Remembering the Gifts on a Saturday Morning

The past three weeks have been a veritable whirlwind of activity and for differing reasons, I have not been able to get my Week in Review posts up for three! Fridays now.  So I got up early this morning, before another wonderful days slips by, to stop and recall and reflect upon all that has been going on here since just before Thanksgiving.

*I have not used the camera much in the past three weeks.  Too busy living the moments to record them, I guess.  I am swiping a few off the camera this morning, but they are unedited, and since I have not been able to get my camera to cooperate with me lately, they are also blurry.  😦

Ellie had her birthday the day before Thanksgiving.  I was sad on Wednesday morning, when I realized that I had been so busy preparing things all day Tuesday, that I really didn’t take them time to soak in the fact that it was possibly my last day to ever have a four year old.  And I love four year olds.  They are so funny and will say such unexpected things.  I may have to start borrowing them from people in a few years.  😉  But Ellie delighted in her birthday and I am starting to think that, quite possibly, her love language is receiving gifts.  She thinks every gift is the best gift ever.

Wednesday night we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with Matt’s family.  We are so thankful for this tradition, as it frees up our Thanksgiving day to relax and spend time together.  We enjoyed wonderful food and fellowship and celebrated birthdays with the “fourth quarter people”.

Thanksgiving Day we enjoyed a day at home eating non-traditional foods like sweet potato waffles prepared by Chef Matt and then veggie sushi for dinner.  We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and went to the “double dollar theater” to see Despicable Me and just tried to take time to be relaxed together.

Friday morning we got up early and went out (all of us!) for a little Black Friday observing.  Matt thinks those kinds of things are fun and has gone out many times in years past.  I have always been afraid to, as agitated crowds tend to get me agitated.  But he assured me that, really, people were all in a pretty good mood.  Most of the girls also wanted to go, so we dragged them all out of bed at some horrific hour, promising pastries and hot chocolate and headed out to see the madness.  It was entertaining, to say the least.

Friday night (I promise, I won’t go into this much detail on all the weeks!) was dinner with my family and my mother shocked me by not serving baked corn.  I’m not sure I’ve fully recovered from that one yet.  😉

Saturday night Grace and Emma and I all ran in a 5k to benefit our local rescue mission.  Grace had decided early in the week that she wanted to, and she had done one once before, so I knew she was at least able to do it.  Emma decided at lunch that day that she would also like to run.  I wasn’t quite sure how to respond, because Emma is a lot like her mama and is prone to giving up when the going gets tough.  And since she had never run that far before, this sounded like a bad plan.  However, we let her go for it.  The first .8 mile she and her Uncle Ben were going strong, racing ahead of myself and Grace, whom I was trying to help pace.  And then those two started hitting a little wall.  I pushed/pulled/encouraged them to the halfway point where there would be water and a chance to walk.  I sent Grace and Ben on ahead and then stayed with Emma the rest of the way.  She was having side stitches and the distance seemed never-ending to her, but she never gave up.  I offered to leave her with Matt who was watching with the other two, and she insisted that No, she wanted to finish.  And she did.  I was so amazingly proud of her for pushing through all of that and I told her that about every five steps for the last mile.  These are the things I want her to learn now, that I didn’t learn until adulthood.  Things like perseverance and pushing yourself.  I am so proud of her.

Sunday the girls and my mom and I went and watched the girls’ ballet school perform the Nutcracker.  We sat out this year, as it was being held on Thanksgiving weekend and we were just still tired from the year before.  The performance was wonderful and we are going to need to pray about our plans for next year, in the event that it is held on Thanksgiving weekend again next year.  The girls enjoy doing it, and it’s so much fun once the performances actually  arrive.  Definitely good memories!

The next week was filled with trying to get the house ready for our neighborhood holiday open house.  Once a year, at Christmastime, neighbors and other community members are invited to tour the historic homes in our neighborhood.  It’s our fundraiser for neighborhood projects, such as park equipment and such.  I was cleaning like a crazy person and trying to do school with the girls at the same time.  In hindsight, we should have just taken the week off.  But it’s over and done now and the open house was delightful.  Living in a older home like ours can be frustrating and can sort of suck the life out of you, especially if you’re my husband who gets to do the majority of the upkeep and repairs.  It’s always good to get the house all spiffed up and let fresh eyes walk through it.  It helps us remember that we really are blessed with a wonderful home.

I love my house - especially at Christmastime.

Somehow I didn't get a photo of the tree?!?! This will have to do for now. 😉

This week was a wonderful gift of life starting to slow down as we head into the holidays.  We resumed a normal school schedule, while fighting some stomach bugs (ok, those weren’t much of a gift). And reaped the benefits of all our hard work last week, by enjoying a clean house all this week!

Emma celebrated her 9th birthday on Tuesday.  I have noticed a marked change in Emma this week, and I’m hoping it is a sign of maturity and not a fluke related to a week of gifts.  😉  She has carried herself with a new grace and maturity and responsibility that I haven’t seen before.


Last night, we celebrated Ellie’s birthday with her first “friend” birthday party.  Seven girls, plus our four, flooded our home with squeals and silliness for two hours.  In what I think is a phenomenon fairly unique to home schooling, Ellie’s guest list was primarily girls her sisters’ ages.  One little girl younger than her was invited, but couldn’t make it.  Two her age were here, and everyone else was older, on up to 6th grade.  I’m especially thankful for those older girls coming, as Ellie simply adores them and it made her week.

She wanted a “puppy” party, so thanks to a much more creative friend and her wonderful list of ideas, Grace helped me throw a “paw-ty” for Ellie.  We made puppy ears out of foam visors, drew on noses and whiskers with eyebrow pencil, made a paper dog house, played hide and go seek and musical chairs, and decorated “pupcakes”.  Ellie had a great time, and hopefully the others did too!

Not sure what the surly expression is all about.


Well, that’s the past few weeks.  Today is a day I have been looking forward to since about Thanksgiving.  For a couple that has a reputation of a weekly date night, it seems like it’s been forever since we went out, just the two of us.  So, this morning I am dropping all the girls off at my parents’ after Emma’s riding lessons.  Then, Matt and I are heading over to Kansas City for the afternoon to finish Christmas shopping and just enjoy being together.  I’m so excited!!!  And then tonight, we will celebrate God’s amazing goodness over the past year at our company Christmas party on the Plaza.  He is so good.

Enjoy your weekend, Friends!  Praying that you will give thanks to the Lord and pause to reflect on His great goodness!

~ Sara


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