Sunday, December 26, 2010

How it all went down...

I changed a few things this Christmas morning. I decided to put their stockings and their first gift in our bedroom. I really thought they would come in to wake us up, but I heard them just whispering and organizing presents quietly at 8a.m. I called them into our room so they could do their stockings (picture above). They simply LOVE doing their stockings from Grandma and Grandpa. Then their first gift (below) is their own box of cereal that they picked. We wrap them up just like any gift and they love it. Then off they went to eat breakfast while Brian and I took our time getting up. :) We like this new plan!
The kids learned a LONG time ago who Santa Claus is -- their Aunt Nar. Life becomes a buzz around here when they get a Thanksgiving e-mail - from Aunt Nar - asking for their wish list. Aunt Nar takes their list and goes above and beyond everything these kids dream of. Thank you Aunt Nar!!
A book that Austin wanted from Aunt Nar..
Here is a robe that Grandma and Grandpa gave Lindsey...
Nerf guns from Aunt Nar..
Complete joy on this guy's face!
Love this picture and the utter mess!
Reece's remote controlled jeep from Aunt Nar..
Could not wait another minute to try it out.
I love that I still have a "little guy" who likes play dough creations.
Thanks to Aunt Nar and Grandma and Grandpa - these kids had a wonderful Christmas and played all day. I believe they went to sleep with smiles on their faces for sure!

It was around 9p.m. and the Lord really laid it on my heart to call my college buddy, Allie, who had lost her husband (plane crash) this past summer. This would be her first Christmas without Mark. We talked until Dec. 26th. Three hours of sharing. I told Allie that this "life's journey" she would not take alone and I would be with her through it all. She shared some things around the time of Mark's death.

I'm so very proud of her (she credits the Lord) that, at the viewing, she was able to tell the man -who inspected the plane- that she didn't blame him. (He could barely walk as sobs shook him.) She told him that God knew the day Mark would die before he was born.

A man also approached her to say that he was the man that was going to buy their plane. (They hadn't been able to get in contact with him.) She was able to hug him and tell him that she was glad he hadn't bought the plane yet and that he was alive. She spoke at the funeral as pilots and air traffic controllers flew in, from all over the country, to be at the funeral. She made them hear her that you just don't know when you are going to leave this earth and that you had better be right with the Lord. I'm SO proud of her strength.

In this journey with her...she read me the autopsy report and we cried. We rejoiced that Mark could not have lasted a second during that fatal crash. This week she has to go and see the wreckage that's been in storage. The autopsy leads us to believe that it's going to go down as another hard, hard moment in this journey.

It is possible to laugh over the strangest - trust me - things. A few days before Mark's death he suggested that Allie get rid of her Mary Kay business as she possibly had 5 customers. She just couldn't. Well...this would be a long story, but I'll just say that her business is now booming because the funeral director says Mary Kay has the best foundation and is being taught, by Allie, which ones to use for people with pink undertones and yellow undertones. When Allie has shared this with many think it is just plain morbid, but as she shares: She's had the worst ever happen to her and she's earned the right to find some humor in her "booming business" because Mark would have LOVED this story and found it hilarious. We laughed....oh did we laugh!

We prayed....I prayed..this is not uncommon in our friendship. We can now say that we have been through thick and thin together. I looked at the clock and told her that it was Dec. 26th and I could hear an audible sigh. She had made it through her first Christmas with just she and the kids. We hung up and I went to look out the window and there was light snow falling down and strangely it brought joy and comfort to my soul as I ache for my precious friend in Maine.

Then we woke up to this!!!

Pastor Horner had called to tell Brian that church had been canceled. He had suggested that we meditate on Psalm 145 so we gathered the kids, around our table, and each of us read several verses and shared which ones stood out to us and why. It was a good time of "home church"..

