Sunday, July 31, 2011

Family Update July 2011

Wow, time’s flying. I don’t know what the difference is, but for some reason, I just can not keep up with my blog the way I used to. I apologize to those of you who actually looked forward to reading it, but honestly, I’m more sad for myself than anything else. I really enjoy making my blurb books and having a record of all the “little things” I want to remember in a few years that I know I will forget. Things that the kids say or do, traditions that we have, or fun things we did… it’s fun to look back and have our memories recorded so nicely.

But I guess if one had to choose, I would certainly choose to be out living life than to be recording it. So that’s what I’m doing.

A few things that come to mind of things that are going on in life right now that I don’t want to forget:

Audrey started walking a month or so ago. And she has the most ADORABLE beginner walk I’ve ever seen. And I don’t just mean this because I’m her mom, because I have two older children and they walked completely “normally” – Audrey’s walk is far cuter than normal. Her legs are spread so wide apart and sometimes I think she lifts her knees all the way to her chin just to take a step!  She wobbles through with surprisingly few tumbles, considering how ungraciously she’s clobbering around.

She still isn’t talking much. “Da-da” is the only word she’s ever said with any consistency, but sometimes if she’s really upset she says “Ma-ma” clear as day through her sobs. Other than that, we haven’t been able to make anything out, though she babbles lots and lots.

Audrey has an interesting habit of finding and carrying around Alexa’s underwear. I’m not sure why, but she thinks it’s a great time! Usually she will dig out clean underwear from her basket under the bed, but honestly, she’ll get what she can find. I’m not kidding when I say at least twice a day I’ll find her walking around with underwear in her hands…. yeah, I don’t get it either.

Alexa is in a strong, incredible independent 3-year old with a will that would frighten any set of parents. Friendly, determined, funny, smart and strong-willed, I can honestly say I am intrigued and interested to see what God has in store for her future. She is polite, considerate and nurturing of most anybody, and while she has her selfish moments, those are thankfully becoming less and less. She is super smart and asks to do school all the time. She is a great cuddler, and our favorite time during the day is after nap time when we crawl into bed together.

Treyton, will be turning 6 this month and he is becoming such a little man. He is the most inquisitive, logical and wise boy I have ever met. He asks so many questions and is so busy exploring the world that it’s common for him to forget the simplest task at hand. To be honest, we’ve kind of gotten used to this, and both Tim and I get more of a kick out of his curious nature than we do get frustrated by it. Treyton is fairly self-absorbed most of the time, and thinks more about life and what’s going on around him than he does people. I’m a lot like this as well, so I get it, but it’s something we’re certainly trying to work on with him, as well. He is our sponge, and he loves to live life and soak in as much as he can.

Tim and I celebrated our 8-year anniversary on Tuesday of this week. We went to dinner and went to a park to listen to live music. We truly are so blessed and grateful for all that the Lord has done for us, and for 8 incredible years together.

 

Other Stuff:

Treyton and Lexie are both in swim lessons. Lexie is actually in a class by herself, so it is just her and her teacher, they usually end up joining Treyton’s class, which she likes. For her, they are working on getting her comfortable in the water, blowing bubbles, putting her face in the water a little bit, pulling herself along the side of the pool and getting in and out.

Treyton is in too simple of a class. I wish I would have put him in the next class up, but he’s still having fun. His class is focusing mostly on going underwater, floating, kicking his legs and getting in and out of hte pool.

At the end of each class the kids get to jump off the diving board. After jumping off the short diving board, he asked if he could do the high diving board, and they said he could. IMG_0003I wasn’t sure if he would actually jump once he got up there but he did. I think he was a little shocked by the whole thing because he hasn’t done it since, though he says he’s going to do it again…. we’ll see.

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We have just finished up our 5th week of school, and are going to do another full week before I think we take a week or two break.

I am currently looking into signing up Treyton for piano lessons and flag football. I’m still trying to decide what class to sign Alexa up for.

