Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Budding Artists

Last night the girls and I had a huge treat, we attended a DaVinci and Dessert fundraising event hosted by their school. Knowing how much both girls love art (after out art unit last summer) we splurged and chose to attend an event with a professional artist, dessert and a take home art canvas of our very own. 

Here are some pictures I snapped during our girls night out.

Ready and waiting

Lydia and Mommy did the sketching

A family fun time


Starting to look good

Finished Product

So proud of their work

Admittedly, I am not in love with the subject matter of the painting but the event was fun, unique and special. We all had a great time and it was definitely a night well spent. I would attend again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Skills without spills

Step # 1 - Ponder how you are going to teach your child to ride their bike without training wheels?

Step # 2 - (Being a modern woman) search youtube for videos on "how to teach your child to ride a bike without training wheels" and find an appropriate video.

Step # 3 - Preview video and then have your child watch video.

Step # 4 - Take child and bike to open space and have them try techniques learned from said video.

Step # 5 - Big smiles, skills refined, celebrate with an ice cream treat.

No tears, raised voices or falling involved! (not that there would have been...ahem)

When little legs get tired, just climb around on big rocks instead

Dairy Cream Corner

 Congrats Lydia! You did a great job.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Random Remembering

I often have random thoughts and experiences I want to share. Then life happens and I forget to share. Even worse are the times I forget what it is that I wanted to share in the first place! Either way I know that I want to be better at remembering things, chronicling the events of our lives as they come and go.

"Moms seem wired to be Remember-ers.....All this remembering is for good, in God's purposes. As moms, we can be Remember-ers and Reminders for our families. From their infancy, we begin to catch glimpses of who our children are, especially their unique strengths." (Carol Kuyendall, Five-Star Families)

The desire to remember seems much deeper when I take seriously the role of being a reminder. That's what I want to be. I have some great examples of remember-ers around me.  I have friends who scrapbook.  Friends who write and journal regularly about funny things their kids said or the entertaining activities of the day.  I even have one friend who writes a letter to her children every month.  Now that is impressive.  Me? I know there are random slips of papers lying around my house that have something written down. The girls baby books are barely touched. There are pictures of most, but not all, major events.  I even have blog posts here that act to jog my memories of days gone by. Mostly, my style is random.  As such, I am going to embrace my random remembrances and take the opportunity every so often to dump a bunch of random into this space. If you like, feel free to laugh along, learn something new and be part of our family's stories.

Hoppy - still not as smart as God apparently

A recent lunch conversation between Lydia and Emma.
Lydia: "Well, if Mommy doesn't know how we can always as Daddy."
Emma: "Yeah. And if he doesn't know we can ask Granddad."
Lydia: "Then we could ask Hoppy."
Emma: "And if he doesn't know, God does, cause God knows everything."

So, there you go.  The lineage of knowledge according to the girls.

The girls discovered a worm outside and quickly named her "Tickles".

Emma got this balloon animal in school a few weeks ago.  At one time is was a giraffe and you can tell that in the time since, it has become quite deflated.  The tenderness of her heart though just can't let go of it.  I want to always remember her tenderness and empathetic ways. (Even if it means keeping a deflated balloon animal around way past it's prime!)

Not every moment bring about such fun and friendship between these two.  I know that every relationship experiences ups and downs, struggles and hardships.  This photo of a game of Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum, is a random reminder that sisters should be friends. (Dear Lord, I pray that Lydia and Emma would nourish and care for their friendship and that You would draw their hearts to one another always.)

That's enough randomness for today. Be blessed!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The "Lost Hours"


I want that word to be part of the fabric of our family.  Connection to each other.  Connection to our community. Connection to our friends.  Connection to God.  I guess that's why I have been on a connection blogging kick this year!  A simple glance at that word would lead me to believe that we are perfect candidates to be a homeschooling family. Only problem with that is: we're not.  At the writing of this post we are a public school family with a deep desire to stay connected despite our time apart.  With tight fists we hold onto the truth that every parent is the first and most influential teacher their child has and therefore every parent is their child's teacher.  With open hands we evaluate year by year how best to accomplish the task of educating and shaping our children.  The precise how-to is an ongoing process of prayer, personal conviction and Spirit-led living.

For a family centric mom like me, sending my girls out the door 5 days a week can be very disheartening.  If I let myself, I can get caught up in the "lost hours" mentality. The mentality that convinces me that the only way to stay connected to my children is to be with them all the time.  Hands down, spending all day every day with your children is one way to live a life of connection.  However, I also believe that it is possible to spend time together with the ones you love most and still not be connecting on a regular basis.  Connection is a process that includes the mind, heart and emotions not simply physical proximity.  When I am tempted to dwell on the "lost hours" of school I remind myself that parenting is largely about being in my children's hearts. This parenting gig is one that is always progressing towards independence, the time where we will no longer be a part of our children's daily goings-on.  Living a life of connection has a great deal to do with sharing and spending time together, I'm all about that. But even more so, I believe connecting with my kids while we are apart can form a deeper, longer lasting connection.

