Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Favorite Moments

... of this Christmas. 

1.  I was once again {and as always} the first one up but Joshua and Arianna followed soon after.  And as always, we woke Doug and Andrea up to get the day started.

2.  I bought Sarah a homemade doll.  Beautifully done by my dear friend Danyel.  I had carefully wrapped the doll in tissue paper, put her in a box and wrapped the box up as well.  Sarah tore into the gift flung out the tissue (and doll) only to be disappointed that the box of Fruit Loops was empty of her "pink cheerios"!  We did redirect her to the doll, she was delighted with it and was able to forget about the empty cereal box. 

3.  We stuck with four gifts.  It sure made things simpler for buying and even opening.  Still seemed like a lot of presents but a few good practical things were gifted as well.

4.  Andrea was part of the worship team for the Christmas Eve service.  She was the youngest vocalist in a group of adults and I was so proud of her as she sang her solo, "Silent Night". 

5.  Both evenings were pretty low key.  We spent them at home, in our pajamas, eating snacks and watching fun movies together.  Just the way I like it. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

From me and my family to yours, Merry Christmas! I hope this is a wonderful season for you and I wish God's richest blessings on you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday's Quick Takes

1.  I am as ready for Christmas as I'm going to be.  I have a couple small things to pick up yet but I'll get those out of the way this morning.  Then I'll lock myself in my bedroom and finish off the wrapping and begin setting gifts under the tree.

2.  I am appreciating the simpler way we are doing things this year.  I read on a blog recently of how another mom and dad gave their kids presents.  "One thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear and one thing to read."  So I went with it.  By keeping it narrowed down to those four specific items, I didn't feel completely overwhelmed and in the end, that's all that they really need to get anyhow.  The house's decorating is also very low key.  The tree is up and adorned with ornaments, the stockings are hung and Arianna is very good at keeping the two countdown decorations up to date.  Other than that, it's not too fancy here.  I think I like it that way.

3.  I have to brag on Sarah now.  This morning now marks the fifth consecutive night that she has slept in her own bed all night without any waking.  It just happened.  No fights, no stress on either of our parts... it is wonderful.  She receives a small packet of Rocket candies first thing in the morning and it is exciting for me to know that she can understand consequences.  This is a huge developmental step for her!

4.  Doug bought me an early Christmas present.  Fleece lined bed sheets.  How. Divine.  They are so warm and cozy and I am finally not cold at night.  He must love me an awful lot if he did something like that!!

5.  Christmas is just around the corner my friends.  I am ashamed to admit that I have occasionally let the true meaning of the season slip away as I am running kids around, buying gifts, baking and even crafting.  I hope that as the next few days approach us, my family and I will remember to sit back, relax and take time to really think about why we celebrate the season. 

“While they were there, 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 guest room available for them.” 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another Change....

A few weeks ago now, I had a coffee date with a dear friend from high school.  We caught up quickly and enjoyed a nice visit.  Something that was unexpected though, was the way she fell in love with the dog.  I have never seen anyone "oooh" and "ahhh" over him the way she did and of course he basked in the attention from her. 

Last week I planned a visit to my sister's place and thought, rather than bring the dog along, I'd see if Amanda could watch him for a few days.  She was ecstatic and her kids were delighted.  As we were heading home, I began to really think about the extra stress and responsibility that a dog is.  It seems like we are just in a busy phase of life and although I don't regret getting him, I began to wonder if he'd be happier elsewhere.  We asked Amanda if she would like to have the dog and after her initial shock of being offered a pet, she eagerly agreed. 

We had hoped that Joshua's allergies wouldn't bother him too much with an animal but the tests showed that he was severely allergic to dogs.  His face would break out in hives after petting him and he was frequently fighting a stuffed up nose. 

So, a few factors played into the decision.  The kids are not overly upset and I think that is because they know how much he will continue to be loved.  We also know that if we wanted, we'd be more than welcome to visit.  I feel at peace with it as well and it was the right decision.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just a Bit of Comfort

I'm Spending Christmas with 

Jesus Christ this Year

I see the countless Christmas trees,
Around the world below.
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars,
Reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away that tear.
For I'm spending Christmas,
With Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs,
That people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare,
With the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description,
To hear the angels sing.

I can't tell you of the splendor,
Or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas,
With our Savior, face to face?

I'll ask Him to light your spirit,
As I tell Him of your love.
So then pray one for another,
As I lift you eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful,
And let your spirit sing.
For I'm Spending Christmas in Heaven,
And I'm walking with the King.

~© Wanda Bencke ~

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Daybook {12.09.12}

For today: December 9, 2012

Out my window: 
Looks like winter has settled in for the next few months.  Last night, as we drove home for a little Christmas gathering, the thermostat on the van read -28* or -18*F for my friends south of the border.  Yes.  That is cold.  REALLY cold.  Kind of makes me want to hunker down in my fleece pajamas, grab a coffee and read a book. 

From the kitchen: 
I brought up my slow cooker last week and put it to good use a few times.  It's really nice to know that supper will be ready and I don't have to think about it all day.  I've seen a couple breakfast recipes for the crock pot.  I think that may be the next thing I try. 

Around the house: 
Christmas has arrived on the main floor.  And that's all that I think I'll do this year.  This is the floor that our guests hang out on as well as the family most of the time.  I don't really see a need to do much more than that.

