Friday, December 24, 2010

It Was a Labor of Love

Because Andrew Peterson says it better than I can...


It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My New Favorite Kitchen Tip

Now that we have a dishwasher (hallelujah!), I've run into the problem of my measuring cups tipping over during the cycle and filling with nasty dishwasher water.  Thankfully, that is now an issue of the past due to this handy little tip from Tammy's Recipes.  Here's the accompanying photo that pretty much explains it all:

Some people are geniuses, I tell ya!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thwarted! round 2

Let me start off by saying that I know this is partly my fault for procrastinating so much.  Ahem.

Saturday, I intended to mail some Christmas goodies to Chris' and my grandparents.  According to the USPS website, the local post office closed at 2.  After spending too much time looking for baby things at Target online, I boxed up the goodies and made it to the post office at 1:55 p.m.  Perfect!  I figured I'd have to stand in line for awhile, but oh well.  Ha...such naivete in my young mind.  As I walked up to the door, I noticed a long line, which again wasn't surprising given this was the last Saturday before Christmas.

Unfortunately, there was an employee near the door informing hopeful customers that they were now closed, due to the long line.  Yes, people, they closed early because they were too busy.  While some businesses are open extended hours during this time of year, our lovely USPS closed early on what was probably one of their busiest days all year.  Sigh...

Update: I mailed the goodies yesterday, which means they won't get there in time for Christmas, but that's okay, right?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas from the H's!

December 2010
Dearest loved ones,

Merry Christmas!  We hope that 2010 has been a wonderful year for you.  We opted to do a simpler e-Christmas letter this year as there’s some exciting news in January we will also be sharing.  For those of you who haven’t heard, we’re expecting a little baby!  Higbaby (as s/he has been dubbed) is due January 20th and we can’t wait to meet our little one.  So far the pregnancy has gone well and we’re praying that it continues to be smooth.
A baby on the way combined with another move--this time to California--have made for a rather busy year.  In September, Chris accepted a job as a ______ in _______, California, so in October we loaded up the U-Haul and drove down here.  We’re living in an adorable town of about ____ people called _______.  He loves his new job and is excited to be working with so many airplane enthusiasts.  We’re adjusting to life here pretty well, though some things are taking awhile to get used to (like the fact that Costco is an hour away and the library is only open 3 days a week).  We’ve also found a church and are getting to know people there,
Shortly after Christmas last year, Elizabeth got a job working with at-risk kids in an after-school program (which became all-day camps during the summer). She also co-taught preschool this fall--a job she was very sad to leave--but is excited to be a stay-at-home-mom.
Other adventures this year included Chris getting his pilot’s license, our first garden (and subsequent attempt at making homemade salsa) and celebrating our first anniversary in ______.  California is a big state, but let us know if you’re ever in the area!  (Attached are some photos of us flying together, our trip to ______ and Higbaby.)
Much love,
Chris, Elizabeth and Higbaby


Check out Elizabeth’s blog for baby updates:
mywanderingramblings.blogspot.com

(This is the edited for Internet stalkers version ;) )

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Meanderings

  • I somehow missed posting Advent hymns the last two Sundays...oops.
  • It's been raining like crazy here.  And this is coming from a girl who used to live in the Pacific Northwest!
  • As soon as our Charlie's Soap gets here, I'm going to start washing baby diapers and clothes.  Totally surreal.  That means it's almost time!
  • Chris and I got ourselves a printer for Christmas, and I am beyond excited.  I can print coupons!  (Having to pay to print them kind of defeats the purpose.)  No more going to the library and paying sales tax!  
  • I started making one of these last night.  We'll see how it turns out.
  • Today's do-list is quite long, with one overarching theme: get the house put back together.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reflecting on Mary

Christmas this year is like nothing I've ever experienced.  Sure, I've heard my whole life about Mary being with child, riding on a donkey and giving birth in a stable.  But now I'm pregnant.  As I try to imagine giving birth in a stable with "no midwives to be found on the streets of David's town" (as Andrew Peterson so aptly penned), I am filled with wonder at Mary's implicit trust in God.

Not only did she give birth in a strange town, with animals all around and no one but her husband, she was carrying the Son of God.  I'm sure Joseph was supportive--as much as he could be.  I imagine that being the earthly father of God's Son will do that to you.  However, (and this is speculation on my part), due to cultural norms, he probably had no experience with a laboring woman--that was a woman's work.  And I'm positive he hadn't read Husband Coached Childbirth.  Mary was alone.  Except for Him.  The very God who was with Mary was also the child she was carrying.

