Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas-9, 10, 11, 12

Day 9-What I Want For Christmas This Year

Again, SO many paths I could go with this one.  Thoughtful response?  NO MORE ORPHANS.  Yep, that's what I want.  Think Santa can arrange that?  If so, that's what I want?

A little closer to home, I want 2010 to be a year of joy with my daughter, my husband, and my family.  Which leads me to a prayer that I have for God.  Please, God to reveal to us what Your plan for our family is.  Should we grow our family?  If so, girl or boy?  Age?  From where?  God, let our hearts beat like Yours.  You know who our next child is.  We trust you.  Reveal the child to us.  Give us the faith to step forward and pursue our child.  If Your plan is to step out in faith job-wise, or location-wise, give us the strength to do that as well.  I just pray we're open to Your plan! 

If I were to think about what I want materially, I honestly do not know.  I didn't give anyone a list.  I am so happy with whatever I get.  I know my parents were getting us a family membership to a local children's museum, and I'm super pumped about that.  But really, I just LOVE the season, I don't have any one big thing on my list!

Day 10-What is one holiday tradition or task you somewhat dread?

Ok, Day 10 was something else, but I really addressed it on another day, so I made this one up.  I'm going to be honest with you, here.  The one task of the holiday season I despise more than anything is writing and sending out Christmas cards.  It's not even the writing inside the cards.  Or choosing the cards (that's fun!) It's the addressing the cards.  We got smart and have a simple database of addresses, and Tony can easily crank out labels, but I LOATHE addressing the envelopes.  So tedious.  Sounds ridiculous, but that's the only thing I dread all season long!

So now, I have got to know...what do YOU want this year?

What is one holiday tradition or task that you dread?  Come on, be honest!

Day 11--What I don't take for granted this Christmas.

This one is easy and short.  I don't take ANYTHING for granted this Christmas.  My family is whole once again.  We've packed every little tradition and event possible in this season.  We have done everything from looking at Christmas lights, to our Christmas Eve Eve midnight run to Walmart w/ the family.  I have tried to take a mental (or actual) picture of every situation.  Who knows what 2010 will hold, so I'm soaking up every second.  What about you?

Day 12-My Christmas Wish For You

I wish for total peace and joy this holiday season.  I pray your family grows closer, and your focus on Christ stronger.  I pray that challenges in your family, get overcome.  Sins forgiven.  I pray for God to use you in big ways in 2010. 

Have a fantastic Christ-filled Christmas and a fantastic New Year! 

Love you all!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Post by Tony...


I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season.  Rett is beginning to wrap presents as I type this.  She said I could do a post.  I figure anything to get out of wrapping presents works for me!!

Well, Rett has had a bunch of meaningul and "memoryful" (is that a word) posts.  This one, well, you know me, will have some random photos keeping you up to date regarding recent happenings.  Here they go!

We'll start with this scenic photo of the Jeep in late October.  We found this site taking a different route home from one of Rett's favorite restaurants, the Smokin Ox. 

Here we are on our Family Birthday mid-November.  We celebrated at the China Buffet just down the street. 

Here is random photo of Abby brushing her teeth. 

Here is a shot of Rett and the girls at Church.  We lit the Advent candle in front of the church this particular evening.  (Two pictures of Rett in the same post - let's see how long she let's this stay on here.)

Ok, no the girls did not get a perm nor do they have "naturally curly hair" (line from Charlie Brown Christmas).  This is what happens to Abby's hair when you take out the pig tails.

Here are the girls hanging out with a very large stuffed bear dressed as a snowman at Metamora.  We visit this little historic town every year during their Christmas celebration.

Here are the girls in the kitchen preparing Christmas gifts for some family members.

I am sure Rett will probably post in the near future something more entertaining, but for now, you get to put up with my randomness.  Have a Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas-Tree

Day, Um, Not Sure-The Best Christmas Tree

So, do you like real trees?  Are artificical more your style?  Me, you ask?  I prefer live trees.  The smell, the search for the perfect tree, the sap, the scratchy needles, the freezing while waiting to cut it down, the needles all over the floor.  Hehe.  Really, I do love all there is to love about getting a live tree. 

