The First Day of Advent

There is something very rich and meaningful about Christmas with its ties to traditions, even more so in my opinion, when they strengthen our connection to the Church. We’ve only been celebrating and marking Advent for about five years now and I am surprised each year at how much it means to me and how deeper my joy in this season has become.

Each year Rob and I set up the Advent arrangement at church. I really enjoy the reactions the first Sunday it is all decorated, especially from the children. The decorations vary somewhat each time as we are finding things we do and don’t like about what we’ve done previously. Last year we loved using larger pillar candles but couldn’t find them unscented this year so we went back to taper candles.

Because of the layout of the platform the arrangement pretty much has the same place every year. From one angle there is the most beautiful juxtaposition of the Advent candles and the cross on our wall. It’s truly one of my most favorites sights to see each year.

We have a prayer we say all together each week after we have been called to worship. Whether you celebrate Advent or not may these words find room in your heart and mind. And may they enrich your joy in this season as you worship the One that stepped into time and became flesh.

Almighty God,
Unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love You
and worthily magnify Your glorious name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The First Week of November

The cooler weather seems to have arrived in a wash of gray clouds and steady rain. I’m ready for some sunshine but I am doing a dance of joy over the lower temps since until today we’ve been in the upper eighties and that is just wrong as we near the holidays. I’m really hoping it sticks around.

Day one ~

Day two ~
I think these have been my favorite thing we planted this year and  I don’t even remember what they’re called. But they are super low maintenance and have a ton of blooms all season.

Day three ~

Day four ~

Day five ~
Remember remember the fifth of November…only I almost didn’t. Kind of like I didn’t remember the month of October until it was something like the tenth of October but I’m good with it. Eleven months out of twelve is pretty good, right? Anyway, the only picture I took on Thursday was when I was at the mall and I came across these serving sets at Ross’. I am a sucker for the white serving dishes and love the tiered look. So not a very exciting picture but wouldn’t the table look pretty with this showcasing some delicious goodness?

Day six ~
I love early mornings.

Day seven ~

Next month should be fun. I participate in the December Photo Project each year ( a photo a day for the first 25 days) and even though I cannot believe it’s almost time for it I know it is right around the corner. I’ve started working on our Twelve Days of Christmas list and I am getting geared up for Advent to begin. Can you believe it’s only three weeks away?

The First Week of September

The first week of September was fine but apparently the second week was super busy because even though I had the blog post ready I forgot to share it.  Wonder if the rest of the month will be as busy?

The first day ~

The second day ~
The third day ~ 
The fourth day ~
The fifth day ~ (Photo credit belongs to Claire)
The sixth day ~ (Photo credit goes to Abby)
The seventh day ~ (Photo credit is mine but the messy floor credit is all Sam’s!)

Remembering

I had forgotten how loud having the kids home can be. Me and the cats are apparently rather quiet together. We also agree on which Pandora station to listen to. And it usually doesn’t involve words like Taylor Swift, Disney anything, or High School Musical.

I had forgotten what it’s like to have them all asking what’s for breakfast-lunch-dinner-and-can-I-have -a-snack,-please? Tom and Milo just sit by their bowls and stare at me until I get their food. I might talk out loud to myself as I make my luncheon decisions, “A salad would be a much better choice, Marty, than pizza bites. You don’t really even like pizza bites, silly” but it’s still just one voice and I never ask myself for a snack as I am leaving the table or whine when fruit is suggested instead of marshmallows.

I had also forgotten what a seemingly pointless endeavor cleaning is when the children are home all day. It is a perpetual circling from room to room for the entire day picking up, telling someone to pick something up and then vowing to just throw it all away if it gets left out on the piano, the bar, the floor, or the kitchen table again.

I had forgotten just how creative they can be when strewing wet bathing suits and damp towels all over the patio, living room furniture, and bedroom floors.

And just exactly how many times they can open and close the back door in 15.7 seconds.

I am not complaining, mind you.

Just rememberin’ as the second week of summer break draws to a close.

I’m adjusting.

And The Winners Are

Each year the school has an art contest and it really is fun to see what all of the kids, not just my own, come up with.

Claire entered her autumn collage she made in class at the beginning of the year. It really is lovely and she was so proud of it! I was rather proud of myself for not loosing it since she brought it  home in December. I sort of have a reputation for putting things somewhere “safe” and then not remembering where the “safe” place is.

