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October 31, 2008

Whoopee, I'm 10!

We celebrated the last of our October birthdays this week.
Actually, this was the last of our birthdays this year, unless God decides that baby will actually be born close to it's due date :)
October 27th, 1998
It was 27 degrees Celsius outside.
I was in the hospital with a precious new baby boy.
We had an amazing room in Swan Lake hospital, it was actually a palliative care room. It had a mini fridge, microwave, sink, pull-out couch, rocking chair, bathroom and lots of space. It was perfect for our kids to come visit us.
Caleb Andrew. Even though Kerri was only 3 1/2 years old when he was born it seemed like forever since we had a newborn around. He was loved at first sight, and got many hugs and kisses in those first few months. Caleb has always been a pretty quiet guy. He didn't really talk until he was well over 2 years old. Some people figured it was because his siblings did all the talking for him, I think it was just because he is a quiet guy. Things I remember about Caleb when he was little? He liked to bathe in the toilet. We figured it must be cold and not that comfortable, but he did it over and over again. Just jumped right in, clothes and all! He also really liked slippery things. You would often find his hands, and the wall, and his clothes covered in things like butter and diaper rash ointment. As he grew up we noticed his artistic nature come out. He really enjoyed drawing, building things, and pretty much anything constructive with his hands. Now he spends many hours drawing things, and he does a pretty good job at it too. Caleb has a very soft heart. Here is an example. He mentioned that he would like to go to a hotel for his birthday. Every once in awhile we will grant that to one of our kids, and we decided it was his turn. After we said we would go, Caleb came to us very concerned about how the barn chores would get done if we left. We told him not to worry about that, we would take care of it. We had already decided to take just the four little guys along and leave the rest home to hold down the fort. Well when Caleb found that out, he felt sorry for his sisters who would have to stay home and miss out. After every one assured him it was okay, he finally relaxed and enjoyed himself. You really have to poke to get inside his heart. Often he will say something and if you don't catch what he is saying the first time he will say, "Oh never mind." So we find we are often prying things out of him. Quite different than some of his other brothers :) Caleb really had no interest in learning how to read until this past summer. Now he finally loves to read and you will often find him curled up with a book. He has said over and over again this fall how fun it is to be able to read everything. He is a very good helper to mom and when I ask him to do a job for me I can be quite sure it will be done well. He has great organizational abilities which is a great asset to me :) Caleb likes to play almost any kind of sport. As long as it involves action and sweat, he's in! Hockey is his favorite though and he is looking forward to this winter when we play on our rink.

Happy Birthday Caleb.

May this year be a year of learning the greatness of God

and growing closer to Him.

We love you lots and are so glad that God gave you to us!

Love Notes and Dirty Vehicles

I guess a dirty vehicle
isn't so bad after all :)
(right Rebecca?)

October 29, 2008

Working Bees and Projects Done

We have been getting lots done around the yard lately. It started in the spring with putting in new windows and siding the house, we did some cementing (bins and our milking barn), our biggest project and one that we have wanted to do for a very long time was to take down the old house that was right beside ours. Over the years it got more and more deteriorated until is was unsafe to have around. Plus little & stinky critters were starting to find it a great place to make their home which we were not so thrilled about! So this fall we had the time and the ambition, and down it came. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what went down!
Here is what you would see standing beside our house when driving onto our yard.
The house was about 30 feet from ours.
We disassembled for a couple of days between rain while we were combining.
The rafters were carefully disassembled for future use.
Other lumber was also salvaged.
This house was built much stronger than most houses now a days.
Nice for standing, not so nice when taking down :)
Now it looks like we are making progress.
It was nice to have the trusty John Deere to help with taking some walls down and other things that just made the job a little quicker.
We plan to build a tack shop with these walls.
When it got to this point they were tempted to keep it as a lookout.
The view from up there was really nice.
But we couldn't stop there.
Here's the view from the other side.
You can see our house on the left side.
By this point the end was in sight.
Here is what you see now when you drive onto our yard. It took about 9 long hard days to complete this project. Way to go to our amazing kids, for going out there day after day, even though exhausted, to help complete this huge job. Now we just have to work on making the corrals pretty :) And to Rebecca who chose to come out even though she knew what she was getting herself into. And of course the foreman, the encourager, the come on guys, we can do it, man of the project, my sweet, himself! Great job hon!! I hope to post some pictures of the actual people involved soon. But this will be all for now. Ta, ta.

