Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

Today we celebrated one of the highlights of our spiritual lives, it was Jesus' birthday! A day to give gifts on the day that we received the greatest gift of all, a day to celebrate family and friends on the day that makes possible true family and true connections between people, a day to remember our hope, a day to tell the stories that we live by to our children, a day when we celebrate what makes possible true peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

I love the smiles and the joy that go with this day.
I love watching my daughters and the contentment on their faces that comes from knowing how much they are loved, and then their excitement to spread that love they feel to those around them. Three beautiful, unselfish hearts that constantly challenge me to be the same.

The highlight of our Christmas this year was getting to participate in a feast for the homeless at the Warming Center. We live in a world marked by hardship and pain and I don't want to forget that in the midst of the joy that fills our home at this time of year. My desire is to spread that joy, to welcome people into the circle of our laughter who don't have someone to laugh with, to find moments of peace in the midst of it all, and to know and share our hope on this day of all days as we celebrate the reason for our hope. We felt blessed by the presence of so many friends sharing in the joy of our Christmas and we felt blessed to be able to give and to receive in this way. It was a beautiful place to be on Christmas day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Graham Cracker Houses!

Nothing compares to classic wintertime fun.

Short days, cold and snow outside, warmth, laughter and fun inside.

Making Graham Cracker houses was a first for our girls this year. I'm not brave enough to try real gingerbread houses, we'll save that endeavour for next year. Maybe we'll make gingerbread cookies today, that's a little less intimidating. (It's a snow day here! Even Mitch gets to stay at home today! Foot and a half of snow on the ground and still falling, the girls think it looks like heaven outside.)

Thanks to my sister's advice, we made our frosting thick and it held even the roof up well, although Josie's snow covered roof wasn't built to code for that kind of load, according to Mitch, and needed some buttresses to hold it together until the frosting dried.Mitch: "You've got some good glue there, Josie!"

Josie: "It's frosting, Dad!!!"

Precision and accuracy, precision and accuracy.

The world is a very literal place to a 4 year old:)

Unique creativity at work:

Ruthie enjoyed just piling more candy on:


Josie's- symmetrical and even (I love the name always written from right to left these days):

Anna's- Flamboyant and expansive, complete with an enclosed backyard and an ice skating rink on the side:

Ruthie's: definitely 3, "Mom, stop helping me! If you want to do some then you can make your own!"

I hope you all are finding ways to make this Christmas season special in your own homes. We are tucking in and enjoying how the cold outside brings us together inside.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


It's been a little while and I haven't even had a chance to post the pictures from Ruthie's birthday! Here she is, our big THREE year old!
With her big sis and her new doll from Nona that never gets put down (no name for the doll yet):

Opening her very own Bilum bag from Grandma Jo in Papua New Guinea that I think she has yet to put down yet either (often the baby rides inside the bilum):

Josie REALLY wanted to give Ruthie her own tea set for her birthday. We had fun shopping for it together and finding a box to put it in (actually a sewing box, but it works great for a tea set). She and Josie spent the morning having tea parties, dressed in their best:

Finger painting with James, Isaac and her sisters outside at her birthday party. We actually had a beautiful warm day for it! Haven't had one since then, but we enjoyed the end of Fall while it lasted.

Dance party!

Playing charades, kid style. All the kids ran back to the bathroom, decided what they wanted to be, ran out together and acted it out with no sounds (usually an animal), and the adults had to guess what they were. Caterpillars:

Chocolate- chocolate chip heart cake for my chocolate loving girl:

Her gift from Anna was her very own stool which gets dragged all over the house for her to reach everything. Anna was always in the kitchen with me at Ruthie's age, but with two older sisters to play with Ruthie is usually playing with them. This stool has been great because it has drawn her back to the kitchen and given the two of us a renewed love of spending time together cooking and washing dishes. Mama's little helper:

After eating chocolate cake and having such an exciting day, this little girl didn't want to go to bed. It was her birthday so why not?! She stayed up until after midnight, first helping me finish the dishes, reading stories with me, and then just playing quietly by herself while Daddy'O worked at the computer (I went to bed myself). I guess she didn't want her birthday to end.

We love you, Ruthie! We love your caring spirit and constant smiles around our house. You are the third child with your tough spirit, dishing it back to your sisters when they try to boss you around, always ready to wrestle and play games with anyone, constantly on the go, with a compassionate heart that even at 3 is always watching out for those around you making sure no one gets left behind. Thank you for being you, my sweet little girl.

Friday, December 2, 2011

In the Land of...


With family for Thanksgiving.

Lots of fun with cousins!

Grandpa needed help to raise his flag:

We had an early celebration of Ruthie's birthday while we were there. We put together a little scavenger hunt for her to find her gifts from Nona and Grandpa.

Finding the clue that was in the little tractor:Blowing out the candles on the cake:

Five good friends (Maryn and Anna standing, Ruthie, Josie and Landry sitting):

Reading with Aunt Rachel:

Anna and Josie reading with Mom and Dad:

Landry and Ruthie reading with Uncle Jeb:

Lots of good relaxing times.

Nona took this picture of Ruthie in her new outfit with her new baby doll:

Three sisters posing for their Nona:

Aren't we cute?!

And silly?

We love Nona and Grandpa!

Feeling thankful for:

Family connections

Fires in the fireplace

A 3 year old birthday girl

Good books to read

Yummy food

Winter weather

Smiles and laughter

Long drives in the car (car date!)