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17 More Christmases

I almost freak out sometimes how fast these days with our littles are flying by.  A few weeks ago I was up with Gideon in the middle of the night.  I was frustrated and tired.  Three AM and I have never been friends.  In the middle of wearing the groove on our white floor, God prompted me to start whispering thankful prayers in my heart.  Instantly I was stilled and reminded of what a great treasure these days are.  I know I will blink and they will be gone.
We are having so much fun this Christmas with Emmett.  He roars at his lion ornament hanging on the bottom branches of the tree.  He couldn't keep his dimpled little paws off tomorrow's advent package.  He chants 'ho ho ho' every time he sees a santa in that adorable way that only toddlers can.  And Gideon has this infatuation with the big Christmas bulbs on the tree.  His eyes get all twinkly and my heart just about explodes.

How is is possible that Christmas is one week away?!  And how is it possible that we only have 17 Christmases left with Emmett before he is off to college?!!  That makes my heart hurt just a little bit.  We have these babies and know that every night when we go to sleep, one more day has slipped away.  One day closer to sending them into the world as men.  I know these days will fly by so fast, no matter how long the nights may seem.  So so fast.  Oh!  I just want to live fully today.  Squeezing all the laughter and love and wonderment out of these precious days.
 ^^ This was before he realized how fun it is to open presents. haha ^^
^^ A big snowman poster craft ^^
^^ this little heart throb.  i can't even!! ^^ 
^^ We attended the Skraggs Family Christmas concert and we hung around long enough to meet their sweet family.  I had tears in my eyes when Buck White leaned in to pray a blessing over Gideon's life.  So special!! ^^
^^ Meeting the camel, Jabaar, at a local live animal Christmas play on Sunday.  We are loving all these fun holiday events. ^^


Fried Chicken Quinoa

This healthy version of Chinese Fried Rice is a favorite in our house.  I found this super easy recipe on Pinterest and as I began to add more quinoa to our diet instead of rice and pasta, I decided to modify the recipe.  Turns out we loved it even more and I am happy to have yet another way to get this healthy protein into our weekly meals.

A quick note on the veggies in this dish.  You can really use anything your family likes.  I often grab a frozen mixed veggie pack from Aldi, but this particular time I used a bunch of green veggies we had in the fridge.  This version has snap peas, green beans and broccoli, but you can really make it however you like.

Fried Chicken Quinoa
// serves 4-6 //

1 chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 c quinoa, cooked according to package directions
3 eggs
2-3 c cooked veggies
1 onion, diced
sea salt
olive oil

Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat.  Add eggs and allow them to fry with the onions.  Stir occasionally to break up the egg yolks.  Stir in veggies, chicken and cooked quinoa.  Heat through and salt to taste.


A Story in the Mess

Our house an impressive track record of rapid deterioration on weekends.  We wake up on Saturday morning and before I can blink twice, there is a whole box of tea bags across the kitchen floor, laundry strewn around like it's the new carpet and dishes from too many past meals to count.

To be honest, it's super frustrating for me.  Messes are my nemesis and the pressure really starts to build by Sunday afternoon.  Especially if we haven't been out of the house most of the day and  the piles of junk start closing in around me.
I remember one moment when I was in the bathroom several months ago and I was staring down the dirty laundry and damp towels all around.  Suddenly it was like God nudged my heart to see something more.  To see a story in the mess.

Our story goes something like this.

The pile of Adam's forgotten work clothes tells me that I have a hard working husband that will do anything so I can stay home with our babies.

The dishes from dinner last night tell me that we spent quality time together instead of obsessing over clean countertops.

The books and toys all over every room tell me that a curious, imaginative little boy lives in our house.

The dirty diaper that Adam left in the middle of the floor tells me that I have a fellow parent willing to be in the trenches of baby-life with me.

The laundry and dishes and piles of coats and shoes and every other misplaced thing tell me that God has blessed us more than we deserve and all this stuff is just beautiful reminders of His grace in our lives.

My heart is so desperate to see beyond the ever present messes.  My heart craves a grateful view of all we have truly been given.  To see the story of God's tender mercies in our everyday life.

- - - 
PS.  I won't pretend that I didn't spend the last two hours of my Sunday night cleaning my house like a mad woman.  Because let us also not underestimate the power of a clean start for my Monday morning. Happy new week, friends!! xo


The Pretty Mail Project

When I was young, I had so many pen pals.  The church we attended when I was 9-14 years old, had little Sunday Story Pamphlets that we received each week. One of the papers had a pen pal search on the back page.  People from all over the world would submit their letter requesting new pen pals.  Letters flew out of our house faster more often than Adam and I have popcorn and mnm's every night -- and that's a frightful lot.  My favorite time of day for years and years was mail time.  Three o'clock every afternoon, I was keeping one eye outside looking for the mail car.

Fast forward to our current world of social media, iMessage and Facetime.  Weeks can go by without one hand addressed letter in our mailbox.  I think it's sad because the old proverb is true, Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.  Kind words in written form seem to be just that.
That's why I am so so excited to start The Pretty Mail Project next month!!  I am going to challenge myself to write one handwritten, thoughtful card every week in 2015.  I am also going to choose one random friend or acquaintance to surprise with a birthday package each month.  I want to surprise and bless a lot of people with some beautiful happiness in their mailbox.

I am excited to share this little project with you guys not only to keep myself accountable but also to hopefully inspire some of you to send out more pretty mail as well.  Two Instagram accounts that inspire me so much in this area are Amber & Corrine.  They have so many amazing examples of pretty mail in the archives of their feed.

I also thought it would be fun today to share some of my favorite things to use when putting together cards and letter.  Sometimes these items never leave my desk because I am using them constantly when I write little notes or wrap gifts.  My favorites include raffia, bakers twine, blank cards, mini clothes pins, paper tags and of course washi tape!  Always always washi tape!!

Now because I love you guys and feel super thankful for all the support and love you have given me since I've been back to blogging, I want to give you a chance to win your own little pretty mail kit that includes a little bit of everything pictured above!!  Plus I hope it helps you to kick start your own pretty mail project!  

Thanks again for all your love and support! I am so thankful for this community.  
Happy weekend, friends!

^^ the winner will be chosen and contacted via email on wednesday ^^