What I Did On My Christmas Vacation (Instead Of Have A Baby) Part 2

I didn’t have any specific plans to cook a big meal at Christmas, since it was possible the baby might come, and the idea of doing such a thing right now was pretty tiring. Then Luke’s boss gave us a turkey.We planned on spending Christmas day at Luke’s mom’s, so that meant we would need to have a turkey dinner at home on Christmas Eve. Having never roasted a turkey before, I was very grateful for blogs on the Internet to show me how. The method I chose to use was one that first had me salt the bird all over and place it in the fridge overnight without anything covering it. I just saw Alton Brown do this to a duck the other day on Good Eats, so was reasonably confident that this would be a good thing for the turkey. On baking day, the bird got butter spread all over it and sat out for two hours to get to room temperature. Then, I put it in the oven to bake for 3 1/2 hours. I settled on this amount of time by assuming the turkey, which was quite large, would take the maximum time listed on the blog. Luke came to the same conclusion by lifting 27-pound Adon by his hands and feet and trying to remember if the bird weighed more or less. It turned out to be enough time; I’ll never know if it might have even done with less. Instructions on the blog were to let the turkey rest covered in foil for at least an hour, and ours ended up sitting on the stovetop all afternoon. It was really tasty, and not too dry, and I think a complete success for my first turkey. The blog also had a stuffing recipe I wanted to try, with dried cranberries and apples. It turned out really good, too! I was really pleased with our dinner that evening.
Christmas Day we went to dinner with Luke’s family. The cousins are mostly old enough to play by themselves without too much adult supervision, so it was a nice time to play board games and talk. Sometime during the meal my stomach started to hurt, so most of the evening I spent just trying to find a comfortable position on the couch and wish I hadn’t eaten anything. Luke kept asking on the way home, “Are you sure you aren’t in labor?” and an interesting thing about pregnancy for me is that I am much more sure when the upset is my stomach, since so little room is left for it in my abdomen and I know exactly where it is. Aliyah had some TUMS in her purse and I ate those in the van, thinking I should have tried that earlier. I might have had a better evening.
The fun continues with visits this weekend from my sister and my brother from out of town. I hope to get to see them, but at the same time would not mind being interrupted by a baby’s arrival. We shall see.

What I Did On My Christmas Vacation (Instead Of Have A Baby) Part 1

Still here. Not complaining this fact. We got to do a lot of fun things, and got to get a lot of viruses suffered, before Baby arrived. I like how Thanksgiving opens up the Christmas season for us, allowing for 6 good weeks of celebration and thought. The carols were especially meaningful to me this year, maybe because of the pregnancy but likely just because I was slowing down a bit to really listen to the words:

nails spear shall pierce Him through
the cross be borne for me, for you

radiant beams from Thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace

What a rich heritage we have in these timeless hymns. Get to know them now; we’ll be singing them for eternity!
School’s out until February, giving me time to settle into a routine with a newborn again. I am not happy with the work we did not get done before our last day, but this is partly due to illnesses and things out of my control. December has been a month of sickness, unfortunately, but gives us hope we can weather the winter much stronger. One of the things we missed was our monthly classic book club, in which we were supposed to read Mary Poppins, by P.T. Travers. I started reading it to the children the second week of December, but didn’t expect to finish it in time for our meeting with the other families. Turns out I didn’t want to finish this book; I didn’t like it! The original Mary Poppins character is so self-centered and rude that I am actually grateful the person my children are most familiar with is a Disney fabrication! [This may be the only time I ever compliment Disney this highly, so take note] We’ll stick with the movie version, and forget all about the original, thank you. Even though we missed the meeting due to illness and lack of interest in the book, we eagerly look forward to getting back into the swing of things in January, with the A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett.
The first weekend of December our church puts on a community outreach called Experience Bethlehem. Tours are offered that go through different scenes from the Christmas story, then in the gym an elaborate town of Bethlehem is set up, with shops to peruse, a children’s angel choir singing, and in the back, a stable of animals with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in residence. Many years Luke, I, and our newest baby have filled these roles, but this year we did not. The kids did participate in the angel choir, and Luke played his guitar in one of the booths. I stayed home with those too little to have a part, which turned out to be very relaxing. Attendance at the event was over 1100 people; hopefully many heard the gospel message clearly and will make a decision to follow Christ if they have not, as a result of being at Experience Bethlehem.
For the past few years, Luke has been the one to plan and shop for the kids’ Christmas gifts, and has really enjoyed it. This year he got the boys Nerf dart guns, with the hopes of organizing Nerf wars with friends and family in the coming year. This was an exciting highlight that made it hard to keep quiet about for a few more weeks until Christmas. When the time came to wrap our presents, we realized we had run out of tape and almost run out of paper. It made for some interesting-looking packages under the tree! What you can do with contact paper strips and old posters…

My Chains Are Gone

I just read a neat article from one of our missionaries about the meaning of ‘redeem’ in the language of an African country: it means “to take the head out” as in to remove a person’s chains from the neck. Such a great picture of what Jesus has done for us. It makes me think of the hymn, Amazing Grace, and the chorus that Chris Tomlin added:

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine