Monday, December 29, 2008

Santa's Workshop

Every year around mid-November a mild panic sets in as we realize that although we have thought about it for roughly a year, the time is quickly approaching for Santa’s Little Workshop to fire back up again. About four years ago my family decided that it would be fun to MAKE our gifts for one another. Always up for a challenge we all happily agreed without fully understanding what level of commitment this would actually take to pull off. But off we went anyway and a tradition was born. Well, for the fourth straight year, Jill and I spent a weekend with Master Craftsman Glenn, (who rivals Bob Villa) and her aunt Rita (who is our artistic director) crafting our projects. I myself am not the most “handy” of men and so thank goodness that Glenn is there to make sure that I don’t cut my hand off with a saw or shoot the nail gun into my foot, but I am proud to say that we do the majority of the work. Glenn instructs and models and then we take over. Jill and I each have our specific jobs and what comes out is generally a good gift. And by crafting our gifts we have found that even though the projects always take a little bit longer than what we first thought, or we hit a snag or two along the way, there really is something to this gift making. We have found that we really take pride in what we are making. We have also learned that by giving (and receiving) a gift that was hand-made you know that the person giving it had to give up their time and expend a lot of energy and effort to make the gift. Simply said, it makes us look at the gift in a different way and we form a different kind of appreciation for the giver.

Even though we won’t start making our presents for 2009 until December 20th (we always wait until the last minute) we are already looking forward to what we can make for everyone next year. And remember, suggestions are welcome!

This year we made the game "washers." It was a popular game when we lived in St. Louis and I call it a city version of horseshoes.

Mark and Glenn
My job was staining all the wood
Cousin - Jahala
When was the last time you used a compass?
We always embed a penny with the year so we can remember when we did it and as our special trademark.
The almost finished products!

Happy 4th Birthday John Paul

Just trying to play blog catch up, and didn't want to leave out John Paul's special day on December 15th. He had a great birthday party at the gym that he takes gymnastics at. We all had fun playing in the balls and breaking the pinata.
July 2006

November 2006

April 2007

August 2008

My brother Mark

Blowing out the candles!!

Love this picture!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas at Silver Dollar City

We love the cinnamon bread!!!

Mom & Me

Austin and Santa

Love this picture of Autin

I think this tree is a little scary

Gobble, Gobble-- Another Thanksgiving

While some people would argue that there is only so much turkey that one can eat, we are fortunate enough to be able to attend Thanksgiving with both of our families each year. And while that means that we make the journey to southwest Missouri on two consecutive weekends, this is a minor trade-off that we will gladly sacrifice so that we do not have to do the every other year holiday schedule that some couples have to endure. As we always do on Thanksgiving Day, Jill and I and her father got up early and competed in our own “turkey trot.” Granted, ours is held at the churches family life center on the treadmills and so we don’t have to worry about the elements outside, but it is still a personal accomplishment to get up and run on one of the laziest days of the year. That being said, we certainly made up for it later in the day.

For those of you who have a small family you would be amazed at the amount of food that is on the table at the Evans Thanksgiving. I myself have what I would consider a good sized family and I always thought that we had more food than imaginable, that was until I went to Jill’s grandparents. There you will find a large turkey, an even bigger ham, and about 42 side dishes (because every family member tends to have their own favorite that they cannot do without). Oh, and to top it all off, there are at least 10 pies and countless other desserts just to make sure that you have no choice but to like something there. The food is canvassed across three tables and gently flows from the kitchen, to the table, and sometimes even overflows into the living room. But boy is it good. Needless to say, our hour of running is erased after about five minutes of arriving as we always find ourselves “sampling” it all.

In addition to the mounds of food I think that we also experienced an all-time first at the Evans Farm this Thanksgiving. Every family member was present! So what did we do to celebrate? We took pictures. Lots and lots of pictures! Each individual family, all of the siblings, every imaginable combination was snapped by at least two or three different cameras. There were so many flashes and shutters going off it almost made me want to go in for a wardrobe change. But nonetheless, we survived and looking back we are glad that we were able to get the shots that we did. I just hope that everyone realizes that each camera adds ten pounds and that they did not even give us time to let our food set after “sampling” 40 of the 42 side dishes. Just remember that when you see all of the protruding stomachs.

All the food!!

John Paul--Jill's nephew

Leta, Grandma, Rita, Gloria

Rita and Leta-(twin sisters)I can't count how may times they have dressed the same, these twins truly have a special bond.

Family Picture

Coloring Time
Playing in the hay barn

Jill's Dad (Paul) and Grandpa

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hopkins Holiday Hijinks

Who would have thought that something that was started out of the fear of being inside for 10 or more hours with our family would have turned out to be so successful? Needless to say that for the last two Thanksgiving get togethers we have been able to see the true family spirit and competitiveness come out in full force. And while I am not certain that doing something for two years would qualify it as a tradition, I am certain that the “Hopkins Holiday Hijinks” is a time that has produced some memories that will be embedded in our minds for quite a while.

Although there were many memorable moments I think that the highlights from this year included: seeing Terri’s disappointment with being on the “old ladies team”, Nathan almost passing out after stuffing 12 marshmallows in his mouth, driving by and seeing half of my family running around the Marionville cemetery as cars slowly passed by with looks of confusion and astonishment on their passengers faces, and Reanne throwing up after taking her turn eating out of the can of corn. Needless to say that this is something that we enjoy doing as it allows us the opportunity to get outside and run around a bit after over indulging on Thanksgiving treats and being inside for the majority of the day. And although there is always a disagreement or an accusation of cheating by one team or another we know that in the end it is just fun to be able to do it -- especially if you were on the winning “Old Ladies Team” (needless to say, Terri isn’t disappointed now!).

The Teams:

The "Old Ladies" Team

Mark's cousin Bridget

Running around the football field

Nathan winning at "Chubby Bunny"