Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On the Road Again.....

We are off once again! We are heading to Mississippi to visit with my uncle and aunt for the weekend! We wanted to grab the opportunity for a 4 day week in MS versus a 2 or 3 day whirlwind weekend!
The kids can't wait to get over there and play in their HUGE yard and to see Rocky of course! I think Rocky is Eli's favorite dog - so he will be thrilled to see him again!
That is about it for "goings on" here. We are ringing in the new year tonight with some fondue! The kids and I cannot wait! We are going to follow our supper of Cheese fondue (with veggies and bread) with some wonderful chocolate fondue with pound cake and lots of other goodies! Then we are off to bed long before the ball will drop, in an effort to get good sleep before we get up early and trek over to Mississippi! (It is almost as fun to type that state as to spell it out loud!)

We have been talking about Resolutions here and in our 1st grade Sunday School class. I think I am going to challenge our kids to pick one area that they want to focus on next year (not playing the wii better though - as was already requested!) and see what they think about that. I am trying to be more disciplined in my quiet time. I am going to join an online group Bible study (offers peer conversations if I have time, otherwise just encourages Bible reading and topic study). I have no excuses, my room has my "new" (not really but new to our room) chair ready for some quiet time, the kids are old enough to understand when to get up, and well no others come to mind. I hope to be better about that.

Well, hope you are all well and ring in a wonderfully Blessed 2009!!

PS - please pray for Kristen - she has Fifth's Disease and is pregnant with #4. We are praying that this has no affect on the baby at all! God is amazing and can protect little Kayleigh!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Zoo Day for the Coles

What was our family's favorite gift this year? Well today it was the zoo pass from Robert's folks! The kids and I headed out first thing this morning to enjoy the 70 degree (plus) weather - the high is supposed to be 81 - what month is this? Oh wait, we live in Texas and you can never predict weather here!!

So here are the kids enjoying the elephant outside the zoo, because in my excitement we arrived a little early! But hey, what is 15 minutes when there is fun stuff like this to climb on! Do you notice the thrilled look on Hans Solos' face? I think he thought it was higher than it seemed from the ground! And little girl is clinging to her brother for dear life I think!

Chewie is taking pics now - and since I could not see faces this is what we got with little Luke - and the princess does not look to thrilled either! Oh well, still cute!

Here is our first pic of Patrick today - he is the male gorilla at the Dallas zoo. We have seen him often and have quite a few pics of him. But today we were able to get a nice pic of him just sitting.

Then we got one of the boys with him in the back before he got bored and wandered off. Or so we thought......

A few minutes later we walked around to the other viewing site by the cave like structure that you go into to see Patrick behind the glass. He was walking over toward us with some vegetation in his mouth and I thought we may get some good sightings again. He was about 5-10 feet away when he ran to the glass and jumped with his hands into it.
Do you see the hand print? It terrified the kids, Little Luke was pleading from the other side of the cave structure to come out of there now - he was worried Patrick was coming through! Little girl was clinging for dear life and the boys were shocked but did not run off. I admit I jumped!! I am not sure Patrick is my favorite Gorilla anymore! But it was a fun trip and the kids loved it!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas pics

Here is our tree - chock full of presents! This is the night before!

Here is our little girl helping Daddy make donuts about 6 am Christmas morning! The "budding Baker"!

Here are our donuts!

Here are the kids in their PJ pants - and with their name pillows! They loved them!
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Happy Birthday all around!!

Our Happy Birthday Jesus cupcakes!

Robert's birthday cake - Carrot cake - and yes there are 35 candles!

Posted by PicasaThe kids enjoying Daddy's birthday fun!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fun Day

Can you tell I am smiling as I type this out? I am if you cannot tell from the "happy" font!

I am patiently waiting for Ashley, our dear babysitter, to arrive to watch my brood for the day! Yes, I said the day! I do not get these often - these days on my own - especially not during the week! (now that I think about it - maybe once a year!) My friend and I are off for a fun Mom day! We are going to go to a local shelter and help out for a little while, then she is off to a quick Dr appt - then we will meet for an "adult" lunch (that almost sounds dirty) but you know, a lunch where we do not have to worry about little people! Then we are off to do some fun shopping, not the kind with a list, just the fun kind. We even have a few store to go in that you would hardly ever think of taking your kids into! So I cannot wait. I am really done shopping for the BIG day, but I need one more thing for our youngest son to balance things out. Maybe a few little things for the stockings and some wrap for SANTA that my kids won't recognize!

