Christmas Joy, Part II

It's official. All of our Christmas celebrations are now over. I am always amazed at how it flies by every year. As we head back to real life... See I told you I wouldn't want to leave... I feel sad, but yet so excited for the year to come.

We had an amazing time in MO & AR with our family! We headed out Monday and stopped half way in Kansas and slept for about 4 hours before heading out again on Christmas morning. We made it into Springfield by lunch in time to meet up with our amazing friends, The Adkins. So thankful they took time out if their busy day to see us! TGI Fridays was the only place open on Christmas, so there we sat, eating & catching up! We then headed to my parents house in MG... It is always SO nice to get back "home". I always feel a sense of re-balance going home, being in my home town and with my parents...my compass.
After spending a couple of days at my parents' we all jetted down to my sister's in Arkansas, aka paradise!!! The trip consists of some very curvy, but gorgeous roads! The added bonus that day was the snow! Snow had DUMPED on them a couple days prior, so the roads were fairly safe, but the scenery was still magnificent! I absolutely adore the Ozark Mountain landscape; it takes me right back to my childhood.  As we arrived at my sisters, we were the first of the family to arrive, so we got some good quality time in with my sis and her girls... just catching up and settling in.  Below you'll see the GORGEOUS lodge we were blessed to stay in on the SOTO property this trip... and our daily view of the horses.
Our whole family was able to stay in this lodge, which made for an extra fun stay!  We played a lot of games, drank a lot of coffee, sat by the fire, had a traditional Christmas morning, ate lots of goodies, and even got to helped my sister and nieces with all of the animals and even got to talk to Alex on the phone (we sure do miss him)!  The horses are by far my favorite of their animals every visit, but this year Ollie took a close second.  Over the summer, they rescued an baby deer whose mother had been hunted.  They bottle fed him and now he is such a little goof! Ollie is such a love bug, and quite frankly I don't think he knows he's a deer, ha!
The few days we had together went so quickly, and as we head back to "real life" I feel quite reluctant! In fact, I haven't stopped talking about moving out of town on a good piece of land, haha, poor Rob! ♥ We are so thankful for all of our family and the time we all make for one another during the holidays! It really helps make it the most wonderful time of the year!

As I look at the week ahead, toward our returns to work on Wednesday, I'm thankful for our lives here and how God continues to bless us continually, on a daily basis! So here we go... hello real life ♥ Happy New Year, All! Enjoy some snapshots from our time away,

Rob and Ollie ♥

right outside our lodge ♥

Abi ♥

so pretty!
Ruby love!
second annual Buttons picture ♥ He loves me LOL.
brother ♥
Ruby ♥
nephew ♥
we like food
there are no words....
the view out our bedroom window
the view coming down the stairs from our room 
Sneaking Ollie some food ♥
Ruby ♥
Goobers... they love each other, LOL. 
Katy and I ♥
& my favorite shot of Ruby and I ♥


Christmas Joy, Part I

Rob and I are both so blessed with jobs who understand how important our families are to us. We were able to take quite a bit of time off to spend with all of our family. Priceless!!!

Our CA family (minus Grandma & Grandpa T) headed out to CO for the holidays the week before Christmas. We were able to squeeze a lot of quality family time into a few days! They made it out for some of our beautiful Colorado weather... In fact it caused Jack some issues as he was driving out from CA, delaying him an extra day. On the 20th we enjoyed some great family time, tamales included! Then, the 21st we went out to dinner as a family and headed out to the Broadmoor to enjoy all the Christmas lights, the lake, and a few drinks... donned in hats, scarves, mittens, and coats! The Broadmoor this time of year is truly magical! Saturday, the 22nd, we enjoyed breakfast and some thrift store treasure hunting, followed more quality family time complete with some yummy appetizer/finger foods, laughter, and games. And of course in true Rob & Carrie fashion... we decided to give everyone their stockings a day early ❤ Sunday the 23rd we woke up early for the early service at church, then headed back to our house for brunch and presents. Thanks to my sweet mother-in-law's help, we feasted on the Tisthammer traditional breakfast casserole! We were so excited that our cousins, Matt and Jeannine, were able to also be there from AZ! We spent the day hanging out and playing games.

