Monday, August 29, 2011

Climbing and lights

The fascination kids have with light switches...and the ways they access them...sigh.  And, speaking of accessing things, this little guy is definitely the monkey of our house.  Yesterday, I caught him mopping the coffee table...literally...while he was standing on it.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Family Pics

This is my Great Auntie Jeanne.  She's 88...doesn't she look great!  I'm so happy we were able to visit with her while we were in NY.  She met Owen back when he was just 4 months old, but hasn't seen him since then.  
These are some of my cousin's kids.  There were 12 kids 10 and under at the family reunion.  I didn't get many pictures, but my cousin Kristie sent me these.  Her little guy Christopher is just a few months younger than Anderson and they were so cute together.  They took turns following each other around.

Owen (4), Molly (4), Christopher (3), Alexandrya (6)
Christopher and Anderson
 More Christopher and Anderson

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

K4

First day of K4...sort of.  Owen was actually in the 4's class during the summer session, but today is the first day of the school year.  Praying Owen has a great year in Mrs. Karen's class.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Niagara Falls

One of our stops while in WNY was Niagara Falls.  I've been to the Canadian side, but never to the American side and it's been about 10 years since I was last there.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how much there was to do on the American side.  The kids loved the falls, much more than I expected them to.  We walked around Goat Island and the Three Sisters Islands and got drenched in a torrential downpour.  The Islands were beautiful and I wish we'd had more time to explore.  It was neat to see the falls from different heights and angles.  The kids also loved riding on the trolley. 







Owen kept pointing out the 'blue people' doing the Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist activities.




  After our visit to the falls, we stopped by American Harley Davidson, which is owned by my mom's cousin.  We got an awesome behind the scenes tour and Aaron picked out a few bikes he would have liked to find a way to bring home.

We then headed to my cousin's house for dinner and time with aunts, uncles and cousins on my dad's side.   So many little kids and so much fun to see them all together.  I'm waiting for family pics from Friday night and Saturday and will post them when I get them.  I'm so thankful we were able to make this trip and spend the time with our extended family.  We got to see so many relatives and I felt like we didn't have quite enough time with any of them, but that's how it always is when we are up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vacation Number 2

We got to take a second vacation this summer and have recently returned home after an adventure to Buffalo, NY.  We had a family reunion with my dad's family and had a great time.  We visited an animal park, Niagara Falls, American HD and visited with lots of family.  We wore the kids and ourselves out with late nights and short to no naps.  But our time was limited and we had a lot to see!

This trip was quite the adventure as we rented an RV.  We drove 11 hours the first day and stopped north of Pittsburgh for the night.   Let me tell you, the RV was the way to go.  We tried to be safe and kept the kids in their car seats most of the way, but it was super nice to be able to fix snacks, drinks, lunch and have potty breaks without stopping.  The kids loved the RV and were so excited to be riding and sleeping in it.


Before finishing the drive to NY (or, 'The York' as Owen calls it) we visited an animal park.  What a fun place and just the right size for the kids.  We saw all kinds of animals, from bunnies to bears to hyenas and baby leopards.  The kids got to feed and pet all kinds of animals.  











 It's sort of hard to tell in the picture, but the reindeer rested his head on Anderson's head.  Their antlers were fuzzy and we got to hear them 'click' when they walked.

 We asked Owen if he wanted to ride a camel or a horse.  He said horse and we proceeded to try to talk him into riding a camel.  He kept saying he wanted to ride the horse and pointed at the camel and said 'I want to ride that big horse'.  



Next up, Niagara Falls and family pictures.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Odds and Ends

Thanks for the comments and emails of encouragement on my last post.

I finished an excellent series this weekend.  The Chronicles of Kings series by Lynn Austin.  The 5 book series is about Kings Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh from the books of Kings, Chronicles and Isaiah.  I highly recommend you read these books.

Judith Pella is one of my favorite authors and I recently read her series Daughters of Fortune.  A couple of the characters are carried over from her Russians series, but you don't have to read that series first (although those are good too).

I don't think I've mentioned on here about the book Heaven is for Real.  I read this several months ago and definitely recommend it.  It's a pretty short read...awesome book.

I haven't done a 'what they are saying' post lately.  Not that the munchkins haven't said funny things, I just haven't been the best at compiling and posting them. Owen's preschool teacher came over and gave him a hug at church yesterday and told him he looked handsome.  Anderson, our family extrovert, said 'My look handsome too.'  Owen talked in the 3rd person for the longest time.  Anderson talks with 'my'.  'My do it' is about the most commonly used phrase at our house right now.

Anderson is in this silly stage.  He'll be playing in the living room and come running to another room where either Aaron and I are and say, 'Dinosaurs, the dinosaurs are going to get me.'  We have to pick him up and give him some snuggles and then he's off to play again.

Both kids are into jumping...jumping on the ground and jumping off of things...Oh my!

For as much as he talks and giggles, Anderson is a great hide and seek player.  He'll get in a spot and stay super quiet until he's found.  Owen, on the other hand always giggles or peeks out.

A few pics from our vacation that haven't been posted.  This was just being silly hanging out outside enjoying the one day that was not ridiculously hot.






Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mental Clutter

I sat down to try to write to clear my head of some of the clutter that's moved in over the past few months, but am having a hard time getting the words out.  I have written, erased, and re-written many times.  

Owen and Evan's birthday this year was a really difficult one for me and I think the funk that has lingered has finally lifted.  I miss our baby so much.  Owen is talking more about Evan and asking questions and trying to understand.  As with the entire situation, it is bittersweet.  One of my fears and sources of sadness is that Evan will be forgotten.  I know I will never forget him, and I don't want other people to either.  He is still very much with me every day.  I think of him as often as I think of Owen and Anderson.  I wonder what he'd be like and what our family dynamic would be with him in the mix and daydream about what it would be like to see him running around with his brothers.  I love that his name is spoken in our home and that he is very much a part of our family.  I love to hear other people say his name.  I treasure the photos and memories we have of him.  I love that Owen knows Evan is in heaven.  I love that his death provides a great opening to share the gospel with Owen and Anderson.  I love that now, 4 years later, I can help others who are new into the journey.  Evan is a gift.  Both his life and his death.  While I don't always feel it, I know it.  God is and will use Evan for His glory.

When the wave of grief hit, I spent some time the day before their birthday going through Evan's things and looking at his pictures and footprints.  The outpouring of love from family, friends and strangers was uplifting as I read through each of the notes and cards we received.  I was encouraged this morning when I received a note from a friend I haven't spoken with in years who told me she was praying for us.  God has carried me these past four years.  He has proven himself true.  He has strengthened my faith.  He has shown his love for me.  I am blessed way beyond what I deserve.  Evan is not and did not suffer.  Owen is healthy when the odds were greatly stacked against him.   Anderson was just what our family needed.  I have experienced God through the eyes of my children and I am thankful for the life and family we have.

My heart is heavy with the pain that I know many of our friends and family are enduring.  From marriage issues to pregnancy complications, to sickness and job/financial issues, there is so much hurt in this broken world.  But my God is faithful and big enough to handle it all.   I don't know who is reading this and what you may be going through.  But I encourage you to turn to God no matter how big or how small.  You don't have to struggle alone...I know from experience that it is a lot easier when you let go and let God and I need reminding of this truth daily.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22–24
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

Monday, August 1, 2011

All Fixed Up

A few days after arriving home from the beach, Anderson had a minor outpatient surgery.  He was in some pain for a few days, but he has recovered well.

He didn't go into surgery until 12:15...sure looks happy with no food or drink since dinner the night before, doesn't he?  We were at the hospital before 9 and he was a champ during the wait.