Saturday, August 28, 2010

Henry's Bullseye

Guess I shouldn't have taken the picture straight-on, because now you can't see the arrow! It's right at the top of the yellow bullseye. Henry wasn't strong enough to shoot his bow last year, but this year he is doing really well with it.

After he shot the bullseye, Henry came running inside to tell me all about it. After much praise and sharing in the excitement, Henry walked away from the target. As he left he smiled and said, "I am just so jealous of myself!"

He saw me start to giggle and followed it up with, "I don't even know what that means!"

And another quote from Henry, at the dinner table tonight as he was talking with his dad...."I think we should try and hunt back behind our property. I'm pretty sure there is a lot of doe out there." :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Henry the Hunter

When we were expecting Henry we briefly considered the name "Hunter" for him. We just really liked it, but as Sam is an avid hunter we finally decided not to go that route.

Last year Henry really got into hunting with his Dad. He really hasn't stopped talking about it since...camoflauge brings it to mind, guns, bows, magazines...just about anything can spark hunting talk around here. But even that love for all things hunting does not explain why, when my son colors a picture of a moose, he feels the need to draw in the 'kill spot' and a tongue sticking out. He made sure to point out to me that the eyes are red because he's dead.

BOYS! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

First day of school!

It's the first day of school today!!!
The kids are excited and so am I. As much as I have enjoyed summer, I do crave routine and a predictable schedule. I'm looking forward to getting a semi-regular routine down again and having some fun with our new curriculum.

Henry (age 7) is beginning the second grade today. He is starting the "My Father's World" curriculum (for Bible, history, geography, music, art) and we just love it. He enjoys Singapore math (with the exception of word problems, which just seem to elude his understanding), so we're continuing on with that this year, and "Spelling by Sound and Structure" and "First Language Lessons" round out the rest of language arts. His favorite part of today was setting up our timeline that we'll be adding to throughout this year. I had him draw pictures of every member of the family and put them up in the appropriate places. :)

Jonah (age5) will be working on the ABC series from Rod and Staff. These books are gentle, sweet and perfect for our little bear. They cover Bible lessons, pre-reading skills, math, following directions and much more. He started this series last year and will complete it this year. He is also working through "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" and is really excited to learn to read this year. He'll participate in much of Henry's lessons (at his own level). Jonah also has a CD curriculum that was his very favorite part of school today.

Bridget (age 3) has no formal curriculum planned for this year. She'll sit in and participate in Bible lessons and she loves any read-aloud time she can get. Some days she will have short assignments (coloring pages, simple mazes, etc...) and I also have special games that are only for school time (memory, lacing beads, puzzles, etc...). Bridget is wonderful at entertaining herself, so she really requires very little supervision during my teaching times with the boys. My goal this year is for her to begin sitting quietly at the table with us and learning to follow specific directions.
One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is the amount of time it takes. They are typically done with all their schoolwork before lunch time, leaving us every afternoon free. We also have plenty of time for field trips and getting together with friends throughout the week. It allows my kids so much freedom and room for creativity...and I wouldn't trade that for anything! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Wedding

Our friends Charity and Reynaldo were married on July 31st, Bridget's birthday.

It was the first wedding our kids have attended and they were SO excited about it! Henry just loves to get dressed up, and his first question was, "Do you think it would be appropriate if I dressed 'cowboy' for the wedding?" I told him I thought that would be nice, and Jonah ended up following Henry's lead.

Henry just loved all the details from the wedding. After seeing the bride, he leaned over to Sam and said, "I didn't know they even made dresses that beautiful!". He also enjoyed the table decorations at the reception. Jonah's favorite part was the actual ceremony. He was very intent on what was happening and what was said. They both wanted to know at which exact moment the couple was actually married. :)

I had a green dress set out to wear, but Bridget insisted I wear blue to match her. I thought that was a grand idea, and since it was her birthday, I obliged.

Sam went casual and wore a brown shirt and shorts. Some were giving him a hard time about it until his brother pointed out the blue stitching in his shirt and suggested Sam had worn it to match me. So that made it perfect! (By the way, I tried VERY hard to get a nice picture of Sam and Bridget but one of them was always making a face...and it wasn't always Bridget!)

