Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Last Days of Summer

Oh how I love summer time! Our water double from swimming and playing in the sprinkler nearly every day, we go through sunscreen like it's going out of style, and we drink capri suns by the truck load, but it's summer time! There's just nothing like summer, especially when you're a kid. It's such a carefree time of year. I'm much more free to let the kids do just about anything in the backyard because I accept that they will inevitably be filthy at the end of the day anyway. So, we dig in the dirt, we walk until we are sweaty and stinky, we eat on the patio, then we end the day with long bubble baths to get everyone clean.

This summer has been particularly fun because for the first time in a while, I have had all 3 kids able to walk around and play without having to worry too much. Last summer, Ayda had just turned 1 and couldn't really play outside without my constant supervision. This year, since she is 2, I have been able to relax more. I can actual read a book or surf the web while the kids all play and entertain themselves. But alas, we must get back to school work, and summer must come to an end. I thought I would take a look back at all the fun things we did this summer.

Our summer began this year with the purchase of a slip-n-slide. It was the first one we had ever bought, and although it didn't make it all the way through the season, it was the best $9 I ever spent. Look at the fun we had!

So, we have warm weather, water, what else do we need? Ice cream! We love having Lic's within walking distance from our house! As an added bonus, the ice cream was free since my kids got coupons from the library during the summer reading program! Yea!
This year, we decided to get a zoo membership for the first time. We wore that out too! The kids and I went to the zoo sometimes 3 times a week! They never got tired of seeing the animals, and I loved how well they slept after all that walking! Here they are with daddy right under the jaquar. Very neat!

One of their favorite places to go at the zoo is to see the prairie dogs. They love crawling through the tunnels and popping up inside the prairie dog home. It's so cute!

We took a break from visiting the zoo animals to pay a visit to the animals at the ol' county fair. Let me just state for the record that I don't particularly like the county fair. It's usually hot, it smells, and the animals are just gross. My kids, however, love it. Needless to say, we usually take them. While no one would actually touched the animals, Makenna loved to have her picture taken with them (well, at a safe distance from them).

Since Ed was on vacation the first week of August, we decided to take a trip to Indy to visit his parents. Since we became foster parents, we got a free family membership to the children's museum there. We were thrilled! It took us hours to see everything and I think we even missed part of it. It was amazing! In this picture, the kids were on the human kaleidoscope. They were slowly moving around in a circle while looking at TONS of beautiful colored glass.

Back at home, life with our new little puppy was getting a little crazy. The kids who once thought Mace was just so cute were learning that, like most puppies, she is also rotten. Wyatt and Makenna were playing in their sand table when Maci jumped up and started digging and throwing sand all over the place. Makenna was horrified that Maci would actually destroy her castle!

Finally, with just a few more weeks of summer to "hang" around and be free...

We decided to go to the zoo for a celebrity sighting--Dora the Explorer! Two of the three kids were excited to see her. Wyatt was behind a bush scared for his life. Cute kid. Hehe

We have had one of the best summers in years and I hate to see it end, but I am anxious to see what this school year will hold for us. Makenna is learning to read, Wyatt is learning to write letters and numbers, and Ayda is just being the little princess she is. Life is going by quickly! I am so thankful for my husband who works so hard so that I can be home to share these moments with my kids. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Book Review--No Girls Allowed

I recently received the book No Girls Allowed: Devotions for Boys from Tyndale for review. I think the book would be very appealing for young boys. I believe it is aimed at boys over the age of 6, but I think it's even appropriate for younger boys. My son is 4 and he can relate to the characters such as Batman and Spiderman and the choices they make. I think the authors have done a great job of understanding the characters young boys like to read about. Most people wouldn't think to ask "What would spiderman do" and then compare that to "What would Jesus do?" What a way to grab boys' attention! The devotional also has occassional games, word puzzles, and word searches for older boys. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has boys ages 5-8 years old!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our Newest Addition

Well, we did what we said we would never do again....we got a puppy. After all the trouble we had with our last dog and all of his health problems, we swore we would never get another dog. I had actually grown to like my house free of dog hair, dog toys, muddy footprints, and all the other messes that go along with having a dog. My kids had come to like not having a dog waking them up from naps too early, getting them soaked after a bath, and pooping in the yard they play in. Life was good. Then, we met this little gal and just couldn't say no.

