Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy (belated) Birthday, Marianne!!

Today is my brother Jeff's wife, Marianne's birthday!  Likely didn't get a moment to herself, with all the New Year's Revolution prep and activities.  
Hope you were loved on and spoiled by all around you!
Love these two!
Sweet family
So thankful for the Lord bringing this dear friend into my life 17+ years ago!

Happy, Happy Birthday, Marihoon!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Some random happenings

Hello there!  Here is an assortment of things and goings' on at our house.  I truly miss blogging and keeping up on here, but there is always something else that seems to be vying for my attention.  =)  There are no photos, but two short videos - hopefully this will do until the new year!

Christmas break is here, much to the happiness of both the students and the teacher.  We were definitely ready for it, and are thankful for 2 weeks off!  It won't all be restful and fun and games, though.  We leave for a 16 hour drive on the 24th to go to the city of Zacatecas, where there will be a Seedsowers distribution.  We return on the 2nd of January.  While the drive isn't high on the "can't wait to do" list, seeing our dear friends there definitely is!

Totally random: Zacatecas is where Tim asked my dad if he could contact me to see if I would be interested in praying about beginning a relationship with him.  We were on our way home from a Seedsowers distribution in 1999, and were stopped at a gas station, waiting for a vehicle to be fixed.  I already liked Tim, and my family knew that, but I had no idea if he liked me!  My dad told my mom that Tim had talked to him, and my mom told my sister, and they were all whispering about it in the van in front of me, but wouldn't tell me what it was about.  We started our relationship officially on January 7, 2000.  =)

We celebrated Christmas yesterday!  We had a special supper after meeting Sunday night ("Christmas Eve"), and the children opened their gift that our friend Erica left for them.  Everyone woke up early Monday morning, and it was a fun day of stockings (Alisa calls them "stocks" - ha ha!), yummy food, gift opening, naps (everybody had one - yay!), and then a trip to the park followed by a movie.  We really enjoyed our time together, and then Skyped this morning with some of our Woodford family who were having their Christmas today.

Erica  M, who visited us for 3 months from September to December, has finally made it home.  We so enjoyed our visit with her, and she was such a great help and encouragement to us all.  While the older four girls all have a schedule for their chores (including washing/drying dishes), Erica took my spot on the schedule, and during the time she was here, I only did the dishes a handful of times.  A small detail, maybe?  It was a huge help for me in being able to get other things done instead, and as we're back to our regular chore schedule again, I'm appreciating all she did even more.

After dropping off Erica at the airport, we continued on up to Phoenix.  We met up with dear friends who passed along Christmas packages that were sent to us from family and get delivered there, had a yummy supper, and then went to see a condensed version of Handel's Messiah.  It was in a church, with a 30 piece orchestra, with a lovely choir and soloists.  The best parts were that it was only one hour, and it was free!  Mika loved it, a couple others liked, one thought it was exceptionally boring, and they all sat still for the hour.  Tim and I both really enjoyed it - it was a really special evening!

Here are some random things about our kiddos:

This girl keeps us hopping with her antics, let me tell you.  She says/repeats almost everything quite clearly, but some funny things she's said recently are
-"icka-me!" Look at me!
-"Uh-ah-you?"  Where are you?
"opie?" open
"bum" buns/bread
"Cue me" Excuse me
"So Sawwy!"  So sorry!
If someone says that she's done something, she says, in a high-pitched, loud voice, "No, I di'n't! No, I di'n't!" over and over.
If you ask her something she doesn't know, she says, "A-cause"
She now has enough hair to go into a pony tail, and it's so cute!
She is a little teaser.  She will put Nata's shoes on, then go up to him and say, "Mine!", and runs off.
We had company this month and sleeping arrangements had to be somewhat rearranged.  Since she was already out of her crib, and sleeping in the Littles' room, we decided to keep her there, rather than do another transition later on.  She's doing pretty well, I think.

Here is a funny video of her brushing Nathaniel's hair.

Our boy keeps us on our toes as well, and he and Gwennie have a love/hate relationship that is both hilarious and frustrating all at the same time.  He is a chatterer (no surprise there), and while he doesn't have a great vocabulary, he almost always is able to get his point across.  He says hilarious things like:
-"cubumbers" cucumbers
-"wember?" remember?
"Daddy, that's called "cheesing"! (teasing)  How appropriate is that!!  =)
He can't say Ls, and pronounces them as Ys, so we chuckle when we wants to sit on someone's "yap"!  His cousin Lucas passed along some clothes to him, which he was tickled pink about, and always tells me how he loves "Yukey".
If you ask his name, he'll tell you it's Nata, but for some reason he has decided he wants his name to be David, and often tells his sisters to call him that.  It's pretty funny!
Since Gwendalyn was moving up, we decided Nata could have his own bedroom downstairs.  I took off the side of the crib, so he has a toddler-like bed, which is in the spare room.  He slept alone for a night or two, but now all the girls except Gwennie are taking turns sleeping in the spare bed, as he doesn't want to be alone.

Here is a video of Nathaniel doing Gwennie's hair.

Tim and I decided that God most give extra big personalities to people in smaller bodies as a way to "make up" for it.  It's just a joke, but Alisa is quite tiny, physically, but definitely makes up for it in voice and personality.  She is very busy and opinionated, and helpful, and probably the one who shares her things the most.  She often "forgets" that she's given people things, though, which causes a lot of noise and distress.  Alisa gives great hugs and likes to snuggle.

