Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

May each of us remember now our mighty Savior born for us in a lowly manger. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"This is Supposed to be Special!"

As part of our family's Advent, we do one special "family activity" each week. (There are also service projects, Scripture readings, and tiny pieces to a nativity that gradually gets built throughout Advent.) So this week's activity was a family movie. I bought the "Polar Express," and Eli was so excited to watch the "Twain Movie." We had such a busy weekend, though, that we didn't get a chance to watch it until this afternoon after church and a church luncheon.

Our nephew Timothy came over to watch with us, too. He's more like a brother to Eli than a cousin, so he's a part of a lot of our family activites. Anyway... we got them all set up on the couch with hot chocolate and cozy blankets, and they were just so giddy. It was adorable!

And we cuddled up and watched that movie for all of 20 minutes before things started deteriorating. :) They just wanted to play! I kept telling them that this was "family time" and that they needed to sit down and watch the movie. Finally their goofing off led to an entire mug of hot chocolate getting spilled on the rug and a subsequent lecture from me about how "this is supposed to be special!"

And as they went scampering away to play with toys and I listened to them laughing and talking while Eric and I scrubbed the rug, I realized that I'm putting way too much pressure on Christmas "activities" to deliver the meaning of the season. Because it's not about a 2-hour movie watched all the way through. It's about two little boys playing so happily together that there was nothing else they'd rather be doing. And it's about the love that we have the choice to show to each other in gratitude for the tremendous love that was shown to us at the birth of our Savior.

So, as I apologized to Eli for my bad attitude and high expectations and lack of love in the way I treated them, I tried to engrain in my heart that the "everyday" moments are the special ones. I don't want to put any pressure on Christmas, because the center of it all is the infant who came to bring us peace!

So there will be no more "This is supposed to be special!" lectures from a frazzled mommy. There will just be happiness in the moments shared and the opportunites we have to love and share with others. And if we get to watch more than 20 minutes of a Christmas movie together, that's just a bonus. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Heavenly Host

On Friday Eric and I drove to Norman, Oklahoma so that I could be in my dear friend Misty's wedding. We are friends and former roommates from college, and it was such a joy to stand beside her as she married the man who is so perfect for her! It was a great little whirlwind trip. Congratulations, Misty and Gerhard!

We drove back on late Saturday night so that we could be at church on Sunday to see the children's Christmas program at church! All the kids have been working for months on this program, and the whole church has been eagerly anticipating this. We are so thankful for the women who headed this up and spent so much time and energy getting it all together.

The older kids (5-11) were the "choir" and the speaking parts, and the preschoolers made up the nativity. Eli was an angel. They brought in each part of the nativity at different times in the program, and each time you could hear the whole congregation say "Awwwwww!" when they came in- they were just adorable!

In my biased opinion, I've got to say that the angels were the best part. There were about 10 of them, all 3 years old, all dressed in white with halos and wings and these tinsle pom-poms that they waved around. They sang their little hearts out to "Angels We Have Heard on High," and it was the cutest thing I've seen in a long time.

(This picture makes me laugh- that's Timothy, my nephew, picking his nose. :) )

Eli loved being a part of this, and I loved watching him, along with all the other fantastic kiddos the children's ministry has blessed with, praise the Lord at Christmas.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmastime Happenings

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we made our annual trek with the Heinzes to the Christmas tree farm to cut down our tree! A few pictures from our day...

On the hay wagon:

We found a good one!

Eli and Timothy:

Today Eli and I went with our dear friends Elizabeth and CJ to Northpark to see the trains and visit Santa! This is the first year that Eli has been "into Santa," so this has been a much-anticipated event! :)

Eli and CJ looking at the trains:

Me and my sweet boy:

Eli and Santa! Eli was soooo excited to see him, and Santa did not dissapoint!

We had such a fun, Christmas-y day with treasured friends. I love this season!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We Rocked the Rock

Today Eric and me and our dear friend Sarah ran the White Rock Half Marathon! Running a half marathon was one of my New Year's resolutions for last year: run 13.1 miles at 30 years old. I'm so happy to have completed it with my husband and my sweet friend!

We've trained for this for three months now, so we were SO ready to just do it! The only problem with the race was that it was 40 degrees and 100% chance of rain! Yikes! Fortunately, it only sprinkled on us while we stood in the "corrals" waiting for our turn to cross the starting line, and once the skies really opened up, we were already warm from running.

The atmosphere of the race was so fun! There were tons of people lining the course cheering for everyone, which meant a lot, being as they were standing in pouring rain! :) We ran through the Highland Park neighborhood in Dallas, which is beautiful, and it was just so fun to be running a race with 25,000 other happy runners!

