Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New year!

I really like the start of a new year. I am a sucker for a fresh start, a new challenge, making goals and resolutions, etc etc. I have been trying to decide what to post on this new year's eve. But after reading this encouraging and thought provoking article, I thought I would simply post that in the hopes that you are encouraged and challenged when you read it. Happy New Year!!!

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. "Consider your ways!" (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It's so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we're going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?


In addition to these ten questions, here are twenty-one more to help you "Consider your ways." Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.

11. What's the most important decision you need to make this year?

12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you could simplify in that area?

13. What's the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?

14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?

15. Who do you most want to encourage this year?

16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?

17. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?

18. What's one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?

19. What's one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?

21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?

22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?

23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?

24. What's the most important trip you want to take this year?

25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?

26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?

27. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?

28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?

29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?

30. What's the most important new item you want to buy this year?

31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn't considered the question.

If you've found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace—in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc.—where you can review them more frequently than once a year.

So let's evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let's also remember our dependence on our King who said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Copyright © 2003 Donald S. Whitney.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


A Christmas card for our blog friends...

We hope that you have had a wonderful year, and that you are enjoying the holiday season! We sure are. The season has been full of playing in the snow, baking goodies, keeping Elsie away from the Christmas tree ornaments, and counting the days until Christmas!

Here are a few highlights of our year…
*Vacations! We went to Black Butte, once in March for our 5th anniversary, and once in June with Megan’s side of the family. We also went on our annual camping trip to Cultus Lake. It was so much fun, but exhausting with a crawling baby (sand and crawling don’t mix!). Our most recent trip was down to San Jose for Thanksgiving with Eric’s family. It was a very fun weekend full of family, food, and games!
* Birthdays! In March Jenna turned three! We threw her a princess/pirate party and even built a pirate ship out of a big old box. It was a blast for everyone. Then in October Elsie turned one. She is such a fun one year old, full of spunk and adventure!
* Resolutions! As a New Year’s resolution, Eric and I each decided to give up something that we love, he gave up pop and I gave up desserts. It was hard to do, but we made it! Well, sort of. Once a month we allowed ourselves a cheat day where we threw the resolutions out the window and indulged. And admittedly, the whole month of December has turned into ‘cheat month.’ J But overall it was great to challenge ourselves and stay away from those two things.
* Church! We have been blessed to be part of an amazing church here in Gresham called Gresham Bible Church. It is new and small, and the people there have become dear friends whom we love to serve the Lord with. Eric became an elder at GBC and is very excited to be a part of what God is doing in Gresham through our church.
* Home! Megan enjoys the privilege of staying home with the girls. They enjoy days filled with reading books, playing dress up, having tea parties, and of course keeping Elsie out of trouble!
* Work! 2008 will be remembered as the year of the part-time job and seven-day workweek. Hopefully this will change a little bit in the new year as Eric continues to pursue new career opportunities.

We hope your year has been blessed and that this Christmas you are seeking the King!

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Love,
Eric, Megan, Jenna & Elsie

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

a snowy choose to bloom

Since we so rarely blog at Choose To Bloom nowadays, I thought I would let you know that there is a new post to check out.  Hopefully it will help all of us who are stuck at home to look at the bright side of this arctic freeze!   www.choosetobloom.blogspot.com

ichat

As some know, Eric's parents live far away in Oklahoma. They miss the kids a lot, and the kids miss them. But we are very thankful for our wonderful computer and it's amazing ability to ichat with such clarity. The kids know their grandparents so well because of all the hours spent ichatting. It's a blessing. Anyways, I took a picture last night of the girls, looking at the computer, right as Mimi and Poppy appeared on the computer screen. It really captured the moment.

(right when Mimi and Poppy appeared on the screen...)

(A few minutes into the chat...)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fun pictures from a fun day

We had a really fun day today as a family. This snow is just so fun!

Jenna and Daddy all ready for the fun, bundled head to toe.
Our snowman creation
Family photo, minus napping Elsie (and plus a snowman)
Mini snowball fight
Snow wrestling
The kirby made a great make-shift sled!
Yum, snow.
Hot cocoa and marshmallows in her special tea set after the fun
Puppet shows!
Art project
All this snow has kept us (me) away from all the last minute
Christmas shopping and errand running. It's been really nice!

