Thursday, January 16, 2014

Unblogged Happiness

Truth is, I got aggravated and overwhelmed and did a poor job of blogging our December. It seems a pity not to have blogged so much of our holiday cheer, so for the sake of posterity:

1) Cookie Day. This is Christy's and my annual tradition of at least a decade, and Sarah Duffer has participated in one form or another for most of those ten years. What stood out to me, this year, was the participation of Christy's daughter Abi, who's been present for Cookie Day every December of her life. I can close my eyes and see her in an Exersaucer, but this year she brought her own recipe and whipped up her own batch of cookies.

Baby Chip was a total whiny pants, this year, but Cookie Day went on.

Life goes on, and so quickly. Bittersweet, the fast-growing of the children.

2) Tacky Lights. Jim and I think this an ideal Christmas activity with very small children: they're confined, for the most part; the lights are fantastic; and there's no cost aside from gas and the (optional) hot Krispy Kreme doughnut. 

3) Little Kids' Party at Rachel's. Charleigh had been on the podium at gymnastics earlier; thus, her unconventional attire. Somewhere in the archives, there's a similar picture in which the older of these children are much younger, and the younger are unborn. Again, bittersweet, but next year Baby Lake will join the others on the couch, and I'm so excited I can hardly stand myself.

Charleigh and Rachel (Aglow)

4) Bevell's Hardware. This was a new experience for us. We were blessed in that our friends Wendy, Luke, and Cole made the little trip to Blackstone with us, and we were delighted by not only the 18'x56' train display but also the train that gives children rides through the parking lot of the store.

Chip with Bobby Daniels, the Mastermind behind the Train Display

5) Christmas Morning. Santa was good to the little kids on Jesus's birthday. He was good to Cade, too, but Cade's gotten a little dodgy with my camera.

6) Christmas in Tennessee. I want to stay true to my theme of happiness, but our time in (and in route to) Tennessee presented some challenges. So, an aside? Any prayers that you could send up for my mother-in-law would be appreciated. She started chemo and radiation, yesterday.

We drove home in a much nicer minivan; I'm thankful. I'm thankful to have watched my daddy crack open his Bible, to have heard him read the Christmas story to us, one more time. I'm thankful for each moment we shared with our loved ones and for all the gifts, but for my parents' homemade gifts, especially. (I've got a brand new bottle of hopped-up vanilla with which to flavor my cookies: yay!)

Love this photo of Chip with his aunt Jill.


Clementine with her aunt Sarah.

Mom made Charleigh's dress from a clover-seed sack.

7. Shrinky Dink Tree. How had I never had a Shrinky Dink experience, before? I was mesmerized, enchanted, and all the rest.

Clementine Looking in the Oven

Right around the time we started baking the things, Charleigh announced: "I'm going to snuggle with my papaw!" And this is how I found them, just a little while later:

Mom's Hands

8. New Year's Eve at My Brother's House. Food, games, fellowship, and my brother led us in the Lord's Supper: one of the holiday traditions I hold dearest. My mother-in-law joined us, this year; I forgot my camera but managed to capture this with my mom's cell phone:

9. The Unphotographed. Then there was Frozen: Sharon's Christmas gift to the little kids and me. Also an afternoon with Kyndra Steinmann of Sticks, Stones, & Chicken Bones. We'd kept up with one another in the blogosphere for some time but hadn't met until right before her move to Massachusetts. She invited me to go through her children's outgrown clothes (Score!), and it so happened that I needed to drive into Richmond to pick Cade up from the airport. What a blessing to spend time with her and her children. Kyndra, like all the other bloggers I've met in person, is just how she seems in words. And let me not discount the blessing of my big kid's returning safely from Indiana, where he'd attended the funeral of his paternal grandfather.


  1. I just walk away thinking how ridiculously gorgeous your children are. How do you stand it?

  2. I love this post, I LOVE it, Brandee, you are a blessed girl, makes me sigh and thank Jesus. Love you!

  3. Is that a Polly Flinders dress? I can spot them anywhere...if you have no idea what I am talking about totally disregard. Thinking of you!

    1. Yes! A friend gave me a whole, huge box of them sizes 4-8 or so after her husband won them at auction. (She has four boys.) I have amazing friends.

  4. Loved sharing in your Christmas. Such great memories