Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Photos

Many blessings as we enter the New Year!

Here are a couple of significant highlights and our Year in Photos!

~ 2011 Highlights ~

Kenzie started early in the year recognizing, sounding and writing the alphabet.  She has now mastered all of them.  I am so proud of this huge accomplishment for my "baby" girl.



Ethan was baptized by our pastor this summer.  He chose to do it on his own because the loves Christ and the things of His kingdom.  I couldn't be more proud of anything.  This is the ultimate!!!



Thank you so much for being a part of Anna & Co. and sharing with us throughout the year.

Here is our Year in Photos!!!



Blessings,
Anna

Month in Photos | December 2011


1. Behind the scenes of our Christmas card
2. Just because she's pretty
3. Wardrobe standoff
4. Reading to Zoe

5. Big stuff, he is
6. Zoe enjoying a ride
7. Kenzie practicing her writing skills
8. They both worked hard for this leaf pool

9. The sweetest "beany" baby EVER
10. Snowflake sandwiches just taste better
11. Kenzie recently received a very special gift in the mail.  Her very own hand made apron from a very special friend.  Thank you Vickie!!!
12. My daddy protecting me from my nook chairs.  Bless him

13. Making a wish upon a heart for her new Build-a-Bear
14. Allen completed one side of our kitchen backsplash 5 years ago.  He decided he would start the other side over Christmas break.  Yay for timeliness!!! Stay tuned...
15. I know, I should have stopped her from nursing the frosting tube, but taking a photo seem more important at the time
16. Everyone needs an on demand dancing partner

That's a wrap!!!

Blessings,
Anna

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011 | T'was the Night & the Morn

T'was the Night before Christmas and in our abode it went a little something like this....

Our Tree

Luke 2 Christmas Story

E & K watching personal Santa video | K sneaking a cookie | Letters to Santa | Tracking Santa
~ Christmas Morning ~
Ethan: Hobby Grade Fighter Copters | Kenzie: Princess Big Girl Bike




Although Santa's gifts were hard to beat, I saved the best for last.  

Kenzie presented her version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to the world (Facebook) on Christmas morning.

I thought you might enjoy too!!!

video

I hope your Christmas season was BLESSED as well!!!

Blessings,
Anna

Christmas 2011 | Gingerbread Lane

As we do every single year, we visited Gingerbread Lane.

Kenzie's repetitive words during construction "Mom, I'm just going to test the candy, ok...just to make sure it taste good".

Ethan was somewhat over it this year, but he was a good big brother and participated for a very excited Christmas loving 4 year old.  Thank you Ethan!





Blessings,
Anna

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Inspiration | Over The Wall

I wanted to write something wrapping up all the Christmas cheer and show off my “babies” in their jammies on Christmas morning and all the happiness of our holiday season… I really did, but that’s just not where I am today.  So, intentionally I’m placing that recap in a pending status until I can do it justice.

Today is a rough day.

Today, I’m lost and confused.

Today, I just need to know that God knows where I am.

I’ve received my share of bad news over the last week and it’s like someone has punched me in the stomach.

Yes, that nauseating feeling of anxiety and fear.

I know that the Bible reads that God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear.  That leaves me with being certain of the source, but somehow, I still fall victim to its power.

I feel it gripping my heart strangling the life out of my joy.

How can this be right after experiencing a blessed Christmas and celebrating one of the most magnificent events in history?... I don’t know.

Usually, I make it a point to be uplifting and share inspiration, but today, I’m just sharing my heart.

If there is anything at all about this very poor attempt to write today, is that I'm committing to praising my Savior anyway, knowing that He has a plan for my life.  I’ll continue to put one foot in front of the other knowing that each step gets me a little closer to the “other side” of this thing.  I'm trusting in my Jericho and claiming that I'll look back from the other side of THIS WALL and be better for it.


Blessings,
Anna

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas 2011 | Merriest Wishes

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, 
everything is softer and more beautiful"
Norman Vincent Peale



Merriest Wishes from Anna & Co!!!

Many blessings to you and yours this Christmas.

May Christ be in it and His love be shown throughout this season.

Thank you for being a part of Anna & Co.

Blessings,
Anna

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inspiration {Christmas} | Unwrapped Gifts

"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  
Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more."
Dr. Seuss | The Grinch

I thought I would share a couple of the Christmas activities that we have gotten "our hands" into recently.

I absolutely love what this time of year lends us as it relates to traditions with the kids and hopefully making memories for them that will last forever.  For me, it requires a great deal of patience to be able to let them "do the work" and take a deep breath knowing a 10 minute task could turn into 30 and possibly even end with a disaster.  I would neatly spread the dough and clean up as I go, but it ends somewhat differently when little hands are involved.  Messes equal memories, right?!  Say that over and over until you believe it. *wink*

K's Handprint Christmas Tree

Baking & Shaking Cookie Night

More so than any other month of the year, to me, it's most important to keep traditions during Christmas.

No, driving around aimlessly to find houses adorned in two million twinkling lights is not so much my thing any more, but it certainly brings K to the boiling point with excitement.  So, we do it.

Remember, the greatest gift you can give your children are memories.  They aren't wrapped with dazzling bows and usually don't cost much at all.  Your attention and involvement in activities will give them greater love than any battery operated gadget from a store shelf.

Make this Christmas memorable for your family with unwrapped gifts.

Blessings,
Anna

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inspiration {Christmas} | KEEP CALM it's CHRISTMAS

via Anna & Co.
Are you enjoying Christmas or surviving it?

I’ve learned in my little time as an adult that the noise that modern culture brings to this season can rob us of the joy that is available for us to receive and give this time of year.

You know what I’m talking about.  How do you feel when that person takes your parking spot when you’ve had your blinker on for 10 minutes?  Well, I’ll tell you, I want to plow their car.  Did I type that?  Perhaps the Christmas to-do list is already getting to me.

