Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

And just like that… I have a 1st grader!

11th August 2010

She was so excited! Not an ounce of fear that I noticed. She had met Mrs. Baker on Monday, and she was thrilled to find some of her favorite friends would be with her.  And she has her own desk, instead of sharing a table. Such exciting milestones!

And to take a trip down memory lane… last year’s kindergarten picture:

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Four years ago today..

9th June 2010

Four years ago today, I became mom to a boy.  I had no idea how messy/sweet/fun/loud/exciting life would be!

At Josiah's front yard splash party, with a surprise visit from the sno-cone truck!

Josiah, you touch my heart in a way I never could have imagined.  You’re still a sweet snuggler, loving to climb up, curl into my lap and lay your head on my chest, just like you did when you were tiny.   You’re still holding my hand most days, and I’m clinging to the moments, trying to burn those soft little boy hands into my memory.  You’re polite, quite a conversationalist, and full of curiosity.  You’re an amazing little cyclist… just like your daddy and your sister. You love Analise so much, and you call her, “my friend, Analise”.

I know I rush you on our errands, in and out of the car, but I so enjoy your company. You’re fun to be with, and I love seeing the little guy you’re growing into.  It’s been a big year for you… 2 days of preschool a week, potty-training, learning to ride a bike without training wheels, giving up your pacifiers, leaving your little bed for a BIG bunk bed, and the top bunk no less!  I can’t believe you’re 4 already!  It’s going to be another busy fun year!

At our last bike race in Atlanta, looking cool in the bike cap.

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Deep and spiritual… through a 5-year old’s eyes

2nd June 2010

Nothing profound to share, really, except that Analise and I spent some time this evening reading this wonderful little book, “Born Again” in the I Can Read God’s Word series.  It’s the perfect level reading for her, and it’s gently paraphrased scriptures about salvation.  Besides great reading, it led to a good discussion about Jesus’ words to Nicodemus about how we must be born again and how God gives us new life.  I loved it, and I treasure the chance to see God’s truths growing roots in her heart.

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The end of the beginning

27th May 2010

Back in August, I was surprised to find how emotional the start of kindergarten was for me as a mom. I’d looked forward (regretfully) to getting some of “my” time back, and on long days with toddlers and preschoolers, I imagined how eventually I’d happily wave goodbye and start tackling my perpetually procrastinated “to do” list. But I quickly realized that kindergarten was the beginning of the end… from here on out, every day, she’s less and less mine. More independent, more expressive, more articulate, more mature, less my baby girl and more of a beautiful young lady.  School is 8 hours in her own world, being her own person, stepping away from mine.  She’s loved every minute of this year, while almost every morning was reminiscent for me as I watched her step out of the car, pull on her backpack, and confidently stride into school, without a glance back.  Those rare looks back to smile at me as she headed in were the sweetest part of my morning.

So of course, I was surprised to find today’s last day of kindergarten tugging strongly at my heart, because I thought August was the real milestone . In what seems like a blink of an eye, this monumental year is behind us. She’s learned to read and write really well, she’s an amazing artist, she’s stopped sucking her thumb (cold-turkey, in one night!), learned to ride a bike without training wheels (in one short day!), lost 6 teeth! And above all, she’s grown into a person I really enjoy being with.  Today, we celebrate an amazing year, a fabulous teacher, Mrs. Moran, and close the door on kindergarten, the end of the beginning of letting go.

Last day of school with her teacher Mrs. Moran

Analise and Brian walking down the street to school on her first day of school

Analise on the street ready for her first day of school

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1 Corinthians 13 for Moms

8th May 2010

I searched all over the internet to see if I could find someone to credit this beautiful piece of writing to, but alas… no luck.  Grab a tissue, be encouraged and be inspired.

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper–not a homemaker. If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness – not godliness.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh. Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window. Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk. Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys. Love is present through the
trials. Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive. Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Love is the key that opens salvation’s message to a child’s heart.

As a mother, there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is love.

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7th May 2010

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. – Deuteronomy 7:9

(One thing that’s stopped me from blogging is that I feel like I haven’t had time to pull my thoughts together and make them all neat and tidy.  Well, I’m never going to get around to it, and I’m sure there are plenty of others who can relate.  And some of the thoughts I’ve been mulling over might nudge/encourage/inspire/make you think a little too, so I’ll just toss them out there)

Our Life Group is going through Power of a Praying Wife (for the women) and The Power of a Praying Husband (for the men).  It’s been a great experience.  There’s something so encouraging about finding it open in the morning, knowing my husband has been praying specific prayers for me.