But don't get me wrong - I love hanging out and shopping with my kids. I will do it all with all four in tow - Walmart, the mall, even a fun store every now and then. But I do love a day out with a friend without the little hands touching EVERYTHING!!

Then tomorrow is my dear husband's birthday - so we spend the first half doing his birthday and the second half of the day doing Christmas Eve - it will be a fun day!

Make sure you invite Jesus to your birthday celebration on Thursday! Won't it be sad to celebrate a birthday without the birthday boy?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Time is Here (well almost)

This season is coming to its peak here shortly, and it is just so much better than when it started. Yes, most everything is done (the stressing part anyway) but I think it is more than that. We have slowed way down and just really enjoyed things. This is not to say that every moment is a joy in our home but we are really grabbing the good stuff and trying to let go of the bad.

We enjoyed a great lunch today at the Redmond's (Robert's grandparents) we took a turkey supper over and when she arrived home from the hair dresser we had our "Christmas Supper" with them. It was just nice to not be in a rush to get anything "done" and we just enjoyed talking and reminiscing! Here are some pics of Robert and the kids playing football while we waited to eat!

So now, it is full steam ahead to Santa's Big Arrival! Yes, we do the Jolly Old Man thing. I will admit about 4 years ago (when myeldest was 3) I told him the truth. All of it. I thought if he believes in Jesus and Santa and finds out one is not real he may think the other one is not too! Oh no! Bad Santa - no more. Well it is true you mellow with age (and more kids) and I have. We now embrace Santa as a FUN small part of Christmas! If you ask my kids the best part of Christmas - without hesitation they will say Jesus's birthday! They will tell you why and they are so sincere in their excitiment! But you know, Santa is simply fun! It is wonder! I mean the tooth fairy (I mean seriously WHO can believe in this) has been here 4 times now I think. And my kidos really believe she leaves the money!! We are all in such a rush as kids to grow up though, and if believing in this silly stuff keeps them little a little longer, I am all for it. Our lives do not revolve around these mythical creatures, but we enjoy what good they bring to the table. I will continue to remind my kids that the only one who can meet their needs (emotional, physical and all the rest) is their creator and savoir - Jesus Christ. And they will always know that there is no reason to put up a tree or give a gift if you do not believe in him - I mean come on - IT's CHRISTMAS!! Always has been - always will be. It is here, in Tokoyo, Russia, Germany, France, Iceland....everywhere! It is not "winter holiday"!

Anyway, enough about that. So Santa is slated to arrive in 4 and a butt days!! Yeah - and the kids are keeping track! THey cannot wait to see what they got. but you know what they are almost more excited about? CHRISTMAS DONUTS!!! Who would have known!! We started this tradition about 3 years ago when we saw that a local donut shop was open Christmas Morning, so Robert runs out about 6 am to get the goods and gets home before the kids are allowed to peak their heads out. So when they rush out at 7am to open gifts, they will stop at the table first to enjoy their Christmas Donut! Han Solo told me that the donuts were the second best thing about Christmas (I figured gifts first, but he honestly told me Jesus was first, donuts second!). What fun!

We had some friends over on Friday evening and the boys did a great job of decorating the table with place cards and all the silverware & plates too! They were so helpful! (Notice the Cowboys cup that Jacob "claimed"!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Favorite (or just really good) Things

It has been a fun week! (And weekend too). We spent the evening with Robert's brother & family Friday night, along with his Mom (from Michigan) and grandparents from Dallas. We had a great meal - lots of goodies and lots of good wine too!
Well, since we were in 2 cars we went back the next day to pick up the one we left so we could all drive home in one car (my request) Lisa offered me a hutch/armoire/piece of furniture. I never (or not often) turn down free, and especially not furniture. So we have a new item in our kitchen now and I love it! I am so excited that Lisa did not need it anymore and passed it along to us!
We also made some great Christmas cookies yesterday and used lots of fun sprinkles from Betsy and some that we picked up in Michigan in an Amish Community there. The kids were excited to have some fun cookies and Robert and I had our share too!

Here are some pics of some other fun stuff. Here is the gang after our nightly Jesse Tree activity. We read a little devotion, ask the kids some questions about what that ornament represents and then we pray. The kids colored all the ornaments before we laminated them so they love to see who colored the one for that night, and if it is Little Girl, we do not hear the end of it from her!

