Our first family Christmas party was held on December 21st. We called it the "What WouldNorma Bring?" party. Since my brother Brian and his wife Sarah were in Utah for Christmas, we decided to have a big get together and serve things that my mom would have served.
In attendance were Brian and Sarah; Adrianne (Brian's daughter) and Dan with their children: Kelsey, Rachel, Riley, and Sammy; Brant (Brian's son) and Ariel with their children: Aiden, Ezra, and Gabriel; Jodi (my sister Donna's daughter) and her little daughter Alycia. Then, of course, Terry, me, Melissa, Erika and Tyler.
A full house and I LOVED IT! Here are some pictures of the event.
Can you see Melissa doing Erika's hair??
Erika with my grandpug Oscar.
Adrianne, Alycia, and Jodi (with a little baby inside!)
Brant and Riley looking at Gabriel admiring the lights.
L.to R.: Dan, Brian, Terry, Tyler, Melissa, Sarah, Erika, Adrianne.
Samantha, Dan, Ezra
Riley and Rachel
Erika, Melissa, and their beautiful Aunt Sarah
My kids: Tyler, Erika, and Melissa
Brant, Adrianne, and their papa (my brother) Brian
Spencer is my step son. He is also one of the best fathers I have ever known (and I've seen many: 24 years of teaching X 25 (average) number of students per year=600 fathers). Let's change that to THE best father. I've been blessed to be part of the lives of Terry's children. I look at them as my own. Spencer was 18 (?) when I married Terry. I was impressed from day one!
Anyway, as I looked through photos to post here, I couldn't decide. They all showed him as a great daddy, a great husband, and great person. He has energy, love, and compassion for everyone around him. So, if you want to find out more about Spencer (and it is well worth it), go here, and here, and here.
Thank you, Spencer, for your example of excellence in father-hood, son-hood, step-son-hood, husband-hood, and any other "hood" you are a part of. I do love you and am grateful to know you and be a part of your life.
This little girl believed in Santa sooooo much that she saw him flying with his eight tiny reindeer in the sky on the way home from a shopping trip to Lethbridge...at least that's what her Dad told her and he never, ever lied! Sometimes I feel like her this time of year. I love those moments.
At exactly 6:27 pm on Dec. 3, 1987, I gave birth to Melissa. Now it is 22 years later. Wow! Time flies...it's true. But, I have loved every single minute of that time with her. She is one of those people that you must see to believe. From day one, she was almost perfect. Seriously.
This year, to do something special, Terry (my hub) and I decided to give Melissa 24 envelopes. She was instructed to open one every hour. Inside, she would find 24 reasons why her mom or her dad love her. I also put a random treat inside each envelope.
Let me share a couple with you:
"You tell me in a kind way when my clothes don't match"
"Your work ethic. You work and work. Sure you complain sometimes but you always go and give it your all. Remember that Grandpa Leavitt always said that it doesn't matter if you are hired for $1.00 an hour, you still give your employer your all. I know he would be proud of you."
"You always offer to go get me lunch and dinner with my credit card!"
"You accept me with all of my faults and issues. You support me. You let me know when I need to shape-up...even if I hate that sometimes! Thank you."
Plus, 20 more.
I certainly do love this girl. She is amazing. For more about her, go here.
I absolutely loved this book. Perhaps it is the Canadian-living-in-the-states self talking here, but it made me long for my home in Southern Alberta. Growing up, my father was the maintenance supervisor for the schools in the area. This included the school at two or three of the Hutterite colonies in the area. He would often take me with him on his visits to the colonies. I loved it there and was mesmerized by every nuance of the colony. The baking bread, the chickens roaming free, the homes, the smells, the polka-dots, the braids. I loved going with him. My mother made trips as well. We would often go to purchase eggs, knitted booties and slippers, pick up newly upholstered furniture, and chickens. Every time, we were invited into someone's home to sit down for a visit. Secretly, I wanted to BE a Hutterite just so I could twist my hair back and put on a handkerchief. This book was a trip home for me and I adored it. Mary Ann Kirby is a gifted writer who was able to capture growing up on the colony and later outside of the colony in a way I will not soon forget. I can't wait to make the drive to Canada this summer and visit a colony.
Reading Right Now...
The Alloy of Law: The fourth book in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Something tells me it isn't going to have the same effect on me as the trilogy!
The Kitchen House
Just Finished Reading
Oh my goodness! I owe Jessica Romney a HUGE thank you for recommending this series. I was skeptical at first. But, am so glad I chose to give the Mistborn series a try. Brandon Sanderson is an amazing author. I am now open to a new genre...fantasy. This series though, had even more than fantasy. I felt some strong spiritual undertones throughout this particular (#3) book. I even got a little "misty" at the end. I loved these books. Thanks, Jessica. I owe you and will never question your recommendations again! :)
Also Just Finished Reading...
The author, Sue E. Peterson, is a friend of mine. She sent me this book shortly after the heartbreaking loss of my own husband. It had many wonderful points for me to consider as I read about death and making sense of a new/different life. I appreciated so much of what she said and the metaphors regarding "running" throughout the book. I've never read a book by an author I know (and know very well) personally. Nor, have I read a story based on a person I know and have had conversations with. It was an odd feeling in some respects. Reading different names for each character and each setting sort of messed with my brain a bit. Finally, I put that out of my mind and read with the purpose of gleaning insight about losing a spouse and recovery from grief. I have many turned down pages I'd like to revisit as a result. Thanks for the book, Sue!