Friday, July 30, 2010

My boys at Munsinger Gardens

My beautiful friend Audra has a great gift- photography.  Along with her gift is another gift from her husband- an AMAZING camera.  We met at the park and after chit chatting she said "I  need to get your number!" because we had plenty in common that most people don't have in common.  I remember her face lighting up when I said my husband and I aren't "feel good" Christians.  Meaning it's not just about 'God loves me' 'God forgives me' 'He's my friend', it's about "You better get your ducks in a row and shape up because there's more to life than yourself", amen?

So Audra and her girls met us at Munsinger Gardens one day and took these pictures.  Ernest is almost 13 months and Ethan's 4 1/2.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That's My King, I wonder if you know him.

Pastor S.M. Lockridge.  His name is SHADRACH MISACH!  Wow.  Now that's hardcore.  He also preached "It's Friday but Sunday's coming".

The Bible says my King is a seven-way king....He's the King of the Jews; that's a racial king....He's the King of Israel; that's a national King....He's the King of Righteousness....He's the King of the Ages.....He's the King of Heaven....He's the King of Glory....He's the King of kings, and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King. Well....I wonder, do you know Him?.... David said, "The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply. No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings. He's enduringly strong....He's entirely sincere....He's eternally steadfast....He's immortally graceful....He's imperially powerful....He's impartially merciful....... Do you know Him?

He's the greatest phenomenon that ever crossed the horizon of this world. He's God's Son....He's a sinner's Saviour....He's the centerpiece of civilization....He stands in the solitude of Himself....He's august....He's unique....He's unparalleled....He's unprecedented....He's the loftiest idea in literature....He's the highest personality in philosophy....He's the supreme problem in higher criticism....He's the fundamental doctrine of true theology....He's the cardinal necessity for spiritual religion....He's the miracle of the age.... He's the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him....He's the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Saviour...... I wonder if you know Him today?

He supplies strength for the weak....He's available for the tempted and the tried....He sympathizes and He saves....He strengthens and sustains....He guards and He guides....He heals the sick....He cleanses lepers....He forgives sinners....He discharges debtors....He delivers captives....He defends the feeble....He blesses the young....He serves the unfortunate....He regards the aged....He rewards the diligent....and He beautifies the meek....... I wonder if you know Him?

Well, my the King....He's the key to knowledge....He's the wellspring to wisdom....He's the doorway of deliverance....He's the pathway of peace....He's the roadway of righteousness ....He's the highway of holiness....He's the gateway of glory....... Do you know Him?

Well....His office is manifold....His promise is sure....His light is matchless....His goodness is limitless....His mercy is everlasting....His love never changes....His word is enough....His grace is sufficient....His reign is righteous....and His yoke is easy, and his burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you, but He's indescribable....He's incomprehensible....He's invincible....He's irresistible.

Well, you can't get Him out of your mind....You can't get Him off of your hand....You can't out live Him, and you can't live without Him....The Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him....Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him....The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree....Herod couldn't kill Him....Death couldn't handle Him, and the grave couldn't hold Him. Yea!!!, that's my King, that's my King.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Vacation Bible School Guru

Growing up, my family did not attend church.  My brother and I went Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the itty-bitty First Baptist Church in our itty-bitty town and then we went to the BIG First Baptist Church VBS a few towns over.  My best friend went, so I went. :-)  I remember having icee's and store bought perfectly round cookies for snack.  Every single year, it was the same.  But look, I'm a grown adult and I still remember it!  I also know that in 4th grade it's when I said the sinner's prayer and gave my life to Christ for the first time.  There have been many MANY rededication of this chick's life to Christ, but that's for another post.

So now I'm a mom and every summer I seek out VBS' for Ethan to attend.  I am such an advocate for VBS because it was the only time I went to church as a kid until I was too old and then I started to volunteer and became more involved with our church which led me into going into the youth group.  Whew!  Last year Ethan was newly potty trained and had just turned three, so he only made it to 2 of the local VBS' and lasted through Wednesday.  But it was a start!  This year, we live where the pickin's are scarce.  There are a few churches offering VBS but they are churches we don't attend or at least our morals don't line up.  I have learned, kind of the hard way, that just because a church claims to be Christian, some pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to follow and what parts they say are obsolete.  I'm just sayin'...

This week Ethan's just up north a few towns and at a First Alliance Church (which I had to really research on what they believe but they seem to be legit) and their VBS is THREE HOURS LONG.  Do you know how much time I can totally waste on the internet  use on cleaning the house?  Sweetness!  Plus it's free.  Can I get an AMEN?  I went and spent the day with him yesterday to break him in and make sure he was pretty well behaved.  Today, you're on your own kid.

