Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!






















What an amazing year it has been! Here is the year in review in pictures!








The girls enjoyed a geography/history academic fair in which they learned about the places Jesus traveled.












Since the beginning of the year, Callie learning to roll over, sit up unassisted, and pull to standing!








Ashley celebrated her 5th birthday, and was so excited to become a 'big girl' which meant she no longer needed to take naps! Brianna turned 4 in July, and is still unsure why she doesn't get the same 'big girl' status that Ashley now enjoys. Callie turned 2 in October and the twins turned 9 just 4 weeks ago.












Brianna and Callie spent hours playing in this little water table.










Callie got to try out a loaner walker to see if she was ready for one of her own. She loved it!















In June we welcomed our first son with an amazing home water birth.






















The older 4 girls were in the Bothell 4th of July parade with some of their cousins.
























We spent much of the summer playing at parks and the beach...the picture of the 2 babies sleeping on the beach is still one of my very favorite pictures...

























Brianna talking on the phone to her Grandpa during her birthday party. He was unable to be there because he is now a long haul trucker, their Grandma has since joined him on the road...she was later sad to realize that HER birthday was the first that he missed. I have assured her that she will not be the only one whose birthdays they...not sure how much it helped, especially since we did the twins' party around when their grandparents would be back home...








Callie got her own walker thanks to a friend's generosity and a stranger's willingness to help out!








The twins started horse riding lessons...Anna continues to take lessons when we are able to get out there - we are much farther away from EVERYTHING in Monroe!


We spent the fall moving from our duplex in Everett, to Chris' parents' house in Monroe.

This year has sped by so fast! It has had many ups and downs, and lots of inbetweens, but through it all, God has been so faithful! Through the loss of Justice's twin, Brianna getting really sick, and Callie's eye surgery, we felt God carrying us. With the stress of moving 9 people in 2 weeks + moving Chris' parents out of their house first (at least mostly first, lol!) we felt God's strength to push through it all. When we were blessed with a complication free, full term baby, complete with home water birth, we were overwhelmed with God's goodness, grace and mercy. When we watch our children grow and learn new things each day, we know that we are witness to nothing less than God's miracles! What a blessing to be apart of all of this day in and day out!

We look forward to what the new year holds for us.

Happy New Year from the Pence Family! May your new year be filled with many blessings!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Good-Bye Kirsten and physical therapy play












Here is a picture of my girls, with their hair done like Kirsten (the American girl doll that is being retired - they read about it in the catalog American Girl sent!)...they are actually sad that AG has decided to retire her. They are trying to find a way to pool their money together to purchase her.

I like to tell people that I do not work, but instead sit around all day playing with toys. The truth is that I try to make much of that play time directed towards learning something - like our family nights, or physical therapy or what ever else I come up with (or read about as I tend to lack creativity!)...here are some pictures of things we do.

Callie's new physical therapist's name is Linda. She has brought over a tadpole positioning system for us to borrow. It consists of several different pieces designed to challenge Callie's balance. We use it to make slides, ramps, teeter totters, obstacle courses, mountains (to climb up on the couch)...all to help Callie keep working on her balance and to challenge it more each day. The girls have had so much fun making obstacle courses for Callie to go through! It is much more fun for Callie to keep doing these activities when her sisters join her as well. The girls try to outdo each other getting Callie to go over more, higher, more challenging objects or under or around different things. They like to see if they can get her to follow them through the obstacle courses, and then see if she can lead them through it.

Callie likes to climb. We take the same tad pole system and use parts of it to make a mountain (the blue board with 2 1/2 circle pieces velcroed to them) so she can climb up unassisted, then take off the 1/2 circles so that Callie can use it as a slide.

The twins have enjoyed making creations with their marble drop. The little girls have spent lots of time drawing and coloring on Breezy's new easel.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A wonderful celebration of the birth of Christ










We enjoyed a wonderful time together as a family, no where to go, no one we were supposed to see, just us, home all day, enjoying each other's company!

I try to get things started at 8 am...but I don't think I have actually made it, being ready to go by that time! It is the time Chris' parents used when they did the same thing. I think his mom is much better at pulling something special like this off than I am, lol! Or maybe she just had more practice and less to do it for? Whatever the reason, this year, I was closer to on time than I have ever been, and it is a good thing! I was ready to go upstairs and get them at about 8:15 (last year it was almost 9 am!)...started at about 8, we heard Brianna open the door, the twins say "Brianna no, we must stay in here!" then Brianna closing the door. The excitement and anticipation was almost too much for her to bear!

