the eight month gap

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it’s been 8 months since i’ve blogged.

as the kids grow up life gets busier and busier even though it always feels as if we couldn’t possibly be busier than we previously were. i’d love to get back in the habit of blogging at least a couple of times a month – maybe an end of the month round up in addition to any holiday/birthday posts.  we’ll have to see.

here is where we currently stand:

Brad traveled to Belize and Kansas City with different groups of teens this summer.  He had a great time with both, but I think the highlight of this summer has been Nate getting golf clubs and Jilly getting a tennis racquet.

I have been busy sewing and mom-ing.  What started with a tote bag for Bible study has led to a small business adventure for me.  I am close to taking my 100th order!  (I’ve made close to 200 bags total now.)  We’ve kept on the go a lot this summer, and I’ve rarely heard the dreaded “I’m bored”.

Nate is 7 and about to head back to school.  He’ll be in second grade this fall (my favorite grade to teach when I taught!).  He loved the library this summer!  He would have completed a reading log every day (5 hours of reading) if I was willing to take him more than once a week!

Jilly is on the verge of her fifth birthday at the end of the month.  She is getting ready to start back with her second year of preschool in just a few weeks.  She takes her role as big and little sister very seriously – taking charge with LJ and driving Nate up the wall.  🙂

Laurel is “2 da half” and can’t wait for her “thirteen October” birthday.  She is the little momma in this house.  Seldom does she head anywhere without a baby within arm’s reach.  She has an incredible imagination that I can’t wait to see grow with her.

I guess that about does it.  It’s kinda like a preview of what our Christmas letter might just look like.  🙂

she sews: a tote

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Lately I’ve been having to juggle things back and forth between one tote bag.  Although obviously it’s not a necessity, but I’ve been craving a new tote so that I don’t have to switch things out constantly.  I peeked around at a few places, but I wasn’t finding what I pictured in my mind.  Couple my desire for a new bag with the chevron print I have had my eye on at Hobby Lobby for a while, and I decided to attempt to make my own bag.  I put together different aspects of different tote tutorials found here, and I love what I have come up with.  It was actually super simple to complete, and I spent under $10 to make it!  Not bad in my mind!

 

 

 

 

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We signed Nate up for Cub Scouts a few months ago, and it has seemed very random so far.  Although I’ve not been to one, Nate seems to enjoy both the Pack and Den meetings.  I do wish the Den meetings were more regular than the sporadic two they have had so far.  We’ve sold popcorn, learned the motto and law of the pack, and now that this weekend is done we have our first space derby and cake contest under our belt.

Now, if only his patches would sew themselves onto his shirt – we’d be great!!!

silly jilly

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Jilly and I had some fun with the camera one day last week, and we took turns taking silly face picture of each other.  Most of the ones she took of me have been deleted since she was laughing so hard she couldn’t hold the camera still and seldom got a picture of my actual silly face.  Jilly has always had a way with facial expressions – so I loved doing this with her.  I still laugh when I look at some of these.

Enjoy the many faces of Jilly:

 

 

Our Favorite!

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October brings birthday cards and gifts for Laurel and I as we both celebrate our birthdays, but there are always a few cards and such in the mix for Brad.  October is Pastor Appreciation Month, which some people actually remember and acknowledge.  😉  The kids and I decided that it was wrong of us to not acknowledge our family’s favorite pastor.

They colored signs (Laurel’s says “Best”, but she refused to hold it up. (And Jilly refused to make a normal face.)), and I wrapped up a Flintstones DVD.  The kids have been really into old cartoons lately (classic Mickey, Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, etc.), and Brad has been enjoying it and mentioned wanting to introduce them to The Flintstones.

It was a fun way to turn an ordinary day into a fun celebration – which the kids are always up for!

an elmo takeover

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Elmo.

He’s a blessing – and a curse.

For one sweet 2 year old, he’s an obsession.

He’s EVERYWHERE!

on the TV, in books, soft toys, hard toys, in my CD player in the car, on my phone, on the computer – everywhere!

And in the rare moments when he’s no where to be found, one sweet 2 year old turns not so sweet.

Let’s hope this passes quickly!

Please!

sword fight!

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Brad mentioned he had to run as soon as service was over in the Haven yesterday to the main worship center for a prayer thing.  Okay.  I headed out to pick up the girls from class and nursery.  By the time we made it back to the Haven, Brad had returned and was now in possession of a sword.  Not the foam kind we like to sword fight around the house with, but a real sword.  Ummm, uncomfortable.  Kids of various sizes and ages gathered around as Brad and Trevor checked it out.  My protective mommy mode kicked in, and I watched every kid surrounding them like a hawk.

Turns out they were a gift from past and present Board members for Pastor Appreciation/KoK’s Year of Jubilee.  The swords represent the Sword of the Spirit found in Ephesians 6.  (Pretty cool, but I still told Brad I’d rather he keep it at work.)

