Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Christmas Memories 2014

This year's Christmas was special in so many ways. We were blessed to spend time with so many friends and family. The kids spent the month of December finding Sarah, our Elf on the Shelf, each morning in her new hiding spot. They both helped us decorate our big Christmas tree (and then decorate it a second time after it fell over). Eric's parents came to visit us in Richmond on Christmas day, and then we went to my parent's home in York the weekend after and celebrated with them, and then with my aunts, uncle, cousins and kids. We also had a chance to see some friends over the long break. 

Parker still doesn't quite understand Santa, but he was very excited about opening presents - whether they were his or someone else's! We all had a wonderful Christmas and look forward to a new year. 

Elk racks are hung - a great Christmas present from my parents!

Opening some gifts from Grandma Camilla!

Riding his new scooter!

Guitar lessons with Grandaddy

My handsome boy

A nice walk in the woods

Fun with Grandma and Grandaddy!

 Story time with Grandma

Grandaddy's magic show

Craft time

Making a gingerbread man

Christmas #2 with the Ayres

Parker and Papa with a new plane!

Daddy and Papa helping Parker put together this new plane.

Christmas #3 with all the cousins! 

Ainsley wearing one of her new outfits on the first day back at school.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

After enjoying the last several days at home with the kids - playing games, baking cookies, looking at tacky lights - we had a quieter day today. We attended the children's service at church, had our traditional post-church lunch at Five Guys, and took long naps. We got to talk to Grandma Camilla on the phone while the kids opened presents from her. We sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn, and put out cookies and milk for Santa. After reading some Christmas stories they are now in bed. I'm excited for tomorrow - the chaos and excitement - and the joy of being at home with our family for this special holiday. Not everyone has the chance to do that, so I try to appreciate it even more. As I think about all I'm grateful for, I'll quote one of the books we read tonight - The Spirit of Christmas, by Nancy Tillman.

I had just nodded off, at a quarter past four, when the Spirit of Christmas stepped in through my door.

With a great show of sparkles, he decked all my halls in tinsel and twinkles and bright, shining balls.

I was really quite fond of the trimmings he'd brought. "But there's just something missing this Christmas," I thought.

"Bells!" he said. "Jingle bells! Bells right away! Bells on a one-horse galloping sleigh!"

"A toy soldier band dressed in matching red sashes! Candy cane tongues and marshmallow mustaches!"

"Everyone caroling songs of goodwill. So merry that even the trees can't be still!"

I shook my head. "You are really so kind. But it's just not exactly what I had in mind."

He spoke to me then in a whisper of wings. "There are gentle things the season brings."

"Snow that lies silent. As quiet as a mouse. And roads that all lead to your grandmother's house."

"Ten lords a-leaping as seven swans swim. And of course, Santa Claus, I'm just getting to him!"

I lifted my chin and stared up at the ceiling. I still wasn't getting that warm Christmas feeling.

That's when the Spirit of Christmas smiled. "Remember, this all began with a child. Because it took nothing but love to begin it, it's not really Christmas if love isn't in it."

Your tree may be large as the room will allow with a big yellow star on the uppermost bough, but of one thing I'm certain, I'm sure of one thing. It is love that makes the angels sing.

And that's when I got it. That's when I knew! The thing that was missing from Christmas was you! 

And so then, my darling, wherever you roam, may you always be safe...may you always come home.

For as long as the world still spins and still hums, wherever you are, and no matter what comes, the best part of Christmas will always be...

You beneath my Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ainsley's Winter Program

Every year the lower school puts on a winter play. All of the kids in grades JK-5 get to participate. The kindergarteners sang two songs by themselves, and then four additional songs with the full school. Ainsley also had a minor speaking part. Here's a quick video of her line and the songs. She is at the microphone all the way on the right, and then for the songs she's in the middle of the back row. They are all dressed up as eskimos. Cuteness! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cutest Boy in the World

Parker had his very first school program last night. We tried to dress him in his new Christmas clothes in the morning for preschool but he refused to wear his button-down shirt (he's very big on comfort and casual t-shirts these days). However when we got home last night I told him that Nana had bought him the shirt and she would love to see a picture of how handsome he was when wearing it. He said 'Okay...I show Nana" and didn't hesitate to put it on. He looked so cute, and it was fun to see his whole class dressed in their holiday best!

He is younger than Ainsley was when she started preschool, and we weren't quite sure how he would behave in front of a room filled with 400+ people. But he was wonderful! He walked right up to the front with the rest of his class and never hesitated. They were in the front row and he sang (or at least mouthed the words to) both of his songs. After his class was finished, they were to sit down so the 3-year-olds behind them could stand up and sing their songs. But Parker decided to just stand for the entire program and turned around so he could watch all the kids behind him. Such a considerate boy. :-) 

This was when he first saw me as they got up front. 

Here are some videos of the songs he sang. Isn't he just the cutest boy in the world?