Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I am obsessed with the DIY blog Young House Love. If you haven't checked it out, do it now. A lot of my motivation and inspiration for home decor and crafts has come from this Richmond couple. They offer tons of creative, affordable ideas and have recently released a book. Along with their book release, they have a book tour and guess who made a stop on the tour. ME (and my friend, Kelsey, a fellow YHL lover). With pre-ordered book in hand, on December 2nd we waited in line for an hour or so (Kelsey, I totally forget how long we were in life - was it an hour and a half, was it less??) to meet John and Sherry. I was a little nervous to be honest. I mean, I know tons about them and love them, but they know not a thing about me. I want them to like me! I want to be friends! Hahaha. 
It was so weird. I mean people, they're famous. A sold out book, a sold out book tour, and thousands (millions?) of followers. And leave it to me to approach the signing table with my book plastered in post-it notes. I felt like a nerdy teacher's pet, but hopefully they were flattered that I jumped right in. I have to do the same thing with cookbooks. So many ideas are overwhelming to me. I have to narrow things down so I actually do or make something. Anyway, I rambled like a nervous dork, but it was all worth it. And look, John thought I was hysterical. I bet they're still talking about me. And I bet they're the ones stalking me now.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Big, exciting things are happening today. Just at lunch Surrey learned to smile on command. Now I think we'll hear a lot more of her looking like me, rather than just Jeremiah. If you've ever seen a baby picture of me, seems to me our "smiles" are pretty similar. Mom or Dad, would you agree? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe every kid smiles like this.
I never thought much about the smiling thing until a couple days ago - actually, maybe even yesterday morning. Some woman asked her to smile and then said kind of disappointedly - oh, she doesn't know how to smile. Say what, lady?! Don't look at my child with those eyes and talk to her with that tone. Stupidly, parental guilt sank in for a minute. Even more stupidly, last night I tried to get Surrey to smile on command and she just looked at me like I was nuts. And I was.
But then today at lunchtime, by the grace of God, she looked at me with this big cheesy smile. I excitedly reinforced and since then it's her new favorite trick. She's awesome. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reopen the Gift

This morning at our church's women's ministry group the speaker talked with us about reopening the gift. The gift, being the Christmas story that we're all so familiar with that many times we don't put much thought into it. Our Christmases sometimes become much like the movie Groundhog Day, with the same routine happening over and over and over again. She showed us how The King was born in such an unkingly fashion and dug deeper into Mary's incredible faith. There's a lot to that story that we just don't engage with most of the time. She encouraged us to engage this Christmas, to take a different perspective, to reopen the gift. And I was encouraged and motivated to do that, feeling very sick and tired of the monotonous, drudgery of day-to-day life as a financially and more often than not emotionally struggling wife and mom and babysitter and ... Little did I know that motivation was going to be put to the test so soon.

When I put Surrey and Stella down for a nap just about an hour after I had heard that talk, I wrote an email to Jeremiah. To complain. I actually thought twice about interrupting his day with my whines, but then justified it because I know a couple friends who call or text their husbands when their child is a nut or they want to scream. Godly friends, too, so it's ok. So I wrote him...

Brianna Link 
12:58 PM (52 minutes ago)
to Jeremiah
well so far this morning i've caught surrey's barf in my bare hand (a mixture of goldfish and lord knows what else) and bashed stella's head (actually i think her eye) against the car door by accident.

hope your day is looking a little better.

Note: Surrey just last night started coming down with a runny nose and cough for what seems like the 20th time this fall. Her barfing was all that backed up good stuff we get when we're congested, mixed with whatever the heck they fed her at snack time.

And he wrote me back...

Jeremiah F Link
1:02 PM (50 minutes ago)
to me
One of my students from last year committed suicide.  She was living in New York.  One of the kids I loved.  It is not looking better.  

And in a matter of four minutes the Lord redirected my perspective on everything. This is the second suicide, in addition to a murder of a student's father, that has occurred involving Jeremiah's students in a month's time.

I'm challenged to actually reopen the gift and engage with Jesus this Christmas. Choosing to realize the condition of myself and of the world around me and praising God for the gift of his son. Is it uncomfortable to hold my daughter's barf in my hand? Of course. Was it uncomfortable for Mary to give birth without an epidural, outdoors, alone? Was it uncomfortable for Jesus to be laid in a feeding trough and then die on a cross? Absolutely. Thank God Surrey has someone who loves her and can care for her - and thank God I opened the door at just the right minute to care for her and then hold her tight. And I can wash my hands and wash her clothes. But that student's life is gone. And that should be reason enough set myself aside, have eternal perspective, and love people like Jesus this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cookies With Santa and Mrs. Claus

Tonight we took Surrey to see Santa and Mrs. Claus thanks to our homeowner's association. We had to wait 40 minutes to see them, but Surrey was pleasantly content walking all over the place showing off her glittery shoes. Not surprisingly, I was more impatient than my one year old daughter. Regardless, once it was our turn we had a wonderful time with the sweet couple in the exquisite costumes. These were very legit Clauses. And so so friendly. Surrey did awesome - walked right up to them (with a little coaxing from the electronic bell-ringing Snoopy), sat on Mrs. Claus' lap, and even socially interacted (said her version of "ho, ho, ho," coughed in their face, blew kisses, and waved. Good times. And of course, the cutest stinkin kid there.
PS The last picture is thrown in here just for you to get the full effect of her outfit.

