Friday, December 31, 2010

December Fun

December is always a busy and full month. This year I determined that we were NOT going to be too 'busy' to enjoy the season, and we pulled it off beautifully. There were still parties, seeing Santa, building gingerbread houses, getting together with friends, baking cookies and all that comes with preparing for Christmas. But this year there was no stress, lots of focus on Jesus and most of all....a really FUN season.

A few of the highlights included...

Skype dates with my mom (she even showed us her Charlie Brown Christmas tree!):Dress-up days full of cowboys and pirates:
Granddad stopping by to play cards with Bridget on the front porch:
Annual small town Christmas parade (they're the BEST!):
A quick family picture in the front yard before we left for a wedding:
A viewing of the Nutcracker, which the kids absolutely LOVED:
Piles of yard junk for Sam to burn:
And of course a visit with Santa. We got to see him at Bass Pro Shop (very cool!) and also at our local library. Fun times!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas...what a magical time of year! You might hear people say that Christmas is best when you have small children at home...but I say Christmas is best when you're married to Sam! It's his very favorite time of year, and he makes sure that everyone around him is celebrating and enjoying the most special time of the year. Sam actually listens to Christmas music year round (when he can get away with it). :)

This year we had fun decorating some Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve. In the afternoon we went to see a movie (Tangled), which was a pretty big treat since we don't go to very many movies with the kids.
Later that evening we went to the (incredibly packed) candle light Christmas Eve service at our church, then came home and visited with our neighbors over appetizers and finger foods. After they left, the kids opened up one present each (new pajamas and bathrobes!),and settled in to read The Night Before Christmas.The kids left some cookies out for Santa, and then in the morning they woke up to this sight...
...and this one, in our living room.
We opened some presents, took a break for breakfast (white powdered donuts for Sam, as per his tradition, and monkey bread and fruit for the kids and me), had time for some snuggling up on the couch...
and then a few big surprises showed up on the front porch. The first was for Jonah, and it was a brand new bike! He was SO excited and took off on it right away. The second was for Bridget, and it was a power wheels jeep. It was fairly cold and windy on Christmas morning, but we had a very hard time convincing Bridget to hop out of the driver's seat and come back inside. Dave and Mary Beth came over to spend some time with us in the early afternoon. The boys are sporting new shirts here, Henry is showing off his new leatherman tool, and Jonah has new sunglasses...
Of course the Twinkie Tree bloomed again this year! And this year it was spliced with a Cupcake tree too, so of course those blossomed as well. Jo Jo and Granddad had fun picking the 'fruit' off the tree. :)
After some nice long afternoon naps, we headed out to Sam's parent's house to meet up with the whole family. Mary Beth served a lovely turkey dinner, the kids put on a play of the Christmas story...
and we had some fun exchanging gifts.
It was such a fun Christmas! This year we were so thankful to be back in our house, and we were so grateful for all of the incredible people God has put in our lives. The Lord has blessed us so abundantly! Merry Christmas...only 365 days until we can celebrate it again! ;)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


This week in school we are learning the song O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

It's one of my favorites and has become Henry's favorite this year too.
Today I reminded the kids that Emmanuel literally means "God with us."

After discussing what that actually means for a few minutes, I asked if anyone remembered the definition of Emmanuel.

Bridget's hand shot up in the air..."I know, I know! God is our friend."

"Yes, He is," I said, "but what did I tell you that Emmanuel means exactly?"

Jonah was eager to give me his version next..."Jesus beside us on earth."

"Well, yes. But what exact words did I tell you it means?"

Finally Henry, raising an eyebrow in exasperation with his siblings said, "God with us."

I think they get it. :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Sam has always been passionate about hunting. Some of his fondest memories are of elk or deer hunts with his dad in Colorado, or with his buddies in Montana. A majority of his vacation time is always spent in the great outdoors, in pursuit of one animal or another.

