Thursday, May 21, 2009

Afternoon at the Park...and more

This afternoon, my sis-in-law and her boys were over and we decided to take all of the kids to the park once the girls got home from school. So, 3:25 rolled around and the girls got off the bus and quickly changed into shorts and tank tops and off we went to enjoy a beautiful afternoon at the park.
The 4 "big" kids all started off on their scooters but after the 1st block and many, many "breaks" for the boys, their scooters were folded up, the mommy's were carrying them (Wayne's rode in the stroller basket, and the boys were walking. Yes, they walked all the way to the park. The girls continued on their scooters waiting for us at the end of each block.

The kids had a great time playing and running around. Here's Brenna just "hanging around."
Brenna and the boys...the boys did really good at staying on this thing...Go Ethan and Wayne!
I love these next pictures of Alyssa...action shots!
While we were at the park we got a call from my mom that Duane was able to get a load of sand for our tractor tire. Ethan is so excited that he FINALLY has a sand "box".
Ethan was very happy to "jump in" and help get the sand to where it needed to go. Here he is getting the sand off of the top of the tire and down inside. He wasn't going to lose any of his sand.
I don't think we will be running around from neighbor to neighbor looking for him...he will now be in the sand "box"! He has become very possessive over it already. He informed the girls that it was for only boys and that only his buddy Wayne could play in it with him. We will see how long that lasts.

Okay, one more picture...after taking pictures of the sand "box", I was walking around the yard and noticed how beautiful my "bridal's veil" bush was looking. (I have no idea what the "real" name is...I just remember my sis-in-law calling it this when we first got it from her mom.) This is the best it has looked since we got it. I'm loving it!!
**Update on the house...we have shown it once this week to a couple that was just starting to look at homes in the Lynden area. They are down-sizing and moving from a BIG house in Oak Harbor. Not getting my hopes up...espcially since we haven't heard from them again. I did notice that there was only 1 flyer left in the info box so I better get more of those printed and ready for the weekend. Thanks to those of you praying. It means a lot!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

FamilyLife promo video and conference info.

We thought we would share this link to a short, fun video. Feel free to click on it and watch it. It's just a little piece of what FamilyLife offers. And, we are going to be getting information regarding this year's conference happening in November up soon.

We are so excited about this year's conference and the new and exciting material that FamilyLife has worked so hard on. So, if you are one of those that says... "Yeah, Yeah, we've been to the conference." This is your's new! Come enjoy an amazing weekend away with your spouse and get some great tools to keep things going. Maybe you and your spouse are struggling in your marriage...this weekend is for you too! We cannot say enough about this BIBLE based conference. We are going again this year! So, start thinking about it and be watching for more details to come!

Monday, May 18, 2009


It seems like this is exactly what we have been doing now for 2 years...waiting. I realize that God has us in this "holding pattern" for a reason but at times, it is so hard to try to make sense of it all. I guess I'm not suppose to make sense of it and just WAIT to see what outcome God has for us.

It all started with me losing my part-time job, that paid me a full-time wage, and had allowed me to pretty much work from home. We made it through that year, struggling, but made it. We went to our first marriage conference that fall (Weekend to Remember put on by FamilyLife), not because our marriage was falling apart, we were far from that, but because we needed to get away to search what God was wanting from us. We spent time praying about what it was that God wanted us to do. We were then, and still are now, willing to move where ever God wants to us to be. At that point, we really felt the calling to apply to be a part of the ministry that FamilyLife has. We still feel like this is where God is calling us. We have been on a "wait" for 13 months now. After going almost 6 months of that with no contact, we got an email from our contact, about a month ago now, from FamilyLife checking in to see how things are going. In the midst of our email conversations, we get the message that if we can get everything to fall into place, they would like us to tentatively plan on being there the middle of November for "Preview Weekend"...basically the final step of the application process. So, we have put our house back up for sale, we tried selling it last spring and pulled the sign down in December. Many people wonder why we are putting our house up for sale before knowing if we are going to FamilyLife. Well, here's the answer to that.

FamilyLife would like to see us living on a specific budget...this includes being able to put money away each month for gifts, car repairs, vacations, etc. Currently, we have enough each month to cover just what we need to cover. Yes, it has been tough but it has been an amazing experience to watch how God is constantly providing for us. Back to why we are selling...if we can sell our house, it will free up money every month to be able to put together the budget FamilyLife is looking for. Our plans are to rent for awhile. Even if we don't end up going to FamilyLife, we are perfectly content with the idea of renting until we know where God wants us and again, will help with the monthly finance part of it. If we end up staying here, I will look for a few more hours a week of work in the fall while Ethan is in preschool 4 days a week (1/2 days). Then, once he is in Kindergarten, I can add more hours. We will hopefully be able to save and eventually buy a home again.

