A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve
Our traditional family picture with Lojack!

Christmas Morning
We opened presents in front of our real fireplace!!
 Christmas at my parents
The kids favorite gifts this year were:
Annie: trampoline
Thomas: remote helicopter and Bear Grylls survival kit
George:  car race track
Evelyn:  baby
Pete: board books



TJ's family had a tradition of cutting down their Christmas tree every year the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  They went to the same tree farm every year.  When I met him, we continued that tradition.  We took our family picture in front of the same red caboose at the same tree farm where TJ went every year of his life.  Sadly, that tree farm closed down last year, so we had to find a new place to keep the tradition going for our children.
This season is filled with tradition.  From that first Sunday of Advent to the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas, I'm aware of the fact that everything we do is making a memory for our children.  However, I've learned over the years that they will not listen carefully to every bible verse read as we put our Jesse tree ornament on the tree.  They will fall asleep as I read Jothem's Journey at night or we will even miss reading it for an entire week. They would rather play with neighbors than make Christmas cookies.  We may not make it to the tree farm the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tree will be decorated with their ornaments and then un-decorated by the three and five year old. (only to be found later in a pile stashed behind the chair.)   They will argue who's turn it is to light the advent wreath.  We will miss three days in a row of putting the Jesse tree ornament up.  But my motherly wisdom, which I am gaining each day, allows me to not fret and worry.  I know that my children will remember the feel of advent celebrated in our home and the anticipation and celebration of Christmas.  I pray they will  hold onto and hopefully continue some of them when they are adults with families of their own. 

My Friend

You bring such joy to my life.  In the midst of the chaos, crazyness, business, and loudness that make up my days....you are my silent calm.  You are my friend.  Your smile brings a smile to my face.  You are patient and easy going.  I love you my almost-one year old!


And He Went the Next Day




My Prayer for Today

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow.  The same loving Father who cares for you today, will care for you tomorrow and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings. 
-St. Francis de Sales

A Day to Remember

Annie is at Heritage School today.  Traditionally, Heritage school is only for 4th graders, but since she is in a 3/4 combo class this year, she gets to go.  She has been looking forward to this day all year!  The past few months, our topic of conversation when she rides her bike as I run is all about what she would bring for her lunch to Heritage School.  
I spotted Annie out on our porch dressed and waiting for me as I was finishing up my run this morning.  It was 6:45 and she was dressed, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed.  She was doing the I'm so excited that I'm acting goofy thing all morning.  As annoying as that was, I tried to look past the goofiness and remember how much fun this day was going to be for her and that she was just SO EXCITED! 
What we finally came up with for her lunch was:
two slices of homemade bread
mason jar with honey
butter that I had molded into little leaves (like Ma molded her butter into little strawberries)
a hard boiled egg
ginger snap cookies
"real" carrots as opposed to the small baby carrots
an apple
I hope that Annie will have wonderful memories from today.  I wish I could have gone with!


Miss Destruction

Yes, I know.  She looks so sweet and innocent.  But beware.  She is in a destruction phase....oh please be a phase.
Miss Evelyn has cut her bangs, decorated the wood floor and closet cupboard with permanent marker, found blue food coloring and dumped it on the white carpet while everyone was asleep,  smeared MY lipstick (which she is forbidden to have, yet somehow always finds) all over the couch .  As if that wasn't bad enough,TJ came home one evening and had bought me a lovely new WHITE winter coat.  As it was being taken out of the sack and laid on the couch, it became covered in lipstick.  I hadn't even tried it on yet. 

Celebrating St. Nicholas

We look forward to celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas every year!  Thomas and Annie were up at 5:30 and downstairs in a flash to see what St. Nick brought them in their stockings.  I remember as a child being so anxious to go downstairs Christmas morning to see the magic that happened while I was upstairs asleep!  My parents made us wait and wait for what seemed like forever until we could come down and see.  I hated that!  So now as a parent, I let our kids come down as soon as they are awake to find their stockings.  TJ was out of town which was a huge bummer, but we still had a lovely morning.
I always make a brunch and this candy cane cherry bread is so yummy.  I figured out this year that no one else really cares for the bread and so I end up eating it myself.   Oh well, I still love it!  After the kids eat, they play with their new stuff.  The highlight seems to be Thomas getting to play his new wii game in the morning before school!!
 Bev spent the morning reapplying lip gloss until her lips shone like the sun.  I think she used the entire thing by ten o'clock.
 After the big kids were at school, George and I sat down to build his Lego ship.  To my amazement he assembled the thing by himself.  I watched him look at the directions, find the right piece and then snap it together.  I'm not sure why this was so amazing to me, he is five and a half, but I still think of him as being so little.  He was so proud of himself!
 For something new this year, I thought of taking a big tray of cookies to Cedars Home for Children.  St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children, especially those in need.  This seemed like the perfect way to be like St. Nick.  Evelyn and I made gingersnaps and then after the kids got home we drove over there and dropped them off.  We prayed for the children before getting out of Sherman.  And then like St. Nick who performed his acts of generosity in secret, we didn't leave our name when asked who the cookies were from.