Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas pics

I'm afraid my faithful followers are wondering what's happened to me :o). My parents are staying with us for a few days, so we're spending time with them. I thought I'd go ahead and put up a few photos so nobody will notice that I'm not writing my usual sparkling commentary--ha! Please disregard all of the "bed head" going on in our Christmas morning photos; the kids got us up at 4 a.m.!

Later Days!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Digging out

Whew! We're back at our house and we're trying to dig our way out of the mess! We left early on Christmas morning (though not as early as we would have liked, due to a flat tire), leaving piles of wrapping paper and toys scattered everywhere. We had Christmas lunch at Mimi and Papa's house, followed by another round of gift-unwrapping. Then, we went to Christmas dinner at Nana and Papa's house, followed by another round of gift-unwrapping! We were blessed to see our siblings and their families, in addition to seeing all the grandparents. The two nights we spent "back home" involved a complicated formula to determine who-spends-what-night-where. We didn't get to spend a huge amount of time anywhere, but we got to see everybody some, and for that we're grateful.

I've spent this evening trying to put the house in some sort of order and get the family ready for the Lord's Day tomorrow. Not only are we looking forward to going to church, but we're looking forward to Mimi and Papa coming to visit for a few days! That's right, they didn't have enough of us over Christmas, so they're coming to our house! Hmmm...do you think I should put them to work?

Better run for now--much to do. I hope to get some Christmas photos up over the next couple of days, so enjoy!

Later Days!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spreading Christmas Cheer

This evening, our family and another family visited a nursing care facility to take some goody bags to residents and sing some carols for them. The people seemed so happy to see (and hear) the children! Who wouldn't be happy to see those smiling faces? It was a blessing to us and I hope it was to them.

As for Christmas prep, a few items remain: 1)Tomorrow, I hope to make sausage balls and stained-glass cookies; 2)wrap a few gifts; 3)get suitcases packed for our trip back home on Christmas Day; and 4)get the house tidied up for our post-Christmas visitors. Of course, anything I tidy up tomorrow will be obscured by the flying wrapping paper on Christmas morning! Tomorrow is also my parents' 45th anniversary so I hope to Skype them to convey our well wishes.

Christmas morning will dawn with our crew already seated around the tree, taking turns opening our gifts. We'll have a simple, easy-on-Mom breakfast and then be on our way to the grandparents'; lunch with Mimi & Papa and my brother's family and dinner with Nana and Gdad & hubby's brother's family. I don't know if I'll be blogging over the next few days but I sincerely hope that everyone reading this has a very blessed Christmas!

Later Days!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is the weekend over already?

Whew! Anybody else tired? We had a great time on our whirlwind trip back home to celebrate birthdays. I have a few photos of the family at my home church's social hall--the cousins had a great time running...just running...and running. M. has developed a habit of snatching something (anything) from someone else and just running so he'll be chased. It doesn't seem to matter much to him if he gets in trouble for it or not. Could he be what Dr. Dobson refers to as a "Strong-willed Child" and is there any other kind?

After we got home last night, I had to run out to the store to get some supplies to tide us over for a few days. I had the interesting experience of witnessing a case of what I suppose was Road Rage. While I was stopped at a light, I saw a vehicle stopped at another part of the intersection, the part that had the green light. The driver jumped out of his car, walked back to a man on a scooter behind him and punched him in the nose, knocking he and his scooter over. Then, he jumped in his car and took off. All traffic stopped for a moment; I suppose everyone was as stunned as I was. Several folks got out of their cars to help the man up and help move he and the scooter out of the road. I saw people dialing their phones, presumably calling for help, and I saw someone on a motorcycle take off after the offender, presumably to get his license plate number. Then, the moment passed and suddenly traffic surged ahead, people honking their horns as they hurried on past the scene. I can't tell you how troubling I found the whole experience--I was angered at the lawless man who took out his anger on someone and fled, I pitied the bloodied man who seemed so helpless, I was grateful for the kind people who stopped to help, and then I was angry again at the impatient people who just wanted everyone to get out of their way so they could continue their Christmas shopping.

