Spring Break

Last week Cora was on spring break from preschool. We didn’t want to not do anything fun with her being on break so we planned a day at the zoo! Our zoo gives a free day on Mondays for those from the county and we just happen to live in the same county as the zoo so we took advantage of a free trip! We got there soon after the zoo opened, which was good because it filled up fast! When we pulled into the zoo and were in the parking lot Cora says, “I didn’t know the zoo would be so awesome!” The weather was BEAUTIFUL, the kids were great and well, it was just such a nice time. We saw animals, although not all of them were out and active. I guess some of the animals are still in winter mode. When we finally made it to the tiger and saw he was sleeping in his “cave” (and only saw his hind FEET and end of tail) Cora says, “He’s not very exciting either, Daddy.” No, no he’s not. 🙂 We stayed for a couple hours, then went and got lunch and made it home for naps. We then finished the day with ice cream for supper! It was a great day!

Cora was very intent on the map. So much so we had to tell her to put it down so she would actually SEE the animals she was leading us to!

Cora was very intent on the map. So much so we had to tell her to put it down so she would actually SEE the animals!

This whole ensemble, hat to overalls, was Cora's. It would seem Bekah is just as adorable in it!

This whole ensemble, hat to overalls, was Cora’s. It would seem Bekah is just as adorable in it!

Ben really like the primates!

Ben really liked the primates!

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Cora is such a great big sister! She did a good job pushing Bekah around.

Cora is such a great big sister! She did a good job pushing Bekah around.

The 2 men in our lives. I love them so much.

The 2 men in our lives. I love them so much.

How big is your hand compared to a gorilla's?

How big is your hand compared to a gorilla’s?

Ben thought this was pretty hilarious!

Ben thought this was pretty hilarious!

Bekah seemed to have fun sitting in the stroller taking it all in.

Bekah seemed to have fun sitting in the stroller taking it all in.

Me and my munchkins!

Me and my munchkins!

Hey, it's hard work being pushed around looking at animals!

Hey, it’s hard work being pushed around looking at animals!

Coloring Eggs

I have mentioned several times how busy we’ve been. It seems like it’s been months since we’ve had time to just sit and breathe. I guess we’re just in a season of busy right now, and I hope it ends very soon! In any case, with Easter being 2 weeks ago everything leading up to that added to the busyness! It was a few days before Easter, and David asked if the kids could color eggs. Oh. Sure. Honestly, it hadn’t crossed my mind, which is weird, because I grew up doing it. This is just how frazzled my brain has been. Because it was so close to Easter we weren’t able to find the coloring kits, so we just used food coloring with water and vinegar, and I’d say it worked just fine! And, I do believe that’s how my mom did it when I was growing up. The kids had a lot of fun coloring the eggs and did a great job! We get farm fresh eggs from a lady my dad works with so they aren’t snow white. I picked out the lightest ones we had and it lead to some interesting results! One of the eggs is naturally a light sage green, and Cora put it into the green food coloring. It turned out such a beautiful, vibrant green! The purple dye didn’t do so well, though and just made the eggs look browner. Oh well! Live and learn, right? Next year I would like to try doing egg coloring with natural dyes from different foods. I think it could be a fun science experiment!

Again, my children's personalities shine through. Cora very meticulously putting her eggs in the dye, waiting a good long time to get them just the perfect color...

Again, my children’s personalities shine through. Cora very meticulously putting her eggs in the dye, waiting a good long time to get them just the perfect color…

Bekah munched on snacks and watched this year...

Bekah munched on snacks and watched this year…

Ben preferred to plop the eggs in and almost immediately bring them out!  We had to really encourage him to keep the eggs in the dye at least 5 seconds!

Ben preferred to plop the eggs in and almost immediately bring them out! We had to really encourage him to keep the eggs in the dye at least 5 seconds!

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Don't you just love that green one?

Don’t you just love that green one?

To be Content

It’s hard to be content sometimes, isn’t it? I mean, there is always someone more beautiful, richer, has a nicer house, better clothes, etc. I think our society does a really great job at making us feel inadequate with what we have and who we are. However, the Bible tells us to be content in all things (Philippians 4:11). But, let’s face it, it’s HARD to be content in ALL things! At least I find it to be so sometimes. I don’t think I’m a person who is constantly looking for the greener grass, but I do go through periods of time where that is true. Have you been there?

I’ve been thinking about all this because of a Facebook page I’ve joined recently. It’s a page that women can buy & sell their stuff for cheap. All you have to do is go to the person’s house, pick it up and leave your money. It’s been a wonderful resource for us! I’ve bought clothes, shoes, items for all of us off the site, spending very little money. For example, a brand new pair of shoes for Cora for $5! Two pairs of pants for me, with tags that said $108 (each) for $7.50 a piece! You just can’t beat that. Although I find this site to be very helpful for many things I have also noticed that it’s easy for me to become discontent with what I already have and have been blessed with. I have driven to many a FANCY neighborhood, places I will probably never live, nor would really want to, and then come back to my humble home and think, “yikes! Hope none of these ladies will buy something I’m selling!” How silly! How ridiculous! It’s just stupid, really. My home is beautiful, well-built and exactly what we need and WANT. We can afford it and are not house-poor. We don’t worry from month to month how we’ll pay the mortgage. But, Satan knows just how to make us feel inadequate, doesn’t he?

