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Christmas Happenings

December 22, 2013

Just a few things going on in our lives these last weeks. Getting ready for Christmas is a special time and one that brings me much joy. It’s been busier this year than ever before I think. Bittersweet for sure.

The house is ready. Consider this a little tour of our home this season. Thanks Mary for the invitation.

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The platter was a Christmas gift from a former employer and the candle holders are glass vases thrifted and then covered with double stick tape and sheer(ish) fabric. I love them and have used them off and on for many years.

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The kids’ stockings were made by my mother. The basket of books are some of our favorites but a small selection of the entire Christmas collection housed upstairs. The lanterns are a special request from my husband….he loves lanterns. The framed picture is a quick little design made digitally and printed at Sam’s Club.

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These little goodies sit in my kitchen windowsill and were a gift from my mother in honor of our beloved CFA. The kids were in the local parade riding on the CFA float a few years ago. She started this collection for us then.

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I’m thankful mom is in town…it means a bit more greenery in my house.

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Our advent wreath is never the same. I spend the first half of every year scouting out the upcoming season’s candles. We light them at dinner and eat by candlelight, each week eating with more and more light.

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The mirror hung in my Grandmother’s house while I was growing up. I loved that house. I loved that woman. The gingerbread people are Lenox and a gift from treasured friends. The same friends that gifted me the nativity scene above the piano.  I love them and I treasure that nativity! It really is gorgeous. My dear husband always sets it up for me taking a picture of each layer as it comes out of the packaging so that he can put it back together after Christmas. The piano is a family heirloom passed down from my Great-Great Grandparents. Stamped early 1900.

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The books on the shelf are our Christmas photo books made with Heritage Makers over the years and some of the kids’ seasonal artwork.

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We opted to use our pre-children, in the apartment, newly married Christmas tree that sits nicely on top of our coffee table. It’s also anchored easily to the stair rails, and more-or-less out of the baby’s reach. The kids were afraid that meant there wouldn’t be presents under it on Christmas morning. I assured them that there was indeed plenty of space for that! Afterall, they could be placed under the table also.

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A little Christmas movie watching is always in order. Our favorites are White Christmas, Elf, Prep & Landing, Polar Express, Grinch (old & new), The Holiday, and Miracle on 34th Street. They claim it’s not Christmas until we’ve watched all of them.

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The Lego calendar is always a nice fun, kid-version to a countdown. This year, the kids opted for the Friends version as we’d never done that one. Sadly, I think this might be the last year as they are sort of lamenting the ease of its construction. Oh well, a few more years and the younger girls will be opening their own calendar doors.

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Over the years I’ve come to find a few different lego minifigs laying in the manger. I guess it doesn’t matter which child, it just has something to do with that empty manger just begging to be filled. This year, it’s Clare who has filled the manger prematurely.

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Katie’s Parish School of Religion (PSR) class put together an Advent service for the younger grades. I was so proud of her to read the first reading. It was such a surprise when I arrived with my class for the service. Beautiful addition to our celebrations.

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There are of course Christmas letters to write and send. Katie was determined to mail hers this year instead of leaving it for him on Christmas Eve night.

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Our memory foam topper is so fantastic that oftentimes, Clare can snuggle into our bed between Nate & I won’t even know she’s there. For some reason, she has been sneaking in to our room more than usual. It’s bittersweet as our big kids don’t do that anymore for any occasion. She’s terrible to sleep with though.

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This one is a serious joy…all the time.

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Aunt Jenny is making room for new toys and purging the ones Julius has outgrown. Our kids are delighted!!

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Aren’t they cute??

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These babies make life busy and oh so wonderful!

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She’s 10 months old already!!

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Of course there is always reason to be in the kitchen this season. I love it!

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Admittedly, this momma hasn’t been so much on the Trim Healthy Mama plan. Guess I’ll have to shoot for another 20lbs lost AFTER the holidays.

Michael hasn’t yet written his letter but we think he’s asking for a gun or a surprise. I think it was around this age that Katie asked for a surprise also.

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Sweet girl isn’t too big yet.

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Once we gave up coaxing her to climb onto his lap, we got ready to leave and she declares it was her turn. Okay then.

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Such fascination.

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And she does play with her own toys sometimes. I’m claiming Christmas Pandora radio success. She played all morning (and subsequent mornings) to the Roku background Christmas tunes.

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We’ve had a repeat month of rain. It seemed to have rained all summer, and this Advent has been no exception to that. Katie is enamored though with the photographic raindrops.

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Katie’s awards ceremony was this week. Thanks to her homeschool curriculum and her overachieving hobbies, she was able to earn this round of badges quite easily. It’s a great troop and a nice opportunity for her.

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We are also happy to announce publicly that Nate starts a new job January 6th. The kids & I delivered Christmas goodies and said some goodbyes. Nate has been with UAI for just a few weeks shy of 14 years. The new opportunity is a great one and brings us hope that he’ll be available to the family more than these past two years have afforded. God is good and the new ventures are already a great blessing!

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His Christmas party this year was an opportunity to us to celebrate together. Normally, it’s an employees only event. New dress. Up do compliments of my sister and makeup from one of her friends at the salon. It was a fun night. (Sadly, the pics of us together, were blurry.)

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Thanks Michael for being my photographer.

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Papa has arrived for the Christmas celebrations. God willing he will be here soon permanently with a job in Atlanta.

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Thank goodness we were headed home before the water puddle was found. No reason not to stomp all through it. We so love “Open Play” as our kids refer to it.

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It’s tradition. This year, it was a carriage ride with Grana & Papa. Sweet and free at our local outdoor shopping plaza.

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Daddy’s birthday was 4 days ago and was simply begging to be celebrated again. Katie made him a chocolate sour cream cake – his favorite! He’d never had it though with purple icing and marshmallows flowers on top. She still dreams of having her own bakery when she’s older. We pray that dreams comes true!

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I used to play catch with dad for hours growing up. Michael and him played in October for a bit and Papa commented that a bucket of balls, some soda and sweet tarts would make it even better. Michael never forgot and asked if we could do that for his birthday. Sure buddy. I think there’s a next generation of catch players for sure!

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Hope you get some time of peace in these remaining days leading to Christmas. We’ve enjoyed some games & crafting and more are to come.

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We’ll unplug on Christmas eve, but until then there are things to be done. Thank God for Amazon Prime and their free 2-day shipping. I’ve done almost all of our shopping online this year. It’s been a blessing!

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Happy Advent. It’s hard to believe it is already the 4th Sunday!

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