Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Post of 2007 & Thank You

Hello Everyone! I have spent most of the day asleep with a bad migraine so I doubt I'll be celebrating much for New Year's Eve. Hubby and I are going to spend some time together going over our sermon from yesterday because it had some really good points from which to set Godly goals and I hope to read in my new larger print Bible which I got with my Christmas gift cards. My Mom and step Dad have a game night on Christmas Eve with various people from church/community and I wish we were there to do something like that. I think we will do that when the kids get a little older.

For my last post of 2oo7 I would like to say thank you to all of you out there who read my blog. I don't have a huge leadership and I am being completely honest when I say that I would probably blog even if noone read because I enjoy writing and I have always been our "family historian" so it seems like a blog is just natural. That being said, I LOVE to hear from all of you. Sometimes I "meet" people on the web, on the CA list, Ravelry, other blogs who have been reading my blog but have never commented and I am surprised. During the holidays I have not been doing as much blog reading due to time constraints, however I do visit everyone's blogs and have so much fun. My only complaint with blogger is not having a comment system where I can directly email you back. I am trying to get more organized at that, so I apologize if I have seemingly "ignored" your comment. I read them all!

Before I got eat the supper that hubby is kindly making for me (he takes such good care of me when I am really sick like this), I wanted to share a couple Christmas pictures I forgot.

This is the Christmas stocking that I grew up with. The white stocking part has actually been replaced a couple times as the felt has worn through the years from use and hanging on the fireplace (it gets a little browned, but that's not an issue anymore). My Mommy made this for me circa 1970 and I used it as my stocking until 1999 when I had new quilted stockings that were wedding gifts. Now we use the quilted stockings that I made last year. I still treasure this and when we live in a place where we have a place to hang them again I will probably always hang this one. It is made from felt (when felt was real and nice quality) and she sewed sequins and beads on it. My brother Danny had a matching one with a toy soldier on it. The stocking is on the backside of a doll quilt I made my daughters.

Here is the doll quilt. I made two naturally! I have been planning this all year and waited until the last minute! :o) You cannot tell by looking but it is a 9 patch set 3x4 with a border and self-bound from the pink flannel backing. The prints do not have a lot of contrast but in person look cute. They are blue and pink hearts, a nice quilting cotton I picked up when I worked at Best Fabric Outlet in 1987! Yep! I used stash! LOL If I were to plan another one I would use more contrasting fabrics. The girls like them though and think they are pretty. I also made their baby dolls a bunting to wear.

Well, dinner is ready. If you read this tonight, will you please pray my migraine disappears? Thank you.

Happy New Year's Eve!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I Told You He Was A Keeper

Friday I took a break and got some shopping done. Fun shopping. I had gift cards and was able to buy some things for our home schooling. I also enjoyed some time at my lys since I had earned $20 on my customer card. So, Saturday I sent Hubby off to use his gift card at Barnes and Noble and to do a few errands but most of all to get away and relax a little. Well, did that man buy himself something at the bookstore? NO! He came home and told me he had a belated anniversary surprise for me! He bought me a book called The Secrets of Scotland, which is a beautiful photography book about 12" square. He knows how much I LOVE Scotland! I felt a little bad he didn't find himself something, but he did go online later and use the rest of his card to find some drawing books he liked.

Today we had a wonderful service at church. Our seniors pastor spoke and I always enjoy the years of life he brings and the gentle way he shares the Truth in his sermons. This evening I took some time to scan a few wedding pics as Amy was commenting about it! :o) I really need to get them scanned in better and work on them in PS Elements to improve some of them and get them reprinted. Maybe before my 10th wedding anniversary I will get my wedding album finished!

Here I am going down the aisle. I was so happy, I could have floated. My Daddy looks pretty stern. He wasn't. He just took his job seriously and he was on oxygen. My cousin's then boyfriend, now husband, walked behind us to carry his oxygen tank. I was so thankful for this. A few weeks after the wedding my Dad was given 2 weeks to 2 months to live. He fulled them all and stayed with us another 18 months or so. I treasure the very few pictures I have of him, even though they aren't great. We reconciled when I was in college but a couple years before he died, he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins. It was then that he began to understand who I was as a person and he was always one of my staunchest supporters. He was so happy for me to marry my Hubby because he knew that Hubby was very good for me and could see how much in love we were. I chose to go down the aisle to the same music as Maria in the Sound of Music. (I did not want to go down the aisle to the strains of "here comes the bride, big, fat and wide!)

Three Generations, me, Grandma Hopkins and my Mom. I love these pictures because Grandma still looks healthy. A few months later, her health began to deteriorate, though she lived about 3 years more. We were 32, 92 and 52 (sorry Mom, but you always look great at any age!).

I probably don't have to explain why I love this picture of Grandma and me. You can see the dark speck on my left lapel (right side when looking at pic). That was my something borrowed, something blue. It was one of my Mom's sapphire earrings which her husband Jack gave her when they married. Since I worse special earrings which Hubby's Mom had bought me for the wedding, I couldn't wear them in my ears. So, I wore one pinned to my dress. Historically women have often pinned special mementos both on and inside their dresses, so I felt it was a fun thing to do. But, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, "There's something on your gown." LOL

This is me with my Mom and step Dad Jack. He read the scripture which I put on my December 27th blog post: Colossians 3:12-17. He also gave us LOTS of poinsettias from his job for decorating the church and did a little bit of everything to help with the wedding. (And he often gets mistaken for Santa! HA HA!)

Here we are in the sanctuary. Neither of us had a single gray hair...those came after the children! :o) You can see we are laughing a bit. Our photographer was someone I met only once and she was good at helping us relax. Hubby's Mom died just a few days before our wedding and it was not an easy time. He didn't want to delay or change our wedding though so we went ahead as planned. I worried a little that he would not enjoy our day or that it would be sad for him. But, God filled us with so much JOY because we knew we were walking in His perfect will for our lives. It was very exhausting, but filled with moments we will always treasure.

Here is another shot where the coloring is more accurate. We tried to have special things incorporated in our wedding. The heart necklace I wore was a silver locket with my brother's newborn hospital picture in it. My wedding rings came from my step Grandma, Doris. The Bible on the communion table was Grandpa Hopkins' and the pineapple doily on the table was crocheted by my Grandpa Johnson when he was in a TB sanitorium as a boy. The glass used for communion was an Iris and Herringbone patterned depression glass water goblet that had belonged to my Great Grandma Tisdale (Grandma Hopkins' mother) and the candle sticks were also Iris and Herringbone which I had given as a gift to my Mom. The Unity candle was made by my friend Debi from high school and college and the communion bread was made by my Mom's sister Marilyn. It was a treasure to have the pearl drop earrings that Hubby's Mom had chosen for me, so that we could have a piece of her with us in the ceremony.

This is my Mom's favorite picture of us. It's kind of goofy, but sweet. I am certainly starry eyed for my Hubby! :o) My dress was chosen because Hubby does not like lace and frou frou. Do you know how hard that was? Now there are many dresses without lace but then less so and especially in my size. It has lovely beading and the lace is only on the bottom. I am not really a fancy person, so I had difficulty with choosing a veil and spending $200 on a piece of nothing! So, I made mine with a satin headband. I sewed tiny pearl beads every couple inches along the toule. I wanted to wear the veil in the traditional way and it was wonderful to have Hubby pull it back to claim me as his after we spoke our vows. I thought I would cry in the ceremony, but I didn't. I don't think I could have squeazed one out. I was so excited that I was swaying a little, which probably concerned people. But how could I not be excited? I was standing before God, my family, my church least 300 people proclaiming to them all that I loved this man and I promised to be truly his and wonder of wonders (miracle of miracles), Hubby chose me too!

You might think I'm crazy for this post. But, I think it is good to remember the romance, the giddiness, the things and places and memories and feelings that brought you together as a couple in the first place. Life gets mundane. True love grows in the every day life, not just the fairy tale dreams, but sometimes we need sparkly moments to rekindle the fire. I once worried I would never have this...a godly man who loves me...but I am thankful that I do and I don't want to ever take that for granted.

Thanks Amy for the trip down memory lane! :o)

Normal blogging returns tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Catching Up

This is the colored pencil roll from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. This project was fun to make. It is not difficult but it is time consuming. Of course the one in the book is made from all kinds of funky and fun fabrics. Mine is made from my stash, 70s-90s quilting cottons. Well maybe I had a bit of this century in there too! LOL This is part of a gift for my best friend Shelley. It went along with a 12" square graph paper pad for planning quilts. I put together a "get quilting" kit for her with all kinds of goodies in it, but this was the most fun.
The kids thought this was really cool, so I think I will make them one for their crayons. I found a free tutorial that looks really cute. It uses rick rack and since I have some from my Grandma Hopkins, that would be fun.
Right now I am sorting through my fabric stash. I am reorganizing and sorting. This blogger shows a great way to fold your fabrics, which I believe she got from this book, which I want to try and get through our library. It does make the fabric much tidier and I am reorganizing my banker's boxes and trying to slim down my stash! I need to get sewing this year and use up some of my stash so that when it is time to move, I will have less to move!
Catching up is the theme around here though. It seems like everything is behind and in the wrong spot and I have been more exhausted this year than after any other Christmas. Each year we try to keep it really simple, but we can't control everything. Even our anniversary was an exhausting and hectic day and we had a horrible meal out as a family. Doesn't it just get you when you spend extra to eat out and then you get horrible food. We were so hungry for good Mexican food, but the search for a decent Mexican restaurant around here continues.
One thing I am planning to do to refresh this weekend is spend some time breaking in my new Bible (mine is navy). I know it's crazy but I have had teh worst time with my eyes lately and wanted this large print to read at night and at church so that I don't have to concentrate so hard. In all the hectic rush of the last month, I haven't had as much time in the Word as I like to spend and I am feeling weary and hungry.
The Butterfly Shawl awaits me and begs to be finished so that Carissa can get it published. It promises to be beautiful. In the meantime for mindless knitting I have been knitting some garden themed dishcloths. Not very exciting but I am waiting for this migraine to disappear. When it's gone, I will tackle the lace.
Do all of you have a lot of UFOs sitting around? I certainly do, both in quilting, sewing and knitting. I would like to get some of them finished up this year. I hate having them hanging over my head and taking up what precious little storage room I have. How do you keep motivated with your UFOs?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

When I Fall In Love...

...It will be forever! I always knew that to be true in my heart. I thought that I I had known real love and when it was lost my heart ached. After that, every date I went on, something in my "gut" told me in the first five minutes that he was NOT "the one". It wasn't that I had a lot of romantic ideas about what love or marriage were like. I knew all too well what a bad marriage was from my growing up years. I also saw that a good relationship took a lot of work and I determined that when I married, if I married, it would be truly with the intent to be together forever.

By the time I was 30 it seemed God had other plans. I wrestled with God and tried to make my way work while ignoring His. Well, you all know how well that works! But 11 years ago TODAY, I was browsing through Christian single pen pal listings through a now defunct group on AOL (defunct because all the organizers kept getting married off! LOL). I saw my hubby's listing and figured that he had to be a kind person to be working in special education. He also listed photography as an interest, so you know that got my curiosity. Two days later, in the middle of a real blizzard, we talked for the first time. A friendship grew, but that was all. We were both dating people who were not right for us.

Thirteen months later, January 1998, I finally listened to God and began cutting off ties to people I no longer should have in my life. And I began planning to pay off my debts and go to Capernwray Bible School to see where He would lead me. Lo and behold, Hubby began seeing his relationships in different lights too and our friendship grew. Then in May we spoke on the phone for the first time and I KNEW. I KNEW. I KNEW. I KNEW. I can't say it enough to convey how completely I knew. I didn't want to scare the poor guy or embarrass myself but it soon became clear that it was a mutual feeling. In July of 1998 we met for the first time. Then on July 13th we became engaged over the phone. CRAZY! That's what people called us. "What if he is an axe murderer?" they asked me. Valid concerns. I would have the same if I saw you behaving like this. But the God of all the Universe had spoken to my soul and I had no fear. When His path is clear in front of you, it's a good idea to take it! :o)

So, 9 years ago today (and 2 years from the date I first chose his name off the list), we shared our love with our family and friends and took our vows. We made a Covenant with God and each other to love each other forever. 9 years is a drop in the bucket of forever. Most people our age have been married at least twice that. But, I choose to look at the bucket half full! In those 9 years we have each lost a parent, grieved the loss of a grandparent, made a major move, gone through infertility, the shock of having twins without even trying to get pregnant, financial struggles, emotional struggles and lots of hard parenting with 3 VERY ACTIVE children. And still He draws us closer. Am I still giddy in love? Well, at 41, I don't think my feelings are giddy, but they are rooted and he is still the one...still the one I look to for love, guidance, companionship, fun and all the "giddy stuff" too! :o) I am so thankful to God that He brought us together. It couldn't have happened without Him.

As we begin our tenth year of marriage and the 12th of year of friendship, I want to remember the verses that we chose as a foundation of our relationship:

12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17

I Love You Honey! I'm looking forward to Forever with You! Happy Anniversary!

(And for those following my wellness/wholeness journey...I made my goal...I'm wearing my wedding bands on my left hand today!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wellness Wednesday #10

Hello Everyone! Did you have a nice Christmas? Ours was busy but fun and this year I think I enjoyed most our church services. For me, I always have felt inside that Christmas ends and begins the year. Today I feel ready for 2008 and facing challenges.

Facing Challenges...the hard part first. I considered foregoing it this week, because afterall, I am not the only one who gained weight over the holidays. Then I realized that it would not be honest and foregoing now could lead to hiding it in the future. So, here goes. Weigh In: 321# That is up 2#. I would not be human if I was not disappointed, but I made the decision to not beat myself up over it. I was not dieting. I ate cookies, fudge, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, fruit salad with real whipping cream and way too many Hershey's kisses. In short I ate too much, too much junk and I learned a lot. Even though I gained a little weight, I feel like I learned some things about my eating and patterns that I did not understand or realize before and therefore this is still about moving forward. So, what did I learn:

1. Eating too much sugar gives me a sore throat.

2. Eating too much chocolate increases mucous production for me.

3. Eating too much sugary foods kicks in my anorexic symptoms. I eat too much garbage and then I do not want to eat period and the thought of cooking turns me off, until I am nearly fainting from lack of nutrition. This was a major breakthrough as I go through these periods from time to time and I never had an awareness of what brought them on!

4. Some of the stuff doesn't even taste good and I just eat it out of habit because my brain thinks it will. I'd be lying if I said some of it doesn't taste good but I think in the future I will choose to eat the things that really do taste good if I want to splurge and leave the things that just taste like chemical experiments, alone.

5. Since eating a lot more white sugar and white flour, as well as less fresh fruits and veggies, I have increased arthritic pain in my hip and my finger joints are swollen. Before I started my wellness journey I was considering going to the doctor to rule out rheumatoic arthritis as my finger joints were so swollen and painful. It took me an hour every morning to warm up and get things moving. After eating better it just went away. Now after this last week or two of bad eating, I have swollen finger joints again. As I begin to work on getting the yuck out of my diet again, it will be interesting to see what happens.

6. In spite of minor setbacks, I feel this is my time and place to make a change and to lose weight. I have been trying the majority of my life, but right now I feel strengthened by God and like all the pieces have come together. He has been working on my heart and mind and I have all the tools I need to do my part. I feel 2008 will be a year of great change. My hubby married me the way I am (we celebrate 9 years tomorrow), well, I was about 20# lighter than right now, but I also had 3 kids in 17.5 months! LOL I know that he accepts me for who I am, not what I am, but I would love to give him less of me! :o) We are planning a trip to Juneau, Alaska this summer to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and my goal is to weigh much less and be more fit! God has been supplying our needs since we went out on a limb to purchase the Vita-Mix. Two lovely friends gave us a check to help and I was able to sell some of my photography to defray the cost. We were also given a grocery gift card. I feel this confirms the decision and risk we took and we have continued to use it every day!

7. By journaling here and keeping it honest with you, it helps me to keep on track and I hope it will help at least one other person in this same journey. I also feel that I need to incorporated more Scripture in my journey. If I keep His precious word in my mind and heart, then the words of the enemy trying to tear me down, will be faint and in the distant!

As we begin a new year, I would like to commit to praying for each of you that leaves comments on my wellness wednesday posts or on the posts at my journey to wholeness blog (link at upper right). Not everyone is trying to lose weight, some just want to be healthier. If you leave comments I will pray for you. God Bless you on your journey! Thank you for all the encouragement you have given me!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

O Worship The King

This is the nativity that I have used almost my entire life. It's nothing fancy, bought probably on sale after Christmas at a department store that no longer exists. I can't even remember the name, maybe Leslie's. I remember being with Mom and Grandma Johnson when it was purchased and I think I was probably about the same age as my girls now. Nothing fancy, but it's "home". The little wooden nativity on the speaker (left) I bought at a craft fair years ago and the white clay angel on the bottom left, who if you could see her face, is slightly "mongoloid", was made by a developmentally delayed adult, probably with Down Syndrome, at a special home/school in Germany where my friend's family worked. They were sold in a shop there to raise money for the school. We have not had a tree for years, but the nativity goes up every year. It reminds us all that we need to worship the King of all the Universe. I want to share part of a devotional article written by Charles F. Stanley from his free In Touch devotional magazine. He has several interesting Christmas articles and links at In Touch.

