Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend Highlight...

I forgot to mention... MY FAVORITE PART of the weekend. Friday night Ethan wrote his name for the first time on his own. We have worked and worked on letters... and Friday night something clicked. He sounded out his name and wrote it. Then he sounded out and wrote Dad, Mom... and lots of Hs. All he wants to do is write letters. He is ready to learn how to read. I need help?!?! What curriculums/programs would you guys recommend to start teaching him how to read...??? He is ready and EAGER!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Blessings...

I love this picture of Eden... everything about it... the way she is sitting, the concentration, the way her hair twists up into her hair clip... the light coming in the window... and especially the way her pointed toes are poised on the floor. This picture captured a moment, but even more than that it captured a feeling of contentment. This week I have been counting blessings and being thankful for so many things throughout our days! Being conscious of blessings reminds me of how much God loves me and how He daily provides for our needs and many, many, many times our wants!!!

On Friday we helped a family pack up their moving van... I pray we were a blessing. I was blessed watching my kids haul out toys, pillows, (light stuff) to the moving van. They were so eager to help. Saturday morning a friend from Augusta brought us a HUGE box of groceries (Thanks, Teresa!). It blessed us... I love how we can be a blessing in other peoples' lives and in so many ways be blessed by others! It is truly a beautiful thing!
Also this weekend we went to a harvest party. I found out about it last minute so we rushed around finding costumes. Eden wore Ethan's costume from last year (remember)... I love looking back in time and seeing how much different life was... just a year ago!
Ethan wanted to go as a robot... that was pretty easy... Micah spray painted this box and Ethan made the buttons... He wanted to wear his striped hat so we didn't have to make a helmet...
Eden was tickled pink that she got to wear the sacred Ming-Ming costume... Ethan has worn this a lot this year.... I couldn't believe it fit her!
We had fun at the harvest party... the house was packed with college kids... after braving it inside for awhile we found the bonfire outside...
Ethan thought the fire was the best part... I just enjoyed watching his excitement.

It was a blessed weekend... filled with lot of home project and catch up work... good to catch our breath before this busy week!

***Looking forward to TOMORROW... the beginning of November and a season of intentional THANKSGIVING! Praise God from whom all BLESSING flow!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our Creative Play Projects...

On the way home from Church on Sunday Micah talked about how he had observed in Ethan a desire to build things. He had noticed that anything that gave Ethan options for building... legos, lincoln logs, and blocks Ethan spends hours building, creating... constructing. This comment made me think. We do a lot of craft projects... but they are always pretty structured. When Ethan was younger I tried unstructured crafts/creative times and it just didn't work.
This week I tried the unstructured creative times again. It has been delightful. I gave Ethan scissors, a stapler, paper punches, markers/crayons, and glue and he has spent hours creating and building all sorts of things out of simple materials... old magazines, cardboard straps, paper... He is very creative!
Eden comes and goes and I always have to keep an eye on the scissors... and glue... for some reason she thinks glue smells good... Oh dear, Eden!
Before I had kids I dreamed of times like this.
I love being creative and now I love seeing creativity in my kids... it is a fun thing!
Another project I tackled this week is this push pin toy. I have seen things like this on other blogs and so I took the idea and made it with stuff we had around the house. Although, I did buy the colored rubber bands and tacks with a money back voucher... so they were free.
Ethan has really enjoyed this simple game. He pushes in the tacks and connects the rubber bands and then looks up and asks, "What is that, Momma?" It is a fun game... and I think it encourages that "building" part in Ethan.
I am stocking up ideas for house games... this sheet of ice indicates that winter is near and we are going to spend a lot of hours in the living room playing games and simple indoor activities.
(Eden saying, "Cheese!")
This is a unique season for us... we play, talk, laugh and play more. I am very thankful I get to be involved in these kiddos' lives for this time... it is a blessing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Discipleship #2: Reading God's Word

