Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Wonderful Early Christmas

Today my in-laws came over for a little early Christmas celebration. We had such a great time. My mother in law is super creative and she came up with some fun games to play that resulted in some fun gifts!! She had questions like, "Who in the Troyer family is the 'monkey-est', 'sweetest', 'stinkiest' and 'naughtiest'" and the gifts for who won (we voted by secret ballot) were, Plantain chips, candy, soap and "lump of coal" candy. How fun!! My children loved the gifts they received: Aaron got a Melissa & Doug car carrier truck, Savannah and Abby got "sing a ma jigs", Luke got a hex bug habitat which I have to say I think was the life of the party (and yes, we got more batteries, Karen!) And my personal favorite gift was Lilah's, a darling "Baby Stella" baby doll. I love having a baby girl again!! Oh and of course, my wonderful mother in law has kept up the tradition of getting me the annual Willow Tree ornament. She's done this for I think 5 years now. I just adore Willow Tree and it's so neat to be the only grown up that gets a gift! Makes me feel special! Thank you for coming down to visit with us, we really enjoyed having you, as usual!! I'll post photos soon!

Downplaying the Husband

I was having a conversation with some friends of mine at the park yesterday...we get together on a weekly basis to have our children get some proper socialization (insert eye roll here). Honestly, it's more so we mommies can get some proper socialization! Usually it's me and 3 or 4 of my good friends. The great thing about this group of ladies is that they're all Christians. Not just "Christian" ladies, but practicing, God-fearing, seeking to please Him in all they do Christian ladies. We all homeschool and we're all what you would call "like-minded". Whenever we get together, it's a time to uplift, admonish and encourage each other. We share gripes and struggles, but we also do our best to lead each other back to the Lord we serve and are striving to please by walking this challenging path we walk. There are times when we all struggle with WHY?? Why am I doing this? Why is this so hard? Why won't my children just do what they're supposed to do and give me some peace...and the big one: WHY ISN'T GOD LISTENING TO ME?!?!?! It's definitely a struggle living this life. Having children home 24/7 is a blessing I wouldn't trade for anything. Having MANY children is a gift that is as humbling as it is wonderful.

So what does this have to do with husbands, you ask? Well, the thing is, although I would consider my group of close friends a godly group of women, we are just as easily drawn into secular sentiments as anyone else if we aren't on guard. So, the conversation that sparked this post went a little something like this:
One of the ladies in this group of friends announced that she is pregnant, yet again. What wonderful news, right?!?! Well of course!! Everyone was very happy, but then the conversation took a bit of a turn. "My husband is SO happy, he'd like us to have a dozen more!"
One friend says, "Of course HE would, he's not the one who has to deal with them all day long!" Now, let me just say, this wasn't said in a way that many similar sentiments to this are I said, we all homeschool, we all think that children are a blessing and we all feel blessed beyond belief to be able to have the privilege of being home with our children. It was said more with a feeling of, "Children are a LOT of work, they're hard on our bodies, and when you're already not getting much sleep, they can be downright exhausting." And to this statement, we all laughed, and nodded in agreement. But then I got to thinking. No, our husbands have no idea what it is like to be pregnant. The nausea, the exhaustion and the reality of still having to "get it all done" no matter how you feel. They don't know what it feels like to be up all night nursing a newborn, or the stress of trying to teach children while a baby cries and a toddler yanks at your leg and your preschooler announces that they accidentally pooped on the floor and need you to clean it up because although they did the best job they could, they couldn't quite do it! The stress load can sometimes be seemingly more than we can bear...and while we're doing all this: still keeping a clean home, cooking meals, trying to look attractive, keeping a good attitude AND maintaining a healthy desire for our husbands (PSHEW!!). Sometimes the thought of another baby isn't as joyful to us as it may be to our husbands because we're the ones who have to bear this burden. But wait a minute!!! Don't our husbands have a burden to bear? I mean, beyond the obvious bringing home the bacon, making sure we've got a roof over our heads, a bigger car for our ever-expanding family, doing well at his job so he HAS a job to afford the lifestyle he has chosen. Yes, he has THAT burden. But beyond that, he has the burden of being the SPIRITUAL leader of the family. He is responsible for what I do as far as the upbringing of our children is concerned. Of course, I will stand before God on Judgement Day and answer for what I've done (or haven't done as the case may be), but my husband will be held responsible for how HE lead his wife and his family. That is a huge burden to bear. I realize that many husbands may not even KNOW that they are responsible for this, but look at Adam and Eve. It was EVE who sinned first. Yet God doesn't address her, he addresses Adam and his failure to watch and protect his wife. To this day sin is found in the "seed of Adam", not Eve, which is why Jesus was the only human being born without sin, because He was conceived absent of the seed of Adam. God punished Eve for her sin, but the responsibility was put on Adam. Our husbands have this same responsibility not only for themselves, but for their wives and for EACH child the Lord blesses them with. So yes, it may be "easy for him to say that" since he doesn't have to stay home and take care of the children, but if we look deeper, each child the Lord blesses us with is yet another soul that he is responsible to "train up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." I have to say, as I have an 18 month old and a 6 month old who keeps me up all night many ways, I have the easier job. I tend to their needs, he must tend to their souls. Thankfully, by God's grace, neither of us have to do it alone. Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My sweet little Airy-Bear

