I’d say it’s about time we do a little catching up.
No, I have not given up blogging.
No, I was not kidnapped by Aliens.
No, I did not move to the south of France to hide away from the world. Although some days, that is still on the table.
We have had a pretty challenging couple of months with some big losses in our family and my heart has been processing it all. Throw in a couple big holidays and a birthday and this unprepared lady just had no time to write or visit my favorite blogs.
I’ve missed you guys.
In early November, we received a call that my father-in-law, who had been battling cancer for last 10 years, was being moved to Hospice care with only a few days to a week before it would be his time. My husband immediately hopped on a plane to be by his dad’s side. Proving that he is absolutely the toughest guy I know, dad fought to live for another three weeks. I am so thankful my husband was able to spend most of that time by his dad’s side. After dad’s passing, our whole family flew out to say goodbye to grandpa. Well, goodbye for now anyway. We know he’s saving us a place at the best fishing hole around.
We stayed with our family in Indiana for a bittersweet but very blessed Thanksgiving.
While in Indiana, we were also able to squeeze in a trip to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis…
Sara was off with her cousins so I only have boy pictures and boy did they have a great time! True to their nature, David loved the history and “fact” finding opportunities and Nathan was all hands on energy. We only lost him once. He knew where we were and was evading. Nearly every gray hair I have is his doing. Nearly. They aren’t all his fault but I’m still sending him the cumulative salon bill someday anyway.
It was hard to leave grandma Judy and the family, the big blue Victorian house, the crisp fall air, the falling leaves, the warm fire and the quiet time.
We love you grandpa and we will miss you everyday. Until we meet again.
After getting home from Indiana, there was not a moment to waste getting ready for Christmas. Christmas cards and letters, decorating, shopping, baking, teacher, neighbor and co-worker gifts, brunch, parties and even a Women’s Ministry event thrown in for good measure! Thankfully, my trusty staff was on hand to help – see picture below., way below.
Oh, and a Birthday to celebrate too!
Happy Birthday, Sara!! One year from now, we’ll have a teenager. Actually, less than a year from NOW. Gulp.
We try very hard to keep her birthday separate from Christmas and just celebrate her. With all that had gone on and all of the “Christmas catch-up” I had to do, Sara was very gracious about having a simple, low-key celebration this year. Low-key was officially supposed to come next year as the last of the “big” parties is sixth grade; says the parental management team. With the exception of Sweet 16 of course.
Instead of a big party, we decided it would be just as much fun to take her and as many friends as I could safely fit in the van to Jump Street where they could trampoline themselves to their hearts content.
Fun. Did I say fun? Oh my will I have to tell you all about it some time. For now, I will just let you imagine a half an hour in a car with six 11-12 year old girls, too many cell phones, too much perfume, lip-gloss and nail polish (all of which were opened, sprayed, dripped and gooped in my car at least once) and far too many pre-teen hormones. They are fun in groups of three or less. Anymore than that and a pack mentality seems to set in. A half an hour EACH WAY. Did I mention that.
We do have a special birthday tradition just for her that we never miss. Every year, on her birthday, we take her out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and give her all of her gifts from the family. It is always a special evening and she loves it. This year’s coveted birthday items – crazy knee socks, floral combat boots and anything with a moustache print on it.
Nope, I wasn’t kidding. Don’t ask me?? If it is safe, appropriate and makes her happy, I don’t question.
One day soon, I will do a series of posts on some of the kids’ past parties. We’ve had some fun ones! For now you can check out the two I have posted; David’s Duck Dynasty Bash and Nathan’s Despicable Me Party.
In other news, Noodles the Elf on the Shelf was back for the Christmas Season so there was much Elf Management to be done …
The Elf Management team wasn’t quite as creative as last year but we got the job done. Mostly. When you have a six year old who misses nothing and wakes up instantly hyper-focused on a mission to find the elf, it can be complicated if the elf has not in fact been moved because management was dragging into bed at 1am and … gasp … forgot. “Oh, no someone must have touched the elf” came in handy more than once.
And then, all too soon, it was Christmas …
I love Christmas. Everything about it. Next year, my goal is to have posts ready ahead of time so I don’t miss sharing this wonderful season with my blogging friends. Unless you are prepared in advance, It is just too hard to write and keep up with all of the “busy” while desperately trying maintain focus on what truly matters. Lesson learned.
Desperately busy. Which leads me to December 26th and hibernation. I am an extrovert who becomes an introvert for about two weeks a year; December 26th until the day the kids go back to school. I’m done. Finished. Spent. Turtle in her introverted shell. I may stay in my PJs all day. I may watch movies with the kids all day. In my PJs. ALL DAY. For many days.
Needless to say, I am not a New Year’s party girl. Well, I’m not really a party girl at all (anymore – for any of my college friends who might be reading) unless it is a dinner party or a birthday party or there’s cake. You know what I mean.
New Year’s Day consisted of bike riding and a picnic out back oh, and we did share the week with one very special and adorable house guest “Buster” or “Sassy McNoodle” as we like to call him.
And New Year’s Eve?
Well this is about as exciting as it gets around here folks! H.I.B.E.R.N.A.T.I.O.N. Only one kid made it to midnight. I’ll give you one guess. Yup. The youngest. Party animal – just look at that face.
And so, here it is the middle of January and sadly, 2014 has not had an easy start. We just returned from Oklahoma after saying goodbye to Gary’s incredible cousin Mike who passed away just after the New Year. I will tell you about Mike sometime as I will tell you about dad. For now, I will just share this from a card that was sent to us by Gary’s uncle Chuck after dad’s passing …
My prayer for you is a little light in the midst of this darkness. “We will never be the same as we were before this loss, but are ever so much better for having had something so great to lose.” – Leigh
Indeed we are. And we are grateful to the God who loves and sustains us and we praise Him in all things. We trust in Him an look to Him for comfort even when we can’t find understanding.
This one’s for you cousin Mike – Boomer Sooner!
Yes, it has been a difficult and busy few months for our family but we are moving forward and I am so glad you and I are finally catching up. Thank you for hanging in there with me and for your readership and friendship. A special welcome to the new visitors who have stopped by and the readers who have so graciously followed Welcome Company. I have a long list of recipes, ideas, plans for the Hacienda, stories to share and adventures to come.
I am looking forward to all that 2014 will bring.
I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful holiday and got some time of your own to “hibernate” with those you love most. May 2014 be a year of blessing, adventure, friendship, family and fun. And may we be thankful to the God who loves us in all that may come.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
Blessings my friends!
Absolutely lovely and heartwarming.jalal
Thank you so much. I appreciate it!
Welcome back!!! You have been missed!
“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Thanks Rebecca, it is good to be back. I do love writing and miss putting together posts when I just can’t find the time. Thankfully Welcome Company is always here waiting for me!
I love your enthusiasm and passion! 🙂
I have missed you Dani. So sorry to hear about your lost. Hang in there. Here’s to a wonderful 2014! hugs, danny
Thanks Danny – to a wonderful 2014 indeed!!
So good to hear from you again Danielle!! You’ve been through so much the last couple of months. Life can be daunting, but you seem to handle it all with grace and joy. Loved the pics of your family– and that towering stand of Christmas cookies! Glad your back!
Thanks so much Rhonda. By His grace alone. I am thankful that He gives us joy even in the most difficult of time. And towering stands of Christmas cookies! 😉 So glad to be back!