A Reading Resolution

I love the sound of reading challenges. Once upon a time, I would’ve blown them all out of the water. One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was read. Late at night with a flashlight, in the middle of the afternoon in the summer, or all day on a Saturday. But now that things are busier, I find it hard to keep up with a reading list. There are less and less uninterrupted, quiet minutes in my day, and so reading (especially reading things that take much thought) can fall to the way side. 

I’ve set my yearly reading goals too high in the past, only to realize by the time summer comes that I’ve got to re-imagine the goal if I’m going to get anywhere close to completing it. Which sorta defeats the purpose of a goal, right? So this year, instead of choosing a huge number of books, or a strange combination of books, I choose this: 

I’m going to read for pleasure every single day. I will always be reading something,  And, perhaps most important, if I’ve read the first couple of chapters of a particular book, and I’m not that into it, I’m going to put it down and start something new. 

I don’t feel like these are too lofty, or unrealistic goals. But I also don’t feel like they are too easy. Days go by where I haven’t picked up a book (or my kindle) quite often. I’m either busy or doing something else instead (here’s looking at you, Netflix). But I want to read every day- to stretch my perspective, to sharpen my eyes and mind, to set the example of a love of reading for my kids. 

I’m open to all suggestions of books to read, and I love borrowing books, also! If you have something for me to read, pass it on! Non-fiction is the only genre I haven’t done much in. I’m almost done with LOTR (I know- it’s shameful how long it’s taken me) and I think my fresh start in 2017 will be with Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass series. I also have a few historical fiction novels on deck, courtesy of my mother in law. So it won’t be for lack of content if I don’t reach this goal! Who’s with me?!

Currently: Christmas Edition and Photo Explosion!

Well, it’s time for a little Christmas update! We had so much fun hosting my family here for a few days, eating a TON of food (can you say 8lbs of prime rib?) and sweets, and giving and getting copious amounts of presents. Hubby and I spent most of Christmas Eve leading worship at three services at our church, thankful that our kids could enjoy the day with family, even if it was without us. Here is a little more about our Christmas, and what we are currently doing…

Smelling || my new candles from my brother and his girlfriend. They. Are. Magical. And no pun intended! 

Playing || dress up! In addition to a few new games and building-type toys, the big kids got several new dress up outfits, and they’ve been hamming it up big time. They both love playing dress up and pretending, so between my mom and me, we spoiled them with some new outfits. 

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Eating || this hunk of prime rib. It was so amazing I forgot to take a picture of it cooked before we ate it all! 

Enjoying || several days with family we don’t see as often. It might’ve felt chaotic with so many people and so much stuff, but I totally enjoyed it.

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Waiting || to take down our decorations and lights until New Years. I really enjoy the way my house looks when it’s this time of year, so I am rarely in a hurry to take them down.

Anticipating || seeing Moana later this week! I’m excited to go to the theatre again, and I’m hoping the kids all do as well this time as they did when we saw Finding Dory a few months ago. Snacks seems to be the best thing for maximizing their attention span.

Well, that’s pretty much it for what we’ve been up to. Here are a few more pictures that don’t really fit anywhere, but are super cute. I sure love my people.

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Things Toddlers Say 

Hey there, and happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We sure did – we hosted and had a total of 13 here for about three days, and completed our celebrations with sugary hangovers yesterday. Back to a little more normal today, thankfully. Here are a few of our funnies from the past week. I tried to live in the moment and keep my phone out of my hand as much as possible, but I did write down these for ya! Enjoy!

EK: You should sleep down here! (in her room)
Me: Do you think Daddy would miss me?
EK: No, he’s at a long gig. You can sleep with me because I don’t snore.
Me: *dead*

EK coming out of the bathroom: Mom, we really should clean the toilets.

EK, on our waiter at the Mexican restaurant: He looks like a prince!

Bedtime stalling techniques of the week:
EK: Can you ask Daddy to put a stained glass window in our house?
A few minutes later…
EK: I think Daddy knows how to make windows.

