How are you all?!
It's been exactly one month since I last wrote a blog post...a post about being present and slowing down throughout the month of December in an effort to focus on the things that really matter rather than running around willy nilly trying to check everything off of our Christmas to-do lists.
Did I succeed at following my own advice?
Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't. I'm guessing that's right on par with many of your experiences as well, yes?
Some of it feels like a blur, but if I really sit and try to mentally recapture some of the highlights this is what comes to mind:
Highlight 1: Aubrey, who is an absolute non-stop mover and shaker was a hilarious addition to Christmas morning. She quickly picked up on the girls cues and began grabbing wrapped gifts from beneath the tree and saying, "Open" and in many cases would start to tear into things that were not hers to tear into. Let's just say there was a little bit of damage control on mommy and daddy's part (:
The girls picked out a massive stuffed dog for her (she LOVES dogs) and it was sitting on our newly built (and still unfinished) window seat when the girls came downstairs. She calls him Dog-ooo and we're still trying to figure out where he can "live" in the house on a permanent basis. So far he travels between her bedroom and the living room (:
Highlight 2: It's fun to see the girls' individual interests developing as they get a little bit older and more particular about what they like (and don't like!) to do. Ella LOVES to color, draw, and paint so "Santa" brought her an easel. Ava is currently our little gymnast and "Santa" was extra generous in bringing her a piece of equipment called a kip bar. A kip bar is like the smaller of the two uneven bars in a gym and allows her to practice hip circles and other such skills right in our basement (actually in the middle of our living room for a few days, but now in the basement!).
She was super pumped and we're excited to see her be able to practice, with the added benefit of physical activity in the confines of our basement during these bitter cold winter months. And Ella loves to draw till her heart's content on her easel.
Highlight 3: We managed to follow through on our plan to make cookies and deliver them to our neighbors with Christmas cards. It was a warm night by the time we got to delivering and the girls and I had a delightful walk down our street, in the glow of street lamps and Christmas lights as they enthusiastically ran up to doors, rang doorbells and delivered their handmade treats and were greeted by warm smiles and "thank you's."
Highlight 4: I'm not so sure that Christmas Eve service with an 18 month old qualifies as a "highlight", but it certainly was memorable and laughable. Someone else please tell me that they attempted to take all of their children to church (along with the next door neighbor girl), and wound up chasing a toddler around the foyer for 45 minutes. A toddler who completely trashed her brand new white tights by trying to climb up and down every conceivable chair in and out of the sanctuary and then trashed my nylons (shocker that I was even wearing a dress!) in her attempts to climb up and down everything in and out of the sanctuary. I mean we're talking quarter sized holes in hers and enough snags and almost holes in mine to qualify them for a Halloween costume.
You can dress us up, but you can't take us out.
Not right now anyway (; I went to church feeling put together and came out looking like one of the orphans in Annie (disheveled hair, sweaty armpits, ripped tights--it was a sight to behold!).
Watching Tinker Bell on a 60 inch television.
Alright...you wouldn't have picked up on this, but there was a wee bit of sarcasm in that last sentence.
My husband got the online deal of the century on a television right after Thanksgiving. He told me it was a "little bit bigger" than our current television, which I was quite content with (a 40 inch flat screen that fit nicely in our living room and on top of the current piece of media furniture we have).
I should have picked up on the fact that it was more than a "little bit bigger" when I saw the box sitting in our garage taking up the space of a small semi truck, but in the haziness of our comings and goings it didn't even register.
Until he pulled the thing out of the box the week before Christmas and tried to balance it on our current television stand.
Friends, this was a sight to behold.
"Are you serious?" is what eeked out of my mouth.
"Um, yeah. It's a little bit bigger than I thought."
"Are you serious?" Um. Yeah. Nothing else nice was coming to mind.
"Uh...you don't like it?"
"Wow. Um. Babe. I'm not even sure what to say."
What was coming to mind was a moral discussion about whether or not we are a family who has a 60 inch television in our living room (who even knew that was fodder for a moral discussion!)! I kind of pride myself on the fact that I like quiet evenings, don't watch a ton of television and try to encourage reading, and creative play over watching television or playing video games as often as possible.
