28 November 2010

snowing inside...

we did a little art project this weekend... something about creating together as a family makes my heart really happy. Its the dorky-crafty-part of my heart I think. Here are the boys being silly by our snowflakes....I found the tutorial to make them on Craftynest.com, click here. I highly recommend printing the instructions and having them on-hand while creating (or have your laptop handy). I tried to make one from memory... and well, let's just say that after Wilson and Walker had completed theirs, it was obvious that mine was horrible. I told Brad that anyone that saw them would think Walker had made mine. And Walker replied, "Mom, I will tell everyone that my mommy made the ugly one." Super.
I ended up ripping mine apart and re-doing it while following the instructions. Much better! They are pretty simple to make, and rather stunning, I think. We didn't bother with paint or glitter, I am guessing they'll get trashed at the end of the season, but maybe we'll make more again next year. Let me know if you give them a try.

For full disclosure, we didn't have a protractor so we had to eye-ball our angles. Also, Walker did not get to use the glue gun. (Sometimes we are cautious like that.)

25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so blessed by our family members! Thanks for sending all your thankful feathers back! We love reading them every year!Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100


We went for our annual pre-dinner walk to burn some extra calories before eating some extra calories! I think this year was the warmest pre-dinner walk yet (except for when Brad was in Africa, it was hotter for him there!)
And here's the dinner spread... thankfully there were no kitchen mishaps!

We are truly blessed! The boys and Daddy are waiting on me to go join them in a round or two of Mario cart. Perhaps by then, we'll have room for some pumpkin pie!

24 November 2010

kitchen help

we did some baking this week... well, candy-making isn't really baking, but I just lumped it all together, ok? we made some caramels on Monday and we also made pie crusts. Yesterday we made some mini chocolate tartlets. I only made one pan of them because I am using my other pie crust for pumpkin pie today. I didn't think about halving the recipe for the filling, so there was a bowl-full of chocolate filling sitting on the counter... can you see Sir Sneakysneaksalot helping himself?He didn't mind getting caught either! I asked him how many times he had already done this, and he said, "Uh, I think three times."
This is a shot of the finished product. They are so-so in my opinion. I'll figure out a way to eat more of them, but I will use a different recipe for the filling next time.... probably Grandma Rose's chocolate pie recipe.

20 November 2010

Twilight 5k Run

Last night was Amanda's first attempt at completing a 5k. When our church announced they'd being doing one to support wounded warriors at Fort Benning, we both decided it would be a good place for her to start. Her running had been hit or miss until about 5 weeks ago. She found a workout plan online, and she stuck to it for 5 weeks. I really wasn't worried about how fast she would finish it, but I just didn't want her to walk. She came close a couple of time last night to trying to walk, but she gutted it out and finished really strong. I have a GPS for running, so I was able to capture our run route and statistics. Below you'll find an animated map of it.

Twilight 5k Cascade Hills




This has been her theme song, but since I was running we her she ran without headphones.

18 November 2010

how to save a life

Wilson had a rather fun homework assignment this week. He had to disguise a turkey and then tell a story as if he were the turkey. He knew immediately that he wanted to make his turkey a batman disguise... he colored it...then asked me for some help... we modeled the turkey's mask off of Wilson's Halloween mask... except much tinier (is that a word? tiny-er?)
Mrs. Z said the kids could cut out their turkeys, so Wilson did some cutting and folding to accommodate the Batman disguise...
...tiny cape and all =)

I asked Wilson if he wanted to read his story on video so y'all could hear it, but he declined (vehemently). He started typing it, but then he kicked the surge protector and shut down the computer and now its shower time so I will retype it for him (hard to believe, but I actually type faster than someone, granted he is in 2nd grade, but still, I am a little surprised). Here's the story:

I picked this disguise so they will think I'm a super hero. Who would eat a super hero? I was feeling pretty lucky in my disguise. The family looked and looked but all they was a empty frezer. When I heard them on the phone ordering pizza I knew my Batman disguise had worked.



and this picture below, is just to show you how well Walker is doing with his "pumping." I'm glad we decided to keep the swingset a little while longer!

