Archive for the 'Family' Category


family dinners

Family dinners…prepping can cause me some stress, but when we are all finally seated and our plates are all full of yummy food-it’s so worth it!  I wanted to share a couple of things that we do at dinner that have really helped make dinner last longer than 5 minutes (is it too much to ask after I’ve just cooked a healthy meal for 30+ minutes, to deserve 15 good minutes at the table!?!)

Prayer-we take out our basket full of 2011 Christmas cards that we just received in December and pick one family to pray for.

Decorthe manners candle.  I saw this on Pinterest and knew I needed it for Asher.  He needs a physical reminder to sit still and eat.  James has to sit by him and practically feed him so he will continually eat, otherwise, he is under the table or hanging off the chair.  The candle stays lit if he is chewing and sitting still.  We just started this in January, so we obviously haven’t had our candle melt down to the bottom yet.  But when it does, we will all go out to ice cream that night!  The candle has been blown out  a few times at the beginning of dinner, so we have a ways to work on this, but I think once Asher succeeds at getting the candle completely melted, he will get it!

Conversation-We start with our Rose and our Thorn (or Touchdown and Turn over for James and Asher).  It’s our high and low of the day.  We also ask what’s their Secret of the day-what is one thing they don’t think they should tell us, but we would want to know.  It’s always pretty interesting what they come up with- “This boy hugged me on the playground” or “so and so told me she won’t be my friend anymore if I don’t give her my bracelet.”  And one important rule about their secret:  they won’t get in trouble for telling us!  (When you send your kids to public school, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep open lines of communication!)  😉

James and I also use dinnertime to look over their work from school and talk about it.  They get the biggest smiles on their faces when we give them credit for what they are working hard on at school.  And it’s fun to read things like (from Rilyn), “If I found a magic wand I would turn everybody into an Aggie.  I would be in paradise.  Really.  My dad would be so proud of me.”  🙂  Or Ella’s paper, When I grow up I want to be a “piss” (princess).  🙂

Another part of our conversation is from these cards I found free online and printed!  We pick one to read each night and each take a turn to answer.  There is like 300 cards so make sure you have ink in your printer!

And last, we try to read the Word during dinner.  We have used these great books, Big Book Of Questions and Answers and the simpler version for younger children, My 1st Book Of Questions and Answers
as resources to discuss short topics from the Bible.  Because this is February 1st though, we are starting our Valentine Countdown verses to discuss at dinner!  🙂


Happy Birthday nephew!

My sweet nephew is 2 today!  I took the same picture of him a year ago, and thought it would be fun to compare.  I’m not sure how many more birthdays I can convince him to just stand in his underwear for “the shot”!  😉


Star of Bethlehem

Almost every Christmas for the past 9 years, my dad, Dr. Rick Erickson, has been presenting the “Star of Bethlehem” to thousands in Texas.  He finally has put it on the web so everyone can watch it!  It is so fascinating and really will blow your mind.  How can you NOT believe in God after watching this is my question?!?  Like did you know God tells the story of Jesus’ birth and death in the constellations?  If you have a spare 2 hours, I would totally recommend watching this (first hour) and this (last hour) on your computer!  And I’m not just saying this because he’s my dad!

Here is a little article on him from the past:

“Dr. Richard Erickson, Professor of Medicine at Texas A & M Health Science Center and Director of the Division of Gastroenterology at Scott and White hospital Temple, will present his multi-media program The Star of Bethlehem at the Central Texas College Planetarium this coming Tuesday evening, November 25, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Dr. Erickson, who is an elder of the Temple Bible Church, is an amateur astronomer and loves both the physical and biological sciences. He is especially interested in teaching topics which help people to “reconcile” science and the Bible. He was naturally drawn to the subject of the star of Bethlehem when his daughter (THAT’S ME!) invited him to a presentation on it at College Station five years ago. He has been researching and teaching on this topic ever since then, and each year his presentation incorporates more of his findings.”



