Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 highlights

2012 was such a good year for us. It was so full of blessings.

Announcing that there was another Windle on the way:

Celebrating 2 years of Everett:

Celebrating 6 years together with a trip to Hawaii with the Norrises:

Watching Everett as a ring bearer - twice! He ran down the aisle at my dear friend Lauren's wedding and hopped down the aisle at Seth and Brenna's!

photo credit- Randi Voss photography

photo credit: Andrea Warden photography

Getting another sister!

photo credit: Andrea Warden photography

And just tonight, the promise of another one!

And our most favorite, precious moments were the arrival of our sweet Graham and watching Everett as his big brother.

photo credit: Katie Balla photography

I'm incredibly thankful for the blessings of this year and evidence of the way God continues to be so loving and faithful to us. Wishing you a happy, healthy New year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

decking the halls 2012

Decorating for Christmas is one of my most favorite things. Sitting on the couch with just the Christmas tree on for light reminds me of my sister Kelsey. It reminds me of anticipating Christmas morning as a kid. I usually try to leave my tree up for weeks after Christmas, but we got a 20 dollar Charlie brown this year. It did the trick, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to take it down soon or I'll have all the needles on my carpet instead of the tree.

charlie brown for sure

amazing what some lights, ribbon and ornaments can do

After 2 broken ornaments on the first day of having the tree up, I decided we needed to find some Everett friendly things to put on the tree. We went out one night on a date and picked out a few of his own. He loved that he got to pick them out and that he was allowed to touch those ornaments on the tree. 

Everett picked out the bird and the fox - the others I already had

I found some fun wire wreaths at goodwill and decided that I would use them to hang up Christmas cards. They were perfect! I used my faithful chalkboard sign to help remind me daily what this month was about. 

I ended up having a lot of woodland Christmas-y stuff around the house. It started with the animals on the tree and continued with some garland I made for over the mantle and in the dining room. 

And lastly, is our manger scene. I was went to Staples and printed up some free printables that I pinned, some old frames I had around and added them to our manger scene. It was one of my favorite things to decorate this year. 

So there you have it. Christmas decorating 2012. It might just be my favorite yet!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

happy christmas

So thankful today for my most precious gifts.

Merry Christmas all.

Friday, December 21, 2012

christmas favorites


Favorite new Christmas book for Everett - got it here

found here

simple story- perfect for a 2 year old- found here

listening to:

great cd and great cause - found here

singer from thrice- Aaron's pick found here

bing crosby never gets old - found here


Christmas breakfast with Paula Deen - recipe here

cream cheese sugar cookies - recipe here


salt dough ornaments- recipe here

playing with:

little people nativity- at eye level and won't break. found here

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

3 months

I am madly in love with you. You are the most awesome baby on the planet. You are always smiling. I ask you to smile and you give me that big gummy grin. That sweet smile is contagious. You are so content and laid back.  Happy to sit in my arms or lay on your playmat or check out what big brother is up to. Your cooing and talking melt me. Your amazing desire to sleep mirrors mine and makes me sane. The way you so patiently put up with all of the love Everett gives you is awesome.

The last three months you've filled our hearts with such incredible, undeniable joy. There's not one thing that I don't love about you kiddo.

xoxo - Mama

I can't handle how cute this is.

Graham didn't cry during the pictures this time, but he made it evident that he still dislikes monthly photos 

and just for kicks- Everett and Graham at 3 months

Friday, December 7, 2012

the trouble with santa

This is the first Christmas that I think Everett is starting to piece together Christmas. Right now, it's just a word to him. He sees trees and yells Christmas! and has seen Santa Clause in Christmas parades; however, when I ask him what Christmas is he doesn't have a response. He's a blank slate, a little mind that is trying to figure it out. This Christmas I'm trying to figure it out too. Trying to wrestle with what I will tell my kids and how I will make the birth of Jesus bigger than the lure of Santa. Parenting is full of hard decisions and this is one of them.

I've read two articles recently that have challenged me. Both are bucking the trend of Santa. In fact, removing the jolly fellow altogether. It gives me mixed emotions. You see, I love Christmas. I love the songs and the decorations and the traditions. I love the gift giving and getting. I love the movies and sentiment. I love it all and so it's hard and a gut check for me. Am I celebrating what our culture made Christmas into more than I'm celebrating my Savior's birth? A quote from this blog really resonated with me. It was from a non-believer who stated some hard truths to swallow:

"I always thought it was strange how Christians will tell me they have this giant and awesome truth they know is true deep in their soul and want to share with me, but when 12/25 comes around they lie to their own progeny because, apparently, that giant, liberating, and awesomely simple truth is somehow just not enough. It may be a good narrative, but it needs a little something to give it some panache." *

* (taken from "the christmas conundrum" - read it if you have time)
** (this is the other article I read by Ann Voskamp)

Ouch. That's a real question for me--- is the simple truth and joy of Jesus big enough? I've never thought of it like that or how the way that I'm celebrating could translate into that. What has Christmas become really? A holiday filled with consumerism and self and I'm as guilty as everyone else. I don't want that to be the lesson that I'm teaching my kids. I don't want my kids to think Christmas is all about the gifts that they're getting. I want them to know that it's about the free gift that is already been given in the form of God come to earth. I want them to enjoy the traditions and the fun stuff, but most of all I want them to know that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. I want them to know that Santa and gift giving and carols are all just representative of a greater story and purpose.

