Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas 2016

This Christmas has been one for the memory books!  It doesn’t hurt that I love this house and decorating it (even as minimally as we did) was a lot of fun and made being home something to be treasured…

My real live wreath from a dear, dear friend!  (I've always wanted one!)

My real live wreath from a dear, dear friend! (I’ve always wanted one!)

Welcome home

Welcome home

Dining room tree

Dining room tree

dsc_0023

He is with us

He is with us

The entry way

The entry way

Our tree full of special ornaments from years past

Our tree full of special ornaments from years past

and it doesn’t hurt that the kids are at such fun ages, where everything is exciting and they want to be a part of everything holiday…

She LOVED these antlers

She LOVED these antlers

There was lots of nativity play and Christmas store re-enactments

There was lots of nativity play and Christmas store re-enactments

and it doesn’t hurt that I love to invest myself fully into the advent season with a slow down in our schedules so that we can really focus on Emmanuel.

I remember fondly celebrating Christmas when I was younger.  We always had our family Christmas and would invite my dad’s parents (who lived across the street – if only I TRULY knew what an incredible gift that was at the time) to join us.  Then, we’d have a Christmas celebration WITH them and the rest of that side of the family.  Then we’d usually travel to my mom’s parents and do Christmas there, which was Christmas done BIG.  While we were there, we’d usually do Christmas with my grandmother’s side and my grandpa’s side.  Christmas was always this full, loud, joyful, family-filled celebration and  I loved every minute of it!

Things feel a little smaller now and while that’s not always a bad thing, I miss the multitudes of family and piles of paper and lots of cousins and aunts and uncles and mounds of good food and Christmas treats and the excitement of all of the different places we’d go and people we’d see.

This year, we traveled to Kansas to Waco’s for Phipps family Christmas.  They just built a beautiful new house and we all got to be the first house guests – a really big treat!  They were wonderful hosts and though it was a mad-dash, quick trip, a really good time was had by all!

ALMOST all of the grandkids!  (One REALLY didn't want her picture taken - ha!)

ALMOST all of the grandkids! (One REALLY didn’t want her picture taken – ha!)

We tried again on the stairs...

We tried again on the stairs…  Pictures are hard, unless you’re Sawyer or Breckyn.  :)

Beauty

Beauty

Sweet cousins and friends

Sweet cousins and friends

These 2 had fun together, too...

These 2 had fun together, too…

Present time is always a good time!

Present time is always a good time!

She's got this present opening thing down!

She’s got this present opening thing down!

This guy likes opening presents, too!

This guy likes opening presents, too!

Her favorite gift from RaRa and PaPa

Her favorite gift from RaRa and PaPa

He LOVES his Paw Patrol sleeping bag from Goo Goo!

He LOVES his Paw Patrol sleeping bag from Goo Goo!

We made RaRa's favorite iced sugar cookies!

We made RaRa’s favorite iced sugar cookies!

Stockings!

Stockings!

Wryder sure loves his PaPa!

Wryder sure loves his PaPa!

Sawyer with the bird she picked out just for RaRa

Sawyer with the bird she picked out just for RaRa

Playing dolls with Uncle Waco

Playing dolls with Uncle Waco

Bedtime stories with PaPa

Bedtime stories with PaPa

We came home on Christmas Eve and had our family Christmas over the next two days.  Since Wrex had the week off, we spread our gift-opening out so the kids could enjoy every last little thing!

For their big gifts, we splurged a little this year and got them each (save for Sayble) metal pedal tractors.  We knew this was a gift they would love and really have fun with and could pass on to their own kids one day.

Two hours of work later...

Two hours of work later…

They were a hit!

They were a hit!

She's a good tractor pedaler!

She’s a good tractor pedaler!

Little Say wanted in on the action, of course...

Little Say wanted in on the action, of course…

Ready to get to work!

Ready to get to work!

This little cutie loved to rip paper!

This little cutie loved to rip paper!

She got her own truck, trailer and horses so she could play with brother and sister!

She got her own truck, trailer and horses so she could play with brother and sister!

Train tracks might just be his favorite gift - who knew?!

Train tracks might just be his favorite gift – who knew?!

She has had her eye on this chicken house for months!  We were so happy to get it for her!

She has had her eye on this chicken house for months! We were so happy to get it for her!

Sayble LOVED the blanket Sawyer made for her...

Sayble LOVED the blanket Sawyer made for her…

Sawyer’s other special gift this year was a Calico Critters set.  She’s talked about them for a while and I had one as a little girl that I absolutely cherished!  I wish I still had that thing…  They were on sale on Zulilly one day so I got her her very own.  Sweet girl cried because she was so happy.  It was a special mother/daughter moment that I’ll always remember…

With her Calico Critters tree house...

