December is one of my favorite months of the year! It’s crazy busy and super sweet all at the same time! We get to celebrate Eli’s birthday and Christmas and see lots of family and friends that we don’t ever get to see as much as we would like. What’s not to love…it just always goes by too fast!
Emma and Eli are both playing basketball for the city of Acworth and we love watching them play! Eli plays for the 5-6 year old Bulldogs and Emma plays for the 2nd-5th grade Owls. They are both playing well and have lots of fun while they are learning a lot. The basketball is great…but more than that, we love watching them learn how to work with new teammates, overcome difficult moments, and all the other amazing life skills that sports sows into people.
Our family decided to read through “Come Let us Adore Him” by Paul David Tripp as a family Advent devotional. Emma and Eli both helped us read in the evenings and that was very special! I went with some precious friends to The Grove Christmas where we got to hear from Pastor Levi Lusko, enjoy a great dinner, and just have a fun night out. I think we will make that a tradition! On the Friday night before Eli’s birthday on Saturday, we surprised the kids and took them up to Lakepointe Station for an evening of fun. They were so excited for the climbing wall, neon golf, and other fun. We closed the night out at Pablano’s and they sung Happy Birthday to Eli and brought him some amazing sopapillas!
We had so much fun celebrating Eli’s 6th birthday. He has grown so much this past year in so many ways. God has truly blessed our family with our precious boy and we know that are exciting days ahead for our little guy.
Clint had to travel for work during the 2nd week of December. Fortunately the week went quickly with lots of activities keeping us quite busy. Our family is much stronger when Clint is here…he is definitely the glue that holds us together! Emma did a great job in her Orchestra Christmas concert and Eli lost a tooth…what a BIG week! We also got to wear our Alabama gear on College football day at school…lots of fun!
Some of my favorite moments in December occurred in our living room. We love when the tree and decorations are all setup for Christmas. This year I decided to add a tub of Christmas books, some blankets, and a large pillow to encourage hanging out. Eli often brought his pencil over to work on his word searches and Emma would join me in reading by the fire. Even those evenings when Clint and I would need to catch up on work stuff, it was more comfortable by the fire!
Emma had her Christmas piano recital and did a great job! Both kids sang in the school Christmas program and Clint’s dad came down to spend the day with us. We opened gifts in the morning and then went to try the new Fusco’s Wood Fired Pizza (two thumbs up) and then walked around downtown Acworth. One of the highlights of the season was taking an afternoon to go shopping with Emma. We didn’t buy a thing, but we wandered the mall for hours and enjoyed a Starbucks stop.
On December 23rd, both kids sang in church and then we headed up to Summerville for the Santa Train with lots of Clint’s family. Lunch and the train ride were so much fun! After the train, we went over to Clint’s mom’s house for the rest of the evening to celebrate Christmas and just spend time together. We had a GREAT time! Christmas Eve was pretty laid back all morning. The kids sang in the 3pm and 5pm service and Clint and I served on the greeting team. We love the candlelight services at our church! After church we continued our family tradition of dinner at Waffle House and we loved it! We came home and had a great evening at home.
Christmas morning was a special time! For the first time…our kids slept late! We finally woke them up at 8:30 and had fun watching them get excited about Christmas morning. Both kids walked into the living room to find new bikes. Emma got Clint a book about New York…which was pretty hilarious as she is always trying to convince us to take her there. One of our favorite morning gifts was a bag labeled “From: Eli To: Eli” from the school’s Christmas Shoppe. We had given him money to buy gifs and I guess he didn’t want to risk it. He bought himself a Spiderman fidget spinner. We all had a great time with that one! The last gift was super fun as we surprised the kids with a week in New York City leaving on New Year’s Day. Both kids went nuts! We spent the afternoon at the park and came home to eat a wonderful Christmas dinner of steak, baked potatoes, salad, green beans, and dessert.
The 26th is traditionally the day we head to Memphis and we hit the road early. We arrived in time for lunch with the girls as all the dudes met for lunch and an afternoon at the new Spiderman movie. It was a great way to kick off all the fun! We stayed with my Mom this year and had a lot of fun helping her with some projects around her house. Both my mom and my sister are always such gracious hostesses and we ate well and had a great time all week. Our crew treated everyone to a Memphis Tiger basketball game and it was so fun to see all the kids having such a great time together! We always have a great time in Memphis seeing family and friends even though there is never enough time to see everyone we’d love to catch up with.
On our way back to Georgia, we stopped in Mississippi to go to church with my high school student pastor and his family. They have invested in my life for over 20 years and our families are very close. What a gift they are to us! Dyer is helping plant a church that meets in a high school and we loved visited their campus. Afterwards we all chatted over lunch for a few hours and then we drove the rest of the way home. We spent New Year’s Eve getting the kid’s well-checks (we never take that for granted), did a few errands around town, had a nice New Year’s meal at Longhorn, finished packing for New York, and rang in the New Year by watching some NYE coverage until around 9am. With an 8am New Year’s Day flight to NYC, we couldn’t stay up…but we still had fun. The last thing we did on New Year’s Eve was to go through our family jar. This is a HUGE Mason jar full of tickets, receipts, and other momentos from the past year. And what a year 2018 was. We had so much fun remembering all of the fun things we go to do together and spent some time dreaming about what 2019 might hold. Thank you Lord for reminding us of your faithfulness to our family!
Here are some pics of December with the Strange crew…