Saturday, December 30, 2006

My family Christmas

You have to make the rounds, you know. So yes, this is number 3, the third round of Christmas for us. My boys don't know what to think! The presents keep coming, and the party never ends. I think Simon stayed in his Christmas pj's this whole extended weekend!

Ethan really enjoyed his Chief's jersey from Uncle Michael.

We had a wonderful time with my side of the family, especially with our very new nephew (or cousin) Austin Oaks. He is an adorable baby, and already very loved by the whole family. Here are some sweet pics:

And yes, I think this is a real smile! I am, afterall, going to win the favorite Aunt award in this kid's life. (Just kidding, Anna!)

Friday, December 29, 2006

2 cent pics

So I just have to pass this deal onto you! I read this online today:

Clark Photo has 2 cent prints if you use code 2cprints. Great time to get all those holiday pictures printed - and all the ones you've been putting off printing.
This code is only good for up to 150 4x6 prints, but if you have more than that to print, then you can sign up again with a different e-mail address and print more!

This is very motivating...maybe I will actually print all those pictures on my hard drive!

Dave's Family Christmas

We had Christmas on Saturday with Dave's family, all 28 of us. Yes, 28!!! Isn't that insane? I didn't grow up with much of an extended family (or at least, we didn't celebrate holidays with them...or barely know them, for that matter. Which is a whole other topic, but an interesting one, when your parents are the only ones in their families who know the Lord. What a blessing for our children to grow up with extended families who will encourage them in their walks with the Lord! I'm so excited for my children to have this!).

So hope you don't mind a bunch of pictures...this family is huge!

The mother of all these wonderful people we call family!

Simon enjoyed Jacob's present quite a lot!

Doug got Harley posters! (yes, we are priveleged to be related to a man who is not only an elder in our local assembly, but a Harley-riding elder, at that!)


Brittany, Kim and Toni

Who gave you that lousy gift?

Chris got Seinfield Season 6!

One thing you can always count on at a family get-together is lots of laughing!

Isn't this the normal way to hold your child?

"Hmmm...I think he got more presents than me!"

Chris and Grace, who didn't pause one second between presents! She has got this down!

Simon and Daddy

And now for my favorite pics of the day...the little boys in their pj's:

Anyway, we had a brunch at 11 am, complete with egg casserole, chocolate chip bread pudding (Kim's been watching the Food Channel!), and homemade cinnamon rolls. Then we opened gifts, which takes a couple of hours. :) Then we just kept on eating.

All. day. long.


So you can't blame me that I still haven't lost this baby weight! I've married into a family that never quits eating!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas in our House

We had our own little family gift time on Thursday evening this year. The boys are young and we don't do Santa, and with all the extended family stuff and traveling, it seemed best to do it early. It was so fun to watch the wonder on Ethan's face as he realized that the presents under the tree were for him!
Merry Christmas to you all! We'll post again when we get back from Oklahoma!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

New blog

My dear friend Kelly just started a blog! Be sure to check it out!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Frugal Fridays: Three questions

Crystal at Biblical Womanhood posed 3 questions to us for this Frugal Friday, and since they seemed kinda fun, I thought I'd join in this week
Here are the questions:

  1. What is the best resource for frugality you've found (book, magazine, website, etc.)?
  2. What is the best deal you've gotten recently?
  3. What is your best idea for a creative and inexpensive gift?
My answers:
  1. Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy by Jonni McCoy. Okay, so this is the same book that Crystal put, but I completely agree with her. I've never read anything that was as practical, do-able, and inspiring as that book. I checked it out from the library a couple years ago, and through reading it, the Lord completely changed my mindset from "I'm torn between work and home" to "I want to be home with my kids, so I'll do whatever it takes to be more frugal so it's possible." She includes lots of recipes for making things from scratch and tons of ideas for saving in other areas too. She also has books called Miserly Meals and Frugal Families, for those interested.
  2. The best deal I've gotten recently has to be my CVS deal yesterday afternoon. They are running a promotion this week "Buy $20 in Clearasil products, get $20 in ECB (store credit coupons that print in 2 days. For a full description of the program, read here.) I had a $10 ECB to use from my purchases the week before, and this week they decided to give everyone a free $5 ECB, plus a $5 off a $20 purchase coupon (these printed for me at the register). So I bought 4 Clearasil face cleansers for $4.99 each, and used my ECBs and coupons. I paid nothing OOP, and tomorrow I will be getting $20 ECB back! It's a great deal!
  3. The best idea I have for a creative and inexpensive gift came from a friend of mine. Some of our friends from church are getting together and sending a huge care package to a family we know. The husband has been out of work for awhile now, and they have 3 young children. And it's Christmas time. And bills have to be paid. Enough said. So anyway, my friend turned to me and said, "Hey, why don't you send them some of your stash of stuff that you have been getting from Walgreens and CVS?" Okay, so why didn't I think of that???!!!!! I'm so glad that she mentioned it, because we have a surplus of household items that we love to share with others. I was able to get a big box ready for them, complete with several toothpastes, new toothbrushes for all of them, shampoo, conditioner, face soap, deodorant, dish soap, laundry detergent, candles, medicine, and lots of other things too! This was our original goal with all the couponing I've been doing, that I wouldn't just save us money, but that we'd be more prepared to give to others too.
So those are my answers. What are yours? If you want to participate, head on over to Biblical Womanhood for instructions!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Of Taking the Family Christmas Photo...

So last night we attempted Christmas card pictures with the boys. You know, the photo that stays on everyone-you-could-possibly-think-of's refrigerators for an entire year until Christmas time rolls around again. We LOVE getting these from people. In fact, one year I made a French memo board to match my kitchen for all of these fun pics. See a picture of it in this post. Ethan really enjoys looking at all of them and learning everyone's names, even people that he has never met.

But this is torture, people. I have 2 small boys. They do not sit well. As it was, I was pleasantly surprised at how willing Ethan was to pose for picture after picture attempt. You see, it was his brother who wasn't following orders this time. :) Simon was not impressed by any of our attempts to corral him near the Christmas tree, i.e. near his ever-touchy big brother. Almost every shot was just a blur of the side of Simon's face as he speed-crawled his way to safety. Here is a funny shot I happened to get in the process:

Almost! (Ethan, look at Mommy, Ethan!!! Ethan!!!)

My blond haired angel (ahem!)

Okay, so it's not perfectly in focus, but it will have to do! (I also noticed a bunch of drool all over Simon's pajamas, but hey, that's true to life!)
So we ordered our pics, and some of you lucky people will be getting them in the mail soon. :) Ha, ha! Enjoy!

And send yours to us too...we love to be able to keep you in mind during the year, to be reminded to pray for you on a continual basis,
"that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:17-21

We're praying that the Lord would do a work this next year in our lives, and in yours too. He's really stirred us up this year to desire and long for Him more, and in the process we've really been impressed to ask Him to do MORE in our lives. This small taste of Him has left us wanting more! And He is always like that, our hunger for Him can never be satisfied with anything this world has to offer. So we pray, for ourselves and for you too, that the Lord would lessen our taste for things of this world. Recently a friend of ours prayed, "Lord, save us from the American dream," and we knew exactly what he meant. We so need the Lord's help in this present day and age. So many distractions.

So if you want to be prayed for...send 'em our way. :) (of course I'm kidding!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Adventures in Babysitting

Friday night was our night to watch our friends' kids for date night. We've been doing this for awhile now, swapping back and forth every Friday night (or if it doesn't work out, some other day during the week). So now Dave and I get to go out by ourselves at least twice a month, and we don't have to pay anything extra for babysitting. Recently we have been encouraged to place our marriage as our greatest priority after our relationship with the Lord, and it has really brought us closer together. This has been such a blessing to us, and we encourage you all to try it!

So this Friday was *extra special* because we not only had our friends' 3 kids, but also another 18 month old and a month old baby as well... since our other friends needed a sitter for a work Christmas party. My friend Ashley came over to help and just hang out, and we had the most hilarious time with those 7 crazy kids! I just hope this doesn't scare her out of ever having kids!

Here's some pictures of the fun, courtesy of Merikate:

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Austin Oaks

I drove down to Ruth's house for the day today, and spent a little time with my new nephew Austin Oaks. He is an adorable baby! Everyone has been asking to see pictures, so here are the shots I took:

Ruth and Nate are doing well, except for not getting much sleep at night! I did my best to keep him awake today, so maybe tonight will be better. Those first couple weeks are just brutal, so those of us who have had children know all too well, but they will soon be over and just a memory.

Lord, we thank You for the safe arrival of Austin Oaks, and we pray that You would grow him up into a man who loves and serves You.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006



Born Tuesday, November 28th at 10:32AM
7 pounds and 19 1/2 inches
Welcome to the world!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Encouragement for Young Mothers

Remember when I posted this about struggling with finding time for reading my Bible, now that I have 2 small children? Well, I ran across this post by Barbara at Stray Thoughts, and I just have to share. Yes, the whole thing. You might not click over to link, and you just HAVE to read this one. Seriously. Especially, if you, like me, have young children, and have found yourself feeling dry spiritually at times.