I changed my layout and in the process lost all my blog links.  Bummer.  Anyways, if you don't see your link over there will you let me know?  Thanks!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beautiful snow!

It was a beautiful snowy (COLD) day today, and as you will see Jenna really enjoyed it! Hope everyone in the snowy NW is safe, warm, and enjoying the 'unseasonably cold' weather!





Friday, December 12, 2008

The girls

sBlogging has sadly moved down my priority list lately. Different seasons of life allow for more computer time ya know :) Anyways, I wanted to copy Faith and Ginger and write a little bit about each of my kiddos. They are so precious to me, and it is the little things that are sometimes the most endearing qualities of little ones.



Jenna (3 1/2 years old) ...
You are so lovable, and you love others like crazy. You are a good friend, and you love to be with other people. You ask for play dates all the time, and are sad when we just have to stay home (which is most days!) You are very talkative and silly. You quickly memorize books we get from the library. And then you read them to us, with a silly voice for each character! You love your little sister through thick and thin, and slowly you two seem to be becoming friends. You can make Elsie laugh with just a silly look or funny game. You love your kitty and your blankie. Your favorite imaginary games are pet shop and tea party. You always talk me into adopting all the pets at your shop, and I just can't help but to join your fantastic parties! You tell jokes, you sing songs, and you rhyme as much as possible. You dress up, pretend to put on your makeup, wear lots of jewelry, paint your own nails, and LOVE lipgloss. You love to do art projects, and color, and you love to type emails. You talk about all your pretend daughters. Conversations with you often start like this... "my pretend daughters like to (fill in the blank). Mom, I have so many pretend daughters. I have 89 daughters. I am very busy." You also absolutely LOVE your cousins with all of your heart. Each one of them. You love all of your family and extended family dearly. And sweetie, you are SO loved.


Elsie (14 months old) ...
You are so much fun! You love to explore, to figure things out, and to try new things. You love to empty bags or boxes or drawers, to touch interesting objects, and to taste little things on the floor. You giggle a lot, at random things, even all by yourself. Your will is starting to show, you seem to be a determined and independent little girl. You aren't walking yet, but you are getting close. But with a crawl as fast as yours, I don't blame you for sticking with what works! You love throwing balls and playing with dirt and cars, but you also love dolls and stuffed animals and princess crowns and cell phones. You have really fun curly hair, and the way it bounces and frames your sweet cheeks makes strangers stop and smile. You love to be around others. You don't mind being passed around from one person to the next, in fact you will follow people around until they finally pick you up. You can say a few words now, you say "pu (up), daddy, papa, mom, wow, baba (bottle)" and you also say "daddy" or "dada" when you see a doggy, when you try to say Jenna, and when you see your blankie. You just recently decided to sign with us - all done, more, eat - and you can nod your head yes and no. You love to play with your instruments, and with Jenna's kitchen. You also love to play in the bathroom - not in the toilet anymore, thankfully, but now you open the drawers to find the toothpaste, and you climb up to stand on the step stool. You sleep with two blankies, and suck on the corners of each one. You love your dad a whole lot. You love your whole family. Oh, and you also are SO loved baby girl, SO loved.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Elsie (un)decorates the tree

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pictures with daddy santa

Eric played santa at my parent's work today and so the girls and I went to visit and get some pictures with santa daddy. Elsie was not so sure about the stranger (daddy) in the beard and hat. In fact, she didn't like it at all. She didn't cry but as you can tell from the pictures, she was pretty uneasy with this funny-looking-daddy-sounding-santa.


(Elsie is keeping as far away as possible in the picture below)


The event got Eric and I into an interesting discussion about how we are going to handle santa in our home. We haven't come to a conclusion yet but Jenna is asking a lot of questions so we need to figure it out quick! :) Anyone want to share ideas?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thanksgiving trip part 1

Finally I have a few minutes to post about our Thanksgiving trip! So, here it goes...

