Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advent Week #2

Here's our advent update...just a little bit late!

December 9-Watch Rudolph. It just doesn't seem like Christmas if you don't watch the iconic reindeer and all of his adventures.

December 10-Georgia's holiday program at school. We were entertained by an outgoing group of Kindergarteners. They sang their little hearts out that night. Georgia has the performer bug. Hmmm, not sure where she got that :)

December 11-Read I Want A Dog For Christmas Charlie Brown. We love The Peanuts here in this house, so we try and get in as many Peanuts books and movies as we can!

Poor Rerun just wants a dog for Christmas, but it's just not in the cards for him. I guess he'll have to share Snoopy with Charlie Brown!

December 12-Christmas at the zoo! The temps were going to be fairly mild so we decided that it might be the right time to go see all the lights at the zoo and to visit Santa. Georgia is not afraid of Santa....those of you that know my girl realize that she has never met a strangers. I think she gets that from her Papaw Mark (my dad) and her Grandma Vicki (Nolan's mom). Georgia walked right up to the man in the red suit and gave him a hug and chatted it up with him. Before we said goodbye to Santa, we were able to get a photo with all three girls. Everyone behaved. Miracles do happen people!

December 13-Make a treat to take to Mamaw and Papaw's house. We have dinner at my parents house every Thursday night. So after school, Georgia and I made an Oreo cake to share after dinner. I believe it was a hit!

If you want to make this, here is the recipe. It's super yummy!

And we had a good time making it, if you couldn't tell!

December 14-Camp out by the tree and watch a Christmas movie. When we got home from dinner, we all  got into our jammies and snuggled up with cozy blankets and watched Disney's A Christmas Carol. This was the first time Georgia has seen this version of A Christmas Carol. It was on the verge of being scary with all the ghosts, but she enjoyed it and didn't want to turn it off. And after the movie was over Georgia fell asleep by the glow of the Christmas tree while Nolan and I rocked June and Evie to sleep. With all the events of the day, it was a blessing to watch our girls sleep. They were safe and sound, but the thoughts of families who were missing their child filled my thoughts too.

Sweet girl, sleeping soundly by the tree!

December 15-Georgia had practice for her musical at church. When she got home, we did some final decorating around the house. We hung the stockings, we set out all the little knick knacks, hung the garland on the staircase and around the front door and much to mine and Georgia's surprise, Nolan hung lights around the house. We are now ready for Christmas!

A fantastic week of family fun was had by the Fletcher Lichti's. I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family as the holidays draw near. Right now, I just want to wrap my arms around my husband and my girls and let them know how much I love them and how much this time of year means to me.

What are your holiday traditions?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Let The Children Come

Along with many others, I sat and watched in horror as I learned about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. As I thought about those precious children, who are close to the same age as my daughter, and the teachers who put the children before themselves, the tears flowed. How in the world could this happen?

Events like this hit a little harder when you have a child of your own. I'm not sure if my reaction is normal or not. I feel like I'm taking it really hard. I can't watch TV without crying. I can't talk about it without crying. I can't read articles without crying. I'm assuming that  it's because I know what it's like to lose a child. My loss was different. It's more a loss of the hopes and dreams that I had for Violet. And while that is devastating and I'm not really sure how we survived such a tragic loss, I look at those families and wonder how they are going to survive this tragic loss. How do you pick up the pieces? How do you go on with life when such a big part of your life was taken away too soon and in such a tragic way?

When Violet died, it made me think about what it would be like to lose Georgia. The tragedy at Sandy Hook again brought those thoughts to mind. I'm not sure what I would do if something happened to her. Would I be able to pick up the pieces and go on? I've been through this before, and one of the big reasons I was able to go on was because of Georgia. She kept me from falling into deep depression after Violet's death. She was my reason to get out of bed.

As I saw the photos of those little children, I saw my child. I saw her classmates and her teacher. As I heard the stories of teachers shielding children from bullets, I thought of my friends and family who themselves are teachers and who I know would do the same thing for their students. It makes me so frightened for them all.

As soon as I heard the news on Friday, I wanted to be with my girl. I could not wait to pick up Georgia from school. When I arrived the pick up line was much longer than normal. The place was packed. I'm not sure if it was just on coincidence or because of the events at Sandy Hook, but I saw so many other parents, like myself, so glad that their kids were coming home from school. And I thought of the 20 parents who wouldn't be welcoming their child home that afternoon. I thought of the parents who said goodbye to their child for the last time Friday morning. And I also thought of the parents who were so relieved to see their child come out of Sandy Hook alive. Those children will never ever be the same child that left for school that morning. And as I thought of all of those things, I hugged my girl a little tighter. I told her how glad I was to see her. I told her that I loved her.

Last night I watched as President Obama gave his speech to those in Newtown. He quoted the Bible, Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." These words have brought a wave of emotions that I never thought possible before Violet's death. We sing those words before children's time at church. I never stopped to think about them before Violet. And the first time I heard them after Violet's death, I couldn't bear to sing them. They now held new meaning. I still hold back tears whenever I hear these words. And now these words hold new meaning for every single parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt,uncle and friend of the Sandy Hook students.

