Archive for December, 2013


guarding their hearts

Every Christmas James and I give our children three gifts each.  These three gifts represent the three gifts the wise men gave to Jesus.  We give them a want, a need, and a spiritual growth gift.  This year, for our girls, (ages 9 1/2 and 8), we gave them lockets for their spiritual growth gift.  These lockets represent our prayer for them-that they would continue to guard and keep their heart pure and dedicated to Jesus.  And James will, as their father and spiritual leader, spend the rest of his life praying and fighting for their hearts.   We are also praying that one day they will find a prince who will do the same.

(We got this idea from this website here.)

I wanted to post the letters on this blog because they are so sweet!  I know our girls will treasure these letters, as he hand wrote each one on special linen paper.

Rilyn’s locket

James reading his letter to Rilyn

My beautiful Rilyn,

Your beauty is displayed through your strength! God has blessed you with strength to love others. I see it in your pursuit of your family, your friends, and even your enemies. You love being with people and you love the people you are with.  I see it in the letters you right to your friends, the patience you have with your sister, the forgiveness you give to those who hurt you.

Your beauty is displayed through your mind! God has blessed you with a mind that loves to wonder and loves to learn.  I see it every night when you fall asleep reading. I see it in all those conversations with your grandpa and oma about nature, and history, and science.  Your love for fantasy and fairy tales is a great display of the wonder God has given you to ponder and think of things greater than ourselves and be in awe of the One greater than our imaginations dare to imagine.

Your beauty is displayed through your soul! God has blessed you with a kind, gentle, and enduring soul. I see it in your kind and gentle responses to the chaos that surrounds at school.  I see it in the kindness you extend to strangers.

Finally, your beauty is displayed through your heart! A new heart given by the Creator of heaven and earth filled with the true and greatest beauty that is our Lord Jesus Christ.   The bible says your heart is the wellspring, the source of all your strength, all your thoughts…all you are!

My prayer for you is that you would continue to guard and keep your heart pure and dedicated to our Lord Jesus Christ.  I will spend the rest of my life praying and fighting for your heart.   Your mother and I are also praying that one day you will find a prince who will do the same.

This gift is a symbol of that commitment and promise. I hope it serves as an encouragement…know that I am for you and I love you and remember the even better news that God is for you and loves you!  So guard your heart, paying careful attention to your thoughts, your emotions, your desires, and your choices.  Guard your heart by giving it along with all your thoughts, emotions, desires, and choices to Jesus…

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ JesusPhilippians 4:7

You don’t need to guard your heart with selfishness keeping you from loving others and you don’t need to foolishly open your heart to chasing after this world that will never satisfy.  But instead:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7



James reading his letter to Ella

My beautiful Ella,

Your beauty is displayed through your strength! God has blessed you with strength to love others. I see it in your affection towards your family, your friends, and even your enemies. You love cuddling and hugging your friends and family.  I see it in the sweet and creative ways you pray for and encourage others with gifts you make.

Your beauty is displayed through your mind! God has blessed you with a mind that loves to be creative and dream.  I see it in all the creative games and crafts you create.  I see in fantastic stories you tell and write.  Your love to play make believe and dream up imaginary places and stories that end with happily ever after points to a mind that longs for the ONE who is our happily ever after.

Your beauty is displayed through your soul! God has blessed you with a passionate and loyal nature. I see it in your relationships with your teachers, your friends, and your family.  I see it in your energy and spontaneity.  You are such an exciting and fun young woman to be with and to play with and to live with.  I feel it every time you jump on my lap or hop on my back and every time you give me a hug…even if it’s 10 hugs in a row before going to bed….(the rest of the letter is the same as Rilyn’s.)  🙂



putting the locket on Ella!


celebrating in December!

December is a whirlwind, and I can’t believe we are 6 days from Christmas!  Here is a quick summary of our December!

Ella and Rilyn (both in the front row) had a school choir concert!

school Christmas parties of course!

Asher had a book exchange at his!

Gingerbread house making at the Thinkery! Just us girls!

We went to two live Nativities this year. Here was one that our church put on.  Asher and Caden with a wise man!

Mom and dad had some Christmas party attending to as well! This one was a National Lampoons Christmas vacation one! I tried my best to dress 80s! 🙂

Egg nog and moose mugs? Yes please!

