Sunday, January 25, 2015

Walking on Ice.

Hands down, the best part of living up here is experiencing things we otherwise never would.  And the best part of those new adventures, is having them together.


The lake has frozen around 9 inches deep and the ice games have begun.  There are ice fishers all over the bay with their tents and heaters, drilling through the ice and catching some supper.  I've seen all sorts of fun ice sports taking place.  It's so amazing to me that this beautiful place that is such a hub in the summertime is also a fun place to come in the winter.  It feels and looks like an entirely different spot than this summer.


I am pretty fascinated with the frozen waters and decided it was time to go out and walk on it.  I'm not sure how many times in my life I will get the opportunity to walk above water, so this was an opportunity we had to snatch. We ventured out this weekend, and I can't tell you how exhilarating it was to walk on a lake!  Absolutely incredible!


Ezra was not a fan at first and had to warm up to the idea.  He was just certain he was going to fall through.  After he realized we were safe, he had a blast.


Levi was just in awe of it all and was fairly sure he saw a whale swimming around under there. ;)  That, or a shark.  Hehehe.


It is super fun experiencing these things for myself, but it brings it to a whole other level being able to give our boys these exciting moments and to share them with them.  We are certainly having a winter unlike anything we have ever seen before, and it has been absolutely amazing to witness.


I'm so thankful for these moments together with my precious little family.  Memories upon memories!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Remember When I Blogged?

January.  It's already January.  And not just January, but a week into January.

Goodness, life only goes quicker the older I get and half the time my head is a spinnin'!

I hope everything had a very merry holiday season!  It all went by so fast it's kind of a blur to me, but we had a lovely Christmas in Oklahoma and a peaceful New Years back in PA.  It was so great to be with family and savor the moments of rest.  With this age of social media, and the busyness of life ... oh, it just gets harder and harder to blog!  Does anyone feel me?!  I remember the sweet days of babyhood when I had all the time in the world to blog any thought I had and every move I made.  Now I just Instagram it as I think of it, and if I don't do that, then forget it - it's gone into the abyss of my brain only to be remembered at 3:28 am on a random Thursday morning. And then I go to sleep and it's gone again.  Forever.

So here's a little update!

Life is moving along just swimmingly here.  The boys are growing and flourishing and blowing my mind every day.  I am blessed every day by those little gifts from God and I pray every day I do justice in being their Mommy.  Levi is now a yellow belt in Taekwondo (such a strong little thing!), doing awesome in homeschool (reading like a champ!), and growing in wisdom and in stature in the Lord just as we pray for everyday.  He continues to be the best big brother he could possibly be. Ezra is growing up so much that I can't even take it.  He is the most hilarious little thing, cracking us all up on the daily, and equally as sweet.  He's going through a shy phase and today for the first time, I saw his face turn red!  It was so sweet and cute - my baby! He wants to do everything his big brother does and has such an enthusiasm for life! I'm so proud of my boys.

Husby is doing great in his fellowship and we can hardly believe half of the year is up in our time up north.  He's right in the middle of tons of sporting events he's covering, so his weekends are pretty filled up with that right now.  I am eager for spring to hit so his schedule will die down and we can go on all the adventures we have planned!  Come on Husby, don't you know we moved here to explore!? ;) We are so close to so many exciting places that I want to do and see it all.  Fellowship has been exponentially better/easier than residency concerning the workload and time we get to see him.  It's been so nice, and I feel like for the first time in the kids' lives, we finally have a routine - Daddy is home at the same time every night through the week.  Seems like such a little thing, but you guys - it's huge.

The snow has officially arrived.  We've had over 37 inches so far, and in the next couple days we are expected to get 16-20 inches.  I'm LOVING the snow, but the cold hurts.  It's 16 here today and the wind has been blowing like I've never experienced (aside from tornadic conditions in OK.). :)  But to me, if it's going to be cold, we better have snow.  And snow we are having! :)

I didn't make any resolutions this year, per say ... but I did claim a verse to encompass my year.  It's short and sweet, plain and simple, but oh it says so much.

"He must become greater; I must become less."
John 3:30

Moving away from home, going out and exploring the world, stretching myself out of my comfort zone, and having experiences I otherwise would never have, I have really come to realize just how little this life is about me.  It's not, actually.  At all.  It's about Him.  And in America in 2015, that gets blurred much more often than it should.

