Tuesday, December 18, 2012

There's a New Seven Year Old in da House!!!

 He loves to be silly...
 He loves his Daddy...
 He LOVES dirt biking (thanks cousin Teddy for sharing!)

 He loves food...oh, how he loves food...
 He loves his friends and cousins...

 He loves to do manly things, like throwing rocks...
So many more things he loves...
And we sure love him!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Heavy Hearts

I feel like I can't post about happy things until I muddle through a bit of what we all were faced with on the new Friday. 
When I saw that there had been another school shooting my heart sank.  When I saw the number of dead quickly jump to 27, I decided I would probably start home schooling my children come Monday.  Then I tried to remind myself that God commands us not to live in the spirit of fear.  With sadness pulling at my heart, I gathered my girls and headed out to do grocery shopping at Winco.  After arriving home, I opened the trunk, left the groceries and scurried to computer, hoping to find some good news.  What I read instead, was that an entire class of kindergarteners had been killed.  The tears started and wouldn't stop.  I had to explain to the girls what had happened.  I had to explain to my kindergarten dolly that precious, innocent children just like her had been sent to eternity that morning.  My groceries sat in the open trunk for a long time that afternoon.
It took a lot of tears before I had the courage to cuddle my precious toddler for her nap.  I felt guilty holding a warm, breathing innocent child in my arms. 
Later I summoned my courage and went to the school to pick up my first grader.  OH!  Was it good to see him, to touch him and to bring him home with me. 
As a former teacher and a current mother, my heart aches with the sorrow of Friday.  A parent's worse nightmare--a shooing at the school where YOUR child attends.  A teacher's worst nightmare--a shooter in the building.  I have to say, that when I was teaching and we heard about school shootings, I would often think things like "I teach first grade/kindergarten--that doesn't happen to these precious little ones."  Seriously.  That might be naive, but I truly was thinking that it was mostly junior high and high schools who had to worry about such acts of violence.  I knew that it could happen at an elementary--it's just unthinkable. 
Kindergarten/First Grade children still have baby teeth.  They need their Mommy and Daddy to look under the bed before they'll go to sleep.  They hold your hand when you go for a walk.  They'll kiss you good bye in front of their friends.  They willingly say "I love you."  They believe in fairy tales.  They need help taking a bath.  They play with dollies, and cars and Legos.  Their smiles light up the world.  They are innocent of the filth and evil of this world.  Jesus loves these children.  He called them saying "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not." 
Today, He is holding a few more children in His loving arms.  I pray that salvation will come to the living left behind if they have not already found it.  That they will feel the everlasting arms holding them up when they cannot stand on their own.  That they can soon think of the wonderful memories of their darling loved ones without feeling the panic of the past few days.
It's easy to forget during events like these that God IS in control.  While there might not be anything we can do to physically help the grieving, we can pray for them.  And we can live each day as a gift.  A gift from God.  Another day to spread His love to others--actively.  Because none of us know the day or hour when He will take us Home.  This world is getting darker and darker each day.  It's terrifying how dark, actually.  But "light is the darkness' most fear" and the darker the night, the brighter that Light can shine--if we let it. 
These words from Philips, Craig & Dean keep running through my head.  It's an important message I need to remember.  I'll need to remember it especially on Monday, when I drop my babies off at school and watch them walk away from me and into the building.  When my chest threatens to cave in from fear.  When I most need to trust my Heavenly Father.

