Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Love My Kids - Halloween Edition

I love my kids so much. This has been a fun Halloween. This is the first time that we have actually been home on Halloween and lived in an area where we actually get trick or treaters.  After our brief hail storm:
We headed out to visit some of our neighbors to trick or treat and show off the kids costumes. (This picture was taken much later in the evening after I had them re-dress.) It was we made it about a block and then came home to have hot chocolate because we were too cold.
Hannah - Belle, Caleb - ninja, Lydia - Indian Princess, Abigail - cowgirl
We came home and Glenn let us in (he had locked himself away studying with a friend) and then the kids stood by the door to give out candy. They were so excited and just loved seeing all the costumes and making people smile. I think that they had way more fun giving out candy than they had had getting candy. Here is a picture of them huddled by the front door eating popcorn and ready to pass out candy to the next group of people.  The kids kept a tally of how many people came trick or treating and when we got to 158 around 8pm we turned off the lights and came in to get ready for bed.
blurry picture from by the front door eating popcorn and waiting for trick or treaters

A little while later I went out onto the porch to look for something and saw this in our front yard:
our smashed pumpkins :(
I asked Caleb if he would help me clean it up and we went and told the girls that their pumpkins had been smashed. They were very sad and angry but we had a chance to sit and talk about it for a while wondering how Jesus would respond to people who wronged Him then we prayed for the people who had come and gotten candy from us and for the people who smashed our pumpkins and thanked God that nothing worse had happened to us.  Hannah came out and helped Caleb and I clean up the pumpkins from the front yard. They still couldn't understand why people would do something like that. I showed them how fun it was to see a pumpkin drop and smash with parts of the pumpkin and I could tell that God was working in their hearts as we talked and gathered pumpkin chunks. By the time that we took the last load of pumpkin chunks to the backyard they were coming up with a plan together for how to bless our pumpkin smashers next year. They decided that they are going to hide candy in our pumpkins next year so that people who are trying to be mean and smash our pumpkins will be blessed not only with the pleasure of watching the pumpkins splatter but with candy besides. It was so neat watching their hearts change as we walked through this trial together. I love that God is growing my kids and working in their hearts. I am so thankful that our pumpkins were smashed because I had a chance to talk to my kids about being wronged and how to respond when we are wronged. Thanks God for the blessing that my kids got to be to others by giving out candy and for working through the pumpkin smashing to a make them more like you.
Cleaning up pumpkin guts in our front yard.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today did not go as planned

Today was Glenn's second exam of his second year of medical school. After his first exam we kidnapped him and took him to a park for a bike ride. Today we were planning to do something similar. I made the kids get as much school work done as we could first thing in the morning the we threw together a picnic lunch and were throwing things in the car to go get Glenn. As I was walking back to the house to grab my purse I cringed as I saw the door being pulled shut. The kids know that they are supposed to pull the door shut when we leave but we weren't quite ready yet. Most of the stuff for our excursion was in the car but my purse and my keys were locked inside. I asked my neighbor who used to own our house if he still had a key. He tried all the keys on his random keys key ring but none of them worked. I called my landlord and left a message but I had no way to contact Glenn because he is only allowed to bring a pencil to his test - no phone, not even a coat. He had told me that he would start walking if he got done early so I knew he would be heading towards home but he was planning on having us pick him up. After leaving a message for my landlord I thought about the fact that I don't know how often he checks his messages and I remembered that he had been no help to our upstairs neighbors when they had been locked out when his bike fell down the stairs blocking him out. He had had to have the fire department use a ladder to get him in. Another neighbor started walking around the house checking all the windows to see if we could get in that way but we have been broken into too many times, all of our windows were locked (and storm windows down for winter). No luck there. I called my upstairs neighbor but he couldn't get into our apartment because we had deadbolted the kitchen door. While talking to him on the phone and talking to a neighbor lady who was wondering if she could help me get Glenn I saw a police car driving down our street. I ran toward it waving my arms. He stopped and asked what I needed. I told him that I didn't know if he could help but I was locked out of my apartment and my landlord wasn't answering his phone and probably didn't have a key and I was wondering if he could help me get into my house. Thankfully he decided to help and we tried getting in through the back door but it was deadbolted so he decided to try the front door. My neighbor had tried to card the door but was unable to. The police officer had a little crow bar in his car and he used it and some plastic card out of my neighbor's wallet and worked on the door for some time. He told me that I probably don't have to worry too much about someone breaking in because the door was pretty well sealed. After at least 5 minutes of working on it he was finally able to get the door open so that we could go inside. I am SO grateful! Thank you Syracuse City police officer! I didn't even catch his name I wad so caught up in worrying about Glenn wondering where we were and wondering how we were ever going to get into the house. It was the first time I've ever been thankful that someone broke into my house as a first response. I don't know what God is going to teach me or why He allowed this to happen today but I am so thankful for this wonderful police officer and kind neighbors willing to lend a hand and offer a warm place to wait and I am thankful that God answered my prayer quickly to get back into our apartment.