My heart goes out to mothers of young children in many ways, but today I’m thinking of the area of trying to have any kind of time in the Bible. The time of life when my children were small was one of the hardest in which to have devotions. I hit one of my worst spiritual slumps after I had my second child. When my first child was asleep, I would try to decide between catching up on housework, reading my Bible, or sleeping. Often sleep won out. :) With my second baby, I also had a little preschooler, so “quiet time” was at a premium. I would get to the end of the day and tearfully say, “Lord, I just don’t know when I would have had time to have devotions!” I felt I began to “dry up” spiritually. I don’t think anyone noticed anything from the outside — at least, no one said anything. But I knew on the inside that I was just going through the motions.

The following is an excerpt from Climbing by Rosalind Goforth. This book shares a very human view of a woman after God’s own heart who also was “of like passions” as we are.

A devoted Christian missionary, Mrs. S, was holding a series of special meetings for our Christian women at Changte. On one occasion, this dear woman, who had no children, told me that I could never have the peace and joy I longed for unless I rose early and spent from one to two hours with the Lord in prayer and Bible study.

I longed intensely for God’s best — for all He could give me, not only to help me live the true Christian life but also for peace and rest of soul. So I determined to do what Mrs. S. had advised.

The following morning, about half-past five o’clock, I slipped as noiselessly as possible out of bed. (My husband had already gone to his study.) I had taken only a step or two when first one and then another little head bobbed up; then came calls of, “Mother is it time to get up?”

“Hush, hush, no, no,” I whispered as I went back, but too late; the baby had wakened! So, of course, the morning circus began an hour too soon.

But I did not give up easily. Morning after morning I tried rising early for the morning watch, but always with the same result. So I went back to the old way of just praying quietly — too often just sleeping! Oh, how I envied my husband, who could have an hour or more of uninterrupted Bible study while I could not. This led me to form the habit of memorizing Scripture, which became an untold blessing to me. I took advantage of odd opportunities on cart, train, or when dressing, always to have a Bible or Testament at hand so that in the early mornings I could recall precious promises and passages of Scripture.

Somehow the Lord helped me to change from that mindset of depression because there was no time to what Dr. Walter Fremont calls a “positive faith attitude.” I realized that if this was something I needed and that God wanted me to do, then there would be time somewhere in the day. I began to pray at the beginning of the day for the time and for the ability to recognize it.

Normally I need for things to be relatively quiet when I read my Bible, but He enabled me to be able to get something vital from the Word with children playing at my feet. I thrive best on some kind of regularity of schedule, but He enabled me to catch the odd moment here and there.

When there was a minute free and I wanted to relax with the newspaper or a book or the TV, and the Lord reminded me I hadn’t had time with Him yet…I am ashamed to admit my reaction was not often a spiritual one. A former pastor once said that one of his best times of prayer occurred when he had to begin by confessing he didn’t feel like praying. So sometimes I would have to put aside the book or magazine or remote control and confess that lack to the Lord. And so often He would give me something precious in those few minutes.

A friend with three little ones used to keep her Bible open in her kitchen and read a little off and on throughout the day. Some nursing moms have found that they could prop a Bible up on a nearby end table and read a little while feeding the baby Some listen to the Bible on CD while they dress or drive.

As my children got older, I could again get up for that early morning time, I would get discouraged if one of them woke up early and toddled out. But a friend told me an experience she had of accidentally walking in on her mom while she was praying and of the impact that had on her. So I thought then perhaps this might be of the Lord — maybe the sight of of mom in prayer and in the Word would be a blessing to my children. Often in that half-asleep state, they were content just to cuddle up beside me or on my lap, and I could continue quietly reading or praying. Sometimes when they were with me I would read and pray aloud. Even though I still preferred to have devotions alone with no distractions, God enabled me to put that aside and to concentrate and have some precious times with Him.

I just want to encourage you that somehow the Lord will meet you in your need. I had to realize that the regular schedule I thrived on just wasn’t going to be possible, and I had to trust the Lord to open up those little opportunities throughout the day and that He would meet with me then and give me what I needed. Even though I still prefer my “quiet” quiet time and my routine, those early-baby experiences stayed with me in later days when the usual schedule was overturned for some reason. He wants to meet with you as much — actually more — than you want to meet with Him, and He’s willing to do so at odd hours. And, as Elisabeth Elliot has written, He doesn’t mind of you bring your children along.

This was so encouraging to me, girls, and I hope it was to you too. I long for more time to spend in the Word, but Barbara is right. Maybe I won't be able to find lots of quiet time right now, but I CAN spend time with the Lord. I'm going to do so right now. :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving with Dave's Family

We hosted Thanksgiving here for the first time, and we had a really great time! Dave carved the turkey for the first time (go Dave!). It was 70 degrees outside, so the kids were able to play outside quite a bit. It was so fun. Thanks for coming everyone!