Dig, Dig, Digging!

I was contemplating writing about how I just love when my kids play outside for long periods of time because they seem to get along so well.  Then this afternoon happened, and my streak of luck ran out.  Saying they always play well together after an afternoon like today would just be a lie.  But, in general, we have quite a few more days like yesterday where they spent almost 3 hours making “perfume” outside than we do like today where they couldn’t seem to agree on anything, (mostly out of fatigue!)

This past weekend, the fun came when Malachi was digging and discovered some sort of huge larva.  After some research, we concluded it was the larva of those large, green june bugs.  Soon, they discovered another and another, which began an afternoon of digging.

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Want to see just how gross they are?  (This picture doesn’t even come close to showing how big and nasty they really are!)  Check out the first 3 we found:

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And, in case you were wondering, they ended up finding 30!  (Say what?!?!?)  Apparently, they are pretty good for the soil.  I’d like to think they did their job there, and needed a new job as chicken food.  Boy, did those chickens love them!

Thoughts on Joy

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I always seem to be very aware of my surroundings.  Is that a “normal” thing?  Whenever I am in a “cozy” situation — I feel such happiness. I like my favorite mug for coffee… my favorite seat in the house for my devotions… wearing my favorite cozy sweatshirt… etc.  As I was finishing up the last of my Christmas cards, (hooray, I am done!), I was super happy to have a clean desk and a fresh Christmas cookie.  It really was an enjoyable evening. But, it did get me thinking… what if all the “cozy” were taken away?  Would I still have joy in the Lord for what this time of year means?  I journaled a bit about it, and I’d like to think I would.  I pray I would.  I know joy is much deeper than happiness.  And, I do feel such joy for God’s blessings.  But, my prayer is this… that God’s joy would surpass all comforts and cozy that I feel.  That all these “things” would simply lead my mind to Him and to ponder what he’s done for me.  That my joy would be real, and true, and deep, and not circumstantial or fleeting.  And, I pray you find joy in Him, too!

Our “Mary” Day

So many thoughts running through my head… like how today was a “wasted Saturday,” yet it was such a precious day.  I say “wasted” meaning we accomplished nothing “productive,” which feels a bit strange during this busy month of December.  When I say nothing, I mean there are still breakfast dishes from yesterday in the sink!   Laundry piled high.  Christmas presents to buy.  School to plan for.  Christmas cards to be sent.  Yet, we ignored the to-do list and went for a “Mary” day, rather than a “Martha” day.

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This morning started off with a little comment from my husband while we sat around the breakfast table enjoying our crepes.  “Do you know what would be perfect this morning?” he asked.  “A hike,” I responded.  He was astounded.  I love when we’re on the same page.  We spent the next 3 hours out in the 71 degree weather hiking up the hill and playing around at the waterfalls.  It was GLORIOUS!

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On the way home, we stopped at the Asian market for some groceries.  Our dinner plans wouldn’t work out since we went for a hike and didn’t defrost what we were suppose to, so we went with plan B: a “blended dinner.”

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Yup, we blended our cultures and Daniel made fresh, homemade dumplings while I made fresh bread and cheese fondue.  Dinner was a lot of fun.  We laughed with the kids about how “mismatched” it was, and what fun it is to be a mixed-race family.  Now the kids are going down, and I have a choice: start folding laundry, or at least work on the kitchen… –or– continue with our “Mary” day, cuddle with my husband, and watch our favorite show.  I think plan B is once again calling my name!

Housekeeper Day

Don’t get me wrong… I am super blessed to have a housekeeper.  (And, even more blessed to have kids that make messes!)  But, I just have to show you what our house looks like, just 10 minutes after getting home when the house has been cleaned:

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Of course, I had them clean-up the pillows when they were done.  And, I am going to bed in a clean house… but tomorrow will come with more messes, and I am ready!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”  Psalm 127:3-5

Baking soda & vinegar fun

One of my favorite parts about blogging is watching the kids enjoy scrolling back and excitedly exclaiming things like, “Oh, remember how fun that was?  Remember when…” Often, they are also captivated by a craft or something they were doing and want to do it again.  (Immediately; of course!)  When it’s something as simple as baking soda and water, I respond, “Sure.”  (That’s usually a fun surprise for them, too!)

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It doesn’t take long for a sibling to come by and want to join in.  After all, the real deal is always better than the blog.  (Now I better make sure my cabinet is stocked with baking soda and vinegar before I press “publish.”)

Argh, Mateys… Malachi Turned 4!

It’s hard to believe our youngest is not so young, anymore.  He woke-up super excited for his birthday.  I love 4 because it seems like the first time they really anticipate and get excited about their birthdays!  His “under-the-bed present” was a new scooter from his aunt and uncle.  It couldn’t have been more perfect, as he told me right before bed he was becoming a big bo and needed a scooter with just 2 wheels like the other kids at the fire station.  Thanks Nate and Hil!

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We had a birthday breakfast of bacon and french toast, then got to work getting ready for his pirate party!

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I love when I can re-use things.  That birthday sign is from Sierra’s panda party, 5 years earlier!

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The food is always my favorite.  So many fun ideas on Pinterest!  I made all my signs for free on Picmonkey.com.

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Activity #1:  “Coloring Pirates”  (While they did this, Allison made balloon swords she learned for her mission trip to Thailand, and Natalie armed the guests with pirate tattoos.)

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Activity #2:  “Hook the Ring”  This one was a fun creative challenge since the Dollar store didn’t have any pirate hooks.  They did have poster boards for 50 cents, as well as a pack of black cups and a pack of plastic candy canes.  I made the rings using aluminum foil.  This game was a huge hit!

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Activity #3:  “Walk the Plank” (while balancing a pirate hook on your head)  This was another hit with the kiddos!  I used black washi tape for the letters, and an old body board my husband had brought home from work that they were getting rid of.

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Activity #4:  “Pin the Patch on the Pirate”  Another free find from Pinterest!

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Activity #5:  “Knock Down the Pirate”  I found the pirate on Oriental Trading, and the kids had to knock him down with bean bags.  He was a surprise for Malachi the morning of his birthday, and we had a conversation something like this:

Me:  “Hey, buddy… did you see your pirate?”

Malachi:  “Is that a present for me?”

Me:  “Yeah, do you like him?”

Malachi:  “Was he expensive?”

Me:  “Not too bad.  Do you like him?”

Malachi:  “How much was he?”

Me:  “I think $16.  Do you like him?”

Malachi:  “Oh!  That’s a lot of money!”

Silly boy… I don’t know where that conversation came from, but it sure made me laugh!  And in case you were wondering, yes… he likes him!

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Our playground that truly used to be a “pirate playground.”  I’m glad the forecast of rain was totally wrong because the kids sure enjoyed their time outside.

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Opening presents in the birthday chair!

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Sweet baby Jackson.  Malachi specifically told me he wanted baby Jack at his party!

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Happy 4th birthday, sweet boy.