Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking Back on 2012

I have been reading through some of my posts from the beginning on this year and reflecting on where we have been.  At the beginning of the year I had a word to pray for each of us:

Kyla: Bloom.  She has definitely done this in 2012.  She has left toddlerhood and is a beautiful, sweet, strong willed little girl.  She holds her own with the big kids, loves princesses, lip gloss, and snuggling.  She is learning her letters, can spell her name, and has excellent tracing skills.

Keanan: Battle.  This was the year of battles with Keanan.  He so wants to control his world, and we try to give him as many opportunities to do that as possible, but he has also learned this year that God is the one in control.  He is so fun, smart, and kind hearted when he is successfully fighting those inner battles.  But when he is not, oh man.  He has started learning to read this year, donated $60 for tools/seeds/training in Africa through the sale of his hand made copper jewelry, and most importantly - accepted Jesus as his Savior and Lord.

Zac: Dream.  Zac has been working so hard to achieve some of his dreams this year.  Through the creation of Graph Seeker and recognition as the "Bionic Man" and climbing the tower he is seeing some of these dreams come true.

Jen: Inspire.  I had the privilege to support 6 families through labor and birth this year as a doula.  And at least 6 more as their childbirth educator.  I do believe that I played a part in inspiring them to prepare for and  have powerful birth experiences.  They all inspired me just as much.  I have helped inspire Keanan and Kyla's love of books and learning this year as well.  It has been one of the highlights of the year doing school with them.

We are blessed.  God has grown each of us so much over this last year!  There are major, MAJOR, changes coming our way in 2013, and I am excited to post about them in a few days.  In the meantime, I praise God for His goodness in 2012 and pray for His favor and 4 new words for our family in 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

The reason for it all.  This was the craft for day 24 of our Truth in the Tinsel Advent curriculum - Cross.  This is why the baby was born.  This is why we celebrate.  His life was for his death, his death was for our life!

We had a whirlwind of family visiting this Christmas.  Extended Lathrop family gathering on the 23rd - 35 of us there - missing only 3!  Lathrop family Christmas at my parents all day on the 24th, with church in the evening.  Vawter family Christmas here and at Zac's sister's on the 25th.  Keanan is in lego bliss and Kyla is in baby doll and play kitchen heaven.  We only gave the kids 3 smallish gifts, and our craft on the 23rd was about the 3 gifts from the wise men.  Our goal is to keep the focus on Jesus, not us.

Before the kids went to bed tonight we watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas."  This was a great way to end our Christmas celebration.  We read Luke 2 (which is what Linus quotes) as a family on the Lathrop side since before I was born (in King James, no less) and most of us have it memorized.  We also read Luke 2 before presents at my parents house (in a more kid friendly version), and we used our ornament crafts to tell the Christmas story this morning before opening presents.  I don't think we can hear it enough!  I pray that my kids (and us!) will always remember "that's what Christmas is all about".

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Week in Review 12-22

Christmas is almost here!  We are so excited  - the anticipation is my favorite part.  Today we did a family first: graham cracker houses!  We used all of our saved candy from Halloween and they turned out so cute!

Our letter this last week was V for vase, vulture, and violet.  Keanan's reading skills are improving each week and he is really excited to start our kindergarten curriculum after just 4 more weeks of our current curriculum.

We have only 2 more Truth in the Tinsel advent crafts left!  It has been so fun exploring the Christmas story piece by piece; but I am ready to be done with the daily crafts!  Here are our picture from this week and some catch up from last week:
Day 15 - Manager

Day 16 - Cloths

Day 17 - Sheep

Day 18 - Angels

Day 19 - Shepherds

Day 20 - Temple

Day 21 - Star

Day 22 - Wise Men

Happy Sabbath tomorrow and last Sunday of Advent: LOVE!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

24/6 - a review

Earlier this summer my uncle in DC sent me the book "Almost Amish" about living a simplified life.  You can read my review of this wonderful book here.  After writing up said review, I sent it to the author.  She was very grateful and generously offered to send me a copy of her husband's, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, soon to be released book "24/6 - a prescription for a healthier, happier life".  She asked if I would also review it, and I happily agreed!

