Friday, May 29, 2009

Spring Highlights: Travels

Back in February Dale and I attended a seminar in Vancouver, WA, thanks to our sweet friends the Fullers who kept the girls for 2 days! Vancouver is just across the river from Portland, OR. So, we spent part of an afternoon exploring this beautiful city.

We found an awesome park on top of a hill that we explored. This is one of the roads inside the park.

This is a picture (not a very good one) of Mt. St. Helens, which we could see on our way back from Vancouver.

Thanks to some generous and thoughtful friends the girls and I had an opportunity to travel back to Nashville at the end of February to spend a week with our Nashville "family" - some of our very best friends. It was so refreshing and we had the best time! I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I would have liked. Too busy having fun I guess! But here are a few highlights:

We stayed w/ the Shrums - Here we are w/ Kevin, Janet & Big I. :) We sure love this family!

On Saturday, Janet, the girls and I took a road trip to Louisville, KY to spend the day with Sarah (Janet's daughter) and Keith (Sarah's husband). Sarah and Keith were high school seniors the first year of Dale's stint as youth minister at Inglewood. Well, they grew up, worked under Dale one summer as interns and got married almost a year ago! Hannah was upset at first as she had told Sarah when they were dating that she was going to steal her boyfriend. :) She's always been especially fond of Keith. But, she got over it! We all had a great time spending the day with them!

Aren't they a cute couple!

The Three Musketeers! These are 2 of Hannah's best buds, Ethan and Naomi. They've all known each other since birth. She was so excited to get to have a couple of days of play time with them. And I was excited to get to catch up with their mom, my dear friend Saundra - who forbid me to show the pictures we took of us. :)

Another family we love and got to see are the Wallers. Here's the girls and Janet w/ Beth at Chili's. I had to have a meal there while I could. Oh, what we are missing up here w/out a Chili's!!

Here we are w/ Beth, David & Josh at Baskin Robins.

We saw countless other friends and enjoyed making more memories with them before heading home to Seattle.

Two weeks ago Dale and I got to go to a pastor & wives retreat in Seaside, OR. The girls got to stay home and have Grammy time. (Thanks Mom!!)

Here we are at Cannon Beach, just a few miles south of Seaside, with the Pacific Ocean behind us.

This is Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. Beautiful!

At the retreat we ate some great food, experienced really great worship, and got to connect with some other church planting couples. It was refreshing and we are so thankful we were able to go. On the drive home we took the scenic route up the WA coast. Here's some of what we saw.

Our trip home brought us up the opposite side of the Puget Sound from where we live, so we took the Kingston Ferry over. It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Spring Highlights: Birthdays

Dale's birthday was in February and I actually don't have pictures of this event. But I surprised him with tickets to a Silvertips Hockey game, a local team. He didn't even know where we were going until the stadium was in sight. It was so fun! We got to sit 2 rows behind the Plexiglas - is that what that stuff is? Anyway, whatever it is, I'm sure glad it's sturdy b/c there were a lot of guys slamming into it along with the puck. It was so exciting and full of non-stop action. We even got to see a couple of fights, which Dale especially enjoyed.


Kaitlyn turned 2 on March 14! She has become such an enjoyable little girl - very sing songy and funny, with her own brand of humor. She LOVES books, dancing to music, riding her "bikcycle" as she calls the tricycle we have, throwing balls, and staring at people. Seriously, she's an observer, especially when she doesn't know someone. She just stares. And I think it makes some a little uneasy. Her favorite song, which she asks me to sing EVERY night at bedtime is "Jesus Loves Me" and she sings it quite well herself. I often try singing other songs, but it never works. This is her one request. She also loves her big sister and wants to do everything Hannah does - good or bad! They play hide & seek together, read stories together, steal candy together... play house together - one day she may not appreciate that Hannah sometimes has her playing the dog. :)

Kaitlyn loves Elmo, so she was very excited to have an Elmo-themed party. Although you really can't tell in this picture. :) We had a very cool Elmo cupcake cake, until someone began to eat a cupcake with the black icing, which left them with black teeth and lips, for quite awhile.... not so sure about that black icing!

Hannah's two little buddies, Jacob & Nickolas, and their families, joined us for the festivities and had a fun time helping Kaitlyn break in her new toys. Here she is riding Rocket (from Little Einsteins) with the help of Nickolas. Then she and "Jabeb", as she calls him, are checking out the books and puzzles.

And kids of all ages love blocks. I think Dale and Mark were having a tower-building contest.

We were glad that Dale's mom got to come in for a visit just a few days after. The girls always enjoy having Grandma in town!

