Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for 2009

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.

Posted in Links | 1 Comment »

Pre-Christmas video catchup

16th December 2009

It’s been a busy Christmas season starting with Analise’s kindergarten program at Rocky Ridge Elementary School. Check out these two videos …

4 minute video collage of several songs:

90 second video of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer where Analise and 5 other kids got to lead the first part:

We opened Christmas presents early in preparation for our trip up to Wisconsin. So this was a short video from Sunday morning when the kids had just woken up and been allowed to open one present each:

Sunday morning, Analise was so excited to sing and dance on stage at church during Kids Clubhouse:

Sunday night, Analise and Josiah sang together as part of the Lakeside Kids Music Christmas program. Here is a clip of their songs:

Finally, last night Josiah had his 3 year old Christmas program from the Lakeside Mother’s Day Out program. We had a fun adventure walking over through the woods to Lakeside, doing the program, and then walking back home in the cold windy weather — training for Wisconsin!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

The good and the bad of today

7th December 2009

This is one day I’ve got to be able to look back on.

6:45 Up with Analise and Josiah (they were bouncy and quite cheerful, a plus for a Monday morning!)

7:30 Drive Analise to school, come back home to shower.

7:59 Allison sends me a text reminding me to keep God’s word close at hand, and that she’s praying Ephesians 5 to sink into both of us.  (I’m trying to keep my Bible open on the kitchen table so it’s right there and ready when I have a down moment to read.)

8:30 Head back to Analise’s school for Santa Shop (a super cute shopping event they put together for the kids to shop for friends and family).

9:15 Drive home to pick up Josiah, take him to church for childcare, head to a Christmas brunch.

9:30 Driving to the brunch, my dear old 1997 Nissan Altima, with 180,000 miles, starts chugging, and I start praying that I’ll just make it to my destination.

9:32 No luck… the car dies completely as I make a left turn, thankfully downhill, and I coast off to the side of the road.  Call Brian to let him know, then call my angel, my father-in-law, who says he’ll be over to rescue me.

9:38 I check my email on my phone, and find a forward from a friend, and instead of skimming past it in my Inbox, my eyes see the top of the email that says, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;  he will never let the righteous fall. – Psam 55:22” Perfect timing.

9:45 He shows up, adds oil to the car, and it runs, but barely, sounding terribly, and we’re sure it won’t make it to a shop on it’s own.  I’m fighting back tears, already given up on the brunch (no big deal, really), just upset at the thought that I’ve probably driven my last mile in this car with all the memories.

9:55 Tom and I decide it would be wise to take everything out: car seats, toys, reusable grocery bags, coupon books, old french fries and stale Goldfish.  I reach under the seat to grab something silver , and realize, through new tears, that it’s not a paperclip or safety pin as I’d first thought.  Instead, it’s my wedding band, that I thought I had lost for good a couple months ago.  God is so good to redeem this situation!!

10:30 Tom takes me home, where thankfully, I have a back-up car.  I pick up Josiah from church’s childcare, take him home to Brian (who’s home for the day), and head back to school for 2 more hours of Santa Shop.

The rest of the day improved immensely… got to walk home from school alone with my sweet girl, long afternoon snuggle on the couch with both of my little loves, a night-time adventure walking to school through the woods for Analise’s Christmas program this evening.  She was front and center for a small group part in Rudolph.  So sweet!  The kindergartners did great, and I think Brian’s working on the video right now.  She definitely enjoyed performing in front of the large crowd of parents!

A few more fun random memories from Santa Shop today…

  • I had listed several people Analise could shop for, and I sent money with her.  Her personal shopping aide told me when they were finished that she had desperately wanted to get 3 things for Josiah, so the list had gotten reworked.  How sweet!!
  • On the way home, Analise was telling me how several people had gotten to get something for themselves, but she hadn’t.  We talked about how this is a season of giving, and she told me what she would have wanted (a Barbie, of course).  I told her that maybe just maybe I’d take Josiah shopping there after the Christmas program.
  • Josiah was quick to see the Barbie and knew immediately that it was the perfect gift for Analise.  (Love how that worked out!) Then he was very quick to find a motorcycle that he wanted to get for Daddy.  He insisted that Daddy would love a motorcycle, particularly a red one.  Then he told Brian (who was standing off to the side), that maybe he (Brian) could share the motorcycle with him.  And that he (Josiah) would let Brian come in his room to play with the motorcycle.  So cute!!  And of course, he really wanted Daddy to open his motorcycle immediately when we get home.

