Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

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Merry Christmas 2014

December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

As the year winds down and we’ve just given thanks for all our blessings, we hope this finds you enjoying each day with your loved ones. It has been a year of new experiences and milestones for our family and we have much to be thankful for. the Chief will be heading out to sea just before Christmas so we will make the most of the month before he leaves.

The Chief brought his ship through the Panama Canal Again and is now “tramping” the Gulf of Mexico and up and down the East Coast. For the first time I got to drive to the ship terminal and bring him home. Our dads took the day to drive round trip with me and we got to tour the Chief’s engine room. Now my dad finally knows what the Chief does for a living—seeing it up close puts things in perspective! Glad we had the opportunity as it may not come along again with no set schedule or ports of call. We hope though that the girls will have a chance before the Chief retires.

T1 finished Middle School a straight A student and third place winner of the Regional Science Fair for her project on Engineering—Materials. She applied for and was accepted as one of the 2018 class of the CGS. It is hard to believe she has started high school. She continues rec league soccer, viola, bridged to Senior Girl Scouts, and has joined the drama club. She made 2nd alternate for Junior Regional Orchestra and earned a spot in the high school All County Orchestra. T1 is maturing by leaps and bounds and rising to the challenge of a demanding course load. Try as she might she hasn’t passed me in height (only 5’5 ½”) but she now wears size 9 shoes!

T2 finished 6th grade making Honor Roll all year and with a community service award. She made her debut as Mistress Josie Walker at the faire with our greyhounds. (In case you are wondering, the Chief will never get in garb and join us. Never.) T2 continues playing tenor saxophone and just earned a spot in the middle school All County Band, rec league soccer, Cadette Girl Scouts, and teaching herself Latin putting herself ahead of her classmates. This school year started off rocky with scheduling conflicts but she’s making the most of it (even if she still asks every now and then if she can be home schooled). She has joined the Debate Club and is putting her “passionate persuasiveness” to use. T2 got braces in August, is now back in glasses, and she has finally made it to 5’1”.

Me? Still doing great with my psoriatic arthritis. Still training and will have run three 5Ks this year—the Marine Corps Historic, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (got my personal best time so far!) and will run the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run on Dec. 14th. I am subbing more than ever and have added Clarissa’s two high schools to my list. Seriously, it is still babysitting. I am enjoying running the older Girl Scouts and watching these girls stick with it. I also started teaching a new version of my girls’ Bible Study on becoming women of God to a group of 7th-12th graders. It has been a revitalizing experience.

We had the trip of a lifetime in July with the Chief’s family—a Hawaiian island cruise. We celebrated FIL & MIL’s 50th anniversary as well as many other family milestones (the Chief’s 45th and my 40th birthdays). We also started planning BIL and L’s upcoming nuptials in 2015. We got to see where they grew up and to visit our Hawaiian o’hana—the Cs and Ms. Truly it was the trip of a lifetime full of so many memories.

The lessons we learned this year are it pays to have “connections” on a cruise ship (wink!), drag your children kicking and screaming to the teen clubs for their own good—and you’ll barely see them on board, our part in God’s story is being written and rewritten all the time—trust Him!, and Mele Kalikimaka is the right way to say “Merry Christmas!”

All our love,

SnipeWife, the Chief, T1 & T2
Crookshanks & Hedwig

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With Grateful Hearts

December 26, 2014

We just sat two hours in traffic for a trip that should have taken roughly 50 minutes. It had surprisingly only taken those 50 short minutes the previous 5 times we’d done in the past three days. I think we’re ready to sit at home for a little bit.

Newsboys drummer Duncan Phillips asked on his Instagram photo post this morning “As we end another Christmas season, I wanna know if you all got what you wanted, and if so, what was it?” and I will keep my opinions to myself about some of the posts but it got me thinking about our Christmas.

