For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Belated Birthday Post for Nolan

Nolan's birthday is the day after Christmas. Not always a great time for a birthday, but the family always makes it a special day for him. We took him out to lunch and then had cake and ice cream back at home. He received lots of awesome gifts including "cool" clothes picked out for him by his teenage girl cousins. Dad,Mom, his sisters, and his brothers gave him a "pocket" digital camera to take on his mission trips.
I usually write a special blog post for each of my kiddos birthday...didn't have my computer during the holiday and then got here goes:

Nolan, my first born, is now 14! How is that possible? Everytime I think about it, I remember the precious baby boy that was placed in my arms immediatey following his birth. I think about that special mother/son bond that was there from the beginning. I think about his cute smile, his fun ways, his joy of life as a toddler, and his amazingly infectious giggle. I think of his first day of Kindergarten, and his excitement at starting school, and the ups and downs of homeschooling him from first grade til now. I think of his sixth birthday when he proclaimed to us "Now I am a Teenager!"...our reponse, "Not for many, many more years!" Where did those many years disappear to? I think about him playing tball, and then continuing to grow in his skill and love of that sport. I think about his devotion to his Lord and Savior. The way that he loves to read his bible, to serve in whatever capacity God calls him to, to proclaim Jesus at every chance he gets. I think about the young man that wants to serve, wants to help and wants to tell others around the world of Jesus' love for them. I think about the terrific Young Man that he is and is becoming...and my heart overflows (usually with tears rolling down my face). God gave us an amazing gift, a child we weren't sure we would ever have. Nolan, you are precious and you are HIS! We love you son...Happy Birthday!!




American Girl Craft Fun...perfect gift

Chef Garrett is thrilled with his cookbook

Look at all the Christmas blessings

The thrill of Christmas morning

Mia has been asking for over 2 yrs for a pink Mustang... she seemed a bit disappointed, and when we asked  her why...Her reply "I wanted one that runs, Daddy!"

Mandy made a American Girl Doll haul... she was excited to finally have Julie. She has Lili and Julie is Lili's BFF

All he wanted for Christmas... a PSP

Levi wanted a "bideo game"... He got an Leapster Explorer. Nate asked for a portable DVD player and a movie.

"Baby Girl, you've got a car that moves!". She was tearing it up... I can only imagine when she is 16.

Nolan wanted an AirSoft rifle and protective gear. Oh and "Season 1 of the TV Series 24"

Cookie Decorating

Smiles of Fun...

Checking the Recipe

Decorator Extrodinaire

An Artist at Work

Not an entusiast for cookie decorating...prefers to be a video junky

So much fun...Mandy and Nate were the only two who stuck it out and decorated most of the cookies

Catching Up

Well, saying that our Christmas passed in a blur is an understatement. I am not sure what all we accomplished, but we had lots of fun spending the time together as a family. Following our Thanksgiving weekend, we had thought that Brad would be taking a new job and that we would be moving. So began the "semi-frantic" race to get the house fixed-up and in saleable condition. We had new carpet installed, ripped the remaining paneling down,retextured and repainted. After the carpet installation, we decorated for Christmas; thus, postponing the remaining fix-up (some tileing and some bathroom repairs). In the meantime, we received news that the job placement was put on hold until after the new year. Not really a big deal to us as it gave us more time to fix up the house before putting it on the market. We went about our "busyness" and enjoyed a season filled with various activities and lots of time spent at home enjoying life as a family. We included our annual Christmas cookie decorating: unfortunately, our friends were unable to come share this fun activity, and we missed them. So we baked and decorated as a family...some got into it much more than others. I think there was a slight lack of enthusiasm since we weren't sharing the fun. We did our Christmas shopping in the following weeks, and did some service projects with our church community group over the spane of two weeks. Then it was pack up and travel time to spend Christmas with Brad's family. The kids look forward to spending that time every year with their cousins. It is always a fun,exciting, loud and boisterous time spent as a large family under one roof. During all this chaos, my hubby began to feel as if the new job and move weren't really in the works for our family. As his job here is still secure, he made a hard decision and turned down the new job. We both felt that we would better serve God's plan by staying put, and we love being here, being involved in the community, and being a part of our church family. So... at least I got new carpet and can enjoy the hard work we put into our home. God has revealed to us another plan in the works for our family. Hopefully we can share about it very soon... in the meantime, we pray that you have a blessed New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And We're Off...

