Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas time!

Nine days until Christmas. Two days until we leave for Arizona (which the kiddos don't know about - they just know that we're going somewhere after D gets done with school). There's still an awful lot that I was hoping to get done, but I've crossed many items off my "To Do" list and am actually feeling relatively calm. It's currently pouring rain. Hubby had a rough commute into Mexico this morning as some of the roads had washed out. Thankfully he's back over the border now and will remain here until next year :) I ran some last-minute errands this morning, and the stores weren't crowded at all due to the miserable weather... hey, gotta look at the bright side, right?

Didn't decorate all that much this year; we're definitely planning to do more next year, including putting lights up outside. Had to replace our tree-topper as the angel we purchased as newlyweds started to melt... and while she looked kind of cute bowing to us, the fire hazard factor convinced us to find something new. I'm kind of digging this star in all its sequinned glory! Haven't made a single holiday goodie, unless you count the cranberry pumpkin bread I baked the week before Thanksgiving. I *am* planning to purchase a gingerbread house kit while in AZ and let the kiddos decorate it up with their 2 older cousins. I'm just cultivating some good memories, right?! (wink, wink) We're not taking all of the kids' gifts with us (we'll have a final celebration when we come back home) but I need to wrap up the few items that are making the trip.

Have had some interesting conversations about Santa and holiday celebrations in general with a few people. For anyone that may not know, we don't do Santa at our house. (You can read last year's post on that here). We obviously do lots of other fun stuff - I'm not saying that we should do away with all the ribbons and bows and just meditate by a manger scene - but the crass commercialism of December does get to me... and quite honestly, besides the Jesus vs. Santa issue, I simply want the kids to appreciate the gifts that they receive, and know that those presents were purchased by those who love them, not just an anonymous benefactor. Some good thoughts on "Celebrating Jesus" here, and a fun Christmas Cookie Confession (with bonus new tradition ideas!) here.

I can pretty much guarantee that I won't be posting again until next year, so in the meantime, have a blessed Christmas!!

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, o night when Christ was born...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Holiday Fun

A photo overview of the past 2 weeks (if you want a better look, click on the photo and you'll be taken to flickr for the jumbo version)

Thanksgiving Dinner Now let me teach YOU Grandpa Baking with grandma Ahoy matey Awwwww Puzzling Our first fire Candy Cane Crafts O Christmas Tree
Other random tidbits from our world:
  • Yesterday, I had a package scheduled to arrive via UPS. The schedule is pretty consistent for delivery in our neighborhood, so I was expecting it around 6 PM. Well, about 4:30 the doorbell rings - yep, it was my box. Funny thing was that it was 2 guys dressed in their brown uniforms -- but they were driving a a beater Toyota with the back seat piled high with boxes. Guess they just need a little extra help during the holidays :) What really cracked me up, though, was when our son came running to the door to see who it was, and upon viewing the spectacle loudly shouted, "Hey, you're supposed to be in a big brown truck!" The delivery guy was laughing almost as hard as I was.
  • Just wanted to point out that a restaurant named "Java Cafe" should serve something besides Folgers (as evidenced by the club-sized plastic canister sitting on the counter) with powdered creamer. Blech.
  • Our daughter was serenading the other children in Moppets this morning with "Stories" by Go Fish (you can listen to a sample here, track #2) She was doing her big finale with NaNaNaNaNaNa Ooh Ooh Ooh when one of the other little girls calmly told her, "You can stop now." But of course she still had to finish the song - yep, that's our little performing cheeseball!
  • Back in the 70s all this week. I pulled out my long-sleeved shirts when it was in the 40s last week and was downright giddy over the prospect of breaking out a fuzzy sweater, but it doesn't look like that will be happening anytime soon. On a side note, the breeze blowing through the open windows flutters the tinsel on the tree quite nicely...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy December!

How on earth is it possible that we've already reached the last month of 2009?!? This year has definitely flown by... and boy oh boy, do I sound old when I say that :)

It's currently 3:58 AM and I've been awake for about 2 hours. Both kids have been downstairs, vying for a spot in Mommy & Daddy's bed (why oh why do they do this when they have their own perfectly wonderful sleeping quarters?) After much tossing, I finally decided I might as well get up and do a few things.

So we are now in the throes of the holiday season; I truly love Christmas time, but am finding it harder to get into the "spirit" when it's in the mid 60s and we're eating dinner on our patio, munching away on corn we picked up from a roadside stand after church. We did have a few days of cold and we not only used our fireplace for the first time but even turned the heat on for 2 days. My parents were here for Thanksgiving and just flew back to Montana on Saturday - funny thing is that their flights were all switched up due to the snow in Houston. Seriously, I doubt they were planning those type of travel delays in South TX, but you just never know what will happen...

In other news, we have a new nephew! Yes, my brother and his wife had a healthy baby boy - his big brother is awfully excited that he's finally arrived! Sad to think that I don't know when we'll be able to meet him in person, though - I'm so thankful for technology that allows us to email pics and updates.

There has been so much other stuff going on that I don't even know where to start. I had a nasty cold, and just as I was recovering my hubby went down. Grrr. Thankfully the kiddos have remained healthy thus far. Our computer has been giving us MAJOR fits, and I don't know when I'll be able to post pics. Hubby has been running a variety of scanners, debuggers and such and we have yet to decide whether we just need to dump the hard drive and re-install everything. Oh joy. Thankfully we have the laptop, but it has limited capabilities. Still in prayer about the church situation. Son's behavior at school is improving but far from perfect. Have a few more gifts that I need to pick up. A bit of baking I want to do. Praying how I can minister to certain people that God has brought into my life. Need to get my craft space organized before it drives me over the edge.

So how's that for stringing together random thoughts? This is what you get from a sleepy mama in December :) Before I head off to the next task, though, I wanted to share a bit more about Christmas. As the pastor pointed out this morning, this season is about FAMILY. And not just our crazy earthly relatives... no, this is the time we celebrate God's amazing love and how Christ came to this lowly earth so that he could share His riches with his brothers and sisters. Hadn't quite thought about it that way before. I think we all can all agree that when it comes to inheritances, the dark side of human nature all too often rears its ugly head... yet Jesus not only wants to share, but made the ultimate sacrifice Himself to enable us to claim the position as God's children. Forget brightly decorated trees and warm fuzzy feelings as we sing carols or exchange gifts... THAT is a reason to celebrate!

There it was--the true Light [was then] coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illumines every person. He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him]. He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own--His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name. (John 1:9-12, Amplified)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hearts at Home - Sale & Giveaways

Everyone loves a good sale, Right? We'll let me tell you about a great one:

It’s a Hearts at Home
Black Friday after Black Friday Sale Dec. 7-11

Did you sleep in on Black Friday? Did you drag yourself out of bed, but still miss out on some awesome deals because you were standing in line too long at one store? Do you still have shopping to do, but dread the crowds, traffic, and cost? Let Hearts at Home help!

Their Black Friday sale has been extended to the week of December 7-11. Shop in the convenience of your own home and receive an unprecedented 25% off all of Hearts books and merchandise. They have great gifts for everyone in your family.

Find gifts for friends, teachers, bible study leaders, bus drivers, and everyone else on your list. You may even find something for yourself. This is a great time to stock up on all those Hearts at Home books you’ve been wanting to read.

Let your family know how much you would love a Hearts at Home gift certificate so you can use it for your Hearts at Home conference registration and/or Mom’s Night Out tickets.

Go to, choose your gifts, and enter code “HEARTGIFT” upon checkout. You will receive 25% off your total purchase (before tax and shipping).

I also want to fill you in on a couple of other great opportunities!
Be sure to check out Jill Savage's blog this month (she is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home). She is doing one giveaway A DAY through Christmas.

And, if you stop by the Hearts at Home blog December 8 - 11, you will have an opportunity to win a Heart's at Home prayer journal. The prayer journal is a brand new resource from Hearts at Home.

Merry Christmas from Hearts at Home!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, Monday...

First off: may I present our new hallway?!? I managed to get it painted (along with the accent wall in our living room) with the help of a friend while my hubby was gone last week. He was definitely surprised! Amazing how a bit of paint can totally transform the feeling of a space. It's much more calming, plus it frames out the fireplace/brickwork really nicely in the other room (I know, I still need to post pics... someday, someday!) My only issue now is that the 2 colors are too similar in depth of tone... but I will happily live with that for awhile :)

My parents arrive in approximately six hours, and I still have a number of things to finish up. Oh, and did I mention I can't talk? Yep, I've been fighting off a cold and now am being awfully quiet. My daughter thinks it's pretty funny, but I'm annoyed. I just want to feel better quickly so I can get on with my life. Getting sick just never happens at a convenient time, does it?!

Well, I'm off again, even if it is in slo-mo. I probably won't be posting much in the next couple weeks, and I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Funny and Random Thoughts

Is there anything better than post-Halloween sales? I thought not. And check out the boy's grin - he's lost 3 teeth in the past few weeks, and a 4th is getting mighty loose. So doggone adorable!

Random bits floating around in my head:
  • I absolutely cannot believe that Thanksgiving is just days away. This warm weather is definitely taking some getting used to - I miss the changing seasons!
  • I've gotten *so* much done these past couple days. It feels good. Still a lot more I want to tackle, but I need to pace myself. And sleep.
  • Hubby comes back tomorrow - HOORAY!
  • Parents arrive Monday night. Our first overnight guests in this house!
  • There is a down side to the warm temps: bugs. Namely, mosquitoes that are gnawing on me and roaches that sneak through open drains - and take advantage of the open door that our children frequently offer when they head outside to play. Shudder.
  • The exterminator was here today. The aforementioned roaches will be dying. Quickly. I feel no remorse for my delight in this fact.
  • The new Behr paint (with the built-in primer) rocks. Pricey, but one coat covers beautifully.
  • I ran errands today, and saw the craziest thing when I was leaving the Wal-Mart lot. I pulled up next to a little Ford ranger and noticed how crowded it seemed with 3 adults in there. And then I saw 2 little heads pop up. Yep, there were 2 kids crammed in there, too, apparently sitting on the floor - and the lady in the passenger seat kept pushing them down like she was resetting a jack-in-the-box. Who cares about those pesky seat belts and child safety laws? And while I'm making a joke, it really did bother me as that particular stretch of road is quite busy and I couldn't help but think what would happen if they were involved in an accident... Your children are precious, people, so guard them fiercely and protect them any way you can!!

Brain sufficiently emptied. Must find mattress now. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catching Up

I admit the blog has been pretty quiet the past two weeks - just so much going on. We did get the laundry hallway done, but let's just say things weren't quite smooth sailing. When we moved the washer and dryer, the first discovery was that there was a shower in there at some point - and well, the drain that is now under our dryer was never closed off properly... that may explain where some of the crawly creatures have been coming in! And when we pulled the vinyl off the wall back there, we found mold. Ugh. Anyway, the short version is that the whole project took more time and $$ than we had anticipated - but hey, isn't that how it always goes with home improvement?! All that remains now is a final coat of white paint on the trim and wainscoting, and then I'll share pics.

Have also been spending a lot of time with our son - he struggled a bit with school last year, but I mostly chalked it up to being a full-day kindergarten when he'd never had any sort of formal class environment. Well, let's just say that those issues did not magically disappear, and quite honestly it's gotten even worse in the past week or so. We'd really appreciate your prayers on this - his teacher is really good and we're talking a *LOT* but it's still frustrating. It's not major stuff, but it's a constant issue. He's such a loving, smart kid and we just need to get his energy directed appropriately. Playing around with his schedule, diet, etc - please pray that I can be consistent and loving through the process, because quite frankly I'm not feeling that way right now.

And I'm off and running again...

Show me how you work, God;
School me in your ways.
Take me by the hand;
Lead me down the path of truth...
(Psalm 25:4-5 The Message)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Updating the Abode

My husband is such a funny guy. Apparently he recalls a conversation we had along the lines of "We're not going to do anything to this house for a year." I truly don't recall saying that (I think it was something more like, "We won't start any major renovations for at least a year") but he loves me and puts up with me! So the first picture is of my laundry hallway - complete with the color sample and the pale blue vinyl paneling ripped down. I'm planning to paint this week, and then we'll put up beadboard on the lower half of the wall on Friday (he has the day off). I cannot wait to see this completed, and it's possible that it might even make me enjoy doing the laundry just a bit :)

The second pic is of our entryway. You'll note the dreaded orangey half is still present - I'm hoping to tackle that in 2 weeks, but we'll see. In the meantime, I'm much happier with the feeling it conveys. This picture is taken from the meant-to-be-a-formal-dining-room, and the front door is to the left of the bench. It's a strange area - too wide to be left plain, but too narrow to handle much furniture. I found this teak bench online for a song, and it works for now (plus will be fabulous on the back patio if I ever find something better). I purchased the hook/shelf/picture frame thing from Hobby Lobby, but unfortunately they only had it in black. A can of spray paint later (plus some B&W prints from Wal-Mart) and the hall actually has some personality.

Anyway, my parents are coming down here for Thanksgiving and I really want to get a least a few of these minor make-overs down before that. And hey, I might even put them to work while they're here :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weekend Fun

Just catching up on some of this past weekend's happenings. On Saturday night, there was a Halloween family fun night at the library, complete with games, plastic prizes, and candy. Can't go wrong with that! Now on a side note, I must say that Halloween is a *much* quieter event down here. Back in PA, our neighborhood was all decked out with fake graveyards, shrieking door ornaments and the like. Here, well, I think I've seen 1 house with some orange lights in a tree. Now I'm definitely not complaining about that, because I really hate the spectacle that Halloween has become... on the other hand, I do love to dress up :) Anyway, when we arrived at the library I was surprised to see that many of the kiddos weren't dressed up - and the only adults with costumes were the library staff. Let's just say I stood out in my outfit (80s chick complete with teased hair, pink and blue eyeshadow, pegged jeans, etc) and hubby very quickly shoved his "Chachi" bandana in his pocket. Anyway, enough of the rambling and on with kid cuteness:
One of the games Making slime

Our son had no school on Monday, and hubby had taken the day off as well, so we decided to go off on a little adventure. We had originally thought about camping, but Monday's forecast was rainy so we settled for a long day trip on Sunday and drove to Falcon Lake for some outdoor fun. Did a bit of fishing although we didn't catch anything. The kids splashed around. I read a novel (bliss!). We all watched the butterflies and dragonflies - I have NEVER seen so many in one place; it seriously was like the landscape was alive. Definitely an unexpected treat! We met up with some friends for part of the afternoon - they have a boat, so the kids were thrilled to zoom around on the water. And we dined under an amazing sunset sky before heading home.
Getting ready to fish Boat Fun More Lake Loveliness Simply Gorgeous

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Belated Friday Funny - For the Girls :)

Meant to post this yesterday in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

A man walked into the Women's Department of Macy's in New York City. He told the saleslady "I would like a Baptist bra for my wife, size 36B."

With a puzzled look, the saleslady responded, "What kind of bra?"

He repeated "A Baptist Bra. She said to tell you that she wanted a Baptist Bra, and that you would know what she wanted."

"Ah, now I remember" said the saleslady. "We don't get as many requests for them as we used to. Mostly our customers lately want the Catholic bra, or the Salvation Army bra, or the Presbyterian type."

Confused, and a little flustered, the man asked "So, what are the differences?"

