Friday, October 30, 2009

It's fall

It's been a great fall season. The air is crisp. The leaves are beautiful. And now they're starting to fall...which of course means, the boys must jump into them.

I love the sense of drama and tension that Matt produces before jumping in.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Ethan!

Dear Ethan,
Your cousins and your uncle Peter and Auntie Sandy wish you a very, very happy birthday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home again

Unexpectedly, I had to fly out to CA for my grandmother's funeral. She was well into her 90's and her health had been declining so it wasn't a shock. Nevertheless, it was a sad parting. I have many, many fond memories of her when I was a child. She was always such a happy person who loved her grandkids and laughed a lot with us. I think I was one of those annoying little kids growing up (am I still?), but she never seemed to let that bother her.

A pleasant surprise was reconnecting with my cousins who had all come together from different parts of southern California and places as far away as Vermont and Massachusetts. I hope we can stay better connected in the future.

I made it a point to make sure that my kids at least got a picture with their great grandmother before she past away. It's too bad that they never got to know her like I did, but at least they got to meet her.Here is grandma with Emery at 7 months.With Matt at 5 months.And with Andrew at 3 yrs. I took Andrew out with me to CA for this trip, and he managed to have some fun out there too.We went to the beach as his grandparents just moved to a place 5 minutes from the beach. I could be wrong, but I think he likes the beach.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Funny kids

Just some funny things the kids have said recently:
Emery: "Mom, when you were a kid, how old were you?"
Emery: If she does a good deed and I don't acknowledge it publicly she takes it upon herself to say, "Mama is sooo proud of me!" I had to tell her that only OTHER people are allowed to say that about her. :)

Andrew: We had company over for dessert and I burned the top. To hide my embarrassment I made a joke about it and Andrew chimes in with his own funny line, "Yeah, my mom is like the MASTER OF BURNS!" Everybody got a good laugh and then I think Andrew felt bad for teasing his mom and so to make it up to me he TRIES to "defend" me by saying very sweetly, "No mom, it's true, you really are." Thank you Andrew. :)

Matthew: while hiding behind the kitchen counter Matt says to me, "Mom, we're invisible!" I said, "OK, now come on out and clean up those toys before dinner." Matt says, "We are out. We're just invisible." oh yeah.... :)
Matthew: To dad, "Even if kids disobey, I still like them. Because we should like everybody, not just missionaries." He was saying this to show us just how noble a person he is. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ready to garden!

Lord willing, this should be the last project for the summer/fall. I took advantage of some more excellent sunny weather in the 70's to install the last of our 3 raised beds.It looks simple enough, but trying to make those things level was quite the job. Now I'm all ready to garden but have to wait 6 more months!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Today was a gorgeous fall day - sunny and right around 70 degrees - so we decided to hit the pumpkin patch just outside of town.Did I mention it was just outside of town? The one thing that still surprises me around here is how many of the roads are not paved.There were a few hay bales to climb on.Emery and Matthew continue to be buds. It was a tad windy today.Isn't she a cutie?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

1 Peter 4:8

Don't ask. I'm not sure why he went with the hood. But I've noticed that Andrew rarely says a verse the same way twice.

And yes, he now knows what "fervent" and "multitude" mean.

By the grace of God, Andrew has now memorized 30 passages of Scripture, 13 this year so far. We practice them all on a semi-regular basis and refer to many of them often in the course of life. On top of that, he's memorized many Awana verses though we don't practice all of those. This year, I plan on adding some of those to his "keepers."

It is amazing to see God's Word in action in his life. During certain times of correction, Andrew (like me and I'm sure many of us) will not want to talk about whatever has just happened. But I'll ask him to quote from some of the passages he has memorized that are appropriate to the situation. Then to literally see God's Word soften his heart right before my eyes has been absolutely amazing. Whereas our discussion was going no where, God's Word opened a path right to his heart. God's Word is truly living and active.

Many of the things I do as a parent, do not produce much in terms of immediate results. I trust that they will have a long term impact as I follow biblical principles. However, memorizing Scripture has got to be one of the few exceptions. The results are quick and lasting as well. I feel that having my children memorize God's Word has been one of the most fruitful things I have done as a parent. And it doesn't hurt that it increases his vocabulary!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday was Sandy's birthday. It was a low-key day. We got her some cards, took her out to eat dinner (it was 99 cent kids meal night!) and made our first ever home movie for her! Here is one scene from this sentimental family comedy.

The movie plot consisted of figuring out how to make mom's birthday a great one. It was eventually decided that the boys and girl (playing themselves) would make 3 teddy bear robots to help make mom's birthday a fabulous one! I tried to get more scenes uploaded as they were HILARIOUS, but the files were too big. Please excuse the screenplay, acting, directing, lighting and camera work.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Proverbs 28:13

As we start getting closer to the end of the year, it is one of my favorite times of the year. I love to review our goals and see how God has grown us as a family this year. It is so rewarding to pause and reflect on the past year and see God's faithfulness in action. So for the last few months of this year, I will start reviewing some of our goals from the beginning of the year. One of the things we wanted to implement was a family Bible time with all the kids now that Emery is old enough including memorizing verses.

Now I know that the number of verses my kids memorize does not make me a good parent or make my kids good kids. I do not hold this as a badge of honor or spiritual maturity. But I do want to give my kids a gift, one of the most important and enduring gifts I can ever give them, the power of God's Word in their hearts for the rest of their lives.

Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

The little ones have finished their latest - Proverbs 28:13 - He who hides his sin will not do well but he who confesses and turns away from them, shall find compassion.

We started systematically memorizing in January with Ephesians 6:1-3. And now, they have finished 15 passages, including 20 verses. We review them all almost every night. It has become such a regular part of life that when we miss our Bible time and verses, life feels strange and incomplete.

It is amazing to see them memorizing so much. God has been so good to us.

Here's Emery.

And Matt's got it too. If you're wondering about Andrew and his verses, his update is coming.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More verses

Andrew keeps plugging along with his Awana verses. These are 6 verses that describe what Jesus has done for us.

I help him with the memorizing but not the hand gestures. He comes up with those all by himself.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chocolate chip pancakes

There are only a few things I can cook. But one of them happens to be pancakes. Today, we decided to have a relaxing morning eating chocolate chip pancakes.Andrew requested the pancakes and said he was going to eat a big tall stack. He ended up eating 6. Our food budget is already going through the roof.I'm not sure if more pancake gets on Matt or in Matt.

Friday, October 9, 2009

2 buds

Matt and Emery continue to play like buds. I snuck up on them the other day.

I think they were playing school.

This is Emery's version of Joy to the World. I think they got tired of being filmed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Green velvet

Praise God for green grass! I never knew how much I took that for granted until I started rejoicing over tiny little green hairs coming up out of the dirt. Here's a brief history:This is pretty much how our front yard looked at the start of summer.In hindsight, it was quite obvious. But at the time, we didn't realize how the basement waterproofing project would affect our lawn. Matt didn't see a problem with the front yard.Eventually, the yard was restored to a somewhat level condition.And we tried to pick up all the rocks that floated to the surface.After putting down the grass seeds, we covered it with hay.Here it is after about 10 days of watering. Doesn't it look like green velvet?
Here's the new lawn after the first mowing. Hopefully, I won't kill it over the winter!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

God is good

What does it mean that God is good? Does that mean that God gives me a nice place to live? Healthy kids and a healthy life? Yummy food and good weather? A good job? Obviously, we know that God is good in so many ways but in the day to day, my happiness or unhappiness seems to revolve around those types of things.

I've recently returned to a personal study on the attributes of God (that has been on again and off again for several years) and was looking at the goodness of God today. God's goodness can be defined as follows:
  • God is the sum of all that is wholesome, beneficial and beautiful, the final standard of good and the source of all good and all blessings. All that God is and does is perfectly kind and benevolent.

That means that every inconvenience in life comes from a perfectly good God. Every difficulty at work or home or church is a perfect blessing from a perfectly wholesome and beneficial God. Every trial and tragedy is an act of perfect kindness and benevolence. Every one.

Why is that? It's because every worldly good thing is not meant to be the object of our affection but is meant to point us to the true sum and source of all that is good. So when we lose something good in this world or are faced with a lack of goodness in some situation, God is kindly reminding us that He is absolute good. In fact, He is the highest good. There is nothing better than Him.

And God has proven His goodness toward us in giving us Christ so that we might experience the perfect sum of all that is wholesome, beneficial and beautiful. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.

Isn't God amazing?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Party time

This past weekend, we went to a birthday party for one of Emery's friends - Katie. There were all the usual party elements...Cake and punch.A pinata and candy.

Party tricks.One big brother that was easy to keep track of.And one big brother who was not. Andrew has been into climbing trees recently, but he got up a little too high. I had to talk him down, but he was fine.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Apple Picking

We went to a local apple orchard this morning. It was a BEAUTIFUL day to pick apples. Fall is here and the weather is nice and crisp, but not cold...yet.The kids were excited to go!Here we are getting ready.Here's Andrew pointing to the apples we weren't going to pick because we didn't actually pick apples. We picked UP apples. It was really windy yesterday which knocked down a lot of the apples off the trees. So we picked the apples up off the ground and got 50% off! We can't pass up a good deal like that!Everyone pitched in to make it a good morning.Oh yeah, I almost forgot. We got to see a miniature Stonehenge. Well, a miniature golf course (putt putt) being built with stones at least. The things you can find in Kansas while apple picking...

Friday, October 2, 2009


Andrew's second soccer season ended last weekend. He had a good time, and his coach said that he was the best player on his team. HOWEVER, his coach had never coached soccer before and his team won 1 game the entire season. Most of the games we lost were by about 10 goals.

Andrew did manage to score a few goals most games and usually tried his best to play good defense. But this season, I am most proud of Andrew for being encouraging to his teammates and cheering them on regardless of the score.

The funny thing was - it seemed like Andrew was just playing soccer to kill time until he gets to play basketball. We don't want him to over obsessed with basketball so we had him play soccer this fall instead.

I need to improve my camera work. This was his last game and this was my best shot - Andrew almost scoring a goal. He scored 2 goals, and I wasn't even close to filming either of them. Please forgive my almost "gooooooooaaaaaal" rendition.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

2 monkeys, 2 boys and a girl

Last weekend, we watched 2 of the Hintz kids while Dave & Becky went to a conference for the weekend. They affectionately call their kids monkeys so I think that qualified our house to be a zoo, not that it wasn't one already.In the morning, we had Bible time together.And at night.And in between, they "rested" because Bible time is very exhausting to little children.

And when they weren't having Bible time or resting, they were SO excited that they danced.