Friday, December 31, 2010

Found Pictures--More from Christmas Eve

Lauren and Devin getting things ready for our Christmas Eve dinner.

 Our beautiful turkey!  Yummy!

Jackson has to check it out.

Aaron and Chase

My beautiful daughters:  Lauren, Devin and Kaelan.  What blessings they are to us!  They are indeed polished cornerstones in our home.

Our son-in-law James found a good book.

Rocking the newest addtion

Opening gifts for Ashtyn Claire

Chase and Elisha help James open his cds from Vision Forum

James and the boys with a new toy for Eli

Caedmon got a set of Nerf balls from Aaron

Another present for the boys

Devin got Jackson a bow and arrow set...yes, he loves anything that shoots!

 Kaelan is teasing us all as she carefully opens her present from Caedmon.

Aaron hamming it up!

We got Chase and Elisha cowboy vests and chaps made by a sweet young friend of ours.

What a blessed mess!

What a sweet blessing!

And that should do it for our Christmas 2010!  Happy New Year everyone!  

White Christmas

Christmas morning Caedmon and I both woke early, coughing and wheezing.  Since we both needed breathing treatments, I asked Jeff to handle Caedmon's while I took my own.   I logged on to FB and saw lots of local people talking about snow, so when my treatment was over I turned on the outside lights.  We were having a white Christmas!!  After looking at the snow for a while, Caedmon finally realized that there were some stockings on the floor.  He easily found his stocking and wanted to play with the lace up beads.

And the cute little monkey that has become a favorite toy!

This is what we saw looking out the front door.  It looks like the picture was taken in 3-D. 

Our snow-covered home

Jeff decided to wake the older children and after they calmed down from seeing the snow we turned our attention to opening the rest of the presents.  Kaelan helps Caedmon open a train.


Jordan likes his new sweater.

Devin got a strand of pearls which is her birthstone.

Jeff opening a gift certificate from

Jackson rips into a package.  I think these were eight Little Bear Wheeler historical videos.  Jackson loves history and is always asking if I have any other history videos he can watch.  His favorites are Drive Thru History.

Caedmon gets a matching game.

A BB gun!

Stacking and nesting blocks

Kaelan was very excited about her Moody Family series of books from  I really see a great change in attitude when she reads them.  She thinks we should read them aloud to the entire family.

All the boys have received a coonskin cap...this year was Jackson's turn.

A few more books for Aaron's collection of Ballantyne's adventure stories.

Checking out the snow!

snow covered pines

No coat, but at least he has on shoes, gloves and his new coonskin hat!

Snowball fight.

We spent a very quiet relaxing Christmas Day.  I prepared a pot of French onion soup and Devin made a pot of potato soup.  We also had spinach artichoke dip and lots of Christmas goodies.  The children ventured in and out of the house to play in the snow or read or watch movies.  I actually took a nap!!

Kaelan modeling her new red wool coat the day after Christmas.  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

We left my mom's house on Wednesday before Christmas.  Lauren's home is very near our route and she asked us to stop by for dinner that night.  She fixed a large pot of delicious taco soup with all the trimmings and shared a bucket of caramel popcorn with us.  It was all wonderful and we were glad to see her, James and all the grands.

Christmas Eve they all came up to our house for the day.  We had a meal of turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet and sour beans, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls and several dessert choices.  Jeff helped me get the turkey ready, the dressing had been made at Thanksgiving and put in the freezer and the desserts had already been made.  Devin made the beans, gravy, mashed potatoes and rolls.  My workload was minimal!  We even used Christmas paper plates!

After eating we gathered in the den to open a few presents.  The children opened the gifts from each other.   Lauren, James and the grands opened the gifts from all of us and Jeff and I opened one gift from the children.   We made the traditional mess with all the wrapping paper and boxes!

Here we are opening our portraits of the children, while Aaron rocks baby Ashtyn Claire.

Elisha and Chase come to help out.  And yes, I have washed the shirt Aaron is wearing here.  I think this must be his favorite shirt now as he is wearing it in all of our recent pictures!

Elisha in his cowboy vest and checking out his pounding peg toy.

I am very proud of our portraits.  Devin took most of the photos, edited them, took them to be printed and framed and matted them.   They look so nice!

Caedmon is taking a breathing treatment.   We are on twice-a-day treatments with extras as needed.  

Lauren's family left to join James' extended family for the evening.  After cleaning and resting for a while Devin asked to rent Disney's Christmas Carol (which Jeff and the older children had seen at the theater last year) and buy chips and salsa from her favorite Mexican restaurant.

After our Advent worship time, we spread a red-checked table cloth in front of the Christmas tree and snacked on the chips and salsa followed by sweets.  We did make sure the little boys covered their eyes during the scary parts of the movie.  It was such a relaxing Christmas Eve...very different from our normal busyness.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Starting Over Again

This time of year always has Jeff and I reflecting on the past  year.  What direction should our family go this year?  What worked this past year?  What didn't work?  How can we be more effective in our family life as we learn to serve each other and those that we come in contact with?  What type of family ministry should we be involved in?  What books should we read?  How much should we expect from the children? What character traits do we need to work on?  Get the drift?  Lots to think about and reflect upon.