In my life, in my speech, in my hobbies, in my health, in my marriage, in my parenting, in my friendships, in my relationships, in my writing, in my thinking, in my day to day and in my adventures --- Him.

More of Him.

Welcome to 2015, my friends!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

These boys make ....

Christmas trees brighter.


Traditions more merry.


Jingle bells jinglier.


Presents more thrilling.


Cookies and candies sweeter.


Holiday lights more radiant.


Yard inflatables sillier.


Santa Claus more magical.


Life more joyful, fun, meaningful.


God's grace .... tangible.


Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tinsel Townhouse.

I don't know about you guys, but I love peeking into other people's holiday homes.  When we drive around and look at Christmas lights, my husband and boys are ooh-ing and aww-ing about the yard ornaments and lights and I'm craning my neck and squinting my eyes to get a peek inside the windows.  Ha!  I just love the bright colors and cozy setting that Christmas decor creates.  

And here I am amidst the beauty of blogging, inviting you inside our townhouse!  No need for neck craning here! :)

(It drives me crazy that there is nothing on my coffee table.  But keeping it real, the boys sit on it more than they do the couch, so there's no point.  But it looks so empty in this picture!  I should have put the boys on it.)

The extent of the Christmas decor that we brought with us to Pennsylvania was ornaments.  That's it. Oh, and our nativity from Bethlehem.  We didn't feel like dragging everything up here just to lug it back.  So, we went the simple route with a real tree (though that wasn't real simple....), ornaments, and then I picked up a few things here and there to brighten up the place and make it exciting for the boys.

The one thing that I miss SO much this year is our Christmas village.  It's my favorite part of our decor every year and it makes me smile each time I glance at it.  I'll be extra excited to bust it back out next year!


We didn't have a good spot for the tree, so it's in the middle of our dining room.  Haha!  I love it! :)


Seriously, is there anything more wonderful than a Christmas tree?  I could stare at it all day ... and sometimes I do. But the top bugs me.  I'm not good at just having a star.  I like giant sparkly things shooting out every which way.  The boys love the star.  


Do you spy that cute pillow?

I fell in love with these two pillows this year and had to have them.  



And I found these little trinkets at Hobby Lobby that the boys love to look at.


We didn't bring our stockings so I picked these cuties up for the boys.  And we don't have a fireplace, so we hung them on the staircase with care.


I popped a few things in the kitchen too, for festivities sake.



There you have it, friends.  Our simple, easy, cozy tinsel townhouse.  


Yay Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Saw Mommy Yell At Santa Claus

"I want to see Santa.  But I am NOT sitting in his wap," was an every day sentence around our house the past couple of weeks from our little Ezra Ray.

I told him how nice Santa is.

How FUN Santa is.

And how he was going to be right next to Bubby as he sat on his lap.

"I am NOT sitting in Santa's wap."

As we stood in line to see the Big Man, the boys were so excited.  Not a trace of fear to be found.


"I'm gonna tell him I want a mini Santa!" Ezra said.

"I'm going to tell him I want the Captain Toad Treasure Tracker game!" Levi said.

Wait.  What?  Why is this the first time I've ever heard of such a game and why is he just now deciding he wants Santa to get it for him? Toad what? Huh?? Man, it was getting hot in there.

When we were next in line and Ezra laid eyes on him in the big chair, he LEPT into my arms and wrapped those legs around me like baby Koala.  He was not going anywhere.  I needed someone to crank the AC and FAST.

"NO! NO! NOOOOOO!" he screamed as we approached Santa.

Pretty sure all of Cleveland could hear that baby screaming.

I pried him off of me, sweating and very near a full on heat stroke with my massive scarf and heavy winter coat suffocating every inch of my flaming red body.  I placed him on the bench next to Santa.

The child LOST IT.   Pretty sure the boys and girls waiting behind the door to see Santa thought they were in line to see the devil after this debacle.

"Here, move over Santa. Maybe that will help if he's not by you!"

Did I just order SANTA CLAUS to scoot over?  I'm fully expecting a lump of coal this year.

Sweet Santa obliged, engaged my excited Levi in Christmassy conversation, and Ezra continued to yell.

They squeaked ducks.


I made silly (sweating) faces.


Levi was shouting, trying to tell Santa what he wanted.

