...will be dusting all the tree ornaments before storing them for the year! I guess that's what happens when you live in a city surrounded on all sides by plowed up fields. But I wasn't expecting the inch of dust that had built up on all the Christmas decorations in less than one month!
Lubbock is indeed dry and dusty. Really dusty. But I still love it here! We had a great first holiday season "staying home" instead of "going home". Christmas 2007 was chock-full-o-memories. Looking forward to next year!
I was given some gift certificates to clothing stores as Christmas gifts, so I get to do some clothes shopping in the near future. It's high time! My closet has been suffering for a few months now.
This is always the great debate:
Lauryn got a haircut today. Just a trim. She started screaming "NO HAIRCUT!" from the minute we walked in the salon. She continued to scream without so much as a 5 second pause during the entire haircut. Even a lollipop in each hand could not silence her. However, she was screaming while remaining perfectly and absolutely still. Not even a slight twitch of the head. A statue. So the screaming really didn't bother me! I did feel kinda sorry for the other people in the salon. Luckily our stylist worked quickly, and appeared completely un-phased by Lauryn's loud protesting.
A rare and beautiful happening: My children have clean and orderly toy boxes and closets, with even a little space to spare. The "space to spare" was my goal in this endeavor, since Papaw and Mo are arriving from Oklahoma today, bringing with them lots of love in the form of hugs, kisses, and of course tons of Christmas gifts.
So in preparation, I boxed up clothes that don't fit, and bagged up toys the kids no longer play with. (Shhhh...that bag full of toys had to be carried out quietly in the dead of the night.)
Does anyone else get a little neurotic after cleaning and organizing kids' toys?
"Don't put the legos in the megablock container!"...."That piece of train track goes with the green train set, not the Thomas train set!".... "Okay, are you finished playing tea? We need to color code the dishes before putting them away."...."Can you please put the books on the bookshelf facing spine out, according to height?"
I know for some people being this organized is a way of life. I however was not made this way. Usually after about a week of stressing myself out, I decide I should just let them play with the toys however they want to, let them do the best they can at keeping them semi-organized, and then I just dive back into the toy choas about every two months to re-organize it all. We all seem much happier that way.
Jonathan and I have a deep and abiding love for his brother Michael, and Michael's wife Stephanie. However, after the boys opened their Christmas present from them today, I question whether or not they feel the same about us.
(Just kidding Michael and Stephanie. We know you love us, and the drumset is very cool. I plan to introduce the boys to the music of some garage bands, to convince them how cool it is to play IN THE GARAGE.)
As I left to do some last minute Christmas Shopping Last Night, Jonathan says:
"Be careful. Make sure you have your phone and I'll call and check on you in a while. It's Christmas. People are angry."
Sad, but true! I saw many scowls and few smiles at the local mall [warzone]. But my Christmas Spirit will not be snuffed out! I smiled, opened doors for people, said please and thank you, and was just cheerful enough to irritate the Scrooges.
We got a surprise Christmas package in the mail today from some dear friends of ours in Tulsa. Among other goodies was a book:
This is a must read, regardless of your age or whether or not you have children. I have been moved by many books....but never so deeply in so few pages. Yes indeed, a tale of two pigs named Sidney and Norman moved me.
I am not overstating how much this little book inspired and challenged me. Read it.
(If you've already read it, I'd love to hear your comments. Are you a Sidney? A Norman? Both?)
I make these Sugared Pecans every year at Christmastime. They are made with cinnamon and allspice and make the house smell awesome.
The recipe was originally from my Grandma JoAnn. She passed away in December of 1998, the first year Jonathan and I were married. Making the pecans is always a nice time of reflection and remembering.
Last Thursday evening, Dylan and Lauryn participated in a Christmas Program with their Parent's Day Out Program. Anytime I attend a program with children age four and under, I expect hilarity to ensue. I was not disappointed. My mom was at the program with us, and we spent the entire time unsuccessfully holding in our laughter until Jonathan finally shoosh-ed us. Just the variety of some kids looking completely spaced out, some looking terrified, some picking their nose or doing similar things to embarrass their parents, and some singing their little hearts out struck us as funny.
