Showing posts with label Newsletter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newsletter. Show all posts

The Christmas Newsletter I Would Have Sent



Christmas newsletters are very hard to get right.

Every year around this time, I get a handful of Christmas newsletters tucked inside of Christmas cards.  I am excited each time I get one - it's fun to read a little bit about what my friends and family are up to, what they thought was worth noting about their year.

To the people I know who send a newsletter each year, I give major props, because I also recognize that newsletters are hard to write!  You have to come up with something to say about each family member, and keep it within a reasonable length, insert some personality to make it interesting to read, and do it all without crossing the line into "braggy" territory.  I think all the newsletters I've received this year were able to strike this balance well, but I've never really attempted a Christmas newsletter because I wasn't sure I could do a good job of it.

However, I read a newsletter blog post on Michelle's blog last week, and it was fun to read!  I thought she really nailed the art of the newsletter, and it made me want to try one.  So I wrote up a newsletter for our family over the weekend.  I don't hate how it turned out, but it's too late to send it in my cards, so I'm just going to share it here instead.  Pretend this is printed on Christmas-y paper and showing up in your mailbox!

Note: This is actually a little long for a Christmas newsletter, but in my defense, there are seven people in this family on which to write an update.

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Dear Friends and Family,

I have never sent out a Christmas newsletter, but now that we are exiting the too-tired-to-floss, new-baby phase, which has encompassed the last 9 (!) years, I thought I’d give it a go.

Don’t people usually say something like “this year has been one for the books” to start out a newsletter? I think every year could be considered one for the “books”, but in the general sense of the phrase, this has not been a “big” year. It’s been an ordinary, slow-growing year. But there is something wonderful about those restful, quiet years that I think is worth celebrating too.

For Derek, much of 2019 has involved home improvement projects. We bought a new house late in 2018, and  I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I cried the first night we spent in our new house, telling Derek that it just didn’t feel like “us”.  He has gradually been making that statement untrue.  In the last year he has remodeled the kitchen and master bathroom, installed new flooring, changed out light fixtures, built a fireplace and (halfway) installed a wood stove, and started on the kids’ new play structure (still in the blueprint stage).  I was going to say that it feels like slow going, but thought better of it - seeing it all typed out makes that statement feel silly.  That is a lot of work! I’m grateful for all the hours and care Derek has put into making this place home.

Wyatt, to my horror, is nearing 9 years old. I say “horror”, because I came to the realization this fall that once he reaches 9, we will be halfway through his childhood. Let that sit a minute.  He is a delightful kid, a little shy around new people, but ask him what his favorite animal or bird is, and he can talk your ear off. He knows more about animals than me, is better at identifying birds than me, and remembers interesting facts we read much longer than I do. Needless to say, it’s pretty easy to homeschool him when we break out the science textbooks (maybe not as much when I bring out the writing book, his least favorite subject).  Bike lights and an “adventure kit” (including binoculars, compass, and flashlight) are on his Christmas list.

Gwendolyn will be 7 years old “two days after Christmas, the same birthday as Daddy’s!”, as she likes to tell anyone who will listen.  She is fun-loving and easy to like, and tends to make friends wherever she goes. She is reading, but is desperate to get further in her reading curriculum so she can learn to read chapter books.  While I have become less of a planner the older I get, Gwen picks up where I slack off. She recently wrote out a detailed plan for Christmas morning that made me chuckle and melt a little.  Nail polish and Barbies are on her Christmas list.

Aren’t you supposed to include a paragraph about the family vacation in a Christmas newsletter?  Clyde’s paragraph might make more sense if I do. We went to Florida this year, mostly because it is the cheapest place to fly in August. Hurricane season and all.  We got home a mere week before the hurricane, crossed the Everglades off our National Park bucket list, and while we feel grateful that we can now say we took the kids to Disney World once in their childhood, our one day there taught us that we are not hardcore Disney people. Our favorite part of the trip was visiting NASA and seeing the Saturn V rocket and moon capsule, and it has launched (ha!) an interest in space for our whole family (except Derek, he was always a space guy).



Having said that, our 5.5 year old Clyde has latched on to space transportation as an interest.  When I ask him lately what he wants to learn about, the answer is always “rocket ships!”  If I picked an adjective for Clyde, it would be “charming”.  The kid can get away with saying the “darndest” things, just because of the charming little way he says them.  When he gets one-on-one time with me he always has a lot to talk about, and I learn such interesting things about him (like the fact that he wants to have eight kids someday - he said it so seriously, I knew it was well thought-out).  Rocket ship Legos and a model space shuttle are on his Christmas list.

Clarice turned 4 years old this fall, and while she has always had a big personality, especially for being so quiet, I’ve seen it developing more recently. She is my most imaginative child, declaring how fun it would be if the world were made of fudge, and excitedly informing me that the moon is following us home because “ he’s hungry!”  Her blue eyes and dimpled smile would probably melt the iciest heart, but when I pull out my camera she frequently takes that as her cue to try out every expression in her arsenal.  A Little Mermaid princess doll and a Barbie are on her Christmas list.

