Saturday, December 29, 2012

InstaSaturday - Christmas!

First things first.....

I'm a brunette! Well, brunette with a little ombre. I really like it, but now I know, I'm really more a blond at heart. But I'm keeping it until at least the Spring. It's a fun change.


I have a new blog design! If you're reading this on google reader, head over and check it out. A few things aren't ready, like the sidebar and the header topics, but you get the idea. I have a cute new button too so make sure to grab it. Thanks to Redbud designs!

I'm full of fun changes lately.

I'm also a month behind in blogging. But lets just focus on Christmas for now shall we?

As you can see from our Christmas morning pic, we had a very nice 9 foot red and gold tree on display in the living room. I thought it was plenty.

Then Shane decided he just had to have a fresh tree too. Picked this beast up for the study at Costco all bundled up. Had no idea how HUGELY fat it would be. The house smelled amazing. 

Then I went ahead and added a kitchen tree entirely made up of handmade ornaments, paper garland and crocheted mini stockings.
There may have been several small trees upstairs as well. It's an addiction Shane and I share apparently.

Shane and I shared the Elf on the Shelf duties.

Mr. Tranny Elf was my favorite.

Little dinner and gift exchange out with friends. Even tried fried baby octopus. Kind of tasted like chicken wings. 

Shane and I hit the company Christmas party and watched everyone get drunk.
Had a total sugar hangover from all the shirley temples we ordered at the open bar. Party!

Shane performed his pancake magic at the church Christmas breakfast.

He may just have to take his act on the road!

Collin helped me with our Christmas cookies at home.

Often stark naked if the kitchen got hot enough.

Found this taped to Collin's door. Love Lydia's use of phonic spelling. Of course, all Collin was able to read was the word "star" which he thought was nice.

Kid performed at their school Christmas shows. 

My sister Abby did the "Twelve Days of Christmas" for us which was a blast. We each got a Santa-izer one day :)

We were so excited to host Shane's 3 siblings along with their significant others and kids. 

Cutest cousins ever! And is my daughter freakishly tall or what?

That made for a house full of TWELVE people for Christmas.
Good thing we had tons of food.

Decorated ice cream cone Christmas trees.

My favorite quote from the visit was when Lydia asked her Arkansas uncle.... "Uncle Neal, why does it sound like you live on a ranch?"

Oh dear. We need to get this southern girl back to her roots!

Thanks Neal for getting me a new sister in law for Christmas! Just what I wanted!

I also got these cute new glasses.

So many pretty ladies, it's no wonder I went brunette.

Jonah, Collin, Lydia and Lucca.
All ready for bed.

As is Shane's family tradition, we talked about the symbols of Christmas.

Then the kids performed an impromptu Christmas Eve puppet musical. It was quite good.

And finally.... Christmas morning!

Santa brought a mini air hockey table. Big hit.

As was Collin's whoopee cushion.

And Liddy got a sweet new doll.

And for me..... a bit of snow!!!!!

Not enough for a snowman, but plenty for a batch of angels. 

In all it was pretty perfect. 

I hope your holiday was wonderful too!

Happy New Year! 

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Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14

Collin keeps asking why I'm crying. How could I explain the horror that went on today? "I'm just sad right now baby." I tell him. 

My heart is broken. I just cannot understand. I don't want to do anything but hold my family and cry.

Even if you are not religious, take time today to pray. Pray for those babies, the teachers, their families, and our country.

Stocking Stuffer for a buck.

Wow. I'm really slacking in the blogging department. Hum, I wonder what else I have going on? I personally love the (self-inflicted) stress of Christmas, but it sure takes up time.

I'm done with buying gifts and wrapping. But there was one thing I still needed from Lydia's letter to Santa. (Read them here, so cute.) Lydia wants one dollar :) So I thought I'd make it a fancy dollar.

Origami heart dollar!

So darling! And it was totally easy! And I really suck at origami, so you know it really must be easy. And if you want, you can even add a quarter to that little circle area.

Here's the tutorial I used:

What kid wouldn't want to find some cool cash in their stocking this year?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My favorite Christmas

I hope you don't mind a little spirituality on my part. I'm not very demonstrative in this way, 
but on this December Sunday afternoon, it feels appropriate. 

I love Christmas. Secretly, I’ve always thought I love it more than anyone. The music, the giving, the snow. I’ve always loved that my name means “Christmas child”. Growing up, my family made many priceless Christmas memories. Experiences I will cherish forever. 

Recently I was asked to recall my most special Christmas experience. How could I choose just one? But as I pondered, it was simple to decide. The Christmas experience that touched me the most was different from any other Christmas I’ve ever had. 

