Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Marianne!!

Today is my brother Jeff's wife Marianne's birthday!  Once again, she has given up all 'birthday rights', if there is such a thing, to bless others instead of being blessed herself.  New Year's Revolution in Midland, ON, Canada, begins today, and Jeff and Marianne are the organizers.  Praying for an extra-special, ultra-non-stressful day!!  =)
Jeff and Marianne

The whole family this summer

Annabella, Gracia, Lucas and Jared
 Wish we could be there to celebrate!  Love you, Mari - have a wonderful birthday!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Pictures

It's been a while since I posted, so will try to get some pictures on here to show what's been going on for the last few weeks.  We were working on finishing up school work before Christmas, and then some baking and decorating.  We also had our Sunday School Treat in there, so some learning of lines, as well.

We've had an exceptionally wonderful last few days - with minimal responsibilities, and lots of time together as a family.  We have really enjoyed it!  We also were able to Skype the Woodford family one day, as well as my parents and brother and his family Christmas day.  How blessed we are to have this kind of technology, which makes it seems like family isn't 'so' far away.

Marika making Christmas decorations, with Nathaniel trying to 'help'.

Kyla girl finally lost a tooth!  She is also just left the hospital  for the second time in two weeks.  The first time, she was looking for something in a kitchen drawer, pulled the protector off of a sharp knife, and sliced the top of her finger.  I thought she would need stitches, as it wouldn't stop bleeding, but thankfully she didn't.  She didn't escape this time, though.  She was running, and tripped over the dog and smashed her chin (as well as her knees, hands and head), but had to get several stitches in her chin.  Just talked to her on the phone, and she was apparently very brave!
The girls desperately wanted a Christmas tree this year.  They knew we had some room, and thought it would just be the best!  While Tim was out getting supplies for our Sunday school treat, he came across a little tree, and brought it home.  We set it up while the girls were sleeping, then they decorated it when they woke up - it was a such a fun surprise, and they were so excited!

Cute little tree!
Saturday, the 14th was the Sunday School Treat - God's Faithfulness in the Fiery Furnace - the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who chose to obey God rather than man.  Eleo, Alison, Tim and several others did much of the work getting ready for this.
These were 'prophets', speaking of God's promises and faithfulness

These were the 'construction workers' who made the statue.

King Nebuchadnezzar and two of his guards.

The musicians who played the music in time for the people to bow down to the statue

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego entering, along with the king's advisors

All the people ready to bow down.

Alisa wanted to join in, too, which was fine until she climbed the stairs of the platform, and promptly fell down them!  =(

Before the king, stating why they wouldn't bow down.

In the furnace

Coming out of the furnace - alive!

The whole 'cast'
Blurry picture, but Tim then gave a short gospel message to the visitors who came.
It was a good night, and we were thankful for all the work that went into it, as well as all who came out to see it!

We had thought we had lost our curlers, and the girls were delighted to find them, and wanted to try them out immediately!  =)

For some silly reason, I didn't get any 'after' pictures.
We were invited to an impromptu Christmas party at the Cains - girls only (Nathaniel came too, though, but slept most of the time.)
Eva holding Gwendalyn

All the girls - Kyla, Eva, Marika, Gwennie, Shaelyn and Alisa.
There lots of treats, both with and without gluten.  A funny that happened, was Alisa talking about some GF muffins.  She said, "These have gluen-free in them!"  Ha ha!  It was nice to visit with the ladies while the kiddos played.
We got to Skype with the Woodford family the 23rd.  Everyone was at Mark and Rebekah's except for us, so we got see them all at once!
Here's Caleb, Moriah and Keenan getting up close!
Missed taking a picture of the Sharps Skyping.  We even got to see all the snow and icicles - the girls were all quite jealous!  =)

On the 24th, the Cains brought turkey, stuffing, some veggies, and a couple pies (one gluten-free), and we made the potatoes, some veggies, a couple of pies, a gluten-free crisp and sparkling apple juice.  Somehow, I forgot to get a picture of all of us and our yummy meal!  After dessert, the girls all went upstairs to play, the babies went to sleep, and the adults chatted and played crokinole.  =)

Madeleine and Gwendalyn
Christmas Eve the girls opened their gifts from the Cains, we drank some hot chocolate together, read a Christmas story, put the gifts under the tree, then put the girlies to bed.

All ready for morning!

Christmas tradition of having Swedish Tea Ring for breakfast - yummy!!
Another thing the girls really wanted, was to hang the stockings on the mantle of the fireplace.  After the girls went to bed the 24th, Tim rigged up this, and it was perfect.  Again, they were quite delighted!  630am, all five girls came downstairs, ready to begin!  =)

After waiting about an hour, then waking up Nathaniel, we opened stockings.

Nathaniel loved this little fork that has a truck on it!

A special gift from Sarah S - custom pillowcases!
After a quick breakfast, we sat down to open gifts.  The first 10 minutes or so was the girls giving out presents they had made, or gave out of their own things for their sisters.  It was actually quite sweet, and all of them seemed to appreciate the things that were passed along.  Tim got a calender made by Marika, and I got a sweet card - I'll show you a picture at the end.  Marika also made 'coupons' for her sisters, of things she would do with them when they 'cashed' them in.

Gwendalyn finally woke up, and decided to join the group for her first Christmas!

After the gifts were all opened, we Skyped the Sharps.  The girls were somewhat occupied with their new gifts, and the adults got a bit of a chance of fairly uninterrupted talking.

For dinner, we warmed up leftover turkey dinner from the day before!  Tim and I decided this is definitely the way to go - you get the benefit of a delicious meal, with no prep the day of!  =)
Empty plates...

...full plates.  So much to be thankful for!
Here are a few pictures of our littlest sweetie:

Christmas day ended up being very relaxing, with no where to go, and nothing we had to do.  We played soccer in the afternoon, and had such a hoot!  We laughed a lot.
Christmas evening we watched a video one of the girls had gotten for Christmas.

Both the last two days have been fairly low-key still, and we've just been getting things done around the house, playing and spending time with each other.  While I know "the real world" will begin again, soon, it's been nice having these last few days together!

Here is my special card from Marika.  I totally cried reading it.  =)

Two funnies from the last couple days.  Vivian's favourite pie is lemon, and I made one for Christmas day.  When the Cains were leaving, Marcus had one of the pies they had made in his hands, and was walking out the door.  Vivi was saying good bye to everyone, when suddenly she interrupted herself, and accusingly said to Marcus, "Are you Taking that lemon pie?"  We had a good laugh!

Then, just randomly at lunch, Shaelyn said, "Mika, Why would you want diarrhea?"  We wondered what in the world she was talking about until she explained Mika had gotten a book in her stocking. We explained that, "It's a 'diary', Shaelyn!"  =)

There's always more to say than I have time for, so I'll try to get on again in not too long and post again.  Good night!