Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Wonderful Christmas

We kicked our week off making sugar cookies to leave out for Santa (and for us of course!). That same day Grammie and Poppy arrived from West Virginia. It was a great week of cooking and eating, and cooking and eating, and cooking and eating, and then an outing or two. One outing was to a old historic mill called Clifton Mill to see Christmas lights.

It was beautiful! The white lights twinkled to look like water running into the stream below. There was a light show and a HUGE village to admire, Santa's workshop to see, and a monster line for hot chocolate...we just hit Tim Horton's on the way home.

The family going through the covered bridge.

On Christmas Eve, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner, the bible story, and songs. And then Joel kicked off an old Thorson family tradition of the kids performing a Christmas pageant. Anna was Mary, Asher was Joseph, and Jesse was the angel using a flashlight to shine the glory of God on baby Jesus. As you can see we had many animals at the scene, including a crocodile, turtle, monkey, and an unknown Dr. Suess creation.

Then the kids get to open one present, which is always pajamas. Sounds boring but they love it! Here they are ready for bed, but they stayed up pretty late waiting for Santa to come.

Christmas morning was lovely. Having kids makes the morning so much more exciting! It was such a joy to see their faces with each gift they opened. Jesse could not enjoy a gift until every piece of wrapping paper was properly removed.

Anna received the "big big big big big big big" dollhouse she has been wanting.

And Asher got his remote control helicopter. Can you tell that he is happy?

Is was a wonderful Christmas together. Now we are enjoying the company of Joel's parents and will bask in the after glow of a special time before the break is over, the decorations come down, and everyone returns to school.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa, Ballet, and Casts...Oh My!

We have had quite an eventful week! Well, I guess every week leading up to Christmas is usually eventful. Thankfully the Christmas shopping is done, cards are in the mail, and the decorations are up. Now we can just focus on enjoying each other as a family as we bake, due crafts, and count down the days as we remember the reason for the season.

Our weekend kicked off with breakfast with Santa at Chick-Fil-A. I know it sounds silly but it was awesome! They had 4 crafts for the kids to do, coloring, a yummy breakfast, unlimited time with Santa, and of course a fun playground! It was a wonderful morning. Anna was a little timid at first but by the end of our time there she kept running back to sit on his lap and tell him more things that she wanted. Her list is never ending!

Jesse LOVED Santa and the Santa Cow. Here he is trying to feed the Santa Cow his candy cane. Jesse would have sat there all day talking to the cow.

The same day Anna had her Holiday ballet performance. She did wonderful, even with with her broken arm (more on that below). She loves being on stage and performing. And Asher was so thoughtful and wanted to buy her flowers to give to her after the show.

So the first broken bone to the Thorson kids goes to Anna! Even though she has a long Christmas list, a broken arm was not on that list. We were playing at a friends house. The kids were in the basement. Anna was sitting on the basement stairs talking to the other kids (about halfway down the stairs). The rail for the stairs is really high. Anna somehow just lost her balance and fell over the side of the stairs. As soon as I saw her arm, I knew and we were on our way to the ER. The first few days were quite painful for her and she was really sad, but now she is running around with us chasing her saying "don't do that!", "be careful", "stop wrestling with your brothers!". Pink was the color choice for her cast and she loves having everyone sign it. I know she will still have her miserable days but we are so thankful for her resilience!

So whether your holiday season is going as planned or not, we hope you all find the time to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ and what that gift means for you. Even if you are stressed or consumed with trials unexpected, His message is still the same and it is good news! That He came to earth to save us, the greatest gift ever given. Thank you Jesus! Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Baby Sprinkle

Meet some of my wonderful new friends that I have made here in Ohio. About 2 weeks ago, they got together and threw a baby "sprinkle" for me and our friend Cheyna. Cheyna's baby is due 2 weeks before mine. I felt so blessed to be pregnant with #4, in a new place, and to have friends shower such love on me. Our little girl got some new clothes, diapers, wipes, and all the essentials. I got an evening of wonderful company and CHEESECAKE at the Cheesecake Factory (cheesecake is one of my favorite things).

So excited to get a winter jacket for the little one! She won't be running around in just diapers like Jesse got to do in Hawaii.

