Sunday, December 27, 2009


...sounds so much older than I actually feel. I guess that's good, right?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

wonderful advent!

Advent has been great this year! (Amazing what a little planning can do.) Our Sunday evening family devotions with the advent candles have been wonderful. The big kids were very attentive and we loved hearing their input! We're learning a lot together and focusing on the real meaning of this season.

Our daily advent surprises have also been very fun. The kids love pulling out the card that tells our surprise for the day each morning. I remember my mom doing this with us and it was a holiday highlight. Here's a recap of what we've done:
1. Get out all advent calendars/Make a paper chain countdown
2. Make Christmas-decorated rice krispie treats
3. Make paper snowmen for dining room tree
4. Make a list of all the ways we can GIVE this season
5. Gingerbread houses at cruise terminal
6. Aune Brunch
7. Watch new Christmas movie in sleeping bags under the tree
8. Play Christmas tic-tac-toe
9. Have friends over to play
10. Decorate our own gingerbread house
11. Make snowflakes for the windows
12. Meet firetruck santa and give food for food bank
13. Christmas play at church/Drive James Street looking at lights
14. Listen to audio CD of a new Christmas story
15. Pictures with mall santa/Gifts for giving tree/Caroling at convalescent center
16. Play with friends/Make peanut butter cookies
17. Decorate Christmas cards
18. Make haystacks
19. Make sugar cookies
20. Wrap gifts for one another
21. Decorate sugar cookies
22. Deliver cookie plates
23. Uncle Luke up for a visit!
24. Thompson party
25. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

try, try, and try again

Our Christmas cards have finally gone out. I knew it would not be easy getting a picture of three active kids that is Christmas-card-worthy...but I didn't quite think it would be as hard as it was! We literally took over 50 pictures. I thought you'd enjoy some of the ones that didn't make the cut...


Saturday, December 19, 2009

today has been...

...baking up a storm shopping
...mailing Christmas cards
...wrapping presents
...preparing gifts for Sunday School teachers
...sewing a little something for the stockings

But at the end of today I will feel much more prepared for the big day!

Friday, December 18, 2009

television viewing

My children rarely watch television (and never cable - just dvd's). They don't often ask to watch anything but when they do I just tell them that we don't watch tv because it sucks the energy right out of you.

Last night Audrey asked if they could watch a short dvd before bed. I said maybe. She replied, "Well it's the perfect thing to do before bed. It'll suck the energy right out of us and we'll be all ready to go to sleep." Hmmm - can't argue with that!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

6:58 pm. All three kids in bed. All by myself since Dad's still at work. I think that's some kind of record. Yep - it was a long afternoon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009


We had such a fun weekend I hardly know where to start. But first let me say - our prayers for health were answered! We've all been passing around various illnesses over the past few weeks and we'd been praying for health since we had so many fun things planned for the weekend. Patrick still had some lingering sinus pain, but other than that, we're all doing great. AMEN!

Our local fire department has a great program they do each year. They go around in the neighborhoods with sirens blaring and lights flashing and stop at various locations. One of them is dressed as santa and they set up a quick area for kids to meet with him. Firemen are mingling around and handing out hot cider and candy canes. The kids get to climb in the firetrucks and have their pictures taken. And the best part is that it's all for a good cause! The families who come to see them bring bags of food for the food bank which the firefighters collect and deliver. It's something we look forward to each year! (Too cold for Ethan, though!)

Then the kids had their big Christmas program at church on Sunday. Audrey had a speaking part and had all her lines memorized. And Liam was the cutest little lamb you've ever seen! They both did great!

Then while we were in church this morning, it started snowing! We came home to a winter wonderland. Everyone in our house is hoping it continues tomorrow (except Dad!).

And last but not least - Ethan finally got his car seat turned around today. He's no longer riding backward. He seemed a little freaked at first, but then liked it. We drove around looking at Christmas lights tonight for his maiden voyage.

After dinner we lit our third Advent candle and talked about JOY. What a perfect way to end a wonderful, joyful weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

gingerbread houses

Last weekend we went and looked at some amazing gingerbread houses that other people had created.

And today we decorated our own! Our neighbor makes the gingerbread pieces from scratch each year and gives them to us to put together. So much fun! Thanks Stephanie!

Monday, December 7, 2009

my hero

It is 21 degrees outside right now. Some days I am jealous that my husband gets to work outside. Today is not one of them. Thanks for working so hard for us, honey!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

another great deal!

My mom got Audrey this super cute dress and leggings outfit from Lands End and Audrey loves it. Wants to wear it all the time! But she didn't have any shoes that went with it very well. So she and I went shopping for some boots that would be warm and comfortable, but also cute with a dress. After looking at a couple of other places, we found these gems at Kohl's. With a price tag of $49.99. Who on earth pays that much for kids shoes??? Anyway - as I was about to move on, I saw a sale tag on them for $15.99. Now we're talking. AND I had a $10 off coupon. These adorable boots that she loves were $5.99. I love a good deal! And it was so fun to teach my daughter what a thrill bargain hunting can be!

**The boots are not dirty, by the way - it's not a great picture and that's just how the suede showed up.**

Thursday, December 3, 2009

coffee woes

My dear husband enjoys coffee. A lot. A couple of months ago he bought a french press and has used it daily ever since. And loves it! I found out last night (thanks Jen!) that coffee that is not filtered can raise your cholesterol. What?? I came home and checked it out online and sure enough - it can raise it by as much as 10%. Oh my goodness. How did we not know this?? I passed on the devastating news and broke my hubby's heart. But he took it well. And got out the good old Krups coffee pot. From now on the french press will be an occasional treat - not an every day indulgence.

Today I'm thankful for a husband who takes good care of himself and his heart so he can be around for a LONG time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

math for today

one week of vacation = one week of sick kids

The big kids have sniffles, sore throats and "plugged" ears. Ethan has all the above and two ear infections and his newly-diagnosed asthma has flared up again. Poor guy. He's been to the doctor twice this week and is on lots of meds.

I'm sad that we're missing out on being outdoors and enjoying this beautiful sunshine - but so thankful for the holiday season and Christmas music and our daily advent surprises. Just made Christmas-decorated rice krispie treats for today. Yum!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So for the first time ever - I finally feel ready for advent. Thanks to my friend and neighbor who got me thinking about it early and shared her great ideas - and my mother who either purchased or creatively prepared most of what I'm using - I am ready.

I have a tendency to become so obsessed with crossing things off my to-do list that I miss the "moments." I'm determined to not let that happen this year. We are going to slow down our school schedule for the month so we have plenty of time to read, relax, enjoy, and reflect on the season. Each morning we'll do a Christmas devotion and open one of our boxes for the day which contains a special activity. Our theme for the month is "giving" and I'm encouraging the kids to think of creative ways we can give. And every Sunday night we get to light an advent candle and do a family devotion focused on Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.

My goal is to be intentional. About our time and our focus. And to celebrate the greatest gift this world has ever been given!