Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Face of Christmas

I thought this picture captured Christmas to a child so perfectly- sheer joy and pure wonder all wrapped up in a bow underneath a twinkling Christmas tree.

Below are some other fun "faces" of my family on Christmas morning.

Other Expressions of Christmas

"I can't believe I actually got something that was on my list!"

"Dad says we better get this paper cleaned up NOW if we want our last present!"

"I like it, but it's not doing anything yet."

"I like it, but I really can't figure it out."

More Expressions of Christmas

"It's too early and I need some coffee."
"I have no idea what's going on, but someone with a camera called my name so I guess I'll look at them."

"If I could just figure out how to get these skates apart, I could really have some fun."

"Look out, world- here I come!"

It's a Wonderful Life

We've had a marvelous Christmas/birthdays/New Year's week. We had our first Christmas with "just us." While it was very different and a little sad to not be surrounded by moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandmas, grandpas, and cousins, it was also nice to be home and show the kids that tradition isn't just something that we do with our "big" family, but that is important when it's "just us," too.

After Christmas Eve service at church, I put together the last few things for the traditional "Mack family" Christmas Eve supper. The kids put on their pj's and then we did the candles- another Christmas Eve tradition from Macks's side of the family- where one by one we each light a candle and share what the Lord has done for us, in us, and through us during the past year, things we are thankful for, favorite memories from the year, etc. Then Mack read the Christmas story out of Luke, and then "The Night Before Christmas," which is something I remember quite vividly from my childhood- my parents reading us Christmas stories, both true and fantastical on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We put out cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer and the kids went off to dream of sugarplums.

Christmas morning, the kids opened presents and we had the traditional "Wife's family" breakfast. Then we surprised them with a new kitten, whom they named Jingles. He's pretty cute and they are enjoying him immensely. All of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I thought to myself, "It really doesn't get any better than this." I am building a life with a wonderful man whom I love so deeply, and we have four beautiful, smart, happy, and some-what well-behaved children. I have a personal relationship with the God who holds all things in the palm of His hand, and have peace and rest in His goodness and sovereignty. In a turbulent world and troublesome economy, He has seen fit to bless us with a stable job, nice home, and everything we need.

Macks's mom and dad, brother (Uncle M), sister-in-law (Aunt J), and niece (yet to be blog-named- I'll have to work on that one) arrived on the 27th and we celebrated Apple's 6th birthday. We then celebrated Mack's 30th on the 28th and Unlce M and Aunt J (unfortunately) had to return home that day- we wished they could've stayed longer! Mom and Dad, however, got to stay with us a few extra days and just left this morning. The kids always love having Grandma and Grandpa here to play, and Mack and I always love having them too! All in all, we've had a pretty wonderful last week of 2008, which is fitting, because it's been a very good year- full of trials from which we have grown in faith, full of blessings in which we have rejoiced, full of reminders of God's faithfulness and goodness.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Sunday Dinner

As I am blogging, my husband says I will soon be blogging about my upset husband who is waiting for his Sunday dinner. So I am. :)

Opening Presents with the Wife-family

Our little bookworm was very excited to get some "Boxcar Children" books

Fun Christmas socks

Books for Apple

Little One was too little to open her own gifts last year, so this was her first "real" Christmas experience.

C-Ray and some candy. Although he was kind of a sour puss. His initial response to every gift he opened was "Oh Pickles!"

C-Ray's Christmas Notions

-The other day C-Ray pronounced Jesus, "King of the Juice"

-At Wal-Mart, C-Ray asked for some random toy. I told him maybe Santa would bring it to him. He replied, "Mom, don't be silly. Santa would never bring me that." Smart kid.

-We are going through the "What God Wants for Christmas" set. It's very neat- there is a little cardboard stable and 7 nights of little "gifts." Each gift is a different character of the Nativity. The last night answers the question "What does God want for Christmas?" and in the box is a mirror. Anyway, every night the kids are guessing who they think will be in the box. C-Ray's guess every night is Baby Jesus.

