Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bye Bye Peanut Butter!

Well, Lily had her allergy testing done today- and yes, she is allergic to peanuts!:( This is about what we expected, but of course it's still disappointing. Apparently it's quite a big deal- as eating any food made with peanuts/peanut butter could lead to a reaction- anything from a rash to her airway closing up. So we have to be quite careful (especially since you can't explain to her that she can't have peanuts). So, I guess we are entering into a new world of reading ingredient labels, asking resteraunts lots of questions, and asking friends not to bring foods with peanuts for their kids- and oh yeah, our favorite candy (Reeses peanut butter cups for Joe and peanut butter M&M's for me) will have to be hidden and saved for after bedtime! And we will have to carry an epi pen with us from now on. So I'm sad that my little girl will never know the joy of peanut butter and chocolate -but at the same time I think about all of the horrible diseases she could possibly get and for now I'll just count by blessings and move on to almond butter!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Too Cute To Resist!

These pictures were just too cute to resist sharing! And as you can see I was finally able to put a cute little barrette in her hair (and as long as I distract her right after putting it in she might leave it in for a little bit)! And in case you were wondering we were singing "If You're Happy And You Know It" while I took these pictures- apparently she was happy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rock Climbing Mama!

No, I'm not referring to myself (obviously this isn't a picture of me)- but I wish! Actually it's Carrie Cooper and I read about her a little while back in one of Joe's rock climbing magazines. Here's the intro to her article: "Gear bag? Check. Crashpad? Check. Diaper bag, toys, car seat, bottle, and pacifier? Check. For motivated boulderer Carrie Cooper, 29, the gear list grew a little longer with the birth of her daughter, Ava, 19 months ago. But the Flagstaff, Arizona-based mother says she's "stronger now than ever before." Carrie is a member of Prana's elite climbing team- and I think it's just so cool that she says she's stronger now than before having her little girl! Moms can be, and are, strong physically and mentally! Love it! So, while I haven't climbed outside yet this fall (although that's where Joe is headed off to at this very moment- with students)- Joe and I have been going to the indoor climbing gym the last few Mondays (our day off). We bring Lily too- and while she mostly just has fun grabbing the holds or playing on the mats I think that given a few years she will probably be better than both of us! In the meantime this rock climbing mama gives me some inspiration- I may not be a good climber now (and even though I would like to be, maybe I never will)- but I don't have to stop trying just because I'm a mama too!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What a Wonderful Day Off!

The Hay Jump!

Alpacas (I think they are so cute)- and I think that Mom & Dad Cousins should reconsider raising them!:)

This weekend we had just a wonderful day off- totally packed with fun stuff! We spent the morning/early afternoon at the CommonGround Country Fair. It was wonderful! We have been wanting to go for years, but just never was able to until now. Around here it is sort of known as the hippie/organic fair- and it is- all the products there are locally made and all of the food sold is organic. And it's huge- I couldn't believe it! It has the feel of a real, authentic country fair. As you can see Lily loved the animals. She also loved the hay jump for kids. I loved all the locally made goodies (thankfully we didn't bring too much cash or I might have spent it all), and the organic popcorn was amazing! Joe enjoyed it too (though maybe not quite as much as I did)- but he does want to build his own canoe now! Hopefully we will go again and as Lily gets older be able to enjoy more of the demonstrations/seminars/entertainment. Following the fair we had 16 adults and 9 children over to our house for a BBQ/Corn Roast to kick off the small group/bible study we are starting! I enjoyed everyone so much- and the kids had an absolute blast together! Can't wait for the group to start this Sunday! And, if all that wasn't enough I got to round out the evening watching the Green Bay Packers play Sunday night football! Does it get any better? Well, they did loose, so I guess the day could have been better- but I did go to sleep that night one very tired, but very happy lady!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Little Fleece Baby

I just love these little fleece sets by Carters- so I just couldn't resist repeating one of my favorite pictures from last fall! The lighting was a little off, but she's so cute it doesn't matter too much (or so I think)! The fleece is out...fall must be here!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fort Cousins!

