Saturday, December 27, 2008

Traditions for Christmas

This Christmas we have enjoyed "old traditions" and some "new traditions".  

Here is what we did:
Old Traditions:
Our advent calendar that tells the Christmas story 
Christmas Card tree
Breakfast Cake Christmas Morning
Christmas Memory book to record our time
Shopping for gifts for others and Angel tree gifts
Traditional Meal- Rotisserie Chickens and Homemade Pound Cake for dessert
Manor Christmas carolling
Christmas lights
Christmas Eve Service at the STONE

New Traditions:
Christmas Tree Farm in Elgin
Gingerbread house
Intentional gifts (we decided to give our kids one gift that would encourage them in something to be or work on in the coming year...WG-TBall set "team player"  Sally-Apron and pots - "Serving Others")
Acting out the Christmas story on Christmas morning

We truly felt the Joy of the truth of Emmanuel who came for our souls!  Merry Christmas!!

Christmas with family

Stew's Family came down from Georgia this Christmas! It was so wonderful to have them in our home! We ate a wonderful christmas eve lunch together, went to the christmas eve service at our church and then came back for homemade hot chocolate and presents.  Only the kids get gifts and so we watched chelsea-our neice and wesleygrant and sally open their gifts.  Then on christmas day we eat "Breakfast Cake" and celebrate Jesus by acting out the Christmas story.  Wesleygrant and sally were the stars of the show, of course....but we all had a small part and it reminded us of the joy of our Saviour's birth.  We love our family so much!!!  We miss you guys already!

Gingerbread House!

We started a few new traditions this year...and a gingerbread house was another one! This wasn't quite as crazy as the tree experience, although after they snuck about half their bowl of candy into their tummies, it was a little crazy...but good for a long crashed nap later...=)

Aunt Marcia!!

My aunt marcia always surprises us here in Austin when she comes to town!  This time she brought gifts (from grammie sally-my mother/her sister)  and some fresh christmas cookies and pecan pies!  Marcia is famous for her christmas cookies! she would outdo a bakery anyday! Thank you so much, Marcia and Beth!! We love you so much and always love seeing you here in Austin!! 

Christmas Programs!

Neal and Christel joined us for the kids christmas program a few weeks ago!  It was hilarious! but loved it! imagine lots of little toddlers trying to be organized and sing...that is truly impossible! but all was fun and brought a lot of joy to the evening.  We love this mother's day out that the kids go to! this spring, sally will not be attending anymore so that I can spend more intentional time training her in different things, but wesleygrant loves it and will be going back in january!  It has been a wonderful thing for our family!

Visiting Friends

My dearest friend Laura was in St.Louis with her family, as they are visiting from India...Karis and I flew up there to see them.  It was such a wonderful time...stew and i love this family so much and they are truly like family.  Laura and I caught up on our conversation over coffee and lunch at a favorite bread company place....and i got to see Ivy, their newest addition.  Ivy was born just a week after karis.  Laura and I have had all of our kids around the same time! Laura is truly a "heart friend" where it doesn't matter the distance or time, we can always pick up right where we left off...our lives have continued to grow through email and letters, but it was so good to see her in person! Laura, I love you so much!!  We can't wait to see what God does and how he provides for you and Matt in a few months!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Karis...a striking moment...

We were playing with the kids tonight and dressing up...acting scenes out...and then we found that Karis has dressed up herself with the Egyptian scarf Hilary gave was striking to me in that moment to see her! We begin acting her part out and having fun...and got this cute picture of her...this girl continues to point us to the middle east in one way or another...oh may you show grace to many, little Karis Elizabeth...even in far off places...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A M2M celebration!

Leaders from all of our moms groups in the city gathered together at my home Monday night for Fondue, fellowship, ornament exchanges and a dance party birthday celebration!  The chocolate was unbelievable!  The ornament exchange was so fun...and got a little "spicy" when one a few ornaments were wanted by more than one person....and thanks to Sally Lopez, we had the funniest ornament ever! Sorry Keisha! =) the end we celebrated Catherine's birthday with the birthday song from the Beatles and started a brief dance party! It was so great!  Really thankful for these women and how they love and give with their lives!  

