Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fall Roundup!

 Greetings!  I've been on a blogging hiatus for a few months, so I have a lot to catch up on!  Our family's schedule has changed quite a bit since Micah started his vicarage in August.  Hopefully I'll get a post done in the next few weeks with more details on that!  In the mean time, here's a bit of what we've been up to this fall.
In honor of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, a flag project was created in nearby Forest Park.  There were 3,000 flags on Art Hill, each one bearing the name and picture of someone who was lost that day.  It was very powerful and moving.
 September brings my favorite evening in St. Louis: the Balloon Glow!  Prior to a hot air balloon race the next day, all of the balloon pilots fire up their burners to the delight of everyone in the huge crowd.  We pack a picnic and grab some friends and head out for an always memorable evening.

 In October, we attended the Fall Festival at the Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Frohna, MO.  It's a day of old-fashioned fun.  The seven boys we had with us, and the one girl, all had a great time.  Here are all seven boys lined up in an old barn very patiently waiting for their turn on the rope swing. 

 We had the opportunity to attend the Missouri District Pastor's Conference at Lake of the Ozarks in mid-October.  It was a wonderful trip.  We rented a speed boat for a quick tour around the lake, went on a cave tour where we got to use the sluice to hunt for gemstones, and just enjoyed the scenery. 

 The kids and I took advantage of a warm November day to make our first visit to Powder Valley Nature Center.  They have several hiking trails and a cool nature center.  The kids especially enjoyed climbing on the giant frog.

 We get to visit historic Old Main St. in St. Charles regularly, since our vicarage church is just a few blocks away.  They have a really fun Christmas festival every weekend in December.  We've been there twice already, and probably will be back again before the end of the month.

Micah has been busy being part of the cast for the Boar's Head Festival at church.  It's a beautiful show that tells the story of Christ's birth through Victorian music and characters.  That's what's left of Boris the Boar on the table behind the kids.

We pray that you and your families will experience the joy of Christ's birth surrounded by friends and loved ones this season.  Blessings to you and yours!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2nd Annual "Sharing about Shutterfly"!

I can't believe that the Christmas season is almost here.  My family members started making holiday plans over a month ago, but I've hardly even thought about this year's preparations!  Thankfully, Shutterfly has started getting me inspired!

I was surprised last year to receive an e-mail invitation to do a blog post about what I love about Shutterfly Christmas cards.  My thank you gift for doing so was 50 free Christmas cards!  I got some absolutely beautiful cards last year.  I got several compliments on them, including "that was the nicest Christmas card I ever received."

I was thrilled when Shutterfly extended the same generous offer to me again this year!  Even better, they are letting me share this gift with my friends!  Post a comment and I'll send you a promo code for 25 free cards!

Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here:  

If you want to check out Shutterfly's new collection of Christmas cards, go here:

While you're at it, check out some of the other products.  We also ordered some cute photo thank you cards last year. 

I can't wait to pick out my free cards this year!  Thank you, Shutterfly!  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Late Summer Wrap-Up

I'm finally catching up on pictures from the last month or so.  A big event in our family was that Joel started kindergarten!  And, of course Jonah started third grade and Maci started her second year of preschool.  Here they all are on the first day of school.

Here's Joel standing at the doorway of his new room!

Any nerves quickly wore off and he made himself right at home on the playground.

We did a little sightseeing when my parents were here visiting, and we stumbled upon a ferry that took us across the Mississippi river.  The kids thought it was amazing that we could drive our minivan right onto a boat and float across the water.  Actually, I thought it was pretty cool too!

Then came our baby girl's 4th birthday.  Unfortunately, Micah can't take credit for decorating this cake, which is usually his job.  My mom was willing to dust off her cake decorating skills before she left town.

Up next was the seminary's annual Field Day.  The bike parade was a favorite activity.  

But the highlight is always when the fire truck arrives and sprays all the kids on the field. 

Two summers ago we had a delightful camping trip to Jellystone Park.  We had such fun that the kids have been begging to go back ever since.  We took advantage of an extra day off last weekend and headed out to visit Yogi.

This time we were treated to a reptile show where we got to hold a six year old alligator!  Jonah apparently lost his head that night...

All in all, it was a beautiful summer, the heat notwithstanding.  We're enjoying the cooler temperatures now, and we're looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us in this next season of our lives.  Blessings to you and yours!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's my birthday, and it's HOT!

OK, maybe it's not really that hot, but it's been hot. My dad called to wish me a happy birthday this morning, and he said, "you know, it was 107 the day you were born." Maybe that's why this heat doesn't actually bother me quite as much as it should. The chilly 90s will feel good this weekend, though!

Speaking of my birthday... I had a great day today. It started off with a text at 1:30 am from one of my favorite former co-workers who never forgets a birthday. My dear Nebraska friend was next, with a 5:00 am shout-out on Facebook. (I love morning people!) It just kept going from there.

