Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Let's Get to the 25th Already!

Hi, my name is Melissa, and I was hiding from my kids on the stairs scrolling Instagram.

Monday and Tuesday were filled with moments of discipline for each child as 1) it won't stop raining and 2) that makes for a lot of togetherness and 3) children like to antagonize and 4) it was an amateur move to try to wrap presents for others while supervising children.  I wrapped about four in the space of four hours.

We have made it to December 23rd.  We are coloring and snacking and movie-watching and paper roll sword playing and I'm in a better place.

Presents wrapped, house cleanish, clothes washed, Santa gifts on-go to assemble.

Now we are twiddling our thumbs, ready for the big day.

Here's a hodgepodge of holiday goodness and fun finds for your time off:

Man in the High Castle on Amazon streaming
This is sci-fi intrigue set in post-war 1960s America in an alternate reality in which the Allies lost WWII and the United States is ruled by Germany and Japan. I don't know where to start here: you can watch it as a couple; each character is multi-faceted and more keeps being revealed; it plays with reality and feels a bit like Lost as it presents possible outcomes and a blurry line between the natural and supernatural. Plus the lead character is really cute and I like his hair. So he's a Nazi. He has Resistance leanings due to meeting a love interest/new Resistance member. And I'm betting he's Hitler's son. We are hooked and eagerly awaiting Season 2.

My daughters in their Christmas program

  Shameless Overshare 

Our Christmas Letter

2015 At a Glance

It’s always a bit baffling to reach the end of another year at what seems like a breakneck speed.  2015 has been a year of new adventures for our family.  This summer, Alex, in a true act of Dad heroism, took us to Disney World for five sweaty, tiring, but absolutely memorable days.  We visited each park and dined with princesses, kissed Mickey, and rode our fair share off iconic rides. I’m a self-proclaimed sucker for all things Disney and am campaigning for a return to Orlando for a certain young man’s eighth birthday.  In October, we had another amazing experience traveling to Europe following a work conference Alex was selected to attend in Flims, Switzerland.  Our parents each took turns manning the battle stations on the home front with the kids so I could join Alex for four days in Paris and on to Amsterdam to meet up with an old friend of Alex’s and stay with his family.  It was everything we could have hoped for in an overseas trip-- beautiful scenery, delicious food, unexpected discoveries, and best of all, time together and with friends. I’ve said it was once-in-a-lifetime, but I’m hoping we’ll push ourselves to travel more as the children grow older.

The kids are now 7, 5, and 3 respectively. Jeremiah is a first grader in an autism classroom.  He is an affectionate, loving young man who likes to draw, print, bike, and play on his IPAD.  Sometimes his noisy sisters overwhelm his ears, but he is the first to give a hug when needed.  His mom (without any overstatement) is his #1 fan and as for Dad, Jeremiah adores him beyond good sense.

Sarah is going on 6 this January and bounds into a room with energy and sparkle.  She is in Kindergarten at brother’s school and brims over with new information.  She loves fashion and crafts.  Frequently, she helps Mom create new desserts to try.  We call her our cruise director and believe she is the most lovely 5-year-old in existence (all apologies).

Our youngest, Rachel, is the family mascot. 100 percent sass, this little girl selects her outfits (as there are several changes) daily, complete with accessories and makeup-- no lip balm, but red lipstick, please.  Not much makes her mom happier than taming her bedraggled hair with a bow and acting as consultant on her sartorial choices. Rachel tolerates too many hugs and kisses and longs to be “like Sarah” in all things, especially big kid school.  As her middle name suggests, she is an absolute joy.

As for us adults, Alex continues to work as a Programmer at Silvervine Systems.  His team indicated to me that he is the Eeyore of the group as he is on the look-out for potential problems that could arise in any project.  He is a wonderful father to our kids and a supporter in all ways to me as his wife.  I’m very proud of him.

I’ve renewed my contract for my 8th year as an at-home Mom and though each year brings changes to my role, I’m enjoying this new stage.  I’ve become more involved in the kids’ school, and work with 8th grade girls Sunday school--whom I constantly admonish to be nice to their mothers--as well as teach choir to Rachel’s age group.  I blog, attend bible study and a Mom’s group, keep the domestic wheels running, and think wistfully about exercise as I either read or binge Netflix in my off-duty time. We just ordered an elliptical machine, so hello, New Year’s Resolutions!

In closing, we are just plain thankful to have you in our lives and pray this Christmas season and the new year to come are marked by the greatest of these: love. 


And from Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift  December 23rd reading:

"He came as a Baby because He was done with barriers. He disarmed himself so that you could take Him in your arms.  God came as a Baby because he wants to be unimaginably close to you. What God ever came so tender that we could touch Him? So fragile we could break Him? Only the One who loves you to death. Only the God who had to come to get you, to free you, to be with you....
Christmas isn't about getting something big and shiny. It's about God's doing whatever it takes to be with us-- and our doing whatever it takes to be with Him. (emphasis mine)

He doesn't care if your list is checked or your halls are decked.  He doesn't care if you've spent 25 days preparing your heart or  a lifetime far away from Him.  He cares about you, about us.
He made a way for us, by his righteousness alone.  Isn't that really the best news?  I get swept along in the craziness each year, and I always arrive back to wonder seated in our Christmas Eve service--  Son of God, Love's Pure Light.

Merry, merry Christmas, dear friends.

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