Reading the Bible is a priority in our home. There is no substitute for the rich words of scripture... I understand this... I also believe in the importance of engaging little minds and hearts in a way that God's truth is communicated and understood. Since I was in high school I have been collecting Children Bibles. I love the pictures... the simple truths of the stories. As a family we have established a set times in our day to read Bible Stories... every single morning at breakfast and before bed. I read to them in the morning and Micah reads to them at bed time. It is amazing how fast we go through the BIG Bible story books... There are many times I get all choked up as I read these simple stories... God's truth is powerful and I continually pray that these times plant seeds in my kiddos hearts. Here is a review of the different story books I have and use!
This story book I found at the thrift store (an amazing place to find Children Bible story books!). We are currently reading through this one in the mornings. I enjoy it. It reads more like a Bible and the chapters are short... perfect for little one's attention spans.
Here is one of my first Children's Bible. I bought it on sale at the Barnes and Noble by the San Francisco Wharf. I was visiting there with my high school Art Club. It is kinda special to me! This one has a lot of words and so I probably won't read this one to them until they are older!
This is a Bible story book my mom read to us. I always loved looking at the pictures... and it is sentimental! The reading sections are short and have good questions. I actually bought my copy in England while I was on a mission trip.
Here is our newest addition to the collection. I picked this one up at the Christian bookstore and am so excited to read through it with the kids. I have read several pages and I think the illustrations are incredible and the thoughts intriguing. Anyone have any thoughts on this one?
My favorite Children's Bible of all times is this one... Every Story Whispers His Name The Jesus Bible Storybook Bible. It takes me back to my college Bible classes that were taught by Prof. Lubeck. This book makes me cry... every single chapter! It shows how every story in the Old Testament is pointing towards Jesus... wonderful, beautiful... and convicting.
This one is my second favorite... it is by David Helm. It shows the BIG PICTURE of scripture... our need for a Savior and does an excellent job of taking individual stories and weaving them together as one BIG STORY. I love the illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker.
In the my Bible Story collecting I have come across PURE HERESY! The ones above are NOT MY FAVORITE! I would never, never recommend stories by Kathleen Long Bostrom. I disagree with how she tells the stories. Like for instance Adam and Eve were BORED in the garden that is why they ate the fruit... seriously? They had communion with God and a beautiful sinless garden... I hardly believe that is reason to be bored into sin... come'on! The Children's Bible Treasury does a horrible job of telling the stories... in fact it rewrites them all. For instance... a storm at the tower of Babel made the people scatter, Jacob was given the choice to marry Leah or not... he was not tricked. He was mad but decided to do what he should do, and Potiphar's wife didn't seduce Joseph she just kept telling lies to Potiphar until he believed her and threw him in jail. I understand being sensitive to your audience, but I also believe that it is important to teach WHAT the Bible says - Most of the Bible stories are crazy/wild, terrifying stories... Noah's Ark???! I don't believe in changing the story line. When I was reading the Children's Treasury I spent a lot of time - saying, "Oh wait... that is not how the story goes..." then telling the right story... until I was fed up and quit reading it to them... it was not worth my time or energy! The last one in the picture... just isn't one of my favorites... I didn't appreciate the liberty it took to add "fiction" to the text.
With all of these I made the "mistake" of not reading them before hand... but I thought that was okay because I think it is good to teach your kids to THINK about what they are reading (especially if you are reading a text outside the Bible that is about the Bible)... I want them to ask, "Is this story lining up with what God's Word says...?" I have a huge responsibility to TEACH my kids what scripture actually says - so they know!
I have enjoyed these Bible stories. They are super short. The top one is Bible stories and the second one highlights heros of the Bible... I love the music that came with them!
I have a ton of Bible stories books... I read them to the kids all the time. I want God's word to be cemented in their minds and hearts. It is amazing how much reading these simple stories impacts my heart and mind. I have learned so much... especially answering my 4 year old's theological questions... sure makes me think of how to explain things!
I started reading to them with these board books... while they were nursing...
Now, if we are in a hurry and time is tight... they still beg for me to read their Bible story in the morning... I figure it is okay to be late because you are reading God's Word! If you make God's Word a priority in your life... they will too!

Easy Painting Project...

I love easy! This art project was easy! A friend introduced me to The Imagination Tree Blog (THANKS, Jen A!). It is marvelous... I am pretty sure I got this idea off of this site... be careful looking at it... it will suck you in and consume many hours if you let it! It has the recipe for a million hours of play and I have a list going of things I want to do with the kids... I get a lot of my ideas and recipes from there (Like: Edible Finger Paint and Homemade Paint! Like I said... it is marvelous!
I used our regular craft paint... thinned it with water and acrylic paint thinner to make it soupy enough for dipping. I loved collecting circle objects from all over our house... It is a good way to talk about shapes... and God's love! Back in the day, there was a song I sang in Sunday School that talked about how God's love is like a circle... a circle big and round. There is no ending to a circle and that is how God love is... never-ending! As we were stamping I sang the song... Ethan looked up at me and exclaimed, "That is the song you sang to me as a baby!!!" He is a trip!
The kiddos stamped a dozen pictures... I'm not gonna lie... I did a couple myself!
Art is fun... play is needed. We learn and grow through both... try this project - it is easy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Love From Japan...

