Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bah Humbug!

The whole family took a jaunt to the mall this evening to see the right jolly ol' Saint Nick. Remember, the one made famous for spreading cheer across the globe, whose little round belly shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly?!?

Yeah, Santa. That's the one. Ho Ho Ho.

We stood in the long line. It's Santa afterall. Worth the wait, right?

10 minutes in--the kids are antsy. Stacey takes Levi on a walk. I make Luke and Abby pose for photos from the back side of the Isle o' Santa, the children positioned right in front of the booty of a 12 foot tall reindeer. One of the elfs, or is it elves? chastises me for taking illegal photos of their display, committing the unpardonable sin of using my flash.

25 minutes in--The people behind us don't understand issues of "personal space". I get rammed a baker's dozen times by their apologies.

40 minutes in--Stacey's back. Levi's crying. Abby misbehaves and after a swift correction she's in tears as well.

55 minutes in--We finally make it to the front of the line. All 3 of our kids are making snowballs out of confetti and chucking them at each other. Levi grabs an enormous handful of cotton from the display and enters the fray.

58 minutes in--the kids who were on Santa's lap before us exit, and our kids storm Kris Kringle, and--get this--he says, "Hold it right there. A guy's gotta have some space already. You don't understand. It gets 110 degrees in this suit." The kids are speechless. I'm dumbstruck. After a minute, 45 seconds of oscillating fan up his sleeves, Bad Santa invites the kids onto his lap, smiles dutifully for the camera, asks what they want for Christmas, and doles out coloring books, until we exit and he takes another minute 45 aeration pitstop.

On the ride home, Luke says, "There's no way that guy was Santa. He was mean, and his belly wasn't fat enough." I chime in, "His beard was way too short and scraggly." Abby adds, "Not puffy enough." We all agree the fake Mr. Claus was probably the Grinch dressed up in a Santa suit. In the end, however, at least we got the overpriced studio quality photo out of it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Funnies

Some of my friends sometimes post "Friday Funnies" and this morning Levi gave me some prime material...

We were sitting at breakfast just eating and talking and I was asking him some questions like his name, how old he is and when I asked what his favorite color is...without missing a beat he says,
"Bob the Builder yellow"...I about choked on my breakfast! He doesn't even watch Bob the Builder.
Usually I can figure out why is says certain things, but this one came out of no where!

He is too funny!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Our hearts are overfilling with joy and thanksgiving God has answered our prayers for teammates! The "unnamed couple" :) that we asked you all to pray for, has been officially accepted by World Harvest Mission as missionaries to Vienna. We can hardly wait to tell you more about their family, but first they must announce it officially to their home church. Be patient, we promise to fill you in on all the details after the first of the year!
Thanks for praying for all of us.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

We love this time of the year...and this weekend was filled with all sorts of special memories.
Saturday morning started with dancing in the kitchen (a family tradition) as we waited for warm sausage bread to come out of the oven. After we devoured the bread, Brad and the kids went to SNOWFEST 2006 (click here to see a short video), while mom and I stayed home to make "cracked sugar cookies" and almond bark pretzels.

This morning we went to worship at Uncle Rick's church and then this afternoon we had our Hunter Family gift exchange and dinner.

The day ended with the St.Andrews Christmas concert...Luke, Abby and Neena were all part of the choir. It was a much different holiday season last year with both of our moms recovering from major it was such a treat watching Neena sing praises to our King. After the concert, we drove around to hear the children say the "oohs and aahs" of seeing Christmas lights and we topped off the night with Farm Stores Egg Nog and more cookies:)
Doesn't get much better than that!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Viennese Dessert

Last night our great friends, Dan and Julie Smith opened their home up and hosted a Viennese Dessert party for us. It was great to see old and new friends...share about what God has been doing in our lives and present our vision for Vienna. We were very encouraged by the turn out, the questions that were asked and the prayers that were lifted up on our behalf! The desserts were really yummy too! :) A special thanks to the Smiths and all who took time out of their busy schedules to be with us!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cheer, Cheer for Old Notre Dame!

I'm very lucky compared to most wives I suppose, the only sport that my husband is addicted to is Notre Dame football. Tonight the #5 Irish play the #3 ranked USC...big rivalry! This game determines what bowl they play in. OOOH!

