A Very Late 2008 Post

So, I know that it is really the 9th of January, but I am so dating this one the 31st just so that I can print a Blurb book that is nice and tidy and goes 1/1 thru 12/31. I have made a resolution to not stress myself out about anything to do with photos. It's so funny - I love taking pics and love looking at pictures, but I've found that everything that goes along with displaying the pictures that I take and love can easily add stress to my life. And that just doesn't make sense at all, so I'm putting an end to it. So what that I say I'm a scrapbooker but don't actually scrapbook. I really enjoy the thought of scrapbooking as much as I do actually scrapbooking. So what if I am just now finishing the "what our Christmas looked like" post - I should just be thankful that I am sitting here now trying to finish it and enjoying my first homemade iced coffee (thanks, Tomi!) I am so grateful that my life is so full of joyful, picture-taking moments that I just can't keep up with all of them!

Speaking of picture-taking moments, like all of you, we had tons of these moments in the month of December. I would say that I am going to try to be brief, but I would be setting myself up for failure. This is more for my scattered brain...so that I can remember all our fun times. Otherwise, I'll forget too quickly.

First off, here are a couple of pics from our Ministry Appreciation Event that was actually held right before Thanksgiving. The staff had such a good time putting together a skit that included Keith as Jeff Foxworthy, Nick as Howie Mandel, and Douglas as Ryan Seacrest. They were hilarious! The wives even got to get into the fun by being Howie's lovely ladies - keep scrolling to see our sexy outfits :)

Kade kicked off his fun times by helping daddy put up the Christmas lights outside.

Then, we kicked off December with our 2nd Annual Women's Christmas Event. We had to move it to a local hotel this year because we had maxed out at the YMCA last year. We had such a good time. We had over 225 women attend to enjoy a catered dinner and a comedian who wove the gospel thruout her skit. One of the coolest traditions at our ladies event is that the men serve us. Here is a pic of some of the men lined up at the door to escort the ladies to their chairs as they arrived.
Each host/cohost is responsible for decorating their table and providing the dinnerware. Here is the table that my friend, Dawn and I did together.
Then, the next weekend, we went to our city's Christmas night. It is crazy how many people can fit on our main street in downtown Round Rock. We did manage to sneak in a family picture in between losing one of our kids here and there. Our church put on a drama at the main stage two times during the evening and we had one of our favorite photographers taking pictures of families throughout the night. It was definitely a cool way to get into our community.
Some of my friends and I continued something that we started last year - we take our kids to one of the local nursing homes to sing songs for them and say their current memory verse that they're learning. We also have all of the kids take bookmarks that they pass out to the residents after their program is finished. I can't tell you the joy it brings to the residents to see these little ones performing and then to get a bookmark from them. Kale insisted on bringing his guitar and playing for them during the program. Needless to say, he was a big hit!

Brynlee with two of her closest friends, Lincoln and Truly. It's awesome to be babies...they made the residents smile just by being there.

Two of my favorite, familiar sites throughout the holidays...a fire going in our fireplace, and...
my family all snuggled together watching a Christmas movie. Could life get any better than this?We invited our neighbors over one night for a friendly gingerbread house family competition. We had family cheers and everything...so much fun.

Needless to say, this piece of art didn't win. Let's just say that I'm glad I got this picture when I did because I think the roof caved in within two minutes of this shot.

Thanks to my precious friend, Kendall, I finally found a sugar cookie and frosting recipe that made for awesome frosted sugar cookies! I truly enjoyed getting to cook with Kade a couple of different times throughout the month as we baked goodies for the kids' Sunday School teachers, Mother's Day Out classes and neighbors.

E. and Papa arrived with lots of gifts two days before Christmas. All the boys were eager to help them unload all the packages :)

The boys and I took some baked goodies around to our neighbors with an invitation to join us for our Christmas Eve service. I savored every moment of watching them go up to each door and knock on the doors. You'll notice that Kamden has on his favorite piece of clothing, a cape.
I had to intervene when Kale tried to take off with our neighbors plastic reindeer - we might have a little budding thief among us.