Can you tell by my over-use of exclamation points that I really enjoyed myself? :) Honestly, I'm just so thankful to have had the opportunity to do this, to be blessed with a body healthy enough to accomplish this. It felt fantastic, and I can't wait to do it again next year!

This 30 year-old non-athlete ran 13.1 miles in the cold rain today! And she's proud of it! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


If you know me well, you’ve probably heard me ramble on about “an attitude of thanksgiving” more than once. It has been my “theme,” if you will, for the past year, and I have loved seeing the Lord work on the hardened parts of my heart through simple lessons of thankfulness.

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving, but this year I am loving it even more as we seek to see all the little blessings of the Lord in our daily lives. We’ve been filling up our "thankfulness jar" with scraps of paper bearing the written names of gifts from the Lord, from large to small. Eli dictates his thankfulness to me daily, and I write them all down… candy, airplanes, bicycle, Daddy, stickers, red leaves,… We add all of our thankfulness daily to this jar, and we’ll read through our writings on Thanksgiving morning.

And the image of an empty glass jar slowly, over the course of the month, being filled up with scraps of yellow and orange paper? It’s a perfect analogy for how thankfulness can fill up our hearts, leaving little room for complaining.

So, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a whole jar-ful of little gifts, from chilly, rainy mornings to candles flickering to a bouquet of fresh flowers. I am thankful for our cozy little home and daily provision and my family close by. I am thankful for my husband who loves me and my son who is healthy and my God who gave me all of this.

But more than that? I am thankful for the cross of Christ, His blood spilled on my behalf, the peace I have, eternally, with the God of the universe, because Jesus paid for my sins. All other gifts pale in comparison to this one. But I believe that as we thank God for all His many blessings in every day, we are brought into deeper communion with our Savior who died for us.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving! May we rejoice today in the abundant gifts of our Father.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Raising a child has taught me so much about my own sin and shortcomings. I sometimes watch Eli get worked into a frenzy about some minor issue and think, "Geez! Get a better attitude!" And then I remember that I oftentimes am guilty of doing the very same thing!

This year we have been working hard to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness in our home. Part of this includes listing, at various times, what we're thankful for in any given moment. I've been learning that turning my thoughts from complaining to thanking really does work to change my whole attitude!

I've loved observing this in Eli as well. When he gets frustrated about something or is upset, I try to, instead of just silently brooding over how much I dislike his bad mood, start listing things that I'm thankful for. It takes a minute or so, but Eli will eventually chime in. Before we know it, we're both coming up with a long list of things we can be thankful for in the moment, and both of our attitudes are totally turned around!

I'm thankful for how the Lord uses my three-year-old to teach me how childish I sometimes act! And I'm thankful that He has compassion on me just as a "father has compassion on his children" and remembers that I am "but dust" (Psalm 103).

And I am thankful for all the things that Eli says he is thankful for! I love them all! Rainbows, candy, cousins, paint, red leaves, his bicycle, a car to drive, a Daddy who works hard, his friends, rain,... I can almost picture God in heaven just smiling as He hears the thanks of little children as they take joy in all His bountiful gifts.

We pray that the lesson of thanksgiving continues to change our attitudes and our hearts. Because, truly, God's gifts are abundant.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


For people who aren't too big on Halloween, we sure did a lot of Halloween-related events this year! :)

We started with costume night at Awana. Here are the three of us in our costumes- doctor, dinosaur, and detective (minus the giant magnifying glass that was later added to the costume). The suit was Phil's dad's years and years ago, and Eric is the only one skinny enough to fit into it! :)

We went to a couple church "festivals" too in the past week. Eli loved it all. Here a couple shots from the fall festival at Mimosa Lane...

Pony rides:

Giant slide:

Playing games:

Eli, Timothy, and CJ:

Yesterday afternoon we carved a pumpkin, and then we joined some friends for trick-or-treating. This was Eli's first time, and he absolutely loved it!

Eli with Eric's "Japanese warrior" pumpkin: :)

All the kiddos- this picture cracks me up! :)

Our trick-or-treat-er!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

State Fair

Eric and I haven't been to the Texas State Fair in years, but this year we decided that Eli and Timothy needed to experience it! Phil and Kelly left Charlie with my parents, and then we all loaded up and went to the fair on Thursday night. The boys were totally blown away by all that there was to do and see. They just rode around on Eric's and Phil's shoulders with their mouths hanging open as they took in all the lights and sounds and people. It was adorable to watch. We tried to give them a good sampling of fair food, took them to see the pig races, saw the parade of lights, and let them ride a couple rides. They also just stood in amazement at the ferris wheel for quite some time. :)

When we saw Big Tex, Eli said, "Him not bite us?" :)

A few pictures...

