But isn't that exactly what Jesus came to do? He took my chaos cleaned me up. He sifted through my piles and messes, helped me throw out what I didn't really need anymore and caused me to remember His faithfulness from times in the past. And little by little, the mess became manageable. I'm still a work in progress - nowhere close to the picturesque tree - but He's still sweeping out the cobwebs and making me a little more like Jesus everyday. So as I continue to prepare my home for Christmas, I pray that God continues to prepare my heart.


Once again, our trusty Ford took us to Prairie Pine Plantation to find the perfect Christmas tree. This year, we broke from tradition and splurged on a fir instead of a pine. I must say, this is the best tree we've had since my parents sent us one from Oregon in 1999.


This year's Thanksgiving was quite possibly the most perfect Thanksgiving weekend ever (with the exception of missing many family members.) We had an enjoyable morning eating our traditional "acorn donuts"
followed by a perfect drive to see Dan's parents in Norfolk. The parade was on, the Lions won, the turkey was juicy, the pies were fabulous...but the company was the best. We really enjoyed our stay with Dan's parents.

The drive home was pleasant, the Huskers lost (okay...not a perfect weekend, but the Beavers made up for it by beating the Ducks), the tree was chosen, the house was decorated, the Christmas bucket lists were made, and we all genuinely enjoyed a lazy weekend together.

I was particularly proud of the girls that their Christmas bucket list ideas were all experiences rather than material things. These are the memories that last a lot longer than the newest fad toy.

So at the end of the weekend, I must say - I am truly thankful for my family.

Family Music

These are the days I love. When the sounds of multiple family members spontaneously making music fill our home. I missed the chance to record Dayna on the cello with her dad on recorder. But this little tambourine player kept quite the beat!

Preschool Play Date

The day before Thanksgiving, there was no afternoon preschool. Two other mamas were in a pinch, so we invited their boys over to spend the day with Annie. I can't begin to tell you how much laughter, mess and noise (Bryton discovered the recorders and other musical instruments!) we had. It was a truly delightful day, and I'm sure we all slept well that night!

Big Changes for Our Little Girl

Just like that, my little girl started growing up. She's writing her name (first and last!) on everything and copying letters and words out of every book she can find. She also insisted for several weeks that she wanted a hair cut. I admit - it's super cute, even if I cut it myself. It also makes her look way too grown up!

Dayna's Elementary Memories

This is the project I spent most of my time working on while enjoying my weekend away. Hard to believe how fast these years went (and how many pictures we took!)

All By Myself

Those three words never meant a lot to me. I grew up needing people around, with a lot of noise. But somehow with age and parenting, the rare quiet moments are now cherished. My sweet husband delivered on the rest of my Mother's Day gift by sending me away for a weekend - by myself - to a hotel in Omaha. I promptly lost myself in knitting, scrapbooking, binge watching Netflix and enjoying the hot tub. I can't recommend enough the opportunity to just be alone to recharge. Thanks so much, Dan! You're the best!

Watching Annie Dance

Annie's dance studio is closed to visitors, but once a year, parents can come watch a dance class. Unfortunately, I'm always teaching piano...but her Daddy is wonderful and got some great pictures. This is Annie's second year in ballet and first in tap. I can't wait for the recital!

First Orchestra Concert

November started with more wonderful music coming from Dayna. She culminated her first orchestral experience with a wonderful concert. Her dear private instructor Molly drove from Lincoln to Omaha to witness this event, as well as grandparents coming from Norfolk. Needless to say, we're all incredibly proud of her. But topping the whole event was the discovery that Dayna was named one of the section leaders by the conductor. Well done, Dayna!