i'm laying my burdens down...

i am just gonna say it.
i may be attacked by all the crafty domestic goddesses in blog land,
but i am gonna do it anyway.
don't you ever feel completely burdened by the festivities that we all just collided with?
i mean we work and work
and have such high expectations for our special traditions and relationships, and then real life happens.
and that real life just happens to take place on Christmas Eve and Christmas day....and it isn't as perfect as it was in our imaginations.....

as i mentioned before, this is a new kinda christmas for me.
my sisters weren't here.
my sisters are a HUGE part of what keeps me connected to the fact that i had an awesome "first family".
i mean, really people, if you like the reed life, you shoulda seen the life MY mom made for us when we were little.
She was the best mom in the world.
really the best.
and i have been trying to think critically lately about why i think that.
what made her so great?
was it her traditions?
was it her cooking?
was it her loud head flung back laugh?
cause those were all awesome.
and, not being the shy type, some of those things you could come to my house today and recognize in me and my reed life....
but i don't think that is what made her so great.
i think the thing that made her so great was her unreserved willingness to love her family in whatever circumstances she was presented.
i think i would miss the point if i was to hold onto a certain tradition of a brunch or a special food that she made, because that in itself was not her love.
her love was in the fact that no matter what was happening that year she could figure out how to show her love.
maybe time was limited one year, or money was short another, or there was plenty the year after that.
maybe some years it was just our family and other extended family would be in town.
she seemed to be able to roll with things and not get caught up in the details.

now don't get me wrong, she was not perfect.
she did take on alot.
and that is where i personally sometimes get stuck, since i think her personality could handle a bit more action than mine can.
the key is that, from my memory, not often did she allow things to get to the place where the "things"(traditions and food and stuff) were the focus over the relationships.
now as a kid, it is hard to separate that out.
it's a little deep.

i remember one year, my main memory was that we had a formal christmas brunch and at every place setting was a ginny doll for my sister and i. wowza. that's crazy.
then i remember another christmas and my main best gift was a VHS tape that she had recorded  dozens of "I Love Lucy" episodes on while i was at school.
both took some effort.
i think the second one, she probably felt may have let me down, since that particular year had been tight financially.
but as i look back on those two very different years (they must have felt like night and day to her)
one thing stands out as a common tradition.
my mother new me.
she had a relationship with me.
she saw me and what i liked and loved me with whatever she had.
she didn't let different circumstances get in the way of communicating her love to me.

well, this is my point,
this is incredibly freeing.
i think that since she has been gone, we(my sisters and i) have tried to hold onto some of the traditions that she loved as a way to hold onto her love,
and that is not a bad idea, as long as we don't get mixed up into thinking that the actual tradition was the thing that made her that great mom that we love and miss every day.
the tradition was an avenue for her to show us love.
and i just bet that she was hoping and knowing that one day we would understand her heart and gain more than a childish view of her mothering.
there are alot of things i may do differently with all of this in mind.
i may throw away more.
i may buy more premade food items.
i may allow myself to take a year off from something with the excuse that i have 3 kids  seven and under....and i just don't want to do it!
i may choose the option that sounds fun to me, since this is where the big laugh can enter the picture.
and in choosing each of those things that on the surface look unfamiliar and different than what she did, i will remind myself that i AM choosing her shoes.
she taught me to choose and to edit where necessary.
this IS the tradition.
the tradition is limits and love, so that my mother's legacy of love will live on in Jake, Ty and Ella and their memories of the reed life.

i am telling you all this in hopes that it may free you as well.
there are SO MANY things to be inspired by on blogs, and i love looking around at the amazing ideas.
but you also need a heavy hand to remind yourself what the real value is in all the crafts and treats and tips.
the value is that those happy inspirations are avenues to show your love to your families, and nothing in the world should be put before really looking at your children and seeing what THEY need.
it may involve time (which is the the hottest commodity around here) and if it does then i MUST figure out how to get that.
it may involve listening, so i MUST tune out other voices in my head.
and i may need to prioritize some down time for myself  so that i can be healthy enough  to offer anything to these needy little beings,
since i am just fooling myself if i think that kids can't pick up on a mom who is not at peace with herself and afraid to be alone with her own thoughts....
so this is me laying some burdens down.
i know if i trade in my sorrow and shame, of not engaging with my family at christmas the way i dream about,
i can lay those things down for the joy of the Lord.
that's what my mom, Cindie had.
the joy of the Lord.
and everyone knew it.
that's what i want.

