Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today....

in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

And so we celebrated.

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I put down the camera to enjoy family and neighbors this year - as we ate too much food, played games, sat by fires and embraced this life we've been given and the glory of a day celebrating the birth of the greatest king ever known to man. Many thanks to family and friends for making it a lovely and relaxing Christmas.

Twas the night before Christmas...

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Christmas Eve

Todd and I both had the day off and we had no plans prior to our usual Christmas Eve festivities in the evening. So we decided to go ice skating, outdoors. Christmassy right?

Okay so the "outdoor rink" was under a tent and was so tiny we decided not to skate. But the kids had fun!

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The kids have not skated too much...I think a couple times each. And that was awhile ago. So they were a little shaky but improved as they were out there.

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Afterward we played in the park for awhile. If you are ever in the Tampa Bay area - this square rocks! Check it out. Curtis Hixon park is like an oasis in the middle of downtown (and fab for photos!). Huge sprawling grass area, park benches, fountains, tiered steps perfect for picnicking, and surrounded by both the Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazier Children's Museum. Oh and did I mention the awesome playground...riverfront. Compliments of the ice rink we managed to experience multiple seasons all at once - and they say FL only has one season!

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See I do exist!

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Geocaching

Compliments of GPS advancements the famed treasure hunt of long ago has returned, granted the treasure is mostly junk and the locations not located under X's but rather in brush and on man made structures...and the dirty rolled maps now come in the form of GPS's, in our case on an iphone, but a treasure hunt nonetheless. And when you are a kid a treasure hunt is fun. So we went.

The kids and Todd think its FABULOUS. I think it will be a lovely hobby for us when not trying to get to a Christmas Eve service on time, there is no arctic blast, and I can feel my toes.

Attempt 1: failed. Two sets of coordinates - two locations - zero caches.
Attempt 2: 3 successful finds!


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The first was located at the "park" near our house. It was formerly a boat ramp and picnic area but now is a parking lot with a few waterfront picnic tables. Nature has reclaimed the shoreline and its largest redeeming quality is the view. However it does also provide an adequate viewing ground for alligators should any out of state visitors feel the need to see one.

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The kids exchanged some "treasure" they brought with the "treasure" in the box and off we went. Tristan managed to pick up a travel bug - a trinket you log in and try to send to a location and then back home. This particular bug originated in Washington state, made it New York and is now on it way back. We will place it next month on our trip to NC.

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To find out more or try this with your family: www.geocaching.com

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scents of the Season

The holiday season would just not be the same without the aromas...the smell of hot cocoa steaming in mugs. Fresh baked bread rising in the oven. The smell of pine needles, even if it does come from a candle this year. The clean crisp chill in the air. And my favorite...Christmas cookies.

Last Saturday we baked. And baked. And baked. And at the end of the day we had homemade peanut butter cups, peanut butter blossoms, molasses crinkles, spritz and even a few sugar cookies.

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Okay so we may have had one teeny tiny mishap...but all in all it was a fabulous family day.

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Loved this.

The greatest man in history, Jesus, had no servants, yet they called Him Master; had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher; had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer; had no army, yet kings feared Him; won no military battles, yet He conquered the world; committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today. Jesus is the REASON For the Season. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The best way to spread Christmas cheer...

may be singing loud for all to hear according to Buddy Elf but according to LeShayne it's by embracing the magic.

Magic that makes people dig into already tight pockets just a little further and find just enough to buy a gift for someone in need. Or two somethings. For 120 kids whose Christmas would have had no presents this year if not for them. 240 Christmas wishes: fulfilled. For the students of Blanton Elementary, where according to the principal 90% of students are considered to be living in poverty - 47 students without homes to call their own at all, Christmas came early. With wishes ranging from much needed clothes and shoes to bikes and scooters each and every tag item was delivered. One little girl said "Santa came in a SUV!" Magic, delivered.


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The Magic of Santa is often argued to be anti-Christian for a Christian holiday but I think they are wrong. Because God is good and God is joy. And if joy can come in the form of Santa, as long as we don't forget the real reason we celebrate, I think God is happy to have him around. I had the pleasure of taking pictures of my mom's Alzheimer's residents seeing Santa. I cannot post the pictures here for confidentiality reasons but it was priceless. Literally bringing tears to my eyes. Watching people whose life is one of monotony and frustration with a twinkle in their eye and a smile on their face...because of a man dressed in a big red suit. Magic, in a big red suit.

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Happy Birthday Jesus

Oh and amidst the chaos Tori sang in 3 performances...here is the first. She sang this song when she was 5 as a duet and brought it back this year per our worship leader's request. It's shocking to me how much she has grown up recently.

Enjoy.

Finally...its time for Christmas

I am thankful - for my overall health and that of my families, for financial stability, employment in general. I am thankful for my amazing family - immediate and extended. I am thankful for friends to cry on and laugh with! I am blessed indeed.

But it's still been a tough month. With someone out at work I have picked up almost full time hours while trying to organize a huge Giving Tree project at the kids school (240 wishes fulfilled this week though - pics to come!). Oh and I got sick. I mean sick, sick. Fever, chills, sniffles, lung hacking sick. And then it kept on going like the gosh darn energizer bunny until I saw a doctor...who gave me antibiotics which I suck at taking. So its getting there...and I am feeling human again despite the daily bouts of ridiculous smokers cough I have suddenly developed.

So today is the day - I am finally ready for Christmas to begin. Giving Tree gifts have been delivered, the fever has broke and I can breathe, the kids finished school until 2011, and my work scheduled drastically drops for the next 2 weeks.

