Saturday, December 26, 2009

December Daily: December 24

We were going to go to Mom and Dad's tonight to drive around and look at Christmas lights. But Mom and Dad had way too many cookies to frost. So, they said we could do it on Christmas.

I was a little disappointed since I was looking forward to it all week. I wanted to do something special for the day but didn't know what. So, I started looking up family genealogy stuff online. Dave claimed he was "bored" and went into the bathroom. I heard a racket in there and you should of seen what I saw. He was cleaning the medicine cabinet! I was so upset that he was cleaning the medicine cabinet on Christmas Eve! I have to admit that it looks really good though.

Dave said that I needed to clean out my jewelry since it was taking over my side of the cabinet. Although I wasn't sure why, since it is my side. But, I found my necklace from my grandmother. I haven't worn it in almost ten years since Nanna passed away. Grandpa gave it to me when I was visiting for her funeral. The clasp was broken when I got it and I never took it in to get replaced. I hopped upstairs and fixed it with another clasp and placed it on my neck with a couple of my other new pieces that I have soldered recently. I felt very "vintage" and like some of the mixed media jewelry artists that I follow online. ;) It was like an early Christmas present. I will have to have Dave take a picture.

Later, Dave was talking to John on the phone and he asked him what they were doing for Christmas Eve. They were going to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and that gave me an idea! I don't own that movie (or many Christmas classics) but I have "Holiday Inn" which is my favorite! So I put that in the DVD player and enjoyed watching Bing and Fred fight over the same two girls. ;) Ethan liked the movie and was spinning around the house during every number. I was content that I got to do something "Christmas-y."

Dave gave me a hard time about loving classic movies and not even owning "It's a Wonderful Life" or "White Christmas." Yeah, I have to agree with him that I need these movies for sure. ;)

At bedtime, Dave read the Christmas story from the Bible and we let Ethan open the present that Sandy, our neighbor, left for him earlier in the week. She gave him a puzzle and a Mater truck from the movie Cars. She has been over to our house and has seen him play with his collection of cars from that movie. She really paid attention to what he liked... so sweet.

Dave and I stayed up watching a movie and going to bed ready for Christmas...

December Daily: Day 23

We couldn't wait for Dave to get off from work at 2pm since then it would start his vacation! I think this will be the first time that he has ever had Christmas Eve and New Years off! What a wonderful time of year to spend with family.

To make the time pass away faster, Ethan and I filled the stocking that was returned to him. I recently saw on a scrapbooking blog about leaving random acts of kindness gifts around town with a little tag hanging from the gift saying "If you find this, Merry Christmas! No strings attached."

So, I had Ethan fill the stocking with oranges, a few more golden coins, and goodies from our One Bright Spot shop. We then went to the post office, since that's as far as I can go with out my car heating up again. It was really cold today but that didn't stop us from leaving some Christmas love! We placed the stocking in a corner of the post office and then went and gave Diane, the Postmaster, our gift. She was really thankful. I gave her a mug with some of my photographs on it of Molly Mo's antique faire. Going back out to the car Ethan kept yelling, "There's the stocking!" Oh well... we tried to be discreet.

We got back home and Ethan was playing so well by himself that I sat in the same room with him digital scrapbooking on the laptop. I went on Facebook and posted some of the layouts when I noticed a message. It said, "Are you the one that left the stocking at the p.o.? If so, my daughter says thank you!" I guess they must of found our business address in the stocking, found my blog, and found my Facebook badge from there. It was cool to make someone's day.

When Dave got home we all did the vacation dance in the kitchen. It is quite a moment when we jump up and down, holding hands in a circle, yelling, "Vacation! Vacation!"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December Daily: Day 22

So, this morning, Dave rolls over in bed and glances at the clock. He is late! He hops out of bed and within ten minutes he is out the door! To save time, he takes my car since it is parked behind his. I think it was an hour and a half later, Dave comes walking in the bedroom. I guess, he got as far as Stayton (twenty minutes away) and the car over heated. He sat on the side of the dark highway until it cooled down enough for him to get to a gas station for water. He sat their for a while before carefully coming home. Then, he got into his car and drove to work. It was nice to have a car while it lasted.