Christmas morning, EK: What is all this stuff?
Me: Santa came!
EK: Oh.
Me: *face palm*about the money I spent*

EK: Look, I made bacon!

J: Can you sing a song about a doggy?
Me, singing: How much is that doggy in the window? The one with the wiggly tail…
J: No, like Charwotte, with the black eyes and the house and the pumpkin patch.
Me: *still clueless*
Me, 20 minutes later: Charlotte’s Web!

J: When I was a baby like D, I broke something very fwagile.
Me: Oh really?
J: Yeah, it was a very adult cup.
Me: Oh wow. Well I’m sure it’s alright now.
J: Yeah, and when I’m an adult, I could drink a lemon.
Me: Okay…

J spent several minutes drawing eyes and “zipping it”, aka sliding the bar across to erase what he’d drawn. He drew D, and EK, and finally settled on “Mike the Monster who has one eye” (from Monsters Inc.). And then he asked me not to “zip it”. 

EK, at the children’s museum: Daddy! I’m gonna go climb the bean stump!
Whole room: *dies laughing*

Well, I hope you enjoyed our funnies! Have a great week!

I want them to open their presents already!

Christmas has always been a time of year that I’ve loved. I’ve loved giving gifts and getting gifts, listening to and performing the music, putting up and enjoying the decorations, and attending the extra parties and get-togethers. When I went away from my hometown for college, I loved coming home and experiencing Christmas in my town and my church. And now that I stay in my new town (well, now I’ve been here over a decade), everyone travels to me and my family, and it’s a different kind of fun.

In between the hosting, the practicing and performing, and the unloading Christmas-y stuff from the attic, I really, really enjoy shopping for my kiddos (I mean, for everyone, but especially my kiddos) and wrapping all the presents. Sometimes, I wrap little gifts and put them all into a bigger box, which I also wrap. I get it from my mom. Anyway, I’ve been hoarding presents big and small for so long (my Christmas shopping was 90% done in early November) that my excitement has reached a point where I can hardly stand seeing the presents under the tree any longer. There have been two separate occasions where I have almost handed everyone a present just to see their little faces.

I’ve been very excited about seeing them open their presents for weeks. I know that presents aren’t the most important thing about Christmas; we’ve spent hours reading and talking about the birth of Jesus and the surrounding stories. We’ve spent a lot of time making other memories – baking, driving around to see lights, making ornaments, and watching our favorite Christmas movies. But the one thing I’m still really looking forward to is their faces on Christmas morning, and watching them open each present, look around for, me and their daddy, and the excitement we can share as we see each new thing and spend the whole day just playing.

My grandmother and I were talking on the phone recently, about her plans to come up and be with us for Christmas. She mentioned tat she knew our house was full, and she’d be happy to wait till the rush was over to come, but that Christmas just wasn’t as wonderful without the presence children. And how right is she?! As adults, we often lose some of the magic and the excitement, but children can restore the wonder and fun of Christmas, if we allow their excitement to be catching.

I know that my excitement hasn’t waned since having kids, and each year, they’re a little more in tune to what Christmas is all about, and keeping the magic going throughout the Advent season, all the way through the new year. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5 Things Parents Do On Vacation Without Their Kids

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

My husband whisked me away last week for a whirlwind trip to NYC. There were several reasons (excuses?) for the trip, including a special concert, my recent birthday, and a desperate need of time off during a busy season, and it was well-timed and perfect. While it was short (48 hours, to be exact), it was just what we needed to relax a bit and treat ourselves before we stopped sleeping entirely.


During the trip, I noticed a few things we did simply because the kids weren’t around. Life with kids is awesome, but it’s different- no one will argue that. So on our two special days without them, here are a few things we did differently…

1. Eat all the fancy food. Of course when you’re in NYC, you get a little crazy about finding good food. But Hubby and I went to restaurants we’d never dream of taking the kids. There was no macaroni and cheese on any menu, and we ate adventurously (as is our favorite thing to do).