After our Jesse Tree we move on to our new tradition for this year, their Chocolate Advent Calendars! The kids love that part! And I love that it reminds us all that we need to do the Jesse tree part, so hey, if a little chocolate gets us to do a nightly family devotion, BRING ON THE HERSHEYS! I think we can even say that studying the word of God is sweet like Chocolate to our spirit! What do you think?

Here is our tree this year, it is great the kids can almost cover the tree - it started out just the 18 inches around the bottom were covered with ornaments, but as you can see they are getting higher!
Here is our oldest with a family favorite for the tree - from Maine from The Lewis Family! This was when there were only 3 of us! Wow!
Here is our crazy boy with his favorite ornament, because he and dad made this one by themselves!
Here is our dear daughter one morning reading the newspaper! Gotta start them early!
But really, she is trying to figure out why her 2 older brothers now race Robert and I to the paper on the weekends! They want the comics and several ads, I am not sure how that interest happened!

So we are enjoying lots of fun things this season, and are looking forward to a few more (Gingerbread House at least!)!

Friday, December 12, 2008


You know, I wonder if peace ever comes from anywhere other than Jesus? You know? Really, is it possible to be at peace without Jesus in your heart? I cannot imagine, because while I have in in my heart, I still struggle with PEACE! But this week has been so much more peaceful than last!!

That was until 1:30 am today - I was peacefully sleeping (even my back was feeling better) when I heard a loud crash that stopped my heart! I was sure something crashed to the ground or that one of the kids was up and into stuff. Robert, however slept through it all! I got up and fearfully decided to search the house - but was sure there was something to be fearful of! Anyway, after much searching, I found a large tub of legos that fell off a shelf in my closet and dumped everything out. There had to be about a 1 million little legos all over our closet floor. So I went back to bed and proceeded to have anxiety attacks on and off for about an hour and a half. I would calm my thoughts and think about something else and then I would go back to the thoughts that stress me out. As I was finally about to fall back to sleep the cow mooed (from the Little People Barn) - still not sure how that happened - I have never heard it in the middle of the night before! Crazy!

But, back to the peace - I have been so much more at peace. The kids and I have just had fun this week - we have tried to do some crafts, read and just play. Our presents for Robert's brother's family are wrapped and ready to deliver tonight at dinner. So we are almost done exchanging gifts - I have 2 packages to get out still one to Oregon and the other North Carolina - I need to get on those. But really that is not too bad! I really like the gifts for our nephews - I was challenged until yesterday and now can't wait to see how they like it! And Lisa too and Brian. I am not a good gift giver - creative - but this time I think I did okay! We will see!

Anyway back to my first thought - peace without Jesus - I do not think it exists. And for those of us with Jesus we must be searching for that peace and trusting him to give it to us. I know for me it does not come on its own - it does not come naturally - I have to submit to get it from my Lord - and only when I ask and submit! Anyway, I am learning and I hope the legos don't fall tonight to rob me of some peace!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crafts, Crafts & MORE Crafts

Just wanted to share this link -
we are crafting today - so far 2 different ones! This is not normal for me to craft with the kids!

Anyway, here is a great site with great ideas - we are going to use some in our 1st Grade Sunday school class!

Happy Crafting!

Warm Day by the Fire

That is my plan! I hope that we cannot think of one reason to leave the house and we just get to snuggle by the fire reading some great books, maybe doing a craft or two and just hanging out.
I will let you know if that works or not! -- There are lots of things that "need" to be done around the house, but they will always be there , my kids won't! Besides, we do not have any company planned for ... well at all. So who cares about those things that "need" to get done? Not me - not today anyway!

I will say I am getting better about the fun part of this season. We are taking a long Christmas break - all of December. We schooled all summer and were very far ahead, and I knew that I would be sewing and writing, and cooking, so I really thought taking the month off was wise! So Monday we went out and played with a friend that can never do that! We went to the mall to see Santa - so fun! And then we went to lunch, oh yeah, they got to ride the carousel too at the mall (these are all things we hardly ever do!). The kids had a blast!! We did run a few errands in the afternoon, like set up the fellowship hall for our Ladies Fellowship that night (but the kids played on the play ground while we did that - so is that fun or errand? I pick fun!)

