Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Peek A Boo fun...it never gets old!

This game never seems to get old!!! Seth seems to be especially skilled at it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Number 3

As I mentioned in an earlier post we celebrate Christmas 4 times each year. We have a great time with family at each Christmas. Our third Christmas was filled with fun, but I only captured a few pictures I realized...I'm bummed because the kids rode horse, made a great snow tunnel and went sledding down a huge hill and being the horrible mother that I am...I captured NONE of that fun on on camera!! BUMMER! Here are a few pictures I did happen to take....maybe at Christmas Number 4 (our final Christmas) I will remember to take more pictures!! :) (as a side note...I had the pics arranged nicely, but for some reason they don't look that way when I publish the blog...argh!)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas! Here are a few snapshots of our morning...after our morning together as a family we headed to my brothers to share lunch together and play, play, play!
All the wrapping paper....All the presents!

Our very own swimming puppies!

A snapshot of Seth from Christmas Eve...one of his favorite places to be...right next to his brother!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

5 Day Review...

It has been a pretty busy 5 days here at the Holder Household...to grandma's house we went for Christmas #1, playing in the snow, ringing the bell and many other fun adventures. Here are some pictures to recap the past 5 days...enjoy!

Christmas is celebrated for a month at our house...not just a day. We have 3 sets of grandparents to celebrate with as well as our own family traditions. As exhausting as many people think it would be to celebrate 4 different times throughout the month, we actually enjoy it! The kids really look forward to great time spent with their grandparents and cousins. They each have cousins their own age no matter where we celebrate and they have a BLAST! Regardless of any presents, great family memories are made and a lot of fun is had by all!
Some of the pictures below are from Christmas Celebration #1.
Merry CHRISTmas!!

Seth taking in all the action of everyone opening presents

What's it going to be?

Seth playing with his new toy...he loves dancing to the music!

Alayna opening one of her gifts

Playing peek a boo....with blueberries all over his face!

Here I am!

Making Christmas cookies with grandma

Looking for birds and deer...look at those little butts! :)

Back at home...playing in the snow...it was finally warm enough to actually play outside!

As a family (minus Seth) we rang the bell(s) for the Salvation Army. 2.5 hours is a long time to ring the bell when you're 3 and 6, but they did such a great job...the coffee shop gave them free hot chocolate and the grocery store manager gave them beautifully decorated cookies because they did so well. Lots of smiles, Merry Christmas's and singing...a great family memory about the importance of giving of your time to help others!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Family Time...this week we took a break from our Alphabet Verses to spend extra time talking about Christmas. We are actually going to do Family Time every night for a week (minus this weekend b/c we are gone). Last year I bought this set...it's called What God Wants For Christmas. The kids have read the book and know about it, but it's great to talk about every year. Last night our Family Time looked like this:

We started out by dancing to Christmas music...we have some amazing moves! Then I took out the 2 boxes we were going to talk about. They had to go in another room while I hid the 2 items (Gabriel and Mary). When they came back I had a riddle for each of them to help them find the items. I'm not amazingly creative, I just used the resources in the book...if you go online they have details for the Scavenger Hunt if you want to do that...which is what we did. Anyway, I gave them each their riddle to help them find their items. They REALLY enjoyed that part....once they found their items we read the story for each one and they acted it out with their item. It was a lot of fun and we had a good time talking about why Christmas is so special and so important. Without Christ's coming to earth He wouldn't have been able to die on the cross for our sins. It was a lot of fun and the kids wanted to do ALL the boxes last night, but the suspense is half the fun and so tonight we will do 2 more boxes...did I mention...I LOVE Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Swimming Puppy....

This puppy is something that for the last couple months A has talked about wanting. It's not real common for J or A to see something and REALLY want it...they may see something and think it's neat, but 5 min. later they don't really care. This silly puppy however has been talked about by A for at least 2 months...probably more.

She is still not always dry at night and I didn't know if it was her being lazy or if her body really just wasn't there yet, so a month ago I made this puppy her incentive. If she was dry every night for a week she could get the puppy. I figured if it was just laziness, she would work to get the puppy and then I would know she was capable of being dry and if she wasn't able to get the puppy then I would know it was her body that wasn't quite there yet. Anyway, she hasn't gotten her puppy yet.

