Things are humming along here. We had a great visit with my mom the first week of December. Noni loved seeing her girls and celebrating an early Christmas. Hannah has gotten very into "awt" (art) lately, so most of her gifts from Noni and Nana (my grandmother, who also lives in Bakersfield) were art-related. She got feathers, pom-poms, buttons, glue, stickers, paper, and "glue glitter" so that she can decorate to her heart's content. She also got a mini Light Brite and tons of Perler beads (these beads are her favorite thing to do at school and she has already made several projects of her own here at home).
Elizabeth got some fun toys too - things she can chase after, stack, nest, and of course, chew on. Speaking of Elizabeth, she got her 6th tooth yesterday. Now she has 3 on top and 3 on bottom. If she doesn't get any more for a while she'll end up looking pretty lopsided because the third one on top is on the opposite side from the third one on bottom.
In other news, the girls are finally sleeping together in the same room and Don and I have our room back! They've been in the same room for about two weeks now and are doing great. And it's so nice to be able to read or put laundry away in our room at 7:30 at night! And also, we don't have to be so quiet in the evening because the girls are now on the opposite side of the house (before, one was on each side, so no matter where we were, we tried to talk quietly for their sake). So it's quite nice to feel normal again when the girls are sleeping and not tippy-toe around.
We're trying not to get all rushed and hectic this Christmas season. Since Hannah's still so young, we don't have as many school/Sunday school programs, Christmas parties, and other "must-dos" as we might have in a few years. I'm still trying to keep things simple. Having said that, we still need to send Christmas cards; figure out, create, and mail Christmas presents to our family in CA, TN, OH, TX, and GA; buy each of the girls' ornaments for this year; wrap the girls' gifts we have so far and hide them from Hannah; try and take some (nice) Christmas pictures of the girls together; figure out and create gifts for Hannah's teachers; go to Hannah's school Christmas party and program later that same night; and of course spend some time together as a family, worshipping the Christ Child, and teaching Hannah what Christmas is all about. Whew! (future pastor's editorial comment: we'll be sure to keep that last part at the forefront of all we do... :-) )
I'll wrap up by saying that we hope and pray that you also try to take time to breathe, spend time with your family, and focus on Jesus Christ, who came to Earth out of love for YOU, so that He could live an obedient life in your place and die for your sins (and ours too!). He loves you so much, He wants nothing more than to have a deeper relationship with you, regardless of how far or near you are to Him today.
We pray that Holy Spirit will be in your heart, giving you the peace that only God can give. Merry, Merry CHRISTmas! With Love,
Stacye, Don, Hannah, & Elizabeth