We were flying standby so we had to get to the airport very early. We woke the kids up at 4:30am, put them in the car, and headed to the airport. Jenna said, "I can't believe we are flying to California in the middle of the night!!" The kids were in great spirits and did wonderful on the plane. Sure, they were tired but they didn't scream or have crazy messy diapers or anything tragic like that. Here's Eric and Jenna waiting for the plane.

The moment we arrived at Poppy Sam and Aunt Neva's house (Eric's grandpa's brother and sisterin-law - the most amazing loving people ever!) The moment we arrived we fed the kids lunch (it was 10am) and put them down for naps. And minutes after they were down, the games began! Eric's family LOVES to play games! It's a blast!
We chatted and enjoyed each other's company...
And everyone loved and snuggled the kids to pieces...

Thanksgiving trip part 2

The Thanksgiving day meal was AMAZING. So many people came, and each person brought the best tasting morsels ever. Yum. Seriously. I was SO full I couldn't eat more then two bites of dessert. So sad becuase the dessert was AMAZING. In the photo below is Poppy Sam and Aunt Neva. Neva is an amazing amazing (I'm using that word a lot, I hope you get my drift) cook, and the sweetest lady in the world. Poppy Sam is the most friendly, loving, happy, wonderful man. Our girls feel on love with both of them, and it meant a lot to us that they got to know them. (We stayed at their house).
The morning after Thanksgiving we went to a brunch for cousin Alison's birthday. Again, amazing food, wonderful family, and of course, GAMES! This is Granny Alice, Eric's Grandma.

After brunch Aunt Keri and Mimi (Eric's sister and mom) took the kids to Salinas to visit more family. Freedom! Eric and I looked at each other and knew it was our opportunity to head out. Stay tuned for our fun adventure! Here are the kids waiting in the car to head to Salinas. By the way, they had a wonderful time too!

Thanksgiving trip part 3

And off we went to San Francisco! It was so much fun! We headed to Fisherman's Warf to meet up with some of our dearest friends Luke and Steph. Eric and Luke worked together back when we lived in Santa Clarita and the bond that we all made down there is one that will only grow stronger. Here's E and I on the drive there...

AT&T Park

The Bay Bridge

Alcatraz

Fisherman's Wharf where we ate fish and chips! So yummy! (Eric was dying for another In-N-Out meal but somehow us girls talked him into this).

This is my attempt at a group photo. I took it myself, and forgot it was zoomed in.

After dinner on the wharf, we headed to a very cool and historic place called the Anti-Saloon League. It has no windows, just a door with a speaker and button to push. You have to know a secret password in order to come in! This saloon was open during the prohibition, and was one of the only ones not to be raided. They had secret passwords, secret doors, and also tons of secret exits in case they were raided. Cool huh. Once inside, the waitress lead us to the back of the restaurant and opened a book case so we could enter the bar! It was crazy and so neat! Everything is decorated in 20s style, keeping it historic. We talked and laughed and had such a great time with our dear friends.

Eric took this group photo. He did a better job than I did :) Luke and Steph, it was SO great to hang out with you guys. Hope we see you soon. Meet you at the Colorado Belle?


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Baby Drake

Baby Drake is here! He is so very cute and tiny (well, in comparison to my kids. He is actually pretty big!). He and my sister are doing well, enjoying the comforts of the hospital and it's staff. The big boys are doing pretty good. They are very excited to have a new baby brother, but a little sad that mom isn't coming home yet.

Jenna was so excited to hold her nephew. She said on the way home, "Baby Drake is SO cute, and his nose is so little, and so are his ears!"
Elsie wasn't quite as excited, but she did pretty good with him too.
Here he is, all scrunched face ready to give out a cry. So far he loves his binky and being snuggled. I hope he doesn't mind being passed around from one set of little arms to the next because I think a lot of people at home will be ready to love on him!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Monday is the big day!!

Well, tomorrow my sister is going to the hospital to be induced.
Here comes baby boy #4!!
We are so excited to meet this new little one! I will be updating her blog a couple times tomorrow so if you want to know how things are going, go to...