I’ll ask it again…are you enjoying Christmas or surviving it?

As I look over the to-do list for this Christmas, once again, great anxiety envelopes me and starts to strangle my spirit and I haven’t even stepped into a store yet or attended the first event.

Modern culture has redrawn the blueprint of what Christmas is and we are just running around chasing our tails trying to conform and keep up with all the demands of what this culture thinks Christmas is about. We've been brainwashed into thinking Christmas is a time when we are allowed to forget all the rules.  Spend money you don’t have…buy things you don’t need.  All as a promise that this over indulgence will bring Christmas happiness.  Where commercials, newspaper ads, what to get grandma, how much to spend on each person and HOW WILL I GET IT ALL DONE chaos sucks the Christmas spirit right out of you and you find yourself saying “whatever, I don’t care anymore” Really?!  Is this the spirit we want to have on Christmas?  I’ve been guilty.  It’s a slippery slope and very easy to fall into the trap of just surviving Christmas.

Here are 10 things that I’m “writing on my wrist” this season to keep my JOY.
  1. Above all else, remember Jesus and show him to others
  2. Little is much
  3. Don’t compare
  4. Ignore Scrooges
  5. No More Debt
  6. Be the difference that makes a difference
  7. It’s only commercialized if you let it be
  8. Keep/Start traditions
  9. Slow Down
  10. Enjoy Christmas, don’t just survive it
All this to say, ENJOY Christmas; don't just survive it.

Blessings,
Anna


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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Inspiration | Green Pastures

Pinterest
30 plus years ago, my parents made a decision when I was born to change their path and take a new direction toward a life and walk with Christ.  This one single decision has exposed me to scripture all my life.  I attended a private school where I memorized chapters at a time including the verses below.  When I hear a scripture that I memorized, I can recite it word for word, verse by verse and back then chapter by chapter.
 
You?

Did you ever memorize large portions of the Bible?

Do you immediately recall them with the slightest familiar collection of words are repeated?

I do!

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. | Psalm 23 KJV

Just this week I realized I’ve hidden this passage away in my heart, but rarely feel it.
It’s one of those things where I learned it in school and checked it off.  When read in church, I didn’t even have to refer to my Bible, I could recite it.  I had lost intimacy with the passage because it was mixed in with Social Studies, Grammar and Geometry in the vault of memorization.

The most recent reading of the Psalm revealed an entire new love for the passage.

It’s motivational, inspirational and it lends us peace knowing that we are never alone in this dark, ugly world.

Now, if you are like me and they way I’ve been for the past umpteen years, you looked at the first three words above just now and said “Yeah, I know that scripture…no need to read it again” and skipped on down to finish the blog post. 

If so, I encourage you to go back and read it…every word.  Feel the words, hear the comfort and cling to the promise of beautiful green pastures, goodness and mercy.

If Target ran a commercial today promising goodness and mercy the rest of your days, we would be lined up for hours in a line with people in their jammies (black Friday sucker punch) to get our portion of goodness and mercy.

Am I right or right?

Here it is, confirmed that it’s offered by the Shepherd of Life!

If you don’t know THE shepherd, I encourage you to read this passage over and over until you feel it, until you meet him.  I encourage you to seek the only one that can ensure goodness and mercy for all your days.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…..

Blessings,
Anna

Monday, December 5, 2011

Inspiration {Christmas} | DIY Ornament Craft

Are you looking for something fun to do with the little ones?

Go pinning!!! No, I didn't say shopping... I said pinning.  

While I had plenty of house chores to do, K and I went found ourselves pinning this weekend for a little Christmas inspiration.  The boys were occupied with something not so crafty.

The DIY Santa belt ornament won K's heart.  So there is where we landed.

This was our inspiration photo.

Inspiration | Pinterest
We decided to not do the paint and stick with only paper.

Here is our version!  K was so excited!!!


We did one more because we had the time and K happens to be a craft-aholic.  I have no idea where she gets that?


It doesn't take much to make Christmas special for your little ones.  Seriously, the only thing I purchased was 6 clear balls at Michael's at 50% off for $2.99.  We had everything else at home.

This made for one happy little Christmas lovin' 4 year old!


Sorry, I don't have a tutorial.  Managing glass balls, scissors, 4 year old and a camera proved to be a little much.  However, I did happen to catch an iPhone pic of how we got the paper inside the ball.  This was K's task along with gluing.  She's a gluing maniac!!!  Give that girl a glue stick and she could change the world. ;-)


Hope you enjoyed!

Blessings,
Anna

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Inspiration {Christmas} | I give you Jesus

Pinterest | Spiritual Inspiration

I feel you.  Right here, today, on my blog.

I’ve asked you to meet me and show me You in the everyday, the simple and the ordinary.

You have as You promised. | Deuteronomy 4:29

As we enter this December celebration of Your birth, I feel you.

With every pine tree, ever twinkling light, every tinsel hung, every bell rung, every snow covered holly berry…I feel You.

I can’t literally see You, but there are hints of you in the season and You are beautiful.

Through me, I pray that others will see the beauty that only You bring to this season.

The beauty of that Silent and Holy Night

Yes, we’ll let Santa have a small part of the season for the kid’s sake, but we know that You are the reason for the season and it’s ALL about YOU!

Just as gifts were exchanged on that Holy Night, we too shall exchange gifts.

Help us remember that these man made things are just that, things.

You are the greatest gift of the season.

So, to my readers, I give you Jesus, born of a virgin, robed in flesh to offer Salvation.  I pray you feel Him and find His beauty in all this season holds for you.

I pray you feel him each and every time you visit here.

“But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him...” | Deuteronomy 4:29

Blessings,
Anna
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