Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas with Steve, Mom and Carly

After church, J and I met up with my family at Black Angus for a lovely Christmas dinner. 
Afterward, we headed back to the ranch (not literally, although there were four little furry ones to welcome us) 
to read the Christmas story, exchange presents, and take some fun pictures.

Casey and the Christmas tree
I love my sister... weird faces and all
 pretty smile

My mom made me this adorable apron. I love it!!
And Carly tracked down Boy Meets World seasons 2-3!! (I have 1). So excited!! 

my new tea set :)

and Sophie

Steve and me with his new tennis bag we got him and me with my jacket from C
he's such a good sport!

Mom showcasing her picture frame and coffee mug and C with her new jacket we got her

Here begins the photo shoot

 I did this awkward pose/back to back thing... Mom's such a good sport

 they love each other

handsome hubby and me!

they love each other too - I love their smiles :)

 they love each other three

cutest parents ever

Our dance party

us with sweet Casey girl

Love my family so much.
We had so much fun with them.

What fun things were (generally) exchanged this year?
J received: a new super cool keyboard, mouse, headphones, and a movie
I received: a full tea set, homemade apron, sweater and zip-up, calendar, DVD sets
We received: pretty ornaments

Carly received: a J-crew shirt and a pea coat
Mom received: a coffee cup, sweater and scarf, Josh Groban CD, and perfume
Steve received: a tennis bag, pancake mix and syrup, a Starbucks card, and a slinky :)
Parents received: family pictures

It was perfect!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On the night before Christmas

This year, John and I started off our Christmas celebrations by going to the Christmas Eve service together at church to celebrate the Reason for this wonderful season. 

It was special to share those moments with my husband as he joined in this family tradition with me.
It was humbling to sit in a sanctuary full of others celebrating the same Hope. 
It was amazing to worship together as we celebrated our King. 
It was awe-inspiring to watch one candle in a dark room light the entire auditorium. 
What an amazing God we serve - the Great Light of the World. 
Thank you Jesus, for coming to this Earth because You love us. 
I will forever stand in awe of your Power and your Love.

This definitely makes the "family traditions" list.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday moments

a semi-cleared desk
dinner with good friends
my little patient laughing
knowing my sister is home
baker carrying around his santa toy
hubby shopping at michaels with me and for me
looking around my messy house to see many little goodies to be thankful for
sleeping twelve hours on saturday night (that's what day after Christmas + being sick will do)
new kleenex + lotion + aloe (trust me, this is huge when you blow your nose 20 times a day)
watching dog whisperer for the first time with baker and emma - also intently watching
turning on the Christmas lights for another week
changing into sweatpants and a sweatshirt
setting up my new craft area
chatting with my husband
drinking lots of ice water
bedtime (that comes now :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

We pray your hearts are full of love, joy and peace as you find rest in our Savior, 
remembering He is the reason for today.
Thank you, Great Light of the World, for being born today.

From our hearts to yours, Merry Christmas.

 (our 2010 Christmas card - homemade for the first time)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The W in Christmas

My mom (via my grandma) forwarded me this story in an email...
I must share it. I can identify with this woman at the beginning of the story.

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful

 I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing,
 endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

 Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the
 precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of

 My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting
 season for a six year old.

 For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter

 I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the
 production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his
 teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning
of the presentation.

 All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.

 Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

 So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes
 early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the
 room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.
 As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class,
 accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then,
 each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

 Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the
 holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun,
 commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes
 and good cheer.

 So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was
 slightly taken aback by its bold title.

 Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy
 mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

 Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by
 one, to spell out the title of the song.

 As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up
 the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each
 child holding up his portion had presented the complete message,
 "Christmas Love."

 The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her;
 a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside
 down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

 The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little
 one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she
 stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

 Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter
 continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it

 A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

 In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we
 celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos,
 there was a purpose for our festivities.

 For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and
 "C H R I S T  W A S  L O V E"

 And, I believe, He still is.
 Amazed in His presence... .humbled by His love.

Christmas, welcome to our home

Two days before Christmas... 
here's a glimpse into our home this Christmas season.

Step one: pick our Christmas tree

Step two: decorate our tree
 (or read business week to emma and baker.... hehe, just kidding)
 our tree, minus an official tree topper and presents
 a few gifts
 our little guardian angel

 Step three: set up the manger scene and our shelves
(as best as possible knowing the puppies may eat the pieces)
 this season, we celebrate the birth of This Baby

 Step four: hang our wreath

 Step five: hang our Christmas lights 
J was a superstar this year and hung them on top also!

 Step six: continue our tradition... enjoy the spirit of Christmas in our home over Starbucks with Luigi

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Because I want to remember

John and I have had the best few days.
And I don't want to forget.

Friday night, I was feeling overwhelmed with the number of things left to accomplish.
I wanted to do them all, but didn't feel like there was enough time.
And J came to the rescue with a pen, paper, and a little encouragement.
We made a list of all the things I was thinking about,
and he helped me accomplish them, one by one.

we mailed our Christmas cards,
went out to breakfast,
cleaned out all our food in the kitchen,
and laughed a lot during that (J found all kinds of randomness I buy :)),
made a target list and conquered it,
planned our items to bake,
visited my family and welcomed my sister home
(and J put on his brillant hat to rescue mom's lost emails),
got Christmas stuff together,
lit a candle,
made muffins for our YMC Christmas party
as well as tons of sugar cookie dough yet to be baked,
cuddled and enjoyed the rain.

we got up early and went to church (gosh I love Sunday church)
and our YMC Christmas party.
we did lots of laundry,
planned meals for the week
and then conquered Vons,
but not before Mexican food next door.
we talked about our dreams,
played with our puppies and took a few rain walks,
laughed, hugged, and enjoyed each other's company.

while I did some last minute Christmas shopping after work,
J fed the animals (twice!) and braved the storm to take them for walks.
We made dinner together while chatting
(mmm... wheat pasta with white sauce and asparagus),
and then J made us homemade vanilla lattes.
we sat in the living room together,
listening to Christmas music and worship music,
continuing to plan our future (we like planning)
while getting some more Christmas stuff together.

I love my husband.
I love to be with him.
I love when he does things with me and for me - the little things.
And I love love love when he smiles while doing it. :)

Thank you, honey, for this weekend.
I'm so glad I get to be your wife.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Friends and more friends

Since I haven't kept up with blogging over the past week, I didn't get to give these events each their own blog. But it's been a couple weeks of friends and fun. Our hearts are full and we feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends to surround ourselves with, both old friendships and new.

Five Christmas extravaganzas:

1. YMC Bible Study Christmas Party

Marghee, me, Amanda
thankful for new friendships

the group
[thanks for the photos, Jenn!]

me, Daemey, Sondra, Paige, and Candace

 2. Dinner date at the McLeod's new home

I absolutely adore Jessi. She cuddles with me :)
and her home is beautiful!

Jeremiah and John are great friends too :)

3. Andy and Amy came to visit

 Andy was one of J's groomsmen.
Their friendship encourages us and their marriage inspires us.

4. Sondra's Christmas Cookie Exchange

 me, Paige, Christina, Jaclynn, Sondra, Michelle, Irma, Marghee, Jennifer and Gillian

5. YMC Christmas Party

 our sweet friends, Dwain and Jaclyn
it has been such a privilege to get to know them over the past few months

Still to come... Christmas at the McGovern's home! :)