Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Family Christmas #2

We had a great time celebrating Christmas as a family. We were snowed in at home and so it was a great time to have great conversations, Dan talked about and asked the kids questions involving 3 verses. John 3:16, James 1:17, and Matthew 10:8...God gave because He loved the world (us), all the gifts we receive are from above and because we have freely received God's Son, we must be willing to freely give.
Then we opened gifts and it was a lot of fun taking our time opening them and playing with everything. The kids don't really ask for anything and so it's fun because they are always surprised by what we give them.

This was one of their favorite gifts. We bought a keyboard so that I could begin teaching the kids how to play piano. (It was a favorite gift to me too!!)
You may have read in a previous post about the great deals I got on the Tag learning systems, I'm so glad that I got them! Alayna loves hers and enjoys reading and listening to them during her rest times.
When we were at my mom's house Alayna loved playing with their toy handcuff's...however, she calls them 'handcups'...no matter how many times we tried to explain that they were 'handcuff's', she consistantly called them 'handcups'. Needless to say, when I saw a pair for $1 I couldn't pass them up. It was a great stocking stuffer! :)
Seth needs a lesson in using his Tag system yet...that is on the 'to-do' list for this week.
After opening presents we ventured outside and went SLEDDING!! It was a lot of fun! Seth was even daring enough and wanting to go down the hill all on his own in a sled. That was quite a sight! We had a lot of fun and it was great exercise too.

Preschool Program

Alayna had her preschool program on the 21st. She was VERY excited and had been talking about her program since they first started practicing for it at school. They sang a few songs and then had cookies and fun stations for the kids and parents to do together. If you read our Christmas letter you read about how the kids in her class ask her to help them with things that are too high...when you compare her to the rest of her class...yep, she's the tallest. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

2009 has been a great year....it's had it's challenges no doubt, but we have a lot to be thankful for regardless.

We took a step of faith in finding a new church home for our family. It was quite a journey over the summer visiting various churches and it became very disheartening to say the least, but we have found a new church home now after searching and we feel blessed to be a part of it. It is a church plant which is something new to us, but we are excited to see what God has in store for us there.

Dan was offered a principal position in St. Cloud last spring and it was a step of faith either way...after hearing more details about the job, he turned it down. He was given more responsibilities at school this year, he is a principal for 5 periods out of the day and a teacher for 2 periods...no additional pay, but it is a great learning opportunity.

I lost my job as a graphic designer this past summer b/c the company I was working for merged with a larger company. That turned into a step of faith when I decided to go on my own and do graphic design from home as a part-time job in addition to my full-time job....SAHM (stay at home mom).

Josiah is a 2nd grader this year and he is really enjoying it. He is a GREAT student...excelling in most every subject right now! This year he decided he was up for riding the bus in the morning and in the afternoon...it was definitely harder on me then him. He enjoys it...seems hard for me to believe though b/c I HATED riding the bus when I was a kid. I figure he will change his tune someday, but for now I will enjoy not having to load up all the kids to drive him a few miles and then turn back around to go home. :)

Alayna started preschool this year and boy was she excited and ready....she was anticipating going to preschool last year at this time, so having to wait soooo long before being able to start was a test of patience for her. She pulled through and now she is LOVING preschool. She is a bright and beautiful girl...not to mention tall...if you look at her with her classmates...she stands quite a bit above the rest. Her teachers told me that some of the students have begun to realize how tall she is and so they often times ask for her help in reaching things! :)

Seth...what can I say...read my blog, you'll know how he is. BUSY!!! He keeps me on my toes and the other day I thought I saw a gray hair...it turned out to be blonde, but in all honesty, I wouldn't have been surprised...that 2 year old has given me a 'run for my money'. He is a happy, thankful (he says thank you for everything...), and funny 2 year old....but, he is a rascal. He keeps me humble, there is no denying that. He has a love for running his fingers through hair...still...I thought maybe he would outgrow this habit, but no such luck....someday?!? Even though he keeps me busy, he also makes me (and our whole family) smile. He is full of joy and I'm thankful that God 'surprised' us with him.

We have so much to be thankful for this year and we pray that as you reflect on 2009 you will see God's hand in your life as well. As our card says..."May you find the true meaning of Christmas through the love of Christ this year"

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Family Christmas #1

This past weekend we went to my moms and celebrated Christmas with my side of the family. We had a great time! The kids had a blast with their cousins (there's enough that are the same or close enough in age that they all have someone to play with) and the fun presents were an added bonus to a great weekend!! There are plenty of pictures that I could share, but these are some of my favorites...not pictures of the gifts...pictures of the relationships.

The whole crew...it was a little crazy taking an outdoor picture with lots of kids and no coats, but I like how it turned out! :)

All the grandkids on my side of the family...yep, 11 kids and they are all close in age...makes for some chaos at times, but I'm thankful they are not only cousins, but friends as well. My niece Madalyn prayed before one of the meals and thanked God for her 'best friends'...

All day they were finding things that were the same about them and Alayna would come up to me and tell me they were twins....cousins, best friends AND twins! :)

The 3 muskateers...they played and played and played....here are the 'best friends' that Madalyn was thankful for....precious!!