-"Mom is it still Christmas time?"
"Yes, C-Ray."
"Then why haven't there been any presents yet?"

-"Mom, I want a lizard and a rhinocerous for Christmas. And that's it."

Decorating the Tree

Apple reaching way up!

Little One helping

So cute!

Faithie's School Christmas Concert

Thursday, 4 December 2008

So It's Safe to Say...

that I'm way behind on blogging. Let's see... what is new? We traveled to Washington state for a week to celebrate Mack's dad's retirement with the entire family. My mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law came for Thanksgiving. Good times were had on both occasions. Someday I'll upload some pictures. What else? Apple has her first loose tooth, and is loving kindergarten. Little One, at almost 18 months, still has only 4 teeth, and is in full toddler mode- messes and tantrums galore. Faithie is excelling in first grade- her reading level is at least at second grade, almost third. C-Ray is, well, just C-Ray. He is learning to write his name and recognize some letters, so perhaps he won't be completely unprepared for kindergarten next year.

Some cute and/or funny things:

We were listening to a cd of kids' lullaby songs in the van. One song has a line that says "fourteen angels watch me sleep." Faithie asks, "Mom, did they just say 'FARTING angels watch me sleep?' " I laughed so hard that I couldn't even remind her that she's not allowed to use that word!

We were walking through the slushy parking lot at the girls' school yesterday. Faithie says, "It sounds like we're stepping on sand." Apple is silent for a moment, then asks, "Faithie, did you just say 'it sounds like we're stepping on SANTA?' "

C-Ray's latest response to anything he doesn't like is "Oh pickles!"

Little One doesn't do cute things. She only screams and cries about everything. I'm exaggerating, but only a little.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

My Favorite Quote of the Day

Apple: "C-Ray, you have to wait until I get my cow hat on, THEN you can milk me!"

I could try to explain it, but there are just no words...

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Short (but eventful) Trip to Minnesota

So we decided to make a quick trip to Minnesota for Labor Day weekend. Mack's car that he leased before we moved needed to be returned, so we decided it just made sense to go then, what with the holiday and all.

Mack took the three big kids in his car and I took Little One with me in the van, which was a fair trade since the air conditioning in the van (which we already got fixed one time this summer) has decided not to work again so we got to make the trip with the windows down. I am much more okay with being hot than Mack is, so I volunteered to drive the van, and he wisely countered with an offer to take the three kids who don't scream at the top of their lungs for the duration of any road trip. I was on my own with Little One the screamer (who actually did okay this time- she figured out pretty quickly that she couldn't hear herself over the wind noise). I was a little nervous, because one of the rear tires on the van was a little iffy, but I was determined to just make the best of it. Just in case, we stopped to get gas and a can of Fix-A-Flat for the iffy tire. We forgot one thing after another and ended up "checking out" three times.

We arrived in Minnesota and spent the night with Uncle M and Aunt J (Mack's older brother and sister-in-law). First thing Sunday morning, Mack went out to his car to go get muffins for breakfast for everyone. He discovered that his car had been broken into and the kids' portable DVD players stolen. Upon filing the police report, we were told that we were the 8th call that morning from that area with a car break-in. We hung out for a bit, then decided to make our way to the state fair. We had a good time, except Faithie kept complaining about a headache all day. It was hot out and she had ridden some rides, so I more or less ignored her complaints, telling her she needed to drink more water. When we were just about ready to leave, I actually really LOOKED at her for the first time, and her eyes were glassy. I felt her face and knew she had a fever (Even though Mack told me I was crazy. I felt like Marie on "Everybody Loves Raymond" who can feel the fevers that no one else can). Sure enough, we arrived back at Uncle M and Aunt J's and I found she had fever almost 101- poor thing, we dragged her around in the heat at the fair all day when she really wasn't feeling well.

