February 28, 2011

Fun with Nana & Poppy

In the interest of keeping up, I wanted to post a few pictures (courtesy of Nana & Poppy's camera) from our trip to visit Nana & Poppy. One of the things Poppy does, that is loved by ALL of the grand kids, is "The Swing." Ryan and Allie were no exception. Look at those smiles!
As you can imagine, this (and the various other rides given during our visit) tired Poppy out. But, Ryan asks a very sweet "pweeeeees?" (the grandparents admit they cannot resist them when they say this word).
And Poppy is back in business and taking them to new heights!

Our weekend was filled with a lot of other great things (like our fabulous trip to the library where Allie hopped around their rug on all fours calling out all the letters and numbers and the reading tub - a literal bathtub filled with cushions - in which Ryan was content to sit forever)...that we didn't catch on camera. But one of the most fun events of the weekend - that we DID capture - was the invention of Twinner Ball.
As you can see, each grandparent holds a twin and uses their feet to catch and throw a ball. I think you can tell by the smiles that this fantastic game, while tiring, was a blast!
Sadly, our trip didn't include any sledding or snowmobiling (for the grown-ups)...because there wasn't enough snow! Definitely NOT common for Northern Michigan this time of the year. Oh, well. We still had plenty of fun :)

February 22, 2011

My Big, Fat, Overwhelming Catch-up Post

Because my brain has turned to mush, here is a quick (mostly pictorial) overview of everything else we have done over the past monthish...(or at least until the camera broke).

We visited our cousins! The twins had a blast with cousin Cuppycake. I had a blast holding and feeding a smiley baby D.

Eating lunch together :)
Then we made Valentine's. The twins weren't as into making them as I hoped they would be (so if you didn't get one, don't feel too badly. We didn't have many in the end).
They did enjoy decorating the floor though...

The twins played with their babies. Ryan very diligently carried this baby around one morning. He fed her, and gave her toys.
Allie preferred to read the Bible to her baby.
We went to Nebraska to spend a week with my mom after my grandpa's funeral. The twins were sick most of the trip, and the weather bitter cold, But we did get to play outside one day.

The twins in front of the cornfield in my backyard. A Nebraska landscape!
Ryan is laughing (in case you were wondering).
I love this picture of Ry-guy following Papa. It was so cute to watch him follow Papa & mimic his actions!
Papa took them for a ride in the wagon up and down the street. Fun fact: this is the same wagon he used to take me and my brothers for rides in when we were little!
While we were in Nebraska, my younger brother got engaged! It was so fun to spend some time with him just before he left for this big event (I was "in the know" which made it more fun), and then be with my parents when we got the call that she said yes! See the full story of how he proposed (and a picture of the ring!) HERE. I was personally impressed with the level of romance to which my goofy little brother rose. Congratulations!
It was while we were on the wagon ride that the camera broke. The good news is that it turned out to only be the lens, and we have 2 lenses. The bad news is that the lens that broke is our everyday lens, and the one we have left is the super zoom lens. Expect lots of close-ups to come :)
Allie & Ryan love to stand on the kneeler (that Lucas received as an ordination present from the Miller parents and Dunsmore grandparents) and look out the window.
We are gearing up for a trip to visit Nana & Poppy tomorrow, and then the twins' 2nd BIRTHDAY PARTY (craziness) when we get home. So there are definitely some posts to come...but maybe not for a little while...

Lucas' Ordination

I debated about just doing a giant recap that included Lucas' ordination. But this event was big, and special, and it deserved it's own post. Plus, we don't take a lot of opportunities to talk about us grown-ups.
For those unfamiliar with the what's and why's of ordination, an easy way to explain it is this: the ordination service is to a pastor and the church what a wedding ceremony is to a bride and groom. Prior to his ordination, Lucas met with a group of clergy, and they interviewed him and voted on whether or not to recommend him for ordination. He passed, and then the church had to meet, discuss, and vote on whether or not to present him for ordination (the vote was unanimously yes!).

