Thursday, May 30, 2013

A day at the park

this is just a freebie that has nothing to do with the park. I accidentally found a post from a few years ago, when charlie was about caroline's age. It described mealtimes with him, and how hard i tried to get him to follow the same routine as we did. i have since decided to let toddlers be toddlers. I think they are intrinsically different. Not to say that they dont need to use table manners, or that sitting on the table is a good idea. She starts out in her seat, but always ends up in my lap, eating off my plate. Terrible behaviour, right?!?! How unruly! But really, isnt that how toddlers all over the world eat? is it really so bad? She will grow up soon, i think. In the meantime, if you prefer not to share a meal with us, i totally understand! its a little reminiscent of a federal disaster area.

Birdwatching at Blue Mounds State Park
There has been an ongoing conversation with myself in my head for the past little while: am i sad about being past the baby stage? I know I am supposed to be, most people are. I loved my babies. (hated being pregnant, but thats another story!) But that season of life can be quite limiting, in some ways. I am so excited about all the potential for sharing life with my kids. Snuggling a sweet baby is gratifying, but its one-sided. It is so neat to have a relationship with  my kids, to talk to them, to see their personalities, to share in their interests, and to expose them to my interests. There is a great big world out there that we as parents have the awesome privilege of sharing with our kids. Its a great adventure! (So I am sure I will be nostalgic about the baby season, but at the moment, I am not missing ordering my life around 3 hr feeding schedules and twice daily naps!)  Life, here we come! 

the only thing we found to put in this little bug magnifying glass cage was an ant. But man, did Caroline ever love that ant! She screamed with excitement every time she opened it up and let it out. (over and over!)
I have always been a bit of a conundrum; I love my heels and make-up, but if I go too long without getting dirty in nature, I start to have withdrawals. I love exploring, preferably on foot. State parks are something I really missed in KS, there wasnt much close to where we lived. Every square inch of ground was devoted to farming or cattle. (With a bit left over for hunting ;-). 

This park has alot of granite, and some rock climbing areas. Hannah was the only one in our group able to navigate this terrain, but she had fun. 

It is a good thing that we are still in tallgrass prairie area here, because Caroline and I would not have been able to do much actual hiking! She wont fit in that for much longer, and then she and Charlie are at an in between. Too old to carry, too young to do much. So we did the 1 mile walking loop. It was enough! 

The day started off cold and misty, then got beautiful! 

Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but this little corner we live in is more plains/midwest than anything else. So the "lake" at this park wasnt exactly breathtaking, but it has miles and miles of walking trails through different terrain, the rock cliffs, the bison, alot of wildflowers, etc. I definitely want to go back on my own for a retreat day. Starbucks and walking around the mall can be nice, but it doesnt hold a candle to the restorative power of a day in a place like this. For me, at least! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

i have finally found my life verse! This is what its all about. 
Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Tell of his glory among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. 
Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the LORD made the heavens! 

Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.O nations of the world, recognize the LORD; recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong.
Give to the LORD the glory he deserves

Bring your offering and come into his courts.Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. 
Tell all the nations, "The LORD reigns!" 

The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. 

He will judge all peoples fairly. Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise before the LORD, 
for He is coming! 
He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth.
Psalm 96

Friday, May 24, 2013

summer! (or spring. ok maybe spring-ish.)

We had a few wonderfully warm days, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and then went back to the high 50s :-(. But we're persisting in our pretending its summer, with popsicles, bike rides, and kid style fun!

The kids had a great time at the AWANA end of year carnival. This was the coolest, these giant inner tubes where they just smash into each other. They had so much fun! As parents, we feel strongly that it is our privilege and responsibility to disciple our own children, but I tell you what, we are soooo grateful to people like their awana teachers, who support us in that! They are there faithfully, even though they have their own families, jobs, lives. They do it because they want to see the kids of our church and community come to know Christ, internalize the Word deep in their hearts from early on, and grow in their walks with Christ. I know God has great blessings in heaven for these patient, giving, faithful people, who show my kids the Father heart of God. I cant thank you guys enough. 

"Whats that you say, popcorn, a choking hazard? whoops!"