So a bunch of fellas are arriving soon and you may be asking...what do you make for a bunch of guys while they watch the big game? Something with Velvetta of course! Nothing satisfies like some Nacho Chip dip with Velvetta cheese "product". What the heck does that mean...cheese product? Anyway, if you didn't consume enough lard at's the recipe:

Nacho Cheese Dip

2-3 lbs. of hamburger
2 lbs. Velvetta cheese
1 (8oz.) tomato sauce
1 (8oz.) taco sauce

Fry hamburger and drain. Add the cubed Velvetta to the warm hamburger. Stir on low heat until melted. Add the sauces. Serve warm with Doritos or plain tortilla chips.

(If this recipe didn't give it now all know that I am still a good ol' Mid-Westerner at heart!)


On another note entirely, click HERE to see a video tip for the holidays.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Face the fear, but not feel scared...

Why is it that we usually wait until we want to sell our house to do the projects we've been talking about for years? Last week the house was painted, today Brad and "Uncle" John Couric cleaned out a lot of the garage, a screen repair company was here to fix leftover damage from hurricane Wilma, and Mom and I (along with a little help from the kids) cleaned the windows inside and out. The house is really starting to shape up...just in time to put it on the market!

I recently was playing "Doctor Kiang" with Levi. This is when he pretends he is his pediatrician, and he checks out Elmo and Abby's (usually unclothed) baby dolls. He likes the ones without clothes because he can put bandaids all over them without any difficulty. When you ask him if he wants a bandaid he always says no. I asked him why and he said..."it hurts!" Meaning in Levi language, it hurts when you take it off...

Sometimes that is what this process of getting ready for Vienna has been like...taking a bandaid off really slowly, instead of just ripping it off so it won't hurt so much! Everyday something reminds us that we are preparing to say goodbye to those we know and love. Last Sunday, it was that my name was taken off the nursery list at church because of all of our upcoming travels, this week it has been all of the work on the house, Thursday it will be the "last" Thanksgiving as we know it for awhile, along with the last Hunter Family Christmas card photo. So many reminders that everything will soon change.

I know change can be good. Usually it produces growth...spiritual and emotional growth. We tend to cry out more to our Savior when we have the "unknown" before us. Unfortunately for me, I have a tendency to fear the unknown. Right now we have a lot of unknowns before us... a lot of BIG unknowns (like when will we raise all of our support, when will we move, where will we live in Vienna or even know for certain where the kids will go to school.) I feel like I can relate to some of the lyrics to the song Wild Horses, by Natasha Bedingfield. She sings that she wants to "face the fear, but not feel scared".

I think it is pretty normal to fear the unknown. Still, I want to learn to move beyond the fear, to draw closer to Jesus. I want to really believe that He knows EVERYTHING and He actually has our well-being in mind, even when circumstances challenge that belief. That's my prayer tonight.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thankful Thursdays

This is what I'm thankful for this week.
Click to see.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ideas for the Holidays

It is hard to believe that once again the holidays are just around the corner. On Wednesdays, I like to check out this site: Lots of people contribute to "Works for me Wednesdays". Today is the Christmas edition. Hope it helps get your creative juices flowing!

Monday, November 13, 2006

"Yes, Jesus Loves Me"

Levi strums and sings his favorite Jesus song. Click HERE.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thankful Thursday

A friend reminded me that it was Thursday again, so I guess the pressure is on to share some more random things I am thankful for on this particular Thursday, in no particular order...

1. a painter named Willy...(if you drive by our house in a few days, you will understand why)
2. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes...(if you have kids, you understand why:)
3. Girl's Night Out at Chili's
4. the book "Praying the Scriptures for your Children" by Jodie Berndt
5. playing frisbee tag with my kids
6. a little girl named Abby who asked me to put her to bed at 6:45 because she was "so tired"!
7. "Stacy's Chocolate Chip Cake" pg.42 in the Cake Mix Doctor cookbook
8. the health of my children
9. the chance to catch up with old friends that I hadn't talked to in awhile
10. finding last years gift cards that I never I could buy some gifts this year
11. that our almost 8 year old can read to our almost 3 year old at bedtime
12. the priviledge of praying for a good friend who is going through some trying times
13. the humbling experience of raising support to be missionaries in Austria
14. the scripture verse 1 Thes. 5:18..."give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pray for Ashley and Mackenzie

Levi's latest obsession is puzzles...the "airplane puzzle", to be exact. It isn't just an is a motorcycle, a firetruck, a get the point, 9 different types of transportation. He loves to complete one and then say "give me five!" I love to hear his sweet voice asking for encouragement in is accomplishment. Over the weekend when he was sick, he didn't do much but lay around and I realized that I often take our children's health for granted.

