Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Mary and I wish all of you a very Happy New Year. Whatever you're doing this evening, BE SAFE and may 2009 be a year of great blessings to each of you.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas! May your heart personally know the best gift ever given some two thousand years ago - the babe in the manger, our Lord Jesus Christ - given by God the Father at just the right time in history. It's not about our presents, the food, the gatherings, the tree and decorations and definitely NOT about Santa Claus ..... as little Juliana says, "We don't believe in Santa Claus, Mommy. We celebrate Jesus' birthday!" At the age of 5, she is surely not missing anything by not having Santa as the center of the holiday .... Holy Day ..... that is meant to celebrate the coming of our Messiah, in lowly human flesh, to eventually buy us back to Himself ... if we would only believe the unbelievable miracle of His salvation. His gift to us is signed, sealed, wrapped and delivered - not in His birth, but in His resurrection. We merely have to admit our need, realize there truly is no other way to enter Heaven and accept his gift - open it - experience it - believe it. I believe! Do you?

Grace, taken by Jeremy.

Mom, taken by Jeremy!

All Sarabeth truly wanted was the dollhouse.

Nathan, the Hulk!

Oh, wow, Bionicles!!

Ryrie study Bible - oh, yeah!

Ice fishing pole for Dad.

Jeremy, the Batman!

Sweet Juliana.

The first gift of Christmas 2008!

Christmas Eve dinner - yum!

Mom with the littles.

Christmas Eve we used to eat seafood - coming from Maryland, that is not an unusual thing. Crab cakes, steamed shrimp, sauteed scallops .... but getting good/fresh seafood is not as easy here in Iowa, so we have slowly, year to year switched menus. This year we went simple - with a spiral ham, roasted vegies (potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots), breaded green beans and warm rolls. Jeriah and Shawna came in just prior to dinner. Strawberry slushies were a hit with everyone, especially the littles! For those of you who have seen our home before, note the new look of our kitchen - redesigned, painted, new lights .... I love it!

Mary with her "older" girls, Caitlin and Grace.

Sipping strawberry slushies while waiting for Jeriah/Shawna.

The littles with their new aprons that Lynn made for them.

The littles decorated rice krispie Christmas trees - Jeremy had to get the trick of picking up the tiny m&m's and figured out how to place them where he wanted them - then he was off. There is nearly nothing this kid won't try to do and usual accomplish! All the kids had a great time of it - showing us how each does things differently. Nate's rows of m/m's were all the same color; Juls set her m/m's really close together and took forever to get them done; Sarabeth did them exactly like Mom had shown them ..... not an individualist heart at all! : )

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yet another day of SNOW

The reason I am finally blogging is that today is a snow day - usually homeschoolers don't take snow days, but this is the last day before the Christmas break, so the youngin's begged me. Caitlin and Grace had things they just had to finish up, lest their brains forget before taking the next science test - and with the Sonlight curriculum, taking a break from reading will eventually make you wish you didn't, so, they did what they had to do. The 4 littles went outside this morning and can actually sled down our smallish hill by themselves - yeah!! Me, I decided to blog.

John is on nights this week - got off at 7am, home at 8am due to the snow that hit after 10pm last night. We got 7 inches or so. He snowblowed after getting home and then I went out this afternoon to "clean up the edges". John is not as concerned about keeping the sides of the driveway as far back as possible, but if this winter (which doesn't officially start until Sunday) keeps dumping on us, our driveway will creep its way further and further in. I had Jeremy come out and stand to show perspective. We are starting to pile up already - this is going to be one loooonnnng winter, I think.

Then I've added a couple new ones of dear Lizzie. She is a sweet dog. I have never seen a dog actually "smile" like Lizzie does - we will have to get it on video sometime. Whenever you see her and she is excited about seeing you, she draws her face/lips up in an all out grin! It's hysterical! She is getting quite big - we got a girl so she would be smaller, but I think she's got big in her genes. Her coat is getting kinky and longer. She is 6mths old now.

Hotel pool while in Ohio

The first part of this post follows this one - we were in Ohio for Thanksgiving and stayed at a local hotel .... with a pool of course! The kids loved it, especially when Tim, Dad and Caitlin were in with them.

Sarabeth and Uncle Tim - note who's wearing the water wings!

Great height, Juliana - one of my many water rats!

Juliana getting thrown yet another time by Caitlin.

Jeremy was so afraid of the water in June - just can't get enough now.

Sarabeth doing the backstroke, Juls and Nate getting out.

Hold your breath, Caitlin, cuz you're going down!
Juliana getting ready to go for a dolphin ride on Caitlin's back.
Grace always seems to conveniently forget her swimsuit - the rest of us love the water! The hotel, Country Inn and Suites, was fab! Super terrific breakfast each morning and the bestest beds!

Thanksgiving trip to Ohio

Juliana 5, Grace 14, Sarabeth 8, Mary (old), Caitlin 16, Jeremy 8, John (old,too) and Nathan 5.

John's sister, Sheridan, her husband, Brad and their daughter, Eileen (2) live in Ohio. We decided a good while back to visit them at Thanksgiving. John's brother, Tim would also be coming from VA. Tim and we would stay in a nearby hotel since asking Sher to host 8 of us plus Tim was way over the top - just having us all for the holiday was wild enough! Tim is 8/9 yrs younger than John and Sher is the baby, 11 yrs younger than John. Tim is a bachelor, 37 going on 17 and the kids adore him! They found out on this trip that Uncle Brad is great to play with, too!
Nate and Jeremy hit on Uncle Tim - what a great sport he is!!

The three sibs - Tim, Sheridan (with belly baby on board) and John.

John got the honor of carving!

The turkey was superb - brined overnight and stuffed with citrus fruit. Brad's Mom and Dad also were there, so we had 14 for dinner - not a bad crowd. Brad's Mom baked all the pies - oh, my, were they ALL good! We were all stuffed better than the turkey! We truly have so much to be thankful for and give God the glory for how He has richly blessed us!

Eileen and Sarabeth.

Princess Juliana loving all the "new" toys to play with.

Nathan and his pop beads.

Tim playing with Jeremy!

Uncle Brad and Jeremy who just LOVES to take pix with anyone's camera.

Homemade apple pies

A good friend from church, Carol, came over to help me with a bit of home ec - showing me how she does her pie crust with flour and oil and then baking up some yummy apple pies.

Grace pinching in her first homemade pie crust!

Caitlin filling her first homemade apple pie!!!

Wish I could add a scratch and sniff widget!! : ) Trust me - they were goodilicious!

John, hanging with Lizzie - the man that would really rather not have a dog!
Thanks, Carol, for you efforts in helping us with the pies. We did learn an important lesson - the crust recipe calls for flour, salt, oil and water - NEVER leave out the water! :/

First Snow of the season

First snow arrived 11/7 - not atypical to have snow on the pumpkins here in Iowa!

Lizzie's growing - she was almost 5 mths old here and a bundle of energy!

Harvest party

The next thing in the pix is the bringing in of the corn, but you already heard about all that from John. So on to the Harvest Party.

Sweet Sarabeth - Naaman's servant girl.

Juliana as Queen Esther - of course!

Jeremy as Jacob per his request.

Nathan was a Roman guard - but he was out of costume pretty quick.