Monday, November 30, 2009


i love this time of year. for some, this season brings busyness and a never-ending to-do list. for me, time slows down, the things we choose to do are intentional, and we spend a lot of time at home. colder weather makes me want to never leave the house. instead we curl up on the couch underneath a fleece blanket and read. i love it.

tomorrow brings a new year of advent, and we are excited to begin our daily reading and hanging of the ornament. please feel free to join us. i will be posting the scripture reading daily, along with our ornament. we love the anticipation of filling up the tree and celebrating Christ's coming to earth!
we decorated our house in stages the past week. it was really the perfect way to do it. i lugged all of the boxes of decorations down from the attic last monday. that's where it ended. seriously, who has the energy to decorate after doing something like that?
on wednesday, we decorated the inside of our home, along with setting up the big christmas tree in our living room. thursday was full of turkey and counting our blessings. on friday morning, we all decorated the tree while still in our jammies. instrumental christmas music from pandora filled the air, and it was perfect. well, minus the dropped and broken glass ball ornament, and the several other ornaments dropped but not broken. we have 8 trees ranging in size and style throughout the house. christmas is everywhere you look.
would you like to see some of our decorations? you would! great, i just happened to snap a few pictures today.

this is our big tree. we love its little pinecones and sparkly lights. it beat up john a little though on its way down from the attic. those branches scratched up his arms enough to make it appear as if he was in a fight with a feline.

this is our fireplace just to the left of the big tree. the stockings are *drying* by the fire and you can see our advent tree peeking into the left of the picture. on the mantle is my most favorite nativity set we have.

it is peruvian, and i picked it up at a craft fair from a family who brought several sets back from peru. isn't it awesome!?!?
and just in case you thought this was the only nativity set we own, i took a picture to show you the rest of my collection.
and if you know me at all, you know my love for a little retro. so when i spied this tree on sale last christmas, i just had to have it!
and perhaps my most prized christmas possession are these guys. the bigger santa was always a christmas fixture in my childhood home, and the little one lived at my grandparents' home. they are quite unique and eclectic.
saturday brought an opportunity to decorate outside. i tend to be a bit like the griswold's. remember the movie national lampoon's christmas vacation? this is what the outside of our home looked like last december:
and then came the electric bill. ouch! and that wasn't even all of our decorations! so we've scaled down a bit this year and invested in led lights for the house to save on electricity usage.

i think it still looks nice. decorations for me are a reminder to reflect upon the very reason for our celebration. Christ came to earth. God sent His only Son. for me and for you.
many blessings to you this advent season.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful for family, food and the Lord's provision. And our new (and only) cousin!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Monday, November 23, 2009

rutherford daily news

how many things can you fit into one weekend?

let's about

a birthday party for two little girls from church
a wedding
another birthday party for my sister
delivering a thanksgiving meal to a needy family
thanksgiving service at church
reception for a couple in our church

we were so busy i did not have the time to even snap a few pictures! it was busy but fun.

john has inservice at school today but then we all have the entire week off to spend with each other. i am completely excited about this!

our cougar football team won their playoff game saturday night. they have another playoff game this weekend and if they win that one, it's on to the finals! can you say rutherford roadtrip?!?!?

i am debating on when exactly to bring out the christmas decorations. we are ones that adamantly insist on waiting until after thanksgiving, but i might make a little exception this year. don't tell anyone, okay? ;)

i am thrilled to have both boys with me all week long. we have lots of baking and crafting and decorating to do.

so that's the rutherford daily news. how do you plan on enjoying your thanksgiving break?