The other day Lily dragged out her tunnel and her parachute toy. A little bit later when I came back in the room Joe had construted "Fort Cousins." As you can tell- Lily loved it! I'm sure it's the first of many forts to come! Enjoy these videos and pictures!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Apple Picking!

We Love Mainely Apples- So Fun!

Too Cute

She loved gathering the apples from the ground!

Getting a few from Dad to take back to the bucket!

Finally we found a way to reach those perfect ones at the top!

Our Little Harvest

On one of our days off this weekend (Yes, we got 2- it was amazing)- we went apple picking! After all the fruit picking we have done this summer this was by far the best family experience! Lily just loved the whole thing! She could have stayed out in the orchard all day picking up apples off the ground! She was even able to pick a few of her own (with our help and without) off of the trees. And she was a wonderful helper putting them in the pails for us. It was a beautiful day, she loved it, we loved it, and (unlike strawberry or raspberry picking) she didn't need a bath when she got home- perfect!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Where Are The Freshmen?

Every year since I can remember we have done at least one trip just for incoming freshmen. In the last few years the freshmen rafting trip has always been one of our best trips of the year- a great trip, good bonding, good discussion, good spiritual interest. And usually we have been able to take a whole different group of freshmen rock climbing- and sometimes even to play paintball. And yet this year we find ourselves missing the freshmen. There are many other great things we have seen happen already this semester (which I'll share another time)- but we are disappointed about this. Today we had to cancel our freshmen rock climbing trip due to lack of people (it rained anyway, so I guess the outcome was the same in the end). And so far we only have one freshmen signed up for next Sunday's rafting trip (Usually we have no problem getting 20). So, please pray that more freshmen would sign up (we need at least 10 to go). Pray for these freshmen- wherever they might be!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

To Paint or Not to Paint?

About a week or two ago my mom asked me why I haven't posted any pictures of our finished kitchen. Well, that would be hard to do- since it isn't finished!:) Most of the big stuff is done- the cabinets are in, the counters are in, all the appliances, the tile is in, etc... mostly what's left is finishing stuff- some drywall, painting, lights, trim. The next thing I need to do right now is paint the chair-rail going around the kitchen. As you can see in the pictures above it is currently white (like the rest of the trim around the doors and windows). Everything else on these walls has already been painted. So now my dilema is whether I should repaint the chair-rail white or whether I should paint it a lighter shade of green. I know which way I am leaning, but I thought I would ask for your opinion. So, vote in my poll- and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The First Win!

What a perfect way to start the season. What a perfect way to start the fall. The Packers not only won their first game, but they won it with brand new starting quarterback Aaron Rogers. And they won against their biggest rivals- the Minnesota Vikings. On Monday night football. Doesn't get much sweeter than that! Since it was on Monday night I actually got to watch the game! Our friends Lea and Bill and their little girl joined us. Lea is also from Wisconsin- it's always great to watch with another fan! The whole game seemed so relaxed that Lea and I couldn't help but wonder if it's because we were talking more and paying a little less attention to the game than usual or whether it's because we could watch and enjoy without the tension one usually faced every time Favre went back for a long pass (Amazing throw? Interception? Who knows)! Don't get me wrong- Favre is still one of the best quarterbacks of all time- and it pains me to see him in the Jets uniform- but I still think the Packers are looking good (even without Favre)!

Monday, September 8, 2008

More Fun!

Here's another fun video! After the video I shot last week she discovered that it was even more fun to jump off the laundry basket! And yesterday she discovered that if she pushed the laundry basket right next to our giant foam bean bag that she could jump into it (or more like fall into it)! I couldn't resist- enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

For The Love of Peanut Butter!

Well, we think that our little Lily is allergic to peanuts. So sad. Last month we gave her a cookie (that had some peanut butter in it) and she broke out in little red bumps all around her mouth. We tried again the next day with another cookie and the same thing. We haven't dared to give her straight up peanut butter. So, the poor little thing has to go have allergy testing done (on Sept. 30th- pray for us- this could be a rough day). A few times this summer she has also developed red splotches on her face (all after dinner)- so obviously she has some allergies. Joe had allergies when he was a kid too. So while we don't know anything for sure yet I am already mourning that my little girl might never know how wonderful chocolate and peanut butter are together! There could be many worse things, but it's still sad. We'll see...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Unstructured Play!