But our tree has a nice stash of Santa Shop presents under it, waiting for next week! (we’re opening early because we’re leaving on December 19th for Wisconsin.)  All in all, the day was very rough around the edges, but they still glimmered with God’s goodness.

Posted in Daily Grind | 3 Comments »

All in all, a good day

30th November 2009

Just had to share the fun little details of my good day today.  I spent several hours at Curves (where I workout) with samples of my Tastefully Simple goodies.  I made a good number of sales, and enjoyed the time chatting with ladies while addressing Christmas card envelopes. [Sidenote: The cards I ordered from SeeHere on Thanksgiving night arrived on our front porch on SATURDAY.  Can you believe that??  Crazy fast!  Not to say that I’ll be that fast in sending them out…] [Another sidenote: Let me know if me and my Tastefully Simple goodies can help you with your Christmas shopping!]

I had a few errands to run, and one was at the mall.  As I was walking through JC Penny to another store, I remembered a fancy wedding we’re going to this weekend, and thought I’d see what the clearance rack of dresses held.  I found a super cute (though slightly summery) black and white dress that fit, marked down to $25 from $100.  A pretty good deal, except that I might need to buy a sweater or shawl and some dressy black shoes.  Hm.  As I was hanging it up, still mulling the purchase over, I saw a pink stain on the back near the hemline.  I asked the cashier if the price reduction was for the stain, and lucky me… it wasn’t.  She had forgotten to mark it down again.. to $4.97.  WOOHOO!  I’m hoping I can get the stain out, and if not… well, it’s pretty far out of sight.  And now I can see if I can find any deals on a sweater and shoes!!

I had a few extra minutes between Curves and picking Analise up from school to browse on Twitter, and saw there was going to be a LandsEnd chat with some prizes.  So I answered a few questions (well, 12) while I was waiting, and voila!  I won a sweater!  WOOHOO!

Anyway, good day for this mommy.  I really appreciate my sweet mother-in-law for keeping the kids so I could enjoy sharing my tasty goodies (and please call or email if you want me to help with your Christmas shopping!!!!), and my sweet hubby for getting the kids fed and ready for bed.   Going to go tuck myself in with a smile on my face!

Posted in Daily Grind | No Comments »

Happy Thanksgiving!

26th November 2009

Here’s a glimpse of our Christmas cards (which you may or may not see before Christmas… I’ll be impressed if they’re out by New Year!).  Brian’s dad took 19 photos, and inevitably, in the best ones (“best” defined as where both children have semi-decent smiles, in the vague direction of the camera, and I’m not tugging Josiah back to the ground as he bounces incessantly) the top of Brian’s head is cut off.  Not so important to me because, really… people are looking at my cute kids, right?  I won’t tell you how many “just one more, Josiah, I promise this is the last one” photos there were!



Posted in Daily Grind | No Comments »

Thanksgiving Videos and Pictures

26th November 2009

We made a make-shift velodrome out of the leaves in our driveway — although our velodrome also had a Nascar style pit row.

Today we asked Josiah to say our Thanksgiving blessing. I was hoping to get a video of him with his eyes shut really tight the way he normally prays but I think the video camera was a distraction.

Also here is a couple pictures from our biking adventure around a running track near our house. The kids had played all day at Grandma’s house after biking in our driveway in the morning. They were tired and ready for bed early!

Biking on the track - Analise usually led the way but we had just turned around to bike back towards mommy!

Analise was tired and would stop every few minutes to rest

Posted in Adventure, Cycling | No Comments »

Shopping deals… without leaving the couch!

