Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas and More!

Seasons greetings, blog readers! I am thankful you are here to read, despite my lack of blogging lately. I am so behind on everything, but I had some time today to get out a post about our family happenings. Soooo, without further ado, here's the latest.

I've been doing lots of baking, but mostly for other people. I just finished an order of two dozen sugar cookies for a family in our community and below are the pictures of the cookies one of the ladies made at a workshop I taught on the subject. Aren't they cute? I was so proud of my "pupils."

We had to say good-bye to our beloved pastor and his family a couple of weeks ago as they transition to a new church out in California. We are so sad to see them go, but we know God goes ahead of them. And if you think of it, please pray God brings the right person to take the senior pastor position for our church. This family will be so dearly missed....
On a happier note, we went to see "The Nutcracker" for the second year. This is definitely going to be a tradition. We enjoyed it so much.
The kids sang in our church's annual Christmas program last weekend. Cody is the one in the front row with the red vest and tie and the big smile.
Caden's first time up on the platform was...uh...well, you can see for yourself in the video at the end of this post. Most of the kids whose parents are on the worship team did the opposite of what WE thought they should, which left most of us looking for a rock or chair we could hide under. And I must admit we laughed. A lot.

Um, this picture here doesn't even need a description. Just call him Willy Wonka. This child...oh my. We laugh and laugh and laugh....
We celebrated Cody's 8th (8th!!!!!!!) birthday at Gino's East for dinner and then moved the celebration to the bowling alley. Here's Cody after his strike. Dude.
Here's mommy and Caden having a snuggle while we watched his ball slowly roll it's way down to the pins.
Next we have the Birthday Boy and his Star Wars cake. By the way, good luck finding anyplace that makes a Star Wars cake. They don't exist. So we just settled for buying some action figures and sticking them on there. He was totally thrilled with it...that's all that counts!

Make a wish!!!
Over this break, we hope to do lots of this (judging from the photo we all need it). So far, Daddy's in the lead with two naps in two days.
And we'll also be doing this: Celebrating the true reason for the season. We hope you can all do the same! (Picture by Cody with the inscription: "This is the reason for the season.")
And finally, for your viewing pleasure, the three year-old and his stellar (ahem) performance. He watched himself and found it to be terribly amusing. I hope you do too!
video

Merry Christmas, one and all!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Cody!

Dear Cody,

Today you are 8! I am still asking myself where the time has gone! 8 years ago today, you entered the world...a 6 pound, 11 ounce bundle of love and joy. Daddy and I gazed at you with wonder and I kept saying, "I can't believe he's ours! Could anything be more perfect than him?" I remember endless hours spent with you in the wee hours of the morning, and I'd look down at you, this tiny infant, and marvel at the amazing gift God had given us in you.

Cody, you are a still a bundle of love and joy. I am so honored to be your mom. You are a wonderful boy...caring, empathetic and loving. You are filled to overflowing with grace and forgiveness and you care deeply about people.

Your little brother Caden looks up to you. I see him emulate you often. Nobody can make you laugh like him! The two of you are such great buddies and I love hearing you play and roughhouse with each other. Thank you for always looking out for him.

You are such a talented boy. I love hearing you play the violin, piano, and sing. God has gifted you with an ear for music. You are also highly creative and can turn something that I would normally toss in the trash into a masterpiece!

You are a quick learner and you absorb information so fast. You have a hunger for learning that I appreciate so much. It's amazing to me....the way you memorize your Awana verses, learn facts about things, and even teach your little brother. What other three year-old can name all the planets in the solar system or identify rocks and minerals? : )

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being your mom. You have taught me so much and God has used you in my life in many ways.

I love you, sweet Cody! Happy 8th birthday! May God bless you with a wonderful year ahead and may you draw closer and nearer to Him as you grow. Thank you for being a wonderful son.

"I thank my God every time I remember you." ~Philippians 1:3

Love,
Mom

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend Fun

These pictures are all out of order, so you'll have to forgive me. I'm too tired to move them around! It was a fun weekend but a long one, so bear with me.

This weekend I went home to spend some time with the family and also do a little business. For those who don't know, I have recently become an Usborne Books consultant. I was not looking for more to do, but this was an opportunity I just felt I couldn't pass up. I'll tell more about how it all came about in a future post, but let's just say it was a God thing. Anyway, my younger sister agreed to host a party for me, and it was a great success thanks to all who came (a big thank you to my mom and older sister for their support!).

Yesterday, we crowded around the computer (because the game wasn't televised in our area) to watch the Huskers play. It was a nail-biter to say the least, and we were pretty much on the edge of our seats the entire time. They did pull out a win in the end. Here's mom watching:
Meanwhile, the kiddos enjoyed playing on the property at Nanna and Papa's house. Ozzie got in on the action too.
I don't know...do you think they like each other? : )
Cody and Cass...such a sweet duo.
The gang on "the rock." Look how tall Thing 1 is!
At Culver's...chicken strips, french fries, and ice cream ALL around!
Hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Harvest Party!

This past weekend brought lots of fun for the kids. We decided to host nine little boys in our home for a Harvest party. Why did we do this, you might ask? We thought it would be great fun, of course! And you know what? We were right. Everyone had a blast.

These pictures represent some of the activities we did during our party. Below, Jerry carves a pumpkin while I read "The Pumpkin Patch Parable." That is a wonderful book!
All the boys made flubber. I've never seen anyone have so much fun with glue, Borax and water. Entertainment for hours!
We played "Wrap the Mummy." Caden and I won. We had the advantage. He was the littlest to wrap!
And then Jerry played "Wrap Mommy's Face." It's a good look for me, don't you think?
Here is Caden at his preschool party. This is the costume parade. Now introducing...Mr. Conductor. I remember when Cody wore those!
MMMMmmmmmMMMM! Yummy cupcakes!
My little boy who insists he's not little. "I'm NOT little, mommy! I'm BIG!"
Finally, 'Lil Red and the TaeKwon Do Master.
Happy Harvest, friends!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trail of History!

This has been a busy fall with lots of outdoor learning opportunities and good old-fashioned fun! We've been blessed to find some unique ways to tie in our activities with our curriculum.

This past weekend, we attended an event called the Trail of History. We had never gone before, but everyone we spoke with said it was something we would not want to miss, especially in light of our study of the "Little House" books. After paying for our tickets, we started out on a long walk through a beautiful prairie and the trail.

The boys spotted a wooly worm and learned from Daddy that the length of its stripes can reflect how long the winter will last. I won't tell you what this one shows (but I will say I think we're in for it!).

As we came up over the hill, we saw people getting rides on wagons.
Here's the view as we approached the event.

We learned about the weaponry used in battle. Caden tries out this kid-friendly version. (There's a reason his name means "Warrior!")
Here the boys play old-fashioned games. Below, a game of darts using a wreath made of twigs and corn cobs!
Candle making...
This was really scary...the medic's area. These are the tools they had to use in the 1800's and there was NOT anesthesia. Can you imagine???
The boys loved this...the Blacksmith shop.
This is in the Servant's quarters. The children all had to sign a contract and agreed to not whine, complain or bellyache. They were kept in the area until released by one of the masters. Here's Caden grinding corn for cornmeal. He enjoyed that! Both the boys had to carry wood, clean rugs, and grind cinnamon and peppercorns for cooking.

Check out the bull...
This event is truly a walk back in time. All the food and clothing reflect the 1800's. Everyone working the event stays in character the entire time. One of the neat things we learned while there is that the people who "set up shop" for this event actually stay there all night in canvas tents. And they camp out like you would have done back in that time. No modern conveniences whatsoever. Thankfully it was a relatively mild weekend, but they told us that they've come some years and been very cold (it has even snowed).

It definitely caused us to be grateful for all the things we take for granted that make our lives so much easier than those of the early settlers.

We have decided to wrap up our reading of the Little House books. Once we began reading "By the Shores of Silver Lake" we felt it was time to move on. Jack (the dog) dies, Mary loses her sight, and the family is on the move again. Laura is now 13 and is not the carefree, tomboy of a girl she is in the previous books. We've had a blast with the Ingalls family, but we felt it was time to bid them farewell!

Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful time of the year. Our pin oak tree is bright red and the earth is certainly displaying God's majesty. Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Apples!

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." ~John 15:5
This week, we visited our favorite local apple orchard. We had an absolutely beautiful day for it!
First stop, the petting zoo! The kids enjoyed feeding the goats most of all.
I saw this bench in the restaurant and thought it was so neat. The engraving reads: "Come Lord Jesus, be our Guest. May our home by Thee be blessed."
We went with my friend Diane and her two kids. Here they all are sitting outside the teepee.
Another great photo op that we took while apple picking. Left to right we have Cody, Andrew, Rachel and Caden.
Here is my dear friend, Diane. She knew which kinds of apples to pick for our day of baking (yesterday). We made applesauce, apple cobbler and apple pie. I also have her to thank for teaching me everything I know about making sugar cookies. She has been a great teacher!
Here is Cody standing next to one of the hundreds of apple trees we saw that day. All day, while looking at the bountiful harvest of apples, pumpkins and produce at the farm, I kept thinking of our loving Father, who prunes us and helps cut off the dead branches in us so that we will be most fruitful in our lives. It's not always easy to be "pruned" but God always has a purpose in it! (John 15:1-2)
Here I am with all the kiddos. We picked 25 pounds of apples!
Happy Harvest everyone! I hope you find time to enjoy this beautiful time of year.