Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Recommendation From the Christmas Loot

Thought I would pass along this recommendation for all you with little ones out there. It is a great story book with beautiful illustrations.

"I would urge not just families with young children to get this book, but every Christian--from pew warmers, to ministry leaders, seminarians and even theologians! Sally Lloyd-Jones has captured the heart of what it means to find Christ in all the scriptures, and has made clear even to little children that all God's revelation has been about Jesus from the beginning--a truth not all that commonly recognized even among the very learned."
--Rev. Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York

This is what the author said in an interview when asked why she wrote the book:

"When I first saw that everything in the Old Testament, is pointing to a child—the one who is coming—it blew me away. Suddenly, here was a way to read the Bible without it leaving you condemned (I’ll never keep all the rules all the time) or in despair (how can I ever be as brave as Daniel? or David?).

I found it so moving when I started to discover how the Old Testament is basically one long record of failure—the failure of God’s people time and time again to live rightly, to rescue themselves—and that the stories in the Old Testament are all getting us ready for the One who is coming. They are all signposts to the True Hero, the True King, the True Prince, the True Servant, the greater David, the greater Daniel. The Rescuer.

As a child, I thought the Bible was packed with rules you had to keep (or God wouldn’t love you) and heroes setting examples you had to follow (or God wouldn’t love you). I thought, in short, that the Bible was all about me and what I should (or shouldn’t) be doing. Until I read a Story.

It’s the Story running like a golden stream underneath all the other stories in the Bible: the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. Suddenly, I realized the Bible wasn’t about me and what I should be doing at all. It was about God and what he had done. And it changed everything.

So, throughout the mapping out of the book and writing the stories, I was resolute in my determination to avoid even a whiff of moralizing in terms of applying the stories. The absolute last thing I ever wanted to ask a child was: “And what can we learn from David about how God wants us to behave?” The story isn’t there to be an example for us to follow. If that were the point, Jesus would never needed to have come. We could have saved ourselves.

The story is there because it’s true and because it’s telling the bigger story—of the greater David who is coming. To do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, to fight the battle we could never fight. To be the Hero we all need. To be our Rescuer.

I wanted children to know this Story—and to meet this wonderful Hero in the pages of this book. Because rules don’t change you. But a story can."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Morning

After our long night, we all enjoyed sleeping in until 8:30 (Micah slept till 9). We had made a monkey bread type dish the night before, and the sticky, sweet goodness was waiting for us when we woke up. I was even able to make Owen his own special version which he called "candy bread." We then brought up the stockings (we wanted to keep the boys in the playroom to eat some breakfast and to read the Christmas story before heading down to see their new gifts.) Owen's was filled with his fair share of trucks and Micah's had a new watch. After lining up all the trucks and setting the watch, we headed down for Micah to find his new keyboard and for Owen to find a new discover rig jeep. They were having so much fun, they didn't even realize they had more gifts to open. That was one thing I really enjoyed about this Christmas. They would get so excited about each gift, and we would have to open it and play with it before they were ready to move on. They each got some new books to add to our library, Owen got some alphabet blocks and some alphabet magnets (he is very interested in learning his letters these days), and some slippers, while Micah opened a new analog clock for his room complete with hygrometer and thermometer, some dominoes, and a jelly belly gumball machine. The fun lasted till lunchtime, and naps followed soon after. The afternoon and evening included lots of playing with the new toys. Matt's family joined us later for pie and mulled wine. When Micah had to go to bed, he recapped the day and told us how much he loved Christmas. He even began cyring because he didn't want Christmas to be over. The best part was that we were able to tell him that it wasn't quite over because we were going to go to Nana's house the next day for another Christmas. He was relieved and finally settled down once I confirmed that Nana would indeed have a Christmas tree at her house!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was always a special day when I was growing up, and we wanted it to be a fun day for the boys also. We had decided the week before that we would get together with Matt's family after we went to church to eat and exchange gifts. Since it was sure to be a late night, we were expecting some tears and cranky boys; you just never know how they will react to so much when they are so young . There were some tired boys, but certainly no tears. They had a blast. Owen was a bit squirmy at church, but Micah warmed our hearts as he belted out "O Come All Ye Faithful!" Once at Grammy's and Gramp's house, they were in constant awe at all the presents. Micah was true to his character-he would oblige us with a few gasps and ooh's and ah's, and then turn back to figuring out their computer. Owen was beside himself. He opened a few trucks, a Thomas the tank engine, and then, by far and away his favorite gift, a garbage truck. He didn't put it down and played happily with it for the next two hours. We didn't venture home until 10. Once at home, we pulled one more box from under the tree. It was a gift to Micah from Owen- a duvet cover and pillowcase covered in numbers from IKEA. Micah was ecstatic and couldn't wait to go to his bed. Owen was thrilled too as he was still in full throtle from the evening's festivities. He brought his trucks to the bed and gave a few jumps before we told him he must go to bed. I don't know that he has ever stayed up that late in his life. He went to bed laughing about his "garbee guck!" Micah settled into his new covers and fell asleep rather quickly too after all the excitement. What a wonderful evening. Matt and I got the downstairs ready for the next morning, and went to bed. We then stayed up far too late chatting about our sweet boys and how much fun they had that night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

