Thursday, August 30, 2012

A day without boxes, EFA 2.21

Since the house is full of these:

And since we've spent most of the week doing this:

A family day outside was in order. 

We decided a morning spent in Birds Acre was in order.

A rustic, relaxing place to be.

We played together, collected pine cones, learned about birds, made new friends and examined animal skulls.  A little boys idea of a perfect day. 

It's easy walking so it wasn't hard on Strong man's bummed knee.

Any idea what this is?

Using my camera always brings me joy.  My two favorites of the day:

A perfect day for the whole family.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Battles of the heart.

In 12 hours we had two major break downs with a dozen minis in between.  To the point of leaving a store and hoping that other Mommas were around knowing they would understood my situation.  My son was screaming, "You hurt me!  I can't walk!"  I knew those who had never parented would probably think of calling the police.  It was that bad and carried over into the busy parking lot as he worked hard to pull away from me with more of the same screaming.  However there in the open all could see that my son was having a tantrum and probably thought just the opposite that this kid needed to be taken to the woodshed...That was break down number one.  I don't know that it got worse but it didn't get better.  By the end of the day and many battles later I was at my wits end having given into nothing.  Even so I did not feel as though I had won any of these battles.  The heart was so dark and it is the heart I fight for right? 

In a moment of calm with as cheery a voice I could find I asked if anybody wanted to go to the park with me, even though it was already dusk.  Aside from those on the basketball court the park was ours.  We played.  We played hard.  I pushed them as high as I could, and they pushed me too.  We slid down slides as many times as they wanted.  We collected sticks.  I tickled them just because.  When they wanted to pass by I charged them with kisses in the gruffest voice I could muster as if I were a troll. We all laughed.  We all played more.  It was good.

He may have learned lessons from the battles of the day, but I'm not really sure. What I do know is that he understands I love him unconditionally.  As I sit here in the quiet with both boys asleep I realize in the end I did win his heart.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

He's off...

With two goals he's off to the woods for some intense hiking and deep meditation.

With 70 miles outlined on the map he realizes that it's been six years since he last made a trek like this one. 

This is where the boys and I dropped him.  He is hiking away from the lake.

He'll be satisfied with whatever the miles add up to as long as he gets at least three days without any distractions where he is able to just be with God.

We could see five different mountain ranges on the horizon.

The woods are where he is able to most clearly hear.  It is here that many major life changes have happened for him.  It was on this last trip that he realized how much he needed me to be his wife.  Well, at least where he began considering it. :)  It is on trips like these that he has realized his need to serve the most Holy King, his need to see the gifts God has given him, and his need to trust the Maker with the small as well as the big.

May God protect him.  May he hear Truth.

Friday, August 24, 2012

What makes Laughter happy

Do you remember Denis?  If not click here.

Yep, Strong man's doll from when he was a wee one.

Now meet my doll for when I was small, her name is Keekee.  There's a story behind that name, I had some how picked up on the word kinky, but you can imagine what would go on in the minds of any who knew the real meaning of that word so my dear Mom quickly changed her name to Keekee.  Anyway, moving on...Every time we pack up the house I come across her. 

She's wearing Laughter's home from the hospital outfit.

Today she met Laughter.  Even though she has the sent of things packed away they quickly became friends.  To the point of going pee together.  The moment went something like this:
Me: Laughter you need to go pee now.
Laughter: "Okay," beginning to walk away, but turns half way there with a, "Oh Teetee need to pee too."
Me: "This could be dangerous," as I'm now following along imagining all that could possibly go wrong with this idea.
Laughter: "Oh yes this could be dangerous" he pretends to put her on the potty and then hands her to me as he says, "Good girl Teetee"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


In six years we have lived in four different places.  In less then a month we'll be moving into our fifth home.  Each one has marked a season of life, teaching us many things.  We are quickly learning that as James says it is futile to worry about tomorrow since we are not in control.

Last winter as I laid awake for what seemed like hours and prayed about our next house for no other reason other then it seemed like it was what I should do, God knew that we would be moving within the month.  It was good.  He said yes to all of my wants.  From that I have learned that my wants are not always the best choices.

To add to that lesson, not even three months later, a friend that has reached out to me in all of my times of need; a family who is further down the path then we are gave us a call.  We were asked to take care of there home.  Not a simple we're going out of town for a few weeks will you mow the grass and make sure nobody breaks in, but a long term would you be willing to leave your apartment and move into our house for at least a year?  A gift to be trusted.  A Daddy who showed me He knew not just my wants but also my needs and he would give me what I wouldn't even think to ask for.

