...we're alive. Sorry. The blog took a back seat this last week and it might be a day or two before I get to updating. We went to the farm on Wednesday and returned home on Sunday. We were suppose to go to Disney to surprise the kids but canceled at the last minute because Andy has a lot on his plate at work. In hindsight, I'm glad we canceled because we came down with a lovely stomach virus over the holidays that made it's way around Andy's extended family. (So far, AG is the only member of our immediate family that has not had it.) Anyways, I'm trying to get out from under the mountain of housework and get all the Christmas decorations up. I promise to update ASAP. Till then I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is enjoying preparing for the upcoming holiday season.
Well, back in June I posted about participating in a Jesse Tree ornament exchange. Since then I've had our basket of ornaments stashed in my closet waiting for the holiday season. In the mean time I began to brainstorm what type of tree I wanted to use. Ideally, I'd like to have a small 3-4 foot tree for the kids to decorate in their play area. However, I'm not really sure how Avi-Kate will do this year with the tree and since these ornaments are handmade I don't want to tempt fate. I think in a few years I'll probably look to do something like that...back to the drawing board I went. I then began to brain storm what Christmas stuff we have and where it all goes. I could put the ornaments on our big tree but I don't want them to get lost on the tree. (We usually end up with a 8 foot tree that we cut down...I think they get bigger each year.) I then began to mull the possibility of putting it on a table/counter. After much brainstorming I finally decided that I wanted to put it on the kitchen table so that it would be easily seen by the kids and we could talk about it each night at dinner. (This required me to rearrange some of the other small trees we have... particularly my Starbucks tree that usually sits on the kitchen table. I have found a new home for it and I think this will work out quite nicely.)
Once I settled on the spot I had to find a tree...I've been searching for weeks and didn't find anything that I loved so I decided to repurpose a tree I already had. Now the only downside of putting the tree on the table is that there is no outlet on the wall the table sits on. And I, of course, want this tree to be lit. Thankfully, I was able to find some inexpensive battery powered light sets at Hobby Lobby last week. We spent yesterday at home in pjs because we've all passed around a lovely cold and a virus. (I had to reschedule our big Thanksgiving meal with our college students that was suppose to be tonight for next week...I figured their parents didn't want me to send them home sick with what we've had.) All that to say, we started pulling out Christmas stuff yesterday. I can get a head start on trying to get the house decorated. This morning I decided to make sure I could fit all the ornaments we have on the tree I want to use. Thankfully, they all fit with a little room to spare. Here's what our table will look like this Christmas season. I need to fill the votives on either side of the tree with coffee beans and tea lights. (We'll use those for our Advent candles.)
A little sneak peek:
In my research I've found that there are several different types of Jesse Trees. It's the same concept but usually the order is switched around. For our exchange we are doing the following order:
1. The Light in Creation
2. The First Sin
3. Inside the Ark
4. The Call to Abram
5. Isaac and the Lamb
6. Jacob's Ladder
7. Joseph's Coast of Many Colors
8. Moses and the Ten Commandments
9. Canaan, the Promised Land of Blessings
10. Ruth and Boaz
11. King David
12. Josiah Finds the Law
13. Prophesy of Shoot from the Stump of Jesse
14. Prophesy of the Lion and Lamb Resting Together
15. Prophesy of the Prince of Peace
16. Prophesy of a Gentle Shepherd
17. Prophesy of the Suffering Servant
18. Prophesy of the New Covenant
19. Prophesy of Bethlehem
20. The Exile
21. The Return to the Land
22. The Star
23. The Light of the World
24. Angels Proclaiming the Coming of Christ
25. The Birth of Jesus
There you have it. Our Jesse Tree is ready to go for the very first time and I'm very excited. Now to get the rest of the house decorated for the holidays...
My friend, Grace, messaged me earlier on facebook about Christmas book ideas and coincidentally I had just set the pile of Christmas books on the ground for Avi-Kate to explore. Anyways, I figured while it was on my mind I might as well go ahead and post our ever growing collection of Christmas books. The picture above is from AG's first Christmas in 2009. I've added just a few titles since then. :)
Here we go:
(In no particular order)
If You Take A Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
Who Will Help Santa This Year by Jerry Pallotta
Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
The Night Before Christmas Illustrated by Douglas Gorsline (I love this version because it's the version my parents read to me when I was little.)