On Monday, we made the long, hot, windy drive home :) It was fairly uneventful, except for Peanut getting stung by a bee that flew into the van. Much screaming ensued, but thankfully she wasn't allergic (it was her first sting so there was no way to know how she would react to it). We arrived home to two still-living parakeets and Wife breathed a big sigh of relief.

On the plus side, we got to spend time with Uncle M and Aunt J, which is always a welcome event! And the "guys" got to watch the first Husker game together, which was nice for them. And, the kids had not yet seen their new baby girl, (yet to be blog-named), who is two months old now. They were quite taken with their new cousin, and can't wait for her to be big enough to play with!

Maiden Voyage of Our New Backyard Patio and Firepit

So the back part of our backyard used to be a huge patch of "native grasses and wildflowers." Thanks to my great gardening skills, it turned into a huge patch of weeds under my care! It drove me crazy, so this summer we tore it all out and had a lannonstone patio laid and firepit built. It turned out really nice and we have really enjoyed using it the past month. Most of these pics are more focused on the firepit itself, rather than the people, for the benefit of family members who have been asking to see pictures of our little project.

The whole crew

Notice the intense concentration on those little faces!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

New Bike!

Happy (Belated) Birthday!

Faithie turned 7 on August 12th. Mack took the afternoon off, and we went iceskating, then came home and "decorated," then had cake and presents after dinner.

Opening the first present...
A Disney Princess alarm clock from Grandma and Grandpa Mack. It projects stars onto the ceiling, and the alarm tone is a princess singing. Faithie loves it that she can set her alarm and get up on her own for school!
New pj's from Peanut
A giant coloring/activity book from C-Ray
I'm glad the picture is small- you can't tell what a horrible cake decorator I am! She also got a Littlest Pet Shop set from Nana and Papa Wife-family that we didn't get a picture of her opening :( but she absolutely loves it! Mom and Dad got her a new bike. Mom will try to upload the videos!

Bella and Keif

Who's idea was it to have parakeets as pets? Let me see how I can put this so that the astute can read through the lines. Mack and I came home from a meeting Monday night and BlueSky was... "sick" in the bottom of his cage. Not wanting her to wake up to this discovery on her first day of school, we told Faithie how we had to take him to the "vet," then Daddy "brought him home" last night after he was feeling better. Daddy also brought home a friend for him, to keep him company since the girls will be in school, and also to help keep each other warm, so they don't get any more colds. Peanut named the new girl bird Bella, and Daddy suggested that since Faithie had gotten to pick out two names, and Peanut got to pick one out, that C-Ray get to "rename" BlueSky. He picked Keif (one of the "big boys" that is a really good friend of the family is named Keith but Colin can't say "th." We thought it was pretty much hilarious). We have figured out that we have to limit fumes in the house, and put a blanket on 3 sides of the cage when the windows are open. Hopefully our luck will change in the bird department...
Keif is "hand trained" so we should be able to take him out of the cage within a few days, once he gets used to seeing our faces. Bella isn't trained at all, so it might be awhile before she gets used to us. I'll post some pics out of the cage, with the kids, when I am able to get some.

Apple's First Day of Kindergarten

I really like this top picture- she looks so cute! Oh wait, I don't think I'm supposed to say that...
All set with her new backpack, lunchbox, and outfit. I think that's really why they like going to school- they get new stuff!
The crew, ready to leave for school drop-off.
Her "spot" for coat and backpack in the hall.
With her teacher, Mrs. Patch. She skipped right into class with no hesitation (Apple, I mean. There was probably plenty of hesitation from Mrs. Patch!). Can't wait to see how she's doing after school!

Faithie's First Day of First Grade

Faithie had a great first day of school. She wasn't nervous or timid at all. She was so excited that she had her own desk now, rather than sitting at a table like kindergarten. She came home and said, "Mom, Mrs. Hofman is really nice, just like Mrs. Patch was." She was also glad to see her friends. She has a "reading test" today, which should be no big deal for her- her reading skills are pretty good.

