Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Christmas

So this Christmas was one to remember. It is always challenging for me to find a gift for my husband, a natural memory-maker. While I lean towards the practical and inexpensive, he embraces the special and the moments to remember forever.

Little did I know (as usual) how an accident from this summer would make this Christmas so memorable.

This past summer, Wes lost his wedding ring while wake boarding. Usually he takes it off, but in anticipation of the fun and putting little thought into our matrimony (i'm kidding) he jumped out into the water and in an all out wipe out, his ring flung off his hand only to find a new home in the bottom of Lake Robeson.

Soooo. He's brought it up a few times. Asking (and reminding) me that we need to replace it. Each time, I've not made a huge deal of it. I'll be honest. I've even struggled with the thoughts "He can wait a little while. He DID lose it." I had not made any serious plans to replace it. It's not that it wasn't a priority, there were just other things occupying my priority checklist.

Backing up to when we first got married, his grandfather (Papa), whom I admire and respect, pulled me aside and told me that if Wes ever lost his ring to replace it at one of those counters in the middle of the mall. You know, the ones that are operated by 3-4 middle eastern men?" The reason being," he told me, "that I've lost mine several times and this is where I get mine. They are as good as the original."

So, I decided in early December to give Wes a wedding ring for Christmas. I had actually decided to take his grandfather's advice. "We've been married for 6.5 years. He's not going to care," I told myself. "He's just going to be grateful to have his wedding ring again."

So I went to the counter in the middle of the mall. Found a nice (what I thought was white gold) ring and asked him the price, then proceeded to purchase it. Just as I handed the gentleman my money, I asked him what the ring was made of. He replied, rather quietly, "it's sterling silver, but it's just as a good as white gold."

Okay. So it's a step down from his previous ring. Maybe a few steps. "That's okay," I told myself. "He won't care. He'll be so grateful for his gift."

A few days before Christmas I began to wrap Wes' gifts for his stocking. As I pulled the wedding ring out and looked at it, I put it on my finger, then took it off. I turned it around, and looking inside the ring I saw a very horrific "2007" engraved in the middle of the ring! There wasn't really anyway around this one. The sterling silver I can take. The cheap jewelry place, I can take, but 2007?!? It's 2008! Maybe that, he could handle. But not this. As if that wasn't enough, the two zeros were fake diamonds!

Soooo I had an idea a few days before Christmas and I decided to go through with it. It took some planning, some splurging and some asking favors from friends, but I'm really glad I went ahead with it and fought my instinct to be cheap.

As Wes picked up each gift in his stocking, a little attached note was waiting on top for him to read. You know, a riddle. He opened a treat for his toes - socks, then a treat for his nose, etc - then a treat for his "very important finger" - he opens a sparkly silver ring box, (sort of Claire Boutiqueish) which held his new ring - the 2007 ring. I saw before my eyes, the most grateful man (and at the same, disappointed). Filling the silence with joyous comments (and fighting the urge to laugh) I totally pretended to be pumped about THIS ring. "It looks so good on your hand, honey," I said many times.

So two long hours later, he's very graciously wearing his new ring. After playing with Wyatt and roasting some coffee outside, he comes inside and there on the chair is another gift, wrapped nicely with a huge bow on top - this was "the real gift" as the note said. He opens up this beautiful present only to find a bowl full of his favorite candy - york peppermint patties -and in the middle - a note - instructing him to his closet - to a certain shirt. He goes to the closet - to that shirt - and there another note - "Put this shirt on along with what's in the gift below (new jeans) and instruct your family to get dressed". Very confused, but going with the flow- he instructs all of us to get dressed and then in the car - he finds a note on the steering wheel - instructing him to the Jeffcoat's home.

