Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kids pic!

Before Tara goes back overseas we had to get a picture with all the kids! The last time we did a children's picture there were only 7 little ones!!

And now we have 11 between us!!

The picture was a little hard to get, but I think overall you can see everyone's face and no one was crying, so that equals success!!  Love these girls so much and I am so thankful God has blessed us all with so many happy, healthy children!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Aquarium visit

Every year my mom babysits the boys and takes them somewhere fun. This year the boys specifically asked to go back to the Aquarium because they enjoyed it so much. So we loaded up the car and all headed to the Aquarium. They saw all the same stuff but acted like it was the first time all over again. They were so excited!!  There were so many cool things to see and I loved how it was all so kid friendly with different tubes and bubbles for them to get inside to be closer to the fish.  It was a great afternoon activity that we all enjoyed!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas at the Pippen's

After we got home from Richard's parent's house we got everything ready for Santa; his cookies and milk, Elfa's cookies and they sprinkled the reindeer food outside...then it was off to bed!!

Christmas morning they got up and opened their stockings and then it was off to my parent's house...


where there were more stockings to open!!

And then we opened gifts!!

I am so grateful for all the wonderful things we all received and for the great weather that allowed us to go outside and play and for all the time we were able to spend with family!!

After gifts, we ate.  Mom made these cute little Grinch fruit kabobs!  Very creative!  It was a perfect first Christmas for our family and we are so thankful for all of our loved ones that help make it so special!! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas at the Hollingsworth's

On Christmas Eve we went to Richard's parent's house. His brother and his family came in and we were able to meet their newborn, Maysen. Lynette cooked a Mexican fiesta with tamales, chips and dip, taco bowls, and fresh tortillas.

 Before the package opening begun we had our annual scratch off time. I think several of us won at least $1 and I think Richard was the big winner with six whole dollars!

We all had fun playing with Austyn!  She is at a very fun age and is very social.  Teague had to photo bomb our picture!

And then we started opening presents. 

They all got a mixture of clothes and money and toys of some sort.  Here is Teague with his remote control car.
Richard and his brother played Santa by handing out the gifts and picking up the trash so they got to wear the Santa hats.

Lynette and Roy with all the kids, minus Auri who was spending time with her other grandparents!  A good looking crew!  Thank you Hollingsworth family for a Christmas Eve full of great food, fun and family!! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas at the McCaig's

Last night we were able to celebrate Christmas with Richard's late wife's family, the McCaigs.  From the very beginning they have embraced me and the boys and welcomed us into their family.  We ate a delicious meal that Judy cooked and then we opened gifts.  Everyone had a stack full by the time they were all passed out.

Baylee and Maddie and Kate

Michelle and Jeremy opening gifts.

Judy and Neal gave our family a Fireside Fun package which included all the stuff needed for hot cocoa and s'mores!  We can't wait to use this!!

Neal and Judy with all the children!  It was a fun and relaxing evening spent in the presence of those who truly are the example of love!  Thank you McCaig family!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My 2013 'one word'

Time again to reflect on 2013 and look forward to 2014! My 'one word' for 2013 was 'community'

See HERE for that post.

I feel like God directed our path to a fabulous Life Group within our church.  We didn't truly get plugged in until about March, and even then it was still a little sporadic due to basketball. Yet,two months later when we got engaged they threw us a party and the weekend before the wedding they gave us scriptures to hang in our home and prayed over us.   They took us in and loved us from the very beginning! We have loved our Wednesday nights together studying the Word and visiting and eating.  I have really come to look forward to the mid-week time of worship and fellowship with these families.

In the new year, our group will be multiplying into two different groups and in light of that, they decided we would each share our testimonies in a brief 5 minute blurb.  Couples went back to back and then there was a time for questions. It was so neat to hear the different journeys everyone has been on and how God works in such different ways based on what you need.  Last Wednesday, Richard and I shared our individual stories.  It was probably the first time I shared my story to people who hadn't walked through it with me, so it was scary to be vulnerable and to possibly be judged...I mean 'divorce' has a stigma to it and I hate that I even have to utter that word associated with me, but I do. Thankfully God redeems and no one judged!

Revelation 12:11
They overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony...

Our stories came out behind quivering voices and trickles of tears, but at the end of the night I felt closer to Richard and to everyone in the group. I can not think of a more perfect way to end my year of  'community' than to know and be known!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Preparing for Christmas!

I love getting all the Christmas decorations out and decorating the house!  I got some fresh garland and poinsettias during the Black Friday rush that add such a nice smell in the house!  This being our first Christmas in one house, it was fun to go through all the ornaments and choose which ones to put on the tree.  I love the ones with pictures of our little babies and the homemade ornaments the kids have made throughout the years.

My aunt even surprised me with an early Christmas present...this ornament with our family picture in it!  I love it, Sonja!  Thank you!!

In attempting to blend families together I am trying to keep traditions from both sides, yet also create our own.  So, I am trying something new this year.  I have wrapped 25 activities that we will partake in through the month.  We will let one kid open one gift a night and enjoy whatever it it as a family!  I tried to keep each activity family related or Christ centered so we will all remember what this season is truly about.  I am so thankful for being able to share this Christmas with a big family of 7 and how Jesus truly is the best gift of all!!