Just recently Vivi's been changing the beginning letter of words to make a "new" language.  The other day she said, "Vlease vass the vorvillas" (please pass the tortillas).  And then, "Hey Mom, I can speak French!"  I'm sure Auntie Bekah will be proud!  =)
She's never said anything like this before, but the other day she told me that while she knows her name is Vivian, she really wished it could be Charlotte!

I know I've said this before, but Kyla is our "server".  She loves to serve others, and is incredibly helpful at paying attention to details, knowing where things are and how to do things.  She's the one you want to be left with in an emergency in our house!  Kyla has just begun to enjoy reading (I'm so thankful!), but still prefers almost all outdoor activity to indoor.  She loves to roller blade and run and play with our dog Nico.

This dreamer also keeps us on our toes.  She is a gamut of talent and personality.  She's a bookworm, an athlete, an artist; she's loves telling jokes, is highly emotional and easily hurt.  She will likely surpass Mika soon in height, as they already wear the same size of shoes and mostly the same clothing.  She and I share some similar struggles, and while it's frustrating sometimes as we lock heads, it's also encouraging knowing we can somewhat understand the other  She especially teaches me about grace.

I love having "adult-like" conversations with this girl.  She's still definitely a child, yet just on the brink of teenage-hood.  We can talk about a very wide variety of things, and, like most eldest children, I'm sure, has a maturity about her that the younger ones don't.
She is a bookworm through and through, and would rather do that than almost all other activities.  She does like to bake, as well as roller blade, and sometimes play with Play-mobile.  They got some more for Christmas, so that interest has been renewed.  I currently have her doing the ironing for me, as a way to earn some extra $ for her piggy bank.  She is such a great helper.

We've recently made the transition from three children who had to eat gluten-free to the whole family now being gluten-full.  The three youngest reacted violently to gluten in the past, but after having Alisa tested, the doctor wondered if she maybe would out-grow it.  Recently when accidentally eating things with gluten in it, they had no reaction, so we decided to try them on it again.  So far, so good, and it is so nice to eat "normally" again.  We will continue to monitor weight gain, etc, to make sure all is well.

For some reason, some of our kiddos say "lip on" for lip balm, and it sounds really funny.

I finally got some Christmas baking done last week.  I made peanut brittle and pralines (with pecans).

We've all loved having lots of Christmas decorations up, and sweet Christmas-y smelling candles burning.  We'll be leaving them up until we return from Seedsowers.

I randomly started drinking coffee and tea black instead of with anything in them, and I quite like it.

Tim officiated his first wedding this month.  Angela is from our assembly, and Josue is from the state of Michoacan, many, many hours away.  The wedding was really nice, and Tim did a great job!

Almost done our Christmas letter - it will be the first one we've written in too many years.

We've read a few books since the school year began.  I read the entire set of the Chronicles of Narnia out loud, and we just recently read "By the Great Horn Spoon" by Sid Fleischman.  So hilarious!  I just finished "The Tanglewood Secret" by Paticia St. John, and while we're not exactly sure where to go next, we've got a few ideas.

This is old news, but we decorated pumpkins this year in October.  We bought some in the US, and brought them down.  It's the first year we've done this since moving to Mexico, so orange, round pumpkins aren't available here (just ones with deep grooves).  The weather was still quite warm, and we realized why more people didn't do it, as they started to rot and stink almost right away.  Fun experience, though!

We're excited about visitors coming in February!  My parents were planning to come, and then my sister called last week, and they are able to come, too.  Their visits will be back to back with a day or two of overlapping - I'm so glad!

The house feels like a refrigerator.  Really.  Our kiddos haven't gotten the memo, unfortunately, and still want to go around in short-sleeves, shorts and bare-foot. The weather is quite chilly, and actually, our nights tend to be lower than the mild temps of Ontario right now, but at least our days get warmer (up to around 20C or so).

While Erica was here, Tim and I were able to go on a one entire-day excursion up to Tucson to get some shopping done, and then go to the meetings held on Wednesdays in Nogales.  We also went on a double date with Marcus and Alison, which was really special, too!

Both Tim and I started a new Bible reading plan system that we are both really enjoying.  You can check out the link here if you're interested.

This past Saturday, Tim and 3 other men drove 3 hours to the middle of nowhere, to a town called Nacozari.  It's a mining town, with a population of about 3,000.  The reason they did this was because a young lady from there started university in Hermosillo this past fall.  She started attending the young people's meeting on Saturdays, and then her mom started coming with her on Sundays when she would come to visit.  The mom says she got saved about 2 years ago.  They asked if some of the men from here would go and speak.  There was quite the variety of people (more than 12, plus children) who met in the house.  Tim and two others shared the gospel with them at noon, then there were 2 hours where they just chatted and discussed, and then Marcus spoke at 3pm.  There was a very good response, and several who wanted to have attended, but couldn't because of work schedule.  There is a tentative plan for January to go again.  Your prayers would be appreciated for this new work.

 That's it for now.  Merry, Merry Christmas to you, and the Lord's richest blessing in 2016!

… we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Colossians 1:9-20

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Moriah!!

Today is Tim's sister, Joia and Philip's daughter, Moriah's 7th birthday!!  This girl's as sweet inside as she is cute outside!
Sweet girl
Cute kids!

Love this picture of the family!

Love her!
All photos are taken from her mom's blog.

We love you, Moriah, and hope you had a great birthday, and have a Merry Christmas with your family!  Lots of love to you from all of us!