Life is busy and by God’s grace life is good.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Working Hard this Summer

I love summer time! We have so much fun being outside, camping, doing birthday parties, playing, and just as importantly – working hard.

Tim and I always had the desire of growing a garden, and when we moved to the country three summers ago, we finally had our opportunity. We tried last year but the spot we ended up picking was low-land and it flooded, preventing any real harvest. This year we decided to do raised beds in the same place and our garden is doing really well.

IMG_0327We have already been able to harvest our beets and peas as well as some of our peppers and basil. I pickled and canned the beats, and the kids ate all of the fresh peas as we picked them. I also canned the peppers, dried some of the basil and made pesto from the rest.

IMG_0050In addition to this Tim’s Aunt graciously let us pick (twice) raspberries from her garden, so I was able to make both raspberry jam and raspberry syrup.

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I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where my mother was an avid gardener and canner, so she handed down a lot of her supplies to me, making canning a natural thing for me to do. IMG_0052

Now being a mother myself I realize the joy of seeing your children share an interest in helping garden, harvest and can. Treyton, in particular, is a great helper.   IMG_0335 (This is what my kitchen looks like on a typical canning afternoon)

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In addition to our garden, this summer we have been working on some minor landscaping – we planted two apple trees, a raspberry bush as well as pulled several (ugly) bushes from our front rock beds and planted two new bushes (a hydrangea and hibiscus).

We have a large open yard, which we feel so blessed to have, but to be honest Tim and I have no real experience with landscaping so we spend most of our time throwing around ideas, and changing our minds :)

Here are some cute pictures of my two boys working on pulling out our ugly bushes. Excuse the little underwear boy…. it was hot. IMG_0337 

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Job well done boys!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review: Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann is the second book of hers that I have read.

This book is actually based on the same town (Redford) of the first book I read: “Indivisible”, with it’s focus on new characters. Based about a year later in time, I was glad to see the connection to a few of the characters I had already grown to love with the introduction of the new ones.

Book Description:

“In a clash of light and darkness, can courage prevail?
Rescuing a toddler from the jaws of a mountain lion, Trevor MacDaniel, a high-country outfi tter, sets in motion events he can’t foresee. His act of bravery entwines his life with gifted sculptor Natalie Reeve—and attracts a grim admirer.
Trevor’s need to guard and protect is born of tragedy, prompting his decision to become a search and rescue volunteer. Natalie’s gift of sculpting comes from an unusual disability that seeks release through her creative hands. In each other they see strength and courage as they face an incomprehensible foe.
When a troubled soul views Trevor as archangel and adversary, Redford’s peaceful mountain community is threatened. Together with Police Chief Jonah Westfall, Trevor presses his limits to combat the menace who targets the most helpless and innocent.”

Book Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was an easy read with an emotional story-line. I actually read the entire book in 6 hours. It wasn’t as much a fist-clincher that I couldn’t put down as much as an engaging book that I didn’t want to put down. 

I was intrigued by the characters and interested in how the story-line would play out. There was mystery, suspense, good and evil mixed throughout. Heitzmann does a great job at creating character depth while introducing you to the main-characters painful and un-sorted pasts in a timely manner as well as their daily gifted, heroic abilities.

If you enjoy Christian fiction, I would recommend this book for you.

 

Disclosure: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: The Treasure Principle

image The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn

Book Description:

“Discover a joy more precious than gold! Priceless treasure is within your reach. And with it, liberating joy. In Randy Alcorn’s The Treasure Principle, you’ll unearth a radical teaching of Jesus – a secret wrapped up in giving. Once you discover this secret, life will never look the same. And you won’t want it to! Do it. Ask God what’s on your mind…. Open my eyes, Father. What am I holding on to that’s robbing me of present joy and future reward?”

Book Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’m a pretty big Randy Alcorn fan, so I started reading this book with a positive perspective. Financial giving is an area that God has really been working on in Tim and I’s life in the past year or so, and this book complimented and reemphasized many of the truths that God has already been teaching us.

