Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Craftiness! Rolled Flower Headbands

14th October 2010

Ok, I know this is a terrible picture, but I am awfully excited to show these cute headbands off! In the poor bathroom light it’s hard to tell, but they are pink and turquoise/brown (to match Analise’s picture-day outfit for tomorrow).  She wears headbands 90% of the time, so she was really excited about these.  Straight from this blog (with a great short video tutorial), and it took less than 10 minutes each.  I foresee that I’ll be making many more flowers and headbands soon!

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A win/win situation!

18th December 2009

Very good friends of mine, Ryan and Tam, are adopting a child from Africa soon. Getting sooner by the day as they’ve even sent off paperwork this past week! They’ve been doing creative fundraisers to help with the huge cost of bringing a sweet child home, and one is a vacation package raffle.

Check out the raffle page here… Tickets are ONLY $5! And your odds of winning a fabulous vacation package are good, especially if you purchase a few tickets! It’s a win/win situation… even if you don’t win the vacation, Ryan and Tam will be that much closer to bringing their little one home.

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And we’re off!

7th July 2009

The Annual Toone Family Summer Road Trip starts tomorrow at 9am (hopefully!).  This one will be quite an adventure!  We’re heading west… seeing lots and lots of family and old friends along the way, doing lots of bike races (well, actually only 2 different but those two will consist of 9 total stages!)  I’ve got lots more chatter now that I’m actually sitting here blogging instead of writing a blog post in my head in the shower (rarely, rarely do those creative, inspiring posts make it to the computer!), but, alas, it’s 10:30 and I’ve got to get some sleep tonight so I’ll be patient and cheerful when my kids are bored and making me crazy on the 8 1/2 hour leg of the journey tomorrow.

Here’s the run-down (mileage/time according to Google Maps.  You can see the rudimentary journey here or I’ve inserted the actual map at the bottom…

  • Wednesday,  July 8th – Birmingham to Van, Texas (565 mi, 8 1/2 hrs); Staying with friends from Mercy Ships Nicaragua.  Hanging out at Mercy Ships and reconnecting on Thursday.
  • Friday, July 10th – Van, TX to Carlsbad, NM (538 mi, 9 1/2 hrs); With a super early departure and good traveling graces, we’re hoping to catch the sunset event of the bats leaving the Carlsbad Caverns and a short visit to the caves in the morning.
  • Saturday, July 11th – Carlsbad, NM to Flagstaff, AZ (624 mi, 10 1/4 hrs);  This will be a long day, staying with my cousin, his wife and their 2 girls.  Brian is excited to sleep “at altitude” for a night, as this will surely this will give him a competitive edge in 10 days when he races.  (It’s ok for my exercise scientist sisters to laugh.  I’m letting him believe it for the mental competitive edge!)
  • Sunday, July 12th – Flagstaff, AZ to Las Vegas (262 miles, 4 1/4 hrs).  Brian’s going to ride with my cousin before we leave Flagstaff, we’ll make a short visit to the Grand Canyon just an hour north, before heading out on the shortest leg of our entire journey.
  • Sunday, July 12th to Wednesday, July 15th – Staying at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas while Brian presents at a conference.  Awfully excited to just hang out at our nice hotel that has a wave pool and a lazy river, along with 2 pools.  Sweet!  Who knows what else we’ll do in Las Vegas?  Any free-cheap suggestions welcome…
  • Wednesday, July 15th – Las Vegas, NV to Davis, CA (584 mi; 9 hrs); Arriving in our old hometown of Davis, the start of our lives as a family of 2 and of 3!  Analise is so excited to see where she was born.  We’re so excited to go back and see all our old friends.
  • Wednesday, July 15th to Monday, July 20th – Staying with the Hafflys.  Woohoo!
  • Monday, July 20th – Davis, CA to Bend, OR (429 mi, 7 1/2 hrs).  A gorgeous drive.  Staying at a super-nice hotel on Monday night, after we bid $40 on Priceline… our bid was accepted and upgraded.  Sweet!
  • Tuesday, July 21st to Sunday, July 26th – Staying at a townhouse in Bend with my family, my aunt/uncle, cousin/wife/2 little girls (from Flagstaff!), my sister/brother-in-law.  A mini-family reunion!  Brian’s racing in the Cascades Cycling Classic.  It’s a BIG race, and it will be quite an adventure to cheer him on through the tough, pro race.   6 different stages, lots of climbing, a very strong field.  By the way, I tweet live updates of his racing @ToonesFanClub, in case you want to follow what’s happening!
  • Sunday, July 26th –  Bend, OR to Fort Collins, CO (1,065mi, 16 1/2 hrs). We’ll start heading east after the bike race ends mid afternoon, hopefully make it to Salt Lake City.
  • Monday, July 27th – Fort Collins, CO. Staying with a friend from UW-Green Bay.
  • Tuesday, July 28th – Fort Collins, CO to Denver, CO (60 mi, 1 hr). Actually THIS will be the shortest leg of the journey.  Visiting my sweet sister, Kat, seeing whatever she wants to show us of her new hometown.
  • Wednesday, July 29th or Thursday, July 30th – Denver, CO to Aurora, IL (967 mi, 14 hrs).
  • Thursday, July 30th to Sunday, August 2nd – Aurora/Elk Grove, IL – Staying with another UW-Green Bay friend, visiting dear friends, while Brian races in the Tour of Elk Grove Friday to Sunday.
  • Sunday, August 2nd – Elk Grove, IL to La Porte, IN  (104 mi, 2hrs); Staying with my Grandma and visiting her until mid-day Monday.
  • Monday, August 3rd – La Porte, IN to Birmingham, AL (627 mi, 10 1/2 hrs).  A stretch of road we’ve driven many, many times.  Straight down I-65, this will bring us home again after nearly 3 1/2 weeks.