A Special Anniversary

Celebrating our 5th anniversary was so great! Stew took me to the Oasis for a great meal and view of the sunset...we were right on the edge of the was awesome! He also surprised me with a basket of gifts...not just any gifts, but ones that had special sentiment...he used each gift to describe the "5 things he loves about me" from the last 5 years...WOW! He knows me so well and knew just how to show his love to was wonderful! Looking forward to another year and many many more....I have the greatest husband!!  Thank you, my love!

Smore...good times!

Our "ST. Johns" network got together for smore's in our backyard with our new fire pit! It was so fun! 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Five Years today!!

It is our 5th anniversary today!  
December 6, 2003 we were married by God's grace and perfect provision!
SO excited to enjoy time with my husband today to celebrate!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Starting a New Family Tradition...the Real experience

SO, I wanted to share about our experience to the Christmas Farm...our new "family tradition".  

Starting traditions aren't always the easiest to start, but once you do them, get going, you have it and it can be fun, life-changing or in this case, not so sure we need it.  

Stew and I decided we would start the tradition and pay the expense of going and cutting down our own Christmas tree and make it a "family experience".  Well, here is how our first try at it went:

Woke up early ready and excited to go.  Got directions, dressed kids, put shoes on 3 times, fed Karis, herded kids out the door only to find that it was much colder than we thought...forgot to check the weather.  So, back in to change clothes again...get hats, socks, shoes on again, and proper coats and gear.  Finally, 2 hours later, we are headed to the Tree Farm....only to realize none of us ate breakfast and Karis needed to eat again soon.  We decide we will just stomach McDonald's for time sake, but realized when we got there that they were no longer serving we all got yogurt parfaits and headed to the tree farm-again.  Sally breaks her spoon, wg decides he doesn't like yogurt and attempts to complain, karis is crying we stop...give new spoons, spankings and pacifiers...we are off again....We reach the tree farm...YEAH! We are doing okay....a little rough start, but no we tradition!  

We get ready, and we are off...the fun lasts about 10 minutes...just enough time to get cute photos to put in our blog album....sally falls numerous times and gets stickers in her pants and shoes....wg insists on cutting the tree with a temper tantrum....but is distracted by his need to go to the bathroom....oh we pee on the Christmas trees? or wet our pants....we run back up and make it to a bathroom....BUT, we have found a tree! we cut it and head back to the gift shop and farm area for games and hot cocoa and cider...."here is some yummy hot chocolate/cider, kids!"...I was so excited about the hot was so cold....until the kiddos burned their mouth and now were screaming from a scolded worries...we can do this!....Roast marshmallows!.....sure, until wg only wanted to eat the marshmallows out of the bag and cried when his caught on fire....has anyone ever taken these kids to the country?....."No, son...we can only have 3 marshmallows...I am sorry yours burned..."....our tree is ready, let's GO HOME!...then out of nowhere, it POURS DOWN RAINING!...yes....Stew and I get the kids buckled in, and attempt to tie the tree on top of our van as fast as we can in the pouring rain!....WG and Karis are screaming crying and sally is singing Jesus Loves me...Thank you Sally!....we did it...we are driving home finally until the tree starts to fall we stop at a gas station for lunch! old breakfast taco and nuts...i mean, there  is not much at a gas station that fits the "maker's diet"....okay, we are almost home...SURELY!! 

We did make it home...only to find that the tree was larger than OUR LIVING ROOM!!!  So we trimmed it down and fit our furniture around it decorated, had more warm cocoa, a Christmas movie and to bed....well, and a lot of pine needles that I am sweeping up everyday!

So, how was our family tradition?  I have to say, pretty funny in the end...We aren't sure if we will start that tradition again until the kids are older....but we are enjoying the beautiful tree and sense of Christmas in our home....and all before Dec. 1st!  That's the life in the Stewart household...just thought I would share it with all...Hope your experience is just as fun as ours! =)