Anyway, I am glad that we scheduled the month off and if we actually get anything academic done it will just be icing on the cake! Of course academic is a loose term - we do math every evening (cooking dinner), we read - and they read all the time, we have Bible time every night with our Advent Devotion, we talk about where our Christmas cards are coming from (Geography) - I am sure there is some more learning in there too - just not as deliberate as the school year!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Game Day

We are all pumped up to watch Army win today against Navy!

Hope you are enjoying the game in your home!

Go Army! Beat Navy!!

I suspect we will have a "Rocket" video of the kids before the day is over!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Slowing Down

It has been a good couple of days. We have slowed things down drastically here in our home. I always made an effort to focus on keeping Jesus the center of our celebration this month, but I realize that even in doing that you can let things get out of hand! I mean almost all of our activities are nativity crafts, advent stuff, or something else with strings leading to Jesus. But there can still be too much.

So since the pain in my chest started I have started to say no to lots of things around here and am currently enjoying a light schedule with my family. I looked at our calendar from last year and there was something every other day or so (Mom's night out, SS fellowship, MOPS small group, etc) this year - almost nothing! And I think I am really enjoying it!

Tonight we finally decorated our tree after a "Make Your Own Pizza Night" dinner and some eggnog after that. So the kids are sugared up with full bellies and we have a decorated tree! We are making some improvements too in the area of tree decorating, Jacob is tall enough to reach about 70% of the tree. So the ornaments no longer stop in the middle but instead reach almost to the top!

This was the first year too that I realized that most of my favorites were made by my children. Either their skills are getting better or I am becoming a bit more sentimental. Anyway, it has been a good day today. No head aches, and minimal aches in my chest. I think the stress level is going down ever so slowly. I know it is so sad that it is this time of the year that is so stressful for me - it makes me sad. This is supposed to be so happy! So I just keep praying that God will take away my desire to compensate in my kids lives for what I longed for in my childhood and give me the grace to be content with what it will be in our homes and nothing more. It is working, but it is going to take time!

And one more thing - tomorrow is the Army Navy game!! YEAH!! SO Go Army! Let's BEAT NAVY!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Realistic" Expectations

Is there such a thing? I mean really? However I think it must be possible because I have friends who do not struggle with having their expectations met. I admit, they are my more laid back friends - the ones who let things go and not stress out about everything.

Yesterday the pain in my chest started again. I say again because this happened about 18 months ago. The pain is from stress. I am becoming an expert at identifying how my body shoes signs of stress. A few are back pain, panic attacks and the lovely chest pain. I know that these are nothing to get worked up about because really the more I get worked up the worse they get. So I am trying this morning to let things go, to give myself permission to do less and EXPECT less. That is the big one!!

So I called my dear friend this morning for an unrelated issue. (to get an address in Iraq for "uncle"James) And I got a free therapy session - and it was good. I told her some of my stress causing issues (mostly in my mind) and she laughed as she gave me another perspective (one less clouded with HIGH expectations) and helped me see that things were not as they seemed! Then I went to her blog and read her "Not Me Monday" that she wrote on Tuesday and it nearly made me cry! I mean really - to write a "Not Me Monday" on Tuesday??? It was so funny and I laughed with tears in my eyes, because I know that God gave me Kristen for so many reasons - SO MANY - but today to help ease some of the stress. And for her to remind me she is praying for me and that is more powerful than I can say.

It's the holidays that do this to me. I want Christmas to be PERFECT for my kids and our family. I want it to be all about Jesus in such a way that they never forget. I want it to be fun and filled with wonderful traditions that they want to pass on to their kids, and I want it all perfect. It was not perfect when I was growing up. I guess it was okay, but I want it great now. I want, I want, I want ...... wow - maybe that is the problem. Anyway, Kristen suggested I make a list of all the things we normally do or want to do. Then to give the list to my dear husband and have him help me eliminate ones that we are not going to be able to do. SO I think I will try that out and see if that helps.

I guess I need to spend some quiet time thinking about how if adding things to the season stresses me out - that it is not what we should be doing. We should be celebrating the Savior - and that alone is perfect and enough. So I will try to set some more "realistic" expectations surrounding this month and this Christmas Season and hopefully my stress level will go down. Maybe I will even write a "Not Me Monday" on Thursday!?!?! Who would expect that??

