Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My precious Buddy Boy,

     Today you are seven years old.  Years.  I just really can't believe how fast these years have come and gone.  I feel so blessed to be your mom, and at times feel totally incompetent to mother you.  You are so smart.  It is ridiculous.  There will be a day, in the not so distant future, when I just won't have the answers to your questions.  You are such a thinker.  You are also really really funny, and we get the same jokes.  You're pretty clever.  You're also really really spontaneous.  That's my nice way of saying that you lack a lot of self-control and are impulsive.  I'm praying that God will use this trait somehow, and that you'll gain some self-control with maturity.  There will be a day, when I will miss your random cartwheels down the aisle at Target, or in line at Chipotle, but right now it's pretty annoying.  But I still love you. 

   You love God.  And for this I am so thankful.  I know that things in this world will try to tear your faith down, and damage your innocence.  Despite this, and probably because of it, I pray everyday for you, that you will grow strong in the Lord.  I have believed since your big personality began to take shape, that God has big plans for you.  My prayer is that you will work for and love God in whatever He has planned for your life. I think you're amazing, and God has gifted you with so many talents.  Stay humble.  Serve others.  Love God first.

     You are so special to me Noah Loyal.  I became a mother because of you.  My heart swells with love for you.  Your eighth year will be a big one, sweet sweet boy.


Birth day

First Birthday
Bright blue eyes, big kissable lips, and one sweet cowlick

Second Birthday
Such a ham 

Third Birthday
Pretending to be shy while people were singing to you... you even told me you were pretending 

 Fourth Birthday

Fifth Birthday
Birthday trip to Disneyland with just mom and dad... with a stop in Cabazon where you pretended to be a baby T-Rex... this is my favorite picture of you ever.  It so captures your personality. 

Sixth Birthday
Same crazy cowlick and awesome smile 

Seventh Birthday
Baby teeth are gone... and the awkward phase begins.  I still think you're handsome.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Heard Around the House {November Edition}

"Mommy, you look beautiful... just like a pirate."
"I'll feel my bike's muscles.  Yeah, it needs air."  {... as in the tires need air}

Buddy Boy
{waking me up in my face at 1:00am}"Mom, what treat do you think I should have with my lunch tomorrow?"
This photo isn't from November, but it was too funny not to share.  Sign reads: "I Love Giselle?"
He went to a Diamondbacks game with the sole intention to declare his love for fellow first grader Giselle, who would also be at the game... on the Jumbo-tron.  And he did.  Sure enough, the cameraman spotted him, took pity on his plight, and gave him about 30 seconds of air time, every second of which he stood proudly holding his sign.  

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How about you?

The thing about having a passion for something, is usually one wants to share that passion.  And we want others to understand this passion, and adopt it as their own, usually.  Ever talked to a homeschooling mama?  Or a mom devoted to public education?  How about a vegetarian versus a vegan?  What about a passionate Harry Potter, Twilight, or Star Wars fan?  There are many things that others are passionate about, and I get it,  great for you.  Then when it comes to something I'm passionate about, I get all crazy.  I want to convince YOU why it should be your passion too.  Then, when it inevitably doesn't become something you're passionate about, I get all hurt and judge-y.  This is wrong, and I'm sorry.

I'm so thankful for a God who gives me freedom.  Freedom to choose what things in life to be passionate for.  I'm learning, through some great Godly mentors in my life, that these things that are important in my life, those passions of mine, must go through a filter of sorts.  Those things that take my time, effort, attention could be good BUT...

-  Will it lead to freedom, or to slavery?
-  Will it make me a stumbling block, or a stepping stone for others?
-  Will it build me up, or tear me down?
-  Will it only please me, or will it glorify Christ?
-  Will it help me win the lost, or turn them away from the truth?

and most importantly, Is it my passion, or is it God's passion?

So, what am I passionate about?  Loving those who are hurting.  Destitute.  Hopeless.  Alone.  Helpless.  And I can confidently say that I know God is passionate about this too, because God is all about love.

