"Open When Needed"

Too cute not to post...

Sarah's Fort

Sarah got a fort for Christmas that clicks together. After she got it set up how she wanted it, she took pictures...the last one is from inside the fort (very artistic).

Flamenco Dancers

All the girls in their new flamenco dresses...


Annie is not easy to get a picture of...

Christmas 2007

Christmas morning, I couldn't believe I was the only one awake at 8am. They were downstairs pretty fast after they smelled the cinnamon rolls (a family tradition). We had a great day together as a family.
Stephanie is a flamenco dancer. Grandma and Grandpa sent dresses from Spain.
Hannah wanted to play Disney Magic Artist on the computer all day.
Sarah is painting her model horse.

Annie is just getting into whatever she can find. Those are the combs that go with the flamenco dresses.

Christmas Eve

Opening the Christmas Eve present...
PJ's, of course. Sarah has been begging for "footie" pjs, so after a search, I finally found some in her size.


Christmas at Ouma and Papa's

All three girls got some sort of horse/stable thing for Christmas. Here they are playing horses.

Excited about chapstick...
Excited about pencils (must take after Mom)...
Hannah and Steph amidst the pile of presents.
Sarah got a musical globe of Clara and the Nutcracker. She went with Ouma last month to see the ballet.
Annie, just as cute as ever, excited about every present, bow, and piece of wrapping paper.


Sarah and Hannah's Room

The older two decorated their room for Christmas, as well. The tree, is Dave's old tree from when he was a boy, and the tinsel was a present from an Aunt. They were very proud of their own decorations (especially because they beat mom by about 2 weeks).

Welfare Office

Well actually the office is called the division of family services...but anyway, I was there yesterday applying for Children's Health Insurance, which is by far the cheapest, most comprehensive plan for almost anyone (you don't have to be lower class to take advantage of it). I guess with a family of 6 and only one of us works full time, we fit pretty close to the lower class, but anyway, that isn't the point. So I get to sit there for an hour or so pretending to read my book while listening to all of the interesting conversations around me. There was one guy and his girlfriend that were there. He said he had a job one week out of the last month and she was unemployed. That was all the combined income they had. They both looked healthy and able bodied. They were applying for food stamps, and emergency cash. I am waiting for your blood to boil...as many do when they hear about people "abusing" the system.

I began to think more about this situation, and other similar situations I have seen. It does make you upset to think that you are doing all this work, and yet those who aren't doing anything just get to ride the system. But I was convicted of something. I began to think of "third world countries." There is no riding the system there, because there is no system to ride. You can be rich there and keep much more of your money (if thieves don't get it). But that is what makes Westernized culture different. We support the lower classes, we keep them fed, clothed and sheltered. That is not only the hard working lower class, but those who are lazy and undisciplined as well. The single parents, as well as those who would rather drink than work. I am blessed to live in the US where violence and crime are much lower than almost any third world country. I am glad that I don't have to drive past shanty-towns or the like, on my way to work everyday. I think most of the US is glad about this, but when we see that man and his girlfriend living off our wealth it creates bitterness.

I guess I realized that bitterness isn't going to do anything for them or me. I have just got to love that they are God's children, and I am glad that they are sitting there with me rather than in a cardboard box they could call home. I know sometimes extreme hardship causes change, but I know One who can cause far greater lasting change...I want them to know Him too.

Pressure Point

I buckle under pressure...I am not the one that you want to pass the ball to for the game winning shot. I play the piano at home, but in front of others is a different story. I require a lot of practice for songs that I have played a hundred times, and still I slur notes and forgo rhythm in front of others. I can sit down and read a book and remember details, plot, and be deeply effected by the message. But if you give me a book and tell me I will be tested on my retention, I won't remember a thing. I won't be able to focus while reading it. I guess part of this is just insecurity, but more than that, I wonder why people (even insecure people) can perform so well under pressure, yet I was stuck freezing up.

Stephanie, my 3 year old, has the same trait. She is amazing at cleaning up her room. It takes her 5 minutes to do what the other two do in 10 min. Or, she does nothing. No amount of pressure can motivate her to complete the task. She has to be internally motivated and feel that there is very little pressure on her to finish. Otherwise, she breaks down and can't do anything. Sometimes, she will just grab her blanket and curl up for a nap. It is pretty amazing what she will do to avoid a task, but then on the other hand, I understand it completely because I am the same way.

There is no real point here...just pondering. Comments and suggestions are welcome...

The New Decorated Tree

Sarah Reading to Annie

Annie brought a book to me a few days ago, while I was cleaning up the kitchen. I told her to take it to Sarah to read to her.
Here they are reading together. It lasted for about 20 seconds. That is all the attention span that Annie has for books at present. You might also notice that Annie only has a onesie on. That is the only piece of clothing that she hasn't figured out how to take off yet. She starts out with more clothing over her onesie, but in about 5 min, everything but the onesie is off. And if I don't put the onesie on, the diaper comes off too! That is a recipe for disaster.

