I don't have a ton of pictures, but we had a great time celebrating with the ENTIRE Hutsell/Richardson clan! It was absolutely amazing! We had a great lunch, and then opened presents. Meme gave all us married ladies some beautiful dishes and tea towels she had embroidered. After we opened presents we played a few rounds of Minute To Win It, girls vs. guys. Unfortunately the guys demolished the ladies but we had some strong showings regardless. It was so much fun to be able to see all my cousins and for us to be all together. My cousin Andrea and her sweet hubby Lucas brought their cameras and tripod and got a picture of the entire clan. I can't wait to see it!!!
Easton always wants to wear Papa JD's hats when we are there. :)
This year has been really great for us so far because instead of having to rush around and feel as though we don't get to be at any place (Shawn's parents', my parents', and our house) for long, it has worked out where we've had (or will have) several days at each place!!! Yay!
This year we went to my parents before Christmas and got to spend the weekend before with them! I had to stop and take a picture of the gravel road that leads me home.
It was so wonderful to just hang out with my family. I am sure I just appreciate them more as I've gotten older, but I seriously love them so much and couldn't shake the feeling of just complete thankfulness the whole time we were together. I was especially thankful the time I accidentally kicked Zach in the face with my foot and he graciously didn't kill me!
I love this picture of my little man and my dad headed out to ride the big tractor. Easton is pretty smitten with his Papa and tractors.
Shawn captured this picture of Easton trying on some horns in my dad's shop. What a silly dude.
He also enjoyed riding the little John Deere riding tractor that was Jared's when he was a boy.
While the boys were outside, I was inside finishing up some last minute Christmas gifts....leave it to me to put it off until the eleventh hour! So thankful that my mom had a great area set up and that Victoria had some last minute gifts to finish too...so I wasn't alone!
We played Christmas pictionary and Lauren was a huge help to her daddy....they were on my team and we won!
I don't have a lot of pictures of us actually opening presents, but everything was absolutely perfect. I think my favorite part was when my mom opened her gift from my dad. He got her a new wedding band set!!! It was beautiful and he picked it out himself!
Easton and Lauren both got new boots!!! They are way too stinking cute in them!
Lauren got lots of fun princess-y things, but her biggest gift was the Disney Princess doll house. Oh my goodness...she was ecstatic! We had no idea what she was getting so it was a fun surprise for Shawn and me as well.
She also had told Zach a while back that she wanted a camo shirt that was a little big so she could go hunting with him when she was bigger. He remembered that conversation and got her...guess what?!?
Easton got a four wheeler! Oh my goodness he was so excited when he saw it and the next day he had to ride it outside. (Side note...it's a lot easier to ride outside than inside on hardwood!)
Lauren even had a go at it! I have a feeling this thing is going to be put to good use in the years ahead!
Here is a video of him parking it in my parents' garage. I'm pretty impressed in his abilities already. :)
What a fun and relaxing and joyful time we had together. I wouldn't have changed a thing!!!
I'm so thankful that for the past 29 years I've been able to spend Christmas with my Meme and Papa Bob. It is something I look forward to every single year, and not just because of the amazing breakfast we have. I love, love, love it. Since having kids it has become even more special. I love watching them with their great grandparents and the whole family.
This year was extra special because my aunt and uncle got a new puppy! Meet Manny....
The kids were totally smitten and honestly so was I. He is a little french bulldog and he is just too stinking cute. He is only about 9 weeks old so he mostly got held and cuddled all day. Although he did play a little with Zach and Victoria's puppy, Riley, who was for once the biggest dog around!
We had a great breakfast, and then opened presents.
Easton got a big new tractor that makes sounds and everything! :)
And Lauren got princess dresses galore! She got the Aurora one she's been wanting forever from Uncle Darell and Aunt JuJu and the Tangled purple dress and wedding dress from Meme and Papa Bob!!!!
She also got the "Rora buddy" she's been hoping for from Uncle Darell and Aunt JuJu. Her face was priceless when she opened it!
Uncle Darell and Aunt JuJu got Easton a tool bench! He was so excited. He loves to help his daddy work so this was perfect for him!
