October 28, 2008

Swallowing Pride

Swallowing pride is hard.
Especially when it's not my idea,
and I don't know that it will work for my benefit.

But Someone is kind of telling me to.
So I fight even harder.

I suppose if it was my idea,
I'd be prideful about that.

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

It's that time again! Each year Samaritan's Purse organizes Operation Christmas Child. It is an operation to get a Christmas gift coupled with the gospel into the hands of needy children throughout the world. Because the boxes are due November 19, I thought I'd share a couple of resources in case you needed to get prepared early.

Boxes for Katje is a great book about sending gifts overseas to provide for one another! It is based on a true story that occurred in 1945. There is a free unit study available if you'd like to spend an entire week on it!

And here are two pages that are great for your child to fill out/color and share some information with the receiving child! Scroll down to see the coloring pages, then click on them to open the pdf. It really helps personalize the whole deal when you get to put them in the shoe box. Some people have gotten letters in return! There is also a video here that shows the kids receiving their shoe boxes.

If you'd like to participate, but you're church isn't involved, here is all you need to know!

October 26, 2008

September Camping

Our September was so busy, I am way behind on a few things I've wanted to share! We went camping with our good friends one weekend, now I don't even remember when. And we just went to a local campground so we could be at church on Sunday morning. Our friends have a camper, so we did have the luxury of our own potty, shower, microwave and frig (essential with my kids allergies). But we chose to sleep in our tent for the kids' sake. We camped last year in Destin for a week, but that was in the camper so it didn't really feel like camping.

My kids both had their first S'mores! They also enjoyed roasting their own hot dogs for dinner.

Mattie's had EnjoyLife Chocolate Chips (dairy free for her), a regular marshmallow and New Morning Grahams.

Jacob's had New Morning Grahams, the EnjoyLife Chocolate Chips and Ricemellow Cream (corn and egg free marshmallow fluff like stuff).

They loved sleeping in the tent! They both slept very well after the initial excitement of the first bedtime.

These guys were visitors we saw more than once! Our campsite was huge and we ended up getting to camp in the woods about 100 feet off the road. We saw raccoons too!

Swinging with Daddy at the playground!

Not sure what she's so deep in thought about, but she sure is cute! She spent all weekend covered in dirt... about which she was very happy.

October 25, 2008

Natural Tunnel State Park

Almost two weeks ago we went here with a friend of mine. She's been wanting us to meet here for a couple of months and we've just had a hard time getting together. We started our day off at 8:00 AM and didn't get home until after 9:30 that night!

Natural Tunnel State Park
This park has an old steam engine and train tracks, so you know with my crowd it's a hit from the beginning!

We hiked on a nature trail down in a valley to see the tunnel.

This tunnel was formed 100% by water. Daniel Boone was the first white man to walk through it.

This tunnel was man made. It's about 100 feet from the other tunnel, so the trains go through both as they pass.

Abby, Mattie, Michael, Jacob, Destiny, and Elyssa
The kids were excited to sit on the tracks! Thankfully, they were appropriately nervous.

(I was in the gift shop by myself with the kids for a few minutes and someone thought they were all mine!)

Jacob and Destiny were reading all about the history of the tunnel and the Norfolk Southern train tracks.

The View from the Bottom
Isn't God amazing?

To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! Psalm 123:1

We Saw a Train Come Through!
There is no schedule, so this was just a treat!

I could go spend a week here just me and my camera. (And Dad, you'd be in absolute heaven. Wanna meet us there next weekend for family pictures??) The photography opportunities are absolutely unlimited. After a while, leaves are just leaves in pictures, but I don't think I can tire of being surrounded by them during the fall.

The View from the Top
Lover's Leap is what they call the top of this mountain. Lovers from two different Indian tribes used to fall in love, but knew they were not allowed to intermarry. So they'd jump off the top of the mountain in hopes that they'd be united in the afterlife. A bit dramatic, I'd say!

View from Lover's Leap

Natural Tunnel from the trail up to Lover's Leap

The Appalachian Homestead
At the bottom is a preserved Appalachian homestead. We just finished studying Appalachia, and both kids were sick so we didn't get to do our scheduled field trip. This was perfect! It's just a one room house so we played some games to help the kids see what life would really be like with 10 people living in this tiny little house.

And how it would feel in January having spaces in between the panels of the door, floors and walls.

I believe this goes down as my favorite field trip ever. We're going this weekend I hope, and taking Robert with us this time!

October 21, 2008

Budgeting for Christmas

I can't believe it's time to start planning for Christmas again! I know some of you are already finished, but I like doing it as part of the celebration season. One year I was finished by Thanksgiving and I felt like I was missing out!

Anyway, I struggle each year feeling like we do too much for Christmas. It supposedly isn't about the gifts, but when we're all together with my East coast family (12 adults and 10 children), that day ends up all about the gifts only because of the sheer number of people! I don't know how to change that. I also can't necessarily change it with only my children when there are a lot of us involved. And I don't want there to be fewer people involved! So many thoughts tumbling around my brain! Another issue of my own is that we usually do have the money to spend on things, so I don't stop when I should. I love to buy for my kids, b/c we don't just buy random things through the year very often.

