Friday, December 28, 2007

Dave's Family Christmas 2007

Dave's family celebrated on Christmas Day out at Bruce and Penny's. We opened gifts first - this takes an hour at least! - and then we ate, and ate, and ate some more. I think I remember this being a problem last year too. :) Note to self, don't beat yourself up too much over the numbers on the scale. You have absolutely NO CHANCE when your sister-in-law brings homemade fudge to family Christmas. No chance. It just isn't fair.

In between trips to the snack bar heavily loaded counter of treats, we played games all afternoon.

Here are a few of my favorite pics of the day. Dave did most of the photography this time - I was too busy stuffing my face loading batteries in all the toys. So sorry, you won't see him in any of these shots.

Sonja, looking good and due in 2 weeks!

Toni gave me a gorgeous silver necklace - thanks, Toni!

and there were lots of shoes!

We had a wonderful day with Dave's family. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007

We celebrated Christmas with the boys on Christmas Eve morning. Dave had the day off work, and the boys slept in until 9:30 am (probably the last year we can enjoy that on Christmas morning!). We all cuddled in bed for awhile together, until Dave finally suggested that the boys go check under the tree. Peeking in their stockings kept them occupied for awhile.

And even now, when someone asks Ethan what he got for Christmas, he says, "Um, I got some gum!" His own pack of bubble tape - I remember how exciting that kind of thing was as a kid.

The night before, Ethan and I baked a cake to celebrate Jesus' birthday, and while it was in the oven, Dave read to the boys from the book of Luke. I am not sure if angel food cake (covered with strawberries!) is typical fare for the night before Christmas, but it sure went over well in my house.

Some of my favorite moments of the morning

I have LOVED experiencing the celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus through my children's eyes this year. As soon as we broke open the Christmas decor boxes, the questions began, why are we doing this? and what is it all about? Ethan is very inquisitive, as anyone who knows him knows. :) And it has been so sweet to watch him learn. To see him try to comprehend how the God of the universe became a baby and was born into our world. Did He cry? How did the cows eat if baby Jesus was in their manger? His questions make me smile.

And I've been surprised too at how much he's been able to understand the bigger truths of the Christmas story. That the Baby in the manager came to die, to give His life to save us from our sins.

Because, as Ethan says, "it is very hot in hell. I wouldn't want to go there."

and tonight at bedtime, "Does Grandma know the Lord? But how do we know she does?"

I love how these kind of holidays are opportunities to help little ones understand the truth of God's plan of salvation, you know? We pray together for those we know who don't know Jesus as their Savior, and my heart longs for the day when Ethan will place his trust in Him too.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday thoughts

We're getting tons of snow today, so instead of joining the masses at the mall (isn't the Saturday before Christmas supposed to be the biggest shopping day of the year?), we're staying in and doing nothing. In our jammies. All day long.

It has been wonderful. We don't have these kind of Saturdays very often.

I sent out our family Christmas picture yesterday. I could not get my act together to get a family portrait done this month, so I used a pic from this fall that my dad took when we were back home for the weekend. I guess we probably haven't changed that much since then. :)

I read through this year's blog posts tonight, since I had some free time and felt a little nostalgic anyway, it being Christmas time and all. And you know, this has been a really great year for our little family! It was neat to look back and see where the Lord has been working in my heart, changing me, helping me adapt to His will for me.

I have this verse on my fridge right now,

"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

And I have found this to be so true this year. I can try to be as organized as possible, read all the books, make my daily schedules, cover all my bases, but the Lord is the One who is directing this family. He provides for us. He determines what our days will hold. And He gives us grace to do what we never imagined we could do. He pushes us gently (or sometimes not so gently) into His will, and I am so glad He does! Where would I be without His direction? If my life were all about the way I planned for things to go, I would never experience the exhilaration of knowing that Someone else is working things out for good. And never know the peace that comes with that knowledge.

As I was reading through old entries, I came across this quote that I have always loved,

"I praise You for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details. With You, nothing is accidental, nothing is incidental, and no experience is wasted. You hold in Your own power my breath of life and all my destiny. And every trial that You allow to happen is a platform on which You reveal Yourself, showing Your love and power, both to me and to others looking on. Thank You that I can move into the future non-defensively, with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, for You hold the future and You will always be with me, even to my old age...and through all eternity." -Ruth Myers

Makes me think of this phrase from Daniel 5:23, "...the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways..."

We hope that your weekend is relaxing and family-filled too. And that you're looking back over 2007 with encouraging thoughts as well. The Lord owns all my ways, and He owns yours too.

The question is, are we resisting His ownership?

Friday, December 21, 2007

A day with sweet friends

Christian and Abby came to play yesterday while their mom was resting. I have to tell you, their presence in our home was such a blessing. And I am not just saying that. It was such a delight to me to listen to the sweet chatter of children who know how to play without fighting over every little thing.

"How about we play market together? Would that be a good idea?"

"Sure! That sounds like a GREAT idea! You be the shopper, and I'll be the cashier!"


So sweet. A tribute to their dear parents who, even though they are very sick, are faithfully training their children in the ways of the Lord. We are very blessed to have friends like them. The kids had such a good time together yesterday, and I am so glad they came!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Play

My little shepherd

The excitement builds!

Ethan, with Mary and Joseph

Here come the sheep crawling up the aisle!

The shepherds, snickering about the antics of the sheep

The angels sang The First Noel, there was a solo performance of Hark the Harold Angels Sing, and then the whole group sang Joy to the World, Away in the Manger, and Oh, Come All Ye Faithful.

The boys did double duty as shepherds and wise men. There are a lot more girls than boys!

