Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Joy Dare::December

1955: Warm enough for this:
1956: Eat/wake/sleep--happy Mama, happy baby
1957: Technology that allows me to stay connected to a friend in another country
1958. Happy mail
1959. Enough sandbox time that I got the house straightened up
1960. Feeling ok about some busy days
1961. Celebrating my Gramma's birthday
1962. Clean bathrooms
1963. Aliza helping Josiah through a tough spot in school
1964. Trying to capture the smiles
1965. A busy day of a different sort
1966. Well behaved children in multiple public places
1967. Aliza asking intelligent questions out of curiosity at the doctor's office
1968. Watching the Nutcracker Ballet with my girls (and Isaiah)
1969. 3 children SO excited to show Grandpa every treasure they own
1970. Anna asleep beside Grandma and Grandpa's bed
1971. Baby dedication and fellowship afterwards
1972. A very mature conversation with Aliza
1973. Not-even-remotely-good-for-you apple pie
1974. Napping with Uncle Jeff
1975. Children all asleep before 9:00!!
1976. Learning to play chess
1977. Made it to the end of the day
1978. A very rare lunch in the living room to watch a TV show
1979. Earlier mornings
1980. Isaiah slept through our night
1981. Baby smiles that make his eyes squint
1982. Aliza busily reading new library books
1983. Josiah completing schoolwork without a meltdown
1984. Having insecure thoughts and seeing that they were unfounded
1985. Venting made me feel better
1986. Isaiah slept through our night two nights in a row #itsatrendnow
1987. Josiah's office--like Grandad's
1988. Working hard on school with great attitudes and getting it done by lunch
1989. Surprise mail and feeling SO special
1990. Losing track of time while walking around stores this evening
1991. Looking right at me and smiling
1992. Tillamook cheese!!
1993. Enjoying moments of holding Isaiah, Anna snuggling up with me during rest time, Josiah wanting to be close and reading out loud to Aliza with her snuggled up against me
1994. Blowing bubbles
1995. Reflecting on this year with Jeremy
1996. Today's cupcake--Butterscotch cheesecake
1997. Keeping school as simple as possible this week
1998. A patient hygienst
1999. Josiah raking pine needles with Great Grandad
2000. Nestled in with Great Gramma
2001. Won an important battle
2002. Making a conscious effort to take a more gentle approach to correction
2003. Our neighbors that just welcome us in like family
2004. My Dad stopping in for a minute and the children running to give him huge hugs
2005. Challenged and being stretched
2006. Listened to radio broadcast with Katie Davis from Uganda while I wrapped presents
2007. Going to bed and realizing I am happy
2008. Decorated gingerbread men
2009. Baby coos
2010. Community Christmas dinner with friends
2011. Christmas break from school!!
2012. Another smooth road trip
2013. Baking cookies at 9pm as soon as we get to Grandma Karen's house
2014. Everybody wants to be close to Grandma
2015. Hearing a testimony of hope in spite of difficult circumstances
2016. Relaxed Christmas celebration filled with excitement and joy
2017. Seeing Aliza's love tank filled after getting one on one time
2018. A grinning Anna tucked in with shimmery sparkles around her eye, her doll on one side and a duck named Quack on the other side
2019. Josiah built his Legos all by himself. Makes me feel happy and a little bit sad that he didn't need help.
2020. Lots and lots of happy playing
2021. Watching Jeremy enjoy brother time with Joel
2022. Despite the late brother nights, Jeremy still did the early morning feedings for me
2023. An evening walking around Target with Brandi and Karen
2024. Everyone had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa and everyone is happy to be home
2025. 4 kids in their own beds and a silent house
2026. Thankful that I can drive so Jeremy can get some work done while we are on the road
2027. Stamp party
2028. Pizza and shrimp
2029. Going-to-bed-on-Christmas-Eve excitement
2030. Christmas morning--all the joy and excitement
2031. Just being in the moment whether that was watching Josiah build Legos , holding Isaiah, scrapbooking with Aliza or giving Anna attention
2032. Mom and Dad's house for Christmas dinner and visiting
2033. A reasonable doctor
2034. Recycling--it makes me feel like I'm doing something good (I had a ton today since I hadn't gone in almost 3 months)
2035. Succeeded in getting Isaiah down for 3 naps--a semblance of a routine
2036. Christmas mess strewn all over the house
2037. 2nd annual Christmas tea with Maria
2038. I could make it work for Jeremy to go golfing
2039. Jeremy helped me get food ready to take for Sheats Christmas tomorrow
2040. These smiles
2041. This mess
2042. The nighttime quiet that makes me want to stay up way too late
2043. The house was calling to be cleaned but it was more important to play Monopoly Jr.
2044. Out of town friends stopping by to visit
2045. Phone conversations
2046. Streaming sun on my afternoon couch spot
2047. Level 1 post Christmas cleaning almost done
2048. Definitely feeling like I'm in vacation mode this week
2049. 6 cousins on a trampoline--apparently they didn't notice how cold it was
2050.  A steak dinner that Jeremy really enjoyed
2051. A wonderfully full year 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas--Round 3

I LOVED Christmas Day with my husband and children, but there is just something about getting to be the kid and going home for Christmas.

The grandchildren were so excited for Christmas--again. I jokingly said that what the children are going to remember about Sheats Christmas is waiting. I don't know how many times I said--"wait."

