Emma and Eli: December 2017

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December is always full speed ahead finishing up the semester at school before it slides into the always anticipated and greatly appreciated…CHRISTMAS BREAK!  We started December off with a bang celebrating Eli’s 5th birthday on December 8th.  There was snow in the forecast, but the predictions were all over the place and most people assumed it would just be a few flurries like a normal “southern blizzard”.  We woke Eli up that Friday morning and showed him that we had gotten him snow for his birthday.  It started snowing just a little bit around 6:30am.  I headed to school and then Clint brought the kids in just in time for the start of school.  We expected the snow to quit around 9am, but it just kept coming and coming.  Some of the schools in the area started early dismissal and the snow continued to fall.  We decided to release around lunch time since by then…we were all glued to the windows!  Clint had come up to school to bring Eli’s birthday lunch, but they just ended up taking his lunch home to enjoy in front of the fireplace.  Emma and Eli were so excited to be heading out with Clint!  I stayed a few more hours until all the students were picked up and then arrived home at 4pm ready to settle in by the fireplace.  I had a few things that I needed to get done for school and then we were going to make a WalMart run around 5:30 so we’d have the necessary snow day rations (cookies, Dr. Pepper, etc.).
Driving to WalMart was a treat with all the snow piling up!  We live a short walk from WalMart, so it was pretty easy to roll across the street.  While we were at the store, the power flickered and an obvious generator kicked in.  Our neighbor friend texted to say that power in the neighborhood had just gone out.  We got home…and it was definitely out!  It was quickly getting dark and cold.  Thankfully we have a gas fireplace, stove, and grill.  We sent Clint out to check on our elderly neighbors to make sure they could stay warm. While he was out, I grilled a pizza for us and waffles for the kids.  We were all having lots of fun figuring out how to do things with no power!  After dinner, our friends came over to hang out and the kids all put together a talent show.  We laughed and talked for a few hours before they made the trek back home through the snow.
We finished out the evening opening up Eli’s birthday gifts by flashlight and candlelight.  When my Mom called to wish him Happy Birthday, Eli got on the phone and said, “Mimi…they got me SO MUCH snow for my birthday!”  We hope he knows that likely won’t happen next year!  Emma and I slept downstairs in front of the fireplace while Clint and Eli braved the cold and slept upstairs with lots of blankets.  All through the night, we heard trees cracking, but fortunately no issues other than a mess in the yard.
We woke up to even more snow on Saturday morning (10+ inches total!).  We grilled cinnamon rolls outside and Clint scrambled eggs.  Since the sun was out, we decided to go and play.  Clint got some great video footage from his drone and we had a great time playing in the snow with our friends.  After we came in and warmed up, we decided we wanted to do some exploring.  We drove around Acworth and continued to be surprised by all the snow!  This just doesn’t happen here!  We were excited that Henry’s was open in Acworth, so we decided to have lunch there to warm up and enjoy some great food!  It was obvious that most of the other people there were escaping power outage as well!
Our power finally came on at 2am on Sunday morning…and boy did it come on!  We must have had every light in our house on when the power went out.  Talk about a crazy way to be woken up!  Church got snowed out on Sunday and by that afternoon, we were all ready to resume our routines only to have schools closed on Monday due to so many trees being down and still a lot of power out.  We really enjoyed all of the beautiful snow, but were glad to get back too school on Tuesday.
We got back in our routine just in time for Emma to have another basketball practice with her team before her first ever NCCS Basketball game.  She had a great time in her game and really enjoyed learning more about basketball.  She wears #20 for the Eagles and she is so proud to finally be an official NCCS Eagle athlete!  Most of the game she was bringing the ball down the court.  She really hustled on defense and pulled down several rebounds. I asked her after the game why she never shot the ball, she replied “our Coach told us to work on our passing.”  That she did…she definitely passed a lot!  We had the best time cheering her on and look forward to the next few games!
Sunday afternoon was Emma’s Christmas piano recital.  She did a great job as she has continually been improving.  Even Eli agreed that “she is getting better”.  What a little brother!  From there, we hit the road to Summerville for the first family Christmas gathering of the year with Clint’s mom’s family.  We had a great time catching up with everyone, enjoying lots of good food, opening gifts, and watching football.  It was a really laid back evening and a great way to kick off Christmas!  We came back to three days of school before the break.  My upper school kids had semester exams while Emma and Eli had class parties and their annual Christmas concert.  Our entire faculty and staff spent Tuesday evening for our All Staff Christmas Party up at Lakepoint Station.  We had a blast hanging out with everyone, climbing their rock walls, playing laser tag, and eating way too much.  It was really fun to see everyone’s family!  Emma and Eli’s Christmas concert was really nice.  After the concert, they had parties in their classrooms and then they headed out for Christmas break with big smiles!  I wrapped up some things at school and then we were officially on vacation!
