Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No Christmas Card in 2009

It is one of our favorite things in the entire world.  Getting Christmas cards.  As you can see we do a complete design no no and tape them directly to the wall.  We have never liked the walls in our family room except this time of year when we cover the wood with notes from each of you. 

We feel closer to family and friends as we celebrate with your pictures and notes right there behind us.  We love sending out cards every year.  The list of our friends grows and grows.  We love that.  Time just got away from us this year.  We never got a good picture that we could all agree on.  We never had the time to sit and write a letter.  We never had the time to order the pictures.  I am so sorry to our dear friends that took that time to fill our walls, our mailbox, and our home with your love. 

The Texas T's want to wish each of you a Blessed Season.  May God's love be felt in your heart and in your family.  We are hopeful that you will be blessed in 2010 and enjoy each minute with your loved ones. 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Our Christmas in Pictures: 

God is so good to us.  We have each other, we have more than enough to survive, we eat until full, and because of His Birth we get the promise of heaven.
 All This And Heaven
                     .       .      .       .      .
                    MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

The perfect gift from Nanny

We have a basket full of Christmas books. We leave it on the shelf and pull it out during advent. The kids have special memories of J's mom reading to them Christmas stories before we moved from St. Louis.

The younger ones don't remember, they were either too young or were born after the move. Nanny found a way around that this year.

She sent a special book. The little ones got to have her read to them last night. She even added a special ending. They love this gift and I suspect will for years to come.  How cool is this.  The book contains a recorder. 

Nanny set it as she read the book.  It recorded her and when the kids pull the book out she reads to them over and over again.  It is so cool and you can tell from the pictures and the video that this was a true favorite.

I hope that the video shows how much they really did love this gift. We live so far away. The little ones miss out of those special memories of the grandparents. I love that Nanny found a way around that with this awesome gift.

Party Time

So how do you begin to really live your life after a series of events that call for change?   People die every day. I know that.   But the months of October and November contained 4 close individuals and numerous others that passed on. The deaths happened to young people.  This gave my family pause to think. My last memory of my dear friend Linda was that of her at our home for Halloween.

We had been out all day running errands. It had been a very busy week. We visited the neighbors that were left after the mom, Lisa, in her mid 40's died unexpectedly. The Thursday before Halloween our teen age friend lost her battle with Leukemia.  Kelly, the homeschooling mom of 35, died that very morning and I knew Linda would be soon. Emotionally I was wiped out, we all were. Larry called and said that Linda wanted to come over with her sister, aunt and friend to celebrate Halloween with us.  She wanted to spend time with us as our children went trick or treating together.

No time to clean and yet we said yes. This was not easy to do knowing how messy our home was with the mounds of dirty clothes taking up most of the laundry room.  We cleaned the bathroom and tried our best to not worry about anything else.  We set up the fire-pit and got the kiddos ready.  We had to let go of that desire to not let people in unless the house was perfect, or at least better.

We did let go of that feeling and to our delight the night was wonderful.  Yes each of our guests came in from sitting around the fire to see how messy the house was.  Each one used the bathroom and looked for drinks in the fridge.  My pride let it all go and we had a wonderful time.  In the end Linda died a few days later.  We were so busy with Natalia's and Kelly's funerals that we didn't get a chance to get back over to see Linda before she died.  In fact she died while we were attending Kelly's funeral. 

Now we sit in the Christmas season and have worked very hard to finish some cleaning projects that we put off when it is hot outside.  The big kids gave an extra splash of paint to the upstairs and I got the school room organized and looking good.  We added new tables to the breakfast room and spruced up around the kitchen as best as we could.  We need new floors, new cabinets and our fridge is falling apart but we promised to not let any of that bother us. It was clean and looked inviting. 

We had a blast hosting party after party the past few weeks.  We had that huge Wii tournament before Thanksgiving and that gave us a taste of what we wanted the rest of the season.  We have never been ones to open our home constantly, but we really did want to change.  We so desire to be open to all of our friends like we were open to that precious time with Linda.

I hosted a jewelry party for all my friends.  I had so much fun preparing our home with all the Christmas touches and then getting out the good dishes to serve my friends.  Then we hosted the Christmas party for our Catholic Coffee Club group.   The ice skating and the bowling fell through.  Again is was so much fun preparing the house for people that I love.  We got out the good china to serve the treats and paper good for them to eat off of.  It all looked great and everyone had a blast.   My older four then asked if they could host a movie night/Christmas party for their neighborhood friends.  They about passed out when I said sure.  I am so glad I did.

They invited friends from the neighborhood and a few others over a few nights before Christmas.  Not everyone made it but it was so wonderful to spend time with those that did.  It was also neat to see my children be the hosts.  They invited their friends in and did all that they could to make the others feel welcome.  Again we served tons of food and this time had so much left over.   I added pictures from this night mainly because pictures were not taken of the other parties.  I love all those children and young adults that joined us that night.  It was such a treat to watch a movie with them and laugh as they played Wii games.  I also love that Pooker at 18 and her friends (some were even hit 21) were at this fun night with Sugar and her 13 year old peers.  Great times, and again shared across the ages.  

Thanks Lisa, Natalia, Kelly and Linda for helping me to open my home up to my friends more and more.  Thank you for showing us how precious life is.  Thank you for reminding us to love those around us.  Thanks also to our friends that came to our home this month.  We so enjoyed having you here.  You have helped to make our lives joyful.  Thank you!  I was so blessed with so many friends at the jewelry party.  We giggled about girl things all night.  Thanks to the Catholic Coffee Club teens.  This group is another one of my favorite group of people.  We had fun, and they were so kind to my little ones that I was unable to get out of the house that day.  A big thank you as well to the neighborhood friends.  They all see each other at school throughout the year.  We don't see these friends that much until summer and swim team begin.  It was such a treat to see them that night.  They are such a kind group.  I loved the little chats that each one had with me.  I hope that they each know how much they mean to my children and to J and I.  Thank you God for these wonderful people.