Monday, December 30, 2013

Some Extra Christmas Fun

We tend to have exciting days @ the H-family Christmas gatherings. You know, the kind of excitement that one would typically not associate with the holidays. It happened again this year when dad/mom's sewer system, in perfect operation for the last 100 years, decided to become plugged. [Mom says it was kind of a crappy Christmas!] So, while the men worked on that project, the ladies & kids headed to a nearby inflatable playzone. Here are pictures of both activities, the details on the first left mostly to your imagination. 

'H' Family Gathering, Christmas 2013

This past weekend we spent with the 'H' family celebrating the holidays. Grandma & Xman played some 'Gone Fishing' while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. Kara loved on the little ones. Family pictures were captured [i.e. our serious picture looked scarier than our silly one, so you get the silly one here!]. Opened some presents. Played with some toys. The kids all got new socks & hats from grandpa/grandma. Ate peppermint ice cream. Played with cousins.Oh, and Xman got his very own 'real' guitar which made for a big smile. Good times!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Winter-Y Wonderland

The weather on Christmas Day and the day after Christmas was beautifully white & unpredictably mild so the kids bundled up to play outside. Once. And then a few hours later. And then squeezed in some more time before it got dark. And then stayed out in the dark. They couldn't get enough! Here are some shots of their time exploring & imagining in grandpa and grandma's backyard. They even made snow candy [last picture].

'S' Family Gathering, Christmas 2013

We celebrated with the S-Family on Christmas Day & the day after, too. After church on Wednesday, the gang came here for lunch before the SJS-family arrived safely @ the airport after 2-months spent in Germany. [They brought back yummy chocolates for us all]. It was really, really good to be together. More pictures [in the following post] of the outside snowfall & fun that made our time together especially memorable, especially for those from TN who do not get to often play in the snow. 

All the grandkids, minus Anissa. Singing carols before opening gifts. Sweet Savannah gets a real teaset from g&g. The three boys opened their gifts together to discover [toy] bow & arrow sets & targets. So much fun!


Christmas Eve & Christmas Morning

We were able to be home together on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day morning so we did stockings before bed on Tuesday night & gifts on Wednesday morning. Xander reminded me on Christmas morning, "Uh, mom. Remember that Christmas is less about getting work done [we were finishing up last-minute details for the family coming over for lunch] and MORE about having fun together [i.e. translation: opening gifts]. 

The biggest hit of his stocking -- the $0.50 Star Wars Angry Birds pencils purchased @ Goodwill. I am hoping the excitement will be enough to make homework WAY MORE fun than its been the last couple of weeks. He also received some pirate's gear (sword & hook) and a really fun clock from the neighbors. 

And for breakfast, the requested caramel pecan rolls HOT from the oven. Yummy!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Winner! I Mean WINNERS!

Oh, I wish you could all win. Actually, my dad & mom donated a gift certificate, too, so there are TWO winners! Drawn randomly by the below, somewhat-scary-because-we're-in-that-awkward-smiling-stage, assistant. The winners are: MICHELLE and ALESA. 
Alesa: Please send your mailing address to bcstahl01 [at] aol [dot] com and Michelle: I will hand deliver this weekend. Congratulations to you both (and your husbands, too).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Giveaway: Weekend To Remember

Blake & I have been gifted with a 'ministry partner certificate' to attend Family Life's Weekend to Remember Conference. The certificate entitles a couple to attend a Weekend To Remember of their choice for $39/person (regular rate $129/person). It expires August 31, 2014. Since we cannot use this certificate because our marriage is perfect/flawless (ha! ha! gasp! gasp!), we'd like to give it to a couple who can.

To be eligible to win you must be (a) either engaged or married and (b) make a commitment to redeem the certificate prior to its expiration date OR re-gift it to friends who will be able to attend the conference. Check HERE for details regarding locations & dates for upcoming events.

The Weekend to Remember can help a struggling marriage find hope OR make a good marriage even better. Either way, it's a WIN-WIN. Please post a comment by 8AM on Saturday, September 28th to enter the giveaway.

Monday, August 26, 2013

And He's Off...

First day of kindergarten. Its kind of quiet around here! Alexander woke up excited. He dressed himself in a mismatched pair of pants and long-sleeve shirt before this mama advised that with 90-degree weather in the works, a change of clothes was probably best. He promptly gobbled down his Toucan Cereal [otherwise known as Froot Loops] and his striped cheese [otherwise known as co-jack] which he had previously requested for his first-day-of-school breakfast. Its the breakfast of champions, you know! 
Daddy stayed home from work this morning. With some extra time on our hands, we did a little outside photo-op before driving to school. After parking, we walked to his classroom door. Blake asked for a hug/kiss and the X-man replied, "No. I would rather just get going" and promptly walked into this classroom.  

A friend shared a poem with me; here are some snippets which really hit home. Entitled "Take Him By the Hand" by Unknown Author. 

My son started school this week. 
Its going to be strange and new to him for awhile. 
I wish you would sort of treat him gently. 
I've always been around to repair his wounds, soothes his feelings. 
But now, things are going to be different. 
This morning, he's going to walk down the front steps and start on his great adventure that will probably include wars, tragedy and sorrow. 
To live his life in the world will require faith, love and courage. 
So, World, teach him...but gently, if you can. 
Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend. 
Teach him it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. 
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even when others tell him they are wrong. 
Teach him gently, World, but don't coddle him; only the test of fire makes fine steel. 
This is a big order, World, but see what you can do...
He's such a nice little fellow. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

5K4Kids Run

We spent a fun (albeit muggy/buggy) night raising funds for the Pregnancy Support Services and Safe Families for Children programs at Evangelical Child and Family Agency (ECFA). 

We made signs for our favorite runners [note the cheetah on Blake's sign!) Stretching/warming up was taken very seriously. There was lots of talk about good sportsmanship (i.e. it is NOT okay to push, trip or otherwise interfere with another runner for the sake of getting ahead). Our friend, Joe, joined us for the night. He's one of Xander's most favorite people and so good with our little guy.

Thankful for such a good organization within our community who is impacting lives for His glory. And personally, thankful God has blessed me with Blake and X-man who BOTH encourage me to open our home & hearts to those who do not have the blessing of family or gift of knowing they are loved.