The primary “Treasure Principle” as Alcorn calls it is the idea that:

You can’t take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.

By giving now, treasures far beyond any sacrifice we make here are being stored and waiting for us in heaven. I think for most of us, this principle loses it’s meaning as soon as we begin to think about heaven. The “great un-known” to so many of us, but if better understood, I think we would seek it more earnestly (as we should). (By the way, Alcorn also has another incredible book called Heaven, that I highly, highly, recommend, by far the best resource I’ve found on the topic) Alcorn describes heaven as a place “of rest and relief from the burden of sin and suffering; but it will also be a place of great learning, activity, artistic expression, exploration, discovery, camaraderie and service.” If only we could grasp this and live our lives understanding the truth of money in light of eternity, materialism in relation to heavenly treasure and the earthly desire of possession as so shallow compared to what is to come. The truth is when we pursue and hoard these things for ourselves, we are wasting so much of our time, so much of our energy…. and for what?

Something that really grabbed my attention in The Treasure Principle is when Alcorn shared a few quotes and statistics (from the PBS show Affluenza) with his readers, including the fact that “the average American shops six hours a week while spending forty minutes playing with his children” and “recently, more Americans declared bankruptcy than graduated from college.”

I think Alcorn said it best when he says “we think we own our possessions, but too often they own us.”

Alcorn does a great job unpacking what the Bible actually says about giving. It’s easy to lack the joy of giving if we don’t really understand it and view it from a Biblical perspective.

The real truth is we do not own the money/possessions that we have, we are simply stewards of it. By holding on to money and things we help no one (including ourselves), but by giving we solve so many more problems than we could ever realize. By participating in God’s design we can expect nothing less than HIS joy and HIS peace to permeate our hearts and lives.

I highly recommend this book, within it’s pages is a true Biblical message explained clearly and understandably without condemnation or shame.

Disclosure: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lazy Meme

This seemed fun to me… so here it goes.

The instructions with this are to bold the ones you've done, leave the others in normal type.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain.

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped (never going to happen, NEVER)

12. Visited Paris (would love to)

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (Yeah, right!)

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29 Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33 Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41 Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa

45 Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (no, but I've been drawn)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60 Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64 Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (also never going to happen)
66 Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67 Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (not my favorite memory)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79 Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (unless my blog books count)

81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (it really depends on what famous means I guess)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

If you would like to join up on this meme, go here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Princess Party

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Saturday we had Alexa’s third birthday party. Months ago I had asked her what kind of party she wanted she told me “Pink and Princess” and she never changed.

I went back and forth on whether or not I was going to have everyone dress up as princesses or not, however, some of the guests took matters into their own hands, and I am so glad that they did!!

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Having a group of princesses celebrate with Princess Lexie was just TOO MUCH!! I loved it, but more than that, Lexie loved it.

The party started with a tea party, one of Lexie’s favorite activities.

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Next we opened gifts. One of Lexie’s favorite gifts from her party was a pink KodakShare camera. She asks to borrow Treyton camera all the time, and even the morning of the party she had asked him. She is thrilled to finally have one of her own, in fact she has taken over 250 pictures in the last 24 hours!! IMG_0198

She literally walked around taking pictures of everything: from shoes in my closet, her stuffed animals, laundry, wrapping paper, etc. It’s so cute to see life from Lexie’s eyes :)

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Watching Lexie open gifts is always a treat she is overly enthusiastic about it. Every time she would open a gift she would say “Oh my word guys!” and then show people. 

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(This is her opening a card :))

We got Lexie a Princess Ice Cream cake from Dairy Queen with light-up princesses. (We love these cakes) Lexie sang Happy Birthday to herself louder than anyone else. :) I’m glad that we got it on video.

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IMG_0315Birthday parties are always a great opportunity to take family pictures, and we took full advantage. Here are some of our family with the grandparents and then some of the 5 of us.

