Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Many Days of Christmas

Since we were traveling for Christmas, we decided to let the boys open some presents before we left. This meant that we had less to carry and they had one big present from us that would hopefully make the trip better for all of us. (Disclaimer: I realize that these "days of Christmas" don't line up with the traditional days of Christmas.)

On the first day of Christmas, their Aunt Jenn gave to them - games to play with the family.
(December 19)

On the second day of Christmas, their parents gave to them - Nintendo DS-es to play in the car
(December 20)

On the third day of Christmas, their parents gave to them - another game for the DS
(December 21)

On the fourth day if Christmas their parents gave to them - books to read before bed in the hotel
(December 22)

On the fifth day of Christmas, they arrived at their grandparents' house, and opened the door! (And we decided that was present enough for December 23)

On the sixth day of Christmas, after Jesus' birthday cake
their parents gave to them - new jammies to wear on Christmas Eve(December 24)

On the seventh day of Christmas, Santa gave to them - a green lightsaber
and a San Diego Chargers jersey
(December 25)

On the eighth day of Christmas, their grandparents gave to them - a trip to see the ZooLights(December 26)

On the ninth day of Christmas, their parents gave to them - a trip to play in the snow!(December 27)

But through it all, I hope that we didn't lose sight of the fact that we celebrate Christmas as a remembrance of the greatest gift ever given to us - forgiveness and wholeness that is only possible because God chose to become man, live with us, and pay the penalty for our wrongs Himself. Thank you, God - for your wonderful gift!!!
Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Christmas Events

Last Thursday was full of Christmas events for us. I have pictures from a couple of these events, but will just have to describe the rest in painful detail. ;-)

To start off, Joel had his class Christmas party! Steve and I were both able to go, and it was fun to watch the 3/4-year-olds interacting with each other and all of the parents. (At least I thought it was.) The party started off with one of the moms reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas". I forgot my camera, so I asked one of the other moms to take this picture for me. Joel and the little girl beside him are sitting literally side by side.

After the story, the kids ate pizza and then decorated gingerbread men. Joel had fun decorating, but his main concern was whether or not he could eat it, too. He did eat it after he was done decorating.

Then we had the book exchange. All of the kids were very excited about this part, as you might imagine. My son, however, has a gift-opening problem. He likes to complain about the gift first. After a while he usually decides that he really likes it, though. That is what happened here. He got upset once he opened it about 1/4 of the way. He finished it later and decided that it was a neat book. His teacher read it to him that afternoon, and we read it again last night. It's a really nice book called "Dinosaur Detective".

We had a little break and then it was time for Evan's party. Unfortunately, I fell asleep during our little break and was a little late to the party. And I forgot the camera again. It was kind of crazy in the room and the kids were just eating and playing with their treat bags by the time I got there, so pictures weren't really necessary after all.

We went to Chick-fil-a for an early dinner and for the event that I had been waiting for -

pictures with SANTA COW!!!

I let the boys have their ice cream after the pictures. It worked pretty well, except that while they were eating ice cream ...

an ELF COW came out, too! Of course, we had to get more pictures!

After Chick-fil-a, we drove around for a little while looking at lights. There are a couple of really cool houses around us, so we went to them. The first one we went to had a lot of neon lights. Santa and Mrs. Claus come out there, too, but apparently we were too early to see them.

The next stop on our trip was a house that has lights synchronized to music. We tried to go a couple of years ago, but could only stay a minute or so. For some reason, this display scared the boys that year. This year there were projection screens set up, too, and part of the "show" was a video of Mr. and Mrs. Claus traveling from the North Pole, across the United States, to Hollywood to be on "Dancing with the Stars" - where they performed beautifully, by the way. The boys really enjoyed it, so I was glad that we went by this year. Of course, we also saw several yard and house displays as we were driving around, and the boys liked that, too.

It's hard to believe that Christmas day is less than a week away! We are enjoying our vacations from school and work, so far. We hope that you are all enjoying the season as well!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmastime is here!

I am taking a break from crafting gifts to complete this little survey. Just because I thought it sounded fun. Please re-post on your own blog if you are so inclined. I would love to see everyone's answers!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Both, but I drink hot chocolate more.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? When I was a little he left them unwrapped until we requested that he wrap them. He wraps the ones for my boys.