I said in a previous post that I would post some pictures of my parent’s new house in College Station.  My parents bought 12+ acres of land in College Station (about 6 miles southwest from Kyle Field.)  They bought the land in hopes to put a house on it so we could all stay there for Aggie football games(10 year season ticket holders)!  My parents bought the land about 2+ years ago and long story short, they bought a double wide to put on the land and then found out they couldn’t put it on there because of the 100 year flood plain!  

So on to plan B!  Plan B was to build a house on the land.  The catch was it had to meet the flood zone criteria which meant to build a house on stilts of course!  🙂  My dad found a company that specializes in this and the house was just finished in late June.  We have named it the ‘octaranch’ because it is shaped like an octagon, (and it is sitting on several 10 foot pillars!)  How cool is that?!?
the octahouse

It really is beautiful with a wrap-around porch and a great view. The inside is so nice too! We look forward to having little getaways here or maybe a girls’ weekend or two!

the kids on the porch looking out at the land
The cows on the land staring at us while we were eating breakfast!

swimming lessons

(Going Public part 3)

One of the biggest obstacles Julie and I face as we continue to wade through the issue of our children’s education is trying to determine how much influence we allow the world to have on each child and when.  Of course when it comes to the world ‘out there’ it is really a matter of trust and timing; eventually they will have to swim.  We want our kids to be able to swim and navigate through the waves…that is, not to drown in the waters of the world around them.

On the one hand, it is easy when our eyes are fixated on the world to become overwhelmed and perhaps over-protective of our little ones to the point that home schooling is the only option.   (Note: we definitely see a place for homeschooling, but the question for us is whether that is for our family…not whether it is right or wrong.)

On the other hand, we fully trust that God is Sovereignly in control of our children’s future and that it would take more faith for us to send them out, and thus, for our family (at least for Rilyn….this is a year by year issue), public school is the answer.

Through time in the Word, prayer, and discussion with each other we are convinced that the answer is not black and white.  We know that we are called and given the responsibility to train our children (Prov. 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.).  From this truth, we feel the weight of a responsibility to influence each child in a way that will draw them closer to their heavenly Father.

We also know that ultimately God is in control and has the Ultimate influence on everyone and everything (Romans 11:36, “From him, through him, and to him are all things, to Him be glory forever Amen!”)  From this, we are able to draw a peace and courage that God never calls us to do anything apart from him.

So what is our calling?  What is God telling Julie and I?  Something that helped us is the analogy below:

None of us who have children want them to drown.

But how can we prevent it?

One way is to keep them away from bodies of water deeper than two feet.  It works.  Kids won’t drown if they don’t get into deep water.

But we can also guard them from drowning by another method:  teaching them to swim.  Though it isn’t foolproof, it works rather well and provides more freedom.

In the same way, we should teach our kids to “swim” against the currents of the world.  Avoidance of the world is ineffective-children eventually go away to college or start their lives and encounter all the things we guarded them from.

They will be more ready to face worldly currents if we have taught them to swim. (Dennis McCallum, “The Postmodern Puzzle”, The Real Issue March 1998)

Public school is an excellent pool in which to train our young sons and daughters.  Yes, it’s deep and noisy and the water’s cold and sometimes the chlorine gets in your eyes.  Sometimes you get splashed by other swimmers.  But this is preparation for even bigger bodies of waters to come.  Someday they’ll have to swim in Lake Michigan.  (David & Kelly Pritchard, “Going Public”, pg. 27)

Obviously, none of us want our kids to drown… but even more so, we desire our kids to do more than stay afloat…we desire for them flourish, to live life to the fullest….to swim like Michael Phelps and win the race…(1 Cor 9:24).

We didn’t throw Rilyn into the pool as a baby…it wasn’t even until age 3 that she took her first lesson…Julie and I both know that one day she will dive head first into the the waters of this world…so we start today with the swimming lessons. For each parent, this will look different.  Have you ever been to a 3-5 year old class learning to swim?  It is often obvious which kids are ready to learn and which kids are still afraid of the water.  In the same way, each child will  learn to swim at a different age…but we mustn’t let their first lesson be the first time they go into the pool by themselves!

Rilyn’s swimming lessons              From May 2008

Going Public Part 1
Going Public Part 2


Daddy’s Day!

James, Happy Father’s Day!  I couldn’t begin to imagine a better daddy for our children!

