December 24, 2011

Christmas Newsletter

Greetings family and friends!

Welcome to our Christmas family newsletter!  We've gone high tech this year and are just putting our letter online.  Oh the world we live in now.  As a teacher in the high school Kyle knows that technology is the way of life.  :)  I'm always learning something new from him.  We have enjoyed hearing from many of you already this year.  It's always fun to get family updates.  Our year has been full and blessed.  Here are some of the high lights...

Our kids:

Isaiah is seven and in second grade this year.  He continues to love school and thoroughly enjoy life in general.  At this moment his favorite subject is science.  Isaiah had to say goodbye this year to two of his best friends who moved across the state but has made several close friends at school.  He got to be on a soccer team this fall with old friends and some of his new buddies with dad as his coach.  Soccer is one of Isaiah's favorite things and he put in lots of time in the backyard practicing his skills.  He also started playing the piano this year and his playing has been a joy for all of us.  Isaiah continues to be a responsible, patient and compassionate big brother.  We love Isaiah's soft heart and his infectious cheerfulness.  He is always humming a tune and using his very active imagination. At the top of his Christmas list this year is legos and a leather Bible with his name on it.

Luke is five and preparing for Kindergarten this year.  He has been doing a PreK class a couple days a week and working on reading and math at home with mom.  He played soccer for the first time this year with a bunch of his little buddies.  We laugh because at first he was trying hard to be polite on the field and not take things from others like we have always taught him.  Once he figured out it was OK to be aggressive he was a scoring machine.  Luke is always up for an adventure and his adventures usually include Isaiah or his buddy Jakey, legos, ninjas, pirates, star wars, or when he plays with Lizzy, stuffed animals.  He is turning into a great big brother and it's fun to see him take the lead with Lizzy when Isaiah is gone to school.  Luke is a sweet, cuddly, bouncy little guy! Legos are at the top of his Christmas list too even though it seems like legos have made their way into every room in our house. :)

Elizabeth is two and learning new things everyday.  It has been so fun to see Lizzy's personality emerge this year.  Lizzy is a sweetheart!  She is all at once the sweetest, most tender little girl I know and at the same time a force to be reckoned with.  In her mind everything is up for negotiation and she has already developed some very good negotiation skills.  :)  Lizzy loves her babies, Dora the Explorer, fruit snacks, reading books, Minnie Mouse and her brothers.  Her favorite game is tackling Isaiah when she is saying goodnight to him in his bed.  She is also mommy's little helper.  She helps with cooking, dishes, cleaning, laundry... it may not always make things easier to have her help but I love her heart to serve.  The other day she was giving me a hug and whispered in my ear, "You're my bes fwend!"  She said the same thing later in the day to the fall scarecrow in storage and all her babies but it melts a mommy's heart just the same.

Other highlights that are probably in this blog somewhere...

  • Our first time clamming as a family at the Washington coast
  • Kyle and I's first time competing in a triathlon together in Chelan
  • Camping trip in the Methow Valley this summer filled with hiking, biking and swimming
  • My brother getting engaged to Meghan in August
  • Lots of swimming and fun times at Kyle's grandparents throughout the summer
  • I got to run a half marathon with my sister Megan- our first together
  • Our first family trip to Disneyland!!!
This year has been filled with lots of growth, family time and memory making moments.  We are so aware as the year comes to an end of how extremely blessed we are.  We are so thankful for every gift God has given us and every person he has given us the priviledge of spending time with this year.  May your Christmas be full of joy and peace.  We are so thankful for all of you!!!!  Much love and Merry Christmas!

love, the Grunenfelders
Kyle, Emily, Isaiah, Luke and Lizzy

December 23, 2011


Today was such a fun day of final preparations for Christmas.  The kids and I spent a relaxing morning at home decorating cookies and doing some art.  All we needed was a little snow falling outside.  White Christmas- where are you?!?!

Cookies and icing... Mickey Mouse Christmas watercolor pictures... coffee...and Christmas music on Pandora... a lovely day

Snow flake cookies!

