Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas!

The gift of Jesus is the reason our family celebrates.

Peace & Hope,

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Cheer

I think I am in still in complete denial that Christmas is almost here! This whole month has just zipped right by, and before I can catch my breath, I'll be staring down a whole new year! I just barely got used to this past one; I'm certainly not ready for a new one!

It has been a busy day filled with soccer games and cookie making/decorating with my parents, dinner with Bill's parents tomorrow, and then more friends and family throughout the week...and here it is Saturday night, two nights before Christmas, and I have yet to wrap a single thing. I'm going to post some pics and get to it!

This is probably the last year Isabelle will go visit Santa.

He was a beef and cheese kind of Santa.
I'm sure he meant well, but...

She was excited, but I think last year's are just the best ever. She could hardly contain herself!

Well, honestly, this one's probably my favorite.  :)

Okay, so I had no intention of this being a post of pics with St. Nick, but now I can't help myself. Here are my sweet little guys...
 ...even though it looks a little like a contender for awkward family photos. To be honest, a visit with Santa wasn't really a big deal to me. Don't feel bad for my poor, deprived children- they went with Bill's parents every year to a fancy Army dinner, and they had their fill of Santa there. I promise. Grandma has the pictures to prove it.
You know, I still remember every detail about the clothes they're wearing. I remember how I thought Ethan's clothes seemed so big to me back then. My how time flies!

Okay, onto the present. For real this time.

Caleb's annual birthday PJs Christmas lights drive with hot chocolate

my Daddy and me - he is so funny, and I love him so much!

Sprinkle duty
 and yes, she has worn that skirt for days now, ha

 Louie Kitty got a little frisky
terrible picture but I love it anyway

 Isabelle at school the day before her birthday- she was so excited that I let her choose something out of the Summer Box since she always wears winter-y clothes for her birthday. I hope it made her feel special!

Meet Grumpy the Shepherd

 Meet Rambo the Shepherdess

She was a mess that night! I felt like I owed an apology to the audience at large for her behavior.
I was irritated. And embarrassed. The boys never did things like point out other kids, tell them where {and when} to move, just generally disregard the teacher's instruction...and then, the headband started moving around.

On stage. In the middle of the song.

As soon as I saw that look in her eyes, I knew. I just knew.

I guess when you're having wardrobe malfunctions, you just can't focus on anything else.

 She nearly took out the poor kids to her sides with those elbows. Oops. Sorry.
She was yanking that thing with everything she had.


Then she snapped. Just gave up and turned her little self around. Never saw her face up on that stage for the next song and a half until they were done.

She had informed me earlier-through much screaming and crying- that she'd wanted to be an angel. Not a shepherd. I thought she'd get over it. I guess I thought wrong.

I certainly had not intended for this post to be soooooo looooooooooong. Ask me how many presents I got wrapped tonight. Hmpf, that's okay. ;)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Little Mommy

I always dreamed of being a Mommy, and now that I have my sweet little Isabelle, I get to watch those same hopes and dreams as they manifest in her tender mother's heart.

Don't get me wrong. It isn't all rose petals and bon bons.

There is daily (as in minute to minute) drama worthy of its own mini-series, oceans of tears, jaw-dropping sass that knocks your socks off. Maybe we can just call it being extremely expressive, ha.


There is also sweetness and gentleness. She is my little pink ally, my feminine sidekick in this testosterone-driven family of ours. I adore watching this side of her grow and flourish. Lately I find myself soaking it all in, wanting to remember every detail. So, blog about it I will. I don't want to forget.

Isabelle is a singer. I love it, mostofthetime. She sings to her babies, then she changes voices and sings as her babies would sing to each other. It's a riot! She sings while she draws, while she plays, while we're in the car...everywhere and anywhere. And loudly. Really loudly, ha!

The only times she sings softly are when she's in her bed singing lullabies to babies, but the volume has a way of creeping up and up rather quickly. It doesn't stay "soft" for long.  :)

At gymnastics this week, I reached down for my phone and saw this instead. Thankfully mine was in the other pocket! If you can't tell, that's one of her princess phones, which rarely leaves her side these days. She carries on conversations all day long, sometimes as both the caller and the receiver, sometimes just one-sided as the caller. It's so funny! I just about died laughing when I noticed the phone in my purse that day.

Apparently she was expecting a very important call during gymnastics.  :) 

About a thousand times this month I've heard Isabelle talking on the phone with The Doctor. There's a sick babe in tow, usually with a fever of "348 (or 29 or a million!) deBrees" and she needs to be seen right away. There's a lot of ahh-ing and yess-ing and uh-hmm-ing. Totally cracks me up!

She is also very aware of people being hurt or upset, and often puts that empathetic little heart in motion.

Isabelle loves to have chores like the big kids. She gets so excited to empty out the silverware tray from the dishwasher and put everything away in the drawer. And she knows exactly where every little thing goes! She also makes her own bed, helps me with laundry (she also knows what belongs to whom...down to the very last sock, ha!), and has begun to take care of the small trash can in the bathroom and wipe down the bathroom counters and sink.

I guess pants are optional when you're hard at work in the kitchen!  =)

Real babies are the best!

