Dec 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

Well we're two days out of Christmas. I'm feeling that familiar feeling of blahs which come from the excitement leading up to the one or two days of family gatherings, good food, opening presents, and watching your kids go crazy with their new stuff!! It is so very anti climatic....a sudden drop from the important to the trivial. I love Christmas. Don't get wrong. However it is a reminder to me every year that happiness is not found in the abundance of possessions. I loved my new North face jacket. Wil loved his Leapster 2, and Mags has taken 2,000 pictures of her feet with her new camera. But I speak for all of us when I say what I enjoyed most was having Tommy home from work for 3 days in a row and being with my part of the family that I don't see often enough. O.k I'm done with the post-scrooge-like attitude for real. I'm gonna get on with the fun we had this year.

CHRISTMAS EVE
For 30 years Christmas Eve has been spent with my dad's side of the family which include my 3 brothers whom I think are the coolest, my aunt Linda and cousins, and my mam ma. My sister Angie doesn't get to come in half of the time but when she does Christmas is complete. This year was very bittersweet. My mam ma landed herself in the hospital just before Christmas with a nasty head wound. The hospital graciously let my brother bring her home to celebrate with us for a few hours before taking her back. I don't know how much longer she will be with us and so this photograph is very special to me. My mam ma was a hero to me growing up and the LORD used her to save me from a childhood that could have robbed me of any future at all. It was in her care that I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. And it was on her bed that every night we read her Big King James Bible. She'd read a verse, I'd read a verse. Looking back I believe my love for God's Word came from her diligence to place Truth before my eyes in the middle of a chaotic childhood. I know she will never read this, but I have to say thank you mam ma. You'll never know what your life has done and is still doing for me. For the past 2 years, we have celebrated at my brother's house. The food was fabulous. And we had so much fun. They really outdid themselves in countless ways.

CHRISTMAS MORNING
I couldn't wait for Christmas morning. We had some wonderful surprises for Wil and Mags. I had one for Tommy that I was about to bust over. I have no actual pictures of the morning because I am stupid with electronics and erased some of my pictures. Ughhhhhhhhh! It turned out that everyone was surprised including me as I opened my North Face jacket. My mom too was exceptionally happy with her watch. Here are a couple of pictures I took after the fact.




Wil and Mags with a few of their favorites: Leapster 2, basketball, Corduroy bear, and camera.








Surprise!!! Here is Tom eating up his new Ipod Touch.






CHRISTMAS WITH TOM'S PARENTS
We had loads of fun here as always. This year we had an old fashion Christmas. We originally were gonna cut a tree down from Betty and Collis's land for our Christmas tree but who can turn down a $1 real tree from Lowe's. Nobody. That is right. However we did make our gifts for each other. We draw names every year and decided to put more thought and love into by giving a homemade gift. It was really neat. I got the best one. Thanks Marinda. Of course everyone would say their's was the best because seriously they were all great. Some even moved us to tears. I would let you in on what they were but you wouldn't get it....."ain't that right Betty"!!
I love my in laws. Being with them is soul food for me.

FAVE FIVE OF CHRISTMAS 08'
1. Mam ma being with us
2. Collis's sweatshirt from Michael
3. My North Face
4. Surprising Tom with the Ipod Touch
5. The gift revolution

Now on to the New Year and the new resolutions.....

Dec 22, 2008

A Neighborhood Revolution

The Gift Revolution. This is a campaign that our church has had the opportunity to be involved in this Christmas season. Simply put, The Gift Revolution is about giving to those around you and challenging them to pass it on. Case and point: Tom and I took the kids with us to get gas so they could catch the excitement of this gift revolution thing. We paid for a woman to fill up her tank and gave her a Gift Revolution card with a website on it (http://www.thegiftrevolution.com/ ). The hope is that they will go to this website, see all the stories of people giving, post their own, and then be inspired to come up with their own unique way to pass it on. All involved with this brilliant attempt to start a revolution have found themselves just as blessed (probably more so) than those on the receiving end thus proving "tis better to give than to receive" Amen? Amen!!

