Monday, December 22, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas to You!

Well, I know you guys are a lot like us and you, too, are probably rushing around before Wednesday night gets here. I just wanted to take a minute (while my babies are napping) to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We have been so busy this week with Christmas parties, programs at school, baking, shopping for the "last minute gifts", visiting Santa, going to see Christmas lights, etc. mixed in with the everyday bustle of life's routines! It would almost bring the best of moms to their knees! When I start to feel that "overwhelmed little monster" creeping up my back, I just try to think about Christmas morning and how I am anticipating the looks I hope to see on my children's faces as they experience Santa's visit. And just like that, I forget how much work I have to do! :-) 'Cause it's gonna be SO worth it!
As I said earlier, we've packed A LOT into the last few days before Christmas, and here are some memorable shots from these events.
Merry Christmas from the Hensley family!

Monday, December 15, 2008

We Love You, "Miss" Sara!

Jonah, "Miss" Sara, Mary Claire & John Owen
Christmas 2008

If you haven't had the privilege of meeting our "Miss" Sara, then you are missing out! "Miss" Sara is so special to our family. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I think God led her to us last year when we were looking for and praying for another nanny for our children. (Well, God worked through Laura's connection with "Miss"Sara, of course...thank you, Laura!)

"Miss" Sara is like our family now! And Jonah especially holds a special place in her heart(she always says so!) because he had her full attention, and they had some great "one-on-one" time together last year. She went above and beyond in taking care of my boys last year while I was working, and I could never express in words how grateful I am to her. She made a full-time working mom's life a little easier every day.

She taught my children many things, and she taught me some things, too! I love to make her chicken pot pie recipe and will always think of her when I make it in the future. I enjoy that we both LOVE to eat some of the very same foods with macaroni and cheese ranking right up there at the top of the list!

I knew practically right away that she was "the one." To some, her age might have been a concern, but I didn't doubt her for a minute. She reminded me of my grandmother, Jenny, and I knew I could entrust my children to her. She raised three boys of her own and then has raised her grandson, and even at 70, she could probably run circles around some people half her age. I hope I am like that when I am 70! I found myself faced with some what of a dilemma when I decided to fulfill my dream of taking off from work to be at home with my children this year. There was a huge part of me that didn't want to let "Miss" Sara go. But happiness can also come from seeing someone else experiencing the love of "Miss" Sara, and I know that's just what Lane and Bo are receiving from her this year. I know they love her now just as much as we do.

Jonah loves his "Miss Sara"

Yesterday, she came by so that we could exchange some gifts for Christmas. See, just like family she is! I took the opportunity to have my children's picture made with her because the things and people who are important to us are on this here blog...And "Miss" Sara ranks right up there at the TOP of our list! We LOVE you, "Miss" Sara!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Taking Christmas Pictures is FUN!!

(NOTE: You may have to click on "view all images" to view these...I just realized it's taking a long time to LOAD! Maybe it's because there were so MANY!!!hehe) Just wanted to share some of the MANY shots we took for our Christmas cards this year! Is it possible to get 3 children to all look at the camera at the same time with decent expressions on their faces? It is! (But they're gonna make you WORK for it!) Hope your holiday season is VERY MERRY!

Love, The Hensley Clan

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Christmas Message to Remember

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 a myriad of 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 and lots of love to you and yours!
-Author Unknown
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Light My Fire

C'mon baby light my fire PIT, that is! Jan and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day, and our gift to each other was a fire pit! Jan had been admiring these for a while and wanted one for our "middle of the city" backyard. "Hmm...I don't know, Jan. What kind would you want?" (Me kinda thinkin the "oh so close" neighbors might fuss...) "It would be a way to extend our outside time," he said. ( thinkin it through again!) :-) "We could roast marshmallows," he added. SOLD me on it right then and there! Seriously, I really like it! And the boys...they LOVE it! We roasted marshmallows the night before Thanksgiving, and it was great FUN! So, friends are welcome anytime to come over to roast weiners and marshmallows. And Rob, no need to build a bonfire! We got your "citified" bonfire waitin' on ya!

This is the "I Make Fire" dance performed by the native children

Jonah warming his hands by the fire!

Funny story about the firepit...this past Sunday we hosted the CHS Baseball Tour of Homes, and Jan decided to light his firepit for the occasion. I came into the living room as people were starting through the house only to find that smoke from the firepit was filling my living room!! Needless to say, I tried to make sure the back door did not get opened very much after that! I thought it added a nice touch! :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Conversations with Boys

My boys have reminded me lately that some of the best times are when we just sit and talk about whatever THEY want to talk about! I thought I'd share some more of these "you'd better write it down" moments...

