Thursday, December 29, 2011

our Christmas

Meet my little Angel.

He sang at our Christmas Eve service. I was so curious to see how he would do! I did not suspect him being more interested in the other singers. Thankfully he turned around for some parts and did some of the motions. He was so excited to dress up as an angel. He practiced singing the songs all week and surprisingly did really well with learning two new songs.

All I wanted Christmas morning was to get a picture of my two babies, sweet and cuddly.

Instead, I got this.

And this.

And this.

It was a very relaxed morning, with not a lot to do. But somehow we still managed to run a little late to my brother's house for lunch. Maybe we were a little too relaxed. Ah well.

Ari helped daddy make a fun dessert.

Reindeer nutter butters. I don't know which is cuter, the reindeer or my little nutter butter. Haha. Ok, I win cheesiest-mother-of-the-year award.

And here he is in his own make-shift manger. The Bible says we are to be imitators of Christ. My son is taking this to a whole new level.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Conversations with Ari

The moon! The sun! That's not the right deal! (Apparently that was the first time he noticed both of them out at the same time).

He was staring out the window while eating his lunch so I asked him what he was thinking about. "The world...and Jesus...and God." Not expecting that at all I asked him what exactly about. "Who made God?" Even in more shock I explained how God has always been and nobody made him. "Oh, he made himself?" Not knowing how deep this conversation should go for a 3 year old I simply said no and explained how he made everything else. After this conversation I was feeling a little inept for not thinking more deeply about life. I was just trying to get through lunch trying to feed myself while nursing a baby.

Another time at lunch he asked me if I understood God. Basically my answer was no.

During this Christmas season we have talked a lot about Mary. Well then when we started saying Merry Christmas I think he was confused and thought we meant "Mary Christmas". We also talked about the angel Gabriel and since he has some friends at church with the name Gabriel, I think he started wondering if we meant they were actually angels.

Ari has no sense of time and most days when he wakes up from his nap he'll exclaim "I slept for 20 hours!" He will also get phrases confused like "yesterday", "last year", "the other day", "last week", etc. So some conversations go like this "Last year when I brushed my teeth..." or "How's your afternoon?" Which that one would seem completely normal except he always asks me that in the morning.

His new thing is asking how to spell words. He wants to know how everything is spelled and sometimes it gets exhausting for me and AJ that we take turns spelling things out. I know that sounds silly but just think about spelling words for 10-15 minutes straight. It makes me tired just thinking about it!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

weekend festivities

We had a pretty low-key weekend compared to the last 49 few. 

AJ took Friday off so we had a fun day of running errands. Eating out is a real treat since we don't do it very often.

Ari couldn't keep himself from dancing to the music and Evangeline enjoyed watching him.

We had been planning on going to the zoo on Saturday for several weeks with our friends Rob and Carly. Unfortunately they got stuck in a parking garage downtown for 45 minutes because of traffic! We didn't think we were going to make it in either because the line to get in to the zoo was all the way past Victory Field! But I'm glad my husband pressed on because we got to see this reindeer. Plus I don't think it would have gone over well with Ari if we weren't able to go to the zoo. We had been talking about it all week.

Ari wasn't as impressed with the lights as we were, but it was still an enjoyable time together. (We missed you Rob and Carly!) Being out in the cold meant we had to come home to some eggnog and hot chocolate. Mmmm.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

why we don't do santa

I hope you don't find this offensive or judgmental. I am only sharing this because some people don't understand why we don't do santa. As Christians we strive to live holy lives that are pleasing to the Lord. First Corinthians 10:31 says "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." I don't believe there is anything about santa that can bring glory to God. 

Ari is 3 and still doesn't know who santa is. Last year he called him a snowman and this year he calls him an elf. Not because we told him that but just from what he has deduced on his own.

Ari has recently picked up a new habit. Lying. It's funny how children know to lie, even when they've never been taught to do that. It's called a sin nature. We all have it. But more importantly we are trying to teach him not to give in to the sinful nature - not to lie. Leviticus 19:11 says "Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another." So why would I tell him anything about santa? It is deceitful and a lie.

I want my children to grow up knowing God's Word and what He has done for us all. Because we all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) God had to send His own Son to die on the cross for us, to pay that penalty that we deserve. I want my children to know that Jesus was the penalty for us. How can I teach them about Jesus and also tell them about santa? How will they decipher which one is real? And why should they believe me about Jesus if I am telling them a lie about santa?

We believe that everything we have is a blessing from God, and telling our children that it is anything but that just seems like a slap in the face to Him. If we do presents on Christmas, I want them to know how special it is and not that it was because they were "good" all year but because we have been given the means to do it. I want them to be "good" based on Biblical principles, not because they think a fake man is going to get them gifts if they obey. I want them to be grateful for the abundant blessings He has poured out on us, and not become self-focused on what they did to deserve the gifts.

I want my children looking forward to Christmas each year. Not because they know they will get presents (because maybe they won't always) but because it is the birth of our Savior. We should be doing all we can to help them understand the sacrifice He made for us, which first starts with His birth...the true meaning of Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

baby, it's cold outside

This was a long week of being couped up inside. The kiddos resorted to torturing playing with each other since they were needing to get some energy out (more so the 3 year old).

He insisted on keeping the blanket over her so she would look like Mary.

