Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas

As we get closer and closer to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus, I have noticed that I am going along with society by singing the same old catchy tunes and by wishing strangers a Merry Christmas because that's what we say during this time of year.

Although  I have found myself purposefully saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, it makes me sad that I have found myself stuck in the Christmas rut. One week to go and Santa is not finished...

Instead of focusing on what I haven't done, I decided to study this morning for the lesson tomorrow and found myself disappointed in the scripture selected for the week. My partner in class, Kelly, suggested earlier this week that we talk about the significance of the 12 Days of Christmas....Huh? Since the scripture is not related to the birth of Christ, I called her and we decided to talk about why we are excited about this time of year.

I have found this very interesting and have never heard it - so I felt like sharing.....

The 12 Days of Christmas

The "claim" is that this song was created by Catholics living in England after the Anglican Revolution. I don't know about that - nor do I care to really study any more on the subject (Snopes says no). I will just line out what I found for your reading enjoyment....

"True Love": refers to God Himself
"Me": every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith

Importance: Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God's grace, through this song during Christmas. Hearing this sone will remind us in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in our lives and in our world.

First Day:  A Partrige in a Pear Tree
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25th, the "First Day of Christmas". (Luke 13:34)

Second Day:  Two Turtle Doves
The Old Testament and the New Testament, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the Creation of a people to tell the story of God to the world.

Third Day:  Three French Hens 
Three theological Virtues:  Faith, Hope, and Love  (1 Corinthians 3:13)

Fourth Day:  Four Calling Birds
The Four gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to himself in Jesus Christ.

Fifth Day:   Five Golden Rings
The first 5 books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deutoronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of Grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

Sixth Day:  Six Geese A-Laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as creator and sustainer of the World. Genesis 1.

Seventh Day:   Seven Swans A-Swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophecy, Ministry, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leading, and Compassion.  Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-11

Eighth Day:  Eight Maids A-Milking
The Eight Beattitudes: 1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2. those who mourn, 3. the meek, 4. those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5. the merciful, 6. the pure in heart, 7. the peacemakers, and 8. those who are persecuted for righetousness sake.  Matthew 5:3-10

Ninth Day:  Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine fruit of the holy spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfullness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.  Galatians 5:22

Tenth Day:  Ten Lords A-Leaping
The 10 Commandments:
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2.  Do not make an idol.
3. Do not take God's name in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day - keep it holy (set apart).
5. Honor your Father and Mother,
6. Do not murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not bear false witness.
10. Do not covet.
Exodus 20:1-17

Eleventh Day:  Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven faithful apostles: 1. Simon Peter, 2. Andrew. 3. James, 4. John, 5. Philip, 6. Bartholomew, 7. Matthew, 8. Thomas, 9. James bar Alphaeus, 10. Simon the Zealot, and 11. Judas bar James.  Luke 6:14-16

This list does not include the 12th disciple, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

Twelth Day:  Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrince in the Apostle's Creed. (**not sure I agree with all of them - this is where it gets very "catholicy".
1.  I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into the grave.
5. On the third day, He rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
6. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
7. I believe in the Holy Spirit.
8. **the Catholic Church - (I believe there is a Catholic Church....)
9. **the communion of saints - (I believe the Catholic's do...they are everywhere in the chapel at work)
10.  The forgiveness of sins
11. the resurrection of the body
12. and Life EVERLASTING.

So I was totally into it until the end....but I still thinks it is a neat story and a great new reminder of why we are celebrating this season....not for shopping but because of the birth of Christ.

Love and Blessings to all!
Praising Him for who He always is.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week of Pictures and Events

PaPa Joe came to see us this weekend and it was great!

I like how sister "snuck" into this picture!

 Mission Friends - I could hear Katelynn singing from the back of the room!

RA's for Michael.

She is getting too big!

Praising Him for who He always is.....and Always will be!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Patience is a virtue...a.k.a. excuses!

Anyone that knows me very well (or knows me at all) should be completely aware that my patience ran out in the late 90's. It seems that my patience "fruit" is rotted, but I pray a lot for a new "crop"'s why I'm telling you this....

Our internet connection at the house is weak and I haven't really tried to figure out how to improve it (remember the patience thing). It takes a while to upload photos and I just haven't wanted to put forth that much effort...that and it really annoys my brother when I don't blog (love you Corey).

...and now - Blogging.....

