Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa & Growing Up

There is much discussion among Christian families about whether or not to do the Santa thing.  We do, but we don't put much emphasis on it.  We have a book about the real Saint Nicholas and his life.  But, we also like watching "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and leaving milk and cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve. 

I discovered this year, however, that my precious eight-year-old has determined for herself that Santa is not real.  I knew about it last week, but then this week I discovered her trying to convince Angela.  It was at that point that I pulled Olivia aside and reminded her that last year she, too, still believed.  I pulled her into the secret, and, naturally, she was ecstatic to be entrusted with such a grown-up secret!

Ah, it's fun to watch them grow and learn.  It's so fun to watch their little minds begin to grasp things for themselves.  To be able to process through and come to conclusions. 

Just this morning I was able to have a very grown-up conversation with Olivia, and she got it!  I love that! 

Meanwhile, it's fun to watch kids still be kids.  It's fun to see the wonder in Angela's eyes as she still anticipates the magic - and yet is even more enthralled with the idea of celebrating Christ's birth. 

And then there's Steven. 

Last night we were sitting at the dining room table for supper.  Steven turned and looked out the window behind him. 

"Oh, no!" he exclaimed.  "The carport light is still on!  I forgot to turn it off!"  (And, no, such a task has never been assigned to him.)  "It's okay, Mommy, I'll turn it off after supper."

Then, later, as he was finishing his milk and I was clearing the table, "Mommy, you wash the dishes and I'll take care of the carport light." 

As if he were fully grown and responsible for such tasks around the house.

Yes, my sweeties are growing up.  And, I can't imagine a better Christmas gift from them than to be able to witness it.

Although I am curious what they've put under the tree for me...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Preparations

I haven't been quite sure what to do with myself the past couple of days!  No packing, unpacking, or making Christmas presents.  At least one of the above has filled every spare moment of my time for the past two months.  It's been automatic - no thought required.  And now, suddenly, I have to actually stop and process exactly what it is that I'm supposed to be doing in my "spare" time.  But don't worry...I've been able to fill it without a problem.

Yesterday I helped the kids make the last of their gifts, little plaster ornaments for one another.  They were so cute!  The girls made Steven a train and a firetruck.  Then they made each other butterflies.  It'll be so sweet when they realized that they both have butterflies!  Steven picked a hairbow for each girl out of the ones I'd made for them, and decided to make that his gift to each of them.  He chose the Razorback bows - surprise, surprise!

Our other task for the day was a selfish indulgence - chocolate caramel turtles.  One of my absolute favorite candies.  This was my first attempt to make them myself.  Here are the girls helping me by laying out the pecans.  (No, Angela is not as bored as she looks!)  They didn't turn out very pretty, and there are changes we'll make next time in the creation of them, but they still taste so good! 

Today there was a whole different set of baking.  Today it was sugar cookies for Christmas Eve.  We are planning to deliver them to several places around town tomorrow afternoon.

The girls helped me get started on the cutting, and then they took over the decorating while I finished the cutting.  When Steven woke up he cut and decorated some trains.

I have no idea how many cookies we made or even how many pans I rotated through the oven!  The pile of cookies looks smaller than it actually is, amazingly enough.  That is all of them minus about two dozen.



So now gifts are made and wrapped, cookies are made, a bit of house tidying needs to be done in the morning, and all in all, we are ready and looking forward to Christmas!


Our celebrations will include being at home tomorrow and Friday except for a Christmas Eve service at church tomorrow night.  We are very, very much looking forward to the family time.  Then on Saturday we will trek to Monroe for some Christmas festivities there. 

Praying for many of you as you travel this weekend.  Be safe, have a wonderful time, and
MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family Christmas Pictures

A friend of ours is starting up a photography business, and she offered to do some family pictures of us.  Oh, how wonderful it was!  She came to our house, and we had a great time getting pictures in front of our tree. 

Wanna see?


Click here and then click on the album with our name on it (right now it's the second album.

If you're in this area and needing pictures done, Tammy is a great source for a great price!  And, no, she didn't ask me to mention that in exchange for anything.  (Just to set the record straight!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For today, December 20, 2009
Outside my window...sunshine! The first sunny Monday in weeks, and our fourth sunny day in a row! It's beautiful!


I am thinking...about how to structure the day.


I am thankful for...the incredible privilege of having had 11 years with my wonderful hubby – looking forward to our twelfth!

...the stack of firewood someone left in our carport while we were gone on Saturday, and the wonderful fireplace insert that makes a huge difference in the heating of our family room!


From the learning rooms...the week off for Christmas, except for some read-aloud catch-up. Today and tomorrow will be Christmas craft time.


