Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good-bye 2015

We spent another New Year's Eve at the fireworks store.  It's always a fun time hanging out with the youth and just being silly!

At midnight we popped a few confetti shooters outside.
And had a sparkling grape juice toast!

Here's to saying good bye to the past and hello to all the new God has in store for us!  My favorite part of every NYE is sealing and starting each year with a kiss from the one that chooses me year after year! Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A recap on my 2015 Word

12 months ago I wasn't even sure I wanted to do a word for this year, due to the fact that the previous year felt like such a disaster, but a few close friends prompted me and I'm so glad I did!!  My 2015 word was LEGACY, as was my 2014 word! And I really feel like it took all of those 2 years to get to where I am now.  I don't feel like I have finished with this word, but rather gained positive habits and scriptural truth that will continue to grow my legacy as I continue to navigate through all that a blended family brings with it. 

As I looked over the last year in my journal it was neat to see God's heart.  I wrote verse after verse about His promise for me and my legacy and how I can deposit something good in all 5 children and trust Him to give what He gives best, His grace!  I fail often, but knowing He gives me grace has given me freedom in this area. I'm not perfect and He doesn't expect me to be! These scriptures have helped me a ton!
Galatians 6:7 - for whatever a man does, he will reap.
James 5:16b - the power of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 
Matthew 5:6 - blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Proverbs 22:6 - start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 14:1 - a wise woman builds her house, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:23 - all hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Proverbs 31:31 - give her the product of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates.

Day after day, for 365 days, I read promise after promise about my works and my heart and my desires. I may fail, but He has made it clear that He will not fail!  That assurance gives me freedom to live life with these 5 treasures He's entrusted to me and know deep down that my legacy is in His hands! 

I think Galatians 5:1 says it best. "it's for freedom that He came to set us free!!" He offers freedom in whatever area you feel captive.  It took 2 years to learn it wasn't about my legacy as much as it was about my freedom! Thank you, God for freedom!

I know many of you shared your 2015 word with me and I'd love to hear your year end recap! And stay tuned for my 2016 word!! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A walk down memory lane

About two weeks ago Richard's maternal grandmother passed away and as he performed her funeral he included many memories he had of her as a child. He ended the service with the reading of the Christmas Story in Luke and told how Granny Jones would always include that in her Christmas Day activities to make sure everyone knew the true meaning of Christmas.  Over the next several weeks we talked about things he and I both remember from our childhood Christmases and our grandparents. As we talked, I started to think of a way to incorporate all those memories of those not with us this year into our Christmas here.  

Richard chose a few things about both sets of his grandparents, as did I and then we asked the kids about their mom and what they would like to add for her memory.  The kids were pretty young, as were Richard and Bridgette so they didn't really remember a food or drink or game like Richard and I did about our grandparents, but Baylee did remember how they used to open 1 gift on Christmas Eve and it would be matching pajamas. So that's what we did!!  I loved looking around the house and seeing glimpses of those who loved us and are a part of us! 

Granddaddy Foster: Wassail

Granny Hollingsworth: Egg Nog

Bridgette: Christmas Eve pajamas

Grandma Pippen: Chess Pie bars

Granny Jones: reading the Christmas Story

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Hosting Christmas

This year Richard and I hosted Christmas at our house! It was so much fun planning the food and getting to use all my dishes I have but never use. We woke up early to opening stockings.

Once my family got there, we started with breakfast and let the kids sort the presents.  I love these candy cane shaped coffee cakes! They are so delicious so this was a must have!

There were a ton of gifts and many that hinged on our big surprise, the cruise!  I made this puzzle and gave each kid 4 pieces and then they had to put it together. They did well working together and figured it out!

We have been planning this since last May and it's been hard to keep the secret for so long. Also, my whole family and Richard's parents are joining us so the fact that a lot of people knew was also a factor in trying to keep it a secret, but we succeeded!! The kids seemed so surprised!! And so I had to get them new swim suits to wear!

They also got Rangers towels, spending money and activities to do on the car ride to New Orleans. 
Then after gifts we had a light lunch and were able to enjoy the beautiful weather! The kids jumped on the trampoline, played yard yatzhee and popped fireworks.

Once it got dark, it was time for dinner. Richard's parents came over, too.  Thankfully, everyone brought something so there wasn't too much to prepare on my end!  Before dinner, Koby read the Christmas story, Richard prayed and we ate. It was a day packed with fun and family and lots of memories!

Christmas Festivities

Now that school is out, I feel like I can rest and get the house in order and truly savor each activity we have leading up to Christmas.  

Last Sunday, our church delivered 300 turkeys to the neighborhood surrounding our church.  It was fun surprising people with a free turkey and offering prayer of they wanted it.

Then we got to go to 2 different McCaig Christmases. One was the entire McCaig clan and the other was a more intimate gathering at Judy's house.  We always have a great time there; lots of food, games and laughter. 

Next, we heard of a live nativity in town so we took our kids and our little nieces to see it. It was well worth it!! The kids loved every part of it!

On Tuesday night we did Christmas at the Hollingsworth's since the girls were in town. It was fun to open little toddler presents again! We could not get the babies out of the boxes fast enough! 

And on Christmas Eve we started a new tradition (I'll blog on that in a few days) We opened one package, which was matching pjs and drove around looking at Christmas lights.

It's already been a full and treasured Christmas!! We are blessed!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Formal

Each year we host a winter formal for the youth group.  We have a sit down dinner where the leaders can serve the kids and then we play a few games and do a gift exchange.  This year we had a great turn out. 

Here were Richard's center pieces. I think he did an awesome job!!

Some of the girls came early for hair and make up!

Here are all the boys.

Here are all the girls.

It's always fun to get dressed up and just hang out with one another! We are blessed to be a part of this group!

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Christmas mishap

In the little community we live in they have started a fun little tradition call "you've been elfed" where a family will drop off presents to another family anonymously!  Then that family will pay if forward and "elf" another family.  So, today we came home to wrapped Christmas presents on our doorstep. 

They all had Christmas tags with the kids' names on them but none of them said who they were from. We immediately thought we had been elfed!  The kids were so excited to see what we got and then started thinking about who we could elf later!  As we got them all inside and they started opening the gifts we were surprised at what they got. The pictures of others who have been elfed were Christmas hats and hot cocoa and candy and a board game...but the kids were opening remote control cars, Cowboys hoodies and Under Armour socks. Richard and I started thinking this was too extravagant and I panicked!  I immediately called my sister to locate my mom and come to find out it was her!  We had just opened the kids' Christmas gifts in 30 seconds without her even being able to see a moment of it! I was devastated!! 

You see, I had yet to wrap any gifts for the kids so they don't have anything under the tree yet. Teague has been very distraught about this so my mom thought she could sneak her gifts under our tree to keep him guessing on where they came from for the next several weeks.  Unfortunately, I had no idea she was planning this cool surprise and she had no idea our community had a "you've been elfed" tradition, and the result was a horrible Christmas mishap!! 

On the bright side, I'm thankful for a Mimi that drives 3 hours to surprise the kids and laughs when it all goes wrong! 

So I guess in a horrible wonderful way, The Hollingsworth's were the best Mimi ever!