16 November 2010

{the genuis got the video to work}

On the way to school this morning, Walker was explaining the wordless book to Wilson. For some reason, he thought for sure he would get a "copy" of it today at church. So when we got home, we made one. Here's a video of him telling the meaning of the colors...












***
thankful for:
me: God's goodness
Wilson: four seasons instead of just two
Walker: night and day, and the weekdays

15 November 2010

finished and refreshed

so after church we came home and had leftover pizza soup... then the boys played with GeoTrax while I played with girly fabrics, trying to make itty-bitty dresses... And this is what I came up with. Many prayers were uttered in the making of these little dresses, mainly that I would get them done and that my machine wouldn't break down! E's surgery was this morning and I wanted to make sure the girls' had their dolls before that... I ended up making 5 dresses for each doll, pretty simple design but man that super-hero-fabric is so fussy -- I thought it would make for some flashy dresses for the mommy dolls! Look at Wilson, I told him to "look happy!" He's got that down! I put little pig-tails in the dolls' hair too... Hopefully the girls have fun with them this week...
I got an update from E today. They removed a large portion of tissue from her cheek, but they did not have to go all the way to the lips and the nerves were unaffected. She will begin reconstructive surgery on Wednesday and will be in the hospital for at least two days once that begins... she isn't here in town, she is in her hometown with her momma. Please keep their family in your prayers this week, if you think of it.

Thankfully, I slept well Saturday night and was refreshed at church Sunday morning. (Brad was working.) We sang a new song at church and I found it today on youtube. It has pretty simple lyrics, but the words just bring things into clear focus. If you are struggling with things, big or small; if you are unsure about a decision you have to make; or if you just need to get a little perspective. Find yourself five quiet minutes and take in this song. I played it a couple times this afternoon (back-to-back) while Walker was laying on my chest. Those kind of midday snuggles with him are so rare. My heart was so grateful.

13 November 2010

check this out...

little brother is getting in on the bike-riding action... he took off awesomely; and then he realized he was riding by himself and well, he's been practicing since that first time =)there is something so spectacular about watching Brad with these boys of ours. He truly is a fantastic daddy. There are so many spiritual lessons mirrored in this journey of parenthood, mostly because of the whole God-the-Father thing. And while I know Brad is not God, I do get a good picture of God's tender love for His children when I watch this man of mine with his boys. And when Walker pitches a crazy fit - yep, I get a real good glimpse of myself lashing out at my Heavenly Father. And man it looks ridiculous!
We are pretty excited around here because David and Casey are going to be joining us in this parenthood journey. We are thrilled for them and all the ways God is going to bless them in this. We are also pretty excited to have a new niece or nephew... and the boys are pretty happy about a new cousin coming soon!

In other news, I am trying to transform two of these "daddy dolls" into "Mommy dolls"
... one of my neighbors around the corner was in my Bible study class this fall and she called in a favor... She's having surgery (pretty extensive) to remove a tumor on her cheek. She is a momma to 6, her youngest two are girls. She brought me the dolls and asked me if I could make some little dresses for them. She has a picture of herself and hopes her girls will be comforted by them. I've been hitting a brick wall tonight, so I am hoping after some sleep I will be more creative. I want them to be fun for the girls, their momma is going to be gone for a week. I am sure she would appreciate your prayers on behalf of her family. (Her husband just recently got back from a deployment too).

***
in thankful news:
me: for hang-around-at-home Saturdays

and no-schedule means I totally forgot to ask the boys this morning.... but I think they appreciated the laid-back day too =)

12 November 2010

struggle

struggle: an energetic attempt to achieve something

"Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God's throne! So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won't get discouraged and give up." Hebrews 12: 1-3

So, you might know that I have been running again. One week from today I will be participating in my first 5k. I still sort of hate running... but also sort of love it. Weird, I know.

I like to run outside best. I've found that if I leave the TV off in front of the treadmill, that I like that better too. Weird, too, I know.

