Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas tradition part 2, Visit with John's side of the family

Every year on the last Saturday before Christmas eve, we can be found with John's family celebrating Christmas. We rotate houses, last year ours was the gathering house, this year we traveled to Charlotte to Chuck and Kathy's.
We share a meal together and then just hang out. Hanging out, for my husband and boys usually means a rousing game, or two, or three, of  "horse" or "pig". When giving out genes for competiveness, God graced the male members of John's family with an overabundance.

While the big guys played the younger set was playing also.

Kiera, Elijah and Abbey acted like they had known each other all their lives, instead of just a few hours.
Abbey discovered Wii bowling

When the games were over, everyone sat around and got each other caught up with the happenings in their lives.
Phoebe, Daniel, Chuck, Mark, Hannah and Sam
Matt, Kathy, Susie and John's Mom
David and John
Getting some loving from Aunt Kathy
Elijah being silly with Sarah
 Everyone enjoyed reconnecting, and the best thing was that Abbey and Elijah slept the entire 3 hour  ride home. Wonderful not to have to answer, "Are we there yet?" every 5 minutes!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011 memories, part 1..Cookies!

The presents are all opened. The food's all been eaten. The older kids have all traveled back to their homes. Christmas 2011 was one of the best we've had in a while. It's now time to record the memories...

We always have lots of cookies to make and give away to friends, neighbors and our community helpers. This year, my cookie making crew was a little thin in numbers. Just me, Abbey and Elijah!

A few weeks earlier, we attended the OAKS annual Christmas party get together. Of course, I forgot my camera, but Kristi got a couple of pics for me.

 I guess Abbey's growing up and realizing it it actually better if you can see and taste the cookie instead of a whole bottle of sprinkles!

Elijah opted for a swirl design this year.

Just a couple of our Christmas traditions more about the others later....


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wonder what his favorite show is?

Rocko, that is..

He doesn't look too impressed, it must not have been his favorite channel?


Friday, December 16, 2011

You'd think I'd have it down by now!

This is a line from one of my favorite songs, "Clumsy" by Chris Rice. You can hear it here.  The next line is, "...been practicing for 30 years." I could apply this song to many circumstances in my life, but today, specifically, I'm being convicted over my lack of desire to let my children go.

Daniel has returned from Jr. Nationals and, although not as fast as he wanted to go, he did achieve best times. He also was able to talk to one of the coaches that has been contacting him. This school is one of the larger programs that has been interested in having him join their swim team.

Getting in the car to go to the airport

Monday, he received a call from one of the coaches from this University saying that Daniel has been accepted and because of his grades,  he would be able to get in-state tuition. While in the preliminary stages, Daniel is excited at the prospect of swimming for a large school.

Woo-hoo!! Right? Umm, not so fast, the thought of one of my babies going to school a good 10 hours away from home, makes me want to throw up!! My heart just wrenches.

It's far from certain at this stage, as there is a closer school that is going to make him an offer next week. Sooo the plot thickens.

But, as I told John, I must prepare my heart in case he ends up going far away from home. As I think about the prospect, preparation involves picking my sinking heart up.  My mind starts the "what ifs".  What if he gets sick and needs me? What if he gets involved in the wrong crowd?  A million other "what ifs" go through my mind. Of course, none of these are good "what ifs". Added to these "what ifs" is the fact that I just plain enjoy being around this young man. When he was gone to Texas, I really felt his absence. He's really good at sharing his thoughts and what's happening in his life with me.  (That being said, it's not just Daniel, it's all of my kids; and it's not just far away places. I found tears in my eyes when Anna moved her stuff out, and she only moved 3 miles away!)

I'm aware, from inside my pity party, that the situation could be a lot worse. He could be possibly going across the country or to another country. So, I do acknowledge that there are a lot of mothers who, appropriately so, would think I'm just being ridiculously silly.

But, that doesn't excuse me. As I fret and tell God how He needs to protect and guide my children, I hear that still small voice say, "Whose children?" To which I, being properly chastised, reply, "Oh, your children."  Once again, I'm reminded that they are given to us by God and they belong to him. I know that, but I constantly find myself holding them out and saying, "I give them, their decisions and accolades to You and Your glory." Then five minutes later, I'm figuratively taking them back. That's the part of the song, "You'd think I'd have it down by now" that I identify along with this line, "I slip and I knock my halo loose." Hey, my halo is full of dents!

I must constantly remind myself that He loves them more than I do and has a plan for their lives. A plan that may or may not be close in proximity to me. They are just on loan to me. Their lives are to be to His glory, not my comfort and enjoyment.

So, on my journey, I chalk this up to a lesson learned (almost) and try to let go and trust God. We, along with Daniel have both prayed for the Lord to show us where He would have Daniel go to school. I need to rest in God's power and sovereignty to lead Daniel.  And then, I just need to put on my big girl panties and be happy with wherever God leads all of my children!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What in the world? No broken ornaments?

So strange. Usually if you smell coffee brewing, see kids jumping up and down, Mom on the floor narrating each ornament's story, and you hear Phil Keaggy's Chrismas cd playing along with the intermittent ring of shattered glass; then you know it's Christmas tree decorating time at the D***** house!

