Christmas Happenings

Christmas 2014 has come and gone.  Crazy how that happens so quickly, right?  This year felt especially quick, I guess because of the all the things that we did and had planned.  It was a great Christmas with a lot of get togethers and for that, I am so thankful!

We had a Christmas party/get together with our community group from church and then even surprised me by having a mini baby shower while it was going on.  It was so sweet to shower us with love and to make this time special.  We had our spring planning with our campus team as well as our Christmas party.  It was filled with good food, a fun Christmas movie, and lots of fun games. I  had a Christmas party with some women from our church, which was filled with food and lots of talking!  We also celebrated Christmas with my dad’s side of the family, filled with good food and a Christmas gift auction exchange.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas was a get together/party we had with my mom’s side of the family.  We have a rather large family and while we used to get together with everyone every Christmas, we haven’t done it in probably 5 years or more.  This year, we decided to gather everyone in the family, those scattered near and far, and surprise my granny with a Christmas party, since that was one thing that she loved so much about every year.  We ended up getting everyone there except a few, and she absolutely loved it.  It was a treasure seeing her face and feeling her excitement (though I don’t think she really got over the shock until everyone had left).  We had arranged games for everyone to play, a tribute to her, of sorts, where we told her all the things we appreciated about her, and the present auction where we draw numbers and pick gifts.  Oh, and did I mention the good food?  It was a full house, but so great seeing everyone and being in one place together.

We spent time looking at Christmas lights around town, eating oysters at my parent’s house, ate at Miyabis (my ultimate favorite hands down best of all time Japanese restaurant), bought Christmas gifts for a family in need, did some Christmas baking together, and got to spend fun time with my brother, sister in law, and niece Johana.

Then, we celebrated Christmas with Ed’s parents and then spent actual Christmas with my parents.  The girls have had a blast and have loved being around family so much.  It was also fun hearing them sing “Happy birthday Jesus” and learn more about the Christmas story and the real meaning of Christmas.  All in all, Christmas was a fun time and something I will always treasure.

Here are some pictures sharing our fun Christmas!

Admiring the village at my mom’s house.

On our agenda for the new year?  Welcome baby boy Blake, who is due to be here in about two weeks!

An Overdue Update

Though it hasn’t been that long, I feel like I have had a lot of ideas for posts swimming in my head to write about.  And with Christmas right around the corner and baby boy due to arrive soon, I know that if I don’t make this a long post and include them all, who knows when that will happen.  So grab a cup of coffee (or your beverage of choice), get comfortable, and enjoy the show.

One of the highlights of the last few months was getting to meet Anna and Elsa.  And the beauty of that was that we didn’t have to travel to Disneyworld and spend 3 hours in line.  Our fun little town that we live in always hosts fun things throughout the years – trick or treating downtown, meet the Easter bunny and egg hunt, sleigh rides, and so on.  The highlight for this year was that they brought in Anna, Elsa, and Olaf for a meet and greet.  The girls looked forward to this for months, literally.  And while I am sick to death of all things Frozen, we couldn’t pass this up for them.

When Anna and Elsa saw them walking up, they said “Hey, its us” because each girl was dressed like one of them.  They also got their faces painted and got to meet Santa, but all of that palled in comparison to meeting the princesses.  How long did we wait to meet them?  20-30 minutes.  Take that Disneyworld.

With Christmas approaching, we have been having lots of fun doing some “special” things that don’t happen at other times of the year.

Decorating the tree.  I will let you take one guess which kid was helpful and which one was not.  Our poor tree will never be the same after seeing 10 ornaments hung on the same branch and weighing it down to the ground.  It was memorable and thats what counts, right?

Preschool Christmas play and party.  Kinsley has LOVED preschool this year and acts like a different child when she gets there.  I have loved having her learn to socialize, listen to instructions and other adults, do fun crafts and activities like Christmas caroling at the senior living place, and learn more about educational things and the Lord.  Her little Christmas play was adorable and she has loved learning new songs for it.  But her favorite part of all of it?  Snack time, as evidenced above.  See that little boy in the white sweater sitting across from her?  He is the one that told his mom on the fall hayride that she was beautiful.  Needless to say, her daddy has his eye on you ;).

Participating in “The Advent Event.”  We have done this for several years, but Kinsley is just finally catching on to the stories and how it relates to God.  They look forward to doing it every day and I love having another way to celebrate that Christmas is about Christ.

We took just Kinsley on a “date” to see Disney on Ice: Frozen.  She had an amazing time and got so frustrated when they had intermission because she wanted the show to go on.  Not only did she enjoy the Frozen part and sing almost every song, she also loved seeing all the other Disney Princesses and characters.  What were her favorites?  Her answer was Rapunzel, Ariel, Elsa, and Anna.  No surprises there.

This morning, she had her ballet open house and got to dance as elves and then Hawaiian dancers.  She loved performing and did a great job, considering she just started a few months ago.  I was so proud of her for doing an amazing job and proud of myself for putting her hair in a bun – thats a hard job with thin, short hair!

The girls have loved helping us start to get things ready for Blake’s arrival and have just made themselves at home in his room with his “toys”.  They are going to be great big sisters and I can’t wait to see them love on him.

Because of being so busy with ministry and life stuff, I haven’t had a ton of time to try new recipes and do DIY projects….but I have done a few.  Here are a few of my most recent projects:

Crib teethers for baby Blake’s crib – nothing fancy but just something to keep his teeth from hitting the wood.  And don’t you just love the bedding in the crib?  Ed and I couldn’t decide whether to do animals or sports, so we finally found a set that had the best of both worlds.  We love it!

