31 May 2011

James: Faithful Prayer

The Prayer of Faith
 James 5: 13-20

 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. 

There is so much in this passage about the power of prayer and the importance of prayer that we would be foolish to disregard it. 

I love how at the beginning of the passage it says, "If you are suffering--pray about it...if you are thankful---sing praises about it, if you are sick--call on the elders of the church and have them pray over you!"  Basically there is nothing that is too big or too little for God to handle!  (And speaking of elders, my John just became an elder at our church 2 weeks ago...pray for us as we embark on this new ministry of service to our church body!  We feel really ready and excited about it.)

Alice Hech and Debi Hech

 I also love how in verse 16 it talks about confessing our sins to each other so we can experience healing.  This is where having an accountability partner or a trusted friend in Christ can really help you to grow when you are able to be open/honest with one another about the things you struggle with.  Praying with your accountability partner and for them is such a blessing.  About a year after John and I got married I felt God calling me to ask Debi Hech to be my prayer partner, and now our families are our families.  We have grown so close over these past 7-8 years, meeting once a week at times, or twice a month now that I have little ones, but their was just something about having someone older than me who loved the Lord to talk to and seek godly advice from, and do Bible studies with, was truly a blessing!

And the rest of verse 16 "the prayers of a righteous person is powerful and effective."  Who are the people you ask to pray for you?  Chances are you ask certain people because you not only trust them, but you believe in the power of prayer and you believe that person will actually take the time to stop and pray for you!  I have a group of about 4 friends who I regularly text or email and ask for prayer because I KNOW they will pray for me.  And when one of them ask me to pray for them or a situation or a family member I stop what I am doing, even gather my kids if I need to and we pray together.  It's a great way to teach our children that God hears us no matter where we are, in the kitchen on our knees, in our bed, outside playing, in our car, we can always call on Him and depend on Him to hear us and to answer.

I love verse 19 because it just shows you the faithfulness of God that He never gives up on us, even when we walk away from Him.  He is the faithful father when we become prodigal sons.  And He is always waiting with open arms to receive us back to himself.  How neat is it to play a role in the life of bringing someone back to the Lord, maybe through prayer, or encouragement, or exhortation.

So, my dear ones, how can I pray for you today?

If you'd like to read my other posts on James (click below)...

James 1
James 2: 14-26
James 3: 1-12
James 3: 13-18
James 4: 1-12
James 5: 1-6
James 5

30 May 2011

Patritotic Curriculum for Little Ones

During Graduate School, my Dean, Dr. Hartzler, was not only an amazing man of God, but he was like a dad to me.  And after I had Julia and was a stay at home mom, he visited TCS to speak, I made sure I visited that day also with Julia in tow just to see him!  After giving him a huge hug I told him, "I miss teaching so much Dr. Hartzler."  He is a dad of 5 amazing children and he told me, "Kristi, use this time while you are home to invest in your children and write your OWN curriculum for them!"  In other words, I don't have to stop teaching, I can teach my kids, and have fun doing it!  So pardon me if I'm a little excited about sharing some of my lesson plans with you, but this is what I love to do, I'm passionate about it, and I love my kids, so I want to share it with you!

Julia is 3 1/2 and loves to learn!  We are currently reading through this book called Kids meet the Presidents by Paul Rodhe & Paul Beatrice.  I picked this book because it was small (my kids like books that are easy to hold and not too heavy) and there were 44 pages of 44 die cut portraits of the presidents.  I thought it was super cool.  (click on the title of the book if you'd like to see it and order it through amazon.)
We read about a different president each week (I do some paraphrasing because this is definitely an elementary age book but I wanted that so we can still use it when they are older)  and some days we just review the ones we've already read so I point to the portrait and say, "Who is this?" "George Washington!"  Who is this?  "Barrack Obama!"  Who is this? John Adams!  When I start my coin unit we may jump ahead to meet Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt! 

I'm also in the process of purchasing Just a Piggy Bank by Gina Mayer.  I love these books!  We have a slew of them at home, I love the pictures and the humor of the author.  But this book is going to "kick off" my coin unit I'm going to be starting next month with my kids (mid June to July).  Both my kids have piggy banks and we LOVE to put coins in our piggy banks but I wanted to teach them who the men are on the coins, the names of the coins, and their value.  I'm going to be using the following worksheets to help me.  click here for penny...click here for nickle....click here for dime....click here for quarters.  Now you can have some worksheets for your preschooler....and the websites have more information, so check it out if you have time. 

My Mark (2 years old) during our President reading time just soaks it all in, and that's okay, at least he's hearing it.  When we do the coin unit, he can color the worksheets, put the coins in his piggy bank and help us count the coins, while Julia may be able to remember who is on each coin and the value.  We will see!  But it will be fun to learn with them!

Do you know of any songs about coins, or money we could sing?  Or maybe any rhymes?  That's my next research project!

Happy Memorial Day!

29 May 2011

Freedom isn't Free

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  Today in church Pastor Joe gave a great message on remembering our God, the importance of memorials, and how Freedom is never free.  I'm thankful to all the men and women who gave up their lives because they believed in protect our democracy and freedoms every day.  We are a blessed nation.  Freedom is never free because there is always a price to pay, and the willingness of soldiers to give up their life in an amazing gift. 

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — General George S. Patton

***Tomorrow I will be sharing some pre-school ideas for celebrating patriotic holidays
*Presidential Kid books
*Coins lesson plan
*patriotic crafts

28 May 2011

Blog Makeover...Mother Bear

My blog is getting a makeover...so keep a close look out in the days to come, little changes here and there (thanks to my Christy B. hard work) and a very big change very soon...hope you all LOVE it!

Wanted to share a story that happened on Thursday at Dorbrook Park.  It was just me and the kids, as usual, enjoying the sun-shiney day, minding our business, going down slides, climbing, running, and playing, and trying lots of cool stunts on the monkey bars and balance beams and all the cool equipment they have at Dorbrook....when two little boys started harassing my daughter!

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Now mind you my daughter may be girlie and love dressing up, but she can hang with the best of them!  She's fast and athletic and always willing to try something new.  And she watches the big kids and tries her best to keep up, especially at the park.

