Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Give me my plate!"

Last night we celebrated my niece Mya's 3rd birthday and my sister-in-law Beth's 30th along with Thanksgiving. It was quite the night of eating celebrating. So, we of course got to the part in the evening where we sang Happy Birthday... the best part came right after we finish singing when Grace (2 years) yells impatiently "Give me my plate!"- that girl was ready for some cake so quit messing around and get to the cake-cutting NOW!

Thankfully, someone finally gave Grace her cake. Watch as Grace attacks eats her piece while Mya so sweetly nibbles away...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Puppy Eyes

Before there was a Jackson, before there was a Mr and Mrs Engel, there was a Sammy- our first son (of the furry variety). Dan gave Sammy Davis Engel to me as a gift while we were dating a little over 4 years ago. I fell in love, he was- and still is- my buddy for life, my loyal companion. I wanted to reciprocate the best gift I had ever received and so for my wedding gift to Dan I gave to him Bing Crosby Engel, the German Shepard Dan had been dreaming of. 

And they too became a bonded pair. The best of friends. Flash forward to today- we now have 3 boys: Sammy, Bing and now Jackson. We love them all dearly. And they love each other dearly. 

Although some (Sammy) get annoyed with others (Jackson) because someone (Jackson) likes to pull someone else's hair (Sammy). That's okay, I have completely confidence they'll mutually decide to be BFFs sooner than later. 

Now to the sad part of this little story- Poor Bing hurt himself last night. I took him to the vet today and it turns out he broke his leg. He's on pain medication now, sleeping inside resting up in anticipation of having surgery next week.

He is so depressed. He doesn't understand why he has to lay around inside and why his leg is wrapped up. I hate seeing him so sad. And I hate even more the thought of him having to go through surgery. Ugh. 

Those defeated puppy eyes are enough to melt my heart. 

Send up some puppy prayers please...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Morning

It is officially Jackson's first Thanksgiving! 

I was very excited to share in his first Macy's Thanksgiving Parade viewing experience. I was even MORE excited because this year the Purdue Marching Band lead the entire parade. JP and I were jumping up and down watching- or rather I was jumping up and down while holding him... either way, my future boilermaker and I were so proud!

All of the excitement really wore Sammy out...

Now JP and I are off to the grocery store while Sammy and Dan nap. Dan has been having to work nights because of some equipment outages at work, so unfortunately he is missing out on the long Thanksgiving weekend of festivities. We are hoping he'll be able to have dinner with us before he leaves for work again tonight. 

More to come later!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

family photos continued...

#15: So thankful for this family. This love. This life. Completely in awe of it all.

Giving Thanks #14

Being the month of 'thanks-giving' and all I knew that one of my thankful moments would be directed towards my husband.  I am honestly very thankful for him. One thing I have noticed lately is that I am especially thankful for the things that come out of his mouth. Well, actually for roughly 67% of what comes out of his mouth. You see, these words I speak of do 1 of 3 things: 

1. Make me laugh
2. Make me think 
3. Make me want to scream and/or roll my eyes and/or slap him (this is that 3rd of the time that I am not thankful for when he's trying to get a "reaction"...)

Let me give you a few examples of some of the things he has said in just the past few days. I'll leave it up to you to decide which of the above categories each fits in to. 

#1: Context: We are driving in the car when we see a sign that is announcing that Santa Claus will be at a local church in a few weeks for children to come and meet. 

Jessica: "We really need to start thinking about what our stance on Santa Claus is going to be. I don't want Jackson to think that Christmas is in honor of him and not Jesus and I also don't want to paint this big lie for him for years... you know? So, what do you think our stance on Santa Claus should be?"
Dan: "That he ROCKS"
Jessica: "Hi, welcome to an adult mother/father conversation."

#2: Context: Out of nowhere (which makes it even more great) he starts telling me about how he asked the guys he works with 'what is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?' 