...and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins
Matthew 1:21

Monday, December 22, 2008

Micah's Christams Program

Micah's Christmas program at preschool this year was "Silent Night Around the World." Each age group sang Silent Night in a different language and then they all sang a few songs together. The three year olds took the Spanish version Noche de Paz. The boys wore sombreros and looked adorable. We were really proud of Micah as he stood in front of many people and sang all the words. We even saw him singing along in French and German--didn't even know he knew any of those! Afterwards, he asked if we could go to the mall for some ice cream. He knew exactly what he wanted: birthday cake flavor with sprinkles!

Brotherly Love

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. Psalm 133

Sharing a special drink of fresh grapefruit juice. I don't know if it was the new light-up cup (courtesy of Publix-apparently they thought our boys needed a treat!) or the fact that I added a spoonful of sugar, but these boys couldn't get enough!
Micah says quite often these days: "Owen is a funny guy!" He loves the fact that Owen can talk more now and often laughs hysterically at some of Owen's expressions.
As always, Owen is smitten with his big brother.
Big hugs at the mall after Micah's Christmas program. They were chasing each other and giving tickles and ended with a big hug. So sweet!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Six Years


I love you. A lot. No words can aptly describe it. Six years and two boys later- its stronger as ever. I am so blessed to have you. You definitely are the unsung hero of the Morrison family. You keep us happy, healthy, well fed, neat and clean. So- thanks for six great years and many more to come.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Something to Warm You Up and Make You Happy

I have been making this the past couple of evenings for a night time treat. Matt and I have curled up with our mugs and have watched a couple of movies. It is really easy, makes your kitchen smell yummy, and is cheap because there is no need to use nice wine in this recipe. So... make yourself a pot tonight and enjoy!

I have tried two different recipes, but we liked this one best:

Mulled Wine
-3 cups red wine
-1 cup sweet vermouth
-1 cup orange juice*
-1T sugar or to taste
-various holiday spices** (I used ground cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks)
Combine all ingredients and simmer at least 20 minutes on the stove top.

This made enough for about 3 large mugs.
*You can also use apple cider
**I also used a spice bouquet one night, it was good, but I felt like the ground spices lent more flavor. The ones that don't dissolve will just sink to the bottom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Praise the Lord!

So, I am feeling depressed today. Maybe it is because Matt had a ridiculously long weekend and now he is back at work (always hard the day dada goes back to work.) It is even harder because it has been cold and drizzling for about a month it seems. We are going stir crazy. There is literally nothing left to do. I can tell that the boys are bored because they keep asking to watch "Thomas" which is a sing along Thomas the train video that keeps both boys thoroughly entertained these days. I can't stand to see them stare at the TV for more than 20 minutes or so, but we have exhausted all our options. We build some towers, watch Thomas, read some books, watch Thomas, dance to some Christmas music, watch Thomas, take a hot bath to warm up, watch Thomas! I wish I was more creative. Maybe tomorrow I will make play-dough like the Myers. Anyway, as I am tempted to wallow in my "misery" (I even called Matt complaining-yes, I stooped to that level. Sorry Matt!) I remembered some wise words spoken at a Christmas ornament swap last week. The hostess, a sweet lady who hosted about 20 young moms at her home, shared with us that when she is tempted to pity herself, she instead turns and praises the Lord. Well, Matt told me that I should blog as it tends to lift my spirits a bit. I was pondering what to blog about and remembered Charlotte's words. I began praising the Lord as I emptied my camera for these precious children that the Lord has entrusted me with. But I felt myself bordering on becoming more depressed as I feel like I wasted the day being grumpy and thought of all the ways I could have been a better mother. Then I remembered to praise the Lord for being with me on the bad days too. He has given me these children and this incredibly challenging job, but He has promised to stay with me and help me. I hate that I am so stubborn that it takes these reality checks to make me realize I need Him every hour.

