Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pool fun!

We took the kids out to Nana and Pop-pop's neighborhood pool and had a great time. The kids just love getting in the pool; playing and swimming. Olivia keeps getting more and more comfortable in the water. This time, we put her goggles on her and she would swim with her face underwater and do a rolling "dive" into the pool.

Gabe was just having a good time swimming back and forth from the stairs to the "bench" that runs along the edge of the pool and throwing toys for daddy to catch and bring back like a faithful hound.

Ezra would sit in his float and giggle at mommy and daddy, and then try to climb out of the float, only to be thwarted by getting a faceful of pool. We finally were able to distract him from his escape attempts by giving him a net with a toy twisted up in it. He would spend minutes at a time figuring out how to get the starfish or turtle out of the net.

It's so much fun watching the kids play and splash in the pool. Almost makes me wish we had one.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

VBS and a commitment to Christ

Last week, Olivia went to Vacation Bible School. We went to a local church that generously offers it for free. She had a great time. The theme this year was The Big Apple Adventure, which you may be able to deduce is set in New York City. It was big time fun. The message was how to step out in faith and connect with Jesus and then sharing it with others. The bible verse was Romans 10:17, So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Jesus Christ. I felt like this was a bit of a hard theme for the kids when I first heard it but Olivia came home each day able to share with me what she learned about faith, trust, love and helping others. They decorate and go all out. The kids have do crafts, hear bible stories, sing songs, play games, have snack and join together for worship rallies each day. The songs are fun and have good lyrics. This year included a rap song about salvation, a song explaining faith, and a song about living out our faith. The church also picked some local missions to help and taught the kids about them. They collect money and games/toys for Brenner's Children's Hospital and also collected school supplies to donate to local school kids in need. Olivia had a great time picking out some toys and videos of hers that were in good shape to donate and enjoyed shopping for the school supplies. They had a boys v. girls offering competition each day and Olivia was so excited each day that the girls won. She looked forward to counting some money and putting it in the offering.

On Thursday, Olivia came home and told Jeremy that she had asked Jesus into her heart as her savior! Oh man, what an incredible moment. It is so special to hear your child make a commitment to Christ. I talked with her teacher the next day. I also talked with her more. Jeremy talked with her more. And Sunday we had her talk with and answer questions from our pastor. He agreed with us that there is not doubt that she understand the choice she made. Her heart seems genuine and of course God said we are to come to him like little children--with their childlike faith. She admitted that she was a sinner, spoke her belief that Jesus had died on the cross to make her clean from those sins and that was the only way it could happen, invited Jesus into her heart, and asked for help to continue to live a life pleasing to Him. We will help her to nurture that commitment and see where the future takes us. God is good!

While Olivia was at VBS, the boys and I spent some extra time together. Gabe's little personality came out and he talked non-stop. Our time alone to play games and let him help me with things was so fun! We spent one morning at the library reading books for a while.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Giving Thanks to Change a Moment

So I was in one of those situations where i was really stressed out by what was going on. I just wanted to cry. I couldn't understand it or figure out how to make it better. I am sure this is not new to you. Actually, I am sure that many people go through much tougher times than me. I am blessed. But even so, sometimes, my mood or a situation gets the best of me. It drags me down. Well, giving thanks, numbering those blessings in the moment, that helps turn things around. It gives it a whole new perspective. I didn't really come away with answers but it sure did change the scenery in my situation.

So here I will number a few more of the Thousand Endless Gifts #493-509:
*a hard conversation, but better than before
*feeling so sick, thankful for the gift growing inside me
*hearing and knowing and admitting that i am inadequate
*feeling powerless
*praying hard, thankful for a God who listens and hears and understands
*lessons in friendship and compassion
*knowing that i will continue to learn, it wasn't one shot and its over
*being able to call on the God of the universe for wisdom
*the desire to reach out and help, to love
*my daddy, my grandfather
*an early morning walk with a baby who wouldn't sleep on my back
*writing a journal for Ezra, trying to be honest and stay as positive as possible, that i love them no matter what stage we are in
*the guys that we serve downtown, their desire to give smiles and laughter to my children
*long weekends, the strength to endure
*nights that are long and hard, sleep that isn't restful
*this homeschool journey, so many lessons
*that God is my friend and brother, that God can teach me to be a friend and brother, the deep desire

Friday, June 17, 2011

I just had to smile! Love these guys!