To all the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings....know that your spirit has not been forgotten. We are praying for your families in their overwhelming grief. We are praying for peace. We are praying that this never happens to other teachers and students. We are praying for those who need help. We are praying.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advent Week #1

I had plans...BIG PLANS. I was going to blog about all our little Advent activities EVERYDAY in December. Hmmm.....who hasn't blogged all week? Well, I get to play the twin card. Playing the twin card works for everything because well, to be honest, most people realize Ihave a lot going on. So, I'm hoping that it works here too and you all will forgive me. What, you say you'll forgive me? Fan-freaking-tastic! I knew you would!

Anyway, back to Advent. We live it up here in the Fletcher Lichti house when it comes to the month of December and Advent is just one of the special things that we do. I, along with my incredibly talented mother in law Vicki, made this Advent wall hanging. Actually, I made it and then she took it and did the embroidery and fixed my flawed sewing. I keep trying and I figure one day I'll be a great seamstress!

So, in each pocket there is a little activity that we do as a family. It's just a little thing that we do together everyday. Just a little something that reminds us that no matter how busy this time of year gets, we still want to experience it as a family. Here is a little run down of our first week.....

December 1-Decorate the Christmas tree! This year was special because I was able to tell Georgia about the different ornaments on our tree, where they came from, who gave them to us and why they are special. And by talking about the different ornaments, Nolan and I were able to think back fondly on our childhood Christmases and about every Christmas we have shared. There are ornaments that we each received as children, ones for the dog and cat, our first Christmas as a married couple, some from our wedding (we got married on 12/27), one celebrating our first home, Violet's special ornaments and many more.

Isn't the little kitty just the cutest? Don't let her fool you, she's mean as sin!

December 2-Watch "Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas" and make popcorn. Making popcorn is a Sunday night tradition in our house anyway, so we just combined that with a short Christmas movie that Georgia really enjoyed. ABC Family has a ton of Christmas movies on so several of those are being saved to our DVR.

December 3-Read "The Spirit of Christmas" by Nancy Tillman

I love this book. It takes you through all the different parts of Christmas. At the end of the book tells the reader about the best part of Christmas-spending time with those you love. "The best part of Christmas will always be you underneath my Christmas Tree."

December 4-Make frozen hot chocolate for dessert! Hello! This was delicious! If you've never tried it, you must. You must, I tell you! Here is the recipe. Try it. 
Um, seriously cute kid here! 

December 5-Set up the nativity. Here is our cute, fat, wooden nativity. It's not all fancy. That's what I like about it. It's a humble little nativity. 
Fat little guys, aren't they?

December 6-Go to the library after school and check out some Christmas books. We love to go to the library. We were able to find several good choices and make it out of the library before the twins woke up. Success!! Sadly, we had to do this one before Nolan got home from work because we also went to a Christmas memorial service for us and the many other parents who are missing their sweet little babies this time of year. It's always a little sad and touching and wonderful and moving and very beautiful. I'm thankful for those that put it together. It's a great way to honor our little Violet and for her to know that she is not forgotten this Christmas season and to let her know that we are thinking about her too during the hustle and bustle of the season.

December 7-Go to the Irvington Holiday Festival. Irvington is a historical neighborhood close to our house. It is a neighborhood where we would love to move to. Georgia's school is in that neighborhood. It's a nice little community with great restaurants, shops and even a little bakery. Any way, they have a night where the shops stay open a bit later and Santa is in the neighborhood and their are horse drawn carriage rides for free and just all sorts of holiday cheer. Well...this one didn't work out for us this year. BOO! We had big plans to go, but it was raining. None of us wanted to take a carriage ride in the cold and rain. So, Georgia ended up spending the night with Mamaw and Papaw, while Nolan and I did some Christmas shopping. It was good to spend time with Nolan, but I was really looking forward to our original plans. Maybe next year!

December 8-Visit a living nativity. There is a church close by that does a drive thru living nativity. You read different parts of scripture as you drive through and look at the actors in the different scenes that tell the story of Jesus' birth. It's short, but a great little activity for the family. Georgia loved it! 
We also read a couple of books tonight.....

The Snow Angel by Christine Leeson is a great little book about a family of mice who see a beautiful white goose and believe she is an angel. The goose is lost and cold and needs rest and food. The mice give her the only food they have and stay with the goose while she rests. When she wakes, she is again ready to find her friends. When she flies away, the goose thanks the mice by leaving some feathers that the mice use to make their nest nice and warm. It's a lovely story about helping others in need! 
And we also read.....

This was a fun book, for sure. Melvin the Elf finds soul and helps his elf friends make the toys by singing songs. The most fun was Nolan and I trying to sing Elvis songs with different words!

In addition to these daily little activities, we also have a little bit of chocolate that we get every night! You gotta have chocolate candies, right? YUM!

And so that brings your up to date on our Advent activities. Stop by next week to see what we've been up too! You know you want to!!!! It's nothing but excitement in the Fletcher Lichti house!