1. I started a new job a few months ago. It is just a few hours a week, but I am the Arts and Enrichment teacher at Will's pre-school. Whoo-Hoo! We have been busy making crafts, going on nature walks, dancing our sillies out and re-creating Noah's Ark with sock puppets. I am loving it but this past week was our big Christmas program which I was in charge of so it has been kind of crazy lately. For the past 96 hours you could have found me wrangling cows and innkeepers and praying that Wise man #1 would stop pushing Shepherd #2 off of the church risers. But the program went off without a hitch (unless you count an angel with a bloody nose) and I was so proud of the kids.
2. It's Christmas!! Hooray for decked out halls, baked cookies and lots and lots of Christmas movies. We have done all of the annual things that most families do. This year has been especially fun because Bennett and Will are old enough to recognize ornaments on the tree from previous years and are begging me to bake the same things I did last year. I love the traditions we are building as a family. We have made gingerbread men, had a Grinch party, looked for lights and just spent a lot of time together as a family. Perfect.
3. Lots of parties. Lots and lots of parties. A piano recital party, a polar express pajama party, and Kindergarten party, a cookie decorating party, a pre-school party, a staff Christmas party, a Christmas dinner party, my moms group party, a Christmas tea, a neighborhood party..... and you know what? I love them all. I am glad they are winding down, but I love gathering together with friends and laughing while kids run around and Christmas music is playing. I just love it. I took this picture a few nights ago after a bunch of friends left my house. I was struck that normally a bunch of dirty dishes in my sink would be a chore, but I was so thrilled to have a home I could open up for my friends to enjoy and I was washing them I thought about how blessed I was.
4. Rainy wonderland. There is a town just a few miles from us that does an amazing lights display. They deck out this whole wooded park with hundreds of thousands of lights. They have train rides, hay rides, fire pits for roasting s'mores, visits with Santa, face painting, live music, etc... We went twice last year and loved it and the kids couldn't wait to go back. But guess what? It rained. A lot! We were all drenched. But we decided just to embrace it. We covered up Lainey's stroller and got her in a little building but we let Bennett and Will run over to a playground and I wish you all could have heard the squeals of laughter as they rode on a see-saw in the pouring rain with thousands of lights twinkling all around them. It was magical. And don't worry. We live in the South. It was a very warm rain on a not so cold night.
5. Conversation with Will a few days ago-
Will: Does Santa bring presents to adults?
Me: No. He puts a few things in their stockings but he only brings toys to boys and girls.
Will: So, Santa doesn't bring presents for adults?
Me: No, just for children.
Will: That's so sad. Adults only get bills.
That kid is wise beyond his years.
6. And it didn't feel like Christmas until we went to see Andrew Petersen's Behold the Lamb tour. When he first wrote Behold the Lamb it was because he wanted to go to a Christmas concert that didn't have Santa, Rudolph or a donkey in it. Everything was either secular or it had become too much like a pageant. I agree with everything and the music he wrote for this is the most moving and beautiful Christmas music I have ever heard. It begins with Moses and the Israelites longing for a Savior. There is a song where they are begging God to deliver them and it continues all the way to the birth of the Savior. If you ever have a chance to see this tour in person, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Plus Rob and I got to catch up with so many old friends. It was a wonderful evening that prepared my heart for Christmas.
Okay, here we go. Lots and lots of pics.
A shot of our house from the outside.
And a shot from the front porch. Come on in and warm yourself by the fire. Oh, wait. It's 73 degrees outside. Never mind. Come on in for a glass of sweet tea.
Making gingerbread men!
Rob with Andrew Petersen and our friend Patrick Quinn.
Standard "in front of the tree" shots that everyone has to do every year.
Oh, no. We're losing one! Baby down. I repeat, baby down.
Fine. We'll just stick with these two.
Riding a hayride all throughout the park. Notice the wet rain on the railing of the hayride? Yup, that was the kid of night we had.
Get the creepy old man away from me!!
But the 4 and year old know what's up. They want to stay on the good side of Saint Nick.
And there are always hugs for Rudolph.
We tried another picture with Santa a few nights later. Apparently he was sill creepy and old.
We live in an awesome neighborhood and every year our Homeowners association throws a Christmas party in our neighborhood park. How fun to see this coming down the street in front of our house. There were about 5 or 6 of them in a row. Our own little parade.
And then a concert with choirs singing songs in our park while the kids ran around and played and they served food out of airstream trailers. Ummmm.... how cool is that?
We watched the Grinch one night and so we made Grinch cookies, Grinch punch and Grinch kabobs. These are such simple things to do but it means so much to the kids. Will especially has talked about it all week.
Lainey is officially done with Christmas. She's the one that gets drug all over town shopping with me while the other two are in school. Sorry, bug-a-boo.
I snapped this shot of B one morning before church. I love it.
Will and his best friend Macy waiting patiently during rehearsals for our Christmas play.
I had to work late at the church one night and Lainey kept running all over the sanctuary. Thankfully I had a manger to keep her contained.
The awesome 3 and 4 year olds I have had the privilege of working with these past few months.
After the actual performance. Me and Rob with our favorite little innkeeper.
Mom and Dad drove from Montgomery to cheer Will on. He was so very happy to have his grandparents there.
We made gingerbread men like I showed earlier, but you have to make gingerbread houses too!
B's class party.
To celebrate our first day of winter break I took the girls out to Krispy Kreme.
Will wanted to sleep in and asked that we bring him donuts. So I did and served them to him on a tray while he watched a cartoon. Typical male.
My beautiful children.
We have had a lot of fun this month and we are looking forward to a wonderful weekend preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I hope you all are having a very Merry Christmas.