What a crazy adventure!  Look for updates from my iPhone… If you’re on our route, we can’t wait to see you!  If you’re not… feel free to come on over to our route at any point… we’ll work you in!
View Out West – July, 2009 in a larger map

Posted in Adventure, Cycling, Links, Travel | 4 Comments »

To the mothers…

9th May 2009

I’ve had a fabulous week.  I was still basking in the glow of my weekend away.  But between sickness invading the house yesterday (that seems to have run its course, thankfully), an early wake-up call, and bored grumpy kids, I’ve wound up in an irritated, unappreciated mood tonight.  It’s Mother’s Day weekend, and I’m not expecting any gifts because I’ve been TOTALLY spoiled this past month (see birthday, necklace, iPhone and weekend away).  But I really was hoping for a little extra obedience, less whining, and overall TLC, generally leading to a feeling of being appreciated.

As I wallowed a bit, God nudged me out of my lonely pity party.  So I sat down to write a prayer for my dear mom friends, old and young, who I’m sure have all felt similarly, when I remembered a poignant post that moved me to tears last Mother’s Day.  And it served to humble and prick my heart again tonight.  So please, please click on over to read it and be blessed…

7 Keys to a Happier Mother’s Day

Praying prayers of much love, grace and joy to you, my dear and precious mom friends…

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The past month in bullets and links

8th May 2009

Ok, I apologize from disappearing from the blog.  Whew.  This past month has totally gotten away from me.  Let me summarize it in bullet-form, and maybe I can get quickly caught up so I can blog some other fun things from the more recent past!

