Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Baking Christmas Treats

Oh my...I have to have put on 10 pounds this month with all the Christmas treats I've enjoyed. I think one of my favorite activities this year was the day of baking we did as a family. We make sugar cookies galore, and they were a touch more healthy b/c we used coconut oil instead of butter. I made a batch of butter sugar cookies just for a comparison, and you could not tell much of a difference as both were delicious. 6 dozen cookies and a few days later, Mat is about to start icing some of the cookies with homemade frosting. Elizabeth is just beside herself with excitement. She's asked Mat a million questions, but the sweetest line was (said with much enthusiasm while jumping up and down clapping) Yay, I love coloring cookies! Usually after a few questions, Mat gets a little short, but he has patiently answered her every question. I think he is as excited about the little cookie decorating project as Lizzy is.

A Month of Christmas

This December has been especially wonderful. It's been a busy wonderful month as you can imagine with two little ones, and here is a brief description of our month:

1. We have developed friendships that will last a lifetime. Went to Legoland with one family, attended a small group Christmas party, went to 2 homeschool Christmas parties, had several families over to our house one at a time, visited friends at their home, and shared long conversations with old friends by phone.

2. Visited Savannah for Christmas...1st Christmas in Savannah ever as we had a previous rule about being home on the morning of Christmas. Sometimes there is just too much to pack in, and sometimes rules are meant to be broken. It was fun to break our rule this once b/c it was a sign of the release of tradition. I find I can get in bondage of the hold of tradition, and it was nice to just go with the flow this year.

3. Visited Vero Beach and stayed there until midnight playing games with friends from the past who will be forever friends. We also enjoyed a nice long walk on the beach (yep, in December and it was perfect). This visit was particularly special b/c we got to visit with not only the couple who we have grown to love dearly but with both of their boys who now live in different states. We love keeping in touch with them and watching as the Lord leads them. What a special time!

4. Made our own Advent calendar from scratch and read scripture that pointed to the birth of Christ throughout the month. I saw Andrew grow in his understanding of Christ, and we all enjoyed this new tradition. Of course, we also promoted family time by doing something fun as directed by each advent card - played games together, read stories, played Wii, at Christmas treats etc.

5. Andrew had his piano recital at the beginning of the month (er end of last month) where he played Go Tell It on the Mountain. That was only the first of many Christmas songs he learned to play. We enjoyed singing along as he played the songs to really get us in the festive spirit of Christmas.

6. We spent an entire day baking Christmas treats. We made chocolate covered pretzels topped with peppermint Andes candies, buckeyes, sugar cookies with coconut oil instead of butter, gingerbread cookies, Ritz bits dipped in chocolate and a mistake which happened to be our favorite chocolate covered graham crackers dipped in chocolate sprinkled with the peppermint Andes candies. I might have eaten a few too many sweets this season.

7. Mat was off several days of this month after working a crazy schedule the first 2 weeks of the month. It's been so nice to have him home, and we had lots of fun times together just living life.

8. We got a new car and a new camera all in one month :)

9. We bought a groupon to ride a boat around Merritt Island, and we enjoyed doing that as a last minute activity since the groupon expires at the end of the month. It was beautiful, cold and breezy on the boat, but our tour guides were equipped with blankets and treats. We met some sweet people on that boat ride.

It's been a delightful month, and we hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas. It's not about the things we do, but the joy that fills our hearts by knowing Christ and celebrating HIM all year long.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rush rush rush...

This year Christmas has been such a wonderful time of sharing time just reflecting on the reason for the season. Andrew has been so interested in learning all the details about Jesus birth...and I tell ya, we've gone deep here. you should have heard me trying to worm my way outta explainin what Mary being a virgin meant. He kept prying, and I kept explaining why it was important instead of what it was. That just got me into a deeper hole as I was saying God was Jesus real father, and Joseph was just his earthly father. Mat helped me trudge through the whole thing. It's fun to see Andrew so interested in details of the Bible.

December usually brings a rush of activities that cause stress and lots of planning and rushing around to do this and buy that. This year has been so different. We did get the kids some gifts, but the kids haven't focused much on their gifts or shopping this year. We are just enjoying being together. I've also found that there is lots of sanity in NOT planning a single Christmas party...or being invited to one. However, that doesn't means we haven't been able to spend time with friends not does it mean that we haven't last minute been invited to parties. The past 3 nights in a row have been spent with friends at lovely parties.

