Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Cards Through the Years

I was putting away some cards, and found many of our old Christmas photo cards from past years. I decided to scan them into the computer, in case they are ever lost. Its fun to look back at them! So many changes over the years. Pets come and gone. Lex graduated, and now so far away in Germany. Girls growing up so darn fast. Life is never dull, and God throws us some amazing blessings along the way.

I thought it might be fun to put these here for our friends and family to glance back through the years. So in hopefully chronological order, here they are:

I don't know what year this one is, but Penelope is pretty small! If we had coordinated our sweaters, it might have been a good picture...hee hee. I love our wood pile behind us, it represents a LOT of work from my hard-working man.

I thought I had it figured out with doing black and white pics! No special clothing required, righto? Well our photographer told me that pink and yellow make a prettier white than I bought matching pink and black outfits for the girls anyway. LOL. Lex was still young enough to not care about his hair. Love it. And those horses in the girls' arms, they still love 'em to this day.

I like the blue and white wintery feel to this one. I remember the hole in Penelope's jeans and how I hoped it would not be noticed by anyone but me.

This was the year we got Summer, and he was such a dream horse for his first Christmas card photo. He looked right at the camera, and wore his garland so proudly. We took this down at our lake, and it was sooooo cold out, but nice and sunny! This was our first family photo without Lex.
This was 2005.

I had trouble getting everyone home at the same time, so finally decided that for the first time ever, it would be just the girls. Of course they wanted the dogs too, so we put Moses in harness and hitched him to the sled. I bought Pluto a hat and scarf, but he would not wear the hat. LOL. Moses put up with the Santa hat with his usual sweet patience. This was 2006.

We took this down at the lake again, on another cold day. This time Michael was our photographer, and he even picked out our clothes! I love how it turned out. He was so funny, and (revealing a big secret here) he even picked and "planted" the red berries around us. This was 2007.

And that brings us to 2008, this year's card. I wanted a picture of all of us, but Michael was away for business meetings for over a week, around the time I wanted to take this year's photo. I decided to take a couple of quick pics, with the girls and our new mini horse, Mukluk. He was not too fond of the garland, and thought it was a snake that might bite him! So with only a bit of daylight to work with at all, I snapped some pics and called it good. I was happy to find a card with some matching trim, and my girls' smiles make the card for me! Plus, Mukluk is the best Christmas present I ever got!
Tune in next year! You never know what we might add to the photo!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Feeding Time!

I love watching my cowboy, he is so wonderful about heading out to feed the horses on cold days, knowing I would FREEZE out there. He is such a sweet husband.

It was twenty four below zero this morning. I did NOT take these pics today. Its too cold for me, I'm a wimp.

Is it time to eat?

Yes, I think its time to eat. Hey guys, its time to eat!

Hmmm, are you sure? I'm heading down there just in case.

C'mon lets go, there he is!

Mmmmm. Thanks Cowboy Man.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Scenes from Our Christmas

Christmas was a wonderful day. Even more so, we have truly enjoyed to the fullest each day leading up to it. I was almost not ready to see Christmas actually arrive, because we have been taking the time to be restful and at peace, rather than being too busy and frantic about preparations. As a result, our family has spent many a cozy evening just being together, or playing outside with our horses and other animals, or visiting with friends. Its been wonderful! (After a very crazy beginning of the month, we learned our lesson!)

We went to my parents' house for Christmas eve dinner and gift exchange. Here are the the girls in front of my parents' tree. We do this picture traditionally each year!

One of my favorite decorations in our home. This Victorian St. Nick is over 3 ft tall. He has really grown on us, and is the first decoration we put up each year. He is ceremoniously carried down the stairs from the attic and placed carefully. Then we issue warnings to each cat to NOT nibble his beard this year.

My snowman collection. I add a new one each year, and it takes up our entire long windowsill. I love them all, and leave them up long after Christmas! Here are just a few.

This one is my favorite, because he has real "branches" for arms, and the cutest "snowboy" cap and smile. He is everyone's favorite.

The girls opened up gifts from Grandma Sue and Grandpa Bob in Washington, first. They were so delighted by their Trail of Painted Pony collector's horses!

Opening gifts from my parents, who came over Christmas morning to deliver gifts, and get their annual (Chena invention) hot cocoa with egg nog.

Penelope got a mini American Girl Doll Kirsten, from Chena. Chena was sooooo excited to order it, wait for it, and could not WAIT to give it to her. Penelope, my dog lover! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This is one of my very favorite songs, and I love this video! Imagine being the mother to our Savior. She washed his face, sang to him, cuddled him and comforted him when he was scared or hurt. I just love to imagine it all.

