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    by Amy Chappelle

Christmas Play

Our school puts on a Christmas Play every year. This year it was “The Secret of Snowflake County”.

Sarah has been looking forward to this for months and practicing, practicing, practicing.

This is the first year that Caleb was not in it. However, the 5th grade band played as we were seated. They do such a good job.

I love Sarah’s expression in this picture. She is full of life and wonder. If I could just bottle her spirit….

The First Grade class performed the song “This is the Time”. They were/are precious:

I can’t tell you how much Sarah loves performing. Maybe every little girl is like this. She performs with her whole heart and soul. I love watching her.

The fifth grade onlookers:

All this to remind us of the True Meaning of Christmas:

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Hawaii Christmas Party

The 5th grade had an “Around The World” Christmas Party. This year one room was a Hawaii Party:

Our friend, Ava, came to give a presentation on Hawaii. She did an amazing job and it was extra special for Caleb for her to be there.

The kiddos were greeted with Leis and Ava had brought them special chocolates that came straight from the island state.  She also brought this amazing juice mix too. That was a huge hit. I think Caleb has six cups!

So, I think they enjoyed it:

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Say Cheese or Not…

Do you have one that when you ask for a smile, you get this:

This is Braxton’s story. I love this kiddo. He is one of my precious nephews.

While in Alabama, we decided we would get some pictures for Nana.

Braxton is a sweet obedient kid. He wants to please us. He was there for pictures and everytime we said, “give us a smile”, the above look is what we got.

Oh yes, I recognized what he had… He has the condition that I affectionately call, “The Cheese Syndrome”. I have seen it many times before.

Little ones are there and ready to perform, so when you give them the command to smile (or heaven forbid tell them to say cheese), these sweet obedient kiddos are doing their best to put on, what feels like to them, their best smile.

So, what do you do? How do you get that more natural look, the smile that you want to remember forever?

You talk with them:

Ask them about school, sports, what they did that day.

And Listen.

And Snap away.

You will capture their spirit:

Braxton, you are a Rock Star and you have stole our hearts!

Nana - December 7, 2012 - 2:57 am

These are really, really good. You are an amazing photographer and truly capture the spirit of your subjects (especially when they are dear to you)! And YES your mama can brag sometimes!!!

Kathy - December 8, 2012 - 1:56 pm

Wow Amy! You did capture him!! Love these!!

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The Search for a True Christmas

I am always on the look out for ideas on how to make Christmas more meaningful. I love Christmas. I love the traditions, the excitement, all of it. I LOVE to give gifts (and get them if I’m honest), but I want that to be a smaller part of this season.

So, the other day I came across an idea. It was a list of things you could do everyday as a family to keep the focus on giving whether an act of service, a gift, or time. I thought my family would enjoy this.

I took the list and circled some of my favorite ideas. I even wrote some of my own. For instance, one day tells us to say 5 good things about each other. Hey, we need an excuse to hear these things sometimes, don’t we?

I cut them out.

I rolled them up and put them in this advent calendar that I got from target last year. Wabam! I am sure you could Pinterest it up some, but it’s raining and I did not want to get out and get twine and ribbon and stuff –ha! It would look super cute written on antiqued paper with twine wrapped around it sealed with a beautiful stamp or sticker. I am just saying. Anyway, my kids will not notice. Well, Sarah would… But again, it’s raining….

My goal is to not stress about things such as this. If we open up one and it is not a good day to do that particular one, then we can certainly talk about it and maybe choose to do something else. My point is to teach my children about the gift of giving and the true spirit of Christmas.

Another quick and simple thing we are going to do is write out our blessings everyday. I put a large strip of paper on our Laundry Room Door,something we see every time we leave the house. My goal is that all of us will write 5 things we are thankful for everyday. Sorry, no picture, but there is no way I can let you see my laundry room today.

Hoping little things like these will bring Joy to our family and others. Excited to see how the family likes it. I’ll keep you posted.

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