Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Since my previous post that first introduced our backyard rodent friend, I have received multiple comments and have personally discussed at great lengths what will eventually happen to the critter's corpse...especially when, you know, it starts to decompose and all. Should we call the power company? Animal control? Or, should I continue to hold out hope that when the vermin finally does fall from its all too inconvenient resting place, fur matted from months of enduring the outside elements complete with disintegrating insides due to the long awaited seasonal thaw, that it will land in our neighbor's backyard so maybe their dogs can have a little fun with it instead of my kids?
Well, I need wonder no longer. This weekend, upon my typical daily dead squirrel check, behold:
Yes, that is a huge black crow pecking happily away at the dead squirrel, who, by the way, has lost a considerable amount of weight and cuteness factor over the past few months.
There were a few times that I gasped in sheer horror as I watched the crow aggressively pecking the poor flimsy lifeless thing, lifting it completely off the box at one point, and I thought for sure that the black scavenger bird would fling its meal directly into my backyard. But, as quickly as he arrived, the crow flew off before he even finished his meal, and unfortunately, hasn't been back since.
So, now, we have a half eaten electrocuted squirrel laying rather precariously on the power box in our backyard.
Any birds out there up for some leftovers?
Friday, April 24, 2009
and spent some much needed outside play time. Allie played in the sandbox while wearing her almost sleeveless cotton sun dress:
We had fun spotting the blue jays, robins, and cardinals in our backyard together:
Allie climbed to the top of the swing set and declared it room 308 of her personal hotel:And then she discovered the hazards of wearing a sundress on an extremely windy day while climbing down from her penthouse hotel suite:
We had a great afternoon enjoying the outdoors!
Oh...what's that? You want to know where Zach was? That's right...I do have another child! How could I forget to mention that he spent the majority of the time looking like this?
After realizing he was indeed missing out on much fun, he allowed me to help him to the top of the swing set: Then, he wanted to go down the slide:
Until Allie came and tried to take the rope away:So, then we headed back to the sandbox
where every single time Zach picked up a toy to play with, Allie proclaimed, in the most dramatic fashion, that she absolutely needed the particular tool Zach was holding to put the finishing touches on her ice cream sundae and that Zach "...never ever EVER shares ANYTHING!"
The moral of the story?
mom kid is rough and can definitely take an emotional toll on you.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Allie was thrilled to celebrate with Aunt Stephanie, the bride-to-be: Allie's favorite part was helping to open the presents: Or maybe it was giving Aunt Stephanie her very own present. She was insistent upon purchasing my sister a hot pad for her wedding shower. After Allie picked out the hot pad, I was able to convince her to pick a matching towel and washcloth too. And, who do you think picked out the gift bag? Stephanie opened a bunny. Allie kissed the bunny: Allie was proud to display the wedding rehearsal bouquet put together by my Aunt and Grandma: And, even though she had very little sleep the night before and had absolutely no nap, this was her demeanor for the duration of the shower: We had a great weekend celebrating with the bride-to-be.
Now, Allie is eagerly anticipating the wedding day when Chris B. will finally become her uncle and, in Allie's words, "He will be ALL MINE!" Hmmm...I wonder if Aunt Stephanie knows she has a little competition!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
The first surprise: absolutely glorious spring weather! I don't believe we've had a sunny and warm (yes, 50-60 degree weather is most definitely considered warm to us northerners) Easter weekend since Allie's first Easter when she was only five months old.
Poor Zach was quite miserable on Sunday morning, but he did not object to eating orange jello for breakfast:
One of the more exciting surprises of the morning was finding out that the Easter Bunny is real. No lie. We opened our windows on Sunday morning to find our backyard full of pastel colored eggs filled with chocolates. Ben and I looked at each other, puzzled, and both exclaimed simultaneously, "Did you...?" To which we both responded in unison to one another, "Um...no!" I'm not sure who was more excited, the kids or us! We're still not sure who played Easter bunny this year, but our suspicion is one of our next door neighbors.
