Welcome....Here's a glimpse of our happenings!

The verses that have REALLY spoken to me (Sarah) lately....

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8-9

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Acts 17:26-28

May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:32-33

God, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It's up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation. Deuteronomy 29:29 (The Message)

About the Friesen's....

We are Marc, Sarah, Luke, and Kate Friesen. We were married June 5, 2004. We have one son, born July 21, 2008, named Luke Andrew -- now 4 years old. We also have a daughter named Kate Christine -- born June 6, 2012. Marc is working at Cessna as a Senior Accountant, and Sarah stays home full-time with Luke. Sarah also gets to work very part-time at home for Graber Backhoe -- an excavation company AND VERY part-time at our church. We LOVE being a part of Grace Community Church here in Newton, KS. We lead a Community Life Group of other wonderful couples. Marc thoroughly enjoys long-distance running and Taekwondo. Sarah thoroughly enjoys walking -- especially when the weather is nice to take Luke and/or out in the stroller. Thanks for reading our blog!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Friesen Family of 4's 2014 Christmas Tree -- Part 2....

So, if you read my previous post, you will know that we decided to wait until this morning (Saturday) to decorate our Christmas tree.  So -- that's just what we did this morning.

Kate was pretty cute watching her daddy stand on a chair to put the big bow on top of the tree...

Luke, at this point in time, spends pretty much every spare waking moment working with his erector set.  This morning was no exception.  So, while Marc & I were putting lights on the tree (something he *really* can't help with), he kept on working with the erector set.

Fortunately, once we said, "ornament time," Luke came running in with the rest of his family!

I already put this pic on Facebook, but I really enjoyed watching the excitement of our 6 year-old and 2 year-old as we opened the first tub of ornaments.  Honestly, THIS will be what I miss someday when our kids are older -- the pure and honest excitement!

Poor Kate did spend of her time on the floor -- not because she was tired -- because I think we were telling her "No" a few too many times.  Poor Girl!

Thankfully, I recognized this in Kate, loosened myself up a bit, and got her to participate.  And now, FORTUNATELY, we have quite a few ornaments toward the bottom of the tree.  And no -- I have not and will not move them!

Luke did a great job!!!!

Marc & I both grew up with real Christmas trees.  In college, I purchased a fake tree & used it up until the time Marc & I got married!

When we got married, Marc insisted and still does insist on getting a real tree.  It's a *wee* bit of a hassle, but admittedly, I'm glad we do.

Here's my main reason why....

We live in a completely backwards, imperfect, screwed up, wretched world.  Roughly 2,000 years ago, a tiny baby boy was born in an extremely humble way.  This tiny baby boy, named Jesus, was/is the Son of God -- God Himself as a human!   He came to this backwards, imperfect, screwed up, wretched world to save us all by living a sinless life and then taking the punishment for all of our sins by eventually dying on a cross and rising again after 3 days!

Real Christmas trees ALWAYS have some sort of imperfection -- crooked, branches going different directions, needles falling off, etc.  Real Christmas trees and their imperfections remind me of our messed up world and our need for a Savior!

Weird?  I don't know....but, the older I get, the more I realize how imperfect & broken our world really is AND just how all of humanity needs the saving grace found only in Jesus Christ!

If you remember, last school year (2013-2014), our family hosted a French high school-aged foreign exchange student named Emma!  Emma left 6 months ago to return to her family in France.  We miss her a lot, and both kiddos seriously mention her everyday even 6 months later (which says a lot about Emma being a part of our family for almost 10 months).

This morning, literally 5 minutes after finishing the decorating of our tree, Marc went outside to get the mail.  He came back in, excited, with a package from France!  Our little Friesen Family of 4 immediately and excitedly opened the package.  Emma had sent us 3 Christmas ornaments (from France), and they arrived just as we were decorating the tree!  Talk about great timing!!!!

Lastly, if you didn't know, Marc is a pretty big TX Longhorns fan (University of Texas).  We recently returned from a trip to TX!  We made a stop in Austin, specifically at the university.  We picked up a "Longhorns" ornament as well as *somewhat* matching shirts for Marc & Luke.  Luke insisted on taking a picture with Marc, with TX shirts, in front of the "Longhorns" ornament!

In this pic, the diamond-shaped ornament is right next to Luke's right shoulder!

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Friesen Family of 4's 2014 Christmas Tree -- Part 1....

