Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

from our family to yours...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Family Photo Session

We moved this year...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Making Chocolates

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kid Day at NC Food Bank

As we continue our month of trying to be intentional in our thanks --- giving, we had the opportunity to participate in Kid Day at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC (located off Falls of Neuse near I440). Kid Day is the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month and runs from 2-4pm. It is intended for kids ages 5-12 though we did take Maddie with us since she is fairly well behaved. I had been told about Kid Day from a friend but I still wasn't exactly sure what to expect. We arrived a little early and hung out outside. The girls enjoyed this painted wall mural of fruits and veggies.

Once inside we had to fill out some paperwork and wait for everyone else to get settled. On this particular day there were at least 50 volunteers including a boy scout troop and indian princess tribe. Some kids were there for community service hours and others just to help out. It was neat to go on a tour of the warehouse and to hear a little more about how their programs work.

Our job for the day was to sort the canned goods from can day at the NC Fair which was 18,000 pounds of food. We were particularly looking for "pop top" meals. These would be items such as beef-aroni, chunky soups or other chef boyardee meals. These items are very important to the food bank because of their backpack program which is "intended to meet the nutritional needs of children during non-school hours, specifically weekends". It was pointed out that meals are best that the kids can open and heat by themselves since the kids may not otherwise get a meal.

Here are the girls sorting the cans and putting them in the right bins.

Maddie wore out about 30 minutes into running around and so we sat on the side for a little while but within an hour and a half all 18,000 pounds of food had been sorted. There was lots of corn and beans which are very important for other ministries they supply but we didn't even fill a box with pop-top items for the kids. The guy coordinating said they do this particular activity with kids to show how hard it is for them to get items for their backpack program.

So... if you are participating in a food drive this holiday season please consider helping the backpack program by donating some of their most needed items (list also available on their website).

Grains: Graham and/or animal crackers, light popcorn, whole grain cereal/granola bars, individual cereal boxes
Protein: Spaghetti & meatballs, raviolo, beefaroni, lasagna (pop top or microwave cups preferred)
Fruit: Canned fruit/fruit cups in light syrup, dried fruit (raisins, plums, cranberries), applesauce
Miscallaneous: Fat-free sugar free pudding cups, 100% juice

Also, for those local, our family will be collecting these items as well to take to the food bank in December so feel free to drop them by and we will deliver them for you.

This was valuable time spent for us this past weekend, not just in serving but also in educating us more about the needs of those in our community. May we not just hear and learn of the needs but also work toward meeting them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It was a cold and wet Halloween, but I guess it could be worse since our family up north got "dusted" with 16 inches of snow. We layered the girls clothes, added the rainboots and raincoat and off we went to a few neighbors houses. After about 20 minutes we were soaked, the girls little hands were freezing so we finished the night giving out candy on the porch while sipping hot cocoa.



Monday, October 31, 2011


I put a picture of a tree up on our wall yesterday, something that I had found online sometime ago. The idea is for the girls to add a leaf daily in November of what they are thankful for. The girls LOVE when we put things on the wall and couldn't wait to stick a leaf on the tree (my first reaction was "but we have to wait until November 1st", how silly! we should be thankful everyday!). The first three things the girls came up with were family, friends and sickness gone (AMEN!).

I thought the tree could be a way for the girls to remember and reflect on God's blessings. And then my heart remembers again.... how many times have I too felt compelled to count my gifts; to remember how God is at work in my life. And so I begin counting as well.

#1 Grace

#2 simple things that make little ones (literally) jump for joy

#3 a consistent scripture put before my eyes (Colossians 3:1-2)

#4 a sermon that pushes me forward in my walk with Christ

#5 the smiles on the girls' faces when we do a craft project

#6 a warm cup of tea

#7 a friend's safe return home from mission work

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Carving

After all of the trips to the pumpkin patch, we had lots of pumpkins for decorating. The smaller ones got stick on faces while the larger ones we carved.

Anna was a little nervous about sticking her hand inside of the pumpkin:

Pumpkin carving

Pumpkin carving

And I don't think Maddie ever did:

Pumpkin carving

The results (left to right). My 'B', Maddie's chipmunk (we tried to use the shapes that came with the $1.50 carving kit but they were really small; then Maddie decided she wanted it to have teeth; so we ended up with a chipmunk), Erik's steeler symbol and Anna's happy pumpkin

Pumpkin carving

Now all the pumpkins are on the front porch ready for visitors:

The girls and the pumpkins

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maddie's New Bike

It has long been past time to trade in Maddie's tricycle for a bike. She was doing well on Anna's so we got her a 16" as well.


Maddie on her new bike

Riding down the alley

Maddie on her new bike

An intense "cheese face" but looks like an agressive bike ride, watch out!

