Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Family, version 2011 :)

I'm getting pretty good at the whole "self timer" thing...
;)
 Thank you for our family, our children, and our happiness.
Thank you for fighting so hard.

I love you.


More to come
(when I can catch up with everyone else's photos!)

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As Christmas approaches...


The end of November has arrived and the newness of the holiday season holds heavy around us, almost like rain ready to fall as soon as December first strikes midnight. The advent calenders will begin their daily surprises and we'll continue to read our nightly bible verses as the glow of the advent wreath lights our family table. The radio spouts out praises and glories to God in the highest, and our house dons its gorgeous display of colorful stars in the night like beacons for a trio of men searching for something in the night.
But, as a mother, I often think back to Mary and Joseph and the trip they would be making at this time many many years ago. She must have been awfully scared and nervous. Here she was, almost due with this child who was the son of God, can you imagine the pressure? Everyone must have been cold to her, becoming pregnant when she did, under the circumstances she did. She probably had no support from anyone, so leaving that dark night may have even been welcome. But she wasn't totally alone. She had sweet Joseph, who stuck by her side, with his faith that was so strong. He led this donkey many miles and many nights on foot, hungry and cold, worried about the lives of the precious cargo it carried.
The weight on the shoulders of this husband and soon to be father would be more than I could bear.
Yet he pushed on, hungry and exhausted.
When baby Jesus was born, did Mary look in his eyes and wonder how long she had him until he would be called home? Did Joseph see himself in the eyes of the newborn king?
As he grew, did they worry about him breaking his arm while playing with the other kids? Did they discipline this young king? Did they raise their fists at the sky on days when terrible-twos Jesus refused a nap and ask "why me?!"? I suppose if you were chosen by God to raise this child, you'd feel a little better, but it must have been harder than any other task. Watching her son being whipped and beaten, nailed to a cross, crying and bleeding, while she was left helpless to watch. Had he wanted to cry out to her? Ask her for help? Ask her why she brought him into this world and kept him safe just to endure this treatment?
I couldn't do it.
When I look into the eyes of my little boy, I can't even imagine.

I'm sure as he hung there, being poked and taunted, she thought of all the times he scraped his knees and she cried after she kissed them better, because you hurt more just seeing that little face tear stained. The times he smiled and laughed as Joseph tossed him in the air, and the times he hugged her knees, because that's all he could reach as she prepared dinner for the family.

When Jesus asked why God had forsaken him, I'm sure Mary had been shouting the same thing for years as she watched the hardships that her son faced.

Anyway, so as December kicks Christmas into high gear, I don't worry about the city taking "Christmas" out of this and that and calling it "Holiday", or about the commercialization of Santa. Calling something a "Holiday Parade" or a "Holiday Card", or even "Xmas" isn't going to remove the reason we celebrate Christmas, and it's not going to make me or my family forget Jesus. So call it what you will, we'll still sing Happy Birthday on Christmas morning.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

A Cowboy Farewell

In case you hadn't heard, our beloved Oklahoma State University family has suffered another great loss. Thursday night, the plane that Coach Kurt Budke, his assistant coach, Miranda Serna were riding in crashed over Arkansas, killing them both as well as the pilot and his wife.
The last couple days have been sad here, even with the entire community wearing orange shirts and ribbons. The memorial service was today. I was at work, but I have it ready to watch later on.
I feel so hurt for the families of these wonderful four people, losing loved ones at the time of year when family is closest. I pray that their strength is mighty and they will be carried through this rough time.

Emma & Coach Budke

You can leave your online respects here, on their memorial website.

"Today is a new beginning. It's going to be a rollercoaster ride for a while. I invite you to jump on board with us because we're going to build something special."

- Kurt Budke


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankgiving Festivities!

Last week we made our annual pilgrimmage to the local Culinary Arts School's Thanksgiving feast. Our uber fun friends go with us since the time that they were bringing 4 kids and we had 2, now dwindled down to one each.
(sigh)
 It was, as always, DELICIOUS!
 And then, Evan had his preschool Thanksgiving Feast. It's the school's annual fundraiser auction.
 Evan and his friends all put on a short singing show for us.
 It's exciting for Emma to go to school events and now soccer games with our family that are actually not hers!
 Look at this big ol' turkey pumpkin Evan made (minus the tail he wanted removed)
 His favorite teacher, Ms. Diane

Time is dwindling away until the big feast here, and I need to go gather my groceries today!
You only have 5 days!
Are you ready?!?
Gobble Gobble!!

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CARS!!

When I found out that Lightning McQueen, Finn McMissile, and Mater were coming to Oklahoma, I was going to make SURE that their biggest fan was going to meet them, even though it meant hubs and I would be leaving work early, and the einsteins would be leaving school early as well. I mean, after all, how many times do you get to see LIFE SIZE PIXAR CARS?!?!
After the 45 minute drive, we pulled up to Mack, all decorated for the big event.
 It was forecast to be storming, so the other activities were put away (the bounce houses and arts and crafts and other such funs), but the trio was there, and we were ready to see them!
(although Evan was a bit angry that we had to wait in line.)
 When it was finally our turn, Mater's eyes were a bit too big for the likes of Evan, and he decided it was best that he stay in daddy's grasp until we were safely away.


 Emma loved it. It reminded me of back when the first movie came out and she was also in love with all things lightning.
The kids left with AWESOME swag bags, though. They had a full sized atlas, coloring books, CARS crayons (the twist up kid!), a HUGE beach towel, pencils, Mater car air freshner, car shammie, stickers, and more! It was suh-weeeet!