We don't get this very often so the kids then went out and simply piled up snow just to knock it down. They had a ball! You can tell that we might be the only ones, from the North, because we passed our shovel around the cul de sac to share with our neighbors.
What a sweet Christmas indeed!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The week of Christmas..and I earned the right to be a boring mom in January. :)

The past 7 days have been filled with lots of fun and laughter. I'll give a short and sweet guided tour. Reece was able to go to a Christmas roller skating/gift exchange party with Brian. Great Christmas party idea! This party went from 3-5p.m. and then he was invited over to his friend, Jackson's, for the evening. Beth brought him home at 9p.m. What a day for this little guy, but he sure was a happy boy!
On Sunday we had our Tae Kwon Doe Christmas party. It was dress up and it was crazy! I've decided NOT to share what - especially- Brian and I did during this party. What goes on at TKD must stay at TKD....
Look out for that Santa Claus! He is a big-time black belt dude!
Love that my husband wore my Christmas scarf on his head!
Some of our friends who had to pretend to be Christmas trees while we decorated them. Some even had bows on their eyes. This was as tame as the afternoon got.
My sweet Lindsey had the opportunity to go to the Nutcracker with about 10 other girlfriends. My friend, Leslie, gave me the day off and took Lindsey and some of the girls with her. Lindsey had a wonderful time!
Wednesday night we were invited to a Christmas Open house. I'm not surprised, at all, that the hostess invited many people and only 2 couples couldn't come because of being out of town. I think I heard she had about 83 people show up. Kudos to Gretchen because she does this all in stride and we simply had a wonderful time. I'm sure we broke every "open house etiquette rules" for how long we stayed, but their house is ALWAYS hard for us to leave. Wonderful party Gretchen!!

After 3 hours we did find our manners and say goodnight. This was about 9p.m. and Brian knew I planned to squeeze 2 festivities into one night. So we headed to a local church that does "Christmas Unwrapped". It is amazing and was actually better going to that later as it was less crowded that way. Look at these decorations!
Reece LOVES that they have bouncy houses in 3 or 4 rooms. I think he had gotten a bit of sugar, from Gretchen's house, and needed to bounce the rest of the night away.
Carolers at the Gift Unwrapped..

They sure had a 'rockin Christmas concert' in one of the rooms.
We were still awake and partying on at 10 o'clock that night. We are generally pretty strict about bed time so the kids thought this was pretty cool to say the least!
Thursday night we went to see a Christmas light display that is my favorite light display in our area. The picture below is blurry, but during the magic show, there was a marriage proposal and that was pretty unique...
I think we spent an hour and a half in the cold. Thankfully they had a fire going and hot cocoa.
Love the lights!!!

Santa Claus was there...
Here we are at our Christmas Eve service. The last song we sing is Silent Night and the entire church lights candles.

Have a blessed Christmas!! Christ the Lord is born!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The changing of our "table themes" and other tid bits from this week..

It's been another special week in our household and this week has sure left me changing my table for some fun occasions. The first table was decorated for a "sugar cookie party" with the Williams. I'd been looking forward to this time for quite awhile.

I told Beth that I wanted the kids to feel free to "go crazy" with their cookie decorating. Below is a picture of Addie Grace's cookie. How fun is that?!? Do you see the cookie in all the sprinkles?
As I look at these pictures I am realizing that it was a very "sweet week" literally. I didn't take pictures Monday night, but we had met up with the Lords for some dinner out and dessert. And we also had some snow this week. In our house snow means we make hot cocoa. It's probably good it really doesn't snow much here. :) Here are the kids with their hot cocoa.
The next "table theme" was a candle light dinner with our friends John and Judy. It was a wonderful time of catching up and hearing hilarious stories of some past Christmas gifts, they've received, from certain relatives. You all know that we ALL have stories like that, because we all have "those relatives". We truly laughed the night away.
After washing the above table cloth a few times I decided to give my washing machine a rest and pull out another table cloth for the next evening. All week I'd been planning a boys pizza and games party for Austin's friends. I did not tell any of them that it was a surprise, but we kept it quiet all week and really shocked him. The "table theme" below is an "all boy party" theme. We're talking chips, pizza, cookies, etc.
Austin's first guest arriving and seeing 5 other vehicles coming down the cul de sac. His expression was priceless.