The other night we took the kids to get ice cream, yes, for supper! It was so much fun, and we were all having a grand ol’ time. In walk a gaggle of kids and most of them were wearing designer winter coats. I looked at my kids with their faces covered in chocolate ice cream and thought, “I hope those moms don’t see I have hand-me-down coats for my kids.” Just as soon as I had the thought I was so ashamed! How ridiculous!!! My kids have perfectly good coats, they’ve been kept warm all winter, the coats are nice, not ratty, not torn, nothing of that nature. God provided these wonderful coats for our kids, and they’ve never questioned the labels on them. Why should I? That little internal incident made me stop short and realize just how ridiculous things have become in our society and have filtered into my mindset recently. We’re buying designer everything for our kids, who will only wear them for a season at best. And why? Simply because we want to be sure people know we love our kids and can provide for them. Pure silliness and insanity!

Don’t get me wrong. If I find good deals on items I know are well-made, I buy them. But, in our family our motto has never been to buy the most expensive just because. And, in all reality, our family is more than happy to take hand-me-downs! It’s all a matter of our selfish humanness. And, I suppose our insecurities and not fully trusting the Lord. And so, after the ice cream incident I am more resolved to thank the Lord for his GREAT and MIGHTY provisions and not give a whit what other people put on their kids or selves.

Is this something you have struggled with? What have you found to be the root of it?

Snow Day!!!!!

Well, this winter has been a doozy, huh? I mean, really, it seems no matter where you live in the U.S. you are getting abnormally cold weather and way more snow than you’re accustomed too! The same is true for us. Even though we live in a the snow belt of our state we have had so much more snow than usual, and the temperatures are just so darn cold!!! The school kids have had more snow days then I think ever before, and Cora has not been happy with all the preschool she’s missing. I’m only able to appease her by saying the big kids also don’t have school. Now when I tell her she won’t have school she says, very forlornly, “even the big kids don’t?” She has also been wanting to go out and play in the snow, but with it being so cold it’s just not been safe. And, the snow we’ve had has been that powdery, non-packing snow and not overly fun to play in. However! The other day everything came together, and it was the perfect day to play in the snow! The night before, and morning of, we got dumped on–my husband figures about a foot. And the day itself was in the mid-30s, so the snow was perfect for packing (making a snowman!), and since it wasn’t bitter cold, and the sun was shining it was just the best time to bundle them up and send them out! David took them outside, and they all 3 had a blast! I took pictures from the porch as I had to keep an eye on Bekah…As they played outside I made hot cocoa inside to be ready to warm them up. I’m so thankful the Lord provided such a gorgeous day, and we were able to have them go outside! It did us all good!!

Ben wasn't too sure he wanted to go in the snow. But, David carried him down and in like 2 seconds he was having fun!

Ben wasn’t too sure he wanted to go in the snow. But, David carried him down and in like 2 seconds he was having fun!

Snowball fight!!!!

Snowball fight!!!!

I sure do love these 3!!

I sure do love these 3!!

Is it good Ben?

Is it good Ben?

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Cora making a snow angel

Cora making a snow angel

Building the greatly anticipated snow man!

Building the greatly anticipated snow man!

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Oooo! Who's that handsome man in my yard???

Oooo! Who’s that handsome man in my yard???

I LOVE the pride shining on Cora's face over her snow man, which she named Frosty, naturally!

I LOVE the pride shining on Cora’s face over her snowman, which she named Frosty, naturally!

I threw a hat on Bekah's head and took her outside with me so I could get a good photo of snowman and his creators. It really was so warm (or felt that way!). No worries, she wasn't even out 5 minutes!

I threw a hat on Bekah’s head and took her outside with me so I could get a good photo of the snowman and his creators. It really was so warm (or felt that way!). No worries, she wasn’t even out 5 minutes!

She's so beautful...

She’s so beautful…

This is how Molly and Bekah spent the time...looking sadly out the door wishing to be out with everyone!

This is how Molly and Bekah spent the time…looking sadly out the door wishing to be out with everyone!

Warming up with hot cocoa!

Warming up with hot cocoa!

