29 November 2009

Let it SNOW!

And the snow begins to fall...

The road is getting too icy for us to continue.

So we stop and play!

Me and my snow bunnies.

Snow ball fight!

Gracie winds up her throw.

Her first snow ball.

Faith's first snow ball.

Cute as a button.

Daddy building a snowman.

Having a blast!

Teamwork.

Hilarious!

Faith getting beamed with snowballs and loving it!

Couldn't stop laughing.

Morgan kept trying to get me but I was just too fast.

Awesome morning!

On Saturday morning, with cooler temperatures, we looked up at our mountains and noticed that there was a little snow. We decided to take a drive up to Idyllwild to see if we could see and experience snow with the girls.
We only made it about half way there when the snow began to fall. And pretty quickly, the road got so covered that it was too dangerous for us to continue going up without chains. So what were we to do? Get out and play!!
We managed to find a safe spot to pull over and there was just enough snow on the ground for two very excited 3 year-olds to experience a wintery wonderland for the very first time. We had a blast throwing snow balls at each other, making a little snowman and laughing the entire time. Us desert rats have a very sparce winter wardrobe but we layered ourselves and managed to stay somewhat warm. The girls couldn't have cared less! They were having so much fun and loved every minute of it. It was the perfect first snow day experience! The bonus was that it was only 40 minutes from home and after stopping at Panera for some warm creamy tomato soup, we were back home for naptime. Can't wait for more snowy adventures!

28 November 2009

Thankful

Spent the morning at a childhood park of mine.

Halmoni pushes Gracie on the swings.

Two little turkeys.

Heritage Park.

Visiting my grandma's cemetery.

We miss you, Grandma.

Sweet Faith leaves a flower for a young soldier who was killed in Iraq.

Kylie is all smiles with her Halmoni.

Rich and Emily.

Faith, Kylie and Hapajee.

Cousins.

Me and smiley Kylie.

Grace loves to hold her.

Turkey time!

This year, although it was technically my year to host Thanksgiving for my family, Rich and Emily decided to host at their house. For them, it just seemed a little easier since they wanted to be close to home with their new little one. We left on Wednesday and returned on Thursday night after dinner.

This was the first holiday that we've spent without my beloved grandmother since she passed away this summer. There is probably not a day that goes by that I don't think of her for at least a moment. We visited her cemetery before heading to my brother's house and although cemeteries are not one of my favorite places (as you can imagine), there is something that happens when I visit them. Walking by and reading the headstones, I am fascinated by the lovely inscriptions on each of them. I often wonder what that person's story must have been. Ages range from the very young child to someone like my grandmother who seemed to outlive everyone at 96. All around me, there were clear signs that life is so very short and unpredictable. Countless families have lost their loved ones and I wondered, "How would their Thanksgiving be?"

I wouldn't be honest if I said that Thanksgiving this year was great. Don't get me wrong, it was nice but it just wasn't the same. Although my grandmother was up in age and less communicative during the last few years of her life, her steadfast presence was always reassuring. In so many ways, she was the maternal heart of our family. Her love of laughter, good food, and the loving way she used to warmly hold my hand when I sat down next to her was deeply missed. On top of all that, my dear aunt had to work and couldn't make it to my brother's house. Again, it just wasn't the same.

On the drive home, as I reflected on the day, I realized two things...
First, that every family will eventually loose a loved one. And when they do, they will also go through a change in the family dynamic. Reluctantly, we are beginning to create a "new normal." Whatever that may be. The other thing I was reminded of was the fact that I can rejoice in the knowledge that this is not our true home. Although our human lives will end at some point, our true destination, our true eternal home is in heaven with our God, our Creator and Father. Our lives here represent a mere fraction of what lies ahead for those of us who believe and trust in our Savior and King. I am so very grateful to God for the life He has given me. I'm thankful for my family, two great kids, a loving husband who is gainfully employed, good friends, faith, freedom, the comforts of home, and good health to enjoy it all. God's provisions are as abundant as ever and I am humbled by His grace and generosity on our lives. This holiday season, may you slow down long enough to truly embrace the love and peace of God and the hope that is Christ Jesus.