I made 6 costumes (plus 1 sheep costume) for the Christmas play this year. It was so fun to have a reason to get out my sewing machine! I used a Simplicity pattern that was really easy: no zipper, 4 pieces, slides over their head, you know the kind. It was great!

Our play was a narrated skit about the birth of Christ, and it included the gospel message. The kids did such a good job, and there were only a few mishaps. One being that my sweet little sheep stole baby Jesus and THREW HIM ON THE GROUND! Thankfully, not too many people noticed his antics. :)

All in all, it was a great night!

How to make a sheep costume

Simon was given the part of a sheep in the Christmas play this year. His costume was my favorite to make!

What you need:
black shirt or sweatshirt
black sweatpants
black hoodie cap
black socks
1 sheet of black craft felt
1 sheet of pink craft felt
fabric glue
bag of polyfill

What to do:
Cover the front of the shirt (from neck to hem, no arms) with fabric glue, the more the better. Place small hand fulls of polyfill to cover the glue. Repeat on the back.

Cut ears out of the felt, making the pink ear slightly smaller. Glue the pink ear to the black ear. Sew or pin each ear to the black cap, at the crown of the head. Cover the cap with fabric glue and place polyfill all over cap. Make sure to place polyfill under the ears to get them to stick out.

How easy is that?!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Sins of the Fathers...

So my mother-in-law tells me today that the Cheerio story happened to her once too. It was a Sunday morning, before they left for church, and she entered the kitchen to find Dave and his twin brother Doug at the table with the entire box dumped out! Just having a good, old time...

So I guess my boys come by it naturally????

I'm sure if I had studied more for that child development class I took in college, I would have an explanation for how almost-2-year-olds need tactile stimulation for brain growth or something like that. They always have an answer for that kind of stuff.

I can't wait to harass Dave about what his mom told me! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Theology over lunch

Today at lunch Ethan asked, "Can God hold us in His hand?"

"Yes," we replied, wondering where his question was coming from.

"Well, how can He, when He has this big hole in his hand, with all that blood coming out?"

and then he proceeded to tell Dave that there is only one God, but we call Him different things, like God, Jesus, and Nimjack (I think he was thinking of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, but anyway, starting to grasp the concept of the Trinity! :)

Our theology lesson continued until Simon, desperate to reclaim some attention for himself, began blowing kisses from the end of the table. As if to say, "Don't forget about me! I can't wow you with my Bible knowledge, but I'm still pretty cute!"

And he is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Dave's company flew us to Tucson this past weekend for year-end meetings, and we had a wonderful time. Never mind that it rained quite a bit, because honestly, the weather was so much better than at home, where an ice storm kept my parents trapped inside with the boys for 4 days. I was sorry to see that we had only taken 3 pictures while we were there, especially since I would have loved to get a picture of Dave's cousin Steve and his wife Diane and son Curtis, and one of our sweet friends Marc and Joanna and their son Michael too, who so graciously hosted dinner for all of us (and carted me around town too. Thanks, Joanna!).

We stayed here (the website has much better photos than I took).

The foggy foothills, right behind the resort, the morning we headed home.

Dave was in meetings quite a bit of the time, and because of the rain, I holed up in my hotel room and enjoyed the solitude. It always takes me a little while to adjust to the quiet when we get away without the boys. And this was really quiet - no little men asking for snacks or sippy cups, no phone calls (well, almost none!), no cartoons on tv, and no laundry buzzer calling my name. Just me and the Lord and a lot of quietness.

And it was really, really good.

I spent a lot of time meditating on 1 Peter 3-5, and these verses from chapter 3 really struck me,

"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.'

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to who belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

So simply put, so straightforward, and yet, they sum up what much of my walk with the Lord is all about...a sure hope, a serious perspective, and service to the One who deserves all the glory and supplies all the ability. I want to keep this focus in the day to day, when the rubber meets the road (or the cheerios meet the carpet!), to see this life for what it is: a chance to live for the Lord, for my life to be a testimony to His great wealth of grace poured out on a wretched sinner.

Our view from our door, a tiny waterfall in the hills:

Looking at the back of the resort:

The trip was filled with wonderful treats, amazing food, great company, a heavenly bed, relatives and friends, but the chance to spend time alone with my husband and my Lord, well, that was the best part of it all. He is good to give us these moments of rest, always faithful to refresh our spirit when we need it the most.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

First Snow of 2007

We woke up this morning to the beginnings of a wonderful light snow, the first we've had this year. Simon, who probably doesn't remember snow, since he's just now almost 2, gasped when I raised the blinds for the boys to look out.

"Oh, oh!" he kept saying, pointing and giggling. It was so fun to see the beginnings of winter through his eyes.

I don't know how many times Ethan asked if I would take him outside to build a snowman, but I kept reminding him to hang on until lunch time, when his dad would be home. (I am still sick, after all, and there is no way I'm going outside.) And of course Dave couldn't resist his two wonder-eyed blonds, begging for coats and mittens and snowball fights.

So they bundled up and headed outside.

Doesn't that last picture make you cold, just looking at it?

But then again, I just realized that the draft I am feeling is coming from... THE CRACKED OPEN WINDOW IN MY LIVING ROOM! I am betting I know who did that. :)

In other news, Dave and I are flying to Tucson tomorrow with his company for end of the year business meetings. We'll be gone 4 days, and they are putting us up in a beautiful resort. What a life! Our friends from Tucson warned us that a winter storm will be heading through this weekend (which means rain and cooler temps), but it still sounds fabulous.

And the boys get some grandparent time. That is, if my last post hasn't scared them off. :)