Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Joy

Our Jesus birthday cake.  Bread drenched with peanut butter and sprinkled with craisins.  I bet the little boy version of Jesus would have thought this was quite the interesting treat.  
It's a lovely thing that the days surrounding the shortest, darkest day of the year are the ones we've chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Christmas is a season filled with anticipation, busy preparation, celebration, togetherness and joy.  Here are a few of our favorite moments from our family Christmas celebrations this year.

my little niece anticipates opening a gift at a family gathering

I think she is a ninja twirly fairy.
The Little People Nativity fell over.  The angel is planking.
Christmas Eve:  "Santa" footprints in place, stockings filled.
I learned this trick in MOPS back when my bigs were littles.  You sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of a boot, then stamp the boot on the floor in footprints leading to your Christmas tree.  Santa has tracked in snow that will also deodorize and clean and sweeps up easily.  My kids all know the truth about Santa, but love to play!  Maia ran right through the footprint on Christmas morning, thus the barefoot footprint.

One of my presents.  
Probably my favorite gift of all time was the gift of my husband 14 years ago.  We weren't married at Christmas, but I celebrate the fact God gave him to me all the time.  


Trying her new makeup
Mirror reflection
Zoe, my nephew's doggy.

the obligatory crazy daddy face
All in the family.  My nephew pokes fun.
Our sleepy Koa, later that night.
Maia enjoys a little PBS kids down time on the computer.



Enjoying the last moments of Christmas

                                                                                                               

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

The Christmas Story in Luke, Chapter 2 in the Bible

I thought I'd share an excerpt from our family Christmas letter.  I left the newsy and personal section off, but this part is my favorite anyhow.  

Dear Friends and Family,

Usually I write our annual Christmas letter the week before Christmas. Instead, last week we grieved with the nation at the tragic loss of a first grade class at Sandy Hook elementary school. How could one possibly write of joy at a time of such heartache? I was reminded of Milton’s Paradise Lost and thought it was fitting for the mood of our country at this time. In this fictional poem, based on the Bible, the angel Michael recounts to Adam and Eve the story of Christ’s redemption: from the moment they must leave Eden, to Jesus’ birth and second coming. Adam’s reaction to this great story of redemption is as follows.

“Oh Goodness infinite, Goodness immense,
That all this good of evil shall produce,
And evil turn to good-- more wonderful
than that by which creation first brought forth
light out of darkness! 


And then in this new understanding of the way Christ would right all the wrong brought into the world by man’s turning, Adam and Eve make their way into the world God has prepared for them.

“Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon.
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
They hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.” 


Though we are saddened by the pain in this world, we are joyful in the hope and light that Jesus’ birth represents. We know that God intends to make all things right, and that we are a part of His greater story of redemption. When we live in this hope, we reflect the light of that very bright star on the first Christmas. We are encouraged to live each day looking for the many blessings and triumphs that surround us. We want to share the beauty we find in the tiny promise of a garden seed and the comfort found late at night as we hold our children close. It is in the small moments that the wonder and goodness in this life is found.

**************************************************


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thirty-four

My oldest daughter made me cake with fondant icing.
34 is an ordinary age.  When I had my birthday last month, I realized how happy I was to be turning this nondescript age.  I am maybe half way through my life, and my life has been very full thus far.  I have five children who span most of the ages of childhood.  They have taught me patience, perseverance and how to survive on very little sleep.  Being married for fourteen years has grown me in more ways than I every dreamed, teaching me to learn grace, kindness, perseverance and how to be so intimately connected to a person you don't know which thoughts are whose.  Thirty four is good, and I am thankful.

My second youngest made me a cake out of powdered sugar, raisins and honey.  It was actually edible.  

Saraiah made me a wand because it was my birthday, then hung it up as a decoration.
Another decoration
A card I received from Saraiah
Maia is giddy about the presents she has prepared for me

This is what I found inside: kidney beans, beads, garbanzo beans, a snowman ornament, a shoe and I think some keys.

Cakes at the family party for me, my brother and Brandon's grandma.  


The best tree yet!



We did our annual Christmas tree chopping ritual in late November this year.  I'm pretty sure it was one of the last clear days we have had since then.  It's been wet and pretty dreary all of December, but on that day, the rain drops were fresh on the grass, mushrooms were out and the sky was blue.  We were able to get a family Christmas picture in which no one was making a grimace.  Everyone was very glad with the tree we found and the warm hot chocolate we later enjoyed.  As we decorated the tree that evening, we declared it the best one yet.  





Taken by my wonderful sister in law, Emma in our pasture.  We didn't expect sun and shadows on this day!  The story to this is pretty funny. We couldn't get this picture taken until we made the alpaca cush.  She kept trying to jump on my brother, who was behind the camera.  This of course was very distracting.
Another sweet picture of the family taken near our creek by my sister in la,  Emma.  It was hard to choose!  Levi was having a hard time being cheerful, so we hoped for another picture.

Cousins at the tree farm.

My niece!

Jeanette and Isaac. She's been my friend for something like 23 years.  That makes me feel very old.
Loooooveee the cousin!!!

This is the picture we finally chose for our Christmas card.  My brother took it right when we were about to cut our tree.







Story of my life:  2 little girls always by my side = happiness.
Thumbs up!
Returning the saws and heading home.