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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Washing the truck in December.
It is 11 degrees outside, but nice and toasty inside.
Not everyone's idea of fun, but to my husband, THIS is paradise.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Photos

Unfortunately, to start at the beginning, I need to fill you in on the depressing part of our Christmas. We spent the 2 weeks before Christmas sick. Really S.I.C.K. Isn't this the most pitiful face you've ever seen? All three kids were in the doctor's office, and were on prescriptions. I actually had to keep a log of who received what and when because in my sleep deprived haze, I was having a hard time keeping track of everything.
The good news is that everyone was feeling much better by Christmas.

Christmas eve was spent in the traditional holiday frenzy. My husband spent a few hours extracting toys from their boxes, twist-ties, and those horrible sharp plastic things, while I bustled about baking, cleaning and trying to remember everything we were on the verge of forgetting.
  • Did you pack the baby's diapers? - Check
  • Don't forget to water the tree! - Check
  • Did Santa eat his cookies? - Check
  • Program the coffee maker! - Check
  • Check to make sure all the stocking stuffers come out equal. - Check
I never realized how many tiny little details my parents had to handle to pull off Christmas every year. No wonder they always seemed just a bit sleepier than normal on Christmas morning (or maybe that was because my sister always woke us all up before dawn).

The kids all woke around 7:00 and we had some time to open our stockings before everyone came by for breakfast.

This is the teepee that Grandpa made for the kids. It started out with a pattern I showed him that was posted on Family Fun , but he made it so much better.

Christmas at our house always lasts at least two days. Because most of our family is in town, we spend the first day with one side, and the next with the other. So Much Fun! Here is Christmas Day part 2:

How's this for an excited face -

And thanks to my brother-in-law there is actually a photo of me. I swear someone is going to go through my photo albums one day, and there will be hardly any proof that I ever existed. I'm always the one behind the camera. :o)

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Glory to God in the highest!

There is nothing like a new baby to help you to realize just how amazing that first Christmas really was.
The reality of giving birth - in a stable!?! The joy of welcoming a tiny perfect being. The fear of having to flee to another country to keep that child safe. The joy of seeing your baby grow into a person with their own calling from God - one that you aren't sure that you are really comfortable with.

Mary's job as Jesus' mother amazes me. How do you raise your baby knowing that he is God? Really - how?

The bible tells the story this way in Luke:

    The time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Simple Huh? She gave birth, and took care of her child - even though the circumstances were, quite literally, stinky.

Our baby is now 8 months old. She smiles, sits up, reaches for us, and loves to play peek-a-boo. She is adorable! But, she is also very dependent on us.

In all reality, the savior went through this same stage. He needed his mother to take care of him. We don't have any details about Jesus as an infant other than his birth, but I am just awed by the reality that he bothered with the whole thing at all. Can you imagine, being all knowing, all powerful God, and deciding to place yourself in a position that requires dependence on your own creation?


Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like . . .


That song makes me think of my mom every time I hear it. She isn't someone who often sings spontaneously, but each time it snows in Nov/Dec, we are guaranteed to hear her happily sing at least the first line. It makes me smile every time. It is one of the great holiday traditions that she never knew she participated in I'm sure.

Every year our family has been adding new traditions to our December calendar. Here are a few of our highlights so far:

Ringing bells for the Salvation Army - such a simple way to allow kids to volunteer (and they do the job just as well, if not better than the adults)

Baby is still small for bell ringing, so we made her a make-shift crib out of a shopping cart. She got lots of comments that basically all sounded like "Awwwww"
Lots of crafts and parties! My sister's family threw a Birthday Party for Jesus last night, that was adorable. They filled an advent calendar with alternating readings, crafts, gifts, and activities. It was a great party, and the readings kept everyone focused on the birth of Christ. They did a great job!


We volunteered to put up the decorations at church this year. While busy hanging garland I gave the kids the task of setting up the Nativity. My little boy commented that there wasn't a donkey or camel in the set. Fast forward 15 minutes ... he asks for some animal crackers. I give him and his sister a snack. On our way out the door I was walking past the nativity scene and noticed tiny little animal crackers tucked into the stable. His comment - "Thats where they belong! The donkey is for Mary to ride on and they need the camel to carry all their things in case they need to run away from the king." I was trying to decide if I should allow him to leave the crackers when he suddenly scooped them up and put them in his mouth. Apparently the tender moment was over.

Our new event this year was going to chop down our own tree at a friend's house. The kids have always loved getting a tree locally, but this year they were especially excited. A wagon ride and a walk through the snow, what's not to love!

And just in case the song isn't already stuck in your head:

Lyrics | Johnny Mathis - It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas lyrics

Sunday, December 13, 2009


At worship team last week we had a conversation about some of our favorite Christmas hymns. It is a bit sad that we know them so well, that we forget to think about the words. In particular, we discussed the amazing truths told in Handel's Messiah. What a powerful story!!!

So today, another friend forwarded this video to me.

It isn't exactly what we meant by focusing more on the words, but it certainly gave me a giggle.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Donkeys can't climb ladders

I love thinking about all of the traditions that surround Christmas. For me, the most special traditions are the ones that don't make any sense at all to people outside of my family.

The best example is my family's interactions with our nativity figures, which we all call the "manger scene." When we were little girls, my parents would allow us to help with setting up all of the characters. We would happily unwrap each little figure. We liked Mary & Joseph, loved the cute sheep, but were all secretly hoping to be the one to unwrap baby Jesus. There was no special prize for getting to put him on the table, but we hoped for it anyway, and squealed with delight when he was found.

Now that we are grown, my parents invite their grandkids over for a day of decorating, and the kids get to be the ones to set up the nativity . . . and yes, if I am honest with myself I have to admit that I really am secretly hoping that one of my kids gets to put baby Jesus in his place, rather than their cousin. Petty, I know, but true.

As we grew older, I'm not quite sure when, we created a strange relationship with the nativity's donkey. Someone placed him in the loft, which my middle sister (the logical one) objected to. "Donkeys can't climb ladders," she protested. Well, the game was on. Donkey up - donkey down - donkey up - donkey down. Now it has simply become tradition that the donkey goes in the loft. Sure he doesn't really belong there, but that is what makes it special. And you know what? I would put the donkey in the loft of my own nativity scene if he would fit there.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Yummy fun! That's all I gotta' say.