Friday, January 1, 2016

The Last Days...of 2015

Days in the Life...


Merry Christmas! I woke up and opened my window because it was 70 degrees outside. Cinnamon rolls, coffee, family time, new names, sweet gifts, I feel so unworthy of these and many more blessings. But God's grace is a gift and if I cannot receive grace and love, I cannot give it. 

The tree all ready Christmas Eve night.

Stockings stuffed.

The littles have been sleeping in until past 8:00 most mornings, but Christmas morning they were up early. Mom and Dad said no waking anyone else up until 7:30. They did pretty well, but as soon as the time came, they were loud and ready to get going. 

We gathered in the living room and opened stockings first. Then a couple of rounds of gifts couldn't wait. 

As is tradition, we had cinnamon rolls and eggs for breakfast, with hot chocolate or coffee depending on the age and preference of the consumer. 

The littles ate very quickly so that the rest of the gift opening could commence. 

Each of us got everyone a gift with our own money and wrapped and labeled them. This year Mom and Dad gave each of us one higher dollar gift that was something we really wanted, a pajama set, and basic toiletry items like Q-tips, razors, shampoo, etc. (Ava and up have to purchase their own clothing and personal care items.) 

I think I have some siblings who are

 qualified to work at Chick-fil-a and Starbucks...

Christian likes his beard hat made by Chloe.

If I didn't take a selfie 
neither of us "photographers" would have been in any pictures. 

They were a little bit excited. 

The aftermath

Wrapping paper pile

The gift exchanging lasted until after 10:30. Some lego sets got underway and Ava and I played some card games while Dad and Chloe used Mom's new espresso machine to make coffee for Mom. Then we began taking things to our rooms and cleaning up the living room. We have never done that so early in the day, but this year we had motivation! 

This is a new workout program the family got for Christmas.

None of us are dancers, but this is a dance workout! Mom said everyone had to do at least the first workout. So we cleaned up, put on workout clothes, and pushed all the furniture back. Some people were more excited than others who were not excited at all

It was so fun! The 30 minute beginner routine was easy enough for everyone to do and we all finished it. By the end, we were all dripping and out of breath. Mom and I were the most enthusiastic/skilled. 

Ready to go.

During the water break

Afterwards Mom and Dad decided to play around.

We finished with plenty of time to do indoor gymnastics which we are all really good at and get burgers out for lunch while watching music videos and cycling through the showers.

Once lunch and all of us sweaty people were cleaned up, Chloe and Christian escaped to go watch "Jurassic Park" and the rest of us watched the latest "Annie." 

The afternoon passed in a relaxed manner and after dinner we all watched "Ace Wonder." 

It was a special Christmas. 

Saturday everyone slept in again. And we were all.very.sore. Our tree was so crispy we decide to go ahead and take it down along with a majority of the other Christmasy decorations. With most everyone working together it didn't take too long.

Aside from that, the day was pretty laid back. Mom had a cold for several days and lost her voice completely so she stayed home from church. There was no pretty sunset to watch this time, just dark clouds and lots of rain.

Sunday was pretty normal for everyone else.

Dad took me to meet Aunt Lauren and Uncle Phil mid-afternoon. My gift from them for my 18th birthday was a piece of jewelry from James Avery so I went to spend some time with them and go pick that out.

Because I'd looked online and knew exactly what I wanted, we were in and out of the store in the mall in Dallas in 30 minutes. I was pretty proud of myself for making a quick decision... We got dinner at Chipotle and then went to their apartment to visit and watch a movie before bed.

Monday morning Mom met Aunt Lauren and I somewhere and Mom and I ran a few errands (like to get coffee for her and gas and such) before going home.

The rest of the day was quiet. Dad worked, Chloe and Christian did some school, Mom did planning and other organizing related to the new year, the littles played with their new things, I did some laundry and school and drawing.

In the evening I babysat for the small group and came home to the others watching "National Treasure Two" and "Fly Boys."

Tuesday = Kate day.

I missed her so much last week! She became a lot louder over Christmas. Not loud as in crying or screaming a lot, just talkative with her own happy or expressive noises. No one really got to sleep in when she arrived.

She took more steps for us this time, but when we tried to video her, she stopped.

The morning, aside from Kate, was pretty quiet and she took a great two hour nap!

Just after lunch several ladies and their daughters came to play and talk about a challenge they are going to be doing called "No Spend January." Essentially the idea is to not spend money on anything that is not necessary. So no eating out, spontaneous shopping trips, online shopping, buying food that you could do without, etc.

Kate took a second nap in the afternoon and got plenty of attention when she was up.

