Friday, December 24, 2010

What number am I on?

It's amazing how quickly my memories flee while I'm pregnant :)  That's what I get for waiting a few days between posting my joys!  There are certainly way more than I can list here, especially when I'm looking for them.  Last night there were so many as we went to our very first Christmas Eve service together!  (There is a second service tonight, but we'll be serving at it :)  We've always been traveling for Christmas (actually I don't think I've ever been home on Christmas).
But I'll back up a minute to the rest of our week...Keith came down with a yucky cold Tuesday and I started shortly after.  Samy was the culprit for bringing it into the house :)  She's all better, not even much of a runny nose, and Isaac just has a little bit of one.  I'm grateful the kids aren't miserable this week as we've just been home playing and getting ready for Christmas!  Though Samy did accidentally whack Isaac in the head with a doll house bed and cause him to bleed profusely the other day :)  He's fine, head injuries just bleed alot.
So yesterday Keith was going to work but had to take a sick day and we ended up watching a movie all afternoon (The Manchurian Candidate with Frank Sinatra, it was really good, though not at all Christmasy).  The kids and I made some cupcakes as our birthday cake for Jesus to share with the neighbors later today.  Isaac pulled the last straw off and put it in the manger on the fridge we've been using as our Christmas countdown.  Lazy, long mornings all week with no school and a bunch of sickies!  The kids have been up late every night talking and laughing in their bunk beds.  Keith and I got to have a date out Wednesday thanks to our wonderful sitter!

So last night's Christmas Eve service...We decided to try keeping the kids in with us since the message was short and just lots of singing.  We weren't sure how it would go :)  Well, they both surprised us and did such a great job!  We love seeing how they are maturing!!  The night started with several Christmas carols.  Isaac sang a couple, but was more concerned with knowing where we were in the program.  Samy was singing what she knew and dancing around--it was adorable!  Amazing the differences in these two :)  During the message Samy sat on my lap and drew on some paper, but was obviously listening to the message.  Josh spoke on an admittedly unexpected passage from Luke 11 and the sign of Jonah and the queen of the South (the queen of Sheba).  The first time Josh said Jonah, Samy said to me, "Jonah was a prophet!"  Yes, he was Samy :)  A few minutes later Josh said, "Jonah was a prophet."  And Samy turns around to me and said, "See, I told ya!"  I couldn't contain my laughter!  I was crying from trying not to laugh out loud!  Then every time Josh would say "the queen of Sheba" Samy would say "I love her!"  Oh, this girl :)
They did such a great job we let them have a cupcake when we got home (after bedtime already!), but hey it's Christmas!

So today there are many preparations to be done before we head on holiday travels to see family.  And right now they are calling for snow on Christmas and the day after!  Another white Christmas perhaps, just glad we'll be in our house and not Verona, VA :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gingerbread houses and a black eye

Yep, we got both around here :)
Samy and I joined Isaac's class yesterday to make gingerbread houses.  The 8th grade had come in to help and I found Isaac sitting with Elliot, one of the boys we take to school everyday.  Fun to see them working together :)  Samy and I tackled a second house for her.  Lots of fun and plenty of sugar consumed!

And on Tuesday in gym class Isaac got a black eye.  His friend, Colon, who is sitting next to him in the pictures below, ran into him playing Sharks and Minnows.  He came home really swollen and it turned purple the next day.  What a shiner!!

 Isaac and Elliot seeing how much candy they could get on there!
Isaac's house
Samy's House 
 This is something Isaac had done in class and is displayed in the hallway.  If you can't read it, it says, "Dear Jesus, I am thankful for Samy."  :)
 And here's some pictures of the black eye and my goofy kids :)

So add a few to the joy list:
# 47 Building gingerbread houses with the kids at school.
# 48 Watching Isaac have fun working with Elliot!
# 49 Isaac's gratefulness for his little sister :)
# 50 Watching the kiddos ham it up for the camera!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday happenings

Been a fun day already and it's only 2 o'clock :)  I had my usual time out by myself while Isaac was at school and Samy was with Keith.  Enjoyed my time at Panera going over yesterday's message on Isaiah 55 and also seeing some friends from church there.  When I picked Isaac up he could hardly contain himself and told me he had a surprise!  Each student in his class has a little money box that the teacher occasionally gives them pennies to put in when they do a good job on something, and then she holds a "school store" where she lays out little toys they can buy with their pennies.  Well, today was the first "store" and he was so excited to get a little plastic Theodore (from Alvin and the Chipmunks)!  It's like a toy from a Happy Meal, but he thinks it's the greatest!  You push a button and it says, "My name is Theodore." and then laughs.  He would push it and laugh hysterically and then started saying, "Whose your name?" (His version of what's your name) and push the button and laugh again in that great, genuine Isaac laugh of his :)  All this is happening in the back seat while I'm driving and just smiling from ear to ear.
Then we got to go on our date together.  He wanted a ham sandwich (yeah, he doesn't get those at our house) so we went to Jersey Mike's Subs (one of my favorites anyway!).  After we had sat down to eat the man who had helped us brought over two cookies for us :)  The best part was getting to talk with my little guy.  Hearing about school and friends in class, getting actual answers to my questions!  I can't believe how much he's grown up.  Wasn't I just seeing him for the first time on an ultrasound screen??  Can this really be my baby boy?  Now I'm crying :)
We got home and he was so excited about showing Samy Theodore and they immediately set up their own "store" to buy things from.  Keith and I started talking about moving Isaac in with Samy since the baby will be taking over his room, and decided to do it this weekend since Isaac will be off school the next two weeks.  I told the kids and Isaac asked if we could do it today :)  It's precious what sweet friends they are!  At least most of the time :)
Oh, and our ultrasound will be this Thursday!  We're going to enjoy the extra anticipation of not finding out if it's a boy or a girl this time around!!  Keith still isn't convinced that I'm not going to cave in when we get there, but I really think I can this time :)  Only 19 more weeks to wait, no problem :)

So there were a few of my joys in there, though they aren't numbered.  There are so many more than I can remember when I sit down to the computer!  My memory was bad enough before getting pregnant again!

