12.16.2014

Our Funny Boys

As we opened our Bins 'O Christmas decorations, the two older boys came across little bittie trees that we used 5 years ago.

We aren't using them anymore because 5 years ago we had 3 children (I'm pausing to let that sink into my brain...5 years ago right now we had three littles...we grew by three children in less than 4.5 years...God, you are so good!).

So....

We only have three little trees.  We had them so the three kiddos could each have their own individual Jesse Tree to decorate.



Daniel and Noah asked if they could use two of the little trees.  I acquiesced...a little hesistantly (you never know what these two will be up to).


In a little bit they called me into their room to show me their masterpieces.

Trees A La Daniel and Noah.

Daniel has a Lego Hero Factory Tree (of course)...



 ...and Noah has a Car Tree (of course):



Daniel - who is all about details - even made a skirt for his tree:



Not familiar with Lego Hero Factory?  Consider yourself lucky.  This turquoise thing on Daniel's tree is a "Brain Attack":



Noah's decorations are a little more tame.  Besides the cars (in their boxes, mind you)...Noah also has this car-related ornament that he loves, that Nai Nai so appropriately gave him several years ago:




These boys crack me up!


12.15.2014

Christmas Parade - 2014

We have continued to cross things off our Fun Things To Do in December list.

We recently went to our (very small) town's Christmas parade.  We love going to this - and the homecoming parade - every year.

It was especially cold this night - by Deep South standards anyway.

We had Abigail all bundled up and tucked in her car seat carrier...



...but with how interested she is in everything, I didn't think she'd be content to stay there for too long.

And I was right.  She wanted to get out and watch the festivities with the rest of us.

You almost can't see G, smiling his famous "smile" down in front of me.


G was fascinated by everything.  It is so much fun watching and experiencing things like this through G's eyes now...and we'll get to do it again with A in a couple more years.

G loved the tractor in the parade.




The tractor pulling the nativity scene:



And with his love for music, G was enthralled by the marching band.

And when a train cut right throw downtown and halted the parade - with the band right in front of us - I couldn't help but laugh!





And then - I can't believe I didn't get a picture of this - a Howdown Country Christmas float came by, blasting some sweet Country Christmas music.  The float had people dancing a jig on it.  And a clothesline.  Complete with some underwear hanging on it...flapping in the wind.

I truly love living in a small town....and I love these parades!

And while we'll get to see it all again through A's eyes in a couple years...definitely not this year.  Somehow, despite all the excitement of the tractor and train and underwear...A fell asleep, and happily snoozed in my arms through most of it.



12.10.2014

Decking Our Halls

Not long after the Thanksgiving festivities were over, we brought down the bins from the attic.  The bins...



...that mean Christ's birthday is near!




As the children have gotten older and older, this has just gotten to be more and more wonderful.



And now with Gabriel?  Well, it is just so much even more fun...which I wouldn't have thought possible.




This is the first year he's been old enough to really even notice anything out of the ordinary going on.


And, boy howdy...is he loving it!




One of my favorite quotes from him during our decorating (as he jumped up and down, literally):  "This is so much fun!!!"


He IS smiling.


Another favorite quote from G (as he helped hang up ornaments):  "Are these all MINE?!?"




And so what if we ended up with multiple ornaments on one branch:



But then G had to step a few feet away and drum a little bit, to bring himself back to center.

Yes, he has drummed on those canisters quite a bit...how can you tell?  



Before children, Jas and I had a beautiful, magazine-worthy decorated Christmas tree, decorated only in silver and gold.

No more.



Many of our ornaments are handmade by my mom (all the red and blue balls trimmed in gold sequins, and the cross-stitched ones).  I distinctly remember when we lived in AL (so I was between 3 and 6 y.o.) and she made all of these.  Several years ago she was about to throw all of them away...and I said, "No way!".  They're on our tree now.



And many of our ornaments are handmade by the children:





And then Nai Nai gives the children each an ornament every year:



As Elisabeth stepped back and looked at our tree this year, she said, "I love how our tree is decorated.  It is full of memories!"  I couldn't agree more, baby girl.