God and I cover a lot of ground (mentally at least) when I run. All sorts of topics at rapid-fire speed. That is the part I absolutely love about running. The actual physical exertion part of it is the struggle for me.

Brad has loaned me some ear-bud-things that don't slip out of my sweaty ears when I run (gross!!). So the last two weeks, I've been listening to my favorite selections while running. It seems to help quite a bit.

The first week that I started seriously running to get ready for this 5k, I didn't have my iPod. And while I was running, I was struggling. And a song popped into my head. And the words encouraged me. As I sang them, a little voice condemned me. "How ridiculous. Those words, for this? A little run? Really?"

But a stronger more trustworthy voice replied, "If you can't trust me for this? How can you trust me with something bigger?"

And my heart swelled, and I belted out a little bit of the song - at least in spirit. "The enemy's been defeated. Death couldn't hold you down."

I am trusting God to continue to reveal to me, His perfect plans. I believe Him for the big things, and I am learning to believe Him for the little things too, because oftentimes the biggest lessons are learned in the littlest of details.





****
thankful for:

Veteran's Day:
Me: Veteran's
Wilson: Veteran's
Walker: friends

today:
Me: date night =)
Wilson: Thanksgiving
Walker: my church

10 November 2010

surprise

surprise: the astonishment you feel when something totally unexpected happens to you

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17

I've been meaning to tell you this story for over a week now.

So, you remember when we went downtown to the "Market" to look for pumpkins? And we didn't find any... but we walked around the block and checked out a new store called The Outside World. It had some camping gear and lots of kayaks, canoes, etc. It was fun to see this little store opening up right downtown (which by the way, is actually called Uptown here). We wandered around and couldn't convince ourselves that we needed anything so we headed toward the door. We saw some backpacking maps so we stopped to look at them.

Brad pointed toward a book about Wilderness survival and said, "Man, I'd like to take that course."

And on we went to the pumpkin patch.

We carved pumpkins.

The pumpkins rotted within days.

Brad was off the following Friday, but had to run in to work for a cook-out they were having for some guys that are leaving the unit. From there, he calls to tell me that they want to send him to a class next week. He wondered about it interfering with Boy Scout camp... we decided he should go for it.

Sunday afternoon he left for a week. Of WILDERNESS SURVIVAL TRAINING.

I didn't realize until he was gone, that the class they were sending him to was the very class he pointed out at the store last week.

He mentioned it in passing. We continued on with our business.

God let us know that He knew all along.

This is another marker on our faith journey. A stone to remind us that He is faithful; that He knows what we need, and also knows what we want. A gift of immeasurable value.

He knows your heart. He might even be working out the details right now while your pumpkins are rotting. His timing is perfect. Sometimes He gives us hints at what He is doing, and sometimes He just gives us a big surprise. What an extravagant Father!

-----
thankful today for:
me: President Bush
Walker: my house
Wilson: new days

09 November 2010

thankful day #9

Brad: that our dog won't be stinky anymore (she is at the groomer as I type)
Wilson: that I get two weeks off of school at Christmas
Walker: for my family
Me: that Brad is home this morning hanging out with us... and then he and I (and Muskoka) got to go for a run while Walker was at Mom's Morning Out =)

08 November 2010

thakful day #8

Me: morning snuggles
Walker: my dog and a yard to play with my dog
Wilson: friends

07 November 2010

boy scout encampment

so, this weekend was supposed to be a boy scout camp-out weekend. But with Brad's last minute trip out of town for the week, we were leaning toward just making it a day trip... and then as the night-time temps kept creeping lower and lower, we were pretty confident that the day trip plan was the right plan. Wilson was a little disappointed, but he had a good day anyway...

