Saturday, June 28, 2014

It's a BOY!

Introducing the newest member of our family - Huckleberry Finn (Huck).

 He's is 6 weeks old and 1 pound, 3 ounces.
 He has dark hair, and very blue eyes, just like us!
Eating his first meal in his new house. Grey says "Is that water?! But cats hate water!" I had to explain they hate bathing in water, but not drinking it.
If you watch the little video of his coming home and the kids surprise (uh, my surprise too, I only found out minutes before they did when Brian came home and called me to the garage:-), you'll hear a little bit of his story. His litter was found abandoned in the industrial park where Brian's office is. A few coworkers took it upon themselves to catch and rescue the kittens and find them homes. He's been to the vet, and all is well with worms, mites and fleas, etc. He will be neutered when the time comes.

There is a chance we'll get Huck's brother - Sawyer, too. If they can catch him. We decided to name him Huck, and his brother Tom Sawyer (if he's caught). We thought Sawyer and Huck were fun names for adventuring little boys. And Huck is definitely better than Brian's original suggestion of Moe Funkus. Haha. Mal Fungus? Kenna says:-) It seems to be the job of all good Dads to suggest the weirdest names possible! Brooks thought George would be a good name.

The kids adore him! Grey: "He's pure black, but if you see da eyes, den he's not DAT pure black"

His first hiding place was under the microwave cart
He is still in the process of being tamed. He loves exploring the house, but we have blocked off most of it - it's just too big, and he's so little, he'll get lost!

Grey broke out the binoculars to get a better view of him under there:-)
So far, only adults are allowed to hold him, the kids can pet him one at a time. This is all but killing them. He is very playful with toys, and chasing his tail etc. They just want to scoop him up! But he's still easily overwhelmed and nervous, and they are anything but calm and quiet. He has been very gentle with us though, so I think he'll be a good cat...once we get him litter box trained and all.
He loves to jump up and play on the hearth
He is extremely tiny, and extremely adorable. Oh my!
Super cute, lil Baby Moe Funkus, errrrr, Huck :-D
So for now, the kids pet woes are over. They have real a pet all of their own:-)

Grey: "Is that a living cat?!"

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flowers, for the Soul

We made a few trips to the Botanical Gardens this week, and it's always amazing to me how gorgeous God's creation is. Even in just the flowers alone, the diversity is amazing. Here are a few quotes, and pretty pretty pictures:-)
Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoying the beauty all around us

An amazing field of wild flowers
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. A. A. Milne

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. John W Gardner

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly. Richard Fuller

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. Claude Monet

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. Martin Luther

One marked feature of people, both high and low, is a love for flowers. Robert Fortune

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable. Joseph Addison

We found teeny baby toads. Claire and Grey held them for us:-)

Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these... Matthew 6:29
There are always flowers for those that want to see them. Henri Matisse

We found the perfect spot for our picnic

Flowers are the sweetest thing God ever made and forgot to put a soul into. Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, June 23, 2014

Little Brothers - Video

If you know anything about Kenna's chief complaints in life, you know about her brothers. While she is mostly all talk, since they are her best playmates and cohorts, she likes to frequently begrudge the fact that she is plagued with brothers instead of sisters. Didn't you know that sisters *never* annoy you? They *never* break your things, and they are certainly *never* hyper or in a bad mood. Of course. Because girls are just so perfect. If she'd had 2 sisters, she'd never have a care in the world, don't you know:-)

Here is a cute little video that Kenna planned out all by herself. To her Little Brothers. They might not be girls...but we can't all be so perfect, now can we? :-D

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Party Weekend

We had a really fun weekend. Brian had to work a little, but not too much, and a bunch of friends came to babysit so we could go out to eat for our anniversary. Which was DELICIOUS. My instagram feed has pics of that. And the kids got to fish in our pond for the first time while we were away:-)

Fathers Day was Sunday, and the kids presented Daddy with the cookies they made for him.

 Brian decided to tackle a home improvement project that's been needing to be done.
Replacing the storm door.

The old one was old...and well, broken.