Me and Cheyna

Me at 32 weeks, Cheyna at 34 weeks

My heart seems to break with every move the military sends us on. I am always so sad about leaving such dear friends and a life I have grown to love. We were so blessed in Massachusetts and the Lord amazed me with the blessings he continued to bestow in Hawaii. Even though I know the bible's words are true, I struggled with the hope of good things to come when moving time rolls around. Our life has been living proof to me that as long as we are in His will, His blessings will come. No, there is no sailing here, no "corner or torture" work out group, beaches and good weather all year long, neighbors to have coffee with every day. But in a few short months, we have fallen in love with our church and been surrounded by a church family, schools and teachers that our kids love , an amazing house, and TRUE friends that have entered our lives. God is good and I will follow Him all my of my days.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Let it Snow

The Christmas spirit definitely arrived with the 1st snowfall! In Hawaii, it was often hard to get in the winter mood of decorating and cookie baking. Needless to say, despite the bitter cold days, we have enjoyed the arrival of winter and the new joys it has brought the kids. We had a great time putting our tree up while drinking hot chocolate (and not sweating!). The kids loved putting up their ornaments, hearing the stories of when and why they got them, and I have had a hard time stopping myself from moving Jesse's little clump at the bottom of the tree.

The snow and bitter cold (15 degree weather) have not stopped in a week. The kids beg to go outside everyday and even Jesse has gotten in on the fun. Our backyard has a perfect little hill for sledding. We have been borrowing a friend's sled...boogie boards don't work that well. I guess we need to invest in some sleds!

Jesse had to shed his mittens and play with bubbles. They were one of his potty training prizes. Yes, that is right ladies and gentlemen. We survived potty training this week! I am happy to say that we are now diaper free for the next, oh, 6 weeks. WOO HOO!

These are Asher and Anna's letters to Santa Claus. Adorable!

And then we mailed them at the nice mailbox in Macy's. They were ecstatic!

And this picture doesn't really fit in with the rest but deserves a spot anyways! Asher swam 2 races in his swim meet this past weekend. He got 8th place in the 25 meter freestyle and improved his time by 1 second. Then he swam the 25 meter backstroke during which Joel and I sat there with our jaws on the floor. He won his heat and placed 2nd overall of 11 kids, missing 1st place overall by hundreds of a second! He has carried his ribbons around for days, so proud of himself. We again are just so overwhelmed by his joy and confidence in swimming. May the blessings continue to come down with the snowflakes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


We spent Thanksgiving in Watertown, WI with Joel's family. The company was great, the food was fantastic, and the days flew by in a whirlwind of hotel pool swimming, games, football, kid chaos, shopping, and the movie Tangled. and yes, by shopping, I mean Black Friday shopping. I like to spend Black Friday snuggled up in my bed but Joel and his dad were out at 4am snapping up good deals. The kids were very sad to lose their constant playmates at the end of the week. It was truly a time to be thankful for. Well, I wasn't too thankful for the 20 to 30 degree weather. I felt frozen to the bone! It is going to be a long winter :).

However I am thankful for the find of fuzzy Crocs at a local 1 get 1 free!! Asher has refused to stop wearing his Crocs despite the drop in temperature. He was ecstatic when we brought these home! Now maybe shoes will be tolerable to my Hawaii children.

and then December 1st brought the first snow of the season. Anna and Asher were outside at 7am shouting with joy. Asher ran out the door on his way to school exclaiming "This is the best day ever!". Neither one of them have any memory of seeing snow before so it is awful exciting.

As soon as they finished their homework, they were out the door making snow angels (notice in fuzzy Crocs, and not boots). I can't wait to see their faces when there is enough to really play in. Notice Jesse is nowhere to be seen. He liked to watch the snow but once a flake landed on him, he screamed and ran inside. I wonder if he will warm up to the joy of playing in it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Truly Thankful

