Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our Church

is amazing. For many reasons. Here are just a few:

Their childrens program is fantastic. Better yet, Natalie loves her Sunday school class and talks about it all week long. She will be bouncing in her car seat Sunday morning telling me she is excited and can't wait to see her boys and girls. :) Afterward, she tells us what they talked about, the songs they sing, the actions they do along with the story, and she always remembers to tell us what snacks they served!

They have four different classrooms as well as a big room for the preschool children. We drop her off and she goes into her room and plays for a little bit with the other kiddos. Then they have their story and rotate rooms to do coloring, crafts, snacks, and then into the big room altogether to worship with music, singing and some dancing. After that, they usually have a show with puppets or other objects on the big stage that ties into the bible story. It's amazing what they do for these kids and I appreciate it so much!!

Our leadership is inspiring. Our minister is energetic, funny, and full of wonderful ideas. He recently did a sermon on generosity and tithing. We were expecting him to ask us to give after the service, and instead, he handed out envelopes to everyone sitting there. They had money in them, and he challenged us to pray over this money and get creative how we were going to spend it and give to others. We were instructed to NOT to give it back to the church, and not to use it for ourselves. Our church gave out $10,000 to the congregation. They want us to be a generous church that helps others. Have you ever heard of anything like this??? I sat there looking at this money with a lump in my throat. I'm sure many felt the same way. Stories are coming back in of what people are doing with this money to help others. It is so neat to be a part of this. Mike and I have not yet given our money yet. We are praying for an opportunity, for God to show us what He wants done with this money. I will let you know in a later post what we do with it.

Visit with Cory

We were glad to have an unexpected visit with my brother a few weeks ago. Mike and I picked him up at the airport and met my parents 1/2 way to hand him off, but had dinner together first.

Natalie wanted Uncle Cory to sit next to her. Even though it was cramped, he happily obliged. I think he's showing her pictures on his phone? I can't remember.


Although it may look as though I took these while driving, I was not. I was only leaning waaay into Mike as HE was driving. I'm sure it was much appreciated. ;)


After dinner we stood in the parking lot visiting, Natalie boldly told PawPaw that she wanted to drive his car again. She LOVES "driving" his car, and he doesn't seem to mind the next time he starts it up, that she's messed up all the buttons/switches.




Cory, Dad, and I:


Mom joins the picture, and our big L.A. man is freezing in the MILD mid-west temps.


...and there's Natalie! (Thank you Mike for taking these pictures!!!)

Favorite Day

It occurred to me that I forgot to write about my favorite day. This was back in September when Mike's grandparents were visiting. The place we wanted to visit during the day was closed, so I suggested we go fly a kite because it was so windy outside. It was a perfect evening outing. We headed out to a local park as Natalie sang "Lets Go Fly a Kite" at the top of her lungs with Pop.

Natalie and I flying the kite. Mike and Pop ready to catch just in case the wind stopped.


I love this dimpled girl!


Our pretty kite:


Natalie's interest in kite flying didn't last long. I'm glad Mike brought along the soccer ball!


When Natalie was done with the kite, Grandpa picked it back up and enjoyed flying it. Apparently he used to do this a lot when he was a kid.




Natalie would stand two feet away from the net, kick the ball in, and then throw her hands up in the air, yelling "GOOOOOAAALLL!!!!" :)


Natalie's great grandparents. When she lists off everyone in her best-friend-list, they are always included.


Kicking the ball around:


Nani gets sweet hugs:


Running with Pop:


4 generations:


Quick pic:


Natalie with Nani and Pop:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

This past Saturday we took Natalie to a pumpkin patch and invited Nani and Pop to join us. Not only did they have pumpkins, but they also had a big playground, complete with jungle gyms, inflatable slides, and corn maze. I love finding places that are geared toward family and smaller children!
Here is a picture of the farm:


The first thing we got to see were chickens. They also had a turkey there, and when it "gobbled" Natalie would laugh:


This is Natalie's first pony ride.


Daddy walked around with her:


When MawMaw asked her later, "Natalie did you get to ride a pony!?" Natalie responded, "Yes. He smelled." LOL!


Natalie got to pet "Frosty"


Next stop was the HUGE jungle gym! Natalie loved this!!


She climbed these steps many times!






You might have noticed we are quite bundled in these pictures. It was COLD that morning! I am so glad I took the extra time to dig out some of our winter gear.

Our next adventure of the morning was the hayride!


Nani and Pop joined us! Mike already paid for the tickets before he remembered it probably wouldn't be good for Nani's shoulder. Sorry Nani--thanks for joining us anyway. :)


Guess what she's about to do...


Yep! This is what she enjoyed most about the hayride...throwing the hay! ALL of our clothes were covered with it by the time the ride was over! :) Of course, Pop wouldn't dare encourage her by throwing it back...not him!! :) LOL


Love this little profile picture:


This is a barn that was on the property of the farm. It was beautiful! Not a word I would usually use to describe a barn, but it looked perfect. Something out of a painting:


Natalie spreading the hay love:


I have about 20 more pictures from the hay ride that I'm not going to post. They took us around the property and showed us all the crops, then all the Disney character displays. When we passed Mickey Mouse clubhouse, we had to hang onto Natalie to keep her into the wagon with us! We also got to "princess wave" to Snow White.

Our next stop was to the inflatable slides:


She was cracking us up because she wasn't just sliding down, she was bouncing her way down!


My jack-o-lanterns...my husband is the best sport ever:


Our blue-eyed girl on the giant pumpkins:


Our pumpkin picks:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Basilica

We toured the basilica here a couple weeks ago. I had always wanted to see it, and I'm glad I have. It's beautiful and I can appreciate the architecture and artwork of the mosaics inside. Although I was very bothered by the millions and millions of dollars that were invested into this cathedral. I strongly feel that money could have been used elsewhere caring for others...instead of a building. Personal opinion. I'll stop there. :)

Nobody could deny the beauty of it. This is a picture looking at the back of the church (from half way down the aisle) Our tour guide said it could comfortably hold 1800-1900 people.


A picture from the outside:


Natalie was so well behaved (even without a nap) and after the tour, we had fun playing outside. She was curious about a worm we found:


Grandpa picked it up and put it on a brochure we had so she could see it better:


Notice that Grandma has left the scene! :) Not a fan of worms, apparently. :)


Natalie helped release our new worm-friend back into some soil:


I just love this picture. Her facial expression is so funny (tired) but she's sitting so cute:


Sitting with Grandma and Grandpa:


This was our last visit with the grandparents for this trip. They are now safely back home. I am grateful we got to spend almost every day with them while they were here.