Even though we are swimming in toys after Christmas, for some reason I'm looking at them online today. Kari told me about the great sale at toysrus.com plus $20 off if you use paypal checkout.

The twin's birthday is not too far off, so I guess that is shopping justification? I'm looking at dolls for Chloe. For some reason I regretted that I didn't get my girls a doll for Christmas. Not that they need one, but every year when I was young I got a doll. (Conveniently, my grandma and I were both doll lovers.) But dolls just seem to be part of Christmas for a little girl. However, I don't want to stress this. I certainly don't want to put expectations on what gifts my children think they need. Conversely, I hope to teach them they really don't deserve anything.

Does anyone remember My Child dolls? My sister and I were reminiscing about them. A flood of memories come back when I hear their name. I LOVED them. I asked Mom if she still had mine, and last she remembered, it at been colored on with a marker and sent to Goodwill...

Interestingly you can still get them only they are now vintage dolls (am I really that old?), sold on ebay, etc. I found pics of the two I used to have. I wonder if they will ever be manufactured again? I hope so!

I thought this Madame Alexander doll at Target was really cute.

I also like the American Girl Bitty Baby. The price isn't so nice.
But is buying toys really worth it when your kids, amongst piles of new toys, are choosing to play with a board, hammer and nails?


Isn't it still Chrismastime?

Or maybe I just don't want the fun to end. But the city trees are still lit down our alley...

After being at my parents for almost 5 days, we are now home. Andy is back to a flexible few work days. As much as we didn't want to leave, it was time. Too much sugar and too little sleep landed Cade and Leyla a bad cough/cold. So my much need workout at the Y has been postponed and we are house bound today. That's a good thing with all the laundry and unpacking to be done. But it's still Christmastime in my book! So we are being a bit lazy and unscheduled. Hopefully, sickness will pass soon because there is more celebration in the coming days. The kids enjoyed being in their pj's till noon and building with their new Lego sets. Thanks Grandma!


Take a peek at this.

I must admit, not much I read on Josh's blog stirs my heart. Most of the time it makes me either laugh or roll my eyes. But, Jesus, the Gift is so well written as he expresses gratitude for Christ's birth and his first newborn girl. We are praising the Lord with you both, Josh and Brooke!


Sigh. This Old blog.

This blog.
It's a constant source of guilt... there's so much I want to write about, but don't.
So I succumb to a simple "wish I wrote about" list:
Thanksgiving in Arkansas.
My hair dyeing disaster.
Our 4 days in Minneapolis for Andy's work Christmas party.
Cute Goodwill finds.
THE wedding.
Our 8th anniversary.
Thoughts on fighting the "I want" mentality in the season.
And I will leave you with pictures.

THE wedding.

Bridal lunch.

Josh and Abby.
Caleb and Katy.
The whole Rinehart family.

These are my favorite! The snowy day was gorgeous and so was the wedding party. I just hopped on the back of that wagon for a ride out to the barn. Even though it was about 15 degrees, it was worth it. Breathtaking. I hope the bridesmaids toes have thawed by now...

Beautiful Kari.
LOVELY Sisters.

I didn't get many during and after the wedding. I'm sad.


Cooking is a family affair.
Cowboy vs. Princess
So sweet.
We were at a cabin in the beautiful Ozarks.
Thanksgiving dinner.
Touring a cave. Watch your head there are thousands of...

Great G'pa.
Snap, snap, snap. Good enough.
Morning movie and cereal.
Playing near the lake.
Poor Micah fell in.

Carrots. I always did love Anne of Green Gables. At least it didn't turn green. After multiple fixes, it's now more auburn. And that's definitely the short story.


Please Pass the Hymnal

The church we went to out West only sang hymns. At first, I didn't welcome this at all. I missed the more contemporary singing we did in past churches. The Lord worked on me giving contentment in this small area. I really began to love hymns and learned many new ones. I found a lot to appreciate about their deep poetic lyrics and their music can be fun. Really, if you don't sing them in monotone with a long face, they are not that boring! It also helps to have a good piano accompaniment.

Part of Leyla's home school curriculum is "Language and Thinking for Young Children". They suggest doing a "whole" method of memorizing passages whether it be hymns, songs, poems, Bible chapters, etc. We are doing this with hymns by singing (and I try to play the piano) one through each day for a month. Then, the hymn has hopefully been memorized.

