Friday, December 31, 2010

ARMY Win & fondue

It was so much fun to go watch ARMY beat SMU yesterday!!  We were thrilled to be able to go – it was really the big Christmas present for the family.  The kids were thrilled to see their first Army game live.  But….


It was so much more fun to watch them WIN!!  It had been 25 years since they won a bowl game and 14 since they played!!  It was a great day!  Great weather on top of things!  Really it could not have been a better game or day!

on the way to the game

Here we are walking the mile to the game (from our parking spot)

Great shirts thanks to Kristen!!  Love them!!


here comes the team

Here is the Army team running on!!


2 happy fans

Here are 2 excited fans!

 another happy fan

And one more sweet fan!

 final score

Final score – so sweet!!


After the game we trekked out to Fort Worth to my folks’ house to pick up the second box of our Christmas Trampoline!

I have no expectation that Robert would get it assembled today but low and behold…


trampoline and fondue 003


Here it is – the sides were not up yet, but everyone still got to try it out!  The little girl loves it!!   All the sides and netting are up now, just no picture yet….maybe tomorrow!

And tonight, we followed our [now] 3 year tradition of Fondue for New Year’s Eve – and our 2nd year in a row with our friend Bryce!!


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trampoline and fondue 016 trampoline and fondue 017


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Fun time for the kids!  Fun time for us too – and yummy!

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

my word for 2011

I think I knew this would be the word for this year about 10 months ago.  Which is an indicator I need this to be my word even more than I think.  This word kept popping up last year at different times and each time I would read it I would be reminded that that would be my word for this new year.


So a quick recap of 2010 and what worked and what did not…..


Last year was a year of many things, one was trying to say YES more.  Yes to the many requests I get throughout the day – and I did okay for a while, then life took some unexpected turns, things got busy, and I fell back into my pattern of NO – No , and no.  Much too often.  So I will still work on YES this year.  So, if you plan to stop by, or visit know that the floors may not be spotless, because I may be playing Qbitz instead of mopping that day.  I hope you will not mind the toothbrushes piled up on the counter or the kids’ closets not perfect (which they never have been) because I may have said YES to another walk down the road, or to another book on the couch, or to another craft.  I hope that will be the case.  I hope I can let go of the other stuff and say no to the junk and YES to the things that matter – to the people who matter, to the little hearts I have been entrusted with!

Last year one goal was to be frugal, well this year we are going to live FRUGALITY out!  No more eating out for 2011 – we are excited to see how much we can save by choosing to not eat out.   This is not a drastic change for us – we rarely eat out anyway (compared to normal people that is) so stopping all together should not be too bad.  We are stopping all “extra” spending too – so no new fabric for fun, no “oh that is cute, I need one”, no more – just necessities. 

I started the year following 10 in 10 – 10 minutes of prayer and Bible reading in 2010.  I hope to do this again next year but with some help.  We spent more time as a family in the Word, but this year I am challenging J and P to read through the Bible with Robert and me!  We are going to follow Manna’s Around the World in 360 – plan.  I am so excited to do this together and cannot wait to see the discussions!  I plan to print off 4 copies – one for each of us – and let the boys read it each morning – but it will be up to them to check it off and keep up!  Then we will discuss as a family while we eat.

Another goal was to encourage someone each day.  I really want to make this a higher priority this year.  I hope to be able to send a note, make a call, or something to let those people in my life know that I love them.  I hope to be even more encouraging than ever before.

So now, for 2011 : This year full of promise, full of new adventures, full of life!  A year where we hope to stay in one house all year, one address, one place. 

My word for this year is


abide verb \ə-ˈbīd\

Definition of ABIDE

transitive verb 1 : to wait for : await

2 a : to endure without yielding : withstand b : to bear patiently : tolerate <cannot abide such bigots>

3 : to accept without objection <will abide your decision>

intransitive verb

1 : to remain stable or fixed in a state

2 : to continue in a place : sojourn

1 : to conform to <abide by the rules>

2 : to acquiesce in <will abide by your decision>


This is my plan for 2011.  I want to remain in HIM, I want to spend so much time reading the Word, praying, fellowshipping with HIM that He is in me all day, that I can feel it.  That my words are filtered without my thinking, that my heart is HIS heart, that it softens for those who are hurting, who need to be pointed to Him.  I want my thoughts to be thoughts of goodness, or truth, of encouragement. 