Friday, December 10, 2010

# 25

Watching the kids play in the snow :)
Yes, we may indeed have another white Christmas this year! I just hope and pray we're in our home (or a relative's) instead of a motel!
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Sweet little sickie

My precious little girl came down with a fever last night at dinner.  You could almost watch her grow sick as we ate (and she picked at it).  Seems in better spirits after a good nights sleep and is now contently watching Beauty and the Beast under a blanket by the fire.  I'm thankful she's not throwing up after complaining of a tummy ache last night :)  Just seems to be a fever and headache.
As she came to snuggle with me after breakfast I was realizing just how thankful I am for the hours alone we have every morning, for conversations and little moments that wouldn't have happened if Isaac was here.  She had climbed up in my chair with me to listen while I read the bible to her (something we do fairly often together since school started), which always leads to numerous questions from her.  This morning was another morning I had the joy to explain the gospel to her--the good news that though we need to have zero sins to go to heaven, our many sins have been placed on Christ and his zero sins imparted to us!  I love her questions and getting to talk with her about Jesus!  So many joys to list from my morning already!

# 22 Reading the bible to Samy as we sit by the fire.

# 23 Explaining the gospel to my daughter!

# 24 Watching Beauty and the Beast while snuggling with my sick little girl.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

# 14

Daddy's little helpers.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!!!

When I'm singing of my Savior's incarnation--the creator of the universe clothing himself in flesh--it's hard for me not to be filled with joy.  Maybe I just need to sing more :)  But there are so many moments in the day that my heart is filled with discontent or anger at my lot in life at that moment.  Be it a whiny child, a messy room that was supposed to be clean, a sink full of dirty dishes, a sleepless night and early morning, or the bitter cold of a Maryland winter, my heart tends toward complaining, grumbling against God.  My friend Meghann has inspired me (as she so often does!) to look for 100 joys this month as we celebrate the coming of our Savior to earth.  So here it goes!  (OK, I started this post a few days ago, so I'm just going to add some to the end from the days since and I'll be putting them in the side bar.)

# 1
That the Holy God of all would send his Son to become man and die for the sins of the world.

# 2
That He would call me to be His own forever!

# 3
My precious husband's laugh :)

# 4
When Samy talks with her hands.

# 5
When Keith is silly with me!
# 6
Isaac's smile (this is his school picture)

# 7
When Isaac brings home pictures from school that he colored just for Samy!

# 8
Singing Christmas carols in the car with Keith (even if he's way out of tune :) while we get lost in Westminster.

# 9
A French press while I read my Bible in front of the fire.

# 10
When Keith is patient with my pregnant irrationality and emotions--putting on full display the grace of God at work in him!

# 11
Wrapping Christmas presents while watching a cheesy Hallmark movie and thinking of the look on the kids faces when they open them Christmas morning.

# 12
Feeling little baby W break dancing in my belly :)

# 13
When the check-out lady at Wal-Mart remembered Samy and I and cheerfully talked with us.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Samy quote

Today at lunch, Samy said, "When I get to heaven I'm gonna play ring around the rosie with Jesus.  I bet he knows that one because he knows everything."  :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fires, stories, races, field trips, oh my!

Some other random October happenings around here to get caught up on...
We got our wood stove installed last month and fired it up on a rather blustery day a couple weeks ago. SO WARM!! Love it :) I might actually survive this winter if we don't run out of wood! So there's a picture in there of that--plus you can see how mom and I arranged the mantle :)

Then there was story book night at Isaac's school. So cute, everyone comes in their PJs and goes to three different classes for stories and then everyone comes together and has milk and cookies while the principle reads one last story. That was fun :)

We made our first small pile of leaves in the yard, though by the time it's all over you could probably make a pile as tall as our house! Isaac ran in to grab his goggles before jumping in! So silly!

And then the big race! Isaac's school does this each year to raise money for those who can't afford tuition. They have a Tot Trot, 2K and 5K. Isaac did the Tot Trot, but we really should have let him do the 2K as well--the boy has plenty of energy! They gave all the little kids ribbons, but Isaac is convinced he won the race :) Keith ran the 5K without collapsing :) As he was coming into the finish line there were a few teenage boys right on his tail trying to beat him, but my buff hubby kicked it into gear and beat them all! I was proud :)

Last, but not least, Isaac had a field trip to a farm and Samy and I got to join him. We met lots of farm animals and the kids fed several. Then we took a hay ride to the pumpkin patch where everyone picked out a pumpkin. Glad we got to share that with him :)

Beach trip 2010

Almost a month ago now (yikes!) we set off for South Carolina for 5 days of glorious beach weather with my whole family!  It was truly beautiful and sunny the entire time, could have been a little warmer, but what do you expect in October :)  I, myself, didn't go past my ankles in the water with the chilly wind blowing, but all the kids and big boys and my brave sister enjoyed the waves.  Isaac would be shivering with blue lips but refuse to leave the water. 
This beach house is such a gift from God!!  My dad and his siblings own a time-share of it, and we have been the blessed recipients of a few weeks over the years :)  It is just wonderful to sit on the back porch eating breakfast as the sun rises and the dolphins play in the water.  It is so peaceful to swing on one of the hammocks and read or take a nap with the ocean waves in the background.  It is so much fun to have the whole family under one roof and be able to share all the laughter that we do.  And I think a highlight for me was the night we played the "name game" all together.  Oh my, we were all laughing so hard we were crying.  It was hilarious!!  So many memories for Keith and I, and we hope for the kids as well.  They certainly talk about it enough we think they remember :)
So, we played on the beach, relaxed on the porch, played some shuffle board (Keith and I beat my parents, by the way!), guys went golfing, ladies went shopping, ate way too much, laughed plenty.  It was great :)  Enjoy the pics...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You might be a redneck if...

you are seriously considering raising a pig so you can have bacon :) 
And to go with that bacon, Keith is researching how to tap our sugar maple to make maple syrup!  These are truly both his ideas (well, I jokingly mentioned the pig, but he really likes the idea).
Neither of us have ever really liked the idea of pets, but a pig is short term commitment that the kids could learn some responsibility from and see that our food doesn't grow at Trader Joe's :)  And who doesn't like the idea of a pet that ends with bacon and barbecue!?
I honestly have more faith for a pig than a garden.  I don't think I'd forget about a pig like I do our tiny garden :) 
Just another installment in our transition to country life!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Isaac started school!!

