the last few weeks

hello, friends!

i hope you and your family had a merry little Christmas! ours was beautiful. it is always such a busy time of year, and i was so thankful to be able to spend oodles of time with friends and family.

while we are on the topic of Christmas, i would like to recommend the book come thou long-expected Jesus: experiencing the peace and promise of Christmas. it is a collection of advent readings from tons of wonderful authors such as john calvin, martin luther, randy alcorn, john piper, and john macarthur. the readings are truly worshipful and highlight different gems in the Christmas story that i hadn't really considered before. they helped me ponder Jesus more, who "became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption." what a Savior!

next, ben and i are currently up north at his parents' cabin for a few days away. he's working remotely and i'm using this time to catch up on blogging/email/facebook messages (apologies if i owe you a response!), read, and pray/plan for 2012. we got here last night, turned on the heat, headed into town for some dinner, and relaxed with a movie on the laptop. it's gonna be a good week.

and finally, i love that a few of you have hounded/teased/asked me to keep posting my pictures. no, i have not stopped capturing 2011, i just took an irresponsible break from emailing and blogging. bad amy. but here they are!

capture2011 :: no. 247 :: 12.16.2011 :: still going strong

anyone know what kind of flower this is? it was part of a bouquet ben bought for me on december 3. i was surprised to see it still looking good on the 16th, and even better, it still looked good yesterday when we left to come up north. i like the shape. very mod.

capture2011 :: no. 248 :: 12.17.2011 :: birthday boy!

our nephew caleb turned two this month! caleb's parents had a birthday party for him, and it was a ton of fun. there were lots of kids and toys and an amazing mickey mouse cake that christa made!

what a sweet face on this kid. caleb has such a gentle, kind spirit, and i can't believe two years have gone by since that special day he was born. he looks great in his dad's mickey mouse ears, don't you think?

capture2011 :: no. 249 :: 12.17.2011 :: father and son

yup, lots o' kids at this party. here's our nephew isaac getting a big smooch from daddy wes!

capture2011 :: no. 250 :: 12.17.2011 :: tuckered out

the weekend of caleb's party was madness, but in the best way. there were three Christmas parties, his birthday party, and a small group women's breakfast. i snapped this picture of our niece grace anne (i spelled her middle name incorrectly last time!) at the tail end of my parents' Christmas party that saturday night. i might have been as tuckered out as she was. ;)

capture2011 :: no. 251 :: 12.21.2011 :: a total invalid

i pulled a muscle in my back last week. i was leaning over to get something out of my purse. i know, i know, i shouldn't take so many risks. i can't believe how much it hurt, and i was pretty much on the couch the rest of the day. i sewed these microwaveable rice heat packs as Christmas presents last year, and i am glad i kept the prototype because i got good use out of it.

capture2011 :: no. 252 :: 12.22.2011 :: afternoon snack

i'm not quite sure why i took this picture. now that i think of it, i was probably subconsciously proud of myself for choosing to snack on vegetables, and apparently, i want you all to be proud of me, too. yes, i am an adult.

capture2011 :: no. 253 :: 12.23.2011 :: Christmas with vern

1) ben pretty much only calls me amy in public. otherwise it is bruce or some variation of bruce. 2) ben does not wrap presents often, therefore, he has not mastered the corners. but i love it when he wraps a present for me so i don't care. 3) no offense, matt. :)

capture2011 :: no. 254 :: 12.24.2011 :: Christmas eve frat party

after Christmas eve service, we ate dinner at my parents' house. our tradition is to eat wild rice soup, bread, and as many appetizers as humanly possible (mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, potato skins, etc.). ben affectionately calls it a "frat party," minus the red solo cups. but my sister raised our collective status this year with some delicious mushroom tartlets and these caprese skewers. she's pretty much a gourmet. thank you, kristen!

capture2011 :: no. 255 :: 12.24.2011 :: my parents' tree

after dinner, we opened presents. my brother dave, lauren, hannah, and grace were on an opposite schedule from me and ben this year, and we missed them tons.

capture2011 :: no. 256 :: 12.25.2011 :: it's all fun and games until . . .

this picture kills me. explanation: we spent Christmas day at ben's parents' house and it was a full one! it was truly a blessing that everyone could be there. whenever we all get together, the kids inevitably pile up on grandpa klaas for wrestling and tickle torture. there is always a definite point where it is time to stop, and i think i might have captured that exact moment here (the main clue is when klaas's face goes from smiling to serious). ben was stepping in to peel off children and aid in triage, but thankfully, there were minimal casualties. i love these kids, but i'm glad it wasn't me in there! ;)

ok! if you are counting, i only have four (FOUR!) more pictures to take to wrap up my year in pictures. wow wow wow. so glad to have done this, and yet so looking forward to being done. thanks for following!