Saturday, December 31, 2011

resolutions

Honestly, I'm not sure I have ever made a New Year's Resolution!
Is that crazy, or what?!?

This year, that is changing. (Did I just make a resolution to make a resolution?)

For my first time making New Year's Resolutions, I think I may be a bit too ambitious, but here's my list! 

1. Complete the "Hello Mornings" challenge (check out inspiredtoaction.com)
This includes waking early, taking time for Bible reading, prayer, exercise, and daily planning.

2. Potty train my Little E (I know what you're thinking...she won't be 2 until 2013! But folks, America is one of the only countries in the world where 3 year old children wear diapers. Being in Africa showed me that potty train CAN be done before/around the age of 2...so we are STARTING)

3. Moving toward (and hopefully getting to) a paperless kitchen.
I've read this blog post, and I'm inspired! 

4. Continue counting to 1000 gifts...and beyond! 

5. Graduate with a BS in Elementary Education! (FINALLY)!!

There are probably more....is that too much? Am I too ambitious? I hope not, because these are all things I aspire to accomplish! 

What are your resolutions?? Please comment and share!

Happy New Year!


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gifts 6-8

As I sit here in the quiet of the morning and reflect on the thankfulness photos I have taken over the past few days, I can see that it really is simple things in life that bring pleasure. 



6. Calm and Serenity
The lovely view from my mother-in-law's kitchen window. We stayed there for a couple of days while she was out of town, and it was so relaxing...we definitely don't have a backyard sanctuary here in the city! 


7. Clean dishes


8. Hot, clean, straight from the dryer, folded, and neatly stacked cloth diapers

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Friday, December 30, 2011

reflecting

The clock is ticking....
2012 will be here before I know it.
This begs the question--How did I spend 2011? Was it a year that was really TRULY worth something? Or did I waste my time, precious time, graciously given as a gift.


Tsh over at SimpleMom has posted a list of 20 reflection questions for our benefit.

I am excited to sit down during E's nap time and read over the questions.
Hubs gets off work early today, so I am hoping to cut out the questions and put them in a bowl, draw them out and discuss them together! It'll be fun, and I have a great guy who seems to always be up for what I want to do (even if he doesn't think its that cool).

How do you reflect on the past year, and plan for the coming one?



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FitB and Insta-Friday!

life rearranged
Happy Insta Friday!
It is hard to believe that it is the last week day of 2011! Where did the year go?

I'm not sure about where the year went, but here is a recap of my week!
 Merry Chrimstas! Little E in her Christmas dress on Sunday! She looked beautiful!
 Thanks GiGi (Great Granny) for the Bounce 'n Ride!
And thanks Grammy for the cute outfit :)
 Little E's new kicks--simply adorable
 Playing on the playgroud with Aunt B and Jasey Rae (Aunt B's goofy, clumsy, loveable sheepdog)
Aunt B made Little E this initial to hang in her room.
It is adorable and PERFECT for her green/bird/tree room!


Now, onto Fill in the Blank fun!


1. New Years is only a few days away...and I can't believe it!

2. One of my New Year's resolutions will be to fulfill the Hello Mornings challenge and make waking up early a part of my reguarl routine. Oh, and have Little E potty trained by this time next year (or at least well on her way)!

3. A New Year's resolution I've made in the past was to read the entire Bible through in one year. To this day I still have never completed that!

4. The most time consuming resolution I have ever made was ?? Honestly I can't really remember ever making any resolution. I guess going to Uganda for 6 months would count. Hubs and I decided on New Year's eve that we would do that and the following year we were celebrating the new year in Uganda! It was pretty interesting how that work out, and it took over a year to make it happen and 6 months of actually being there...thats a pretty long time for a resolution to actually transpire.

5. This year I will be spending New Year's eve at my pastor's house with some close friends. I'm really hoping Little E does well and sleeps while we are there! We'll see!

6. If I could wish one thing for my new year it would be to finish school well! Only 1 year left...2 semesters...that's it!

7. 2012 is going to be a big year of celebrations! God has been doing a lot in my heart lately and I know He will continue to. Also, I'll be celebrating 4 years (yes...4...crazy) of marriage and Little E's first birthday this year! Both my sister and I will graduate college as well!


I don't know what this weekend holds for you, but I pray that you and your family enjoy a safe, vibrant, and exciting New Year!