While so much has changed–friends have lost loved ones, friendships have died an unnatural death because of earlier events this year (see Parenting 1, 2, & 3), and for the first time in many years I wasn’t able to go to the local Candlelight Tour of Homes (something that always got me in a Christmas mood and something that I did for me)–I am not as moody or not in the Christmas spirit as I was last year or in other years if the Chief wasn’t home. Maybe my month of Thankfulness has left a residual feeling of good will or a peace that allows me to roll with things a bit more. Maybe it is because the girls are older and we were sans the spoiled temper tantrums we had last year although they are still pretty good at picking on one another.

Whatever it is … I’ll take it.

Sure I don’t have the energy I’d like, but it isn’t leaving me in a depressed funk. I think the Chief has been a little more understanding of the lethargy that makes me a little less than productive (and yet I managed to sub 3 days straight for the first time and I think he appreciates that even more). I think the Chief and I are a little more appreciative of each other.

So to answer you, Mr. Phillips, what I got for Christmas:

1. being able to sponsor two students at a residential foster case school along with our scout troop and being able to send T1 and T2 on a mission trip with the church to deliver those presents and minister to those students. I think our children got the bigger blessing of being able to serve others and gain an appreciation for the smaller things in life.

2. the Chief asked for a relief to cover him for two extra weeks and then a week before Christmas that relief told the Chief to stay home for Christmas. I guess because I’ve had experiences with other MMs and their spouses not being so generous or taking our small children into account I am especially grateful. I plan to send a card and some cash in the Chief’s seabag to give to his relief as they do the change-over to say “thank you and enjoy a night out on us.” As of this writing we still aren’t sure of when the Chief will actually rejoin the ship.

and 3. being able to anonymously give. As the Chief and I had conversations about life insurance and other uncomfortable but necessary things in light of a recent tragedy, I told him that it was weighing on my heart to by-pass the online funds and give directly to the family a substantial cash donation so that they could have some now. The Chief agreed on my amount and we asked our congregation to facilitate a check to allow us to be anonymous. The other part of this story is that I had been looking since Black Friday for a wok for the Chief–something he’s asked for but he has specific needs and because I wouldn’t just go and buy him a table saw, I’d usually just get him a gift card, I was about to give up and do the same for the wok–and on the 21st I had confessed to the Chief that I really didn’t have anything for him under the tree. He just shrugged and said, “We just took care of my Christmas gift [the check]”. When I say I admire the Chief for his generosity, that is an understatement. Truly.

And it is these things I think that have carried the Christmas spirit through this month for me. A busy but fulfilling and rewarding month (even if my race wasn’t ideal) and one that wasn’t too stressed out. We enjoyed our scout talent show and party (and saw a menorah lighting for the first time); the girls’ winter concerts and the Chief was here to see them!; a holiday party at one of my best friend’s; babysitting my nephews while the girls were on their mission trip (and giving my sister and her husband a night out by themselves for the first time in a year); Christmas Eve with my in-laws; Christmas day with my parents; and another family gathering on short notice today–even if we say in two hours of traffic to get home.

If I had to look back, I am so blessed to be in such a different place than I was a year ago, even with all the changes. And I love being able to give to others and present enough to do so.

Merry Christmas to all. God Bless.

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Thankfulness 2014: Week 4

December 6, 2014

Nov. 22 Thankful for books to read, clothes to fold, and cooking competitions to watch and giggle over with the girls. What a relaxing Saturday!

Sunday night took a turn that had me feeling less than grateful and struggling to give thanks. But I suppose it is only fitting that:
Nov. 23 if I am granted tomorrow then I am thankful it will be a new day and that today will be behind me.

Nov. 24 I am thankful for the brief blast of warmth today and the mother-daughter time with T1 and another new “first”. Let me not forget that these things will be just as new to T2 when her time comes. (We went to a friend who sells Mary Kay to learn how to apply make up with the ‘less is more’ philosophy … because she was caught trying to wear make up without permission.)

Nov. 25 I am thankful for the fellowship, conversation, and family fun of a night of coffee and bowling. It was such a low-key night. Probably the first time in 9 years we didn’t have scouts [the Tuesday before Thanksgiving] and oddly (gladly?) I don’t feel guilty about it one bit.

