Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Vacation

Our Christmas vacation started a day early this year because Michigan is getting dumped on with snow, so we had a "snow day" on the Friday before the vacation really started. It was really nice to get a jump-start on everything we needed to get done.
We have just really begun our vacation and it has been so relaxing and great! We have slept in, watched cartoons in our pj's, made candy and cookies, played in the mounds of snow, shopped, stayed up late watching dumb Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel, played video games, and wrapped presents.
Everyone is home from school so it has been nice hanging out with our brothers and sisters that we don't get to see during the school semesters.
A few highlights from this past weekend:
1. On Saturday, Mom D, Jess, and I all went down to Great Lakes Crossing to do a little shopping. It was unbelievably busy!!! I mean, we figured it would be busy considering it was the weekend before Christmas, but we weren't expecting that busy! It took us 30 minutes to get from Target to the mall- and they are only 2 miles away from each other!!! and then we couldn't find a parking spot at the mall!!! We ended up leaving and getting stuck in traffic again thanks to a mall security guard who was trying to direct traffic and had absolutely NO clue what he was doing!! Let's just say he made a whole lot of people really mad, including us!!
2. On Sunday night, I played the piano in the Hadley Community Church cantata. I accompanied their choir in 3 songs. The choir director is Halle's piano teacher and a good friend of ours, so she asked if I would play. It was actually really nice to have something to practice and the cantata went really well!!!
3. Jessica is getting new flooring in her bedroom. They pulled out all her soft, white carpet and put in hardwood flooring. Well, actually it's that stuff that looks like wood, but it's not. Brad, Dad D, and Scott all worked on it this weekend. I will take a pic tomorrow as it is a huge mess in there right now!
I have enjoyed our vacation so much already and we haven't even gotten to Christmas yet!! I hope you are having a wonderful vacation as well!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

25 things I love about Christmas

During the month of December on the Hallmark channel or abc Family (I can't remember which one now), they have the "25 Days of Christmas", which is 25 days in a row where they play a Christmas movie at night. They usually have no-name actors, have some sort of Christmas drama where they try to get a tear out of ya, and it usually works, even though you are sitting there asking yourself "Why am I wasting my time watching this?" Anyways, as bad as they are, we have been watching them most nights, so I thought I would follow along and do my own 25 things I love about Christmas!
1. We celebrate Christ's birth 2. Christmas trees- nothing beats the smell of a real Christmas tree 3. Christmas tree ornaments- we each get a new one every year 4. Christmas music everywhere- at home, in the car, in stores, at church 5. Christmas cookies-nothing beats sugar cookie dough

6. Christmas homemade candy- can't have a Christmas without chocolate dipped goodies and turtles

7. Christmas cards- I look forward to getting cards/pictures in the mail- this is ours. I couldn't get it to copy both the border and picture together, so if you didn't get one in the mail, you will just have to picture what it looks like put together!

8. Christmas parties- nothing beats a bunch of food, family/friends, and holiday cheer all in one place at one time9. Christmas shopping

10. Christmas presents-it's fun to get, but it's more fun to give

11. Christmas stockings- it's so much fun to stuff them full with little trinkets and candy

12. Christmas wrapping paper- isn't it SO pretty

13. Christmas shopping after Christmas- gotta spend all that money you just got

14. Waking up early on Christmas morning

15. Reading the Christmas story (not this book exactly- but the story in Luke 2)

16. Watching classic Christmas movies- White Christmas, The Grinch, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Polar Express

17. Watching people open their gifts- I don't like to be watched when I'm opening a gift though...

18. Playing Christmas music on the piano

19. Going to Bronner's Christmas Store

20. Eating Candy Canes

21. Christmas vacation
22. Playing stupid Christmas party games/White elephant gift giving23. New Christmas pj's to wear on Christmas Eve

24. The excitement on Christmas morning

25. Christmas decorations- I love having a house totally decorated for the season

Friday, December 12, 2008

In Loving Memory

On Thursday, December 4, 2008, Grandma "Betty" Park (Brad's grandma) went to be with the Lord. She has been suffering from Lou Gehrig's Disease for the last three years. She has been with Hospice for the last few months in her home, so we knew it was only a matter of time. Most of her children, their spouses, and grandchildren were all able to see her and spend some time with her before she passed away. Although everyone is sad and will miss her sweet giggle and smile, we are so happy she is finally home and is no longer suffering. It's amazing the peace the Lord has given her family throughout everything. Grandma loved to play games! Ever since I came into the family 8 years ago, I don't remember a family gathering without playing games with her. She LOVED to play!! She also made really good food, LOVED anything sweet, and always made sure there were Tootsie Rolls at her house when I came over to visit. She always wore the cutest clothes (not the old "grandmaish" looking clothes) and was into buying jewelry. She loved the Lord and served Him in countless ways. Her favorite hymn was "Amazing Grace" (which was sung at her funeral), and she loved listening to her grandchildren sing. She enjoyed going to all her 17 grandchildren's sports games, concerts, etc. and loved to hold babies. She was a sweet lady and I will miss her a lot too!

