Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Away Without Kids

My husband and I got away for a quick night at an adorable bed and breakfast a few hours from home.  We'd been invited to join some friends for a Halloween party complete with costumes.  While neither P or I are into the dress up aspect of Halloween, we were totally on board with the idea of getting away with some other adults for some fun.

It had been years since we'd gone to a bed and breakfast and this little quaint B&B did not disappoint.  There is something special about staying in a place that has been around since 1912 and seen its share of change.  We loved the sweet innkeeper who shared the story of the Argo from hotel during the 20's to a hospital and doctor's office.  Our room was quaint and the formal rooms in home were inviting and perfect for socializing.  They even had a game room with a huge screen TV so that we could watch some football!

After a few hours of travel and some down time to read, relax and hang with friends, it was time for the annual costume parade before dinner at the B&B's Steakhouse.  Thankfully, I had a few Smurf Hats in my possession that I could work around when coming up with a theme for our costumes.  All we needed were some blue tops and white bottoms!  Now you are just going to have to believe me when I say that our costumes were pretty cute.  For some reason, I never asked anyone to take a photo of us all dressed up.

However, I do have to say our costumes were nothing in comparison to the other couples.  There were some pretty impressive outfits!  If we go next year, we will really have to step up our game.  Not only did some of the couples wear "couple costumes," they obviously spent way more time and energy putting together their looks then we did.  I mean how cute are the Insurance Company Duo: Flo and Mayhem.  I loved the "Where in the World is Waldo and Carmen San Diego" outfits, too.  Of course, the Costume Winners were the two couples that came as "KISS."  Not only was the makeup perfect, they even performed with guitars during dinner!

We had a great weekend and were grateful to my parents who let the kids crash at their house while we were away.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Man in the Yellow Hat: Pumpkin Version

Miss M had a class assignment to take a pumpkin or gourd and transform it into a favorite storybook character   Right away she came up with the idea to make the Man with a Yellow Hat, from the Curious George Book Series.  Miss A loves to have Miss M read her books and we have quite a collection of George's adventures so it only made sense!

At first, we tried to figure out how to make a round, plump pumpkin into a man with a tall hat, long face and features that were neither round or plump.  Thankfully, sitting right inside our front door was huge gourd that was tall and gave Miss M plenty of room to work with to create a masterpiece. She drew up a plan on paper and we went shopping for supplies.  I'll admit I was a little concerned about how this would all come together.  Nana to the rescue.  She used M's design, our supplies, a little fabric, a little felt, and the two of them came up with something that not only looked just the book illustrations, but made the gourd look like a real person!

Our first concern was getting Mr Yellow Hat to the school and then onto the Restaurant "Cheeseburger in Paradise" where it would be judged by the patrons.  Sitting in the front seat of my car, all buckled in, I was nervous that I might stop too suddenly and quickly volunteered to drive the gourd onto it's final destination.  I was thrilled when Miss M's teacher volunteered to sit with the gourd in her lap while her husband drove to Cheeseburger!


Of course, our family wanted a chance to "vote" for Miss M's pumpkin in person so last week we enjoyed a delicious dinner out.  I gotta say, Miss M's pumpkin was amazing.  One of her classmates had painted a curious George on a pumpkin and the two storybook buddies were sitting right next to each other.  It was as if a page of a book had come to life.  Win or lose, we are proud of Miss M's efforts.  Who doesn't love the Man in the Yellow Hat and his favorite buddy George?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Patch: Fall Family Fun?

I'm just going to admit it.  I jsut don't enjoy going to the "commercialized" Pumpkin Patch.  It's not really my favorite fall activity and I've gone enough in the past few years to get my fill for a lifetime. However, when our church offered a fun afternoon of fellowship at a nearby patch, I knew my kids would jump at a chance to go hang with some friends and explore this "amusement park experience with a pumpkin theme."

The only thing I hadn't considered when we pack up the family for the trip was that nearly everyone in a three state area would decide to go have some fall fun on the same day. Did I mention there is but one street leading into the park.  Let's just say that traffic was horrific.  Had we not have brought along a friend, I would have bribed my family into turning around and going back home.  We did humor ourselves with the fact that they advertised slow traffic ahead at about forty five minutes into our stop and go traffic wait.

