Saturday, December 20, 2008

Glimpses of Christmas around our house...

We brought out the tree and the totes of Christmas decorations from under the house shortly after our Baltimore and Ohio trips around Thanksgiving. Rob helped me put up the tree before he left for his trip to Boone, NC, and I had everything up and where I wanted it by December 2nd. I'm one of those people who likes to have her house decorated for Christmas on Black Friday; however, I had to settle for December 1 this year. But honestly, I think I like getting to set up the tree and all of the fun decorations on December 1. It makes for a fun activity for the boys to look forward to seeing each year in their Advent calendar on that first day.

Decorating the tree this year was SO much fun! Aidan had taken a nap that day, so he was wide awake at his regular bedtime and ended up getting rewarded with being Mama's helper. He seriously asked me 100+ questions about each ornament as we pulled them out of their boxes. He wanted to know what ones were his, what ones were David's, what ones were mine as a little girl, etc. He also LOVED getting to see the Robert Sabuda pop-up book The Night Before Christmas. I decided last year that I would pack away all of our Christmas books with our decorations and would only bring them out during December so that way there would be more excitement and anticipation over getting to read the various stories. This year, we have added a couple of Jan Brett books--Christmas Trolls is Aidan's new favorite. And, last year, just after Christmas, I was fortunate to purchase 4-5 new hardback Christmas books at Barnes and Noble for 50%-off. David's favorite of those books is Angela and the Baby Jesus. I have to admit that it is one of my new favorites as well, in addition to the book, Christmas Day in the Morning.
It is fun getting to start new traditions, and keep going with other established ones. It is wonderful getting to see the magic and wonder of the season come alive in both boys. Aidan is so exhuberant that his excitement and enthusiasm seems to rub off on everyone in our household. This is the first year that both boys truly *get* what Christmas is all about. Yeah, they like the idea of presents too (and each one wrote his letter to Santa), but are understanding that there is more to Christmas than that--it's about the birth of our Savior.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Scarf Askew...

er...I mean Dustin's scarf. ;-) I finally finished knitting my first scarf that is for Dustin's Christmas present. When he was here visiting a little over a month ago, he went to my local yarn shop with me to pick out the yarn he would like and even picked out what pattern he would like his scarf to be.

He chose a beautiful alpaca wool yarn that really knit together nicely (and camoflaged any mistakes that this newbie knitter made--which I only made one that I know of). The top photo shows off the color the best--the deep green with flecks of light green, yellow and black running throughout. I was a little bit concerned about whether the finished scarf would be too scratchy to wear; however, after I soaked it in the wool wash and blocked it, it really softened up!

I found this pattern on Ravelry when I was looking through my friend molliebug's finished projects. I really love the diaganol stripe pattern made by the strategically placed purl stitch. Granted, I found out that I really have a difficult time focusing on counting to 5 when I was supposed to P1K5 or K1P5. I cannot tell you how many times I ended up having to pull out rows because I miscounted somewhere along the way (usually during the first pattern or two and I didn't catch it until the very end!). Although, I suppose that I can blame some of my lack of focus on knitting when I really should have been in bed asleep! :)
Now, I just need to learn how to knit hats so I can make him a hat to match!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Having fun in Baltimore.

Rob has a conference in Baltimore this weekend, and since we could drive there, we decided to make a bit of a family vacation out of it. Granted, Rob is in his conference most of the time, so the boys and I are making our own expeditions, but we're having a great time.

Friday, we drove up to Baltimore, stopping in Staunton, VA first for pizza (and so Rob could fix something on the Domino's computer in the office there--a little side gig he does) and then we stopped again at Tysons Corner Center in the DC area to go to the LEGO store. That store was heaven for my two boys. :) They each chose a Star Wars LEGO set to build while in Baltimore, then we ate dinner and walked around the mall for awhile (trying to miss the majority of the Capital Beltway rush hour traffic...didn't work, it took twice as long to get to Baltimore as our directions said, but that's OK--we were safe and got to listen to a couple of different Adventures in Odyssey episodes in the process). :) Finding our hotel in Baltimore's Inner Harbor was a bit tricky since the streets aren't labeled very well. I noticed the following day that the buildings have the addresses and street names on them; however, you can't see them in the dark! The boys settled down for bed and got to watch the new Star Wars Clone Wars cartoon on tv before drifting off to sleep.

