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I know, I know–  what am I doing blogging on Christmas Eve at 11:26pm?!?  But what else am I going to do while I wait for those goofy kid to GO TO SLEEP so that Santa Claus can come to our house?  Spencer always watches the Pope on television (???) but I’d be asleep in two minutes flat if I tried that.

Christmas Eve Traditions at our house:

1.  Go around town singing Christmas carols and delivering cards to widows.

2.  Attend Christmas Eve Communion Service.

3.  Eat Mexican!!

4.  Christmas Eve Book Exchange   (Everyone gets to open a book!)

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5.  Daddy reads Luke 2.

6.  Daddy reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

7.  Kids leave cookies and milk and (hilarious) letters to Santa Claus on the fireplace hearth.

8.  Oh yeah-  and all day long, we’re all calling extended family trying to beat them with “Christmas Eve Gift!”  (The idea is that the first one to say “Christmas Eve Gift” to you gets a special little gift from you.  We don’t really do gifts, but we sure do get into the “Gotcha!” competition.)  This year Abbey got EVERYONE by posting “Christmas Eve Gift” on Facebook at 12:01am.  Clever girl!

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Somehow we ended up needing to make 2 trips this year…  Right now we’re on trip #1 to my parent’s house who live in Tulsa.  Trip #2 to Arkansas will be later this week.   I thought maybe it would be a little warmer when we came south and it is!  It’s 15 degrees here–  it was 5 degrees back at the house this morning!  My sister and her family are here too– so that makes being here even more special.  (That’s  a total of 15 people under one roof for those of you who are wondering!!)

Things that make my parent’s house special at Christmastime:

1.  The 9 foot tall revolving Christmas tree.  (Wish I had brought my camera cord to show you.  Trust me, my mother should be a decorator for Rathbone’s!)

2.  The beautiful icicle lights that my dad hangs all over the outside of the house.  It looks like a gingerbread house!

3.  The wonderful meal of roast with all the trimmings that my mom fixes each time we come.

4.  Memories evoked by the sight of my old bedroom.

5.  My mom and dad!

One of the hardest parts of the ministry is living so far away from family and friends.  But then the holidays come and it can be a mini-vacation if you let it.  After all of the “Christmas Madness” I finally get a chance to just sit and enjoy a little fun.  Hope you do too!

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This is the week I have officially donned “Christmas Madness.”  We literally had something scheduled for every night this week!  Monday was our (18th) anniversary date, Tuesday was a church Christmas cantada rehearsal, Wednesday was the high school choir concert, Thursday was SUPPOSED to be the band concert (with a fundraiser-dessert-bar which I chair each year) but it was cancelled due to the ice, and tonight was the cutest little preschool program you ever did see.

It’s an odd thing to watch your seventeen year old daughter sing Santa Baby on Wednesday night and then two days later laugh your heart out when your three year old decides to bang the poor kid next to her with her jingle bell!   But oh, weren’t we the proudest parents at both events?   We definitely enjoy the whole spectrum of things around here.  🙂

BELOW:  Abbey singing “Santa Baby.”   Who is that tall kid behind her in  the blue shirt and the goofy pink tie?  That would be her younger brother, Truett.  I would say “little” brother, except he’s about six inches taller than she is.   (He was supposed to show up for the concert wearing a tie and when he didn’t, the director made him wear the one she brought.  Joke was totally on him!)

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BELOW:  The Gallatin High School Choir

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BELOW:  Jane laughing about something just before the concert when her hair still looked nice.  

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BELOW:  Jane and her good buddy from church, Garrett.  (Hair not quite as nice!)   They had worked those jingle bells pretty hard!

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BELOW:  The class of 2023

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EDITED TO SAY THAT I DON’T WANT THIS FOR CHRISTMAS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F2md4uGmMU

(Spencer, honey,  if you’re reading this…)

Hat tip to Grace at Serious Whimsey for the hilarious link.

 

All I really want for Christmas:

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Isn’t that stunning?  And I don’t need five of these.  Honestly!    You didn’t think I was that materialistic did you?  One will suffice.  In White Gold please.

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I’m definitely done with my Christmas shopping!  My last gift was a calligraphy set purchased last week for the Angel Tree child we bought for this year.  I had so much fun shopping for him–  we picked a 16-year-old boy who wanted a St. Louis Rams football jersey, a pair of jeans, a calligraphy set and some charcoals and a sketchpad.  It seems most people pick the little toddlers to buy for and so I always gravitate to the teenagers.  How hard would it be to be a teenager living at the Baptist Children’s Home?  At Christmastime?

