Sunday, November 30


The cutting begins at 4:16 pm.

We typically cut our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception. However, when we arrived at our favorite u-cut farm, the gate was closed. Hubby walked up to the outbuilding to see if hours were posted, and he found a sign saying something along the lines of, Sorry we missed you but feel free to cut a tree and leave the money in the slot! So we grabbed the saw and went looking for our tree.

"Come on, Ryan. I'm getting cold!"

We chose a modest size Noble this year, and it was the usual price of $20, which you just can't beat. Ryan decided he wanted to cut the tree down this year, so we handed over the saw and he got to work. We truly thought he'd saw for a minute or two and give up, but to our utter surprise and delight, he persevered and cut down the tree entirely by himself! It took 27 minutes and it was almost dark by the time we left but not too shabby for a six-year-old!

4:29 pm and still going!

I missed the usual hot cider and cookies that they customarily serve when they are open, but there's always next year, right? Ryan kept telling us he wanted to wait and go cut a tree when it snowed, and he wasn't happy to learn that last year's snowfall was a special treat and not something likely to happen each year. I must admit, last year's tree cutting was exceptionally fun with the snow!

At 4:43 pm we finally yelled, "TIMBER!"

Friday, November 28

Thankful for Food

As we were eating breakfast yesterday as a prelude to our Thanksgiving feast, I wanted and object lesson to help my children understand how incredibly blessed we are as well as remind myself. I read them an article about the food crisis in Zimbabwe where people are finding it harder and harder to find food. I don't know if they were impacted by it as we ate our way through a batch of cinnamon rolls, but I pray they will at least begin to understand and not take it all for granted, or worse, feel entitled to all that we have or all that they think they want.

I am praying about what we can do as a family to help those who are starving. There are many organizations, but I am praying God will lead us to the one He would have us give through. I want to not only help fill empty bellies but fill empty souls as well. Do you know of a reputable gospel-centered relief ministry that we could give to?

Photo: The kids working a puzzle of the African continent after breakfast Thanksgiving morning. (Our globe is so old we couldn't find Zimbabwe on it. Apparently it used to be called Rhodesia. I think it's time for a new globe!)

Wednesday, November 26

Happy Thanksgiving!

A friend and I talked about getting together to do a Thanksgiving craft or make cookies or something. When I emailed her a link to the centerpiece I was thinking of making, we were both amazed to find out it was the exact project she was planning on making! So we got together, the kids played, and we chatted while we worked on our centerpieces, and here's a picture of how mine turned out.

May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24

Budget Food

I don't know about your budget, but ours has felt pretty squeezed the last few months. Now that the price of gas has dropped dramatically, it's been better, but I've still been trying to save money wherever we can. Then I read an article about Spam and how Hormel can't keep up with the demand since people are buying it more because it is an economical way to put something "meat like" on the table. When I did the math, the average cost of Spam is $3.20 per pound! I don't know what these people usually buy, but that's not economical to me. I can buy real meat for less than that, and I certainly prefer ground beef or chicken to a hunk of Spam!

Sunday, November 23

Christmas Costumes

Our church has been working on the children's Christmas program for a few weeks, and this week we gathered at one of our member's farm to take some pictures for the program.

Ryan was a wiseman and a townsperson, but he didn't get to change clothes (much to his disappointment). Abby was in two of the photo shoots: once as an angel, and once as a cow. She loved dressing up as both as well as seeing the three-week-old calf they had at the farm...simply adorable!

Friday, November 21

First of Many

Abby has been wiggling a loose top tooth for almost a month now, so when she came running in from outside excitedly yelling about losing a tooth, I was totally surprised to see a bottom one missing. She had mentioned to me a few hours previously that a lower tooth was loose, but I didn't even check it to see how loose because I just assumed it was barely loose like her other one. Apparently I was wrong because when she bit down on her apple, out came the lower tooth!

After checking all other teeth, taking pictures and doing some high-fives, I watched her run back outside to finish her apple while swinging and singing her heart out during the momentary dry weather.

Thursday, November 20

Abby's Day

Abby was legally ours for five years back in September, and we usually celebrate that day every year with each child. However, all our weekends involved baseball this year, and we couldn't think of anything special to do with Abby so we postponed it. Finally last weekend, we made it up to her!

Daddy took her fishing for the first half of the day. They took the canoe to Vernonia Lake and spent several hours enjoying the time together. They didn't catch too many fish, but they had a great time being together enjoying the scenery.

After they got home, Abby was rushed through a shower, dressed up, and she and I went out to dinner together, just the girls. Then we drove across town to see the Christian Youth Theatre perform Anne of Green Gables! We got there a little early, so we browsed some of the booths that were there. I bought Abby a cute Anne of Green Gables "paper" doll set, which actually had reusable stickers instead of paper clothes. We also bought a couple of the cutest cookies I've ever seen!

