Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

These pictures are of the boys way back in 2003. Eeyore & Tigger... aren't they cute? Scrapping older pictures always makes me wonder where time goes.

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Just Because

Journaling: I looked out the window to check on you, and this is what I saw - you playing contently in the sandbox. You looked so beautiful sitting on the edge of the box, with the sun shining on you and the wind blowing your hair. I know it's just an ordinary moment in an ordinary day, but I had to take the pictures just because I wanted to capture the pure joy of this moment.

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Frosty Friend

Jouranling: The first snowman of the winter season. Sebastian & Meagan worked so hard to create this little guy... meanwhile, Isaac was busy forming huge snowballs so he could eat them. Nov 2008

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You Love Me

Journaling: In all that I am, and with all of my strengths and imperfections, I know that You love me.

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Last-minute Maneuver

Earlier in the month, Meagan had decided she wanted to be a mermaid for Halloween. I was at Meijer getting groceries one evening, and came across an XS mermaid costume, so I grabbed it for her. However, when she tried it on, it was about a foot & a half too long for her. I thought, "I can just pin it up, and it will be fine." So we went with it...

Until yesterday morning, when we got her all ready for her school party. We put the pin-up theory to the test, and it failed miserably! She spent the whole party stepping all over her 'tail' and pulling up the lower half so she could run & play. It was pretty clear that this particular costume just wasn't going to cut it for a night of costume play.

So, we pulled a last-minute costume maneuver... we went to Target and scoured what was left of their costumes to see if we could find something that would work for her. There were lots of yucky ones - if I would have wanted her to be a vampire devil, we would have been all set! Finally, though, I came across a Tinkerbell costume. It was technically too big for her (as it is a size 7-8, and she's 4), but we tried it on over her clothes (yes, right there in the middle of the aisle in Target), and it was just fine. At least she won't be walking all over it all night! Plus, she has WINGS, and what little girl doesn't dream of having fairy wings?! So we have averted a disaster, and we should be all set for this evening's costume endeavour!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm still here!

No, I did not disappear, although you would never know it from my blog! Sorry for the 18 day delay! Sheesh, what happened to me?! (FYI, the answer is "LIFE happened".)

We've had lots going on. Isaac started ice skating lessons, with the goal of HOCKEY in mind. His first day was Saturday, and then again this Monday. He will practice on Monday's for the next 7 weeks. So far, he really likes it, although the hockey skates have proven to be a bit tricky for learning. I think next Monday we're going to give figure skates a try until he can get the hang of balance and mechanics of skating. I guess figure skates are balanced a lot differently than hockey skates, and are much easier to skate in. Here's hoping for less time sprawled out on the ice! We'll see what Monday brings!

Other than that, Sebastian has been working on finishing his first science project. He was given a diagram of a plant, and he had to make a model of it using things he found around the house. It turned out really well... I'll try to remember to snap a picture of it before we ship it off to school tomorrow.

Friday we have 3 school parties and a costume parade. Then Saturday is Halloween - we are going to try something new this year, and we'll be going to a Light the Night party that our church is doing. We may slip out for a few minutes to take them trick or treating to a few homes around the party site...we'll see what the night brings! Should be fun though!

Enjoy Life, Every day

Journaling: Life is imperfect. Life is messy. Life is unpredictable. Life requires sacrifice. It requires compromise. Life is a blend of style & color & form. Life leads us where we never thought we'd go, and it goes where our thoughts & actions take it. Life is full of bends and turns, twists and surprises. Life is sometimes complicated, sometimes simple, but always a treasure that we should never take for granted. Of everything that life is, life is beautiful and it is meant to be enjoyed.

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Rock Star

Journaling: Love your style, your spunk, and yes, even your attitude.

Remember these pics??? My sweet girl just makes me smile sometimes. I love her quirky, original style. She has such a great outlook on life and definitely knows how to enjoy herself!

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What I See

Journaling: What he sees is a man who is slowing down, whose steps are slower and whose body is tired. But what I see is a man full of rich history and wisdom marked by a life of experience. I see a life of meaning, passion, love. I see a man who has dedicated years to his family, to others, to God. I see a living treasure who has so much still to offer. A husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend.
This photo is of Grandpa H. It was taken next to the lake in Cadillac.
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Journaling: What started as an easy way for little fingers to create a funny pumpkin face has turned into a sort of halloween tradition. This year we added a few little pumpkins to our patch."

This photo is of our 2008 pumpkin patch!

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Float Your Boat

Photos are from our trip to Meijer Garden this summer.

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Fall Colors Tour

These are some of the photos I took from the window of the train. (I realized after I finished this that I spelled Cadillac wrong...I'll fix it before I print!)
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Save Your Money

A quick layout to document the boys' process of saving up their money for the DS.

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Just the Two of Us

This picture is from our train outing. It has been a LONG time since Lucas and I have had a good, intentional photo taken together. I thought that was worthy of having its own layout.

Credits: Platinum Dreams by Krystal Hartley

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Isaac's Reward

Two weekends ago, we had quite the experience here in our house. For a few months now, we've been stressing to the kids the idea of cleaning up when you're done with something, putting your things away before you get anything else out, and so on. Well, needless to say, it's not a popular concept with the youngling's, and their room was A MESS! So, Saturday morning, I asked them to go up and clean their rooms. I had some chores to do, so I did my stuff while they did theirs. Occasionally, someone would come downstairs with a few toys and take them down to the basement, so it seemed they were making some progress. I asked them a few times, and was greeted with "we're doing good" style answers.

