2015 Year in Review

Christmas#1

2015 has been an amazing year.

As a family one of the greatest joys we’ve had this year has been joining the Launch Team for Hartford City Church.  This is a new church plant of the Evangelical Covenant Church, East Coast Conference.  Our mission is to glorify Jesus Christ and bless the city of Hartford.  The vision of the church is to participate in and experience God’s Beautiful Restoration in Hartford, CT (and beyond), Isaiah 61:1-4 is our seed verse.

Esther is in 3rd grade and doing great!  She loves her friends and is kind and caring.  She and Naomi are on the same indoor soccer team this Winter. Her favorite part of this year was taking our various trips to Old Sturbridge Village, with family and friends.

Naomi is in 1st grade and is also doing fabulously!  She is more quiet than Esther but just as sweet and kind.  She loves playing soccer with her friends from school and town.  Her favorite part of 2015 was having a play date with her friend Cam.

Matt has seen a busy year for work but he continues to grow in his position at Aetna and has a great team to work with.  He began brewing his first beer in January and made a few more batches over the year.  Ever the connoisseur, he was pleased with some and decidedly unpleased with others.  May brought knee surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon (it had ripped off his knee cap).  Matt’s surgery and recovery have been smooth and better than expected.  2016 will hold a return to running and golf for Matt, as both were put on hold during recovery.

Carey began 2015 by finishing her radiation treatment in January.  Over the summer she finished her Herceptin infusions and celebrated one year of having no evidence of cancer (aka remission).  There have been some setbacks this Fall with reconstruction, caused by an infection that brought a week at Hartford Hospital and removal of the implant used to reconstruct the right side (cancer side).  This means that 2016 will be the year in which Carey finishes reconstruction.  In the midst of the Fall’s challenges Carey began serving with MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) as a Ministry Coach, working to support and assist the MOPS groups across CT and into NY.  Carey experienced the support and friendships that come from MOPS groups and communities and is very excited to be beginning to give back to this organization.

We have certainly had our challenges this year, but we have seen God’s hand carrying us through each day and challenge.  As people seeking to follow Jesus we know that Life will always have challenges, they are what shape us and build our character as well as our hope.

Our prayer for 2016 is that God would continue to draw us close to Him, that He would give us the strength and grace to meet each new challenge.  Our world can seem so dark at times, whether it is the individual challenges we face or the broader global challenges facing humanity.  We pray that 2016 would be a year that brings Hope, that as we celebrate the birth of Christ we would be reminded of the Hope that He came to give us.  As we go into the new year may we love and care for those around us with strength, humility, and grace, just as Christ did.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love the Penneys

Conditioning Treatments

A quiet house might be the nicest thing around.  I love when our home settles in for the night or the girls are out with someone other than me.

A quiet house might also be the most terrifying thing, for a mom, as was my experience this morning.  I was catching up on some emails while the girls played when I realized that the house was… quiet. (cue climactic horror movie music)

Worse yet.  Last time I heard the girls they were making their way towards the bathroom.  (cue shrieks of horror)

OK, so it wasn’t too bad, I got off easy this time.  They just got into my hair conditioner.  I’m pretty sure they each ate a little and they were using it like lotion on their hands.  When I told my eldest that it was not body lotion but more like hair lotion she promptly ran her hands through her hair.  Rookie mistake on my part, I should have known better.  My baby immediately copied her big sister.  So I have two little girls running around with some extra conditioner in their hair today and thankfully that’s the worst of it.  Phew!

Here’s to a noisy house for the rest of the day, except nap time.

Beautiful Girls

My Littles love Veggie Tales, I mean they really love Veggie Tales.  If they could live in the produce aisle I think they would.  As they were watching SweetPea Beauty the other day I heard this song from the other room and backed the video up to hear it again.  As a mom to two little girls and a woman that has looked in the mirror and not liked what I’ve seen, this song really struck a chord.  Our culture can be so shallow with regard to appearance and what is considered beautiful.  True beauty is a deep, deep thing that is very hard to explain but stunning to see.  You’ve seen it, the person that helps another just because they need a hand; the child that chooses not to tease; the volunteer at the hospital or nursing home; those acts of beauty that sneak up on us and sometimes we get to witness and see this true beauty.