Jessica: "So,what is yours, what is the best advice you have ever been given?"
Dan: "Well, I am still narrowing it down, but I am down to my top 3 which are:
1. Do unto others what you would have them do to you.
and the other two are from C.S. Lewis which are
2. Don't judge anyone. Because even if you consider yourself a good person that doesn't make you better than anyone. You see, you have no idea what they are going through or where they are coming from in life.
3. When you get to heaven you are going to have eternity to live over every single decision you ever made and you will feel one of two things: shame or pride. So, don't do a single thing that you will ever be ashamed of."

#3: Context: Normally in the mornings Dan wakes up, feeds the puppies, makes us coffee and is out the door to work in less than 10 minutes. Meanwhile, it takes me at least a very efficient hour to get Jackson and I out the door. Dan is totally ignorant to what this takes. This morning he was home because he has to work through the night tonight so he's home during the day. So, after he watches me run around like a crazy lady getting everything ready for the day and I have Jackson all buckled into his carseat and ready to walk out the door he says to me:

Dan"So this is all you have to do every morning? This is it?"

Oh, husband... LOVE you!

Monday, November 22, 2010

giving thanks #13

I am so thankful for beginning my week and day with this beautiful sunrise. I snapped this with my phone from my mom's driveway this morning after dropping off Jackson. God is such a talented artist!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving: Round 1

This evening we had round 1 of Thanksgiving. It was the MOST delicious meal. It always is. And my mom, aunts and cousins took great care to create gluten-free versions of everything for Dan. Totally unexpected and unnecessary but completely appreciated. 

The caramel popcorn treats Dan made for everyone. I told him making corn was very fitting since that is the food that brought together the Pilgrims and Indians. He assured me this was very intentional on his part... 

Jackson's 1st Thanksgiving!

B & Moosie

My little gentleman

The Dillers

Before we left for dinner Sammy, Jackson and Dan were playing. This photo cracks me up. Jackson is "dancing" and Sammy appears to be playing dead, just praying that maybe if he lies still enough the little man won't pull his hair again.

My beautiful Alexis

JP with Lexi and Great Uncle Jerry

Trying on his new Thanksgiving PJ's from Nanna

Dan trying to teach Jackson to pet Sammy gently... look at that face- do you see the mischief spewing out of his every pore? And Sammy, poor little Sammy. 

My concerns are again ignited that my baby doesn't get enough attention.

Telling Great Aunt Mary stories

Don't let this innocent face fool you

Playing with Uncle Justin

so full of THANKS

Please forgive me for my slack-ish ways in giving thanks each day. Please excuse me while I now catch up with a re-cap of some big things, some small things and some in-between things... I believe I left off on #5 in my quest for 25 days of Thanksgiving:

#5: For many of the unusually warm days that we have had recently. It has given us extra time to be outside, to take walks, to go to the park... 

#6: A "thank you" in advance for some SNOW hopefully soon!?! It is so much more fun to get into the Christmas spirit with some of that yummy, fluffy white stuff flying around. 

#7: For my eldest puppy son, Sammy Davis, who I love so much. His fair share of affection and cuddling has decreased significantly this year with Jackson's arrival, but he has handled it like the mature big brother that he is. I just can't get enough of his fluffy little face that lights up every time we come home. Dogs really have the idea of unconditional love down much better than the rest of us I think.

#8: For my faith that keeps getting stronger. I prayed for a very long time that God show me the way to a better relationship with Him and that prayer gets answered over and over again, especially this past year. 

#9: For Peppermint White Mochas at Starbucks. For coffee in general. I am in so much trouble when I have to give it up again whenever baby #2 comes along. 

#10: My my nieces and nephew. I am so thankful that Jackson is going to have so many best friends to grow up with. He and Josie already seem to have an amazing bond that I just adore. 

#11: For my magnetic, dry erase family calendar that hangs in the kitchen that I'm pretty sure nobody except me pays attention to (i.e. Dan ignores). It makes me happy nonetheless.

#12: This face. Even when it is covered with sweet potatoes and God only knows what else...