I have recently been reading, Ashley's Journal, one family's journey as their daughter continues to recover from a transplant operation. I do not even know Ashley, but this family has challenged and encouraged my faith, as I have seen her share how God is giving this family joy and thankful hearts in the midst of extreme trials.

We also have seen how God is answering prayers for our friend, Mackenzie Beatty. She was born with only one lung a few months ago and Drs. are encouraged by her progress as they try to inflate her expander. Please pray for these families with children who are too sick to play, laugh and even be "naughty". And may these children remind us all not to take chips crushed on the carpet or marker on the table too seriously...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Slumber Partaaay!

I awoke to the sound of "sprinting" footsteps down the hall and I rolled over the check the was exactly 6:00 am. One by one, sleepy heads started to emerge from their rooms and by 6:15 all were ready to start the day with powdered sugar donuts. That is, all except Levi-who was in the "isolation" bedroom. His ear infection is getting the best of him. Thankfully his antibiotics have already been started! I just feel bad for him because he missed out on all of the fun with Ethan and Mackenzie, and so he isn't in any of the pictures.

The pictures never do the fun, giggles or mess justice...but here's a few shots of our sweet time with friends...

Ethan says, "I wike donuts!"

Abby & Mackenzie dance to Bella Dancerella (the perfect gift for any 5 year old girl)

Memoo experiments with the kids--a dirt volcano with baking powder+red food colored water MAGMA!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thankful Thursday...

Because the kids have been sick and it has been raining all day...I had some time to check out blogville a little more than usual. I came across a few people who have "Thursday thanks"...nothing profound from me, but these are a few things I am thankful for on this particular Thursday in no particular order:

1. No barf today
2. Clean carpets
3. Dancing in the kitchen with my sweet Abby
4. Children's Motrin
5. Leftover Villa Rose pizza
6. A mom who calls to ask if she can pick up anything for me at the grocery store
7. Cream cheese frosting
8. A husband who prays for me
9. The "Red Po" stick
10. A 2 1/2 year old who likes to cuddle
11. Luke and Abby's teachers at SHCS
12. A nap while it was raining outside
13. A washer and dryer that works
14. An appointment for Levi with Dr. Kiang tomorrow
15. A Savior who provides me with the strength and patience I need to get through a trying day!

Isn't it ironic...

WARNING: This blog entry contains graphic material and is not suitable for those with weak stomachs.

So our kids have been extra needy since we returned from Austria. Last week they all had a different strain of what seemed to be the same virus...a virus that involves "barfing" (our family's favorite term for emesis), and or/ a fever and a sore throat. Luke first, three days later Abby and two days after that, Levi. Levi seemed to get it the worst and being the littlest, had the hardest time making it to the bathroom. Without going into too many details...Levi left a "trail " in his room. After repeated applications of Carbona 2 in 1 carpet wizard, 1/2 a bottle of Orange Miracle dog waste stench remover, a few squirts of foamy soap, 14 seconds worth of Lysol "Summer Breeze Scent" deodorizer spray, 8 Super Big Gulp cups filled to the brim with warm water, a 7 year old shammy from the Iowa State Fair, and a wet vac that Brad decided to empty 3 times into our bathtub (only to clog it royally), the room still reeked of... you guessed it... barf.

So today the carpet man came...when Abby walked in the house she actually said "Mom, what smells so good?" I proudly answered, "The carpets were cleaned today". I must step back a little and say that the time of this conversation took place at 2:20 pm...not the normal time of 3 pm when the kids usually get out of school. "Why?" you may ask. Because Brad got the call from school, letting him know that Luke had a "tummy ache". We of course attributed it to the 3 Snickers, 4 tootsie rolls, 2 bags of Skittles and a package of pumpkin candy corns that was consumed during the Fall Festival last night. Luke still has not gotten sick yet, but a garbage can is in bed with him tonight. I have threatened to make him pay with his own allowance to get the carpets cleaned again if he gets anything on them...yes, I really did say this. Some compassionate Mom I am.

