Saturday, January 31, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This Moment - Playing Restaurant

Last Saturday, my girls went up to the playroom and developed their own little restaurant. It was appropriately called, "Braaten & Melanie's Diner". Before they developed this new establishment, they went to work at the computer making their menus. They were so excited to use all of their play food in providing great meals for all of their customers (us).

Here are the restauranteurs themselves.

They also had candles to set the mood.

They were getting all of the things I ordered from these containers
 and plating it to present to me.

And here is my fabulous meal...a B.L.T. with fries of course. I also ordered strawberries and french bread came with the meal. My drink of choice was "Sunny Juice" followed by tea. 

I am sure going to miss all of the excitement and innocence that goes into playing house or restaurant as it were. Once Daddy and the boys came home, they were their newest customers.
It was very sweet.

Which moments will you miss? Go to Pam's blog at "You're Gonna Miss This" and post one if you have a blog on her weekly carnival. And if not, cherish those times for now and thank God for all of the blessings he shows you. 

Friday, January 30, 2009

Say it Forward Fridays

Mom Blogs

Say It Forward - Carnival of Loyal Commenters is a new weekly carnival at 
5 minutes for where bloggers feature their loyal commenters.

My new blog friend, Rachel at "Grasping for Objectivity in my Subjective Life" presented this award to me about a week ago and I really do appreciate it. I have been reading her blog for the past couple of months. She is witty, humorous, serious, and altogether a really great blogger. Thanks again, Rachel.

The bloggers I would like to feature for my "Say It Forward" award are Pam, and Mimi.

Pam at "You're Gonna Miss This" has become a friend mostly through blogging. She graduated high school with my husband and eventually got in touch with us through a mutual friend. She had e-mailed me and encouraged me to start a blog. Since that time, she faithfully reads my blog and always leaves encouraging comments there. We also met up for breakfast when we visited Indiana back in November. Pam is a single mom who loves the Lord and is raising 6 beautiful children. Her parents are an amazing help to her and one of the things I like most about Pam is her willingness to be obedient to what God is calling her to do. Check out her story and see why she is an inspiration to me. 

Mimi at "He & Me + 3" is a great commenter on my blog who also loves the Lord. I always enjoy reading other Christian women's blogs for encouragement and inspiration. I definitely get that on her blog. She is a very positive person, adores her husband and children and is a self-professed neat freak, perfectionist, & major multi-tasker. Go over to her blog and grab a little laugh, encouragement, or just enjoy reading about daily life in her home. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday

We have been learned so much about parenting through various studies we've done while in small groups. Studies like, "Growing Kids God's Way", or "Shepherding a Child's Heart". We've read books and have learned things from friends at M.O.P.S or just by talking to different people and learning from them. If you have been a part of any of those things I've mentioned, thank you for helping us in this huge and blessed thing called parenting. And most of all, we thank our Lord Jesus and give all the glory to Him for guiding us.

We still have a loooonnnnggg way to go. 

For more "Word-Filled Wednesday" posts, visit Amy's blog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday (The Silly Five)

To see more "Wordless Wednesday" posts, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Precious Moment

A few days ago I had a particularly rough day all around. My mood wasn't great, the kids were fighting, and there was some really bad backtalking going on. The older our children get, the more they have a voice. The problem is in not that they have something to say, it's how they communicate it at times that can cause difficulties. It comes down to a heart issue and admittedly, it has started with mine. 

I am reminded of what it says in God's word in:

Ephesians 4:29 - 32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemtion. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I can sit here a explain that I am a SAHM that is responsible for the education of 5 children that are 12 and under, and that I live in a new country where my friends and family are not, and, and, and...

Those are called excuses. I am fully aware of all of those things. I'm certain that God has placed me right where I am so that I can grow and be fully dependent upon Him. And I want to glorify God in being blessed to be a SAHM, to be the mother of 5 amazing children, and the wife of a hard-working, commited man whom I adore. It is also a great gift to be able to travel and discover all of these new places that we can see and learn about. It just gets hard sometimes and God shows me that I need to commit all that I do to Him in prayer. It is with His strength that I can do all of these things. 

Fast forward a few days and I sit here today, Sunday, very peaceful, content, joyful, and ready to start a new week. My pastor talked today on Phillipians 3:1-16. It was about Paul pressing on toward the goal to get the prize (paraphrasing here). My pastor talked about the Christian's walk which is one that is a lifelong process until we are with Jesus face to face. We can't sit back and be content with where we are right now and think we have "arrived". We must continue to strive to be more and more like Him. 

My friend, Susan, in Minnesota also encouraged me in saying that sometimes certain struggles we have take a longer time to walk out than others. I appreciated talking with her and being assured that she would be praying for me.

God is so good...all the time. With His Holy Spirit, his perfect Word,  and dedicated friends and family that lift me up and encourage me, I can live out the life God is asking me to. 

The title of my post is "A Precious Moment" which I want to share. On the day that I was struggling with the children, I went off to be by myself to eat my lunch and to also pray. I calmed down and heard the kids whispering in the kitchen. They came to me in a line, from youngest to oldest, with a presentation. They each had something to say.

Cooper walked in and said: "We're thankful for all of our toys".
Then Grant said, "We're thankful for our home". 
Melanie said, "We're thankful for our school".
Braaten said, "We're thankful for our electronics". 
And Austin said, "We're thankful for our food". 

Isn't that a picture of what God wants to hear from us?  

I was speechless. Shawn and I want our children to have a heart of thankfulness. They had me in tears for sure. 

Have a blessed Sunday. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This... Moment (planning parties)

Even though it takes time and some imagination, I'll miss planning kid birthday parties one day. It's especially challenging when the party comes after the actual birthday. Somehow you have less energy to pull it off the way you imagined. It is well worth it in the end, though.

