Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Minnesota Fun #4

Its been FREEZING here today...9 below zero. So, the morning was spent having some indoor fun. In fact, Maddie surprised herself and pulled her second loose tooth! She was so proud of herself!

This afternoon we went to go ice skating. It was a blast! Not an ice rink but a park with ice skating over frozen ponds and streams. We bundled up and took off!

Sam did NOT approve of the cold.

Chris, Gail (Sheryl's sister) and their kids, Sierra and Canaan

Maddie and me

Maddie and Sam--check out Sam's expression

Ahhhh...inside by the fire drinking hot chocolate

It was another great day!

Minnesota Fun #3

More Minnesota fun! It snowed more yesterday....a very heavy snow! Although it's very cold (9 below zero) everyone is still having fun!

Ella, Maddie and Canaan (their cousin)

everyone is bundled up and ready to drive to the Mall of America

Ella standing in front of the huge snow drifts

At the front of the amusement park in the Mall of America there's a section called "Lego Land"

Ella and Canaan

It's still so crazy to me that all of this is in a MALL!

See the American Girl store peeking out? Somehow the park was fun enough to manage keeping the girls occupied. Whew!

Sam was a grump for part of the day. NO TEARS AT DISNEY WORLD!!! (or at MOA!)

YAY! Sam recovers...

We have had a great time! Today we're hoping to go ice skating-as soon as it warms up a bit!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Minnesota Fun #2

This after noon we rode the subway train into downtown Minneapolis to the shopping district. There is an 8 story Macy's there and the 8th floor is a Christmas wonderland entitled "A Day in the Life of an Elf".

Everyone had a blast!

on the train to downtown

Sam absolutely loves his uncle Chris!

Sheryl and her sister Gail

The kids at Macy's

The displays were amazing!

Santa's workshop

The shop beyond these displays had gingerbread cookies for sale. The smell was incredible!

Tonight we are having a date night with Chris and Gail while Chris's sister babysits. We're going to the Mall of America to ride roller coasters! Yes...roller coasters in a mall.

Minnesota Fun

We had a LOOOOOONG drive to Minnesota...but we made it here and we're having a blast. I just have to say one thing about the in large, people in Wisconsin do not have any concept of "slower traffic keep right". Seriously. Eat less cheese and GO, PEOPLE! jk.

It's beautiful here. There's a hill right outside Chris and Gail's house. I captured some pictures of sledding this morning. We're going to Macy's downtown this afternoon to see some Christmas display--apparently the entire 8th floor...

Our kids LOVE their cousins! It's so fun to watch them play. for more snowy fun!

Sheryl and me

Maddie and me

My kids dared me to bring this ski hat left over from college days. They didn't know that I love a dare!

Canaan, Ella, and Maddie

Ella and Canaan

Ella and Canaan

Sheryl and me

I love the sound of those squeals of delight!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you! We have had a wonderful couple of days of celebrating and vegging. Last night we went to my mom's for Christmas Eve and had dinner and opened some presents. The kids were so excited...they started asking me about 8am... "How much longer 'til we go to Nonnie's??"

We have so much to celebrate. We celebrate the gift of Jesus. We celebrate the gift of family and friends. And, we stop to take in the amazing reality and power of God with us-Immanuel!

The kids pose in front of Nonnie's tree. We were all excited to open presents!

Sam was hilarious this Christmas screaming "HOLY COW!" after opening gifts he really liked.

I love this picture! My mom reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to 3 very eager listeners.

Back at our house, Santa came to visit! Mean old daddy made the kids stop on the stairs for a photo. They had ants in their pants.

Santa left some goodies in the den and filled our stockings!

After we discovered what Santa brought us, we moved to the living room to exchange gifts.

I LOVE Christmas morning!

The kids really were so sweet with each other today.

Sam loves Power Rangers!

Nonnie got in on the action too!

Maddie...please don't grow up too fast. Your daddy can't stand it!

As we sat to feast, we all agreed that this was an awesome birthday party kind of day. We're thankful Jesus was born and came into our lives!

What a treasure to have captured a bit of this!

One of my all-time favorite things about Christmas morning are the screams...
Merry Christmas, friends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The WORD is Alive!

Sunday morning at Fellowship, Jeff reminded us of the power in GOD WITH US--Emmanuel! It reminded me of one of my favorite songs wthat we sing with ZOE. I posted this last year but wanted to again. Thanks to Phil Wilson for putting this ZOE song to video last year for Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

For the Love of Gracie!

Warning...gratuitous pictures of Baby Gracie. I am a proud uncle...what can I say? She is so perfect! We got to spend part of our Saturday with them. What a joy!

SO SWEET! The kids are absolutely ga-ga over her!

I loved how she just snuggled up wit me. Poor old girl...shes going to be so spoiled!

Sheryl and I loved this picture because it looks like Gracie is smiling too! :)

Ella was absolutely precious with her. Ella has always been fanatical about babies. She sat in the chair holding her for a long time. Everyone else just went about their business and I was watching Ella. She just stared at her the whole time. Ella kept trying NOT to smile but her smile would just break forth...I literally had tears. It was so sweet. On the way home she told me, "Daddy, I really don't need a baby doll for Christmas. Gracie is way better."

Maddie and Gracie

Oh, the things these girls will all get into!

Sunday morning we went to Fellowship and my mom came with us. It was incredible, as it always is. Sheryl and I both wept as Jeff Helton (one of the preaching ministers) talked about Immanuel...God WITH us. He spoke of the power of God's real presence. He also talked about losing his mother at an early age. Since both Sheryl and I have dealt with the loss of a parent early in our lives (Sheryl was 3 and I was 20), we both wept to hear him speak of God's power working in those situations. It was an awesome morning.

After church we went to my mom's house for "Supper Soup"...a soup my family has been eating since 1969 thanks to the wonderful and talented Pat Phillips. We ate and watched the Titans overpower the Steelers. GO TITANS!!!!!!!

Here are a couple of pics taken at my mom's house. She truly is the queen of Christmas decorations!

Santa Maddie
Santa Ella

I pulled out my favorite Fisher Price city from when I was 4 years old for Sam to play with. He was having a blast.
Below is a video of the kids with Gracie

Last night the kids wanted to do a "show' for Sheryl and me. They had been rehearsing and "choreographing" and wanted me to video. Hilarious.'s a Christmas greeting from our home to yours! :)