Ok, I think this brings us to the present :)
Isaac started school the Tuesday after Kieran left.  He was one excited boy!!  He's going to the school at our church.  There are two kindergarten classes--one in the morning and one afternoon, both with 12 students (i think).  On Tuesdays both classes come for the whole day, but all other days are only 8-11. 
Isaac still enjoys school very much.  Excited every morning to go.  Today he was "star of the day", so he got to bring something in for "show and share", be the line leader, use the pointer to count the days with the class, and wear a sticker that says "Star of the day".  He loved it :)  He seems to be doing well and paying attention.  So far so good.  Samy is a little sad she doesn't get to go, but I'm happy to get some time with my little girl!  We've been playing Strawberry Shortcake and dollhouse and doing a little baking.
Here's Isaac on his first day--picture under the house numbers as is the tradition in this house :)

Closer to caught up: Grandma's visit

The visitors just keep coming around here!  Keith's mom came up two weeks ago.  Keith surprised me with a night away for our anniversary while she was here, more on that momentarily.  Sadly those are the only pictures I got :)  (Kieran you have to send me the one of you and the kids!)

I was quite ill with morning sickness for most of her visit but she graciously took the kids so I could rest alot!  We did make it to the orchard to pick apples and raspberries.  And she and Keith made fried shrimp one night.  We sat around talking and just having a good time :)

My mom and dad let us use a night of their time share, so we stayed at the National Harbor, very near DC.  It's a brand new area, still developing.  The resort was nice, we even got the presidential suite with three bedrooms--huge!  We went to dinner where I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out if I wanted steak or sea food :)  We walked along the water and through some shops (found a Charming Charlie's, so fun!).  Then back to the resort to play foosball and some Wii!!  It was so fun, I even got Keith to do a dance one :) My arm was sore for three days!
The next day we went into DC to see the Library of Congress and National Archives--by far our favorites in downtown.  The architecture was very impressive and lots of things to explore.  You could spend days in there.  No pics inside Archives allowed though.
God was very kind to hold off the nausea for most of our short time away.  A few fleeting moments but nothing too horrible.  Thank you kind Father!! 
So grateful for 8 wonderful, sanctifying years with you my dearest love!!  Hard to believe how much has changed in 8 years, all the places we've lived, all the jobs we've had, all the babies!  I wouldn't have it any other way :)

More catching up: Mom and Dad's visit

My mom and dad were up a month ago (yikes I'm slack).  We were able to get lots of work done, well the boys were, mom and I only got two pictures hung :)  Dad and his assistant, Keith, spent many hours in the basement pulling out OLD electric wiring and putting in new, fixing crazy wiring configuration, and freeing up some breakers on our three electrical panels :)  my dad certainly had his work cut out for him and will never be without a project when visiting!
They surprised us with a new faucet as our housewarming gift and it's beautiful!  Dad got that installed pretty quick.  He also fixed my dishwasher.  Did I miss anything Dad :) I did: the doorbells now work, our bathroom door no longer sticks, and we can shower without conking our head on the shower head now!

Mom and I played with the kids, cooked, cleaned up the boys messes, and shopped a little.  I did get my table and chairs refinished and mom got the cushions covered.  We also figured out some prettiness for our mantel using a cool old mirror that was left in the garage and finds from the tag sale.
I have yet to take pictures of the updates b/c the house is such a wreck these days!  Here are some pics from our time with them and a couple others :)

Catch up: The Fair

So blogging has been pretty far down the list lately as I spend a lot of time on the couch nauseous.  House work has definitely taken a hit.  Cooking is just unpleasant no matter what it is.  But it's good to know my body is doing what it's supposed to and baby is growing!  I had my first OB appointment today and she did a sonogram (which I guess is normal up here), so I got to see the little bean and hear their heart beat.  And I must say I was thankful there is only one little bean :)  all this sickness has made me wonder.  Oh and the due date is the end of April--20th according to the sonogram or 24th was the original.

Ok, so onto some catching up :)  We went to the county fair last month with the kids and had a good ol' time!  It just adds to feeling like country bumpkins to go pet livestock and sit on tractors.  The pig races and magician Steve Trash (he used lots of trash as props, supposed to encourage recycling I guess) were definitely the highlights!  They had a little corral with giant stuffed horses for the kids to sit on, and dozens of tractors.  There were even camel rides!  Enjoy the pictures :)  oh and a cutie pic from a visit from a friend from the PC class before last :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Baby Number 3!

I would guess you've all heard by now that little Welton number 3 is on the way!  I waited to take the pregnancy test until last Wednesday because that was the day my parents were coming and I knew I couldn't keep it a secret :)  Keith was in utter disbelief that I had warned him a couple days in advance that it was very likely!  He says I say that every month :)
So mom and dad arrived and we gave them the tour and unloaded stuff and when Keith got home he put Samy in her "I'm the big sister" shirt.  He sent her down to Grammy.  Samy said, "Look at my big girl shirt."  Grammy read it and said, "Well, I guess one day you will be a big sister."  I started laughing, "No, that's supposed to be a hint, Mom!"  Then we went up to Papaw, who reacted with even less recognition of Samy's announcement, but the look on his face was priceless when we said, "No, Samy is going to be a big sister!"  I wish we had recorded that!!  We got the kids on tape...oh my.  Isaac's face was so funny!  We told them we had a surprise for them.  We were getting something new.  So Keith says, "A new baby brother or sister!"  Isaac makes this face of confusion and then exclaims, "I wanted a toy!!"  Figures :)  and upon a little further discussion he asks, "Today?" 

