Sunday, November 27, 2011

Heading to DisneyLand

Friday evening we finally told our children our surprise: we are going to be heading to hopefully-sunny California for a Christmas vacation!! Our planned destinations include: Disney Land, Disney Land Adventure Park, Lego Land and an aquarium whose name I can't remember right this second. You can imagine the roar of approval we received in return. Even Abby was joining the happy uproar--and she, of course, had very little idea what everyone was so excited about. However, on Saturday, we spent quite awhile online looking at the Disney site to see rides, video of the light show and other attractions. She kept saying, "please, please, Abby go?"

This will be our kids' first visit to these destinations. We've wanted to wait until they were old enough to really appreciate Disney Land--but not wait so long they are no longer living at home :)

And yes, I want to work hard to keep Jesus in our celebration. I did a TINY bit of decorating yesterday--I actually set up my "nice" Nativity set on the piano. I talked to Caleb and Steven and later, Abby about the beautiful characters. Every other year I've ended up chickening out and putting this particular set back up in the closet. (Never fear: I have LOTS of other Nativity sets that I put up throughout the living areas of our house) It's not an expensive set; it's just very pretty and fragile--and I don't want it broken. We'll see how long I can brave it out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving November 24, 2011

For the first time in our family history we had Thanksgiving Breakfast at my parents' house along with my brother and his wife. It was scheduled for 8:00 am -- so no sleeping in today. We had scrambled eggs with bacon, home-made pancakes and very rich home-made syrup, fruit cocktail & yogurt. Beverage choices were tomato juice, orange juice, milk and later, hot chocolate. I'd taken some miniature fruit strudels that had looked very yummy the night before. However, after that delicious syrup no one felt the need for additional sweets. This gave us a chance to spend time with Mark and Kim since they were going to be elsewhere for dinner. After breakfast Aunt Kim, Billy, James and Abby played Uno.

Kevin, Caleb, Billy, Steven, James and Teresa's arm.
My daddy and my brother

Of course, Thanksgiving Dinner was scheduled at 2:00 pm at our house. Scheri thought Abby should dress up like an Indian in honor of the First Thanksgiving. I thought she looked like Pocahontas.
Kevin and James had gotten into the kitchen about 7 am to get the turkey-bird and dressing ready. James was so psyched about helping and was very proud of his success.
I took this picture because it cracked me up--James had placed the spoons and forks on the table, Abby was doing the plates and then I asked Caleb to add knives. I thought it was hilarious that this place got TWO knives.

Here are Caleb and Steven munching down. I see that most of the pictures have a bit too much light but I really can't complain because we had that much sunshine coming in the big living room window.

Teresa had the most interesting seat--the big blue therapy ball.
Here are Aunt Beverly, Billy and the back of Mom's head.
Here's Abby enjoying her first Thanksgiving dinner.

This picture shows the tables lined up across our living room and dining room. Nobody ended up sitting at the little round table in the middle.
Zoe and Jael; Yancy and Peter are pictured below.

James and Mom. I don't know how I missed getting a picture of my Dad and Aunt Berta. We were also so pleased to have our neighbor and her son with us.

We had turkey and dressing; baked taters with choice of gravy or butter/sour cream; Caribbean mixed veggies; mom's marvelous candied squash; hamburger and bean soup; lasagna; rolls; deviled eggs; pickles, olives, cottage cheese. We had tons of deserts: pecan pie, raspberry pie, angel food cake, cinnamon rolls, apple crisp, cherry jello/pudding parfait, ice cream. I'm sure I'm forgetting something but I'm also sure that no one went away hungry.

Nov 22, 2011 See What We Made

It tickles me that Caleb, Steven and Abby have been spending more time with the Lego blocks lately. I just love creativity and enjoy seeing them working together.

November 20, 2011 Impromptu Family Dinner

We were just getting ready to dish up plates of roast beef and the fixin's when Mom and Dad stopped by on their way home. We talked them into joining us. I want to take full advantage of any and all time I can spend with my parents. I am so blessed to have them both healthy and living near by.