Does that kind of nerdy, 'likes to read' family own a 60 inch television?
I think not.
Or at least I thought not.
Because now we are that family. With a massively large television in our living room.
Dad loves it. The girls love it. I am completely outnumbered!
Friends, I took this picture. Tinkerbell's head is significantly larger than my daughter's! When the fairies become larger than your children, that's a big TV.
"Babe, are we those kind of people?" I asked.
"What kind of people?!" he asks, confused.
Honestly, I'm not even sure. Really. Prior to this massive piece of electronic equipment teetering precariously on what now looks like a very small television stand I never really thought about what sort of message one was sending by owning a 60 inch television. I certainly don't judge you if you have one.
However, if you were stranded on a desert island and needed to send a message I swear this thing could shoot NASA sized flares into the air for you. And if it failed in doing that you could at least be comforted by the life sized fairies and other creatures displayed on its screen.
In the words of my mother, a woman who has been married for 37 years and knows a thing or two about keeping the peace (or biting your tongue!) when the occasion calls for it, "Oh, you'll get used to it."
And another friend said, "It's not that big."
I guess there are worse things than really big TV's.
And we did end up buying a new entertainment cabinet this week, which makes everything a wee bit better.
I gave up when Scott turned the television on this morning, turned to me with a sad, sweet, pouty face and said, "I'd be really sad to see the T.V. go."
Ahhhhhh...ok, honey. I love you more than my wall space and ideals about large televisions...the TV can stay.
That's our story...ahem, our new t.v. ...and we're stickin' to it.
So, if you want to watch a movie or football game with larger than life action, c'mon over!
In other news, we still have our Christmas tree up and many of the decorations are still out. The plan is to start to slowly put them away this weekend. I'm not in a super big hurry. I'm kind of enjoying them now that all of the busyness is over and figure we should enjoy the tree for a few more days after all of that hard work that went into setting it up!
I had lofty goals of writing in our Christmas journal right after Christmas, but alas the pages still remain blank and needing to be filled in. I'm hoping to get to it this week (:
I also had intentions of of writing down some thoughts/goals for the year to come, being that it is January and that's what people are supposed to do, right? In all honesty, I spent most of the week picking up the house and then the girls had another snow day on Friday.
...so those goals...well, at this season of life they really often amount this... 'Get through the day with joy and peace. Hug your children a lot in the middle of it all...especially when you're feeling crabby and like you'd be much saner with a little more order than what is with little ones!''
So here's my thoughts about it all...January is a good time to revisit some things and set some intentions/loose goals for the the coming year, but I can't beat myself up if they're not etched into a stone tablet before January 1st.
I will be journaling, thinking and praying over the next couple of weeks about my hopes for the year and would be happy to share them with you by the end of the month.
I am reminded of Proverbs 16:9..."A [woman's] heart plans [her] way: but the Lord directs [her] steps.
I am working through two really awesome books right now.
I was super pumped to be offered the chance to review this first one, Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp.
Kathy's books are always super encouraging and very practical and this book is both so far. I will share more about how our own decluttering is going in my next post and offer a book review when I'm done. But, the book has already received awesome traffic and she currently has more than 5,000 women signed up through her website for the 21 Day Clutter Free challenge (worth signing up for just to get the encouraging emails...though my own de-cluttering with busy little ones at home is going to take a LOT longer than 21 days!).
The second book is one that our church chose to use for our Mom to Mom groups this year. It's a Bible study called "Restless" and though I'm only at the beginning, I can tell it's going to be really heart-changing on many levels. More about that in an upcoming post too (:
Well, the snow is falling here, I'm going to take the girls to see Annie later today and it's time to wrap this up because I can hear all manner of chaos ensuing in the kitchen right below where I'm typing...it usually takes the cadence of, "No Aubrey. No! No, Aubrey. No. NO AUBREY NOOOOOOOO!!!!"
At which point I know my helping hands are very needed again (: