Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hosting Christmas

Our 3rd Christmas is also at our house...Dan's mom, stepdad, brother, sister-in-law and their 4 kids come and celebrate here...we Skype his sister and her family who live in Switzerland, so it's like their here...they just don't need a bed. :) I have found that I really enjoy hosting and overall it seems to work pretty well!

His pile...I have to say, he waited SOOOO patiently for his turn to open presents. It was pretty precious. His new favorite thing to say when he opens up a fun toy is, "It's just what I wanted!" Love that little man!

More building will be taking place...he never tires of building and constructing!

A pretty horse for her AG. Do you see a theme with her?? She had the doll and a brush, but not even one other thing to go with her AG until Christmas when she got clothes, a horse, and a carrying case...she has LOVED picking out an outfit for her each day...or multiple times a day. :)

Our Sunday morning 'we are color coordinated so we should take a picture'....the boys had hand-me-down sweaters that matched and Josiah LOVED having a matching sweater with his brother...I'm not even kidding, he did...very cute! :)

Christmas at Home

We spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at our house with just our family. We enjoyed the Christmas Eve service at our church, then had caramel corn in the van and toured the town looking for pretty Christmas lights. Once we got home we read the Christmas story before going to sleep. The kids woke up in the morning and we came downstairs to open stockings and gifts. After opening gifts we enjoyed caramel rolls and playing with all the new games and building sets (seemed to be a theme this year as I noticed we had few games geared to Josiah's age...and very few even for Alayna).

Her AG set she wanted.

Stocking fun...I found foam swords at the dollar store and so each kid got one and thought they were fun (and pain free) to play with.

We made quite a mess...

We don't dress up for Halloween, but the kids dress up most other days of the year, so I was excited to find costumes for less than $2 after Halloween this year...instead of Alayna wearing our Spiderman or Superman costume, she can now be Spider GIRL! :)

He has no idea what Transformers are, but he didn't care...he wore this get up ALL DAY!

Time to build the k'nex roller-coaster...

It's just not complete without a silly face pic! :)

Canby Christmas

At our house, Christmas isn't just one day...it's more of a marathon. We take our time and spread it out so that we can enjoy each celebration with our family. Our first Christmas was at my mom and stepdads. Just label me 'horrible mom' because though I remember everything I else I FORGOT MY CAMERA!! Can you believe it?? Yes, I know, if it were possible I should be fired. My mom came to the rescue and so I got a few pictures, but I forgot to transfer all of them....so this is what I've got.

The crew at my moms...notice many kids all the same age. It works out pretty well now, but you can imagine the chaos a few years ago when we had multiple babies and toddlers all at the same time. :)

Each year Grandpa H. buys each kid an ornament that they pick out over Thanksgiving...someday when they move out they will have a great assortment of ornaments to remember the years by.

After having practice with gifts in October for his birthday, he was a pro at Christmas. Thankfully he didn't open too many gifts that weren't his...I mean really, when it's your birthday they are all for you...who knew Christmas was different???

She got her pillow pet and some American Girl clothes as well as a case for her AG girl and clothes for her...she was beyond thrilled with everything!!

Her ornament...Seth got Buzz Light Year and Woody...I apparently didn't transfer many pics of him. Thankfully with all our Christmas' I have room for improvement! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Movie

This post brought to you by....my hubby.... :)

If Christmas was a movie at your house, what genre would it be?
Comedy, Action/Adventure, Drama, Political Thriller, Horror? Do you have the guts to ask your family what they really feel? If you were making a movie out of the real Christmas story what genre would it be? Comedy, Action/Adventure, Drama, Political Thriller, Horror? Do you have the guts to really look at the Christmas story to see? I believe it is a little bit of all of these.

Comedy: Do you not see the hilarity of an angel telling little teenage Mary that she is pregnant with the Holy Spirit's baby and the kid already has a name but "don't be afraid?!?" Or how about the Shepards who pretty much wet themselves when one angel shows up and then there is, all of a sudden, a multitude and again they say, "don't be afraid?!?" Or when Joseph tells Mary, "I think it's time to high tail it out of here." Why? "I heard voices in my dream. People are coming to kill us. We need to go to Egypt." All of that seems like it could make some really great comedy.
Action/Adventure: Herod sends his muscle bound goons out to look for a baby. They race through the darkness on horseback, charging into homes, and tragically murdering hundreds of innocent children. (interesting side note: Kind of reminds you of the 10th plague in Egypt doesn't it?)