With her Calico Critters tree house…

Wryder and his giant combine!

Wryder and his giant combine!

We’ve had daddy home all week and get home him for three more days!  I never look forward to the Monday after our Christmas break but I’m sure we’ll survive…

2016 has been such a good year for our family.  This has been a year of the Lord’s faithfulness (which I’ll share even more of later).  In a lot of ways, I hate to see it end.  I wish I could just freeze time right this very second…our kiddos are at such fun ages…we’re all healthy and whole…we love where we live…business is good…  I’m not a fan of the unknown, but I know that whatever 2017 brings, He will be right there with us.  He IS Emmanuel…

Home Tour Wrap-Up

You all have been so kind regarding our sweet little home – thank you!  All of your comments have brightened my day, no doubt!

We’ll finish up today so we can move on to bucket calves tomorrow.  The kids are showing at the county fair and – oh my word – are they cute!

So off of the kitchen is the great, big living room/den/family room – whatever you prefer to call it. This room has a LOT of wood going on but it’s quite pretty!

Living room before

Living room before

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this room or not but it turns out, I do!  It’s just a big, cozy space for the fam to hang out and play games and wrestle around…  We’re dying to host our first pitch party/game night!

Living room after

Living room after

Living room before

Living room before

We replaced the cowhide with something a little brighter against all the wood!

Living room after

Living room after

Living room before

Living room before

And in these built ins, we put a pretty paper on the backside to give a little pop of fun…

Living room after

Living room after

Living room after

Living room after

Living room after

Living room after

More pretty windows…

Across from the living room is the laundry room and a half bath/mudroom bathroom.

Wrexy built me a sliding barn door for the laundry room and I love it!  I wasn’t sure I wanted because it seems EVERYONE has one these days, but it’s really functional and it fits the house well.

Laundry room

Laundry room

The previous laundry room door wanted to whack the washer.  If we moved the washer to where it didn’t hit, then I had no room to fold clothes and with as much laundry as we do around here, I NEEEEEEDED a place to fold clothes!

Laundry room

Laundry room

The appearance of the mudroom bathroom was one of the biggest changes in the house.  It was wall-papered, but yellowing and peeling.  Would you believe I don’t have a single picture of it before?!

Alas, we painted it (and LOVED the texture the wall paper gave), put in a utility sink (so Wrex could make messes here as he mixed milk or whatever instead of the kitchen sink), and gave it an updated, clean look!

Mudroom bath after

Mudroom bath after

Mudroom bath after

Mudroom bath after

Mudroom bath after

Mudroom bath after

This bathroom comes right off the garage door and is so nice for washing dirty little hands when they come in from outside.  ;)

We didn’t do much work in the basement except for some touch up paint.  We just used what we could to make it feel a little more homey for guests.

Basement before

Basement before

And, yes, we took down that HUGE mirror!

Basement after

Basement after

Basement after

Basement after

Basement after

Basement after

We turned the small room in the basement into the perfect sleeping galley for kid visitors!  (This is the kids’ favorite room in the house – ha!)

Basement after

Basement after

Basement after

Basement after

There’s also a really good sized storage room that we chocked full of party supplies, winter coats and what not.  I LOVE having a basement in case of severe weather – tornadoes and I are not friends – and this one is quite cozy should we ever have to hang out here for a while.

In case I haven’t said it before, we truly do love this home.  We feel so grateful to live here and hope to use every square inch for His glory!

Thanks for humoring my little home tour – it’s been fun!

Can’t Get Enough

We’ve had daddy home for 10 of the past 11 days (thank you, sale barns!) and tomorrow we must give him up to the sale barn again.  We have had such a good time together; no amount of days off would be “enough” for me.

Being a wife to my handsome hubby and a mom to my three cuties is better than I ever imagined it would be…better than I ever could have dreamt it…  Are there hard days?  Of course.  Are there days when I need to run to town just for a little bit of quiet?  Sure.  Are there times when Wrexy and I need to recharge and get back to the basics of our marriage?  Absolutely…but being a wife and mom are the best jobs I’ve ever had.  My soul is satisfied with this calling…

While daddy was home, we…

went on a family date…

They loved their root beer in a boot - boot beer!

They loved their root beer in a boot – boot beer!

Wryder kept her entertained long after her sweet potatoes were gone...

Wryder kept her entertained long after her sweet potatoes were gone…

had family fun day where Sawyer and I got pedicures while the boys (and Sayble) had ice cream and went to Menards…

Sweet little feet

Sweet little feet

celebrated with Sawyer as she finally earned that Barbie Pop-Up Camper!  We are so proud of her!

With her completed chore chart!

With her completed chore chart!

They had one in stock!

They had one in stock!

