Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our own little band

Yet another fun Christmas present! Two years ago Danny's brother and sister-in-law bought Parker (or was it Alyssa?) a drum, accordian, and kazoo. The cashier at Target said to them "some mother is going to love you!"and I have to admit I groaned a little when the package was opened. But as it so often goes, the kids have loved them and we've grown to appreciate their performances too. (At least instruments stop making noise when the kids stop playing - a characteristic I wish I could say holds true for all of their toys.) So we gladly welcomed a few additions to their collection this week: a drum set, a real guitar, a harmonica, and a slew of other rythym instruments, courtesy of their aunts and uncles. As you can see, the band members are thoroughly enjoying their generosity. And don't worry - we'll be sure to return the favor to our young neices and nephews in years to come!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Look what I got for Christmas! 300 posts bound into one beautiful volume. I think there are probably almost as many hours invested in the binding as in the writing. Don't I have the greatest mom?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We cherish the opportunity this time of year provides to reflect on the day when the One in Whom “all the fullness of Deity dwells”* came “in bodily form,” and to share with you the way He “holds all things together”* both in our family and in the rest of His creation. All of the blessings of Danny’s job have been a gift from God – lots of time with us, a steady paycheck, and fun helping others. All of the joy in Laura staying home is because of Him – laughter, hugs, and the privilege of watching a 2-, 4-, and 6-year old grow in their understanding of God and the world around them. All of the fun of 1st grade is Alyssa’s greatest blessing – carefully applying herself to reading and math facts, sharing with new friends of her own, and running into Mama’s arms at the end of the day. All of the activities that occupy Parker are God’s gift – jumping everywhere, swimming, wrestling with Daddy, and thoroughly entertaining Mama. God takes care of all of Reagan’s needs as she learns to talk, hop, and generally try to keep up with a brother and sister who adore her. And God has held us all together through a move to a beautiful new home, Dan’s mission trip to Malawi, our continued ministry with college students, and a lot of fun along the way. We are immeasurably blessed, but in no way greater than the peace we know because Jesus Christ reconciled all things to Himself through the blood of His cross.* Our prayer is that you also know His blessing and His peace in all things!
*Colossians 1

Monday, December 22, 2008

The really good, the not-as-bad-as-it-could-have-been and the crazy

Well, my jet plane took me on a little more of an adventure than I had anticipated! And I'll warn you now, after re-reading this again myself that my recap is almost as long as the ordeal -- sorry!
My mom, sister and I arrived in Seattle Thursday afternoon to a city ill-prepared for the snow and ice God sent their way. We stood in a long line for a taxi, even sharing it with a gentleman from Alaska, and eventually arriving to a beautiful hotel room right downtown with a stunning view of the Sound and white-tipped city-scape. After bundling up, out we went to enjoy the Christmas-y weather and fun shopping. However, we seemed to be the only ones with that idea. We started at Macy's, only to find out they were closing at 4:30 (!!!), ran across the street to one mall to find out they were heading home at 5:00. Even Nordstrom was closing it's doors at 6:00, so we were thrilled to find a restaurant in another mall that was staying open long enough for us to grab a quick bite (fresh seafood... yum!). By 7:30 the city was virtually deserted by commuters and shoppers alike - all anxious to start the long trek home on the treacherous roads. So we snuggled in with our hot-fudge sundaes from McDonald's (the only "restaurant" for blocks still open), and were asleep by 9:15, crazy partiers that we are!
Aren't we cute all bundled up in the only moderately-warm clothing we own?
Friday brought out a few more adventurers and a fun day of touring our old hometown just north of the city with friends. On our way back we happened upon this most-unusual site.
Pretty crazy huh? It sounds like there were only minor injuries, and we were glad to have passed by before emergency crews got there and closed down the freeway. Seattle's cobblestone hills, ice and buses apparently aren't a good mix.
But the real highlight was the long-anticipated performance of Handel's masterpiece! I think this is the music we'll be singing in heaven. It is so beautiful and worshipful - even when brought to life by musicians who largely and sadly have no idea of the meaning behind the truth they are proclaiming. We sat in the fifth row so it seemed as if they were playing and singing just for us. By the end of the performance my mouth muscles hurt from smiling so long and wide.
That smiled persisted through most of Saturday with more shopping and the fun, familiar hustle and bustle of the pre-holiday rush. With all of our shopping for others already done, we could concentrate on digging for deals for ourselves - which was fortunately limited by the extra space in our itty bitty luggage.
Later Saturday afternoon we drug that luggage back to the airport in hopes of catching an earlier flight out to avoid yet another snowstorm headed towards the great northwest. The good news is we got on that flight. The bad news is, we got off it again before it left Seattle. Then got back on, then got back off. Through a series of mechanical issues and the snow and wind that began pounding the runways, our hopes were stoked, and then dashed, over and over again. Until finally at 1:15 am, a full 9 hours after our flight was supposed to take off, it was cancelled. By that time, of course, every hotel a cab would even consider taking us to in such weather was full, and every flight for Sunday was booked solid. Which means the only flight they could confirm us on was for Monday night - yes, Monday, as in, if not for the grace of God I'd still be sitting at Sea-Tac airport right now (I'm not, for the record). And the only place to sleep was this little "camp" we set up for ourselves:
Cozy right? (That's me "asleep" there in the orange, and Sarah in yellow). In all actuality though it was so much better than it could have been. Sometimes in the midst of a hiccup like this (hard to call it a trial really), it's hard to see God's plan, but He provided for us in so many practical ways. In such simple things as this spot to sleep, complete with an outlet to recharge our dying cell-phones, chairs without armrests, and blankets and pillows provided by a compassionate airline employee. The fact that we did not have the kids with us, as much as we missed them, was a blessing. My heart ached for the mother of 3 across the aisle from us stuck in the same situation with even fewer provisions. We didn't check any bags so we were able to change clothes, brush our teeth, and feel slightly human again after our four hour nap. But most of all, God gave us a respite in the storm and roused us from sleep early enough to hear a boarding call for a flight to another airport just 30 miles or so from our original destination. We ran over the gate, smiled our best smiles, prayed a little prayer, and were finally given permission to board the plane after the door had already been shut! I felt like cheering when that plane actually got up in the air. The flight itself was uneventful, my brother-in-law was able to pick us up, and I got home just as Danny & the kids were returning from church. So all in all, I consider myself very blessed. I read today that Alaska Air ran out of de-icing fluid yesterday, so between that, the snow, the wind, and all the other cancelled flights, to say nothing of the time of year, I have no doubt that God had a hand in getting us home when He did. We had a wonderful time, but I was ready to see Danny, Alyssa, Parker and Reagan, and they were ready to see me. The cleanliness of the house and the children was far above my expectations and they seemed to have a fun daddy-weekend. But... Dan found out that being home can be challenging, and the kids have all been exceptionally huggy. We do better together =).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Leavin' on a jetplane

