Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa mayhem

Will explain more later, here is a little teaser for your holiday enjoyment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the next face of Calvin Klein



I think some one is aspiring for a career modeling in his skivies.

everyday Christmas


14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

--------------------------

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I try not to be Debbie Downer, to think positively of myself and my life and my efforts for them both the best they can be. I am queen of good intentions, a stream of well wishes and benevolence flow forth in the creative spaces of my heart, my mind, but the follow through is some how always lacking. Do I blame myself, do I lay blame on the sinful quality of my very nature? An example.

Last night I was walking with some girlfriends in Sundance Square and a woman approached us. In her face you could see the difficulty of her years, the strife and pain and infliction, but she didn't hold back her smile. It was 30 degrees, she was wearing all the clothes she could find because she wasn't sure if she would be able to sleep indoors. She told us that in two days she would be moving into a Habitat for Humanity house, but for tonight unless she could find $13 she would be sleeping in the cold. Now I know our negative, unbelieving selfish nature tells us, "she's lying, she probably just wants money for drugs or booze." But what if she wasn't. What if my $5 would mean she could sleep in the warmth? Shouldn't we give out of our abundance more for the sake of that possibility than the latter?
Giving her my money wasn't the issue for me, it was that I want to be the person who does more. I realized on my way home all the things I should have done so that she would know that a person in the world cares, loves her even. I thought of how I should have made eye contact more, I should have hugged her, I should have put my hands on her and prayed for her. Instead I gave her money, congratulated her on her upcoming home and went on my way.

It's just not enough.

I want to be a stronger, more faithful person.
I want my discipleship to be seen through my abundant love.
With actions and in truth.
What I want to do, I do not do.
Baby steps, Jen. Baby steps.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hershey


Testing out his cold weather coat before the big trip.


Exploring the snow!


Asher and Daddy, my handsome boys at the hotel.

Asher and I decided to accompany Corey on his interview with the Penn State program in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I had never seen the north east before and wanted a little taste before we make any decisions on where our home might be for the next 5 years. Being that the program is in Hershey, I think I set myself up for disappointment. I had imagined that the town would perpetually smell of fresh chocolate, that every house would be pristine in their lawn care, with white picket fences and friendly mail men. You know, reminiscent of Leave It To Beaver or something. Instead we arrived to a grey city where the hotel smelled like a fake chocolate air freshener and the only cab in the city costs $10 to go less than 2 miles.
I was not enchanted.
Corey, however, was pleased with the program and promised that there is more to Hershey than over-rated "Hershey World."


One of the attractions at Hershey world. Yes, singing cow heads, really.

I know that we would make any place our home and enjoy it and do our best to thrive there. I just wasn't particularly floored about the "sweetest place on Earth."



But this Christmas tree was AWESOME.


so metal



Asher, rawkin' a mohawk fresh from the shower.
Destined to be a little skater boy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the origin of good tidings

Wikipedia makes a statement about Christmas that just couldn't be more true, however disappointing...

"Because gift-giving and several other aspects of the holiday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, Christmas has become a major event for many retailers."

I want Christmas to mean more to my family than this, but I know we have to lead by example for that to ever happen. Corey and I have to be aware of the needs around us, we must pray often for the determination to see others as more important than ourselves. We were talking the other day about holiday traditions, how fun it is to have special things to look forward to every year that only our family does. I know now that I want at least one of those traditions to involve doing something special for the poor, on Christmas, I want THAT day to be special because we live like Jesus first and get gifts last. But more than that, my hope is that we live this way always, not just during the holidays. It is my deepest desire that Asher grow up to be a kind, generous, self less soul, that he loves fiercely and serves passionately-but I've gotta do it first. Living life is like traveling a great stairway. Sometimes we walk upwards, working hard, using our strength just to transition, to reach the next chance to grow and change. Sometimes we walk down, it's easier, we're lighter on our feet, but we have to watch to be sure we don't stumble, we can't walk the easy way blindly or we're sure to mis-step. As Asher learns these lessons, I hope I can be there to make the trip easier, to lend him strength, and I hope many others will teach him along the way as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One more...



Couldn't resist posting this sweet little shot of Ash and his Aunt Liz.
What a lucky little boy!!!

