Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year End In Review (part 1)

Happy New Year's (Eve)

Wow! It is almost 2011. It's hard to believe we are now down to the last day of the year. So much has happened and so little blogged about it. Sorry! Here is a recap, to the best of my memory.

January brought Mike and I a newfound freedom when our oldest daughter, Stasia, turned twelve and was officially allowed to babysit. She has
been a tremendous blessing in accepting her role as the oldest child in the family as she carried out new responsibilities while enjoying new found freedoms (like wearing makeup and sitting in the front seat).

March brought about my birthday where I celebrated another 30th. : ) I still cover my grays, so I can get away with it. Because Mike forgot to make a cake, we celebrated by going to an Italian Ice Cream place where I got my favorite German ice cream dessert, Spaghettieis. Ummmm! It is ice cream that really looks like spaghetti.

April rolled around with a Spring Break trip to Paris. We toured the city the first day and went to EuroDisney the next day. The kids did a great job with all the walking and sightseeing. It reminded me of my childhood when we travelled Europe during my Dad's assignment to Germany. I hope our kids have just as fond memories as I do of visiting other countries.

In July, we went to visit a college friend in Ravensburg. We visited Lake Constance which is bordered by Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It was cold enough, even in July, for me to wear a wetsuit in the water. I know, I am a chicken when it comes to cold water. The lake and surrounding area were beautiful. We also visited Neuschwanstein Castle (Cinderella's Castle is modeled after it) where not one, but two children threw up in the car due to all the winding roads. Overall, it was a great trip.

At the end of July, we went to Italy for a week. We drove to Camp Darby which is a military base on the coast near Pisa. We did day trips from there. We, of course, visited Pisa and took the famous picture of trying to hold up the Leaning Tower. We also visited Cinque Terre (the five cities built on the cliffs) and managed to go swimming in one of the little alcoves. We took a ferry to the island of Elba and again managed to go swimming in one of the little alcoves. We visited a marble quarry. We also found and American beach, rented a boogie board, and some chairs, and relaxed for a day. It was an awesome trip.

This update covers us through the end of July. There is too much to write in one post! So I'll update the rest of our year in the next one. Needless to say, we have been abundantly blessed to have this opportunity to live overseas. Theses trips would not be financially affordable for our large family if we were to do this from the States. We are very grateful to God for the opportunity to be here in a country that is so good to us. We love it here!

In Him,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Card Letter

Instead of sending out Christmas letters this year, we sent out postcards with our blog address. So if you are here because of the postcard, "WELCOME to our family blog!"

I first want to say that we are eternally grateful to Christ, who came to earth as a baby, to save us from our sins. Without Him, I would be nothing! He is the reason for the celebration in our home. With that, I also acknowledge that everything I have, especially my husband and my five beautiful children, are gifts from Him.

I love this time of year for a few reasons. One is the cooler weather than what I am used to coming from Texas. It is snowing again which will more than likely leave us with a true White Christmas. I honestly cannot remember the last time I have see that. The kids are enjoying all the snow by making snow men, igloos, and piles of snow to jump on.

I also love this time of year because of all the updates we get from our friends. I love hearing how everyone is doing, the new additions that have been added to your families, how big all the kids are getting, all the places you have travelled, what's in store for the next year... Please keep them coming. A little tradition that Mike and I do every year is add all the friends and family pictures from the year at the end of our annual scrapbook. Some of you have made it into several albums!

Another reason I love this time of year is the focus on spending time with family and friends. It's about sharing God's love with each other through relationships, not gifts. Even those occasional email updates, facebook status's, or the short visit mean the world to us in comparison to our things that we could ever possess.

All in all, I am trying to say "THANK YOU!" for being a part of our extended family, for loving us, and blessing us more than words can say. May God's gift of His Son be a reminder of what is truly important all year long.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The beginning of Christmas break

The beginning of Christmas break started with school being cancelled for Friday because we got over four inches of snow. That is evidently a lot for our area. We got another two inches last night. And now big piles of snow have been built in our yard by the kids. They are spending hours outside. I love it!

We also got our Christmas cards mailed and are just awaiting a few more addresses. It's a big thing accomplished on our "to do" list. Since it has been two years since we've sent out updates, I desperately needed to get that done.

Thanks to Mike and his early shopping bug, we actually finished getting all our Christmas presents. With the exception of two gifts that will be wrapped the night before Christmas, all of them are under the tree. We added a little twist to keep the fun of guessing what's inside the package... the gift tags are coded. Now they have no idea which gifts are for them specifically. I even put some of the girls gifts in boy themed bags and vice versa. Some of the bags are birthday themes. This throws them off because Eli's birthday is on the 26th and so they think those are definately his. So much fun! You should hear their conversations.