I want to patiently wait for him to show me the way, with my children, with my choices, with hard people.  I want my actions to reflect the heart of HIM.  I want to continue to be in his presence al the time, even when I am just walking with the kids, making dinner.  I want to remember how these moments with these little hearts matter and the mess, the time, everything else does not matter as much.

So in the next few days I hope to spell this out for myself in a little more detail of how this will look every day in my life.  For the most part I want to stop letting little insignificant things fester in my mind.  I want to live each day to the best I can live, I want to ignore the toxic/unhealthy stuff and focus on the good and pure and the real stuff that matters.   

I have one shot with these 4 little hearts – one chance to pour truth and love into them, and I do not want to take any of it for granted. 

So that is my 2011 word ~ Abide.  Abide in him.  Stop straining – stop trying to measure up to other people’s expectations, stop trying to please temporary and focus on living to please him and forever.


Monday, December 27, 2010

so simple …… and yet Lovely

I love to get my decorations up early!  We usually get the  house decorated sometime near Thanksgiving Day – I love to have the house reminding me of the season and the reason for our celebration!!  We have a few nativity sets out, we have our Jesse Tree ornaments, we have snow men, and lots more.

But let me tell you, getting it all put away is not something I put off.  After having the house all Christmasy for a month or so, I am ready to have my house back to normal.  This year even more because Robert finished our wood floors days before my mom and Louie arrived and days before Thanksgiving.  So, I was anxious to get things set up the way I wanted them!

So, today we delayed the return to school to  set our house back to normal!  Getting everything put away, a little garage organizing, and a lot of sorting and adding to our Goodwill box.  But, wow, the house feels so good right now.

We had such a fantastic December – a month of really studying why we celebrate, talking about Jesus and who he is, daily devotions, so many different aspects.  It has been one of my favorite years as far as our Christmas celebrations go.  It has been so simply, so slow, and so lovely.

Christmas Day was spent opening presents, playing lots of new games, watching a new Christmas movie, and snacking most of the day.  I felt like I should be making a big meal, but we opted to just enjoy the day and not feel like we needed to follow the “rules” – but to just enjoy the day, the kids, everything.  It was so great!

So today, as the decorations are all packed away, as the house is looking very different there is so much to be thankful for….



0246.  For a simple December 25th – time with each other, lots of games, lots of fun.

0247.  A month of awaiting the arrival of our Savior

0248.  Children who did not mind a simpler Christmas with less under the tree.


stocking time 2

0249.  A home that we love, and starting new traditions in, one that we hope to enjoy for many years to come

0250. Dinner out with the family for Robert’s birthday (@Chuy’s)

0251. watching these cousins enjoy each other

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ED and C2 


PJ and C1


 silly face girls


0252. JB and his new BB gun


JB and his BB gun

   0253.  AG and her new fishing pole


AG and her fishing pole

0254.  Christmas Donuts – the tradition continues

Dadwith donutsdy 

0255.  Christmas dinner of fondue in front of the TV – knowing there are no “rules” when it comes to Christmas -

fondue supper

0256.  Knowing Christmas is not something we wrap up, but someone we unwrap all year-long .

0257.  A year of new traditions and old – and enjoying every bit of it!

0258. For 4 children who love Christmas for what it really means and not for what they may get!

0259.  looking back over 2010 and feeling blessed

0260. For 2011 and all it holds for our family!

Friday, December 24, 2010

the Cross in Christmas

This has been the best Christmas season that we have experienced in a long time.  I am not sure if being in the country is to thank for this, or the kids being a bit older, or me being a bit wiser (in how I handle the pressures & stresses), or what.  No matter the reason it has been really nice.

As the kids are getting older and we talk each day about what this season really means, I am seeing concepts take on deeper meaning and deeper roots in their lives.  The young ones still think a while lot about the gifts, but that is understandable when Grammie and Papa show up and suddenly there are presents under our tree!


We just keep talking about how special this season is, but without looking ahead, without considering where this precious baby ends up, this celebration is really nothing.  I mean, without the cross, what does Christmas really mean?

