Sunday, November 28, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

being the part-time working woman that i am, and having had to work over thanksgiving break (the nature of working in a pediatric dental work hardest when the kids are out of school!), seriously put a kink in my decorating style this year.

reading last year's post about decorating for christmas reminded me that i took on that challenge nice and slowly, enjoying every second.  this year was a little different.  i had one day to do it all.  and i always have these grandiose ideas of everyone getting involved and savoring every little decorating detail, knowing that precious memories are being made.  you think i would learn soon enough that this does not exactly happen when you live in a house full of boys.

i am thankful that john and the boys worked on our outside decorations earlier in the week while i was away at work.  i'll have to take pictures of our outside decorations and post those so you can appreciate their handiwork.  but the inside decorating took place on friday, while everyone else in the world shopped till they dropped.

while the actual decorating forced me to exercise the fruits of the spirit (namely patience, love, joy, peace, and self control!), i am quite pleased with the outcome.

here are a few of the things we did:
here's our little christmas tree.  the picture is a little dark because i had to turn off my flash to show the lights.  we decided to do flashing lights this year, something we've not done before and the boys love it.  we have a bazillion hallmark ornaments thanks to john's grandparents and a few vintage ornaments that were my grandparents'.  we have the musical plush characters that hallmark does every year underneath the tree until i get some presents bought and wrapped.  i haven't put batteries in those guys yet though *wink, wink.*
this is a lovely framed nativity print my mom bought for me last christmas.  it hangs next to our tree, and i just love it.  it helps me to keep my focus on Christ and not on the presents underneath the tree.
i put my little santa collection on our bookcase this year.  you can't see them very well in this picture but they include my 12 santas from around the world and the handmade santas that i've had as long as i can remember on the right.
this is my little red retro snoopy themed tree.  i love any and all things charlie brown and christmas, and i would like to add to this tree with new ornaments every year. 
this is the china cabinet in our dining room.  i like to collect unusual nativities and they are displayed on top.  the wall hanging on the left is vintage, and i picked it up at an antique mall after christmas this past year.  i thought it would be perfect to hold our christmas cards (the 3 little brown rectangles are pockets to slip the cards in).  one of our traditions is to pray at dinner for those families represented by the cards we received in the mail that day.  send us a card and we'll pray for you! :)  on the left is a ceramic lighted christmas tree i picked up at a garage sale this summer for $2.  i love it because it has NO missing lights and most of the lights are little birdies.  the only problem was that it needed a new lightbulb, and the previous owner had glued the base to the tree, making it impossible to access the lightbulb!  after some nail polish remover, a tiny paring knife and a lot of patience, i managed to dissolve the glue and get the two pieces apart.  hooray!  it is quite beautiful all lit!
this is our mantle.  it is tiny and makes me wish for a house with a more impressive mantle that i can really do up....but in the meantime, this is my peruvian nativity.  we really love it and picked it up at a craft fair a few years back.  the people selling it had gone to peru to visit family and brought back a few of these to sell.  the nativity is flanked by two little christmas trees that john and i bought at a garage sale before our first christmas together as a married couple.  they've been with us for 8 years now.
and one day i would like to have a christmas tree this size!  this is at the galleria and we've made it a yearly tradition to get a picture in front of this impressive tree!

after all that decorating, i was exhausted and needed a little treat!
i would love to see how you decorate for christmas!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

preparing for advent

advent is just around the corner and the anticipation is building in our home.

what is advent?  advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming") is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Christians believe that the season of Advent serves a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ's return. (from Wikipedia)

we celebrate advent by doing an advent tree.  what is an advent tree? the idea of an advent tree comes from Isaiah 11:1-9, where God promises a discouraged nation that the glory they remember from david's time will come to them again. they will have another king from jesse's family, in whose reign the whole earth will know God. christians see that promise fulfilled in Jesus, and so we put up an advent tree and decorate it with reminders of how God prepared the world for that Kingdom. (taken from Darcy James' book Let's Make a Jesse Tree!)

each day, starting on december 1 and ending on december 25, i will share the scripture that we read as a family and the ornament that is hung on the tree with you in hopes that family and friends would join with us.

i modified our reading plan a bit last year to perfectly coincide with our favorite chidren's bible, the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
if you have young kids and don't have this bible, you must walk out of your house, get in your car, and drive to your nearest bookstore to buy it. right now. seriously. and no, i am not being paid to say this. this bible is the sweetest one i've read. each story points towards Christ and is so good!

so here is our reading plan for this advent, along with what i think will probably be the coordinating ornament, though there are a few we might end up changing. the ornaments are simple, crafted from felt, that noodle and i made together last year while burrito was at school. eventually the plan is to buy "real" ornaments to replace the felt ones, but i imagine that might be a slow process (ornaments can be so expensive!).