Taking it to the truck

Taking it to the truck

We had concerts…

They're gonna be famous...

They’re gonna be famous…

checked out the nativity scene in the neighboring town…

So excited!

So excited!

I love my babies...and baby Jesus

I love my babies…and baby Jesus

took selfies where mom’s arm didn’t quite reach…

Help!

Help!

played Paw Patrol, farm version…

This made me laugh!

This made me laugh!

ridden horses…

He's really gentle...

He’s really gentle…

crawled around with this cutie…

She has mastered the army crawl...

She has mastered the army crawl…

worked on trailers, took down Christmas decorations, played a mound of games, listened to at least 15 episodes of Adventure in Odyssey, watched a ton of football and just enjoyed being together!

I remember my parents telling (and re-telling) the story of me opening gifts at my grandparents’ house one Christmas.  They always did things BIG and I had opened gifts for a bit and I laid back in a pile of wrinkled wrapping paper and said, “Oh, the more I get the more I want!”  I’ve come a long way since then. *ahem*

I feel this way about my family, though; the more time I get with them, the more I desire!  They are my best friends, my closest confidants, the ones I get to minister to and the ones who minister to me.  They know me better and love me more than anyone on the planet and for that alone, I am so grateful.

My hearts....minus the baby who was sleeping.

My hearts….minus the baby who was sleeping.

We will send daddy off with smiles tomorrow and eagerly await his return home.  I’m so thankful that while he’s off buying cows and providing for our fam, that I get to stay home and hang with these babies all day.

Sawyer and I have a date to play Barbie Pop-Up Camper WITH water in the pool and Wryder wants help making a card for Goo Goo and I have no doubt Sayble will want me to make funny noises and kiss her cheeks and snuggle her in the chair.  I love these guys…I just can’t get enough…

Random {Christmas} Rambles

A little recap of our Christmas holiday…

We got to see Santa and a couple of real live reindeer…

Petting the reindeer

Petting the reindeer

And again....

And again….

Telling Santa he wants a Paw Patroller

Telling Santa he wants a Paw Patroller

Hoping for a Barbie Pop-Up Camper

Hoping for a Barbie Pop-Up Camper

We ate a few chicken nuggets, went to the doctor for the FIFTH TIME IN 2 WEEKS and then came on home.

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Sweet Sayble is finally feeling a bit better.  She got croup just like brother but had two infected ears on top of it and now has a cold.  We did a lot of this around here…and I haven’t minded a bit to be honest…

Sweetest little (bald) thing...

Sweetest little (bald) thing…

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One of my FAVORITE things to bake is pumpkin bread and banana bread.  I’m not a fan of thick, dense, heavy bread and these two are moist and light and heavenly, if I do say so myself.

Since we had a little downtime with all the sickies, I cooked up 22 loaves for some of our sweet friends…

YUM-MO

YUM-MO

We ate two and took two the Phipps family Christmas and the kids were asking for some this morning.  Guess I shoulda made more…

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We always get the kids Christmas jammies as an early gift.  They got to open them before we went Christmas light looking and hot cocoa drinking last week.

We get to open a present?!

We get to open a present?!

They got changed immediately and looked ADORABLE!

Sisters

Sisters

He looks so protective in this one...

He looks so protective in this one…

We cruised around Holyoke and then came home for some popcorn and a little Apple Dumpling Gang watching!  This was one of Wrexy’s FAVORITE movies as a kid and our kids have fallen in love with it as well.

Popcorn!

Popcorn!

It was a REALLY good day…

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Sigh...

Sigh…

My home is truly a place of refuge for me.  The other evening we had the lights off and the Christmas tree was glowing and the candles were filling the air with sweet scents…the kids were playing joyfully in the other room and Sayble was cooing at an angel from the nativity scene…daddy was on his way home and supper was in the oven and I was just so at ease.  There is truly no place I’d rather be than HOME.

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Our sweet neighbors invited us over to have supper and have a little Christmas celebration.  The kids had a ball (per usual) and were bouncing off the walls in excitement.  (Pretty sure the Krueger house was a LOT quieter after we left!)

Mr. Rick built the kids a barn for all of their farm animals and toys and it. is. gorgeous!  The hay mow flips open and the barn doors slide; there’s glass in the windows and ‘Phipps’ is engraved in the side.  Seriously, you guys, it’s one of the kindest, most thoughtful gifts we’ve ever received.  The kids have played with it CONSTANTLY since then!

Twins - Mr. Rick and Sayble

Twins – Mr. Rick and Sayble

THE barn

THE barn

With his Charolais bull

With his Charolais bull

Sawyer posing and Wryder over-smiling...you know, the norm!

Sawyer posing and Wryder over-smiling…you know, the norm!

