Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Extended Lino Christmas

Ten years from now, this crew will be 19, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12 and 10. I can only imagine how things will have changed by then. For now though, I would like to keep them all this age. This is my four with three of their cousins. They were able to come and visit at Granny and Grandpa's house for Christmas. It was such a special treat since our two families usually do not travel for the actual day of Christmas. The cousins had a wonderful time of getting every last toy and game out at Granny and Grandpa's house. The sounds of little laughter, squealing and all-around fun were heard throughout the day. I treasure the times we have together so that the cousins all grow up knowing and loving each other.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New This Year

Over the course of a year, we get several new ornaments for our Christmas tree. It is always so much fun to pull them out each year and find just the right spot for them on the tree. Almost all of our ornaments hold a special meaning. They were either given to us by someone significant in our lives or they represent something important that happened in our lives over that year. Granny and Grandpa give each of us an ornament that we have to try and guess what it is from the clues before we open it. We try to get an ornament from each of our vacation destinations as well. Our tree is filling up fast with memories of things and people the Lord has brought across our paths. It's absolutely beautiful!

These are some of the ornaments that were new to our tree this year. We received some of them last Christmas and collected the rest this year. I am just now getting around to pulling out the box of the ones collected throughout the year.

Toad's ornament from ECC 2008-2009 - his last year of preschool.

Samoosa's ornament that says she is the youngest grandchild......bought long before the unexpected news of her little sister's arrival!

Our 2009 IMB ornament that reminds us of our part in the global mission to let all the peoples of the world know the love of Jesus Christ.

Our first ornament with String Bean on it!

Our 10 year anniversary trip back to our honeymoon location.

Girly Girl started gymnastics this year.

Our big road trip with three kids - the SBC annual meeting in Indianapolis - took us through major floods and Granny helped us drive home.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas

Getting Christmas cards out early is the norm for me. Then I had a fourth kid. Now I am behind on almost everything. I did get these mailed out before Christmas but not the day after Thanksgiving as is the usual. I hope to one day get back to my regular more areas than Christmas cards. Merry Christmas from the Linos.

Here are two that we sent out this year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Any Guesses???

Aren't they cute!! We went through some old pictures a few days ago and these are two we came across. I just had to have them side by side. I will post more later on these two.......

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Middles Singing

This is a short video of Girly Girl and Samoosa at their Christmas program at ECC today. I am so thankful that they have the opportunity to be part of a program that focuses on Jesus and his birth at this time of year. Thank you to Ms. Angela and her staff for their hard work and desire to see little lives impacted for Christ.

You can see Samoosa sitting in the bye-bye buggy just looking around and Girly Girl is on the top row. There are of course more videos...........GG sang four songs and Samoosa sat looking pretty for one song.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Daunting Drama

It is certainly never dull around our house. The drama is most commonly due to the three little girls that have almost completely overtaken the upstairs of our brand new home. They each have such fun personalities - some dominating, some reserved (only at times), some tender, some manipulative (yes, it's true - they are!), some sweet, some charming, some ambition, some funny, some responsible, some annoyed, some sensitive, some lively, some grumpy, some possessive, and some energetic. While they may all look quite alike, they are each beautifully unique and bring a wonderful dynamic to our family. These dynamics are not always easy to navigate. All kidding aside, these three girls are a daunting task. They are cute and fun right now, but there is much to be done to prepare them for the real world, for biblical womanhood, for challenges they will face, for righteous living.

My role in their lives, given to me by God, is to model and teach to them the biblical principles and tools they need to be women who love and honor the Lord Jesus in all that they do. It requires constant effort. It requires much prayer and a focus on the things of God. It is not easy. It is more than hard. It requires support and knowledge. Something I want more than I know how to describe here is for these three to know and experience the high value that God has placed on their womanhood. The culture that they are growing up in is diametrically opposed to biblical teachings of what it means to be a woman. Dr. Russ Moore is someone I trust to keep me 'in the loop' on cultural happenings and the destructive images of women that are so pervasive today. For example, you can track back through his recent blog post to see some of the messages girls receive from the Twilight series (books and movies) and the theology behind them. If I am going to have an accurate biblical impact on our girls, I am going to have to not only know what to pour into them, but also what I am up against. The tools of the enemy come in many shapes and sizes. I pray I am prepared with the biblical response to his tactics and faithful to teach it to our girls.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:7

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It Will Never Be the Same

The Lino 'looking at Christmas lights' experience will never be the same again. Granny and Grandpa took us out to Lake Conroe to see the Christmas lights - on the boat in the freezing cold. It was so much fun! Mr. Jack got out his boat and took us across the lake for a great hamburger and a tour of the lights on the lake. The kids had so much fun all bundled up. They got to drive the boat, look at lights, roast marshmallows and play all night. It is such a wonderful memory that I know my detail oriented children will never forget. Thank you Granny and Grandpa. I am so thankful that the little Linos have grandparents that are able and willing to invest time and energy in them. It was a blast! Driving around in the van next year will not be nearly as exciting or memorable.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Special Snow Guest

The snow in Houston was so much fun. We also had some special guests join us......Aunt Jessie and Uncle Derek came over to play in the snow! It is so nice to have them living close by now. We are looking forward to many more fun memories with them! I caught the older two going after Aunt Jessie in this video.

