Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for October, 2006

A taste of Halloween…

30th October 2006

Yes, these should really be South Carolina pictures, but I got stalled and it’s bedtime.  But here are a couple glimpses of my cuties from today (and recently).  My favorite – Analise hugging Josiah.  She said, "Mom!  Take a picture of me and ‘Siah!"  I even got a smile!  Sweet!

Analise is a bumblebee for Halloween – we’ll get a better picture tomorrow.  Josiah is a skunk:)  We visited Samford this afternoon for a Fall Festival with trick-or-treating in a dorm and some fun activities.  We even got to hear the bells played from the bell tower at sunset! 

Lastly, a picture of Josiah seated in his transition high chair like a big boy.  He’s still learning to sit up, but he does like to be at the table with us. 

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29th October 2006

Since I posted the inspiring words from my Beth Moore bible study last Wednesday night, I’ve felt a big difference in my outlook and attitude.  I was realizing what emotional beings we are, how we really our interactions are totally driven by our emotions.  Yesterday was a prime example.  It had all the potential to be a "down" day, but in spite of Brian working most of the day and being on my own with the kids like the rest of the week, in spite of neither Analise or Josiah napping, in spite of the usual things that would have worn me down by the end of the day, I found myself in a good mood, with an extra measure of patience.

This morning on the way to church, I was overwhelmed with just how sweet life is.  The colors of the fall trees are splashed across the ridges of Birmingham, the air is cool but the sun is shining just enough to keep it warm.  This is absolutely my favorite season.  Though my sleep last night was very interrupted, I got an extra hour of sleep on the couch this morning while Josiah "talked" to the fish circling above him in his swing.  Brian blessed me by emptying the dishwasher AND putting the full-sink’s worth of dishes in it before I even got off the couch this morning.  Josiah’s interactions with Analise are heartwarming… he just watches her like she’s the coolest thing.  He loves to smile at her, and she loves his attention.  I found Analise playing with ther little people, and they were praying!  She likes to sing bits and pieces of her praise and worship songs, and she’ll gladly tell you her 3 Bible verses ("God is love", "The Lord is my shepherd" and "Shout to the Lord".)  It was an awesome time of worship and a great message at church this morning.  We had a relaxing afternoon nap – all 3 of us (while Brian rode).  All in all, it was a sweet day, and I think the attitude check of Wednesday night has been really good for me to see things in a different light.

Brian’s at a meeting at church, and I’ve got little ones to get ready for bed.  But I’ve set myself a deadline of TONIGHT to get our pictures from SC done, so maybe you’ll find them in the morning.  Hope everyone had a great weekend! 

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Tales of a 2-year old… in love?!?

26th October 2006

Tonight was Open House at Analise’s Mother’s Day Out program.  We had been looking forward to visiting her classroom, but I had no idea it would be so much fun!  Analise’s teacher said she’s very good, helpful and talkative.  She’s got 8 students in her class.  We saw lots of cute little thumbprint and stamped art projects.  We also go to meet some of her friends.  Tonight we met Jacob – a cute little blondie, just a couple weeks younger than her.  Whenever I’ve asked Analise who is in her class, she only has said "Jacob".  Ms. Mona says when Analise arrives, she always asks if Jacob is there.  If he’s not, she’ll wait at the door for him or she’ll go right over to play with him.  She said Analise is full of hugs – and kisses! – but especially for Jacob!.  Not sure what I think about my 2-year old little girl giving kisses already, especially to a little boy, but I suppose at this age its sweet.  She was really excited when Jacob walked in tonight and started playing with him.  She was definitely the liveliest of the 4 kids that were there… which doesn’t surprise me AT ALL:)  We ventured to the Book Fair to pick out a book to round out our evening.  Fun times!  I can’t believe what a big girl she is! 

In case you think we forgot… I am in the process of resizing photos from our SC trip.  I’d better hurry before we head off to FL next weekend for the Ironman!  

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A weary post… and encouragement to other weary ones

25th October 2006

I’ve written several posts in my head in the last few days.  A couple were triumphantly announcing that I’d "caught up" on life.  A couple other posts were downers in various states of overwhelmed-ness.  This will be somewhere in between, some late night ramblings, and some good thoughts from my pre-bedtime bible study.