Wryder didn’t fully understand that the barn was ours to take home.  When it was time to go, he immediately started melting down and said, “Can I please come back and play with it sometime?”  Ms. Kristi jumped in and saved the day and helped him realize he got to take it home.  He stopped, dried his eyes and started jumping up and down with joy!  It was pretty cute.

Mr. Logan and sweet Sara got the kids an EQUALLY awesome gift – a membership to Adventures in Odyssey!  For the year, we can listen to any and every episode that we can!  With our living in the boonies and driving 30 miles+ to get anywhere, this is a GREAT gift!  The kids (and us!) love it!

With Logan and sweet Sara

With Logan and sweet Sara

We are blessed with some of the best friends, I tell ya…

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On Christmas Eve, we spent the day getting ready to head to Nebraska.  We still had laundry to do and suitcases to pack and a few last minute gifts to wrap.

We ate a yummy lunch of steak and potatoes – everybody’s favorite – and took communion as a family.  We are so thankful that Jesus was born!   We took time to thank Him for the ultimate sacrifice He made for us with His death and took time to remember the faithfulness He’s shown us in 2015.  We are a blessed people….

We went to Christmas Eve services at church and the kids got to get fancy!

Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

My heart

My heart

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Sawyer and Wryder left Santa some cookies and milk and they left carrots for the reindeer.  :)  Santa showed up and the kids didn’t even get up until 8:00 to check out their goods!

For Santa and friends

For Santa and friends

Barbie car for Sawyer

Barbie car for Sawyer

Microphone for WD and a push toy for Sayble

Microphone for WD and a push toy for Sayble

Wrexy snacked on the carrots and then threw them in the yard as if the reindeer ate them.  The kids found them this morning and were SO excited!

Ick.

Ick.

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They have been so kind and gracious and grateful this year…makes a momma’s heart happy.  They’ve wrapped “gifts” they’ve taken from their rooms and made gifts and then wrapped them all with whatever they could find.

Wrex was looking for his shoes to go to the barn the other day and Wryder had taken those, too!  We found them wrapped in tissues under the tree.  Their generosity and desire to bless blesses us…

Earrings Sawyer made me...her creativity is ASTOUNDING!

Earrings Sawyer made me…her creativity is ASTOUNDING!

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We headed to Nebraska on Christmas day to be with the Phipps family.  We had a WONDERFUL time being together.  The kids had so much fun playing with all of their cousins and we had fun with their cousins’ parents.  :)

With RaRa and PaPa

With RaRa and PaPa

The boys got pajama pants and we took the mandatory modeling picture.  If you don’t hear from me for a while, it means one of these guys has killed me for posting this.  ;)

A handsome crew!

A handsome crew!

Urkel style, just for fun

Urkel style, just for fun

All of us grandkids got to give Grandma Rusk a very special gift this year.  We wanted to make it the grand finale – the last gift to be opened – but we were all so excited we did it pretty much first thing!

A merry Christmas for a special lady...

A merry Christmas for a special lady…

It worked out well because the kids were all quiet and there weren’t a lot of other distractions.  This lady is something else and so deserving of every good thing.

We took time for everyone tell the family a big thing they felt like the Lord was doing or something they really needed prayer about in the new year.  During that time, Granny said that she’s gotten the same word two different times that the Lord has a mission for her in Stillwater. She was saying she didn’t really have a clue as to what it might be or have any preconceived notion what it was but she was ready to get there and get going! Lord I hope to be here and be that ready to serve the Kingdom at 80 years old…

We love this lady

We love this lady

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We finished up Christmas here today.  This year has been especially fun with the kids older and fully able to soak up the joy of the season.

Wryder with the Paw Patroller and Lookout

Wryder with the Paw Patroller and Lookout

Sawyer with her new doll

Sawyer with her new doll

We are so fortunate to have daddy home with us the rest of the week for Christmas vacation.  We plan to soak him up and watch fun shows and eat fun food and play games and enjoy being together…our favorite thing!

Oh, and nap.

:)

:)

Christmas break is hard, y’all!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Since we finally got the new carpet in, we finally got the tree up…the latest we’ve ever done so.  I didn’t want to put it up just to take it down or drag it around…

Our tree is covered in memories…special ornaments from when Wrex and I were little kids…ornaments from Grandma’s…ornaments our kids have made…ornaments we’ve given them each year…ornaments from our lean years and our years of plenty…  It has no rhyme or reason or theme and I LOVE it!

The tree...

The tree…

For real though...

For real though…

Wreathery...

Wreathery…

The kiddos get a special ornament from us each year that they’ll get to have for their own grown-up trees one day.  This year, Wryder got a golf cart to commemorate the cart from the elder WD.  He LOVED it and just wanted to drive it instead of hang it on the tree.

