Saturday, November 30, 2013

This and That...

   We had a great Thanksgiving with Andy's family.  About 75 people showed up at the family gathering.  What a crowd!  I'm thankful for a big, close family!  My own extended family is not very close and spread out across the country so we never see them.  My parents, sister and her family are spread out around the world, so we see only see them about every four years.  So being married into a big family and being close enough to get together often is a true blessing to me!  Its wonderful knowing that my children will grow up knowing their cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmother, etc. 

  One of Andy's cousins let Andy borrow a Dobro for awhile.  Andy's thrilled with the prospect of learning how to play it!  He's been spending most of his free time watching tutorials on how to play and picking around on the Dobro.  Its got such a sad, but beautiful sound.  Andy downloaded a recording app on his phone and has been playing around with recording four part harmony, barbershop style.  When he gets my harp fixed, I'm going to give it a try as well.  Its been awhile since I last played my harp because its needed some repairs, but Andy's been working on it, and now it has all new strings just waiting for tightening.  I'm hoping it'll be ready for Christmas!  There's nothing like Celtic harp music playing in the evening to relax you! 
   I've been catching up some sewing projects lately.  I finished a crib quilt for Wesley for Christmas, and also made Audra a handful of skirts.  I had some extra fabric left over so I made a few more skirts to mail to my little niece in Kenya.  I hope they fit her, Jess!!!  Audra made a perfect sized model, seeing as how she and Brina are just a few months apart in age.   

I tried my hand at free-motion quilting, instead of getting it done professionally this time.
Not too bad considering it was my first try at it.  I'll improve.  :)  Maybe I'll try a pattern next time.

  This Sunday we are having our first baptism.  Two of Andy's converts at this church are ready to take the next step.  Our church doesn't have a baptismal so we will be going to the church of a pastor friend after our morning service for the baptism.   What a blessing to see new Christians growing and moving forward in their walk with the Lord! 
   Well, I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping.  I only have a little more to go, but I'll have to wait for another precious day to myself to do my shopping.  Those are very few and far between now.  :)  A friend of mine at church babysits for me occasionally, which is a huge blessing for times like this!  I simply refuse to go out on Black Friday!  I never have and never plan to!  I don't need or want anything that badly.  :)  I feel claustrophobic in big crowds, so I avoid ridiculous events like Black Friday.  I guess some folks get a thrill out of it, but not me!  :)  I like a slower, not-so-stressful shopping experience.  Especially when I don't have a clue what to buy for some folks on my list, and thus spend half my time just browsing for ideas.  :)  But then, that's part of the fun, right?  I put up some decorations this past week and also wrapped a bunch of presents.  So our house has the Christmas "feel" to it now.  :)
   Its been snowing off and on the past few weeks.  I just love the snow!  Its beautiful!  Now, I'm not big on driving in it, but these folks up north get the roads cleared off in no time and keep them cleared, so its not too bad getting out after a big snow.  I can't wait to have enough to take the kids out to play in it.  Audra was too little last year to remember it, but Christian can hardly wait to get several inches of snow to romp around in.  I bought him a snow suit for Christmas, so he's all set. 

I love garland!!!

We had a "PJ Day".  We don't have too many of those lazy days around here.  But boy, they are fun every now and then.  I was so tired that day, so we just took it easy for a day.  The kids loved it!  

Christian taking my picture with his camera.  Who uses those film cameras anymore??  

First smiles!

Merry Christmas!!!

Taking a music box apart to see how it works.  Now that comes from both sides of the family!

Andy playing the Dobro

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Past Week...

   I'm back again.  I don't have much time for blogging these days.  Wesley's been keeping me quite busy.  He's had a touch of colic, but it looks like that is getting a little better.  But now, he's finally caught the cold that I've been trying so hard to keep him from.  Christian and Audra have already had two bouts each since the cool weather showed up, and I too have been battling it.  We managed to spare Wesley from getting it until now.  Its almost impossible to keep two, runny nosed, adoring older siblings out of Wesley's face!  :) I can't hardly stand the sound of a baby trying to breath through congestion!  It really makes me nervous, to be honest.  RSV is very real to me, and I simply don't sleep much at night when one of my babies has a cold, especially when they are so young.  I pray this one will pass quickly. 
   I've been trying to get some sewing done in my "free" time.  :)  Audra needs some new skirts so I've been getting a few made.  I love sewing for her!  There are so many "fun" prints to work with and so many designs to play around with.  I've got some mending to catch up on as well, but there a HUGE difference between sewing and mending.  Sewing is fun...mending is a bore.  :)  Well, we're being honest, aren't we?  :)  Dress pants with cuffs are the worst!!  But it needs done so I just need to buckle down and do it. 
   Wesley is growing like a weed!  My other two children have always been small, and still are.  Christian just graduated out of 24 month pants this past summer!  He's three years old!  Audra can still wear some 6-9 month clothing and she's going on 19 months now.  Wesley...he's a month old today, and wearing 3 month old clothes!!!  He's really a big baby!  His hands have been huge since birth and he  really hasn't grown into them yet.  Christian's not going to have a chance against him in a wrestling match in another year or so!  Wesley will simply sit on Christian and the game's over.  :) 
    Thanksgiving and then Christmas is right around the corner!!!  No, I'm not ready for it yet.  At least, I've not done my shopping yet.  I'm very much ready for it in heart!  I LOVE Christmas time!  The lights, the music, the snow, the coats and mittens, the shining wrapping paper, the cider and cookies, the decorations...   There's just a "spirit" in the air.  I pray this year, it will be the "right spirit".  Too often we get caught up in the tradition of it that we forget the meaning, the reason.  Lets keep Christ at the center of Christmas this year!  Lets not get so caught up that we forget the ultimate gift that HE gave and be truly thankful for it!  This year, we're going to involve Christian in the gift buying.  Its time he learns the real meaning of Christmas and art of giving instead of just getting.  We're going to pull his little bank down from its place high on his shelf, give him some money from it and let him do his own "shopping" for his family.  He's excited about getting involved and it'll be a great lesson for him.  Its never too early to teach about giving and being generous. 
   Having a family is wonderful!  And having children to share Christmas with has been especially fun!  We do small decorative boxes on the mantle instead of stockings, two big ones and now three small ones.  My eyes smart with tears every time I add another little box to the mantle.  God has truly blessed our family! 
   We're planning a trip to TN the second week of December to spend an early Christmas with family.  It'll be so good to see everyone again!  We're hoping to make a trip to McMinnville one day that week as well to visit some folks from our old church there.  It'll be strange going back.  Its hard to believe its been a year already since we left there.  So much has happened in that time! 