3. Colored or white lights on tree/house? Colored, but I like both looks on other people's houses/trees.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No

5. When do you put your decorations up? It used to be the day after Thanksgiving. Since we travel a lot for Thanksgiving, I prefer to put them up before we leave so that they are already up and ready to enjoy when we get back.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? There are so many choices! I think my favorite would have to be the fudge that Mom always made and I make now. Speaking of, I need to do that this week!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? So many! I loved to just sit and watch the lights on the Christmas tree. I loved that they were always on when I got up. I hate that I have to turn them on now. Plus, I usually get up at the same time as the kids, so they will not have that memory themselves.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Not sure what this question means. ;-)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? As kids, we would sometimes. (It depended on the year and my parents' mood, I guess.) Now we open one gift on Christmas Eve (and it is jammies).

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With colored lights, ornaments from my childhood, ornaments that the kids have made, and we each get a new ornament every year. (Steve and I don't get a new one every year, but the kids do.)

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it! But I don't have to drive in it, shovel it, etc.

12. Do you remember your favorite gift? Getting married 9 years ago (on December 23rd)

13. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? The wonder that God became a man to save us from our sins

14. What is your favorite holiday tradition? In our family now, I think it is doing the advent calendars every night with the kids. We have one that tells the story of Jesus birth which Evan is reading to us this year. The other one has little boxes for every day and they hold miniature ornaments for a little tree. The ornaments are snowflakes (which the boys call stars), bells, and nativity figures. We try to coordinate the nativity figures to the story.

15. What tops your tree? A tree-topper that is neither a star or an angel

16. Which do you prefer – giving or receiving? Giving. They are both nice, but I love trying to find the perfect gift for people.

17. Candy canes: Yuck or Yum? I eat them, but they are not my first choice for Christmas candy.

18. Favorite Christmas show? Again, there are too many to choose from! I like watching "The Muppets Christmas Carol" with the boys on Christmas Eve. I like watching "White Christmas" cuddled up with Steve. For humor, I love to watch "Elf".

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Man, that's a touch one, too. This year I am completely enraptured by Downhere's version of "Silent Night".

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A mixed review

Today I was able to see the orthopedist to find out what is really wrong with my tail(bone). I have to say that I was getting very discouraged about this appointment. I called the office on Monday to talk to someone to find out if coming in would be helpful or not. I didn't get a call back until yesterday (that's 2 days). I was able to get an appointment for 8 o'clock this morning, which at first seemed like a good thing. Then I started thinking, "Why was I able to get in so fast? Are they not that busy?" Now, they only had 2 openings for today, so maybe it was just a fluke.

So, I got there a little before 8 since I needed to fill out new patient forms. Then I waited ... and waited ... and waited. They didn't call any patients back to rooms until almost 8:30 and then they called 3 back at one time. An x-ray tech came in and said that they would need an x-ray. I told him the ER did one and he said he would try to access it on the computer. So, I waited some more. I then hear the doctor (my new doctor) talking about me to the tech. I also hear him talking to another patient (who had arrived after me). This is where I am really getting discouraged.

The x-ray tech came in and said that the ER didn't take the x-ray from the right angle, so they can't really see it all. So, I got to take a new set of x-rays today. After a few more minutes the doctor came in and told me that the coccyx was fractured. It happened during my fall about 3 weeks ago, and I irritated it last Thursday. From talking to the doc at the ER and the office staff here, I had assumed I would need an MRI. The doc today said that I didn't need one. He assumed there was soft tissue damage, but there's not really anything else to do for it. He said it just needs rest to heal, and he gave me a prescription for a new anti-inflammatory. Hopefully this one won't leave me feeling so "loopy" and I will be able to keep taking it.

So, I wasn't real happy about the new office to begin with, but I think the last 5-10 minutes salvaged the situation. I was glad to have a diagnosis and medicine, and the time with the doctor did seem productive. Now I just get to rest my tail for a few weeks!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pity Party

That's what I have been having for the past few days - a pity party for myself. It started last Thursday when I popped something in my tailbone and had to go to the ER. (The whole story is funnier, but not really appropriate for such a public forum.) The bottom line is that my tailbone was not broken, but is somehow damaged. I received 2 shots and 4 prescriptions and doctor's orders for rest. Well, all of those meds took care of rest for the weekend, and it did help to alleviate some of the pain. Unfortunately, I was also very groggy and sleepy all weekend. I realized on Sunday that I would not be able to take care of the boys on Monday if I continued with all of the meds. But without the meds, I don't sleep as well as night. So, this is not a good combination. I was still a little dizzy even off of the meds. Plus I was hurting, and I had expected to be more healed than I was. Basically, I have been a grumpy, complaining, irritable mess for the past couple of days. I realized yesterday that this was going on, but was even more convicted this morning. So, this is my confession and my apology. Things happen. They aren't always good. They don't have to ruin the rest of my day/time/life, though. I was reminded of Paul's "thorn in the flesh" as I thought about this. I really, really hope that this does not turn out to be a constant pain or problem, but I realized that being irritated about it until it goes away or heals up isn't going to help anything either.