Next week ( maybe even starting tomorrow) I will get back to my 1000 gifts posts. We've been housesitting this week so it has been hard to stick to blogging and my normal routine!

Have a happy day!


 

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And we're back...

to reality that is. 


The Christmas season is always filled with so much fun and excitement, but now that it is over I am actually glad to get back to my "normal" life...more like typical way of doing life because who's life is normal?? :) 


We truly enjoyed our Christmas this year...celebrating with our friends and family, and my dad was able to get a last minute flight in (prayers answered)! He was only here for a few days and I actually just said my goodbyes at the airport a few minutes ago. It is always sad when he leaves, but we were so blessed to be able to spend some time with him this weekend. 


So today...getting back to the regularly scheduled program...we will be cleaning. Mostly just putting away the new things we got and (hopefully) packing up or throwing out some old things. Oh, and we'll be shopping. My little sis (aunt b) is coming up and we are going to hit up some after Christmas sales with our gift cards and cash gifts! 


I hope you enjoy getting back to your typical routine of life. There is a fresh excitement to having a little piece of normalcy back in my life! Hope you find the joy in it as well! 






Blessings, 

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas, from the Ervin family! 

This morning we began a **new** tradition for our family! 
We have each selected a series of ornaments that we want to collect, so each year we buy them for each other. Last year we just exchanged them on Christmas day, but that doesn't allow much time for them to be on display, so this year we decided to do the exchange on Christmas Eve morning. 
This was Eliyah's first experience with ribbon and wrapping paper, and boy was it fun! I wrapped her's and Mike's in comics from the Sunday paper and it was really easy for her to tear off, which was great! Here are a few pictures of our morning.

 
 Eliyah's series is "Angels from Around the World"
This year happened to be Ireland which is a place Mike and I both visited. Actually, while Mike was spending a summer there, he felt God leading him to pursue a relationship with me...and the rest is history. It was really special to us that this was the first ornament in the series for our daughter because Ireland is, obviously, a special place in both our hearts.


 Mike got the GM Corvette, and mine is "Season's Treatings" which is always a baking theme!
We had a great time exchanging this morning and now we're relaxing a bit before getting ready to host our 2nd annual Christmas Eve gathering with close friends and family prior to heading to the candlelight service at church.

May you, and your family, enjoy a peaceful Christmas celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ! 
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Fill in the __________ Friday


                                                             



1.   The best way to spread Christmas cheer is     according to Buddy the Elf--Singing loud for all to hear. I say, delivering surprise Christmas gifts!

2.   The thing I love most about Christmas is   spending time with my family and enjoying all the things the season brings (i.e. Christmas lights, cookies, and good coffee)!
3.  The holiday season is a time for   giving thanks for all the blessings in your life!

4. My favorite thing to eat at the holidays is    Christmas cookies! Sugar cookies with homemade icing especially! I just gobble them all up! The peanut butter ones with kisses on top are also nice! 

5.  I will be spending Christmas    with my family--Hubs and Little E. Then going to my mother-in-law's house, my mother's house, and my granny's house! Spending the day after with my other grandparents--along with aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings! Going to be a busy, but FUN weekend! Praying that Dad is able to get a flight home (long story) to he can celebrate with us!

6.  Tis better to (give or receive?)   give!! We went last week to pass out our gifts to friends. We surprised everyone by just showing up on their door step! Talk about fun! We had a blast!

7.  I'm dreaming of a    peaceful (no need to even THINK about WHITE...definitely not snow in WV when its 50 degrees outside!)     Christmas.



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Christmas Eve Eve Insta-Friday


Merry Christmas Eve Eve! 
Growing up my sister and I thought that was pretty cool to say...and honestly, I still think that! 

life rearranged

I'm back at it this morning with more pictures from my phone! 
Linking up with life rearranged for Insta-Friday!

Sorry this one turned out so blurry...
my Christmas tree with ALL of the presents wrapped and ready to go! (No, this wasn't this morning...I'm on top of things this year, I believe I took this on Monday! Yep, I had them all wrapped by Monday...not typical so I'm very proud of myself).


Tuesday evening we went to a friends house to what the Marshall University Thundering Herd beat FIU
 (Go Herd!)
Little E didn't even make it to half time. 