Here are the lyrics for the song as well as a link to the video.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLaqNbQNo4w

BEAUTIFUL FOR ME Lyrics
Nichole Nordeman

Every girl young and old has to face her own reflection
Twirl around, stare it down
What’s the mirror gonna say
With some luck, you’ll measure up
But you might not hold a candle to the rest
“Is that your best?” says the mirror to the mess

But there’s a whisper in the noise
Can you hear a little voice
and he says

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Oh
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me

If it’s true beauty lies in the eye of the beholder
What my life and what’s inside to give him something to behold
I want a heart that’s captivating
I wanna hear my Father say

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Oh
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me

Close your eyes
Look inside
Let me see the you that you’ve been trying to hide
Long ago, I made you so very beautiful
So I ought to know you’re beautiful


Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Yeah
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful
You’re so beautiful
Beautiful for me
So beautiful for me
Has anybody told you?

In case no one has told you today, this month or year.  You are beautiful!  YOU are so very beautiful!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  ~ Proverbs 31:30

Christmas Past

Can you believe that Christmas day has past already??  I am a believer in stretching the celebration out so I like to be Christmas-y for a while after (and of course before).  We don’t typically celebrate the Epiphany but that is another good way to stretch the holiday.

Our Christmas was fantastic!  We got our Littles two Bitty Babies (1 each) from American Girl.  I am very impressed with the overall quality and the speed of delivery.  This was the gift I was most excited to give.  And boy, oh boy, were they well received!  Our eldest likes baby dolls and we had planned on giving her a Bitty this Christmas, but our youngest likes baby dolls even more and while she is a little on the young side (at least officially) we decided to do one for each.  It was definitely the right decision.  In only one had received a Bitty we would be in treaty negotiations for a long time.

Here are pictures of the Littles opening their babes.  Catch that joy!!

We could not get the box open quickly enough for her. Thankfully we didn't need a sawzall to open the box.

She really realy wanted me to see this fantastic gift! "Mommy, kiss baby! Kiss baby!"

Mahwage. Mahwage is wot bwings us togeder tooday…

I happened upon this article while I was waiting at our local garage to have my car looked at recently.  I find two things to be… interesting… about this scenerio.  1) My garage has a subscription to ELLE magazine.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen Good Housekeeping, BH&G, Martha, O, Vogue, etc. at garages before.  I’m just pretty sure that I’ve never seen a copy of ELLE before.  2)  This article was found in ELLE.  Again, I go with the assumptions, but I was surprised to find this thoughtful article on marriage.

http://www.elle.com/Life-Love/Sex-Relationships/Till-Whatever-Do-Us-Part

As one who believes in the permanence of marriage despite our flaws I found this article to be insightful and with some great points.  Both on our society and on some of the challenges that face every marriage.  This is worth a read, so take a look and let me know what you think.

“Mahwage.  That bwessed awwangment.  That dweam wifin a dweam.”  ~The Impressive Clergyman

“Christmas Bells”

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Amen.

All dressed up and nowhere to go… but backwards

So would that make it “Somewhere to go but nothing to wear”?

Truthfully I have something to wear but not the thing that I want to wear.  Why is that?  I am selective in the clothing purchases and try to pick things that will have good uses, etc.  I have plenty of clothes.  So why do I feel as though I don’t?  Hmmm… Thats a topic for another post.

I have a Christmas party tonight.  A party with some of my lovely mom friends from the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group that I am part of.  The leadership team is having a “ball gown” party with a gift swap.  I have the gift, I have wrapped it in a lovely fashion (literally) and I just need to figure out how to wrap myself.  I’m a little short on ball gowns these days but I’m sure that there’s something hanging around that I can have some fun with.

With Christmas upon us here’s a wrapping tip that I learned from a friend.  Socks make wonderful little wrappings for wine bottles, small candles, pretty much anything that is less than 3″ in diameter.  Use a new pair of socks, take one and either put it in the toe of the other or use both on the bottle or jar.  Tweek it around a little, add a ribbon and there you have it, a fashionably wrapped gift.

Off I go to find some wrapping so I can go to the ball.  Where is my fairy godmother??  Or better yet, where did I leave my wedding dress??

 

UPDATE: I dug out a dress from my closet that I have used for weddings pre-kids.  It worked wonderfully!  Especially since the group was all women.  I need to do some sewing to it before I wear it again.  The soiree was wonderful and we all had a great time, now to find my pjs.