"You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Than a Little Behind

Life has a way of dragging you in and not spitting you back out, doesn't it?  I think I am in the spin cycle of three kids right now.  It's not a bad thing--I am fully enjoying (most of) it.  Balance is just a bit hard to find some days.  Fun things such as blogging are forced to the back seat.  I do want to post my kiddos' thankful lists for this year so that I can look back on them someday with all the other thankful lists.  Here goes:

Nora's 2012 Thankful List
I am thankful for...
1.  Medicine
2.  carrots
3.  my eyes
4.  my arm and my elbow
5.  leggings
6.  sunglasses
7.  buttons
8.  my body
9.  hands and fingers
10.  cheeks, mouth, teeth
11.  cups

Caroline's 2012 Thankful List
I am thankful for...
1.  My Mom and Dad (this is the first time EVER we have made number 1 on any of our kids' thankful lists)
2.  toys
3.  food & water
4.  house
5.  my watch
6.  The Lord Jesus
7.  My Grandpas and Grandmas
8.  a car
9.  our backyard
10.  the sun
11.  electricity
12.  my cousins
13.  my body
14.  windows
15.  mouth and teeth
16.  That we can all be together on Thanksgiving
17.  glasses

Ezra's 2012 Thankful List
I am thankful for...
1.  Legos
2.  cars (the toy kind)
3.  food
4.  Family:  Mom, Dad, Caroline, Nora
5.  stores to buy food
6.  car to drive
7.  Grandpas and Grandmas
8.  Uncles and Aunts
9.  vitamins to help us get better
10.  water to drink
11.  cousins
12.  electricity
13.  The Lord
14.  That we have the Bible which is sharper than a two edged sword.
15.  our backyard
16.  a fan to turn on when it's really hot so I can cool off

Monday, November 5, 2012

Decorating for fall is my favorite thing to do.  I often jump the gun and get started in September.  It reminds me of all the fall decor at our September wedding.  It also reminds me of getting my classroom ready back in the day.  Pumpkins, gourds, candles, burlap, leaves and berries. 

 The smell of pumpkin candles fills the house most days.
 Caroline said her favorite thing to do is help me change the decorations.  So, after I filled the crystal bowl with gourds, I gave her a bunch of items and told her she could make the china cabinet her work of art.  She stared at each leaf she placed, thought, moved it around a bit, stared some more, moved some more.  I caught her opening the cabinet and fiddling with items for days.  She was happy with her finished product.  So was I!
 Peek-a-boo!  Gotta love the super glossy-mirror-like-yellow ceilings.  Repainting this house is a lifetime project.  Today, my main project is keeping my hacking, gagging, coughing, sniffling, feverish girls hydrated.  'Tis the season, I suppose.  We're getting a LOT of reading done.  And really, there is nothing much I love better than snuggling on the couch with my three favorites and a good pile of books. 
What do you use to decorate for fall?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Soccer Review

 From where I sit--inside a warm, cozy house while the rain pours down outside my window--I am happy to say that after Thursday evening the soccer season will be over.  Not that I don't like soccer.  I've had a lot of fun watching my kids play this fall.  But now that the rains have arrived, I'm ready for indoor sports!  And I'm really ready for the month break between soccer and basketball. 
 These first pictures were taken during the first 2/3 of the season when the weather was hot and sunny.  Much hotter and sunnier than usual for this time of the year.  The kids complained about sweating too much and had to have their water bottles refilled halfway through the games.

 The siblings not playing soccer enjoyed coloring and drawing in the dry, dusty grass.
 No, we didn't have another daughter and forget to tell you about her.  She is the baby sister of one of Ezra's friends--and isn't she just the cutest thing ever?  She wears my girls' hand me downs sometimes and I get to enjoy the cute little clothes all over again.

 One of our favorite parts of watching Ezra play is his sheer joy.  He is often laughing while he plays.  Not in a distracted way.  It's sort of how he shows intensity.  He has such a love for sports.
 He seems to also have a love for defense.  There are only three players on the field at a time with no goalie at this age.  If he thinks that a player from the other team has any chance of scoring, he makes sure to stay back and guard the goal. 

 We went 80-some odd days with no rain and the ground got dustier than I have ever seen it.  Nora looked like she had been rolling around in chalk that day.

 Fast forward to last Thursday evening.  Games are now under the lights and we all have blankets and coats to huddle under.  And umbrellas to hold over us.