I'm sure there's a parable there somewhere, but the truth is that I'll never know if there was a "happily ever after" for the victim or justice for the offender. I'll never know if the victim had been obnoxious to the other driver or if the offender was a man pushed to his limit by all sorts of factors and his frustration just spilled over. It's a reminder that we never know the struggles that everyone we meet are dealing with. Our smile or kind word could keep them from lashing out or giving up. I've prayed several times for the poor man whose humiliation was so public AND for the angry man, who hopefully regrets his outburst.

Today was the Lord's Day and we had wonderful worship services. Tonight was a Candlelight Communion service, in which each family in the church goes to the front together to take communion and be prayed for by the pastor. It was such a beautiful and meaningful time, knitting families closer together and reminding us of the One whose birth we are celebrating in a few days.

I pray that everyone reading this has a wonderful, blessed Christmas celebration!
Later Days!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Catching Up...

I'm not sure I can top Monday's zoo trip for excitement, but I owe it to my devoted readers (there must be 3 or 4 of you) to let you know what we've been up to. By the way, the above photo from the zoo is NOT the man-eating cow of the previous post; just a cute pic of M. "milking" a fake cow.

Tuesday evening, E. and I went to our church's Ladies' Night Out. It was a catered event for which E.and I should have dressed up a bit more (it wasn't formal, but most everyone was wearing something Christmas-y). The wife of the former pastor spoke about their time in India. You see, the former pastor and his wife left the church that they'd been at for 19 years in order to be missionaries overseas. We very much enjoyed learning about the culture of their mission field and what God is doing over there.

Wednesday, I took E. over to the church to work in the Food Pantry for awhile. She's really enjoying participating in that ministry & it's been eye-opening for her to meet people who really need help with the basics. Then, church in the evening, which included festivities for the kiddos in children's choir practice and RA's and GA's. When they were appropriately "sugared up," we turned toward home for our regularly-scheduled "Taco Night," fabled in song and story.

As for today, nothing big scheduled for daytime, but hubby and I have a Sunday School party tonight, if we can persuade E. to watch her siblings again. She is finding monetary gain pretty persuasive these days, so I think we'll manage.

Sometime over the next few days I MUST wrap some presents. I'm leery of putting them under the tree b/c M. has a bad habit of opening packages.

Big plans tomorrow (Friday): We'll be heading Back Home to celebrate N. and Mimi's respective birthdays with the extended family! While one night away doesn't sound like much, getting the six of us packed is a herculean feat, requiring much laundry. Wasn't laundry one of Hercules' tasks?

Hope everyone's Christmas preparations are going smoothly!

Later Days!

Monday, December 15, 2008

'Twas the lights before Christmas....

Hubby and I did get to go out and accomplish some Christmas shopping this afternoon. Then, we loaded up the kids and headed to our zoo for a function called "Lights Before Christmas". There were dazzling lights everywhere, Christmas music playing, a carousel, and even snow (machine-made, of course). We had such a good time, though we didn't actually get to see many animals. Most of the critters had retired for the night, apparently. We did witness some interesting exchanges of the human variety, though.

First, was the amorous couple by the gorilla exhibit. A study in "What Not To Do At The Zoo" when hundreds of small children are milling about. Who knew the animal funk that was a huge part of the zoo experience could be so romantic?

Next, was this conversation overheard in the farm animal barn...
Young woman, approaching the stall where a cow was laying: Is it real?
Young man (presumably her boyfriend) leans down to touch it.
Young woman: Don't touch it! It'll eat you!
Young man: It won't eat me--it's a cow!
Young woman: It's not a cow; cows are black and white!
That's when we exited the barn to have a good laugh. I never did find out whether the large animal that was posing as a cow ate the man, but it looked too sleepy when I saw it.

Later Days!

18 years ago...

I married my sweetie! Today, Hubby and I are celebrating our 18th anniversary by...I don't really know what we're going to do. He's at the church office right now, working in the food pantry and I'm...well...blogging. We have hopes for dinner out later, if eldest can be persuaded to babysit for awhile. Mainly, our anniversary celebrations have been spent Christmas shopping, so maybe we can squeeze in a little of that (if children will cooperate).