I do, however, worry that he will have a hard time finding a wife some day because his standard will be so high for beautiful women...there are way too many in his family alone! Not to mention in our small group at church. Yowza!

photo shoot

Check out a few pics of Ash at www.PonderPhotography.net (sorry folks for the type-o!)
Go to clients, the password is ASHER.

Christina takes amazing photos for any one looking for a photographer in the DFW area!

Halloween Haters


Distractions from Aunt Kiki were a must.



And this is what we get for buying a costume on October 1st...
a baby that has outgrown it by 3 inches!!!

Asher was a dragon for Halloween.
For all of 30 seconds.

1st Birthday

As many of you know, our little boy is one year old. His birthday came and went like a flash on November 6th. I was home with him that day, I just couldn't stop holding and kissing and doting on him, knowing that a year ago to the date I held him in my arms for the first time. We had a small family get together in Austin to honor his special day.



He really didn't get as messy with the cupcake as I had expected (hoped), but no worries, he's messy with everything else. There is something magical in a way with a first birthday, there's so much to remember from that first day with your little one. The first time they fall asleep in your arms, the first time nursing that precious little bundle, calming your angel for the first time and feeling so empowered and important in doing so. And then the days pass, and it just keeps getting better and better. The challenges are always there, they just change, are different, always keeping you prepared for something new up ahead. Remembering that first smile, the first giggle, that early, awkward crawling and now the early, awkward walking. I'm loving every minute of being a mom, I will keep praying to be a mom that my son will be proud of, that he will want to introduce to his friends, that he respects and honors because if I can be that, I think he will understand how to view God in those ways too. Happy Birthday BaBoo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

firsts


First Oktoburfest.
Thanks for nothing Southlake Town Center.
(They didn't even have German beer!!!)


First cartoon viewing.
Everyone was intrigued.


First McDonald's french fry.
Unfortunately, he was luvin' it.

two things

Crackin' up before 730A this morning.

#1-40ish man running in the neighborhood.
Shiny blue spandex from head to toe.
Head band.
YES.

#2-Gentleman at the gym working out with personal trainer.
Running laps down the hall.
Gets to the end, turns around, lifts left leg, proceeds to
VICIOUSLY rip one.
THEN notices me standing there.
Runs away.

Life is goooooood.

Monday, November 10, 2008

holding hands



A sweet little video of some of Asher's first (aided) steps.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Circus

So, once again please forgive me for having no idea how to flip this video. You may also need to brighten your screen to see it.

With out further ado, Asher's first circus experience, here he is watching the elephants.

video

Happy Birthday Baby

It's been awhile, I promise I'll be better.

Yesterday Asher turned 1, I can't believe it. So much has changed in the last year, but sadly so much is still the same. I think I have this passion living deep inside me to change the world some how, I have this list of good intentions, but some how I manage to never follow through. Know that in writing this, I am not doing so out of woe or in some act of searching for sympathy; I am realizing more every year how much there is to do in the world and I need to start doing it.

Ghandi said "You must be the change you want to see in the world." We, the Daniels family, are making very small steps toward this, but we ARE moving forward. I hope that a year from now you will read this and know that at some point in our journey we let go of our comfort and just leapt. I'm still waiting to find out the direction, the mode, the means in which we are meant to move.

I know most of you probably come here for updates and pictures of Asher more so than my random rantings, and I have tons to share. I will try to post a little every week or every few days to get you all caught up, he's doing so much now, he's such a precious joy in all his capriciousness. He is a very passionate child and not shy about showing it. I hope he never loses that.

Monday, October 6, 2008

family portrait



My friend Jenny Ray did this portrait of our family as a gift to us. It is one of the most touching gifts I have ever received and wanted to share it with all of you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

moon



Sorry guys, I just thought this was hilarious.

Monday, September 22, 2008

the package

I'm uncomfortable and bothered by my son's fascination with, you know...what's "down there." I was completely unaware that his bits would become his newest bath tub toy, or that he would request to grab and pinch just as I undo a dirty, stinky diaper thus making his hands a dirty, stinky mess. I had imagined that my child would lay on the changing table calmly cooing as I put a new diaper on. RUDE AWAKENING! My kid kicks and yells and pushes my hands and does every thing he can to reach what is NOT meant to be reached!! I am just hoping that he will not move into the stage of walking around with his hands in his pants-mama is just not cool with that...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

schedule

I thought perhaps you might find it interesting to know what an average, let's say...Wednesday, is like in the Daniels' Home.

