Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Driven by Fear

How many of our daily decisions are driven by fear? In my reading tonight, this verse stood out to me:

Ezra 8:22-23 - For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

To recap, Ezra had told the king that he and his men would go rebuild God's temple, and that in this process, the GOD of the universe would protect him against their enemies. Because of this testimony, Ezra was ashamed to ask the king for a protective guard on their dangerous journey. Instead, he fasted and prayed - asking God to protect them - why? So that GOD's name might be glorified in the eyes of this pagan king and his entire kingdom.

This brings me back to my initial question - how many of our decisions are motivated by fear? Have you heard anyone say that they’re voting for a particular candidate because they’re afraid of what will happen if the opposing candidate makes it into office? How about fear of allowing 'the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free' to find refuge in a nation where many of us have plenty to share? (Skittles, anyone?) Not to mention the inherent and even, at times, unconscious fear, prejudice and mistrust of anyone who looks different than us that is tearing our nation apart one heartbreaking hashtag at a time.

What does this kind of attitude communicate to our neighbors about the power of our God? How does it portray Him to the people we talk to every day?

Do we actually still serve the same GOD who closed the lion's mouths? The same GOD who protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace? Where do we find our protection, our refuge?

In the midst of a culture that is saturated with fear, stress, and anxiety, a firm faith and quiet peace despite the incredibly uncertain circumstances that surround us WILL stand out. God will be glorified in the eyes of the whole kingdom when we choose to fast and pray and then step out in faith to follow HIM rather than trusting in 'all the king's horses and all the king's men' to make America great again.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Kidlet Hilarity #23

This issue of Kidlet Hilarity is 90% brought to you by David - ha! He is quite the hilarious guy, and very aptly named (David Isaac means beloved laughter.) Enjoy!

David thought we were going to skip reading the Bible, so he said, "But then we will shrink, shrink, shrink!" Another day, he yelled at Daddy, "Do you want to shrink, shrink, shrink?" because he thought we were skipping our prayer time! I guess those lessons from our Preschool Choir songs did sink in after all!

David pronounces the words 'trees' and 'cheese' exactly the same. The other day, I repeated or figured out something he said, and he responded, "Ebaskaly." I finally figured out he was saying 'exactly'! :)

David went to sit in his Daddy's lap, "because I've known you a long time, Mama."

Zachary, talking about Doritos- "I can't believe they can make corn into something that tastes this good."

David loves to talk about "When I was widdle" and "When I was two year olds."

Zachary: "I'm so impatient for my birthday to be here. I want you to order it on Amazon Prime."
Natalie: "Okay, then it will be here in two days."

David was pretending to work for the king, making him mud pies, "so I won't get put in the 'Dungeon of De'pair'".

David: "Your pizza looks so handsome, Mommy."

David singing the blessing at mealtime: "Almond, Almond" instead of "Amen, Amen." He actually thought the blessing ended with the word Almond for some reason! :)

After the almond incident, Zachary prayed and said, "God, thank You that David is so funny."

David calls lasagna 'wawanza'.

David: "Zachary, close your ears with your hands like this" as he puts his hands on his ears. Apparently he didn't want Zachary to hear what he had to say. :)

Natalie: "I can't decide between being a lead singer when I grow up, or an artist."
David: "I can't decide between being an artist, a zombie, or a policeman. Or an artist who draws zombies."

David calls Publix 'Pugwix'.

David gets really excited when he's the only one of the kids that's obeying, and he dances and sings this little song that goes, "I'm obeying right now! I'm obeying right now!"

Zachary saw that our cashier at our Aldi store had a name tag that said Emmanuel, so Zachary asked him if he was Emmanuel Sanders (a Broncos player). He was sweet about it, laughed and said, "No, wouldn't that be nice?" :)

David likes to say, "No way, Hay-zay!" when he's asked to do something.

One night David and I were playing some kind of game against Natalie, Zachary and Daddy, Something happened where Natalie got a minor injury, and so I was hugging her. David objected, saying, "Don't pat her! Her is on the other team!"

