Thursday, December 31, 2009

Judd Christmas in the Tennessee mountains

Christmas afternoon, we loaded up and headed to Sevierville, TN to celebrate Christmas in the mountains with our Judd family. Last year we decided instead of doing big gifts for everybody to take a trip together and do a book exchange. It proved to be a great idea and was an enjoyable time together. We all gathered in a great big cabin, each took our turn at making meals and spent lots of quality time together. We played games, did some crafting, took plenty of hikes, did a little shopping... all that stuff that "togetherness" offers. One of my favorite adult times was one night after the children were tucked in bed, we had a sharing time with a little twist. My sister-in-law, Heather, offered up the great idea to have everyone write down their goal for the upcoming year on a slip of paper which we collected in a bowl. As the bowl passed around the group, we each drew a slip and after reading it, guessed who wrote it... then the person that wrote it expounded upon their goal and also shared what the Lord had been teaching them in 2009. It was such a neat time to go a little deeper with one another and share about matters of the heart. Our days in the mountains certainly created plenty of sweet memories and hopefully were the start of some new Judd family traditions.

so sweet of Aunt Katie Beth to make Ginger Bread Houses with the kids

headed out for a hike

Paul, Rebekah, Avery & Adam

such a cute little group of cousins who adore one another

the love shared among these brothers and sister... it's something special!

they have so much fun being together... plenty of laughter

Mark, Heather, Anderson & Carter

Mary Scott does adore her Papa

my craft that I worked on long and hard during our trip... it was fun sitting around the table crafting with my sister-in-laws who made one, too

Aunt Katie Beth playing with the kids while we packed for our travels back home

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Brian and I reviewed wake-up time with the children Christmas eve... otherwise we'd have likely been up at 4 am! Our morning still started before the sun came up. I had set my clock because I knew Benjamin would beat us downstairs, and Brian and I didn't want to miss a moment of seeing them Christmas morning. We got down just in time to snap a quick picture of the tree and grab the video camera before we heard Benjamin and Catherine barreling down the stairs. They grabbed their stockings first. Oh how I've always loved stockings... something about all the tiny little treasures inside and getting to reach your hand down to pull out the surprises.... fun, fun, fun. It was so funny watching them. They are as different as night and day in just about every way I can imagine. Catherine would slowly take out each little thing from her stocking, look at it, savor it, maybe even talk about it. Benjamin, on the other hand, was pulling his stuff out just as fast as he could go... just seeing how fast he could see what all was in there. Once they finished with stockings, they checked under the tree and found some other treats they'd been hoping for. Mary Scott and Anna joined us a while later and had fun discovering their treasures in their stockings and under the tree. Brian and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them.

We also had the pleasure of being joined by Brian's brother, Paul, our sister-in-law, Rebekah, and their sweet children, Avery and Adam. It was extra special to have little Adam with us for his first Christmas. The kids all had a fun time celebrating and playing with one another. It was indeed a very merry Christmas. We ended our morning with a delicious breakfast of Eggnog French Toast topped with caramelized peaches and whipped cream. I got to prepare it in my lovely new turquoise colored Le Creuset skillet given with love to me by my wonderful husband and children.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Celebrating Christmas with Mama

This year, we headed to Mama's the weekend prior to Christmas to celebrate. It's always a challenge to fit it all in. We're usually on the road a lot during the holidays. As usual, when we're down on the farm, we enjoy lots of time outdoors... especially the children. Catherine and Mary Scott had a wonderful time helping Meme bake cookies. I think they could've spent the entire time playing bakery! We had plenty of yummy treats to snack on the whole time we were there.

One evening, we rode further out into the country to look at Christmas lights. Mama kept trying to describe the huge display this family has put up over the years, but upon seeing it, I could hardly believe my eyes. It was like a whole little town built solely for the purpose of Christmas. It was free to ride through, but they do ask that you bring non-perishable food to donate to the needy. One of the latest additions to the town is a beautiful little church where apparently a couple of weddings have already taken place. It was an enjoyable outing for the entire family.

Watching the children anticipate our gift exchange brought back memories of when I, my brother and my cousins were kids... we could hardly wait to open presents and would drive the adults crazy until the time finally came. Some of the most special gifts given were the wooden bowls my mom gave to my brother, Casey, and sister-in-law, Sarah, and Brian and me. The one for Casey and Sarah was Nanny's (my grandmother's) and the one for Brian and me was mama's. I'll always treasure our wooden bowl and will use it proudly. Thank you so much, Mama, for passing it on to us.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Catherine's Winter Show

Catherine and her "Mighty Giants" gymnastics team did an incredible job at their Winter Show. I was one proud mama!!! I'm sure I'm partial, but in my book... these girls stole the show. Way to go Catherine and team.

