Thursday, December 15, 2011

ADVENTure Box

 We've been having a lot of fun this Advent Season with our ADVENTure box.  Each night we open the box to find some "gift", read part of the Christmas story, and do some kind of activity.  The last couple of days we've been acting out the part of the shepherds and the Magi.  We did this last year, but are much more whole hearted about it this year, and I think we're all enjoying it a lot more, and much more thoughtful about the real reason we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the King!

I love the sheep Campbell is holding! 


 On the night we talked about the Magi we improvised a Dutch Epiphany tradition and had the kids sing a Christmas song and then we shared some banket together.

 Fake it 'till you make it boys!  Someday you'll like banket!


Chimayo Weekend

This weekend Chris and I had the opportunity to take a get-away as a couple.  It was long overdue, but so worth it!  This is a little shout out to my husband - I'm so blessed to be married to Chris.  He is such an encouragement to me, he makes me laugh, and works so hard for our family.  It was wonderful to spend a weekend reconnecting and relaxing together!  A special thanks to Linda, Shari, and Andrea for taking care of the kids!  Sounds like they had fun too!

So, we went to a bed and breakfast in a little town in northern NM, Chimayo.  There aren't any pictures of Ojo Caliente, the hot springs we spent most of Saturday soaking up, but it was quite the experience!  A parent at Chris' school had recommended a "clothing optional" spa to us, but we decided that wasn't really our style, and went to Ojo...However, when we got to Ojo, we realized we hadn't brought our swim suits!  We are now the proud owners of very luxurious suits sold to us at an exorbitant rate by the gift shop.  Sorry, Babe!  We also visited a church, El Santuario de Chimayo, which people make pilgrimages to every spring asking for healing.  It was beautiful!
 


 Below is the view from our balcony.  It was too cold to really enjoy it, but the view was spectacular!


 I love seeing the desert blanketed in snow!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

So Many Reasons to be THANKFUL!

As has become our family pre-Thanksgiving tradition we spent Wednesday morning on a hike.  We had beautiful weather all Thanksgiving weekend and so enjoyed being able to be outside!
 



 Don't you just love this picture?
 Our dear friends the Postmas and Steve joined us for Thanksgiving dinner and spent the afternoon playing games together.  What a blessing to have "family" in the body of Christ!
 Grandpa and Grandma came for the Thanksgiving weekend.  The kids had been excited about this visit for about three weeks and enjoyed time wrestling with Grandpa, playing "Chopped", going for a walk, playing at the gym, and getting our Christmas tree.  We are so thankful that they were able to come and have time together.




 She's a hugger!

 It's always a race in this family!
 Visiting Jason's bench
Garrett took a bunch of pictures for us.  He'd been asking all day to take pictures by the Christmas tree and he definitely knew how he wanted everyone to sit and look.

Monday, October 31, 2011

BOO!

Happy Halloween!



Showing off their pumpkins

The quiet giraffe, apparently they stick out their tongues...

Chris Kratt from the PBS show Wild Kratts..."What if?"

Bumblebee...vrr, vrr, vrr...

Clayton's, Garrett's, Chris', Nikki's, Campbell's

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Remembering

It's been almost two months since Chris' brother, Jason, passed away. We find ourselves thinking of him often and reminding ourselves to savor each moment, knowing life is sweet and fleeting on this earth. I know we've said it before, but these last 10 months have taught us much about ourselves, our friends and family, and about our faithful God. We are so thankful for those of you reading this who have upheld us in prayer, hugged us when we desperately needed a hug, watched our kids, laughed with us when we needed to be reminded that life really is GOOD, spoke truth to us over and over, and over, who gifted us generously financially, who sat by us in church and cried with us - you have been Christ to us, and we are beyond grateful.

We miss Jason. We grieve for the things he wont be present for. And yet, we find ourselves singing the song that has become our family's anthem, "Christ is Risen" by Matt Maher,

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

Jason was blessed to be loved and welcomed into the Redder family over the last year of his life. Thank you Kim, Jan and Mike, Kyle, and Curt for loving Jason and walking through his journey with him. We said over and over to each other we were so thankful he had you to love him! Thank you also for giving to us, and to Rehoboth so generously! We took time today to get some pictures of the memorial bench - we just love it, and love going to the pond and enjoying the beauty of God's creation. When we got out there several kids were sitting on the bench, soaking up the sun and chatting, and it was a beautiful moment to see others blessed and enjoying the bench too.
You can see behind the bench Rehoboth's Outdoor Classroom

Overlooking the pond, above, the hogback in the distance, below.



To our Marlink family, thank you again, for loving us, for making sure my husband knows he's part of us. Below is a picture of the tree you gave us in memory of Jason. It's planted by the front of our house. It's a flowering crab apple, because in Chris' words "Yea, if I had to pick a fruit to describe Jason, it'd be a crab apple." We look forward to watching this tree grow and bloom every spring and to being reminded of how God is growing and hopefully bringing us to fruitfulness too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The First Day of Kindergarten!

Today was the day we've been anticipating for a long time - Garrett's first day of kindergarten. Last night I made up our traditional first day of school Blueberry Stuffed French Toast, set the table, made a note, and Chris hung streamers. The house was ready for the big day, even if we weren't!

All in all, it was a good day! As I was in the kitchen last night Garrett came in and asked what I was making. When I told him breakfast, he got so excited, "Oh yeah, the first day of school breakfast!" I told Chris I'm so glad we have some traditions already in place so that even though this is Garrett's first he get's excited because he's sharing in this tradition that up until now has always been about Chris. Then, this morning when Clayton got up before Garrett he opened the door and saw the streamers "I was like, whoa, it's a party?" We ate our breakfast, took a few pictures, and because it was a late start day the boys even had a chance to play for a little bit (so good for Clayton). Garrett checked the time so often I lost count and we were out the door in plenty of time to walk to school. Our neighbor Eden came out to wish Garrett a good first day and take a picture - what a special girl to be so excited for him!

Chris met us on the way so that he could see Garrett at school. Garrett has a big group of kids in his class that he knows from our Friday morning Bible study or from church so he was comfortable with the kids right away. Chris and I chatted with some other parents, took a few pictures and then made our way out, me home and Chris back to school. Yes, I did well up, but not because I'm sad he's going to school. He is so ready and I know he's going to do great! For me, and I'm sure for lots of other parents, the emotion comes from realizing I've spent the last 5 1/2 years with Garrett, pretty much every day, and Chris and I have been the biggest influence in his life. Today that changed a bit and started us on a new journey where his friends and teachers influence him and shape him. I have to trust that we have laid a strong foundation for him to grow as a boy, friend, brother, and most importantly child of God. Before I walked him to school I told him how when I was little my mom always said "Remember to whom you belong" and how I was going to say that to him every day when he goes to school. "Do you know who you belong to?" "Yup, God, and you and Daddy." It is our prayer that that truth keeps growing deep and strong in his heart!





Garrett's best buddy, Liam! They got to be "elbow buddies" today:)
Mrs. Gilson - we've been looking forward to her for YEARS!

So, this one melts and breaks my heart! My Clayton is sure going to miss his best friend!
After we dropped off Garrett, I put Campbell down for a nap, and Clayton got a special surprise - new playdough, and Mama all to himself. Highlight of my day was at supper when he said playing with me was the best part of his day!