(On a lighter note, I also have a newfound respect for Joseph, because seriously, how many times did they have to make bathroom stops??  Pregnant lady + donkey ride = yikes...)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Requested Recipe: Homemade Marshmallows

Disclaimer: I take no credit for this recipe--it came from Taste of Home.


2 t butter
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 c cold water, divided
2 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup (Jenn is substituting agave)
1/8 t salt

Optional toppings: melted chocolate, hot fudge, etc.

Optional garnishes: baking cocoa, confectioner's sugar, sprinkles, crushed candy canes, etc.

Line 13x9 pan with foil and grease the foil with butter; set aside.

In a large metal bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water; set aside.  In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining water.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 240 (soft ball stage).

Remove from the heat and gradually add to gelatin.  Beat on high speed until mixture is thick and the volume is doubled, about 15 minutes.  (It really does take awhile, so just be patient!)  Beat in vanilla. Spread into prepared pan.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight.

Using foil, lift marshmallows out of pan.  With a knife or pizza cutter coated in cooking spray, cut into 1 inch squares.  Dip or drizzle marshmallows with toppings if desired.  Roll other marshmallows in the garnishes of your choice.  Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ode to the Eye Doctor

Ever since I accepted the fact that the eye doctor would be a regular part of my life (this happened around 2nd grade or so), I've looked forward to those visit.  It wasn't like the dentist, which was painful and where they blamed you for your bad teeth and the regular doctor which just isn't that fun.  (No offense to any doctors reading this.)  And when you get new glasses, you can see!  As I recently went to the eye doctor for the first time in way too long, this phenomenon has me greatly excited.

There are a few things about this lovely place, though, that are pressureful.  If you have perfect eyesight (like a certain husband of mine), this is most certainly a foreign concept to you.  During your eye exam, the doctor will show you a row of letters and ask which one looks clearer by switching back and forth between a set of lenses.  This is incredibly stressful as they sometimes look very similar and choosing the wrong one means that your lenses will be messed up for the next TWO YEARS.  Oh the pressure!

After figuring out your new prescription, the cosmetic
drama starts...picking new frames.  Dun dun dun.  I
                        photo credit
well remember the days of seeing row upon row of eyeglasses at the doctor's and wishing I could try them all on.  When it came time to choose my frames, however, the lady would reach for her plastic case of approximately 12 frames covered by our insurance and I was destined to choose from those dozen.  Last week, though, I got to pick whichever frames I want (thank you, insurance company for just giving me a frame allowance).  The problem is that to try on glasses, you must remove your old ones, which in my case means I can't see a dadgum thing.  Very difficult to see whilst you can't see, in case you wondered.  Despite no one else being with me as a fashion consultant, I do believe I managed to pick a pair of frames.

So have no fear, Mr. Eye Doctor, I will continue to visit you, hopefully more faithfully than I have in the past, because despite the pressure that accompanies trips to you, I thank you for helping me see.

Monday, December 13, 2010

25 While 25

Just like my 24 While 24, 23 While 23 and 22 While 22, here's this year's 25 While 25.  (Nothing too deep or earth-shattering--just a snapshot of my life.)

While I was 25, I...
1. Found out I was pregnant!
2. Celebrated one year with the love of my life.
3. Became a preschool teacher (I really miss those kids and coworkers).
4. Walked through the painful road of being laid off with Chris, but rejoiced when God provided two jobs back to back for him.
5. Moved to California.  Still can't believe that one.
6. Participated in NaBloPoMo.
7. Got to see our unborn baby through the miracle of ultrasounds.
8. Became a stay-at-home-mom (even though our baby isn't here quite yet).
9. Got hooked on listening to Dave Ramsey.
10. Worked with at-risk kids.
11. Took childbirth classes.
12. Had a garden.
13. Tried to make one new recipe a week.  Didn't continue, but at least I tried...
14. Felt our baby move. :)
15. Cooked Thanksgiving dinner.
16. Listed 100 reasons why I love my husband.
17. Realized that I can't make it through the day without a nap.
18. Read through the Bible chronologically.
19. Picked names for our baby.
20. Celebrated my niece's first birthday.
21. Lived in a house with a dishwasher (first time as a married woman).
22. Started making my own baking powder.
23. Got to be pregnant at the same time as my sister-in-law.
24. Saw a movie in theaters with Chris.  (Yes, that's the first and thus far only one we've seen in theaters).
25. Found a fabulous midwife and sadly had to leave her when we moved.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Baking

Put on your aprons, ladies and gents, it's time for some Christmas goodies!  Here's what's on my list this year...

