in our house, christmas time is synonymous with busy. i am guessing it is not only me who feels like advent feels like a rat race.  it feels like we shop, we work, we rush, we stress, we attempt to cram every christmas tradition into the slivers of left over time... on christmas morning, stick a fork in me, i am done! every year i promise to do better. slow down. because  i often wonder what type of memories my children will have when they reminisce about their childhood christmas. you know, "back in the old days when our cell phones were not surgically implanted in our bodies." (touchy subject)

they will most likely remember the busyness, along with stringing popcorn, chopping down a wild tree for the playroom, candlelight church services... whatever they remember, i pray my children always remember that no matter how busy our christmas was, we tried to be very purposeful in celebrating the true meaning of christmas. the one day set aside to celebrate the birth of a little baby that really did change everything

so when it comes time and we have opportunities to serve in the name of that little baby, Jesus, we stop. we miss a day of school when we really, really should not.  we cancel an appointment and say no to some things so that we can serve. 

How will we worship Him this season? Endlessly shopping? Hustling about and adorning our homes? Will that be our tribute to our Savior? Or will we bring peace to troubled hearts, good will to those in need of higher purpose, glory to God in our willingness to do his bidding? Jesus put it simply, ‘Come, and follow me.
— Elder Ronald A. Rasband

so my kids may remember christmas dinner from and eating on festive paper plates . they may remember a not so perfectly decorated house or dinner table.   but i feel sure they will remember the overwhelming joy they felt when serving others. serving in the name of the  baby that changed everything!

messiest day of the year

gingerbread houses! decorating these beauties are as fun as they are messy! we cut down on the messy part years ago with the help of a hot glue gun. we have never actually eaten a bite of the gingerbread. i am guessing that the preservatives in these beauties could keep them looking fresh for decades. a little hot glue adds to their longevity ;)  

dog pile

it's the most wonderful time of the year! when it's dinner time, our life 360 ap has everyone in the same location! PRAISE! 
i am thankful for the busiest (work) christmas season to date. there were days that my head was spinning. days i felt as if lived out of my car and days spent behind a computer.... and then there were days when all we did was family! it's the most wonderful time of the year!  
i love this set of pictures. it was thanksgiving day and i was taking attempting our annual group picture. the kids (led by bennett) thought posing in a dog pile would be funny... and drive his mother nuts.  wrong. i loved every shot!

God's splendor

one of the happiest places on earth! many most of our vacation days are spent on the boat.  we sight see, we fish and we watch our real life g.i. joe do his thing. on some days bennett and his intricate hobbies make the rest of us feel like his maintenance staff. (but what a super cool kid!)

on this particular day, bennett's staff was feeling rather spent.  bennett's bloody speared fish made the water a little too scary for swimmers.  so they "watched his bubbles." 

just when boredom was settling in for the girls, a tiny creature crawled aboard. a fascinating baby octopus! 

this pint sized creation was all we needed to be entertained for hours. between caring for bennett's every scuba need, we watched with fascination as this octopus used eight feet to walk and ink and suction to our hands and even bite! his tint beak bit anna katherine! how awesome that God's gives us all natural instinct.

i was waiting to hear "can we keep him, can we keep him, MOM CAN WE KEEP HIM?" like every year before! maybe it was maturity or the fact that anna katherine's bite was now bleeding, but at the end of the day, they happily returned him to the water.
  i wouldn't trade an experience like for a day at disney world. seeing God's intricate design in even the tiniest of creatures.

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