Meet Maci. Maci is the most loving, loyal dog I have ever known. She is adorable (obviously) and she has given me a reason to get out and walk every day. Our hope is that as she grows up, she will be a great guard dog for our kids. Now, I've read all those Carl books, and trust me when I say that I realize she can't actually babysit for us. What she can do, though, is be my eyes and ears in the house or in the backyard when I am busy with something else. When I run in the house to grab drinks for the kids, I know that she will at the very least bark if someone comes to our backyard. So, her being here is not just to raise the cute quotient of the house...she'll serve a purpose too.

We did research on many different breeds of dogs before welcoming Maci into our family. We considered a german sheperd for their intelligence, a boxer for their protectiveness, and just plain ol' mutts because they are usually some of the best dogs. We decided, though, that a lab would just fit really well with three wild, crazy, obnoxious....I mean...angelic kids. :) We were right about that. Maci is playful and yet gentle and is a perfect match for our kids.

Maci may not have been the best choice, however, for a mom who likes things taken care of and not ever damaged in any way. I'm not OCD about cleaning or anything--anyone who comes to my house can attest to that. I accept the fact that we have 3 kids, so there will be clutter. I'm ok with that. I just like to keep MY things as they are intended to be. When I read a book, I like to hold it open just enough to read it; there's no need to bend it backwards and inside out to see inside! Books certainly should never be chewed on! I like to keep my kids' toys in good condition and with all of the parts together (maybe not as much for them, but so that I can resell them later). I just don't like things torn up and so far, God has given me kids who are just like me. The dog, however, is not mine. Maci has a mind of her own and I think the only thing that runs through that little mind of hers is "What can I chew on now?"

After a few days of having her, I went to the library and got the book "Marley and Me." I had seen the movie years ago, but never read the book. The actual thought that went through my head went like this: "It will be funny to read about another lab. Since we have a lab now and know that they can sure get into trouble, we will get even a bigger kick out of hearing tales of a really BAD lab." I honestly thought that. A few days later, I stopped half-way through the book and returned it. I didn't need to read any more about that "bad dog"--I was living with her!

In just the few weeks we have had her, Maci has walked past walls and tried to eat them, torn up at least 2 pieces of my carpet, dug no less than 5 holes in our yard, eaten more marker/pen lids than I can count, has done horrible things to my daughters' baby dolls, and has bitten nearly everyone in the house (although playfully). Anything she can reach, and somethings she can't, she will try to chew up. I'm amazed that she never tires of the same ol' thing. She's a mess, and yet we all love her. We may be in for the ride of our lives with this girl, but so far we're enjoying it. Just be warned that if you come to my house to visit, you will likely be greeted by a cute little face, a lick on your feet, and a wack on your leg (by her tail). If you sit, she will be right on your lap--even if she is bigger than you. Spend a little while with her, though, and you'll see why we've kept her. You can't help but to love little Maci!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review and GIVEAWAY--Hands on Bible

I was so excited to receive my copy of the "Hands-On Bible" from Tyndale for review. The desciption alone had me anxious, but I was pleased to find out that it did, in fact, live up to it in real life! This is a great bible for kids of nearly any age. I believe Tyndale recommends it for children over the age of 5 (I could be wrong there), but I'm going to use if for all of my children (ages 5, 4, and 2). I love that it includes 52 activities--one for each week. This will be an excellent tool for me as I homeschool my kiddos. There is so much to do and read in this bible, it will take us many years to do it all! What a great bible for kids!

If you'd like to receive a free copy of this bible, simply follow my blog and leave a comment on this post. I'll choose a winner in a week and send your certificate for your free Hands-On Bible.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Review: An Army of Ordinary People

I have so rarely come across a book that I don't like. I recently did, however, when I received "An Army of Ordinary People" (by Felicity Dale) from Tyndale Books. I was so excited about reading the book as it was supposed to be about people "being the church" wherever you are. What a great, although not new, idea! I really enjoy and am encouraged by stories about people simply being Christ-like in their lives, even when no one is watching.

I did not find these uplifting stories in "An Army of Ordinary People." Instead, I found a lot of information that is simply wrong. I think scripture was twisted and misused throughout the book. The book was a collection of stories about people "being the church." In addition to all of the stories starting to sound alike, they seemed to be presenting the idea that the church itself is not important. Dale often pointed out that if two or more are gathered in Jesus' name, they are in fact a church. After 4 or 5 chapters, I felt like the book was written in order to show people why they should leave the church. While Dale said the church itself is okay, it was obviously not what she thought was best.

To say the least, I was disappointed in this book. I would not recommend it. On to the next book on my list...

