Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So This Was Christmas - Part 1

We went to Sugar Land on the 22nd, but the night before we left we had a little Christmas Eve of our own.

We decorated Christmas cookies. We like pink and sprinkles.

Once Braelyn went to bed, Casey and I were hard at work. I was working on my homemade Christmas gifts (which I will show you soon, but I still have a few to give away) and Casey was working on Braelyn's Christmas present. Quite the ordeal. Can anyone guess what movie we're watching?...One of my favorites! That night I watched almost 3 full movies while I was working. Needless to say, we were up very late. But I finished all my homemade gifts, which was my goal. Phew!

The next morning Braelyn was happy to find her new kitchen.She had to call and tell all her friends about it.
That afternoon, we left for Sugar Land. We finished up some shopping and spent time with family. I do have to say, that out in Brenham, we're a little sheltered from the Christmas hysteria, so I was kind of blindsided by the craziness. But it was fun.

In an attempt to remind myself and my family that we were celebrating the birth of Jesus, I suggested that we find a Christmas Eve service. Our great friends Justin and Kaytie Johnston were leading worship for a new church plant in Katy (The Crossing), so we decided to go there.

Braelyn in her her Christmas dress. I thought she looked so sweet and beautiful. This is such a special picture to me.The church didn't have child care that night, so all the kiddos were in the service, which was fine with me, however, it made for a few humorous moments. While we were singing worship songs and Christmas carols, Braelyn made her way to the aisle. With her puffy dress and such lovely music, she could not resist this perfect dancing opportunity. She wasn't dancing full out, you know, as to not be a disturbance, but I could tell it was all she could do to not go twirling down the aisle. After the worship time, they had all the children come to the front to read the Christmas story. She wasn't sure she wanted to go at first, but once it got started she slowly and bashfully made her way up to the front. I guess once she was there she felt right at home because, then she took her shoes off. Oh goodness.

Well, I guess I'll stop there for now. There's still Christmas day to report on and a fun little get-together we had here in Brenham.

See ya in 2009! Happy New Year's Eve!
Oh and really...can you guess my movie? Maybe I'll give a prize to the first person who can guess it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Heart A Good Giveaway

My good friend, Mandi informed her blog readers of this FABULOSO giveaway. "Oh, just another giveaway," you say? Oh no, my friends. This ain't no everyday giveaway. The prize is this...a personal portrait drawing AND if you want (um...yeah, I want) a second drawing of your entire family. OH. MY. GOSH. What a treasure that would be! Needless to say, I am adding a link, (see below) at the artist's request and signing up for the giveaway right now!
The blog is mer mag.
The giveaway post is here.
Go sign up. But don't win. I want to win.
(There's some Christmas spirit for ya!)

Thanks Mandi!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Just Finished....


Just Kidding! I wish.

No, I just finished reading the 70 unread blogs that were on my Reader.
I didn't leave any comments, though. Sorry. There were just so many. You understand.

Now it's late. Really late.
I need to get up and get ready for bed, but I can't. I feel sort of paralyzed, like as long as I sit here at the computer I don't have to acknowledge how late it is or how tired I will feel in the morning. I know as soon as I start washing my face I will feel angry at myself for being on the computer for so long. I know this. But here I sit. Why do I do this? Do you do this?

:::SIGHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh::: Ok. I can avoid the inevitable no longer.
Off to bed.

Joy and Peace, Indeed!

Casey, Braelyn and I had a delightful weekend. I think it may have been our best retreat to date. (I am not counting B.B. retreats...B.B. meaning Before Braelyn.) The car ride there was a little stressful. Braelyn and I were both a tad bit grumpy, BUT! when we stopped for gas something marvelous happened. A Christmas miracle, if you will. Casey went inside to get some water and snacks to have in our room, and then I went in to use the restroom. As I was leaving the store, I glanced down and saw a perfectly good Christmas CD sitting on the edge of the trashcan. And not just any ol' Christmas CD...the Yo-Yo Ma, Songs of Joy and Peace CD!!!! Gasp!!!! I immediately picked it up and got in the car. Casey said he saw a lady throw it in the trash, so after hesitating an good 30 seconds or so, and racking my brain as to why one would throw such wonderful music away, I claimed it as my own. Truly, God was protecting me by dropping this little gift into my lap, or CD player rather, because just before we stopped I had listened to just about all the Backyardigans I could handle and was seconds away from ripping my hair out. So...Thank You, Lord, for stopping me from balding myself. I think I would have regretted that decision. And thank You for such beautiful music. It was a welcome blessing to my ears and my soul. Joy and peace, indeed!

Soon, we arrived at the Piney Woods retreat center in Corrigan, TX. Our host put us in a great cabin, perfect for a family. Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, TV and DVD player downstairs. Two twin beds upstairs. This was so great because it meant that I didn't have to sit in dark silence while I waited for Braelyn to fall asleep. I could put her to bed upstairs, and work on Christmas stuff and read with the lights on!