Here are videos of Catherine's beam routine, bars, individual floor routine, and team routine (in two parts). It was her first time ever doing an individual floor routine. The videos are certainly not great quality, but they hopefully capture what a great job she and her team-mates did. Way to go Mighty Giants!!! We're all proud of you!

Be sure and scroll all the way to the bottom of my blog and pause the music so you can hear the gymnastics music.

Gingerbread Party

mary scott is working diligently on her gingerbread man

Mary Scott received an invitation to one of the sweetest little parties during Christmas time. It was a gingerbread party hosted by Molly, one of her favorite school friends. This party is a tradition for Molly's family. Everything about the morning was precious! The little girls listened to a gingerbread story read by Molly's mother, Elizabeth. Then they each decorated two gingerbread cookies. The girls had a wonderful time together, and all of us moms enjoyed visiting, too. Thank you so much to Molly and her mother for including us. It was a splendid time in every way!

all the sweet little girls... molly is in the purple dress

of course, little anna was into everything and enjoying every minute of being in a new place

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


It was a treat getting to join Mary Scott and her little class for "Breakfast in Bethlehem." Our morning together started with the children singing to us.... so cute! Then we shared breakfast together. Before our morning was finished, Mrs. Radford and Mrs. Kivett, Mary Scott's teachers, gave each of the children a gift. Of course, the kids were so excited to find a big snuggle teddy bear in each of their gift bags. It was surely a morning to remember.

Be sure and scroll all the way down to the bottom of my blog to pause the music before starting the video.

Monday, December 14, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Benjamin and Catherine, along with all their schoolmates, performed beautifully in Sunset Park's school musical, "Twas the Night Before Christmas." It was a fun evening for all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where is Jesus?

As we set out all our Christmas decorations this year, we especially enjoyed setting up all of our nativity sets. I so desire to always keep Christ our focus and honestly, it can be quite a challenge with all the other "festivities" that come along with Christmas. As Mary Scott helped me set up the last of our nativities, the girls' little people one, much to our dismay... we couldn't find baby Jesus. Yikes! I continued to look for Him and until He was found we decided we were simply anticipating his birth. The Lord really began to speak to me concerning the missing baby Jesus. He reminded me of how sometimes we can get so caught up in even the good things of Christmas... like giving, spending time with family and friends, enjoying the pretty lights and decorations... that we get distracted and loose our focus. When we speak of the "true meaning of Christmas" we always speak of Jesus, but what about our hearts? And essentially what happens is the very thing that happened to our little nativity set... Jesus is missing. Isaiah 29:13 says, "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Oh Lord... may my heart always be centered on you and filled with you so that the overflow... my words, actions, countenance... be a reflection of you and your love.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Live Nativity at the Billy Graham Library

One night during the Christmas season, we headed up to Charlotte to meet some good friends of ours, the Andersons, for a quick dinner and then a visit to the live Nativity at the Billy Graham Library. It was a delightful evening filled with laughter and fun. Our families always have a great time together... the children play well and seem to enjoy one another so much, and Brian and I especially enjoy our time with Evan and Annaliese... sweet family for sure. The Nativity was so pretty and the buggy ride through the lights was a fun way to end the evening. Great evening, indeed!

all the children except kirt... not sure where he was

pure happiness!
i love mary scott's face in this one... FUN!

mary scott, catherine and adah

enjoying the buggy ride through the lights

the Library is such a pretty place

challenge: capturing the Christmas card photo

Gracious... could it be any more challenging to capture a great picture of all four of our children at the same time. I find it to be especially hard. So with time ticking a way, getting down to the final wire before Christmas would come and go with no cards being mailed out... I loaded up the kiddos by myself to try and capture it - the perfect picture for our 2009 Christmas card. I'll leave it at saying perfection wasn't found that day but thankfully I managed to get a few good shots, and one that made us happy.

the one that made the cut... our 2009 Christmas card picture

these hats are fun on the girls

little anna has the prettiest blue eyes

cute as a button - even with her little black eye

I sure do love our 4 kids... I'm richly blessed indeed