Christmas 2015

Our Christmas season this year was busy as it has been in the past, but not overwhelming. I'm grateful we had time with family, attended only one Christmas party - and had a good time - and were still able to make time for our own family traditions of advent and the Christmas morning ski time. 
Advent this year consisted of me reading a story to the kids while they colored an ornament for the tree. The stories were all taken from people in the Bible who were related to Jesus, in his line, or pointed to Jesus' coming. It was a great way to remember all that Christ has done for us and also ways we can share that truth with the world. 

The following pictures are from our Christmas activities from the 24th and 25th mostly. My brother Craig and his wife Courtney were able to visit this year and though their visit was short, it was nice to have an evening with them on Christmas. 
Christmas Amaryllis from Pete's Grandma

Hugs for Great-Grandma - the kids gave her an Olaf Christmas card that said, "get ready for lots of hugs"

I love wrapping presents with wrapping paper, rather than gift bags - it's relaxing like coloring. Bright blue presents were wrapped by B. 

Uncle Mike joined us for skiing and the kids had a great time on Little Cat with him. 
Family pic in front of the tree (and trash can) but it's the only family pic we took this Christmas. 
J and her buddy A went on the Little Cat lift all by themselves. I think they went six times in a row. 
ski friends
Our group picture 2015 - the fifth or sixth year for some of us. B's face is my favorite. 
J teaching her new card game - blink - to the aunts and uncle. 

Aren't they so cute? 

This is how clean my kitchen table was from after lunch on the 24th all of the 25th even through most of the 26th (except for breakfast) This mama was happy to eat at different houses and have a clean place to look at that wasn't full of wrappings and toys like the rest of the living spaces in our home. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family. I am so thankful for the family and friends we are blessed with and I pray we can be a blessing to them as well. 

Saturday Movie Making

Saturdays are often unplanned - though in my head I know that Pete may take us skiing. Today he had already planned to work on the Bronco with Seth plus the recent storm meant the resort would be packed; so we stayed home and the kids played while I took some much needed time to update the blog. It has been six months since I've posted and man have things been happening. I documented a few events in June that I wanted to have on the blog but who knows if I'll revisit the rest of the summer or fall. I simply haven't been disciplined enough to make time for writing - an issue I wish to fix in the next few months. So here is a wonderful moment from our day: 

These two, they steal my heart when they play together. I love how they get along so well - and when they don't, it is often over quickly and they are back to playing. This morning they played in the snow; after they had waited for the temperature outside to be a bit nearer to the hospitable thirties rather than the teens. They came inside, cold and hungry, so we had lunch. I told them they should go play and they came back upstairs with the wooden "camera" from a project B had done with Papa Tom a while ago. They took turns "making movies" and it was so adorable I had to capture the moment. J's movie was something about a lost tooth and the tooth fairies. - She just pulled her own tooth this morning because it was finally so loose but was driving her crazy but she wouldn't let us help. B's movie was titled "The crazy boy." And you'll see right away what he meant. At one point he even picked up the "camera" and panned with J as she danced around the room. They are my most favorite! 

Memorial in Nebraska for Grandpa Arlan Peters

June 2015 we took a trip to Nebraska. Both sides of Pete's family are from Nebraska; currently most live in Scottsbluff. This trip was specially made for his Grandpa Arlan's memorial service. Though he passed away in March this year, see this post for more, we waited for the burial service because the army made a special headstone to be used in the Veteran's cemetery at Fort McPherson, Maxwell, NE. We drove to Scottsbluff first and stayed with Pete's Aunt. Friday, we drove east three hours to Fort McPherson National Cemetery for the memorial. The service was small but well done and many family and friends of his were able to attend. He was given full military honors and a twenty-one gun salute. Pete gave a speech during the memorial and our kids sang Jesus Loves Me for Great-Grandpa Arlan. It was the closure I think we were waiting for and I know, Pete's mom, Anne was relieved it was finished but satisfied in the memory of her dad's life. 

Arlan's sister was able to attend too

After the ceremony there was a nice reception at a nearby restaurant where we could visit with the friends and family, many who had traveled far to offer condolences and memories. 
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:17

My girl turned 6!

