You can always pause the music on the player to the right and you can also view pictures larger by clicking on them :-)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cookies With Grandparents

The kids got to spend an afternoon making & decorating cookies with grandma, grandpa and great grandma (Matt's mom, Pat who was visiting from Florida). Okay, I suppose grandpa did more of the sampling and overseeing than making/decorating but he was there and that's all that matters to the kids :-)
Hannah LOVED cutting out the cookies. She was thrilled to see the shape suddenly appear on the dough.
Her next favorite thing was eating the frosting. Very little frosting stayed on her cookies! It was fun to have Hannah old enough to truly enjoy Christmas and all its festivities

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6
(Nativity set from my parents that my dad got in Kenya when he was there on a mission trip)
"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
Luke 2:10

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" Isaiah 7:14

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
May we all celebrate and give thanks to Him who has given us so much. May we never forget HIS best gift of all
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Tree Search

This year we decided to get a tree permit from the Forest Service and go out and find our own tree. We chose an area we had been to many times and headed out. The weather was decent - not too cold and nice and clear. Unfortunately, there were many others out doing the same thing so driving up the narrow, snowy mountain road and meeting a vehicle was very scary. Well, to me at least. Brock doesn't get scared about that kind of stuff and the kids don't seem to notice either. We drove up as far as we dared then started looking. The first area we tried required lots of up and down hiking. The snow was deep and Hannah was not interested in walking so that really tired us out! There were no good trees, most of them were huge. The next spot we tried was much easier to get to and had a large variety of smaller trees (not necessarily nice trees but decent trees) So, after making sure we looked at EVERY tree in that section (it would stink to cut one down just as you spotted the "perfect" tree) we made our choice.

By the time we were heading back Brock was pulling a big sled with two trees (we got one for his mom and Matt also), I was carrying Hannah and prodding Isaac along. I even resorted to "marshmallow punishment" with Isaac. I had hot chocolate and marshmallow in the truck and I told him every time he whined and complained he would get one less marshmallow! He was able to take as many breaks as he wanted and walk as slow as he wanted but I was not interested in listening to whining! Hey, it worked. He didn't even lose that many marshmallows :-)

It was an experience - not exactly as I envisioned in my mind (think happy, smiley, cheery family casually strolling through a forest full of perfectly shaped and sized trees) but still fun and definitely memorable. Next year we will use the snowmobile and cover more ground. Another added incentive was the price - $5! You can't beat that :-)
After we saw the tree in the house we were pretty disappointed. The bare spots that I thought would hide in the corner were staring at us. We were ready to go out and hunt for another one when Matt and his mom told us what they used to do to their trees - drill holes and insert branches. So, after minor "reconstructive surgery" our tree no longer had large bare spots and although not real full was looking pretty good :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mornings with Best Friends

The scene at our house yesterday morning. Yes, Samson really was sitting like this and never even made a move after several pictures were taken. He is a snuggly dog who doesn't realize he is too big to be a lap dog (though he tries endlessly) or always laying/leaning on you. Thankfully, we usually don't mind his snuggles :-) He has been extra clingy lately and rarely leaves us alone, which is a bit odd. It is so cute to see Madison sitting there reading the paper. It is such a common sight! She loves reading it each morning by the fire. She only looks at the free section and the fliers. She looks at the free stuff every day and is certain that there will be a horse in there! She sure has determination and faith! :-)

These two are usually together and playing anything you could imagine. They play great together, which is awesome for me! So nice to get a break from fighting every so often :-) The other day she yelled from the another room, "Isaac, wanna play guns!?!" She can usually be found outfitted in Isaac's knights attire with a sword in her hand or with a sheriffs badge on her vest and a horse by her side or many other play things all "boy" :-) She thinks it is great. She can equally be found pushing her baby around in a stroller, changing her babies diapers or playing with her princess wand and wings. Just like Madison, Hannah is a great mix of girly girl and tom boy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Some of my current favorites . . . .

I love this picture of Hannah. I love how she is holding her bunny in one hand and helping me with the other. I love that I can still "see" her legs swinging even when the picture doesn't. I love that I can hear her saying, "No, I can do it mom" whenever I tried to guide her hand (to avoid flour all over the place) :-) I love her crazy hair that gets wild in the back two minutes after brushing. I love her little outfit that Madison wore at her age. I love how she is so focused on her task at hand. The list could go on and on because of course . . .
I love EVERYTHING about her :-)

This picture of Isaac makes me smile. I can hear his battle cries as his two guys fight back and forth. I can hear him retelling me (step by step) what each guy did to win or lose the battle. He enters a different world when he plays, he becomes so focused it is often hard to get his attention. While that drives me crazy sometimes, I also love that about him - his focus and passion :-) I love how this picture reminds me how adaptable he is - he is just as content playing by himself as he is playing with 5 others. I love his hat - too big but still so cute. It reminds me of how much he tries to be like his dad. It reminds me of how just today he stopped his exercising several times to check the progress of his muscles! Of course I said "wow, they are getting bigger and bigger!" and he said, "some day they will be as big as daddy's". The list could go on and on because of course . . .

I love EVERYTHING about him!

I love this picture of Madison. I love how focused she is, I love that she did her Awana assignment and stayed another 30 minutes reading the Bible just because she wanted to. I love how she is holding her bookmark in one hand because she is always thinking ahead (why put it down when I will have to pick it up in a few minutes!) I love how she is so focused she doesn't care that her hair is hanging over her face. I really can't explain how exciting it is for me to see her love for God, her love of learning His Word, her depth of knowledge and her genuine concern for the souls of others. I am so happy to see the work He is doing in her and am thrilled to see her grow further in Him. There are so many things I love about this picture because not only can I see so much of her, I can "hear" her. I can see her passion, her desire to do above and beyond what is asked of her (she read so many more verses that she was supposed to and wrote them all down on the bottom of the paper). I can see her desire for change and her creativity - she loves to do things (whether for fun or school) in new places, fun places, interesting places- sitting on a pillow in front of the fireplace definitely qualifies as a fun place. This picture reminds me of our "alone time" as she calls it. Quality time (one on one) is definitely her love language and I love that she voices that. I love that she lets me know how important it is to her. She and I get our alone time while the kids rest and we usually read (not always together) and have a latte (steamed milk for her) :-) The list could go on and on because of course . . .

I love EVERYTHING about her!

Some other favorites:
Favorite Book of the Bible - James or Hebrews
Favorite Color - Green
Favorite Holiday - Christmas
Favorite Movie - Faith Like Potatoes
Favorite Preachers - Paul Washer, Mark Driscoll, Francis Chan, John Piper, Matt Chandler (sorry couldn't narrow it down)
Favorite Book - Stepping Heavenward, Sacred Marriage, In His Steps (and so many others)
Favorite Season - Summer
Favorite Hobby - Scrapbook
Favorite Fair Food - Corn dog
Favorite Treat - my daily latte (made with flavored Stevia - YUM)
Favorite blog - Resolved 2 Worship
Favorite Family Fun - hiking or camping
Favorite Vacation Spot - anywhere with sand, sun and the ocean :-)
Favorite Blog for Quotes/verses - Of First Importance
Favorite Crafty Blog - The Idea Room
Favorite Verse (one of MANY) - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect - Romans 12:2

Okay - I have run out of topics so I will be done :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blog Give Away

A blog I love reading because of her evident faith in God, awesome pictures, adorable kids, great stories and ability to span all subjects effortlessly and hilariously is having an awesome give away . . . a HP TouchSmart 600. I WANT it - how about you?? Head on over here and enter to win.

Monday, December 7, 2009

What We Didn't Do This Weekend

We have all been sick this week with varying degrees of head colds, fevers, aches and pains so we didn't get to go out and enjoy the new snow. Thankfully, we have had snow for several weeks so the kids did get to make forts and sled with Brock a couple weeks ago. They love to be outside and it is warm enough here (as opposed to Roseau) that they can go out without getting hypothermia :-)
The field behind our house has a little hill that is perfect for the kids. It is big enough to be fun, close enough that they can be there without me and small enough not to get hurt :-)
As soon as we are all back to normal we will hopefully get out on the snowmobile and REALLY enjoy the snow :-)