I think I'm going to read some C.S. Lewis--can't go wrong there!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Makenna's prayers

Lately, Makenna has become quite the little prayer warrior. I am so proud of her and sweet heart. In the past few weeks, some of her prayers have been:

"Dear God, thank you for our family. Thank you for our teachers at church that tell us about Jesus. Some kids don't have a family or a church to tell them about Jesus, so we have to tell them."

"Dear God, thank you for our family and for our church that tells us about Jesus, and for Bro. Dane (our pastor), because you have to have a preacher."

"Dear God, thank you for giving us food so we don't die."

"Dear God, I hope Ayda is quiet so I can get to sleep tonight."

And then there are those run-on prayers such as, "Dear God, thank you for the day today. Thank you for the sunshine. I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow because I want to swim in the pool. I wanted to swim yesterday, but Mommy said it was too cold. She said maybe we can go tomorrow, but not in the morning, because the water has to get warm....." etc. :)

The girl just says it like it is--no holding back. What is so sweet, though, is how she sees God. She has learned, at only 5-years-old, that God is a friend who she can talk to about anything. Sometimes her prayers are her list of "hope fors," while sometimes they're just a run-down of what she did that day. It's easy for her to talk to God, though. I hope that she never loses that feeling of comfort and ease when she prays. She just has talks with God...and often makes me laugh in the process.

Family Funnies

A sure sign that my kids have been watching too much t.v.--
I was unloading the dishwasher yesterday and Wyatt was standing beside me. All of a sudden, he started singing, "Who's that lady? Sexy lady" (you know, the swiffer commercial?) Of course, in cute little 4-year-old language, it was, "Who's that wady? Sessy wady." :)

That kid cracks me up!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Review: Facing Your Giants

I recently read Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado and realized how I've missed Lucado. I used to read every Max Lucado book I could get my hands on, but had eventually quit because his books tend to all sound alike after a while. Having been a while since I've read anything by him, this book was a breath of fresh air. Oh how I've missed his ability to tell a story like few can! I was hooked from the very first chapter.

Lucado tackles the many different "giants" we face in life: disappointment, hatred, loneliness, bitterness, and grief just to name a few. He uses the life of David as a backdrop to the book. The low points in David's life are experienced by so many of us today. In fact, for each episode of David's life, Lucado uses a modern-day example of people who have experienced the same thing. The lesson to be learned is that no matter what, God can bring us through the "slumps" of our lives. As Lucado puts it, "Giants. We must face them. Yet we need not face them alone."

The chapter that spoke the most to me was about forgiveness. This theme actually ran throughout many of the chapters, but Lucado sums up the whole point of forgiveness when he writes, "Forgiveness is choosing to see your offender with different eyes." We are to see both situations and people through the eyes of God. Not an easy task!

Facing Your Giants was both an encouragement to me and a lesson on how to rely on God no matter what the circumstances. I highly recommend it!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Family Funnies

Tonight we went to Family Christian Store and the kids were actually really good. Of course, when we got up to the register to pay, Wyatt knocked over a whole shelf of books, while Makenna almost knocked over a CD display. Things started getting a little chaotic and of course I saw a clearance table, so we had to go back to shop some more. Our time of shopping with Wyatt was up. He was touching everything and I was so afraid he was going to break something. He started getting whiny and got into trouble. I had Ed take Wyatt and Ayda to the van to prevent any more problems while I paid (for the second time!).
So, tonight, when I put the kids to bed, I prayed with Makenna. I prayed, "Dear God, thank you for our family. Thank you for our Grandma who stayed with us all day today. And thank you for Makenna being such a good girl tonight at the store." Makenna then prayed, "Dear God, thank you for our whole family. I didn't want to get in trouble, that's why I didn't act like Wyatt in the store tonight." She's such a funny little girl!

Monday, February 8, 2010

She sings!

Yesterday in Sunday School, my kids were learning about the 12 disciples. Makenna told her teachers that she knows a song about them and she proceeded to sing it for them. They asked her if she'd sing it in front of the church that night. Anyone who knows Makenna knows that she is terribly shy and never wants the attention on her. Imagine my surprise when she actually did it! Her teacher sat up on the stage with her as she held the microphone and sang! It's a little difficult to understand some parts (she's not finished with speech therapy yet!), but it's so precious. The words are as follows:

There were twelve disciples Jesus called to help him:
Simon Peter, Andrew, James, his brother John,
Philip, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus,
Thaddeus, Simon, Judas, and Bartholomew.

That would be a lot for any 5-year-old to say! Anyway, here's Makenna singing "The 12 Disciples"