>> December 26, 2007
One of the things we got to do this month was go to the El Capitan for an Enchanted party. Thank you Nina (and Erin and Onne) for a very fun Christmas party. I went to one of these parties in 2001 when I took Kayla Sharp to the Princess Diaries party. They sure have changed. When Kayla and I went, there were about 75-100 people who, after the movie, went to a tea party. We were served tea sandwiches, treats and different drink options. All of the Disney princesses were in attendance and came to talk to us (and pose for pictures, sign autographs, etc), table to table. Now when you leave the theatre and enter the after event, it is like a small amusement park inside. There is a jumper, a couple of different sized climbing walls, an apple throwing suite, an arcade that doesn't require quarters, and much more. Of course the Disney princesses were all there, including Giselle from Enchanted, but they don't meander the room, they have stations now, like at Disneyland, and you stand in line to see them. You can still sit down and be served a meal, but you have to have a private party, which is what we did. I think most everyone who attended the movie went to the after-event. But we waited until after our meal to go to the event and it wasn't too crowded. We didn't have to wait in line (more than one person ahead of us) to see any of the princesses and the boys were able to play without much of a wait also. Here are a couple of pictures...
Mason's favorite part of the evening was the climbing wall. He climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed... Every time he got to the top and slid down the other side to the bottom he was climbing to the top again - for an hour straight. Sometimes Merritt would join him, but Merritt enjoyed all of the options.
I think this was one of the highlights for Merritt. We waited until the very end of the evening for this picture so that we wouldn't have to wait in line (and waste time that was otherwise spent playing), but Merritt made sure that we didn't miss this photo opportunity. He sat and talked with Giselle for quite awhile before posing for the picture.
You probably noticed that there isn't a picture of Mason with any of the princesses. That is because he hid behind me every time we got up to one. He wouldn't even talk to them. I've never seen Mason act shy like that. Oh and thank you grandma for letting us borrow your camera. My camera had a dead battery when I took it out to start taking pictures.
>> December 25, 2007
I hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas. We had such a nice relaxing day at our house today. I was a bit concerned that today might be a hard day for me because I haven't been to bed before 3am for the past 4 nights in a row and last night was 5 am. But honestly this day was one of the better Christmases I have had in a long time. Here are a few pictures of our season...
The next few pictures are of the kids helping us decorate our home..
We had two Christmas trees this year. This is the one the boys were decorating in the pictures above. This is what it looked like this morning when Bruce and I finally went to bed. (We weren't up wrapping gifts. I was finishing Mason's stocking and Bruce was making Jesus' birthday cake, and then we cleaned).
We don't have a fireplace at our new house, so the stockings get hung on the TV console with care... (notice Mason's finished stocking. I'm pretty proud of the finished product. Molly will get a needlepoint one to match the rest next year - I'm already starting it!)
And here is Jesus' birthday cake, our nativity that gets a new piece every day for 7 days (the last gift box being opened on Christmas morning before we open any other gifts), and in the basket behind the cake, the Christmas cards we receive. I love this picture, because it holds our family Christmas traditions in it. Every Christmas we do this nativity; we eat Jesus' birthday cake for breakfast; and every year we keep the cards we receive in the basket for the whole year. We pull one out every night we sit down together for dinner and pray for the family it represents.
I hope you have had a blessed, Christ-centered Christmas season, and that if the season has gotten away from you without you even realizing it, that you can take some time this week - before the new year starts - to see God, to put your focus on the wonder of Him, the blessings that He has given you, and know how much He loves you.
"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness." Psalm 29:2
I don't know about you, but that's how I intend to start off 2008.
>> November 26, 2007
How was your Thanksgiving? I hope you had a nice day. A day spent with good food, fun with your family, and time considering all you have to be thankful for.
I was talking to a friend last week about their holiday plans, and she told me about all that was going on in preparation - who was upset with who and how stressful the day usually was. As I was praying for them, it really struck me how easy it is to get caught up in the festivities and lose sight of the meaning of the holiday. We often talk about this at Christmas - you know, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle - but not usually about Thanksgiving. But for my friends family, they were so concerned with who was going to bring what dish to the meal and not being able to bring what they wanted to bring, that they couldn't even truly be thankful for the people that they were having the meal for and with. The thing is, that particular friend's family is not experiencing something unique to their family. I had 3 different other friends ask for prayer for their family celebration and the stress usually involved. It just seems so ironic to me that we could get so caught up in having this "perfect" meal and not even enjoy the reason for the meal.
We had a GREAT time at the Kane house. And thanks to one of Bruce's cousins, a time full of expressing thanks for one another. Earlier this year, everyone drew a name of someone in the family that was going to be in Hanford for Thanksgiving(there were 27 in attendance). Then, on Thanksgiving day each person expressed why they were thankful for the person that they drew the name of. It was a meaningful experience and I hope we do it again, because it made everyone focus on the true meaning of the holiday.
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Prov. 11:2
Why do we as people have such a hard time admitting wrong? Why is there always such a need to defend our actions?
