Monday, September 15, 2014

Campfire ghost stories

Perfect fall weather this weekend for backyard campfires -- cool with no wind.  Of course there were a few ghost stories as well.  I love the look he's giving Dad.... and the fashion choices -- pjs, hat, sweatshirt and mom's gloves,

backyard bonfire

Enjoying Life on the Gravelly Road.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School 2014

I can't believe he's in Kindergarten!  He was ready but nervous this morning... He bravely walked from the crosswalk all the way to his classroom by himself.  I'm expecting a very tired boy this afternoon :)  Praying he has a wonderful first day, makes some great new friends (he only knew 2 kids in his class), and he knows so many people are praying for him on his first day.

first day

*** Added after the school day ****

Here's a few more pics... the top two are from open house/pre-conference events the end of August. The pic in the lower left his teacher sent this evening and the lower right is waiting at the cross-walk to go into school this morning.

From what I've heard, he had a great first day.  He was naming off friends he saw on the playground that he knew (but weren't in his class).  He told me at lunch they get CHOCOLATE milk and there are special colored bins in the classroom with different toys for each day of the week.  He was able to remember what book the teacher read the class but said he forgot that he had snack in his bag at snack time and ate half his sandwich at snack instead :)


Dear Father, 

Thank you again and again for allowing me to the mom of this precious boy.  I am so honored and challenged daily.  He is growing up so fast it takes my breath away! 

I pray for an extra blessing over the kindergarten year ahead of him.  Watch over him this year as he spends more time at school than he ever has before.  Be there for him when I'm not.  Guide his words, actions and interactions so that he may be kind, compassionate and a positive leader in the classroom.

May his classroom be a place of learning, new friendships, good challenges, and opportunities to grow.  May his teacher have the extra special energy, leadership, and grace to keep this class of kindergartners engaged in learning and treating each other in positive ways as they get to know each other.


Grow him into the boy (and young man) you created him to be for your purposes and help me to be the parent I need to be for him for your glory. 

Amen

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Books While We Wait -- August 2014 edition

As you know, we are buying a new children's book each month while we wait. Since the original post has gotten rather long to keep reposting.  I will still update the original list and have added a link near the header, but each month I will only post about the new book.  If you want to see the entire list, please feel free to click on the link at the bottom and review the other ones :)

Forever Families: God's Gift of Adoption by Natalie Sutyak

This beautifully illustrated book describes how God created everyone to look different but with the same heart and need for family.  It is God that brings together forever families.  The book touches on domestic infant, international and adoption from foster care.  It includes illustrations and photos of many adoptive families, including many transracial families.

There are a few pages that are rather wordy for younger children though -- the text is likely more for the 5 and older crowd but the illustrations would be enjoyed by all ages!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Catching up on summer fun

I know it has been a bit quiet on the blog.  Its been partially an intentional break to better enjoy these last weeks of summer.  But also due to feeling like I didn't have much to say.  I'm hoping to get into a better habit of writing this fall when school starts (say it isn't next week).  But for now, here's a photo heavy post to catch up on what we've been up to.

The month started with kiddo and Daddy going on a road trip to Grandparent-land for a cousin's baptism and cousins' birthday party to see Dad's side of the family.  Then when the work week started for Dad, a several night sleep over at his grandparent's (my side) started for the kiddo.  The highlight of the trip was a trip to the zoo with Grandpa and Grandma.  I love that he's at the age where he absorbs so many facts -- he was talking about the zoo animals for days.

While they were gone, I enjoyed a VERY quiet house for a few days.  Most of the time was spent at a MOPS planning retreat for the fall, but plenty of time to scrapbook, watch a chic flick, and do some shopping.

When my guys got home, we quickly emptied suitcases and repacked as all of us were travelling with Dad for a few days.  It was a great way to fit in a bit more family time... of course the fact that Dad was staying at a hotel with a water park helped too.  So while Dad worked, we played.  So many trips of the flights of stairs to the tall water slides, over and over.  The hotel room even had a separate room with a bunk bed.
waterpark adventures

Then it was off to the county fair.  Our family entered items in open class again this year so it was fun to go check for ribbons.  Kiddo had the most ribbons, but Dad won a big award of merit ribbon on the wooden train he built.  Of course there were rides, animal barns, and the kids activity area to check out too.  A fun day!
county fair summer fun

We also managed to squeeze in a night at the local ballpark watching baseball that same weekend :)

A full week of VBS followed soon after.  Four full days of fun at church with music, crafts, snacks, meals, and afternoon adventures (including a long walk to the nursing home to sing and deliver gifts).  He had a blast.  I worked in the kitchen and enjoyed getting to know some gals from church I otherwise don't get a chance to visit with.  By the end of each day though we were both exhausted!
church vbs

Somewhere in there and since we've also fit in several playdates, including one with friends in the cities, a trip to the pool, going out for ice cream a few times, school shopping, plus a few fun grill outs with friends -- one with a bonfire and s'mores, the other ending with an evening boat ride.

Its been a whirl wind month for us on the gravelly road.  Now we are trying to enjoy every last bit of summer before our little boy starts kindergarten NEXT WEEK.  How can it be?



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway: Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

I'm excited to share about another great book with you, even more exciting is that I have a giveaway to share as well (read all the way to the bottom of the post for more details).

Last fall I had the privilege of hearing Jen Hatmaker speak at MomCon.  When I heard she'd updated and was re-releasing her book "Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity", I jumped at the chance to review and spread the word about her book.


This book tells of a compelling journey that God took a ministry family on (after interrupting life as they knew it), resulting in a new church plant, a new way to do ministry for them and many lives changed, including their own.  But the book is so, so much more than that.

I wanted to devour the book, to find out how the tension and questions being brought to the author's heart by God would be resolved.   Yet at the same time I knew I needed to go slowly to let the message soak into my heart to work through the lessons and challenges being brought to the surface.  It is a book I will likely read a second time.

Jen honestly walks readers through the tough and sometimes messy questions that God was placing on her heart during this journey, from who is the "least of these", what it means to serve others, and if it was possible in her life-long Christian faith walk and ministry that she might have been missing something so close to God's heart.  I also appreciated that her husband added his perspective to this journey and how God was working in both their lives uniquely to allow them to make this huge life change together.

This book was challenging, refreshing and yet accessible.  It is a great book for anyone who has grown up in the church, especially those who have wondered how to reach out to those outside the church walls or have ever felt a sense that there must be more.  It held so many great reminders about serving others as a way of life (living on mission), not something you "do" at a set time/schedule/trip and the importance to leave margins in your life to allow you to love others through serving.


If you haven't read anything by Jen Hatmaker, see her author profile below and check out her blog.  Her writing style in her book mirrors her blog, like she is telling you this story as a friend.  In fact after hearing her speak this fall, I can almost hear her voice in my head as I read her words.  She is honest, funny, writes from her whole heart and as she states "I over share and have no discernable filter".

God is moving today and through us He can do the "new" thing the world is waiting for.   Are you brave enough to let God interrupt comfortable to do something brave?


More About the Author

Jen Hatmaker is the author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and A Modern Girl's Bible Study series. With a heart for her generation, she speaks at conferences around the country. Jen resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Brandon, and their five children. To learn more about Jen and follow her blog, go to www.jenhatmaker.com.



I was provided a copy of this book to read and review, in addition to a copy to giveaway.  My review and opinions are my own.

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