First of all, Grandad read the Christmas Story and we sang Joy to the World.
Then the children received gifts from the Aunts and Uncles. My Mom set it up so that children would open in groups in only one child per family would open at a time. This worked well for me because 1) I could see what each child was opening and 2) my goal for the day was that my children would thank each person after they opened a gift. I needed to help those children who don't read know who to thank.
Later, Josiah opened a bow and arrow from Grandma and Grandad. He was one excited and totally surprised little boy.
Isaiah fell sound asleep in my arms--and I held him--for as long as I could.
Bless Lydia's heart. Every time a present was put in front of her she started opening it and was told to WAIT! I guess she thought sitting on top of the box was her best option.
4 generations. In a great big circle.
Ezra helped himself to plenty of M&Ms!
My Mom surprised me with some scrapbooking things that I've wanted. I really thought that since she had been in my house so much this fall that she would have seen something that I needed or needed to be replaced of updated. I was pretty tickled to get some new pens--my girls have been pretty hard on the ones I have. And they will not even know that I got new ones. I'm hiding my new pens!! =) 

It was a perfect end to our Christmas week.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas at Home--Round 2

Jeremy and I had the privilege of being able to give,--especially Aliza and Josiah--something that they both really wanted. It was really fun to keep secrets and watch them be really excited.

Aliza and Josiah both bought gifts to give. They gave their gifts first. It was special to watch them be so excited about giving the gifts they picked out for each other. Then it was Daddy and Mommy's turn to give--we were quite excited to give too!

Aliza was pretty excited about what Anna received. But Anna still had the, now expected, open mouth excited look.
Josiah is saying, "IT'S THE LEGO POLICE STATION!!!!"
"THIS IS SOOOO AWESOME!" He built it all by himself and had it finished by late afternoon. It is pretty awesome.
Aliza really really really wanted a My American Girl doll. She picked out the one that looked most like her. For weeks she was saying how badly she wanted it, but knew she wasn't going to get it because it cost a bit more than we said we were going to spend--and I had never paid full price for an American Girl doll. Aliza said if she got that doll for Christmas she would cry. She didn't cry, but she was a happy little girl!

Of course, Isaiah didn't have a clue what was going on and I really had free pass this Christmas, but I remembered that Sole Hope sold children's shoes. With the purchase of a shoe, you are also donating the cost of a shoe for a child in Uganda.
The sole is definitely made out of bicycle inner tube. The rubber is soft and flexible. They are also super easy to put on. The shoes are too big for Isaiah right now, but I think we will get some good use out of them.
It was a memorable, joy filled Christmas morning at our house! The rest of the day was pretty relaxing. Aliza wanted to scrapbook with me. I was happy to oblige! There was lots of happy playing and just enjoying being family. It's possible that I practically begged my Mom to cook Christmas dinner for us (and as it turned out my other siblings who were in town), but Merry Christmas to me--I didn't have to cook!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Epic Wrapping

This is all Jeremy's creativity.

It wasn't very easy to unwrap either! It was fun to look at!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas--Round 1

We spent a long weekend with Jeremy's family in West Virginia. On Saturday Jeremy's extended family visited for the day. That was fun--and exhausting. It was good to catch up on everyone's lives. Isaiah got passed around all day and the children all played super well together.
There was lots of time to play games and spend time with Grandma and Grandpa.
We had a really relaxed time of exchanging gifts. The point in these pictures is not what the gift was, but the expressions of joy on the faces.

I'm still a fan of Legos...and so are the kids.

Would someone tell Isaiah that he is simply too little to be pushing up like this??!

This was the perfect beginning of our Christmas week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


This is the first year that we have participated in Advent as a family. I was well into my pregnancy when Ann Voskamp announced her Advent devotional for families called Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. As you are well aware, I'm sure, I deeply admire Ann's writing so I pre-ordered the book immediately. It arrived just a few days after I was home with Isaiah and I thought I was really crazy, but the book is so pretty so I determined we would still use it.

Ann describes her book best:

"Unwrapping the Greatest Gift is like your own larger-than-life Advent Calendar, opening up to 25 wondrous stories that tell the family tree of Jesus, from Creation to His Coming.

Because if we want our Christmas tree to really stand full of wonder & real meaning? The tree we need to understand & be astonished by —-  is the wonder of the family tree of Jesus! Because this is your family’s real family tree, your real story.

Each day’s story has its very own ornament, one for each day of Advent — all unwrapping a bit more of a story that’s far better than the greatest fairy tale you’ve ever read —- because this story is all true.  So come Christmas day — your kids, and your Christmas tree with all 25 ornaments, will be telling the full love story of  Jesus’ coming, right from the very beginning!"

On the day we were to start Advent (we started a couple days early before Dec. 1 because we will be traveling some) I was busy printing, matting, and stringing THREE sets of ornaments.

Every evening we have gathered for our reading and ornament coloring and hanging. This is real life right here...
The book is illustrated beautifully. All of the ornament pictures are on the front of the book and Aliza goes through them each night reciting the story.
The children color their ornament on the floor while  Mommy or Daddy reads the devotional. After each devotional there is a question to discuss and suggested activities for the day. We have not done either of those things this year. More real life--sometimes the children are a bit wound up and don't listen--or they are squabbling over colored pencils--or there is some other type of drama. We can grow into the questions and activities as the children mature.

Our tree is getting heavy with ornaments as we add 75 over the course of the month.
It does help that Josiah is placing all of his on one branch so that they stay in order.

Our tree is not beautiful in from a design standpoint, but it is beautiful to us because we see God's love for us every time we look at it.