Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Ready for Christmas....

In search of the perfect tree.....

We took the kids out of school early on a Friday so we could get our tree before it got too dark. It was FREEZING cold outside so we bundled up good. After driving over acres and acres of trees with the kids riding in the back of the trailer we found the perfect tree. It was a little shorter than Daddy had wanted. He kept picking out trees that he thought would fit in our house but I think he was forgetting how tall 8 foot ceilings are. He would get so excited about finding the perfect tree and after we'd all come to look I'd have to burst his bubble by telling him it was way too tall. This happened a couple of times. "It's not too tall, it's perfect!" he'd say. But after being put to the tape-measure test, he learned that an 11 foot tree can look like an 7 foot tree when you're out in the open woods. (:

Decking our Halls

I love traditional Christmas decorations. Red, Gold and Green are the only colors I need.....
Every year though Aaron reminds me that I'm "no fun" because I won't let him put colored lights on the tree. Our compromise is that he gets to put colored lights on the outside of our house.
"I'm sorry honey but you married an interior decorator- I'm never going to be okay with colored lights on the tree." He usually mumbles something about white lights being boring and colored lights being magical. Hopefully though, (even without the colored lights) our children will still remember our Christmas decorations as being magical.

Gingerbread House

This gingerbread house was decorated entirely by the kids and also eaten entirely too. We put the house on the piano when it was done and within 24 hours every piece of candy had been picked off and eaten. I even saw Jacob leaning across the piano on his stomach taking a bite out of the tree using only his teeth. It must have been pretty yummy, but I guess I'll never know because now it's gone. (:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Did you know that Tiffany's makes CTR rings?

Just kidding.
I about died laughing this morning after the following conversation:

Jacob: "Mom, you're going to be really mad at Joseph....."

Me: "Uh Oh, what did he do?"

Jacob: "You know the ring box that Daddy gave you when he asked you to marry him?"

"Yeeeees.....?" (I'm nervous now)

"Well, Joseph snuck into your jewelry box last night and stole it so he could put his CTR ring in it. He wanted to give it to Lauren.

Me: (sigh of relief)

Jacob: "He told me not to tell you and promised if I didn't, that he'd stop talking and go to sleep. (Joseph is always keeping Jacob up at night)
But now it's morning....."

I really needed that laugh

Monday, December 21, 2009

Veteran's Day

On Veterans day the kids were out of school and I spent some time showing them YouTube clips from past wars and educating them about the reason we have veterans day. I had them make some thank-you cards to take to the Veterans Home in the town where we live. Someone from school had given me this idea and I'm so glad we went. I thought I'd done an acceptable job teaching them with my YouTube clips that morning but nothing I taught them about freedom, military service and sacrifice came close to the impact that visiting those veterans did. Some of them were old, (WWII) some were younger, (Vietnam & Gulf), some had missing limbs. We only spent about 30 minutes there, walking the halls and visiting some of them in their rooms. But in that time they learned much more than I could have ever taught them. They were shy at first then became more comfortable and soon were okay with shaking some of their hands and thanking them for their service. One man there told us the story about how he had lied about his age and joined the army when he was 16 in WWII because he wanted to fight so bad. Another woman I met was a Marine veteran during WWII! I couldn't believe it! I kept telling her how tough she was to do that! I was seriously so impressed.

I really am so grateful for all the men and women who have fought, served and died fighting for a righteous cause. When I watch old movie clips about the soldiers fighting against Nazi Germany and the freedoms that they restored to those areas of the world it makes my heart beam with pride. While I was in basic training in the Air Force I grew to love our nation and the principles of freedom that our nation was built upon. I learned while in Boot Camp that I have a fighting spirit and a a warrior-like desire to liberate the captive and uphold the individual freedom and rights of all men. It was great to be able to meet with these heroes and express our thanks to them for the sacrifices they have made in support of freedom.


Around this time last year our boys were introduced to Star Wars. It didn't take long for them to fall in love with anything Star Wars or to request in advance what they wanted to be for Halloween next year. Now, I'll admit Lauren didn't specifically say that she wanted to be Princess Leia but she didn't say she didn't want to. So how could I possibly resist putting that tiny little wig on that cute little head? She even informed me that she needed some lip gloss (very observant girl) because Princess Leia always has shiny lips. I think I had as much fun as the kids did this year. I had a permanent smile on my face the entire time I was helping them get into their costumes. I was that annoying Mom beaming with pride the entire night wanting everyone to see how cute the kids looked in their costumes.

Pumpkin Patch

We love going to the pumpkin patch at Hunter Farms. I'm so glad we went early this year because October turned out to be a very rainy month. Sometimes we've gone when it's rained and the field is a mucky, muddy mess. This year was perfect; cool, dry and plenty of pumpkins. The kids each enjoyed picking out their pumpkin to carry back to the wagon. The rule is that they can pick any pumpkin but they have to be able to carry it out of the patch. With three competitive boys, I have a feeling that one day our trip to the pumpkin patch will get a bit pricey as they each try to prove how "strong" they are. But for now it's just so much fun to see how excited they get choosing their pumpkins. Lauren had a hard time making up her mind. In the end she picked the tiniest, cutest little pumpkin ever-ironic, isn't it?

The Race

I was really worried about the race this year. Our high school cross country team holds this race every year for all of the elementary schools in the district. They divide the kids up by grade and gender so everyone is running against their peers. I believe it's a 400 meter course (equivalent to 2 laps around a track-I think). Last year Jacob took 1st for the first grade boys and so you can imagine that he had every intention of defending his title. This year Joseph would be running too and he had every intention of getting 1st place like his brother had done. I was trying to teach them the importance of competing against yourself and I even wrote down Jacob's time from last year and encouraged him to focus on beating that time. But no matter what I said they both had their heart set on that blue ribbon. Jacob even shared with me his "strategy" a couple days before, and I can tell you he was really putting a lot of thought into this. There is already so much competition between the boys I knew that Joseph felt he needed to get 1st place to prove to his brother that he was "as fast as Jacob was in first grade." And so I had no idea what to even hope for (besides hoping that they would both win first place). But I knew this was very unlikely. And so when the day of the race arrived all I could do was to encourage them to do their best and prepare them for the possibility of defeat. Then, secretly I prayed and prayed for Him to orchestrate the best possible outcome.

Joseph's group was first and he ran his little heart out and got 3rd place! We were very proud of him but as you can see from the pictures he was devastated at the result. It broke my heart to see him so sad when he should have been so happy. We did all we could to praise and console him but it wasn't until Jacob ran and also got 3rd place that things turned around. I nearly cried in gratitude to my Heavenly Father for indeed orchestrating the best possible outcome. Jacob was humbled, (which was good for him-trust me), and Joseph who idolizes Jacob suddenly realized that he had done as good as his brother and was now beaming with pride. I love the picture with all three boys and Jacob and Joseph holding up their 3rd place ribbons. A picture says 1000 words.