Monday, December 28, 2009


We had a lovely Christmas! Christmas Eve with my side of the family was just a beautiful time. It was hilarious to watch Elliot pick his favorites for the day...some blocks, a truck that plays "Funkytown", and two pictures that were colored for him of Snoopy and Linus. This kid CLUNG to those pictures, uninterested in most of the other gifts that followed. Now, he has further explored his other toys and is thoroughly enjoying them all. He likes loading his dumptruck with toy food and dumping it all out. Making "meals" in the kitchen with mommy and playing with his little Fisher-Price nativity set (his favorite is the camel) and squeezing the ears on his rocking horse.
On Christmas morning Elliot woke up in his Christmas pajamas and robe and toddled into our room to read the Christmas story and pray. Then the stockings, the traditional orange rolls for breakfast, with orange juice freshly squeezed by Evan and his new juicer....don't laugh, he's thrilled! Then we opened all the gifts. Let's just say my husband did a fabulous job expressing his love through the gifts he gave me this year. Very thoughtful and very practical at the same time. I'll use everything!
Christmas afternoon Ev's side of the family came over for Christmas dinner and gifts. I certainly hope no one had more food on their table. It was almost ridiculous....the part that made it not ridiculous is that everything was delicious! We had an apple stuffed pork roast (great job Ev!), cornbread dressing, cranberry relish, spinach salad, baked sweet potatoes, sauteed butternut squash, and apple dumplings...HOLY COW! I'm still recovering.
It was great! Especially considering Rory is still wagging her little tail around here. We got home Christmas Eve night and realized pretty quickly that something was wrong with our pup. She was heaving all over the place and had opened the gate to the kitchen so we thought she probably got into something, but we couldn't figure out what, because she hadn't torn up anything in the house. Then she started to shake uncontrollably and I sat down with her to do my own examination. Her tummy was all swollen and bloated, and there were little flecks of crushed peppermint candy around her mouth. If you recall my last post, I used those on my hot chocolate on a stick. She found the last one that I had wrapped in wax paper and put in the trash. So we found a 24 hour emergency vet clinic and I drove her there at midnight. I seriously thought she was going to die on my lap on the way there. When we got to the hospital they whisked her away as soon as I came in the door and they induced a bunch of vomiting and put an IV in her and then came in and told me they were going to give her activated charcoal and she would have to stay overnight AND that they she was looking good but they couldn't promise anything, so I should say goodbye to her before I left. What?! I just started crying.
So I came home at about 2:30 in the morning and we waited until we woke up. When we called at 8:30 they said she was doing well and we could pick her up! :) YAY! She's been tired the past couple days and we've had to watch her food intake closely, but she's back to her old self now. Evan said this is just typical of a Gilmore family Christmas. I said that is sad. But I am starting to expect these sorts of adventures, which I guess is just life.
Anyway, all in all, we had a fantastic Christmas and hope you did too! As a closing word, here's our little Christmas letter that we only sent to a few before Christmas, so for you all, it's belated.

December 24, 2009

In Him was life, and that life was the light of men!
-John 1:4-
Dear Friends and Family,

Merry  Christmas! The year of 2009 has been one of big transitions and great joys for the Gilmores, as we’re sure it has been for you. We’ve moved to Upland, Evan has been blessed with a new job at Taylor, Megan is being published, and Elliot celebrated his first birthday!

While there are still unpacked boxes in the garage, we’re enjoying the warmth and comfort of our new home this holiday season. Elliot’s wonder at the lights and wrapping paper and general splendor of stores around this time of year is a delight to watch.

One thing we have been learning about this year, is the beautiful reality of the life, light, and freedom that God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ provides. There is so much darkness and death in the world around us, that we often unknowingly let it seep into our hearts and minds. But embracing God’s gift of love, the light of His truth, and the abundant life He offers is continually renewing and freeing for us.

We are so thankful for the God who, so many Christmases ago, wrapped Himself in the limitations of human flesh to provide a way for us to know Him and love Him free from the bondage of our sin.