One day when someone other than David was having a moment (or throwing a fit), David looked right at them and announced, "Satan is happy now." :)

David, referring to my favorite pajama pants that Joel gave me for Christmas, "Mama, why you wear dese pants every night? They need to be washed!" :) You can tell he's heard that about his clothes, can't you?

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I went on a walk around the neighborhood - Natalie and David were riding their bikes, and Zachary chose to walk and talk with me, so we were walking behind the two of them. Natalie and David crested a big hill in front of us, and as Zachary and I approached the top of the hill, David came back up to us, with tears in his eyes. "Oh, David, did you get hurt?" I asked him. "No," he cried, "but Natalie did. She fell down, and someone is taking her!" Poor Natalie had fallen over on her bike, and a sweet neighbor who owns a golf cart and a kind teenage neighbor had helped her up and taken her to give her a ride home, and poor David thought she was being kidnapped - he was so upset!! She ended up with a scraped up hand and a sore wrist, but she was fine! The fact of how concerned David was just brought me to tears, though - he was such a good helper to come back and tell us! :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Kidlet Hilarity #22

Zachary, looking down on the West Virginia mountains: "Wow, it looks like Google Earth!"

David got some sunglasses at a local event, and a few days later, they broke apart. I was going to throw them away, and he said, "You could duct tape them."

When David got his four-year-old shots, he was freaking out and kept yelling, "Her is poking me! Her is poking me!" I had to hold him down, which was awful.

David, after listening to the ABC song for preschool: "I will never sing with you." The next day, he sang the ABC song with the word Bad mixed in all through out and called it his Bad ABCs. :)

David comes in wearing just shorts, no shirt. "I'm not going to wear a shirt today", he announces.

I notice an odor coming from Zachary's feet during devotions one night, so I quietly say to him, "Zachary, you should change your socks before you go to bed." Natalie, sitting next to us, overhears, and chimes in, "Yeah, they stink! Pee-yew!"

Natalie has been wearing a glove to keep her from sucking her thumb. Today, she was walking around sucking the glove!

David: "What kind of pasta are we having? Chicken Buffido?" (Alfredo). :)

David: "Can I have some garlic bread, please pitty?"

I was teaching David from a worksheet about things that start with B. I pointed to a picture of a baby bottle and said, "What do babies eat from?" He answered, "Um, their mommies?" Me: "Well, yes. That's true. And this is a bottle." :)

David calls the clothes hamper a "hampry".

The kids ate whole apples for breakfast, and now they're in the backyard planting apple trees. Their genius plan is to plant them right next to the swingset, so they can swing up so high and grab an apple and then eat it. :)

David; "Mommy, dere a pider in my room! A tawantuwa!"

Zachary's Poems: Things in September
There's Judah's birthday, and there's Labor Day.
And oh, don't forget Mom's birthday!
Oh, the wonderful things in September.

David, helping me with breakfast: "I'll get the toaster. No worries."

David, knocking things over, "I'm a boze-dozer!"

Zachary, describing BW3's Asian Zing wing sauce: "It's like you're walking through Candy Land and boom! Suddenly, it's on fire!"

David says 'gwage' for garage.

When David hurts his ankle, he often says, "I hurt my nickel!" or "I hurt my nakle!" :)

Me: "Natalie, what did you learn about in Sunday School this morning?" Natalie: "We learned about somebody. I think his name was Minimesemus?" Me: ...... "Onesimus?"

David pretending to cook: "Here are the ga-redients."

Zachary, watching paintball at camp: "This is less exciting than I imagined."

David calls chipmunks 'chickamunks'.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Kidlet Hilarity #21

Natalie: "I just made up a Bible verse. Here it is. 'Those who panic lead to death, but those who don't panic lead to life.' I told God, and he said he would add it to the Bible." Oh, dear. :)

Zachary: "Where is the remote? Oh, here it is on the dining room table, where I LEAST expected it!"

David was feeling sick in the middle of the night, so he and I were sitting on the bathroom floor, bleary-eyed, having a conversation about something. Zachary woke up, and came in to use the bathroom. When he heard that David was sick, he sat down on the hand-washing stool by the sink and told David he was sorry. I asked David to go back to his room so that Zachary could use the bathroom, and David stood up, looked at Zachary for a minute, and with his best little grumpy tired face, he said, "Could you move?" Zachary and I both burst out laughing! :) He also told me later in the night that his stomach could be hurting because he ate dirt in the backyard!! Well, yes, that could be it...

David can count to 13 now, but the rest of his counting goes like this, "13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 26, 82, 86, 89, 90, 92, 96... I counted to 96!!" :)

David still doesn't pronounce some of his words clearly, and he gets so frustrated when we can't 'unner-nand' him! He says, "You don't unner-nand me!" Nope, we don't! Yesterday, he was trying to say what he wanted on his birthday cake. I knew it was trucks, because he had showed me the specific trucks that he wanted, but Joel kept guessing, "Socks?" David said, "No, CHUCKS!" until I finally translated. :)

When David says the words 'special' and 'pretzel', they sound exactly the same. 'Special pretzel' comes out like "Pessel Pessel".

Natalie: "What if we were all born with only one leg, like, what if that's how God made people, with just one leg? It would be hard to walk."

David, while cleaning his room: "How am I supposed to pick up this many stuff? I don't have a million hands. Only two. Two hands!!" Me: "Well, you can pick up one thing at a time, then another thing." David: "No, I have two hands. I can pick up TWO things at a time. One for each hand." Me: "Yes, I guess you can."

I heard David come inside while I was vacuuming, all excited. He said, "Mommy, look what we found outside!" He was holding a little white moth by the wing or leg or some part. Me: "Oh, a moth. Is it dead?" David: "Noooooo." Me: "Okay! It's very nice! Take it back outside if it's alive, and please don't bring live bugs in the house!" :) He also brought some kind of a grub to show me while I was working on the computer this week, and he set it on my desk. I was like, "No, thank you!!"

Natalie: "Good night, Mommy. I love you. You are the bestest Mommy in the world. But you are NOT perfect." Oh, so true.

David wore a life jacket in the pool the other day, and he kept calling it his 'jet pack'. The next day he asked if he could wear his jet pack in the bathtub! :)

Zachary discussing why his forearms were covered with red paint after painting a Ninja Turtles picture: "I bet Leonardo DaVinci was dirty after he painted the Mona Lisa". :)

Natalie drew a silly face on David's birthday banner, and when she finished, she put her hand over her mouth and started giggling. "Wow, that turned out way more silly than I even imagined", she said.

David woke up in the middle of the night, crying and needing a drink. I brought him ice water in a sippy cup, and he drank about half of it in one sip. "Oh", he sputtered, "Dis is a cold ice. I am freezed into pieces." In his half-awake state, with eyes just half open, it was especially hilarious! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Streets of Gold

My grandparents with Zachary at 10 months - October 2008
My Grandma passed from death to everlasting life during the night. I can't feel sad for her. I'm picturing her running, dancing, and hugging Jesus. She's with her Savior today! Don't get me wrong, I'm grieving for those of us left here on this earth, and I miss her, but I'm so glad for her. My grandma loved the color gold - jewelry, purses, clothes, shoes. Once, she even had a pair of jeans with gold threads woven through them. It makes me smile to know that she is enjoying the streets of gold all around her today! 

Earlier this week, I was praying for her and for my Grandpa and my parents, and God brought to my mind a phone conversation that Zachary had with my grandma about two years ago when she was first diagnosed with cancer. I remembered writing (but never publishing) something about it, and after some searching, I was able to find it and thought I would finally share:

"My Grandma was recently diagnosed with cancer.  They caught it early, a little spot on her lung.  They only need to do some targeted radiation, no chemo yet.  But still, cancer is a scary word.  A scary thing.

