Sunday, November 30, 2008

Staff Conference

Joe and Nic doing a little climbing

Jack looks like a natural!

Before you know it she'll be better than us!

After Vermont we headed to upstate New York for our annual staff conference. It's a conference put on by our regional directors just for the Campus Crusade staff in the Northeast. For the first couple of years Joe and I really sort of dreaded this conference- long drive, a lot of people we didn't really know well, and almost every year one or both of us would catch some awful illness during the conference and be sick over Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago though we decided that we needed to have a better attitude about the conference. And ever since then it's been much better- go figure! In fact, other than the drive (and possibility for illness) we were sort of looking forward to it this year. And in the end we rather enjoyed it... seeing good friends (yes, some of those people we didn't know well have become good friends), good food, and a little bit of relaxing and reconnecting with the Lord. We had meetings in the mornings and evenings, but in the afternoon we had free time. Joe and I spent a part of two afternoons at the camp's indoor climbing wall. Above is a few pictures from the afternoon we climbed with our very good friends, the Brenners. And yes, it won't be long before Lily is climbing these walls too!:) Overall it was a good couple of days. And even the dreaded eight and a half hour drive home to Joe's family wasn't so bad- much to our amazement our active little Lily did wonderfully on the drive- so much better than we ever could have thought!


Here's the Litchfield family on our hike: Micah, Dan, Heather, Emma & Caleb

All bundled and ready to go!

Our little snow bunny!

We're home! After a week and a half away it does feel good to be back. We did, however, have a great time on our travels- especially in Vermont! We were in Vermont for a day visiting our very good friends, the Litchfields. As always it was so good to be with them and their family. Our first night there we were able to visit downtown Burlington and check out some of the shops on Church St. My favorite was the local chocolate shop we stopped in for dessert. Joe asked if a particular thing was a chocolate covered oreo and the response was that it was actually a chocolate covered "Newman-O"- in other words an organic chocolate covered oreo! Too funny! That gave us a taste for Vermont in more ways than one!:) We stayed up that night talking with our friends until midnight. Dan and Heather, I wish you lived here!! The next day we went on a little hike to a beautiful outlook (overlooking Berlington). Unfortunately the wind was just ripping and the children were freezing- so we didn't spend much time at the top. As you can see, there was a good covering of snow in Vermont and it was so much fun watching Lily rediscover snow all over again! I loved being with our friends in Vermont and I'm already looking forward to our next visit someday!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And We're Off...

We head out later this afternoon for our week and a half long travel adventure! Tonight we head down to Joe's parent's house for the night. We leave tomorrow morning for Vermont to spend some time with our very good friends the Litchfields. On Saturday afternoon we'll continue the journey to upstate New York for our Campus Crusade regional staff conference (we have it every year at this time)! Tuesday morning we'll do the drive from New York straight back to Joe's parent's house (hopefully no more than 9 hours- we'll see)! Then we get a few wonderful days or rest, family, and food before heading back home on Saturday! Wow, just makes me tired typing about it! Now if I can just get everything packed....
If I don't get to post again until we get back.... Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Maze!

Yesterday we had a huge outreach on campus. The Maze (also known as Jim) is an illusionist from Texas. Last night he did his show on our campus (Campus Crusade brought him here). Jim went around campus all day performing tricks and inviting students to the show. And then that night after 514 seats were filled we had to turn people away! He did an absolutly incredible show that just blew the students away. I didn't get to see the show (had to stay home with the sleeping baby)- but I did see some of his tricks earlier in the day- and it's incredible- really hard to wrap your mind around. During the show he talked a lot about illusion, truth, reality, and deception- and related it all back to the Gospel in a way that students really related to. In the end we had 65 students last night pray to recieve Christ as their savior!! We realize that all of these may not be real sincere decisions, but I absolutly believe that some of them are. The comments on the response cards were incredible- it sure seems like he really reached the students and helped them see clearly who Jesus really is. Please pray with us that God might protect these new believers and guard their faith. Pray as well that all of them would desire to meet more with us so that we might help them learn to grow in their faith. And pray too for the other 250 students who filled our cards- many of them indicating that they want to talk with someone more about spiritual matters. God is good.