24 November 2009

Happy Birthday, Morgan!

The girls with the birthday card they made for daddy.

He's home from work and ready to open his present.

Dinner at Jackalope Ranch.

Gracie, daddy's girl.

Enjoying a special night out.

The birthday boy picked chocolate molten cake for his free dessert.

Me and my Gracie poo.

Daddy and Faith making silly faces.

A perfect night!

We were eager for Morgan to get home from work so we could shower him with hugs and kisses. After opening up his birthday cards and present (a new shirt), we went to dinner at Jackalope Ranch. So fun! We had a wonderful evening celebrating the man in our life! This year, we've kept our birthdays and anniversary pretty mellow. Not only to save a few pennies but also because we are planning a weekend to Vegas (just the two of us) in a few short weeks. Can't wait!!

There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for the day that Morgan was born. Never have I met such a man with so much integrity, kindness, strength, and character. It may sound corny but he makes the world a better place and the fact that he's mine is still overwhelming to think about after all these years, especially when I slow down long enough to really be thankful. It's hard to believe that we've known each other now for 15 years. I cannot say enough praises about the man that I get to spend the rest of my life with and the father to our beautiful daughters. I know I've said this before but he is everything that I am not and I am so thankful that God created that balance in our relationship. I love the fact that I learn life's lessons by watching him, even when I don't want to, because of my own stubbornness. Morgan is generous, patient, and has a gift for encouraging others. He is hard working, sees the big picture, and always tries his best. He loves God, his mama and his family and he makes all of us so very proud. On top of all that, he puts up with a house full of girls and believe me, it's not always pretty over here! He is the King of our castle, the Prince of our dreams, and the Man who will hold our hearts forever. We love him beyond words!

22 November 2009

Grandma's 70th

Don't they look cute?

Lemon cake, made with nothing but love.

Mom and her second born son.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

1st attempt.

3rd or 4th attempt on the trick candles.

There!

Grandparents are awesome.

Last night, we celebrated Morgan's mom's 70th birthday! I still can't believe she's 70! She has so much spunk and energy! I guess 70 sounds about right though when your oldest son is pushing 50. We made her a special birthday dinner of filets, blue cheese stuffed potatoes and a candied walnut salad that was a big hit. The girls helped me make a lemon cake earlier in the day and they had so much fun decorating it with sprinkles. In hindsight, Morgan said that we should have put 70 candles on the cake, just so we could show the girls what 70 years looks like. When grandma asked the girls how old they thought she was, they replied by saying 6 or 7 years old? Funny!

Last year at this time, Grandma was just recovering from her bout with lymphoma and Grandpa had just had heart surgery. We are so thankful for their good health this year and look forward to many more celebrations to come. We love Grandma very much. She is the heart of this family and a beautiful example of what God designed in a mother. Her love, faithfulness, support, and sacrifice are all reasons why, "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. "~Proverbs 31:28

17 November 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Christmas shoe boxes.

Our homeschool group gets to work.

Faith and Grace writing their notes.

Silly kids!

All decorated and ready to go.

Once a quarter, we have a service project scheduled for the kids on our school calendar. Since it's the holiday season, we decided to participate in Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief and evangelism organization led by Franklin Graham. The object is to fill a shoebox with gifts, treats, or toiletries for a needy child. The shoebox gift is simply a tangible way to demonstrate God's love and share the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world. For the last couple of years, I have wanted to do this project but decided to wait until the girls could really comprehend what we were doing and why were were doing it. Last week, I explained to them what we'd be doing and allowed them to take money out of their own piggy banks to shop for the gifts. They were so excited to go to the store with their own bag of money and pick out the gifts themselves. We included items like books, stickers, markers, mittens, toys, and candy. We also included a family picture and a special note.

After school today, we got together to pack up our boxes, wrap them up, and say a special prayer over them. It was so sweet and heartwarming to witness the kids pray over their boxes and for the special child who would be receiving it. The cool thing is that we can also track our boxes to see where they end up in the world. This will be fun as we look forward to using this as part of a geography lesson to come. For more information on OCC, go to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/.

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