Oh, and in case you were curious, Glenn did make it home. Right after we got into our apartment and got my keys we were about ready to get into the van to go get him when we saw him up the street and ran to him rejoicing that we had gotten let back into our apartment. Our day didn't go as planned but we did get back into our apartment, were reunited with Glenn, and did get to spend part of the afternoon with him. Thank You God for how You take care of us!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kid pic update

A picture of the kids that we took yesterday. The girls really like Caleb can you tell? Here is Lydia showing her love.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Playing in leaves

The kids and Sonja had fun playing in the leaves today and I had fun taking pictures of them. I took the photos and made them into a little stop action video. I hope you all enjoy it. (sorry I don't have any music on my computer so no background music to enjoy with it.)

Friday, October 08, 2010

So what happens when Mom is away?

Sonja is in Rochester at a woman's conference and hopefully is having a very good time and is learning lots. It all of kind of came together rapidly though as she only started thinking of going to the conference in the afternoon on Wednesday. (Long story made short, a friend had access to tickets that couldn't be used by the purchasers and wanted someone to go with her.) So I told Sonja to go. I thought I only had one class at 11:00 am that I HAD to be at on Friday so not a huge deal for Sonja to go. I could find someone to watch the kids for a little over 2 hours right? Yes, I could. Then I looked at my schedule and realized that there was another class at 8 am that I HAD to be at also. Now things were starting to look a little more difficult but... Anyways when I told one of my classmates my dilemma she volunteered her husband to watch the kids for me today. It worked out really well and I am so thankful to both Catherine (for volunteering him) and Ryan being willing to be volunteered to watch the kids. The kids had a blast with him and he said as he was leaving that next time he came he was going to bring something (don't remember what) I was just happy that he was willing to come again :-). The rest of the day has gone well also and I have gotten some studying done and the kids really haven't had that much "screen time". So this evening I really wanted to take some picture of the kids and was playing around with taking pictures and trying some different lighting techniques and wanted to post them here for family and friends to see.

The picture below is a step back shot so if you care to you can see how I took the above pictures. Those are plastic cups over the light bulbs to give the colored background.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Out on the Town

I think that the boringness of January will probably make up for how exciting this week has been.

Today we escaped from the house to let Glenn study (after listening to Adventures in Odyssey of course). Our first stop was Syracuse University's Archbold Gymnasium. SU's Rec department has a program called the Neighborhood Youth Recreation Program. It offers gymnastics, basketball and cheerleading for free 6 Saturdays in the fall. Today was registration day so we went to sign up Caleb for basketball and the girls for gymnastics. They are all pretty excited about it.

After signing up we headed over to Syracuse Stage for their Open House. We got to eat snacks, watch a three performer show - Annabelle Drudge, and take a backstage tour to see where the costumes, sets and props are all made. The play was really fun and we learned a lot on our tour. We even got a free lunch of pizza which I was not expecting!

We went home and grabbed Glenn and walked quickly over to the Westcott Community Center for their bulb giveaway. We stopped and played in the leaves and took pictures of the kids throwing leaves up and having them fall all over them. After that we went home and then decided to go to the used winter sports equipment sale at Ed Smith Elementary. Lydia and I walked while Glenn drove the other 3. Lydia and I took the scenic route and walked up a flight of stairs we had always wanted to go up but never had. In reading Red Sails to Capri we were interested in the stairs up to Anacapri, there were 748 of them. We wanted to walk up the flight of stairs to Westminster Park to count them. We think that there were 189 steps. We will have to walk them again to recount to know for sure. When we finally got to the sale we visited with neighbors and picked up a pair of cross country ski poles for the kids. After that we headed to our garden plot. It is on it's last leg. I really should have watered it before that 90 degree day we had recently, many of our plants withered with the heat and lack of water. We did pick a few cherry tomatoes though and a green zebra or two.

On the way home we went to Tops. We needed milk and there was also a deal where they were doubling $1 coupons and I wanted to see what I could get for cheap with coupons I had printed of the internet. I picked up a can of whipped topping, a bag of Pillsbury Sweet Moments Brownies, and a big thing of yogurt for under a dollar a piece with the doubled coupons. We also stopped by the clearance section. Tops just recently acquired the store from P&C and they were getting rid of a bunch of old stock. We got: 64 AAA batteries, 12 9volt batteries, 17 sticker/ activity/ coloring books, 2 hand sanitizing mists, 4 turkey timers, a package of 4 night light bulbs, 1 set of 8 corn cob holders, a waterproof disposable camera, an egg decorating kit, 4 packs of 4 refills for a Soleil razor, a squeeze frosting, 4 cans of apple pie filling, 3 cans of peaches. The picture isn't the greatest but we got a bunch of stuff for about $50. (I didn't bother to photograph the 4 gallons of milk that we also purchased with that $50.)

 Hannah was most excited about the cow webkins that was on clearance for $1.12 that she bought with her own money that she had randomly brought.

I am thankful for cheap batteries, especially since the time change is soon and we need to change the batteries on all of the smoke detectors. I am also thankful for the nice character coloring and activity books to stick in our gift box for future presents. None of it was really necessities right now but we would have bought them sometime in the future so now we have them in stock for pennies on the dollar.