So, amidst all these conversations we have been having lots of fun too.  We changed our tradition a little this year, normally the kids go out individually with Robert or I and they get to shop for gifts for their siblings, with THEIR own money.  This year, I read a blog of a smart mom who instead of taking her kids to the BIG stores to decide on a few gifts, she runs a Christmas Store.  I loved this idea and decided this is what we would do this year.  I bought about 4 gifts per child, priced about 2-5$ each.  Then I brought each child into my room where I set up an area with gifts for each child.  Then I let JB pick out a gift from those for his sister and 2 brothers.  Then he wrapped them and delivered them to the tree.  Next, I put away PJ’s left-0ver gifts and got out those for JB and let PJ shop.  When he was done, it was ED’s turn and finally when it was little AGs turn she was not left with too many options – but this was not a bad thing.  One, she did not care, two she did not know how many choices the others had.  This was so great for us!  It eliminated the child who really wants to spend, oh, say $20 per sibling and we are constantly saying “you do  not have enough for that” – it was great.  No one complained about not hitting the stores, or about the options.  This saved so much time, and was so much less stressful!  Next year I will start acquiring those gifts all year, and maybe have a few extras that we can use for birthday gifts in the future.  Anyway, this is a tradition that will stick around I think!

My in-laws just left this morning after spending the week here – and we had a blast!  I think the kids favorite part was going to Tyler to see a movie and have lunch.   I loved this time because I got to stay home and wrap gifts, finish PJ pants, and bake to my heart’s content.  I get to have time to myself often enough, but not in my home where I can get things I want to do, done.  So it was such a gift to me!  I cannot remember a time I had 7 hours to myself and did not have to worry about paying a sitter, or anything else!

So tomorrow is going to be a quiet day for us.  I think we have decided to not even have a BIG meal.  I think we are going to sprinkle some fun “snacks” throughout the day.  We are going to have some fondue with veggies, some cranberry tuna salad, and some homemade potato skins.  Sounds so unconventional to me as I type this, but I am looking forward to a day of simply being together.  No where to be (except the donut store in the early morning) and nothing we have to do (except open presents and play).

Tonight we will be at church for the Christmas Eve service, then we will be home waiting up for Robert when he gets home from work.  We have a new movie to watch while we wait.  Then we will open the ONE gift tonight (new homemade PJ pants) before they are off to bed.  AG is so excited, she has been telling me all day Santa is coming TONIGHT!!  It is fun to see their excitement.



Praying for our friends and family everywhere that they will have a fabulous Christmas – and most importantly see the Cross this year in their Christmas Celebration!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

favorite things

Some of my favorite things are the very things I am thankful for

(please over-look my “Monday” post that is happening on Wednesday!)



sweet kitties under the tree

0233.  Catching kitties sleeping snuggled up under the tree (can you see the two of them?)


walking with janelle

0234.  walking with the family on a warm day in December (and Betsy taking this pic so I can be in it)

 big boys

0235.  Chickens almost ready to go to the butcher – and still fun to watch while we wait


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0236.  Watching little ones have a tea party with each other


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0237.  AG and Grammie checking out all the presents under the tree


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0238.  a boy who is being walked by the dogs, well maybe not even being walked…



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0239.  Another glorious sunset – I love to watch the sun set here!!


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0240.  we love to watch the chickens run around after bugs or simply eat, or lay day (out of sheer size) – they make me smile

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0241.  A husband who works hard so much, but enjoys downtime too with the family.


 ED reading to Grammie


0242 & 0243. A little boy who is delighted to read, and a Grammie who delights in listening (and helping)


 Grammie and AG

0244.  walks holding hands



0245.  the arrival of new guns and a husband who can teach the boys


 puzzle time

0246.  kids who enjoy puzzles and a Grammie who encourages that


We are enjoying some great time with Grammie and Papa (Robert’s folks) this week – some slow time!!  It has been good to take some time to just play and relax!  And it is always fun to share this place and all the living creatures out here with those we love!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


It all boils down to choices.  Every part of our life.

There is always a better choice, sometimes we see it before we decide, sometimes it is after in that “20/20 Hindsight” – but sometimes we forget that there is always a choice.  A choice to say yes or no.   Sometimes we just make a decision without realizing that we did say no to something.

