Christmas Five Years Ago

TT.12-17_15Hi and Happy Thursday.  For today’s Throwback Thursday, I included a picture of the three of us at Christmas.  This was taken in 2010 when Ian was 3 years old.

My how has he changed since this photo.  He was into all things that preschoolers love.  He had fun at Christmas but this year is different.  He now understands what it’s all about, enjoys reading his Advent calendar each day, and had fun drafting a long letter to Santa.

In 2010, he got the Candyland game and we played it for hours and hours.  Last year, he received Monopoly and was equally thrilled.  Also, in 2010, Ian received a large fire truck that he was able to get into and play with.  He loved it and still enjoys it today.

I have always loved Christmas and love that he enjoys it as much as I do.  He is very excited to have just today and tomorrow left at school before our break.  Let the holiday fun begin!

Today I am thankful for so much.  We are blessed and fortunate to have our family traditions and our family and friends to enjoy being with.  Among my blessings are:

  • Family traditions with my family of 3 and extended family
  • Ian reading his Advent Bible verses each day
  • Shopping with Ian for an angle tree gift
  • Christmas shows with my guys
  • Hot chocolate and popcorn in the evenings
  • Advent services and meals at church (even though we missed a few because of illness)
  • Christmas party at school
  • Parties with friends
  • Making fudge for gifts
  • Crafting ornaments and other things
  • Choosing favorite photos
  • Playing games with friends and family
  • Hours and hours of fun and laughter
  • A break from our usual routine
  • Seeing friends after years apart
  • Special dinner out with my hubby
  • The upcoming birth of our Savior
  • Messy hair and pjs on Christmas morning

And a few quotes about Christmas:

  • “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” ~ Burton Hillis
  • “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ~ Andy Rooney
  • “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. “~ Peg Bracken

May you blessed and enjoy this holiday season.

The Blessing of Crafting

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHappy last weekend before Christmas!  It’s just a few days away and we still have things to finish.

Again this year, we are making ornaments, and making fudge and other treats to give out as gifts.  This is our second year of doing so and I love it again this year.  I am blessed to have the time to do this at home.  I know not everyone can do so.

Last year, I saw a great and very easy recipe for Peppermint Fudge on “The Pioneer Woman” television show.  There are only three ingredients. I thought, “I can certainly do that.”  Cool.  So our fudge gift was born.  The great thing is that people really like it.

On Thursday, we had Ian’s class Christmas party.  Several parents and his teacher helped me put a great party together and the kids had a blast.  We ate yummy pizza with other foods, watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and the kids made three ornaments.

The first craft was two ornaments made out of beads and pipe cleaners.  They had a choice between a wreath and candy canes.  Some did both and some did two of each.  It was fun to see their creativity. The second craft was coloring wooden ornaments with pens and then gluing on small balls for noses or a button.  The students had so much fun being crafty and it was great to see!

This photo includes some of the bead ornaments that we made last year and this year.  By the end of this year, we will have a few more to add to our tree.  I love crafts and much as arts — thus I am an arts and crafts gal!

Here are a few quotes about crafting and creativity:

  • “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” — Francis of Assisi
  • “Crafting is the best medicine.” — Unknown
  • “Write what you don’t know. Imagine, empathize, create. Build something from a fragment of a daydream. Believe in the magic of creation.” — Unknown
  • “It’s not just about creativity. It’s about the person you’re becoming while you are creating.” — Charlie Peacock
  • “Nothing can rival the incredible rush the act of creation brings. Of crafting something you know is destined to be great for all time.” — Alyson Noel
  • “In crafting there are no mistakes. It is your own unique creation.” — Unknown

I wonder what fun and crafty things we will be doing today?  I plan to make some fudge, some cookies, and a few more ornaments.  Have fun in your crafts too!

The Blessing of Christmas Music

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.  I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas music! I love the pop music on the radio as well as the carols and hymns that are sung at church.

For our advent services, we use a caroling songbook that was put together last year.  Part of the songs are sacred Christmas songs and others are Christmas fun.  On the sacred list are tunes like, “Silent Night,” “Still, Still, Still,” and “What Child is This?” On the fun list are “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Silver Bells.”

This photo is of our tree with the musical ornaments and a Singing Santa in front.  He lights up, signs, and his hat flaps up and down.  Even in the silliest things, it is about the music.

