Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas with the Welches

The day after Christmas, Damon's mom and dad came up from Texas to deliver us a couch for the new house. Then we all headed out towards Nashville to have Christmas with the family. Our kids were so excited and ready for a great time with their cousins. I believe we can say a great time was had!! Whenever we get together it is a wild and crazy time with Laura Beth (6), Johnathan (6), Carter (5) and Addison (4). We had Christmas morning on Saturday with a wonderful brunch, stockings and , then, present time. Laura Beth is going to follow in her mom's footsteps as she received a REAL digital camera and scrapbook supplies!! Carter had a Star Wars Christmas as did Johnathan with a little Narnia thrown in there. Addison has everything now a true Disney princess needs! Our side of the family even got a little Texas Longhorn gear while Dustin's (Damon's brother) side got some Aggie gear. It was a great morning.
That night for supper, we all dressed up with somewhere to go . . . .
Maggiano's Little Italy!!!

This restraunt on the West End of Nashville is a real treat! We loved every bit of it. We chose the homestyle family cooking dinner and were brought plate upon plate of wonderful food. We ate until our hearts (and bellies) were full! It is a wonderful treat and I can't wait to go back! One of the best parts was getting to take home all our leftovers! We ate it again Sunday for lunch! It was a real treat!
Some of our family shots from Maggiano's. The top left picture is of Mama C (Damon's mother) with the grandkids.
More shots (I could have taken all day long) from the night. Top right picture is my sister-in-law, Rebecca, with her kids, Johnathan and Addison.


On Friday, Dec. 26, our family headed to Nashville with Damon's mom and dad (from Texas) to see his brother's family. Before we got to his house, our family made a pit stop at ICE! at Opryland Hotel to see How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The whole family was going to go but some had been sick so we ventured out on our own. We put on our big ponchos and walked into a world where one of our favorite Christmas books had come to life in ice. We had a wonderful time seeing different scenes from the story come alive. The slide room was a favorite of every one's. There were 3 big slides made of ice with scenes from the Grinch all around it. After about 30 minutes, we had to drag the kids away. We were starting to feel the 6 degrees temperature getting to us!

Thanks to RoRo and Bub who gave us the tickets for ICE! for Christmas this year. We could not have asked for a better gift. We all enjoyed it so much!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

God and Santa According to Carter

We were in the car one day and my Carter, who can be VERY random a lot, suddenly spoke up and said:

Carter: "God and Santa they are a lot alike."

Us: "How?"

Carter: "Well, they both see all we do and they both have beards - Jesus' is brown and short. Santa's is long and white. But they are different, too."

Us: "How are they different?"

Carter: "Well, Santa, he only gives us gifts one day a year, but God gives us gifts every day!"

Again, reminded by a 5 year old of what is truely important. Ever since this statement, we have challenged our family to find the gifts God has given us each day. Sometimes it is hard to see the gifts when we have so much heartache in our lives. So I challenge you to look back on each day and ask yourself, "What gifts has God given you today?"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Who's Ready for Christmas?

These two children are!!! They were so good though - sleeping unil after 7:00!! Made my day! We have a crazy tradition in our house which states,

"No one is allowed into the tree room to see what Santa has brought until you hear Christmas music."

This allows all parental and grandparental figures to be in place to see the kids' reaction and the like. So, these two stayed in Carter's room until they heard the music and then the fun continued!
Papa Whittle joined us for the morning to see the kids open presents and to open a few hisself. The kids loved having him there and he enjoyed seeing them as well. Laura Beth found a new guitar and stand along with a CD player, calendar, legos and other goodies from Santa. Carter found a catcher's mitt, catcher's helmet (which he was convinced Santa would not be able to bring him until next year because his head would be bigger) and baseball cards galore! Damon got home improvement gift cards and Wii accessories. I got Wii Fit and a new Bama sweatshirt along with other goodies! Dad got a new drill and Mom got an iron. Papa got some new clothes and I made a scrapbook for him with pictures from his honor flight. It was a great morning topped off with a phone call from the big man himself . . . .


That's right, Santa calls our house each year to talk to the kids. They make us proud by telling him, "Thank you!," as soon as they are on the phone with him. They asked early in the morning if Santa would call again this year and he delivered!! Thank you, Santa! A few hours later, family arrived for a big Christmas dinner. We all enjoyed being together, but especially enjoyed Mary Beth and her first Christmas! I could not stop taking pictures!