Jane Eyre, The Purpose Driven Life and Goodnight Little Pookie.  The last one is Sarah's current bedtime favorite.  In fact I have completely memorized it. 

Looking forward to: 
I'm heading down to Calgary to visit my sister this week.  A few years ago, we had baking days where we would bake all our family favorites and even dabbled in a few new recipes.  It was a day of visiting, sampling and enjoying being together.  It's been a year or two since we've done it and we are both looking forward to doing it again!

“Trusting God completely means having faith that He knows what is best for your life. You expect Him to keep His promises, help you with problems, and do the impossible when necessary.”
“God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here for?

For family peace within our home.  That the Christmas season would be more meaningful that wondering what is under the tree.

Pictures to share:

 The quilt I made for my father in law

 This is *just* the beginning

My tree

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Four Quick Takes

1. We are going out to Christmas Party number one of the season.  I'm not overly excited about it mainly because I'm not a night person and I'd rather just hang out in my jammies.  I will do my best to enjoy our time out.  Also because the older two are also going out, Doug's mom is coming to watch the little girls.  It's been YEARS since I've needed someone to come over in the evening!

2.  Sarah has caught nasty cold bug.  She's really stuffed up and feeling pretty miserable.  Her appetite has not diminished though and she is eating like crazy. 

3.  I love our Early Intervention Coordinator.  Today she just listened to me talk and I appreciated sharing a part of Sarah's baby days with her.  I needed that.

4.  Christmas has arrived at our house.  The tree is up, stockings are hung and the numbers on the countdown calendars are getting smaller.  Working hard at it but the spirit is here.  Joshua and Andrea are off to their youth banquet this evening as well.  They should have a great time!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Daybook {12.05.12}

For Today: December 5, 2012

Outside my window... snow.  Enough said.

I am thinking...of new and different ways to celebrate Christmas this year. 

I am thankful... for Doug's job.  For our marriage, our children, our family, our friends. 

In the kitchen...breakfast messy.  I'll get to it soon.

I am reading... Jane Eyre (more-so plodding through it).  It's a true classic and not quite like the modern day books that I'm used to reading.  I'm hoping to be done it by Christmas.

I am wearing... leggings, a tank top and oversized sweatshirt.

I am going... to do laundry, house work and research family devotion ideas.

I am wondering... if I'll manage to get Christmas cards done on time.

I am hoping... to get some baking done today.  Shortbread perhaps.

I am looking forward to... a little road trip next week!  

I am learning... that I need to trust in and rely on God more. 

Around the house... actually fairly tidy. 

A favorite quote for today..."I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

A few of my favorite things... the lone hour I have before my family wakes up, a hot coffee, my Christmas tree and freshly folded laundry.

A few plans for the rest of the week...some light school for the kids, Doug's work Christmas party and... that's about it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy December!

I can't believe how quickly November flew by.  I had inwardly made a goal of blogging at least once every two days but I'm not sure I did it.  So here we are into another month and almost the end of another year.  A quick recap of the past week or so:

Andrea did an amazing job at her Aladdin production and the six sold out shows were a great reward for the 80+ kids who rehearsed for so many months!  I was so very proud of her!

Joshua and I completed another session of Daybreak at our church and as much as I love snuggling babies for people, it is nice to have a bit of a break.

Arianna has been busy practicing for her solo and dance part of the church's Christmas production.

Sarah is keeping herself busy doing Sarah "things".  Baking with Grandma, playing with her siblings and just hanging out!

This morning I read a Facebook post from The Busy Homeschool Mom and today her message spoke deep to my heart.  Here's what she had to say:
"The best Christmas presents will never be found in a store. Do you want to make the holidays meaningful for your children? Creating memories that will last a lifetime is really a matter of intentional planning. It has very little to do with money. :) Here are few tips to get you started:

Look at your calendar. WRITE IN t
hings you want to do and then take the time off to actually do them. You only get 2012 Christmas once. :) Here are a few things you might want to consider:

—Make Christmas cut-out cookies
—google "slow cooker hot chocolate" ... and make it
—find Christmas crafts you can do with just paper and glue. You're on the computer already. :)
—Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights. Take your hot chocolate for a special treat
—Make chex mix. 'nuff said.
—Ask your children to DRAW their version of the nativity. Frame it or take a picture of it so you don't forget what their drawings looked like.
—Watch your favorite Christmas movie
—Read Advent stories by the Christmas tree
—Scatter Christmas books throughout your house. I started our Christmas collection from thrift stores years ago; now we have books in every room. The kids, even the grown ones, love it.
—Focus on just the basics for school. Enjoy December.
—Remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Love your kids. Kiss your husband under the mistletoe. Try to appreciate the bickering, spilled hot chocolate, crazy calendar and family gatherings. And when you can't appreciate it, forgive yourself. And start again.

Merry Christmas!"
I really enjoy homeschooling my kids.  I love it MOST of the time, despite the frustrating moments that I think we all have.  I think I often get too worked up in the focus on math, reading, grammar, social and science.  I truly appreciate this reminder for me and everyone else, regardless of how we school our kids.  Deep breath.  Relax.  Enjoy.
I'm hoping and planning for a relaxed December with emphasis on family, friends and simply enjoying the season.  
Happy Tuesday!!


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