Friday, December 30, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas


December has been a very fun and memorable month.  The twins are 2 1/2 now and very into the Christmas festivities!  It's amazing how fast they catch on to new routines and look forward to them.  One of their favorites was reading the family Advent book each night followed up by the chocolate and scripture verse found behind the doors of the advent Christmas tree.  They became a bit fixated on the "chocolate" and we may need to replace that with something else next year!  
The kids loved helping make Christmas treats.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well they unwrapped the chocolate kisses, placed them carefully on the pretzels, then put another pretzel on top of melted chocolate.  Their self control to not eat the candy was amazing until they spotted mom sneaking a few bites!  Kai and Julia also enjoyed making/eating a gingerbread house.  As with any project with toddlers, it was quick and messy!  I know that any project can go from "fun" to "disaster" quickly with these two, so I was overall very pleased with the results!

Kai & Julia looking very proud in their aprons from Nana!

Gingerbread house



We resisted most of the "Santas" in town but did hit up one at the Highland Village fire department.  The twins refused to sit on Santa's lap last year, so this experience was an improvement.  I think they view Santa like a Trick-or-Treat character who likes to give away Candy Canes.  Yes, they are a bit confused, but that is fine with us!  Here are a few of the pictures....pretty funny!

"I'm not too sure about you?!"

"Wow, I would love to pull all of that facial hair!"

"If I smile, can I have my Candy Cane and leave?"
"That's better!"


The highlight of the Christmas season was having Papa & Nana Christianson visit from Washington.  The kids loved having their grandparents around to play with and Jared and I really enjoyed the extra two pairs of hands!  We took a trip to the local Bass Pro Shop and went on the reindeer carosel and took a few family pictures on the Grizzly bear. There was a much shorter line for the bear than for Santa!


Papa & his boys
Isaac riding the Grizzly!

We also enjoyed looking at Christmas lights near Grapevine downtown.  We attended a great Christmas Eve service at our church and ended the night with singing around the Christmas tree, eating Creme Brule and opening one gift.

Nana & Papa w/ kids


On Christmas morning the kids woke up, ate a Happy Birthday Jesus French Toast Casserole cake, and then had a blast opening all of the presents.  We enjoyed having our neighbors join us for Christmas dinner along with the fried turkey & potatoes that they brought with them!






It warmed up here in Dallas after Christmas and the twins loved being outside with Papa & Daddy while they did "yard work."  








In the midst of all of the Christmas activities, Isaac turned nine months (sigh!), Julia has learned new skills and phrases, and Kai had his biannual MRI, kidney ultrasound, and appointment at the Spina Bifida Clinic.  I have lots to share, but I will wait to do this on next post! Have a Happy New Years!




Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving to Remember

Well, this Thanksgiving we spent time thinking what we were thankful for and also spent sleepness nights taking care of those kids that we are "thankful for!"  We joined my family in Nebraska including seven cousins (four babies and three toddlers).  My poor parents are probably still trying to catch up on sleep after the flu bug spread through the house and kept babies and parents up most of the nights.  Here are some pictures from the Jones family circus!
Four peas in a pod!
You can imagine how much rest everyone got this week!

Great Grandma Jones

Grandma and Papa Jones w/ the toddlers


Zach teaching Julia how to golf

Kai loves his Grandma!

Isaac and Great G & G Barry

McKinley loves her cousin Isaac!

Going in for the kiss!

Adelain


Erin & her girls

Uncle Zach & Kai



Izzy & Julia

Izzy & Kai



Feeding the ducks w/ Megan & Amelia



Kai ate more bread than the ducks did!




Gilbertson family

Playing dress up

We miss Izzy already!

Isaac helping out in the kitchen!

We returned back to Texas and enjoyed getting all of the Christmas decorations out.  As you can see Jared got smart and put a baby gate up around the Christmas tree after the kids broke several ornaments and Isaac tried to scale the tree!  


Jared and I also enjoyed a date night at an outdoor skating rink in Frisco.    Our Texas friends should check it out!  Another recent highlight was attending a parenting conference at our church.  It was a good reminder that "controlling behavior" is not what the goal is, but to point our children to the Lord and the purpose they were created for.  It's been a challenge to teach two year olds that life does not revolve around them and to really identify heart issues as cause of their disobedience.  It is very humbling for us as we have to examine our own hearts!  I'm so thankful for a patient God!