Stained Glass Cookies--my first attempt
I saw the recipe in a magazine recently and thought they looked super cute, so I decided to try them.
I think they turned out pretty nicely, but there are definitely some things I would do differently next time.
I think these will become a Christmas favorite in our house.


This is, by far, my favorite picture of the week! 
Wednesday I took E to my mom's house so my sister and I could finished our cookie baking and watch White Christmas (We love Bing)
I put E down for a nap in her bed there with my sister's giraffe pillow pet, Jolly. I heard her so I sneaked up to see what was going on. You can barely tell in this pic, but Jolly was propped up (looked like he was sitting) and E was sitting up facing him and "talking" and giggling at him (to him?). It was adorable. 
We've come to the conclusion that she needs a pillow pet too. 

I feel like ending this post like I began it....by wishing you a 
Merry Christmas Eve Eve!
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

3,4,5


3. smell of homemade bread baking in the oven


4. Christmas caroling with close friends on a chilly December evening


5. surprise, handwritten notes from my love

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

counting to 1000...

I posted previously about One Thousand Gifts.
Yesterday I finished the book. It was exciting because I rarely have time to read and I felt like I had really accomplished something great! But if I was to be completely honest, I was really sad...yes SAD! 

This book has become a friend to me. A source of encouragement and challenge. 
I was sad to have finished it because I feel like it is just starting to take root in my life. It took its time gently prying my heart open and revealing areas where I need His help. 
Now that's over...but I plan to continue refreshing myself through re-reading the book. 

Throughout the book there were many lines I wanted to share...I felt like I was constantly wanting to post lines from the book to my Facebook or Twitter to share with everyone! However, I feel like some of the words would be difficult to understand when taken out of context of the book as a whole. Last night as I was finished up the last chapter, I came across several (a dozen maybe?) of those words that I felt were powerful. 

"Giving thanks awakens me to a God giving Himself, the naked, unashamed passion, God giving Himself to me--for me--a surrender of love. 'Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are...a divine choice,' wrote Henri Nouwen. A divine choice! He chooses His children to fully live!...The discipline of giving thanks, of unwrapping one thousand gifts, unwraps God's heart bare: I choose you.  Live!"

I am a divine choice? YES! While this isn't always easy to comprehend, it is the truth. Unwrapping God's gifts, saying "Yes" to each moment that He brings, reveals His love-heart for me, for you. 

Wow! I could simply go on and on and on....

But, I will spare you, and tell you to just read the book for yourself and be prepared for a change. 

As I pondered how to continue this change in my life (because just as Ann Voskamp says, I have spiritual amnesia--most of the time!) I decided to try to capture my "thanks moments" through photos. Not just capture them, but share them.--here--in this space. 

The goal: 1000gifts, moments, blessings from God. 
In photographic form.
At least 7 per week (1 per day).



1. quite time while E is sleeping...reading...pink toe nail polish


2. curiosity and exploration in Little E 

Two down...998 to go!
Join me?



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WIWW (break week)

Welcome Wednesday!
I'm so very thankful that Wednesday is here...it simply means that Hubs only has one more day of work before having 4 days off...which means a little bit of Momma time is in my future. 

Since this has been my first full week of Christmas break (from school that is), I haven't exactly been doing too great of a job getting dressed in the mornings. I admit, my yoga pants are just more comfortable! 



Because of this, I only have one photo this week. Actually, my outfit for church on Sunday was pretty cute, but I completely forgot to get a picture of it! 
This is Monday's outfit. 
My sister and I took E downtown to the library and a local coffee shop, then we headed to Target.
This is what I wore....


Jeans--Ann Taylor Loft (bought at Gabe's for $5!)
Shirt- Old Navy
Scarf- Christmas gift from Hubs a few years ago

So there ya have it! Pretty simple outfit really, but it worked for Monday. 
Maybe next week I'll have more photos...maybe even today I will take a picture! Not sure yet though, since today is baking/White Christmas day with my sister...who knows what I will end up wearing! :)

Enjoy this day in the middle of Christmas week!
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Friday, December 16, 2011

fill in the blank friday fun!




fill in the blank friday--this is a first for me! 
here goes nothing!

1.   My most favorite "little thing" is  enjoying my morning coffee and internet surfing before E wakes up!

2.   I give anything to have our family in Uganda meet E before she's 2! I'd love to go visit right now!

3.  I can't believe    my daughter is almost a year old! Where did time go?

4. The one thing I'd like to achieve today is    enjoying my husbands time off while we deliver gifts and thrift store shop!

