Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Cards

Every year I have a love/hate/love relationship with Christmas cards. I love to get them in the mail, but I kind of hate the process of making my own, but then I love the finished product and giving them to people. But still, it is an all day task. I have to look through our photos and decide which ones make the cut. I have to decide if we go for one family shot, or some individual shots. Usually I try to do both because a family shot rarely has the best of each person. Then I need to find a card that has enough space for all of those pictures I want to use. Additionally, there is the newsletter. Last year we wrote a letter that accompanied our card, which was a great way to share the eventful year we had, but a lot of work. So as I was pondering our choices, and even if we would send a card this year, I flipped through a brochure that I got in the mail from Shutterfly. It seemed that they had a lot of options and cute designs that I hadn't seen in other cards. I liked this one because it lets you use 6 pictures, which would be perfect for our family, to share one good picture of each person, and then a group shot. In fact, they have a lot of multi-picture cards.

They also have many cards that have a more religious tone, which I appreciate, but am not always able to use because there usually aren't enough photo spaces, but this one actually does have plenty of photos.

And here is one that I really like because of the design
and the message.

But the one that I ended up choosing* was exactly what I was looking for. It had both plenty of picture spaces, and a "Top 10" portion of the card that we could fill in(here it is a generic list, but in real life it has actual events). It would cut out writing the Christmas newsletter, but still give our far-away friends and family an update on our lives.

After I am done designing and sending out our card, I think I will take some time to make a photo book of our summer vacation this past year, and a calendar for next year.

*Even though I loved the design, I wasn't sure I was going to purchase them, but once I saw their offer for 50 free cards in return for a blog post (heavy with links), I decided to go for it. I am super-excited that I can send out the card I wanted all along.

Also, so, so, sorry to all of you who sign up for my blog via a reader. I didn't know how to imbed the pictures of the cards into my post, so I had to have shutterfly send them and create a brand new post each time. Then I deleted them, but they still show up on the reader. So embarrassing!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In which I attempt to cram 6 months of life into a post

I know, I know, you thought I'd never blog again, didn't you? Well, I kind of felt the same way myself. The funny thing about blogging, for me, is that if I start to fall behind I have a tendency to just keep putting it off. I will start my new years resolution a little earlier, and resolve to be a better blogger! With that, here is a 6 month recap.

Previously, on this blog, it was the middle of summer vacation.
We spent the remainder of the summer taking weekend trips to the Jersey shore with both friends and family. We ended the summer with a fun block party where the kids enjoyed riding bikes, face painting, tie dying shirts, games and playing with their neighborhood friends.

We also took a weekend long trip to Benton Pa with my family. It was a bittersweet weekend, as we had originally planned this trip for the weekend that my dad went into hospice. As soon as we arrived on the farm, we knew that it was the kind of place Dad would have loved. It had rolling fields, and a little pond to swim in, as well as plenty of room for our family to play games and eat meals together. His absence was keenly felt, and we enjoyed reminiscing over the years we have had as a family as well as making new memories with each other. The kids loved playing with their cousins in the pond, on the trampoline, and, strangely enough, the marble run was a favorite with them all. It was also a little break for Ed, who had an extremely busy summer and fall at his company, and he was unable to take off more than a couple days at a time. He really enjoyed having some downtime to spend with me and the kids.

The start of the school year meant that the activity level picked up again. E started 4th grade, N started 1st grade, and KK was so proud to begin going to school as well. I took on the care of another little boy, in addition to the children I had watched last year and their new baby sister. Our days and weeks have been packed with soccer, piano, dance, and kids clubs at church. Our lives are very full right now, and I am truly thankful to the Lord for his daily measure of strength and patience for me.

In addition to our traditional fall activities of apple picking in September, and pumpkin picking in October, we took our first tent-camping trip as a family. We went with another family to Rickett's Glen. It was a really fun weekend, and we enjoyed hiking the waterfall trail with all the kids, as well as the campfires and time spent with our new friends. We are planning more camping trips for the spring and next fall. The kids really look forward to these things every year, and I think it is an important part of childhood to have these traditional family events that they can depend on.

Now we are in the advent season. With only a little over 2 weeks left until Christmas, we decorated our tree and the kids are enjoying their advent calendar chocolate each day. We are a little behind on lighting the candles on the advent wreath, as we just made one this past Sunday at church, but at least it is made and displayed in our dining room, ready to light this Sunday. I will try to have at least one more post before Christmas, but you know how hectic the holiday season can be...