Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Living in Toddler Land

With Michael back at school three days a week, I'm home with Jon and Becca. I've completely forgotten what it is like to spend hours on end just with toddlers.

* Questions, questions, question. From Jon I get, why, why, why non stop. From Becca it is still more of a point and grunt.

*Moving, moving, moving. Boy I think the two of them together have 10 times the energy I do. On Monday I sent them outside to play and Jon asked if I was coming to play too. I told him no and I of course was asked why?! "Because I just need to sit down for a moment."

*90 second attention spans. When I use to teach I would laugh and tell people that I had to plan so many activities for the day because we really couldn't stay on one task for more than 15-20 minutes. Now I'm going to need 45 activities just to get through an hour. I decided it was time to wash the chairs in our kitchen (remember back that we had a 6 year old birthday party with cake and ice cream last weekend). So I got out a bin of water and three washcloths. Here is how it went:
All of us took a wash cloth and washed a chair.
Becca started eating the washcloth.
I sent Jon to wash the table legs and he started scrubbing the floor.
I've washed one chair.
They leave the wash clothes and run off to get another toy.
I wash another chair.
They are back and scrubbing chairs with me again.
Jon ends up wiping 4 chairs while I clean one more even though Jon insists he has already cleaned that one.
Becca finds a bracelet to try on.
Jon gets into the water and spills some on the floor.
I get another one done.
I set up a computer game for Jon.
I come back into the kitchen to find Becca crawling across the table towards the water bucket.
You get the picture? I never realized how much I have relied on Michael to be the entertainment so I could get something accomplished! :)

*All the laughter and smiles. We are back to silly toddler songs, dancing in circles, and playing nursery rhymes on our fingers. We are looking at colors and numbers, and talking about the things we see. I'm so excited to get to spend this time with Jon and Becca and just watch their brains tick!

Oh, and can I just tell you that I'm really enjoying my coke and Bible time (or to get my priorities right it should probably be Bible and coke time) at 12:30 when they go down for a nap!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Computer desktops

As Tim was getting ready for school the other day I noticed that his computer still had old pictures of the kids on it. Last year he had asked me to make some desktop screens for his computer at work so that he could see the kids during the day and probably show them off to everyone too, since they are the cutest ones around. Here is what I came up with back then:

See how old they are?! Michael doesn't have any missing teeth and Becca hardly has any hair. :)

So I've made him some new ones. What do you think?

Monday, August 29, 2011


I just love this story from Acts that I read in my devotions today (Acts 9). Saul is struck blind when Jesus confronts him on the road to Damascus. He is taken to the city where he remains blind and doesn't eat or drink we are told.

Now the believers in Damascus were fearing Saul's arrival as he was coming to arrest as many followers as he could. And God speaks to a believer named Ananias. He is told to go and see Saul to lay hands on him and healing him. Could you imagine? We really don't know much about Ananias. Maybe he often heard God speaking to him and had built up a relationship of trust already around the words he heard. Maybe this was a first for Ananias to hear the word of God so directly. We do know that he was sensible. He responds first by saying, "Um, Saul, are you sure? He is going around arresting believers and is pretty dangerous!" And yet, he didn't let his sensibility stand in the way of following Jesus. Once he was sure he was listening clearly, he got up and went.

He prophesied to Saul, healed him, and witnessed Saul receiving the Holy Spirit. What an awesome role to play. Saul (or Paul as we can now call him) was arguably the greatest person in the Christian faith after Jesus. And Ananias got to play a pivotal role in it's beginnings. I think we get so caught up some times in how we don't feel we can play a big role in this world like Paul. I could never do all that he did! But we can all live like Ananias. We can also listen for God's voice and do the things in life that are simple. They may take faith in stepping out into the unknown, but they can be simple, daily tasks. We might not see the huge impact they have but God knows what he is asking of us.

I am always struck by the names of people in the Bible. It is part of the reason I took naming my children so seriously. Ananias means "Yahweh is gracious." And that is exactly the message he carried to Paul. So what can I do today to carry out the message God has given to me?

