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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Zoom zoom!

Luke is four and has finally expressed some interest in riding a bike. I don't like to compare my children but, since Andrew began riding a bike with training wheels at age two and then aced riding without training wheels at age three, I was beginning to think that Luke might never want to learn to ride a bike.

It's so much fun to watch Luke ride his neon yellow and blue bike! He smiles the entire time his legs are moving, enjoys riding down hills, and likes having control over the steering while sitting high. Our only struggle has been his lack of desire to wear his helmet! I think he especially likes riding side by side with his big brother and being able to look down upon Abigail as he rides past her....zoom zoom!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

handmade ornament & gift

We often bring home to reuse those plastic cups given to kids with their kid's meal at various restaurants, including the lids. Those lids have been sitting in one of the kitchen drawers for a long time just waiting to be tossed or used for something purposeful. Then, I saw this blog with pictures of Delaney's creations and I just knew what I was going to do with those plastic round I did!

I used gross-grain ribbon instead of yarn. The only other items I used were a hot glue gun, additional ribbon, and some tight wound twine for embellishment.

Also, since my oldest niece is going off to school in May and will have her first apartment to herself, I decided to make her a lap desk. It will come in handy when she wants to do homework, write letters, etc, in front of the TV or on her bed.

I used a thin piece of wood, sanded it down on one side, and then smeared Mod Podge in sections to adhere various pictures, letters, words, and phrases pertaining to my niece. She loved it!

Wordless Wednesday

Christmas in Dixie...just kiddin'

Abigail has enjoyed many moments sitting on her great-grandmother's lap.

She grabbed her aunt's glasses and decided to try them on her own eyes. She's so smart and we know that all people that wear glasses are smart!

Luke asked for the game Hi Ho Cherrio for Christmas and he was delighted when he saw it underneath the torn wrapping paper.

Gami (AKA - grandmother) tells the children how gift distribution will work.

She fell asleep at the small table in the living area. That's never happened before.

The grandchildren gather around MeMe and Pop.

Our family got bigger this past summer when my brother got married to my wonderful sister-in-law...this means that there is less sleeping space for us all at Mom's house. The kids fit perfectly on the floor, warm, side by side.

She's not into the princess thing nor has she seen the movie Peter Pan. I don't know where her obsession with Tinkerbell came from but she's in love with that cute little green pixie.

Again, Tinkerbell made an appearance (in the form of a puzzle).

It's only a 2.5 hour drive to my mother's house and the younger two children slept the entire drive. Andrew was the only kid awake to keep us company. He is always making conversation, believe me!
See, here's the proof!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

playing "dress-up"

One of Abigail's favorite gifts she received for Christmas was her dress-up outfit. She loves the high heels the best.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Enjoy this free download of my new favorite Christmas hymn, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent (it runs a tight race with O Come, O Come, Emanuel). This version is arranged and sung by the musicians of Red Mtn. Presbyterian Church, PCA, in Birmingham, AL.

HT: Justin Taylor

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Just a little "Cowan" teaser

Remind me.

The kids are out of school for 2 weeks and that means that, with much rain this month, we are staring at four walls most of the day. This does not have to be a burden! I've found many things for us to do together....painting, watching movies with popcorn, visiting friends, building tents, baking, crafting, taking walks, etc.

Now, it's lunchtime. I'm making sandwiches with fruit and chips for the kiddos. Right now, they are actually having a good time playing in the makeshift tent I put up in the boys' room. Let's hope it doesn't get torn down soon. They've been fighting all morning (no kidding) over their toys, their space, their words. It's breaking my heart. I was telling a friend yesterday that I sometimes tire of telling them the gospel over and over and over and over and over. I fear they are not "getting it". It hurts to see them act so flippantly about the truth that we share with them, in times of praise and in times of discipline. Is it penetrating their hearts? Are they resentful? My dirty heart has shone brightly today and I hate that my sin has been so vivid to their little eyes. But, I'm thankful that I was able to sit down with my child and talk about our wrongs, pray to the Father, forgive and receive forgiveness, and move on. Being a parent is such great joy but belonging to the Father brings far more delight to my heart.

I know God is faithful. His word is living and active and it WILL change their hearts. Oh, forgive my doubt and unbelief, Lord. I need you desperately. I pray your gospel stays in front of me constantly, in my head and in my heart. You make perfect sense, Jesus.

Remind me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Make ahead casserole

I plan on making this casserole a tradition each Christmas morning. It's a recipe that allows for you to prepare it the night before, refrigerate, and then bake on Christmas morning while gifts are being opened. It will be nice to have something warm and ready to eat coming out of the oven mid-morning this Friday! Yeah, that's kids sleep late!

Instead of white bread, I'm going to use crescent rolls. Some might want to add onions, peppers, pepper, dry mustard, tomatoes, cottage cheese, or mushrooms.....but not this family!

8 slices trimmed white bread
6 eggs
Layer bread in bottom of 9 x 13 buttered pan. Beat eggs with a little milk; pour over bread. Refrigerate until next step is completed.
1 lb. sausage, fried, drained and cooled (chopped ham, bologna, hamburger, etc, could be used)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Sprinkle meat over eggs. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top. Refrigerate overnight. Bake the next morning at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Variations: You could saute some fresh or canned mushrooms, green pepper or use pepperoni instead of or in addition to other meat. Use your imagination!

Serves 2 to 4 (depending upon your appetite) !

Monday, December 21, 2009

Random goodness

Luke is so interested in the nativity scene. He looks for all the shepherds, wise men, animals, angels, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. It's sweet to listen to him name every one.

Abigail had the lead lines in her school Christmas program: "Jesus Christ is born today!".