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for Family at Thanksgiving

I just wanted to let all of your readers (family) know that we are wishing you many reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving. We have way too many to list but here are a few we wanted to share with you:

1. Reconnecting with my (Janelle's) mom this year (totally a God thing) after almost 18 years out of touch.

2. That we (my mom and I) like each other, get along really well, and are amazingly alike in many ways!

3. That "Aunt" Kristen is following the Cole Plan for her family and will add a beautiful little girl to her brood in a few short months (after 3 adorable little boys)!

4. That "Uncle" James is willing to make huge sacrifices (with his family) for our country by serving in Iraq - thank you! (said with misty eyes!)

5. That we are able to travel to places like Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Mississippi (and Dallas too) and spend great time with our family.

6. That the kids and I were able to see my Grandfather in early October - it had been about 4 years at least. The visit was tough as he was not looking great and is almost deaf and blind. We did stop by while in Mississippi though to say hello and check in on him. we are thankful for that brief visit because he passed away this past weekend. God is amazing and works all things for his good! I am glad we did not plan to do a visit "next" time, it would have been too late.

7. That we live in a country where we are allowed to teach our children at home and go to our church that teaches the truth of the Bible, where we worship the ONE true God!

8. That our boys are learning to love God passionately - and even our little girl who tells me all the time that Jesus loves me!

9. That we have a great group of kids and a healthy, happy family!

What more is there to say? We hope that you have a day of reflection and contemplation - and are able to see the many things our great and glorious God has given you this year - that you are able to thank God in all things and for all things. We are blessed and hope you feel that way too!

Happy Thanksgiving!
The Cole Clan

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winter Wonderland!!

Blessings, blessings, and more blessings!

Where do I begin? well we drove about 1100 miles with a nail in our tire (we think)- blessing #1 - we still made it to Michigan where we had the tire repaired! God is so good!

We arrived in Michigan Saturday late afternoon to see snow on the ground - direct answer to prayer (he said yes this time:)) and we had more snow today and more tomorrow is expected!! Blessing #2! God really is good!
We were able to spend the evening with Denny & Jon (Robert's aunt & uncle) for her birthday on Sunday - and we were able to see the answer to lots of prayers and tears too - Uncle Jon had emergency Open heart surgery this summer and we were a little scared - but driven to our knees in prayer - he looks great! It was so good to see them both and see how Jon has recovered and is just feeling great! Blessing #3!

Does he always say yes? of course not - but right now we are delighting in some yeses to our prayers! I am sure there are many more - too many to list - but we are just feeling so thankful this week!

The kids are loving the brisk air and the lovely snow and the warm fires! Not to mention yummy food, great family time and more "new" toys than they dreamed of! There are so many joys of childhood!

We are just so thrilled to be up here enjoying the weather and the family time! We are not looking forward to the drive back, but that is reality!

the kids even made a snow man this morning! Check out our pics on flickr

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here we are enjoying some cool weather and fun with family! We got some great pics at the Arboretum this weekend with Brian & Lisa and the kids had a blast!
We are heading up North in a couple days so my blog will probably be sleeping for a week. Hope you all have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving and that you have lots to be Thankful for this year!
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

More of Mary and less of Martha for me!!

I am just amazed at how hard headed I can be sometimes. It takes a group of ladies (great ladies I must say) sitting in a circle offering advice on how to (this time) stop yelling too much. But you know it was nothing they said that gave me that "Ah ha" moment! One of these friends is a licensed counselor - so I did feel like I was getting some great FREE advice, but she is also a grandma and has been where I am and has done it! So her advice is well received.
This time however, my revelation was not in how I was dealing with my kids, not in my temper or my attitude. It was not one of my kids anger outbursts that I was solving. It was realizing that when I take my focus off why I am home and what my "mission" is - things fall apart! And that is what has happened the last 2 weeks or so.

We have been going great with school - consistent, good attitudes, and getting everything done! I can not always claim those things. But as soon as we are done with school, I start on my "project" which currently is sewing Christmas gifts. This is something I love to do - but if it is taking my focus off of being a stable mom and a loving mom, to my kids, then I need to find another way to do things!

One thing that rang true from my friend's advice - is to "rest" when the kids are resting. Okay, I know this is not new or anything. I have "rested" for years when the kids rest - especially when we had a baby in the house. But these days? Well, 3 of my 4 don't nap - they read or have quiet time. What do I do? Feverishly do things that I do not like to do when they are running around (i.e. sewing, canning, cleaning, etc). I also heard this week that we need to teach our kids to relax without guilt. Now in this area, I know that Robert is the person to model this to our kids. But really, if they never see me relax without guilt (which they don't) then what am I teaching them? That is it all about performance. That concept is something my boys will figure out without me modeling it every day of their lives, so really I need to teach them to take some down time, that relaxing after working hard is okay. I have to teach myself that concept more I think. I am performance driven - has to be done well (okay usually perfect) and has to be done NOW, and has to be done! This is not a healthy philosophy to live by.