Abby sat for half an hour before the show playing with her sticker doll, and once the play began, she was riveted to the stage. It was a musical, and she loved every minute of it! It turned out to be much longer than I expected (two and half hours), and she fell asleep with a couple of minutes being on the road.

Tuesday, November 18

Swimming Again

Abby in the 10-foot-deep end of the pool, loving every minute of it.

After six weeks of no swimming due to our pool being closed for resurfacing, we're finally able to get the kids back into the pool. I think I have mentioned before that we have discovered that swimming is a tremendous help for Abby. When she is swimming regularly her behavior is more manageable, she focuses better, she is less impulsive, and she is emotionally more stable. It isn't a "cure-all," but it is one of the best things we have found to help give her damaged brain the organization it needs. FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) are so varied and misunderstood that it often feels like we're on our own to find solutions and treatments that help, and I am so grateful the Lord directed us to this activity because it has proven so helpful to her (and Mommy & Daddy)!

An added bonus is that for some reason Abigail was put into the class with the oldest and best swimmers (I'm not sure why), so she spends her 40 minutes in the big pool where she can't touch the bottom. She is swimming full lengths of the pool, which is a lot for a five-year-old! Her instructor is great and said she loves having Abby in her class because it challenges her to find new ways to teach her how to swim (currently she is having difficulty coordinating arms and legs and breathing all at once).

Abby is thrilled because she is now learning to dive! I actually missed her diving for the first time (busy chatting with my friends...oops), but I hope to get a picture or video next time. The lifeguard who was her teacher most of the time last year was so excited by her dive that she called her over and gave her a big high five (making me feel like a crummy mom for missing it all).

Last week on Veterans Day the schools were out, and the pool was packed during our swimming time. So the instructors decided to focus on water safety for that whole 40 minutes instead of spreading it out over the whole eight lessons the way they normally do. The kids had fun rescuing each other and learning how to stay alive in the water.

Ryan has been making progress as well. His class gets to go jump in the deep pool at the end of each lesson, but Ryan is terrified of not being able to touch the bottom, so he has to be talked into it each time. Hopefully, he'll overcome this fear just as he has all his other water phobias!

Monday, November 17

Spring in the Fall

It's the middle of fall, all the leaves are brilliant colors and falling to the ground, and my tree azalea has decided to bloom! Go figure.

Sunday, November 16

So Grown Up

Ryan has been anxious to learn to mow the lawn, and Daddy has been teaching him how. Today for the first time he mowed the front yard all by himself! I had to start the lawn mower for him, but he did the rest all on his own. It is truly hard for me to see him as big enough for this task, but he proved to me today that he is not only strong enough to push the mower but also capable enough to do a great job. I only had to have him go back over two spots where he missed. I'm proud of you, Ryan!

Tissue Paper Crafts

I have become the tissue paper craft queen lately. There are tons of things you can do with tissue paper! We have made some other things I didn't bother to blog about, but remember earlier this year we made some cute votives and last week we made those fun autumn trees? Well, our latest tissue paper project was these fun cards. They made great thank you cards and note cards to send to the grandmas, which is just what we did with some of them!

Though this is pretty much no-brainer, if you want to see instructions, I ran across the idea on this cute crafty blog, and since then I have also found more ideas that I may use on this website.

Wednesday, November 12

Posts and Promises

Update: I moved the posts to the correct dates.

I have ten posts for which I've uploaded pictures but haven't taken the time to finish...ugh! Please bear with me as I post these. They are old news, but since this is my online journal of sorts I am going to post them anyway. So over the next couple of days, you can see what we did the last week of October and first week of November!

Despite the amount of rain we get here (our backyard has had 4.97 inches so far this month!), we don't really see as many rainbows as you'd think. But Abby spied this one out our back door November 1st and called us all over to enjoy it with her. It always reminds me of God's promise not only to spare the Earth from another flood but also to return again for His bride...may we be found ready!

Monday, November 10

Happy Birthday

My hubby turns 39 today. My hard-working man left for work at 6:40 this morning with a lingering migraine headache and had to stand for 30 minutes in the rain waiting for his very late bus to arrive. Here's hoping and praying his day will improve from here on out!

I love you and hope you have a very happy birthday, Love!

Sunday, November 9

Chocolate Gravy

We had planned to celebrate hubby's birthday this weekend, but he ended up spending most of the time on the couch trying to alleviate a migraine headache. He finally felt better Monday, so the kids and I picked him up from work, took him out to dinner, took him shopping for new shoes, and then went bowling!

However, Saturday morning before I knew he wasn't feeling well, I made one of his favorite breakfasts. I rarely make it because it grosses me out, but the kids and hubby love it. This is a recipe straight out of the South!