Saturday morning, my friend and Alpha Phi sister, Dana, drove up from DC to spend the morning with us. We went to Fort McHenry together (David had been very anxious to see where the British shelled and where the flag flew that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner--the story is one of his favorites on the For God and Country CD series of Adventures in Odyssey). The weather was a bit chilly, but the boys seemed to have fun seeing the huge cannons, the ships out in the harbor and just running around being boys. We came back to the area where our hotel is, had hot chocolate and coffee at Starbucks and then we came back to our hotel room to build LEGO creations and hang out for awhile. After Dana left for home, the boys and I went for a walk down toward Fells Point since there was a yarn shop I wanted to visit (I'm still in search of a cable needle, or at least double pointed needles--maybe Santa will surprise me for Christmas with some knitting goodies??? A girl can hope.). I didn't find what I initially went in search of, but did get Rob a really nice maroon colored wool yarn for the scarf I will make him sometime this winter. :) I have a bazillion other projects that need to be finished before I'm allowed to start on that one. ;)

The boys did amazingly well on our walk--not so great in the yarn shop, but they did great listening and following directions and having a good time while we were walking around. After the yarn shop, we decided to find the hotel where Rob has his conference. We walked by and then saw that we were really close to Barnes and Noble, so we walked along the water, saw the Coast Guard cutter Taney along the way. We had fun at Barnes and Noble reading books. I read Corduroy and Jan Brett's Gingerbread Friends to Aidan while David was reading a Star Wars Clone Wars guide book. Then, this adorable little girl brought me a couple of Froggy books to read to her too. The Barnes and Noble we went to is AWESOME! It is probably the largest BN I have been to, but the architecture inside (and out) is really cool. The boys probably liked taking the escalator up to the children's book section and back the best. We ate dinner at Five Guys Burgers and Fries (yum...), and then walked back to the hotel to warm up and play while we waited for Rob to get done with his conference for the day.

Yesterday, Rob had a couple of interviews and presented a paper at the conference, and the boys and I went over to the Port Discovery children's museum. I "made" the boys go through the Egypt exhibit there (because it goes along with what we are currently studying with our homeschool curriculum). We had fun deciphering heiroglyphics and pulling ourselves on this little "raft" across the Nile River--better watch out for crocodiles! :) After we left that exhibit, the boys spent nearly 45 minutes climbing around in the 3-story play structure that is in the middle of the museum. I sat at the bottom where I could see them, for the most part, and instructed Aidan to stay close to his brother and to check in with me periodically). Aidan had a couple of instances where he didn't want to be cooperative, but finally relented and enjoyed tagging along after his big brother. They also went into the R&D lab and put together their own trolleys and made spoons (we have about 5 that we ended up leaving with--they just kept pushing the button to have the machine make more!). After we left that area, we signed up for the gum-making workshop. The boys REALLY liked that part. I mean, what's not to like about playing with powdered sugar? Granted, they were filthy by the time we left that workshop, but they thought their homemade gum was pretty good. We played around for a little while longer, then Aidan started having melt downs, and I had a text message from Rob saying that he was done, so it was the perfect time to leave. Rob walked over to meet us and then we stopped at Starbucks so I could have some coffee (I was on low) and the boys ate their snacks that I packed. We ended up eating an early dinner at the taco place next door to where we are staying, then we walked over to Barnes and Noble to meet some friends of Rob's that he met at the AMCIS conference in August. We tried to go to Ben and Jerry's for ice cream, but they were closed, so we went to Haagen Dasz instead before coming back to turn in for the night.

The boys are currently watching PBS kids and are playing with LEGOS while I am typing. We are going to meet Rob in a little while to go to the Aquarium, so I had better get ready. Tonight, I get to go on a date with that handsome husband of mine, sans children. It should be fun! Then, tomorrow, we head back home with a possible stop back at the LEGO store.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

David with his toothless grin...

