Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Family Christmas

December 25th, 2008 was a special day in the Kintner home.

The day prior the Kintner's arrived to help us with Caleb and Carissa during the Christmas Eve Services at Covenant. The second service was a highlight as I led the congregation in worship and song with our band and a 13 piece string ensemble from Prelude to Postlude. It was a touching and beautiful service - good medicine for my soul.

The Kintner's brought the kids home after the service. After milk and cookies the little ones didn't lay their heads down until 9pm. No sleeping in - they kept in time with their regular wake-up at 6:45a.m.

Jeff and I and the Kintner's stayed up late Christmas Eve making last minute preparations and playing 'Santa'. It was a good thing Jeff had previously assembled the train table otherwise we would have been up all night before laying down the track and accessories. After getting it all set up in the family room we wrapped the entire table - definitely the largest wrapping job I've ever done.

Christmas morning was good. Papa and Grandma fed the kids a quick breakfast while I prepared a yummy brunch. While it was baking we opened presents and experienced the precious joy and wonder of our 2 year old's. They quickly understood the day had finally arrived to celebrate Jesus' birth by opening up the presents they had been eyeing for weeks!

Both kids loved opening up the presents. Unfortunately Carissa was a bit under the weather so she didn't enjoy the festivities as much as Caleb did. But all in all they both got in to it and enjoyed playing with their new toys. They even had to 'help' us adults open up our own presents!

Look at these cute animal ornaments made from recycled materials we received from our friends from Church.

If there was an award for the 'cleanest Christmas kids' our tots would definitely win 1st place. As they tore off each piece of wrapping paper they handed it to Papa, 'the paper handler'. They were seriously the cutest and cleanest Christmas kids you have ever seen!

We had a fun break from opening up presents after the kids opened up their ankle bells and maracas. Daddy took video of me playing 'jingle bells' on the piano while the kids danced around singing and shaking their maracas. Papa Grandma even joined the band playing the kids' new rain stick and wood block.

Our brunch was delicious. Baked eggs, Cranberry Upside Down Cake, Fresh Grapefruit, Coffee and orange juice served on our fun Reindeer Dishes that only get used several weeks out of the year (thanks to our friends 'The Petersons' for starting our collection).

Prior to the tots nap time we finished opening the presents (except for the train table). Since they had played hard all morning and had been up late the night prior they were very tired -mommy and daddy were looking forward to their nap time!

That was until Caleb was too amped-up to calm down and shut his little peepers.

I held him, rocked him, sang to him, changed his diaper, held him, rocked, sang...tried to get him to settle down but all he wanted to do was to color, run his trains and play with Papa (a celebrity in the Kintner Clan). So after a couple of hours we gave in and he got up and played...and played some more. After dinner he looked comatose.

The opening of the train table was a highlight of the day (a gift from both grandparents). We had been looking forward to them opening it. They thought it was fun to open - they were excited and wanted to play with everything immediately, repeatedly saying 'choo choo'.

After opening it they played with it continuously until they went to bed. They only paused for Christmas Dinner.

The menu for dinner included Prime Rib with roasted veggies, Mac and Cheese, Green Beans (my grandma's way, cooked slowly in onions and bacon till soggy), wheat rolls, homemade applesauce, Red Wine and Apple Pie a la mode for dessert. Yum.

The Kintner's headed North after we put the kids to bed. Jeff lit up a cozy fire in our new wood stove insert an we crashed on the couch. We were so tired but it was a great, blessed day.

Thank you Jesus for coming so that we can celebrate you.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

08 Family Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

2008 has been a year filled with many joys and several sorrows. Shortly after Jeff and Angie were married they began the practice of sharing daily news with one another by way of their ‘joys and sorrows’. In this letter we’d like to highlight 2008 in that same way.

Our Joys
• Our marriage of 10 years January 2nd, 2009.
• Our children Caleb and Carissa bring immense joy and laughter into our lives. In November we celebrated their two year birthday. Each day they amaze us with their happy spirits and their love for each other, for us and our community. We cherish this time of rapid growth and development in their lives.
• Our faith community at Covenant Presbyterian Church continues to be rich. We have built some great relationships and are blessed to have such a caring and supportive church family—it’s all about relationships.
• Angie’s new eyes. She got Lasik surgery and now has 20/15 vision. Eyemazing!
• Our summer vacation in Breckenridge, CO – a week of fun, relaxation and reprieve from the norm of our everyday lives.
• Angie’s Voice Studio remains steady and allows Angie to work from home about 10 hours a week. Since June a neighborhood mom has cared for the tots while Angie teaches – a huge answer to our prayers!
• Jeff continues to enjoy and be challenged by his job at Covenant. Helping people grow in their faith and in their outreach to our community and the world. In June he led a team to Russia to visit the orphans we sponsor there.
• Angie enjoys volunteering in the music ministry at Covenant. She leads Sun. worship, organizes special music and directs vocal ensembles.
• Angie’s ‘mentoring moms’ class last year at church encouraged a freshening of spiritual disciplines in her. This year she is co-facilitating a class titled ‘Soul Care’; helping women arrange their lives for spiritual transformation.
• Grandparents – many special visits and quality time spent with us and the kids
• The arrival of our niece, Olivia Amina Kintner to Jeff’s brother Jon, his wife Jeannelle and daughter Kelci. A precious new soul in our family.
• Our Blog www.thekintnerclan.blogspot.com Angie enjoys journaling and posting pictures of our family on our blog. Check it out!