We have our gifts all wrapped and ready to go.  The kids made our wrapping paper this year.  It had the potential of being a really messy project but it went better than I expected. They turned out pretty cute, and the kiddos had a lot of fun.

the artists

We ended the day with our "Christmas Eve Eve" service at church.  So fun having all the families together to celebrate.  I love singing to candlelight and seeing all our friends dressed up for the holiday.  We grabbed some dessert afterwards with a couple friends.  According to the hostess the previous record of number of people in this booth was 11.  We squeezed in 14, counting baby Katie who is not pictured.

Pizookies at BJ's

Speaking of Christmas preparations, we did get to drive around and look at lights a couple night ago... I think we found the biggest and best display in town...

Ooooohhhh, ahhhhh

Just kidding!!!

Here's the best one we found for reals... it's pretty nice,

One more day!!!!

December 21, 2011

Christmas Duets

One of my favorite things about this Christmas season has been playing Christmas duets on the piano with Isaiah.  This is his first year in piano lessons and he is loving playing so many songs he knows and it has been so fun for the rest of us to hear him singing and playing throughout the day.  Here's a little video of a couple of our duets...

Last night we had a little date night to the singing Christmas Tree performance at Life Center.  Isaiah was less then thrilled that I was calling it a "date night" but he thoroughly enjoyed the show (and the hot cocoa and cookie at intermission).

Date night with Isaiah

I can't believe how fast Christmas is approaching!  It felt like I had all the time in the world and all of a sudden Christmas is only days away.  We have been busy celebrating birthdays, going to Isaiah's Christmas program, baking cookies and scones and Kyle is sneaking in hunting days when he can.  Lots of fun!

Lizzy trying to take charge

Izzy on her birthday with Grampa

the December birthday girls

Christmas concert night with Auntie Kaylene

Baby Jesus had some extra guests in our Nativity

Christmas tree hunt with Papa earlier in the month

Found the perfect tree!

Happy 9th day of Christmas!  

December 14, 2011

Silent Night

This picture was taken exactly one year ago tomorrow.  I think Kyle took it and I just love it.  I love the boys in the background in their white t-shirts... I love the glow of the candle light... and most of all I love the peace that I feel when I look at it.  A good reminder for me today during the hustle and bustle of the season to quiet my spirit and tap into the peace of the One who came that first Christmas day.

"Silent night, Holy night,  all is calm, all is bright... sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace"

P.S. stay tuned for more christmasy posts soon

December 4, 2011

Giving Thanks

"Joy is found at the table of Thanksgiving."  -Ann Voskamp

Oh how true this is!  When we revel in the blessings in our life pure JOY is the fruit!  November was a month of remembering all the wonderful things I have to be thankful for.  I am blessed beyond measure!  I had started a list of gratitude this summer and then stopped writing things down once fall hit.  Once you stop something sometimes it's hard to get started again but no better month than the month of Thanksgiving to restart right?  Here's some of the things from my list of gifts last month:

  • Sunshiney soccer games
  • Family coming to watch the boys play
  • Being a momma to three amazing kids
  • Fall walk to the playground
  • Remember a walk on the same path through leaves 5 years ago when Lukey rode on my front and I held Isaiah's two year old hand.  Now my youngest is two!
  • Listening to sweet Lizzy sing the "Itsy Ditsy Pider"
  • Late night quiet times while Kyle is away
  • Leaving my kids in capable hands while I work
  • Erika's servant heart- she loves my kids and they love her
  • Baby news!  auntie x2
  • A kindred spirit in Trisha- having fun at work
  • Kyle home from hunting and warming up the bed
  • Starting a pattern of family nights
  • Isaiah wanting to read his Bible in the morning all on his own
  • Never running out of things to talk about with a good friend
  • Warming up during runs on a cold day
  • Dressing up and laughing with friends
  • The fun of looking for gifts for my kids
  • Blessing a friend on her birthday
  • Cuddling with Lizzy in her big-girl bed
  • Watching Lizzy dance
  • Playing Christmas duets on the piano with Isaiah
  • FaMiLy  
  • Being all together for the holiday
with my parents, Meg and her family and Eric and his fiance