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I took the week off and spent it with family. On Monday, Michael and I had a special day (of grocery shopping and lunch). On Tuesday, Katelynn and I had a special day with my mom shopping for Mike's Christmas party and getting all the goodies for the week. Wednesday I went out early to help mom clean and finish up the preparations. Mike and the kids got there after lunch, my sister and her family got there late that night....and we spent the rest of the week at mom and dad's. Dad was good. He slept a lot but we still got some good visit time in. The kids even had fun playing with toot-toot. We were very thankful that God let us have him for another week full of memories.

Of course I didn't take the camera and didn't get any pictures. I said I would blog, not upload photos. The good news is that Amber and Mom had a friend from Ennis come out and take family photos. She took a lot of the everyone and each family and the kids and it was great. I will post some of them as soon as I get them.

We are thankful that we had another Thanksgiving with dad and granddad. In August, we weren't sure that either of them would still be with us and we were VERY thankful God is waiting to take them home (and allowing us to be just a little bit selfish). I think they are both ready to go to heaven....just exhausted from all of it. We know where they are going and know they will be whole. It is wonderful to have such a peace about all of it.

If you are reading this blog and don't have this assurance, just let me know. I have a great God and I would love to share my family's peace with you. (It's free....).

We are so thankful and blessed.

Praising Him for who He always is....and always will be.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekened Stuff

Sister can do ONE pull up on Toot-toot's bar.

We spent Friday night and Saturday with Toot-toot. Watching TV, hanging out, and emailing Oprah. (More on that later).

I just wanted to post some pictures of our weekend.

Sister had fun watching TV with dad.

Then, when we got home, we showed the kids exactly why we do not live in a neighborhood....Fireworks and a "bonfire".

And I was prepared...basket of goodies for Smores......which no one ate...except for momma.

Yeah, mom likes smores, but not the kids....

Praising God for who He always is!

Monday, November 1, 2010

August Vacation 2010

Just pretend that this isn't 3 months later....
 We had the opportunity to go to Galveston the week before school started for beach time and a relaxing week with friends and family. During the trip our camera was stolen, so these pictures are courtesy of our dear friend Michelle. This is Katelynn and Anna playing dress up. (Michael was dressed as Snow White, but would NOT let Michelle take a picture.)
 No, he wasn't throwing it at Anna, but it sure does look like.
 Beach Babe!
 I promise we feed him!
 From Left: Roy, Michael, Katelynn, Mike, Anna, Tiffany.

We went back to Houston and spent the rest of the week at the Roycroft's house. It was such a wonderful visit. The kids played well. We didn't get on their nerves (at least I don't think so....) and laughed.

We took all the kids to the Houston Children's Museum. It was AWESOME! I highly recommend visiting (and taking you own lunch in).

 This was a puzzle that was on a timer. If you didn't finish before the time ran out, it would spin the puzzle into pieces again. So Michael and I worked on the puzzle without the time....we got brave when dad joined in and were able to finish it.
 The museum was very interactive.
 There was a whole table of different puzzles. Roy was a show off and figured out all of them. We spent the most time in the this area with the dads working out the puzzles.
 There was a little kids areas, so we took baby Anna in. In this picture, I am the mom with my 3 kids. We had an odd family unit and stuck to the facade to let the kids play in doors.
 Robert and the girls building.

Thank you to Michelle for taking so many pictures of the kids and sharing them with me. She was the Michelle that helped so much at the race.....I think she must really like that we can entertain Anna....

I love my family. I love my friends. We are very blessed.
Praise God for who He always is.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fred-tober Fest

It only comes around once a year. (Well "tober fest" comes around only once a year but technically the race is twice a year). Moving on...

We had a great time this past weekend at the race. The guys got 3rd place (see trophy below). Some dear friends and family were able to make it for the first time. Our friends who just relocated from California had an official East Texas initiation.... It was great. Instead of typing all that I want to say...and haven't said over the last couple of months (I went Rogue.....) I am just going to upload pictures for you.

 The team. We had some new drivers this time. The truck did pretty good. Daddy didn't flip! Whew!
 The boys really enjoyed watching the race. This is Michael's 2nd cousin and the first time we met.
 The winners! Don't you like how Katelynn has #1 and daddy has #3.

 The boys: Cross, Michael, Aidan, Bryce, and Cooper.
 The most beautiful sister-girl at the race. She had a wonderful time playing with Anna and Madelyn. The girls were outnumbered, but still had a great time. Thank you to Michelle for EVERYTHING!
Yep, that's Wesley...married Wesley! It was fun to see him again. I hope we see him and Julie more!
(He sure likes to pick on sister!)

 I love my family. I love my friends. We are very blessed.
Praise God for who He always is.

