Friday, December 21, 2012

My birthday and other Christmas traditions

My birthday being in December is always hectic, but this year, it was especially so because of all of the activities planned. I decided to teach a class at The University of Phoenix this month also, and that has just added more time commitments... More on that decision another time. When we were trying to figure out a time to celebrate my birthday, I was very bah humbug-ish about it, but my family found a way to make it special, as always.  We celebrated the Sunday night before at Chuy's, and we devoured the jalapeno ranch dip, yummy food, and sopapilas in true Birthday style.
Patrick and the girls woke me up on my birthday morning with a yummy breakfast--my favorite breakfast casserole and orange rolls that P made for me, cards, and gifts.

Honestly, once the Sandy Hook news hit, I spent most of the day crying in disbelief. I think most moms of young children have been impacted by this tragedy in a more profound way than previous ones. It has definitely made me want to treasure the insignificant moments with my little girls so much more intentionally. Thankfully, we had something to look forward to that night that turned my birthday into more of a celebration: Addison's first ballet rehearsal. Seeing my sweet little firstborn in her tutu and costume made my heart soar with excitement for her fresh eyes. She was mesmerized by the whole experience, and I still hear her talking to Ansley about getting to go "back stage" in their little private sister moments.
Our builder daddy spearheaded our gingerbread house making, and both girls asserted their strong opinions every step of the way.

Since Addison has been learning about patterns at school, she has become obsessed with ordering things in patterns--even her side of the gingerbread roof.

Every year we decorate gift tags for teachers and grandparents.
We began a new tradition this year: the sparkle box. At the Otter Creek Christmas breakfast, one of our Children's Ministers read this book to us, and it was very compelling to me about how to rearrange our priorities in the way that we give our best gifts to Jesus. All month, our family has been filling our box, and we will open it together on Christmas morning.

One of the things we filled it with is writing our Christmas letter to Luc, a soldier stationed overseas and away from his family. Addison asked if she could color him a special picture of a toy soldier, and I thought that was so appropriate.
Of course, these are things that we need to strive to do throughout the year, but it is refreshing to do them in a season of giving and receiving gifts, while we join with the world to thank the Father for the most wonderful and redemptive and perfect gift.

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