Friday, December 26, 2008

December Daily: Day 24

Day 24

Christmas Eve
We spent our Christmas Eve
enjoying the amazing service at our church,
we love it and have only missed one in 7 years,
and then we went to a sweet friend's house for Christmas Dinner.
We had a delicious dinner, ate cheesecakes and coconut cream pie for dessert,
read a Christmas story to the children and opened a few gifts.
Seed catalogs were browsed through and ideas were swapped.
Hugs and kisses, and "to all a good night" were said.
I tucked ,y little family into bed and stayed up until
2am wrapping gifts. (Don't ever do that to yourself!)
That, in a nutshell, was our night.

But, I have a little story to tell.
We had never been to our friend's house before,
we have known them for several years
from the Bible study that we both went to,
but never had a reason to venture to each others homes.
Until this day.
As we were given the tour of the house,
little thing started catching my attention,
the bubble lights on the beautiful Christmas tree,
a very old space heater in the TV room,
a hand-embroidered tablecloth
purchased on a missions trip to the Phillipians,
the candle-lit Christmas nativity carousel on the piano,
and blue patterned china used dinner.
Just little things and seemingly insignificant to others,
but startlingly familiar to me
because my mother and my grandmother
had all of those same things in their homes as I was growing up.

The bubble lights on the giant Christmas tree on the farm in Kansas,
the space heater that we moved from room to room
with us to take the chill out of the air,
the hand-embroidered linens my grandmother
and mother had brought home
from their mission trip to the Phillipians,
the nativity that we would beg my Dad to light every evening and we would always watch with awe filled wonder. It was on of my favorite decorations.
The blue china that my mom only had a few pieces of
but had just enough for the five of us.

And I kept remarking on all of this to my friends, Mary and Debbi.
At the end of the evening,
I asked Mary for a glass to have a drink of water.
She pointed me to the cupboard and as I opened the door
I laughed as I pulled out a glass.
Because this glass was identical
to the ones my mother had while I was growing up.
And I said to Mary,
I'm sorry to keep saying this because it sounds so strange,
but my Mom has these glasses. I grew up drinking out of them.
Why does this keep happening tonight?"

And Debbi came over and put her arm around me,
and told me a little story about "hugs" from God.
And how sometimes when you just need a "hug"
God sends a little something your way that will
remind you of His love.
And these were all little reminders of His love
for me.

And I'm sure this all sounds ridiculous and strange to you,
but this Christmas was the 1st Christmas in my entire life
that I have spent away from my family.
Usually our home is full of family and merrymaking,
but this year it just didn't work out for everyone to come.
And even though I was "ok" with all of that
there was still a little bit of sadness and loneliness
from not having my extended family with me
during this Christmas holiday.
So to have all these little reminders, or hugs, if you will
was quite a little miracle just special for me.
A reminder of my mother's and grandmother's love
for me
and all the beautiful Christmas memories that I have
because of them and with them.
It was a blessing and truly, a hug to my heart.
And that is my little Christmas miracle story.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December Daily: Day 23

Day 23

While I was cleaning house and baking today,
Olivia decided to take some pictures around the house.
I love seeing things from her perspective.

In the evening some friends came over
and we had a lovely fire,

read the Christmas story,
watched The Polar Express
while drinking hot chocolate
(the grown-up's laced with coffee. Delicious! My new favorite.)

and eating gingerbread still warm from the oven
and topped with freshly whipped cream.

After that, the kids played upstairs
while the grown-up's played a few round of
"catch phrase."

It's wonderful to share the company of sweet friends
and enjoy good food and share lots of laughs.
It makes Christmas.
I have to wonder what each of us will remember from this night.

December Daily: Day 22

Day 22

Look who came to see us!


Rose was not sure what to think. :)

Some time was spent in the afternoon
shopping at Target for last minute
stocking stuffers.
Headache city.
Note to self:
Never ever ever do that again.
Begin shopping for them in January
and pick them up as you see them.
Because 2 days before Christmas will see you
desperately searching for things
that sold out 2 weeks ago.

In the evening we went over to our friends,
David and Debbie's,
and watched The Nativity with the kids.
We sat around and shared lasagna
and popcorn and tea and enjoyed the
1st night of Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December Daily: Day 21

Day 21

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

No thank you on the egg nog. I don't do raw eggs. Ever.
And I only drink hot chocolate once, maybe twice a year. And I'm good with that.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

We wrap all the presents except for one or two of the "big" gifts for that year.
Then we sneak down really early and position it right where we can get the perfect shot of the look of surprise and delight on the child's face. At least, that's how it's suppose to work. :)

Colored lights on tree/house or white?