Tonight, while Dave was taking a bath, Ethan went in to visit him. Five minutes later, Ethan came to me and said, "Momma, I want a brother or sister." Then he continued to say this getting upset. He then fell on the floor crying, "I want a sister to play with!" There were real tears. Oh brother! Thanks Dave!

Monday, December 21, 2009

December Daily: Day 21

Today was the first time we could get to town as a family to go Christmas shopping. We first went to the mall to get an allergy barrier for our mattress. Doesn't seem like much fun? It was! Uncle Adrian gave us a gift card to Kohl's and since Dave is itching off his face every night we knew it was time to get one. ;) Ethan did so well once I found the jewelry store that was giving away balloons. It saved me today. Red balloon, you are my hero. After a few trips up and down the escalator, we got back in the car and headed to Wal-mart. Dave left us to get stocking stuffers and I took Ethan to look for stuffers for Dad and a present for Dad too. Ethan picked it out and I can't wait until Dave opens it for Christmas!

When we got home, Dave showed Ethan how to cook Shrimp Scampi. It was so sweet. We also bought new batteries since our re-chargeables haven't been working and making my life hard without a flash. So, I tried my best to capture the moment. I think it is beautiful...

I think the second photo is my favorite one of Dave at the moment. It captures Dave perfectly. Doing what he loves...

December Daily: Day 20 (Part Two)

So yesterday was one of the best days I can remember in a long while! We started the morning by going to church. We were able to drive to church in my car; I am so thankful! Afterwards, when we pulled into our driveway, we could see from the car that the stocking that we dropped off earlier in the week was back on our doorstep, filled again! Ethan yelled out, "Saint Nicholas was here!" So, Ethan brought the stocking inside and we got to watch him open it up. It was so awesome to see him so excited about the fruit.

There was a card inside the stocking that read, "We didn't miss the moment of you teaching Ethan how to share! You are great parents and wonderful neighbors. God bless you, the Launders Family"

I started to cry when I read the card... I was touched. It means a lot to me to see Ethan learning how to show love to others. Then, for it to come right back around to him in the same week. He really understood what it meant to show God's love and kindness. Then, two hours later, our other neighbor knocked on our door and gave us a gift bag filled with baked goodies! Look! This didn't happen last year. See how just showing kindness and love becomes contagious?! Totally awesome! We aren't going to keep the stocking. We are going to fill it again and give it out this week. It shouldn't just stop at us, right? God's love needs to be shared again and again...

We were able to relax at home for the afternoon. I then got dressed in my tunic and wreath headpiece and headed out to Becca's to borrow some shoes for "The Night in Bethlehem." It was so funny when I rang the door bell and Sarah answered. She said, "I didn't know who it was! All I could see is green leaves through the window!" Sarah let me borrow some white Crocs to wear with my white gown. I have to say that I was cute! ;) I got to the church in time for everyone to start arriving. Everyone was so excited and it all looked great! Guests started arriving early and so I tried my best to pray and the festivities began! Tammy, Barb, Jessica, and the kids were all there! I was so proud to see my family all together doing the activities. My favorite picture is the one below with everyone there (you can even see Barb's coat on the right even!)


Dave said Ethan had a blast. I could see that he was excited... he was all over the place! I love this picture. It is right before Ethan picked up the clay and put it in his mouth. (Add that one to the list-of-things-that-you-tell-Ethan-to-get-out-of-his-mouth).

At the candy shop, Ethan couldn't eat anything that was made. So, I brought in a Kit Kat so that Sherrill could give it to him when he came to visit her.

Ethan sat down on the haystack to relax by the faux fire to eat his treat. Dave said that it took about a minute after eating it for the sugar to kick in and he was off like a rocket! Dave said it was hard to get him to go to many stations after that.

Since I was taking photos of the event, I got to see Korissa making her wreath with Tammy. Man, I love that girl!

I wish I could post more pictures of the event. It was so amazing and such a blessing. Dave and Ethan left before worship started. I am sure you can guess why... It was short and sweet (of course cause we had loads of kids ready for bed!). I have never done a program that was stress free, as much fun, and blessed like this one. I hope that Cascade View makes this a new tradition!

This being my last event for Children's Ministries at Cascade View, it meant a lot that those that came were blessed. God has been good this year and I am grateful for having a chance to serve to make an impact for God in children's lives. But, the best feeling, was the one I had when I saw my family impacted by their experiences last night. I would do it all again even if it was just for them...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December Daily: Day 20

I got an email from Becca telling me about Ethan's day at The Riverfront Park, in Salem yesterday. I wanted to add it to this year's December Daily:

"so... I have a trillion pictures from the carousel but I think that is the best one of E... if you want some of the horses and detail on the carousel - let me know... I was disappointed that not many from the playground turned out - you really need 3 people playing with him to be able to get the shots you want (like our trip to Keizer). He just was so excited and running everywhere and you have to be so careful he doesn't decide to jump off something he isn't supposed to. Plus the structure was wet.

Oh, did I tell you E met Santa? Hehehe... no, he didn't sit on his lap or anything but yesterday was the first Breakfast w/Santa this year. Santa was hanging about the gift shop.

We went in the gift shop to buy our tokens (this story will be perfect for your Dec Daily) and when we went to leave, St. Nick walked through!

Ethan looks up and sees him and at first, gasped and kinda got scared, so I lifted him up and sat him on my hip and said, "who is that!?! It is St. Nicholas!"

(Santa was just passing through so they weren't formally introduced).

We all wished him a Merry Christmas as he walked toward the employee's break-room. (Have to say he wasn't the most personable Santa. I think he thought he was off the clock.)

Ethan said, "Merry Kwismas!"

Then, he looks at Josh, gasps and sucks in air like he does when he is excited, and says in a loud whisper, "Uncle, it's St. Nicholas, just like in the story!"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December Daily: Day 19

Becca picked Ethan and me up at 9am so that I could decorate the church for tomorrow's program. I loaded up her entire car with stuff for the program (I am so thankful that they have a large car)! On the way to the church, Ethan asked for "music please" because he knows that Auntie always has the VBS cd in her car. So we sang all the way there! I unloaded, kissed Ethan good-bye, and the fun began!

The church parking lot was full because over 30 people were there to help set up! There were more people there setting up than we have ever had helping in children's ministry! It was such a blessing. I wish I wasn't the one directing everyone; it would have been fun to decorate a booth myself. But, I had sketched each booth out and everyone decorated like the sketch so it was amazing to see my designs come to life. Everyone worked hard and by 12:30pm exactly, we were finished. I couldn't believe that the schedule went as planned too! We had a delicious lunch prepared by two volunteers who brought soups in crockpots. I brought bread, salad, and juice. Then to top it off two women made dessert to eat too! It hit the spot after a long morning working.

Then, everyone wanted to walk through the church to see everyone's booths for the program. It was perfect. I got to see everyone's excitement and joy at each station. I think each person felt like it was their space after decorating it. I am so thankful for each one of them.

Dave got off work and came and picked me up from church. Dear Pam stayed with me so I wouldn't have to stay in the building alone. It was nice to chat with an adult for a while.

Dave had met Josh and Becca in town and Ethan was now asleep in the backseat of the car. You know that deep sleep where his head dangles in front of his body. He slept the whole way back to town to get my car back from Dave's friend! His friend fixed it in one day. I can't believe I have my car back and before Christmas! I am so blessed!

We had a good dinner that Dave prepared (of course) and then Ethan got to watch his new Veggie Tales movie that Josh picked out for him for Christmas. Ethan now is singing the songs and bouncing like a vegetable. It is so cute.

