Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All You Can Do Is Try...

Me: making meatloaf, having removed all fine jewels
Libbigator: Mom, can I hold your special love wedding ring from daddy? Can I hold it for you?
Me: hmmm. Okay. You can hold it but be very careful with it, it's very special to mama.
Libby: Okay. I will try not to drop it in the trash can.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Every Story Whispers His Name

I can't help but make a recommendation. I don't do this often. In fact, I don't know if I've ever done this. Well, except for Libby's recommended reads. :) And this is another one. Only, it's more than a recommended read. It deserves more than to be part of a list on the margin of the page.

So, let me tell you how much we love Libby's newest storybible. It's called the Jesus Storybook Bible. It's phenomenal. This storybible is a delight for Libby to read through, and she loves it almost as much as Brian and I do. In fact, it's not uncommon for me to hear Brian at the end of the day, "What!? You're this far already?! You and mommy read all these stories without me?" Neither of us wants to miss out on storybible reading. :)

The storybible is written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The stories are so very well written, recounting not only the Bible stories many of us are so familiar with, but telling them and elaborating on the context, and showing us how Jesus fits into each page in the scriptures. Lloyd-Jones helps little readers (and big readers alike) imagine and better understand the eerie feeling in the garden after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and a girl who is hungry after being brought back to life by Jesus, and God's frightened people standing at the edge of the sea, as well as God's purposes and the foreshadowing of our Savior. Listen to this excerpt,

"What were God's people going to do? In front of them was a big sea. It was so big there was no way around it. But there was no way through it -- it was too deep. They didn't have any boats so they couldn't sail across. And they couldn't swim across because it was too far and they would drown. And they couldn't turn back because Pharaoh was chasing them. They could see the flashing swords now, glinting in the baking sun, and the dust clouds, and chariot after scary chariot surging towards them. So they did the only thing there was left to do -- PANIC!
"We're going to die!" they shrieked.
"Don't be afraid!" Moses said.
"But there's nothing we can do!" they screamed.
"God knows you can't do anything!" Moses said. "God will do it for you. Trust him. And watch!"
"But there's no way out!" they cried.
"God will make a way!" Moses said.
"Another minute and it would have been over. But then the strangest thing happened."

Isn't it exciting to read? :) This storybible is written to help the reader see the Bible in its entirety as a puzzle, and Jesus as the missing piece that makes it all fit together. And from the Old Testament through the New, Lloyd-Jones reminds us that Jesus is a part of the story; that every story bears his name. What's that, you say? What did Jesus have to do with the parting of the Red Sea?

...continuing on in the story of the parting of the Red Sea, from Exodus 14-15
"God's people were safe. They danced and laughed and sang and thanked God -- when there had been no way out, God had made a way.
Many years later, once again, God was going to make a way where there was no way.
From the beginning, God's children had been running from him and hiding. God knew his children could never be happy without him. But they couldn't get back to him by themselves -- they were lost, they didn't know the way back.
But God knew the way. [JESUS!!]
And one day he would show them."

Now, I will take one or two lines to point out that this is a storybible and not a Bible, which is worth noting because the words on these pages are not God breathed, they are not inspired as scripture is (2 Tim 3:16 "All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.") And this storybible shouldn't serve as a substitute for reading the scripture. Lloyd-Jones is taking liberties, as does any storybible author. But, as believing parents who have read our share of story Bibles, we believe that her interpretation is faithful to the details revealed to us in Scripture (and surprisingly, many storybibles we've read aren't) and it seems that where Lloyd-Jones supplements, she does so in a way that supports the larger theme in scripture: Jesus as the centrality to the storyline.

And it must be mentioned, the illustrations are phenomenal. Jago is the illustrator and we're just amazed by his work. Every page is brilliant with color, with fascinating and almost childlike sketches. That said, we do have to remind Libby that we don't KNOW what it would have looked like when God spoke the moon into existence, and we don't KNOW that Jairus' daughter had beautiful curly brown hair (Libby LOVEs her hair in the illustration:) But, we do know that the illustrations are fun to look at, and that God's miracles would have been even more breathtaking in person.