 Isn't that a cute referee? 

 About halfway through the season Caroline informed us she doesn't like soccer very much.  But we're glad she gave it a try.  She has gotten a little bit more aggressive as the season wears on and that makes it more fun. 

So long socca--you've been fun while you've lasted.  See you again next year...maybe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just for Fun

Do you ever wonder why I rarely post informtaive "how to" posts with lots of step by step directions and photos along the way?
Of course, I DO keep this blog mostly to keep far-away family members updated with photos of the kids.  For another thing, I rarely take pictures of more than one or two steps of what I'm doing.  I just don't have enough arms for kids + projects + camera these days.  But there are other reasons too. 
 Below is a "how to" post I attempted to create this summer.  It was a major failure and I decided to nix it.  But I got to thinking about it recently and figured it might be good for a laugh.
Even though I am a non-coffee-drinker, there are times when a nice iced mocha complete with whipped cream sounds delish to me.  When I worked at Bertolino  Brother's Coffee I had free access to all the drinks I wanted.  Compared to most of the employees, they got off easy with me.  But there were times when I needed to "use" coffee.  Such as when I was working a few extra afternoon jobs and planning a wedding in 7 weeks.  I found that the drip coffee was tolerable with a shot of Irish Cream (flavoring--what do you think I AM????) and a lot of cream.  Sometimes these days I also need to use coffee.  That's where Via comes in.  I thought I'd write a little post on how to make Via iced.
 Pour Via powder into a measuring cup.  Boil and add only a couple ounces of water.  Stir until dissolved.
 Mix in your chocolate syrup while the Via is hot so that it will dissolve.
 Fill a tall glass with ice and pour chocolate Via mixture over it.  Pay attention to the camera instead of what you are doing and pour Via all down your daughter, your own legs and all over the floor.
 Sit back and laugh hysterically at yourself.  Remind self why you don't do how to posts.
 Add whipping cream to the small amount of liquid left in the glass.  There was supposed to be a final picture with a straw...but at this point I was figuring the post was scrapped.
Now, of course, the punchline comes when I go to the grocery store the next week and see the rows of  Iced Via options.  Joke's on me!  Or wait...is it?  The plain Via is cheaper.  Not enough to make pouring it all over the floor and yourself and your daughter worth it, though.  AND--the iced version comes in an amazing caramel flavor.  I'm sure it has no calories.  Not even when you add a splash of whipping cream.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sunday School Picnic

 Last Friday night we had our annual Sunday School Picnic.  It was a little later in the year than we often do it.  Being mid-October we decided to go all out with the fall decor.  While that might be a bit lost on the Sunday School kids, it sure was fun for the Mommies : )  Pumpkin painting got the kids all excited.

 I always have visions of being able to oversee such projects and suggesting that they have a theme for their pumpkins--you know, stripes, polka dots, a funny face or leaf designs.  But reality generally steps in and takes over.  Thankfully, Uncle Brett kindly watched over the painters and kept the paint from being tracked all over the room.  Which it surely would have been, had he neglected his duties.  The kids have a lot more fun painting with as much paint as they possibly can rather than trying to make a perfectly striped pumpkin.
 There were darling pudgy cheeks for me to gaze upon.
 And races outdoor in between rain showers. 

 Two of Nora's best buddies.

 Little girls with pony tails all lined up for a gunny sack race.   Not many cuter things than that!

 As per typical, after these pictures I set my camera down and didn't pick it up many more times during the evening. 
 Rick and Eleanor brought a cider press and Andy and Jennie provided over 200 pounds of apples for fresh, delicious cider with dinner.  We ate, drank and were very merry.  We sang Sunday School songs and listened to a message.  And then we played more games, including a bean bag toss at that amazing tractor pictured below--courtesy of Uncle Gordon.
Rounding out the evening was ping pong and caramel apples.  Thanks to all those who braved Friday evening traffic to make the night a fun one.