Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Easter pictures

Easter is quickly becoming my most favorite holiday of the year. And not because of candy, eggs or a bunny (even though Cadbury eggs are still among my all time favorite candy), but because of the awesome opportunity to teach my kids about Jesus and his amazing love for us shown through his death on the cross and God's power in raising Jesus from the dead! 

Thanks to Pinterest and a number of Christian blogs I follow, we've found some great activities that really show our kids the power of Jesus grace and forgiveness. 
  • We start by observing Lent to prepare our hearts. Levi surprised us by joining in as well - he gave up CHOOSING a tv show for 40 days and really stuck by it. He was still allowed to watch the shows his brother and sister chose, but we figured this was great for a 4 year old. Colt also decided to give up sugar for 40 days... and this last all of about 1 day : ) 
  • This year, we kicked off the Lenten season by attending an Ash Wednesday service. The church gave us a kid friendly calendar with activities to do each of the 40 days. We didn't do all of the days, but it was a good guide for those days when I was uninspired. 
  • I bought the Benjamin's Box book that corresponds with the Resurrection Eggs. We read a page a day for 12 days and the kids LOVED this. 
  • As far as the Easter Bunny, we decided that we would do our egg hunt on the first day of spring (March 20th), so we could focus only on the resurrection the closer we got to Easter Sunday. We celebrated the newness and creation of the Lord and praised him that he continues to create new things in our day and age while munching on jellybeans and chocolate. *Note to self for next year - Whole Foods sells natural fruit jellybeans that are to die for... SO much better tasting than regular jellybeans. I almost ate the whole bag myself without putting any in the kids eggs, and I usually don't even like jellybeans!
  • The night before Easter we did an exercise where the kids wrote their sins on a piece of paper which we crinkled up and put in their Easter baskets. We talked about how to get rid of our sins and how they keep us from a relationship with God. The next morning, their Easter baskets were supposed to be covered with red cloth to symbolize the blood of Christ covering them (but I forgot to buy the cloth), and all of their sins were in Jesus' Easter basket. In their baskets were some good gifts from the Lord (and Mom and Dad). Thank you God for your gift of Grace! 
  • We also made Resurrection Rolls on Easter morning. It's so fun (and the most unhealthy breakfast I make all year long!! Ha!) to put Jesus' body (marshmallow) in the burial spices (butter, cinnamon and sugar), then wrap them in the tomb (crescent roll). After they bake, Jesus has disappeared from the tomb! He has conquered Death!

This is probably my favorite picture of the day... captures their personalities perfectly! 

Anyway, I just write these things as a reminder of what we taught at their current ages and to remember for next year. There are so many ideas out there that I'm sure we'll change it up as they grow, but it's fun to see the lightbulb go off and to use some of these fun activities to communicate some difficult concepts. Next year I would definitely like to do better at not just sharing these things with my own kids, but with others as well. 

Funny picture of Colt - he loves to have his hair spiked all over like this. And, the boys love to open all of the packages that are delivered to the door. I ordered this shirt and one to match it in a baby onesie, incase baby #4 is a boy, for a possible future photoshoot. Anyway, Colt really liked the shirt and wanted to wear it - so here he is! 

Speaking of the baby... today I am 3 days past the due date. I thought all along that the baby would be early since it's the 4th kid and my body would know how to get it out quickly. However, Baby is proving me wrong. We've tried what seems to be a million of the "tricks" to get a baby to come out and nothing has worked up to this point, but we know that the Lord's timing is perfect, so we wait on him (more patiently some days than others). We just look forward to meeting our Little One soon, looking into their eyes, holding their sweet fingers, smelling that newborn smell, and finally being able to stop referring to it as "it, them, Baby #4"! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Levi is 4!

What is your name? Levi 
How old are you? 4
Who is your best friend? Jake and Abbie and Will
What is your favorite thing to do? Play with toys
What is your favorite color? Orange and blue
What is your favorite food? Macaroni and cheese and broccoli and hot dogs
What do you like to do with your family? Go camping and going to church
What is your favorite toy? Power Rangers
What do you want to be when you grow up? Train driver
What makes you happy? When I get toys
What makes you sad? Satan
What is your favorite show to watch? Mickey Mouse Why? Because I like all the characters.
What is your favorite book? Spiderman and Superhero books
What do you love to learn about? school and how to count 
What was the best part about your birthday? Everyone to come to my house and hit the piƱata
Where do you like to go? To the bowling place (Main Event)
Who was your favorite teacher? Mrs. Hodgkiss and Mrs. Harris (karate instructors)
What is your favorite treat (we call them sugar)? chocolate candy bars 
What do you think about before you fall asleep at night? Believing in Jesus
If you could be someone famous, who would it be? The Berenstein Bears
What was your favorite birthday present? ALL my toys. 

Levi is such a joy. We are blessed to be his parents! 

He enjoys karate and playing baseball. He is really into Power Rangers and Spiderman at the moment. He wears costumes EVERY day. He decided (completely on his own) to give up choosing tv shows for Lent and has been sticking with his decision. Levi is helpful to his sister and plays really sweetly with her. He's trying really hard to color within the lines. He enjoys wearing a watch and is a numbers guy - he always wants to add things, know the time, or count to 100. He's been listening as we teach Colt to read and is also picking up several key concepts to begin reading pretty soon. 

Levi still loves to cuddle (and in fact NEEDS physical contact or will definitely melt down at the end of the day). I love to snuggle with him and look forward to his sweet kisses each day. 

Posing like Spiderman

Levi is definitely a rule follower and people pleaser. This is nice in so many ways, but we are also having to work with him to learn not to strive to please people, but to please God with his heart, words and actions. 

That being said, Levi has also started to display a bit of defiance at times. When he doesn't want to do something we ask of him, he will say "NO!" and stand by his decision. He is great with words and will try to argue his case. I totally want him to learn to state his case clearly and feel like he is being listened to by us... but only after he learns to obey, even if he doesn't like/want to. Anyway, this is our current challenge with this little boy and we pray God's wisdom on us as parents as we train his little heart! 

Levi is our little dare devil. He loves climbing and jumping off of things. He has plenty of scabs to show for it, but is a pretty tough cookie. His current chores include helping unload the dishwasher, handing me clothes out of the dryer (and he likes to fold the small towels), feeding Molly her dinner and filling up her water, and watering the vegetable garden.

I love this sweet face! 

Levi likes to wear his Peru shirt (and has started matching it with his red Crocs). He also prefers to have his hair styled in a faux-hawk. We talk alot about healthy eating in our home, and Levi is the best at trying new foods and trying to incorporate vegetables into each of his meals. 

Levi, we love you more than words can express. You bring energy, curiosity and laughter to our home daily. You are a big helper to me and (usually) a generous/selfless playmate to your siblings. Your sweet spirit of love for others is from God and we pray that you continue to choose to let God work in your life and mold you into a servant for His Kingdom. You already display several leadership qualities and have a way with words that makes your dad and I excited to see what God has in store for you in the future. We pray you will use your days to show God's love to others, especially those who are oppressed and lonely, and that you will feel the call on your life to bring the Kingdom of God to earth in the here and now.