Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Memories of 2010

7Well, today I have worked, worked, worked on taking ALL of my Christmas decor down. After our pancake breakfast and clean-up this morning, I got busy. Mary Claire likes to watch Sesame Street, so I used my time wisely while she giggled at Elmo and while the boys played their new Wii game. It always amazes me how fast things seem to come down...much faster than they went UP! I bet I set a record today! I almost hesitated when I thought I might be the first person on my street with no more Christmas decorations, and I'm the only one here with small children! Here were my thoughts as I swiftly pulled down ornaments, stockings, ribbon, and threw out the un-eaten candy...yes, I threw it all AWAY!

"Is this terrible? Am I subconsciously wishing Christmas away with this action of getting everything down and put away so quickly? Christmas was just the day before yesterday! Do I really want to just leave this stuff up for another few days?"
(I wrestled with these thoughts for only a moment and then thought about going back to work in one week, and spending time with my children this week. Then I worked even faster getting it all down.) "I will not procrastinate! I will get it put away and then clean up and spend the rest of my week off enjoying time with my children. After all, we made some wonderful Christmas memories this year, and now it's almost a new year! I want to start the year off with no clean-up of Christmas."
And tonight, the big tree goes in the attic before I hit the sack! (Thanks, Jan, for your help in meeting my deadline.)
Here's some memories I'll treasure from Christmas 2010!

Making our gingerbread house! (No it's not homemade gingerbread. Look, my life does not allow time for the making of homemade gingerbread...the $9 box set at Wal-Mart works just as nicely and with less effort on my part. And we had a great time putting it together which is the most important thing, right? :-)

 Owen at school for his Christmas program. These are some of his friends from his class sitting beside him. Don't you just love the look on his face? Cutting those eyes at me...

My sweet Jonah with his class performing at their Christmas program.

Only Jonah would spot me in the crowd from across the gym and wink at me while pointing! :-) "I see ya, Momma!"
 Oh, the excitement for Mary Claire when she saw the larger-than-life globe with snowmen and Santa at Jonah's Christmas program...
 And oh, the disappointment when we told her she couldn't go over to touch it until after the show! (This became a struggle that lasted pretty much through the whole program. Gotta love 2 year olds!)
 The excitement of waiting in line to see Santa! Thank goodness it wasn't too cold that night! Too bad Mary Claire didn't like Santa. But...it's a good thing Santa liked Mary Claire anyway and brought her some exciting gifts! 

This year, our school had a Christmas shop set up for students to buy gifts. Owen took his own money and bought presents for his grandparents, parents, siblings, 2 great-grandmothers, and even his special friend, Shelby K. (Yeah, that is something I'll have to post about later. Seems I have a hopeless romantic on my hands in my 7 year old son!) I was proud of him for picking out the gifts, wrapping them and presenting them all on his own. Sniff, sniff...he's getting so big.
I think Mimi liked her ring, and Daddy Nick loved the tape measure.
The live nativity scene in town. (The little angels up top were so funny!) Mary Claire loved it!

Carols and candlelight service at church on Dec. 22 when the children and I sang "Away in a Manger" with Daddy Nick. Don't Mary Claire and Jonah look excited? Actually, Jonah sang very loudly, and Mary Claire blew kisses at her friend in the crowd, then waved really big. John Owen was the only reserved one. (Can't say I am too surprised at that!)
This is probably not the best picture, but it's the only one I have of the whole group. (Plus, it shows Mary Claire waving to her friend.)

Christmas Eve with cute cousin Wesley!
(I know Ms. Sue would have loved seeing how big he's gotten. We missed her terribly this Christmas season...it just wasn't the same.)

My handsome boys so excited to open presents at Mimi's house on Christmas Day!

"I'll help you, Granny!" Mary Claire helping Granny open her gift whether Granny wants help or not! hehe My grandmother came from Jackson and spent the 23rd and 24th with my parents and us since this is the first Christmas without my grandfather. 2010 has brought about many changes for our family.
Well, I guess that's about it...
Santa was very good to the Hensley children this year. The boys' favorite gift from Santa was their Star Wars collection, and Mary Claire loves her indoor trampoline. You should see her jump!
(Since I videoed the discovery of their gifts under the tree, then somehow neglected to take a decent still picture, and since the video won't print in this here "scrapblog" book of mine, I won't be posting the video. hehe)
We hope your Christmas was full of cherished memories as well.
Now, we march on to 2011...Happy New Year to everyone! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wherever You Are,

My Love Will Find You
(by Nancy Tillman)
(NOTE: This is one gift that will be under the tree from Jan and me to our 3 little ones this Christmas. I can bet that right now it won't be the gift that "WOWS" them, but I hope one day they'll appreciate it as I do.)
I found this book a while back and ordered it because it's one of those books that I just can't read without crying...you know, like when I read books such as Love You Forever and Love You Like Crazy Cakes, etc. I'm just a mess before I ever get to the end of the book. The book emphasizes feeling loved and knowing you are loved no matter where you are. I highly recommend it!

