Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Weekend in Pictures

We had a wonderful time at my mom and dad's this weekend, where we celebrated Christmas. Here is a candid look at all the things we did and the fun we had.

I've posted before about the fact that one of our family traditions is hanging ornaments on the tree with our names on them, and we also include those that have passed as well. It's always something that touches my heart each year, and it's a tradition I will always treasure. Here is my mom hanging hers.

One of the many highlights was when Santa came to pay a special visit before heading back to the North Pole. The kids were blessed with big Santa bags full of the things they love. It was so fun to watch their faces when he arrived!

Even Nanna got in on the action....

Caden was a little leery of sitting on Santa's lap, as he is somewhat new to the whole thing, but he did enjoy receiving a new toothbrush.

My sister's husband is a photographer, and when at one of the Nebraska games, he took some wonderful photos that they printed and framed for their home's Husker room. There were many tears as we looked at the photos (this one is a shot of the stadium), and the set included a picture of my grandfather's name on the wall of the atheletic center, where he was a contributor. I loved seeing my mom and Dean's faces as they looked at all the beautiful photos.

We celebrated Cody's birthday with some cupcakes...this little boy resembles Santa, don't you think?
Nobody was forgotten this year....there were even presents for the dog. Nanna got Ozzie some rawhides which he quickly sniffed out and started to dig into!
The final highlight was some sledding at their house...Cody and Jerry went down this way:

This was so cute: Mackenzie (my niece) and Papa Dean sledding together...her face held nothing but pure joy as the two of them made their way down the hill.

And look at this....totally worth the price of admission. She is such a CUTIE!

Nanna and Papa, Auntie Kari, Uncle Gregg and the girls: We love you. We had such a great time. Thanks so much for everything! Darci and family...we missed you. Alaina, we are praying for a quick recovery and look forward to a time when we will all be together.
Happy New Year, one and all. Many blessings for a wonderful 2008!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Joy of Christmas is Jesus

The Word of God incarnated
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us...John 1:14
The Image of God revealed
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation...Colossians 1:15
The Fullness of God imparted
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily...Colossians 2:9
The Glory of God reflected
God made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ...2 Corinthians 4:6
The Grace of God extended
Through Him we have received grace...Romans 1:5
The Power of God demonstrated
Declared to be the Son of God with power...Romans 1:3-4
The Heart of God expressed
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...John 3:16
The Love of God manifested
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us...Romans 5:8
The Salvation of God provided
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved...Acts 4:12
Jesus Christ is...
The message of all God wants to say to us
The fullness of all that He has to give to us
The essence of all that He wants to be to us
The Joy of Christmas is Jesus.
~By Roy Lessin
Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Monday, December 24, 2007

All I Want for Christmas....

After an hour of reassuring, a few tears, and lots of wiggling, Cody finally lost his tooth last night! He's very proud of himself and woke to find $1.50 in quarters, a new toothbrush, and some new toothpaste. He's very proud of this milestone.

Mommy, on the other hand, got a bit teary that this was in fact the first tooth that came in when he was a baby. My little guy is growing up so fast!
In other news, this is what I made for breakfast this morning. I thought it would go over well with the "fam," and I'm happy to report I was right.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joesph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means, "God with us."' ~Matthew 1:19-23

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Big Reveal

Okay, so I hope my in-laws aren't reading this blog today, because I'm about to show you their Christmas presents. If you're any one of them, quit reading right now and go somewhere else. This is top secret info!

I am doing this more to show my sister, who inspired me in the first place to tackle these four projects. I started them right after Thanksgiving and finally finished them last night.
I do not consider myself an artsy craftsy type of girl. But I even impressed myself. I do believe they turned out quite cute, and I'm not even sure how that happened. Perhaps I can chalk it up to divine inspiration. I like them so much, I hate to see them go. But hey. That's what giving is all about! It's about sacrifice, people.
At any rate, I took pictures of them, lest anyone should care. And I wanted to remember how I did them in case I decide to do a repeat performance for my side of the family next year.
So, Kari...these are for you. And anyone else that might be curious to see them. My favorite is the church. I had purchased a package of letters that contained the word "Christmas" and absolutely LOVE the fact that there was only room for Christ. Isn't that truly how it should be??? I pondered that for a while last night with tears streaming down my cheeks. I truly did. It doesn't take much these days.
So, I'll start with that one. Drumroll, please....