I do all white lights on the tree and the house. I think it looks classic.
But I'm thinking about doing another tree upstairs, next year, that's all colored lights and multi-colored ornaments. Mike's really been hinting at some extra color lately. :)

Do you hang mistletoe?

Not since I've been married and have a baby. (poison mistletoe berries, anyone?) But, my mom and I did every year. I was always disappointed that the guy I had a crush on never came to the parties and caught me under the mistletoe. (silly teenage crushes) Come to think of it, I've never been kissed under the mistletoe. Hummmmm....might have to change that. :)

When do you put your decorations up?

Usually the 1st week of December or the week of Thanksgiving, depending on my mood. And the weather. And if we're traveling or having company.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

So hard to pick just one. I love the cranberry fluff and homemade noodles that my mother in-law fixes for Thanksgiving. I love the breads we make to give as gifts. I really like the sticky, gooey, sweet breakfast bread we make for every Christmas morning breakfast, every year that I can remember.

Favorite Holiday memory as a child:

My favorite memories always include lots of family. But, the most memorable one is the Christmas that I was 10 years old. My mom was pregnant, expecting her third baby. Her due date was December 22, but this baby seemed intent on staying put. We had a pleasant Christmas Eve, all of our small family over for dinner. My parents and I stayed up late putting my little brother's big Christmas gift together until about midnight. We finally went to sleep, never suspecting anything than a normal Christmas. We were all up early and enjoying opening our packages. My Mom mentioned to my Dad that she was having some contractions, but that wasn't really anything new. She had been having them for two weeks now. But, around the time that she put the turkey in the oven, she decided that this was it. She called the midwife, told her the contractions, and she told her to get to the hospital. Away went my brother to a family members house and we went to the hospital. Several hours later, at 5:30 pm, my baby sister, Violet, was born. It was an amazing experience for a 10 year old girl. And a wonderful Christmas gift. This has to be one of my most favorite Christmas memories.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I'm not sure I ever really believed in Santa. My parents always emphasized the birth of Jesus as being the real reason of Christmas, so Santa was kind of an after thought. I think I was about 6 when everything finally made sense and I was able to understand the "legend" or "myth" of Santa and comprehend the joy and wonder of Christ's birth. Now I'm happy to be able to share the true story of St. Nicholas with Olivia and see her understand what it's really all about. It's so cool to see your child "get it."

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

When I was a child, yes. As a grown-up, no. Now I let Olivia open one, which is usually a new Christmas book and a pair of Christmas pajamas.

How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

1st with hundreds of white lights. Then we put all of the glass Christmas balls on. When that's finished, we add our special ornaments that we've collected since being married, made or had given to us. Finally, Mike and Olivia put the tree topper on and it's all finished and time to take pictures.

Snow! Love it or Dread it?

I love it, once or twice a year. :) But, we only get snow down here, once every 7 years or so. Our best chance of snow is visiting family in OK at Thanksgiving and it's only happened once. But, growing up in the mountains of NC, we had snow some and it was the BEST. All of us bundled up and enjoying the snow. It was always something straight out of Amy Grant's "Tender Tennessee Christmas" song. The best memories.

Can you ice skate?

I've only been twice and the last time was 14 years ago. So, it's been awhile. :)

Do you remember your favorite gift?

The same Christmas that my little sister was born, I received a used band flute as a gift from my parents. The following year I began to take lessons. It has been a gift that has touch my life, because of the gift of music. I took flute lessons until I was 17 years old and hope to one day take them again. I think a gift of music, or the ability to make music, is a wonderful gift for any child.

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

Being with my family has always been the most important thing to me. This year, we aren't with any family except Mike, Olivia, Rose, and myself. But I've made peace with that and this year my most important thing has been a) making memories with my daughters, b) guarding my peace which I have done my imperfect best at, and c) celebrating and remembering that the whole reason we do this thing called "Christmas" is because of Christ.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

I love pies, so we do lots of them.
Gingerbread with fresh whipped cream is another love.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Christmas Eve service at our church is truly amazing and it just would not be Christmas without it.
Another thing I love is a small little thing with Olivia. For each weekend of the month of December (there are usually 4) I buy and wrap up one new Christmas book. And during the weekend some time, usually at bedtime, she get's to open one and we read that Christmas story that night. This year I did all nativity books and bought one that I had from when I was a little girl and read with my own mother. Sweet memories.

