Monday, December 12, 2011

Freaks AND Ugly Sweaters

Saturday marked our 2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Party, and 4th Annual Work Party. What a blast! The girls were excused from the ugly sweater part this year. Some husbands/boyfriends forgot to pass on the memo. Hands down, I think Jimmy won again this year. Nate was a close second though. Next year we are awarding a prize. Maybe a traveling trophy or something.=) Mike added a new dimension to his sweater from last year.  Brian's sweater was just green and really short. I try to keep his ugly sweater population under wraps, but its a constant battle. He keeps sneaking them in and I keep sneaking them out. Brian took photos. I will have to download and post them later. It was an evening of good food, conversation and laughter. We are so thankful for each of these guys, and how they make our business a success every year. We have a good reputation at each job because their Christian testimony shines through. We are saying goodbye to several employees this year, and pray God blesses them as they proceed on new paths.
My Sunday morning chuckle came from my kids via Brian. He said that Elsie ran up to him all excited on Saturday night because, "I'm a freak, dad!" He told her she was not, but he couldn't make progress against her and the boys' enthusiasm. They concurred that they are also freaks! Isn't that SO COOL! Well, no, it generally is not cool. But what can you say?=)
We have many Christmas traditions here in the Hippie household that have developed over the years. Last evening we got to participate in one of my favorites-the King's Choraliers Christmas Concert. The King's Choraliers are a W. Michigan men's choir. They sing a lot of hymn arrangements. I first heard this group in my early teens. My dad met one of the men through work (he owns a box making company) who invited us to their Christmas concert. I went with my family for years, and then since Brian and I got married, we have made it a tradition to go again. The Christmas concert is held at Lagrave CRC, with their magnificent pipe organ. It is free. And it is wonderful. They always have another choir share the evening with them. The program order usually includes lots of congregational carol singing accompanied by the organ, and then selections by each of the choirs individually, and together. It is usually is 1-1/2 to 2 hours long-perfect for young children. Our kids really enjoy singing the carols they know with a huge congregation. And the acoustics are amazing, so it sounds heavenly. It is always a very enjoyable evening. And it furthers my goal of music appreciation in my kids. We ran across one of our friends last night. She encouraged me about bringing out the kids. She reminded me that music is a gift, and we have to cultivate it in their hearts. So, even though we don't get home until after 10:00, it is so worth it! My kids get the Beach Boys, Motown, and Leahy on Pandora here at home. They get Blues at picnic concerts in Rockford during the summer. Which in itself is quite a large category. It spans from bluegrass to pops to rock to jazz-with anything and everything in between. They get to sing hymns here at home, and at church, and at Bible study. And once a year, they get to hear a phenomenal male choir sing hymns and carols that they are familiar with. I love watching their faces as they watch and listen. Maybe someday they will sing in this group, or another. Who knows...
Today I am putting together my Christmas season menu and grocery list. It is always my longest and costliest of the year. But I am looking forward to the goodies to eat and share. I am trying a couple new sweet and savory recipes this year. We are all excited about that.
last year's sweater
Here's to an "un-manic Monday!"=)