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Friday, December 30, 2011

Last, but certainly not least.

The first two photos are from our dress rehearsal that morning. The last three are from the actual performance.

The children's choir. How could I forget? Indeed, I couldn't. :)
I worked with the kids from our church on Wednesday nights in the fall, until our Christmas performance. It was a lot of fun. We had our ups and downs, but mostly ups!! I have come to love these kids so much. They are precious: each and every one. They did GREAT on their performance day, December 11th at church. We did not have costumes, only two hats per child to use as props.
I was VERY proud! Even the toddlers stood with us during the "Baby Jesus, We Love You" song. Great job, guys!! And thank you to Catreece for the VERY cute costumes!
I confess, having Jon David and Luke in the class was one of the most challenging things for me. We had plenty of frustrating moments. But in the end, they really turned around and impressed me. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity.

December crack ups

Above, the three boys before church one day. I didn't quite duplicate these outfits on Christmas morning this year... so I'm glad I snapped this pic when I did! Try doing Christmas morning AND getting everybody ready for church!! Oh wait, I guess most of you probably did do that. lol

As I mentioned in the previous post, Mom came for a quick visit so that she could see Luke's Christmas program. Here are the boys during story time. Caleb steals my heart in this pic!
I recommend clicking on the photo.

Luke's school program

Luke has not typically been my "ham it up" child. But he was on this night! Mimomo came to watch the program too, and Luke did not disappoint. Sweet boy. We were so proud! Great job Luke! He even had a few lines to say, and did great! He sang, did the hand motions, the works. It was truly a joy to watch him. Love you, Luke! We are proud of you!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas time is here!

Caulley Christmas 2011. Well, we are actually going to be at our house this year! As much as we love being with family during the holidays, I have always cherished the small holiday times when it's just the five of us... Call me weird. Maybe it's because I have memories of this as a little girl. Some of my Christmas memories include one particular night in France when it actually snowed! It hardly ever snowed in our town of Nantes, where we lived. But that Christmas Eve, it seemed magical.
Another Christmas memory I have it when we got our little puppy "Candy Cane," we called it!
I also remember getting a roll top desk one year. I have memories of Dad setting up the boys' toys and us spending hours just playing with our new toys... just our family. At the time, it was because we couldn't afford to go back to the US for Christmas. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
It's funny, I don't ever remember believing in Santa Claus as a child. It seems to be a federal offense here to even hint at the fact that there is no Santa to a child. (Did I blog about this last year already?... lol) I'm not sure if it's just different in the US, or if things have gotten considerably worse over the past few decades. I am beginning to figure out that retailers fully support Santa, and that it sure works in our economy's favor for every child here to believe. Afterall, according to most ABC family and Hallmark movie propaganda, anything is possible at Christmas time. Even when I think about "Miracle on 34th Street," a movie I absolutely loved until recently (especially the newest version), I now have mixed feelings. That movie sends an interesting message to a child. No wish is too big.
When I taught school 11 years ago, I believe it was my fifth graders who told me once that I was responsible for revealing the truth to them during their fourth grade year. I remember being dumbfounded that they hadn't known yet! (The best I can figure is that it must have happened during our cultural Christmas unit when I talked to them about St. Nicholas and how the idea of Father Christmas grew from there). But you know, now that I have children of my own, and understand more about the parenting culture here, it doesn't seem absurd at all.
I know everyone has different views on Santa Clause. One of my children believes, and one of them doesn't. The third one couldn't care less. LOL I am playing along with the child who believes, and I've decided that the other one was just ready to know the truth. It's interesting how relieved I feel that the truth is out. "But it's fun to pretend" we say. It's kinda nice to think about him finally understanding who is giving him his gifts.