I didn't get a picture of Josiah with the cousins he played with all weekend, but he was equally as busy playing and drawing....Seth....well, he alternated between playing and causing trouble...maybe next Christmas will be more relaxing where he is concerned?!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Creation Museum

Last week we went on a trip to Kentucky with my hubbies mom and step dad. We had a GREAT time! We could have done without the bad road conditions, but I'm thankful that we were able to go there and back safely.

Why did we go to Kentucky you might ask? Well, we went to a conference for the National Center for Family Integrated Churches...the conference was about the Sufficiency of Scripture. It was great! We learned a lot and are still processing some of the information to be honest.

Along with the conference we were given passes to visit the Creation Museum. Needless to say, we had a lot to look forward to....I'll start with the Creation Museum. Here are some pictures from the museum...it was pretty phenomenal. I would love to go back again just so that I could take more time going through it (we only had a few hours before the conference started) and read all the information...plus, it would be great to take the kids. Pretty amazing!!!

Adam and Eve in the garden...

Do you see anything on the tree?

This was a ride for the kids...adults couldn't sit on it, but it said nothing about hugging it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The last three commandments.

Tonight's family time included commandment 8, 9, and 10. We thought these all went together since they often happen in connection with each other. So, we danced to the 10 commandment boogie. We all took turns reciting the 10 commandments from youngest to oldest. Then we discussed stealing; taking something that is not yours. To lie is to tell something that is not true. To covet means to want something that belongs to someone else more than you want friendship with that person. It's not wrong to want something or to think it would be fun but it is wrong to value those things over the people God has put around you. This is a difficult concept for adults, let alone children.

We decided to have an activity to describe how we get into trouble with these three commandments. The obvious activity was limbo. We looked up a limbo song on YouTube and used a broomstick. Josiah, Alayna, and Seth took turns going under. Each time we lowered the broomstick it became more difficult. After enjoying that for awhile, we sat down again. I asked, "do you feel like coveting anything right now?" "No," they said. "Do you feel like taking anything right now?" "No," they said. "Do you feel like telling a lie right now?" "No," they said. "I don't either." It was kind of like when the broomstick was up high. You did not have to do anything to difficult to get under it. Sometimes we do feel like coveting, taking, and lying about it. That is like when the broomstick was low and it was hard to avoid touching it.

So, the logical conclusion is to work really hard to avoid coveting so that you won't steal and then you won't have to tell a lie about it. Right? Wrong. I asked the kids, "do you have the power to not covet, steal, or lie?" They said yes. I said NO. I asked them again. They said yes. I said no. This time Josiah asked, "then what are we supposed to do?" This is a difficult question, but it is the right one. In adult language he was asking, "If I do not have the power to sin, and it is wrong to sin, and I want to avoid sin, but I can't avoid sin, then what do I do about it?" This is the right question that God wants us to ask about the "stuff" in our life that we covet.

Trying won't change our heart. God will. I taught them to pray, "Thank you God that you are more than enough for me. Thank you God that I don't need toys or things to have joy."

During this time of year when materialism can get the best of us, remember these paraphrases from God's Word: I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever stays connected to me bears fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son, does not have life. Jesus came so that we could have life and have it abundantly. A man's life is not in his possessions. The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. The Lord is my Shepard, I will not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside the still waters. Give me this day my daily bread. Store up your treasures in heaven. In that day when you reach eternal life with me I will have a place prepared for you.

When we have the desire to covet, take or lie, we need to remember to be thankful for what we have already been blessed with and most importantly to be thankful for the One who blesses us.

What Song Will He Be Singing This Christmas??

Well, he hasn't lost the other front tooth yet, but maybe he will sing...."All I want for Christmas is a new front tooth"?! Seriously, that front tooth leaves a WIDE cavern...YIKES! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Weekend With Friends

After Thanksgiving at my moms we headed to the cities to visit friends and celebrate the birthday of one of J's best friends. We had a great time at their house and then the next day we went exploring the Science Museum!

Playing cards all together before bed

The girls were going to sleep in a tent in the basement...they decided after being down there for a bit though that they were a little too scared. :)

Good Morning! These boys have remained friends even after 'I' moved over a year ago. They write letters to each other and still ask to play with each other...it's pretty cute.

The Scientists (Dan, J and 'I' with another friend who was invited to the party)

Little man fell asleep after lunch...AMAZING, I wasn't sure how he'd do in the afternoon at the museum...thank goodness for a little snooze!

The girls found and enjoyed some of the more simple items at the museum, like this puzzle

Time to say good bye, one more pic before we go!

Here's the whole crew...minus the adults...why is it I always forget to take a picture of the adults?!


We had a great Thanksgiving at my moms. Great food (as usual) and since it was warm outside the kids played and played and played outside. 8 adults and 10 kids...we may be out numbered, but each kid has at least one cousin that is their age or close enough that they enjoy playing together. We still have 2 two year olds, but no more babies....

A game of football that started before lunch and resumed after lunch...I think it ended in a tie game...I'm not sure.

You can't totally tell, but he's saying "cheese" behind all his winter gear.