No matter if we get to celebrate by dining out, shopping, or spending the evening home with the kids, I will appreciate the 18 years that I've gotten to spend with my Best Friend Forever (BFF if you're in the under-12 crowd)! May there be many more anniversaries!

Later Days!

N.'s birthday!

Sunday, we celebrated my elder son's 12th birthday! N. is a smart, funny, handsome, creative, Christian young man, of whom we're very proud. Our celebration was fairly low-key since we're going to be having a larger celebration next weekend back home.

Our day began with all 4 kids piling onto our bed for the birthday boy to open his presents. He seemed very pleased with them, particularly the video camera, which will allow he and K. to make the movie "shorts" that they are always scripting. In fact, now I live in constant fear of being filmed! All of the grandparents called to wish N. a happy birthday and sing to him. In fact, Mimi and Papa decided to leave right after their morning service to come for a visit!

Afterwards, we scrambled around to get ready and get to church on time. Our church's choir did a beautiful job on the Christmas cantata. Then, we had a church-wide dinner, for which hubby had baked a ham (delicious!).

During the afternoon, Mimi and Papa arrived, causing much excitement around our house. We enjoyed spending some time visiting, watching N. new Wall-E movie, and eating. We were sorry to see them leave in the evening but we're already looking forward to seeing the whole family on the 19th (which is Mimi's birthday!). In fact the whole celebration was so "low-key" that I forgot to get b-day candles for N.'s cake and had to gather a whole bunch of candles from all over the house for him to blow out! He didn't seem to mind (he's very low-key, himself); plus, he's having a fancy cake at next weekend's combo party.

Our church did not have evening services, so we had family worship, with K. reading Scripture and leading us in a devotion, E. leading us in "Joy to the World", and N. taking prayer requests and leading us in prayer. M. tried to put on some kind of floor show, but we calmed him as much as possible.

As always on a birthday, I like to reflect on the events surrounding the actual "birth day" of the child. This involves getting out the scrapbooks and reminiscing about the photos and the feelings. Usually, other children want to get out the scrapbooks and talk about their birth. Of course, this sappy mom complies :o). All in all, I thought it was a nice birthday for N.

Later Days!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Recovering from Partying....

OK, it wasn't THAT kind of partying!  The last few days have been spent getting ready for some parties, having some parties, and cleaning up from some parties.

The church's Children's party was last night and was...ummm...loud? From the point of view of the children, that's a success :o). There was pizza, sugar in various forms, craft time, party time, and a time of reading and discussing the true meaning of Christmas. The photos above just don't do the party justice without all the accompanying noise and chaos.

Today, our family hosted a party for the church staff and their families--it added up to about 18 people, counting us. Not quite as loud as the children's party last night, but still fun. Above are photos of our youth minister and his family and another of friends that have recently been called to another church to serve there. They are the parents of 2 of K.'s BFFs (Just for the record, K. has several BFFs). We really enjoyed talking and munching goodies while the kids played together. My house was clean-ish, briefly, but took a hit :o).

Last, there's a photo of M. collasped on the floor after the party.  This blog will soon be given over to photos of my littlest boy asleep in strange positions if I'm not careful! No matter, we've already tidied up and are looking forward to tomorrow's festivities. Have I mentioned that tomorrow is my elder son, N.'s, 12th birthday?

After the morning worship service, there's a big church dinner (for which hubby is baking a ham). There are no evening worship services tomorrow night, so we'll have family worship, with the kids being in charge of a devotion, music, and prayer requests. When asked what N. wanted to do for his birthday, he said he wanted to eat pizza, eat sour cream & onion potato chips, eat sour cream & onion dip, eat Cool Ranch Doritos, drink our special Open House Green Punch, and play Wii. Oh, yes, and open presents. That's a par-tay, people! We plan to comply, within reason--I have no intention of eating Cool Ranch Doritos.

Next weekend, we'll travel "back home" to celebrate his birthday again, along with my Mom's birthday.

Hope everyone reading this has a blessed Lord's Day (and N.'s birthday)!