James went as Uncle Eddie! Wearing his best sweater of course!

And last night we had a Christmas carnival party with the whole family! We were in charge of the Glow Golf game, so we just had to dress up! 🙂 Asher did not want to participate. 😦

We took home a great prize for being “best game hosts”!!


may your christmas be merry and BRIGHT!

We had a little fun this year with our Christmas card photos!  🙂  Enjoy the “colorful” pics, and may your Christmas be merry and BRIGHT!

kids vs. parents!

*If you are interested in doing this too, (which I highly recommend for a good time!), click to buy the Festival Colors (Rangoli) Holi High Quality Colors (Pack of 10)


Thinkery: a review

On Sunday, we got to visit the new Austin children’s museum, Thinkery.  My mom was so thoughtful, and bought my family a membership for 2014!  This past weekend was a members only preview, and they had some extra special treats like a photo booth, cupcakes, and face painting!

Thinkery is so much better than the original children’s museum (which no longer exists). My kids are 9, 7, and 5 and I felt like the museum exhibits were just right for those ages. Any younger*, and I’m sure they will have fun, but not really ENGAGE  in most of the exhibits (downstairs). It was fun to watch my kids go from room to room and explore! Let’s start with the downstairs!

* The museum has a baby/toddler room upstairs and a baby/toddler “playpen” downstairs

When you walk in they have walls filled with people’s faces! You go to a photo booth and when you take your picture, it will come up on the wall for about a minute! Can you find Rilyn?

I believe James did this activity 4 times! He loves seeing his picture in lights! lol

The first floor is more for older kids-age 4 and up (I would say).

My kids loved painting on windows! Then they have squeegees you can use to “erase”!

Ella tinkering with lights and wires

Loved watching my kids engage!

This room said age 7 and up, but they let everyone explore it (maybe because it was a preview). This is a plane launcher. You can see the plane Rilyn built ready to launch! You can measure how far it flew and use different wings next time, etc.

watching Asher’s plane fly!

In this “older kids room” they also had a hot wax machine for kids to make wax sculptures, but it wasn’t on when we were in there. This is just a cool pic of the girls exploring in that room. 🙂

My favorite room was the “light room”. Here is a life-size Lite Brite! How fun!  This was Asher’s favorite room too!

playing with shadows and lights!

This was in the “Mi familia” room which is from the old museum. Lots of pretend play in here!

Pinata time!

There was a “backyard” (not pictured), which looked cool, but my kids said it was only “okay” after they played out there. I’m sure younger ones would love it!

Upstairs was a water room. You will get wet here and they even provide Crocs for your kids to change into, waterproof aprons, and dryers! This was Ella’s favorite room!

Asher about to get wet!

More pretend grocery and kitchen play upstairs!

There was a “motion room” which was, I think, for younger kids, but Rilyn insisted on jumping in!

Rilyn’s favorite room was the “experiment room” which will have different experiments each month(?)

All in all, it was a fun experience, and we are looking forward to going back and letting the kids explore and learn some more!  Go check it out!


a little Griswold…

We did not have any family gathering on the actual Thanksgiving day so we decided to decorate for Christmas starting the day before Thanksgiving.  Well, things went a little “Griswold”, when hearing a big crash, James came in through the door holding his elbow and leg, and whimpering.  He was putting up our Christmas lights, (which is a big task), and the ladder slipped off of the edge of our roof where it was leaning!  The ladder came down and crashed into Asher’s window!  James fell down too, at the bottom of the ladder!  He could of been so much more seriously hurt, and thankfully, only a few scratches on his elbow and his leg was pretty bruised up.  When I saw the window, I started laughing (after I realized James was okay)!  I immediately had to take pictures!

After the “incident”, we decorated our tree on Friday!

We left Friday afternoon for College Station where we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family at the Octaranch! My dad finished the tree house that he has been working so hard on! We call it the “Aggie Shack!”

My dad loves to take us for walks around the property too!

I even get cows to pose for my pictures! lol

The cows were friendly enough to follow!

my sister and Ella!

cousins and best friends!

our Thanksgiving dinner!

goodbye fall! Onto the Christmas season!

My photography business!

December 2013