This summer I learned a big lesson. In our busy lives I hesitate to join "yet another thing". Well, the Lord had a very kind friend not really give me a choice about joining a group. She just told me I was going to join. How thankful I am for that friend. Because of her I can say that each one of these boy's moms are my friends (who I actually meet monthly with) and what a huge blessing that has been in my life -- not to mention the joy it is to see Austin with such a wonderful group of friends. God knew what I needed before I knew it. Well....of course He did and what Austin needed as well.
As I've said before December can often be a time where we just try to 'survive' it for various reasons. Making a conscious decision to actually "thrive" has been so wonderful for us. It can mean a simple board game, afternoon sipping hot cocoa, meeting up with friends at Chick Fil A and having a "double date" (with Neal and Heather) while all of our kids were in the Play Land, sugar cookie parties with the sweetest of friends, dinner and laughter over candle light or the laughter of boys with their video games and take out pizza. I've never been more thankful for the month of December.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Not sure why, but this year I felt convicted to "take the reins" of our December month and be 'extra intentional' about some Christmas fun and cheer. During Thanksgiving vacation I sat down and wrote out some ideas for December. Here is a taste of the past 8 days.

The picture above was last Saturday night when it was snowing here. We decided to knock on our neighbor's door and see if they would like to join us for Frosty the Snowman (seemed appropriate on a snowy day) and some apple slices. So much better watching this movie with friends.

Here we are making monster cookies for gifts.

Reece is trying to decide if he can sneak a cookie or not...
Last Sunday we went to see a drive-thru nativity. It was wonderful, I truly believe, because it only started at the nativity and continued on to Christ's death and resurrection. I'm so glad we went..
Here's the empty tomb..
This has happened more than this week, but deserves a picture here. Any time Daddy is home, Reece begs to do the train. This is a train his GrandDad had when he was a kid.
Lindsey and I had a wonderful outing to a Christmas Craft Party. My friend, Missy, did a fabulous job setting up craft stations..

A favorite, of the girls, was a "pit stop" at the hot cocoa station.
Made some more treats for presents..
We had an evening of Fine Arts where the children were able to bring in art work to display and also sing or play an instrument. Here Lindsey is with some friends.

Some sweet friends of our dressed their kids up and gave such a great performance.. Austin and Reece were there as well, but must have gone to the gym to play while us moms took pictures.
The next 4 pictures are of Lindsey, Brian and I as we enjoyed a Christmas brunch with her Sunday school teachers and some kids, from her class, and their parents.
We had to play a game where our backs were to Lindsey and she had to create a lego design and then Brian and I had to make the same design while she described hers to us.

Lindsey's teachers and some kids from her class..
This weekend we went to Providence's Christmas concert and Lindsey and Reece were thrilled to go up on stage and hear Pastor Horner share the Christmas story with them.
Ahh....don't know why we don't do THIS more often. In the past 5 years I think we've only been to the Krispy Kreme 3 times. What is wrong with us? Well...I surprised the kids with breakfast out at Krispy Kreme to get their Christmas donuts. Notice Reece's snowman's head was already eaten off even BEFORE praying!
They love watching the donuts being made!
Cannot believe how fast Polar Express sold out at the IMAX. Thankfully for my Nov. list, I was on top of it this year and surprised the kids with tickets. Seriously LOVE this movie in 3-D. While the kids might have thought I was crazy to get there an hour early (we were first in line) they appreciated picking out some good seats.
I let the kids go crazy decorating their rooms with lights. This is Reece's room.
And Lindsey's room
While Daddy was gone at the concerts we decided to sneak off to the store and buy outside lights to surprise him with.
I can't go crazy with lights because it would drive me crazy, but I agreed to do our front bushes and it was a lot of fun to do with the kids.
Hope you all are enjoying this season and treasuring the time you have with your children!