Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for July, 2008

Teaching Preschoolers about God and My Not-To-Do List

29th July 2008

The first good quote from a article:

What’s a good way to teach preschoolers about God?

God talk was a natural part of our family life.
While Matt was growing up, God time wasn’t separate. Studies have shown
that a conversation with Mom about God is the #1 faith influencer for
kids. And a conversation with Dad is #2. Some moms feel guilty they’re
not doing family devotions or that they don’t know the Bible well. Lots
of storybooks and other resources are available to help in those areas.
But a conversation about God with our kids has such an impact on their
faith. Even asking something such as, "Why do you think God made
spiders or snakes?" It’s OK for our kids to know we don’t have it all
figured out and for us to ask questions that don’t have answers. Faith
is as much about questions as it is about answers.

It’s also about sharing what God’s doing. Every
summer we have a program at Group where more than 20,000 youth and
their leaders venture across the U.S. to serve others. These
participants are always on the lookout for what God’s doing where
they’re serving. We call these "God sightings." What if as a mom you
watched for "God sightings" with your preschoolers, then talked with
them about what God’s doing in your life? I believe it would be a
powerful experience.

The second is called My Not-To-Do List.  Great thoughts!

Life … and clutter. I think of clutter as anything that takes up space
but doesn’t add value or meaning to my life or to the lives of those I
love. And I think of life, particularly the abundant kind, as anything
that adds value or meaning to my life and to those I love.
Jesus talked about having abundant life in John 10:10, "I have come
that they may have life, and have it to the full."…

A cluttered mind means I over think, over react,
over analyze, over worry and over commit. How do I declutter my mind? I
gave myself permission to let go and have the following "not-to-do"

  • Not to feel guilty for saying "no" to something that’s good, but not right, for me or my family.
  • Not to fear about how well-adjusted my kids will be as adults.
  • Not to hang something new in my closet without taking something out.
  • Not to feel over-responsible for the well being of everyone else.
  • Not to answer the phone after 7 p.m.
  • Not to feel compelled to say "yes" just because I’ve been invited.
  • Not to schedule busy activities on Sundays.
  • Not to worry about what I missed at last week’s play group with the girls.
  • Not to buy something just because it’s on sale.
  • Not to think I can make a dinner that
    requires more than three ingredients, do the laundry, clean the house
    and spend quality time with my kids all in the same day.
  • Not to ruminate over my mistakes or the mistakes of others.
  • Not to compare myself with other moms.

The more we give ourselves permission "not to do,"
the more we’ll free ourselves to live a more centered, abundant life.
The next time you grab a piece of paper to make your to-do list,
consider first what not to do!

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Little pleasures

29th July 2008

I got out to grocery shop by myself this evening.  It was lovely.  I
can sure save a lot of $$ and get everything I need when I don’t have
the kids!

Still mourning the end of the Tour de France, Brian and I enjoyed the 5 minute highlight clips of several stages through On Demand.  Ah…  The Tour de France never gets old 🙂 

The kids and I enjoyed Chuck E Cheese this morning.  At first, Josiah enjoyed just climbing up into the little rides and buckling himself in, not needing the ride to go.  Then when I finally started one with a token, he reached for me, saying, "Iss sca-wy!"  But then he found the fun in putting the tokens in himself, not really even caring about the game or ride.  Hmm.  We were doing better before then.  But they had a great time.  Chuck E Cheese always brings back fun memories of going as a child with my report card and getting tokens for all the A’s I had received. 

I even got something somewhat accomplished today.  I’m trying to organize our craft/art stuff, which was exploding off our pretty built-in bookshelves.  I’m 75% done, and the kids enjoyed coloring and playing while I worked, not needing to be in the middle of my task. 

All in all, a good day.  Hopefully, things will be quiet and productive tomorrow.  Library and laundry are on my list.  Then Thursday we’re on the road again to Chicago!

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Wind Down Weekend

28th July 2008

After the "wildness" of our Vacation Bible School week (which was really fun and fantastic!), we’ve wound things down this weekend.  Brian had invited the cycling team over for dinner on Saturday, so we whipped the house into shape and cooked up a big pot of spaghetti and a side of italian bread salad (panzanella – toasted bread chunks with tomatoes, cucumbers, and mozzarella chunks tossed in garlicy balsamic vinegar and olive oil and seasoned with basil.  VERY yummy!).  It was a fun evening, but we were in bed soon after everyone left at 8:30. 

The Tour de France wrapped up yesterday, and Brian’s wondering what he’s going to do now 🙂  July is always fun as we follow the race pretty closely, and this year we enjoyed it in nearly real time on Versus, instead of on DVD days later from Brian’s dad’s recording.  We had a dilemma last night, as the Next Food Network Star finale was on at the same time as the TdF finish and podiums, but Brian’s choice won out.  I figure I can watch mine on reruns or On Demand later this week.

The kids and I are heading to storytime and a water play day at Brian’s parents church this morning.  We’ve got a quiet week planned, though, as we’re leaving Thursday for a long weeked in Chicago with my friend, Michele, and a big $$$ bike race.  Then my mom comes to visit on Tuesday, and my dad arrives on Wednesday!  Yeah!!!  We’re so excited to have them visiting! 

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Wild Week!