So we thought everyone was down for the count and we had escaped anything from getting on the carpets...only to hear a whimper from Levi's in and find a horrific site...drum roll please--more BARF! Much to our amazement...he only got it on himself, his blankets and the bed. Nothing on the carpet! I almost let out a cheer when I saw that the carpet was ok! Then the first song that popped into my head was "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette... but I of course changed the lyrics to, "It's like baaarf on the day you cleaned the caaarpets..."

Now we have 2 kids with garbage cans in bed with them. We're praying for a miracle tonight...NOTHING ON THE CARPET!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fall Festivus

Click HERE to see a quick slide show
of the St. Andrews Fall Festival

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Munchkin meets Cap'n Bonz

Today SHCS had their "book character" day.

Abby's class celebrated the "Wizard of Oz" and she decided that she wanted to be a munchkin. Her teacher mentioned to us that for years she has tried to persuade any number of students to be munchkins, but to no avail...until Abby came along. Go against the flow, Abby!

Luke read the book Pirates Past Noon and donned a pirate outfit "Cap'n Bonz". (Really it's Cap'n Bones, but Bonz looks more ridiculous.) Conveniently, Luke will dress up as a pirate for Halloween too, along with Abby and Levi.

Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Austria Trip Photo Gallery w/ Comments

We've been home for a few days now and have had a little bit of time to process what God just brought us on during our October 5-16 trip to Austria. Thanks for your prayers! We definitely felt them. It was a great trip...just exhausting.

-Brad did a great job preaching in German at the Evangelical Reformed Conference in Western least I didn't hear any mistakes! Ha! We were very encourgaged by the believers from Austria, Holland, Switzerland, and even Liechtenstein who came together for the weekend. Here's some pictures:

-It was also good to catch up with the Sondereggers who lived in South Florida for a couple of years and have now returned to Austria.

-The leaders of World Harvest Mission who joined us were very helpful and encouraging...and we laughed a lot together! Our time spent with them only further confirmed in our hearts and minds that WHM is the right sending organization for us. (Though our trips on the Viennese subway brought us closer together than we might have wished!)

-We really loved praying, evangelizing, worshipping, getting to see the city, and just hanging out with our potential teammates. (Bear with us as we withhold their names for now)...We are super excited that one couple will be heading to World Harvest's assessment week in December, and the others are still in the process of discerning God's call for mission.

-God again confirmed in us that Vienna is really ripe for the Gospel, as we met a family new to the faith who live just outside Vienna, as well as a student searching for Jesus and looking for a Gospel-teaching church, and as we met with several other people on the streets...

-We decided that we will probably live in the heart of the city very close to the university, that Brad will attend the university both to build relationships with students and to study the culture and history more. We also decided that our kids should go to a bi-lingual school so that they can get to know German more quickly. The day we looked at housing and schools was the most draining day for me...just realizing how dramatically our lives are going to change was a bit overwhelming (for the good I suppose).

-Seeing our friends the Dossetts and Dali and Tabea was also very helpful with giving us insight and direction with housing and schooling decisions.

I definitely left Austria more excited than overwhelmed (and of course Brad did too)...but as we came home to our sweet but needy children and I started to realize all the things that have to happen before we leave, the enormity of it all is starting to set in... Now we need to continue support raising and getting our house ready to sell... I also really need to get a handle on German as well as purposefully start to work with the kids in German. Thankfully our burden is carried on the shoulders of a capable Savior!

All to say, it was a GREAT trip, and we saw God answer many prayers and confirm our calling to Vienna again...But PLEASE keep praying for us!

Monday, October 09, 2006

In good hands

We knew our kids were in good hands, but it's nice to be reminded how good we have it. While we're here in Vienna, here's an email we received from Memoo (Stacey's Mom). At least the kids will be in better shape when we return!


Brad & Stacey,
The kids are doing great! Abby has had the most difficult time but is accepting that you will be home any day now!