I made this wreath back in the fall when football season was starting.  I love that we can both cheer for our teams and display that proudly!

I have been itching to try glass etching using my Silhouette, so when my neighbor wanted to make something for her niece’s wedding, I was totally on board.  I love how it turned out and am excited to do something on one of my dishes.  Who knew all the things I could use my Silhouette for?

DIY Furniture Polish – I tried this and wasn’t a big fan.  I think I will stick to my store-bought kind.

Broccoli, Chicken, and Rice Casserole – I already had a recipe that use for this, but I saw this and liked the ingredients better, so I thought I would give it a shot.  The verdict?  Nasty.  Like seriously nasty.  It didn’t cook enough so the rice was hard, and we had to make something completely different.  That doesn’t happen that often that what I make is inedible, but it was.

Sour Cream and Bacon Crockpot Chicken – I love my crockpot.  It is easy to use and as a pregnant momma of 2, that is good enough for me.  So I have been on a search for more recipes to use in it.  When I saw this, I had to try it.  the verdict?  It was good, but not good enough to be a keeper.  It was edible though, so thats a plus.

Thanks for sticking with me through this whole post and I look forward to posting more Christmas fun!


Thanksgiving 2014

This thanksgiving, we made the long drive to Ohio to spend the holiday with Ed’s extended family in the Columbus area.  We hadn’t seen then in 2.5 to 4 years, so this trip was long overdue (they hadn’t even met Emerson before and she just turned 2!).  The week was really eventful, to say the least, and I think it would take 5 blog posts to cover it all, but here were a few highlights:

1.  A day full of laughs (and some crying) – On our first day there, one of their dogs managed to have diarrhea all over the rug before we had even woken up, the other dog vomited in their basement, a gust of wind blew their trampoline across their lawn, a neighboring field, and over a barb-wire fence before we realized it and were able to tie it down to stop it, and Emerson cut herself on their girl’s razor to the point it took it a day to stop bleeding.  Yes, that was just the first day.

2.  It snowed!  It didn’t snow enough that the girls could play in it or that we could ride the snowmobile, but it snowed regardless and since leaving Kentucky and transplanting back to North Carolina, that excites us.

3.  We visited the Columbus Zoo at night and got to see everything lit up.  It was absolutely gorgeous (and cold!).  We picked the night before Thanksgiving to go, and the place was nearly empty which gave us a chance to take our time, see some animals, ride the train (probably one of the girls’ favorite things of the night), and really enjoy it.  Really, really fun!

4.  Black Friday shopping – Yes, if you know me, you know that this would make the highlights. We had Thanksgiving dinner late Thursday evening, so we went out to a few stores after we were done.  Then, we took a break for the night, and got up really early the next morning to hit it again.  I got some amazing deals, like a $9 humongous pet bed for Bruno that he adores, a 9 cube storage organizer and fabric bins for Blake’s room for $30, and some great bargains on Christmas presents.  We went to a store I had never heard of before called Menards first thing on Friday morning and since they waited to open until then, it was packed – like beyond packed – like we were sardines and couldn’t move.  I also went into labor trying to carry a storage organizer around to find a cart, but it was so worth it.  And I am in love with that store – amazing deals, organized, and they have everything!  In one day, my Christmas shopping was done – now thats what I call Black Friday shopping!

5.  Visiting family – We love Ed’s extended family and wish we could see them way more often than we do.  Its not common to stay with people for many, many days, spend a lot of time together, and still really enjoy each other at the end.  Ed even got to visit his grandmother, which was a real treat for him.  We got to see the farm his cousins just bought and the girls loved getting the chickens’ eggs and riding the four wheeler (a first for them!).  For this momma who feels like holidays are about families, it made my heart happy.

PS – Check out this sweet Thanksgiving placement Kinsley made me at preschool (and no, my child only gets one sip of my coffee when I have some, but apparently, she thinks its a big deal)!

Drawing near to an end

Is it crazy to anyone else that it is December 8 and that 2014 is drawing near to an end?  Another semester is in the books (well, sort of), and we just finished spring planning with our team.  Here are some of the things our team is/was thankful and praising the Lord for this fall semester:

  • The Maze (read about that here)
  • Adding new people to our team (Ethan, our nations staff reported, and we have another guy, Ben, raising his initial support to join us!)
  • Donald and Elisa are overseas for a year doing a STINT (short-term international project) – they are our first-ever STINTers from Eastern NC
  • A faculty advisor was found for Wake Tech North and another one has stepped up at Wake Tech Main (which means we will potentially be starting another Bible study on a different day there)
  • Men’s Bible study at Campbell and the awesome partnership we have with our church there
  • More men are involved in our ministries across the board
  • Girl’s bible study at UNCP is thriving
  • One Nation’s (ministry to Native American students at UNCP) bible study has now turned into two
  • We have seen many students who have made decisions for Christ stay involved
  • Great outreaches/activities at many of our schools
  • Athletes in Action is being launched at UNCP
  • Have had church partners and volunteers helping us with following up surveys and contacts than ever before
  • Have been having some good discipleship training in our staff meetings
  • Increase in interest of students wanting to go overseas

Needless to say, we have been seeing the Lord move in great ways this semester and as we planned for next semester, we got even more excited at how He is going to continue that.  Thank you for partnering with us, praying for and with us, and making this eternal investment possible!