24 December 2007

celebrate the Child who is the Life

I've been sitting here preparing to type a Christmas post, really more of one encompassing thoughts and feelings about the Advent season and all that it means as we anticipate the Gift. I have many thoughts on the necessity of the celebration of the Advent, how crucial it is in the life of a believer as we struggle, discover and understand the fullness of the Gospel. And while I've heard murmurings lately of Christians who have convictions about they themselves (and the Church as a whole) not celebrating Christmas, or the advent of it, I'm even more convinced than ever that God made our spirits to need this time. He made us to need to anticipate. Our emotions are so tied into not only what we have, but what we sense coming. To celebrate the birth of the One who means life, freedom, and love to His sheep is a most glorious way to show that we know without a doubt what that life, freedom and love have done for us. And so after thinking many grand thoughts that I might share with you, I was reminded of a beloved passage from Michael Card (a favorite musician/singer/author. Michael writes:

"If Christmas means anything to you, it must mean everything. It is a beginning and an end. It is a time of darkness and inexpressible light. It is a time of blessed relief at finally seeing all God's promises come true in one person. It is a time of tension as well, as we look ahead in the life of this dear little One, with a kind of historical omnipresence, because we know how it all will end, on earth anyway. As our family gathers around our faint, flickering candle to read the Christmas story, the loneliness of the stable reminds us of the loneliness of another place on a hill outside Jerusalem. The rough trough seems almost as cruel a place as a cross. The infant cries we hear coming from the stable seem no less desperate than His final cry, and no less forsaken. "
So, I hope that this Christmas, He will mean everything. He is no less than the one thing you need to be at peace. Merry Christmas to you and yours, and may He grant you His grace to know Him more and more.

21 December 2007

making spirits bright

Dave and Molly decided to make colored popcorn balls for a recent Family Movie Night (which we do every Friday). It was gooey and messy, but they had so much fun together. Molly is a bit (teehee) like her mother, and quality time is her love language, so projects with Dad totally make her day, week, year. The popcorn balls were very good, and (according to Aubrey and CJ) since they've now done it once at Christmas, it is henceforth-and-forevermore a tradition.

19 December 2007

red, gold, and green

Heehee -- amuses me that I actually used a Culture Club lyric in my title...ah, the 80's. Anyway, here's the yumminess that we made yesterday! My computer was confused by me evidently, and added them all out of the order I had chosen. I'm pretty sure that you'll understand that the baked cookies came before the frosting, so I'll not insult your intelligence by numbering them. We had a great time, and I wouldn't have done it if sis wasn't here. In fact, I'm still slightly in shock that I did it at all, but now that its over, I'm very glad I forced myself to get it done. And for the benefit of those who might be impressed at my improvements, I did not burn even one cookie out of the 9-10 dozen I baked! My one disappointment this year was that I couldn't find red hots anywhere. I don't really even know how to eat a Christmas cookie without red hots, and I miss the few cookies that get blessed with 3 dozen red hots(courtesy of Josh or Henry). It was sad, and I'll make sure to look for them earlier next year. I love all the colors!!
Carrie did very well, and ate well, too.
Can't remember who won.
Finally, they get rewarded for their hard work.
Liam thought he had just won the lottery.

Here are my 116 cookies!
Details, details
And plenty more detail w/ this guy
Not so much here ;-)
Dok made it all more fun.

14 December 2007

well, we are...yes we are

My husband is one year older, one year better, one year wiser. Thank you Dave, for letting me be the one to watch you grow even more wonderful every day. I'm yours. Happy Birthday.

12 December 2007

he ain't heavy

A couple nights ago, sis, Dave and I were sitting in the living room talking when Warren comes down the stairs with a look of consternation on his face...

Warren: Mom?! Henry just said something really mean to me.

Me: What did he say?

Warren: Well, I can't remember. But it was really bad and mean!

(the rest of us look at each other in disbelief, stifling laughs, and though not caring about the offense per se, curious to know what creativity Henry had come up with)

Me: Tell Henry I want to talk to him.