From the kitchen...nothing much today, but later in the week we'll be doing the Christmas baking! Sugar cookies, homemade chocolate caramel turtles, maybe some peanut butter balls, and who knows what else. For Christmas Eve we'll have baked raviolis, cheese sticks, and cheesecake ball. Christmas Day will be our new tradition (started last year) of Cornish game hens with twice baked potatoes, sweet-n-sour green beans, and birthday cake!


I am wearing...jeans and a blue knit top.


I am creating...hair bows and helping the kids make clay ornaments as gifts. Later I will once again attempt to tackle a cowboy hat (the first attempt was a flop!)


I am going...to get back to walking today! Yay!


I am reading...nothing this week, although there are a couple of books on my night stand.


I am hoping...I can figure out what's wrong with my photo editing software so I can play with pictures again. But, I'm thankful that it decided to cause issues after calendars were done!


I am hearing...children chattering in the back of the house.


Around the house...a bit of clutter that shouldn't take too long to tidy; laundry to fold and beds to remake with clean sheets; a small stack of gifts needing to be wrapped so the kids don't have to be banned from the sewing room/library any more.


One of my favorite things...the excitement of Christmas.


A few plans for the rest of the week: Finishing Christmas gifts, reading some blogs for the first time in over a week, Christmas baking, delivering cookies around town on Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve service at church, Christmas Day at home with my wonderful family, Saturday with Doug's family.


A picture worth sharing...is still on my camera since my photo software isn't working and I haven't taken the time to manually import the pictures. Hopefully a whole post of pictures later this week!




Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eleven Years


As of about 2:18 PM today, Doug and I will have been married eleven years.

Eleven amazing years.

My darling husband, I never would have even begun to imagine some of the things we've been through and experienced over the past eleven years.  I will confess that I might have been a bit terrified if I had known everything up front.  But, I would go through every last bit of it again to be with you.

I thank the Lord daily for you and for our life together.  He has used you to grow me in ways I never would have imagined.  I can't imagine a better father for our children or partner for myself.

Thank you for eleven years!  Thank you for loving me and walking with me through them all.  And thank you for going into yet another year with me. 

I love you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For today, December 14, 2009
Outside my window...another gray, but warmer, Monday.


I am thinking...about how to unlock the front bathroom door the Steven locked. Fortunately, he was not inside when he did so!


I am thankful for...two bathrooms!


From the learning rooms...life in the established colonies; ocean life; readers - Matchlock Gunand a book about Benjamin Franklin; read-alouds –The Witch of Blackbird PondandJohnny Tremain; Olivia – reviewing Roman numerals, equations and fractions; progressing in multiplication (carrying) and decimals; starting her very first research project, a 3-week endeavor; Angela – beginning subtraction and reviewing cents, time (hour and half-hour), and measuring in inches; Steven – number recognition 1-10 and familiarity with letters A-H (not to real recognition yet)


From the kitchen...desserts for a party tonight – apple dump cake, pumpkin roll, and chocolate pecan bars, and an attempt to create something resembling apple cider from the resources available here. Lunch must come in the meantime, though – hamburger steaks, mashed potatoes, and peas.


I am wearing...jeans, long-sleeve olive green knit top, clogs, hair down.


I am creating...still Christmas gifts, but now I can share! I've finished calendars and those secret gifts that go to some people who read this blog! This week I will be trying to make a cowboy hat from felt! This should be fun! Also making a cowboy vest, a picture book for Steven, and ballerina skirts and hair bows for the girls.


I am going...to host a Christmas party for the deacons and their families tonight.


I am reading...the book about Benjamin Franklin so as to be prepared to ask the girls questions.


I am hoping...that my hubby will be able to easily open the bathroom door while he's home for lunch.


I am hearing...water running as it defrosts the meat. Otherwise quiet at Olivia finishes math, Angela reads, and Steven plays quietly.


Around the house...tidying for tonight – and lots and lots and lots of laundry. We got a little behind.


One of my favorite things...a mostly clean house that requires little more than tidying when needed.


A few plans for the rest of the week: finishing a few more Christmas gifts, Mary Kay visit tomorrow, kids Christmas party at church Wednesday night, dessert night on Thursday, Christmas party on Friday night, and our 11 th anniversary on Saturday!


A picture worth sharing...

Angela got some play make-up from Grandma for Christmas, and on Saturday afternoon they dolled each other up. So glad it was bath night!



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Randomness

Okay, so my northern friends will probably laugh at this, but "cold" weather (relatively speaking) actually hit southeast AR this week.  When temps don't get out of the 40's two days in a row, a cold front has definitely  moved through.  I will confess that I would prefer the cold of northwest AR since they got some snow flurries this morning, but I'll take what I can get!

Yesterday it was a wet cold, with rain and t-storms throughout the day.  But today it has been a beautiful sunshiny cold.  I love it!

We've had a good week so far.  My friend Paula came down to visit for a few days.  In addition to chatting with me and playing with the kids, she braved the wild worlds of cross-stitching and helped me with a few Christmas gifts.  I knew I wanted to finish off the gifts somehow, and she jumped in with the perfect thing!  It was quite the sight yesterday afternoon as Paula and I worked on the cross-stitching and the girls pulled out their plastic canvas crafts.  Poor Steven felt a bit left out as he sat piddling with a board game on the floor.  He needed some power tools!!

And, while I'm being random, I just had to share an adorable picture with you. 

Isn't he cute?  That sweet little grin and those precious eyes.  I just love it! 

And, you're right.  It's not Steven.

It's his daddy. 

I look at pictures like this and I realize I have a special treat in life.  Steven's looks and personality are so much like a carbon copy of Doug that it's almost as if I get a chance to glimpse my handsome prince's childhood.  And, I get to glimpse into Steven's future.  I can show you just about what he'll look like five years from now, ten years from now, and as a young father.  And, if the pictures are any indication, I can show you what both Doug and Steven will look like when they're grandpas, too, considering how much Doug looks like his dad in some of these old pictures. 

Genetics are an awesome thing, aren't they? 

And my two men are so incredibly handsome. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Today December 7, 2009

Outside my window...another gray Monday. Seems the norm for Mondays these days. But, it's broken up by sunshine throughout the week, so it's just fine with me!

I am thinking...about what needs to be done in the next hour or so.

I am thankful for...a fully functional stove and my wonderful hubby and a sweet man named James Edrington who fought with it for two hours this morning to get it fully functional!

I am wearing...jeans, ¾ sleeve green sweater, Christmas socks and brown clogs.

I am remembering...a memory my mom brought up earlier – playing Nertz and badminton with her. Ah, fun times!

I am going...to pick up my hubby from work, then to Wal-Mart and the post office, then back to the church to meet my friend Paula who is coming to visit for a few days.

I am reading...Treasure of Stonewickby Michael Phillips and Judith Pella. Finally finishing a six book series started nearly two years ago!

I am hoping...the ickiness in my throat is not indicative of impending sickness.

On my mind...some friends in need of prayer.

From the learning rooms...sea creatures, Pilgrims and Puritans, poetry lessons from a couple of weeks, and a generally relaxed schedule that will probably last until after Christmas.

Noticing that...Steven is quiet for the moment, which is not a common occurrence for my active little three-year-old. (It is a good type of quiet – he's right here in the living room with me.)

Pondering these words...To be the joy-bearer and a joy-giver says everything, for in our life, if one is joyful, it means that one is faithfully living for God, and that nothing else counts; and if one gives joy to others one is doing God's work; with joy without and joy within, all is well...I can conceive no higher way.” Janet Erskine Stuart

From the kitchen...bread rising; hopefully peanut brittle and other holiday treats later in the week.

A sight that shows that Steven really does have some of my genes - he is very meticulous and organized.  Yep, he's my boy after all!  


And, finally, a shot of the front of our house!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Vacation

With the chaos that hit as soon as we returned home, I am just now getting a chance to blog about our vacation. First, I just have to share what an incredible blessing it was and how God really put it together and provided for it.

Back in July or August we were really feeling the need to get away as a family and just have several days of "us" time. As much as we would have loved to visit friends, we knew we needed to be in a situation where we had no schedule, obligations, or commitments.

So, we set the date for the end of October and then started discussing location. We knew the trees would be turning in north Arkansas and that my sister Allison could just blend right into our relaxed time, so we decided to head to Fayetteville.

Finances are always a consideration, but God provided for that, too! We had reward points that covered three nights in a hotel "room." I use the term room loosely because the first two nights we were essentially in a two-bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen, and the last night in a one-bedroom with the same setup! And, it was all covered with those reward points!

Thanks to that kitchen, we were able to eat most of our meals in rather than having the dining out expenses. So, essentially we paid for gas and three meals! Now that's what I call provision!

And I can honestly tell you the weekend was just what we needed. It was restful, relaxing, and refreshing.

We arrived Friday evening after a leisurely trip up with some stops on the way.
Alli joined us off and on through the course of the weekend. The girls were thrilled!
Even Steven let her play with him now and then. He still gives her a hard time, though, and is a big stinker when it comes to interacting with his Aunt Alli!
On Saturday we headed to one of our favorite places - a museum! It doesn't really matter what kind of museum we visit. Just say the word museum and our kids are ready to go! This particular one was the Museum of Ozark History.



