Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Crawfords!

A certain little girl in this house is quite excited about Christmas gifts this year . . . wondering what gifts will appear for her under the tree. But what's more important than any gift under the tree? We give thanks to God for His grace and for sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to take away our sins. What an amazing gift!

E is now five and continues to fill our lives with light and joy! She started half-day Kindergarten at our church's school in August and absolutely loves school! E got glasses last December. She looks so cute in them and accepted them with no problem - full steam ahead, as usual! She is still reading up a storm and loves library story time, reading any and all kind of books, drawing, crafts, writing and telling her own stories, playing outside, swimming (she took lessons for the first time over the summer - such a little fish!), cooking and doing jobs with Mommy. She is still a big fan of board games and puzzles and loves Uno, Monopoly and Sorry! E started piano lessons in January and is quite accomplished already. She enjoys playing hymns and Christmas songs for Mommy, Daddy, or any guests that happen to be in our home. She also loves church and singing and can often be found paging through our hymnal, reciting the liturgy or picking out and singing her favorite songs or parts of the service.

Our kitty Victoria was put to sleep after suffering the effects of kidney failure just before Christmas last year at the ripe old age of 19.5 years old! So now, we've added two new feline friends to our home! In February, we adopted Thomas - a four-year-old orange tabby - from the local animal shelter. He is gentle, very loving and you'll often find him hiding in our shower or sink, licking stray drips of water or just chilling out. In August, we also adopted Percy - a 19-month-old buff tabby - from a local humane society. Percy is a very energetic, silly, goofy cat. He loves to chase Thomas, play with E, "help" make beds and watch the squirrels and birds in our backyard. Both cats love E dearly, and they don't seem to mind that she named them after engines in her beloved "Thomas the Tank Engine" book!

This summer, we traveled to San Antonio to visit with Ben's sister and her husband and to attend hubby's family reunion. We learned the joyful news that they are expecting a little boy in February 2012. We are so excited to be "Aunt" and "Uncle", and E is thrilled about meeting her new cousin! Next, we headed to the Houston/Cypress area for several days of fun with Amy's lifelong friend Jennifer and her family. Lots of laughs and fun later, we piled in the car yet again for several days on the beach - just the three of us - in Galveston. We enjoyed Moody Gardens, beach time, a ride on a "Duck" boat and much more. After almost two weeks of travel, we returned home happy and exhausted!

In October, we enjoyed a bed-and-breakfast getaway in the St. Jo and Muenster, Texas area to celebrate our 11th anniversary. Our fun weekend included a stroll on the grounds of our picturesque inn, window shopping, German food, a winery tour and wine tasting, and dinner at an amazing place "in the middle of nowhere" featuring wood fired pizzas, amazing appetizers and to-die-for chocolate hazelnut pizza for dessert - all alfresco while sitting under twinkling fairy lights, sipping wine, watching the sun set over a beautiful valley. A fun, refreshing time together!

Hubby continues to work in a physical therapist position for a contract therapy company - an opportunity that places him in different assignments across the Metroplex. We are thankful for his steady employment and opportunities that this position provides. Hubby also continues to serve in a variety of positions at our church, something that allows him to fellowship with amazing mentors and to provide service to our congregation.

I continue to enjoy the opportunity to do freelance public relations and writing work from home, while also focusing on being a stay-at-home Mom. Business opportunities have grown over the last year - lots of exciting new involvements! Amy has also enjoyed being more involved with Elizabeth's school, volunteering in various ways.

We have so much to be thankful for! We look forward to 2012 with grateful hearts.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy heart . . .

We had a wonderful day "doing Christmas" with my forever-best-friend J. Presents, laughs, a hilarious, un-ending game of UNO and sweet times with these dear ones, having our two families together - my heart is so full, so happy! Thankful for the blessing of friendship!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gettin' crafty . . .

Took a few moments during the holiday hustle and bustle to make some bag tags for my soon-to-arrive nephew. So cute! Because who doesn't love black and silver argyle and pinstripes?

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's not easy being green . . .

We've been working very hard to eat "fresh and clean" around here lately. Lots of lean protein and veggies and fruits! Often, our fridge looks a lot like this:

. . . overflowing with green, good stuff!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday School Christmas program . . .

This time of year, our schedule is full of performances. E has a Sunday School Christmas program, a school Christmas program and a piano recital. Whew! Always on the go!

This year was E's last year to go up in the Sunday School program with the "little kids" to do "Away in a Manger". WAH! When did she get to be such a big kid?

But our big kid did a GREAT JOB speaking her parts loudly and clearly and singing her heart out for Jesus! Love this little girl!

(The last photo of her is with sweet friend Hailey after the program. The bag? Yes, it's filled with an orange, an apple, nuts and chocolate kisses - a long-standing tradition in our church. The scratch on E's face? From a P.E. class mishap at school - it's almost gone now! The video? From program practice the week before the event . . .)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Special day . . .

- On this day in 1999, my husband asked me to marry him.
-On this day, my sister in law and brother in law also got engaged (a few years later!)
-And it's my dear friend Kelli's birthday!

Special times!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas cookies with Gramma . . .