It was a fun Saturday out and about. I love spending time with my family. Looking forward to church tomorrow and going to a concert of the flute ensemble that I am joining tomorrow afternoon (I am not playing at it though!).

Friday, October 01, 2010

This Week's Adventures

It has been an interesting week. I have a friend who sends out emails once a week of the adventures her family has on the other side of the world. As I read them and pray for her family I am thankful that we don't have as many adventures as her family does. This week reminded me a bit of one of her emails so I thought I would do a blog re-cap of our week.

On Monday night we went to community group for the second week. There were several new people and several of the people from last week were not there. We wanted to go to this community group because it is only about .4 mile from our house so we can walk. The two littler girls and I arrived home first but without keys so I went to get our trash can to put it by the street and when I got back to the front of the house everyone was on the porch. Somehow a burner had been left on on our stovetop (I hadn't used the stovetop for dinner) without being lit and the smell of natural gas completely filled our apartment. Glenn called National Grid to have them come out and make sure everything was OK and we had to wait a half hour for them to arrive. We did our "thank yous" and our devotions (we are one question 6 this week Q:"How many persons are in the one God?" A: "There are three persons in the one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance and equal in power and glory." - a difficult concept for all of us to comprehend.) After prayers the man still had not arrived so I decided to read "The Innkeeper" which is available as a pdf on the Desiring God website. I think that I maybe should have read it to myself before reading it to the kids. Not exactly sure what they thought, especially so late in the evening. We may break it out again around Christmas (even though it isn't a Christmas story). The National Grid guy finally came and cleared us for re-entry so we could go to bed. I am so grateful that a fire didn't start!

On Tuesday I had the chance to go and practice with the Central New York Flute Choir. I haven't played my flute in a group since the 1998-1999 school year when I played with Tapestry at TTU. I have gotten my flute out about once a year since then to goof around. My friend Kara, another homeschooling mom, found out that I played and asked me if I wanted to come and play with them. There is a wide variety of skill levels in the group and I think that it will be a fun way to get out of the house once a week and be someone other than "mom." I was afraid my mouth would hurt really bad after not having played in years but it really wasn't that bad. My fingers definitely need some practice on several of the songs though.

On Thursday we took a trip out to Waterloo. Our homeschool group had a field trip in the afternoon in Seneca Falls but we decided to make a day of it. We stopped by my grandparents' house and had a cup of hot chocolate with them first thing then we took Grandma up to the house that I grew up in. It is on the market and I had been told that there were some things that belonged to me in the attic and I also knew that pictures needed to be taken of it to post online so that there would be inside shots as well. I took some pictures to email the realtor and then went up to the attic. I knew that the cradle that my dad had made for me was up there but I didn't know what other treasures I might find. I found the high chair and swing that I had used for Caleb and Hannah and the toddler bed we had used for Caleb. I am not sure how they got to the attic there but I put them in the van to take them to Salvation Army on the way to our field trip. Other treasures that were left there for me were 3 kids microscopes, a box of kids books, a box of neat shells and a basket of interesting rocks. The kids were thrilled with their new treasures and the girls are excited to have my cradle in their room for their dolls. Another thing that we found at the house that had been left behind by a previous tenant were big cargo straps that I am assuming he had used on his truck. We had been wanting to buy some straps of some sort for a furniture idea that we have and God provided them.

Anyway, after taking pictures and clearing out the attic of my stuff we went back to eat lunch with Grandma and Grandpa and my Aunt Joy stopped by too. We had Feed Bag Soup. I hadn't had it in years and it was so delicious! I am thinking that I need to make it for my family for a Wednesday night "soup night" soon! I helped Grandma with a computer problem she was having then we ran off for our field trip. We went to the Women's Rights National Park in Seneca Falls. We got to watch a video about the history of women's rights and were introduced to the women in the bronze statues. We then wandered around upstairs for a bit before driving to Elizabeth Cady Stanton's house for a tour. It was interesting to learn about what people went through to get women the right to vote.

After our field trip we went back to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa some more before heading home. Last winter I decided to visit my grandparents once a month. They only live an hour away but that is 2 hours of driving but it is important that my kids make memories with their great grandparents. I actually made it to visit them twice in September so that was a real treat.

Today we worked on school work most of the morning then in the afternoon we went with Glenn over to school where a Upstate grad had come back to give a presentation to the Alumni during Alumni weekend on Space Medicine. He is a physician with NASA and I learned so much. Our kids were by far the youngest people in attendance but they did pretty good. It was all fascinating but I think that the thing that struck me most was at the end of his presentation when he was showing how small the earth is in regard to the other planets and then to the sun, then our sun to other stars and to the galaxy. I sat there in awe of our God who had created all of that and in wonder that He cares about and longs to have a relationship with me. Hannah was sitting next to me and she was telling me about how God is even bigger than the universe. I think that her view of God increased today as well.

I am so thankful for the neat opportunities that we had this week. God is so gracious to us. I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve Him and get to know Him more.