Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012 with Deedra's Fam

We enjoyed the last few days celebrating Christmas with Deedra's family.  It was a fun, relaxing time with lots of eating, enjoying Christmas Eve candlelight services, games, sledding and more eating...


 It was a joy to have everyone together on Christmas Eve.  It was especially fun for us to witness Kale having a blast with his cousins as they danced and played with flashlights in the dark.  His giggles were audible from the basement, making us all giggle.
 Our traditional hot dog roast continued with Gramps at the helm!  Much later in the evening as "Scrooge" played in the background, Kesha, Dana and Deedra found themselves cozy by the fireplace and chatting until the yawns grew too big.
 Christmas morning brought gift opening followed by a big breakfast.
 To add to Kale's musical magic, he received a microphone.
 And each of us received gifts made by Deedra's parents.  Gramps made Kale ornaments for his tree in his room including a basketball and guitars.  They are absolutely perfect! 
And for Justin, Gramps made a little seat for him to sit on to put his shoes on.  Justin has been wanting one for years as it is a small space by our garage door that needed something pretty customized.  Again, it is perfect!
 And for Deedra, her mom made her a Christmas quilt.  They had been shopping together a few years ago when Deedra had seen it in a quilting store and thought it was really neat.  What a surprise for Deedra!  Her mom has been working on this on and off since January.  So beautiful!
We arrived back to our own home tonight.  We unloaded the car, unpacked, put away, started laundry, got dinner going for us and to deliver to our elderly neighbors, began repacking, got Kale into the shower and are tying up loose ends before we travel again to celebrate with Justin's family.  Our life is full and good.  Our God continues to bless and spur us on.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!  Thank you for Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Little Family Christmas 2012

We celebrated our little family Christmas Eve last night with a homemade pizza (a meal the three of us can actually eat together and enjoy) picnic on the living room floor.

 After putting Kale to bed, Justin and I enjoyed the movie "Christmas Vacation".  "Why's the carpet wet, Todd?"  "I don't know, Margo!"  "That there's an RV!"  "I gotta eat so I can take my back pill!"  Okay...I'm done with the movie quotes!  HA!
This morning we celebrated Christmas.  We greeted Kale in his room with our "sparkle box".  We learned about a sparkle box in a book we read from the library.  We filled it with gifts for Jesus...slips of paper noting things we did throughout the Christmas season that showed love and service to others.
 Kale was anxious to see the slips and he joyfully said "It's Jesus' birthday!"  Well, we are a few days off but he gets the idea.
The favorite gift of Kale was none other than a toy guitar I'd found at a second hand store for $6.50.  He has been asking for a "guitar with strings" for Christmas.  For those of you who don't know Kale well, he loves all things music including guitars, drums, and microphones.  The boy was so excited to see it under the tree and had a hard time putting it down all day.  In fact, he cried tonight when we told him he couldn't have it in his room with him.  We assured him the guitar needed rest and would rest on the toy porch downstairs.
 Notice how he puts his knee out and foot up to "prop the guitar up."  Not sure where he's seen that but he's always done it!

 The mass you see below him is a new puppy.  I was asking Kale what he wanted to name his new puppy.  I explained that just like Cedar is a puppy/dog and has the name Cedar, his new puppy needed a name.  He thought for just a moment and then said "Joseph."  Guess that's fitting for this time of year!  (We did let Kale take Joseph to bed!)
And for your viewing pleasure, the first of many music videos (we are sure) by our little musician.
Looking forward to more Christmas fun with our families in the coming days!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Family Tree

On Thanksgiving morning, we traveled to D's parents' timber and selected and cut down our Christmas tree.  Kale watched anxiously as Papa cut it down and as it was coming down, Kale threw his arms in the air.  He said "it's big and tall!"
 We loaded it into the back of the Kubota RTV and slick as a whistle, drove back up to the house and loaded it into the truck.  It totally beat any tree farm or parking lot tree excursion :)


During the month of November, we had a piece of butcher block paper up in the kitchen.  I drew a tree trunk and then Justin, Kale and I traced around our hands to make leaves.  Every few days I would ask Kale what he was thankful for.  Without prompting, we would say things like "our food, church, people, Cedar, my shirt."  We talked about what it means to be thankful.  We also worked on memorizing the verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: "Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Give thanks in all circumstances.  For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  By the end of the month, Kale was saying the whole verse by himself.  Proud of our little man and what he's learning!


(Playing a little catchup...) We enjoyed the rather balmy month of October.  Kale was very interested in the pumpkin patch (our garden) this year.  Each day we'd wander through the patch and check on our growing, round friends.  After a frost, we harvested them and let them hang out on the deck to "orange up" in the sunshine.

 Then came carving time (he wanted to carve one that wasn't so orange...).  We have the book "The Pumpkin Gospel" in which it relates cleaning out a pumpkin to how God cleans out our heart.  It talks of "scooping out the mushy gooshies like God cleans out our sin."  Kale talked of "mushy gooshies" several times while we cleaned.  Darn cute.

 Halloween night arrived and we had a little marathon runner on our hands.  I decided to DIY this year after seeing the idea in a Parent Magazine.  He wore my running bib and medal from the Chicago Marathon in 2003.

 Papa was a good sport and dressed up too.  And he was truly dressing up cause we all know Papa don't like to run!
 While out trick-or-treating, we stopped at a little firestation that was handing out treats and let the kids sit in the fire engines and ambulance.  Pretty cool!

Kale was a real trooper.  At each stop he climbed out of the car and grabbed his pumpkin and went up to the door.  I think he got the hang of it quickly!  Was a fun night for all of us.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Germany-Day 4-Mannheim, Heidelberg

We started the morning taking in what we could see of the John Deere facility.  Because it was on a Sunday, everything was locked down but I could at least get a visual of where Justin works when he travels there.  In the picture below, we are just outside our hotel looking up the street to the facility.  The tower in the background was part of the original artillary and amunition factory before World War II.  Up close, you can still see bullet holes in the tower.

 The building with the circular windows is where Justin sits when in Germany.

 After we toured the facility, we hopped on the train to Heidelberg.  When we arrived, we took a tour of the castle there.  It was magnificent and offered amazing views of the city.  This is a city that was not destroyed during the war so it held its old flavor and beauty.  As information on the castle reads, the earliest castle structure was built before AD 1214.  The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps.

 We also toured another church in the heart of Heidelberg.

 And more shopping and wandering through the main thoroughfare of the city.

 Seeing the man play the accordian on the street reminded me of my Grandpa Max who grew up in Germany and played accordian almost every time our family saw him.
 I was once again in heaven in the Christmas store.  Oh my, oh my.  AMAZING.
 The coffee houses were also a fun treat.
I was back on the plane on Monday morning while Justin stayed back in Mannheim to work for the week.  It was an amazing trip; one I feel fortunate to have taken.  Hard to believe, but in just a few short weeks, Justin will be headed back.