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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Holiday Highlights from Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and More


Happy Halloween from the "Professional" Fisher Family--Meet Chris, the professional baseball player, Riley, the professional football player (even though I know Clemson is really a college team...this is his stepping stone to the pros), Maggie, the professional DocMcStuffins animal doctor, and Tracy, the professional heart surgeon. I guess this was our year to dress up as different careers and "unlikely, but still fun to pretend" jobs. Not to say that either or both of our kids aren't cut out to be doctors or professional athletes if they want...I'm just saying the chances that they choose these exact careers in 15-20 years are rather slim. :)

 We missed getting a picture with the entire QCP gang on Halloween, but we managed to get a picture with the Cason crew before Mickey and Minnie went off to Dreamland.
 Riley really had a blast this year filling his bucket with candy! Maggie was more concerned about her Doc McStuffins nametag falling off somewhere to really focus on the candy. It was special to have my mom and dad join us for pizza and the actual trick-or-treating this year as well. I was pretty worn out by the end of the day though because I helped organize Riley's Halloween party for his class earlier that day. We had a great time eating spooky snacks and playing games like "Wrap the Mummy", but a class full of 4 year olds hyped up on candy can make for a crazy day!
 We sure are thankful to have such a wonderful neighborhood to live in and friends that surround us. We delivered these to a few families before Halloween just to let them know that they are appreciated.
 For Thanksgiving this year, we created a Thankfulness tree and we wrote phrases on leaves that we were thankful for. Perhaps next year I'll get a prettier "tree", but the point of taking time as a family to name some of the many blessings we have received couldn't be a more beautiful sight to me.


 One other new tradition we started this year was where each family member is asked to draw a picture that describes at least one way God has been faithful and good to them that year. It could be an answered prayer, a surprise blessing, a special healing, a miracle, or a simple thanks. I have a quote that says: "The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us." And another one that says, "God knows that the FEELING of joy begins in the ACTION of thanksgiving." Just like in Joshua 4, we are going to use these images as a way to remind each other how God is all-powerful, provides for all our needs, is sovereign in His care, and deserves all of our praise! Feel free to "borrow" or adapt this tradition for your own family as you see fit. I did! This idea came from a book I read by Clay Clarkson called Heartfelt Discipline.  
 






Here is a picture of the fruity Tom Turkey that we made to take over to Grandmama and Papa's house for Thanksgiving.
I can't believe this is the only picture of the food that I took on Thanksgiving day though. We had a feast of prime rib, ham, mac and cheese, green bean casserole, strawberry pretzel salad, rolls, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin cheesecake, apple pie, and a delicious hummingbird cake. Sure did miss Edward and Amanda, Tripp and Liam. It was great to see Kelly and Joel and Rodger and his family were able to join us as well. I planned a few games that day where we had to sing a familiar song aloud but the only lyrics we could use were "gobble, gobble". And the kids really liked the "freeze" game while we were eating where one person was it and would freeze in mid bite, then the last one to freeze themselves at the table was the next "it." We FaceTimed with Edward and his clan and played a Turkey Trivia game that had fill-in-the-blank with a number questions and Auntie M (Melissa) was the reigning Turkey Trivia Queen (see pic below where she got to wear the special turkey headband Riley had made at preschool).

As the evening came to a close, mom and I did some "Black Friday" (although technically it was still Thursday) shopping at Wal-mart and Target and got some great deals and Kelly and Joel and I had too much fun re-creating some old pictures of when we were much younger. We gave these 2 below (along with several more) to mom and dad for part of their Christmas present this year.


Here is a picture of Riley's turkey that he disguised as Batman so that the farmer wouldn't find him and eat him. I am so thankful to be able to do these creative little projects with my sweet guy and love his fascination with superheroes!

