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

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 :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cake and Presents

Having back to back birthdays can be both hard and easy. It is hard to know what to combine and what not to, hard to make it extra special for one yet be understanding of the thrill the other is facing at his "almost birthday" On the other hand it is easy to be in "celebration mode" and make it special for both. In all ways (except presents) it is like having a birthday for 2 days! Therefore, they have never complained about birthdays together. This year the kids shared a cake one of the days and had ice cream and chocolate sauce the other day. Also, they chose together a place to go out to eat for one of the birthdays (they chose IHOP) and agreed on a favorite meal at home for the other. To my surprise they agreed on Clam Spaghetti :-) I was expecting pizza, mac and cheese, pancakes or something like that but not Clam Spaghetti. Brock and I were happy though - YUM!!
Madison got to open one present in the morning and the rest in the evening.

It is so cute to see how happy they both are for eachother about their gifts. Look at Isaac - he looks as thrilled as Madison about her Playmobil farm set.
Madison also loved her American girl paper dolls (which I had found at the thrift store - complete and in perfect condition! YEAH!!) Birthday Day 2 - Isaac's turn for presents :-)
He was very surprised and happy to get a playmobil pirate set. As you can see, Madison is shocked too. The kids both saw these at Costco and loved them. Once Madison got it for her present we tried to throw Isaac off so he wouldn't suspect he was getting it also. I guess we were successful :-)
At Grandma and Grandpa's
Isaac loves flying around on his scooter and Madison loves her Felicity mini American girl doll and books
Now until May we get a kids birthday break :-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Winter Returns!

We went to bed with drizzling rain and woke up to at least a foot of snow and it is still snowing. Hannah looked out the window and said, "It's Winter"

Samson stands on the patio deciding if he really wants to venture out into all this white stuff!

He remembered his former winter days and raced out, jumping, running and dashing through the snow. It was hilarious seeing him try to go to the bathroom in this deep snow! Hhhhmmmmm . . . . . how can I do this without putting my bottom in the snow. Samson's big question of the day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Birthday + Birthday = TONS of FUN

Madison and Isaac celebrated back to back birthdays this past month so we had a fun day at the Children's Museum.
The "fix it" station kept them consumed. They were pretty proud of themselves for getting their things back together. They also each made a picture frame covered with colorful leaves.

Hannah dressing up and focusing on make some rubbings of different plants and insects
More dressing up - yes, even I got into the fun! It was a celebration after all - how can you celebrate without joining in :-) Isaac was not fond of his costume that I picked out for him - I couldn't even get him to smile (which is pretty rare!) Hannah, on the other hand, enjoyed changing her look :-)

Seeing Madison with curly hair cracks me up today as much as it did the day we were there. She DID NOT want to wear this wig but was a great sport and even smiled for the picture :-)

The Bubble Wall is always a hit

Hannah really liked the big bunny and the cute little frog puppet!

The favorite of the day . . . . . The Vet Clinic! How cute are they, each taking care of their animals!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Becoming a Man

Isaac loves pirates and recently got a pirate ship for his birthday with pirates and soldiers ("the good guys") When he plays with them he says they are just "guys pretending to be pirates, not real ones". His concern over "real pirates" became clear after a conversation he had with Brock. He asked him if there are any good pirates. Brock said he didn't think so. Isaac thought about it for a second and then said, "Maybe if they knew the Lord?" Brock had to gently burst his bubble and let him know that if a pirate "knew the Lord" he would live a different life - one more pleasing to the Lord :-)

What a funny boy he is!
He has been helping Brock a lot lately in the garage getting projects done. One day I called him in for nap and he was quite distraught and pleaded, "but mom, dad NEEDS me!" A little boy getting some "Man" training is so adorable!!!

One more funny thing Isaac said. :-) Yesterday he told me he was saving his money for a house. I asked him why beings we already had a house. He said for when he was bigger like daddy and had a wife and kids. :-) Oh my, I am NOT READY to hand him over to another lady :-) Thankfully, despite what Isaac thinks, I still have lots of time with my boy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Dream Bath

The kids love to take a bath in our tub (our hot tub as they call it) :-) So . . . the other night I put them all in the bath and washed each of their hair. The shampoo bottle was empty so I let them play with it in the water. They turned the jets on and some bubbles started coming. Madison was accusing Isaac of "hogging" the bubbles shortly before I left. We never put bubbles in their bath so they were pretty excited about the few little bubbles that were showing up. I commented to Brock that the jets were making some bubbles in the bath and that the kids were thrilled. When Brock headed up to get them out of the bath he was shocked when he opened the door! He knew I said they had some bubbles but never expected this!!!

He called me up and said to bring the camera. I figured they were doing something cute but never expected to see what I saw! I don't know how an empty shampoo bottle could produce so many bubbles!! They were so thick! We don't put much water in the tub so you can see how big of a layer there is!! I am so glad Hannah never slipped under - she may have been hard to find!!

Well, there was definately no bubble "hogging" now :-) They sure thought it was fun (had I been their age I would have too). They each had to take a shower after their bath just to get all the bubbles off! I am glad they had one fun bath in their lives because we will watch the bubbles better next time :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Theology 101 . . .

. . . . from a 9 year old girl (yes the dog is also 9 years old but Cody didn't have much to say on the subject)

We were all heading somewhere in the truck and Madison did something that hurt Isaac's feelings. He said (or actually yelled), "Madison, you are not pleasing my heart!" It took me a bit to respond because I was trying not to laugh! Where in the world did he hear something like that!!! When I had Madison alone I talked to her about it and asked her how she felt about doing things that hurt Isaac, and especially his heart? She said, "But mom, we aren't supposed to please our hearts, our hearts are wicked!" then she proceeded to recite her Awana verse: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it" Jeremiah 17:9. Now what could I say - she was right! We do not want to follow our hearts or "please" our hearts. We will be led astray very quickly. However, I knew that isn't what Isaac meant so she didn't get off the hook that easy :-)

We are very proud of her for memorizing verses and USING them in her life to decipher between doing as God commands and doing as WE "command"

Monday, November 2, 2009

Other October Happenings

Madison had her last lesson of the year on Barney. She spent the last couple months learning how to ride English and has improved A LOT. She can't wait to start lessons again.

Homeschooling is in full swing. This year we are doing Sonlight again and her history focus for the year is World History. She read about different clothing customs and had to make some for herself (and Isaac of course). She is wearing a sari and Isaac a turban :-) She always wants to make it more realistic so she found a bowl to carry on her head :-) Yikes, that would take some work to balance that big bowl!

Hannah is fully potty trained (through the night and all - YEAH!) She has been doing great all month and I am happy to see the end of diapers!!

Isaac is anxious to learn how to read so is busy doing "school" also. He thinks life will improve greatly if he could only read :-) It will be a lot more fun, that is for sure! He is busy as ever and has lots of energy to burn - but that is nothing new :-)