Family Photo Day!

Outside in the yard

Trying to get a picture with Indy (who doesn't look thrilled)!

A picture with a dog and a toddler- that's probably not going to work!

And yes...her fingers are in her nose!

Today we took our family picture for our Christmas card! Our friends Tessa and Ali came over- Tessa took the pictures and Ali jumped around trying to get Lily to look and smile! They did a wonderful job! Taking pictures with a toddler isn't easy. Here are some of the "out-takes". I'm not going to post my two favorite pictures- you'll just have to wait until your Christmas card comes in the mail!:) Thanks again Tessa and Ali- you guys are so great!

Happy Birthday Joe!

My camera ran out of batteries right before climbing, but here is one of my favorites of Joe from our time in Acadia this summer!
Yesterday was Joe's 33rd birthday! Happy Birthday my wonderful husband!! We celebrated the day before (our day off)- with a little rock climbing. We got a friend to come babysit so that just Joe and I could go. The cliff was a little wet from all the weekend rain so we didn't get to climb as much as Joe would have liked- but it was still wonderful to just get out by ourselves and enjoy a beautiful Maine day on the cliff. Joe got to do a climb he had never done before- and I finished the longest climb I have ever done (which I didn't think I would be able to do)! We topped it off with dinner at Gov's. Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Food Drive!

On Saturday Lifelines hosted a food drive to support one of the local food pantries (Crossroads Ministries)! Unfortunately Saturday was kind of a rainy, miserable day to be out collecting food. Not nearly as many people showed up to help as we had hoped so it was a little disappointing. We had hoped to stroll Lily around some neighborhoods in her wagon to collect food, but due to the rain we ended up driving around and Joe and I would rotate every few houses (between sitting in the car with Lily)! Thank goodness for the portable DVD player we just bought for our upcoming trip- it allowed us to collect food for an hour and a half. It was hard not to be sad that only 12 of us showed up. But then as we were collecting I was thinking that real service is about doing the right thing even when nobody else is (and you don't really feel like doing it either). It was encouraging to see so many people willing to give. And as I watched my husband trek from house to house in the rain I was reminded once again of how blessed I am- that I have a husband who cares this much about others. In the end we ended up with a truck load of food that we delivered to the food pantry this morning!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Green Bay Packer Baby!

Lily may have been born in Maine, but part of her heart is from Wisconsin! As proof here she is cheering on her favorite football team! The first picture is from a year ago (and as you can clearly see Lily is fascinated by the Packers). In these other two she is sporting her new Green Bay Packer PJ's -handed down from a friend in my mom's group (and as you can see Lily no longer likes to "sit" on chairs)! If that isn't enough proof- well her favorite food is cheese! I kid you not- it's true. Apparently it's in her blood!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Worship Band!

I recently started singing with the worship band at our church! I sang with the band at our old church for awhile... but it's been years... and I have to say that I've missed it! So tonight was my 2nd practice and I am really enjoying it. We only sing every other week- but I have to say that it feels really good to get out and do something that doesn't revolve around being a mom (not that I don't love that too- but it's nice to have a tiny bit of balance)!

Monday, November 10, 2008

From Swimming Pool to Ball Pit!

