I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When hubby has a week and a half off from work.

My blogging has taken a vacation. Steve has ten days off from work although it may not feel like it to him. He has been tackling some home projects like a mad man. I now have a new in the wall ironing board that is absolutely fantastic. No more taking the ironing board in and out of the laundry room.

Yesterday we (and when I say we, I mostly mean he) painted our family room. It was touch and go for awhile as my paint selection appeared questionable at first but had a great finish. It has turned out very nice and we are wondering why we didn't do it sooner. It now feels so warm and cozy in there that I'm not sure the rest of the house will see us much.

Tonight we are having friends over for games and tomorrow holds a winter time BBQ to celebrate the new year. We enjoyed some unusual to Christmas time snow. It was a lot fun for the kids as they spent their mornings, on the days we had some accumulation, building snowmen and throwing snowballs.

My blogging will pick up in the days ahead but in the meantime I hope this little post will hold you over.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday filled with family and friends. We are having a very nice time as a family and enjoying our time together today. I love that the whole world seems to have slowed down to stop and take notice. My hope is that you feel a difference today and feel the Lord drawing close to you this season. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 22, 2008

They say the mind is the first to go.

I posted last week about not having very many traditions and asked for some ideas. Apparantly, I was just in a momentary lapse of brain function. As the last week has left us more and more traditions have emerged. So here is my list of all things tradition in our house with two new ones.

1) Decorating something gingerbread, cookies or houses.

2) Purchasing a new Christmas book each year.

3) Taking the kids shopping for each other.

4) Delivering toys as a family for the Toys for Tots program.

5) Decorating the tree to Christmas music while eating candy canes.

6) Putting together little gifts for our neighbors.

7) New pj's for everyone to be opened Christmas Eve.

8) Christmas Eve Service followed by a pajama ride. We come home and change into our pj's. Then we load up the car with kids and hot chocolate and head out to look at Christmas lights. We read our new Christmas story before bed.

After looking at that list, I don't feel so bad about not having any traditions. It was my kids who reminded me of how many we do have. Good thing we have little people living around here to remember things for me.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who's that Girl?

This girl has wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love for many years. However, an unfortunate Kindergarten scissors incident prevented her from doing it sooner. I had planned photo shoots of the kids and wanted to do hers before we did the big cut. Here she is with her long mane.

Here she is post cut. If you see this girl around, it's still our Els but she is now sporting a cute short bob these days. She's cute as a button and proud that she was able to donate her hair.
Way to go kiddo!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It seems we aren't completely without tradition.

My kids asked me just over a week ago when we were going to do our annual gingerbread house. I had forgotten that we have done that the last few years. Now, many things I am. A baker I am not. You can ask Steve about my infamous M&M cookies in the early days of our marriage. It wasn't pretty. A kit has been my life saver in this area. But this year, I decided to switch things up and bought a cookie kit instead. The kids always seem a little disappointed when we finish decorating the house and it can't be eaten. So this year, I found a cookie kit with yummier icing that is meant to be eaten.

Daddy and I shared icing duties to get them started.

Some take their decorating work very seriously.

Some decide later that more icing is better. Not that I blame them.

Even Daddy got in on the decorating.

There you have it. One happy, spiffyily decorated gingerbread family. I am afraid I do have to report that, at this very moment, we have five headless gingerbread people. But my family is happy, so that's what matters.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taming the chaos that is Christmas and New Years

***New review up at Making the Grade Reviews. It's about a great wholesome book company called Salem Ridge Press.***

Doesn't is seem like Christmas comes sooner and sooner each year? It does for me and it never seems to come without the normal chaos that is present buying, card writing and time spending kind of activities.

This year though I have vowed to do things differently. With 13 days to go I have all but 3 gifts purchased, the halls have been decked and the Christmas cards are calling my name today. The goal is to get them out on Monday and then we will have almost 2 weeks to enjoy the season together. I have a few little activities up my sleeve that I hope will build some memories of a fun Christmas and not one where mom is pulling her hair out, running screaming into the night. Don't think I haven't considered it a time or two.

But seriously, the key to my success this year was early planning. I started purchasing gifts and coming up with ideas in early November. I also made use of the handy internet to take care of some purchases making my time more available for the daily chores that do not disappear just because it is Christmas. I also give full credit to the hubster for all of the decorating. I mean I had a say, no doubt to all of you that know me, but the execution was purely that of my husband. He outdid himself on the outside of the house and the inside looks so nice and inviting. We have enjoyed time on the couch looking at the Christmas lights, music on and kids in bed, just chatting. How nice is that? Or, I should ask, how often does that happen?

I have high hopes that this will carry over into the year 2009 as I purpose to be better organized. I got an idea recently from another blogger. She does all of her lesson planning for homeschooling on Satuday mornings at a local coffee shop. Less distractions and a little time away to make sure things go smoothly. Well, I guess there is a never a guarantee of that but at least there will be a plan. A plan goes a long ways in this house. I would like to do something similar to what she does, finding a way to set aside time away from everything to get organized for my week ahead.

