Friday, December 27, 2013

Twenty Years

There's no denying it.

Twenty years ago TODAY, a sweet girl came into my life and made me a mother for the first time.

And, no, that is no typo.


In the blink of an eternal eye, she went from this:

Age 2

To this:

Age 11

To this:

Age 19


After I have a good, long cry, this lady and I are going to lunch and a movie together.

Who knew twenty years could go by so very fast? And soon, she'll leave us again to serve in the Family History Center up in the Frozen North.

All these goodbyes are hard on a mother's heart! 

But at least I have her TODAY.

Love, Mama Rachel

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

From our family to yours: We hope you had a beautiful Christmas Day!

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Love, Mama Rachel

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Still, Still, Still

After a long, noisy day running here and there, I just need to sit for a brief moment and take a deep breath.

I'd like take time to share some of my favorite, peaceful Christmas music with you. I hope you enjoy the peace it brings. (I know I will!)

In the Bleak Midwinter

I love to listen to vocalists that have a clear, bright tone. As a singer myself, (though nowhere near the class of the vocalists here!) I really appreciate angelic-like voices! The two ladies in these following videos are my FAVORITES. Oh, I can't get enough of listening to them!

The Wexford Carol

Silent Night (Oiche Chiuin)

I adore music from "the old country." I have lots of English, Welsh, and Scottish blood in me, and whenever I hear a folk tune from "across the pond," I get chills. It just sounds so familiar!

{I know I need to do something about being an "Anglophile," but I'm pretty sure than only a visit to the U.K. will ever cure me... Someday...}

O Come, Emmanuel

And last, but certainly not least, is one of my favorite Christmas Carols played by one of my favorite musical groups, accompanying one of the most beautiful reenactments of the Christmas story I've ever seen.

Hosannah!!! I wish everyone a very merry Christmas, with a lovely moment or two of quiet and peace to ponder on the true reason we celebrate this time of year.

Love, Mama Rachel

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five Reasons

Me and my Davy Boy

It is no secret that I LOVE Christmas, and thus I love December!

Oh, December! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Aren't they both so handsome???

Reason #1- My Russell

My sweetheart was born on December 10th. He puts up with a LOT from me (scatter-brained-ness, an aversion to cleaning our bathroom, running homeschool groups out of our house, that kind of thing), but he loves me and treats me like a QUEEN every single day.

I'm so glad he was born! And I'm so glad he picked me to be his bride, even with all my quirkiness!

I love you, Russell!!! 

Sweet Baby Morganne-- 1993

Reason #2- Morganne Natalia

Morganne was born two days after Christmas. Hence, we gave her the middle name of Natalia, which means "born on Christmas." (The 27th is close enough, I say!)

She's our parenting guinea pig, and peacemaker extraordinaire. She is absolutely without guile, for anyone. She has taught (and keeps teaching me) so much! She brings peace wherever she goes. 

She gets to be home for December (wahooooo!!!!) before she goes back to Idaho to start a service mission in the Family History Center there. (She's been volunteering in the LDS Humanitarian center for the last 5+ months.) I'm so very grateful my parents have welcomed her into their home so that she can have this experience of being away from home, but not on her own before she's ready.

And we're all so glad she gets to be with us all for Christmas! It's our LAST Christmas all together for a long time. (Our Brennan leaves for his mission on January 1st!)

She's really five!

Reason #3- Miss Avalon

Avalon makes every day an adventure! She's my other Christmas baby, and so her middle name is Noelle. She says that whenever someone sings about "Noel," they're really singing about HER.

This year's newest Christmas album.

Reason #4- Christmas Music!!!

Hello. My name is Rachel, and I am a Christmas music junkie. I blame it on being in choirs since the age of 8. Everyone who's ever been in a choir knows that you start singing Christmas music in September.

This business about waiting to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving is sooooo hard on me! But I try not to make my husband too crazy (See Reason #1), so I do my best to control the urge to start playing my beloved carols at least until a few days before Thanksgiving.

I think I'm doing better than I used to.

Our Christmas music collection is MONSTROUSLY huge. On iTunes, it tells me that if we played all the Christmas music we own, it would 1.6 days to play all the songs. (And I think it's actually more than that now. I need to add a couple new albums to the playlist.)

YESSS!!! I know it may be a bit pathetic to be proud of that, but I love it. I make all kinds of playlists out of the music we have: Christmas Sacred, Christmas Fun, Christmas Cleaning Music, Christmas Traditional, Christmas Celtic-- should I go on? (Probably not.)


Reason #5- THE Reason for the Season

I have a great love for my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I love how everyone remembers Him, sings about Him, tells the story of His birth, and serves others all through December.

I know that the joy and goodness we all feel during the Christmas season is because we take the time to focus on Him, His birth, His mission, His sacrifice, and His pure love for everyone.

Merry Christmas!!!

Love, Mama Rachel

Friday, December 06, 2013

Special Days

We have had such a wonderful fall and now winter is shaping up to be a time of making new and wonderful memories, as well. My heart is so full, and yet so light and joyful.

