Monday, December 15, 2008

Here's a bunch of shots from our trip to Florida for Thanksgiving. Thanks to some friends of ours, we had a condo at our disposal right down the street from Disney World. So we made the most of an opportunity and spent an amazing day at Magic Kingdom and two at Sea World. It was a sweet trip. Lydia was in heaven amongst the princesses and the same for Steve with Shamu:)
Maybe another time when it's not midnight, I'll write more comments.

Steve seriously loved shamu. It was so funny. Here he is awaiting the start of the show. No that's not Cole. It's some other kid that wanted to be in the splash zone.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Fall Fun before the Winter comes!

We didn't get to carve pumpkins last year since they are super expensive in Mexico so this was essentially Lydia's first time. Every year I debate how much halloween to participate in and this year I used the analogy I heard a friend say about how before we knew Jesus we were a mess inside. And when He comes into our life, He cleans us out and lives in us so that His light can shine into the world through us! It's fun and the kids love carving pumpkins, even though I usually end up doing most of it!

Lydia picked out a white pumpkin. We don't know why.

I haven't figured out yet why they insist on making these faces for pictures.

We love our trees. I think we are the only people ever to be bummed about a tree falling because it makes our leaf pile in the yard smaller! But it was noticably smaller this year but it didn't lessen the fun we had jumping in the pile, wrestling and burying people.

We collected leaves and made them into crafts of course! They are hanging all over our windows.

Sometimes we feel like the Griswolds. Especially when Clark, er Steve, takes on these great ideas of do it yourself projects... like cutting off the dead limbs of a 50 ft high tree. The limbs end up being a lot bigger when they land in the yard.

Every year we have a leaf party which is a blast. The students love jumping in the leaves, piling wood on our fire pit and playing in the "kids" tree house! The star is a new addition. Cole and Lydia have been begging for us to put a star on our house since we play a game while driving- who can see the stars first on the houses we pass. I compromised when our friends said we could have one that came with their house and we put it up on the tree house. They love it!

Nothing like a good bonfire when it's in the 30s.

Tradition- playing queen of the hill. I got second this year:( It's the best time. We have an excuse to wrestle as girls since we secretly all want to anyway.

This is out of order but we've been slowly working on building a nice fire pit area. We found all these rocks under ivy on the side of our house and were amazed how many there were! It'll look really nice when it's all done. And best of all- it was free! Notice all of the nicely piled wood in the background. Steve finally finished splitting all of the rounds from the tree that fell. It felt good.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A very Literal start to the Fall season!

So a couple of weeks ago the big wind storm hit Ohio and was one of the craziest storms we've ever seen. Silly us, we were out driving checking out all the damage before the storm was even over. We were anxious to get home to our very wooded lot to see if anything had happened there. And these are those times when we know that Jesus really watches over us and hears are prayers. We had one tree fall and instead of hitting a shed that would've cost probably $1000 to replace or our new tree house that would be several hundred dollars, it landed on the side of our swing set which is the cheapest and easiest thing to replace in our yard!

Another amazingness blessing from the Lord... it perfectly missed my lilac bushes that just bloomed for the first time this spring, landing right between them. And it just barely missed my dogwood tree. How is that possible! This tree could not have landed more perfectly in our yard!
Cole and Lydia did not agree with where it landed but once they get their swing set fixed they won't even remember this. This is what's left of it after removing the branches. Thankfully, the side with the slide platform wasn't damaged at all.
We had several days of good family bonding as we all worked hard to drag braches to the front and stack wood. A few Chi Alpha guys came over the day after and with Steve and some chainsaws, they made great ground in getting it cleared up.
We were one of the first neighborhoods that the city got to in their pick up efforts. As we were walking Cole to school we passed them one street over so Steve rushed back to start bringing the rest of the debris to the front. We didn't want to do it too much ahead of time or we wouldn't have any place to park!