All ready to go! New lunchbox.
Wearing her "birthday outfit" from Uncle M and Aunt J for her first day.

The Days are Long, but the Years are Short

I saw that quote on a friend's blog yesterday, and it captures perfectly how I'm feeling today. Faithie had her first day of first grade yesterday, and Peanut started kindergarten today. Here I am at home with just C-Ray and Little One. I would say that it is very quiet here now, but in reality it's not. The two of them are making just as much noise as all four usually do right now. But I digress.

I was thinking yesterday about the "early" days of mommyhood- particularly right after C-Ray was born, and we had three children under the age of three. There were days where I felt like the walls of my house were literally closing in around me, and I would be trapped in the chaos of three infant/toddlers forever. But, they didn't and I wasn't. Just four short years later, two of them are in school. The days of them being here, at home, solely under our watch and influence are gone and I can't quite figure out how they went so fast.

I sat eating breafast with C-Ray and Little One after returning home from the school this morning and questioned myself. "Did I do enough for them in that short time? Did I prepare them well enough? Did I shape their character in a way that will give them a solid foundation for all the things they will begin to encounter now? Have I bathed them with enough prayer?" I found myself being challenged by Jochabed, the mother of Moses and by Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Both of those women were given only a few years with their young children before they turned them over to someone else's care. Jochabed was more or less forced to give Moses to be raised in the pagan household of Pharaoh and Hannah chose to give Samuel to be trained in service to the Lord. How intensely must those women have trained their sons in the things of the Lord in the few short years they had with them, knowing that it was all they had? Do I have the same ferver, the same intensity, knowing that my time of profound influence with my children is relatively short as well?

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Further Correction

Upon further reflection and introspection, Mack now remembers the conversation in question with C-Ray. He claims that he told C-Ray that it's okay if he drips on the toilet as long as he gets a piece of tissue and wipes it up. Looks like C-Ray is already a typical male- he has both messy toilet habits AND selective hearing!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


Upon reading my previous post, my husband was incensed and denies the accusation. I guess I'll believe him. So, to all of you readers, Mack did NOT tell C-Ray it was okay to drip on the toilet, but I am leaving the post up because the simple fact that C-Ray would make that up for my benefit is hilarious!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Train Up a Child In the Way He Should Go...

... potty, that is.

Yesterday morning C-Ray was in the bathroom going potty while I was washing my hands. He finished and was trying to make sure all the "drips" had been removed. He comments, "Mommy, Daddy said it's okay if the drips land on that," as he points to the rim around the toilet bowl. Are you kidding me?? There is a conversation waiting to happen with my husband :)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

From Sunshine to BlueSky

Just an FYI for all of you avid Big Mack & Fries followers out there (lol). We had Sunshine for all of 5 days before she mysteriously dropped dead last Friday night. Mack took Faithie the next morning to the pet shop to get a new parakeet. He is a very pretty blue one, and very young, so he should last awhile. She named him BlueSky. Pictures to follow as soon as I take some...

The moral to this story: Don't buy a bird off of Craig's List...

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


Faithie has been saving her money to buy a pet bird for herself. She finally saved enough and we went to get this parakeet on Sunday afternoon. She (maybe?) is solid yellow, which is a little unusual for a parakeet and really is beautiful. Faithie named her Sunshine and is SO proud of her very own pet!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Look Mom- No Wheels!

Mack took C-Ray's training wheels off of his bike this weekend. They're all growing up...
Here's a video of one of the first solo rides- he hadn't quite figured out how to stop without falling over. He's pretty much got it down now- only a few scraped elbows and knees so far!

Random Swimming Pictures

Swimming at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Texas last week...

C-Ray jumping off the ladder Apple and Grandma hanging outFaithie and Daddy- I think she is prepping to flip backwards off his shoulders...

Good times had by all!

Throw Me, Daddy!