(Henry comes down w/ his characteristic "Tim" frown and slumped shoulders)

Henry: Yes, Mom?

Me: What did you say to Warren that was mean?

Henry: Um...I told him that Winnie the Pooh was his girlfriend.

(and then we grown-ups proceeded to laugh, snort, and marvel at our lives. Henry slunk off quickly.)

10 December 2007

watch out, here I come

Liam was so excited about his first time out in snow that he ran out the door, tripped over the threshold, and cut his upper lip nicely. I tried to mop up the blood, but he was too anxious to get out there and keep up with his brothers. He was not ready when I took him inside after 30 minutes, even though his fingers were icicles -- he's a true Virginia baby!

06 December 2007

as long as you love me so...

Yesterday we had our first snowfall, which happened much earlier than normal around here! We were all thrilled, and the kids were not-so-patiently waiting for some accumulation while they did school work, counting the minutes until they could bundle up and head out. About 4 inches fell, so it was enough for some fun winter activities. Carrie was inside playing with Erin, content to stay warm and watch through the window, but Liam was introduced to snow for the first time (pics of him coming). That's always a great day! Of course, for the older 3, hot chocolate was a necessary cure for frozen fingers and lips afterward.

04 December 2007

just like the ones I used to know

As you could probably guess, the second part of Tree Night is always a bigger hit with the kids. Decorating the tree is merely a means to an end. I'd be more inclined to scold them for their priorities if I didn't remember being exactly the same way. So, after the tree was successfully dressed, we broke out the mugs of hot chocolate and the ridiculously large assortment of donuts (forgot to snap a pic of those!) that Dave had brought home. And of course we continued the revered Warren-tribe ritual of recounting the memories of each Christmas past. For us this begins with the year Dave and I began our journey together. And the kids get squirmy, only getting excited if they hear their name mentioned (i.e. -- "Henry was the new baby that Christmas!"), but really focusing more on licking the pudding out of their Boston Cream. Ah, the family fun.

Dave bought individual packets, so the kids could "name their poison" (as Dad would say) and hopefully no one would fuss. Right.
This was #1 of Liam's 3 donuts.
Henry looks thrilled with the trip down memory lane.
Enjoying the plunder

01 December 2007

haul out the holly

So, Tree Night Pt. 1 -- we decorated our tree last night! We have lots of helpers now, as well as pseudo-helpers, so its an interesting game. I think we're finally collecting enough ornaments that not all can fit on a normal tree anymore! If we had space enough in our house, we could set up our smaller tree and cover it with ornaments, too. With such small kids, its so funny to watch them as all the ornaments come out of the are the typical responses:

Liam: (ornament in mouth) Uh-huh! (his favorite word)

Carrie: I love this pink heart, its my favorite! Know why, Daddy? Cause its pink like me! No, this pretty angel is my favorite, just like I'm an angel! Oh! Look at this flower stocking -- I love pretty flowers!

Henry: (totally uninterested in the paraphernalia) Aren't there supposed to be donuts?

Warren: (arranging a line of ornaments) This is my 1st favorite, this is my 2nd, this one is my 3rd (etc, etc, etc)

Molly: I can't believe you boys don't remember this ornament! Mom, they don't even know about this stuff!!

Some pics of the hard work...

The 2nd part coming soon

30 November 2007

I'm bound to thank you for it

this morning, at the breakfast table:

Molly: Hey everyone! Don't forget...tonight is Tree Night!

Kids: yeah! hooray! donuts! hot chocolate! woo-hoo!

Henry: Is anyone coming over for Tree Night?

Me: No, just our family this time.

Carrie: What?? But I want Daddy to be here for Tree Night!!!

Me: Uhh...he will. Our whole family will be here.

Carrie: Kids! Did you hear Mom? Daddy is coming over for Tree Night!!

