Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Remembered...

Hoping everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I know we did! For Christmas Eve my mom's side of the family gathered at my sister's house for food and "merriment" I guess. We've pretty much decided that merriment and food always go hand in hand. Especially at the holidays. It was very nice. Lots of yummy stuff to eat and people to chat with while doing so. We hosted Christmas day at our house for Jon's side of the family! His sister, Patricia, is home from the Army on leave before she ships off to Korea for a long while. Jon's dad, brother and his fiance were also here. It was great (even if the toys they got warrant loud, annoying toys for them in the future.)
Avery had an absolute blast! She LOVED getting new toys (even if it took her a month of Sundays to actually tear them open.) Christmas Eve especially was made even better by the other kids to play with, kitties to chase, and sugar to be had. It seemed as if she asked everyone who passed for a Rice Krispy treat or brownie... and all of them obliged her. She was wired for quite a long time. I thought she'd finally pass out on the way home, but as we pulled in our driveway she popped her head up and yelled HOME! This was at 11pm! Holy Cow! Same thing on Christmas day. Way too much sugar and social activity to fall asleep at a normal time for the littlest Culbertson.

On Christmas Eve I had also invited my friend, Sarah, who has recently become the only Christian in a Jewish household. She said that when she was seven she went to a friend's house at Christmas, however, that was long ago and she doesn't remember much. Typically her family goes on vacation around the Christmas holiday, but decided this year to do it in January instead. It seemed only fitting that she come with us to our Christmas celebration. She had a great time! She watched all of the kids open their presents and even stayed afterward for my immediate family's gift giving. It is so crazy to think that she doesn't have presents for her on Christmas or even presents to buy for her family. I do think that maybe this heightens the focus on the true meaning of Christmas for her. Especially since she's a relatively new Christian and has not been over stimulated by the media hype.
Maybe next year I'll try something. Give a gift (monetary or otherwise) to someone who is really in need and I'll do it in honor of the family member I'm "supposed" to be buying for instead. Would people understand? Would they feel honored or slighted? Could we teach our children that it's not about what we get, but what we give? Or have they already been taught that Christmas is about the latest toys and best gifts? Do we really stop to think about the greatest gift, Christ, God's only son, when we are opening that sweater or gift card? Could our kindness to those truly in need show Christ in our lives to them and possibly lead them to salvation? Isn't this our purpose? To be Christ's ambassadors? I know that I need to ask myself daily, "If I am the only example of Christ that the people I meet today ever see, would they know His love for them? Would they want to be a Christian?"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Let it SNOW!!!

IT HAS SNOWED!!! Okay, so not a ton, but enough to see footprints in. So it counts. Enough for people to crazily rush to the store and even cancel activities. So it definitely counts. This is just the beginning of our holiday crazy weekends. :) Love them. We were out a little when it started to snow and Avery was a little perplexed at the "fuzzies" that kept hitting her in the face. We went home and touched the snow on our gate with our hands and talked about how cold it is. She and I put our faces to the glass and watched the snow come down and talked about how pretty it is. I even told her that we could go outside in the morning to play in the snow if she wanted. She seemed excited. Today I offered her the option of going out in the snow and playing. She said yes! I bundled her up from head to toe. I walked her outside and stood her in the first few inches of snow in our yard. She began to yell NO!!! Oh crap. She hates being so unsure of her footing and new textures. She only recently started walking on the grass. Ava screamed bloody murder when we tried to take her to the beach this summer. (She wasn't feeling well that day either.) I tried putting her out in the yard a little further for better pictures (of course I took pictures.) She hated it and began to fuss. :( I took her hand and led her back to the house. She liked that part... as long as I held on to her hand. She hates that unsteady feeling on her feet. Our five minutes in the snow was long enough. But I got a picture. Too bad she looks grumpy.

We also got our tree today. :) My dad picked it out. It's super pretty. Ava just kept saying "tee??" (tree) when we put it up. True. Putting a tree INSIDE a house may seem strange, but you'll get used to it little girl! She loved the lights. OH BOY!!!! is her typical "I see lights" phrase. She helped me put ornaments on (or at least handed them to me.) Our house is getting Christmasified. Slowly but surely. Maybe we'll even get some of the outside lights put up soon. :) Hope your holiday season is getting underway!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yeah... I know...

