Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

Anticipating a new year and trusting in God for the future! Happy New Year!
(Don't worry, it's sparkling grape juice)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hallie is Eight

Every year I take a picture of the kids with the stuffed animal they got when they were born or came home. Here is Hallie with her bunny.

Today my sweet daughter turned eight. We have spent much of the day reminiscing about what we were doing eight years ago. It has been fun to remember her birth but I must admit it also pulls on my heart strings. I can hardly believe how she has grown and changed over the past eight years.

This year we celebrated her birthday with a rock star theme, karaoke and a sleep over. She felt special and had a wonderful party.

I am forever thankful to God for...

636. Creating such a lovely girl and allowing me to be her mommy

637. Growing in her heart

638. Making me a mommy for the first time with Hallie

639. The pit in my stomach as I watch her grow because I love her so much

640. Her growing confidence in who You created her to be.

641. Listening to her sing

642. Watching her dance

643. That she ordered a doll for her birthday gift from Grammy this year

644. Her creativity

645. How she loves to be at home

646. The way she adores her girl cousins, the friendship she has with Brooke and Jillian

647. Her anticipation for Melia and her part in bringing about Melia's adoption

648. When I see her generous spirit

Hallie, you know this (because I tell you every night) but, I love you always and forever no matter what! You are so very dear to me and I am grateful God made you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Break... here for the kids. What a wonderful morning we have had! The kids are playing the Wii mindlessly and I have all the Christmas lights on in the house with Christmas music in the background. Family is in town and all the presents are wrapped and under the tree. I am so looking forward to this next week!

Jesus came to bring peace on earth. Peace between God and his kids forever! I am thankful for the peace in our home that reflects God's gift of peace in His Son, Jesus!

626. Christmas music
627. Jake's joy in losing his tooth at school yesterday.
628. Zac's preschool Christmas program. His smile, signing "I love you" to me from the stage.
629. Talking with my nephew, Cole. He is so precious and delightful.
630. My mom's surprise visit last night.
631. Christmas cards from friends who live far away. Remembering you brings my heart joy and a smile to my face.
632. Hallie expressing thanks for her bedroom make-over. Thankfulness is growing in her heart.
633. Making nutritious, warm food for my family (before the cookie assault begins!)
634. Handmade presents from the kids under the tree.
635. Admiration in Jacob's eyes as he looks up to his older cousin, Cole.

Merry, merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Christmas Favorites

I really enjoy decorating our home for Christmas. It is fun to add something new or reminisce while putting up decorations that we have had for the last twelve years of our marriage. Here are some of my favorites...

I have had this small tree for the last several years but this year I decided to use on of my good friends ideas and put all our Christmas card pictures on for decoration. We are all enjoying looking at our friends every day of the Christmas season! Underneath the tree sits of basket of Christmas books. I love reading these books while snuggling on the couch with my kiddos.

This Nativity set was given to us by Ryan's Great Aunt for out wedding. Each year I let the kids set it up. They always make sure all the figures are looking at the baby Jesus.

We have had our stockings for several years. I bought six when we were only four in hopes that God might have six planned for our family. This year we hung up Melia's stocking to remember her as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I love that my mantle is full! Maybe next year she will be here to find surprises in her stocking on Christmas morning!
This is our advent calendar. Each day at breakfast the kids take turns putting up one of the Christmas characters and tells the rest of the family how that particular character played a part in the Christmas story.
Although our trees lighting is not the best this year (the prelit branches are dying) I love our tree. It is filled with homemade decorations and watching the kids decorate the tree each year is so special. My mom started a tradition when I was little that I have continued with my kids. Each of the kids gets a special ornament each year. Hallie's is a collection of stars, Jacob's are musical instruments, Zac's are candy canes and Melia's started this year with bells! After we decorate our tree we always drink hot chocolate and watch White Christmas!

This is our advent wreath that sits on the kitchen table. It is not much to look at and I could see it maybe getting a little pick-me-up next year but it is homemade and I do love that about it! Each week on Sunday we light a candle and talk about how Jesus brought peace, hope, joy and love when we was born. Then we read a part of the Christmas story and try to figure out a way we can share Jesus' hope, peace, joy and love with others. The last two years we have started a tradition of Ryan and I matching the kids monetary generosity and buying chickens or ducks for families around the world through World Vision.

