Friday, December 31, 2010

Thank You

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who faithfully visit my blog throughout the year.  Its always surprising to me when I see someone who tells me they enjoy reading my blog, and I had no idea they even knew it existed.  I appreciate the comments and encouraging notes and its really quite humbling that you chose to spend some of your time following our simple little lives.

I'm about to begin my third year of doing Project 365 and though its not always easy, it has become a way of life and I'm incredibly grateful to have our lives documented in such a way.  Its even more meaningful knowing that you care enough to check in on us.

So thank you for sharing your time, your thoughts and our lives.  Here's to an incredible 2011!

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

II Peter 2:8

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Time, Part II

When I hear the word "procastination" my blood pressure goes up ever so slightly.  Whenever I wait to do something I know I should do or have to do, it feels like I've backed myself into a corner, and that's not a good feeling.  I can't knock that system since I'm married to a very effective procrastinator who does amazingly well operating under those conditions, but I don't usually fair as well when I try to do the same.  Though I'm far from where I'd like to be, I do try to stay on top of things.

Ok, so...what was that tangent?  Oh yes.  I was thinking about waiting to do my Christmas post until it felt easier, but I know from experience, at least for me, the longer I wait the more impossible the task will seem.  So this is me fighting against the urge to wait just one. more. day.

Christmas was amazingly wonderful, as it always is.  My aunt and uncle and two cousins came from NY and PA to spend Christmas with us, as we have nearly every year in my memory.  It is also my parents and their spouses and my three siblings and their families and together that makes 16 adults and 14 (soon to be 15...anyday!) kids, ages 11 and under.  We refer to it as controlled chaos.  

One of my very favorite traditions is the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church.  So special...tender yet powerful.   After the busyness of Christmas prep, its always such a welcome calm and refocusing. 

After church we go to my sister's house and feast on the goodness she has prepared. 
 Sweet girls.
ALL the cousins on my side and a Christmas miracle getting this picture.  Completely surreal that these are the offspring of me and my siblings.  Just yesterday it seems, the four of us were out playing house in the yard or splashing around in the pool.
 Yay for a family picture!
 Tradition...Daddy reads the kids Twas The Night Before Christmas before they fade off.
 Tradition...a bow assembly line for the crew who had to pack up all their presents and travel. snuggles (these, by the way, are best first thing in the morning)

 Bad idea...trying this would-be cute shot as Aiden is headed up for his morning nap.

 Ah, the two babies had some sleep...smiles again!
We were all pretty impressed that the kids were not anxious to open their presents.  They were thrilled to be together, playing and presents were very low on their priority list.
Lainie is so sweet with Aiden.

Aiden got all he wanted for Christmas.  Baw!  Baw!
 The adults pick names and the kids pick names and still the tree looks like this.
Tradition...In the evening after dinner we all gathered for the second (now annual) "talent" show.  This year there was Christmas song trivia, singing, scripture quoting, dancing.  A highlight was my brother and his quite pregnant wife acting out the nativity story...hilarious!

 For our part, Avery played a little song on the piano, Amanda "read" everyone a story, which is just her imagination and pulling phrases from every book she's ever read and putting it all together and I put together a slideshow of Christmas up to that point.  Shaun and Aiden cheered from the sidelines.

 Later in the evening Shaun's two brothers and their families came over.
Such a good day.  I am truly....Blessed!
When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, 
“Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, 
and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 

Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.

Luke 2

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Project 365, Week 52

Merry Christmas!  Still reveling in all things Christmas and will worry about recovering the house soon enough...just not now.  Instead I'm enjoying being inside while we get our first snow of the season.

December 19
I started the week off photographing the celebration of little Sam...his dedication to God and adoption finalization.  Such a sweet, blessed, loved boy.

While I was there, Shaun took the kids to watch Avery's final Nutcracker performance.
Later, cousin Alayna came over for a bit before we headed to Shaun's basketball game.

December 20
This is how the puppy often sleeps and, lucky for him, there is often a soft winter coat (or two) lying on the kitchen floor. :)

Our annual cookie bake off.

December 21
No picture.  I was busy being the sickest I've been in at least 10 years with the stomach bug and a migraine.

December 22
Three big packages arrived from Grandpa and the girls (and boy) enjoyed Avery's new make-up kit, gloves, beads, etc.
The dog again...just strikes me funny 'cause Riley never slept like this.
December 23
Shaun took the girls outside to get them out from underfoot.  They brought out their makeup and sat on the pile of wood in the back of Daddy's pickup truck.

December 24
One of my favorite things all year, the Christmas Eve service at church.
 December 25
Christmas!  You gotta know, I've got hundreds from the day, so for the purposes of 365, I went with the very first one I snapped for the day.  My Uncle Lee with a fresh-out-of-bed Amanda.

Here's a couple more...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Nutcracker

Well, amazingly, Avery just completed her third Nutcracker.  She's been a flower fairy, a spicedrop and this year she was a lamb.  She performed in three of the six shows over two weekends.  The group worked hard this fall and it was fun to see it all come together.  We love you, Little Lamb.

 Possibly her loyalist fan.
 Since she did such a good job we had to go out and celebrate!

Second weekend, different location

 Thanks Chelsea for capturing these backstage.  She was described as "focused" and that sounds about right.

 Amanda taking advantage of social hour intermission.

A great big thanks to all our family who came out to see Avery and support her efforts.  She appreciates it more than you know.  Her little five-year old world is small and this was big time for her!   We're so proud of you, Avery!

Glory to God in the highest heaven, 
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
Luke 2:14