Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Last week we carved a pumpkin at his preschool just like last year, though he didn't want his picture taken with the pumpkin... wouldn't let me even take one when we got home.  Silly kiddo.
carving pumpkins for halloween

Then he decided it didn't make sense to just pick one costume for Halloween.  So this year he was Batman and Mr. Incredible between a community party, his school party and trick-or-treating.  There was a third costume discussed as well, but he decided it required green pants which he didn't have.  Good thing we always have lots of costumes in the costume box!
incredible and batman costumes

We enjoyed trick-or-treating with some friends in their neighborhood and then they graciously invited the whole group over supper.  It was a wonderful evening.
fun halloween evening

Happy Halloween from our house on the gravelly road.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Apples, Apples, Apples

We are nearing the end of apple time here.  We only have two trees right now with apples (two more that will hopefully have apples in a few years) but one produces quite a lot.  We've picked apples several different times but still quite a few to share with the deer.

picking apples

My new apples slicer/corer/peeler has been getting lots of use and my kiddo loves using it which an extra plus.  (Though I never know what costume will be required for the job). 

boy in costume using apples slicer

Prepping apples for the freezer, cooking with apples, dehydrating apples, eating apples, giving away apples... pretty soon I'll be dreaming of apples.    So many days the house smells so yummy with something made of apples.

For me apples define fall at our home on the gravelly road.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Real Life is a Mess, A Beautiful Mess

I'm part of MOPS and the theme for the year is "Beautiful Mess".  So lately I've been thinking a lot about mess and perspective, especially after the amazing weekend at MomCon.

A few weeks ago, I ended up with a few great photos and thought about doing a "this was our day" type post on the blog.  But then I remembered, I'd moved some unfolded laundry out of the background of a photo, I didn't play Legos like I'd promised, spent too much time on my computer and I'd forgotten to get supper started so we ate late, and I went to bed with a kitchen full of dirty dishes.  And I didn't want to post about the day and edit out parts.  I want to be real.

Then I read a statement from another blogger much wiser than I, reminding everyone that blogs, Facebook, twitter and pinterest are a person's "highlight reel".  Its cannot to be compared to the "full game" you are living, day in day out.  We all do it -- summarize a portion of our day or a snippet of our life as a Facebook status, blog post, funny story to friends, etc.  So the next time you see that person that seems they have it "all together" remember you are only seeing a portion, a slice, a moment.  They just as likely have dishes in their sink or a basket of unmatched socks or lost their temper sometime that day.

As moms, we spend a lot of time dealing with messes, so often serving our family, our kiddos by cleaning up messes that we didn't make.  (Granted usually my messy kitchen is a direct result of my attempt at cooking).  It is easy for me to get distracted by the mess, by the chore, by the to-do list, that I miss the beauty in it all.  The messy fingers of the little one who calls me mom, sloppy kisses, dirty dishes reminding me that there was plenty to eat, muddy footprints on the floor from fun outdoors, etc.

Not only is there beauty in the mess, I need to keep reminding myself that God meets me in my mess.  He's not afraid of my messy heart, the places in my life that need work, the relationships that I have made a mess of, the times I make the same mistake over and over again, the brokenness that is part of me.  He loves each one of us, right where we are.  He kneels next to us, holds us as we sit in our mess, and love us as we are.

Life is messy.  Faith is messy.  Sin makes everything extra messy.  We are all broken.  But when we place that brokenness at the foot of the cross, let go of that mess and give it to God, it can be turned into something beautiful.

One of the points from the speakers at MomCon that I keep pondering is this:  Often it is our greatest pain [or biggest mess] that can become our greatest ministry.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Weekend of Amazing

Last night I got back from a 4 day weekend away.  A road trip with 4 other mommas from the local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group.  A weekend full of amazing speakers, heartfelt worship, great training workshops, deepening friendships, and some silly fun at a 1973 Mom Prom.  Have you figured out where I was?

Last weekend I attended what is referred to MomCon --  a national convention put together MOPS International to encourage, equip, develop and inspire women to serve the moms in their community through their local MOPS group (aka the ultimate mom business trip).

MomCon 2013

It really was amazing... its hard for me to even attempt an adequate description.  God was at work all weekend.  He reminded me of Truth I had let slip to the back of my mind instead of holding tight to it in my heart.  I was immensely blessed by the moms I travelled to convention with -- so many wonderful conversations -- debriefing after sessions, sharing our stories, and encouraging each other.

There is so much Truth from the teaching time and sessions that I hope to continue to ponder, unpack and journal on.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of the themes from the weekend find there way into blog posts as I work through what God's teaching me through it.

But for now, here's a quick "by the numbers" look at the weekend our group put together on the way home.
3,000+ Moms from all over the world
5 moms from local MOPS group
1049 Miles, 18 hrs, 4 Bathroom stops
19 bags packed plus 5 dresses from 1973
4 Days Away from Home
2 Hotel Rooms, 2 Bathrooms, 3 Beds and a sofa
26 Floors each elevator ride
40 Years of MOPS Celebrated
25+ Speakers
37 Training options in workshops and sessions
23 different trainings attended by our group
165 Photos taken
A Weekend Full of Encouragement, Truth, Worship,
Stories, Memories and Friendship --
And the theme song from the weekend that is currently on constant repeat in my head :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Knight and the Leaves

imagination in the backyard
Its best to be prepared.
You never know when a scary dragon might sneak up on you,
while raking leaves in the backyard.
So keep your helmet nearby,
sword at the ready.
Because its best to be prepared.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Family Game Time

In the last year or so, our son has begun to really enjoy playing games.  In fact, the other day he told me "Mom I don't want to do projects.  Let's just play games."