To be continued... someone is up from his nap!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Engels

I am so thankful for our friend Jessie (and her trusty assistant Canaan) for coming over today to take some family photos for us. It is unbelievable to me that Jackson is almost 1 year and we have so few photos of the 3 of us since I am almost always the one taking them on a day-to-day basis and at family events so I am so grateful for these.

Thank you, Jessie- we love them!! 

Lunch with Jackson: Week 39

Jackson wanted to share his Saturday afternoon lunch with you- I hope you like bananas and oatmeal with a little gluten-free granola bar treat!

Holiday Tradition Ideas

I have been doing some research in my attempt to begin some new Christmas traditions this year for Dan, Jackson and I (like I talked about here) and here are some of the ideas I have come across so far... next up is to finish a little more searching and then deciding on which we are going to do! I'm getting VERY excited for Christmas!

1. Make a Birthday Cake for Jesus & sing Happy Birthday to Him & then eat it while we read The Christmas story from The Bible

2. Combine the tradition of an Advent Calendar & our love for books by reading a Holiday Story Every Night- I saw the example here:

3. Surprise a Servant: It may shock your kids (and you!) to learn that not everyone gets to take time off around the holidays. Firefighters, police officers, EMS, Doctors, Nurses and many other servants give up their holidays to make sure that ours are safe and happy. Give back something to all these good-hearted folks by gathering holiday cookies and other treats to surprise them on Christmas Eve. 
4. This one is for New Year's Eve... it is the idea of an elaborate treasure hunt ending when the kids discover a chest full of glittering hats and noisemakers just in time for the count down at midnight (or maybe bed time if you want to savor midnight with the adults!).

5. Holiday Decoration Day the day after Thanksgiving. This one Dan and I have already been doing since getting married. The day after Thanksgiving has always been our day to hang out at home and put up the Christmas Tree and other decorations. Although Dan is semi-cheating this year and has already started putting up the lights outside (he's trying to take advantage of the abnormally warm weather). 

6. Sharing Gratitude: Bring your blessings to life by asking each family member to bring to the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table an item that symbolizes one thing they are most grateful for from the past year. If you do this at Thanksgiving you can then display those symbols throughout the season or sit down as a family and write out a gratitude list and frame it and display throughout the holidays or all year long. 

7. Each year add each family member's handprints or notes to a keepsake tablecloth or to the Christmas tree skirt. 

8. Get new PJ's on Christmas Eve

9. Tuck heartfelt notes or letters into each kid's stocking instead of gifts. 

10. Play Santa for Soldiers, Adpot families in need, adopt elderly, etc. We have been adopting families through The Salvation Army for a few years now. I think maybe we'll take it up a level this year and make it more of an event to shop together for the gifts and then have a wrapping party together. 

11. Cheers for a Great Year: Create a Year in Review list, recording the year's activities from A to Z. As a family, decide what event or memory represents "a", "b" (baby Jackson) and so on. You could even make it a year-long activity by writing down special events and "momentous moments" on pieces of paper to stick in a "memory jar" that sits in your home year-round. Then on New Year's Eve read the papers aloud and save in an album. 

12. Have a family sleepover in the living room on Christmas Eve or New Years Eve

13. Put on the holiday bedding

14. Each child gets 3 gifts- something to read, something to play with & something to grow with (a learning toy/item). Another way is 4 gifts: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. Or you could base it around the 3 gifts Jesus received: Gold - G is for garment (some type of clothing), Frankincense - F is for fun (some toy or game the child really wants) and Myrrh - M is for mind (an educational gift - book, magazine subscription, trip to a museum, etc.). 

15. Give God one very special gift just from you to him: let this be something personal that is between just you and Him. Something that is a sacrifice -David said in 2 Samuel 24 that he would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. Maybe your gift to God will be to forgive someoneyou've needed to forgive for a long time. You may discover that you've given a gift back to yourself. This idea that I came across spoke of Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian who survived extreme brutality in a German concentration camp after rescuing many Jews from certain death during the Nazi Holocaust, was later able to say, "Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you." Perhaps your gift will be to commit to spending time with God daily. Or maybe there is something God has asked you to give up. Make this your most important gift of the season.
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