I have some favorite songs that the local radio station plays throughout the Christmas season and some others as well.  I like these songs sung or performed by particular people.  They are:

  • “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as sung by Andy Williams.  This is my all-time favorite and I crank it up every time and sing along with it.
  • “Happy Holidays” also sung by Andy Williams. I loved him as a child and still do.  His voice is Christmas to me.
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas” By Band-Aid.  This was originally recorded and released in 1984.  Although a sad song, it reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas and that we are called to help one another.  This year, it was re-recorded to raise money for Ebola.  I just love that!
  • “Celebrate Me Home” by Kenny Loggins.  It is all about making it home for Christmas with your loved ones.
  • “A Baby Changes Everything” by Faith Hill.  A baby born on Christmas changed everything. Babies born every day also change everything.  Our baby certainly did for us.
  • “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Josh Groban.  This one gives me chills, especially the version that is interspersed with servicemen and women talking to their families.  Again, home is the place to be, at least in my opinion.
  • “O Holy Night” as sung by my mother at church.  She has a lovely voice and her rendition gives me chills every time. Looking forward to this year Mom!
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as sung by Ian.  He has learned about the Rudolph story this year and loves it. And he has made up his own version of a female purple-nosed reindeer.  Love his creativity.
  • “Tennessee Christmas” by Amy Grant.  Since I am from Tennessee, the words mean a lot.
  • “White Christmas” from the movie as sung by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera Ellen.  I love this entire movie and all of the songs in it.  And, I sing with each and every one of them.
  • “My Grown-Up Christmas List” by Amy Grant.  The words are just right for my current wish list.  Gifts are more than material things.
  • “Santa Clause is Coming To Town” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  This is a fun version recorded at a concert.
  • “Last Christmas” by Wham.  I really like George Michael’s voice on this song.
  • “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney.  This is another fun song.
  • “The Hallelujah Chorus” as performed by a choir with a full orchestra.  I have performed this song twice and loved singing it both times.
  • “Winter Wonderland” by Eurythmics.  I like Annie Lennox’s voice on this version.
  • “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by U2.  This is one of my favorite groups and is a great version.

What are your favorite Christmas songs?  I would love to hear about them and what you like about them.

I wonder if I will be singing along with these songs?  Yes!  I most certainly will!

The Blessing of Christmas Past

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and happy Throwback Thursday.  It is hard to believe that two weeks from today is Christmas.  Wow!  Where did the year go? For today’s photo I decided to include a photo of Ian at his first Christmas.  He was two months old and fascinated with all of the lights and colors and textures.

We were looking at each other and as you can see, his fingers were in his mouth. Many things went into his mouth, as usually happens with babies. This particular year we received a lot of Baby’s First Christmas gifts — framed photos, stockings and several ornaments that we still include in our holiday decorations.

Ian was nearly 10 pounds when he was born so he never was a tiny little guy.  But, this is so small compared to him now at 7 years old. At this size, I could hold his entire body on my lap.  Now, his legs hang onto the couch.

The years have flown by with him but we have savored each and every minute.  I like that we can have conversations with him now and that he can read to us. Our boy has grown up into such a wonderful young man.  For that I am truly thankful and very blessed.

The next few weeks will be quite busy as we finish getting ready for the Lord’s birthday.  There are ornaments and food to make, purchases to finish, and baking to be done.  I will be taking it one day at a time and plan to have fun with it.

May you have a blessed remainder of Advent and the Christmas season!! May you enjoy this year’s Christmas as much as past Christmas celebrations!

For To Us A Child Is Born!!!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHappy Birthday Jesus!  Happy December 25th.

Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior which is Christ the Lord!  My prayer is that you have a wonderful and very Merry Christmas!!

Here is our manger given to us several years ago by some dear friends.  We set it up each Christmas and it’s Ian’s favorite part of the decorations — other than what he helps make.  A few of the pieces are broken now but it still is a vivid reminder of the true meaning of this amazing holiday.

May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas Day!  Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!!!!

A few verses of scripture announcing this amazing birth:

  • Luke 2:11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
  • Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 
  • Isaiah 7:14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
  • Matthew 2:10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”
  • Luke 2:12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
  • Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
  • Matthew 1:21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

I hope and pray that you have a glorious day!  Isn’t it great that we gifts on Jesus’ birthday?  I know that Ian and we sure think it is!!  Enjoy!!

Throwback Thursday – Ian’s First Christmas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Thursday. Today I decided to share several photo for Throwback Thursday.  They are of Ian’s first Christmas.  He was nearly 3 months old when these were taken.

I love his smile and he seemed so happy in his Santa hat.  We were having fun looking at each other.  That is my face in the top right.  When he was born, he was just under 10 pounds so he had grown quite a bit already.

He was posed by the tree with a place mat on his tummy. He constantly had his hands in his mouth when he was this age or his pacifier, paci, as we called it.  Now he’s 6 years old, tall for his age, and full of fun and energy.  It is amazing to think this is the 6th Christmas we have celebrated with Ian.  Each one has been special in its own way.

Early on, he just enjoyed smiling at people and looking at all of the lights and ornaments.  Then, he was happy with the gifts that we picked for him and played with them.  In recent years, he has been asking for items that he wants to receive.  Isn’t it amazing how quickly that changes?

Now, this year he has been curious about Advent (the season preparing for Christ’s arrival), is enjoying his Advent calendar, and knows what the meaning of Christmas is and why we celebrate it.  He is also discovering what we celebrate. At school, he has been learning about different traditions around the world.  You can see in my blog from yesterday that he gets it.  I am so proud of him for that.

I just can’t believe all of the changes in the last 6 years.  Here are a few more photos from his 1st Christmas.  Mr. Smiley was actually cooperating. I am ready to take a lot of new photos this year of him and the wonder of Christmas morning.

