Monday, December 22, 2008

On the 22nd Day of December....

....My day went something like this:
8 children playing
500 interruptions
345 cookies baked
24 cups of water
16 cups of Hawaiian Punch
5 bowls of Honey Combs
4 bowls of Mac-N-Cheese
4 bowls of spaghetti-Os
1 PBJ (sung like 5 golden rings)
2 bags of pretzels
Several bowls of Cheeze Nips
and a busted forehead on my son Shane.

Despite the chaos in my house today (and let me tell you there was major chaos) I managed to bake probably over 345 cookies (that doesn't count the cookies that those 8 children ate)! I had one of the most productive days ever. (Did I mention that I did two loads of laundry and had to run my dishwasher by 1:00pm!)I am very very sore....must get heating pad....I'll be back with another post tomorrow! Here are some pictures of my day!
This is what happens when we play with sticks!

Lots and Lots of cookies! These are just a few...I didn't have much time to take pictures today...I wonder why?

OH! And it wouldn't be a day with the Engels if we didn't get a shot of some strange critter. Here we have a lizard caught in the act of eating lunch. Lovely huh? Lizard eats worm! What fun!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Empty Mall

It sure is a sign of the times when you can walk into the mall two weeks before Christmas and step right up to Santa and chat for a few minutes without anyone telling you to hurry and without having had to wait for an hour just to get a glimpse. True! The boys and I made our annual trip to the mall to see Santa, buy a few gifts and get a ride on the train and eat some ice cream. The boys each told Santa about one thing they wanted for Christmas. Shane of course had to ask Santa all of the hard questions......"Do you know Jesus?", "Did you fly over our house the other day to see if we were good or bad?" "Are you the real Santa?" We had a blast!
Ok, these are some of the AMAZING gingerbread houses that we voted on! Very Cool!

Ice Cream! YUM! I had the chance to talk to the lady in charge of the train ride and she said that many people have had their hours cut way back this year. People are just not shopping this year. Perhaps because so many do not have jobs, or are just struggling to make ends meet. My pastor spoke on shifting our focus to Christ's Presence this Christmas instead of Christmas presents. It was a great sermon...reminds us to put into perspective the real reason why we celebrate this season! So, bravo my young Shane in reminding Santa by asking..."Do you know Jesus?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Acts of Service

It is the season of giving after all. Our police and service men and women give to us 24 hours a day 365 days a year. To show our appreciation, my children, along with some of their homeschool friends, had the opportunity to decorate the New Smyrna Police department for Christmas. We have done this for the past two years and it always makes my kids feel so wonderful. Here are a few pictures from this event. Above is my little Santa...clever huh?...his idea of course...he looks kind of cute in his brother's glasses...and yes that is a wash cloth in his mouth - how else could one make a beard in a flash!

Brendan and Shane are just thrilled that this officer didn't put them into the holding cell! :)

We made homemade ornaments....the snowflakes were made by the Engel boys.

Below we are just hanging with the Henrys! Ty and Faith are our dear friends. We are doing the same curriculum for homeschooling. It is great to have such a wonderful support system so close by! I am grateful for opportunities for my children to give back, and for the service men and women who give every day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

18 Years and Still Going Strong

18 years of marriage that is. I married Michael D. Engel 18 years ago today. I still cannot believe it has been that long. That is an adult life....I could be the mom of an adult (that is a huge thought when your oldest is only 7).....I feel quite old right now. Not really! Age is relative anyway. So, on December 15, 1990 I vowed to love and to cherish this man who is still my very best friend. I feel immensely blessed that the Lord saved this treasure of a man for me. We met in September of 1989, started dating in February of 1990, engaged June of 1990 and married December 1990. Whew...but other than accepting Christ as my Savior, it was the best decision I have ever made. We were married at my home church in Pennington NJ. It was beautifully decorated already with Christmas wreaths, white lights and poinsettias. My photographer had said that I was the most calm bride he had ever shot. Indeed I was calm, this was an easy "I do" for me. Michael had been everything I had ever dreamed a husband would be. He loved the Lord with all of his heart, he loved his family, and he honored me with every word he had ever spoken to me or about me. In those important things, he has not changed one bit. He still tells me that asking me to marry him was the one thing he knows he did absolutely right.

We have weathered many storms together, that have indeed brought us closer together. He was there for me when my father died, he even helped care for him during his last hours. We traveled the road of infertility for 10 long years. My husband endured tests, and was a champ at administering shots for 6 of those years. He worked full time and put us both though the remaining years of college. He cried and held me through the loss of 14 babies to heaven as we endured miscarriage after miscarriage and failed procedure after failed procedure. He wept and prayed for my recovery as I almost died giving birth to my twins. He cared for those babies while I was in and out of a coma for 4 days in the hospital. He has remained my rock on this earth and has always been the one to rescue me whenever I am in need of rescuing. He has been an amazing, hands on father, teaching my boys love and life. He is one of the most humble people I have ever met. He is so intelligent, so strong in his faith and convictions, so forgiving, so loving, so mine!

On December 12th we celebrated by double dating with another couple. Two of our dearest friends in Florida...Don and Linda Bradley. We were so honored that they would say yes to celebrating with us. It is such a gift from God to be able to find friends (couples) that click in every way with you (you know how it is...not only are the wives great friends, but the husband are as well...that is pretty special). The Bradleys have become like family to us. We couldn't imagine enjoying such an important event without them. We had such a great time together. Here we are at Bubba Gumps.

So, I look forward to the rest of our lives together. Growing old (or older), raising our boys, enjoying each others company until Jesus takes us home. Ask any of my girl friends and they will tell you, no one compares to Mike Engel. Thank you Lord for gifting me with this priceless treasure of a man whom I have the honor of calling my husband. Thank you that he shines Your light and love to all who meet him. Thank you Lord for loving me so much that you would cause such a union. I pray that you would bless my husband. Continue to mold him and make him into the man you have called him to be. I pray that he would prosper in every good work Lord and that you would open the floodgates of heaven and pour out your blessing upon him in Christ Jesus. Thank you Lord for your clear definition of love: Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, love does not boast, love is not proud, love is not rude, love always trusts, love always never fails.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

Christmas! Yea!! One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to play Christmas music. Then the next day we decorate our tree. This event is loaded with tradition (and we all know how much I LOVE tradition!). Since we were married on December 15th our wedding and one of our showers were loaded with Christmas ornaments. My mother-in-law made ornaments for our favors at our wedding. Every year since Mike was born, his Mom had purchased an ornament for him. She must have done this until I married him. For our first Christmas together as a couple, Mike had a box of ornaments from his past. Very special. Every ornament means something special to him. We decided to carry on this tradition of ornament giving when we got married. Every single year we would purchase an ornament for each other and one for us together. When we had children, we passed that on to them. Now, every year, their Meme gives them an ornament, and so do we and we also get a family ornament.

Many of my Christmas traditions come from spending so many of our Christmases with the Jonas family. Ornaments have always meant something special to them too and they are full of tradition in that home as well. When we decorate our tree we talk about every single ornament before it is placed on the tree. We remember who gave it to us and talk about the memories we share with those people. It is a very special time in our home.

Last year Kyle placed the angel on the tree, this year it was Shane's year. It is a huge deal! (I don't know why, but we play it up as some great honor!) So Shane was thrilled this year!

So now our stocking are hung.....also each stocking is very special (each one has a story behind it)!

And my PartyLite is on display! (one of the perks of being a former consultant!)

See, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We are just missing the salt...frosted windows....gray ice....ummmm.....we are not missing those things (just the white snow, sometimes) We love our palm trees and ocean!