Grace and Hope

Grace and Hope
Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Pslam 131:3

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

November and December 2015

I Corinthians 13, Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend myriad holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.

But giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas!

(Author Unknown)

May we all remember the reason we celebrate Christmas--the birth of Jesus who is our Savior and Lord. May we never lose sight of the true meaning of Christ's love for us even during the most busy and chaotic seasons in our lives.
November was a month of preparing for the holidays and enjoying some much needed family time in the midst of Jay's busy work schedule revolving around his start-up this year. While we might have only had 2 full days together as a family this month, it was more than we have had in previous months so it felt like we were being spoiled! After surviving 11 months of a very extensive work schedule for Jason and a heavier work schedule for me as well for the first half of the year, we count our blessings when it comes to time together!

We enjoyed our Thanksgiving hosted by Aimee and Israel at their house. It was nice to be with family and to enjoy a meal together. Jay joined us after his long day of work and we were thankful for his presence--better late than never! The girls enjoyed spending time with their cousin Tessa--I'm not sure who likes that time more, the girls or Tessa! Both parties seem to enjoy the extra entertainment and activity.

The holidays are a good excuse to bake, one of my favorite hobbies, and this year was no exception. I topped out at my most amount of baking yet--a total of 23 batches of cookies! I loved every minute of it and lets just say the family was pretty happy to enjoy the goodness as well! Avery continues to really enjoy baking (we call ourselves the busybodies) and Aubrey likes to join in at the end when she gets to lick the beaters and eat the treats! I have a lot of fun baking with them and I hope it makes some good memories. This year the girls were really excited about decorating the tree and while I cooked dinner one night they covered the tree with ornaments from the ground to the four feet up. They had so much fun and it was neat to see them get excited about this holiday activity.

In celebration for Gramma's birthday we made gingerbread houses which is something she wanted to do with the kids every year and something we did growing up each year. The kids really enjoy the time and is a special memory activity we can do together. Mom loved to see Christmas lights and the girls remember doing that with her every year so we had enjoyed doing this together too. We enjoyed festivities at Moody Gardens complete with Iceland and a penguin exhibit. We also enjoyed our annual trip to the Christmas Train, which poppy was able to join us for this year as well. The girls got to see Santa at school and sit on his lap for the first time too. I would say it was a fun and eventful season despite busy schedules.

Poppy came for a visit mid-December to celebrate Christmas. The girls were most definitely spoiled as was Jason and I. Dad got me the same curio that mom had and I have recently filled it with special memories of mom, or with things that mom have given me. It is a special chest of memories. Brian was able to visit too for a long weekend and it was so wonderful to have us all together in one place. We all had an amazing Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner (since it was in between both holidays) at Aimee and Israel's house. We missed having Rie and Aaliyah but they are so busy working hard at school. We look forward to a Christmas visit with Nana and Grandpa coming up soon as well. Lots of love as always.

2015 has been a challenging year and we are looking forward to it coming to a close. We have been loved on by family and friends and we are so appreciative of their love to carry us through a tough season. 2016 here we come!

November 2015:

Nana and Grandpa visit: Nana and Grandpa came for a visit in November and got to spend some great time with the kids. The girls had a "CiCi pizza field trip" on a school day and we got to tag along as they made pizzas. On another day, in conjunction with learning the letter "H" there was a hot dog lunch party at school we got to help with. Other fun activities include making Operation Christmas Child boxes with Nana and Grandpa, date night fun for mom and dad, and some good times just spending time together.

Thank you Aunt Maria and Uncle Jim for our dresses. They both got new dresses but in this picture, Avery is actually wearing one that Aunt Maria and Uncle Jim got them last year! Maria always has such adorable finds.
Operation Christmas Child
These are beautiful shaws Nana crocheted for the girls.
4 yo wellness visit
Family Silly Time:


Thank you Aunt Maria and Uncle Jim for these adorable dresses!
 Thanksgiving Celebration at Pre-school:


Daddy's Birthday Celebration: Happy Birthday Jason! We celebrated by having a day of fun!! We took the girls to their second movie (Peanuts) which was their first 3D movie. We then went to Moody Gardens in Galveston to Iceland (an area of lots of ice sculptures and the favorite part was the large slide they could go down on their parkas), seeing the penguins and then the festival of lights. The whole family had a memorable day.

It's snowing!

More baking in the kitchen!

 Thanksgiving Day 2015: 


December 2015:

Annual Pearland Christmas Parade: Every year we enjoy watching the Christmas parade together with our first nanny that we had for 3+ years. Fun times. They got so much candy this year!

Christmas visit with Poppy, Uncle Brian, Aunt Aimee and Uncle Israel: Christmas is so much fun when you celebrate it three times (one with both grandparents and one with mom, dad, and Santa!). We enjoyed our visit with Poppy. He made his first pudding pie with the girls which was a tradition he did for Aimee and I growing up for the holidays.  

Annual Christmas celebration at the Alvin Christmas train.


Mailing letters to Santa.
Mailing Christmas letters to Santa.

Christmas morning with poppy and Uncle Brian.


Christmas in our Jammies Pre-school Christmas Presentation: The girls had their first pre-school presentation for the parents. It was as adorable as ever. They got to dress in their Christmas jammies. The princess nightgowns from Poppy were perfect!

Christmas Celebration at Pre-school:

Gingerbread Houses: In memory of Gramma, we made gingerbread houses on her birthday. This will become a yearly tradition. She wanted to keep the tradition with the girls so what better way to remember her on her birthday. She would have laughed with how that house failed to stand in the end and the girls would have enjoyed sneaking candy with her! Happy Birthday Mom/Gramma.  

Anna and Elsa visited CFA!: The girls had a blast getting their nails and hair done by Elsa at CFA. What a fun day spending it in winter wonderland. They also got their faces painted, made wants, belle necklaces and Christmas ornaments. CFA does such wonderful events for families. The girls loved it! They made beautiful princesses!


Christmas Eve: What a beautiful night going to church, eating decorated cookies that the girls created at church and leaving out cookies and milk for Santa. Good memories.

The girls decorated their own cookies at church.
Putting out cookies for Santa. They thought Santa was going to be pretty hungry tonight!

"Santa needs 10 cookies mommy!"

Awwww....Santa is coming tonight!
Christmas Day 2015: Despite the kids sleeping a little longer than usual, they were so excited when they got up to see all the presents under the Christmas tree. The girls had a Barbie filled Christmas! They are loving playing pretend with their Barbies and other various presents. Jay and I had a wonderful Christmas where we were both spoiled with gifts, but most wonderful of all, was the gift of having more time together starting NOW!

Curio from my dad, filled with memories and love of mom.