My hubby drilled holes in the bottom and then we inserted little flickering tea lights (I love those things!) that run on small batteries. I hope everyone likes them and feels proud to display them!
Alright, back to work. I've got more wrapping to do.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If it seems I'm missing....

It's because I'm buried under mounds of boxes, wrapping paper, scotch tape, scissors, cookies, chocolate, cellophane, stuff for teachers, stuff for the class party, stuff for Jer's family, and stuff for mine. Projects to finish, cards to sign, rehearsals at church, and a pile of laundry. A tree needing water, a kid needing water, thank you's to write, and people to remember.

I'm off to bed. I did cookie baking today and was hanging over a huge tray of 64 cookies that I single-handedly baked, piped, frosted, and decorated. My chiropractor will have a hay day with me when I see him next.

I have miles to go before Saturday (Christmas with Jerry's family), so you won't be hearing from me much this week.

I just want to remind you all, in this final push to Christmas, to stop. Remember. Breathe.


Our Savior has come! Emmanuel...God with us.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I'm not sure why I find myself needing to have a time of confession on this blog...perhaps it's because I'm hoping that I will encourage somebody else who struggles with the same issues, or maybe it's just because I find it cathartic. Whatever the reason, here I go again.

I vowed to myself and my family that I would not freak out this month. I promised that I would not go crazy over my "to do" list, that I would stay calm, create a fun month of memories for my family, and do it ALL while remaining even-keeled and stress-free. I was doing really well during days 1-15. And then the 16th arrived.

This weekend we sang in all three services at our church, and this morning, we woke up to find our van, home, and driveway under LOTS of snow. I got up with the early birds (Cody and Caden), but figured Jerry's alarm would eventually rouse him. So I left him sleeping.

I woke up to a house that looked like a hurricane had come through it. Granted, I knew this when I went to bed, so it was no surprise, but suddenly the daylight made it look a whole lot worse than it had the night before. Birthday gifts, paper, boxes, toys, clothes, and more strewn about in the living room. Dirty dishes piled up in the kitchen because I was too tired to tackle them last night, and Christmas staging areas all cluttered with wrapping paper, ribbon, tags, and the like. Projects to be finished, boots for every family member by the door, laundry piled up in the bathroom...the list goes on and on.

I need to say that I really am not a slob. I'm just a tired mom. This morning I woke up and felt like a failure. My house was a disaster! I tried to shake off the feeling that I should just stay home and clean and started frantically trying to get everyone ready. I finally yelled up the stairs and told the hubby to wake up and wake up NOW! I kept pushing everyone...."go- go- go" or "we're gonna be late, late, late!" Just as I was finishing drying my hair, I heard Cody say, "Oh NO!" and I walked in to find my darling toddler sprawled out on the kitchen floor with an entire, brand new box of cereal dumped out on the floor.

Now, I wish I could say I took it all in stride, but alas, I was not in that kind of a mood. Instead, I proceeded to fuss and fume over spilled cereal. He was seemingly unfazed, since he continued chomping away at the cereal...that had fallen on the floor.

Next, Cody spilled toothpaste down his nice button down shirt. You moms know this requires more than just wiping requires a wardrobe change. And to top it off, just as we were ready to walk out the door...barely on time...I smell a poopy diaper that is demanding to be changed. My hair is still looking like a mop needing to be tamed and the van still needs scraping and warming. I was not a happy camper, and needless to say, all of this made for a tense Sunday morning for all of us.

This morning, our pastor preached the last sermon in his series on resolving relationship conflicts. Today's was all about communication, and boy was I convicted in so many areas. No doubt, God's timing is always perfect. It was just what I needed to hear. None of it was new to me, but just reminded me where I am still struggling. I praise God that tomorrow is a new day and that His grace is sufficient...even for me...this tired, frazzled mom.