Kaitie was able to help the girls get babies changed, everyone dressed, and hair brushed, so they were ready to come down. That was a big help!

Bailey found baby Jesus (who was hiding in the girls' pretend kitchen cupboard this year), and placed him in the manger. I started the video recorder while everyone had their fill of our Christmas morning breakfast as Chris read through the Luke 2. I love the way the girls will recite much of it with him, because they have become so familiar with the story!

I love and am so grateful that they know the real meaning of Christmas...that it was because God gave us the ultimate present, that we decorate with lights, for the Light of the World, and give each other gifts in Jesus' memory. Yesterday, we went to my uncles, where my grandparents are staying, and watched old home videos from when I was a child. My girls asked me several times to explain why Kelly and I (the only 2 at the time) kept opening more and more and more presents. I explained that when I was young, we didn't believe in God, or know anything about Him, so Christmas really was just about presents and Santa Clause. My sensitive little girls realized just how sad this was, and wondered why we celebrated Christmas at all...

We all opened stockings, which, for the first time, were very different from one another! The twins added things to their sewing box, and got a panel project apron to put together. The little girls got a small old style jewelry box with a ballerina that spins and plays music when you wind it (There is a picture of Ashley with hers and all the tiny treasures she got for Christmas). Callie got an assortment of things that will help assist with physical therapy. Chris got pictures of all the children individually and together to hang in his office (the last set I gave him, Brianna was 4 months old...so this is long overdue!). Kaitie got an assortment of soaps, lotions, wedding scrapbooking things, and earrings. I got a movie, socks and a hands free device for my cell phone!

Each of the children (and Kaitie) got 2 presents from Chris and me, and 1 present from Jesus. What a blessing it was to see their excitement!

Here is a picture of the older 4 girls with their favorite item they got for Christmas. Anna and Bailey like their step through horse costumes best, Ashley liked her secret sibling present set of 3 little panda bears, and Brianna's favorite was her easel (which was an amazing find I got off freecycle!). Callie's favorite so far seems to be her baby doll, which was at the top of her stocking.

And a picture of Kaitie, taking her second nap of the day just before noon.

The 2 pictures of Justice really are only because I thought they were very cute!

We got to watch the girls do their Christmas play, one more time, for Christmas morning and got it with the video camera. What a blessing it has been to borrow my inlaws camera! We got to get their choir concert, much of our Christmas morning, and their play. We won't be able to get any more video before they get back because we have run it out of hard disk space! After watching some of the very few videos from when I was a kid, I am so glad to get these things on video to preserve these precious memories of when my children are young!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mixed up Christmas Carols...

My girls really like to sing...I mean they REALLY like to sing. But they don't always get the lyrics quite right. Here are some of the corrections I have been continually making since they started in on Christmas carols in about August!

title
mixed up lyric
real lyric

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
God rescue merry gentlemen
God rest ye merry gentlemen

Hark The Harold Angels Sing
God and sinners disagree
God and sinners reconciled

Joy for all the nations rise, join the crying in the skies
joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph in the skies
come, rise ahead.

Hail the carnate diety
Hail the incarnate diety

Joy To The World
Let every heart prepare him food
let every heart prepare him room

Heaven above earth sing.
Heaven and nature sing

Horsey, Horsey
Were home right now
We're homeward bound

Jingle Bells
Bells on open sleighs, making Christmas white
bells on bobtail ring, making spirits bright

Do you hear what I hear
a star, a star dancing in the night, let us bring it silver and gold.
a star, a star dancing in the night, with a tail as big as a kite
(My girls sing these 2 lines for each verse.)

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad el perro ano y falizidad
prospero ano y felizidad

Christmas round 1 & Justice 6 months old







The girls are getting so excited! I love to watch their wonder and amazement each year.

Jann and Carolyn (aka Faux-pa and Aunt Carolyn)came over last night with presents for the girls to open. Lots of art projects and crafts for the older 4! The girls are so excited to do them! I let them do the first one today...then it is back to getting the house cleaned and ready for Christmas! (Tomorrow is too busy to get that done!)

Callie got a radio flyer wagon walker. We are working on challenging her balance. I really wish I had a good angle and picture of her opening it. she was standing up, holding onto wrapping paper and with stocking feet, no less! (slippery feet make it harder for her to stand on the hard wood floors.) She is able to walk using this walker very well. It gives her less support than her regular walker, which is why we wanted it for her in the house. She will likely need the other walker outside for the next few years, but on an even surface, it provides too much stability when we are trying to get her to begin walking independently. Callie really likes being able to bring things with her when she is walking, too! Especially "Little Brudder!" Here is a conversation I overheard this morning...