Today, after Kate's nap, our little Friesen Family of 4 headed to "Pine Creek Farm" (about 20 minutes away) to pick out this year's Christmas tree!

This morning, we weren't so sure it was going to happen today.  Neither of our children seemed to be acting quite right.  Neither one ate breakfast.  They both slept in until almost 9:00.  Kate spent the ENTIRE morning on my lap.  It took a bit to get Luke off of the couch to go outside & help Marc put up the Christmas lights.

Once lunch was eaten, however, things seemed better.  Perhaps they were worn out from Thanksgiving????

Kate was a bit challenging to get up from her nap still...so, at least I was able to capture a good sleeping pic!

Fortunately, once we got her up and she figured out we were going somewhere (her favorite), she was just fine!

At "Pine Creek Farm," Kate had to hold her daddy's hand -- In this pic, Kate is carrying her little "To Go" Baggie of snacks :)

Luke, once again, took along his little toy saw.  I will be SAD, SAD -- I tell you, when Luke quits doing that!

Luke & Kate were both so excited they ran ahead of us to pick out the best tree for our family!

Fortunately, for the sake of the kiddos, we found a great tree relatively quickly.  Luke wanted a picture with his dad (and I wanted one as well)....

At this point, before the guys cut down the tree, we *usually* find a kind soul to take our family pic!  But, all of the other tree customers were in other lots.  I mean to tell you -- nobody was around to take our pic!  So, we did a family "selfie"....

Then, Marc & Luke started to cut down the tree...Kate & I watched!  (In case you're concerned, Luke never used the real saw.  He only used his toy one)!

Once the tree was cut down, we decided Marc should go and get the car instead of us hauling it clear back to the parking area.  While Marc & Kate went to get the car, Luke & I hung out a bit...he's a fun kid to talk to -- at least we think so!

Soon and finally -- another family showed up in our particular tree lot, and one of them gladly took our pics!  The kind woman took quite a few, and let me tell you -- the outtakes are HILARIOUS!  Perhaps I'll post them another time!  In the meantime, here's the best one.  I've never been one for perfected pics.  I "keep it real"!

Getting our tree loaded into Marc's car (we brought 2 cars for this process) was interesting, but it happened with very little damage to the tree (contrary to what this pic shows)...

Once we got home, Marc did some additional trimming on the trunk.  

Our little Friesen Family of 4's tradition is to order in pizza the evening we get our tree.  So, we ate pizza from "Pizza Hut" next.

Then, we went through the process of getting out the decorations.  For our wedding 10 1/2 years ago, we received a ceramic nativity set.  Amazingly, not one piece has been broken.  Before kids, we displayed it fairly low (next to our tree).  NOW, it gets displayed up high, and I wouldn't change that for anything!

We got the tree inside & set up straight....

At this point, it was starting to get a bit late (in Luke's & Kate's world).  Marc & I strive to keep at least *somewhat* regular bedtimes (even during school breaks).  SO, we made the executive decision together to postpone the decorating until tomorrow morning -- which is ok by me.

SO, stay tuned for Part 2!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Our Little Friesen Family's (of 4) Thanksgiving of 2014....

While I wouldn't say our Thanksgivings are ever super-duper exciting, I do enjoy them!  We don't have large families.  We don't Black Friday (or Thursday) shop.

But, it's our Thanksgiving!  It is, of course, worthy of at least documenting for us to remember in the future.

I did do something a *wee* bit different this year -- but certainly not surprising.

Each year, Marc, my dad, and my brother (Joel) fry our turkey.  Usually, my mom, my sister-in-law (Amber), and I are inside, preparing food & entertaining kids.

So....to burn off some energy before our big meal, I decided to bundle up our kiddos & myself and head to the zoo for a brief visit.  And, let's just say I'm glad I did.  Luke, Kate, and I had a good and COLD visit, albeit a fast visit!

After showing our membership card at the entrance, I asked the zoo employee how many had gone through so far (this was only 10 minutes after the zoo opened)....she responded that we "were the 5th, 6th, and 7th people so far".  (We did end up seeing at least a *few* more people during our visit.  But personally, I like being at the zoo with very few people (and so do our introverted kiddos)).

We weren't there even 5 minutes before Kate's crying made an appearance.  In all fairness to Kate, she had fallen.  But still -- it NEVER takes long with her.  (And -- let's be honest....it does indeed try my patience)....

We first stopped at the Penguins because we knew they'd be just fine in the cold air.  Yep -- we were correct in that assumption....