Another Birthday

Our Avalon just turned FIVE! It's fun to think back to when I blogged about being pregnant with her, and announced her birth here, as well. Oh, how time flies!

Even though she got a few fun toys for her birthday, her favorite present by far was a pair of hot pink sunglasses, complete with flashy rhinestones. That says loads about what kind of sassy miss she is! We are so glad to have such a fun and spunky girl in our family!

Once in a Lifetime

Tomorrow our Brennan gets to go to the temple for the very first time, where he will make important promises to Heavenly Father and learn more about God's plan for His children. It is such a special, sacred occasion for him and our whole family! 

Russell's parents flew down to be a part of it and of his mission talk this weekend, and it is such a great thing to have family here!!! I can't believe how fast it's all happening. Sometimes, I still see my boy like this:

And tomorrow, he will be a man, ready, worthy, and able to serve the Lord. Oh, God is good. What a wonderful plan of happiness He has for all of us!

She's Home! (Temporarily)

Our Morgie is home for the month of December, then she goes back up to Idaho to fulfill a call to work in the Family History Center. It has been so awesome to have her back! Now things feel "right" again. I have missed her gentle, sweet spirit, her willing heart, and her beautiful singing voice. (We've been harmonizing to Christmas music all day!) 

She's even been doing all the dishes. It's going to be hard to let her go back! (Just kidding, Morgie. Sorta.)

Feeling Excited

We also get to go see and hear our Lliam perform with the Millenial Choir Organization tomorrow evening. I'm so, SO proud of him! He has found something that is uplifting and excellent that he gets to be a part of, and even though he wasn't sure he'd like being in a choir, he now loves it and wants to keep singing with them next semester, as well! 

I am so grateful that he has found something so worthwhile to be excited about. He has blossomed so much these last few weeks, just to have the chance to perform with them. All FOUR concerts are sold out to a packed house, and we are thrilled to go and hear them. Hooray for the talented and inspiring people that the Lord has put in our path! Break a leg, Lliam! 

And I wish all my readers a wonderful weekend filled with happiness, hope, and joy!


Love, Mama Rachel

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Feeling Inspired

A few of the stockings I made over Thanksgiving weekend
(I made six in all!) for the kids.
(The blue one was not yet finished when this picture was taken.)

I have an online friend that I've known for many years. We've never met in person, but she inspires me all the time!

She has a great website called "The Prudent Homemaker" (You can see her link further down in the left sidebar) and now also has a blog where she shares what she's doing every day to live life beautifully, all while being VERY prudent with her family's limited budget and resources.

Her post from yesterday has inspired me to set some goals for myself this week, especially since our family also has VERY limited funds for this year's Christmas presents and celebrating.

So here is my list of goals for this week:

  • Finish making stockings for Brennan, Lliam, Bonny, and Gavin (I finished Bonny's last night!).
  • Cut out dresses for the little girls.
  • Decide on a couple patterns for presents for my big girls.
  • Figure out what on earth I can sew for my three teenage boys!

  • Check paint supplies for little peg people. (I think I used up all my paints making a striped jacket for Touchstone in the play "As You Like It.")
  • Check my secret Pinterest Christmas Gifts board for ideas for my two little boys.

  • Finish organizing my closet to fit all my fabric, sewing supplies, and costumes. (I'm almost done! It's a good thing we have a BIG one in this house! I am sooo not a clothes horse. My clothes take up only one tiny rack in my huge closet. I'd rather have more room for the stuff I listed above!)
  • Finish cleaning my bedroom, which has yet to be fully unpacked from our move in June. (Yes, you read that right. My poor husband!) My in-laws are coming with our Morganne this weekend, and we want to give them a full tour of our new house. 
  • Check and tidy the storage room downstairs.

Home Improvement
  • Finish painting Bonny's bedroom ??? (Since Grandma and Grandpa will be sleeping in there!) *Not in the budget this week.
  • Patch wall hole.
  • Fix light in basement.
  • Find warranty for the vacuum *No luck finding it!

  • Take our Lliam for a haircut before his choir concert (per the choir handbook-- hooray for no more shagginess!) *I ended up cutting it myself, and he looks very handsome!
  • Take a couple kids to the dollar store to purchase a gift for the sibling whose name they drew in our gift exchange.
  • Get paint and primer for Bonny's bedroom (???) *Not in the budget this week.
  • Get the vacuum fixed or replaced! *Not in the budget this week.
  • Take Brennan to the church parking lot to practice driving.

  • Get the house ready for our homeschool group classes here on Thursday.
  • Mop ALL floors
  • Vacuum EVERYTHING *Still no vacuum.
  • FOLD LAUNDRY (The never-ending task at our house)

Okay. Now I'm tired just from thinking about it. I've probably set my goals too high, but I will also prioritize them, and make sure the MOST important things get done first.

Wish me luck?

Love, Mama Rachel