Merry Christmas 2015

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Merry Christmas from the Tennessee Fritz family!

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were filled with family, easy traditions and way too much sugar. 🙂

We started Christmas Eve day feeling a bit hung-over from the excitement of the previous evening. We had tornado warning and spent a little time huddled in our bathroom.

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5 people and a dog in a half-bath. It’s not an ideal situation, but we made the best of it. There were no tornado touch-down in our town, but several people did lose their life in Spring Hill. They were out driving in the storm and ended up rolling their car. So sad for their families. This article indicates that 15 people lost their lives from this storm system. It’s scary not to have a basement to escape to and every time a big storm comes through, I wonder about the cost of installing a storm shelter in the floor of the garage. (I just googled and found one for $5,000. . . hmmmm).

Back to Christmas Eve!

The kids were so excited all day. Honestly, Nathan and I were excited also. We played our new board game, Ticket To Ride Europe! Let me tell you, it’s very difficult for all of us to read and pronounce all the city names on the board! I’m sure this will help our geography skills.

We went to a friends’ house for appetizers before our Christmas Eve service.

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The girl in the red sweater is Alisha and the one in the green is Sara. Both of these women are friends I met through helping lead the Moving On Bible Study for women who have recently moved. Alisha and her husband move from California. Her husband works at Ramsey Solutions along with Nathan. He works in the creative department. Sara and her husband moved to TN from Sioux Falls, SD. I’m so grateful for their friendship and it’s been so fun to see them get settled into life here.

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We went to our Christmas Eve service at 4:00. Having the kids with us in the service is my favorite part of Christmas Eve. The service is always more noisy and disrupted than normal because of all the kids, but that’s real life and I love it!

When we got home, we had our traditional wild rice soup. Now that we’re several years into this tradition, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to offer an alternative soup for my children who have yet to acquire a taste for wild rice. 🙂 Three of the five of us really like it. The other two try valiantly, but aren’t loving it. Next year, I’ll have another option!

Then we watched Muppet Christmas Carol!

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Christmas morning came bright and early. We opened our stockings, had cinnamon rolls, opened our presents, and spent the day playing with them We had a late lunch/early dinner with some friends and then came back and played some more with our new things 🙂 With he money that we received from Dave for Christmas, Nathan and I got newer tablets. This freed up our old tablets and we already had one that the kids used. Nathan had ordered new cases for them and loaded them with things for the kids and now all three of them have their own tablets (Isaac has a kindle and Ethan and Audrey have our old Nexus tablets).

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Isaac got this brush bot set from Nana and Bumpa! So fun. He spent a lot of the day playing with this.

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Ethan sunk Nathan’s battleship with his new game 🙂

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The v-tech watch was a huge success!

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Thank you grandparents and Brian and Missy for the fun gifts for the kids. They loved them! I have more photos I’m planning to send to your way so you can see the fun they are having with everything.

I hope your day was full of joy! We love you all and consider our greatest gifts our family and friends!

More Christmas Fun

We hosted our Life Group from church for a Christmas party yesterday. We had 24 people in our house! The biggest hit was the hot chocolate bar. Every time I looked in the kitchen someone was fixing their personal favorite blend of toppings 🙂

 

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Audrey made a little sign to go along with it. 🙂 Not pictured is the Redi Whip which was well-loved!

 

Today we had a neighborhood parade! The kids even participated. Audrey and Nathan decorated our wagon. The results were adorable!

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Santa came on a firetruck!

 

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We wrapped up the day with a viewing of StarWars, episode IV. Our kids had never seen it!

2015 Christmas Party

I know you’ve been waiting with eager anticipation for this post. So, here it is!

Saturday was the BIG Christmas party for Nathan’s workplace. The theme was “Oh What Fun”.

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It was a busy, busy day for us. The kids had their Bible Bowl Round Robin and that took up most of the day and I had my hair appointment. Nathan and I were off to our separate things from 10:ish to 4:00 when it was time to leave for the party. We were so excited!!!!!

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I had to take a photo to send to my hair sylist/colorist when I went home and did my makeup. This is my “I’m so excited for the party” look!!

 

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This is our third year at the Music City Center and it is a gorgeous, amazing venue. The only downside is that it’s impossible to take good photos there. 🙂

There was a live jazz band while we waited for the ballroom doors to open.

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We chatted with friends, posed for photos, and ate amazing appetizers.

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Finally, the doors were opened and we got to see the room. Last year we used half of the ballroom. This year we used the entire thing. There were live Christmas trees. The stage was set up in the middle with all the tables around it. There was an enormous jumbo-tron that went all the way around to project to all sides of the room. Entire walls had the theme of the evening projected on it. So many little details were thought of.

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I just happened to get a shot of the count-down as it hit one second!

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And Dave came out and kicked off the evening.

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So many details of the night were amazing:

Funny videos. They did “Bad Lip Reading” videos where they made it look like all the Ramsey speaker’s group personalities were saying ridiculous things. There was another video showing where Dave played “evil-Dave” and another person played the “pastoral-Dave”

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But the highlight of the evening was that they highlighted 4 different families to tell a bit of their stories and surprised each of them with special gifts. The first family had a daughter who was born very, very early and they had a long NICU stay and high medical bills. They were given $15,000. The next family was a family that had been working 5 jobs to pay off their debt and had one car and the husband had served several military tours overseas. They were also given cash and a Disney Cruise for their family. The third family was in the process of adopting a girl with special needs from Poland. They were given money to help with the adoption expenses.

