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.