Zach was still feeling icky, but managed to have fun:Watching a movie while waiting for Easter Dinner (or lunch...seeing as we ate at noon):Sugar, Sugar, Sugar. And yes, the end of the sugar high was definitely in the form of a massive, MASSIVE melt-down. Poor Zach...I'm not sure that cookie helped him feel any better...in fact, most of it ended up on the ground where Taffy (the Richardson's dog) ate it:Hunting for Eggs! This was Zach's first official Easter Egg Hunt and he was a pro. Allie, also a pro, has a little more experience under her belt:Here's Zach enjoying a bunny marshmallow. Actually, he only enjoyed it for two seconds and then spit it on the ground:Wow...big surprise...absolutely no smiles for the annual Easter kids' shot. Seriously, even though you would never guess it from this photo, they both had a lot of fun!The best family photo of the day. Apparently, for Allie the candy was much more exciting than smiling for the camera and Zach was just not really in that picture-taking mood:
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
This Sunday at church Pastor John said something in his sermon that really hit home to me. He was talking about how Easter is the most sacred of all holidays and how the importance of Easter far exceeds that of Christmas. He went on to point out that even though we often deem Christmas to be the most important of holidays, it is in fact only a prelude to the greater work that was performed on Easter. Basically meaning that Christmas is only one chapter in the far greater story of God rescuing man. Easter, on the other hand, is the climax of His story, the greatest work, what everything else in the entire Bible is building up to. And, yet, how often it gets short changed.
I have always loved Christmas. Partly because at Christmastime it is so easy for me to "feel" worshipful and "feel" thankful for the gift of Christ. Every time I turn on the radio during the Christmas season my ears are filled with carols proclaiming Christ's birth. Angels and wisemen greet me at almost every department store Christmas display. People decorate their homes with beautiful lights so that I am reminded in the darkest of months that Christ came to be our light. Everywhere I go in the month of December I see physical reminders of God coming down to Earth in the form of the beautiful baby Jesus and I can't help but celebrate.
However, mainstream culture seems to provide little, only a mere 3 1/2 months later, to remind me of this same baby Jesus, who grew up to be a blameless, sinless man, who sacrificed his life to rescue me. The radio plays no Easter carols to make it easy for me to remember that Good Friday is only a few days away. It's not like when I walk into Target I am greeted by a cross or an empty tomb display. And, all too often, during Easter week I simply choose not to remember, I sing "Up From the Grave He Arose" on Easter Sunday, have a great Easter meal with my family after church, and then go about my life as normal again on Monday.
But, the point really isn't that I want to see crucifixes everywhere I turn during Easter week or even that I need outside cultural reminders to bring me to true and thankful worship. I believe the point that Pastor John was making on Sunday, one that definitely made significant impact on me, is that during the Easter season I will get no help from the world to remind me to celebrate the Truth of Easter.
Celebrating Easter is between God and myself. It is my choice whether or not to ponder the magnitude of what Easter means. It is up to me to take the time, to read the account of Christ's arrest, to weep over the unjust accusations made against Him, and to know that the cross he carried on his back was supposed to be for me. It is up to me to remember how He hung on that cross, bleeding, every muscle in his body screaming in agony, while every single sin I have ever committed and ever will commit was placed upon Him to bear as he gasped his final breath and died. Because of me...because He wanted to rescue me...because of His love...He died for me.
And, it is up to me to declare His defeat over death, to celebrate his rising from the grave, to anticipate His return with the joy and gratitude only one who has been rescued from the worst of all fates can know. And, when Monday roles around, I should not forget. Easter should change my life forever.
In an effort to have our family be more intentional about looking to Jesus this Easter, we made our own set of resurrection eggs...basically 12 plastic eggs that each contain a tangible object inside that helps to tell the story of Easter. These eggs have served as our very own physical reminders of Jesus during this week before Easter. As we open an egg each day, I have had the opportunity to little by little unfold the story of Easter to my kids. So far, it has proven to be an excellent way for me to not rush through the Easter story, to contemplate each piece of what was done for me, and to pass these significant truths along to my kids.
Of course Allie looks forward to the egg opening each day and has a multitude of questions regarding each egg, but I am so thankful for the discussions we have had in the past few days about Jesus because of her questions. I was definitely anticipating the kids loving the eggs, but what I wasn't anticipating is how God has been softening my heart as we open each egg and read through the corresponding Scripture. It is neat how He is preparing me a little more each and every day for Easter through something as simple as a dozen pastel colored plastic eggs with little objects I have gathered from around our house that all point to Jesus, making me truly thankful and excited to celebrate this Easter.
