Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas a bit early....

So today we celebrated Christmas with our family.  What a wonderful, joyous time we had.  We were all together by around 10:00am and spent the day just being together!  Of course part of the time was spent opening gifts. 
Photo: Christmas at the Rowleys and Johnson's!
I can't say enough how thankful I am for my family.  Every time we are together my heart just swells with joy and love and gratitude.   And today was no different.   I got to play several rounds of UNO with Lia, got lots of hugs and kisses from Zeke, had some great talks with Ellie (who is now writing her name all by herself!) and lots of great conversations with Doug, Tim, Susie and Gwen.  I also got lots of doggie kisses from Sammy, Kylie and Chandler.  After the present opening, the kids were quite happy to play with their new toys, Grandpa took a nap on the couch in the living room, and the big kids and I played a couple of really neat games (both on the WII and a fun board game).  We had a great dinner (thanks Tim!) and then even managed to get a really good family picture.  A full day.
I am always so amazed at the thoughtful gifts that the kids find for Ken and I.  I especially love the gifts that the kids make for us.  Today we received a photo ornament of the three kids (which I am sure will be on my favorites list next year), and these.............
These are the coolest thing.  They are paintings done by the kids on a canvas - but get this - they have a sticky but repositionable back.  So they can be stuck and moved where ever and when ever you want!  Isn't that so neat!  I love the colors.  I love the joy and wonder in these.  I simply love then.  The minute we got home, they went up on the wall.  And right now they are inside the front door where I will see them each time I come in the door.  I didn't have time to ask Ellie (who did the top art work) or Lia (who did the bottom picture) exactly what they were painting.  Every time I look at them, I see something different.  And they make me smile! Isn't that what Christmas is all about? 
Another great thing today was listening to the kids talk about Christmas memories from their childhood.  The one that sticks out in my mind right now is the time I nearly burned down the house with the Advent Candles on Christmas Morning.  I was busy cooking breakfast and suddenly there were flames from the top of the TV cabinet.  The candle wax had started the wreath on fire and melted the top of the cabinet!  Doug recalled Ken running for the fire extinquisher and putting out the fire.  I guess for a grade school age boy, this was a pretty great Christmas morning!  I will never live that one down.
The weather even cooperated and the "winter weather advisory" and the ice and snow predicted didn't happen. Ken and I drove home in 34 degree weather with rain. So much better than ice and snow that we had feared. So, now LET IT SNOW! Ken and I are at home with no where to go!
Yes, it was a wonderful day! 
Jesus, thank you for this full day of blessings.  Thank you for Ken, Gwen, Tim, Doug, Susie, Lia, Ellie, Zeke (and Anna)!  What a joy it is to gather together and celebrate Your Birthday.  Holy Spirit, spread your love and joy and wonder to all during this next week and let us celebrate with the excitement of children.   Amen
PS -  I blogged in November about getting those stacking cups for Lia.  Well, they were a great success.  I can't tell you how amazing it was to watch Lia do this stacking in many different patterns.  Ken and I were guessing that she spent over 1 hour playing with these cups today.  Who would have thought that 10 plastic cups could bring so much fun???? 

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