Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry, Merry

Today I baked a German Chocolate cake from scratch with the help of a certain two-year-old. It should be noted that the first time I baked such a cake was for Matthew’s birthday shortly after we were married. Compared to my usual add “water, butter, and eggs to the mix” baking strategy it is an insane amount of work. But you do these things for those you love. Today our cake is for Jesus.
Somewhere jumbled between presents, a festive tree, letters to Santa, Advent calendar countdowns, cookies, and carols is the significance of the season. I have a lot of fond traditions and holiday memories that I want to pass down to Gracie, but most importantly I want her to know why this is such a cherished time of year. It is more than a few vacation days, more than wish lists coming true, even more than time spent with family and friends.
It is about the love of the Lord coming to us through the birth of a baby, reaching down to offer saving grace to a group of hopeless sinners. Every year at Christmas I remember the love that was born, the sacrifice that suffered, and the forgiveness that triumphs for me and for us all.
Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where the Heart Is

When it comes to travel, Dorothy Gale had the right idea.  Unfortunately lacking in the ruby red slipper department, Gracie and I were required to utilize more conventional means of transportation for our return trip to Florida. Desperate to reacquaint myself with the comforts of home (family, friends, that bright thing in the sky called the sun) I boldly grasped the hand of my two-year-old, steeled my nerves, and went where few parents dare to go: the airport. For a nineteen hour trip.  While pregnant.
Our trip passed without incident.  Gracie was mature beyond her years (in all honesty, she was mature beyond *my* years) walking for what literally felt like miles through the Frankfurt airport, passing through multiple customs and security checkpoints, and suffering through 15 hours of flight time with only Larry Crowne and Mr. Popper’s Penguins as our digital entertainment options. 
We enjoyed two lovely weeks defrosting in Florida with our family and friends. I loved seeing my family, taking Gracie to Magic Kingdom for the first time, attending MOPs at First Baptist Oviedo, and our playdates at the park and Amaya Papaya. These outings, our routine, and support system have been greatly missed while we’ve been in Sweden. I am so appreciative of the friends that made efforts to see us and spend time with us during our abbreviated stay.  I know how hard it is to find time to visit during the busy Christmas season, especially if you’re working or taking care of small children. My fond memories of seeing our friends and family will help sustain me for the uncertain duration of our remaining time in Sweden.
She travels well.

I'm going to order the child's meal for myself next time!

It's not home if I don't cook!

A quick trip to Publix with her best buddy, James.

Our first trip to Disney!!

Sleeping Beauty

Gracie got to see our favorite princess, Belle!

Dumbo Ride with Grammy

We rode the teacups.  Twice.

Worn out from the all the magic.

I went to my first softball game!

At the park with the cousins