Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for August, 2006

A visit to the zoo with Aunt Kat

30th August 2006

More photos for you! We’ve had a teriffic time with Aunk Kat visiting this week. Sadly, she had to go home and back to school today. This marks the end of our busy summer of hosting guests – first, my mom and dad in June, then the Hafflys earlier this month, and finally, Kat. Who’ll come visit us next? It could be you! I’ll have the sheets changed and the bedroom clean in a day or so!

Anyway, we had a most fun trip to the zoo yesterday. Although it was hot, the Birmingham Zoo is full of fun things to do. First, we headed over to the giraffes. Last time we were there with the Hafflys, Analise fed them, so of course, we wanted to do that again. I didn’t get the great picture that Corrie got, but she still enjoyed it just the same. I did get some cute pictures of the new baby giraffe, though! Mama giraffe and I have a lot in common, nursing and snuggling our little ones!

The baby giraffe would occassionally take off running, first towards the ostriches, sending them scattering with their feathers flapping. Then he would quiet down, but take off in little circles around the feeding station. His long legs were flailed when he ran, but he was quick! It was so cute!

Then we headed over toward the birds, walking by the alligators on the way. It was feeding time! There were 3 baby alligators, who splashed around snatching chunks of meat. I’m amazed they didn’t grab each other in the process. The big guy in this picture didn’t seem to be hungry, but 3 others big ones in the water right below our feet grabbed all the meat chunks and dead rats that got tossed their way. And then they made these huge gulping alligator burps. It was GREAT!

Our next stop was the lorikeet aviary, our second favorite experience behind the giraffes. You can buy a cup of nectar and feed the birds in their enclosure. Other times, it has been overwhelming as 5-10 or more birds land on you, all vying for a spot around the cup of nectar. This time, though, they were not as frantic and settled on Kat’s arm one at a time. Analise enjoyed seeing them up close. Kat loves birds and has a little parrotlet at home. When all the nectar was gone, the birds found her ankle tasty, licking her until we left!

We finally caught a picture of Analise and Kat, with both of them smiling when we rode the train. Here are a couple cute pictures of Kat and Josiah from last night, too. It’s hard to catch his smiles on camera, though, because he prefers when people get up close to him. His smile just melts you, but he saves them until you really focus on him close up. He loves to gurgle and coo at you, like he’s trying to tell you how much he loves you. It was so cute!

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Photo Phrenzy!

28th August 2006

Ok, the long awaited photos of the new sofa and my cute kids! Aunt Kat (my sister) is visiting this week, and we’re having a great time. Analise is enjoying having someone to play with. We had a quiet weekend while Brian got ready for the semester to start today. We’re headed to Samford to hear the bells play from the bell tower and then out to our favorite Thai restaurant. After dinner specialty is a new chocolate cake recipe I’m testing out.

(Please forgive the lack of organization and layout of this blog – I’m trying to hurry, bc Josiah’s starting to fuss and Analise is due up from her nap any second.) The first 2 pictures are the new couch. I love the pillows – got them from Kohl’s. Notice in the first picture how it hangs past the doorway just a tad:) The next couple pictures are of everyone enjoying the “chaise” end of the couch. It’s Josiah’s little play area. Analise likes to climb up next to him and snuggle. Lastly, the parting photo from Steve and Corrie’s visit with us. Enjoy!

edited to add: I just proofed this and thought there weren’t enough photos of Josiah, so here are 3 more for good measure.

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Where to begin the blogging?

25th August 2006

I’m so far behind, I don’t know where to catch up. But

I if I didn’t catch you up, it would be like you somehow

missed a couple chapters of our life! It’s been a crazy

week and a half! Let me start by telling you about the


The Sofa Story
We’ve wanted a new sofa for a long time. Our

hand-me-down sectional was pretty comfortable and good

for seating large groups of people that we regularly

host, but it’s had a good life, and we’ve talked about

getting a new one for some time. With some extra work

Brian’s done over the summer, he told me to “go get a

room” as we’ve joked about doing at Rooms To Go. So I

did. But when i took him back to see what I’d put money

down on, he found something we liked better, a beautiful

brown microfiber plush with faux leather sectional.