I had no idea that "winterizing" your kids outside toys would be so much work! It's so fun to break out those things (the pool, the sandbox, the water table) at the beginning of the warm weather. Cleaning it as the end of the fall- no so much! Of course had I cleaned them right away in September instead of hastily stashing them in the garage (while preparing for a BBQ at our house) it might have been easier. As a result last week you could have found me squeezed into our little bathroom with Lily's swimming pool in the shower (I was scrubbing it down with soap and bleach). Swimming pools aren't meant to fit in showers- enough said. But once it was all clean a new toy was created. Thanks to our friend Steph and the 200 ball bit plastic balls she let us borrow- Lily's swimming pool became an incredibly fun ball pit (at least for two days)! We had to return the balls, but it was a fun toy while it lasted (and made me think that if we are ever able to finish the basement into a play room that this toy would be worth having)! In the meantime I thought I would share with you a few things I learned during my first season of kiddie pools. So here is my kiddie pool wisdom:

1. Stick to simple pools. The ones with slides and inflatable monkey heads may look fun, but are apparently horribly scary to a toddler (even a brave one like ours)!

2. Expect to clean your kiddie pool (drain, clean, and add fresh water) every couple of days- otherwise you will quickly end up with a pool of dead bugs, grass, and grime (among other things)!:)

3. Toddlers will never just "splash their hands in the pool" as you hope. Expect that they will end up soaked every time you let them anywhere near the pool!

4. Dropping rocks in the pool is just as much fun (or really more fun) than any pool toys you can buy (at least for a toddler)!

5. It's wise to "winterize" your pool before winter actually hits! Storing it (still kinda wet) in your garage will only result in mildew (and spiders)!

6. Despite all of these things having a kiddie pool is very much worth the effort- literally hours of summer fun with very little crying (except for when it's time to go in)!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall Conference!


She's fascinated!

Praise & Worship Time

This weekend was our Campus Crusade fall conference/retreat for students throughout Maine! We had a great time at Camp Fairhaven (even if it was rainy). The best part was that a group of students from Husson University did the majority of the planning- which not only made much of the weekend easier on us- but it was wonderful to see them take this kind of leadership! Lily ended up getting a cold (with a nasty little cough) on Saturday so her and I came home that night instead of staying through Sunday. That morning though we did get to visit the horses as the camp- which I think was her highlight (at least that's what I would imagine she would tell me if she could). As soon as we left them she kept saying "more." Another really wonderful thing was that we found out that the camp (about an hour from us) has a ropes course that we may be able to use for future Lifelines trips! We have been dreaming of a ropes course (ideally we would love one inside)- but for now this may very well be an answer to prayer!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We Have a Team!

As many of you know we have been without a staff team for most of the fall. I can't even tell you how tiring this was (for Joe especially). But... we are thrilled to share that all four of our team members (two interns, John and Tessa, and two new staff, Ryan and Steph) have reported! I can't even tell you how excited we are! At the beginning of the semester I asked each one of them what their favorite dinner is and throughout the year we plan to have ocassional team dinners where I cook one of their favorite meals. Tonight we celebrated with Steph's favorite meal which happens to be Brinner (breakfast for dinner). With our bellies full of blueberry pancakes, bacon, eggs, and fruit we finally got a team photo- so here it is- the whole U-Maine Lifelines staff team! God is good.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let's Pray for Obama

So, ok, the man I voted for (for president) didn't win. The woman I voted for (for Senate) did win- so that was encouraging! And I have to say that I do feel proud to be a part of the day that our country elected it's first African American president. As I've been thinking a lot about it today- I realize that my responsibility yesterday as an American was to vote. And today my responsibility as a follower of Christ is to pray (even if the guy I voted for didn't win). So, let's pray for our next president- pray that he would seek God's face- in his personal life and as he leads our country. Pray that our God in His mercy and grace would give Barack Obama wisdom. So let's follow the words of 1Timothy 2:1-2:
"I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Feeling Patriotic

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling pretty patriotic today. I couldn't help but feel it as I drove across the bridge lined with American flags. And I was kinda suprised by the surge of emotion I felt as we went to vote today. Now I realize that the people I voted for may not win. And there has been plenty of things about the campaign that has frustrated me (the media bias for example, and the millions and millions of dollars spent by both parties)- and honestly as much as I have been caught up in it too I am happy that this day is here and that all the campaining (and signs and commercials and phone calls) is done. But in the end I felt a lot of gratitude today for the many people who died to give me the priviledge to do what I did today. It felt good to vote. And after two years of the campaign I still find it incredible that in the end it still comes down to the individual votes of each American. This is what makes our country wonderful.