What are some ways you and your family prepare for and celebrate Easter?
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Since my kids are years away from such ungrateful behavior and because I am sure I never ever treated my parents with such selfish disrespect during my teenage years, you may be wondering why I bring this whole issue up.
Well, it is because I am beginning to build up my case. You know, so that when Allie is 15 and looks at me in disgust before we leave to attend a school function together as a family and snidely says under her breath, "Seriously, if you wear that I'm going to act like I'm not related to you," I will have a whole arsenal of truly embarrassing stories to share with her in the car on the way to the event that will make my clothing choice look like designer runway fashion in comparison.
For instance, I might decide to recount today's events at the tuxedo rental shop/men's clothing store. We had to make a quick stop there to get Ben measured for a tux for my sister's wedding. We also needed to purchase Zach his very own tuxedo because apparently they don't rent tuxedos to perpetually drooling, snot-streaming, booger-schmearing toddlers.
Anyway, I was instantly overjoyed upon walking into the store when Allie located a kids' play corner, complete with toys, coloring books, and a little table with a couple chairs. The kids and I set up camp in the corner, eating Teddy Grahams and playing with toys that looked as if they needed some serious cleaning, complete with bleach, while Ben headed to the back to get his measurements taken. I'm pretty positive there aren't many moms that work at this particular men's clothing store. In fact, as I scanned the store, I only saw men...all in suits...thus fully explaining the disgusting nature of the toys. Maybe I'm being judgemental, but I really don't see suit-wearing men bending over a sink full of bleach water and sanitizing toys. But, to their credit, they did have toys. So, I shouldn't complain. Or, maybe I should've just asked when one of their wives was coming in for a visit....
Back to the topic at hand...
Allie, always the observant one, also noticed the lack of female presence in the store. She was very concerned that there were no girl clothes and was curious as to why there weren't any women shopping there. I went on to explain to her that this was a store for Daddy and other grown-up men. This seemed to appease her for a while and so I went back to handing out Teddy Grahams to Zach.
Then, piercing through the silence that can only be heard by men shopping in a men's store,
"MOM! IS THAT A BOY OR A GIRL! LOOK! MOM! I SAID, IS THAT A BOY OR A GIRL?!"
I looked over to where Allie was pointing to see a slightly overweight woman in her mid 50's with no make-up on, huge rimless glasses, and extremely short brown hair holding a few extremely large men's shirts she had rifled off of the clearance rack. When I realized she was staring right in our direction I quickly looked away and whispered as softly as possible to Allie: "That is a woman."
"WHADDYA SAY MOM?! IS THAT A BOY OR A GIRL?! COME ON MOM! BOY OR GIRL!"
By this time the woman was directly in front of us. Literally two feet away. I did the only thing I could think to do which was to offer an apology. But, really, how do you apologize for the fact that your 3-year old can't determine gender? She responded a bit coldly, "Well, I've been wondering for a while now if I should grow out my hair and I guess I have my answer." She put the shirts down and walked out.
After she abruptly left the store, a rather tall, young, and tan looking salesman, who probably just spent his spring break in Cancun, and was of course wearing a fashionably dark pin striped suit complete with a brightly colored tie, shouts to us from across the room through peals of his own laughter, "THAT WAS AWESOME!"
Allie looks up toward the man's direction, "Hey mom! That man looks just like BARACK OBAMA!"
"No, Allie, he doesn't."
"Well, yes he does. He kind of does. He's dark just like Barack Obama."
"Allie, he's tan. He is not like Barack Obama."
"Well, just a little bit."
"I think he is...juuuust a little bit...like Barack Obama."
I told you. I'm building my case. And so far, I think I'm getting some pretty good ammo. So, bring on those teen years. I'll be so ready.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Zach is still a bit hesitant about participating, but he has a lot of fun watching! Allie will do a few exercises with me, but then complains they are too difficult, runs to get her favorite stuffed animals, and then has them perform the exercises in her place. Ben occasionally does Pilates with me at night after the kids go to bed, but this particular day he decided to act as photographer.