"Walker brudder in there." Callie told the twins.

"Anna, you are going to get in big trouble if you put Justice in there!" Bailey (talking about Callie's wagon)

"I think he wants a ride." Anna in a very hushed tone.

"But what if it is not strong enough? What if it breaks or he falls out?" Bailey in an equally hushed tone.

"You are right...let's just try it quietly, and see what happens. It would be really cute if it works, then we can show mom. Callie wants him in there, too, don't you Callie?" Anna

"Brudder in there. Right there." Callie added as she tried to pick up Justice to put him in!

"What if she sees before we are ready though?" Bailey

By now, I couldn't keep from laughing, so I went over to them, "What if mom hears your whole conversation and has to keep from laughing?" I said in the same hushed tone...This is where I stepped in and told them I already did it last night, and that it is radio flyer which means it is built tough enough to hold a baby, lol!



Justice got a cute little soft Noah's Ark play set and book. I have included some pictures of him here that were taken a couple days ago - when he turned 6 months old...I can hardly believe he is already 6 months old! What a blessing it is to have such a happy, content baby, who is developing pretty much on 'schedule'! God must have known I really needed to see him make normal milestones!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jahova Jireh

There are times in life, when we have a need, and God comes to meet that need exactly as it exists, and we marvel at how God knew EXACTLY what we needed, when we needed it.

Then there are time that God provides so far above and beyond our need, that we are just amazed at how much abundance God gives.

We feel blessed when things go both ways.

Tonight, we were in the latter group. At a time that we were not sure if the food we had would be sufficient to feed everyone until the next time we would be able to go grocery shopping because of extenuating circumstances, God has once again shown himself to be our Jehovah Jireh, our Provider.

Father God, again, we thank you for your provisions, for knowing what we need, and being here to provide those things for us! And thank you for helping my first turkey turn out just right!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stockings


I am working like crazy on Callie's stocking...as of right now, I don't think it will get done in time. Last night, I got 7 pieces done on it, in 6 hours. I am on piece number 63 of 105. At this rate, I won't finish in time, but I am spending every possible second on it to make at least try! I have not yet missed a Christmas I aimed at to get a stocking done, and would rather not start now! Here is the progress so far...if nothing else, I hope to have it *mostly* done, and then I can put those finishing touches on after Christmas.

And here is what it is supposed to look like when it is finished...



Here is the stocking I made for Kaitie. Our mom was really too sick to be making stockings by the time Kaitie was born, so she really didn't have one of her own. It is reversible, hence the 2 pictures of it. Chris likes this better than the stockings I have made for the girls, so most likely, it is what I will make (or rather something similar), for Justice and any other children God would send our way. I thought I would put it to a vote here...Do you like the style of the other girls, or Kaitie's? And do you think in years to come, my children would wonder why I didn't make their stocking like one or another of their siblings?

Time to get back to work!

Advent Wreath Family Nights









Things have been relatively slow around our house...we have just been hanging out at home, enjoying the time we have to spend together.

We lit the 3rd candle for advent on Wednesday, while talking about joy. We started with asking the girls, "How long is forever?" They had a variety of answers from "A long time" to "I think it is more than a thousand years" We calculated every one's age in seconds to show them really big numbers for just their lives, and then compared it to Chris and me. We talked about the eternal life God has for us that will never end and the joy we have because of that eternal life, the free gift God has blessed us with in His son, Jesus Christ, who was born to save us from our sins.

On Saturday, we talked about the last candle, peace. We acted out a story together about a little old woman, who wanted her husband to go to church with her on Christmas Eve. He told her he has never understood why God would choose to be a man and therefore never 'got' Christmas. He said he would rather stay home, by the fire but that she could go out and brave the blizzard. As the man was by the fire, he heard a THUMP at the window. A bird had flown into the window, probably trying to get inside. There were other birds out there as well. The man was kind and compassionate, and decided he wanted to help those little birds find a warm place through the blizzard. He got on his coat and boots, and opened up his barn, turned on the lights and desperately tried to get the birds to come inside, out of the cold. They were frightened of him. Despite his best attempts he decided the only way he could possibly get them to understand he had a better place and way for them, was if he was a bird and could tell them...then the church bell rang. The man dropped to his knees and understood why God had to become a man to tell us of His Love, the better way for us to live and the better place for us to be.

We also did 2 Adornaments with each of the family nights. The littles got to put on the Wednesday adornaments, and the twins got to put on the Saturday Adornaments.