We know that God is going to take care of us. He has been for the past 2 years. It's just the WAITING that is hard. I'm know we all have times of waiting. I'm sure it is just as hard for you as it is for me. And, I'm not asking you to feel sorry for us. I don't want that! More than anything, I would ask that you just join us in praying. Pray that God will give us a clear direction. Pray that we would be able to sell our home, by owner, quickly in this VERY TOUGH housing market. Pray that we would be able to continue to meet our monthly needs.

We will continue to keep you updated as we go through this process of WAITING. In a way, it is kind of exciting to be on this adventure and to see what God has for us in the end. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of times when exciting is not the word and stress takes over. But, that's when we are reminded to give it all back to God...the control freak in me would like to just solve this whole thing but I know that I'M NOT THE ONE IN CONTROL...GOD IS!!!

Have an amazing Monday!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New bike for Miss Alyssa!

Normally, we do new bikes for birthdays. Alyssa's birthday, however, is in December...not a time to be getting a child a new bike and then having to tell them they have to wait until spring to ride it because it is so cold outside. So, Jason and I made the decision to surprise Alyssa with a new bike today. We knew what size we wanted to get her so I took off to WalMart this afternoon while Jason stayed home with the kids. I called him once I got there with the options and there was no question about what bike to get once I mentioned the bike with the ladybugs on it. For those of you who don't know it, we have always called Alyssa our little bug and she collects ladybug stuff. Daddy decided that we needed to get the bike that fit her the best...the bike with the ladybugs! Did I mention her bike helmet already had ladybugs on it? How could we not go with the ladybug bike?

So, after all the fun in the wading pools and on the slip-n-slides (see previous post), we had Alyssa go in and get dried off and dressed while we pulled the bike out of the van and got it into place. She was so excited when she came out and found her new bike. It was the best surprise and now it won't be so painful to watch her ride her little 16" bike.
Here she is with her eyes closed waiting to be told..."OPEN THEM!"
Excited and embarrassed because the neighbors were watching.
Posing for mom...really wanting to go get her helmet and take her new bike for a spin.
Taking her new bike for a spin around the cul-de-sac...yes, Aunt Tanya, she has her flip flops on. Thankfully, there were no skinned toes. I didn't have the heart to tell her that she couldn't ride until she had tennis shoes on...she was so excited.

Summer time fun...oops, I mean Spring time fun

Today felt like summer! When I got home from Bellingham, I found the kids getting ready to go on the neighbor's slip-n-slide. We got everyone sunscreened and sent them on their way...6 kids, 2 small wading pools, a slip-n-slide, and a whole lot of fun just waiting to be had. Wait, make that 2 slip-n-slides because the first one will be being replaced...many holes were discovered when it was put into use.

It was so fun to have all the neighbor kids together in one yard watching them just be silly and having fun.
Alyssa taking the first run on the slip-n-slide.
Go Brenna!
Ethan, Carter and Emma hanging out in the wading pools.
6 kids...1 wading pool...too much fun!
Wild and crazy kids! More of this fun to come this summer! sunburned mommy. ( picture of the mommy to go with this.) I'm beginning to feel the burn tonight across my back...that's what I get for wearing a tank top today. I didn't even think about sunscreen...I was too busy taking pictures. I really didn't think I was outside that long...long enough I guess.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was great! The girls each had special gifts for me that they had made at school.
After church, we stopped to see Jason's parents for a little while and then headed over to Tyler and Tanya's to have lunch with my family. It was nice to have such great weather, for at least the first half of the day.
This year was my sister's first Mother's Day. I had to make sure I featured her and beautiful Paige here!
It was fun to have the kids together and to watch them all play.
My brother makes some amazing BBQ chicken...mmm, yum...and is amazing with his grilling skills. My sister had made asparagus wrapped in bacon to BBQ and we ended up with a "flaming" surprise when Tyler opened the lid of the grill to check them. The Asparagus were perfect! Great save Tyler!!
The kids got very crazy after lunch with some more outdoor toys and were having a blast together. It was such a blessing to just sit and listen to them all laughing and to watch them run. I am so thankful for my healthy children and nieces and nephews! Our family has been blessed with some amazing children!

Family day at the zoo...