 24/6 is a look at our need, and God's command, to live a Sabbath honoring life.  I love the comments on the back jacket of the book:

"Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy."  It's the only commandment that begins with the word remember - almost as if God knew we would forget.

Well, guess what?

We did.

It seems that this commandment is the easiest to ignore - and that's what I've been doing most of my life - ignoring it.  I go, go, go and do, do, do.  I have a list for every day and work to get it done.  We've recently embarked on a journey to simplify our lives, getting rid of much of our possessions and moving towards minimalism.  But I had not thought to simplify my days, or even how to go about doing it.  A 24/6 life is the answer.

The book is split into 4 sections: Our 24/7 World, Why We Need 24/6, How We Do 24/6, Your 24/6 Life.   Dr. Sleeth clearly makes the case, backed-up by relevant scripture and personal stories and health implications, for our need of a 24/6 life.  I was quite convinced, and convicted.  Keeping the Sabbath is just as much about honoring God as it is about accepting His gift of rest and peace.

I loved how Dr. Sleeth did not prescribe what Sabbath should look like for each person - as the Rabbi's of old did for the Jewish people in the bible.  Instead he refers to it as "Stop Day" - and this means different things for different people.  What did you need to "stop" doing so that this day can be set apart, holy, for God?

For me, "Stop Day"  means no cleaning, no computer, no school.  Sunday is the day that works for our Sabbath (others might have different days).  We have breakfast (egg bake and smoothies), go to church, come home, have lunch and nap (all of us!), play games or do something else as a family. have dinner (soup and bread), maybe some more games, bed for the kids, bible study / bible reading, write in my "Stop Day" journal, maybe read another book or visit with Zac, bed.  The only "work" I do on this day is whatever needs done in the kitchen.  Apart from church - we strive to be home.  It has been about a month of observing the Sabbath in this way.  What a refreshing way to start the week!  I love unplugging from the world and simply hanging out with the family and the Lord.   I have been getting better about finishing up my preparations for the week on Saturday night so I can truly just BE on Sunday.  

Dr. Sleeth stated in the book that we need to be human beings instead of human doings.  I totally agree.  We need to be still to listen and know God.  We need to be still.  We need to BE.  

Do you want a healthier, happier life?  Consider a 24/6 life.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Freedom for Birth

As all my readers are aware, I am passionate about birth.  I feel that there are two sides to birth, choices and skills.  Skills can be learned and used in every situation, no matter if the choices you had made follow the plan you wanted or not.   These important skills can be learned through the Pink Kit or other skills based resource like it.

Choices are another animal.  Many women are not aware of their options and choices available to them during birth.  And in many parts of the world women are not free to choose where, how, and with whom they give birth.  This is true at some level in most of the US.  This is not okay.  This is a human rights issue.

Please take a moment to watch this video, Freedom for Birth.
I challenge you to join One World Birth and learn more about this issue today.  Birth should be a wonderful experience where skilled women are free to make their own choices about what goes on - but right now, this is not the case.   Join now.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week in Review 12-16

We had a fun Christmassy week in the Vawter house!  Our letter this week was U for umbrella, udder, and umbrella bird (a stretch, I know).   Besides our annual Christmas craft playdate on Tuesday we also had our last BSF class before break, and a play day at Grandma's house on Friday.  Saturday was full of family fun at our friends Jadon's 3rd birthday party, followed by a family run/bike ride (Zac had his maiden run on the new running foot and did great!), and fun with the Hobb's kids in the evening while their parents went out (Zac and I both got to snuggle Miss Lilly (2 months old) for about 6 hours).  We spent today in Mossyrock for more Christmas fun.  Whew!

Here are our advent ornament crafts from the week (we haven't done days 15 and 16 yet, but will catch up tomorrow):
Day 9 - Joseph

Day 10 - Dream

Day 11 - Jesus' Name

Day 12 - Census

Day 13 - Bethlehem

Day 14 - Stable

A definite downside to our week was Friday and the shootings.  The kids did not see any of the news coverage, and I am thankful yet again that we do not own a TV.  However, we did talk with them about what happened.  We didn't tell them that there was a shooting, but that someone came into a school, made some very bad decisions and a lot of people died - including a bunch of kids.  I wanted them to hear it from us before they overheard it somewhere else.  We prayed for all the people involved and for all the families of those kids.  We also watched the President over the internet as he addressed the nation, which made me cry. Keanan asked why I was crying and I told him that it was really sad.  He replied, "but mommy, those kids get to be with Jesus."  True, true.  My parents heart still mourns for those families, but I do find some peace in Keanan's words.

