Family Christmas

Monday, December 31, 2012

{Christmas morning}

So excited to open presents. Obviously.
{The Tunney family}
Meeting her nephew for the first time

Needless to say, this Christmas was all about babies. Considering we added 2 to the family in 2012, it made sense. It was chaotic, loud, messy, and so, so sweet. I adore this growing family of ours.

Liam and Loam.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

These two... 
Liam and Siloam.
Chunky monkey cousins.
3 months apart.

They got to meet this past week, and these pictures of them together crack me up. Here's to hoping they're buddies someday. I can't wait to watch them grow up together!

2 months with Liam.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Our Liam,

If it's possible to love you twice as much as we did last month, I think we might. Your little personality is coming out more every day, and those sweet smiles and cackles are the best. And the fact that you're sleeping through the night in your own crib in your own room... that makes us so, so happy. Going into your room in the morning and seeing you smile so big when we unswaddle you just makes us fall in love all over again. Sometimes we want to freeze time because we love this stage so much, but it's quite possible we'll love the next even more.

We're starting to think you'll have your mommy's big, blue eyes and your daddy's dimples. You're a very calm, laid back baby, and you're easy to figure out. If you're crying, it can usually only mean you're really hungry or really tired. You're active and love to kick and squirm and bounce, but still very content.

We love you, precious boy. We're so lucky that you're our son.

Four years.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Four years ago today, I said "yes" to becoming Shawn Newby's wife. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made... even better four years later than I realized then.

Getting married two days after Christmas, our anniversary tends to get shoved to the side with family in town, after-Christmas sales, and just plain busyness. But I want Shawn - and everyone - to know just how blessed I feel to be his wife for these four amazing years.

I'm thankful that our marriage doesn't require a ton of hard work. Someday, it may. But for these last four years, Shawn has made being his wife so easy. Having fun and enjoying each other comes really naturally most days. We not only love each other, we really like each other, and I don't take that for granted for a second. Being best friends with your spouse is such a gift. He has taught me so much about what servant leadership looks like, by example. He truly serves me and our family through his hard work, and I love that Liam has him to look up to.

This morning we watched our wedding video, and just after it finished, Shawn asked if he could give me a gift. He went to the other room, and when he returned, he was holding his guitar. I knew what it meant immediately and tears started rolling down my face... he had written me a song. I sat there, holding my sleeping son, listening to my incredible husband play the most beautiful song, and I almost couldn't believe it. How did God bless me like this?! It's so far beyond what I've ever deserved.

Happy 4th Anniversary, Shawn. I can't wait for 40 more.
PS - Happy 32nd Anniversary to my parents! It's a great day to get married! :)

Merry Christmas from us!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas favorites.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Smell: Caramel apple spice. Pine in my living room. Burning leaves. This year, I'm not sure I'll be able to top the smell of my baby's head on Christmas morning.

Tradition: Giving and receiving Christmas cards. I love opening the mailbox this time of year! I hope that with all of our advances in technology and social media, real mail at Christmas won't become obsolete anytime soon.

Movie: Les Misérables! While not exactly a Christmas movie, it's coming to theaters on Christmas day and my family will be there at the noon showing. :)

Hymn: O Holy Night
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Memory: One thing I miss about living outside of my hometown, the hustle and bustle at the airport was so exciting. I saw people from all walks of life headed to their family homes for Christmas, and it felt like we all had one common goal. This year, we will wake up and travel about 15 minutes to my parents' house - but I actually miss the holiday travel. Am I nuts?

Gift: Anything baked: spiced pecans, cranberry apple muffins, white chocolate covered pretzels.

Sight: Downtown Franklin at Christmas. The lit up shops and the huge NOEL sign on top of the Starbucks is incredibly charming.

Dislikes: Mall traffic. Elf on a shelf.

Ok, your turn. Some of your Christmas favorites? 

Last year's Christmas favorites here.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This is what my front door has looked like every day for the past week. Christmas has been wonderfully crazy for Brighter Day, and after making over 80 purses in the past two weeks (only 13 to go!) I'm officially exhausted. And officially ready to do Christmasy things that don't involve sewing. :)

So that's where I've been. Sewing. Packaging. Making lots of trips to the post office. 
I'll be back tomorrow with things to talk about that have nothing to do with business and everything to do with CHRISTMAS! I can't believe it's less than a week away!

PS... This little man of mine is ready for his first Christmas. :)

Sandy Hook.