Later Days!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Catching up

Let's see, today is Wednesday, yes? In my last post, I described our visit with cousins on Monday. Yesterday, was Library Day, of course. Aside from that, a pretty uneventful day. Some laundry, cleaning, laundry, cooking, reading, schoolwork, laundry.... Last night, Hubby and I had a deacons and wives social to attend that was very nice. It's great to get to know these folks better in a casual setting.

E. babysat for us again and, by all accounts, things went pretty well. Not only was she promised some compensation ($$$) for her efforts, but N. & K. were promised a small amount for their cooperation as well (Christmas gifts to buy, you know). That is, if each gave a good report on everyone else's behavior. Either they did well, or they collaborated on their accounts, which would show more teamwork than they are naturally inclined to. So, we consider the experiment a success!

Today, more laundry, cleaning, schoolwork, decorating, laundry, and planning for the weekend events (Church Children's Party on Friday night, Staff gathering at our house on Saturday, N.'s 12th b-day on Sunday). Oh, and laundry.

Before closing, I must tell you about a fantastic God-thing that happened. Some special folks (you know who you are) blessed us with an unexpected financial gift on Monday. Yesterday, Hubby's truck broke down (Thankfully, just as he was cruising up to the church office). The needed replacement part cost the same amount as the financial gift & our Youth Pastor had the expertise to install the part! When Hubby called to tell me, E. and I praised the Lord and had a prayer meeting! Naturally, we've talked to those special folks to thank them plus telling them how God used their generosity to minister to us. God timed another blessing just right to show us that He is in control and taking care of us, even when our concerns are not life-or-death ones, just inconvenient and stressful.

Better do some...ummm...laundry?
Later Days!

P.S. Thought I'd post another couple of photos from our visit with Living Out Loud & Co. on Monday. Fiesta Time at the restaurante Mexicano!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Living Out Loud takes a Leap Of Faith

I couldn't resist using the names of our respective blogs as a title. My cousin, S., who blogs over at Living Out Loud came with her family for a visit today. We've really missed her crew since moving, particularly since we'd grown closer over the last few years. We were close as youngsters and played together, had sleepovers,and went to the same church. As we grew older and went to college, got married, and had children, we seldom saw one another. Then, her husband became the music minister at the church my husband pastored and we picked up where we had left off, minus the Barbies. It was fun to see our 7 yo daughters play together like we had so many years before. Unfortunately, one of the hard things about our move was leaving behind good friends, knowing that we wouldn't see them very often.

We were so excited when the doorbell rang this morning! The kids ran to play together and S. and I just enjoyed sitting and talking for a long while, covering every subject under the sun, while our husbands talked ministry stuff. Things got a little crazy when S. and I took over the Wii and played Mario Kart :o). We learned that our children are much better at that kind of thing, but it was fun nonetheless.

We enjoyed dinner at a local Mexican restaurant before they had to leave. Like many times before, we sat and talked around the table long after we had finished eating. S. and I couldn't resist capturing some photos for our blogs :o).

We enjoyed ourselves so much today. Though we didn't do anything flashy, it was a wonderful time of relaxing and catching up with each others' lives. Hopefully, it was the first of many such times.

Later Days!Kelly

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good Friends & Good Times

It's late but we just got in from our whirlwind trip "back home" and I thought I'd make a short post. It was great to see both sets of grandparents & we even got to see my brother and his family! Afterwards, we went to the home of some very special friends and enjoyed some food and fellowship.

The photo is of my friend, Shay, and me in front of her beautiful Christmas tree. Don't let the picture fool you, we're about the same height but I was wearing my tall boots :o). She is, besides being a great friend and a committed Christian, a gifted decorator and crafter. I'm trying to talk her into coming to visit us and decorating our house, since we still have nothing hung on the walls. At the very least, she needs to start a blog so we non-creative types can read about and see pictures of her projects.

Speaking of visits, we have a couple more to look forward to! Tomorrow, Hubby's parents, otherwise known as Nana and Gdad, are coming to our morning worship service; this will necessitate a very early start for them to make the drive and then, like us, they have to travel back home again shortly after. On Monday, we're expecting my cousin and her family for a visit! We're excited at the thought of getting to see them for the first time since moving. I'll be sure to let y'all know how all the visits go & what fun things we do. For now, it's definitely time for this weary traveler to get to bed.