At the park I have two very mobile children now who play on OPPOSITE equipment, but a few minutes before we were about to leave she came over to me with a whimper in her voice, "Mommy, that boy said I'm a bad girl!"  What?! Nobody calls my baby bad.  She is NOT bad.  She might make bad choices or do something naughty, but all kids do.  I don't know why this little boy called her this, but the MOTHER BEAR came out, and I said, "Who called you bad?"  She couldn't find the boy at the time (this park is HUGE) and I just continued to comfort her and tell her she was not bad or mean, and I even said, "You know what Julia, he might be jealous because you were climbing so high on that rock climbing wall!"

As I rounded up both kids, and we headed out sure enough the two little boys who must've been taunting her (they are so lucky I didn't see this happen because I would've marched them right to their mothers or at least told them to watch their words and be kind!) The taller boy started to follow us and say, "Good riddance!"  Oh, my, word, I wanted to give him a good spanking!  How rude?  Poor Julia was truly broken hearted, she just couldn't understand why those boys could be so mean, and hurt her heart.  It was a good opportunity for us to talk about the power of words and how we need to watch what we say because we can hurt people's hearts with our words.  We talked about how that little boy's behavior was not nice or friendly.  What would you do in an instance at a park when you see or hear your child being harassed?  My first instinct is obviously to remove my child from the place, but my teacher instinct is to address the bullies, bullies were never allowed in my classroom.  I always had a bully talk at the beginning of each school year, and I told my students that behavior would NOT be tolerated because our classroom was going to be a safe place where we would all feel comfortable to be ourselves and learn together.

Let's remember to teach our children to treat others on the playground with respect and to be kind.  And how about if you see your child being mean or saying unkind things you give them a time out or a talk?  Julia got two time outs this particular day because she threw sand up in the air, even though no kids were around that is our rule that we don't throw sand because it could get into someone's eye.  She had 2, 3 minute time outs...but it was worth it because the behavior stopped.

 What do you do when you feel the Mother Bear coming out of you because your child has been harmed?

27 May 2011

Helpful Tips.. Ideas for this Summer

Happy Birthday, my Marky, even covered in dirt you are a cutie patootie, darling boy.  What would we ever do without you!?  Can't wait to spend our day at the Turtle Back Zoo this Friday with Auntie Christy and Lizzy Lou, celebrating you (it's Wednesday evening as I type).

This past weekend my handy man (Green thumb, lord willing) decided to pull out 4 over grown bushes and plant a full fledged garden (we gave each herb/fruit/vegetable to my mom so she could grow them with us and then if our garden flopped we would have a go-to person! My mom is an amazing gardener, I'm secretly jealous).  My hubby decided to do this garden while Julia and I had a girl day at the Mall (she kept squealing, "Not Daddy, Not Marky, JUST GIRLS!") and even though she didn't last through the whole movie (an hour and a half for Julia in front of a screen just isn't happening yet, she is a bean! a jumping bean, but we DID have fun) we still got to have girl/alone time and just walking around hand in hand with your daughter is wonderful.

When I got back the garden was pretty much complete, and both boys were perfectly dirty and both needed a bath/shower!  But Mark is so proud of this garden, he has truly claimed it!  At the library we took out a book called Uno's Garden by Graeme Base...the pictures are AMAZING!  To be helpful there is a link to amazon, click on the title.

Another book I really liked and picked up is How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan.  This is a Let's read and find out science book, and the pictures are so bright and happy and the children are multiracial...meaning not all the kids have blue eyes and blond hair, there's nothing wrong with blue eyes and blond hair, but I love books that showcase kids of all different cultures, colors, and shades!  To be helpful I enclosed an amazon link so you can see the book and purchase it if you'd like.  Click on the title.

Who would have thought that just planting an herb/vegetable garden would be so exciting for kids?  My kids remind us every day to water the plants and they are always checking on it to see what is growing. (We are growing red leaf lettuce, and romaine lettuce, cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini, basil, sage, parsley, tomatoes, and green peppers.)  John really wants to plant an apple tree too so we can stop having to make two trips to the farmers market each week (we go through a bag of apples each week!)

More Circle Time Additions & Ideas

I am so excited that so many of you are doing circle time in your homes with your toddlers!  Isn't it super fun?  And the kids never want it to end!  I always have to have an art project, a craft, snack time, or an outing to entice them to move away from Circle Time.  For those of you who'd like to know what I do during Circle time with Julia (3 1/2) and Mark (2) click here.

One of you even shared with me at MOPs that you are teaching your 20 month old Bible verses!  That is so encouraging to me!  Isn't it neat to see what other moms are doing and draw ideas from each other?  I love it!  Here are some more things we've been doing:

The White Board/Chalk Board

Each night (most nights anyway) I write a message on our white board, and after we sing Pretzel Style and What's the weather, we read Mommy's message together.  Julia and Mark can site read their names of course, but now we are working on days of the week and the month.  I choose certain letters to underline and sound out...this week was the TH sound. 

And I always get to sneak in lots of "I love you" messages.  This is something I would do each morning for my third/fourth graders to get them settled in the morning with an assignment of course, but I always liked to add in a few encouraging words or things to look forward to throughout the day.  Sometimes I tell my kids (Julia and Mark) Today we are going to the park! Or Today is Library at 11:00.

Then we review our Bible verses, our letters and sounds, our numbers and counting, and our presidents! (Tune in on Memorial Day for some really cool patriotic ideas/books for your kids!!!)  Julia and Mark know all about George Washington, John Adams and Barrack Obama now!  In the car today Julia was singing a song about "George Washington (at first she called him George Washingmachine) and Barrack Obama" I guess the names are catchy!  I'm just glad I don't need to give my opinions about the Presidents because some of them would NOT be very positive.  I just give her the facts and tell her how important it is to pray for the leaders of our country that they make wise decisions, and that God will protect our country when they don't make such wise decisions.  Enough said.

Back Packs

A few weeks ago I saw these darling back packs at the store.  They are called Zoo Packs, finally I broke down and bought an Owl for my girl and Mark picked out a doggy for his birthday.