What tops your tree?

A big shiny silver star. Mike decreed our 1st Christmas that he wanted a star, not an angle on our tree. Me, traditionalist, had always had an angle growing up and wanted one, but I couldn't find any to fit my desires, so star it was and has been for 7 years now.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

I love to give gifts. Thinking and planning, searching out or making the perfect gift is so much fun for me. I do enjoy getting gifts, especially from certain people, but giving them is more fun for me.

What is your favorite Christmas Song?

"Love is a Christmas Rose" by Perry Como, "Go Tell It On the Mountain" by Jim Neighbors, "Come On Ring Those Bells" by Evie ?, Silent Night and so many others. I love Christmas music and drive my husband crazy with it. Each year I usually latch on to one or two CD's and play them constantly. This year is has been the "Celtic Women Christmas" CD and "Winter Wonderland" with Johnny Mathis record. (Yes, we still listen to records. It's actually our prefered method of Christmas music listening.)

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?

ummm, no. No thank you. I will use them to decorate gingerbread houses with, but I do not want to eat them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December Daily: Day 16,17, 18, 19, & 20

Day 20

Mike's first day of vacation!
We spent the day getting all the boxes off to the post office
and dropping off most of our cards.
Whew! That was down to the wire.

A few last minute gifts
and a trip to the grocery store
to stock up for the coming week.
More work on the "project"
homemade pizza and a movie
while I worked on some handmade gifts.

Day 19

So many presents to wrap
and so little time.
Olivia and I wrapped lots of gifts
and worked on Daddy's last Christmas gift.
I didn't realize until
an hour before Mike came home from work
that I had no more days left
in which to make this gift without him being home.
So hurry scurry around we did.
I'm still not sure about the outcome,
but we'll see.
In the evening we took Olivia over to a friend's house
and got busy at home working on her big Christmas gift.
We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves in the process. :)

Day 18

We spent the afternoon with friends
decorating a mess of
sugar cookies.
The kids finished theirs
and let us mommy's (and big sister)
finish the rest.

We listened to lots a Christmas music
and made our plans of celebration for the coming week.

This was also the night of our Domestic Bliss Christmas Chat. Lots of fun and giggling into the wee hours of the morning.

Day 17

Nature gives

to every


some beauties

of it’s own.

~ Charles Dickens

A busy day, full of friends, and cleaning, and trips to the park,

but nothing too blog worthy.

Day 16

One this Tuesday evening we went with some friends
to a "paint your own pottery" store.
We had lots of fun
and made some cute things.
Olivia painted an ornament and small plate
and I did the same.
They turned out adorable.
But, we decided after telling the kids
once to often to "sit down and don't touch anything"
that the next time we came
it would be a "mommy's night out."
Of course I forgot my camera,
so you will only see pictures of the finished pieces.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December Daily: Day 15

Day 15


I love the smell of:

the candles that Olivia insisted we light
all over the downstairs because
"today is a special day Mommy!"

I love the sound of:

the Christmas carols that play continuously
in our home

I love the taste of:

my morning yogurt, granola, and frozen strawberries

I love the sight of:

our Christmas tree lights glowing

I love the feel of:

my girls sitting on my lap
hugs and kisses
being loved

~inspiration from miss marta

Monday, December 15, 2008

December Daily: Day 14

Day 14

Now, while this picture was not taken on December 14th
I still have to share.
My dear mother in-law took our Christmas picture
for us again this year.
It was a very cold and rainy day
and very little cooperation from most parties present.
But we were persistent,
and it did pay off.
I finally chose this one to be the "it" picture.
It's cute and a tad nontraditional
and I definitely like nontraditional.

Thank you Candy!
They are all sweet and precious to me.
Even the "cowboy-face" ones. :)

We wish you all a Merry Christmas!

From Mike, Fairlight, Olivia, and Sadie~Rose

December Daily: Day 13

Day 13

We did some mailing and shopping,
took a few pictures of some friends for their Christmas card,
and then came home to work on
"Top Secret Project."
Oh. my. word.
Mike and I have never had so much fun.
And "it" is oh so adorable.
I will show pictures soon,
but my 5 year old looks at my blog daily.