26th November 2009

Ok, there are too many of these that are too good not to share!  Surely you’ve got some photos you can use for these deals…

  • The iPhone Blog notes that a great password app, 1Password, is FREE until December 1st.
  • Freebies 4 Mom has a code for 50 free photo cards from … I’m making ours right now with today’s family pictures!  This code expires at midnight on Nov. 30th.
  • Freebies 4 Mom also has info about a free photobook from, courtesy of The Bonnie Hunt Show.  Photobooks can be tedious to create online, and comments on the post show that the website has been slow.  There are only 25,000 free books available, and you can’t know if you’ll get it for free until you go to checkout with the promo code.  With all those disclosures aside, I’ve used before, and I’m always impressed with their high quality and excellent service.  I’m going to try to create mine tonight.  And shipping is free, too!  I’ve made several photobooks recently, and it’s getting me a bit more caught up on archiving our many family memories!
  • Canvas People is offering a free 8×10 canvas (pay shipping, $15) or $55 off any other size canvas.
  • I’m about ready to click “Buy” on an Amazon shopping cart with about 80% of the Christmas gifts I need to buy.  Another 10% are already bought.  The last 10% aren’t figured out yet.  Maybe I’d better browse a bit more… The deals at Amazon are great, though!  No need to head to the store where I’d surely find more to buy than I needed to!

Posted in iPhone | 1 Comment »

Thanksgiving menu…

23rd November 2009

We’re having Thanksgiving dinner at Brian’s parents, and here’s my part of the menu (with recipe links!)…

Analise is off school this whole week, so we got a little crafty today, doing painted leaf prints around thankful lists.  They turned out very nice, and I got a big lump in my throat seeing their sweet answers, and Analise’s carefully printed list, with “Mom” at the top.  I’m so thankful!

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

A favorite family tradition – Operation Christmas Child

23rd November 2009

For the 5th year in a row, I’ve had the joy of helping the kids pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  We shopped, wrapped, packed, and prayed for our boxes this week, and finally dropped them off at a local church on Saturday.  Very slowly, the kids are learning to think beyond themselves, and it’s a treat to walk them through this process.


It’s fun to imagine this trailer packed full of brightly wrapped shoeboxes bringing fun, love and joy to children around the world.


My little sweeties.  Analise is dressed as one of the Barbie Three Musketeers with the cape, mask and (not shown) sword.  Josiah can barely keep from dropping his box.  He does have Musketeers clothing, but didn’t insist on wearing it.


A look back… when Analise was 17 months old (2005)

Posted in Daily Grind | 1 Comment »

Ug… one of those days. BUT!

20th November 2009

Yesterday was one of Those Days. Everything seemed against me, and by the end of the day, I was just so thankful that it was behind me and that the morning would bring gracious “new mercies”. But as I collapsed into bed, my mind was quick to find a long list of things to be thankful for. So in the hope that the next time one of Those Days finds me, I’ll remember the many things to be thankful for, here’s last night’s thankful list:

  • God’s provision, evident throughout my list, too ways to count!
  • Good friends bringing encouragement
  • The Word… In spite of the fact that I was busy and didn’t make time myself for the Word, God took me to it Himself.  I was supposed to volunteer in Analise’s class in the morning, but instead I found myself sitting outside Analise’s classroom waiting for her class to come back from a last-minute event.  I had nothing with me, except my iPhone, which happens to have the Bible on it.  And so I read.  And read. And read.  Her class didn’t come back (they went straight to the playground), and before I knew it, I’d read 6 chapters of John, and my heart was blessed.
  • Smile of Analise when she saw me at school.
  • Lunch with good friends, praying together, hearing Beth Moore bring her awesome wisdom on the Word.
  • Chocolate cake
  • Pumpkin pie (not that I ate both of those.  though I might have. or I might not have…)
  • A snuggly little boy who happily curls up close to me after his nap (or whenever really!), so I can snuggle him close.
  • Yummy hot croissant ham & swiss sandwiches
  • Kids who didn’t battle with a 7:15 bedtime, and who were asleep before 7:30.  Whew!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly … with gratitude in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16

Posted in Daily Grind | No Comments »