Monday, November 3, 2008

First Haircut!

My little girl got her first haircut! I know, she really doesn't have that much hair yet, but her bangs were growing into her eyes and the baby mullet she was sporting in the back was becoming just a little too long!:) So, while my mom was here I had her give Lily a trim (with just a little extra cut off at the bangs and in the back). My mom sat her down with a bowl of M&M's (brillant) and Lily did great (so did mom)! I never would have dared this on my own! The last "after" picture is from today (18 months)- the bangs are pushed off to the side a bit, but you get the idea! My little baby is looking like a little girl!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Fun!

Our Busy Little Bee

Checking Out Her Pumpkin

Lily and I right before Trick or Treating

What a cute little bumble bee!

We had such a fun Halloween this year! Right after the pumpkin carving (and a quick video call to my parents to show off our little bee) we headed into Bangor to visit our friends Steph and Ryan. They were married this summer so Lily was offically their first trick-or-treater ever! We visited with them for a bit and it wasn't long before Lily realized that she could easily take candy from their bowl and put it in her bag! How quickly they learn! After coming home we also visited our neighbors and took Lily for her first real trick-or-treating (just up and down our street). After each house Lily would say, "more"- apparently she caught on pretty quick! In fact all day today she kept pointing at the cabinet where I put some of her candy- and she would just say "more, more" over and over again. I think we have a candy lover on our hands!:) And the Halloween fun didn't end last night- we just got back from a Halloween party this evening- hosted by one of the moms in my Adventure Moms Group. There were about 50 people there (moms, dads, and kids)- so it was a bit crazy- but so fun to see all of the little ones dressed up! Unfortunately when we got home we realized that while we were out Indy had eaten all of our leftover candy (which was quite a bit) and most of Lily's candy- wrappers included. We aren't pleased. And we are a little concerned because it was a LOT of candy (and thus a lot of wrappers). We considered calling the vet (but we are going to wait it out and see what happens). I guess it was just too much temptation for him! Thankfully we did put all of the candy that my parents gave her in the cabinet (so she still has a little Halloween left to enjoy)! Hope that yours was fun too!


My Pumpkin

Lily's Pumpkin

Joe's Pumpkin

We have been so busy that we didn't get around to carving our pumpkins until yesterday afternoon (Halloween)! But Joe had the afternoon off so it ended up being really fun- I love carving pumpkins! I thought that Lily would really have fun scooping out the guts of her pumpkin- but after a nap that was too short she just wasn't in the mood. Thankfully a drive in the car and a little candy cheered her up later!:) Other than the few little ones we bought at the orchard (and painted) when my parents were here- all of our other pumpkins were grown in our own garden. We threw some leftover pumpkins seeds in there last fall and they just grew on their own- so fun! So, Joe carved 3 pumpkins (he's fast) and I did mine and Lily's. They turned out great!

Halloween Presents

Candy Corn!

"Sweeping" with her candy filled broom

We started Halloween off yesterday with a few little Halloween gifts. The above "broom" you see Lily sweeping with is actually a very creative bag of candy that my mom made for her while she was here! Lily has been eyeing it ever since, but we managed to hold out exploring it until Halloween day. Inside it was filled with all sorts of treats- candy corn, gummy snacks, M& M's- Lily sampled them all yesterday! We also got a cute little card from my Aunt Pam- and we used the little gift to buy Lily a kid sized rake. She did rake leaves with it for a tiny little bit (but at this age found it more fun to jump in them and throw them around)- I think she'll enjoy it more next fall. Thanks Mom & Dad and Aunt Pam for the fun little gifts!