Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Yes, we made a gingerbread house. Yes, we will read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas tonight. And yes, the kids cannot wait to wake up in the morning and see what Santa brought them.

And yes, they do know the real meaning of the season. The only meaning.

We have many children's bibles on their shelves. Some were given at baby showers, some were given in Sunday school, and others have been gifts for various reasons. Our favorite has easily become The Jesus Storybook Bible. It was written by a woman named Sally Lloyd-Jones.

One of the main reasons Rob and I love to read it the most is that it makes God the hero of every story. So many times I think other bibles for kids make a person the hero. David was the hero when he defeated Goliath. Joseph was the hero when he intepreted the dreams. And so on and so forth. In this telling the author clearly makes God the hero in every story. And not just God. Jesus. From the first description of creation on the first page, Jesus is there.

She tells us from the very beginning that this is the greatest love story ever told. The story that at the center has a baby, the child upon whom everything would depend—Jesus, the only, real true Hero of the Bible.

We didn't time it this way, but Rob started with the kids about a month and a half ago at the beginning and last night we got to the birth of Jesus. On these pages, it seemed as if Lloyd-Jones was referencing Romans 8:19 and "all creation waits in eager expectation." That night in Bethlehem it did seem as if the stars shone brighter and the animals sensed the magnitude of what was occurring, that "all creation was longing."

Which brings us to now. Today. I feel more than ever a longing for the Christ's return. I feel that longing so intensely when I read of a gunman taking lives of first graders sitting innocecntly in their classroom. When I see a horrible cancer rob my little cousins of a chance to grow up with a mother who loved them more than life itself. When a young man I watched grow up decides to take his own life, I cry out to the Lord and beg Him to come again. We are waiting for you, Lord, and along with all of creation we are longing for your return.

That's what is so amazing about Christmas. Not only is it a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, but it is a time to remember that he will come again. That this world is not our home. We are stuck between the "already" and the "not yet". Jesus has already come. He has already defeated death, He has already won. And yet, we will not experience it in all its fullness until he comes again, or until we are released from our earthly shells. We already have every blessing that is given to us in Christ. And we wait in hopeful advent expectation for the day when we will see it fully realized. As the carol says, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," so too do we cry, "Come, Lord Jesus."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sights and Sounds

Just a few pictures from our December adventures that I need to post. The kids and I have loved going through the blog this year and looking at my December posts from previous years. I've realized this year more than ever what a wonderful scrapbook this blog has become. We can scroll down the sidebar and within seconds look at December 2009 and laugh at how bald Will was or how funny Mommy looked wearing the Elf hat. So before December wraps up here are some shots I want to post so we can look back one day and remember the wonderful adventures we had as a family.

 We went to a Holiday Lights Spectacular in Wicksburg, AL. It was honestly an amazing display. I was really impressed.

 Love, love, love this shot of Will hugging the guy in red.

 Roasting marshmellows. Is it me or is she looking more and more grown-up every day. Looking back over the old blog posts has shown that to me so clearly this past week. My baby girl.

 Writing letters to Santa.
 All Will's letter said was that he wanted a puppy dollhouse (?) and then he went on to express his feelings to Santa. Yup. That's my Will.
 Bennett's was methodical and detailed. Yup, that's my Bennett.
 We drove to Montgomery one weekend for the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree.
 My parents joined us for a very, ummm.... interesting parade. Let's just say high school cheerleaders have changed drastically since I was one. In terms of outfits and dance moves. Enough said.
 My Mom's side of the family met us down there. I absolutely love this group shot. I love my aunt, uncle, and cousin so very much.

My kids enjoying the parade with their 2nd cousin, Elijah Brooks.
The best cousin I could ever ask for. 5 1/2 months apart in age and best friends since the day I was born.

Sleeping in Heavenly peace

Lainey is wondering what she did to deserve such a fate as this.

Daddy's girl

My oldest.