A few tips: before you watch, scroll all the way down and adjust the volume on my player, so James Taylor will be quiet while you watch! Then, allow the video to start but let it load a few minutes. Then drag the red line back to start and enjoy.

Mary, did you know That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Did you know That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know That your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered Will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Did you know
That your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little boy
You’ve kissed the face of god?

Mary, did you know?
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
And the dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the lamb

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is lord of all creation?
Did you know
That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the great I am?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hotel Sleepover!

Our girls have a little friend's club they enjoy very much called the 776 Gals. (776 is the first part of our phone number for this area). There are seven girls, all ages 10, 11, or 12. Three sets of sisters, and one other girl. They have such a blast together, and they have meetings at each other's houses regularly. They brainstorm things to do to help their community, nation, or world. Its been amazing to see what they can accomplish, and the moms do whatever we can to let them take their ideas and fly with them.

This summer they did a fabulous bake sale, and they sold every last tiny crumb! They made some money, and enjoyed giving to charities, etc.

With some leftover funds, they were trying to decide something fun to do as a club. They had already chosen names for Secret Sisters to exchange Christmas gifts, but had not decided where to meet. While driving in the car with my girls one day, I suddenly thought about using the money to stay at a hotel for a night, together! My girls went wild with ideas, and in a very short time, we had all the other girls and moms on board. I made arrangements with the hotel, and we got a wonderful suite for the night, with bunk beds for myself and the other chaperone ( a close friend of mine) and plenty of floor space for sleeping bags.

Here they are, ready to party!

Checking out the room. Hey, that's OUR bunk beds!

The girls brought egg nog, cookies, and plenty of midnight snacks. They played board games and had their Christmas gift exchange in the room. Such sweet gifts they had! All handmade, and created with such careful planning and much love. They had necklaces, knitted pillows, cookie recipes, homemade CDs, and more. The room was full of giggles and hugs, as they delightedly shared their gifts, squealed with excitement, and thanked one another once again.

Playing Man Bites Dog, a silly sentence game they all love A LOT.

The girls thought it was hilarious that we were having so much fun too. My friend and I climbed up in my top bunk, sat in our jammies and played video games. The girls peeked in, then ran and got the others with cries of "Look at our MOMS!" (in fact, I think we kept the girls awake with our giggling.....and phone wars.......)

Sleep? Huh? You want us to do what? Go to what? Go to SLEEP? (are you crazy, Mom?)

In the hotel elevator in their swim gear, headed for the pool!

Fun in the hotel pool!

I love these girls! They are as sweet as they are cute!

Chillin in the hot tub...

Hanging out at breakfast. The hotel had a yummy breakfast included. The lobby was all decorated for Christmas, so we got to sit and eat around the Christmas tree.

More swimming after breakfast ( we had a very late check-out...the hotel was so nice!)
Everyone had SUCH A BLAST! And all the girls agreed it should be an annual event. I don't know about that, but I'm sure glad they have memories such as these!

(on a side note, you know why its called a "Sleepover"? Because when its all OVER, you can go home and SLEEP. Thats why.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Along the Way

I took a trip to Anchorage to spend some time with Michael while he was up there for board meetings. I flew up, but drove home with him. We had a wonderful time! I got some shopping done, and we walked around downtown and looked at the Christmas lights together.

On the way home, the lighting was beautiful along the water, where the highway winds around the narrow roads hugging the mountains. Its my favorite part of the four hour drive home, so I shot a few photos.

We saw a whole band of sheep that had come down to the road to dig for grass.

One ram had almost his whole head buried as he looked for his lunch!

Up in the mountain pass, the snow was deep and lovely. I love how sometimes the sides of the road rise almost higher than our car, and I have to crane my neck to see above them. Its such a stark but gorgeous environment, a reminder of our Maker's hand and the ways He gets our attention at times when we encounter nature's wildness. Lots of avalanche danger here, and we listen for alerts before our trip.
The roads were icy. I was glad Michael was driving, and not me. This highway is such a killer. In fact, only two hours after we passed by Girdwood, there was a five-car accident that took the life of a young woman, and the road was closed for over six hours.

(Its only 1:00 in the afternoon here, and you can see how already the eerie blue-dark has started to set in. We get so few hours of daylight right now!)

I have lived here my whole life, but I never tire of the beauty along the way.

In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and He was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 1: 1-5