Our Sorrows
• Sept. 18, 2008, Angie’s mom Sharon was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. She began chemotherapy Sept. 19th and was hospitalized for 43 days. Treatment has been successful. Angie flew to AZ two times during her hospital stay and we also traveled as a family in mid Nov. The timing of this life change, the ramifications, and the heartbreak Sharon is experiencing is overwhelming. We continue to pray for physical and emotional healing, full remission, and quality of life. You can follow Sharon’s journey on her blog www.strengthofmysoul.blogspot.com
• Several people in our church have passed away this past year. We mourn the loss of those loved ones in our church community.
• We grieve the hardship of difficult financial times and the loss of jobs our friends have experienced because of tight times.

In the midst of our joys and sorrows we praise our Lord and Savior and have confidence that He is above all and in all things. We are thankful for the many blessings God has given us. We treasure your friendship to us and hope to hear from you in the coming year.

In the Hope of Christ’s Birth,

Jeff, Angie, Caleb and Carissa

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas...in Anticipation

Anticipation: The expectation or hope of what is to come.

The wonder of Christmas and the desire to open
presents under the tree is growing. Carissa wonders if I'm watching her.

"hmmm...can I get away with opening it?" Caleb is not happy that he couldn't open the present. Both kids are happy to hear they can open their presents in a few days. Caleb and Carissa checking out another package... Hope. Joy. Wonder. Wish. Expectancy.

A gift beyond words.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chemo Starts Today

My Mom Sharon was admitted to the hospital today and will now begin her second round of chemotherapy. We hope her stay is short (maybe one week) but the reality is that she will spend Christmas inside 4 white walls - aka hospital room - a place nobody voluntarily puts on their Christmas wish list.
Please pray that my mom can experience immeasurable peace and encouragement, physical healing and restoration. May she truly know and believe 'Immanuel', God is with her.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thankful Thursday

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body;
and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15

What defines your happiness?

Is it circumstances or is it your attitude?

I find it difficult to not let circumstances define my happiness. Developing a proper attitude is key to being a grateful person and sometimes my attitude needs adjusting. We are all given a choice to focus on what is either good or bad, or right or wrong with our life. I am realizing (albeit slowly...) that in every moment I am given the choice to look at my life in a positive or negative light.

There are some difficult circumstances clouding my head right now but I want to allow God's peace to rule over me and to express gratitude for the many blessings in my life.

So, today I am thankful for...

  • My joyful children - their giggles and all of the funny things that they do
  • My brother - for being a 'rock' during difficult family times
  • Christmas lights
  • Much needed time off from work
  • The Christmas Caroling Party that we hosted this evening. Sweet fellowship, yummy desserts and joyful singing of Christmas carols along with a myriad of instruments...a night that I have wanted to see to fruition since I purchased my Yamaha C3 grand piano three and a half years ago. Amen!

What blessings are you grateful for?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

No Chemo Ordered

My mom was admitted to the hospital on Thursday afternoon as planned. After being there 6+ hours she was sent home because the chemo drug had inadvertently not been ordered by her doctor. So...Mom is at home and doesn't know when she will return to the hospital for treatment.

I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime please pray for Sharon's emotional and physical strength and stability.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

My soul praises the Lord; my heart rejoices in God my Savior,
because he has shown his concern for his humble servant girl.
From now on, all people will say that I am blessed,
because the Powerful One has done great things for me."
Luke 1:46-49

My heart rejoices in:
  • My husband who made me feel very special and loved during my birthday week
  • My big time birthday present...more on that later!
  • The little one who will be welcomed in to this world any day now...and parented by my dear friends Danny and Stacy who are incredibly deserving of this miracle child
  • Good friends, always there in joy and in sorrow
  • The Christ Child, my Savior. With anticipation we await and celebrate His birth

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mom Up-Date

Thank you to all of you who have been praying for my precious Mom, Sharon.

