Friday, December 28, 2007

Jones Soda

My brother, Willie, had a "girlfriend" named Kim, that we didn't get the privilege of meeting before he died. Since April, we have gotten to know her well and have spent a lot of time with her doing different things. She used to work for the Seattle Seahawks, until recently, so some of us have gone to games with her, some of us have gone to concerts and shows with her, and she has made several trips to Shelton to see us and be with us and grieve with us. She has a lot of "hook ups" so she always comes with presents! I am so glad that I have gotten to know Kim. I can see why Willie spent time with her. She is bubbly and positive and extremely generous and giving to other people. She has spoiled my kids and sent them presents in the mail.
This afternoon we got a box of Jones Soda from Kim. As you can see, it has a picture of Brendan and Wyatt on it and a special message from Kim on the back. The message reads, "Dear Brendan and Wyatt. I hope you enjoy this yummy's as sweet as the two of you! May your days be filled with laughter, endless fun and exciting adventures together! XOXOXO, Kim." I'm not sure why, but the message made me cry. I guess it was something I could have imagined Willie doing....sending my kids something really cool and unique. Kim has been working with Jones Soda and they will soon be releasing a Jones Soda bottle nationally with Willie's picture on it. It will be in stores all over the country. So wherever you are, you might see my brothers picture in your grocery store...or wherever they sell Jones Soda! Keep your eye out for it!
Thank you Kim! The boys are so excited to drink their soda! I'm saving at least a couple of them. It just feels wrong to drink them, but we're talking about preschoolers here. It would be wrong to NOT drink them!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Cookies..the long version

Well, I squeezed it in before Christmas. I was wondering if we were going to get to it this year.

Everything was in good condition on Friday for making Christmas cookies! The house was clean, the kitchen was spotless, we'd done school, eaten breakfast, gotten dressed....and it was still morning! Everything was under control. So, I jimmied up some aprons for the boys, found my recipe and we started cooking. The kids, of course, love this kind of activity and each took turns cracking eggs, turning on the mixer and dumping flour. Once the dough was chilling the boys even washed the dishes for me. By this point, I'm pretty darn proud of myself. Things were going really well, we were cleaning up the mess before we started another with the frosting. Great!

Well, then it started getting tricky, right? Yes. While rolling the dough Wyatt kept sneaking handfuls and eating it. The boys started fighting over the rolling pin and flour started flying.
I started whipping up frosting in between batches and soon we had a royal mess on our hands. The kids weren't much help washing dishes after a while and I called them into decorate ONE cookie. (I didn't think I could handle letting them help with all of them) They frosted their own cookies, one at a time, and sat at the table and gobbled them up. I started decorating the rest. Later, I realised they destroyed the rest of the house while I was busy frosting cookies.

So it was quite a mess. No big deal. Soon it would be nap time. The plan was this: Get the boys in bed, clean up the kitchen, take a shower, get ready to go, find clothes for the kids and leave the house by 3:00 when Rand got home. We were off East Scottsdale for a Christmas party. Then we were to meet up with Rand's dad, his aunt and his uncle for dinner. It could be done! Everything hinged on one thing. N-A-P.
2 hours later I am still in my pajamas and the house is getting worse by the minute because I keep removing things from the boys bedroom as punishment for not sleeping and I am supposed to be showered and Christmas party ready in 20 mins. That's when I decided I wasn't going and I was just going to stay home and cry.
Rand came home promptly at 3 expecting me to have myself and the boys spit-spot and ready to go out the door. Instead, he came home to a complete disaster, no clue of what had taken place.
Long story short, he talked me into pulling it together and getting ready and we left and made it to the Christmas part 2 hours late! We said hello to the hosts who were cleaning up and then we left and made perfect time to our dinner date.
The house is still destroyed! There is still Christmas cookies and frosting out and there is clothing, toys and Christmas delivery boxes everywhere. I'm overwhelmed, so instead of cleaning it up, I'm in the back room, on the computer, procrastinating putting the boys to nap for fear of another fight! :) We did make great cookies, though.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Way to Go, Rand!

