A Little Surprise for You

Even though, I never really know who is reading my blog, I think of my “readers” as very real people.  When I go through my day, enjoying moments with my children, my husband, and this community that we love, I think about the images and stories that might please my blog friends. I’ve been relishing a little morsel of news that I could hardly wait to share with you.  I realize that the majority of my “readers” are family members, and so the news I am about to share isn’t really a surprise at all.

I love Christmas.  I wish that my profession allowed me to spend more time in the joyful preparations, but with grades always due in late December, I have to squish as much Advent fun as I can in the few days before Christmas.  As I’ve been helping the boys make some gifts for loved ones, buying presents, and cleaning up the house for a certain polar visitor, I’ve been thinking how different next Christmas will be.  Yes, we’ll have a sweet SIX year old who is showing his growing independence in wonderful and exciting ways.  We’ll have a dear THREE year old who is becoming a better communicator and whose little spirit is beginning to grasp the wonder and glory of the real Christmas story.  And…we’ll all be enjoying the company of our littlest family member…a new baby!  By Christmas time, our bundle will be nearly six months old, but I know that we will be celebrating with a special kind of joy as we once again have the honor of celebrating someone’s FIRST Christmas.

The Hunt

One of my favorite traditions is choosing a Christmas tree from the farm.  We’ve taken my little guys to hunt for a Christmas tree every year–even when they were tiny babes in our arms, wrapped and wrapped and wrapped against the winter chill.  After choosing just the right tree–not too tall, not too fat, just the right shade of green–we ride back to the barn for hot chocolate and a few minutes by the pot belly stove.  The “shop” isn’t fancy.  The hot chocolate is just a 50 cent Styrofoam cup with powder and blazing hot water, but we love every minute!

This year we selected a lovely blue spruce.  Maybe others are bothered by pine needles and sap in the house, but I adore waking up on the day after the tree goes up.  I love to come downstairs and take a big breath of piney, Christmas air.  The smell is fresh, clean, and almost spicey.  My “helpers” put on all the ornaments themselves.  In other words, all ornaments are on the lower three feet of the tree.  I love it!  (Though I confess that I did spread out the pretties later.)

Getting Christmasy

I need to get this online place moving again. I have some fun photographs waiting to be shared. I have some sweet tales to tell. So when, oh when will that happen? We had illnesses last week. We had a wonderful Christmas performance at the school on Friday and the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree on Saturday. This week, our nephew was born! Last night was Bible Study. Today, I baked a yummy orange, poppy seed bread from the December/January issue of Country Living magazine. The bread was for a wonderful brunch hosted by a mom from my son’s kindergarten class. Her home is beautiful, and the food was delightful. Makes me want to have some friends over! Tomorrow is rehearsal for the church Christmas pagaent and my last day of class for the term. Friday is the Christmas pagaent, and finally, on Saturday we will travel to meet the new nephew.

All of this is to say that the blog is on my mind, but coordinating time, motivation, and the location of my camera has been difficult. Like now, I have a bit of time (Boys are happily drawing “BeeBee Jesus” and the Abominable Snowman.), but my camera is in the backseat of the Jeep, not-so-conveniently parked at the university. Hmm… Will I ever get my act together and retire the autumn leaves in my header????

Traveling toward Christmas

Advent is here!  Our home is buzzing with the excitement of anticipating our Christmas celebration.  We are excited to add two new ways of acknowledging and enjoying the days until the Big Birthday.  First, we were surprised and delighted to receive our very own advent wreath–complete with candles–from our dear friends, Alice and Lindsey.  It’s beautiful, and it will remind us of the growing light that leads us to the manger.  Secondly, I wanted to enforce the idea that we are preparing ourselves to be more like Jesus each day, so I came up with a sort of “good deeds” bag.  Every evening, we are drawing a “task” from the bag.  We do the task, and we talk about how the job helps us to be more like Jesus.  The first slip of paper read, “Tell the youngest member of the family one reason you love him.”  I wasn’t entirely sure how this would go, but our five-year-old truly rose to the occasion.  Without hesitation, he turned to his little brother and said, “I love you because you’re fun to play with, and you’re cute even when you’re grumpy.”  He was so sincere.  I’ll let you know how we learn and grow on the rest of our journey toward Christmas.