Saturday, December 26, 2009

First Annual Cookie Exchange

What would Christmas festivities be without Christmas cookies? This year, my gal pals Jessel and Kelly, hosted a cookie exchange for our friends, new and old. It was a great time to meet some new friends.

And was I ever impressed with the cookies they brought.
Not only were they beautiful, but they were soooo good.

All I had to do was dress the table,
and purchase some fun cookie wrapping materials.

But the best part about the evening was when Kelly, a pastor's wife, shared about the true meaning of Christmas. That it was about the King of Kings who humbled himself and was born in a lowly manger. That He came to give us the greatest gift of all, and that we can rejoice and celebrate at Christmas because of His birth, that God gave us His son so that we may have life.
It gives us all a reason to be merry this Christmas!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. - Matthew 2:10-11

What a wonderful birthday celebration!
Our greatest gift to mankind.
This year, so we didn't forget the real meaning of Christmas,
we baked a cake and sang baby Jesus a catchy tune.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cousins Escapade

My goodness, the month of December has been a time for family and frolic. When two sets of cousins left, another one came to join in the merriment! To add to the excitement, we had one of our biggest snowstorms in Virginia! Here's Patrick in our front yard:

Like father like sons. Micah and Caelan came out to help.

I wasn't prepared for Caelan's outfit yet,
so the little guy had rain boots.

The snow kept them inbound quite a bit, so we had to be creative.
They would, however, dream of being outside.

But while indoors, they practiced their artistic skills on...gingerbread cookies...

And on ornaments...

and on each other!

The cousins bonded.

Stuck together at the hips, really.

When they exhausted all the toys in the play room,
they made it a fortress instead.

They soared to new heights.

And this was the week BEFORE Christmas!
More pictures of the Christmas celebration coming up.
I'm working on a video again! :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Part II: Michigan and Arizona Cousins

New word for the day: Funology. Definition: The science of having fun. I believe we experimented with funology with Micah's "Michigan cousins" and "Arizona cousins" during their week here. Check it out:

The kids went swimming with their grandparents
and all their aunts and uncles at our indoor pool!

What could top an indoor pool in the middle of the winter? How about seeing the National Christmas tree?

And Trevor and Micah were told where the President lives too.

They all got their history lessons as they visited the Smithsonian's Museums.

Downtown was pretty cool, but nothing tops being able to go to a local fire station and ride the fire trucks! Pictured below are future fighter fighters of America.

There were the planned activities, and those that were unplanned, which often had the most meaningful impact on the kids.
They had reading time with their uncle Patrick:

And arts and crafts with their Aunt Soryda:

I also got to make a special gingerbread train with Micah and his "Michigan cousins". I was pleasantly surprised that most of it didn't get eaten as we were putting it together! Very good restraint from all the children.

Micah got sick towards the end of the week, and missed grandpa driving the tractor
with all the kids at the Schweisthal farm in Middleburg....

...but felt a little better the next day, so we went to see a Christmas parade at grandma and grandpa's neighborhood in downtown Purcellville.

If that wasn't mastering the art or science of fun, I don't know what is! Micah really missed his cousins when they left, but the next day, his other cousins Luca, Gabriel and Lily came to stay. And they are here for two more weeks until they relocate to England.
The funology just doesn't stop....stayed tuned for those updates!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Family Celebration

This week has been a whirlwind. We had Patrick's sisters in town--Kristen from Michigan and Meghan from Arizona. We also had special guests at our house party from Penn State - Patrick's Aunt Bev and Uncle Paul. We have a lot of pictures to show you from the nine days, so I'll start with part I: the Family Celebration. Most of Patrick's extended family in the area were able to come visit with one another. And the snow that day just made it more of a winter wonderland.

With six children under 3 at the same house for a week, there's bound to be family squabbles. But, the dueling sword fight by a fierce dalmation and a ninja would often take care of things.

And if that didn't work, Caelan would settle it.

There were a lot of preparations to be made. All of Patrick's sisters and mom helped, and Patrick helped by tasting it.
Someone had to do it!

And there were important meetings in the playroom. Batman was trying to figure out if the fire chief or the firefighter-biker was right, or did the dalmation have a more convincing argument?

It was fun to see families get together, and
new generations forming.

