Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pictures!!!

Who knew that a little flour and water could entertain her for SO long? Btw, she was still getting accustomed to the toilet this day, so that is the reason for the attire.
Two of her favorite friends at Big Lots. Never noticed they were there before this.
Wait a second, who is calling?

Passed out in the morning! Potty training is hard work:
Talking to Grandma on the bluetooth.
She decided to be nice and "take Shadee her food to her on her bed...."

Rounded the corner at Dollar Tree, following her and this is what I found:

She gets a little bored while I'm shopping, so she has to create her own fun:
My little tree-hugger!

Almost, but not yet.

video

Monday, December 21, 2009

No 20th day

Not only have I not had time to load pictures on to my computer (and boy do I have some cute ones!) I haven't had time to work on the 23 Days of Christmas. I feel strongly that God is whispering to me, "it's okay." :) We just moved FIVE rooms in our house around. Talk about a chore! I don't liken it to actually moving to a new location, but it goes almost halfway. The only thing that got remodeled was the basement. It still looks in mint condition (no one has had time to hang out down there). The rest of us got bedrooms "as is." So, yep, that means that Will & I moved into the blue room (formerly the boys' playroom) with the glow-in-the-dark galaxy as our border and with deluxe matching curtains (thanks Mom!)! Brielle got the "preschool Tyler's" construction theme room, but I'm honestly thinking about leaving it up until she is old enough to decide on her own fav colors & theme.
If moving all these rooms (and closets) around doesn't seem hectic enough - especially the weekend before Christmas- our two youngest children became ill with a ferocious stomach bug within hours of each other. While that put a hold on the move, it was really sad and hard to watch them go through that kind of retching illness :( The downside was that we missed our favorite Christmas party of the year. The flip side is that it was over and done with before Christmas, bless their hearts!
Now, even though we've only passed out 10 of our 23 Days, it has not been without great encouragement in return. One of our neighbors actually came by this morning to "return" the favor by filling up our mason jar with chocolates! She was so surprised that we had done something like that and wanted to return the favor. When we had brought them their pumpkin bread in a jar I had actually thought, "they think we are crazy." LOL If so, the crazy rubbed off! Our computer desk, crib, children's 1/2 desk?, computer, and chair littered our front porch. I explained about the move. I asked her if she knew of anyone who needed a crib. It was a long shot, but she happened to have a DIL that was due in 3 months who did not yet have a crib! Way to go God! They come to pick it up tomorrow. Pretty cool stuff.
I doubt I will bake again until after the new year - unless my bedroom miraculously unpacks itself - but I think it's okay that if we end up handing out goods then, that is fine. I won't give up, but I'm not going to work myself into a frenzy either.
By the way, did I mention our new bedroom comes with a cool garage-sale lava lamp that some oblivious kid left behind? It makes the room seem more retro, and I kind of dig it dude.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Giving Grace

A short but meaningful story: Last week I was in the checkout line at Kroger. I know I take longer than some because the cashier has to scan all of my coupons. But there were no problems this time, and all coupons were on target. As I was taking my receipt and leaving, I felt a cart grab the back of my heal. The older lady behind me had ran into me while I was walking out of the checkout. She immediately apologized and she sounded remorseful. I assured her it was okay and attempted to smile at her. It hurt! I even tried not to limp on my way out. It hit me then and there. Now, what if that had been on my kids? They would have at least gotten "the look!"
Why did I extend that kind of grace to a perfect stranger? and why don't I extend it to those closest to me? All I could think was, if I could do that for her, I should do that for my children as well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the 13th day of 23

I'm just going to confess. This baking 23 homemade goodies for my neighbors in an effort to bless and get to know them is challenging! 1) because it's hard to find time to bake, and 2) because they aren't home when we go to take them something. However, despite these challenges, it is still going quite well. We are meeting our neighbors that we didn't know and giving a happy holiday greeting to the ones we do. I insist that all three children come with me every time we go. I want the neighbors to meet my whole family (I can't get Will to do this of course :). This is hard when we have been busy. I backed individual tins of pumpkin bread for the neighbors that I know have 2 or less people in their household. They set on my counter for two days before I had time to take them to them. I admit that I was ready just to do a "drive by" and throw them on their doorstep in haste. That would deplete the whole point though. :) So....we all went on the third day. Two days later we took out three more German Potato coffee cakes to the larger households and Josh commented, "I like this. It's like our daily evening walk out together." He was wearing a Santa hat and each of us carried pie plate of the cake, myself also holding Brielle. It was one of the warmer evenings and as I thought about the about the three gifts that we carried while we walked down our street, I likened it to the three wise men with their three gifts. This is what Christmas is all about to me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day One of the 23 days of Christmas