The lady responded. "It is all really quite simple. The Catholic type supports the masses. The Salvation Army lifts up the fallen, Presbyterian type keeps them staunch and upright."

He pondered that information for a minute, and asked "So, what is the Baptist type for?"

"They," she replied, "make mountains out of mole hills."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good times, good times...

Music. It is truly an integral part of life for me. I grew up surrounded by music (even if it wasn't always the style I personally preferred - hi, Mom! :) and even now, virtually every waking moment has a soundtrack provided by my iPod, car radio, humming, kids singing, etc.

When we moved, we determined that a couple things simply weren't worth bringing along -namely my hubby's amp (cobbled together with a speaker he'd had since college and the MDF from our former entertainment center) and my piano. The piano was a tough call as my hubby had bought it for me as a Christmas/birthday gift the first year we'd bought our house. We had purchased it used, and after 12 years it needed some work (= money). After much debate, we decided to pass it along to someone else and invest in an electronic one once we moved here.

Now I had 8 years of piano lessons, but to say I'm rusty is a serious understatement; sitting down to play was pretty far down on the priority list. We've been in this house for over 2 months now, and I'm surprised by how much I miss the piano. Occasionally plunking out a simple tune. Grabbing the VeggieTales songbook to have a little sing-along with the kiddos...

Anyway, we'd set aside some $ toward our musical purchase, and last week we got our weekly email from Musician's Friend with the usual announcements of sale items. The big news, though, was that for 3 days there would be no additional shipping costs on oversize items. The time had come!! The big brown truck arrived last night bearing 4 boxes: my piano, the stand, hubby's amp, and 1 other box that contained a half-size guitar for the kiddos as well as some other fun stuff we're saving for Christmas. Hooray!!!!!!

It's not fancy, but I cannot even tell you how thrilled I am - and I was surprised at how excited the kids were, too. And hubby is loving his new amp - his fingertips are sore from plucking away last night, but he's not complaining.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is the first performance by little Miss D :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Funny

Now *this* is one way to break up the monotony at the office!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beach Fun

This past Saturday, the temps were cooler (the high was only 80) and we decided to head off to South Padre for some fun. What we didn't think about was the fact that since it was so "cold," we'd pretty much have the entire place to ourselves. That is, unless, we stayed in town - it was Biker Week ("Roar By The Shore"). The kids enjoyed seeing all the bikes as we drove through, but had waaay more fun playing in the water...

Gratuitous beach shot Building Sand Castles Love this shot Water Fun Good times Shell Hunting Look, I'm actually in a picture Playing in the sand while the seagulls swarmed Kite Flying

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Withdraw much?

I am an introvert. Now some people that know me might laugh at that statement, but it is absolutely true. After waitressing through high school and college, then working in Human Resources, I have learned to deal with people - but it is draining. Yet another reason this move has been difficult for me. I need time alone, and even when I am with other folks, I really prefer a group of 3-4 as opposed to party mode.

The Flourishing Mother linked to this article, and I found myself nodding mmm hmmm-ing a lot as I read it (although I think my "humor bone" is pretty well developed :). Good stuff.

And now I'm off to MOPS, as an exercise in developing a new inner circle.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More Crafty Home Stuff

Yes, this time I'm posting something that *I* made - you can read more about it here if you'd like.

I've been busy this week - gotten quite a bit done around this house, including trying out a wall color in the laundry hallway (it's a keeper!), spray painting miscellaneous small items, and setting out gourds and such to make it feel more fall-like despite the 90 degree temps.

And just in case my stories of domestic bliss are making you rethink stuff in your own abode, then head over to The Nesting Place, where she's doing a month-long series on Beautifying Your Nest :) Good - and cheap - ideas abound!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Funny

Doesn't get any simpler than that! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Some Seriously Cute Shoes

I am definitely a craft geek. I've sewn, glued, and painted my way through all sorts of projects (although I'm mostly into stamping these days) - but I must admit that I haven't played all that much with Mod Podge. That may be changing soon.

