Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Work in Progress

I can't believe it's already been almost six years since I meticulously and excitedly decorated this room:

And it's been more than three years since Ray graduated to a "big boy bed!"

Now - as he prepares to start kindergarten - Ray is way overdue for a big boy room. (Although he has a big boy bed and some outer space curtains, the nursery wallpaper and alphabet puzzle are still there.) Over the past several months he has been starting to peel off the wallpaper. When Adam began to be afraid to sleep alone and was getting up several times a night, I decided to take the plunge and make some changes.

First, I moved Ray's double bed into Adam's room and pushed their beds together to make one big bed. They are loving this and they are both sleeping so well!
(As you can see, Adam's room needs some updates too.) At this point I am getting worried that they won't want separate rooms once we get Ray's done. Maybe they'll both move over there for a while!

Once we emptied out Ray's room, both boys had a blast peeling off wallpaper.

Ray decided that he wants to keep his cool outer space curtains (made by Grandma!) and make a big boy outer space room. So, we are painting the walls light blue, with one wall dark blue. The boys are really having fun helping with this whole process!



We worked on the paint more this weekend. We found a really cool outer space comforter and sheet set at a children's resale shop for a great price. We ordered some awesome wall stickers.

So, stay tuned for pictures of our new "big boy room" .... coming soon! It's so weird to feel nostalgic and emotional about taking down the nursery that I loved so much AND feel excited and happy about how the boys are growing up. This parenting thing --- even more so than this bedroom renovation --- is truly a work in progress!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sentinels

Who needs a dog or a fancy security system when you've got sentinels like these?
The Queen of England and the Pope have nothing on us!
We are protected by "superhero robot defeaters."

COSI - Farm Day

Last Saturday we braved the heat and the crowds to attend Farm Day at COSI (our local Science Center). My sister and nephew joined us. Ray is our resident John Deere fan and he has loved attending this event for the past few years. It's an opportunity to check out all kinds of cool farm equipment.... right in the middle of the city. The program also involves visiting various stations to learn about different aspects of farming (conservation, crops, animals, etc.). The children get to pretend they are farmers. They have their cards stamped as they visit each station and complete the various activities. At the end they spin a wheel which determines how well their crops and animals did and whether or not they made money in their farming endeavor. Here are some pictures from farm day:



(The hats are "pig ears" and they say, "Pigs are good!" Too funny!)



We also spent time inside COSI. It is truly awesome to have such a great Science Center here in town. We use our membership well throughout the year.

Like father, like son..... Here are the two video game fans landing a space shuttle using a simulator -

Here's Adam sitting on a "space shuttle potty" -

Whatever you did last Saturday, I'm sure it didn't involve wearing pig ears, hanging out in the cab of a giant combine, or sitting on a space potty! We sure know how to have fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ray "Mond"

Ray boldly marched up to the check-in desk at the pool. He declared our last name and then added, "First name Ray. Middle name Mond." Then he just walked right through the gate. Very funny! I waited until later to break it to him that his middle name is actually Maurice and Raymond is his full first name.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"MM" - New Support Group

As I was reflecting on yesterday's Gospel reading, the classic Mary/Martha story that always prickles me and reminds me that I STILL haven't changed my ways.... I decided I should be in the "Martha, Martha" support group. It's like AA, but for all of us do-do-doers. I'll have to stand up and say, "My name is Katie and I'm a Martha." And then everyone will say, "Hi Katie." And then I can list all of the things I've done in the past week, all of the tasks I've checked off my list. Then I'll have to grapple with the reality that once again I haven't spent much time at the feet of Jesus listening to him. I'll be challenged and supported as I make a weekly resolution to do better. Of course those meetings would be FULL, especially of us Mom-types I guess. And everyone would volunteer to set up, clean up, bring snacks, etc. I suppose what we should really do at the meetings is just force each other to sit in silence.

All joking aside, I really am a Martha. I even named my most cherished doll "Martha" when I was a child. It's not that I don't pray. It's not that I don't love Jesus. It's just that there are so many things to do. There are so many things I WANT to do. I always have good intentions of REALLY praying when I get everything else done. We all know how well that works.

