Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

A Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Blur...

Little Trenor is now two weeks old! And what a very full two weeks that has been for our family! Of course, spending time with Josh, Abbey, Bella and Trenor was high priority! But mixed in with it all were a few other events that required our attention as well.

Friday evening, December 4th, we had the fun of taking part in a local town's annual "Victorian Christmas" celebration. It was very cold, but fun and memorable!

There was a parade, carolers, and other festivities around town, but our job was to demonstrate a few old English dances.
We got together 8 couples from our church (including the young gents picture above) and put a few dances to well known Christmas tunes and danced in the center of the town square!
Like I said, it was a very cold evening, and we were grateful to be able to hang out indoors for part of the time!

The rest of that weekend and most of the next week was occupied with this little guy and his family. Abbey and Trenor were able to return home from the hospital on Sunday afternoon, December 6. Thank you to all of you were praying for her! Aside from lingering weakness and the standard weariness of having a 2 week old (and 11 month old!), Abbey is doing very well now.
Bella is thrilled with her new little brother and loves him very much!
But while all that excitement was going on at home, I (Jessica) was off galavanting about the country! On Saturday, Dec. 5, Dad and I headed out to Omaha, NE for an ordination service at one of our sister churches. Dad returned home on Monday morning, but I stayed out there with the Kayser family until Tuesday when I rode with them down to Cincinnati, OH (or actually, across the river in KY) for a conference on the Sufficiency of Scripture.

I had been invited down to help out at the conference, so I got to spend the weekend working alongside this great group of ladies! It was a very enjoyable blessing to get to know them all better (we had all at least met before). I also had the opportunity to visit with others of the attendees and came home refreshed in spirit, but rather in need of a few extra hours of sleep!
I also got to know the Kayser family better as they hosted me in Omaha and as we spent many hours in the van together! Thank you SO MUCH, Kaysers - for the meals, the lodging, the transportation, your warm hospitality, your encouraging conversations... I greatly appreciated it all!
After dropping me off at home, the Kaysers spent all day Sunday with us before we finally said farewell on Monday morning (we are up to Dec. 14th, now).
But before we parted, Ben finally won a game of Quarto! Congratulations! :-)
So that brings us up to this week. And this week has been full of fulfilling our "duties" as aunts, uncles, and grandparents; final music lessons before Christmas break; counting down the days until Jonathan is back home (only 7 left!); Strufoli making; Christmas shopping and other gift preparations; trying to finalize plans for the various events of the next two weeks; and I don't know what else, but it seems to have flown by quickly without many spare moments! But, of course, when "busy" is related to "family" it's a good busy!

Friday, December 04, 2009

It's a Boy!

Just after 11:00pm, last night, Josh & Abbey welcomed into their arms a dear little boy:

Trenor Jonathan Erber
Dec. 3, 2009
8lbs, 10oz

We are SO excited to welcome another little guy into our family!

Trenor is a Gaelic name meaning, "A man; the termination of fear; very brave; valiant."

Baby Blue

A little package arrived last night that has made everyone quite happy around here...

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Family Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

We may have had only a small crowd this year, but we still had PLENTY of food to feast upon!!

After a quieter - but still full - Thanksgiving Day, we enjoyed relaxing all evening, but when Friday morning came, we got back to work!

As of right now, Saturday evening, autumn and Thanksgiving decorations have been gathered and packed up; winter and Christmas decorations delved into and then paused; leftovers consumed (last of the pie disappeared this afternoon); plans for next week suggested and committed to (did we just say yes?); the living room has been repainted (walls and trim); the fragrance of pine is beginning to mingle with the smell of turkey soup and cover up the paint fumes; laundry has been done; floors are being vacuumed; furniture is being dusted and put back in place; some decorating has been resumed... The day set aside nationally for Thanksgiving may be over, but while we work we are still finding so much to give thanks to the Lord for - not the least of which are closely related to home and family! We are blessed!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Church Thanksgiving

On Sunday, November 15, our church hosted a few other area churches for an afternoon and evening of thanksgiving, celebration, and fellowship! The Lord truly blessed our time together and I'm thinking that we'll have to do something like it again!
Each church brought a few things to present - mostly music related, and some requiring young musicians to step onto stage, while others had "retired" musicians pulling out their instruments again!

Our church opened the time of celebration by singing "Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah" together. We closed with a time of prayer for our country, our churches, our families, and those present that evening.

Of course, after the "program" we moved to the fellowship hall for a few hours of visiting, eating, dancing, chatting, etc... It was a very special and enjoyable time, and we enjoyed building closer ties with certain churches, and building new relationships with others. Praise the Lord for the community of believers!