Happy Sabbath and 3rd Sunday of Advent - JOY!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Annual Christmas Craft Playdate

This was our 3rd year of hosting and we had 18 kids (and 6 moms)!  Whew!  It was organized chaos, but we all had fun!  A snowflake craft, lunch, story, singing, playing inside and outside, and visiting time for the moms.  We will see what fun we can come up with next year =)

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week in Review: 12-9

We has a fun and busy week!  Our letter was T for toad, tent and tiger.  We had visits from Nana and Grandpa on Tuesday, our friends the Schrader's on Thursday, and went to visit with the Johnson's on Saturday.  I think one of the highlights for the kids this week was going to the new Hand's on Children's Museum in Olympia with the Ireland's.  Everyone had a blast!

One of the highlights for me this week was out Truth in the Tinsel crafts!  Here is day 2 - 8:

Day 2 - Kingdon

Day 3 - Zechariah

Day 4 - Gabriel

Day 5 - Mary

Day 6 - Mary/Elizabeth

Day 7 - Song

Day 8 - Sun

We are looking forward to our 3rd annual Christmas craft playdate this coming week!  Happy Sabbath and 2nd Sunday of Advent!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


It seems that every other person I hear about or talk to this days is sick with some yuck or another.  I wanted to pass on a resource that I totally believe has helped keep our family healthy, Double E Immune Booster from the Bulk Herb Store.  I made this herbal mix into a glycerine based tincture (which has really easy to do) and store it in a glass jar with the rest of my herbal stuff.  First sign of sickness, we all take a spoonful a couple times a day.  Usually the sickness never progresses past a plugged nose or sore throat and is gone in a day or two.  If we are around those who are sick I also dole out a spoonful, and we usually don't catch anything.   If needed I might mix up some lemon/honey/ginger/garlic/yarrow tea for the kids, but the Immune Booster usually does the job on it's own.  We also take our vitamins every day, eat very "clean" and drink lots of water.  Herbs work!  Give it a shot, you won't be sorry =)

Note:  Zac does not take any of the above things (only vitamins in liquid form when I add them to our morning smoothies) and is also very healthy - good genetics and healthy eating growing up =)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

1st Sunday of Advent: Hope

One small baby in the hay,
Brings us HOPE on Christmas day.
God has promised His own son,
Bringing HOPE for everyone.
One small baby in the hay,
Brings us HOPE on Christmas day!

12-1 Week in Review

Besides running around on Monday to get my birth certificate changed (long story) and passport sent off, it was a pretty normal week around here.  We were on letter S this week for skunk, squirrel, and sun.  Both kids are surprising me every day with how quickly they learn things!  School time is definitely one of the highlights of our day.

We were excited to spend some time with extended family this week, having lunch at the lake with my Grandma and Papa on Wednesday, and my cousin Stephen and his wife Randi over for dinner on Thursday. We have been very intentional this last year about deepening our relationships with friends by having someone over for dinner each week - but we need to have this same intention with our family.

We ended this week with today being the first day of Advent!  The kids were so excited to start our Truth in the Tinsel crafts.  Today was Keanan's day to open the "gift" (25 little numbered boxes under our tree with little papers in them that correspond with the days theme) and today was Light!  We read the bible passage, listening for the special word "light" and talked about how Jesus is the light of the world.  Then we made a cute little candle ornament!  Next week I'll post the ornament pictures for days 2-8.

Zac and I spent the evening at his company Holiday party/dinner.  Good chats with people, good food, and a funny slideshow of the year.  We are very blessed to be a part of such a great company as ESI.  Hard to believe that Zac has been there over 10 years now!  The kids had a blast at one of their favorite places: the Ireland's.  Kudos to Miss Chris for bravely watching and getting to bed FIVE crazy kids all by herself!  (Greg had to fly to Kona today - bummer.)  =)  We are so grateful for our amazing friends!

Happy Sabbath and first Sunday of Advent tomorrow (remember to light your first candle)!!