Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goodbye 2010 ...

Another year has come and gone and it always makes me think of a song from the Broadway Musical Rent - "Seasons of Love", especially these lyrics:

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights
In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?

This year had some changes and milestones for our family ...
We found a new church home and made lots of new friends, my husband and I began singing in the church choir, Devin and Lexi were both baptized, Ava Mae began Kindergarten, we took a week long trip to Disney World, we had several snow falls - including a white Christmas, we celebrated my Dad's retirement after 38 years of teaching at the same high school, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, we enjoyed a family reunion with all of my siblings - parents and nieces, and we began our 5th year of homeschooling.
I love looking back at my blog at the end of the year - realizing all the ways God has blessed our lives this year and answered prayers. My words for this year were "JOY" and "CONTENTMENT" - finding joy in everyday life and being content. I think in today's society we can become so wrapped up in the next best house, car, life ... it is so freeing to just be happy where God has planted us and with what he has given us.
Looking forward to 2011 ... loving the journey!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a wonderful Christmas! The kids slept in until 8AM, which was so nice being my husband and I did not make it to bed until after 1AM. We had a lazy morning that started with a big breakfast followed by a reading from the book of Luke. Then we all took turns opening gifts - allowing time between each round for the kids to focus on the gift they had just received. It was so nice and kept the kids from getting overwhelmed.

For the first time since the late 1800's Atlanta had a "White Christmas". The snow started around Noon and it was so beautiful to just sit and watch come down.

Our day finished up with a dessert buffet - a family who we are good friends with us braved the snowy roads to join us. We had so much fun opening gifts, snacking on desserts, having a short devotion followed by singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. Our night ended with an impromptu snow ball fight in our driveway.

It was a beautiful day - celebrating the birth of our Savior with family and friends.

Now it is time for some much needed rest! Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Thanks be to God for his gift that is too wonderful for words. 2 Corinthians 9:15

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve ... Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at church,

lots of baking to prepare for a dessert buffet with friends tomorrow,

candlelight dinner,

and preparing for Santa - which included saying good-bye once again to our elf which, brought lots of unexpected tears.

Now the kids are all snug in their beds, the house is quiet and still, and the glow of our Christmas tree is mesmerizing. Tonight I am enjoying soaking in all the sights and sounds around our home which remind me Christmas is tomorrow morning.

"Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm
All is bright"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2 Days to Christmas

It's almost here ... just 2 days to go! I have really enjoyed these past few days - our schedules have slowed down dramatically. I have baked with the kids, wrapped gifts, delivered platters of baked goods to our neighbors, sang lots of Christmas carols, and enjoyed plenty of time spent in the Word. Our focus around our home has been on the true meaning of Christmas.
This book has been wonderful - preparing my heart and the kids' hearts for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

3 Days to Christmas

Lexi finished up Sewing Camp today ... she was enrolled in a 3 Day Christmas Project Camp, this week. She chose to make me a gift for her project and we had fun deciding on an item and picking out fabric together.
With Lexi at camp and Ava Mae busy building a large fort in our Family Room, Devin had time to finish wrapping his sisters' gifts.

Later in the afternoon, Lexi and I delivered some Christmas gifts. I think my girlfriend's adorable baby girl had more fun with the boxes than she did with the beautiful dress Lexi had picked her out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

4 Days to Christmas

Today our big item on the "To Do" list was cutting out, baking, and decorating Christmas cookies to give to neighbors. My girlfriend, Jennifer, has a great sugar cookie recipe that she shared with me and though it is not as easy to roll out, the taste is well worth the hassle! It was hard to wait overnight for the dough to chill in the refrigerator.

I love going to the mailbox the week of Christmas and seeing all the Christmas cards with family pictures. We decorate a garland in our entryway will all the cards we receive and then after Christmas all the family pictures move to a board in our kitchen.

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Days to Christmas

5 Days to Christmas ... we had a wonderful day of baking and crafting.

Then we enjoyed a Christmas caroling party thrown by some friends in our neighborhood.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

6 Days to Christmas

Just 6 days to Christmas ... today we enjoyed attending a friend's piano recital.

And, lighting the 4th candle on our Advent wreath representing JOY. This week we are working hard on putting Jesus and others first.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

7 Days to Christmas

In just one week we will celebrate the birth of our Savior. I decided to prepare our hearts we would focus primarily this coming week on our Advent studies, so this past week the kids doubled up on all of their school assignments. It was a lot to get done but, they finished. So we will look forward to completing a lapbook on Advent, crafting and baking. I am also looking forward to a quiet week with more time free to spend in the Word, preparing my heart as well.

