30 December 2010

out my window

the view is simply breathtaking.

Prescott was finally hit with a winter storm. Mild, but totally real. Gorgeous, white fluff drapes over every yard, street and tree around our neighborhood. I dare say, we are officially snowed in. Our plans for the day seem to be canceled and we will be venturing with Jack into the white unknown. The sun is doing it's best to peak through the clouds, but I hope they don't let him. As soon as the sun hits the beauty, it will all melt. I think it's still cold enough it will stick around.

What a great belated Christmas present. My heart is overflowing.

What started out as THIS...

 Turned into this...
hello, winter. I've missed you!

28 December 2010

2010 laughable review

Here are a few of our funniest/awkward pics of 2010.

Oh, my stomach hurts from laughing already.
Going through old pictures I realized that I take waaay too many of Jack. But then again, who else would I take pictures of? ;)

January. John hates flash from the cameras. Jack, obviously doesn't know to close his eyes during pictures yet.

February. Our burrito baby. He slept like this until he was 6 months old. I don't think I'm going to do it to the next one. He wasn't very fussy, I was just hoping to keep it that way. He loved it, p.s.

MARCH. Jack didn't like being hungry, obviously.

APRIL. Jack and his spit up. Sometimes I would find him this way, covered in puke only to find him happy as can be.

MAY. I try to teach him the art of self taking pictures.

JUNE. We move into a new home and Jack hits John in the eye. No big deal.

JULY. Jack discovers power cords and his love for them.

AUGUST. One of my personal favorites. Just a random face he was making.

SEPTEMBER. Drinking water, then spitting it out. Happens nearly every time. To this day.

 Too many pictures? Maybe so.

OCTOBER. Being silly at the pumpkin patch and Jack's friend Casen not lovin' his costume.

November. Family picture time. Enough said.

 Jack loves himself some chicken pot pie!

DECEMBER. Merry Christmas!


Christmas Magic

"You could've swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below"
..Winter Snow by Audrey Assad..

And just like that, Christmas is through.

There's such great anticipation, wonder and a glowing thrill that when it ends I'm always somehow...surprised. This year was somehow different than the last. Wonderful in all sorts of new ways yet different. 

Perhaps it was the lack of snow (I think we might get a storm tomorrow!) the lack of a sibling (who I always seem to be missing) or that I feel like I am finally growing up. It's been a long haul, but this last Christmas kind of cemented the truth. Though the mystery and joy of the holidays and celebration of Christ's birth will always continue it's time to embrace this new stage. The stage where John and I choose to create memories for our little family of three. It's time we set up new traditions. New ideas that may or may not include opening presents on Christmas eve (that would be a first for me) or sleeping under the Christmas tree the night before Christmas, or perhaps one day reenacting the Christmas story with our little kid-lets. Whatever the future Christmas' hold I feel the need to embrace this change. I really love memories, habits and routines, but something is pulling on my coat tail to remind me that change is good. Though difficult at first, it is almost always good. 

I love spending Christmas with my parents and hopefully that will always be a part of our tradition, but I think it might be time to step out into the unknown and clear the tradition plate a little. When I really think about it, the possibilities are endless! There are a few traditions I plan to carry on (though I'll let my mom carry the banner with most of those.) but next year...we're startin' fresh, people. 

This Christmas was splendid. After Christmas Eve service(s) we drove to my parent's where we were greeted by potato soup (the best in the WORLD!) dozens of cookies, and some good 'ol cheese ball. We watched Claymation Christmas (the quirkiest Christmas movie there is.) and stayed up 'til midnight. Jack was a champ and fell asleep at home, slept the hour and a half down and fell right back asleep in his lil packnplay. That alone made up for the early Christmas morn wake up call. But after all, it was Christmas!

Jack and I were the first awake. We drew in the rising sun, brewing coffee and warm glow of the Christmas lights. It was truly magical.

And then the cousins came...we ate breakfast, opened presents, shared stories and enjoyed good coffee.

This was Jack's face almost the entire time. Of course, he was obsessed with his cousin's gifts more than anything. He wasn't aloud to touch them (always a hard thing to endure, for a first time mama! What do you say to a 6 year old who won't even let your one year old look at the gifts? Jack was a little pretty heart broken. Poor chap. I'm sure it will be done to the siblings in the future.)

...and then Jack sort of pooped out. I think he was trying to tell us he was a little Christmased out for this year. So he napped and we enjoyed cinnamon rolls and more coffee. Bless his little heart.

One of my favorite pictures and captures of Christmas. Jack last year and this year with my dad. Yes, that's the same chair. It's my dad's fav.

The magic in this year was the beautiful reminder that Jesus could have come as anyone or anything, but God chose to send Him as a sweet, small and perfect babe. Someone so small and unassuming yet He was the one who was going to save us from ourselves. So beautiful that He came as a babe to set an example of life and the simplicity that we need to have. That His long awaited coming was so small and simple. So simple and yet that night our Savior was born.

check out other captures.