The cart...

The cart…

Sawyer got a very outlandish chihuahua decked out in a bow, necklace, tutu…much like my pretty princess dresses day to day.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

Sayble got a sparkly gold boot…mainly because I just really liked it…but it’s kind of like a baby shoe…right?  Right.  She just wanted to eat it anyways….

Cute toot with a boot

Cute toot with a boot

Glitter is ok for babies, right?

Glitter is ok for babies, right?

We pulled out the cookie cutters and made gingerbread men and women and candy canes and stockings and pumpkins.  Yes, pumpkins.  Thank you, Wryder.

They had so much fun getting frosting up to their eyebrows…and sprinkles all over the floor.

My little caker-baker.  (Ignore the ugly electrical box.  I blew the breaker earlier in the day and never replaced the mirror you see in the corner.  Old farmhouse = subpar wiring.)

My little caker-baker. (Ignore the ugly electrical box. I blew the breaker earlier in the day and never replaced the mirror you see in the corner. Old farmhouse = subpar wiring.)

Makin' messes...

Makin’ messes…

Prim and proper...

Prim and proper…

Wryder giving it a go on his own...

Wryder giving it a go on his own…

He's awfully cute, isn't he?!

He’s awfully cute, isn’t he?!  And that apron.  Swoon.

The REALLY fun part!

The REALLY fun part!

The finished products!  (Note the pumpkin - ha!)

The finished products! (Note the pumpkin – ha!)

My personal favorites of the night...

My personal favorites of the night…

They ended the night like this…

Be still my heart...

Be still my heart…

Indeed.

Christmas Card 2015

We have some friends in the Denver area that have a tradition of rotating photos for their Christmas card.  One year, it’s only the kids…the next, it’s kids and parents.  I liked that idea but the way it’s shaking out around these parts, it’s just easier to photograph the kids and call it cute.  That’s REALLY who people want to see anyway, isn’t it?!

Taking photos of a baby isn’t my strong suit and for a smiley little thing, she didn’t have too many smiles to give this day.

Wryder leaves a lot to be desired in the listen-and-obey department and was more interested in exploring the front yard than focusing on smiling or taking photos.

Thankfully, we have Sawyer who posed her way through 20+ shots to make my job a tick easier.  :)

I’ve been in love with gold glitter…well, for forever…but I’ve used it a lot lately and our Christmas card was no different.

Version 1

Version 1

Version 2

Version 2

See?  Don’t ya love the gold confetti glitter, too?! 

I was thankful that I did end up with some good individual shots of each of my cuties…

Good gravy, she's beautiful...

Good gravy, she’s beautiful…

Girl's got it down...

Girl’s got it down…

Handsome man

Handsome man

Most typical...

Most typical…

Those toes...

Those toes…

My other little beauty...

My other little beauty…

My girls!

My girls!

Wheeeee!

Wheeeee!

My favorite (not in-the-moment favorite…but after-the-fact favorite) is the “blooper reel” that always has a way of manifesting itself.  Take a peak…

Yes, that's a cat...AGAIN this year...

Yes, that’s a cat…AGAIN this year…

And of course there's one with Wryder crying...

And of course there’s one with Wryder crying…

And an awkward face or two...

And an awkward face or two…

The nose picking is new this year...

The nose picking is new this year…

Thankfully, dad came to the rescue...

Thankfully, dad came to the rescue…but Sawyer’s still posing!

Seriously, even the bad/frustrating/didn’t-go-like-I-planned moments are GREAT moments.  Thankful for this life…

Random Rambles

A dear (and beautiful) friend checked in on me yesterday.  She had noticed my lack of blogging and wanted to make sure all was well in Phippsville.  Indeed, it is.  We’ve just been in a season of feeling like we were just keeping our heads above water with all we’ve had going on.  It’s been GOOD stuff, just lots of it!

Today’s blog is an attempt to catch you up on the past 6 weeks of our life…most likely in no particular order because oh, my brain….

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Sayble turned 7 months old and went in for her 6 month old check up. *ahem*  (Re-read the first paragraph…we’ve been a little busy).  She weighed in at 19 pounds and was 29 inches long!  She was terribly fussy yesterday – not usually her style – and lo and behold there was a sharp little nugget of a tooth pushing it’s way up!

Cute as a button...and bald as a cue ball!

Cute as a button…and bald as a cue ball!

She started eating baby food and LOVES it.  Kid is eating about 16 ounces a day and would eat more if I’d let her.  She’s still just as sweet and smiley and bald as ever.  It’s gonna grow.  Really it will.  Soon, sweetie…soon.