  • I got bronchitis in mid-April, and I’m just finally now feeling like I’m not coughing.  Ug.  I hate it, and believe me, Brian hates it too, but hopefully I’ve turned the corner…
  • I flew to Indiana for my grandpa Charlie’s funeral.  It was a whirlwind of planning to get ready to leave Brian and the kids for 4 days, but it came together really well, and they did wonderfully without me.  It was a great time of celebrating Charlie’s long, friend-and-family filled life, and being with my family.
  • I’ve been super busy winding up the year with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  I’m on the Steering (leadership) Team, and I was a part of the committee who chose the leadership positions for next year.
  • Brian’s been racing LOTS – and racing REALLY well!  If you haven’t checked out his blog, head on over there.  It’s got exciting race reports, interesting data from the races, and the occasional photo. (TIP! If you want to subscribe to a blog, click on the little icon at the end of the address bar of your browser!  Feel free to subscribe to us and Brian’s blog!)  Highlights below…
  • We traveled to Athens, Georgia, staying with friends for the Athens Twilight Criterium, one of the fastest, craziest races in the country.  180 racers, most of them pros.  His goal was to finish for the first time ever, and instead he was in a late-race breakaway that made me CRAZY excited even though it got caught with just a few laps to go, and he finished 27th.  WOOHOO!
  • Wayne and Jane Lunceford were awesome hosts, and Jane even kept the kids so Wayne and I could go to Brian’s 9pm race.  This is the 2nd year we’ve stayed with them, and we’re already looking forward to next year!  Analise had so much fun meeting her friend, Heather.  They bounced and bungy-bounced, rode bikes, had a princess tea party, and shared a bedroom.  Josiah was mesmerized by the older boys’ Lego collection.  Oh and he rode alot too, including into the wading pool… I’ve got a photo somewhere…
  • We visited Athens Church with the Luncefords, a strategic partner with North Point Community Church.  We heard a great message by Pastor Andy Stanley called “It’s Personal-Undeniable“.  (I think you could also find it on iTunes, if you search Andy Stanley’s messages.  Seriously, I highly reccommend it.).  He’s a great speaker and the message had some very good thoughts.
  • Ended up that weekend in Roswell, GA with a trip to Trader Joe’s (WOOHOO!), the first visit inbout 6 months.  Brian had to replace a cracked handlebar from the Saturday Athens’ race, and he trudged through another pro-stacked field in Roswell to a 38th place finish.
  • The next weekend (last weekend) was a wonderful weekend away for us, compliments of my lovely mother-in-law.  The kids were so excited to spend the weekend (Sat and Sun nights) with the Toones, while Brian and I headed to races in Anniston and Sandy Springs, GA.  The Anniston Sunny King Criterium was an AWESOME race for Brian.  Again, a loaded pro field, and he raced hard, stayed near the front, and worked his way into good position for the sprint to finish 17th!  They had a VIP dinner for the racers afterwards, and we relaxed and ate well while chatting with the many pros.
  • We made it to our Priceline hotel in Atlanta (a Marriot) at 1:30am Sunday morning, but slept in until nearly 10.  Ah, the joy… Seriously, just an occasional weekend away with my husband is such a treat.  Quiet breakfast for 2 at IHOP, relaxing at Starbucks before the race, a leisurely stroll around Trader Joe’s (again 🙂 ), and the pleasure of watching 2 whole races by myself.  We both enjoy having the kids with us at races – and they have fun! – but it’s nice to take a little of the stress off both of us while Brian’s getting ready to race.  And I can even manage to take photos instead of keeping the kids from dashing onto the race course.  In a crash-filled race, I was very happy he finished upright and unhurt, but he even managed at top-30 finish.  Woohoo!  Brian can hold his own with the pros :), AND be “in the money” for 2 big races!
  • This week has been busy with a Mother’s Day Luncheon at Analise’s preschool, registering her for kindergarten (!!!!?!!!), a Kindergarten Kickoff visit/informational session, a Women’s Banquet for me, Brian’s student presentations, and an end-of-the-year picnic at Samford.
  • Josiah has been coming into our room and snuggling in bed with us after his early-ish wake-up, and this morning he said, “My tummy has a headache”.  Hm.  Brian and I both thought he was just hungry, but when we were at the playground before our grocery store run, he got sick.  Ug.  I’ll spare you the details, but I really hope it’s a short-lived bug that doesn’t dampen our Mother’s Day weekend.  Nothing special planned, except a bday party tomorrow, church Sunday, and lunch here (taco soup and homemade chocolate cheesecake).
  • Oh, and we’ve been diligently been watching Lost, discussing our theories and anticipating the season finale next week.  What a crazy, addicting show!

Ok, I hope I’m about caught up!  Be back soon with a post I’ve been wanting to write for about a month now…

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A parenting model

23rd March 2009

I regularly read a site called Holy Experience, and it continually shines a beautiful God-centered light on life, faith and parenting.  Today’s post is a wonderful model for parenting… Click on over and enjoy it for yourself!

Epic parenting is storytelling around our togetherness – about what God wrote during this morning’s errands, during our vacation last year, from our own childhoods. No curriculum, classes or other paraphernalia necessary. Just a willingness to listen to our lives and tell the whole of God’s epic — parchment and personal.