So, I am vowing to move on from the pity party to a spirit of celebration. I love the celebration and wonder that accompanies this time of the year. I love trying to wrap my head around the idea that God wrapped himself into the form of a baby to be born on this earth all those years ago. He did it for us, for love, and for His glory. That is what I want to remember and that is what I want to show to the world.

By the way, Steve got me a wonderful early Christmas present last week and I want to brag on him! He downloaded "How Many Kings" (the new Christmas album) from Downhere for me, and it has become this year's favorite Christmas album. It is beautiful and fun and I highly recommend it! In fact, I am going to listen to it now. Merry Christmas!!
Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Decorating

Sunday afternoon/night we put up and decorated our Christmas tree! I was getting tired and irritated with the lights, but Steve came to the rescue and I think he did a great job. Then the boys and I (and Steve) put the ornaments on. The boys had a great time and it was fun remembering what all of their special ornaments meant. It was almost like a Hallmark commercial! ;)

After the tree was finished, the boys got to enjoy some hot chocolate before going to bed. I am not sure why Joel looks so sad in this picture. Evan is watching the football game instead of looking at the camera, of course.

Here I was playing with some of the settings on my camera. I thought it was a neat effect.


For Thanksgiving, we headed back to Mississippi to visit my family. One of the exciting times for Joel was when PawPaw (my dad) brought out one of his snakes. (Yes, he has more than one.
I think he said he has three now.)

At first Joel just petted the snake.

Then the snake started to move and he got a little nervous ...

Then the snake moved a little more and so did Joel...

Joel ran all the way to the door yelling and laughing.

We also got to participate in one of my family's old traditions that I had not done in years. In fact, it seems that Steve and the boys had never done this before.

There is a family near us called the Lewis'. Every year they put up an amazing Christmas display that you can walk through. The Friday night after Thanksgiving we go to go with one of my brothers and his family.

The cousins

One of the highlights is the story boards that they have set up. The storyboards on one side tell the story of Jesus birth. The ones on the other side recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas". It's also a tradition that the newest reader gets to read the storyboards aloud. This year that honor fell to Evan. He read the story of Jesus birth. He and Luke took turn on "Twas the Night Before Christmas". (Although he looks much older, Luke is only 8 and was really wanting to read aloud, too.)

On Thanksgiving day we exchanged presents with the cousins from earlier, and Evan got a football. Unfortunately, he was sick and didn't really play with it right away. He finally started feeling better that night and was holding it while watching the game on tv.

I was very glad that he got better, because we were planning on going to a football game on Friday night. After we looked at the lights, Evan and I headed up to my high school alma mater for the South State Championship game between Oak Grove and Ocean Springs. It didn't look anything like it did when I was in school, though. There's a new high school now, complete with a new stadium. At least the announcer was the same. That was pretty cool. And it was a fun (but cold) game with Oak Grove winning 26-7 (or 27-6). Evan really enjoyed his first live football game and I was excited to share it with him!
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Evan's Thanksgiving feast and program

Evan's teacher had written a program that included the kids reading and singing songs. One of the songs named all 50 states alphabetically and they memorized it. Evan is still singing the 50 states around the house.

The "feast" part was fun for both of the boys. Joel was a little disappointed that he didn't get to sit beside Evan, but he was okay. Joel had his own feast at school the next day, but the parents weren't invited to that one.
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Christmas Parade

The boys got to see Santa before the Christmas parade started. They both had no fear this year and jumped up into the sleigh. Evan asked for a San Diego Chargers uniform (no idea why he picked this team) and Joel wants a green Yoda lightsaber.

There were also some games to play. Evan threw lots of balls, including a football. He even got a little bitty football to take home.

Of course, one of the highlights of the parade is all of the candy! Joel decided to use his hat as his candy holder and it worked quite well. Evan just kept giving his to his dad to hold. Joel ended up with more candy than Evan, and Evan didn't think that was fair. I didn't think it was "fair" that they both got as much candy as they had since we had just gotten rid of the Halloween candy.
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Sir Joel the Crazy (and Brave)

Joel put his new knight sword to good use the other day. I got to be the queen, which meant that I got to sit in a big chair (like the one I was already sitting in) and take pictures of the knight.

I love that Joel likes to go barefoot, even if he does get his toesies so very dirty.
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