just some food for thought friends.....
just a bit.
i know this is a lot to throw at you when you are just trying to take down the stockings and tree.
i have been so so sick, so this is coming at you through a fog of coughing and fevers, so if i seem rambling and incoherent, let's just blame it on that, kay?
any thoughts?


i have a gift for you

wanta know my favorite gift i GAVE this christmas?
in fact, i gave it to 5 people!!
so, if you are reading this, and are bummed that it wasn't just you i gave it to....sorry dude.
it is just really really good.
so i had to share.
it was this album.
here is the good news for you happy people reading....
i have one extra!!!!
and i want to send it to one of you!
i promise you will like it.
if you want to listen to a bit first,
listen here.
(remember to pause my mixpod down on the side bar first)

so, to enter, leave a comment about you best christmas moment this year.
and to have another chance, become a follower and tell me about it under the "what do you think?"section. do one or both.
just DO it!
i don't have that many readers(and some of them may already have it), so you have a REALLY good chance to win!
i will announce a winner on the first day of 2011!!!!!
merry christmas and happy new year!!


happy birthday! to the best guy EVER!

happy birthday to you!
happy birthday to you!
happy birthday dear jesus!
happy birthday to you!
well, cake and a song just doesn't seem like enough, does it?
nothing does.
what could ever be enough for that kind of sacrifice?
the answer is...nothing.
but i'll give what i have, my heart.
and i will try my best to help my kids see His sacrifice.
i'll do my best with that.....
but at the end of the day,
the gift that i got yesterday (and everyday) is the original,
"no strings attached" gift.
i can't earn it.
i can only accept it.
and i do.
accept it.
so, thank you and happy birthday, big guy!
you are the best dad in the whole wide world.


love...under my tree

doesn't feel good to get a gift?
well, maybe not just any gift.
but you know the ones that just say (without words) "i know you"
if just feels like nothing else to be known and to have someone show you that.
it can be a tin of yummy treats that your favorite red head drops at your door, on christmas eve (wink wink)
or the MOST perfect vintage milk tin....with MY NAME ON IT?! dropped off by messengers you have never met, on rainy night.....thank you little angel! amazing!
or vintage sheet music to one of my favorite songs....in turquoise....from your favorite photographer
does it get any better?
it's not just the "stuff" (but that IS pretty rad, right?)
it's the love.
from the expected places and the unexpected as well...
and there it is, under my tree.

ok ok back to cooking and bustling...


my first picture with my fabulous christmas 2010 lens.
thank you reedo!

peace to you this christmas

you want to hear one of the best things in the world to me at this minute?
my sister grace.
and her boyfriend tom.
singing this song they wrote about the moment that changed my hope and heart and life forever.
jesus came.
and he changed everything.
it just doesn't get any better than this, for me.
(remember to turn off the mixpod in the side bar before you click this video)
listen to this AMAZING song.
believe me, you will be glad you did.

i could not love my sister more.
my heart is brimming over when i listen to her singing.
she is God's love in my life.


a few of my.....

favorites things.
i was inspired{once again} by heather.
she shared a few of her favorites over on her blessed little nest.
her things are....perfect.
here are mine.

this is number one right now.
check out this hilarious video.
my little sister, gracie, comes in half way through it.
i think you will be able to tell which girl is my sis,
since she looks like a 10 years younger(and just a tad cuter) version of me.
she is so. flippin. cute.
my heart hurts watching her cuteness and not being able to be near her for the first christmas EVER .
EVER, since she was born.
i know she is where she ought to be, but still, ouch.
(make sure you stop my mixpod, in the sidebar, before you watch the video)

ella has discovered that the auto timer on my camera can make for a fun game with mommy!
yah! a photo loving girly friend!

i love snuggling with these people in the mornings.
these last few days i have got in a lot of that.