Both Ends of the Spectrum

Who knew such stark contrast in outdoor holiday decorating could exist in such close proximity? Look no further than our front porch and our neighbor's above for both ends of the decorating spectrum. 
Typically, we wouldn't be quite as far apart in taste. The past few years we've wrapped the big fat colored lights around our outdoor garland but, unfortunately, this year the string was toast and so we used an extra string of mini white lights we had already. Come to find out, I may have gotten definitely got a bit mixed up and tested the string of lights that we take bulbs from (hence several missing bulbs) instead of the newer string - but at that point I already had the white ones up and looking perfect. Naps last only so long, I don't have time to keep putting things off.
Yes, I tooted my own horn there for a second. Between the garland and our tree, I think my dad would be proud. A big thanks to my husband for continuing to tell me neighbors probably think it's a pre-lit length of garland. If my worth was determined my exterior illumination, I'd be valued at a million bucks. 
Then there's good ol' Gloria's decor. On the bright side, she allowed me to feel a bit nostalgic about my bedroom Christmas decorations in elementary school. Nothing like hanging up colored lights across the middle of my wall with pushpins and draping them around any and every thing. Too bad she's missing her own hand-drawn mural on computer paper taped up with it. She thinks it's wonderful her grandson dictates what she put up. I think the homeowner's association needs to start regulating. Excuse the faraway photos - once I started zooming in I realized Gloria was sitting at her dining room table and thought it was in my best interest to go immediately indoors.
2012 has brought out a lot of emotion in me when it comes to outdoor Christmas decorations. I may need to seek professional help for that. In the meantime, I kind of want to tour our neighborhood with my camera and provide some commentary. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Deck the Halls

Update: Just realized I forgot to bring to your attention - as if it wasn't blaringly obvious enough - that our tree lacks ornaments on the bottom third. Any guesses as to why that may be??

Just thought I'd share a few of the holidays sights around our little place. A shout-out to Land of Nod for the snowflake doily inspiration. You can't tell from the pictures, but they are strung on red and white baker's twine (purchased from the dollar section at Target a few months ago). Another shout-out to my parents for letting me go shopping in their Christmas bin over Thanksgiving to help me complete my red and white theme. I'm quite proud of the festive wreath I made using a gaudy strand of tinsel garland we already had and a styrofoam wreath I picked up with a coupon at Joann. We recently moved furniture around so some artwork is still out of place, which is why those embroidery hoops are overpowered by the TV. I should have taken an up-close picture though because they're real fun. I just used fabric I had already to wrap the hoop and put some fun but not overly Christmasy fabric in the center. Love them. Let's see, what else. Used fabric from Surrey's weekly photos to make those red and white chevron pillow forms. Don't flip them over - it's a hot mess. Apparently, the simplest of tasks I cannot perform correctly with a sewing machine. That bulletin board will be used to post Christmas cards - that is, assuming we receive some? Was that a little too presumptuous of me?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ohhh Fuuuudddgggee

Only I didn't say fudge. Because although the recipe said I'd have fudge, I most definitely did not have fudge. Wouldn't you agree?

What in the world.
My mom (and now my sister as well) is known for her decadent fudge. If she loves you, you've received it as a gift or at least have chowed down on it from a little glass dish any time you've been over during the holiday season. It's rich and delicious. It also takes a thick liquid form and pours nicely into a pan before setting. As you may imagine, mine did not. What went wrong? I'll never know. But no, I did not scoop up mud by the handful and smush it into a baking dish. And no thanks to whatever force of nature was a against me last night, I not only wasted time and money but now have no gift to give the sweet ladies who take care of Surrey during a women's group I attend.
Starbucks gift cards for all!

'Tis the Season

The phrase 'tis the season kind of reminds me of the phrase when in Rome this time of year. It actually probably isn't like it at all, but don't think you think people misuse the Rome thing all the time? And in the case of the holidays, don't people (purposefully) misuse the season thing? I have to go to another awful family gathering - 'tis the season! I'm eating my weight in cookies - 'tis the season! I can't put food on the table, but better send out the annual Christmas card - 'tis the season! Haven't posted on the blog in ages so what better time - 'tis the season!

Ok, this is senseless. Apparently I've lost my sanity ever since Surrey turned one.

But, I have a few posts up my sleeves so get yourself ready. Unlike Advent, the waiting is over people - it's here!