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Easter (Catching-Up)

Easter (Catching-Up)

Wow, I haven’t downloaded pictures from my phone or posted on the blog in 3 months.  What happened?!!

I suppose there are plenty of explanations–life happened, work and church and school and family and whatever else.  The kids are bigger, they aren’t here doing cute stuff every 5 minutes all day long, and there are so many good things to spend time on.

However, for my faithful followers there are still some fun photos and seasonal events to share.  I’ll try to get caught up and break the silence so it isn’t so daunting to post over the summer!

Here is Catching-Up #1–Easter pics.  I’m not sure they need much explanation, they are what they are!

 

Twas the Night Before School Started…

Twas the Night Before School Started…

After titling this post, I briefly considered writing it in the style of Clement Moore’s famous poem, and then quickly discarded the idea as involving entirely too much thinking.  Sorry, my creativity didn’t make it past the title!  But, now that my “children are nestled all snug in their beds” I decided to take a quick moment to share some Christmas memories before life lurches back to full swing in the morning.

Our break has been delightfully full of an excellent mix of events and relaxation (and sometimes both at the same moment.)  The first week was more crowded with holiday festivities including various groups of family and friends, while the second week was more laid back with lots of game playing, playdates, and hanging around home.  Here are a few of my favorite pics:

Nathan and Katya are now professional Christmas card assemblers.  Keep them in mind for next year’s holiday mailings!

One child was Gabriel in the annual Christmas pageant, and the other was a sheep.  Can you tell which was which?  (We will be hosting private viewings of the DVD for any and all interested parties, popcorn and hot tea included in the price of admission)

Our annual light-looking drive is always a highlight.  Eating drive-through fast food in the car while roaming in search of some of the best lights Than can find is always an evening I look forward to 🙂  We enjoyed sharing the trip with a few extra guests, and by the end Katya just had to give up and go to sleep beside me.

SO MANY kind boxes arrived in the mail from various loved family members, and we spread out the fun by opening each one at a separate time.  Love it!!

Our Christmas Day gathering was a simple and cozy one, featuring baked potato soup, yummy extras brought by my aunt and cousin, and good time with various people from both sides of the family.  I am so grateful for each year I get to celebrate with these beloved people.

Our holiday time has been a season of joy, family, warmth, and hope.  There is so much to be grateful for, and all of it is God’s rich and undeserved grace.

Merry Thanksgiving!

Merry Thanksgiving!

Since we are about halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it seems appropriate to write about both at once!  This year that is particularly easy, since we were able to celebrate two holidays in one day with Than’s family.

(Editorial note: since I didn’t take any pictures that day, I am using these photos from our family art project instead.  Pretend this is one of those kid’s picture books where the words say one thing but the illustrations tell a different story…)
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We headed over to Than’s parents’ house Thanksgiving morning with a car full of gifts, food, and excited kids.  Fortunately it is a short drive!!  The Macy’s parade was in full swing and the stockings were already overflowing by the time Than’s brother and sister-in-law joined us, having made a much longer trek through the snow. All the cousins were sure happy to see each other!!  This year we had the exciting benefit of having more kids than adults, so there was lots going on everywhere.  A giant block house with giggling girls and stuffed animals inside, toy cars racing, delicious smells, talking grown-ups, and everything adding up to some joyous mayhem.
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Eventually lunch made it on the table with plenty of delicious food to go around.  We were thankful, to be sure!  Then clean-up, and finally time to open all the little treasures in the stockings.  Back to the dining room for dessert, then on to more Christmas with our family gift exchange.
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Holiday formalities finished, we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the gifts so thoughtfully given.  There were new games to be played, new toys to be tested, and new gloves to take out into the snowy backyard.  All in all it was a wonderfully full day shared with people we care about.

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Thanks, Baylor clan, for working together to create a Merry Thanksgiving!

Rocky Mountain Father’s Day

Rocky Mountain Father’s Day

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For the first time in a long time, Father’s Day fell at the end of VBS week instead of the beginning!  That means that instead of setting up for VBS and celebrating quickly in the evening, we were able to leave after church and enjoy a beautiful drive through Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Travelling Trail Ridge Road was a fun way to celebrate the amazing man that is the father of my children, and his wonderful father as well.  It was especially beautiful up in the mountains because of all the rain we have had this spring, bringing beautiful wildflowers out in full force.  Take a peek…

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On the way out of the park, we even got to see a black bear tromping across a meadow, the crowning wildlife sighting of a day that also featured tons of elk, many with big antlers, and quite a sizable gathering of moose.  Mooses…  Meece…??

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There is no one else I can picture sharing this parenting joy with me so well, and I am eternally grateful that God chose Than to be the one I get to celebrate on Father’s Day.

 

A Spoonful of Sugar

A Spoonful of Sugar

Our house has been humming recently, snatches of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “A Spoonful of Sugar” floating through the air.  Always big Mary Poppins fans, we were excited by the treat of a family outing with the rest of the Baylors to see the Mary Poppins musical at the Boulder dinner theatre.

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I forgot to bring my camera to the show, so I’m putting in these pics of my kids instead.  A few days later a trip to IKEA produced these Mary-Poppins-style umbrellas, which have sparked plenty of creative re-enactments of what we saw.

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Katya even created her own Mary Poppins hat with homemade cherries and a daisy!