Today, Lexi had a party to attend, one she looks forward to every Christmas. Our good friends host it and all the girls make ornaments and participate in an ornament exchange. Lexi always comes home with the cutest ornaments for our tree. Here is the hostess gift I sent her with today. I just love collecting jars through the year. They provide the perfect packaging for a food gift.
Pictured at the top of this post, the kids with their traditional Santa Claus photograph, taken last weekend.

Friday, December 17, 2010

8 Days to Christmas

Originally, our plans would have had us in Asheville today seeing my sister dance the role of Sugar Plum Fairy for the Asheville Dance Conservatory in their performance of The Nutcracker but, with icy conditions in the mountains it was just not safe for us to travel that way. We were definitely sad but, we will get a DVD of the performance so we will still get to see her perform - just not in person. This change also allows us to travel to Asheville after Christmas instead and that will mean seeing many more of my siblings who will be in for Christmas.

So with a change of plans we were able to add in some fun activities we originally had to bow out of this weekend including a get-together, parties, and a piano recital.

Today, we had a wonderful lunch hosted by one of my very best friends. We are so lucky to have this sweet homeschooling family in our life! We had lots of fun exchanging Christmas gifts and having lunch together.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

9 Days to Christmas

Just a little over a week to Christmas Day ... today we finished up the last of our extra-curricular class parties. Lexi had two different ballet class parties and came home with a bit of a stomach ache.

Earlier in the day we enjoyed a fun lunch out with my husband at a restaurant near his office, it has become a holiday tradition for us.

Tonight we babysat our good friends' children while they went out to a Christmas party. While the boys played PS2 the girls enjoyed hot chocolate, popcorn, marshmallows and peppermint bark while watching a movie in front of the Christmas tree. A nice, somewhat "quiet", night at home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

10 Days to Christmas

Today was Ava Mae's Ballet Class Christmas Party ... she was able to do her favorite thing - play dress up in fun ballet costumes and eat junk food and having her best friend in her ballet class well, that just makes it even more fun!

The day did not go exactly as planned - we were going to participate in a service project but, I woke up this morning just not feeling like we needed another morning out of the house this week. I prayed about it last night and this is the response I received in the form of a Dove candy message that Devin gave me first thing this morning (it was in his Advent treat bag).

It was nice to have a slow start to our day and I was finally able to squeeze in a much over due trip to the grocery store. It had been over two weeks since I had a big shop and we were running out of most necessitys.

Tonight we enjoyed family night and watching one of our favorite Christmas movies - "Santa Claus - The Movie". And, let me just say ... I can't believe we have just ten days until Christmas.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

11 Days to Christmas

Today in our Advent Study we discussed the difference between Christmas Carols and Christmas Songs. A carol is a song that tells of Jesus' birth - many carols were originally poems, as was the case for the carol "Silent Night".

That beautiful Christmas Carol was originally a poem written by Joseph Mohr. I actually learned how that poem became a carol for the first time several weeks ago during a rehearsal for the Christmas Festival at church. One of the Weather Channel on air personalities attends our church and was one of the hosts for our Christmas Festival. She told the story how her Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Uncle Joseph Mohr wrote the poem "Silent Night" in a little village in Austria and how when the church he was a pastor in lost the ability to use their organ just two days before Christmas (due to some very bad church mice) he had the choir director help him write music to go along with the poem he had written - something he could perform on his guitar. Thus, the birth of "Silent Night" the Christmas carol. Isn't that a beautiful story!

Tonight I enjoyed some "silence" around our home ... my sweet husband took the kids to the movies so that I could spend some time organizing Christmas gifts and wrapping.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 Days to Christmas

Today our focus was once again on how we can serve others this Christmas season. We adopted a family for Christmas who has a 4 month old baby. Currently, they are living in a homeless shelter and had so many needs for their baby girl. We went out today and bought lots of diapers, wipes, warm clothing, blankets and a few toys. The kids and I had so much fun picking everything out and then getting to wrap it all up. I am hoping by doing these projects together the kids are truly learning the true meaning of Christmas is giving and not receiving.
Tonight we lit the third candle of Advent. Last night we were home too late so we held over our celebration to this evening. Ava Mae lit the candle which represents "Love" and then we all sang "Silent Night".