Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rent this movie!

My brother-in-law and his wife, who live in Australia, sent us videos from this year for Christmas. We had previously seen--and loved--one of them, Children of Heaven. Tonight we watched another of them, Vitus .

Vitus is a Swiss movie about a young boy who is a prodigy, his struggles to be "normal," and his relationships with his family. It was a wonderful family-friendly movie and was enjoyed by all of us. It also had really good music.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Boxing Day

This has been one of the best Christmases I can remember.

We had our extended family gatherings on Friday and Sunday. Friday night we got together at my mom's. Every year the kids re-enact the Christmas story in costumes that my mom makes for them. (In spite of the red eyes, I like this picture.)

Mom is always trying to keep up with the growing kids. Abby's angel gown is a bit short this year! Of course, having Abby with us, doing so well, was a huge source of joy for all of us.

On Sunday, after church, we went to my in-laws. It was nice to be able to have a relaxing day there without the pressure of needing to get to another place afterward. My little nieces are so adorable. I forgot my camera, so I don't have pictures, but trust me! We had some good laughs watching Colin's sister's wedding video from almost eight years ago. We got home late that night, but stayed up until after one watching White Christmas together.

On Christmas Eve we decorated our tree and then my mom and step-dad joined us for dinner. We used the good china and had a lovely dinner. We headed over to church for our 10:30 service. Christmas Eve services at Redeemer are always wonderful, but the music was especially good, and Pastor Petersen preached a fantastic sermon.

After we got home I tried to fill the stockings as quickly as possible, because I knew Christmas morning would be there before I was ready.

It was.

Especially since my alarm didn't go off! When I woke up and it was light outside I knew we were late. My family surprised me and they all got ready and out the door in an hour.

We had another wonderful church service and another great sermon. I thought that I was going to make it through the service without tears for the first time in months, but as the row behind us returned from the communion rail quite a few of us shed tears of joy as we watched a friend who had his leg amputated above the knee, make his way back his seat with a walker for the first time since his surgery. It has been a rough year for many of us, but there is also so much to be grateful for.

After church I made my first attempt at cooking a whole beef tenderloin. We had a lovely time with our guests, Katie and Nathan. We sat at the table for hours after the meal talking, reminding me of dinners we've shared with the rest of Katie's family.

And, oh yeah, I got an iPod!

I love the week between Christmas Day and New Years. We have services every day at church. Colin is home. Today, since we had sun and relative warmth, he played basketball and went for a bike ride with the boys.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Photot Hunt: Light

The theme this week is light. The effects of the light of the sun as it was setting on this night last summer were incredible.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A little game

Shopping this time of year makes me crazy. Everyone is in a hurry. The people who work in the stores are exhausted. There's too much traffic. I'm not the most patient person by nature, so I sometimes try to do things to amuse myself to keep from turning into the Grinch.

Yesterday I played a little game. I wanted to see how many people I could make smile and/or wave at me while I was in my car. (I briefly considered seeing how many people I could make jump frantically out of my way, but I don't think Bethany would have let me.)

I am usually pretty good about letting people cross in front of me, pull out into traffic, etc. But I discovered that when you do that and give them a big smile, almost everyone smiles back. They don't just hold their hand up in a quick wave of acknowledgment. They smile! There was only one person all day who didn't smile at me. Bethany and I decided that--from the way she looked--she was probably on her lunch hour and preoccupied with everything she needed to accomplish in that short time period, so we cut her some slack and didn't run over her.

It's back!

I'm so glad that the Blogger powers that be came to their senses and unfixed our blogs. I hadn't messed with my picture yet, first, because I haven't had time, but also because I read on the forums that they were going to fix their fix.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Layout issues

Is anyone seeing the whole picture in my title box? I'm not, but I can't figure out what the problem is, because nothing has changed with my blog layout.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas questions

Got this from my friend Meg's blog. Since I've been a bit blog-challenged lately I decided that these questions were just the thing I need.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper.

2. Tree - Real or Artificial? Real. We go to a local tree farm and pick the perfect tree.

3. When do you put the Christmas tree up? Sometime between the 20-23.

4. When do you take the tree down? After Epiphany.

5. Like Egg Nog? Love it. Especially spiked and topped with real whipped cream and fresh grated nutmeg.

6. Do you have a nativity scene? A couple of them

7. Favorite gift received as a child?
I'm not sure. Probably the baby doll and carriage that I got when I was about four. Or maybe the guitar that I got in seventh grade.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My youngest brother-in-law. He's single and really lacks nothing that he wants.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Bethany. Hands down.

10. Worst Christmas gift? Can't say. :)

11. Mail or email a Christmas Card? Mail. Ideally. When I get them done. Which isn't often.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? The day after TG

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? shhhhhh--yep!

15. Favorite food to eat on Christmas? Cookies!

16. Clear or colored tree lights? colored

17. Favorite Christmas Song? probably Hark the Herald Angels Sing

18. Travel during Christmas or stay home? Stay home as much as possible. For the first fifteen years we were married we lived out of state most of the time, so we had to travel, attend less-than-stellar Christmas services, and cram in tons of stuff into a couple of days. We vastly prefer to be at home, relax and enjoy our church services!

19. Can you name Santa’s reindeer’s? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, Rudolph - but then Meg had them done already.

20. Angel or Star on tree top? Angel, now, but I want a star.

21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Day

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? All of the debates, blather etc., about the secularization of Christmas. The commercial Christmas season is secular. It's become a part of the American culture. But nothing anyone else does or doesn't do can secularize the season of Advent or the Christ-mass that we celebrate. I enjoy both parts for what they are!

Now the tagging: I'm feeling lazy. I may come back and do real tags later, but for right now, if you read this, consider yourself tagged.

Another update on Abby

Wanted to give you all one last update on Abby, then I'll try to get back to my irregularly scheduled blogging.

She is still in the hospital having about six hours a day of speech, physical, and occupational therapy. We aren't sure when she's going home, but it sounds like it will be soon. After that she will need to go to outpatient therapy for a while.

She's got some work to do, but she's doing great!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


We have had continuing good news about Abby. She is doing really well and is no longer in ICU. I am not the kind to throw words like "miracle" around loosely, but when I look at where we were on Friday and where we are now, my heart overflows with thanks to God!

(And I've heard enough medical people and those with experience with things like this using words like "incredible" and "amazing" the past few days to tell me I'm right.)

She's still got some recovery to go, but things look SO much better than anyone expected at this point. She was so excited about seeing her little sister and her big sister last night!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

For those who wondered

No, I haven't lost interest in blogging again, but we're been in crisis mode since Thursday.

My six year old niece, Abby (in the self-portrait with her big cousin Bethany,) was taken to the hospital Thursday night for what turned out to be a blood clot from an arterial bleed in her brain. She is at an excellent children's hospital in Indianapolis, had successful surgery to remove it, and all seems to be going better than expected. There are still concerns: The clot was in a very vital location and the damage that she may have suffered could affect speech, cognition, and possibly the vision in one eye. There are still concerns about brain swelling and infection. But we are all cautiously optimistic.

I want to thank all of you who have been praying for her up to this point. I think that our whole family has been encouraged and strengthened by the people all over who have been praying.