Monday, December 31, 2007

happy birthday daddy!

no more aquarium & construction fun

our aquarium passes have expired. this was our final trip. :( 4 kids on a sea turtle. what fun!

this is us on our driveway. our neighbor is doing a little construction. it is actually just a small job so we were all surprised to see this huge crane show up one afternoon. they just moved this one beam over the house. the operator had fun watching the kids enjoying his work and came over to chat with us before and after.


we had cake at a birthday party for Jesus with our parkday friends.

here are our little ones making presents for their cousins. they worked really hard for a couple weeks on this project. 2 of the 3 boards split and had to be replaced and restarted. L but the kids had fun painting and nailing and learning about their ability to make something for someone else.
we had an amazing few days of Christmas. being with family is the highlight of the holidays for me! we had the opportunity to celebrate with my mom's (grandma jo's) side of the family... then with all our parents... then with the cousins. the kids had a blast. they were really well-behaved for 3 straight days of different people.
christmas morning the kids gathered and almost all smiled at the same time for a photo in their jammies. the pants were sewn the night before! (those elves are so last minute sometimes.) i wasn’t sure it was really worth it, but it made my day when my dad told me that my mom would have been proud. i don’t think he was referring to the procrastination, but the sewing J i’ll take it.
here’s the kids in front of the tree and fire ready to open some presents.

daddy got the family a croquet set and it got put straight to work. all the kids and daddy and grandpa joe had such fun. obviously we had great christmas day weather!

our last advent! we were so faithful to celebrate each evening this year and the kids have continued to ask if we can do advent. of course, we still do bible reading, but without the candles – which was the highlight. who’s turn is it to blow out the candles tonight?!?!

this is little sy in his “my 1st christmas” santa hat. awww. how cute!

our “big” gift this year was a keyboard! the kids have been playing non-stop and really enjoy it. it currently resides in the toy room, although there are plans to keep it in the “music room” with the drums that were the “big” gift last christmas. kiki & ky have enjoyed it most. jojo is still enjoying the drums, but seems to be so musical that he’d like any instrument. we also have a guitar that the kids play with, but it was really used more when we had someone in the house who played.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the Christmas letter

Merry Christmas!
sorry about the lack of effort on our cards. but this way you all know the blog exists and can check in on us at your leisure. :)
it has been a fun year...

the first 4 months was spent working on our house. when we first moved here 3 years ago, i was pregnant with ky. we did a ton of work on our kitchen, master bath, toy room and laundry. it was chaos, but all done "before the baby" came. it brought back memories of pregnancies in our old house - me installing a kitchen floor or redoing a bathroom... so this time (aka this pregnancy), we "finished" all that we wanted to do. - is it ever really finished??? - but honestly the inside of the house was all beautiful "before the baby" came again.

during those months, our kids each got some quality time with their grandparents in phoenix. this was a nice break for us and a treat for them. their favorite things to do at grandma's house are climb their mountain and swim in their pool. the pool is truly theirs - inside their fence. the mountain is just outside their back fence, so really they share it with a few neighbors - as there are houses all around it. but the kids LOVE to go climb new routes and enjoy nature. the grandparents also love to treat them to trips to the zoo, science center, parks, historical places and other fun adventures.

May brought the birth of #4. little sy is such a joy - super easy going. the older kids all love to hold and entertain him.

the "older" boys who turned 4 & 5 this year had a dramatic change midsummer!

this happened the day of kiki's birthday party and some of our "newer" friends had never seen the boys without hair and didn't recognize them. here's a fun shot of jojo mid-cut...

4th of july i thought i'd try to be a photographer. we didn't have grass (only dirt) so we did a little photo shoot on our neighbor's front lawn. the best photo was the FIRST of about 30 tries! go figure! then i wanted to be creative and the children suffered, blinded by the sun. it worked better indoors!

we had some friends (a family of 4) come stay with us for a couple days. the dad is currently serving in the military and was a friend from high school in oregon, so it was fun for the men to reminisce and to hear a first-hand perspective of what's going on in the middle east.

in august sy made his first ever 6-hour journey to grandma & grandpa's house. the drive was fairly uneventful. the "vacation" was great! it's amazing how much more fun it is to sit around in somebody else's house! (not that that's all we did, but it was satisfying for me!) here's a couple photos of the trip - the kids in the pool & grandpa's birthday "party" (we went to a diamondbacks game - it was so fun!)

september could have been the beginning of a new adventure as jojo is 5 and traditionally would begin kindergarten, but (as you see on the blog) we're homeschooling for now. so we actually started in january to take this first year slow since we'd have a new baby in the house. kiki is eager to keep up with jojo in all he does, so they learn almost everything together. they are such good buddies! what a blessing! here's our class baking cookies.