All in all, the kids did have a fabulous time; we rode tricycles, played duck derby, rode a train, cooked hot dogs on an open firepit, and had smores for a treat.   Since it had been since preschool and kindergarten that we'd been to the pumpkin patch I'm anxious to pull out some old photos and measure just "how tall this fall" these kids really are and how short they once were.  Really, they were just little tykes the other day!

Mr C and his friend had a good time with the youth, but determined that a corn maze in the middle of a drought isn't all it's cracked up to be!  Guess the corn really wasn't as high as an elephants eye this year!
The girls enjoyed a few slides, rides and treats too.  However, they quickly decided that bees really like slush syrup and that next time they will pass on the "make your own Slurpee's"

We had a great day!  We got to spend time with each other, hang with some friends and soak up some great fall weather, but next time I'd rather do that walking through an apple orchard or going to a state park and just experiencing nature without all the commercialism and crowds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jesus Calling: An (in)courage review

I am a morning person.  I'd much rather get up at five a.m. to complete a project than stay up really late at night.  I've been this way since birth (which might explain while none of my kids sleep in on Saturday morning!) and spent many an early morning in my college years as the only person awake in the sorority house studying for an exam or cranking out a paper.

I love my "time" in the morning. Just a few minutes I get to spend with Jesus to ready myself for the day. I have my notebook, calendar, Bible, and devotion or bible study lesson waiting for me each morning.  As a parent, the time I set aside has had to be flexible, there have been buses to catch, car pools to drive, and children getting up on different schedules, however, the need for that quiet and personal time has only gotten more important.

Raising kids today ain't what it use to be!  If I'm not spending the necessary time praying for them, for me, and for my husband while keeping the distractions of the world at bay in house, I'm not really doing my job.  Over the past few months as we've gotten more into a routine, I've found that precious time between 7:25 and 7:45 when the first "crew" has left and the second and final "crew" is still sleeping to be the time that I spend with Jesus; laying out the concerns of my heart, the details of my day, and asking him to guide me and protect me.

I also been convicted lately that "doing" my Bible study is not the same as spending time with God. I love the Bible studies I've been in lately with my mom's group and a church women's bible study group, but just completing the lesson from Lisa Terkeurst or Priscilla Shrier doesn't solve my need and desire to personally know God better.

That's why I was so excited when Dayspring sent me a copy of Sarah Young's Devotional "Jesus Calling" and I've been able to read, contemplate, and think on the message for each day.  I don't know how Sarah knows exactly what I need to hear from Jesus each day; but she nails it!  I'm so excited that this book is now among my essentials each morning.

Now, I just want to put a disclaimer here and admit that there are days that the Bible studies, devotional book, and Bible don't get opened because I've let the calender and the "to do list" in my notebook get out of hand. There were years when my children were really small or I was pregnant and sick that the only quiet time I got was in the bathroom shower.  But I never gave up. Each day was a new start.  Tomorrow, I could carve out that time and maybe catch up on a few of the days I missed.  Grace.  How grateful I am that there is grace to cover those days, weeks and months!

The best part of Sarah Young's Jesus Calling book is that since I've started towards the end of the year I don't have to look for a new book this January when everyone else is looking for new material.  I'm anxious to see a year from now what lessons I've learned on this journey with Jesus and how these devotions have shaped my prayer life, my family life, and my relationship with Him.  I can't think of a better reason to carve out time each day.

As an added bonus, I was given a perpetual calendar with a verse for each day taken from the Jesus Calling devotional book.   I'd love to give this away to someone reading this blog.  If you are interested; just leave a comment below and I'll randomly draw a winner and announce it October 30th. I'll then mail you the calendar and who know maybe a little something special too!

Check out the Dayspring deals page and see what other fabulous things you can find. You won't be disappointed and if you are not reading the (in) courage daily devotion blog you are really missing out, don't wait another day.

* I was given the Jesus Calling Devotional Book and Perpetual Calendar by Dayspring to review, but all thoughts are mine.  Thank you Dayspring for consistently providing great materials to grow and challenge our faith.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Funny Things I've Heard: Fall Edition

I really need to carry a notepad around with me and write down those funny comments my children make.  In reality, I guess I just need to use the notebook I do carry around and actually write them down.  My wheels have been spinning so fast this fall that I just haven't taken the time to do it.

