This Christmas: 1st Year at Home, 1st Non Disaster Story

I guess you know which stocking is mine.

This might have been the easiest Christmas in 14 years of April and Alan family Christmases. We only had to travel two hours, and we woke up on Christmas morning IN OUR OWN HOUSE. Have you ever??? I mean, we had almost never!! Do you do this? Do other people do this every year??  It was so nice!

I mean have you read my other Christmas stories???

Our Nightmare Before Christmas

The Funeral, Christmas Trip

New Years in San Francisco

Well, I’m happy to tell you this is NOT one of those stories. We did go and see our families, but we were able to do all of that and still be at our own house on Christmas morning.

Around 7 or so a.m., we heard Boy #1 begin talking to Boy #2. They simply chatted calmly in bed. Some of the boys woke up the other boys. I don’t remember who got up first, but a miracle happened…..

No one came and jumped on us…..

They gathered themselves in the living room, just the four of them in the living room to patiently wait for their parents to get up.

Whaaa???? We were so pleased with all this that we didn’t make them wait. We went ahead and joined them.

My heart brimmed over with awe at the fact that they were all sitting in the living room, waiting patiently.

I love watching my children open their presents. Christmas is a whole other level of special for children. When is it that we lose that? Let’s get that back.

Caleb, opening a present they WEREN’T expecting: Lego Dimensions

Yes, he’s actually CLAPPING. He’s so excited. There were a few To: Caleb and Daniel presents this year. They may look ages apart, but it’s actually only a 3 year gap. Some kids are tall. Some kids are shorter.

SO HAPPY

Be sure to see the 50 second JD video on Facebook, and share in the excitement.

We all went to church together. It was nice, though nothing topped the Christmas Eve service.

Christmas Eve service

There was something about the meaning in lighting these candles and taking communion with so many fellow believers that made Christmas more real to me this year. We sang Silent Night, and I wanted this moment to never end.

Too quickly, we were all headed back to our houses when so often I just want to curl up at the altar and soak it all in…

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”       Luke 2:10-12

…But it was back to Christmas as usual, and I can’t help but wonder. Are we entering a new phase of our lives?  There simply isn’t a BABY anymore. JD is 3 1/2 now. No one is a baby. Life is c-a-l-m-i-n-g down. No one wore a diaper, no one carried a sippy cup, and no one got out of their seat. No one even colored on himself.

Wow.

I think I might cry!

No one was sick this Christmas either. JD caught a cold, accompanied by a very pink eye, but even that ended in two days.

OH, and guess what! Once Christmas day was over, Alan took my minivan to the shop, and I now have a clean minivan, with a heater that heats, and a functioning defroster! Somebody get this man a trophy!!

I feel like we just had the perfect Christmas. I can safely say that because Christmas is fully over. Saying Christmas was perfect can’t possibly jinx it now.

Of course, I did find one baby to hold.

Ah, sparkling pretty lights. I may never take my Christmas tree down. Plus, I’m hoping Alan will do it for me. Hmmm…I wonder if Alan is hoping that I will do it. I seriously don’t even want it taken down. Let’s just leave it up until next Christmas!

Hallelujah! And may we never forget what it’s all about. This is an incredible excerpt from the Passion of the Christ. You do have to click the link to YouTube to watch, but it’s so worth it:

 

Wishing you all a blessed 2017! May your kids behave. May your rain be snow, and may all your prayers be answered.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”        Luke 2:13-14

Year-End Christmas Card Letter 2016

Merry Christmas from Monterey! (No, we aren’t actually in Monterey anymore. We took this in April. Man, that was a nice place.) We wanted to have a pretty beach family photo for our Christmas card. It didn’t work out.

Want a good laugh? It was INSANELY windy.

It was a year of big changes for us. I didn’t have any more babies, but we did move across the country, change schools, give up home-schooling, and we switched brands of paper towels…

Graduation day. John David kept saying, “I want cake. Can we have cake now? Where’s the cake?”

Alan got his engineering masters, which was exciting. So we said good-bye to the full-time student life and my beloved whales and sea otters and moved back down south to Georgia.

Alan took the older two boys on an action-packed road trip on his way.

 

As for me, I took my first part-time job since 2005, believe it or not, but I still get to work from home. I’m writing for MontereyPremier.com as well as for Stories of Our Boys. I’m ridiculously relieved to not be home-schooling anymore. I just can’t even tell you!

 

Joshua is still Mr. Basketball. He loves it so much. He also had his first zit this fall. Times they are a changin’. Next year he will officially be a middle-schooler. I think this is the part where it pays off that they are 4 male children instead of 4 female children. Yes!!

 

Caleb is patiently waiting for baseball season. He is also honing his art skills. He’s as friendly as ever, and despite having no close-proximity little boys his age to play with, he managed to find kids on the next streets over. They have formed a Nerf Club, and our house is quickly becoming Grand Central Pre-Teen Station again.

Daniel is a kindergartener now. I can’t believe it either, and you’ve never seen a more serious little conscientious student. When he walks quietly through the hall, he does it like a well-trained soldier, and it is adorable. He also told us the other night at the dinner table, “I’m in love! And I don’t care who knows it!”  (Yes. We’ve been watching Elf.)

He said he made Bullseye into a pirate.