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We got new carpet! YAY!  That’s what happens when your adorable 6 month old starts the barrel-rolling/crawling phase and she’s wrapped around daddy’s finger and he thinks the old carpet that was here when we moved in needs to go.  Hey, whatever it takes!  ;) 

It. Is. So. Soft.

It. Is. So. Soft.

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One of Wrex’s dreams came true and he got a pony…with a cart.  His name is Ernie and he’s about as wide as he is tall.  He’s 12 years old and is actually quite broke and talented.  The kids ADORE him and they can’t wait to ride him in a local parade.  Keep your eyes out for us!

Ernie and crew

Ernie and crew

Taking Wryder for a ride

Taking Wryder for a ride

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I had the honor of hosting a baby shower for one of the sweetest girls I know!  She is expecting a baby girl named Mesa Rae (isn’t that gorgeous?!) in January so we showered her with lots of love and gifts and (soup and cupcakes)!  It was a fun afternoon of celebrating mommy and baby to be.  There’s just something about a first-born girl…

Ali and Cliff

Ali and Cliff

Gifts!

Gifts!

The guest book

The guest book

Centerpieces

Centerpieces

Advice for momma

Advice for momma

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Sawyer has been DYING to have a Barbie Pop-Up Camper.  I mean, they are pretty cool.  I had the Barbie RV AND the Barbie Dream House when I was growing up so I get where she’s coming from.  ;)

Wrex and I had pretty much finished her Christmas shopping and had gone back and forth on whether to take something we’d already gotten for her back to get this but that just didn’t set well with us.  She has a dollhouse that she plays with and we felt like the Pop-Up Camper would be similar and that she’d enjoy some of the other things we had already purchased a little better.

Pop-Up Camper was ALL we had heard about for quite a while and we just asked the Lord for wisdom on what to do.  She doesn’t have to have EVERYTHING she wants…this is the just the first thing she’s ever REALLY asked for by name.  People always ask her what she wants for Christmas or her birthday and she has no clue, so this was definitely different…we just didn’t know how to navigate it.  He answered.

She woke up last week and said she had an idea for us.  She wanted to know if she could cash in her piggy bank and then do chores to work and earn money to pay for the rest; we were definitely behind this plan!

The chore chart

The chore chart

Girl had $64 in her bank!  Thanks, sale barn buddies!  We created a chore chart and she’s been working outside and moving chickens and picking up trash and doing laundry and dishes to beat the band!  We saw it in Wal-Mart today and that added to the excitement.  I’m so proud of her for having a goal and working for it!  That will serve you well, sweet pea… 

Checkin' it out...

Checkin’ it out…

She did say she wasn’t going to buy it until AFTER Santa came because if he wanted to buy her one, she’d save her money for something else.  She’s a smart one, that one…

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Speaking of Santa, we went and saw him Monday evening in town.  He left a little to be desired in the santa looks department (no offense, sir!) and Sawyer was a little skeptical.  She told us afterwards, “He doesn’t talk like the santa we saw last year.  I’m pretty sure one of this is just some guy dressed up as santa…”  She’s a smart one, that one…

Skeptical about Santa

Skeptical about Santa

Ready to watch the parade

Ready to watch the parade

Sayble snuggling daddy

Sayble snuggling daddy

Shopping with Sayble.  I'm sure this is safe, don't worry...

Shopping with Sayble. I’m sure this is safe, don’t worry…

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We met up with the Phipps side of the family for Thanksgiving and the three youngest cousins got to meet each other for the first time!  These cuties were all born within about a month of each other.  We took somewhere between 50 and 100 pictures and I’m thinking this is one of the best ones we got!  Three babies plus a house full of people trying to get them all to smile equal chaos…

Saylor (8 months), Chase (7 months), Sayble (7 months)

Saylor (8 months), Chase (7 months), Sayble (7 months)

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Sawyer sold her first show heifer this past month with some help of daddy and her good friend John Tucker.  She got her check in the mail and opened her first checking/livestock account this past week.  My baby is growing up, it seems.

She picked out checks with horses on them and is so generous, she wanted Wryder’s name on them, too.

Signing her paperwork with our sweet friend, Katie

Signing her paperwork with our sweet friend, Katie

Sawyer and Corn Cob

Sawyer and Corn Cob

Even cooler than the checking account, she tithed off of her income to a ministry our church runs and supports called CARE Uganda. I helped host a fundraiser for them this fall and she’s as bought in as the rest of our family is.  So proud of my girl…

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In the midst of all of the busyness, we have had so much to be thankful for.  We have entered this Christmas season at a slower pace and a purposeful turning of our hearts towards Jesus.  We’ve spent our mornings with our hearts and noses in our advent readings and have worshiped through song before bed every night.  He is so worthy of it, friends…

Birthday Questionnaire

So, the bestie and her family are some of the best birthday do-ers I’ve ever met!  Their family has taught us so much about honor and they always do unique and meaningful things for each others’ birthdays.

