I had to run back in forth between the kids classrooms for their Christmas parties. Luckily their rooms are right across the hall from each other. Hayley was so excited about the Frosty the Snowman cupcakes that we brought in for her party I think she told everyone in the entire school about them. Luke made a gingerbread cookie and craft and exchanged gifts with his classmates. He loves his Hotwheels cars and has played with them every afternoon since he received them. We have had a great weekend cooking, playing, wrapping gifts, and watching movies. Now it is time to do laundry and get packed for our trip to Atlanta at the end of the week. Cannot wait!!
This past Wednesday was Parent Observation Day at Hayley's ballet class. What a hoot! She is quite the little performer. I would say for what her dancing lacks in gracefulness she makes up for 100 times with her silliness and smiles (I'm sure the grace will come with time)! I was so proud of her and very proud of Luke. He sat the entire 45 minutes watching his baby sister perform. Not one complaint or gripe. He was such a great big brother and even told her she did a good job once she was done.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating with our neighbors. The food was great and plentiful. The kids had a great time playing together and the adults got to sit and chat at the grown ups table! After dinner, the Wii playing was on! So thankful for our new friends.
Such a small little word with such huge meaning. This time of year brings such JOY to my heart in so many wonderful ways. Anyone who knows me, knows that Christmas is my favorite holiday. I have such cherished memories from Christmas growing up. The day after Thanksgiving, our family always began the Christmas season by setting up our tree. It had colored lights and a star on top that would glow over the room as I would dance to Christmas music and force my poor brother to watch my performances. Bless him! Mom and Dad always had the house decorated beautifully with every inch of house having at least one Santa or snowman. Dad still makes a new Santa every year in his wood shop and I have many of his Santas covering my own house. Our house was always filled with the excitement, JOY and anticipation of Christmas, Santa coming, and celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. So back to JOY! Where does my JOY come from? I have been asked this question a handful of times over the past few years. JOY is a word I would use to describe how I felt when Chris asked me to marry him over 10 years ago. It is a feeling that I had when we moved into our first home in Hawaii and sat on the cold tile floor because we had no furniture but we were together, laughing, and loving. JOY is what I felt when Chris came home from deployment the first, second, third and fourth time! JOY is when I sat down on the bed and told Chris that we were going to have a baby! JOY is when I was able to hold Luke for the first time and kiss him and tell him that I was his Mommy. JOY is the moment the doctors told us that Luke was not going to have major surgery! JOY is lying on the table at the doctor's office and the ultrasound tech telling us "It's a girl!" JOY is bringing Hayley home from the hospital and introducing her to Luke for the first time. JOY is when Chris leaves me a note on the counter telling me just how much he loves me, after all this time. JOY is watching my parents and Chris's parents with my children and the special bond they have together. All of this is JOY, but it is not the source of my JOY! Jesus is the only true JOY. He is who sustains me even when life doesn't look like what the world tells us JOY should be. I was taking a Beth Moore Bible study years ago and a comment she made about JOY has stuck with me. She said that if we look to people for our JOY, they will fall short somewhere. We are all sinners and make mistakes, and if we count on our husband, wife, children, mother, father, sisters, brothers, friends......we will be disappointed at some point. But when we find our JOY in Jesus, the only One who is perfect and always faithful, we will never be let down. It doesn't mean that bumps and bruises in life won't happen, but Jesus will be there to help us pick up the pieces. Jesus is our ice cream sundae and all the blessings He gives to us (family and friends) are just the sprinkles on top! JOY to the world the LORD is come! Let us remember where our joy comes from this Christmas season.