We thought we would be one of the last homes to have their power restored since our electric meter and pole got ripped off of the house (bringing with it a 2x4 from INSIDE the house). Dayton Power & Light weren't working on individual houses, but we hired an electrician, and DP&L reattached the main line so we got our electric restored the same time as the rest of our block. We were only without power for a week. We were very content and all of us had great attitudes through the whole week. Internet took a while longer. We just got it back a few days ago! That was actually more inconvenient since I do most of my work from home. Steve was fine since he had it on campus everyday and on his phone to check his fantasy football.
It isn't autumn unless you have pumpkins on the porch so the kids were all excited to get some. The only problem- squirrels!! So Cole had a plan. He collected a bunch of apples from a farm we were at and placed them around our yard as decoys. Then we made Scare-squirrels (instead of scarecrows) to scare them away from our pumpkins. They were very excited about making them and we just hope that they don't scare our friends away too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

School Starts!!!

Cole had his first day of kindergarten a couple weeks ago. He was so excited and a little nervous. The school is a 7 min walk away and one of my good friends from church teaches 1st grade there so we get the inside scoop. It is a great school and he enjoys it immensely. His only complaint so far, it's not long enough!

Still smiling when we picked him up after his first day. That's a good sign.
Lydia also started school a few days after Cole. She goes tuesdays and thursdays and also loves it. She goes to a public preschool nearby and as you can tell by the other names on the lockers, it is very diverse, including internationals. She loves it and it's nice because she doesn't know any different. She's probably just glad the teachers speak english!
School started for our kids but at the same time we were gearing up for WSU's start. We had our Action Team in Training (AT 'n T) a few weeks ago. We spent about two days with our leadership casting vision and preparing for the fall start-up. It was a sweet time and some of our upper classmen thought it was the best one... yet.
One of the first things we do to reach out and connect to incoming freshmen is moving them in. We partner with Wright State to do Move In and this year we had over 30 students from XA volunteer! WSU loves us and always has so much praise for our group and what we do on campus. First weekend is a crazy weekend with move in, Do the U, Orientations, Boogie on the Bricks and Painting the Rock. And this is all within 2 days time. Our students have been rocking it so far. They have been reaching out and loving on students. We have had more students already get plugged into XA and our first meeting isn't until tonight! The world pulls students away so quickly that our hope is to get as many Christians plugged into groups on campus before they fall away from lack of fellowship. One need we provided for the first time this year was a church service on campus for all of the students who just moved in but have no idea where to go to church yet. Since it was our first one, we didn't do the best with advertising but still got amazing turn out! Over 45 new students came out for it and were very grateful to have a place to go since most of them would have just not gone anywhere. We worshipped, Steve spoke on making it a point to feed yourself through God's Word, we ate donuts and passed out a flyer with local church info. It was a sweet success and we loved meeting that need. The University must have liked it too because we found out later that it was on their website. Next year we're hoping to partner with the orientation stuff that goes on all weekend and make it officially through the school.

It was the perfect setting for a service, outside by the gardens and right next to the dorms. We will need more chairs and blankets next year!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Seeing the fam

Cole spent a week at Safety Village to learn all about riding bikes, crossing the street and fire safety. It was a fun week for him and he graduated with honors. Now he tries to teach my social butterfly, Lydia, who strangers are since she thinks that everyone is a friend and yells hi. The world we live in...

We headed up north for the 4th of July stopping in Norwalk for a quick parade and picnic at Liz's Grandma's and then went on to Painesville for a small reunion for Steve's side of the family. And had an awesome time out on their sailboat.

Cole got to learn a bit more about sailing from the pros, Aunt Sue and Jack.
Steve and Tom loved the chance to jump in again.

Our day on the water was beautiful and relaxing. Cole and Lydia even fell asleep!
Posing with Aunt Marla
After a speaking at a church service, we headed to Great Gran's to spend the evening. She is eighty-eight years old and planning her 90th birthday bash!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What we've been doing so far!

Here's the almost finished product of the amazing tree house that Steve made this spring. All that's left is a good coat of stain. The kids love it and have no problem climbing up into it. Steve also made chairs out of the leftover wood and the kids got to paint them. It's a good life being a kid!

Lydia just picked up "pumping" to swing by herself last week. It's amazing what a second kid can do. Cole just learned earlier this spring! She's just a few beats behind him. Of course she thinks she's right up there with him like when she tried to jump off something "just like Cole" and took a nose dive into the sand!
Cole loves this hanging bar we have. He's learned to do flips and all sorts of tricks on it.

Our park and Graeters friends, Kate and Ben from church. They are great buds.

And when Mom's working, we like to go and yell Mimi! We try not to catch her in the middle of something so that we don't get her in trouble! She loves her job at Trader Joe's and they love having her!