from our family to yours...

Wreaths on Walnut giveaway information can be found at the bottom of this post. 

One thing I absolutely love is mail. I love writing cards and letters, addressing the envelopes with Sharpies--the whole bit. So I'm always shocked when I don't do Christmas letters. I have done them before, and enjoyed it, but since they are mass produced I guess the lack of the personal touch was missing for me. But I EAGERLY skip to the mailbox [unless there is ice, then obviously I walk. Dangerous!] everyday in December hoping another Christmas card has arrived. So that doesn't really make sense, does it?

We can figure out my brain later. For now, here is the Christmas card you're not getting in the mail this year.
side note: I probably would have ordered from Shutterfly. I feel like they've really up-ed their game. Where do you like to order cards from and why? [In case I ever get in the mailing scene!]

Hello from our little corner of Missouri!

I look at our family picture and it's incredible to think back on the wonderful year we have had growing into a family of FOUR. I guess I should back up a bit. 

At the beginning of the year we were still on a high after discovering our newest addition would be another sweet girl to love. I would have been happy either way, but knowing I would be giving my children the gift of sisterhood was truly incredible. In March we celebrated Blythe's SECOND birthday in pretty small fashion, with cupcakes and ice cream and close friends and family. Unfortunately we learned the phrase, "A little cake won't hurt her!" is true, but not if you take out the "little." Blythe feasted on cupcakes for 24 hours straight because we celebrated a little at our house on her actual birthday, then she had some cake for lunch the next day when her Papa had a retirement party, and then again the next evening with the other side of the family. Let's just say, at one in the morning our little two year old had to have a bath. Lesson learned. 

Besides loving cake and anything sweet, Blythe is full of life and constantly brings us joy and makes us laugh. She is hilarious. And quirky. And all the perfect little things that make two year olds so weird and wonderful. We've also entered some pretty good "who can stand their ground the longest"competitions, and she is finding out quickly that her mother, who was once a very strong-willed two-year old herself, is rather stubborn. But mostly she obeys and talks our ears off with an extensive vocabulary and, MIRACLE of MIRACLES is potty-trained. We started back in July, and the last month has FINALLY been [mostly] accident free. I wonder if Mary had to potty-train Jesus? Lure him to the outhouse with promises of marshmellows? 

I thought I would have an April baby this time around, but instead I just got kidney stones in April. Let me tell ya, that was not any fun at all. Two trips and an overnight stay at the hospital, pain pills, lots and LOTS of fluid, and a week's time and I was finally past them. Just in time for what made it all worth it: In the early morning of May 2nd, we headed to the hospital at the first signs of labor, hoping to bypass some of the craziness of my last speedy delivery [and get that epidural!]. It wasn't as crazy, but I still progressed too quickly for the epidural and Becks Lynae joined our family at a whopping 5 pounds 12 ounces. [You can read all about that wonderful day HERE and her name]. Even though she was super alert and not the normal sleepy newborn, Becks has been nothing but a delight. I've said it before: Blythe made us parents, but Becks made us a family. [And you better believe I have spent the last 7 months kissing those cheeks and smelling that precious head all the live long day]. 

Brent is still the compliance officer at a local bank, and has added Vice President to his title. He has to go to an occasional conference to learn about new regulations, but we are so thankful he doesn't have to travel regularly and even gets to come home for lunch most days. He works hard and, when he gets home with the girls, he plays even harder. Blythe crying when Daddy leaves for work in the morning [if she is up…she's a girl after my own sleep-lovin' heart], and then again when he leaves after lunch, is a fairly regular scene around here. I know everyone says, "He's the best" when referring to their husbands, but I know they aren't speaking the truth because Brent really is the best. 

I continue my beautiful, messy, exhausting, and rewarding role as stay at home mom. It's hard to believe this is the third school year I've been out of the classroom, but every day and month that passes I slip into this role a little more easily and love it a little more deeply. We obviously don't do things perfectly around here, but we sleep in and stay in our pjs too long and love hard and laugh a lot. Not a bad gig. In the fall I was again the assistant high school softball coach for my fifth season and even though we didn't win state like last year, I enjoyed investing in the high school girls on the team. I also occasionally "sub" with two home-school boys, and in my "spare time" still love to read, take pictures, and eat piles and piles of noodles and Oreos. 

Blythe and I have been reading the Christmas story, and discussing the name Immanuel. "God is with us," Blythe will say. Throughout the year it is easy to forget that Jesus is not only our Savior, but that He is also Immanuel. Immanuel. He is God with us. God with us when we face sickness. God with us when we face loss. God with us when we feel insecure and weak and lonely and tired. God with us. 

And this Christmas it is my simple hope that we all experience, in big ways and in small ways, the Immanuel truth of our Savior. When we see a nativity and gaze at the young parents and awestruck shepherds, may we be quick to look at the little manger where Immanuel sleeps and remember the true beauty of this season: God becoming flesh to be with us. 

May you drink egg nog until you're sick to your stomach, drive through your town eating popcorn and looking at lights, and hand out Christmas cookies to your neighbors. May you linger after family dinners to hear that same story told one more time by your grandpa, let your toddlers get sticky sweet with candy cane sap, and lay under your Christmas tree to see the lights from a different angle. May you drink hot chocolate after building a snowman, watch It's a Wonderful Life to balance out the number of times you've watched Elf, and sing Christmas carols as loudly as you can. 

And may the birth of Immanuel, God with us, fill your celebrations with joy and your hearts with peace this Christmas. 

I know it's been said many times many ways...
Merry Christmas to YOU! 

Brent, Kelsey, Blythe, and Becks

Thanks for the awesome response to this giveaways!
Wreaths on Walnut Giveaway winner:
Mallory M.!!!
Congrats! Email me and I'll hook you up!
Also, please don't forget that Tiffany is offering 10% off her beautiful wreaths
until January 1st if you mention my blog! See her page for more details or to order/ have her make
a CUSTOM somethin- somethin for you!

Check back in on Monday for the last giveaway before Christmas! 
[But don't worry, I already have two more lined up after the new year with some awesome shops!!]

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1 comment:

Hannah said...

I too run to my mailbox to check for Christmas cards each day. I love getting them. Though, I'm not so good about sending any of my own. I think I sent Christmas cards out once. Maybe I should better and do it again this year?... or maybe I'll just try your method and put a picture on my blog :)