Okay, so if you haven’t read my 23 Days of Christmas blog, it lies below. The jest is to provide all 23 of my surrounding neighbors with a home-baked good for the purpose of getting to know them better and also to spread some holiday cheer! Yesterday was day one. I made German Potato Coffee Cake (a great recipe that I swiped from cyberspace last year after I got my bread machine for Christmas). The recipe bakes three pie plates, so that was handy. We carried two, but came home with one (we couldn’t get rid of it! lol) All three children came with me. We met a new neighbor on our corner and we met our neighbors that have lived here almost as long as we have. It was really fun, especially since the second neighbor was prepared to tell us “no” to whatever we were selling him, until we told him the real reason we were interrupting his evening. Then his expression softened and he called his wife to meet us too! It was great and the kids enjoyed it too! We made a map of all of our neighbors. Empty boxes indicate their houses. We are putting X’s in them after we deliver, along with writing down their names to remember them by. I really hope it continues to be this fun by day 23 and that we don’t get burned out (or turned away) by then.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Brielle!


Today is Brielle's 2nd Birthday! What an amazing adventure these past two years have been, full of so many joys, surprises, and many testimonies to the grace and glory of God!
Our beautiful princess shines everyday and reminds us constantly how God's plans are so perfect, so much greater than our own! Every single day Will and I probably have at least one thought like, "would we ever have thought??" When we see our daughter sing and dance, chase after her brothers, or lavish us all with her hugs and kisses, we have to wonder how we could have ever imagined something so great. Many couples who have their last child say, "now we feel complete." I'm fairly certain we felt "complete" before Brielle came. Now we feel ABUNDANTLY BLESSED!
Thank you God for Brielle's life! Thank you for the person she is and that we are able to learn something new about her every day. Thank you for all she is teaching us!
Happy 2nd Birthday Brielle Jenae Jimenez!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Homeless Roadside Kits


Earlier I mentioned helping the homeless who stand on busy road intersections this time of year holding a sign asking for help. I thought it would be a good idea to get the kids involved in making bags for these people, considering we’ve had a few conversations about them when we’ve seen them and having sensed the awkwardness in our car. We are going to keep at least one in the car that way if we see someone who needs it we can give it to them.
I made just two of them and threw them in the car, "just in case." But we plan to package more in December with our church family. We will put the items in a plastic grocery bag, nothing fancy. We will include two general categories: non-perishable food and personal hygiene. The trick is getting the right things into the bag. "Compact" and "user-friendly" are the key. What I had on hand: canned chili with peal-top lid, tuna packet, granola bars, canned or bottled drinks, plastic spoon, paper bowl, peanut butter. Canned meat would be good too. Ideas for Hygiene: deodorant, wet wipes, soap, shampoo, (small packages of everything), tooth brush, toothpaste, floss, razor, shaving cream, comb or brush, lotion, cologne.
On my first two I wrote a simple note (that read, "Have hope! God will provide for you. He loves you", but we plan to include a verse of hope and encouragement as well. I explained to the kids about why we are making these and let them know that they can help come up with ideas too. Anyoneto pass them to the homeless. Who knows how it will go. But it’s a start!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the Homeless

On one of my first few trips to New York City we went through Grand Central Station to get downtown to see Rockefeller Center and Times Square. It was New Years day and freezing cold like I've never known in my life. That is a whole story in itself that I'm not trying to tell right now. On our way back to New Jersey (where Will's family lives) we had to sit in Grand Central Station for awhile to wait for our train. It was there that I saw a man ask a lady for money because he was hungry. She gave him a $5 bill and a lecture about how she wanted to see him spend it on food. He walked to the McDonald's (in the station) and bought food. He came back and sat near her and she commended him for buying food with the money. At the fresh age of 20 I remember thinking, "what else would a hungry homeless person buy?" Surely food would rank above all else! Now I always wonder if I were to give a hungry homeless person money, what would they really spend it on? Not that I haven't done it despite not being able to know.
When the weather gets colder (or maybe it's because with the holidays approaching people are likely to be more giving) hungry homeless people stand on busy intersections in our city holding signs asking for food and help. It always feels awkward as the kids and I ponder what to do. Then, last night while I was reorganizing the food pantry (where I stock my rockin deals) it dawned on me! Why not make emergency food kits for the homeless? More to come on these and how we will package, arrange, and give them out.
But for now here are some pictures from our October Fall fun:


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

23 Days of Christmas

I feel like I just really need to post this. I have made a commitment for the month of December, but I feel myself talking myself out of it, due to the craziness of the approaching holidays. Not that anything has gotten crazy YET, I just feel it coming on. But I don't want it just to be like that...it should be about giving. Which is what I decided a month ago, when I felt God lay it on my heart to bless my neighbors this holiday season. Therefore, I have decided to give each of my neighbors a baked good each day in December. I have 23 neighbors, so I am starting the 1st and going through the 23. The 24th I will be busy cooking for my family. I'll let you all know how it goes, but I truly encourage you to do something similar. Maybe baking for just a few neighbors? Or, maybe God will call you to something entirely different, but just remember it's about the JOY of giving (or so I am reminding myself) not being overwhelmed by it!