Chocolate Gravy

3 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/8 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat stirriing frequently until mixture has the consistency of thick gravy or pudding.

Serve with a dollop of butter and biscuits.

Enjoy...if you dare!

Wednesday, November 5

What Now?

I doubt anyone who reads my blog will be surprised to learn that yesterday's election didn't go the way I had hoped, not even remotely. This is the only part of living in Oregon I don't like, the wildly independent, often quirky, and mostly liberal ideologies. (But what can you expect from the least churched state in the country?)

So what now? I have been praying this morning and laying my hopes and fears before the Lord, and I ran across an article by Eric Redmond. The whole article is worth reading, but one paragraph was especially pertinent to me.

The question for me at this time is this: Can I continue to live Soli Deo Gloria under a President whose moral judgment already is questionable before he takes the oath of office?

Yes I can, for I can be obedient to Scripture, praying for the one in authority (I Tim. 2:1-8), honoring the one in authority (1 Pet. 2:13-18), submitting to the one in authority (Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1), and seeking righteousness for the entire citizenry (Prov. 14:34). These I will seek to do by grace. I will "honor the good appointment of God.

Tuesday, November 4

Thank God for Government

As our nation casts their votes today, I am mindful of how grateful I am for the country God has placed me in and even for the government we have (run amuck though it often is). Along those lines of thought, I really appreciated this blog post from Desiring God this morning.

Grateful for (Almost) Any Government
November 4, 2008 By: John Piper

How does the Bible instruct us to pray for “all who are in high positions”? It says,

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1Timothy 2:1-4).

A few observations:

Giving thanks “for kings” is hard when they are evil.

And, as Calvin said on this passage, “All the magistrates of that time were sworn enemies of Christ.” This shows us that anarchy is a horrible alternative to almost any ruler.

We should give thanks for rulers because “non-rule” would unleash on us utterly unbridled evil with no recourse whatever.

Again Calvin: “Unless they restrained the boldness of wicked men, the whole world would be full of robberies and murders.” The better we understand the seething evil of the human heart that is ready to break out where there is no restraint, the more thankful we will be for government.

2. The effect we pray for is “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly, and dignified in every way.”

Dignified means “serious and reverent,” not stuffy. I suspect what Paul means is not that we can’t live godly and serious lives during times of anarchy. We can. I suspect he means that peaceful and quiet lives, which are the opposite of anarchy, are often wasted in ungodly and frivolous actions.

So he is praying for a government that would give peace and quiet (not anarchy), and that Christians would not fritter away their peaceful lives with the world, but would be radically godly and serious about the lost condition of the world and how to change it.

Using our peace for radical godliness and serious action will lead to more effective evangelism and world missions.

This last observation is confirmed by the hoped-for outcome Paul mentions. Paul says that the reason God delights in such peaceful, Godward, serious action is that he “desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

More people will be saved if our government restrains the horrors of anarchy, and if Christians use this peace not to waste their lives on endless entertainment, but seriously give their lives to making God known.

Sunday, November 2

Bowling Party

Ryan's baseball team had an end-of-season party at our local bowling alley. We have taken the kids bowling before, but it was years ago so they don't really remember doing it. Abby and I stayed home in order to save the $10 per bowler cost, but since Ryan had so much fun, we plan to go again as a family soon.

They put the bumpers up in the gutters, so that helped the kids do better and not get too discouraged by lots of gutter balls. Ryan bowled an 84! That's about what I usually bowl, with or without bumpers!

I am not sure why they gave trophies to everyone, but Ryan is now the proud owner of one. He put it up on his shelf to admire and hopes to play baseball again next spring.

Saturday, November 1

Pumpkin Patch

When my mom decided she wanted to come visit this fall, she asked if she could come and go to the pumpkin patch with us. So we skipped the annual pumpkin patch trip with the homeschool group and waited to go with Gramie. We had planned to go Halloween day since Eddie was taking that Friday off anyway, but it was scheduled to rain on Friday so we went Thursday instead and Daddy missed out this year.

We went to our favorite place, Sauvie Island Farms, and a fun few hours. We had a hayride around the farm, the kids did the hay maze and kiddie corn maze, Gramie and the kids climbed a huge hay pyramid, we petted a calf, and looked at a dozen other animals, and of course, we picked pumpkins.

Abby's favorite activity was either petting and looking at the animals or rolling down the hay pyramid (she couldn't decide), and Ryan's favorite thing was by far playing on the tractors. What can I say? He's a boy, and that's what he likes.

The farm is pretty good size, so Ryan pulled the wagon all over the pumpkin fields looking for just the right pumpkin. Abigial chose a huge Cinderella pumpkin and carried it across the field to the wagon! We usually tell them they can have any pumpkin they can carry to the cashier, but I had mercy on them this year and allowed them to use the wagon.


designer : anniebluesky : blogu