Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Samuel, Child of God!

We were honored to be asked to be godparents for our dear friends', Kyle and Aliceson, baby, Samuel. He was baptized on January 13th.

after the service - Kyle, Caleb, Aliceson, and Samuel with Samuel's two sets of sponsors
sweet Samuel!
Welcome to God's family, Samuel. We will pray for you each day as you grow and learn more about Jesus. May you always love Him and point many others to Him!

Family of Four Christmas

We are so thankful to have the chance to visit extended family for Christmas each year, but we still haven't quite figured out how to do our own "small family" Christmas. Up until this year, it hasn't mattered too much since Ian was too little to really look forward to Christmas. This year, we decided that we'd celebrate our family Christmas on Epiphany (the 12th day of Christmas, when we celebrate the Wise Men coming to visit Jesus). Do any of YOU that travel over the holidays have ideas for traditions for small-family Christmas celebrations either before or after Christmas?? We'd love to hear your ideas.

As it turned out, we ended up having our small family Christmas on January 3. Ian had helped Kim shop for some presents for Ryan on January 2, and Ian just couldn't wait all the way until January 6 to have Ryan open them. :)

We had given Ian $10 to spend on a gift for Ryan. Ian thought long and hard while we were in Walmart until he finally settled upon a bubble blower for the bathtub. Ryan loves it (and, coincidentally, Ian does, too!)

Ian was SO excitedf or Ryan to open the gift from him

Ian wanted to take a bath IMMEDIATELY after finishing unwrapping the gifts!

Ian's #1 requested gift this year was an umbrella! We got him a fireman umbrella to match his fireman boots. When he opened the gift, he said, "Just what I have always wanted!" It was so cute!

Thankfully we got some showers soon after opening gifts so Ian could test it out!

Ryan wasn't sure what to think of the yogurt melts he got in his stocking. Hmm....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I was royally pampered on my birthday this year! In addition to celebrating with family over the holidays, I had three other celebrations!

On my actual birthday, my boys treated me so well! They took me to lunch at a new restaurant down the street from our house, gave me wonderful gifts (including a 1-hour massage gift certificate), spent time with me, and let me talk to many friends and family members on the phone (what a treat!). Unfortunately, we didn't get any pics of the actual 34th birthday, but here are plenty others ....

Dear "Texas family" friends, Eric, Carrie, and Melissa, had us over to their house to celebrate my birthday. We had a delicious meal and dessert and wonderful conversation.

Melissa was sweet enough to design a special surprise for Ian, too! She created a treasure map to help Ian find paper bags hidden throughout their house.

Ian was very excited to follow Melissa around to gather these bags.

Inside the bags were the supplies to make graham cracker houses!

The two had a wonderful time decorating their houses, though Ian spent at least as much time eating the toppings as actually decorating his house.

Ian did work very hard decorating, and he really appreciated the help from Ms. Carrie!
Here are their works of art!

Thanks for the great time, friends!

My request for my birthday had been to spend some time together as a family on a day after we returned from our vacation. Matt had planned a special outing to a poinsettia farm and Christian home for mentally handicapped folks. It sounded really fun ... but since it was 1.5-2 hours away, it didn't sound nearly as fun after we had spent so much time in planes/cars/shuttles! So, we decided to spend a morning together at the recently remodeled Woodlands Children's Museum. We had a great morning!

Even Ryan liked the rubber mulch, though it was bit challenging to keep it out of his mouth. :)
Ian liked that there's rice (instead of sand) in the sand tables now.
Ryan seemed most interested in the fish ...
... and the new light table.
Ian's favorites this time included the train table (no big surprise!) ...
... and the water table.
Ryan didn't mind splashing around and digging in the water either. :)
Thanks for the fun morning, guys! You made me feel so special and loved!

And, while we're on the subject of birthdays, we enjoyed having Mr. Eric over for HIS birthday a few weeks ago! Thanks for letting Ian help blow out the candles on your cheesecake, Mr. Eric! We loved our time with your family, and we thank God for all of you!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Minnesota! (Christmas, part 2)

After spending a nice few days in Michigan with Matt's immediate family, we all headed to Minnesota. Matt's cousin, Sandra, was marrying Lonny in St. Paul.

Chelsea and Jon were kind enough to rent a large mini van and travel with us all that long way. We spent time in the van sleeping, reading, talking, and even watching Toy Story on the built-in DVD player.

Here we are on one of our many stops at a gas station. Thanks for your patience with traveling with two small kids, Jon and Chelsea! You made even the long road trip fun! :)

We drove to Rochester, MN, the first night and were able to stay with Matt's sister, Beth, and her husband, Andy. Ian was THRILLED about all of the snow in Minnesota.
He cheerfully helped Daddy to shovel Beth & Andy's driveway.
Then, he made some snow angels.

Ryan wasn't exactly sure what to think of the snow. He had NO reaction, even when sticking his hand directly into the cold stuff. That's our mellow fellow.
After a long time playing, Uncle Andy made Ian some yummy hot chocolate to warm up. What great hosts Andy & Beth were!

The next morning, we went the remaining 1.5 hours to the Twin Cities. We were excited to have the chance to see some of Matt's extended family as soon as we got there!

Here's Great Aunt Mary Lou, a VERY experienced Grandma! Ryan enjoyed his time with her (and with Grandpa John, too).
One of the most special parts of being in St. Paul was introducing Ryan to one of his two great-grandmas. Great Grandma Schleicher is one of the classiest, most thoughtful women of faith there is. She still has a quick wit ...
... and a knack with kiddos!
Great Uncle Don helped Ian to be silly!
Ian wanted to show Aunt Chelsea how good he is at pillow fights.
Cousin Matt was VERY good at stacking the cups for Ryan! Ryan would watch and watch him ...
We had the chance to play in the pool at the hotel. Thanks, Daddy, and Uncle Jon for being such good playmates for Ian.

Uncle Doug and Aunt Mary were so kind to hold babies so that we parents could finish eating dinner before the rehearsal.

During the rehearsal, Ian was happy to help keep Cody and Jaden entertained.

Matt and his siblings all played important roles in the wedding on Saturday. Jonathan, Jason, and Matt were ushers. Beth was a soloist, even though she was losing her voice due to a cold. She did a remarkable job, as did the guys! :)

The wedding and reception were both absolutely beautiful! While at the reception, we took some more family pics. One more with Great Grandma Schleicher ...

one of Matt's dad with his siblings and mom (Aunt Mary Lou, Aunt Jane, Grandma, Aunt Carol, and Matt's dad John) Only Uncle Don couldn't come.
Here, the siblings' spouses are included (Uncle Doug, Uncle Don, Uncle Doug, and Matt's mom Carol) We were all thrilled to celebrate with beautiful bride, Sandra, and groom, Lonny.

We took one last pic of the immediate Schleicher family! What a fun time we all had together!

After going to church together in the morning at Redeemer in Rochester (where Matt's dad used to be pastor), we all headed our separate ways. We were thrilled to be able to head to Minneapolis to see our godchildren and dear friends from Michigan, Jessica and Todd. They were visiting Jess' parents in the Twin Cities.

Our godson Elijah (2.5 years old) had grown up SO much since we had seen him last.

Hannah (age 6) was also quite the little lady. Ian was so excited that they had a drill he could use in play dough! (Since then, he has had a great time using his toy power drill in play dough at our house!)
Ryan and Ian made fast friends with Elijah and Hannah.
Hannah even read the boys some bedtime stories. Thanks for spending time with us, Merz family! We loved seeing you!