The only stipulation: We open the home to any who need a place to stay.  The house after all isn't ours or theirs but Gods.  An answer to a dream that began ten years ago.  Look over here for the full story.

So our families together, heading in different directions, are off on new adventures, but still to walk hand in hand.  A gift to know a detailed, unfathomably loving God.  A gift to know this family.

You ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or left.
~ Isaiah 30:21

~ To be trusted by our friends and by God.
~ To have a relationship that is based in Perfect love.
~ To be loved and known by this family.
~ To serve a God of details.
~ A dream give years ago that is now becoming a reality for at least a time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wild weeks call for quiet family days, EFA 2.20

I think we all slept in even for just a few minutes extra.  Nobody showered.  We simply headed out the door with doughnuts on our mind or maybe it was coffee.

Seeing yard sale signs everywhere we thought it must be our fate on this slow paced day to find some good sales...But we were rained out.

So instead we headed to two different Bean outlets in hopes of finding some gifts for dear friends over seas...However everything was over priced, must be the back to school prices.

In the end we didn't bring any treasures home, but we had a fantastic day just being together.  It was a perfect end to a wildly busy week.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A wild week

We've run camps before.  We've run retreats before.  We've run all nighters before.  This was our first time running a vacation Bible school.  As expected it was wild, in a very good way.

Meet Professor Hooglraar

Moses with a cloud that drops "manna" (marshmallows).

This year we added an adult portion as well.  It was small, but it was good.  The topic: Parenting.  I think we all left feeling refreshed to know that all of us have our struggles as we learn to raise our children.

Along with a wild and crazy VBS, we had naps at Nana's while I had a Psych date with my Writer sister, we had a spontaneous play date, and a day in Bar Harbor with my long lost brother. 

 Okay so he's not really a long lost brother. In fact when we were kids we spent many, many weekends on the slopes together skiing. We also loved those itty-bitty chicken sandwiches KFC used to sell and we climbed Gram's walls together (literally).

When one is in Bar Harbor one ALWAYS must stop at Ben and Bill's for ice cream.

Even so we're pretty opposite of each other. I say whatever comes to mind, sometimes before I even process it. He doesn't say much. I grew up in the country, he grew up in the city. I'm a Momma, he'll never be a Momma. He's laid back and well I try to be.

Man of the woods, "He was pretty cool to play with." - This picture sums up the day.  Man of the woods hardly left his side.

It's been years since we last saw each other, so we planned a day trip to Bar Harbor.  The forecast said sunshine just days before.  The morning of, the forecast said showers.  The reality of it was a down pour.  We made the best of it covering the boys in trash bag ponchos and walked down town, ending the day with some rock throwing, and crab finding.

By the end of the day Laughter's trash bag looked less like a poncho and more like a tutu.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A first of

While this summer has marked some last of's as the boys are just about out of the baby stage. It also began the first of's on a different scale. One of these first of's is the trip we took last week to see our Missionary sister who for now is living in New York, just outside of the city. According to Google it was only a 7 hour trip, but with two stops and hitting some traffic to say it was a 9 hour trip would be putting it nicely. Even so the boys did a great job. At one point Man of the woods said, "You should have waited until I was five or six before we went on a long ride, because then I wouldn't be so bored." To which we said, "Don't worry bud we even get bored, nothing would change if you were older."...

...As you can tell. White boards were a great buy for the trip maybe the most used toy (by all of us). Along with the introduction of Mad libs. The driving parts of the trip went extremely well.

Between there seats we kept a basket of toys to entertain with a bag full of more toys to trade out once they were bored, but for some reason that never happened. Between the front seats we kept a basket overflowing with snacks.

Food is something we all enjoy and I think it made the trip go more smoothly. However we did learn what not to bring along:

Kit Kat bars are not good for little boys in the car.

About half way through Maine in talking with Strong man I wondered if he had gotten directions. He responded with, "I meant to."... So as we got close to the city the white boards also became some crazy directions to get us where we were going.

It was good to see her.

For breakfast one morning she took us to a bakery where you can go into the factory and hand pick the warm breads yourself.

She wanted a date with the littles, sending us on a date of our own. We stayed up until midnight while the boys slept in her room.  We did girl things, while strong man read, and the three of us had deep conversations.  Then as a family we couldn't resist the Ren faire...

 A place where Robin Hood protects the poor...

...And falls in love with Lady Merriam.

Where rides are manned by human strength.

Where Auntie's love tanks are filled.

Where boys play with sharp pointy things.

Where we find the kissing bridge.

And where the littles find marshmallow catapults.

Where archery happens.

And fights break out.

Where jousting is watched.

By even the queen herself.

Where good always wins...

...And the hero gets the girl.