i am finishing up the year sick as a dog but the good news is, i actually finished up organizing my personal pictures from 2011! i uploaded the few pictures i took on christmas and our trip up to dallas to visit family.

here is our tree anxiously awaiting the little ones. each had three presents waiting for her!

i felt a little intimidated by the pictures on facebook of trees dwarfed by their stacks of presents but we stuck to our guns and the girls each got a scooter, a doll and a new pair of shoes! of course when we went to dallas the presents got a little out of control, but we are taking baby steps :)

you can see more of the pictures from our celebrations HERE


the gluttony of the past week and a half. i have no words to describe it. tonight i topped it off with queso (and guac) and ravioli with gorgonzola and walnuts covered in chipotle cream sauce accompanied by two frozen margaritas with salt*... i have left nothing on the table. i am spent. my body is already feeling sorry for these choices.

and yet my challenge starts in just 2 days. SEVEN. 7 foods for a month.

almond milk
reducing one area of my life (food) to make room for another. it is ON. let's see what happens.

and of course there is a bottle of prosecco chilling in the fridge for celebrating 2012 before any of this actually begins :)

* i had a designated driver, thanks ALI! :)


light one candle for peace. one bright candle for peace.

the last advent candle is lit. advent is over. advent means 'waiting on the arrival of something important'. that is putting it lightly, don't you think?

as we sang a mix of christmas carols and modern songs a few lyrics stuck out to me. i was actually crying, which frankly isn't unusual these days. my emotions seem to run high lately.

our journey of redemption begins with a baby born into the humblest of circumstances.

listening to the bible story of jesus' birth for the millionth time a new thing stood out to me today. it says 'But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.' oh who among us with a newborn hasn't spent time pondering things in her heart. running back over the way others love your baby and the little sweet moments of the day. i love to think of mary as a new first time mom enjoying the way her sweet baby smells and coo's and the adoring look on everyone's face meeting him for the first time.

he brings peace to every heart. he comes. he comes.
merry christmas eve eve. we have our church service tonight and i am excited! a few years ago the 23rd meant one thing and one thing only. donovan fiesta.

the fiesta was born on mockingbird lane in dallas and consisted of my mom's famous iced sugar cookies (and no, you have no idea how good an iced sugar cookie can be until you have had one. they are legendary), a margarita machine, asundry paper mexican flowers, and a crockpot full of queso. it was always a time to visit with friends in the middle of winter break from school and it was ALWAYS a good time.

so many great stories and memories stem from the fiesta. boys came and went, but my girls were always constant! from jill's accidental phone call on the way home to arlington to my mom developing the film from her camera weeks after the fiesta to find pictures of me puking into the toilet late night, fiesta stories never cease to entertain.

the fiesta is still dearly missed and remembered by all who experienced it. kevin is still a little sad he never got to come since its last year was just before we met. he said the other day we should start it back up again, austin edition. maybe in a few years if i'm feeling brave :)

until then, rip fiesta. we loved you!


for those of you that like to keep up with my photography business, i have a new facebook page! please head to www.facebook.com/bloomaustin and 'like' my page to keep up with the latest news and images :)


i just downloaded the new live album recorded at our church benefiting our orphanage in haiti (that we are visiting in february!) and am struck by the words in the first song that strike me every time i hear it at church.

'distribute what we have. that all may taste and see'

easier said than done, right? what does that mean for us? ever feel like we've been missing the point?


i can't make this stuff up, y'all.

i just turned the corner into our playroom and this is the sight i see:

yes that is mary (lily) and joseph (eve) and baby jesus (dora). after i took this and laughed pretty hard about it, they showed me their entrance to bethlehem on a donkey (rocking horse). in their version they mostly stumbled upon a baby and named it jesus. anyone want to school lily on childbirth? haha

lily is also talking in pseudo 'bible' talk saying things like 'and there were no toys in the inn for the baby to play with. and some were broughten to him by the three kings and all was perfect.' then her story really jumps the shark with a little 'and there were no cupcakes and the animals in the manger shared their cupcakes to celebrate the birthday'. goodness i love these girls.


i just rocked my baby to sleep. between 'hushhhh'es and singing there were some tears. mostly mine :) i hate that she has diaper rash right now, but i love that it meant she needed extra cuddles tonight.

sweet annie, you are one. my big one year-old girl. from the moment you took our family from an ellipses to an exclamation point i knew you were special. the joy you bring to everyone who crosses your path (save your sisters when trying to build a block tower that you are content to dismantle) is a blessing to be able to share with the world.

what an honor to have you as my daughter, my baby. i am also the youngest of three, my mom's baby. oh i never understood why she would pull me into her lap when i was over 5 feet tall and call me 'baby' and talk about how my bottom used to fit into the palm of her hand, but girl get ready for it. it is my turn.

your year has been a crazy one for this family and without you none of it would have been the same. our trip to the beach without your eyes of wonder? the christmas lights without your amazed stare? our late night guitar sessions without your bouncing dance? none of it would have been complete without annie.

you love dogs more than any other child we have had. you have finally (we hope) stopped spitting up 10x a day. you snuggle your doggy lovie blanket every night in your crib and you always ALWAYS wake up happy. you love fruit more than any other food and your first taste of cake at your party was a success.

thank you for my head 'bonks' every night. for your drooly giggly smile after you bonk me. thank you for your patience with your stretched thin mommy. thank you for loving your sisters and making it so easy for them to love you in return.

i love you annie.


as the father sent me, so i send you.
john 20:21

we are being sent. as matthew hansen said this morning at church, we need to be love to people who need love. it isn't a checklist. sitting around feeling like we are being good 'do'ers while forgetting its about 'be'ing isn't doing anyone any favors. i want to BE. i'm working on it.

things feel exciting but unsettled right now and i'm not so good at unsettled. i get what my sister and i refer to as 'the pit'. the pit is that feeling in your stomach when something just isn't right.

in the midst of other changes and the chaos that is life these days, my annie is turning one on tuesday. say it ain't so. the joy of my life is almost 365 days old. despite the craziness that having a third child has brought to our family (a friend once referred to the third child as 'sinking the family battleship')... i wouldn't trade susanna kathleen for the world. not for a single moment of peace and quiet. not for an easier trip to the grocery store. not for a hip suv instead of a minivan. nope. not a chance. she is ours, all ours and i thank God for her every step of the way.

lots of pictures to come this week hopefully!


the holidays are upon us and everything that drives me crazy internally all year long seems to come to a head during the month of december. my pastor's wife wrote a blog post about their approach to the holidays i found particularly inspiring and centered me on the issue.

and what strikes me about the approach is- it is an approach to life. year round. its not a special month of giving or a certain time of year to get involved in service. it is a lifestyle because that is who and what we are called to be.

this year i'm hoping to find little ways to change. small steps in the right direction. i honestly wanted to take a giant leap a few weeks ago but got paralyzed by the thoughts of the eye rolls when we told family we won't be doing gifts or the internal conflict of wanting my own traditions regardless of whether or not they really celebrate christ.

next year prepare yourself to give me a giant eye roll and i will prepare myself to not care what anyone else thinks.