Our littlest one, Georgiana, just turned 2 years old, and I’m not sure I’ve met a more easy-going toddler. Redirection is a breeze, and is often accompanied by an enthusiastic “OH-KAY!”  Aside from the occasional flirtation with the “terrible twos” (which thankfully never lasts too long), she is very agreeable. She mainly just cries when she is thirsty or cold or within 20 feet of a moving vehicle (a healthy fear).  She is my most social child so far (that’s saying something, because Gwen was hard to beat). When we walk through a store or parking lot, she is usually holding my hand, and the other hand is waving at strangers as she shouts “HI!” She is usually rewarded with a grin.  On her Christmas list is whatever we decide to get her, and a new bunny-bear, which was her most prized possession before she lost it four months ago.

This letter wouldn’t be complete without including our protector-dog, Harvey.  He is mainly a teddy bear, following me around the house and settling in for a nap wherever I happen to be.  But he can break out his scary bark when he feels it necessary, which is usually when the poor mailman is trying to drop off a package.  He had a tumor earlier this year which briefly made our hearts sink into our feet, until we thankfully found out it was benign. He wants a rawhide bone for Christmas.

I (Callie) have been keeping busy homeschooling the kids, reading a lot of books, and figuring out how to keep this place clean (a never-ending, and possibly losing, battle).  While I occasionally miss working as a dental hygienist, settling into these homeschooling years has been very fulfilling (and also very insecurity-inducing, but we won’t get into that). The greatest joy of homeschooling to me so far is the freedom to point my kids to Jesus throughout their education, and getting a front row seat as I watch them grow academically and in their knowledge and love for the Lord. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.



Oh, and also I’ve been taking too many pictures.  I notice an occasional eye roll from a passerby when I whip out my camera, but most people get it. I’ve been told many, many times by the older generation that “it goes by so fast”. I take so many pictures because I believe the white-haired ladies who stop me in the grocery store to wistfully remind me of that.

Merry Christmas, friends!  We pray that  you each know the peace with God that comes through trusting Jesus, Who was born to pay for our sins on the cross, that we may live.  He is our greatest gift. 

Also praying as we approach 2020 that it is a restful, quiet year “for the books” for you too.  That may be a tall order in an election year, but nothing is impossible with God!  (Joking, but also kind of not.) Hoping for a peaceful New Year for you all!

Joyfully,

Our Little Family

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5:20, ESV)








Why Moms Should Memorize Bible Verses


Printable Bible Verse Cards | Why Moms Should Memorize Bible Verses | Need some encouragement to memorize more Bible verses?  This site has encouragement plus PRINTABLE BIBLE VERSE CARDS to get you started!


I remember the first time we pulled up to the church that looked like something out of a storybook.  Painted white with green trim, steeple with a bell, a merry-go-'round and swing set out back.  I stepped out of the car somewhat nervously, trailed behind my family on the way in the door, and sat next to my sister as I smoothed out my yellow floral Easter dress.


Patriotic Fudge Recipe (+ Printable)



Fourth of July is coming up this weekend!  And even during these times when I feel like the country is going in the wrong direction, it is still one of my favorite holidays.  Two hundred and thirty-nine years ago, some brilliant men constructed a form of government founded on biblical principles and the idea that all men had a right to be free from tyranny.  That is still worth celebrating.

Last weekend, I attempted to make some patriotic fudge.  I made it once a couple years ago, and it was pretty and yummy, so I wanted to attempt it again so I could share the recipe.




A Little Insta-Blogging

Yesterday I posted this photo and caption on Instagram:





Oh my goodness, this has been a day. I attempted to wake up early for some quiet time, and couldn't even get out of the kitchen before I spotted a little shadowy form watching me from the hallway. Got her back to bed, spilled my tea. Managed to get through a couple chapters of the Bible before two of the kids were awake. Got them to bed again. Came up later to find they were NOT in bed, but had been painting the walls with their watercolors. Find mess, clean, repeat, all.morning.long. Naptime! Finished some blogging chores. I was just about to sit down with a book and some lunch (ie. that plate of cucumbers and peppermint tea, cravings brought to you by #babynumberfour ), but I hear them up there again. #dayinthelife #threeunderfour #lovethemalwaysthough 


Yesterday was crazy, guys.  It was probably one of the messiest days I've had as a mom - and by messiest, I mean that I was constantly cleaning up messes!  It seemed like every time I turned around, one of the kids was getting into something.  Even during what I thought was nap time, I came upstairs to find that the kids had been scattering toys about their rooms when I was blissfully unaware.

I'm really not one of those insane clean freaks, normally.  I've been known to make and leave messy areas around the house myself.  But the unexpected messes.  They bother me.  At least they did yesterday.

I wish I could say I handled it all with grace and kind words, but that would be a lie.  I was frustrated, and it showed.

I was thinking about it this morning, and you know what?  This morning has been lovely so far.  Granted I haven't been upstairs to see what the kids are doing at the moment, but still.  This morning it is easy to remember that I love this.  I love this mom job.  I would so much rather be home cleaning up my kids messes than anywhere else.