When Tony and I first got married, we bought live trees.  However, we did one step more.  We got the kind you could plant afterward.  They were HEAVY, but so nice to create a natural privacy fence!  Oh, the memories!  LOVE them!

Since we have lived at this house, we have had artificial trees.  Our one upstairs matches the decor in our living room.  This was something my mom has always done!  And our downstairs tree has the family ornaments and is more homey.  I love it. 

But this post has me thinking.  Next year it would be big fun to go and search for a tree.  I think we're up for it with the girls. 

So what about you?  Come on, Sarah.  Share about your delimma about Christmas trees when you were first married to Chris.  I remember, do you?

Happy Saturday!  The big guy in red is making final preparations!!!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

Day Seven--What Christmas Means To Me

Wow.  A deep question for a Friday.  Man.  Hmmm.  Ok people, I'm going to get deep, because Christmas means so much.  It means that God loved us enough to send his son!  Sent Him knowing the end of the story!  Knowing about the crucifixian.  Now that I'm a mother, that is so profound to me.  I mean, I understand the reason.  I understand that He rose again.  But, people, the death.  Knowing that.  Amazing.

But knowing the WHY behind the HOW is what helps us celebrate this season with JOY!  He sent His Son to SAVE US!  That little baby boy would SAVE the world.  Would SAVE me.  Me.  I was worth that?  I have to trust that I am worth that.  And that's why I need to remember this Christmas to live my life in such a way to be worth that

Does any of what I'm saying make sense?  I mean, yes, it means family and treasuring one another.  But oh baby, the meaning is SO much more than that!  I'm in awe over the birth of Christ.  Not the setting or situation, but the future impact of His birth.  A-maz-ing. 

So, what does Christmas mean to YOU?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

Before I jump into this, did you know that the Twelve Days of Christmas do not technically start until Dec. 26?  I found that out on a Christmas quiz yesterday!  Just a little bit of trivia for you!

Sixth Day of Christmas--What is my funniest Christmas memory?

Oh man.  This one is hard.  Funniest?  Hmm.  I don't know that I have a funniest memory.  I tend to do some sort of poem (like a spin off of Twas the Night Before Christmas) with my family members' names in it and I try to make it funny.  But I really don't have a funny memory, per se.  I know, I know, BORING! 

So, I guess that means my family needs to post on here and tell about their (or my) funniest memory.  And you, my friends, must add yours as well!  Don't let this post be totally lame!

P.S.  On an unrelated note, please pray for friends of ours, Scott and Emilie.  Emilie is 30 weeks pregnant with her first child, and has lost most of the amniotic fluid she had.  She is now contracting.  Add to that her baby, Tressel, has a heart condition.  All of this adds up to one very scary situation.  PRAY, PRAY, PRAY so much for she and her husband (AND baby Tressel!)


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fifth Day of Christmas-What is My Favorite Christmas Movie?

Well, the blog I got this idea from, got it from a military wives blog.  And today's post was supposed to be titled, "You know you're a military wife when..." Well, my friends, that won't work for me.  So, hmmm.  What to blog about?  This might be a topic that was supposed to show up later, but oh well!

What is My Favorite Christmas Movie?

This is easy for me.  I mean, I LOVE every single hokey, loving, animated/non-animated, claymation, emotional, Christmas-ish type show out there.  Ask Tony.  I drive him nuts I'm sure.  And "Charlie Brown Christmas" ranks right up there.  As well as "Home Alone" "Polar Express" and the "Santa Claus(e)" movie.  But, my all-time, absolute favorite movie for Christmas is "A Christmas Story".  Remember that one?  People I know either LOVE it or HATE it.  But oh, man.  I LOVE IT! 

It's a story set back in the 40's in Indiana.  Ralphie (the main character) wants only one gift for Christmas, a Red Rider BB gun.  The story line and the characters just kill me.  Seriously, I could watch it 20 times each holiday season.  Do you like it?  If so, what's your favorite part?

What is YOUR favorite Christmas movie/television program?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

Fourth Day of Christmas-The Best Christmas Present I Ever Received

Hmmm, this is a tough one.  I remember lots of gifts, and yet barely any at the same time.  I know that doesn't make sense.  But, my parents were good to me.  I was spoiled.  I'm admitting it.  I was flat spoiled.  Like a former post mentioned, I remember getting an awesome pink and grey 10-speed bike.  I also remember getting a huge stereo system. 

