31 December 2008

Farewell 2008

I can hardly believe that another year has quickly come to a close. It was an interesting year, both personally and professionally. We had some triumphs as well as some challenges but all in all, I wouldn't change a thing. There is much to be learned through the challenges and we are grateful for the opportunity to live out our faith in all circumstances. Personally, I am thankful to have experienced more of God's grace and tenderness. Through His word, daily devotions and weekly bible study, I've learned more about His plan and purpose for me as a mother and as a wife. And for the first time, I also really grasped how deeply precious and valued I am to my Heavenly Father and Creator, both as a woman and as His daughter. What a priceless thing to have grasped!

Of all my experiences this past year, being a mom to my two angels has undoubtedly taught me the most. It has challenged me mentally, spiritually and physically. All the while, teaching me sweet lessons on love, patience, surrender and grace- all things that I may not have experienced had I not had the privilege of mothering my girls. Just the mere fact that God cares enough about me and loves me so much that He wants to refine me is a humbling and beautiful thing in itself. I'm also finding that just because I say I've learned something, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's easily implemented into my life. In fact, for me, things like gentleness and grace take lots of practice before becoming a steady and daily habit.

Our prayer for the coming year is to grow more deeply in Christ both individually and as a family. One of my personal goals is to focus more on shepherding my children's heart. The girls are at a tender age where they are just beginning to learn what it's like to live for the Lord. Although that's exciting, it also carries with it, huge responsibilty. I'm sure I'll be spending lots of time down on my knees in prayer this coming year. With that said, we are excited to see what's in store for us in 2009. Thank you, Lord for knowing exactly what we need and providing so much more than what we ever deserve.

We wish you and your family love, hope, peace and a fullness of joy that can only be experienced in the presence of God. May you be richly blessed in the New Year!

28 December 2008

Desert Springs

A night out.

Me and my girls.

Sisters.

Two little guards.

Some of our favorite memories were made at Desert Springs Resort this past year. The resort has come to be a family favorite for many reasons. Morgan and I love the Lobby Bar for a hip and swanky date night of sushi. It's also a place that we can bring the girls and have some fun as a family. They love the boat ride, the expansive grounds, the flamingos, swans and colorful parrots. We went there last night for dinner and although it was much too chilly for a boat ride, we all had a great time anyway. It was the perfect way to wrap up the year!



27 December 2008

Faith in action

The swings are Faith's absolute favorite.

Gracie loves them, too.

So we went to the park this morning and the girls had a blast swinging, sliding and climbing. This video was taken as we found Faith in her element. She would count to 10 and then say go! and the kids would all slide down the slide. In addition to that, she would ask them to give her a high-5 at the bottom. It was amazing to see her organize her own little team in action. All the kids were a bit older than her but they would wait for her command at the top of the slide before coming down. All in all, they continued to do this about 10 times! This is so true to Faith and her ability to enthusiastically inspire others. She loves people and she has always been a born leader.


26 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Auntie Emily and Uncle Rich arrive in the morning.

The festive table.

Grandpa smiles with Faith.

Grace kindly gives wong halmoni a gingerbread man.

Faith sits on her favorite lap.

Enjoying a delicious ham dinner.

Eating birthday cake.

Grace vacuums the crumbs off the floor.

My grandma.

The gift opening begins!

The girls wrapped up a rubby ducky and gave it to Auntie Em.

Playing a Korean card game called ha-toh.

The girls love their new fishing game.

Faith snags a fish!


Singing Happy Birthday.

It was wonderful to see my family and spend Christmas together. My Grandma is 96 years-old now so we are very fortunate that she is still able to travel and share in these special memories. The day was full of anticipation as we waited for all of my family to arrive. Amidst all the excitement, the girls managed to get in a 2 hour nap so they did really well and lasted til about 8:30 that evening. We are so thankful for all of our family members who drove out to see us and share in the celebration of CHRISTmas!

to Grandma's house we go...

Cinderella.

Faith helps Tanner open his gift, too.

Grandma and Grandpa got them a stroller (Princess Carriage) for their new babies.

Daddy and Uncle Roy get busy assembling them.

Dinner at Grandma's.

This is a picture that Grace took of me.

Daddy relaxes with his girls.

Cinderella and Belle.

Grace found Grandpa's hat to complete her outfit.

The festivities started on Tuesday evening with Christmas dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house. The girls got to open the first of their many gifts and spent much of the evening playing with their new gear. Last year, it seemed like they were more interested in the wrapping paper than the gift inside. This year, they were well aware that a special gift waited for them underneath all the paper and ribbon. Thank you to everyone for all their generous gifts!
It's always a fun time at Grandma and Grandpa's!


White Christmas

The view from our kitchen and living room.

The view from the sky deck.

Okay, it wasn't exactly a white Christmas here in the desert but last week's rain left our mountains beautifully snow capped. It's the closest I've ever gotten to a white Christmas so I'll take it! The pictures don't really do it justice. It was gorgeous!

24 December 2008

Mary did you know?

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs.
It's a powerful song with amazing lyrics.

Merry Christmas!

23 December 2008

Birthday Cake

Mommy's little helpers.

Daddy helps pour the mix.

Watching carefully.

Teamwork!

Time to ice the cake!

Taste testers.

Fun with sprinkles.

Smiling with their finished work.

Ta-da!

