29 March 2010

Warning: Small children on airplane!

We had the chance to have a little "shake down" airplane time over spring break.  The last time the kids were on an airplane was in November of 2008 headed to our candidate week in New York.  With the big trip to Kenya in less than four months, we were grateful to give them a chance to see what it will be like... at least for a few hours!

The important part of the trip was the time we were able to spend with some of my (Heather's) family on the Texas coast.  That aside, we, as parents, learned some good traveling lessons on the way.  

One.  We gave Faith her early birthday present of a backpack (for travel and Kindergarten) in hopes it would be put to good use on this trip.  She was a superstar and carried it the whole way there.  However, coming home, the novelty was lost.  She was beyond tired and wasn't the packhorse that we not-too-compassionately hoped her to be.  Between two rolling suitcases, two carseats, three backpacks, a hand bag and two crying kids to roll, drag and hoist around at 9:00 PM after retrieving our luggage in Denver, we looked a bit like a sad circus.  

Lesson learned:  Our carry-on packing will be first and foremost now packed in backpacking backpacks so our hands are free and legs are quicker if they need to be.  Also, the kids will be starting a weight training program so that they can carry MORE stuff.  Ahem... just kidding!

Two.  Something that we've noticed about Joel for a long time is his ability to calmly fall asleep anywhere if he needs too.  He fell asleep with no fuss on three of the four airplane rides.  He sleeps through the announcements, the landings, the lights, everything.  

Lesson learned:  We can trust Joel's nature to rest calmly and not worry about him having difficulty with all the travel time.  (Which I'm sure we'll still have our moments with!)

Three.  Something I noticed about myself was how my mothering seemed to go downhill a little as the travel went on.  So much of traveling is out of our control.  We are at the mercy of the schedules, the planes, the people.  The mood, health and restfulness of our children isn't fully in our control either.  Because of this, my own mood began to get a little out of control, and the kids became just another thing to get from once place to another and to keep under control in a sea of strangers.  I sure wasn't too proud of the mommy I was when it was all over. 

Lesson learned:  Let go of what I can't control, but choose to make traveling a fun and relatively calm experience for my family.  I can play games and read stories with the kids during all the waiting time, instead of worrying about just getting everyone to the next place.  Because really, isn't that what air travel is: hurry up and wait?!

Now if I can just remember this all in four months, we might make it in one piece over the ocean!

18 March 2010

The Birthday Boy!

On March first, our sweet little Joel turned three years old!  I have been neglecting sharing his celebration with you, but wanted to make sure we posted some pictures of our big boy before we head out on spring break!

His birthday was a Monday, and while Jim had to go to school, it was a beautiful day, and we started the celebration early, just the three of us.  He even got some candles in his lunch!

  We headed outside for some bike riding in the cul-de-sac in the morning.  Joel enjoyed the bike, but the bigger draw was the puddles!  So after getting soaked we came in for hot cocoa.  

It's hard to believe sometimes how big they are getting!  But so much fun too.

We had a family come for dinner to help celebrate.  The Corman's have been great friends to us this year, and Joel and their son, Kaeden, who is only a few days younger, are great friends.  And now Joel loves him even more, since he brought gifts of Lightning McQueen and Mater!  (From the Cars movie.)

Joel chose which of his trucks he wanted me to draw on the cake.  I was thankful it was a simpler one! He has always loved trucks.

Waiting for cake is pretty exciting!

So proud of his cake and being a big boy!

Kaeden is such a great encouraging friend to Joel.  It is fun to watch Joel develop friendships just as his sister did around this age.

The following weekend, Grandma and Grandpa joined in for another celebration.  Can't have too many parties!  And they must have gotten the memo too, because Joel was lucky enough to get even more Cars figures!  He sure loves anything with wheels, and although he's only seen the movie a few times, he just loves the characters and loves to talk about the story.

It was fun to make another cake for him.  He's been asking for a giraffe cake for a few months, and after scouring the internet for ideas, I came up with this.  It is such a delight to bless our children by granting their wishes for (some!) things.  It was fun to see his face when he saw his long-awaited cake.

Something else that Joel loves is reading.  He got books for his birthday and took time to look through each one before getting another present.  I love that both he and Faith enjoy looking at books for hours sometimes.  It's hard to believe that soon Faith will be reading to us!

Another hit of the night was a train conductor hat, scarf, and whistle from his Grandmom.  He is so proud of it, and loves to wear them all day.

It was so much fun to celebrate Joel with our family, many times over.  I especially cherished celebrating this year, as it was comfortable and familiar.  It was easy to get balloons from Walmart and make cake and icing from ingredients that are easy to find, and have family and friends over like we were used to.  Celebrating in Kenya next year will probably take a little creativity, won't feel like the past years, and will be different, but we can look forward to treasuring that too.

10 March 2010

A new cousin!

Something that I missed in the last post on February was a pretty special event in our family.  If you are part of our email update list, you know that we were expecting a nephew last month.  Jackson was born on February 17th, and is doing pretty well.  He stayed in the hospital a few extra days to gain his strength for breathing and eating, but is now home with his mom, dad, and proud big sister.  He is still on extra oxygen, but we are hoping he won't need that too much longer.  We got to visit him at 10 days and enjoyed meeting him very much!

Faith loved watching him.  This was when we first arrived, and you can't see Joel, because the first thing he did was to find his cousin Natalie's books and puzzles and was more excited about those than the baby.  Oh well!

So little... time sure flies!

Faith and Joel really enjoyed another chance for cousin time.

Playing in Natalie's bed... this was a big hit!

Grandma time was nice too!

02 March 2010


Those 28 days went quickly, and we haven't been real active on our blog, so for a little catch-up, here's the month in pictures:

We've had some great days to relax at home with the kids, we are grateful in this season to still have plenty of time to play with them and nurture them.  They sure are awesome kids!

We had a family Valentine's day this year.  We borrowed some ice skates from friends and surprised the kids with a trip to the local rink.  Funny how we don't let the kids play outside when the temperature is in the teens, but we plan things like this and it's "Yes, I know it's fourteen degrees, but we ARE going ice skating!"  Faith did a fantastic job for her first time, and Mommy did pretty good for her third time!  Daddy had his hands full!

We surprised Faith with her very own rose, and she did a wonderful job decorating our annual "heart cake"!
What a fun month!  We are looking forward to all that March brings!