This has been our project for the month of November, counting down the days until Thanksgiving. Everyday we each write down what we are thankful for. My hope was that when Thanksgiving came, the kids would have a grasp on what we were celebrating. It has been a great exercise for all of us! However there have been days where I sit and stare at my note card frustrated with the disobedience, fights between siblings, dirty laundry, dirty diapers, lack of sleep, and strain to think of something that I am thankful for that day. Then I heard a story shared at MOPS about being thankful. This mother was frustrated with her son. They lived on a farm and every day he came in, took his shoes off, and left a pile of hay where he striped off his jacket and shoes from working on the farm. Every day she scolded him to clean up his pile of hay and wondered why he could never take the initiative to do it. Then her son went on a church youth group outing to Kings Island. 64 Children/teenagers, 3 chaperons, and a bus driver. Coming back late that night, a drunk driver crossed the median and crashed into the gas tank of the bus setting it on fire. The door to the bus jammed. All adults and 24 children died that day, but that woman's son did not. It was devastating to that church and all their families. That mother came in to her house later that week, saw the pile of hay on the floor, and fell to her knees thanking God for her pile of hay because it could have ended differently for her. I left that MOPS meeting truly changed at my outlook of thankfulness. I am thankful for the 2am interruptions, dirty diapers, laundry that never ends, snotty noses, shoes and clothes not put away, and constant need for my attention because I am thankful for each of my children and what they have added to my life. I will take the good with the bad and praise God each day he gives them to me! I pray that you too have truly found a heart of thanksgiving as we celebrate this wonderful holiday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


New Swimsuit: $27, Monthly Swim Team Fee: $60
Yearly Membership Fees: $300
Watching Asher compete in his 1st swim meet with such joy and confidence:
I would pay it all over again. Many of you know that Asher doesn't have the competitive spirit that Joel and I has been a long road for Joel and I in learning how to parent him without "exasperating" him, to accept him for who is is and let go of our expectations of what we thought every boy would be like. Asher break danced in the corner of the field during soccer games, drew in the sand during tee-ball games, ran the opposite direction during football-every time just wanting to sit on the side and cheer. So we decided to take a break from sports until he pointed us in the direction he wanted to go. Since he was a fish in Hawaii, we thought "hey, maybe he would like a swim team". He LOVES his swim team. We have been so blessed with patient and encouraging coaches, a sport that builds Asher up every time he goes to practice, and a whole new family for Asher. We joined with he commitment not to force him to compete...when he was ready, he was ready, and the coaches were OK with that too. The first time he dove off the block and swam the length of the pool without touching the lane lines (in a practice), the entire team (even the high school kids) stopped their practice and chanted Asher's name until his hand touched the other side. I have never seen him so proud and a team so unified. Asher isn't focused on beating the kid in the lane next to him. He is focused on getting better every time he gets in the pool. Well, the 1st swim meet arrived and he didn't want to compete. Fine. We just wanted to take him so he could see what a swim meet even was. The 1st night he saw kids his age competing and said to me "I want to swim. I want to do this. I can do this. Please let me swim." I was dumbfounded and both Joel and I thought about talking him out of it, thinking he isn't ready! But his coaches encouraged us to let him do it if he wanted to try. So we signed him up last minute and all rallied by the pool as he went out to swim his 1st competition in the 25 meter freestyle for ages 6 and under. That morning he ran out the door at 7am like he was going to see Santa Claus. I have never seen such joy and anticipation, and confidence, in Asher's face. And he did it! He dove in, swam his heart out, and reach the other side in 39 seconds. He finished 9th of 13 kids and is so proud. I get tears in my eyes every time I think about it. Next time he says he will be faster and I believe it!

Asher on the left listening for the starting whistle.

Half way there!

Finishing strong!

I said "Asher I took pictures of you to show everyone."
Asher: "Probably not very many because I swam so fast!"
GO ASHER! We are so proud of you.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Here we are in Ohio enjoying a fall like we haven't done in years. It has been fun going on hayrides, pumpkin picking, tackling corn mazes, and experiencing the change in weather. However with fall always comes the Halloween holiday. Neither Joel nor I celebrated Halloween growing up and every year I find myself struggling with the holiday-to celebrate or not to celebrate. I pray and pray and have never felt the conviction not to celebrate but this year was at a loss for words on why we choose to celebrate. Every other holiday points to Christ in our traditions, but what does Halloween point to? I know it is a super fun holiday, but it can be intended for evil. So how do we still enjoy it and point our kids in the right direction? My amazing husband was filled with wisdom this year and did a wonderful job of answering the "why" questions, and now I feel we have a footing on our Halloween traditions. Every night at bedtime as the harvest festivals came, and costume shopping and anticipation built, Joel would talk to them about how fun it was to dress up and imitate characters we love but we do this once a year...every day we should be imitators of God and live a life of love. We do this because of Christ's example and it is the bible's instruction for us to do so. Ephesians 5:1-2 says "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." As we carved pumpkins, we talked about how we resemble the pumpkins, needing our insides scraped clean of all the messy stuff. Then Jesus gave us a light inside and a new face so others could see the light. So as we followed our toy story characters through the neighborhood, I know why Halloween originated, and that it is not a "holy" holiday, but I believe we can still use it to point our kids to Him.