Annie Hawks wrote:

"One day as a young wife and mo­ther of 37 years of age, I was bu­sy with my reg­u­lar house­hold tasks. Sud­den­ly, I be­came so filled with the sense of near­ness to the Mast­er that, won­der­ing how one could live with­out Him, ei­ther in joy or pain, these words, 'I Need Thee Ev­e­ry Hour,' were ush­ered in­to my mind, the thought at once tak­ing full pos­sess­ion of me."

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

So now onto my post and the adorable boys that inspired it:

Owen has been extremely interested in going "pee peezzzz" in the potty. He comes running when I remind Micah to go potty. He will open the toilet seat for Micah, watch him do his business, then flush for him, and put the seat down. Usually, he will then get his potty seat from under the sink and put it on the toilet. I figure I have to let him try, even though he hasn't quite gotten the skill down for releasing anything. He will push really hard and wait so patiently, sometimes becoming quite frustrated that no "pee peezzz" will come. All of this really just makes me smile!
This is Owen and Oliver at the Myers' house after church on Sunday. Raechel cooked us a delicious meal and afterward, the boys wore their tupperware hats as they played in the playroom. I didn't actually witness this, but Matt said these boys were having a blast. This picture definitely brightened up my day.

And finally, this one. Micah got really excited about this book last week. It is called Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells, and is one of the Max books. In the story, Max and his sister Ruby each make their grandma a birthday cake. Max's is an earthworm cake with caterpillar icing and red hot marshmallow squirters; and Ruby's is an angel surprise cake with raspberry fluff icing, silver stars, sugar hearts, and buttercream roses. Micah asked Matt if mama could make him a cake like this and get him some red hot marshmallow squirters. I thought it would be funny to duplicate Ruby's cake. I was buying all the ingredients to make the special cake when Matt found this one in the bakery already done up. What are the chances that there would be a bright pink cake, angel food no less, already made up for $3.50? We got it out last night, and Micah had a blast pretending to be like Max and Ruby and licking off all the "raspberry fluff icing." We also picked up a pack of Gushers- you remember those gummy candies that squirt in your mouth- to be the marshmallow squirters. Needless to say, we all had a big sugar fest last night!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Assurance of Pardon

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 7:14; 53:4-6

What a wonderful passage to read during this season of Advent to assure us of His unfailing grace. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Some Traditions

I have had a few friends ask what types of traditions we are starting with our children for the holidays. I am obviously late in posting this as these pictures were from a couple of weeks ago, and our Christmas traditions really started the weekend following Thanksgiving. But, in an attempt to keep my plate a little cleaner and avoid the holiday stresses, I have decided to only post as time permits. I talked a lot about traditions last year in December (see archives) so I figured I would just touch on a few here. One thing I hope my children don't see is a lot of stress, way too much "stuff," and all the other things we tend to pile on this time of year in an attempt to celebrate. I have made a conscious effort to try to stay home the past few days, love my children and teach them as much as possible about what we should be doing during this season of advent: examining our hearts, preparing for the great celebration of Christ's birth, and repenting. Of course along with our preparation has come decorating our house with lights, (which, after a valiant effort by my husband, have blown a fuse. Ah, maybe next year!) a tree, and a few other decorations. We also light an advent candle (one for every week before Christmas) and do a special advent devotion before normal bed time routines. The boys usually enjoy a snack in their highchairs while we sing some favorite Christmas hymns. Whole Foods has a 365 brand sugar cookie that has only 3g of sugar in five cookies and makes a great special snack before bed. Afterward, they both blow with all their might to get the candles out. Micah has really gotten into opening a door of an advent calender from Grammy every morning. We are making some fun treats for the season including Micah's new favorite: peppermint bark. This is the first year that we have seen real anticipation in Micah as he imagines what could be in the boxes marked with his name. He likes to read all the gift tags, pick up the ones for himself and say, "Oh, this is a heavy one! What could it be? You have to wait until December 25th." He knows he has to wait and has been really good about it, but I see his excitement building as we get closer. Owen has no idea what is in the boxes. I think after Christmas morning, it will be forever engrained that pretty boxes mean special treats!

Morning Highlight

Tuesday mornings are always fun because it is garbage day. The boys have so much fun watching the garbage truck collect the trash. Owen will usually hear the truck when it is still a few streets over and will run to the window and wait patiently for him to make it to our street. It's the little things!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cute Picture

I went in to the playroom the other day and saw this: Owen and Ellie sitting on top of the cushions of our loveseat. Ellie has been doing this since she was a baby, and has since broken our zippers to keep the cushions in place (I figure why fix them until she is too old to hop up there.) I guess Owen thought it looked like a good idea too. He was watching his new favorite movie, Mighty Machines: Lights and Ladders. I found it at Blockbuster in the $.99 kids section and thought he might like it. It is real footage of fire trucks and garbage trucks doing their duties, and he is mesmerized by all the huge machines. I love it because it buys me 20 minutes to get dressed and brush my teeth in the morning.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Future Chess Master?

