Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Festivities

I just love fall!! It is finally feeling cooler outside so I am officially in fall mode- filling up the house with the scent of pumpkin spice, making chilis and soups, carving pumpkins, watching the kids run around in their costumes, etc. Love it! The end of October really begins the holiday season for me. It starts those sentimental feelings that lead into Thanksgiving and then on to Christmas, such a meaningful season for Christians. It's a time that reminds me that the little things in life are what matter. I am loving this season of life with my family and hopefully making memories every day. God has blessed Randy and me so richly in our marriage. We have grown so much together especially over the past couple of years- spiritually and emotionally. And we've been blessed with two absolutely amazing boys who bring us and indescribably amount of joy and teach us about true, unconditional, sacrificial love which helps us to understand how much God must love us.

Speaking of thankful, I am so thankful for a church that loves on its children. Jesus said that to receive a child in His name is to receive Him and also the Father. (Mark 9:34-37) I love that our church provides such loving care and fun activities just for children. The fall festival this year is one example of that. I have to admit (as much as I love children) that I was sort of dreading this event. It is always so crowded and there is an element of chaos and lots of waiting in line (not Graham's strong point...) But, I really thought about it and reminded myself that this is part of being in a community of believers. It is a blessing that we have so many people in our church and so many children. This perspective made the whole evening so much more fun and meaningful. We got to spend time with so many friends and watch the kids shriek with delight about things like scoring a soccer goal, knocking over the "wall of Jericho," receiving a treat for their efforts even when they didn't win, and riding on a makeshift train. It was such a blast! Not to mention, our boys looked so cute and loved every minute of it!

Here are a couple more pictures, from Grahams fall party at MDO and Jack carving pumpkins:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy 21 Month, Graham!

Today our little Graham turns 21 months old and we are on the downhill slide toward him turning the big TWO! Graham continues to light up our lives (literally- he is still obsessed with turning on lights everywhere we go) and bring much joy to our home. He has a sweet way about him that is difficult to put into words... he seems to always be smiling and you can't help but smile back at him.

This past month has not been monumental in the way of milestones and developments. It just seems as though Graham is getting better and better at things he was already doing. He continues to use more words and longer phrases every day. He is adding more songs to his repertoire. And we feel that he comprehends about 99% of everything we say to him. He has started singing along with Jack's prayer each night at dinner and loves to do his prayer hands and say, "Amen." We find that sweet and hope that he will grow to have a very strong prayer life in the future.

Current favorite things- Going to the gym (he squeals like a little girl and almost dances his way in!), blankie (which he refers to as "blank"), binkie (which he refers to as "bink" and which we need to get rid of!!!!), playing "owside" with his car and going on walks. He especially loves finding puddles of water or piles of dirt to play in. This kid is all boy!! He loves going to the park and is getting very good at climbing ladders by himself. He is also loving going to small group. He enjoys all of the friends there but seems to have a special fascination with Stella. One time I asked him whose boy he was and he answered, "Stellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Not so fast, little one, you are still mommy's boy for awhile longer!

Our Little Pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch

A trip to the pumpkin patch every October has become a tradition for our family and some great friends. We love to get the kids together and let them enjoy the hay ride, pony ride, petting zoo, and hay maze, and pick out some pumpkins to carve as well. For the past few years, we have gone to the same patch, called Parkhurst, but this year we decided to try a new one, Chester's. We had lots of fun, but I think we prefer Parkhurst and will probably go back in the future. I missed the tire swings, big bails of hay to climb on, and better photo ops that Parkhurst offers. However, the kiddos had a blast and we loved watching them play together and have fun. It is sweet to see our little group grow as new siblings are added each year. We've gone from three kids the first year, to four the second, and now six! How many will there be next year???

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Going Wild

We really did go wild this morning with a trip to the zoo! Jack's school and Graham's MDO were having fall break so we wanted to enjoy our special day together and have fun. We met up with Jack's "goodest friend," Austin and his sweet little girlfriend, Lydia, along with all the younger siblings. We were quite a crew and I really think you could have called the place a zoo just by having 10 of us in there!

Jack and Austin most enjoyed "the cave," which is the part of the children's zoo that looks like, well, a cave. It has a big slide and places to climb up and down so they burned lots of energy there.

Graham's favorite part was "DONKEYS!!!!" which were actually goats, but no matter how many times I reminded him of that, he still insisted that they were donkeys. And he squealed with delight as he ran amongst them, petting them and attempting to feed them hay.

Steven and Michael seemed to enjoy the playground the most, and it seemed that the most fun activity of all was to simply run back and forth the big play toy!

Lydia really liked seeing the baby tiger cubs, which I also thought were super cute. She kept wondering why the mommy tiger was hiding.

I think Sophia's favorite part of the day was riding in my car on the way to lunch. Jack wanted to ride with Austin so we switched and she was fascinated with his sunglasses and Sally.

All in all, such a fun day! Beautiful weather and good friends; can't beat that!