I discovered "Oops! I Craft My Pants" (and on a side note, every time I even think about that name I just start giggling :) last month, and she generally features a Mod Podge project each week... Last week was this amazing pair of shoes - and now she's giving away a custom pair!!

I think these would make even my giant clodhoppers look pretty stinkin' cute. And here's a link so you can take a shot at winning your own!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Etsy Love

As we've settled into this house, the bare walls have irritated me. Larger house means more space to fill, and I wanted to find some good stuff. Off to etsy! I purchased the fabulous coffee print from Life Verse Designs, and it now hangs in my kitchen, adjacent to the dining area. The next two pics are from Cherie Lester Photography, and they're by the table (opposite the door you see in the background on the first photo).

I also wanted to address the empty space under the built-in cooktop. The folks at Vinyl Lettering were great to work with, and created this custom sized scrollymabobber (yes, that's a technical term). Won't it look great?!

Well, I'm sure it would if the cabinets had been properly primed and painted... Let's just say I'm really thankful that it was another shade of white paint under there.

On a side note - we're hoping to revamp the kitchen in about 2 years. It's not a great layout, and we'd like to knock out a wall and open it up into the dining area. Plus I can then replace the badly painted cabinets (complete with their faux aging that simply makes them look dirty...)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Review - Intimate Conversations

I had the privilege of reviewing Intimate Conversations, the new book from Alicia Britt Chole, which also happens to be the MOPS theme devotional for 2009. When I received it, I thumbed through, reading a few random sentences. And I was hooked. Even in a cursory perusal, I was thinking about my life - and my relationship with my Savior - differently. I liked the way the book was summarized over at All women need strong relationships but the one that most often gets neglected in the busyness of the day is God himself. In Intimate Conversations, you'll find an encouraging God whose grace does not stop with our imperfection or exhaustion. Amen!

The book is broken out into 12 "Dear God..." sections, and each has 4 or 5 devotionals - perfect to work through in a week. They each open with a little story, and include a key verse and questions for pondering/journaling. They're quick to read, but provide plenty of food for thought, and made me want to dig deeper into my Bible. The "Dear God... I Feel So Unproductive" section really spoke to my heart, and I think it will resonate with stay-at-home moms. A few of my favorite quotes:

  • Abundance may make us feel more productive, but perhaps emptiness has greater power to strengthen our souls. (Ps 1:3)
  • Anonymous seasons afford us the opportunity to establish God as our souls' true point of reference if we resist underestimating how he treasures our hiddenness and take the time to decide whose attention and acceptance really matters in our lives. (Col 3:3)

The book ends with "Dear God... Grant Me Wisdom For This Journey" and the final lesson reminds us to enjoy the journey - for "Life is not about the scenery. Life is all about the Company. God is with us. And his presence is enough."

I can tell you that I am looking forward to reading this again at a more leisurely pace. And I'm definitely going to be checking out her other writings.

Available September 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dreaming in Color

Yes, I'm starting to think about colors. This house is done with mostly yellows (hubby's least favorite color) and punches of orangey-rust (my least favorite color). Needless to say, we'd like to move away from the tropical palette and make it "ours."

This morning after dropping D off at school, I picked up a pumpkin spice latte then headed to Home Depot to buy weed killer. I do lead a glamous life, don't I? :) While I was there, I just had to browse the paint section. Selecting paint colors takes some time, as I don't particularly enjoy the actual painting process, so want to make sure that we'll be happy with the color. So now I'm looking at the paint chips* in the sunlight, and will be evaluating the evening version. Now I just need to wait for a good paint sale.

And hooray for neutral berber! :)

*Home Depot has a new line with the primer and paint in 1 - not sure about the paint itself, but I do love the super-sized samples, and they even provide the clip ring right there. Thought that was a nice little feature - inexpensive but definitely handy for the consumer.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kids and Church

"Kids are spending a very small amount of time in church activities, and many of those activities have very little theological, biblical, or spiritual content. As a result, we have a generation of young people who believe that there is a God, but they don’t have any particular god in mind.