I was 20 and studying for a semester in Jerusalem. It was December and I was nearing the end of my time there. I had seen amazing things throughout the middle east. I had just returned from two weeks at the Sea of Galilee and I thought I was as spiritually full as I could be. 

One night, after dinner, we were asked to dress warmly and make our way to the buses.  We drove out into the night, out of the city, and into the darkness that surrounded Jerusalem. 

After driving several miles, the bus stopped in the total darkness and we were asked to step out. This was an unusual request as Israel is a dangerous place to explore in the nighttime.

We found ourselves in a simple field. Nothing but craggily bushes and rocks. We sat on the cold ground and waited. 

There was something special there. I couldn’t place it. Something calm but powerful. I let my eyes adjust to the darkness, wondering why we had stopped. 

A minute or so passed and a boy next to me pointed into the distance and whispered “Is that Bethlehem?”

We all looked at the small lights far in the distance. There were only a few. Bethlehem is much as it was was 2,000 years ago. Tiny and seemly insignificant. 

It slowly dawned on me, and the rest of my party, that we were sitting in the fields surrounding Bethlehem. The place of the greatest story ever told. 

As I gazed toward the tiny city, I heard the sound of bells and soon after footsteps. Slowing and shyly, a shepherd approached us. A real shepherd. He came out of the darkness to see why on earth a group of young Americans were sitting in the dark field where he was tending his sheep. He smiled and we could see he was missing a few teeth and his clothes looked like he’d sewn rags together for warmth. He had one sheep, wearing a bell, who stayed at his side, nuzzling it’s head into his protective hand.  

A few students spoke to him in halting arabic and I watched him. He looked no different from the shepherds I have imagined at the time of Christ. The humblest of people were the ones chosen to receive first the glad tidings. I looked into the sky and imaged how it would have been, to be a shepherd in this total darkness, and to witness an angel of the Lord come to proclaim the Savior's birth.

I closed my eyes, and let myself just feel the peace of the place. I felt a sharp pain in my ankle and I looked down to see I had placed my feet in a thorn bush. I’d seen countless thorn bushes in the months I spent in Israel, but this one was different. I looked at the huge inch long thorns and the way the vines curled in on themselves. I looked over at the peaceful city of Bethlehem. That quiet night of Christmas was the day when the world received it’s joy and hope. But one day, that tiny baby would grow to a man. One day He would receive a crown of these ugly thorns. Only a few miles away, He would die. For me. There, on that cold December night, surrounded by the evidence of the greatest life that was ever lived, I wept. 

Someone quietly began to sing Silent Night and we all joined in.  As we looked upon Bethlehem, there seemed to be no veil between us and the heavens at that moment. As the music swelled, I swore I could hear angels singing with us. 

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah
Christ the Saviour is born!
Christ the Saviour is born!

I have had marvelous Christmas experiences. But that night, across the world from all I knew and held dear, I experienced something I could never forget or deny. The Christmas story is so much more than a story. It is real. And the world would never be the same again. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Every year I tell myself I will not pay $25 for crappy Santa mall pics. And every year I do. Oh well. Memories and all that.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Elf on the Shelf

This is our first year with an Elf on the Shelf. It's been pretty fun so far. The kids couldn't quite agree on a name. Collin wanted John. Lydia wanted James. (BORING Elf names, but I kept my opinions to myself.) Shane helped them compromised on "Jimmy John". 

"Shane, you know there's a sandwich company called Jimmy Johns."

"I guess that's why it sounded good."

Anyway, sometime this December we may have to head to "Jimmy Johns" for a Christmas sandwich dinner, compliments of our Elf.

Are you doing the Elf on the Shelf? What name did you pick? Are your kids on better behavior when he's on the watch?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Snowy Pine Cones

While pulling out the Christmas decorations this week, I was thrilled to find a "craft crap" box I packed away back in Tennessee. It was filled with glitter. Glitter! Shane was confused at my total elation at finding so much forgotten glitter. That made me feel bad for him. Doesn't he know the possibilities that lie within a box of glitter?

I have been wanting a simple Christmas centerpiece for our kitchen table and as soon as I saw a tub of white glitter, I knew I was going to make me some snowy pine cones.

My mom brought me some pine cones from her yard a while ago. I dipped them in watered down modge podge and then into a bowl full of white chunky glitter. I wanted it really coated to look like snow. I let them dry overnight, then sprayed an acrylic coat. 
That last step is optional. 

Added in some fresh pine from our doorway garland, a few bunches of berries and you have the prettiest winter centerpiece around. White glitter is awesome because, just like real snow, there is only a hint of sparkle. 

Now. What else in my house can I glitter up.......



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