We pray God's richest blessings on you and yours this day and throughout the new year. May we all remember His gifts to us each and every day.

Twas the Day Before Christmas . . .

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve 2008. After our lovely brunch, we came home to get ready for the big night and day tomorrow. The kids and I kept track of Santa's journey on NORAD throughout the day. It was so neat to introduce the kids to different cultures through Santa's journey and the pictures and videos we could watch for each city. We will be there again next year. We were blessed to be able to attend church services with our big family and friends that night. When we came home from church it was time to get to bed! We checked to see where Santa was, got in our Christmas pjs (brought to us by the Disney Store this year), read Twas the Night Before Christmas, put out reindeer food, wrote Santa a letter (last year he made a HUGE mess of the cookies and oatmeal for the reindeer, so Laura Beth asked him to please not spill this year!) and got our stockings ready for him to fill. This year we left cookies we had made as well as a Dr. Pepper for Santa. We thought he might be tired of milk! Off to bed we go to see what will come in the morning!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Whittle Christmas Eve

With my mother's family, we usually get together Christmas Eve night for finger foods, games and family time. This year between Christmas Eve being on a Wednesday night with church and Jason, Jenny and Andrew having to go back home, we had Christmas Eve brunch. We had so much fun with wonderful food and just being together - although we missed Richard and Amy (they are in Belize for their honeymoon, poor things) and Chuck (was on his way in). Papa Whittle was in high heaven having all 4 of his great grandkids around him. Here are some of our sights from the morning.
Love time with our cousins
Opening presents - Carter got a personalized Braves jersey with his name and Brian McCann's number on it. Laura Beth got Littlest Pet Shop things. I made Rebecca and Jenny (Amy also got one) a recipe scrapbook with some of our late Grandmama Whittle's favorite recipes. I will post about that later. Rebecca and Jenny also received their family heirloom necklaces that belonged to Grandmama Whittle's side of the family. What a special gift - spending time with family!

Christmas Cooking Part II

Okay, these could be my favorite cookies we made this year!!! Thanks to Laura for giving me this idea! The kids loved them and kept making fun of me because I kept saying,
"They are so cute!!!"
and they were!!
Reindeer Cookies
1 package of rolled sugar cookie dough
chocolate chips
Skittles, M&Ms or Red Hots
Slice the cookie dough and bake them. When they come out of the oven, place the pretzels on top for antlers (you will have to press down hard for them to stay). Add chocolate chips for eyes and your choice for the noses. Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Cooking

The other night we attempted to make Christmas cookies with the kids. Because of Carter's peanut allergy, we are very limited to the kinds of cookies and treats he can have. They had been begging us to make Dirty Snowballs (or Oreo Truffles) so we began the first step Saturday night and finished part of them up last night. The kids had a ball and were pretty good sports about everything!
Dirty Snowballs
1 package Oreos
8 oz. cream cheese
almond bark - chocolate or white
Crush the Oreos into tiny pieces (or use a food processor). Blend the Oreos and cream cheese together with hands (or use food processor). When everything is well blended, form the Oreo mixture into small balls. Refrigerate until hardened. Melt the almond bark and did the Oreo balls into the melted bark. Place on wax paper to harden. I keep them in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
While one child was dipping snowballs last night, the other child had a job in making these cookies someone calls Reindeer Noses. I am sorry to say, I don't remember where I found this but they were super kid friendly!!! Reindeer Noses
1 bag of knotted pretzels
1 bag of Hershey kisses
Red Hots, red Skittles or red M&M's
Place the pretzels on a baking dish and preheat the oven to 350. Place an unwrapped Hershey Kiss in the middle of the pretzel. Place in the oven for a few minutes for the kiss to soften. When the pan comes out of the oven, place a red candy on top of the Hershey kiss and press down gently. Let cool for the kiss to harden and then enjoy!
Crazy me, we were not done!! We took pretzel sticks and dipped them into almond bark that was leftover from the snowballs. The kids named these Santa's Reins because they thought they looked like his reins on his sleigh. Again, this was a pretty kid friendly recipe as well.

