Monday, December 29, 2008

The Final Christmas of '08

My Guys Todd & Tom Graeson

Graeson & Boopie A Big Game of Uno Clay, McKenzie, & Emma Grace

Our final '08 Christmas celebration was spent yesterday in Marvell. We all met at Aunt Frances' for "snacks" since we were all "holiday dinnered" (is that a word?) out. Sadly, Mom & Dad weren't able to make it because of Dad's surgery & Mom was really sick. We all missed them. I know they would have loved to have been there.

While we were there, games were played, trees were climbed, gifts were opened, laughs were abundant, and even a few tears were shed. As always, when we all get together, we had a wonderful time. We all missed Grandma and Grandpa. Terri Jo gave us all an ornament that had Grandma's picture in it & when you pushed a button, it was Grandma's voice. It was such a thoughtful gift. Definitely one of my favorites for the year.
I am extremely thankful for family. We all have such a good time when we're together. We just never seem to have enough time to visit for long periods. We are just grateful for the small increments of time we do have together. Perhaps that's what makes those visits even more special. Everyone realizes that we all have responsibilities and successful lives and no one puts their expectations on anyone else. As I think about that, I suppose we inherited that contentedness from Grandma. She was always happy just to see us and was even more happy that we were doing things that made us happy. I do miss the time that is spent with family but am grateful for the time we do spend together. Of course I'm thinking it's about time for another family cruise...anyone else game?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Again!

The Motley Crew of Cousins!

Today, after a very long night & very early morning with my dad having an emergency appendectomy, which resulted in about 2 hours of sleep for us, we drove to Grammy & Papa's for the annual family Christmas. I was absolutely starving when we got there so I was ready to eat all of the wonderful food everyone fixed. I tried my hand at making dressing. I used Grandma's ole tried & true recipe, but making dressing is really scary if you've never done it before. I had several tell me it tasted good so I suppose it did. Everything was really delicious. After lunch Tom, Greg, & Mike headed to the hardware store to pick up some supplies for one of Grammy's Honey-Do Projects. I think they went to every lumber store in town before finally getting the correct supplies to complete the project. While they were gone, we had a great time visiting & catching up and just chatting. We hardly ever get to just sit and talk so it was nice. The kids were bursting at the seams to open presents; we finally obliged them, & they were contented. We were thoroughly entertained by watching old 1980s videos that Greg has been editing. Wow at the 80s hair-dos & the pounds that have been gained in 20 years! Thanks Greg for the memories. It was really nice to just visit and reminisce. After another round of dessert we headed home for some much deserved rest. We have one more Christmas celebration tomorrow in my hometown, & we're done for the year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

One way to keep them quite!

Jerri, Graeson, & Spanky
The Sweetest Boy...unless he's having a terrible 2 moment...

We had a great Christmas today. We woke up really early, thanks to Clay, to see all of our gifts. The boys had a great day watching others open the gifts they had personally selected and purchased for them. They have realized the joy in giving, not just receiving. It's fun to see them grow up and experience the blessings of giving.

After our family time, we loaded the car & went to my mom & dad's to have Christmas with them. We were greeted at the door by Graeson saying in his little country, southern voice "Steppie, Steppie, I got a new 4-wheeder!" The smile on his face was so adorable. We opened gifts, had some great laughs & fun. One of the photos above is of sweet Graeson waiting patiently as I removed those really annoying plastic/metal ties from his gift. It did take me a while, & he finally got bored, but the photo is priceless.

Doris & Verlon drove in & joined us for dinner. We had some wonderful food and fellowship. After Mom's famous pies, and more visiting, Doris & Verlon headed back home. We all sat down for a game of Clue while Tom slept on the couch and Dad & Graeson watched a movie. Jerri won the game by discovering that Mustard committed the murder in the kitchen with a dumbell. After the game, we played "castle" with Graeson then came home.

We then went to Tim & Sherry's for dinner, some of Linda's famous pumpkin roll, & the annual exchange of gifts. We had a nice time visiting with them and hearing about their day. After we made it home, the neighborhood boys started ringing the doorbell to show Clay their gifts & then they had a game that involved some sort of gun.

As I sit here writing this, the boys (including Tom) are watching a movie & laughing. I'm thinking of the day & how truly blessed we are. We have faced some really stressful situations this year and will probably have more to come, but we have each other and most importantly we have God who loves us & who is faithful and above all...He is the Reason for this Blessed Season. I hope your Christmas was filled with love and joy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Clay!