We should be exhorting each other, helping each other, equipping each other. Christian young people should be drawn into the church, but not in a way that isolates them with other young people."

Some excellent points - and practical encouragement for parents - here.

A few further thoughts/clarifications:

- I just want to say that it's not the church's responsibility to train the children - that falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents. The church, however, is a valuable partner in reinforcing the teaching that the children receive at home. And realistically, there are going to be times that a child does not want to talk with their parents, and a pastor, youth leader, etc. can help bridge that gap when necessary... we're all one body! (Romans 12:4-10)

- Furthermore, every moment spent inside a church shouldn't be devoted to deep study. God created us as social beings, and fellowship with the believers is essential. Simply talking with someone, learning about their struggles and sharing some encouragement, is one expression of God's love. And doing that in the "safe" environment of the church is one way to establish a strong foundation in Christ - we just have to make sure that we are also comfortable getting out into the world to share the message, too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Catching Up - Zoo Trip

We went to the zoo a couple weeks ago - and obviously I have yet to post any pictures...

Flamingos Giraffe Boy OrangutanButterfly1 Butterfly2 Camels

We saw the flamingos right when we walked in, and our daughter excitedly announced that her shirt matched them! :) The kids loved seeing the baby orangutan right there. They also had a neat exhibit with native plants, butterflies, and hummingbirds that I loved. And aren't those cement "trees" absolutely hysterical?! We had a lot of fun, but it was HOT (as evidenced by our son's neck in the 3rd pic) so are looking forward to going back when it cools down a bit. We went ahead and purchased an annual membership, as our kids are at a good age for repeated visits, so you can rest assured that there will be additional animal fun in our future!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday already?

Whew! This week has really flown by... Our life is still a bit chaotic here as we're not yet in a real "rhythm" but we're making baby steps. I've actually been quite busy, too - between a Southern Living at Home party, MOPS Girls' Night Out, and an upcoming Bunco night I've turned into quite the Social Butterfly!

The church hunt continues. Heading to another one this weekend. We really appreciate your prayers on this, as it's definitely the one major issue that is preventing us from feeling like this is home. I'd also appreciate your prayers for me personally - without getting into all of it, I've definitely been stretched with this whole settling in process, learning to fully rely on the Lord and also share Him with others.

Anyway, the weekend is nearly upon us. Depending on the weather (we've been having a lot of brief but intense thunderstorms the past 2 weeks or so), we may head to South Padre tomorrow. Other than that, I'm just hoping to get a bit more organizing done inside and perhaps come up with a plan of attack for our over-planted back yard...

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19, Amplified

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Madness

Well, I obviously didn't get those pics posted last week as I had intended, but here they are for your viewing pleasure. First off, there is our darling daughter whose fashion sense makes Lady Gaga seem quite mundane. Next is our son proudly sitting by his specially designed shoe box - creating by suspending a storage bin on a bungee cord. I'm thinking there's HUGE potential for the infomercial market...

The next pic is of our newest pool toys - promotional Motorola beepers! Yes, I dug through my box of childhood fun and have officially passed the majority on to the kiddos. These little beauties are from the late 80s, and my Dad worked for a company that sold this cutting-edge technology. Not quite sure why I decided to hold onto them, but D & A sure had fun playing with them! My daughter and I were both excited when I pulled the Barbies out, and she loooooves the interesting attire (see photo 1!); I am, however, saving the uber-cool table and dishes until she's older. The last photo is a random sampling of my treasures: kewpie doll that I received from my grandparents (that neither kid will go near because of its "scary" eyes), accompanied by a whopper sponge, play phone complete with working rotary dial (the kids were baffled! Too bad I don't have the other piece), sunglass keychain (I used this for my house key when I was in jr. high), plastic giraffe with a green hat, scary clown applique, fun spinning whistle and chinese yo-yo. Ah, the joys of youth!