 On November 22nd (the weekend before Thanksgiving, sorry these pics are out of order), we were given USC tickets by some friends of ours and we were able to meet up with Alice and Kevin and their kids at their condo in Columbia for the game. Only Riley and Chris actually went into the game. It was Riley's first time ever to attend an athletic event on a larger scale and while he initially wanted to leave after the first 7 minutes, he was able to hang on until halftime. The girls had a great time cheering on the Gamecocks from the comfort of the couch and enjoyed some beautiful weather outdoors too. Chris had a bit of a hassle trying to get the car and pick us back up at the condo though. It ended up taking him over an hour and a half in traffic because he kept being redirected away from the stadium once the game ended. But he persevered and we all managed to reunite and make it back home in one piece. 


I don't post often enough about how grateful I am to have so many amazing friends! I was able to celebrate one special friend's (Jessica) 40th birthday this year in the mountains with a great group of girls from Bunco. We laughed and cried our entire way through the weekend and really enjoyed eating some amazing food (pizza Friday night like none other I've ever had in my life, the Bistro Saturday night, and not to mention all the yummy snacks, chips, and sweets we all brought), checking out new sights (by hiking up a mountain, scoping out the towns of Montreat and Black Mountain, taking pics by Lake Susan), telling how to survive a bear attack stories, and getting a chance just to relax and girl talk without any interruptions from our darling little ones. It was an awesome!



Okay now on to Christmas and New Years Eve. (I gotta admit, it has taken me over an hour to upload all these pics below, and I'm running out of steam with this post. So I'm just going to make a few quick comments on some of the fun events, special traditions, delightful family visits, and memorable moments that we had during December.)



 No Christmas would be complete without a trip to Penland Tree Farm! We got another Cypress this year and the kids are getting taller and taller on the "Snowman Scale". We added S'mores to our trip this year and it was a real winner (as you can tell by the full cheeks and sticky fingers!).






 Zippy came back this year and brought the kids matching pjs along with some sweet treats and Christmas DVDs. In addition to hiding in unique places, he started bringing the kids special kindness activity cards for them to do. For example, we made this hand and footprint craft one day and gave it to Grandmama.

Riley and Maggie got to sit on Santa's lap and hear him read a story about Rudolph. We then were treated to free hot chocolate, cookies, and crafts at this particular Christmasville event we went to in Glencarin Gardens. Too bad it rained most of this day, but the kids still managed to have a great time at the indoor Santa's workshop playing Legos, making Reindeer Food, getting Riley's face painted, signing Maggie's name on the Nice List for Santa, playing in the elf bed, and making a candy cane reindeer. We finished off our special trip by having lunch downtown and taking pictures while we were waiting for our food to arrive!








 The Zipster also added in some joke cards this year that were a big hit in our household!


Every year it is an adventure trying to get a family picture. This year was no different. When the first one at church didn't quite have everyone looking at the camera, we decided to try again at home ourselves and I'm pretty pleased with the result! At least we are all facing the same direction and are in various stages of the "Cheese" refrain! 

 Our Advent Calendar had special activities to do each day with the kids and as a family such as making our own gingerbread houses. Maggie's 2 are in the forefront and Riley's are in the background. Maggie's houses are quiet as decorated because she kept eating the candy the entire time and couldn't quite figure out why we would put it on a house and leave it there. :)
 This is a super sweet picture and note the Riley made for Chris. In case you can't quite make it out, it says, "Thank you for being my dad!" He also made one for Callie down the street that we delivered to her as well. He told her thank you for letting him play with her toys and that she was beautiful! I love this boy's sweet heart! It certainly melts mine!

 Here is Zippy getting a little frisky and having a "snowball" fight with Baby.
 Here is the much anticipated trip to Krispy Kreme to get a yummy holiday snowman donut!


