Thursday, January 18, 2007

Trains at the Arboretum

Over the Christmas break, we met the our friends, the Elsens, at the Morton Arboretum to view the train display. Up to 38 trains could run on 520 feet of track! There was a North Pole and a ski lift. It was fun for the kids to watch, and they enjoyed pointing out their favorite trains.

After watching the trains for a while, we headed outside to see a log cabin ice sculpture. The kids had fun going inside the "ice cabin" and trying to figure out how the sculptor made it. We have been friends with the Elsen family for 5 years, and our kids are about the same age as their kids. We get together often!

l-r: Jacob Elsen, Sam Elsen, Katie, Andrew

And here is a photo of sweet little Josh!

Friday, January 12, 2007

New Year's with Aunt Steph

Adam's sister, Stephanie, joined us for New Year's weekend. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, but often comes out for this weekend and we always have fun with her. There is much laughter in our house when Steph and Adam are together as they tease each other, swap stories and find interesting things to see on the Internet. Steph is adored by our kids. For Christmas, she gave Andrew and Katie some classic books, including three Dr. Seuss books which they enjoyed listening to her read. She gave Joshua the cute outfit he is wearing in this photo. We also spent some time with her boyfriend, Jim, who was downtown Chicago for the weekend, enjoying concerts by his favorite band. He joined us on New Year's Day and then they drove back to Pittsburgh together. We love you, Aunt Steph!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Merry Christmas!

In another post, Adam wrote about a yearly tradition our family has of reading The Advent Book throughout the advent season. Well, a slightly odd, but fun, tradition we have is taking a photograph of our family's feet! We started this tradition last year and thought it would be fun to continue it, especially to see our children's growth. Can you guess everyone's feet?

The next two photos are of Andrew and Katie, each with a favorite Christmas present...

Katie is modeling her purple princess dress from Grandma and Grandpa Schad. She also received some purple princess shoes as well! Katie is just starting to enjoy dressing up and pretending to be a princess or a mommy.

Andrew is looking through his binoculars that he received from Grandmom and Grandpop Pratt. A funny and memorable story came from Andrew's first view through the binoculars. Andrew took his binoculars outside to look through them. He immediately said they weren't "real binoculars" because he couldn't see someplace far away, like the "desert" or a cold place like the "Arctic"! Adam recorded all of this on video! Despite not being able to see far-away places, he is enjoying his binoculars and has brought them on a few outings.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was a relaxing day for us. We enjoyed time with Cindy's brother, Gary, and also attended some wonderful services at at College Church throughout the day. The Christmas Eve service at church is family-oriented with lots of singing, a story for the children told by one of our pastors, and a Christmas message from Pastor Kent Hughes. Every year we take a family picture by the Christmas trees in the sanctuary.

The next two photos were taken by Adam at the 11 p.m. Candlelight Christmas Eve service that he was able to attend. Even at the late hour, College Church was packed! This first photo is of our pastoral staff at College Church. We are blessed to have such Godly men serving this church and its people.

And this photo is of Pastor Kent and Barbara Hughes. Kent has served as senior pastor at College Church for 27 years, and has just retired from this ministry and will be moving to Spokane, Washington to begin some new ministry opportunities. He will be greatly missed!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Uncle Gary Visits for Christmas

Cindy's younger brother, Gary, visited us for the Christmas weekend and we all had a great time with him. Cindy and I had great conversations with him and the kids really enjoyed their time with "Uncle Gary." We did a whole lot o' hangin' around the house, and Gary got to participate in an important Christmas tradition in our home: The Doors Book.

The Doors Book is actually an advent book that tells the story of Christmas straight from the Bible in 25 installments. The kids really enjoy the fact that each book has a door that they get to open as we read the story. On December 1 we read the first page, on December 2 we read the first and second page, and so on, all the way through December 25. Through this repetition the kids really learn the story and can practically quote the entire book. We start every Christmas morning with a complete reading of the Doors Book, followed by breakfast and opening gifts by the tree.