Santa's Reins

1 bag of pretzel sticks
almond bark - chocolate or vanilla
sprinkles or decorations
(if you use vanilla bark, crush Oreos for sprinkles)
Melt the bark and dip part of the pretzel stick into the bark. Lay on wax paper and decorate however you would like. Let harden and enjoy!
Crazy me, still, has one more recipe I am going to try with the kids. Maybe I will be able to get those posted soon! Hope your family enjoys them as much as ours!

Feliz Navidad!!!

Sunday we enjoyed Christmas dinner with the Young and Vickery families. We usually exchange presents with the Youngs but decided this year to do something a little different for others this year. Because not everyone was able to be with us on our first Christmas outing, we went out to "Rice" (Los Portales) for lunch on Sunday. This is one of our favorite places to go and eat. The kids were so excited to just be together and they all ate very well. A bigger blessing than just being together was the party expanded to the grandparents on both sides coming as well. Arika's mom and dad (aka Nana and Grandaddy) and my mom and dad (Gran and Grandad) were able to join in on the festivities. How special to be able to call these special families friends and our extended family! We love them very much and thank God everyday for them!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

To the Begging Place

I have tossed and turned about whether to post this or not, but have decided to do so

not to receive sympathy or empathy

not to receive pity

not to be a downer

but so all of you can go to the Begging Place for my family.

What is the Begging Place? It is the place where we go to our Heavenly Father and pray with everything we have for a specific reason.

Why do I need you to go to the Begging Place? Damon has lost his job. FHU was forced to cut 20 or so jobs last week starting immediately and his was one of the ones cut. He is getting a severance package for the next few months . . . We have Christmas done . . . We know God is going to take care of us. He always has and He always will. He has great plans for us:

plans to prosper (us) and not harm (us), plans to give (us) a hope and a future

Jeremiah 29:11

Why am I just now telling you this (it happened on Tuesday)? Because resumes are done and leads have been given to us and tomorrow starts the fight for a job. We are praying that a job comes quickly and is one that fits into God's plan for us. We have been praying that the right job does come for Damon. Of course, we have plans and wants but we ultimately have to resign to what God's will for us is. Please pray for the following:

the others who are in the same position we are

a job is found quickly

we remember God's will in all of this

the college students we have been working with (they are devastated)

God will be glorified in all of this and that

His will will be done.

Thank you, up front, for your prayers. My devotional to the college girls about fearing the future is really coming into play now - isn't it great how God provides! We will keep you posted on all that develops over the next few days.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Brother the Doctor

It is official - Richard is Dr. J. Richard Willis. Mom and Dad were able to go down to Auburn for his graduation on Friday. I hate we were not able to make the drive but we were able to watch online - thank you, Internet!!!! Being the proud sister and the family photographer, I sent one of my cameras with Mom and Dad to capture the event. Good job, Dad! You made me proud! So, congrats Richard (and Amy)! Wish we could have been there, but know we yelled loudly for you here in Tennessee!

Carter the Creative Part II - How to be a Mascot

** Another disclaimer: I was having camera troubles over the past few days, so you are now in for 3 new posts in a short amount of time. Keep scrolling down and enjoy our lives the past few days.

As any follower of this blog knows, Carter is a major sports freak (that is really the only word that is appropriate). His first love is baseball but he has really enjoyed football season this year - college and professional. He has really enjoyed looking for the mascots during the college games. One day, Carter was quiet and nowhere to be found (as from the earlier post with the same title - not a good sign). A few moments later he came out sporting these different head gears and cheering loudly for the team of the moment. It is times like these that he reminds me of my youngest brother, Chuck. Now Chuck is adopted, but I see him in both my children. Here is Chuck in Carter.
Carter as Bevo - the University of Texas Longhorn mascot
Carter as Big Al - the University of Alabama Crimson Tide mascot
and, of course, we had to get baseball in there . . .

Carter as Homer - the Atlanta Braves mascot

We really just never know what this little mind is thinking - which is probably a good thing. However, I am glad he has an active imagination and the mind to make it become a reality. (Now he wants me, the non sewer, to make him a REAL Big Al outfit - we shall see.)

Holidays with Houston

My kids are so blessed to have many BIG friends. One of those BIG friends is Houston Holdren. Houston is so good to my kids. She shares her pool in the summer with them. She passes down amazing clothes to Laura Beth. She even let Laura Beth and me go to High School Musical on Ice with her last year. Not only is she good to the kids, she is a great example to them. She is always thinking of others and doing for others. I thank God for all the great people in my kids' lives. It is making my job as a parent a little easier - at times! Houston and her parents are on their way to New York City for Christmas, so she and her mom ("Aunt Di-Nan") came over for Christmas with us the other day. Carter was thrilled with a St. Louis Cardinals hat and Laura Beth loved her Hannah Montana journal. The kids gave Houston Vera Bradley pencils and highlighters. Thank you, Houston, Uncle Rick and Aunt Di-Nan, for helping make our Christmas bright!!!

Laura Beth's Christmas Centers

Thursday morning I was able to go to Laura Beth's school for her Christmas centers day. Her teacher, Kim, is amazing. I was able to go and help at one of the centers. Tony and I made wooden Christmas tree ornaments and a color countdown to Christmas. I am blessed to be able to spend one morning a week with this class helping with literacy centers and then an hour in the afternoon helping Kim give AR tests. Christmas fun centers were a hit as always. These were the centers we did:

1. Decorate wooden Christmas trees and Christmas countdown color sheet
2. Make candy patterned necklace (what you see in LB's mouth)
3. Open Christmas presents
4. Make Christmas cards for the nursing home
5. Make jingle bell candy cane ornament
6. Make a sticker scene with Santa stickers
7. Eating snacks
8. Make reindeer out of candy canes
9. Make Christmas bell countdown

Friday, December 19, 2008

Carter the Creative Child Part I - Slip and Slide

** This post is WAY out of date. This actual event happened in September. However, I had no pictures of it and have kept going back and forth about whether or not I should blog about it. I decided that since I am going to turn this into a scrapbook, I really needed to write this event down. So, close your eyes for a little while and imagine it is September 2008 as I relive one of our "finest" moments.

One of the "joys" of working with college kids is seeing your children pick up on things the bigger kids do. Our social club always has a meeting in the fall where they create their own slip and slide with trash bags, dish soap and water going down a HUGE hill. My kids never went on it with the kids (they can be a bit reserved when it comes to some things) but watched oh so closely!! This year we "splurged" and bought them one for our yard. Needless to say they loved it and wanted to play with it all the time! We finally had to put it up because the weather was just not "slip and slide" appropriate. Carter, my hot weathered child, was most upset about this. After some fussing, he used his imagination and, laying blankets out on the floor, formed his own slip and slide. He would run down the hall and then slip (not really much sliding) onto the blankets. This went on for days - weeks, but he obviously grew tired of this because one Sunday afternoon our slip and slide went in a whole different direction!!

I left Damon and the kids home while I went to a wedding shower for a childhood friend. I told Damon I would not be long but wound up taking pictures for her at the shower (how could I say no to that!!). Therefore, an hour and a half later, I came back to a sleeping husband (first bad sign) and a quiet house (second bad sign). Damon woke up when I came in and asked what the kids were doing. He said Laura Beth was asleep (go figure) and Carter was playing in his room (third bad sign). I went back to change clothes and found my 5 year old Carter SOAKING WET! A thousand thoughts went through my head but the reason he gave me for being wet never entered my mind!!

Me: Carter, why are you soaking wet?

Carter: I built a slip and slide in my room.

Me: WHAT!!! (eyes bulging out of my head at this point)

I look into his room and see countless (I do mean countless) plastic bowls and containers that had once been full of water all over his room. I step into his room (with my bare feet) and immediately sank into a pool of water in the carpet. I had found the slip and slide!!! Yes, he had taken who knows how much water and poured it at the door of this room a good 4 feet into his room. He would run and slide into it - hence being soaking wet. It took 6 beach towels and a fan running for about 8 hours to somewhat dry the carpet. At first, I was so mad but moments (and now months) later, all I could do was laugh. My sister in law, Rebecca, has loved telling this story to numerous people. She was the one who convinced me to finally write this down for years to come.

