We had a very wonderful early Christmas celebration with the Charlebois side of the family this past weekend. Unfortunately, I haven't uploaded or edited my photos from our time with them yet, so that post will have to wait. I love Christmas time. I love getting Christmas cards in the mail. I love wrapping gifts. I love that even the secular radio stations play songs about Jesus. I love seasonal baking and candy making (even if I did burn the caramels this year). And even though this time of year is always very slow for work and things can get tight, I count it as a blessing that we get to have JP home with us more than usual.
I recently had the very fun privilege of doing some Christmas photos of my high school friend's daughter, little Makena. You may remember that I photographed Makena over the summer when she turned two. She was as spunky as ever, and we had a lot of fun trying to catch her on camera before she zipped away to the other side of the room!
So far, SIX of the 27 Christmas cards I have received were made with photos I took over the course of the past year. I can't begin to describe how FUN and REWARDING it has been! Thanks to all of my "guinea pig" friends!!! :)
The girls and I have had a lot of fun doing various Christmas/winter crafts this year. My favorite so far is this cardboard Christmas tree they painted and decorated (Idea from Disney's Family Fun Magazine.).
For the past three or four days, the entire family has been working on getting a nice, big wood pile stacked up before the first big snow hits the ground. JP has a wood burning stove in his workshop, and he uses it during the cold winter months when he has to work from home, fix cars, etc. We have a number of downed trees on our property, so we used the tractor to pull them out, then JP bucked them with the chainsaw. The girls and I drove the golf cart around with a trailer on the back, filling it with smaller logs and timber. Once JP got the bigger trees bucked, the girls and I stacked the logs into piles.
It was hard, hard work -- the kind of work that leaves you exhausted at the end of the day -- which is why JP and I were so surprised by our up-and-coming lumberjack, Rae.
This girl was seriously unbelievable. She worked her little 4-year-old butt of all day long, picking up full-sized logs, NOT just the little ones, loading them into the trailer, unloading them and stacking them higher than her head..neatly! (She probably stacked 55% of the logs in that front pile she's sitting on in these pictures by herself. Plus more in the stacks behind her.) She gathered timber, swept up the scraps of bark and other kindling and loaded it all into buckets.
She worked straight through her nap, and when Ruby (who had napped) was too tired to keep going and went to bed, Rae stayed up working and working and working until after 10:00 pm. When all the work was done and she had swept the patio clean, she begged us to keep going though we tried to convince her we probably had enough wood for now.
She kept going on and on about how outdoor work was so much fun, and the next day she pleaded to go find more logs to stack. JP and I told her she should consider being a lumberjack as a career, and she was intrigued. Could there really be a job where you got to cut down trees and stack them up...and get paid to do it?!!?
Perhaps the best part of all was watching JP and Rae work together. They definitely bonded even more over this experience. JP talked to her about the verses in Ecclesiastes:
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:If either of them falls down, one can help the other up." Ecc 4:9-10
We talked about having a hard work ethic, building character, and how the Bible tells us to look at the ant, who stores up and prepares for winter. We talked about the importance of every job and how every job has to be done diligently, not just the fun ones.
I was so impressed with our hard-working peanut, and I pray that this was an experience she'll retain in her mind and spirit for a long time. I know I will.
I got to take photos of my sister Amber's family yesterday. We met at the Elm Creek Park Chalet and had fun watching the skiers glide by as we attempted to get all four kids to look and smile at the same time. Or maybe just look. :)
...and my favorite of the day:
Today we cut down our Christmas tree from a local tree farm owned by a family in our church. The experience was so much fun, especially for the kids. The tree smells wonderful, and I love pulling each of the ornaments out of the box for the first time each year. Each one holds a special memory.
I was really impressed with what a difference one year has made in the girls' decorating skills. Last year all of the ornaments were huddled in one section around the bottom of the tree. This year, they pulled out the step stool from the bathroom to reach higher places, or asked me to place it where they wanted it (if it was out of their reach). We watched The Grinch and sang "Oh Christmas Tree," then sat back and soaked in the beauty.
Rae at bedtime: "Mom, may I please have a sip of ice water?"
Me: "Didn't you just have a sip of water when you brushed your teeth?"
Rae: "No, those were gulps."
Rae (eating an apple): "It's amazing how just by eating an apple, you can turn it into a core."
Rae to Gammy: "My poop stinks."
Gammy: "That's ok, everybody's poop stinks."
Rae: "Not my mom's."