Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas time!

Nine days until Christmas. Two days until we leave for Arizona (which the kiddos don't know about - they just know that we're going somewhere after D gets done with school). There's still an awful lot that I was hoping to get done, but I've crossed many items off my "To Do" list and am actually feeling relatively calm. It's currently pouring rain. Hubby had a rough commute into Mexico this morning as some of the roads had washed out. Thankfully he's back over the border now and will remain here until next year :) I ran some last-minute errands this morning, and the stores weren't crowded at all due to the miserable weather... hey, gotta look at the bright side, right?

Didn't decorate all that much this year; we're definitely planning to do more next year, including putting lights up outside. Had to replace our tree-topper as the angel we purchased as newlyweds started to melt... and while she looked kind of cute bowing to us, the fire hazard factor convinced us to find something new. I'm kind of digging this star in all its sequinned glory! Haven't made a single holiday goodie, unless you count the cranberry pumpkin bread I baked the week before Thanksgiving. I *am* planning to purchase a gingerbread house kit while in AZ and let the kiddos decorate it up with their 2 older cousins. I'm just cultivating some good memories, right?! (wink, wink) We're not taking all of the kids' gifts with us (we'll have a final celebration when we come back home) but I need to wrap up the few items that are making the trip.

Have had some interesting conversations about Santa and holiday celebrations in general with a few people. For anyone that may not know, we don't do Santa at our house. (You can read last year's post on that here). We obviously do lots of other fun stuff - I'm not saying that we should do away with all the ribbons and bows and just meditate by a manger scene - but the crass commercialism of December does get to me... and quite honestly, besides the Jesus vs. Santa issue, I simply want the kids to appreciate the gifts that they receive, and know that those presents were purchased by those who love them, not just an anonymous benefactor. Some good thoughts on "Celebrating Jesus" here, and a fun Christmas Cookie Confession (with bonus new tradition ideas!) here.

I can pretty much guarantee that I won't be posting again until next year, so in the meantime, have a blessed Christmas!!

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Holiday Fun

A photo overview of the past 2 weeks (if you want a better look, click on the photo and you'll be taken to flickr for the jumbo version)

Thanksgiving Dinner Now let me teach YOU Grandpa Baking with grandma Ahoy matey Awwwww Puzzling Our first fire Candy Cane Crafts O Christmas Tree
Other random tidbits from our world:
  • Yesterday, I had a package scheduled to arrive via UPS. The schedule is pretty consistent for delivery in our neighborhood, so I was expecting it around 6 PM. Well, about 4:30 the doorbell rings - yep, it was my box. Funny thing was that it was 2 guys dressed in their brown uniforms -- but they were driving a a beater Toyota with the back seat piled high with boxes. Guess they just need a little extra help during the holidays :) What really cracked me up, though, was when our son came running to the door to see who it was, and upon viewing the spectacle loudly shouted, "Hey, you're supposed to be in a big brown truck!" The delivery guy was laughing almost as hard as I was.
  • Just wanted to point out that a restaurant named "Java Cafe" should serve something besides Folgers (as evidenced by the club-sized plastic canister sitting on the counter) with powdered creamer. Blech.
  • Our daughter was serenading the other children in Moppets this morning with "Stories" by Go Fish (you can listen to a sample here, track #2) She was doing her big finale with NaNaNaNaNaNa Ooh Ooh Ooh when one of the other little girls calmly told her, "You can stop now." But of course she still had to finish the song - yep, that's our little performing cheeseball!
  • Back in the 70s all this week. I pulled out my long-sleeved shirts when it was in the 40s last week and was downright giddy over the prospect of breaking out a fuzzy sweater, but it doesn't look like that will be happening anytime soon. On a side note, the breeze blowing through the open windows flutters the tinsel on the tree quite nicely...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy December!

How on earth is it possible that we've already reached the last month of 2009?!? This year has definitely flown by... and boy oh boy, do I sound old when I say that :)

It's currently 3:58 AM and I've been awake for about 2 hours. Both kids have been downstairs, vying for a spot in Mommy & Daddy's bed (why oh why do they do this when they have their own perfectly wonderful sleeping quarters?) After much tossing, I finally decided I might as well get up and do a few things.

