Tuesday, December 29, 2009

snow!


This happened before Christmas but I forgot to post pictures. We couldn't believe it- snow in December!!

a tender Tennessee Christmas



Here we are- home again after a sweet Christmas in TN. As with all our trips to TN there is so much goodness packed into so few days. The time with our family and friends is so precious! Plus there was the added excitement of gifts- for Natalie it was a lot of American girl stuff, and for Benjamin a combo of dinosaurs, tools, guns, sports stuff, and games. I am super excited about Natalie's Lite Brite and Guess Who? game. :) Natalie was sooo happy she got some good dog time in with Smokey (the Hagoods terrier) and Ava (my sister and Brandon's Maltese). We also got a fun surprise from my dad- two nights at a hotel with a pool, so that was a special treat. I have not been feeling well because of our Little (due Aug. 3rd), so it was good to have the kids taken care of so I could rest. And I apologize to those friends and family I didn't get to see because of this. I should be feeling much better in 2 or 3 weeks ( I hope!). I hope all of you had a very merry Christmas!! Here we come 2010!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas unwrapped




It really is the most wonderful time of the year (although summer vacation is a very, very close second). My mom asked me the other day why I liked Christmas and I said, "Everything"! I love the lights, the various events (plays, parties, pageants), the traditions, the meaning, seeing family and friends, songs (my fave is Carol of the Bells and 2nd is Oh Holy Night b/c of the line "the thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices"), the excitement, baking, and everything else. I took the kids to a Christmas celebration in downtown Burlington last Friday. Some parts of it were really sweet. They had a band performing in the sunken ampitheater at the train depot, and they had real live carolers in turn of the century costumes! Other parts of it were...um...well I sort of wished I'd had a friend with me to laugh about it with. There were these random goats in the streets, and the train ride was hilarious. We all stood in a line to get on, but when the train (if you can call it that) came it was a free for all with people throwing the tickets at the conductor and elbowing for a seat. I'm not really an elbowing person, so despite my place in line we had to wait out a train ride between giving the conductor the tickets to actually getting to ride. It sort of made the Fantasy of Trees look like Disney World :). But the kids loved it, and Ben said it was the best night of his life so it was a success.
I was talking to my bff about capturing Christmas, and how hard it is to really experience it each year. I loved that she said this fall she was playing with her son and all of a sudden leaves started falling softly all around her. She said she'd never really experienced leaves falling despite her living through many, many fall seasons. She said it was beautiful and reminded her of snow falling- so peaceful. She said for her in that moment she felt she had fully experienced fall, so if we could have one moment like that during the Christmas season we could feel like we had fully experienced Christmas. Like last year my very favorite part of the season was the day AFTER Christmas. I took the kids to the zoo. We had the zoo almost all to ourselves, and it was cold but there were so many more animals being active than there are during the hot summer months. It was so peaceful and fun, and that time together was so sweet. So that's my challenge to myself this season-to make things simple, to only do the things I want to do (no pressure on myself to make a full gingerbread house from scratch, that didn't work out too well last year), to enjoy my family, my quiet time, and the real meaning of the season.

Friday, December 4, 2009

two little elves




You know one of the best things about having kids that are old enough to help you out and are really excited about Christmas? They can decorate for Christmas faster than you can say fa-la-la! Okay maybe not that fast. We put our tree up, and yes those are winter socks at the bottom so the tree won't scuff the floor, and set the ornaments out and the little elves set to it. Natalie is tall enough now that the ornaments are set evenly over the tree instead of all at the bottom- huge plus! The tree has sort of become an interactive game where they keep moving around the ornaments and playing with them, but hey that's fine with me.