Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Seconds before this picture was taken, Jake was lying on the floor screaming because he didn't want his picture made. I sat him in Max's lap and told Max to hang on and told them both to smile no matter what Jake did. I stepped back, figuring we'd get a picture of Max holding a Jake-sized blur. But Jake sat up and smiled instead. I could not have been more surprised! I don't know what made him change his mind but he did! He's so funny.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jake and His Jacket

Jake has learned to put his coat on all by himself. His head may get chilly but his backside will be warm!

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Saturday, December 06, 2008


One of my favorite homeschool resources is Timberdoodle. It is an amazing company and they have a catalog full of real toys. Toys that actually encourage your child to use their brain--not toys that just blink at them or play obnoxious songs. I look forward to each catalog to see what they've come up with this time, and I subscribe to their newsletter because I always enjoy reading what they have to say.

December's newsletter was no different. The Christmas season has arrived in full force. Every family celebrates differently and this newsletter addressed the differences and encouraged families to recognize the opportunities that the season presents to teach our kids. Here is the letter:

Dear Friends,
When it comes to celebrating Christmas, Christ-followers are all over the map. On one end you have the families so horrified at its pagan roots that they refuse to attend church during December. At the other end are the families that embrace it all, even to the point of displaying Santa bowing at a manger on their front lawn. Regardless of where your family's convictions put you on this spectrum, don't overlook one of the easiest opportunities you will have to talk about deep spiritual truths this season: Christmas songs.

Encourage others to chew on these lines: "Adam's likeness, now efface, / Stamp Thine image in its place: / Second Adam from above, / Reinstate us in Thy love." (Hark, the Herald Angels Sing)

Help them to sense the wonder in "Long lay the world in sin and error pining, / Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth. / A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, / For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn." (O Holy Night)

And is there a more significant tiding of comfort and joy than to "Remember Christ our Savior / Was born on Christmas Day; / To save us all from Satan's power / When we were gone astray"? (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

But don't neglect to see the value of discussing those songs you may prefer to ignore. Unless your plan is to keep your children sequestered in your home for the month, they will be bombarded with Santa anthems; talk about them!

Talk about the belief system that proposes as a solution to the taunts of others the superpower of a glow-in-the-dark nose. (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

Discuss a more God-glorifying reason that they better not cry or pout than that "Santa Claus is coming to town."

And laugh over the bewildering message of "Hang your stocking and say your prayers, / 'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight!" (Here Comes Santa Claus)

The birth of our Savior is worthy of a celebration so great that it can only be accomplished in heaven.
Until then: "Now to the Lord sing praises, / All you within this place, / And with true love and brotherhood / Each other now embrace; / This holy tide of Christmas / Doth bring redeeming grace." (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

Tidings of comfort and joy from our family to yours,
Timberdoodle Co
Dan & Deb, Joy, Hope, Grace, Abel, Pearl

If you have some kiddos that you need gifts for, I encourage you to check out Timberdoodle! It is a company that is worth supporting and you are certain to find a perfect gift that will thrill your child (and their parents!).

Friday, December 05, 2008


We have several Christmas traditions. I hope to blog about them at some point. One of our favorites is letting the kids pick out their own ornament each year. The kids love having the freedom to pick whatever they choose. I love it because we have a tangible record of what captivated their interest in previous years. For example, Anna Kate has a Dora and Boots ornament from her Dora Days. Of course she has a princess ornament, as well. She also has a Bride and Groom ornament from the year that our dear friends, Kevin and Becky, got married. Anna Kate was their flower girl in their January wedding. She picked a bride and groom because that is what she was thinking about and anticipating that Christmas.
This year was Jake's first opportunity to really show his style. His first Christmas he was just 3 months old. I chose a picture frame ornament and put his picture in it. Last year we were in Pennsylvania and we made salt dough ornaments with our names painted on them. So this year was his big debut. What did he choose? Why, a big orange fish with a purple hat and big, red lips, of course. And he wasn't wishy-washy about it. He wanted that fish and no other ornament would do. I think it's quite funny.

Anna Kate chose a little ballerina set with toe-shoes, a tutu and a tiara, which perfectly suits her little dancing-self. She spins everywhere she goes.

Max chose his 3rd Darth Vader in a row. We now have a Darth Vader with his hands on his hips, a Darth Vader with one hand up in the air and a teeny-tiny Darth Vader that came in a set. He's a devoted fan.

We (wisely) took their pictures with their ornaments as soon as we got home from the store. Approximately 3 minutes after the pictures were taken Jake dropped his fish and broke the big, red lips right off. So sad.

It's a bit more tricky to get Jake to pose by his ornament.

And a close-up of the now lip-less fish...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thanksgiving at the GerltHouse

Thanksgiving this year was extra special. It marked the first holiday in 5 years that the entire Gerlt family has been together. We had Papa and Granna from Lubbock. Chris, Angela, Alayna, Caleb and Baby Ava drove in from Tennessee. But Kevin, Brigitte and Grace got the award for traveling the farthest to be with us. They are in from East Asia! It was so fun to all be together at last.
We had plenty of food, lots of grandkids, football, Wii, swinging outside, dress-up, coffee, and conversation. It was perfect.

Our family motto (brought to us by Kevin) is: "Eat through the pain." We should make shirts.
The great thing about November in the south is that it is warm enough to enjoy your meal outside!
The weekend before Thanksgiving our sweet Mindy came for a visit. Mindy and I love to craft together so we came up with a project to work on while she was here. We came up with these little pumpkins and napkin rings. We love you, Mindy!
Grace made Chad's day by climbing up in the chair and sitting with him for a long time. It was so fun to get to spend time with her and get to know her better. Sweet, sweet girl!
Baby Ava provided the snuggles for the weekend. She is such a sweet, content baby. She just sat with us and sang us songs and smiled. Precious.
Our two year olds did so good together. Jake is crazy about Grace and he loved having her here to play with for several days.

See? Isn't she adorable?
Jake and Papa talked and played cards and ate pistachios. It was a good time.

We gave thanks for many things during Thanksgiving, but I think we were most thankful for time together. We are blessed.