Our oldest is now six years old! (Six and a half actually but the pictures are from her birthday) She is a sweet yet feisty little thing and we love her so much! We were able to have multiple days of celebration due to a trip to Nebraska the day after her birthday. 

The day of her party was also a Sunday so she chose this dress for church. It was given to us by our friend, Carol, when she returned from Hawaii last Christmas. 

Presents from us: bluetooth speaker - for using with my old ipod; and an ESV children's Bible

She wanted a chocolate cake with pink frosting and sprinkles. We went with box cake and can strawberry frosting and it was delicious! 

Little friends at her "Art Party" They each painted a picture of our tractor (or whatever they wanted) to take home. 

Our friend, "Miss Kris" as we call her, helped the kids know what to paint and good techniques to use. It was fun. 

Lots of little friends were able to come and we had a great time.

Everyone wanted to help open presents. 

The boys on the tractor
After most of the friends had gone home, J decided to teach the fine art of holding a chicken to her friend. 
The day of her party was the most movement I had done since my ACL reconstruction the month before. Yes, that is 17 flights of stairs! Topped this distance a few days later while packing and cleaning for our trip to NE.

The first of two Birthday cakes in NE at Aunt Lori's home

2nd Birthday cake with more relatives to share it with. 
Fun celebration at Aunt Lori's house in Scottsbluff. Ice Cream cake and six candles!
We love being able to stay with Aunt Lori, she opens her home to any and all visitors while we are there.
The girl had a great birthday and we are so blessed to have had her in our family these past six years. I pray we will have many more and be able to watch and teach her as she grows to love God and love others.

Peaceful Home

Aside from the obvious upside of the kids sleeping over at their grandparent's, a night alone for us, there is another upside today: a peaceful house.

Like most other sleepovers, they fell asleep late and woke up early. Usually this results in grumpy kids who fight with me all day long. Today, I picked them up earlier than usual and came straight home. In the past I have picked the kids up and attempted a few Saturday errands before heading home. That has always been a trying experience for all involved so I skipped the adventures today and drove the twenty minutes home. The boy fell asleep in the car (after being awake off and on since four a.m.!) and the girl tried her hardest to rest but didn't find sleep. There was a small breakdown of both children when we arrived home but I quickly rushed them to their beds and suggested a rest would help them be better able to play outside this afternoon. They bought it and are now both sleeping in their beds! 

I am in a quiet peaceful home, not only last night but now this morning as well. Coffee, music, and writing at the kitchen table, while my babies sleep and my husband works on the bronco, is very welcomed. A big thank-you to my parents, who are probably more tired than my kids, for affording us the night last night with friends at grow group - a much needed time for both me and Pete. 

The Boy is Four

We celebrated Benjamin's 4th birthday a month ago. A play time at the park with presents and cupcakes was the perfect party for my outdoor loving little guy. I got a little "pinteresty" and made a John Deere cupcake cake, complete with "dirt" and a tractor. It was just enough prep for me but not over the top and overwhelming. I love our family and friends. They made the night so special. Turns out, the kid is not tough to figure out and we all bought duplicate presents without the others knowing. Both sets of grandparents bought/made him a "sand/dirt digger" contraption and he loves having two! My sister and I both bought the same construction Lego set and he also loves having two because that way he can build more cranes ect. for his playtime. Overall it was a great time and we love our little man. 

He is so tough and solid yet sensitive and cuddly. I love everything about him and my love for him grows as he grows. Four years old has been a good age for both our kids. The Lord has blessed us with the life of this boy and I am looking forward to the time we have to point him toward God's love and grace. 

He asked for "mickey mouse pancakes" for his birthday breakfast. 

We had our own picnic dinner at the park before the guests arrived. 
Cupcake cake with cookie dirt and toy tractor. 

The boy loves to swing - see pictures below. 

Pete and I gave him a "big kid" bike - we may be more excited about it than him. 

Digging in the sand with his friends and new toys

swing-time, on his birthday, 4 years in a row!

Traditional picture on the blanket.