Friday, December 12, 2008

December Daily: Day 12

Day 12

We had a nice breakfast of just us girls at Starbucks
We spent a lovely afternoon at the aquarium with a friend and three of her little ones.

We went Christmas shopping at Whole Foods.
And then a quick stop in at our local Quilt shop to shop their Christmas sale and finalize some details of a class demo that I will be teaching in January.

December Daily: Day 11

I love a good day, don't you?
A friend called in the morning, her little daughter craving some friend time,
and the rainy day just begging for an arts project.
So we wipe our day clean, laid some new plans, and had a delightful day - just because.
We made gum drop wreaths and had fun finishing the ends of them after the kids went off to play. Christmas music in the background, kids playing well, and Mom's getting time to just talk even though our hands were busy.

When Mike he burst in the door hollering for us to come outside, he wanted to show us something! We all ran out the door in to the sprinkling rain and we were met with sunshine and a double rainbow that stretched across our entire neighborhood.
The pictures could never do it justice.

The we pulled on our boots and grabbed a couple of jackets and the pruners, buckled the kids in the wagon and took off for the woods to find some greenery to finish decorating with. All was successful.

We came home and had dinner and sugar cookies fresh from the oven with just a bit of frosting.

A good day, yes, a good day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Are you feeling lucky?

Mrs. Gabrielle Blair, the mastermind and genius behind Design Mom,
is hosting an amazing giveaway
"12 Days of Christmas"
12 amazing giveaways on Friday, December 12th.
Make sure you head that way
because the sign-ups are only open till Monday.

I hear the prizes are going to be awesome!

edit: The prizes are awesome! Don't miss out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December Daily: Day 10

I totally forgot about it being 10 on 10
until 10 am this morning.
Even though it was written on my calender. :)
Enjoy this month's 10 on 10!

Miss Rose "helping" to pick up
the foam shapes mess she helped make.

Christmas packages and our 1st two
Christmas cards in the mail today!

this is how you make s'mores - Christmas style
get some grahams, some chocolate,
sprinkle on some Andes mint candies,

and add a marshmallow!

this is how you toast them,

doesn't it look yummy?

this is how you handle it!
( you don't get sticky!)

and this is how you eat it!

Olivia's very lovely silver tinsel tree with
turquoise mini balls and pink ric rac.
She's sleeping with it on. :)

new contacts for mommy

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

December Daily: Day 9

Olivia and I ran out of syrup for our french toast but decided that white chocolate chips and powdered sugar works beautifully in it's stead. :) Very festive looking too!

Forgive me for being so late on these posts, but I'm have a very uncooperative internet that keeps shuting down without any warning. Makes uploading pictures take 24 hours or so.

Anywho, I finished the decorating (mostly) and though to take a couple of pictures around the house.

For the last several years my grandmother has been buying me a nativity set, piece by piece. Last year she got me the last piece and I have to say that I love it so much.
It's very much the centerpiece around here.

My jingle bell tree and a lovely star made of chipboard, glitter, and sparkly stuff around the edges. My kind of stuff. :)

This is one of Sadie~Rose's latest obsessions. Wearing shoes on her hands. Anything from Olivia bright pink ballet shoes to Daddy's very heavy steeltoes. She wears them all.

Olivia was so tickled and pumped up on sugar. She is enjoying the book on the couch beside her. She has an amazing love for matryshkas. :)

An ornament for Rose from my mom last year when she was born.

Glass house from Germany.

I love these ornaments. They look so pretty nestled in the tree.

My mom found this sweet little girl a couple of years ago and it reminded her of Olivia. It's been on our tree every year since.

I put up the lights on our porch in the afternoon. It's not much, but it's still pretty.
See Olivia peeking out the door? It was raining and pitch black out so she had to check on me.

hi :)

A pretty silver dove. I'm loving birds on the tree this year. I've got a list of ones I want to sew and give as gifts and hang on trees.

Here's a little peak at the jingle bell wreath I made. It's so cute and makes the prettiest little ring when it's touched. We'll be making more of these.

And look look what I found last night! Prefect set, never taken out of the box Christmas village! And a wonderful price too! It's now mine and will be on it's way to me in a few days. The perfect start to a lovely Christmas tradition. I can't wait to set it up on the buffet complete with lights and paper snow.
Who says you can't have a white Christmas in the south?
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