Now to the video. We decided to combine the Revolution with one of our Christmas traditions. We don't play up Santa at Christmas time. Not because we think it is unChristian. We are not stringent about it. We just chose at the beginning not to say that Santa was who brought them presents. We do however stress the real story of St. Nicholas and how he gave anonymous gifts to boys and girls and how he did so because of his love for Jesus. In the spirit of this, we have the kiddos pick someone whom they want to give a secret Santa gift to. We let them play Santa and give an anonymous gift to someone. This year it was our neighbor. He loves to come to our house and play ball with Wil. And Mags has a capital time with him too. Our Secret Santa adventure took place last night as we delivered the gift with a Gift Revolution card attached. It was all caught on tape. I realize once they [Tom, Wil, and Maggie] start running to the house, you only see blackness but my hope was that I would have enough battery on my camera for them to take it and come back. My hope was lost. The battery took out because Tom and the kids couldn't find a good spot to leave the gift. I was just praying that they weren't shot at being mistaken as a burglar. So if you attempt something like this, use extreme caution no doubt.
Tom just came home and said when he pulled in from work, the neighborhood boy waved real big. I wonder if he knows? If you wonder what happened after the tape quit rolling, let's just say Tommy tripped on a stick and a full moon lit up the sky. On that note have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
video

Dec 17, 2008

Icy Fun

How about this weather? This is what it looks like on my street. One uniformed piece of ice this morning. I am such a home-body and secretly get excited over wintry weather. I love coziness and a soft blanket of white on the ground even if it is sleet, not snow. You can't really tell the difference unless you go out and try to make a snowman.

After a couple of days being in, I am ready to feel free to venture out if I need to. Wil desperately needs a haircut and I want to go see my mammaw in the hospital, but this weather is a great obstacle in doing both of these. We have had our fill of inside fun:) karaoke, painting pictures, Sequence for kids, tag, shoot out, reading books, and yes even the dreaded t.v. watching. We have seen great success in our no t.v. watching over the past couple of months. Unfortunately our 30 minutes a day has turned into 120 minutes a day this week. I know some may ask "why such a strict view of t.v?" Well when I'm home all day, it can turn into an addiction very easily if I don't keep it in check. They become lazy and uncooperative when I throw caution to the wind and let them watch all the Caillou and Clifford and Handy Manny they want. That is just me. I would rather them run around like crazy kids than be glued to the television.


KARAOKE







We got out in it today. It was fun for a while, but Mags got her hands wet (she had on gloves but they were cheap gloves) and Wil threw a ice ball at her which hurts like heck. I tried to tell him that it is not a snow ball when you throw it at Maggie and it doesn't bust. It is like throwing a golf ball at her....really son!


Well daddy is home now to save the day. Poor guy. Although he doesn't complain, I know it is not fun delivering the mail in this weather. Someone called the other day and ask if Tom had to work. Please....the mail goes on rain, snow, sleet or hail (the mail will prevail). But now he has come to rescue us and whisk us off to the lovely mall for haircuts and grocery shopping.

POOR TREY WANTS TO PLAY OUTSIDE TOO






MY LITTLE VANGOGH(S)










Dec 11, 2008

The Tradition Train (All Aboard)

1. Christmas Tree Dedication- check
2. Take kids to buy 08's ornaments- check
3. Build Gingerbread house- check
4. Christmas Card Photo Shoot (me)- check
5. Make Christmas Cookies
6. Read Christmas Story (in progress)
7. Sibling Gift Exchange
8. Secret Santa Adventure
9. Do 101 Christmas Crafts-ha

Here is a look at my Tradition To-Do List. There is probably more, but these were the ones I had off the top of my head. It is rather funny [or not so] to think about my reasons for filling up our December calendar with tradition activities. I plug these traditions to keep Christmas special and to stay away from the stress and hassle of commercialized Christmas. Uh, hello, these wonderful traditions are killing me. The pressure of checking these off my list make me irritable.

What are traditions?
Traditions are what you want to do year after year after year.... I need to put a whoa on the tradition train. The thought of having 2 more hands (Trey) next year decorating the very practical Gingerbread shack is enough to mark it off momma's tradition list. Here are some pictures of the first annual Gingerbread decorating Christmas tradition. I yap, but we had a good time. Ask Maggie. She will say her favorite part was eating the icing and candy when we weren't looking. The side of the house caved in only once and the gingerbread man wouldn't stay up, but all in all it went pretty smooth.