We then went to the "amphibian and reptile" building because we knew we could warm up a bit since it's indoors!

We read that the "King Cobra" snake can be up to 20 feet long.  Luke figured out that this snake was longer (taller) than his Daddy AND longer (taller) than Goliath (from the Biblical story of David & Goliath)....

We then went through the long North American part of the zoo!  The nice thing is that obviously, these animals are completely *natural* to our climate...SO, we saw quite a bit because they were ALL outside; however, I didn't take any pics.

We then headed to the leopards & tigers -- which were also all outside!

Look VERY closely!  A tiger is in the background in this next pic!

We then went quickly to the African section.  The giraffes were the only animals outside in this section. We had to go inside to the wonderfully heated African building to see the elephant, rhinos, and hippos!

Lastly, and skipping over many other zoo parts because of time AND coldness, we quickly went through the Australian and South American sections.  In all reality, these two areas aren't the *best* in the winter because so many animals are off exhibit for the season, BUT I'm so glad Luke wanted to.  I was able to get this AWESOME pic of Luke right next to a wallaby -- the closest we've ever been able to get.  Had Luke gotten any closer, I'm pretty sure the wallaby would've darted.  I could tell he was a *wee* bit nervous about Luke's closeness.  Fortunately, Luke is a gentle boy and was very careful around him.  Luke would be one of the last people on the face of our awesome planet to hurt this wallaby!

We then headed to my parents' for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner!  The turkey was nearly done frying by the time we got there; therefore, I never did get a pic -- Boo :(

Somehow, my brother has gotten the job every year of carving the turkey.  He does a good job.  SO, in my humble opinion, he can permanently have this job until Luke takes over, I guess...

We all then ate too much as we do each year.  After some clean-up, mostly by my mom (thanks, Mom) -- the pies came out!  My personal favorite -- my mom's lemon meringue.  YUM-O!

The cousins played & watched movies together.  Kate, who tends to easily get overstimulated in loud situations, offered to take a nap -- which she did the for around 2 hours!!!!!  (Thanks Kate)!

Around the time for the sun to go down, we headed home, tired but happy and hopefully thankful!

Luke wanted to watch "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" one last time for the year and before the official switch to "Charlie Brown Christmas"!  Kate sat on her daddy's lap and read books -- which is sheer awesome for this Mama to watch!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The 569th Zoo Post...

I seriously doubt it's been 569 posts about the zoo, but you probably (and hopefully) get the point.  We like the zoo in our little Friesen Family of 4.

Since it's been so cold, we've been cooped up a wee bit too much.  So yesterday, I surprised the kiddos by getting us all bundled up, packed our lunches (with the intent of eating inside), and drove to the zoo.

I'm SO glad we did because we ended up "having a good animal day," according to Luke.

First, we saw this baby orangutan playing with this bed sheet!  It was hilarious to watch him play!

In the Australia/South America section, there were quite a few birds & animals "off exhibit for the winter".  BUT, we got the best few of the wallabies that we've ever had (they're right behind Luke in this pic).

Then, we saw the emus up close with the 3 wallaroos behind.

Then, we went into the Africa building and saw zookeepers up close working with the elephant (sorry -- no pics here).

The hippos were inside AND out of the water, eating.  So, we watched them up close for awhile.  Luke took a pic of Kate & me.  Unfortunately, his 6 year-old photography skills prevented the hippos from being in the pic -- Ha!

We were going to eat at the "restaurant" next (with our packed lunches).  Luke suggested we eat on the benches outside so we could watch the giraffes.  I agreed -- so, we ate outside in the chilly air.  It ended up not being too bad.

We went next to look at the lions, but they weren't outside -- which did disappoint Luke.  So, we had to take time to discuss Luke's attitude and time to discuss focusing on all we did see instead of what we didn't see...sigh...

The one tiger we saw was ACTIVE, and the tiger was simply AWESOME to watch.  This tiger was so active I had a hard time getting a decent pic.  So, you'll have to take our word for it with these pics I did get.

The last decent pic I took was Luke in front of the 2 Cougars (up in the tree)...

We lastly saw the bears, the otters (who were doing some awesome "dives"), the deer, the wolves, and the penguins.

At that point, we'd been there our normal 2 - 2 1/2 hours -- which is when Kate typically lets us know she's simply done.  Also, I was starting to get chilly.

We decided it well worth the bundling up for a fun outing!

Until next time when I blog for the 570th time about a zoo visit!

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