Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our Mini Vacation

Last week Esther and Wolfgang invited us up to their condo in Collingwood for a few days of summer fun! We had a fabulous time on our little mini-getaway. The weather was beautiful, but WINDY like you wouldn't believe! Stephen loved shaking out his towel at the beach, much to our dismay. The sand was so dry and the wind would blow it everywhere! We even had to wash our clothes several times to get all the sand out of them!

The wind made the temperatures pretty cool, but the sun sure was strong ... ask Fred. He forgot to put on sunblock when he was flying the kite! OUCH!
We're still not sure who enjoyed the sand more ... Timothy or Uncle Wolfgang! Timothy loved to roll in the sand (and couldn't figure out why his bum was hurting so badly later when we were driving back to the condo). Wolfgang was busy making a fortress and constructing roads with Christopher.
Christopher loved the beach, especially when he got up the nerve to go into the water and jump the waves with me, but I think his favorite time this past week was when he stood by the edge of the water and threw one stone into the waves after another. We had a hard time pulling him away from this spot! As Auntie Esther said, I'd better enjoy these days when the boys can be entertained and thrilled by the simple acts of throwing stones into the water. Those days will go by fast and then they'll be wanting to do parasailing with Uncle Wolfgang!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Up In Flames

This is our neighbor's house. It was hit by lightning this afternoon. It had been raining off and on all afternoon with periods of lightning and thunder. We didn't think much about it, except for the fact that Megan and Anna were here for a playdate and they were quite disappointed that they couldn't go outside.

About 3:00, Megan, Timothy, Christopher and I were doing a craft in the kitchen when we heard a loud CRACK! My first thought was that it sounded like something must have gotten hit by lightning, but I peeked my head out the deck door, didn't see anything and let the thought go. About ten minutes later, we started hearing sirens and saw a few fire trucks zoom past. They sounded close, but still, after another peek out the door, I still didn't see anything so I went back to the craft table.

Curiosity got the best of me, and since Fred was upstairs, I ran out the front door to see what was going on because cars were now starting to stop in front of the house. This is what I saw.
The sad thing is, or maybe it's a good thing, the family was not home at the time. A dog was rescued, but a cat got spooked, ran to the basement and died in the fire. The house is destroyed, as you can see.

This has been a sobering afternoon for me because it is only because of God's protection and His decision that our house was spared. This random lightning strike was too close for comfort. Tonight there is a family whose lives have been turned upside down because of an act of God. They have no home to go back to. They have lost pretty much everything, if not from fire and water damage, then from smoke damage. The road is still blockaded tonight and they are not permitted back into their house.

I still remember the shock of finding out that my aunt and uncle's home had burned to the ground when I was a teenager. It took weeks and months for reality to hit me, and I wasn't even directly affected by it. I can only imagine what this family is going to deal with in the next little while. Please pray for them with us, would you please? Those of you who have been through this before know how to pray more specifically, but I know that any prayers for them will help them to deal with this tragedy in their lives. Thank you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Guest of Honor

We love having people over. I think it's a genetic thing because I can remember our family always having someone over when we were growing up, too. We love the visiting, the sharing, the playing, the fun! When the boys were smaller, they would always set an extra plate at the table for supper, "just in case someone comes." On Sunday mornings they almost always ask who is coming for lunch that day. I can see that it's becoming a normal thing for them to have guests at our table, and that makes me happy!
This is a picture of the most recent family that we had over for a fun time! Jorge and Nancy are both originally from Argentina, so during the meal we laughed and talked about all the things we had just experienced in Paraguay and compared the differences between the two South American countries. We had so much fun together.