This puts me in a tough spot sometimes.  I know that this is a God inspired passion in my life, and He wants it for all who call themselves Christians.  BUT... it will look different in each person's life, and I have to be okay with that.  In a round about way, this is related to how I feel right now about Christmas, and more specifically... Christmas spending.

So.  I promise not to get all soap-boxy and judge-y.  I'm simply presenting my passion to you.  Take it or leave it.  Would you consider learning more about this alternative approach to the All-American Christmas Spectacular?

{Resources for Christmas Shopping that Gives Back from Rage Against the Minivan or a post I did a few weeks ago}

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Friday, November 18, 2011

True Love

Buddy Boy has been asking for some snuggle time in the evenings.  I was worried that he was growing out of this, but here he is, almost seven and still wanting some mom lovin' even when just hours earlier he pretended to be embarrassed by me at school.  As we snuggled on the couch, he told me, "I bet you don't love me as much as I love you, cause' that would just be impossible."

 Before I even had a chance to get teary, he burped right in my face... but also had the decency to blow it in the opposite direction of my nostrils.  That, folks, is true love in boy language.
How is it even possible this picture was taken two years ago?!?  

Monday, November 14, 2011

This and That

Every once in a blue moon I check out the google stats about my blog... how people found our blog, what country people are from who visited, search engine phrases that someone typed that led to a link to this blog.  Here are the weirdest search engine phrases this month that someone typed that led to this blog:

1.  "No fruit."   Probably because of this post from last year.

2.  "My husband is awesome."   Probably because my husband is awesome.

3.  "Lumberjacks rock my world."  Probably because of this shindig... lumberjack isn't normally a part of my everyday vernacular, nor do they rock my world.

This girl is one now.  I haven't written anything about it yet because I'm still living in denial.  And she's walking.  And that makes me sad, because I love her little baby self.

 Photos by the amazing Christina Hendrick Photography

And these Crazies just make me laugh.  They're nutty.  Here's some Transformer that I don't know the name of but Buddy Boy knows everything about, Fancy Nancy, and some cute recorder flute playing little fancy baby... on Halloween night.

Happy Monday to you!
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Gift Guide With a Purpose {2011}

I am very much a non-technology person.  I don't have a cool phone.  I don't text.  I don't understand what in the world a gigabyte is.  But the one thing that I do like about these here interwebs, is that I can be a part of helping someone across the world, whom I will never meet, provide for their family.  The internet can help a person sell their wares to a huge global market, it expands the opportunity to earn money outside their own communities, and we get to participate.

Would you consider purchasing a Christmas gift that also gives back to someone who is working to provide life's basic necessities?  We all know that the CEOs of Target do not need more money.

I really love handmade.  The more unique and one of a kind the better.   Here is a short list of where we have purchased gifts this year.  I encourage you to read the stories about each company when you visit their websites.  And if you are in my family, prepare yourself to LOVE your gifts this year!!!

If you're local to the Phoenix area... you can pick this up at The Grove Coffee Shop

If you have another suggestion for a fair trade, socially responsible, place to make a purchase, please leave the link in the comments.  You can give a unique and amazing gift, and feel good about how that money is being used at the same time.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Haiti Update

It seems like I've been at a loss for words for updating about our trip to Haiti, and our moving plans.  I can't guarantee that this post will sound pretty, or even well thought out, but I figure that I at least need to write something.

Gary and I traveled to Haiti on October 17th.  With us was Paul Gunther, our Missions Pastor from church, and Heidi, who works with Food For the Hungry (FH from here on...).  Other than getting the building plans approved for the church in Lespinasse, we didn't really have a clear plan what our trip would include.  Ultimately, it was for me to visit Haiti and make sure I didn't have a total freak out and change my mind about the move.  Also, so we could work out a little more clearly what we would be doing when we moved there.  Fortunately, I didn't freak out, and we feel like this trip only confirmed our desire to move to Haiti full time.

Day one was mostly a travel day.  When we arrived, the field liaison for FH picked us up from the airport and took us to the guest house to drop our stuff off.  Now before we get to that part... I just want to touch on the driving in Port-au-Prince.  Gary had told me that the driving was crazy, roads were nuts, people everywhere, yada, yada, yada... and frankly I just underestimated him.  It was bonkers.  No rules free for all, with lots of pedestrians and games of chicken while passing into oncoming traffic.  We spent the rest of the day visiting the FH offices and walking to Hot & Fresh for dinner.  I ate a questionable "cheeseburger".

This is Bonita and her baby Wilda.  Bonita was in the middle of braiding Wilda's hair when we arrived at her house, and the baby did not like it one bit.  I think she was happy that we arrived so she could have a break.  Gary visited them in March when Wilda was just a few weeks old.  

Day two was one of my favorite days.  We headed out of the city up to the community of Lespinasse.  It is quite the drive.  We had a paved road about half the way, then it was some of the roughest driving I've ever experienced in my life... while high on a mountainside... with not a whole lot standing in the way between us and that really long fall down.  I popped some Dramamine, so it was kind of fun.  Once we reached Pastor Felix's house.  We had some introductions, I got to use the the four creole words that I know, then we were off to visit some of the community members' houses.  For the next three hours or so, we sat under the tent that serves as the church, with members who serve on a committee of community leaders.  It was fascinating and exciting to sit a meeting that was entirely translated back and forth between English and creole, to work together planning a building project that will serve as their church, community center, and medical clinic.  I'm so excited to be a part of what God is doing here!  
 This is Wilfred, Bonita, and baby Wilda's house.  

 Meeting with community leaders about their building project

Day three was spent briefly at The Good Neighbor Orphanage in Port-au-Prince.  There are thirty children who live and go to school here.  Johnny, the director, has purchased land to move the children to a bigger facility to house a few more children.  During the next year, the construction will continue and they hope to move next October.  They will keep this location to continue schooling some local children, as well as having church here for community members.  Currently, they host a college student for a few months here and there to teach English at the school.  English instruction isn't consistent, and only for a few months at a time if they're lucky.  Gary spoke to Johnny about the potential for me to teach English at the school, and for Gary to help around the orphanage with kids and the move.  We will be working with Johnny in the coming months to figure out how we will plug into working here as well.  After we left the orphanage, we drove back up to Lespinasse, stopping for lunch at the Baptist Mission.  What a view!!!    We spent more time with Pastor Felix and his family, then headed back down to PAP.  We met up with some of the in-country personnel from FH for dinner, and experienced the craziness of what happens when a downpour hits the already crazy streets.
The chair is bad.
Baptist Mission

View from our table at lunch
Baptist Mission

We're in this man's house.  He has five children.  My bathroom is bigger, and yet he smiles.

The next morning, we woke up early, literally to the rooster next door crowing (the same rooster, incidentally, who crowed all night regardless of the time), and headed to the airport.  A little bonus, we got upgraded to first class from Port-au-Prince to Ft. Lauderdale.  It felt a little wrong, but the guilt faded pretty quick once they served me my hot towel (what are you supposed to do with it?!?  I had a Wedding Singer moment) and the newest episode of The Office.
Such dorks... us unable to hide our excitement in first class.  It was like a second honeymoon.

Since being home, we have met again with our church leadership and have decided to proceed next month with more meetings, plans for a January visit, fundraising, etc.  Also, we have a more clear move date... "Summer 2012"... a little vague, but will have to do for now.  We continue to seek God's guidance in all of our decisions, and to not let fear dictate what we know God is asking us to do.

Thank you so much for joining with us with your prayers and reading this little blog!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Heard Around the House {October Edition}


{to a Grandma who shall remain anonymous} "Have you ever considered a Lifestyle Lift?"

"That's a big zit mom.  I'm so glad I have perfect skin."  {I will remind him of this in 9 years.}


"Do you know I'm in love with Noah?... I'm in love with him."

"Do you know what PK should be for Halloween?  Justin Bieber."