After a few months of having 4 loose teeth, David finally pulled one out this morning, right before we went downtown to the farmer's market. Yesterday, Rob and I noticed that David's tooth was much looser (when you can hear the thing squish when he wiggles it, you know that it's time for it to come out), so we convinced him to keep wiggling it so he can be visited by the tooth fairy. He hadn't pulled it out by the time that he went to bed, so he promptly went to work on wiggling it this morning. Wiggling while we were cuddling, wiggling while I was reading Charlotte's Web aloud to him, wiggling, wiggling, wiggling...
I really think that he was scared that if he really tried to pull it out that it was going to be really painful. So, as soon as he wiggled it again (in front of the bathroom mirror off-and-on), and then came down to show me, it just popped out in his hand! He was in a bit of a state of disbelief at first, then he smiles at me with his newly toothless grin and proclaimed, "Mom, that really didn't hurt at all!" We jumped and danced around the kitchen and dining area then he wanted to call Nana. After Nana, he called Uncle Dunny. Apparently, they had quite the conversation going about how much he should ask the Tooth Fairy to give him. Dustin suggested that he go for $20, David ended up getting up to the $500 mark. I had to let him know that the tooth fairy just doesn't carry that kind of cash. ;) waits to be seen how long it will take for D-man to decide to start pulling out his other loose teeth.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Pledge of Allegiance by Aidan.

Aidan has learned the Pledge of Allegiance this year through the AWANA Cubbies program that he is involved in (and likes to say it when he sees the American flag - a LOT!). Today, he said the pledge and this is how it went...

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic, for which it stands, one nation under God, who I have in my heart, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL!"

I loved the little addition after the words, "under God," although he didn't repeat that phrase again when I was trying to take some video of him saying the pledge.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Aidan Grammar.

Aidan often gets his pronouns mixed up. Him's instead of his, him's instead of hers (he has gotten better with that one), her instead of she, you instead of I, etc. We always gently correct, try to get him to say it correctly at least once (sometimes more than that if he immediately lapses back).'s an example from this morning.

Aidan says, "Daddy, Tessa and her mommy are home!"

Rob says, "Where's Elliot?"

"Him's at school." Aidan replied

Rob and I both say, "HE is at school."

"He is at school." Aidan replies.

Rob says: "Where's Gabby?"

"Her's at school" was Aidan's reply.

"SHE is at school." we say.

"He is at school." Aidan said.

"No, SHE is at school." Rob said and then went on to say, "Boys are he's and girls are she's."

"WHY?" Aidan asks.

"Good question buddy--but it's just the way our language works."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Out of the mouths of kids...

Yesterday, right after Rob left to take Aidan to the after-hours clinic (he came down with strep throat yesterday), David curls up next to me in our living room chair and says:

"Mom, I like hanging out here, just you and me. It sure beats being cooped up all day with a bunch of kids!"

He was talking about himself being cooped up with a bunch of kids at school--not me! :) I smiled at him (bit my lip to hold back peals of laughter) and snuggled him close and let him know that I enjoyed hanging out at home with him too. I love that kid!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Green Monster of Envy.

Yes, that infamous monster seems to rise up in Aidan on a semi-regular basis. When David climbs up to cuddle with me in the chair, Aidan gets this look in his eyes and tries to be the first one there to at least claim what he sees to be the prime location (it is worse today since David was home from school sick...again...and Aidan is used to having me all to himself during the day). But it even rose to an uglier head early this evening when David got his new Batman Leapster game with the Wal*Mart gift card he was given for his birthday.

Aidan was content listening to The Best of We Sing with the headphones until I grabbed the Leapster off the floor of the car to put the new game in it for David to play on the way home. Then, when he saw that I was giving the Leapster to David, he ripped off the headphones and threw them on the floor because HE wanted to play with the Leapster then and didn't want David to. Then you could see him jealously eyeing his brother and the Leapster from his seat in the car. I was quietly whispering to Rob that David was helping me to decide what Nana was going to get Aidan for his birthday (he had to help me decide on the color), so Rob asks Aidan:

"Aidan, what's your favorite color?"

