Monday, December 31, 2007

The boys are in the living room watching Clemson in the Chick-fil-a Bowl, the girls are now all tucked away "snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug", as Ashley would say, after a fun night of snuggle time in bed with Mommy, so I decided to try to wrap up our Christmas pictures before 2008.

One of our Christmas gifts was Season Passes to Dollywood for the 2008 season; if you ordered next year,s passes you got this Christmas Season free so on Saturday, December 22 we enjoyed a fun day at Dollywood. On December 22, 1996 Travis and I had been at Dollywood on our honeymoon, so it was fun to walk around eleven years later - things were a little different this time, we had three kids with us this time!

We finally arrived home late Saturday night (December 22) and we all were ready to be home and enjoy the rest of the Christmas Fun.

We enjoyed a great day of worship at church on Sunday. That evening the youth at church presented a Christmas program and at the end our Youth Pastor said something that stuck with me the rest of the week-end. He said, "We can't get caught up in the greatness and how amazing Christ coming as a Baby and forget that He only came as a Baby to die." Wow! Travis and I tried very hard this Christmas Season to find the balance of the fun of Christmas (Santa, presents, parties etc) and celebrating the Birthday of Jesus, but were we remembering and teaching our kids that we only have Christmas to have Easter? I thank God that He used Big Dave to teach me and remind me of something this year.

We celebrated with The Sparks on Sunday evening with great food and fellowship.

On Christmas Eve we enjoyed a fun day together - we even got out in the madness of shopping on Christmas Eve.

That evening we went to Ben Avon for a Christmas Eve candlelight service.

One of my favorite things we did this Christmas Season was go to the Sheriff's office after the service at Ben Avon to deliver goodies to those away from their families protecting us. There weren't many officers there, but there were a few that the kids were able to "thank" for serving us during Christmas. I hope this is something we can do every year.

After delivering the goodies and having supper with Grammy and Big Daddy, Amanda, Les, and Seth we headed home to make our cookies for Santa and hurry to bed.

Santa brought each thing the kids wanted and we enjoyed our morning home playing with our new stuff and a Christmas breakfast where we shared the story of our last Christmas box and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. Grammy and Big Daddy and Eric and Kristi and the kids came over for Christmas lunch; We loved having them in our home.

After a wonderful Christmas afternoon nap we headed back to Ben Avon to celebrate with The Ford's. Instead of drawing names this years, each person was to bring a $15-$20 gift card and we played a fun Christmas game. We had so much fun! I was nice to do something different.

After the Ford's we went over to Grammy and Big Daddy's to celebrate Christmas with them, Eric and Kristi, Amanda and Les and all the kids.

This picture of Steven is the only picture I have of our final Christmas celebration, we were all pretty tired, but my greatest Christmas 2007 memory came at Grammy and Big Daddy's. Grammy had handed out all the gifts and the kids had opened all their presents and I looked up from all the boxes and wrapping paper and saw that the girls were sitting at Grammy's feet and Samuel was beside Big Daddy and they were anxiously watching them open the gifts each of the had got and wrapped for them. I was so glad to see them be excited about giving a gift instead and just getting them. Samuel is old enough to understand and know the true meaning of Christmas; but the girls are still at the age where the fun and excitement of Santa and presents can come quickly take center stage - it was wonderful to see and hear them understand the Birth of Christ and demonstrate His love in their tiny hearts in their childlike faith.

So that's it - we are ready for 2008. We thank God for the wonderful Christmas He gave us and the things He taught us.

Each of us have a few goals and we look forward to the fun of the coming year.

Thank you for joining us in 2007 and we hope that you will continue with us in 2008.

Happy New Year!