Over Thanksgiving Leyla INSISTED that all the relatives sit and listen to her sing "My Redeemer". All four verses, 2 times through. (The 2nd time because Auntie Rachel missed out.) The twins were too shy, but they light up and sing their best when one of their songs are picked at church.

As a side note: there is contemporary music that glorifies the Lord and is a part of our lives also.

I hope to give my children an appreciation for hymns. Not for the sake of being staunch or old fashion. Not to make them narrowminded, but rather broaden their musical taste. To cause them to learn from beautiful language and deep truths. Truths that they may not understand now, but will be in their memory to think upon as they grow. To shape their view of Jesus and what He's done for them.

The lives of many hymn writers are profound stories of Christ's work. I hope to look into those more. I wonder how many blind authors there were and why?

We have a few tiny hymnals with no music, just lyrics. They are great to keep with your Bible for encouragement and meditation.

Recently my inbox received a devotion containing this very subject by Elisabeth Elliot. When I was a child my father and mother gathered the six of us in the living room after breakfast every morning for family prayers. First we sang a hymn, omitting none of the stanzas, accompanied on the piano by one of our parents. It was in this way that we learned a good bit of solid theology without any conscious effort.

I don't claim to be an expert on this. I'm just thankful for the gift of hymns.


The BIG 3-0!

Today is Andy's 30th birthday.

We celebrated by going to a Broncos vs. Chiefs game. Go Denver! Even with the little ears & tongues in our house, the weekend was kept a "surprise".

Fall was still in the air outside the art museum.

Some assume that after 8 years of marriage you might be bored of each other...but for some reason our love has only grown. We can truly say that life together is only getting better.

The Lord is very gracious.

Happy birthday, I love you Andrew Frank!

He's not looking bored is he??? Nahh.


There were some logistics problems getting these runner's to their race on time, so they missed it. Thus the unhappy faces. They will try another one this Saturday.

Chloe, after her new haircut, helping make muffins.

The Shivaree:
A shivaree, is a clamorous salutation made to a newlywed couple by an assembled crowd of neighbors and friends. Add disguises, a hayride and bonfire to this party.

Sooo...the kids put to use their dress up clothes.

This is as disguised as we got.

On the hay rack going out to the campfire. Josie as Pocahontas.

Here is the Bride-to-be. I wish I got one of the groom-to-be also.

Cowboy Clayton

Ju and Dustin.


Here's another really interesting article: A Shocking “Confession” from Willow Creek Community Church


Salt recipe
Studies have long shown that the chances of a child growing up to become a criminal plummet to almost zero if he is raised by two loving parents Gene Edward Veith
Christians worried about the state of our culture often look for political and legal solutions. Others hope to turn things around by getting involved with the media and the entertainment industry. But culture begins at home.
Studies have long shown that the chances of a child growing up to become a criminal plummet to almost zero if he is raised by two loving parents. Two-parent families are also the most effective anti-poverty program.
One factor in the development of male homosexuality, according to Christian psychologists, is the absence of a father figure. The boy so yearns for a father's love that he becomes attracted to men. The effect of absent or emotionally distant fathers on daughters is that they so yearn for a father's love that they often become promiscuous.
I hasten to reassure single moms that none of these dire consequences necessarily come to pass. Christians, especially, have God's promise to the fatherless that "I will be a father to you" (2 Corinthians 6:18).
But Christians who want to strike a mighty blow in the culture wars would do well to build up their own families. Spouses must spend quantity time with each other. When they are both busy in their own separate spheres, they tend to become isolated. Married couples work to counter these effects by building time in their lives to spend with each other.
Parents must spend quantity time with their children. Many children spend more time with their peers than with their parents, which means they are essentially raised by their friends. If the statistic is true that the average father spends seven minutes a day with his children, he is not doing his job.
Often churches are part of the problem, with so many activities that add to the busyness of the week rather than encouraging members to devote time to their families.
Christians also need to recover the joy of family life, not a spirit of harshness, with the father trying to rule with an iron fist and the mother controlling her children with rigid rules and severe punishments. Ironically, this approach can spark the opposite of what is intended, breeding marital discord and turning children into rebels.
A revival of the Christian family would have far-reaching cultural ramifications. A network of strong and happy families would help stabilize American culture. They would also provide a powerful Christian witness to the cultural casualties who, on the deepest level, yearn for a family like that.