"Batman" was Aidan's reply.

"Batman?" Rob and I reply (meanwhile trying to hold back our laughter).

"No, really buddy, what's your favorite color?" Rob says.

"I not telling you" Aidan says through clenched teeth, his bad attitude more than shining through his tone of voice.

Yeah...that's one ugly monster that we are hoping and praying will go away.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Deep Thoughts from 'D'

Last night, we drove down to Barnes and Noble to pick up a couple of books for me to read since I haven't been feeling all that great and have just wanted to curl up in bed with a good book (and snuggled next to one of my boys who have both been feeling under-the-weather). The sunset yesterday was breathtaking with various hues of gold, orange and red permeating the darkening blue sky. Then, David was looking out the window himself and randomly says:

"The sunset makes me feel so close to God. I feel like his arms are wrapped around me and it makes me love Him SO much!"

I was the only one who heard him make this comment and asked Rob (with tears starting to glisten in my eyes and a gladness in my heart) if he heard our almost 6-year-old's comment. He had been listening to talk radio fairly intently, so he had missed it, but David happily recounted what he had just shared and then went on to tell us about other things that made him feel close to God and loved by our Creator.

He has such deep and profound thoughts and has been amazing me with his insight and outlook on life. And, when he speaks these things from his heart or when he is making up his own songs of praise to our Father, I get this mental image of his namesake--King David and feel reassured of the promise we were given when I was pregnant with my firstborn. He's going to be a man after God's own heart.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Love and Forgiveness.

After I wrote yesterday's post, a verse in 1 Corinthians 13 kept swirling through my mind. This morning and afternoon it is still swirling around in there, so I thought I'd share and reflect on it.

Verses 4 and 5 say: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

The part about love not keeping record of wrongs really jumped out to me while I was writing yesterday's post. How often do we harbor wrongs done to us to use as ammunition to shoot that person down at a later date? Even after the person made the offense had asked for forgiveness? If we were being loving and were treating others in the way God treats us, wouldn't we "forget" about the offense to bring it up or hold it against that person no more? This made me take a look inside myself. I've brought up things with my husband that had hurt me in the past and that he had apologized for--why? Because I wanted to hurt him. That's not being loving. Not only was I keeping record of his wrongdoings against me, but I was also being unkind to him in the process. I know of other times when I have kept a mental tally of when someone has wronged me. That's not love. God then works through his Holy Spirit (sometimes using other people, a song and also scripture) to convict my heart to bring me back into obedience and oneness with himself and then I ask for His forgivenes and lay my burden down at his feet. However, I have to admit that often something will happen that will make me want to try to pick up that burden again to carry it on my own...

Verse 6 says that [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Bringing up acts of the past that have already been forgiven is not showing love. If I had been showing love to my husband (or to anyone for that matter), I would want to protect the relationship and not want to hurt him.

I know that I have a lot to learn from my heavenly Father in this area and will always have to work at this. Thankfully Father is there to help me and that he won't be keeping record of the many wrongs that I am certain to make along the way to ask forgiveness for. :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Just a little somthing...

...that has been going through my mind over the last couple of months. Something that my pastor has shared with us on a number of occasions over the last few months. Something that reverberates through my mind and soul. Something of which I am eternally thankful. What is that something? It's God's forgiveness and his "forgetfulness."

In Hebrews 10:17 it says that "'Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.'"

and in Psalm 103:11 it says that: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Isn't that just amazing?!?! When we ask God for His forgiveness, he forgives us and forgets. He doesn't keep bringing the offenses up again (the enemy does a good enough job trying to tell you "Remember what you did?" People can do the same.). His forgiveness is what I am striving toward being able to give to others--even when the offense is repeated (Matthew 18:21-22).

I want to forgive as He has forgiven me and to be able to forget about it and to not try to reclaim it after I have laid whatever it is at the Throne of God. Because, after all, total freedom in Christ is what I desire and to receive all that my loving, compassionate, kind, forgiving God has in store for me!