Braaten turned 11 a couple of weeks ago. She invited several pairs of sisters (they all have a younger sister for Melanie, our younger daughter). The theme of the party was "Sister/Friend Makeovers". They each had the opportunity to do hair and make-up on their sister or friend. So here's how it all worked out.

Lots of girls sitting in the 2nd floor landing having fun doing what girls dream to do when they grow up. Mind you, I in no way encourage doing all of this at a young age... 16 or 17 years of age would be just right for our family. Hey, maybe even older. :-)

Megan was not having so much fun at this point.

These two sisters, Claire and Camille, had fun over-doing it a bit.

And this is the whole bunch!

Check out Pam's blog carnival, "You're Gonna Miss This Moment" to see other moments that will be missed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Presenting... Austin!

Austin has gotten into this new thing called a "Tech Deck". It's basically a tiny, little skateboard that you maneuver with your hand. He heard about it from his friend, Andy, and since then, just had to have one. Cooper, his younger brother, was kind enough to get him one for Christmas. The price tag of just £3.99 was not bad. 

We discovered that our camera has a video function which the kids are having fun playing with. So here's our first camera video.

Check out his cool tricks!   

Have a great Friday!

Friday Funnies :-)


The Sunday School teacher asked her pupils to draw a picture of Joseph, Mary,
and the Christ child fleeing from Herod.

Margie drew an airplane with 3 faces looking out the window. 

"That's interesting," the teacher said. "Where are they going?"

"Egypt", Margie replied. 

"By airplane?"

"Yes, Pontius, the pilot is driving." 

(To see more Friday Funnies, visit "Homesteader's Heart". )

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

For Wordless Wednesday, this week, I thought I'd share a plethora of pictures. To see more of these funny posts, go here.

I'm not sure what Melanie was doing here, but I thought you would get a kick out of seeing it. 

Our boys said this to our pastor once, "You got tickets?" And he replied, "Tickets to what?" And they said, "The gun show." They proceeded to kiss their muscles and then crack up. Our pastor was in stitches. 

Cooper posing for the camera.

We saw this storefront in Wales. Welsh is a difficult language to read as it is, but with many words smooshed together, it's even harder!

Happy Wednesday! 

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's on to Indiana, Folks...

Just to recap previous posts about our trip back home from England in November, we had been to NJ and NY, MI, and finally Indiana all in the span of about 11 days. We were able to see my family, Shawn's family and lots and lots of friends. A bonus trip into New York City via the Path train was great for the kids to finally see the Big Apple. They had never been there. 

The gazillion pictures I've posted here were from the Indiana portion of the trip. We had Thanksgiving at my cousin, Becky's, home. Her mom, my Aunt Perina, was there which was really special because she passed away just 3 weeks later. She is dearly missed. 

My in-laws came with us to celebrate Thanksgiving. That's Shawn's brother, Tim.

This is my cousin, Dave, with my Prince Charming. I remember growing up and really looking forward to the times when Dave would visit us in New Jersey. He was always such a fun guy. He hasn't changed either. 

Here's Becky after a long day of preparations just having a little fun.

All kinds of cousins

Grant, Nicole (Jill's daughter), and Cooper

I'm not sure what these kiddos were watching.

Why all the long faces?? I'm not sure. I have a feeling they were messing with Shawn when he wanted to take a picture. Rachel and my girls love to play together when we visit. They made their own little "house" up in the hay mow.


My sister-in-law, April's, daughter, Lexi, with her very first Build-A-Bear. How sweet. :-)

Austin, Lance, Kreigh, and Adam (April's 2 boys are the 2nd and 4th). Kreigh, my nephew, is in the red. One of Austin's favorite pastimes is to go fishing. They caught quite a few.

Cooper playing in Grandma's hallway.

Braaten was watching tv.

Melanie with multiple kitties. Since my inlaws live on a farm, there are always new litters of kittens in the spring and summer. Oh, what joy, for the kids!

Just catching up on the latest news through the "Decatur Democrat".

Thanksgiving morning tradition - the annual rabbit hunt. I know, gross!, but the men and boys love it. Have you read, "Wild at Heart"? 

Jill and I (my dear cousin and sister-in-law). We married a couple of Busse brothers.  

My MIL asked my husband if our girls would help her decorate for Christmas. He said I'm sure they'd love that. When the time came, they were playing with Rachel in the hay mow, so the boys did all the decorating. Go figure! They did a great job!

Here's Grandma checking in on them. :-)

As I've said before, we really enjoyed our trip. It was packed full of fun things to do and great people to see. I have just one more post about Indiana and that should wind up our tour.

Thanks for stopping by and reminiscing with me. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This... Moment

Austin loves to golf. He gets so excited every week when it's time for a lesson and just gets a huge grin on his face. He can hardly contain himself when something excites him. I love that about him. He puts all of his energy into that one thing. I think he'll always be this way, so that part I will not miss because it'll be there. It's part of the way God made him.

What I will miss is having him take golf lessons at the Lymm golf club where he is a junior member. I don't know if God has more of the same for him once we leave here. And even if it is in His plans, Austin will be older, he'll be more mature, and he might not have the same joy he has right now. Knowing him though, he probably will.

He's all dressed up and ready to go. This was just a few weeks ago. While Shawn was off at Christmas, he took Austin out to play a round of golf. He was his caddy. Very sweet.

Here is a series of photos taken with the "action" setting on to see the full swing.


To enjoy more "You're Gonna Miss This Moment...", go to Pam's blog. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Doesn't everyone dress up like a Ninja Turtle to have their Saturday morning coffee?

Melanie, Braaten, and Grant came up with the brilliant idea to dress up first thing in the morning and then con their Daddy into joining in on the fun.