Thursday, December 25, 2008

Let's get caught up, shall we?

I absolutely love Christmas. There's really nothing not to love about it: it is (for us, anyway) a Christ-centered holiday that brings family and friends together to celebrate God's gifts to us. It is a time for food, laughter, compassion, and more. Although this past week has been crazy, each night I have gone to bed so thankful for the blessings we have. Here's a brief look at what our life has been over the last week. (You might need to grab a cup of coffee and sit for awhile...there's quite a photo book below.)

Our Christmas really began last week when we went out and chopped down our very own Christmas tree. Okay, okay, we actually went to Lowe's and picked out the one that already had lights on it, but it looks just as pretty as a real one...and took about half the time to set up!

Getting the Tree
Rob carries the lovely tree through our front door, officially welcoming the Christmas season into our home. (Do you see the lights already on the tree?)
Happy Birthday, Robby
As I mentioned in my previous post, Rob's birthday was on Sunday. The Vander Kooi side had planned their big Christmas get together on his birthday (not on purpose, of course), so his party was postponed a night. Nonetheless, he had a really nice day. Our praise team surprised him with a bag of fantastic gifts, including gift cards to his favorites, as well as two 2-liter bottles of Dr Pepper. That night, I gave him his presents: new jeans and cool new slippers (I believe this is becoming a tradition). The next night, our families came over for pizza and cake.

Rob getting ready to open my gift. Let me say it was not easy keeping things hidden during the move! Luckily, I think he still was surprised.
Car and Camille snuggled up by the fire. (These two worked their little tails off for me helping me get my house ready!)

27 candles!!! Rob in his new hat (thanks to the girls) with Grandma Feely and me.

VK Christmas

Christmas with all of the Vander Kooi's was fun but a little more empty this year. Chelsea is of course still in Guatemala and other family members were unable to come due to illness or previous plans. We still had a good time, though. We continued the tradition of playing Greed (this is a sight to see with my family). We also continued the tradition of eating a whole lot of good food.

Rob and I snag the good seat in the house.

The "little" VK and Verwey girls The cutest present ever!!!

Everyone getting ready to fight for the gift they want. Dad having a good laugh

Sitting around the table
Christmas Eve

The next couple of days flew by as we prepared for Christmas Eve service. The praise team had been working for months. It truly was a wonderful service, and we were thrilled to see so many church people as well as new faces show up.

After church, we went back to my parents' house for Christmas Eve with the immediate family (missing Chelsea, of course.) My mom had made some wonderful appetizers and drinks, so it was just more good, clean fun.

Like mother, like daughter

Robby and his sister-in-laws Don't forget about me!And of course a picture of us...because we just don't have enough.Robby is ready to open his presents!
These are the Christmas gifts Chels sent us from Guatemala. I had wrapped each scarf individually but then forgot which was which. We put them in the middle of the table and just grabbed one. I think it ended up working out pretty perfectly! (Thanks, Chels! We all loved our presents!)

Christmas Day

After Christmas Eve with my family, we left so we could wake up in our home on Christmas day. We didn't have a lot of time (as we were heading over to Robby's parents), but we gave each other Christmas cards, and I opened a present from Robby.
Yay! New slippers for me!At the Feely house...

Yummy treats from Grandma!

Unwrapping the gift we gave them And finally, posing with one of my favorite presents: another set to our Christmas nativity display. Whew, what a week! And I still haven't posted updates from our house. That will have to be for the next novel I write because I'm ready for my Christmas nap right about now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Photoless Update

It has been exactly a week since we received the keys to our new home, and things are just moving along. Rob spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday painting the living room and bedrooms in our house, and then all Saturday was moving day. Many friends and family helped us make this move, which was a bit smoother than the last one. It helped having most of our boxes still packed in the garage!

I have been busy unpacking and trying to make things feel like home. My mom, sisters, and mother-in-law have been amazing in helping me do this. Our kitchen and living room looks finished, but the bedrooms all have some work to be done. It's so nice having three weeks off for Christmas break! I'll have plenty of time to do the fun work!

Other news: I finished my first semester of teaching middle school on Friday! Yay!!! This past weekend was full of celebrations: we celebrated Rob's 27th birthday, as well as an early Christmas with the Vander Kooi side. Tomorrow night is our Christmas Eve service which we have been preparing for for months.

We wish you a wonderful time with your families this week! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Welcome Home

It has been a long wait (nearly six months), but our lovely home is finished, and we received the keys to our new abode on Tuesday. Here is a glimpse of the exciting moment of entering our home.
Robby gets the honor of putting our key in the door.
So sweet - he brought me flowers to celebrate the occasion.
A little friend greeted us as we came in. (Just a thank you gift from Lennar, the builder of the home. Don't ask me why they chose Elmo to be the greeter.)
We are so excited and cannot wait for everyone to come and visit! Just give us a couple of days to get moved in :) We'll be posting more pictures very soon.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Home for Christmas

Yesterday, Rob and I had our walk-through of our new home. This was very exciting! It was about a 3 hour process of going through each wall, each fixture, each room, etc. to both inspect it and learn. The two men there taking us through it were great. They were quick to point out anything we need to watch or be concerned with as we move in. It was very surreal to walk through this new home and realize that in a week, this will be where we live.

The best part is it looks like we will be able to move in a little early! We will get our keys this week!! All along I have said I won't be decorating for Christmas, but who knows, we just may have to get a tree afterall.
Rob and I sit in front of our fireplace.
I am in our new kitchen!
It truly is incredible that it is already December, and even though parts of being back in Visalia this year have been difficult (need I mention again that I teach middle school?), this has been a wonderful process of waiting....well, learning to wait....on God and enjoy all that he has given us even in the waiting time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Your signature, please

This past Thursday, Robby and I drove to Fresno to sign our final papers for our house. Being first time homebuyers, we seem to make classic little mistakes. For example, you are apparently supposed to always sign your full name on important records (did anyone else know this?), so we were nearly to the end of a giant stack of papers when our loan officer realized that Rob had been signing "Robert J. Feely" instead of "Robert Jerome Feely." So naturally we had to go back through the whole set and try to squeeze five more letters in the middle of his signature. By that time we also had realized that I was initialing "CF" for everything instead of "CDF." Also not okay. We made it through the process though, and hopefully Tulare County will not reject us. Perhaps the hefty little check we had to hand over to them will help :)

After signing we celebrated at BJ's Restaurant with our favorites: BBQ chicken pizza and of course a pizookie (half and half). To officially end the night with "sparks," we drove down Christmas Tree Lane and were amazed at the elaborate decor. Although it is inspiring, I don't think we will be able to decorate our home quite to that level next year.

This one reminded me of Disneyland! (It's not quite the same, though.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Baby and Me

This picture is for Chels just to ensure that she comes back to California.
See how much your dog misses you?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Traveling Sister Update

My sister Chelsea has been in Guatemala for five weeks now, which is incredible. She has traveled around Guatemala and even in Honduras. We've gotten to speak with her a few times, and she is having a fantastic time. Here are a few of the pictures she recently sent us. I would say they're neat enough to be in a travel magazine.

Muy bonita, senorita! We miss you!