Friday, June 25, 2010


You know that's a real word. It's those tid-bits of brillance that come from the mouth of our babe....Katelynn. She is dramatic (like her daddy - right?!?) and beautiful (like her daddy) and makes us laugh so much that it makes up for her "toot-ness" (from her Toot-toot!). I realized that so much of my blogging lately has revolved around Michael and all his greatness. I thought it would be good to add some proud sister moments and let her shine a little on the world wide web.

Katelynn knows how to spell her name, kinda. K-A-T-E-L-M-N-O-P

Katelynn can count to 80. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-16-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-26-27-28-29-80

Katelynn wanted a "San-Wish".

On Monday, I went to get the kids from school at the end of the day - just like always. On the way down the stairs, Katelynn asked if I had something to drink in the car - just like always. I told her yes. She asked if I had something to eat. Of course, "I have a knuckle sandwich". No questions asked and we proceeded to the car.

Everyone is buckled in and we are ready to head home.
Katelynn: "Momma, where's your sandwich?"
Me: "Huh?"
Katelynn: "Momma, WHERE's YOUR SAN-WISH." (Already frustrated by the second request - not a good sign).
Me: Katelynn, I don't have any food in the car, but we will be home in a little bit and we can eat dinner. Katelynn: "Momma, WHERE IS YOUR SAN-WISH? I want to eat it."
Me: Katelynn, I don't have a san-wish.
Katelynn: "Yes you do" (hear the whine begin) "You said you had a san-wish in the car".
Me: No I didn't.
(At this point, Michael decides to step in and remind me of what I said in the daycare.)
Michael: "Momma, you said you have a knuckle sandwich"
Me: (giggling...which Katelynn did not appreciate) Oh, (as I raise my fist) I do have a knuckle sandwich. (hee hee hee)
Katelynn: (Whiney - loud - mad) I CAN'T EAT THAT!!!!! I want a real san-wish!
Me: (giggling more) Well, the only one I have is a knuckle sandwich. If you don't want that, I will make you a sandwich when we get home.
Katelynn: You said you have a san-wish in the car and I WANT IT NOW. (Who taught her this attitude?)
Me: Well, all I have is a knuckle sandwich. (Fist in the air again)
Katelynn: (whinier - madder - louder) I CAN'T EAT THAT!!!!! I want a real san-wish.

It went on like this for a few minutes so I called Grana to share (she could still hear Katelynn repeating her frustration as we laughed at her "sister-ism" of the day).

But, my favorite sister-ism right now is her expression of love. And although it is at inconvenient time (when I am in the bathroom, about 10 minutes after she should be asleep, when I am frustrated because she is being dramatic) it is enough to melt your heart. She will pucker those sticky fish lips and kiss whatever she can get to. Your hand, your face, your arm. She loves me, she really does love me.

About 6 months ago, if you had commented about her beauty, I would jokingly tell you it's a good thing since she is so mean. I am beginning to get past the frustration and appreciate this beautiful gift God has given me. I am thankful for a beautiful, strong-willed daughter. (Of course in about 9 years she may have to move in with Grana or Aunt Amber so we don't kill each other) - but for now, she is just small enough to let me hold her and love on her.

Hello Blog Followers (all 3 of you)...This is my beautiful daughter Katelynn.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hi. My Name is Michael, swimmer!

Hello. We can swim. (We is Michael). We have had the honor of being taught by the best in Tyler. Her name is Ms. Laurie and we love her. We started swimming lessons last Monday. The lesson was about 40 minutes and all of it was spent screaming (mom and kids) and chasing children. (Thank you to Ms. Amanda for helping hunt down the big one...)

So we started out by screaming and crying. (Because obviously this specific pool was full of must of been. Just putting our feet in the pool HURT!!!) About half way through (after returning Katelynn to the pool AGAIN), Ms. Laurie suggested that I be G-O-N-E (spelled out) to the sun room so I could watch this spectacle without being seen and she could get the bad kids (my words not her's), a.k.a. Lewis kids, to pay attention.

About 5 minutes into my absence (told the kids I had to go to the bathroom) another mother came in. We noticed that Michael was starting to run from the lesson around the pool. Ms. Amanda was following patiently requesting Michael return to the lesson. And although this was entertaining, Ms. Laurie requested my return to get the bad kid (my words not her's), a.k.a. Michael, back to the pool. I did it (in my mad Wal-Mart mom voice and arm grab). I really apologized to Ms. Laurie for wasting her time. She promised that this was okay.  After 20 years of teaching, she was willing to stick it out with the Lewis kids and was confident we would make it through.