Nov. 26 I am thankful for the rain and wintry mix. Perfect for resting and hanging out at home, working on projects… so glad the Chief is still home to help T2 finish her science fair project! The rain also got me out of running sprints but I have to make it up on the bike. 😦

Nov. 27 I am thankful for the table of plenty were shared in. We have never truly known want and I hope my children understand that. More though, I am thankful for the feast of God’s love that He so generously invites us to. His grace and mercy are abundant and unending and for the first time in a long time, I am content to sit in that glow.

Nov. 28 Because it is our nephew’s birthday I am thankful for all our nephews near and far! I am also thankful for the friends who carry on the crazy tradition of getting together for some good food, good conversation, and starting off the holiday season just right!

Nov. 29 I am thankful for the difference time and letting go make. To end this month of thanksgiving with a real appreciation for counting blessings and being grateful instead of … well, if you know me you know what the alternative is …, it is something to be savored. It is peaceful and it has been a long time. I enjoyed this relaxing Saturday morning with the Chief, appreciating his presence and for being my rock. And then the girls came home… LOL

Nov. 30 I am thankful for the calm before the storm … is the house ready for Christmas? Nope and I don’t know when it will be. Does that bother me? Yeah. But it is mainly because we don’t know when the Chief is shipping out and the vagueness is killing me. I’m going to take a breather and reread my list of 30 Days of Thanks and then just conquer my list of Things to Do one task at a time and remind myself to not sweat it if it doesn’t all get done. And Yeah, for the first time ever we have some outdoor Christmas lights. LOL

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Thankfulness 2014: Week 3

November 29, 2014

Nov. 15 Today, I am thankful for today. Please go and hug your loved ones and tell them you appreciate them. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Nov. 16 I am thankful for my mom. Our relationship has always been rocky but that is probably because we are so much alike. But no matter what she will be there for me. I am thankful for every day with her; each one is a gift.

Nov. 17 I am thankful for finding the energy to get through today. Never knowing what I am up for makes it so hard sometimes to commit to the many things I want to and have to do. No, the laundry didn’t get done but I worked and trained and took some scouts shopping. That’s enough for me even if tomorrow I need a nap.

Nov. 18 I am thankful for my troop of Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassador. And all the support of their families. What a crazy and entertaining night! Never a dull moment and at least the meal was successful. It was a bittersweet moment with one family noticeably absent. Love all my girls: [names removed to protect the innocent and not so innocent] … watching you become amazing young women. Thank you, JSB, T, and the Chief for making tonight happen too!

Nov.19 I am thankful that the Chief is doing something to make sure we are leaving a legacy of responsible stewardship. We are already doing many things right but we are working on others. Plus there may be hope for our spoiled children yet! “Date night” was to Dave Ramsey‘s Legacy presentation. Oh and I am thankful we heard together which one of us should be making the budget. As my mom says, “Three guesses who and the first two don’t count.”

Nov. 20 Today I am thankful Christmas music… I am currently burning mix CDs for the car and have come to the conclusion I have way too much Christmas music. On my 7th CD and I’m thinking it is going to total between 18-20 CDs. Nah, you can’t have too much Christmas music. I do love our local station that turns into the Christmas station Thanksgiving Day but it seems they play only the same 20 song. I want variety. Lots of it. My latest acquisition? Darius Rucker‘s Home for the Holidays and Harry Connick Jr‘s 2008 What a Night. Probably my 3rd or 4th Christmas album by him and well, you can never have too much HCJr either.

Seriously too much. 23 CDs. And I almost forgot to mix in Straight No Chaser. (I’ve been told I need to get Michael Buble and Pentatonix. Any other suggestions out there?)

Nov. 21 I am thankful to all the teachers who taught me the basics of the English language. It amazes me how much I have forgotten but actually use every day and take for granted. Seriously, how could a person with an English degree blank on common suffixes? (It is a little more complicated than that but embarrassing nonetheless.) Not necessarily “use it or lose it” but I can’t always explain why I use it. LOL Humbling to say the least.

And yes, my post on Romantic Christmas Songs is still my number 1 post of all time with 687 views. Don’t forget to check out Part 2 and my 2013 review of Trace Atkins and the Robertsons.

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