Friday nights we make pizza. Some time it turns out better than others. 

Alas, one of the things we sold in our moving sale (for probably 5% of its value) was my rolling pin. Why i did that, i have no idea. Caroline did alright with a nalgene bottle, though ;-) 

Ben and Hannah putting sauce on theirs. 

Can anybody see whats wrong with this picture? I eventually noticed my toddler was wearing a white shirt, while playing in pizza sauce. (you'd think i'd never done this before!) And then when i tried to take the spoon away from her, she kept flinging it around, so we had red sauce on the walls, the curtain behind her, and some spots on the beige carpet. )yes, there is carpet under the dining room table. not good for our season in life!) 

There is a nice walking path close to our house. It is difficult to push Caroline in the car, because she wont pick her feet up. So we figured this out. She just lounges, motioning to one of her servants to come push her around. Oh to be 2 again! 

It can get very windy here, just like KS. Patrick enlisted the kids help in picking up trash in the yard, and for every piece of trash, they got 25c. Popsicles are about $1.25. Not sure if they were subsidized, but at least its a start on the road to a good work ethic! 

what was i thinking? Obviously, this child was COVERED in strawberry drippiness. She barely even ate it, just stood there watching it melt all over the place. no idea what i was thinking. i wasnt, apparently. 

Caroline has perfected her guilty look. She uses it so often, since now she is definitely old enough to know what she should/should not be doing! When she gets in trouble, she even shakes her finger, and says sternly "no, no!" Of course, then I have a hard time not laughing. Which kind of defeats the purpose of me getting on her for her naughtiness in the first place! 

Nana (Des) sent the kids a fun surprise, some new chalk. This was the best chalk we've ever had, it was so bright! and has really good staying power. Which is great for the art on the driveway, not so much when they decorated the garage door as well. . .  I did love our stoop, until it got wet, and everybody started tracking it in when they came in!

painting cardboard eggs to put in a nest we made out of glue and yarn. This months kiwi crate was a bird theme. Its a really neat idea, but hasnt worked well for our family. Everything ends up broken within a few days. maybe if the kids were older, things would get taken care of better? 

They did really like the bird costume, though. The mask has 3 different beaks, so you can pretend to be 3 different birds, and take them on and off with velcro. Then we read about the birds, their nesting habits, food and so on. Then Hannah drew pictures of them. This is why I like homeschooling. I like learning about things, and doing fun things with them at the same time. 

We ran out to the airport to take Patrick a snack this morning (SO nice that it is only 8 min. from our house!)
and we caught him just as he was going on a test flight, so he invited us to come. I considered my breakfast dishes in the sink, my laundry, school, and other things waiting for me at home, and immediately decided, yes, of course we want to come! It wasnt until we were taking off that i thought to ask, uh, what are we testing here? I might want to reconsider. . . 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

From tickets and training to vehicles and vaccinations: what is "Outgoing"?

There are quite few funny words you hear alot around our house these days, and "Outgoing" is one of those. It refers to our Outgoing Fund. When we began researching sending agencies, one of the things we were looking for was an organization that would help us prepare well, and offer wholistic care and support while on the field. We felt Africa Inland Mission did that. The Outgoing Fund is an example of that; it is basically an account that we draw from to cover the many many costs involved with preparation and training before we leave and then orientation and getting our family set up when we get there.

 There's more to it than just buying a one way ticket to Timbuktu, and toting along some water purifier tablets, malaria medicine, and a copy of the Jesus film. (Maybe if you threw a jar of jiff and a package of oreos in there, it would be complete ;-) The catch is, however, that we cannot draw money from our Outgoing Fund unless we first put it in there, just like any bank account.

If you have chosen to partner with us through giving to our Outgoing Fund, I wanted you to see some of the current, tangible needs your contribution might have met.