This picture is a little blurry, but Meme and Papa made the kids felt food for their play kitchen!!! I couldn't believe how amazing everything looked. They have eggs and bacon and fruit now so when we play restaurant they can make me real food!!! She also made them each their own pot holder (thank the good Lord, because are we ever going through a not wanting to share stage!) that has their name on it. Seriously, too cute!
The princess loot....
And the princess herself, as Tangled getting married....
Easton decided the whole festivities were just too much and succumbed to a nap on Uncle Zach and then Nammy.
While he napped, the rest of us played a few rousing rounds of Marbles! So. Stinking. Much. Fun!
It was such a wonderful day filled with wonderful people I am so blessed to be able to call family. Can't wait until next year!!!!
Before the Christmas festivities posts (which there will be many of!) I thought I'd share how much my little man apparently loves my mom's angel food cake and fluffy icing. The video is worth watching, but the pictures alone are pretty priceless. I'm so thankful he's got an uncle willing to join in the fun with him!
And now for the video...sorry for all the laughing in the background...it was hilarious.
Yesterday the news was flooded with images and stories of the horrific and incomprehensible mass shooting inside an elementary school. An elementary school. The end result was beyond sickening and this mama's heart broke for the mamas who wouldn't hold their babies that night. So many children gone it was unthinkable. They were so young...just in kindergarten first grade.
I looked at you differently today Lauren. I looked at you knowing you would be close to the size of those lost. I held you differently....choosing to remember every single bit of our embrace. You are mostly arms and legs that wrap awkwardly and a head full of brown hair that flies everywhere and tickles my face and I hugged you enough that you looked at me as though I'd lost my mind.
I cherished every wonderful boyish thing you did Easton. I know that many families will be pulling out their memory books to look back on the lives of the children they lost. Many will look back and remember when their little one was your age...the silly talk, the chubby belly, the joy that emanates from a toddlers face. I soaked up the day with you with the fresh reminder that it is a gift.
Oh how I hate to even think about losing either of you. I can't fathom it. Can't even will my mind to go there. The pain is too much to even think about it...and yet I know that James 4:14 says that we are just a vapor that appears for a little while before vanishing. We are not promised this day. I am not and you are not.
This world is not our home, children! Praise the Lord at that news! This world is corrupt. It is littered with people who do not honor God. Who choose to say he doesn't exist. Those who close their eyes to the truth of Him. That is the reality of this place.
1 Peter 2:11 (MSG) Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.
Evil abounds, but you know what? So does goodness, kindness, mercy, love, peace. Find Jesus babies. He will show you the way to live in this world. He will guide you when you face tragedies that rock your very core as this has mine. In the world we live in, Jesus is all that makes sense. I love you to the moon and back fourteen million times, Mama
I have this friend, Kelly. She's pretty amazing. I've always been honored to be her friend and proud of her, but today I am bursting with extra pride! Today she's released her very first ebook (of many more I hope!!!) to the world! It's available on Amazon for your Kindle or you can purchase the PDF version of it! It's crazy, big, exciting news and she will be the very first to tell you that the glory goes to God!
Introducing, Trend Breakers!!!
I've personally read this book (in one evening because I seriously couldn't put it down) and I could not recommend it more! It's an easy read and it's filled to the brim with practical, simple, meaningful ideas on friendship. It also explores friendship from a Biblical perspective and gives great insight on some of the wonderful examples of friendship in the Bible. Love it. Love it. Love it.
So, would you like to WIN A FREE COPY?!?!?! Just enter my easy Rafflecopter giveaway below. Hurry because this giveaway ends December 8, at Midnight!!!
Hello little blog of mine. Little piece of my world. Lately, you haven't really reflected my world so much. Small bits here. Small bits there. But, the overall picture? Not even close.
So much goes on around here. So much goes undocumented.
I'm gonna be honest here. I'm not a blogger for the people. I don't really want my voice heard around the world. I have no intentions of growing this blog or being featured somewhere. And yet, I still find myself with fear filled fingertips when it comes time to pour out the words that rattle on in my head. I blogged for a while at a bigger, way more important blog. It wasn't me. I don't have anything against big blogs. I really don't. I read some daily and love them. It just isn't me. The pressure to perform cripples me and changes who I am. That pressure changed blogging from something I loved (and felt quite free about) to something I loathed (and suddenly felt very constrained by)...and I am still recovering from that.
