Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends and Family,

‘Tis the season to extend warm greetings to each and everyone of you as we celebrate together the birth and life and glory of our Savior, Jesus! As the children’s Christmas program at church proclaims, it is truly amazing that the King of kings would come to earth as a humble baby, born in humble surroundings!  His arrival was not at all what the Jewish world was expecting. But God’s ways are not man’s ways. (Aren’t you glad?!)  

I (Katrina) have been contemplating the significance of Jesus’ incarnation a lot this season. We have a banner hanging in our dining room that says, “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” because that is a concept our children can relate to and are so excited about celebrating! However, Christmas is about so much more than simply a birthday. It is about the plan God had from before the foundations of the earth were laid to become a man…a human being…who would pass through all the stages of human life: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and death - without sinning one single time. It is about this God, this Jesus eventually laying down His own human life, suffering with real, human pain, and offering His own, perfect human blood as sacrificial payment for a condemned race - Adam’s race - so that justice could be served while mercy could be extended. How great our joy that the love of God is so deep and His grace so rich! “By this we know love because He laid down His life for us. To as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in His person and power, He gave the right to become children of God.” (1 John 3:16, John 1:12)

As always, we love to bring you news of life from the Britton Brigade, but the most important news we could ever share is this GOOD news; that God delights in reconciling people back to Himself through the death and resurrection of His Son, Emmanuel, God with us. Have you ever received Him? Have you ever put your trust fully in Who He is and what He has done? If not, that would be the greatest gift you could give Him, and in return, He will give you the greatest gift you could ever receive: salvation.

2018 has been another great year for our family! Our farm has grown, our kitchen has grown, and our church family has grown! It’s been a year full of many blessings and wonderful memories with a few trials along the way as well.

This year, I asked the children to contribute to the Christmas letter what it was that they wanted you to know about them, so here are their descriptions for your enjoyment. :)

My name is Adoniah. I am three. I like to play in the snow! I like to play games and stuff when babysitters are here. My blankie is my favorite thing. Trains and planes are my favorite toys. I also really like to do puzzles. When I grow up, I want to be a farmer and ride a tractor. In school, I am learning my letters. I like to help Mommy make lunch. I also help clean up the living room. I love to read books! At church, I am in Cubbies. I like to play games there. 

My name is Josiah. I am four years old. I like to do art projects like stamping and coloring and making snowflakes out of popsicle sticks and sprinkles (glitter).  I like to play outside with my family and draw on the driveway with chalk. It was special to go to the Bob Evans Farm Festival this year. I liked watching the kiddie pedal tractor pull that Isaac did and watching dogs jump through hoops. We also went to a Fun Farm where I enjoyed going down big slides and climbing on a tractor made out of hay bales. In school, I am learning how to read and do math.  Every week, I go to gymnastics where I climb on bars and balance on balance beams and jump into the pit. It is fun! When I grow up I want to be a fire fighter and a police man. At church, I am in the children’s Christmas program as a superhero and Joseph!

My name is Isaac. I am five and a half. I like to play with friends. And I like to do projects like sticker books and building things with my own tools that I use for lots of important things. They come in handy when it comes to helping Daddy! We built a soap mold for Mommy so we can make soap! I like to play games with people. Chess and Go Fish are some of my favorites! I had a fun time playing with my cousins in Texas. We played hopscotch, rode bikes, and we went to the zoo. We saw big bat caves with bats in them!  We also had lots of fun playing with our friends that came over from Ukraine to America and stayed the night. In school, I’m working on math. I’m more than halfway through my first-grade book. I like language arts best because we play fun games sometimes. This year, I am taking piano lessons from Mommy and doing a homeschool gymnastics class. When I grow up, I want to be a carpenter like Daddy.  At church, I have lots of fun in Sparks. We play games and memorize verses. I finished my handbook and am working more slowly now through my extra credit book.

My name is Silas. I am 21 months. I don’t walk - I run! I like to do whatever my brothers are doing or watch Mommy make meals in the kitchen from my perch on her hip. I am a happy boy who likes to snuggle. Chickens are my favorite animal. I am learning how to talk and how to obey. I love to sing songs during Bible time! Being outside is my favorite thing in the world. Daddy is my favorite person. I am too busy getting into stuff to write anything more. Bye!

Nathan has had a full plate on both the home and church front this past year. Beginning in January, he contributed countless hours toward a massive kitchen remodel project that, in combination with two local companies we hired, finally ended in July with an incredibly beautiful, completely open-floor-plan kitchen! He never ceases to amaze me with his handy-man abilities! As usual, Nathan oversaw most of the gardening in the spring and summer and even helped me with some of the canning process too. He has done a great job leading our church in a desire to “impact our community for Christ” through relationship-oriented evangelism and discipleship efforts. It has been exciting to see six people of various ages become Christians this year and grow in their relationships with Him as they are being personally mentored by members of our church family.  Nathan’s highlight each week is a one-on-one discipleship time with one of these new Christians who is on fire for the Lord!  Nathan also continues to enjoy an occasional basketball game in our church gym with young men from the community as well as opportunities to have friends over for dinner and game nights.