No one told me how exhausting, humbling and GOOD counseling would be. I look forward to it, cry all during it, and leave refreshed and encouraged... with lots to think about. These past weeks have been hard as I renew my mind, focus on truth, and grow in grace. This past week a lot of heavy things took place... my mentor told me that my homework this week is to ask God to show me the love He has for me! I can love others, tell others how much God loves them, but somewhere there is a disconnect and it is hard for me to truly believe that God LOVES ME... and that other people love me too!
A few days ago a package arrived from Japan... my sister in law stuff the box so full of treats that it literally exploded when I cut it open. Amidst countless clothing items I found these little molds. They are egg molds... you boil an egg, peel it while it is still hot, then put it in the mold for 10 minutes... I have a thing for funky, fun things like this... it is creative, easy and just exciting... guess there is still a whole lot of kid wonder left in me!
This morning we tried them out... the kids thought they were pretty cool. I have a feeling we are going to be eating a lot of eggs around this place!
Thanks, Daniela for your love... I hope you hear how this blessed us, blessed me... I feel loved! And for the rest of you... plan a trip to Japan so you can get one of these cool egg molds... it will be worth your trip... hee hee!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"There's a Baby in my Tummy!"

Just to clarify... I am not pregnant!
This morning we were getting ready to leave the house. Eden came to me and asked if she could put her baby in her tummy. I helped her tuck the baby inside her coat and then she ran around saying, "I gotta baby in my tummy, I gotta baby in my tummy!"
Micah trying to be support said to her, "I'm so proud of you, Sweetie!" I looked at him with a questioning look and he quickly added something about how glad he was that she was happily married or something to that nature. I have no idea where she got this idea... but it was interesting! Ethan is totally obsessed with me having another baby... he has decided that our next baby is going to be a boy and he is going to teach him to walk and play with him... to be exact he is going to toss him up into the air and catch him... hum!
Micah said that he took her to the car and told her the baby had to come out so she could fit in her seat... Micah said he heard a LOUD groan. He looked over and asked her if she got the baby out and she smiled and said happily, "YEAH!" When we all had gotten in the car Micah and I looked at each other with the look, "Did that just happen?" It made us laugh... crazy kids!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Work Play...

I am just loving all this fall weather! We have cold days, then perfectly wonderful days... then rainy days... it is unpredictable, but beautifully wonderful. It was suppose to rain today... and yesterday I was noticing that the leaves around our tree needed to be raked!
But YESTERDAY we had things to do. We had some wonderful new friends come over for some play. It was so good... play groups to me are so essential because it allows my kids to learn to serve other (something they are not good at yet... selfishness is prominent right now!), to share their toys and to be gracious hosts. In order to learn these things we need these teachable moments. I am SO thankful for these kiddo's Mom... Jen, you bless me! Thank you for constantly challenging me to love Jesus more!
Yesterday afternoon and this morning I attended a leadership conference with Micah. It was FABULOUS! But again... no time to rake the leaves and I knew rain was coming! While the kids slept this afternoon - I cleaned up the yard, drained hoses, put away our hanging swing, cleaned up toys... etc. Then when the kids woke up I got out the rake!
I got a pile started and then asked the kids if they wanted to jump in! Ethan was very timid at first, but his sister led the way... she instinctively knew what to do and dove in the pile!
After Ethan saw that it was "safe" he joined her in the play...
I think leave jumping/laying/playing is an essential thing to do in the fall...
We didn't play too long, but long enough to throw leaves...
be amazingly adorable and cute in the leaves...
And get buried over and over again!
Micah came home while we were raking and it was extra exciting helping Daddy!
With hesitation we finally decided to bag up the huge pile...
The kiddos were super great helpers... and as we were making our way into the house... the rain started! Thank you Jesus for holding off the rain until the leaves we safe and dry in the garbage bags! This is one of those amazing jobs where you get to sandwich play with work... how fun!
Couldn't help adding this pic! I thought it was super cute!!!