For me, I'm praying and searching for a balance. A balance where we can still have traditions and sing songs and celebrate the season, but one in which Jesus reigns supreme. Like anything in parenting, it's hard and I'm learning some ugly truths about myself. Parenting is funny like that. A reminder that no matter age, that I need Jesus grace daily and that I don't have things all figured out. What I do know is that being a parent has challenged every part of me to pursue Jesus better. I'm going to try to do that this advent season and hope my kids see Jesus through it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

a thankful november

This November I decided to find something to be thankful for each day. I am absolutely thankful for my husband and our kids. I'm thankful for our families and a roof over our head; however, for this month I decided I wanted to find something that was going on each day to be thankful for. Sometimes it was specific people or things, but mainly it was something that happened that I was just incredibly grateful for.

day 1- thankful for a little boy who wanted to share a bowl of cereal with his mama.
day 2- thankful for coffee and a quiet morning with Everett.
day 3- thankful for the way Everett loves and is protective of his little brother. thankful that Graham doesn't mind being smothered by all the "love" and thankful that my boys have built in best friends.
day 4- I'm thankful for weekend mornings and someone to share coffee with.
day 5- I'm thankful for two sleeping kids so I can start my day with my coffee and bible.
day 6- I'm thankful for the happiest, most content baby ever!
day 7- I'm thankful for democracy. That regardless of outcome, my voice was heard... that today there aren't riots in the streets or republicans killing democrats over the results...that we really do possess a freedom that so many others do not possess, but are fighting to have.
day 8- I'm thankful for moments like this. That even after 12 hour work days, he still makes a point to spend time with Everett. My children are so very blessed.
day 9- I'm thankful for my citizen of the year husband who stopped a women from stealing my wallet out of my car and robbing the entire neighborhood!

day 10- I'm thankful for a morning with my dear friend and for sweet Ben who reminds me of the Lord's faithfulness even in the hardness of life.
day 11- I'm thankful for laughter and that there's always so much of it at our house!
day 12- I'm happy for a healthy baby. At Everett's two month appointment, we were told there was something wrong with his heart. Today we were told that Graham is healthy. Thank you Jesus!
day 13- I'm thankful that Everett wanted to read his bible when I was reading mine. I'm thankful for his perspective as he reads and that he's already learning how much Jesus loves him.
day 14- I'm thankful for a solo trip to target and a husband who doesn't mind.
day 15- I'm thankful for our small group - for community and kids and living life pursuing Jesus together.
day 16- I'm thankful for some exercise for him and me. I'm thankful for room to run and finally breaking out my tennis shoes.
day 17- I'm thankful for the perfect end to a fun day with my boys.
day 18- I'm thankful to have my husband home. When he's gone, I'm reminded how much I really just love being around him and how much I depend on him. I am so blessed!
day 19- I'm thankful that he loves to read like his mama and that we spent the first 30 minutes of the day doing it together.

day 20- I'm thankful for this relationship - for the way she delights in my son and for how much he loves his Grammy.
day 21- I'm thankful for our dogs, Marley and Kai. They love my kids, even my wild two year old. Despite being climbed over, jumped on, and sometimes hit, they still love him. They love us unconditionally and want nothing more than to be loved back. I wish I loved that well!
day 22- I'm thankful for my family. I love them dearly and wish we lived closer.
day 23- I'm thankful for family traditions. Traditions with my family, with Aaron's family, and the traditions we're making together. 20 years later and we're still eat lunch at the Iron bridge inn every Friday after Thanksgiving.
day 24- I'm thankful for my oldest and dearest friends. Friends I grew up with, stood with on wedding days, and shared life with for over 20 years. Every girl should be this lucky.
day 25- I'm thankful that Graham is an awesome sleeper already. 5 hours in the car ride home and he slept the whole way!
day 26- I'm thankful that Everett climbs into Graham's crib to save his brother from being sad.
day 27- I'm thankful for waking up to snow - for the way it makes everything beatiful and for all the fun Everett had playing in it. 
day 28- I'm thankful for chalkboards, christmas music, and hot chocolate all in one night.
day 29- I'm thankful for the way my parents love my kids. They recorded the entire night before Christmas story for the boys to listen to. I love hearing their voices, even when we're far away.
day 30- I'm thankful for Everett's sweet face and watching his excitement at the parade.

Looking back at this month and all the moments of thankfulness brings joy. This month reminded me of something I learned last fall--- that thankfulness brings more thankfulness. It's amazing what recognizing and being grateful can do in your heart.