Games to play with kids

That's just fine by me!  Games do a great job teaching so many things -- from taking turns, following rules, being a good sport, logic, strategy, and sometimes even letters/numbers/words.  Plus its a great way to spend time as a family and have fun together.

We still play our favorites like Scrabble matching game, Checkers, Jenga and Dominoes pretty frequently.

family game night

We also enjoy Sequence for Kids, Hulabaloo, Hiss and African Adventure.  I think my favorite part of African Adventure is that the game board is a puzzle for kiddos to put together before playing, which gives adults a few more minutes to wrap up what they are working on.  At my parents' house, our son's favorite game to play is Pengaloo, a game that tests your memory as you hunt for the correct colored eggs being hidden by the penguins.

This summer we also found some great games at garage sales: classics like Chutes and Ladders and Hi Ho Cherrio, plus Zingo (a new favorite of ours - similar to bingo) and Cagola (a balance game that looks like a ship).

As the weather cools, I'm sure we'll be having plenty of family game nights at our home on the gravelly road! 

What are some of your family's favorite games?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A boy, fall colors, a tree and another year gone

This is the third fall that I've tried to take a photo of my kiddo in the same spot during the peak of fall colors.  This year he did not want his photo taken but we got it done.  Here's the two previous years.  He is no longer standing on the rock because he's gotten too tall and you couldn't see his face.  This year the chickens kept trying to get in the photo (in fact I had to crop rooster tail feathers out of this shot before posting).

young boy near fall colors tree

To keep with the comparisons in last year's post... this year his dresser is full of 4/5 boys shirts (no more toddler sizes) and 5T or 4/5 pants.  Everyday his imagination and the ideas he comes up with amaze me.  The other day in the car he was trying to explain to me his new idea for how to invent a better hitch system so "you can hook up trailers extra speedy". 

What an amazing blessing to watch how God is growing him into the boy He's planned.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dear Precious Little One...

Dear Precious Little One,

We haven't met you yet and have no idea when you will join our family.  But we trust God and know that He'll bring you to us at the perfect time.  We can't wait to welcome you into our family with unconditional love.

I've prayed for you, thought of you, and dreamed of you a million times.  Waiting is hard on this mommy.  I've written letters to you in my head so many times, so I thought I should put one on paper in case you ever wonder.

Our whole family is praying for you.  Your big brother often asks us when a baby brother or sister will come to our family.  Our friends and family often ask us if we've heard anything new and let us know they are praying too.  We pray for you in the morning when we get up, when we sit down to eat, when we walk past your bedroom, at bedtime, and so many other times throughout the day.

Please know that we are praying for your First Momma too.  Every day.  She's facing/faced tough, heart wrenching choices.  It breaks my heart that your arrival to our family will send me over the moon with joy will at the same time likely be one of the toughest days of your First Momma's life.  She loves you.  If you ever wonder, she loves you.

Precious One, please talk to your Dad and I in the future when you are filled with questions, pain or sorrow in the future.  Life is hard and adoption is a unique way to start your journey.  We are here for you, no matter what and we love you with our whole hearts, in case you ever wonder.


Family waiting and praying to adopt

This letter is something I wrote in my journal back in August that I wanted to share.  Please continue to pray for us.  Also feel free to share our profile or website to help spread the word that we are hoping to adopt... you never know if a friend of a friend might be considering adoption. 

Blessings Friends!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reflecting on another year...

I realized as I turned my calendar today (seriously how can it be October!), that I'd totally neglected marking another year since we moved to our gravelly road and I began my stay-at-home-mom adventure.  Because this time the "anniversary" snuck up on me, I haven't done nearly as much reflecting.  For the most part, last year's post is still accurate.  Especially this:
"I am confident I am where I need to be right now.  Before I know it, my son will be spending the "best" of his day at school.  Right now I am so thankful to be spending it with him.  I don't want to miss this time.  So we'll read books, play silly games, explore outside, play pretend, and leave the dishes in the sink, the dust to collect, and the laundry waiting to be put away on the sofa.  I'm no longer paid with a paycheck, but the extra hugs, giggles and smiles are well worth it."
Sometimes it feels like my days of working and programming were a lifetime ago already.  I used to get up at what time?  ride the bus for how long?  only see my son for how many hours before he went to bed? 

At the same time, I've been thinking about college memories with our 10 year reunion coming up soon.  Can my college years really be that long ago?  Remembering fun memories with friends, classes I enjoyed and how hard I worked to earn my degree (that I'm not currently using). 

Sometimes I'm too quick to say that I'm "just a mom" when someone asks what I do.  I'm a mom.  Its a joy, a privilege and a blessing.  I'm so thankful.
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