Tuesday, May 26, 2009

From Desert Flowers to....

Catching up with friends Playing for a High School chapel in Mayer, MN
We got to visit the MN Arboretum. Truly beautiful. I was surprised at how many flowers were already in bloom! J loved the little train ride.



Isn't this just cute?
Seriously cool tulips!



J trying to decide if he was going to throw the rock into the fountain or not.

Seriously thinking.... (or maybe it was him telling us that he was hungry - you decide)
Playing the game he invented - "Tip Over Off Daddy's Shoulder's While Laughing Hysterically"

J's new favorite activity - climbing stairs

With Grandpa K



Helping Grandpa K out be rearranging the rocks in the yard
I have many more Nothern adventures to share....but you'll have to check back!

Desert Days

I have LOTS of catching up to do. We've been up north for 2 weeks now and I'm still starting with a blog about before we left! Whoops!

After growing up in the north I always thought the desert was a dry and boring place. Little did I know that there really are several plants that flower and do well in the dry climate.

Here is our pretty choya cactus with it's spring flowers. We hear that our prickly pears are ready to bloom. Hopefully we make it home before the flowers are done! Here is our newest plant - a lantana. This was 1 part of my mother's day present! It is so pretty! I can't wait for it to get HUGE and have LOTS of flowers!



Here is J having fun at the library on a day too hot to be outside!

We had an "end of the year" recital for the music classes at the mission and J really LOVED to clap at the end of each piece!
Que rico! A Sunday afternoon nap!

A flower for Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am officially DONE with my Masters!
Well, I still have to print the final copy, take it to be bound, convert the computer file to a PDF and burn 3 copies. But basically....
I'm DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Locks

Ummm....anyone know what you're supposed to do when you stick your key in the lock and this comes out?


Birthday Party Fun

On Sunday we went to a birthday party for an 8 year old friend. J was super excited to giver her a present. In fact, he carried (er...dragged) it around the house for about 30 minutes before we left.
At the party they had a jumping balloon (better known here as a "brinca brinca"). J had a GREAT time, even if he did keep falling on his face! There were several kids around but most of them were close to his size - so it wasn't too intimidating to be in the brinca brinca.
Camilla (J's friend from the office) was having fun too!


Here's a little video. Ken was helping J - being a step-in Grandpa for the day.

video

After a while J got a lot more confident and would make it a lot more steps before falling. Basically, he only got out for the brinca brinca for a cumulative total of 30 minutes during the whole 3 1/2 hours we were there. Boy did he sleep good that night!

video

Then, Chris helped J hit the pinata - his first time! He seemed really into it until everyone started singing, then he got a bit distracted!

video

After the pinata was broken Erin and Chris had to wear part of it!



Paulina blowing out the candles on her birthday cake.

And some more jumping action. This time with mommy too!



Join Hands Day

Saturday we held an event at the church called "Join Hands Day" or "Manos Unidas." Join Hands Day is sponsored by fraternal benefit socities to encourage their members to volunteer and encourage youth and adults to work together. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans sponsored ours (with $500). We invited community members and area churches to participate. While a few other individuals came to help, the majority of the volunteers were the people who come to the mission every Saturday to clean or help with whatever needs to be done.

On this particular day, we made food baskets and school kits. We used the $500 from Thrivent Financial to buy lunch for the volunteers as well as supplement the food that we had available for the food baskets. Mission staff/volunteers were able to get bulk flour, sugar, rice, and beans donated from Cisco (good job Chris!) and produce bags to break the bulk products down into from local grocery stores like Zeke's, Ranch Market, and Walmart. Walmart also gave us a $50 gift card for event related purchases. Another important donor was Orphan Grain Train who brought a semi last week. Although this shipment didn't have very much food, we were able to use all of what was included. We also had some things that we were able to purchase at a reduced cost from the West Texas Food Bank (milk, tomatoes, bread) that helped round out the baskets.

Here are the volunteers breaking the bulk items down into smaller portions. (Notice J hanging out in the stroller at the top right of the tables....he was content just watching all of the action)
Here are volunteers beginning to assemble the food baskets inside the warehouse. The white boxes you see are pre-packaged meal kits that we recieved from Orphan Grain Train.

As the baskets were assembled they were set out on the ground. We got a count while putting them away in the warehouse. Of course, about half of them were given out that same day so the warehouse is pretty empty again!
Here volunteers are assembling the school kits. We will distribute these in August before the kids head back to school. We still need A LOT more school supplies and backpacks to meet the need for the number of kids we normally distribute to.