The Nativity by Francesca Crespi
The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker by Jan and Mike Berenstain
An Angel Came to Nazareth Illustrated by Maggie Kneen
Merry Christmas, Curious George by Margaret and H. A. Rey
Strega Nona's Gift by Tomie dePaola
Home for Christmas by Jan Brett
The Night Before Christmas Illustrated by Jan Brett
The Twelve Days of Christmas Illustrated by Jan Brett
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
The Christmas Story Illustrated by Maggie Downer
The Traditions of Christmas by Bill Abrams (My grandmother gave me this book in 1989!)
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
The Elf on the Shelf
If I add any more in the next few weeks I'll amend the list. :) There are so many titles for this season and what we have is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are looking to add just a few titles three of my favorites from this list would be:
Olivia Helps with Christmas
Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear
Llama Llama Holiday Drama
I love these three because they are easily relatable to my small children. AG loves to read that particular Olivia title all year long because he just thinks it's funny.
Outside my window: Rain and falling temps. We've got a front pushing across the state and once the rain clears out it should be much cooler tomorrow. Andy got out this morning and blew off the driveway because the leaves have been falling steadily this last week and if we didn't get the driveway blown off before the rain it makes it pretty slick to drive on. I'm thinking: About all that I have to get done this week. One week from today we are hosting our college students for Thanksgiving so I need to make my final grocery list tonight and get working on things this week. I bought a huge turkey on sale last week at Kroger and need to set him out to start thawing on Wednesday. I'm wondering: About all that I need to do to get ready for Thanksgiving with Andy's family next week. I really need to sit down and make a list of things I need to take/remember.
I'm thankful: For my friend, Ginny. She and I check in with each other at least once a week about what is going on in our worlds. I'm thankful that despite us living in different cities we are still close. These chats always make my day and I'm so grateful for her friendship. I look forward to seeing her over Thanksgiving break. I'm hearing: Christmas music playing in the kitchen and the kids watching Curious George on the tv. Yes, I'm on the early Christmas music bandwagon. It use to drive me nuts when I was high school and college...then I got married and had kids...now I'm all about starting things a little earlier because this time of the year is so much fun with small kids. From the Kitchen: Once I get this post finished I'm off to start making shepherd's pie for dinner and an extra one for the freezer. I found some ground beef on discount this morning after I dropped AG at school so I bought all that they had. I also plan to cook some chili. We'll have some later this week and stick the rest in the freezer. And I have a recipe for apple crisp that I pinned on Pinterest recently that I want to try. Something about cool, rainy weather puts me in the mood for comfort food. Later this week we'll start prepping things for Thanksgiving. I'm reading: I need to find something to put on my Kindle and read it while we are at the farm next week for Thanksgiving break. One of my favorite things: The rapidly approaching holiday season. I really do love everything about this time of year. Andy and I are both really excited about Christmas this year because Avi-Kate is so much more aware of things. She gets super excited when she sees Christmas trees all lit up in stores when we are shopping. I'm creating: Putting the finishing touches on my holiday planner. I've wanted to do one for the last few years but haven't gotten my act together in time. I'm not including Thanksgiving in it this year since we will be out of town and I didn't get it put together in time. Next year, next year. I ended up scrapping my original plan and doing something very different because I was in the mood to be really crafty/creative. I really like how it is turning out and I'll do a post on it sometime this week with pictures. I also need to get our Christmas card ordered this week. Cardstore is having a FABULOUS sale...70%off plus they will give you postage and if you want they will type addresses on your envelopes! It's AMAZING. I did it last year and loved how convenient it was. One less thing for me to do. That deal is good till Thursday so I need to get going on it. Around the house: Getting ready for Thanksgiving! Lots to clean and prep for Family Dinner. Then lots to pack to be out of town at the farm for a few days. In addition, I'm in the process of putting away all of my fall stuff minus the burlap wreath. (Which is what I'm using this month for our thankful/gratitude tree...I need to post about that too.) When we come home from the farm we plan to cut down our Christmas tree and begin decorating the house ASAP. So, I'd like to get all the fall stuff put up and leave the house ready for decorating when we return. We'll see if that happens but one can hope. :) A few plans for the week: Tomorrow I'm taking the kids to ATL for the day to see Santa at Phipps Plaza and ride the Pink Pig. Wednesday is Kindermusik and getting caught up around the house. Thursday night I'm going with a bunch of my college girls to see the Twilight premier. Friday is low key and around the house. Saturday Andy is taking AG to his first UGA game and I'm going to stay home and get the house ready for Family Dinner. Should be much easier to do with the guys gone and just Avi-Kate. A picture thought that I'm sharing:
I was gone yesterday and Andy had the kids. Clearly, they had lots of fun without me...he found this costume for $5 at Kroger and then they had craft time making AG, I mean Captain America, his shield. Best Dad ever. I'm richly blessed by the man I call my husband.