For the last month she has woken up everyday...nothing...still not dry. She's sad for a little bit and then says, "It's ok mommy, I'll get it tomorrow". I know she's trying...but her body isn't there yet. EVERY TIME we go to Target we stop and 'visit' the swimming puppy that she really wants. She always asks just to go see it. It's quite sweet because she knows I won't buy it, she just wants to know it's still there. Today we went to Target and of course we needed to 'visit' the swimming puppy again...they were sold out. She was SO sad! She sat in the cart and quitely cried (not throwing a fit, just genuinely sad) and when I asked her why she was crying she said, " I will never be able to get my swimming puppy". Sadness! Anyway, Dan and I decided a week or so ago that because she has been trying so hard and because this is really the only thing she has ever asked to get...J and I bought one last week for her to have for Christmas. Even J is excited for her to have one because he knows how badly she wants one. I can't wait to see the look on her face when she opens it up!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Digging Out After The Storm

These pictures include: My husband ready to brave the cold! The view looking up our street. Our house, which was spared much snow. The view looking down our street. Our front door.

Our house was positioned just right for this storm...our driveway wasn't covered and deep like most of our neighbors. Once the plow goes through and cleans out our DEEP street, the end of our driveway will be HORRIBLE! Oh well, it's gotta be done. Anyway, it was a great weekend of staying inside, watching movies, reading books, playing Wii, and being thankful for our warm house that keeps the cold out! Now it's time to begin digging out!

Side Note: Our street is about 2' deep with drifts as high as 4-5'. Our neighbor walked outside and lost her shoe in the street because it got stuck in the snow...with the wind blowing covering things up in seconds she wasn't able to find it back. Her husband and Dan worked to find it this morning, but no success. The sun is shining, but the temp. is only about -14 degrees with a wind chilll of -35 and it's not going to get any warmer today. It's a memory maker!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Design!

Thanks to a great blogging pal, I figured out how to create a new header. I hope you enjoy the new look.

Since many of you visit and don't leave comments (which is ok!) I'm going to post a question in the hopes that you will respond with your answer.
With Christmas just around the corner, what are you looking forward to most? I remember as a kid I loved Christmas Eve, we had our Christmas program every year at church that night and we got a bag of peanuts, a couple pieces of candy and an apple (I could have done without the peanuts and the apple as a kid though!) and then we'd go home and open all our presents as a family. The next day we would wake up and see what treasures were in our stocking. Great memories! Now remember...leave a message...What are you looking forward to most this year at Christmas time?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Family Time

'Children obey your parents for this is right' Eph. 6:1

This was our verse this week for Family Time. We began as usual dancing...it's quite a sight I'm sure! Then we shared with the kids what our verse was this week. We took time to memorize it using many different voices and ways of memorizing it. Then we played a game...you may know it at 'Simom Says', but we called it 'Children Obey'. It was a lot of fun. The winner of each round got a little treat to save on the counter. Josiah was the overall winner, but Alayna won a treat as well. They didn't get to eat them right away though. After playing the game we sat down and talked about why we should obey. After they shared a reason that they should obey they got to eat their treat. Here are a couple of the reasons we talked about:
  • That is how we show God we love Him. "If you love me you will obey my commands" John 14:15
  • There are good consequences - a common phrase in our house is "good choices have good consequences, bad choices have bad consequences".
It was a lot of fun! After drawing/coloring pictures about the verse, we ended the night by getting pj's on and all cuddling up on the couch and watching the Veggie Tales Christmas movie. Fun!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Missing Camera Finally Found!!!

Alayna got this camera last year for Christmas and she LOVES it. However, a month or so ago she mentioned not being able to find it. I figured it would turn up sometime...but it never did. She is obsessed with filling various purses, backpacks, bags, etc. and so I assumed it would be in one of those somewhere in her room. So a week ago I decided to help her look since it didn't surface on it's own. We looked in her room in every bag and toy bin...NOTHING! We looked a couple times briefly in the basement....NOTHING! I TRY (emphasis on the try, especially after baby #3) to keep things organized and easy to put away and so when things go missing it bugs me. This morning, after mentioning her missing camera again I decided we would start in the basement and look EVERYWHERE all through the house until we found it. The basement is unfinished and so it has become a major play room for the kids, but as I mentioned, I did look briefly down there. This morning....after looking in many toy bins, bags, drawers, under the bed and all around down there...I FOUND IT!!! It was in the "toy camping" bin buried under all their play camping gear!! Hurray!! I was a hero...if only for a brief moment...I was the hero that found her camera!! The paparazzi is back in our house again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This morning was cute and troubling....

Tuesday = MOPS! It was another fun day! The kids came and did a small program for us and so here are a couple songs A sang. I think you can figure out that was the CUTE part of the morning!

