The Lynn Family Highlights from 2016

2016 has been an amazing year of growth and discovery for the Lynns. Time and time again, we have seen God work in amazing ways. Join us as we take a stroll through memory lane along the last 12 months.

Wisconsin

In late 2015, the Lord brought a huge whirlwind of change into our world - a cross country move to Wisconsin! Having lived in Florida for 8 years, it's definitely required some adjustment, particularly in the weather department.

A view from the parking garage at CHW where Justin works.

God was certainly gracious during this transition, and we enjoyed quite a mild winter. Nevertheless, each of us have truly fallen in love with the natural beauty of Wisconsin - and the people in particular!

There's such beauty in a sunrise atop a blanket of white snow.

West Bend

We live in the historic section of town, close to the downtown area of West Bend. This city holds a special place for Candace and I as this is where we met, enjoyed our first date and shared our first home. This town is full of charm and beauty. It seems like we discover something new to fall in love with in our new hometown every day!

Scenes of beauty everywhere!

Did I mention that it gets cold?

Special Experiences

Justin and Candace's Anniversary

On January 8th, Mama Bear and Papa Bear celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed a special evening out, dining at the amazing Poplar Inn and enjoying a fresh blanket of snow. Doesn't Mrs. Lynn look captivating?

Cruising the Bahamas

In early April, the entire family flew to Florida (and might we add escaped a large snow storm). Sophia and Alexis got to reconnect with Mimi and Grandpa (Candace's parents) as they spent a few days alone with them while Justin and Candace hit the high sees on their first cruise!

We journeyed aboard the Oasis. While this is a smaller ship in comparison to many (we weren't too sure how the "afloat at sea" aspect was going to work as Candace gets quite motion sick - but she did just fine), it still offered huge memories for us.

The view that greeted us upon embarking on the ship.
From the top down - isn't this breath taking?
Candace and Justin had the oppurtunity to relax, have fun - but most importantly, reconnect on a deep level - distraction free.

Exotic Destinations

We experienced two ports of call in the Bahamas as well as an entire day at sea. We read more books than we probably have in years and we laughed harder...wait, we always are laughing!

Coco Cay, the private island owned by the cruise line, was our first destination. This was hands down our favorite part of the cruise!
Nassau was our "big" destination. While we had lots of fun, somehow we ended up in a shady part of town - boy, did this make for lots of memories!
We went to the famous straw market and filled our suitcases full of fun gifts for our family and friends. It's a very different way of life from ours for these workers and crafters.

Gorgeous Views

The sights and sounds of this journey were amazing. We're so thankful for the technology to help us capture so many great memories. God's handiwork was all around us. In fact, we had never seen many of these colors in nature before! Absolutely stunning!

We had the privilege of snorkeling in these waters. Wow!
Candace landed this shot - edit free! She really has a passion and love for photography (and should I add great skill!).
Who is this power couple...that just happens to blend into the white rocks?

Mother's Day Celebration

Alexis, Sophia and Daddy had the oppurtunity to honor Mommy with a special Tea Party for Mother's Day. The kids helped prepare the heart shaped sandwhiches. They also picked out the additional foods - clementines and Baby bell cheese (Sophia as a slight addiction to this cheese, lol). The girls dressed up in fancy dresses and we used Mommy's special family china to add to the experience. This was a special afternoon and quite the surprise for Mommy!

The Creation Museum

As we attended the BBF Summer Conference held in Tipp City, OH, we stopped by the Creation Museum to learn more about how God created our world in amazing power and detail. While at the conference, Justin preached and taught the teenage class every morning.

Summer Fun

Over the course of the summer, we made lots of memories - many of them in our very own back yard. We put in a fire pit so we could enjoy lots of s'mores and mountain pies.

What's a fire without camping? Of course, we had some "practice" camping in our backyard.
Singing songs around the campfire. That night after the kids went to bed (in the tent), our Mommy and Daddy hearts just about burst listening to the girls talk to one another. Sophia was a little scared of the dark and being in an unusual place, so Alexis started singing her own version of Amazing Grace to help calm her fears. So precious!
The water slide made it's appearance for the second year in a row. Many fun memories for the kids. Sadly, at the girls' birthday party the slide suffered a fatal blow - literally.
Here we are adventuring in Port Washington! We sure know how to pick the right time - there happened to be a free cook out on the dock that day. Free lunch on the lake? Yes, please!
An excursion to Port Washington is never complete without a stop here! It's a new family favorite.
Justin received free tickets to the Wisconsin State Fair through his job. How much fun! (FYI - those letters are made from boxes that house THE MOST DELICIOUS creme puffs!).
We also traveled to Bay Beach Park in Green Bay for fun with our favorite Cotner family!
Mommy and Lexie raced down the burlap sack slide! Look at those sensational smiles.
License to drive
The core of our family - Mama and Papa Bear
The view is gorgeous...so is the lake.

Backyard Adventures

We enjoyed lots of fun exploring our new town, where there are more parks than we can count!

This was a little over a block from our house. A yearly festival tradition at the nearby Catholic church.
Ride on horsey!
It may not be the ocean, but water is water! Here are the kids enjoying a local treasure. Of special note, on this day, the girls learned a very SCARY lesson as to why they must follow the rules. They were having fun playing and drifted beyond the swim area boundaries and quickly got taken under. Thankfully they were quickly rescued. Every moment is a time for teaching - particularly the scary ones!
Sophia's happy place - climbing on a park somewhere! She amazes us with her fearless, adventurous spirit!
Lexie's happy place - on a swing! This year, she learned how to swing herself.
We enjoyed a wonderful 4th of July on Cedar Lake with our dear friends, the Herthers and the Kerns.
We traveled to Sheboygan one afternoon after Justin was done at work and explored Story Book Garden. Housed on the UW-Sheboygan campus, this features beautiful landscaping where both storybooks, fairytales and history come to life!
An earthen bed!
All of this fun is tiring!