The thing that made me feel disgruntled when I heard the reading THIS TIME is the thought that Martha probably wanted to get dinner on the table so THEN she could relax and enjoy being with Jesus for the rest of the evening. Right? If Mary would have helped they could have gotten the work done faster and THEN listened to Jesus. Right?

I know.... I'm missing the point and trying to justify my thinking and behavior. Again I'm praying for the grace to open my heart and quiet my mind and body so I can be fully present in prayer. I am praying to let go of crazy agendas and never-ending lists of tasks so that I can "be about" what's really important.

I highly recommend two books by Joanna Weaver. They are Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and Having a Mary Spirit. I've read them and loved them. I just pulled them off my shelf and am going to re-read and be reminded of the call for balance and stillness. One of my favorite stories in the first book is about a person who answers God's call to haul three stones to the top of a mountain. She is thrilled to be doing the work of God. She sets out with gusto. Along the way, however, she picks up more and more rocks and pebbles - on her own and as favors to others - until the load is too much of a burden. She must learn the lesson that God only asked her to carry three stones. If she had listened to God and not added her own weight, the "yoke" would have been easy and the burden light.

And so on this hot summer day let's make sure we all sit at the feet of Jesus for a while and drink deeply of his grace.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jumping for Jesus

This week's pray and play date got rained out on Monday so we had it on Thursday instead. The theme was, "Jumping for Jesus!" We had a wonderful time.

We began by making "praise shakers."

Next, one of our moms and her nine year old son led us in some wonderful praise music. The children used their shakers and also did hand motions and sang along. We even sang, "Jump for Jesus."



We prayed a psalm of praise and then enjoyed a yummy snack.


Then things got really wild! The children got to bounce in two inflatable bounce houses.



We also had some "Leap for the Lord" sack races.



It was such a fun morning! We were all tired out when we got home, but later in the afternoon we worked on these fun crafts:


They're "bowl" frogs! ;) "Jumping for Jesus!"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Little Fish

Ray and Adam absolutely love to swim. They are fearless in the water. Ray, especially, is built to swim with such a long torso and long arms. It is awesome that we live just three houses up from our neighborhood pool.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the pool with my sister Reenie and my niece Ava. Since Ava (who is eight) was going off the diving board, Ray was determined to do it too. Although he had done it at swim lessons last year, he had never asked to do it since. The life guard said he could do it as long as he could swim to the ladder and get out of the water on his own. He gave it a try.... fearlessly. He was SO PROUD of himself and SO EXCITED! He proceeded to jump off the board at least 20 more times during the afternoon.


All day today we anticipated the beginning of swim lessons this evening. (We were rained out on Monday and Tuesday.) We had to go early so Ray could jump off the diving board a few dozen times before the lessons started. It is really fun to watch him. He even tries to do tricks!





The lessons went well. Who knows.... maybe we have a future Michael Phelpps - or two - in our midst. Adam told me tonight that he will win a hundred gold medals and give some of them to me. I just hope that both boys will continue to love to swim and work on their skills. I spent my childhood summers at the pool and on the swim team. Maybe they'll do the same.


video

Great Start

Me: In the shower.... enjoying a few minutes of peace before jumping into the day. (I do my best praying in the shower many days.)

Cacophony of children's voices: "....puke.... something something something..... puke"

Me: "What? Who? Are you ok?"

I turn off the water and open the shower curtain.

Two very worked up boys are jumping up and down in the bathroom yelling things at the same time.

Finally, I get them to take turns.

Ray: "Adam said puke is made up of a bunch of squares. I told him it's really food. Am I right or is he?"

Me: "Really? Did anyone actually puke?"

Ray: "No. Not yet."

I closed the shower curtain, turned the water back on, and really prayed hard for a few minutes before facing the rest of the day.

Fortunately, things have gotten better from there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freaky Monday

When I was awakened by the rumble of thunder I should have known what kind of day it would be. Today was not a horrible day; it was more like a weird dream I guess. It included a cancelled play date, a whallop of a tantrum about a colored pencil, shopping plans foiled by a store being closed on Mondays, getting soaked in a downpour, making homemade playdoh, debating at length (with a four year old and a five year old) the relative sizes of the planets, trying to navigate a road that looked more like an ocean because of flash-flooding, finding ants in a kitchen cupboard, and a wet mangy raccoon walking across the road right in front of me in broad daylight. And that's an incomplete sample of today's random weird moments.