The girls are going to Seattle for the weekend! I'm hoping to see something like this:
but I'm more likely to see something like this:
The forcast is calling for snow, so we'll have our fun in the downtown shops, restaurants and the Messiah! Yep, for my birthday a few weeks ago my mom tracked down tickets. Nevermind that we have to travel 1100 miles to get there, I can't wait!
Pray for Dan. He'll be alone with all three kids for three days (a first I think). I have a feeling Grandma T will be in great demand. They'll have a blast and I'm already prepared for dirty little bodies and a messy home when I return!

One of THOSE parents

I've always chuckled a little at the Student of the Month bumper stickers that seem to be everywhere. Are they on every other car in your neighborhood too? Maybe it's just a suburban thing. Just how many students of the month can there be? Well, it turns out there are 7 for the month of December, just in the 1st grade - one for every class. Presumably it's the same for every other grade, in every other elementary school. Adds up to a lot of "special" kids! But this month, one of those honored children is mine, and I have to say that I'm quite proud. If not for dark tint on our rear windows and a car-guy for a husband, I think I might even be proclaiming her acheivement on my truck. But instead I'll brag on her here! As you can see Alyssa was singled out for her "responsibility" in the classroom. Reading is great and math facts are important, but if I have to choose, I'm grateful for a daughter who is recognized for her respect towards authority and consideration of her peers. She brings so much joy to our home that it's fun to see that the other people she spends a great deal of her waking hours with also appreciate our special girl!

Monday, December 15, 2008

50,000 hits

is probably not much of a milestone as far as "real" websites or serious bloggers are concerned, but for me and my tiny little blog... wow! What it actually means is I'm here way too much clinking away on my sidebar links, and that my mom and a few friends stop by with some degree of regularity. I enjoy this little hobby - for the fun of writing and catching up with friends, new and old, in real life and those of you I only "know" here. So thanks for reading and sticking around to tell me how cute my kids are. Hopefully I'll be here for another 50,000!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Only in California...

... will you find a family of four (not mine) donning Santa hats, viewing Christmas lights seated in a convertible Porche - top down!
... can a man (mine) go to work in shorts every day of spring, summer and fall.
... will a 2-year-old (that'd be Reagan) wake up in the night terrified by the sound of forced hot air coming through the ducts for the first time on December 9th.
I'll concede that it doesn't exactly feel like Christmas, but a girls-only weekend to Seattle will solve that. I love California!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Christian's favorite word

This was the title of our pastor's sermon on Sunday. What's your guess? Need a clue? His text was Ephesians 2. Still don't know? I didn't either. Not for sure. There are so many incredible possibilities: mercy, forgiveness, joy, Jesus, the cross, reconciliation, peace, love... the list really is endless. How can you choose? Well, Rick chose grace, and made a convincing argument from this familiar passage. Grace certainly is a most attractive attribute of God and the one without which I would be separated from Him forever. But during his introduction, while he kept us hanging, I had another word in mind. My guess was the word "but." "But God." My favorite word in my favorite spot is in Ephesians 2:3-5:

...we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.

and then in verses 12 and 13:
remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Without that "but" I'd still be a child of wrath. Without "but" I would be without hope and without God in the world. Praise God for "but"s!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

You've missed me, right?

And I know you've missed my photo-heavy posts of the cutest kids in the world (besides yours, of course!). So here you go... a few shots of all the time we've been enjoying in the park lately, because nothing beats Southern California weather in the fall! If you notice that a certain 6 year-old is missing, it's because that thing called school keeps getting in the way and she hasn't yet invited me to come follow her around with a camera at recess. Don't worry though - we're headed to Disneyland this afternoon so I'll work hard to get a few shots of our biggest princess.