December 2017 – Santa’s Comin’

I promised myself that when I had a Christmas break I would get more art done.?? I really had fun with this piece because Tori and I spent time working on it together.?? Sometimes, it is a bit like playing with a dollhouse adding items piece by piece.?? Tori has a really good eye and she often notices things that I don’t.?? I have been impressed with her ability to even discuss perspective with me and color toning.?? Putting the Christmas picture on the wall was her idea.?? I actually had another image in that frame and she told me I needed to swap it out. I realized instantly she was right.?? Troy wanted to insert an opinion too.?? The star on the top of the tree was initially silver and he REALLY didn’t like that.?? At first, Tori and I vetoed him and left the star silver but for whatever reason (probably because he is sick), he started crying saying, “I really want that star to be GOLD!”?? So it got changed.?? Working on these things WITH them is far more fun anyhow because they always remember their contributions.


Tori baptized!?? *?? Tanner baptized!?? *?? Noah baptized!?? *?? Braxtyn baptized!?? *?? Cozy baptized!?? *?? Quinn baptized!?? *?? Beth baptized!?? * McCormick Ranch Christmas Night Train * Archery?? * Gymnastics?? *?? Noah weekend?? *?? Tori in Camp Verde for the weekend?? * Fishing with Dad, Jim and Tanner?? * Out Shooting

Due to the fact that I have just been so busy this fall, I fell behind in my daily entries.?? I write a daily journal and then use that to write my monthly blog post.?? I am writing this on the 13th of December so this post is a work in progress and I will finish it in January.


Tori and Tanner were both baptized on Sunday, December 3rd.?? As I wrote before, Tori initiated this but then several others jumped in on it.?? It was a super precious day and we got to spend time with all our family at mom and dad’s afterwards for a spaghetti dinner.?? It was mentioned to me later that it was especially cool that Beth and Tori were baptized together nearly 24 years after their daddy’s were baptized together.?? Below are pictures??of Jim and Tom being baptized by Dad at Christopher Creek on a family Camp back in 1993.?? Who would have thought??all those years ago that their baby girls would be baptized on the same day too? (Picture above was a bracelet given to Tori by Denise to celebrate).?? Kristi pointed out that times have sure changed because now Tom is clean shaven and Jim is all Duck Dynasty.?? LOL.

And here is the video that we played at her baptism.?? A note on Troy though???Tori and I waited until the last minute to film this.?? Because of that we were running out of daylight.?? She was being extremely detailed and her first recording was over 5 minutes long.?? I frustrated her by telling her it was a no-go because we needed it half that long.?? She had run out of steam at that point and so did I.?? Hours later we decided to write it out and let her read it but it was approaching bedtime and we had to film in her bedroom.?? When Troy asked to be part of our filming, I was inclined to say “HECK NO!” but then I caved (because he has me wrapped).?? I did tell him that he absolutely could not utter a word and he had to sit quietly beside her.?? Technically, he did as I asked.?? Next time I need to write a much longer list of the can and can-nots.?? We wanted to refilm this after Troy’s comical contributions but Tori and I just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it a single more time.?? So it is what it is folks.?? Enjoy.




The other night we were at mom and dads.?? Troy sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to mom and then kept repeating the last line adding extra vibrato to impress her.?? Papa walked in and he asked Papa to sing it.?? Papa declined.?? Troy assumed it was because Papa didn’t know how so he sang it to him to show him how to do it.?? Then he asked Papa again to sing.?? Dad kept saying that he couldn’t but finally he relented and sang it to Troy.?? When dad was done, Troy in a very serious little voice said, “You were right.?? You are not good at that.”?? Mom and I died laughing.?? We were crying.?? Troy then ammended that you need a little voice to sing that song.


And if you are wondering why there is a bruise on the side of his head…

He wrapped himself up like an inch worm in his John Deere blanket.?? With his arms wrapped up, when he tripped he had no way of catching himself and his head hit the floor…HARD!?? Live and learn.


One of our traditions is to buy Christmas pajamas every year.?? This year, while shopping in Target, Troy and I picked out a star wars pair.?? A few minutes later, I found a soft green plaid that I liked much better and asked him if we could trade out the star wars.?? Initially he said no, but then he changed his mind.?? I was suspicious and asked him why he changed his mind.?? He said, “Because you like the green pair and I don’t want you to be sad.”?? Ug.?? I was afraid of that.?? I??insisted that I would not be sad if he wanted the Star Wars pair but he stuck to his decision and we bought the plaid.?? For a week I have lamented this.?? On the one hand, I really do want my children to consider other people in decision making.?? That is (for the most part) a wise and compassionate thing to do.?? There is really so much goodness in that.?? However, my six year old not wanting to disappoint me over a pair of pajamas??? It’s tough being a parent.?? Troy is WAY more sensitive of a person than the other five people in this household.?? Yes…often times more personally sensitive but ALSO sensitive towards others.?? I am having to learn how to wisely and lovingly parent this treasure of mine because we don’t always think alike.?? I want to bring out the best in his natural gifts but I don’t want him to lack boundaries or strive too hard for approval either.?? Tough to navigate sometimes.?? I felt a little better this morning because we are a week away from Christmas still and he came out of his room for breakfast wearing those green plaid jammies.?? I made him change immediately because those are for CHRISTMAS!?? I was at least glad to know he liked them enough to break into the bag early and attempt to cheat the system.?? Mom and I had a talk about this and her judgement was that I need to make another trip to Target and buy the Christmas Star Wars pajamas ALSO.?? I should have just done that in the first place.




