Monday, January 23, 2017

Gingerbread Fun

During our Christmas reunion, we pulled out an old family tradition and had a gingerbread-house decorating competition. 

Yes, our family can become quite competitive, so enthusiasm was rising high as we rolled out the gingerbread and carefully cut the pieces to size. We assembled the houses and waited for the frosting to dry so the grand event could commence.

(Making donuts for nibbling during the decorating process!)

We covered the table in edible 'building materials' and divided into three groups: 
Girls, Guys, and the Young Decorators.

The girls hard at work

Charissa did a great job heading up the Young Decorator's house. Their goal? Fit as much candy on the house as physically possible! 

The guys' house

The conversation was lively as the house decor took shape.

Sister love!

"Can I please eat them all, Mom?"

The sweet 'littles'

The girls'

The guys'

We held a final vote on our Instagram account

And the winner is...

The guys! (pictured right)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wedding Photos

One of our highlights from 2016 was Ryan & Ruth's wedding day. 

What a tremendous day filled with so many beautiful moments and remarkable, specific answers to prayer. Our hearts were overflowing with rejoicing and thanksgiving.

We have oodles of wedding photos to share with you, but at the couple's request, we will be sharing them in our family e-letter instead of here on the blog. 

We really don't want you, our blog family, to miss this! 
(In addition to all the other family news and notes in the e-letter.)

So jot down your email address here and look for an email with the photos and stories landing in your inbox soon. We're excited to share!

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Family Christmas

The warm glow of the tree. The aroma of Christmas baking. 

The lively banter of multiple conversations, laughter, and good-natured teasing. 

Babies cooing & squealing. Hugs. Giddy excitement. 

To say we were all thrilled and grateful to be together for three days over Christmas is probably an understatement! As our family grows and changes these days of reunion are savored more than any culinary delicacy or dream vacation. 

As each car pulls into the driveway, our house is literally filled with shouts and squeals. The front door swings open and a mad dash is made to claim the first hugs and grandbaby-holding. The strains of Christmas music quickly fades to the background as the happy chatter rises in volume. 

Family -- truly one of God's most precious gifts. 

Here is a peek into our gift exchange celebration: 

Our tradition is to have the youngest family members (who are walking) help Grandma by passing out the gifts. It's so wonderful having so many little people in the family!

Dan & Bethany's family

Matthias, Stephen, Hannah, & Susanna

Each year we draw names for the gift exchange, which is top-secret until Christmas. 
It's always a treat to see the thoughtful, fun gifts which bring out each individual personality and interest! 

We had lots of baby-holding this year!

Alan, Rachel, & Kendrick

Kori & Alaythia

Ryan & Ruth

Elizabeth & Matthias

Susanna & Stephen

Andrew & Kendrick

Another tradition is to take new individual photos each year and someone is in charge of putting them in the frames and wrapping them. They hang on our display wall wrapped in Christmas paper through the month of December.

Then, at our family Christmas, Mom opens the packages to reveal the new photos. 

For Dad & Mom this year we children pooled together a group gift of an all-family vacation this summer. With so many schedules to work around and travel distance involved, it's getting more and more difficult to all be together. So this will be a gift for everyone!! 

I think Dad & Mom were delighted!

Matthias, Andrew, & Stephen

Nathanael & Caden. 

Andrew & Alaythia

We sincerely hope your holidays were meaningful and joyous. 
What an incredible season to celebrate! 

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” 
(which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:23

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Christmas is over... Our family is back to being spread out over 4 different states. Thankfully, we have pictures to remind us of the wonderful memories that were made over the Christmas season! We will try to get some of them posted soon so that you can catch a glimpse of our last month.

Meanwhile, enjoy your Wednesday!

"Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever."

Psalms 145:2