Here I am in all of my stretch marked glory with Ethan in our VBS 2009 tshirts.
  I knew I was going to have Ernest SOON so we better get that 9 month picture taken.
Yes I'm tired and SO OVER being pregnant,
 why do you ask?

And here's who decided to arrive at 41 weeks and made me work
the entire VBS.  He came 24 hours before a scheduled induction.

Monday, July 26, 2010

But can he count backwards?

My family was at a park recently where a cute little 4ish/5ish year old boy was counting backwards.  He was standing ontop small slide and his mother and him were counting backwards from 10.  Several times the mom count down by herself.  Several times it was just the little boy.  My husband looked over at me and asked an eternal question:
"Can Ethan count backwards?"  It was a look of concern.  My son can't do that and he CAN!

Which I felt like I had to explain to him the reason.  That little boy is all about rocketships.  His hands were rocketships.  Everything had a "ShhhhhHHHHHHhhhhhhh!" sound to it.  He jumped to the word "Blastoff!"  He was in full astronaut mode.

Our son?  Not so much.  They're cool and all, but they don't do it for him.  Helicopters.  Now that is a different story.  Ethan can tell you about flying inverted.  He points out horizontal and vertical lines.  He understands the difference between and main and tail rotor.  This kid told me on June 30, 2010 "Mom, when I grow up I want to be a United States of America Rescue Helicopter and rescue people."  Well amen little brother.

It's not about where each child falls on the line, it's about nourishing what is amazing and awesome in their little world.  This is how we are homeschool, for now at least.  It is how I'm choosing to educate Ethan.  For about 8 months it was dinosaurs.  Ohhh I'm sick of dinosaurs and all the dinosaur books and dinosaur museums.  But he loved it.  He ate it up.  My son was paleintologist at age 2.  And now he's onto the next thing.  So do we go to the airport when there's an open house?  Oh yes indeedy.  Do we youtube helicopters like none other?  Yes.  An exasperated I'm-so-over-this yes.

Here is Ethan's favorite youtube video.  At the end, there is a helicopter that becomes inverted.  :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

My unemployment story. And how the birds are keeping me going.

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Mathew 6:26

My husband was laid off at the end of February back in 2009.  He worked for a wonderful company in their lighting department.  When he first started working with them back in 2005 he was a warehouse dude.  Then he moved up to the front desk.  Then he started to drive a truck route.  Then he got bumped up again.  And again. And finally he ended up at a desk job and we had to purchase some khaki's and nicer shoes for his new "office" job.  He is one of those hardworking, blue collar, all American fellows who goes above and beyond to earn certificates and training all on his own.  He earned several gift cards (which resulted in us look like we are sooooooo cool with two computer screens and a new set of golf clubs) and many certificates.

Keeping busy by building our family a shelving unit, April 2009

Now here we are, a year and four months later.  Living the life of the unemployed family.  He could go to work for $8-$10/hr.  But he makes more on unemployment.  And his unemployment check barely pays the bills.  Let's just say this ain't no year for Disneyland or that cruise to Cancun.  Infact, we second guess the drive to Wal-Mart thirty minutes away. 

"Do we really need toothpaste?" Just kidding... kind of....

My Mary Kay business has been a blessing by being able to provide the means to purchase our necessities (toothpast, toliet paper, etc) and by putting gas in the minivan.  I am active with the business and I do etch out a time several days a week to book my appointments.  The dishes can wait because they don't pay the electric bill.

 "Mom needs to make her phone calls so we are going to have quiet time and read our books"  Never underestimate the power of a woman on a mission.  If you have a bill to pay, by golly you're going to figure out a way to get it paid.  To me, it's to check up with my customers and see if anyone needs a new foundation or cleanser.  They add up fast and my gals are glad to hear from me. :-).

On the phone making my calls with Ernest in tow, Feb 2010.  Photo courtesy of Ethan.

Kendall ebays stuff.  Garage sale stuff.  Old stuff.  Stuff from out of the free box at yard sales.  For example, I bought 3 huge boxes of K'nex from a family of four boys.  That mama looked tired.  She was done storing them and the boys had moved on to machine guns and football, or whatever teenaged boys do.  After some research we listed them on ebay and by golly a guy from Qatar purchased them.  When it was all said and done he paid over $400 US dollars for that stuff.  FOR REAL.  Go through your closets and look on ebay, you might be sitting on some gold and could pay your mortage with the stuff in your basement!

Back to unemployment- are we poor to the world?  Yes.  We'll eat top ramen before going to Denny's.  The local parks and river are free, Valleyfair is not  To me, however, it's a matter of what your definition of poor is.  My children are fed, bathed, and clothed.  We have our health!  We have our freedom's (by a thread) and live in the United States of America.  We are AMERICAN CITIZENS! 