Saturday was family day. We had planned to take the kids to the zoo. They were so excited to go and all woke up early. We were loaded and ready to leave by 7:00 am.
Of course, the first stop was Woods...there was no way we were leaving town without our coffee in hand.
We arrived at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle at 9:10. We were in line for about 20 mintues and we were so happy that we go there when we did. The line kept growing and getting longer and longer. It was Mom and Me day at the zoo...$10 t-shirts purchased in advance at Macy's was our ticket in...saved us just over $15!!
Once we were in the gates, we were immediately on the search for some very important animals that Ethan was looking for. Here he is pointing to the lions...or as he called them, "Alex" (from Madagascar).
The next stop was getting in line to feed the giraffe...which was right across from the lion! We were the first ones in line and Ethan was excited to be first to feed the giraffe that he had to call his Auntie Tanya. His words were, "I want to tell Auntie I am first." (Thank you Auntie for telling us about this amazing opportunity.) He was so excited to get up to the tower once the zoo attendant told him he could go up the path.
These animals are absolutely huge! This giraffe is a 3-year old male and was very interested in the honeysuckle branches that we had to feed him.
I can't believe how close we were to this giraffe. If you go to the zoo...this is something you must do with your kids! You get to spend 10 minutes up there and the zoo attendant at the top will tell you many fascinating things about giraffes and you can feed the giraffe as much as it will eat from you.
Once we were finished with the giraffe, we went to find "Gloria" and her friends...the hippos. Ethan kept yelling, "Gloria, wake up." (We went back later in the afternoon so Ethan could see the hippos swimming around in their pool.)
Our next stop was to see "Marty". The people around us were giggling as Ethan was saying, "Hi, Marty!" Of couse, it was only cute because it was coming from a 3-1/2 year old little boy.
This African elephant was really putting on a show for us. He was stomping around and throwing his trunk up in the air.
We were able to get a quick family picture along the way.
The other great activity you must do when you go to the zoo is to feed the birds...$1 for a seed stick. There was a zoo attendant inside who was great at making sure the younger kids were able to get up close and feed the birds. It was another great experience for our kids!
We found a great spot for lunch out in the big open grass area where all of the "extra" activities were. It was nice to take a break and let everyone rest their feet for a little while. Ethan did amazing! He wore his "Puppy Backpack" (child harness) and walked the majority of the day so he was definitely ready for this lunch break. We would mention riding in the stroller to him and he just kept telling us he didn't need to be in the stroller...great! Just meant that we could keep all of our stuff in it!!
Ethan was also "keeper of the map". He was so cute with it. Once his lunch was gone, he picked it up and started pointing to all of the animal pictures that we hadn't been to...planning out the rest of the afternoon. He took his "job" serious. Thankfully daddy and mommy had a second map so we really knew where we were going and could make sure we weren't missing anything.
The River Otters were another favorite stop. The kids sat forever watching these two otters. They are so playful and it was so fun to watch them "dive" into the water and swim and play.
The girls wanted a sister picture with the otter statues.
We then went to see the NEW penguin exhibit. This place was full of people and it was fun to see the penguins again. The last time we were at the zoo was when Ethan was just 2 weeks old and they had just taken the penguins away and closed the exhibit to rebuild it. So, it was nice to have the penguins back this trip.
Ethan loved seeing this Mommy Gorilla with her baby. He just sat right up to the window and got as close as he could. He was so cute sitting there.
All of the animals at the zoo were amazing. It was a wonderful day spent with just the five of us. It was nice to get away from "normal" life and have some fun, enjoying the beautiful weather.
We left the zoo at 3:30 with three very tired kids. Ethan fell asleep but woke up in Marysville when we stopped for ice cream. We thought it was pretty funny that he would wake up and not miss out on the special treat.
Once we arrived home, Ethan went straight to his room, grabbed his race car track and all of his "zoo" animals and set up his own "zoo". It was great. He begged us to not take it down...which was very hard to not do because it was right in the middle of the kitchen. We told him we would leave it up until we went to bed. That seemed to make him happy.
What a great start to Mother's Day weekend!

Padilla Bay

Last Friday, May 8th, I had the privilege of joining Brenna's 4th grade class, and the other 2 4th grade classes, on a field trip to Padilla Bay. This was part of their Science unit at school. The kids were very well behaved and excited to learn what the people at Padilla Bay had to teach them.
The kids got to dig in the sand looking for creatures. Each group had a shovel to dig with and then a tray and jar to put our findings in. We also had a clipboard with a very helpful sheet on it...helped us identify the creatures that we found.
This was my group of kids...they were so good and made the day a lot of fun!
Mrs. Crane's 4th grade class...
We were able to view this "sun star" creature in the indoor aquarium. I think I counted 16 legs. It was huge!
Later in the afternoon, we were able to see some of the same creatures that we found on the beach under the microscopes...way cool! The barnacles, under the microscope, were my favorite. To the naked eye they look like little sharp nasty things that cut our feet. Under the microscope they look much different.
We had an amazing time and God gave us some great weather!