And so, I’m done with the shopping, but I’m only half way done with the wrapping.  It’s taking me a little longer this year because I’m using raffia in lieu of Christmas bows and it’s taking more time than anticipated to tie this stuff on each present.  For one thing, you have to have a bow-partner to hold their finger on the knot.  Clearly, I didn’t think of the time issues involved with using raffia.

And why even do this?  Because one of the slightly obsessive things about me is that I like all the presents to match.  Who am I kidding?  I like everything to match.   I know–  it’s a little OCD, but how many little OCD things does a mother of five get to enjoy?

Not.  Many.

 

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Doesn’t that look so… matchy-match??  I love matchy-matchy!  Except with furniture.  Then I like eclectic.

I always buy my paper when it’s on sale after Christmas–  I just pick ten matching rolls and I’m good to go.  One year I got it for 10 cents a roll!  You can use all sorts of cute, cheap  things for bows.  One time I used tulle that I had left over from a ladies’ church event.  Another year I used brown paper (paper sacks turned over) to wrap the gifts and then I stamped green Christmas trees all over the paper and tied them up with string.  (Like the Sound of Music.  “Brown paper packages tied up with string…”)  Cute. Cute.

I know it’s a little extra effort–  but my kids have grown to look forward to what I’m going to do each year with the wrapping and I figure it’s just one of little Christmas traditions/memories that they’ll  look back upon with fond feelings.

Or they could just all grow up and need therapy because their mother always insisted that the presents matched.  Either way, I’m OK with it.

 

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On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… 

 

THE PLANT I LOVE TO HATE

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Every year around the first week of Christmas, a sweet older family in our church has a Poinsettia delivered to our home.  It always arrives around December 5th or 6th and I have grown to look forward to greeting the Flower Delivery Lady each year with great anticipation.  The only problem is…  Poinsettias are not for the blackthumbs of this world faint of heart.  The first year I received one, it was a total surprise and I was just tickled to death.  ”What?  For us?  How nice!”  

And then I did with it what I do with all gifts of flowers–  I placed it on my entry table and watched it die in 3 days flat.  

Three days.  I’m no green thumb.

“Bummer!”  I thought.  ”It would have been nice for that plant to have lasted a little longer.”

The next year when the doorbell rang and I saw the flower lady standing on my front porch again, bearing Poinsettia, I thought, “Aha-  this must be a tradition!  The Ramsey family (not their real name) must always send a Poinsettia to the pastor’s family during the first week of December.  I get a do-over!”

Determined to make this one live a little longer, I decided to really go the second mile and, you know, WATER IT.

I think it made it four or five days.  I was really bummed this time.  ”Rats!  I even made an effort and everything.”  I quickly went to the Internet and looked up “care of Poinsettias”  and quickly realized what probably many of you already know and that is that you can actually OVERWATER a Poinsettia.  They only need 1-2 oz of water a day.  

Oh.

Year three:  Totally wilted by day four.  ”WHAT AM I DOING WRONG???”  I did some more Internet research and discovered that a Poinsettia should never be allowed to sit in water.  ”That’s funny,” I thought.  ”The flower shop always delivers those plants with a pretty aluminum wrapper and there is always water pooled up at the bottom.  I should have known that it was the FLOWERSHOP’S fault!”  This flower had become my yearly challenge and I was determined to beat it.  I studied up some more, made notes on the computer and waited for December 2005.

Year four:  ”Ding.  Dong.”  I cheerfully greeted and thanked the flower lady again and then I promptly took the flower my nemesis to the kitchen sink to cut a slit in the bottom of the foil.  After I found a saucer to set it on, I placed it in the sunniest place in our house (Poinsettias require a lot of sun and a nice consistent temperature, in case you didn’t know) and then I started the daily regimen of watering my precious Christmas gift with 1.5 oz of water per day.  And guess what?

It lived!  Glory be–  I had conquered the Poinsettia!

And so now I pride myself on being able to enjoy my December gift well into the month of January.  I could probably even nurse the little bugger into the spring and plant it like some websites suggest.

But I don’t really care that much.  I just wanted to win.

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I’ve been so busy getting ready for Christmas, I haven’t been blogging…  My PLAN is to have SOMETHING for each of the 12 days of Christmas.  (As in, the 12 days BEFORE Christmas.)  We’ll see.  You know how plans and life with five kids are.

Or maybe you don’t know.

But anyway–  I wanted to show you the cutest tea wallets that my sister made and is selling.  They would make the sweetest little gifts for your kid’s teachers and such.  Oh, and by the way, if you go to church with me, please don’t tell Myrlene about these, because I just bought one for her.  You know how much she loves hot tea.  

So–  go check them out.  Cute. As. A. Button.

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