Sunday, December 30, 2007

some of my favorite pics from 2007

Tyler getting hugs

Having a cookie at the mall

After david's grandfather's funeral, over 20 of us packed the coffee house he visited daily

Taryn and Riley on Christmas Eve

Terrified Cole being rescued from a tree by his sweet friend

Cole waiting to go into the soccer game

Riley in her kitty pajamas holding Cutie

Garrett hanging out with a buddy. Why talk when you can text?

Happy Halloween!

Tristan, Garrett and Tyler in midair

David and the kids camping outside Walmart for 18 (yes 18) hours to get their wii

Riley learning to ride without training wheels. Who wouldn't succeed with that kind of support?

This is the position Cole stayed in the entire time the hibachi chef prepared our food with flying knives and flames

Garrett flying through the air, on a sled, off an embankment

Dancing with Kaitlyn

Abusing hotel beds

3-week-old Cutie meets the guinea pigs

Garrett and Cutie on the day we found her

Riley after her dance recital

Garrett attacking our snowman


Outdoor science observations

Cole's PE teachers called his often-worn red headband "the powerband"

Playing dress-up at a friend's house

Tiny Cutie

Taryn and Riley at the mall with their little friends, Trinity and Kaitlyn. They take them everywhere!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hidden Christmas Fun

I have so many favorite Christmas traditions. Some are passed down from my childhood, some are deeply spiritual, some are silly. Most are just plain fun. The tradition I want to share with you today is definitely just plain fun.

This is the tradition my father started by hiding a dollar bill of large value in each of our stockings.

Years ago my parents stuck a bill in the finger of a pair of gloves in our stockings and surprised us. And then it began. Except it's never been that easy to find since.

Now my sister and I and our husbands just plan on at least 30 minutes of looking for the hidden bills. When we are done, there is a huge pile of ripped up packaging and dismantled stocking stuffers. Seriously, you have no idea how difficult he makes it. If you know him and know how brilliant he is, I am sure you are not surprised. If you don't know him, here is a glimpse into his creativity.

This is a sampling of some of the places we have found our bills in past years:

  • compressed into the size of a dime and placed under the seal of the cap on a bottle of car wax

  • under a label on a bottle of lotion

  • inside a chocolate...yes, he drilled out a hole and carefully rewrapped it and put it with several others

  • rolled thin and disguised in black electrical tape and put inside a sealed bag of black cable ties

  • slipped inside the corrugated cardboard of the box of an item

  • inside many a factory sealed package. How did he do that?

  • in a false bottom he created for a can of WD40 (or something)
And this year David's was inside a utility knife (he had to use a screwdriver to get to it) and mine is pictured below. It was slid deep into an invisible slot cut on the side of my new George Foreman grill sponge. I was exhausted when I finally found it.

While the money is obviously exciting to get, the fun of finding it is worth way more than that bill. He could use a one dollar bill and we'd have just as much fun.

...but let's not tell him that, ok?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas visitors, Christmas snow, and almost a Christmas service

Did you love the Christmas snow yesterday? We were so excited. We had family staying with us and we were heading to the Christmas service at church in the winter wonderland. So exciting! Until we started noticing all the people sliding off the road. And getting stuck. And backing up to return to where they came from. So eventually we gave up and joined them in returning back home to safety...after, of course, we stopped and had dinner.


Cole, Uncle Matthew, and Jake

Having dinner before the trek back home

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I love this photo because of the unconditional love it shows between a kid and his pet....the very pet that caused that unsightly scratch on his face.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

our gingerbread house

Ok, technically it is a graham cracker house. We were in this for the fun of sticking candy everywhere, not for a complicated cooking project. So we had fun and ate way too many brown m&ms. Garrett picked all the brown ones out because they didn't look very Christmas light-y. He said he felt like he worked for Van Halen back in the day when they used to demand that their venues provide them with a large bowl of m&ms minus the brown ones. Anyway, we thought we would share our work of art.

live-in mentors

Don't you love being around inspiring people? You know, the ones who actually make you want to jump up and improve what you are doing? Ok, I'll admit that I either love being around them or they make me want to crawl in a hole and hide my inadequacies and eat chocolate. But at my house, they definitely have the first effect. Every person in my home inspires me to be better. Yes, God has blessed me with live-in mentors.

David inspires me in countless ways. I love his positive outlook in most every situation. I love how dependable he is. I love his predictability. And I mean that in a positive way. You can count on without a doubt that he will spend his evening playing with the kids. Tired or not, stressed or not, headache or not, he is committed to nurturing relationships. That man will never have regrets.

Garrett inspires me with his giving heart. He gives money away like he is Donald Trump. David and I always say he is either going to end up homeless because he hands out everything he owns, or he’ll be crazy rich as God tries to keep up by blessing him! And he is a peacemaker. You gotta love that in a house of four kids.

Tyler inspires me with his tender heart. He is so sensitive to and perceptive of other people and their feelings. He works at making others feel good. And somehow he does it exactly when they need it.

Riley inspires me with her appreciation of the simple, beautiful things in her life. Getting a pedicure, seeing a baby, watching a butterfly, wearing soft pjs, rubbing her face in her kitten’s fur. You know, the stuff I tend to just do (well, minus the face in kitten fur). It all brings a glow to her face. She genuinely finds joy in the stuff you are supposed to find joy in.

And Cole. Well, if you know Cole, you probably already know how I would like to be more like him. In Cole’s mind, his whole life is exciting and funny and oh-so-happy. To borrow a quote from a Seinfeld episode referring to Kramer “His life is a fantasy camp. People should plop down 2000 bucks to live like him for a week!” Choosing to feel more like Cole could add years to anyone’s life.

Oh yeah, I want to learn how to be more like these amazing people.
Hmmmm…it’s almost as if God knows what he is doing in my house.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


So I planned this year, as I do every year, to take our Christmas picture early. And once again I failed. I took the picture yesterday, made the cards online and paid extra to have them done in an hour. Check the date…yeah.

Tonight I went to pick them up and they were not ready. So I am racing through the store, near tears and up to my eyeballs in Christmas card anxiety and around the corner comes Shanna Crawford. If you know Shanna, you probably know where this is going , huh?

She let me whine on about how I had stressed myself out, and how the store had failed me in my time of need, how everyone’s life would be ruined if my cards didn’t go out TOMORROW, how I have always been a procrastinator….blah, blah, blah.

And then she began speaking Shanna-ese. She told me it was time for me to embrace my procrastination. To know procrastination is what I am going to do, and to accept it. To love it. To know that God cut me out that way. To leave the expectations behind. I suddenly felt a wave of calm. Could this foreign concept actually be ok?

Everyone who knows me knows that I am notorious for waiting until the last minute. I always get it done. But I always feel like I am wrong for not planning ahead. Why is that? What exactly IS the point of that extra stress? Could I actually learn to embrace this characteristic instead of feeling guilt over it?


This freedom is something I seriously want to consider.

I am definitely going to plan for some time to think about it soon…..