530A - Wake, nurse Asher, running clothes
550A - Run to Katie's (a friend, lives 1 mile away), 2 miles with her, run to gym
630A - Circuit weight training
700A - Shower
730A - Make smoothies for me and Ash, will arrives
800A - Breakfast with Asher and Will
830A - Shelby arrives
900A - Babies play in tupperware, I do dishes
930A - Clean-up song (I sing, babies stare), diaper changes all around
1000A- Peace in the house! Nap time for kiddos, Bible and prayer (and latte) time for me
1100A- Begin preparing for lunch time
1200P- The big show...feeding 3 toddlers lunch at once!
100P - Free play for little tykes, I shuffle to straighten up the place, check emails, etc.
145P - Diaper changes again, getting ready for Nap #2
230P - Let nap commence-this is my cleaning, laundry, phone call, keep posted on political
nonsense time (yesterday I watched Tina Fey as Palin 3 or 4 times...FUNNY...but
that's not usually how I research political party lines, don't worry).
400P - Get babies up from naps, everybody gets a snack and some juice
430P - Book time: we usually read a few stories in Asher's room
500P - Get all of Will and Shelby's things together.
515P - Nicki arrives, we chat
545P - Shelby's ride arrives, we chat
630P - Ash, Corey and I get some family time and dinner, then leave for church!

And there you have it folk, a day in the life of the Daniels' DayCare.

wonderful



Sweet friends.
Edwin and Stacy-we go way back. Still knowing them allows us to always hold on to the history of our time in college. The late night studying at the UGL, the dates under the stars and trees at the capitol, sand volleyball and river floating. I am so grateful for Stacy-she's one of those women that is just so real and so blatantly open about her thoughts and attitudes (even if they're ugly!), it took awhile but I can say that I feel so solid around her, so at peace. I think (and hope with a greatest hope) that they will be a part of our lives always, no matter where we live (and that they'll go on our Alaskan adventure with us). They're just those kind of people. Plus they're such hotties! Er, I mean...such a beautiful couple.

lemony goodness



video

This is fun in the last 5 seconds.

"Tickle" can now be added to Asher's vocab.
He can also sign more, milk, all done and drink.
Baby sign language is a brilliant thing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

heavy things

Life has presented so many heavy hearted thoughts and prayers these days. While our family is thriving and getting closer and closer to the end living off loans (a very worthy reason to celebrate!), so many around us are experiencing heart ache and emotional despair. I'm constantly left feeling that I am just not doing enough to comfort these wounded souls; truly all I can do is be myself and put that self aside to focus on the needs of others, praying that God teaches me to be a place of peace. Today we met with a lawyer friend to begin writing a will, I just spent the last few hours researching life insurance policies. When I did I grow up? It happens so suddenly doesn't it? The reality of my day to day living remains that I LOVE my life. I choose to wake up each day knowing that my best choice is to be grateful for everything, making the most of it, letting nothing steal my joy. We don't have a perfect life, but it is a mine and I choose to believe that it is great and worthy of my living it to the full every day. Trials will come, there will be days when there is sadness, less perfection, complaints and sorrows-but if I can some how rejoice even in those times, I feel I will leave a legacy.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

echo

video

Asher is 10 months now, it's hard to believe only 8 weeks separate us from his 1 year birthday! This past month has brought many firsts for little Ash. "Dog" is the first real word we can put in his vocabulary, and while everything is "dog," it started with learning that Frankie is a dog, so we figure it counts. He calls all the right things dog, it's just that everything else is also dog. We're hoping he never learns "cat," we really don't like cats.

Asher has also finally gotten his very first tooth! It's a little tiny nub on the bottom, but it's there! I'm sure more are soon to follow suit. He's eating lots of little foods he can pick up. For breakfast we break up a waffle and some fruit, he loves grilled cheese sandwiches and plums and graham crackers. I'm glad to be passed the stage of spoon feeding him everything, though that is still the only way I can get him to eat his veggies.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
On a sadder note, Corey and I got some news on Saturday that was just heart wrenching. A family in our church has experienced immense loss, I can hardly bear to think of it. Larry Mason, father of two beautiful little princesses (3 and 18mos) was involved in a car accident on Friday night that took his life. He was working 2 jobs to support his beautiful family, and in coming home very late in the evening, he ran off the road. The best guess is that he fell asleep at the wheel. I just can't imagine the pain and heartache and loss of faith that his wife, Rachele, must be going through. I only write this here to ask that those of you who read this please pray for their family. That Rachele is able to somehow find an ounce of peace, trust in a plan she can not possibly understand, that the church can support them and lift them up and care for all of their needs in the upcoming months.

