We’re back in Oklahoma, after a whirlwind trip down to Texas at the end of last week. We left after church on Wednesday night, and I kid you not — there was a special fog that descended between Duncan and Alvarado JUST for our driving pleasure. It was probably the only stretch of land on the planet that was engulfed in fog during that three hour drive. We got to my parents’ house late that night and woke up earlier than we wanted to, thanks to Reese. (Oh, did I mention that Reese and BC came along? And that Reese spent the last hour of the trip with her front paws on the steering wheel, further obstructing my view in the fog?)

While the girls (and dogs!) enjoyed a little vacation with Gram and Gramps, Wes and I got away for a while to celebrate our anniversary. Yes, I finally got a barf-free anniversary. (Well, BC threw up the day before. But that was the day before and not technically on our anniversary. So it doesn’t count. Barf-free!) We had a great time visiting some of our favorite spots from our dating/newlywed days and reminiscing on the past few years. Even though he was gifted with a motorcycle on this anniversary, Wes still claims that 2004 was the best December 18th he’s ever had because he married me. I’ll choose to believe him, even though he spent half the ride back home on Sunday talking about being reunited with the bike.

We headed back to my parents’ house on Saturday, where we had our Christmas with them and my sister’s family. My niece received a Princess Belle dress, complete with all the accessories, and we’ve all since learned that little girls can’t run outside in princess shoes without some disastrous results. Emma received a complete set of Yo Gabba Gabba plush characters, which she spent the remainder of the evening hugging close to herself while snarling at anyone who attempted to take them away. Ana was most excited about a Backyardigans book which she read from the moment we left the house that evening until we returned home three hours later. (That’s some good reading!) I was gifted some warm dress clothes — hallelujah! I prefer wearing dresses to church instead of pants, and unfortunately, that gets really cold when the temperature drops into the teens. I have no time (nor patience with two little ones) to shop for clothing for myself, so it was a real help that my mother had gone and gotten me a few WARM options for Sunday mornings that work with shoes and other wardrobe pieces that I already own. Yay! I was freezing to death at church, but no more!

We returned home last night in time to get the girls bathed and to get the car unpacked. This morning, we had our “Happy Birthday, Jesus” party for the children in the church. We took the kids around to the adult Sunday school classes, where they sang “happy birthday” and wished each classroom a merry Christmas. Senior adults + adorable singing children = happy church family. Pastor Wes came by the party and read the Christmas story from Luke, and we all had cake and made ornament crafts. The nursery babies even joined in on the fun, so Em got to cram a ton o’cake in her mouth at 9:00 in the morning. Good times!

The girls wore little Santa dresses to church the weekend before Christmas last year, but since they’re such big girls this year (or at least bigger than they were!), they wore special Christmas dresses. And looked fabulous doing it!

For the second Sunday in a row, Ana sat through the entire service. She did have to be escorted out a bit early this week, since she started moaning and groaning during the third point of Papa’s sermon, but she was easily corrected just outside the sanctuary and stood calmly with me at the back until the service was over a few minutes later. She has a handkerchief doll (which doesn’t make any noise — thanks, Gram and Gramps!) on the front pew that helps calm her down if she gets antsy, but that’s all she’s had with her, which has kept her focused enough to know what’s going on in the service. I’m really passionate about having children learn how to worship alongside their parents and am trying, with all that is in me, to figure out how to go through this process with Ana. I’m continually praying that our church will have patience and understanding with us during this time, as Ana claps offbeat to every song we sing, chants, “bye-bull, bye-bull, bye-bull!” as I bring out mine, and — yes — moans and groans when Papa talks longer than she thinks he should. We’re learning, y’all. ALL of us. And then, we’re going to do it all over again with Em! (Which may be decidedly more difficult as Em’s one attempt to sit through the service was spent with her fighting me to stand backwards on the pew, where she spent the whole time making eyes at and giggling at a group of elementary aged boys. Oh my.)
Well, it’s about time to start dinner for the girls and then head on up to the church. Merry Christmas from all of us here! Hope your Christmas season is blessed!

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