Saturday, December 27, 2014

Twas The Weekend Before Christmas

Twas the weekend before Christmas and all through SC,
  our creatures were stirring and visiting Grandma's house.  
 Our goodies were unwrapped and a trip to the zoo was had,
 surrounded by cousins and everyone was so glad!
 Gran cooked up a meal,
 while Pop gave stockings....
 all gifts were a given and unwrapped with delight,
 and our two littles finally napped - what a good night!
The SC marathon was filled with lots of go, go, go, and we were all so excited to be with family for Christmas.  We began our weekend with the Hook family Christmas.  Nineteen years ago, Ryan took me to this event for the first time - mind you, we had only known one another for less than a month!  We sat down and his cousin came over and asked when we were planning to marry!  I am most positive that I didn't even know Ryan's last name at this point! 
Following the Hook Christmas, we gathered at Ryan's parents' house to share gifts with them.  A fabulous time was had by all and then we were off to the zoo to see the Christmas lights - another long-had tradition!  The children busied themselves running through the zoo jumping on the many animal statues that can be found. We ended our evening with a carousel ride followed by a short trek to Gran and Pop's for a much needed night of rest.
Bright and early Sunday morning, we arose and made our way to church with Gran and Pop.  The service flew by and before we knew it, we were on our way back to open more gifts, eat more food, and just be merry with family.  All goodbyes were said and Merry Christmas wishes were spoken!  We buckled in for a ride back to Georgia and made a stop to see our good friends, the Wileys.  We did a fun little Christmas light scavenger hunt - a new tradition I am sure! With the girls winning this time, yogurt treats were in store!  
We made our way home that evening and we all fell into bed so thankful for the time spent with family/friends and so tired beyond belief!

**I should note that Miss Maryn wasn't feeling so well.  Turns out, she was diagnosed on Monday with double pnuemonia and a double ear infection - ack!  Thankfully, she recovered quickly once meds were administered!  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas 2014

The Christmas season is in full swing in our home and the traditions continued this week beginning with our gingerbread houses....
 our sweet neighbors joined in on the fun....
 we had a boy house turned drizzle castle....
 and a little one who was busy taking candy from the decorating supplies....
 I love the differences between boys and girls....our boys were all about decorating the house as a whole while the girls were busy assigning specific walls on the house that each girl was responsible for placing the candied goodies on....
 a friend gave the girls some goodies this week....Maddox is all about some good dress-up attire!
 Even during schooltime, the dress-up fun isn't left out....
The girls have been practicing their Nutcracker dance routines and we were given the opportunity to watch in the classes....Maddox tends to get a bit shy in these situations.... 
 but our MK was in full shine mode!
 She was so proud to show us her candy cane dance....

 even after an afternoon of visiting the orthodontist and getting her palate expander positioned in, she was still smiling!
 Friday evening our family volunteered during a Steven Curtis Chapman concert....we received a grant for Maryn's adoption through his organization, Show Hope.  We were thrilled to have an opportunity to assist in making more people aware of the children who wait to come home forever.
In addition to SCC, we danced the night away to Brandon Heath and Third Day.  Maddox said, "Mom, this is the best rock concert ever!"  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Nutcracker 2014
It's a that we began four years ago....
 a group of ballet friends and their mamas all get seating together and the girls are in awe as their teachers twirl and dance below onstage....
 it is always a load of fun and the cherry on top is when we go out for dessert afterwards!  This year the mamas may have been having a little too much fun for their biggest girls!  MK and her friend, Claire, were both fast asleep long before we arose from the table to go home!  
(Fun fact:  Claire's daddy grew up with fun that the girls will grow up together as well!)
 Even with our late night out, no one in the house could possibly forget the German Christmas tradition of putting out shoes for St. Nicholas to fill....a few goodies were left and all was well in the home....
 The next evening we had some adoption buddies over....the best part about this evening was having our newest little adoptee join us - Miss Anna is fitting in nicely with her forever family and Maryn is pretty fond of her too!  Also, we had a family over from church that has just begun the process to adopt a baby girl from excited to be on this journey with them!
 Our girls wanted curls so curls were made....of course, Maryn asked for curls too but had to settle for a bow only....
 this pretty girl is growing up....
 and she loves the role of big sister - most of the time!
After spending our morning watching my most favorite Christmas play, A Christmas Carol, the children and I did our annual trek to the mall to do a meet-and-greet-and-picture with Santa....
 though Maryn was less than thrilled at first, she settled in and we got a good thankful for my boys and their willingness to take part in the photo!
 Radio Shack and Claires....the boys went one way and the girls went the other....and below is what happened!
 these girls are too much!
 We were blessed to have our 24 middle and high school homeschool co-op kiddos over for an evening of fun and games.....
 gifts were exchanged and the reindeer-made-with-panty-hose-and-balloons were made....and a bit of noise was made which may or may not have disturbed our neighbors - oh dear!  Such joy it brought to my heart to have these guys in our home for the evening.....I love the friendships/relationships that these kiddos have with one another.  They do life together and it is glorious picture to see firsthand.  
 Another Christmastime favorite is our day with Emma and Aunt Nellie....Emma and MK spent the morning painting together while my sister Kellie and I took on the town for some shopping adventures!  
 And then there was thankful for these girls and their giddiness as we ventured out to see our first ever singing Christmas tree production at a local church.  It was fabulous!  And in true Drafts form, ice cream was had by all following the show!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Clarks Hill Christmas Tree Farm

The Christmas traditions began this week with our annual visit to Clarks Hill Christmas Tree Farm....
The children were so excited to share this time with Maryn....
and she was thrilled to be on this journey....exploring is a favorite adventure of Maryn's!
Our oldest and youngest....I adore this picture for so many reasons.  Maryn squeals, "Col-win....Col-Col!" often and his face lights up!  
After finding the perfect tree, it was off to the cafe for a few Christmas treats....
Maryn wasted no time at all digging into her Christmas cake,
while Maddox opted for boiled peanuts!
Then it was game-on.....hide-and-go-seek!
Maddox found a comfy, hidden spot and even sipped on her Sprite as she waited to be found....
Anything wrong with this tree?  Why, yes!  Two trunks???
Evidence of their growing up....just under 6'!  CRazY! 
Thankfully, this guy has a few more inches to spare - though he is not too far behind his brother.
This girl keeps growing too!  
And this one....she grew four inches this past year!  And she grew and grew in her spunkiness too!
Little bit was all about taking a picture in front of the tree so long as she did not have to give up her cake to do so!  
With full bellies, tired legs and a tree tied to the top of our car, we drove to our new home to begin the decorating!  
We are so thankful for our family - our five children are our hearts and we cherish every minute we are given with them.  I was so pleased to hear them all saying, "We always go to the Christmas tree farm the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving - it's tradition!" and "Let's listen to Christmas music!  Please!"  (No begging needed!)
We began our traditional reading of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on Monday.  I am pretty sure that though they do enjoy this tale, I am the one who LOVES this particular treat each year!  
Our nice-and-naughty-at-times elf, Matthew, made his debut December 1....he has been up to his usual antics and the children all get a kick out of seeing what this little guy has gotten into during our slumber.
Yes, the Christmas season is in full swing and we are embracing each moment while remembering the true reason for the season!