Who can spot the cute, little brown feet under the tree (rest assured...the rest of the cute, little brown body was under there also)?




And then, a few days later, it was time to try to capture our annual Kids in Front of the Christmas Tree picture.


The children decided that A needed to wear the reindeer antlers:




A decided she needed to pull E's hair:

I love how A is looking straight ahead while she pulls E's hair...kind of sly-like.


G wasn't really feeling the picture love...and after many (many) attempts....this was the best we could do this year:


We think it is hilarious how the antlers that A is wearing frame E's face.


We are reading through this book by Ann Voskamp...




...and doing the Jesse Tree ornaments that go with it.  Loving it!



I was interested in ordering this book myself, and thought my friend Amy already had it, so I texted her to see what she thought.  She sent me a message back: "Do not buy that for yourself."  Turns out she had just ordered one for us that very morning.  Love her...and so thankful for her!



And we've begun working on our December list of things we love to do together, like decorating gingerbread houses.  

Yes, I buy kits.

And yes, and this year I even bought the ones where the house is pre-assembled.  Gawww...this made it so much easier!  No going back now...




 And this was the first year that G got to participate!  With a little help from Daddy.



Gabriel took his job very seriously.




But we sometimes convinced him to loosen up...



...and have a little fun!




D has to fight perfectionist tendencies also.  The boy is going to be an engineer...mark my words.


















And I got to go to a crafting event at church on Saturday morning.  This is what I made:




And I'm still so happy with the Pinteresting projects I made a couple years ago:




I really do not like making DIY crafty projects (it hurts my perfectionist tendencies), but I'm frugal enough to force myself to do it.  When we became Christians 15 years ago now, we did some major gutting of our Christmas decorations, and adding all these trimmings that point to Jesus has been wonderful.  

Now only 15 more days....but who is counting???



12.08.2014

Finally!

I am a procrastinator.

Always have been.  I'm afraid I always will be.

I have just finished something I have been working on for months.



I have several friends who are just beginning (or are about to begin) their GAPS journey.  I have answered many questions and shared many links and recipes.  And I've been trying to put together a "page" here on the blog that brings all those links and resources together in one spot.

I finally finished it.  [phew]


There is now a "GAPS" tab along the top, right under the blog's banner picture.

For those that are interested, the page is full of links to:

1. GAPS resources
2. My posts about our GAPS experience (although I haven't been as faithful about chronicling our journey and progress as I would like)
3. Our favorite GAPS-friendly recipes (from around the web, and here on my blog)
4. Sample Menus of GAPS-friendly fare, including links to actual recipes
5. Where we source some of our bulk ingredients

This is basically a compilation of "Everything I Wish I'd Known 15 Months Ago When We Started GAPS."

I hope someone else finds this info helpful!



12.03.2014

Daniel is Double Digits!

When did our little 2-year old imp turn into a big 10-year old?

He is still very much an imp....


...just bigger now.





We always open cards/presents first thing in the morning, before daddy leaves for work.


Opening homemade cards, the best!

Captain America doesn't look very awake, but he wouldn't have missed this for the world.



For breakfast Daniel got grits (ground up corn, for you non-Southerners)...which they hadn't had since we began GAPS over a year ago.



Daniel D loves grits - as evidenced by the above picture.  You can tell because he is actually smiling and not making a crazy face.  He was mesmerized.




Daniel Crockett had a fabulous day filled with all his favorite things:  legos, time visiting with LaoLao and Papa, and then supper at his choice: a local fresh Mexican place.




And THEN, he and two others got to catch a ride home with our friends who also happened up at the restaurant (thank you, Lord, that the G family was there!).  (Some red-headed mama may have accidentally locked the keys in the Silver Bullet [ahem]).

Daniel thought it was a fun and adventurous way to end a great day.

We now have a key strategically hidden on the Silver Bullet, so this won't happen again.  The kids are worried...but I told them, no, they do not have to worry about anyone wanting to steal our Silver Bullet.



Daniel, you bring such light and laughter to our family, I can't imagine us without you.




We are so glad to be your mama and daddy.  We are so thankful that the Lord matched us up, half a world away.  He knew exactly what He was doing.






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