I mentioned yesterday about GIVING a car as a gift...but one of the best gifts I ever got WAS a car!  A '78 Monte Carlo (I think).

Want to know what I remember most?  Two things.  First was the pride on my parents faces.  They did this.  They found it, painted it, gave it.  They provided for me.  The second memory I have attached to that car is driving to my grandma's apartment in it on Christmas Day.  I distinctly remember being as careful as can be.  I even remember pulling in her lot and that there was snow on the ground.  It was so pretty.  And I was driving my car. THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!

That is my material answer.  My emotional answer would have to do with when I became a mom right before Thanksgiving.  Then, the best gift I received was that first Christmas as a family.  I "got" the emotion of seeing them Christmas morning.  The blessing of giving to them.  The joy of sharing the story of Jesus with them.  My daughters.  My heart! 

Well, I heard about Kristy's Barbie Dream house.  And about Sarah's gift of receiving and giving.  But what about you?  What is one of your treasured gift memories?


Monday, December 14, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

A friend in the bloggy world, is doing this leading up to Christmas.  She got it from Wives of Faith .  It sounded fun, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I'm already behind, but here goes...

First Day of Christmas-My Favorite Christmas Song

Hmmm, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Christmas music.  I started playing it before Thanksgiving this year.  There really isn't a song I don't like.  Well, except for those dogs barking the Jingle Bells song.  I mean, seriously.  Why? 

I guess if I had to decide, I'd chose two.  They are totally at opposite ends of the spectrum.  One shows our selfish material ways, and the other one glorifies God.  I LOVE "Santa Baby" and no, not the Madonna version.  Just the old school version.  It just makes me smile.  The other song would be "Mary Did You Know?"  I think this one has an emotional tie because a former pastor would sing it at church and I would break down when I would hear it.  Now, as a mother, it takes on a whole new level of meaning.  We do not know how our children will turn out, or who they will become.  But, God!  He knows!  Amazing song.

Second Day of Christmas-My Favorite Christmas Recipe

Huh?  Just one?  NO WAY can I decide just one.  Plus, my mom always switches things up and tries new things each year, so no traditional favorite.  Ok, wait.  I do have a favorite.  Tony's Aunt Belinda makes a KILLER sausage stuffing.  Oh man.  It is such a flavor explosion in your mouth.  There are cranberries and spices and sausage yumminess!  I could literally, fill my plate with that and nothing else!  So, when I eat it (at Thanksgiving or Christmas) I just think of the holidays.  It's perfect. 

I'll have to ask how she does it.  Sorry, no recipe here. 

Third Day of Christmas-The Best Christmas Present I Ever Gave

Without a doubt, two Christmases come to mind.  One was a LOOONG time ago in the very early 80's.  I didn't give it, but it is such a good memory.  My dad bought my mom a new microwave.  I think she KNEW she was getting this, but maybe not.  So, she's unwrapping the gift and gets all excited when she sees the box.  Then, when she opened the box, my dad had weighed it down with a bowling ball!  She sat there with the box on her lap and CRIED!  We have a picture to prove it.  Then, Dad went out and got the microwave off the porch for her.  Ahh, the memories!

The best gift I ever gave (or was a part of) was when we gave my dad his '46 Ford.  His family had one of these when he was younger and he loved it.  He found one either identical to, or pretty darn near the one he had ridden in as a boy.  My sisters, mom, and brother and I went together and bought it (with our husbands/wife, etc.)   We kept it stored at my brother's house.  Tony and I lived next door at the time. 

So anyway, Christmas morning, Randy called my dad and said he needed some help.  My dad reminded him it was Christmas morning, but Randy insisted.  So he and mom drove the two blocks that chilly morning.  Everyone waited inside the closed garage for Dad to arrive.  We were all packed in there and heard him pull up.  Randy opened the garage door and there stood Dad and Mom looking at this garage filled with people and a car with a bow on it.  Recognition sparked on his face and he stood there and covered his face and cried.  Which, in turn, made us all cry.  He was so emotional.  He couldn't believe we did that.  My heart about burst with love for my family that day.  It was such fun!

Ok, that's it for today.  Check back tomorrow for The Fourth Day of Christmas!  In the mean time, what about you?  DO SHARE!

