The Countdown Has Begun....

What does this look like to you??
How about this??  

Maybe this will help put it in perspective...

Or actually, this might be better.  Imagine 2 more huge nets like this one, filled with 1500 balloons... we are now ready for the big moment, when we watch the ball drop in Time's Square at midnight!

This is just one of the many, many details and jobs that we worked on today!  Barrett and I stopped by for lunch and got to see them working on the balloons.  He LOVED seeing so many and I LOVED seeing so many volunteers there to help!  Please pray for us tomorrow, as of 8:00pm tonight, we almost have more kids pre-registered than we did total last year!!  And if history repeats itself, we're expecting several hundred more to register at the door tomorrow!! I am excited because Barrett's Grandma and Grandpa offered to take him tomorrow night, so now I'll get to stay longer and see Trav speak during the program.  We are feeling pretty good about how much is done and where we stand, but there is MUCH to be done tomorrow!  It will be busy, stressful, and exhausting but we're trusting the Lord to help us pull it off and let go of things that aren't meant to be.  

Travis is still nursing this cold along, so please keep him in your prayers and as of right now, Greta is scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning at 7:00 am, so we're not counting on Jason being able to come.  God knows though and we're just believing that He's going to work every detail out perfectly!  More than this event, we want a smooth and safe delivery for Greta and a healthy baby girl.   But we're also praying for the huge opportunity we have to love on hundreds of kids and to show them Jesus, some for the first time.  I am sure I won't have a minute to breathe tomorrow, let alone blog, so I'll have to update you after the fact. 

Thank you for praying, we wish you a very Happy New Year and a blessed 2009!!


5 Monday Morning Misc. Things

#1- I am now 25 weeks along, what a great feeling that is!  It does scare me a little however, because I kept saying we would focus on baby stuff after the holidays...well, here we are!  I'm giving myself the week off, for reasons I will explain later, but next Monday baby planning officially begins!!  I am extremely grateful for the gift she is to us.  With every week, I praise the Lord for creating her and keeping her safe within me.  This is getting more and more real and we are getting more and more excited! 

During this 6th month, Ava will be about the size of an eggplant :)  She is continuing to move more and more and yesterday at Church I kept hearing the same thing, "wow, you're starting to really pop!"  I was kind of disappointed for Travis over Christmas because it was not easy for him to feel her move, every time we tried...BUT, last night while we were laying in bed, he got to feel her several times KICKING me.  I mean really strong, good kicks that made my stomach jump!  That made him feel much better and we got a good laugh out of her apparent soccer skills-she gets those from her Dad by the way!!  What a fun Christmas this was, dreaming and waiting for next year with our sweet little girl.  Please keep praying for her and for her Mom and Dad.  We cherish every heart that has interceded on our behalf.  

#2- This is the biggest week in student ministries for my husband.  Our giant outreach event for the year is an all-night blitz on New Year's Eve.  Last year we had 400 kids and 100 volunteers, but this year, we have already exceeded our pre-registration numbers and we are expecting a huge turnout.  As you can imagine, this event requires a tremendous amount of work and an army of people to pull this off.  Our youth staff will be burning the candle at both ends until 7:00am on New Year's Day when we send the kids home.  They do a fantastic job and it is a wonderful event.  Last year we had 11 kids (that we know of) who accepted Christ, which is the entire point of why we do what we do.  We throw the biggest party we can think of to provide a safe alternative on New Year's Eve, but the reason we do it is to get kids who don't know the Lord in the doors and to share Christ with them.  The evening involves Dart Wars, Movies, an amazing carnival, bowling, air band competition, and a mid-night program to watch the ball drop and share the Gospel.  Which brings me to my 2 HUGE prayer requests...