This past Sunday, the younger children sang two Christmas songs while using hand motions. It was precious to hear them sing about the birth of Christ.

The Budweiser Clydesdales visited our city so we stopped by to see their beauty. The boys couldn't believe how huge the horses were nor how far they had galloped from St. Louis to Georgia just to see us. Funny guys. Andrew liked the horses so much that he came home and taped the Clydesdale poster to his ceiling so he can look at it while he lays in his bed.

Luke took some time last week to draw a portrait of our family. I have so many ideas of how to use this in various crafts.

An afternoon snack and movie

Notice Abigail's Rudolph nose. How cute!

A La Carte

Family Tensions Over the Holidays, by Russell Moore.
Some of the tensions Christians face at holiday time have nothing to do with outside oppression as much as internal immaturity on the part of the Christians themselves. (I'm not insinuating anything, Mom).

How to Respond to Family Feuds, by Tim Lane.
Tim Lane writes about these challenges and how through your relationship with Christ you can learn how to love your family and reach out to them in concrete and practical ways. (I'm not insinuating anything, Mom).

Christmas inspired comics. Hilarious!

Brian Regan on cooking.

Luke's birthday party

He's been four for a week now but I'm just getting the chance to post the pictures.... at 1:10 a.m. I'm weird.

We celebrated at home as a family with our traditional cupcake dessert and candle.

Luke requested a basketball themed party so hence the basketball cupcakes, court, and stadium seating.
Blowing out his four candles atop one cupcake.
My sweet friend, Becky, made this birthday banner for me and I have plans for it to hang in every birthday party picture with the "person of honor".
Thunder sticks were a "hit" with Luke and his best friend, AC.
Luke reading his birthday card from his grandparents. It contained a very sweet message from his MeMe. Oh, how he loves his grandparents!
Three generations of men playing one of their favorite games.
One of Luke's favorite gifts he received was that of the game Hungry Hippos. He could play for hours! However, Abigail likes it, too....there have been a few fights, to say the least.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New video message from Matt Chandler

Message from Matt

Friday, December 18, 2009

hee hee....more love for the Big Bang

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Update on Matt's health

I posted last week of Matt Chandler's brain surgery. It wasn't good news. The tumor was malignant and more tests and surgeries are being scheduled. I'm greatly encouraged by Matt's words yesterday posted on Twitter upon hearing of the results:
"Path report is 2ndary at best…good report doesn’t mean much, bad report doesn’t mean anything…my days r numbered and nt by ths report."
Click here to read a letter from the elders, addressed to Matt's/their church family. Also, the article entitled, "When the Pastor Suffers", is an encouraging read, too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Don't mess with this dog's bone!

I love perusing YouTube. You can literally type any word into the search box and get a myriad of videos to watch! While at Allison's and Leslie's house last night, Allison showed me some of her favorite YouTube clips. Here is my favorite of her bunch.

Ideas to help

30 gifts ideas you can make for your children (with tutorials!). Think outside of the Christmas box, too!

30 gift ideas you can make for your menfolk (with tutorials!).

10 economical Christmas traditions as a family.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Treasuring our traditions

Noel Piper has been blogging about the Christmas traditions in her family, including a Jesus Tree (not to be confused with a Jesse Tree, but somewhat similar).

Today, Noel weighs in on the SANTA topic.

Celebrate Santa?

As I've mentioned before in a previous post, Santa is NOT a part of our family's Christmas celebration. I've never struggled with this decision but it's often hard to gently explain to others (when they ask) why we chose this for our family. I struggle because I don't want to come across judgmental, condemning, haughty, or arrogant. The girls over at GirlTalk posted about this subject today and then linked to this article by Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor in the Cayman Islands who was once a Muslim but is now a Christian. It was an interesting read.

I don't walk around proclaiming our stance on Santa - If I'm asked, I'll tell. Our children know that it's just a regular JOE dressed up in a Santa costume...but I hope they are considerate of others' beliefs when I'm not in their presence to help guide their conversations on the matter. Once I get my new hard drive, I can't wait to upload the photo I took last night of the boys posing with "Santa" during a Christmas light extravaganza. It will make for a hilarious page in their scrapbook.

To end, I appreciated GirlTalk giving advice on how to lead children through the difficult questions that arise when Santa is not a part of their Christmas celebration.

1. Prepare your children before they're in the situation.

2. Don't leave your children hanging; model the response you're hoping for.

3. Teach children to take an interest in the traditions of others.

4. Finally, we have to teach our children how to handle objections.

Monday, December 14, 2009

He's FOUR!

Happy birthday, Luke. Four years ago today, you were "cut" out of my tummy, as you like to say. You love hearing the story of how you came into this world and you find it fascinating that you were actually in my stomach for all those months.

I'll tell you the story of your birth over and over, sweet boy. As many times as you'd like to hear it, I'll tell it to you. I hope you always want to hear it. You seem to always have a different question for me about that day and that helps me to remember.

I love you, Luke-duke!
Happy birthday.

It was a lot more "PARTY" than Christmas

Another year of taco soup, chili and Fritos! It's our small group's traditional meal together during our Christmas party each year. Afterwards, the kids enjoy watching the adults laugh at each other as we play "Dirty Santa" (or "White Elephant"....which ever).

Jennifer reacts to opening her chosen gift: a package of Fart Powder.

Ira looks around to decide if he'd rather steal someone's gift or choose a new one of his own.

The kids help Mitch unwrap a homey set of scented candles....just what he always wanted!

Chrissy tries to get sneaky by shaking the gifts to decide which one she wants.
This is what she got!
So. it got passed around. This will probably be Mitch new profile pic on Facebook soon.

My little viking.
The Christmas viking.
Yeah, I'm not in the picture 'cause I was behind the camera, right where I like to be.