We pray you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!! We sure did. Christmas is such fun with two sweet, sassy little girls! The pictures say it so much better than I do, so I will start there:
One of my favorite things about Christmas is getting to see family. Kristin (my sister-in-law) came and had lunch with us and my aunt and cousin (whom I only get to see a few times a year) came down from Columbia, SC – they all got to see Emerson for the first time and visit. Loved it! Then, that same day, we had Christmas with my dad’s side of the family. Such good food, lots of laughter, but oh so loud! Poor Emerson had no idea what hit her. We did the auction exchange and thankfully, everyone (well most everyone) ended up with something they actually wanted (not always true in past years).
On Christmas Eve, we let Kinsley open presents from her Aunt Kristin and Uncle Alex. They couldn’t join us this year because my brother is working in retail in Georgia (not for long as he just got hired on with a police department and will be back doing what he loves) but they sent gifts ahead of time. Then, we had an oyster roast with my parents, aunt, and grandmother. I so look forward to this whenever we are home for Christmas. I love steamed oysters and they are one of those delicacies that you don’t get all the time. They were so fresh as my dad had just caught (don’t know that you can catch oysters as they just lay there but not sure what to call it?) them that week. Welcome to the south and living on the coast!! Then, we had to leave Santa cookies and milk and the reindeer a carrot. This is what Kinsley awakened to the next morning.
Gone! Well, except the carrot, which was bitten. Poor Santa ate the cookies, drank the milk, and almost died choking on the carrot so we are glad he didn’t finish it. She loved that it wasn’t there! Santa also left her and Emerson some fun presents beside his empty plate and cup!
Then, we read the Christmas story, ate yummy Christmas breakfast (another of my favorite parts – yes, I notice a pattern that my favorite parts have to do with food 🙂 )- sausage and egg casserole, crock pot grits, and monkey bread, and opened presents.
Here is her opening Jessie from Toy Story – the only present she actually asked for this Christmas. She was excited – can you tell? She said “My Jessie” when she saw her. The best part about having a sister who is a baby? She got to open all of her presents too – though we had to keep reminding her they weren’t hers. Even infant toys thrill this toddler.
Checking Jessie’s heart with her new doctor’s kit. Then, it was time to dance!
This is her Advent Event (up until Christmas day) – yes, even this had to travel to Gammy and Pop-Pop’s house.
Then, we came back home, dumped our stuff, repacked, and headed to our winter conference with Cru called Encounter. Together with over 800 students and 100 staff, we learned about and worshipped the Lord, heard about what the Lord is doing in our partnerships overseas (and how we can go, give, and pray for them), fellowshipped with each other, participated in a day of outreach handing out boxes of love to less fortunate in Greensboro, and rang in the new year by praying and then having a BIG dance party. Nothing like it and never will I be able to celebrate New Years by myself after doing this year after year.
We had 9 students come from Eastern NC (in picture above) and close to 20 went to Impact Conference in New Orleans – it was so neat to see how the Lord impacted them this week. Needless to say, we have loved this Christmas season and Encounter, but we are ready to stay home for a bit.