Well, nearly three hours had passed by the time I was finally done with all the stuff I had to do. So, I figured they must be almost finished, and I would go up to encourage them on the last few things. HOWEVER, when I got to the boys' room, it looked virtually the same as it had before they started. I was MAD! I had already told them several times before, "If I have to clean up your toys, they're going into a trash bag." So, I stayed true to my promise, and went straight back downstairs to get the Hefty's. I started cramming toys, books, cards, and whatever else that was not where it belonged into the trash bags. I had filled two kitchen size bags before the boys' floor was clear. Nice.

In the meantime, Isaac had realized that there was no saving his own toys, but that Meagan was also going to lose her toys if they were all over by the time I got into her room. So he took it upon himself to go into his sister's room and start cleaning it. He put away as much as he was able to before I got in there. He had even tried to focus on her favorite things first, so that she wouldn't lose those. What a sweetheart. Even so, I filled one and a half bags of toys (mostly big stuffed animals) out of Meg's room as well.

When I had hauled them all downstairs, I asked Isaac to come down. I thought, since he had gone out of his way to help his sister, then before I took the toys away, I would let him choose three of his own out of the bags to put back where they belonged. When I told him, he got a big smile of relief on his face, and he started looking through the bags. "There's my Star Wars computer." And "I really like my Pokemon cards." And "I don't want to lose my books." He looked and he looked. Then he got quiet and stopped. When I asked what was the matter, he looked at me and said, "Mommy, can I give three things to Sebastian and Meagan instead? I know Sebastian won't want to lose his stuff, and Meagan will be sad to lose all this." I thought for a moment, and then told him that if he wanted, he could choose 3 of Sebastian's things and 3 of Meagan's, but that would mean he was choosing not to take any of his own things back. He didn't even flinch. He immediately chose three things of his brother's and three of Meg's and ran up the stairs, excited to give them their toys back. I was so touched, and at the same time, it broke my heart.

Later, after we had had several talks about respect and obedience, I decided to try once more to reward Isaac for his thoughtful and unselfish behavior. I once more called him into the living room, and told him how proud I was of him for being so nice to his brother and sister. I told him that I wanted him to be able to choose 3 of his own things as well. Any 3 things he wanted out of the bag. He started digging and searching through the bags once more. Then he looked up and asked, "Any 3 things? It doesn't matter whose they are?"

I was almost in disbelief. Really? But I said, "You can choose only 3 things out. So they can be 3 of your own, 3 of your brother's, 3 of your sister's, whatever. But only 3 this time." I even tried to encourage him to choose 3 of his own, but in the end, he chose one of Sebastian's toys, one of Meagan's and only one of his own. So they had each gotten 4 things back, and he had gotten only one as a reward for his selfless acts. But that was the end of it. There was no more choosing toys out of the bags. He had made his decision, and that was that.

We stored the toys for about 4 or 5 days, and each day, we talked to them about respect - respect for Mommy by obeying the first time they are asked to do something, respect for each other by using kind words and actions, respect for their things by taking care of them and putting them away, and on and on. By the fifth day, they had definitely got the point. So, we then had a discussion about forgiveness and mercy - how they had done nothing to earn their toys back; how they had broken the rules, and the consequence should have been to loose all their toys; but that Mommy & Daddy had talked, and we had chosen to forgive them and be merciful on them by letting them have a chance to put all of their lost toys back where they belonged. So that night after dinner, they put all their toys away - and it only took them about 20 minutes instead of 3 hours. Hmmm....

Anyway, we still wanted to really honor Isaac for what he had done, so we decided to let him choose a special dinner date. He got to pick any restaurant for us to go enjoy dinner as a family. His choice.... CHUCK E. CHEESE. So tonight, we headed to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner. And they had a blast! And he understands how proud we are of him for his actions, for loving his brother and sister so much that he chose their happiness over even his most favorite toys. For a six-year-old that is a pretty big deal!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Train Ride

Saturday morning we did something we've never done before... we headed out of town on an all-day train ride fall color tour. Our morning started at about 3:30 (at least mine did...others were up before I was, but 3:30 was pushing it for me, LOL). We got up and headed out by 5:00, to make sure we were at the boarding location in plenty of time to see the train come in. We got there by about 6:30. At about 6:50 we could hear the whistle in the distance, and the train came into view just before 7:00 am.

It was dark - pitch dark - and it was raining a very steady, cold rain. The train was obscured by a bend in the track and surrounding trees and buildings, so all we could see was the steam in the rain and moonlight. Then, the big bright headlight started to come into view, first reflecting off of the trees and buildings, then in full view. Even still, the train was hard to see, with only the silhouette really visible in the darkness. When the train let off its loud low whistle, I got chills. It was so eerie, especially in the darkness and the rain. It felt like we had been picked up and dropped back in time. Awesome is really the only word I can think of. Really. Awe inspiring. Awesome.

Anyway, we didn't actually board the train until about 8:30, and we departed at 9:00. We had a 4 hour ride to our destination, where we had a bit of a break, then a 4 hour trip back. Lucas' dad and grandpa went with us, and it was just nice to be able to sit together, with no distractions, and talk and enjoy each other. It was fun to get to have that experience with people who were genuinely enjoying themselves. It was a great day - even if there were a few hiccups in the timing and the schedule (and the rainy cold weather)!

I, OF COURSE, took a TON of pictures, and a few videos. Here are a few of them... it may take a while to preview them - I put about 25 pics up.

Just as a cool little side note, I found out after our train ride was over, that when my dad worked on the railroad, he actually used to be a part of the 765 crew for special excursions. That, for me, just made it that much more of an amazing experience. Definitely glad we did this!