My favorite thing to watch is when you lead our family nights/devotions and how the girls cling to every word you say about our Heavenly FATHER.

Rilyn’s favorite thing about you this year was when you visited her at her preschool.

Ella’s favorite thing is when you color with her.

And Asher, well, he told me he loves when you shoot hoops with him on his Little Tikes basketball hoop.  😉

We love you!!!!

From June 2009

my birthday girl

God made me a mommy by blessing me with Rilyn FIVE years ago today.  She is such a sweet little girl who simply desires to please others through obedience and kind acts.

She is artistic.  One of the best gifts I could give her today would be a ream of printer paper!  She sits for hours at our kitchen table creating art for her family and friends.

She is a girly girl!  I asked her a couple of questions yesterday and her answers, I think, sum up her ‘girlyness’.

Mommy:  What do you first think about when you wake up?

Rilyn:  Princesses.

Mommy:  If you had a million dollars, what would you buy?

Rilyn:  a wedding dress (James, do we have a savings account started already for the girls’ weddings?!?)

Mommy:  If I was a genie and granted you three wishes, what would they be?

Rilyn:  First wish would be to be a beautiful princess.  Second wish would be to be a beautiful queen.  Third wish would be that all my friends would be my sisters.

Rilyn is a lover, not a fighter.

Mommy:  What are you most scared of?

Rilyn:  Ella hitting me.

I was interested in finding out Rilyn’s vision for her future in her wise old age of five.

She told me very matter of factly that:

When she is 10 she will be at Disneyland.

When she is 15 she will be graduating high school.  (Sorry to burst your bubble, sweetie, but that’s not going to happen.)

When she is 20 she will NOT be taking naps anymore.

When she is 25 she is going to be married, a teacher, and a mommy with four kids (wow!  A true mommy’s girl-minus one child)!

When she is 30 she will be cooking.  (I hope she will be doing more than that at 30!)  😉

And when she is 35 she will be sitting in a wheel chair.  (I told Rilyn that 35 was older than I am and I guess she thought that naturally old people sit in wheel chairs!)  😉


my oma does it, what about yours?

My Oma (grandma in German) plays soccer.

Rilyn-17 months old

My Oma carries canoes on her head.

From November 2008

My Oma has Battlefield (pc game) birthday parties.

From May 2009

Does yours?

James’ mom is super fun and our kids are blessed to have her!


happy mother’s day!

First, let me say Happy Mother’s Day to my dear mom!  I love you!

my sister, Jessica, brother, Jeff, my mom, and me!

For an early Mother’s Day/birthday dinner, we ate at The Melting Pot. The dessert was amazing! Dipping brownies and strawberries in chocolate and peanut butter is probably the best taste ever!

look at that chocolate dripping off of my strawberry!  Yum-O!

Here is Ella ‘toasting’, (and obviously she enjoyed the dessert as well!)

From May 2009

The kids all planted some flowers (ok, maybe not Asher…) next to their footprint stone in our front yard for Mother’s Day. How sweet!

From May 2009

The best part of the day was after church when James and Jeff Richardson took all 6 of the kids in one car and brought them home so Jen and I could go out to a leisurely lunch and shop! Wow!!! Thanks guys-that was the best ever!
I told James to take a picture of all 6 kids in the car so I could give him props on the blog!!!

Back row: Cole, Rilyn, and Ella.  Front row: Caden, Anna, and Asher


For Mother’s Day, James asked me to pick out a mother’s necklace that I wanted on

I just got it in the mail today and I love it.

But it made me think of some past necklaces that I used to wear 24/7…

From May 2009

I was the ‘st ends’ in this BFF relationship(I love ya Kristy)! What girl didn’t have this necklace growing up in the 80s?

And then, when James and I were dating, he gave me this James Avery necklace on my 19th birthday and I wore it pretty much everyday until I had Rilyn!

From May 2009

And then the kiddos came, and wearing things around my neck wasn’t the smartest idea unless I wanted to be choked or tugged at…
But I’m braver now, and ready to take on another necklace!

That is their birthstones above their names

My photography business!

June 2023