Because even on the bad days, Wyatt asks if he can give me a kiss, and Gwen comes running to me for comfort when she is hurt, and Clyde falls asleep in my arms on the couch.  Every job has frustrating moments, but I don't know another job that has as many rewards to compensate as this one does.



Every day is fresh, with no mistakes in it, and God's mercies are new every morning.  Even for messes, and moms who in the midst of the chaos sometimes forget how incredibly blessed they are.

(Bonus if you know where the first part of that last paragraph came from - only one of my favorite books ever.)

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I have a free printable of the image above, coming for my newsletter subscribers in mid-April!  You can sign up to the right if you are not already a subscriber, or click here.

Printable Bible Verses For Labor

Printablebibleverses2

A couple years ago, before Gwen was born, I came up with a list of Bible verses that I wanted to read for encouragement during labor.  Of course, I didn't end up using them that time, because Gwen decided to come so quickly!  I did, however, use them when I had Clyde - two in particular.
HecaresforyouIcandoallthings
I repeated these two verses to myself during the last part of my labor with Clyde, and I loved that I could fill my mind with God's truth while I was in so much pain.

When I picked these verses for labor, I chose some because they seemed appropriate for labor and delivery, but many of them I just picked because they were verses that I have held close to my heart over the years - ones that have encouraged me at times when I needed it.

Bibleverseprintables

Bibleverseprintablesforlabor copy

I felt like it was time to update the printables I originally made for these verses, so I made some new printables that I wanted to share with you!  

These printables are now available in my new Etsy shop! The file with entire set of 10 cards is available for $3.  Check them out here!

After I made these printable I got them printed up to test them out, and I realized that I kind of love having cards of these verses for day-to-day life - to remind me to focus on the Lord through even the little challenges.  So whether you are having a baby and would like to use these cards for the purpose I originally intended, or whether you choose to print them up for your home or personal study, I hope you'll find them an encouragement and reminder of God's love for you!


Bibleversesforlabor1

Please note that these printables were previously offered as a gift to my newsletter subscribers.  They are no long offered as a free printable, but can be downloaded immediately after purchase in my Etsy shop.  Thank you!

So I'm Doing A Newsletter



So in case yo missed it last week, I have a new little project going for my blog - I am doing a blog newsletter!

Reasons to sign up?

1.  I'm giving free printables to my newsletter subscribers - I am working on some Bible verse printables to send out in January now!  Yay for freebies!

2.  It is a great way to keep in touch with me - whether you sign up for the weekly post updates or the monthly newsletter (or both), you can respond to the emails you get, and your responses will be sent directly to my inbox.  I'm going to do my best to reply (promptly) to email responses, it's a great way to keep in touch!

3.  I'll be sharing photos and personal updates that you won't get on the blog.

4.  If anything ever weird happens with my site, you won't lost track of me completely because I can send you an email.

See?  There you go.  Four pretty good reasons!

And on a sidenote, what is everyone up to this weekend before Christmas?  Tonight we are going to the zoo's light display with my friend Danae, and her family - she also took Clyde's six month pictures recently, so I am excited to see how they turned out!  The picture above was my attempt to snap a quick phone photo after that session - yeah.  They don't sit still for me.

On Saturday I have a party at my friend Ashley's house and another party at my uncle's house, and on Sunday we have church and a family gathering with my dad's side of the family.  I counted, and over last weekend and this weekend, I have had ten separate events - whew!  It's all fun stuff though, so I'm not complaining.

Have a great weekend!



Christmas Printables And Updates

SilverbellsChristmasPrintable

When I was a girl, one of my favorite Christmas songs was "Silver Bells".  Now I'm not exactly sure why, but it just seemed to usher in the Christmas season for me.

Last year I put together these lyrics to Silver Bells with the intention of using the lettering to create a painted Christmas sign - but the sign never got finished, and I lost my motivation.  So this year, I changed up the file a bit and made printables instead!  I think they look pretty cute with my poinsettia flowers that Derek got me a few years ago, my little snowmen figurines that were a gift from my sister, and some Walmart sparkly ornaments stringed up on my wall.

ChristmasprintablesSilverBellsPrintables

Lately I've been working on getting a blog newsletter going - my plan is to send out a newsletter once a month or so, and I'll include personal updates and pictures, links to some of my more popular posts that month, links to other articles that I've liked, and the occasional freebie.  I am excited about this new project!

And you are in luck, because if you sign up for my newsletter before the end of December, I'll send give you this set of printables!  Consider it a thank-you-for-reading-and-signing-up-and-merry-Christmas gift.  You can sign up below, and then keep an eye out for the printables in your inbox!  You can either sign up for the monthly version, or you can sign up to get a weekly roundup of posts from the blog instead.



Speaking of personal updates, I think I might have some good news on the job front for Derek - I don't want to say too much yet just in case it doesn't work out, but things are looking promising - keep us in your prayers, and I'll post an update (if there is anything to tell) next week!


Christmassilverbellsprintables

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
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