Today we head out for a fun filled week in Missouri and Arkansas!! We will be, literally, in the middle of nowhere with no cell reception and very limited wifi!... I cannot wait! I never want to leave the wonderfulness of staying with my sister ♥ ♥ it is right up my alley... Secluded, animals galore, gorgeous landscape... And well, my sister ❤ good luck to anyone trying to get me to return to my regular life....

Merry Christmas, All!!!

Here are some glimpses in to our time this week....

Driving up to the Broadmoor...simply gorgeous.
Fireplace at the Broadmoor ♥
Blakely and me, enjoying the cozy fireplace ♥
The gorgeous lake
Levi was a big fan of the slinky in his stocking...thank you target Dollar Spot ♥
Delora and her stocking... Lilly wasn't as patient at dumping the stuff out... 
"Christmas Morning" at our home
Christmas Morning at our home ♥

I think we made a good choice with the tool bench for Levi ♥
they guys, getting Levi's present put together 
Showing off some of our huge box of Angel gear! 
Merry Christmas from the Broadmoor ♥
nothin' like bein' in love at Christmas ♥
Christmas in our Home ♥ so magical!


He was born so I could live.

I always find my self awe struck at that statement. He was born so I could live; He was born to DIE, so that I could live!

As I read my advent devotional this morning, I was once again hit with the awesomeness of this.  It continues to humbly bring me to the feet of Jesus, in complete awe. The gift of salvation, love, and grace should be at the center of my heart this holiday.  I pray that I never take it for granted.  Struck with thankfulness as I think back on my/our journey and Christ's constant hand in it all. 

St. Luke Tells of the Birth of Jesus

Seven verses. 5 about the census, 2 about His birth: parallels the quietness in which He came.
A baby.
A manger.
A stable.

Nothing that the world would refer to as King-like or royalty, but we know who this baby was and is.
He is the King of Kings.
He is the Lord of Lords.

Yet He was born in the quiet of the night: the most important night of all.

This Christmas, I pray that we can all take time to sit in the quiet, away from all the holiday chaos and reflect  on that quiet night in a stable where love was born. 

"And the first time that You opened Your eyes
Did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever
And the first time that You opened Your eyes
Did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever" ~Relient K


treasured heart ♥

By far my most valued relationship and friendship is my marriage.  We have been blessed with a once in a lifetime love.  I say this not out of boastfulness, but out of truth.  I truly believe everyone's love with their spouse is unique and their very own once in a lifetime love.  After all, you have chosen to spend eternity with your spouse.  How can that not be a spectacular, extraordinary, once in a lifetime love.  That commitment alone is a rarity these days.  So as I see our culture throwing marriage around lightly it saddens me that they will never know the true deep relationship that marriage is and can be.  Sure, some days it is the hardest thing I've ever done. Some days I wonder how people do this for 60 years. Some days I want to be left alone. But when compared to the days of wonderful... well, there is no comparison.  There is no comparison to someone knowing your soul, not the soul they speak of in movies, or greeting cards... the soul that is YOU. The you that God made you to be.  There is nothing like battling it out with your spouse and knowing you are both in this forever, that yes that second might not be fun, but you're in this. together. Because when it comes right down to it, the bad times pass just like the good ones do, and at the end of the day, they all seem like good times.  Marriage is the biggest risk you will take; completely giving your heart and soul to another, becoming ONE.  But, there is also no greater reward.
The purpose of this blog entry is to encourage you. Whether it be to cultivate the relationship you already have with your spouse, expanding on the gold foundation of an amazing marriage... friendship!! Or to pray over and cultivate the dating relationship you are in.  Have you asked God if this is the man or woman he has for you? Have you turned your relationship over to him?