The older I get, the more I realize how little in life I really have figured out. I read a book recently called "Heaven is For Real." I read the first few chapters back in the Spring and had to put it down. I was internalizing too much... What with my extreme dislike of stomach sicknesses, and my two brothers' near death experiences with a ruptured appendix... it was just too much for me to stomach (pun intended lol).
But what with several friends talking to me about how much they enjoyed the book, I finally decided to finish it. It was wonderful. I mean it. I really liked that book a lot. Don has been preaching through Revelation on Sunday morning, so maybe the fields in my heart were ripe for some harvest. Anyway, hearing this little boys' journey into heaven, and the different things that he was able to see... Wow. It was amazing for me. I realize that this is not the bible. But the author did a good job of quoting scripture and tying in the biblical truths that he was already familiar with. It was amazing how the little boy's witness lined up with so much of what the bible says. There was a really cool story in there about a Russian girl who has had heavenly experiences as well and paints. She is extremely talented and her mother, who was an atheist, has been challenged by the art of her own daughter. Anyway, when the little boy saw this particular girl's rendition of Jesus, he immediately recognized him. I still get chills when I think about this. There is a picture of her portrait of Jesus in the book. When I looked at it, I cried.
Thank God that we have Jesus to focus on during this season especially.
Thanks also to my sweet mother-in-law, who has blessed our family with many various Nativity decorations during this Christmas season.
Well, I didn't plan to ramble quite this much. Today of all days, I am really struggling with having the right focus. We are trying to potty train Caleb and I'm not dealing well with it today. Wouldn't you know it, it's my birthday. Ha! It seems like once you have kids, your birthday isn't so sacred anymore (not that it necessarily should have been in the first place, now that I think about it). Being cooped up in the house for a week along with my older two out of school seems to make it even more difficult. Funny how a seemingly simple thing like potty training can bring out the worst in me, and tempt me with discouragement.

OK, well, my sweet husband is home, and it's off to do some shopping by myself! I think this is what the doctor ordered. Gotta get some stocking stuffers because we all know that no man in a suit is actually gonna do that for me. ;)

So long, sis

Sarah Caroline... Was is really that long ago that I was rocking you to sleep in your rocking chair at our St.Herblain house? And remember when we used to spend the night together whenever we traveled because, well, that's what sisters do!
How many times did Mom beg us to dress alike and sing Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye's version of "Sisters"?
It continues to amaze me how alike we are in ways: certain aspects of our personality like our tendencies to overanalize lol. But I am also equally amazed at how different we are. I could not be more proud of you for taking a giant leap over the Atlantic into Kisumu, Kenya.
I pray God's richest blessings on you and Chris while you are over there.
Thank you SO much for driving down to Perry a few weeks ago. I loved every minute of our visit.

Love you, and miss you an awful LOT. Sniff.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tybee Island

Clownin' around

Caleb has discovered a new pastime. It is especially useful when I am getting ready in the morning. He gets in my bathtub with his cars, and pretends that the ledge is a race track.
On this particular day, all THREE wanted to try it out... It didn't last too long. But overall it works pretty well when it's just him and me at home. The little ledge it perfect for a race track. I wonder if the designer thought of that when he molded this tub? lol.

Below: sweet Luke "Jaimberdies" posing for a pic. I love that this photo captured the flowers that Don bought me! Fall colors and everything. ;)

Below: Caleb sporting the red head lamp.
Below: Caleb and I at his Mom's Morning Out Thanksgiving feast.
Caleb obviously thought that his chocolaty dessert was delicious.

One day, Luke set up the Precious Moments Noah's ark in Caleb's room. Every once in a while, he goes around the house straightening. No joke! LOVE me some of that!
Anyway, after this particular set up, he told me that I might want to take a picture. So what in the world do you think I did?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tucker Elementary School

Jon David at his awards ceremony in October. Thank you for that smile, sweet girl on the right.
Below, Jon David at his school program. He was a spider. You can see him below, spinning his web. "I'm gonna make you squirm" was the theme for one of the songs. It was all about creepy crawlies. Cute.


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