Monday, December 29, 2008

It Truly is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I start feeling the excitement and anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas sometime around September, and by December 26th, I'm still not quite ready for it all to go away. Then I remind myself how quickly it returns, and then I'm okay with it. I started removing the ornaments from the tree on Friday afternoon, and by Saturday afternoon all the Christmas decorations were packed away. Now it's time to start thinking about the New Year and goals that I have in mind, but I'll save that for another time. For now, I'll share what's been going on around here for the past couple of weeks.

It's been a flurry of enjoyable activities but nothing overwhelming. It was all supposed to start on Tuesday the 19th with an afternoon party at our home for our homeschool group, but when Amelia woke up with what was probably a stomach virus, I decided I better alert everyone and cancel the party. My girls were definitely sad about that, but it turned out to be the best decision as by the time we went to bed, everyone except for me and Matthew had developed some symptoms.

The next day everyone felt much better, and we attended a nice Christmas party that evening at the beautiful home of my friend Kathy.

Thursday was a free day, and on Friday evening, I went to my friend Terri's home for our annual Christmas party. I blogged about that last year. It's the one with my close childhood friends, and we had a great time as usual.

Saturday morning, we were at the gym as the basketball team that Madison is playing with made it to the final game of the Christmas tournament. They lost by one point! (Cari is playing basketball this year, too, but unfortunately her team didn't make it past their first game.)

On Saturday evening, we had our church family over to our home for a Christmas service. We had such a wonderful time singing Christmas hymns followed by prayer and a Christmas message. Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious traditional Christmas meal that everyone contributed to. Before everyone headed home, we ended the evening with more Christmas hymns. Even the younger folks were skimming through the hymn book making their requests. It was really a lot of fun.

Since we didn't have our regular service on Sunday morning, we had the opportunity to go to Alabama and visit with our friends at the church where Brad used to pastor. It was great to see everyone again! One of the families invited us over for lunch afterwards, and we spent the afternoon with them. (This worked out well, as can you believe the real estate agent called and wanted to show our house on Sunday afternoon! Can you imagine what my home must have looked like after all of the activity from the previous week? We picked up as best as we could and didn't worry about the rest. I was very glad we weren't home when they came.)

Monday and Tuesday, the 22nd and 23rd, were pretty quiet around here, and on Christmas Eve, my mom, dad, and aunt came over for a Christmas Eve meal. I fixed lasagna, spaghetti, 7-layer salad, rolls, and sugar cookies. They stayed and visited for a while, and later that evening after they left, Brad and I, the girls, and Matthew opened our gifts for each other. Well, Matthew didn't actually open his gifts! I received (by request actually) a radio/CD player for the kitchen. It's one of those that attaches underneath a cabinet so it's out of the way. I love being able to listen to music or messages while I'm working in the kitchen - or anywhere else for that matter as it has very good sound and can be heard throughout the house. It also has an alarm clock, but I'm not sure why you would need an alarm clock in the kitchen - unless you turned it up real loud in order to wake up the whole family at the same time?

On Christmas Day, Madison and Cari woke us up around 5 a.m. to see what had been left out in the living room during the night. I had to wake Amelia up around 9 a.m. Among other things, Madison received a violin and a phone, Cari got a Leapfrog DIDJ and Little House on the Prairie DVDs, Amelia got a ladybug tent, and Matthew got some toys. I don't have time to list everything, but let's just say they were very blessed (and we're going to use this week to do some cleaning out before we do the putting away!).

I'm very thankful to have had a wonderful Christmas with my family and friends and most of all for the blessing of Jesus - the reason we celebrate!

*I can't believe I failed to mention the rest of Christmas Day! We spent the day at my mom and dad's with my aunt, sister, and brother-in-law. My mother goes crazy with Christmas and my children can hardly wait to get over there (me, too, if I'm being honest!). Here are a few pictures from the day at their home:



My mother holding Matthew.



Cari holding her American girl doll, Kirsten, that my mom and dad gave her.



Amelia wearing her new hat and holding her new doll she named Ellie.



Here's Cari, Madison, and Amelia modeling their new scarves that Aunt Angela knitted for them.

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