Sunday, December 29, 2013

End of the Year Wrap Up!

Hello Everyone!
Hope that all of your have had a wonderful holiday season! We have had a great one here!
Some of our palm trees decked out for Christmas!
Our tree at night...loved relaxing by the light of this tree!
Our family celebrates Christmas, so our fun over the last several weeks was getting ready for the festivities surrounding Christmas. We got to spend time with family and friends.
Prior to Christmas, some dear friends hosted an amazing Polar Express Party! The kids got to wear pajamas to the party. Santa came and passed out presents. We added the photos of the boys in their pj's with Santa to our Christmas card, as they really loved the party and the photos turned out cute!
At the party, there was a "hot chocolate bar" where everyone got to add their own delicious toppings to their own hot chocolate.Then, along with the hot chocolate, the children and their parents got to try out these yummy North Pole cupcakes. Mmm...
These were delicious! Thanks to our dear friends for their terrific party!

Then, our neighborhood had an old fashioned block party of sorts that we called Holiday Fun Day.
We roasted hot dogs on the grill, had big bowls of homemade chili, as well as a decorate your own cookie area. Then, the kids all got to play fun games, including a crazy holiday relay.
We invited the entire neighborhood, and we invited them to share their holiday traditions that their family celebrates, regardless of whether or not their family celebrates Christmas. Our neighborhood is rather diverse, so it was great to invite everyone and to offer that they share their traditions as well.
We spent the weeks in between making special gifts for friends and family. The boys had a great time creating stories for their little cousin! Here are a few of their creations, along with an origami Santa that Big Bro made. He made several origami things as little presents for friends and family members this year.
Written by Big Bro for Baby M

Written by Little Bro for Baby M

Made by Big Bro for many of his friends and relatives
We read all kinds of Christmas stories and made Christmas ornaments and other felt and paper crafts.

Felt candy cane ornament and Harry Potter Remember-All ornament in the background.

We always love making something to go with Rudolph as an ornament!

The mice ornaments were a throwback to long ago...loved making these again!

We made a wild gingerbread village when my brother came into town!
Little Bro working around the gingerbread village!

Big Bro working around the gingerbread village!

We had a Harry Potter themed get together right before Christmas as well.
The boys in the club got to make Remember-All ornaments, as well as two types of origami owls.

We did a bit of an owl study and the boys all took home packets about the owls in Harry Potter
We spent time at the beach, out in our town, and at church.
Lots of nice beach days right before Christmas!!! Love life in Florida!
We actually sent out Christmas photo cards showing photos of the boys and our dog.

Right before Christmas, we found out that there was an organization in need of toys and books for boys ages 4-9, which worked out perfectly, as our neighbors along with our family put together twenty packages to be given as presents to this organization. The boys helped to put these packages together and the entire time while we worked organizing the packages, we discussed how we should always help others. We also shared how grateful we are for what we have.
We talked that Christmas is to celebrate Jesus' birthday and that He is the reason for the season!

Then, on Christmas Eve, my parents and brother came back in town to spend Christmas with us and it truly was an excellent time!
The boys and their best bud, their Uncle B.

So nice to have my parents here. Thanks Papa and G for spending the holidays with us!

Happy times! Christmas 2013!
When they got to our home, my brother, my dad, and I went out to pick up the turkey and the ham from Honeybaked Ham. Then, we went out shopping for stocking stuffers.
We even made a stop to get a hot drink and some snacks from Starbucks.
Then, we came home, got changed, and we all headed to church. The service was really nice and kind of old fashioned. It is not the church we regularly attend, but one closer to where we had to be later that night.
They had a gorgeous Nativity display!
Was nice to see so many happy smiling faces at church.
Everyone truly seemed to be in the Christmas Spirit!
Following church, we went out to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
I even got a new hair do for the holidays, so although I felt a little puny, my hair looked better than it does on most days!

We had an awesome dinner and really enjoyed our evening!
We normally don't take the boys out to fancy restaurants, so this was a big treat for them! They loved it and had such a good time visiting with their uncle and their grandparents.
The next morning, we got up, opened presents, listened to some Christmas music as we sat and had a nice meal.
G trying to figure out how to use her new camera!
Our pup with his new bone and scarf!

Dear Pup taking in all that was going on for Christmas!
Big Bro assembling his new toy set
Big Bro got a new bike! Yay!

Little Bro got drums! Loves them!!!
The Christmas brunch was enjoyed by all!
Dining room shot before setting the table!
Our kitchen buffet all ready for Christmas Brunch

Well, this went down as one of our nicest Christmases together, despite the fact that we were all sick for much of the holiday.
What made this year different is that even though we were sick, we took care of ourselves, took it at a bit slower pace, stayed in the mode of  gratitude, giving, and grace, even when we weren't feeling 100%. Even our dogs took it easy and enjoyed the relaxed pace of our Christmas.
Little Bro playing on his Christmas present while Dear Pup takes a nap...

Papa & G brought their dog along After playing all morning, she took a nice long nap after playing for a while.

We focused on what was going so well rather than what was not going so well, as far as our health.
this really contributed to our family's happiness.

We tried hard to reach out to family to wish them a merry Christmas too, and in some cases, we did not get to connect with them for whatever reason, but we still held them in our hearts and wished them a merry Christmas.
We did not feel well but we had fun. We finally sent out Christmas cards to some, but again, we did not get everything done perfectly, so some people got to see our card on Facebook. We also did not feel up to writing personal letters to go with each and every card, and some commented on this, but we took it in stride and were just happy to accomplish what we were able to accomplish. Some people wanted to know where the photo was of Dear Hubby and Me so we made this funny one up to share! 

Some people get very down at the holidays and it seems that sometimes, there is too much pressure, too much stress to try to have the perfect holiday.
If you feel like taking a half out hour out of your day, this You Tube podcast is excellent and really puts things into perspective!!!  What this pastor has to say is so true! Love this Bay Area Fellowship podcast and highly recommend it to anyone who feels stress related to the holidays!

Yes, ours was less than perfect as far as four of the seven who were here for Christmas being sick.
But by staying focused on the fact that Christmas is meant to be the celebration of the birth and the subsequent life of Jesus, it really seemed to raise our spirits! Focusing on the happiness of spending time with family and friends who have gathered together for the purpose of celebrating life, especially the life of Jesus, is simply the best way to spend time!

Do you find it uplifting to focus on the fact that Christmas is about celebrating birth and life? About the whole idea of giving versus the getting of gifts?  About gratitude for what you are given versus gloominess for what you are perceiving that you are missing in your life?

Well, hope that all of you enjoyed your Christmas or any other holiday that you have been celebrating over the last few months.

Here's wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2014!

No comments:

We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!

We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!
***This program is for residents of Florida only...

More Gifted Program Details!

More Gifted Program Details!
Sunrise Learning Lab™ and its Gifted Pilot Program belong to Colleen Murray Bowers. © 2014 Colleen Murray Bowers.

  © Sunrise Learning Lab™ Updated-Copyrighted-Owned-Trademarked by ©Colleen Murray Bowers Sunrise Learning Lab™ Note: Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates orignally assisted with original blog template but has NO RIGHTS WHATSOEVER to this blog.

Back to TOP