A few mornings ago I was watching the Today Show and they were doing a segment on the importance of unstructured play. Their point was that these days too many of our kids have all of their play time structured for them. There are even many schools now that dont have recess time- crazy! They apparently have done studies that show that kids actually learn more when they are given open ended play time and have to be creative for themselves. Of course there is a balance between structure and open ended play (nothing wrong with having your kids take a music lesson or be involved in sports)- and that was their message. So far (being only a year and a half) we have plenty of unstructured play- and here are a few pictures to show you!:) Most of them are of Lily dancing (which she loves to do these days)- and in the last one she is reading "Leo" a book. Too cute! By the way, this cute little linen dress she is wearing is one of my favorites (it's so beautiful and simple)- thanks Aunt Cindy for this adorable dress!
A few days before I saw the Today Show piece I found this fun toy called "Bilibo." Apparently it's won awards for being a simple, open-ended toy that promotes creativity. I'm hoping to get Lily 2 or 3 (maybe for Christmas). If you are interested check it out at www.bilibo.com
I've also been dreaming of getting her foam blocks that she can crawl on (and build with someday). Now I've just got to get the basement clean so that we might have room!:)
Hope you get to play a little today!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Welcome To This World Lacey May!

Our newest little niece, Lacey May, was morn Tuesday evening! Joe and I were able to meet her yesterday- and she is beautiful! Born at 9lbs-11ozs she is no tiny baby (but she still feels pretty small to me). She has the most adorable chubby cheeks! This is the second little girl for Joe's little brother, Donald, and his wife, Mary. Their first, Brenna, is just 3 weeks younger than Lily (17 months old)- so they will have their hands full! Thankfully Brenna is a happy little girl- and Lacey already seems so sweet! Congratulations Donald and Mary- we love her already!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

To This I Aspire

Last week I read this article (below) on the Family Life Mom-Blog (www.familylifemomblog.com- if you are a mom you should check it out- I'm really enjoying it). I so aspire to help my little girl (and myself for that matter) to "eat, breath, and sleep scripture." This has never been a strength in my spiritual life. Reading this article is sort of convicting me that it needs to be- not just for my sake. Read for yourself- maybe you'll be challenged too.

What they need
by Janel Breitenstein
"Do you want a sippy cup?" "Do you need a ride?" "Do you need money?" "Need a hug?" "Want a cookie?" "Did you pack underwear?" "Did you brush?" "Did you flush?" "Did you wash your hands?" "Are you scared?" "Are you okay?"
Can you believe the amount of time, energy, and resources you spend looking after your kids' needs? I don't know if you worked outside the home before becoming a mom, but my 40 hours a week had nothing on motherhood. (If you want a laugh, I must recommend this MomSense clip.)
Actually, I remember being somewhat shocked when I first came home from the hospital with our oldest and tallied up my hours nursing—just nursing. That was 40 hours. Welcome to your new occupation, Janel. Moooo.
And even without leaning into consumerism (i.e. letting our child's desires dictate our actions), our sensors are constantly alert to their needs, physical and otherwise. With newborns, we learn a new form of half-sleep, listening for cries, popping out of bed like toast at 3 a.m. As they grow, we learn our babies' "languages" long before they can talk (Baby: "Mmmmfffsccchhhlp." Mommy: "Oh, you need a drink?"). Further down the road in their blossoming independence, we're detectives for every clue to their inner worlds.
But two authors, Voddie Baucham and Ginger Plowman (catch her on this week's FamilyLife Today broadcast!), have brought a Scripture into new light for me. Here's how Baucham put it:
I just tend to believe the Word when it says "all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness; that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work," which means there is nothing to which God will call my children for which the Word of God will not equip my children. So my job is to get as much of the Word into them as possible. That way, whatever it is that God intends for them to face, they'll have the tools necessary to overcome. (emphasis added)
You can probably see where I'm going here. If I want to meet my kids' needs, this is where I start.
God explained to His own kids (Israel) that meeting their needs with manna was to teach them that "man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 8:3). To meet our kids' needs, to give them something to live on, Scripture is as important as food—more so, I'd say, after watching Jesus' and Moses' examples of fasting 40 days. (Note: FamilyLife does not necessarily recommend feeding your kids only Scripture for 40 days.)
I've mentioned this verse before:
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
Throughout the day, in all of our activities, we equip our kids and meet their needs by helping them eat, sleep, and breathe Scripture—not in a "Say the Lord's Prayer or DROP AND GIMME 20!" manner but in a life-giving, this-is-the-life-and-language-of-our-house sort of way, that teaches our kids (and ourselves) how to apply Scripture in every moment:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
This is "teaching a man how to fish" in the ultimate sense. I'm not just giving my kids' hearts something to snack on. I'm helping them find the spiritual fridge at any moment of the day.
Ginger had a super article (cut me to the heart) in The Family Room last month that touched on this, and she's written a really fantastic calendar-style resource, Wise Words for Moms, listing your child's behavior (alphabetically: "Aggravating, Bad Friendships, Blame Shifting ..."), heart-probing questions, the behavior to "put off" from Scripture and what to "put on" from Scripture, and then more verses. Phew. Wish I could mentally google that stuff when my children and I are respectively displaying our sinful natures.
Maybe as my kids and I "eat" more of the Word, I can.
Posted at 05:54 AM in All posts by Janel Breitenstein, Children - Preschoolers, General mothering, Resources, Spiritual life
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Monday, September 1, 2008