As for the remaining days left in the month, I resolve once again to bring peace and calm back into my home. I know that with God's help, I can do just that. Tonight when we had dinner together and lit our third advent candle, we sat and reflected upon the gifts that the wise men brought to Jesus and how much value they held in that time. We talked about the word "sacrifice" and we told Cody the story about the woman who so lavishly poured expensive perfume at her Savior's feet. My spirit was quieted tonight, and I was reminded again that we celebrate this month not to have our homes and children in perfect order, but because of the Miracle that took place in Bethlehem.

That reminder is all I need to stop and pause before I'm tempted to blow up over spilled cereal.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Cody!

Dear Cody,

It seems like yesterday that I was pushing you into the world and welcoming you into my arms for the very first time. A mother never forgets her child's birth, and yours is no exception! You were, and are, one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received, so it's fitting you were born so close to Christmas.

You are such a special little person. Your compassion and kindness never cease to amaze me. The tenderness in your heart and the love you show to others continue to bless me immensely. I am so proud that you are truly becoming "God's Little Boy."
You have taught me much in the six years we've been together. You've reminded me time and again that the most important things in this life are the, goodness, laughter, purity of heart, gentleness, compassion, and patience. You are quick to forgive, slow to anger, and a constant reminder of God's goodness. I know there are times I'm hard to be around...and yet, you are always patient with me. Thank you for understanding when I make mistakes!You are so smart, funny, talented, and the most amazing little boy I know. It is an honor and privilege to be your mom. You make my job the BEST and most rewarding one a woman could ask for. I love you, sweetheart.
Happy Sixth Birthday, Bud Bud!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dear Disgruntled Man at the Post Office:

Yesterday, while standing in the mile-long line while waiting to get my five books of stamps, I noticed you, a tall man in a long black trench coat. It seemed you were a business man, clearly in a hurry, as you continued looking at your watch impatiently. The poor postal workers were making the best out of a bad situation. One computer terminal down, a line out the door, and rapidly approaching Christmas on the horizon. Several impatient customers, three young children, and forty minutes later, you were still standing in that line, as was I.

You may remember there was that one little girl. Come on, now, I know you remember. She's the one who was standing there with her daddy, the man who was having a very difficult time getting that package off to its destination. Remember, the one who hit her head on the counter? I see it's all coming back to you.

Her daddy was busy trying to fill out forms so he could get his Very Important Package to wherever it needed to go, and he didn't have much ability at that moment to console his crying daughter. My heart went out to them both, because it's not easy when your child has a meltdown in the middle of a crowded place and you just can't seem to make him or her stop!

What I would like to say to you is this: It would appear that, from the twisted looks of disgruntlement and impatience on your face, that you do not have children. I would like for you to know that those of us who have children do not appreciate individuals like you who roll their eyes, grunt, snort, and make irritating sounds simply because you are seemingly being inconvenienced by a crying child. Believe it or not, you were once a young child who probably did your share of crying when you had an owie, had to stand in a mile-long line in the middle of the lunch hour and/or naptime, or just maybe, you chose to throw fits because you were in that kind of a MOOD. I know it's hard to imagine, since you seem to have such an amicable personality.

So, sir, the next time you're somewhere and find yourself in the midst of a crying child, try to be understanding. We moms and dads are doing the best we can...even when surrounded by people like you.

P.S. I almost forgot....Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gingerbread Land!

Last night we had the unusual blessing of a Tuesday night off, and so we took full advantage of the opportunity and had ourselves a good old fashioned gingerbread house party. I must admit we used a kit (there was no baking here), and within two minutes of the box being opened, one of the main pieces had already broken. The directions actually said, "DO NOT DISTRESS IF THIS HAPPENS" so they must have known my personality! It was hard to keep all the little fingers and hands out of the candy and frosting (which I suppose is half the fun) but my children were quite wired when they went to bed last night. Caden kept saying, "MMMMM MY!"