(my pics are in crazy order)

lunch break! We brought the camping stove and tailgated for lunch. The hot cocoa hit the spot!How could I possibly pass up this photo-op?
There were ALL kinds of stations set-up all over this activity field, camping area. Wilson did 19... and I am not even sure if that is half of them. We basically just kept asking which one he wanted to do next and on we would go. Here are the boys at the Paleontology Dig...
This was some sort of Pow-Wow demonstration, Walker LOVED the drum...
The boys got to sit in a race car that the Auburn engineering students designed... they race them in MI in May each year. Wilson really liked trying the mountain boarding. And he got to put out a fire too!
We ended the day with a lake-side show that was followed by fireworks. We made it through most of the show, but finally decided to leave... it was after 9pm and getting chillier by the minute. When we were walking to the car, we asked Wilson if he was disappointed that we weren't going to get into a tent... He said, "No!" So thankfully, it all worked out in the end.

On a side note, they had a band playing at the show -- a praise band from a local church -- as we were walking out to the car they were playing "How Great is Our God." I like these boy scouts.

******

Thankful for:
Me: Our church & its desire to reach the military community
Wilson: my brother
Walker: my mom and dad, my bunkbed
Brad: our dog

06 November 2010

thanks #5 -#6 {and also}

day5:
Me: God's greatness
Wilson: the four seasons
Walker: my uncles

day 6:
Brad: I'm home
Me: Brad's home
Walker: that I get to be homeschooled
Wilson: that dad made it home safely

AND ALSO:

I just thought you should know...
=)

04 November 2010

we share shoes

if I leave my shoes around, you better believe Walker is going to try them on... today he agreed to let me take a picture (mainly because I told him Daddy would want to see). He was mad this morning because I told him to wear long sleeves then right before we walked out the door - I think when he tried to put his coat on - he realized his shirt wasn't long sleeves after all. I told him it was fine, because it was 3/4 sleeves. He wasn't happy. He was still protesting when we got to PWOC even. But man, it sure looks good with the jeans tucked-in look...I found myself some skinny jeans finally. I tried on a number of pairs before finding some that I thought were suitable. Thankfully Brad was there so I got his opinion and it was favorable. But I just can't shake the feeling that they make my feet look big.... (Walker took the picture, hence no face).

thanks #4

Wilson: Thanksgiving
Walker: my dog
Me: my babies (to which they said in unison - "We are not babies!")

03 November 2010

outstanding panther cub

Wilson got all M's and one E on his report card this marking period! Seriously, if they are going to get a letter grade - why not let it be the ones we all understand?

He is doing really well in 2nd grade. His teacher adores him, and he adores her (Thank you, Lord, for answering our prayers once again!). The school had an awards ceremony today - I got the letter yesterday ;) Here's Wilson getting his "Outstanding Panther Cub" certificate...This is the first year that they are giving out certificates for meeting the grade-level requirements, I thought his whole class was getting them - but there were only four of them. LOVE his sheepish grin as he is walking back to his seat....
And afterwards, I had him stand by this bulletin board for a picture - because earlier in the week he came home and told me that Mrs. So-and-so has this bulletin board in her room that says, "Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." Dang if he is not the absolute sweetest 2nd grader!
And on the way home, Walker and I were rockin' out in the ol' Az to some of DC Talk's Greatest Hits (I remembered that we still had some CD's in the house, since Brad took the van and all my favs with him... and our Christian radio station doesn't always come in that great...) Walker really likes "Jesus is Still Alright" I saw him bopping around in the rearview mirror with Daddy's beret on... I snuck the camera out of my purse so I could sneak this shot of him....

Back in place, and I'm all up in your face. With a rhyme that I embrace, like a mother to her child. I'm kickin' it Jesus style. To the ones that think they heard, I did use the J-word; 'cuz I'm not too soft to say it - even if DJ's won't play it.

thanks #3

Me: I am thankful to wake up with a song in my head "Rescue" (thanks to Logan's FB status last night)
Wilson: school
Walker: I am thankful for day & night.

02 November 2010

{give more}

this Christmas.

You can.

Yes, YOU can, {GIVE MORE}.

But how?

Ok, that's where I am. And that is why I am writing this post. Its "Joy Jars" time, and maybe this year you want to join in...

Its November 3rd today and we've had soup twice already this month!

