Lots of cool stuff has been happening in the Gregory household since my last update at Thanksgiving. First off, we have Nathan getting his driver's permit! I did not want to try teaching 3 teenagers at once how to drive, so I told Nathan he could go first, and then about 3 months later I plan on allowing Nicole to get hers, and then finally Noah. And then it will be time to start with Nicholas not too long from that! But Nathan is doing a fantastic job driving. In the few short weeks he has had his permit he has driven on pretty much every major road around here except for the Interstate. I've only had a couple of near heart attacks because he really is a great driver! Here he is, fresh out the shoot of getting his permit, and ready to take the wheel!
Nathan has this cool feature on his ipod gen 5 that he bought recently that takes panoramic photos. But he figured out if he took part of the picture with somone in it and then had them move to where he was taking the next part of the picture and then do that again, it would look like the person was amazingly in the same picture in 3 different places. He had his friend, Josh, and Nicholas do this while he took a panoramic shot of our home decorated for Christmas. Pretty cool, eh?
The next milestone of this month was my birthday. And it was a milestone! Tim surprised me a couple days before my birthday with a few friends at dinner at Macaroni Grill. That was SO much fun. I hadn't laughed that hard in ages - my cheeks were hurting! It was so great to have our friends the Perrella's there, and one of my very best friends for over 25 years, Holly, and then the biggest surprise of all was my best friend from college (yes, we still keep in touch!) and her husband who drove in from Orlando! I had such a great time! The pictures didn't come out so hot, but here are a couple that were taken:
Two days later (1 week before Christmas) was my actual birthday. My friend, Holly, and I drove down to Port Charlotte to visit my parents for a few hours while my family stayed behind to put the finishing touches on their birthday gift to me. They weren't ready when Holly and I got back in town, so I decided to start my Christmas shopping! Yes, I waited that late to start! But it all worked out, so I had 1 week of stress instead of months of it (at least, that's what I keep telling myself!). :-) Anyway, I came home and Tim cooked a scrumptious dinner and then I sat down to open my gift. It is a beautiful photo album filled with pictures that all make me smile! Each kid took 5 pages and filled them up, front and back, with pictures of their choosing. I absolutely love it! I also received some birthday cards from friends and family that made it very special. Here are some pictures:
Another milestone this month was a good friend of mine who used to be in our Singles Sunday School class that we led almost 20 years ago finally got married, after all these years, 3 days before Christmas. Here's a picture of Tim and me enjoying the reception that night:
The next day (last Sunday) was absolutely crazy! We were home for maybe 30 minutes from 8:30am until 8:30pm! The first thing we did was help out at our church's Jingle Jam service Sunday morning. I drove the truck pulling the hay ride, Nicole helped serve goodies, Noah was a greeter, and Nathan helped with parking. I think Tim spent his time chasing after Nicholas. :-) We only got one picture that morning, but it's a great one of Nathan helping with the parking - someone lent him that awesome hat! He had a great time!
Then it was time to race home, grab some lunch, and head out with some neighbors we had invited to the Bucs game. We only had to buy a few tickets, because the rest were free (they were running a special)! Nathan and Nicole were even able to invite their friends, Josh and Meghan, to come with us. Unfortunately, the Bucs played horrible and we lost, but there was a free concert after the game by the Newsboys, and many people accepted Christ! Right before the band came out, Noah ended up standing right next to the lead singer of the Newsboys, and he held out his hand to shake it, but the guy put his arm around Noah and gave him a quick hug. That made Noah's day! After the concert we helped move all the speaker system and stage things off of the field and into an 18 wheeler that they were driving back to Nashville that night. Needless to say, when we got home around 8:30pm we were exhausted! Nathan did another of his panoramic shots after the game while we were on the field for the concert. This time, it's Nicole and Meghan who look like they cloned themselves to be in 3 different places on the same picture:
The next day was Christmas eve. We attended the Christmas Eve service at our church in the afternoon, and then came home and Tim and I made a wonderful Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans dinner. The kids were amazed since I've been basically a vegetarian for the past 8 years or so and they didn't remember me ever making ham before. They absolutely loved it! I used an old family recipe of whole cloves stuck all over the outside of the ham and then Vernors ginger-ale poured over it and then baked until done. So simple and so delicious! I didn't eat any of it, but everyone else ate a ton of it! After dinner and watching It's A Wonderful Life, we put the kids to bed and then Tim did last minute shopping and we did last minute wrapping, and we finally fell in bed around 3:30am! :-) The kids tried really hard not to wake us up, but I heard them scurrying around whispering about 8ish, and Tim finally roused around 8:30. So we had a fun morning watching them unwrap their presents. Here are a couple of pictures of that:
Two days ago (this past Saturday) we made a trip down to Port Charlotte and had a very nice visit with my parents. My mom went out with the boys and played football - it was SO cute! Tim made a wonderful dinner and then we packed up and headed home. Here's a picture of my mom out there playing with the boys:
Last night we thought we would try to get ready for the New Year by staying up late, but after watching Chronicles of Narnia on TV, everyone pooped out around 11:00pm. Here are the pictures to prove it:
We've had a wonderful day cleaning the whole house, and then my sister popped in for a visit on her way back to Port Charlotte from visiting her daughter in Orlando. She and I had so much fun going through some old pictures and videos that her other daughter had digitized and put on a external hard drive. It was so great to spend that time with her. Tonight we will play, pray, and stay up as long as possible to welcome in the New Year. We wish you all a very Happy and healthy New Year to you and your family!
Tim & Jodie