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Merry Christmas from the Minters

Its that time of year again!  Time for our annual Christmas card.  This marks year 6 of this tradition, and the first year the kids really wanted to take ownership of the tradition.  They picked the music, where the computer would sit, what they wanted to show in the video, and just basically made it their own.  It is fun to watch them grown up.  In fact, if you want to view years gone by, here is 2009 (Elliana at the end is my favorite!), 2010 (Justus finally makes his first appearance “helping”), 2011, 2012, 2013 (our first Christmas in Iowa), and finally, 2014.  Merry Christmas everyone!


Merry Christmas from Us

This is the 5th year we have done this, and I can honestly say its one of my favorite holiday traditions!



When we started this tradition in 2009, Justus was still in a high chair and the girls barely had any hair! Its so fun to look back on life and see all that has changed and remember all God has done over the past 5 years. If you care to take a stroll down memory lane with me, here’s 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012.

Merry Christmas!

Pine Cove…Year 4

You may hear “Family Camp” and East Texas and think we must be crazy to keep going back to Pine Cove, but it seriously is the best vacation ever! I think this picture sums up our opinion of family camp pretty well =)

Every year, as our kids get older and older, camp just gets more and more fun!

Things I noticed about my children during the week:

  • Avery is the most responsible kid I know.  She is also incredibly tender hearted and will help anyone who needs helps.  And, as she gets older, she gets a little fearful of things like the zip line, the climbing wall, and the water rocket; HOWEVER, she never lets her fear stop her.  She pushes through that fear, overcomes it, and walks away smiling.  Love watching that determination and stubbornness be used for good!

  • Elliana is fearless.  She will climb any wall, jump off any building, ride on any water ride, and do anything as long as people may laugh at her or it looks like it may make her laugh.  She is also a great friend.  She makes friends with everyone she meets, and if she can stop giggling long enough, she can make everyone around her smile.   And although she is now 5, she still needs a nap every once in a while….desperately.

  • This was the first year Justus got to do things like the water rocket and zip line with us.  Unfortunately, I forgot he’s only 3 and still takes everything literally.  For example, he wouldn’t go out onto the actual water rocket. He just wanted to sit in the boat.  I later learned he didn’t think he was big enough to go into space yet without mommy…(forgot to tell him the “rocket” wasn’t actually a space ship rocket. He literally thought he would shoot up into the sky if he sat on the water rocket!).  He also really likes to run.  Pine Cove has lots of land with a lot of counselors who love to chase after your children.  Justus ran until he fell over to sleep and then woke up to run some more.  He was in heaven!

  • And Brent and I…well we just get to relax.  There are so many people taking care of your children that you don’t have to parent a whole lot at camp; you just get to have fun as a family.  The counselors remind the kids to eat with manners, they take the kids to the bathroom, the remind them to follow the rules, they basically parent your children for you.  And they are so fun about it that the kids just listen and follow the rules.  This frees the parents up to just have fun with the kids!  Its truly a week of vacation where the family gets to just be.
  • Brent and I also got to go on 3 dates….Did you hear that?  THREE dates in one week!  A week of fun with my kids and a week of fun with just my hubby and I.  It is just about a perfect week.

click here to view the rest of our pics from the week =)

And here is our video from our week.  At least the main highlights.  I rarely took the camera with me this year, so its just the important stuff =)


We Made It Home

Two incredible weeks of vacation at my parent’s house in Iowa.  I truly feel like a new woman after the rest we got while up there!   Twenty-one people, eleven of whom are children, all staying under one roof, and I absolutely LOVED it.

The kids did great.  Well, except for a couple few incidents by little man.  We learned he liked switches as we woke up on morning to a freezing cold house because he turned off the heat the day before, and one morning my dad had a cold shower because Justus turned off the water heater.  Luckily, my parents are gracious and laughed at my son’s energy =)

Some people go to a beach to get away and relax.  We go to Iowa.  There is just something about being surrounded by family who loves you that just allows all the stress of the world to go away.  Thanks mom and dad for letting us crash at your place for two weeks!


The Perfect Evening

Norwegian pancakes on the griddle, bacon sizzling, a fire in the fireplace, and time with my parents.

Life is good.

Another Family Tradition

My kids associate Grandma and Grandpa’s house with ice skating.  They have not yet discovered there are numerous ice skating rinks within minutes of our house so the only time they get on the rink is when we go to Iowa.  To say they are excited to ice skate is an understatement.

This was actually the first time the little man actually got on the ice.  He had a blast!  Here’s a little video recap of our adventure:


Christmas Traditions


Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

I love that word expectant.    Oftentimes we are willing to wait, and wait, and wait, and we deal with the waiting by staying busy and not thinking about the fact we are waiting for something.

Advent is different.  This is a waiting with expectation.  That expectation is what makes the waiting exciting.  That expectation is what keeps our focus on Christ in the midst of a long season of silence.

So I have tried to instill that expectation, that excitement of what is to come, in my kids this Christmas season.  This preschool advent book is helping us in the process.

Every night we are reading and talking about the stories leading up to Christ’s birth.  They make an ornament over the story as we discuss.  They are always so curious about what the ornament is going to be and excited to sit and make something for our tree.

Every year we try different advent ideas, and this year’s has been my favorite so far.  All three kids truly are waiting with expectation for the story and ornament making craft at night.

They’ve even enjoyed acting out a scene or two

The point is, waiting with expectation is fun.  In the past I’ve tried to hard to make things serious and prepare their little hearts for more than they could ever possibly understand.  This year, I’m focusing on learning to wait with expectation for the incredible things God is about to do.


Merry Christmas From the Minters

In keeping with our family tradition, here’s a little video to wish you a Merry Christmas!

here’s 2009 & 2010 if you want a look down memory lane!

Our Attempt

We attempted to decorate a Gingerbread House tonight

There was a little someone who couldn’t quite grasp why we would glue candy to a house and not just eat the candy.

Pretty sure he ate his fair share of what should have been on the house

Fortunately,  my artsy child came through and had a plan and a vision for the house and the willingness to not eat all the decorations.

Thanks to her determination, we finished with this

Beautiful, right?! =)

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