Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year

so christian and i were just saying how calm things are now and how our new years have changed over the years and now we are just having a quiet night at home with our kids until....

william had other plans. 
he got into the paints that i left in the trash from when sissy was painting earlier. 

happy new year to you and yours

Friday, December 30, 2011

Yellow River Game Ranch

When we go to grandmas house we sometimes stop by the Yellow River Game Ranch because it is right down the street. Here are some awesome pics from our last visit.

i dont know if you can tell but there were about 20 deers in this pic.
hilarious, they were both trying to get food.

he was SO good with the rabbits. 
we stayed in the rabbit area for about 45 mins and he was very gentle.

im pretty sure the little rabbit on the left was not feeling well :(

cute kids!
 dirty feet!

*these are pics from my old iphone 3gs and are unedited. pretty good huh? 
cant wait to see what my iphone 4 does :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Elf on the Shelf

To Elf or not to Elf that was the question for me this year. 
I had heard about the Elf on the Shelf last year and was really confused about what it even was, it seemed a bit strange. Once I learned what it actually was I thought ok thats cute but is it for us? Not sure. Well then one night while we were over at my moms house the movie "Elf on the Shelf" came on T.V. and we watched it. Ooops. Now we had to get our elf and we had to have a girl elf. 
So I was on a mission. I ordered our girl Elf - to the tune of over $40! off Amazon - and she was on her way from the North Pole to the Ritter household.

She arrived at our house a little late in December but my daughter didn't know, she was just excited she finally came! She named her Tori and we were off! I had been scouring Pinterest and Facebook for ideas for this little elf and was a little distraught that almost all of the ideas involved said elf being devious, making a mess and then getting in trouble. I kept thinking why in the world would I have this elf come to my house, watch over my child to make sure she is being good and then have her make messes and then put the elf in time out? Not to mention make messes that I then have to clean up! Don't we moms already have enough to do?

So our elf just did sweet fun things.

She turned the milk blue and left Maggie a sweet note:

Seeing my daughters reaction to the blue milk was AWESOME!

She watched over Maggie one night after she had nightmares the night before!

Then she complimented Maggie on her homemade ornaments!

The note said:

Dear Maggie,
I love your ornaments. Way to go! 
My favorite is the purple peace one! Love Tori

She cleaned out Maggie's stocking to get it ready for Christmas:

Tori followed us to Grandmas house!

And wrote her another note! This time it was elf sized! {Maggie had commented that Tori had messy handwriting and I told her when she uses a big pen or pencil from our house its hard to write, so she wrote this note from the North Pole and brought it back}

It said: 
Dear Maggie. Just a little note to let you know,
I'm with you everywhere you go! 
XOXO Tori!

Once I saw that I started thinking hum, how can I make this a spiritual lesson for Maggie? While Christmas and presents are awesome, I didn't want to miss out on the real reason behind the season! 
If Maggie will believe that a stuffed elf can come to life and follow her to grandmas house then surely I can somehow apply this to God!

So the last two nights Tori was planning to bring the message of Jesus to Maggie.

The first way was a tiny elf sized painting for Maggie. 
Maggie is really into peace signs so Tori made her this:

and the last night she was with us she wrote Maggie another letter.

Dear Maggie,

I have so loved spending time with you this year. Watching you everyday has been a joy! Santa and all of my elf friends are so proud of you. You were born into an amazing family. 
Always remember that. Even when you and mommy or daddy are mad at each other,
they will always love you no matter what!!

I wanted to remind you that even though presents are AWESOME Christmas is really about Jesus. Remember that God sent Jesus to earth a long, 
long time ago to live so that he would know how we feel about everything. 
So when you are sad, mad, scared, happy or anything Jesus knows  exactly how you feel!

And when you put all your trust in Him you will have such an amazing life!

Did you know that if it wasn't for God and Jesus me and Santa wouldn't have jobs?

You know how I was always with you this month, watching over you and protecting you? 
Well Jesus does that everyday all day all year long!

Today is my last day with you. I go back to the North Pole with Santa tomorrow - Ill see you next year but just remember, even though you can't see Jesus - like you could see me - 
He is ALWAYS with you.

Merry Christmas


PS Jesus will help you with your bad dreams. Just pray to him about them.

I hope that my daughter had fun and learned a little more about the real reason behind Christmas. How did you elf this year?

Monday, December 26, 2011

sweet hallie went to be with Jesus

please continue to be in pray for her family as they lay her to rest 
and celebrate her short but powerful life!

you can visit her family here

Friday, December 23, 2011

hallie ~ the christmas miracle

so you may or may not already know about sweet hallie green. if you do then you have already been blessed by her little life. if not let me tell you an awesome story. for me it actually all began about 3 years ago when i came across a blog about a little girl named copeland. she was born with trisomy 18 - a birth disorder.

my daughter was only about 10 months when i found out about copeland and i followed her little life every day until the Lord decided to take her home. well little did i know my friend katie was also following this blog. what is it about new moms and blogs about sick babies? i think some of us become obsessed. obsessed with praying for these babies and their families and i think ultimately just being grateful for our own healthy children and wondering how in the world these moms are surviving knowing that their precious babies will eventually pass away.

fast forward to early this year. i started volunteering in the preschool environment at my church after i stopped working in 2010. i was very excited to have this time with my adult friends. being home with a new baby is awesome but a girl needs to talk to someone who does more than babble!

i was excited that the girls i would be working with were my two katies.  two women i already loved but didnt get to see enough. both of these women have daughters close in age to mine so we see each other often but usually only at birthday parties for the kids, never enough time to actually talk about girl stuff that doesnt involve our kids!

and then this spring katie g. told us. she was pregnant and this time with another precious baby girl. but this time her baby girl had some challenges, she has trisomy 13. while this is different than baby copeland it is similar enough that her little baby girl had a limited future. how does one process this information? how do you wake up everyday and know that the little life you are carrying will only be with you briefly if even at all. well my friend katie did this with the utmost grace. not that everyday was easy, but she tried to see the joy in everyday. especially once her little bean started to kick, those moments were precious, i think even more intimate and special for her than with her first two.

it was an honor to be able to spend time with katie and little hallie all those months she was in her mommies belly. hallie is now here, she was born on december 19th. and she is still here. she is 6 days old. and every day she is here is a miracle. her mom and dad were not even sure she would survive her birth, well she did! and she is still fighting.

she is a miracle. a miracle not just for her mom and dad but for the thousands - yes i said thousands - of people who are following her little life. she has her own facebook page! as of right now she has 3,030 fans!

as many people have said "its not a coincidence that there is a little baby born at Christmas that is drawing us all closer to God". go to their blog, follow their story and be touched. be touched by baby hallie, her mom, dad and sweet sisters and ultimatley be touched by God.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

photobooth with my mom and dad

sometimes in the midst of sickness you just have to laugh or you will go crazy!