Drama: Can you see the soap opera style conversation when Mary and Joseph discuss their plan to stay together, no divorce quietly, no actually stay together at the news of Mary's pregnancy? Then even more drama as Mary and Elizabeth talk back and forth about their strange pregnancies.

Political Thriller: Jesus is hailed as a future king by old testament prophecies. Herod and other political elites catch wind of this and they race to get on his good side. Herod plots and schemes to get the inside scoop without getting too close and risk his reputation by cutting a deal with the wise men. Herod is dodged by the wise men on their way home and is left to fear the loss of his power.

Horror: Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds are alone in the night and suddenly, out of nowhere, a spirit who speaks, scares them out of their sandals. Then the spirit whispers...don't be afraid. Yeah...right. I would be totally freaked out.

When you think of your life and how it fits into the movie of God, what role do you play? Are you close to the main character? Are you one of his followers? Friends? or are you just a face in the crowd going about life as normal disconnected from the main theme?
Here is the main theme in the Christmas story. Jesus, the God of the universe, steps out of comfort, into the human mess (literally in the mess of a feed trough), into the middle of a non-traditional family, into a chaotic night of searching for a moment of peace and privacy to give himself as a gift to save the people who will repent and turn to Him from their sin and become like Him and live with Him forever in a place free from all messes. Are you becoming like Him? Have you stepped out of comfort at all this Christmas? Have you moved toward any human messiness? Have you engaged with family even if it is non-traditional? Are you willing to live through the chaos in search of his peace and private moments with Him? Are you giving of yourself in order that some might see Jesus at work in you and then repent, turn from their sins, and live forever?

This movie is still casting...all auditions are accepted upon repentance.

The Little Things....

After reading this I realized that I have those 'little' moments that though they seemed insignificant at the time, they truly stand out as special moments to me...what about you? I started listing some of mine, but I realized in listing them...they do seem insignificant if you're just reading them, but to me they matter and I hold those 'little' moments as SPECIAL moments instead.

The Little Things: A Christmas Devotion

By Cameron McAllister

The second chapter of Luke, which tells the story of Jesus’s birth and his kingship, contains a haunting and easily-overlooked verse: “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2: 19). As I think of Mary’s response to her newborn child, I am struck by her profound insight: the little things matter intensely.

I wonder about the most significant moments of your life. I wonder where you were, what it was you did, who you were with, if you were with anyone at all. I wonder how different you’d be without those moments, or how different those around you would be—your friends, your families—maybe even the world, for that matter. I’m also curious as to whether strangers would share your enthusiasm were they to be let in on the secret, or if they had some hidden point of vantage from which to survey your most significant moments, those memories most of us stuff frantically into our hearts as though they were treasure chests, which of course, they are.

E.B. White, beloved author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, recalls this childhood memory:

I didn’t care for athletics, being skinny and small, but I liked ice ponds and skating, and on winter afternoons and evenings I would visit a pond and skate with a girl named Mildred Hesse. Her eyes were blue and her ankles were strong. Together we must have covered hundreds of miles, sometimes leaving the pond proper and gliding into the woods on narrow fingers of ice. We didn’t talk much, never embraced, we just skated for the ecstasy of skating—a magical glide. After one of these sessions, I would go home and play Liebestraum on the Autola, bathed in the splendor of perfect love and natural fatigue. This brief interlude on ice, in the days of my youth, had a dreamlike quality, a purity, that has stayed with me all my life; and when nowadays I see a winter sky and feel the wind dropping with the sun and the naked trees against a reddening west, I remember what it was like to be in love before any of love’s complexities or realities or disturbances had entered in, to dilute its splendor and challenge its perfection.

Personally, I’m reluctant to share my most significant moments with you. Not because they’re improper or scandalous. For the most part, they’re not embarrassing. But then again, they’re not much to brag about either. They’re just small, comparatively speaking. Quite small. So small, in fact, that, once spoken out loud, they become instantly diminished, like snow melting before it hits the ground, or photographs that turn vital moments of your life to stone. More importantly, they’re things and scenes I can’t make you see the way they ought to be seen. In some ways, I’ll always be the kid in front of the glass window, breathing too hard to see past my own excitement, frosted across the glass. Indeed, most of us can’t see past ourselves into the scenes and roads that have taken others to where they stand today.