So we are now in the throes of the holiday season; I truly love Christmas time, but am finding it harder to get into the "spirit" when it's in the mid 60s and we're eating dinner on our patio, munching away on corn we picked up from a roadside stand after church. We did have a few days of cold and we not only used our fireplace for the first time but even turned the heat on for 2 days. My parents were here for Thanksgiving and just flew back to Montana on Saturday - funny thing is that their flights were all switched up due to the snow in Houston. Seriously, I doubt they were planning those type of travel delays in South TX, but you just never know what will happen...

In other news, we have a new nephew! Yes, my brother and his wife had a healthy baby boy - his big brother is awfully excited that he's finally arrived! Sad to think that I don't know when we'll be able to meet him in person, though - I'm so thankful for technology that allows us to email pics and updates.

There has been so much other stuff going on that I don't even know where to start. I had a nasty cold, and just as I was recovering my hubby went down. Grrr. Thankfully the kiddos have remained healthy thus far. Our computer has been giving us MAJOR fits, and I don't know when I'll be able to post pics. Hubby has been running a variety of scanners, debuggers and such and we have yet to decide whether we just need to dump the hard drive and re-install everything. Oh joy. Thankfully we have the laptop, but it has limited capabilities. Still in prayer about the church situation. Son's behavior at school is improving but far from perfect. Have a few more gifts that I need to pick up. A bit of baking I want to do. Praying how I can minister to certain people that God has brought into my life. Need to get my craft space organized before it drives me over the edge.

So how's that for stringing together random thoughts? This is what you get from a sleepy mama in December :) Before I head off to the next task, though, I wanted to share a bit more about Christmas. As the pastor pointed out this morning, this season is about FAMILY. And not just our crazy earthly relatives... no, this is the time we celebrate God's amazing love and how Christ came to this lowly earth so that he could share His riches with his brothers and sisters. Hadn't quite thought about it that way before. I think we all can all agree that when it comes to inheritances, the dark side of human nature all too often rears its ugly head... yet Jesus not only wants to share, but made the ultimate sacrifice Himself to enable us to claim the position as God's children. Forget brightly decorated trees and warm fuzzy feelings as we sing carols or exchange gifts... THAT is a reason to celebrate!

There it was--the true Light [was then] coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illumines every person. He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him]. He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own--His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name. (John 1:9-12, Amplified)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hearts at Home - Sale & Giveaways

Everyone loves a good sale, Right? We'll let me tell you about a great one:

It’s a Hearts at Home
Black Friday after Black Friday Sale Dec. 7-11

Did you sleep in on Black Friday? Did you drag yourself out of bed, but still miss out on some awesome deals because you were standing in line too long at one store? Do you still have shopping to do, but dread the crowds, traffic, and cost? Let Hearts at Home help!

Their Black Friday sale has been extended to the week of December 7-11. Shop in the convenience of your own home and receive an unprecedented 25% off all of Hearts books and merchandise. They have great gifts for everyone in your family.

Find gifts for friends, teachers, bible study leaders, bus drivers, and everyone else on your list. You may even find something for yourself. This is a great time to stock up on all those Hearts at Home books you’ve been wanting to read.

Let your family know how much you would love a Hearts at Home gift certificate so you can use it for your Hearts at Home conference registration and/or Mom’s Night Out tickets.

Go to, choose your gifts, and enter code “HEARTGIFT” upon checkout. You will receive 25% off your total purchase (before tax and shipping).

I also want to fill you in on a couple of other great opportunities!
Be sure to check out Jill Savage's blog this month (she is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home). She is doing one giveaway A DAY through Christmas.

And, if you stop by the Hearts at Home blog December 8 - 11, you will have an opportunity to win a Heart's at Home prayer journal. The prayer journal is a brand new resource from Hearts at Home.

Merry Christmas from Hearts at Home!