It has been an overwhelming week.  Not in any way particularly, just that Brian is working very hard on no less than 5 major things and trying to train for an Ironman Triathlon (which culminates in just over a week!).  He’s stressed, but doing his best.  I, on the other hand, just have been managing daily life around our house.  Nothing’s particularly hard… we’re all healthy – at least for the moment, Analise has been on pretty good behaviour lately, we haven’t had too much going on.  I have been battling laundry since we came back from South Carolina.  Just when I get "caught up", the basket in my room threatens to overflow, and it starts all over again.  It doesn’t help that we’re doing diaper laundry 3 times a week.  (Yes, I do believe at this moment I’m crazy to be cloth-diapering, but I’m also too cheap to start buying more disposables, so that’s all I’ll complain about that.)  Josiah is not sleeping well at night, so it’s made me a bit grumpy in the mornings.  He’s also been grumpy off and on during the day, really needing to be held when he’s sleepy.  Today was the usual Wednesday flurry of getting my house pulled back into order for our home church gathering.  I’m always worn out from it, but it is so wonderful to be able to share our home this way, besides the fact that its easier to have the kids in my own home.  The kitchen needs 30-60 minutes of attention after the little ones are in bed each night, so it seems that my life going keeps going in the same circles.  It’s just been a bit discouraging lately.  But such is this season of life. 

I did find a great Word in my bible study tonight, though.  I’m working on a Beth Moore study, called Daniel   It’s TREMENDOUS.  The first half of the study is about having integrity in a world that parallels the Babylon that Daniel lived in.  We’ve just started the second half which explores prophecies from the time of Daniel through the second coming of Christ.  I’ve never studied anything like it, and it’s very interesting.  My women’s study is on Thursday mornings, and of course, I’m always struggling to get my 5-days worth of homework done on Wednesday night.  Here’s what I read tonight:

**(from Daniel 7:25: "He [Satan] will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.")

Oppress literally means "’to wear away’ or ‘to wear out’, as one would wear out a garmet." Though Satan’s persecutions of God’s people will reach full measure in the last days, he certainly oppresses Christians today.  

One of Satan’s most effective schemes is simply to wear God’s people out.  Satan uses exhaustion and profound discouragement to persuade us to give up opposing him.  We must not give up!  As believers in Christ in whom the Spirit of God dwells, Satan may be able to wear out our human strength, but he cannot wear out the Holy Spirit’s.  We can call upon God’s supernatural strength to fight the good fight of faith and persist in our proclamation of Christ, the son of the Most High God.

The Apostle Paul said in Colossians 1:29, "To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me".  We who are Christians have God’s "all-surpassing power" in our "jars of clay" (2 Corinthians 4:7).  Let’s not wait until we’re at the end of our strength to utilize it!  Let’s call on God to fill us with His all-surpassing power day in and day out.  His "incomparably great power" is accessible daily for those who believe!  This power is the same power He used to raise Jesus from the dead (see Ephesians 1:18-20).  What more could we need?

Enough said.  What more could I need to hear tonight?  Hope it encourages someone else tonight!  I’m saying a prayer for you as I tumble into bed:) 

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Friday pics!

20th October 2006

Ok, in spite of the 3 4 loads of laundry waiting to be folded, I’m going to post a few pictures. These aren’t from our South Carolina adventure, but just a few moments from this week. Analise is napping, Josiah is playing in his swing for a few minutes (though I don’t know how long he’ll be happy!), and I’ve got the pictures ready, so I’d better make the most of this time before it’s gone!

Josiah rolled! (above) He looks pretty proud of himself! Pretty cute, too:) The next picture is of him in his Bumbo seat. It’s a molded soft foam chair that props him up into a sitting position. He likes sitting upright. He’s posing next to a 1/2 bushel of apples from South Carolina that I’m hoping to turn into applesauce and apple butter this weekend.