Michael's Big Weekend

Well, it seems that the last few days have been a lot about Michael! Here is what has been going on.

Friday: Michael turned 6. I can't believe I have a 6 year old. I think that 5 still felt enough like a pre-schooler to me but 6 is definitely elementary school age. We spent the afternoon up at Dad's cottage where we got to meet my brothers girlfriend and let Michael open some presnets.

Saturday: The big day was Saturday when Michael had some boys from his new Kindergarten class over for a birthday party. It was all baseball!! We had 8 5 and 6 year old boys here for 2 hours and luckily it was a beautiful day outside so we sent them and their energy outside to play. Tim helped to set up a t-ball game which was a big hit!

Then they came inside for some baseball cake and icecream!

And of course there were lots of presents to open. We started them out in a nice circle, taking turns to present their present, but if you've even tried this with little kids you will know that the circle gets tighter and tighter as they all want to be a part of the action and help rip open the presents until they are all sitting on top of each other. (Notice that the "biggest kid" Tim is just as much a part of the present circle!)

All in all, it was a great day and Tim and I were completely wiped so we ended the day with dinner out.

Monday: After a busy weekend, we started the week off with Michael's first day of school. He was so excited. He kept bouncing around, talking nonstop, and hardly ate any breakfast. Here he is sitting at his big kid desk.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Review #17 Becca is 18 months

In between her brothers' birthdays, Becca has a half birthday. As she is still too young to really understand half birthdays we decided to celebrate with brownies instead of a half birthday cake. (Tim and I prefer brownies to cake most days) :)

This is her brothers helping to show 1 1/2.

And helping to blow out the candles.


And that my friends is our busy summer! We had an absolute blast!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Review #16 Splash Pad

Downtown Holland has a great water park where the kids can run around and get wet!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer Review #15 Parade

Our church participated in the Byron Days parade. The worship team (including Tim) road on the float and the kids and I walked and threw candy. So much fun!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Review #14 Jon Turns 3

When we first moved into this house, Becca was 6 months and Jon was just 2. I kept thinking how much I treated him like such a big boy, asking him to do so many things on his own and not being able to carry him around since I had a baby that needed so much. And yet, when I thought about it I realized how much of a baby he still was in many ways. Well, things are changing. Jon has now turned 3 and he is really a preschooler not a baby now. He is learning how to dress himself. He can set up all kinds of imaginary games. He is learning letters and numbers. Here are some photos from our fun family birthday party for him.

The big present hit was a train set!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The first day of the rest of our lives

I thought I'd interrupt my summer review as today is Tim's first day back to work. This marks two things for me:
1. We have now lived in our new home for a full year. We moved in the weekend before Tim started work last year. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that we still have a few boxes in the basement that are not unpacked. I should probably go through them next summer and do a garage sale or something because we obviously don't NEED the things in those boxes as we have gone all year without them. :)
Here is a memory from moving last year:

Layout credits: MSA Celebrating Life: At Home, pieces by FruitloopSally, Kelly Mickus Designs, Kaye Winiecki, Oscraps, and Cinzia Loosemore

2. Today marks the day of trying to start back into our school schedule. I have spent most of the summer at Calvin taking classes and Tim has been stay at home Dad. I really enjoyed the ability to talk with other adults for hours at a time and to be able to deepen my thinking about teaching and students with disabilities. It has refreshed me an stretched me. However, it has also confirmed for me that my job right now is to be home raising my kids. I'm thrilled to be back into this routine right now. It does mean that I have to do things that I don't like like laundry and dishes and cleaning bathrooms, but it also means that each day I get to tell my kiddos how much I love them, I get to teach them about God and his world, and I get to watch them grow and learn and change which is a huge blessing.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." This is the verses I want to live each day for. And what a great lesson to instill in my children. I really don't like putting the books back on the shelf again because Becca keeps knocking them down, but I'm going to do it joyfully as if I am preparing the room for Jesus. Steven Curtis Chapman has a song about it:

So to help me out I've made a fun dry erase board for chores and dinners for each week.