I made a "Better Behavior Wheel" for them to spin for their punishment:
10 push ups, 20 sit ups, march around the house 5 times, 25 jumping jacks, stand in the corner 5 min., room time 15 min., write out what they will NOT do again. The first day, Abby did 40 sit ups, 50 jumping jacks, marched around the house 5 times, and stood in the corner for 5 min. Luke 'got it' after he had to do 20 sit ups! :) Sunday was the first day that Abby went all day without having to spin the wheel! She was sooo excited! Levi was down by 6:30, Abby down by 7 and Luke down before 7:30 last night. They really have been doing well!

I was feeding the kids breakfast this morning, when the doorbell rang at 7:02. The Orkin man was standing there handing me the morning paper. I told him that I wasn't expecting him today! This was the only hickup for this morning.

Abby had a great time with Mackenzie. They went to a pumpkin patch and were up at 6 in the morning! Matt thought he was going to be able to sleep in...NOT!

Jonathan, Luke and Levi had so much fun! We went to the movie "Open Season" and then I made octopus on shells and had them drink sea water (Blue gatorade). They loved it! Levi tried very hard to keep up with the big boys as they dug holes and filled them with water and made sand rocks and mud balls. They cleaned & shined pennies with lemon juice and sea salt. They thought this was cool!

We have been doing many experiments and having fun. They haven't had time to watch much TV. :) We've been to the parks, making Birthday cards for Kyleigh and Mackenzie. I have been documenting our experiences with photos!

The first night we made a "Hobo meal" and ate it outside on the grass. The kids then made paper kites and ran around the back yard to make them fly! I had forgotten how creative they are!

We went to IHOP with Neena on Saturday night. Levi got a smiley face pancake and developed a chocolate mustash I told him that I wanted to take a picture of his
"stach"....he said, "Hey! Where's my stach?" He is talking up a storm and is so cute!

Like I said ... the kids are doing great! They miss you and love you and are anxiously awaiting your arrival home! I'm glad to hear that you are having a
good trip! Tell Dali & Tabea "Hell-o" for me!

I Love YOU! MeMoo

Sunday, October 08, 2006


We arrived safely in Europe two days ago, and took a train to Bregenz, Austria. All went well with the conference that we participated in there. We certainly felt a spirit of unity and joy with the brothers and sisters from Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Holland. It's cool hearing several languages and dialects thrown around the same table at the same time. They're good folks, and it's been good seeing Tami and her family again.

It was a huge thing to be able to preach to the whole group (about 60-70 people) in German...went better than I thought it would. Tami's mom Bernadette claims I only made "minor" mistakes! Ha! Stacey has been doing great too, except when she asked where her "Frau" (wife) was. Oops!

Today we spent the day with Tami's family eating traditional Vorarlberg cuisine and hanging out with an Austrian family we got to know when they lived in South Florida. It's been great here in Western Austria. The view of the mountains is spectacular, the weather as well, but now we're looking forward to our next leg of the journey.

Tonight we'll take the night train to Vienna, and that'll begin the World Harvest part of the trip. We'll also get to meet up with our friends in Vienna, the Dossetts and Dali and Tabea.

Thank you all for praying for us and our kids on this trip. Go to and click on Prayer Journals, then October, to find out more on how to pray for us. We'll upload pictures later if we can.

If you get a chance, please leave us a message on the blog!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy Fall?

Ok, so in Florida the weather is basically hot and hotter....but since it will be October tomorrow we thought we'd better break out the fall decorations (plus Abby has been begging for days).
So the day was spent putting out pumpkin placemats, hanging skeletons in the kids' rooms and coloring and cutting out bats and cats to hang all over the french doors. I must say, we are getting into the "fall spirit"... as we watched Notre Dame romp and went Halloween costume shopping too. All of the kids want to be pirates this year, so you'll have to come to the St. Andrews Fall Festival to see the unveiling of the mateys.

Some of you have asked for the pumpkin apple streusel muffin recipe so here it is...May it get you in the mood for fall! (even if it is 80 outside)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples

Streusel Topping:
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

To make the streusel:
In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in softened butter until mixture is crumbly.

For batter:
In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt, set aside. In med. bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add liguid ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Stir in apples. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle streusel topping over batter. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins. (taken from the "Best of the Best from Iowa" cookbook)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Do unto others...