Friday, December 14, 2012

This morning, as Liam and I sat in a beautiful commissioning service for this semester's graduating Belmont nurses, an unthinkable tragedy was happening about a thousand miles away. As I heard prayers said and watched the proud new graduates cross the stage, children were huddled into classrooms hearing gunshots, hearts pounding with fear, evil running wild in the halls of an elementary school. I don't even want to imagine the scene.

The tragedy has gripped me today as it's the first I've experienced - from a distance, of course - as a mom. In other school shootings, I've felt more numb than raw. Today, it's just the opposite. To hear the words "18 children pronounced dead at the scene" and to put myself in those parents' shoes is just unthinkable.

As I rock Liam a little longer tonight, I offer up prayers for the parents of these sweet, innocent kids who had no idea what today would hold. Tomorrow will be hard. Christmas might be harder.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Butcher's secret.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

For Shawn's birthday, I decided to cook steak for dinner. I never really cook steak, mostly because I'm usually too nervous that I'll undercook or overcook it.

So on his birthday, I went to Whole Foods and asked the butcher which cut he would recommend to be cooked in a skillet. I expected him to sell me the most expensive cuts, like the $29.99/lb. bacon-wrapped filet or the tenderloin. To my surprise, he said, "Without a doubt, the teres major. It's a shoulder cut that's just as tender as the tenderloin, and it's what all of us butchers buy for ourselves." The price? $7.99/lb. The teres major it was!

Here's what to do...
Let the meat come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes to an hour on the counter (you don't want it to be cold, basically). Preheat the oven to 400°F. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat really well. Over medium heat, sear each side in butter in a skillet for 2 minutes on each side, or until a brown crust forms. Then transfer the entire skillet into the preheated oven for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140° to 150°F (for medium to medium well).

This made for the most tender, juicy steak we've ever had at home - and all for less than $7 for both of us! Amazing! This would be so perfect for having company over during the holidays... they'd think you bought them $40 steaks.

Landfill harmonic.

Monday, December 10, 2012

This is incredibly inspiring.

"People realize that we shouldn't throw away trash carelessly.
Well, we shouldn't throw away people either."

Enjoy him.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, I had a small window of time to get some sewing done. I fed Liam, put him in his swing in the sewing room, put on some Christmas music, and faced a small mountain of orders. Within about 5 minutes, Liam was squirming and fussing and I could tell my small window was closing quickly. I put his pacifier back in his mouth and turned up the speed of the swing, hoping to buy myself just 20 more minutes or so.

When I stepped back for a second, I saw the pile of fabric and orders to be done... and then I saw his scrunched little face, just wanting to be held by his mama. And I felt convicted. If I've ever heard the Lord speak, it was now: "Enjoy your son."

I felt His prompting so clearly that I couldn't do anything else but put down my scissors, turn off the iron, and pick up my baby. We headed to his nursery with a book that his daddy read when he was a little boy. We read for a while, sang a little, then took a much needed nap together.

I'm sure all moms go through this - the battle between quality time with our kids and tackling the ever present to-do list. For me, it feels like a constant struggle. I thrive on being productive, and I place way too much of my self worth on how much I get done in a day. And to be honest, I know that the quality time won't always win out. As nice as it would be to spend all day cuddling and singing and reading, sometimes it's just imperative that certain things get done.

Yesterday, though, the decision was clear. If it means staying up later tonight to get orders done, then so be it. But 5, 10, or 15 years from now, it's a decision I will look back on with gratitude.

Happy birthday, Shawn!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My love,
You turn 26 today! Without further ado, here are 26 of the hundreds of reasons I love you...

1. You dream big.
2. You are a passionate worshipper.
3. You learned to sew this year to help me with our business (and are really good at it).
4. You don't complain.
5. You love reading the classics.
6. You have impeccable taste in designer jeans.
7. You speak fluent German. Even though I rarely hear it, it's so impressive.
8. You pray for me and Liam every day.
9. You work tirelessly to provide for our little family.
10. You take out the heavy trash.
11. You love cities as much as I do.
12. You're an encourager.
13. You willingly take Liam in the mornings so I can get a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep.
14. You prioritize our date nights.
15. You take your time over a good meal.
16. You give great neck massages.
17. You clean our house faster and better than I ever do.
18. You don't get annoyed that I text you all day long.
19. Every time I get in your car and you start it up, the stereo starts playing a Tim Keller sermon you've been listening to.
20. You like eating healthy and keeping your body strong.
21. The way you look at Liam makes me melt.
22. The way Liam looks at you makes me melt.
23. You are wise with money.
24. Your eyes are full of life.
25. You've been right by my side on the two most important days of my life.
26. You're my best friend. Always will be.

I love you, Shawn Newby!
Happy birthday!

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