January 26, 2016

Festive Activities

We had a full month of December, for sure! Here's a little recap of what we were up to!

We made our annual trek on the local Polar Express train. We brought Lynley this year, which upped the activity factor, to say the least! It's always such a fun little time. I know the years of loving the Polar Express are somewhat limited, so we are taking full advantage!

Evy had her first piano recital, and we were all just giddy about it! I was so, so proud of her. She played her songs perfectly and I could tell she felt so accomplished. I've loved watching her learn to play!

Of course we had a rather large support crew in tow:

After my little sister's rather exciting news, we FOUND THE DRESS! It was such a fun "sister" moment, full of emotions.

We also made our annual trip to the Christmas cabin! It's just a little cabin in the woods about 30 minutes from where we live, and there are countless ornaments and decorations to feast your eyes on. It's become one of my favorite things of the season!

Of course these little snippets are only a taste of what we did as a family, but we had such a fun, festive month!

January 21, 2016

My Friend Brooke!

I want to share about my SWEET friend Brooke for Kelly's link up! We met in high school and have been kindred spirits ever since! We also studied in London together (more on that below) and lived together in college. I can speak from a lot of experience when I say that Brooke is one of the kindest, funniest, and selfless people I've ever met!

This is me and Brooke! (Brooke is on the left.)

Brooke is so intelligent and gifted in what she does. She has almost completed Nurse Practitioner school and I'm so proud of her! She is such a giving person. I would say that Brooke is not going to be the "entertainer" or loudest person in a group of people, but she is so funny in a very witty way. She is able to discuss just about anything and that's something I love about her.

Brooke is very easy to talk to and she is so funny! I love her sense of humor and how easygoing she is. She's truly so enjoyable to be around. She loves spending time with her family and friends (I love how she cares for those she loves!). She's up for an evening out, but she also enjoys staying in and just hanging out! Some of her interests are exercising, tennis, theater and traveling. She also loves coffee!

I need to expand on the topic of traveling because Brooke has been to so many places! We both studied together in London in college (best semester EVER!!) and she continued on to study in Austria. She's also visited Asia. Even though she's so well-traveled and this has expanded her worldview, she is so incredibly down to earth.

The most important thing I can say about Brooke is that she loves the Lord and wants to serve Him with her life. She teaches 1st graders at church and attends regularly, but more importantly - she has a personal relationship with Christ. This is so evident in her! She loves people (you should see how she cares for people at work - it's NOT glamorous and I truly see Christ in her as she cares for others), and she is committed to walking with the Lord. A big thing I want to say about Brooke is that she would consider herself complete in Christ (she isn't looking for someone or something to fulfill her), but the desire of her heart is to have her own family one day. I truly believe that the person God has for Brooke is going to be so incredibly blessed beyond measure!

I can't wait to see what God has in store for Brooke. She is an incredible person! :)

My Sister Alyssa!

I LOVE the concept of Kelly's link up, and I am so thrilled she has had so many couples meet and have successful, loving relationships!

I want to share about my BEAUTIFUL sister, Alyssa! She is 26 and absolutely awesome!

(Alyssa is on the left!)

Alyssa lives in Nashville. She was an elementary teacher for several years and is now a full time nanny for a sweet family. She LOVES children and is the sweetest aunt to my three little ones!

Lis is quiet and reserved, but she is SO easy to talk to. She has such a sweet, sensitive spirit about her. She loves coffee. :) She is stylish and carries herself with so much class. She is a very well-balanced person in all areas of her life, which I think is really refreshing to see: quiet but fun, loves to stay at home or travel, serious but laughs easily, loves to talk about the Lord and her walk with Him but can also talk about a million other things easily. Those are just a few descriptions of my sister!

(Alyssa is on the left!)

The most special thing about my sister is her walk with Christ. She loves to do Bible study and she is so dedicated serving in the church. But more than all of those things, my sister truly has an authentic, real relationship with the Lord. She loves Him with her whole heart! You can tell just by her smile that He lives in her. She desires to meet someone who shares these same priorities and desires: to love the Lord above all and make Him known.

(Alyssa is on the left!)

I'm slightly biased, but a man would be absolutely the most BLESSED person in the world to know my sister. She has a servant's heart and that comes across in everything she does. I have loved watching what God has done in Alyssa's life up to this point and I know He has even more in store for her!

Christmas Decorating 2015

Well, now that I finally figured out the re-organization of my photos, I think I'm back in business! I know I'm so behind,  but I wanted to share some of our holiday festivities. Overall, it was a much more hectic and stressful Christmas season than we had last year (which I really disliked), but at the same time it helped me focus in on special moments with my family and cherish those even more.

In early November, we decorated the tree and a lot of the house together! I always make it a priority to choose an evening when we are all home so we can decorate the tree together. I realized this year that I need to buy another set of non-shatter ornaments, because I didn't have a lot of ornaments that I felt comfortable just handing over to the kids! Kurt and I enjoyed finishing the tree with all the breakable ornaments later that night. It ended up being a special time!

I have a feeling that when I'm old and reminiscing, I'll most cherish little snapshots like this.

A little idea: we decorated Lynley's tree wth her princess Itty Bittys from Hallmark! Soft and plush and easy! Also - we used a tutu as a tree skirt! I just slipped it around the tree and it was perfect!

Before I went back downstairs, I snapped the reading going on downstairs. For some reason it warms my heart seeing my living room from that perspective, because there are toys and miscellany everywhere (and this is what I would consider REALLY straight in this stage of life!).

One of my happiest and most vivid memories as a little girl was our family decorating together. My dad would pull out all the boxes, my mom would turn on Christmas music, and I remember being truly filled with joy. I was just surrounded by happy things and feelings and I still feel that same way whenever it's time to decorate. Of course now I see things from my parents' perspective: breaking up little disagreements, trying to get one "smiling" picture, making sure the breakable ornaments are secured. . .but boy, is it worth it. It's one of my very favorite moments of every year!

I got a little bit of video on my phone (that's why the picture ratio is weird), and I created a little compilation of footage. It was fun to see it all together!

January 18, 2016

Christmas Pictures 2015

Here are a few snapshots from when we had our Christmas pictures taken!

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