Never let your loved ones out of the door without a proper goodbye.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

sister



Believe it or not, the woman to my right in this picture is my sister! We share the same mother and shared the same roof albeit for a short while. Beginning this adventure of starting my own family with Corey has put some perspectives in place that I never gave second thought in the past. I have 3 brothers-Brad, Todd, Ralph-and my sister Angie whom are all significantly older than me. This age difference has always left me apathetic, thinking that it must not be that important for me to know them, since I didn't during my childhood. That has been eminantly reevaluated. I want Asher to know my family, and even more so I want to know my family. Friends can unfortunately be interchanged, but family is constant...or at least it should be. I want to be better at this, I want to remember birthdays and send holiday cards and call every once in awhile out of the blue. When major events happen in my life I want to think, "Man, I've got to call Angie!" or "Brad's gonna flip when he hears this." Right now I don't have those thoughts, the place where family is supposed to be is just sort of skipping like a dusty record, I keep repeating the same interspersed rare meetings that end up taking me to same place I was before. I'm tired of the 4 year reuinions, the catching up and missing out on nieces and nephews. Life is just SO busy, I know that if I want this, I have to make a priority for it. I guess I'm just not sure where to begin. What I do know, is that despite the distance and how little I know them, I LOVE my family. I love the dysfunction. I love the stories of hard faught success. I love that they will probably be the best characters for the book I may some day write, and that they are the best fruit I could hope for on my family tree.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

posin'



Asher knows just what to do when the camera turns his way. Here we are at JP's Java in Austin, TX. LOVE their coffee. Asher already has a little crush on his Auntie Krystal, who'd blame him! We had a great time on our recent trip to Austin for his Grannie's birthday...



We took a little trip down memory lane by visiting our old stompin' grounds around UT. It's funny how nostaglia creeps up on you right about the time you start noticing crow's feet and fine lines in your forehead. There are so many good memories there.

yappin'

video

Certainly saying something profound.
Would you expect anything less?

Monday, August 18, 2008

metal head


video

We have tried to expose Asher to music in it's various forms.
Here he shows his preference for metal.

rain

This morning I got up at 445am. I nursed Asher, put him back to bed, put on my running gear. It was dark and muggy and so silent. After my run, after Corey left for work, I sat outside to just feel the rain. It was magic for just those few minutes with the hum of cars nearby and the quiet drops dancing around. Sitting under an awning I let the insignificant deluge fall on my legs and shoes and just felt so wrapped up in the wonder of it. As the sun increased its height the sky all it's darkness was over taken, becoming azure and golden all at once. There is so much beauty when we taken just an extra moment to relax and look around, I don't want the memories of me to be etched in scenes of busyness and stress. I want people to remember that I loved, I laughed, I dreamed and hugged and took special moments just to fall in love with the pocket of nature all around despite the city. The most prominent memories of mommy in Asher's mind must not be of me fretting over dishes or laundry or Lord knows what else-I want him to remember that I lived life to the full and never looked back...

Friday, August 15, 2008

zest



I love Asher's zest for experience, desire to taste life and shake what his momma gave him. He's starting to seem more and more like a little person, with individual desires and wants, preferences and dislikes. Currently he prefers Metal to Classical and dirty to clean. He prefers to laugh at Franklin as he feeds him his snacks as opposed to eating them himself. He also prefers to test his boundaries than obey when mom and dad say no. Who knew you could battle to maintain authority with a 9.5 month old? You also have to love that just now I had to break from writing this because he pulled the place mat off the dining table, tossing fruit snacks and crackers all over the floor, and then proceeded to try to stuff as many in his mouth while I cleaned them up. Sheesh, I have my hands full and I love every minute of it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

privilege

I was sitting outside having some blanket time with the kiddos this morning and this thought hit me like a ton of bricks. People have entrusted their children's precious lives to me. Even if only for a few hours a few days a week, the privilege and responsibility is daunting. In a very small way I will have an influence on them, and I must fight to ensure that they walk away with a sense of respect for others and for authority, that my example is never one of complacency or laziness, but rather diligence and perseverance. Asher watches everything I do with these other little ones too, what will I say to him with my actions? My greatest wish is that every child under my care leaves feeling loved, with a sense of adventure in their heart, throwing off all inhibitions, dancing to every beat. We dance at my house a lot. Mostly to They Might Be Giants' "Here Come the 123s" or "Here come the ABCs." Occasionally to a little classic rock.