We are counting down the days until Christmas and looking forward to a visit from Jared's parents.  It will be special to host our first Christmas.  It should be memorable!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Faithfulness

As we near the one year mark from our move from Tulsa to Dallas I have found a few minutes to reflect on the past year.  Has it been easy?  No.  Has God been faithful?  Yes, always.
We faced many challenges as we moved states, changed jobs, had another baby, did home improvements, and tried to find our "home" in Texas.  It's hard to believe that one can experience such a range of emotions within a small frame of time.
This has been a challenging year as a mom.  I remember people telling me that the hardest year with twins is the first year.  I beg to differ.  The baby stage seems like a piece of cake compared to the challenges of raising two year olds.  There are definitely great things about living with toddlers, but I feel whipped at the end of most days.  By the time I figure out how to handle tantrums out in public while still attending to a baby and getting my errands done, the twins will probably be sixteen!
Another challenge of the past year has been developing meaningful relationships.  As a person who is very relational and loves to "go deep" with people I find myself feeling very lonely at times.  I know that God can use those lonely times to draw us closer to him.  I'm so thankful that He is so much more faithful than I am.  While I long for more friends to share life with, He is constantly there reminding me that He is all I need.  It has also given Jared and I more time to spend together and with our children, which are the relationships that are most dear to me.
There have also been times when I feel such contentment and thankfulness as I see how God has worked in and around our lives.  One picture pops into my mind.  We had ventured out for dinner with the whole family a few months ago and went to a Mexican restaurant that had an outdoor dining area with an outdoor fountain/splash park right next to it.  After the toddlers finished eating we lifted them over the gate so that they could run around the fountain area.  I vividly remember seeing them run and chase after the fountains of water that kept splashing higher then lower.  The pure joy and squeals of excitement brought tears to my eyes.  The thought came to my mind, "What if Kai's spinal lesion was 1/2 an inch higher on his spinal cord?  Would he ever know what it felt like to walk, run and jump? Would he know the fun of chasing his sister and brother around? Or would he just sit in a wheel chair and watch with longing in his eyes?" God is so faithful.  Yes, He would still be faithful if Kai was not able to experience the gift of mobility, but I am so thankful that He chose to bless him in this way.
Yes, there has been many great times and challenging times this past year.  While we look forward to the next year, I don't know if God will bless us with more friends to share life with or if He will continue to bless our children with health.  What I do know is that God is faithful and always will be.  This brings me joy as I try (and struggle at times) to trust Him with our tomorrows.

P.S.  Grandparents, don't worry! I just posted another blog with the pictures that you want to see!

Fall PIctures


This post is my attempt to document the fall through pictures.  Enjoy!

Isaac is six month old here....such a joy!

Yes, crawling at six months!

Fun at the Texas State Fair

They loved the petting zoo!


The swings were great!

First experience with cotton candy...the stroller is still a mess!


Sweet Baby Isaac

Picking out his pumpkin

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch

Still working on potty training!

Petting zoo at Fall Festival. Kai is telling the goat a joke :)




Hanging out with the Roper boys!

Mommy & Isaac took a road trip to Tulsa to attend a bridal shower and to meet a friend's new baby.  First time away from the twins for a day.  Daddy did great on the home front!

Isaac is really interested in his new friend, Levi!


The boys playing in the kitchen

It was fun to see the Domer family as they visited Dallas!

Isaac talking to Sammy!

Julia & Kai at a local church's "Trunk or Treat" event

Eating pizza (and Isaac eating a flash light) before Trick or Treating!

Go Big Red! Thank Uncle Zach for the Husker gear!

Taking a break with friends to check out their candy stash!
Here is a quick video following the kid's sugar rush Haloween night!

video



Jared & I were able to enjoy Game 4 of the World Series! Great date night :)



Seven months old!  Where does the time go?!

I love those eye lashes!

Kai loves his baby brother!

Standing up!  This guy is a fast mover...always trying to catch up with his siblings!

Such a ham!  He loves to make everyone laugh!