Here are some great reasons why back packs are great:

*Keeps your kid organized
*You can teach them responsiblity
*You can keep a spare outfit in there
*A favorite book/toy can go in there
*A covered snack (snack with a lid or in a zip lock)
*When traveling to park/library/car ride, etc bringing the back pack helps your kid remember what they'd like to bring (and mommy can ditch the diaper bag...this has to happen around 2 years old though or after potty training....although Mark couldn't help but want one since JuJu got one for gymnastics).

This week we had a lesson during Circle Time about our back packs (Circle Time is a great time to introduce rules or new concepts because the setting is light and fun and the children are sitting and looking at mommy's every move)  They were told that the back packs are their special bags, to be kept clean and neat, and we take good care of our zoo pet.  We make sure we zip it all the way up (demonstrate zipping, take turns, etc.) Then we named our back pack.  Julia names everything Amanda lately.  And Mark didn't know what to name it, but Doggy was just fine.

Now whenever we go on a trip (Friday we are going to the Turtle back zoo for Marky's birthday) back packs will be ready at the door, or in the car waiting, and during the trip each child will have all that they need (and they can hang easily on a stroller).

 Dollar Store Finds

Repeat after me, "The dollar store is my best friend!"  And it is!  I go at least once a month just to see what I can snatch up to spice up school time at home.  A few weeks ago I found these etch o sketches!  They fit in each kids lap and they are awesome!  The kids love to use them, they draw pictures, scribble scrabble, practice writing their names (mommy did the ones for the picture) and it works great in the car because there is no mess!  No marker or crayons to worry about!  Also great to use during circle time when introducing a new sound or letter or number.  Julia and I use her board during our reading lessons too, or a small white board is great too, but then you get messy marker fingers.

Hope these ideas helped!  Let me know what you got from this post today, or what you will try at home with your kids or family!  I love hearing from you!

Have a great weekend! We are off to the zoo!  This is our Marky-birthday tradition and yesterday when I told the kids my plans for today they squealed with delight, it's so cool when they really get where they are going and are so excited to go!  Pray for me as I take two walking toddlers this year!  I'm sure it will be great!

Another birthday tradition is the night before each child's birthday we each pray a blessing over that child.  And tonight when I prayed for Marky I prayed he would be the man of God described in Psalm 1: 1-3...firmly planted in the ground with strong roots and lots of fruit.  I pray that Mark will grow up to be the man of God that He has planned for Him.  Daddy prayed he would be as wise as Solomon and as humble as Paul.  Julia told him how much she loved him!  Pray a special blessing over your child tonight and cover them with kisses and hugs!

26 May 2011

My Marky turns 2 on Friday! First Blog Hop

This afternoon I spent the entire "nap time" (the sacred time when both my kids nap) to create a book for my Mark for his birthday.  I created it on Mixbook.com and it was really fun!  I got to use a hundred different photos and think back over his little life!

I cried through some pages and laughed out loud at others!  The past 2 years have been BUSY and even crazy at times trying to manage two little people, but you know what, I wouldn't trade one single moment anywhere else!  Today I am thankful to be a Mom to Mark and Julia, for better or for worse, sticky fingers or not, through Barney or Blues Clues, chasing, running, cleaning, cooking, laughing, playing, building, changing diapers, and wiping lots of noses, its ALL GOOD!

And to my darling husband who commutes to NYC every day in rain, sleet, snow, or shine, who wakes up at the crack of dawn and arrives sometimes after the little ones have gone to bed....thank you....thank you for letting me stay home and not miss a single second.

It's time to Mingle!

Hosted by All About Being Inspired, Happy Go Lucky, Joy in the Jumble and Keeping Up With Kristi
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.
This weeks guest host is Denise's Journal.
There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.
We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot. 
We always follow back!!
Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others.  There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.

We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.

25 May 2011

Problem to Problem to Problem

This excerpt comes from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  It is the May 25 devotion for the day, and it is so pertinent to our daily lives because as busy women, busy moms, women with careers, wives, etc, we get so busy and when problems come we instantly get anxious.

"The world is too much with you, My child.  Your mind leaps from problem to problem to problem, tangling your thoughts in anxious knots.  When you think like that, you leave Me out of your world-view and your mind becomes darkened."

When we need to think God's thoughts and remember truth, we need to turn off our simple way of thinking and calm our fears by the truth of His word and His promises.  My all time favorite verse that always comforts me is:

Isaiah 41: 10

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, 
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isn't it comforting to know that God, our creator, our friend, holds us up with His righteous right hand!  He is with us, encouraging us, we are not alone.  So many times I feel alone.  I can feel overwhelmed, or tired, or discouraged and I have no one else to talk to about it.  I'm the only adult in my house most hours of the day and it gets LONELY, but I am not alone.  God is my strength!  Sometimes I forget that and I get so anxious my stomach gets tied in knots, I can't eat, I get frustrated or irritable, my thinking gets negative and fatalistic and my whole view is askew.  Here is another great verse to remember that we are NOT alone.

Zephaniah 3: 17

The Lord Your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love
He will rejoice over you with singing.

Our God is Mighty, He takes the time to rejoice with us, He can calm and quiet us with His love.  We don't need to be stressed out and anxious.  We are too blessed to be stressed!  He rejoices over us (can you believe that???) with singing.  Wow!  That's how much my God loves me, he sings over me the way I sing over my children with utter love and affection and with His perfect love.

Psalm 34: 19

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

We are going to face problems!  Many are the afflictions of the righteous!  When we are following God and surrendering our lives to Him it is NOT always rosy and happy and wonderful!  But the Lord is our deliverer.  He sustains us in the midst of our problems.  So today I hope you are encouraged that you are not to fear, that you are not alone, that God loves you and rejoices over you, that God will deliver you, and know that He is always in your midst!  Just knowing that He upholds us with His victorious right hand alone makes me smile!

What problems are you facing right now that are keeping you from seeking God's help?  What is distracting you from His Presence?  Tune it out, shut it off, and take time to be with the Mighty One who saves and delivers.

24 May 2011

James: Patience in Suffering

We are almost done with our walk through the Bible study on James...next Tuesday will end our study and we will be turning to the Old Testament book of Esther! I'm so excited to study Esther again, I did a really great study on Esther with my buddy Debi Hech right before Mark was born, and now 2 years later, I'm excited to re-visit Esther and see what God's Word will teach me this time!

