Archive for December, 2009

You are warmly invited into my parents’ living room in Erie, Pennsylvania for…

Orison’s Christmas Concert 2009

It’s a little long, but trust me, this is the short version. The original was over 30 minutes long! The kid just wouldn’t stop singing!

So, hunker down with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy! But drink at your own risk, because there are some laughs that might send it out your nose. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I don’t want any Christmas lawsuits because of your burnt nasal passages….

Or, if you need to get dinner ready this evening, get your church clothes ironed, or get some last-minute gifts wrapped, plop your kids in front of the computer for ten minutes of family-friendly holiday entertainment! Just my little gift to you….

And for those of you who hang out until the end, Morrow makes an appearance as a Christmas dancer! He goes absolutely nuts anytime he hears Jingle Bells!

This is our joy-filled way of saying to all of you: Merry Christmas from The Pipers!

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December 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm 41 comments

A Family Tree for Christmas, Part 3: Including Felicity

Our Christmas tree decorating process has morphed and evolved over the years. Now it includes shedding tears for our family member who’s not with us, prancing around the Christmas tree and getting into trouble.

Our daughter has been with Jesus for three Christmases now.

Most people who’ve ever lost someone they love will tell you that the holidays are particularly hard. So, for people to have the foresight to give these ornaments to us back in 2007… let’s just say, I’m deeply thankful.

We’ve done it differently every year, but this year, the Felicity ornaments were the last to go on the tree. And since there were three, Abraham, Orison, and I all chose the one we’d like to hang.

I don’t want to make our tree a Felicity tree, I just want her there. These three little ornaments are very special to us.

If you’ve ever wondered what to get for someone who has lost a child, I would highly recommend an ornament. That way, it’s not another item they have to find a place for year-round, but when Christmas comes, there’s a ready-made place for remembering.

Our tree isn’t fancy. It’s not pristine. But it’s ours. It’s our family tree.

December 23, 2009 at 1:03 pm 10 comments

A Family Tree for Christmas, Part 2: The Angel’s Story

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

-Luke 2:9

This, my friends is our angel.

I know… she’s filling you with fear right now.

I know… it’s weird. But to us, it’s hilarious. And now… it’s just tradition.

You can’t see too well against the pink bow backdrop, but the angel has some pink netting for wings. And of course, her cotton candy hair.

“What is the deal?” you might be asking. Well, this is an art project my husband did when he was little. And for our first married Christmas, my mother-in-law bequeathed us the box of ornaments she’d been collecting for each of her kids. (Which was a very good thing, because we had neither Christmas decorations nor money to go buy them.)

Abraham’s family grew up not doing Christmas trees (they did a Bethlehem Tree instead). I grew up going out into the field and chopping one down as a family. So the first Christmas we were married, Abraham just didn’t understand why I would want a Christmas tree so much.

But one night, he dropped me off to do some grocery shopping, and said he needed to go run some errands of his own (we shared a car then, and still do). At our set meeting time, he picked me up, but when I looked around for evidence of his so-called errands, I couldn’t find any.

As we got home, we came up the back stairs to our second-floor duplex apartment and started unloading groceries. A few minutes into it, the doorbell rang, and he told me, “Why don’t you go get that?” I remember being kind of annoyed, thinking, “Well, why don’t you?”

But somehow he convinced me and I walked toward the front of our apartment. As I walked into the dining room, there it was…

A Christmas tree, standing tall and proud.

I screamed and hugged him and screamed some more and hugged him. (Oh, and then I got the door.)

It was one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received. So surprising, so unexpected, so thoughtful.

Thanks to Abraham’s mother we actually had some things to put on the tree. But what would we do about the topper? We didn’t have a star (which is what my family always did), and we didn’t have a proper angel.

At some point during my lament about the sad state of our tree and it’s lack of crowning glory, Abraham jokingly placed the little drag queen angel from his childhood at the top. We had a good laugh about it, and decided she should stay.

And she’s assumed the same post for all our Christmases since.

What’s the weirdest thing on your Christmas tree?

December 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm 36 comments

A Family Tree For Christmas, Part 1

Most of you have already put up your Christmas trees. You’ve strung the lights and hung the ornaments. You might even be sitting and enjoying it right now.

There’s nothing like a Christmas tree at Christmas to make it feel like home. Like family.

We chose, for a number of reasons, to put up a very small tree this year. But in actuality, it’s the third year in a row we’ve used this little thing as our family Christmas tree.

You see, I bought it in the Fall of 2007, just after we lost Felicity and I was going through a major money-spending binge (shock does insane things to you). And then when Christmas came, I was too tired to think about putting up a real tree. Plus, we decided to go on an extensive 4-week road trip at Christmas. (Again, shock does crazy things to you.) We spent Christmas #1 without Felicity in Pennsylvania (in our stupor of shock) among our family and friends there.

Then for Christmas 2008, we had just moved into our current house a couple weeks before and the only thing I had time for (and room for among the boxes) was this little tree. Combine that with having a 4-month old baby, and it wasn’t exactly the right time for me to move forward with any elaborate Christmas decorating.

Now it’s Christmas 2009. Christmas #3. (For those of you living without loved ones, help me out here: do you mark your holidays like this? I don’t feel like I have the same inclination to mark other holidays like Thanksgiving or Easter this way. But at Christmas I miss her a lot, and I feel the passage of time more poignantly.)

Anyway… Christmas #3. Another Pennsylvania Christmas. So I figured, “Why go to the trouble of doing a tree when we’re not even going to be here?”

But Orison had other plans.

In his Christmas excitement, one night after dinner, he’d had enough of this waiting around thing (I’m pretty sure it was December 1) and decided to light a fire under Abraham and I. He came into the kitchen and announced that we were all going to the basement right now and, “Dad, you’ll carry the Christmas tree. Mommy, you’ll carry the Advent calendar. And I’ll carry the boxes.”

“Ready… set… go!” And all of a sudden we were putting up a tree after all.

(And no, we didn’t make him carry the boxes.)

I’m planning a couple more posts about what makes our tree, our family tree, special for me. What makes your Christmas tree special for your family?

December 9, 2009 at 12:04 am 30 comments

Orison Loves All Things Christmas

Our five-year-old is in love with Christmas. I know he’s not alone, all kids like Christmas. But I realized that his obsession excitement is helping me love Christmas more.

Not that I didn’t love Christmas before, it’s just that it becomes new and fresh and wonderful when you experience it through the excited and eager eyes of a child. That sounded really cheesy, but it’s true.

Last night my mother-in-law lovingly babysat our kids. One thing you should know about my mother-in-law: she has the most Christmas decorations of anyone I know. It’s like a Christmas Spectacular over there. And as you can imagine, for Orison, it’s a-ma-zing!

There are nativity sets from all over the world, lights in the windows, and even a life-size manger for re-enacting.

Orison told my mother-in-law that he was being Joseph and he was taking care of baby Jesus. She wrote a sweet and beautiful post reflecting on that idea.

Most days you can find him playing with his Playmobil Nativity set or with this magnetic doodad he got from… can you guess? His grandmama (the above-mentioned fellow Christmas fan)! He used this magnetic set to do Sunday School lessons for me and Abraham the other day.

He also loves to sing. There have been lots of traditional carols and some non-traditional ones he writes himself:

So if you’re needing a little shot in the arm of Christmas spirit, let us know! Orison would be more than happy to accomodate. He’s got enough to go around!

December 7, 2009 at 12:22 am 16 comments


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