5.  The last thing I want to do today is    clean my house...but its horribly cluttery!

6.  If I were writing my own blank today, it would say:  If I could only have one kind of Christmas cookie it would be...

7.  My favorite candle scent is    depends on what day it is...right now Hazelnut Coffee from Yankee candle!



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Quotable

"Christmas isn’t about perfection. It’s celebrating the One who saved us from our impossible need to be perfect."




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Giving


                                            

Homemade Christmas goodies! 
I LOVE them! 

When I was younger, my mom always had a Christmas Cookie party. She'd invite all the cousins and aunts to our house for a day of making cookies, fudge, hard candy, etc. I loved this tradition! My sister, mom, and I still bake cookies together (we're going it this Sunday actually, while watching White Christmas), but I also do some baking with my little family. 

This year, like in years past, we are doing baked goods and homemade gifts for some of our friends. We just want to give something small to show our love for them during this season. 

Last night we began a new tradition that I hope continues for many years to come. We played "Santa".
So, we aren't really into all the Santa-craze, but basically we delivered gifts. While in Uganda we learned the cultural norm of just showing up at someone's house when you are thinking about them. It took us some time to get used to it because here in America we "hate just barge in" or "don't want to go uninvited". When we finally realized just how special it made us feel when someone showed up unexpectedly, we wanted to do that for others too. 

So last night we loaded up the car with gifts (more than we could deliver in one night actually). We set out on our journey to surprise our friends with their Christmas goodies. The first two families weren't home, but they got a surprise on their doorstep when they got there. The next 3 were home, which was much more fun. 
We didn't make it near as far as we had planned, but it was worth it! The 4th house we went to, they invited us in and we stayed and chatted for quite sometime. They even got out the baby toys that belong to their grandchildren for Eliyah to play with! We had a blast! The last house was the closest to us, and we stayed there for several minutes too. 

Everyone kept saying, what a pleasant surprise! We were hoping that no one felt offended that we didn't call, but it just makes you feel special to know that someone was thinking about you and cared enough to come see you! Sometimes its hard to get past the culture and live outside of what is considered "the norm" (which in this case, is calling ahead so as not to interrupt others lives).

We still have quite a few gifts to deliver, which will probably get done this afternoon since handsome hubby gets off work early. We decided that next year we will begin delivering earlier in the day.

Let me just say, we had a blast! It was so fun knowing that we were surprising people...it was like we were receiving the gifts, that's how excited we were! We did receive joy in showing people that we love them. 
We hope to show our children, through this tradition of surprise giving, that it is more fulfilling to give than to receive. 
So, if you hear friendly knock on your door, you better open up! You might be pleasantly surprised!




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Insta Friday

Its that time of the week again! I almost forgot that it was FRIDAY!
I know you're probably thinking, "How could that happen?!?", well when you have small children, sometimes the days all run together! 

So, here we go!
life rearranged

Coconut Macaroons that I made for my cookie exchange that was 
Sunday night. I'm not a huge fan of coconut, but the hubs is and they are an easy,
dairy-free treat! I made almost 6 dozen of them!


I babysat last Friday afternoon for my cousin who has a sweet little boy. 
He is about 10 months older than Eliyah, so while she was napping, I had fun trying to 
get him to do some crafty things. He wasn't exactly sure about coloring, but he tried! I'm excited to do crafty
stuff with my girly someday :)


 Saturday E and me helped Mom decorate her Christmas tree. It was so much fun! 
My sis' dog wanted to help too--meet Jasey Rae. She's probably the sweetest, most clumsy dog you'll ever meet! I say that in the most positive way! She's adorable, fun, and loves to just be with us! She came and got underfoot while we were decorating. 
That's her with my momma.

My cousin's little boy came to church with us on Sunday. Here he is with E right before the service started. Aren't they just the cutest! 

Notice all my pictures are from the weekend...that's because once Monday hit, it was craziness! Finals week tends to be overwhelming at times, especially when you have child! 

Have I mentioned how thankful I am to have finished my first semester going full-time with a nursing baby?!? Well, I am! I didn't know if I'd make it out alive or sane, and I at least made it out alive...the sane part is still in question.

Looking forward to next Friday's pics! 
Gets your phone camera out and start capturing those moments! I'm sure this week will be full of them! 

With love,

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