The cookies are baked, the gifts are wrapped and after throwing a few more things in the suitcases, we will be taking off to celebrate Christmas with family. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, it is important that we as a family remember why... why, we celebrate a holiday called Christmas in the first place. It is no secret that we place Jesus Christ at the center of our family, and it is no secret that HE is the focus of celebrating Christmas. When I hear the news and the "sensationalism" that they make out of the anti-Christ / anti Christmas movement, it makes me sad. Sad for those that do not know Jesus. Sad for those that although they claim to be Christian will fall prey to this sentiment. Sad for those who bother to give time to these "anti" people. You see...I am crazy in love with Jesus! HE is the Reason! HE loves even those who continue to deny Him. HE gave his life for people just like that, for you and me. It is my wish this Christmas season to be His Hands and His Feet. That by my words, actions and by my entire being that I show others that He is love...that He is our Savior. It is my prayer that everyone around the world may know His love, His truth, and His desire to know you.
May Your Holidays be filled with all of Christ many blessings and wonders.

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Attempting to ... take a Christmas Photo

I don't know about all of you out there, but taking photos is not one of our finest moments. The kids don't really want to take time out of their not so busy schedules (they would rather be playing). The thing is that they haven't learned to cooperate very well, and as a result, the photo sessions take a longer amount of time than necessary. We try to coerce, encourage and have patience; however, it pushes the frustration meter over the top sometimes. We have even tried the "bribing" thing (oh yes we did) but.... Is it truly possible to get all six of them to look at the camera and smile at the same time? These takes were the best we got on that day, and so, we will try again ... gotta hurry, need to get those Christmas cards in the mail.

Christmas Decorating

Well the decorations are up and the house looks nice, but it was not without a lot of chaos and hilarity. Our kids keep us laughing and make even the mundane tasks joyous. We sang along with Christmas carols on the radio, laughed, teased, shared hot chocolate and found the joy of just sharing family moments. Another year of memories were made, and I couldn't help but treasure the sights and sounds of those memories. As each year passses, I am becoming acutely aware of how little time there really is before our children are grown and making family memories of their own. I am so very grateful for my beautiful family and for the time that we share.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Black Friday" Zoo Trip

The Crew at the Zoo

Mr Rhino

These Flamingo were very pink...must have eaten a lot of good shrimp!

Some of the gang and I

My Younger Sister and Nephew

Nana (my mom) and G-man

The "New" herpatarium

All of the Grandkids...12 in all

Mr Turkey

One of three white tigers at the zoo...Gorgeous!

Daddy and His Girl

Thanksgiving Fun

Swimming in November...No Joke!

The kids had an absolute blast!

Can you see that my sis' dog joined in on the fun?

Momma in the kitchen preparing some of her yummy food for Thanksgiving

The food table for the Thanksgiving feast.
This year we spent Thanksgiving in Texas. We were all so excited to be back in our "home" state. It was a joy-filled time, and so special because all of my siblings and I were together for the first time in 3 years. We had a chance to visit and just enjoy each others company.When we arrived on Tuesday evening, the temperature was way above normal at a beautiful 80 degrees. Wednesday it reached almost 90, and our kids thought it was summer. They begged Aunt M and Uncle M to heat the water in their swimming pool, which they graciously did, and everyone swam for an hour or so. The weather was perfect! ...but, it being Texas and all, the weather changed just as quickly to cold weather and on Thanksgiving, we needed jackets (still not as "cold" as at home). We enjoyed lots of fun times with family...and did I mention that we ate, ate and ate some more. Our Thanksgiving Feast was more than enough... God definitely provided! I always enjoy my momma's home cooking, and the feast we had every night while there was no exception. On Friday we opted out of the whole "black-Friday" mess (not really anything we needed on sale anyway), and we took all the kids/cousins to the Zoo. We had a marvelous time...looking around, acting silly and enjoying the sunshine and cool temperatures. The whole weekend was filled with God's many blessings, laughter and love. I am so thankful for the Love of Family!