Eating lunch, watching Daddy work
We hit a little snag. After removing the old door, and installing the new one, it was time to put in the handle & locks. And there was only half the handle in the box. Uh oh. There was a number to call on the sticker on the door for missing parts. And of course they will send the missing 10 days. LOL. So we can't open the new door, but thankfully can come and go through our garage:-)

But it looks nice, even handle-less. It has the window that rolls down, and a screen comes up, so it can be used in all kinds of weather.
View from the inside. Can't wait until we can use it:-)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

11th Anniversary

Here are lots of pictures of mostly just us over the past 11+ years! We are having a very happy anniversary, and are definitely scratching our heads...where has the time gone?! The cliche definitely holds true, time flies when you're having fun!

To see more wedding wonderfulness I've posted over the past 8 years on this blog, click here. There are lots more videos, of our vows, our music at the ceremony and reception, our kiss...our special day! It was truly the day of our dreams. Another cliche, but really, it was:-) Thank you all for sticking with us and loving us these past 11 years!

Friday, June 13, 2014


A friend of mine sent me an article, and asked my opinion on the following parenting dilemma: Sharing. I read the article, which had some valid ideas, and some not so much. Here is my response to her - figured since I took the time to write it all down, I might as well share:-) Do you have any sharing insights for parenting?

I think sharing is probably the first, tangible “adult world” lesson that kids are taught. Basically, it all comes back to – you can't always have what you want, when you want it. The world doesn't revolve around you alone. Nobody else cares if you are happy, except your Mom. Harsh lessons to teach a 2 year old, however true they may be --and they are true.

There are a few factors that come into play with sharing, the first one probably being: age. When children are still young, whether by age or maturity, sharing is something you can request (and begin to teach), but not demand, really. You can ask if they will share a toy with a friend, but you can't grab it from them to force the issue. When sharing does occur voluntarily, make sure that it gets shared “back”. So that it is sharing, and not giving away. I tend not to use the word "sharing", but rather, "taking turns". Using properly defined words is helpful, even with small children who may not fully understand the entire meanings behind them.

Help them to understand that people can take turns, and that it will come back to your turn soon. I do a “ 2 minutes, 2 minutes” rule. Each child gets to play with the coveted item for 2 minutes, with Mommy passing it back and forth and explaining how we each take turns, and our turn comes again quickly. This is best in small group settings, not large groups with lots of commotion. It's a training time really, but must be explained and done in such a way, that they realize not only will they be “giving it away” for 2 mins, but that it will come back to them. Depending on the mood or attitude of the child, they may cry the entire 2 mins they don't have the toy, and that's ok. Once they learn they really do get it back, they usually get over that quick.

Now into the “grey area” of sharing. I don't think all things need to be shared. There are special toys etc that are not for others. Perhaps even special blankets etc. However – the issue I have with this is that most parents these days seems to fall into the “permissive” category when it comes to their own child. The rule should be this: If it's so special, then it shouldn't be  “out”. Kids should not be allowed to carry a security blanket with them, everywhere they go. It's just bad parenting, in my opinion. Dragging it around your own house? Ok, fine, if that is what you want to do. But bring it to Target? No way. There has to be boundaries, and the kid needs to learn that. So anyway, if Mommy lets 3 year old bring a Transformer to church, and then won't allow it to be shared...I consider this not only bad parenting, but rude, because you know the other kids are going to be all over that, so you are basically creating a sharing issue, and you're the parent! How dumb is that. Now, if you invite a family over to your own home, then it's a little different – but the “offending” toy should still not be paraded around in front of the others, if it's not to be shared.

We have toys that we do not allow anyone else to play with (Kenna's Playmobil & Dollhouse). That means when guests are over, Kenna is not allowed to play with it either. Dragging a blankie to the park, and not letting other kids touch it is not ok. Having people in your house, and not letting them touch it is ok, if that makes sense? (Like, it's getting near nap, and you pull the blanket out). Kids need to learn both sides of it.

When my kids want to bring a toy “out” somewhere, they are under very thorough instruction – if you bring it, you must be willing to share it. When they are little and can't understand, the answer is no. We don't drag our things all around the world. They stay home, no exceptions. So then you are at church or the park where only “neutral” toys are in play, that don't actually belong to anyone, and it's easier to teach the 2 mins rule.

