Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Luke 2: 10-14

But the angel said to them, 
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; 
he is Christ the Lord.  
This will be a sign to you: 
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, 
praising God and saying,  
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  May the joy of Christ fill your hearts this season and throughout the new year.

Thank you to my friend Rebecca of Southern Bliss Photography for capturing my family.

We ended 2012 in Nashville with my family after having a wonderful Christmas celebration.  My family met Zoe for the first time and we met my youngest nephew for the first time.  

January brought beautiful Florida weather which meant lots of outside time including the sandbox, kiddie pool, parks, Gasparilla celebration with friends, etc.  Thankfully, I was on the tail end of Thrush that I had for several months while breastfeeding Zoe.

My parents visited for a week in late February, which was wonderful one on one time for both Bennett and Zoe.  We were able to go to Disney World.  It was the first time my parents had been since my sister and I were young.  They enjoyed seeing Magic Kingdom through the eyes of their grandchildren. 

March was packed full of fun.  Two more trips to Disney World (my mother-in-law was able to go with us to Animal Kingdom) and B's 3rd birthday celebration.

We continued to have nice weather in April and honestly I can't remember much except B's behavior was becoming more and more of a challenge.  Whoever said the terrible 2's?  It is the terrible 3's!!!  The good news is Zoe began sleeping through the night and B began taking swim lessons, which he really enjoyed. 

We finished our study of the Acts of the Apostles in May and I loaded up the kids and drove to Nashville.  It was the first time taking both kids on a road trip by myself.  We were on the road by 6 a.m. and arrived in Nashville around 9 p.m. central.  The trip had a few challenging moments, but all in all it went GREAT and we had a wonderful week with my family.  

In June, Julie came and spent a week with us.  It was such a treat to have this young woman who I grew up babysitting here spending time with me and my kids.  I also taught 3rd grade V.B.S.  Bennett had a wonderful time and Zoe stayed home with Grandma all week.  It was our second year attending (and teaching) V.B.S. and while preparation can be intense, it is such a blessing for me and for Bennett.  

July brought vacation which was a nice break for everyone!  Sam had been very busy at work.  I was exhausted at home.  Bennett was in need of some more friend interaction.  And Zoe was content either way.  This year my sister's family joined us.  Instead of going to Hilton Head we went to Destin, which was supposed to be a shorter drive for my sister, but traffic didn't agree.  The kids had a blast on the beach and in the pool.  Bennett and Braxton were able to swim in the pool which made our outside time so much fun compared to previous years.  It was nice to be able to put the kids down at night and enjoy games and conversation with my sister and brother in law.

In August, we celebrated Zoe's first birthday.  She has been such a wonderful, joy-filled addition to our family.  I can't imagine our life without her.  She smiles and waves and hugs and kisses and prances and dances and simply enjoys life.  It was a fun filled month celebrating her with family and friends.  We also celebrated my birthday and Sam made me feel very special.  We even got to spend a night away sans kids.

September brought many changes.  I returned to the BSF leadership circle (after three years), which meant Tuesday morning leadership meetings and Wednesday morning Bible Study.  I was thrilled to be returning to leadership, but a little nervous for Zoe.  She adjusted wonderfully.  Bennett started pre-school 2 mornings per week.  And Sam continued to be very busy at work putting in A LOT of overtime.  All of the changes have been rich blessings to our family.  

October was HOT, but we were able to take a long weekend trip to North Carolina to visit our dear friends, the Shah's.  The weather was not all that fall like, but it was still beautiful and we had a fantastic time!!!  We purchased our first van prior to the trip, but I won't share any details regarding Sam's accident that led to the purchase or my own accident, while in N.C., that left a few scars on our brand new van. 

November brought more HOT weather, a week long visit from my parents, B's first extended stay away from home, and a week long Thanksgiving in Nashville.  I was so thankful to have my parents here for a week while Sam was out of town.  At the end of their visit B kept asking to go home with them.  We were all a little nervous, because he would be away from home for 10 days before we arrived in Nashville for Thanksgiving.  However, he went, had a blast and didn't miss us a bit.  He had an ice cream cone every night, jumped in leaf piles, played on the Wii and iPad, took bubble baths, and so much more.  He was excited to see us when we arrived, but just as excited to go spend another week at Brax's house.  Thanksgiving was low key.  As always, it was nice to spend time with my sister and the boys got along much better than they did in the spring when we visited……PRAISE THE LORD!!

December has flown by.  I feel like it just began and now we are a few days from Christmas.   Despite it's quickness, it hasn't felt as stressful this year.  Bennett sang in his first Christmas performance and did an excellent job.  Our BSF Christmas fellowship was just that: a joyful fellowship.  Sam and I won not 1, but 2 prizes at his work Christmas party (Bern's and Amazon gift card).  We had two sets of dear friends over for breakfast.  We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus at our church's Jesus Party.  And Bennett has asked us to read the daily advent devotional and sing the accompanying Christmas carol every day.  We are continuing to focus on the coming of Jesus Christ to this broken world and are looking forward to giving gifts to one another in order to celebrate His coming.  

So as the year comes to an end I say Merry Christmas from the Cullum family!!  May the coming of Christ be the reason you celebrate and reflect on the blessings and challenges you have received this year.


Sandy said...

Very nice. Thank you, Amber! David will be thrilled you have posted again.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! Haven't visited here in a long time. My blog visiting is way down due to work, writing, school, family, etc.

Glad to see your family doing well. We had two of our three kids home for Christmas. One didn't have enough time to make it home with her husband. Ah, transitions.

Take care and have a great new year. And, if you get a chance to visit, I have a new year's blog article up on strengthening marriage for this year.


Kindra said...

I'm just now reading this - I love these recent pics of y'all! And all of the other ones are great too.

Ok I need style advice from Zoe. Seriously, that outfit at Thanksgiving is too much!!

Amanda said...

Hi Amber! Loved the year in review blog post! Great idea. I seriously may have to do the same thing since there is no way I will ever catch up on 2013 with all the changes we had in our lives!

The kids are adorable and growing up so fast. Thankful that you had such a fun time with your folks in Nashville for Thanksgiving. Good job on your big half marathon!