But the angels said to them, "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great JOY that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2: 10-11
Thanksgiving celebrations are well underway, and we are all getting excited about the actual family feast tomorrow. I should actually be in the kitchen preparing food for tomorrow, but I just couldn't wait to write about the kids' festivities at school. Hayley's party was yesterday and we had such fun. She made a turkey craft, had snacks, played games and listened to stories. She and her buddy Jack were in matching outfits (so cute). Hayley's teacher said it is quite comical because almost everyday Hayley and Jack are in matching colors. I always have such a good time watching Hayley in the classroom. She is such an attentive listener and loves to participate. If it involves getting some attention, she is first in line. My little baby girl is getting so grown up! Luke had his feast and Thanksgiving play today. He made an adorable turkey in the play that his class performed with the Kindergarten class. They did some finger plays and songs and then on to the feast. Luke is always so happy when I am able to come and see him at school. His little face just lights up. I am so thankful that I am able to be so involved and participate in all the fun activities. We feasted on turkey sandwiches, fruit kabobs, trail mix, pumpkin pie, popcorn and apple juice. Of course, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon all the blessings God has so graciously given to us. I am overwhelmed with joy at all there is to thank God for these days. Chris, my best friend and love of my life, is home to celebrate with us for the first time in two years!!!! WooHoo! My knee getting stronger and feeling better everyday, my loving and hilarious children, wonderful family, friends who are like family, the list could go on for days. My heart is also burdened for those who are going through trials at this time, much as I was this time last year. A dear friend from high school is battling stage 4 melanoma. God puts he and his wife on my mind constantly and my prayers are unceasing for strength and complete healing. Please visit their website http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mikesweeney. Their lifesong is shouting for our Lord and Savior, Jesus, even in all of the ups and downs of Mike's battle with this awful disease. I am thankful for their courage and testimony during this storm, and I ask that you would all please pray for them.
Both kids are home with me today. Hayley has been running a fever for the past 24 hours and poor Luke has a terrible stuffy nose. Tis the season, right? I hate it when they are sick, but I love the slow pace and the cuddles of sick days. We are currently watching Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo is next on the list (my favorite). It is a mean 30 something degrees outside and not supposed to get over 45 today. Wrapped in blankets, lying in our pjs, and watching movies is exactly where I want to be on a cold day like today. BRRRRRRRR
Angie over at Bring the Rain posted the most wonderful idea. She has listed scripture that she is praying over her children seven times a day. She has specific scripture for different times of the day such as in the morning, leaving the house, bath time, etc.... She has asked for others to join her. What an awesome way to spend a few moments with your children. Enjoy.
What a historic day. I know that many of you are praying for this great nation of ours and for the new leader that will be elected today. The LPM blog (Beth Moore's blog), listed under Blogs I Read, has wonderful scripture posted that definitely encouraged me today. Go check it out and lets be a part of the Great Commission, helping to lead the lost to become Citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Happy Halloween! What a great time we had this year. Chris has not been home to celebrate Halloween in the past two years so we made the most of every moment this year. Our first experience with pumpkin carving went well. Chris and I helped them both decided on a face and then cleaned the pumpkins out. Hayley was not about to get her hands slimy so she let me do all the work. Luke pulled out some of the seeds, but let Chris finish the rest. When all the carving was done, Hayley spent about 10 minutes wiping her jack-o-lantern down with a wet paper towel. She is a cleaner like her Momma! Luke just wanted to sit with his in the bathroom where it was good and dark. We let him put a flashlight in it and watch it GLOW!! Luke was SOOOO excited about his Halloween party at school on Friday that he was up at 5:15am ready to go! Good grief! I was able to go to his party and had a great time watching him with his friends. By the end of the school day, this big guy was ready to CRASH due to the early wake up call. He slept for 2 hour in the afternoon. I was very thankful that he slept so he would make it through all the trick or treating activities. After dinner, Super Why and Snow White were dressed and ready to hit the pavement on their quest for candy, candy, and more CANDY!!!! We went trick-or-treating with our neighbors and had a great time. Luke ran so fast from door to door we thought that we would be done in about 5 minutes. There was an eventual slow down and we finished T or T in about an hour. Our mission was successful and we retreated home to check out just what kind of candy they had gathered. Chris and I let them dig in and have about 3 or 4 pieces each. The sugar rush that followed was quite entertaining! I did catch most of it on video to show to their friends at a later date!! He he! I learned that we are going to have to keep an eye on our little princess as far as the candy goes. She has a sweet tooth like me and tried with much flair to get more than the 3 to 4 pieces that we allowed. I'm on to you, little girl!
I am a wife to one of The Few and the Proud, he loves his country and happens to be the most amazing man who loves me unconditionally and is truly my hero; a homeschooling mama to 3 wonderful children that make me smile everyday, and a Christian trying to live my life for the Lord. Though I fall and stumble in my walk with Christ, I live in His undying grace and mercy. He has blessed our family beyond my wildest dreams and I cannot praise His name enough.
After reading many of my friends' blogs, I thought this would be a great way to keep friends and family up on what our gang is doing! Let me know if you stop by and see us.