We let Samy get on the phone with Keith's parents and tell them she was going to be a big sister, they were very excited and surprised!

So, I'm feeling pregnant :)  no doubt about that.  Monday as I was chopping up fixin's for guacamole the nausea hit me (the smell of dinner cooking next to me wasn't helping either).  It was coming in waves for the first couple days and the last two days has been pretty much constant.  So far this one is more difficult than the first two, but at least I know everything is working!  I love being least I remember loving it, though Keith says I seem to forget all the difficulties of it :)  I love feeling baby move most of all!  I love how God knits together a little person inside my womb--it is just so astounding that I continue on with everyday life and then there's this new little person!!  I do, as I candidly confessed to my care group ladies, love having a new wardrobe for a few months :)  If it weren't for Meghann Roberts I wouldn't love that part so much!

Will we find out what we're having?  Jury is still out on that.  I'm not good at waiting for surprises, but it does seem like it would heighten the excitement and anticipation, so we'll see :)

More on Mom and Dad's visit shortly...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Photo tour of our new home

Well since the house was relatively clean from having our dear friend Melissa over last night (I'm almost certain she was the reason I cleaned the last time we moved and i finally posted pictures) I took some pictures this morning for all you too far away to come visit us. And I thought I'd give you some commentary with it :)

So some of my very favorite things:
original doors in the bedrooms (including a skeleton key that works, and the fabulous knobs)
the huge mantel (though I don't know what to put on it yet--it is currently home to everything pretty that comes out of a box)
the etched glass doors on the book shelves (so maybe I should just include the entire fireplace wall!)
the molding all over the house--it's so big
the front porch--oh those swings are just wonderful
kitchen cabinets with those pull-out drawers and built in spice rack
the giant exposed wood beams in the basement that are actually holding our house up :)
the many nooks and crannies that come with an old house

We only painted one room so far, the master bedroom, but my head is full of ideas! Those will be taking a backseat to the long list of practical projects.
The basement is currently in shambles (not that it was super nice before) b/c Keith is trying to make sure the floor and walls are all sealed so we can suck the radon out. We're hoping we'll be able to get it fixed up and have someone live with us. We bought a wood-burning stove to replace the very inefficient fire place and heat this big ol' place. We need a new chimney liner anyway. My parents will be up in less than two weeks to help with radon, electrical stuff (don't know if you can see the mess of wires in the basement), and mom will help me with the pretty stuff :)

Oh, so the video store in the basement was from the previous owners. He works for the Boys and Girls Club and spoke at some video distributors or producers thing way back. Someone found out he had kids and started sending him videos. He said they would frequently get movies before they were even in the theaters (we've watched one and it frequently reminds you "This film is for screening and not to be sold or copied" or something like that). There is definitely alot of junk but lots of good films in there too (many still in shrink wrap--like 8 copies of Return of the Jedi).

I didn't make it to the backyard and out buildings, that will have to be another day and another post. Hope you can all come to the "Welton Country Resort" (this is what Melissa has deemed it) and stay a while :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Isaac's 5th birthday

Hard to believe it's been 5 years since that little boy of ours was born.  He is one joyful kid!  Who would have known when we decided on Isaac ("he laughs") that it would be such an accurate name?  Just like his momma, he wears his heart on his sleeve, not much containment of emotions (unfortunately sometimes).  Even as I went through his birthday pictures I was reminded of me opening presents!  Everyone always said how animated I was. Check out this boy's expressions!  I just love it!
We started the day with the breakfast of his choice--cereal!  Easy on mommy :)  We let him open one of our presents before Keith left (a big magnifying glass to look at all those interesting things outside).  Then it was off to the "castle playground" on the way other side of town.  A favorite of the kids.  I mean this thing is HUGE.  Look at it!
One of his favorites for dinner (chicken tetrazinni) and strawberry cake with strawberry icing (all from scratch I might add!), at his request, for dessert.  So, my boy had a pink cake for his 5th birthday :)  He had asked for Frog and Toad to be on the cake but despite my best efforts, the strawberry icing I had put on was too runny and I couldn't get it to work.  Thankfully we had a Lightning McQueen candle my mom had sent last year!  He may never have forgiven me :)

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, cards and gifts!  He was certainly blessed by all of your thoughtfulness!!

Mark and Kim's visit

My big brother and his family came up for a visit a week after we moved in. It was good because it made me get unpacked super quick instead of putting off all those boxes! We had a wonderful time with them that went by way too fast! I didn't have my camera out much though.

The kids had a great time playing, we hardly saw them after their arrival. They went into DC on Monday, and Isaac cried and cried that Mika had gone without him. So, the kids and I joined them on Tuesday at the Smithsonian. We managed to make it through American History and Natural History, plus a stop at Georgetown Cupcakes on the way home.

One funny from their visit:
Isaac: "Oh, I don't want ..." (in a whiny voice)
Keith: "Isaac, no. Try that again." (meaning the right way)
Isaac: "Oh, I don't want..." (same whiny voice)

Kim could hardly keep from laughing :)

Settling in

I have quite a few pictures that didn't make it onto the blog since I'm so far behind, but thought I'd toss this in while I play catch up :)  Here's Isaac and Samy having breakfast the morning of our move.  Just too funny.