Camping Adventures

A new yearly tradition - we joined our friends, the Kerns and the Wolgasts for a weekend filled with camping, adventure and lots of fun! This year, we explored Ledge Park near the beautiful Horicon Marsh.

Sleeping Beauty
A beautiful ray of light shining through.
Getting ready to hit the trail!
Adventure team ready!
Explorer-in-Training! Though....I may have heard, "Dad, this is hard" more than once.
What stunning color!
Did you know that Wisconsin had some elevation?
The boys got in some cave exploration

Overall, we had a safe excursion - however, Candace did lose her footing in a hole in the ground. The poor thing - she sprained her ankle! That earned her an air cast and crutches for several weeks. 😔

Birthday Celebrations!

The girls turned 4 years old this year - can you believe it?! We celebrated with our closest friends from church. We also had special guests join us all the way from Florida - Mimi (Candace's Mom), Auntie Katie (Candace's Sister) and the 3 cousins (Connor, Caleb and Carson). Sadly, Candace came down with an utterly dreadful case of Bronchitis and Strep that landed her in the ER and out of commission for almost 2 weeks! Nevertheless, we still had a special celebration of the gift of life that God has blessed us with in Alexis and Sophia.

Isn't that cake sensational? Candace made the majority of it (prior to getting sick), Justin made the chocolates and Mrs. Kern put the finishing touches on the cake once Candace got sick. Justin also made the girls a puppet theatre as their birthday gift. These precious girls are so creative...I wonder where they get that from?

Dates with Daddy

Starting another new yearly tradition this year, Justin took each girl separately on a date for their birthday. We went to a sensational, rustic cafe close by and enjoyed some one on one time. Sophia commemorated the occasion by dressing up as Cinderella with Minnie Mouse shoes - such a commentary on who she is! On our travel to the cafe along some beautiful back roads, she commented on the moon still "being awake." She is our quiet observer; she is such a special reflection of God in our world!
Alexis adorned herself in a t-shirt with a pocket (her favorite), tights with a skirt (her favorite), her new water bottle holder from Mrs. Kern (another favorite) and her monster hat (her favorite...even in August). This girl is confidently unique; certainly God has an amazing story to tell through her life!

Fall Is Our Favorite

Autumn was probably one of the things that we (Justin and Candace that is) were most excited for in returning to Wisconsin. Pumpkin spiced everything and the crisp, coolness in the air - we loved every moment of the fall!

We journeyed to the famed "Holy Hill" to experience the foliage. We took a photo adventure where each of us (the girls included) took photos.
Sophia in action. Looking at her photos, she has quite the eye like her Mama!
Glorious orange...Justin's favorite color!
Our Techy in action!
Our hearts were so full experiencing the special moments of our family memory making!
I think we need to return in the winter - can you imagine how beautiful this outlook would be?
This is as high as we would climb!
Stunning!
Yes, we sell prints. 😉
The best view of them all!

Beauty Surrounds

Seems like we took photos just about everyday to capture the wonderful changes of colors in the leaves.

Sister love!

Wedding Preparations!

Early in November, Auntie Nini (Courtney, Justin's sister) got married. We traveled to Pennsylvania to take part in the special day. Alexis and Sophia were both flower girls in the ceremony. We had a blast catching up with everyone and seeing Pappy and Grammy (Justin's parents) new home. PS...we took lots of four-wheeler rides!

Puppy Adventures

As an early Christmas gift, we surprised the girls with the newest addition to our family, Cookie Sparkle Lynn. Sophia had been asking and "waiting patiently" as she would say every day for many months for a puppy.

How could you not fall in love?!
Cookie has such a sweet temperament and is eager to please!
Lexie has opened up so much and gained a lot of confidence around animals since getting Cookie.
Sophia makes the "Cookie Connection" everywhere we go - even looking at Christmas lights!
I think Candace wanted a puppy too!
Alexis Joy Lynn

Alexis is now 4 years old. She loves to learn and constantly is asking Mommy for extra school work (sounds like Justin as a kid!). She can write her name very well and has a number of other sight words she can read and write. She loves music and singing. She has fun playing the trombone, ukulele and cajon (a box-like drum). She colors almost everyday and loves Play Doh.

Sophia Grace Lynn

Sophia is also 4 years old now. She loves to play pretend and make up stories all day long. She is a Princess through and through. Depending on the day, she may go by several aliases - Elsa, Anna, or Cinderella. In school, one of her favorite activities is cutting paper. She is also developing her writing and coloring skills as well. She is absolutely in love with animals, particularly puppies.

Thank You

To our dearest friends and family who stuck it through to the end of this long production, thank you for being a part of our lives. We appreciate your love, whether from a far or near, in-person or online.

We close this Christmas letter and yearly celebration with a simple question: have you personally encountered Jesus Christ? Not just the tiny baby born in a manger, but the God who became a man who would one day die on the Cross for all of our sins (yours and ours alike), be buried and raise again victorious over death.

Unlike the little drummer boy in the classic Christmas carol, God doesn't want our finest gifts...be they pounding on a toy drum or living as good of a life as we can muster. He simply wants our faith; he wants us to trust Him as the payment for the penalty for our sins.

"For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior? This is the greatest gift of all. As a family, we urge you to consider your eternal destination. We are always more than willing and excited to share more about the hope and joy that we share that all started with a little baby in a barn, 2000 years ago.

We love you all! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Justin, Candace, Alexis, Sophia and Cookie Lynn

Credits:

All photos were taken by Justin or Candace over the course of the past year. Enjoy!

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.