I should be clear about what I mean when I say significant moments. Here’s what I’m suggesting: a significant moment is a brief but pivotal event in your life, exempt from public scrutiny, which translates poorly to others because of its seeming irrelevance and lack of general resonance, but without which, you would not be the same person. War and Peace and Anna Karenina are both Herculean accomplishments in the world of fiction. Their author, Leo Tolstoy, never knew what his mother looked like and possessed no pictures of her. It was this “minor” detail about his mother that drove him into a frenetic search of the past and resulted in these two books, but, nevertheless, left his detail-obsessed mind perpetually unappeased.

Or, I could tell you about the first time I saw a film in which the protagonist was reading a book by Jacques Cousteau entitled, Diving for Sunken Treasure, and I could tell you how I was never the same after seeing that title. I felt that that little sentence was a perfect and complete story and narrative of a given person’s life: beginning, middle, and end. And yet I’m confident that few of you will have had that reaction or would sympathize with this sentiment, yet it happened to me as inevitably as an autumn leaf becomes a faded photograph of the summer sun.

I know you’ve had these moments. We rarely notice them at the time but without them we’d be somewhere else, not here. I was reading an article by David Bentley Hart in First Things. If you’re familiar with his writing you’ll know that it’s generally quite academic. But in a rare moment of devotion, he reflected on a housekeeper his family had when he was a child, whom he affectionately referred to as Aunt Susie. He visited her in the hospital when she was gravely ill and he confesses:

It would be quite impossible for me to explain what the hour we spent there was like, or what effect it had on me. I can only say that Aunt Susie spoke about her love of Christ in a very clear and confident way, with a power that the weakness of her voice did nothing to diminish. From that day to this I have never heard another profession of Christian faith that seized me with such irresistible force. I am not a very emotional person, as it happens, but I was almost overwhelmed by the unutterable beauty that emanated from her.

Just as we were about to leave, Aunt Susie said that the Lord was telling her she would not see us again. We assured her that this was not so, and that we would be back before long, but she was quite certain that she was right, and so her last words to us had something of the quality of a valedictory blessing. And, of course, she was right; she died before we could make another visit to her bedside.

This frail and fragile lady, this delicate moment, left an indelible mark on Hart, a scar from which he will never recover, but one to which he’ll always pay tribute. He recognized that the little things matter intensely.

Where, too, might Augustine of Hippo have ended up, had he not surrendered to a strange small voice in a garden in Milan, crying Tolle Lege: “Take up and read”?

But how are we to deal with the world on these terms? A world that has always demanded Blockbuster moments—Waterloos, Jurassic Parks, X-Files—you get the picture. Really, it’s always been this way. More so in the past, I’d argue. There aren’t many subtle insights into the sacred in the everyday in Beowulf; we don’t follow Dante’s encounters at the post office or his hagglings at the marketplace. That wouldn’t be interesting. We’ve always wanted bigger, better, louder. The howling world will always cry for spectacle and epic battles, but we are all of us, made of moments. Moments both fragile and small.

Similarly, Christmas shares this indelible quality: a fragile young mother, the small voice of an infant. Christmas was initially a small affair despite the many efforts to turn it into the next Blockbuster moment. Yet, ironically, it is a colossal event, only manifested in small circumstances. Shepherds, as far from the nobility of the day as you could get, were some of the first to be let in on the secret. Mary, Joseph, the no-vacancy inn, the manger rocking the Rock of Ages. How strange, how quiet, how small.

So again that haunting verse in Luke 2:19 that says, “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” In other words, she safeguarded them, stowed them in the only place fit for such treasure, the place where we are free to revisit Aunt Susie, to glide gloriously on thin fingers of ice with Mildred Hesse. Mary recognized a moment significant enough to stand on its own without public approval, a moment too small for most of the world, but one so great, nonetheless, that only a heart could house it. A small moment that has, quite literally, turned the world upside down, tipped the scales, brought heaven to our doorsteps. A small event set between a squalid manger and a brutal cross.

