Wednesday, December 31, 2014

a New Years ditty

i really do like the idea of a new start.
a new beginning.
a designated place and time to begin the journey towards achieving a goal.

 i typically don't make resolutions on January 1st because i get tired of them, forget them or ignore them.
instead of resolutions for the new year, i'd like to think of these things as part of the new me
things that i want to forever integrate into who i am and how i do life.

since i traditionally never stick to my resolutions, let's start with this one:
1. finish what i start
even the mundane things, like putting away the folded laundry
(i'm staring at it as we speak i type. i stopped the process so that i could write this post)
it's not January 1 yet, so cut me some slack
honestly, i'm talking about finishing everything that i start.
staying committed, putting my nose down and grinding it out.
big or small, inconsequential or largely significant.

2. tip the scale towards gratitude
vs. complaining, pity-partying, jealousy, sadness

3. it's their day, too
remember that my kids can have tough days, too
and on my tough days, remember that it doesn't mean that i need to create a tough day for them.
and that my attitude directly impacts their day
they deserve to have a great day and to be treated with the kindness (and patience)
it's their day, too

4. be intentional
the older i get, i realize just how fleeting our days are
and their finality.
once a day is over, it is over and gone.
as true and real as this is, it is just now really becoming my reality.
i am learning that i can determine how our days are spent and what becomes of our time.
i do think that raising two boys to love God and love others is good enough.
 i do.
as a parent that is my job and my goal.
but, if i see something that needs to be done or want something to be done,
then i have to be intentional about doing it.
obvious enough, you'd think.

for instance: i've had a goal of living (mostly) self-sufficiently off of our land in regards to what we eat.
it can be done.
we have the space and the resources.
i just haven't been intentional about using my time efficiently in order to make it happen.
this year, that changes.
up with the chicken coop
in with the year-round garden
this is just one area in which i want to be intentional with my time.

5. free myself from nagging
i never knew that i was a nag until i got married
man, i can wear GT out with little nips about how he does this or that or doesn't do this or that.
and for what? and why?
we ARE on the same team, after all
 it doesn't do anyone any good and the nagging really achieves nothing.
except create tension and hard feelings
i've decided over the last few months to just stop with the nagging
anytime i feel like i need to say something snarky to GT, i stop and think of something kind to say or just say nothing at all (i typically go with that option)
and it is amazing the change in attitude that i have felt, the kindness that we show one another, the positivity in our interactions and the overall happiness that i feel when we're together
try it.
free yourself from the responsibility of nagging or correcting.
let it go.
it's not your job anyway.

6. leave people better than where i found them.
don't leave them with my anxieties, insecurities, doubts, negativity or worries.
leave them with fruit
the fruit of the spirit is my anthem
love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self-control

Whatever your New Years resolutions or goals may be, tackle 'em.
capitalize on this designated point in time as a fresh start
and a kick in the pants to get in gear

climb that mountain!
or laundry basket

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

a Taylor Christmas

Merry {late} Christmas from the Taylors

this year was our year to spend Christmas Day with GT's family
we celebrated with my family the weekend before
next year, we do the swip-swap
pretty good lil' set-up!

anywhoo...we headed to Huntsville on Monday morning, then made our way to Austin on Tuesday.
we spent the week with GT's immediate family and the extended Taylor family on Christmas day.
it was relaxing to stay at the house all week and have no agenda (aside from baby/toddler naps)
i always love any time that we spend with GTs siblings...good people, i tell ya'

we started out by celebrating Del's birthday on Christmas eve afternoon
(separate and apart form Christmas eve) 
her birthday is on the 23rd, so we make sure to keep the decor, cake and gift-wrapping any color than red and green.
she more than deserves her own celebration!
Kimmy, my sis-in-law, made that cake.

most of our time was spent playing with the babies

playing dominoes
and loving on eachother
(can you get enough of Gracie??!!?!? i can't)

Judson was never far from an uncle or cousin
and they were never far from tormenting playing with him

the deer would come right up to the house in the morning
and Pawpaw took him for wheelbarrow rides
and he was heaven

Judson wanted the babies in the wheelbarrow with him
i said no way, the uncles said yes
but, then i was thankful because i got this pic...
so, thanks guys?

Christmas morning was equal parts laid-back and chaotic
chaos can be attributed to mr.smiley in the mismatched pj's
don't think that he didn't climb on top of all of the gifts

it was wonderfully laid-back as we took our time giving and receiving gifts, eating breakfast and loving on little love bundles
Garret was our in-house Santa and distributed gifts
don't let that smile fool you.
he got a little attitude when you didn't write who the gifts were to or from.
not that i'd do that...on all of our gifts.

our breakfast consisted of a breakfast casserole and Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls.
us gals joined our culinary wisdom and skills together and whipped up those bad-boys.
we started the process on Christmas Eve and all pitched in to create the {almost TOO} sugary, buttery, dreamy breakfast/dessert rolls. 

after unwrapping gifts and a everyone-pitch-in clean-up, we ladies high-tailed it back to the kitchen to finish up cooking Christmas dinner for the whole family. 

the rest of the day was spent eating, visiting, dominoes, football, naps, dessert....the stuff holidays are made of, i suppose.
and squishy baby girls
and fighting with your sibling, ha!

also, trying to "go tee-tee outhide"
potty-training and picture-taking collide

it really was a lovely Christmas day 

the next morning we took it easy and soaked up every last second of being together

then we headed home, stopping in Huntsville to break up the trip and stay the night
Townes decided that he was ready to sit up...for like 2 seconds, but still!!!!! what!?
and Judson slept on a pallet on the floor for the first he's 12 or something.
what is happening to my life?

It's a pretty great life.
The days were busy and full of kiddos, cooking, cleaning and a lot of not slowing down
and nights full of talking and laughing with siblings and parents
i sure do love these days. 

sharing Christmas with this family is what dreams are made of.
praise God for the birth of Jesus so that our family is not bound by this earth.
and i praise God for this Taylor family that i get to share this life with
and who call me their own.
i just regret not getting a photo of the whole did that happen? there's only 12 of us to coordinate!

this one of our little family will have to suffice

Thursday, December 18, 2014

thanks for asking

5 years ago, I said "yes". 
Actually, I think I just nodded. 
Then GT waited and asked me again in order to get a verbal response. 
I suppose that my silent nod of affirmation wouldn't suffice when it came to

When he proposed, on the balcony of a hotel room of the Four Seasons (strong work, gt), I was wearing a beautiful birthstone ring that was given to me by my aunt Jessi. Well, in all of the excitement it was gently and literally tossed to the side, in order to be replaced by the new bling. Unfortunately, to-the-side was off of the balcony...and never to be found.
 I really liked that ring and still wish that I hadn't been so careless.

Luckily I wasn't so careless in my husband selecting. 
More accurately, in my saying yes.
GT always says to me, "thank you for marrying me"
to which i respond, "thanks for asking"

and i mean it.
He has always been and continues to be the better decision maker and initiator between the two of us. 
I always ask his advice before making a decision. even little ones.
it's really a wonder that i can function when he is gone for days at a time.
i kid. i kid.
but only a little.

When GT asked me to marry him, there was no doubt in my mind that my answer would be yes.
On that day, five years ago, i said yes because I was incredibly in love and pretty infatuated with him.
i said yes because he loved me so well.
and because he loved his family,  he enjoyed being with my family, he sought Godly wisdom from other men, he treated others well, he was strong, he was passionate, he was driven, he was considerate, he was a leader, he was mature, he had a great family, he liked to go to baseball games and concerts, he was ambitious, he was supportive, he made good conversation, he was confident, he liked black coffee, he was smart, he was taller than me (seriously, it had to start somewhere), he knew how to have a good time, he didn't take himself too seriously, he was a little bit country (ok, a lotta bit), he was handy, he was independent, he appreciated good and stupid humor, he was encouraging, he was competitive, he was easy to talk to, he handled my "issues" well, he was thoughtful, he was incredibly handsome.
i respected him and i loved him.
and i really like being with him as often as possible.
also, when i told him that "i'm not high maintenance, i just like nice things"...he stuck around and even gave me nice things.
luckily, i'm not as "high-maintenance" as when we dated (or so i think)

today, i would say yes again...if he asked.
but the reasons extend beyond those listed above.
the Lord gave me the desires of my heart before i even knew what they were.