My sweet little Mommy in the making.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Favorite, Easy Christmas Cookies

 Don't be fooled by their size- these little cookies are big on fabulousness!
I've adapted the recipe just a bit from my beloved
Best Ever Nestle Cookie Cookbook.

Chocolate Chip
Mexican Wedding Cakes

1 C (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour (we use unbleached)
2/3 C finely chopped nuts
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 C semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, divided

  • Beat butter and powdered sugar until creamy
  • Add vanilla
  • Gradually add flour, nuts, and cinnamon
{the dough will be rather coarse/crumbly once you add in the flour- that's how it's supposed to be}
  • Stir in 1- 1/2 C morsels
{again, the dough is not uniformly smooth- you'll have chunks and's still all good}
  • Carefully pat or press dough into 1" balls with your fingers {and find a cute helper}
  •  Place on UNgreased baking sheet or use parchment paper

This is great dough for little hands to work with because it isn't sticky and it's easy to shape.
It's kind of like play-dough.  ;)

  • Bake in 350 F oven for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown on bottom
  • They "puff" but do not spread
There is much anticipation, I tell you.
  • Let stand 2 minutes; place on wire racks to cool
  • Next, melt remaining chocolate (or use a baking chocolate bar to melt if you prefer)
 I add a small dollop of shortening to about a half bag of morsels and microwave on high in 30 second intervals. It usually takes about 2 minutes to melt everything. Stir together until smooth.

If you want to "dip" the cookies in chocolate, I find it easier to hold the cookie in one hand and gently spoon the melted chocolate onto half. Let the extra dribble right back into the bowl. Place cookies on waxed paper to set.

If you're running short on time, drizzle them! Line up the cookies on waxed paper and spoon out some melted chocolate and drizzle over the tops. Repeat in the opposite direction so cookies have lots of chocolate "lines" on them. There will be giant chocolate globs too, but I've never heard anyone complain about that.  =)

Store in airtight container at room temp. Claims to make 4 1/2 dozen, but we have never gotten that many- and this time I didn't even eat much dough...   :)


They are sooooo yummy!

I am starting my Bake-A-Thon this morning for our annual Christmas Goodies plates for our kids' teachers...
Cue Bing Crosby and dear Andy Williams!

You can find the recipe for Chocolate Spiders here, and I'll be posting about Oreo Truffle Bites (I like that name better than Oreo Balls!) later this week.

linking up to these fun parties:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Beautiful Birthday Girl & Other Things

This weekend was jam-packed!

This is just...I just answered a phone call alerting me to a 2-hour delay this morning- woo hoo!!!! No morning rush today...

Where was I? Oh right.
On Saturday, we got to celebrate this beautiful 6-year-old!

See the sparkles???
I let her wear some make-up for her birthday dinner. And her fairy Halloween costume. She was just a little bit excited about it.  :)

Earlier in the day - she wore her class birthday crown all day long!
She was up a little earlier than normal, too, ha ha
 Birthday loot!
Most of these photos are blurry because everyone was moving so fast, especially the birthday girl! I have never seen her so giddy and excited!

Happy 6th Birthday, Isabelle Kate!

A new polka dot bathrobe!

And the key to any girl's heart... shoes!

  Glittery ones! Her Daddy put them on her feet just like Cinderella.

The boys were at Ethan's soccer game late Saturday night so it was just Birthday Girl and me. We snuggled in front of the tree and read two stories before bed.

Bear Stays Up & If You Take A Mouse To The Movies

I was secretly relieved she didn't choose Small One again.
I cannot make it through that book without sobbing.

Jonah had his special night out with Dad to go shopping for "his person" and Bill gave him some money for the claw thing at Toys R Us. We never do that stuff (I guess that what makes Guys Night Out memorable, ha), and he won this Comet reindeer for Isabelle. He was over the moon excited to have won something for little sister, on her birthday no doubt! What a tender heart Jonah has.

So anyhoo, Comet had to be in our Stories-By-Christmas-Tree-Light Birthday picture.

Here is the birthday girl at school on Friday.
If you've been reading for a while, then you know that one of her favorite traditions is to get to wear a summer dress for her birthday, since it's in the middle of December. I never really thought about it before, but summer dresses just make her happy, so...summer dress it is!

Of course, when your hair is still wet and you don't have so much as chapstick on, someone offers to take your picture. Of course. :/

It started snowing yesterday after church, so we plopped down to watch a little Elf together. My kids think it's hi-lar-i-ous that I gag every.single.time Buddy eyes the "candy" on the street. You know what part I'm talking about, right?

All dressed up for the Christmas program at church last night.
Someone was not thrilled about being a shepherd and wearing a "tunic."
While getting ready, that someone cried. A lot.

Guess she got over it. ;)

Oh there were other issues during the performance, folks. Of course. Saving those gems for later, ha.

When the older kids were on stage, I couldn't find Ethan and leaned over to ask Bill where he was standing- all I saw were really older looking boys, like high school age boys.

I nearly gasped when I realized that my boy looks like a high school student.
From his have-to-shave face down to his now-size 11 feet.

But he'll always be my little boy.

Have a great Monday!
I know many of us will be keeping grieving families in our hearts and prayers today and throughout the week.

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