Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Cards

We joke every year that Christmastime is the only time we get fun or exciting mail. I guess it's not really a joke because it's true. But either way we love getting Christmas cards. Some people may think it's a waste of time or money, but it is a simple gesture to let your friends know you are thinking of them during this time of year. We especially love getting cards though because we keep them all year long.

A few years ago we were given the idea to put those cards to use after Christmas. Now every time we get a card we save it and add it to our prayer list. Every night before bed the kids take turns flipping to a new family and we pray specifically for them. We also put missionary cards in there as well so they can also be at the forefront of our minds throughout the year.

Every year we look forward to updated pictures from all our friends and family. The kids get so excited when we get to add all the new cards to our prayer ring.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pokagon, the zoo, and some Christmas festivities

With all the activities we have planned this December, we were able to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few days.  We traveled up to Pokagon State Park to take advantage of their buy 1 get 1 free hotel stay.

The weather was the nicest it's ever been, so we went on a short trail to visit a little iced-over pond. The kids had so much fun throwing in chunks of ice and watching it smash over the pond.

Since the toboggan is only open on the weekends, we had to go do that right away. Evangeline didn't particularly like it so she only went twice.

Selah went for her first time but decided she didn't like it before it even began! She screamed at the top but then seemed fine at the bottom. However, she had enough of the toboggan after one time.

Ari and daddy went over and over again, while me and Jim drove the van up and down the hill so they didn't have to carry the toboggan as far. The girls seemed happy just watching them come down.

This was as close to getting on the toboggan as I was going to get, at least this time around!

The pool was a big hit. The big kids kept jumping in over and over then took turns pushing Selah around.

After a while though they would all be cold so we headed to the hot tub to warm up for a few minutes.

Enjoying a special popcorn snack before bed. The last time we did this we were staying in Brown County and had the TV on. So this time Ari said "Yes! Now let's eat popcorn and watch commercials!"

The kids ventured out with papa and daddy while me and Selah took a nice nap.

Another favorite at Pokagon is enjoying some Hungry Howie pizza. Yes, I know we can get it back home, but for some reason the only time we get it is here.

Since we pretty much had the run of the place, we were able to eat at this table just down the hall.

Then every time we walked by it Selah would exclaim "Pizza! Pizza!"

We happened to be walking by this fish tank at just the right time. DNR was about to put minnows in to feed the fish. It was neat to see the fish just swallow them all hole.

We ventured up to Shipshewana and the kids rode the famous handcrafted carousel.

We also walked around to many shops since the weather wasn't too bad.

Then we stopped in the Blue Gate Restaurant for some delicious dinner.

It ended up raining our last day so we weren't able to go on any more trails. But the kids didn't mind going one last time to the pool.

By the time we got back to Indy, the weather had gotten much colder. We hadn't yet gone to our annual trip to Christmas at the Zoo so we decided to just get bundled up and brave the cold.

Someone left this extra stroller so the big kids were thrilled to be able to ride around and not have to walk. And we were thrilled to not have to carry anyone who was too cold to walk :)

We usually don't get many chances to actually pet the sharks since they don't come up close enough to the top of the water, but this particular night Ari counted petting one six times. He was thrilled!

Grandma was able to join us in the freezing cold adventure to the zoo. 

My niece's birthday is Christmas Eve so we usually celebrate it the weekend before. My kids had been counting down the days until her party. It's hard to believe my niece is 5 years old already!

The kids also enjoyed a little Christmas party at church. There were crafts, a snack, and singing.

And lastly the kids sang a few songs at church. They did great!

As you can see Ari gets a little shy on stage.

Evangeline, on the other hand, just soaks it all in!

Whew! And that was our busy week in about 30 pictures. When January gets here we aren't going to know what to do with ourselves!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

fun, fun, fun!

December has pretty much been nonstop fun. We had a busy weekend of going from one place to the next, and I was so relieved to have made it out on the other side without any sick children!

AJ and I enjoyed a date night at his banks holiday party. Didn't get a picture and I'm bummed because 10 years ago that same holiday party was our first date! Ya know...way back when I was still a teenager. Oh my how things have changed!

AJ has had lots of time off so we have been spoiled to see him a lot. So last Friday we headed to Greencastle to visit his grandpa for his 82nd birthday.

Next fun thing on the list was to hit up the circus. All the kids were just enthralled!

Ok...well MOST of the kids were enthralled :) Evangeline wasn't impressed with how loud it was but she still enjoyed the animals and dancers.

These three boys were GLUED.

The circus is great but it's even more enjoyable with friends!

Then Sunday we went to the Yuletide. We had never been before but loved every bit. We were able to enjoy dinner and the show with two other couples. It was amazing to see so much talent in one weekend! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend

We spent Thanksgiving this year with my family but unfortunately I forgot to take pictures! 

We didn't waste any time decorating for Christmas as soon as Thanksgiving was over. The kids get so excited about all of the ornaments and lights. 

Selah was a big help too. Although she kept wanting to put the stockings on her feet :)

Evangeline saw the tree skirt and immediately thought to put it on as a skirt for herself. She kept twirling and twirling.

After all of our decorations were up, we went downtown for the lighting of the tree on the circle. AJ's bank hosted a fun event for families. There were lots of fancy desserts, warm drinks, and even a cookie decoration station for kids.

They even had a coloring station for kids as well.

Selah parked herself right on the floor so she could draw as well.

Then we headed outside to wait for the lights to be turned on. It was very crowded, windy, and cold!

Ari and Selah were troopers. Evangeline on the other hand is much like me...she can't stand to be cold!

We couldn't get close enough to the music on the stage so we just stuck around in an area that wasn't as crowded. You can't see it in this picture, but the line for Starbucks went about a fourth of the way around the circle. Crazy! I'm sure by the time the lights were on people still wouldn't have gotten their drinks yet.

After waiting and waiting the lights were finally turned on. We didn't expect the fireworks that came afterwards so that was a nice surprise. We couldn't see them very well but could hear them and see them reflecting off the tall buildings. Evangeline did not want to stick around for those because of the noise so we headed back to the bank.

The kids enjoyed one last dessert while we waited for the traffic to clear up before heading home.

Every year we buy new ornaments for the kids to paint, so the kids worked on these the rest of the weekend.

Even Selah did a great job keeping the paint just on hers.

With all the fun things we have planned, the rest of this year is going to fly by!