The troubling part is that....S is a very loving baby. He is full of hugs and kisses. Grandparents love that he is a BIG hugger...unfortunately after the hugs he likes to give a kiss. His kisses have always been open mouth and big. Now though, he has teeth. They now are biting kisses!!! Today in the MOPS nursery he gave a little girl a big bite kiss!!! I feel HORRIBLE! I know it happens and kids do this, but he is my first biter. I'm not sure what to do. Any advice? My first thought is to flick his cheek...the tricky thing is, he isn't doing it out of anger. He is giving a kiss. I don't want to discipline him giving kisses, but he needs to become a better kisser!! :) Any tips?!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Snow Fun!

Today is a 'no school' day for J (Staff Dev., not a snow day!). It is snowing so nice and light and it's not too cold...perfect weather for playing outside. Of course, playing outside is not complete unless you can come in after and have hot chocolate with marshmallows, and that's just what they are doing! Amazingly enough, A does not like chocolate at all (that does NOT come from me!!!) however she DOES like hot chocolate...go figure!

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flashback Friday...

At the bus stop...waiting for the bus
Doesn't every kid love looking at the fish at the mall? Free entertainment!

It seems Flashback Friday is the thing to do in Blog Land...I don't want to rock the boat, so I'm following suit! :) When Josiah was little he was OBSESSED with buses. I'm not totally sure why, but every time he saw a bus he made sure to point it out and ask if we could ride. SO, my husband decided we should pick a Saturday, look up the bus schedule and take a ride on the city bus...so that's just what we did. There was a bus stop near our old house, so we found out when we needed to be there and we rode the bus to the mall, played at the mall for a while and then rode the bus back home. We were the only people 'excited' to be on the bus...everyone looked bored and had downcast faces and we get on the bus bouncing with excitement because J's excitement was contagious! It was a fun family memory made!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"That's not being kind, mom"

Family Fun Night -- last night our verse was, 'Be kind to one another' Eph. 4:32. We started out with of course our usual family dance party to our Veggie Tales song (we have some amazing moves!). After that, we chose to tell them our verse for this week. Then we recited it in CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) style...many different voices, cowboy, football player, with our nose plugged, etc.

We had a mission last night. It worked out perfectly because the verse we were on fit well with what we needed to talk about. Dan's mom and stepdad have implemented the "Ultimate Gift" plan for all their kids (8 total). This started last year with the
ACT OF GIVING and they gave each of us $xxx to use (in whatever innovative and compassionate way we could come up with) to serve someone or others between Thanksgiving time and Christmas. We shared what we chose to do with the money when we got together for Christmas and recorded it so we could each have a copy. It was a huge success! (I could tell you what we did with the money...if you're interested let me know and that will be another blog sometime).

ANYWAY, this Christmas it is about ACTS OF SERVICE. We will each tell how we purposely used our time and talents to serve someone (other than a relative) in a Christian loving way between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So as a family last night (our verse was very fitting) we talked about what we were going to do. We came up with quite a list, the kids had some great ideas...we are still narrowing it down to determine which things will be possible between now and Christmas. I'll let you know in an up and coming blog what we did...

After we talked through and made our list we worked on our Alphabet book again and the kids each drew a picture and I printed out my big letter B with the verse below it and began to color it in...Josiah chose to draw a picture of him telling his friend 'D' about Jesus because "that's the kindest thing you can do for someone", he said. So true! Alayna drew a picture (using only pencil, no color) of her sharing her toys with her friend M from down the street. She finished her picture first while Josiah and I were still busy coloring. Now, I enjoy coloring. It's relaxing...what can I say. So I was coloring in my big letter B (I know a hard picture, right?!) as I was coloring Alayna asked if she could help me. Alayna ALWAYS asks if she can color my pictures once I'm part way through...I don't color out of the lines and I think she just wants to say she helped color the picture. Well, last night I said, "No, mommy will just color this one". She looked right at me and said, "Mommy, that's not being very kind". My husband, D, thought this was beyond HILARIOUS! He knows I was wanting the letters before the kids pictures to be 'just so'....anyway, she was right...I wasn't being kind and so she helped me finish coloring. I will forever remember that everytime I look at our book and see her coloring on that letter. She apparently was listening to what our verse was, I can be thankful for that!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday = Family Time

A September Family Time when we went to the park and talked about God's creation and then enjoyed family fun playing in the park.

Wednesday nights are a great time at our house! Every Wednesday night we have Family Time! We started doing this last year, but we weren't very consistent. Having a newborn and trying to plan these for each week was just a bit overwhelming for Dan and I. Starting in September of this year though we decided we wanted to make it a regular event that our family could get excited about each week.