You know what I want this place to be? This little, colorful, quirky place?
Free to not care if one (Hi Papa!!!) or 40 people read the small words I write.
Free to post or not to post.
Free to share my life. To share the raw, beautiful, ugly, sad, and happy. All of it.
Free to have grammar mistakes and way, way, way too many commas and exclamation points!!!
Free to be me. Not an impersonation of myself...not the me I think y'all want to read about. Just plain 'ole weird me.
Free to not worry about who reads.
Free to love John Mayer and Eric Church. ;)
Free to not have a platform. Free to post a thoughtful post one day and pictures of my crazy kids the next.
Free to not be her. The one with the perfect house, eloquent words, or magazine worthy picture takin' skills.
Mostly, I just want to write again.
Here is to taking a great big, refreshing gulp of air and getting rid of all the stuff that's held me tight.
I was so excited when my friend Miranda posted that she was doing a week of Pinterest inspired Christmas ideas! I thought I'd share a few things we are gearing up to do to make sure that we slow and savor the season!
I can't begin to explain how much we LOVE this wonderful Advent ebook. Its full of super cute and easy ornaments to make as we learn about the true meaning of Christmas. Lauren and I did it last year and I can't wait to include the little man this year.
This one is for this mama. I'm still keeping up with BSF, but I wanted something that I could easily do during this sometimes hectic season that would focus my own mind and heart on my Savior. The plan just started yesterday so there is definitely still time to get on board. Plus, it's a free ebook and it's got great family connections in it as well!
#3. Sara Groves Holiday station on Pandora. David Crowder Band Holiday station on Pandora. Check them out. A to the mazing!
#4. Lighting a candle each day to focus on Jesus and the peace he brings.
These are just the main ways I can think of right now that we are going to do to keep our hearts and minds focused on our Lord and Savior this season. I would love to hear your ideas! And if you blog about it, go link up with Miranda!!! Linking to Our Nesting Place.
Oh my word. I love Thanksgiving. I mean absolutely love it. I love that it is a chance to slow down, eat really well, and enjoy my family. We've been switching off years between families for a couple of years now and although we hate missing Thanksgiving with the other side of our family, it really helps us not be too stressed or busy during this thankful time. This year we headed to my parents house.
On the way there we called Shawn's parents to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Easton loves talking on the phone now. He gets so excited and then you hand him the phone and he just stares into space. :) It cracks us up! He was "talking" to Papa Wayne and Meme here!
When we made it to the house, the boys all had to get their bows out for some shooting practice. ;) They cracked me up. But, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Side note...I love my brothers so stinking much.
My dad burned his face pretty bad the day before Thanksgiving, so the white-ish stuff is ointment the doctor gave him. Easton is Big Papa's buddy for sure. He wanted to be wherever the boys were.
Each Thanksgiving my dad deep fries our turkey. I know that might sound totally crazy to some but it is seriously the. best. turkey. you. will. ever. eat. ever. I'm serious. It is so juicy and flavorful. There is no comparison in my book! This year he fried four!
Easton wanted to help hold the arrows and was so proud when Uncle Jared gave him some of his to hold.
I took this picture and couldn't believe how blessed I am. I am so thankful for these two little people. They've given me the name Momma and it's a title I take very seriously. I love them both so very much.
My mom makes the BEST homemade rolls ever. They smelled sooooo good and it was so hard to wait!
I'm thankful for my mama. She's put up with me and loved me through everything. I adore her and am just honored to be her daughter.
Easton wanted to take his turn with the bow. ;)
Aunt Victoria and Easton...
Thanksgiving always makes me feel even more thankful for my man. I don't know why he puts up with me or why he chose me all those years ago but I am loving growing older with him. We've been blessed with a love that is from God and I am honored to be his wife.
This Thanksgiving I reflected on how blessed I am, how loved I am, and how much I want to love on and bless others. I have a heart that is full of thanks!