On the bright side, I got to spend some fun time with my mom and we even got ice cream at Graeter's.

Weird mixed-up day. None of my plans worked out the way I thought they would.
Oh well. I was able to laugh at most of it. After dinner tonight the sun was poking through the clouds. I went out and looked for a rainbow. I didn't find one, but I felt one in my heart. I felt God's presence and faithfulness. I exhaled, cleaned up the dishes and some lego's, and put the boys to bed.

I don't pretend to know what tomorrow will bring, but I know God will be there with me. I know there won't be anything that the two of us can't handle together.

Goodbye Freaky Monday..... Can't wait for Totally Terrific Tuesday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Rainy Day Prayer

Thank you God for ......

LEGOS!

Even though my family room looks like this... the TV is off, the children are engaged and quiet, and I have a moment to breathe.

Thank you God for.....

RAIN!

Even though the ground is muddy and the pool is closed... we are refreshed and cooled. The gardens are watered. The Earth is renewed.

Thank you God for.....<>

GREAT BIG PUDDLES!

Even though the boys are wet and dirty... they had a wonderful time riding their bikes and splashing and stomping. I was thrilled by their sheer joy and exuberance. I was reminded of the magic of childhood. It was fun!

I thank you and praise You, Lord for our many varied days.... for the opportunities to learn and play and work and pray. Open my eyes and my heart to see you everywhere. May I whole-heartedly enter into the experiences, responsibilities, and adventures that come my way. May I praise and honor you as I go about my day, whatever it brings and wherever it leads.

Amen.

***I apologize for the small pictures of the puddles. I took those with my camera phone and am still learning how to use them here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Update and A Memory

The update:
Thankfully, our van only needed a new battery! We have it back without too much of a strain on the wallet! Our cars are both paid off and we are hoping and praying that we'll be able to drive them for a long time.

The memory:
Good friends and family, lots of laughter, hush puppies, and peach margaritas! Last year around this time we were at Myrtle Beach. There was an especially wild and fun adventure that began with a crazy twisted ride along the strip.... with an SOS call at the corner of


WINGS

AND A VOLCANO!

My sisters and I finally found our way to:

where we met up with some lovely sophisticated ladies and drank these:
Some of those ladies are heading to visit "THE CAPTAIN" again this week!

I wish I could be there!

Have a margarita for me.... or come visit me soon and I'll make you one here!

Monday, July 5, 2010

What a weekend!

Wow! We sure packed a lot of fun into this holiday weekend, including.... a birthday party for Adam's friend Ryan, two sets of fireworks, a parade, a cookout at our house, sparklers, slip n'slide, swimming, Mass, and a bike parade with our pray and play group!

On Friday night we went to the top of the airport parking garage to watch the big fireworks display they do downtown. It was a great spot to see the beauty without hearing the boom. Adam is proudly displaying his homemade flag. He spent a good part of the weekend learning and singing the song, "You're a Grand Old Flag."
Our view from the airport parking garage (which is conveniently five minutes from our house):Sparklers, lightning bugs, and glow necklaces were exciting treats for the boys this weekend since they stayed up way past their bedtime to watch fireworks two nights in a row!


Make-your-own ice cream sundaes were a big hit at our family cookout, especially for the under-10 set! Here are some of the children lining up for today's bike parade! We all met at a local park and decorated the bikes, wagons, and strollers. We played patriotic music and paraded around the track. It was great fun, especially since many of the dads were off work and were able to participate. It was about a thousand degrees outside, but we still had a good time!



And now for the grand finale.....

Unfortunately, when we returned to our van after the bike parade, it wouldn't start. What a bummer! We ended up having it towed to the dealership and we won't find out a "prognosis" until tomorrow. Fortunately, we had two "angels" who generously helped us! My friend Becky lives right up the street from the park. She welcomed us into her air-conditioned home and fed us lunch. Then my mom came to our rescue. She waited for the tow truck with us and drove us home. (See her car waiting in the background!) Thank you so much Becky and Mom! I am just so glad that this didn't happen when we were traveling or when I was alone with the boys.

All in all, it was a wonderful, fun weekend! We are so blessed to live in freedom and prosperity. We are so blessed to have wonderful family and friends. Thank you God!