Moving to Texas changed the way Sam hunts, but it hasn't diminished it any. Last year Henry was old enough to go hunting with Sam for the first time (age six, in our family), and he continued to join Sam this year. Sam, his dad and Henry have been out quite a few times this year and have brought home three deer between them so far. Deer season is open here for a while longer, so I won't be surprised if they bring another one home soon. :)
It's been so fun for Sam to introduce Henry to hunting. Henry loves the special time spent with his dad and looks forward to the weekend trips. His favorite trip this year was the time they spent the night in a tent. They hunted the morning, fished the afternoon, hunted again in the evening and slept in a tent. That all equals heaven to my seven year old. :)
Even though Henry REALLY hates being cold, he doesn't mind so much if it involves hunting. Sam gets him all bundled up and gets him moving if he finds that they've been sitting too long.
We process and package our deer here at the house instead of paying someone else to do it. Sam and I have done this for years and have the system down pretty well, but this year we made it a family project. All the kids had a job and they LOVED being a part of it. It's always a little difficult for those left behind at home when the big ones go hunting. The almost six year old, Jonah, was especially sad this year. He felt old enough and was SURE that he would be able to be still and quiet. Instead, he spent time dressing up in all of his camouflage clothes and pretend hunted in the back yard with his sister. And you know Bridget is always willing to dress up in camo clothes! She can't wait until she's old enough to go hunting with her daddy...and even though I keep telling her it isn't next year, I think she thinks she will get to go when Jonah goes. We'll have to come up with something fun to do next year when ALL the boys are gone hunting.
One of Henry's favorite things to do is to 'glass a field'. He was pretty excited to teach me some of his new terminology this year. :)
Dave says hi from his hunting blind. Henry's dream is to have one of these of his own in the backyard that he can 'hunt' out of every day!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.Man, I just love that holiday. Setting aside an entire day to thank God for all He has blessed us with is just a precious thing. Of course we should be thankful every hour of every day, but I like the idea of stopping everything and reveling in the goodness of our Lord. :)

Even though I adore the idea behind Thanksgiving, I really do appreciate the season in which it's set. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year, and I enjoy seeing all of the orange, brown and yellow decorations, the incredibly changing leaves on the trees and the cool and crisp feel to the weather (which didn't come until Thanksgiving day here, but better late than never!).

I spent so much time enjoying the day that I hardly picked up my camera to document it. No pictures of the beautifully laid table this year or the wonderful people who surrounded it. And you know what? That's alright with me. This year, as in past years, I got a lot of the cooking (and even pre-cooking) chores done ahead of time; so all that remained on Thursday morning was to mix up the stuffing and get that bird in the oven. It left me much free time to spend with my wonderful family and friends who came to spend the day with us.

We spent time visiting, playing cards (of course!), going through Black Friday ads and planning out our shopping trips, and lots of eating/snacking throughout the day.

We were joined by Sam's parents, our friends Ingrid, Crystal, Sharon and Ava. Later in the day Sam's brother David and family came to spend time with us. Ava's roommate Kat and another friend Jarrel came for games later on in the evening. It was just about perfect!
(These are a few of the place cards that Henry made for the table. He worked so hard on them! I did the cursive but he did the rest.)

Jonah was my joyful helper that morning. He sliced up mushrooms for the stuffing, washed dishes, mashed up deviled egg filling, helped set out snacks and didn't want to leave the kitchen. What a treat to spend the morning just with my little bear! Bridget spent the morning reading books and trying to entice someone, anyone to sit and read with her. It was sweet. She had piles of books all over the house. :)
Henry had a lego-land spread out in the living room and created his own little haven of ships and buildings and all sorts of fun.
And of course Sam got a chance to run the vacuum...during dinner! Those that know him know how happy this made him. :) I love my sweet husband and his need for order.
Thank you Lord, for another wonderful Thanksgiving! We were reminded once again of all the blessings you have heaped upon our family.