I'm going to walk through the book of Esther differently than the way we studied James, verse by verse.  We will take it chapter by chapter and study all the main characters from Queen Esther all the way to Haman!  We will also look at the historical happenings and apply how Esther's choices affected her people (The chosen people, the Jews).  I can't help but think about Barrack Obama's recent call to ask Israel to go back to their 1967 border decision.  Wow!  This came out of nowhere!  Can't believe Obama is doing this right now, maybe to keep peace with the Muslims?  Who knows, but either way, we better be very careful as Christians and Americans to pray for our president to make wise decisions, because to me this is a very rocky decision.  One that will make Israel very angry.

If you don't agree that the end times aren't near there is just so much happening in the news, in the Middle East, and right here in the U.S. that totally coincide with what the Apostle John spoke about in Revelations.  Neat stuff, and very applicable to today.

Okay, enough about Esther, let's focus on the book of James in the New Testament...isn't is awesome to study God's Word?  Being able to share it through my blog with you also holds me accountable to reading it each day and studying it, and learning from my Savior.  So, thank you for the accountability.  I want to read God's word faithfully and make it a priority, not put it on the back burner just because I'm a busy mom.

James 5: 7-12

Patience in Suffering

7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.  9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
 12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned. 
I am constantly reminding myself that this is not my home.  I better not get too comfortable here, because "here" is just temporary.  As a believer in Jesus, I am waiting for the day to spend eternity with Him.  I can't even imagine what heaven will be like.  It is too much for my brain to even comprehend.  But I do know this I will be with God forever, worshiping Him.  That's why I better get used to it now here on earth!  We are reminded not to store up treasures here on earth (homes, cars, boats, summer homes, etc) God has given us many blessings to enjoy but we need to constantly remember that we should be patiently waiting for the day for his return.  

AND WE won't KNOW when that time will be when he does return.  It was always comical that all these people were planning on Christ's return on May 21, 2011 at 6pm.  Click on the date to read an article on Campings answers as he explains how he was flabbergasted that the world didn't end.

It says in Matthew that not even Jesus knows the day or the hour, only God the Father knows!  It was sad to think that people maxed out their credit cards and spent their retirement funds to support this May 21st cause, especially when 6pm came and went and Jesus DID NOT return.  He's coming, my friends, so we do need to be ready, but we won't know exactly when that will be.

Our daily lives are to be honoring to God, we will make mistakes, of course, but if we aren't willing to give God our lives as acts of worship here on earth, then why would we even want to spend eternity in heaven doing so!  I want to learn as much about my creator now, while I am here on earth, and show him I love him with my life.  I'm thankful that He even  allows us to do so.

What are your thoughts on the end times?  Do you think they are near?  I sure do!  What makes you think so?

23 May 2011

Preschool Literature...We love books!

Reading is one of my favorite past times, and reading with my kids is super fun!  Today during our library/family time after we were done hearing books, going on a rainbow walk, and shaking our instruments and singing we headed to the library store where books are priced super low, from 10cents to $1.  I pull out my change and each child goes home with a book or two.  As I was paying at the counter Julia plopped herself on the floor and started reading out loud to her brother who was sucking his thumb in his stroller.

(Old Bridge Public Library has an awesome library preschool program throughout the week, and on Saturdays they also have story time for all ages at 11am and dance party at 12pm for all ages...it's a blast, the kids can't wait to see what Miss Gretchen has up her sleeve)

And each session always ends with bubbles!

What I have found is the more I am exposing my kids to the library and story time at home (we go at least twice a week now sometimes 3 times if we go on Saturday) is reading is the norm.  Books are not boring, they are captivating and fun!  I use books to introduce new topics, sharing issues, being a big sister, obeying mommy and daddy, and being kind to our friends.  Using books is a great way to show your kids pictures and life outside of their small narrow "me" focus.

Here's a look at what we've been learning:

All people (no matter what their skin color) are beautiful and special to God.

A while back I mentioned how Julia was saying some things about skin color.  Not to be rude, but just matter of factly.  We would be at church, or in a store and she would look at me and say, "Mommy she has a black face."  Mortified I would correct her to zip her lips, and once we were in the car, we discussed how our words could hurt people's feelings.  Julia just didn't get it.  She then said, "But mommy, what did I do?'  I got the idea to read her a book that I once read to my third graders during Black History Month all about the shades of people of color (And me being a woman of color with brown skin has been a great teaching tool to share with her and Mark, since they forget that my skin is different from their skin since I'm just plain old mommy to them).

The book is called: Shades of Black: A Celebration of our Children  click here if you'd like to purchase this book for $6.99.

I highly recommend this book if you want to address the issue of race/skin color with your kids.  The pictures are beautiful and the constant reminder is that we are all unique and we are all special.  After reading this book and seeing all the beautiful shades of skin I was better prepared to share race and kindness with Julia.  We talked about each child and how God made them. 

More Preschool Ideas

Last week our theme was farm animals, we even had a scheduled field trip to Terhune Farms in Princeton where we were going to hear books about animals, pet the farm animals, and be able to take our very own sheep hair (or something like that) and we were going to make a craft, but we got rained out!  That didn't stop us!  In circle time we read lots of animal books, we made animal sounds, and we colored farm animal pictures, and we sang, "Old MacDonald!"  We even watched some of Charlotte's Web after craft time so mommy could make lunch!

This week we are going to stick with the farm animal theme but we are going to read a really good book and a classic called, The Ugly Duckling, and we are going to learn all about self esteem and how it doesn't matter if we look different on the outside because that's what makes us special!  Then we are going to color pictures of ducks and swans and learn about the differences between the two (I'm going to make a Venn Diagram and we are going to say what is the same about them (that goes in the middle of the diagram) and then what is different about them (those details go the separate side of the diagram) then we are going to post it on our pantry door to show daddy when he gets home!  John is always amazed at what we are learning and it's good for the kids to get excited to show daddy, because then daddy asks, "What is this? What did you learn today?"  And the kids have to review what they learned, and they are just so proud of themselves!

If you click on the The Ugly Duckling words you will go to a children's site that has the story, but then you are also show many ideas of how to expand your child's learning!  I love sites like this!  This is where I get my craft ideas, and free printouts from!

Julia and I also fell in love with the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  This is a sweet little book about a mouse who is named after a flower, and her parents love her and love her name but at school the kids tease her, it's not until a sweet music/theatre teacher embraces her and helps her see how wonderful her name is!  I love when teachers teach those bullies a lesson!  If you click on the title you will go to a website with info about the author and some fun lessons that you can teach your child!  We will be coloring chrysanthemums of course, but we will talk about how important it is to be kind, our verse for next week is "Love your neighbor as you Love yourself." (Matthew 22:39)

Bible Memory Verses for Pre-Schoolers

A lot of my friends have been asking, "How do your kids know bible verses already?" (I mean, they aren't even in Awana yet, that's next year) They aren't too shocked about Miss Social Julia Star, but Mark isn't that much of a talker (in public, at home it's non stop, lol) and yet he keeps up with Julia, my answer is, we practice, practice, practice!  And we say our verses everywhere, in the car, in the tub, during dinner, at the store, at the park, at grandmas (grandma's house is a perfect place to practice) at the library, it's just in their heads I guess (and hopefully one day in their hearts).

I started to wonder, after the holidays, which verses will be next?  So I started researching and I found a website with hand-outs for the kids to color, and hand motions for some of them, this was a real hit, and this became our Spring/Summer memory program.  Click the words Spring/Summer program to find it.  I hope it blesses you and encourages you as much as it has me, I'm memorizing right along with my kids, and we always do it with a smile!  The worksheets we print out, color and showcase as we practice, then after the 2 or 3 weeks of memorizing we move on to the next one...in all honesty, it's on the time table of your child, and there is NO RUSH, learning is a journey, not a race!  I'm just excited my kids are excited to learn, and we are having fun, and it's God's Word!  Win-win!!!

Hope those ideas help!  Tune in next Monday, Memorial Day, for some more ideas/tips about kids learning about the Presidents of the U.S. and some great books to help with that!

21 May 2011

My Very Own Preschool

Circle Time: 15-30 min. daily

Right after we finish breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, and mommy finishes laundry and dishes and making all the beds it is CIRCLE TIME.  They LOVE circle time because we sing, read books, count, play games, and have constant interaction!

I've even noticed that now while I'm cleaning up after breakfast the kids hang out in the living room and start singing as they wait for me.

Pretzel Style Song:

We begin CIRCLE TIME with singing, "We are sitting pretzel style, pretzel style, pretzel style we are sitting pretzel style, can you sit like: (then each person says their whole name) Miss Mommy Kristi McInerney, can you sit like, Miss Julia Star McInerney, can you sit like, Mr. Mark Ciro McInerney!  We are sitting pretzel style, pretzel style, pretzel style, we are sitting pretzel style can you sit like us!  We clap our hands on our knees to the beat.

What's the Weather song:

Then each morning we sing, "What's the weather, what's the weather, what's the weather like today?  Is it sunny? Is it cloudy?  Is it rainy out today?  Tell us _____________, Tell us __________, what's the weather like today? Is it sunny? Is it cloudy? Is it rainy out today?

Whoever's turn it is gets to open up the curtains or look out the door and check the weather!  The kids love it when it's THEIR turn, Mark gets the biggest smile when we sing, "Tell us Marky, Tell us Marky, what's the weather like today?"

Date and Weather Report

Then Mommy writes on our board the day, the month and the number, and our weather report (sunny, rainy, cloudy, etc...as the kids get older we will graph this on a chart to keep track)

Review Facts

Then it's time to go over our basic information.  We go over our whole name, our age, our birthday month, our phone number, our address, and the country we live in.  Then we review our Bible verses that we've memorized, and we end with our most recent one Deuteronomy 6:5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might! (we have hand motions, too)  I am teaching the kids a new verse every two weeks this summer, it takes Julia 1-2 days to memorize, but marky needs at least 2 weeks, and its always good to review.  Then, Suzette even inspired me to start going over the Presidents of the U.S.  I wasn't sure when to start teaching them geography and history facts, but with their minds being little sponges it never hurts to start now.  So far we've learned some fun facts about George Washington and Barrack O'Bama. And during the Memorial Day holiday and 4th of July holiday we will learn about how our coins have presidents faces on them and more patriotic type facts.

Story Time

Then it's story time, and this is when we get really close, and Mark is known to plop himself right in my lap.  Julia gets a chance to pick a book out of the basket, then Mark gets to, and I choose a few.

I try to change the book basket weekly, because we have so many books and the kids have their favorites of course.  Mark is still a big fan of Brown Bear Brown Bear, and Julia has been picking out some ballet and princess books.

Finger Play Games:

Then we like to do some finger play games like:

Eentsy Weentsy Spider
5 Little Monkeys
Wheels On the Bus
Old McDonald had a farm
Twinkle Twinkle
I'm a little tea pot
Hickory Dickory Dock
Where is Thumbkin

(just to name a few)  We also are known to stand up during book time and do stretches or jumping jacks, or spinning or twirling or simple shaking out our wiggles.

Then we have our Bible Story Hero Time!  We have completed several of our Children's Bible Books so we keep starting new ones, and in this one each Bible Hero is named alphabetically, so far we've learned about Aaorn, Abel, and Abigail, and each Bible hero has a song that goes along with the theme, whether it be a man who obeyed God, A woman who was a peacemaker, etc, and a Bible verse, it gives us a lot to talk about and learn, and I like the CD that goes along with it too.

Circle Time Readiness

*choose your theme or books the week or night before
* have some coloring sheets that match your topic so that after circle time you can do a craft or a follow up activity at a table
*choose activities or games or finger plays so your child does not have to sit still for long periods of time
* allow for choices during circle time, which book should we read now? what song can we song? who would like to write their name on the board?  This makes the kids not only feel special but proud of what they can choose or do.

The older can teach the younger

Julia has memorized lots of books, so now part of her job in circle time is to show them to Marky and to "read" them to him.  I found that they do this all the time outside of "school time" so I incorporated in our school time.  She reads books about colors, shapes, ABC's, numbers etc, so she is practicing herself and teaching Mark at the same time!  It makes her feel very grown up!