No one but me and then babies have witnessed this.
It will stay that way.

So...if you have a moment, pray for my care of these littles, that in my own small way I can instill in them the same great confidence my Father instills in me.

whoa big boy

video

He's just so big already!

Skills



That's right, I'm not too modest to say...I AM super-nanny. And I'll tell you why. This morning I took 3 boys, ages 9-11 months, to the park. Oh, but not with a car, with a double stroller and a baby backpack. Half a mile there, half a mile back, and when we returned home, I got them all to sleep at the same time. The good Lord was on my side today, and everyday for that matter. I just really appreciated the extra dose of peaceful baby 'tudes today.


Asher (9mo)-Will (9.5mo)-Liam(11mo)
Having some out door blanket time under a marvelous tree.
Sorry parents, there was some grass ingested.



Asher and me-snugglin' in the baby pack.

Friday, August 1, 2008

birds and bones



Here is a bit more from our Illinois adventures...


Here we are posing outside of Dixon Mounds, an Indian burial mound. A bit spooky.
Asher was all for posing with the ladies, but he wanted a shot by himself to prove he is tough stuff.



Here are Asher and I just outside Hummingbird Haven. A couple living between corn fields decided to turn their home into a Hummingbird oasis by outfitting it with a boo-coo of those feeder thingies. It was smokin' hot out.


Asher and his grannie trying to fight off the paparazzi.


A close-up of Ash's baby mohawk.

I'm looking forward to our next big adventure, it may not end up being until Corey start interviewing for residency in the fall, but we shall see. Please pray for future destination-that it be a great program for Corey, a great city for Asher and I, and that there be friends waiting to be made wherever we go. I'm not handling the fact of moving soon very well. In fact I'm avoiding feeling anything about it all together, which I know will spell disaster as the day approaches. I'm scared to leave my friends.

Speaking of friends...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLAIRE!!!!
You are well loved by me and my family!

inside out


(Asher and I in our jams)

There is this beautiful, mysterious aspect to the love you have as a mother. This tiny life turns your relatively peaceful world into a loud, stinky, utterly tumultuous war zone. Food, clothes and often bodily fluids fly about at will-your shirt is never clean. Yesterday I went to bed and realized that I had managed to wear my underwear inside out all day. It was 2pm before I had brushed my teeth though Asher had already had breakfast, a nap, play time and lunch. I, on the other hand, was wearing backward underwear and had only scarfed a cup of yogurt through dirty teeth-your life is no longer dedicated to your own as a mother-and it's glorious. Every little smile and giggle and tight tiny baby squeeze makes me realize that I just don't care if I'm not as glamorous or stylish or hip as I was 9 months ago-though I do really really want to be one of those "hot moms." What I really want is to care for my child and my husband and to foster a closeness between all of us and our Maker, a respect for others and for our world. I'm starting to realize that I don't have to be a picture perfect housekeeper or act as Corey's personal chef to do that. I need to be happy and in love with life, no matter the circumstance, and then I can give to the full.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

it's been awhile

Sorry we've been gone so long. I was busy teaching Asher how to drive...



Ok so seriously, I haven't abandoned my blogging past time. I'm back, ready to release a fury of fateful tales of the ins and outs of Asherland.

This past week we spent a lovely time amidst the corn and soy fields of Southern Illinois.
Havana, IL.
Never heard of it? Not to worry, here is all you need to know about one of the corn state's most precious gems....http://www.outfitters.com/illinois/mason/havana.html

While in Havana, Corey, Asher and I, along with Corey's parents spent loads of time relaxing (sleeping) and supporting the local economy (read: buying ice cream in bulk), while learning a bit about the history of Small Town, USA (listening to stories about people I've never met). Asher took to his great grandmother pretty immediately, they became good buddies by the time the week was over...



I have many more photos and gobs of stories to tell, but it's 10PM and this old lady needs to hit the hay. Mr. Asher is an early morning person and mom has to get her rest to keep up. Visit again soon, I promise there will be much more to come...