Here lately, they’ve been putting the birthday person in the center of the room and letting each person ask them a thought provoking (usually) question.  On my birthday, I got an e-mail doing just that so I’m going to take the time to attempt to answer them here!

1.) If you could give yourself a birthday gift, something you could have forever that would enable you to fulfill your greatest potential, what would it be?

Oh, geez.  This one is hard for me…maybe because I have to be a bit vulnerable to answer it.  I guess I would have to say a spirit of confidence.  I’ve alluded to the fact that I’m a bit fearful and that rears it’s head into lots of areas of my life.  I fear failure.  I fear coming off as a know-it-all (because those people drive me bananas).   I fear looking silly or missing the mark…so a spirit of confidence – an honest assessment and belief in what I was putting my mind to, would be a good start for me.

2.) What’s your favorite family tradition?

Growing up, I always loved everything about Christmas.  My parents and grandparents always made it fun and exciting.  We would make homemade decorations and put the tree up together…my mom always recruited me to wrap gifts and there was always a viewing of Christmas Vacation.  :)   While I still LOVE Christmas and love the things we’re doing with our kids (Jesse Tree, Christmas pajamas, The First Noel movie, etc.) I love our little tradition of camping out in the living room on Halloween night.  That started by accident when we first moved to Holyoke.  We had no furniture, as we hadn’t gotten it from Denver yet and so that first Halloween here, we all slept in the living room…which was where we were sleeping while we worked on the bedrooms.  The next year, we did the same thing – but for fun – and have yet to stop!

3.) What book has influenced you most (besides the Bible)?

Hands down, “Walking With God” by John Eldredge.  I’m sure it was a combination of where I was in life and who was leading the study and what the Lord had for me at that specific time in my life, but I learned so much from this book that I still recall and recant to this day!  The title seems to leave a lot to be desired but TRUST ME when I say IT. WILL. CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE!

4.) If you could pick up and move your family somewhere for a year, and then come back (and not have to worry about work the entire time) where would it be?

The selfish side of me would say Alaska.  I have dreams of visiting there one day…  Seeing it on television or in photos it is just breathtakingly gorgeous and I’d love to just camp around and explore all it has to offer!  The missions-minded side of me would say our church’s care point for orphans in Kayango, Uganda.  The trip I took to Venezuela shaped me and molded me and changed me in a way few other things ever have and I’d love to have the opportunity to dote on and serve the least of these again…

5.) What is one thing you will never do again?

Drink until I get drunk.  Not worth it.  Not appealing.  Not wise.  Not an option.

6.) If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A really good cheeseburger with lots of extras (read – jalapenos!) and some good, salty fries!

7.) How would your best friends describe you?

Probably like this:

What I’ve come to understand about you in the 7-8 years that we’ve been friends is that you are a wise woman beyond your years, loyal to the end, passionate about those you love. You are creative, resourceful, an excellent gift-giver and a skilled event planner. Generous to the bone and loving beyond measure. You’re an incredible mother and a deeply devoted and encouraging wife. You have always been the very definition of a hospitable and wonderful/competent homemaker. You are a chef and an artist. You are beautiful and always fashionable. You are organized and thoughtful. When you set your mind to something, you carry it through all the way, in excellence. We, your friends and family, are so very lucky to have you!

(That was written by the bestie and posted on my Facebook wall for my birthday).  That may or may not be cheating to answer that question.  ;)

8.) What’s the most interesting thing you see out your kitchen window?

Currently, a little red wagon that Sawyer planted wheat and marigolds in all by herself.  How cute is that?!

9.) If you had the ability to time travel, would you travel to the past or to the future and why?

Definitely the past.  Mainly, I would talk to the old me and tell me that I’m not fat or as fat as I thought I was…I would tell myself that I was worthy of love…I would tell myself that I didn’t have to vie for the attention of certain people…I would tell myself to prepare for the attacks of satan that I knew would be coming and I would bolster myself with the truth to combat those…I would redo my wedding and make it as magical as I always hoped it would be – I got my prince so that’s really all that matters…

10.) Three sentences looking ahead to when you’re twice the age you’re turning now, describing who you are as a woman and what you’ve accomplished by then so far…

I would be 66…  I see myself still as bat-crazy in love with my handsome husband as I am today if not more so.  I’m assuming I’ll be a grandma – hopefully to lots of little grandcuties that I can spoil rotten!  I’m hoping that all of my mothering and parenting and falling on my knees begging for wisdom will result in children who are all walking closely with the Lord and teaching their families to follow Him, all while living within 15 miles of me. That’d be a pretty great life…

I Wrote Again – Is It Gonna Snow?