A recipe for fun = Daddy and the pool! :) I love those moments when I turn and realize I need to get the camera now to capture the moment but I also just want to stare and smile!

Jeremy is an amazing daddy! He loves them, teaches and guides them and laughs with them in such a wonderful way! My kids have the best daddy (second to mine that is)! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Safety Day

The kids had a good time and learned a lot. They got to come in close contact with firemen and their gear and police officers and their gear. Each gave a talk/demonstration on what they do and how the kids could stay safe.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The List

#450-492 of the Thousand Endless Gifts

*grace for starting the list again
*a child's story about contentment and gratitude to remind me
*laughing together because we both had the same question--"is our anniversary really this week? and how long have we been married again?"
*a husband that leads with strong hands, I am not alone
*beautiful sublime family chaos
*sisters and brothers that i never had growing up
*sweet smiles from the babies in the family
*watching my SIL play the up/down game and the kids eating it up
*cousins playing together
*time in the bounce place
*the pool
*a life giving friendship
*a letter of love and encouragement from a friend
*the blessing of a place to meet
*The Cottage
*knowing their names, giving them respect and smiles
*nature walks
*that God never stop revealing himself, i don't need to understand it all now, just enjoy taking it in
*seeing my daughter read her bible daily, letting her pick where she reads and listening to why
*children that are flexible
*that i can name my blessing and start giving thanks when i feel bummed, it making a difference
*bouncing things off my hubby in safety
*making burritos with friends, their first time
*a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder :)
*speaking words that make souls stronger
*ice water
*reading and listening to know, not letting it pass out of my mind, God helping me fight the fog and difficulty concentrating, trying to learn right along with the kids
*the audio files on bible gateway--i just love hearing the spoken Word of God
*when i talk a lot and he talks little but gives me so much wisdom, that he willingly listens, protects me and gives me a safe outlet, a man who "quietly puts up" when I probably need to "shut up" and the one who makes me brave and his will to love me (thanks for that beautiful post Ann),
*a strong 162 beat heartbeat, so easy to find, such a wonderful God sound
*a friend who asks me how I am feeling
*the Living Water, the true Bread that satisfies, and the Words that are powerful, living, active and Wisdom--learning not to starve my family or ration this but to slowly savor and partake often--another beautiful post God uses to confirm something he is doing in my family
*my middle son's excitement for life, his sweet and growing speech
*my children's emotions and a God that gave them and equips us to deal with them
*a book full of promises. FAITH. learning simple faith.
*a bookshelf built in an afternoon
*really good photographs, catching a moment in time
*yardwork together, the kids helping
*cooking for others
*a sweet, beautiful new baby
*celebrating God's holidays, the richness in the reminder
*a shower, forgiveness

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Break (well, sort of) and a Nature Walk

So for the last 6 weeks or so, we have had a lighter school load. After we finished up Adventures (My Father's World), it seemed right to take a bit of a break. Also, we have enjoyed some family time as you have seen on the blog. :) We have continued with our math. Olivia finished up 1st grade math this past week. She wanted to know when she could be getting her next math book. Also, we have not stopped reading practice, using McGuffey Readers, Languages Lessons for the Very Young (Queens Homeschool), and the library. We have been working through a bible study together and also working on the habit of personal daily bible reading. We have been reading aloud The Burgess Bird Book for Children. Gabe has been joining in to do some "school". His favorite things right now are his letters, numbers, library books and singing nursery rhymes.
We have enjoyed all the walks and outdoor time that Spring afforded us and are trying to keep it up even with the summer heat. Gabe is now able to walk more which is wonderful and desires to be where he can be involved in the exploring. It is a balance though, because sometimes he really needs to ride in the stroller still so that we can cover some ground. That goes against his 2 1/2 year old independence, let me tell you. But I will admit that we have the best time when we slow down anyway and I am not trying to cover so much ground. Here is a nature walk we took last week.

