Sunday, December 29, 2013

Virginia Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas!!  
Our Christmas season began with a very sweet preschool winter (singing) program, performed by Cooper preschool students (where I work).  With 150 kids on stage, and an audience full of supportive family members, it caused for quite the scene.  One of the songs that has been stuck in my head is "Must Be Santa!"  

On Friday December 20th, Aaron and I left Casey Boy with the Billings parents and we flew to VA for one week.

Music played a big part during our VA visit.  On Sunday, Aaron helped accompany on bass during a pre-service song with my dad, Phil, and Sarah (violin).

A new drum set in the basement gave us some entertainment as well :)  Aaron also enjoyed some piano lessons throughout the week, from none other than myself ;)  When we get home we'll pull out the keyboard for him to keep his skills up!  

One of my favorite events during the week was the Christmas Eve Service, hosted by Lindale Mennonite Church.  Every year four Mennonite churches, in the Northern District, plan a joint service.  It is a tradition for my family to attend this service.  And of course, we got roped in to helping with music.  Aaron and I were a part of an octet that sang during pre-service, and helped lead a few songs during the service.  For special music Aaron sang with Kevin Eby, a friend from Hesston College (pictured below).  Their beautiful harmonies were noticed by everyone and Aaron received great affirmation!  A few ministers were even suggesting we move back to VA, because of all the talent they want to add to their church! ha

 Cheering for the Chiefs on Sunday while we were there!  

For Christmas, Aaron made three beautiful shelves for some of the women in our families!  (and another beautiful piece that I will post at a later date)  This shelf is hanging inside my mom's front door.

On Christmas Day, we invited Grandma and Grandpa Risser and Neil Showalter for lunch!  Everyone helped get the meal together:  Dad and Phil peeled potatoes, Aaron made 7-layer salad, Mom planned and shopped for it all, the grands made the turkey and cranberry salad, and I whipped up the mashed taters and helped the chef pull it all together!  

While in VA we enjoyed connecting with Zion church friends, including the Wenger family!  Abraham and Aaron are the cutest, most precious boys, and we miss them dearly! These kids are their stand-in grandkids, until they get ones of their own! :)

There is no way I can comment on everything we did while in VA, but I hope these snippets are helping!  On December 26th, the Risser family (my mom's side) got together for a meal, fellowship, and games!  Picture below are only SOME of the Risser grandkids represented.  We missed all who weren't able to come!

And last but not least, Aaron and I are celebrating our FIRST year of marriage!!  We thawed our wedding cake topper, made by my cousins Lena and Leah, which was surprisingly still good a year later!  One year with an amazing, talented, good-lookin' man has been the BEST!  

Monday, December 9, 2013


Hi all!!  Last week was so much fun!  We got our tree set up and decorated! Our tree fits perfectly in the dining room!  Our house feels so cozy and festive.

Check out Aaron's grade school creation :)  Jeanne sent this to us last year and it has made a second appearance in our home.

Can I just tell you how wonderful Aaron is?!  He got me a beautiful Christmas bouquet of flowers!  He surprises me all the time!

In other fun news, my older brother turned a year older!  Nate and Maggie are in Wichita for the month of December and we got to celebrate with them!  

 We received the sweetest package in the mail today from my mom!  She made us a stocking for Casey!!  :)

Two weeks until Christmas Break ya'll!!  So excited for some relaxation!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holidays are here!

 Last weekend Aaron and I loaded up the truck and headed East!  We planned to be with my Dad's extended family for the annual Thanksgiving gathering in Hartville, Ohio.  The trip to Ohio took a bit longer than we expected because of the CRAZY holiday traffic.  When we arrived we had a lovely dinner at my Grandma Yoder's house with my mom and dad, and brother and sister-in-law!  (Bravo to Nate and Maggie for finishing their crazy busy 2 weeks of Residency Interviews!!  You two are awesome!!)

We stayed in this beautiful refinished barn that my Great Uncle owns.  The day before we arrived, Hartville got snow and it was truly and winter wonderland!  The barn is gorgeous with a full size kitchen, large living area, 2 bedrooms, a large office area, and an unfinished basement.  My Great Uncle Leroy has plans to use the facility as a place for church communities to gather, etc.  My dad's dream would be to make it a Mennonite historical library/research center.   Oh, I forgot to mention that the Yoder Thanksgiving gathering was held in this barn.

While in Ohio we did lots of eating, shopping at Thrift shops, flea-markets, and mega hardware stores.  Wow we found some great deals!  (work gloves, dress pants, golf shirt, Carhartt brand Christmas gifts, and a Casey toy of course)  After a day full of shopping, Friday evening we got together with my extended Yoder family.  One of my cousins has 3 beautiful blonde haired children and Aaron did an awesome job playing games with them!  He's such a pro with the kids.

This was the morning before leaving Hartville to make the trek home.  
(mom, grandma, and my sister-in-law, maggie) We were so thankful for some home cooked meals, lots of hugs, laughs, and games playing with our family.

Oh and did I mention, I ATTENDED MY FIRST NFL FOOTBALL GAME!!  YES!!  I know my dad is proud of Aaron for getting me to love football and baseball! :)  The stadium was huge!!

He's just so happy when he's cheering on the Chiefs!!  Oh and it was pretty chilly the last half of the game, but we were thankful for overall nice weather!

Can you see the size of that speaker?  Whoa!

We had a wonderful break with family and can't wait until Christmas for more holiday fun!
Love, Maria