On the same note with feeling loved, my hope and prayer this Christmas is that everyone knows the love of Christ. I think as a child, I took for granted the story of Christ's birth. I didn't truly understand what all Mary and Joseph went through, and the super special responsibility bestowed upon them by God. I try to remind myself daily that God has given me a super special responsibility in being the mother of the 3 blessings He has given me. I may not be the mother of the Messiah, but I am mother to Owen, Jonah and Mary Claire. And God has a plan for their lives just as He had a plan for Jesus. I pray every night as I put them to bed that God will help me to guide them, to raise them up to be servants of Him, that he will protect them from any disease, destruction and injury, and that He will guide their paths all their days. I pray they will always know they are loved...not just by their parents, but by God. Wherever they go, whatever they do, they will  never doubt that they are LOVED. 

My Christmas Wish For You:
Dear John Owen, Jonah, and Mary Claire,
I know that one day you will read this. Perhaps when you are grown or maybe one day when you feel troubled and need to hear it most. (I will probably need to read this again one day as well as a reminder for myself.) We all need to hear it said more often than not... "I love you!"
I love you with a love that will never end, no matter what you do or what you say. I love you even when you are angry with me or feel you don't like me because I won't let you do something you think you are big enough to do. I love you when you are learning from your mistakes. And guess what? I am still learning, too. :-)
 I love you enough to tell you no when you need to hear it. I love you so much that I will do my job as your parent to teach you how to live in this world. The world needs to be loved, too. There are so many people who do not know what love is or that they are loved. The world needs to know God's love. My Christmas wish is that you, my children, will know God's love and return His love by believing in and accepting Him. I know that you are still young right now, but I pray there will come a day when you realize God's love for you. He loved you before I even knew you. It brings me comfort and happiness to know that He fit you for me before I had even dreamed of you. He knew we would be together. Only He knows our future together.
His love for you is never-ending. No matter where you go in this world, I hope that you will always feel my love for you, but more than that, God's love for you. 
 I am so thankful for all of you and that God gave each of you to me.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's a Family Tradition

(And immediately enters the sound of Hank Williams Jr.'s voice in my ears!)
Guess "family tradition" is about right when you know that the first time I saw the lights of Christmas City, I wasn't too much older than John Owen is now. We try to go once a year, maybe just to say we've been. :-)We spent Friday night with friends driving out to Burlison to do our yearly traditional tour of the Rose of Sharon Campground's Christmas City. "The true meaning of Christmas in a half a mile of lights!" was what the advertisement read this year. 

Well, they do focus alot on the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ in lights, various signage, and just about every well-known Bible character, BUT...they have also added a ton of secular novelties as well. Certainly not a reflection of our society, I'm sure. (Insert: sarcasm) Seriously, it's fun to do with the kids! The kids named everything they saw, asked questions about some of things they saw (hehe) and enjoyed the fact that Santa made a "special visit" to Burlison, TN and the lights of Christmas City!
That's right, Santa was there! And we made no haste in making our way up to him to tell him our wish lists!

Here's John Owen going through his wish items with Santa...

I just sadly realized as I looked at the above picture that my baby is getting too big to sit in Santa's lap! :-(
 O.K., refocus...
Here's Jonah thoroughly explaining his 3 wish list items. Notice the counting on the fingers! Too cute! They both counted out their 3 things as they told Santa. Jonah, by the way, has never shown any aversion to the man with the white beard. (Can't say the same for Owen and Mary Claire, though!)

She started out like this, and I thought all was going good!

But then it quickly turned to this...Mommy to the rescue!

Oh, well. Maybe next year!

Enjoying his candy from Santa!

I thought this was a sweet picture of Mary Claire. It looks like she's praying, but reality is, she was just trying to warm up her little cold hands as we rode the train through Christmas City.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Caught Red-Handed

With her hand in the Christmas candy jar! I looked up and she had pushed the chair up to the counter and climbed on up to reach the delicious treats that awaited in each canister. Maybe the Christmas candy wasn't such a good idea...