2. Walk quickly. The pace might be a bit quicker there, but we power-walked everywhere we went. We were able to make the most of our time (and not spend a fortune on cabs) because we could be quite quick. There were no strollers, no one hanging onto us or needing to stop and rearrange their sock. We strolled around the city, Googling and Yelping to find our next destination as we walked. It was amazingly simple and free.

3. Abandon the schedule. We are whenever we were hungry, and even if we weren’t. We stayed up really late. We stayed out the entire afternoon, whereas usually we are bound by naptime. There was nowhere to be except wherever we wanted. And most importantly…

4. Sleep late. I’ll be honest, the first morning, my body clock woke me up at 7:30. But I looked at the time, rolled over, and slept two more hours! It was glorious!

5. Call home a lot. We FaceTimed and texted my aunt (who kept the kids) a couple of times a day, just to make sure things were alright. And to share what we were up to. But not because we missed the kids. Nope. Not much.

It was a great time away, and fun to remember those things you get to do without your tiny buddies. But you sure do miss them while you’re gone.

Things Toddlers Say 

Happy Tuesday! These are a few sillies from the time we were together with them this week!

J: I’m hot because of the triangles on my pants. (Points to plaid flannel pajama pants)

J runs up to me and burps.
Me: Ugh.
J: I burped!
Me: Yeah, I smelled it.
J: I burped right in your nose!
EK: I sneezed in Daddy’s ear!
Me: *face palm*

EK: When you were in New York, I miss-ed you guys THIS MUCH! (Reaches her hands “like a tall building”)

EK gets out of bed twice, telling me she has to ask me a question. When I finally get her back in there and hear the question, it’s this: “Why are there stars in the sky?” I’m sorry, I really want to have this conversation but not at bedtime.

Hubby: Did you have fun with your cousins?
EK: I had zero cousins. (Not true.)
J: I had five covens!

J got a monster-looking stuffed animal that his grandmother called a “wild man”. He is now telling everyone that it’s a “wise man”.
He’d make a great Balthazar.

Hubby let me know about this one…
EK: What letter does that start with?
J: D! For dinosaur!
EK: Yeah!
J: And Davis!
EK, quietly: And for Mommy’s word.
J, matching her tone: Yeah: dammit.
Well, at least they’re smart.

EK from the guest room: J! Will you come undo me?
Me: What?
EK: I’m stuck on the bed!
J: Yes! I’ll come get you!
(Apparently this is a game they play that I wasn’t privy to.)

That’s all for this week, since we had three days of being gone. More Christmas funnies next week!

Things Toddlers Say

Hey y’all! Yesterday was my birthday, and so it was full of doing fun things, running around town, and not publishing this post. So sorry it’s late, but here are this week’s funnies!


J’s misnomers:
Guitar pick = corn
Laundry basket=washing bucket

EK: How do you spell candy canes? And cookie! And ginger man bread?

At a restaurant, EK: Mommy, can you sing “Kill the Beast”?
Me: … *look at Hubby*
Hubby: I think she’s talking about him. *points to strapping guy with ponytail*
Ek: He’s REAL! (Gaston, obvi.)

Hubby was still in the bed when J was reaching down in between the bed and the wall. He heard him mumbling about “I’ll get your sister!” and “Almost there! I can almost reach her!” Finally after much struggling, Hubby realized that he had dropped something. He was holding the Christmas dog, but had dropped “his sister” behind the bed and couldn’t get her out. Here are the puppy siblings:

EK, speaking my truth: Jimmy John’s is such a great place. I love it.

EK, pretending to be me: EK! J! D! What’s your name?! (Nailed it.)

J: How do we spell Joseph?
Me: J-o-s-e-p-h.
J: That was really clooooooose!

More Christmas mashups…
Somewhere Over the Reindeer
The Grinch is yucky! A toad! A sock! (Sot, because that word is actually in the song.)