P.S.  Linny and Emma are in China and have their daughter Jubilee!  WHOOO HOOO!  God is SO good!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

OH, So Thankful!

Today, I am certainly thankful for my two cuties.  That Abby and Laney make me SMILE every single day.  They make me laugh, giggle, AND tear my hair out too!  Hahaha. Just want to use today's post to document some of the funny things they have been saying!

  • Whenever they get done in the restroom, we ask if they washed their hands or if they used hand sanitizer.  (Side note:  our girls will never know life before hand sanitizer or texting!  Wild!)  Well, they have morphed hand sanitizer into a new word.  They'll come in and say, "I HANITIZED!"  Creative!  We like it!
  • I never get to take the girls to school because I have to be at school earlier than they do.  Well, one day, Tony couldn't take them, so I had to run them to my sister's house so they could take them (her granddaughter Addison goes too!)  Well, en route to her house that is about fifteen minutes away, I realized I had forgotten their backpacks.  I said, "Oh man!  I forgot your backpacks, girls!"  To which Abby replies, "Baba doesn't forgot!"  I know, I know, he's perfect!  They  later told him he's "right" because he never forgets the backpacks!  Grr!
  • When we were crossing the parking lot heading into church Sunday, a woman yelled across the aisle, "Your girls always look so cute!"  Then Abby turned to me and said, "See!  I TOLD YOU!"  I grinned and said, "Told me what?"  She replied, "That I'm cute!"  Bwhahahah!  And modest, sweet girl, so modest!
  • Last night, Tony told the girls it was time for bed.  Laney asked why?  He said, "Laney, I'm tired!"  She answered with, "Yeah, well, I'm NEVER tired!"  Amen, sista!
  • Their endless Christmas carol singing is SUCH fun.  I love, love, love it! Really!
  • Laney insists Santa needs chocolate milk.  Thanks, Max and Ruby!
  • Laney's new phrase, "Woah, there!"  Funny!
  • Because Abby doesn't always pronounce everything clearly, we often ask her to repeat it.  Music is one of those words.  We started over-annunciating it.  Muuuuzzz-iiikk.  She now says, every single time, "May I listen to my Christmas muuuuzzzz-iiikk?"  Hey, at least she says, "May I"!

I'm sure there are more, so I might update with more later!

Thank you, Jesus for my daughters!   


Monday, December 07, 2009

Memorial Box Monday-10-Speed

A few posts ago, I told you about the wonderful memories I have of Christmas.  I want to tell you a story about that.  I'm including it in my Memorial Box because, well, because I want to and there are no rules.  This was a situation where Jesus blessed me with parents that wanted to keep the innocence and magic of Christmas alive for me as long as possible. 

I was probably in junior high this one particular Christmas.  Sixth grade, maybe.  I remember not really "believing" Santa existed, but wanting to hold on to that excitement and idea that he just might.  I went to bed on Christmas Eve.  My bedroom was just off the living room.  I remember at one point waking up to go to the restroom.  As I walked through the living room, I looked at the tree.  It was so pretty, all lit up.  (Side note:  ever since I was little, I would sleep out on the couch or floor at least one night during the holiday season so I could fall asleep with the Christmas tree lights on.  I'd look over the tree and try to memorize what that year's tree looked like, and reflect on the year, etc.  I STILL do this.)

Anyway, my parents were nestled all snug in their beds and everything was quiet.  I checked out the loot under the tree and realized it was the same that was there when I went to bed.  "Santa" hadn't come yet. 

I went on to the restroom and when I returned (guessing about three minutes later), there was a pink and gray 10-speed bike propped up behind/beside the tree!  I stood there and gawked at the bike. That bike had NOT just been there.  My parents WERE asleep.  I checked!  Where in the world? 

The next day I retold the story to my parents.  They just shook their heads and smiled.  They claimed they did NOT put the bike there.  They reminded me I had seen them asleep. 

Now, the rational adult in me is like, "Uh, Rett.  They lied.  They put that there while you were in the restroom." or "It was there, you just didn't see it."   But the child in me hangs on to what my mom always said  "Santa exists inside you.  It's Christmas spirit that counts."  Therefore, this time, I'm listening to that little child.  Santa brought me that bike.  It was a magical Christmas that came at a time where I could have simply stopped believing.  My parents chose to help me hold onto that magic, even only for one more year.