It just wouldn't be Christmas without the annual
"cutout cookie decorating extravaganza with Gramma"! Yum!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pinterest passion . . .

I will NEVER have enough time to craft all of the fun things I see on Pinterest. And I will never have enough money to afford the beautiful homes and beautiful things I see there . . . but it is fun to look, and dream and get ideas!

I saw this ribbon scrap garland on the site about a month ago - it was actually one of the first things I remember "pinning". After getting my Christmas decorations out of the attic, I found myself with an extra string of white lights and some ribbon that had been in storage for years, so I decided to "play". . .

. . . And I am very happy with the sparkly results! I could see doing this for a little girls room, a birthday party, or any holiday. Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The kitty and the Christmas lights . . .

While working on a project I found on Pinterest, I had a little help from one of our furry felines, Percy. Such cute shots of him "helping"!

(More on the Pinterest project tomorrow!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sisters Shoebox Swap

For a few years now, I've loved reading this blog and this blog. So when they asked for folks to participate in their Sisters Shoebox Swap this year, I knew I wanted to give it a try.

My task? Fill a shoebox with items that fit the theme "Merry!" and bless my assigned "sister" with the goodies. I had such fun reading the profile for my "sister" Angie and gathering goodies for her:

Since an uneven number of "sisters" signed up for the swap, I was part of a three-way-swap. Normally, Angie would have sent a box back to me, but instead, I received a box from With All That I've Been Given blogger Carrie. Oh, what fun! She even included a little treat for E!

Thank you, Carrie and Monica, for the ministry and encouragement that your blogs provide. And thanks for the fun opportunity to participate in this swap! I definitely hope to do it again next year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cousin time!

Last weekend, we enjoyed a pre-holiday dinner with E's cousins.
Goodness gracious, can you believe the blue eyes on these girls?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Christmas story - five year old style . . .

This is the first time E's written anything by herself - without asking for help with spelling or anything. Interesting attempt at the Christmas story. She told me it says "Mary was been saw by the shepherds and gave birth in the manger." Wow!

Friday, December 9, 2011

What is Advent?

Love this newest "arting" by E.
This is the first time she's drawn herself with glasses.
So cute!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Preparing our hearts . . .

As E gets older, I continue to find ways to find teachable moments in Advent (and all year round). Whether is a printable activities pack like this great one here, reading from a special devotion book, or simply reading from the Bible, it is important observe the time of Advent and include children. In our home, we count down to Christmas in many ways with E, including an Advent calendar, paper chain and more, but we also enjoy using our Advent wreath and reading daily devotions out of this book.

What do you do to prepare for Christmas? (and I don't mean the shopping, wrapping and baking....but you already knew that, didn't you?) :-)

Edit: I found this book in our stash - looks like another great one to use for daily devotions. I can't wait to read more about it! Also, I found a treasure inside - Ben's sweet mom bought this book for us when we got married - praying that one day she'd have a grandchild that would benefit from the devotions in this book. I found her note - in her distinctive handwriting - taped inside the book. Priceless!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In the middle of it all . . .

sometimes you have to stop for a tasty, fresh lunch. Fuel for the body, so I can gear up to handle more of the Christmas hustle and bustle!

What are your quick, fresh, tasty lunch favorites?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A new tradition . . .

We do countdowns in this house in a variety of ways. Paper chains are very popular, but for Christmas, we always do some kind of Advent calendar. This year, we found E a traditional "German" Advent calendar, complete with chocolates to eat behind the little door you open each day.

How do you count down the days until Christmas?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Feline funny business . . .

No, we don't have a headless cat. But we do have a super nosy one. This is the "new guy" Percy. He has been going nuts since we set up the Christmas tree. During these photos, he wasn't content just to sit with his head amongst the branches and lights, but he couldn't resist getting that paw out there and swatting that tempting ornament . . .

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What Christmas is all about . . .

I love that E placed one of her nativities under our tree.
"Because, Mommy," she told me, "this is what Christmas is really all about!
Jesus is God's gift to us!"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

There's a man in the house!

I had a cute little man in the house yesterday helping me decorate the tree. Now, don't get worried, this cute little guy is only five months old, but he's already quite a ladies' man! Baby A was a bit fussy from a cold and teething, so we snuggled for quite a while in the rocking recliner listening to Christmas music. But after a snuggly nap on our bed, he was ready to supervise my Christmas tree decorating. He had quite an opinion! Those sweet little baby coos and squeals are too precious!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Decorating the tree . . .

E has really been into the Christmas decorations this year. So much so, in fact, that she broke into "her" box of decorations before hubby and I even realized it. She spread her ornaments across the bottom half of the tree in the front and declared the tree "done"! Love her!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Daily...

Yes, it's that time of year again -- time for the December Daily! Blog posting each day in December...can I do it? Do I have time? Do I have enough to blog about? I have loved blogging the last four years about our family traditions, favorite recipes and family I'm going to give it a shot again! (And, let's just say, thank heavens for Blogger's ability to pre-schedule posts! :-) A busy girl's best friend!)

Friends, do you want to join me? (Hey, who cares if you're reading this a few days after December 1, or even if you can't join in each day...take a gander at blogging about your own Christmas traditions and fun....join us!)