Very trendy. We were excited to get it, but it wasn’t

going to be delivered until August 16th.

Then the piano deal happened. That was an obvious “yes”

decision, because we’ve wanted a piano for so long and been looking for the right “deal”… but we thought maybe we should cancel the

big purchase of the sofa. When we tried, we found we’d

lose 20% of what we paid, almost $200. That didn’t

sound smart, especially since we’d probably still be

buying a sofa within the year. So we decided to keep

the sofa coming last week, on Wednesday.

Delivery day came… we had some problems with the

delivery guys, and when the sofa was finally set up in our

family room, much to our dismay, it protruded into the

doorway about 4 inches! AG! In the showroom, it didn’t

seem so huge, and for some insane reason, it never

crossed our mind that it would be too big. Because of

our delivery problems, Rooms to Go graciously offered to

let us do a “reselect” which is practically unheard of

in their policies. So we were going in on Thursday to

pick out a new sofa and loveseat that would hopefully


Another blow to the pocketbook
Thursday, we got a call from the a/c serviceman, who happened to be in the area and could give us a yearly service call

for their “special price”. Sounded like a good idea, since we hadn’t had ours checked since we moved in, definitely more than a year ago. Well. Lucky – or unlucky – for us, the tech found a small carbon monoxide leak caused by the heating coils being heavily rusted. AG. We don’t have a CO monitor – but we will soon! – so we’re glad he came when he did. It wasn’t bad enough to cause Brian or I problems, but it could have been a problem for Josiah if left unnoticed. Well, the work on the a/c was estimated at $1500, but our unit was 15 years old and not given more than a couple years left. Yes, the sad news is we had to shell out $$$$ for a new ac/heating unit. I’ll spare you the amount, but let me tell you, it was very expensive. I guess we can say it has raised the value of our house, but since we’re not planning on leaving anytime soon, that’s not much consolation.

Back to the sofa situation
Later that day, we headed to Rooms to Go to check out a sofa/loveseat set we’d seen online. Our sectional had been growing on us, though, and we reallly had a rough time justifying trading in something we really liked for a sofa/loveseat set with less seating and having to pay more $$ (because we bought ours on clearance, and we were having to pay the difference in price AND another delivery charge). In the end, we decided to keep the sectional sofa and ignore the fact that it hangs into the doorway:) And after a week, we love it. It’s so comfortable, and it really looks good in our family room, so good that you don’t even notice it’s a bit in the way when you head to the kitchen. I know that sounds crazy, but I promise you, it isn’t as quirky as it seems! Everyone that’s been here said they don’t notice. Hopefully, they’re not just being nice:)

And last but not least!
Oh! I almost forgot! In between the piano delivery and the sofa delivery, our dishwasher started leaking water. We’ve known for a while that it would need to be replaced in the very near future. The “very near future” arrived this month. Unfortunate timing, but we’re happy with the new dishwasher, and again… the house is worth more now!

This has been the most expensive month of our marriage, by far (except for when we bought our house, but even then, we’ve paid more out-of-pocket this month than we did then!). We had been contemplating the need for a larger car, but now I’m going to be praying everytime we get into ours that it stays in good working order for a while. Definitely a question mark, given that it’s a 1997 Altima with 140,000 miles. It’s done well for us thus far, so hopefully we’ll continue to have good times with it.