I wonder what his favorite part will be this year?  I can’t wait to find out.  I wonder how many happy tears I will have.  I imagine quite a few.

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December 16 – Makes You Feel Merry

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday!  Today’s photo challenge is Makes You Feel Merry.  I took some pictures yesterday at church.  These make me merry since they include items of both Advent and Christmas.

These and the scriptures below remind me of what Christmas is all about.  Ian commented about the photo with the baby in a manger picture in front of the tree, “Aw, how cute.  They have the Baby Jesus.”

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Luke 2:10-12  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

May you have a blessed day full of merry and fun!

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Family Gatherings

gatheringLast week for Christmas, there were many wonderful family gatherings.

We had four fabulous days in a row with family — exchanging gifts and enjoying our time together.  It was so much fun.

Here is a plaque that I found for my parents.  It is so right for this past week.  It states, “Take joy in the gathering… sweet memories are being made.”

We made many memories and for that I am very thankful!  My sister took a family portrait when we were all together.  I cannot wait to see that!!

Each home I went to, I took pictures of the trees or the decorations.  I was trying out my GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAnew camera that was a birthday and Christmas gift from my sweet husband.  Here are some of my shots.

Here is a picture of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree that Ian received from my parents.  Our dining room in is the background.  He was so thrilled to get his own tree!  They also gave him the movie which he enjoyed watching.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThis next photo is our tree.  Ian especially liked decorating the three and liked seeing the gifts under it.  He was just the right age to have an absolute ball this year!  What fun times.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERATwo of my sister’s-in-law’s decorations were beautiful.  One had a really nice village scene as well as nutcrackers, a sled and other items, and the other had a great collection of nutcrackers.

Ian too likes nutcrackers and received one from his Uncle Jon!  He was excited to add to his Nutcrackerville community as he calls it!  He had a few from last year but it was great to add to the collection.

Hope you too were able to enjoy fun gatherings with friends and family!

May you enjoy the last two days of 2012.  God Bless!!

Merry Christmas to You!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to wish my friends, family, blogs followers and readers a very Merry Christmas!  Hope you have a very blessed holiday!

A few Sundays ago, our Pastor told a story in his sermon that is what I think the holiday is all about.  An autistic boy had a part in the Christmas play.

He played the inn keeper and was supposed to tell Joseph and Mary that there was no room for them in the inn.

Instead this boy said, “I know what I am supposed to say, but Mary and Joe, there is room.  Why don’t you take my room?”

Isn’t that the sweetest? This boy knew that Christmas and Christ are about love and helping others!  May we all live that kind of life!!

This Christmas Eve and Christmas, I look forward to time with family and dear friends, good food, baking cookies, going to church tonight with my family, cookies and hot chocolate after the service, watching Ian open his gifts and stocking on Christmas morning, and the love of the Christ Child!

Here are a few quotes about Christmas:

  • “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”– Burton Hillis
  • “From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.” — Emily Matthews
  • “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.” — WC Jones
  • “For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”– W. J. Tucker
  • “At Christmas, all roads lead home.”– Marjorie Holmes
  • “Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.” –Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”– Laura Ingalls Wilder

May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!  Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!

11 Days ‘Til Christmas

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWow, the countdown continues.  We are now less than 2 weeks from Christmas — just 11 more days.

I don’t know about you but I am not quite ready, but thankfully I am not beginning to panic — at least not yet!  🙂

Here is a photo from last month when we started decorating our tree.  Ian was placing ornaments on the tree and had an absolute ball!

This year is a great year for him to enjoy Christmas and I am so enjoying the entire season!  He is fascinated with the lights, the music, the Christmas specials on television and making and decorating Christmas cookies.

Earlier this week, we watched “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” which has the story of Santa.  At first he was unsure of the mean Burgermeister as well as the Warlock, but discovered that as they learned about love and friendship, they became nice.  It was a neat lesson.

About Christmas, Ian said recently, “It is when Santa comes to Jesus’ birthday party.”  Isn’t that great?  I love how he summed it up so well.  He seems to understand that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus with Santa thrown in for fun!

May we as adults enjoy this magical time of year with the wonder and innocence of a child!  And, may we throughout the year show the love and compassion for one another that is so prevalent at this time of year!  I truly hope and pray that we can do that!

Today, I am thankful for:

  • A boy who sings “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”
  • Stores where photo gifts can be made and then either picked up or mailed to you
  • Coffee with peppermint mocha creamer (very sweet and a treat)
  • Trying to arrange a get-together with family and friends
  • A friend who will receive her bachelor’s degree tomorrow.  Although I can’t be at the ceremony, I will be there in spirit.
  • Singing along with the Christmas songs on the radio
  • Teaching Ian about the Advent Wreath
  • Watching Ian print out pictures of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas from the Internet
  • Eating popcorn and hot chocolate
  • Christmas specials on television
  • Receiving a special early gift from my hubby
  • Finding the perfect gift for a special someone
  • Hearing what Ian wants for Christmas
  • Quoting each song while watching the amazing movie “White Christmas.”

May you have a wonderful Christmas!  Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!