This was a sight I enjoyed seeing, a little girl stocking for Brynlee.
E. helped Kade and I make our birthday cake for Jesus. That is one of my favorite traditions we have so far as a family. Christmas day is the only day that the boys are allowed to eat birthday cake for breakfast - in honor of the One who has made our lives worth living.
We were able to get a couple of good family shots on Christmas Eve night. My sweet friend from high school, Megan, began last year sending the boys matching Christmas p.j.'s. She sent them to us early this year so they could get good wear out of them, but this is the first shot of them wearing them that I have been able to get. First off, the kids with their E. and Papa. We were so blessed to have them with us this year. It was different not being at their house, but it was a blessing to not have to travel with four little ones.

Our kids enjoying their Christmas gifts...

Celebrating the birth of our Savior...

We enjoyed a nice, relaxing day with granny and E. and Papa before they headed back to the Dallas area after our dinner. Our good friends, Bret and Tomi, joined us for dinner and stayed to hang out on Christmas evening. We tried to play a game with them, but Kale stood right next to us singing as loud as he could...he is definitely going to be our entertainer. Brynlee and Truly are only seven weeks apart in age, so Tomi and I are hoping they will be the best of friends. Here they are in their matching p.j.'s.

Our church closed down for the 28th since we did such a big Christmas Eve service. So, instead of visiting another church, our family went to Mt. Bonnel in Austin and had our own worship time and hiked together. We had such a nice time and the boys thought they could see the whole world from the top of the Mt.

Karen and Alan, who just found out they are having a little boy this year, came to visit us on the 29th (Mom E.'s birthday!) to do Christmas with them. They got the boys Batman and Superman p.j's with capes. If you know my boys at all, you know those went over very well...so well in fact that I can barely get them washed before they're asking for them again...thanks, Alan and Karen!We ended 2008 with our good friends, Adam and Kendall Brunson. Adam is the Small Groups Pastor at HCBC Pflugerville. He and Keith went to DTS around the same time. We so treasure their friendship and enjoy any time we get to hang out with them. They treated us to homemade pizzas, a party popper with confetti for the kids and smores! Addie is not in these pics, but she is Brynlee's other BFF who was born just a couple of days before Brynlee. Adam and Kendall have three girls now, so we are hoping that at least one of our boys marries one of their girls. Too bad we don't do arranged marriages in our culture...

And that's it....100,000 words later. 2008 over. And 2009 going full swing already. Whew...I just want to enjoy every minute God gives. I hope you had as many picure-taking moments with your family this past Christmas and had time to ponder the miracle of this baby Jesus we all celebrate. Happy New Year!


Our best ever...

Hands down, this Christmas will go down as one of our favorites.  This was the first year that I can truly say we focused on the two things I always want to focus on but seem to lose sight of each Christmas season - Jesus and family.  Yes, I still have Christmas cards that still need to be put in the mail.  But I see that as evidence that I am actually starting to figure out what is truly important vs. what is urgent.  Usually, I would be so stressed out because I didn't get all my cards out before Christmas, but this year, I'm just thankful that my card says "Merry Christmas AND Happy New Year because they will for sure be getting them in the new year. :)  Actually, I did almost stress about this and a couple of other "to do" list items as Christmas got closer, but the Lord was so good to remind me at just the right time that the world would not stop if those things weren't done.  Now I feel like I might be taking advantage of that truth a little - when does it just become plain procrastination?  

Cool news...we had at least 16 people put their trust in Christ for the first time at our Christmas Eve services at church.  What a way to kick off the Christmas celebrations!  Keith and I are just so thankful that God gives us a front row seat to see Him at work.  That was way better than any present we could have received.  But, speaking of presents, I am writing this blog on my new Mac computer.  Keith and I were planning on only giving each other our free upgrade phones for Christmas, but he surprised me and ordered a refurbed Mac.  I am loving it!  

Here are some pics from the past couple of weeks...