Our Toy Story family ready to trick or treat.

Carving Pumpkins.

Then going to the Grafton Hill Pumpkin Glow...450 jack-0-lanterns lit at dusk.

It was super cool!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Anna's Fancy Nancy Soiree

Anna wanted a Fancy Nancy birthday party to celebrate turning 5. I am never one to back down from planning a birthday hoopla, and we were all excited for the big day to finally arrive!

Even the boys got fancy for the occasion. Anna wanted only girls at her party but loved that her brothers dressed up for her. Asher was even super helpful playing the "butler". He answered the door, put presents were they belonged, and served food to all the girls. He was great!

Fancy Anna

Once all the fancy guests arrived, we read a Fancy Nancy book, had make overs, and they each received a goody bag with items to dress up for a fashion show. The moms loved this part and all cheered for the girls as they took their walk down the red carpet.

All lined up for the fashion show.

Anna's walk down the red carpet.

Then we had a fancy table spread complete with pink punch, heart shaped sandwiches and chocolate covered strawberries. The girls were hilarious trying to drink with their pinkies in the air and saying "ooh-la-la"! Jesse just sucked the chocolate off the strawberries.

"Happy birthday dear Anna!"

A group photo. Anna was one happy little girl. I spent the rest of the day with my feet up-I was exhausted! But wish she could stay 5 and be playing Fancy Nancy forever.
Happy Birthday sweet Anna!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

VT Weekend

Joel and I were able to have this past weekend away to Blacksburg, VA without kids! My parents graciously took them and everyone had a good time. This is how we found the kids at midnight when we arrived back at my parent's house. Joel and I were just as tired! But were super refreshed after such an amazing weekend.

We left my parent's house at 4:40 am so that we could arrive in Blacksburg bright and early. I may have been a little crabby but then we stopped at this beautiful rest stop. Some of you may know the story but this is the place where Joel proposed to me...long story but we get a chuckle out of it. As I was getting my coffee inside at Starbucks at 6:30 am, I wanted to say to the server "Right there is where my husband got down on one knee and proposed (yes, after I came out of the restroom being sent on a scavenger hunt for my ring, which was on a toilet!)" but held back. Then on we drove to Virginia Tech where we watched the fog coming off the New River as we drove alongside it at dawn-it was gorgeous!

We hit gold by scalping tickets from some little boys on the corner. Two tickets for $50-FRONT ROW tickets on the 30 yard line!! They were the best seats ever! It was a perfect football day and we were able to see the Highty Tighties (the regimental band that Joel and I were both in) perform-on the field in this picture. The Hokies won (WOO HOO!), and then we walked around our old Alma mater reminiscing. Then someone asked us where a building was and we felt like big dorks because we couldn't remember!

We spent the rest of Saturday with our dear friends Caryn and Scott Davis. Caryn was one of my roommates my senior year when I got my first apartment. It was great seeing them after so many years and meeting their son Josiah for the first time. We ate dinner at one of our old haunts and the bar in the restaurant broke out in a round of "Lets Go Hokies!". I am not sure I even heard that happen when we were in college!

The real reason we were there for the weekend was to attend Joel's cousin's wedding (Colin Fox). It was super nice for them to plan it in the area on the same weekend as a home football game! The wedding was outside on a beautiful 80 degree day, with the fall leaves and Claytor Lake as a back drop. The ceremony and reception were great and we loved seeing so many of Joel's family. This photo is the "Fox" side of the family (Joel's mom) that made it to the weddding.
All the Fox cousins who were there. Colin and Zheng Zheng were so happy-it was such a blessing to be a part of their day.
And here is my baby bump at 25 weeks. I thought it was a good time to take a picture since I actually looked nice. Still so far to go!