So I guess I posted about the actual move, now I'll let you into my world post move in.  I'm still feeling so out of the groove of normal life it's hard to sit back and enjoy our new home still.  Plus we've got quite a few projects in the works.  We have radon, which means it's a good idea to get it mitigated by sealing the basement floor and installing pipes and fans to suck it out.  Well, our basement isn't your model citizen for this job.  There are two crawl spaces at opposite ends of the house that open into the basement through big holes in the wall (kind of creepy!), there are also several holes in the floor (not sure where those came from), and can you believe it, we found a well down there!!  I asked the previous owners if they knew that was there, and in all their 28 years here, they never knew that!  It was kind of crazy to remove all these old boards to find an 8-inch pipe that goes 30 feet deep with water at the bottom, especially in your basement. 

A friend of mine told me a few months ago about these really cool tag sales, and I managed to get there just before my brother and his family came last week.  I scored a great table and four chairs for the kitchen that I'm going to repaint and reupholster.  I'll have to be sure to do before and after shots :)

I've loved getting to know our neighbors!  On one side they go to church with us and the kids made fast friends. On the other is Mickey--she's 72 and lifts weights, swims daily, keeps her yard immaculate, and does amazing oil paintings!  Her late husband's family has owned the land she now owns since 1712!  She is so much fun to talk to, and I'm hoping one day to explore all the old stuff she has in her basement :)

So, this no A/C thing has been a little tough in the nice heat wave.  There were a few days we were really wishing we hadn't bought a house with no air conditioning when it was 100 degrees and like 90% humidity.  We got our big window unit into the kitchen just before my brother and fam arrived, and that has helped tremendously.  Most days though I still open the windows even in there until the mid-afternoon.  The house has a great breeze always coming through.  The third floor (where the play room is) is just hot, no way around that, so the kids are usually dragging toys to the kitchen to play on the floor or the hall where it's cool.  Good thing I've got such a big kitchen now!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Date with Samy

If you've ever been around our little Samy, you know she is all girl.  She just came out of the womb that way!  I remember her at 10 months old crying because she wanted a bracelet on and couldn't get it :)

This afternoon Keith and I took our little dates with the kids and it was my turn with Samy.  Not knowing this area well, I headed to a shopping center hoping for something that she would enjoy.  We went in Home Goods where Samy enjoyed sitting on every chair we passed, pulling open every drawer to every jewelry box, admiring the pink polka-dotted piggy banks, pointing out the crowns and slippers on artwork, and just being a real cutie :)  Then we went into TJ Maxx next door...oh it was a hoot!  We spent some time in the "dress up" section looking at all the fluffy skirts and princess jewelry and make-up, then we walked by the shoes, the adult shoes mind you.  She wanted to try on every pair there was, it was so funny!  She was trying to walk around in high heels and huge flip flops with fake jewels glued to the them.  I only wish I had a camera.  "Look Mommy, just like Cinderella!" she would tell me in the high heels.
I do love that little doll baby of mine :)
Then we headed to McDonald's for $1 ice cream sundaes.  The part I love about this is that Samy kept saying, "Old McDonald has ice cream!"  And that is all my children will ever know about the golden arches :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

We have been busy little bees around here this past week, so sorry for the lack of photos still :)  I've actually only taken one picture since we moved in!
We all worked hard this past week to get our new place mostly in order because my brother and his family came up to visit Saturday and are staying until Wednesday.  And I spent all day last Tuesday and Wednesday cleaning our old house (seriously 10 hours total!).  There was a disgusting amount of dirt and grime hiding behind our furniture :)  So while it was a bit stressful last week, we're now all moved in and moved out (with the exception of our satellite dish that's still mounted to the old house--we're regretting that decision to get cable for football season!) and now can just enjoy our home and begin on the long list of things to be fixed and prettied up :) 
Yes, our perfect house is full of problems from serious (like the roof) to just annoying (like the ice maker that always spits ice on the floor).  It's been a wonderful reminder to me that our eternal home will not have a sagging roof or faucets that all turn on in different directions or rotten boards on the porch.  But we are still so very grateful for our new home here!  We are grateful that we could host my brother, his wife and their three kids with plenty of room for all and lots of fun to be had in the yard.  We are grateful for our new neighbors who the kids have made fast friends with and get so excited when they get to go out to play with them.  We are grateful for our front porch swings and tomatoes and cucumbers already growing in the garden.  We are grateful for the apple tree and raspberry bushes and grapes all growing in our yard.  We are grateful to our heavenly Father for providing for our every need but most of all for our greatest need--for providing a Savior from the punishment that we deserve!!  We pray this home would be used to honor and glorify Him everyday! 
Drop by anytime :)  Pictures to come soon, i hope!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

We're in!

We are moved into our new home! Tons of boxes to unpack and lots to explore :) so grateful for all the help we have yesterday, that made it possible to be loaded and unloaded in 3 hours! And the Lord was so merciful to send a one day long cool front's been in the 90s up here for a week or two, yesterday the high was like 79 and today it's back to the 90s. Thank you kind Father! A bit of rain, but everything went fine and it was brief.
Still a few things left at the old house and cleaning to do there. No Internet yet at the new place but I'll get some pictures up as soon as I can :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

it's official!

We are officially home owners again! Closed on the new house yesterday, and to say we are amazed at God's kindness in the whole process is an understatement! From beginning to end buying this home has been a JOY, not a hassle, not stressful, not complicated. The owners are just as wonderful as they come! They were relaying to us on the final walk through how their grown son was crying the last night saying goodbye to his home of 28 years. I would be a mess and the husband was certainly fighting back the tears. I loved hearing our realtor, Wes (who is absolutely the BEST realtor in the world!!) telling the sellers that it is God's grace through them, through their love and care over all those years that would cause their son to be so touched in saying goodbye. It was just such a sweet time signing the papers, talking, and just feeling like a bunch of old friends! I'm confident we will be seeing more of these dear people as the years pass. And to top it all off, they gave us a very generous gift as they left! As if this wonderful house and the many great things they left in it for us weren't enough! Oh, we are amazed as we look at God's perfect timing and order and sovereign hand ruling over our everyday, right down to that haircut that started it all :)

We went straight on over to the new house with our dinner and explored and started painting the master bedroom. Our neighbors even came by to welcome us and introduce themselves. The kids are thrilled and Isaac is just asking all the time when we're going back over. Here are some pictures from last night:
Dinner on the picnic table they left for us :)

Samy finding her room. She laid right down like she was going to bed :)
Isaac enjoying the view from his window.

