Just a few pictures from our Christmas this year. I didn't take near as many as I would have liked. You would think that being a photographer I would take pictures of everything all the time. I think I used to. My camera was practically attached at the hip. Now, I am sure to take pictures of the important events but even then it's more minimal. And my kids have been so over photographed they hate it. It did get a few though.
First up is our cookie making extravaganza.
My youngest and I cut out and baked the cookie shapes will the others were at school. When the other 2 got home, we got to decorating.
Next time I'll share with you the 2 pictures I got on Christmas morning. Ya, 2.
When I first started this post (3 days ago) I began by saying that we don’t have many Christmas traditions in our family, or at least not as many as I’d like. After a few minutes of writing though, I realized that we do have more than I realized.
Last year we started what we hope will be a tradition of going to Dante's Down the Hatch a few days before Christmas. (for you non Atlantians, Dante’s Down the Hatch is a very unique fondue restaurant. Since it would take a whole post by it’self to describe, you can check out their website if you are interested, http://www.dantesdownthehatch.com/ .) We went last year and we did it this year too. (Does 2 years in a row make it a tradition?)
Another tradition that we've been able to stick to for about 3 or 4 years now is that we have Krispy Kreme dough nuts for Christmas morning breakfast. Both Paul and I grew up with the traditional Christmas morning breakfast casserole severed in our houses. While we both like that, the kids don't and there's no sense in me making a big ole' casserole that only 2 of us will eat and then have to throw most of it out. So, we do dough nuts. Everyone likes doughnuts, right? And then I don't have to worry about making breakfast on Christmas morning.
One tradition that is lacking in our family is any sort of Christmas light viewing. I've tried year after year to get to get this to work but alas it has not. It might if my husband were more of a willing participant but he is not. He hates going to any lights shows. There are several near us. There's the Lake Lanier Magical Night of Lights. We did that one year. I thought it was good. The kids really liked it. I can't remember why my hus did not. Then there is the Callaway Gardens light show (can't remember what it is called exactly). That one you can choose to drive through or ride the trolley tram thing. I thought it would be fun/different to do the trolley. Well, it was kinda chilly. We had coats and blankets but there was still a bit of complaining. So we haven't done that one again.
Then there is the Life College light deal -ly- o. There was a significant line of cars to get even to the starting line of that one. The hus hates to wait. Patience is not on his long list of character traits. We did wait though and made it all the way through, but I knew when I first saw the line that that was going to be the last time we did that show.
And this year, I've tried twice now to get the family down to Centennial Olympic Park in down town Atlanta to let the kids run around and look at the lights there. On my first attempt, we ate dinner first and when we walked outside, Paul had no sooner gotten the words, "It looks like it's about to start pouring" before it actually started pouring. So that was a no go.
Then after our Dante's Down the Hatch tradition, we (I) tried again. This time it was getting late, parking was not super easy , lots of one way streets ( turning down some going the WRONG way, getting yelled at by a cop who fortunately was on foot), and a mom and dad who were just ready to go home, all made that trip a bust too. I'm not done yet. We WILL go see those lights. THIS year. I don't care if Christmas is already over!! (actually I'm pretty sure we won't do it this year either, but when I first started this post I was so determined. Now, not so much but I had to stay with the theme of determination.)
We do have a few other Christmas traditions that we manage to keep from year to year. But now it’s all over anyway. I’ll probably have to get in one more Christmas post before it’s all said and done so bare with me.
Here is a Fish Out of Water post for ya... Normally this is the time of year that being in the public school bothers me most. It's ok to talk about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa but not Christmas even though the vast majority of students and teachers have a Christmas tree up in their home. But that's not why I'm writing.
Being that we have been in the public school system for going on 4 years now, my kids are very aware that not everyone is a Christian. This bothers my oldest daughter in particular. She wants so badly to believe that all of her friends and teachers love Jesus and will one day meet us in Heaven. So whenever she comes across evidence that someone she knows and/or cares about may not be a believer, she tries desperately to explain away their behavior and how it could still be possible that they are Christian. And she could be right.
She has this teacher though. She really likes this teacher. She looks up to her. She's a nice lady. So out of concern and a little bit of curiosity, my oldest daughter and one of her good friends, who is also a Christian, take it upon themselves from time to time to just ask people. So one day they asked this teacher of theirs, "are you Christian?". It's the teacher's reply that has me bothered. There was none. No direct answer anyway. They have asked her multiple times and each times she skirts the question like a politician on trial. She doesn't say yes and she doesn't say no.
For me, if I were to be asked that question, answering yes would be as natural as answering the question, "do you have brown hair?" "yes!" or, "are you a girl?" "yes!" "Are you a Christian?" "Yes!"
So why wouldn't this teacher want to answer their question?
I tried to explain to my daughter that if you are a real Christian you should never be afraid or ashamed to tell anyone.
I don't know if this teacher is a Christian or not, however, I don't know any true believer that would be afraid to admit it to an 8 year old. And if she's not, why not just say no? So...anyway.
On a positive note, my 6 year old brought home a book from the school library that was about Christmas and Jesus! Yes, they have such a book in the school library! ( you have to look for and get excited about these little positives when you are the public school system) AND, it just dawned on me yesterday that they still say the pledge every day and the "under God" part. How do they explain that? I'm not complaining, it's just inconsistent with their no religion rule.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted a house with a fireplace. I grew up in Florida. No one has a fireplace in Florida. And if they do there's not much of an occasion to use it.
But I didn't want a fireplace just so I could sit by a cozy fire. I wanted one so I would have a legitimate place to hang my stocking. As a kid, we used to hang our stockings on pegs on a shelf my dad had made. A shelf! It was a nice shelf and very decorative looking but it was no fireplace.