It is so hard at Christmas time to make so many choices, I get worn out.  Choices of what to add to our celebration, what to drop.  Who to shop/make for, who to send a card.  What event to attend, which to skip in the best interest of the family.   It all sounds so trivial, but is it really?  I mean, none of it has eternal implications, so in a sense it is trivial, but life here has value and what we choose to do with the time we have is important.


Sometimes these choices plague me.  Really.  They can add/create/multiply anxiety in my life more than I realize.  There are times when the choice is between two really good options and it is painful to say no to a friend or great opportunity, and it is just hard!  But I am trying to be intentional about choices and trying to make the best for our family, even if it means saying no to something fun.




There has not been enough hours sitting at home by the fire, sewing, reading, snuggling, or lots of other _____ings.  I just want to do that.  I want to stay home.  I do not want to venture into the real world right now as the bustling hits an all time high with shopping and spending.  I want to just be here, in our little quiet piece of calm.  I want to continue to pour truths about this season into my children and not turn into the shopping-grinch that snaps from stress.  (that is what can easily happen to me right now!)  I want to bake some more cookies, to make some other fun goodies with these kids who delight to cook!




So that is my goal for this week.  To do less.  We are very nearly done shopping, we may be really done, but I have yet to put it all out and wrap, so there may be a last minute stop here or there – but I honestly think we are virtually done.  So, now I just want to enjoy these last few days as we build the excitement for the Birthday Celebration – as we finish up our Jesse Tree devotions and really prepare for the arrival of Jesus on Saturday.  I want to prepare for him, I want there to be room made for him to come in, and dwell with us more than he was with us.  I want his arrival to be important and special if only through my time and efforts of preparation. 



Like the long awaited guest, who has travelled so far, I want Jesus to enter into our home on Christmas morning and feel like we were excitedly and anxiously awaiting his arrival, and that we are so happy to have him here.  Because.  We.  Are.

In the meantime, I will continue to make choices, each day, each hour, choices for good things and sometimes saying no to other good things.  In the end, I hope that this will have been a season of calm, peace, love, and joy.  Because really, if we do not have those things, what have we?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Skating, schooling, and more

Normally, we take about 6 weeks off from school this time of year.  Normally.  This year was not normal.  So we took lots of time off this summer when we were on vacation, looking for a job, relocating, and finally moving.  So, school is chugging right along even though Christmas is right around the corner.

But I love homeschooling, because we can do a heavy day on Monday knowing that we will not do any “technical” school on Wednesday because we are going skating!!

A friend acquired about 75 tickets to skate and rent skates for free.  So fun!!

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Here is my boy finally getting the hang of it!  He was so thrilled to get off the wall and skate on his own!


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My dear though, well a different story!  Look at her feet – they are not even going the right direction!  She screeched the entire time around the rink!!

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Here she is after her second time around – and can you tell she is DONE??  She was – she would not smile for me at all!!


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Our big boy – who also had fun, but had some sort feet when we were all done!


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Finally a shot of ED with a friend – he had a blast too!


But on the way to skate we were able to stop and get a group picture with Santa!!
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Such a great Santa and a great picture!  I love when we get to do something more than we expected!!


We are still enjoying this season.  We have been making lots of Christmas cards – well we being them.  I have been mailing lots of cards – and making lots of other things.  Here is an ornament I made for the Christmas Party with our 4H group -


christmas 2010 002 I found one online that I liked so I made up my own version.  I thought it came out pretty close to what I hoped for!

  We are looking forward to a few fun days – tomorrow Christmas Party here with our homeschool group!  Then Grammie and Papa arrive for the night while heading down to Houston.

Saturday is going to be lots of fun!  I get to go up to our church to help with our Christmas Store ministry.  We invited some families in our community (and beyond) to come and shop for their kids – for FREE!!  They get 3 gifts, a stocking loaded with goodies and the surprise this year is someone in our church felt that the parents need something too.  So, that person went out and bought $50 gift cards for Brookshires for each family who will be coming!  It is going to be a day of blessings for so many!  I cannot wait to be a part of it!

So, stay tuned, I am sure I will have some fun pics in the next few days!!
Hope Christ is staying in the center of your Christmas celebrations!!


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