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If you get a chance to see the musical, I highly recommend it.  Plenty of threads from the Disney movie to satisfy fans, but also some new songs and spins on the story that connect more to the book and give a new slant to keep things interesting.  Practically perfect in every way…

A Pounding…

A Pounding…

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Late last night, an evening rainstorm turned nasty.  Eventually the pounding of hail on the roof woke both kids, sending them looking for comfort and reassurance as the heavy barrage continued.  It was really hard to soothe my crying daughter when, on the inside, I was feeling sad and angry myself.  I hate hail because it makes me feel so powerless and trapped, and it is so destructive at a hopeful “growing” time of year.  I didn’t even want to look out the window this morning, so Than went out to survey the damage first before I could bring myself to check it out in person.  This isn’t the first time my garden has been pommeled, and I am sure it won’t be the last.

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An event like this fills me with questions.

Why do I plant a garden when I know it will probably get damaged?

Why do I get so sad when things are destroyed, even though it happens every year?

Why does God allow such destructive storms?

What right do I have to be upset when the yard is purely for beauty and pleasure, not something my family depends on for sustenance?

What right do I have to be upset when, just a few blocks away, the hail was so deep that a front end loader was needed to dig out the cars?  (Check out these photos-unbelievable!!)

Does this help me to be more compassionate to others in “crisis” or is it presumptuous to even begin to compare 30 minutes of suburban hail to natural (and man-caused) disasters around the world?

I know petunias are not nearly as important as people, but is there room for sadness about temporal, physical, “minor” losses even though the big things in life are going right?

What is the point?  What should I learn?

Will the sun ever shine for more than 48 hours this summer?!!!

Am I going to stop whining and finish this blog post?

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I don’t have good answers.  All I know is that we will clean up the yard (when the rain gives us a chance) and more plants will survive than I thought, although more are damaged than I would like.  It is National Donut Day, so we celebrated in style, and time goes on regardless of what is happening outside.  Heave a big sigh, munch a fresh free donut, and say thank-you to God for so much that is good.  Eventually my feelings will catch up with the logic of all of that!

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A Happy Mother

A Happy Mother

In spite of a crazy April/May with lots of unusual stress and drama, I was still well celebrated on Mother’s Day.  We celebrated by having a special dinner with Than’s parents and I enjoyed some blissfully quiet hours alone, making yummy food and using some of my beautiful treasures to set the table.  My favorite part of the meal was the strawberry cream-cheese Danish pastry for dessert–a great new recipe that turned out beautifully.  The kids demanded that I photograph it!

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Than helped the kids choose some nice presents, and they also each made me some sweet cards at school.

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Nathan’s was folded like a little booklet with each page listing something special that he loved.  Here is the transcription:

You let us play on the computer.  I love you.

You cook delicious meals.  I love you.

You are pretty.  I love you.

You print worksheets out for us.  I love you.

You do fun crafts.  I love you.

You help us do our work.  I love you.

You let us cook with you.  I love you.

You help us when we are sick.  I love you.

You bring us to school and back.  I love you.

You help keep our house going.  I love you.

You teach me piano.  I love you.

You love reading and adventures.  I love you.

You are creative.  I love you.

You buy good food and snacks.  I love you.

You check out fun books from the library.  I love you.

I love you!

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Katya created a “joy jar” filled with strips of paper with notes written on them for me to read when I need some extra joy.  She also made this picture card:

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Here’s what she wrote:

When I think of you mommy, I think of princess, kind, peaceful, messy, warm, foody, helpful, nice, safe, meaningful, happiness, loving, lovely, smart, and lots of other things.  Happy mother’s day.

I am happy to be a mom!

Celebrating the Resurrection

Celebrating the Resurrection

Holy Week often seems more hurried than holy, even though each year I wish that it would somehow magically be different.  However, God is faithful to remind us of His great love and sacrifice, the gifts that make possible all of the joyful and necessary activities that fill our days.  Here are some Easter highlights….

The unexpected treat of decorating Easter eggs with our neighbor, invited in my my children when they were delivering hot cross buns.

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Bits and pieces of four different generations from both sides of our families, gathered at our house to share the afternoon.

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Cousins who get along well and enjoy each other thoroughly.  (No, Katya doesn’t have glasses yet, that is just a dress up pair that she was enjoying for the day!)

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A front-and-backyard Easter egg hunt that kept both kids and adults entertained.  Nathan even had the kindness to run some eggs across the street for the little girl who lives there!

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The delight of fun treats, large and small, hidden in eggs and given from loving family members.

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Not photographed but still important moments to reflect, serve, and rejoice at our church’s prayer walk, Good Friday meal, and stirring Easter service.

And my favorite, 21 people gathered together because of the miracle of God’s saving love for us.  As we read in 1 Peter 1: 3-4 “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading…”

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He is risen!

Christmas with Family

Christmas with Family

We were so glad to have my parents and brother with us for Christmas, and enjoyed celebrating with the Baylor families a week later.  Here are some pics…

Making gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve:

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Hooray for Christmas presents:

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After Christmas dinner was finished, there was another coloring tablecloth!

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A little Christmas concert (yes, Nathan played too, but that picture didn’t turn out!):

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Our Christmas Day crowd:

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Not pictured–tromping through a beautiful snowstorm on Christmas Night before returning to the house for games

Some of the cousins, heading outside to play on New Year’s Day:

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Thankful in November or January

Thankful in November or January

We were thankful to have the fun of hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house, with Than’s parents and his brother’s family here to celebrate with us.  It is delightful to watch the cousins at play, and to see how much they enjoy each other as they grow.

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We traded the traditional turkey in for herb roasted pork loin this year, but it was accompanied by the usual complement of favorite side dishes, including Matt and Kimi’s homemade rolls and homemade pies from Jan.  Delish!

A fun feature this year was the color-your-own-place tablecloth, providing amusement to kids and grownups alike as the day progressed.  I promised the kids I would photograph it (much better than keeping it!) so here it is, a before and after…

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Food, games, laughter, family–a good day of celebrating God’s blessings.