Clay turned 9 yesterday! We celebrated with a special birthday dinner of his choice. It consisted of mashed potatoes, corn, fried chicken, gravy, green beans, butter beans, & yeast rolls. Clay invited the boys in the neighborhood over to eat with us. Dinner was followed by chocolate cake & ice cream. It's hard to believe our little boy is 9. We're very thankful for him. He has such an awesome personality and a gift for making others happy. What a great Christmas gift 9 years ago. We love you, Clayton!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

McIntosh Christmas

Today we celebrated Christmas with my Dad's family in Hot Springs. All of my dad's brothers & sisters were there but only a few grands & great-grands. Oh my goodness at the food. I couldn't even begin to describe it. We all had a great time visiting & reminiscing old times. It was really nice to see everyone. Wish we could have visited longer, but it just wasn't possible. I am very thankful for my family and this time of year when we all get together.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Everlasting Story

After church tonight, we drove to a local church to drive-through their living nativity celebration. It celebrated Christ's birth, life, sacrificial death, resurrection and triumphant ascension and portrayed what all of that means to us today. It blessed me to see how hard the church had worked on the displays & their commitment to the project. It even had live animals in the scenes. I appreciated their willingness to reach out to share Jesus with anyone willing to drive-through.

Happy Birthday Jesus

We had a birthday party for Jesus with the kids. Pizza & cupcakes & drinks were passed around. We made holiday crafts & even played Pin the Candle on the Cake. We had lots of other stuff planned, but the adult Bible study ended quickly, and we were out of time. The kids had an awesome time & know that Jesus is the Real Reason for this Season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cold & Sleet & Waffles Oh My!

One of our family traditions is to load up in the jeep (or whatever 4-wheel drive vehicle we have at the time) & go out to Waffle House when the weather is snowy, icy, or bad. So we headed out today for our pilgrimage to eat. We had fun as we always do and took a few pictures to remember the day. Tom was scheduled to leave town today on a business trip, but the weather canceled all of those plans. We're thankful that he's here this week instead of on the road and that we were able to continue our family tradition this year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Playing in the Rain

Today the boys and some friends played in the rain. They ran, chased, played basketball, jumped on the trampoline & lots of other stuff. As a child I always played in the rain, and I had the best of times. I am so very thankful that my mom & dad allowed it. So let me say "Thanks" to them here. They didn't think it was a big deal for me to get wet or chilled in the rain. I remember once as a child when I was at my Grandma Mac's & my cousin & I put on Grandma's old dresses, took our shoes off, & ran through her yard in the pouring rain. We laughed & had a wonderful time. We were drenched to the bone, but just like after a bath, we dried off just the same.
I do not believe that colds & flu are caused from playing in the rain. All studies show they are caused from the cold & flu I never cringe that getting a little wet from the rain will make one sick. In fact, we love to go out in the rain. I tend to want to shop in the rain because most other people want to stay in. And when we're running through the rain into the stores, I even let the boys stomp in the puddles & I even do it too if I have on the right shoes; after all you can't do that on sunny days. Rainy days make me happy. Perhaps that comes from the good times I had as a child playing in the rain. I hope that I'm passing that on to my children, and they can appreciate rain too. Hopefully they'll let their kids play in the rain too.
May I encourage you with this... Has it been a while since you played in the rain or have you ever played in the rain? May I suggest you try it. Or do something that you used to love to do...there are always mud pies to make, trees to climb, blankets to lay on to look at the clouds & stars & countless other things. Do something this week that makes you happy. It's lots of fun, & I promise you'll dry off. And just let me say, this would be the week to do's supposed to rain all week.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Clay's Birthday Party

Today Clay celebrated his 9th birthday. The actual day isn't until the 23rd, but we had the party a little early so it wouldn't get caught up in all of the Christmas celebrations. He chose a military theme, & all the guests were encouraged to wear camo & bring a toy gun. Tom & I worked hard on his tank cake. It turned out really well and was delicious. When all of the kids arrived they were off to the fort Clay & Tom refurbished. Everyone played & had an awesome time. They had so much fun, we had to make them all come in for cake. This is how a birthday party should be, fun, fun, fun. I think Clay had a party to remember. I'm even considering contacting the parents of the kids who attended to see if they want to meet regularly so the kids can play with their guns & play army or just whatever. Tom and I had a really great time visiting with the parents & adults who came to the party. I'm sure we'll celebrate again on the actual day, but that will be with just us. Clay had a great time & that is what really matters.

Friday, December 5, 2008

How would you introduce Christ?

I received this via email today. I thought it was great. Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Tom!

Happy Birthday Tom. I am so thankful for you. You are the best husband & dad in the world. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. We hope your day is blessed and you have a wonderful day! We love you!