I tried to eavesdrop so I could write down that blasted toad game in my phone when he wasn't looking.

It. was. a. circus.


After we paid, I ripped my coat and scarf off and booked it outside as fast as I could - soaking up that 30 degree air and trying to get my face back to ivory instead of the current BLOOD RED state it was in.

As soon as Ezra received his candy cane and walked out of the Santa headquarters he was all smiles.  "I SAW SANTA CLAUS!! Oops! I forgot to tell him what I want."


No words, kid.  NO. WORDS.

And there you have it.

Later that night at dinner, we went around the table each recounting our favorite part of our day.

Ezra's?  "Seeing SANTA CLAUS!"


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out.

The other day, we took a little trip to Cleveland to check out a very special house.  You might recognize it from a classic coming of age Christmas movie.


Any guesses?

Maybe you should look inside the window...


That's right, my friends.... A Christmas Story!


Oh my goodness, what FUN we had!

My boys had never seen the film, but they still were excited beyond words just knowing it was a house from a MOVIE! (We showed them it -an edited version- the next night, and they were just SO excited that they recognized everything in the house!)

Seriously, so fun.


They totally didn't get it.  Haha... I was laughing so hard.  "Fra-gee-lee .... Must be Italian!"


Being in the house was pretty incredible.  Apparently a super-fan bought it off of Ebay for 150K and restored it to exactly as it was in 1983.  It made watching the movie a totally different experience!




I think I was just as excited (if not more) watching the movie the next night.  I was screaming, "I STOOD RIGHT THERE! LOOK! WE WERE RIGHT THERE!"


The boys loved being in Ralphie and Randy's room.


I was most excited about the kitchen!


(someone bring them a glass of milk!)


The whole experience was seriously like stepping back in time.  So neat.

Oh, I LOVED being in the bathroom, too. Haha! It was teeny tiny!



Be sure to drink your ovaltine!


The house across the street was a museum packed with tons of costumes, clothes, hats, accessories, and other original memorabilia from the movie.  The gift shop was awesome and we couldn't leave without getting the boys their VERY OWN DECODER PINS!!


We had such a fun, fun day.  I have a new appreciation for this classic film (with the remote in hand for quick muting, haha!) and the memory of this day with my sweet family makes it even better!  A great Christmas adventure up north!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Toys For Boys 2-5

It always helps me out when people post gift ideas, especially when those gifts have been kid-tested and mother approved. :)

I thought I would share with you guys things that my boys love to help you with your gift giving this year.  Some of these items they received last year for Christmas and are still playing with. This is not a sponsored post, just things my little boys enjoy.  I won't write where to buy them - just google the name and you can find each item.



These little doo-dads provide hours of play for my littles.  They build things with them, pop them on and off of the floors and just have fun dreaming up fun things to do with them.  I love toys that encourage imaginative play and these are perfect for just that.



Now these things are just amazing.  Another toy for imaginative play, it keeps them busy and occupied for hours.  My boys have built some pretty amazing things out of these little wooden pieces.  I recommend these to everyone!


fantacolor junior basic

This is a great toddler toy.  It comes with a dozen or more pictures to place in the holder and then they pop the buttons in according to color.  My 5 year old even likes this toy and plays with it often!



This toddler toy is GREAT.  Not only are they having fun with puzzles, but they're learning as they play.  We love these in our house.



Cars that transform into dinosaurs.   Need I say more?  The boys LOVE these.



All kids love craft time.  You draw something on a sheet of plastic, color it, cut it out and then bake it and it shrinks.  Super fun!



Husby went on a trip recently and came back with one of these books for the boys.  He read a chapter to them every night before bed and they became OBSESSED.  Just mention the word underpants to little boys and they crack up uncontrollably.  I don't get it.  But they love it.  We want to buy more books in the series because this was such a hit with them. ;)



Okay, if I could recommend anything, it would be these DVDs.  Levi (age 5) is absolutely OBSESSED with them and asks to watch one every night - he prefers it to any of his Disney movies or favorite cartoons.  He has all 13, has watched them all, and he learns an incredible amount of the Bible through these.  They are THE BEST!  And kids think they're so funny! Seriously, get these for your kids!!  You won't regret it.

These are my top 8 toy recommendations for this year.  If y'all are interested I may do another one of these later in the month.  I hope this helps some of you out!  Happy shopping!

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