So tell me, how are you making your season and new year less chaotic this season? Stream lining, hiring an assistant, skipping it all together?

This post was written for Parent Bloggers and the current sponsor Big Tent. Check out the links to see how they are partnering up with other companies to help make people's lives better.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Steve loves this part of Christmas. Well, truth be told, he loves every part of Christmas. But there he is going through the ornaments, candy cane in mouth, handing them out to the kids to hang on the tree. I love it! I get in there a bit too but I really enjoy taking pictures of the kids and their dad enjoying the process.

Of course, there were a few ornaments that didn't quite make it to the tree. They look pretty nice in this spot, too.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sooooo busy

Goodness things have been busy. Christmas shopping, time with friends and family as well as schooling has been our mode of operation the last two weeks. The good news is that after today I should be done with my shopping and that makes me oh so happy! This year we will have more time to spend thinking of others and what we can do to make this season special. We might actually have some time for baking and making and we might even start a new tradition or two this year.

In other news I have playing around with picasa (thanks to my friend Brooke) in my picture taking and whoa! is it ever fun. Each of my five got their own photo shoot yesterday and they loved it. The bonus was one on one time with each of them. They are becoming such neat people and it was fun to take time to capture their personalities. Besides, I think these are much better than school pictures.

There were many really great shots if I do say so myself but I can't show them all to you at this time due to a certain holiday coming up, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink.

Today, hubby is heading out to men's breakfast after which we will divide the family by gender and go shopping. The girls will pick out something for the boys and the boys will pick out something for the girls and then we'll take the kids out to lunch. We are going to opposite towns as mommy and daddy have some shopping to do for each other.

I mentioned traditions earlier. We only have a few so far and would like to add some. Bub always helps his dad load our tree in the truck and get it into the house. The girls always help me with the wrapping. Christmas Eve has this family singing Chrismas carols by candlelight and then driving around in their pajamas looking at Christmas lights. We will be adding a hot cocoa feature to that tradition this year.

Any other ideas for me?

We're taking suggestions.

Put your thinking caps on and help a girl out!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Clean up in the jewelry aisle!

Today, the kids and I were Christmas shopping in the mall while their daddy was at the dentist close by. As I pushed four year old Lij's stroller by the jewelry counter he asked me to stop so he could look at the cases. I let him out as this was a reasonable request and I was curious about what he wanted to look at. He inspected the ruby section for a few seconds and then exclaimed "Look! Look!", so I leaned in to look. He stopped suddenly, held up his hand to me and said "Wait. Don't look. It's a birthday present."

And right there in the store, I left my heart in a puddle.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving for just a little longer

***New review up at Making The Grade***
Go take a look!
It seems that year after year Christmas comes a bit sooner. Before Halloween even the Christmas aisles are emerging at the store. I really do love Christmas but it seems that Thanksgiving comes and instead of savoring it, we wake the next morning to the mad rush that is the holiday season. It is ushered in with a gusto that seems to leave Thanksgiving in it's wake.

I am almost done with my shopping and the lights and decorations made their way to the house from the shop. Christmas is so beautiful and I love how our house looks all dressed up for the celebration of Christ's birth. I sit at my laptop each morning and watch the sun come up through our front window to the other end of the double cul-de-sac. The tree you see above is there to greet me each day and it looks more and more gorgeous as the fall comes and the leaves begin to turn.

This morning I was mesmerized by the colors as the sun rose and lit up this tree. It left me wanting to savor Thanksgiving just a little bit longer. Maybe if we celebrated Christmas earlier in the fall. Then we could have Thanksgiving last and savor all of the blessings that we have in our salvation and the material things we enjoy while here. That would make more sense don't you think?

(For those of you who are still celebrating Christmas in December, Vision Forum is having an excellent sale. You can click on the sale picture a little ways down on my sidebar and see for yourself what quality products they have to offer. Someone on our list is getting some of the Jonathan Park Series this year. Shhh, don't tell!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Not Me Monday

Not me Monday is a blog carnival hosted by Mckmama. She says that confession of our mommyhood shortcomings is a good thing and for today I am going to take her word for it. If you would like a good read, a great testimony of God's grace and some great photography you should head over to her blog. It's one of my favorites.

But on to the shameful aforementioned confessions. Drum roll please...

I did not convince my four year old that if he closed HIS eyes while using the bathroom that I could come in and get something and he would still be in private. Nope, not me because that wouldn't make sense.

I did not go with hubby and kids and use two carts and split the list so that we could get an extra turkey for the freezer. No way, no how, THAT would be shameless.

I did not tell my daughter that even if the president himself asked her to do something, she should still do what I asked her to do first. I did not do that because I am sure that our president would agree that putting sheets back on her bed is way more important than national security and that she would already know that.

And lastly, I most definitely did not have a screaming fit with my six year old during her panic attack when the computer was not working and then, in turn, tell her to go check and see if our combined fit throwing fixed the computer. And she most certainly did not go check. Nope not us.

Well that wraps it up for this week's Not Me Monday. Would you like to join in the fun? Hop on over to Mckmama's and see what it's all about.