I have always thought Carter was a good mixture of all the guys in our family and I really do not know who this is coming out in him (it is DEFINITELY not me!!). This is just one of those moments we will always remember and, thankfully, now can laugh about!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Make Some Lemonade

Today I received my second blogging award from a new gURLfriend, Andrea Leigh (You need to check her out! She is so creative!!!)

The purpose of this award is to give it to someone who is showing gratitude or a good attitude ("if life hands you lemons, made lemonade") within their life or blog.
The rules: put the logo on your blog, nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude and/or gratitude, link to your nominees, let them know they have received the award by commenting on their blog, and share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

1. Stephanie at Lovin' Every Minute of It!
2. Kori at Life as a CFers Wife
3. Kerri at Latte' Buddies
4. Karin at 6 by His Design
5. Katie at Strawberry Ruckus
6. Amanda at Our House
7. Teresa at Diddle Daddle Designs
8. Arika at "A" thought or two or three
9. Jennifer at Smelling Coffee
10. Melissa at My Life as it Happens

There you go, ladies. Take the award and pass it on! I have enjoyed the blogging world for a year now!!!!! I have met some amazing people and my world has been blessed because of all of you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Carter's Christmas Program

Today was Carter's last day of preschool before the holidays. His school did a play about the birth of Jesus and did a great job. Carter was the inn keeper that showed Mary and Joseph to the stable (and then he added that he was going to be baptized!! However, he refrained from that during the play). His good friends, Lawson and Tucker, were shepherds in the play. They all did such a good job and we were so proud of them! After the play, we all met for refreshements and a visit from the jolly man himself. Of course, Carter would go nowhere near Santa but did sit and stare at him. I was able to spend some time with two of my favorite ladies, Arika and Melissa. These girls are amazing friends and I am blessed to have them on my side!
Here is Carter and Lawson. These two were born a month and a day apart and really do not know life without the other one. They share a special friendship and bond - almost like brothers. Lawson is Arika's oldest.
What a day we had! One down and one to go - Laura Beth's is tomorrow!!!

Secret Santa Arrived

I participated in Kori's Secret Santa swap and had a ball "stalking" my person!!! (I will edit this later to show you whose name I had.) Leigh Anne had my name and was WAY to kind! I really enjoyed all of my goodies she sent me. Everything but the chocolate was personalized!! Take a look, but you can't have it - it has my name or initial on it all!!! Thanks so much Leigh Anne!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bible Class Christmas Party

Sunday was a very busy day. I had a baby shower after church and then spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready for the 4 and 5 year old Christmas party. My friends, Kim and Sandy, who teach these ages as well, helped get the party together. We wanted to have some fun with the kids as well as teach the children about giving as well. We had 13 precious little ones around for the afternoon as we made reindeer food, snowman soup, Christmas cards, a patterned necklace, sequined Christmas trees, a Santa Christmas countdown calendar, and we ate, of course!! The kids had a blast. We covered #10 cans with wrapping paper so the kids could place the things they made down in them as they finished. After the party, the kids took their snowman soup up to the auditorium where some of the older members of church were already there. Each child gave an older member their Christmas card and snowman soup. They were all so sweet. I was especially glad to be able to spend the afternoon with my Carter.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Change in Thought

If any of you read my Thanks, Texas! post, you will know that for a while we were hoping to take out a loan and head to Miami for the National Championship game - Texas vs Alabama. However, thanks to Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Florida those dreams are dashed!! Therefore, we decided to instead take out a loan for a house instead. So, today we closed on a new house - new to us - and we are so excited!!!! For those of you who do not know, due to various circumstances (the housing market in Henderson being a main one!) we have been living with my parents for almost 5 years now. It has been good for all of us - you make the most of your situations. However, we are now the very proud owners of a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 living room, kitchen, dining area, office (SCRAPBOOK/CRAFT room!!), and a HUGE fenced in backyard!! (Katie, this is your old house) We are right down the corner from my parents and from my Grandfather Whittle. So, now we are in the process of painting and tearing up carpet. I am sure I will be posting before and after pictures coming soon!!
We have been waiting and praying for this for a long time and we pray that we will use this house to further God's kingdom and for His glory.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Introducing a New Doctor in the Family . . ..

