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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!

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.

Advent

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.

 

Christmas Concerts

In an effort to document this Christmas, I will be blog happy for the next couple days. The last few weeks have been full of fun that I don’t want to forget!

Activity #1: Preschool Christmas Concert

 

Although I’m homeschooling Avery for Kindergarten, the Learning Center has a great Bridge class for older kids that Avery participates in a few days a week. This arrangement of going to the Learning Center a few days a week and homeschooling her the other days has been such a fabulous experience this year. Plus, it means we only have to go to one Christmas concert. Win, Win =)

The girls’ teachers were awesome and rearranged the kids so our girls stood next to each other. I loved it because I could get both girls in the same picture. Avery didn’t like it because she said Elliana kept tickling her between the songs.

On the drive to the church before the concert, Elliana said, “mom, I’m not sure what to feel.” When I asked her what she meant she said, “I think I’m really nervous. This is the first time I’ve ever sung on stage.”

At the end of the concert, I asked her how she felt and she responded, “My favorite part was when everyone cheered for me.” Love that she thinks the applause was just for her!

This may have been my favorite concert to date. Watching both girls sing their hearts out and have a blast on that stage was priceless.

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!

Another First

I guess the whole Kindergarten year is full of firsts.  First time reading, first time tying her shoes, first loose tooth, and now her first piano recital!  This post probably only interests the grandparents and this proud momma, but here is our little Avery at her first piano recital over Thanksgiving break.

 

If you notice it was a very small recital! The advantages of teaching her myself. The recital was only a few minutes long =)

She also attempted to play her first duet with Nana. Pretty fun!

Birthday Wishes

Before I get to all the Vietnam posts this week, I had to stop and write about my oldest child.

This sweet young lady turned 6 this past week and I can hardly believe how grown up she has become!  Or that I’m old enough to have a 6 year old! =)

We celebrated her actual bday with some presents from Grandma and Grandpa and a little tea party at the American Girl Doll store.  A friend had given her their old American Girl doll and Avery has fully embraced the whole American Girl doll phenomena.   Fully. Embraced.

The tea party was a blast but the store itself is a little overwhelming!  So many things that we just “had to have”!   Avery still talks about how “Samantha” got her own pink lemonade and how much fun she had.  Birthday success =)

Her celebration came this past weekend.  She had 3 friends over for a little bubble gum party.  We played games, laughed, ate cake, and had a great time.

Happy Birthday sweet Avery!!  Words could never express how much we love you and are so thankful for you and your silly, sweet, kind, loving, caring, patient, fair, and responsible personality!     Love you more than all the pink ice cream in the world.

My Man

Husbands are such a unique gift from God.

The last few months have been a rough portion of life.  Health issues, personal issues, life issues, the list could go on and on.

There are moments when disengaging from life would be much easier.   I could easily disengage into my computer, my phone, the TV, a book, or any other nearby device.

But then there’s my gift.

Eight years ago today, God gave me this gift knowing I needed a gift to help me draw closer to God. The Lord knew I needed a man who wouldn’t let me disengage when life got tough. I needed a man who would continually remind me to put my eyes heavenward.

This man is my gift from God.

Over the past eight years, we have loved a lot, laughed a lot, cried a lot, and had a lot of babies.

Life has changed since we first said “I do”.  Who knew eight years later we would be growing gray and think sleeping until 6am was sleeping in? But the one thing that is still the same is how incredible my gift from God is.

So today, on our anniversary, I want to stop and acknowledge Brent and what a vital point he is in my relationship with the Lord. He has encouraged me, prayed for me, given me the proper perspective, found books for me to read, loved me unconditionally, and taught me so much about what it means to chase after God. I love you Brent Minter. Thank you for marrying me eight years ago!

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