Saturday Fun

We’ve all been sick with various viruses–mainly some stomach bug, the flu and terrible colds–the last few weeks. Saturday, even though David was still feeling pretty yucky, he suggested we get out of the house and go to a local farmer’s market in our area. I called Grandma to join us, and we all drove the 15 minutes or so to the market. The kids were EXCELLENT, and that, of course, makes everything so much better!  We got all sorts of produce that we’re not growing in our garden (or the deer haven’t eaten out of our garden, like the tomato plants…) and just had a fun, relaxing time meandering around looking at everything. We decided to stop at Qdoba to get lunch. As we were leaving the restaurant we looked out in the parking lot and saw a shiny, red firetruck! We made a big deal about it to the kids, and they got all excited. I then realized that coming out of the restaurant with us were 2 firemen! They started talking to the kids about the firetruck, and then asked if they’d like to sit in it! They were SO EXCITED, as were David and I, and they didn’t hesitate to sit in the truck! Ben actually asserted himself and pushed in front of his sister, which I found very funny! He usually just lets her push him around…Anyway, they both got a turn and were very good and all smiles! I love to see my kids happy and getting to participate in something unplanned and fun! Thankfully, I had my phone with me and got a photo of each of them in the truck. They were certainly all smiles! Yeah for fun firemen!!!!

Every boy's dream, I think!

Every boy’s dream, I think!

She was pretty shy about the whole thing, but she did smile big and  actually said "thank you" without much prompting!

She was pretty shy about the whole thing, but she did smile big and actually said “thank you” without much prompting!

Birthday Celebrating

Because we don’t know when Baby Girl is expected to arrive and because Ben’s birthday is actually the 20th, with the due date being the 25th, we decided to celebrate Ben’s 2nd b-day early–that’s what we did on Saturday! We celebrated with my parents, David’s mom, step dad, step sister, her husband, my grandma, our nephew, Riley, and niece, Haddie (my sister and BIL were away for a few days for job training for my BIL, and Sophia was at a family wedding with her other grandma!). We had a grand ol’ time! We did a baseball theme, ordered nuggets and mini chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-a, and my mom, MIL and sister-in-law brought the rest of the food! Because we didn’t know where we’d be in the whole baby process we were trying to keep it very low-key. I did make a cake, but it was simple and didn’t require too much effort. Ben received all sorts of wonderful gifts from a stuffed dinosaur to a basketball hoop for outside. He loved all of it and was so excited as he opened up each gift. It was really cute to watch! The kids spent the afternoon playing with the new toys outside and when everyone was good and tired, they all went home. David’s family stayed here in our town at a hotel for the night so we met them over there with pizza and bathing suits. The kids got to swim at the hotel pool, which they thoroughly enjoyed! We got home in time for bed and well, I think they were pretty exhausted because they fell right to sleep! I would say Ben was well-celebrated! It was a great day, a relaxing day, and one fit for our little man. Enjoy the photos!

The cake...obviously...

The cake…obviously…

The girls...I think they look alike here...

The girls…I think they look alike here…

Miss Haddie Anne

Miss Haddie Anne

The spread...

The spread…

The cousins...we sure missed Sophia & Micah!

The cousins…we sure missed Sophia & Micah!

I told him to look at me...this is what he does.

I told him to look at me…this is what he does.

A stuffed dinosaur, he slept with that night!

A stuffed dinosaur, he slept with that night!

Trying out his foam swords with Riley!

Trying out his foam swords with Riley!

He blew his candle out right away--didn't even know he knew how!

He blew his candle out right away–didn’t even know he knew how!

Nothing says "I'm a big boy" like getting cake-eating help from Great Grandma!

Nothing says “I’m a big boy” like getting cake-eating help from Great Grandma!

Mr. Riley James

Mr. Riley James

Summer…

Ah, blissful summer! A time of freedom, being outside and HEAT! I love, love, LOVE summer!!!! I am NOT a cold-weather person. Never have been, probably never will be. I’m sure growing up on the Equator in the jungles of Africa has something to do with that, nonetheless I feel like my body and mind wakes up when it’s spring/summer, and I just love it! As I was outside with my kids the other day I was thinking of all the words, phrases, things that mean “summer,” especially this summer.  Here’s my list! What can you add?

1. A little girl riding her bike, and getting so very good at it!

2. A little boy getting hot and sweaty as he runs around in the yard.

3. A husband working hard in the garden, fending off late-season frost, rabbits and DEER!

4. Picnics, cook-outs and romps in the creek.

5. Hamburgers, hotdogs and anything that can and WILL be grilled!

6. The smell of freshly cut grass.

7. A little boy who loves to “mow” the driveway with his little lawn mower!

8. Vacation Bible School for our girl who is growing up too fast!

9. Swim lessons for the same little girl who doesn’t like to be called our little girl.

10. A new baby sister for said girl and boy.

11. SUNSHINE!!!!!

12. Trips to visit family.

13. Trips to the zoo.

14. Taking family walks around the neighborhood.

15. Getting all hot and sweaty doing the simplest things.

16. Canning and freezing the veggies from our garden.

17. Going outside withOUT coats!

18. Baseball games–either attending, watching on TV, or listening on the internet!

19. ICE CREAM!!!!

20. And…not thinking about how all too soon summer will end, and we’ll back to being cold again!