After the wedding, we headed to Cracker Barrel with Sam's folks to celebrate Bridget's birthday with them. It was a great evening and a wonderful way to celebrate!

Bridget's birthday celebration

I already posted about Bridget turning three a few weeks ago, but it still hasn't set in yet that my BABY is three years old! I was over talking with my neighbor yesterday and said, "I'd better get home since I left Bridget over there alone." and she said, "Yes you'd better go check on your three year old." I wanted to correct her and say, "You mean my two year old!" but I caught myself just in time. :)

Bridget's birthday fell on a Saturday this year. That day Sam had to work in the morning/afternoon and we had a wedding to attend later in the day. We decided to celebrate with Sam and the neighbor kids on Friday afternoon, and then on her birthday morning her brothers and I took her to her favorite museum. We met some friends there for more cupcakes and just had a fun morning.

Even though Bridget had an Elmo cake last year, that was her request again this year. I wanted to try something new, so we made Elmo cupcakes! I couldn't find the decorator tip that I really wanted to use, so they didn't turn out quite like I pictured. It took me a while to admit it, but I do like them and think they are cute.
My good friend Beth came over to spend some time with Bridget on Friday. Boo was still napping when Beth arrived, so she helped me finish up the Elmo cupcakes. It was fun to have a little help in the kitchen, especially since I was a little disappointed in the outcome. Beth is a great encourager and helped me see the cupcakes in a new light. That's what friends are for!
After Bridget got up, we gathered the neighbor kids and headed to our next-door neighbor's pool for a little swimming. Hope and Blake came, along with their mom Kari:
And so did Claire, with her mom Simone. (It was Claire's pool that we were swimming in.)
Hope and Blake and Kari joined us after swimming for a special birthday dinner of pancakes (Bridget's request!), and then Claire and Simone came over to help us eat the Elmo cupcakes.
It was such a fun evening! Then the next morning Bridget woke up to a birthday crown and chocolate cheerios for breakfast. We had a fun morning at the museum and then headed home for some bike riding.
Grandma and Jim gave Bridget a new basket, bell and tassels for her bike and she was pretty excited to try them all out! She has been carrying Rufus and her babies around in that basket ever since.
Happy Birthday my little THREE year old! We love you and are so glad that the Lord graced us with you as a part of our family. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Toothless Tuesday

Henry lost one of his front teeth last week! :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Visit with family

We had the privilege of hosting Sam's cousin Andrew and family a few weeks back. They stayed with us a few days while they were in town to see Kali graduate from the Honor Academy and then they moved her up to Oklahoma for school.

We just LOVE this family! They are such a great group.

Here's TJ with the boys. TJ is the kind of guy who just always has a good attitude about everything. He got up early every morning to play with the kids and did anything they asked him.
Kali with Jordan. Sweet siblings. :)
Jordan with Bridget. She had him wrapped around her finger. And he even protected her from the evil Chuck E. Cheese when we went there to play!
Just the guys. Andrew is a lot of fun to have around. My boys enjoyed his attention very much and were so sad to see this group of guys head home at the end of the weekend.
Hopefully we'll make it up to Colorado to see you all again soon! :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jonah at Day Camp

Jonah had SO much fun at Sky Ranch day camp this summer. He wanted (I mean REALLY wanted) to go to overnight camp. He wasn't old enough and we didn't think he would have been ready anyway. :)

Every day was so packed with activities that I don't think they had a moment of down time. They swam in the pool, went down waterslides, had Bible studies, jumped on the jumping pillow, played putt-putt golf, swam in the lake, played carnival games, went out on canoes, and rode the super-banana behind a boat. He had a blast at each activity and came home exhausted every single night.
Jonah loved all the kids he spent the week with. He actually already knew a couple of them from church, but his favorite were the counselors. Jonah was the youngest camper in his group, so he kind of became their mascot.
Jonah's two counselors were both amazing, but he really bonded with Dre (the one on the left). Every day he came home with stories of the funny things Dre had said and done. Dre felt the same way and told us that he hoped Jonah would be back next year so they could hang out again.
Each of the campers received an award at the end of the week. Jonah's was the "Got Milk" award, and as they explained it....just like everyone needs milk every day, everyone needs a dose of Jonah every day. ;)

Bridget (aka Snow White) was quite excited to pick Jonah up at the end of the week. Even though he was home in the evenings, he didn't have much energy left to play; and Bridget really missed having him as a playmate! She even offered to carry his bag out for him:

We are so glad that our kids have an opportunity to go to Sky Ranch summer camp! They are making memories that will last them a lifetime, but they are also learning more about the Lord and His plan for their lives.