I didn't get any pictures of the lunch - hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad....but it was GOOD!

Join Hands Day has been bigger in the past. This year we had a lot of volunteers but not as much food as we have in the past. But, all in all it was a successful day. This event is just another reminder for me that God pulls all things together. The way the various donations and partners pulled together to make what was accomplished possible was yet another example of God's hand at work providing for His people.

130 volunteers served

273.5 hours making

250 food baskets and

200 school kits

Lounging

J LOVES to be outside. I mean LOVES LOVES LOVES to be outside. This chair was a great gift (for his birthday) because now that he loves to climb on things, he gets in and out of it all on his own. It is so cute to see him sitting there, just chillin! Saturday, we let him go out into the backyard while we were getting things ready to leave home. When we looked out, he was sitting in his chair, watching the birds. (He now signs "bird" too!) Of course, once we got out the camera he was interested in us....and the rock he had picked up (another of his favorite things) oh well!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Quinceanera

Well, I didn't get too many pictures of this event. But, you can see a bit about the actual quinceanera and a bit of it's history here, thanks to my friend Luz, who was also there.

I was pretty captivate by my crazy, adorable son who was
1) enthralled by the band 2) a crazy, dancing machine long before anyone else was on the dance floor. (you know, every party/dance you go to, there is ONE KID who is running out onto the floor having the time of his life, in his own little world, completely oblivious to the fact that everyone is watching him. YUP...that's MY kid!)
and

3) trying to eat EVERY strawberry put out for use with the chocolate fountain before they were gone (sorry, no picture here)

And...because Luz didn't post one on her blog and I told her she had to....here is a pic of her dancing with Pastor H (aka Grandpa H)
Ahh....what the hay - - - here's one more!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Loves the Water

Here's a little video of J filling his swimming pool this morning and telling a story. It was hot and sunny but the water was still COLD! Using the hose is now one of J's favorite activities. Unbeknown to Mommy, Daddy has been teaching J to turn the water off and on from the spigot. I guess he doesn't have it totally figured out yet - but I'm going to have to be on the lookout for floods!
video

And with that....I'm actually CURRENT on the blog! This video was just this morning!

An Impromptu Mini-Vacation

Well, Tuesday morning we noticed that there was a Pastor's conference that Stephen and his dad had planned on going to and we had just forgotten. We decided to throw everything together in the car and head out even though we would be late. So, for an hour we frantically ran around the house gathering the necessities, taking out the garbage, and finding some food. By the time we made it on the road Stephen finally got a call back from someone who knew the schedule and we determined that we wouldn't make it to the conference in time for ANY of the activities that day. The half day of activities the next day didn't really make the 6 hour drive worth it so we decided not to go. However, since we had already packed and were in the car, we decided to head out of town anyway. Instead of driving 6 hours, we just went 1 1/2 into the nearby mountains for some fresh air and a change of scenery.

We didn't take a ton of pics - but here are a few....

We found a little local restaurant for dinner and while we were waiting for our food J had fun checking out the video games (that didn't work) Since the bussing cart was right next to it, he decided that he needed to use the rag to clean it too.
Here is our hotel - called "The Lodge." Their info talks about their "resident ghost" who THANKFULLY we didn't see. (Although, every time I woke up that night I was praying that I didn't see something that would freak me out!) It was a neat little place, very homey, Victorian style. Not exactly kid friendly - but J did have fun with the tic-tac-toe wooden game they had out in the lobby.
J enjoying his breakfast buffet on the bed.
Trying to feed Daddy dandylions. Grandpa K - J can help you get rid of yours when we are there...he LOVES to pick the flowers! (Grandma K, you're going to have to be careful of the rest of the ones you've planted by the back patio!)
"The Lodge" had a tower that you could get the key to visit. I don't know what was super special about the tower - but it had a nice view. Here's J with the special key. He DID love climbing the stairs though!
After we found some good coffee (thanks to a local coffee shop - not the hotel!) We drove a little ways out into the mountains to be among the trees. No serious hiking for us - just a change of pace.


J enjoyed climbing on the fallen down tree with Daddy.

And, his favorite wilderness activity was throwing pinecones and rocks down the side of the hill and watching them roll!

All in all.....a nice little escape. Next time we'll plan it, maybe camp, or at least know what our options are. But, at any rate.....it was good to just get away and be together!