So this is what normal looks like with 2 children
Brian went back to normal work hours at Samford on Monday, so we were on our own for the first “normal” day. Monday was TERIFFIC… almost no whining or tantrums from Analise, she was sweet enough to eat fruit snacks in her crib listening to a Bible story CD while Josiah napped so I got a shower – before 10 am! Amazing how athat little thing, a shower, can determine my mood for the whole day:) That started the day off well, and it continued smoothly. The week has gone really well, and I’m even back to cooking more regularly. I think in the last couple weeks we’ve started to settle into life with 2, and it’s not seeming nearly as overwhelming. Josiah doesn’t need to be held as much (though he would prefer to be!), he’s sleeping through the night (yeah!!!), and we’re all feeling much better about life:)

Josiah news
Remember back in June when I mentioned Josiah had an ultrasound to check for spina bifida? (You can be reminded here, in the last paragraph. That was negative, but they did notice something peculiar on one kidney, so they scheduled a follow-up ultrasound for around 2 months. We had that earlier this month, and again, they noticed something peculiar, but this time on the other kidney. After consulting with a pediatric urologist, our pediatrician advised another test and an appointment with the specialist. So that test was this week, and it’s been determined that Josiah has a condition called urinary reflux. Simply put, urine backs up from his bladder to his kidneys, which puts him at high risk for kidney infections. Thankfully, this was found before he had any urinary tract infections, which could very easily lead to a kidney infection, and potentially kidney damage. At this point, he’ll be taking a low dose antibiotic daily to prevent any infections, and hopefully grow out of the condition in the next couple years. His kidneys look good, so we’ll have regular ultrasounds on them every three months and continue to see the urologist. As long as he doesn’t have “breakthrough” infections while he’s taking the antibiotics, this should not be too big of a deal. If you’re interested in understanding more of the details, here’s a good site on vesicoureteral reflux, as it’s technically called.

Check back for more…
Ok, this is a LONG blog, and I’d love to add more pictures to it, but I’m going to post it because it’s midnight and it’s been WAYYYYY too long since you’ve heard from us! I WILL come back to the computer tomorrow to post pictures of my beautiful little ones and and the lovely couch:) Check back! We’ll try to be better about posting… I know you’ve missed us, because we’ve missed you!

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Music in the house

11th August 2006

Sorry to all those who checked in and found this post blank! But I started to post some big exciting news that happened on Brian’s birthday. Our new-old baby grand piano was delivered! It’s a crazy story, but here’s the details…

I grew up playing the piano, but haven’t had one since leaving Shell Lake. And I’ve always dreamed of having a grand piano. A local piano store was having a sale, and when I looked at their inventory online, I noticed that they had several uprights in our price range (less than $1000) but also a baby grand for $1490. I wasn’t expecting much when I went in, but I found it to be in pretty good condition with a good sound. It is a Standard, built in 1930 (so very nearly an antique), in dark mahogany wood. It needs some good rubbing with polish, and it has some nicks, but overall, it was in very good condition, especially since no one at our house is a concert pianist (yet!). I’m not a good person with big decisions, but after a quick call to Brian, I bought it… less than 15 minutes after seeing it.

It was tuned on Wednesday before delivery on Thursday, and the salesman called me to confirm delivery. He was excited to tell us that when they opened it for tuning, they found it had new strings and hammers, making it in much better shape than they had thought. Yeah! We made room in our front living room – which looks GREAT now that it has some furniture and a centerpiece! – for delivery on Thursday. It sounds GREAT, and everyone has enjoyed playing it.

I’m so very excited to have a piano in the house – and a grand, like I’ve always dreamed! So on top of all the “deals” of the piano, they called today to tell me that the bench they’d delivered with it wasn’t right… so they brought a brand new, leather, cushioned bench with the $145 price tag still on it. How much better can it get? I’m so excited! Here are a few photos:

I’m so tired right now, but we’re having a wonderful time with Steve and Corrie. The highlight of today was the zoo, and the most exciting moment was Analise feeding the giraffe! Corrie’s taking lots of GREAT pictures, and here’s one of the giraffe experience and a couple from home (the top picture is hers, too!).

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Happy Birthday, Brian!

10th August 2006

Today’s my sweetie’s big 30th birthday. Yeah! We’ve had a wonderful day of celebrating, starting with a dreamy chocolate peanut butter cake with our home church family last night. I was up late creating a special birthday present – a framed scrapbook page page of 30 ways I love him. It was well worth the several hours of effort (and help from Corrie!). It turned out great – maybe I’ll post a picture tomorrow.