Five and 1/2 years ago when we first moved into this house, I finally got my fireplace. And it's everything I dreamed it would be. It's a cozy fire, a warm ambiance, a focal point, but most of all, it's a place to hang our stockings at Christmas. * Contented sigh
So yesterday I confessed that my favorite non-religious Christmas song is Jim Nabor's version of Silver Bells. Oddly enough, judging by the emails and messages I got, I am not the only one familiar with Mr. Nabor's work.
However, my favorite true Christmas song is a tie between O Holy Night and For Unto Us a Child is Born from Handel's Messiah. Both of these songs can evoke strong emotion with a powerful message.
O Holy's Night's chorus is striking and powerful;
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine!
I think I'll have to give it to Handel's Messiah though. That piece as a whole is simply awesome. And the words...there just are no words to describe them other than;
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
Who can argue with a song of such magnificence that's straight out of the Bible? Awesome.
When I was a kid, every year at Thanksgiving (the date that you are publicly allowed to start listening to Christmas music) my mom would pull out their old Christmas albums, yes actual albums. They had an old record play that had a tape deck and even an 8 track player. How's that for rare?? I'm not sure what happened to that thing. I don't know whether it broke or just got to be such a dinosaur (huge and old) that my mom finally threw it out in the spirit of spring cleaning, but I sure do remember the albums they used to play at Christmas.
One of my favorites was; wait for it... Jim Nabors Christmas. Jim Nabors, a.k.a. Gomer Pyle of The Andy Griffith Show. Ya, he could sing. I don't know much about him in real life, but apparently he wasn't quite the doofus he played on T.V. I know you are laughing right now, my husband does every time I mention it. I don't care. I liked that album. And it still brings back happy memories for me. His Silver Bells rendition was my favorite song. Since then Silver Bells has been one of my all time favorite Christmas songs. (I'm listening to it now). I don't know why Silver Bells. It just is. That song and album meant the Christmas season had officially begun. I know Silver Bells is not a religious song and am pretty sure Jim Nabors was not a Christian but I still like it. What's your favorite Christmas song?
Tomorrow I'll try to share with you my favorite real Christmas song (meaning a religious one).
You know how they say when a man does the dishes it can be a turn on for women? Well, I don't know who "they" are, but it ain't true. Not for me anyway. And my hus does do the dishes on occasion, I would even venture to say, more than most men. And yes, it makes me happy when he does it but not that kind of happy. Honestly, sometimes I'm thinking, "Thank you, honey. Why did it take you so long to notice that those dishes needed to be done!!" But nonetheless, I am grateful that I do have a husband that does do the dishes and various other household duties on occasion.
What does do it for me is the little things. I know "they" say that too, "it's the little things that count." And here I can agree. It's those things that don't really matter or don't really need to be done a certain way or sometimes at all. Like matching towels in our bathroom. Paul often feels his towel needs to be changed before I do and so he'll switch out his towel. Just his. On occasion when he does go for that extra effort and change my towel as well, he's not really concerned with what color they are. He'll grab whatever two are on top. And then we are left with towels that don't match. For some reason that bugs me. I know no one ever sees our bathroom (and thank goodness for that) but still, is it too much to ask, that among the hair all over the floor, the toothpaste splattered mirror (his side not mine), the make up caked vanity (my side not his) for the towels to match?
So the other day, I came into the bathroom to see 2 clean, fresh MATCHING towels hanging neatly on their towels racks in our bathroom. It was nice. And even nicer to know my husband did it. Now, whether or not he actually picked out two towels that matched or the top two just happened to match, I don't know. But I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. I think he went out of his way to bring a little smile to my face.
So, thanks, Paul, for the matching towels. And thanks for always making the coffee so that it's hot and ready when I come down stairs in the morning, and for taking the big trash can down to the street every Tuesday, and for cleaning out the cats' litter box way more than I do, and for rinsing out the sink when you poor coffee or coke in it and yes, for occasionally washing the dishes.
The other day was a midweek day off of school for my kids due to election day and the fact that many schools are used for voting. I guess it's not safe to have all those strangers inside the school building with all of our precious kiddos.
Anyway, the weather was beautiful so the girls and I went for our annual fall photo walk. (I photographed, they walked). Every year, I find it hard not to become overwhelmed with the beauty of the leaves where we live. It's in nature that I don't understand how anyone could not believe in God, the creator. How could all of this be an accident? Don't they see how perfectly nature works? Can't they understand that all of the intricacies and complexities of something as simple as a tree growing out of a tiny seed into a huge, majestic thing, blooming flowers in the spring, changing all sorts of beautiful colors in the fall, shedding it's leaves to nourish the ground, providing food and shelter for numerous animals can't be an accident?
"God saw all that He had made and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning- the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array." Genesis 1:31- 2:1
So anyway, here is some of the beautiful creation around our home.
Below is a picture of what the beautiful foliage does to our deck. It's a mess.
I do love, love, love this time of year! I wish I could hold on to it for a bit longer.
I know it's a little late to still be talking about Halloween BUT if you have younger kids, I highly recommend the picture book, The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs. It is a wonderful way to look at Halloween and jack-o-lanterns with a Christian perspective. It's a very awesome book. She also has an Easter book called The Parable of the Lily. Equally awesome.
In other news...my 4 year old woke up this morning (the day after Halloween) and says, before breakfast mind you, "Mom, I really feel like having some chocolate.". Me too.
My 8 year old recently admitted to me that she has been trimming the hair on her legs with scissors for a couple of months now.