Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Eve on the River

We were feeling a bit homesick for festive snow, family, and the familiarity of family on Christmas Eve. We headed off to church and enjoyed the service so much. Ainsley thought it was amazing that they passed out bread and juice to everyone (all of the grown-ups anyway) and thought Big Church was almost as fun as her Sunday school class.

We left the service feeling full and blessed. Reminded of what we were (are) celebrating this season. A thrill of hope. Dirk suggested we all head to the Riverwalk to enjoy the beauty of the city. May as well soak up the best of Texas while we're at it.

It turned out to be a great plan! It was a gorgeous night to walk along the river and enjoy the beautiful display of lights. We went to a steakhouse for dinner and proceeded to have one of the best times we've had out to dinner as a family. Not even one drink spilled which I'm pretty sure is a new first for us. We laughed hard. Really hard. Emie was cracking us up with her sharp wit and Ainsley was getting in on it as well getting her daddy to laugh out loud. I wanted to press record in my brain to ever remember these moments. How darling Ainsley looked in her little pettiskirt and cardigan. Her tiny body sitting up so tall as she beckoned us all to enjoy life as much as she does. How her curls fell around her face. How Emie's eyes lit up like a moonlit ocean when she had us all laughing with her. I wanted to remember what it felt like to be sitting around a small table on Christmas Eve with my dearest loves on earth. How good it was to be together, just us four. How nothing was missing. Not one thing.

I'd spent a bit of time thinking about what I was missing or different this season. The weather, the scenery, those celebrating with us. But it was good, really good, to spend some time celebrating what we have. So much! These girls just delight our souls. They are so happy to be with us. So glad to be a foursome with their parents. It's time to savor this fleeting season and enjoy it for what it is: rich and lovely. Pure and bountiful.

Here's a little glimpse of a Texas Christmas Eve. Not too shabby at all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


So we accidentally wound up with an Elf on the Shelf. I wouldn't have purposely brought into our home someone else who creates mayhem and messes for which I am responsible to clean. Or even just one more thing to remember to move each day until Christmas. And yet here he is.

For all of you EOS purists (as if such a club exists), no, this is not the real thing. The one that all of the amazing moms make all sorts of mischief for. He's been found to dump over boxes of cereal or spill all manner of beverages only adding to the list of things mom has to clean up. But I do really love some of his little elfin antics and could see the fun in doing some of those. Such as these ideas that someone else tried:

But the fact is that these little photo-ops come with a price. I mean what has to go for the elf to fit in? How can one mom do all of this and not go a little nutty by the day's end? I guess I just knew I couldn't do it to the extent that I'd want to so of course the answer was to not take up with the elf. I felt my family would be all the happier for it.

My particular elf came with marriage. Apparently it was a gift from Dirk's childhood given by his babysitter (whom we adore to this day). But into the marriage, somewhere amidst the 36" stereo speakers and neon track suit came this little guy. The speakers have since been sold and the track suit never existed, but I needed another unwanted item on the list and it seemed like a good fit. In any case, the elf remains.