Whew, on to Tuesday. The "good" news is that Katelynn could not go to swimming lessons so it was just Michael. Only Bear was there, so it was was just the two of them. And we didn't cry. And we didn't run screaming from the pool. And wait, yep, I just checked. I brought the right kid from the day care to swimming lessons. FACE IN WATER and NO TEARS. Did I mention that Ms. Laurie was amazing?

Wednesday - rain. Thursday - rain. Nervous mother that all our progress had gone to waste. My garden loved the rain, but I was not sure about us "bouncing" back and being ready for swimming lessons again.

Friday - sunny day and swimming lessons. I picked them up from school and they both went potty. (This is the key to Friday). We get to Ms. Laurie's lessons. After the long drive there - 10 mintues - we have to potty again....and again....and again... So, sister went 6 times in 15 mintues.  I think she may have figured out a way out of the lesson. Humph....what to do. I had to ask myself - do I let her be that kid that potty's in a stranger's pool out of principle? -Well, chasing her to the bathroom and nearly falling on the concrete was my natural (mature) reaction to this. And yelling really made it all better..... *Proud mother moment*.

Michael picked back up (after a bit of reassurance from Ms. Laurie). Katelynn, well, she is really pretty. And a tan is better than knowing how to swim when you are 18, so she is just ahead of the curve. Tan now, swim later!

Reschedule for missed days - Monday and Tuesday this week. Michael figured out that goggles help. Likes them. Our awesome dad bought both kids goggles. Michael is pretty much swimming. The only threats were when Ms. Laurie wanted him to jump of the side. We are not really sure about this. I mean, she has not let us drown yet, but what if she was saving it for when we jump of the side. You never know and always have to be on your guard.... (that's the best I can come up with for why this is such a challenge).

Sister, sweet sister, is still hanging on to the bathroom excuse and using it to her advantage. But - being the awesome mom I am - I am not buying it today. No, you don't have to go potty multiple times in 10 minutes. I don't care if you are SCREAMING "I am going to poo-poo every where". Do it, I dare you!! *Proud mother moment*. We finished the day - no poo-poo. Michael doing even better and Katelynn alive.

Today. Yes Today - what a difference a day makes. Have I told you how awesome Ms. Laurie is? We have Little Man jumping off the side and swimming to the steps. Jumping off the deep end (by the diving board) and after Ms. Laurie catches and reassures - swimming to the ladder. My SON. Michael Lewis. Swimming. AWESOME! (Sister did not die this week from getting her face wet - we are making progress).

After Friday, I asked Ms. Laurie about additional lessons. For Michael she could see the benefit. For Katelynn she did not see the benefit. But, we love Ms. Laurie. (Michael's favorite teacher today).

Hi. My name is Tiffany. My son Michael can swim after 5 days with Ms. Laurie and Katelynn can get her face wet without a mental breakdown.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Frog

Michael had so much fun playing with the frog. We found it in the cattle trough when we started swimming. The frog was not excited about us invading his space......

Katelynn did not like it. Michael thought it was great. It was pretty fun to see how fast Katelynn could move to get out of the pool. Michael let it swim and jump on him. It was fun to watch.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We're Back!!!

Worst blog ever....I will label it myself!

The below was typed while I waited for 3 pictures of the snow to upload. Several face book updates and iTunes purchases later, still no photos. I think my internet connection is too weak to accomplish what I intended tonight. So, use this as "teasers" for all the blogging to come. I am still trying with some of the current stuff at the very bottom. You should still be able to appreciate the creativeness and care I was TRYING to put into blogging this evening.......

Meet Michael Lewis.....Kindergarten graduate!

Yep it snowed. It was beautiful and cold.

Fred Lobster:

The best pasture race in East Texas. (Probably the only one.) Mike flipped the car. I missed it because I was watching Michael be a big boy in line at the port-o-potty...turned around and Mike's car is upside down....turned around and Michael is gone (thankfully IN the port-o-potty)....turned around and Mike was flipped back over......turned back around and bubbie was safe at my side. Whew....emotional!

A New Kitchen!:

And it is beautiful. All done by Mike (with a little assistance from his special helpers...) It is beautiful (have I said that already). Mike did a great job.

Visiting Granny:

We went down to Palacios to see Granny (Mike's Mom) during spring break. The kids did great and had a good time. It was a very nice visit. We even got to see Aunt Jo.