It never fails- in fact I think almost daily we tell our kids "do unto others as you would have them do to you"-usually we don't say it- we sing it to a ridiculous tune that we have from a CD of scriptures put to song. This afternoon all three of them put it into I tripped over a toy that was in the middle of the floor. I hurt my ankle and without hesitaion Abby says " Are you ok mom?" and gently put her hand on me, then Levi immediately says "Can I kiss it?" (his answer to all pain) and Luke runs over and says"Can I get you some ice?"

Wow! I thought-what sweet kids , who are truly caring about the needs of someone else-but before I could get too prideful in my parenting skills-literally in the next minute I was having to discipline Abby for chucking a toy at Luke's head! Ugh!

I guess we'll have to keep singing "Do unto others as you would have them do to you... to you"

Happy Parenting!

Any ideas?

Today I got to get out of the house for a few MYSELF! (thanks to my sister-in-law who graciously watched Levi) I guess I had forgotten what it is like to not have anyone with me while I am shopping. Usually I am stuffing goldfish in someone's mouth or unwrapping a lollipop to keep a kid quiet while I frantically look-but keep moving so nothing gets grabbed by a sticky hand. All you moms out there know what I am talking about!

I found a few warm things for Vienna-as we leave next Thurs. The weather should be in the low 70's during the day and the 50's at night...can't wait for that! So, I am trying to get my ducks in a row to leave our children with my mom and friends (for almost 12 days) and was wondering if anyone had any creative suggestions on how to make it easier for the children and my mom.
Currently I have a "sticker" chart for morning and night and if they get both of their stickers for the day, then they also will receive a little something at the end of the day (ie. candy, bubble bath, new book etc.) So sad how they are just like me...motivated by treats!

Would love to hear if anyone else has any ideas!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My loose is toof

Abby loses her first two teeth, to our amazement

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New Beginnings

There is always something goin' on at the HunterHaus...
This weekend we had a wonderful time with some friends from the Midwest (Corey and Kelli Tolle and their boys Mason, Brady and Landen). Kelli and I went to nursing school together and it is such a blessing to hear how God has been working in their lives. Lots of fun catching up, laughing, playing and of course...eating!

Today it would have been hard to get geared up to go to school after having such a great weekend, but both Luke and Abby had classes to look forward to. Luke had his first guitar lesson, while Abby started dance class. She was so excited that she woke up at 2:30 a.m., bringing me her clothes so she could get dressed. Ugh! Needless to say, they both enjoyed their lessons.

If that were not enough excitement...our Austrian friend Tami arrived this evening...bearing Milka chocolate bars no less. We think she will fit in lovely with our family over the next few weeks and we hope this is a new beginning in my "mastering" the German language. Ha! Ha! So far, I can understand one word for every 15 that she speaks! (if that)

Oh, and let's not forget Levi's new beginning...potty training. He only gets candy when he actually sits and goes without clothes on... but often he will sit on the potty fully clothed and say, "Mommy, I went pee pee on da potty".

Here's to new beginnings!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Seeking shelter from the storm

This morning as we were checking on our pond and picking up anything that potentially could become a "projectile" when Ernesto comes, we found these two Bufo toads seeking shelter from the storm...or as Luke would put it... "hugging".

To all our friends in Florida...stay safe!

Richly Blessed

A friend sent us the following thoughts from an unknown Confederate soldier during the Civil War...may it be an encouragement to you today...

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked God for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might see the need for God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"Deserted Dessert"

Luke came home from school today with a book he had checked out of the is called "The Pirate Cookbook". It inspired us to make our own version of the "Desert Island Dessert" on pp. 10-11.

Here is what you need:

Bottom layer: store bought break and bake cookies (we used Nestle White Choc. Mac. Nut)
(Bake according to instructions)

Next layer: 2c. cool whip
1/2c. sugar
8oz. softened cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
(Mix until well blended & then spread over the cookie)

Top layer: fruit of your choice
1 Pepperidge Farm Creme Filled Piroutte Cookie
mint leaf sprigs (for palm tree effect)
1 Nestle Signature Treasure mini candy bar (for your treasure box)

Glaze: 2T. lemon juice
1/2c. OJ
1/4c. water
1/2c. sugar
1T. cornstarch
(bring to boil; then cool slightly-drizzle lightly over fruit)
This glaze is not absolutely necessary...but it certainly makes it even better.