(a)-  Last year Jason (HS Pastor) gave the Gospel, but this year Travis is doing it.   So, of course he is being attacked and last night started feeling sick.  This morning he woke up totally congested and sounding horrible.  I am pumping him full of drugs and trying to get him to take every minute he can to rest.  This is TERRIBLE timing because he has a million things to do, but I am praying that the Lord will lift this cold from Him or at least give him the strength to get through a 12 hour event, from 7pm-7am on Wednesday.  We aren't surprised this is happening, but we would covet your prayers on his behalf.  

(b)- To further complicate things, Jason's wife, my sweet friend Greta, is great with child and ready to give birth any minute.  Literally.  She is now several days over-due and unless she goes in to labor soon, is scheduled to be induced on Wednesday morning, yes, New Year's Eve.  You can imagine the stress that scenario brings for them, but obviously we are trusting the Lord to work out every detail.  Obviously everything that can be is being taken off of Jason's plate is being removed and his priority is Greta and his kids, but you can imagine how torn he feels over not being at this biggest event and giving Greta his undivided attention.  Please pray for Greta and their sweet baby girl; for Jason to feel freedom to be where he needs to be; and for their other kids Ryan and Karis, who will be in tons of transition and other people's care this week regardless of what happens.  

We are trusting the Lord for every detail and keeping our eyes on Him to get through this.  I remember from last year how crucial our prayer support was.  When we have the lives of 400+ students in our hands and are taking them around the cities in the middle of the night, there is potential for lots to go wrong, but we are relying on God's wisdom to lead every decision and His grace to protect the night.  The link below is not active on here, but I'm hoping this visual will prompt you to PRAY.  Thank you in advance!!

#3- We spent some of our Christmas money on the best thing yesterday...

...a memory foam topper for our mattress.  I had heard about this idea from another Mom who was dealing with lots of back, hip, and pelvic pain in her pregnancy.  She gave rave reviews from the difference this made and on her recommendation, we decided to try it.  Can I just tell you that I had the best night of sleep last night, with almost no pain???  It was HEAVENLY.  My back felt so good because the memory foam almost cradled me in a way and I was able to sleep without a million pillows propped up around me.  It was the best.  Travis slept great too and we're both dying to get back in bed again tonight!  This is what we bought at Costco below.  I knew it was a sign when I went to get it and found it on sale!!  Gotta love that.  My only problem is that now I need extra deep sheets to cover the thickness of the topper and our mattress, but I know I'll be able to find those.  We'll see how long this works, but if every night is going to be like last night, I'm officially sold on memory foam!  

#4- This picture accidentally got left off my Christmas posts, but I'm including it because it's cute of my Dad and his daughters.  There's nothing like having your kids home for Christmas, right Dad??

#5- We get to spend the rest of the week, starting tomorrow, with this little guy!  Travis and I are taking care of Barrett, while his brothers and parents go on a little ski trip.  We won't be seeing much of Travis for a few days, but that's ok because he is so easy and we'll be able to fend for ourselves!  Ryley is actually still on vacation in Iowa with my parents, which makes this week much easier for me, so it will just be Travis, Barrett, their dog Sid and I.  I'm sure we will have tons of fun, but today I need to spend some time doing laundry and getting organized for a very hectic week!!  

Happy Monday and welcome back to reality, right???


Happy Birthday Jesus!

The beautiful tree in my parents house...only gifts with coordinated paper are allowed under this tree :) 

This little tree is one of our favorites.  It always has our family ornaments on it, the ones we've had for years.  It's in our dining room and it held all the gifts we all brought that didn't "match" the big tree!  It was brimming with gifts by the time Christmas morning came!

Travy, reading the paper, while we waited for the monkey bread to come out of the oven.  Next to Jesus, he's my favorite gift of all time...

Merry Christmas 2008!  There is nothing like a photo first thing in the morning :)  It's tradition though, so we keep doing it.  

Merry Christmas from the Knapps!