We are also incredibly thankful for you, and the love that you pour out on us! And we pray that you will also know the amazing freedom and joy that comes from the God of life, light, and love!

With Joy Inexpressible,

Evan, Megan, and Elliot

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Christmas Eve Eve Eve Projects

Yesterday was the first day home away from work and anything work related. Except for a few frenzied emails, since I'm the only Leadership faculty in the country. This post will include lots of pictures! Hope you're ready.
Project #1: Super Chocolatey Hot Chocolate-on-a-Stick
I started on the hot chocolate on a stick, my recipe was inspired by Givers Log. You can find the recipe here. She has lots of helpful tips! And I will tell you what she NOT get even a DROP of water in your chocolate!!!! I'm SERIOUS! Bad things will happen if you do.
I used candy canes instead of sticks and drizzled white chocolate over all of it and then topped it with crushed candy canes.

Step 1: Get your molds and sticks (or stick substitutes) ready, while your water heats up in your double-boiler (or makeshift double-boiler like I use)

Step 2: Melt the chocolate and add in the other ingredients. I had 16 oz of chocolate, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 cup powdered sugar. Mix it all up (it will be very thick! So use your muscles!)

Step 3: Dump that deliciousness into a ziploc bag and snip off the corner with a pair of scissors. Then pipe the chocolate mixture into your molds and wait for it to harden (it will obviously harden faster if you pop it in the fridge)

Step 4: Pop your chocolate sticks out of their molds and place them on some wax paper for their finishing touches.

Step 5: Finishing touches. This can be whatever you want. The chocolate looks a little chalky when it dries, so if you want it to be shiny and smooth you might want to dunk it in some more plain chocolate. I melted some white chocolate and drizzled it over the sticks, then I crushed the leftover candy canes and sprinkled them on top.
Who knows! Some of you might be getting one of these for Christmas. :)

Project #2: Christmas Wreaths
When I saw this wreath on Thrifty Decor Chick, I knew that I wanted to make one. Now, about three weeks later, I did. Mine isn't as pretty, but hey, it was worth a shot. If you're going to make one, PLEASE follow Sarah's advice and hot glue all the bulbs to their little toppers before you start. It will save you a lot of trouble. I thought that because mine were plastic and not glass that they were on there really good....not so. I had to go back and glue them all.

This wreath is hanging in our Christmasy Kitchen.

This is about step 3 on the wreath I've been promising Evan that I will make, ever since we put our tree up. We saved the branches that fell off or that we had to saw off our tree from the bottom and have been preserving them in water for the past couple weeks. They were still quite fresh. Then I took a wire hanger and reshaped it into a circle to be the base of the wreath. THEN... I tied all the branches around it and wove some of the branches through other ones, added a bow, some pine cones and couple ornaments....and VOILA!

Evan's wreath. We still need to hang it up, but hey. It's finished.

Project #3: SOAP! (of course)

I tried two new soap recipes last night (which I'll detail in another post). But it was a crazy adventure. At 11:30 my comatose husband was being a gem and standing next to me to help me stir. SO now, coconut milk and green tea soap are curing on my table. Hurray!

Project #4 was wrapping a ton of gifts, but I won't bore you with a picture and I still have more to wrap. So before my little guy wakes up, I better get to that.

Seriously Now?!

Someday, I swear I'm going to end up on the People of Walmart site. My son is just now laying down for his first nap of the day. Two days ago, he would just not go to sleep, so around 2:00 I figured something had to be done. He needed to be strapped down and forced into a baby nap coma. However, since most people don't look very kindly on roping your child down in their bed, I chose the more humane route of strapping him  into his car seat and heading to the store. Within seconds, he was out like a light. The whole way to the store, I was trying to think of ways that he could stay asleep longer. This little guy was tuckered and it just broke my heart to wake him up.
See, when he was little, I could just pop his little carrier in and out of the car. And as long as my jostling of this little bundle was minimal, he stayed asleep for the length of the shopping trip. Now, he's in a big guy car seat that I have to haul him in and out of. Seriously now?! Why has no one thought of a little pop out car seat solution for toddlers?! I'm sure almost everyone has had the unhappy experience of waking a sleeping toddler. I've seen these car seats with wheels on the back, the kind that you pull around like luggage at the airport. However, doesn't that just seem a little odd? Dragging your child behind you, strapped to a chair on wheels?
Here's a picture of one, courtesy of