This past Wednesday, we discussed the men’s chapter on “Her Priorities”.  Our discussion stemmed from the question for us women, “What are your top 3 priorities?”  Well, I know what I WANT them to be.

  1. Loving God
  2. Sharing His love with (#1) my kids
  3. Sharing His love with other moms, other women, and other people.

But right now, I feel like I’m pulled in so many directions that I can’t give good efforts to any of them.  Instead, my priorities are, in no specific order:

  • Run to the store
  • Get the coupons clipped and sorted, and pulled out for shopping trip (hey, maybe this should go before the store trip! But to my frustration, it often doesn’t.)
  • Mail this, pay that.
  • Wash these 5 loads of laundry, don’t forget the bucket of stained items soaking. FOLD laundry, PUT AWAY laundry (in CAPS bc those are the most procrastinated!)
  • What’s for dinner? Take something out of the freezer?
  • Should’t I be making dinner/dessert for someone?
  • Hey it’s Wednesday (hypothetically)! Yay I get to host Life Group again! I’d better to get to cleaning…
  • Stop by this store, return something to that.
  • Call these people, email this group, order that, post/submit/print those…
  • Read some Word.
  • Pray.
  • Play with kids! Read with kids!
  • Run. Go to Curves.
  • Go to this meeting, don’t miss that meeting.
  • Wait… no mention of my husband here!  Hang out with him! Show him some love! (Thankfully, the yummy meals, clean dishes and laundry, and mostly happy kids speak some love to him.  I do love you, Brian! More than all these things except Christ!)

I know that I’m not as busy as some moms! I can name some of you who are juggling way more balls in the air (and kids! though not in the air!) than I am, and doing an amazing job.  But I’m struggling to to keep the most important things first, so I know you must be as well!

One thing I have learned, though.  We’ve traveled a lot, and stayed with all great people, visited wonderful families, seen awesome moms. One family sticks out in my memory though.  The hospitality was so gracious. The house was lived in, comfortable, cluttered but happy, by no means perfect. But the priorities were perfect.  The kids argued, but forgiveness was granted. Parents disagreed with each other occasionally, but grace flowed freely.   Bedtimes/bathtime were a struggle, feelings got hurt, people got grumpy, and hours could have been spent organizing the house (just like mine!!!).  But more importantly, God’s word was shared, prayer was spoken, and love abounded.

This is what I want for my family. When all else fails, my house will not be here, our blog will be forgotten, photo albums will fade.  But God’s love in the life of my children will grow faith that will last for generations.

And so, I’m praying each and every morning that God would direct my moments, that I would know exactly where He wants me to direct my efforts and time. And maybe my day will look a bit more like this (realistic idea):

  • Run
  • Pray on the walk home.
  • Get kids up, share our Bible memory verses over breakfast
  • Take Analise to school, pray for her day.
  • Shower.
  • Make a cup of tea. Read some Word.
  • Pray.
  • Get the coupons clipped and sorted, and pulled out for shopping trip (if we’re being realistic, this might not get done…)
  • Run to the store
  • Play with Josiah. Trains?
  • Mail this, pay that.
  • What’s for dinner?
  • Hey it’s Wednesday (hypothetically)! Yay I get to host Life Group again! I’d better to get to cleaning… Pray for other Life Groups as I’m cleaning up. Pray for our Life Group. Keep my heart reminded of what a joy this is, and how my Life Group notices the atmosphere of my home rather than whether I’ve dusted or not (I haven’t).
  • Read with kids. Play the piano with Analise.
  • Above all, love deeply. Let grace reign. Share forgiveness freely. Keep a heartful of thanks.

And I know each day will have it’s own battles and stumbling blocks.  But my heart is where the battle is won. And I’m determined to try to keep it focused on what matters. And He will not let me down.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you,we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[d] to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. – Colossians 1:9-14

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Bunk Beds!

6th April 2010

Or is it singular “bunk bed”?  There are 2 beds…

Either way, I found a bunk bed at a garage sale on Friday, and couldn’t pass it up.  I knew it would be a great addition to Josiah’s room… if I can keep him from bouncing on the top bunk and keep Analise from doing gymnastics up there!

The first night was quite an adventure.  They fought over who would get to sleep on the top bunk, but we convinced Analise that the bottom would make a cool “cave” so Josiah could have the top.

(Holding up their twirly egg lights from their Easter baskets. Analise literally moved into the bottom bunk, even though she is only going to sleep there on non-school nights.  She had all her special things and blankets, including pen/paper/stickers, robe/slippers.  So cute!)

Of course, 20 minutes after the lights went out, guess what happened?

In the end, Josiah went back to the top bunk, after waking Analise a couple times with all his ins/outs/ups/downs.  He finally fell asleep after about an hour and 15 minutes.  He was up at 5:30am Sunday morning to go to the bathroom (yay!), and he was ready to play (while Analise was still sleeping) by 5:45.  I had to move him to Analise’s room until we were ready to get up Analise woke us up at 6:30.

Night 2:  Josiah, who had been up since 5:30am, asked to go to bed at 7, was very sad to find Analise was not going to be in his room because it was a school night.  (She was asleep in less than 5 minutes.)  Josiah started on the top bunk, moved to the bottom, came to the bathroom 3 times, fell out of the bottom bunk and came to show us the lump on his head (which there actually was!), and finally he ended up on the top bunk, asleep about an hour later. This morning, he was up at 6:30 to go to the bathroom (good boy!).

Night 3: Tired boy after lots of bike riding, sunshine and fresh air.  Amazingly, we didn’t hear from him after we tucked him into the top bunk, and he’s asleep right where we left him.  Except. I forgot to make him go to the bathroom right before bed, figuring he’d be up stalling. Whoops.  Might be learning to change sheets on the top bunk tomorrow.

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What’s Cookin’… Easter Resurection Cookies!

2nd April 2010

I have always wanted to make these with the kids, but the Saturday before Easter just gets away from me.  But I’ve got all the ingredients this year, and I’m even going to do our Easter Basket fun stuff tomorrow, so that Easter morning is all about the Resurrection.

This recipe is many places, but I snagged it from here…(And as I was previewing it, I realized I may have posted it another year.  Oh well!)

Resurrection Cookies

  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 3 egg whites
  • a pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a zipper baggy
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • scotch tape
  • Bible

**Preheat oven to 300F.**
Before you do anything else put the whole pecans in ziploc bags, and let your children beat them with a meat mallet, or hammers,  to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.

Allow each child to smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl.  Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Put a little of the salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. (If you have a lot of kids like I do put the pinch of salt INTO the bowl and then allow them to taste a little of  salt or you will have too much salt in the recipe!) Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.  Read Luke 23:27.

27A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.

So far the ingredients would not make a very good dessert!  Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form.  Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[a]

Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 17:57-60.

57As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.  Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

65“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Now, go to bed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20,22.

20I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.

22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

One more Easter baking idea… Balloon Buns from Scribbit.

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Easter’s the Season!

27th March 2010

I love Easter.  I love the spring, the joy of this season, and I always hope that I can use our amazing Easter testimony to grow faith in our kids’ hearts.  I found this easy, fun Easter project that the kids and I are working on, making your own Calvary Hill and Empty Tomb.

I’ll post pictures with our progress!

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Breaking free from the pacifier…

10th March 2010

Ok, please don’t judge me.  Yes, Josiah will be 4 in June.  And yes, he still uses a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.  Until very recently, I didn’t care.  I just love finally getting some decent sleep, and really… why mess with that?  But before we see the dentist in May, I figured we’d better be done with the pacifier, so I don’t get another raised-eyebrow-look.

Josiah and I had decided this weekend we’d be done with the ‘fiers’ as he calls them.  Brian was away on Sunday, and as we neared bedtime, I reminded him that we were going to get rid of them, and that he and I were going to Toys ‘R Us the next day to find something to celebrate him being a big boy.  We were ok for a while, but right at bedtime, after a long day, he unraveled into coughing and tears.  He’s been sick for a couple weeks, and when push came to shove, I gave in… sort of.

I tossed 2 pacifiers, and took the remaining 2 in the kitchen and quickly poked holes in them.  They don’t suck right when they have a hole, and he tells me to throw them away, because “they’re broken”.  So I gave them to him as he was laying down in bed, and just as I’d hoped, the first pacifier didn’t work, and I told him I’d throw it away.  Unfortunately, the 2nd pacifier worked ok, so I guess the whole I poked wasn’t big enough.

So, we’re not quite free of the pacifier.  And I could push the issue.  But we’re down to one, and who knows how long it will be around.  I keep warning him that if it gets lost, that’s it… we’re done.  And it has a hole in it, so I’m sure it’s not going to work much longer.

I’ll keep you posted!

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