Analise and I made ghost cupcakes Wednesday for our home group dinner. She even helped mix! We were just going to put 3 mini-chips on each ghost for eyes and a mouth (not so much "we", but "I") but she wanted to decorate by the handful. Probably tastier her way. I forgot to get a finished photo of the ghosts, but they were cute and a big hit with everyone.

Lastly, a cute picture of Analise’s new toy – a stethoscope from my mission days in Central America. She calls it "the doctor". She’s been practicing on Josiah, usually listening to his elbow or leg, but she’s just learned that it’s for the heart and where to listen. Here, she’s checking out Anna Grace, a little girl who comes to our home church.

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We’re not still in South Carolina…

19th October 2006

We did make it home on Tuesday evening, safe and sound.  Got lots of photos to share, fun stories to relate.  But I’m swamped, trying to keep my head above water just getting life back in order here, so my apologies.  I’d love to have 30 minutes to get a blog ready, but "daily" life has been demanding too much time this week.
Quick milestone notes:  Josiah rolled from his back to his tummy yesterday.  Yeah!  He’s learned how to blow spit bubbles, too.  And he’s learned that his swing is probably where I put him when I’m wanting to go do things, so it’s no longer a "happy" place, at least most of the time.  I finally got brave enough to check Analise’s 2 year molars, and 3 of 4 are in and the 4th is just below the surface.  Thankfully, she’s been pretty good with the whole teething process, and we’re already almost to the end.  On the other hand, Josiah’s starting to drool, and I bet he’ll be teething before we know it.  Analise can count to 13, she knows A, J, D, M and G and can sing nearly the whole alphabet song (if she wants too).  Impressive!  We had another adventure in baking yesterday, making ghost cupcakes.  I’ve got pictures soon.
Yeah – tomorrow’s Friday!

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Adventures in Parenting: Traveling with Two

16th October 2006

Adventures in Parenting: Traveling with Two
**written in the car between Georgia and South Carolina, Sunday evening

Q: Where do most goblins live?
A: South Scarolina!

Q: Where are the Toones going for fall break?
A: South Scarolina!

We’re on our way!  Man, it took a lot of work, though.  Let me tell you… traveling with two little ones takes a lot of effort.  I told Brian earlier that I’ve decided we’re not leaving the state of Alabama until the kids are 10.  This doesn’t feel like a vacation!  I think it’ll get better when we’re settled at our cabin, though. 

We borrowed Brian’s dad’s car… It’s bigger than ours, and I wanted a little extra room to take our double jogging stroller so the kids and I can do some walking while Brian’s on his 5-hour bike adventure tomorrow.  We’ve also got the backpack carrier and the Baby Bjorn so we can hike a little, Brian’s bike, 2 small carry-on size suitcases, a small cooler and other paraphernalia.  (Note: did anyone else know that there is a random "r" in the middle of the word "paraphernalia"? How odd.  Neither Brian nor I – the jr high spelling champion – would have spelled it this way.)    Anyway, we didn’t pack too lightly on this trip, though we’ll have to be much more selective on our future trips in our Nissan Altima.  This car is also  advantageous because it has a DVD player to entertain Analise.  She was happy to watch Nemo on the way to Atlanta, and now she’s watching Veggie Tales.  Josiah is in his rear-facing seat, finally sleeping, but he keeps turning his head up to see what’s playing, too. 

Josiah isn’t the seasoned traveler that Analise was at this age.  By 4 months of age, she’d been in 5 states.  After this trip, Josiah will have 3 states, and after November he’ll have been in 5.  Analise napped so well during the day when she was little, and sleeping in the car was no big deal.  Josiah doesn’t sleep well during the day, unless he’s sleeping on me or in his swing.  So, napping this afternoon in the car was a battle for him.  He wanted my hand to hold, so I reached back there for a while.  He is finally sleeping, now that it’s 7:30 and dark.  On the other hand, though, he’s sleeping much better at night than Analise did, which is a huge relief (do I say this frequently?).  I hope in the next couple months he adjusts to sleeping in the car seat because we’ve got quite a bit of car travel planned between now and the holidays.  In less than 3 weeks, we’ll be on our way to Panama City, Florida for the Ironman Triathlon.  Brian’s parents and 2 couples from church (with 1 child) will be going and staying with us in a 4-bedroom condo.  Then 2 weeks later, Brian’s got a conference in Gatlinburg, Tennesse, up in the Great Smokey Mountains and we’re going to go, as well.  Then, the BIG trip comes at Christmas, when we’ll drive to Wisconsin and Indiana to see my family, for about 2 weeks total.  We’ll probably try to do most of that trip at night, so there are fewer child-needs:)

