Monday, December 15, 2008

November - A Quick Recap

Blogging has taken a backseat to, well, LIFE here lately. Our world hasn't really slowed down yet, and I am beginning to think that it might not until the boys start school. Or, maybe even 18 years when they go off to college...

Since we are half way through December, however, I thought I would backtrack for a moment and recap November.

We started the month (November 1st) with a playgroup, since "Da-da" was gone hunting for the opening weekend of deer season with his dad, brother, and nephew, Tyler.

November 4th, Election Day, was a beautiful day (on many levels - but I am meaning weather wise), so the boys and I took "Nan" (my mom) to the Southlake Town Square for her first time, including a visit to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. I sported my Obama '08 shirt, the boys wore their matching "USA" rompers, and I shockingly got several POSITIVE complements in ultra-conservative Texas.

November 8th Jon and I went to the Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma game. We had a blast getting away together for a few hours, but YIKES - not a fun game! ;-) We had lunch at Wings N More (my favorite) before the game, and met Jackie Sherrill afterward.

The weekend of November 15th, Jon went hunting again, and this time was able to replenish our freezer. Since he was alone, he had to hold the camera out to get a picture. ;-)

November 16th, Jon and I had another night out together to see the "Beale Street Blues Boy" himself at the Morton Meyerson - yes, B.B. King! It was AWESOME. I swear, if I live to be 83 years old, I will STILL never be as cool as that man!

Right after that night out, we got the "tummy bug." Haha - "tummy bug" is such a nice, polite way to put what we went through. I mean, I thought we were dying. HOWEVER, it somehow escaped Gabe, THANK YOU GOD! It lasted well over a week, and was a nightmare.

I have no pictures from that time and, trust me, you should be GLAD for that.

On November 22nd, Jon went solo to the TCU vs Air Force game, while I watched the recovering boys.

On November 26th, we were all finally well, so Jon took the day off to take us to the Zoo! It was our first time to go with all three of the boys. We did get a few looks with our mega-stroller in tow, but we just pretended that we didn't see them, and pushed on.

The boys had a great Thanksgiving with their families and managed to make it through the day with relatively no nap. But, they were good. Probably because they knew that if they smiled sweet, they could bribe a grandma into giving them something good to eat!

We did venture out for just a bit on Black Friday, going to Bass Pro Shop to see Santa (I need to scan that picture still) and walk around a bit. I love this picture of "Da-da" and his boys checking out a "Man's Wonderland" of hunting and fishing equipment.

We went to Chick-fil-a after Bass Pro to grab a bite to eat and play.

That Sunday, we went to Jon's Gran's house for a nice visit and great lunch.

On November 29th, we kicked off the Advent Season with our "Lighting the Flame" event at IBC.

And checked out the awesome lights at the Southlake Town Square immediately after.

Which brings us to December...

Somewhere in the midst of all of that, the boys got to try a Krystal's hamburger for the first time.

We had a few friends come and visit, one (Kelley) with a daughter born August 20th (two days after Gabe), who helped us fill our stroller for a walk to Bear Creek Bakery!

Gabe got really good at sitting up in his Bumbo seat...

... and attacking his animals...

... and, well, just getting even cuter (if that is possible)!

We are also keeping up with our MOPS group at Irving Bible Church. PLUS I finished Christmas shopping before December 1st, so all of the gifts are wrapped and under the tree. (Other than the few that I helped Santa get, which are in the garage.) We (I suppose I should say it like it really is - I am...) are making our annual Seastrunk Family Book through Blurb, which is taking LOTS of time (especially since I ran into a big problem midway into the project), but it is a huge hit with the family, so I am pushing through.

I think that is all... but there are A LOT more pictures here:

Perhaps life will slow down so that I can give a better update in the future. (At least I can keep hoping!)

Keep looking out for more updates from us when I get a free moment...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

I read a few interesting things today:

The average American family spends $800 on Christmas gifts for every year, but only 9 minutes playing together on Christmas morning. * Yikes! *

Also, research shows that over indulged children are less able to cope with stress, often lack self-control, and are at risk for becoming self-centered and depressed. From a spiritual stand point, materialism shifts our priorities from heavenly things to earthly things.

The solution?

I ran across a website - and movement - about a month ago now called the Advent Conspiracy. I meant to post it a while back, but, well, you can see how much I've had time to blog here lately!

It is a very simple, yet difficult concept:

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.

A cool thought that I've had - in addition to my FAVORITE of helping provide clean water to third world countries mentioned in the video - is to host a baby shower for Jesus! How cool would it be to have a baby shower, as all women LOVE ohhhing and ahhhhing over baby stuff, and donate all the items to a local pregnancy resource center?! Just a little spin on a traditional Christmas party.

I think Jon and I are pretty good about overspending, not just at Christmas but all year. We really try not to spoil our children with material things - not because we feel that we can't, but because we fell that we shouldn't. (On the other hand, I have somehow managed to spoil rotten not just one or two, but THREE kids with being held! No kidding, one of Caleb's first phrases was "up, please" - meaning he wants to be held.) We really encourage family to "take it easy" as well. I know how much the family loves to spoil them rotten, but the boys already have more toys than any child should have, so more toys would be a waste. I mean "waste" on so many levels:

* Financially - We feel it is a better move for us to add to their college fund than buy them lots of cool new stuff. I guarantee that in the long run they would rather be put through collage debt free than have another Little People set!

* Space - We feel that we are blessed with a great house, but it's definitely no mansion. My goodness, with three kiddos, there is only so much room for unnecessary STUFF!

* Resources - Here's where my tree huggin' nature comes into play... what in the world happens to all of these toys - especially the hard plastic ones - when your kiddos stop playing with them? They will most likely sit in a landfill for years... and years... and years... This is another reason I highly encourage Craigslist and buying/receiving hand-me-down toys from family and friends. Trust me, I LOVE the plastic Step 2 products - they are fun and durable - but that stuff will be around forever! That is also a benefit in that they can be wiped down well (God bless the Kirkland brand sanitizing wipes!), so you can easily buy them from a stranger!

I could go on and on... but Gabriel is about to need me soon...

But quickly, another pet peeve, while I am on it, is people buying something impractical just because they "have to" buy something for a particular person. If you feel that you HAVE to get something, why not get something from the heart, something meaningful, even if it doesn't cost a lot?

Just a few thoughts to ponder.

I need to post a blog soon recapping our crazy November... but I want to post about some cool things going on to provide clean water to our world soon!