If anyone is interested in helping them out by bringing a meal in the month of December, email me or leave a comment!

I don't have a recent picture of the three boys together, but this one will have to do. This is, from left to right, the new baby's cousins Elsie and Jenna, and the new baby's brothers, Jackson, Davis, and Weston.

And sometime this week I will blog our trip...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We're back...

We are back from California.  We had SUCH A WONDERFUL time and we are exhausted.  There will be at least two blogs coming about our trip so be prepared and check back for all the juicy details of our trip down south!  The kids are super tired.  Jenna took a FOUR hour nap today, and Elsie went to bed at 5:30pm.  We had a great time!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Walking

Elsie is starting to walk with this little walking toy. I love the beginning stages of walking, it's just too cute. She is a little unsure at first but then is so proud of herself. And helpful big sister is there teaching and instructing on the next thing to do.


**Edit** Elsie just took her first unassisted steps! She stood up all on her own, balanced for a moment and then stepped forward. Oh she was SO proud of herself!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lazy Saturday morning...

We had a lazy morning at home. It was SO nice. Eric built a fire (first of the season), we drank coffee (just the adults, though Elsie would if we let her), and listened to Christmas music.
Yep, Mr. Christmas came out early this year. Usually we wait until after Thanksgiving to bring out the Christmas decor and music. But since we are traveling over Thanksgiving this year we decided to start early. Whenever we travel this time of year, the season seems to go by faster than normal so we may as well make it seem as long as possible!
This is a family picture from October. I love my family so much :)
And last, I just have to share. My dear hubby surprised me with an early birthday gift today. A new camera! I was shocked. Absolutely shocked. It's small and will fit in my purse, and it is so cute! He emptied his piggy bank for me. He has been collecting change in there for a LONG time :) Thanks babe, I love it!

The Dentist

Jenna had her first dentist appointment on Friday, and she loved it. She did a great job, and she wants to go back soon. Eric and I also had appointments and we did a good job too. None of us have to go back for fillings or anything, so that is something to be very thankful for. And thank you Starbucks for the insurance, making these appointments free!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Survival

Today when I picked up Elsie (13 months old) from the Good Shepherd nursery, the helper looked at me and said,


"She is not the same girl! She has changed so much even since last week! It's like she turned into a willful two year old!"

Don't worry, I wasn't offended. In fact I was comforted a bit that other people see what I have been seeing for the past several days. In some ways I feel like I am in survival mode (you know the mode, just doing the necessities, not caring too much about the details of life, feeling blessed to get a shower, etc) because there is very little rest when she is awake. Now don't get me wrong, she is DELIGHTFUL in millions of ways! But embracing the fact that I am in survival mode has taken some stress off my shoulders, allowed me to release some of the standards I hold myself to, and has been a relief. Now, it's nap time so I better go get something done - it's now or never!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Progress?

I have been trying hard lately to praise Jenna whenever I see her treating her sister with kindness. We are in a bit of a hard season here at the Wood home, but we will make it through, by the grace of God and with lots of prayer and with some consistency. (We have a cranky one year old who wants so badly to walk and talk but can't so she whines about it all day, and who has two teeth trying to break through, and who could really use a bit more naptime sleep but is in the bad habit of pooping during nap number two - sorry for TMI - and thus ending the nap. And we have a three year old who has figured out exactly how to push this mama's buttons and who is showing a lot of sibling rivalry or jealousy or something.)


ANYWAYS...

Today Jenna decided to share the pots and pans she was using as drums with Elsie (four o'clock dinner prep is such a peaceful quiet time at our home - HA). So I took her aside and said, "Jenna I saw how you just shared your drums with your sister and I am so proud of you!" She said to me with a big smile, "yes, the first time I didn't share but then the next time I DID share". And so I hugged her and asked, "and how did your heart feel? Did it feel so good to share?" And Jenna said.... "Actually, it felt pretty good both times."

Sigh. At least she shared. It's progress I suppose.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day two in the leaves

Jenna was sick today so during her long nap, Elsie and I ventured outside.


Not too sure about the leaves


A little more interested



Hooray, she loves the leaves!