Pumpkin station
Aside from one short stop for Josiah to eat, we made it from Birmingham to the northeast side of Atlanta in one shot.  Just like last year, we stopped at the "pumpkin station" – a former gas station that has been converted to a pumpkin patch, that also sells wood creations, like gazebos and swing sets.  Analise enjoyed the swings and slides more than the pumpkins, though she did help us pick out a couple little ones to take home. 

Brian’s such an adventure to travel with.  Some of my only quiet moments to catch up on reading were while both A and J were napping (about a 20 minute stretch), and he’s telling me to stop reading so I don’t miss something exciting.  For example: Stone Mountain, Georgia, visible for about 15 seconds at the crest of a hill, over my shoulder, carefully looking between the jogging stroller and the edge of the car window.  He just now pointed out a "big oak tree" in the medain of the road… ‘cept that it’s absolutely dark out and I can’t see anything in the medain.  He only knows that it’s there because he’s travelled this road many many times between home and college.  And just now, we’re looking at the map deciding which road to take to our bed & breakfast – the bigger (yellow on the map) road or the little road, named "Critter Road", and he says, "Oh, Critter Road, definitely – doesn’t it sound way more fun?"  That’s where we’re heaing now. 

Sidenote:  Speaking of reading – I’m enjoying our friend, Corrie Haffly’s newly pulished book, The Photoshop Anthology.  Analise and I are famous!  She used our picture as an example in the book!  If you use Photoshop for web design, it’s a great resource – I’m learning a lot:)

Rule: If kids are sleeping, absolutely no stopping for any reason.  (When Brian’s family traveled back in his younger days, they had a "pee jar" so that they wouldn’t have to stop so frequently.  Brian just said we might need to have one eventually…not for the kids but for ourselves to enforce this rule!)

Realization:  I’ve always noticed when we drove past cars at night that had DVD players running.  I always thought it was kind of novel.  We’re one of those cars, I just realized.  And I even said not too long ago – probably before kids – that we’d never have a DVD player, that my kids were going to be able to entertain themselves.  My sisters and I grew up reading and playing games – oh, and irritating each other:) – to entertain ourselves in the car, and though it got boring sometimes, I’m so glad we were such a family of readers and good travelers.  For now, though, I’m grateful for the DVD player to keep my pre-reading toddler entertained so we can have some good stretches of travel. 

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What’s Cookin’…Ravoili Lasagna

13th October 2006

Wow… blogging’s so easy, I’m going to post this right now, before I forget! Tonight I tried this new creation. I saw it somewhere and didn’t have an exact recipe, but it turned out well, and it’s a great casserole dish to take to a gathering.

Ravioli Lasagna
**Note: I made one 9×13 pan that was FULL. It served 5, with half a pan leftover. Next time, I might do 2 square baking dishes, so I can freeze one for later. If I did that, I’d probably use 2 lbs of meat and 2 full jars of spaghetti sauce.

  • 2 bags frozen cheese ravioli (small round)
  • 1 lb ground turkey, seasoned as you like it.
  • 1 1/2 jars spaghetti sauce (a good flavorful sauce would be best)
  • 1 8oz pkg of mozzerella cheese

Brown the meat with some garlic and other seasonings. Season it well… this is a major source of flavor in the dish. I used garlic salt, minced garlic, a roasted garlic/red pepper seasoning, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drain. Bring large pan of water to boil, add ravioli, turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occassionally until ravioli float. Drain. Cover the bottom of the pan with spaghetti sauce, a generous layer of ravioli, half of the meat and cover with spaghetti sauce. Layer ravioli, meat and spaghetti sauce again. Cover with cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.