Posted in Links, Parenting | 1 Comment »

On my wish list…

27th February 2009

Ok, humor me as I share one more giveaway with y’all!  This one is for a beautiful necklace from one of my very favorite Etsy shops, The Vintage Pearl.  I have had a necklace from her shop on my “wish list” for a long time, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for my upcoming birthday (hint, hint, honey!).  It sure would be fun to win one, though!  The one I’d love is actually not available right now, but you can see it on the right sidebar of her shop, the diamond shape with names on it and a pearl in the middle.  But these dainty hearts with initials would be nice, too…  I could make a long list!  (Oh and honey… the names I’d like on it are “Analise” and “Josiah”, hehe:) )

dainty hearts on a chain from The Vintage Pearl

dainty hearts on a chain from The Vintage Pearl

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This would be a dream skirt for Analise…

24th February 2009

Wow… if I was crafty and really knew how to work my sewing machine, I’d make one of these awesome fluffy skirts for Analise.  Better yet, maybe my mom would 🙂  Even better… maybe I could win it, since she’s giving one away.  (Mom: I’ll let you know if I don’t win it so you can start working on it for the upcoming June birthday…)

blushing buttercream petticoat skirt

blushing buttercream petticoat skirt

Oo, and this little coat would look nice on me, wouldn’t it?  *sigh*  My fingers are crossed!

conservatory coat from Grosgrain
conservatory coat from Grosgrain

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On the menu for this week…

8th February 2009

Just thought I’d pop in and share what’s going to be cookin’ this week…

  • Asian Peanut Butter Pork – from one of my very favorite websites, A Year of Crockpotting.  Brian’s going to LOVE this, as anything Asian with peanuts is his favorite.
  • Hopefully, I’ll have leftover pork for Pork Fried Rice Chinese Style (apologies to dear friend, Corrie, who makes lovely fried rice, and I’m sure this isn’t very authentic, but it looks easy!!)
  • Some yummy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins, possibly the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins that I didn’t get to make last week, as I’ve got a pile of bananas browning on my counter.  (I’d prefer the oatmeal, but should probably make the banana.  Last week, I really WANTED the banana chocolate chip, but went with the healthier blueberry banana muffins.  Of course, I’ll probably go with what I *should* make… )
  • Some form of cupcakes, with some special Valentine’s decorating help from Analise for Life Group on Wednesday.
  • Our friends, the Kawells, are coming for dinner on Thursday… all 8 of them!  We’re celebrating our Nicaragua trip and Abigail’s 17th birthday.  I’m making Spicy Sour Cream Chicken in the crockpot, and we’re having Banano con Leche (banana milk) for dessert.  This dreamy drink, served over ice, is served at a restaurant in Leon, and Abigail and I enjoyed it together on our last day there.
  • I’ll possibly make this savory Carmelized Onion and Cheese Quiche for the weekend.  Maybe even 2… one to freeze 🙂
  • Lastly, I’m putting homemade pizza on the menu about once every 2 weeks.  I intended to rotate through various crust recipes, but we have settled happily into this delicious Deep Dish Pizza Crust recipe.  I haven’t pinned down my exact sauce recipe, as I toss it together on the stovetop by taste.  But we sure enjoy our homemade pizza, and I enjoy knowing it’s a night I don’t have to think about what to make!

Posted in Links, What's Cookin' | 5 Comments »

A little Saturday Link Love

31st January 2009

It’s cold here.   Well, cold in a Southern sense… like 30 degrees.  Brian’s off for a long bike ride this Saturday morning, and I’m in the mood to bake and be crafty.  Sounds like we’ll all benefit from this day!   Here’s some fun links that we might be trying today…

  • A Better Banana Muffin – a lighter, healthier banana blueberry muffin that is on the agenda for this morning.  Gotta get rid of the frozen black bananas in my freezer!  If they’re good, I might even make a second batch to freeze for breakfasts.
  • Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – If I decide to balance out the healthy with a little not-so-healthy, these are what I might make as the second batch.
  • Oh No!  The Snowman Melted – a fun little melted snowman craft project we might attempt today.
  • Playdough Cookies – These would be fun to make in white, red and pink for Valentine’s day.
  • A Valentine’s Collage – If I get brave and decide to break out the paints today, this is what we’ll do.
  • Valentine’s Candy Pots – If I were really on the ball (which I’m not), these would be fun to make for Analise’s school friends.
  • Marshmallow Lollipops – Hm, marshmallows, dipping and sprinkles… my kids favorite things to do!
  • I Love You Garland – A fun way to showcase photos of those we love.
  • Sugar Shack – Oh my goodness… lots of sugar involved in this one, but man, would this be fun to let the kids build and decorate!
  • Valentine Garland – One super easy heart garland, if only I had pink and red pipe cleaners (and why does everyone call them “chenille stems”?  They’ve always been “pipe cleaners” for me!)

Can you tell I’ve created a folder called “TO DO with kids IF BORED”?  I’ll post pictures if we get anything done!

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