And lastly, we are trying to start our scrapbook with the intent to finish it before Mike leaves for his deployment which is scheduled for early January. It seems to grow bigger each year. But we love to keep track of where we've been and how much the kids have grown over the year. Plus, the kids love to sit in the living room and look through them like story books. It makes it worth all the work to put them together.

I am thankful to God for so many things right now... my Savior, my husband, my kids, my friends, my church. Even though our culture has turned this season into gift getting and receiving, I am mostly in awe of the relationships I am privileged to be part of. Thank you for being part of that blessing!

In Him,

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

The last few weeks have been action packed with two birthdays, Thanksgiving, a big birthday party at a kids' play place for our youngest three, putting up our Christmas tree, and now finalizing addresses to send out our family Christmas cards.
However, in the midst of a busy schedule, we have also been blessed with a lot of snow causing delayed and canceled school days. The kids are loving it. We hear many people complaining about the weather, but we love it. We came from Texas. This is a joy for us! So as we head into the bustle of the season, I am reminded to stop and enjoy the little moments that God is creating for all of us. I pray that you too will stop and enjoy what God has in store for you.

In Him,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Upcoming possibilities...

As we look forward to the Christmas season, I know I have a lot to be thankful for. And as I face an upcoming possibility, I want to bask in God's grace, glory, and provision for our family. You see, Mike found out that he is on the deployment list for January. By God's divine mercy, I have yet to experience a deployment with kids. And now I have five children who will bear the weight of their Dad's absence for several months. Just as God provides for the lilies of the fields and the birds of the air, I know He will take care of us too. He has provided a wonderful church filled with many kind-hearted and tender servants who relish the opportunity to love on others. He has blessed Mike and I with a strong marriage that, I pray, will only be stronger by the end of the separation. He has blessed us with beautiful children who understand, way beyond their years, that Papa must go serve our country. So this update is to seek your prayers for our family this Christmas season... that we would truly understand God's provision for our salvation through a little baby who became the Savior of the world, that we would celebrate His birth without taking for granted all He has truly given to us, and that our family would bring God glory through the season as we prepare for this separation. Thank you!

In Him,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Apologies and Thanksgivings

I must first apologize for unintentionally taking a fifteen month hiatus from our family blog. We have indeed been busy traveling Europe while enjoying our overseas military tour here in Germany. In addition, I finished homeschooling our oldest daughter and our youngest son is now in kindergarten. All of the things that kept me consumed with schedules and routines has now been changed with the new school year. I do miss having the noise of children at home during the day. Yet, I am now thankful for a newfound freedom to go to Bible studies, get errands run quicker, update our blog and to run and exercise on my own time.

We've seen many changes in the kids. One in particular, our oldest is now taller than me! I have come to the realization that in a matter of a few short years, I will be the shortest in the family. There is no sense in denying it or even fighting it. I just have to accept that me being vertically challenged is a gift somehow.

Other news is that Mike helped the two Wings at our base pass a huge inspection that happens every five years. It was a challenge for him to take on this kind of responsibility. Now he is back with the squadron and loving his new flying schedule. He is busy going on short trips. We are still waiting to see what happens in the spring time for a possible deployment. Word has been getting around, but nothing official yet. And lastly, Mike was selected as an alternate for school come next summer. If he gets picked up, we will leave within a few weeks of notice causing us to cut our tour to Germany a year early. I keep praying that if he goes to school, that we'll be able to come back in the future before he retires.

Lastly, I have been trying to step out in faith to accomplish projects that God has laid on my heart. One is to continue composing piano music. A friend from church taught me how to use my iPod to record piano music as voice memos. I just hook up the little headset I bought with it and hit record. And now I can share my songs digitally! I am praying that somehow they will become worship songs for others to sing instead of melodies only playing in my head. Two, after much encouragement from a variety of people in my life, and with the help of Mike, I have decided to write a book explaining our creative discipline techniques. We continue to receive compliments on our children with others asking, "What did you do?" Those conversations end up with more questions seeking answers to various discipline scenarios. I don't know what will eventually come of writing my ideas down. But at least when someone asks what we did, I can say, "Here, read this." and send a copy to them.

In all things, I pray that God receives the glory for what happens in our family! We have much for which we are thankful.

Happy late Thanksgiving and early Merry Christmas!