Here's her obituary:
PARK, BETTY JOAN; of Lapeer, formerly of Hazel Park; died Thursday, December 4, 2008; age 78. Betty attended Hazel Park Schools, graduating in 1948. She married Larry C. Park, her high school sweetheart, on December 28, 1950 in Hazel Park. Larry and Betty chose to live and work in Hazel Park. Betty was a Hazel Park Schools bus driver for 10 years, retiring in 1991. Betty loved her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and served Him faithfully daily with Bible Study and by avoiding any limelight, her bottom line was to serve the Lord and service to others. Upon retirement, they moved to Lapeer, joining the families of their three youngest children, enjoying the Thumb Area. Surviving is her beloved husband Larry of Lapeer; dear children Mrs. Kitty (Philip) McMillen, Mr. Russ (Sandy) Park, Mrs. Micky (Ed) DeLange, Mr. Marty (Linda) Park, Mrs. Mindy (Kelly) Williams; 17 grandchildren; 3 great grandchildren; and brother-in-law Donald J. (Phyllis) Park; preceded in death by parents Mr. andMrs. Emmett Dunlap. Visitation 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday. Funeral Services Monday, December 8, 2008 11 a.m. at Muir Brothers Funeral Home, 1021 South Main, Lapeer (810) 664-8111. Rev. Maynard H. Belt officiating. Burial Christian Memorial

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

I'm quite behind on my blog, but we have been extremely busy around here lately. Brad's grandma is in her last stages on life, so things have been different, strange, and busy every night.
Even though we are all sad about Grandma, our Thanksgiving weekend was packed full of food, family, and fun! The week leading up to Thanksgiving was pretty low-key, which was nice. We really didn't do a whole lot, except make food for Thursday's meals. On Thursday, we had a nice brunch with the DeLanges and Williams. We had Honey Baked ham and turkey, overnight omelet, cheesy hashbrowns, warm apples, sweet potatoes, jello, apple pie and cookies. Everything was delicious!!! Dad D. talked about Thanksgiving and read Abraham Lincoln's "Declaration of Thanksgiving" before we ate. It's amazing how great of a writer/speaker Lincoln was and how his priorities were so godly. The brunch was a nice start to our day. We sat around for a couple hours, just relaxing, looking at store ads, and watching football before we headed off to my parent's house for an afternoon dinner. My mom had a turkey, stuffing, jello, corn, rolls, cheesy carrots, salad, pies, and pumpkin cheesecake. Everything tasted great even though I didn't eat a whole lot because I was still stuffed from earlier. Bailey ended up coming with us to play with Halle, so we didn't see them hardly at all. We all played the Wii and watched "Elf". My cousin, Lauren, was in town from college. It was nice to see her too.

Parker and Halle watching tv in their baskets!Brunch at the DeLange'sTable

Playing the Wii at my parent's house- my grandma even played!

Halle and Me

Me, Mom, Allyson

Halle and Bailey getting ready to watch "Elf"

Parker looking sweet even though he has stains on his shirtFriday started at 5:00am for me. I was up and getting ready to stand in line at Target when they opened at 6am. My mom and sister met up with me right as I was walking into the store. We got everything we wanted to get, which was nice. We always go Black Friday shopping, so we are used to the crowds. There's something exhilarating about standing in lines and fighting crowds to get a good deal. I will never forget the year Brad went with us to get a camera at Circuit City. It was so jam packed in the store no one could move. Brad ended up getting everything he wanted while we went over to Target. Even though it was crazy, it was so fun!

I got the kids a few specific things they wanted for Christmas at Target. We then headed to Old Navy and then to Tim Horton's for a quick breakfast snack. We usually always go out of town to do our "mall" shopping, so we headed down to Lakeside (in Utica-about 1 hour away). We shopped at the mall for a couple hours, ate at Panera Bread for lunch, and stopped at Marshall's before heading home. By 4pm we were exhausted!!!
Friday evening Brad's Uncle Chip, Aunt Sharon, Taylor, Nathan, and Lisa all came over to spend the night. They live in Grand Rapids, MI (which is about 2 hours away). The guys all played Acquire, which is a game about investing in stock and selling companies. I have never played it, so I really don't know much more about it than that. The girls all talked and went to bed early.
Saturday all the girls went shopping at Great Lakes Crossing. Aunt Mindy went with us too. While we were shopping, the guys all played Marshmallow War with marshmallow guns made out of piping, and shot their real guns at clay pigeons.

Saturday evening we headed up to Bronner's Christmas Store in Frankenmuth with my family. Bronner's is the World's Largest Christmas Store- I would believe it!! It is huge and has absolutley everything Christmas there is.We always go there every year and get an ornament for the tree for that year. Usually we try to pick one that represents something from the past year. This year Brad got an ornament that looks like tool belt with tools in it because he started a remodeling company, I got a teacher ornament, even though I'm just a sub, Parker got a football ornament because he is totally infatuated with football, and Halle got a rainbow because she thought it was pretty. We went back to my parents and had pizza and watched "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" which is hilarious!On the way to Bronner's

Inside the store

Sunday we had church in the morning and then Scott, Al, Brad and I all went and saw "Australia". It is so good. I would definitely recommend it! It is a little long, but you don't realize it because you are so engrossed in the story. Definitely a Must-See!!!

Also, a couple times this weekend the kids all went out and got pulled around on sleds by the tractor. They had so much fun! Parker rode with the tractor driver and they hooked up 2 sleds for the kids. They had fun falling off, doing tricks, etc. I didn't go out this time, but maybe sometime later this winter I will get on and try it!

Corey, Bailey and Halle
The girls stayed on, but Chad and Corey kept falling off!

That was our weekend! Absolutely PACKED!!!! And to add on top of that, we got LOTS of snow all weekend long. Sunday night we got 6-8 inches!!!!

We were for sure planning on having a "snow day" on Monday, but even though over 200 schools closed, Lapeer didn't, so Jess and Halle had school. We were mad!!! We were hoping for a day to recoupe from our weekend.

Brad's grandma's health has deteriorated so quickly this week that it is only a matter of time now. We have been watching Chad, Corey, and Bailey every night this week, as Brad's mom and aunt want to be with their mom as much as possible. We haven't even got any Christmas decorations up yet and have no clue if we will ever get them up. Oh well. It's not that important considering the circumstances.