Yes, this is a picture of Richard (my oldest younger brother) smiling for two reasons:

1. he recently married a wonderful lady and

2. he is now Dr. James Richard Willis

That is right!!! We have just received word that he successfully defended his dissertation from Auburn University in Civil Engineering (aka: Dirt, Trains, Planes and Automobiles). He will officially walk next Friday but for all purposes he is Dr. Richard Willis!!!! He has worked so hard and it has paid off - FINALLY!!!

Richard, we are proud of you and all you have done! Keep up the great work!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

HAH Family Christmas

Tonight we had our HAH (Home Away from Home) kids over for Christmas dinner. Our kids met each student at the door and immediately wanted them to open their stockings full of surprises. I did not get pictures of the stockings (kicking myself now) full of goodies. The guys found over the door basketball goals, ear warmers for football season (2 of them got PKA ones and our soon-to-be med student got one with UAB on it), travel size Axe body wash, duct tape, Carmex, candy, hot chocolate and popcorn in their stockings. The girls found sleep socks, Kool-Aid chap stick, specialized pocket size Kleenexes, travel mugs with their names embroidered (thanks, Melissa), hot chocolate, popcorn and candy in their stockings. We dined on Mexican Chicken Stuff with chips and tortilla shells.
Mexican Chicken Stuff
1 can mexicorn
1 can corn (or you can use 2 cans instead of mexicorn)
1-2 cans black beans
2 cans rotel
6 chicken breasts
1 package taco seasoning
1 small jar mild salsa
Drain and empty all cans into a crock pot. Place chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle taco seasoning over the chicken and pour salsa over that. Cook on high for 6 hours. Shred chicken at the end and place back in the mixture. Serve with chips or tortilla shells with cheese and sour cream.

Our HAH Family

From right to left: Laura Beth, Alex, Ashley, Rachelle, Carissa, Eric, Ashley, Tyler and Carter.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I am Having a Contest!!!

I declare everyone who visits This Blog Today a Winner! The Rules, such as they are, are Really. Quite. Simple:

1. Be one of the first three bloggers to leave a comment on this post, which then entitles you to a handmade item from me!!!

2. You must post this challenge on your blog, meaning that you then must Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift for the first three bloggers who leave a comment on YOUR post about this giveaway!

3. The gift that you send to your Three Friends can be from any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. This means you should be willing to maintain your blog at least until you receive your gift and have shipped your gifts. And, remember: It's the Spirit and the Thought That Count!

4. When you receive your gift, please feel free to blog about it, sharing appropriate Linky Love!
If you are not one of the Top Three Commentors on Today's Post, you're still a Winner in this Time of Grace and Giving. Please take this Symbol of the Seasonal Spirit and post it on your blog; start your own Pay It Forward Chain, and encourage your Bloggy Friends to do the same!

I won from Veggie Mom!! If I can do it, you can as well!!!

Plus, Kat is having a give away of one of my favorite things - LOST!!!! Check her out and maybe you can win.

Happy Birthday, Johnathan!!!

Today 6 years ago the first little boy love of my life was born in Paducah, KY - my nephew, Johnathan Dade!! Johnathan had a rough beginning but you would never know it now looking at him. He is a true delight and I am so glad he is my nephew! We celebrated his birthday in Texas over Thanksgiving so we could all be together. We played games at the house and then spent the afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese.
Johnathan, we love you and are so proud of you! May God continue to bless you richly as you grow into a wonderful Christian young man!!! We love you!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Elf Training

This morning we loaded up the van and headed to the FHU Associate's Elf Training. This was the first year they have done this activity for the community and to raise money for student scholarships and it was VERY well received!! My kids had a blast doing the different activities:
Decorating Elf Hats
Storytime with Mrs. Claus
Gingerbread House Maze
Eating Snacks at Frosty's Cafe
Pictures with Santa
Making a reindeer ornament and reindeer food at the Reindeer Stables
Decorating cookies in Mrs. Claus' kitchen

The kids loved going through the different activities -except Carter would not go anywhere near Santa, and in the end they each received their Elf School Diploma. We can't wait to go back next year!