Friday, November 20, 2009

burrito's thanksgiving feast

my parents did not own a video camera back when i was a child. you know, back in the dark ages, ha! we have LOTS of pictures but no video. with one exception. when i was in kindergarten, we had a thanksgiving feast where some dressed as pilgrims and some dressed as indians, and we all ate lots of food.

for whatever reason, the local news channel sent a crew out to our school to shoot some video and air it on the news that night. and yes, there is video of me, stuffing my face full of food on the news.

my parents loved to pull out this video to show to all of my teenage friends in high school. i was always mortified. but now i am so grateful for it. i plan to dig it out on thanksgiving day when we are at my parents' house to show my boys. i think they will love to see me as a 5 year old. i think it is so fun that 27 years later, my 5 year old is doing the same thing.

here's burrito, or maybe i should say squanto at the feast. i was an indian too.

pilgrims + indians + teacher = fun!

now we are anticipating thursday and the real feast we will have with family. and a side note: if you read yesterday's post you'll be glad to know the turkey survived today!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

burrito's take on turkey

there's a turkey coming to burrito's school tomorrow. pictures with it will be made on the playground. i was reminding burrito of this as he showered this afternoon. his response:

"cool! do we get to shoot it?"

in my horrified voice i asked him why would he want to do such a thing.

"so we can eat it!"

and this comes from my non-meat eating child. ironic, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

cougar football

as i've mentioned before, we love us some football in this house. we love having a team to cheer for at school too. this past saturday our cougar football team played a playoff game, and we were able to stay for the entire game!

here are noodle and burrito waiting for the team to run out of the tunnel.

the team takes the field!
and the game begins!
we played this game at a much larger stadium which was so fun because we felt so close to the field. and they also had "real" seats, not just bleachers that my buns so appreciated. it was a little back and forth for a bit, but we came out on top and advance to the next playoff game this saturday.
it's in the middle of nowhere about 2.5 hours away so i think we'll miss it but we'll be cheering them on from home!
go cougars!
(consequently, i've wondered how i will be should one or both of my boys ever play football. i get so worked up and wrapped up into the game that i have to really watch what i yell. i was thankful for a long half time to simmer down a bit. isn't this crazy? just my passion working itself out! ha!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

i need a discount, please.

okay, so let me start by saying i am blessed to be a stay at home mom. it is a blessing. i would not trade it for anything else in the world.

in fact, today i realized just what a blessing it is to serve my family daily. i was able to help both my husband and burrito while in school today...something i would not be able to do if i were working. i felt a little like superwoman! ;)

on my way to school to drop off and pick up burrito everyday, i pass a spa/manicure/pedicure place. i can count on one hand how many times i've been to such an establishment. i'm not super girly so i don't feel i am missing out too much, but there are days when a nice manicure and pedicure sounds better than chocolate.

and this particular establishment has a sign outside that says "20% discount for students and teachers." i was a student, and i remember how financially challenging that time can be. i am married to a teacher and believe me, i know they are underpaid. but every time i pass that sign, i wonder,

"why doesn't anyone ever offer a stay at home mom discount?"
seriously. now i realize in order to get the teacher or student discount, an i.d. is required. but i think i have sufficient identification....clothes that i've had since high school, a preschooler tagging close behind me and very little money in my wallet. if anyone needs a manicure or pedicure or any type of special treatment it's a stay at home mom!
so, may i have a discount please? anyone?
and all you stay at home moms reading this, are you with me? can you relate? wouldn't it be nice to get a discount?

Monday, November 16, 2009

noodle sounds off

hi. my name is noodle. well, not really, but you probably already know that if you read my mom's blog.

we were so excited last week....see???? why, you ask?

because the weather was absolutely beautiful, and it was a perfect day to go to the zoo!

first up are the monkeys. and they put on a good show that day. did you know that monkeys like mustard? we saw them eat that along with some veggies.

and we thought it was so funny to see the elephant taking a shower. we've never seen that before, and we've been to the zoo a million times!

even the white tiger was willing to cooperate for a picture that day!

and we learned that no two zebras have the same exact stripes.

my mom thinks this picture is funny because it looks like i have a mane like the lion's too!

we even stopped in to buy a seed stick to feed the birds. they were really hungry!

