Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas celebrations--Part 1

We were so excited to get to travel to Oklahoma for our first Christmas celebration of the season with my side of the family.    We were a little nervous to be around a lot of people at one time, since we had not done that really since my diagnosis.  My white blood count has been low since starting chemo; thus, being around a lot of people in an small space has been off limits.  I have actually learned how to be extremely careful so that I do not get ill.   Did you know a recent study found that people touched their faces an average of 3.6 times per hour, and common objects an average of 3.3 times per hour?  This rate of self-touching means that people likely get germs on their hands much more frequently than they wash germs off their hands.   So, I constantly wash my hands and am extremely aware of everything I touch. The concern we have with getting around crowds of folks though is due to the exposure of our children.  If our children become ill, it will be pretty easy for me to get sick since I am responsible for taking care of them.  Children carry lots of germs and tend to put their hands (which are huge germ carriers) in their mouths.  So, while we were visiting we used Lysol a TON, trying to be cognizant of everything that other children playing with or touched before allowing Luke or Abbey to touch them.  Also, with Abbey crawling everywhere, we even regularly used Lysol on the carpet and made sure no one wore shoes in the house.  We were so thankful that everyone we visited was not sick.  Here are some photo memories from our visit.

We arrived to the Bass Pro shop to visit Santa early so our kids wouldn't be exposed to as many germs.   Abbey is checking him out here in this photo.  She didn't actually ever cry, but towards the end of their visit with Santa I am sure she was getting ready to do so.
Abbey in her Christmas pjs.

Cousins in their Christmas pjs (poor little Kaylee wasn't happy about the photo session at this point in time) 
Lilly is thinking about which of her gifts she would like to play with first
Kaylee was excited to try on her Cinderella wedding dress.  Doesn't she look so pretty?
It was a cinderella Christmas for the little girls!  Linnea is here playing with her new "my first cinderella" doll.
Little Natalie tries out her new chair
Dr. Linnea, the veterinarian
The beautiful weather meant outside play was a must for the kiddos!
Kaylee, Traber and Luke were pretending to see animals all over the yard.
We were so glad got to visit with some of our aunts and uncles and cousins while we were there.  It was so much fun hanging out with them and visiting, even if for a short while.  I miss my family so much!  Here is a photo of Abbey opening a gift of new books from my cousin Kristin (and her husband, Michael):

We even managed to get my family together for a silly group photo:

And, we made sure we visited our favorite Christmas lights display--at Rhema Bible Church.  They have millions of lights, including a huge light display that is choreographed to music.  Luke absolutely loved this and didn't want to leave.

We drove back home on Monday, the morning of Christmas eve. We were concerned there would be many others also traveling, causing some bad traffic.  However, traffic was actually lighter than usual.  We had a great drive home.  Most importantly, we had a wonderful time in Oklahoma and no one got sick!

We were excited to be able to spend Christmas day at our house. There is just something about watching your kids experience Christmas morning in your own house that is so special.

Coming down the stairs..he spots his new bike.
Checking out his new bike.
We left santa one of these "Ninjabread" cookies.  
Santa left the head of one of the ninjabread men on the plate, so Luke decided his first order of business of the morning was to finish eating Santa's cookie.

Luke and Abbey were checking out one of Abbey's gifts (Luke has played with this toy even more than Abbey--go figure!)
One of our favorite parts of Christmas morning was that we were able to have brunch at our house with some good friends, Adam and Jessi.  We had so much fun hanging out with them and are so thankful for their friendship.  After they left, I realized that all of these social interactions we have had recently really rejuvenate me.  They energize me.  They uplift my spirits.  I have been craving some social interaction for so long.  I am looking forward to having cancer completely behind me, so that we can get back to our normal, social lifestyle.  It is yet another reminder about the importance of living in missional community.  When I refer to missional community I am referring to this: (from desiringgod.orgFirst of all, a missional community is a group of believers who live and experience life together like a family. They see God as their Father because of their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the new regeneration brought about by the Holy Spirit. This means they have and know of a divine love that leads them to love one another as brothers and sisters. They treat one another as children of God deeply loved by the Father in everything — sharing their money, time, resources, needs, hurts, successes, etc. They know each other well. This knowledge includes knowing each other’s stories and having familiarity with one another’s strengths and struggles in regards to belief in the gospel and it’s application to all of life.   I highly recommend to anyone to first find a local church.  Then, seek out a missional community. It will make a huge difference in your life! 

We have one more celebration of Jesus' birth with Drew's side of the family this weekend.  I am so thankful I was able to get my chemo today so that we can celebrate with them soon!  More uplifting of spirits to come!   :-)

1 comment:

  1. You guys sure squeezed in a lot of fun and family in your visit to OK! Looks like tons of fun for all!