Who would have known that the 7 months I taught pre-school before I landed my job at TCS in third grade would truly pay off in leaps and bounds, with a 2 year old and 3 year old, I now have my very own preschool!

Do you have any fun  school activities you do that you can share?
Would you be interested in more of our weekly themed circle time ideas?

If so, comment below and I'll be sure to get back to you! or you can email me at:


20 May 2011

Making Life Exciting for Your Little Ones

Weekends are a treasure around here.  My three favorite people are in an arms reach and everything seems easier when the love of life is home to help and make me laugh.

This weekend we had a very busy Saturday, but Sunday was truly just about worshiping the Lord, and resting.  When we all were back at home and everyone rested (while mom got grocery shopping done) John and I made plans to take the kids to the park for the rest of the afternoon.

I got to enjoy each moment.  I never sit on the bench at the park because usually I'm helping someone climb or catching someone as the slide down the slide, but with Daddy being home we were able to have special relaxing mommy and daddy moments.

So I stole a few smooches from my little guy...

 Daddy had the camera and got some good shots of Julia...no her outfit doesn't match, but she sure was happy with how she looked, and really, that's all that matters, especially when we are just playing and having fun.

We are finding that our creative daughter loves to dress up, wear headbands, and skirts and she feels safe knowing she pieced together her own little look...so we let her (not on Sundays at church, mommy chooses the dress still, but Julia has choices.)

We are learning that we can make life exciting for our little ones as we give them freedom to make choices and we give them new experiences.  The kids were able to run to their hearts content on this open soccer field, and Julia was sweating and running and loving it, Mark could not even keep up with our fast girl!

Challenges and choices (within safety and reason, of course) really help your little one to grow and explore the world around them.  And they get so proud of themselves when they can do something all by themselves, Mark loves to say, "Mom!!! Watch!!!"  And sometimes now he is known to pull his hand out of my hand and say, "Mom, all by myself!"  I'm learning to let go, and let him try new things, even when it's hard.

If you are bored with your routine or feeling pent up in the house, chances are your little person is too, so it's good to switch things up and get out and get moving.

I was super thankful this weekend to spend time with my family and create a fun Sunday afternoon memory...but like most Sunday nights of a teacher it was time to plan for the week...what would we do in the week ahead?  What would the weather be like?  It was forecasted to be rainy all week, and it was, but that wasn't a problem, because an organized, planning mom never let's the weather get her down!  I planned some great Circle Time activities and some special outings indoors (to different libraries and to the school I used to teach at since it was Space Shuttle week)...tune in on Saturday to find out more ways you can make life exciting for your little ones!

18 May 2011

Thankful Thursday-You

Dear Suzette,

Last Friday, spending two hours on the phone with you was like eating the best piece of chocolate cake with a cherry on top!  (with a cup of coffee) Not only did I get a chance to hear all about you and your family and your pregnancy, but I got to share right along with you and ask questions and get advice, it was great.  I so appreciate you and your willingness to just want to be a godly wife, and mom.  I think the world of you!  But I have to say....

I've been seeing another side of you, and it's been so neat!  Not only are you striving to be a great wife and mom, but you are incredibly funny!  You know how to let your hair down, and plop on the floor with Addie and just play!  That's how comfortable it feels on the phone with you.  I can just bare my heart and be myself, and not have to put on heirs (hope I spelled that right) because I know you'll love me no matter what.  You are such a good friend and soooo easy to talk to, hence the 2 and a half hours!

I'm really proud of you and Brian too!  You both are doing such an amazing job with raising Addie girl, and I know baby number 2 (aka squishy) is going to be so blessed to be a part of your family.
I think my favorite part of our conversation was sharing how as moms we know our children best (we could so right a book about this!).  Nobody loves Addie & Squishy more than you do and nobody loves Julia and Mark like I do.  We are so blessed to have godly spouses who have allowed us to stay home so that we can give all of our time and attention to the details of raising our children and caring for our home...as hard as it may be nobody, but us, could do it any better, because God made our families so unique!  I love you my Florida twin!!!!

P.S. We definitely need to talk more often!


Julia's Prayer

My, my, my!  This was Julia 2 years ago!  And I feel like this is still my same baby girl.  Tonight (It's Monday evening as I type) I heard the sweetest prayer come out of Julia and I wanted to somehow remember it and jot it down...

Each night after story time I ask, who wants to pray, and Julia always says, "I do!!!" And Marky is so tired by that point he just obediently stands there and sucks his thumb, while holding my hand.

Dear God,
Thank you for this GOOD day.  Pray for the park.  Pray for daddy working. Pray Marky has a good night's sleep (I promise she said this...but this is what I usually pray out loud so it's totally mommy vocabulary). Pray for my room.  Pray for my PRETTY room.  Pray for my toys.  Pray for my dolls.  Pray for mommy and daddy. In Jesus name, Amen!  (Proudly she opened her eyes and looked at us and smiled really big.)

Do you want to just eat her up or what?  At the end of the prayer, Mark and I both looked up at the same time at each other with big smiles and said AMEN!  I think he was as surprised as I was.  She said some other things in the middle but my mind couldn't remember it all.  Oh Julia, so much of who you are becoming is from the Lord, and I am so thankful.

Could you do mommy a huge favor though?  Could you stop growing up so fast and getting so beautiful and tall?  I can't take it!  Slow down!  Mommy wants you to stay 3 1/2 forever and ever, I love how you still ask to sit in my lap when we watch a movie together or are in story time at the library.  And I love how sweet you are to your brother.  You can be so kind and gentle and considerate!

Mommy loves you Princess Pie!  So much!

17 May 2011

My little testimony time in church

Would you agree that God has a sense of humor?  I believe He does!  Last Sunday, May 8, Mother's Day was my last Sunday teaching K-5 Sunday School.  What a relief!  I'm all done!  After 3 years of team teaching 40-50 kids every month, I'm hanging up my SS hat and focusing on my Ladies Bible Study ministry and MY FAMILY.  Sundays have been so hectic we were even taking two cars each week to accommodate the kids so they wouldn't have to last from 9am til 12:30.