Okay - so the new me. Today, we schooled at a leisurely pace (not that I would ever rush through school to that I can then dig out the sewing machine - no not me!) (we schooled by the fire I might add) and then we cleaned the house - together. We each took a room and the kids picked up and vacuumed the floors. Then the little guy helped me in my room just picking up stuff and getting it in one place for me to sort. Anyway, it went great. We have several very clean rooms and then the kids hit the legos. Oh yeah, I did send the 2 bigger boys out to journal nature this morning after school - by drawing our tree that is actually changing colors. So we really had a great morning. While they did legos I did can some pumpkin butter - but it only took about 30 minutes. Then as rest time approached I wanted to get the sewing machine out - but knew that would re-start the frenzy - and I wanted to force myself to rest this afternoon. So here I am resting.

Really, blogging is relaxing, I am not multi-tasking (don't ask the number of tabs I have opened - that does not count) and I get to have a few moments of me time. While that may sound selfish I am becoming increasingly aware that after I have some me moments I am a better and more patient mom! So here goes!

Did I mention that one of my friends called Nancy Leigh Demoss last night? I don't know which one did it, but today she was talking to me on her radio show! I could not believe it! She was using the Mary and Martha story to speak to my heart and oh my goodness! I can get so wrapped into being a Martha that I could scream!! I just pray that God will slow me down (gently) and show me how to be Mary, how to savor the moments with my kids and not let them fly by! Check it out here if you want to hear what she was saying to me. I still cannot believe those ladies!! :)

And while I do this, my boys are quietly in their rooms on their beds reading some books and resting, I must say the quiet sounds great!

Hope you have a blessed day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back on track

We had a great day today - very productive, fun and just all around great!
Happy Celebrate Day little girl!

It was a celebrate day too - the first time we celebrated the Princess's celebrate day (each month her day is the day she was born - 10th). So tonight we enjoyed some caramel apples that Chewie helped me make. We also treated Daddy to a special meal of fish chowder. This was a first for me - I have tried it in Maine, but never made it. Well, it was really good! The 2 older boys ate 2 bowls and the other 2 kids finished theirs. Robert had 3 servings himself! I will take those indicators as favorable!

We also had a great morning of school. We have been reading Shakespeare and the boys really like it! It is fun to see them get excited about something that if not presented right can be terribly boring! The book we are using is for kids and it is great! Han Solo also read the Bible story to us today! He is really reading so well and just wants to read all the time! They get upset when I tell them to stop reading and do something else!

This pic of the Princess is her new As-For-Wii outfit - or just her new Wii clothes! We were on the phone with my mom when I walked out of the kitchen to see her sitting there in all her glory with the Wii controller in her hand sitting with her brothers! A funny moment!

Tomorrow is Veteran's day - we are going to go to Dallas to watch the parade - I hope it will be tons of fun for the kids and just a nice memorial for me. I am sure we are going to see tons of Veterans!

It seems you cannot ignore the fact that Obama is our new President Elect, but my goodness there is nothing in the paper these days except all the details on all that Obama plans to do on January 21st. Our sermon on Sunday was about our trust in God. Our associate pastor Adam talked about how if we are worried or fearful or upset we are not placing our trust in God but in a man. It made me realize that maybe that is why God allowed this. I keep racking my brain to understand how this can glorify Him - and I finally got a glimpse into a possible reason. What if it is to get our attention - us Christians. What if McCain won, would we be praying as fervently as we are? Would McCain have been that much better? I mean I know he would have been some better - but really was he the man we wanted leading our country? I think the Republican Party made him out to be MUCH more conservative than he really was and I think we would have been disappointed with him. (Not more than Obama - but some none the less)
So I just thought maybe Obama is the man who will get us on our knees, get us united as Christians to fight for this country? What do you think? I can get terrified in about 3 seconds, so I am not any better at this not have any stronger faith than anyone else. But I am working on it. I am trying to trust that the Supreme Court is not forever. I am trusting that Obama is just one man and his campaign promises were like any others - bigger than he can really do. And I trust that my God is still on his throne and he will only allow what he chooses to happen. So I think we need to get ready to be in prayer a lot in the next four years. And let's start praying now for the next person who will earn the title of President elect in 4 years that that person loves God with their whole heart!
Enough about that. We had our first fire tonight in our fireplace. It was not really cold enough - but we have tons of wood and we just felt like it was time. The kids were of course excited to have a fire and I loved the smell and the coziness. We are trying to get ready o head to Michigan for Thanksgiving! I cannot wait for the cold weather - I think in the 30's today - and the fires and the Thanksgiving food! Yum! So we are taking off in about one and a half weeks to drive up to see Robert's folks for the week - hopefully we will have a great drive and get there on Saturday night. I figure with 2 adults it will be a walk in the park easy! (After driving to NC with just me and 4 kids)
Well, happy Veteran's Day - and thanks to those who gave some, and those who gave all! And to those who are still giving! And especially to our favorite one serving - "Uncle" James!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