24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Here's a little video that I saw tonight and loved. My heart is full of thankfulness this Christmas. Merry Christmas!

22 December 2010

the Happiness Project : episode 6

December 21, 2010.

Last year, December 21, 2009.

He's growing so fast I can hardly keep up.
What happiness.

Also, praising Jesus that little Cougan is on the up and up! No fever since Sunday and no blood draw until Thursday! Praise God. I'm not sure there could be a better Christmas present for their little family.  

There have been many moments in life (unfortunately not always) that my heart deeply beats the words from David Crowder's song, You Are My Joy.
Jesus keeps bringing me back to the simple truth that He is my joy. The whole of it, the only joy worth experiencing, the joy that keeps me from sinking into the pits of fear. He's it. And He is so worth rejoicing over.


21 December 2010

hey, it's finally cold outside

Winter has arrived, people. It's supposed to snow tomorrow! day before Christmas eve!

Yesterday it was warm enough for John and I to take Jack for a walk. It felt kind of funny going for a walk on December 20, but it was nice all the same. 

Jack runs wild outside. It's like his little spirit can't hold it in and he embraces the brisk air for all that it is. I think he gets that from his dad.

This is what happens every, single time we see something he loves/and or wants.

That's our winter view. It's nothing fancy, but it's home. Everything is gray and brown and we're ready to see glittering white. Can someone please send it our way?

Tomorrow, Jack and I will venture south to Phoenix to try our hand at preparing Christmas-esque food. Okay, whose kidding? Jack will play and mom will eat. Hopefully not.

The Sing Off finale was last night and since we don't have cable we hope to watch it tonight! Don't disappoint us, Ben (Folds)!

The Paper Mama

20 December 2010

miscellany monday

1. We tend to become movie fanatics in December. Well, not just in December, but this time of year just begs for a good movie viewing.

Some of my top favs to watch around Christmas are...(in no particular order)

1. Lord of the Rings
2. Elf
3. The Family Stone
4. Little Women
5. Holiday Inn
6. Meet Me In St. Louis
7. Harry Potter
8. Claymation Christmas

I'm only about halfway through my list, but we'll get there! We have five more days, people!

This year we watched a movie called Lovely Still. It was...beautiful and sad all at the same time. A gem. 

What are your favorite Christmas movies? I've been on a search for gems to watch this year!

2. Last year we saw Avatar. It was a late, 3D showing and Jack was only a couple of months old. I was exhausted, a new mom  and trying to figure out how to balance everything. I'll be honest, those were some difficult days. Jack slept in the Moby wrap for the first half and then awoke to a dark 3D movie theater. My dear brother volunteered to take over (he already saw the movie) and stood in the doorway with the little bean.

3. Last week we saw Narnia and it was...good. I'll just leave it at that. I'm sort of borderline movie snob. Don't tell anyone. 

4. Jack's little personality is blooming. He could read books (er, be read to) nearly all day. A couple of times a day I just put him in his crib with his favorite stuffed animal (Li-Li the Lion is the current fav.) and a stack of books and he's good for about 15 minutes. Other times, he runs wild around the house, the yard, the store and anywhere his paranoid mother lets him. A time to settle down and relax is his time in the bath. Or is that just for me?

5. This week is full of Christmas activities and some cooking time at my parent's house. Sometimes I wish there was a machine to make you a kid again at Christmas time. 

6. Christmas morning we eat amazing cinnamon rolls, egg casserole, grapefruits and ready coffee. Such nostalgic food. What other dishes are there to eat? 

7. This picture I found while digging through last year's album's. It brings such joy. I love my sister's face in this. I love dad's face too, but my sister's is priceless. Is my dad texting? jk.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters
This time last year everything seemed new.

We were in a new home (after moving a few weeks before Jack was born.)  

We were were enjoying a new baby, precious and so small. He rocked our world.

Though we had been married for a couple of years, our marriage was new with the welcome of our baby boy. 

Experiencing Christmas with a baby was new. Flying to John's home in Michigan (with a 2 month old) was new. Celebrating Christmas in John's childhood home, with his two brothers and loving parents was both new and beautiful. 

However, I don't desire to relive those first time parent moments. Though incredible, I'd be lying if I didn't say they were difficult. You could often find us looking a whole lot like this...

Yeah, we were definitely new parents.

I'm so, so thankful for today and where we are now. Though last Christmas was a bit difficult, I'm thankful for that experience too. I know it's difficult for most first time parents, and our experience was no exception. One day (like today) we'll laugh at those days and shake our heads. John says, "We had no idea what we were doing." to which I reply. "Who does?" 

17 December 2010

the article

Ladies and gentlemen. I have a guest post today by the one and only, John Dickerson. (aka, my man.) His article was recently printed in The Greenville News(SC) and is scheduled to print in The Midland Daily News (MI) and the Prescott Daily Courier (AZ) within the next week. This man is my best friend, lover, father of our son and one seriously talented writer. This article was just what I needed to hear/read today.