Our First Week of Trips

Well, our first week of trips is finished- Thankfully! As in all things in life there was good and bad in each trip, but overall the week, as crazy as it was, went pretty smoothly. So, for all of you that were praying- here's how they went:

Fraternity- Rafting: They had a whole boat of guys flip over at the biggest rapid on the river- that always makes for a fun and exciting trip! The response to the spiritual part of the program was pretty good. In fact, about 3 or 4 guys circled yes on the response card that they would like to get together with someone from Lifelines to talk more about having a relationship with God. In a culture that dislikes committment a good response is "maybe"- so when people circle "yes" that usually means that God is really doing something. To have that many guys from a fraternity circle yes is pretty amazing!

Husson Women's Soccer- Rafting: Logistically this trip wasn't so smooth- I believe that Joe called it a "train wreck." Nothing serious- just all those little things. But, God uses those train wrecks. And apparently He did here because there was a great response to the program. Looks like we got some Husson girls to follow up with!

U-Maine Freshmen Welcome- Of the 6 years I've been at this freshmen organizations fair this one was by far the worse. The freshmen arrived from another meeting really late- and so by the time they got there everyone was starving and thus far more interested in food than student organizations. As a result we had fewer students sign up for trips than usual. But we did have 50 sign up for rafting, 12 for paintball, 6 for climbing, and 20 generally interested in Lifelines. Given the circumstances not too bad.

Women's Ice Hockey Climbing- The whole program went really smoothly and the girls were really challenged. I heard them say that this was a day that they'll never forget (we like to hear that). The spiritual response was lower than we expected- but we have about 5 or 6 girls to follow up with (including 2 of the girls I was with most of the afternoon)- so I'm excited about that.

Husson Freshmen Challenge Course- Well, we were hoping for about 100 freshmen and we got 18. We were bummed. Apparently Husson didn't do such a good job advertising it. But we got 18 students and they had a great time, were really bonded after the program (one of our objectives) and were introduced to Campus Crusade for the first time.

So yeah, as you can see- good and bad. So, what I've been reminding myself is that we give God the glory when something really good happens- so I'm going to try to work on trusting that He was/is in control when the disappointing things happen too. God is good- all the time.

Up for this week: Friday is a welcome back BBQ for students in Crusade/Lifelines (pray that we'll meet some new students who want to get involved). Saturday is rafting with a fraternity- Sigma Chi. Sunday is the freshmen rafting trip. Right now we don't have enough guides to cover both rafting trips so please pray that works out! Another big week- we sure do appreciate your prayers!