Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gold, Frankincense and Goggles?

Annalee loved the fleece blanket I made her!

Rob's favorite gift - his Leatherman! (a very handy tool!)

Josh's favorite present - this church jacket (he has been asking for one for months!)

At the airport, seeing Auntie Amy off! :-(

Auntie Amy opening her quilt and goggles!

Merry, merry Christmas, dear reader! I hope you and your family had a wonderful celebration, and that you were drawn closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Our family had a fun Christmas. Jeremy's sister came to visit us the week before Christmas. And we, being the very unconventional parents that we are, allowed our kids to open presents while she was here - being that we wouldn't have any other family here during Christmas to open presents with. So they got to open their presents 4 days early. But we still saved stockings for Christmas morning. We had Amy this year for Christmas, and I have been working since May on a quilt for her. I should have taken a picture to post on my blog, but forgot about it. I didn't want to before Christmas anyway, since the possibility that she might see it early was pretty great. But a funny thing happened when she opened her quilt. Apparently one of the kids had put their snowmachine goggles (from in Galena) in the box with her quilt, and they were wrapped with it. We all had a good laugh when she went to pull out her quilt, and the goggles fell out. Too funny!

Last Sunday, the boys had their Christmas play at church. It went really well. I was in the very front, and could hear most of it, but I'm not quite sure how far back their voices actually carried. But they were all so cute! The wigs were a little too big, the masks didn't stay on too well (and Silas kept trying to take his off!), and a little bit of the myrrh (or olive oil!) spilled on the floor. But all the kids remembered their lines, and I was proud of all of them. I was in the front, in the corner by the piano, and I couldn't see Zeke. I wasn't too worried, since he didn't have any lines, but wanted to find him nonetheless. I looked in the back to where the nursery worker was sitting (she had brought our two babies out to watch the play), but Zeke wasn't with her. But when the play was finally over, and the kids started to file down from the platform, Zeke was the last one to come down. I was so surprised to see him up there. He hadn't moved a muscle or made a sound during the whole thing - which is pretty hard for a 3 year old. I had been told by the woman in charge that he was having some difficulty during practice, so I was very surprised that he had been so good!

For Christmas Eve, we went to the service at the Nazarene church here in town. Our church didn't have a service, and it was very nice to be able to just go to a service, and not to have to plan one! Most of the time was spent singing Christmas carols, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The pastor then shared a message. After the service, the kids all enjoyed some cookies and hot cocoa in their fellowship hall. Then we drove up to Hoopa to look at some Christmas lights that some women at our church had told us we had to go see. Christmas day started with the kids all opening their stockings. Annalee even got a couple of new hair barrettes. Then after getting dressed and ready for the day, we started getting everything cooked for our Christmas dinner. We only ended up having 4 people from church over here. We had invited several others, and had expected to have more than that, but we enjoyed the fellowship of those that came. Rob was sick most of the day. He was so excited when he went to bed Christmas Eve, and I think he worked himself into it. He just had a headache most of the day, and he said his stomach hurt. He was still able to eat, and never threw up, but did end up taking several short naps throughout the day. And today, he is perfectly fine. I mentioned this to my mom last night when we talked on the phone after the kids had gone to bed. She told me that when she was little she had the same problem, and that her mom couldn't tell her anything exciting that they were going to do (like vacation, etc) until 2 days before they left. So maybe that's where he gets it from. But other than that, we had a very enjoyable day.

Now that Christmas is over, Jeremy and I are getting very excited about our trip next month. My mom will be coming at the end of January (our retreat is the 26-29). I'm also getting a little nervous about leaving Anna home. I know my mom is capable of taking good care of them all, and Rob and Josh are very big helpers, but there's just something about leaving the baby home. I had a hard time when Jeremy and I flew up to visit Alaska before going there, too, and we even took baby Micah with us (but Zeke was only 13 mos at the time). So if you think of it, please pray for us that we will have a wonderful time, and not spend all of it worrying about the kids. And that my mom and kids will all do well together.

If you haven't noticed, I have started putting the Village Missions prayer spotlight on the side of my blog. Each week, there is a different couple that we pray for. I have included a link to the Village Missions webpage that tells their name, field, and a little bit about the community and church that they serve, as well as some things to pray for. We pray for these dear couples in our church every week, but I wanted to put them on here, so you could be aware of them, too. This week, the spotlight is a couple just out of Redding that we really enjoy fellowshipping with at our VM fellowship days in Redding. They are a really neat couple. If you think of it, please lift them up in prayer.

Thank you for reading my blog. I wish you and your family a wonderful new year!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Twas Weeks Before Christmas....

Everyone in front of our homemade tree - they are proud of their accomplishment!

Our homemade wreath - made out of everyone's hand cutouts. We stapled them to a paper plate with the middle cut out. I think it turned out very cute!

Annalee with her new hair barrette - doesn't she look so sweet? They're magnetic and stay in very well - as well as they can with but a wisp of hair. We highly recommend them!