Prayer cards, magnets and bookmarks

Travelling to speak in churches 
$60/tank of gas
$100/night at hotel
$20/meal for whole family

Renewing/acquiring passports
approx $150/person

Airplane ticket for Patrick's recent trip to JAARS in NC to do a pre-Technical Evaluation Consult (more on that later)

I just wanted you to know that when you give to the outgoing fund, it isn't sitting there waiting for some future possibility, it is for things we are doing right now to prepare. We are so grateful and humbled that some of you have thrown in your lot with us by helping to meet these needs. We know there are countless amazing organizations out there that are doing great work, and it means so much that you believe in us, and see beyond the immediate gratifications of this life, to value the investment you are making in the eternal Kingdom of God. Thank you!

Every so often, I will share what exciting things we are doing to prepare, made possible because of people donating to our Outgoing. If you are interested in supporting us through our Outgoing Fund, please click here, and enter our name in the search box.  

Come fly with us!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

moments from the month of May

 I wanted to repost a picture of Hannah wearing this same dress and shoes 4 years ago, but we had a different computer back then, i dont know where the pictures are, and believe it or not, I cant remember the name of our previous blog! does anyone else, by chance? 

They love to play "beauty parlor" (a game initiated by Grandma Loretta). We came pretty close to passing a milestone the other day, when Hannah came in and asked me if she could cut Charlie's hair. I was grateful that she asked first, since I think every family has a child who goes ahead and does it by themselves!  

A friend passed along some things her kids had outgrown, a scooter for hannah, tricycle for Charlie, and little car for Caroline. They have had so much fun. Even in our cold days, I packed the car out of the garage and they just rode around in there, like a little gym :-) 

Caroline has finally found something she thinks is interesting enough to sit and play with for awhile. (Other than the recycling bin, my make up bag, or my shoes). She loves legos! She makes all kinds of creations and brings them to me, so proud of herself. 

now THAT is what i call a brush pile

unfortunately she has also decided that under the kitchen sink is a fun place to play. We arent exactly baby-proofed anymore, apparently. 

Every year a couple in our church opens up their barn to host a petting zoo for the Cubbies class. Thats quite an undertaking. (Especially if my children are there) They had a blast with horses, a pony, donkey, goat, chicks, and a llama. Caroline has absolutely no fear. If there was a line to wait in, she simply walked around to the other side and climbed up on the fence to reach her goal. Sticking her hands right in their mouths was her preferred method of introducing herself. (Our little friend Ben accompanied us). 

This is the most common scene at our house. the "princess" in her tower, being rescued by the "rescue hero". And the requisite toddler streaking through the picture. 

We went over to Sioux Falls on Friday, to get Lara and Patrick from the airport. (He had been in NC, to a pre-TE consult. more on that later!) We had a great plan to spend the night in a hotel (that my sister generously donated using her credit card points, thank you Lar :-), so we would be ready bright and early for the race. I had developed a nasty head cold the day before, and that night in the hotel was epic in its badness. My cold, my adrenaline about the next day, my dislike of sleeping in different places, Charlie's just overall not good sleeping, and Caroline's being in a real bed (shes grown out of the packnplay, and hates it) all combined to make a terrible night. Despite going to bed at 9, I got about 3 hours of sleep. I was convinced I would never make it through the whole race. the next morning i was completely congested, it was cold (in the 30s) and very windy. It started off rough, but once we got going it was ok. And now i figure, if i could do it under that combination of circumstances, I can do it anytime! 

May has been bipolar in its weather. May 1st we had snow, and then last week we had a day in the 90s. The water was freezing, but the kids wanted to go in anyways. I spent alot of time around lakes growing up, so it is neat that for a short period of time we live close to a lake. and by close, i mean we can see it from our house, and walk to a little beach. The locals tell me people swim in it for the first half of the summer, but by the end it gets kind of green. so we'll take advantage of it while we can :-). 

If you look closely you will see my two girls in the distance, hannah standing on a rock, and caroline climbing up it. I took it from where they started. Caroline climbed up everything the other kids did, she is quite the little adventurer. 

Patrick and Lara surprised us with strawberry nutella crepes on mothers day! So good. 

It was nice to be with my mom on mothers day, i cant remember the last time thats happened. 

We are definitely enjoying the beautiful weather. Hannah has about 2 more weeks of school, we will be done by the time we go to North Carolina and Virginia in June. Speaking of June, that will mark the halfway point of our time here! Thank you for checking in with us, we love and appreciate you!