{retro Post} November 10, 2011

This picture cracks me up: on Nov 10 Kevin, myself, Caleb, Steven and Abby attended our annual Light for the Lost banquet in Burley. It is mainly an adult event but I was very proud of how well our little kids behaved. Steven turned around in his chair and basically fell asleep behind/inside his jacket that was hanging on the back of the seat. Our big kids had all gone with our neighbor to Boise for Winter Jam, a BIG Christian concert.
This is Billy with his new humongous bulldozer that he bought at a yard sale.

{Retro Post} Nov 5 and 6--Orphan Sunday

Here are our 3 Reece's Rainbow treasures: Caleb, Abby and Steven. Their shirts say: "I am the Pot of Gold at the end of Reece's Rainbow." They wore their shirts to our 3rd annual Orphan Awareness Seminar on Nov. 5.

At the Seminar, we talked about the need to care for the needs of all vulnerable children, not just kids who have lost one or even both parents. My brother Mark Johnson gave a presentation on sex-trafficking of girls, especially in Las Vegas. We had 3 ladies who spoke about the need for foster parents right here in Southern Idaho. Paul West showed a video about their adoption of an adorable little guy from Ethiopia. I talked about the international adoption of children with special needs through the ministry of Reece's Rainbow. We ended with sharing the Orphan's Table: we had a fortified rice meal which is the same as A Child’s Hope International provides to feed orphans all around the world.

On Sunday, Nov 6, our pastor gave time out of the service for the Youth Group to perform a skit I had written about a homeless street child--based on the story of the Good Samaritan and encouraging us as believers to be "doers of the Word and not hearers only." We also gave watched the main Orphan Sunday video from and gave prizes to all the kids who'd participated in the Jug-A-Thon.
We ended the service with dedicating our new daughter to the Lord. This seemed very appropriate for this special Orphan Sunday because Abby is an orphan no more. Our whole family was called to the front of the sanctuary. In this view you can see Billy, Teresa, Scheri and James to the right. (Also a red sliver of my Mom's jacket behind Billy.)

Me, Kevin, Pastor Bruce in back; Abby, Caleb and Steven in front. (Sorry we did not do an actual posed shot.)
My Daddy got to pray the prayer of Dedication.

{Retro Post} Nov 4--Steven has lost his first tooth!!

{Retro Post) October 31-- Halloween

Steven as Spider-man; Abby as a Princess Fairy; Caleb as Buzz (surprise! surprise!)
James as the Nerf Warrior

Teresa a Princess Leia

Billy as the Number One Boise Bronco fan; Scheri as a cheerleader

{Retro Post} School; Jug-A-Thon--October 23

October 18 -- Abby with her back pack loaded full of school supplies (I ended up bringing the supplies back home with me at the teacher's request, since Abby isn't enrolled full-time)
On Sunday morning October 23 during Sunday School we had a Jug-A-Thon as a way to raise money to help drill a well in Africa. This is a Southern Idaho BGMC project this year. It was also part of our Orphan Sunday emphasis. Many, many thousands of children and adults die worldwide very day from preventable illnesses caused by dirty water. I wanted the students to get a little concept of how difficult and time-consuming it is to carry water-- so we had the participants to get people to sponsor them for how many jugs of water they were able to carry around our city park in the allotted time. We ended up with 26 walkers. Most were elementary age (with a few teenagers thrown in) but the youngest was 3 and the oldest--my Mom-- was 73. Several adults and teen-agers also helped tremendously with keeping track of laps, etc. We raised about $300 plus (hopefully) an increased awareness of the needs of others.

Here's mom and dad's trunkful of jugs-full of water.

Here are some of the kids getting lined up to receive their jugs. Abby is on the far left in the green/white striped sweater.Here are Caleb and Steven lugging their water.

{Retro Post) October 15--Trip to Ketchum

We took a Saturday drive up to Ketchum, a resort area here in Idaho. I wanted to see the gorgeous fall scenery. It turned out to be a beautiful day.
James and friend
James and Abby


Kevin had thought maybe we could ride the gondola up the ski mountain but it wasn't going today. Instead we ended up going up a beautiful mountain trail.

James, friend and Abby

Potty stop. Smile.
We had YUMMY pizza at Smoky Mountain Pizza
Friend, James, Billy and Steven
Teresa, Scheri, Abby and Caleb