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

We went to my parents house for Thanksgiving and had a great time. We didn't arrive until early in the morning (2am) Thanksgiving Day but the day was so busy and jam packed we didn't even realize we were tired :-) We had our meal at my parents church and there were 56 people there! In our family alone there were 17 adults and 21 kids and for the meal we invited several other families. Naturally it was busy getting everything prepared on time and getting it all cleaned up but otherwise it went pretty smooth. The kids played and played, the adults played a game and there was also a lot of playstation video games played (by the young and old). It was a memorable and eventful day :-)
I was pretty busy so didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked but here is a peak into our day. For those of you who can't keep up with who's husband is who's and which child is which here is the color coded cheat sheet. Bekah & Dale (Abby, Ruby, Violet and Georgia), Nicole and Shane (Bailey, Liam, Maggie and Brogan), Levi and Rachel (Chloe, Eli, Lia and Judah), Jesse and Julie (Ira and Simon) and Laura and Joey (Lily, Kiaran, Lyrik and Aiden)
Shane, Joey and Dad during our exciting game of Outburst, Aiden hanging out on the game table in her fancy seat, Jesse, Julie and Ira - I was pretty proud of myself for getting Ira to smile :-) He is usually quite serious
Madison, Bailey and Lily busy coloring name tags for all the guests, Isaac and Kiaran at the video game center, Ira and Hannah (the two quiet ones who can often be found in their own little world, playing and doing their own thing found eachother to be great company). Despite the fact that Hannah does talk alot she is usually pretty quiet when she is in a group.
The high chair crowd! How funny it was to see a big line of high chairs during the meal. Left to right: Simon, Hannah, Lyrik, Georgia, Xavier (one of the guests babies) and Judah
As much of the game crew that I could get in one picture.
The crew from the other side
We played outburst - guys against girls. The guys were pretty proud of themselves - they won two and we won one.

Thanksgiving Weekend

Again, I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked - it was busy! There was always a houseful, visiting to be done, dishes to do, food to prepare, babies to hold, nieces and nephews to snuggle, kids to scold, dessert to be eaten, errands to run, places to go and lots of stories to share. Here is a reminder of the cheat sheet: Bekah & Dale (Abby, Ruby, Violet and Georgia), Nicole and Shane (Bailey, Liam, Maggie and Brogan), Levi and Rachel (Chloe, Eli, Lia and Judah), Jesse and Julie (Ira and Simon) and Laura and Joey (Lily, Kiaran, Lyrik and Aiden)
Shane and little Brogan showing us all their tricks while Joey, Nicole and Liam watch. Karmen and Bailey getting Brogan to smile
Bailey, Brogan, Karmen and Samson with Julie and Simon in the background. Lia and Violet attemting to smile naturally - not really working for Lia :-)
Shane, Brogan and Simon; Jesse, Julie and Simon. Jesse often provided the much needed soothing background music :-)
The kids playing school downstairs. From left to right: Chloe, Maggie, Madison, Violet, Lia, Eli, Abby, Isaac and Lily
The three teachers of this wild bunch of kiddos - Lily, Abby and Madison
Ira, Violet, Maggie, Isaac and Kiaran watching a movie downstairs
Hannah and Lyrik were pretty cute together - they played really well. Hannah is 7 months older than Lyrik.
Liam and Aiden; and Maggie all ready for Sunday School. Liam loves babies and when he needed something to do (being the only older boy) he could easily find a baby to hold :-)
Julie and cute little Simon and dad holding another little cutie - Brogan
Hannah and Ira watching my dad's pictures from his mission trip to Kenya and smiley, cute, tiny Aiden
The end of cousins, uncles, aunts and grandpa's pictures until my next visit - which I hope is soon!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Give Thanks

I am excited for Thanksgiving. I have always loved Thanksgiving. I am so glad that my parents made this holiday very important for us. It was more than food and a day off of work and school - it was time to be with family and be thankful for all that God had given us. We always knew WHO we were giving thanks to and WHO was worthy of our thanks no matter what was happening around us. I am so happy to be sharing this excitement with the kids and look forward to starting new traditions that truly remind them of why we ALWAYS have a reason to be thankful.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV)
bouquet of flowers from my wonderful hubby :-)

