Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2012

Christmas of 2012 was one without many of our usual traditions, but one filled with sweet new friends and memories. On Christmas Eve, our family joined a couple of other PC families who stayed in the area for the holiday to attend a Christmas Eve service featuring joyous carols and a rendition of John Piper's The Innkeeper.

Then off to bed with us -- all together, as tradition dictates -- after reading the Christmas story from the Bible. 

The next morning, we awoke to generous gifts from friends and family. Our beloved Hoffmans came upstairs for gift exchanging, brunch, and a puzzle. The rest of the day was taken up with more caroling, much dancing, and joy all around.

And a special treat? Mr. Hoffman's magical trains.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Colonial Delights

During the month of December, we took advantage of our unique situation and explored some colonial sites. First on the list was George Washington's beautiful home, Mt. Vernon, which we toured with our dear cousins and Abi.

Unintentionally, the date of our trip was December 14, the 212th anniversary of Mr. Washington's death. Upon the realization of this, our few hours there became far more reverent and real. One could feel see the final moments of that great man and feel the grief of family members at every step.

A truly majestic memory it was.

A few short days after our Mt. Vernon excursion hailed the beginning of Dad's Christmas holiday from Pastor's College. We took that opportunity to get away with him to Colonial Williamsburg.

Of course it doesn't help when we just put him and the other troublemaker in the stocks. (That was a perfectly timed, cheesy line, wasn't it? ;-) )

It was a much needed quiet and restful few days. We stayed at an excellently furnished (not to mention excellently priced) rental for three days. We walked around Williamsburg during the day, came home to a hot meal at night, and slept at least ten hours each night. It was wonderful! :)

Visiting around the Christmas season meant that we could take in the famed holiday decor, and Williamsburg truly is decked out! Whimsical wreaths grace each historic building, while inside rooms are similarly adorned. But the best Christmas finery can only be seen once the sun has donned his nightcap and dusk sends out his scouts across the sky. Then every home, tavern, and shop window comes alive with dim candlelight, casting romantic shadows across cobblestone roads and whisking passers-by off to former times.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holidays with the Hoffmans

After much planning and preparation, the ladies of the house headed down the road to a nursing home for an afternoon of Christmas carols, cookies, chatting. 

We played and sang, and the residents loved it. Bring joy is so fulfilling.

A few days later, we joined the Hoffmans for a Ravens game.

Quite fun, though most of us still prefer college ball. :)

And here is a little video for your viewing enjoyment.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

This year we enjoyed a few new Christmas traditions.

Joining our cousins and aunt and uncle, we were able to participate in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. 

It was such an awe-inspiring opportunity.

A few weeks later, we were had some fun making gingerbread houses with some other PC families.

Fun-ness. :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Home Again... Part 3

Our final full day at home was a Sunday, so we headed off to church. We loved being home again with our dear family! And then we had an afternoon at the beach -- the perfect way to round out our visit!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Home Again... Part 2

The evening of our surprise arrival, a joint birthday party was planned for Bee and Rebekah. So we headed over to the house and continued to ... 

... talk a lot ...

... eat a lot... 

... pose a lot ...

... celebrate life a lot ...

... play silly, embarrassing games a lot ...

... and catch up with old friends a lot ...

 'Cause we love these people ... a lot.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


The only picture we have of Thanksgiving -- obviously, this was a before picture. :)

We enjoyed having three other Pastor's College families over. It was certainly an afternoon of much thanksgiving, feasting, laughter, and joy. 

Occasionally they let the students out of their classroom and homework assignments... They go a little crazy! 

We're not in Niceville anymore, Toto. We sported this attractive look for one (chilly) day after our car was broken into. Thank God, however, that only a bit of cash was stolen. Now we have a lovely new window and a bit more city street smarts!

Katie took us on a trip down memory lane with a few zeppolis. A dear friend worked at "The Pizza Place" (not it's real name, but what we know it as) in Brandon, FL and often treated his daughters and us to this delicious treat -- pizza dough absolutely covered in powdered sugar.


Home Again... Part 1

After our whirlwind of a time in Tallahassee, we five ladies loaded up again to drive back home ... our Florida home ... unbeknownst to all of the children!

And just look at this reaction: tears all around! :)

Of course the far more sensible younger ones didn't cry. They were too busy being thrilled to bits at seeing each other!

And, of course, proceeding to knock each other over.

Emmy Xiang and Mama showed up at Vanessa's soccer game, while the Jane Ellen, Katie, and Gracie crashed a filming session that Bee was heading up on some friends property.

We did help out, and during the little breaks they took, we talked and talked and talked as if there was no tomorrow and we had never parted.

It felt so good to just fall back into our regular patterns!

After the filming, we all headed back into town where Emmy Xiang, Olivia, and Vanessa were having a jolly old time!

Up next... a joint birthday party!