It's Christmas time......

 A Christmas time catch up because Christmas time is always so busy! We started out the season with a special Christmas party hosted by the Hem/Onc team from Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. The evening started out with a potluck style dinner, they had raffles, crafts, and of course....Santa Claus. Ok, we don't do Santa, never did, but it was fun and we reminded our little ones NOT to spoil it for the other children! So they were super good and didn't say anything about the fact that there is really NO Santa!! They met other patients and their families and they even were good sports and got their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus...then they were given a gift.
At the craft table to make ornaments

Abby meeting another Abby!!

A very sweet baby Tirzah, all decked out for Christmas!

 A tradition I started several years ago was to make gingerbread houses. This year I knew I would not be able to make these from scratch like I usually do, so I cheated and bought village kits. Each box had four houses and the children had a blast! They didn't seem to mind at all that I hadn't slaved over the oven all day for this to happen. Phew! After just having a baby, I really didn't feel like being on my feet for that long. ;-)

A full choir
 Our children's choir had a big performance this year. It was a great way to invite folks out on a Wednesday night for entertainment with a Salvation message and cookies with punch or coffee. It proved to be a very special night for everyone. We had a full house and the children did a stellar job! I was so proud of all of the children, but must admit I was especially proud of the five Houston's that were a part of the program. Michael and Julia both had parts in the play and were quite the actors! Abigail sang a duet of "Away in a Manger" while Lydia and Zeke sang with the rest of the choir. I honestly think the choir sounded better than ever...not because of the Houston children being in it, but as a whole. Just thought I'd clarify as it sounded a bit arrogant! At the end of the play, Julia sang a solo part in a beautiful song about adoption. Bravo to the whole cast!
The actors performing

One last performance

Lydia posing with that bouquet! A happy girl!
 Days before Christmas brought one more wedding at Westside Baptist Church. A lovely couple had a beautiful wedding......and guess who "caught" the bouquet?! My eight year old daughter, Lydia! I told Naomi and Anna it looks like they will have a LOOOONG wait for their turn at the altar! Haha, they made sure I knew that they are NOT superstitious! I think they hope to be married before Lydia's old enough!
Another shot of sweet baby

Showing off her new pacifier!

Zeke, the star bearer
Amongst the hustle and bustle of the holiday, Tirzah has continued to grow. She is still an amazing baby, very good natured and starting to show her smiles.

We also had a we were unable to go out and cut down our own REAL tree, the children were all feeling a bit down. The reason for this is because Anna's immune system is still very young and we are not able to have real plants in our home for a year. This includes trees, Christmas or other. Well, with no tree in the house, it just wasn't feeling very "Christmasy". I heard that there was a family who had a spare fake tree. So I sent them a text and by Sunday night, we had a "tree" for the week. This definitely brought a spirit of excitement into the house! Selah jumped up and down and cried out, "It's Christmas!"
A much needed trip through the drive thru!

Christmas Eve we had a candle light service. It was a full house and a very special night. The atmosphere was beautiful and full of the real Christmas spirit....the spirit of Christ. The singing, the message, the fellowship of believers, the reminder of what this season is truly about. Remembering that Jesus really did come to Earth as a human baby so that He could lay His life down for our sins. A sobering thought. It was precious to sing praises unto our Savior!

After the service, we headed home to a wonderful dinner with dear friends. It was a late night full of games and chatter, friends, and family.
Christmas morning arrived and we enjoyed family time together in a warm house with the fun of presents and yummy food. It was a lazy day just enjoying time together. Now, we are tidying up the house, clearing it of some of the Christmas decorations and preparing for the end of 2013. It has been a full year. We've had the blessing of trials and triumphs. We are thankful that Anna is cancer free now and that baby Tirzah made it into the world without any issues. We are blessed to have come to the end of the year a bit stronger in the faith and, hopefully, ready to take on the new year! I hope you all had a blessed year as well! May we all think back on the moments and recount the areas of growth, maybe even where we needed to grow but didn't (counting this as a lesson learned), and count each blessing that has been bestowed upon us with thankful hearts full of worship to the One who deserves it.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

November Birthdays.....

Here are our November birthdays! Finally! I hope you all understand that I've been recovering from having our precious and newest November baby and then I was hit with strep throat! I am on the mend and now taking a few minutes to post this in honor of all five children born in November.

We start with Naomi, born on November 4th.....then Michael's special day is the 7th, Abigail is the 13th, Samuel is the 20th, and Tirzah Hope was born on the 26th. For Naomi's special day, Daddy and I each got to go on our own special dates with her! I took her to the salon to get her hair cut and styled, and then we went for a bite to eat. What a blessing to be able to enjoy time with one of my very best friends, my 19 year old daughter! Michael enjoyed crepes for breakfast and his special request of chicken curry for dinner...Yum! Abigail had the opportunity to go with Daddy and Mommy to one of Mommy's doctor's appointments, but afterward, we took her to BluBerry for a special frozen yogurt treat! Samuel got to celebrate a little bit for three days in a row! Busy schedule was the reason, but it was definitely fun! We went to Happy Teriyaki for his dinner and the chef whipped out this amazing fruit sculpture! Then, Last but certainly not least.....Tirzah made her appearance via c-section in the early morning of the 26th. Her special treat was meeting her Daddy, Mommy, and all 11 brothers and sisters! She got to feel the warmth of being in the arms of those who love her very much and are so blessed to have her here- healthy.

Well, here we have it folks! These are the last birthdays in the Houston family for 2013!

Happy first day of winter everyone!

One Week!

It has already been a whole week since Tirzah Hope's birth! Though things didn't go according to "the plan", I am so blessed to have had a wonderful experience. So far, Tirzah is an amazing little baby. She is so delightful in countenance and she takes a pacifier!!! She sleeps really well, thus giving me a week of sleep that I haven't experienced in over a year!!! My recovery is slow but I am feeling much better. I am blessed to look around my table and see the 12 olive plants God has given to the Houston home. This morning Selah prayed over breakfast and said, "and thank you for Mama's baby, Daddy's baby, my baby, Ezekiel's baby...." I love that she knows that Tirzah is all of our baby and not just "mommy's"! It is a most wonderful thing to have a newborn in our home once again.