we finished our trip with a ride on the train. we could not believe we were the only ones riding that day!

and i was excited to sit in the very first seat, which is why i am holding up one finger. we're first!

it was a bittersweet trip for my mom though because her little boys are not so little anymore. there won't be many more trips like this to the zoo because burrito is in school, and i will be in school next year.
but we had a great time and treasured every second.
thanks for letting me try out the blog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

unexpected blessings

the weather here has been so beautiful lately. the boys and i have taken full advantage of it. yesterday we visited a park after school. the boys had a blast, and i love it when they can burn off some of their energy! ha!

last week we spent a lot of time outside in our front yard. the boys love to come home and put on their football uniforms and play football in the grass. their version of football mainly consists of falling down a lot in the grass. but they love it, and i think it is pretty funny to watch.

we live on a cul-de-sac so our street is pretty quiet. the only traffic we see are those that live on our street. we have several great neightbors, and we feel really blessed to live on such a friendly street. nonetheless, i was quite surprised when one of the ladies that lives across the street from us came walking over. she is very quiet and shy and approached me with some hesitation. she explained that she has grandkids who visit often and she was going through some toys they don't play with anymore and thought our boys might be interested in this:

it's this super fun inflatable tent! john could not get home soon enough to blow this thing up!

i think they love it! and check out that fun hair! it's been really fun to hear them retreat to the tent to read books or play games together in there. what an unexpected blessing!

and then the next day the same neighbor came walking over with 2 large garbage bags full of clothes and shoes. her daughter was planning on taking these things to goodwill but our neighbor stopped her because she wanted to bring them to us! and i'm not talking about worn out clothes and shoes...there were some very expensive athletic shoes that we would just never be able to afford. and my little fashionista boys thought they were in heaven!
praise the Lord for unexpected blessings! we are constantly amazed at how the Lord provides abundantly for us.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

some heavy thoughts

i am still sick. and when i am sick i have time to think. and i've been thinking about so many things lately that it's been difficult to decide what to share here on the blog.

let me back up and say i am no longer feverishly sick....just a nagging cough that won't go away and keeps me up all night. that's not an exaggeration. all night. until i discovered a cough suppressant that seemed to work moderately well last night. thank you Lord for cough suppressants!

so sitting up all night coughing while everyone else rests peacefully has afforded me the chance to take the time and think some things through. nights are tough for me regardless of being sick. i think it started soon after i had burrito, and i was up a lot at night feeding him. it felt so lonely and so dark and so suffocating to be up at a time when the rest of the world slept. an anxiousness would creep up into my heart and no matter what i did, i could not shake that feeling.

it continues today. it doesn't happen everyday but when it does happen, it usually occurs at night. it's that pit in your stomach sort of feeling and i can't always pinpoint the cause. i think my anxiousness has expanded as my circle of responsibility has expanded...i'm not just a single girl anymore, i have a husband and two sons who i desperately love.

the root of the problem (i think) is that i don't fully trust the Lord. and while that realization is good, it still did not help my anxiety problem. and i don't want to be anxious. i want to trust the Lord. during these times i preach to myself, reciting a scripture over and over in hopes of pounding it into my heart and rooting out the disbelief that holds me captive.

and this anxiousness manifests itself most in the fear of death. the thought of my husband or my sons dying is paralyzing. and my need to prevent such an event is even more paralyzing. i simply cannot control such a thing. so i worry. and death is such a permanent thing. death means separation for the rest of my life.

so my revelation moment came as i was reading a book for our small group at church. i think i discovered that i don't trust the Lord because i can't reconcile in my mind why bad things (namely untimely deaths) happen to good people. i read verses like "the Lord rewards those who earnestly seek him (hebrews 11:6), and i know people who love the Lord and really bad things have happened to them. that doesn't seem like a reward to me.