The adorable package of cookies the settlement attorney gave us, that looks a bit like our house.

And the four of us on the front porch.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pack 'em up, move 'em out!

Our house is looking like we're moving! Which is a good thing at this point I guess :) It seems like I've packed so much, but as I pack I find more and more that's left. Only 6 days till closing!

Isaac and Samy are eager to be at the new house and ask daily when that's going to happen. Isaac really wants to help me pack, so I've given him a few boxes that he's filled with toys only to lament later that he really wants to play with them :) he's even dug a couple things out after sealing up the box! The little turkey :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Little House in the Big Woods

We've been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's book "Little House in the Big Woods" to the kids after dinner, and they have loved it! We're always surprised how much they (well particularly Isaac) remembers. Isaac remembers that Pa said he would never go into the woods without his gun, Samy remembers the color of Laura's dress :)
Well, we had our own little adventure in the "big woods" this past weekend--our first camping trip as a family! Aside from the massive amount of work it is ahead of time, we all greatly enjoyed it. And the kids were almost always playing "Little house in the big woods" as they ran around in the tall trees chasing chipmunks and climbing on stumps.
Here's Isaac with his "bear bopping stick". If we saw any bears, he was going to drop it on their head :)
And this is a little friend the kids made almost as soon as he arrived. They had a great time with Ryan!
The campground has a great lake for swimming and we spent most of our time there.

Samy surprised us with how bravely she played in the lake. She was the first one in every time, and was bouncing around as deep as she could without going under.

Isaac is always a water bug!!We took two little hikes, one to see the falls and one to see the Catoctin Iron Furnace. On the first hike we found a family of lesser weasels (according to the ranger we showed them to). There were about 10 babies running around, pretty cute actually :)

For the full photo album you can go here:


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Going private

I'm making the switch to invitation only on the blog. If you want to be able to see my blog, please email me or post on my facebook :) thanks all!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Storing up treasures in Heaven

I see the kindness of the Lord in the fact that I've been reading Randy Alcorn's book "Heaven" for the last month. I've been pondering and imagining what it will be like in the new Heavens and new Earth. What it will be like to look upon my Savior's face and to see the place He has prepared for me. I see it as God's kindness that I've been thinking on these things particularly in light of the amazing house we just signed a contract on. Keith and I had really hoped to one day have an old house with lots of character, little nooks and crannies, a big front porch with a swing, and just a very homey feel. But we never thought we'd be getting it (and truly even more than we had imagined) now while we're young and poor :) Our realtor (he is just the best!!) would take us in a house in our price range and say, "This is the best you're gonna see in your price range" kind of thing and we would think we could certainly make it work with a little elbow grease and sprucing up but not overly excited about it. So here is the story of how we came to get the house of our dreams, it was all the work of our loving sovereign Father:

The story starts less than two weeks ago as I got my hair cut by a girl from our church, Erin. We were chatting about how Keith and I were looking for houses mostly in Damascus. She tells me about this great house next door to some friends (who also go to CLC) that's old but updated, wonderfully cared for, has a good bit of land and is up for sale by owner b/c they want to pick who they sell to. The owners want very much to not just sell it to anyone but to a good family who will love and care for it as they have and who will be good neighbors to their current ones. I'm thinking, "This sounds perfect!" I get home and look it up. Wow, just picturesque! But the price tag...yikes! As Keith puts it, me being the woman of faith that I am, email the owners and explain how I heard about it and ask if they would take less. The very sweet wife of the couple who owns it, Sue, emails me back from her personal account because I'm an acquaintance of their current neighbors. She asks me what our budget is so we aren't wasting each other's time. So I'm trying to figure out how to graciously express that I'm not trying to offend them with our meager budget of only about 2/3 what they're asking (as my sister put it, almost a whole nother house's worth less!), but we just love their house and I had to ask. I seriously thought we wouldn't be hearing from them again. But sure enough, the next day I come home to an email from Sue. She tells me they had discussed it and that while we have significantly less than they're asking, there is more to this than money, they really want the right family in their home. And invites us to come meet them and see the house! I about fell out of my chair!
We went the soonest they could do it. The husband was out of town, but Sue greeted us warmly and showed us around. Isaac and Samy were just running up and down the stairs and all into everything, we kept telling them to settle down and Sue would say, "No, it's fine! This house is used to it." I just love that! She had pulled out coloring books and got them some juice so we could go through the house again without them to distract us. We spent 2 hours there that seemed more like 30 minutes. Sue was just a delight, we all greatly enjoyed ourselves and it just felt comfortable, like a home should. We spoke honestly about the reality of our budget and that we really like the house and she told us honestly to make our best offer and let them decide. So we did. We spent the next day crunching numbers to see what we could do, the very best we could do without foregoing food for the next year :) Sue emailed me to say they would hopefully get back to us that evening, and to tell Isaac and Samantha that their smiling faces would be taken into account. So, I sent her a picture of those two smiling :)
It was a long day of waiting Thursday. Friday morning I got up to find an email from Sue. They had accepted our offer! And she said that the picture of the kids had convinced her husband that accepting the offer was the right thing to do! They are awfully cute :)

