Monday, December 30, 2013

Kevin is Engaged!

One of the most exciting parts about our time is St. Louis was celebrating with my brother Kevin and his new fiancĂ© Alex! Kevin surprised her with a trip to New York City where they reenacted their first date (yes, seriously) with some sweet additions and then he proposed (with a beautiful, custom designed ring)! She was so excited and surprised and said Yes! 

Funny part of the night: Kevin and Alex were flying back into St. Louis on a Sunday night and were planning to go celebrate with her family and see ours the next day. We wanted to just say hi and surprise them at the airport before they headed back to her parents house. We waited, hid in the plants, and had our balloons ready....only to realize their plane got in early and we didn't know it. The online timetables were wrong. We were clearly sad (and sent them the picture below), but then we went over to her parents house to see them anyway. 

They have just set a date of July 19, 2014 and we couldn't be more excited for them! 
Happy wedding planning to my awesome brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Unite Event

Unite was a service put on by the local churches for high school students to show unity amongst groups and provide an opportunity to worship together. It was a great start to something that could become more in the future! 

Christmas at the Brandts

Due to all of our travels for actual Christmas day, we decided that we would have our own Christmas day before leaving. Last Saturday we celebrated Jesus's birthday at our home! Here are some of the fun elements that we incorporated into our day! 

Christmas Eve PJs
Macklin and Macy opened new PJs and we had a Christmas movie night complete with red kettle corn form the Whirly Pop! We also read the Christmas story from the Bible and set up the manger scene under the tree. We read up until the part where Jesus is born...that is for tomorrow!

Christmas Morning 
We lined up stars on the floor leading to the manager scene with baby Jesus! HE is BORN! We celebrate by opening three presents for each kid, just like Jesus! 
The kids painted daddy a large cup to hold pencils at school! 

Opening gifts is so much fun this year! Macy loved the tape the best :) Macklin knew just what to do. I actually like doing Christmas with Mack before we head to StL because it gives us a chance to "teach" him manners while we do it! 

Macklin's Gifts: Amour of God playlet, the Action Bible (comic book Bible), and a Jake and the Neverland Pirates Pirate Ship

Mommy and Daddy's Gifts: Hopefully new iPhones (gotta work on that in StL), replacement plates and a water pitcher :) , new coaching whistles, and new shirts for Justin

Macy's Gifts: Tea Set, Gigi: God's Little Princess Book, and a Princess Dress
(Do you see a theme? Gotta add some pink to this house.)
Funny Fact of the Day: What was Macy's favorite gift of the day? Macklin's Pirate Ship! 

Daniel's Gifts (not sure how we missed pics of him): iPhone docking station, photo session with his girls

Successful Morning! 

 Christmas Day Food
We don't have any "tradition" foods for Christmas yet since this is only our second year! My idea for this year was to make fun looking foods! So here is what we did...

Christmas Tree French Toast (complete with pinecones)

Snowman MeatLoaf 
(Pinterest Fail - when it calls for turkey instead of beef...there is a reason...grease in muffin cups is not good)

Wreath Chicken Wrap
(Daniel said it tasted like a hot that good or bad?)

Grandma's Sugar Cookies

Jesus's Birthday Cake
The reason for Christmas is Jesus! So we celebrate Christmas like Jesus's birthday! We made a special cake this year that incorporated different scripture based on different parts of the gospel message and invited friends over to join us. While it wasn't the best looking cake I have made, it was a blast to read the Bible to Macklin while we were making the cake. Here is a quick run down, but email me if you want me to email you the page about it. 

Brown Base Cake = Sin
Red Middle Cake = Jesus's Blood
Green Top Cake = New Life with Jesus
White Icing = Righteousness and purity that we have in Jesus
Red Ring around Top = United believers around the world
Star = 6-pointed Star of David, star that lead to Jesus in the manger 
Big Red Candle = Light of Christ coming into a dark world 
Little Green Candles (should have had more) = Candle we light off of the red candle that signify us taking his light into the world. 

Christmas Day Adventures
We decided we needed to get out of the house and have a little adventure to celebrate Jesus. We borrowed some nordic skis and headed up towards Cottonwood Pass to attempt a fairly new sport to us! Macklin had never been on cross country skis and Justin has been once. I own a set-up but rarely use them. We brought the Chariot and skis for Macy, but were missing an important attachment so we could not use them. Good thing we had the backpack in the truck too (although this is not a recommended way to carry your child while skiing). Since we were teaching Macklin, it was ok for this day. Macklin only lasted about 30 yards before professing that "I don't like these skis." We proceed to hike on a ways, have a picnic, and then head back to the truck. The highlight of the adventure for me came on the way back to town. I decided to ski (sans Macy) a couple of miles on the road (downhill) while Justin drove behind me. Other than the two nasty spills (one of which Justin witnessed, the other of which was a total yard sale), it was a blast. It reminded me that I should get out on cross country skis more often. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December Happenings

Here are some fun things happening in our world over the past two weeks. 

Cookie Party with Friends

Christmas Mug Painting with the Bible Study Girls 

EVHS YL Alums Home for Break

Macy Establishes Her Own Style 

Things are beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 

Our sweet friends started a business together! 

Mack and Macy playing in the crib (after dumping three different bins of toys in there)! 

EVHS Basketball Season Begins

Justin's basketball season is under way! He is coaching the C-team again for the 2nd year in a row. It works well for Justin to coach this team as they do not have as many games as the JV/Varsity squads, their games are on different days, and the overall time commitment is less. One additional advantage is the freshmen always improve so much! So it is a joy to see how they grow as young men and players in their first year of high school ball. They have started off 0-2 but with a change up of the program (combing some teams and allowing guys to play "swing" on different teams), I think that will help Justin's winning percentage. 

A lot of my bible study girls are on the dance team, so it was fun to see them in action on Tuesday! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Church Christmas Play

After a few weeks at our new church, Macklin had the chance to experience his first play! All he had to do was stand there and sing, and he was not excited about that. Not sure about his future in acting :)