On a message board I've seen lots of people do categories for gifts for each child, and then stop when those categories are filled. I like this concept, but am not sure how to make it fit our lifestyle. I don't like to buy them something they need as a gift. Well, new undies are essential to fill up a stocking, but other than that it seems lame to me! Anyway, this is an example of what I mean.

I'd buy each child something they -
Play with:

Things to share -
Play with:

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think it would help me make careful choices in spending. It will also help us start some traditions that steer the kids toward appropriate expectations for Christmas morning.


October 20, 2008

Jacob's First Program!

Jacob was in his first children's program last week! Our church does an annual Missions Expo and has the children do a program as a part of it. Jacob has never done anything like this, and it didn't start out so well. We started three weeks late as we were out of town and then had company. Then he had an ear infection, and two weeks later strep and an antibiotic containing corn that threw him for a week or more. Poor kid! Then through this whole season he was having a reaction to his antihistamine (go figure) I started during the ear infection. I felt so bad for him that I couldn't figure out what was wrong (for 6 weeks) as I watched him twitch and itch incessantly, and my mother in law and I were dying to go shoot him up with Benadryl to stop it! Looking back, I kept noticing his reaction getting worse, so I was diligent to give him the antihistamine never thinking that was the culprit! Argh!! I stopped the meds because they were clearly not working and now he's stopped the twitching, though it took a few days to get out of his system. They have apparently changed the ingredients... I'll have to do another test just to be sure, but all things point that way for now.

Back to the program... Jacob has major anxiety about not being perfect and noticed regularly that everyone else was doing the motions better than he was... and he was right (because he was standing there and not doing much at all). But we had a lot of talks about practice, and if you won't try because you have a bad attitude, you'll never get it right! They got to do it at two other churches and by the last night, he did every motion with every other kids and you'd never know he got a late start. I was so proud of him! He knew he did well too.

Our little German guy (Those are my lederhosen straps from when I was 2 and lived in Germany. He was going to wear my brother's shorts, but they were obscenely too small so we modified.)

Jacob and Hannah ready to go!

Some of the boys

Hannah and Emily

Jacob right on track!

One funny thing... During one of the shows he had one little girl hit him with her banner/flag by accident, then she realized it might be funny so she did it over and over again. I was soooo proud of Jacob that he didn't deck her! He did get upset and start talking to a boy about it at the beginning of the next song, but he recovered.

Anyway, all in all a good choir season for him. He ended up happy about it and getting over his issues... for now anyway.


Well, not officially bunk beds, but for all practical purposes, that's what they are. This is a bed my dad built for me when I was 15. We've used the bookshelf while the rest of the pieces have been in storage.

Jacob has been asking to come back downstairs ever since he moved up. (I totally understand this. I had major issues with being far away from my parents' bedroom too. I still hate sleeping in a basement.) I've not liked him being so far away either, but with Mattie screaming so much every night, we didn't really have a choice. Over the last month we seem to have her sleeping under control, so we thought we'd set up this bed, make up a quick railing (still have to stain it), and bring him back down to be in with her.

He is soooooo excited about it! Actually, they both are! Jacob has his own reading light he's pretty stoked about too.

It's fun to be using my old bed, I gain major bookshelf space, and I like having him downstairs with us. We also get to cut off our heat air unit for the upstairs, so we're hoping we'll save some money (this was a major reason for moving him).

Tonight I went in a read to both of them while they were in bed, and Jacob fell asleep while I was reading. I felt like Mary Poppins in an old fashioned nursery.

I guess it's a good thing I never went to pink in there after all...

October 18, 2008

So Mattie says to me today

"Mommy, I need some chocolate so I feel better in my body."

I've trained her well.

October 11, 2008

We finally saw Fireproof

We both thought it was a good movie, and probably quite realistic for many couples today. It was good food for thought.

I had several observations.

There were two phrases I heard repeated over and over again throughout the movie. The first one was by Caleb and Katherine when they were talking about each other and their marriage problems. They were two words actually that went together: I and me. They seemed to be the cause of all of their marital issues, aside from their lack of salvation. I've learned that myself in our marriage.

The next words were used by Caleb's dad throughout the movie, Anna (the older nurse), and then Caleb but only after God changed his heart. I understand that, ... How far those words can go toward building a relationship, turning a heart toward the Lord, and setting our own words aside to hear another's.

This movie wasn't one with a story line I've experienced myself, but there was a song in there that really spoke to me for where I am today. It's one of the songs by John Waller. And it's one of those that will be a foundation rock for me. I actually didn't really catch it until it was almost over and heard one line: "I will worship while I'm waiting." While I'm waiting... to know if we will have or adopt more little ones, to know if our house will ever sell, to know if Robert will ever get a job that allows him to be home more with us, to see what His purpose was in all of this, to know if friends will find the Lord's rest. "I will worship... while I'm waiting."

