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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

0812-0401CHRISTmas 2008

Merry CHRISTmas, everyone! As always, we pray this letter finds you doing well physically, mentally and spiritually. Once again it has been an eventful year filled with blessings from our loving Father!

We began 2008 by celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary! We had always said we wanted to celebrate our 10th anniversary by watching the ball drop in Times Square in New York City, so we did! We spent a week in The Big Apple and had an amazing time! My morning-sickness made it a little difficult at times, but we had a ton of fun and made lots of memories!

In February, Boss turned 4 years old! We had a dinosaur party with lots of his friends at the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. It was so fun for him; they even brought in hissing cockroaches and other creepy crawlies for the kids to touch.

Also in February, Gram, Shmoopy’s grandma, passed away. We all traveled in the van up to Minnesota for the funeral. Bubba and Boss were both sick with fevers of 102 degrees. It was something like 25 degrees below zero wind-chill. And I still had morning-sickness. But the service was wonderful as we remembered good times spent with Gram and the strong Christian she was.

Bubba turned 2 in April. We celebrated his birthday at home with family and watched the end of March Madness, which is perfect for Bubba since he loves basketball so very much. He’s a natural when it comes to b-ball. When the guys at the gym see him coming, they go into the play area to play basketball with Bubba because they’re so amazed at his skills. Maybe he’ll go pro and Shmoopy can retire early!

In June, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which was a total bummer. However, it turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise. With the “diet” the nutritionist put me on my energy increased greatly. I was able to workout much more often, which put me in the best shape I’d ever been in while pregnant…if not ever! I felt great!

We spent a week at the cabin in Minnesota over the 4th of July. We all had a blast as usual. Boss stayed behind at the cabin with Nanny and Poppa for the rest of July and into August. This gave me a chance to start potty-training Bubba a little before the baby came…pray for that, by the way!

Once again, Shmoopy survived lay-offs at work. We’ve lost count at how many times this makes. But we are so thankful!! God is so faithful to protect us and watch over us! (If you had a copy of last year’s letter, you’d notice this paragraph was left in word for word. Lay-offs are old hat now!) However, we are expecting that Shmoopy’s job will be outsourced after the New Year. At that time, he will either stay in his same position at his current company but for another employer or he will be laid off. Regardless, we are not losing sleep over it! We choose to trust in God because He truly has never failed us yet!!

August brought much change for our growing family! Our 17-year-old niece moved in with us and stayed for 2 months. Two days later, on August 19th, our beautiful daughter, Sissy, was born!!! Her natural birth at a birthing center was an amazing experience. If you’d like to read more about it, you can do so at Shmoopy’s blog ( http://buffalonickel.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/ the-birthing-center-experience/ ) or here at my blog (https://beyondblessed.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/ the-un-regrettable-birth/ ).

The next week, Boss started preschool for the first time. He did so well. He told us when we dropped him off on the first day, “I think I need to be on my own now, guys.” So we left him. He loves school, has received a good behavior stamp every single day so far and has received the student of the week for his class twice, once for kindness and once for selflessness. We are extremely proud of him!!

This past year has been both trying and good. Our awe never ceases when we consider the journey on which Christ is leading us. It is challenging, exciting and unpredictable, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!! We are thankful for the blessings this year of new family, new friends and new neighbors. We pray that in this coming year not only will we reflect on His goodness but that we will also be reflections of His goodness!

As usual, we have sealed this letter with a prayer for each and every individual reading it. We love you all, and ask that you, too, will count your many blessings throughout this new year

Love in Christ,

Beyond Blessed, Shmoopy, Boss, Bubba & Sissy

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Early Unwrapping

present-unwrapped1A few minutes ago I was rocking Sissy and singing to her before her morning nap when I heard ripping sounds in the living room.  Bubba was in there, so I asked him what he was doing.  He said he was “getting this stuff out.”  I asked, “What stuff?  Bring it to me so I can see.”  And he came and stood in Sissy’s bedroom door looking at me as if he knew he had done something he wasn’t supposed to do.  The following conversation ensued:

Me: What are you getting out?

Bubba: Just some stuff that somebody brought.

Me: What stuff?

Bubba: The stuff in the playroom.

Me: Are you unwrapping Christmas presents?

Bubba: Yes.

Sure enough, I discovered when entering the playroom where our Christmas tree stands that Bubba had completely unwrapped one of Boss’s presents and had gotten a corner ripped off of one of his own presents.  I just wrapped those less than 12 hours ago!  Bubba’s sitting in timeout in his room as I type this post.

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santa-bowingShmoopy took all of last week off even though we weren’t traveling.  It was AWESOME!!!  We spent much time together and accomplished a lot.  We spent all day Wednesday putting up Christmas decorations inside and outside.  I’m not much of a decorator throughout the year; I just don’t put much stock in it.  I feel guilty buying things for purely decorative purposes because I just don’t picture Jesus doing that.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a beautifully decorated house, but I just can’t bring myself to do it without tremendous angst.  I have no curtains in my living room or anything like that.  I try to make my home comfortable without going overboard.

Anyway, I say all that to say that Christmas is the one time of year that I really get into decorating.  For me, it’s a celebration of Christ’s birth and I want my neighbors and visitors to know how I feel about the holiday.  I want them to know that I believe Jesus is the reason for the season, as they say.  I still decorate very modestly compared to most, but I think it looks nice and makes a statement.

In my Christmas decorating, I try to highlight the various nativity scenes that I have (one on the mantle, one in the entryway, one kid-friendly one in the playroom, a small one in a globe that was the first one my husband ever gave me, one near the kitchen and a large one in the front yard).  A couple of years ago, we started a tradition with our kids.  We let them set up the nativity in the playroom, but we intentionally leave baby Jesus out.  When they ask where Jesus is, we point out to them that Jesus hasn’t come yet.  We are decorating and preparing for Jesus birthday.  Then, on Christmas morning, one lucky person gets to open a present that is baby Jesus; then we all place him in the manger and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  We hope that this instills excitement in our children about Jesus birth and an understanding that Christmas isn’t about presents and Santa.

Some of our other Christmas traditions are:

*Each child gets only 3 presents from us.  One is a practical gift such as clothes.  One is an educational gift such as a book(s) or learning game.  And one is a fun gift that we know they will enjoy.  This is another way of emphasizing to them that Christmas is not about gifts.  We chose the number three because that is how many gifts the wise men brought to Jesus.

*We open presents one at a time so that everyone can see and appreciate what each person gets.  The last person to open a gift gives the next gift to be opened.  This helps the kids to enjoy giving some, too.  This is a tradition passed down to us from my husband’s parents and I love it.  In my birth family, the kids all tear into the presents at the same time and it’s a melee of wrapping paper for 2 minutes that ends in whining for more presents.  It truly makes me sick to my stomach to watch.

*We read our children the story of St. Nicholas and explain to them that he was a man who gave presents to people out of his love for Jesus.  Our kids know that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.  Yet they can still celebrate what he represents because of St. Nick’s love for Christ.  Many don’t agree with me on this, but it’s more important to me to always be truthful with my kids and to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas.  To each his own, right?

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

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