Well, hey. That baby actually looks pretty happy. Maybe I could do something like that...just one problem, I don't have a whole lot of money in my bank account, it being the Christmas season at all. But being the DYI chick that I am, how about a little DYI action on this baby. I've got some bungee cords in the car and a large rolling suitcase in the garage. Surely, I can make something happen.
Here's the thing though, I was actually thinking through all these options in the car...on the way to the store. My son was literally snoring in the backseat. PLUS, we're trying to get rid of this bottle! Chances are he's going to wake up, start throwing a screaming fit in the store because he's going through formula withdrawal. And that's when it will happen. I'll start grabbing formula off the shelf, to put in a bottle from off the shelf, filled with Dasani water from the nearby cooler and someone will snap a picture. Yep. A picture of me, my baby strapped to a suitcase, and stolen formula. Seriously now?! There has to be a better way. Please save me from People of! Any suggestions for this new mother would be welcome....I think.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Final grades are entered. My office is clean. And my computer is shut work. I am done with the fall semester of 2009! Praise the Lord! While there have been many MANY good things about this semester, it has also been a stressful burden that I am glad to be rid of.
So here I am, back to blogging and the like, doing a shortened version of the advent calendar with my son, wrapping gifts, and very much enjoying the holiday season.
On the holiday agenda for today:
1) Joseph's story for the advent calendar
2) Tea with the Smith ladies
3) Wrapping gifts
4) Making a wreath (my husband has been requesting this for about two weeks...thanks for being patient, my Love)

So for those of you faithful readers that were missing my posts, I am not dead, just basking in the warm feeling of completion and a cup of tea. Ah....freedom!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seriously Now?!

"If talking about healthy habits isn’t working, try something more entertaining! Sprinkle glitter to show how germs spread, zoom a toy truck with an animal passenger to illustrate the importance of seatbelts, and drop a clay-filled plastic Easter egg to point out the value of helmets. These great teaching tools are loads of fun, too!"
-from my daily parenting email

Okay. Did a parent seriously write this? "Here Elliot, this is how germs work." (Sprinkle glitter into his hand to be spread on everything that he touches for the rest of the day). "Hey buddy, can I play with your truck and doggy for a second?" (ram the truck into the wall throwing the dog from its seat in the vehicle and act like it died) Oh wait, one more. "Can I see your playdough, and the easter eggs that we hide fun snacks in?" (carefully craft a ball of playdough and explain that it's supposed to represent my son's head, place it in the egg, and throw it on the ground...make sure it smooshes really well for maximum effect).

Seriously now?! You've got to be kidding me? Who would do that?! Great learning tools?...Sure. Traumatic experiences?....Sure. Entertaining experience?...yes. Absolutely ridiculous?...yes. Even the glitter, I tried to think for a minute and it's actually a great idea, if I have a maid running after Elliot cleaning up everything he touches, but wait. Then he can't see where his germs were right? Oh no!

This message was originally sent to my junk mail folder. I think that's where it should have stayed. Or maybe it's just that time in the semester, when I get kind of sarcastic and critical. After all, my wonderful husband did stare lovingly into my eyes last night and ask, "Is that my wife over there, or a big lump of cynicism?"