(Tree Night pics, complete with the honored guest Daddy, will be posted later)

28 November 2007

picture book, of people with each other, to prove they loved each other

Beth's main activity while here in VA (besides imbibing large quantities of Mountain Dew), was taking pics...

Thanksgiving Day leaf round-up...what a good-looking man!
Warren and Henry promised to help
Doesn't my baby look thrilled? NEVER too big to be kissed by Mom
I love this one! She's always in pink.

27 November 2007

yesterday, they let me know you were gone

We miss Beth! It was so good to have her here for the week, and to share Thanksgiving with our family. The kids had so much fun with her, she took tons of pics (I'll be posting some of them later), and we spent plenty of time in our PJs. Its so hard to believe that Beth is already 17, graduated from high school, and fixing to start her second semester in community college! Her dreams for the future are motivating her well, and I can't wait to see what the next few years hold for the "most smartest" sister, who is also a super-creative genius. Thanks for visiting, Beth -- we'll take you back anytime!

24 November 2007

I'll share this love I find with everyone

Thanksgiving Day was super! After prepping for 2 days (with much help from Beth), I spent all day Thursday cooking, while Dave was cleaning and getting the place ready for guests. The turkey was my main hang-up, but I was very surprised that it turned out beautifully, better than I expected! Our guests arrived late in the afternoon, and we had some time to visit before our meal. The Pippins are a family in our church, and Andre is in the middle of his 2nd consecutive year in Saudi Arabia. Caroline has been a single mom to their 3 children, and its been a tough haul for all of them (he won't be home until June). Their relatives live far away, so we asked them to spend the day with us, and we had a great time! The kids had fun playing video games and super heroes, while the adults sat around trying to figure out why we had eaten so much food. And it was wonderful to have Beth here to celebrate with us! We feel so blessed and had much for which to thank our God!

Molly loves to fold napkins for special dinners
The house barista at work (can you say "egg nog lattes"?)
Our family w/ the Pippins: Caroline, Andrew, Rachel, David (Beth was shooting, so escaped this one)
And Annie came over after for Denver biscuits and pie -- but to be fair, I think it was baby Judah demanding the calories, not her.

21 November 2007

blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

So, tonight I'm reflecting on a few things for which I am thankful, while there are so many more that I don't have the energy to list:

*gracious provision for each and every day, from the Giver of all good gifts
*a husband who not only works hard, but tries in so many ways to serve me
*the 5 children I treasure, not just the 4 that I always said I wanted
*a rockin' 17 year-old sister who just finished helping me bake!
*pumpkin (anything)
*traditions from our families to share with our kids
*new traditions that make the SlaughterHouse unique
*an amazing heritage
*friends that spur me on to better things
*winter coming
*a wonderful fellowship of believers that we are so blessed to have
*that I can truly be thankful, really in awe of His goodness, and not just say it

Our celebration tomorrow will be joyful and abundant, yet bittersweet as we think of those we are missing. I hope that yours is rich, memory-making, and full of love!

08 November 2007

or would you rather just mingle

Ok, I know this is a week late, but the kids were so excited to have Grandma and Grandpa here for their first trick-or-treating ever! It was great Halloween weather, and they had such fun filling their pumpkins with more candy than they have ever least since Papa last visited :-) After strolling the neighborhood, they made their way up to the Community Center for more loot, and I stayed behind to pass out candy to a million kids (felt like it anyway).

We had a black cat, Blue Power Ranger, Black Spiderman, CheerBear CareBear, and Peter Pan
She put together her costume by herself, very proudly.
Uncle Caleb, handing out more fun
Cousin Erin dressed as a Hokie cheerleader, but when her Dad would say, "Let's go to another house now, Erin", she would say, "I wanna go to YOUR house, Daddy!" But she enjoyed passing out candy with Annie.
Grandpa and the cutest little Peter Pan you've ever seen.

07 November 2007

I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end

Pumpkin carving with Grandpa Slaughter...

Kids get the fun of watching. Some fun, huh?
Molly loves pulling out the "guts".
The finished product
Spooky Jack at night