Do you ever get to the end of your day and realize it was a whirlwind? Today was like that for us. It started out as a normal day off. Jeremy and I rented Night at the Museum 2 last night, and let the kids watch it this morning before we had to return it. But by mid-morning, we realized we would have to be travelling into Redding. We order our bulk food from a co-op that delivers in Redding, and the pick up was today. We had arranged it for another VM couple to pick it up for us, and we would pick it up from them at the VM fellowship next Monday, but got an email this morning saying that this woman's mother was very ill, and she had flown to Minnesota to be with her. Then we got another email saying that the VM fellowship was cancelled for this month. So we decided the best thing to do was to go in and pick up our own stuff from Redding. We didn't leave here until around 1pm and got back around 9pm - and each way is about 3 hours. And since the highway between here and there is pretty curvy, we had complaints of headaches and tummy aches - topped with Rob getting sick in the car on the way home. I told all of the boys before bed that we would not be leaving here for Redding again without everyone having taken something for car sickness - some Dramamine or ginger or something. . . And on top of that, I think I have caught a cold and am stuffy and pretty much miserable. Oh, and the dogs ripped Silas' hood on his coat (am I glad it's a zip off one!), and the front of Anna's pretty brown and purple coat. Jeremy was not happy at all about that one! Boy, am I glad to be home!! Moving on...

We have been having a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. We had to sell our fake Christmas tree in Galena last year. We were blessed to be able to bring most of our Christmas things that had meaning to them - like my collection of Precious Moments ornaments, the boys' ornaments from past years, and my Christmas village given to me from my family. But we weren't sure what to do about a tree. We didn't feel like paying over $100 for a fake Christmas tree when we could wait until after Christmas and get one half off! (call me cheap, I know!). And we weren't too keen on paying half that for a real tree. So Jeremy decided that we would put up a paper tree on the wall. No, really, it ended up turning out a lot cuter than I thought it would. He put some white art paper on the wall, and cut green construction paper to make the tree. Then we used all sorts of different colored construction paper to make ornaments to decorate our tree. Jeremy made a beautiful star out of cutouts of the boys' hands, and we even added a popcorn string to our tree. The popcorn turned out to be not a good idea, though. The bottom of it ended up being in Anna's reach, and she has since pulled that portion of the string off the wall, and eaten the popcorn! But it was beautiful nonetheless. Shortly after we were finished with this (on Saturday), one of the board members and his wife showed up here at the parsonage with a real Christmas tree! They had gone to cut one down for themselves, and got one for us as well, too!! Not only did they bring us a tree, they brought a stand, and three boxes of Christmas lights! We cut it to size, and set it up in the stand, ready to decorate on Sunday after church. Then we headed up the hill to the Bigfoot Museum to attend the tree lighting/Santa arrival there. Santa arrived half hour late, and we got pretty chilly, but the hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies helped us bide the time. At the close of the service on Sunday, one of the board members came up to the front with a bag, and said that they had all collected and got us some new Christmas ornaments, because they had heard that we had to leave most of ours behind in Alaska! It was so sweet! Then today in the mail, we got two Christmas boxes from our home church in Colville. They send us these every year - with such goodies as granola bars and hot chocolate, even to hats, gloves, scarves, and Adventures in Odyssey! We were thrilled! It was a good way to pass the time to Redding today, with some new Adventures to listen to. We are so excited to see the way that God is caring for us here. We still have some days of frustration that our ministry there ended so abruptly - like when we pulled out our Christmas ornaments and saw the ones that we had gotten in North Pole, Alaska right before Anna was born. But all of this helps us to see that God was in control of our ministry in Alaska, and He is in control of the ministry here as well. It helps us to see God's hand in bringing us to where we are - even if we don't understand the whys.

We are opening our house this Christmas to a few people from church that we know of that don't have anywhere else to go. They have family, but not here. They have been fairly faithful to services - even Sunday night and Wednesday. They come and hang out with us often, so they are beginning to feel like family. We also just found out that Jeremy's sister will be coming to visit right before Christmas. She can't stay for Christmas, but we will enjoy her company anyway. In January, Jeremy and I will be going down to Merced for a VM couples getaway. We are really looking forward to it! The church is not only paying our way, they are sending us with gas and spending money! It will be about 2 weeks before our 13th anniversary, so we are considering it an anniversary trip. My mom will be coming down to take care of the kids for us. Please be praying for her! Six children are a lot to care for when you're not used to doing it everyday! But she is willing, and for that we are very thankful! And Rob and Josh are getting to be such big helpers.

For Thanksgiving this year, we helped out at our church's community Thanksgiving dinner. Or should I admit that I helped serve while Jeremy babysat our kids at home? I had signed our whole family up to help serve, but it is difficult to do that with so many little ones. Rob and Josh would have stayed to help, but they really weren't needed. We had plenty of help. It was a nice time, though. We expected more people than actually showed up - I think we served 80 or so. But all in all, I think it was a success. I got to visit with the two ladies that clean up afterward. Apparently they have been doing this now for several years. They come to eat, then stay and do all the cleaning and dishes. But they don't come to our church. I enjoyed getting to meet them, and talking with them, and will be praying that they come to church.

I think the other thing I wanted to share with you was that I never got sick with the flu. In my last post, I talked about the flu that went through the whole family - Jeremy included. But I never got it. I think the Lord knew that I needed to be able to care for everyone else. I figured I would just get it after everyone else was done, but I am so thankful that God kept me healthy!
Merry Christmas, dear reader! May you discover and celebrate the true heart of Christmas this year - our Savior, Jesus Christ! Much love from our family to yours...