My mom decided to come to Hanford for Thanksgiving and her favorite family tradition is going to see a movie with everyone. Since this is the year that all of Bruce's extended family from Southern CA came to Hanford, we decided to take my mom to the movie on Wednesday. We went to the small theater at the Hanford mall. Our movie, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, started at 11:50 and we got there about 20 minutes before the movie started to have plenty of time to get our popcorn and such. We sat down in the theater that had the sign above it showing our movie title and at about 12:20, after 20 minutes of previews, the movie This Christmas started. The movie was off center, so I didn't even realize it was a different movie starting when I got up to go tell someone to fix the screen. When I was talking to the employee at the concession stand another girl came to tell them that the movie was off center too, only she was talking about This Christmas. When I went back into the theater, I noticed that the sign above our theater had changed and our movie was in the theater across the hall. I went to where we were seated and told Bruce that I thought we were in the wrong theater, which he was starting to figure out himself (the title of the other movie hadn't come on the screen yet). We, along with several other families, gathered our stuff and moved to the correct theater to join the movie that was already 30 minutes in. This exact thing happened to us a few years ago on Christmas in Lakewood and I couldn't believe it would happen again. After I got my family situated, I proceeded to speak to the manager about this mishap. Now when this happened in Lakewood, the manager was stumbling over himself to make sure we were satisfied customers. They not only apologized, they gave us our money back and free tickets to come back and see the movie in its entirety (or any other movie). This time however, the manager immediately started blaming me (and the other people who were there talking to him). He said we must have arrived late. Arrived late? Duh! If we had arrived late, we would have been in the correct theater. It turns out that he was the one who changed the sign and neglected to go in and tell the people who were already sitting in there. I felt bad for him because, aside from the guy running the concession stand, he was the only employee there - and he had a movie that wasn't running correctly when he changed the sign. He did refund our money after I told him that it would have been nice if he would have just said "I'm sorry" instead of trying to blame us for his mistake. Honestly, I would have been waaaayyyyy more sympathetic to his situation if he had just admitted his mistake and said, "I'm sorry."
So I have been pondering how well I do at this and I have to admit that although sometimes I am the first one to admit my wrong and say sorry, there are other times when I feel I need to justify my actions and stand my ground. That is so prideful, but a normal human reaction. I was sharing with a friend what God had been showing me through this, and she said that God had been showing her the benefits of humility too, not only in how it disarms others, but in how it affects her witness - especially in a small town like Hanford. It is a very likely reality that the people we are in contact with on a day to day basis will walk into Epic on any given Sunday. Wow! I hadn't even thought about that aspect of the consequences of my actions. I have to consider that, if they did walk in on Sunday morning, would they see the worship leader and remember me for something positive or something negative that I did or said (acting in humility or pride)?
Even if my actions are justified, I need to see the situation from the other persons perspective too, but that takes quite a bit of humility. Its the whole "consider others more highly than yourself" (philippians 2:3) that is so hard. So I endeavor to be clothed in humility and consider what consequences my actions might bring for the Kingdom of God.
>> November 15, 2007
Molly had cereal for the first time last week. She loves it and eats really well. It only took a couple of spoonfulls for her to get the hang of it. She was 24 weeks old yesterday - almost 6 months. I can't believe how quickly her first year is flying by.
I know it is kind of late, but here are some pictures from Halloween...
Epic doesn't host an event for Halloween. We encourage our church family to stay home and be a light for Christ in their own neighborhood. After all, it is the one day of the year that most of your neighbors come knocking on YOUR door. I didn't get any pictures of our yard, but we rented a jumper and served frito boats and bottled water with the candy we passed out. Bruce stayed home with some friends of ours while I took the kids trick-or-treating. He got to meet several of our neighbors and had some great conversations with a couple of them. I personally don't look forward to Halloween, but this year was a lot of fun.
Ok, so I am finally back. I know, I know.... I haven't blogged in about a month. I'm sorry. I have been trying to get settled into our new house. And although we are not even close to being done, we are at least settled enough to be living without too much chaos. Here are some pictures...
The boys' room...
The master bedroom...
The living room...
The living/kitchen/dining rooms...
As you can see, nothing is really decorated yet. We still have touch-up paint and a few other things to do before we will start decorating. You can see blue tape on the wall in one of the pictures of the boys' room marking where some touch up paint needs to be done. And the backsplash in the kitchen is still waiting to be tiled. Bruce intended to get it done before Thanksgiving, but time is slipping away very quickly for that. I think he is a bit tiled out after all of the work on the floor, which is a lot of tile as you can see in the pictures. It was worth it though. We really love it.
Two of the chairs I am reupholstering are going in the living room on the side of the couch opposite the recliner. And the other two are going in the master bedroom. Hopefully, I can work on those next week.
This week I am working on Molly's bedding. I hope to finish it by the weekend. What you see in the picture is the bumper I made for Merritt when he was a baby. When I finish I will post a new picture.
One of our projects since we moved in has been making the closet and cabinet space effective. We really wanted to make the boys' closet as efficient as possible so that they would have room to play in their room instead of every spare inch being used for storage. Also, there isn't a medicine cabinet anywhere in the house and the linen cabinet in the master bathroom is really deep. It was not very usable space, so we worked on that too. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished work. The large drawers we installed in the linen cabinet are fully extendable.
