Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Never Once

I can NOT believe 2011 is over. What a year it was!

This time last year, I was beyond ready for 2010 to end. We started 2011 with the hope of a job offer and a big life change for us. It was around New Year's last year when we told our families that we were moving to Texas. We gave our notice at our jobs and buckled up for an adventure.

This time last year, I was scared to death. Scared that Matt would never be happy again. Scared to be by myself (and halfway across the country from my husband!) for nearly three months. Scared to move somewhere new and start all over again. Scared I would never be able to find the grocery store in a new city.

I've been doing a lot of reflecting over the past few days and have struggled to put into words exactly how I felt about 2011. There have been some really big struggles. There have been really happy times and really sad times. Overall, there has just been a lot of change for us. In a way, it has made me a little unsettled about facing a brand new year. What kind of change will we face this year? What ups and downs? What struggles?

As anyone who knows me very well knows, I struggle with putting my thoughts into words sometimes. (And yet there are  several of you out there who faithfully read my ramblings! Not sure if I should say "Thanks" or "I'm sorry"!) I've  sat down to write this several times this week and just couldn't decide which direction to go with my year-end thoughts. I've been far too jumbled.

Tonight in church we sang this song and I completely fell apart. It's like it took all my jumbled thoughts, organized them, then summarized my year perfectly. We had our ups and downs, but through it all, God was faithful!

So as I head into 2012, I know that no matter what may come (good or bad) God is faithful!

Happy New Year, friends!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Recap

We had four Christmases this year. That's right, FOUR!

#1: Murphy Christmas
Marty, Cindy, and Jon made the long drive cross-country to spend a few days with us! A few highlights of our time together were going to Babe's Chicken then watching the Christmas lights in Frisco, Penzeys Spices (Cindy's first trip!), and a game called "Words of Wis-dumb" which is not a game for the faint of heart. Or those easily offended. We had many great laughs that night, and learned a lot about each other. I'm still deciding if this was good or bad. :)

#2: "Our" Christmas
Matt and I wanted to have a special time together to open our gifts from each other. We both had a hard time shopping (both lack of time, and wanting to shop for each other together) so we just got a couple things and saved the rest of our money. Or so I thought... This Christmas mainly taught me what a selfish jerk I am, as my darling had secretly been saving his "allowance" money for several months to buy me the one thing I REALLY wanted (a Kindle Fire). With the money he saved, he was able to almost double our budgeted amount for each other. *slaps forehead* "Why didn't I think of that???" Again, he is so much more thoughtful than his dreadful wife.

#3 Stagl Christmas
We travelled to Wichita for this one. Both of us were able to get off work early on Friday so we didn't have to drive late into the night like we usually do. How lovely! Justin and Kari also made the drive so we got to spend Christmas all together at Mom and Dad's. Highlight of this Christmas was definitely Mom and Dad's gift to each other. They've been married nearly 30 years (October 23, 1982) and decided that they were way past due for a wedding ring upgrade. The coolest part was that they were able to very closely match their original ring designs....just bigger and better. I'm thankful for their example of a marriage for us. They've had some rough times, but they haven't made it to 30 years on their own, and I'm so glad to have their godly example.

And finally...

#4 Kihle Family Christmas
This one took place at my Grandmother's house (also in Wichita). Every year for as long as I can remember we have drawn names for our gift exchange. We all gathered Christmas Afternoon to exchange gifts, then have our traditional Norwegian meal: Lefse and Lutefisk (and some Meatballs for those of us who are a little afraid of the Lutefisk). Highlights of this Christmas were the time spent making Lefse together at my Aunt and Uncle's house, and a conversation I had with one of my Cousins.

I sincerely hope that each one of you had a wonderful Christmas season, and that you were able to spent it surrounded by people you love!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I'm sitting in a big overstuffed chair in the living room beside our glistening tree, warming myself by a crackling fire in the fireplace while Christmas songs play softly in the background. The dogs are curled up beside me, seriously cramping my leg space on the ottoman.

Matt walks in to bring me some cookies from the kitchen. He sits down and stretches his hands toward the fire to warm them....

...then looks at me with his head cocked to the side and laughs, "What in the world are you doing? Is this the 'Christmas Yule Log' video on Netflix?" 

Okay, so perhaps I'm a little nutty for "warming" my toes by my TV. But does it really feel like Christmas if you haven't yet had a chance to sit by a crackling fire? I say that it simply does not. So if the only fire I can get is one I've streamed through Netflix, by golly I'll take it! Ahhhh my toes feel warmer already!

With all the craziness of getting ready for Christmas, I totally forgot to give you the recipe for the almonds I made for Thanksgiving. They were a big hit with the fam! My uncle from Colorado asked if he could take the rest of them with him for a road snack so I'm thinking that's a good sign. He also said that the way they had been roasted gave them "kind of a really nice smokey flavor." That totally cracked me up! Remember?

Here's the recipe:
2 C. whole almonds (skins on)
1/4 C. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Honey
2 Tbsp. Water
2 tsp. Oil

Spread the almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in a cake pan and place into a COLD oven. Bake on 350 for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside.

Thoroughly mix sugar and salt in a small bowl. Stir together the honey, water, and oil in a medium size pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the almonds and continue to cook and stir until all the liquid is absorbed by the almonds (about 5 minutes). Immediately transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar/salt mixture, then spread on wax paper to cool.

Mmm...that's making me hungry.

But if you'll excuse me, I need to go add another log onto my fire. ( know, press replay)

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Can I just go ahead and say that Christmas has absolutely crept up on me this year??

In a conversation with my mom the other night, I said "Inside my head I'm an organized, domestic, lovely person, but in reality...I'm a lazy slob!" Sad, isn't it? This totally sums up all my "holiday" planning this year. I had such great ideas for fun things to do from before Thanksgiving until New Year's. And now here it is December 14 and I'm sitting here thinking "Gee, maybe I should make some cookies or something." Needless to say, I haven't been nearly as productive as I was hoping!

We did actually manage to find the time to make several Christmas gifts this year! (yes you read that right) I haven't made anyone a Christmas gift since It's SO FUN!!

That has a lot to do with my lack of writing. After everyone has opened their gifts I'll have a few fun crafty ideas to share with you!

Anyway, nothing really exciting to share with you. I just wanted to take an opportunity to say Merry Christmas!! Enjoy the season but please don't forget the reason behind it!