Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

It was not until our church service last night that I could sincerely wish anyone a merry Christmas. For some unknown reason I just wasn't feeling it this year. I felt guilty for not being in the Christmas spirit. After all, I have several friends who have had difficult situations and experienced big life changing, some even tragic, events this past year and yet I was the one being a bit of a scrooge.

I still cannot tell you why I haven't felt very Christmas-y this year but being at our church's Christmas Eve service helped turn it around for me. I love being in church on Christmas Eve - it's a beautiful service and feels so warm and peaceful.

After church we did our annual tradition of a Christmas light cruise followed by opening one present once we got home. The girls got new pajamas which they loved! Their dinner (we had had various appetizers and finger foods before church) consisted of cinnamon apples, cookies, and warm apple cider.

I remember always waking up especially early on Christmas morning, just bursting with excitement to discover what Santa had left us. My expectations of the girls doing the same thing were squashed. We finally heard Gabby climb down from her loft bed around 7:00 this morning. She climbed in bed with us, asking when we could finally wake her sister. While Ed was in Samantha's room around 7:30 to wake her, Gabby confessed she had already been up once during the night and had a preview of Santa's loot. I'll admit, I was quite disappointed and sad at the confession. It is their first expressions of surprise and excitement where I get my joy and I felt kind of robbed of that. Plus it was just another of many recent reminders just how quickly my girls are growing up (Gabby styled her own hair today as well as changed her earrings on her own for the first time). When I saw my disappointment and sadness was causing Gabby to be upset I had to get over it and tell her it was okay. I'm sure I did it more than once myself growing up.

The girls were super excited with their gifts - the ones from Santa and the ones from us and each other. We had a low key morning, hanging in our pajamas, eating cinnamon rolls, playing with all the new stuff. We decided to check out a matinee after lunch, the new Disney movie Frozen. I had planned to take the girls one day this week while I was off work and they were out for school but it was nice to go when Ed could also go with us. Frozen was a really cute and funny movie, maybe one of my favorite Disney princess movies.

And now it is nearing bedtime on Christmas night. I am not certain what the next few days hold for us. Ed will return to work tomorrow. I'm off the rest of the week - well off from being at the office, I'll be working some from home. I am hoping to get the girls' rooms straightened up some, finding new homes and organization for the new toys. I have not done much cooking or baking lately and would love to do some baking with the girls. For the most part I am going to play it by ear, having some fun, relaxing and enjoying our time together - knowing the next few days pass far quicker than I would like.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

VBS 2013

Last week our church was transformed into ancient Athens and our kids visited and spoke with Paul, learning all about how God loves us all, no matter what, even when others don't.

Leading up to VBS involves a lot of planning and preparation. This year I was asked to be the Marketplace Director - the one to organize and coordinate all the crafts the kids do at the various "shops" during the week.

It takes a lot of work and a lot of volunteers - from food and games and music and group leaders and decorations. By the end of the week we are all just completely worn out - even the kids.

But the conversations you get to have with those kids...

comments about God's unconditional love and forgiveness...

and to see them sing and praise God with such excitement and conviction...

to watch as they so happily bring in their donations each night for various missions...

to even hear some of them stand in front of over 200 people and give their testimony...

well I think we would all agree all of the hardwork was well worth it. And what we as volunteers got out of VBS is far beyond what we put into it.

 We're already looking forward to next year...

Wonder where we'll go and who'll we meet then!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Our First Trip of the Summer

School had officially been out for two days when we packed up and headed north for our first trip of the summer. Off to Pennsylvania we went!

Ed's dad met us in PA and he along with Ed's Aunt Louise were our tour guides of sort for the weekend. We stayed with family the entire trip. The hospitality we all received was tremendous. It was so nice to spend that kind of time with family we don't see nearly often enough.

The trip was packed full of activity but while exhausting was such fun!!

Gettysburg, PA - I initially was not sure how much the girls would enjoy this part of the trip. I thought they might get bored by it all. Man, was I wrong! They had a blast. By 4:00 that afternoon they were tired and hungry and we definitely bordering a meltdown. But it was nothing a snack and hour ride in the car didn't cure. By the time we made it to Hanover, where we were staying, they were re-energized and ready to go for another few hours.

This was kind of the trend for the entire trip. We stayed on the go during the day but by the time we finished dinner each night the girls were anxious to do more. I don't think they got to bed before 10:30 the entire trip!

We visited Lancaster County (Amish Country) where we rode the Strasbourg train, ate some of the best pretzels ever,  went on an Amish style horse & buggy ride through an Amish farm.

A couple of nights we walked across the street from where we were staying in order to attend a carnival. The girls rode a bunch of rides, played some games and of course enjoyed some funnel cake and cotton candy.

One day we spent walking through downtown New Oxford for the 57th annual flea/antique market. It was really interesting to look through all of the items and treasures people were collecting and selling. No big purchases for us though. While I found several items - mostly dishes and kitchen items - I would love to own, we certainly don't have space for those types of things right now!

We came home on Father's Day. After unpacking the girls and I took Ed out to one of our fave restaurants Thai Cafe for dinner.

It was a really fun trip and weekend and a great way to start the summer!