Archive for December, 2011


feliz navidad!

Rilyn had her 2nd grade Christmas music performance on Thursday evening.  She was so excited (and a little nervous too.)  Of course, she did great!   Her favorite song to sing was Feliz Navidad, probably because she thinks she knows Spanish now.  🙂

The next day was Rilyn’s class Christmas party! I am the home room mom this year which is super fun! I got the kids fun foam gingerbread houses to make!


preschool Christmas musical extravaganza!

Or maybe not.

But whatever it was, it was sure cute.  Asher was dressed as a shepherd.  He sang about 2 of the 5 songs, but he didn’t cry this time!  He definitely has a habit of putting his fingers in his mouth when he is nervous!  And we might of bribed him with a new car if he didn’t cry (like he did last year).  🙂

James made a quick video to recap the show for us!

This is my favorite picture because, well, it really speaks for itself.  (By the way, he did this hand motion because it was the part in the 12 days of Christmas song when you sing “5 Golden Rings!”

what’s that saying?  Speak no evil, hear no evil, pick no evil?  🙂

This is Asher walking down the aisle to go to the stage. Here he starts with the hands in the mouth and he just looks nervous!

Almost a cry after the audience clapped loudly for them, but he kept it together. I’m pretty sure at this point James dangled the car in the audience so he could see it.

keep. it. together.
wise men, shepherds, animals, Mary and Joseph


Even though we don’t believe in Santa Claus in our house, I still think it’s fun to take pictures with him every year.  It’s like taking pictures next to Mickey Mouse!  When I told Asher we were going to take pictures with Santa, he immediately started freaking out and saying no.  I showed him pictures from last year where he was smiling with Santa.  He still wasn’t buying it.  So, I bribed him with a lollipop.  That worked.  Well, it got him to walk in and go to Santa.  However, it did not get him to smile.  I guess I should of been more specific when I said, “Don’t cry.”  Next year, I’ll have to say, “Don’t pull your face down.”  Anyway, he was technically obeying me.  He wasn’t crying.  So, he got his lollipop after our visit!

After our “all smiles” posed pictures, I let them talk to the big guy with the very fake beard.

Rilyn told him, “you can get me whatever you want to get me.”

I love this next shot. You can tell without seeing Asher’s face that he is excited to tell Santa something. Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas and Asher responded, “a lollipop.” This boy has a one track mind!


may your day be merry and bright


new photo shoot!

We went to the Long Center with my favorite family!   Click here to see more!


new photo shoot!

I had my first indoor photo shoot yesterday at the Intercontinental hotel lobby in downtown Austin.  Click here to see some of my favorites!


edible Nativity!

Tonight we made an edible Nativity scene!  I saw this idea on another blog and couldn’t resist trying it with our kids!  The ingredients can vary, but this is what we used:

We used food coloring to dye the coconut flakes yellow for hay.

We built our nativity scene on top of an empty box. This helped in that James could cut slits in the box so the graham crackers could stay up better and the toothpick/gumdrop people could stand upright.

Rilyn was pretty excited to use the decorating bag with frosting!
Mary, baby Jesus, Joseph, a shepherd, lots of sheep and 2 donkeys

Fun family time!


sea world!

My dad and James took the kids to Sea World on Saturday.  We told Rilyn she was sure blessed to be able to go somewhere so fun on her half birthday!  (She is 7 1/2 now!)

James said Asher refused to touch the dolphins.
my kids loved all the rides, but James said, “It was no Disneyland.”  🙂
I feel the need to say this is not my camera.  🙂
Asher refused to take pictures with any of the characters.  He has lots of fears.  😛

shepherds pouches

I like starting new traditions.

Last year we started the Jesse Tree and we love it!  Our church has even made a list of readings for Advent from The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name
and ornament suggestions for the Jesse Tree.

The year before that, we started eating birthday cake for breakfast on Christmas morning for Jesus!

Yesterday I introduced my kids to shepherds pouches. (This idea was found on several blogs through Noel Piper’s book Treasuring God in Our Traditions

In place of where their stockings normally hang, there are 3 “shepherds pouches” hanging from December 1st-December 24th.  The actual pouches
aren’t particularly significant except that they represent simpleness and not drawing attention to themselves.  (As in not serving other people to get praise.)

I started off talking about whose birthday was coming up.


What do you do on birthdays?

We give presents!

How do we give presents to Jesus who is invisible?  How do we give to the King?

Blank stares.

I bring out the Bible and read Matthew 25:40:  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

This is how we give to the King.  We love and care for others.  Sacrifice. Service.  Chores without grumbling.  Servant’s hearts.  Loving attitudes.

“During the month of December, anytime daddy or I see you guys serving each other or others, doing chores with a happy heart, serving others at school (yes, James is writing an e-mail to Rilyn and Ella’s teachers asking them to e-mail us if they see our daughters serving), we will put money in your shepherds pouch.”  (I went to the bank earlier this week and got out 30 one dollar bills and $20 in quarters.)

On December 24th, we will count up all the money in their shepherds pouches.  We will then go to Compassion’s gift catalog and pick something to give to someone in need with all the money they made.  They browsed the catalog last night and were so excited that they could give a goat to a village!  🙂

Cultivating a spirit of self-sacrifice is hard for us – harder still for children during this season and in this consumeristic culture, who are marketed to constantly.  We hope the visual reminder of the shepherd’s pouch being in view, front and center, during these weeks helps us to maintain focus.

And so…imperfectly, we remind ourselves that the magnificent event we celebrate on December 25 began with Someone’s fierce and determined desire to love a faraway people.  

*I painted the canvas in the picture as another visual reminder of why there are pouches instead of stockings hanging over the fireplace. I used burlap for the word “King” from the extra pouches that came with the ones I ordered.  I decoupaged the letters to the canvas and sprinkled some glitter over the burlap to give it an extra emphasis.

**When the kids wake up on December 25th, the pouches will be replaced by their stockings full of fun little goodies!  Time to celebrate!

***This was the outcome from shepherds pouches 2011:   They made $18 in December in their shepherd’s pouches.  My favorite part was their public school teachers e-mailing us throughout the month with actions they saw at school that showed a servant’s heart from my girls. Both teachers really got into it, and I loved that we could share this experience with them! Sadly, the girls didn’t have enough money to buy a goat this year, but they had enough to buy a chicken!  Maybe next year!



I love Christmas lights!

We had hoped to add to our outdoor lights this year by getting a light up nativity, but the one I wanted sold out everywhere!  Oh well, we did add “candy” hanging from one of our trees from an after Christmas sale at Target last year!  🙂

I love that I got flagged over driving in the neighborhood yesterday evening from neighbors that live blocks away, saying they were walking over to watch our house!  I say, “watch” because it plays music and the lights blink on and off to the beat!  Yes, it may be tacky and gaudy, but my kids’ expressions every year when we light it up for the first time is so worth it!

Hopefully next year, the nativity will go right in the center of the yard!  We have an angel announcing the Good News!

The candy tree!

Whoa! I caught a major hug (or kiss?!) between Ella and Asher!

And true to form, we keep our tree gaudy as well! And I love it! I added 2 ornaments this year. One hula girl from Kauai and one Disneyland ornament!

*Rilyn was feeling sick during these pictures. Turned out she got strep the next day! 😦

My photography business!

December 2011