Monday, December 26, 2011


Last year we started a tradition of being intentional not only with a family advent devotion, but also with doing some fun activities together during the season. For our devotion this year we used two things. First we went through "What God Wants For Christmas" which a friend gave to us. We LOVED it!!!! We were going to just do it again and again, but then several people recommended an ebook called "Truth in the Tinsel". We loved it too!! Check them both out next year if your kiddo's fall into the 2-7 age range. I think even older kids would enjoy these too! Here are a few pictures from out different activities.

Light up BG

Checking out the cabin during KY Christmas at WKU.

Kung "Who Fanda" at the Opryland hotel.

Gingerbread Nativity

Family game night.

Making "footmade" Christmas cards.

Making cookies

A Jesus birthday party with friends.

Christmas in Indy and meeting our sweet new cousin/nephew!

We also watched "The Very First Noel" and Veggie Tales "The Little Drummer Boy". We visited a local live nativity that is by far the best ever! We visited for the first time last year and loved it so much we couldn't wait to go back this year! We walked around our neighborhood and looked at lights one night and one night we enjoyed some hot chocolate :)

We ended our advent celebration with a birthday party breakfast! Complete with decorations, singing and birthday cake pancakes!! Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Handmade Christmas

This year there were lots of handmade goodies given by the Mattingly's. I guess it was partly because our budget is a little tight this year, partly to keep things more simple, and partly because crafting is just fun. Anyway, here is what we made.

Love how this little dolly turned out!! Soooo easy too!!

There were of course two of these :). I didn't even manage to get a picture of my sweet mama wearing them :(

This was before I put the waistband on it. It is a toddler tool-belt for my little builder!! Of course she wouldn't try it on for me :(. I'm sure she will love it eventually though!

Now this is what I loved the most!!! Nathan made the seat using materials he already had. I made the chandelier and banners also out of materials I had on hand. The book shelves are actually rain gutters and were the only things purchased!! What a fun place for our lil lady (who loves books) to sit and read to her friends!!!!

I also made a roll out kitchen mat for a very special lil lady in Swaziland and a couple of phone charger pockets, but I didn't manage to get a picture of those either :(. Anyway, it was super fun to try a few new projects and even more fun to give them away!!!!

Christmas learning time

We have so enjoyed this season together!! For our learning time this month we have done lots of fun crafts and activities. Here is a quick run down.

Decorated a felt Christmas tree.

Painted a "shape" Christmas tree. Lylah is really loving water colors lately!!!

Longest to shortest Christmas tree.

Sticker Nativity

This is a little devotion we have been doing.

Dressed up like a Shepard and found baby Jesus.

Decorate a Christmas tree sensory box. So fun!

Sorry for the lack of detail, but trust me when I say we've had fun!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I want to remember tonight

It's been a weird week for me. Not sure why. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's adoption, maybe it's missing some far away friends, maybe it's a handful of other things call "life on this planet".

That is why I want to remember tonight. That's why I NEED to remember tonight. It wasn't really an out of the ordinary night. Nathan had class so Lylah and I tackled making cookies and then we read stories and played on the couch. We laughed like crazy as she pinched my belly skin and said she was making me a "fat belly button". She tried to climb into my shirt like "when she was a tiny little baby", we laughed like crazy again.

I didn't realized the treasure in those moments until I heard the following conversation through our lil lady's monitor:

"I made cookies with mommy. They had yellow icing. I like yellow icing."

She was recounting our evening to all of her stuffed animals! The conversation continued...

"I was squeezing mommy's belly. That was silly.". "I was on the couch with mommy and we were laughing. It was fun. I liked it."

At this point I began to cry. I have been so wrapped up in what is not happening right now that I am forgetting to soak up what IS happening!! Don't get me wrong, I had an absolute blast with my lil lady tonight, but I want to really savor those moments the way she is STILL upstairs savoring them right now!! Lesson learned from darlin' two year old. Not the first. Won't be the last. Just one that needed to be documented-lest I forget.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's time for an adoption update...that's not really much of an update...

Adoption. Sigh. We coasted along at the beginning of our little journey and of course those of you who have been keeping up know that originally we even thought we might have Lydia home by Christmas. Then we learned a little lesson called 'adoption is unpredictable'. Things slowed down and we thought at least we would have a referral (picture and more info) by Christmas. Then we were reminded of the truth that sometimes God's timing is different than ours. So as of right now we have no referral, not one in sight really. Things have slowed way down for a number of reasons. Basically after we do get a referral there will still be a significant amount of time before we would even be able to travel (something like 6-9 months) with that being said we just have no timeline anymore.

So what are we thinking at this point, you may wonder. Well, of course we want Lydia home. We have days when we feel frustrated, sad, and discouraged. We also have peace in knowing that God is Sovereign and that His timing (while sometimes different from our own) is perfect. We will continue on this journey because God has called us to it. We know and are thankful that He persevered for us so that we could be adopted into His eternal family. Our hope is that one day we can tell Lydia the story of how she came to be in our family, but also the even greater story of how she can come to be in His family. So please pray for us to have strength and patience to continue on. Pray that things would pick up in Congo and that we would get our referral. Also pray for guidance as we wait and seek His will. Thank you to everyone who has been asking about our process and praying for us!

And now just because you may need to smile...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jesus is the sweetest gift

Some of you who are on Pinterest may have seen the Gingerbread Nativity, maybe you even pinned it.

We had so much fun working together on ours tonight as part of our Advent Celebration!! Your family should definitely give it a try too!! We all laughed and laughed as people were toppling over and as our donkey looked more like a giraffe!! There is nothing sweeter than the gift of Jesus, and it was such a joy to finish our advent study and then work on this fun project together!

Lylah sat at the table the whole time-helping some, and eating lots. She couldn't wait to lay Baby Jesus in the manger and then couldn't take her eyes off Him. My prayer is that we too fix our eyes on Jesus, not only this Christmas season, but everyday.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Time to focus...

....On the God who came down to find you (and me). Line from my favorite Christmas song by Sara Groves.

Thanksgiving fun

We spent a couple of weeks of our "learning time" focusing on turkeys, thanksgiving, and being thankful. Here's a little recap:

Starfall turkey story. Lylah loved this!!!

Sorting feathers. She couldn't quite get past just feeling the feathers to actually sort them!

She was very proud of her name turkey!

She really loved this game too! I would tell her a number (1-5) or a shape and she would run to it and then gobble like a turkey!

Coffee filter turkey. These coffee filter crafts always turn out good I think :)

Playing with Thanksgiving theme stamps. She likes to stamp her body!

As a family we made a thankful turkey. Nathan wrote with a pen so that's why it looks like some of the feathers don't have anything on them :). Lylah has been working on memorizing the verse from 1Thesselonians.

We also did a couple little random activities that we didn't get to the week before.

Pom-pom patterns

Sorting capital and lowercase "f" footballs.