One of the traditions that we also have in our family is something that was sort of inspired by my sister, Liz's family tradition of having a special birthday plate for the birthday person in their family. I always liked that idea, but since we didn't have a specific plate that said "Happy Birthday", I decided to improvise. Actually, I decided to not really do it for birthdays at all, but to have a Guest of Honor whenever we invite another family over for a meal. I tape a piece of paper with a star or a smile face on the bottom of the plate and then randomly set the table. We never know who is going to get to be the Guest of Honor because we don't know where the marked plate is set. (Ok. I confess. I always make sure that it is NOT where Fred or I sit, but the rest is totally random!)
Well, sweet Marsha was our Guest of Honor this time! Dylan tried to peek under the plates when he came to the table to sit down because he remembered this from the last time they were here and HE was the GOH, but it didn't work! Marsha won that honor! Marsha got to drink out of the wine glass that has gold stars all over it. She got to be served first. She got to have dessert first. And she got a little prize bag that she could take home. (I think that Nancy secretly wished that SHE would have been the Guest of Honor because there was a package of Pop Rocks in there and she ate almost the whole thing herself!)
I love this family tradition that we've established because it blesses someone else. The boys absolutely LOVE the excitement of wondering who is going to get the honor and then they just bubble over explaining what it means to the recipient. Every time we have someone coming, they ask if we're going to have a Guest of Honor again. We don't always do it, but usually when it's a family with kids we do because the excitement level is great. It's fun, it's a blessing, and it's definitely creating memories!
Speaking of family traditions, what are some traditions that your family had or has that are special to you? I encourage you to continue the ones that work because they will be wonderful memories for your family for years to come!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Warning: I am Two

And I play with markers that are not washable...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

But Is he In Heaven?

There was a wasp flying around the kitchen tonight while we were eating supper. Daddy got up and trapped it in a napkin and then announced to us all that we were safe again. He had killed the wasp and the wasp was dead.

Timothy asked, "But is he in Heaven? You said that our bodies stay here, but we go to Heaven. Is the wasp in Heaven now?"

And how would YOU answer your four year old's serious question?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sometimes You Just Have to Break the Rules

Tonight the boys were taking longer than normal to settle down at bedtime. I think that the fact that the sun was still shining awfully bright when they were supposed to be going to sleep played a big factor in that, but still! Come on, guys! It was 8:25 when I gave them their last warning that if I heard anyone else out of bed or making someone else laugh, I was going to have to do something about it!

I went back down to the kitchen and something out of the kitchen window caught my eye...two hot air balloons that were practically right over our house! They were so low that you could see the people in the baskets and everything! I debated whether or not I should disrupt the now-quiet bedroom upstairs to let the boys see this amazing sight. They had FINALLY quieted down! How could I mess that all up and risk having to get them all settled again if I told them about the balloons? But how could I NOT tell them about the balloons when they are so fascinated with things like that and it was so amazing to see them so close?!

I decided that it was more worth it to break the rules and go in and tell them to get out of bed and even told them to climb on the desk so that they could see out the window a little better, too. I chuckled to myself at how hesitant they were to obey me when I told them to get out of bed and come stand on the desk and look out the window. No one wanted to do it, but as soon as Christopher scrambled up there, the other two followed right behind him!

I started whispering to them to look at the balloons and we watched and whispered to each other about all the wonders of the colors, the size, the fire that we could see, the people, etc. I'm not sure why we whispered, but it sure helped! Even after the balloons went over the house and I told them to run to our bedroom and look out the front window, we still kept whispering our admirations.

The balloons went down just over the hill, probably very close to my brother-in-law's house, and the boys all whispered good night and went back to bed. They were asleep within five minutes of that little rule-breaking experience! I'm thankful that I took the risk and got them out of bed for this. I have a feeling it's going to be one of those moments that they'll remember when they're older, and I love that! Kind of like the time that Mom and Dad got us all in the van to do something for Karen's birthday at the end of February. We were all in and ready to go when Mom told us to go back in the house and get our swimming suits on because we were going swimming! Swimming in an indoor pool was unheard of to us before that and it was such a treat to go to Steiner Center and swim INSIDE in FEBRUARY! That's a memory that sticks with me because it was so out of the ordinary. That's why I think this will be one of those memories for my kids...because we broke some rules and did something so out of the ordinary. I love it!

What Am I?

The teacher was giving her second grade students a lesson in science. She had explained about magnets and showed how they would pick up nails and other bits of iron.

Now, it was question time and she asked, "My name begins with the letter M and I pick up things. What am I?"

A little boy in the front row said, "You're a mom."

(Taken from The Funny Bone, Humour-Medicine for the Soul 2009 - Edition #5)