Monday, December 5, 2016

Christ is Christmas for Kids

Last year I struggled to make Christmas anything but Santa. I really wanted to balance out Santa with Jesus. I looked at blogs, pinterest, etc, but really all I needed was a bit of time to think about the things that we already do and why. It was quite simple but required my own education. I had vague ideas about why we do candy canes and wreathes but it took time to gather the info and time I didn't have. So hopefully the links and ideas will be helpful to others like me. Truthfully, I wasn't thinking about Jesus enough myself. When I refocused MY thinking then it was/is much easier for me to refocus the kids.

1. When we put up the Christmas tree, I have Addison decorate and design a star from construction paper. As she does so, we discuss the wise men and how they followed the star. They followed the star in hopes of worshiping the newborn king. Spend some time talking about what is amazing and worthy of worship about Jesus. More than one craft age kid then just put the stars on their doors instead of the tree.  I love this site and will reference it more than once. http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/star-of-bethlehem.shtml

2. Who doesn't love candy canes? While myths around the candy cane representing Jesus seems to be unfounded, the idea is still a good one. Run with it and enjoy a candy cane with the kids as desert. Or have them write a note with a candy cane to give to someone at school who needs a bit of sweetness in their day.

3. Repurpose that Christmas Elf for good. Instead of causing mischief, have him encourage the kids, be caught doing something good, giving ideas of how to help others. Personally, I don't have time for the Elf.

4. An easy one. Watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Movie.

5. Start an advent calendar-just make sure it was based on Jesus. Advent means the arrival of an important person.

6. A popular one, of course, is to help some one in need and emphasize Jesus command to love your neighbor as yourself. Ideas here are endless and I'm sure you have plenty of opportunities facing you every day but the trick is to make sure your children are in on it...don't just write a check.

7. Have girls? This one might be particularly fun for them, but remember that Mary was getting ready for her baby. Spend some time playing baby doll and talk about what things Mary might want to do to get ready.

8. Play act a nativity scene. Or go to my favorite site and color and cut one out: http://www.whychristmas.com/fun/nativity-coloring.shtml

9. I still love Santa! So let's go visit him. Pair the visit with one of the following books:
-A Special Place for Santa
-Santa's Birthday Gift
-Santa and The Christ Child

10. More Santa. He is a Saint after all. Tell his history and be inspired by his devotion to God and his people: http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

11. A fun one I remember as a kid. We made our table cloth out of butcher paper and decorated it. Have the kids write, draw, or stamp all the things that they associate with Christmas.

12. Color pictures of the Magi and their three gifts. What presents would they give to Jesus? Why would they give it?

13. Watch Island of the Misfit Toys. Read this blog post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/misfit-toys/
Then work with your children to identify the "misfits" that Jesus chose to be part of his family. How is Jesus himself a misfit?

14. This one takes planning...Jesus was born in a manger but most kids have no clue what that means. Visit a ranch to get an idea of the conditions Jesus was born in.

15. Have the kids read their favorite Christmas book and ask them to connect it to Jesus. How does it demonstrate his goodness, his hope, etc...?

16. Another easy one. Read from the Bible the Christmas story from Luke 2.

17. Make some salt dough crafts in the shapes of crosses, wreathes, stars, candy canes, angels, etc...

18.  Shopping for Christmas at the mall or shopping center. Have the kids do a scavenger hunt (use their smart phones for older kids) or for younger ones just point out religious items with eager awe! The kids with the most connections to Jesus (they can be creative) can earn a surprise or just bragging rights.

19. Christmas caroling. Not really going to do this outside with people hearing my voice, but I sure can do it inside with hot cocoa and silly girls.

20. Go on a nature walk. A couple ways to connect this: Mary and Joseph's walk to Bethlehem, the Magi's journey,

21. Star gazing! You can connect to this to the Magi or to the shepherds herding their sheep by night.

22. Make your own wreath or hang one.

23. Focus on the word Christmas. What does the word mean? Then do a fun craft. Cut out each letter of the word big enough for your kids to write several words or draw pictures inside. In each letter have them write a word or draw a picture that reveals part of Jesus character or love that starts with that letter. C-christ, crucified, caring, comforter etc..., H-holy, happy, helpful, etc. You can do one letter a day or all at once. You could also hang up a letter every time your child demonstrates the character of Christ in that letter then give them a special Christmas related treat when the whole word is spelled.

Post more of your own so that I can join in.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

4th of July Photoblog

The 4th of July weekend started with a picnic in the Jemez.

Our dare devil kept insisting that Daddy go further. 
"Please, let me go in all on my own!" 

July 4th itself started with a walk for Addi and I and a run for the other beautiful ladies in the picture. 
So darn cute that we had to have an impromptu photo session.

Great-grandpa gives great hugs!

Ate like a big girl at the table but negotiated a serving of ice-cream if she ate her hot dog.

Grandpa Dan from Kansas stopped by for love and snuggles. 
She was absolutely terrified of the fireworks but managed a couple of hesitant smiles at the sparklers as long as Daddy protected her.

Fireworks may be out of the question but soccer is always on the docket. 
But, wrestling is her preferred sport especially if Nana will play!

Jason dotes on his three girls! 

But the memory that has stuck with her the most has been her visit to Grandpa Dan's Semi Truck. 