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IMG_0313It was a great day! At the end of the day Lexie said to me “I had so much fun today Mommy!” My heart just melted. It made any sacrifice to pull off the day more than worth it. IMG_0288

A Princess Birthday

On Friday, Alexa turned 3. Dad had to work in the morning, so we had a pretty low-key morning. Although Lexie got lots of phone calls from her grandparents and aunts, she LOVED all the attention and personal phone time. IMG_0040

After Daddy got home at noon she opened her presents. The “hit” was a princess CD player that comes with 3 plastic CDS she can change out and listen to different musical songs.

IMG_0050She also got a princess bike (which is what she asked for), but struggled a little the first time on it so at first she was a little leery, but Saturday night she had it down well and now if she’s outside she begs to ride it.  IMG_0062

After presents we went to each lunch and to Bay Beach. This was Lexie’s first time this summer to be able to ride the rides (we went one other time but she had gotten in trouble and was not able to ride any rides that day). IMG_0063

The kids had lots of fun.

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For dinner we took Lexie to Nakashima’s (a local Japanese restaurant we like) it’s a family tradition, we all eat here for our birthdays. Her Aunt Toni wasn’t able to make it, but she called in to the restaurant and had the waitress bring out a cake for Lexie. She was a little scared because 5 or 6 people came out singing to her, but she was fine as soon as she started eating it :)  IMG_0124It was a great birthday for a little princess.

EXTRA: I took a couple of pictures of the kids at Bay Beach, I think they turned out cute.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Princess

IMG_00303 years ago today, a princess entered our world, and it’s never been the same. We are amazed at how strong a character Alexa continues to be, and are blessed by the amount of laughter and smiles she brings into our home.

IMG_0032One of our biggest joys and trials, this princess knows what she wants and goes for it.  I thank God every day for the miracle of this sweet, sincere and hard-headed girl. A nurturing spirit, with a tough-as-nails personality, she draws attention wherever she goes.

IMG_0007The word “Cute” is just not enough to describe her. She’s absolutely adorable, and knows it. It’s not uncommon to find her talking-it-up with a stranger, or smiling at anyone who will take the time to smile back.

IMG_0009Articulate, smart and opinionated – she doesn’t like change and she loves control. With her Daddy’s charm and her Mama’s spirit she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s always watching and listening and looking for a chance to shine.

IMG_0011Dramatic and sincere, with nothing to fear, she loves to be loved and sought after. She’s vulnerable and open, raw in a sense, longing to live in the most real-way.

IMG_0012Challenging yet loving. Hard-headed yet soft-hearted. Brutal yet nurturing. She’s a bundle of personality and joy that we just can’t get enough of.

IMG_0015Alexa,

We pray that you have the happiest 3rd birthday a princes can have and that we will get to share so many more with you. IMG_0017We pray that the Lord will bless you with a heart-for-Him, that you will learn to serve Him and love Him whole-heartedly from a young age. Regardless of what you may face in this life, may you keep your eternal eyes set on Jesus.  IMG_0023We pray that your heart will continue to be softened to the Spirit and that you learn to hear and recognize His voice. May you follow where He lead, even when it’s hard. IMG_0025We pray that you will always find your worth and value in your savior and not in yourself; that you seek the love you so desperately need from Him, your Maker and Sustainer. He is enough. IMG_0028May you use the gifts the Lord has blessed you with for His glory and kingdom. May you use your nurturing, kind spirit for others benefit and not your own. May you give selflessly and wholeheartedly to others to the glory of HIS name. Your ability to worship freely and your love of music is truly a gift from God, we pray that the Lord will continue to grow this appreciation and talent in your life. IMG_0035 We love you to pieces, Princess. We will always love you and will be here for you as long as the Lord allows us. You are such a special, beautiful girl on the inside and out. You have given us far more joy and blessings than we could ever express. Thank you for being you!IMG_0030

Happy Birthday!!  Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace”