Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009 didn't go off quite like I expected; we wound up with a sick girl who just wasn't herself. But we still had a great day together as a family celebrating our Savior's birthday even if it wasn't quite what I'd imagined. Now I'm in full speed ahead mode as we prepare for my family to spend the next three days at our house. A few pics from our day for prosperity...

Christmas Eve before church- me and my babies!
Oh I love these two kids! I wish you could see more of Mati's rocking plaid pants! He was too much in them!
Cale and sick little Haven, forcing a smile for me.
Mati was not that into gifts- or at least the appropriate usage of gifts. This is what he thought of Cale's new Steelers boxers!
Haven really tried to act excited about her presents, but those sick little eyes give her away.
Mati preferred sliding across, climbing and sitting on packages as opposed to actually opening them and seeing what was inside!

Hope your day was merry!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The ordinary so extraordinary

Sat down for a few moments of quiet on this, a busy day. Came upon this poem by a favorite, Madeleine L'Engle, and it was just what I needed to focus my thoughts on.

The ordinary so extraordinary

He came, quietly impossible,
Out of a young girl's womb,
A love as amazingly marvelous
As his bursting from the tomb.

This child was fully human,
This child was wholly God.
The hands of All Love fashioned him
Of mortal flesh and bone and blood,

The ordinary so extraordinary
The stars shook in the sky
As the Lord of all the universe
Was born to live, to love, to die.

He came, quietly impossible:
Nothing will ever be the same:
Jesus, the Light of every heart-
The God we know by Name.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Gift Game

I love this time of year! I love to give presents to friends and family and I enjoy receiving gifts that have been chosen especially for me. I love to watch Haven anticipate and get excited about gifts that people have for her. But sometimes I don't like how she responds to the person and about her gift. Granted, she's only 3.5, but I don't think it's ever to young to really talk about appreciation, thankfulness and receiving a gift graciously. Enter "The Gift Game"!

First, let me just say this is not my idea. I read about it in the December issue of Family Fun magazine and would link to the article if only I could find it. I read about it a few weeks ago and knew it was something that we should do with Haven. Here's the gist of it: Dig out as many gift bags as you need for as many players you have minus one. So at our house we play with three because we make Mati play along, too. One person sits and waits while the rest of us shop the house and pick out a gift for them. The gifts themselves aren't really important. We've used a pencil, stuffed animal, silverware, candles, books...anything is game. We then present our gifts to the designated person one by one. The rule at our house is that you have to look at the person handing you the gift and say thank you. Then you are allowed to "open" the present. Once you can see what the gift is, you need to think of one nice thing to say about the gift. For example, when receiving a stuffed animal, "This will be so cozy to sleep with." Or how about a marker, "I love to draw!" You get the idea, right? Once I gave Haven a snowman candle and she said, "This will look so nice in my bathroom!"

We've been playing for the last week and Haven loves this game! We're hoping that all of the "playing" will deepen her heart of thankfulness and appreciation, not just for the gifts she receives, but the people that give them to her. I hope that it's helping her focus on each individual gift as a special thing and we can avoid the frenzied rushing from one gift to the next that can easily happen. I guess we'll see next week, won't we?!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Nutcracker

Sunday afternoon, Haven and I got ourselves dressed up and headed downtown to see our first performance of "The Nutcracker." Everything about the day was fun; seeing her react to the large theater, taking in the Christmas displays set up in the lobby, the magic of the performance, sharing it with friends and having special time with my girl. Of course, we had our moments! Like when Haven got her leg stuck in her seat right as the show was beginning and I started to panic. Or when she asked halfway through the show, "When are they bringing out the snacks?" It was a wonderful afternoon and I look forward to sharing "The Nutcracker" with Haven in the years to come!

BFFs getting ready to find our seats
So glad we got to share it with these girls!

They were both so good during the show! We were proud of them! (And could they clash any worse against that wall! Yikes!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where have you been all my life?!

Seriously, I feel deprived! Why has no one ever told me about these little gems before? I read about Pretzel Turtles this morning in my Google Reader and a few hours later Haven and I set to work. So easy and SOOO good! I'm so glad I bought that bag of Rolos at Target yesterday! I can't imagine a better use for them. Go here to read the recipe for Pretzel Turtles. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Weekend of holiday fun

I realize it's already Tuesday, but I just know have some time to write about our fun filled weekend. Cale was out of town last week, but came home on a red eye Thursday night so he was able to take Friday off. We decided to make the most of it and he took us out to lunch before we headed out to the tree farm to find the perfect tree.

Tying up the tree
Finally got one of him smiling- he was not a happy guy tree hunting!

My cold, smiley girl!

We spent the rest of our day decorating the tree, drinking hot chocolate and stringing popcorn while watching "A Christmas Story". It was a really fun day!

Saturday morning Haven and I went to our church and were a part of A Very Veggie Christmas. Haven had so much fun watching "Saint Nicholas", making craft projects and shopping for some gifts. I worked in the Shopping Room and helped about 30 children select gifts for the family. It was so much fun to help these kids find something that they thought their family member would love and see their faces light up when they found the perfect gift!

After a few hours of rest at home we loaded everyone up and all their cold weather gear to brave the cold and attend Lebanon's Christmas Festival and Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade. We almost didn't' go because it was so cold, but I'm glad we decided to go ahead with our plans. We managed to find a great parking spot, avoided the crowds finding something to eat and even walked right up to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. We decided to avoid the main drag of the parade because it is so crowded and instead opted for the end of the parade route (which just happened to be a block from our car.) We made a pit stop at a local church who were warming the crowds with free hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and a warm place to hang out for a few minutes. Then we settled into our little stretch of tree lawn to watch the big show. Mati wasn't too sure at first, but then got excited at each new carriage that made it's way down the street. Haven loved it and kept up a running commentary of her new favorite thing she saw all the while shaking her glow stick at the horses "to say hi."
My car's thermometer- proof!

Haven and her new friends

Bundled up baby boy! Look close and you'll see that yes, we did put his sister's old pink boots on him! Hey- it was 22 degrees outside! You do what you have to do!

A quick break from the action to warm up her feet! She has a hand warmer wrapped around her toes with her foot stuffed in Cale's glove. Again, you do what you've got to do!

One of the 145 horse-drawn carriages that passed by.

It was absolutely a wonderful weekend full of holiday fun. We are so enjoying celebrating with Haven and Mati this year!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dear Santa

Haven has been asking a lot of questions about Santa Claus lately. We don't make too big of a deal about Santa around here, choosing to focus on what we really celebrate at Christmas. But we also think don't think there is anything wrong with having Santa be a part of our Christmas celebrations. We have focused on the real story of Saint Nicholas to be the starting point of talking about Santa Claus; so at our house Santa brings toys and treats to fill stockings.

Over Thanksgiving weekend she was informed by her cousins that Santa was at the mall which was BIG news to Haven and started her asking to go see him. We haven't managed to do that (although she did see him at the Christmas parade last night- more about that later) but still might. So today Cale suggested that she write Santa a letter so he could be sure to know what she'd like. It's too sweet and I just had to share. I promise this was all her- I just wrote it down!

Dear Santa,
Hi! How's you wife? How are your reindeer? I would like some lipstick and a little baby and you can pick the rest of it. How is your packing going for all those kids? We will leave you a cup of milk and a couple cookies.


I love this girl and I love getting to celebrate all the wonderfulness of Christmas with her!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

december third

three things for thursday...

three trees...

three dollar roses...

and tomorrow my man returns after being gone for three days.

can't wait.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Our holiday weekend was a whirlwind, in the best possible way. Full of family, friends, copious amounts of both food and laughter and thankful hearts. We enjoyed not one, but two delicious Thanksgiving meals and loved being able to gather around the table with our whole family. We shopped til we dropped on Friday (yes- we are those crazy people and we have so much fun doing it!) and got to visit with more family and see friends. Saturday was a day of feasting and we rounded out our time together with what was supposed to be a sleigh ride, but ended up as a wagon ride. We didn't need any snow though! We had a wonderful time out in the woods, hanging out at our little cabin and watching the entertainment provided by our nieces and nephews. It was a wonderful weekend all around!

Our trusty ride through the woods

Some of my favorite girls in the world!

Who let her guide the horses??!

This is what Mati thought of it all!

Our youngest little guy, sweet L

We rushed home Sunday so Haven could participate in her school's Christmas program. She was the star (literally) and we were very proud of her! Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea!

And now it's December!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Overflowing with thankfulness

"rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
Colossians 2:7

As I sit and think back on this past year of my life, there is so much to be thankful for. All the usual suspects are there; my family, great friends, shelter, all my needs met and many of my wants, a car to drive, etc. I could sit and write a book just about how thankful I am for my husband or for the amazing children that we have. But honestly, they are not what I most thankful for.

It's been an amazing year, but it's also been hard. The Lord has been doing some serious work in me, especially over the last few months. Ugly things have come to the surface that have required immediate attention despite my best efforts to ignore. And only by His grace have these struggles lessened a little more each day. He's given me new perspective and most importantly for me right now, a renewed sense of well being. Gentle reminders of how full my life is of blessings and to quit looking for the bad. I've come to the end of myself on so many occasions, and have found that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Today I'm thankful that I am rooted in Him. I am overflowing with thankfulness because He has once again done what He's promised to do. The Lord has strengthened me, renewed me and filled me with faith. He has been good!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today Mathios is one-and-a-half years old. We like to celebrate happy half birthdays around here. Mati's seemed to be especially important since we weren't together to celebrate his first birthday. But we've made up for it today.

He quickly picked up on how this cake thing works!

Want a bite?

Smooshing it all together

As you can see, the cake was a big hit. So was the small present he got although he didn't know what to do about opening it. Thank goodness he's got a big sister to help him! Today also marks that we've been together for four months. How this little boy has changed our lives! We can't imagine our family without him and praise God for His amazing, crazy plan that brought Mati to us!

Happy Half-Birthday, Mati!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Reason #193 why my husband is the best...every night while I'm washing my face and brushing my teeth he crawls into my side of the bed and warms it up. Perhaps it's because he hates to hear the inevitable teeth chattering that will begin if I get into a cold bed. Or maybe it's the complaining that usually accompanies it.

But I think it's just because he loves me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christmas on my mind

Christmas is six weeks away and I can't wait! I've already been planning, thinking, and praying about ways to make this year special and wanted to share a few of the things I've found.

-The new Veggie Tales Christmas movie arrived at our house this week. We have watched "Saint Nicholas" twice and we all really enjoyed it. It's funny, engaging and reinforces the things that we are trying to teach Haven about Christmas and even about who St.Nick was. We own a few other Veggie Tales Christmas movies that I'm not a huge fan of. But "Saint Nicholas" is a great movie and I'm sure we'll be watching it a lot before Christmas finally rolls around!

-For the last few years I have received bi-weekly emails from Kids Craft Weekly. There are always great, easy ideas for me to do with Haven. Last year they rolled out a special Christmas ebook and I didn't buy it. But this year I planned to not make the same mistake! Six dollars well spent on this twenty page booklet full of fun ideas for holiday crafts. I can't wait to get crafting with Haven! And maybe Mati, too!
-One of Haven's absolute favorite things to do at Christmas is act out the nativity story with her Fisher Price Nativity set. I have no doubt it will be even more fun this year as we retell the story over and over to Mati. But I thought it would be neat for us to have another medium to use to tell the story and was thrilled when I found this set by H.A. Rey. Rey is the author and illustrator of the beloved Curious George series; he's a huge hit around here! This book has vintage style paper dolls that you punch out and fold. The interior of the book is a backdrop of the stable, complete with pockets to hold all the pieces. While we haven't yet tried this out, I know Haven's going to love it. And I am certainly already smitten with its vintage charm!

-I mentioned this book last year, but it bears repeating. "Come thou Long Expected Jesus" is a fantastic devotional to keep your mind and heart focused on The One we celebrate this time of year. I enjoyed it so much last year and am truly looking forward to reading it again.

-And last but not least, it's Operation Christmas Child collection time! We love being part of this ministry every year. Haven's been talking about it for weeks and coloring pictures to put in each of our boxes. A new feature this year is the chance to track your box and actually find out where it goes. You better believe we'll be tracking ours! Go here to find out what to put in the boxes and where to drop them off!

Happy preparations!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


After 20 minutes of hysterics, we finally got her to go to sleep on the couch with headphones listening to a CD of songs we made for her before we went to Ethiopia. It worked and within 2 minutes she was sound asleep. Once again, I'm thankful that my off-key signing voice is calming to my children. She's pitiful. I'm running a close second on the other couch with my snuggie (yes, I have one!). The flu has had us caught in its evil grasp 7 days strong. Praying that our capable, stalwart nurse doesn't succumb or we're screwed.

Praying for the feverish haze to lift...

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I usually love Thursdays, but not so much today. I've got two sick kids; and yes, I think it's the flu! It's been a long day spent holding hot little whiny bodies and trying to keep their germs contained, noses wiped and fevers down.

After a day like today there is no better way to end it then with some early Christmas shopping with your best friend and getting some amazing deals. The peppermint chocolate chip shake from Chick-fil-a doesn't hurt either.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Family Pictures: Round 5

So this is the last of the family pictures- I promise! Here's just a mix of family shots- me and Cale and then the kids together. Unfortunately, despite all our best efforts we didn't get a great shot of the four of us. We are going to try again sometime soon.

Thanks to Amber who did an amazing job capturing our family! We could not be happier with the way these turned out!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Fun

The last few days have been full of Halloween fun around here. We've had a party with some friends, went trick-or-treating at Cale's office, attended a fall festival at a local church and carved pumpkins before hitting the streets for more candy tonight. Enjoy some pictures (like there haven't been enough this week!) of our fun!

Yummy treats!

Painted pumpkins

Marisa modelling our "monster mouths"!

Pumpkin carving

Our Steelers cheerleader and our jack-o-lanterns
She's a cutie!

Our Ethiopian distance runner- ready for some candy!

What are you doing to me?

Happy Halloween!