Credits: Shabby Kitchen by Jessica Edwards, papers from Blessed With Blue by Bella Gypsy, Elements from Spring Clean and Baker's Dozen by Kate Hadfield and Jacque Larsen, font is Amanda G by Darcy Baldwin
(If you want to see more about it, check my Digital Scrapbooking Classes blog post.)

And on that note, here are some pictures of the fun today with my kids:
All three playing race cars together. The boys were so cute because they would race around fast and have their cars jump over Becca each time they lapped her.

Then when I said it was time for lunch, Becca ran right over and climbed up onto her high chair by herself - my little monkey.

Finally, you can't see it that well, but Becca is eating a carrot stick. My little girl will not eat vegetables. We have tried everything, including hiding them in things. She has the skill to take the bite, move the food around in her mouth, and spit out only the vegetables. Well, apparently, a raw carrot at lunch time is not a vegetable to her. She will slowly naw on them - I think she probably gets about 1/5 of a baby carrot, but still!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Review #13 Tennis

While Grandma and Grandpa were still in town we also took the kids out to play tennis.

Michael is good enough now that he can volley a bit with Tim.

Becca had a blast throwing and chasing tennis balls.

Jon was so excited to try and actually did very well. He is turning out to be a very coordinated little boy.

Before the day was over we also stopped by the playground next to the courts. Check out this cool three-way slide.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Review #12 MiniGolf

Tim's parents got to come out for a whole week this summer. It was right in between my two summer classes. I had a ton of work to do writing a final paper for my first class and reading ahead for my second one, and it was great to have them here to help keep the kids entertained and give Tim a break from being single parent most of the day. I was able to take a break to do some fun things. On one afternoon we went to Grand Haven to look at boats and also stopped for some mini golf.

Michael, our sports nut, was entirely into it.

We got Becca to try too, but she preferred to wander around pick up people's balls off the green which irritated her oldest brother immensely and kept me chasing after her more than playing golf myself.

Jon loved playing for a few minutes at a time, but in between he wanted to wander around to see other things and to swing his club at random objects. He could not figure out why we had to do the holes in a specific order and kept wanting to go off and try other holes instead.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Review #11 New Cottage Lake

I mentioned earlier that my dad had bought a new cottage. It is up in mid-Michigan on an inland lake and we are loving it. The water is about knee high at the shore so it is perfect for the kiddos to play in.

In her floaty, Becca can walk around on the sandy bottom and has an absolute blast being on her own in the water.

Michael is getting very daring with swimming and even let Tim toss him some.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Review #10 T-ball

Michael played on a 5 year old t-ball team this summer and had so much fun. Probably about half of the kids were into the game (Michael being in this group) and half the boys just played in the dirt or spun around in the outfield. My favorite thing was that they had the kids wear helmets that were huge on them and basically just sat directly on their shoulders.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Review #9 4th of July

Our neighborhood does a super cute 4th of July parade. The kids all decorate their bikes and then parade around the block. Then we all meet up for a picnic. Michael and Jon really got into it and had a blast decorating their bikes.

Becca and I decided to stand in the driveway and watch the parade. Becca had a blast waving the flag while we waited.

Michael is now an expert two wheeler and followed the float twice around the block.

Jon on the other hand is still working on his pedaling skills and needed a lot of pushing. This duo only made it around the block once. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Review #8 Wedding

Another big happening this summer is that my father got remarried. Yes, things moved very quickly in the relationship but he has met a wonderful woman and they are now husband and wife. Her name is Chris. As this is what my family has often called me, things can get a bit confusing now. I just need to insist on "Christy" from everyone. :)

Here are some photos from the event.

My three boys never like to get dressed up but don't they look handsome?

Becca was all dressed up too, but unfortunately the best picture we got of her was after she had already pulled out her hair bow.

Chris has four children so here is a shot with all of us

These are my grandparents: My grandma (mom's mom) and my grandpa and Pearl (dad's dad and his wife). It was great that my many people from my mom's family came to support my dad at the wedding.

Chris' eldest and I were the witness at the wedding. And I then gave the "best man" speech at the reception - something I've never done before. :)

And finally one of the bride and groom (laughing at some stories people were telling about them).