  • when time is limited and life feels stretched
  • when selfishness rears it's ugly head
  • when you feel bone tired
  • when the "daily" of life seems too much
Make an effort to connect, to show your family they matter to you when you are together and when you're not. 

Here are some ideas that work to make that happen in our home.

1. Notes.  Notes in our house take on many forms.  Many days I may draw the girls close to me as they are getting ready for school and write a simple, "I love you" on their hands.  I include handwritten or computer printed lunchbox notes in their lunches.  I write in their mommy and me journals about something I did during my day and ask them to write about something that happened during their day.  Through the use of written language I desire to stay connected with my children and weave our separate days into a beautiful tapestry of our life.

2.  Words of encouragement and praise.  I've already written about the importance of words in families here but it is worth repeating.  I want the predominant voice my kids hear when they think of me to be a positive one. That requires a lot of work! Is my habitual correcting what they hear as my voice? Are the "hurry up" or "what now?" drowning out the language of my hearts desires? Or is it the tender words lovingly spoken. The quiet of our times alone debriefing our days.  Allowing God to refine me as a wife and mother specifically through my mouth is a big deal and one that requires daily submission to God.

3. Staying involved.  My girls absolutely love that I volunteer in their classrooms.  It brightens their day (not to mention their teachers day!) to know that I am making time to spend with them.  I can't think of a single teacher, school or daycare center that doesn't have some job or task in which a volunteer would be helpful.  This requires adjusting some aspects of my life to leave room but it is incredibly worth it.

4. Predetermined family time.  Letting our kids know that "Tonight is family night" or letting them know that we are going to do something special on Saturday builds anticipation.  Building anticipation is a sure way to make sure our children think about us.  The important thing about setting up these special outings or times together at home is that there is consistent follow through.  It is painful for a child to be looking forward to something only to have the plans change and promises broken.  Our girls thrive when they know they are going to have a special date with daddy on a specific night or that we are going to play a game as a family after dinner.  Eliminating the possibility of interruption is not always possible but rearranging our lives so that family time is a priority is essential.

5. Pray, pray, pray.  In the end our children are with us for such a short amount of time.  More than anything I want my kids to know that there is Someone who loves them a whole lot more than I do.  There is Someone who has the ability to meet their souls deepest need.  There is Someone who will never break promises or let them down.  There is Someone who will never leave them or forsake them.  I want them to know the freedom and peace of a growing relationship with God and I want to daily bring their names before His throne.  I can think of no greater way to connect to my children than to point them towards the ultimate connection.  The God who formed them and knit them together in my womb.  I want to connect with my Heavenly Father on their behalf and then just see what He will do.

Truthfully, no matter what our circumstances are, there will be lost hours.  We are only human and are incapable of connecting perfectly.  That is why it's my hearts desire to do what I am able and leave the rest to God.  There are no lost hours with God.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A bit of earth (and sun)

Taking full advantage of the beautiful weather.  We've played outside each day for the past several days.  Just what we all needed to get over our March slump.

Lydia likes to show off her climbing skills.

Growing into such a beautiful young lady.

Emma likes to bounce. Boing!

Friends forever.

Forever we'll be.

A bit of earth (and a smile)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

March Slump (what we've been up to)

I started off strong with regular posts in January and February then March hit.  Can you say slump?  Oh how I long for the sun, warmth and green of Spring.  Here's hoping it really is just around the corner.

Regardless of the regularity of my posting, life has continued around here.  Never a dull moment and lots of connection going on.

Our newest obsession: Board Games.  We were gifted with some unexpected funds so we went all out and bought two incredibly fun games to play as a family.  Justin and I both love playing them together and Lydia can't get enough.

Ticket to Ride (my favorite!)

Three Players makes it interesting.

Ticket to Ride - Africa Expansion. In our house this includes praying for the cities we are traveling between


If you like board games I would definitely recommend checking these out. I had a blog planned about how we surprised the girls with a scavenger hunt to find these games, but this will have to do.

Random March pictures:

Forts and book.  Lots and lots of books!

Cushion mazes

Veterinary Clinic with Dr. Emma

Easter Pictures:

We had an "unplugged" week leading up to Easter so I made these pillow case covers so they would have a soft cushion to carry around wherever they wanted.

All different symbols of the Easter story

Resurrection Cake

Easter Egg Hunt with Mana

The Cousins annual Easter Egg Hunt Picture

Teaching Hoppy and Mana Ticket to Ride

Hoppy and his two girls

Mana and the girls looking at Resurrection Eggs

Mom, me, Lydia and Emma after church

Thanks for reading and catching up with whats going on in our litter corner of the world.  Blessings!

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