By the ferris wheel- us and then Phil, Kelly, and Timothy:

I look like a dork in this one, and you can't really even see the boys, but I love how they're looking at each other! They just stared at each other and laughed and laughed the whole time!

Another ride, this time with Kelly:

Before we left, they shared a drink and a fried snickers. They were absolutely giddy with excitement and exhaustion. :) It was a perfect childhood experience for them!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Family Camping Trip Fall 2011

Last weekend my whole side of the family (Bergstroms) went our our annual fall camping trip. As usual, it was a fantastic time of relaxing and playing and enjoying being outside and with each other! Here are a few pictures from the long weekend away...

Everyone getting ready for a hike around the lake:

Going for a swim with Pop-Pop:

Eli and Cooper partaking in the plethora of unhealthy snacks we had this weekend: :)

The park had a "grand reopening" event on Saturday with some cool stuff for the kids to do, like this giant slide. I love the expressions on everyone's faces (Pop-Pop, Eli, and Timothy):

Part of the festivities included a visit from Smoky the Bear, who happens to be Eli's idol right now, for some reason. :) Eli and Jacey were so excited to meet him and hug him! Eli keeps saying, "Smoky the Bear loves hugs!"

Our little family:

A great time was had by all!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Hi-Light of Eli's Week

One might guess that the hi-light of a three year-old's week would be a trip to the zoo, a camping trip, a pumpkin patch visit, playing outside with cousins, or a baking fest with his mom, all of which Eli has experienced lately.

But the thing Eli has been the most excited about lately? A trip to the dentist. :)

I don't know what this says about him... maybe he's headed for a career in dentistry? that he's picked up on the habits of his oral-hygeine-loving parents? that he's just wierd?

Whatever it means, it sure was cute. :) He woke up yesterday morning and said, "I can't wait to go to the dentist today!" (We had been talking about it daily when we brushed our teeth.) He marched into that dentist's office, gave everyone a smile and a hug, and let Vickie, our wonderful and amazing hygeinist, count and clean his teeth! I was so proud of him. After Vickie was done, Eli asked, "Where's the dentist?" :) Dr. Taylor came by to say hi, and Eli was enthralled. I was so proud, also, of the really good report they gave him of his clean teeth!

He picked out two tubes of toothpaste and a new toothbrush, which he carried around with him on our other errands, and then as soon as we came home he brushed his teeth for a good 5 minutes with his new toothpaste and toothbrush. And he repeated the whole thing once Eric got home from work.

Crazy? Perhaps! But at least he has super-clean teeth!

*The picture is unrelated- just cute! :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Little Pumpkin

The obligatory fall pumpkin photo...

Fall 2011, 3 years old:

And just for the sake of comparison,

Fall 2010 (2 years old):

Fall 2009 (17 months old):

Fall 2008 (5 months old):

I can't believe how much he has grown! It makes me a little sad...

I wonder if he'll still let me take a photo of him in the pumpkins when he's 16. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Photos

A few favorite pictures from the past month...

Eric took Eli to his first Rough Riders baseball game this month. Eli loved it. And I love how Eli is looking so adoringly up at Eric in this picture- it is so representative of how Eli feels about his Daddy!

Eli got a new bike this month and has been riding it at every opportunity. I love watching Eric and Eli ride away down the street together, because I know they're both doing something they love so much.

Phil and Eric took Timothy and Eli to a Forney High School football game a couple weeks ago. The boys loved it- all 4 of them! :)

Even though this is not a great pic of either kid, I still like this picture of Eli and CJ. These two really love each other! This picture was taken at the Gentle Zoo, which both boys thoroughly enjoyed a few weeks ago.

Brownie face:

Eli has been going to Awana this fall, and I think I can finally say that he likes it. :) He had a really hard time the first few weeks- I think the huge group of kids just overwhelmed him at first. But after he said his first Bible verses and got his Cubbies vest, he was really motivated! He wore his vest all the time last week- even to sleep. :)

And this week he marched right in and had a great time! I'm proud of my Cubbie!

Happy fall!

Sweet Boy

Eli takes a “little rest time” on days when we are home in the afternoon. He plays with toys and reads books for an hour and knows that he isn’t supposed to call me during that time. We always say, “Eli needs a rest, and Mommy needs a rest!” :)

Yesterday before I went into his room I sneezed several times (allergies!). When I went in there to get him, he said, “I hear Mommy sneeze; I say, ‘Bless you, Mommy!’” My heart smiled- it was so cute to me. He was following the “don’t call Mommy” rule, but he was still being sweet, even behind his closed door. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

24 Hours Away

On our actual anniversary this year (Thursday), I worked and Eric spent the day with Eli. Then when I got home Eric and Eli went to a football game with Phil and Timothy and I spent the evening cleaning the house. Very romantic. :) But I did get a gorgeous bouquet of roses and a very sweet card!

We were so looking forward to this weekend, though, when we could actually get away to celebrate! We dropped Eli off with my parents at noon yesterday and headed to the Addison Oktoberfest for the afternoon. We had a blast- it was so nice to just walk and talk and enjoy being outside!

After that we went to our hotel in Addison and rested a while and got fixed up for dinner. We went to Chamberlain's Fish Market and Grill, where we had perhaps the best meal we've ever eaten! The restaraunt was fancy and romantic, and the food was incredible. They offer cooking classes there, so I might be asking for that as a birthday gift come December!

We watched "Water for Elephants" in our hotel room with champagne and chocolate cake- an anniversary tradition for us. :) Then we enjoyed sleeping for almost 11 hours straight! We both were in desperate need of rest- it was heavenly!

This morning we went out to brunch and then headed home to get Eli. It was a perfect 24 hours away. I'm so thankful to celebrate four wonderful years with my very favorite person in the world.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

4 Years

I knew it then...

And I still know it now...

There is no one else I would rather spend my life with!

You are my favorite person in the whole world, and you have my heart forever. Thank you for loving me so well. Happy Anniversary, Eric!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vacation Pictures

Alright, here we go... :)

We flew into Boston on Wednesday morning and spent the day walking around the historic part of downtown. We'd never been to Boston before, and we loved it! We ate lunch at the Barking Crab on the water, a "Man vs. Food" place, and it was so good!

From Boston we took the Downeaster train to Portland, Maine. Eli loved the train ride (see his giant smile?)! Grandpop and Grandmom met us in Portland and, after a nice dinner out, took us to their beautiful log home in Denmark, Maine.

The next day (Thursday) we went to the Maine Wildlife Preserve, where Eli saw his first moose! He's been talking about it for months now, so I'm glad we were finally able to make his dream come true. :) There were lots of other neat animals there, too- ones that you don't see in Texas! Eli used up his whole disposable camera taking pictures of the animals there. :)

On Friday we went to the beach at Pine Point. It was the perfect day. The weather was gorgeous, and the tides happened to be timed just right so that we were there at low tide and were able to walk way out on the sand bar, catching tiny little crabs, picking up sea shells, and playing in the shallow, clear water. This day will definitely go down as one of our all-time great memories.

Saturday we went to White Lake in New Hampshire. We all love this place, because the water is so clean and clear, and the setting is just picturesque. Eli had a blast playing on the neat playgrounds they have there, too.

On Sunday we had a taste of Hurricane Irene! By the time it reached us it was just a tropical storm, and it was honestly nice to see some rain after months of drought here in Texas! We lost power for a little over 24 hours, but Grandpop has a generator, so we still had some lights and power, and it was nice to just have a relaxing, rainy day inside. We did take a little walk in the rain, though, which was actually really nice!

And on Monday it was beautiful again! We went to breakfast in the morning, and then Eric and Eli and I hiked up Pleasant Mountain. Eli did great walking for a while, and then when it got steep Eric carried him on his shoulders. Eli's favorite part was "running" down the mountain with Eric- his laughter was echoing down the whole mountain! At one point he tripped and fell face-first in the leaves, and he was laughing so hard he couldn't get up. I'll never forget his pure joy.

We rode Grandpop's boat all around Moose Pond later that afternoon, too- it was so beautiful!

On Tuesday we drove to Boothbay Harbor. It's the cutest, quaintest little harbor town you can imagine. We stopped in a little coffee shop for coffee and cinnamon rolls, did some shopping, and then rode a big boat- the "Bennie Alice"- out to Cabbage Island for a clam bake. The weather couldn't have been prettier, and I think this is one of my favorite days ever. Everyone was just so happy. We couldn't have asked for more.

And then on Wednesday it was time to say goodbye to gorgeous Maine and my wonderful grandparents. We had a big breakfast, talked for a long time, took a walk down to the lake, fished a little more, and then headed back to Texas. The trip was just perfect, and we are so thankful for the opportunity to go! We loved every bit of it and are so grateful to my grandparents for sharing it all with us.