Friday, December 17, 2010

The Most Wonderful Times of the Year

Where have I been these past few days?  

Busy, but in the best possible way of course.  I know that everyone always feels that this time of year is nothing but hustle and bustle and I agree that it seems like the month of December is just a whirlwind, but I also think it's important not to feel obligated to do the "Christmasy" chores just to get them done.  If the decorating, baking, and shopping are taking away from the essential time spent with family and friends, then it's really not worth it.  What do you think your loved ones will remember more, the missing cookies from the buffet table this year or the absence of your heart and soul during this time of year?  

I know I've said this before, but I'm really enjoying this Christmas, even though I thought it would be a lot harder.  With not having a home of our own at the moment, giving up some of our usual traditions was hard to grasp at first, but the time I am gaining to spend with my family and friends is making up for it.  

Okay, now back to the story…..

Breakfasts for the past few days….

A few days ago, we celebrated the Christmas season with our friends Brian and Sarah.  Every year, my church puts together a wonderful evening to celebrate the season.  The Christmas Cafe is a nice relaxing night to listen to talented people sing and play Christmas music, sip hot coco and nibble on homemade cookies.  

This year, we asked Brian and Sarah to join us. 

The celebrations with friends continued with Jen and Brian last night.  We were invited over to exchange gifts, food and great memories. 

The kids opened their gifts first which is really the most enjoyable part of the night. 

For dinner, Toly and I came with pizza and Jen put together a fantastic spread of appetizers and dessert.

Gluten Free Veggie

Okay, but the real reason I was so happy about this night was for these……

OMG!!!!  My heart be still.  These are Jen's Apricot Bars and they are quite possibly the best thing I ever ate.  She makes them for Christmas and every year, I count down the days until they are in my life.  Sadly, the relationship does not last long and I do NOT share.  Last year, I actually hid them from Toly and I warned my family this year if I see one missing, it will not be a merry Christmas for them. ;) 

Dramatic?  You better believe it.  That is just how much I love these things. 

Today was another memorable occasion to note because it happened to be the day one of the most hardworking and determined man was able to celebrate his incredible achievement. 

 My dad graduated from college! 

After leaving his long time career of security investigation and pursing his life long dream of becoming a pastor, a few years ago, he knew he wanted to obtain a degree in ministry and embarked on what seemed like an ambitious endeavor.  

For the past few years, he has worked harder than anyone I know.  Pouring his heart into his work as a pastor, a husband, and a father all while attending night classes and putting hours and hours into countless papers and exams. 

This was truly a commendable day and we were all so proud! 

After the ceremony, we all ventured to one of the graduate's favorite spots, Shady Maple Smorgasbord, one of the biggest buffets in the state, right in the heart of Amish country.  

It was a fantastic day and everyone was all smiles. 

The fun doesn't stop.  Tomorrow is a day of Christmas shopping with my friend Jess.  Stops include The Towson Mall, Cheesecake Factory and Trader Joes!!!!!!  

It's the most wonderful time of the year! 



  1. Congratulations to your dad! That must have been very hard to go back to school. I'm proud o fhim!

  2. ah :) Looks like you've had a truly incredible past couple of days! Those Apricot Bars do look amazing. And BIG congrats to your Dad! What an achievement - that is just so awesome! Enjoy shopping & the rest of your weekend

  3. Oh my goodness, CONGRATS to your dad, that is so precious. What a strong man he is to do that. You have good genes :)

  4. Awww congrats to your dad!! That's a wonderful success story, and I'm sure he was happy that his whole family was there to witness it. And now I'm craving one of those apricot bars...they sound awesome!

  5. Wow what an accomplishment for your dad! Congrats to him!

    Looks like some fun past days with friends and DELISH food.

  6. That's amazing about your Dad - such an accomplishment! I love the pics of what you've been up to - The pic in front of the Christmas tree is too cute ~ you look almost sassy : )

  7. your dad has such a beautiful story-- congrats to him!!

    and i'm glad the holiday is going better than you anticipated. such great news :)

  8. Lauren that is so awesome! CONGRATS to your dad!!! Woot Woot! Your dad is so cute! He just seems like the nicest dad ever! SO happy for him!

    Can I just say you always are looking so beautiful too! U always look great! Love the pink scarf!

    Hope you have a great weekend girl! xoxo

  9. congrats to your Dad! that is so awesome :)

    Glad to hear things are going well!

    and...those apricot bars look incredible. I don't think I'd share either :)

  10. Wow, sounds amazing!

  11. What an awesome week you've been up to! Congratulations to your Dad.


  12. Congrats to your Dad! Happy for you that you are enjoying your holidays!

  13. OMG!!! NOw you're a PK like me!!! Woo hoo!!! I'm so proud of your dad, and I know God will heap blessings on him and his family (that's you!) ;-)

  14. congratulations to your dad! that is so amazing and inspiring - it just goes to show it is never too late to pursue what you love!!!