Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for 2010

A favorite tradition… Operation Christmas Child

22nd November 2010

One of my favorite holiday traditions nearly catches me off-guard every year, because it comes up before Thanksgiving. But we’ve packed a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child every year since Analise was 6 months old.

The shopping trip is always a learning experience, with constant reminders that we’re thinking of another child, not picking out our own gifts. But each year, it gets easier and more fun as the kids get older and start understanding more.

This year, my sweeties carried their boxes in proudly, and we also brought 16 more boxes that my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group packed, as well. Our drop-off location, one of several in town, had collected 20,000. I was brought to tears imagining the joy and the Great Hope those many boxes will bring to children all over the world. And to think… that’s just a fraction that Samaritan’s Purse will distribute! AMAZING! Be glorified, Lord!

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Joy in the Journey

18th November 2010

I’ve had these thoughts rolling around in my brain for a month or so now… just hardly been on the computer (my phone instead… not conducive to a blog post!).  But the kids are happily – and peacefully! – playing in the tub, and I was just overwhelmed with the moment and thought to come here so I might remember it later.

It’s taken 6 years of mothering, but I think I’m finally to a real place of joy in the journey.  Maybe it’s because we’re getting good sleep, we’re not potty training, the tantrums are scarce, and maybe its that my kids are enjoyable little people instead of a lot of work. Maybe it’s because they’re in school and I have a bit more time to myself. Or maybe it’s that I’ve grown a bit.  But either way, I’m so thankful for where we’re at.  I have always, always loved my kids with an overwhelming love, but it was sometimes (more often than I want to admit!) a battle to find the joy in the mundane and the exhausting task of being needed.  For whatever reason, we’re there.  Been here fora  few months, and I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude.

Analise is a lovely young lady, Josiah is a fun-loving sweet little boy, and thank-you-dear-Lord-for-hearing-my-prayers they even consider themselves friends.  They play together far more often peacefully than not.  Our travels recently have been so fun, full of questions and answers, observations and laughter.  I’m trying hard to imprint the soft little boy hand that still willingly reaches for me onto my heart, and burn Analise’s soft sleeping little girl face into my memory (especially when her bottom bunk is divided by a curtain and Josiah’s on the other end).

Thank you, Lord.  Such gracious gifts.

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Biking adventure 2 and Rocky Ridge Boosterthon

30th October 2010

I took the kids this morning on a biking adventure through the woods, past the fire station, and arriving at our destination — the nearby Metro Church parking lot (which is enormous), and the kids enjoyed racing down one hill and then up the other one back towards me. Got some pics and video posted below. Also, on Thursday, Analise had her boosterthon at Rocky Ridge and we went over to cheer her on. Got some pics and video of that too!

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The Cutest Batkids Ever

27th October 2010

And they’re mine 🙂  We dressed up on Monday for a Girl Scout party, and so I snagged this picture.  Love the fact that Analise chose Batgirl over a TinkerBelle costume, so she could match her brother.

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I’ll call it a good day

26th October 2010

I let the kids pull games out of the closet this afternoon.  They played with them relatively peacefully, then put each game away before getting out another.  Yes, there was heavy coaxing from me, of course, but I’ll still call it a small victory.

I made these yummy Pizza Pinwheels for dinner, with great help from Analise.  These are a guaranteed hit with everyone in your family.  I used store bought pizza dough and spaghetti sauce, and I dipped mine in ranch.  Everyone liked them.  Well, truthfully, Josiah didn’t, but I think he’s being obstinate, so I’m refusing to admit that he didn’t like pizza in a roll.  Just imagine all the rationalizing I used to coax him to eat it.  I bet he’d eat it on a different day.  And really, if his super-picky sister eats 2, there’s no legitimate reason he can have for not liking it.  And he ate his cucumbers and tomatoes, so he did better than anyone else on the veggie front.  Another small victory.

Everyone took their own dishes to the kitchen.  Score one for mom… or rather, notch one off my to-do list.

Miracle of miracles… bathtime involved no crying or grumpiness.  In fact, in a stroke of independence, both kids determined to wash and rinse their own hair.  ?!? And we managed it without any tears from soap in the eyes.  Wow.  Another score for mom 🙂

And the kids were in bed without whining by 7:30.  Tired sweeties!  (Except the tornado sirens brought them out a couple minutes ago.  All’s quiet now, though.)

Life is good.  I’m a thankful mom tonight.  It’s the little things!

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Biking adventure close to home

16th October 2010

Wow, we just got back from a fun biking adventure. We left our house and biked through the woods, past Analise’s school, and made a stop by the creek that goes by (and under) her school. Then I told them that we would go find the lake at the end of the creek, which involved biking past the fire station looking at all the fire trucks, biking in the grass alongside the road, walking our bikes carefully alongside the narrow part of the road, and then to the trail that goes around the lake. The trail goes through the woods and we saw a big blue heron, turtles, chipmunks, squirrels, and we think we heard some deer jumping away. All-in-all, my fun kids road there bikes almost 3 miles! Check out our fun adventure in the videos and photos below …

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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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Glimpses of Fall Break Adventure 2010

11th October 2010

On a lovely long weekend trip to South Carolina, our annual Fall Break to the Fieldstone Farm Inn. Highlights so far… Brian’s 2nd and 3rd place finishes in Greenville on Saturday & Sunday, the horses outside our “poolside cottage”, the kids sleeping in the loft, visiting our favorite gas-station-converted-to-pumpkin-patch on the drive up.

Lovely trip so far! I’m fighting laryngitis and not feeling great, Brian’s out for a 100-mile ride in the gorgeous mountains, and the kiddos are having fun just playing. Ahhh… just what we’ve all needed! Wish you were here!

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An honest glimpse of the battle

7th October 2010

I had a great morning reading in my all-time favorite devotional, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. (sidenote: I like the way my book reads because it’s an updated edition, but the truth is still the same.)  Beautiful, powerful words from 2 Corinthians 5:21…

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that we might be the righteousness of God.

Love that.  What a glorious thought!  It was a great way to start my day.

Then Brian and I got in an argument over something stupid.  I snapped, he snapped… you know how it goes.  And before I knew it, I went from being clothed in the righteousness of God to my same old sinful self.  And I’ve been fighting a bad mood all morning thinking of how quickly the conversion from Spirit-filled to self-filled happens.  It’s heart-breaking.

Brian and I are supposed to go out to dinner this evening, and Grandma Beverly is keeping the kids. And instead of looking forward to it, I’m finding excuses that we’ve got too much to do, that we won’t be in the mood to appreciate it.

And the enemy is loving it.  He’s watching and loving the fact that he snuck into my Spirit-filled morning and found a weakness.  And now he’s doing everything he can to use the splinter of the morning’s argument to pull us apart.  There’s nothing he’d like more than to see the God’s sacred union of marriage be weakened.  The little splinters add up, and before you know it, the enemy is rejoicing at the rift he’s caused.

So gosh darn it, we’re going out tonight, and we’re gonna like it!  We’re going to take our gift card, have an awesome dinner, enjoy being together, and pull ourselves closer together.  We’ll forgive and  heal, and claim the victory for the One who called us to these verses 7 years ago:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

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Penelope’s Picnic by Josiah

7th October 2010

Super cute video of my sweet little guy singing/reading (though actually memorized) a song from school.  Turn the volume up for the beginning, as he’s super quiet.

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