Makes a lot!

Enjoy Mateys!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Don't laugh. Everyone who was wed in the mid-1990s had to do it--take the requisite hand-in-hand photo. When we got our proofs back from the photographer, we saw a hairy, masculine hand with short, stubby fingers. My (Brad speaking) hairless, Scandinavian fingers were no where to be found! We got it straightened out, however, and the photo you see here is indeed our hands.

So 9 years...too much to blog about, but God has given me the most amazing gifts in Stacey, Luke, Abby, and Levi. Happy Anniversary, my Love.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Summer officially comes to an end

Tonight as I look out the window while doing dishes, I hear and see our children playing in the pool with Daddy. I hear lots of laughter and see lots of splashing. Tomorrow will be a different scenerio...probably grumpy, yet excited children will gulp down their breakfast so they can get in the car by 7:30, so they can start school again!

Leaving summer is hard--no more sun-kissed cheeks, popcorn with M&M"s movie nights, no more waterparks with friends, no more slumber parties with cousins, or homemade forts with the neighbors...even no more sleeping in until 7-yes, as sad as it is-for our kids, 7 is sleeping in.
Tomorrow we enter once again the phase of structure, school uniforms, homework and bedtimes.

We asked Luke and Abby what some of their "school year resolutions" were...

Luke: "Try my hardest" and "Remember to bring my homework to school" (yes...if you know Luke you know he is the pleaser type)

Abby: "Get my homework done on time", "learn how to read", and "NOT get too hot on the playground" (and yes, for Abby, image is key!)

And we'll all "resolve" to make the most of this next year in the US together with our family and friends.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Memoo Memories

My mom doesn't cook very often, but when she does, our favorite thing she makes is sausage bread. Today, she and Abby made a batch--best eaten right out of the oven. We have been so spoiled having Memoo live on our property for 5 years--so many great memories of playing, swimming, laughing, eating, and even cleaning together.

She has watched our kids too many hours to count, endlessly shared her stash of Diet Coke, and always seemed to check the dryer just when the load is ready to be folded. Yes, we are in for a big adjustment, as she gets ready to move on Friday.

It has been a tremendous blessing having her so involved with Luke, Abby, and Levi. I will miss this chapter of our story, but look forward to what God will continue to write in all of our lives as we begin a new chapter.

So--if you think of it this week, please pray for us (and both our moms) as they adjust to living together and we adjust to no longer having the back door swing open and the kids yelling "Memoo's here."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A "Love"ly Wedding

We finished out a summer of weddings by driving up to Orlando, where our friends Nathan Taylor and Erin Love were married on July 29, 2006. Lots of St. Andrews people drove up for the beautiful wedding, where Abby was a flower girl and Brad was a groomsman.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lesson 16

Most of you may not know what Lesson 16 means...but for those of you who have done Sonship by phone know that it is the LAST lesson! Usually I don't blog about things that are too serious...I leave that for my dear husband, but Sonship came at just the right time in our lives. I'll give you an excerpt from our last homework assignment...asking us what has the Lord done in your life since starting Sonship? This is part of my response...this process has made me better understand the depth of my sin-expose my true need for Jesus-point me to the sacrifice paid on the cross-remind me that I am more loved than I thought possible-which in return hopefully is prompting me to love others more...I hope as a result of understanding the Gospel a little better, I relate to people with more grace, repenting faster and more often...

After completing Sonship, I wish I could claim that I always agree with Brad, that I'm never impatient with our children, and that I always feel at peace...but then I guess I wouldn't continue to see my need for Jesus, and the power of His forgiveness and acceptance...I would recommend Sonship to anyone who wants to better understand what it means to forgive and be forgiven, but also be prepared for an intense ride! Praise God for Meredith and our prayer partners who walked this journey with us...I am thankful for you...and thankful to God for his grace, love and mercy.

For more information on Sonship-by-Phone, click HERE
And no, we don't get a commission! :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Home sweet home

Sweet Alydia (the baby Memoo has been watching the past 2+ weeks) has found a home! Her new parents are wonderful people, and so excited. We will continue to pray for this precious little girl.