I encourage you to push yourself.  Challenge yourself in your marriage! Here are a few blogs, written by amazing Christian wives, that I love!!! They challenge and encourage me daily! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

to love, honor, & vacuum
the timewarp wife
women living well
the unveiled wife
Internet Cafe Devotions
Happy Wives Club

....& those are just to name a few! If you are dealing with a specific topic and need extra encouragement...please let me know.  I can almost guarantee you if we haven't gone through what you are going through personally, I know someone who has! Always here to help and always here to listen! We as wives need to pray for one another and be there for one another. After all, who else understands what we are going through...the highs and lows, besides each other ♥


what a bright time... to rock the night away

Have I mentioned I love December?  Basically the celebrating begins around my birthday week and doesn't stop til after the new year! I am blessed to share my birthday week with my adorable little nephew, Levi.  This year he turned the BIG 2 on the the 15th.  We woke up bright and early Saturday morning, well I did and I woke Rob up saying, lets go surprise Levi with chocolate milk and doughnuts!!! So off we went... as his little head peeked out the window, I showed him his surprise...the look on his face... oh goodness, I'll never forget! :)  We were quite fortunate to spend some quiet time playing and hanging out with the overjoyed, happy birthday boy ♥

Later that evening we were back celebrating our favorite 2year old! He had a "pretty" Christmas sweater party, with hot dogs and french fries (his favorite) and chili! So yummy!! After dinner we made crafts while waiting on "rob-rob" to arrive so he could open his presents! We had such a great time celebrating Levi!!! 

Eating Cake with Daddy!
Doing his craft with Momma & Daddy!
Showing off our "pretty" sweaters! ♥

The Fun Continues....

natural, bowled a strike!
Sunday evening, we headed out for some more "birthday week" celebrations! We had a "snack" at P.F. Changs and then took Levi bowling for the first time! What a blast!!! He was pretty stoked when he realized blowing was all about throwing a ball! About as soon as he was loosing interest in the whole bowling part... cosmic bowling started... on came the strobe lights and loud music and he was in heaven! He was a dancing machine!!


Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

I have always LOVED Christmas...but boy, oh boy, did I get hit by the Christmas Cheer bug this year!! Since God has blessed us so richly with family, we will be celebrating here in Colorado as well as in Arkansas...we will miss celebrating with Grandma and Grandpa T as well as my mom's side of the family... which will be a first for us both.
Jack, Kathy, and Grandma Nina will get here Wednesday; we will get a little less than a week in celebrating with them before we head to paradise (so thankful they are staying in CO for a bit and taking care of our babies while we are gone! talk about a lifesaver!!), aka the middle of no where, to celebrate with my parents and siblings for a few days.  So, all of that to say that while making goodies, everything was in double batches - to the extreme, turning our house into a Christmas workshop wonderland! A few visuals of my holiday baking, (round two, as we already went through all of the goodies I baked the end of November) ~

Gluten Free Goodness!

...More Gluten Free yummies!

 Christmas cookies and happy hearts, this is how the holiday starts ♥

Thanks to my wonderflly, dear friend Autumn, I picked up a forest of evergreen branches at Home Depot for free!! This will be a yearly tradition... they smell wonderful and added so much more Christmas life to our house! I made just about anything I could think of using the branches; a center piece, a "snowflake swag", candle holders, an arrangement for our guest room, and then just added sprigs and pine cones around.  Our home now smells of pine...CHRISTMAS!!!
  •  center piece: crate from michaels, tree clippings, pine cones, berries, jar with Epsom salt, and votive.  Arrange to your liking.
  • snow flake swag: wire together pieces of greenery in star or snowflake pattern with large gauged wire from the dollar store, then I made a bow with wired ribbon from the dollar store and attached with with wire. 
  • candle holders: basic glass vase/candle holder.  Tied ribbon and jute twine around jars/vases adding greenery and berries.