He gave me a man that would lead me and my family to know Jesus personally.
a man that would make tough decision day-in and day-out that were the right decisions, but not the most popular or easiest. 
a man that would continue to seek wise counsel from others that would make him a better father and husband.
a man that would pour into the word of God in order to grow His personal faith.
a faith that would stand as the cornerstone for our family.
a man that would be practical when i was unreasonably emotional
a man that would always say "i'm sorry"
a man that wouldn't give up on us
a man that is committed to and incredibly intentional about leading and loving his family
a man that likes still likes to be my boyfriend

I was not aware of all of the good that i was saying "yes" to then.
and sometimes, the not-so-good, but in saying "yes" i got it all and i'm keeping it.

5 years later, i still back up my decision
and GT, thanks for asking.

(yes, that is GT in the above photo. pb&lh. pre-beard & long-hair)

Monday, December 15, 2014

a long weekend in Huntsville

you all know how much i love going to GT's parents home
this much

recently, we spent a long weekend there and soaked up every second of time with them
getting loved on

visiting Granny
or "Grammy Rubys" as JR calls her

loving Texas in general

playing with the dogs
you might notice Trigger...he's a Texan now
he and Judson always enjoy a little reunion

taking some photos of TW when i'm running late for church

playing some dominoes, of course
the ladies won, if you must know

more dog loving
I'm not sure if Judson Ray or I love being at GT's childhood home more
we just make ourselves right at home and never want to leave

luckily, we have an open invitation and take advantage of that as often as we can
thank goodness for awesome grandparents!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


we had a full weekend of festivities this Thanksgiving
that involved lots of lots...overflowing with blessings.

Jake, Jamie, Beau, Luke, Josh, Jonathan, Jenn, Lillian and James Everett were all in on Wednesday, so there was constant kid action somewhere
mostly on the gator or running around outside

thursday lunch was at my parents house with the whole crew
and some food-prep help from the littles

our newest family member, sweet Harper

Judson and Luke are never far apart

and the things we find them doing always entertains

after lunch and a bit of lounging, a family-friendly game of football commenced

i'm pretty sure the team i was on won.
i missed the end because a rather hungry 4 month old summoned.
but, it doesn't matter who won...we all had fun. 

i love these ladies of mine
(missing a few)

and this little guy's first Turkey day 

that evening we celebrated our sweet wittle Wukey turning 2!!!!
he is quite the character
with his silly smile, quirky mannerisms and awesome hair
i love how he loves us, especially Judson.
he's a good little buddy
and i am incredibly proud to be his aunt!

this tough guy, too
how did he get to be 4, anyhow?

Friday, my Mamaw Jo cooked a delicious lunch of gumbo and mexican cornbread
just so we wouldn't go a meal without being with our family
she's the best

that night, us Kirby siblings saw Mockingjay....yeeep!

Saturday morning, my Mamaw Lou cooked breakfast at her house
what a wonderful treat!

then we took family pictures, which went as well as you can expect 

but the photographer did bring her miniature pig
so, that was fun... 

the older i get and the more people that i get to know, i realize just how rare it is to have such a large family living in close proximity to one another.
it is a rare thing.
and it is not something i take for granted. 
i soak up every single second with my family
and thank God repeatedly throughout the day for the goodness He has shown to me.

all of this family is wonderful, but without sharing the hope of heaven with them, the joy would be missing.
i am incredibly thankful that i was born into such loving, welcoming, joyful family that taught me about Jesus. 
because of the gospel of Jesus i will share eternity with my earthly family.
and that is something to be thankful for.