John David is 3 1/2 now. Markers are his favorite thing in the world. Instead of drawing all over himself as all of his brothers did, he draws all over his toys. We are so tired. It’s been 11 years of toddlers now. As in, there has always been at least one toddler/baby/pre-schooler in the house for 11 years. We just don’t even care about stuff like that anymore.

Draw on your toys? Sure. Here’s a marker. They are your toys.

Play in the water hose? Why stop him? He looks so happy.

Wear pajamas all day? Well, they are cozy. I get it.

****************

Best events from 2016:

And read the story of Caleb’s salvation if you haven’t. Caleb chooses Jesus.

-Caleb got baptized.

Alan, Joshua, and Caleb went to the Grand Canyon (That’s a link you can click on to read the whole story.)

-Joshua earned the TNT Clubber of the Year Trophy, a hard-earned award that he got for memorizing a book and a half worth of AWANA verses.

Happiest day of John David’s life. He tried so hard to get that car door to open.

-We went to Disney World WITH our good friends Sean, Amy, Xavier, and Zoe!!

-The boys started a new school, and they are all happy there.

-Daniel learned how to swim and jump off the diving board.

Monterey, photo by Aunt Janet

We do miss Monterey: the people, the waves, and the weather! But we are loving being closer to family too.

If Uncle Keith could take all our pictures, maybe our smiles would always be this genuine! Thank you, Keith!

So, you know, all’s well that ends well, right? Happy New Year, y’all! May God bless all of you. Thank you for reading!

 

Numbers 6:24-26

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Merry Christmas!! 

 

 

Fun Way to Teach the True Meaning of Christmas, with Giveaway!

Fun Way to Teach Your Kids, with Giveaway

This post is sponsored by seedsfamilyworship.com. They are here to teach the Bible through songs.

John David is 3 years old, but he already knows that Christmas equals presents. He is also fully in love with Santa Clause, aka the King of Christmas. And in all fairness, who wouldn’t love a man who shows up once a year just to give you all the things you wanted???? Sign me up for that!

music and DVD giveaway

My sweetie-pie professional product tester. He accepts payments of hugs and toy airplanes.

So you might be wondering why I’m talking about Christmas in October, but the thing is that if you are planning a children’s ministry or want to teach your kids an awesome song to perform at Christmas for their grandparents, then now is the time to order your material.

We got this lovely Christmas DVD and accompanying CD in the mail called Seeds of Christmas. By the way, it’s also available digitally if you don’t want to have to fool with a hard copy DVD and CD.

I tried it out the first time with just John David because he’s the only guinea pig hanging out with all day while I’m working. He is also a lover of all things music. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Oooo, John David, I have a new Christmas movie for us to watch. It has songs! (JD loves songs.)

JD: Yay!!!  It has Santa Clause?

Me: Well, um, I don’t know. Let’s watch it. We’ll see what it has. I’ve never seen it before, but I do know it’s Christmas.

JD: Yay!!!

Some of the songs are fast, but most of them are slower, very worshipful. I’m going to include a preview below for you to see what I mean.

Music and DVD Giveaway

Every single song line is a Bible verse.

We watched it without hand motions, but if you are teaching a class or your kids happen to like doing the motions, that’s all on there for you. I have four BOYS. They dislike singing in public, and they especially dislike hand motions.

The last video on this disc is BEAUTIFUL. They were all good, but this one was my favorite. It has that wow factor you would want for a program, if you are performing these.

Music and DVD Giveaway

We are only using it at home, but I just adored that last video, called “Joy.” You can’t tell from the preview online just how powerful that video actually is. Watch it without the hand motions, and focus in on the whole Bible story of Jesus’s birth played out in front of you.

So this is what sold me on this video:

We were watching the Joy video at the end, and JD could not stop asking questions!

“Who’s that?”

Music and DVD Giveaway

JD had to know who each little figure at the bottom was and what they did.

“That’s Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus.”

“Who’s that?”

“That’s Jesus.”

“Jesus died.”

“Yes, but this is when Jesus was born. Jesus is God’s son.”

“He died?”

“Well, yes, later on, but this is about when he was born. See, he was a baby, born in a manger in a barn. Christmas is really about the birth of Jesus, not about Santa Clause and what we can get from him.”

I can’t remember the entire conversation, but you get the idea. This opened the door to talk about these important things. That’s right. Christmas isn’t just about presents. What a great reminder.

When the video was over, JD actually asked to watch it again!

Now here’s the other unusual thing about this company, Seeds Family Worship. All of their songs are 100% Bible verses. There are no fillers or added words. They are literally just singing the Bible!!

They call it family worship because their stuff isn’t just for kids or just for adults. Anyone can enjoy it and learn. You could get the music to help you learn scriptures! You could use it to help teach your children memory verses. You could even use it for your Bible class or children’s choir. I am impressed with the versatility.

Click here to go to their website and see a preview!

I was excited to learn that Seeds Family Worship is also a touring group. They are traveling performers, and because I have readers in Bowling Green, Kentucky let me tell you: they will be in your city in January. I found this on their website:

Bowling Green, Kentucky: God’s Awesome Word Event, Living Hope Baptist Church, January 8. You can click here for more info on that.

Fun Way to Teach the True Meaning of Christmas

 

Two more pieces of good news:

  1. The Christmas Set is on sale now for $19.99. You get BOTH the DVD and the CD for that, so it’s an awesome deal.
  2. We’re giving one set away!!!!  Wahoo!!! Click to enter below:                                  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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