And we have our faith.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
God's way of saying "I know this looks really bad and all, but I've got your back and if you just stick with the plan I have something great up My sleeve."

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
In God terms- "Don't love money!  Be happy with what you have!  I will never never never NEVER leave you or fail you or abandon you."  How many times does the guy gotta say it?

And my favorite quote for this chapter in our lives:
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Mathew 6:26

You're right, God.  You feed the birds, and they're just birds!  You love my children, my husband, and myself so much more.  Why should I worry and give my energy to something you have under control anyway?  Why should I entertain thoughts that gray my focus of Your blessings?  We are a blessed family!  I will focus on Your promises.  I will focus on YOU.  We are only on this earth for maybe 80 years or so.  But I will be with you in Heaven for eternity.  What's 80 years to eternity?  Not a big deal.  Thank you Lord for my children, for providing us with food and clothing and shelter.  A safe home.  Our minivan!  Thank you God!  It's all Your's anyway. 
Just know I appreciate it. 

Awana- my Cubbie has moved up!

Ethan was involved with the AWANA program this past school year.  He started at a local Baptist church, then we moved to Texas for a bit and he attended at a Baptist church there, then we moved back to Minnesota and he finished up the year at an E Free church.  Whew!  Poor kid has been moved around quite a bit, but I'm so glad that his Cubbies program was available.  He still talks about it eventhough it's July.  He had a few, well, quite a bit rough Wednsday nights of being a three year old boy who needs to learn to keep his hands to himself.  But he memorized scripture!  We did the homework every. single. week.  and went over all of his scripture relentlessly. 

Every now and then when he's looking out the window he'll say "Mom, God made everything beautiful".  Or he talks about how we are supposed to obey our parents.  Or Jesus dieing on the cross, but that's a whole other post. 
First day of Cubbies!  Sept 2009

Next year he'll be a Spark and move up to the next level.  I've heard on the mommy grapevine that there is a scholarship available to those who finish the complete program from start to finish.  Scholarships for learning scripture?  Wowza, sounds good to me! 

My sweetie at AWANA's closing program, May 2010

I hope he's not a biter!

Today is Ethan's second ever dentist appointment.  He went to a "normal" dentist in May and it was pretty uneventfull other than having his teeth counted.  It was all about the chair- "I don't like that chair" "That chair scares me" "Why do I have to sit in THAT chair?"  So we were referenced to a pediatric dental office.

His appointment is at 9:15 and it's about 40 minutes away (Ahhhh the joys of living out in the middle of nowhere).   Hopefully he does well and everyone has a great time.  Do I live in lala land or what? 

But I've been hyping up the dentist for the last few weeks and we went on the clinics website and saw pictures of the dentists which had a little paragraph descrbing their hobbies and how many kids they have and onward.  Pretty cool!  I was at least able to point out that his dentist has 3 sons and likes to fish-- just like him!  Go Ethan!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One less small wonder in the house this week

Sweet little Ernest is spending the next THREE nights at his aunt's house.  THREE WHOLE NIGHTS AWAY FROM HIS MAMA!  I might have to swing by Friday and scoop him up.  I know he'll be ok, but oh my goodness that's a long time to be away from me.  He's going for some r&r, spend time with his cousins, and this will give Ethan plenty of one on one time with Kendall and myself.  Kendall and him are going to go fishing and see Toy Story 3 together.  I will try to clean clean clean and organize organize organize.  We are starting our school year up in August in order to get a head start on Baby #3 coming in October.  While we are definitly a "relaxed" homeschool family, especially at Ethan's age, I still want to have all of my ducks in a row and ready.  A confused mind does nothing!

Ok Ernest, have fun and mommy loves and misses you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Five In A Row Opinions

I had a mother/daughter Mary Kay facial today in a town not far away.  When it was all said and done the mom and I started to talk and realized we are both homeschoolers.  She mentioned Five In A Row and said it was awesome.  From what I gather, you read the book five times over a week and do little activities along with it.  Is this correct?  I've seen it for sale on ebay and I'm wondering how difficult can this be? 