To make the service even more special, it was attended by Lucas' friends from high school, college, seminary, and here. Granted, we didn't get a decent picture with any of them. But we did get this picture of our group of friends watching the service from the balcony. One of my favorite moments was when Lucas was giving his vows and I looked up to see the entire group, kids and all, looking over the rails of the balcony. I wished I had my camera to get a picture from the choir loft (where I was sitting)! We were so blessed to be surrounded by so many people from various stages of our life!
What was more, the service was also attended by pastors who served key roles in Lucas' life. Such as:

Lucas' pastor from a major portion of his growing up days. He played a key role in Lucas' early spiritual formation, and he gave the gospel presentation at the ordination.
Dr Reist. College professor and mentor. He was the pastor of this church before Lucas, and brought Lucas on as his "sidekick" as a way of allowing him to get his feet wet and test his calling. He gave Lucas every opportunity to preach, teach, visit, and minister. He also married us. He gave the sermon at the ordination.
Our friend, Adam, from seminary (who attended with wife, Sara). He and Lucas not only studied together to prepare for a life of ministry, but they were in a small group together. They shared struggles and fears, encouragement and support, petitions and prayers while preparing together for just such a day as this. He offered the closing prayer at the ordination.
And Bruce (pictured below. He is the one, in the group that is laying hands on Lucas, whose head is up and facing toward the left). Lucas' fellow associate pastor at the first church where he served as pastor. He was not only a mentor, but a friend. He taught Lucas so much about what it is to be a pastor. He offered the ordination prayer (and also preached in the morning).
Lucas also had a lot of family in attendance. The ones who have known him all his life. Who have seen his worst moments, and loved him regardless. Who have had a key part in shaping him into the man he is today (especially his parents). It was a blessing to have so many of them (we're talking parents, siblings, grandparent, aunts, uncles, cousins) there in a show of support and love. While you don't get to choose your family, we are very thankful for and blessed by the family we were given.
Aunts, uncles, cousins, and Grandma standing to be recognized.

Our family.

Lucas taking his vows.
And finally, our dear church family. We grew to love them when Lucas served, years ago, as youth pastor and sidekick. When we left, we cried like we had never cried before. They supported us while we were in seminary, stayed in contact during our time in MA, and willingly (evem excitedly) considered Lucas as a candidate! It was a joy to come back to serve as their pastor. It felt exceptionally fitting for this church to be the church that presented Lucas for ordination and celebrated this day with us. Lucas pointed out that in the same spot (in front of the stairs) Lucas and I got engaged, our twins were dedicated, and he was ordained. This church is incredibly precious to us. Also, it has been in the same basement that the church threw us a surprise wedding shower, celebrated our return, held a reception for our twins dedication, and gave the most wonderful dinner for all who attended the ordination. Oh, the food! And a chocolate fountain! These people know how to throw a party!

There is great weight in ordination. It is no light thing to take on the responsibility of teach, preaching, discipling, mentoring, serving, loving, and ministering as a life vocation. But I know my husband, I know his great love for God and God's church, I know his gifts and abilities, and passions, and I know he will serve humbly and faithfully for as long as God calls him to do so. It is a pleasure to be able to serve along side him.

Because there must always be at least one picture of the kiddos: Lucas with the twins :)

February 18, 2011

Still here!

Life has been a little overwhelming lately. We went from Lucas' ordination to my grandpa's funeral to sick kids to sick mommy. From Michigan to Iowa to Nebraska and back. The recent highs and lows combined with the busyness that goes along with all these things has led to the blog being a little neglected. That and I lost some of the pictures I downloaded (just need to find the random file I apparently saved them too), and my camera broke...a true perfect storm of occurences to keep me from bloggy world!

But we are still here! I do have a couple of events I want to share/record, and life seems to be settling back into a normal pace (well, until next week when we go up North and then come back just in time to have the twins' birthday party!) So updates should be coming. Until then, some pictures of the twinners enjoying the nice weather today! They are too short to reach the peddles on their trikes, so they stand and walk their "bikes" everywhere :)