Everyone brought food to share.
Those are the best parties to throw. :)

And we even had cheese fondue, but hands down the chocolate fondue fountain was a hit!

For the first time, I was able to host a party where 22 adults could sit, and I even had my own kid's table! There's a first.

It was really nice to celebrate with Patrick's side of the family, and also great because his birthday was the next day! That will be part of Part II. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Micah's Birthday

Micah enjoyed his superhero birthday party. For some reason, he's been really into dressing up and his favorites have been superman, Buzz Light Year and Batman. This birthday, everything had to be Batman! So with that...Batman teams up with Supergirl.

Oh!...and Spiderman...

and cupcake-covered Ninjas...

Let's not forget the super princesses...

who run from the villain pirates...

Later that night, grandma and grandpa joined us for his birthday dinner. Micah asked for crunchy beef tacos, broccoli, and of course -- Batman cake.

Micah had a lot of fun opening his gifts too. Happy 3rd birthday Micah. We love you very much!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our precious 3-year old

I don't know if I've experienced any greater joy than watching my kids grow up. And on Micah's third birthday, I get so weepy-sentimental at how much my little guy has grown.

We had his super hero birthday playdate & birthday dinner yesterday, and Patrick and I stand amazed at how much joy and delight he brings to our lives. Some of the recent funnies:

Right before bedtime
Micah: Daddy, I'm scared.
Daddy: Don't worry, Jesus will be with you tonight.
Micah: Will he hold me in his arms?
Daddy: (smiling) Yes.
Micah: (after a long pause) Will He play blocks with me?

Watching television from our flatscreen above the fireplace
Micah: Mommy, can I watch TV?
Mommy: No, not right now.
Micah: When?
Daddy: When you're this tall, you can watch TV.
Micah: When I'm this tall, I can turn on the TV by myself.

There's so many more, but I just forget to blog them. At three, Micah says good morning with big hugs, is found running from one end to another whenever he's home. He enjoys playing with robot-like toys. Loves batman and power rangers. He likes to bake with mommy and loves playing superheros & swords with daddy. He also practices kung fu with his black-belt daddy.

He can tell you bible stories better than I can, and sings Jesus Love Me at the sweetest times I need to hear it. He also can sing Mighty to Save - the entire chorus! He thrives in learning environments, and his teachers at Sunday school and CBS always have a fun comment to tell me about Micah. He is very inquisitive right now asking his dad and I numerous WHY questions and "Where does the sun sleep at night? Does he wear pajamas? and "Where does God live?" We are excited how his little mind works, and anticipate our future discussions together.

I'll update the blog further with his birthday pics, but wanted to share his 3rd year milestones. Happy birthday Micah!

Friday, November 20, 2009

What are we feeding our souls?

For the last two months, Patrick and I have been caught reading together in bed every night, usually with a pen in hand. I'm sure you're dying to know what we've been reading so I will tell you. Together, we are enjoying a wonderful book that our church is reading as a church family. It's called the Unexpected Adventure, by Lee Strobel (who wrote the Case for Christ) and Mark Mittelberg (former paster at Willowcreek church). The book has challenged us to share our faith more boldly with the community around us and pray for more people we can personally share Christ with. You'll have to ask me how powerful this can be, as I have some amazing stories to tell you! God answers prayer.

Every Wednesday morning, I attend a Community Bible Study (CBS International) where we read a book of the bible, line by line. Right now, we're doing the last book called Revelation, which contains descriptions of heaven, and fulfilled prophecies for the end times. In all honesty, it's a very scary, and challenging read. It is clear from the beginning that He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. It has given me assurance in my faith, and has excited me to continue my purpose here. Life-changing stuff.

Finally, my moms group is reading weekly "Finding Joy in All You Are" which discusses your unique role as a wife, mother, friend, and so many other hats we wear. It has reminded me about joyful submission to my husband, the value of inner beauty versus our fading outer beauty, and striving to have a more gentle and quiet spirit which is beautiful in God's eyes. Note, that doesn't mean you need to actually BE quiet. You can be quite boisterous, and still have a gentle and quiet spirit. Thank God! :)

A lot of people ask me how I have the time, while others wonder if I'm doing too much. My response is that I need to make the time or I won't be a good mother or wife, and if I'm not intentionally getting in the Word everyday, you don't understand, I am in the pit. I need it like the very air I breathe!