The other three usually enter the photography portion…no surprise there I guess but I do not do much more than hand over my camera. I have a hallway that I think is going to become a gallery space for their pictures. They’re pretty good.

Abby actually one second place for her age division! I really liked it’s homey, almost folk arty look.

Sam also took a picture of Milo, who was being more cooperative as a model than Tom. Which is a bummer because Sam was hoping to enter a picture of Tom, whom the kids enjoy calling Tubby Tubs, so that the school would announce that the winner is Tubby Tubs which they find to be hysterically funny for some reason.

Although Tom Tubby Tubs didn’t have his picture entered into the contest Sam did, in fact win. He actually won first place and we were told that his smile was huge and his happiness with that honor was quite visible.

Emily didn’t place this year but she did put in two images. One she took when she second shot a wedding with me and a neat macro shot.

I really enjoy a good macro shot and this one up close and personal of a push pin is fun.

They all did great and we’re looking forward to being creative this summer. Only two weeks left!

Woot!

The First Week of May

The first week of May came and went before I could post my pictures but I did take them each day so here they are 🙂

May the first…

The second day…

The third day…

The fourth day…

The fifth day…

The sixth day…

The seventh day…

With school ending this month I kind of feel like the month is practically over already and it hasn’t even really started. I was once told that the days are long but the years are short and I am finding this to be very true. Hoping to hold onto some memories this summer in these monthly “first week” posts that will stretch time a little further.

Are You Tired Of Them Yet?

My constant stream of beach pictures, I mean. I know there have been a lot of them but the weather has been perfect for beach days this week of our spring break and I am so grateful!

The only thing that could have made it more perfect was my beloved being in town and Sarah being able to join us more frequently. It’s been weird adjusting to her having a job while the other kids are all home. It’s a strange new season having a grown up child.

Today and tomorrow are full of things like taking our turn to clean the church, grocery shopping, someone taking the test to get their learner’s permit, and a shower for a sweet bride to be so no more trips to the beach for a while.

But oh, yesterday was glorious and we had so much fun with our friends!

Photo Friday

Cinderella and Missing Daddy

Have you seen the Cinderella movie yet? Sarah and I saw it a few weeks ago but I knew it would make for a nice spring break surprise for my other three girls so I made plans for Samuel to have some Nana time so I could take them. Rob’s mother joined us and we had a lovely afternoon.

I watched Claire during the scene as Cinderella’s raggedy dress was being transformed into her fantastic ball gown. As expected her little face was filled with delight but she really cracked me up when the fairy godmother made the glass slippers. She literally gasped out loud at the sight of the iridescent glass slippers with their lovely butterflies.

It made me giggle and her Aunt Lisa will be proud.

Later, when I asked what her favorite part of the movie was, she said she enjoyed the wedding but her favorite part of all was the scene with Cinderella is a little girl and her father came home from his long voyage.

I think someone is missing her Daddy right now. I know I’m missing him.

The First Week of April

Day One ~
Spring has sprung and the shades of green are lovely.

Day Two ~
Hints of rain as clouds roll across the sky. There is a weird but beautiful light that comes with gray clouds such as these.

Day Three ~
The first day of Spring Break 2015! Where else would we spend it?

spring_break_2015_Florida_Pensacola_Beach_surf_sand_Gulf_of_Mexico

Day Four ~
I love the beach. My kids love the beach. My beloved does not love the beach. It’s not often that we all go together but on Saturday we went to Ft Pickens and stomped around before heading to the beach to have a dinner picnic. I do a lot of pictures at the fort but for some reason this is the first year I am really noticing the pretty little wild flowers growing everywhere.

Day Five ~ Resurrection Day!
What a blessed and wonderful day we celebrate!

Day Six ~
Monday was low key and laid back. Not having to juggle everyone’s schedules and activities is a nice break from this busy almost at the end of the school year season. Plus it’s grilling time!

Day Seven ~

Again at the fort and the beach! Sam loves the fort and  when we went Saturday he didn’t get to spend as much time exploring as he wanted so I promised we’d go back. The easy thing about these last few visits is that we’re not actually swimming. We enjoy our picnic and watch the sun set. Can you think of a better way to end the day than this?

Linking up with Sharing His Beauty