The coveted Monkey Bread, a Christmas morning tradition, for as long as I can remember.  My Mom has ALWAYS made this for us to eat while we open gifts.  Christmas morning would be so sad without it :) 

Tigger was dying for a piece and my Mom was dying to give him one!  She's the weak link when it comes to feeding the dogs!

Jesse, the monkey bread enthusiast of the family!

My Dad with his stack of gifts...not too bad.  I made him change his shirt when he woke up into something more "Christmasy"  He's so used to having daughters who ask for things like that :) 

Our other annual tradition, a Christmas picture in our jammies!  We've taken this exact picture, with the same people, for over 5 years now.  When Stacie and Jennie were dating Jesse and Dave, the boyfriends used to sleep in the living room on Christmas eve, so they'd be there for the Christmas morning festivities.  Now it's a lot easier because we're all married!  

Poor Dave is being a good sport about a camera being in his face just minutes after he got out of bed!

And so it is the stack of gifts Ava brought in this year!!  We laughed because her stack was quite large and she's not even here yet :)  I'll have to show you all the adorable things she was a good Christmas for her!

The peeps, waiting for the gift-opening action to begin :) 

My Mom and Travy

My first baby, Ryley :) 

Waiting to open his gift like a good boy...

Realizing it's something he can put in his mouth...

Welcome "Christmas Frosty" to the army of stuffed animals!

After he was all done, he got on the couch and laid with aunt Stacie for the rest of the morning.

 Merry Christmas from The Fergusons!

Merry Christmas from The Brasses!

Our amazing Christmas dinner...which was the highlight of my night!!  It was SOOOO GOOD!!!

Living Room Table

Dining Room Table

Ryley and his lamby, always 3 steps behind my Dad!  

Stacie and Jesse with Jesse's parents, Jim and Deb.  We love spending time with them at Christmas.  They gave Ava the most darling outfit, I will post it with the rest of her gifts!

We went to Dave and Jennie's house for dessert on Christmas night.  

My Best Christmas Gift :) 

The obligatory "sister picture"

The east coast lovebirds

The newlyweds


Jennie and Dave's cute tree

The boys of the family, two of whom are wearing matching shirts!!  

On the Eve of Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Armstrongs!  This will be the last year for a family picture with just the two of us :)  

The original Ferguson Family.  I know my parents were thrilled to have us all home for Christmas again and it is no secret that we were all thrilled to be there.  We took these pictures before we went to our midnight Christmas Eve service at my parents Church.  We just happened to all "match"...I guess that proves we're family, right ? 

The girls, all 5 of us :)  Little Ava is making her presence known more and more these days!

Here she is, little miss Ava Page at her first Christmas in Iowa.  She is 24 1/2 weeks here. 

Christmas Eve fondue, our new tradition since last year.  I had to watch this year however, due to some nasty heartburn.  I did sneak a cherry in however :) 

My sister Jennie, wrapping presents with my aunt Kay and uncle Jim.  Nothing like last minute wrapping!  We were still up at 1:30 am finishing up!

Stace and Jess and my parents.  It was so fun to have them home from North Carolina all week!  
The vest couple :)  They needed it that night, we got a bunch of snow and it was FREEZING cold!

Post-meal recovery :)  Trav was giving me a great foot-rub and trying to feel Ava move.  She's been a little stinker lately about that.  Just as soon as he puts his hand on my stomach, she stops moving!  She's already learning how to play a game with her Daddy I guess :) Do I look like a beached whale here or what??

The girls and Tiggy, passed out from all the fun!  Tigger loves Stacie and when she comes home, he wants nothing to do with the rest of us!!  He's always in her arms or following her around:) 

Jennie and my Mom, laughing about something :)  We spent lots of time laughing, so much so, that I actually wet my pants at one point!  Oh yeah, I'm not kidding.  Oh the wonderful joys of being pregnant!! 

Seriously, look at that belly!  Ava is getting harder and harder to conceal...notice that I am dressed in stretchy cotton from head to toe :)  How I love my stretchy pants these days!!