Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 12 of 2012

Anna reading to Nate... sibling relationships can be so sweet!
Lydia holding our renegade kitten who kept disappearing... finally in late Oct he ran away for good:( Crazy how much we miss those crazy cats:(

This is one of my favorites because half the year we waited for our home to be completed. This was a monumental part of the process.

All the kids LOVED field day with our former home school group.... really miss those guys... really!

Plenty of rainy days this summer after we moved in:) Lots of water, mud and fun!!
July 20122
Lawn mower rides are a big deal around here. Soo much so that Nate didn't nap until he crashed on the mower.
Loved this picture from our back-to-school pics:) Yep, this is my class... fun and antics!

Tons of fun memories of Brian coaching Anna and Chris' team.... next year Lydia will be added;)


The highly anticipated haircuts of the girls;)
A sweet moment between Brian and Nate at the zoo.

This is precious:) Chris on his 7th birthday with Jack in a pile of leaves. 
Thankful for a great year!
linking up with Sarah:)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Merry Thankful Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas Pic 2012-4

We've been visiting with family and friends through the holiday and will continue until the end of the week when we have to get back to "normal". We've had a very simple Christmas... food, presents, Christmas story,etc! It's been very nice.

Lots of funny memories of making signs for a gift, candy cane cookies, Christmas morning hot tub dip, gift scavenger hunt, and definitely my new Clapper;) LOL!!

Making sugar cookies and painting ornaments with friends.

Christmas caroling at a local rehab center with the local home schoolers. The kids singing, Brian playing his guitar, passing out home made ornaments and cards.

Sweet moments watching the kids prepare for Christmas.... helping to wrap presents,and  packing gifts to bring to their Sunday school teachers or to grandparents' homes.


And sweet memories of Chris declaring that it's been a good Christmas after opening only his stocking with the new toothbrush, new underwear and some candy:) OR Lydia finally getting the toy horse shes been wanting. And Anna with her techy gift, she just beams:)


It's also been a mix of emotions. We've had two friends pass away in the last 2 weeks and then the tragedy in CT. Our hearts have been broken, we have shed tears, we've attended services and we've been confronted with the reality that sickness and death are real no matter what the season.

I was left with an overwhelming feeling of how blessed we are.... we have soo much to be thankful for.

That my kids needed underwear and I could just run to the store and get some for them! Or that my Dad was able to enjoy another Christmas with us... all 16 of us crowded in the living room with him;) We all were well enough to enjoy all the festivities of the season:)


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I've Already Been Guilty...

of stressing instead of thanking, worshiping, hugging and enjoying the season!

During these days before Christmas, there are so many great things.... extra cookies, preparing gifts, lights, gatherings with friends, parades, family pictures, crafts, Christmas cards?? (yes I'm still working on those!)...

but mixed into what is normally done in a day makes for some late nights and stressful moments trying to balance it all.

But I keep reminding myself (and having others telling me) that it doesn't have to be stressful...

 or look perfect.

Christmas is about Christ!

 All the extra activities, gifts, and treats are fun and should ADD to our celebration of Christ... not take away the joy that the season is supposed to bring.

After being up until the wee hours of the morning working on a snack and craft project for a home schooling meeting last week, I was woken early by Nate crying with a stomach ache.

Moments later he was sick on our bed:(


Needless to say, I was a little disappointed with how our plans immediately changed... my late night had been in vain....

or had it?

I still smile with how excited the kids were that they got to have the mini banana bread gift loaves for breakfast:) All wrapped up.... it was a real treat for them!

When Nate recovered and was wanting to eat... he joined in:)

How desperately I want for this sweet season to be one we remember as being really fun, filled with lots of simple family, Christmas memories.... making cookies, watching Christmas movies!

After our change of plans Friday, the kids asked if they could crash in front of the Christmas over night.... why not;) So we all watching White Christmas until we fell asleep and they slept with the Christmas tree all night...
and the next and the next one too;)

Another reminder of the small, simple things that make sweet Christmas memories. Camping out around the Christmas tree, singing Christmas songs about Christ, driving around looking at Christmas light and even kid-wrapped random gifts (from the house) require minimal effort and can make the season sweetly simple.

Anyone have more simple activities they are doing as a family that have brought extra snuggles and giggles this Christmas?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Christmas Scenes & A Christmas Treat

Our county's Christmas Parade
A true farming county parade definitely includes HUGE tractors!
All the commotion had Nate's full attention.

Chris and Lydia freezing on the float... Chris later told me that I didn't INSIST enough that he wear gloves! They had a blast though and made plans to ride on the float again:)

Friends over for a quick hot dog dinner and to play together after the parade... super fun, maybe a new tradition;)

A Gingerbread Decorating party at church for the kids! We had lots of fun decorating and snacking! Also fun to visit with friends from church and the community:)


The final product was pretty;)

At the children's Christmas party at church someone made some chocolate chip cookies with what looked like crushed candy candies/peppermint in them. I later was told it is a new seasonal pre-made cookie dough but I was inspired to see if I could make some at home;)

Sure enough... it was WAY too easy!! I used our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and added one crushed up candy cane.

Onto more Christmas;) Looking forward to a few more opportunities this week to meet with friends, sing Christmas carols and even some crafts;)  Sneaking in some math and reading lessons and one more chapter in history before we call it Christmas Break:)
More Wordless Wednesday at  NapTime MomTog, 5 Minutes for Mom,  Mama to 4 Blessings, Go Graham Go.

