Friday, December 28, 2012

My New Favorite Necklace

Ann Troast Photography
(Left to Right:  Stacy, Me, My Mom, Jill, Cricket)

I am so thankful for the relationship I have with my mother and my sisters (sister in law included).   This year I wanted to do something special to convey in some small way how much they all mean to me.  So, I decided to get us all matching necklaces.  Originally, I had really wanted all of us to get matching tattoos, but I wasn't sure if we would all be game for that, so I settled on the necklaces.

Ann Troast Photography
Recently, I discovered that my old college roommate has been making jewelry.  She does awesome work, and I knew she was the perfect person to go to make these necklaces.  I obviously love to support anything handmade, and especially someone like me who does it as a little side business.

I contacted Val from V's Jewels, and shared with her a design I had seen on Etsy.  Basically, I wanted a cross with our birthstones and an anchor.  I wanted it to symbolize how each of us are anchored together through Christ.    Val loved the idea and went to work right away brainstorming and ordering supplies.  The final product is better than I imagined and I LOVE it.  She did an amazing job.

I include my sister-in-law in on this as well because she is just as much a sister to me as my two actual sisters.  She has been with my brother since I was in high school and stuck by him when he was in the worst of his alcohol addiction.  Thankfully, he is almost 6 years sober (whoop, whoop)!

Along with the necklaces,  I wanted to include a poem to explain their meaning, as well as convey to them what they each mean to me.  You can read it below:

To my favorite women
A small gift for you
To honor our love
And all we’ve been through.

At the bottom you’ll find
Five stones hung on
They represent us
And our very close bond

The anchor shows
How solid we are
Though waters get rough
We don’t move too far

 The cross, as you see
It rests on our heart
With God as our center
We won’t fall apart

Through Christ’s awesome love
We are anchored together
In the good and the bad
And all of life’s weather.

So, thanks each of you
And how much you care
What God has given us
Is extraordinarily rare.

A HUGE thank-you to Val for making such an amazing and meaningful piece of jewelry for each of us.  Please head over to her Facebook page and show her some love, and order from her!  She is awesome to work with and makes beautiful stuff.  You really cannot beat something that is handmade from someone who truly loves her craft.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012 (this is your official Thompson Christmas Card)

Kate Krueger Photography

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  And, while I am at it....Happy New Year!

This year has been one amazing year for our family.  Nothing extraordinary happened, but nothing awful either.  It has been a year of normal...and I really liked that.

I know this is the time that people chat about what everyone in the family is doing, so I figured I better make this the best digital Christmas card out there and follow suit to keep up with the real cards :-)
Ann Troast Photography
Paul is still working at Meijer.  I love them.  Not all of his days are amazing, and there are certain areas that cause him huge headaches, but all in all Meijer is a fabulous company.  I appreciate their interest in our family, and I really love getting that 10% discount on general merchandise :-)

Aside from Meijer, Paul also works for our church, Cornerstone, in Caledonia.  He is the Worship Tech Manager.  I don't really know what all of that means except that he spends a lot of time setting up the stage, tearing down the stage, setting lights, and making sure all things "techy" work smoothly.  This is definitely Paul's creative outlet and he has a huge passion for the worship arts.

I am still a homemaker.  Most days are great, but somedays can seem monotonous and rather unimportant.  The saying "Long Days. Short Years" can be far too true with a three year old and a one year old.  I try to remind myself that fixing dinner, picking up toys, and doing laundry are definitely important in this world and really if no one did them this house would be a disaster with naked, hungry, and cranky people!  I truly do love being home with my girls.  I love doing art projects with Belle, and singing and dancing with Evie.

I am still busy with crocheting.  I had put it down after having Evie and have gotten back into it.  It is my therapy and it has become my misson.  Rosie's Cozies has still been a huge success in blessing premature babies and their families, and it was even a great way to push me to finish my first ever 5k this year!  I promise I did not expect to check that off of my list in 2012.   I wish I had more time to write patterns, but in the meantime I love starting new projects and trying new things.

Ann Troast Photography
Kate Krueger Photography

Belle began preschool this past year and it is the cutest thing ever.  She comes back with new stories of what she learned and new songs I love to hear.  I had to have a good laugh when I found out she had to sit in time out because she was talking too much at circle time.  Alas, the poor girl is just like her mother!  It has been quite the year figuring out her sleeping issues, potty training, and other such woes of this age, but it has been such a joy watching her go from a toddler to a little girl.  She equally melts my heart and makes me crazy every day.

Ann Troast Photography
Kate Krueger Photography
Evie.  Oh, Evie.  This past year she went from a laid-back baby into this busy, into everything, curious little toddler!  It is hard to get mad at a face like hers with those curls all over her head.  I think Belle is going to have a run for her money with a little sister like Evie.  She started walking just after Thanksgiving and has been on the move ever since.  Verbally, she will say "buh-bye," "hi," "no," and mimics us often.  She is really good at "ah-choo!'  Evie has turned into quite the snuggler and I eat every minute of it up. She will rest her head right into your neck and cozy up.  Melts. My. Heart.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I have no shame in sharing my struggles and frustrations, and I am thankful for those of you who have offered encouragement, prayer, and just honest empathy.  I am equally thankful for those of you who share in my praises and my accomplishments and cheer me on.