We all got in on the action. I did a lot of the piping, Cody helped decorate, Caden ate everything he could manage to grab, and even Daddy got in on the action. In fact, when I got back from the grocery store a couple hours later, he was still working on his masterpiece. When you see the finished product, you'll understand how hard he labored into the cold, dark night.

And now, a drumroll please....

I would like for you to pay special attention to the snowman on the right front corner and the teeter totter "bearing" teddy grahams on the left corner. There are wreaths on the back of the house, a pretzel chimney, and much much more that you can't see. Those would all be my husband's contributions. I know, what a guy!

Happy NOT SO WORDLESS Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I'm not really sure why school was cancelled. My husband, who has an hour-long commute, said that the roads aren't too bad...just a bit slick in spots. Nevertheless, Cody is home today, and already asking "What are we going to do today?" Since I'm recovering from a stomach bug and had a toddler running wild all day yesterday while I was laid out, I think I need to tend to housekeeping. There are crushed goldfish, crackers, toys, crayons, and books strewn across my living room floor. I will say that the little man was absolutely angelic yesterday. It's like he knew his mama was really not feeling well and that he needed to do the best he could to try to meet his own needs. Bless his little heart...

I will update again soon....I have some neat pictures from our weekend services. Cody sang in the kids choir, Jerry directed the adult choir, and it really was a great time of worship. I'll share more on that later.

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, December 07, 2007


It's not until your furnace goes out that you appreciate the value of heat. And it's 27 degrees outside. Not counting wind chill.

Ironically, it was serviced just last night, and the tech said of our dinosaur, "You might want to replace this soon." And was working just fine when he left. Hubby is on the phone with a tech troubleshooting as we speak.

Oh please, sweet Jesus, let this not be replacement time. It's just not in the budget this month!

***UPDATED to add: It was a simple wiring problem. Thankfully, Jerry's dad is in the business and he stayed on the phone with him until it was fixed. Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


This morning I was checking in with my Huskers and was surprised to find that there had been a shooting at a big shopping mall in Omaha yesterday. I am a native of Omaha, and I was dumbfounded to read that nine people had been killed when a gunman opened fire in a department store. Five more were injured, two of which are still listed in critical condition.

I don't know what it is about this time of year that leaves people so hopeless, so desperate.

I do know that what is most likely lacking is a heart that is full of the love and comfort that only Jesus can give.

This month, let's all try to do our very best to spread good cheer to those around us. It is so incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of this month. We must always remember that there are hurting people all around that need a touch from the One who can heal. Who knows, the words we say may be the very thing that help encourage that stranger in front or behind us in the mile-long line at the shopping mall.

May we be the vessels of His love and warmth this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Yuletide Cheer!

I know it's Wordless Wednesday, but it's been a week since I updated and I wanted to share what we did over the weekend with all of you. After Cody had his violin lesson Saturday morning, we bundled up the boys and headed out to a tree farm. On the way, Caden fell asleep in the van, so Jerry and I took turns with Cody while the other one sat and let the sleepy toddler nap. First stop was to see the reindeer with daddy and have a chat with Mrs. Claus. The snow/ice began to fall at that point, so Cody and I took our turn and went to pick out our perfect tree. The idea of trudging through ice and snow to chop down our own tree lost its appeal pretty quickly, so we picked one that had been pre-cut. It was the first year I was forced to choose the tree without Jerry's help (oh the agony of it all), but I think we ended up with a winner. Cody was excited to have a pony ride and enjoyed watching the snow fall. Truly, it doesn't get more festive than this!
On the way home, the boys enjoyed a candy cane. Caden had his very first one. He quite enjoyed all that pepperminty goodness! Once we got home, we began to dig into all the bins, and had an unprecedented first for our family. Absolutely EVERYONE contributed and helped decorate the tree. I was in mama heaven. It was a wonderful day and Christmas is definitely in full swing at the "Berger Homestead."

Today my husband is home (SNOW DAY!), but before we sent Cody out the door to school, Jerry reminded us all of the verses in Isaiah 1:18 and Psalm 51 that state that Christ's blood washes us white as snow. What a beautiful thought as I gaze out the windows into the winter wonderland that surrounds my little house.