23rd July 2008

That’s what it’s been!  Brian and I are both teaching at our church Vacation Bible School.  Brian’s got the 4th graders (12 of them), and I’ve got the 1st graders (10 of them).  I came home from our good, busy weekend stressed about how much we had going on this week and feeling pretty unprepared for VBS.  I wasn’t really in the mood to be in charge of a busy group of kids.  But it’s been surprisingly fun and refreshing, and as much of a blessing to me as it has been to the kids.  The worship has been crazy and fun and a nice way to loosen up with singing and dancing and just being WILD 🙂 

I’ve got 7 girls and 3 boys, and they
are so sweet. The girls are snuggling all over me, saying "this is the
BEST week EVER!" I was worried I’d be the grumpy teacher, since that’s
how I feel as mom lately.  But they’re sweet, and we’re having
fun.  It’s fun to see these girls and think of who Analise will be
in a few years… :wub:

Analise and Josiah aren’t old enough to be in the actual classes, but they are
taking such great care of our kids – water play, music, bringing them into the drama/music large group, and feeding them lunch so they’re happy and not ravenous when we pick them up… ready to fall
asleep on the way home. What a relief.  Both kids have been ready for big long naps when we get home. 

Oh, and we got expanded cable last week!  We’ve only had basic with about 5 watchable channels.  But we got a promo deal, and so now we’ve got hours and hours and hours of the Tour de France, at least through Sunday.  And I’ve got my Food Network fix set on "fave" so I can get to it with the click of the button.  Now to make sure we don’t become cable-addicted in the 6 months before our promo period is over (bc then it’s going up to the regular rate of $37/mo, and THAT is not in the budget!). 

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Awesome photos of my kids!!

23rd July 2008

My dear, sweet friend, Robyn, just sent me some photos she and her husband, Scott, took of Analise and Josiah while we were together in Minnesota.  We had a fun, crazy lunch at a little outdoor cafe, and Analise ended up riding her little bike in circles around the tables.  Robyn & Scott do wedding photography, too, and you can see more of their AWESOME photography on their SoulCam Photography blog.  I’m so excited, though… they just have a great way of catching good angles and the right moment.  My kids are so hard to photograph!  These photos just make me smile as they caught just who Analise and Josiah are, just in our short few minutes together.

Notice Brian’s reflection in the glasses on the right.  Cool 🙂

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You know you are in the South when…

21st July 2008

You know you are in the South when… it’s 86 degrees in the kitchen and nobody has even been cooking anything! Fortunately, the rest of the house is a "pleasant" 80 degrees. Outside is a bit warmer at 99 degrees.

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Surviving swimming, a bike race, and another road trip!

19th July 2008

The week FLEW by… swimming went pretty well.  There were some tears and whining, but we made it through all 5 days, and Analise did fairly well.  I won’t say she can exactly SWIM yet, but she’s definitely more comfortable in the water, and we’re well on our way to swimming.  Somehow we were super busy all week long with storytime, school, playing with friends and errands.  And naptimes were huge, as we were all tired from running around and swimming 🙂

We celebrated Brian’s dad’s birthday last night – Happy 62nd today, Tom! – and we got up really early (before 5) to leave for the Alabama State Championships road race this morning.  FANTASTIC race for Brian today.  He got 3rd in a well-fought race with the other top 2 cyclists in Alabama.  They both have had some great races and very big wins in the Southeast and nationally this year, and Brian definitely proved he is right at their level.  It came down to a super close sprint finish.  I’m so proud of him.  It was a smart, well-ridden race.

We drove to Guntersville, AL to visit our friends Russell & Lyndsey McCrory and their dauther, Claire.  It’s been a fun, relaxing afternoon of naps, the kids playing, splashing in the pool and sprinkler, running laps around the yard with the kids to wear them out for bedtime and collapsing into bed (by everyone but me!  I had a sweet nap).  Dinner was amazing… as good as an expensive steakhouse.  Grilled steaks, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, salad with strawberries and candied pecans in a balsalmic vinagrette and homemade strawberry shortcake.  Lyndsey and I just played around with Photoshop and favorite websites on our laptops with the Food Network in the background.  It’s been a fun Saturday! 

We’re joining them for church tomorrow, and then we’re off to the races again.  The kids are both doing a race in the morning, and Brian’s racing a criterium in the afternoon before we make the short 1.5 hour drive tomorrow evening.  Hopefully, we’ll have some more good results for you then!

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Life is going swimmingly today…

14th July 2008

This morning has been busy!  Analise started swimming lessons with a friend of mine.  She’s been hot and cold about doing it, and I was really worried she’d be too teary and not do what she needed to do.  There was some crying, but Miss Rena is super patient and just kept swimming her around.  She did really well.  4 days left, and I think it’s going to be a good investment!  I, personally, can’t handle the two of them in a pool unless Analise gets more comfortable in the water and learns to do some things herself.  Hopefully, these lessons will make us able to go to the pool with friends of ours. 

Then we headed off to storytime at Brian’s parents’ church.  Josiah and Grandma Beverly were already there.  After the stories, they had inflatables for the kids to bounce around in.  I’m tired just from all the running around.  I don’t know how my kids aren’t napping yet!! 

I’m pretty proud of myself… I realized as we drove home that today is a pick-up day for a local charity, and I managed to get 4 boxes of toys and clothes together in less than 15 minutes.  Whew!  Feels good already to have less stuff 🙂

We had a good quiet weekend.  My leadership retreat was nice Friday evening, and we got a lot planned for our upcoming year of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  I got to sleep in and relax by the pool before coming home to the craziness of kids.  Brian raced a time trial yesterday, and he did AMAZINGLY well.  Go check out his race details here…

Off to naptime!

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Sunflowers for Kristine

11th July 2008

Kristine picked these up at the store today because she knew that those would be the ones I would buy for her if I didn’t ride my bike everywhere!

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Link love… food and photography… what could be better?

11th July 2008

No explanation needed for this website.  It’s just the perfect blend of pretty food photos, yummy recipes and new content stuff added like every couple minutes.  It’s my favorite place to click for mindless surfing.  I’ve found countless new recipes to try.  Without further ado..

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