Dylan did an awesome job. My mom reminded me that last year when we were watching Ryan's preschool program I said, "Dylan is way too shy. I don't think there is any way he'll ever go up on stage in front of this many people. Not even a year from now." I was happily proven wrong! He marched out on stage by himself wearing a crown for his part in the Nativity Story, and sang along with all the songs. What a big guy.
Ryan last night:
On Thursday this week, my mom arrived in Lubbock for a quick Christmas visit. She had to head back to Arkansas this afternoon, so we planned all weekend to let the kids open their gifts from her this morning before she had to leave for the airport. So we woke up bright and early ready to open gifts, and lo and behold, when we peeked out the window - SNOW! So, we had a "White Christmas" for our "Granny Christmas"! Fun, fun, fun. Only about an inch, and it melted by lunch, but it was fun while it lasted. And great timing!
Dylan had been given a bite size Hershey's chocolate bar. He likes chocolate so this was a treat. He bit it in half and said "Here Mom, you can have the other bite." My first thought wasn't "Oh, how sweet that he's sharing!", my first thought was "How could any child of mine have the self-control to only eat half a bite size chocolate? Was there a mix up at the hospital?"
I once had a roommate in college who would eat half a Snickers bar and leave the other half in the fridge. What?? It would last as long as it took for me to see that it was there and I would promptly eat it.
When I picked up Ryan from school this afternoon:
"Mom, today I invited all my friends to my birthday party. I'm going to have it at McDonald's."
"Um...Ryan...that's great but your birthday isn't until May."
"I just wanted to be sure they knew about it."
Tonight we made some Carmel Apple Cider, a huge hit with the kids. Ryan said he liked it better than hot chocolate, which is a rave review indeed.
I agreed to be a hostess on Friday at a "Grandparents' Coffee" at Ryan's school. Grandparents have been invited to come enjoy coffee and cider while they eat finger foods and listen to the kids sing Christmas songs.
In addition to welcoming the guests, I will be responsible for making sure the grandparents at my table have a full hot cup of coffee or cider. (I'm also supposed to wear a Christmas apron, but I don't own an apron of any variety. I'm working on borrowing one but I'm unsure which of my friends could possibly own a Christmas apron.) I am approaching this event with much fear and trembling. There is a reason I have never considered waitressing as a profession. I can barely walk across a room without tripping. I rarely pour myself a cup of coffee without dripping more than a few drops on the counter. I will be so pleased with myself if I get through the morning without scolding some sweet little Granny by splashing hot coffee in her lap.
Conversation between Ryan and Jonathan:
"Daddy, I heard some people singing "Merry Christmas, and bring me some piggy pudding!"
"I think it's 'figgy pudding' Ryan."
"Oh...well, if they're singing about pudding maybe they don't know that Jesus was born."
Ryan and I have been participating in our church Christmas program this week. Ryan is in the Bethlehem scene, and he enters the sanctuary directly in front of Mary and Joseph, with Mary entering riding a live donkey. Oh how I wish I had some video of Ryan's grand entrance. He takes about two hurried steps....looks behind him to see how close the donkey is....takes two more steps....looks behind him to see how close the donkey is...and on and on it goes until he reaches the stage. He has to turn his head almost completely around because he's wearing a typical shepherd boy costume, and the head covering cuts down his peripheral vision. No one else probably notices him, but to me it's high comedy because I know how cautious and somewhat wary he is of animals. I'm singing in an ensemble during his entrance, so I can't watch him for too long or I start to get tickled. Funny kid.
Lauryn is getting really good at aggravating Dylan. She seems to relish it a bit too much.
Dylan: Okay Lauryn, lets put your baby to bed. I'm the Daddy, you're the Mommy.
Lauryn: No! I'm the Daddy!
Dylan: No Lauryn, you can't be the Daddy...you're a girl.
Lauryn: I'm the Daddy.
Dylan: I'm. The. Daddy. You ARE A GIRL!
Lauryn: No. I'm the Daddy.
Dylan then runs off to his room, upset at his inability to convince her of her gender role. Lauryn watches him go, and grins. Grins a big, happy grin.
I admit I am the queen of buying generic products. There are some products I make an exception for and always buy the name brand, but if you look through my pantry probably 50% of the stuff in there is the store brand. (Sugar, flour, salt, chicken broth, crackers, etc....I always get the cheapie brand.) I'm not sure where I picked up this habit, since my mother has NEVER purchased a generic food product in her life. She's not a big spender or anything like that; I guess she's just convinced that if a can of corn cost .50 cents more it must taste .50 cents better. Maybe she's right.
Anyway, my frugality has not paid off this week. I picked up some RoseArt brand "washable" markers for the kids to use to make some homemade Christmas cards. I saved a whopping .75 cents over the Crayola brand. Washable? NOT SO MUCH. The kids got a few marks on the kitchen table, and every liquid cleaning product I had in the house was unsuccessful at washing it off. Luckily, I remembered a comment someone had left on this post, and tried a Magic Eraser. Whaddya know? It really is magic!
Green was the color of the offending marker. Lauryn got a bit expressive while decorating her Christmas tree!
If you subscribe to my blog through a feedreader, please re-subscribe. (I've changed my feed address.)
If the above sentence means nothing to you, then don't worry about it! (I am making this change under the tutelage of my husband, and don't even fully understand it myself.)
Jonathan is watching "Pardon the Interruption", a show on ESPN where these two guys argue with each over about sports topics I care little to nothing about. I express my displeasure in his choice of entertainment and he looks at me and calmly says:
"You watched a top 10 countdown of the best episodes of Masterpiece Theater on PBS last night. "
Guess he told me. (Although he only lasted about 2 minutes in the same room with me before my choice of viewing drove him to bed at 9:30.)
I've been a little bit under the weather health-wise. Nothing all that bad...just a cough and a touch of laryngitis. However, since I am participating in my church's Christmas Program this week, I went to the Dr. as soon as I started losing my voice. Normally, I would have just waited for the cough to pass and my voice to come back, but I need to be able to sing and say my lines by Thursday! So, the Dr. prescribed some medicine and I already feel better. I should be back full force by tomorrow.
I missed church and rehearsal for the program on Sunday because of not feeling well. Today, a friend of mine who is also singing in the program called to ask if she could bring my family dinner. Isn't that sweet? I had already thrown some stuff in the crock pot to make potato soup, so I had to graciously decline her offer, but I was so touched she thought of me.
The Lord is so good and faithful, and I am continually grateful to have friends who are a reflection of Him. For any of you who are going through a bit of loneliness or just wishing for closer friendships, continue to pray and ask the Lord! Early in my marriage, I went through a season of feeling like Jonathan was the only intimate friend I had (that wasn't miles and miles away), but now I see that God had me in that place for a reason. I was learning to trust Him and make Him my very best friend, the one I would turn to first in times of heartache or happiness. It was easier for me to pick up the phone and call a friend than hit my knees and call out to God. So I think for a season He just put me in a place where there was no one to call but Him. In His wisdom and love He helped me seek Him for my every need. At the time I was lonely, but now I'm grateful. And I feel like that time in my life helps remind me to be continually grateful for the awesome women of God I have met over the last months and years! (Geesh, this was just going to be a simple paragraph about a phone call from a friend....)
For the very first time in the history of my life I will not be in Sand Springs, OK on December 25th. Our family is staying in Lubbock through the holidays. To celebrate this momentous occasion of being in our own home for Christmas, we've been thinking of new traditions we want to start with our kids.
The Christmas Plate
Every night at dinner someone gets the special "Christmas plate." Everyone else in the family tells the lucky recipient reasons they are special and loved.
This will be the first time our family has celebrated Advent. I've learned in my online searches that there are several ways to create an Advent candleholder - we chose to go with three purple candles, one rose, and one white. Purple representing preparation, and rose representing joy. We will light the white candle on Christmas Eve in celebration of Jesus' birth! (Traditionally, the Advent candles are in an evergreen wreath, but I decided to just work with what I already had.) Tomorrow, Sunday, we'll light the first candle and read Isaiah 2:1-5.
This Nativity Calendar was a gift from Mo, and the kids have been looking forward to December 1st since she gave it to them at Thanksgiving. I let Lauryn move the first piece today. She placed the wise man very nicely. He's not upside down or even crooked. :-)