My mom's birthday is just 2 days prior to Kaitlyn's, so while they were here visiting we got to celebrate with her too! We took Mom out to Anthony's Diner, a great seafood restaurant overlooking the Sound. Then we came back for some chocolate cake!


Being a mom is the best, but probably one of the hardest jobs in the world - or so I think. We want to hold on to our children, yet we're constantly faced with letting them go in one way or another. After all, the ultimate goal of parenting is to raise a self-sufficient person who can go out from us and make their own mark on the world - and hopefully a positive mark.

Dale did an excellent job Sunday of teaching from 1 Samuel 1. This passage is about a woman named Hannah, who could not have children and so desperately wanted a son. She vowed that if God gave her a son, she'd give him back to the Lord. So, God did bless her with a baby boy. And after raising him for about 3 years she handed him over to the temple to be raised by Eli the priest. She wanted him to be raised in the house of the Lord so his life would be service to God. But the temple was far away from her home and she'd only see him once a year after she left him. In our culture, this seems so bizarre to do something like this. But the point Dale made was that she was only able to do this because her purpose in life did not depend on her son. Her joy and satisfaction was found in God, not her child, even though she prayed and waited so long to have him. We are only able to let go of those things in which we don't look to for ultimate fulfillment. That spoke a huge message to me. When most every part of my world revolves around my children, it's easy to make them the center of it. They are a huge priority and I treasure them as amazing gifts from God. But, I cannot find my purpose in them. My purpose & fulfillment in life comes from the Lord. Right now, part of that purpose includes molding 2 little lives, but one day they will be on their own. And at that point I don't cease to have purpose, and certainly don't cease to have joy and satisfaction - as long as I'm finding those things in God, who has promised to never leave me. So, it's a great message and one I'm sure I'll continually have to remind myself of... especially the day I have to let Hannah go to her first day of kindergarten.

Here's my two sweeties on Mother's Day.

And here's my mom & dad.

My mom is a great mother who I'm more grateful for the older my kids get. She put up with a lot from me - more than I even know I'm sure! Yet, she didn't give up. She continued to do what she thought was right in disciplining and training me so that I could grow up and go out on my own. I know that hasn't been easy, but she's been a trooper and has continually shown unconditional love and support in all phases of my life. And for that, I'm very grateful.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kindergarten Orientation

Tonight we took Hannah to her future elementary school for Kindergarten Orientation. It was really nice. They fed us dinner and we mingled with the other families. Then the kids gathered for some songs. Although Hannah was still checking things out and sat back quietly to observe. We've learned, even in a fun environment, if it's new, she has to warm up to it first. She stuck to me like glue until we got to the kindergarten classrooms. She was pretty intrigued by the "Word Wall" up on the board and wanted to do it right then. Then she noticed the reading corner and hunted down some books that she also has. When it came time to go back to the gym for a story time she didn't want to leave. I guess that's a good sign! But being in the classroom increased her comfort level enough that she was right on the front row and involved during the interactive story time. Before we left we asked her if she wanted to meet the principal. We walked up, Hannah stuck out her hand and said, "Hello, my name is Hannah." like such a big girl!

I didn't have a single emotional moment until we got home. Dale was getting the girls ready for bed upstairs and I was looking through the bag of material the school gave us. And then it hit. Once again, I'm thinking how did we get here? All of the sudden she's about to be in school 5 days a week! At least I've got until Sept. to get myself really geared up for this. Will I be ready?

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise." Psalm 90:12

After an unintentional and lengthy break from my blog, I'm returning. Or at least I'm going to attempt it. I've really missed it, and apparently some of you have too. I've gotten more than several hints! :) So, here I am finally!

The quick pace of life has made me realize just how short our lives really are. And what we do with our limited time is crucial. I'd like to say that because I haven't spent endless hours on a computer blogging that I've been making the most of my time. Hopefully, that is mostly true. But, inevitably, at the end of the day, I feel like things are left undone, words are left unspoken, and I've probably missed or forgotten something. One lesson learned is that I cannot do everything - especially everything I think I should be doing! But, lately I've found myself feeling like so much has happened in the blink of an eye. As if I've just awoken from what I thought was a brief nap to find that weeks have passed. When did my baby become a 2-yr old with the ability to carry on a conversation with me? Have we really been in Seattle almost a year? And those pictures STILL have not been hung? I could go on.....

Time is certainly flying! And it is of the utmost importance to be diligent and intentional with what time I am given. So, in all that I do, whether work or play, I am striving to be wise with my time, tending to the most important, which is not always the most immediate or the most obvious. Anything left undone after that... well, I just have to be okay with it.