Next year Jonah will be old enough for overnight camp and he can't wait! I'm hopeful that he and Henry will get to be in the same cabin...what a great experience for them!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flower Beds

Sam's latest home improvement project was the flower beds in front of our house.

Ever since we moved in I have fought a losing battle to make these 'pretty'. Between the dogs and the kids (and even the adults around here!) someone was always walking THROUGH the flower beds, riding a bike across them, kicking up bark or DIGGING holes in them.

Twice I replanted the areas with beautiful perennials, but the flowers really didn't stand a chance. It was just too easy and convenient to walk on through there.

On the left side of the sidewalk, we ripped everything out and replanted the two things that still showed signs of life elsewhere. Sam redid the landscape fabric and ground cover and planted two nice, hardy bushes flowering bushes. He left lots of space in between them, so if people STILL feel the need to walk through there, they won't trample the flowers.

On the other side (which was really the disaster area), Sam poured concrete and filled in all but three little squares. In those squares, he placed whiskey barrels and surrounded them with bark. He let me pick out flowers to fill them and they turned out beautifully!

Sam ran a drip system to all of them so that I don't have to try and remember to water them, since I'm not very good at that!

It's taken a few years, but we finally have COLOR in front of our house. Sam also put up hanging baskets on both sides of the porch (with a drip watering them too, of course) to add a little more beauty. I think he did an amazing job of prettying up our front porch! :)
Thanks, Sam! You always have the BEST ideas. :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

This is a story of two brothers, Chad and Ryan. Raised in a Christian home, as adults they both truly lived out their faith in Jesus Christ. Each was married with a wonderful wife and sweet little children (Chad-two kids, Ryan-three).

Chad suffered from liver disease and was lately in the final stages of the disease. Ryan was his perfectly healthy younger brother.

Chad was placed on the list for organ donation and Ryan selflessly offered part of his own liver to save his brother's life.
Surgeries were scheduled for the morning of July 29. Chad's diseased liver was to be removed completely. 60% of Ryan's liver was to be removed from him and given to his brother.

On the evening of July 28th, the families gathered together at Chad's house to pray, laugh and share communion together. The next morning they headed in to the hospital early to get started.

All went seemingly well with the surgeries.
Chad's body immediately accepted his brother's liver and started the healing process. Color came back into Chad's face and by the next day he was already up and walking around the hospital.

Ryan's body was weary after the surgery. He was in pain (which was considered normal, given the surgery he had just undergone) and had trouble sleeping.

Sometime during the night of July 31, Ryan went "code blue" and had to be resuscitated. He spent the next days on life support while doctors tried to determine if he still exhibited any brain activity and the family rallied around and called for prayer support.
Ryan was removed from life-support on the evening of August 2, 2010.

John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

I don't know that I've ever seen a more clear example of this passage (with the exception of Jesus himself) lived out on Earth.

(This is a picture of Ryan.)
Chad is a good friend of ours. He held Sam up during a particularly difficult time in his life and spent time at our house while doing some contract work here in Texas. He is very dear to our family.

Will you join us in prayer for Chad and his family? He has just lost his brother in a most tragic way, and yet still must find the courage to continue healing and LIVING. Please pray for Ryan's wife Shannon and their three kids as they navigate a life drastically changed by Ryan's sacrificial gift to his brother. Also their parents, siblings, and other family members who are all dealing with the loss of a loved one.

(This is Chad with our son Jonah.)
Chad asked the following to be posted on the caring bridge website after the surgery:

God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before Him.
When I got my act together,
He gave me a fresh start.
Now I'm alert to God's ways;
I don't take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways He works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.
- Psam 118, MSG