My Middle

My youngest


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stone Mountain Christmas

We have really been missing Kansas City this Christmas. For the past three Christmases Rob and I would look at each other and say, "Hey, let's go down to Union Station to see the trains" or "Let's go look at the lights at the Plaza." We loved watching the ice skaters at the Crown Center, seeing the lights at Longview Lake, and going to Christmas Card Lane. And this was the year I was going to take Bennett to the Nutcracker Tea which is where they have a wonderfully elaborate tea for children with a shortened production of the Nutcracker performed by the Kansas City Ballet. Sigh....

So, anyway we decided to take a weekend and do something really special and fun since there wasn't as much to do here in Dothan. We found out that Stone Mountain (a park outside of Atlanta, Georgia) has an awesome setup at Christmas where they turn this village at the bottom of the mountain into a Christmas village. Really? Sign us up! The Websters were officially ready for a weekend getaway.

We got to the park and checked into our hotel, fed Lainey, and then headed straight out the door to find Christmas festivities. We had to stop to climb a tree first. Naturally.

And then we entered the gates. There's Stone Mountain (obviously) with this adorable village at the bottom.

We're here! Let the party begin!

We spent the first evening checking out everything. They were showing the Polar Express (a 20 minute version) in 4-D, there were fire roasting pits for S'mores, toy shops, other Christmas revue type shows, train rides, parades, and much more.

Mrs. Claus had a storytime at Gingerbread Village. Of course Bennett had to go up at the end to ask her questions. We call her our little Hermione Granger.

The train pulled into the station at this point and my son was in heaven!

 Here are me and my girls waiting for the parade to start.

 Then my buddy decided to join the shot. Have I mentioned lately how much I love these kids?

Let's have a parade!

Hmmm...this isn't the parade, but Rob took this shot and I thought it was pretty.

Maybe it's not Macy's, but we'll take it!

We stopped to check out an outdoor performance of A Christmas Carol. My kids were fascinated. I thought they might grow restless, but they loved it.

We then went to another theatre to see a show about how a bunch of toys saved Christmas.

Bennett has talked about it non-stop. I hope she loves theatre as much as I do. I think she's well on her way.

Enjoying another show with Daddy.

We then decided it was time to ride the train. This was my favorite thing of the day. They turn off all the lights and have a Christmas sing-a-long. I loved riding the train at night holding my kids and singing Christmas carols. Not to sound too completely cheesy, but it was magical.

 Me and Bennett watching the train pull up. Think she got her wavy hair from me? Nah.

Stopping for some hot chocolate after our train ride. Could this be any more beautiful?

Then it was getting late so we decided to head on out. We missed the fireworks and grand finale, but the kids were wiped. We stayed at Stone Mountain Inn on property so we walked back to our hotel and we actually caught the end of the fireworks show from the balcony of our room.

The next morning we had a fabulous breakfast in our hotel and then it was time to head to the top of the mountain. The kids were so excited to ride in their first cable car. 

 We made it to the top!

Hey! Three of us made it to the top.

Well, how about that? Our whole family made it! It was awesome walking out across the top of the mountain on a crisp winter morning. The mountain overlooks Atlanta and it is an absolutely beautiful view. I love this picture of my whole family together.

Heading back down.

 We headed back to the village and they have an awesome indoor playground called, "The Barn." It is a 4 level playhouse where you can shoot foam balls out of cannons on all levels. The kids could have stayed for hours. But Mom and Dad (and Lainey) were pretty spent by this point so we decided to head home.

Good-bye Stone Mountain. Thanks for an awesome weekend.

One final obligatory touristy shot.

And just to cap off our weekend perfectly, when we got home we discovered that people were caroling all throughout our neighborhood in horse drawn carriages. Of course they were. Perfect.

We may be living in a much smaller town than we were last year at this time, but we will find things to do! That is one thing we never have to worry about. What a great weekend spent with the people I love most. I am so thankful.