Micah made me breakfast, the kids made me cards, and I got serenaded over the phone four times before 7:30. Then Micah surprised me with new throw pillows (as modeled by Jonah)!
I love when he picks things out for me that I wouldn't normally choose myself. Now we have a little splash of color in the living room.

At work I got balloons, lunch, cake, and cards. Our final celebration was going to Maggiano's for dinner. It was fun to go to a "fancy" place and practice our manners! I don't know of a better way to end the day than with creme brulee. Unless it's with another complimentary creme brulee, which we brought home for tomorrow!

I'm so blessed, even when it's not my birthday. I'm thankful for all of my friends and family, who always make me feel so loved.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Goodbyes and Hellos, again

Last June I wrote a post about all of the goodbyes and hellos that we had been saying that month. After re-reading that, I suppose I should have been better prepared for the goodbyes and hellos that we're saying this summer. But, still it's kind of hitting me like a truck.

We spent the last two delightful weekends with our families in Nebraska. For some reason, leaving there this past Monday was much harder than it's been the last few times we've visited. That goodbye was tougher on me than I expected. That will make us all the more excited to see everyone on our next visit.

Once we got back here to the seminary, it was time to say goodbye to one of our best family friends. Jonah has had a great first half of the summer, spending nearly all day every day with his best friend Caleb. Caleb's dad has finished his seminary education, and is now ready to go feed the Lord's sheep. They moved to their new home and new life this morning. We will miss their family terribly, and we are so thankful for the friendship and love they have shown to us over the last two years.

This afternoon we helped host some visiting families who are considering moving to the seminary. It was so fun to meet all of them and share our experiences. This evening we got to spend some time with another one of our best family friends. They too will be moving away later this month. The continual cycle of goodbyes and hellos is just part of the territory with seminary life.

There are many blessings in every hello, and in every goodbye. The best blessing of all that as brothers and sisters in Christ, the goodbyes are always temporary, because we will be united as one body for eternity. Until we meet again...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So much to say, so little time!

Our family has been on the road for most of June. Micah's summer class starts in July, and his vicarage starts in August. Therefore, we're seizing the opportunity now to get away.

At the beginning of June, my whole family joined us for a weekend "camping" (in a cabin!) trip to our beloved Carlyle Lake. We had so much fun. Maci got to go fishing for the first time with her new pink princess fishing pole.

We rented a pontoon boat and headed out for a day on the lake.

The following week, our family took a vacation to Branson. I had been there once as a child, but Micah and the kids hadn't been there before. We loved going to Silver Dollar City. It wasn't very crowded while we were there, so we were able to go on the rides as many times as we wanted to. One of our favorites was the log ride.

We also got to have lunch on a showboat. Here we are with the ship's captain.

As soon as we got home, Micah and Jonah packed up again and headed right back out the door to Joplin, MO. They went with a group from our vicarage congregation to help with the tornado recovery. Micah said there is no way to describe the devastation; it defies words.

Micah and Jonah helped clear debris and hand out emergency supplies. The Lutheran church there holds both a clinic and a distribution center.

Micah was so grateful to be able to share this amazing experience with our big boy. I imagine this won't be their last trip to the area, as the need will be great and on-going. We're also thankful that Immanuel - St. Charles included Micah in this project. Our family has already been blessed so much by this congregation. We can't wait to start serving them later this summer.

We hope all of you are enjoying your families, your friends, and the sunshine this summer. God's blessings to you!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Sweet Hubby

My favorite seminarian finished his last class project of the school year yesterday. Therefore, overnight I have gone from feeling like a single working mom to a working mom married to a full-time homemaker. As of last week, this was Micah's world:

The laptop, books, glasses, backpack, pen and pencil, phone, watch, water bottle, a glass of wine, and a fork. As long as there was occasionally some food to go on that fork, he was all set to spend endless hours sitting in this spot. Micah works very hard, and really takes his studies seriously. We're very proud of him for that. After all of that hard work, it was time for some well-deserved "rest."

Micah knows that it's tough for me to work full-time and take care of three kids and the household while he's busy with school work. So, once he gets a break, I can usually count on some special surprises to greet me when I get home from work. Here's what I got today:
What a guy! I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the dinner he made, which was fabulous. If this continues for more than a few days, I'm going to be spoiled rotten.

The kids and I are so very thankful to have this man as our husband and father. The Lord has blessed us far more than we deserve. We look forward to this coming year, when rather than "student" he will be "Vicar Micah." We couldn't be more proud. God is good.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May Milestones

In my last post, I mentioned that we had an exciting few weeks coming up. An exciting few weeks it has been! Micah and I celebrated our 13th anniversary a few days early by going out for a lovely meal and to a fun Mercy Me concert. On the actual day, we decided to have a picnic dinner with the kids by the fountains in Forest Park. Since it was a little cloudy and chilly, we had the whole place to ourselves!

