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Christmas Around The House

I love Christmas decorating.  So much so that it usually stays up until well into March.  haha! Though I won't admit if it's because of pure love of all things greenery or plain old laziness.  No further comment.

In the meantime, here's how Christmas is spreading it's beauty around our house this month.
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^^ Christmas pictures just aren't the same with dead grass instead of snow. . . though I won't complain about the few nice days we've had this week.   Also, I'm still so in love with our happy front door.  It just seems to go with every season's decor. ^^
 ^^ Our Christmas cards of perfection from Tiny Prints.  Seriously -- their stuff is just a dream.  Even the shipping box is adorable.  And for anyone who had their Christmas card visions lost in the sea of holiday business, never fear.  They have a whole host of perfect New Year's options so get yourself over there and check it out!  This and this are two of my favorites. ^^
 ^^ I feel like a little kid because of how excited I am about our new return address stamp.  Our looks like this and now all I want to do is going around our house and stamp our name, address and pretty vines all over everything. ^^
^^ Prep for the Christmas event that I'm hosting on Friday night.  Can.not.wait. ! ^^ 
 ^^ Us mantel-less people have to get creative this time of year. haha ^^
 ^^ Emmett is having so much fun with our simple advent activities. . . he wants to open all the packages right now. Christmas morning is going to be so much fun!! ^^
 ^^ Just a little bit of the world's cheapest, most flimsy garland to bring a little holiday cheer to the little guy's room. ^^
 ^^ I'm all about the blurry night lights ^^
^^ As I was saying . . . ^^
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If you want to see some real, honest-to-goodness simple Christmas decor that will make you want to quit the junk you do for good -- name that movie reference -- you have to check out Shannon's awesome recap here.   She's seriously got it goin' on.


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.

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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