so the reading plan is this:

dec 1 creation genesis 1-2 pgs 18-27 dove
dec 2 the fall genesis 3 pgs 28-37 fruit tree
dec 3 the flood genesis 6-9 pgs 38-47 rainbow
dec 4 tower of babel genesis 11 pgs 48-55 tower
dec 5 the promise to abraham genesis 12-21 pgs 56-61 stars in the sky
dec 6 abraham and isaac genesis 22 pgs 62-69 ram
dec 7 jacob, rachel and leah genesis 29-30 pgs 70-75 stalks of grain
dec 8 joseph genesis 37-46 pgs 76-83 a rainbow coat
dec 9 moses and the burning bush exodus 3-13 pgs 84-91 a burning bush
dec 10 moses and the red sea exodus 14-15 pgs 92-99 the split waters
dec 11 the law exodus 16 ff pgs 100-107 stone tablets
dec 12 joshua and jericho josh 3-6 pgs 108-115 trumpet
dec 13 david's anointing 1 sam 16 pgs 116-121 david the shepherd boy
dec 14 david and goliath 1 sam 17 pgs 122-129 slingshot
dec 15 david the shepherd psalm 23, 51 pgs 130-135 lyre
dec 16 naaman 2 kings 5 pgs 136-143 a heart
dec 17 isaiah isaiah 9 ff pgs 144-151 crown
dec 18 daniel in the lion's den daniel 6 pgs 152-159 daniel and a lion
dec 19 jonah jonah 1-4 pgs 160-169 fish
dec 20 the prophets neh 8-10 pgs 170-175 party hat
dec 21 john the baptist matt 3 pgs 200-203 a shell
dec 22 mary and the angel luke 1-2 pgs 176-179 an angel
dec 23 journey to bethlehem luke 1-2 pgs 180-181 a scroll
dec 24 the shepherds and wise men luke 2, matt 2 pgs 184-188 the three wise men
dec 25 jesus is born! luke 2 pgs 182, 190, 192-198 baby jesus

i would love for you to join us in doing this. it made for the best and sweetest christmas season ever for us last year. it takes a commitment of time, which just means less opportunity to be assaulted by consumerism in the malls. it takes a little bit of effort in making or securing the ornaments. however, it is so worth it and so rewarding! the boys loved taking turns hanging the ornaments on the tree, and the excitement and expectation builds as more and more ornaments fill the tree, until christ is born and christmas is here!

Friday, November 26, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like fall...

and with fall comes leaves.  this year, the leaf cleanup has been so much easier with our bagged mower and these little helpers.
next's beginning to look a lot like christmas, rutherford edition!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving 2010!

i am blogging today from the home that i've spent thanksgiving day at all of my 33 years.  i would guess that not very many people can say that.  we're at my parents' house, which once was my grandparents' house, and this is one of the many things for which i am thankful today.

i really appreciate thanksgiving because it's a holiday that everyone typically celebrates, and it provides a day to reflect on all of the blessings the Lord has given us.  today i am especially grateful for family, friends, health and traditions, none of which money can buy. 

the boys celebrated thanksgiving at school last week and had a great time crafting, eating, making butter, and playing games.
Psalm 100:1-5
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.  Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

through the gobi desert

a few weeks back burrito's class did a study on asia and learned all about the gobi desert, mongolians, the silk road, and other things i had to google to find out what they were!  at the end of their study, the entire class came dressed with head coverings and walking sticks and headed out to take a walk through the "gobi desert."  between working and running to noodle's classroom to deliver his birthday cookies, i managed to make it to the "desert" to snap a few pics.  (burrito is on the back row, in the middle, with the tallest stick)
after their trek, they went back inside and ate rice with chopsticks for an afternoon snack.  i know that this concrete activity was so perfect to help them remember all they learned about this part of the world!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

hallow-weekend (a week belated)

so once again i'm grossly behind in my blogging ventures.  i'm quickly learning that i simply cannot accomplish everything.

but enough of that.  we celebrated our halloween all weekend long.  the boys kicked it off with their reformation parties at school. 

for our halloween costumes, the boys decided on being football players.  they each have their own football uniform and i applied a little black mascara on their cheeks and we called it good.  i love simple costumes!
on saturday, the boys and i did our own halloween thing while john went to golf with a group from our church.  the boys and i had such a fun "mommy time!" 

first, we went to the video store and picked out a movie to watch later that night.  then we went to our community fall festival at a local park.  we had attended this one a few years back, and the boys had fun, but the downside was having to wait in some long lines in order to do the activities. nonetheless, they were patient and had a blast.
we finished up there and then headed to ihop for breakfast for dinner.  the boys chose a chocolate face pancake and gobbled it up!
john joined us halfway through our meal and then we headed home for some movie time!

on sunday, we celebrated reformation day at church and then came back for an impromptu halloween lunch.  it consisted of mummy dogs (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls), cheese-covered bugs (macaroni and cheese that are bug-shaped), and chips with monster mash (guacamole).  the boys love to indulge my culinary creativity!
then sunday night we headed over to dallas to go trick-or-treating with some great friends.  our party represented 3 mermaids, a cheerleader, a baseball player and 2 football players.  we were a diverse group.
the moms took the kids while the men stayed back to watch the rangers play in the world series.  it was a bit chaotic trying to keep track of seven running children in the dark but we did it and all survived!  thanks again gibsons for hosting!