She has been out of the hospital since October 29th and is doing remarkably well considering what she has been up against (AML). Her white blood cell counts continue to be low but her energy level has steadily increased and overall she feels good. As a result of what she has endured the past three months my mom strives to live life to the fullest, and be grateful for even the littlest of blessings.

So many people have been deeply blessed by my mom over the years. Her impact on people's lives was evident once again in the outpouring of people who sent cards to her while she was in the hospital. The nursing staff said it was the most cards they had ever seen one patient receive!

This Thursday, Dec. 11th my mom will be admitted for her second round of chemotherapy. Her Dr. is pleased with her progress and will be treating her with a drug called Vidaza, FDA approved in the US for two years but used in Europe since the 60's. Insurance makes it difficult for the drug to be approved as an out-patient so she will be in the hospital for what we hope is a very short stint. If you would like to send her a letter of encouragement you can send it to:

Arrowhead Hospital
Sharon Hurley
18701 N. 67th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85308

Please pray for:
-her body to receive and respond well to Vidaza Therapy
- her stay in the hospital to be as short and comfortable as possible
- encouragement and a positive mental state
- her husband Lance
- family in general

I will be up-dating Sharon's blog more often during her next treatment. Please check it for up-dates!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Choo Choo!!!

During our trip to AZ in November we took Caleb and Carissa to the Daisy Mountain Railroad located in the Anthem community. The 24 inch gauge railroad has been in operation since 2002. After exploring the Adventure Playground we bought our tickets to board the train. Caleb and Carissa were very excited to ride on their first 'Choo Choo Train'. All Aboard!The train tunnel - they talked about this tunnel for days - they loved it! Our first train ride was a highlight. The tots had a great time and so did we. It gives Jeff and I so much joy to watch our little people bust at the seems with excitement.
Choo Choo!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday

"The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad."
Psalm 118:24

I have to admit that sitting down and concentrating on the many blessings in my life is causing me to be more of a gracious person. It seems that I should automatically live with an attitude of gratitude but sadly that is not the case. Having to regularly thank God for moving and working in my life is helping me to actually open my eyes wide enough to see what God has done and in response 'rejoice and be glad'. I believe my outlook is changing for the better and for this I am thankful.

Today I am thankful for...
  • The Advent season. The anticipation of Christ's birth. Christmas decorations, parties and warm scarfs.
  • Heat. Our furnace has been acting up. Two nights without heat in CO - not a good thing! Thank goodness the furnace is still under warranty because the 8 hours Mr. Fix-it worked on it could have been costly.
  • The shrinking pile of laundry - almost done!
  • My adorable tots who give me reasons to laugh every day

What do you have to 'rejoice and be glad' in?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What a Rascal

This morning I dressed Caleb in this appropriate shirt after his bath. No, we don't normally bathe the kids in the morning but today started out like no other...

The twins awoke around 6:30am. They were giggling, talking back and forth and playing their typical crib games (or so we thought).

By 7:00am it was unusually quiet.

When we entered the room we found Caleb buck naked in his crib (Carissa was laughing and egging him on). At first we thought it was funny (we've found Carissa in the buff before) but then we saw the unthinkable.

Yup, you guessed it, PEE & POOP! Caleb not only peed all over his sheets, blankets, and stuffed animals, but he also pooped! And to make matters worse he thought it was funny.

He quickly understood that his 'accident' was not acceptable but I'm praying 'Lord, please let this be a one time incident'!

It was gross.

Jeff stripped the bed and put everything in the laundry. With no need to strip Caleb I plopped him in the bathtub and scrubbed him from head to toe.

Our Caleb, we love him dearly but he can be a little Rascal!
Don't you love those curls?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

08 Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was at the Kintner's house in Golden, CO. It was a fun day of cooking, watching the Macy's Day parade, eating yummy food, playing charades, and just being together as a family.

The tots enjoyed their baby cousin Olivia, especially Carissa who laid next to her and talked to her for awhile.

The tots loved playing with their fun cousin Kelci who made them giggle all day with wrestling, tickling, pretend games and more... Kelci also taught Carissa several funny phrases with motions - she hasn't forgotten them and now repeats them at random.

A highlight of the day for the twins was taking a spin (or several spins) on Grandma's quilt rack. Personally I was a little jealous - doesn't this look like fun?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Twins First Cup of Ice Cream

During our trip to AZ my mom, aka 'Nana' took the twins to Dairy Queen for thier first cup of ice cream. True to their personalities Carissa ate her ice cream in a slow, neat, dainty-like fashion while her brother Caleb ate his at a quicker pace, a shoveling-like manner resulting in a creamy face.
Proof that Caleb's bites are not dainty. Nor are they neat.
Carissa ate about half of her ice cream. Caleb on the other hand ate all of it. When he got to the bottom of the cup he tipped his head back, drank the melted cream and said 'MORE'!