Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. She hates that it's on New Year's Eve, but I say that she should feel honored that everyone celebrates her birthday with us. :)

In fact to celebrate this year, the whole family went to Subway for lunch before Britt and Jon headed home. Nothing says Happy Birthday like an Italian BMT. I am so thankful for my mom. I am blessed to be able to say that we have a close relationship and very few people know me as well as she does. I love living in the same city. It's so great to spend a day eating lunch and shopping together.

Not only do I love spending time with her, but she is a great example of the kind of mom I want to be. Thanks, mom, for all of your encouragement, advice, and unconditional love. I hope you know just how much you are loved! Enjoy today and "party like it's 1995!"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Life In Abundance

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Another Christmas has come and gone. And oh what a memorable Christmas it was. As I mentioned in my last post, the 3 of us got a stomach bug right before we headed to Dallas for the Keiffer Christmas festivities. We were quick to make sure we wouldn't be contagious by the time we left on Friday. As far as we know, we weren't. However, there must be some nastiness going around because Mark, Tammy, Josh, & Jared all got the stomach flu. In that order. Nevertheless, we were able to enjoy some fun family time despite the viruses and a teething Austin. On Christmas Day, we headed back down to San Antonio after lunch to spend the evening with my family. It was another special time and many memories were made. Here's a quick look at our celebrations. (The first few are a little small since they were emailed :) )

Luke and little A: quite possibly my favorite pic of them so far!

New bike! Thanks, Grammy & Pops.

Playin' with Aunt Lindsay :)

A big thanks to Aunt Lindsay & Uncle Jared for the new toolbench!

Cute couple :)

Me & my sweetie celebrating our 4th Christmas together as a married couple

The whole family

Leave me alone, Mom. I'm teething and I'm grumpy!

Hangin' out with the great grandparents

Opening gifts with Grammy

Future rockband star! Gotta love the no pants look :)

I am sad to say that I didn't get many pictures from the Bauerlein Christmas festivities. The fact that I was exhausted after our drive home might have had something to do with it. That's okay, though, I have plenty of other family pictures. However, I did muster enough energy to capture one of the many funny moments while opening gifts. Claire was sweet enough to get each of her brothers a gift. The only problem was that she only had 2 bags to wrap them in.

Pink and purple. Perfect colors for these 2 boys, don't ya think?! Excellent choice, Claire!

I have to admit that Christmas has been a little more challenging this year than I expected. Between all the Christmas parties and shopping for gifts, I was pretty worn out halfway through December. Add to that the fact that we all got sick within a day of each other and it's not hard to imagine how weary I was by the time we left for Dallas. I was hoping that Luke and I would have a few days to really relax and get back to our old selves, but Austin would have none of it! He decided that he'd rather NOT take a nap during the day and forget sleeping through the night. Despite all the extra help we were blessed to have, I think we left just as tired as we arrived.

All of these challenges and frustrations got me thinking, though. Jesus came that we may have life...and have it ABUNDANTLY. The good, the bad, and the very ugly. I know, it's a hard concept to accept as you're hugging the toilet while knocking on death's door and begging it to let you in! It's so tempting to put on your best face and act like you have it all together, especially at Christmastime.

But let's be honest, NO ONE has it all together! Just ask Beth Moore. She said the exact same thing at her conference this summer. :)

So here's the deal. I don't have it all together. But that's ok, because when I'm weak He is strong. Plus, I really do believe that the "not so good" times are the perfect opportunity for God to reveal Himself to us and through us.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

'Tis The Season...

...for stomach bugs and crazy schedules! That's right. Our little family had the pleasure of passing around our first stomach bug. Three words: Ok, that's four but you get my drift. Have I ever mentioned how much I absolutely HATE being sick AND being a mom?!Talk about NO sick days. Austin got sick on Monday. Before I realized he had the stomach flu, I took him over to my parents' house and ate a quick lunch with them. Just the thought of what I had makes me a little queasy still, but anyways. After a day of cleaning up things I'd rather not talk about, I was praying that I would miraculously be immune to this highly contagious bug.

Silly me.

Tuesday was my official day to endure the abundant pleasures of the stomach flu. I wanted to die! I'm ashamed to say that Austin spent more time with Veggie Tales, Wonder Pets, and Little Bear than I care to admit. The couch served as my "death bed" so to speak, and the minutes crawled by as I waited for Luke to come home from work.

