Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deck the halls, again!

I'm not sure where the time goes, but it seems like I just posted about putting up the Christmas tree!
I guess it really was a year ago, but this time, Jamie was home to help.
He does so much better putting lights on the tree than I do!

Jenna didn't seem to remember a whole lot about decorating.
This year she helped fluff the branches.

 Charlie helped, too, but didn't like how itchy and scratchy the branches were on his hands.

 The bigger boys arranged the branches on the tree...

 and Laura supervised.
 Then all the lights needed to be checked.  Amarin eventually took over this job on his own and checked every string of lights he could find, and adjusted bulbs as needed.

 Hanging the lights must require a lot of hands.

 The favorite part...decorations!  The kids love finding their favorites.  We try to hang the breakables up high where Laura can't reach them, but she keeps getting taller!

 Amarin helped Laura hang a stuffed Santa ornament.  I think she thought it was an invitation to play with all of the ornaments!

 Time to read all of the Christmas books that have been tucked away all year.

 And time to start watching Christmas movies that have been tucked away all year, too.  
As for the Santa hats...they're worn every day now...even to the grocery stores.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Band Festival

Saturday, Nov. 10, was the big band festival for Jacob.
A college about 1.5 hours away hosted this event for middle school band students and choral students.  It felt a little strange dropping Jacob off at a college, where he knew only one other student, and not seeing him again until later that afternoon.  But, he took my phone and sent a couple texts to let us know how everything was going.  Have I mentioned he wants his own phone?  Yeah.

The students started practicing at 9 A.M. and ended at 4 P.M.
They were tired...but excited for the concert.

And all I can say is, "WOW!"  
This crew did not sound like a middle school band.  They were amazing.  Even Jacob told us that he was amazed at the sound when all the students started practicing their very first song that morning.  I was sitting next to a band director and she commented that some high school bands couldn't even play those songs well.

We're very thankful Jacob had this opportunity and he is already planning to try out again next year.
Here he is with his buddy from school.  They were just hanging out before the concert.

 The students were getting ready to start.  Jacob is in the very center back with his tuba.

 Jacob really enjoyed playing with their guest conductor.  She has traveled around the world playing and conducting, and specializes in brass, particularly the euphonium.


 A standing ovation for the band and conductor!
The two groups seated in the stands behind them were the choral groups.
They, too, did a beautiful job singing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Some Encouragement, Please

Before you read further, there is a catch to this post.
You need to leave a comment, or email me with one.
We have a friend that needs some encouragement.
This friend is a business owner.  
He owns his own pizza/wings restaurant.
He is an honest, hard-working man, and has been repeatedly generous to his community.

Last week, for Veteran's Day, he gave free lunches to every veteran that walked into his restaurant.
It was his tangible way of saying "Thank You" to those who have served our country.
He was able to serve quite a few men and women, all who happily enjoyed this special treat.

Except one man.
Who felt he was "tossed aside" and "disrespected" because he was asked to show identification (as was everyone who came in that day for a free lunch).  Perhaps he thinks we live in a world that is honest, with no one ever seeking to get something for free to which they're not entitled.
So he slandered our friend and his business with the local news, and started a fury of nastiness across the internet.

Needless to say, our friend was disheartened.  He was trying to serve others, and as a result, was slammed.  He has vowed to repeat this offer for a free lunch to veterans next year, regardless of how he was portrayed by this man and the media.

Please leave him a note of encouragement, would you?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Birthdays, Buddies, and Baptisms

Surprise!!  Our friends arrived Friday for this special weekend.
My friend's little guy is Amarin's best buddy and "twin."
Two peas in a pod, I tell ya.
Sunday morning they went to church with us.  It was fun introducing "old" friends to new friends.

 Charlie and Amarin both asked to be baptized.
"Brownie Charles," as preacher refers to him, was baptized first.
He looked so sweet.  His head was barely high enough to see!

 A little help plugging his nose.

 The cheers went up for Char!
 Amarin's turn.

 Buried with Christ in baptism,
 and raised again...
 We just love these boys and so thankful that they love Jesus!

 The "twins."  
They think it's cool that even though they don't live near one another anymore, they'll still be able to play together in eternity!

 Amarin chose to go to Bob Ev@ns for his birthday meal.
They have his favorite...biscuits and gravy!

 Table for 11, please.
When we sat down, Jenna said, "Yeah! Two mommies and one daddy."
We laughed, and then I quickly clarified so tables around could hear, "That's because we are two families!"  Lest anyone think Jamie was twice married...

 Back home for presents.

 Eleven years old on 11/11.

 Charlie made him a map.
 His buddy got him his favorite Hero F@ctory.

 They could not look any different, or have been born any further apart, but they are alike in every other way!

 His buddy's little sister made him a book.

 Jacob bought him some Star W@rs legos.

 Boys deciding what to build first.

 The neighbor boys came to celebrate with us, too.

 Amarin and his buddy made the birthday icecream cake the day before.  It was yummy!

 We love you, buddy!
Happy 11th birthday!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2 Hours

Philippians 2:14
Do all things without grumbling or complaining.

That verse went through my mind numerous times as we waited 2 HOURS to vote.
I'm used to voting in a small town where we walk in, wait for 2 or 3 people, and then cast our vote on paper.  Here, we vote electronically.  That's fine. But could anyone tell me why there were only 2 people registering voters in such a big precinct?

But I reminded the kids, and myself, that voting is a privilege, a right, and a responsibility.  There's no guarantee, the way our country is headed right now, that we will always have that right.

Every American of voting age should be at the polls today if they haven't voted early.
Knowing one has the opportunity to make a difference and doesn't...that's lazy.  Even if it means standing in line for 2 hours.

And may God Bless America!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Light the Night

We like to change things up a bit...a lot...all the time.
Keeps life interesting.

This year for Halloween, we knew we needed to do things differently than we had the past few years.  We used to live in the country, and NO ONE came to our house for candy.
This year, being in a big subdivision, we knew there would be children, and lots of them!
So, we decided to "Light the Night."  In other words, be a bright, happy, fun place on an otherwise dark, scary evening.

The kids love to dress up, so they came up with their own costumes.
Laura had some help, but isn't she just the cutest bunny ever?

Char was a policeman...in a cowboy hat.  Must be from down south.

Jacob...I mean...Jengo Fett helped man our popcorn maker.  I tell ya...it was the hit of the night, along with the hot apple cider we handed out to the adults.  It was fun watching the expressions on the parents' faces when we offered them something, too.

Of course, there was a princess.  Do you think she would choose to be anything else?

Jamie got home early from work to join in the fun.  He took over the popcorn maker and kept us stocked up.  Big job since the beggars liked that more than the candy.

Our little friends from next door were having fun with us, too.  All of the kids were running back and forth all night, handing out candy and popcorn, playing with swords and light sabers. 

Part of "Light the Night" is turning on all the lights in the house so it's bright and cheery.
I'm sure our electric company was smiling.

Our friends next door did the same thing.

It was a fun night, and we're planning to do it again next year!