Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November misc

It's baking time! I love the fall season and it inspires me to bake. I've been attending a women's group that meets once a month and this time, it was my turn to contribute snacks. Since I was in the mood for sugar cookies and pumpkin bread, this is what I brought!

Yes, I have cookie cutters shaped like squirrels, acorns, and apples. I also have Noah's Ark themed cookie cutters and pretty much anything else you could imagine. My mom has been collecting them for me for years!

It's been very warm lately, with most days in the mid 60s to mid 70s. All of that is supposed to end this week, but before it did, H1, H3 and I took advantage of the beautiful weather by taking a stroll through Colonial Williamsburg. The trees were gorgeous with their fall foliage. Most of the animals were out too, and H3 took delight in petting the sheep and horses. I'm going to have to teach her that horses don't say "moo" though! She really does know better, but for some reason was rather insistent that horses and cows make the same sound. Silly girl!

Now that cold weather is finally arriving, I'm looking forward to snuggling up next to our fireplace. H1's dad bought us several truckfuls of wood to use--we don't own a truck, so it's really hard to try to get the free stuff around here, and most of it isn't offered in the nearby area. I really enjoy the smell of the house when the fire is crackling away!

Fall cleaning and organizing is slowly beginning. I have a lot more to go, but I'm slowly chipping away at my to-do list. Tackling my craft room is next on the agenda. There's a walkway through there, but not much more right now since we've just been throwing stuff in there while cleaning out the rest of the house--mostly the closets and the attic! I have three huge trash bags to put in the dumpster so far, and I've donated more to church. I'm amazed at how much stuff has ccumulated in the last 5 years!

Before ending this post, I want to take a minute to reflect and commit to "paper" my gratitude for what God has given me. 'Tis the season, you know! My beautiful baby girl is 2 years old. She is strong and healthy, smart and strong willed (which is both a blessing and a difficulty). I have a home, granted not one I own, but it has been a wonderful house for us to rent and my landlord has been kind to us. We even have new floors! H1 still has a job. This year has been a challenge for many of our friends who work at local plants and the shipyards. There have been massive lay-offs and thousands have lost their jobs and their homes. God has been good. We certainly aren't overflowing with extra, but He has provided exactly what we've needed and will continue to do so. When we moved here two years ago, I believe He guided us to the little contemporary church we belong to. This church has become more than I ever imagined. They are our family here. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we have received from them. The calls, the prayers, the get-togethers. During our greatest times of need, these people have surrounded us with God's love, even in light of this past week. Men have stepped forward to stand alongside H1 in prayer. Women have come forward with love, patience, and words of hope and encouragement during my losses. Friendships that have been slowly cultivated over these last couple years have bloomed. God is good. This Thanksgiving season holds a lot of pain for me. It does take a bit of effort to remind myself of everything beautiful. A book a read recently by Shauna Niequist focused on seeing the beauty and joy that God brings during the darkest times in our lives. Bittersweet. That was such a good title for a book, but also a really good title for life. Without the pain, without the sorrow, you can't understand the fullness of God's love and grace. Not that I believe we can ever grasp it fully, but the experience is amazing all the same.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."
Despite everything going on, that's my reality right now. I'm listening for that quiet whisper. There is great comfort in the stillness, kneeling in awe before a mighty God in recognition of who He is.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hanging out

H3 came home Friday after spending most of the past week with my dear friend, Robyn. From all the fun pictures that Robyn texted me, I can tell that she had a wonderful time and I'm so thankful! I did miss her though! Yesterday and today, I was finally feeling well enough to go out for a bit, and H3 is sufficiently recovering from strep, thanks to antibiotics. Yesterday I had a doctor appointment, and there was a park conveniently located nearby, so I took H3 afterward. Then today, I had to run to Walmart and stopped by yet another park on the way home! I wish we had parks closer to our home, but everything is about half an hour away. Our neighbordhood is okay for playing, but since we have no out-door toys, munchkin gets bored pretty quickly. We go for lots of walks and wagon rides, which help!

Checking out the disc-golf course at the park. We played on the slides for a bit, but she was very interested in all the leaves and acorns!

This park is located near my doctor's office, and also next to another Walmart. We frequent this one, since it has a large play area. They just added the tree house that she's checking out. It's in a small area designated for toddlers. The rest of the park is great for her age too, but this area requires a little less running around for me!

Checking out the new flag that my mom sent for the front of our house.

These pictures are a bit more blurry than usual, since I took them on my cell phone, so I'm sorry! We did have fun over the last couple days though, despite the fact that all three of us are on antibiotics at the moment! H1 also has a muscle relaxer now for a knot-ish thing in his shoulder that has been bothering him. It was getting hard to lift his arm and our family doc wanted to try this before exploring other options. He wasn't thinking though and took it this morning! Oops! He called and said about halfway through his 2nd class, he got really sleepy! I think he'll just be taking it at night from now on.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall Pictures

Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of our church. After the service, there was a potluck luncheon and hayrides for the kids, along with candy--not trick-or-treat style though. H1 and H3 stayed inside to help me work on a bulletin board for my Sunday school classroom, since H3 was tired from her morning in the nursery and fully occupied playing with the bright colored game pieces from my class that morning. It was the first board I've ever done and I should have gotten a picture. It's a yellow background with an orange border and 8 large pumpkins in the middle. Each pumpkin has a clue on it, and the kids have to match the right Bible character to the clue on the pumpkin. Bible character names are on large brown pumpkins seeds (made out of paper) that can be inserted into a slit on the pumpkin. Yes, very simple, I know, but for someone who is not creative, I'm just happy that I got something on the board, even if it had to be inspired by a book on bulletin boards!

Afterwards, we all went outside to let H3 play. Our church doesn't have outdoor play equipment, except for one old slide, which H3 found and had to play on. She loves slides! It helped, of course, that a couple other kids were there too, namely our friends' twin boys who are around a year older and H3 plays with them frequently.

At home we attempted a few more pictures! I'm so glad we had a couple that turned out.

Cooler weather has finally set it, and I think it may be for good this time. We spent last week near 90 again, which I find rather miserable in October. I've learned in Virgina that one can never put away summer clothes. Without fail, we always have really warm days when you least expect it!

H3 is still recovering from croup. Poor child. Her fever stayed around 101 every day for a week, and though that part is gone, she still has a nasty cough that refuses to leave and a runny nose. Sleep times are the most miserable, since laying down seems to irritate the coughing. At this point, the humidifier seems to be 0 help, though I'm still using it. The claritin she'd been taking before the croup for allergies seems to help a little, but she's still up coughing a good part of the night. I'm looking forward to this being over, and I know she is too. She's still been such a sweetie though, snuggly and mostly happy. I love my precious baby!

Football season is almost over for H1 now. It looks like 2 more games, one for each of the following Fridays. At this point they won't be in the district play-offs, unless they win both games. I'm not saying they won't win, and it would certainly be nice if they did, but this past Friday was the first win of the season so I'm not holding my breath. I wish I could elaborate on our frustrations with the football situation, but that's a road I can't go down. Suffice it to say, none are satisfied and H1 isn't the head coach, so decisions aren't his.

Praying that this week goes better than the last ones, and confident that Christ is my refuge and strength.