Friday, December 31, 2010

For the New Year...

I am planning to read through the Bible in a year. I've done this twice and so far, has been one of the most amazing things I've ever done to grow spiritually. It's crazy how the story of God's love feels much more cohesive when you read the whole story. It's amazing.

I use this reading guide which goes through the bible chronologically. I also am going to use The Message again this year--I LOVE the way it reads.

So if you DON'T already have some way to get into God's word daily, try this! It is SO worth it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Oliver's best friend at preschool is Cooper.
These two are so funny together.
And boy are they ornery!

And these? The night of their Christmas program, I was trying to get a nice smiling picture...and this is what I got. I stopped after three tries...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

30th Birthday Party #2

Joel (and his wonderful family) threw me a 30th birthday party with STYLE. It included a photobooth! (courtesy of the Wichita Photobooth Company), yummy food, basketball and other assorted sports, friends, and a sweet time with family. Here are the highlights:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thanksgiving with the Smiths

Joel's family got in Thursday afternoon (Yes, I'm still blogging about Thanksgiving.)

We had fun relaxing, shopping the next day (in Newton and NOT early!), eating, and just enjoying being together. They hadn't been down for Thanksgiving for FOUR years! We were very excited to have them come. And thanks to Joel's Aunt Marge and Uncle Ed, we ate like kings and queens.

It is so fun to see these girls grow up to be beautiful, responsible young ladies. Abi (above) was 2 when I met her, and we used to play 'doggie' together. It is crazy to think that she's a teenager now! But what a wonderful, sweet girl she is!!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Cookie

This one has some sentimental value...but is a really YUMMY cookie, too.

My grandma (dad's mom) is Swedish, and for as long as I can remember has made these cookies. They're called pepparkakor. They taste a lot like gingerbread. I finally got the recipe from her last year and have now made them twice--and boy are they GOOD! (even frozen!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Brunch

This was the first year we did this--but since Joel's family was coming in late morning on Thursday, we decided to have MY family over for brunch that morning. (And my brother and his wife were heading up this direction, anyway...)

We built a nice warm fire in the stove, set the table, and served up egg and sausage casserole, peach french toast, fruit, bubble bread, coffee, and juice. Mmmmmmm.....

(Oh, and little Elias? He slept the entire time. Didn't hear a peep!)
(Obviously, Oliver was a 'tad' under-dressed for the event.)

It was such a fun morning!
And it worked out perfectly since our NEXT Thanksgiving feast wasn't until 4pm that afternoon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thanksgiving #1

Wow. I feel very far behind on blogging....

Our first Thanksgiving was with my parents and brother's family and sister.

For some odd reason, someone inevitably ends up in a tree when we get together...but usually it's my 28-year old brother.

Oliver and Addilyn played SO well together. Seriously, they are like BEST friends.

Asher is looking good, too. Last year for Thanksgiving, he was so sick and hospitalized afterwards for failure to thrive. This year, he is heavy and active. (And was just hospitalized for jumping off the top bunk of his bunkbed....Progress? I think so.)

This is Lily's "I'm-not-quite-warmed-up-to-you-Uncle-Tyler!" look. She eventually got used to his, how should I say, 'hyperactiveness'. :-)

We had a super fun evening...but the fun didn't stop there! Stay tuned for Thanksgiving brunch a mere 14 hours later...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Party #1

My FIRST 30th Birthday Party was at my parent's house.

I got a stand mixer...
and THIS!

THE Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker. The awesome thing? I had this EXACT thing when I was little!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Orphan Day in Zambia

So, I've told you before about our trip to Africa in 2004, as well as these two little darling boys who we sponsor. Well, we received an email today that I had to share:

"Have you ever heard of an “Orphan Co-op”?

Neither have we. Till now, anyway.

Orphans in Zambia are often an unwanted burden, so relatives and peers mock them and tease them.

Kanyameza Church of Christ took an interest in local kids whose parents are dead. To give them a pleasant, accepting time, they decided to gather them a couple times a week for group activities.

They would sing together, have Bible study. Sometimes they could even share gifts of food or clothes. They selected Cecelia Siafwiyo, in the red dress, as their chairman.

The group declared December 4 as “Orphan Day”, so Cecelia invited them to Namwianga for a party.

Forty two kids came—and soon put our playground to the test.

Three of the 42 are HIV positive and on antiretroviral drugs.

This sixteen year old girl, Chrisensia, is raising her twin brothers Charles and Andrew. One of the dozens of child-led households in our community.

After lunch the kids sang, recited poems and quoted memory verses.

This is one little girl’s poem


It killed my mother,

It killed my father,

I am an orphan.

No-one is left to love me.”

Then we shared out gifts – toys and clothes YOU have sent over here!

This little fellow got a grip on his “stuff” and wouldn’t let go!

Thank you for helping!

Roy and Kathi"

Wow. That little girl's poem kills me.

It's hard for me to see things like this and not be totally overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. But I know that God holds these children close to his heart, and so should we. He can work in HUGE ways through our small steps of obedience.

If you and your family don't have a way to love orphans--think about sponsoring some of these beautiful children in Zambia! I can pass along the information you'd need. Just leave a comment below and I'll get in touch with you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Long Time Ago...

I turned 30. Or at least, with the craziness of Thanksgiving, it feels like a long time ago.

I will admit...I'm one of those people who really dreads getting older.
January 2009 was hard for me because, although I was only 28, I could say "Next year I'll be thirty." Killer.

Anyway--it's over and done with.
But how do you celebrate turning 30?

With a race, food, friends, and some spa time.

Jill had asked me in Sept. if I wanted to run the Turkey Trot with her.
(That took a lot of nerve, since she asked 5 minutes
after we finished the 5k that almost took my life...)

But I said yes, and we recruited Jess to run with us, and Amanda to take pictures and hold our stuff. :-)

(What this picture DOESN'T show is me almost puking 4 minutes later. I kid you not.)

And free brats after the race. Seriously, WHO eats brats after running?!?!?!
(Well, besides Jess!)
After running, we shopped, ate lunch, and attempted to get pampered at the spa.
That's another story. (Nothing that ice cream couldn't fix, though!)

It was a REALLY fun day.

And I suppose if I have to get old, I might as well do it with wonderful friends (who are also turning 30 in the next year!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday dear Kendall.
Happy Birthday to you.

I won't tell how old your are but it rhymes with
ok, enough said.

We love you and can't live without you!!!
Happy Birthday!!!!

Joel, Oliver, and Lily

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oh, Lily Mae...

You are SO....


...You are something else.
But we're SO glad you're ours!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

He's Ba-a-ack!

Santa made ANOTHER appearance at our house! This time he was decked out--the beard and everything.
And when Lily sat on his lap, he asked, "What do YOU want for Christmas?"

"Cheese," was her answer.
Maybe next year, Lily. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Car Mat

Joel and I are big on toys that allow our kids to play creatively. We love blocks, legos, books, puzzles, art supplies, cars, playdoh, etc. We might have even given away a toy or two that made noise. :-)

Joel's aunt gave us a wonderful little car mat for Oliver that she found at Et Cetera. But it quickly started peeling off. (And Lily might have been a major part of that...)

I had just read a book on creative centers (for preschool) and one idea was to MAKE a car mat with a sheet. You just add a simple road and train track, and allow the kids to play with cars, trains and blocks on it. I loved the idea!

So the next time Lily started destroying the mat, I just let her.
We pulled it all off...
And made a simpler mat!
Then we made block houses and garages...

and even a few trees. (Just put little twigs into clay and let harden)

Now we have a little village that can be used however we want--and really encourages their creativity! And these blocks from Joel's Uncle Ed are entertaining for HOURS!!!