Aaron loves to have Savannah read to him. He'll grab a book and plop himself on her lap, it's SO sweet!

Actually, EVERYONE loves for Savannah to read to them! Savannah loves to oblige them!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


It's that time of year....
Pfefferkuchen is a traditional German Christmas cookie that my Oma made for us each year. That, along with the little chocolate advent calenders just SCREAM Christmas for me, so I've started the tradition of the advent calenders, but also Pfefferkuchen baking with my children each year. They just love it and we have such a fun time! This year we have a very special reason for baking so early. My beloved brother and his family are moving far, far away. We've always been very close...both relationionally, but also geographically. The sad thing is that he has a baby now...a darling son that I adore...he's 11 months old. And they're moving away. :( But I we baked like maniacs so that we could send my brother off on his cross-country journey with a trailer full of Pfefferkuchen. We'll definitely have to bake more as it gets closer to Christmas. It's just so tasty!


Melt together:
8oz honey
1 c. sugar
1.5 stick butter

5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp dark cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

When melted ingredients cool to room temperature (cool enough where it won't cook the eggs when you add them), put into stand mixer and add:
2 eggs

While running mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients until well combined.
Take dough from mixer and knead a couple of times on a floured surface and roll about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters. I prefer small-ish shapes.

Note: dough is WAY easier to work with when it's warm.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, just until the underside is lightly browned. When cookies are nearly cool, use pastry brush to glaze with mixture of powdered sugar and lemon juice (this takes practice getting it just the right consistency...not too runny, not too thick--it should leave a thin, crunchy crust on cookies, not a frosting. If it's too thin, or if cookies are too warm, it will absorb into cookies, not what you want!)

Does he think we won't know who did it?!?!

This is Luke's handiwork. This is not the first appliance he's written his name on in sharpie. He looked at me and said in complete earnest, "The sharpie was sitting on top of the dryer!" I had to explain that just because it was sitting there does NOT mean that he HAS to pick it up and write his name on the appliances!!! His reply was, "well, it'll come right off with magic eraser!" He was singing a different tune after a good, long while of scrubbing--with a magic eraser. Do I think having him scrub it will keep him from doing it again? Nope. Not at all. Sharpies are SO tempting.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rolling Over!

Lilah is still 10 days away from being 6 months old and she is officially a pro at rolling over from both tummy to back and now back to tummy!! She had done it before, but it wasn't anything really consistent, but as of today, I put her on the floor and there she goes, right to her tummy! She is already getting all around the living room as well, just wiggling along. When I put her on her back, she'll do sit ups to see what's going on...she's extremely strong. It really is amazing how quickly babies start to become mobile!! I wonder if this is any indication of her being an early crawler?!?!? I sure hope not...but hey, what can I do!?!?