Monday, December 14, 2009


What a blessing of a day! I told Evan that today would be my hardest day this week and to just pray that I got through it well. While there were definitely highs and lows, let's speak of the highs, shall we?
I knocked out one final presentation, 2 final oral exams, one final Christmas party, and 1 worldchangers final exam today. PLUS! I got tons of grading done in the meantime.
A student sent me a very encouraging email....which was much needed.
I got a funny and affirming voicemail from my mom....also much needed.
When I got home, my husband made us supper, my son loved on me like crazy and learned out nutcrackers worked (he proceeded to pick up each one, open their mouth and yell "AH!!!"). Then we sat down as a family and watched a movie. I was able to put Elliot to sleep for the first time in about a week, because I didn't have to bring any grading home with me. And while Evan and he have had a great time with their pre-bedtime ticklefests, I've missed that cuddle time with my buddy.
God is so faithful! I hope that amidst your crazed days with lows and highs, that you can focus on the blessings, make the most of them and cherish your family too!

Monday, December 7, 2009

OH...Christmas Tree!

What a great weekend! Apart from a somewhat eventful trip to Indianapolis, we had a wonderful time. We went to the Artsgarden to see Emily and Mom sing and then to the Old Spaghetti Factory for lunch. Then yesterday we got our tree! I cannot tell you how sweet it was to do this with our little boy.
We found a place just a couple miles outside of Upland - a landscaping business/bed & breakfast/Christmas tree farm -where you can go pick and cut your own tree! And the prices are very comparable to the one's you'd find in a lot. I'm super excited, because most trees that you buy in a lot were cut around 3 weeks before they got there, so I figure this tree might stay green and not get dry until well after New Years!

Anyway, my manly lumberjack husband cut down the massive fir...

...and carried it back to the car...

...while Elliot and I hiked the "trails" of the tree farm...

We came home and Elliot really wanted to help with the tree...

...we said no! How about mommy and you just put on some Christmas tunes and eat Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes (I think I like these things far too much).

He loved all the decorations...

...And lights.

One very special part of the night was when Elliot and Ev put together the Nutcrackers.

And we stood back to enjoy!

We'll be posting new pictures with our Christmasy decor soon. Until then, Merry Christmas from the Gilmores and their little man.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peace and Rest

Peace is always beautiful., originally uploaded by sungazing on Flickr.
I love my God! I've had a thought rolling around in my head today, and like most thoughts that roll around in there, it isn't exactly complete. The thought is mostly just a feeling of gratitude trying to find its expression in my feeble attempt at coherent articulation. 
I've coined myself as a recovering overachiever/perfectionist before, and it is that part of me that so adores the redemption and example of my God right now. Work is good. Creation of ideas and industry and productivity. Service and learning and labor with diligence and excellence. Building and investing in the Kingdom of God. All of this is not only good, but part of our privilege as stewards of God's creation. Most of us, actually enjoy working (maybe not in our actual job, but in something). I love the intentionality with which God works as He creates in Genesis. I love the satisfaction He exhibits in a job well done. Wanna know what else I love?
I love that He rests! He doesn't rest because He needs to. He doesn't rest as a way to sit back and admire His creation a bit more or start planning the next world that He's going to create. I don't think He even rests to make sure that every 7th day of the week we do the same. I think He rests because it is good!!!
Work is good, and rest is good! Too much work, is not just work, it's obsession, and an attempt at proving one's own self-worth on the wrong terms. Too much rest, is not just rest, it's laziness, and a prideful assertion of one's own value apart from anyone or anything else. But God shows us how both are good. I love that! 
I love that rhythms of rest are built into creation, into our bodies, into our relationships. God is so good! And His ways are life-giving.
As I come to the end of yet another semester, rest seems just out of reach. I still have two weeks of some pretty intense work ahead of me. But it is good! And my dear husband has made extra efforts to make my life at home a place of peace and rest despite the chaotic rush of the season.
Another thing I love about God? His peace. Even when I am working my tail off and trying to manage chaotic life issues, peace can reign in my heart because my Prince's throne sits there too. My wonderful, merciful Savior. My precious Redeemer and Friend. My mighty God, everlasting Father. My Prince of Peace. I love You!


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