We stand amazed at God's LAVISH provision! We knew He would provide perfectly (even if it wasn't our idea of perfect), but this truly goes beyond what we would ask or imagine! It has been to me a reminder of Heaven and that place He is preparing for us, His bride. If He is so lavish in this, wow, I can't wait to see what is waiting for us there!! But even if it has a horrible inspection and the whole thing falls through, we do not doubt God's goodness and kindness and lavish provision!! What more does He need to provide than what He has already provided through the gospel? Jesus came as a man to be like us in every way, lived a perfect life so that we might be clothed with his perfect record, suffered and died as a sinner though sinless and took the wrath of Almighty God for my sin that I would only know mercy and grace. And now Jesus sits at God the Father's right hand, interceding for me! Praying for me! Preparing a place for me that will be my eternal home, one that is beyond all I can think or imagine. As I decorate my new home with our small earthly treasures, my prayer is that with each picture hung and each book put on those beautiful built-in shelves, I would have my heart and mind full of my Savior and the treasures that He has purchased for me through His death that I might live in Him and store up eternal treasures!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In every change, He is faithful

Change seems to be always in the air, though probably all of you who read this already know :) Keith has a new job! Well, he's accepted it, but won't start for another month or so. He's just moving upstairs to Covenant Life Church (Sovereign Grace is in the same building) to work with one of the pastors, Mark Mitchell. We'll let you know more what he's doing once he starts but the part he's most excited about is a ministry called Marketplace Ambassadors, aimed at encouraging folks in the secular workforce, which is most people. He has a real heart to connect theology to this everyday task that often becomes tiresome and a burden. He longs to see folks realize the great privilege and responsibility God has entrusted us with in work! I should let him blog about that sometime :)
Oh, and he'll continue teaching Greek at the Pastors College at least for a while, which he loves doing!

So, now that we know our wanderings in Maryland aren't through yet, we're house hunting!! It's fun but discouraging at times. You would not believe how expensive houses are here (unless you live here, then you know)! Let's just say we're looking at houses that cost TWICE as much as we sold our house in Orlando for!! And they're not that nice :) But we're confident God will provide exactly what we need (even if it's different than what we think we need) at exactly the right time (even if it's not when we'd prefer)! He always has and always will. The Lord's faithfulness has been our confidence throughout the last two years in particular as we made the major move up here (with a job offer we truly only thought would happen in our dreams!) and as we've walked through knowing Keith was going to need to change jobs again at the end of this year. We have seen such particular answers to prayer over the years that it's hard to doubt God's faithfulness. The answers didn't come as quickly as we would have liked, but to look back is to know that God knows much better than we do, and that it was perfect timing. I love to reminisce and recount the many small and great works of His hand in our lives.

So, we'll keep you posted on the house hunt :) We love seeing all the old houses up here and would love to have "an old house with character" but so far the few in our price range haven't worked out.
The kids have been troopers going with us to look. Their favorites are the ones with the best toys or that have playgrounds in the yard :) And the first thing Isaac looks for when we walk into a house is the basement, because that is a must for him :) Samy frequently has her face buried in my shoulder saying, "It's stinky." Many have been stinky, in her defense :)

Graduation for this year's Pastors College class is a week from today! Every time it's mentioned my eyes well up with tears. I'm going to miss these dear ladies! I have learned so much from them during those usually brief interactions at gym day or in the 'hood, but lots through email after email (these gals know how to email!!). Seeing their faith in action as they have had many significant trials (and in the everyday temptations as well) this year has only served to strengthen my faith in the greatness and loving kindness of our God! Thank you gals :)
Wow, I didn't mean to write so much, but it's been a while :) Hopefully more soon...

Monday, May 17, 2010


Isaac and Samy got some stickers from Trader Joe's earlier today. Our TJ's friend Howard (a very nice worker who always says "Hi Miss Amanda") gave them to them and said they were new, and I commented on the new summer design.
Well, after dinner Isaac was running around with his stickers and saying "These are the spring-salt ones!" Spring-salt?? "Oh, you mean somersault" I finally figured out!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our little girl

Our sweet little Samy turned three, well, almost a month ago now :) But I didn't want to skip posting about it, even if I am rather late!

She is definitely growing up, and seeming more like a little girl everyday and less like our little baby. She still loves everything "girly", particularly princesses and dresses. She tells us what she wants to wear everyday (always a dress) and then usually puts a dress-up dress on over that for a majority of the day :) She often corrects Keith on his choice of clothing, saying "That doesn't match Daddy!"
She loves to sing and twirl to the music. She's very tender and caring. She loves to play "homey home" with Isaac (their version of house), caring for their "little cuties"...feeding them, changing them, bathing them, putting them to bed, kissing boo boos.
She has done a 180 on her shyness and now says "hi" to everyone who passes by! She always wants to come down to say hi to our care group. No longer hiding behind mommy's leg (usually)!
Anytime she observes someone being less than kind, she comments, "Him not obeying Jesus." Though she doesn't seem to yet have the same view when she acts that way toward her brother :) (And she almost always says "her" or "him" instead of "he" or "she"--I hope she doesn't outgrow that anytime soon)

We are so grateful for our little Samy and her tender heart! She has certainly given us our share of grief, but we wouldn't trade her for the world! She is a precious little gem and gift from our Savior! We love you Samy girl!!

What better way to celebrate her birthday than princess style! All us gals wore our tiaras and we had a pink castle cake. I so wish I had videoed her face when she saw that cake! It was worth the hours I spent making it :)
Enjoy the pictures...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Easter pics

Some Easter pictures...

Long overdue photos

This was back in March, but too cute not to post. Here are Samy and her "cuties" at church...

And here is their teacher...

And I tried to catch "Belle" and "Gaston" in action, but only got Isaac's back. This is Gaston (notice he's "tromping around wearing boots like Gaston") locking Belle up so she can't warn the Beast!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Still alive up here!

Quiet on here huh? :) We've had a very full couple weeks.
Keith had a great time at Together for the Gospel and was greatly encouraged and provoked by the godly men there! A special treat for him to have lots of "guy time," something he doesn't get much of at home. He got spend almost a full day with my brother, have a reunion dinner with last year's PC class, and lunch with a dear old friend from Knoxville. He had to share a room with a freight train of a snorer (who shall remain nameless here!) but figured out turning the TV up really loud with fuzz drowned him out :) We were glad to get him home again, but so glad to send him too!