I finally have time and the computer is cooperating so that I can upload pictures so here we go! Expect a few posts that should have been in October but I'm just now getting around to. First up, Mountain Day Weekend. I've blogged about it a lot but we love Mtn. Day Weekend every single year. It's Berry's version of homecoming and it's always the first full weekend in October. Mtn. Day was created to celebrate Martha Berry's birthday and has grown over the years. This tradition started way back when Martha was still alive and the schools were very small. I'm sure Martha would be amazed at how many people come back each year now to celebrate her and her legacy. (Thousands!) Every year we have a large group of family (we have alumni from both sides of our families besides us), former college students, friends from our time at school, and our current college students that gather together on Mtn. Campus. Andy's picnicking food of choice for Mtn. Day is KFC and we spend the afternoon all hanging out together on the Mtn.
Uncle Clay's first Mtn. Day and Aunt Caro was elated to be back for Mtn. Day.
Em C and Abby were happy to catch up with Caroline.
Last year in pink! Can't believe they are upperclassmen.
Some of my sweet girls.
Mr. President...at least of Berry College.
Getting ready to march.
There was a mobile Jandy's FroYo truck this year...AG was beside himself.
With two of my oldest friends and our sweet girls.
My cousin, Clint, is currently a Berry student and our grandmother who came up for the day.
Just a few of my sweet girls from the last few years. So very grateful for them and the beautiful women that they have become.
You never what's likely to happen when these four get together.
I was overjoyed to have these two back for their first Mtn. Day as Alumni.
Sweet cousins at the end of a fun afternoon on the mountain.
Harrison's last Mtn. Day as a student...excited to celebrate their wedding next month.
November is off and running and Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away! Goodness me. I have so much to do in the next two and a half weeks. Anyways, since Thanksgiving is literally around the corner I went ahead last week and put out Thanksgiving themed/November books on the first day of the month. I also left out the fall books that we had out since the kids were enjoying them so much and they all tie together.
I also decided to pull out a few presidential books/history related books since this year is an election year. My personal favorite being John, Paul, George, and Ben! It's hysterical and the illustrations are amazing. AG had his first real lesson in civics last week when I went and voted.
The Story of the White House by Kate Waters
John, Paul, George, and Ben by Lane Smith
Arthur Meets the President by Marc Brown
The American Flag by Patricia Ryon Quiri
Presidents of the United States by Christopher Chant
The Thanksgiving Surprise by Peggy Archer
Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation by Diane Stanley
One Litt;e, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G.Hennessy
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
The Magic School Bus at the First Thanksgiving
Turkey Bowl by Phil Bildner
I went ahead and pulled the Christmas books this morning and they are currently sitting in a massive stack on the dining room table. And I'm quite sure there are probably a few more that will find their way in to the stack before it's all said and done. Books have a way of hiding out depending on where the kids 'relocate' them to. Ha.
I have lots to blog about this week so I will be checking back in very soon. I'm off to get a much needed shower while AG is at school and Avi-Kate is asleep.
It's Saturday in Athens and that means that the Bulldawg faithful will be gathering for another meeting 'Between the Hedges'. AG and Avi-Kate will be cheering the Dawgs on in their UGA gear with Nanny while we'll be at the game. Andy and I are excited to be back in Athens after a month away. (This year the Dawgs were either off or traveling the month of October.) Here are some pictures of the kids from last weekend before the Dawgs beat Florida. And since they knocked off the Gators we are now in control of the SEC East. If the Dawgs can beat Ole Miss tomorrow and Auburn next weekend we'll be headed to ATL for the SEC Championship in December. We're excited...
And the bulldawg the kids are sitting on is actually from Athens. My best friend growing up, David, went to UGA and this bulldawg use to sit on the steps of his fraternity house. He gave it to us as a wedding present when we got married. He sits by our back door and greets us every time we leave/arrive home.
And this will be our view today. Oh, how I love Athens, especially, in the fall.
In 2007, we purchased a foreclosure for our first home. The phrase, "they don't build 'em like they use to!" applies to our bungalow. Built in 1945, our house had great bones it just needed a little TLC. This is our story. This is how we have created our home.