On December 19th, we hopped in the car and drove to Indiana. Unfortunately, Maggie didn't feel well and had a fever most of the drive. She perked up on Saturday though and we all had a great time catching up and hanging out with family. Maggie found lots of new people to hold her (eventually she even let Uncle Tim have a chance). Jeni entertained the kids with a few rounds of Hide N Seek. I brought my Left Right Center game to play and Brandy was the big winner this year.  We played this after our ever famous White Elephant Exchange in which Chris put together a Redneck Christmas Party Bag complete with a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 and some pork rinds. We had an amazing meal on Sunday the 21st with spiral ham, loaded potatoes made in the Crockpot by Penny and her delish butternut squash casserole, green bean casserole, veggies, fruit, rolls, and TONS of sweets (courtesy of Penny's talented hands) and strawberry birthday cake (made by Nan and Riley for Tim).   The kids had a blast opening gifts and trying out their new princess dresses and toys. Riley got to have private bow and arrow lessons with his dad and Uncle Tim and couldn't have been happier about his new tool to use while going hunting for woodpeckers!  Maggie loves her Melissa and Doug cupcakes that have "icing" markers and will be attending a gymnastics class of some sort in the spring (thanks to Nan and Pap). Chris showcased his water bottle that he received along with lots of other running gear and an Indiana Hoosiers poster. And I got some nice clothes picked out by Paul, books from my Amazon wish list, gift card, earrings, and many more thoughtful gifts. 













 It was great to have Chelsea and her boyfriend Evan and Emily and her boyfriend Chris join us for our big family festivities as well!

 When we arrived back home, we finished up a few errands and last minute details and then went to our Christmas Eve service at church that was targeted towards kids. Mom, Dad, Mommaw, Poppaw, Kelly and Joel were nice enough to join us though. And afterwards, we went out to eat with Kelly and Joel to Wan Fu for our Chinese food tradition.



 On Christmas Day, Riley and Maggie got to check out what Santa brought them.




 And we paused and reflected on the true reason for our celebration! Riley was able to tell us the Christmas story from memory this year. We caught his rendition on video.



 Around lunchtime, we went over to my parents' house for some more Christmas shenanigans.
 Maggie LOVES this Frozen doll and goes around the house constantly singing "Let It Go".
 Chris got his big ticket item of the year and I got new pots and pans, a Dirt Devil, glass storage containers, and some new boots (thanks to Mom and Dad and my Secret Santa-Amanda)!
 I love Riley's expression in this pic!

 We were blessed to have Mommaw and Poppaw as well as Kelly's future roommate join us too!

 Mom and Dad's big gift from us was that we transferred several of their old video cassette family videos to DVD and were able to watch them as a family. What fun to revisit some of our "early" years!

  One of the funniest gifts of the year were to Chris from his Secret Santa (Edward) who got him some super short shorts to wear!
 We took some time after our lunch of roast, collards, cornbread, ham, and corn to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus with the red velvet cupcakes that we made this year. The dessert wasn't nearly as delicious as mom's 10 layer white and chocolate coconut cakes, but the sentiment was still really sweet!
 After so much activity, Maggie fell asleep in Mommaw's arms while watching a holiday movie. Such a precious moment! As are these:
 Maggie-In-A-Box
 Dance Parties with Aunt Kelly
And Crazy Christmas Selfies




 For New Year's Eve, I thought I'd try to do a few things to make the night exciting for Riley, Maggie, and Callie so after collecting some ideas from Pinterest we did the following activities:
  • popped a balloon every 15 minutes starting at 5:45 until 7:00                                                             
  • wrote out our 2014 Year-in-Review and our Goals for 2015
  • created Memory Jars which we filled with photos, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia that we sealed in a jar and decided not to open until the year 2019
  • ate Ring Pops to "ring in the New Year"
  • got dressed up and made some noise
  • played Ring Toss with glow-in-the-dark bracelets
  • enjoyed a few Minute to Win It games like "Jingle in the Trunk" and marshmallow on a stick relay
  • had a special toast with chocolate milk drinks that sparkled with sugar sprinkles




I don't know what 2015 holds, but I can tell you that if it is anything like these past few years I think my heart might burst. I am so in love with my life! I feel so incredibly blessed to have such amazing adults and little people in my life and I give God all the glory! 


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