"If we truly understood what happened the night Jesus was born, we would never want to be anything less than what He has called us to be. But neither would we seek more than He planned. The notion of having the most of anything would seem foreign. The thought of fame and fortune would pale when compared to the idea of living in the light of God's holy love forever. We would worship the Savior not just with hastily prayed words but with our entire lives."

"Our culture often teaches that humility is a sign of weakness and aggressiveness gains the prize. So, we push to achieve much more than God intended and wonder why our lives feel drained and out of control. We have lost sight of the manger. We've overlooked the message of God's Word, which He gave us through the life of His Son - and in doing so, we have missed the glory of His presence.

"Watching the evening news, we can easily understand why people believe the world is out of control. It's easy to forget that the moment we begin to play by the rules of a society which is out of step with God, we feel the effect. Thoughts of chaos start to hamper our devotions to the Lord as well as our ability to think clearly. Conflict builds within our hearts, binding us to God's unconditional love and care. Confusion blocks our desire to have a deeper relationship with the one Person who can fill our hearts with eternal peace - the peace that was born that first Christmas night. Uncertainty about the future prevents us from doing the very thing that God longs for us to do, namely, to abide in His love, rest in His comfort and seek Him above all else."

He goes on to write that when we fail to understand what God gave us in the manger, we suffer deeply, often with anxiety, feelings of failure or insecurity and doubt. We don't have to live with this when we can turn to God and experience the gift of the Savior. Jesus was NOT just another baby born in lowly circumstances, He is the Son of God who was born as a human being so that He could be the perfect sacrifice in our place. He is a secure Hope for our future. If you are struggling, please ask Him for help. He will never turn you away.

Charles Stanley then says, "I am convinced that if we truly understood what God did for us through the birth of His Son, we would fall down before Him in worship and adoration. We would be overcome by the realization that the God of this universe loves us so much that He sent His Son to earth to live and ultimately to die for us."

I hope today in the midst of all the bustle, clearing the dishes, emptying all the bags of torn wrapping paper and ribbons, and visiting with remaining guests, that you can take a few moments to sit down with your family or find some quiet time to yourself to Worship the King. Let's remember to take a little of this majesty and glory and beauty with us into the New Year. I don't want to wait until Christmas again to remember this Most Important Gift.

Merry Christmas to you and all your families! God be with you as you celebrate and travel and share. And may He heal and touch the hearts that are grieving, the souls that are wounded and the lives that need to re-focus on Him. With love from the Lindamood Family!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

This one's for you Mom. I've got my headache face on, but wanted you to know I was there too. I'm also wearing my "my so called scarf" I knit earlier this year. My coat is really more teal in color. We went to the zoo this morning, our Christmas Eve tradition since it is free.
There were a lot of Camellias in bloom. Sacramento is the "Camellia Capitol of the World."
I love the oak trees in California and will miss them when we leave.
Here's D checking out his wingspan. He's wearing the new hoodie he got yesterday.
Here's A checking out hers. J was too bashful as a lot of people were watching.
J, D, and A watching the Koi and other fish in a tank.
These are a couple of the Magellanic Penguins on loan from the San Francisco Zoo. No flash photography was allowed so the pics are not very good. It was fun to be able to watch them swimming. The zoo was really crowded this year, maybe because it was such a nice day out. It seemed like the animals were all about as irritated as we were with all the people and it wasn't a great day to see them. The kids had fun anyway.
One little girl passed out candy canes to everyone. This is J, mugging at Mom with candy cane lips (face!).
Here's A with hers. They really like them. I never have cared for them that much so was kind of surprised that they really like them.

This was part of the fence at the zoo and I thought it was pretty. Afterwards we went home and had lunch and after lunch the kids opened presents. We figured that was easier than keeping them up late and grumpy after Christmas Eve service. The service was beautiful with candles and lights and special music and the lighting of the last candle on the Advent wreath. The girls wanted to explore on the stage during story time and Hubby caught them just as A went over to check out the Advent candles! Those girls are bound and determined to turn my hair completely white. My friend M from church said she was cracking up as I was motioning to A to sit down and the girls were going off towards the candles. She is an identical twin as well and she said it reminded her of her sister and herself when they were kids and one would always talk the other into doing something. :o)
In the hustle and bustle though it was nice to end the day with the quiet and beauty and the miracle of Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

