Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Anniversary, to us!

Curtis and I celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, sweetie! I love you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Million Things to Blog

We are still in Kansas, enjoying the end of our holiday break. We have been so very busy, spending time with family, doing Christmasy things, dealing with sick kiddos... it's been wonderful! I'm so thankful for how hospitable my parents are!!

Below I will be posting several of our Christmas festivities. So, scroll down and see all the fun we've been having!

We will be heading home on the 1st. I'm ready to get home, get unpacked and settled in, prepare for the busy semester that awaits us. At the same time, I like my little bubble in Kansas!

Here's what we've been up to......


After we had snow in Texas, we were all anxious to get some really good snow while we were in Kansas. Our first day here, we were met with bitter cold. When we went to church on the Sunday before Christmas, it was five degrees with a windchill in the negative teens! But much to the dismay of my children and brother-in-law, no snow!
This Saturday, we got a light dusting. That was all we needed!

Matt and Megan pose for a rare snow picture.

Megan, at five months pregnant, sledding down the hill.

Benjamin LOVED sledding!

As did Micah!
And Curtis is never one to miss out on the action!

My beautiful, pink, snow bunny!

Pictures with the kids

Every year, I try to get a picture of Curtis and I with each of the kids. Here are our pictures with the kids for this year.

Christmas morning

The girls in our matching PJ's. Thanks Mom!

The boys in their matching PJ's. Thanks Dad! (The shirts say, "You'll poke you're eye out!")

Benjamin got a baby from his Aunt Shannon. He loves his baby!

Elizabeth with Grandma and Grand-Daddy

Reading a new book with Aunt Shannon.

The cute kids with their stockings (made by Grandma!)

Elizabeth with some fun stocking stuffers.

Micah was very excited about his new DVD!

Gingerbread House

Aunt Shannon had a fun project for the kids to work on.... their first ever gingerbread house!


Our first stop was Oklahoma City, where we spent the night with my grandparents. My family met us at my grandparents, and we celebrate Christmas with them, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Elizabeth and Great-Grandma making a special Christmas cake. Micah got in on the action too.
Uncle Matt and Aunt Megan with Benjamin.
After spending time with my mom's side of the family, we went to spend some time with my dad's side of the family. On the way, Micah fell asleep, and stayed asleep while all the rest of us opened presents, played and ate.

Benjamin and Papa Johnston.

Great-Grandma Johnston and Elizabeth.

There was a sweet little five week old puppy that the kids got to play with. Notice Benjamin's red face and hands? The temperature dropped dramatically, but that didn't stop the kids from playing outside!

After all the fun in OKC, we headed north to Wichita!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

" In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."
John 1:4-5, 14, 16

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our new niece

On Friday, Curtis' brother, Chris, our sister-in-law, Terra, and their children Justin and Charleigh welcomed the newest member of their family. We were able to stop and see Shelby, our newest family member, just a few hours after she was born.
Isn't she beautiful?!? Micah loving on Shelby.
Proud, Uncle Curtis!
Elizabeth loving on Shelby too.

Our beautiful niece, Charleigh! She seemed to be taking to big sisterhood quite well! Me, Benjamin, Carter and Amanda. Benjamin and Carter almost share a birthday! Cater was born the day after Benjamin.
In non-baby related news, we are in Kansas! We've had a chilly start to our Christmas break. This morning when we went to church, the temperature was 5 degrees!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Subject of Santa

This is the year Curtis and I have been expecting, and almost dreading. The year when we, for the first time as parents, have had to address the topic of Santa.

Earlier this season, Elizabeth saw a Christmas movie. In it, there was a man who owned a toy store, and would dress up like Santa and take toys to children. The star of the movie, a bear who's smile was on upside down, thought that the old man really was Santa, especially when "Santa" knew just what the bear wanted, a real home for Christmas.

At the end of the movie, Elizabeth exclaimed, "Wow Mommy! Santa is like God! He can see everything we do and knows what we want!" Yikes!!

Last week, Micah was sitting by the nativity, and asked me, "How'd he do it?" "How did who do what?" I replied back. "How'd God get to be a baby?" Wow!

I brings me so much joy to see my children think, question and learn more about their Creator and the birth of his Son. I love telling them the Christmas story over, and over. We delight in imagining how the shepherds might have felt, what angels really look like, if baby Jesus was bald, and then talking about WHY Jesus came.

With all the questions that are being asked, Curtis and I have chosen to not do the whole Santa thing with our kids. There are so many distractions, so many questions, that we don't see any reason to add Santa to the mix. Our kids are also really young, and the line between reality and fantasy is easily blurred. Elizabeth asked me , "Can we go to the beach to see mermaids?" If I chose to tell Elizabeth that there were no mermaids, than why would I tell her that a man in a red suit comes into her house?

I've found that the "faith of a child" is something that can easily be taken advantage of. We choose to fill their heads, and place their faith and belief, in reality, rather than fiction. We want them to know forwards and backwards, inside and outside, the story of salvation, rather than the story of Santa.

Do we think that a family who chooses to "do Santa" are going to permanently screw up their children? Of course not! It's their decision to do what they want with their kids, just like it's our decision to do (or in this case, not do) what we want with Santa.

I know several families who are doing the whole Santa thing, and doing a fantastic job of balancing it, and not making Christmas all about Santa. And I know that's something we could do too..... place the focus on Christ, yet have the fun of Santa. In the future, that's really what I would like to do. Growing up, we always left Peanut M&M's and Diet Mt. Dew out for Santa, knowing full well that Santa, was really my Dad. It was fun! "Santa" would leave us notes, Rudolph would take bites from the carrot. Fun! But I don't feel comfortable doing that with my kids, at least not yet. I need them to know, without a shadow of a doubt the TRUE Christmas story. They we can play the whole Santa thing.

One less distraction can't be a bad thing.

And while we're on the topic, does anyone else get super annoyed when they see this:

One, try explaining to a four year old that baby Jesus didn't really have a "shinny gold circle" on his head. Two, I don't like how the line between fantasy and reality is being blurred. I want my children to know what's real, to believe in what's real, even if it's not tangible. This whole Santa and baby Jesus thing messes that up too much for me!

So there are my thoughts! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Santa Subject as well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Incredible Hulks

Yesterday we had our Christmas with the Findleys. It's always a fun time for us to spend time with them, and have the kids exchange gifts. This year, the Findleys nailed it when they got Micah a pair of Incredible Hulk Fists. They even make noise when you punch (or blink at) them. My favorite phrase is, "You're making me angry! You won't like me angry!"

Here are a few pictures of all the hulks we had at our house on Sunday!

I attempted to get a picture of Anthony with the Hulk hands, but he was moving way too fast for my poor camera to focus. He was in on the action too, though!