I was so excited to begin a new SS class of my own (Kay Arthur inductive study on Esther) and just enjoy service each Sunday and nursery duty from time to time...but God had other plans and first thing Tuesday morning I got a call from Pastor Joe asking me to partake in a sharing time during his sermon this week!  I had to put together a little something on why I enjoy singing/praising God.  We've been studying through the book of Samuel all on the life of David.  Pastor Joe had five points and five people chosen to share.  The premise was if I am to be a man/woman after God's own heart I must:

1. I must choose that course of action. (meaning live a life of obedience...obeying God is a choice)--Marcos
2. I must actively sing God's praises--Kristi (me)
3. I must love the Lord and His Word--Kim D.
4. I must allow the Lord and His people to reprove and refine me.--Matt C.
5. I must insure that my vertical focus overshadows my horizontal focus--Tracy

 It was actually pretty neat to hear other people share how God is working in their lives.  I really enjoyed the other testimonies...but I was so nervous all week and I couldn't put my finger on why I felt so inadequate to share, I even asked Pastor Joe wouldn't he like to choose someone from the worship team?

But he replied, no, I've chosen you specifically.  And it was then that I felt God saying, "Kristi, you may be done with SS teaching, but I will always be giving you "little assignments" to keep you on your toes and relying on me!  Stay faithful and be yourself."  It wasn't until Thursday when I shared with Pastor Joe what I would be saying through email that I was able to relax a bit.  I mean honestly I'd be speaking for maybe 2 minutes (but in front of 400 people!) what was I so nervous about, I like public speaking.  I felt maybe I was being a bit attacked by you know who, and I wasn't going to let that happen.  So I pushed through and finally at 11:45 pm on Saturday evening I went to bed...and Sunday morning, this is what I shared...

My favorite musical is The Sound of Music.  The scene where Maria is happily spinning on those luscious green hilltops with her arms stretched wide open is the kind of life I want to live!  Thankful to God to be alive and singing His praises with every breath and chance I get.  

 I’m realizing that the more things I can be thankful for and to praise God for the less my mind is allowed to wander in the negative zone.  He’s the reason I sing, He’s the reason I can lift my hands in praise, or wear a smile.  It’s because of what He’s done for me in my life, and how he gives me undeserved grace, love, mercy and kindness when I’m such a sinner!

Singing praises and worshiping God with my words , and with my life is important to me because that is my gift to Him.  It’s being obedient. I’m happy to do it! I’m trusting in His big picture for my life and not the narrow focus that I can physically see.  I can worship God because He is always worthy of my praise!
As a parent I’m learning to praise God in all situations not only to model that behavior for Julia and Mark but to show them that everything in life won’t be perfect but God will always faithful.

In Psalms you can clearly see David’s heart and his honesty with God.  They had an awesome relationship.  David would start out by telling God how he was scared or struggling and how overwhelmed at the situation he was and by the end of the Psalm he was able to let go and cling to God’s promises, knowing that God would continue to be faithful, knowing that God had a plan, and knowing he could rejoice in just being a child of the King.

C.S. Lewis - "The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in
God which made David dance."

God thank you for keeping me on my toes each day because it really keeps me on my knees!  I love serving you!  I'm thankful I had this opportunity to share in church. 

I would have liked to have said that my favorite worship experience so far was when John and I traveled to Oxford to study under Ravi Zacharias.  The first summer we attended we stayed in Keble Hall and we would worship every morning in a cathedral on campus.  The building was so old and so beautiful and the acoustics were perfect.  Every time we sang as a group, with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, Black, White, Asian, accents and all it sounded absolutely beautiful, and both John and I turned to each other the first day and said, "That's what singing in heaven will be like....race and language won't matter, just pure hearts in harmony worshiping our King."

16 May 2011

Momma Mac's Monthly Menu Idea

My May and June menus and recipes are completed and compiled in my new recipe binder.  I got this idea from my friend Jackie, at a Mops meeting, and I got so excited about it that I finished it in basically 2 days.

Before I had Mark I used to plan our meals monthly, but after being so busy with a newborn I was happy to just try a new recipe or two each month.

Like most of you I swear by my recipe basket (4 by 6 cards).  It is alphabetized and has recipes of all types, but it was starting to overflow with print outs from online, and torn out magazine pages.

What's nice about having a binder is all you have to do is 3 hole punch your pages, or use plastic slipcovers (I bought a pack of 100 at Staples for about $9.)

Using the slipcovers is awesome because you can keep your recipes clean as you pull them out of the binder to cook, or open up to a particular page, and you can put in all different sizes of paper.

 The binder approach also helps you to keep track of all your recipes in one place.  You dig all the recipes out of your basket and organize them page by page into your binder (and the clear slipcovers allow you to see both sides) and it also prevents repeat meals because once a recipe is used in the binder you can't keep grabbing for it!

I love getting recipes online, or from my Family Circle magazine, All You magazine, or my Real Simple magazine.  But we all have those family favorites that we like to incorporate once or twice throughout the month, and everyone likes an easy pizza and salad night!  This Friday we have a business meeting at church and so I planned for us to have a quick and easy pizza and salad night!

I also tried to vary the type of meals we have by having at least 1 fish meal, 1 salad meal, 1 chicken meal, 1 pasta meal (and my pasta meals always last more than one day so it's nice to have a leftover day during the week or on the weekend)  I also love using my crock pot so I tried to incorporate crock pot meals on the weekends, and ever so often a red meat meal, whenever we use ground meat it is always turkey ground meat.  Planning out your meals weekly or monthly REALLY does save time and stress because you also are able to shop fewer times.  One of my new traditions is only to food shop with coupons when John comes home and can watch the kids (Monday nights) or on the weekends.  Today, for example I went right after church during nap time while John did yard work, and I had coupons for Pathmark (it was triple coupon weekend) and I glanced over my menu for the week and grabbed my coupon case, jotted down a few items and was off!  I was able to go quickly, be accurate, spend less, save time, and be done for the week!  Thanks to John!  My new rule is that when I have coupons to use the kids must stay home because it can really be stressful handling two kids, while searching for coupon items, checking the right brand and size, and making sure the cashier does everything correctly.  I don't need any more gray hairs!

