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Friday, June 29, 2012


Abigail had been put to bed.  After a little while she comes out of her room.
Mama: "Abby?"
Abigail: "I was laying in bed and for some reason my finger poked my eye."

Abigail: "I'm hungry."
Mama: "That's because you didn't eat your dinner."
Abigail: "No, I'm hungry because I couldn't eat my dessert."

Abigail, explaining the rules of her made-up game where whoever has the most knowledge, wins: "But God and Jesus can't play 'cause they automatically win."

Abigail, waiting for a breakfast cereal treat: "I want too much!"

After explaining that something is expensive, Abigail quickly solves the dilemma: "We could just get the money from the dollar store." 

Abigail having Playdoh on her toe: "Look at my unique toe."

Abigail, after I squished an ant on her wrist: "Mama!  You destroyed the little creature!"  (The girl reads too much for her own good.)

Abigail has a vast vocabulary.  Nathan on the other hand makes up his own words:
  • Nathan, after watching a Karate show: "Look!  I know Kajatee!"  (Sound dangerous.)
  • Nathan: "The gecko needs Miralax." (He meant "minerals".)
  • Nathan, who has found a new sense of humor: "I'm being spactactic (sarcastic)."  (That one took me about five minutes to figure out...)

After I serve Nathan his breakfast: "This toast is burned out!" (And no, it wasn't!)

Abigail: "Oma, can you send another German chocolate package?"
Oma: "I'm sending a package this week."
Abigail: "Can you send it with e-mail instead?"

Nathan: "The Hulk is so angry because he always bonks his head."  (Now that makes sense to me.)

At a baseball game that daddy and uncle Chris are coaching, Abigail yells "Hello, uncle Chris!"
Mama: " You can't yell at them during the game."
Abigail reassuring: "I know!  I'm just checking if he's paying attention to the game."  

Abigail to mama: "You are shiny & decorated like a Christmas tree."
Mama, plainly dressed: "Uh?"
Abigail: "That means you are cool."

Pursuaisive Beauty

Last year I read a book that posed the question whether or not our children are nature deprived.  Another question the author raised was whether or not this makes our children less spiritual as they are not put face to face with God. After all, his creation declares his glory.

The heavens declare the glory of God; 
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge. 
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world. 

Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

My husband always wants to go outdoors.  And he finds the most wonderful places in nature. 
I still relish the memories of our old fishing trips, prior to having children.  A daring hike down a steep hill, through brush, down to a barely touched river to fish.  Sometimes we had to just dive in the river and swim with our gear to get to the next place because there was no place to walk.  Just pure beauty.  And sitting there fishing with just each other all day, we had enough time to soak it all in.  He found me a lot of those places and I remember catching myself singing hymns about the majesty of God's creation without even consciously wanting to do so.  It was just my response to the utter beauty around us.  No one to distract us from it (there most certainly wasn't any cell phone reception even if we would have wanted it).  We'd love those days and they would restore us for weeks.  
With kids, we can no longer do those daring hikes into solemn places.  

I have to admit, laziness has gotten the best of me too.  After working a hard week, it seems hiking is not on the top of my list.  Thankfully, my husband thinks in selfless ways and gently reminds me that before I say "no", to think about how much fun we would have.  And so reason sets in and I happily join the rest of my family in their excitement.
We've been good lately about going and after a few times of doing so, all of us are feeling in a lot better shape.  Maybe it's just the pure joy of spending time with all five of us in such beautiful surroundings as we are blessed with here.  Just take a look at these pictures.

Even Isabelle is enjoying all this.  There is lots to touch, point at, and apparently taste.  She is a great little explorer and sits still in her Ergo carrier, no matter how long the walk.

For some reason my pictures keep flipping around if they are vertical.  Maybe one of these days the mystery will solve itself.

Here was another gorgeous day (!!!) where we went hiking at a new wildlife refuge we found.  The day was just perfect and toward the end, we got hit by a 10 minute downpour or rain.  To our rescue came some trees canopies that kept us almost completely dry.  We then quickly returned to our car to escape any further downpours.  

Since boys are so "wild at heart" (GREAT read), Nathan especially needs these nature outings.

I'm relaxed just looking at this picture.

And this one.

Or this one. Abby and I have been trying to identify more plants.  We have a small guide but need to get a really good one.  Multiple times we've brought plant samples with flowers and leaves but the guide gave us multiple options. If you know of a good one, let me know.  Abigail is really enjoying this now and would take a whole car load of samples if I'd let her.

Nathan, as you would suspect, is really interested in snakes and insects.  If you know a good identification tool for those, let me know as well.  We saw a garter snake and that made his day.

Even the littlest one got to run around and touch and feel.

Nathan got really excited when this heron flew right over him.  They look gigantic when you see them that close.

Turtles in the sun.  

We think this is an American.....Yep...Forgot the name again.  I'll have to ask David.  He knows this one.  

Well, that's it for now.

Psalm 61:2

It has been one of my favorite verses lately.  This picture made me think of it.

"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmedlead me to the rock that is higher than I."    Psalm 61:2

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Easter

Brother, Sisters and Cousin 
(Don't you just love how goofy Abby looks?  And how little Isabelle sits like a big girl, big brother making sure she is safe?)

You are noticing a theme, right?  These are all April posts.  And May.  Nevertheless, posts I should have posted months ago.  Their order will utterly confuse my children if they (hopefully) later on in life decide to read about their very interesting lives on this blog.  :-)  
Anyways, we had a fantastic Easter this year and everything came together really nicely.  Here are a few of the highlights (in backwards order):

Plastic eggs became a favorite of Isabelle's for weeks to come.  Whenever she could find them, she'd chew on them. 