My theme word for the year was “relationships,” and I have thoroughly enjoyed experiencing many new ones with the young families God has brought to our church over the past 9 months, as well as connecting with dear friends and family whom I had not seen in several years. I had the privilege of leading a church ladies’ retreat in October that was the culmination of a Secret Sisters project we introduced this year, and we had a blast spending time together in a lodge near Hocking Hills! I have also loved leading a small Bible study for young moms/new believers and seeing these ladies grow in their understanding of God’s love!  Of course, discipling my children is one of my greatest joys, so I consider it a true privilege to be able to stay home with them and homeschool them. In April, our farm grew with the addition of four goats, who are primarily in my care. For many months, we enjoyed the delicious milk (and cheese and yogurt) that two of them provided, and now we are eagerly awaiting the birth of their babies this spring!  Every morning that I head out to the barn to do farm chores, I thank God for this good land He has given us to live on. I am also enjoying the new hobby of natural soap making with some of the excess goat’s milk we have in the freezer. Isaac is my helper and he is hoping to start a little business with it soon!  In May, my life took a sudden unexpected turn when a tick bite resulted in Lyme disease. It was a rough couple of months as the disease caused all sorts of troublesome symptoms.  Thankfully, we caught it early, and my body responded well to aggressive treatment from medicine, herbs, and Plexus supplements, so I seem to have made a full recovery. I am so grateful.  

Our farm will be growing again this week with the addition of a puppy! As an early Christmas present for the boys, we are getting a Great Pyrenees to be both a pet and to serve as a livestock guardian dog for our goats and whatever future livestock we acquire. Everyone is very excited to bring home our little white fur ball and pick out a name for her! We also just found out that our family will be growing again next year with the addition of another little Britton!  God’s blessings continue to overflow!

We hope that no matter what joys or trials might be taking place for you at this season of your life, you will look to the Lord, from whom comes our help and strength! May His love be very real to you, may His Word be your guide, and may you know the peace Jesus came to give through His gift of salvation!

A Merry Christmas and A Blessed New Year to you all!
Nathan, Katrina, Isaac, Josiah, Adoniah, Silas, and Baby #5

Monday, December 10, 2018

Fall Happenings

We had a busy, fun-filled fall season! Now it's time to play picture catch-up on the blog. :)

School time. Adoniah works on forming numbers with Wiki Stix while Josiah does his cursive handwriting practice.

Learning to spell and read!

I snapped this picture of Josiah at church playing with little animals because I got such a kick out of how he lined them all up in an orderly fashion in family groups!

Afternoon reading outside in the sunshine!

Aiming for a posed picture and this is what I got!

When Silas skips his morning nap, he just can't quite make it through lunch!

This picture was so precious to me as I looked out my kitchen window. Biggest brother with littlest brother just enjoying a moment together.

The boys worked really hard for several months to earn "Joy Beans" by demonstrating diligence, kindness, obedience, etc. Once they all filled up their jars with beans to a designated line, the reward was a special outing.

Our location of choice was Glassburn's Family Fun Farm. They had a blast! This tractor made out of hay bales was one of the highlights.

Lots of slides!

Isaac's favorite activity: pedal go-carts on a track.

The big rollers.

Climbing the spider web.

The tire park.

Racing down the hill.

Sack or no sack?

Bean bag toss!

Pumpkin bowling was another hit!

The corn pit. Adoniah had a ball with all the trucks!

Meanwhile, back during normal life happenings, Josiah figured out how to do our USA puzzle!

In November, we hosted our annual open house for church friends. Lots of fun people came by to enjoy a pancake breakfast!

The chief cook.

Silas makes me laugh!

Such a happy boy!

He loves to lick the bowls!

The boys were given some new costumes and love to play dress-up!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Adoniah's Birthday and the Start of a New School Year

A very happy 3-year-old on his birthday!

A huge (hand-me-down) train set that this boy has LOVED and played with EVERY SINGLE DAY! (The other brothers have joined in the fun too!)

His favorite thing is to put them together end-to-end and pull them around the house.

Making his birthday cake!

Licking the spoon is the best part.

First day of school pictures:
Isaac Nathan - Kindergarten/1st Grade 
(Posing with all his books for the year.)

He is a smart little boy full of creative ideas who loves to build things and make people laugh!

Josiah Daniel - Preschool/Kindergarten

He is a sweet, nurturing boy with an animated imagination who loves babies, animals, and music!

Adoniah Wesley - Preschool

He is an enthusiastic little boy who loves to play and learn! 
His favorite things are trains, fire trucks, tractors, and diggers.

Silas Andrew - The Tag Along who is learning to talk and obey
He loves doing whatever the big brothers are doing, snuggling with Mommy, mowing with Daddy, and playing outside.

My book-loving brigade.

Homeschool Curriculum Line Up for 2018-2019 (because fellow homeschool moms like to know!):

- Logic of English language arts program (Level A for Josiah, Level B for Isaac)
- Mathematical Reasoning (beginning kindergarten), followed by Math-U-See Primer (advanced kindergarten) - Josiah
- Math-U-See Alpha (first grade) - Isaac
- Sonlight Core A: "An Introduction to World Cultures" for history/Bible/literature - all boys
- AWANA Cubbies and Sparks for Bible memory - Adoniah, Josiah, Isaac
- A Year of Playing Skillfully - Adoniah (art and science ideas for Josiah and Isaac as well)

Math is usually a hit with all of them.

Comparing their height with a hay bale.

Look how tall we have gotten!

Playing Peek-A-Boo!

Isn't that SO funny?! :)

Josiah and Isaac started a homeschool gymnastics class this year, which they LOVE!

I was surprised to see 50 kids there the first couple weeks!

Building shapes...

A triangle!

Josiah wanted in on the fun!

And so did Isaac!

Popsicle sticks are just full of possibilities...

Fine motor practice: marbles in the bottle.

Learning to be a diligent worker!

We begin each school day with Bible Time and then I work with just Adoniah on some preschool activities. He is thriving on the one-on-one attention.


Josiah is learning how to write numbers and letters. On this day, he wrote his answers to math problems in corn meal for a break from pencil and paper.

He loved it!

Josiah teaching Silas.