we had more friends - another family of 4 - come stay with us and it was such a treat to hang out with them as they have now moved abroad.

i really can't resist sharing... FINALLY, just before the 4 month anniversary of losing our front & back lawn (on purpose), we got new grass!!! so here's the before and after! (this particular "before" is actually "after" the BRONCO tore down the right side of the wall that you see to the left of the front door - also on purpose)

besides all the fun things we DID, we've learned a lot this year. it's been a struggle to have patience and faith "in the moment" sometimes. we ultimately know that our troubles are "light and momentary" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) and this is truly what allows us to have hope. we've been "doing advent" every evening this month. we currently have two candles going - hope and preparation. it has been a blessing to gather as a family and testify to the hope we have in our Lord - because He came and we can have life through Him. and also to daily pledge to continually to prepare our hearts as we celebrate His birth, but also as we give our lives daily to Him.

Monday, December 10, 2007

the karate park

today we went to kiki's "karate park". we found the park this past january when kiki signed up for karate (which lasted only 6 weeks). since then, our parkday group has relocated to there - meeting a couple times a month and s has played soccer there whenever he's able to get to the pick-up game they have 3x/week. but almost a year later... it's still the karate park. today i got a shot of what the boys do when we go with s to soccer.

they are chasing down all the balls that the men kick out of bounds! they run usually for about an hour straight retrieving the balls. AND when we get home, they've still got energy to burn! they really are like little energizer bunnies!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


i was putting the kids to bed tonite and after i prayed with both boys jojo asked, "was jakeybear's birthday yesterday?" i went into a ridiculous long drawn out explanation of his birthday being in a couple weeks, but his party was yesterday because people get too busy at Christmas time to make room for birthday parties and btw, they also forget the true reason for Christmas...
jojo listened patiently then said, "i think yesterday we overcame evil."
WOW. he's been listening to a scripture memory cd and his favorite (as in, put it on repeat for a few hours) song has been Romans 12:21. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
for more details see previous post.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Praise the Lord!

today we went to 2 parties. a birthday party this morning and our end-of-the-season soccer party this evening. all of our kids were amazingly well-behaved! i am not bragging. this is a post of wonder, just like a post about something crazy and mischievious that they may do. fortunately, there was no mischief today.
i was so pleased when we left our first party and i realized i had not reprimanded them or even reminded them to behave. with a big smile i told them, "i don't have anything with me, but i want to reward you for being so good at the party. so i will think of something on the way home". (this is generally a small sticker they get to put on their shirt or some treat like popcorn or fruit snacks - not a new toy). anyway, when we got home i had to get ky down for nap and jojo & kiki had to do some school work and i forgot to reward them. (i say this so you know that the next behaviors were not in response to the "bribe" from earlier.)
tonight the party was a bit more energetic (8 4&5yr old boys and their siblings CAN be more crazy than 20 kids under 5, hmmm...) the boys were crazy before we gave them their sugar! (AKA: cake) but through all the craziness, our kids again were so good.
i didn't realize it until tonite. after scott prayed with the boys and i with ky, jojo called me and asked me to pray with them. it was then i realized that every night, i ask God to draw them closer to Him, to show them His ways and give them the strength and courage to follow Him. i ask for wisdom for them.
tonite, during prayer, i realized that at today's parties, i was able to see GOD HAS ANSWERED. He is showing Himself to my little ones and they inturn are showing others His love and honoring Him through obedience and kindness and compassion! Praise the Lord!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


today is grandpa's birthday - so we had a party, of course! the kids had a blast decorating our house with streamers and making cards. we ate the lasagna we made and the lemon cake jojo made - one of grandpa's favorite cakes! kiki was jumping on grandpa so we explained how very old 68 is and how you can't jump on "such old" people. it was pretty funny. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!


we made lasagna for grandpa j's party. jojo is getting really good at cooking and has got the measuring cups/spoons down! consequently, when i was running late, cake making was ~70% jojo, 30% mommy.
hannah & i were talking this week about how much we depend on our oldests to help out because they are just such helpers automatically. realizing they're only 5, we were discussing how we need to make sure we express our thankfulness for their help and make sure they play enough too. i so appreciate the Lord providing good friends who can encourage me because we're experiencing the exact same stuff. so... praise the Lord for Hannah!
(what does that have to do with lasagna???)

the kids' class photo(s)

parkday goes to atlantis
here's a fun parkday photo from oldest to youngest. we'll consider this the "class photo" of jojo's kindergarten class 2007. It is also kiki's pre-k class 2007. And ky's preschool class 2007. how efficient of me to combine them! we had so much fun getting this. it's the best one of 11 tries. :)