October 25, 2008

Feeling Loved

If you have ever read The Five Love Languages, you know about it. If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend it. Well, my love language is gifts. I love to give gifts, and I love to get them :) But to my dear hubby, gifts are the last on the list. Yet over the years he has shown me love so many ways in the unexpected gifts he has showered on me. And such a day happened yesterday. I have been trying to resize my engagement/wedding ring set for awhile. But over time, finally found out, the rings were too thin, and it would cost too much to rebuild them. Not a big deal, just rings right? Well Mark obviously read that I was disappointed :( So here is what he got for me.
I feel very loved sweetheart.
Thank you :)

October 24, 2008

Memory Challenge

I have found a way for your kids to work on developing their memory without them even knowing it!

You just have to have a large family :)

Often we find our younger ones racing through the list of names in our family seeing who can recite them in order the fastest.

I caught Brooke on video today. Thought I'd share it.

video

October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesse!

Life here has been unusually busy:) Mark and I went to a cattle handling clinic from Mon.-Wed. Today I have a midwife appointment. Saturday we have a wedding to attend. But it's all been good! Just getting behind on our blog updates:)
Our third birthday this month was on Saturday, Oct. 18th.
Jesse Alan. Jesse is a little farmer through and through. He lives and breathes farming. Basically if it has wheels, he's interested in it. If he knows that any work is to be done with a tractor that day, he will be sure to catch a ride no matter how early the hour. And he will ride for hours on end and never seem to grow tired of it. But he doesn't just ride, he learns. He knows so many things about farming already. After a day in the field he usually has many stories to tell. And stories he does tell :) If you ask Jesse a question about something, you need to be sure you have quite a bit of time to listen to his answer. He likes to give lots of detail! When he was younger, before he could really talk, he would just come up to you and babble baby babble (remember that Jody & Denyse?). Constant babble. Now we see why....he was practicing. When Jesse goes outside one of the things he will usually do is check the tire tracks on our driveway. From there he can tell if anyone has been on the yard, and usually who it was, unless it is a strange vehicle. He learned to ride his bike without training wheels this year within a few minutes and then he was off. He is a little scary to watch though as he spends more time looking at his tires than the road in front of him! Jesse loves to learn and spends many hours of his day practicing his phonics or his adding skills. Basically he's a little sponge, taking it all in:) We love you Jesse and hope you have a great year being 6!

October 16, 2008

HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY ZACHARY!

I am getting behind on my October birthdays. I will start with Zachary. It was on Thursday, Oct. 16th. Zippy Zachary!
We always say Zachary reminds us of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.
Jumpy, bouncy, full of fun, fun, fun!
Zachary is a very 'passionate' person.
When he is happy, he is very happy.
When he is upset, he is very upset.
Not very often is he found without a smile on his face though!
Actually, it's hard to put Zachary into words!
The other day he was helping me with the dishes.
He asked me how it was that we still have the Bible after all these years.
How did it not get lost.
So we talked about how God had preserved it, His Word to us.
He then asked how the people who wrote the Bible knew what to write.
I said God told them what to write.
He was quiet for a little while and then he asked if God just speaks to big people, or if he speaks to kids too.
I told him He speaks to kids and adults.
He then asked if God spoke to people in the morning or at night.
I told him that He speaks to us all the time but sometimes we hear Him better at night because we are quiet.
He then said he didn't think he had ever heard God speak to Him but he would like Him to.
I said that he should talk to God about it.
But I guess that sums up Zachary.
He has a real soft heart for the things of God and thinks deep.
We got him a Bible for his birthday and he thanked us for it over and over again.
He treasured that more than the toys.
He has a love for God's Word.
We have always said that we think he might be a preacher someday.
But not a preacher who stands still in the pulpit:)
When he was younger and we would watch preachers on a video, you would often find him the next day 'preaching' to his younger siblings.
We love you Zachary! Hope you had a great year and pray that you will grow closer to God in the coming year.

October 14, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

We had a nice Thanksgiving this year.
We celebrated with Mark's parents on Wed. and with my family on Sunday.
Here is a photographic journey.
It all started with a turkey.
Jennifer had the great idea of purchasing a live turkey.
So we did and butchered it on Saturday.
Just as a side note, do you see Jennifer anywhere in this picture???
Hmmmmm....great idea Jen!
Later she informed us she had meant some year, not neccessarily this one.
Ya, probably thinking once she has left home :)
My 'sweet' doing the dunking.
Everyone trying their hand at the plucking game.
Gotta get that bird clean!
I know it looks like we are dancing instead of working but...
He was just helping me take my coat off :)
Ahhh...the fun part. Getting those insides out.
This turkey had a couple of nasty bruises on his wing and leg.
Must have gotten into a nasty turkey fight somewhere!
We started a new tradition with our family a couple of years ago.
Everyone writes on a scrap book page about what they are thankful for.
Here is the page Megan made for us to journal on this year.
Let the games begin!
L-R: My mom, Joshua, My brother Travis
My kooky little brother Jeremy.
My Pops!
Yes, you can text and stir gravy at the same time (and many other thing I might add!)
Rebecca and her family were on holidays so she couldn't be with us.
We missed you Rebecca :(
But we were glad you could spend time with your family :)
It wouldn't be a family gathering without Grama reading to the little ones.
Of course it did take her awhile to find her glasses! (inside joke)
L-R: My Nephew Isaiah, Nathan, My Mom, Jesse
And here's the little lady herself hamming things up! There are so many things to be thankful for again this year.
We got all our crops off which was a challenge all in itself with lots of rain.
Our bins were literally full and overflowing.
The crops were great!
Family is another blessing.
I am thankful for every day with my husband.
We are thankful for every day with our children.
Life is so fragile.
Our God is a great God.
No matter what our circumstances are this does not change.
The Bible says He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
You can't say that about anything else in this life.
What an assurance, what a gift.
I feel blessed!

