Well, as it does every year, December is always filled with some wonderful events, parties, and activities for the Johnsons. Here is a recap:
December 1-6: We had three shows with GRD. We went and played at UNCG's Lutheran Campus Ministries, Confluence Coffee in Winston, and Greensboro Academy. Fun shows- fun people!
December 7: Brooklyn's stage debut in her school's Christmas performance. Notice you will NOT see any pics of her onstage because she was there for only a short moment, but here is her before the show in front of our Christmas tree and with her best friend, Kate, after the show.
December 8: What an awesome night! GRD had the opportunity to go down to Greensboro Urban Ministry and play a concert for the homeless. My mom had my grandmother's crochet group knit 120 hats and another member of our church made 150 fleece scarves to give to everyone who came in for the meal. It was truly an uplifting experience and really made us all remember the Reason for the Season.
December 11: Our annual trip to Four Seasons Mall to visit Santa. Brooklyn and I have an agreement at this point- Mommy will sit with you- you just smile pretty. :-) She exceeded expectations, though, when she SPOKE to Santa, telling him she wanted a baby doll with hair and gave him a high five. I was so proud of my shy little girl!
December 12: TWO holiday parties that day- work for me and our annual Christmas dinner at Memaw's house (both excellent parties with GREAT food)
December 13: We babysat for Zoe, so Luke and Emily could attend Luke's work party. We took the girls to McDonald's mostly so they could go on the Play Place. Brooklyn does awesome on the big slide, but Zoe needed a little help from Chad getting back down. :-)
So, that brings me to this week and several more Christmas parties...I hope I am better about taking pictures for the Second 12-ish days of Christmas!
Last year, we went with my parents and Chad's parents to cut down a Christmas tree in the mountains ("Top of the Mountain" tree farm, to be exact). I have never been one that really cared with the tree looked like (Lowes was my tree sponsor for a while), especially when Brooklyn was a baby and didn't notice, but now that she is older and so very much into the Christmas season these days, it has been a fun trip the past two years. I hope we continue to go each Thanksgiving weekend as time (and gas prices) allow.
Brooklyn and Grandpa Brooklyn, Chad, and Pops
Brooklyn and Me
Brooklyn and Nanny
Brooklyn and Gramma
Cutting down OUR tree
Decorating at Nanny's house first (the fattest Christmas tree EVER!)
Brooklyn had so much fun decorating at Nanny's that she was dying to get home and do ours next. We decorated Sunday morning, and I hope to get pics up soon.
I cannot even believe that it is December 2nd already. Brooklyn told me today that she cannot wait to hide eggs for Halloween tomorrow, and that about sums up how I feel these days. The holidays are racing by and before we know it, it will be Christmas. Thanksgiving week was pretty much a wash for me. I came down with some sort of upper-respiratory-we-cannot-give-you-antibiotics-virus that lasted a full 8 days, so despite not having to work, it was no fun mouth-breathing for a week. Luckily, I began to feel better on Thursday when 28 of my closest family members came over for Thanksgiving dinner. We loved hosting it in our new home, and utilized every possible space to make it accomodating for everyone (THANK YOU WEATHER!). Everyone pitched in and brought over yummy food, and it turned out great. I hate that I didn't take any pictures, but hey, if you were orchestrating a meal for 2 1/2 dozen peeps, you probably wouldn't be whipping out the camera either. :-) I was exhausted by the evening and was in bed by 8:45 and asleep by 9. Between early bedtime and not being able to breathe at night, I found myself wide awake at 4:45am. So, I did what any other person would do. I took a shower and headed out to Kohls for Black Friday. Craziness ensued, dropped about $200 at Target before daybreak, ate Chick Fil A for breakfast (with a LARGE sweet tea), and then headed to my mom's at 8am to meet her and my mother in law for more shopping. We had a great time Black Friday shopping together and got a lot done before Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch. My darling Chad allowed me a two hour nap that afternoon, and I started feeling myself by Saturday. Saturday morning, we headed up with all the grandparents to pick out and cut down our Christmas tree in the mountains. I'll try to post pics tomorrow. Brooklyn loved decorating the tree on Sunday, and it's been fun decorating the new house. Monday was back to work and back to feeling healthy (thank goodness since the band played at UNCG's Wesley Luther House Monday night). We have four shows with Grace Reigns Down this week, so I am so thankful that my voice has come back, and I am just now praying that Chad stays healthy! :-)
As Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I am just so thankful to look back on these pictures and remember my sweet Brooklyn. She is still as sweet as ever, just a bit more opinionated as a three and a half year old. :-) Welcome to Way Back When-esday!