A New Christmas Tradition

We have always exchanged Christmas presents with the Youngs. We have been so blessed over the past 6 years to have had our friendship with them grow and develop into what it is today. We decided this year not to exchange gifts, but to help a child who really needed it. So, we loaded up our van with everyone except Brandon and Rhett (Oh what they missed!!) and took off to go shopping for toys and clothes. We had told the kids that this little one did not have family and friends like we did around this time and did not have as many toys. Therefore, we were going to be his friends and be Santa's Elves. They were on a mission after that!!! All I can say is I wish our pocketbooks were as big as the kids' hearts. Everything they kids saw that was on the little one's wish list they were trying to put into the cart. Each child used their own money to help pay for part of the gifts and were very proud of their "tickets!"
Carter, Laura Beth, Lawson and Jagger (below) with their tickets.
It was a great night - one we will never forget - and one we can't wait to recreate next year as well.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A House Divided

A house divided can it stand? In our case, yes. We have been very blessed that my team (Alabama) and Damon's team (Texas) have never played each other. Therefore, we can stand. We have a mutual understanding (that has been tested at times) that I gladly cheer for Texas and he gladly cheers for Alabama (this is where we have had some issues) in all games, especially big games. We lived high for awhile thanks to the BCS had us number one and two, but thanks to Texas our hopes of a home national championship was dashed. I was hoping to post these pictures tomorrow while both of our teams were playing for their conference championships but thanks to the Big 12's ridiculous rules, I am posting them today because tomorrow we will ALL be in our CRIMSON and white - cheering for a Bama win and an Oklahoma loss (sorry to all my new blog friends who are OU fans). Then, and only then, will we have a chance to see if our divided house can stand!

I think I see next year's Christmas cards coming from something like this. . . . . .

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Just want to go Home

I Just Want to go Home

Our journey down the yellow brick road is coming to a close. I hope you have enjoyed the lessons and they have blessed you as you are trying to walk more closely with our Father in heaven to reach our heavenly home.

All through the movie, Dorothy kept telling people, “I just want to go home.” She had her focus on her goal – home. We must keep our focus on our goal – heaven – as we travel down our narrow path. Colossians 3:1-3 tells us to "seek things above," and Hebrews 12:2-3 tells us to "fix our eyes on Jesus." We are also to ". . . trust God and He will make our way straight." Proverbs 3:5-6.

There’s No Place Like Home

Dorothy was on her way home. She was on a journey that led her down a winding yellow brick road.
We are on our way home. We are on a journey that will lead us down a narrow path.
Dorothy wanted to find her home so bad that she stayed on that path.
We should want to find our way to our heavenly home that we stay on the path that will lead us there. It is not an easy journey and not everyone will choose to follow or walk with us on this journey, but we know (and should try to show others) the joy that waits for us at the end of the our yellow brick road.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

Past Lessons:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Melt My Heart

I have been sick the past week like a lot of the world out there. It got so bad Sunday I made a doctor's appointment on Monday (I DON'T like going to the doctor) and came home with antibiotics and steroids. Sunday was horrible; Monday, bad; Tuesday morning, a little better. Now, as always, this was a BAD week for me to get sick. I was in charge of Holiday House (a craft and home based business fair) as well as creating items for my Holiday House booth that was suppose to happen on Tuesday. So, feeling somewhat better Tuesday morning, I got up a "To-Do" list a mile long for that morning. I was pretty set in my mind what we needed to get done and was a bit short with my Carter that morning - more than once. He was trying to help but it wound up not being much help (you know how that goes). The longer I went in the day, the worse I felt. We finally made it home from our outings that morning and I went into "get it done" mode. Not sure, but I am sure I snapped at Carter again. I found a job he could do - take something to the mailbox, so I sent him out the door and tried to get something done in that short time. That short time turned into a longer time. I was getting frustrated wondering what was taking him forever only to find him using all the strength his 5 year old body had to move 3 BIG trash cans that had just been empty from the curb to the house. MY HEART MELTED!!! Of course, I had to keep this memory so I grabbed the camera to get these shots:

Bless his heart! When he saw me snapping pictures, he looked up at me and said apologetically, "Sorry, it's taking me a long time, Mom. They were pretty heavy." I immediately took him into my arms and heaped mounds of praise (but not kisses so he would not get sick) upon him. What a lesson my Carter taught me and I will always remember his actions today!
BTW - don't you love his turkey headband? He made this at school 2 weeks ago and wears it CONSTANTLY!!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...