What have you heard of concerning FIAR?  Good or bad?  Worth it?  Or skip it? is their website.  Their books are WAY spendy, so I'd have to get the units from ebay.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wisconsin Trip with BHBC 2010

I'm in Wisconsin!  Every year my friends from Blessed Hope Baptist Church go to one of their member's cabins for a ladies overnight trip.  I was fortunate enough to attend.  I wouldn't have gone until at the last minute one of the ladies said we could carpool.  (So God, so God).
We have a wonderful Mexican dinner, stay up super late around a campfire, blow up some fireworks, have Papa Murphy's pizza at 3am, have wonderful breakfasts followed by singing hymns around the campfire.  Amen!
Can you tell what they are doing?  Three ladies in the water pulling the pontoon in because the motor went out.  The water was SO MUCKY around the dock but they got'r done! ;)
A picture of me swimming out to the ladies in the middle of the lake.  You had to swimm backwards out of the muck so it wouldn't feel so gross.  Yuck!!!!  Then the pontoon came out and we climbed in to go back to shore. 

" As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Eleanor Ann due October 14

"Can you hear her heartbeat?  That's your baby sister!"

"I pray that the Lord

will bless you . . .

as long as you live."

(Psalm 128:5, CEV)

My fisherman and my frog lover

My four year old son Ethan had an admiration for all things slippery, slimy, mucky and found in nature.  Here he has found a prized frog.  This poor priced frog was carried around for about 2 hours and got to enjoy a trip in our minivan before making his way back to a pond.  "Oh look, frogs FLOAT!  Kinda side ways looking... but he's definitly floating! Let's go see what dad's doing."  Ethan definitly reminds me of the character George from Of Mice And Men.  At least it's a frog and not a kitten....                                              

And now on to fishing with dad.  Ethan and Kendall have developed such a wonderful bond with fishing.  Kendall enjoys fishing and I am so so SO grateful that he has such a hobby.  In our home, fishing is simple.  Kendall looks at the clock, usually after dinner, and says "I'm going to go fishing." He grabs his gear, which is usually in the minivan anyway, and walks down to the river.  We live less than half a mile away from a little park that sits next to a river bed.  There is currently construction on a bridge going over the park, so the best fishing days are the weekends when there are no loud thuds and hammers banging around.  This is where Kendall goes to spend an hour or two of his time.  Thank you Jesus!  He's not at a bar.  He's not out with some group of guys who would probably not be a good influence.  And he's not out spending money :).  There at the river he can pray, relax, take in the summer nights, kid free and all alone.  Sometimes he comes home with stories of how he almost caught a turtle.
Or how he almost caught one THIS.BIG.  That is so cool.  I enjoy fishing myself and I know how to filet a fish quite well thankyouverymuch.  My family grew up along the Gulf of Mexico and we spent many days with rod and reel in hand.  I am so happy to see that this passion of fishing is going to be passed down to my children through my husband.  Dad would be happy to know that one of his favorite hobbies will be continued on :).

And what better way for my guys to spend time together.  Ethan always comes home with a bright smile and thoroughly enjoys the water.  Summer is only a wink in Minnesota, so we do try to squeeze every drop out of it.  Thank you Kendall for building and being a part of the summer memories of 2010.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July is HALF WAY OVER! But my apartment is more tidy.

I cannot believe it is half way through July. Wow. But the amazingly humid heat we had today brings me to reality. I've softened up a bit and now melt and mild 90 degrees. If I were back in my homeland of Texas, I am sure that 90 would be considered "refreshing". I'm so... so... northern now!

Ethan, Ernest and Kendall all went to Aunt H's house and spent the night last night. A WHOLE NIGHT TO MYSELF YALL! Did I sit around and eat bonbon's while watching Steel Magnoila's? Did I do my nails and have a green facial mask on? Take a nap is what swept the polls of what I should do on facebook.

No. I worked. I organized. I got hot and sweaty and stinky and moved boxes around and aquired some more living space. The heat kept me indoors. I put a cardboard box outside, got slapped in the face with humidity and decided being inside my dark and quiet cave was much more appealing. And quiet. Ohhhh the quietness. Sometimes when it's quiet I look around and try to figure out what's wrong. Is someone in a mischeveous mode? Am I going to find butter everywhere? Is there a poopy diaper more appealing to play with than a toy? But this time, there just were no kids around. It was a "safe quiet".

Tomorrow I go in for my 26 week check up. Then we will spend the afternoon in Cabela's (read: free air conditioning and stuff to entertain my kids with). Hubby will go on the adventure with us.
Note the picture: I am still learning how to post pictures on blogspot. Here is a picture of Kendall, Ernest and I walking off the stage at Ernest's dediction. We have dedicated our children to the Lord and have made a promise to raise them in a Christian enviroment with as much love and prayer (Lord knows first hand how much we need them) as possible. I am pregnant in this picture, however not NEARLY as far along as I should be to have such a pooch. However, the suit Kendall is wearing is the one he purchased from Men's Warehouse for our wedding knowing he'd need a suit in the future. Good choice dude.