We relaxed and enjoyed more fellowship Saturday afternoon and evening. Then on Sunday we headed to FBC Rogers for an absolutely phenomenal worship service. After church we headed south again, making our way to Judsonia to visit my grandparents and my brother and sis-in-law Tim and DeAnn. After our visit we made a dessert stop and then spent our last night in Little Rock, returning home early Monday afternoon.

God knew the weekend was just what we needed to recharge our batteries before the chaos of November. Isn't He good that way? We are so thankful!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Turning Trees

One of the things we were looking forward to the most on our trip to Fayetteville was seeing the beautiful fall colors, so much more vibrant in northwest AR than in southeast AR. First, a shot of the kids
This is one of my absolute favorites!
This was the scene outside the window of our hotel room.
Our first few glimpses of color on the trip up there...

The brilliance of color once we got there...
Another favorite picture.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For today, November 30, 2009


Outside my window... another gray, cloudy Monday with the rain welcoming in a cold front. I'm so excited at the prospect of cooler weather! No, wait, there is sunshine! How beautiful!


I am thinking... about my to-do list and the best way to attack it.


I am thankful for... calendar-making smoothness! So many things can go – and have in the past gone – wrong with the process, and everything went so well this year!


From the learning rooms... not totally sure, I'm ashamed to say. We will focus today on getting back in the “groove” after taking most of the month off.


From the kitchen...Chicken fried rice and homemade egg rolls.


I am wearing... jeans, tennis shoes, and a purple sweatshirt! So excited it's cool enough for the sweatshirt today!


I am creating...Christmas gifts, still.


I am going... nowhere! How I love getting to just be at home!


I am reading... Treasured by Leigh McLeroy


I am remembering...friends who need prayer today.


On my mind...devotional thoughts for our ladies fellowship this weekend.


Noticing that...despite a few rough patches this morning, everyone seems mostly happy as we get back to routine.


I am hearing...Christmas music, Angela reading Christmas stories to Steven, the dryer running.


Around the house...tidiness. That makes me happy.


One of my favorite things...hearing my children play and read happily together.


A few plans for the rest of the week: Back to the full swing of school and normal routine, dessert night with some other minister's wives, ladies Christmas fellowship at church, more work on Christmas presents.





Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Christmas Pictures

Well, as I sorted through pictures yesterday I realized that Doug and I were really too busy participating in the Christmas decorating to get pictures of everyone in the process! I guess that's not a bad thing though, is it? We had a great time, and somehow managed to avoid the typical insane chaos that usually accompanies pulling out the Christmas decorations. That was nice. I will confess, we did go through our Christmas stuff just as we have everything else in the house.

We did realize something. We collect nativities, but I think we're about to run out of room! So, as much as I love seeking out unique new nativities, there will be no new ones, at least for a few years!

Here are a couple of pictures I did get during the decorating...organizing tree parts for assembly...
...and decorating the tree. They did a really good job, too! Olivia can now reach pretty high, so the dispersement is improving!One of my favorite things is getting Christmas pictures. I'm sure there will be many more over the course of the month, but today the kids sweetly put on their Christmas outfits and posed for the first of the pictures. We did have to bribe Steven, but then he was pretty compliant for an opinionated three-year-old! Here are just a few of the pictures we took today.

First the casual...
Then the dressy...


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving

Okay, so I changed my mind. No Christmas decorating post today. Thanksgiving comes first, right? So, here are a few pictures of our Thanksgiving fun.

Pumpkin bread! We found a scrumptious recipe online, and I put it in my pumpkin pan. I don't know how clearly it shows up, but there is a fence surrounding a crop of pumpkins. Isn't it cute?
On the day before Thanksgiving, the girls were such wonderful helpers as we worked to make sure the house was clean so we could get up and decorate first thing on Friday. Before bedtime Wed night, we made the kids' Thanksgiving hats. Olivia and Steven wanted to be Indians, and Angela a pilgrim.
Thursday morning, they were all ready to don their hats and head to Monroe!
Olivia loved getting to help Grandma work in the kitchen - like making breadcrumbs!
The girls enjoyed getting to play with cousin Morgan.
And after dinner, we had three great helpers on the kitchen clean-up crew!There are so many things to be thankful for. The girls made Thanksgiving turkeys this week, listing some of the things they were thankful for, and reading their lists just melted my heart. God has been dealing with me in recent months, reminding me to be more thankful and joyful in all things. This season is such a good reminder for that. I pray that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are blessed as we roll into the Christmas season!