Doughnut Days

Yup! It's time again for our annual tradition: Doughnut Day!! This year we had to really work to squish it in to everyone's schedules, but yesterday afternoon we did get it in. All the ladies and children came over and we made cider-glazed-pumpkin-doughnuts! Mmmmmm....

Actually, while it is overall a fun day, it is really characterized by the constant requirement to exercise self-control. To some degree, anyway. Like, only eating a dozen, not two dozen, doughnuts. And it is an exercise in child supervision - making sure they eat only one, not two, dozen...

But doughnuts make everyone smile, so they are hard to resist!

Hmmm. I get the sense from looking at this picture, that Josiah might have just grabbed a fresh, hot, glazed doughnut as he walked by!

Long day, and a tummy full of doughnuts - I think someone looks ready for bed!

Autumn Fun

This post is out of order, but I didn't get around to posting it before we left for the wedding, so here it is now! Josh & Abbey hosted a fall "Saturday Special" for our church and it was so much fun! They've organized a few of these through out the year, and have done a great job with each one. This time it was held "indoors" at the Geaschel's barn.

There was cider making, donut making, ping-pong, carpet ball, volleyball, crafts and coloring, and just plain ol' fun visiting through the afternoon hours.

Even "indoors" it was pretty cold that day so everyone stayed pretty well bundled up!

Of course, with a ping-pong table and a crowd we had to play "Around the World!" :)

Despite the chilly temps, Bella had fun, too!

Then, after a big chili dinner, came the "organized activities." Basically, Josh stood on stage and said "I need three volunteers" or "I need 4 Dads" or "3 ladies" or whatever combination he wanted. Then, after you were on stage, you were given your assignment. :-)

There was a pie eating contest, a "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" race, various ensembles given select instruments (balloons, recorder, trombone, kazoo, etc.), and other creative assignments. My favorite was the four dads that had to put together and perform a ballet routine for us. Absolutely classic!

And then, of course, there was a sing-a-long. Due to weather, it wasn't around a campfire, but we still sang campfire songs! Thanks so much, Josh & Abbey, for all the work you did in planning and hosting that day! We all had an unforgettable time and have a larger store of great memories with our church family!!! :-)

Of course, how could we title a post "Autumn Fun" without including a picture of leaves... or trees missing their leaves!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Steven & Rebecca's Wedding

(Photo credit: Tiffany McDonald)

Friday, November 6, 2009, found us in St. Louis, Missouri for a wedding! What a privilege to attend and take part in the solemnities and festivities of the day! However, we were not merely celebrant observers. The Servens honored us by again asking us to come down and prepare the feast for a daughter's wedding! We figured if they can handle two weddings in one year, so can we! :-) You will have to look elsewhere for pictures of the ceremony and reception. We came home with a camera loaded with kitchen pictures!
We drove down on Wednesday and settled into our accomodations that evening. On Thursday, festivities began. So did the work. Thursday evening the guys headed over to the church to help with set-up and decorating, and Mom, Joanna and I spent 4+ hours in the kitchen prepping the beef. We were not left to trudge through our work alone, however. A sociable young man with a camera kept us smiling - in exchange for just a few samplings of the roast. You know, the odd end pieces that can't be served...
We also prepared the "au jus" the night before, and, frankly, the only way to really tell if it is seasoned properly is to smell it.

Friday morning arrived quickly and we were off to the church to prepare the feast in the larger kitchen on site. I soon found myself staring at their stove space, their stock-pots, and 110lbs of green beans. It was time to move from theories to practice and get all this food cooked in the remaining hours before the ceremony.
At the same time, Mrs. Young was directing a crew of young ladies in the preparation of over 40 apple and pumpkin pies! All created fresh, and completely from scratch!

I can personally attest that the results were as yummy as they looked!

The biggest challenge cooking for a crowd that size (400+), is simply the amount of space it takes to prepare and store the required quantities!

Washing and chopping mushrooms for the gravy, washing and slicing radishes for the salad...
Demonstrating knife skills....

Wondering where I'll fit the rest of the green beans...
Dare I confess that I was rather nervous at times during the day regarding both the timing and taste of the meal? The Lord was very gracious, however, and everything turned out fairly well and was hot (or cold!) at the right time!
The reception was lovely, and the staff of servers much appreciated!
At both Beth and Rebecca's weddings we have had the opportunity to get to know and work alongside new friends. What a blessing that has been!
The day was lovely - in every respect - and in all things the Lord was magnified! To Him be the glory! God bless you, Steven and Rebecca, as you now serve Him together!