Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Cheer, Part 2

We had a fantastic Christmas this year. Ryann definitely had more fun this year because she was so much more aware. We enjoyed sharing our Christmas Eve with my parents, brother, and Alan. Alan had never experienced anything Christmas before, so it was neat to look at it through his eyes. Christmas morning, Mark, Ryann, and I had our own Christmas time, where we gave Ryann her stocking, which was filled with Elmo paraphernalia, her current BFF. We then went to the Lambs for a delicious breakfast,presents, and another delicious lunch. After lunch, we made our way down to the Southside for Christmas with the Castleberrys. We enjoyed presents with them,the new addition of Christmas trivia games and puzzles (with prizes)...which got a little heated, and a tasty Mexican dinner. All in all, it was so nice to be with our families....we felt and feel very blessed.

Christmas Eve at our church, Northwest Bible

Cooking with Alan

My parents gave Ryann a kitchen...which is far nicer than our kitchen

Ryann's First Official Stocking

Perhaps my favorite Christmas 2008 picture, Mark is very disturbed and disgusted by the sassy, lacy tank top his sister, Sarah, got in her stocking

So Very Tired...

Read got Ryann a Texas Tech "Crabtree" Crab hat, which she did not like wearing...

However, Read didn't mind wearing it

Or Mark

Sara and Jason

My dad and I in our matching PJs, which I wore all day

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"His Law is LOVE and His Gospel is Peace"....Oh Holy Night

I am reading an unbelievably great and challenging book with my Bible Study. It is "The Jesus I Never Knew" By Phillip Yancey. As I read chapter two about the Incarnation, I read these Beautiful words...

"As a Christian I believe that we live in parallel worlds. One world consists of hills and lakes and barns and politicians and shepherds watching their flocks by night. The other consists of angels and sinister forces and somewhere out there places called heaven and hell. One night in the cold, in the dark, among the wrinkled hills of Bethlehem, those two worlds came together at a dramatic point of intersection. God, who knows no before or after, entered time and space. God, who knows no boundaries took the shocking confines of a baby's skin, the ominous restraints of mortality
(Yancey 44-45)"

Thank you, Jesus, for coming to Earth. Your infinite GRACE astounds me

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Cheer,Part One

Mark, just spreading a little Christmas Cheer

These past few weeks have been filled with Christmas fun. We have definitely enjoyed the season. I have always loved Christmas time...who doesn't?,but it has been extra special this year as Ryann has grown so much more aware of what is going on.She gets so excited about all the Christmas trees, lights,etc. This past weekend, my inlaws hosted their annual Chili Supper, that was very delicious. It is such a blessing to have both of our families in the Dallas area.

My sister and her husband gave Ryann this adorable Santa dress last year. I wish Ryann would have stood in front of the tree and smiled sweetly at me. No such luck.

Last weekend we celebrated my mother in law's birthday. It was so fun and we surprised her with a photographer to take a family portrait. It will be interesting to see if Ryann is actually looking at the camera in any of the pictures

My Beautiful Sisters in Law

The Birthday Girl

I Loved her cake. Sarah decorated it with Pictures of her mom's life all over it, it was an Awesome idea

The Kids Table

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture

For full sound enjoyment of this ridiculous display, go to the bottom of this page and press pause on my Christmas playlist.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Friends

This past Friday, Mark and I had some Chinese students from UTD over for an American dinner of Hamburgers and Hotdogs. Mark's group from one of his Cross-cultural classes came as well to get to know the students better. It was such a neat experience to talk to these students about cultural differences and many, many cultural similarities. Before Mark's assignment with Alan, I had never even once thought about getting to know an international student. This experience with Alan has really blessed my life this semester.I will be really sad to see him go home. He leaves to go back to Shanghai in January We really hope we can continue to get to know other international students like him. Our World is BIG. Life is short.

Alan and His wife (who lives in Shanghai) read this, Hi Alan and Alan's Wife!I wish we could have known you too.

Interesting Fact: Most of these students have "American" names like Alan, Xavier, Bill, Audrey, etc. When they came to America, they just chose a name that they liked or was close to their Chinese name. Audrey told me she has changed her name several times to different names that she just liked. How fun would that be? She said she has settled on Audrey. I asked her if she was an Audrey Hepburn fan like I am....She looked puzzled and said "no...I like Audrey Raines from Season 4 of the TV show,
'24'." I agreed with her and told her that I thought that that Audrey was indeed really pretty. Good choice, Audrey.

Here is Mark's group from his class and our new Chinese friends

In the following picture, Mark is with a traveling Chinese Calligraphy professor that is currently teaching at UTD. He brought us two beautiful Calligraphy pieces. One is a Chinese saying and the other says, "The Lamb Family" We cannot wait to get them framed and put them in our living room.

Christmas miracle: Everyone fit around one "table" (okay, one dining room table and 2 card tables plus a high chair)

Friday, December 5, 2008

I am

Was deeply moved when I visited this site today:

Our God is indeed an AWESOME God

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Giving Thanks

We had a great Thanksgiving this year. Mark's friend Alan Lu participated with us in all things Thanksgiving, which made this year extra fun, I think. We started off with the annual Castleberry tradition of running (ok,walking) the Turkey Trot. We do this every year,rain or shine. This was Ryann's first Turkey Trot, and she really enjoyed all of the people. We then headed to my parent's house for Tgiving lunch/dinner. Friday we headed to the Lambs for Thanksgiving, round 2. Alan showed us how to use chopsticks and I got to eat my favorite dish of all time, macaroni and cheese. All in All it was a great Thanksgiving weekend.

Ryann is Ready to Win!

Alan and Ryann's First Turkey Trot

Ryann greeting the YMCA mascot with a big HELLO

Alan teaching Mark and John how to use chop sticks

Mark and Grandma Robison

On another note, we had fun watching little Barrett Wood last Tuesday night. Isn't he so very cute?Ryann was quite the helper. In the following picture, she is wiping up Barrett's spit-up off his chin with her napkin. When I told her that it was time for Barrett to go "night night" she went and got a book and sat down by him and proceeded to read it to him in Ryannese.

Friday, November 28, 2008

When You WISH Upon A Star

Mark's very GENEROUS parents took us on a WONDERFUL vacation last week to Disney World and on a Disney cruise. We had such an Unbelievable time. Since Mark has started DTS, our time together is very limited due to his rigorous course load and multiple papers/reading, etc. I don't think I have every appreciated a vacation this much....we needed it! We had so much fun just being together, sharing in Mark's favorite place, and getting to know his parents even better. I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of their caring, sweet family. We are beyond grateful for them.We are also so very thankful for my parents, Ryann's Pappy and Lulu,for watching our baby girl last week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

PuMpKiN PiCtUrEs

Ryann Cate got her picture taken by a photographer named Christi Cosper in the pumpkins at the Arboretum awhile back. We had a lot of fun at her first pumpkin photo shoot. Here are some of my faves of our little pumpkin....

Ryann and her buddies, Abby Latimer and Millie Collier