Overall, 2012 has treated us well.  We have been blessed with amazing family and fabulous friends.  God is good.  God is good.  God. Is. Good.

Ann Troast Photography
Ann Troast Photography
Kate Krueger Photography

Sunday, December 16, 2012


This past few days have been a load of emotions.  All of the Connecticut stuff has been weighing heavily on me.  The day the news came out I cried, and I cried, and I cried.  I watched intently on the news and my heart ached.  I hurt so bad inside for those families who have lost their babies.  I imagined what the first responders may have witnessed and I just felt broken and helpless.

I have verged on anger, sorrow, and guilt.  I am angry at Adam Lanza.  I am angry at sin.  I am angry at the awful state of our human nature.  And quite honestly, I have been angry at God.  I know God has plans far greater than I can understand, but I am mad.  I am so mad for those parents who will have unopened Christmas gifts under their tree.  I imagined that if that happened to Belle I would come home to her half eaten bowl of cereal left on the counter, her pjs on the floor where she took them off, her room full of toys she hadn't put away, and multiple traces of her left for me to ache and yearn for.  I can only imagine the pain those families have and I am angry.

Obviously, the sorrow feelings are there every time I think through the events.  I put myself in the shoes of the families who have lost those babies, and I just grieve.  I hurt for them as a mother who wants to keep their children safe from all harm and to protect them.  When I put myself in their shoes I almost can't even let my mind go there because it is too horrific for me to imagine.  

And then there is the guilt.  We went to my side of the family's Christmas party yesterday, and it was amazing.   We thoroughly enjoy each other and it is one of my favorite days of the year.  We have a table full of food, a tree with presents for all, and activities throughout the entire the day.  It is truly a time where we all enjoy each other and celebrate Christ.  I loved it.  Belle and Evie loved it.  However, when we left I got into the car and just cried.  I felt so much guilt that as I smiled, laughed, and celebrated, the parents from Newtown were struggling with the worst pain a parent could imagine.  I know it is okay for me to enjoy things, but there is just that side of me that can't seem to shake despite my enjoyment the emotional struggle in Connecticut.

So, now what?  Quite honestly, I am not a fan of Obama's politics, but tonight when he spoke I felt like we "got" each other.  Parent to parent.  Human to human.  Whether or not we agree on the political front, this is something we can all relate to.  We know what it feels like to love, to hurt, and to have empathy.  We all hurt and reel for those in Newtown.  As Obama quoted Matthew 19:14 "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'" and read each child's name I couldn't stop the tears.  

God's plans are greater than I can understand, and I hold on to that truth.  I truly believe God can redeem this awful awful awful event.  It doesn't mean the pain will go away, but I believe God can take this and use it in some way and somehow for good.  Last week Monday I attended a women's event at our church about miracles.  Miracles don't always come in the form we expect them to, but it doesn't mean they aren't happening.  No, God will not restore the 28 lost lives in Newton, but I believe in my deepest soul that there will be miracle after miracle in response to this event. 

In the meantime, I will still probably find myself crying and hurting for the families affected in Newtown.  I will still probably have many conversations with God begging Him to help me understand.  I will still feel those emotions of anger, sorrow, and guilt, but I hold on to God and hope if nothing else I always remember to hug my family tightly...and not ONLY after a tragic event like this.  

To those in Newtown, CT I pray for for you and I grieve for you.  May God comfort you and this nation surround you. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cardless Christmas

Sorry to all of those who may be waiting impatiently by your mailbox for our fabulous Christmas card, but you will be sorely disappointed.  This year I have decided to nix sending out a card.  This is for many reasons:
  1. I am cheap.   Buying the cards and paying for postage just seemed like extra money I didn't want to spend this Christmas season.  
  2. Each year I have to rummage through old emails and old cards to try to find all of the addresses I need to mail out our cards.  One year I actually had a stack of cards I did not send out because I hadn't found the address, and then my friend, Deedre, saw our Christmas card on our other friend, Liz's, refrigerator and wondered why in the world she didn't get a Christmas card that year.  Thank goodness she knows I am a disorganized space cadet and wasn't offended because she knew I was intending to mail hers out as soon as I found that darn address.
  3. I know it doesn't take THAT much time to stuff and address the envelopes, but it is honestly time during the day I don't have with how crazy busy Evie is, and at the end of the day I don't really want to do much but relax on my couch.
  4. I realized that people see stupid amounts of pictures and stories of my family daily on Facebook.  Yes, I am that girl who posts constantly because I really love to share my life with others and technology makes it SO convenient.  I have no shame and I totally own this trait of mine.  Therefore, I didn't know if people really needed to now see another picture of my over-shared family in their mailbox too.
  5. Last year my sister, Jill, did a Christmas "card" via Facebook, and I felt it was genius and decided that was the way to go.
So, maybe it's kind of bah-humbug to not mail out Christmas cards, but I'd like to think that I am keeping up with the wave of the future and the changing of times (right?  right????).  With that said, be on the lookout for my Christmas "Card" Blog Post in the next couple of weeks.  If you really want to you can print off the picture and place it on your mantle with all of the cards that non-cheaplazydisorganized people send your way :-)