Tuesday, January 7, 2014

~Merry Christmas, 2013~

What a beautiful Christmas!
I felt as if this was the first Christmas season I prepared for without stress!
One reason could have been that I was SO ready for Christmas once finishing my math final exam.  :)
 .
I made my list, checked it twice ... and it got done!
We baked some goodies for friends and the boys' teachers, but didn't make enough for our neighbors.
We can give our neighbors mid-winter goodies instead, when they're least expecting it.  :)
I told myself not to stress-out over it.
 
The tree looked so pretty ....
 
 Christmas Eve was our little family Christmas.
 The children awakened early that morning, chattering excitedly what was under the tree.   :) 
After breakfast, we read the Christmas Story ... then opened gifts.
 What fun watching the children's faces! I was so into the moment, that I did not take pictures!!
I chose not to be stressed out.   ;)
 
For our Christmas Lunch, we had Chicken, veggies, and sweet potato casserole.
The menu was kept simple and manageable for one cook.  
 I chose not to let it stress me out.   :)
 

 That evening, I participated in the Christmas Eve Cantata at our church and enjoyed every minute.
What a lovely time singing praises to our Heavenly Father for the gift of his SON, who would give us Eternal Life, and set us free from sin's bondage.  :)
Returning home, I made the cranberry salad and dessert that we'd take with us to the extended family get-together the next day.
We had already packed our suitcases a couple of days in advance, so we felt ready.
We packed up the van Christmas morning, and drove to grandma's house- in time for Christmas lunch.
Visiting with family 
The dessert table
 
Putting finishing touches on the food
 
Our children were happy to see their Missouri cousins!
The little girls :)
 The not-so-little-anymore boys

 The next evening, we went to see Kendra working at McAllister's Deli.
 We likely made a spectacle of ourselves, snapping pictures while customers lined up to order ... but that's what Aunt's & Uncles do.
 
By the way ... see the knitting set below?
I received it as a White Elephant gift during a Christmas party.

 Kendra said she'd teach me a few things about knitting, so I brought it all with me.
Well, it turned out that Ashlyn got sick, and was sick all day long (and into the next day)... so I had plenty of time to learn how to knit!
It took me forever to get the hang of it at first.
 
..but when I  finally "got it", I got it!!  :)  Yay!
[photo at right was approx. 5 hours later]
 
 
Stephanie & Matt had organized for the extended family to cook and serve food one evening at the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, Missouri.
 Since Ashlyn was sick, I spent the evening at Stephanie & Matt's house instead.
From everyone's reports, it sounded like their service (&food) was appreciated very much!!
Even though I had an extremely small part (put one lasagna together), it was sweet hearing how the people were encouraged and ministered to. :)
 
 Photo above: I was excited to show Kendra how much knitting I had done while everyone was gone at the Ronald McDonald House...
The photo below is how much was finished when we returned home to Illinois. 
 
I'm glad that Ashlyn felt better for a couple more family visits, and the return trip home.
 
The scarf isn't perfect, but it's finished!!!
Yay!! I think she's simply pleased that her mom (finally) made her something!   :)   :)
Moral of the story: even when things don't go as planned, the end result can still be stress-free and beautiful (find something to do instead of stressing out).   :)


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