We have done a variety of these already since September, but starting today, my goal will be to tell you our plan for devotions each week. They are meant to be a lot of fun, not strict bible reading time, sit still and don't talk...nope, they are fun times, silly times, yet with a purpose and point that the kids understand and are excited about because we talked about it in a fun way. Before our last family time Dan and I were trying to think of ideas each week...time consuming...however, we are now doing Alphabet Verses that we have in the book I'm reading now, "The Most Important Place On Earth" (hence my blog title).

Every Family Time starts with our family song, "Stand" by Veggie Tales (what can I say, we have young kids), the song is about standing up for what you believe in...our whole purpose in family time...it seemed fitting!

Last week we did, "All we like sheep have gone astray" Isa. 53:6. We played follow the leader...I started and led the family around house doing silly things along the way. The kids thought it was GREAT and J was SUPER excited to of course have his turn leading. He started leading us up the stairs...Dan and I didn't follow...instead we sat in the living room...when he and A came back down and saw us...knowing we didn't participate, they were of course not too happy about that. We talked about which time playing was more fun, why, and then how did they feel when we didn't follow, why...then we memorized our verse using different silly voices.
We talked about the verse and how we all have tried to go our own way and how when we go our own way we aren't following Christ and being good examples for Him. YET, we can be so thankful because Christ died for our sins and chooses to forgive us when we stray and ask Him to help us. Then we had J and A draw a picture of what the verse looks like to them and I drew a big A with the verse below it...we are making our own Alphabet Verse book for our family to have. As a family we pray together and then dance to our song again. It really is a pretty short time...30-60 min. (less if your kids are even younger), but they sure enjoy it and then we play family games together until bedtime. It's fun and we have great quality time together as a family.

Stay tuned and Thursday's I'll share with you what we did for Family Time and how it went...they don't always go perfectly (remember that if you choose to start this with your own family)...our kids are still kids and sometimes our plans don't work as well as we hope, but no matter what happens, we count it as great time spent as a family focusing on what our purpose is as parents...to 'train up our children in the way they should go'.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Attitude...you'll never look at it the same way again

Tuesday is MOPS day at our house. We all enjoy Tuesdays! Today we had a Christmas celebration. We had a wonderful breakfast as usual, announcements...then I led an ice breaker that was a lot of fun and made for some great laughs. It was called the "Christmas Cat-walk". Each group was given wrapping paper, ribbon, bows, etc. and they decorated the DGL (discussion group leader), then the leaders had to 'model' their beautiful gowns to the group. It was a good time and made for some good laughs! The next part however is what I really want to share....

J (a man who passionately loves Jesus) was our speaker today.
He spoke on "A Healthy Christmas Attitude".

Here are some of the main points:
  • Your attitude toward Christmas is a reflection of your values, beliefs and expectations
  • Christmas is about the manger AND the cross
  • Some of the scripture he referenced included; Isa. 9:6-7, Isa. 53, and later Phil. 2:5-8
  • The part that REALLY got me was his visual on the word attitude. When you look at the word you probably don't think much of it, but after reading this, you will never look at the word the same again....
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” Charles R. Swindoll quote

attitude -- look at the word...imagine the "t's" as crosses....there are 3 of them. The first cross is what I deserve, the second cross is what you deserve. Do you see the third cross? Without the third cross we would have to claim our crosses...however, the third cross belongs to Christ. Because there is a cross that stands between you (u) and I (i) we are saved from the punishment we de[serve]. I (and you) have a choice each day, what will my (your) attitude be? Will it be to focus on myself (i) or will I look at the cross and choose to have a Christ-like attitude?

Ok -- well, I'm not a preacher and I KNOW he shared it better than I typed it, but I hope you got something out of it. I thought it was great! Dan and I tell our kids ALL THE TIME, you 'choose' your attitude. I will never look at the word "attitude" the same again.

Monday, December 1, 2008

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

We spent Saturday morning decorating for Christmas...my husband tried to talk me out of putting up our Christmas tree (having a Christmas tree and a 1 year old don't go well together), however I couldn't imagine not decorating it with J and A...once we got the tree out, we were both glad we decided to put it up...the kids were so EXCITED! Our tree isn't anything spectacular, but we really enjoy getting out all our ornaments and looking at them. We have a lot of Hallmark ornaments from my parents and the kids LOVE looking at their ornaments and playing with them before putting them on the tree. Now I must say though...a Christmas Tree and a 1 year old still DO NOT go well together...we often have a handful of ornaments laying beneath the tree or found in various parts of the house! Oh, well! We don't want to get rid of either of them, so the tree and S will just have to learn to get along!! ** I haven't been touching up my images yet...maybe once I get used to blogging I'll start making my pictures look better!