Oh yes – Steve and Corrie arrived Tuesday evening, so it’s fun to celebrate with them. Brian, Analise, Steve and Corrie all went jogging this morning, and Brian made us yummy french toast (from Corrie’s tried and true recipe). Steve and Brian went biking – with Brian’s new fast bike! – later in the afternoon, there was some napping by most of us in the afternoon before we went to dinner. We ate at our FAVORITE Thai restaurant, Surin West with Brian’s parents and brother. Appetizers were half-price, so Corrie and I made our meal of appetizers – YUM. Analise ate really well, amazingly. I love that she likes thai food! Then we came back for one of my new favorite desserts, special requested by Brian, Pots of Chocolate. SUPER easy, and incredibly elegant and delicious (I tripled the recipe for 7 people, and used hazelnut syrup instead of liqueur, serving it in pretty teacups). Now Brian, Steve and Corrie are enjoying one of Brian’s birthday presents, a Mythbusters video. It’s been a great day! We’ve had some more fun, but I’ll save that for another post.

Happy birthday, sweetheart! I love you – and look forward to celebrating you for many more years.

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Odds and Ends

7th August 2006

First, a few pictures scattered throughout the post. I tried to set up a “photo shoot” of Analise and Josiah, trying to find a good background (down comforter draped over her toddler bed and a blanket over J’s bouncy seat) and a way to get the two of them in a picture together. Didn’t work so well, but here are two of the ok pics. Analise only smiled for this one, and she only grudgingly kissed J once. She got tired of me arranging and rearranging the setup very quickly. I will never be a photographer, that’s for sure.

Scrapbook catchup
It was a quiet weekend, and because I ran out of baby

announcements to mail out (more came in the mail today,

so if you haven’t gotten one yet, keep on being patient

with me! hopefully yours will be in your mailbox

soon!). I made use of the down time to work on Josiah’s

baby book, which I’m making myself scrapbook-style. I’m

pretty excited about it, and I’m really enjoying it. I

sure love scrapbooking – we’ve got so many great

pictures to work with! Right now, I’m in the middle of

the pictures of his arrival (I don’t work in

chronological order), and I just don’t want to do

anything that NEEDS to be done because I’d rather finish

it. Unfortunately, the laundry is waiting (again!?!) to

be folded and the house needs some serious picking-up

before our company arrives tomorrow.

A visit from CA
Yeah! Steve and Corrie are arriving tomorrow, and we

can’t wait:) We’ve got a fun, relaxing week planned –

good food, a little adventuring, playing with the little

ones. Josiah will be dedicated at our church on Sunday,

and we’re glad they’ll be here to celebrate with us.

Oh! And Brian’s 30th birthday is Thursday, so it’ll be

fun to celebrate him, too!

A Calling…
Last night, we attended a commissioning service for a

friend from our church who’ll be going to Mali in West

Africa for 2 years. She’ll be serving with the

International Mission Board sharing the Gospel through

storytelling with people groups that have literacy rates

of higher than 80%, and very very few christians. It

was a great service of prayer and worship, focusing on

God’s heart for His people all over the world. It

brought tears to my eyes… it feels sometimes like I’m

so far from that season of my life. Just 3 1/2 years

ago, I was in Nicaragua, living my dream, speaking

spanish, teaching. I really miss it. I love my life,

and I wouldn’t trade it for a second, but I do miss

being on the mission field. I guess this is my season

to pray and encourage all my missionary friends, teach

Analise and Josiah about God’s love for His people, and

hope that maybe God has a season for us in the mission

field in the future.

Praises for Skype
Speaking of missionaries, thanks to the wonderful

technology of online phone services, I got a call from

my dear, dear friend, Meg in East Asia. It was so great

to hear her voice! She and her husband have been with

Campus Crusade over there for about 5 years, and she’s

raising two boys, 3 1/2 and 1 year over there. Again,

I miss living in a foreign culture, being in the thick

of sharing God’s work, but I’m so glad I have so many

friends who are obeying God’s call to “go into all the

world”. What a treat to hear her voice after a year!

