Monday, April 25, 2011

Celebrating the Resurrection 2011

We had a very eventful Easter weekend. It was full, busy, but so enjoyable! We love Easter and get SO excited at the thought of focusing on the fact that our Lord Jesus conquered sin and death and is alive! Our boys learned to say "Happy Easter! Jesus is Alive!" We never want them to think of Easter outside of the fact that He lives! In all our busyness, we didn't take too many pictures and though these pictures don't fully convey all of our special weekend, they will give you a glimpse...
All week long we constantly shared the Easter story with our boys through Resurrection Eggs. These are a wonderful idea for getting the beautiful Easter story across to little minds. Our boys loved the resurrection eggs I was able to put together and JJ, especially, quickly caught on and could tell me the story as each egg was opened. This was our favorite part of the Easter festivities, as it showed our little boys' minds grasping the true Easter message. We pray that soon they would truly believe and trust in the Risen Christ.
Thursday evening, our church held a special Maundy Thursday service. This was a special time of reading Scripture focused on the cross, singing hymns, and taking part in the Lord's Supper. What made it even more special for our family was that our church encouraged all kids (and babies) to remain in the service. Of course, Josh had to be up leading the service, so it was quite interesting for me to sit with my three boys in a pew, trying to keep them under control :) They did very well...for the most part...we were really proud of them and what I really enjoyed was how they observed the Lord's Supper for the first time ever. During that part of the service, all three were extremely calm, just watching and asking me a couple whispered questions. What a blessing to take part in something like that as a family.
On Saturday, our boys had an Easter Egg Hunt at our church. Unfortunately, we had a very very very rainy Easter weekend (it literally rained all weekend long), so the egg hunt had to be done inside. Our boys enjoyed it, though. There were tons of eggs for the boys. JJ started off slowly, picking which eggs he wanted to pick up (the shiny ones, the big ones...), while Eli went straight into it and stuffed his basket quickly. Either way, our boys ended up with full baskets and waaaay too much candy! :)
Eli with his buddy Jadon
The 1-2 year olds. How cute are they!?
Part of JJ's big boy group, the 3-4 year olds.
My boys too distracted with their eggs to look up for a picture :)
Sweet Noah enjoying the hotdog lunch afterwards with Michaela
That evening, we decided to introduce our boys to egg-dying. This was actually my first experience, also, so Josh was the one coaching us all through it! As he said it was "nerve-racking but very enjoyable!" I loved it and hope to make this a tradition in our home from now on. :)

Proud boys showing off their colored eggs!
After some 20 minutes, a spilled cup of dye, hands submerged in dye, and a couple cracked eggs, this was the boys' finished work! What do you think?
Easter Sunday, or as we like to call it- Resurrection Day- we gave our boys a small easter basket. Some first time candy that they got were Pop Rocks. They were a bit hesitant at first, but quickly loved it. It was so cute to watch them experience the sizzling, popping sensation in their mouths! :)

Our boys got a set of golf clubs, which they quickly wanted to play with, though Eli immediately lifted his club up like a bat and began swinging. It's funny how JJ just looks at Eli sometimes with a "what-are-you-doing-expression" :) daddy had to coach Eli.
Handsome brothers with their baskets
Little Noah also got a little something. He loved his teething book-- something made to be put in his mouth is just perfect for him right now! :)
And off to church to worship our Risen King with our wonderful church family! Here is a balcony shot of our service.
Tough-looking Eli :)
And smiley Noah
JJ does not like pictures, which makes for some interesting family pictures, as you can see below...
Maybe the best one?? Is it even possible to get a good, all eyes on the camera picture with 3 kids 3 and under?? :)
We thoroughly enjoyed our Easter celebration. What joy there is in celebrating the love, life and power in a crucified, yet living King! As the last line in our boys' favorite Easter song says, "Hallelujah, Christ Arose!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gatlinburg Winter 2011

I am finally getting to post pictures from our fun trip to Gatlinburg back in the end of January of this year. Josh was blessed with the opportunity to preach at a youth ski retreat of some dear friends' church from South Carolina. My parents and sister were able to come up and stay with us at our nice cabin for the weekend. This was doubly a blessing to me as I got help with the boys, while Josh was busy with the retreat events and preaching, and any time to get together with our family is such a joy!

Here are a few pictures of us at our cabin...

Our boys loved spending time with tia, who spoils them by allowing them to play all sorts of games on her Iphone. It's amazing how JJ can do it all by himself!
Noah had his first bath in the big tub in our cabin...
...and of course the brothers had to help out :)
This is the crowd Josh preached to this weekend
The last day before heading back home, we were able to go to the Gatlinburg Ripley's Aquarium. It was the highlight of our boys' time in Gatlinburg and it was oh so much fun for the rest of us (parents and grandparents) just to see our boys having so much fun! As soon as they walked in, they started squealing with delight and saying, "Loook! Looook!" It still makes us smile today as we recall these precious memories.
This aquarium was possibly the best one we have been to so far. It just seemed to have so many different things (at least that we hadn't seen before) and fun things for the kids to explore. Here is Pika joining in on the fun...
Lito and JJ learning about some of the many fish
Mami trying to get in on a picture, while JJ's eye caught something else...
Daddy joining in on the fun, petting the stingrays
The following pictures show just how much fun we all had at these cute aquariums filled with pretty colorful fish. You could actually crawl into the aquarium so you were in a little tunnel looking at the fish all around you! Here is JJ finding Nemo from the outside of the aquarium...
And here we all are, beginning with cute little Eli's face, exploring the fish from the inside of the aquarium...

Noah took a good long nap for the first part of our aquarium trip and then woke up to be fascinated by the lighting and shadows in the aquarium :)
Lito and Eli on the moving walkway heading into the Shark and Fish Tunnels. This was JJ's favorite part of the visit. In the picture, he is behind Lito just staring up at the big big fish :)
We took 2 little videos in the fish tunnel. Here they are:

A really dark part of the aquarium had giant crabs, and our boys loved watching them. It was really cute to hear them, especially Eli, talking to the crabs. Here is a pic and another short little video...

The penguin habitat was one of the aquarium's main attractions. I think since we went late in the afternoon, we didn't see as much penguin interaction, but it was a lot of fun to watch them. Their habitat had tunnels for kids (and adults) to crawl through in order to observe the penguins from different angles. It was so much fun for our boys...and daddy! :)
All the penguins had their names on them. Our boys especially liked Norman. Here is a close up of him and JJ watching him...

Brothers racing through the penguin tunnels
Eli being introduced to Norman :)
The stingrays were also so much fun to watch

Our firstborn, JJ, is growing up sooo fast. It amazes us especially when we see pictures of him and realize how big he is getting!
Lito with Noah at the end of our visit
Eli watching a jumping toy daddy got for them
Sorpresa para Lito y Pika...a little reminder of our fun time at the aquarium...the boys are more interested in what Pika has for them in that little bag :)
Aquarium animal Gummies!!!!
This was such a fun trip for us! Of course, traveling with 3 little ones, taking them away from their home, their beds, their schedules throws everything off and is quite difficult, but the memories we make during our travels make it all worthwhile! Can't wait for our next adventure! :)