Monday, December 31, 2007

13 years and counting.....

We just celebrated 13 years together, years of growing and learning, lots of fun and tears too. I never really knew that I would love being married to my Robb so much, nor did I know the struggles and adjustments that would follow our "I dos". He is a delight to be around and I am thankful for his love and dedication to our little family. He constantly surpasses my expectations as a father, and with all he does to enrich the kids' lives, he still finds time to do things for me that mean a lot. The thought goes through my head almost daily, "I sure hope Lauren can find a husband like Robb." That is my prayer, along with "Please, God...may our 4 boys grow to be Godly men like their father." Christmas was wonderful...we were privileged to spend Christmas Eve with Gramps and Nana before they flew out to PA on Christmas morning. We had snow, which just added to the magic!
Lauren and Nana made pies together...
In the front of the house...winter wonderland!
Robb pulled the kids around the yard on sleds...I don't know who had more fun!
Just before Christmas Eve dinner...Nana and Lauren's hard work paid off!

Christmas Day was delightful. We had friends, Tony and Amy, come for dinner and then the afternoon and evening was spent playing games with them.
We have been enjoying time in the snow, with each other, and with friends. Today we are "on our own" as Tucker is sick. So far, just Tucker! One can always hope that it doesn't move through the family!

Happy New Year to all -"He makes all things new!"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A "Happy Birthday, Jesus" Party

In an attempt to have the children remember the real "Reason for the season", we invited a few friends (from our school's co-op....most everyone else is still in school) and we PARTIED! It was a fun morning of playing guns (anytime there's boys around, you know...) decorating graham cracker houses, eating pizza and then singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. One of the moms then reminded the kids that Jesus instructed us to show our love to Him by loving others, and that is why we give gifts to others at this time of year. It was a meaningful time with several religions (including LDS and Catholic) represented, and I hope the kids will remember it for a long time.

Now off to mop the floor and clean things up a bit... :)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Beautiful Reminder

I wanted to share something that touched my heart.

I hope you take a moment with your older kids to stop and watch this beautiful video of
"Mary, Did you Know?" sung by Kathy Mattea. (Just click on the above link.) It brings tears to my eyes...such wonderful theology in the simple words ..."this child that you delivered will soon deliver you."

As a mother of a little baby boy this Christmas, I have thought on all the care-taking things she did for Him, all the while knowing that He was the Son of God. She must have been so protective as He began to crawl and move around, that He would stay safe and healthy. She must have worried that He was getting enough to eat and sleeping enough and that He was developing normally. She must have fretted over diaper rashes, teeth coming in and ear infections. She must have wondered why she was chosen for the job of giving so much time and attention to this little one and it must have been bittersweet, knowing that He had a very special mission to accomplish.

I hope you enjoy this reminder of why He came as a little baby in the be one of us.

God is with us...God is for us...Emmanuel.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Here is our finished product...our wonderful, imperfect, "Charlie Brown" tree. The kids and Robb had a great time decorating while I added Christmas touches to other parts of the great thing about this tree is the gorgeous smell! I really would not trade it for a perfect tree for that very reason!

It is always fun to add another stocking to the fireplace, but as I looked at the "bunch" we have, I felt a little overwhelmed to think that we have this many little ones to raise to be Godly people (as in "Are these kids really all ours?")! For some strange reason, it was a visual for me and reminded me of the awesome responsibility Robb and I have as parents of these 5 impressionable souls! Our small group has been talking about parenting lately and we have been reading Deut. chapters 6, 7, and 8 - God's principles for raising kids. I can definitely feel overwhelmed with this when I begin to fear and not trust in God's strength and begin to feel that I have to do it on my own. My prayer is that this Christmas season will be for me one of quiet (in my heart; certainly not in the house!) and focusing on the Christ who came to be one of us, to teach us how to live. Whew! I need His strength!

Changes in our house include Preston learning how to crawl. His little knees stay red these days and he is getting into things I forgot babies could get into. He is driving the kids crazy as he gets into all of their things. I told Lauren that all babies do this and that I would soon begin teaching him what he can not get into. She rather curtly replied, "Well, today would be a great day to start!" This made me laugh...there is nothing like parenting advice from a 10 year old! Tucker, on the other hand, loves to make him happy by giving him things that are not good for him. Add all of this with a mouth bulging with teeth to come in (one did pop through) and a double ear infection. Oh, the changes each stage brings! And now there are more of us to adjust!

May your December days be merry and bright!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thanksgiving Day...and the Christmas Festivities Begin!

Our Thanksgiving, and everyday prayer, hung by our little table: "Oh Thou, who has given us so much, grant us one more thing - a thankful heart."

Before we get too far into the Christmas season, I wanted to post a couple of fun things. (warning: this is a bit long, but I had to fit a lot in.) Thanksgiving was different this year without Robb here, but it was a good day and our hearts were full of THANKS. Lauren made a delicious apple pie for us, as part of the food that we took to our dear friends' home, Willy and Lewis.
Here Lewis is getting the boys' table set and ready for them to eat. Kody, Jayce, Drew and Dawson.
Willy and my good friend Amy (also Willy's niece) sign Amy's "Thankful Tablecloth". Each year whomever she eats with signs what they are thankful for.
This is Preston and Kade, Willy and Lewis' grandson. These little ones have something special in common....they were born about 7 minutes apart, both 4 weeks early and spent several days in the same NICU. It was fun to see them together! Kade is a cutie!!

On Friday after Thanksgiving, we went with Gramps and Nana on the Thunder Mountain Train ride. We rode about an hour on a very old train that is now just used for tourist events. It was a very fun time. Even though there was no snow, the singing of carols, stories and Santa helped put us in the Christmas mood!
Gramps and the boys look out the window.
Our sweet Gramps and Nana! Our kids so love to have them come to visit!

The cute singers that led us in Christmas songs.

And today (Satrday) we headed to the mountains with some friends to find a Christmas tree. What a great time we had, with the snow falling down and the kids sledding down the hills. Above is the Orr family who brought the 4 wheelers that we all enjoyed.
These are the adults (well, Preston is on Robb's back in the backpack)....
...and these are the kids! Can you believe that out of all those 12 kids, 11 were boys! Lauren takes it all in stride...she is used to boys and loves playing with them.

Thanks to lots of layers of clothes, snow suits for kids and baby, hot cocoa, and hand and toe warmers, we all had a wonderful time. Robb and I are so thankful for our fabulous friends to share life with and we were glad to take this day to enjoy relationships and make memories. We hope to not schedule our days too tightly so we can enjoy many more fun events this Christmas season. We are trying as a family to not focus on the gifts (sort of hard in this culture sometimes), but rather on The Gift! Happy December! (The following video clips are of Preston and Gramps, and then Lauren and Drew playing at their vioin Christmas concert last night.)