When they are older (whether by age or maturity - anywhere from 2 to 4), the sharing focus shifts. They know how it feels to be on the other end of “sharing” - wanting to play with something cool, while some dumb kid holds on to it for hours and won't let it go. The over arching theme in my personal parenting, and it's also a good theme for life – Love always does what is good for someone else, (and also going with that, teaching kids the preciousness of others) – Sometimes that is not always apparently obvious at certain stages, ages, or situations, but its' always working toward that end goal, so I feel it all comes back around to it.

Teaching kids to wait their turn is important. Teaching kids they can't always have what they want is important. But teaching them to show love is also important, and it is (for most people and most personality types) a very unnatural thing. Children are the epitome of NOT self sacrificing humans. They always have their own best interests at heart. This saves their lives in infancy. Or maybe we'd not feed them enough, right? It's God's will that a baby cry for its food, and mother. But it's not God's will that a 15 year old cry for food or mother. So somewhere between there, we need to shift their focus from the me and self preservation to God and others. So declaring that “I won't teach my children to share” is actually fairly unbiblical. Maybe the difference is in the definition. I teach my children to share, I don't make them share. When they are 1 and 2, it's a process, and it doesn't always happen or happen “properly” - by the time they are 3 and 4, they have it down pat, and you can begin to introduce the moral reasons behind the “why's” of the situation.

Remember when Johnny wouldn't let you have a turn with his race car? How did that make you feel? Did you just want to try it out? Were you willing to let him have his turn too? Was it something that you could play together with (teaching kids to play with each other comes in time). So, if you want to bring your superhero, and Johnny wants a turn with it, what will you do? What will you do if he decides he won't let you have a turn back? (unfortunately, we all know those kids/moms :-/)

If the child is not ready to handle these situations in stride, then don't bring the toy. But helping them to see that just as they have the burning desire to play with a new toy – so does your friend. (children are so “me focused” the thought literally never occurs to them). Teaching them that other people are of value, and are worth loving – by sharing a toy. There aren't a whole lot of ways kids can practically show love to their little friends, but this is one way.

We don't teach sharing for really any other reason, that I can think of, than because it esteems others as better than ourselves. Others are also worthy of the joy that we experience. It's biblical, and it grows children into adults that consider the preciousness of others, in all kinds of situations. It's a hard lesson for a small child, granted. But neglecting to teach it at a young age means that its not in their hearts, which means, it's missing.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Updates, and Cookies

Well, we've been pretty busy lately, but I guess that fairly normal, right? School is almost out, meaning I only have Sonny & May until Monday (last day!) - then our 8ish week summer break before we start all over again.

Brian's work is busy, but good. Lots of home improvement and yard projects too. I guess I've been slack in taking pictures recently. That's probably because I have cookies on the brain!

If you haven't noticed the Rangers are in the Stanley Cup! That has given Brian quite a few chances to yell at the tv:-)

So, about the cookies... my little cookie business is doing pretty well. At least, I definitely have enough work to keep me busy, so that's nice! It's been a learning curve, but it's pretty fun. I feel like I learn something monumental every time I decorate.

We celebrate 11 years on Saturday, and are preparing for a little visit from Grandma & Grandpa B. They are coming down to help Dale & Lauren build a deck, so we'll look forward to some fun with them. It will be their first time to see our new house.

What else is new? On Monday there was a Blue Jay (the kids *insist* it was a Grey Jay) trapped in our screened in porch. On Tuesday, I ran over a snake. A huge black big snake in the road. On Wednesday, there was a huge possum wandering around our yard, in the middle of the day. It wasn't in any hurry, and wasn't really scared of us poking at it (it wasn't running away). So maybe it had hydrophobe - anybody just picture Old Yeller? haha!!! Today it was raining, so we stayed inside and away from our own personal wildlife drama. There are little baby ducks that live essentially in our yard/in and around the little lake, and they are so cute to watch following their Mama everywhere she waddles. The kids get a real kick out of them.

I'm getting ready to have the kids tested (standardized testing). I'm really proud of them! They've done well this year, and have really taken off in their reading and writing. Of course they are as creative, and hilarious as ever. 
Lots and lots of cookies for a wedding

Fathers Day coming up, I have about 40 cookies to do/finish for that.

Practicing a new design on cookies that were messed up. I need the practice! The idea works in theory though, so now I just need to do it for real.
That's our update! I'll post something fun for our anniversary on Sat, so stay tuned:-)