December seemed to come so quick this year. We started the month out making some crucial decisions. We met with our friend who is a realtor and started working on the process of putting our house up for sale. We knew this part was not going to be quick. We were going to have to put together a short-sale proposal for our bank and our friend needed time to come up with a solid price and do some research of his own on the process we were about to embark on. We continued to pray that God would make this journey clear and that we would continue to feel peace about our decision.
We tried not to let this consume all of our time because this was an exciting month in our home also. The kids had their Christmas program, Alyssa was turning 9 on the 15th, and Christmas!
Sunday the 12th was our Christmas program at church. Of course, it wasn't until we were about half way through the program that I realized this was Brenna's last Christmas program EVER...AAGH!!! Brenna was an angel and read a passage of scripture and Alyssa was one of the sheeps in the group choir. Ethan's class came in part way through the big kids' program to join them in a few songs.
It was great to have cousins here to help celebrate and Alyssa received so many great gifts! We had the lady at the bakery make her cake this year...mommy was just a little too busy to get it done and since I work at the bakery, I have connections! =)
It's hard to believe that 9 years have gone by since this precious gift was given to us. I remember her birth clearly. I must say it was the absolute best of the three...if any birth can really be "the best".
To celebrate on her actual birthday, the 15th, we headed to Billy McHale's for dinner. Alyssa had received a post card for a free kids meal and once we were there, we realized all of the kids meals were 50% off!!!
It was a fun family night and when we got home we gave Alyssa a gift from each of us. Boy was she surprised to open her gift from Dad and Mom!
It was just after Alyssa's birthday that Jason made probably the most important phone call of all regarding the house. It wasn't that he was putting this phone call off...our friend had just come across some very informative information and it had a phone number for us to call. During this phone call, the financial counselor was asking Jason different questions and at the end wanted to know why we weren't requesting a loan modification from our mortgage company and just jumping straight to a short-sale. Jason informed him that we had applied for a loan modification earlier in the year that we were denied. The counselor did not understand why until he had Jason read him our denial letter and it was at that point that our plan changed. We were denied a loan modification because we were making mortgage payments. This counselor advised Jason that no matter what, we were to not make a payment in December and because we had already missed November's this would give us the two missed payments needed to be considered. He was going to put all of the loan modification in the mail the next day and forward all of the notes from the conversation to the mortgage company so that they would be made aware immediately that we were serious with the initial request and now have assistance with this loan modification request. Jason called our mortgage company the next day and sure enough, they had all the information from the counselor. They too sent us information on what needed to happen next. They gave us a deadline of December 28th to have all of the requested information in to them and we assured them they would have it before that!
We continued on with life and started Christmas on the 18th with Jason's family for lunch and then my mom's family for dinner. This was the first year in probably 4 years that Jason's family has all been together for Christmas. We made sure to get some pictures of us all together! It was great to just spend time eating and catching up with each other and the kids. We hadn't seen Jason's younger brother and his family in several months...wow those boys have grown up!
The evening was spent with all of my mom's family, I think there were close to 60 of us. Grandma enjoys every minute of having us all together. Jason and I had the "job" of making the rolls again. Everyone loves the homemade rolls so we are happy to do it!
On the 22nd we had our annual cookie baking day with "Aunt" Janice. The kids always look forward to this day. In fact, Brenna was already asking on December 1st if I had set a date with "Aunt" Janice for baking day. We start our time out with a little lunch and then the kids each take a turn cutting out cookies with "Aunt" Janice. Once they have each cut out their cookies that will decorate to take home they go watch a movie while Janice finishes up with the rest of the dough...cutting out goes a little quicker at this point!
By the time the dough is all cut out and baked the kids' cookies are cooled and ready to decorate. This year, Alyssa's artistic talents totally came out. The girls are usually both very particular about how they decorate their cookies but this year was to the extreme with Alyssa. She was very proud of her cookies...each of the kids were proud of their cookies!!