Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Best Year Ever

Dear Sweet LouLou Girl-

I just put you down to bed on the eve of one of the best days of my life- the day you were born one year ago. {Cue ugly cry!} Every day since has simply been the sweetest gift because you are pure joy.

Carrying you for that nine months was, well... difficult. But I wouldn't trade a second of it because you were the prize at the end of the marathon.

If you check Mommy's dictionary under Amber Louise, you'll find the oft used Shakespearean quote that I believe fits you better than any other baby girl on God's green earth:

You are so full of life and personality. You know what you want and how to get it. Sometimes I am sure I can hear the wheels turning in your head as you figure out how to get whatever it is you want.

You have no lack of Daddy's stubbornness or Mommy's moodiness. The nursery volunteers may not believe me, but you smile and giggle more often than not. You make yourself heard when you want to be, and you silently wreak havoc when your little heart desires to.

You think you're a big kid, determined to be independent. Just last night you joined right in with the wrestling ritual with your dad and big sibs; your tiny self amidst all the crazy big bodies was a sight to see! And you came out of it giggling in your usual grunty way.

Sometimes you prefer your big sister to Mommy, which can work in my favor as you are the fifth child. Big Sister takes wonderful care of you (although there has been some trial and error!) and adores you almost as much as I do. God absolutely knew what He was doing waiting 8.5 years before giving Marie the baby sister she'd been dreaming of. You will for sure drive her crazy as you both grow older, but something about your current relationship makes me confident that no matter what, you'll always come back to each other.

Since the day you were born, you've responded to Daddy's voice and have always had googly eyes for him. You have him wrapped, Little Girl. You will never be able to do anything wrong in his eyes. Milk it - the fact that you are his favorite - but don't take advantage of it! Your Daddy deserves the fearless love and affection you show him. Even if he does call you Chubs...

I often tell you that you are everything good in this world wrapped in one squishy package. You are my Angelic Beauty; my Perfection. Maybe there's nothing you can do wrong in my eyes either as I am usually saying these things while you're throwing a fit or trying to wriggle your way out of my arms. You are just so much more wonderful than we could have ever dreamt up. Our Creator crafted you so masterfully and placed you lovingly and purposefully into this nutcase family. Your Daddy and I have the privilege of raising you, and for that we are eternally grateful.

In a few hours you will wake up (since you still rarely sleep through the night!) as a one year old. My heart aches at the thought while my belly flips because, while I hate the very thought of you growing up at all, I'm so very excited to get to be a part of it!

Happy Birthday, my Sweet LouLou Girl.

All the love in the wide world,
Your Momma

Friday, November 17, 2017

Praise in the simple

It is drop-off week for Operation Christmas Child. Yesterday we dropped our box off and ever since posting a picture of our sweet babes laying hands on our box and praying for the little boy who will eventually receive it, I've felt compelled to write this post...

Because while OCC is an amazing ministry and we LOVE being a part of it every year, you don't have to be a part of it.

Because following a clever advent calendar full of daily activities and such is a beautiful way to celebrate Jesus, we don't have to do one.

Because while the elf is fun and exciting for the babes, we don't have to have one.

Because while Christmas lights hung around our windows would make this momma super happy, he doesn't have to hang them.

Because while serving at a local food pantry is an excellent opportunity, we don't have to drag our 5 littles there to add mass chaos to the whole scene.

Because while I LOVE sending and receiving Christmas cards, our bank account doesn't have to empty on the account of them.

We've tried so many different ways to make sure that this holiday season is fully focused on Jesus, family, and serving others, and have found that the simpler the better. For us. And there is so much peace with the decision to back off and simplify our praising. We've chosen what we believe to be top priority for our family and are careful to only add (or take away) what is in line with our family values in whatever season of life we are in.

I want to encourage you to do the same! As your friends post about the different things they do for the holiday season, build them up with encouragement! And be content with what God has called your family to invest time in. None of us can do it all. And no two families are the same. Relish your uniqueness!

We are going to focus on how we can best praise our Jesus this year and every year! And I'll be enjoying seeing how you all celebrate Him this year too :)

((If you are interested in packing a box for OCC, there's still plenty of time! Drop-off locations are open til Monday, and you can pack one online, too! Only if you feel so led, of course))

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