Monday, December 30, 2013

The final weekend of 2013

The kiddos were able to spend Friday night over here at The Beach House ... the last Friday night of 2013! I had worked a pretty full week over at the security place and I was super tired. Thankfully, the grandchildren were a bit worn out as well. We settled down earlier in the evening than usual, got our jammies on, laid out the sleeping bags and watched a movie together ... an old favorite, "Honey I Shrunk the Kids."
Doesn't Matthew have the sweetest smile?

Even Christopher was tired!

 We enjoyed another chapter out of "The Wise Woman" before we watched our movie, but then I think everyone was soundly sleeping by ... 11:00! Shock! Plus, an added bonus was that all three of them slept in Saturday morning until 8:30.
 Matthew began Saturday morning by building a very nice castle/house with my blocks back in the playroom. Christopher joined in with that fun while Emma decided to put on a "play" about the birth of Jesus using my little nativity set. We even filmed it using my MAC's Photobooth. It's 7 minutes long or I would post it for you to see. Emma did a really good job re-telling the whole story, beginning with the angel's announcement to Mary, Joseph taking her to be his wife, their travels to Bethlehem, the magi from the East, wicked King Herod, etc. She had so much fun.

 There was ONE LAST present under my Christmas tree that had all three names written ...
This was another craft/art kit ... that was ... poorly designed! It boasted of making three fabulous sock puppets and had the cutest pictures on the package of what this kit would make. 

However, what actually came inside the box was very different from what was shown on the outside! We had to do quite a bit of ad libbing ... and even with my sewing machine and extra material, we struggled to get three respectable (!) puppets made! We worked on them for almost three hours, and I will say that we at least had a lot of fun together, laughing and designing, and finally deciding to continue our efforts ... NEXT weekend ... 

Photos from Christmas Day 2013

This post is just going to be full of pictures I took Christmas day. The order is not always maintained, but I have made an effort to at least try to remember what I can of our celebration of Christ's birth 2013.
The Beach House
Christmas 2013

My side door display of Christmas cards --
don't you just love Christmas cards???
 Our family decided (once again) that meeting at Dylan and Kelly's house would be a good place for all of us to fit together and enjoy a meal and each other's company. 
My mom, Christmas day
 I struggle every year with what to get my mom for Christmas! This year, however, I am happy with what I picked out. I was at Schuler Books a week before Christmas and asked if they had any biographies of Lucy Maud Montgomery (my mom's favorite author). They did not, but the saleswoman got online and found me the perfect biography! This book tells the story of how Lucy picked out certain characters for her Anne books, as well as locations mentioned, and shares all kinds of interesting details. I was so excited to order it and thankful that it arrived December 23! I think mom liked it!
I got my dear Little Fellow the Fisher Price Little People Farm for his present. He played and played with it ... such a sweetheart! 

Dylan helped Brendan unwrap his gift, and then we quickly assembled it and just ... watched Brendan's delight. It was very wonderful. 
Little Fellow looks like a tragic
orphan in this picture!
Quite to the contrary, this is one baby
who is greatly loved!

I love this of Dylan and Brendan

Our Little Fellow was SO tired that he was practically sleep-walking at one point and then he just crawled up on the chair and closed his sweet eyes ... not for long, however ~ this baby is not a regular napper.

 We ate our very irregular and nontraditional Christmas feast ... wonderful chicken enchiladas, refreshing jello, breads, etc. And after a little while, Jesse's family was finally able to come over ...

I had saved one present each for Ems, Chris and Matthew to open up. However, on retrospect, these were not well-chosen gifts ... not because I wasn't well-intentioned, but because the maker of these craft/toys did not do a very good job! But ... I wanted to surprise them with a small gift that was not expected on Christmas day. Next year, I will just have to do a better job researching a better made surprise. 
 Little Kaity-girl seemed to enjoy ALL of Christmas. I got the Fisher-Price Little People house for her. She opened it up, but we didn't take it out of the box. We had enough of Brendan's toys everywhere to play with and decided to let Kaity explore her house when she was better able to do that.
I like these pictures of Jesse and Kaity ... she is a little sweetie. 
Our "Thank you Jesus" cake
We sang Jesus "Happy Birthday"
and enjoyed His cake very much!

Grandpa Pahman did the honors of lighting 20 candles (one for each century) and then blew them out as well! 

I wasn't so good at photography on Christmas day. I was pretty occupied with other things ... so Diana and Kelly aren't in one single picture. :(  We also had a guest with us too (Patrick by name) who is Dylan and Kelly's godson (but he is grown up) and we had a really pleasant time visiting with him as well. We had plenty of snow throughout the day, so driving was a bit precarious (!) but I am thankful that we had a safe and happy Christmas 2013.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The JOY of my desiring ...

Every year, for the last seven or eight years, I have designed and constructed my own Christmas cards. I love designing cards because I love to combine beautiful scenic photographs with Scripture or beautiful hymn lyrics and then ... make it all into a card that communicates ... Christmas!
This song, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (JS Bach, 1723) is one I have loved for as long as I can remember. Do you know the music? Can you hear it? I am presently learning to play it on my piano! I love the lyrics too, because they are so true! Jesus meets every longing, every desire of my heart. And what is better, He has never disappointed me ... not ever. 
Christmas is because of "God's tender mercy." I'm so thankful He sent His wonderful Light into this world of darkness, to point us to the path of peace! 

PS ~ These photographs were taken on a wonderful wintry walk in 2009 with one of my dearest friends in the world, Karen! We had such a great time together that day!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Delighting in the beauty ...

On a stunningly beautiful day like this, I cannot pass up the opportunity to take a little walk somewhere in the woods or near a stream ... so on the way home from dropping the grandchildren back home, I stopped by at Townsend Park for a small photo op ...

The beauty is breathtaking, isn't it? Don't we have such a wonderful Creator?!! I'm so thankful to know Him today!

Little Kaity-Girl ...

I got to see this little princess for awhile today. She is a sweetheart. She says "Hi" very loudly now when she sees me and gives me a pretty smile ... not, however, when my camera is out.

I gave her pony rides this afternoon (on my knee kind of pony rides) ... and sang a little song that went along with it. I think she liked it! I love you, Kaity-Jane!

The BEST Christmas present ever ...

Since Emma, Chris and Matthew spent Saturday night at my house, they were allowed to come to church with me this morning. I just want to say here and now that it has been years since the children have been to my church to worship with me ... and for YEARS I have sat in the services wishing they were next to me. So ... this morning was way beyond special. 
The roads were still pretty hazardous this morning, but we ventured out to attend the 3rd service this morning at Calvary Church. I knew the kiddos would LOVE the lights and beauty of the sanctuary, as well as really really enjoying the orchestra and choir ~ I wasn't one bit wrong either!

It was a Family Church Sunday, so the children were called up to the platform area to gather around our worship leader who talked kindly to them and asked if they would help him sing two Christmas carols. Emma and Matthew were eager to join the group up front, but Christopher stayed back with me in the pew. That was fine ... I certainly wasn't going to force the issue! They all enjoyed being there in their own way, were very well behaved all throughout the service (!), and I was SO THANKFUL to have them with me. The best thing was to hear their sweet voices sing their praises to Jesus.

Afterwards, we explored the balcony and a few other places, and then we went outside. Naturally, the ice and snow were a bit compelling ... so we played for awhile!

This is huge chunk of snow/ice
that Christopher carved out of a snow mountain

I don't need or want anything else for Christmas. My cup is FULL. I had the happiest morning that I will never forget ... precious in every way.