Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas is almost here

Can you believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away? 

We really like our snowflake lights we put up this year

I have enjoyed the presents I receive at work
Cute little bunt cakes that were heavenly
+the best peppermint bark
+Paul Evans newest book
but I enjoy everyone's company so much more

Our Christmas decor:
We don't have much yet, but its enough for our little apartment.

Our little tree

Such a cute little tree :) With all our ornaments that we have collected on vacay and what not. Charlie even has his own ornament.

I have already made Christmas cookies (recipe by Hershey's and can be found on my blog)

We made our gingerbread house

Sang some Christmas songs with little Charlie

I tried to take some pictures with Charlie, but he still doesn't understand that he needs to look up when I say, "look over here"(As I am pointing at the camera). He always looks down searching for a toy or what not. I guess Adam will always have to take our picture. Kinda an awkward, close up angle of me, but I wanted to show my mom my festive new scarf.

I am looking forward to going out and looking at lights, having time off from work, spending time with Rachel's family Christmas morning, Going Christmas caroling on Christmas eve, going to a Christmas party this weekend, drinking lots more hot chocolate, but mostly just spending time with family and reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas, because nothing else matters. 

Patients come into work all stressed out about decorations, and buying gifts. The expectations are getting ridiculous. Christmas has become so commercialized that people forget the true meaning of Christmas. There is no need to get stressed out. Its the thought that counts. People should only do whatever they can afford, or skip buying things in general. Thoughtful notes, or homemade things are much more meaningful in my opinion. Better yet, having and showing charity towards others tops everything. There should be no expectations. Christmas should be centered on Christ. Lets not expect to receive this year, but instead spread the true meaning of Christmas around the world. 

Here is a story to get everyone in the Christmas spirit:

The "W" in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing,
endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the
precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting
season for a six year old.

For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."

I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the
production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his
teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the

All parents unable to attend that evening were  welcome to come then.

Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes
early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.

As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the
holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those  in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the
letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a
small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason  we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

And, I believe, He still is.

Amazed in His presence... .humbled by His love.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

California for Thanksgiving

I can't think of anything better than spending the holidays with family

My thoughtful husband surprised me with tickets to California for Thanksgiving. We had so much fun, and wish we could have stayed longer. We were able to spend Thanksgiving all together (My parents + Adam's parents + us). We had some REALLY good food, watched football, played games, spent a lot of time in San Diego, and went to many different beaches. They don't have beaches out here in Texas (at least any worth going to), so I had to get some beach time in while we were there. We were even able to squeeze in time to see friends and do a little black Friday shopping. We flew into LAX (worst airport ever! - but the only option with last min planning) late Wednesday night and left to go back to Texas late Sunday night. We arrived Mon morning around 2:00am and I got up to go to work at 6:00am. If we could have stayed longer we would have. We miss our families already!

 My mom had all her Christmas decorations up :)
 We didn't even realize our shirts were similar until we started taking pictures.

Appetizer before the main course
All recipes can be found on my food blog

Rotisserie turkey

Yam Souffle


Squash and apples

Angel biscuits

creamy mashed potatoes

Pumpkin cheescake

Best friends eating some Thanksgiving leftovers only a few hours after we had gotten New York style pizza.

Cameron, Celine, & Brooklyn - such a cute little family
Thanks for coming to visit us! Wish we lived closer, so we could hang out more often.

Fish and Chips

Sea Port Village

Hotel Del Cornado

They had an ice skating rink

I also miss seeing palm trees!

We snuck upstairs and thought about crashing the wedding they were setting up in the courtyard.

The haunted rooms 

Its a ghost


Adam just stole a robe

He gave it back


can you see the moon?

We got some yummy desserts to take home and share

We got some food first

Hermosa + Redondo Beach area

This airplane almost decapitated a few people. Not really, but the person flying it got pretty close to a couple people.

We went out to eat one last time before we had to fly back. Man I am really missing the warm weather about now. It is too cold in Texas. 

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