This poor thing has been neglected!  I wish I had some deep, revelatory reason as to why…but I don’t.  The Lord didn’t tell me to take a break…I didn’t take a sabbatical to make sure I was spending x amount of hours not on the computer and with the fam…I haven’t been suffering from writer’s block and there certainly hasn’t been a lack of happenings to talk about…I’ve just been absent.  Shame on me!

Alas, I’m back!  So let’s catch up!

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We had a fabulous Christmas break!  My husband’s job affords him quite a few days off, so we had daddy around (all to ourselves, mind you) for two weeks!  YIPPEE!  We ate well, slept well, played lots of games, watched some fun shows, cuddled a lot, talked a lot – took full advantage of our time with him.

We were all dreadfully sad a little sad to see him go Monday morning but we all survived!

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I have been in MAJOR nesting mode.  My poor husband.

The past two days, I’ve decluttered/deep cleaned our ENTIRE house!  Six bags of trash and six bags of give away later, I’m feeling good!  (Except for my feet, lower back and hip – but hey, it was worth it!)  Now if it will all just say this way until baby comes……..

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Speaking of baby….we’re having a GIRL!  Sawyer called it from the beginning and she was right again…and quite proud of herself.  :)

Yay for Sayble Jean Phipps!

Yay for Sayble Jean Phipps!

Sayble Jean Phipps is due May 1st and doesn’t seem to be near as active in utero has her siblings.  :)

We are over the moon about having another sweet little princess.  I’ve already ordered a few *ahem* hair bows.  The selection of girly, frilly, adorable clothing, footwear and head wear is astounding.  I’m already thinking I made need to order a new debit card so I won’t have the new number memorized like I do this one.  Ay yi yi…

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We got to see a lot of family over Christmas break.  We got together with all of Wrex’s family over Thanksgiving and snuck in some family pictures!  How cute is this set of grandkids?  I mean, I know I’m a little partial, but come on!

RaRa and the grand-girls...

RaRa and the grand-girls…

All the grands!

All the grands!

We met up with my family halfway in Kansas and spent the weekend together – soooo thankful for the time together!  Sawyer was so excited to have another cousin to play with, hold hands with Gramps and swim at the motel pool, of course.

Cooking a feast!

Cooking a feast!

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Other happenings (in no particular order, thank you pregnancy brain)…

  • I had four teeth pulled.  Not my favorite experience, especially pregnant, but I survived…
  • We had a little New Year’s Eve party with Sawyer.  We let her stay up until nine and then we watched last year’s ball drop on Youtube…
Fun fun!

Fun fun!

  • I made Sawyer a set of Disney princess felt ornaments for the tree in her room.  I LOVE how they turned out.  I see more of these in my future…
Can you name them all?

Can you name them all?

  • We got to witness two beautiful unions in the past month.  Sawyer and Wryder danced their little hearts out AND met Santa at the first wedding – how cool is that?
JOY!

JOY!

Sittin' with Santa...

Sittin’ with Santa

  • I thought I was getting a stand mixer for Christmas and I got a handgun instead!  (MUCH better, in my opinion!)  We’ve been so busy and it’s been so cold, I’ve only shot ten rounds through it, but I’m excited to get more familiar with it and take my concealed to carry class…

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I’m sure there’s more to tell but that’s a good start, yes?

The Christmas Story (Sort Of)

Yesterday morning, Sawyer donned her princess dress and butterfly wings and joined me in the kitchen.  She wanted to act out the Christmas story; she would be the angel and I would be a shepherd who would be afraid when I saw her.  I easily obliged.  She loves to pretend and act things out and I know the Christmas story is one of her favorites.

While she left the room, I sat down to feed Wryder and she soon returned.  I did my part and proclaimed, “Aaagh!  I’m afraid, I’m afraid!  Who are you?”

She replied, “Do not be afraid!  I’m an angel.  A Savior has been born in Bethlehem.  You should go and see Him.”

Knowing that she knew the story of Christ’s birth, I did my part to foster the conversation to lead us into the second act and allow her to have more dialog from the story…so I asked, “How will I know where to go?”…thinking she would reply something about following a star.

Nope.

She replied, in her best Dora-esque set of directions, “First you’ll go past crocodile lake.”

I about fell out of my chair!  She finished her instructions and I thought, this can still be salvaged!  Thinking she’d mention something about swaddling clothes or a manager, I asked, “How will I know it’s baby Jesus?”  To which she replied…

“You’ll have to look closely.”

How funny is she!?  You may disagree but I just have to believe that the Lord was busting a gut right along with me; her innocence was overwhelmingly adorable! I grabbed pen and paper and immediately wrote down our little exchange.  These are the little things I don’t want to forget…these are the things that bless my heart.

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