Tag Archives: Family

Paying it forward

I’m not sure how it’s been 5 years, but it has. On Thursday Henry, James, and Elanor will be turning 5 years old. I may have to spend the day in bed with the blankets over my head, because I am completely in denial that they’re 5. There are no words as to how grateful I am that we have Peter, because it’s been a whir!

Five years ago, on December 22, 2011 we found ourselves at Albany Medical Center, very anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little ones. A few hours later Henry, James, and Elanor were born and hurried off to the NICU. I was discharged on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, going home to our two-year-old, leaving our babies in the hospital. It was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do.

Christmas morning, we drove the two hours back to AMC to spend our first Christmas with our newest family members. It was the first time we could hold all of them. The nurses in the NICU were wonderful and had told us that someone had knit little hats for the babies in the NICU on Christmas and would we be willing to accept one for each of our peanuts.

dsc_0228

Every Christmas we look at those tiny hats and marvel at how they were BIG on our now huge five year olds. The gift of those hats meant so much to us on an incredibly hard Christmas. It has been my goal that for our babies’ fifth birthday I would make three Christmas baby quilts for three little ones spending their first Christmas in the NICU. These are those quilts.

img_2495

img_2484 dsc_0411

 

 

My Favorite Things – A Collection of White House Christmas Bests

Over the past 9 years of blogging I’ve written quite a bit about my favorite time of the year, Christmas. From books we love to things we do, recipes and ways to enjoy the season more fully. For a while now I’ve been meaning to collect all of these posts together in one place…and now I am.

For the Book Lover!


some-new-favorite-christmas-books-for-children

http://jessicam white.com/new-favorite-christmas-books-children

~*~
For the Foodie!

~*~
For the Stressed-Out!

a Simple Christmas @JessicaMWhite.com
Taking the Stress out Christmas Shopping @JessicaMWhite.com

 

Must Haves to Surviving Christmas with Toddlers

***This post contains affiliate links: Read my disclosure policy here.

I kind of consider myself an expert on this topic, particularly given the battles of THREE toddlers at once trying to scale the tree. We are now onto our fifth toddler trying to tear down the tree and constantly unplug it. I hadn’t put most of my tricks in place and was wondering why I was losing my ever-loving mind!

Must Have #1

4173gy4haxl

Swivel Base Christmas Tree Stand – I bought this YEARS before we had kids. I was sick of fighting with a cheap tree stand that would fall over, leak water, and never keep the tree straight without spending HOURS underneath it tightening and loosening screws. This thing is FANTASTIC! It literally takes me about 5 minutes to get the tree in the stand, in the house, and straight. I have never had to anchor a tree to a wall with this thing….the tree can be at a 60* and still not come crashing down (I may be exaggerating, just a touch, at that last one.)

This is how cock-eyed the bottom of our tree was this year….

img_2474

You wouldn’t know it to look at the tree, other than my teetering star that still needs to be secured.

img_2475

Must Have #2

img_2477On Off Ornament Switch – I think I splurged on this when Avelyn was a toddler. There are a bunch of different kinds if you look on Amazon, I think we paid about $25 for our’s, but it has been well worth it. I’m able to tuck the plugs behind furniture that little ones can’t get to and still be able to easily turn the tree on and off. It’s a very simple thing, similar to the “touch” lights of old; you just plug your light string into the box that attaches via a wire to the ornament, and that gets plugged in the wall.

Peter was driving me up the wall (our ornament needed to be rewired…not a big deal, but I hadn’t put it on yet). He was constantly plugging and unplugging the tree. No amounts of no or anything else helped. I finally just had it and had to take the 5 minutes to fix the wire on the end of the box and move the plug back to the outlet behind the dresser. Problem solved. He hasn’t touched the lights since.

Must Have #3

dsc_0050

Baby Jail – We had bought one of these for Avelyn to have a place to play when we had our store, but quickly remembered it when we had the triplets at 11 months and needed to protect the tree. You can make the corral as big or as small as needed. The nice thing is the sides are very rigid and the thing is not easy to move: It was a much needed wall of NO around our Christmas tree.