Oreo Truffles
Krumkake
Homemade Marshmallows
Gingerbread
Cake Pops
Dipped Oreos

So far I've dipped some Oreos, and made the Cake Pops and Oreo Truffles.  Most of them have been dipped, but I've run out of coating.  It takes a lot!  P.S. Any advice on easily dipping truffle like things?  I seem to always waste excess chocolate and that, my friends, is a shame.

Hoping to mix up the gingerbread dough and marshmallows today!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Objective?

We're searching for a new vacuum cleaner, and in my quest, I googled "bagged vs. bagless vacuum cleaners."  The first result brought this article.  Its introduction and first sentence made me laugh.

"I will be very objective at giving you the pros and cons of both types of vacuum cleaners.

Bagged Vacuum Cleaners

In my opinion, this is the way to go."


Yes, because being objective means starting out your article with your personal opinion... 

Monday, December 06, 2010

Monday Meanderings

  • Chris and I spent a good 5+ minutes looking everywhere for his belt this morning, only to discover he was wearing it.  Personally, I thought it was hilarious.
  • I think I might be starting to nest.  Typically, the kitchen hasn't been cleaned and the laundry started by 7:15 a.m.
  • Every winter, I make 3-D snowflakes, and every year, I have to google how to fold them.  Here's how.  I made a huge red one out of 12x12 cardstock, and if you can ignore the fact that it isn't totally staying together, it looks good!
  • This video nearly made me tear up, and I never cry at YouTube videos.
  • I really like this quote from C.S. Lewis, "I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
  • Handle's Messiah (which I sadly have not seen this year) would be fabulous to own on vinyl.  

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Second Sunday in Advent {Peace}

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art:
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child, and yet a king,
born to reign in us for ever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal Spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all-sufficient merit
raise us to thy glorious throne.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Seasonal Recommendations

As the first week of Advent draws to a close, hints of Christmas are starting to pop up in our home.  Our Advent wreath is nearly finished (surely we have last year's garland somewhere!), a few Christmas gifts are wrapped and awaiting a tree to be put under, some of my favorite music and books are making their annual appearance and last night we purchased this year's first peppermint stick ice cream.

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus is collection of readings for the Advent season.  Purchased last year (after Advent started), I wasn't able to read the whole thing before Christmas, but this year I've picked up where I left off and am enjoying the readings.  They're short enough to read during my morning quiet time, yet meaty enough to give you something to ponder.  (The same author as also put together an Easter collection I recommend called  Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.)

Behold the Lamb of God--my favorite Christmas cd hands down, and quite possibly one of my favorite albums of all time.  Chris said that if it was available on vinyl, he'd pay $50 for it. (That's a big recommendation, people!)  On my birthday, we'll be snuggled on the couch by the light of the Christmas tree watching the live DVD of the concert, something that's becoming a tradition.  Meanwhile, the cd is getting plenty of play in our house, telling the story of Christ in beautiful and original music.

Your King Has Come is another cd full of songs that aren't necessarily original, but the arrangements of many are.  I love the Sandra McCracken and Derek Webb version of "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus."  So beautiful and haunting.

A Charlie Brown Christmas--somehow, I managed to make it college without seeing this classic.  Not quite sure how that happened, but thanks to Hulu, we watch it every year.  And every year, I love it.

What about you?  What do you recommend to read/listen/watch?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Craving Normal

Chris and I were talking the other night about how much our lives have been in a constant state of change lately.  For example, in 2007 I graduated from college, "officially" moved out of my parent's house (I lived there during school breaks, but attended college 1500+ miles away) and started a real, full time job.  This was on the cusp of a suddenly changed college major and my Dad having cancer.

2008 was a relatively steady with that same job, being involved in a wonderful church, great roommates and a busy yet fulfilling time of singleness.  September of 2008, Chris and I started dating just about a month after my Grandma passed away.  (These changes have mostly been good, but they are changes (and some stressful) nonetheless.)  

In 2009, we got engaged and three weeks later I moved.  Chris accepted a job in Y-town,we got married and I moved to Y-town as well.  (Hint: moving two days after your honeymoon is a bad idea.)

2010 seemed like it would be steadier, but once again, God had changes up His sleeve.  We found out we were pregnant, and a few months later moved to California.  

I'm tired just remembering all of that. :)  It would be nice if 2011 held a bit of normalcy (please, Lord...let us stay in one place for more than a year!), but with a baby coming, our world is guaranteed to be shaken even more.  Like I said, these are good things, but challenging at the same time.

So, what's a girl (and her husband) to do?  The same as we always have--holding hands through life's adventures, knowing that "in every change, He faithful will remain."