No doubt, I’ll continue to watch for the Blockbuster moments, the loud spectacles and parades that deafen my ears, and offer enough drama to keep me silent and entertained. But I pray that I’m ever mindful of the fact that the world stands on a thin line between a manger and a cross, and that a significant moment, a pivotal event, secretly stowed and treasured by Jesus’s mother in her heart, has allowed me to stand where I am today. The little things matter intensely.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sharing Truth part 2

Here is Dan's second sermon on Ephesians 6...parenting and work.


Though he did a GREAT job, I will enjoy having him sit with me again for a while during church. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sharing Truth

As an elder at our church (just wanted you to know we don't have random people preaching every week or something), Dan was asked to preach last Sunday on Ephesians 5:22-33....marriage. He/we are no authority on marriage, but he/we know the One who is. As his wife, I think he did a great job of sharing Truth in the context of marriage...I'll be honest and say I think I was more nervous for him to preach then he was! :) If you desire to listen, here is the link:


Monday, December 6, 2010

Some days....

...I just feel tired.

It doesn't help that I have a 3 year old who still can't quite grasp potty training and I feel like I'm constantly working on that concept, talking about it, encouraging, guiding and helping. Trying my hardest not to get or act frustrated, but in reality it's frustrating. It doesn't help that my 3 year old is also...well...3, and so we're working on obedience.

It doesn't help that my almost 6 year old has had hearing problems for nearly a year and I just found out that in fact my maternal instincts were correct and she is having a hard time hearing because she has a lot of fluid behind her ear drums. It doesn't help that my hearts breaks when realize she has been hearing life like a person wearing earmuffs. It doesn't help that I've been trying to seek out options and solutions for this and it has been a bit time consuming.

It doesn't help that my 8 year old hurt his foot last night and had to have it looked at this morning when I had a few other things planned that I hoped to get done.

It doesn't help that right now I have plugged sinuses and am feeling a bit cruddy.

It DOES help when I focus on what really matters, it DOES help when I look at my kids, cuddle them and realize how all the things that wear me out about them pale in comparison to how much I care about them, it DOES help that I have a great husband who loves and helps me, and most importantly, it DOES help when I realize I don't need to become overwhelmed by small details because I love a God who is willing to carry the load with me at all times.

Ahhh...feeling a bit better now. Thanks!

Friday, December 3, 2010


If you live in our home it's almost a prerequisite that you like to read and enjoy books. I've always been a reader, all our kids LOVE reading (even our youngest who seems to have wheels on his feet enjoys sitting to read books)...Dan is probably the least likely to read books, but more so out of lack of time than lack of interest.

Today Josiah came home asking me about a newer book series and if we could go to the library to check out the book. Since hearing about it when they came out I was a bit leery of the books, so I told him I'd do some research and then we'd talk about it. After looking online and reading some excerpts from the books as well as reviews from other Christian parents and websites I told him I wasn't comfortable with him reading them. I showed him the reviews and he read about some of the reasons why they weren't great books, some of the words they use in the books, (not swear words, just not words he's allowed to say to anyone, so why would I let him read them), and just some of the overall content. He was a bit shocked about what was all in the books...and after that he was pretty sad. I asked if he was mad that I didn't think he should read the books....he replied "no" because he agreed that he shouldn't read the books...he was just sad that he would be missing out on knowing about what some of the other kids were reading. I felt sad for him because of that too, but also very proud that he understood why I didn't encourage the books and that he agreed with me.

I love you Josiah!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Alayna came home from school today and said, "Mom, one of the teachers said that maybe we should write a letter to Santa and mail it to the North Pole." I asked her what she thought of that idea and she said, "Not good, because Santa doesn't even live there because he's not real." And then she shared that all the kids in her class believe in Santa, but she knows he's not real and that's ok. When my kids have asked if Santa was real I always told them the truth....it might be a bummer for the kids who still believe in Santa to have my kids in their class!!! :)

Update on the Holder Bootcamp

Yesterday was a GREAT day for my darling 3 year old and his mom. I'm not sure if the Lord was just giving me a break, or if after 2 days of being very diligent, full of praise and consistent with discipline (I didn't get much else done that day...oh well!) we have gotten back to an obedient child. Another positive about yesterday...he was very obedient and a ton of fun AND he was dry ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT!!! :) Again, maybe it's just the Lord giving me a break...but I'll take it!! :)