October 13, 2008

October 10, 2008

October 8, 2008

I've Finally Got It Figured!

Today while doing school, Megan asked me a question.
A question I could not answer.
Then it dawned on me.
I think I might have figured out why I struggle being a good wife and mom some days.
Because this one thing, I don't know.
I can't believe it took me so long to figure this out.
She asked me, "What is an auxillary verb?"
I thought and thought and realized, I DON"T KNOW!
No wonder..........
Please excuse me while I go learn my auxillary verbs.
Apparently there are 23 of them :)

October 5, 2008

What Are My Children Watching

Entertainment everywhere. In your face, wherever you go. As Christians where do we draw the line? Over the years our convictions have become stronger in calling entertainment what it really is. We have wondered why we seem to think it is okay to let entertainment into our homes that have values and beliefs that are contrary to Scripture. The draw is strong. As humans we seem to love to be entertained. A way to escape the real world and 'relax'. But at the same time our minds are not relaxing. Rather I think they are working overtime. Many years ago we chose not to have Television in our home, but chose instead to watch videos/dvds. For us it was easier to control what was being watched. If we were unsure of a video, Mark and I would preview it first to make sure it was okay. When we would watch tv, sometimes the damage would already be done before we had time to shut it off. But even with just watching videos we quickly realized how we could still compromise our values and put ungodly things in our mind and in our home. We have went through a couple of purgings as God has gotten a hold of our hearts in this area. Times where we went through all of our videos and asked ourselves if they were honoring to God, if they were bringing life to our family. We found when we viewed videos in this light, there wasn't too much worthy to be watched. Some videos (especially kids) almost mocked the Bible stories in the way they were told, or were not even totally scripturally acurate. Some would depict attitudes or behaviours that we had trained our kids were unacceptable to God and in our home. Or they would contradict values that we placed as important in our family (dating vs. courtship, obedience to parents, respecting dad as the head of our home, submission of wives to husbands, the joy of being a stay at home mom, siblings becoming best friends.....). Some had hints of witchcraft, magic or superpowers. Not real blatent, underlying, but still there, polluting the minds of our family and making it seem like no big deal when God clearly says how He hates it. This journey has not been easy for us. To be honest there are times where we have degressed, when we just wanted to flake out and watch a 'good one'. And not having a 'good one' to watch, sometimes our flesh would get the best of us and we would watch an 'almost good one'. And of course it doesn't just end at videos, there are other things that beckon us to use up our time, things that entertain us all the while compromising our beliefs. Video games, computer.....the list goes on. We live in a day and age where we can constantly be entertained. Often I think of the verse, "Be still and know that I am God." How many times are we still, so that God is able to speak to us and let us know who He is in our life and in our circumstances. Silence is something that is very rare these days. So I guess here is my challenge to you this time. Have you thought, I mean really thought, about what you are tolerating and allowing into your home all in the name of entertainment? Have you lined the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours up to God's Word. Have you thought about the double standard you may be teaching to your family by allowing things into your home that are clearly (or sometimes not so clearly) contradicting the values you are teaching them? Pray, ask God to give you wisdom in this area. To see past the mere entertainment of it all and seriously ask yourself "What ARE my children watching?"