I say usually, because this year was different. John played other Christmas music in addition to old friend, Phil, and there were no broken ornaments. Not. One. Pretty amazing! Not even the swish of the mongrels' tails caused any damage.

Each of the kids with their 1st Christmas ornaments

After hanging the lights, he thinks he's done, so he just sits back and admires
Such concentration, attaching the hook
Daniel trying to keep the lethal tail away from the tree
Admiring their handiwork
Our tree isn't one of those with matching, meticulously places decorations. Most of ours are either made by our kids or have their pictures on them. All of the ornaments that we put on have a story. It's like a memory tree, and to me.....

It's beautiful!!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Tree Shopping

Time to find the perfect Christmas tree!  We had to get a late start, as we waited for Daniel to get out of practice. Anna happened to be visiting with Rocko, so we were delighted to have them join us in our quest for a Christmas tree. Because we were so late, our usual spot was closed. Never fear, we went a few hundred feet down the road and found another place that was open later.

Strange, you never know where Daniel will "pop" up!
Elijah likes this one.
The whole "tree hunting"team (minus the photographer)
After we got our tree hunkered down on top of our car, we went for a treat at the nearby Starbucks. Everyone in our family is a Starbucks fan. In fact, when Abbey was little, she would yell, "Barbucks!" whenever we passed by a Starbucks.

Good Hot Chocolate!

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Because it was so late, we put off decorating the tree to the next night.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thanksgiving memories

Just like my life, these days, my bloggy life seems to be  a day late and a dollar short. Here I'm playing catch up and remembering our Thanksgiving.

The night before, we all went to eat out. It was an interesting experience for John, Jr. He got to find out what a piece of plastic in his food would taste like. He wasn't a fan, and consequently got his meal and a dessert for free.  Despite the interesting cuisine, we had a great time as a family!

On Thanksgiving day, we went to my parents' house. My Mom has been battling some sort of debilitating illness that has zapped her strength. My brother, sister-in-law and I did the cooking. We missed my Mom's specialties, but I think everyone had enough. Because Mom wasn't feeling well, we forwent our movie trip, but the guys (plus Anna) went to play golf.

The highlight of the day was catching up with family.

Betty and Jordan
Smiling, though she felt like poop!
The newlyweds were able to join us.
My big boys
My little guy
Me and my honey  

 (We greatly missed Bethy and Greg, but we look forward to having them for Christmas!)

The other favorite part was...


and eating!

Of course, I did pause many times during the day to thank the Lord for His many blessings to me and our family this past year. My cup surely overflows, more than I could ever imagine or deserve!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An eye-opening video

I just had to share this video. The mom of this young lady is a member of a yahoo group that I participate in. Here is her set up of the video:

"My daughter Xiaoyun, 14 yrs old and adopted in April (days before she was to age out), has done a video appealing to people to help the orphans. I was working on a web page about orphan care for our church, when she came and sat down beside me and wanted to know what I was doing. When I explained it, she said she wanted to tell people that they need to help the orphans. Our music minister came to the house, sat the video camera in front of her, and, without any prompting on what she should say, she started the talking."

I hope you visit this link and let the Lord speak to your heart as you hear her heart! Once on the page scroll down to the video titled, "The way it is"

I encourage everyone to listen to your heart and follow what the Lord prompts you to do!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Three out of four ain't bad!

Returning home from playgroup on Friday. They really played hard at playgroup.

(I had a couple of extra kiddos that day, helping a friend out while she took their sister to the Dr. My kids practically lived with her the week before the wedding.)


Friday, December 2, 2011

Playing catch up.... Nature walk at Hemlock Bluffs

The weeks leading up to Anna's wedding pretty much consumed my every waking moment. We did take time from wedding shopping and planning to participate in a "Nature Walk", with our OAKS friends, in the beautiful Hemlock Bluffs park. After tonight when my mom complained about my lack of posts, I figure I need to get caught up, so here is a memory from a playgroup outing we had.

That day was quite dreary, rainy and pretty chilly. The rain held off just long enough for us to complete our walk. The kids enjoyed a chance to run freely through the woods. Our guide was very informative and was comfortable with little kids.

She kept the kids attention, while giving them information about the surroundings

They got to see, but "not touch" a salamander. (You can't touch a salamander because their skin is so permeable and any lotion or chemical residue on our hand would cause harm to the least Mom learned something new that day!)

Elijah's studying a nut

Abbey with her good friend, Lily.
Because the weather was icky, we decided to go to Chic Fil A to play in the playground and get some lunch. We didn't bargain for half of the town being there to get lunch. It was a zoo! I guess Elijah thought it was literally a zoo, because after he ate his lunch he went into the play/climbing place, and,  since he had refused to go to the bathroom when I asked, he peed all over the 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st levels in the playplace.  You could tell by the ear-piercing squeals that some unlucky little  girl had found one of  Elijah's little "presents" So, we made our swift exit way before Abbey was finished playing with her friends. A not so great end to a great play day!

(On my way out, I did tell the attendant about Elijah's accident and she was going in to clean it up)