>> October 15, 2007
So I am completely exhausted and now I have a cold. I think my body is telling me to slow down. We are almost done with the work in the new house and plan on moving in this coming weekend. Not everything will be finished, but everything that is left won't affect us being able to live there. The projects that won't be complete are mostly my projects. It takes ten times as long to get things done with a 4 month old. I have some great friends that have come to help me with some of my projects. Thank you Jen, Amy and Debra! I wouldn't even be close to finishing without your help.
Since the last time I posted, Bruce went to Atlanta for a conference and was gone almost a week, and we spent half of last week in Southern California for a wedding (and a trip to Disneyland to celebrate Mason's 4th birthday, which isn't actually until the 19th.) To all my friends in Southern California... sorry I didn't call or visit, but we didn't have any spare time to spend with you on this trip. I think that much of my exhaustion is from that trip. We got to my brother's in Riverside at about 12:30 am on Thursday morning; got up on Thursday to get to Disneyland by 10am. We spent the whole day there and got back to my brother's around 11:30pm; spent Friday in Pasadena with my mom until the wedding rehearsal time; Had brunch with my family on Saturday and then went to the wedding. We left Riverside on Saturday night at around 9pm to get home for Sunday and didn't get home until 2am (thanks to interstate 5 being closed. We didn't have a clue because there was no time to watch the news). When we got home the kids decided that they had a nice nap and were good and awake. I think I finally crawled into bed around 4am on Sunday, to get about 3 1/2 hours of sleep before having to get up and get Merritt to his soccer game by 9. We don't normally have soccer on Sundays, but the league scheduled make up games for the day we missed due to poor air quality. Our team won by default because only 4 members of the other team showed up. They split the team members and had a nice scrimmage! Thank God I could sleep a lot today.
Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks...
Molly at 18 weeks. This is how she plays with the Red Power Ranger.
Bruce, drilling a whole in the top of the desk for the cords to go through. These cabinets used to be oak and in the kitchen. Bruce painted and distressed them, along with the built in desk, and hung them for storage in the office area. (We put the rest of the removed kitchen cabinets in the garage and utility room.)
>> September 28, 2007
We aren't moved in yet, but we are still working diligently. The countertops will be in on Monday. The kitchen plumbing will be hooked up and the appliances installed on Tuesday. The floor is about 1/4 of the way installed as of noon today.
On Monday I started my reupholstery project. It has taken all week to get one of the club chairs unupholstered and ready for its new fabric. Hopefully, that just went slowly because I was being very deliberate and careful, learning how it was originally put together as I tore it apart so that it is put back together correctly. The other three chairs should go more quickly (I hope).
Here is what the chair looked like when I started ...
and here it is as of yesterday afternoon...
I'll post more pictures next week.
(We probably won't be moving in until the week after next because Bruce will be in Atlanta at a conference all week next week.)
I am thanking God for blessing us with this house as I pay our first mortgage payment today!
Molly is going to be 4 months on this Sunday. Wow! Time is flying by faster with her than it did with the boys.
This month has been a fun month with her.
She loves her toes. She loves to hold them and put them in her mouth. She was getting mad the other day because she was in her car seat, which prevented her from getting her toes all the way to her mouth.
For the first couple weeks of the month, when you laid her down on the floor she would scootch all over the place on her back. Now she promptly rolls over to see what's around her first.
Last week I put her down in my bedroom at the new house (the only room with furniture in it yet). I went to the bathroom, and when I came back she was nowhere to be seen. I found her because she was squealing and cooing quite loudly, and when I looked to where the noise was coming from I saw toes sticking out from under the bed. She had scootched herself under the bed and was having a grand old time there.
This morning I put her in the saucer and she loved it.
She is growing up sooooo fast!
We are full in the swing of soccer season now. Saturday was Merritt's second game and I remembered the camera.
Merritt is quite a different player this year than he was last year. Last year was his introduction to soccer and, although he loved his experience, I think he loved being a part of a team more than playing the game. So I was actually a little surprised when he said he wanted to play this year. He is doing so well. He actually watches the ball (and not the birds) this year. He said to me the other day, "Mom, aren't you glad I'm not goofing off so much this year?" This comment came out of the blue and I thought he meant goofing off in general. When he saw the look on my face in response to his question he said, "You know, in soccer. I am actually playing the game this year."
After the game we went to eat with some friends who were down from Fresno to help us with lighting at our house. Merritt rode with them in their car from the restaurant to our new house and as they were leaving they passed a person who was asking for money, holding a sign that said "down on luck. God Bless." Our friends said that about 3 minutes after they passed that person, as they were sitting at a stop light, waiting to turn, Merritt said, "You could have helped that person." then, "That's ok. Did you just choose not to?" Its amazing how kids challenge us.
AND I know, I know. Its already Friday and the soccer game was last Saturday. That tells you how much I have been sitting at the computer the past couple of weeks.