But the cherry on the top was when they brought up to the stage, the admin that works with Nathan’s team. Her name is Lyssah and she and her husband are expecting their first baby. Her husband is a youth minister and they pour a lot of their time and energy into the youth. They also have a very old car that is being held together by bungee cords. She was in shock when they called her up. I thought she would pass out.

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I’m sure she thought they brought her up to give them some money for a vehicle, but then they told her to turn around a look at the white curtain. They dropped the curtain to reveal a 2011 Toyota Sienna Van! Amazing (and I’m crying even now as I’m typing this).

If you follow this link and click play you can see “behind the curtain”.

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And then they gave us our gift.

** 2 extra vacation days. For ever. So add that to whatever the vacation schedule already was. That number just went up by two days!!

**$100 in cash to use however we want. Pay the babysitter, have a date night. . . They actually gave it to us that night. So, someone had to bring $100 bills for 520 people 🙂

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**$900 Target gift card. And they opened Target exclusively for the team from 6:00-8:00 this morning and offered 5% off everything and other discounts and deals. Several people went to check out and discovered that their TV they picked out was free!!

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I’ll tell you more about our shopping trip later. This post is getting long and I’m tired. . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

Christmas Baking Day Results

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We had a successful baking day. We made three different things: chewy gingerbread cookies, caramel puffcorn and peanut blossoms.

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I kept myself in check and only ate one cookie! It was a gingerbread cookie and it was fabulous!

The kids all pitched in to help with the peanut blossoms.

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There were yummy things as far as the eye could see. The kids tested everything for me to make sure it was all good enough!

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So, how long will these treats last? I’m guessing I’ll have to make another batch for Nathan to share with his team at work.

More Christmas Fun And Some Random Trivia

The kids and I watched White Christmas last night! It was fun to sit in the family room with the lights off and only have the light of the Christmas tree as we watch. Getting to eat some yummy popcorn was an added bonus!

I was reading some of the trivia on IMDB about the movie and learned a few things you might not know:

  • The part of the movie when the boys sing “Sisters” was added when the director saw them clowning around on the set. The laughing that they were doing in the movie was actual real laughter. They took the best take they could get even though the actors kept laughing.
  • The audio you hear of the song “Sisters’ is actually Rosemary Clooney singing with herself. This explains the amazing harmoney! Vera-Ellen didn’t sing any songs in the movie.
  • Rosemary Clooney could not have her voice used on the sound track that was released because she was under contract to a different record company. If you bought the sound track in 1954, it had the voice of Peggy Lee on it.

We’re declaring today “Christmas Baking Day 2015!” I’m going to finish my list of ingredients and pick up what we need soon. I’m going to do my best to limit my cookie intake though. I still have 1.4 lbs of extra Thanksgiving weight I’m hoping to lose this week.  I have the added motivation of this year’s Ramsey Solutions Christmas Party on Saturday. So exciting!!!!!!!

Christmas Baking Season Has Begun!

This isn’t great for my diet, but what kind of life is one with no Christmas cookies?

The kids and I did some baking yesterday.

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We made Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies. Oh, so yummy!

 

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Nathan stayed home today. He had some vacation time still to use this year that he didn’t remember he had and it was Christmas party day for our tutorial. I didn’t want to expose anyone to shingles. So, Nathan volunteered to take the kids. They had fun making crafts, decorating cookies and watching Charlie Brown Christmas.

 

Speaking of shingles, I feel like I’m 90% better. As I look back, I can pinpoint more symptoms I had before knowing what it was. I had a horrible headache on Wednesday evening and Thursday. I commented several times about my face hurting. I’m positive it was related. It seems like I had more symptoms before I knew what was happening than I did after. Monday was the worst day for pain and it cleared up very quickly. My rash is almost gone and I’m ready to declare myself “not contagious”.

Thoughts On Road Trips

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Now that we’ve lived in Tennessee for almost 4 years (whoa!), we’ve learned a few things about road trips.

  • Using the Garmin is so nice for navigating through bigger cities (Nashville, Indianapolis.  . . ), but the real magic helper is Waze when it comes to avoiding traffic or detours.
  • We plan to stop every two hours. We don’t do a long stop, but everyone gets out and goes to the bathroom.
  • We’ve done DVD’s and radio dramas. At this stage for our family (no babies or toddlers), we love listening to Adventures in Odyssey. It wins over DVD’s because the driver can’t watch a movie while driving.
  • Every family road trip starts with Dunkin Donuts.
  • I (Amy) take the first driving shift. This is probably because I am so excited to get going.
  • Automatic flushing toilets in public restrooms are terrifying for young children! I know friends who use post-it notes to cover the sensor to keep the toilet from flushing before they are ready. I think this is brilliant.
  • Everyone is much happier when we arrive home with time to start the laundry and rest before Daddy heads back to work.

Give me your best road trip tips or lessons you’ve learned. I would love to hear them!