Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In a Quiet Stable in Bethlehem Town

Every year it's our family goal to quietly reflect on the true significance of Christmas during the preparation time of Advent. We have a few traditions to make more of an impact on the children of what a momentous event Christ's birth meant for all of history. Some of the favorite activities we did were so simple, though already Emily asks when we can do them again. For example, a simple countdown paper chain made of purple and pink strips added to our evening Advent prayer time. We have a small advent calendar, light our advent wreath candles, say a prayer, and sing "Oh Come oh Come Emmanuel". The kids get a bell and ring their little hearts out when singing the words REJOICE! They love it. We also have a stocking hung for Jesus in which the kids can give him presents--little love notes or treasures or mommy will write one of their sacrifices down and stuff it inside.

This year we were invited to do something a bit different for Christmas. We drove out to the tiny Texan to attend "Main Street Bethlehem" with a couple family friends. The town sets up a beautiful model of what Bethlehem looked like the day Christ was born. Volunteers from the city (of all different faiths!) dress up and reinact the town. It truly felt as if you walked into a time warp. As we moved through the small town, we saw how the people 2000 years ago lived. There were people in costume gathered around the fire cooking their dinner. Many praying and studying in the synagogue. Kids running around announcing the Messiah had been born. Tax collectors making a scene and dragging people off to jail. Jewlery makers, candle makers, market workers, and even a couple of camels. No one last-minute shopping for presents or stressing about decorations or complaining about visiting inlaws. Although it was packed, the crowd was so peaceful and respectful. They were there to see our the true meaning of Christmas.

There was quite a line. We were freezing and snuggling.
Emily loves her Nana!

We played games and ate popcorn to pass the time. (Leo loves the big boys!)

We finally made it inside to the first room and were taught how to make candles by alternating dipping a long cord into hot wax and water. Such patience and grace these ladies presented!

The townspeople were bursting with excitement that the Messiah had been born.

When we asked this carpenter if he had known Joseph, he replied in a thick Texan accent "y'all just mosey on 'round the corner and take a gander at 'there star." We had a good laugh.

We followed the star, saw the manger, and were blown away. There were thousands of people here, but it was silent. We had found the diamond in the ruff. Jesus, born in muck, next to stinky and loud donkeys, in scratchy hay, was beautiful.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Waiting for St. Nick

Ho Ho Ho

Santa: "Oh, hello little girl. What would you like for Christmas?"
Emily: "A Princess Castle!!!!!!!!!!"
Santa: "Wonderful. And what would you like little boy?"
Leo: "A bird."
Santa: "A book?"
Leo: "No. A red bird."
Santa: "hmmmmm. ok"

Strange kid. He also requested twin birds. This might just be a tricky year for Santa!

Oh Dear, Caught Me Again Mommy

Everything I know I've learned from my sister.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I love it because everyone around the country has a chance to pause from their busy life and ponder their numerous blessings. Each year my list grows bigger, this year with the addition of a new life who has already beautified the world in his own lovely way. This is also a great time of year to extend generosity to others less fortunate. Growing up I always dreamed of devoting myself to the poorest of 3rd world countries. Eventually I realized that perhaps the most fruitful charity work to be done was in my very own family. Through forgiveness. Through sacrifice. Through spiritual nourishment. Through love. So I encourage you during this advent season to go the extra mile for your family and friends--out of thanksgiving for all that the Lord has blessed you--and pay it forward in your own special way.
Here are some of my favorite people to be thankful for:

A devoted and loving servant leader who guides me and my children to a closer relationship with Christ.

A sweet little girl maturing before my eyes. Also thankful for Catholic education and wonderful teachers, and the supporting parish community.

A cheerful burst of sunshine who has the uncanny ability to make everyone laugh.

A beautiful sign of hope for this world.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Playing catch-up

It feels like an eternity since I've had the chance to sit down and blog, but hopefully you 3 faithful readers wont mind. We've had more eventfulness 'round here where the party never ends. The most recent excitement included a trip to the ER after I slipped on water while carrying 30lb Leo and shattered the bone in my ring finger. My guardian angel is working serious overtime because Leo could have cracked his hard head right open (he walked away with just a small bump), or worse it could have been sweet baby Max. Luckily I dont need surgery *crossing fingers* and I'll just have to wear a split for 6 wks. So instead of writing about anything remotely interesting, I'm just going to post some pictures of recent happenings. Enjoy:)

Even cowboys grocery shop

Snuggly brothers

Hugs goodbye before leaving for school

Max being his sweet self

Fashionable even while studying physics

Sunday Fundays

Starbucks date with my favorite girl

Kiddie Park

Daddy's Girl



Nana & Grandaddy

Great Grandpa Leo and Great Grandma

Papa and Grandma & Danze cousins