Maddie on her new bike

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

5 Year Checkup

5 Year Checkup

Here's Anna in her paper gown at her 5 year checkup yesterday. She just looked too cute in the hand and footprints that I had to take a picture. Once again, I felt ill-prepared - I forgot to check which screenings or shots were to be expected and so we walked back to our room without a clue what to expect. Anna was measured (43.5 inches) and weighed (43 pounds); they did the usual blood pressure monitoring and eye test. A new screening for us was the hearing test. I'm not sure that Anna understood exactly what she was suppose to do (point to her ear when she heard a beep on the headphones) and so whenever the nurse would ask if she heard something she would say yes :). It was good enough to pass this go around. We went back to our room where Anna was asked her colors, to identify "which is longer" and to draw a few shapes. The nurse pricked her finger for some blood work which took Anna little while to calm down from. Then, she was asked to pee in a cup which greatly confused her; she later told me she though the toilet was a cup :). We ended up having to bring the cup home to try again later. There were no shots this visit.

Anna was such a big girl through it all and I kept thinking to myself that she already looked older in just 2 days of being 5 :). There was one panic point for me though - the nurse asked if I needed a kindergarten form, aaaggh, it will be here before we know it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hillridge Farms

I love fall and there are so many great seasonal things to do as a family! On Sunday we went to Hillridge Farms with our church smallgroup. The girls ran through the maze

Hillridge Farms with smallgroup

Had a blast in the hay jump,

Hillridge Farms with smallgroup

Hillridge Farms with smallgroup

(here's the hay jump aftermath, we took baths and Maddie still has some hay in her hair)

Hillridge Farms with smallgroup

At this point the camera died, but we also ran through the fort, played in the corn, went down the huge tunnel slide and took a hayride over to the pumpkins.

It was nice to go back to Hillridge after visiting Vollmer Farms earlier in the month. Both farms are a lot of fun and have many similarities but I think my allegiance lies with Hilridge. With small kids I found it better that all of the activities were closer together (which could probably be a negative on really busy days). The girls were able to jump from one activity to the next and it was easy to keep up with the group. It was also nice to run through a pumpkin patch of real size pumpkins versus little pie pumpkins that are hard to see through the grass. A great trip with a great group of friends!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Anna!

Anna's fifth birthday party

We will be spending the day doing any and every craft project we can find in the house followed by an outing for snowcones! This girls brings so much joy to our lives!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NC State Fair

NC State Fair
(view from the top of the ferris wheel)

We have skipped the fair the past few years and so this year as soon as we had a free afternoon we headed straight there. Anna's request was to ride the ferris wheel and mine was to get some candy apples. We ventured out to the free public parking and put the girls in the double stroller which we haven't used in some time.

State Fair
(this is Maddie's "cheese" face)

The line to buy tickets took awhile and of course the whole time I was in it I was thinking to myself - we should have bought tickets beforehand... hopefully next time I'll remember. We made our way through the chaos to some of the younger kids rides and the girls jumped right on the hot air balloons. It was a little weird turning the girls loose to get on the ride by themselves; they are growing up. Of course, as soon as they got off they wanted to ride something else so they did the Wirly Worm and eventually the twirly pirate ship ride.

State Fair State Fair State Fair

As Anna requested, we had to ride to ferris wheel and so this was our longest line by far. The girls and I rode as Erik took pictures from below. The girls loved it!

State Fair

State Fair

And of course, we had to partake of some of the fair food - though we were not very adventurous. We had our usual corn dog, funnel cake, apple fritters, candy apples and the girls enjoyed an ice cream cone.

State Fair

It was a great day at the fair!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Anna's preschool class took a trip to Vollmer Farms last week. I signed up as a chaperone and Maddie tagged along. The girls were super excited! (And Anna was especially excited to wear her preschool tshirt to match her friends).

Ready for the pumpkin patch

When we arrived, we split up into groups. We learned about chickens and sunflowers and then took a tractor ride (which was Maddie's favorite part) through the fields and around the farm. Then we had free time to play on the playground, jump on the giant in-ground trampoline and "swim" in the corn kernels. Maddie thought it was fun to try to make "snow" angels.

Anna's fieldtrip to pumpkin patch

It was a great day that ended with a picnic lunch and the girls picking out a pumpkin (after going to Hillridge in past years I was a little surprised the pumpkins were so small; they were pie pumpkins). On the ride home Anna told me her favorite part of the day was just being with her friends :).

Anna's fieldtrip to pumpkin patch

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pajama Day at Preschool

Last week was Pajama Day at Anna's preschool. All the kids came dressed in their pj's and brought their favorite stuffed animal for a parade. Anna brought "ballet bear" that she had made at Build a Bear with Mimi.

The teachers also made waffles for the class and parents. Maddie sat right down and ate with the rest of the class.

Such a fun day at preschool!