What a difference a day away can make! I was able to get away all day Saturday to do my favorite hobby of all! STAMP!! I loved it! I went to a stamp camp my friend held and we stamped all day. Do you want to know the best part? I did not have to do anything except show up with tape and myself. Lunch, Dinner, and all the crafts were planned and ready to go! it was great! We made some great cards, a scrapbook, lots of gift containers, a recipe box, post-it note holder, ornaments and probably more! It was just so fun!

I can home completely refreshed, loaded with lots of great gifts & ideas, and happy! I neede Saturday after my Friday! What a day!

Today has been a good day too - we spent our morning at church - of course! Sunday School was great - we covered (review) from Abraham to Moses and then talked about Moses getting the Israelites out of Egypt. The best part of this was a call from my friend this afternoon to tell me that her son has been sharing the lesson and the take-away point after class! What a blessing that encouraging infomation was! You never know if they are catching it, and by golly, they are catching it.

I have gotten some more sewing done today too! I finally finished Chandler's name pillow and on Friday I finished her comforter! I just love both of them! I am working on my dear little girl's name pillow and one for the boys too (Christmas presents) - and then I am off to PJ pants for my kids and Robert and me. I think we will match this year. Then I have a list of pillows I want to make for people for gifts! I am so tickled with this project!!

What a week we have to come! A great day on Tuesday - VETERAN'S Day!! Yeah! It makes me so thankful for what many of my friends and family are still doing today. James (Uncle to my kids) is in Iraq as I type - and my kids miss him and pray for him all the time! We are just so thankful to live in a country where men and women put their lives on the line for our freedoms. So THANK YOU - to those still serving and those who have served!

In honor of Veteran's day we went to the National Cemetery in Dallas last week and this week we are planning to go to the parade in Dallas. I am excited - I know the kids will LOVE IT!!

Well, I am off to organize the school room for tomorrow and prepare for the week - I have jelly making on the schedule, school, field trip, more sewing, and I am sure to find a few more things to add!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Family Friday (or so I thought....)

Written Thursday night before......
Well, I am starting this Thursday night, but as you can see I am excited about tomorrow (or today) depending on your view.

We are going to have our first official Family Friday - which is also Hans' Celebrate day! yeah! 3 2 for 1

We are going to have a family devotion tonight led by Robert about heroes of the Bible. DInner will be pizza with Hans assisting and choosing the toppings. (so no mushrooms tonight :() For dessert we will have microwave S'Mores. I picked the S'mores because part of our family devotion is a marshmallow fight during the obstacle course - okay doesn't that just scream FUN? I think so - and I know my boys will think so!

Also our day has opened up because we were going to go see a theater show tomorrow but have changed our minds so we have an open schedule! We have a bit of school to get done which will be quick and then we are off for a fun family day! I can't wait!

Written Friday afternoon - after......

Okay, so I had such grand plans and hopes for this day. That came to a screeching halt this morning and has not gotten much better until, well I will save that for the end....

My big plans for a fun day with the kids - started with them all in trouble -up at 5:15 - all 4- and then proceeding to wrestle, jump and just be crazy until I yelled. Again, and again. SO then we attempted some school (really just needed to do a little to finish for the week) and then I thought maybe it will get better. No it did not. Today it was Hans cutting his brother (somewhat intentionally) with a piece of broken glass (from a broken frame) he found in their room. This is following the knife chasing incident (we won't get into that) and the many others.
Then he was outside playing with a dowel rod (from the craft closet) ...... and it goes on and on. So we cancelled family fun day, postponed family night (since a friend reminded me this family fun night thing is not a given and bad attitudes can lose that privilege) so we are a not fun family today. Young Luke got into trouble too for taking brown sugar in a measuring cup outside to play with - go figure! Then Hans was throwing rocks at the back door.

