Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - Looking Back.....

In 2013........

We did a little traveling and spent some wonderful time with friends and family.....
*I got to go on a girls trip to Hilton Head in February.
*Ken went on a golfing trip with his friend Al in March.
*We went to Georgia over spring break in April, over the 4th of July and over Thanksgiving to visit family.
*Traveled to Greenboro to visit Ken's family several times.
*Allie went on her first trip without any of Washington DC with her 5th grade class.
*We went on a family vacation to Myrtle Beach just before school started back.

We tried some new things......
*Brady tried T-ball and ended up loving it.
*I ran my first (and only thus far) 5K.
*We went to camp for a week as a family. Hubs was camp pastor.
*Allie went to her first ever PK camp.
*Maggie tried cheerleading and loved it.
*The girls attended their first ever concert to see Taylor Swift.
*I started a new job half way through the year after being a stay at home Mom for 12 years.

 We had some wonderful celebrations....
*Valerie's baby shower
*Jenny and Tripp's Wedding and all related events
*Lillie 8th birthday
*Maggie's 10th birthday BIG Horse Party
*Brady's 5th birthday BIG Star Wars Party
*Allie's 12th birthday
*My nephews turned 1.
ONE snow day....{in the south - snow is always a huge celebration}

We ministered and spread God's love with the wonderful people in our church.....
*Ken went on a mission trip to Alabama.
*Secret Keeper Girl Pajama Party
*At an Easter Event
*A week of VBS
*A Old Fashioned Fall Festival
*A Christmas Play
*A Polar Express Pajama Party
and numerous other ways, too.....

I read:
Fiction:*The Pretty Little Liar Series  {I'm kind of ashamed to admit that.
I love mysteries. That these are. But I won't be letting my girls read them anytime soon}
*The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
*The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
*The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
*The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
*The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker
*The Divine Comedy (still in progress)
*The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
*This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
*The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
*Divergent by Veronica Roth

*Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries
*Family Based Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries (still in progress)
*You Lost Me by David Kinneman
*Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman (still in progress)
* The Bible (not fully as hoped )
*The Boy who came back from heaven (still in progress)
*Give  Them Grace by Elise Fitspatrick

I studied....
* Jesus The One and Only by Beth Moore

 I wanted to spend some time today looking back at this past year.
It's been a great 2013.
It's gone too fast.
Hoping I can journal more regularly this coming year both by blogging and writing in my actual journal so in the years to come I can remember what we were up to back then.
As I said time is going too fast......
There are many things I hope to do better and more in 2014.
I will share those tomorrow.
Happy New Year's Eve everybody!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Day 2013

This year, we stayed home on Christmas Day.
Ken and I finished everything we needed to get done at about 2AM and headed to bed. 
Only to be awoken at 6:00 by 3 kids who were ready to see what Santa brought.
Ken convinced them to go back down and watch tv until Lillie awoke.......which was a whopping 10 minutes later. lol.

So, we all made our way to the den to find what Santa had brought for everyone.....
Allie's stash......
She got a phone (gasp!), a charm bracelet with a ballet slipper charm, and Molly's polka dot dress......

Lillie's lot......
She got an I-pod, a charm bracelet with an owl charm and Olivia's house (Lego Friends)

Maggie's things.....
Marie Claire's bed, a charm bracelet with a cheerleader charm and Lego Friends cruise ship....

Brady's bunch of stuff.....
He got a remote control truck, an aircraft carrier and a Lego firestation

Maggie showing me her charm bracelet....

Lillie showing me her owl charm.

Brady showing us the belt that he got in his stocking.

The girls got American Girl shoes in their stockings.
Allie got Molly's saddle shoes....

 Though, she was most excited about the phone.  
Which came with a contract -- more on that later.

Santa always leaves a piece of fruit - this year it was an apple.
And Brady got a couple of small transformers...

After a bit, Brady and Ken tore into the boxes to check out Brady's aircraft carrier.

And a little later, Ken got to open his gifts and stocking.
The Appalachian hat and beef sticks were in the stocking.

Then everyone went off to play with their Lego's while I finished breakfast.
Nana and Grandpap came for breakfast.
We had our traditional breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls and breakfast casserole.
And Nana brought fresh fruit salad and chocolate milk for the kids.

After a nice breakfast it was time for more gifts!!

Lillie got more Lego's.
This time - Olivia's tree house.
She also got a cute shirt from Justice.

Brady got a storage box for all those lego's!! =)

Allie got Molly's lunchbox.
**American Girl is retiring Molly this year. So, Allie wanted all of her "stuff".  She got most of it.*

Maggie got a dress for one of her American girls - Josephina.  She also got Josephina's accessories.

Allie also got this cream from Bath and Body......

and a watch from Justice that she picked out.

Besides the lego storage bin, Brady got a remote control car and a set of walkie talkies.

It was a wonderful morning with Nana and Grandpap. 
And after all the gifts and some time visiting, they went home for the afternoon.
I had begun getting a cold the day before and was feeling pretty rotten after they left.
I was running a bit of a fever and was achy so I spent the rest of Christmas Day in the bed.
I felt terrible that I wasn't spending the day with the kids, but they were having too much fun putting together Lego sets and running remote control vehicles to notice......I hope.
Christmas Day was the first of our Christmas celebrations.
I have two more to post about in the next few days and  two more to come......
one tomorrow and one in a couple of weeks when my Dad gets to visit.

Aside from being sick, it was a wonderful Christmas Day. 
I am desperately trying to soak up all the time I have while I still have children.
Allie is 12 already -- in that age range where she is stuck between being a child and being a teenager.....
Maggie and Lillie aren't far behind.
I am trying to soak them up.
Sometimes, I look back at the time when they were all small and it seems a big blur.
That hurts my heart.
I want to remember it all and appreciate it all.
There is so much to still to teach them and time to just spend with them still......
Lord, help me do it all.......

More to come on our Christmas time celebrations tomorrow.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Instagram Life 12.29.13

It's Insta Friday on Sunday afternoon this week folks.
Just because I want to remember the little moments I've taken snapshots of this week.
This will be short and sweet as we are still enjoying our Christmas vacation, but I will be back soon to share all the Christmas fun!!

I usually link up at Life Rearranged  when I do these InstaFriday posts, but she's taking a break this week -- so really this is just my phone photo dump. =)

These two have started sending me selfies lately.  
I really do love this picture. I know that before long sending Mom selfies will be the last thing they want to do.  Gosh, I'm praying for the upcoming teenage years for them.
That they will allow me to guide them through and that they will listen to God through it all.......

On Monday - 12.23.13 -- our friends Jenny and Tripp came to see us. 
They are the best. We all love them dearly.  They played with my kids for a couple of hours and I was able to get some last minute Christmas stuff done, and then we went out to supper for my birthday which was the next day.
I was so glad that they got to go with us.
Ken had us stand by the lamppost to take our picture.
We felt very Narnia"ish" this is us saying "FOR NARNIA!!"

I spent Christmas Eve running one last Christmas errand and then attending two of our three Christmas Eve Services.
I love the candlelight and communion we have at our Christmas Eve services.
And Ken delivered a wonderful message!!
I've heard some say they don't know why we have a "sermon" on Christmas Eve.
It's because people need the Lord.  
And there are many people who only attend church on Christmas Eve.
The story of the Light overcoming Darkness needs to be shared on this night possibly more than any other......

Christmas Day.
3 out of 4 of our kids got a new Lego set for Christmas.
It was a lego explosion!! 

On Thursday, 12.26.13, we drove up to my Father In Law's home.
We shared a wonderful lunch with he, his wife and hubby's 97 year old grandmother.
We exchanged gifts and spent quality time together.
This was the sunset on the farm that night.......

This was the awesome gift I got from them.
I LOVE it.
It is a plate I saw in Swoozie's a few months ago.
That Christmas tree Velcros on and there are other holiday icons to get and use throughout the year.
Happy Everything!!

On Friday, (12.27.13) I got to go get my hair done!  
That is one of my favorite things to do.......
It is so relaxing to me!!

Also, on Friday, my Mom and step-dad came to town to celebrate Christmas with us.
I made Bourbon Balls for my step-dad. He loves them.

My brother bought Brady a BB gun for Christmas.
On Saturday morning, (12.28.13),  he went outside with his Daddy and Granddaddy to shoot it.  
I cannot look at him shooting with out hearing 
"You'll shoot your eye out.....You'll shoot your eye out....."
I am a product of the 80's.....

Yesterday afternoon, we all went to the movies.
Afterward, we went to one of our favorite local Italian Restaurants for supper and then on to the Sweet Frog to have frozen yogurt.
It was an early treat for Lillie's upcoming birthday as Grammy and Granddaddy won't be here for that.
They wanted to do something special.
It was our first visit to Sweet Frog.
I had no idea it was a Christian company.
We all loved it.

Grammy and Granddaddy left this morning and we went to church.
We are just hanging out this afternoon for a while.
This week we will be visiting some friends and having some quiet family times as we ring in the New Year and resuming school on Thursday.

Hope you are all enjoying this Christmastime Sunday.
I will be back to share all of our Christmas fun soon!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Welcome Holy Child!

You've been promised,
We've been waiting....

Long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home......

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking heaven's silence
Welcome to our World!

Wrap our injured flesh around you
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect son of God!!!

Hope you are having a very Merry Christmas celebrating the Holy Child!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

When we went to Georgia for Thanksgiving, my sister asked me to bring my camera and take some pics of her boys for her.
I do not even pretend to be professional but a good camera goes a long way.
SO, we worked really hard to get some pictures.

This is my favorite of my nephews.
Aren't they cute?

My favorite of my kiddo's on this stairs at my Mom's house.

Then we TRIED to get some of the 6 of them together......

We then headed outside.
My posers had a great time.....

We thought we'd try all 6 kids didn't go very well either.....

SO, we tried the "walking" pics.....

I did like these.....

And Morgan, my sister's dog, jumped in, too....

The twins had had it.
SO, I tried to get a jumping picture of my kids.....

I always love the looks on their

Last year, I saw this funny card about a silent night and worked to recreate it.
Before anyone gets upset, my kids really aren't tied into those lights.....they could've stepped out.

I really like this one, even though I didn't use it on the card --
Brady is pulling the lightly placed tape (because I didn't want it to hurt when we pulled it off) 
and Lillie has her mouth open and she is talking under the tape. 
Just look how mischievous they look....

Here is the final version of our Christmas Card.....
I hope everyone get's the joke. =)
My kids are at ages where they argue and fuss and fight a LOT.
So, for a silent night....this would need to happen. ;)  

The back.......

I have to admit that getting pictures this year wasn't as stressful as it has been in the past.  
The kids were up for our funny card and we did that part in about 5 shots one evening.  

It is Christmas Eve  as I write this blog post.  If your Christmas Eve is anything like mine, it is FULL of things to get done.  I am headed down to get some exercise now (not as much as I would like because of time constraints -- but at least I will get some today) and then to get started on my endless to -do list which includes going out (GROAN) to get some last minute stocking stuffers, preparing for our breakfast in the morning ( making homemade cinnamon rolls and a breakfast casserole so that all I have to do is bake them in the morning), wrapping gifts, and much more.  Then, our church will have 3 Christmas Eve services tonight. Hubs, of course, will be leading the last two and will be part of the first.  The kids and I will  attend the first two.......I love Christmas Eve services.  
Christmas Eve has always been special to me. 
It is my birthday.  
Today is my 40th birthday.
And what better way to spend my birthday than celebrating the one who gave me life
 (in more than one way)!!

Happy Christmas Eve, friends!!  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Advent Wishes.....

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
 And ransom captive Israel, 
That mourns in lonely exile here 
Until the Son of God appear. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

. O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, 
Who orderest all things mightily;
 To us the path of knowledge show
, And teach us in her ways to go. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

  O come, Thou Rod of Jesse,
 free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny; 
From depths of hell Thy people save,
 And give them victory over the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

 O come, Thou Day-spring, 
come and cheer 
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
 Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
 And death’s dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

. O come, Thou Key of David,
 come, And open wide our heavenly home;
 Make safe the way that leads on high, 
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, O come, great Lord of might, 
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height 
In ancient times once gave the law 
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

 O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree, 
An ensign of Thy people be; 
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
 All peoples on Thy mercy call.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!

  O come, Desire of nations,
 bind In one the hearts of all mankind;
 Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
 And be Thyself our King of Peace. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!