We have had the time to make the time for family.
We have always had a holiday tradition to set up the tree the Monday before Thanksgiving. This year we almost made it - we got it done on Tuesday. Rachel did get her's set up on Monday in Germany. For the record: I *loved* Rachel's tree in her little apartment!
This is the first year we have had a fireplace hearth to put the stockings on. Anna did not yet have a stocking. While we were preparing the hot chocolate, Daddy took her to the nearest yellow store (Dollar General) and let her pick out a stocking for herself. She was thrilled with the pink camo one. ( I was like huh? when she brought it home; and thought that Daddy was a better parent than me - because I would have tried to talk her out of that particular one...)
Right before Thanksgiving we had some snow fall from the sky for about 30 minutes. We have some pretty excited children. Perhaps the smile on her face captures how all of us were feeling while the white stuff was coming down. We miss the snow!
We spent the Thanksgiving holiday counting our blessings, eating a lot of food and spending time with our friend Julie. We loved having her with us for our special day! Thanksgiving just is not the same without friends to share the day!
Perhaps the thing that brought us together the most as a family this year was being able to be in the Christmas Cantata drama together as a family. We were able to play the part of a family who realized just how different life would be if Jesus had not come to earth as a baby to die for the sins of the world. It was so much fun being able to go over our lines night after night. (I will admit, however, that the last week I was getting tired of the same lines over and over again - but don't tell Rob, he was thoroughly enjoying every practice session we had!)
This is the first year in all of our years of homeschooling the children that I took off for an official Christmas break! It has been wonderful! One of the first things the boys did for their break was to slaughter five chickens that James was able to purchase from an area farmer. They learned a lot. I did my best to be supportive of this endevour; but I will admit that most of the day that day I spent indoors hoping that all was going well outside.
The church Christmas party was a wonderful blessing to me in so many ways. I can not even begin to express all that happened in my heart that night. God is good. We also had our annual "White Elephant" gift exchange. Everyone was so suprised when I stole a box of phones - old phones that no longer work. There was a method to my madness. I was babysitting the next day for the couple who works with the teens in the church. They were taking the teens on an activity and I was watching their little girl. Both her and Anna LOVE phones. Needless to say, the day was pretty easy. They played with those phones all day long. It was the best white elephant gift that I have ever brought home!
It was such a blessing being able to babysit that day. It brought back a lot of memoires from people who babysat for Rob and I when he was a youth pastor. Many many activities were made possible for me to attend because of babysitters! It has been many years ago; but I am still thankful for any of you who watched our little ones years ago.
We were able make ginger bread houses with the little kids. They loved it so much. It was a lot of fun. I think this will become a regular part of our holiday traditions in years to come.
We also were able to spend an afternoon making a variety of breads for neighbors and friends. It was fun working together and enjoying each others company.
We have had evenings spent playing games with the kids, watching holiday movies from our childhood and just making memories of our own. God is so good to give us the gift of family!
We trust you are enjoying your family this time of year. We sure are! We miss our Rachel who is not with us this year - and is in Germany; but we are so thankful for this opportunity for her. She is with us in our hearts and we look forward to talking to her on Christmas Day via Skype! We love you, Rachel! God is so good to all of us.
Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did!