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13 (ESV)

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

Psalm 7:17 (ESV)

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Psalm 28:7 (ESV)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Parties, Lessons and "Sigamore Trees"

We love Awana - the kids love going and we love what they learn there! The different stages are Puggles (for those under 3 whose parents are teaching or helping with Awana), Cubbies (3 & 4), Sparks (5 - 2nd grade) and T&T (3rd -6th grade). Hannah is in Puggles and even learned a verse the other day and recited it to us!! She remembers her lessons and easily tells us about them. It is so cool to see a 2 year old learning and remembering things about God! Isaac is in Cubbies (even though he has now turned 5) and does a great job with his verses and even with answering questions when we are in a large group. Madison just started T&T this year and is loving it. She is learning some GREAT verses that are cementing in her mind accurate Biblical Theology. So, as I said, we are loving Awana. We also love the church we are going to for many reasons, one of which is their great attention to teaching the Bible to the kids. Hannah doesn't go to the nursery to play during Sunday School - she has a lesson, story and learns about God. The other day when we asked her what she did in Sunday School she told us all about Zaccheus! She told us how "he climbed up in a Sigamore (okay so she missed Sycamore) tree to see God" When we said "Jesus" she said - "no it was God". Okay, we let that go - I guess she will have a leg up on the Trinity :-) The first time she retold the story she lost her train of thought and said he was there to see "grandma's flowers" (which were the first things she saw as she looked around the room trying to recall the story) :-) She did however correct herself soon after :-) Isaac is continually piping in with Bible stories he has learned in Sunday School (that he remembers with great detail). Madison is able to relate things she has learned from the Bible to everyday situations which is so awesome to see. We know that what the kids are learning at church & awana are just supplements to what we are teaching them at home. We also firmly believe that it is our responsibility (not the church, not the youth leader etc) to teach our kids about God. It is just exciting to have awesome supplemental sources of God's Word in our kid's lives. It is also exciting to see the things we have taught them from the beginning starting to bear fruit in their lives. We pray that God will continue to show us how to make Him real to them, how to teach them about Him and to place others in their lives who will do the same.
At Awana, they celebrated Harvest Day (rather than Halloween) and the kids had to dress up as something that related to the harvest. It was alot of fun. We had all Isaac's cowboy stuff but didn't know what to do for Madison. I went to the thrift store the morning before the event and found this pilgrims costume. She was thrilled and we thanked God for caring about the little things - like a girl finding a costume :-) I looked online and found a hat that I could make and she came up with the idea of the basket filled with fruit and veggies. I was sewing her hat up to the last minute! That's what I get for procrastinating. Although Hannah isn't in the picture she was a bear :-) I took this picture after the night was over because I had no time beforehand (remember I was busy sewing) and Hannah had no interest in wearing her costume any longer :-) To Madison's delight she won the award for the best costume for the T&T girls! It was a very fun night for us all.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our Big Little Girl

Hannah continues to crack us up. She talks a mile a minute, with a major MN accent (don't know where this comes from!), with tons of expression on her adorable little face! She loves to make us laugh. One day she said something and then said, "isn't that funny?" Of course we laughed like it really was and then she said, "I like to make you laugh" She sure didn't need to tell us that - it is quite obvious. She is always waiting for us to laugh or is waiting to see what our expression will be. Her newest thing is saying, "I don't have time" when I ask her to do something! Ummm . . . sorry that is NOT going to work. It may be cute but will not take the place of "okay mom!" She calls Madison and Isaac "THE KIDS" like she is an adult. She says, "will the kids be there" or "where are the kids mom?" It is hard to answer because I am stifling a laugh. The other day at church she said, "Look mom, there's my sister" and pointed to her Puggles (Awana) teacher! Despite her large vocabulary she still needs some work on proper word usage :-)

She watches me constantly and copies whatever I do. If I do some dorky dance - she is intently watching each move and doing it herself, when I am exercising she is huffing and puffing along side me and yesterday as I was getting ready in the bathroom I caught a glimpse of my deodorant dissapearing under her shirt! I love this stage of life - so expressive, creative and funny.

I have a great video of her that I tried to put on but couldn't get it - I will try later :-)