30 November 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

The table was set.

Our fruitful centerpiece.

For everything!

Shawn, Lucy, and Ben.

Me and mom.

The girls.

I saw Grace kissing Shawn's cheek several times.

Jennifer & Roy enjoy the great weather.

The girls come out to play.

Cousins- 3 boys & 3 girls.

Roy does the honors of carving up our 21 pound turkey.

The kiddie table with Shawn in charge.

Feasting with the family.

Faith playfully tackles her sister.

Blessed are we.

Kyle and Bryan.

Grandpa & Grandma.

We had a few sprinkles in the morning but that soon gave way to a beautiful day. Everyone arrived at 3:00 and by that time, the girls had taken a good, long nap. I prepared the turkey, stuffing, and two kinds of veggies while everyone else pitched in by bringing mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, desserts, snacks, and wine. Everything turned out delicious! It was wonderful to see everyone and fun to watch the girls be much more independent this year. They absolutely loved playing with their cousins. Thanks to all of you for making the long drive and for making Thanksgiving so special!

Yesterday, after all of our family left, Morgan and I decided to clean out our garage. We have been waiting for cooler weather to do this so it was a good day to get started. It was getting pretty ridiculous with all the stuff that was piling up. It took us about 4.5 hours but we managed to clean it all out, reorganize, and take a whole van full of things to Goodwill. We have much more room in the garage now and it feels great! It's amazing how much stuff piles up in just 2 years!

In the afternoon, I made turkey soup from our Thanksgiving leftovers (a family tradition that my dad started when we were young). Can't wait to enjoy it tonight!

28 November 2008

Thanksgiving Morning

Baking cookies.

The fun of playing with your food.

Grace rolls out her dough.

Faith carefully uses her rolling pin.

The newest Radio City Rockettes!

Standing in formation.

Grace kicks it up!

Faith has some high kicks of her own.

Decorating the cookies.

Decorating is dad's favorite part, too.

Faith gives the icing a taste.

Grace decorates with sprinkles.
(Notice how a bite is already missing from her cookie).

Sharing their work.

Yummy!

Before our family arrived in the afternoon, we spent the morning baking sugar cookies and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The girls loved watching all the balloons and floats go by. They also performed along with the Radio City Rockettes. Too cute!

On a side note- I feel like I'm making a little progress towards loosening up on my need to have everything clean and in order. I realize that making buttery sugar cookies with flour, sprinkles, and frosting all over the place on the morning of Thanksgiving (with the house still needing to be clean and much to do) may not be a stretch for some but it was a great leap for me! :)
Well worth it, too!

Tree-Trimming

Hanging ornaments.

Grace & Faith.

Careful placement.

Faith admires her work.

Hmmm... 4 ornaments on 1 branch.

Little elves.

Grace likes the sparkly ones.

An angel sitting by the tree.

Ta-da!

The mantel.

We put up our Christmas trees earlier in the week and I'm so glad that we did. The girls loved helping out and our house looked so festive for Thanksgiving. We have two trees this year because I bought one last year on clearance
(I think it was $9) to use for our business. Unfortunately, we won't be needing it for the Tutoring Club so I thought why not put it up in our dining room?
It worked out well because Morgan says that the tree in our living room is all "fancy-schmancy" so the second tree is more traditional with lots of our red and classic ornaments. We rarely use our dining room anymore so it's a real treat when our family gathers there to celebrate the holidays.

27 November 2008

A truly thankful heart

Is it really Thanksgiving already? This week has just flown by. I made the cranberry, sausage and apple stuffing yesterday. The house smells like Thanksgiving and I love it! We decided on Tuesday night that we would indeed put up our Christmas tree. I almost waited until after Thanksgiving this year to do it but what the hay? The kids had so much fun decorating it. We alternate Thanksgivings between our families so this year, Morgan's whole side of the family will be coming to our house. We will miss being with my family this year but look forward to seeing them at Christmas.

As this year quickly comes to a close, I am reminded about all that 2008 has brought. Before this year, it was actually quite easy for me to be thankful. After all, there was so much to be thankful for. For the most part, I consider myself a positive and optimistic person. I have no problem being thankful to God in the midst of our circumstances. But I am beginning to realize that God wants more from me. He also wants me to be thankful for our circumstances. There is a definite difference there and I know that He is trying to teach me something through the latter. The act of thanking God for our challenges, struggles, heartbreaks, suffering, disappointments, etc. requires both a trust that surrenders to Him and an eternal "big picture" perspective. I realize that our current circumstances do not compare to some. We are not talking life or death here, nor sickness or health. I'm speaking mostly about the state of our economy, the stock market and it's impact on Morgan and his clients, our Tutoring Club business, and the sad fact that we must soon lay-off our employees. These past few months have been some of the toughest (business wise) that we have ever experienced. Although we may not always know or understand the why's of our challenges, as believers, we know that we can rest assured that God is working through it all- for His good and for ours. As believers, we are also gifted with the Holy Spirit that dwells within us and helps us to actually be able to say, "Lord, thank you for this difficult season of challenges." My desire is to have that kind of deep trust- to be able to easily say those words and actually mean it. The kind of trust that is not easily jolted by life. Often times, when life works out the way we want it to, there is not much to learn from that experience. But through our challenges and the not-so-easy times, we realize that often character, faith, and perseverance are born. In spite of our circumstances, our hearts are earnestly thankful, this year and every year. May you choose to truly say, "Lord, thank you for it all."

God Bless you and your family this Thanksgiving.

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
~Ephesians 5:20



25 November 2008

La Jolla Weekend

Faith tries to touch the starfish.

Grace looks at the moray eels.

The feeding show.

It's lunch time!

Us girls show our teeth, too.

Faith walks into the shark cage.

Grace meets a giant octopus.

Faith tries to handle a manta ray.

It's actually a hand puppet.

A clown fish.

Grace wants mom to kiss the angel fish.

This is the coolest thing! It's a Dragonhorse.

Here's another kind.

The girls had fun hands-on experiences.

Learning about sea creatures.

Can we have lobster for lunch?

They got to touch a sea cucumber.

There it is.

Our monkeys take in the view.

The whale sculpture outside the aquarium.

Daddy & Faith.

Grace & mommy.

Having fun in downtown La Jolla.

Grace gives her favorite guy a kiss.

Relaxing at La Valencia hotel.

Mom and Grace at La Jolla Cove.

Walking out to see the sea lions.

The sea lions are perched on the rock and on the beach.

They slowly scoot their way back into the water.

We spent our weekend in La Jolla to recharge before the holidays and to celebrate Morgan's birthday (which was on Sunday). We managed to get a great deal on Priceline and stayed at the Hyatt where once again, we booked a regular room but got a complimentary upgrade to a suite because we said we were there to celebrate Morgan's birthday. Maybe they saw that we had 2 kids and knew that we could use the extra space? Either way, it never hurts to ask (and we always ask) and we were grateful for the nice upgrade! Morgan and I have great memories of this hotel because we rang in the millennium here almost 9 years ago. We attended a huge New Year's Eve gala that night while I was living in San Diego. Fun memories!

We had nothing in particular planned for the weekend. We just wanted to hang out and enjoy some quiet time as a family with no other distractions.
We went to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps by UCSD. It was a much better aquarium than we expected. There were lots of things that the girls could get their hands on and experience so that was fun. We also enjoyed walking around downtown La Jolla. We window-shopped, ate dinner at the Spot, and explored the historic La Valencia hotel. Another highlight was the Children's Pool at La Jolla Cove. This is a beautiful scenic area along the beach where sea lions take rest.

All in all, more great family memories were made this past weekend. Happy Birthday to the best hubby and daddy in the world! You are greatly loved.


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