While I'm Waiting by John Waller

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

The video is from the movie, and is obviously focused on marriage, but are you waiting on Him for anything else? Maybe we can worship while we wait together.

October 09, 2008

Take a 5 minute break with me

And turn your speakers up!

October 06, 2008

I just thought of a Christmas gift...

I just thought of a Christmas gift I'm getting for both of my children. Soft, snuggly throw blankets for EACH of them to have their own! Jacob's will be red and Mattie's will be hot pink, their favorite colors. I am soooooooooo tired of hearing them fight over the one we have right now! We have many blankets in the house, but there is one that we keep on the couch, because I'm a major blanket person. None of the others are as soft or the right size. And it is the subject of fights, teasing, and other nastiness every day! Now, if we can just wait until Christmas!

October 05, 2008

Mattie's Stitches

My kids hate to wear shoes. If they wear anything, they want it to be Crocs or flip flops. Apparently they have issues with their feet being enclosed! As soon as we walk in the door, their shoes are off their feet. Actually, they usually come off in the car!

Mattie stubs her toe regularly, but that hasn't helped. If ever we can't find Mattie's shoes when we're leaving, we always know to look outside first. (Praise the Lord Silas doesn't run off with shoes anymore or I'd be buying new shoes for her every day!!)

Friday the kids were doing their treasure hunt to end our pirate week. She was on the way up the hill for the last clue and she bit the dust. I noticed it was taking her a bit longer to jump up, so I went up to her. Turns out her "stub" was a bit more than a "stub" this time.

She ended up with 8 stitches and said, "I get stitches like Daddy!" (He got 6 or 7 stitches in his finger two weeks ago.) She did a great job, though I won't say it wasn't traumatic for her. They had a hard time getting her toe numb enough because her feet are so calloused. Interestingly enough, within hours she was jumping all over the house like there was not a thing wrong with her! I gave her Tylenol with Codeine the first night, bit she's not had anything since. Thankfully, it's apparently not hurting her that badly!

I should have known she'd be our first set of stitches in our children. And something tells me there will be more...

October 04, 2008

"Argh, Matey!"

This week we learned about pirates! We bought this book in August at a pirate store we encountered in Florida while on vacation. We used it as the basis for our study. It was a different week, I'll say. We didn't encounter much "meat" to hang on to, though this might be because both kids had tonsillitis and something like strep Tuesday through Friday. We did our fun things and just read lots of books. Now that I think of it, we did learn the parts of a ship, review the seven seas, and had a lot of practice following directions (navigation and treasure maps and clues). I guess it wasn't a slow week after all!

I did feel a responsibility as well to teach Jacob that pirates are not someone we want to ascribe to be like! Pirate life seems to be totally romanticized, but they were just cold blooded criminals! I have no intention of studying any other criminals anytime soon, and didn't really think that through before we got started.

Jacob drew this galleon (new word for the week).

We reviewed a bit about parrots too and copied this craft from a picture we saw. I think I read that it's from an Usborne book.

And of course we couldn't skip dressing up as pirates ($3.46 costumes!!!) and doing a treasure hunt after we made our treasure chest! I used these clues for starters and added a couple of others. I thought this activity might have been more fun with some friends of Jacob's, but it turned out well that we did it alone. Jacob is very slow to comprehend/think through/look for things like this. When he does these things with friends, he rides on their coattails and doesn't get any better at it. He also gets mad that he finds everything last. So it turned out well for him.

My two little pirates

Jacob had to decode one of the clues.

Mattie found a clue!

X marks the spot!

Jacob found the buried treasure while Mattie was screaming her head off. (She "stubbed" her toe on the way to the last clue, so we promptly headed out for what turned out to be 8 stitches.)

Our treasure!

October 02, 2008

You have two cows...

Saw this on a message board today and thought I'd share.

Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes 40 % of the milk.

Imperialism/Mercantilism: The colonists have two cows. The mother country takes both cows and sells you milk and leather.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one of them and buy a bull.

Pure Socialism: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.

Pure Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows according to your abilities. The government gives you as much milk, as you need.

Communism: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and gives you part of the milk.

Anarchism: You have two cows. You keep the cows, steal another one, and then shoot the government.

Stalinism: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. Ex-chicken farmers care them for. You have to take care of the chickens the government took away from the chicken farmers. The government gives the eggs and milk to the workers. When you complain you are sent to Siberia then shot.

Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both cows and sells you the milk.

Nazism: You have two cows. The government takes both cows then shoots you.

Pure Democracy: You have two cows. You and your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

Representative Democracy: You have two cows. You and your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

Bureaucracy: You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals, then takes both of them shoots one, milks the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.

Conservatism: You have two cows. The government pays you not to milk them.

Liberalism: You have two cows. You give one cow away to the poor.