Then came Easter and our trip to Lincoln. We always love the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, and we were thankful to celebrate our Lord's resurrection with our home church family. Aunt Che Che bought Maci an adorable Easter ensemble. It was hard to get a good picture of it since she was so excited that she couldn't hold still.

Then came the day we've been looking forward to for two years: Call Day! This is the day that the 2nd year seminary students receive their vicarage (internship) placements, and the 4th year students receive their pastoral calls. Here's a picture of Micah and the neighbor guys before the service.

We found out that Micah will spend the next year doing some hands-on learning at Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Charles, MO. We're so excited about this next phase in our journey. We can't wait to serve at Immanuel, and we're so thankful that it's only 25 minutes away from our current home. Our kids can stay in their same schools, and I will keep my same job.

A few days later, we celebrated Joel's 5th birthday by going to a Cardinals game with Grandma and Grandpa. We had a great time, even though the Cards lost. It was a beautiful day, and Joel felt pretty special.

We've really been enjoying the warmer weather, and the kids got to play with the hose for the first time this year. There's just something about kids and water that brings endless joy. They were tuckered out afterwards and all collapsed in a lawn chair.

We are blessed beyond measure. God is good.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Fling!

It has been such a beautiful spring here in The Lou. We've had a little winter, a little summer, some sunshine, and some rain. Kind of like our family this last month: some ups, and some downs, but altogether blessed.

I got a call one morning a few weeks ago saying Joel had gone to battle with the steps on the slide at preschool and lost. Thankfully I just have a two minute walk to get to his school, so I was able to put the ice pack on his head and hold him for a while. He ended up with a huge goose egg and two black eyes, but otherwise not too much worse for the wear.

We've had a couple of fun outings in recent weeks. We went to Wetlands for Kids at a nature conservatory and got to pet some reptiles, dig for random larvae and other floaty things in the pond, and get lots of fresh air. But the best part was the walk back to the car. I love those boys.

We also went to the Butterfly House with friends. It's so fascinating to see so many butterflies so close up.

The kids get to take swimming lessons this spring. They all love it!

In other news, Maci just got finished being treated for strep throat, Jonah had a positive throat culture this morning, and we're planning on taking Joel in for a doctor visit tomorrow. We're hoping to get everyone healthy soon, because we have an exciting few weeks coming up! More on that later, but until then, happy spring everyone!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

February Festivities!

Our February started with a crazy ice storm. We had lots of freezing rain, then three inches of sleet, followed by snow a few days later. This is the under side of our back steps.

Everything was crunchy and bent over under the weight of the ice.

Thanks to the moderate (in our opinion!) weather in St. Louis, within a few days it was in the 60s, and Joel saw fit to go outside without his shirt on to play in what was left of the snow.

Every year the seminary has a Valentine's Ball, complete with dinner and dancing. Micah and I took the opportunity to have a rare evening out together. We had a wonderful time. Since the two of us are almost never in a picture at the same time, I thought I should attach one for posterity!

For Christmas, my parents bought us a membership to the Missouri Botanical Gardens. When they came to visit us, we went to see the orchid show...

...and climbed around in the Climatron.

Since we can't seem to go more than a couple of months between visits to Carlyle Lake, we headed there at the end of February during Micah's winter quarter break.

We are so thankful for a safe warm place to live in the midst of storms, wonderful friends and family to share special times with, and of course, the lake! God's blessings to you and yours!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January Mish-Mash!

We had a wonderful Christmas celebrating with family and friends. When we got back from our visit to Nebraska, we certainly didn't give ourselves any opportunity for an after Christmas letdown. We decided to spend New Years weekend at Carlyle Lake. Even though it was freezing, we wanted to be outside. This photo was taken by Joel (4) on the dam. It's better than most of the pictures I took!

The kids warming their backsides by the fireplace in the cabin...

We finally got to our first "Preachers" basketball game here at the seminary. It's so fun to see the games played with such great sportsmanship and integrity. At this game the seminary brass ensemble formed a pep band, the little girls performed a dance routine at halftime, and everyone was given "bam bams" to show their spirit.

We've had a few snowstorms this winter where we got a few inches of snow, but on Thursday we got a genuinely big snow.

Both school and daycare were closed, but the seminary was open, so the kids and I had a snow day at home. We did some lounging...

Had an impromptu music and dance ensemble...

And capped it off by making homemade play dough.

Then it was time to celebrate Jonah's 8th birthday. He asked to take a couple of friends to "Grossology" at the Science Center. They had a digestive system you could crawl through...

And a giant nose that sneezed.

In the next couple of weeks, we're looking forward to visits from both of our parents. We're so blessed by our families back home, our wonderful friends here, and by all that this journey brings.