Easter Egg Hunting and Dying:

Sister didn't like the the dying part. We went up to the church to hunt eggs. (Yep I said church - we go now) After the easter egg hunt we stayed and had a picnic on the grounds by the lake. We had a wonderful visit with the Cooley family.

Sister's spring program:

Red is an apple, Red is a rose, Red is a stop sign and a funny clown nose. I know that's what she said because she is still repeating it. (I couldn't tell what they were saying while on stage). Ms. Ko-Ko is a great singer!!

Cubs T-ball:

Go Team. First time for baseball. Luckily, we were "drafted" by a guy from church so we knew several of the boys playing and even had friends for Katelynn during the games (little sisters). Michael had some good games. He slid almost everytime he crossed the plate. The rules are a little different than regular baseball (all boys bat each inning, but if you are thrown out you go back to the dugout) but perfect for our first year. Thanks to Coach Brad for being SO VERY PATIENT!!

Daddy's Birthday:

Happy Birthday to my love. I am so blessed. See, I am smiling just typing about him!

Michael's Frog:

This is only being blogged about because I got some great pictures. We found this in the cattle trough a.k.a. swimming pool. Both the kids were in the "pool" until sister saw the frog. She got out REAL quick. Michael played with him until I convinced him that he could not keep him. Katelynn was glad when he hopped off so she could get back in.

Kindergarten Graduation:

Yep. We made it. All the way through Kindergarten. He can read! And spell. It is amazing. Thank you to Mrs. Gazette.


Nine fabulous years. Utterly speechless. Blessed beyond measure.

Lake Day:

Now caught up. This is from this Sunday. Our family spent the morning on the boat. The boys rode the tube and we had fun swimming.

Swimming Lessons:

Day one: Ms. Laurie asked me to be G-O-N-E so maybe the kids would stop screaming and participate in the lesson. Five minutes later she needed me to chase down Michael and get him back to the pool. Thank you to Ms. Amanda for helping drag both back to the pool. Lots of apologies to Ms. Laurie as we left with her reassurance that we would be okay.

Day two: Sister not able to make it. (She has a sore again and the doctor advised that she not swim.....if she wasn't 3 I would think she paid the doctor to say convenient!!) So, it's just Michael. Lots of pep talking on the way. Head goes under. No crying. (WHAT?!?) Face in the water for a count to 5. (WHAT?!?) "Mom, watch me go under." (WHAT?!?) Who is this kid and do I have to give him back? He was so very proud of him self. It even lasted until bath time.

Now, if you have ever been around my children during bath time or splash play in the back yard, you know that we have to have a towel handy to get the water off. Not no more. Not today. Not even at bath time. (WHAT?!?)

Michael was so pumped he had to take a deep bath so he could show his daddy how good he could do it. (Never seen his daddy so proud!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blog for February

My computer is in the shop. Geek squad called Corey to let him know it was ready. Until I pick it up, here is my blog for February.....Happy Corey???

It's snowing today. It's cold. Ate lunch with dad at the rehab hospital. He needs a haircut. Will blog more when I get my computer back.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Winter Wonderland

A few weeks ago it was really really cold here. In order to keep the pipes from freezing, my fabulous husband kept the waterhose spraying and made a winter wonderland beside the house. Michael and Katelynn loved it and had a great time. I hope every one stayed warm and is ready for the warmer weather.

Daddy showed Michael how to eat them....but warned against yellow ones!

So, it looks like I only took pics of Michael during the Winter Wonderland Celebration. I promise we let her play also. I think I took these pictures while she was napping.
If you listen (turn up your speakers) you can hear him singing a little tune to himself in this video.

Michael, Katelynn, and I worked on the garden Sunday. We pulled weeds and tilled up the dirt. It turns out, my tilling and hoeing muscles are not used on a regular basis. I was sweating and huffing and puffing. We found several snails and doodle bugs, a frog, a skink, fire ants (found me acutally), 4 onions, and the strawberry plant (it survived woo-hoo).

My neighbor (Lorelei's mom) has inspired me to really pay attention to the garden. I will be blogging more about the garden. I am going to actually take advantage of the great space Mike created and really go for it. I will do it...just like blogging....I will do it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

All Grown Up

Uncle Corey graduated from the University of Texas at Tyler on December 11, 2009. We are very proud. I have lots of pictures, but it turns out...none of them were very good. I am sure it is the camera, not me. But I did want to upload at least one picture to show the "world" how proud I am of Corey's accomplisment. With the year we had, it is even more of an accomplishment.

Contrats Corey. You make us all very proud. I just wish you could have helped with the Gingerbread house!