"Smile Mary!"

"Move over Mary!"

I think she was a little fed up with him.

It's pay back time.

After the fingers made it in his mouth, I had to break up the party. 

So on to a new game they went.

It's brilliant, really. Ari gets his energy out by pushing her around, and she is thoroughly entertained by the ride.

Then somehow mommy got recruited to push them both around. I guess it was time for me to work off some of those Christmas cookies!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

7 months

I would say that she is at an age I love, but I have come to find that I say that at every age. She brings so much joy, her smiles and laughs are contagious.

She thought that taking pictures was hilarious. Maybe it's because it was just her and mommy. Or maybe it's because her brother wasn't standing in front of her taking all of her glory.

As you can tell, she is in to grabbing anything and everything in sight. I think my hair ranks in the top 2.

She also likes to pull her own hair. If she starts to go bald behind her ears it's not my fault.

Sticking the tongue out is a must, especially when I am trying to feed her cereal. She has been doing better about eating it when I make it really soupy. The girl doesn't like texture.

Waking up at night is a normal ritual. We have just learned to cope with broken sleep.

She is becoming more comfortable with other people, not being so serious all the time. When she is excited she will either squeal with delight or straighten her arms and grunt. 

Squealing usually comes when she is watching Ari and grunting usually comes all the other times.

Monday, December 5, 2011

tis the season

This year has been a lot of fun getting ready for Christmas.

Ari was thrilled to be able to help decorate the tree. He would hang all of his ornaments on the same limb. So it might have taken us twice as long to decorate (or should I say redecorate), but it was fun getting to explain what Christmas is all about.

 Every time he sees a Christmas tree now he exclaims "A Christmas tree for Jesus' birthday!"

We tried to capture Evangeline watch all the commotion but Ari was more interested in getting his picture taken.

AJ and I enjoyed our 8th year of going to his banks holiday party. It was the first date he took me on so it's fun to have the same tradition every year.

Saturday was an all day occasion of making cookies. All of my family came over and we baked cookies from 9a until 5p. 

The kids are at the ages where they entertain each other. They wore themselves out from playing so hard the afternoon was quiet for 3 hours because they all took good, long naps.

This was the best shot I got of them. Ari did a good job at smiling, Lynlee refused to smile, Nolan wanted to hold the baby, and Evangeline was focusing on not getting squeezed too tightly.

It's easy to get wrapped up in all the activities that come along with the season and let time get the best of us. My goal is to be intentional with how I spend my time this holiday season, helping my son understand that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Savior and not about anything else.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving {Pokagon}

We had a mini vacation at Pokagon State Park for Thanksgiving this year. Even though it doesn't seem normal to me to go out of town and not cook your own turkey meal, it is a Hillebrand tradition and one that I look forward to. Surprisingly it is one of the busiest times for this park.


We got to spend lots of time with Aunt Erin and Uncle Chris. Ari was spoiled rotten by them and now he won't stop talking about all the fun things we got to do. It all started with this Thanksgiving cookie from Uncle Chris.

You can tell Ari is thoroughly enjoying the candy corn.

Thankfully we were able to walk off all the food on the beautiful trails. We took a picture at this location two years ago and Ari was riding in the baby pack.

The weather was cooperative and even stopped raining just enough for us to enjoy the campfire with s'mores one night.

Ari liked hiking but his little legs tired easily so he hitched many rides on Papaw.

He even got one from daddy.

Pokagon is known for its Toboggan run and opens the day after Thanksgiving. You know it's serious business when it gets you going over 35 mph. 

I was so nervous for Ari to go down but he was fearless and sat in front. He would yell "Wee-haaa!!!" all the way down and when we got to the bottom all he could say was "I want to do that again!"

This little peanut finally decided to roll from her belly to her back. What better time than Thanksgiving, right? (Ignoring the fact that she's almost 7 months!)

One day we went to Shipshewana, also known as Amish Country, and ate at the Blue Gate Restaurant. There  were several little shops to go in and this one had a carousel that Ari was intrigued by. A lady saw him and gave us two tokens to ride (costing $4)! We were thankful for her generosity and used 1 token for a ride and passed the other one on to someone else.

As innocent as she looks, she has been on strike and not wanting to eat solids. So I gave up the cereal while we were gone and have still yet to successfully have her eat more than the size of a dime since we've been back.

We visited more shops and stopped to take a picture with Curious George, one of Ari's favorite characters.

This store was one just for kids, but to no surprise I was able to walk through the kid door without ducking. At a recent Dr. appointment it was confirmed that I have shrunk 3/4''. I was banking on keeping this height for at least another 30 years. So much for that.

Being in Amish Country there were lots of horses and carriages.

We were waiting for our driver and the horse kept swishing its tail back and forth. Ari thought it was hilarious and exclaimed to the horse "Stop spanking your bottom!"

Another adventure was at the pool back at the hotel. Ari learned to do cannon balls which he wildly exclaimed were "caaannndddyyy bbaarrrrsss!" Eventually he realized we weren't calling it a candy bar and started saying cannon ball.

Sunday rolled around and we all had to say goodbye. Vacation always goes too fast. 

I wasn't exactly ready to come back to the hustle and bustle of life, but I guess that's what makes vacation so special.