At our friends' house, there Uschi takes Wyatt and Walker. And Charles is waiting on us - along with a beautiful communion table set, orange and salmon colored roses and his true gift. So Wes opens up a long rectangular box and finds a very handsome wooden ring box. He opens up and finds a ring, even nicer than the one he had when we got married. As he takes the 2007 ring off, there a green circle has already begun to form, he places his new ring in its place. Charles says, "it's time to get married!" And leads us into the most beautiful service of renewing our vows... on Christmas day.

And what a joy it was to pause and sit before my mate of 6.5 years and the father of my two children and profess my love for him again...before my Lord and my husband. What a gift it was to embrace the stillness of him. Of my love for him. How sweet that communion table quiet.

What a sweet Christmas this was for me. One that I will never forget.
And I can't help but think of my Heavenly Father who entrusts me with little things in order to exchange them for bigger things. What a testimony Wes's reaction was to me - of his love for me - that he was thankful for the cheap ring - so long as he had a ring to claim me!

Thank you Father, for your commitment to me. And Your grace which gives me what I don't deserve and simultaneously erases what I do deserve.

Truly, what a sweet Christmas this was.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Living Nativity

A long tradition at our church (40+ years), the "Living Nativity" is 100% performed by children. The angel choir is made up of 3k, 4k, 5k-elementary students. The roles of Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men (and so on) are performed by the older, wiser children - the fifth and sixth graders. My friend, Margaret Lynn's little baby, Wilson was baby Jesus - he did awesome - even laid in the manger for a while. And Wyatt was toddler Jesus - when the Magi came to visit. It takes place on two nights, usually out on our front lawn, but due to the rain, it was moved into the gym on one night.

Oh and there were real sheep, real lambs (teeny-tiny), a camel and a donkey!

Here are a few videos.

The angels "quickly" troding to their place...

a visit from the Magi...

Mary and Joseph had decided ahead of time that they would share time with their Son. :)

it was truly precious. I was very proud of everyone and especially Wyatt. He had said all sorts of things in the weeks leading up to the event, but when it came down to the actual event - he did exactly what was asked of him.

On another note - how truly amazing it is to ponder the Simplicity and Complexity of
Immanuel: God with us.

"For the King has left His throne;
And He's sleeping in a manger tonight." - Casting Crowns

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hallo-Wanka (a wee late)

On Halloween our family went to Ed Venture. Different. But so much fun. The children dressed up and the costumes were precious. Nothing was scary. There was candy everywhere, games even a cupcake walk. It was a fun night for us.

Can you tell what Wyatt dressed up as?

He chose to be "Ed."

Posing as Ed. Dragonfly, watch and all.

A racoon even greeted us at the door.
But big brother was a bit shy.

So little brother embraced the photo op.

Wyatt thoroughly enjoyed himself.

He played with sand.

He rode a camel!

He pumped some gas!

He purchased a pumpkin at the EdVenture Grocery!

While Walker patiently watched.

..And even brought home a souvenir (the dark eye, not the muffin)...

All the key ingredients for a great time and a great memory!
Nonetheless, we enjoyed it.
And it was worth posting.
Even one month later!

Bathtime Goodness

Is it me or are kids just stinkin' cute at bathtime? I just love to watch them play, smile and laugh together. I sooo look forward to these boys living their lives together. I will miss these baths one day, so I had to dedicate a blog to the joy that fills my heart in seeing them at this stage. Precious!

Walker - all shampooed up!

giggles and smiles! Aghhhh! i love it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

At Last!

Smiler, Laugher, Blabber, Eater, Singer, Johnny-Jumpup extraordinaire, Snuggler, Giggler, Tickler, Grabber, Snorter, Blinker, Outdoor-enjoyer, little Lover, Exercauser-pro,

and now...

drum roll please...

Took him a wee bit.
He is now snoozing regularly from 8:30 until 5am!
Once again, he has communicated to us that he will not be by the book.
He will not be put into a box
and by-golly, he will not be part of a formula.
He has brought the wise out of the baby...
We are all thankful from the tallest of us
to the smallest of us.
And Yawn.