Here are a couple of pictures Brad emailed me earlier (thankfully, for the safety of my son, it has it’s cover on in all of these photos):

Not sure if it will work or not for those who don’t “like” them on Facebook, but here is a link to several more pictures:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.527423637286679.127161.196872390341807&type=1

A Getaway!

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Brad and I were super blessed at the end of September to travel with the other pastors and wives from KoK to take a few days to retreat together in Hilton Head Island, SC.  It was an incredible place to take a few days break from the norms of daily life.  The house we stayed in was beyond amazing, the beach was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and NO KIDS came along!!!!  (Thanks again to Dave and Kay!!!)

{the view from our bedroom}

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{this made me a little nervous}

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{a couple days later Brad and I spotted this across the street from the house}

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{It’s always nice to get away together!}

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{The amount of creatures we saw was amazing – and made us miss the kids since we knew they would love it all.}

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{After our all the quick time in Hilton Head was done, Brad and I drove to Atlanta to take advantage of a couple of extra days away and visited several different Atlanta spots.}

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Keep on coloring kids!

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I recently had to take an emotional look at what it looks like when my kids sit in worship with me.  Very rarely, since Brad is often the one preaching, do I have help with the kids in worship.  In fact, by the time the kids get up on Sunday morning, Brad is already out the door and off to the office.  Sunday mornings are tough.  It’s a lot of work to get everyone up, fed, pottied, dressed, brushed, shoed, coated, buckled, driven, and across the mammoth parking lot on my own week after week.  Often times I’m frustrated and exhausted before I ever even walk in the door.  Sadly, I honestly dread the Sunday mornings when one or both of the biggers say that want to go to worship with me rather than Sunday School.  Sad, but honestly true.  I want worship time to recharge, refuel, and honestly provide a break from an already busy morning.  It has become more and more regular lately for the biggers to want to join me though.  For quite a while, I would grab a Children’s Bulletin for each of them, and let them work on that during the sermon.  Unfortunately though, I was fielding questions about “what do I do on this part now Mommy?” and “Mommy, is this right?”  It’s really hard to catch much of the sermon while this is happening!

I knew something had to change, but what?
I have worked with kids for years, I have study child development as I obtained an elementary education degree, I taught elementary school, I have been a parent for 6 1/2 years – I have a pretty good understanding of kids and what is and isn’t age appropriate at different ages.  Sermons (even those preached by their father) are not geared towards kids.  Many kids are able to focus better when actually doing something rather than just sitting like a lump on a log.  Also the learning style of a teen or adult is different than that of a 4 or 6  year old.  In my opinion kids coloring in worship IS GOOD!  There had to be something better than the Children’s Bulletin though.  Within days of my emotional mess of a day over this, the Lord provided me with a new way of allowing the kids to color which would be much more beneficial to them and myself!

I could not be more excited to pull out the Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils each week now – they actually join me more frequently now, and I actually mind less than I use to.  I know that many blessings will result from my kids being allowed to color during the sermon each week.

Here is a glimpse at what Nate (age, 6) has done over the past few weeks:

{during a sermon on Acts 18:24-28}

{during a sermon about “God is Vast”}

{during a sermon about God is perfect}

{while at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City this weekend}

(on  the right, all of the people are thinking about being with Jesus – I had to ask what all the black circles where – thought bubbles of course!)

It is such an incredible blessing to ask Nate after service to explain his picture.  It’s even more of a blessing to know that by allowing him to color, he is able to express the truths that God is teaching him.  Adults take notes (and doodle) during sermons, he takes notes with pictures.

How does it work?  I went to Target and bought both Nate and Jilly a sketch pad book along with a pack of Twistables.  Neither the books or the Twistables are allowed to be used outside of a worship setting.  They are to listen to what is being talked about during the sermon, and draw a picture that relates to what they hear.  I always date the page, and they are limited to the front and back of one page to help teach self control.  Obviously, Nate has a better grasp on this than Jilly does.  Most of Jilly’s colorings are completely random and abstract at this point.  I know though, that she will grow in this as she gets a little older.  My expectations for her vary from what I expect from Nate – as they should.  Seriously though, this often time frazzled each Sunday morning momma is just a little more at peace now, and lot more blessed!
LET THEM COLOR!!!

 

cookie crazy

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The past two Mondays Jilly, Laurel, and I have been baking cookies. Our goal is to contribute 6 dozen cookies to the 36 dozen cookies that a family friend takes downtown along with others to share with the homeless as they also share love and Jesus. Every Tuesday and Thursday they go through 18 dozen cookies! It was getting tough for their still new ministry to afford homemade cookies twice a week, every week. I had thought quite a while back, that I would like to help out with the cookies – even though I kinda HATE baking. It’s a way I can contribute though, and that makes it worthwhile. I also asked for help from others on Facebook, and we have had more than enough cookies to cover both weeks so far, and have most if not all of next week already covered!! Praise Jesus!!!! And, although I still despise the clean up process after baking, I am actually enjoying my Monday morning baking time with the girls. I was reading through a story that I had ordered the kids from a recent book order, and it made me smile:

We are happy to share our cookies with many, many friends.

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