Monday, December 10, 2012

TTT & Jack's New Do

We purposefully did NOT name our dog Scruffy for a good reason. He naturally has a scruffy look especially with being a longer haired dog. And we definitely didn't want him living up to his name:)

But sadly, he was looking really scruffy. Happy and very hairy:)


He was definitely in need of a trim:) I did attempt to trim him myself;)... I attempted it! I was only using hair scissors and it took me forever to do his hind legs, so Brian suggested I save all of our sanity by taking him to a professional.

I know virtually nothing about getting a dog groom. I checked to be sure they came with some recommendations. Since it's a groomer through our vet and at our vet's office I knew that he would be taken care of.  I just didn't know what other questions to ask:)

So on Monday morning we headed out bright and early to bring Jack to the groomer's.The young lady taking care of him was super sweet:) Super sweet. She asked what we were looking for and then took him in the back.

As we waited for Jack the kids started to express their concerns.

"Is Jack ok there with the strangers?"
"It's so quiet without Jack here, I miss him."
"Do you think they will know how to cut Jack's hair?"

I kind of used the conversation to relate their worries about Jack with how I feel about them being away from me. That even when I know, know, know they are with good people who love them, I am not with them and I "worry" about them. I wonder if they are doing ok and having fun. And I miss them!!

I stressed that they are very special to me and irreplaceable which makes it very different than us leaving Jack for a few hours.

Lydia took that last statement to heart, "We are very special because children are born and not bought."

Anna added, "They can also be adopted."

So at noon we got a call that Jack was ready to be picked up. They kids were very anxious to see him... I don't think we've ever loaded into the van so quickly:)

As the groomer brought Jack out without his normal harness and on a pink leash there were some mixed emotions.

Jack was very glad to see us;)
One kid said," Is that our dog?"  LOL!!!!
And Lydia was very disturbed that Jack was on a pink leash. She kept saying," Don't they know that he is a boy? His name is Jack. He should not have a pink leash!" LOL!!

In the car the kids kept asking for me to call Daddy to tell him that we bought a new dog:) Yes, Jack looked WAY different.

So here he is;) The "new" Jack!!


After 24 hours, the cut is growing on me. It's much easier when he comes in.... he has a lot less briers, dirt and hopefully no more centipedes (yes, he brought in a centipede last weekend.... they bite, I know from recent experience!).

I think I'd like for his fur to grow out more and stay a bit longer... looking more spaniel:) This is the perfect "summer" cut so he doesn't get too hot. And he is SOOOO soft:)

But now we're in the market for a doggie sweater/coat:)

Now it's your turn to link up about what your kiddos are saying;)

Still Curly

His hair IS getting long:)

Lately I've been getting more and more "your little girl has beautiful hair" comments about my long-hair little boy... enough for me to really consider chopping off his beautiful hair and curls again.


We've already cut off the curls once:/ Yes, he looked adorable:) But the curls came back when we really thought they weren't going to.

And I was relieved, I had really missed the Nate-curls.

IMG_9406As I pondered cutting the curls off again (as we prepared for our annual Christmas card picture), I realized that it's really not about the curls...

it's about this little guy growing up soo fast...

it's about savoring this sweet "little guy" stage (even the booger-y days) a little longer:) Not making him look or be "grown up" too quickly.

Hair is hair. Yes, eventually we'll have to cut it... it's coming sooner than I'd like.

It's just that right now his hair is beautiful and right now he can pull it off:) Just a bit longer;)

And I can savor these "little guy" days for just a little longer, too!

BTW... if you ask him (and he responds) he likes his hair right now;) So it's not just for Momma's benefit.

So our Christmas pic will have a curly head this year... probably the last year:/ Savoring the remaining "little" days:)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tiny Talk Tuesday

"Put on me dress. Me dress and den me doe outside?"

Funny that he wanted to get dressed to go outside to play, but he asked for a "dress" in his first statement:)

While Chris was outside this weekend a neighbor came into our yard and introduced herself to Chris. I wasn't aware of the visitor and so I was asking Chris later what she looked like thinking I had probably seen her before in he neighborhood.

Me: Chris was she a young lady or an older lady?
Chris: Well, she was a little of both!

He's very diplomatic:)


During a school morning, I asked Chris to carefully hand me one of our books; carefully because he was across the room and I really didn't want him to throw the book:)

As he sat next to me he asked why he needed to be careful with the book. I told him that it was one of my favorite books to use with them and I was hoping to save it for Nate, too!

Chris then responded,"Well after Nate is finished with it can you keep it for my children? I want to have my children do school at home too!"

This seriously was precious to me.... how many of us go through times of questions wondering if home schooling really "fits our family". The days are long and sometimes emotionally packed and I feel guilty the kids are missing out...
but for my child to think about home schooling their own children someday:) Precious!

We've been working through the Jesse Tree Devotional from A Holy Experience. We lucked out that Grandma gave us a mini tree that we set up in the school room... works perfectly!!

Chris is determined to call the Jesse Tree a "Jesus Tree" since all the stories talk about Jesus:)
And after our first devotional he snuck off and added a tree topper..... a CROWN!! Very sweet... and definitely appropriate for our Jesus Tree!!

Oh, the little boxes are a gift we recieved one year. Each box is labeled with a number 1-25 for the days leading to Christmas. Inside has a OT prophecy verse about the coming of Christ and then the corresponding NT verse.

We won't do all of them... but we'll definitely read the ones that correspond to our home school days;)

It's your turn!! Just leave a comment or link up:)