Two verses we always try to keep in mind as we set our goals and our plans for the year are as follows:

Psalm 90: 12   So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Ephesians 5:15  See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

It is so important that we make every day count, that we don't waste our time and energy doing things that don't really matter.  We want to make wise choices for ourselves and our children, carefully choosing how we will spend our time each day.  In these days  and weeks that we have been off of our routine it has been so easy to get sucked into spending too much time watching movies (no matter how wholesome) and being sucked into the internet.  I feel a need for a few days of fasting from the media or at least greatly limiting out time in front of the screens.

We have now cleaned up, boxed up and stored the Christmas materials.  Today I am focusing on getting the house back in order....dusting, scrubbing bathrooms, vacuuming and mopping are on my list of chores for the day.  The rest of the week will be spent in planning for the upcoming session of school:  looking through new resources, making copies of other items, writing lessons plans, making reading lists, organizing the school room to better serve our needs, filling in daily assignment sheets and putting worksheet copies in weekly folders.  I even have new ideas for my blog that I am eager to work on, but my family needs must come first.

So tell me...Do you set new goals and make plans for the coming year during this season?  What are you doing these days between holidays?   Do you need some encouragement to get motivated for this next year?  When You Rise Up:  A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul will be sure to give you a needed dose of conviction.  It's on my desk now to re-read in the next few days along with my new copy of Large Family Logistics:  The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family  by Kim Brenneman.  No matter how much time I spend in trying to organize and establish routine there is always room for growth.  There is much to learn in this fabulous matter if you are a homeschooling family or matter if your family is large or small...there is a wealth of information for any family to help their days run more smoothly.

Christmas at Nana's

We had an early Christmas with my extended family at my mother's home.  Both of my sisters and their children were able to join us.  My brother, newly married and living in Africa, was unable to be here this year.  We missed him and his wife.

We started our time together with a bonfire to roast hot dogs for lunch.  It was so warm we were able to eat outside on the deck.

Then the children all went on an adventure.  My sister, Tracy, prepared a scavenger for the kids.  They divided into boys (Jinglebells) and girls (Snowflakes).  The oldest children, Devin--22 and my nephew, Josh--23, were the leaders as they had to drive the other children around in separate cars.  Their clues had them going to the cemetery to pay their respects to my mamaw who had died 7 years earlier that same day, going to my dad's home for hot chocolate, walking down to the pond where my mom lives, and looking for a book on the bookshelves at mom's house.  It was hilarious seeing all the girls hop in their vehicle before reading their clue and then seeing them all hop out for the long trek to the pond.  The boys did the same thing when they found their clue which led them to the pond.  I wish we had taken pictures of all of that!

All the clues eventually led back to the living room at my mom's house where they drew numbers for gifts.  I think they all had a great time and Tracy deserves a big round of applause for providing a fun afternoon for all the cousins!  Clap, clap!!

After cleaning up from unwrapping those gifts we finished cooking  up our big meal of turkey, dressing, creamed corn, sweet and sour beans, cranberry casserole, rolls and various desserts.  My dad and his wife joined us for dinner.

This year for our gift exchange took a variety of our homemade soaps and scrubs to share with my mom, dad and sisters.  Mom scoured junk stores and yard sales and purchased many items for a white elephant dirty Santa.  Some of the gifts were quite humorous and some were just perfect for the receiver.  Jackson got a metal wall decoration that consisted of a coat of arms and two swords.  He was in seventh heaven and I have had to listen to the clash of arms for a week!  It will be hung up in the boys room where I hope he will admire them without having to make so much noise!!  Jordan got a nice camera tri-pod that Devin exchanged  with him for a photo album.  Aaron received a battery operated car compass that has several other gadgets on it as well as a variety of Thanksgiving of which is a brass turkey which will be added to my turkey collection.  Jackson has dubbed it the Golden Turkey!  Jeff received an antique toy tractor.  Other items we brought home included a rooster (which looks great on my bar) and terracotta roasting dish which has a 3-D lid of a farm scene.  

Here are some pictures from our time at mom's.

Jackson chosing a gift.


My nephew Josh received the snowflake ornament.

My nephew Colby and Aaron have similar taste in clothing.  We live four states apart and they buy the same shirt in almost the same color from the same store!

Mom even had a surprise gift of new Wii games.  Her house was broken into a few months ago and in addition to her new TV, computer and various bits of jewelry, her Wii controllers and games were taken.

Jackson and Caedmon

Jackson was hot and tired after the scavenger hunt.

What a crowd!

Jackson was lying on the couch with Kaelan and Josh.

Aaron's turn to chose a gift.

Visiting after dinner.

Aaron draws a number for the white elephant gifts.

My niece Haley takes a number from my mom.

Sweaty Caedmon

Colby and Caedmon

My niece Emily, my dad and his wife with my sister Amy in the back.
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