Monday, January 30, 2017

Mondays are for Grace

"We are never safe from the longing for eternity which God has put in man's soul."

-- William Barclay

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Christmas 2016

January has been full of travel, getting back to school, and going without a computer for some time. Now it's finally convenient to get the remaining December pictures posted!

My mom and sisters and I met up to celebrate Emily's and my birthdays. We did some thrift store shopping and had a wonderful gluten free pizza dinner:

And we attended the Rejoice concert at Butler.

My "birthday twin" came over to celebrate and we had the most delicious gluten free carrot cake.

I love writing Christmas cards. Each year I waver about whether or not to invest the time (and money!!!) in it but I usually give in because it's something that has been a part of my life since I was a young child.

We had a little snow at the beginning of December and not much since!

As soon as school let out for the holidays we drove downtown to the coolest barber shop for Andrew to get his new look.

 A super exciting day!!!!

Now Andrew looks about 5 inches taller and two years older!

We discovered the German Christmas Market in downtown Indy and it went along perfectly with our Around the World Christmas studies.

It did happen to be one of the coldest nights of our winter....the night many people got stuck on the Indy freeway overnight. (So very thankful we decided to go home early!)

We spent a lot of time in the craft tent where they had the nicest crafts I've ever seen!

There was a live nativity with carol singing and candle lighting:

And such cute little stalls, including ones selling real German Christmas ornaments, hot roasted nuts, and candy:

Here we are with Saint Nicholaus:

Then came the annual Christmas music recital. These three kids hang out together each week at our lessons. In fact, they've been hanging out weekly for 7 years now! David and Laura are some of the only piano students so they don't get to hold any instruments in the pictures.

Here's the whole group of students and our wonderful teacher:

James made up a Christmas outfit for his rat -- check out the modern pocket watch!

I think a family movie at the theatre is becoming a tradition around Christmas. Yes, it was Star Wars. It's almost worth paying for a ticket just to recline in these amazing chairs for a few hours.

The week before Christmas school was out and there was time for tea with friends!

As well as a lot of food shopping. Just about every week I run around doing all the shopping and loading in and out of carts and forget that when I get home there is still all the putting away to do!!!!

Tea with friends miniature style:

The cousins came for tea one day!

And Laura proved to be a very good helper with the baking! Maybe I can retire soon!

My plan had been to ditch decorating our traditional sugar cookies and just sprinkle them with sprinkles before baking but Andrew insisted he would take over and get the job done.

And he was true to his word!

Help makes a difference!

It's always nice to see friends from afar! Christy and I got to see each other for a few hours over the holidays.

Christmas Eve I planned a brunch of buckwheat waffles, roasted fruit, and sausage. Very festive!

Here are the boys getting in on some fast action potato peeling.

As Christmas fell on a Lord's Day this year we tweaked our celebrations a bit -- enjoying a family dinner after church on Sunday and then turning Sunday night into our own Christmas Eve.

Here's the table all ready for Sunday lunch:

Cousin picture with Grandma:

Family picture:

The exciting event of the family gathering was finding out the results of Emily's ultrasound a few days before. Boy or girl?


 Lunch was festive and delicious!

I love all the crowns from the crackers! (I very nearly bought crackers that didn't have crowns. How is that even possible??!!)

And there were stockings for the cousins to open:

Time to sit around the fire:

Yay for funny hats:

Mom capturing a selfie of her new dynamic duo made by Christina.

And then came the all-important Christmas pudding also made by Christina. It was so, so good.

After church in the evening we had our traditional Christmas Eve appetizer foods and sat around the tree before sending the kids to bed and dragging all the presents out.

We awoke to a bunch of happy children:

And a lovely, relaxed day (no big meal to put on!!!!):

A "present pillow" from David:

An owl from Grandma:

Necessary supplies for leather working!

And the one thing I knitted -- a shawl for Laura:

I was so excited to receive this gift of "In the Footsteps of Sheep" and some genuine Harris Tweed. I just love the colors!

As always we watch the Queen's speech:

And decided it was only appropriate to also watch the Obama's speech:

James was excited to receive a bagpipe chanter!!!

And no one could believe the weather outside! WHAT?!!

All month long I tell myself there will be an end to all the work and hopefully I will get to put my feet up for a little bit on Christmas -- phew!

Warm weather meant we could hold our annual Christmas Day Hike. Here are the goodies. A new favorite is the fudge which was made of cashew butter, unsweetened baking chocolate, and maple syrup.

The temp had gone down a bit and the wind picked up, but we still had our picnic!

Half way through the hike the rain came in torrents so we rushed back to shelter.

Some people got pretty wet....

But there were hot Cornish pasties and hot tea and sweet cookies to make up for it!

And super cute little pudgy fingers drinking hot chocolate:

And people making sure it was all captured on social media.

The next day Michael gave me the gift of about 7 hours at home by myself! WOW! This just doesn't happen with Michael working from home and homeschooling. See that blue seat? I sat there and read and read and read (and ate leftover Cornish pasties and Christmas pudding).

And I found this picture of myself from 33 years ago and thought how little had changed!
It was a good Christmas, for which I am very thankful.