Meaningful and special that is the way I want my kids to remember Christmas. What we do as parents is what our kids will do as parents to a great degree. I will never be a perfect parent....consistently adequate is my goal for now. But I do want them more than anything to understand that this life is meant to be lived on purpose and to be lived for Christ alone!! Presents are great. Cards and cookies I enjoy. But it is Jesus whom I adore and we owe it [Christmas] all to Him!











Dec 8, 2008

CHE Christmas Party


Today was our home school group Christmas party. It is funny when someone raises the concern to me about "lack of socialization" for a home school kid. Since we joined CHE of NEA home school group, we have had many field trips and parties [not to mention Monday school] that I haven't even been able to fit them all in. So socialization is not an issue. At least not for my kids. And today's Christmas party/festival was very much fun for my kiddos. They had games, crafts, face painting, and food. Unfortunately we left with yet another unwanted abundance of candy.

Maggie is now standing by me at the computer crying huge tears because her Ziploc bag of candy is gone. Oh, she is on to me. She has now accused me of throwing it away. Here comes Wil. Apparently Mags took it upon herself to borrow some of Wil's. Now a fight is on. Excuse me while I get Maggie's claws out of Wil's eye.



Pin Baby Jesus on the manger picture to the right


I did a candy cane craft where I had them make candy canes out of pipe cleaners with a story of the candy cane attached. You know...upside down the cane looks like a "J" for Jesus and the white is the purity of Jesus and the red is the blood of Jesus that saved us from sin. Rachel and I were cracking up because you could tell these very young home school kids had heard the candy cane story a million and one times. "Yeah, yeah, yeah we know the story" is what their faces seemed to say.


All the moms worked wholeheartedly to put together a great party for the kids. A big thanks to Vicky Franks who I know put a lot of time into it!! I am loving our home school group. My kids have just taken to all the kids there. Wil and Maggie have made some great new friends. And I'm enjoying the communal advantage it offers!!






















Dec 4, 2008

Tribute #3 - Trey Dawg

Trey. He is perfect. Enough said!!
Really I did think this to be true, but a little trip to Ruby Tuesday's Tuesday caused me to remove my rose colored glasses. Let me explain here if you will. It has been about 6 years since we had been to this restuarant. They changed the atmosphere, it seemed, since our last visit. From our perspective it went from fun to romantic. I looked to my left and see a couple (without children) gazing into each other eyes and holding hands (not exaggerating). Behind me is an older couple who looked a little let down when we passed their table with 3 children. Then there is our table: table # loud. Wil is saying "watch this" as he tries to do a head stand in the booth.... I kid you not!! Maggie is being Maggie by talking to us like we were across the restaurant from her. It is here that Trey's image of perfection starts to fade. In the middle of the meal, he had enough sitting in the high chair. A maddening scream led us to this conclusion. Lately these maddening screams have gotten frequent in number and louder in sound. In Trey's defense, these screams have become a defense mechanism to defend against Maggie's urges to get in his face and talk baby talk and then pick him up and plop him down. So back to Ruby Tuesday's. Trey and I spent some quality time in the van for he was disturbing the peace in Ruby's.

I do love spending time with my baby. Just watching him play can brighten the most dismal of days. We were not planning to have another baby so soon after Mags. Believe me. It took me a couple of days (lets be real. it took me 9 months) to come to terms that I was going to have 3 children under the age of 5. I have had 5 years with Wil and almost 4 years with Mags to build a relationship. I have had 12 months with Trey and yet my love for him is just as great as with my other two. Isn't it the same with our Lord. Whether we come to know Him just yesterday or 20 years ago, His love is the same for all His children.

We have all embraced our little Trey and could not imagine a life without his wonderful smile, blond hair, blue eyes, and infectious laugh. His babbling is hysterical these days. He is telling us all about what he thinks and I am not understanding a word of it yet loving every minute of it. Although we are not 100% sure our quiver is full, I believe Trey Thomas Archer is a "perfect" completion to our family.

Thanks for letting me dote on my kiddos. It has been good for my heart to reflect on the many ways they individually bring joy to my life. But it is much much more important that I tell my kids all these reasons why they are a joy to me.