Audra's hair is FINALLY long enough for pig tails. :)  Just barely though...

"Tonto" on Scout.  :)


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"...As a little child."

   As I watch my children, I am constantly reminded of how the Bible admonishes us to become as little children.  Children will trust without questioning.  They love unconditionally.  They'll forgive and forget offenses.  They're teachable.  And the list goes on and on.  No wonder God tells us to be like them!  As I interact with my children every day, I see illustrations of this very concept constantly!  My three year old, Christian is at the age where "Daddy can do no wrong", "My Daddy is stronger than your Daddy", "My Daddy knows everything there is to know", "Whatever story my Daddy tells, it must have really happened", "My Daddy is the greatest thing that hit planet earth", etc, etc, etc.  You get the idea.  Should this not be the attitude we have for our own Heavenly Father?  Take Him at His word, obey without questioning, love unconditionally, know that He'll take care of you no matter what the world or the devil may tell you, know that He'll ALWAYS be there for you.  How often do we fall short of these things! 
   My 18 month old daughter thinks her Daddy hung the moon!  The first word out of her mouth in the morning is "Daddy?" as she slides down the stairs to find him.  Her favorite game is when her Daddy swings her high into the air.  Sometimes, while they are playing on the bed, Andy will hold her above his head by her legs.  She will lean backwards, knowing the pile of pillows will be under her to catch her when she lands.  She knows her Daddy will not put her in harms way. She'll dive off of a chair or table into her Daddy's waiting arms without a thought.  She knows her Daddy will catch her. She trusts him completely.  She sits beside him on the piano bench and watches his hands as he plays and then tries to mimic it.  As I watch her, I wonder how many mornings I wake up with the Lord being my first thought or a greeting to Him the first word on my tongue?  How often have I failed to trust him completely with my life, my family, my total existence and well being?  How often does the Bible teach us to be like Christ and follow His example?  Do we do it, or do we blunder through life doing things our own way, and in our own power?  Do we strive to please Him, or constantly do what pleases us, or makes us comfortable?  
   Last, but not least, my two week old infant.  What can we learn from an infant???  Oh, my!  I've learned so many things from watching babies, some of which have completely changed my life!  Its always fascinated me how an infant knows his Father's and Mother's voice before he even lays eyes on them!  I've watched my newborns turn to us the moment they are born, or respond with kicks even before birth when talked to or sung to.  There's a familiarity there that comes with being a son.  Should we not be just as familiar with our Heavenly Father that we recognize His voice when He speaks to our hearts?  An infant will calm down immediately when his mother or father is holding him.  I've tried to mimic that "special hold" with someone else's baby, and it never works.  They somehow KNOW who mama is or who daddy is.  They are never fooled by a stranger.  Ah! What a lesson there!  This world will try hard to mimic the Lord, will try to fool you into thinking what it has to offer is just as good as what God can give you.  It will slightly change and distort the truth.  And how often do we fall for the "strangers" hold?  How often do we cuddle up to the world when we should be throwing the biggest fit you ever saw!  Should we not recognize the difference between the world and the Lord?  As my infant son cuddles up to me, I can feel him relax in peaceful contentment.  Total trust that he's completely safe in mama's arms.  Can you trust the Lord in this same way?  Put yourself completely in His care?  No matter what may happen around you?  Complete reliance on the Lord as your Heavenly Father to know what is best for you.  Ah, yes, there's so much a child can teach us!
   " little children"!  That statement is loaded!!!  

Christian wanted to "surprise" me by washing dishes.  He did a good job too!

It looks like he's cheering!  :)

What a look!