Age: 9 months
Favorite Activity: Picking up Puffs all by herself!
Age: 21 months
Favorite Activity: Playing with her "big sister" Allie
Age: 2 years, 9 months
Favorite Activity: Decorating Cookies (and still loves playing with her "big sister" Allie)
And this picture was just taken last weekend....as you can see, Brooklyn STILL loves playing with Allie! :-)
As mentioned in the previous post below, we celebrated 5 years of "Shout" on Sunday. For those of you who want to hear more, here is my "Intro" from Sunday Night:
In November of 2003, a small group of people here at First Lutheran sought a means to share their faith. We started with no pastor, no microphones, no communion, and even, as shocking as it seems, no snacks. Shout has no paid participants- only people with gifts they seek to share. The musicians, the prayer leaders, and the communion leaders provide a worship experience that we all enjoy, but those that choose to share their message make Shout a very special and unique experience.
Each week, individuals gather the courage to come forward to share how people have touched their lives, and how they live out their faith. We have heard about people who traveled to the gulf coast and Costa Rica to aid those in need, teachers who lift students in prayer, friendships established in the dark halls of middle school, the impact of Teens Encounter Christ weekends, people who have overcome addiction or who have provided service at a summer camp for kids with health care needs.
Tonight is a time to celebrate the gifts shared by those who make Shout special every week and those that open their hearts to share their message of His Message.
Five years later, we have more musicians, children, microphones and amplifiers, ample refreshments, and starting this evening, communion every week. In five years, we have baptized a baby, welcomed new members, celebrated the life of a woman named Ginny, and heard over 250 personal messages. You may have been here at the first Shout service five years ago, but tonight may be your first experience. Either way, may you be blessed in all that you hear and may you feel Christ’s presence among us. Welcome to Shout!
We've been doing great in the Johnson house....staying busy, as usual. Last week, I had a Girls Night with my dear friends, Heidi and McKenzie, and we went up to our old stomping ground, UNC, to see another dear friend, Brendan James. His name is in my "Music to Check Out" section on the left side of the page, and he did a great show with his band in our old Student Union. I just love Chapel Hill- there is just no other place like it. I had a great time there for 4 years, and despite missing Chad, it was some of the best years of my life. I'd like to say that I will be happy to let Brooklyn go anywhere she wants when she goes off to school, but I think I REALLY want her to go to UNC. :-) Then, Chad and I can have some of those Granville breakfasts again...right, babe? At least, we have MANY years for that decision.
And speaking of years....our Contemporary Christian service, Shout, celebrated our 5 year anniversary on Sunday. We had about 105 people attend, and it was just an awesome celebration service. For those of you who don't know, Chad and I helped start this evening worship service with about 10 other people in November of 2005. It's been a wonderful ministry to our church and the community, and we have formed such a great family with the attendees. It's been a wonderful 5 years, and we look forward to many more!
Brooklyn had a great Halloween....she had fun dressing up all day at school (with trick or treating and a Halloween parade AND a Halloween party), and then we went to Oak Hollow Mall for our Grace Reigns Down show. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the mall TOLD ME they were doing trick or treating, they were not, so Zoe and Brooklyn just enjoyed wearing the costumes and watching the band (and riding the elevator from what I understand from the grandmas).
Here's our Sleeping Beauty:
Already has the Princess pose down pat!
Some friends from school:
And precious Zoe wearing Brooklyn's ladybug costume (to remember Brooklyn as the ladybug, scroll down to last week's Way Back When-sday).
Most of you know that our band, Grace Reigns Down, had the wonderful opportunity to play at the opening of Greensboro's Crop Walk. We were so blessed to have the chance to play for so many people (especially people who were out there walking for a great cause!). Here are some pics from the day.