Monday, January 5, 2015

Wrapping Up 2014 - Part 2

If you read that whole last post and are going to read this one as well, you should get some kind of reward or treat.  I am packing a lot of life and activities in these 2 posts.
It wouldn't be Christmas without our annual Cookie Decorating Contest
Abby got it all set up and magazine picture ready

 Laila's cookie was "a kid"
 Cody's cookie, "Hermie the Elf"
 Isaiah's cookie, "Buddy the Elf"
 Lauren's cookie "a pizza"
Rick, the overachiever, had several masterpieces
 His official entry was entitled "Christmas Tree"
 I made a bottle of essential oil for my cookie
 Abby's "Mockingjay" entry failed.  So, she did not have an entry in the competition.
The contenders
 The winner was:
The Aftermath
Christmas Eve Service
 Me and My Honey
 Loved the candlelight part of the service
 My Christmas babies
Our Christmas Eve Feast!

 Their ornaments for the year:
Cody - Deck of Cards for his Magic tricks that he does
 Lauren got a girl with braces
 Abby got a Starbucks Frap Cup
 Sam got an angel ornament made in Swaziland to represent, Gracie, a girl he connected with on our trip this summer
 Isaiah got a Chick-fil-a ornament because he always wants to "Eat Mor Chikin"
 Laila got a Cheeseburger ornament to represent her love for bacon cheeseburgers
 Christmas morning started with reading Luke 2 in our bedroom.  Then, we headed downstairs to open gifts.  Stockings are first!
 They take pictures way faster than they used to.
 They look so big!
 After our 2 hour gift opening extravaganza, we had our country ham breakfast.  
Thanks, Daddy, the ham was delicious as always! 
(Have I ever told you how my daddy makes the best country ham in the world?)
 After cleaning up from breakfast and doing food prep for our evening meal, the kids settled in to play with their toys and Rick and I settled in for our Annual Christmas Day Nap.
Sam was busy building with Legos
 Isaiah was like this for hours
Laila was playing with cars
 and making cotton candy
 it was a lot of work for that little bit of cotton candy
Christmas Day would not be complete without Fajitas Fa Jesus and Ms. Julie
 Christmas Day was truly a relaxing day.  I love our traditions and how we celebrate that special day.

A very special part of our Christmas was Abby's desire once again to bless the Halfway House(the orphanage in Swaziland where Isaiah and Laila were) with a Christmas by sacrificing some of her Christmas.
These are the faces of the little sweeties that we get to spend time with each year when we go.
 Our friends, the McAdams, were willing to use the money to purchase the gifts and deliver them for us.  We are so grateful for their part in this special Christmas gift.
 We recognize each one of these kids from our visits over the last 6 years.
 We met Smalley when she was only 3 months old.  Now, she is 6 and as beautiful as ever!
 Precious babies!!
 Steve hanging out with the kiddos
 There is a one year old, 2 teenagers, and probably about 20 four and five year olds currently living there.
 I affectionately call the little girl on the left, "Little Miss Sunshine" 
The really funny thing is that she started out kind of grumpy the first visit we had with her a few years ago, so I called her that as a joke.  Now, she has become that!  I love it!
 They were given lots of food(vegetables, fruit, chicken, beef, sausage, peanut butter, milk, cookies, rice, sugar, etc.) They also took toy cars, baby dolls, balls, and a fun motorcycle riding toy.  We were also able to bless the workers with goody buckets with a nice scarf and lotion.  
 These children are stunning!
 Maureen, on the right, is the Mama of this home.  She put the toys away so that she could wrap them and the kids could open them up on Christmas morning!!  Oh, how I wish I could have been there to see that!!
This place is so dear to our hearts

I am so proud of Abby and her sacrifice.  I love that she gets just as much joy out of giving as receiving!  This is a picture of her opening a package on Christmas morning with the pictures from that day!

We had some snow over Christmas break, too! 
The kids sledding down our driveway
 Rick took the kids to Toboggan Hill in Monument two different days
 Lauren and her friend, Emma
 Abby and her friend, Allison
 Sam and his friend, Luke

 My girls are beautiful
 They love sledding
 They had some serious wipeouts and Rick got some of it on video.  There may or may not have been some chiropractor visits to get them straightened back out from the damage done!

2015 is a new year.  I have never been one to pick a word for my year like some do.  I am more of a "pick a song for my year" kind of girl.  I haven't identified what that one is at this point.  As I write this, the word that keeps ringing in my mind is "EMBRACE."  That is what I need to do with 2015, EMBRACE:  emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically this stage of life that God has me in right now.