Micah has been interested in chess on the computer. We have recently set him up with his own sign-in so that he can play around on the computer. After discovering him watching something on the scary side on You Tube, we decided that we needed some parental controls! Anyway, we thought it a great time to get Micah interested in chess. I remembered an old chess set from back in Matt's glory days of fourth grade and thought a tangible set would help. It really makes me smile to look at the set and think of little Matt playing a game he still so dearly loves. I dusted off the pieces, scrubbed the board, and set the game up in the play room. We knew that it would take some time to get Micah interested in really playing. He likes to be the one to come up with the idea to start a something new. What we weren't expecting is Owen to jump in the booster seat, ask to be buckled in, and proceed to learn all the pieces by name in about 10 minutes! We couldn't keep him away from the chess set the rest of the day. I know it makes Matt happy to see one of our boys interested in his favorite game. I'm sure Micah's interest will come, and when it does I am hoping to learn along with him. I know the logistics, but can't really give Matt any competition. Maybe by the time we are old and gray, I will have learned enough from playing with my toddlers to keep up with him.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Christmas Tree

We went to pick out our Christmas tree on Sunday afternoon. I love real Christmas trees. We picked a Fraser fir from none other than Lowe's. We knew we didn't have much time as Micah is still not 100% and we needed a few other things too while we were out. Lowe's has never let us down although their prices did go up a tad this year. We found a tree rather quickly much to Matt's happiness. I found out something new about him on that day: he is a little apprehensive about heading out to find a tree as he remembers it taking hours to choose one with his indecisive dad! I laugh knowing that I could spend time examining lots of trees, but also knowing that they will all be imperfect (one thing I love about real trees). I did veto his first choice of the taller one to go with a fuller, shorter one. The boys absolutely love our tree. In fact, I can't keep them away from it. We have already broken 3 ornaments and it has only been 2 days. I know they are so excited, so it has been hard to enforce the "look but don't touch rule." And this being the first year that Micah has really gotten to help decorate the tree, he has a special interest in rearranging it. I glanced over yesterday to see Micah touching a gold ball. When I asked him not to pull on it, he responded: "I am just pointing at the beautiful, big, gold ball!" I could only laugh and congratulate him on using so many adjectives. A few minutes later, Owen comes to find me saying "uh oh." I looked and saw a ridiculous cow ornament in two pieces. At least that one was far from a treasure!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's Starting!

The holiday hustle that is! I love the holidays. It really redeems the first cold months for our family because we are truly spring and summer folks around here. We hosted a pre-Thanksgiving here for my dad, step-mom, brother, and sister-in-law this past weekend. We always set aside this weekend as a time to get together with my dad as it gets really busy to see three sets of grandparents and still have some family time during Christmas. I was happy this year when they suggested having dinner in Nashville because it meant one less travel for the boys, and I love to cook. It worked out especially well this year because had it been anywhere else, I don't think we could have made it due to Micah's pneumonia. He is doing much better by the way. He still has a little rattle, but his cough is mostly productive. Our weekend was full of fun. We went to ICE on Friday night. For the record, I would not highly recommend it. Seriously, as if it weren't cold enough outside, let's go walk through a few rooms at 6 degrees filled with ice. They did give us some great blue parkas to wear at least. I don't want to sound ungrateful. The ice was gorgeous, and my sister-in-law works for Opryland and so was able to get us tickets. I just don't think I will do it again anytime soon. Owen actually loved the ice (but he also loved wearing his parka, hat, and mittens. He was mesmerized by all the colors and laughed and pointed until we sent him down the ice slide. He went flying in his slick parka and got very scared. Micah hated the whole thing. He didn't want to wear the coat and was freezing. At least cold moist air is really very good for Micah's cough. I finally convinced him to have a seat in the stroller with a big blanket and a sucker. When we left, we headed to dinner at the Rainforest cafe. Both boys thankfully loved that. The animals and waterfalls kept them entertained while we ate a yummy dinner. Saturday, Matt spent the day with the boys (great for all of them since he has worked the past two weekends), and I cooked a ham (the first big piece of meat I have attempted) , corn pudding, green beans with shallots and bacon balsamic dressing, cranberry-orange marmalade, maple sweet potatoes, a streusel topped pumpkin pie and a chess pie for dessert. It was a wonderful night of great food and company. The boys had fun spending time with their family. I didn't capture too many pictures, but I did get one cute one of Aunt Jessica with the boys.