Our Christmas Tree Story

When we got married (14 days after Christmas of 99') we got a very nice Christmas Tree as a wedding gift. We used it several years, and then when we moved into a little apartment in Dallas, with no storage...I decided to give the tree away. The first year we were there, we didn't put a tree up, I was 9 months pregnant, and not very excited about taking everything down, anyway.
The next year we decided to get a real tree...that was the last year we will ever do that. It was essentially dead by Christmas, and a huge mess, not to mention that the apartment complex (who was supposed to dispose of the tree) took another month to dispose of it. So we had this dead tree in a small apartment for a month after Christmas, just lovely.
So, when my Sister's friend, who cleaned out vacant apartments, said that a family had left a tree behind, which would get trashed unless we wanted it...we took it. About 3 months later we moved into our house, so we even had a place to store it. The picture is of Christmas 04' in our Texas house.
Then when we moved to a small townhouse in Kansas City right before Christmas, we opted for a borrowed tabletop tree and just kept the old tree in our storage closet.
Then we moved to our current residence, and got the tree out to set it up (which never had a box, because it was left behind in some apartment), and realized that we had no top to our tree. And after all the moving, who knows where it actually is. So this is what has been standing in our living room for about a week, I guess I have just been hoping that the top would magically appear. I haven't even bothered to straighten the branches. Well today, I finally broke down and looked on Craig's List one of my favorite sites, and found one at a pretty good price. So I will post pics of our newest Christmas Tree when we get it all set up. Hopefully we can hang on to this one for a few years.

Ice Storm

Our front bush on ice...


The tree limbs are a little lower than normal.

Annie playing with the Doll House

Trying to put the doll in her chair...

And doing what Annie does best...putting it in her mouth.

Sarah in the Christmas Program

Sarah and her class.
Just in case you were worried, Holly Berry did find the baby...









Sarah saying her line, she has the second part.









Sarah and her class singing the song "Rejoice", she is the second from the right.

Facebook

I have to admit that I really didn't want to use this new and upcoming tool, Facebook. It seems to always get grouped with myspace, which I didn't find any personal use for. But once my parents joined the masses, I decided to do it too. I mean I can't have someone a generation older than me upping me on technology. So hesitantly I joined, finding that I was not the only Facebook user that graduated from High School in the 90s. In fact, I have caught up with many of my highschool and college friends and even friends that are a generation older than me. I am still waiting for others to join, so I can see what is going on in their lives as well, but here is your push. Join Facebook, what are you waiting for...

http://www.facebook.com

Hannah in the Christmas Program

Sarah and Hannah were in the Christmas Program at church...

Here is the set, Holly Berry's Christmas Store with a life sized nativity displayed.


But she lost the Baby Jesus, so the kids are looking at the manger talking about how it is Christmas Eve and the baby hasn't come yet.
Here is a still shot of them singing "Away in the Manger."











She and the kids are confused because there is no baby Jesus.









Hannah's class singing "Away in the Manger", She is at the back left in a red sweater.

Snow Day

Well, it is the first snow that is actually sticking to something, so you get pictures...
As of 11:00am.
As of 3:00pm. It makes everything look clean. I need a nice indoor snowstorm.

Thanksgiving

Some long overdue Thanksgiving pics, I actually got back from Spain a couple days before Thanksgiving.
A Picture of the whole Family.

Annie and Ouma cuddling.

My Parent's House

The door ajar, is their front door. They live in an apartment under their landlord.

Annie enjoying the little patio seat outside their house.
Right as you walk in their front door, there is this sign. It is actually a tile plastered into the wall. It reads, "Calle de los Flamencos Borrachos" or "Street of the Drunk Flamenco Dancers." How random is that? It isn't theirs to move, so for now they live on that unfortunate street. ;)

Downtown Malaga

This was the main walking/ shopping street in Malaga.
We stopped for some coffee, and the typical "breakfast" food of Spain: churros dipped in chocolate. Annie loved it, as did I.
I found this building renovation fascinating. They maintain the original facade, but clear out the entire innards of the building, which in this case, took up an entire city block. They stand the whole thing up on these steel beams while they replace the inside with all the modern conveniences. I would be very interested to see how they gutted it.
This is the inside.

The bell tower of the cathedral.


The "boardwalk" which was tiled of course. The beach was to our right.
This was an interesting blend of new and old. On top of the hill an old castle, and then the traffic tunnel dug under it to preserve it.

There is a Roman Amphi-theatre in Malaga that is being renovated for future use. They plan to hold events and productions here in the future, which sparked many future conversations about archaeology (and what kind of purity should be maintained).
A university building.




We were waiting for the bus, and Annie wanted her own seat.
A private driveway, that wouldn't be a bad place to come home to.

They don't have baseball or football stadiums, in fact, I didn't even see a soccer stadium this nice, but every town has a beautifully maintained bull ring.
Another picture of the distinct archi-tecture.

In the distance is El Palo, where we visited earlier in the trip.

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