Sunday, January 22, 2012

Date Nights

Date nights for Earl and I have always been something that he and I have looked forward to throughout our marriage, and our kids have too.

"Hey kids - we're going to go out tonight. Miss _______ will be coming to babysit."
"Whoooo Hoooooo!"

Our kids really loved all of their babysitters and had a fun time when we were gone.

Well, last year our family kind of turned a corner and we were able to leave all 5 of them alone while we went out . . . instead of having someone else come over to watch over things.

But, as a mother, I began to wonder if they would miss the fun they had when someone else would come over to spend time with them. I didn't want any "bitterness" or "resentment" to begin to stir the waters. So I prayed and thought through things a bit, and tried to put myself in their shoes.

I must say, that Earl and I think our kids our the GREATEST (what parent doesn't, right?) and their attitudes have been so good over the years. They truly have rejoiced with us in our new-found freedom and have encouraged us to go out.

But I wanted to make their time here at the house special too. So, I began to plan "missions" for them to accomplish that required them all working together to accomplish it and usually ended with a special "dessert" and movie. The kids know that this won't happen EVERY time we go out, but enough to make it special and fun.

Well, over the holidays, things had gotten so busy that I just didn't have the energy to plan something "fun" every time Earl and I had to go out alone. So, this past Friday night, as Earl and I were planning to go out for dinner and see a movie, I decided that I would plan something fun again.

We left them with a note:

So, we get to go out and it has been awhile since we've given you a "mission" to complete while home alone.
Well, tonight you have another mission!

* eat dinner
(Earl got them pizza!)
* clean up the house (Emily & Molly - kitchen; David - dining room; Jonathan & Annie - living room and bedrooms)
* call Mom's cell phone"
(the very first time we did this, I had them call me when they were all standing in the bathtub and then I went and left my cell phone in the van while we were in the restaurant. Thankfully I remembered after only 3 missed calls and a frantic voice mail. We still laugh over that one!)

When they called me, I told them to look under the keyboard, where they would find their next instructions:

"You must write a song to the tune of:
"How Much is That Doggie in the Window"
The song must include a line or phrase from each of you. When you have it written down, practice it a few times. Then, make up some hand motions and practice it a few more times. Then . .. videotape yourselves performing it all together.
When you have competed this mission . . . call Mom's cell.
(You're going to wish that I had gotten a nap and a cup of coffee before thinking this all up. Keep in mind . .. memories are being made. Hahahahahaha!)"

Here are the lyrics to the song they came up with:

"Do you have such parents as we have right now?
They make us do things that we may not know how.
They make us sing song that we may not like.
They feed us with nutmeg and vegetable oil.
They wash us with seaweed and camel fat.
They clothe us with goat skins and carpets that smell.
but we still will love them as best we know how, how, how."

When they called me after videoing themselves, I told them where they would find their next "mission". It was a series of clues that finally led them to their movie and dessert.
We didn't know that they would video the whole "mission" but we're so glad they did. It was really fun to watch them think it out!

We love our kids.
We love this new season we are in.
We are looking forward to making lots of new memories in 2012!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Restful Day

This morning, I woke up to rain.
I also woke up remembering that since Earl and I had had a late night last night, we decided to forgo the exercise this morning and get a little extra sleep - since we've both been fighting fatigue lately.
I rolled over a little after eight and grabbed my biography of Ann Judson that I've been reading and read a little and dozed a little, read a little - you get the idea.
It was a wonderful morning.
Pretty soon I heard a knock on my door and in came David with breakfast on a tray!!
The Miles men had concocted this plan to serve the Miles ladies breakfast in bed this Saturday morning!
We were extremely blessed.

After getting ready for the day,
Molly and I tackled our planned project of covering our four blue pillows that went with the couch we just recently recovered.

Here's what they looked like before:

Molly worked very diligently and well on sewing straight seams. I did all of the cutting out and pinning together. Molly sewed the seams.

I also worked on sewing around the corners, since we rounded them.

And when we were done, they looked like this:

We only have two more to go!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A New Year!!


We kicked the new year off last weekend by going to bed early and going to church in the morning. It was a beautiful morning!

Then we gathered with some good friends at their home for an evening of food, fun and fellowship!









We went on a Snipe Hunt, and the Miles Family took the champion status for the Minute to Win It Competition!








We played a couple rounds of Dutch Blitz . . .


and were entertained by a very comical version of “Cinderella”.


What a wonderful way to spend January 1, 2012!

Happy New Year everyone!

(I got a new light scoop for my Nikon and had fun taking indoor shots. Not all of them turned out, but it was fun to play around.)

Christmas! (Part 2)


Christmas Day dawned glorious . . . as does every Sunday with the hope of going to gather with the Body of Christ and worship the One who has given us all things in Christ!

We stuck to our annual tradition of starting the morning off with our longed-for “Christmas Bread” and egg casserole. We wanted the day to be a celebration and so we invited some friends to come celebrate with us along with my mom who of course was coming to share the day with us. The morning was busy getting everyone ready and and setting the table for the lunch to be had when we got home – knowing that everyone was going to be “starving” after church.