Don’t Just Give this Christmas. Receive.
This holiday season we may all be able to agree on a few things:

-The economy is in great need of rescue.              
-Peace on earth would be fantastic, particularly in the Koreas and the Middle East.
-David Hasselhoff’s reality TV show is not the highlight of the holidays.

In truth, 2010 has not been an easy year for the world -- and not just because of David Hasselhoff.
We watched an earthquake destroy Haiti’s capital and kill thousands. Then we joined together to donate money, time and energy and begin picking up the pieces.
We worried for 87 days as the federal government and BP failed to plug an oil well that tarred the Gulf regions barely recovering from Katrina. Finally, we saw the geyser capped.
We watched for 68 days as 33 miners waited, trapped 2,300 feet underground in Chile. And we celebrated together when they emerged alive.
In each of these tragedies we saw heroic rescues. Rescues that had to be given. And rescues that also had to be received. I wonder this holiday season if we are ready to give -- and ready also to receive.
It’s been said that “A weak mind is like a microscope, which magnifies trifling things, but cannot receive great ones.” The same is true of our lives. When we are at our weakest, we magnify the trifling things. Caught in the stranglehold of busyness, we are too mesmerized by minutia to receive the profound joys that the holidays can quietly give.
The historic Christ, from whom Christ-mas gets its name, lived so that we could receive. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Can a man who taught 2,000 years ago deliver on such a promise? After all, December 26th will be here in a blink. Then comes another year of disasters, foreclosures, divorces and reality TV shows.
I believe that in all these crises, we the people still need rescue. Can we look at the brokenness around us, and say we don’t need help? Can we look into our own workplaces and families, into our very selves, and say we don’t need someone to repair our defining mistakes?
The ancient scriptures say this about the Christ of Christ-mas: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Is this the Christmas when we call out for help? Abraham Lincoln put it well when he said “Without the assistance of the Divine Being ... I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail.”
Christmas is indeed about giving. In Christ’s name, about $93 billion will be given to help others this holiday season. But what if we are the ones who need help? What if this is a holiday of giving help – and receiving it, too?


John S. Dickerson, a pastor and writer, teaches at Cornerstone Church in Prescott, AZ. He is an Arizona Newspaper Association "Journalist of the Year" and recipient of the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

16 December 2010

You Capture - Outside

This was right before the winter came. Today it was cold and rainy outside. It's finally feeling like an Arizona Christmas. Will it snow tonight? Perhaps!

We're still praying for Cougan. Praying for direction and healing. He and the fam are on their way home, though. That's a praise!

15 December 2010


My dear friend Mattie's little guy, Cougan is sick. They aren't sure what's wrong just yet, but he had a fever of 105 over the weekend and is currently at Phoenix Childrens Hospital getting dozens of tests done. They thought it might be viral meningitis. He's only a year old and the doctors spoke of the possibilities of leukemia. Please, please pray. Pray for strength for his parents, Mattie and Ryan. Courage, rest and wisdom. Pray for health for Coug, and that he'll battle his way through this. Pray for God's healing Hand to cover their family. My heart breaks for the pain that they're going through.

It's rainy today. Cold and sopping wet. Jack has been napping for the last three hours. My heart and mind keep wondering about Mattie and her baby boy.

I read this today and thought of her. I pray for her, the light that she and Ryan are to their son and the strength that they need which can only come from Christ. 
"...God places parents as a light on a hill for their family. It is our job to send out a clear signal that helps our children get their bearings and keep their wits. We're there to warn them away from rocks and shallow shoals. We're there to guide them safely back into the center of the channel when they've wandered off. We are a lighthouse, permanently established to show them the way home. Without us keeping that steady light shining, our children don't stand much of a chance of making it through the turbulent years of childhood without serious consequences." -Dr. Tim Kimmel Grace Based Parenting 
Please pray for little Cougan.

14 December 2010

happiness project : episode 7

around 6am this morning, Jack fell out of bed.

This is his first escape, but probably not his last. To find him outside of his crib, screaming more in shock than in pain, was slightly humorous. In some, slightly weird way, it was a sign of things to come and a reminder that he is, in fact, growing up. Those little legs once used for kicking my stomach into stretch marks, fluttering wildly on the play mat and jumping in his exersaucer have a new mission. They are now used for climbing onto the flower chair (with a look of achievement on his face) running away from mom and exploring the outside world. He's a growing boy and though tiring, this new chapter is such a delight to capture. He has discovered books (and the paper pages that he can tear) and insists we read them to him over and over. Where has this baby boy gone? He's growing up and my heart is a full of happiness. He is all over the place.

Last week my mom came up for the day and we made Christmas cookies. It was such a great time. It's still a little weird to make the cookies at my home and not at her's, but it worked out wonderfully. A start of a new tradition. Jack was in his element and loved tasting every single cookie. He wasn't too sure about the frosted sugar cookie at first, but after being left alone with it he finally succumbed to the deliciousness that it is. 

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