What a better way to end a great weekend that a nap in the swing with Eeyore. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Exciting New "Development"

Exciting news! Jason and I are expecting a baby due on August 14th!

After many years of trying to have a biological child, it seems as if God has finally answered our prayer in the affirmative. This journey has been long and fraught with sadness and opportunity to learn patience and empathy, but now we feel that this baby will indeed be born into our world.

We are 21 weeks along and the baby is growing well. During our ultrasound this week we were hoping to get a peek at the baby's gender but he/she was being modest. However, we got see the baby move and a few of his/her adorable body parts. Additionally, I can feel the baby kicking and punching in the womb. That serves as a daily reminder that God is knitting together our very own miracle.

There were not many pictures that were cute, adorable, or recognizable but here is one of his/her hand. The technician commented that the baby was very active and didn't want to sit still for any pictures.

After much prayer, we have also come to the decision that I will not be returning to work next year. While this was a very difficult decision, we both feel that this is the plan that God has set for us. I am excited about spending this time with Addison and baby #2. There are so many things to learn and discover (hopefully including some potty training for Addi). While I absolutely love my job as a high school English teacher, it takes an extreme toll on our home time and increases my levels of stress and parenting guilt.

This is what I can't wait to stay at home with! Isn't she just amazing. (Feel free to leave comments about how adorable she is.)


















This will also hopefully free up time for Jason to focus on the end of his residency and to be able to enjoy his learning process as a PT. Now when Jason has vacation time, the family will too! What an amazing opportunity for us to grow as a family.

Finally, we still fully intend to actively continue pursuing adoption. We have had no bites in the last several months, but feel as if God has asked us to continue to be patient. There is a possibility that the agency will require us to wait 6 months after our baby is born to consider another newborn, but they told us they would maintain a case by case basis. We most certainly can't wait to see how our family we look in the end!

We would enjoy prayers for the growth of God's miracle,our adoption pursuit, and for the decisions and implications regarding a stay at home mother.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall Fun

Denver Manchester United Game with friends.

Our dare devil was fearless in the water in the Jemez.

I may like jewelry but I like mud too.

I love camping.


I love my fall jacket made by Nana Taylor.
Hiking with Daddy.

Zoo time with great-grandpa Goodner.

Learning to read.

McCall's Pumpkin Patch.




She likes a good thrill. She looks like this at the top but at the bottom she yells, "AGAIN!"

Pumpkin Paining.

Halloween was great fun!

Great time with good friends.

She didn't know what to think of Donald Duck.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Adoption Need-Round 2



Dear Friends and Family,

Recently we were disappointed about an adoption of a baby girl that fell through. While we were saddened to lose an opportunity to have another child, we feel confident that God’s plan is great and our baby will come. However, as a result of this we learned some great lessons.

First and foremost we learned about our capacity to love and trust God’s directives. He brought about in us changes of the heart and more willing listening ears. This was a child who would have required extra patience and medical attention, but in opening our hearts to God’s direction, we found that our love for this child was already unconditional. Despite the fact that we will not get this child, we believe that our prayers and love helped find this baby girl the home it needed. Oddly, despite the perception that God did not carry through with his portion of what he asked us to do, we feel more trust in his plan after the seeming failure than we did before. We know that God does not fail, and that this twist in his plans has left us open for what is next.

Secondarily, we discovered that while we were prepared for this child in our hearts, we were in not ready physically or fiscally. Addison’s adoption was the stuff of movies and miracles. The situation and the finances fell in our lap with surprising ease. This adoption has not been the case. Outside of a grant from our home church, Sagebrush, we have little money or provisions for this baby. While we had begun saving for the eventuality of a baby, it was clear that what we had saved up was not sufficient for the immediate response often needed. Prior to this we felt that we should be backing this adoption financially on our own. Afterwards, however, it is clear that this was not God’s plan for us. We feel He has asked us to be humble and not only accept help but to be vulnerable enough to actively seek it.

We would like to ask our friends and our family members to prayerfully consider financial, baby needs, or time donations. Please know that we do not expect it of anybody. If God moves you to give towards our new baby, here is the anticipated adoption only expenses:
1.       Legal fees ($800)
2.       Agency fees ($12,000)
3.       Birth family fees (varies drastically 500-several thousand. This will depend on the specific family)

As you know there are many additional expenses to having a baby, if you feel led to donate to this area you are also welcome. Please do not feel obligated to give in any way. But if God has lead you to do so, these donations are tax deductible if you give directly to our adoption agency (see address below). Any amount of time or financial aid is extremely helpful. If you cannot donate, please join us in prayer as we continue to ask God to provide.

Finally, we are an open book. If you have questions about adoption or what we have gone through, please feel free to ask. We love to share both the sadness and the beauty of our story.

Our adoption agency has asked us only to seek pledges as of right now. If you feel God has asked you to consider a financial pledge, send us a note and we will contact you when the agency requests the funding. Otherwise, we ask that you think about joining us in prayer.
Check out their website at: http://adoptionsplus.org/

So proud

After a several year journey, I am proud to introduce Dr. (Daddy) Jason Taylor. Truly I haven't seen anyone be so dedicated and so hard working.
Jason is working at Langford Physical Therapy and continuing to make himself the best that he can be by opting to do a residency that will aid him in a sports specific certification.

He is amazing!