Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Four Words

As is my tradition, I take some time out at the end of the year/beginning of the next to reflect and pray about 4 words.  One word for each member of our family to help me pray for them/myself this coming year.

2013 Review:
Zac - Persevere.  This was a tough year at work for Zac on a few levels.  I am proud of how he has persevered through this time.
Jen - Radical.  This has been a radical year for me from our mission trip to Mexico, to Amber and Eli living with us for a few months, it's been crazy and God has been teaching me how to serve others and live with purpose.
Keanan - Connections.  Keanan has grown leaps and bounds academically (2 weeks left of kindergarten!), physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It is so fun to watch him think and express himself as he makes grows and learns.
Kyla - Whimsical.  This girl is a hoot!  She is so animated and will draw you in to her wonderful pretend world.  It has been fun to see her some out of her shell, with a dramatic flare!

2014's Words:
Zac - Pursue.  This will be a year of change for our family.  Zac is stepping out and going after some dreams this year, starting with his Masters degree.  I am excited to support and step out with him!
Jen - Focus.  I tend to get passionate about things, many things if I don't step back (or Zac doesn't hold me back!).  This year I want to be a good steward of what God has given me on many levels.  To do this I need to focus on doing a few things well, rather than many things adequately.
Keanan - Diligent.  As Keanan starts 1st grade in a month, more will be required of him academically and emotionally.  I pray that he learns to work hard and well this year, giving glory to God.
Kyla - Joy.  This will be Kyla's last year of preschool and I really want it to be a fun time for her.  I am also excited to see her express herself as she starts ballet.

Verses for the year:
Galations 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galations 5:6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Bring on 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Our First Christmas Without Santa

It. Was. Awesome.

That pretty much sums it up!  The kids had absolutely no issues when we broke the news to them that Santa wasn't real.   We learned about the real St. Nicholas and that his love for Jesus inspired him to give to others, many times in secret.  This inspired all of us to start giving in secret with our money into a box that sat on the counter the whole month.  On Christmas morning we counted this money and chose to give it to Compassion International for relief work in the Philippines.  This was our present to Jesus this year.

We had many talks about "pretend Santa", as they called him throughout the month.  We still enjoyed the classic Christmas movies and books, but something was different - in a good way.  The focus was always on Jesus.  The kids themselves tied everything back to Jesus.  We also did Truth in the Tinsel which walked us through a piece of the Christmas story every day, so it was always fresh in our minds.

As Christmas drew closer I asked Keanan if he was sad that Santa was not real.  He thought for a moment and then replied, "no, I'm not sad.  When adults tell kids that Santa is real, it's kind of in between teasing and lying.  So I'm glad I know the truth.". He nailed it.  We didn't have to lie to our kids to make Christmas a wonderful, magical time - Jesus does a much better job than Santa ever could.

So, in review, we are so thankful that we ditched Santa and focused soley on Jesus this Christmas.  On Christmas Eve, when other kids were thinking about Santa filling their stockings as they go to bed, this was Kyla's prayer "Dear God, thank you for being born and dying for our sins on the cross."

It. Was. Awesome.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fourth Candle of Advent: Love

One small baby in the hay,
Brings us LOVE on Christmas Day.
Arms will stretch to grab a cross,
Saving us from all our loss.
One small baby in the hay,
Brings us LOVE on Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Homeschool: Week of 12-16

This week was V for vegetable:  God gives me all that I need!  We dissected beans (did you know there is little plants that you can see inside??), we are "growing" and onion in a jar, we read lots of neat library books about gardens and veggies, and of course ate a lot of vegetables!

Today (Friday), to celebrate our start of "Christmas break" from homeschooling, we had the annual Vawter Christmas Craft Playdate!  It was a crazy fun time!  The kids made handprint/footprint reindeer, played, ate treats that the kids and I made earlier in the week, listened to the Christmas story (Lego style!), and ran around in what little snow we had left.

We have actually made this craft every year since Kyla was born.  Isn't that one of the cutest things ever!  Makes me kind of sad to see how fast they are growing!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Nutcracker!

Saturday was Kyla's first real experience with ballet when we went to see the Ballet Northwest production of The Nutcracker in Olympia.  Auntie Jess, Nana, and Great Auntie Di went with us.  It was a great show and so much fun!  We even got to go out to dinner after.  We will have to make this a Christmas tradition!
While we were gone, Zac and Keanan went on a hike into the Bald Hills by our house.  They even made it to the top of one!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Third Candle of Advent: Joy

One small baby in the hay
Brings us JOY on Christmas Day.
God sends us this baby boy,
Saving us for endless JOY.
One small baby in the hay
Brings us JOY on Christmas Day.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Homeschool: Week of 12-9

This week we were on x for Fox: "God's Word makes me wiser than my enemies"  One of the fun activities came with reading one of the many library books for this unit, The Gingerbread Boy (the fox tricks him and gobbles him up in the end!).  We made our own gingerbread boy, but thankfully he didn't run away and we all got to gobble him up!
We had book club on Tuesday with our homeschool group and did a book exchange party.  We also had our last BSF class before Christmas break.  Add in our daily Advent activities, and watching Eli 3 days this week (he's actually staying over tonight =) ), and we had a very busy week!

These little guys decided to come out and join the fun too!  

Less than 2 weeks til Christmas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

O Christmas Tree

We had a wonderful adventure on Dec. 1st getting our Christmas tree!  As is our tradition, we piled into Auntie Jess and Uncle Casey's truck and headed for the mountains in search of snow and a tree.  This year we were joined by a caravan of friends (12 kids total and 11 adults)!  The weather was NOT in our favor - pouring rain the entire time, but we did find enough snow for the kids to play in and sled on (thanks to Zac and Casey's engineering a sled run over a stream!), so they didn't care.  Greg set up an awning, Mike made a fire, Crissy grilled cheese sandwiches over it for the kids, Chris served hot cocoa, Jess passed out some awesome fudge, I made a big batch of homemade chili in my crock pot which was still hot, and Melissa had yummy cornbread muffins to go with it.  It was wonderful!  We were all soaked to the BONE, but successfully found trees.  We will treasure these memories for years to come!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Second Candle of Advent: Peace

One small baby in the hay
Brings us PEACE on Christmas Day.
Sin brought fighting, pain, and fears;
Christ will wipe away our tears.
One small baby in the hay
Brings us PEACE on Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Homeschool: Week of 12-2

This week was F for frog: "I use my tongue wisely."  After a sick day on Monday, we used the rest of the week to complete the activities for this unit.  Keanan had fun explaining the frog life cycle to Zac this morning, he did a great job!

Speaking of life cycles, our caterpillars have now entered the next stage of life and moved into their chrysalis!  We put them in the butterfly net/house and are eagerly awaiting their appearance and butterflies!

We are also celebrating Advent with Truth in the Tinsel!  This year Kyla is coloring an ornament picture and Keanan is building a lego creation for each day as we move through the Christmas story.  Here is some of Keanan's creations this week: light, crown, Zechariah, Gabriel, Mary and Elizabeth

Friday, December 6, 2013

100 Days of Kindergarten!!

We celebrated the 100th day with a candy hunt!  I hid 100 M n M's around the house for Keanan to find, count, and then eat!

Can't believe we're almost done with Kindergarten and moving to 1st grade soon!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

First Candle 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.