Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Whirlwind

I know, it's not even Christmas yet - What could possibly cause a whirlwind?

You see, Britt's family has a tradition of opening their gifts on Christmas Eve Morning. Why? Because they can of course. Britt and I always stay the night before and this year to be adventuresome and to stay the two nights before.

Yesterday evening we got a call from Britt's sister saying that her husband had been suddenly deployed and it gave her and the kiddos less that one hour to really say goodbye and no chance to be able to open gifts and celebrate together. It was quite tragic and just exactly the opposite way that anyone would want to spend Christmas.

Needless to say without hesitation plans were made to get her and her four little ones here by tonight! That may seem like no big deal to you except for the fact that she lives about 16 hours from here! So she spent yesterday evening packing and left her house by about 5am. Britt's dad, mom and younger sister got in the car at 3am this morning and started driving to meet her and help her get the rest of the way here.

We are now expecting them in a few hours. It it is so bitter sweet. We are so excited to see them but we just feel awful about the turn of advents that led us here. Our goal is, despite the circumstances, to make this a wonderful Christmas for her and the kids.

I spent the day, along with Britt and his little brother, cleaning the house and shopping as we prepare for their arrival. Cleaning someone else's house is always more fun than cleaning your own. ;)

All of this makes me thankful beyond words for family. But even more than that, at this moment, thankful beyond words for men like Britt's brother-n-law who truly has, and does, sacrifice so much for our country. It's also made me think of the MANY families who are unable to spend Christmas together.

So that leaves me thankful beyond words.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A True Friend

These ladies make my heart happy. We can go awhile without seeing each other and pick right up where we left off. We can laugh, talk, get mad and cry. We can be ourselves without fear and that is a true friend. I am so thankful for them and the many ways they encourage me and lift my spirits. I can hardly imagine life without them in it. 

Love you three! It was great catching up last night!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I love this time of year. The chilly weather, the smell of fire places burning wood, the lights on the houses, the trees, the family, the hot chocolate, the memories... My list could go on and on.

It is always really fun to share favorite family traditions and memories and to hear other peoples as well. I thought that I would share a few of my favorites with you.

Tradition #1

Decoration the tree: 

Whether it is the tree at Britt and my house, my parents or his parents it is so much fun! We love the time spent with family decorating the tree - and in reality the whole house - as we celebrate together. I will never grow tired of this!

Tradition #2

"Christmas Eve Gift":

This is one of my most favorite and beloved traditions of all. It all started with my Great Grandmother (Nanny). This tradition has gone on as long as I can remember. Here is how it works:

The goal is to be the first one to say, "Christmas Eve Gift" to another family member. This can be in person or through a phone call. The game starts and ends on Christmas Eve. I will spend the day answering my phone "Christmas Eve Gift" even if it is not family calling, knowing that a family member may borrow another phone to call. (There is a lot of strategy) I am careful to answer the phone and the best is to get one of the said family members in person. The glory of the victory is so much greater!

The idea is that whoever says "Christmas Eve Gift" first the other person must buy them a Christmas Eve Gift. Now, the buying and gift giving never actually happens but the competition itself, and of course the victory, is a gift within itself. And if you know my family at all, we are only slightly competitive! :)

Disclaimer: Texting, email., messages on cars, messages in the sky, non participating messengers, etc... do not qualify. 

Tradition #3

Christmas Eve Movie:

Well, I guess my family has a lot of Christmas Eve traditions! But this one is also a classic. After the candlelight service at my parents church my family will go out to dinner and then we go and see a Christmas Eve movie. It is normally a Christmas Movie and these days a cartoon since little children are back in the picture but we love going to the theater that night to watch a movie, any movie, just for traditions sake.

Memory #1

McDonald's Drive-In 

When I was probably 3 and Brandon, my brother, was 5 mom and dad bought us a McDonald's Drive-In for Christmas. It looked something like this:

We loved, loved, loved this gift!!!! (Girl not included). 

Memory #2: 

Big Wheels

I think most of these revolve around gifts but one Christmas I got one of these:

Brandon and Jon got these:

And then we rode them in the freezing cold for hours. it was heaven on earth. 

I am pretty sure I could go on with the reminiscing for hours upon hours but I will stop here.

I will leave you with what I looked like in most of my growing up Christmas-Morning-Pictures:

Okay - Maybe not the face mask but the sponge rollers were a must. I had an obsession with looking like Shirley Temple or something. 

What is your favorite Tradition and Memory???

Friday, December 9, 2011

Life and Death

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11

Contentment. No matter where I am being content.

“ Indeed I count everything as lost because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:8

Death.  I need nothing a part form Christ. It He was all I had, would it be enough? I want to answer that question with a confident, “Yes!”.

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share in His suffering, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3 10-11

Life. To share in Christ death would mean that I suffer for Him. To give everything for Him. But death in Christ is not the end because along with it comes the most abundant life there is, resurrection!

Last night I heard a speaker talk on some of these points. It hit me hard and this morning I have been allowing it to sink in.
Am I content?
Is Christ enough?
Am I truly willing to die?
Have a tasted true resurrection?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Baby News

I am 12 1/2 weeks right now. Almost into my third trimester and already about 3 months along. I may seem like it has gone by fast but.... it hasn't.

Not at all. 

Apparently I am heading out of the sick and tired stage and that is good because I am sick and tired of it. Ready to feel a little better.

Beside the sick thing I am thrilled beyond anything to be pregnant. I think the problem right now is that most of the time it does not feel real. I am sick and tired a lot but other than that nothing much has changed. I am JUST now starting to feel my clothes get a tad snug but I imagine I will still be in them into January. I am okay with that though.

I think that one of the few things that makes the process seem 'real' are the weekly updates I get form Baby Center. I look forward to every Tuesday morning when I can read the latest update. Here is a bit of last weeks:

Picture of your developing baby“The most dramatic development this week: Reflexes. Your baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won't be able to feel it. His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over two inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

Your baby at 12 weeks
Synapses are forming in your baby's brain.

I also love the way that they compare the baby to different food items. It really cracks me up! I was talking about this with a friend the other day and the things they choose to compare sometimes are hilarious and even worse when I 'cheat' and look ahead it really does not make sense. I will not go into everything but if you want to have a look at what I mean check  THIS out! And tell me, does it make since to you how it can go from a spaghetti squash to a mango???

 "Ah! My baby is shrinking!!!" hahahaha

We go in for our next appointment this coming Monday and I am ready! Ready to hear that sweet heart beat again and know everything is going well.

Is it June 23rd yet???? :D

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas at the Clay's

As promised, here are some actual pictures of our house this Christmas Season. 

The tree...

The details... 

The dog... (she is realllly camera shy, if you noticed.)

Merry Christmas!!!