But we couldn't stop there. Oh no! Luke was next. We both agreed that Austin is much more of a trooper than we are. Four days later, we are on the mend and furiously trying to get ready to go out of town tomorrow for a week. Even though my stomach is still kind of queasy, I'm in the middle of a marathon laundry session. Also on today's agenda is the battle to kill all the flu virus germs by conducting a massive wipedown of ALL surfaces with my new best friend, the Clorox Anywhere spray. A big thanks to my sister-in-law, Lindsay, for introducing me to that bad boy! The windows are open so as to air out our contaminated house and Lysol has been sprayed throughout! I'm also super thankful for my mom seeing as how she used her lunch break to make a grocery store run for some much needed essentials. Now that's an example of a mother's love. But I have to say that I'm looking forward to just hanging out with family both in Dallas and San Antonio. Plus, Luke will have 2 weeks off! Joy of all joys!

So from our house (known today as the Center for Disease Control) to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas filled with fun memories and lots of relaxation (not to mention good health!). We are so thankful for all of you and the blessing you are in our lives!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Daddy's Home!

When I was little, my sister and I used to wait anxiously at the end of the day for my dad to get home from work. As soon as we saw him walk in the door, we would take off running toward him yelling, "Daddy's home!"

Fast forward about 20 years.

It's a Wednesday afternoon and Austin has just woken up from his nap. While we sit on the couch watching a little tv, Savannah is wandering around looking for any small crumb of food we might have left behind during the day. (It's kind of annoying.) All of the sudden, you can hear the loud rumble of a certain blazer in the distance. Immediately, Austin and Savannah perk up because they know that at any moment Luke will walk in the door. Savannah takes her usual waiting position while Austin slides off the couch saying, "Dada, Dada." I look up and this is the sight I see:

One of the things I love most about being a mom is that every once in a while, Austin will do something that brings back memories from my own childhood. I'm looking forward to the day we can add another little person next to Austin and Savannah to wait for their Daddy to get home.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Giving Thanks for a Wonderful Day

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3

Well, Thanksgiving at the Keiffer house was a success! Thanks to the potluck theme and my helpful husband, we were able to pull off a fabulous day of fun and memory making. After lunch the girls (except Granny) headed over to the park with Austin. It's so much more fun to take him there now that he can walk and really play! Despite the fact that my camera decided to be difficult, I was able to get some really cute pictures.

Cuties: Round 1

Cuties: Round 2

The turtles were a hit!

This picture totally captures the essence of their relationship. Aunt B is a wonderful entertainer. :)

Back to normal swinging

Love Claire's face as Austin tries to make his big escape

Love Claire's face expressive!

Just discovered the dirt...

...and now he's throwing it

Quality time with Aunt B

The newlyweds also known as The Yeagers :)

Lovin' the pumkin pie

Don't be fooled. Luke was not decorating the tree with us. Austin, however, was mesmerized by the tree and was more than happy to play with the ornaments!

A close up

Smelling the fake tree

Such a fun day with family. We even went around the table and said one thing we were thankful for this year. The only rule was that it had to be from this year. I chose something that has been on my heart alot lately. I am always thankful for the family God blessed me with growing up. They have a special place in my heart, and there is no one like them. But I am so thankful for the family that God has given me in my in-laws, which is not something everyone can say. God blessed me in abundance when he chose Luke's family to become my family. From grandparents to aunts and uncles, I feel priviledged to be considered one of them. And of course, Luke's parents and brothers have become such an important part of my life and the memories Luke and I make. What's even more wonderful is that I know Luke feels the same about my family. I mean who wouldn't?! That said, I am so excited to see who God continues to add to both of my families. So far I have a wonderful sister-in-law and a great brother-in-law. It is amazing to see how perfect each one is for the other, and how they add something special to our families. But more importantly, I am so blessed to say that all of these people encourage me in my walk with the Lord. They have a passion for Jesus that is inspiring and uplifting. I love to see what God is doing in their lives and hear each of them give Him the glory for the blessings and challenges. As Luke and I continue to raise Austin and the next little one that comes along eventually, I hope that we can be the kind of family we feel so blessed to be a part of. I hope our lives are just as honoring to the Lord. So while some dread the holidays and spending time with family, I count the days and savor every moment with them, because they are that wonderful!