I can't wait to see them again!

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Soccer Sibs, at Last!

Em's season had barely ended before Ev's indoor soccer season began. Our days of piling (and leaving) our folding chairs and blankets and extra water bottles and soccer balls and pumps and extra cleats and extra shin guards and...well, you get the point (Thank God for the minivan!) has been replaced by a much more hideous season of YMCA indoor soccer, but we'll get into that shortly.
First off, how about our little soccer star, Em? Her season went out with a bang, and she played SO well this season! We are SO proud!
 Em & her friend, Sarah.
 Team World Cup
 So, then, today, we started Evan's VERY FIRST soccer season.
(Oh my gosh, can you even believe it?!?)
The YMCA lets you play when you're three, and Evan just squeaked by the age limit. (I swear this kid is doomed to be the youngest in everything he does!)
We arrived to mass chaos inside the Y. Parents and kids swarming the place trying to figure out where to go. We made our way to the gym and realized that the 3 benches they had for parents were packed full like sardines in a can, and staked our spot on the floor.
Ev is on the light blue team.
 He was SOOO excited. He told me that he was "The best soccer player EVER."
(Notice I used quotation marks? That's seriously his words. LOVE it.)
 He was pretty overwhelmed with the mass hysteria of kids crying, parents yelling, and another game going on next to his, but he was ready to start!
 Go, Ev! Go!

 In the end, he had great fun, and even got one of his preschool pals on the same team!
Just look at the proud daddies! :)

And so it begins....
:)
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day (in our home)

Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner - are you ready?
Our home is hustling and bustling with fall everywhere we look.
The fall flowers have taken the places of the summer survivors as they wilted from the early frosts we've had the past week, and turkey handprints are everywhere.
 We've been counting down the days until our feast with these conversation cards from The Happy Home. Each card has an activity or conversation starter relating to giving thanks. We do one together as we sit down to dinner each night.

We also decided to list off our favorite Thanksgiving books.
Mine, of course, is the ever-so-sad Giving Tree. I even have it on CD, so even the littlest einstein can hear it without his momma crying and choking up. ;)

The littlest einstein loves these two books.
This one is a overall favorite of his, and should you have a little one, I HIGHLY suggest you grab a copy.

This book is so much fun to read because it has lifting flaps and ADORABLE illustrations.

Big einstein has a....thing...for reading. She tested out as a 6.5 grade level reader, though she's in 3.5. She loves books, and it was very hard for her to narrow it down to even this many.

This is one that I haven't read yet, but she has read about 3 times already. She really likes the Ready, Freddy series.

This book is remniscent of the "This is the house that Jack Built", but in a thanksgiving meal theme. Yum!

This book is a little more non-fiction and has a little more words per page, but it gets the story across easily and beautifully. (No small pox involved)

She was most excited about this one. I can't really tell you why, but she said it was a good story about having fun even when you're grouchy, and that's a lesson I think we all could use (escpecially at all those holiday parties! Ha!)

I hope you are all preparing to have a wonderful season of giving thanks and showing gratitude to all God's creatures and creations! I've made my list, and I'm clearing out my fridge for a big, fat, plump turkey! Yum!
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November


Ah, November.
The sweet month of cool weather before the snow comes.
But not this year.

This year, November has brought (and keep n mind, folks, it's only rhe 8th day yet)
Thunderdtorms
Tornados
Flash Floods (wait, weren't we in a drought?!?)
and...
EARTHQUAKES.
Yep. THREE to be exact.

Hubby missed the first two, as did Em. Evan missed all of them, and when I told Emma about the third, she looked around, and casually went back to reading her book with a "cool.". Hmm. I guess she really is a Cali girl.

Happy November, everyone!


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The GREATEST Homecoming on Earth!

It's no mystery where our alma mater is. That is, unless you're new here. And in that case you should still know just by the title. OSU's homecoming is said to be the greatest - and one of the top 3 biggest - homecoming celebrations in the nation. I have to agree, though I may be just a bit biased.
Homecoming is a week long event for spectators (and months long for the students that prepare and plan the decs). We skipped the early -in- the week festivities this year and began on Friday. It was pajama day at school that day and Evan wore his skeleton pants that day.
He was rockin'.
 If you're as cool as Evan, you can pull off wearing them to Walk Around that night, which is where the greek houses premiere their house decs to the public. You can also look absolutely adorable as you pick your nose...
(hey, at least he's always got a germ-x in his other hand)

 This was the Alpha Chi Omega house dec, which was where I lived for a short while in college. It always makes a good bathroom stop for the kids every year.
 Instead of battling the hoards of people out about town eating, we decided to roast our own "Halloweenies" (as the kids would say).
 Our friends had never had a weenie roast before, so it was fun to watch them cooking over the fire.

 This was followed by some yummy s'mores, of course, at which time I was too busy stuffing my face to take pictures.

Saturday morning is the homecoming parade. It's early for most people, but it's always reaaaaalllly early for us, since we've always got an Emma in the parade who has to be there for staging.

 Here we are, watching the festivities!
 Mmmm...candy!


 There she is! With the pink coat!





 Right after the parade, we got changed to head up to the pep rally. The fountain at the library was its usual shade of orange (this only happens during homecming week), and the kids were thirsty for orange slushies.


 We have some die-hard fans. Check out this car!
 For the actual game, we headed over to our friends' house for a watch party so the kids could play (and nap) before another Halloween party that evening.
Of course, OSU won.
We're undefeated so far!

Go Pokes!


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