It's been a refreshing season of spending time with friends and family and enjoying the slow relaxing season of Christmas. I think our homemade advent calendar really has helped us this year. Andrew has also been getting us all into the holiday spirit by playing Christmas songs on the piano.

Ahh...the simple last minute plans around Christmas instead of the planned rush has been just wonderful!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Ultrasound

Today I had to get an ultrasound of my heart (no worries - I'm sure everything is fine), and the kids had to come with me. On the way there, Andrew was telling me how excited he was to get to see Jesus in my heart. Of course, that sparked a lot of conversation about faith and how Jesus is so shiny that if we saw him we might go blind. And then we started talking about bright stars and the solar system and how Pluto is no longer a planet but they think there are lots of new planets...but I digress.

I told the technician or whatever he was called that the kids were excited to see Jesus in my heart, and he didn't laugh a single little bit. He said, "Oh, isn't that a faith thing." I don't know that he personally knows Jesus, but he did ask a few questions that made him seem interested at least, and he finally wanted to know where we went to church. He told the kids that maybe we didn't find a man walking around in your mom's heart, but it's clear that she has Jesus in her heart by the way she acts and by the way you as children act. I was blown away that a man who seemingly didn't have faith in Jesus would say that.

My hope is that in some way my innocent child's comment touched his heart. Just maybe one of these days I'll see him at my church.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Andrew is 7!

Seven years ago today (almost to the minute) I gave birth to a sweet 7 pound 6 ounce baby boy. He was perfect except for his webbed toes and the large hematoma on his elbow. We say his webbed toes make him an excellent swimmer, and his hematoma is completely gone.

He has brought such joy into our household. He smiles almost all the time, he has a passion for life, and he loves Jesus. He is a brilliant little boy, an avid reader, he has so much confidence, and he is most often so sweet with his little sister. He is an encourager with his words, and he has such a sensitive spirit. He also feeds off encouragement from others. I don't know what plans God has for my sweet boy, but I know he must have something huge in store for Andrew.

My prayer for Andrew is that he would glorify God with his life. I know people see the strength and passion Andrew has for his life, and I hope they see that it's the strength that only comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

My friend summed up Andrew perfectly the other day. She said that there is always a party going on in Andrew. And she's right. He's always filled with joy and happiness.

I love that huge little boy with all my heart!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In the Spirit of Norway...

Andrew has been reading so much lately. I'm so thankful that we decided to go with Sonlight curriculum this year. Sonlight is a heavily reading based curriculum where children learn through reading both fiction and nonfiction books. This is perfect for my little reader who reads several chapter books daily.

Anywhoo...Andrew finished reading a very thick chapter book about Norway yesterday on the way to our PE class so instead of going home to do more work, I thought...why not just go to Norway to let Andrew see the Epcot version and experience some of the things the books discussed in person. What better way to bring the book to life?! So instead of just heading home, I took the kids straight to Epcot. Andrew, who already had his head buried in another book, didn't notice where we were headed until we were nearly there. He was so excited!

Our trip took a turn for the better when we also discovered that my little fast growing girl was already 40 inches the exact height you need to be in order to ride 2 of the best rides at Epcot. Elizabeth, my little dare devil child who is brave beyond her years, was able to ride Soarin and Test Track (of which I got on video). She loved both rides - not surprising since she is also the same child who dragged me on the Dragon ride at Legoland last week. While I was begging to go home and jump off the ride, she calmly smiled at me and gently encouraged me by saying, "Mommy, you are not going to barf and I am not going to barf. It's going to be alright." She is just the sweetest!

We ended up spending much of the day at Epcot listening to the way Christmas is celebrated around the world as we hopped from country to country. They had life like characters from each country sharing details of their Christmas season. We will now be leaving our shoes out by the front door in hopes that the 3 Wise Men will leave gifts as they pass our door in search of the baby Jesus on Jan. 6. I had no idea Mexico celebrated 3 Kings day. Very interesting stuff!