We watched Elf that evening and stayed close to the fireplace.  Eli headed to camp at the Y the next day with lots of friends for swimming and fun Christmas games.  Clint, Emma, and I ran some errands and had lunch at PF Changs.  The next day was just a family day.  We slept in a little and then ran errands, went out to lunch, went ice skating for a few hours, ate ice cream, and then just relaxed at home.  Emma has been asking to go ice skating for a while and Eli really caught on quickly!  He’s probably more of an ice hockey player than a figure skater.  He takes great pride in skating into people!
The morning of the 23rd, we celebrated Christmas with Clint’s Dad.  It was nice to have him at our house just so the kids could play and show him all of their stuff.  That afternoon we headed back to Summerville to ride on the Summerville Santa Train with Clint’s aunt, uncle, cousins, and their kids.  We love the sweet Brison family and it was so great to get to spend that time with them!  We came home that evening and Clint and Emma headed out to finally see Star Wars.  I’m so glad that they can enjoy that together!  Eli and I stayed here.  I did a few things around the kitchen while Eli entertained me with his puzzle skills.  That boy is really into puzzles….he did 10 of them all spread out on the dining room table.  He was singing Christmas carols at the top of his lungs while working.  So precious!
We woke up Christmas Eve morning and the kids finished up their awesome Advent Calendars that my brother and his wife had sent from Germany.  They had some really good pieces of Chocolate…so Eli really dove into Advent this year!!  We headed to church early as Emma and I were serving as greeters for Christmas Eve and Clint was one of the deacons.  The Christmas Eve candlelight services are always some of our favorites!  We enjoyed coming back and serving that evening as well!  After church, we closed out the night at Chili’s just enjoying each other’s company.
Christmas Day was a blast!  We actually had to wake our kids up…they were all snuggled asleep!  Christmas morning was relaxed as we opened gifts.  Lots of smiles and laughs all around!  We made pancakes and then privileged my brother and his wife and daughter while they were celebrating my niece’s first Christmas where they live in Germany.  We had lots of fun “hanging out” with them!  We spent the rest of the day playing and just enjoying each other’s company.  It was about 20 degrees outside, so we were happy to be inside with no where to have to go!
We woke up early on the morning of the 26th to head to Memphis for a few days.  We met some our dear friends Steve and Wanda for lunch when we arrived in town.  They have been like second parents to me since I was in high school and it’s always a treasure to get to spend time with them!  From there we headed to my sister’s house and were SO EXCITED to see her sweet family.  She and her husband have three kids…a daughter that is the same age as Eli and three year old twin boys.  There was a lot of laughter and playing the entire time we were in Memphis!  It’s always a treat to be able to stay at their house and just enjoy time together!  On Wednesday we took all the kids to Gibson’s Donuts and then split off into girl and guy groups for the afternoon.  Clint and JD took all the boys to the Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid while all the girls went shopping with Mimi.  We met back up for dinner at Katie’s and then Mimi took everyone to a trampoline park to work off all of our holiday sweets!  The kids slept great after bouncing around for a while!
We spent Thursday running errands and playing.  Thursday evening Clint and I went out to eat with my sister and her husband and then all went to the Memphis Tiger basketball game thanks to some tickets from my awesome friend Steve!  We’ve made that a tradition the last few years…adult night out…and I’m so glad that we did.  We always look forward to it!  We left early the morning of the 29th and stopped in Corinth, MS to see my youth pastor and his family.  The Harbors have been investing in my life for 24 years and seeing them is always a highlight for our family!  We had lunch with them and spent some time catching up.  We hit the road and arrived in Chattanooga around 6pm to surprise the kids with a night at a hotel.  They love hotels with indoor pools!  We did that last year and it was so fun, we decided to do it again.  We let them swim until 10pm.  They slept pretty well that night too!
We drove home on the 30th with full hearts from lots of quality time spent with each other and those we love. After a serious grocery store adventure, Emma and I came home resolved to cook more and to make healthy choices.  She has been a big help in the kitchen the past few days.  I look forward to spending that special time with her!  Eli is back to his puzzles.  He is working on a 500 piece puzzle of the new Falcons stadium.  He is such a ham.  Every time he finds a piece he’s been searching for, he high fives everyone and then does his puzzle dance.  Turns out that it also doubles as a touchdown dance for watching the College Football Playoff games as well!  Clint and I are so blessed with these two precious ones.  2017 was a great year and we are excited about what God has in store for 2018!
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