Friday Favorites No. 2

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Sienna ran a 5k with her running club last Saturday in Charlotte, and David did it with her.  She loves running and really enjoys the accomplishment of finishing a race.  It was an unexpected surprise when her coach called later that morning to say she had won 1st place for girls in her age group!  She was so excited and pleased that her hard work had won her a gold medal!  Henry was completely transfixed by the live music on the main stage.  It was a COLD morning!  It was the first time we all pulled our heavy winter coats out!

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Charlie’s soccer club had their tournament weekend last week as well, and after some ups and downs during the season, they ended up winning all three of their games!  Charlie has made a lot of improvement over the season, and again, he felt so good to get a gold medal for all of his hard work!  I could only be there for the second game (it was a busy weekend!), but watching Charlie’s team play is so much more interesting to me than any sports games on TV!  I could care less about the pros, but I’m completely engrossed in watching these first graders!

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Sienna went on her first church retreat last weekend with the other fourth and fifth graders.  It was held at a camp in the area, which was beautiful.  (Of course I forgot to take a picture of her there!)  She played games, went ziplining, stayed up late, sang songs, and hopefully grew closer to God.  🙂  She had an amazing time!

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We had fun at our neighborhood block party on Saturday. It was nice to meet some neighbors we didn’t know and chat with those we do.  Plus fire pits + roasting giant marshmallows = joy!

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I met my friend Kathryn again for coffee this week, and the coffee stirrers proved to be more fun for Henry to play with than the toys he brought.  It was fun checking out all the Christmas stuff at Target with him afterwards!

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I just finished reading this book with a small mentoring group that I’m in.  It said a lot of things that I know are true, but are always good to be reminded of, about how chasing perfection is damaging to our self-image, relationships with friends, and relationships with our husbands and children.  She presents a great, simple “antidote” to what she calls the “perfection infection,” which includes choosing to replace specific negative emotions with positive ones, and letting go off expectations.  It was easy to read and a great reminder to me to let go of striving for an unrealistic ideal that doesn’t exist.  Most times I do this without even realizing it, so this helped me remember to be more aware as well!
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I went to have lunch with Charlie again on Thursday, followed by a fun presentation in his classroom.  Each student read out facts about Thanksgiving, and then they all sang some Thanksgiving songs.  It was really sweet!  They had cookies and drinks, which each student served to their parent first, before going back in line and waiting to get some for themselves.  Their teacher had them do this because the Pilgrim children would always serve their parents food and then wait and eat after the adults were finished!  Hearing facts about the lifestyle of the Pilgrims made me really thankful for the way we live now, with all of our modern conveniences!  Even if it means that my children are not serving me food every day.  🙂

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Autumn leaves!  They’re fun to play with, but I like them best on the tree and full of color.  I saw some gorgeous fall colors this morning on a walk I took with Henry, which brings me to…

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I enjoyed a really pretty walk this morning with Henry!  The air was very brisk, and the sunlight still had that early morning glow, which highlighted the autumn leaves so beautifully.  It was a perfect fall morning.

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No view can compare with this face though!

I hope you had a great week too!

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Our Weekend in (Mostly) Pictures

We had such a fun, full weekend!  It started on Friday night when Sienna and Charlie planned a little surprise for the rest of us.  They love sending us to one room so they can turn the rest of the house into a “hotel.”  They have made signs before for the “lego hotel” and this time they created “The Little Sea Turtle Hotel.”   It started with this card that they left for us that included “tickets” to the hotel!img_3489

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We followed our instructions and found ourselves at the “check-in desk.”

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We received our room keys and were shown to our room.
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I love the chocolates left on the pillows!  And I love it when the kids want to plan little projects and surprises like this independently.  Speaking of which, Sienna started making special desserts on her own for us over the summer, that would usually include ingredients from the pantry combined with melted chocolate and/or peanut butter to look like a certain object or place.  Here’s an example – this one was a campsite (use your imagination!)img_2926.  Friday night, Charlie asked if he could make one on his own, so he created a candy old-fashioned house.

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My favorite part was the upside down lollipop (a butter churner).  My favorite part to eat was the melted chocolate that coated the entire plate!  Mmmmmm.  It was really fun to see him concentrating so carefully when he was putting this together for us.

