At any rate....I wanted to take a few minutes to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. This year is a quiet Christmas for us, one which I am very much looking forward to.
Happy 2nd Birthday to our Emma-Bemma!
We couldn't have enough cowgirl hats - we had them hanging everywhere!
The goodie bags - "M" for Madelyne
The Birthday Girl:
We had a saddle set up on a hay bail on the deck, as each child arrived they got a turn and we took their picture on it - I used these pics for the thank-you cards.
Madelyne & Luke (aka:Lukie) good buddies!
We had hail bails set up in the back yard for seating and after crafts, food and cake Sheriff Matt arranged them in rows and supervised hail bail races. It was a big hit!
Three little blond cowgirls all in a row:
(This is a pic of Miss M & her b-day cake...more on that in my next post!)
This past weekend, in the spur of the moment, I whisked down to Seattle to meet up with my dearest friend Rebecca for a mini girls get-away. Rebecca is married to an American and has lived in the USA for the last nine years. As life has changed and families have grown it has become harder to widdle out "girl time." So, with 24 hours to ourselves we met up in downtown Seattle and had a wonderful time together.
Rebecca & I have been friends since the beginning of grade eight and have truly journeyed through life together. We've graduated high school & university, found Rebecca's birth parents, mourned the loss of my mom, gotten married, had babies, gained weight, lost weight, had every color hair and every style of hair, talked daily and not talked for weeks.
Rebecca & I have a true authentic friendship.....we've seen the good and the bad in each other and love one another for it. We have an understanding that we pick up where we left off - regardless if that was a week since we spoke or a month. Monday morning she forwarded me a daily devotional she got via email....it was so timely and so true, I thought it was perfect to share with the blogging world:
Authentic Friendships by Rick Warren
But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:7-8 (NCV)
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In Christian fellowship people should experience authenticity.
Authentic fellowship is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat. It's genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing. It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives. They share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer. Authenticity is the exact opposite of what you find in many churches. Instead of an atmosphere of honesty and humility, there is pretending, role-playing, politicking, superficial politeness, and shallow conversation. People wear masks, keep their guard up, and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of real friendship. It's only as we become open about our lives that we experience authentic fellowship.
The Bible says, "If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. . . . If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves" (1 John 1:7-8 NCV).
The world thinks intimacy occurs in the dark, but God says it happens in the light. We tend to use darkness to hide our hurts, faults, fears, failures, and flaws. But in the light, we bring them all out into the open and admit who we really are.Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection, and being hurt again.
Why would anyone take such a risk? Because it's the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy.
The Bible says, "Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed" (James 5:16 MSG).
It was a reminder and confirmation of my heart's desire to always walk in honesty and live a truly authentic life with authentic relationships. It is so easy to stay in a place to comfort and familiarity but the blessings you find when you open yourself and dive in head first are so rewarding.
So I leave that with you today......are you investing in authentic friendships?
So...she did great, she had a blast, she learnt about plants, how things grow, animals, colors, numbers & the weather. She learnt she didn't need me there all the time & I learnt she was almost too independant for her own good.
This party was extra special because they were going to be celebrating all the birthdays that happenened in the months of June and July. Madelyne could hardly wait until it was HER turn to have the class sing "Happy Birthday" - I'm sure if she could she would have put them on "repeat" and listened over and over again.
(This is a shot of the melted fondant cupcakes I made for the treat bags she gave out to all her friends)
So, onward and upward we go......the year from three to four was such a huge year developmentally. Most of the kids in her class don't act or look like the same kids that started the year with her in September.
Madelyne is excited about being four and more excited about returning to preschool in September.
I'm excited too....it's three mornings a week ;-)
This past May Madelyne had the great pleasure of being part of her second ballet recital. This year her class' theme was Bo Peep & Her Sheep. There were three black sheep and seven white sheep.
Of course, at three years of age, regardless of how much practice they have, it's basically a free for all. They usually steal the show with their OWN on-stage performance & this year was no exception. At the end of their dance on Saturday night Madelyne decided to run back on stage after Bo Peep had hearded her sheep off stage. She stood front & center smiling and waving to the crowd - until she was again hearded off by Peep.
The first show on Saturday night, I was a back-stage helper with Miss M's group, and Sunday afternoon Matt, my dad, my Grandma Totland (Madelyne's GG) and I went to see the show. It was as beautiful as ever. At the end of the show Madelyne received three bouquets of flowers - just right for the prima ballerina that she is ;-)
If your kids end up turning from God - are you a successful mom?Ladies.....I'm interested to hear you thoughts on this....please share.
This year we celebrated Christmas at home. It was probably one of the most quiet Christmas' we've had yet. My Grandma Totland - so Madelyne & Emma's Great Grandma (hence, the name "GG") - came over Christmas Eve and stayed with us until Boxing day. My dad spent most of Christmas Eve & Christmas day with us & my brother joined us Christmas day. We had lots of food, an abundance of gifts and great family time.
One of our traditions is getting new pj's on Christmas Eve. Usually this is just for the kids, but this year I was spoiled with two pairs of jammies for myself as well.
After the girls were tucked in bed, and we were certain they were fast asleep we started the work of hauling out all the gifts, filling the stockings and putting together their new playhouse. Matt played elf and assembled the playhouse while Dad, Grandma and I played a wild game of Scrabble.
Christmas morning was a bit less "frantic" than I imagined it to be. The girls were pretty calm and didn't really freak out like I expected. The playhouse was a huge hit and they were occupied with that most of the morning. We had a delicious brunch mid-morning then continued on with opening gifts. The afternoon found most people napping or relaxing while I prepared for dinner.
This year I cooked a turkey roast, because there were only a few of us it was much easier than doing a whole turkey. It was so moist and delicious and we had lots of leftovers. I made my stuffing in the crock-pot and it tasted amazing (this was the first year I tried that as well) along with pecan yams, mashed potatoes and green beans.
All in all it was a wonderful day........a true celebration & rememberance of Christ's birth.