Working together in the kitchen

our cute little turkey place cards

A scrumptious feast

Second grade art... and a pure little second grade heart

Great big toddler grins and dimples

Seeing my brother in love

Playing in the snow

Daddy and his girlie

Mr. Isaiah

Lukey Duke

That's Luke and Isaiah... you might have missed them in their camo

playing with uncle Eric

sweet Isabelle

watching sledding with Grammy

Liz Boo

Girl cousins and matching outfits

the girls

Holding a toddler's hand
giving Izzy a hand

Heading down paths unknown...

with confidence and trust that we will find our way.

Thankful for all things both big and small this holiday season and looking forward to a JOYFUL countdown to Christmas!

October 17, 2011

Disneyland Top 10

We just got to take the kids on their first trip to Disneyland.  The boys have been praying that we could go for about two years and we have been putting little bits here and there into our Disneyland fund.  The day finally came and they were so excited!  The anticipation and countdown were half the fun.  My mom joined us too- it was super fun to have her with us and very nice to have a third adult along.  This was only my third visit to Mickey's home and being with the kids made it seem in some ways like I was seeing everything for the first time too.  Here were ten of our favorite things in no particular order.

1.  Stepping through the gates and onto Mainstreet USA.  It's exciting and magical and the streets were decked out for fall.  It's pretty much impossible not to smile.

Arriving at the gates!

2.  Star Wars!  Star Tours was Isaiah and Luke's favorite ride and we did it three times.  They especially loved going underwater and the pod race.  The boys also were set on doing the Jedi Training.  We explained to them that they might not get picked but we would try a few times.  On our first day we happened to be walking by just as the crowd was gathering for the first training of the day.  They picked kids from our side and then  moved over to the other side so we thought this time they would just be watching.... but then they come back to our side and said "and the twins in the gray shirts." (they were matching that day)  I don't know who was more excited, them... or Kyle and I.  Luke got called out to fight Darth Vader very first and instead of following the routine they had practiced, he went straight for the body shots.  It was pretty funny.

Very serious stuff

Uh oh... here comes Darth Vader

Isaiah concentrating on his fight with Darth Maul

Luke's fight against the dark side

Isaiah's fight against Darth Maul

They did it! Officail Jedi Knights

3.  Minnie Mania- Lizzy fell in love with Minnie Mouse.  On her first encounter with Minnie she wasn't so sure but after that she was in awe.  She got a Minnie doll as a souvenier and Minnie has not left her side since we have been home.

First time with Minnie... not so sure

At Minnie's house
Watching the boys on the Toon Town roller coster with Minnie
Resting with Minnie mouse

4.  Kyle jumped on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters every chance he got.  He tried his very best to get a high score but to no avail... maybe next time.

5.  Trying on hats/ears... So many fun  choices, but in the end I opted for the classic Minnie ears.  You just can't go wrong.

6.  Pirate fun- Unfortunately for our pirate loving boys, Pirates of the Caribbean was closed for matenence which we knew beforehand.  Thankfully they thought Pirate Cove was a great adventure.  They LOVED exploring the island and winding their way through all the caves.

7.  Dinner at Goofy's kitchen...  Yummy food + characters at your table = fun time had by all!  And Disneyland at night... so pretty!

Goofy's kitchen


California Adventure at night

8.  Time together- laughing, talking, eating, trying new things, relaxing, and playing so hard we fall asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

Relaxing dinner in downtown Disney

9.  Lizzy's favorite rides.... It's a Small World.  For a two year old it really is pretty awesome.  There's so much detail you notice something new everytime.  It's a perfect place to cool down on a hot afternoon, or get some cover in a rain storm.  Also, King Titan's Carrasel.

10.  Speaking of hot afternoons, we had amazing weather- so sunny and beautiful and warm.  Except for our last morning when we got that rain storm.  The one good thing about the rain... it made it just a little easier to say goodbye.

We had such a fun time and brought home lots of memories!  Here's a couple more parting shots...

Home again, home again

good-bye Mickey!