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An Adventure in Baking

13th October 2006

Yeah for blogging! My amazing hubby has added a new feature that makes it so much easier for me to format a blog. I’m so excited! It’s invisible to you, but now I don’t have to include all the HTML tags. Previously, even my short blogs took 10 minutes or so to post, and with a picture, it was at least 15 minutes. Now it’ll be much quicker… so much quicker, you may even hear from me more often!

Today’s adventure was baking. I had some sheets of premade cookie dough, and I love cut-out/decorated sugar cookies. Analise loves sprinkles, so I thought today would be a fun chance to bake together. She loved it! We had leaf and acorn cookie cutters in various sizes, which she helped cut out.

Then we sprinkled. In case you don’t notice, one cookie got *heavily* sprinkled with green sugar… that was while I was dashing for the camera! I didn’t get a picture of the finished cookies, but they were tasty and were mostly gone after dinner tonight.

Josiah’s 4 month check-up was today. He weighs 16 1/2 pounds (in the 80th%) and he’s 26.5 inches long (in the 90th% – woohoo!). He was a trooper for his 2 shots. He wasn’t feeling good tonight, though. Hopefully a dose of Tylenol will keep him sleeping through the night.

Have a good weekend!

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The weekend’s almost here…

12th October 2006

Almost the weekend… we can’t wait. It’s been a good, busy week. Brian’s been doing some consulting work since July or August, and between that and school he’s BUSY and we’re looking forward to the weekend and our trip to South Carolina Sunday to Tuesday. Last night we had a combined home church dinner and fellowship with friends from our "former" home church of last year as well as our current home church. Good times!!

Not much blog-worthy going on lately. Analise is full of chatter, from the moment she wakes up (this morning, saying "when I grow up, I want to be a tea party". ?!?) to tucking her into bed ("I want Veggie Tales!" she says, requesting to fall asleep to her favorite worship CD). She loves singing, most particularly the old Amy Grant favorite, Thy Word, sung by Bob and Larry of Veggie Tales on their worship CD. She’s learning more and more of it. She and I are enjoying some "quiet time" together reading her Bible each afternoon. Yesterday, she said, "I’m reading my Bible tells me so." Yes, another favorite song lately is Jesus Loves Me, so she knows the Bible tells her so. She’s been attending the Missions Friends program for 2-3 year olds at Brian’s parents church on Wednesday evenings. Brian enjoys looking at our world map with her finding where the missionaries are from. Last night we asked her what she learned about, and it sounded like she said "believers in Africa". Wow! She told us about the mission-raries in Africa. We did find out, though, that she might have been saying "zebras" in Africa, since they talked about animals in Africa, too.

Life has just been boringly-busy. The closest thing to excitement yesterday happened just after Brian called to say he was coming home for lunch with us. Analise was asking to paint, which I’d promised her earlier. Josiah had just woken up and he was HUNGRY. So I stripped Analise to her diaper, put her in her high chair to paint, which she’s never done before. Thank goodness for Crayola washable paints:) The doorbell rang, and it was the piano tuners. Ag. I got them started, gave Analise a cup of water, paper and her paint, said a small prayer that she wouldn’t make too much of a mess, and went to feed Josiah. Well, she liked painting, but of course, she spilled the water and started wailing, not long after Josiah settled in to eat. Poor guy. I had to stop him, which makes him VERY mad, and go clean up the puddle from the high chair, get Analise a clean paper, and get her restarted. We managed to get everything attended to and get back to J’s lunch, and I think he’s forgiven me:) He rolled from his stomach to his back tonight! He’s very very close to rolling back-to-stomach but I think he knows that it’s not so fun on his belly, so there’s little motivation.

Tomorrow I’m going to try a new recipe for dinner – ravioli lasagna. I saw it somewhere, and can’t find the recipe exactly, but it’s just cooked cheese ravioli, layered in a baking dish with spaghetti sauce, ground seasoned beef and topped with cheese. Sounds good… If it is, I’ll post it here. It’s a carbo-loading dinner for Brian and his dad because they’ll be doing a big bike ride on Saturday – 100 miles for Brian and 25 for his dad.

Ok, it’s bedtime. Have a good Friday!

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