Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cutie patootie!

I'm really enjoying taking pictures of Caleb now that he's a little older & I'm not a super-stressed out mom with a newborn ;-)
Today I was practicing working with manual focus.....
and natural lighting....
and since I still have a LOT to learn about Photoshop.....
these are straight out of the camera......
but I think they're pretty cute!

A Big Ol' Merry Christmas To Ya!

A Big Ol' Merry Christmas to Ya!

'Twas the night before Christmas & out on the ranch

The pond was froze over & so was the branch.

The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.

The kids were all home on vacation from school,

And happier young folks you never did see-

Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV.

Then suddenly, some time around 8 o'clock,

There came a surprise that gave them a shock!

The power went off, the TV went dead!

When Grandpa came in from out in the shed

With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.

"Just what I expected," they heard him remark.

"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.

Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."

"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom. "With their light,

And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right."

The teen-agers all seemed enveloped in gloom.

Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,

Uncased his old fiddle & started to play

That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.

Mom started to sing, & 1st thing they knew

Both Pop & the kids were all singing it, too.

They sang Christmas carols, they sang "Holy Night,"

Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.

They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,

And Pop read a passage from God's Book of Truth.

They stayed up till midnight-and, would you believe,

The youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.

Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;

And when the kids wakened, the power was on..

"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,"

Said Grandpa - & no one suspected his trick.

Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,

He had pulled the main switch - the old Son-of-a-Gun!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Finding my spirit

The Elf on the Shelf has quickly become one of the season's "must-haves!" We got ours, or "Buddy" as we call him, last year, and he was an instant hit! But when we packed up all of our Christmas decorations last January, Buddy went back in his box and to the bottom of a large storage tub, eager to make his appearance when Christmas rolled around once again.

Unfortunately, I forgot about Buddy.

This year, the Gang is headed to Disney World to meet gramma & grampa and spend Christmas with Mickey Mouse. The goal was to do something different, get away from the commercialism of the season and get back to spending time together and focus on what really matters. Not only are we not doing gifts this year, but we had decided not to get caught up in all the craziness of decorating, cookie-baking, black-Friday shopping, etc. We were going to keep it simple.... take a some money......

but then we saw the fresh Christmas trees at Costco.

Beautiful, 8-foot trees that were only $32!

Well, it WOULD be nice to have a tree, even if it meant taking it down before we left for vacation. And at that price, we would be crazy NOT to do it......


And Noah & Matthew kept asking when we were getting our tree.....

how could we disappoint them?

So, last weekend, we got caught up in the after-Thanksgiving-frenzy, broke down, and bought a tree.

I was just hoping I could get to our ornaments with minimal effort.

After all, we had already broken our vow not to "do" Christmas by buying a Christmas tree.

*And I'm not going to mention the lights we hung on our trees outside- you know, the ones we said we weren't going to hang*

I was thrilled when I found the ornaments I wanted in the very first box I opened, and once the tree was all spruced-up (pun intended!), I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then along comes a child.

Mom, what about Buddy?


YOU know mom, Buddy the Elf! We're going to get him out right?

Uh, no.

But moooooooooooom...... we HAVE to have Buddy! He tells Santa if we're being good!

(Can you sense what's coming?)


So, guess what I did this week?

And it's ALL thanks to this guy.....
Yep, that's Buddy hanging from the dining room chandelier. He made his re-appearance on Wednesday night, after I spent TWO days digging through tubs and tubs of Christmas decorations.....
In the end I decided, if I have to get it out, I might as well get it ALL out....
And, with a little help....
and with Josh entertaining the baby ;-).....
oh, and with a little Christmas music on the t.v. to lift my spirits ;-).....
we got it all done! We even found the beloved Fisher Price Christmas toys that we stow away each year, and the boys were mesmerized!

And the thing that started it all.....
Well, it smells great and looks wonderful!

And Christmas managed to make it's way into the rest of the house as well- even Frosty joined in!
And while I didn't put up ALL our decorations, the house ended up looking festive and merry....
a perfect gift for our precious little ones!
~ I think that, in the process of trying to avoid the stress of the holidays, I forgot to look at the season through the eyes of my children. After all, the holidays ARE what we make them. If we choose to be materialistic and stressed out, then that's what we teach our children. If, instead, we choose to focus on the true blessings and gifts that surround us every day, then we will truly be "in the spirit," and the "chores" of decorating and shopping become moments we can treasure and enjoy.

I hope you all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS season this year- remember the true reason for the season.... the gift of our SAVIOR! God Bless!


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