If you don't know about Joy Jars, you might want to read about it here and here. The short version is this - we don't have a lot of extra money to give, but we want to give more. In order to teach the boys (and ourselves) a lesson about the correlation between sacrifice & giving, we eat soup (OFTEN) in November & December... then the money that we save on groceries goes to our Joy Jars to give away.

I have some lofty grocery goals in my head. And let me tell you, its going to be a challenge. We don't have WIC anymore so my grocery budget has seemed tighter since moving here. Plus the boys are growing so they eat more. Which got me thinking, how can we give more? Truthfully the thought process was...

HOW can we give more?
How CAN we give more?
How can WE give more?

And then it hit me, maybe some of you want to give more.

And maybe if I humbly invite you to join us then, maybe we (the four of us) won't actually be giving much more money ourselves... but we'll have others giving alongside us!

If you decide to do it, let us know... We aren't asking you to send us any donations, or even asking you to report how much you give. We're just inviting you to jump in!

Remember, you absolutely must make it work for you... Talk it over as a family. We give to World Vision and use the gift giving catalog, but maybe you have a different organization in mind to give to... the point is {GIVE MORE}

We are only in this position to encourage others to {GIVE MORE} because of the great and amazing things God has taught us over the years. He gets all the credit for teaching us so patiently and faithfully! If you ever, (ever) have questions, we are always (always) happy to share some of our mistakes and lessons with you!

"Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

Here's an advent conspiracy video to provide some perspective... and perhaps challenge you in other areas of giving this Christmas as well...


quick change

its November! I flipped over parts of our wreath bunting to reflect our thankfulness!where there were pumpkins, there are snowmen...with a birthday cake... this was a Christmas gift last year, so it got no time outside of the box, so it might as well come out early ;) to get us ready!
and thus far, ONE nativity set is out. We put it on the landing this year...

And oh, what a glorious way to start your day... having your children setting up the scene for Emmanuel to join creation. (I snuck this picture from up above, Walker heard the camera turn on and was looking to protest, but he didn't know where I was!)

The commercial side of the Christmas season is already trying to barge its way in... The Toys R Us big book arrived last week! I feel like its such a battle to keep things simple, to keep the boys thinking about the Truth of Christmas. So we always bring out the nativity sets first. Wilson has Veteran's Day off, so we are planning on setting out the rest of the Nativity sets then. The rest of the decor will wait until after Thanksgiving. It helps keep us focused on "giving thanks!"

So this month, each day we are talking about what we are thankful for... someone on FB had some "challenge" posted about saying one thing you are thankful for everyday... (you know one of those copy & post in your status things) and it said it gets harder as you go. But I think when you are thinking about your blessings, it just gets easier and easier to list them. I don't know, what do you think? Doesn't it get easier? Maybe it depends on Who you are thankful to?

Yesterday this is what we were thankful for:
Me: morning coffee
Wilson: a bed to sleep in
Walker: a yard to play in

This morning:
Me: God's word and its availability in our language
Wilson: clothes
Walker: a playground across the street, my big family, my aunts and uncles

I'll try and post our conversation each day. When Brad is home, we'll include him. ;)
Mom L. is posting her list of "Thanks" on her blog too, if you want to check it out, click here. It really is a great way to keep focused on the important things when the culture is trying desperately to get you to spend, Spend, SPEND! And stress out about not having enough to spend, Spend, SPEND!

01 November 2010

halloween 2010

Super {squinty} Walker...

you can see he decided to go as Super Walker, rather than a Fireman. I added a little "super W" to the back of a Lightning McQueen t-shirt (it had a hole in it, so he wore it backwards). He was pleased!I love this picture...

Wilson to Mussy: "What are YOU lookin' at?"
Mussy to Wilson: "What are YOU lookin' at?"
And here they are ready to go... Mussy stayed with me to pass out candy. I ran out 44 minutes after trick-or-treating started, so I called the guys and caught up with them...
Sorting the loot...
Lots of suckers!

It was just about perfect weather. We were glad that Daddy had the night off! Always a blessing!