October 4, 2008

October 3, 2008

Happy 15th Birthday To Megan

Megan 1 yrs old
Megan's 15th birthday
Yesterday was Megan's 15th birthday.
It was a day of relaxing, presents, riding horse, and basically doing what she wanted.
I am sure I have mentioned it before, but on your birthday around here, you get the day off.
No chores, no meals, no wash, no taking care of kids.....nothing. One day a year, that's it!!
Things are still pretty busy here on the farm wrapping up the fall work and such so Mark did not get to spend as much time as he would have liked to celebrating :( But the year Megan was born we were only 1/2 done combining. We are glad that is not the case this year :)
When Megan was younger and people who knew me when I was little saw here they would say it was just like turning back the clock and seeing me little again. I think we are alike in many other ways to but don't tell her that :)
Megan is a very task oriented person. She sees a job she needs to get done and she does it. Promptly, efficiently, just gets it done. She keeps me on my toes with my scheduling. She makes sure I get where I need to get when I need to. Sometimes I rely on that too much:) What am I ever going to do if she gets married someday?
She has always had a heart of compassion and used to actually cry when we would discipline her siblings, until we put an end to that! Now you see her heart for people when someone is sick, in distress, or just needing a pick me up. You will often find her making a card for someone, for whatever reason. It is very rare for her to forget someone's birthday or other special occasion.
She can be very quiet (although her sisters would tell you otherwise!) and is not quick to make just anyone her friend. It takes her awhile to open up to people. But in her quietness is a wisdom. She doesn't just do things on a whim, she thinks things through. And because of this she is very wise in her choices.
Over the years what people have complimented her on the most is her smile. As a little baby her smile was infectious, and still is today. It lights up her whole face.
As most of you know Megan loves taking pictures. Am I ever glad for digital cameras as it is not unusual for her to take a couple hundred pictures a week. That would have been expensive before digital! We are forever downloading pictures and deciding which ones to keep and which ones to delete. When she is missing, you can be sure to find her outside somewhere taking a picture of something or someone. It is very handy to have someone like this in the family as every occasion is well documented! Although photos of her are very hard to come by as she is usually behind the lense.
Megan likes to sing and play the penny whistle. She is working on learning the flute too.
Every once in awhile you will also hear her sing opera although I don't think it's meant for our listening ears!
She has the most amazing curls in her hair. I think sometimes she finds it challenging, but we love it. We often tell her people will pay money to get curls like that. Maybe someday she will let me post a picture of her many different 'do's'?!?
All in all we love Megan. She is a gift to our family and adds so much. Her smile, her gifts, her talents, her goofiness......we love it all (most of the time:)
Happy Birthday Megan.

October 2, 2008

Above and Beyond

Mark and I have taught a parenting class for a few years now. One of the principles we have learned about is teaching our children how they can choose to respond to situations in different ways. There is good, better and best. Good is doing the moral minimum in a situation and represents who you are as an individual. For example if someone says hello to you, it is a moral courtesy to say hello back. Most everyone does that. Better is going beyond the moral minimum, to take it a step further. This represents our standards as a family. So instead of just saying hello, they may say, "Hello, how are you." Best is going above and beyond the moral minimum. This represents God. When someome says hello, you might shake their hand, ask how they are doing and initiate the conversation. Good is expected, better is preferred, but best honors God. It goes beyond rules, it becomes part of who they are as they desire to honor God. This becomes part of them way back when they are little. You can teach a 3 year old to go above and beyond. God has given the family as an amazing training ground for our children every day, all day long. In family we have the different ages, different personalities, different circumstances. We have many, many daily opportunities to go above and beyond. How much better designed could it be? And then when they go outside the home, this will be the norm. It will be part of who they are. As an example of what can happen when you train this into your children I want to tell you what happened here yesterday. I had to bring Jennifer and Megan to the dentist. I brought 2 more kids with me, one went working with dad and the rest stayed home with Kerri. With just a normal day, Kerri would have been busy. But instead she choose to go above and beyond. For her good would have been to take care of the children. That is all I had required of her. Make sure they were fed, dressed and safe. But she chose not to only do good. She chose to do better. She kept the house spotless and made a delicious chicken supper. But not only did she choose to do good and better, she chose to do best. I found out when I was halfway home that she had not been feeling well (I could tell in her voice when I talked to her, she wasn't going to tell me). So even in not feeling well she did the wash for her sister. I was okay with the wash being left for the day. We would have survived (only 1 day though around here!) But because she was preferring others above herself, she chose to do this. That was so above and beyond. There was nothing in it for her except the knowing that she was honoring God. That was her motive. Another day last week I was looking all over for a reciept I needed to return something. I couldn't find it anywhere and had to leave hoping I would find it later on. Good- Megan helped me look in the house for it. Better-Megan looked for it after I left without me asking. Best- Megan looked through our stinky garbage that had been sitting around for a few days and found the receipt! When she told me she had looked through the garbage to find it I can't even explain how loved I felt at that moment. That was above and beyond. My challenge to you today and every day, go above and beyond, train your children to go above and beyond. Keep an eye out for it when your children are playing with each other. Look for the opportunity to train their little hearts. It will be worth it. God will be honored and you will be a light to those around you.