So, all that to say, check out the Jesus Storybook Bible. Your little one, if he or she is attentive enough to sit and listen to a number of words on a page, will surely love it. And I would imagine you will too. This book is well put together, and it's educational and helpful to those who may have never read through the Bible, to those who know some of scripture and are familiar with various stories but couldn't necessarily put their finger on "the big picture", and to those who are well versed in scripture and appreciate a storybible that holds to the truths laid before us in the Word of God, in particular, the truths that our God is the author of history, merciful, all knowing and all powerful, and the same thousands of years ago as He is today. Specifically, the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New, and his works from the beginning were deliberately laid into place with a foreshadowing of his redemption of his people through Jesus Christ our Savior!

**The excerpts I gave you are from the storybible, and each excerpt was off one page in the book. I mention that so you can see about how many words are on each page. It's not a storybible with one or two sentences of summation, it's a bit more involved. BUT, I think you'll be impressed with how the text captivates your little one, while the illustrations give them more than enough to contemplate until you're ready to turn the page. If you'd like to see more, click on the link to the Westminster Bookstore, which allows you to see 10 pages from within.**

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Little Libby

L: (waking up from her nap) Mom, is it snack time? Can I watch a cartoon and have a snack?
M: Yes, it's snack time. And let me see what cartoons are on right now.
L: No, wait. I want to watch the new president. It's more important!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ya Hungry, Barns?

Okay, to most of you, this is going to be a boring video. I mean, even I can see how it's boring. But, to a mom and a dad, it's one of those moments that kind of tickles you. It's 30 seconds in the day of our lives. 30 seconds just watching our son think, try to figure something out, and make an attempt at being a big boy, doing something that apparently, he's been observing from afar.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two Kids One Chair

Yes, this cupcake has feet.

No, that is not Xander's chair. But, I let him eat lunch on it ONE time, when little miss Carla sat in Xander's seat, and since then he's decided he really, really likes it. He nods as he tells me "sit. sit." and climbs into the chair he longs to claim as his own.

Hudson Turned Three

Hudson turned three and Brittany hosted a fabulous party to celebrate his little life. Like any good construction crew, the kiddos assembled houses, ate sack lunches, and took a little break before they were back at it to open presents. It was a great party, most of all because we could gather to celebrate our little Hudson James. Happy Birthday H!

Hudson grins, Jack Libby and Kate labor away on their construction.

I LOVE this picture. So cute.

Xander eats his sack lunch on break.

Libby, Andrew, Kate and Jonah. Chow.

I also love this pic. Very Cute.

Here's the crew! Lookin' good. Happy Birthday smiley guy!


Look at my little man. :) He's walking. That's what he does. He gets where he needs to go. And you know, crawling used to get him where he needed to go. Crawling was sufficient for a long time. Until... Xander realized that walking allowed him to carry things wherever he needed to go. hmmmm. Now that changes things. So here he is, with a double ear infection and eyes nearly swollen shut, walking like a manimal, taking his alltime favorite nalgne with him. Everwhere.

And then his adoring big sister snatched him up, much to his delight, and gave him some special Libby love. Have I mentioned that we're in the midst of a really sweet season with these kids? They've both been so dear lately!

Thank You Aunt Wendy!

THIS is one of the coolest bath toys. Thank you Aunt Wendy.
(what you can maybe not necessarily see, is that the blue part is full of water, and two little people sail in their little sailboats on the blue water, the gate opens and closes, the very bottom of the picture is a cave with a waterfall, and sometimes the poor sailors find themselves under the waterfall...)
Oh, and while I have your attention, let me warn you. Stay away from bath crayons. They are every bit as evil as I suspected they might be. I avoided using them for a loong time, I caved and gave them a try, and I regret it wholeheartedly.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy New Year (it's still pretty new)

Here are some pics of the kids taken on New Year's Eve. We spent the night with the J's, and thought it would be fun to take a picture of the 4 kiddos in their jammies, like we did last year. Of course, last year the littlest ones weren't going anywhere and they all lined up so nicely for the photo. This year, this is what we got. :)

Oh they've changed!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Xander and Sarah

this is a test...I'm trying to steal pictures (that were offered to me) from Lucy's Picasa page. Didn't she get a great shot of Xander with Aunt Sarah? aw. :)