So let the festivities come. Lots to come in the next few days!

Missed my little blog :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spread Christmas Cheer w/Shutterfly...

Remember when Christmas cards used to be all red and green? You could choose from Merry Christmas or Have a Happy Holiday? Well no more...

Shutterfly has 100's of choices ranging from common to creative! You can wish a person just about any winter holiday out there while using formal pictures, snapshots, even pictures of your pets!

I had a hard time choosing this year - do we go with funky? Or do we remember the reason for the season? My favorites...

Reminds me of a package all tied up: Card #1

Loving the simplicity of the card but the intricate snowflake: Card #2



This postcardeque one: Card #3


And my very favorite: Right. Like I was going to post the card I am going to send you all! Sorry, arriving soon to a mailbox near you!

I have used Shutterfly for lots of other projects and they are fast, reliable and a quality product! Check em out!

And bloggers can get 50 free cards this year...so while your spreading the Christmas cheer - spread the news! Free cards!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I am thankful...

1) For Friends. Friends we play cards with, friends we eat meals with, friends we cry and laugh with. Friends we share life with. And friends that move away.

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This is Adam and Elizabeth and their gorgeous daughter, Leah, a recent addition to the family! Unfortunately they are off to SC to start a new adventure. Y'all will be missed!


2) For holiday favorites...Gingerbread Lattes. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Pumpkin bread. Elf. It's A Wonderful Life. Baking. The list could go on forever...

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3) For traditions. Thanksgiving dinner with family, gathered round a table my mom always goes out of her way to make pretty. Playing games afterward, this year a crazy version of spoons.



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4)For Black Friday. I know this sounds superficial but I don't mean it that way. It's the Christmas chaos I love and for me that officially starts in the wee hours of Black Friday morning, steaming mug of spicy goodness in hand and the first official Christmas carol of the season playing in my car on the way to picking out the perfect present for the ones I love...and all while remembering that I am so blessed to be able to go buy anything at all.


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5) For Holiday decorating. Nothing says warmth and coziness in a home like quiet nights at home with family and a lit tree in the background. I love taking out each ornament and remembering why we have it or who gave it to us, I love our formal tree elegantly filling up the living room. I love watching the kids carefully place the train on the track. Hanging our crown of thorns on the tree and remembering why we really celebrate. Carefully unpacking each nativity character and setting them out to let people know that in this house we celebrate CHRISTmas. I love that Todd has to strike a ridiculous pose every time the camera is aimed at him. But most of all I love watching the kids drink it all in...
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6)For family time. Made even better by Disney magic.



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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankfulness...

Has been delayed. Compliments of a nasty cold that I am not thankful for at all. Will return soon, after a nap and some more meds maybe with weekend festivities and thanks!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quick Update

Things have been a little crazy around here and I sadly have not had my camera with me much lately so here's the update, sans pictures for the first time in a long time.

- Kids are on fall break - yay! I am not - boo!

- Todd and I both have 4 day weekends coming up for the holiday though.

- The fall festival at the kids school has come and gone...final total not in yet but it was good. Lots of people came out.

- Tristan was recently tested for Gifted per his teachers request. On the first screening he scored in the 99th percentile. Second screening in the next two weeks and then if he does well he will start the program after the Christmas break. Mixed feelings about all that but he thinks he wants to try it so we'll see what happens.

- The house is coming, slowly. Between work and baseball and then fall festival and now holiday stuff its just slow going. Painted the entryway but it needs to be touched up because textured walls are hard to paint. Hoping after Thanksgiving shopping earns me a new living room set...and then it will be a whole new ball game!

- Tori is singing like a mad woman this coming month. A solo at our church's big event two nights in a row (she's the only kid in the whole program!). A solo and speaking part in her school chorus Christmas production. And one of the two main leads in the kids Christmas musical at church - speaking and singing. All between Dec 4th and Dec 12th. Might be a long week!

The rest is same old, same old. Excited about the holidays. Excited about having some extra time at home to work on projects and hang with the kids over Christmas break. Excited - about life - that's a good place to be!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No pain no gain?

Todd and I did P90X for about 30 days this time last year...and were just starting to see results. At least I was. And then I got sick and was down for the count for almost 2 weeks. Then it was the holidays and we never got back in a groove.

So fast forward a year and Todd has a networking group called BNI that he goes to every week. And one of the girls in it is his facebook friend and posted these 0 and 90 day pics of her and her husband/boyfriend/whatever he is. And they were nothing short of AMAZING!

So he got motivated, talked me into restarting. Today was the day...unfortunately Todd has a headache and plans for the next two nights. But I had psyched myself up for it and started anyway.

I forgot how ridiculous these videos are. And I considered on the third set of pushups that I should start with something way less hard than this series. But...I am really a head first kind of girl.

So Day 1 - done. -ish. Let's be real. I could not do the whole video. I might die. Literally. So I am now doing LeShayne's version - P120X, the first 30 days I am aiming to do half reps all the way through the video (two sets of each exercise) or full reps once through (aka a little more than half the video). And 15 of the 25 of each ab exercise on ab days.

Okay so goal set. Journey begun...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

October Photo Dump

October means fall whether the weather cooperates or not. And it sort of did. We got some cool evenings and refreshing breezes. But it also means cotton stretched to make spider webs in the entry way, pumpkins to be carved (this time the kids did all by themselves!), costumes to be worn, Spooktacular Softball tournaments to be played, and yummy foods to be baked and eaten! A few pics from our whirlwind month of fun activities.

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