Finally, we were all ready to go! We had been given some money for the kids and we spent some of it to get them some new “spiffy, dressy, clothes”. They were very excited to go to church in their “new look”.




The girls had done a very nice job decorating the table and we were able to eat fairly shortly after coming home. It was a nice day with friends and family.





After we ate, we had a Skype call with Earl’s mom and sister back in Louisiana. They had sent the kids some gifts and so we decided to try and Skype so they could see them open them. It was crazy but fun!



Some very generous friends of ours have loaned us their portable keyboard for the kids to use while their kids grow up. This way, we can get a better feel for what we may want to “buy” one day if the kids stick with the piano lessons (which we’re pretty confident they will). Anyway, we couldn’t just “give” it to them. We wrote clues and hid it in our closet and made them find it. It was a “gift” of sorts, and they LOVED it! (We’ve already got beautiful music wafting through our home!)


The rest of the day was spent enjoying each other and enjoying God’s blessings. After everyone went home, we all got ready for bed, cleaned up the house, popped some popcorn and watched our favorite Christmas movie . . .

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey”.

It was a long but very enjoyable day.

As I closed the day, I read in my devotional by C. H. Spurgeon the following quote:

“Amid the cheerfulness of household gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful levities and to forget our character as Christians. It should not be so. but our days of feasting are seldom days of sanctified enjoyment. They frequently degenerate into unholy mirth. There is joy that is as pure and sanctifying as though one bathed in the rivers of Eden. Holy gratitude should be just as purifying an emotion as grief. Unfortunately, the house of mourning often encourages spiritual growth more than the house of feasting. Believer, in what have you sinned today? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you filled your conversation with idle words and loose speeches? Then confess the sin, and hurry to the sacrifice. . . . This is the best ending of Christmas day – to wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this sacrifice every night. to live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood. Sin, great as it is, is no reason for despair. If you draw near to Jesus and confess your faults, He will cleanse your conscience from dead works.”

I’m grateful that our family lives in the light of the Christmas truth every day, all year long. It’s not a new celebration for us. In fact, it’s a challenge to make the truth new and fresh and applicable each week and every day. How blessed we are. How rich we’ve been made. How much we have to rejoice in!

For unto us a Savior has been born who is Christ the Lord!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Christmas! (Part 1)


This year, with Christmas being on Sunday . . . it kinda threw us off. Well, it threw ME off anyway. I was really looking forward to worshipping on Christmas morning with the Church, but due to my lack of planning and foresight, things got very busy and needless to say I was a bit too weary and pre-occupied to enjoy the morning as much as I had anticipated.

Christmas Eve we enjoyed going over to my sister’s house. We were a tad bit late getting out of the door due to some “surprise” carolers. How fun!! (Thank you, Bartosch family!)


I LOVE going to my sister’s house at Christmas time! She got all of the “fine taste” and “decorating” genes!




We had a wonderful time watching Christmas movies and eating a prime rib dinner and opening gifts together.


My mom and Gail bought Jonathan a real robot. He was thrilled! We’ve already programmed one “mission” and I’m thinking this will be a GREAT school activity as we program together more missions. He’ll be able to do it on his own in no time!


They bought David a really high-tech sound board of some sort. You’ll have to ask him what it’s called. But it is right up his alley.


Here’s some photos I was saving for another post, but it will give you an idea of what it is (I think he wired it to record sounds when these photos were being taken):

David (4)David (7)

My mom and sister bought the girls a REAL sewing machine and sewing baskets with supplies. And they’ve used them already (I WILL save those photos for another post).


We all went in and bought my mom a Kindle. She’d been wanting one and it was fun to be able to give her one this year.



My sister got a knife block and Jonathan was glad to help her fit in all of her knives.


Before we left, the kids each read their Christmas story or poem that they had written. We have begun to keep a folder of their “Christmas writings” each year. I give them an assignment (some years it’s more open-ended than others, it just depends.)



Since the next day was Christmas and we were going to church, we decided to just open up the rest of the presents from each other when we got home. We left my sister’s about 9:30 and had a sweet time of expressing our love and thankfulness to each other. Jonathan wrapped up some of his toys to give to Annie and Annie wrote poems for each of us. Those were some of the sweetest gifts to me!



We had some surprise guests stop by “for just a visit” and they bore gifts that blew our family away. The goodness of God to us through them rendered us speechless!


Hmmm . . .I hadn’t intended for this to be a post about “all we got”. To be honest, that is such a small part of our Christmas’s. But it is a part. We give to those in our lives who have blessed us and who have been used by God throughout the year to teach us about what it means to be a friend and about how to love. We give sometimes “big”, and sometimes it’s just a “love note” or handmade item. It flows out of a heart of gratefulness for all that we’ve been given in Christ and the love that has been poured out to us from a faithful heavenly Father.

Well, Christmas Eve ended late for us . . . but Sunday morning dawned glorious!

Part two coming . . .

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