this is my favorite ornament this year.
my little sister valerie sent it to me.
this is the first year that i am away from her for christmas too!
crazy huh?
it's a big year for us.
learnin' how to have a christmas without each other.
it's hard.

my reedo's mom and dad have been visiting and it is mom's birthday right before chistmas.
both of her sons asked me to make a floral gift for her.
did you know that i was a floral designer before i was a blogging mommy?
this is what i came up with.
the flowers cost $30 at trader joes.
i sorta wish i'd made myself one too...

i think this may be my new all time favorite picture i have taken of Jacob.
it makes my heart stand still when i look at his eyes perched over his amazing freckles.
and now, to top it off, his toothless grin.

my favorite place to eat lately is cafe rio.
and i have a little lady friend who likes it too.
plus kids get FREE quesadillas there...score!
(see ella's face up there?
that face is because she saw a baby.
have i told you that Ella does NOT like babies?
if she see's one she sticks her tongue out at it.
isn't that darling....my sweet little princess.
well, she saw a baby and stuck her tongue at him and then was pointing me out to this tiny little 5 month old bundle( in his carrier) and telling him, "that's MY mom, see her over there? MY mom"
this girl cracks me up.
every day.

when i am feeling sad, i simply remember my favorite things....
and then i don't feel so bad!

an update on the santa situation....

well, let me just start by saying that it has been so dark and rainy here that i am struggling with finding inspiration for pictures...no good lighting.
but, my hope is, that the sun will be coming out tomorrow and i will take tons of pictures of my jake who just lost one of his two front teeth!
i cannot wait!
and i also can't wait for my christmas present this year.
i had a sad incident a few days ago, where i opened my own gift since it was shipped to my door and i did not look at who the label was addressed to!
so so sad......but also happy! since it was a NEW AWESOME LENS for my camera!
yeah me!
sorry honey....but not that sorry, since the sorry is drown out by christmas morning delight!

so, i just wanted to fill you in on my continuing thoughts on the silly stuff at christmas vs. the real stuff.
i am calming down.
i mean, i don't take any of it back.
but, i have had some really good conversations with my 7 year old in the last few days that are encouraging to me.
they have reminded me that he IS getting the real story at home and is even sometimes more concerned than i am that "we don't forget what christmas really is" .
i think that last week at school with all the parties and programs just gets a little out of hand, and i start to feel like i don't have a say in his life, since it is so overtaken my all that crazed holiday party commotion.
and then we get home, and settle down, and the parties are over, and i remember.
we're ok.
my kids know the truth.
we have been doing our advent that i have been pairing with the tree of jesse readings since December 1st.
we talk about the real deal all through our weeks.
they are not forgetting.
deep breaths.
do you need  to take deep breaths too?
do you need to remember who is REALLY in charge, like i do?
i think we can make good efforts to be intentional with our kids all the day long, but we also need to take a step back and remember who the master mind of the plan always has been.

i just got my kids this book

have you seen this?
for me it is jesus' own words right to me.
his little daughter.
you have to get this and read it.
even if you don't have kids.
YOU are the kid.
it reassures that no matter what mistakes you make or how badly you may mess up, that love(God's love) will find you. no matter what. i have not been able to read it to my babies without tears streaming yet....

so good night.
remember who loves you and who is in charge.
i will try to do the same.


rainy day magic

for the back story on this magical morning visit
cake and cotton

how much longer do you think my "big boy" will ride the carousel with us?
this sweet smile is my treasure.
worth more than gold to me.


craft week, and getting back to my "nice" self....

my kids and i are doing craft week leading up to christmas.
perfect timing with no school, plus it is pouring rain and we need something to look forward to and keep us entertained.

day one.
teeny tiny gingerbread houses.
we had help from some super cute neighborhood friends for this one....

day two.
puff ball ornaments.
we had help from my super cute husband on this one!
reedo was very serious about his ornament.
and i wonder where the crazy competition in some people in my house comes from.....um. yeah.

keep checking back in the next few days for more updates on our christmas craft week 2010.....