As is her habit, she wanted to be held the closer it got to dinner time and only by me. (Trust me, Ava and Mom try to hold her every time, but she always cries and reaches for me. Its a good thing I have absolutely no problem with that.)

Mom asked me to come up with a dinner plan and then asked me to make dinner. So Kate and I made spaghetti, muffins, roasted broccoli, and salad. The times I set her down to use two hands for things like draining the pasta and chopping the greens were the times she cried, other than that she was quite content to sit on my hip and watch me work.

Of course, right about the time everything was finished was when her Dad arrived. Mia begged him to let us keep Kate. She really wants a younger sibling.

Wednesday was Ava's 11th birthday. *Insert the moment when my heart freezes because I totally forgot to write a birthday post for her on Instagram and now I feel awful and leave to go do that immediately.*

Mom and Dad took her to Seven Mile Cafe for her birthday breakfast and then ran a few errands.

I had set up a time to go have coffee and catch up with a friend in the morning so that I would have to get up early-ish and hopefully work myself back into a more normal schedule. I was not so happy with myself when my alarm went off at 7:30 am. But I did get up and get out the door and our visit was very sweet. It was after I did all that that I realized that this weekend is going to completely mess me up again. Oh well!

The others stayed home and slept in and danced to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" soundtrack that Chloe got for Christmas.

We all left around 12:30 to go meet Aunt Lauren, Uncle Phil, and the Peisers at Six Flags in honor of Ava's birthday.

It was about 50 degrees, but the sun was out so it wasn't too too cold.

The kids (and Uncle Phil who is also a kid) had a blast riding everything they could. It was crowded, but not awful.

I have no idea why people mistake us for sisters... *Wink* 

We got dinner early and actually managed to get three tables inside. After eating Aunt Lauren, Mom, Chloe, and I headed home because it was getting cold and we were done.

At home Mom and I showered to get rid of the smoky smell from all the camp fires at the park and then the three of us watched a couple episodes of "Dr Quinn." Those finished about the time the others arrived home (10:00 pm).

After we left Mia rode The Shock Wave (some really big roller coaster that goes upside down twice that I would never even think about riding) with Uncle Phil. She loved it. I am so proud of her and it doesn't bother me one bit that she showed me up.

I've been Pondering...

As I spend the next week reviewing this year I know I shall continue to see ways the Lord has been at work in my life. 

One thing in particular that I have wrestled with and grown to embrace is change. 

It's an inevitable part of life and this year has been one brimming with transitions, growth, new independence, and lots and lots of change. 

Looking back I see how the Lord has been faithfully working in me to bring me to a place where I can embrace change and trust Him even when I don't understand. 

It has been a year of- 

Gaining Clarity

Move ahead?
No, that I dread.

So remain the same? 
Then I reach no gain.

You want to change? 
To say that is strange. 

Change is not to fear? 
I said not that, but it is near. 

Fear has been banished? 
It has not vanished. 

Do you trust? 
I know I must. 

Have you peace? 
It shall increase. 

Are you prepared? 
No. I'm scared. 

Have you no worry? 
The future is blurry. 

Do you have to understand? 
No, all things You have planned.

That moment when...

You give yourself whip-lash flipping your hair.

Mia calls "Pachelbel's Canon" by the Piano Guys, "Rockefeller's Canon."

The Herd: Quoted 

"What does the box say?" -Mom
"Made in China." -Mia 
"No the other side." -Mom 

"I always pick the wrong seat." -Me as wrapping paper flies over my head towards the pile behind me.
"It's a special talent." -Mom 

"That means I get to read year." -Me 
"That's only a week and a half away." -Dad 
"Oh. Then in two years." -Me 

"It's from Aristotle." -Christian completely butchering "Aeropostale"

"Intense, science fiction, terror." -Christian reading the back of "Jurassic Park." 
"That is like triple threat Lydia-repelant." -Mom 
"No kidding." -Me

"Wait did she get an iPhone too?" -Christian as Ava opens a gift.
"No." -Ava 
"Christian's whole world almost turned upside down, he almost lost his religion there." -Mom laughing
"He lost that years ago, mother, now he has a relationship." -Me
"I was about to say!" -Christian  

"Here's where I bow out." -Dad
"When it starts smelling like coffee." -Mom 

"Composing is hard!" -Me wailing mellow dramatically to Mom.
"No!" -Mom responding in like manner.

"You need to wear a belt..." -Mom
"I don't have one." -Christian
"We just got you one!" -Me
"That is a dress belt." -Christian
"You are going to have a really hard time finding a dress to wear with it..." -Mom 

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