While he was gone, my parents arrived! We took a not-so-wise trip to Mount Vernon, had an egg hunt, and celebrated Samy's birthday. Pictures coming soon :)

We were slowly getting back into the swing of things when we received word last Wednesday night that Keith's grandmother had passed away suddenly. She was turning 85 last week, but was in good health, so it was quite a surprise and of course very sad. Keith was able to fly down Friday morning to be with his family for the funeral. It was a really rare time for him to hang out with his sister and actually have conversations with his mom and other relatives without kids crawling all over him :) We were so glad he could go and be there for his mom!! He got home Sunday afternoon.

I headed to my dear friend Laura's house after dropping Keith at the airport in Baltimore. She is one of my best friends from college and she, her husband, and daughter live on the east side of Maryland. The kids and I got to enjoy the entire morning with them! It was such a blessing and always good to be with her :)

So, now we're trying to get back to normal routines again, but my mom is coming back this Thursday with a friend for my church's ladies retreat! I'm so glad to have her back!! Twice in a month is just unheard of :)
I'll try to get pictures up soon and more on my little 3-year-old!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Update to the Lego story :)

Well, by God's great mercy, Keith and Isaac were only gone from the house for about 2 hours on their trip to the ER! and probably an hour of that was driving and getting ice cream! I questioned Keith's rewarding the boy for sticking a Lego up his nose though :)

Keith reported it took all of 30 seconds with the right tool to get it out. And they didn't even bring home our $100 Lego! It was a skinny round grey one, which was hard to see amid his runny nose or we would have tried to get it out, we couldn't see it.

So, I am grateful that it was only for this we were visiting the ER and that it was so simple!
Keith left for Together for the Gospel in KY this morning. Me and my two sick kiddos (yes, Samy has a runny nose too now) will be holding down the fort and my parents will be here in just a couple days! We're all looking forward to their visit and celebrating Samy's third birthday Saturday!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Little boys

Last night Isaac went to bed with a sore throat. An hour later he woke up coughing like a seal. We did the steamy bathroom thing and got the humidifier going in his room and I was in several times throughout the night. He woke up this morning with a runny nose, but acting totally normal.
We were all out in the backyard this morning, weeding and such. Isaac had just gone in and was playing in his room with the window open, which looks onto the backyard. We hear him crying and he's looking out the window saying, "I can't get it out!"
I don't know if he was trying to stop the perpetual pouring from his nostril but he shoved a Lego up his nose! He and Keith are at the ER as we speak.
My sister-in-law called me while we were getting them out the door and her reply to our predicament, "Welcome to mothering boys!"
I must say I'm pretty surprised this is our first trip to the ER, though not the first Lego he's put in his body :) He swallowed one just after his hernia surgery.
Praying God will have mercy on my sick little boy and his daddy and there won't be a long wait. And also that it wouldn't be too difficult to get out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Date night!

Last night was date night with the kiddos! How much fun to have just one child to focus all your attention on for a couple hours! Keith took Isaac for "boys night out" and Samy and I stayed home and had "girls night in" :) When Keith asked him what he wanted to eat, Isaac quickly replied, "Hot dog sandwich!" (which just means a hot dog on a bun) One of our favorite places to take the kids out to eat is Five Guys Burgers, which is where Isaac always gets a hot dog sandwich and Samy eats ketchup :) she's in the right family to love condiments! Keith said Isaac ate the entire hot dog (it's gotta be a quarter pound!) and tons of fries and peanuts. He said he was super excited about the peanuts :) Then they went to a pet store and looked at all the animals. Isaac's least favorite part, "I don't like the stinky dogs!" but he really liked the fish. And he does a great impression of the little birds in there!
No cameras allowed at boys night out, but Samy and I got a few pics :)

We had our little dinner, then got all dressed up for a princess tea party! She picked out my bridesmaid dress from my sister-in-law's wedding for me. We got on our tiaras and necklaces, and "glass slippers" to finish the look of course! Then we had tea (though she didn't like it) and ice cream (which she loved). And what princess party is complete without dancing and singing to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack? I got my work out holding her and skipping and twirling around the house, a few breathless song lyrics thrown in :) She kept begging for more, but i could hardly breathe!

tea and ice cream!like a true princess, getting every last lick!


Keith found some super old sparklers in the garage last weekend so we just had to burn them!

Samy acted like the fairy godmother: "Bippity, boppity, boo!"

Hiking & PJs

Two weekends ago it was absolutely gorgeous outside AND Bruster's had their "free ice cream if you wear your PJs" day, which made for the perfect combo :)
We headed to a little hiking/biking trail not far from home that runs along a little stream and had a lovely time enjoying the sun and throwing rocks and sticks in the water. The kids were bribed the entire way with promises of ice cream afterwards :) They actually did enjoy "hiding" as they called it.
We got back in the car, ate our lunch on the way to Bruster's and their changed into our PJs (or partial PJs actually). We all enjoyed our treat very much as is evident by the ice cream faces!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

Samy's current favorite princess is Belle and she's been wearing out my old "Beauty and the Beast" soundtrack. As soon as she's done with breakfast she's in her Belle dress and asking to turn on "Booty and de Beast" (I love her little voice!). She just twirls around in circles for half the day! Here she's enlisted her brother and Cinderella doll in the spinning:

And the few times they've watched the whole movie, neither one wants to see the Beast. "He's scarwy!"

Sunshine shining on me!

I have never been so grateful to see 50 degrees as I was this week :) After all the snow and cold and winds (and sickies), we were all SO ready to get outside in the sun! Saturday was supposed to be warmer, but was still so windy that it felt cold. We braved it briefly for a ride around the hood. But yesterday was truly fabulous and warm (comparatively speaking) with a bright shining sun! We went to the "big playground" and took a long walk. There was another family from our church there and one of their dear girls took some pictures of the kids:

Today was another beautiful day so we were out again. I just find it humorous that they still want to play in the snow :)