Wednesday, December 30, 2009


My husband turned 33 this week. His birthday wasn't a big affair for two reasons - 1, he doesn't like it to be a big deal, and 2, I kinda forgot... Well, not forgot exactly, because I knew his birthday was the 28th, and I had already bought his present. Actually, I had already given him his present; he didn't want cake... So, on Monday morning, I didn't know what the date was and so I didn't realize it was "the big day". He's not thrilled about being 33, although I must say he's handling it better than I'm dealing with my upcoming birthday. I'm not looking forward to being... well, that old. :)
The kids had a great Christmas. We celebrated on the 23rd. We spent a quiet morning here - just the 5 of us. We opened gifts and just relaxed. The next day we went to the park and played and then went Christmas light looking in the evening. We had hor dorves both days and tried to keep things as easy as possible. It was definitely a change from last year... Nathan got a scooter and the weather was nice enough for him to actually go outside and ride it. It's a long ways from the snow we had the past few Christmases.
Presents this year included lots of "Littlest Pet Shop", a Webkinz apiece, some movies and Wii games, puzzles, Nerf guns... It was a lot of fun. As of today, I've cleaned up all the decorations with the exception of the tree. Its on the schedule for Saturday.
For New Years Eve, Lowell and I are going out. I am very excited about it!! We haven't been out in quite awhile and I've missed being 'just us'. I love spending time with my husband. I love that, after all these years (it'll be 14 in June!!) we still enjoy each other's company. We legitametly like each other. And I think that's special - and precious in this day and age. I feel totally blessed that my husband appreciates our relationship enough to nurture it. He makes us a priority, and I love that. He even dedicated me a song the other day... :)
This year hasn't been the greatest, that's for sure, but it has definitely had its share of blessings. We made the move to Arizona; my Masters program is coming along nicely; Lowell and I both have jobs; our kids are healthy and doing well in school... We are incredibly blessed and thankful for all that God has done in our lives in 2009. And we're excited about what He has planned for 2010~ :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Its Important to Laugh

Other cute-ness-es I had to share from :)
In the last picture, those are baby hamsters. He looks happy, doesn't he?? :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I love this season. I love the festivity of it all. For example, all the twinkle lights that brighten my commute to work; the completely irrational inflatable characters that dangle precariously from our neighbor's roof (ie the Santa on the motorcycle or the ice skating snowman); and the overwhelming smell of cinnamon that emanates from the holiday section of Walmart. However, more than that, I love the real reason for this time of celebration. I love that Jesus came to save us. I love that He knew what His 33 years would consist of, and that He chose to come anyway. I love that His beginnings were humble; born in a stable, surrounded by animals of burden, to a poor family with no ceremony or pomp and circumstance. The King of the Universe chose to came quietly and into the lives of the "lowest of these". Can you imagine how different it would have been had He entered the world as the son of a queen? Surrounded by servants and palaces of gold? Instead, Jesus grew up very quietly. He didn't have a job in the spotlight. To the contrary, he was a carpenter. I think this choice, to begin his life in semi-anonymity, makes it easier to accept that He could possibly love me. He wasn't afraid to sit with lepers or to be seen with prostitutes... He made it obvious that He wasn't ashamed of those He called His children and that, just because a person was ostracized by society, it didn't mean that Jesus would turn that person away. Jesus made it clear that He worked with a different set of rules and that He wasn't concerned with the outer person - His only concern was the heart of a person.
Lowell and I have had a chance to learn more about this lately in a decision that we've been trying to make. We have been on our knees in prayer about what path to take for the future of our family - seeking to understand God's will for our lives. And then we heard an interesting sermon... The topic was on God's perfect will versus His permissive will. To clarify, this is a belief that is very common in churches that says that God has a perfect will for each person - a very specific path that they should take throughout life, and that He also has a permissive will - the life that a person leads when they don't exactly stay on the path or make choices that aren't aligned with God's will for them. The pastor likened it to hopping from one lily pad to the next in an attempt to find the "right" path across the river. Then he explained the silliness of this belief, especially when applied to the hunt for a spouse. If, for example, a person chooses the "wrong" spouse - a person outside of God's perfect will, whatever children they may have won't fit into God's perfect will. They won't even have a chance - and, because they weren't ever supposed to exist, they won't have mates that are within God's perfect will either.. And on and on..
That being said, while I had never had it explained to me or had this label placed on it, I know now that I grew up in a church believing in the perfect/permissive will of God. I had been taught to agonize over each decision to be sure that I was living in accordance to the will of God; that I attended the 'right' college, made the 'right' job choices, etc... But then after listening to this pastor, I have come to question that belief. This pastor explained that God's concern is the heart of a man - not the occupation. God is not limited by the choices that we make. He can use us wherever we are, so long as our hearts are open and obedient to Him.... So, this has made our decision much easier... As long as we are following God's word and keeping our hearts pure and open to His direction, the rest is just details.
In my attempt at metaphor, I tried to compare this to our Christmas tree... The ornaments on the tree may be beautiful and the twinkle lights may be relaxing and hypnotic, but they can be moved about the tree without making much of a difference in its beauty. However, unless the star at the top of the tree is pointing heavenward, there's a problem. (Like the tree is falling over :)) So, yes, we have some decisions to make but the details are no longer so important. The focus for us now is that our hearts and lives are pointing heavenward - the rest is just colorful balls and twinkle lights.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Beginning the Holiday Season

As is our tradition, we decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. We didn't get as far as I would've liked, simply because I was tired and had to work.. But we did get the tree up, got the lights all connected, and put up the balls. On my tree, the balls go on first with the bigger ones at the bottom.. So, the next day, we put on the ornaments. The kids had a lot of fun putting on each ornament and asking for the story behind it. Sometimes, they even told the story themselves. :) Also, I began taking pictures of our favorites so that I can scrapbook the stories behind our ornaments for future generations.. (And, more likely, in the event that they get dropped in a fit of over-exuberence) We haven't purchased a new ornament this year... We need to find one appropriate for our first Christmas as Arizonans.
Last year, I asked Gramma Hippo if she had some decorations from her family that she could pass down to us so that we could have something of hers... She gave us a collection of white porcelin angels. They are proudly displayed on the bookshelf in the livingroom. Also, we've been discussing what we could possibly do for Daddy for Christmas... I'm leaning toward a 'made' present rather than a bought one but I'm not opposed to a bought kit that we can use to make something. Any suggestions?

While I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet, we do have presents under our tree. The always prepared, uber-organized Auntie Leeda sent the babies gifts as well as Advent Calendars this year. They love opening each little window and are becoming very aware of the date!! :)

For the first time, it really feels like it might be close to Christmas here.. There is a pretty big storm hitting us right now - and its supposed to last for a few days. I'm so thankful. It was hard to get into the Christmas spirit with 70 degree weather. (I'm not complaining about the beautiful weather, don't get me wrong. But I appreciate a good thunderstorm.. Especially around Christmas.) Jillian agreed me with about the joy to be found in the rain today and insisted on going out to play in it. Shortly after these pictures were taken, I went into the garage and busted out the winter clothes boxes so the next photos of outdoor fun will find my children appropriately dressed, I promise! :) It has been fairly cold here lately - gotten down to around

35 in the evenings and the low 50s during the days... Not cold by any standard compared to this time last year, but once your body has acclimated to 110, 50 is freezing!! :) Even Lowell, who is usually quite comfy in freezing weather has mentioned the change in temperature. He's now wearing long sleeves. That was his only adjustment. :)