Robert asked me if I completely lost control today and I explained that I have not had control all day! I did find a precious note from Hans telling me he was sorry and he loved me. SO I do have the attention of his heart, I just wish he had a conscience to listen to!

Okay - so the good - I mean GREAT - news?? Kristen is having a precious baby girl- and no vasa previa - no anything bad!! YEAH!! THis is great news and we are so excited I almost forgot about our un-fun family day! I could really cry I am just so excited!

Anyway, hope your day is better than mine! I am still blessed and thankful, just tired!

Thankful Thursday

Yes, today I am thankful. I am thankful we live in a country where the people decide our leader. I am thankful for the people who voted for the first time in their lives - because lots of people have died for that priveledge. I am thankful that I can pray every day for our President elect and pray for our country. And lastly I am thankful for a God who is so big he can bless our country through our future president and he could even change his heart! (Not really the last of my thankfulness, but for now....)

I have been working on my dear daughter trying to convince her this new outfit is super cute and that she needs to wear it if she plans to stay here much longer! :) So this morning I bribed her with a bath and we got some very cute pics in her Thanksgiving outfit....

Well, since I am thankful today, I may just keep going. I am thankful I only have to wait one more day to find out Kristen's baby is a ______. We are praying it is a girl, but will be thankful for a healthy baby either way! I am not sure I could wait much longer, well I know I could but who wants to?

We have PE this morning, so we are getting some math done before we leave. The princess gets to go play at her favorite friends house while we are doing PE - Ava! Yeah! Ava is the only one home while her brother is in school, so the girls just play like little girls and they both love it. She is always so excited to go and has such a good time! I cannot wait to drop her off! The boys love PE - we are doign soccer with Hans and Chewie, and Luke is in the nursery but still has lots of fun!

I really am thankful this morning, I am not trying to be thankful. Yesterday I had a hard time staying positive, but really, who is in charge? Our creator and he loves us. This too shall pass! I am grateful for these kids that God has graciously given me for a season, and I really cherish the time we have together to watch them grow and learn. I love that God is in their hearts and they are each learning to love him in their way. What a gift that is!

I pray that you are able to find many things to be thankful today too! Even healthy kids after a couple YUCKY days! Or cool weather after what seems like a long hot summer! Or seeing family in the weeks to come for Thanksgiving. We are blessed, can you count the ways?
Lastly, here is a quote Kristen shared with me today:
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
Corrie ten Boom

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quality Time Assignment

Assignment: My family and I rarely do anything apart from each other. We don’t really have quality time together because all our time is together. We feel like the more special moments are when we have dinner together or when we worship God together. For this assignment, tell how you and your family spend QUALITY time together.

How do we spend quality time?
What a challenge – to find the time and then carve it out so that nothing bumps it out. We love to camp as a family – to get away from the tv, the phone, and of course the computer. It seems we all get along so well while out camping or hiking or even fishing at the crack of dawn. (I would not know this part first hand, I am usually still sleeping or trying, but I have heard good things about the early fishing!)

We also like to read together. The role of reader, while still falls mostly with Robert or me, it starting to shift to my two bigger boys - they are starting to ask if they can read to everyone this time. I love that – what a gift for them to give all of us –a story read by them!
As for the kids and I Рwe spend our quality time doing school РI know that sounds clich̩ but I have found when I ignore the house and just focus on the school part of our day we just get along and have a great time. I love our school time! The kids seem to soak in the attention even though it is not so much one on one - but one to four. But either way we all seem blessed by our school time! I am just thankful to have privilege to do just that!
One more quality time things we do it Celebrate Days - we do this each month on the day of your birth (12th every month for me) and during/after dinner we all share something we enjoy about that person and we usually have dessert that day (a treat in our home). The kids LIVE for their day! They love to do this and are always tracking who is next and so on! Anyway we really enjoy this and it is good quality time for our family encouraging one another!

Memory Verse :
Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
Till I come, devote yourself to [public and private] reading, to exhortation (preaching and personal appeals), and to teaching and instilling doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:12-13 (Amplified Bible)


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