On Saturday I had the great privilege of bringing Sienna and Charlie to serve at a meal packing event held at our church.  This was completed in collaboration with the organization Feed the Hunger, which is a Christian organization that brings food and the gospel to needy people in the United States and across the world.  Over 250 people came out to help in the session we attended.  At each of 12 stations, teams filled small bags with dehydrated vegetables, beans, a vitamin/nutrient mix, and rice.  They were weighed for accuracy and then heat sealed and boxed.  It was a well organized, efficient assembly line method that allowed our group of volunteers and the group of about 300 that came in the afternoon to fill over 16,600 bags total.  Each bag contains enough food to feed 6 children a meal, and we packed over 100,000 meals!   Originally, all of the meals were going to be sent to Jamaica, but because of the devastation in Haiti caused by Hurricane Matthew, half of the meals are going to be sent to Haiti to help in areas that have been hit the hardest.  It was a great opportunity to serve with the kids and provided the launch point for a lot of good conversations with them about poverty and serving others.  Sienna and I were able to participate last year as well —

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You gotta love the hairnets, right?  She looks so much younger!  This year Sienna was meeting two of her friends there and it brought me a lot of joy to watch those girls working hard together to bring good to hurting people in the world!

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Charlie was really excited to be able to go this year.  I was so proud of how hard he worked lining up the bags filled with food and helping to pack them into boxes.  img_3521

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It felt so good to run into lots of friends who were serving as well.  We are so blessed by the community we are a part of through our church! And haha- I just realized I wore the same shirt both times!  David stayed home with Henry, since he wasn’t old enough to come to the event.  They had a great time playing with cars, listening to Chris Tomlin music (Henry’s favorite) and playing guitar together.  Henry used to carry his guitar around constantly, but hasn’t been interested in it for a while.  David’s played his guitar with him more in the last few days, and now Henry is back into playing his guitar!  Yay!  He’s actually playing it and singing right now.  🙂

After the Feed the Hunger event, our family headed to a friend’s house to celebrate their youngest, Hudson, turning one!

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Look at how gorgeous my friend Julie is, surrounded by her three sweet kids!

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Sienna was so sweet and gentle with Hudson.  img_3580

She asked me to braid her hair while we were hanging out at the party.  I tried!

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Henry clutched his balloon the entire drive home.  He kept saying, “I’m not going to let it float away!”

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The kids came home to a package from my mom with some new clothes!  They modeled them so I could send a picture to my mom.  Henry didn’t have anything in the package (he has plenty of hand me downs from Charlie) so I pulled out some of Charlie’s old car PJs for Henry to get to open and he was so excited!  He’s in a big cars and trains stage.  🙂

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Charlie dressed himself before church on Sunday and came down wearing this.  It’s the suit he wore for my brother-in-law’s wedding in England this summer!  I love it.  Especially the mismatched buttons on the shirt.  He ended up wearing it without the jacket, but he was still the best dressed boy at church that morning!  It’s great being at the stage where my kids can dress themselves and it’s always fun to see what they come up with.  We had a relaxed day at home, and then a sitter came over so David and I could attend our church small group.  Once again, I felt really blessed to have made such wonderful friends through our church.  Those were some highlights from our weekend.  How was your weekend?

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You Make Me Brave

You make me braveYou make me braveYou call me out beyond the shore into the waves

I have listened to this song by Bethel Music at least half a dozen times today.  I love the repetition of the words, “You make me brave.”  When I think of bravery, it immediately brings to mind images of soldiers or firefighters displaying acts of heroism.  Although these are without a doubt examples of true bravery, I think we can forget how we need to be brave in so many other ways.  Brave enough to correct our children, even if we know it will upset them.  Brave enough to share our feelings with our husbands on something we know they won’t like hearing.  Brave enough to ask that acquaintance to meet up for coffee, even though she seems much cooler than we feel.  Brave enough to invite friends over even though their houses are cleaner/more well decorated/more organized than ours.  This week, I’ve been facing the need to be brave despite circumstances around me that are out of my control.  I need to be brave enough to let go of the worry and anxiety they are causing me and to trust God with them.  Can anyone else identify with this quiet sort of bravery?

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