This morning we set out to make a birthday cake for Jesus. My original plan was to make a two layer cake with icing in the middle, etc. but when I thought about all the other sweet treats that we were going to have on Christmas, a simple single layer cake seemed more reasonable. I don't know who I thought I was for moment there anyway? Martha Stewart?? Not! In actuality this is only about the 3rd time in my life that I've ever made a cake. Did I mention that baking is not my thing?

The girls can't wait to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and blow out all the advent candles!

21 December 2008

Christmas Cards

This was the picture we used on our Christmas cards this year. Our intention was to send out a family picture but sometimes, that just doesn't work out. Oh well, maybe next year! My friend, Dana who is a professional photographer took some super cute pictures of the girls last month. She will also be taking their 3 year-old pictures in just a few short months. Wow! Where does all the time go? Someone recently asked Faith how old she was and she replied, "Two and a half... almost 8."
I had to laugh!

20 December 2008

Santa

Morgan and I have been thinking quite a lot about the jolly good fella in his festive red suit. We have come to a decision that we will not be doing Santa in our home. That simply means that no Christmas presents will be coming from Mr. Claus throughout the years. Don't get me wrong, we are not threatened by him nor do we care that he is seen everywhere (unless you're a hermit and never turn on your TV). After all, Santa is a symbol that Christmas is near. In fact, Morgan and I both grew up believing in old St. Nick and we turned out just fine. It's not that. It's just that we want our kids to understand the real purpose of Christmas, starting at an early age. With the help of our advent calendar and time spent around our family bible each night, Faith and Grace have been eagerly counting down the days to Jesus' birthday. Boy, are we happy that we started advent this year! The girls are well aware of how it all works and each night, they ask to do it with excitement.

The last thing we want our kids to think is that Christmas is all about them. We already live in such a self-absorbed, "Me, Me, Me" kind of world anyway. Taking Santa out of the equation at Christmas, not only helps us focus on Jesus and others, but it also relieves us of the financial pressure to represent Santa- the guy who seems to have an endless supply of cash every year. Instead, our plan is to focus more on giving gifts, helping others, and remembering that through Jesus' birth, we have been given the greatest gift of all. That being said, we have never purchased any gifts for our kids at Christmas, nor do we exchange gifts ourselves. Morgan and I have always been more about the experience of something rather than having a material object anyway.

At some point, we may buy our kids a gift but if we do, it will be a humble gift. Believe me, they receive plenty of presents from their loved ones anyway. Plus, they do have a special day each year that is all about them... it's called their birthday.

Right now, the girls think that Santa is a nice old guy who gives them candy canes. Over time, they will figure out that just like Mickey Mouse, Elmo and the Easter Bunny, Santa is a fictional character. Funny, if you would have asked us 5 years ago if we were going to let our kids believe in Santa and the fact that he comes down a chimney and brings good little girls presents, our answer would have probably been, "Of course!"

A friend of mine once asked me, "Are you and Morgan going to teach your kids to be Christians and believe the same thing you do?" I guess the short answer to that question is yes but more than that, I think our kids will learn what we are, far more than what we teach. In other words, they will learn more from our daily examples and way of life, rather than what we try to preach to them. Do we want our kids to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and eventually realize that they need Him to save them from their sins and gain truth, love, and eternal life? Absolutely. There is no greater prayer for our children. But we also realize that no matter how much we talk about the Son of God and His purpose for walking this earth and dying on the cross, each one of us must take our own personal journey towards finding God. Hence, the concept of free will. As parents, we do what we can, lead by example, pray fervently, and leave the rest up to God. Morgan and I are navigating our way through parenthood as best as we see fit for our children. As we continue to grow as parents, we realize that sometimes, there are no perfect answers, just a perfect God.

19 December 2008

Singing Psalms

The girls got a new worship CD about a week ago that they absolutely love. It truly warms our heart to hear their little voices singing about the Lord. Often times, Morgan and I just look at each other and smile (almost cry). It's amazing how fast they have learned the words to every song! Here's a little snipet of Grace singing "Thy Word" followed by "Jingle Bells," which they learned from riding "It's a Small World" at Disneyland.

"Thy word, (she says God's word) is a lamp unto my feet,

and a light unto my path..."


18 December 2008

Birthday parties

Sage turns 3!

All board the party train!

Little engineers.

Sage having a blast in his bounce house.

The girls at Pump It Up.

Faith climbs up the ladder...

...and slides down all by herself.

Mom and the girls go down the big slide together.

All the kids at Haley's 2nd birthday.

Wee!

Daddy and his girls.

Haley, the birthday girl.

Jacobi & Maddox.

Grace (the cupcake monster) & Faith.

Grace and Faith have been to 2 birthday parties in the last week. I've figured out that birthday parties equal two things... lots of FUN and lots of sugar!
The first party was for Sage, who just turned 3 and celebrated with a "Thomas the Train" themed party. The girls had a blast at his house where they got to play with all of his neat toys. They played tee ball for the first time and even enjoyed playing with all of his trains.

The second party was for Haley, who turned 2 and celebrated with a party at Pump It Up. The big kids (Morgan and I) and the small kids (the girls) love to jump and slide too, so it was a fun time for everyone.

I'm grateful that on both occasions, we were able to go as family (Morgan hates to miss out on things like this). In the midst of his busy day, he somehow manages to make time for the fun memories.

Our little Miss Grace is becoming quite the expert cupcake eater. She devours her cupcake, as evidenced by the video below. On the other hand, Faith slowly licks her frosting until she gets about half way through. She only eats a little of the cake part and then she's done. Two very different and funny personalities. I guess Grace takes after her daddy. :)



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