Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas at the Harris House

The kids are patiently awaiting the word, "go!"

Halle's big gift was the American Girl Bitty Twins!

Parker and Grayson got electric scooters!

Happy, happy, joy, joy! We had a great Christmas!

Thank you, Lord, for your blessings!

Favorite Christmas Moments

Christmas brings with it lots of wonderful things. Festivities, shopping, parties, and presents! If I think about this Christmas season, I can think of LOTS of things that I enjoyed. But if I had to pick my favorite moments, it wouldn't be the fun and fellowship of the Christmas parties or the beautiful new watch Johnny gave me for Christmas. It would be the experience of seeing Christmas through Parker's eyes!

See, last night as we were preparing to leave for our church's Christmas Eve service, Parker ran to his room to get some money to put into the church offering. Grayson saw him do this and decided that he, too, wanted to give to God. When the plate was passed, I watched the look on their faces as they put their money in the offering. Their eyes danced, and they had huge smiles on their faces! JOY! Pure JOY! I saw them live out 2 Corinthians 9:7 which says, Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. What a blessing to experience the Joy of the Lord at such young ages!!

Then, this Christmas morning, as we were tearing into our stockings, Parker brought me the Bible. He had it opened to Matthew 1:18. He said, "we should read the Christmas story before we open our presents." His dad and I encouraged him to read it to us, so he began...."This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."

Wow! Our 10-year old "gets" it. It's not about the presents. It's about the birth of Christ. And he not only knows this, he lives it, and is an encouragement to his siblings and those around him.

Parker is a blessing and a joy, and he has definitely added to my favorite Christmas moments!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Windy City

Most know that Chicago is nicknamed "The Windy City." I hadn't given that much thought until I learned we were moving here.

I hate the wind. And that's an understatement. Johnny hates the wind, too. Aside from it pollinating things, I think we could all do without wind.

In my opinion, TEXAS is very windy. I remember a time when I was in about 7th grade. It was spring so it was just beginning to get warm. I liked to ride my bike all around Dalhart. But this particular spring it was windy EVERY day. And I don't mean just a little windy. Ridiculously windy! Blow you off your bike or into oncoming traffic windy. And have you ever experienced wind in West Texas? It brings all the loose dirt with it (and there's A LOT), and when that hits you in the bare legs (face, arm, whatever) it's like thousands of tiny pins puncturing your skin. I assure you this is unpleasant. So for days on end I longed to ride my bike and couldn't. I guess it permanently scarred me, because it's something I haven't forgotten.

I think the wind situation was better upon moving to the Dallas area. There are a few trees to block the wind and the dirt isn't as plentiful. However, if the temp drops into the 70's, it generally brings the wind with it. Johnny has suggested that this is like a warm blow-dryer in your face. I have to agree. And once the wind stops in Dallas, the temps climb so high that it's out of control.

So imagine my IMMENSE FEAR when I was told we were moving to Chicago! Yikes!! The windy city! BUT, it's appears that I made the same mistake that most folks do. While there IS some wind in Chicago, that's not why it's nicknamed The Windy City. Chicago earned this nickname, it seems, because the POLITICIANS (both locals and those who visit for conventions) are "blowhards" or "longwinded" (ie: they talk too much). It has also been used to reference citizens of Chicago who brag about their city.

We've been here now for a little over 7 months. I can remember TWO windy days, today being one of them (the other took out about half the trees in Wheaton). Not that there hasn't been a breeze on occasion, but I am accustomed to TEXAS wind. I think the wind is probably less in Wheaton, too, than Chicago proper. Wheaton is surrounded by forest preserves which helps immensely in curbing the wind.

So drop me into a city with LESS wind, people that talk too much, and citizens who brag about their great city? Well, no wonder I fit in so well!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

DANGER of Winter

We have recently discovered a very real danger of winter:


And it happened to us. A few weeks ago we left on a Friday evening to go eat dinner, and when we returned home, our mailbox was upside down in the middle of the cul-de-sac and the post was completely bent over. A single tire track and plow tracks were left behind. Hmmmmm. Although we LOVE that the city plows our street, we do not like them taking out our mailbox in the process. Plus, with the ground frozen solid, it's a tab bit difficult to put in a new mailbox right now. So if you drive by our house, this is what you might see:

And yes, we are in the market for a new mailbox.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Little Chefs

These chefs might not be Ratatouille quality, but they sure enjoyed decorating Christmas cut-out cookies!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The ART of the CARD

Christmas cards. They are a peculiar thing. Sometimes they are just that.....a card. But mostly, they are a greeting with a picture. Usually the picture is of children, and on a few occasions, that is expanded to the entire family. And THESE are the cards I am the most anxious to see!