December 23rd

Our family was "adopted" by a local family here. We really feel almost guilty because God provides so much for us, even when things are tight, there isn't really anything that is a "need". This pile of presents and gift cards is just obscene! D, A and J on the right who was crying because she wanted to open them all right away.
A watches J open the first package. Each child received a shirt, a small gift, a big gift, a game and gift cards to Barnes and Noble. The family received a few other games, an entertainment coupon book, a grocery store gift card and Mom and Dad each got a Barnes and Noble gift card too. An additional $100 gift card was for the store Toys That Teach, so that we can get some things for our little school. Their generosity was VERY OVERWHELMING! We cannot thank them enough!
Here are the kids D, A and J with their games. We let them open them up on Sunday because there was so much we figured it would be better not to open everything on the same day.
This is D. You can't tell in the pic but he was so excited and waving this book around. They gave him the same Cars movie book that he had put in his box for his boy for Operation Christmas Child. He had wanted that book so bad, but had given it to "his" boy instead. Now he has one of his own!
The girls got a lot of fun stuff including dress up sets. Daddy was a good sport helping them get all prettied up while Mommy took pictures!
Here's J showing us everything. You can't see the high heeled shoes with purple feathers and rhinestones that are on her feet.
This is A, who is a litte diva anyway, so she was in her prime with all the girly stuff. This Christmas is the first time that they have really had "girly" toys. They have been playing with gender neutral toys for almost five years but they are really wanting girl things now and asking for them. So, this was a good choice for them.
Here's A with butterfly wings and a damsels hat with the veil flying to the front instead of the back.
And here's A with her new fake smile she has been giving lately. She has butterfly wings and a bridal veil. :o)
It's usually hard to get good pics of J, so it was fun to get a couple of her actually posing with all her new finery!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

December 22nd

Here they are, looking all sweet and innocent under the tree at Aunt K's house! L to R A, D, and J. Their radar must have told them it was okay to look at the camera and smile because Mom and Dad were no longer searching for the perfect picture of the three of them to send in the Christmas letter! LOL
Since we have chosen not to have a Christmas tree, the kids are fascinated with Aunt Ks and all the ornaments. When they were restless before dinner we played Eye Spy with the tree and it was really fun. Naturally, I chose the ice skater to spy! They kids have been checking out Eye Spy books from the library so this was neat for them.
This is an ornament I made from a small kit at Michael's about 7 years ago. I think it was from Wright's Trims, but I am not certain. I made two for K and L and one for my Grandma Hopkins because she always liked snowflakes. She had it hanging in her window or her bulletin board when she was in assisted living and nursing homes and I have it now.
We don't see Aunt K and Uncle L very often, but D has always had a special relationship with K, hubby's big sister. Here he is sitting in her lap. He is quite serious telling her about all the important stuff in the differences between Cruisin' McQueen and Radiator Springs Lightning from the Cars movie! :o)
D has always been a bit afraid of animals and we worked on getting him to relax a little about Buddie, who is a wonderful dog, but you can see by D's body language it didn't work well! He is also a bit afraid of our cat Abbie. I don't know where he gets it from (You Grandma?) because hubby and I are big animal lovers.
This is A sharing a snuggle and a giggle with Aunt K. A is very social and was quite excited to visit.
Here is J getting kisses from Buddie. Buddie was so excited to have the kids over and he lay down next to me on the couch for quite awhile too getting some snuggles.
Here is A, not so sure if she wants to get a kiss from Buddie or not! :o)

Buddie with A and J. They were fascinated with him and would get close but then run away squealing with delight, so naturally Buddie had no other choice but to run after them!
After a nummy dinner of lasagna, salad and french bread, the kids had fun opening their gifts. J and A.
D says, "Oh WOW!" then in a normal voice says, "WHAT is it?" We all cracked up. He got a Cars movie wallet and a $5 bill which he thought was pretend money! Now he is making plans to try and get a Shake N Go "The King" from the Cars movie! He has a few dollars to go.
This is K's beautiful tree. It looks lovely every year but I thought it really looked pretty this year.
A and J playing with their ballerina Barbie dolls. These are there first Barbies. They have changed Barbies anatomy significantly since I played with her. Nice to see she is almost "normal", except for being the equivalent of about 7' tall. I am not sure the girls know what to do with them yet. J loves putting hers in the box.
We had a really nice time and after we left we drove around in their neighborhood looking at all the Christmas lights.
Some were quiet elaborate and creative and others simple. I hate to think of their electrical bill!
Here is a close up of the train for Grandpa to see! I liked the snowflake lights and had never seen those before.
But this was best of all. This is the whole reason that Jesus was born in the first place! Thank you Lord that you were born a little baby so that you could be the perfect Lamb without blemish to take away my sins and the sins of the world!