The Imaginary Turtle
(Sitting at lunch the other day, Jonah announced that he had an an imaginary turtle. Being a good sport and seeing how this could be so much fun, I went along with it.)
Jonah: Mommy, I have an imaginary turtle who's my friend!
Me: You do?! Wow! What is your turtle's name?
(Long pause...with no answer.)
I was especially proud of John Owen for deciding not to "call his brother out" on his imaginary tall tale like he usually does. Instead he chimed right in with me...
John Owen: What does the turtle eat? (Good question!!)
Jonah: He eats training wheels. (?)
Me: What else does he eat?
Jonah: He eats flowers.
John Owen: Does he eat meat?
Jonah: No.
John Owen: Does he eat fruit and vegetables?
Jonah: Nope.
John Owen: Dairy? (What?! I was impressed at this point at the things coming from John Owen's mouth. Had he been studying the nutrition pyramid on the side of the cracker box?)
Jonah: Nope.
(Ok..I stepped in to redirect this tale.) Me: What should we call this turtle when we need to talk to him?
(Another pause but not quite as long...)
Jonah: "John." (VERY original, don't you think?) hehe
Jonah: And he does not like (INPUT NAME OF BOY IN HIS PRESCHOOL CLASS). :-) He will bite (INPUT SAME NAME OF BOY IN HIS PRESCHOOL CLASS). (Mommy thought: "Uh-huh, that's what this is ALL about...I wonder what happened at school today.")
So, "John" the invisible turtle now lives at the Hensley house, I suppose. And I guess he's here to help my Jonah deal with the issues he's facing with friends at school. (Don't you think it's fitting that this "turtle" bears the name of his BIG brother whom he adores and thinks can BEAT up anyone?) Gotta love BOYS!

Spill Some for ME!
The other day we were making scotchies. The boys were standing around me with their chairs pulled up to the counter to "help" me stir the batter when all of a sudden I dropped the bag of butterscotch chips and several fell out on the floor! John Owen quickly jumped down from his chair and exclaimed,"I'll get them!" (Which meant he would pick them up off of the floor and put them in his mouth.)
Jonah quickly picks up on this tactic, and exclaims,"Hey, mommy, spill some for me!!!" :-)
When I Grow Up...
Last Thursday, I went to Jonah's class and read a Christmas book to them about the birth of Jesus. It was so much fun! I read "The Christmas Donkey", and they really got into the different sounds of the animals in the story. It reminded me of why I enjoy teaching. Kids can be so much fun sometimes! Anyway, when I picked the boys up from school later that day, here's how the conversation went:
Jonah: Mommy, I saw you at my school today.
Me: Yes, Jonah. Did you like the story I read to your class?
Jonah: Uh-huh. We sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and had cupcakes, didn't we?
Me: Yes we did, JOnah!
Short pause.
Jonah: Are you gonna be a new teacher at my school?
Me: No, Jonah. I was just there to read and sing with you today. Mrs. Joy is your teacher this year.
Another short pause.
Jonah: When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.
Me: You do?! That sounds like a great idea, Jonah!
(I wanted to cry at the thought of my three-year-old boy saying he wanted to be teacher and not saying something typical of his age and gender like being a fireman or policeman or something like that! It was a great moment!)
And then the moment ended abruptly with John Owen's interjection in the conversation...
John Owen: When I grow up, I want to be a racer!!!
Jonah: I want to be a racer, too! (Of course! I just smiled. It was nice thought while it lasted.)
Yall Hush Yall's Mouths Up!
Last night, we rode on the church's Christmas float in the parade. I rounded up as many children from the church as I could to ride with me in my van down to where the float was stationed. I lost count, but there must have been 11 or 12 kids (ranging in ages 3-12) "squashed" into my mini-van with my "projection voice" saying, "OK, there's only one of me and lots of you, so listen for my voice." "And stay with me!"
Needless to say, my own children were subjected to this craziness as we drove slowly and carefully down the small streets to the float. I was so afraid the police would get on to me in front of the children for this fiasco, but we made it with no problems.
Jonah and John Owen had a BLAST!! They loved the "throwing out" of the candy, shouting Merry Christmas, and "hangin out" with the older kids! On the way back to the church, the van was once again VERY noisy with children who must have been on SUGAR HIGHS! Jonah, who was sitting in Hannah's lap in the front seat, said in a very deep scratchy voice, "YALL HUSH UP YALL'S MOUTH-S!" (Emphasis on the "S") It was so funny! Hannah, Catherine Ann and I burst out laughing which of course caused him to say it again. Catherine Ann told the others in the back to be quiet so they could hear Jonah, and ...he said it again! The van was filled with laughter! It was a fun time and a great Christmas memory!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A New Tradition?

As part of our decoration for the upcoming Tour of Homes (which by the way, I am SO ready to be overwith), we bought a gingerbread house kit. This is something new for the Hensley family, and let me just say that we enjoyed it so much that I think it'll be a tradition from now on. Or at least until my kids think they are too big for it, and then I'll probably enjoy doing it just to bring back the memories of a day when their little faces beamed with excitement about putting candy on an iced rooftop. Secretly, I hope they never think they are too big for it!

John Owen showed true skill (with a little guidance from Mom) at placing the candies in the perfect places! Know where Jonah thought was the perfect place for those candies? IN HIS MOUTH!! :-) He was so funny! I burst out laughing once when he thought I wasn't paying attention because I was "in the zone" and piping that icing with intent focus! With my "Mommy Vision" I spotted a little hand trying to sneak a piece of candy away from the pile of candies on the table, and I firmly said, "Jonah, don't even think about it." He laughed, which in turn, caused me to deeply laugh out loud, and John Owen said, "A little person makin' a grown person laugh!"

Jonah tryin' to decide which piece he's going for!

Mouth open to show me he did not eat any! :-)

It was FUN! Call it fate if you please, but I found three little gingerbread candies in the pantry that are supposed to go on top of cupcakes and told them we would add them. And we would call them "John Owen", "Jonah" and "Mary Claire". Jonah liked that! So here it is (minus the gingerbread "people"...I haven't put them on yet.) Now, if I can just keep little hands off for a little bit longer...