Here are just a few of the "out takes" from our life lately....

Mr C was driving Miss A and I home from a soccer game the other night when this hillarious conversation occured:

Miss A asked Mr C when he would be getting his drivers's license. 
He told her March.
She said to hurry she had places she needed to go.  He could drive her.
Mr C:  "Where do you need to go?"
Miss A responded, "Out to Ice Cream."
Mr C asked, "Who would be paying for the ice cream?" 
Miss A told him "You'll be paying, I'm the date."

Love that she knows those simple rules; the boys pay!

While on the subject of driving, Mr C lost his wallet a few weeks ago and was unable to drive for a week or so.  No wallet, no driver's permit.  We tried to determine where the last place Mr C had his wallet and asked him to please give some time to finding it.

First approach: asked his sisters if they would try to find the wallet, there would be a reward.
Second apprach:  Offered Miss A $10 if she could find the wallet, gave her ideas where to look and begged her to view this as a game with a great reward.

Finally, the mother decided she couldn't take it anymore and went through Mr C's room with a fine tooth comb.  In other words, I cleaned his closet, his drawers and made his bed.  Then I looked under the bed and lo and behold there was the wallet!

When I picked C up after school, I asked what the current reward was for the wallet.  He offered five dollars.  I reminded him of the $10 reward. He told me that only counted if you found it right away; like that day!  I handed him the wallet and said I'd take my $10.00 payment!  

He was shocked. I was $10 richer!  I took my husband to lunch.

One more on the driving:  It was raining the other night and I asked Mr C if he'd like to drive us to a pizza party.  He declined saying he didn't want to drive in bad weather. I chided him that it was a nice gentle rain and the streets were no longer slippery. Perfect for training on wet streets.

Mr C informed me he wouldn't need to learn to drive in rain.  He's moving to that little island in Washington State that it only rains twice a year. Perfect for golf, and no need to drive in rain.  He'd walk on those days.

I told him "good luck with that plan."  For now let's leave you are driving!

A few weeks ago Miss A and I were on our way to the school's Skating Party at a Roller Rink.  One of her most favorite activities.  We were taking the back roads and happend upon a Barnes and Noble Bookstore.

Miss A reading out loud; Barnes and Noble Booksellers and Cafe.
Hey Mom what's a cafe?
Well Miss A it's like a coffee shop inside a bookstore.
Miss A: Who knew they had a cafe inside a Barnes and Noble?  I really need to get out more. Did you know they had a cafe?
I replied that I was aware of the cafe.  When we were first married, we used to hang out there on a Friday night and when you kids were little we'd go to story time on Tuesday mornings and sometimes have a hot chocolate date. I asked her if she remembered those days.
Miss A replied:  Mom you really need to get out too. That's a long time ago!

I think she might be right... I do need to get out more!

A couple of Saturday's ago we were making a Goodwill run to drop off a few bags from our recent closet clean out.  We decided to look inside for a few items for some halloween costumes.  Miss M is hoping to go as Miss America and needs a Prom Dress that she can wear.  I loved the conversation the girls had as they were pursuing the racks of dresses.

As we were walking around Miss A and Miss M were trying to find the "pretty dresses" like something you might wear for a fancy dinner date.  Miss A held up a low cut black dress and asked M if it would work.  Miss M gave it one look and said yeah it will work if I want Mom to scream, "it's innaporpriate." Let's just say the low cut was very low!

A few dresses later, Miss M held up a peach color bridesmaid dress and asked A her thought.  She said it's good if you are going for the throw up vote!  The next dress was too boring for a Miss America and the next few were "old lady" gowns!  

Miss M looked at me and in all seriousness said, "Now I really appreciate Mr C's date's dress!" and "I'm not sure how teen girls do this twice a year for Homecoming and Prom, this is exhausting!"

Total Time spent at Goodwill was about 30 minutes, grey hairs added about twenty.  Life lessons gained about style, grace, and beauty; endless!

I'm sure there are a few more stories that I can tell, but as I said my brain is complete mush this fall.  I'll try to keep track in coming weeks. I know it's not the content that missing, it's just memory!