Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More playtime ...

Late afternoon Monday, Jes and Di and the kids came over to share dinner with us ... and then the children stayed and the parents had a date night. Monday night is Grandpa Jones's train night over in Hudsonville, so that left me and the kids to find something to do around here worth doing!
I lit all of the candles on the mantle of our fireplace, turned the fireplace on, and then we played with our Nativity set. We acted the whole Christmas story out with the angel appearing first to Mary and then to Joseph. We did their journey to Bethlehem. We put the shepherds and the sheep out in the fields where the angel announced the birth of Jesus, and then we went far away to the East and had the Wise men follow the star to Bethlehem to worship Jesus. It was a lot of fun, and the kids really got into the story!
Tuesday morning, we played for hours with LEGOS. I'm so thankful we had a bunch of them leftover from ... who knows when?!
And in the middle of the kids building LEGO spaceships, Sabrina SKYPED us from Austin. Christopher was really amused by Jackson! Emma was just glad to be able to see inside Aunt Sabrina's house and talk her a little bit ... as well as to SEE cousins Olivia, Karis and Jackson. What fun!
Matthew thought cousin Jackson was very funny too ...
After our lunch, we got all the Playdough toys out and spent at least an hour making everything under the sun ...
Emma made us a whole bunch of cookies to enjoy ...
Matthew hardly needed any help at all with making his batch of cookies ...
Christopher, however, was intent on making snakes with his Playdough ... big ones and little tiny snakes too! However, none of my pictures of his snakes turned out.
Christopher also enjoyed creating a huge traffic jam with the micromachines downstairs ...
And Grandpa Jones helped us put together our Bean Bag Toss game and all of the children played that for a really long time.
Christopher used our new foam puzzles to play school ... he was the teacher! We played all day Tuesday and I am exhausted today! Playing with three little children is pretty hard work actually ... I hope it doesn't sound like I am complaining ... I'm just stating facts. I'm SO thankful to have this time to spend with our grandchildren and absolutely would not trade it for doing anything else; but there is a reason we old folk are not primary caregivers ~ we're too old! :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some post-Christmas snapshots ...

It was the morning after Christmas. We were all pretty tuckered out from Christmas day, so the little ones and I sat at our dining room table and did some artwork together ... always a fun and easy way to pass the time.

Later in the afternoon, we drove over to Grandpa Pahman's house to play and have dinner.
Ems, Matthew, and Christopher all enjoyed playing with their uncles, Shane and Dylan. The boys found some baseball hats in Shane's room and wore them the rest of the time we were there.

We had a relaxing few hours, enjoyed pizza together, and just had fun! Jesse showed us lots of pictures of Iraq and the HUGE truck he drives. He told us some stories of his "missions" and tried to fill in the 15 months he was gone so far from all of us.

Here is Matthew "chillin" with Dylan ... and below, Christopher was pretending to play the electric guitar while jumping on Shane's bed ...
I kept trying to get unposed and spontaneous shots of all three "Pahman boys" together, but it was difficult and now I somewhat regret not making them stand next to each other and "smile for the camera."

And then this morning, we met at New Community Church where Matthew, Christopher, and Jesse were being baptized. Emma had been baptized there as a baby. Their pastor and the congregation prayed faithfully for Jesse during his deployment and were happy to welcome him home today.
Here is their pastor praying for Jesse's entire family.
And here are Jes and I following the church service ... Jesse with his tie undone in his dress uniform (aren't there RULES about that?!) ... just kidding, Jesse.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Christmas Day 2008

We had a great Christmas day here at the Jones Junction. We took bunches of pictures throughout the day ... it's difficult to post just a few when there are so many nice ones!
We actually began our Christmas morning down with two of our families deep down in Texas. We connected our computers using SKYPE, and other than the fact that the audio got a bit messed up on the Michigan side of things. we had an enjoyable visit with Sabrina's family as well as Nick's family ~ they spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day together in Austin. The first picture is of Jackson and Karis waiting for Nicolas to launch another rocket balloon, which was actually a gift from the Jones grandfolk to Nathan ... but it was nice that everyone got to have fun with it! And since these two families couldn't make it home to Michigan for Christmas, it sure was nice to spend a little time with them ...
And this is Princess Lottie Caroline, whom we have yet to meet ... isn't she a perfectly beautiful little baby?
Dylan came over later in the morning, and opened up presents with us and then stayed throughout the rest of the day.
I opened my present from Mr. Jones on the Monday before Christmas. I had requested a nice portable stereo boombox so that I could carry it around the house and play beautiful music with the grandchildren ... we used it Monday night to play soft music when Ems, Chris and Matthew spent the night.
I bought Mr. Jones a very cool Train Book when Ruthanne and I were up north for our sisters' retreat last summer ... it actually has a wind-up train and three different track layouts inside the book! I also got him a new crossing signal for our children's train layout, and a few other assorted gifts as well.
Adam and Emily had a HUGE present wrapped up for Grandpa Jones and me. I was trying to guess what it might be for days and days, thinking perhaps it was a really really WARM blanket (wishful thinking) ...
... but it wasn't a blanket at all ... this is my face when I found out what it was! I am very pleasantly surprised!

Matthew received a very cool pirate ship, and Christopher got a space shuttle that can make 30 different space vehicles!
And Emma got a Tinker Bell doll and a princess handbag, as well as an art kit with mosaic shapes and stickers to make beautiful pictures.

We had so much fun watching everyone open their gifts and give presents to each other.

Shane was able to spent the afternoon with us too. It's been quite awhile since these three Pahman men have been in the same room together!
Emma was frustrated with a little puzzle she'd received. Uncle Adam was trying to teach her how to be patient and show her some tricks about putting it back together ...
We had a pretty yummy meal. Everything turned out just fine, and there was plenty of food to go around.
After being snowed in for several days, Mom and Roy were able to come for a little while too!
We were able to fit 10 folk around the table, and the rest of us just walked around and ate wherever we could find room to do so.
Christopher especially enjoyed my Strawberry Pretzel dessert recipe ... he really really liked all of the cream in the middle, but wasn't too crazy about the pretzels on the bottom. Grandpa Jones was in complete agreement.
We decorated Thomas K with my jingle bell necklace. He successfully kept it around his neck even while tightrope walking the neighbor's wooden fence! The day went quickly and happily by. We played with toys, we listened to music, we ate a lot of food, and we enjoyed celebrating the birthday of Jesus for another year. I have pictures from yesterday's visit over at Grandpa Pahman's house ... but I'm too exhausted to post those tonight. Hopefully tomorrow ...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

No Distant Lord

I'm thankful this Christmas morning that "the true Light that gives light to every man" came into the world! He came to rescue, save and redeem us. He came to be with us!
No Distant Lord
No distant Lord have I,
loving afar to be;
made flesh for me He cannot rest
until He rests in me.

I need not journey far
this dearest friend to see;
companionship is always mine;
He makes His home with me.

O glorious Son of God,
Incarnate Deity,
I shall forever be with Thee
because Thou art with me.

Maltbie D. Babcock

I love this passage of Scripture and I love this poem ~ I used it on my Christmas card this year. Jesus is the True Light that came for EVERYONE!
We are celebrating this day with lots of family who are here in Michigan, and we hope to connect (via computer) with family who were unable to come up from Texas. We hope your Christmas is full of JOY!