Later Days!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Well, we survived the public appearance! I have to commend our city for the nature of the Tree Lighting Ceremony--rather than being a politically correct "Holiday" celebration, it was clearly a Christ's Birthday celebration, with prayers, carols, and a message from a local pastor. My crew behaved themselves nicely and even M. was relatively quiet. He was fascinated by the large choir, the handbells and the fact that all this was taking place outside!

Afterwards, we enjoyed foods from many local restaurants at a buffet set up inside City Hall. Then, on to our church for a dessert social! We enjoyed all of the events very much and are sufficiently "sugared up" now :o).

Tomorrow, we get to travel "back home" again to see the family and attend a Christmas party given by some special friends. Then, right back home for Sunday services. We're looking forward to seeing everyone again. If I don't post again before Sunday, I hope everyone has a blessed Lord's Day!

Later Days!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Social Whirl

Is anybody else having a busy December? Silly question, I know. It seems that every single day of this month has (at least) one social commitment, with some days having several. Granted, some occasions just involve certain family members, but that lends the complication of transporting whoever to wherever the whatever is.

For example, tomorrow night our family has to attend the city's tree lighting event and...get this...SIT ON THE PODIUM. I'm glad that Hubby was asked to lead in prayer, but a little less thrilled that his socially awkward wife and four normal (active? potentially combative?) children will be in the public's eye. Afterwards,some of the city's restaurants will host a buffet, upon which our crew will descend like piranhas. Then, off to the church for another event.

If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not. Well, maybe about the podium thing. Otherwise, it's a wonderful blessing to have friends, family, and our church family to fellowship with during this wonderfully busy time, celebrating our Savior's birth. And when the day is done, it's wonderful to come home and drop in your tracks like M. in the photo :o).

Later Days!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Well, it's been a couple of days since I posted so I guess the grandparents are getting antsy :o). The big news of the day is that K. had another dr. appointment with a specialist. She feels fine; we'll be conferring with another specialist before deciding on a course of action. I'm very proud of how brave she's been during all of the tests and "pokes".

E. wants me to mention that she babysat her two brothers for awhile so Hubby and I could both accompany K. to her dr. visit. She did very well and even cooked lunch and did her laundry--What a girl! I'm proud of how mature and responsible she is.

On another note, I probably need to explain the above photos. They were taken while we were on vacation with both sets of grandparents in early October. We seem to be addicted to computers--we had five laptops among us and one desktop computer was already in the condo. When we were all gathered together in the evenings, the "Laptop Brigade" lined the couches and counters. I'm thankful (and amazed) when I think of the many technological gadgets available nowadays.

Later Days!

Monday, December 1, 2008

O Christmas Tree...

We've had an exciting few days! We had wonderful services at church yesterday, celebrating Advent and the Hanging of the Greens. All of the choirs (adult and various ages of children) sang and both the adult and youth handbell choirs played during our special service. Our family got to light the Chrismon Tree. ***Note to my Big Bro: we didn't get to practice with the switch so it took M. a couple of tries***

This evening, we got our Christmas tree and decorated it. Just as we say every year, THIS is our prettiest tree ever! We used alot of our sentimental, "baby's first Christmas" type ornaments and filled in with lots of red and gold glass balls. On the mantel, we used red and gold candles in various types of glass holders, scattered pine cones, and a few ornaments. Soon, we'll hang our stockings (with care, of course). Still remaining, several special nativity scenes to set up. After we finished, we lit the tree and all the candles on the mantel while we had our family devotions and a special Advent reading.

I hope you enjoy the photos of our tree and mantel. Our decorating is a work in progress and I'm pretty sure we'll get to redo the tree on a daily basis, what with a cat and a 2 year old.

I'm not much of a photographer, but I like the weird light effect I accomplished by my inadvertent shaking while trying to hold the camera steady. I've got skillz, I tell ya.

Later Days!