This week here is our meal plan:

Monday: Chicken Cacciatore leftovers w/salad

Tuesday: Baked salmon and salad w/ biscuits

Wednesday: Chicken francaise and egg noodles

Thursday: Pasta Fagioli (Red sauce, white bean and kale soup)

Friday: Pizza and Salad night

Leftovers from any of these meals are given to John for lunch the next day!  We both love leftovers!  I've attached some previous posts to some of these recipes to share with you!  Have a wonderful week!

14 May 2011

Chicken Cacciatore in Crock Pot

Tomorrow we are having company over!  Uncle Tio (Everaldo) and Aunt Debi are coming over for dinner!  I'm making a chicken cacciatore meal in the crock pot since I will be away most of the day at a bridal shower (for my friends Laura & Reuben) and I want my meal to be delicious and ready to go by the time I return home.  John will be super busy entertaining and playing with the kids to worry about it, and this is a meal I've been saving for my Debi since her birthday!!!

Chicken Cacciatore in the Crock Pot


1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3lb chicken cut up (I use 6-8 boneless chicken thighs)
2 cans of tomato paste (6oz)
1 can 4oz mushrooms, drained
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp celery seed (don't have, don't need)
1/2 cup dry white wine (red cooking wine works well too, or you can skip)


1. Place onion at the bottom of crock pot with chicken pieces on top.
2. In a bowl stir tomato paste, mushrooms, salt, pepper, herbs and wine.
3. Pour tomato mixture over the chicken.
4. Cover; cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.  Serve chicken pieces over spaghetti or pasta of your choice!

This smells so good cooking I always cook it on low for 8 hours!  I'll be leaving for the bridal shower at 11 and my dinner guests arrive at 5:30!  I can't wait!

13 May 2011

Our neck of the woods...

This week's highlights:

And this was an awesome week!  Every day the sun was shining bright and temperatures were in the 70's.  We tried to visit the park or a park at least once a day, if not before nap then certainly after wards, and if mommy was too tired for the park we took a stroll around the block in our red wagon, which to the kids is equally as fun!

Monday, after nap time we visited Grandma Donna and Grandpa Greg.  Notice how we feel right at home at Grandma's house and even partake in some vacuuming!

At Grandma's house we get our own bowl of popcorn, that Aunt Sara popped for us.  Popcorn is Mark's favorite after dinner snack (he thinks it is a dessert).  We only have it maybe once a week, but when we do it is a treat!  Mark was told, "You can have your own big bowl if you sit on Grandma's couch."  He marched his little self over and plopped right on down!  What a good listener he is!

I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of my Mark.  He is not only a good listener, and a good eater, but Mark has been keeping up with Julia's bible verses.  It takes him a bit longer to memorize the phrases but he just recently learned John 3: 16...it sounds like this, "For GOD so loved the WORLD that he GAVE his only SON!"  He emphasizes the words that mommy emphasizes and it is SO cute.  I put the pictures up in his room so he can continue to learn the rest.

Monday, during school we learned a new verse, with hand movements!!!!  Deuteronomy 6: 5, "Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, with all your soul, and with all your might."  Julia memorized it by Tuesday, and Mark knows the hand motions and the words, "with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your MIGHT!"  We are having a lot of fun practicing each morning!

We still review our bee facts and will be learning about a different animal each week during our science time which is after the kids wake up from nap and are eating their snack and drinking their milk.  (School time is best when coupled around the table I have found).

This week we learned about penguins and peacocks!

On Wednesday, Mom got a little crazy and decided to use the skills and ideas I learned at MOPS on Tuesday (Mothers of Preschoolers) and create my meal plans for the months of May and June!  It was a lot easier than I expected using a binder, and clear sleeves.  I've done this before but never using a binder and this is so much neater and magazine cut out friendly!  You can write on your recipes with sticky notes, you can slip in a recipe card, but everything is right at your finger tips and all you have to do is flip to that day of the week and your meal plan is there!

I'm going to explain this in more detail and share my monthly plan and some recipes on Monday.  I did this in about 40 minutes, and then throughout the evening I looked through magazines and finished up today.  I had so much fun with this and now I am really excited about planning the rest of my meals and getting in the kitchen and cooking!  Plus, I'll be able to save past months plans and copy ideas and add new ones!

This weekend my Dad helped John carry Julia's desk from the garage to her room.  I kept teasing her saying, "Julia once we put your desk in your room you are going to have to do all your homework."  Thinking this would make her smile.  Well the minute Grandpa and daddy finished putting it in her room, she set it up and said, "Mom, where's my homework?" Like it would instantly appear!  There is just no stopping my little book worm.  She would read books all day, and write and draw if I let her (as long as she could wear her skirt).

Today (it's Thursday as I type) I was thinking, when did my babies, become little people with ideas, opinions, and all this knowledge?  How did this happen?  Wasn't I just nursing them a few days ago and changing their diaper?  Now, they are just blossoming and growing so tall, (and heavy, I might add, mommy's poor back)  I can't believe it.  I tell John over and over how I want to freeze this moment in time...it's happening too fast they are growing up, and all I can do is watch it happen...

Mark's M and his bible verses, we are planning on writing John 3:16 on the wall

Mark's room has been getting a makeover for the past few months, I told John he deserves a BOY room by his birthday, and daddy came through and asked our friend Jeff to paint a picture of Daddy's and Mark's favorite super hero....SPIDER MAN!!!!

Mark thinks it is the coolest room ever, and that's what I wanted for him.  Now, you can find Julia and Mark playing in his room a lot more often.  However, I can't part with our rocking chair, that chair has to stay.  That's where mommy reads to the kids before nap time and bed time and it is just sacred.  I can't part with it, ever...not even when Marky is 3...it stays!  That chair was left by Sabine the former owner of the house (we reupholstered it) because she knew we wanted a family here.  She had three children and was so good to us.

And this is Julia's leotard for when she does her gymnastics recital on June 4th!  I can't wait to video tape it and show all of you, she is AMAZING...and I'm not just saying that because she's my daughter (well, yes I am, but really she is).  She knows her whole routine and she does each piece of equipment, the uneven bars, the balance beam, her floor routine and the vault.  It's awesome!  Every Friday when I watch her go for 45 minutes I am amazed at what her long flexible legs and body can do!

We had a great school week, play week, and work week!  Thank you God for my family!
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