but the revelation for me is that my reward is in heaven. duh! i am not promised that bad things won't happen to me here on earth but nothing bad will happen to me in eternity. my hope is not in the here and now. it is in eternity with Christ and with those who believe. this change in perspective is so liberating for me. so as horrible as it would be for my husband or one of my children to die, it is not permanent as i was incorrectly thinking. we will be together again in eternity. my reward is to be with them and Christ forever.

i know, i know. this is basic theology. i've been hearing this for 16 years of my life. and i think this would have been clearer for me 10 years ago as a single woman with no husband or kids. while i had a wonderful life full of many wonderful people and things, my perspective was on eternity. my treasure was Christ. but as i came to know what it meant to love another as a husband and as my own children, my treasure became more of them and less of Christ.

so why do i share this deeply personal revelation with whoever happens upon this blog? partly to remember this revelation should i need to be reminded and partly because i happen to believe that these struggles are not unique to me.

i must treasure Christ and eternity. not this world or anything in it. with His grace and mercy, this will be a daily practice for me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

i am a lover of all things pumpkin this time of year. my absolute favorite are these pumpkin muffins. they're so good, we eat them year round.

so when i saw this recipe in this month's better homes and gardens magazine, i knew i wanted to give it a try. we made it, and ate it tonight and it was pretty good. it's a cheap and easy meal. i think it would be good and maybe a little more filling with some shredded chicken too.

here's the recipe:

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon each kosher salt, cinnamon, allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
baked pumpkin seeds, for garnish

1. place oil, red onion, garlic and seasonings into a large pot
2. cook on low-medium heat until red onion and garlic brown
3. puree the beans and tomatoes with half of the vegetable broth. add pureed ingredients, pumpkin and rest of broth to your pot
4. simmer uncovered until thick, about 40-45 minutes. before serving, stir in balsamic vinegar. garnish with baked pumpkin seeds


Saturday, November 7, 2009

preparing for advent

so yesterday was november 6. noodle and i ventured into kohl's in the quest for the perfect brown shoes for me. we pull open the doors and are greeted with christmas decorations and christmas music floating through the air. did i mention it is november???? now, don't get me wrong. i L.O.V.E. christmas. it is my most favorite time of the year for so many reasons, but i sure do get aggravated how commercialism and consumerism start shoving it down my throat at the beginning of november!

while i was annoyed by this (but not too annoyed to locate and purchase some great clearance shoes!), i must admit it did cause me to want to start making christmas preparations myself. but the good kind of preparations. the timely preparations. mainly, preparing our advent reading and ornaments for our advent tree.

last year was our first time to do an advent tree at christmas. i posted about this experience here but wanted to update our plan for this christmas.

what is an advent tree? the idea of an advent tree comes from Isaiah 11:1-9, where God promises a discouraged nation that the glory they remember from david's time will come to them again. they will have another king from jesse's family, in whose reign the whole earth will know God. christians see that promise fulfilled in Jesus, and so we put up an advent tree and decorate it with reminders of how God prepared the world for that Kingdom. (taken from Darcy James' book Let's Make a Jesse Tree!)

each day last year, starting on december 1 and ending on december 25, i shared the scripture that we read as a family and the ornament that was hung on the tree with you in hopes that family and friends would join with us.

i've modified our reading plan a bit this year to perfectly coincide with our favorite chidren's bible, the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

if you have young kids and don't have this bible, you must walk out of your house, get in your car, and drive to your nearest bookstore to buy it. right now. seriously. and no, i am not being paid to say this. this bible is the sweetest one i've read. each story points towards Christ and is so good!

so here is our reading plan for this advent, along with what i think will probably be the coordinating ornament, though there are a few we might end up changing. the ornaments are simple, crafted from felt, that noodle and i made together last year while burrito was at school. eventually the plan is to buy "real" ornaments to replace the felt ones, but i imagine that might be a slow process (ornaments can be so expensive!).

