Thursday, December 27, 2007

it was awesome

an amazing Christmas eve and day over here-we spent Christmas eve at Zac's grandma's with all the family, stayed up very late to play Santa and woke up to Levi's huge grin at 7:15 sharp. He was so excited to find out of if Santa had come. We opened presents for a bit in the morning, enjoying it all with coffee and muffins. Later we had the family over an early dinner-I really enjoyed having it at our house-getting everything just so, setting the table and really enjoyed the help of my mom and Zac's mom. It was so very fun-a full holiday.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry (white) Christmas Eve

Beautiful snow angels today.

Merry Christmas eve to all-we woke up to what Levi called "a Christmas miracle:" snow. It was beautiful-we couldn't get the kids dressed fast enough to get out and play.

My dad on his way out to get the morning paper-never mind the temperature is only 29. We are so blessed to have my family here for the week.

Hope that each of you have a great Christmas, full of wonderful surprises. Peace to all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

bits of the season

Been trying to savor Christmas around here-looking through it through the camera helps me to see it differently and appreciate it more. We spent the day working on gingerbread men (a favorite, light treat of mine) and collecting great Christmas books from the library. I look forward to digging into them with the kids through the week. So here's a peak at Christmas around here.

The tree in the playroom upstairs-the kids helped to decorate it-they've only knocked it down twice.

Handmade ornaments by Zac and other special ornaments from our childhoods-thought it would be best to put these up higher and out of the danger zone.

Christmas is very fun around here, we're trying to stay caught up in the wonder of it. Something that's helping me is Todd Agnew 's Christmas album with songs from the different perspectives of each person in the Christmas story. It's amazing, and has made me think of things in a new light. It's easy to gloss over the true meaning of Christmas only because we hear it so much but when I really stop to think about it I am amazed: God came to earth, the greatest gift of all-we did nothing to earn his reckless love. That undoes me every time I think of it. Reading through the words of some of my favorite Christmas hymns has brought this home to me.

O Holy Night:

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!


So, Zac said he would have frosted them and that I had the patience of a saint....not so sure about that but we did create some very sprinkled cookies the other night. Despite a bit of frustration (Cayden stop licking the sprinkles off the tray, stop eating the cookies-we'll have none to frost, stop trying to shake the sprinkles of your hands and in the process spreading them all over the kitchen....) we did have fun and a very big mess to clean up after.

Notice Aida feeling left out in the background....

now happy...

and happier...

Even though it can be frustrating to do something like this with three busy kids it's important to me. It's important to create and encourage these traditions. My mom (by her own admission) is not a big baker but I have precious memories of being the kitchen with her and my sister around the holidays. I honestly don't remember everything we baked but I remember the time spent; the messes, the laughing and the happy feeling that comes from being together. I can remember one year when I was much older frosting cookies with my sister after she had moved out; I don't know what we were talking about but I remember we were laughing (and consuming lots of frosting and those poor unfortunate broken cookies, hey, someone has to eat those!). We were laughing hard enough to have frosting come out of our noses; now, I know this sounds gross but it's a great memory in my mind. That is why I continue to do things like this with the kids, not so we can shoot frosting out of our noses but so they can be part of happy memories. Because it's in moments like that that life is shared, discussions are had, secrets told. I want to be there in the midst of that for the kids. It's in these connections that they learn they are a part of something bigger, not just because that's what you do during Christmas but because it's what we do. Someday they may not care or get excited about all the traditions we take part in, but this year they are caught up in the wonder of it all and I plan on enjoying every minute of it while I can. They won't always be young enough to believe in Santa-I will cherish it (and the messes) while it lasts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merry Christmas to us

We just received the best Christmas present we've gotten in a long, long time- a brand new camera, the very cool Nikkon D40. It is seriously awesome, we've been playing with it all day and have managed to get some great shots of the kids just playing around. It's such a blessing that we were able to do this this year-God is so, so good. It's not like we need a fancy new camera, our other one is working okay and gets decent shots, but he has taken care of more than just our needs, he takes care of our wants too. What an amazing personal God, who cares about the little details of our lives. I'm so glad he does and so grateful too-now I can catch and record little details like never before (and just in time for Levi's first ever Christmas program next week, how cool is that?)
Thank you God, and thank you Zac for agreeing to this joint Christmas gift. You are amazing.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

dinner time nap

Isn't this sweet, Aida was so tired this night. We've been having naptime battles all week: Cayden not wanting to sleep and then waking Aida up, Cayden finally falling asleep after a long struggle and then Aida not able to go back to sleep. It's been rough and has led to two tired girls and one worn out mama-wish I could just lay my head down wherever and whenever. Lucky for her-she got to go bed at 6:30 that night and her sister let her sleep when she went to bed. Thankgoodness for just a bit of peace.

Isn't it funny how we sometimes fight the very thing that is so good for us? Whether it's rest or excerise or our relationship with God, we come up with excuses or throw fits when it gets down to getting it done. I don't want to be this way-Lord help me make time for you, it is vital for my peace and my attitude. When I make time to read the Word and pray I am in such a better state of mind-he is so good for me. During this crazy season I need that time more than ever so I can be my best for him and the people he's placed around me. Today I tell myself and everyone else "don't neglect that vital link."

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Saturday, December 1, 2007

happy Gingerbread house day

This year we dubbed December 1st as official gingerbread house day-just one of the little traditions we'd like to make for the kids to make this time of year extra special. They loved it, Levi really got into it and Cayden was more interested in eating the candy. She did spend a bit of time putting the frosting from the tube onto the candy then sticking it on the house-pretty good dexterity for a not quite three year old. Zac and I had fun too, really just enjoying them and watching them have fun is enough for us. What a gift those guys are. Aida did not make a house this year, she just ate a gingerbread snowman while she watched-next year sweetie, next year.

Here they are with thier masterpieces:

and a few of the process:

Finally, who could resist a sweet little girl loving on and kissing baby Jesus on the tiny nativity the kids got from Mammie a few years back. (While wearing Daddy's work glove.) Pray she always wants to be so close to him, loving him.

Now they are all in bed in a blissful, sugar induced comma-it truly was a wonderful and peaceful start for the Christmas season. Wish that for each of you, moments of peace in what can be a very hectic time and the reminder to create those moments-they don't always just happen. If we seek and pursue Christ's peace for our lives this Christmas and beyond, he will be faithful to help us find it.
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