just in case you are wondering how i am doing with my "what about jesus?!" frustration....
while we did this last craft, ty was putting on the white balls and said, " i am putting these white ones on to think about how we are washed clean." and jake said, "oh yeah! like the wordless book! and the red is to represent how jesus died for us..."
um. thank you.
i felt like God was looking down at me and winking.
as if to say...."do you think you are the only one concerned  with these little guys? i've got it covered, baby girl....you just take a deep breath..."


naughty warning: i am venting

i promise i will be good after this....

are your kids asking a billion questions about santa this year?
this is my first year to have two children in public school, and let me tell you, those people HARD SELL those little trusting kids on santa.
i have seen two holiday concerts in the last two days and i feel like i am about to punch the first mall santa i see, in the face, and kick frosty in the snowballs.
and really, i have nothing against those fun guys in general....
it's just, i am starting to feel a bit sold short.

i love christmas.
i love being together and seeing the wonder in my children's eyes as we decorate and look at lights.
i LOVE sitting quietly and pondering in my heart, that christmas day represents the day that changed EVERYTHING.
the day that started the way my hero rescued me from pain and sorrow forever.
the day that my hope began.
the day that the One who made every single beautiful thing and who keeps my heart beating and keeps the stars in the sky and the blood flowing through my babies' veins, humbled Himself enough to restrict his powers, temporarily, and took on skin and bones and muscles and human breath.
when i really think about that, i kinda want to curl up into the fetal position and have a good cry.
a cry of gratefulness and relief.
this isn't it.
this life where, truth be told, i go through way too many days thinking about myself and my wants and "needs" instead of hoping and rejoicing in the prior mentioned truth.
this life where my children are pummeled with santa and frosty and goofy songs instead of being fed what they really need.
i want to teach them to go tell the truth on the mountain.....Jesus has come to save you from this life being "it"!
and somehow, despite all this dramatic truth, santa gets top billing everywhere we go!
i know you all know this and do your best to counteract it and give your kids a healthy take on santa, but i am just frustrated about all the effort it takes this year.
my boys are asking so. many. technical. questions. and i start to feel like i have to choose between fun and reality, do you?
there are so many fabrications that are easier to come up with than carefully(without stealing the joy and spirit) explaining to them the real deal.
i have had discussions with many of my good mommy friends. good moms.
and everyone one of them had a little different idea on the tricky line we walk.
i respect each persons ideas, but for me, for some reason, this year, more than ever before, i want NO MORE things that are just plain not true.
because my kids believe them, if i tell them!
their dad doesn't really talk to santa on his cell the week before christmas.
santa does not have a naughty or nice list!
he CANNOT see you when you are sleeping!
he doesn't know if you've been bad or good....

because there really was a St. Nick all those years ago and he gave out of the love in his heart!
that really happened!
let's enjoy that.
that is a good story.
better than any made up crap!
check out this book for little kids.
santa are you for real?
at our house we do advent, that includes incorporating god's words and promises into christmas.
but, somehow it doesn't seem to be enough.
to me, at least.
what do you think?

thank you for indulging my ranting.
do any of you smart people have any good ideas for encouraging imagination and wonder, while not lying?
or do most of you just think i am crazy worrier and should just enjoy the days that my kids are still so into santa?
sometimes i wish i could turn off my brain.



lets just take a step back in time.
about one month ago, this is what was happening....
sleds and snow,
sunshine and snowball fights...
the laviks and smiles,
the laxsons and wrestling...
shovels and kisses,
snow angels and aunts grace....
eating snow and warming hands in daddy's shirt,
dog piling and laughing....
family pictures,
one with out me....
and one with....
ahhh, memories.
what fun we had!



life made lovely-by ty reed

this is a post written by my 5 year old son.
if this isn't making life lovely, i don't know what is...

i got this box in the mail.
i didn't get to see what was in it, because it was for christmas.
instead i made a spaceship out of my box.
i kinda like, added the pieces with markers and colored the wings.
i blasted off into space.
i saw an alien.
and i went back home.
i feel so happy about that box.

i am linking up to one of my favorite blogs today, blessed little nest, to share ty's loveliness, on her life made lovely mondays....


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day 21- day 43

i am so proud of myself!
i am totally up to date on my project 365!
these are days 21 to 43....
now to start on all those vacation pictures!