so the reading plan is this:

dec 1 creation genesis 1-2 pgs 18-27 dove

dec 2 the fall genesis 3 pgs 28-37 fruit tree

dec 3 the flood genesis 6-9 pgs 38-47 rainbow

dec 4 tower of babel genesis 11 pgs 48-55 tower

dec 5 the promise to abraham genesis 12-21 pgs 56-61 stars in the sky

dec 6 abraham and isaac genesis 22 pgs 62-69 ram

dec 7 jacob, rachel and leah genesis 29-30 pgs 70-75 stalks of grain

dec 8 joseph genesis 37-46 pgs 76-83 a rainbow coat

dec 9 moses and the burning bush exodus 3-13 pgs 84-91 a burning bush

dec 10 moses and the red sea exodus 14-15 pgs 92-99 the split waters

dec 11 the law exodus 16 ff pgs 100-107 stone tablets

dec 12 joshua and jericho josh 3-6 pgs 108-115 trumpet

dec 13 david's anointing 1 sam 16 pgs 116-121 jar of oil

dec 14 david and goliath 1 sam 17 pgs 122-129 slingshot

dec 15 david the shepherd psalm 23, 51 pgs 130-135 lyre

dec 16 naaman 2 kings 5 pgs 136-143 black heart

dec 17 isaiah isaiah 9 ff pgs 144-151 crown

dec 18 daniel in the lion's den daniel 6 pgs 152-159 lion

dec 19 jonah jonah 1-4 pgs 160-169 fish/whale

dec 20 the prophets neh 8-10 pgs 170-175 party hat

dec 21 john the baptist matt 3 pgs 200-203 a shell

dec 22 mary and the angel luke 1-2 pgs 176-179 an angel

dec 23 journey to bethlehem luke 1-2 pgs 180-181 a scroll

dec 24 the shepherds and wise men luke 2, matt 2 pgs 184-188 a star

dec 25 jesus is born! luke 2 pgs 182, 190, 192-198 baby jesus

i would love for you to join us in doing this. it made for the best and sweetest christmas season ever for us last year. it takes a commitment of time, which just means less opportunity to be assaulted by consumerism in the malls. it takes a little bit of effort in making or securing the ornaments. however, it is so worth it and so rewarding! the boys loved taking turns hanging the ornaments on the tree, and the excitement and expectation builds as more and more ornaments fill the tree, until christ is born and christmas is here!

happy advent!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

football practice.

being as i am the only female in this family of four, i have resigned myself to the fact that football is going to be a part of my life. good thing i like football. we love to watch college football and pro football, but we love rutherford football the most.

here are the key players on the rutherford football team. handsome bunch, huh?

first up, quarterback drills. you've got to keep your eye on the ball.

second, look for an open player and throw, throw, throw that ball!

look at that form!

next up, kicking drills. check out that leg extension! good job burrito!

noodle is waiting expectantly for the ball.

gotta get the ball back from that big guy!
and don't forget the art of the victory dance!

and that's the way we play football. rutherford football.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


i love this time of year.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Reformation Day 2009

sickness moved out of our house just in time to celebrate Reformation Day 2009!

what is Reformation Day? check out the definition here on my post this time last year.

our celebration began on friday with a class party at burrito's school. the kids may dress up as an animal from God's creation or a Bible character. this year, the theme was noah's ark party. the kids decorated cross cookies with icing and candies. they also played noah's ark bingo. noodle and i watched and enjoyed our time in burrito's classroom. this year, burrito went dressed as a penguin!

on saturday we were able to continue our annual trick-or-treating tradition with our good friends from church. burrito and noodle were football players and our friends were snoopy and woodstock. lots of fun was had and lots of candy was grabbed. seriously. lots.
this is their mean football face! aren't you scared?!?!?
little miss woodstock. don't you just love that little yellow poof in her hair???
snoopy and the football players.
and of course, the big boys had to get in on the dress up action.