One of many things I love about my girl is that she has a super giving heart.?? I think she finds more pleasure in giving than receiving.?? She doesn’t just give stuff she doesn’t have use for either.?? She will give what she loves.?? I can’t take parenting credit for this either.?? In fact, I am more likely to argue what she CANNOT give away.?? Earlier this year Sweetie bought her something she really wanted.?? A few short week later, a loved one was injured.?? She quietly came to me and asked if she could give her gift to the injured party but she was afraid of hurting Sweetie.?? My heart melted.?? This morning we had the following conversation:

“Mom, you know the (blank) I am hoping you bought me for Christmas”, said Tori.

“Yes.” I said.

“Well (blank) would really like one too.?? If I get that, could give away one??? Or would that be you giving a Christmas gift?”

“That would not be me giving a Christmas gift.?? I am giving them to you.?? If you choose to gift one after that, that will be a gift from you.”

Again, her heart wasn’t really centered on whether the gift would be from her or me.?? The context of her question was more around whether or not she would be making a decision for me that I had not made considering I was choosing to get the gift for HER.?? She didn’t want to disrespect my gift to her.

I wish I could take credit for raising unselfish kids but I really can’t.?? Some people are just born with a truly giving nature.?? My own father is probably the most unselfish person I have ever met.?? I admire that so much.?? As I have mentioned many times, my life nemesis is control.?? When you battle control, it is tough to be unselfish because you prioritize “need” to much.?? My friend Liza and I had a conversation this summer in regards to “scarcity”.?? Where is our “scarcity” threat in our lives??? I hate to admit this, but I have considered that conversation long and hard because I fear I may have many elements of scarcity thinking.?? It doesn’t make any sense either because I have always had “enough”.?? ??Now that I am aware of it, I am working on refusing that in my life.?? When I was growing up, because (a) dad was a Pastor and (b) we lived near the church and (c) we were lower income (not LOW income but I wouldn’t say mid either) – feeding people seemed an issue to me.?? We always had food – always.?? However, we also had drop in guests all the time (see a. and b.).?? I have so many memories of Dad’s dinner invites and mom’s deer in the headlights because how do you stretch it??? I related to my mother in this.?? Anyhow, Dad believed that if you told people there was plenty of food…there simply would be.?? Food just multiplies.?? (And yes…he would eat last or not eat if it took that…always).?? My friend Belinda teases me about my cook for an army strategy.?? I recently hosted a small event and didn’t call her first about food quantities and she laughed at the abundance.?? She knows my scarcity concern when it comes to food.?? I recently discovered one of my siblings is just like me in this.?? She has been trying to convince me for years that there is always enough food because people naturally consume a lesser portion to make things stretch.?? (And then I argue that I don’t want them to have too – I am so Mary begging Jesus to get more wine right??? He did too.?? That was actually his first miracle.?? I think he understands my struggle here.?? Why was the not having enough (especially of something not integral to anyone’s survival,) important enough to Jesus to perform a miracle – especially his first??? I need to think about this more.?? He certainly wasn’t guilty of scarcity thinking but there must be a deeper issue rooted in all this because clearly he understood those who felt threatened by it.?? Such a compassionate God huh??? I’ll chime in on this again if I get any insights.?? LOL.

The kids are always so proud of dad when he gets the lights up!

Trip with Grandma to the Railroad Park for the Christmas Night ride (and then out to dinner at Portello’s).


As I have been writing this blog, one thing is breaking my heart.?? I can’t even express how much I miss my Aunt.?? I don’t care if the only people reading this are me and my kids.?? I truly don’t.?? I put it back online for the following reasons:

  1. Ty begged me too.
  2. Even though I have continued to write a personal diary, I realized that when I was writing things no one would/could see, I got very loosey goosey about it.?? I wrote daily but it was more or less bulleted.?? I realized that when you post something online, even if no one reads it, you realize they potentially “could” and that causes you to consider your potential audience.?? The end result? A better product for me.?? I have created pdf books annually for the past 16 years!?? I love to reread them because I can’t believe how much I have forgotten.?? In the last 18 months I have been disappointed in myself for the low quality of book I was keeping for myself.?? I wasn’t taking the time to associate all the pictures or to really “write” my heart.?? Troy is only six years old.?? What if he is like Ty and this important to him??? I can’t have him be that sterotypical last kid who didn’t get a baby book!?? So…I recreated the last years worth of blogs and I am going to go back and do that for all of 2016 too.?? As I said, I have the info…it just was put together in a messy way.
  3. I have had to realize that social media exists because of the culture we live in.?? I really knee jerk to this less than personal approach of knowing people – of friend circles being too large for intimacy.?? I really hate this aspect of social media.?? But…the truth is…avoiding social media doesn’t suddenly create intimacy.?? The issue for me with lack of intimacy is time related.?? It is what it is either way.?? It isn’t “enough”.?? But it is something.?? When that’s all you got, that is all you got you know??? I may even be brave enough to try some vlogs this year.?? That is another thing I have long knee jerked at.?? I do not want to be in front of a camera.?? However, while doing THM I have discovered a lot of vloggers and I have found that I LOVE watching them more than reading them. I get a much better feel for who they are.?? Also, it lends itself to more authenticity as most of the ones I have been watching have kids video bombing them the whole time and less than clean homes.?? Love it.?? Three of my four kids would have fun participating in that during this stage of their life too and it would be an added special keepsake for me for sure.?? Bet you can guess which kid will “pass” though. I would say that ship sailed but I don’t think that ship ever showed up.?? LOL.

After saying all this, the tough thing still is that Aunt Beck was the one person who diligently read my blog.?? When she died, I found hundreds of comments from her that are now such keepsakes too me.?? ??Swallowing lump…I am really missing that.?? So many things I want to tell her.


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