Friday, December 11, 2009

92 and Counting

I have been very fortunate in my lifetime to have relationships with all four of my grandparents. We have except for my few years in North Carolina lived within driving distance of each other. Yesterday was Grandmommie's 92nd birthday! I have wonderful, funny and vivid memories of Grandmommie and Bobo.........the playhouse out back, the rusty slide, cookies in the jar, solitaire, soaps, her sneaking cigarettes, being turned upside down to dislodge what I was choking on, arriving in the middle of the night in the cold at their house, the station wagon, the tableau at SBC, banana nut bread, the little black and white TV, the panel ray heater, her reading to my kids, seeing her sit in the red chair, what seemed like 50 of us at their house for Christmas, her and Golda being snappy, her standing by the stove....always, her 'not really sleeping' - Mom does this now, sitting in the front left section of the sanctuary with her every Sunday we were there, the sound of the sewing machine, calling all of us grandkids by the wrong name growing up - it's hard when you have so many, the hats she loved to wear, long summer visits, watching her in the yard. I treasure all of the time we have had together and for the stories and love she has so freely given to each of us over the years.

She has been living with my parents for almost 4 years now and dementia has slowly taken away all of her abilities to know and interact with the people that love her so dearly. She relies completely on the care Mom and Dad are able to give her around the clock. Thank you Mom and Dad for all of your sacrifices to love and honor her in her latter years. I know it has taken an enormous emotional and physical toll on both of you. It is an effort that most people would not put forth. Thank you for being a tremendous example to us of how to take care of your parents as they age (not just with Grandmommie.) You have done a fantastic job!

August 2009
Sylvia Hinton with me and four of her great-grandchildren - she never would have
been able to keep track of all of these C names!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Survived!

The gingerbread house did not overtake my life! I really do not like messes. Actually, I don't mind some things being messy, but I just can't handle intentionally getting things out just to make a mess.....playdough, markers, things with lots of little pieces. I made a conscious decision to let my kids make a mess on this one. Let them be kids. So, I let them watch me assemble the house and then they did all the decorating without me. Everyone had a plate with icing, knife and bowl full of decorations. I even walked away from the table. They didn't fight. They laughed hysterically. They ate candy - Samoosa did more eating than decorating. This was the final product. The mess wasn't too extreme. I think we just might do this again. It may take me a little longer to agree to playdough on a regular basis.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Really Not Thaaaat Bad

So, Sunday mornings are not always the easiest for ministry families, but yesterday had some added excitement. The kids are early risers and they play upstairs until I tell them they can come down for breakfast. Daddy was long gone by 6:45 when the screaming began. It was definitely a hurt scream, but I did not go running. We have hurt screams often and they usually amount to nothing. If said scream is followed by 'she is bleeeeeeding' as loud as possible from the oldest two, it requires more attention.

This one did, but I responded very well. There were no hysterics or fainting on my part. The laceration was just at the hairline of Samoosa's forehead, smack in the middle and the blood was already well below her nose by the time I got there. She had tripped and fallen into the large dresser in her sister's room. Her forehead was pretty swollen and the actual cut is relatively small and a little deep. Once I got the bleeding stopped enough to leave her alone, I decided that a home-fix would do for Sunday. Sweet friends agreed with me that the drama surrounding stitches really wasn't worth it. Uncle Derek came over to help supervise while I got everything sorted out and then we headed off to church. (Thank you, D.)

We stuck it out until today. String Bean had a well-visit appointment scheduled for early today, so Samoosa tagged along. Dr. Smoot, who I just love, peeked under the bandage and decided that glue would work better. Fabulous! No bandages. She used Dermabond to seal the skin back together. As she said, it is the best invention in modern medicine. No needles, no removal later, and it looks pretty good. The application brought a few tears as it took three of us to hold her still, but all in all, this bonk on the head is really not that bad.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Let it Snow in Houston!

Here is a sampling of our fun snow day on Friday. We were all so sad that Daddy missed it all because of his flights being cancelled. Yes, I did wake a sleeping baby for this. It's not every day that it snows in Houston. The older two had a blast all day and would have stayed out in it all day if I let them.

More pictures and video to come later.....we had some special guests join us for the big day!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Not Quite Sure

Our borderline OCD child was not so sure about the white stuff. She
stayed on the pavement by the truck for a good ten minutes and that
was only after I assured her that it was ok for the stuff falling from
the sky to be on her gloves. She wanted a napkin to wipe it off. She
got the hang of it eventually and loved putting snow all over my jeans.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Times Have Changed

Technology sure has changed things.....sewing is a fine art shared by
few, hand-written love letters are scarce, my kids don't know what a
house phone looks like and surely not a pay phone, elementary math
curriculum includes 'texting', we never miss a show - thank you DVR,
and I could go on.....

That's what makes things like this so meaningful. A friend knitted
this cap just for our String Bean. She took the time to purchase
material and carved out enough hours in the week to do this. I am
thankful for her thoughtfulness and I have to admit, the girl is
pretty cute with those big eyes under the sweet cap. Thank you, friend.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Look at the Fire

Tonight we began our Advent celebration at home with the kids. This is something that I intended for us to do last year as we prepared our hearts for Christmas and it just did not happen. I can't even remember why right now. This year it is a priority. There are several intentional things we do to help our family focus on Christ during the busy season and this one is very easy. I have a wreath and the five candles set up among our decorations. Each week (for us it is Monday or Tuesday evening) over dinner, we will light the appropriate candle(s) and discuss what they remind us of. Tonight, Nathan talked about HOPE that was provided to us by God sending His Son to be the Savior of the world. His birth is our hope of eternity in Heaven. We keep it simple and not too long - memories are made - there are diversions like 'look at the fire' as the candle burns, but Truth is told. They learned a new word - advent - and know that Jesus Christ is our hope.
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