Okay, so I said I'd try to do this once a week. I have been slacking a little lately. However, I've been very busy/productive... so that has to count for something. I've been learning to sew. Yep. Me. I have always liked little crafty stuff, but now I want to learn to do fabric projects and make fun things for myself and others. I've found a few blogs that are sparking my interest and Jon notices a bunch of JoAnn Fabric bags around here now. Oops... I thought I hid those better. :) Some of my "free time" has been taken up with learning how to do sewing projects.

Thanksgiving has also just taken place. It was wonderful! Jon's family got to come and share the holiday with my family and I have to admit it is my favorite holiday. I love Christmas too, but I sometimes feel like the commercialism of Christmas outweighs its real meaning and something gets lost in the shuffle. Although, this year, I'm excited to see how Avery treats Christmas. Yesterday when we were at the mall she wanted to sit and watch "HO HO" (Santa) while he sat in his big chair and got pictures with other little kids. (By the way, the REAL Santa is here in Lancaster. No joke. That guy is the real deal.) She wanted to watch him from outside the gate and sometimes wave to him. When I asked her if she wanted to let him hold her or go and see him she said NO. I guess we'll work our way up to that. She is enamored by the Christmas lights. We took at drive out to visit a friend in West Chester last night and we played the "I see lights" game.  Every time I saw a house decorated with lights I'd point them out to her and she'd sit in the back and exclaim, "OHH BOY!!!" It was hilarious! She is so funny. Jon was cracking up laughing.

She's going to love going to New York City sometime to see the Christmas lights. Mom and I went on Monday.  She has always wanted to take the train to NYC around Christmas to see the lights. This year, she retired, so now she has her days to do with as she pleases. We decided to take the train from Lancaster to NYC for the day and see what was already decorated and such. It was beautiful. Although, the tree at Rockefeller Center wouldn't be lit for a few days and it was drizzling all day, it was a great day! We saw Macy's and their Christmas decorations, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, FAO Schwarz, Rockefeller Center and a bunch of other places. We'll have to go back and we'll have to make the Christmas time trip a yearly tradition! Avery did not go with us because that would have been too long to go without a nap. Some kids can just fall asleep anywhere, but Avery sees every social situation or new experience as something she doesn't want to miss. It was probably better anyway. The rain would have been interesting. So would the subway and all the walking (even with a stroller). We did learn some valuable info... ONLY WEAR COMFY SHOES!!! You'd think we would have thought of that, but even semi comfy shoes become horrible after that much walking.

Well, I'll be going now. Avery's waking up from her nap and I still need to get some Christmas decorating done. :) I'll TRY to get back here to keep up with this thing. I'm not making too many promises as to when.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autumn Adventures

Autumn is my very favorite part of the year. I LOVE the smell of the crisp air with drying leaves perfume. I love the colors, the temperature, the produce (particularly apples, apple pie, pumpkin pie, etc...) This year has been absolutely amazing and Avery is enjoying the autumn too! I am so blessed to be able to hang out with her each day and have as much fun as possible. She loves to go to the park and swing and slide and climb on things. She's getting better about touching dirt and grass too! (For those of you who don't know, she previously had a terrible aversion to both and I could sit her on a blanket in the middle of the yard and she would stay put. She screamed if her feet touched the grass. It was my own little "fence" without any actual barriers.) Now she's running through the yard and climbing on playground equipment.

It's crazy to think about how much she's grown in the past year. Last autumn we were working on sitting up unassisted. This year she's running in the yard yelling at the dog and learning so much about the world around her. Her vocabulary is expanding every day! I am getting very excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas time. Last year was special with it being her first Christmas, but this year will be even more awesome. I can't wait to see her check out the twinkling lights and Holiday kids' specials. I am super excited for her ever expanding understanding of her world! She truly helps me see life in a totally new way. Each and every day is new and special. We are super excited for Jon to someday be at home each day to help us celebrate each new discovery.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

When in Rome....

So, a zillion other people and families have created blogs out there to let their friends and extended families know what is going on with their lives. I finally caved, and decided to do the same. Now we'll see how this adventure goes. I often have wanted to let people know all of the fun things that we are doing, but felt that some people don't often care to know. If you don't... delete this or feel free to not return to this site. (I promise, I won't be offended. I totally understand.) If you want to keep up with the Culbertson Clan, here is where the story begins... Okay, not really, but you get the picture. I will TRY (notice I stress the word TRY) to blog once a week or maybe every two weeks... We'll see.