Then at bedtime, I told Ethan that he could pick the Christmas story for the night. He picked "Silent Night" and he read each page by himself! It is his first full book that he has read without my asking! It was cute because he tried to sing it too. Dave and I beamed because he made us both so proud! We were so shocked that he did it that we were quiet through the entire story. Afterwards we both clapped and so Ethan dropped the book and laughed clapping too. That sweet boy...

Days like today are beautiful. Lovely. I feel like I am floating on a cloud. I am so blessed and so thankful.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December Daily: Days 17 & 18

Yesterday the camera was off limits! Dave had to photograph Cascade View's Kindergarten Christmas Program. Too bad he used Lynn's cards because now I have no pictures of the program for my December Daily. He did get "baby Jesus" photos since the baby was only two weeks old. But, I can't very well put someone's baby (that I don't even know) in the album. I just wanted a good picture of Ben (our worship leader) dressed as Joseph. Or maybe the stable? Just something, I guess...

Today, I was excited to get the tripod out and take some photos of Ethan and me in front of the tree. But, we got a call that a buyer wanted to look at the house at 3pm. It was 10am and I said yes while I looked at my kitchen FILLED with every item I could find for the decorating party tomorrow. I mean, I had every flower-silk-something-decoration on my table. Including 100 paper money bags and 100 wreath strands hanging from my crown molding! I realized I had everything ready for tomorrow and since I threw the list away (why would I need it anymore?) I would have to remember what I needed all over again tonight. I about had a nervous breakdown and then realized that God has a bigger plan. I am praying that this buyer will buy our house. So, I got busy. I didn't stop. I got everything put away where it belonged.

Dave came home and took us to Toys-R-Us. Ethan deserved it after staying cooped up today with a cleaning freak of a mom! We drove home and I began getting all the supplies ready to go again.

Tomorrow is the big day! We decorate the church and Sunday night is the program. I am praying that families and children will get to know what the true meaning of Christmas is all about! I am looking forward to the fun tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December Daily: Day 16

Today was Saint Nicholas day. I want Ethan to know who Saint Nicholas was; he was a man who loved God and shared the love of God with those around him. After we read a couple of stories about the real Santa Claus, Ethan decided he wanted to be Saint Nicholas too!

This is a new tradition I want to start. I found dollar store stockings and had him fill them with oranges and some chocolate gold coins. Then, Ethan wrote Merry Christmas on the Christmas cards we had made a couple of weeks ago.

It was such a challenge for Ethan to sneak quietly to our neighbors' house. He tried really hard. We just left them at the door.

Doesn't he look so sweet as Saint Nicholas?

December Daily: Day 15

Today we had a bit of play time before Dave called and said he was on his way home to pick us up for town. It took the whole afternoon to go to the three stores we needed to do. But it was great to do it all as a family. Winco gave us a Christmas gift card for a Christmas bonus. What a blessing! It's always a blessing to be able to eat!

We also got the digital genealogy scrapbook photo book in the mail today! I loved it so much that I almost took it to bed with me. I didn't want to put it down! All that hard work is paying off!

December Daily: Day 14

Today was Dave's day off and we really needed to go to the store but instead we:

1. Polished Dave's knife.

2. Cleaned out all the cupboards in the kitchen to make room for only the one set we got for Christmas!

3. Polish Dave's knife.

4. Make room for Dave's knife on the knife rack.

5. Polish Dave's knife.

While I was cleaning the dishes out I found my Royal Doulton's Bunnykins plate from when I was a baby. I remember eating tomato soup from this bowl/plate and thinking, "I am never going to finish this." I am not sure how old I was then. My mom gave it to me a couple of years ago. I looked at it and realized it is pretty big for a child's bowl and if it was filled with the soup that it would be quite a lot for a small child. I don't eat tomato soup now, maybe because of that day.