Must Have #4

A Sense of Humor – As with anything with children, a sense of humor and LOTS of GRACE seem to take the edge off of things. A healthy dose of lowering your expectations works wonders too. We’ve had our share of mishaps, but for the most part have avoided any major Christmas-Catastrophes. It has also helped that there have been years that the tree gets lights and beads and that’s it, mostly because I just wasn’t up to the effort of full out decorating Christmas trees (ie. I was pregnant with the triplets and with Peter).

The most important thing to remember is that Christmas is a magical season, not just for children, but for adults too. No one wants to spend every waking minute of it saying or being told NO (and other, more PC, alternatives).

 

Finding Your Rhythm of Rest

I’m a mom…there’s no rest for moms. We are among the ranks of those who are on duty 24/7/365. While there’s definitely no rest for moms, we are most certainly among those who most desperately need rest. We cannot function in a manner that is glorifying to our God or an example to our children if we DO NOT REST.

Last winter I was burnt out, and it WASN’T from the baby! The triplets had stopped napping, we were homeschooling, we were trying to work through things that had crept up in our lives and needed to be intentionally dealt with. All of it left me feeling drained. I had nothing in me to give, nothing in me to share. Nothing.

I’m still a work in progress. I still fail miserably at getting and giving myself time to rest. BUT there is hope!

For the past few years I’ve been following Shelly Miller of Redemption’s Beauty (she has a beautiful IG feed), when she shared about a book that she had been working on for the past year or so, called Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World.  I could use a little advice on how to find rest amidst the busy.

289793_rhythmsofrest_meme-2Sabbath-keeping not only brings physical refreshment, it restores the soul. God commands us to “remember the Sabbath,” but is it realistic in today’s fast-paced culture? In this warm and helpful book, Shelly Miller dispels legalistic ideas about Sabbath and shows how even busy people can implement a rhythm of rest into their lives–whether for an hour, a morning, or a whole day. With encouraging stories from people in different stages in life, Miller shares practical advice for having peaceful, close times with God. You will learn simple ways to be intentional about rest, ideas for tuning out distractions and tuning in God, and even how meals and other times with friends and family can be Sabbath experiences.

Ultimately, this book is an invitation to those who long for rest but don’t know how to make it a reality. Sabbath is a gift from God to be embraced, not a spiritual hoop to jump through. ~ From Amazon.com

Shelly does a beautiful job of wrapping all of the wisdom of Sabbath living into one package; easily navigable, easily applicable. Through a collection of letters and stories and scripture, alongside Shelly’s own words, she has crafted a beautiful guide to how we can find and create a rhythm of rest in our own world-weary lives.

It’s a wonderful book and it releases TODAY!

I’m hoping that my hard copy arrives in the next day (the digital copy just isn’t so easy to make notes on).
You can order your copy on Amazon (last I checked it was discounted, selling for $8.92!)

 

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment

To me, Fall is marked by the first of October, or at the very least mid-September. We don’t have a ton of Fall books, but I’ve been slowly remedying that. I recently found another bloggers list of 50 Fall Favorites, which is expanding our own inventory, as well as listening to the Read-Aloud Revival podcast (dangerous stuff!)

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment @JessicaMWhite.com

Some people are drawn to the modern, more quirky books for children: No matter how hard I try, I am not one of those people. I want beautiful pictures, I want words like poetry, I want a story that doesn’t leave me. If you’re like that, then this list is definitely for you.

*This post does contain affiliate links: Please read my Disclosure Policy here.

What are our favorite books for Autumn…

Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney {we love ALL of her books}

Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, Illustrated by Leslie Evans

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

Pumpkins by Mary Lyn Ray

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment @JessicaMWhite.com

The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Jim LaMarche

Bear Says Thanks by Margaret K. McElderry

The Deer in the Wood by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Little Yellow Leaf  by Carin Berger

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment @JessicaMWhite.com

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, Illustrated by Megan Lloyd

We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season by Wendy Pfeffer, Illustrated by Linda Bleck
*This book is definitely more of an “educational book”, but is still wonderful!

The Basket Moon by Mary Lyn Ray, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment @JessicaMWhite.com

Now mind you, this list is not all-inclusive: I did leave out those that are more specific to Thanksgiving (another post, another day). I don’t know if it’s the colors in Fall books, or the stories of families hunkering down for the winter after bringing in the Harvest, but these are some of my absolute favorites to read.

Do you have some Fall Favorites?
What books do you and your children enjoy cozying under a blanket to read?