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Commitment

I am making two new commitments to myself. I am sharing them with you because I feel if I share them, then I should probably *DO* them.
#1 update my blog weekly. facebook is really using up my free internet time, so I am going to switch over to blogging during that time. hopefully, it works out. i will continue to answer on FB, as it is sent to my email, but don't plan on reading everyone else's posts, at least not regularly.

the first three pictures were taken at Norfork Lake, Mtn Home, AR - Labor Day weekend

Teaching her to operate the vehicle:

commitment #2: no fighting. apparently we do this more than we realize, so hopefully we can cease fire.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Montgomery Bell State Park

We had been there once before, but this time drove to another area where SURPRISE! there was more to the park than we had thought! I would love to spend more time hiking this area and there are GREAT TRAILS to be hiked!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

keeping me on my toes

No one wants to be lukewarm in their faith, even though it may disguise itself as being a much safer, calmer place to be. When that happens though, there are generally three subsequent events: 1) staying lukewarm for indefinite period of time 2) self-motivating oneself to find the lost passion 3) a good boost into passionate faith by another source, be it a frustration, something through another person, or a challenge.
I guess any of these three can happen to me, but I usually get a boost from somewhere.
Of my kids, Tyler is the one who challenges me. He questions everything and I am amazed at his logical trepidation. Josh has always just accepted and trusted what is told him (this can be a negative thing at times), but Tyler really keeps me on my toes. I think he truly believes in God, as I sense his wonder and amazement of Him. But, there are times that he openly challenges the "what if?" or the "but how?"
Most recently he said, "I don't get it. If we can't see God, how can we believe in Him? How do we know He is there? And, if He is able to be everywhere at once, then why can't He just appear to each of us so that we are no longer confused?"
Wow. Okay.
My response (totally winging it- such as what happens with these sorts of things): "Those are great questions Tyler. I've wondered them too. Right now I'm being reminded of when Jesus appeared to His Followers after the resurrection. He told Thomas, 'you see me and you believe. how blessed are those who believe in me without seeing me.'" I probably jumbled it up, but I think it made sense. How much faith kids have! And yet for some, they question faith altogether. Just like adults, if I can't see it how do I know it's there. That challenges me to wonder all over again, who is this God I serve? And I definitely begin to feel passionate, which totally ROCKS.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

September and October

Well, we all got wet that game, but no one was as muddy as Tyler!

On the day of Football Jamboree:
Asleep on the 2 minute ride from our house to the grocery store:
Cheese smile:
She literally put her glasses on TO fall asleep (which happened right after I snapped this picture with my phone:

The rainbow over Lana's house after our gathering:
Trying to shoo the cat out of our truck before we leave!

The best temperatured day EVER:

At Joshua's football game:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My new friends' blogs

I have all of these "ideas" that I want to implement and do and never actually get around to. But lately I've been reading two blogs that inspire me. These ladies actually DO the things they blog about! They motivate me! I hope to one day be able to do some of these great things, but for now I love gleaning their ideas!
The first is my friend Kim, from MOPS. She does CRAZY stuff, like sewing and quilting. She is quite energetic and always has a "project" going on. Not only that, she is HILARIOUS to read. I may not be able to do all of the cool things she does (and yes, she has two preschoolers and a home-based business) but I am sure amused when I read about her adventures in life doing them. http://trippfamilyonline.blogspot.com/

The second blog I received a link to from the House2House email newsletter (designed for simple/house churches). It is written by a lady named April, who I have been communicating with off and on through email as well as reading her blog. She has super GREAT ideas for children's involvement in home church activities and worship. The best part is that these ideas can involve both adults and children and the adults benefit from them just as much as the kiddos do, naturally ;) Check her blog out at: http://withthekids.wordpress.com/

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Over the summer and through our lives

These are photos that tell stories of what we did and what happened over the summer here in our neck of the woods.

For my birthday Will brought me flowers and we LOVED to smell them:


My favorite summer dress for Brielle:


Creative back porch art:



Say cheese:


Well, Shadee lived downstairs and out back for the past 1 1/2 years (she's 9 now) and then I watched Marley & Me http://www.marleyandmemovie.com/ and that was it for me. We gave her two baths and some time getting used to us, but the kids LOVE her being back upstairs.
Brielle and her cousin Archer on Grandma & PopPop's door step:
Say cheese again, Joshua's helping put her shoes on:
More to come! I just have to gather my thoughts!