I washed it out and fed Ethan lunch. He loves it! I don't know much about it but I just checked online to link here in the post and found out that this plate is worth about $74! Yikes! Don't you love the picture of Ethan eating his mac and chesse in a vintage 1954 bowl! LOL!

December Daily: Day 12 & 13

Saturday night I stayed up way too late uploading all the genealogy writings that everyone has been sending me these last four months into a book! I created a book and am having it published in a paperback. When I finally went to bed it was 1:30am!

Just in time for Ethan to crawl into bed with us and me to roll out at 6:30am for church. Dave, who by the way, fell asleep at 7:30pm, was wide awake! Mind you this never happens on Sunday. Dave thought he had so much time that he took a bath with a book and coffee. I had to remind him that he had fifteen minutes before we had to be on the road. It was quite funny. He thought he had loads of time since he got up on his own. At least he was awake and relaxed. Ha!

Ethan has been loving his sunglasses lately. Funny, since he wouldn't leave them on during the summer. But now that it is freezing outside he wants to wear them. Isn't he so cute?

After church, we went over to the Grinder's for "Christmas" since they will be gone next week to be with family in California. I love the pictures Dave got of the family. They are some of my favorites.

Dave was as excited as I was when he opened our set of new dishes. I have been waiting for a set of new dishes for 15 years! Yes, ever since I left home!

Dave was also trying to get me to tell him what we all bought him all month! He knew we all pitched in but he had no idea! Boy, was he totally surprised and hasn't stopped polishing it since we got it home. In fact, when he came home from work today, he stopped to "check on it."

I haven't got the courage to try it out yet. It is so sharp I could easily slice my finger off instead of the potato.

Becca had no clue what I got her for Christmas and there would of been no way she could of guessed. The Black Apple only had seven of these made this time around and I was shocked that I made it before they were all sold out. I bought mine four minutes into the update and there were only two left.

Isn't it cute? I actually kept the package because Emily has the cutest label and stamp on her package. Plus, it just makes it that much more special with the artist's handwriting and such (actually I think it is her boyfriend that does the packaging).

Friday, December 11, 2009

December Daily: Day 11

Days like today make me proud to be home with my little guy. We got a late start at school today... who cares?! Isn't that the benefit of teaching from home? Go with the flow... that was what today was all about.

Today's activity was to make Christmas cookies. This I knew was going to be a challenge since I still hadn't decided on a recipe this morning. As finally decided, I went into the cupboard to get the ingredients out and we were missing cream of tarter. Not sure why, since it is a baking staple and when do I ever bake? So, we got bundled up to walk five minutes to the market. Ethan looked cute in the stroller with only his eyes and cheeks showing through the layers. I was surprised at how it wasn't too bad even though it was only 32 degrees outside. I guess I have all the layers to thank. ;)

The store didn't have what I was looking for and so I got sour cream and chocolate chips since I saw a couple of recipes online earlier that needed those items. We trekked back home, ate lunch, and while Ethan had rest time I made egg-less chocolate chip cookies. I am telling you, it made the house smell like a gourmet pastry shop. It was heavenly! The cookies are as big as my hand and super tasty!

After Ethan's rest time, I had him help me make the egg-less sugar cookies. He had no problem helping me this year. He actually helped put all the dry ingredients into the mixer himself. I also had no problem letting him lick the bowl and spoon. It was a weird feeling having him able to do these simple things. Remember, this is his first time having homemade cookies! It was lovely. After Ethan had mouthfuls of dough, we spooned the dough onto the cookie sheet. It was funny because Ethan dumped the small dish of sugar onto the cookie sheet. I guess I need to be clearer when I say, "Just a sprinkle."

I didn't care for the sugar cookies as much as the chocolate chip but Ethan didn't seem to mind. In fact, one minute down from the table the sugar kicked in and he has been in a pleasant mood ever since... ;)

We also decorated ourselves like Christmas trees and tried to get pictures of ourselves dressed up, which was more of a challenge than the activity itself.