Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow what? We like it cold!

The Strauss's love snow. We will never complain about too much, or the mess, or the shoveling, or any of that. We love the look, the sounds the fun of snow. Couple that with a new SLR camera I'm currently obsessed with, and it's a pretty fun day.

Merry Christmas 2009!

Whew! What a busy month! We started off the month with a visit to Eric's family in Tennessee. We are blessed that MANY of his family members are able to gather at our cousins Gwen and Robert's house to celebrate Christmas. The most precious part of that, is the time that four generations of Strauss men get to spend together when we're there.
After that, there's a slurry of parties at friends' homes, church, school, work, and more! Mix in Meg's birthday somewhere in the middle and December is over in a flash. We are blessed with family, friends, good health, and faith. Thank you, God, for all your goodness in our lives!

Our Advent Calendar

OK, so now that the kids are older, Christmas is a whole new event. When you're single or even married but have no children, it's still about yourself and you lose the reverence for how holy an event this holiday celebrates. But when you can teach your children to be excited that Jesus is not only real, but we can celebrate his birthday, well that's just too much fun! Our favorite Christmas tradition is our advent calendar. Eric and I happened across it one Fall when just the two of us were vacationing in Gatlinburg. I think Eric found it first and excitedly called me over to it. It has a little numbered door for each day of advent, and behind it is a magnet that is part of the nativity. When each door is opened, a little recording plays and tells of the significance of that particular object. Even sometimes overlooked items like the sheep and a dove are carefully described as to the important role their presence played in that sacred night. Each evening, the kids eagerly gather around our big yellow chair while Eric gets the calendar down from its perch (placed carefully out of reach of over eager little hands). They all take turns on their rotating nights and open the door to reveal the item. As the month progresses, the iconic image of our Savior's birth develops more and more until on Christmas Eve, when baby Jesus in his manger steals the show. Sure, we all wear matching red pjs, put out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. We threaten that Santa won't come until they're asleep and then hurry downstairs to carefully sneak all the bounty under our tree. But now that they're older...they're starting to get it. Maybe there weren't sheep, or a dove, or many of the items on our beloved advent calendar, but the event was real. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was sent to Earth as a baby. He lived as a man, ate food, had splinters, stubbed his toes, and countless other daily occurrences that we all experience. And then, when his Heavenly Father commanded it, He gave his life for each and everyone of us. If that silly magnetic board that we love so much helps them understand that, then it was money well spent, don't you think?

Meg turns 8

My first baby. You know, no one can prepare you for motherhood. No amount of advice, stories, warnings, or the like can prepare anyone for what being a mother is like. No one could have prepared me for the sleeplessness. No one could have coached me through not crying during her first shots. There was not a single person that could have warned me of how my heart would break the day we were told she was autistic. And most of all, no one on this earth could have prepared me for how my heart would swell with indescribable love at the mere sight of this girl God entrusted to Eric and me. Megan. Sweet, kind, genuine, innocent Megan Olivia Strauss. God has had a special plan for her even from the time he put her name on our hearts. It means Pearl, which is so fitting for her. A perfect, pure beauty slowly and carefully crafted from a rough grain of sand. To know her is to fall completely in love with her love of life and everyone around her. I have never in my life met anyone as kind as this child. She can't stop herself from complimenting strangers as she walks by them on the street. She cried at the first wedding she went to when she was seven because she thought the bride must have been so happy. She is already a teacher to her siblings, a caretaker of her friends, and a daily reminder of God's constant presence in our lives. I am thankful every day that God gave us the opportunity to learn from her and love her and call ourselves her parents. As much as I ache for the days of Johnson and Johnson baby hair smell and her tiny lips rooting on my cheeks when I'd hold her up to my face, I eagerly await seeing her grow and conquer every day of her life. I am Megan's mommy. Lucky me.