She was surprised at my southern drawl:)

Such conversation!
“I wan some candy in a bowl, please.” This was

Analise’s request yesterday morning when she woke up!

Crazy girl. It was such a good sentence, though, I

almost indulged her. I can’t believe how good her

speech has gotten – using pronouns correctly more often

and putting together more complete sentences that just

amaze us. Saturday afternoon, she and I enjoyed playing

with her animals and blocks, building tables and putting

all the animals on block stools. They were “vewy

hungry, yummy samwiches.” Papa Noah was manning the

“hangaber” stand, and we had quite a time getting

everyone fed and seated at their table (there are

something like 36 animals, when everyone’s together).

She would move them over, saying, “Scoop over, lion.

Scoop up, zebra.” Quite entertaining. I wish everyone

could have a chance to play with Analise for a half hour

or so… you’d enjoy yourself! We’re also learning bible verses. She’s learned Psalm 23:1, “Da Lod is my sheper.” and last week’s verse is even better, “Shout to da Lod!” from Psalm 100:1. I’m proud of her! I’ll have to get her to do it on video so you can appreciate it. You can almost hear a sweet southern drawl in her, too!

All out of Ebay luck…
After my run of good Ebay luck, I’m not doing so well.

I sold another item, and the buyer emailed me to say her

PayPal account had been suspended so she wondered if she

could send me the money by mail. I much prefer PayPal,

but that was ok. It finally arrived today – 12 days

after the item sold. Another item sold for $20, which

made me really happy… except that they buyer hasn’t

paid yet, 6 days later. He has no feedback or history,

so I’m assuming it’s going to be an unpaid item, and

I’ll have to relist it. Arg. I’ll keep you posted on how my Ebay-on-the-side business goes.

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Sunday Fun

3rd August 2006

Analise squeals with delight sitting next to Olivia’s mom

Sunday was a fun day. It started out kind of sour for me as I was still running a small fever and not feeling well so Kristine took the kids to church and dinner at my parents’ house without me. I stayed home, got some work done on the computer, and rested. Later that afternoon, I was feeling good enough to take everyone to a “Build-A-Bear” birthday party that Analise was invited to by her friend from church, Olivia. This is a picture of everyone with their finished bears.

It was a near process. First, you picked out the bear that you wanted to stuff. Then you picked out a heart for your bear. Then you did a number of little things to teach the bear how to walk, how to run, how to eat, etc… Then you put the heart into the bear and attached it to this machine which injected feathers into the bear. Finally, your finished bear was placed in a takehome doghouse along with a birth certficate with all the bear’s stats. Here’s a few pictures from along the way

Kristine held little sleeping papoose the whole time

Explaining how the process is going to work to the kids

Analise found and decided to wash an already stuffed little kitten

Here is Analise’s puppy dog, “Bear”, being stuffed

After the fun party, Kristine and I went over to Backyard Burger for a leisurely dinner. We got all kinds of free food for our cute kids! On the way over there Analise was singing Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star really well. I got some of it on video that I’m going to post in a little bit. Here’s some pictures from our dinner.

Analise reads about the teddy bear to her teddy bear

Daddy gets to ride on the choo train Analise made out of the
restaurant’s booster seats

Videos to come soon!

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Crazy week!

2nd August 2006

Sorry for the silence this week! It feels like I’ve been battling all week to keep life – and my increasingly messier house – from overtaking me:) I just skimmed an interesting article on Christianity Today’s website called 10 Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven”. Interesting thoughts and I thought I’d put it here for ya’ll to enjoy, if you’d like.

I’ve got sloppy joes in the slow cooker for home church tonight, two laundry baskets overflowing here in the living room that need attention, and thankfully, two little ones anpping (though Josiah’s squeaking like he’s going to wake up hungry any minute). Here’s 2 quick photos of Josiah… above, his first smiles from last week (he’s looking at the rainbow donkey). Hope to check back by the end of the week – Brian’s been wanting to share some pictures and fun stories about a Build-a-Bear birthday party Analise went to this past weekend. Later!

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