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Treat Yo' Self

I could so use one of these.  Who's with me?
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Pin A Day {4}

Two words:  Glow Sticks
We pulled out a ton of quilts from the closet, and set up the world's hottest fort using the dining chairs.  It was stifling in there.  Especially with six year old boy sweat and four year old stank breath just making the air in there even thicker.  I lasted two minutes, but the Crazies spent hours in there.  The glow sticks accompanied them into the bath, then more glowy goodness in their fort.  Our family room was totally trashed, but $5 worth of glow sticks and a whole bundle of patience from me with the aforementioned messiness, it was well worth the time and energy.  We'll call this one a success.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Pin A Day {3}

If you're just catching up, we're spending Buddy's Fall Break knocking out at least one activity or project from Pinterest every day during his break from school.  Catch Day 1 and Day 2 {HERE} and {HERE}.

Today, we stamp painted with okra.  It was very easy, with about 30 seconds of prep work.  You need about 4-5 pieces of okra, cut in half or thirds and some tempera paint.  Buddy Boy thought the stamped shape looked like a soccer ball, and Sweetpea thought it looked like a flower.  I voted for a wagon wheel, but I think we're all right.
The Crazies had mixed reviews of this project.  It was just okay.  Buddy actually stopped midway through the painting to catch up on his written correspondence with his soon to be cousin (be expecting a letter soon Aunt Katie!).  Sweepea went the distance and painted two pictures.  She loved it.  My conclusion:  it was great for a four year old, but left a busy six year old (boy!) in boredom with the desire for more action (which he later found climbing the walls, literally, in our hallway).  It was super easy though, so I didn't feel like I put a whole lot of effort into something that only lasted about 30 minutes. 
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Pin A Day {2}

In honor of my college friend Julie, we made Crazy Cake today.  Now, this isn't technically something I found on Pinterest, but it's on there now.  I went to college in San Diego at good ol' PLNU.  My friend Julie's parents lived in Vista, about an hour away, so occasionally we went there to be fed :)  It was there that I learned the deliciousness that is Crazy Cake.  It is all made in one pan, so there's very little mess.  If you want to get really crazy, you can throw in a few Junior Mints to the batter like we would do every now and again, so so good.

A Pin A Day {Day 2}

{Crazy Cake}
You'll need:   3C flour, 2C sugar, 1/3C unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp white vinegar, 3/4C oil, 2C water

To Make:  mix all dry ingredients in 9x13" pan using a fork, create three wells in the powder mixture.  In first well, pour vinegar.  In second well, pour vanilla.  In third well, pour oil.  Cover the entire mix with water.  Stir with fork.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  We like to frost with a simple buttercream, or even just dust with powdered sugar.  Mmmm....

We're bringing back the "thumbs up" around here, so Buddy Boy gives his stamp of approval. 

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Pin A Day {1}

The Boy is off of school for two weeks.  We're taking the bull by the horns and Pinteresting our way through Fall Break.  The goal is to actually do all of those fun things that I have been found online.

Side note:  Do you brides of today know how good you have it?  I mean really.  If I could go back and replan my wedding using Pinterest... my wedding would be about seventy three bajillion times cooler at probably half the cost.

But I digress...

We are going to do one new super cool activity a day for the entire Fall Break from what I have found on Pinterest.

A Pin A Day {Day 1}

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint
2 Tbs Cornstarch
4 Tbs Water
Food Coloring (8-10 drops, but we went a little wild)

What I found was that in this desert we live in... the water evaporated way too quick, so we need to add more water.

The Crazies' Verdict:  Loved it.  We will probably do this again several more times this week.

And I don't know about you, but how can you be in a bad mood when you pull up into your driveway and are greeted with all this bright artwork from your kids?!  I just love it!

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Heard Around the House {September Edition}

Buddy Boy:
 "When PK turns one, how come we won't call her an 'old-born'?"

"Mom, you're not exactly my favorite mom.  You're like number one, but I like lots of other moms."

"Can I have more goat.  That was scrumptious."


"Mom, you know in the olden days there were bad guys called syrup and french fries.  And also, chocolate sauce and magnets."

"I love Jesus.  He's like my favorite guy."

{after telling Gary that we were going to 'kill two birds with one stone' during errands...}  "Then, we're going to cook them, and eat them."

...And this gal, well she doesn't have much to say yet.  She did get so stinkin' filthy this week eating lunch that I had to put her in the tub fully dressed.  And she was just so pleased with herself.
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