Carter Rex

We were delighted to have our friends, and old housemates come for a visit over the weekend. Casey and Brian brought their little Carter Rex. He and Xander had met before, so they're old buds by now. I only got one picture, and this is it. X has his hand in his mouth, bummer, but look at C. Could he be any cuter?! He's almost 9 months old, if you're wondering the age difference between them. X is almost 15 (you should know that....). AND, Xander made cruising around the room look so fun that Carter did his first full fledged hands and knees crawling right before our very eyes. It was very exciting, but how could he not? Xander wasn't going to wait up for him, and while he already moved around the room in a super cute belly flop sort of fashion, he'll be so much more efficient on the 4s. :) Thanks for the visit, dear friends! Looking forward to your return to the big city. Maybe you can move into your dream house across the way and we'll be neighbors, unless I claim it before you get a chance... ;)

Awwwwwww. Poor little man!

So, my little man is sick. Well, he was sick, but he's almost all better. By tomorrow morning I expect him to be really, basically, totally better. But the little guy got a cold, and it presented in his eyes. They got all gooey and yucky, and while the whites of his eyes remained white, he got beet red bags under them, and his sensitive skin even got raw from the moisture and rubbing, and he was a sad, sad case. But, remarkably, kids are so incredible while sick, aren't they? Aside from crying when I tried to clean his face, you'd never know he was uncomfortable. He was the perfect patient at his doctor's visit on Monday, entertaining and impressing our stand in (Dr. K has Monday's off... timely.) and he actually giggled when the doc told us he had an ear infection (in each ear). What kind of a baby finds a doctor entertaining when he's bearing the bad news? mine. I just wanna smooch him. But I won't cause he's sleeping in bed right now. But look at him. I took some pictures Monday morning, and he even looked worse later in the day. (See our family picture taken Monday evening, it's shown a couple of posts down on this page...) He's all baggy eyed and could hardly open them up, but he's still sweet and silly and smiley. Lord, thank you for blessing our family with Alexander Elliot. What a blessing he has been to so many! And thank you for healing him of this yuckiness!

More Christmas In Review...

Okay, here are my last Christmas photos, but there are many many more out there. Particularly of Christmas celebrations, during which I'm often working in the kitchen and thankfully someone else is snapping pictures of the rest of the family. So, if you're one of those people, and you have some great shots of family Christmas, please email them to me so I can post them for the rest of us (and the world, ha) to see. And, I can just have them to enjoy too. :)

this easel was the first gift libby saw on Christmas morning.
when she came out into the den it was waiting for her, treeside, with
one of her previously painted masterpieces on display. she was thrilled!

yes, she really does love it. and so do I. (equally important.)

easily, this nalgene bottle was xander's favorite gift. when he pulled it from his stocking,
his eyes lit up and he did his characteristic xander wiggle of glee, and threw in some squeals for good measure. apparently, he has had his eye on libby's (pink one) and his very own big boy nalgene was just what he had wanted for Christmas. And yes, I was still half asleep. It was morning. Give me a break.

X's stocking also contained nutrigrain bars. So, someone was thinking practically
(breakfast) when she stuffed stockings. Unfortunately, they're one of the messiest
breakfast treats we could have offered him...

daddy and libby begin to set up xander's train set

too bad for wrappings in the foreground.
barns is enjoying his big bone in front of the fire.

my hubbs is such a cutie. i love this picture of him all messy haired
and watching his kids play so happily on Christmas morning. plus, what
a nice sweater. yowza!

libby painted her first picture on the easel.

opening gifts at grandma anna's.
i love how excited they are to find out what could be peeking out of this one.

my babe. love him.

i don't know what she was whispering to grandpa larry here,
but it sure it cute. libby is really into secrets these days.
mama, i want to tell you something as a secret. . .

zoo lights. fun idea, fun times.
we made it the night before they ended it
for the season and enjoyed seeing light displays of
alligators, polar bears, butterflies,
monkeys swinging through trees... you get the idea.
thanks, brett, for taking the pic and sacrificing having your own
cold pink nose and smiling face in this family shot!

remember Libby's painted pottery? (see November 08 Tgiving in Chicago.)
welll, Aunt Lucy and Uncle Dan came bearing gifts!
She was so excited to see it after waiting a few weeks,
and of course it looks even better than it did before it was fired and glazed!
What a treat! (the girl takes after her mama with her love for polka dots...
painted on the mug and sporting them on her shirt. love it.)