Headed down the trail. To be honest, I don't remember the trail's name off hand. It is the one next to one of our local library branches. That makes learning all the more conveinent as one can take a trip into the library on the same stop. :)

Some of our gear. That is Olivia's finished journal entry.

This trail is in a mixed forest. There is a sign at the beginning identifying some of the trees found there. It has a shape/color legend and some of the surrounding trees are marked. We continued farther down the trail. We saw lots of great things. Leaves of all shapes, ants, spiders, and all kinds of other interesting things the kids wanted to explore. Then the kids found a tree they liked.

I helped Olivia use the field guide and we identified it as an American Beech. We spent some time feeling and observing the roots, the trunk, the bark, and the leaves.

Olivia and Gabe sat down to do some drawing.

He is my current attachment! :) Sadly he often misses getting into pictures at times like these as it is not the easiest to manuever and get good shots.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shavuot Sameach

We are learning more and more about our Hebrew roots. In the Torah, God commanded that the people keeps certain feasts and festivals to remember his mighty acts. Understanding the Torah, and specifically keeping the feasts and festivals can enrich our understanding of our Hebrew God, Messiah, our Hebrew scriptures and the process of redemption. So starting last night, we are celebrating Shavuot. Shavuot is fifty days after the Passover and is part of the spring holidays celebrating freedom from bondage (salvation). Shavuot is when God gave the Ten Commandments to the Hebrew people. He made covenant with them, declaring them his people. And he took a people that were wandering aimlessly in the desert and gave them the Torah so that they could find their way to God, to the promise land. Then years later, Messiah was given as the fullfillment or culmination of this law. He is the way to God. And as the believers were gathered on Shavuot, the gift of the Helper, the Holy Spirit, came down on these men. God, living in us, writing Torah on our hearts, showing us the way, helping us know the Torah made flesh. God made a convenant with us, declaring us his people. I am blessed to be grafted in this covenant.

When there was a temple, two of the priestly rituals were to wave two loaves of bread (representing Jew and Gentile) and offering peace sacrifices, both fullfilled in the Messiah Yeshua. What a beautiful picture! Also among the Jewish traditions for this celebration, is the reading of the book of Ruth. This book took place during the spring harvest time and is a beautiful picture of God's acceptance of a Gentile and her willingness to make "your people my people". She was not only accepted into the people of God but became part of the Messianic line. There is lots more wonderful information out there. Here is just one of the places I found helpful, and

We enjoyed fellowship and a potluck at the park with some friends last night. For the kids, we talked about the meaning of Shavuot, went over the Ten Commandents, and the blessings listed in Leviticus for following Torah. The kids also enjoyed a general good time at the park. :)

Ezra is most happy being worn these days. He is crawling and will play on his own well, but in an environment like this park, he is just apt to get into mischief or beg to be held. The Ergo is wonderful for carrying him but it can be really hot too. JR took a turn at carrying him for me in the heat last evening.

We went a little early and enjoyed the last few minutes of the sprayground before our gathering. Olivia loved it.

Gabe did not think too highly of the sprayground.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Family Fun in the Sun

Olivia and her cousin Kira had fun jumping into the pool together.

Gabe and Nana

Uncle Jeff was so much fun! And Uncle Rudy is in the background there with cousin Max. Aunt Vicki and Pop-pop seem to have missed most of my pictures too. Bummer. It was not easy to get good pictures of everyone. We had fun but chaotic times with all the little ones, thats for sure! Hopefully, the other slackers in our fam will put up some pictures on their blogs someday! LOL! love you guys! :) 

Sweet Cousin Aiden! He was taken a rest from the pool. I think he was supposed to be sleeping but I may have disturbed him. :) Anyway, I just loved getting to meet him this last week. He was full of smiles. He is a big squeezable boy. He has the most lovely head of red curls!
Aunt DD and Cousin Vivi

Ezra hangin' out