These beautiful decorations sit on our piano. I really adore the Peggy Carr ornaments and this is one of my favorites. Also, this year I have enjoyed listening to Hallie play Angels We Have Heard on High, Jingle Bells and other Christmas Carols on the piano!

Finally, this is my favorite, favorite collection. Each year my mom buys Ryan and I a new character to add to our carolers. I managed to get all the characters on this piece of furniture this year, but I look forward to having the carolers extend to other areas of the room in years to come!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life is good!

Yesterday I took Hallie and Jacob's daily paperwork out of their book bags. As I looked through math papers and spelling words I found two treasures...

618. So, so thankful that even though we have our family quarrels and bickering the general theme in my kids' lives is that they are loved by their parents and that they love their parents.

Today, I asked Zac, "What makes you happy?" His sweet reply filled my heart with thankfulness...
619. "Jesus and making smoothies with you."

Each Sunday of Advent we have been talking about something that Jesus brought to the world (peace, hope, joy and love). So, on our way to church we were...
620. Making up Jesus tunes...
and Zac says,
621. "Ya know mom. Hope, Peace, Love and Joy is God's power!" He couldn't be more right! I was bursting with thankfulness for the truth that is growing in Zac's heart.

And, yesterday my sweet, always thinking of something husband calls me from work...
622. We call each other at least 2 or 3 times every day...
and says,
623. "We should think up a really great candy/cookie recipe. We could try out all sorts of recipes until we get it right. Wouldn't that we fun?"
So, tonight we spent the evening...
624. Baking together. It makes me smile even writing about it!

Lord, your goodness to me to too good! I am so undeserving and yet you just pour out these gifts to me day after day! I love you, Jesus!

625.Thank you for coming to earth to bring peace, hope, joy and real love into my life every single day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We have been busy!

Like most of you, we have been busy lately! But, let me tell you, in all the hustle and bustle I am overflowing with thankfulness to my merciful, tender-hearted Heavenly Father.

Last weekend my parents were in town and stayed the night. We ended up having time to work with Hallie on her 8 year old bedroom valence. My mom showed her all about the sewing machine and Hallie made the valence almost 100% on her own!!

597. Watching my mom teach Hallie with patience and care.
598. Hallie's attention to detail and work ethic.
599. Creating beautiful things with my mom and daughter.

While the three of us worked intently on sewing and creating Ryan played a game of Monopoly with Jacob. Jacob thrives on quality time so it was wonderful that he had his daddy's undivided attention for so long.
600. A dedicated father for my kids.
601. Jacob's delight in time spent with his daddy. I pray he is learning how to delight in his Heavenly Father too.

So, that left Zac. He played with Poppie, dressed up and also got hugs, kisses and tickles from our good friend, Hannah.
602. Zac's smile and giggle.
603. Hannah's adoration and genuine love for our kids.

So, after a fun Saturday together my folks left on Sunday. My dad took a big truck of furniture out to my brother and my mom headed to Lincoln to be with my grandma.
604. Ryan and my dad working together and their relationship.
605. God's protection over my dad during his long trip to Las Vegas.
606. My dad connecting with my brother and showing his love through his gift of service and time.
607. My mom's never-ending, enduring, difficult and loving commitment to caring for my grandma as she ages.

Meanwhile, we went to church and took the kids to visit Santa. At church we listened to a wonderful sermon, lifted our voices in songs of praise and enjoyed laughter and joy with our church congregation. You see, we just finished a sermon series on joy which was entitled, glee. So, to end the series we all enjoyed some glee together with a funny video. To see the video go to this website.

608. Santa smiles.
609. Laughter and joy from silly stuff.
610. The sincerity and authenticity of our senior pastor.
611. Raising my hands to worship God.

Finally, just last night we got to watch Hallie and Zac in their first Christmas musical at church. Oh, I was so proud of them! Jacob was beside himself with boredom, but before the production enjoyed taking pictures with my camera all around the sanctuary.

612. Jacob's delight in showing me his pictures. "Mommy, I took pictures close up, far away and in the middle!
613. Hearing my daughter's voice.
614. Watching her hold back a smile when everyone applauded for her.
615. Zac's confident one-liner, "What's taxes?"
616. Grammy and Grandpa showing their love with their presence.
617. Grammy's tears of joy with Hallie's song.