A family photo taken Monday night at our 5th and final Christmas celebration. Brian looks like he has a dream, and poor Xander looks absolutely miserable. But, I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that despite the way he must have felt, he was as sweet as ever. I wonder how many times he heard empathetic "awwwwwww" echo around the room every time he giggled or smiled or did something sweet wearing that bruised and battered face!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Birthday Cake

Christmas is a special time for our family to celebrate the birth of Christ, and in this household, one way we celebrate birthdays, is with cake. :)

On Christmas Eve, the four of us baked a cake. We decided on chocolate (it wasn't a difficult decision) and even Xander got to participate in baking for the first time. I was surprised to find that he actually knew some of what we would be doing. For instance, he really wanted to pour things into the bowl. I didn't let him, :), but I was impressed that he'd been watching me nonetheless.

Christmas morning, after we'd opened gifts and before we had pancakes for breakfast, we decorated the cake for Jesus. A week or so beforehand, I asked Libby how she thought we should decorate the cake. What would we do to make the cake special to celebrate the birth of Jesus? She said, "show his glory." I thought that sounded perfect, and I'm so thankful for Libby's teachable heart, and that the Glory of God is what comes to mind when we think on him. And, we decided the best way we could show his glory was with lots and lots of colorful tasty beautiful candy toppings. :)

Libby takes her work very seriously.

There are several varieties of sparkly colorful sprinkles (piled on pretty thick) as well as glittery gel frosting. If I could have found more sparkly glittery shiny glorious treats to top the cake with, we probably would have.

I topped the cake with his name in white, and we were pretty excited about the outcome. No, it's nothing close to the glory of Jesus. But, we gave him all the glory for it anyway.

Finally, that evening we joined family for our fourth Christmas celebration. (there was even yet another to come.) Here, Libby and Em sit before the cake just after singing Happy Birthday to You (dear Jesus!). And, it tasted delicious. An added bonus!

Friday, January 02, 2009

End of the Year Reruns

Okay, here are some of our end of the year shots showing some of our Christmas prep and celebrations. I have to say "some" because I still have pictures on my camera... and my camera isn't at home with me, so I'm posting what I have. I need to give my faithful viewers something new, right? So, here ya go. In reverse order, from Christmas Eve to the weekend before...

As usual, we didn't remember to get everyone rounded up for a big family photo, but we did our best to photograph the kiddos with gma and gdad before they left town.

(yes, i said these were in reverse order and they are. we actually got the good one on the first try, then xander got bored and started entertaining the crowd, leaning from libby to grandad, looking for their attention.)

doug, sandy, kelsey, grandad, grandma, aunt brett, uncle mason... joining us for the weekend (and beyond) and mexican food this particular night

libby likes grandma's punch, and she likes serving it up for everyone else (who wouldn't?)

barnabas is such a good and handsome boy (and especially when he's hoping for a treat)

the kiddos are ready...

if the overturned bowl and guilty face don't clue you in to his shenanigans,
let barnabas's lowered head be the last piece of the puzzle...

libby put together quite an outfit, with a fuzzy pink sweater,
a fancy tutu, and aunt brett's new wellies

xander begins to open his first present of the season

a big box of crayons will put a big smile on a little girl's face

opening presents, and in the back left corner, typical xander.
feet on the floor is SO boring.

daddy took libby sledding. it was a fun time.

this was the "before" shot. we meant to take an "after" shot too. you know, with pink noses and snow in hair. but when they got home they stripped off the cold snowy clothes before we remembered our original plan.

2008 stockings hung by the chimney with care.
i later put the nose on the snowman on x's stocking too...

since elisabeth is an avid painter, colorer, crafter... and i prefer simple wrapping with cute details, it seemed natural to let libby paint our paper this year... she agreed.

brown paper packages tied up with strings

grandad, you didn't get to keep the paper, but here's a picture of the
masterpiece in progress. :)