I guess I got this from my friend, Camey. She said "if the picture doesn't include the WHOLE family, don't bother sending it!" I decided she has a point. And this has much more meaning since I've moved. (Just for the record all you Dallas people, we are interested in seeing ALL of you....not just your kids.)

So I'm curious.....what's your opinion? Vote on the poll and leave a comment here. I guess we'll see who shares in this view!

Christmas Card Photo REJECTS

We took LOTS of pictures for our Christmas cards. Do you know how hard it is to get five people to look photo-worthy all at once? Here are a few that didn't make the cut:

Ok, everyone looks PERFECT and I had to close my eyes!!

Grayson's turn....

This one was taken atop the leaning tower of Pisa.

Johnny AND Grayson caught mid-blink. Plus, what's that CAR doing in our Christmas picture?

Now Parker, AND Grayson, and no smile from Halle..............

This one's not too bad.....

A little too much gazebo and not quite enough of us....

Come on Halle girl, a smile please!

Hey! This one looks perfect! By the 107th picture, we truly are freezing our bums off! It's cute, it's playful, it captures our new surroundings......and we have a WINNER!

BTW, thanks to our neighbor, Karen, for taking these wonderful pictures. She did a fantastic job!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Angel

Halle Jane Harris, age 4

Thursday, December 6, 2007

New Favorite Past-time

I think Johnny has found something he really likes to do......shovel our driveway. I guess he really likes it, because he's been out there doing it a lot lately.

By the way, have you noticed how LONG our driveway is? We were bragging about it in the summer because it's great for playing basketball. I guess even the best of things have their down-sides! Ask Johnny how much he likes the long driveway now, and his answer just might be different!

Snow much Fun

I know at least 3 children that have played outside more hours in the last week than they did in the entire month of November!
Suspect #1: Looks like someone is enjoying herself!

Suspects #1 & 3: Snow wrestling IS allowed!

Suspects 1, 3 and 2:

For the first time EVER, we made our house festive for Christmas and put up some lights. Maybe it's the snow.

Suspect #1 and Elly with their perfectly round snow balls. How did they do it?

Suspect #2, his friend Andrew, and the START of their snow fort. You should see it now!

Come on over and ENJOY the FUN!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Have you heard this? The video has NOTHING to do with the song, so turn away and just listen! I hope you laugh with me about how stupid this whole thing really is! Enjoy.

If it weren't for CHRIST, there would be no CHRISTMAS! It makes me laugh (and cry) to see what the world has been reduced to....

How Strange

Ok, so I was sitting at the bank drive-through today when I noticed the first snowflake. Just one. And then another and another. I thought to myself, IT'S SNOWING! My heart actually skipped a beat. To think I could be so joyous over snow.....but I am (at least for now.) This thing that I have been the most concerned about actually made me happy. How strange.

I have concluded that more than anything I am enjoying CHANGE. I guess I was a little bored with the heat....and this is something new.....and festive for the CHRISTMAS season. I've decided, too, that attitude is everything. As long as I'm happy with it it won't make me grumpy. I"ll have to test this theory over the next few months. I'll let you know.

Now I have to decide how early I need to get up in the morning to shovel the driveway so I can get the van out to take the kids to school. By the looks of it, I may need to start soon. This snowfall would have caused school closings in Dallas, but I fear that is not the case here.

I'm sort of laughing at myself, because truly, I have no idea what I'm in for. I am very inexperienced, and it is going to take some time to acquire the right tools. Lucky for me, the people are nice here. I may have to ask for help!

First BIG Snow

Here it is ladies and gentlemen! Our backyard covered with our first big snow! We got between 6 and 8 inches!

It's cold, but it sure is BEAUTIFUL!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Trim the Tree

Every year it's the same thing. Mom upwraps the ornaments, and whomever it belongs to gets the privilege of hanging it on the tree. The kids take turns hanging up Mom's ornaments for her.

Looks like they are eagerly anticipating the next ornament!

Good thing Granddaddy was here....we didn't even need the step-stool for the angel!

The kids enjoyed showing all of their ornaments to Nana.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Winter Has Arrived

Evidence of the first "real" snow of the season.

It snowed some big, beautiful flakes on the night before Thanksgiving. I really thought we'd wake up to a world of white, but there was no accumulation. Looks like it stuck this time!
The temp jumped to 41 degrees the next day. Very little snow was left. Heavily shaded areas and places where snow had been shoved into piles still remained, but streets and yards...CLEAR.