Thursday, January 30, 2014

This little boy has stolen my heart … totally!

Early this morning I received a message from Kelly wondering if just perhaps I could watch Brendan for a little while today. YES!
Lately, I've been getting out everyone's favorite hand puppet, Paco the Pig, when Brendan comes over and he and Paco are getting quite friendly with each other. I neglected to take any photos of Paco, but the picture above is Brendan's little face while listening to Paco say something very ridiculous to him. 

Spinning or twirling toys are still Brendan's favorite thing ... 
… and food! Actually, we are listening to some really beautiful children's music while eating our lunch and I got up during a particularly fun song and did a little dance routine … hence, Brendan's expressions and laughter ...

This baby is VERY serious about his tools … he's a tool-time baby! 
I emptied out an old musical jewelry box for Brendan to play with because I knew he wouldn't be interested one single bit in the jewelry, but the little drawers would delight him to no end! I was right, AND he figured out how to make the music too … he was so pleased. 
Brendan pointing to my ceiling fan and light … he continues to be fascinated by any fan and any light. 
This is Brendan (above) telling me that I certainly take an excessive amount of photos of him, but … he knows I just can't help myself when he is here. I love him dearly. 

My little kitchen helper. Four more days until Brendan's SECOND birthday … how can it be?!!! I refuse to let him grow up … ever. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My safe haven …

"Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered,
and that my life is fleeing away." 
PSALM 19:4

I've had a little extra time the last few days, so I decided to show off my little beach house that has almost become an igloo in the last few days of piled-up snow drifts and blizzard-y weather! I have rarely posted pictures just of this little place as it is on a day where I don't have visitors or grandchildren. 
When I purchased this place nearly two years ago now, I wanted it to be a place of peace and rest; so I went with a nautical theme (naturally) because I enjoy beaches and water and boats and seagulls more than anything ~ I am totally relaxed in that environment! 

We have about 18" of snow on the ground right now, but the drifting snow is much deeper; plus, the snowplow dumps loads of the white stuff on all of our lawns because there is no where else to put it! The lighthouse welcome flag in front of my house is completely buried in snow today.

Have a look around at a few of the rooms of my Beach House ...

This is my best friend …
Best therapy in the world!
 . . . Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in You!
Psalm 39:7

The kitchen/dining area is a nice big space. I've actually made the dining area into my art place ... 
The kitchen
 Some of the nautical decor ...

 "My only hope is in Your
unfailing love and faithfulness." 
PSALM 40:11

The main room of the house is a comfortable place to hang out ... 

My pot-belly stove ...

 "Send out Your light and Your truth;
let them guide me.
Let them lead me to Your holy mountain,
to the place where You live."
PSALM 43:3

Looking down the street where I live ...

"How precious is Your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of Your wings.
You feed them from the abundance 
of Your own house …"
PSALM 36:7-8a

I am very thankful for the blessing of this little place I call home  …   it's only temporary, and I am just passing through . . . looking forward some day to an "eternal house" in heaven.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another wonderful weekend ...

It can be somewhat challenging to host three extremely active grandchildren for 30+ hours every weekend, made more so by the extreme cold and snow that we've had dumped on us the last few weeks. However, no matter what the weather, I am always much in prayer throughout the week as how to best occupy our time together … so that it isn't wasted … or so that chaos isn't the total rule of thumb around here … and so that these three precious and beautiful lives can be encouraged and strengthened in their faith in Christ.
After listening to the weekend weather forecast, and since it had been quite awhile since I'd checked out any library books for the children, I went over to the library before I rendezvoused with them Friday afternoon. I picked up some very fun books! The one in the picture above was quite enjoyable about a little chicken seeking adventures away from her boring farm, and about a few of the dangerous journeys she took. 
I was able to check out THREE origami books … they look a little bit difficult, so I'm going to have to run a few tutorials this week to see if I can get a handle on some of these folds! I've been able to pick up (on sale) lots and lots of beautiful paper for the folding … the children really enjoy origami!

I brought home from the library one of Mo Willems' books: "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!" Christopher picked it up, read it through, and decided to make his OWN pigeon book … Matthew soon got in on the same kind of fun. Christopher was rather put out by Matthew's "copying" his idea without ever once considering that HE was copying Mo Willems! Kids are so funny sometimes, aren't they?

Christopher drew quite a lot of pigeon pictures, made up his own story about two pigeons finding "true love" and after he was finished with his art work, we stapled the whole thing together.
Matthew worked very hard on his book too!
Our Bible story for Friday night was about Jesus walking on the water and Peter's brave attempt to do likewise. We had a good talk about our "fears" and our "failures" and the children colored in a nice illustration of the story.

Our Friday night movie was "Forever Young" which I'd had in my video library but forgot entirely about. I hadn't watched it in years. The kids were very taken with it! We had our usual bedtime music and back rubs and then everyone went soundly to sleep ~ at our usual midnight hour. 

Saturday morning, everyone slept in really late (thank you, Lord!) but then we were up and at it. We basically continued with reading together, drawing pictures, making books, and enjoying good food. These are the only children I know who can scarf down a chef's salad in a flash! 

These "old" micro machines are still a real
hit with all of the kiddos ...
I think one of my favorite memories from the weekend was playing the piano for Emma, who by the way is teaching herself to play quite nicely. I have a CD of the Getty's and one of my favorite songs of theirs is: "In Christ Alone." I also have the piano accompaniment for that piece, so we put on the CD and then I played along with it. Emma came over to the piano and began to sing the lyrics with me. I love the words to this song ~ so full of truth and grace and the wonderful salvation we have in Christ alone. I will always remember her sweet voice singing this song and how she danced with JOY for Jesus.

Emma asked if we could work on a picture book for her good friend, Alysia, and she came all prepared with what she had in mind. We looked through my archive of recent pictures, Emma picked a few that she liked, we printed them out on my printer, and then Emma cut and affixed them into her book.
Here in West Michigan, we were under a Winter Storm Warning most of Friday night and Saturday. We certainly were NOT disappointed by the snowfall … yikes … this is a crazy amount of snow! 
We decided to be brave and go outside just for a tiny bit. I needed to dig out my car as well as to shovel out my carport and driveway. Plus, I had a bottle of bubbles for the kids to try outside in the cold. We had seen on Youtube where kids had been able to see their bubbles freeze in this cold weather … but evidently it wasn't cold enough here to do the trick! We'll have to try it again if ever it is colder! 

We were only outside for about 30 minutes and were totally frozen. The kiddos loved it. I was glad I had warm, dry clothes for them inside. We spent the rest of our afternoon just hanging out together, doing the usual stuff we always do: we baked brownies, we watched "The Princess and the Frog", we listened to beautiful music … I am thankful for every minute I get to spend with these three children. God loves them very much, and so do I!