Congratulations to my super smart husband Rand. Rand just graduated from Biola University with his M.A. in Apologetics. We did not attend the commencement ceremonies, but he did just recieve his hood in the mail. I think he should wear it around the house for the day just to celebrate. This concludes Rand's second Master's degree. The first was his MAET (Masters of Exegetical Theology) from Western Seminary in '02. If this was me, I would be thanking my lucky stars to be done with school (in fact, I do thank my lucky starts I'm done with school, ever since I got my Master's in '03. NO MORE SCHOOL FOR ME!) BUT this is Rand we are talking about. He hopes to start his D.Min. (doctor of ministry) degree in the spring or next fall at Talbott Seminary (not for sure yet!) and he has currently begun an internship program with IOMAmerica under Steve Phinney who trains pastors and others in lay-counseling and discipleship.
Yea Rand! I'm so proud of you! Way to stick it out, even though I didn't always think it was such a great idea! So I guess this would make you Rand M. Wagner, MA, MA :)


Our church has a new website! Rand spent a lot of hours working on the info. for the site. Finally, it's up and running and there's something for people to look at! Yay! Good job Rand! It looks awesome!
Check it out:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hair Cuts

Wyatt got his first big boy hair cut. I was kind of sad because he used to have the cutest curls but in the last 4 or 5 months he's lost the curls and it's just been shaggy and long. Brendan was getting quite a mop too, so they both had a meeting with the sheers. They had fun at the kids salon and Wyatt is liking his new do!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Santa Claus Dilemma

So, I had no intentions of posting a new blog tonight, but Rachel's latest blog has inspired me! :) Click on "Royal and Rachel Lovingfoss" under blog roll to read her post titled "To lie or not to lie".
I began to leave her a comment and realized it was way too long, so I am posting my response here.

Her post is basically about the dilemma of whether to tell your kids about Santa or not. Is it lying? Is it that big of a deal? Obviously we teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas, but they are going to find out about Santa, and we parents are left to answer.
Rachel and I have had several conversations about this because she has an 20 month old (so it's not really a problem yet, but it will be) and I have a 4 year old who is putting all the pieces together this year. I like the suggestions from a couple of the comments left on Rachel's blog, but I'm still not sure how to answer the endless questions about Santa. Here's some of my thoughts...You might want to read Rachel's blog first so that you know where this is coming from.
(here's the guy I'm trying to decide what to tell)

He totally believes in Santa right now, but he's trying to figure it all out. He knows what he knows mostly from books and any Christmas-y movie he has seen. I really haven't told him any stories about Santa or talked much about him. What to do? What to do?
I have to say, I was about speechless when I saw the look on Brendan's face after he saw the "real" Santa during the parade. "Mom, I never saw Santa before!!!" His eyes were like saucers. "I think I would like to hug him when I am older." :) It was too cute. I realized at that moment a light bulb went on for him. HE'S REAL! I kind of just went with it. "Wow, Bud. Wasn't that awesome?! blah, blah, blah." BUT...belief in Santa (whether they decide it on their own or you tell them all about it) poses other problems and the need to possibly "lie" more. Brendan wants a baseball mit. Rand, not really thinking, said, "hmmm, I'll have to tell Santa that." Brendan fell silent (very uncommon). Later, as we were driving home without Rand, Brendan said, "Mom, is Dad driving to the North Pole right now?" I didn't lie, but my answer could only have confused him. I mean I basically had to tell him one thing or the other. Either I could have said, "Dad's not driving to the North Pole, but he'll make sure Santa knows what you want." Or I had to tell him, "No, he's not driving to the North Pole. Mom and Dad buy your presents." I think I stuttered and turned on some Christmas music. "No, Dad's not driving to the North Pole...uh, uh, uh. Let's sing!" I totally get the point of Rachel's post. To lie or not to lie! I do feel a shred of guilt when I think about looking in his eyes and telling him Santa is going to fill his stocking, or slide down the chimney, or use the special magic key we got since we don't have a chimney, or the whole flying reindeer thing. Truth is, I can't decide what to do so I've done nothing really.
In the end I don't think it matters that much. He is going to love his new baseball mit from mommy and daddy! And, at least right now, he thinks those mall Santas are the real deal. It's exciting to him. I'm letting the kid figure it out on his own....not a whole lot of story telling or explaining from me. I just change the subject when I don't want to lie! And I share in his excitement when he sees what he thinks is SANTA CLAUS!!!! AND, of course, we focus on Jesus, who is real and alive and even more exciting then Santa. I guess my job is to show him that. And that is a hard task when you're competing with parades and malls and stockings full of toys! Ahhhh, they're growing up too fast! :) I'm not prepared to answer all their questions yet!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thanksgiving Recap

So, who's sick of seeing "Backyard Balloons" every time you visit my page??? I am! I really don't feel like writing anything, but I sure am sick of those hot air balloon pictures. So how 'bout some new ones.
I'm back from a 2 week trip to Shelton for Thanksgiving. I have never been so busy or crammed in so much in just a couple weeks. Usually visiting my family mostly entails "hanging out" and maybe an outing here and there. Well we did a lot more than that this time.
Let me recap....
Rand, the boys, and I flew in on Monday (the 19th) around noon. We made a stop in Lacy to see Rachel and Jayden. We hung out there for a couple hours and Jayden wanted nothing to do with me. :( That is one of the worst things about living far away. He just doesn't know me that well, even though we talk on the phone every day. I should have gone into the living room and called him on my cell phone. Of course, he warms up to me like 2 days before we left....
Anyway, after Rachel's we of course, stopped by the FH (funeral home....or fun-home as we call it) to visit Aunt Nancy, Uncle Ron, and Curt. Finally, we landed at Nana and Papa's house for the night. Whoo. Long day of traveling.
As if we hadn't done enough traveling, the next day we decided to go to Vashon Island to our friend's art gallery. She had been hosting an art show for Willie's old boss, Alex and it was the last day for any of us to get to see it. So, my mom, Rachel, Jayden, Brendan, Wyatt, Rand and I all crammed into Rachel's Honda Pilot and headed off. We got right on the ferry and then headed to the gallery. It was freezing that day and we waited a bit for our friend Margie to come and unlock the gallery that was normally closed on Tuesdays. After checking out the cool, but really weird art we headed down the road to Margy's house to have hot dogs and a birthday cake for my mom. THEN, someone thought to ask when the next ferry was leaving. Come to find out it was leaving in 15 mins. Apparently, we were 17 mins. from the docks. We didn't make it. The next ferry was an hour and a half wait. Ugh! The 3 kids were done with the whole trip and so were the adults to be honest. We made the next ferry and finally got home....That was Tuesday.
The next day was Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. My mom and dad both worked and so Rand and I decided to run the "day-before-thanksgiving-errands". We stopped by Lynch Creek to visit Nana and have some hot chocolate and then we did the grocery shopping and all that. That night we had a little birthday party for my mom with Rachel and Royal, who moved out to my parent's for the long weekend.
Thursday.....Thanksgiving. What to say about this......Thanksgiving was hard. Hard not to think about the obvious. We kept ourselves busy and distracted most of the day cooking and getting ready, but when it all stopped and we were sitting at the table.....well, I'm sure you can imagine. I've had friends who have had to go through this very thing and I always imagined what this kind of a holiday must have been like. I always imagined just sitting around and crying and not being able to do anything. It was a strange feeling to "do" Thanksgiving like we always do. There was lots of food, and people and laughing.....but along with that was the sitting and crying and just plain missing Willie. I guess I find it hard to have this horrible hole AND still be doing life at the same time. It's hard to balance it. It's hard to laugh and then turn around and cry and then laugh again. It's like good mixed with bad. I guess when I imagined it in my mind I could only imagine bad, but in reality there is still some good in there. Thanksgiving was good AND bad.
Onto Friday. You'd think we would take a break, but nnoooo. In the morning we blasted off early to Brewer's to get a Christmas tree. We rushed home trying to stick to Uncle Bubba's strict schedule and headed to Grayland beach to do some clam digging. We dug 105 clams! Rand, me, the kids...even Jayden, all participated. It was such a beautiful day at the beach, too! Then we blasted back and proceeded to clean, cook and eat them! My poor dad and Royal got ditched in the kitchen to finish shucking and cleaning clams long after we had cooked and eaten our fill. Sorry fellas!
I think Sunday we all collapsed for a while and then Rand flew out early Monday morning. I stuck around with the kids for another week, and believe me, it was just about as busy. We visited friends, watched the Christmas parade, etc. I won't continue with all the details. Here's some pictures of the trip!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Backyard Balloons

OK, so more about the new place.....
Our house is at the end of a huge cul-d-sac. Beyond the cul-de-sac (so to the left of our house if you are facing the front door) is basically a big desert lot that is zoned for commercial use. Nobody knows what is going to go there so for now it is just piles of dirt. Our house backs up to a road called Westwing Pkwy and across that street is just desert. In fact, I've been spending all my nights out on the back patio painting the kids new bunk beds and I have heard coyotes literally right across the street. Anyway, this afternoon Rand was out putting together garage shelves and came running inside to grab the camera and me to check out what was happening outside. Right across the street AND in the desert lot at the end of the cul-de-sac (how do you spell "cul-de-sac" anyway??) were hot air balloons getting ready to launch. We watched them one by one fill with air, take off with a basket full of people, go straight up into the sky and then dip behind the mountain. I always wondered how the hot air balloons managed to land in the same place they take off. As it turns out....they don't. They disappeared and we didn't see them again. But we sure had fun watching them blow up and take off right in our back yard! (Be sure to click on the pictures to see them a little bit bigger....the pictures hardly do it justice. It really was cool!)

Home Sweet Home!

Like I said in the previous post....WE'VE MOVED! I think it has been 2 weekends ago now. It has been quite the chore....and we aren't quite done, but it is getting close. We can comfortably live now! "AAAAHHHHHH", is about all I can say. It is soooo great having our own space. I can't emphasize this enough. Our new house is soo great. We decided to rent for a year instead of buy...just because we don't know for sure what we will be doing in a year....and as we all know, the housing market is not so great if you need to move on short notice. Most likely our church is going to need to move buildings in about a year, so we want to be able to stay close to "work" if we need to. So for now we are renting, and I'm perfectly happy with that. Our house is in a great area, a little bit on the outskirts, which I like and more than enough room for the 4 of Sammy (little doggie). Anyhoo, it's not put together enough to post any pictures yet, but we did get a new couch. We left our old one, because, one, it was too big to take, two, we didn't like it that much, and three, it was originally my parents anyway. So, we haven't had anything to sit on except my one favorite piece of furniture (my PotteryBarn rocking chair) and our dining room chairs. Anyway, we got a new couch which has really made the house feel homey and I am just loving being here and putting it all together. I have a great, big kitchen, 4 bedrooms (boys room, play-room, guest room/office, and our room) and a fabulous back patio with a built-in fire pit. I love it. We all thank God for it every single day. Thank you God for our new house! The house is at the end of a HUGE culdesac and the boys ride their bikes around and around with no fear of any traffic. (I'm afraid of coyotes, javelinas and rattlesnakes, but they aren't!)
I will post some pictures soon. Like I said, it's getting close to put together. For now though, here are some pictures of the new couch.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Super Heros!

I know it's a little late getting out the Halloween pictures, but we've been busy....MOVING!!! (More about that later).
Ok, so I was warned ahead of time that it is still hot here for Halloween, so big, fluffy, animal costumes (like the one we have that Wyatt should have worn) were probably not going to work out.....unless you want a fainting tiger on your doorstep. So I found these cute super hero costumes at Potterybarn Kids and the boys loved them. They've actually been running around the house in them since the beginning of October....maybe the end of September...I can't remember when I got them.
So Wednesday the boys went to their friend's house for the morning while Rand and I went to our appointment. That night we went to our church where we had a Halloween alternantive called Trunk-or-Treat. It was super fun! Out in the parking lot we had a big bouncy thingy, cars lined up with their trunks full of candy, and a petting zoo complete with donkies, sheep, little pigs and goats. Inside we had games, hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, a movie playing, and face painting. The kids were totally crazy, pumped full of sugar, way overstimulated and completely tired! It was awesome!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mom! Look what I can do!

Brendan decided he didn't want training wheels anymore. It took one day of wobbly riding and then he got it! It's his new favorite thing to do. I can't believe how fast he picked it up. Now he wants to go to Uncle Ron's and go off jumps!!!

Wyatt had fun too!

(He didn't have a nap today!)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Life's Little Blessings

I was reading my sister, Rachel's blog today and noticed 3 tabs at the top of the page. One in particular I hadn't noticed before. The tab said "O Happy Day". Of course, I clicked on it to see what the heck it was. There I found about a weeks worth of entries containing 3 things each day she had in her life to be happy about. I thought it was so great to read and I thought it was probably so good for her to be able to find those things in life everyday and highlight them. Instantly I commented and told her I was going to start doing it too. Then I clicked over to my blog and started thinking about it and thought, "Oh shoot. What did I commit to?" I really do think it is a great idea and I want to make an effort to remember each day the things that bring joy that I have to be thankful for. So here we go...hopefully the first of many.
3 things that God has blessed me with today:
1. Good friends. (A couple of college friends are taking me out tonight to celebrate my half-birthday, since my 30th birthday really sucked! (Thank you Cody.)
2. A great husband who is capable and loves being with our kids!
3. A house that is officially sold as of yesterday!
It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name...
Psalm 92:1

Friday, October 19, 2007

James 1:2-4

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything

Thank you for reminding me, Sara K.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Backpacks!

Just wanted to show off the kids new backpacks and lunch bags (Thank you Kim!). They got them for their birthdays at the end of summer and they love them. They carry toys all over town with them. They have matching suitcases just their size too. Hopefully we will get to use them real soon! You'll also notice their matching new duds. They just got those this weekend. One great thing about Arizona is that it is still quite warm in October. Everything I bought for the kids was 80% off because it was summer stuff. I think we can still wear shorts at 85 degrees? Aren't they just cute?? :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Jojee Visit!

For those who don't already know, my sister Joanna (along with my other siblings), became an aunt when my little boy Brendan was born 4 years ago. She quickly became known as Auntie Jo-Jo. This was mainly because it was easy for a little baby to say. In fact, I think he said Da-Da first and then Papa and then Jo-Jo (My dad swears he said Papa the day he was born). Mama and Nana came last. :( Those darn "M" and "N" sounds are harder to make! Anyway, all by himself Brendan started turning his Da-Da and Ma-Ma words into Daddy and Mommy and for some reason, unknown to us, he decide to do the same with Jo-Jo. She is now affectionately knows as Jojee. My sister Rachel somehow ended up with the name Yay-Yay...figure that one out! Kind of like Ray-Ray I think. The kids still call her that even though they are perfectly capable of pronouncing the name Rachel.
Anyway, Jojee, as she is known by the nephews and the rest of the family for that matter, came to visit this last week. She just left tonight so I thought I would post some pictures of her visit. Mostly they are of the kids because they were the best part of the trip!

First there were presents. Lots of presents! The boys woke up to these cute little gift bags full of goodies and an invitation to come swimming at Jojee's hotel. When they got there, there were more presents from Nana and from Great Aunt Nancy and G.G

Yippie! Swimming!

One of the days we went to the McCormick Railroad Park. Notice I'm wearing a sweatshirt!!!! It was actually cold one of the days. Well I don't know if "cold" is the right word, but there was a little chill. It was short lived. Today it was 97 degrees. That's right...97. Tomorrow....99. FYI...IT'S OCTOBER!!!!! Good News, it is cooling down, slowly but surely.
Anyway, the train park was a blast... for the kids AND us!

One great thing about Phoenix are these "splash" parks that are all over the place. The kids LOVE them and there's nice comfy chairs where we can kick back and watch from the sidelines. This splash park happens to be surrounded by Cold Stone, Starbucks and Paradise Bakery! (We try not to go there too often! :) )

I know most of the pictures are just of the kids, but the sheer joy on their faces was their response to having their beloved Jojee around again! It was hard dropping her off at the airport tonight. Brendan cried for a long time not understanding why she had to go and why we couldn't go too. So we are just starting another count-down until another "beloved" Auntie, Uncle, Nana, Papa or good friend comes for a visit and a whole lot of fun!