Easter Day - kids hunting for plastic Easter Eggs hidden in our yard.

Such a sweet moment.  Abigail hurt herself (which happens ALL the time.  Honestly.  I'm not joking. At least five times a day.).  Here Nathan sensed an unusual cry and went over to take care of her.  After further investigation, he found the culprit (a sliver) and removed it from her "footsie" as Abby calls her feet.

Cousins running on the trampoline together.

Static electricity!!

My Easter table.  The branches with the eggs hanging from it is a tradition from Oma.  She would go outside every Easter and cut pussy willow branches. Then we'd hollow out real eggs, decorate them, put a match with string in them and hang them up on the branches.  Voila!  Instant Easter decorations.

The day before Easter we had a special dinner and did our resurrection eggs.  The kids loved the eggs and special "Middle Eastern" dinner.

Frohe Ostern!  Happy Easter in German.

Breakfast table.

Dying Easter eggs.  Apparently one needs to be dressed as a pirate to do this successfully.  Abby and Olive were dressed as fairies.  

Here is our "middle Eastern" feast.  We just wanted to give the kids an example of foods that Jesus may have  eaten.  Various olives, stuffed grape leaves, marinated garlic, almonds, turkish dried apricots.  Needless to say that I ended up eating all of that.  Except for flat bread.  They loved that.  So we had one winner.

David set up all of our flannel boards.  The kids LOVE these.  I need to take them out more.  Last Supper scene.

Crucifiction Scene.  We also had the empty tomb with the women on a third flannel board.

Kids searching for resurrection eggs hidden in the garden.

Abby sure enjoyed this.

Ah yes, we had grape juice as well.  This is our make-shift table for reclined eating as is often done in Middle Eastern countries.  It's a box covered by a blanket.  The kids actually preferred eating like this to sitting at the table.  Thinking of how hard it is to get them to sit still, this may be a good option....

We had a really great Easter this year.  The kids understood what we tried to teach them and David and I had a blast getting it together for them.  We had thought about the resurrection eggs ahead of time but everything else came together last minute.  We had a great time with our little family the night before and it was very bonding.  The next day we enjoyed our more extended family.  It was perfect.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

April Fool's

Yes, I know, this is wayyyyyyyyyy late for my April Fool's post.  Previously this was never a big thing for David and I.  This year I had such fun with the kids and David that I thought the kids might enjoy reading about it later on.  Even if it is a few months late...
Here is where I love Pinterest.  Got so many good ideas.  Although we didn't do all of the funny things from there, I got a few good ones in.  This was my favorite.  Putting googly eyes on everything in the fridge.  The kids loved this as well.   We also dyed the milk green with food coloring.  It was funny because the kids convinced themselves that it tasted "disgusting" and Nathan (who adores milk) actually preferred to drink water rather than using up the green milk.  :-)  
I had a few more tricks up my sleeve but can't remember most of them anymore.  It's been a few months after all.....  
This was fun.  Will have to do it again next year....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We Love Isabelly

Abigail writing "I Love you" (II LUV YOU).  Pretty sure that was for mom rather than Isabelle but I'v been wrong before.   Abigail is writing and reading non-stop these days.  She reads easy reader books fluently.  She also memorizes them after reading them for the second time!  And she taught herself how to make letters.  She figures out how to spell words by herself as well.  She is amazing.  Hmmm....  I just went on a huge tangent....
Well, here is the little birthday girl!  She's so adorable.  Her chubby little legs and arms.  Her wobbely (is that a word?) walk.  Putting her hand in front of her mouth when she is tired or relaxed.  How much she loves cats, dogs and baths.   She yells "ba!" and climbs up the stairs laughing the whole time when she knows it is bath time.  Once in the tub, she gets so very excited.  She splashes and literally squeals from happiness.  I love her little toes (I'm actually obsessed with baby toes...).  She has her dad's toes.  She is very sweet in her demeanor, very loving.  If one of her siblings cries or is upset, she goes to them and tries to cheer them up.  We were at the store yesterday and Nathan was sad about something.  She started to caress his hair, smiling at him and constantly chattering at him.  She did it for a full 10 minutes.  

Uncle and Isabelly as her siblings lovingly call her.  The name stuck.

A very handsome daddy.  :-)  Isabelly looks more than her dad than her mom.  She has his gorgeous dark eyes and long eye lashes.

Grandma and cousin Olive.  Love it when Olive has this laugh.  It is too cute.  Her and Isabelly will hopefully grow up and be close as they are close in age.  Grandma was happy on this day, being surrounded by all her grandbabies.  

Cutiepie as Nathan also calls her.  Proud owner of six teeth.  

She listens really well.   Lately she gets distracted a little when she is busy exploring.  She obeys simple commands such as "come to mama," "thank you" (for giving an object back to mom or to bring it to me), "let's go...." and "close ____ please" (as in a drawer).

Uncle and Abigail.  Uncle Mike and Abigail have a close bond.  

Grandma and her little goofball.  Nathan is discovering the world of jokes and tricks and silly faces.

Proud new mama.  Auntie Megan is pregnant with her second baby girl.  Not much longer....

Uncle and cousin Olive.  This will soon be the daddy of two little girls.

Yum!  First birthday cake ever.  Can't believe we got a picture with the hat.  I love that hat.  :-)  

Isabelle didn't get as messy as we thought she would.  She had a wonderful first birthday though.  And we had a wonderful first year with our little girl.