Do you have any stories like that?  Magical moments? 

Or, what is one favorite family tradition you have?  We have many many things, but I'll share two quick ones.  Come Dec. 1, I'm allowed to ask my mom for a hint about one of my gifts.  I can get one hint per day.  The thing is, my mom's hints are always WAY out there, but DEAD on at the same time.  They're riddleish.  SO FUN!  I remember one was, "It goes around and around but never stops."  It was a watch!  Mom, when you read this, um, you owe me seven hints!  Hahaha, oh wait, I KNOW what I'm getting!  Darn!

The second tradition is that my dad always plays Santa at our family gatherings.  He dons the red hat and is the one to distribute the gifts to everyone else.  He never gets to open his own  until everyone else is done.  That says a lot about him.  Everyone else enjoy it first...he can wait.


Now, tell me about your magical memories or traditions!


Salsa's Giveaway!

Check out Salsa's Blog for a fantastic set of recipes and a giveaway!  Her twins are TOO cute and look even sweeter while cooking with chocolate!!!

On second thought, check out her blog, but don't enter the giveaway.  I WANT TO WIN!  HA!


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is There Room for Santa at Our Table Too?

This is a question I have been mulling around for a while.  With the Christmas season being thrust upon us earlier and earlier, and now with having children, I really take this question seriously.  Let me back up...

I grew up in a WONDERFUL family.  The Christmas holidays were special.  (Every holiday was really.)  But Christmas held some sort of magic that the others didn't.  I always knew that this was the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I knew the impact of His birth.  It was blissfully sweet.

However, Santa was present in our family traditions as well.  We did the whole milk and cookie thing.  Elvis belted out about his "Blue Christmas" and I knew all the words to "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" by age three.  We decorated our tree with themed color selections.  Stockings were filled with goodies.  When I woke up on Christmas morning, there were always packages left by him.  Even as I got older and would question the "realness" of Santa, my mom held fast that it's the spirit inside you that make Santa real.

Fast forward to now.  I'm the mother of twin three year olds.  I am a Christian.  I am teaching my children DAILY about the love of Jesus.  And I feel like I'm a horrible mom according to other Christians if we celebrate Santa as a part of our Christmas traditions.  Yes, I feel SO judged.

Is Jesus there?  Absolutely!  We have talked and read nonstop about His birth.  We have discussed how this holiday is NOT just about the "I wants".  Jesus is the focus for us.

However, our Christmas is filled with more.  It is filled with stockings, trees, lights, cookies, carols, packages, joy, laughter, magic, and wonder.  Oh, and Santa.  Yes.  Santa. 

We do NOT worship Santa.  We do NOT focus on gift giving and getting.  We DO focus on Jesus and fun family traditions and special connections we can create with the girls.  Everything is celebrated!  From making a paper chain to count down the days until "Happy Birthday, Jesus", to carefully placing ornaments on our tree.  Christmas music is played in our Jeep and in our home.  Christmas TV specials from long ago are watched and treasured.  New traditions are meshing with old family favorites and friends, it just makes my heart swell.

Oh, how I love this time of the year.  I feel hopeful for our future.  It seems Pollyanna, but it's me.  I totally get wrapped up in the glitter and garland.  I know it's because I have such special memories of this time of year with my family, and I want that for my girls as well.  And I refuse to feel guilty about it. 

This is just on my heart because it's out there.  It's in Blogland.  The discussions, the debates, the worry if we are messing our kids up by celebrating Santa AND Jesus, or NOT celebrating one or the other.  I just had to throw my two cents in.  I LOVE Jesus.  Love Him.  And serve Him.  And I will forever and always strive to keep Him first in my life (I AM human...I slip up occasionally.)  But at our house, we'll save a spot for Santa too.  That jolly old guy just wants to spread some joy and eat some good cookies (and chocolate milk according to Laney).  He won't sit at the head of our table, but he's got a seat down the line.

Oh, and while I'm on a rant...I totally DO NOT get those people who say, "Jesus is the reason for the season!"  HELLO, Jesus is the reason for EVERY season!

Merry Christmas, family!