Taking up for the GPS

From Memama:
-by the way – just read the blog – and you mustn’t blame the GPS for taking us the long way home. It kept telling us to “U-turn” and head the other way! I’m not sure who made the decision to NOT go curvy roads-but it wasn’t the GPS-

I've Got a Golden Ticket

On Friday, December 21 we left Memama's and Granddaddy's around lunch time to headed on a road trip. Our first stop was Bryson City, NC to ride The Polar Express. During our train ride we had hot cocoa and a yummy snack and read The Polar Express while on they way to "The North Pole" to pick up Santa. Just let me share this fun ride with you, through pictures.
After our train ride we had supper together and Aunt Amanda and Uncle Les and Seth headed back home and the rest of us headed to Pigeon Forge for the night. Two Grandfathers, whose names will not be mentioned for protection, have GPS systems; we were following these two grandfathers. Now Pigeon Forge is 40 miles from Bryson City, but we went 35 miles the other way to get on I-40. I had a Christmas (or should I say anniversary) melt-down when I saw the sign for Ashville - 23 miles. Travis and I had plans on stealing an hour away at Starbucks to celebrate our anniversary, but it was getting too late and I realized that that would not happen, only if I had known what was coming. We were traveling down I-40 and Aunt Amanda called to say they were home - we weren't even close. We finally arrived at our motel in Pigeon Forge and pulled up to three police cars parked in front of the motel. Travis and Granddaddy went inside to check-in and to make sure everything was alright. They were informed that is was just a "Christmas spat" between two couples. We got checked in and was just ready to go to our room and just go to sleep. We started backing up and BAM! we backed right into a dark car that was parked in the road with no lights on because the police were blocking the other side of the motel entrance. That was just the icing on my anniversary cake! Lucky, the police were already there and that process did not take too long.

Let me back up a bit...Travis had become quit jealous of the Grandfather's GPS systems and had asked a couple of times for one for Christmas. Before this night, I had been feeling guilty and was going to get him one for Father's Day. Once everything had settled down, I broke the news to him that I had seen two men who have great sense of direction take us all over North Carolina and Tennessee to go 40 miles, there was no way I was getting him a GPS system.

He agreed with me - but the funny part is: Popeye and Mammy got us a Tom-Tom for Christmas!

Once the kids were all asleep and things were settled down our anniversary was over. We haven't had a chance to go out yet, but when we do, I will savor the moments with my wonderful, patience, loving husband who can now get anywhere in the country!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where Do I Begin?

I don't even know where to begin in telling you about our wonderful Christmas season, but I think I will go back to Hannah Grace's birthday (Wednesday, December 19th) and begin there...

We took Hannah Grace to Chuck-E-Cheese on her birthday to celebrate; as you can see Faith celebrated again. We got there at 11:30am and we were the only one's there and no one came in until we were ready to leave. Even if you're not having a "party" they give the birthday child a hat, balloon, and tokens for the age and a free ice cream sandwich. It was great! Hannah Grace had the most fun playing with her Daddy:

Faith just had fun!

Last Thursday evening we traveled to Memama's and Granddaddy to have Christmas with them and Aunt Kendra. We had a wonderful meal and then the kids (and Aunt Kendra too) got to open one gift - PJ's!

Then Granddaddy read the Christmas Story (one of my favorite parts, I love to watch my kids listen to him read.)

Then it was time to open presents!!!!!!

Faith and her tricycle - check out the pink John Deere boots.

Samuel and his drawing kit.

Hannah Grace and her guitar and her pink John Deere boots.

After breakfast on Friday morning we headed to Bryson City, NC to ride The Polar Express to pick up Santa at the North Pole. I will dedicate an entire post to that eventful, but fun, night.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

These are just a few picture from the past few days of Christmas fun we have had as a family, more pictures later. Until then we wish each of you a Merry Christmas filled with the love, joy, and peace of Christ who came as a Baby to go to the Cross for each of us.
Merry Christmas!
Love, The Sparks Family

Friday, December 21, 2007

11 Years of Sparks

11 years ago today I watched the Shrine Bowl, ate at the Beacon and married my wonderful wife. I think if she knew how many football games and greesy burgers she would have she might have changed her mind, but here we are 11 years, 3 kids and many adventures later.

Happy Anniversary Baby.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Now, A Year of Grace












Happy 5th Birthday to our little lady, Hannah Grace, We Love You!