As if all this wasn't enough, God continued to bless our family. I decided, despite the late hour, to take Braelyn into worship. John Sherrill was the worship leader and I hate to miss an opportunity to worship with this dear friend, so I gave it a shot. For the fist 20 minutes or so, Braelyn had her hands over her ears...the music is always so loud at things like this, but soon enough, she got used to it and we enjoyed singing to Jesus together. Then, she sat quietly in my lap for the next 30 minutes while her daddy boldly taught the beautiful Word of God. My heart was so full. The next morning we went to worship again, and again, she sat through it all. Although, when Casey would get kind of serious and stern, she would say, "He's so mad!" It made me laugh.

I still can't believe it. We've been to retreats where I didn't get to hear Casey preach a single word. Here, I was able to enjoy 3 whole sermons!

It was such a great retreat, for the students, as well as for our family. It was good for the 3 of us to get away, be outside, be offline (hence, no book review), worship together and enjoy each other. And bonus...I got a lot done on my Christmas gifts. I am glad we went. I feel like we are entering a season where traveling with Casey will be a much more pleasant experience.

PS~ I listened to the Backyardigans all the way home...with joy and peace. ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our December...So Far

Well, Braelyn's down for her nap, I am eating my lunch and before I get back to cleaning and laundry and such, I thought I'd post a little something.

We welcomed Christmas into our home December 1st with the arrival of our nativity Advent calendar (phew, just in the nick of time!). This has been a lot of fun, although I'm concerned that Jospeh is missing. One of the shepherds will have to stand in for Joseph.
On December 3rd we decorated the house in order to be ready for the party we were having on the 4th. That afternoon Braelyn, Casey and I went to one of the gifty shops downtown and bought our little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. What's even more sad is that it's artificial. :( I love having a real Christmas tree, but frankly we just don't have room for a big tree and this little guy was only $20 bucks and I don't have to clean up pine needles for the rest of the winter. Anyways, the 3 of us had fun decorating while we listened to the Charlie Brown Christmas favorite.

Here he is. (and I know I have 4 stockings and only 3 family members. I bought the extra one on Ebay last year so that I would have a matching one for whenever there is a 4th Cease. I just hung it up cause I thought it looked better. :)
Moving on. December 4th we had our college small group Christmas party. It was a great night! Over the course of the night we had 22 kids stop by! I cannot tell you how excited I am about what God is doing with these students. I didn't get very many pictures, but here's a few.

The table setting. Sorry...just had to share. I loved my little rosemary trees!
(Cat, those are the candles you gave me last year! I LOVE THEM!!!)
The girl in the red and white sweater is Erica. She lives in our garage apartment. And standing next to her is her boyfriend, John. They have become such a huge part of our lives. We loves those guys!
Braelyn hugging Lyssa, who gave her a fancy new princess dress.
Braelyn in the princess dress...and crown..and high heels...and choker...with Tressa.
It was such a great night. I don't know what we are going to do with ourselves while they are all away! Oh wait, I like a crazy woman on homemade gifts!

What has happened since then? Casey finished his 2nd to last semester of school. Hallelujah! I've been working on gifts. Braelyn and I got colds. The Texans have been winning! Woo Hoo! And we went to the Brenham Christmas parade for the 2nd year in a row...unfortunately, I don't have much to say about that except that I'm glad we were there with friends.

**A side note to the Brenham Christmas Parade Coordinators: Next year, you might consider spacing the floats a little closer together. Pa-leeez! I'm pretty sure the baby who played Jesus grew into a toddler by the end of the parade. I can't be sure though, because WE LEFT before it was over!

Oh, and it snowed! That was fun. If you look closely you can see a snowflake in my daughters hair. WOW!Today, the 3 of us are packing up to go to a retreat with Casey. It's been a while since we traveled with him and I am hoping I'll have lots of time to work on gifts and write my Crazy Love book review. Once you finish reading this post, and after you leave a comment, of course, ;) ...just kidding...kind should go get this book!

Alright, well, I've blogged way past my lunch break and the laundry and packing and dirty dishes are calling my name, not to mention the shower. Yea, it's 2:00 and I haven't showered yet, SO WHAT! :)

That's it. I'm done.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Yearly Christmas Wish...

...I wish I would have started working on Christmas gifts sooner! Every year I think this!!! UGH!

I am jumping on the Homemade Gift Bandwagon this year. I would say about 50% of my gifts will be homemade. I got my supplies several weeks ago, but I just really started working on it this weekend. Can I just say...I vehemently regret not starting sooner. Um...July would have probably been more appropriate.

If I blog again between now and Christmas, it'll be a miracle. :)