Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

From the Hirsch family, we hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas season and have a great New Year! This is our attempt at a family photo with our Christmas outfits...and we finally gave in to a silly face, crazy picture. 
Probably more accurate of our family, anyway!  :)

Ours was a blessed much fun this year, with the new baby Brie and three girls eager to actually be a part of handing out gifts and capable of tearing up the paper. It was funny at times, trying to get them to slow down. At one point, Belle was handing out gifts to whoever she could get to take them, even if they weren't theirs. Bekah was quick to help straighten that out- that was quite a stretch for her personality. We have laughed often this holiday.

We were able to finally breathe from all the preparations, and I've definitely learned what NOT to do in adding to the already hectic schedule. People, do NOT bake 12 loaves of bread in one evening. Yes, this mom of four did stay up til 4 am baking bread that WOULD NOT rise and had a frustrating run in with a Walmart employee who was obviously just worn out from the holiday crowd. Thankfully, God reminded me that her day was probably just as insane as mine and prompted me to ask her about it and how she was rather than tell her off like I really had wanted to at first. Amazing, how when we stop long enough to think, we can get over ourselves. Anyway, so just don't do it. Bake the bread early enough to freeze it so you're not up all night. :) I AM learning!

Anyway, a few things we got to do in celebration of our Lord's birth:

  • Had a Christmas celebration with the Wiehe family and got to hang out before it got really crazy. It was so fun to watch them open their presents. And hysterical, as we got them (Kurt & Melissa) what they had gotten for each other! (And that sweet Melia in the middle, she didn't want a purse, she wanted a dolly...but let me tell ya, a few days later, she was missing her purse cause her momma put it away until she had a grateful heart and as her sissy Natalie on the left carried hers around, it was making Melia want to have a grateful heart. A few days later when we we over there, she came up to me and said "I forgive you" which Natalie quickly helped her reword it to "I'm sorry I was ungrateful for my purse and said I wanted a dolly. Do you forgive me?" People- these are two little girls, learning. It was beyond cute.)

  • Christmas Eve morning we spent at Lynette's family's house, waking up like it was Christmas morning. Tia and JaJa were with us, so it was extra special, since all of that side of our family was together. We also got some very thoughtful presents, some even handmade. (Notice Belle holding up her sissy Brie's head. She was thoroughly worried about her head not being "up." Bethany is obliviously happy, in her own little happy world.)

  • Christmas Eve night we ate Chen's with the family (a tradition since living in Missouri) and then began our own tradition with the Igos, skipping the candlelight service and instead coming back to the house to have our own time together reading the Christmas accounts and letting the kids act it out with their nativity sets. And we tried to sing some songs, but kept forgetting the words. Then we played a mean few games of Sequence, which by the way, the women WON! This has been an ongoing thing since we've been friends, but seemed like the women were always getting beat. So, this was a nice relaxing time and one I'd like to keep instead of trying to juggle kids in the crammed sanctuary and keeping them quiet and not burning down the building with the candles. (The Hirsch/Reavis families in our annual color coordinated picture!)

  • Christmas morning we woke up and read from the Bible and then gave each other gifts in celebration of Jesus. It was really fun. It's funny to see the girls personalities come out as they opened gifts- Bekah more quiet, smiling, Belle screeching every time anyone opened anything, and Bethany trying to steal everyone else's stuff or beating them on the head with it, and Brie just chilling. I really enjoyed that Bekah has been so excited about getting gifts for people, and had asked about doing some "work" to earn money to buy her own gifts. She did, and got some things for her sisters at the dollar store. It was so sweet to watch her get excited about giving and thinking through what they may like and then her watching them as they opened their gifts. Bethany's reaction was so wonderful. I was blessed with way too many things from my sweet husband, but my two most favorites that I've really really really wanted- my very own new ESV study Bible (the new ones that came out!) and a Cricut for all my crafting needs. So fun! I was feeling overwhelmed at one point and told Gary that it was all too much, to which he winked and responded- you have to learn to receive graciously before you can give graciously, right? We've learned much in the giving and getting area- one being that.

  • Christmas day we went over to the family's and had a huge lasagna meal with them, the Igos, and Gary's dad. We got to just chill out and enjoy company with bellies full- way more fortunate than so many others. (The girls with Gary's dad, Mopa)
We have begun looking toward 2009 with prioritizing and planning. I love a fresh start. It's a great reminder of what God's done for us. Everything new, clean, hopeful. Gary and I have talked a lot about what we'd like to see happen with our family this new year.  He's expressed some things that God's put on his heart to lead us in, and I'm really excited. I know we'll fail at times and priorities will be turned upside down, but we're grateful that we can start over at any time. We hope to begin the year strong, prayerful and ready to be flexible with whatever God wants to do with us. We really desire God to be seen through our family, in whatever ways He wants to do that. We pray that for our family and friends too! Have a Happy New Year! Party like it's...2 thousand and nine!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas time celebrations, new adventures, home school fun

So these days have been full. "Normal" for our family has been officially redefined. We can safely say that we have now been acclimated to our family of six. It takes a lot of work, but the rewards are great. There is much dependence on God, just to get through the day all in one piece. We may have a lost shoe or someone screaming about something, but in the end, after the shoe is found and the screamer calmed done, it is good as long as we've seen God through it. We're laughing more...and also enjoying quietness more.

We enjoyed our business Christmas party for Kosh Wholesale and Home Matters. Gary and I had fun coming up with the awards and prizes for our "awards ceremony." Some of them were REALLY fun, but all of them shared a bit of each employee. We really are so blessed with the people who work with us. 

Angela with "chinese" eyes, sitting with her husband Carl, Ciera and Pat.
 These ladies are always asking us when we're going to bring them chinese for lunch.  

Miss Pat with her husband Howard, looking on as Gary is presenting some "awards."
 (With that silly grin on his face that I love so much!)

Is that...Anderson Cooper? Oh no- that's just Kurt, with his wife Melissa. 
Kurt won the celebrity look alike award.

On that same day, we became owners of a school bus. Yes, people, a school bus. And no, it's not our new family vehicle- though some day we may have need for one. (like taking family trips with the Igos and Wiehes! ha.) Really, though, it is a part of our expanding the business and taking on a new adventure- doing flower wholesale to florists. This is going to be a really fun one too. It is in the works. 

Kurt, Melissa, Me and Gary in front of the bus- before the renovations!

And so, before we had to do the renovations on the new bus, we took it out for a spin around the big city. Since our friend Becky's 30th birthday party had to be rescheduled due to strep throat, we went by there and sang Happy Birthday to her and delivered flowers. Then we went around and looked at Christmas lights and sang to some other families. It was a good time, topped off with hot chocolate too. Kurt even strung festive lights on the inside of the bus. It was hysterical. Good times. 

The Wiehes, Cobbins, and Hirsch families all aboard the bus. Don't worry- Kurt has a cdl.

We also finished our chapter on Mars in our Science curriculum. Did you know Mars has the biggest volcano in our solar system?- Yep, Olympus Mons. Keep that for your trivia info. So, since Daddy oversees science projects, Bekah and Daddy built their own volcano, and then the next few days it has been erupting numerous times. I always wanted to do that as a kid, but never got to, so this was fun for all of us. Belle was a little nervous about the explosion and it getting all over the place. She'd whisper- I scared. And then ask to do it again when it was done. Silly girl. 

Daddy and Bekah building their volcano

Watching the volcano erupt

Now we're just having Christmas celebrations and preparations. JaJa and Tia come on Saturday for the holidays. The countdown has been on. Bekah will not let me forget. 
Hope your days are full of joy as you prepare to celebrate too!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bread and biscuits

Well, more like biscuits and bread. This past Friday Carolyn, a woman from our church fellowship, taught me and my friend Leigh Ann how to make her homemade biscuits. She also happens to be our pediatrician. She'd brought them with a dinner to us after we had Brie, and Gary and I both agreed they were the best biscuits we'd ever eaten. Come to find out, they are so simple, made of 4 ingredients! Her trick is to not really mix them hardly at all, and to make smaller ones that will cook through without burning. They are oh so yummy! I made 2 dozen myself to bring with us to Gary's grandma's for dinner with a bunch of the family. They turned out perfectly.

Then, yesterday afternoon after church fellowship, my dad taught me how to bake his bread. We-mostly him- made 18 loaves! He was making them for his staff Christmas party, as gifts. Anyway, so yes, my dad is the one who bakes the bread in our family, and it is SO good. He used to make it for the cafe- all their sandwiches were made on homemade bread. Anyway, it was fun to get to learn with him and I'm anxious to try it out by myself. I'm one that has to learn things like that by watching and then doing it myself with them there, and when I feel confident, to try it out myself. I'm ready to test the bread.
That was most of our weekend. Lots of errand running and little things here and there. We have our business Christmas party this Friday night and a friend's 30th birthday party Saturday night that I'm preparing for. Mom and I are going to start bake cookies sometime this week too. And I have my 6 week check up- praise the Lord!  Our week is already full of things that need to get done. I am praying that with the busy-ness of the season, we are quick to spend time at Jesus' feet before doing all these things that celebrate Him. If we're missing Him, then what's the point of doing these things to celebrate Him?! I'll have to share some things from the Christmas passages that have been stirring as we've been reading through them for our quiet time and family worship time. I'm still rolling them around. What are some things that are meaningful to you this Christmas season?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...One Month Old...

Happy Thanksgiving...a bit late, but with four little girls it's not always easy to get blog time. Anyway, wanted to share a few pics from our first Thanksgiving as a family of six. My sister came up, which Bekah was ecstatic about...we were all glad she was here, but Bekah was REALLY excited. Now she's counting down to Christmas. (thanks Tia, for encouraging will be something I hear numerous times between now and then)

Our family- yes, Gary is way outnumbered.

silly faces with Tia

I wish you could hear the laugh that goes with that face

Sweet happy faces

This pic cracks me up!

Another milestone- Brie turned 1 month old on November 29th! What?! Yes, already a month. Time flies. Brie stays awake often after feedings, and her eyes are so big and bright. She's very alert.