Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

This day needs NO words......

Monday, December 24, 2012


From our family to yours......

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Full Heart

For the past 7 Christmas's  my heart has had an empty place as we waited, not so patiently, for a child of ours that was across the world in China. Whether it was a specific child we were waiting for, or just a longing in my heart, a knowing, that we still had a child out there that belonged in our family....there was that hole. The hole always seemed bigger at Christmastime. This year, much to our families' delight I am sure, my heart feels full. Our littlest one is home. We are complete. (Please God tell me we ARE complete!?)

 As we are fast approaching our 1 year anniversary with Lulu, I recall last Christmas and the agony of NOT having her here with us. My heart hurt. Then on Christmas eve we received a surprise picture of her. A special gift from God!  He knew I needed that to get through the holiday without her. It made my Christmas! How blessed we are to have this little love bug home and in our arms this Christmas. She is pure joy and delight! Her zest for life has added new spark to our traditions and her cuteness doesn't hurt matters either! How I love this child!

The photo we received last Christmas eve...... I unsuccessfully attempted to dive through the computer screen to kiss those chubby cheeks.

And my baby you see the joy in her little soul? 

Merry 1st Christmas home little one! I love you so very much!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Christmas Tree Farm

It is a tradition. A fourteen year old tradition. I like tradition but I must say I like new things too. We no longer buy our tree here because the trees they sell don't hold the ornaments well. But we go for the experience. The tractor ride, the photo ops, hide and seek among the trees, and the goodies we must partake in. This year I wasn't quite in the mood for it. It was warm. It was drizzling. And I was in the mood for "new". But there was one member of our family who had not yet experienced Clarks Hill Tree Farm. So off we went. And it didn't take long for me to remember why we come here. The smiles below tell the story........

Friday, December 14, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

I realized I hadn't posted anything here since Thanksgiving! It is now Christmastime! I have been so busy. I do not wear "busy" as a badge of honor. I despise it! Somewhere our society has made busy something to strive for. You are viewed as a good parent if you have your kids doing activity after activity. After all, won't they miss out if we don't give them all these "opportunities"? What happened to kids just playing outside with neighbors. Or playing house or school? My good friend Sally commented once, "I remember being a kid and running out the back door to just play and hearing the screen door slam."Kids don't do that anymore. We shuttle them to and from one activity to another and feed them fast food along the way.We start this at the ripe old age of preschool. I even have family members who ask why I haven't signed my "Littles" up for some sport. Because they are 6! They need to play and pretend and ride their bikes and argue with one another and learn how to solve problems.

 What are we (Americans) doing? I ask myself this question. With 5 kids life is going to be busy. I get that. But when you can't even get a breath? Somethings gotta give! Some of the choices we have made need to be reexamined. My kids love sports. I love sports and I love watching my kids play sports. They are good at what they do what cost? And the volunteer things I take on may be good things what cost? I find myself making dinner most days at mid morning because the rest of the day is too full. (I refuse to eat out all the time) My friend Allison lives in Germany and I am so jealous. Their way of life is so different. They linger. They slow down and have long meals. They enjoy talking with friends and neighbors. Stores are closed on Sundays. Striving for the next level doesn't seem to be the driving factor of their lives. Enjoying life and its pleasures is what life is about there. I want to live there. Actually, I want to live in Lego village. We have a Christmas Lego village and we collect and set up each year. I want to live there. I want to stroll down the street and have a pastry at the bakery and a cup of coffee. I want to walk to the shops. I want to go to the town center and watch the Christmas tree lighting. Enjoying the blessings. My prayers have actually been to live in "Lego village"....seriously!!!! I am hoping if God moves us, He places us somewhere like that.

So I am doing some soul searching and praying for God to direct my/our paths for 2013. I want to linger. I want to have a long meal and share. I want to have long talks with my children. I want to read more than one short book to my kids at night. I want to sit by the fire and watch a movie once in a while. I want to be where God wants me/us to be. I don't think He wants "busy". How can we hear Him if we are so busy? How can we find the blessings He places in our lives if we are always running, and hurrying? As we all saw today with the school shooting, life is short and it can change in a blink.

Yes, I have found the time to squeeze in the Christmas stuff as these pictures show. But I don't want to squeeze it in......I want to soak it in and slow down.

She LOVED decorating....the same branch over and over...about 40 ornaments.

She loves her big brother!

These are her handmade ornaments, all on one branch...notice the pipe cleaners she laid on top of the branches

This is Lego dream residence

One of my Dad made him!

Our manger, also handmade by a local favorite artist

The stockings hung by the chimney with care.....thats a lot of stockings!!!! (the pets each have one too)

Coco is back and quite the clever elf!

The tree hunt

May you enjoy the simple blessings of this season and slow down enough to recognize them.