I’ve been meaning to call her.  The phone rings, and I am able to sit and talk a minute, amongst kids playing.  She tells me the ‘plan’, and how God has brought her through this far, and she trusts that He will bring her through again.  I manage, barely, not to cry while we’re talking. 
The kids want to talk.  I hand the phone to Zachary.  He talks about the stomach flu we’ve had, and what toys he’s been playing with, and then they talk about the cancer.  I know it seems weird that a five-year-old would know about cancer, and truthfully, he has no clue, but he knows that when you have cancer, you are sick.  We pray for our friends and family with cancer.  

“You have cancer?” he asks. “Taylor has cancer, and she has to take medicine that makes her more sick for a while, and it makes her hair come out.”  He listens to what Great-Grandma has to say.  I can’t hear her side of the conversation, but I assume she’s explaining about her upcoming radiation treatments.  Soon he responds, “You’re not scared?”  He listens again while she shares the faith that her 80-some years walking with God have brought her to.  And I try not to let him see me crying.  

We are so blessed to have this heritage, passing down this faith from generation to generation.  Lord, let me not neglect the relationships between myself, my children, and the older generations in our family.  Remind me of their importance, not only to encourage those older relatives, but in passing that wisdom and deep-seated faith to me and my family in the process.  

This conversation hit me once again and I was teary-eyed while singing the song, “How Great is our God” (by Chris Tomlin) in church this morning, and I knew I had to write about it.  Here are the lyrics that spoke to my heart:

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great, is our God."

Grandma and Natalie at 4 months - April 2010
After hearing this week that my Grandma was so close to passing away, God gave me this verse to encourage my heart: "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust." - Psalm 4:8. I know without a shadow of a doubt that my Grandma laid down in peace this week, and slept in safety and confident trust, and woke up in Jesus' arms, whole, in her brand new body! That picture is such an encouragement to me! I'm praying strength and encouragement for my Grandpa during this difficult time, and also for my parents with all the arrangements that need to be made. I know we would all appreciate your prayers! 

Grandma and Davey at 5 months - December 2011
 **Friends, if you don't know without a doubt what would happen if you passed away today, I'd love to talk with you about it! Is there really anything else that matters more than this??**

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mabel's Labels Product Review!

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking if I would like a chance to review Mabel's Label's Ultimate Back to School Combo!! My response? You bet I would!! 

I won a set of Mabel's Labels in a giveaway at some point when Zachary was a baby, probably in 2008 or 2009, I would guess. Well, Zachary is now six and a half and his name sticker is still stuck firmly on the booster seat he used when he was a baby and a toddler - now my three-year-old is using that same seat!! Here's a picture of the label that has survived six years of kids, camp dining hall life, being washed (occasionally :) ), and moving through three different houses, not to mention the trips and vacations it has joined us on! :)

That should make it pretty clear why I would jump at the chance to review a new set of Mabel's Labels!! The Back to School Combo comes with several different kinds of labels that I didn't even know Mabel's had! The most fun part was picking out the colors/patterns and logos from ALL the adorable choices on the website! I ended up ordering our labels with the words 'Hart Family' so we could all use one set. :) The first kind, the Skinny-Minis, are dishwasher and microwave-safe! I stuck one of these on my coffee cup, because I tend to leave them at church...

And one on David's favorite new Lightning McQueen water bottle, which goes everywhere with us and has been through the dishwasher many times! :)

The second kind of labels included in the combo are called Tag Mates. They are intended to be applied to clothing tags and are washer and dryer safe! I put one of these on Natalie's favorite sweatshirt, and plan to use them on our coats and sweatshirts this winter! :) This sweatshirt has been washed a few times, and the sticker is still firmly in place. I also attached a Tag Mate to our beach bag and diaper bag, and to each of our beach towels!

Zachary started playing baseball this season, and I have put cute little Mabel's Labels on ALL of his baseball stuff!! :) I used a Tag Mate in his baseball hat! (Isn't it cute? I still can't believe he's old enough to be on a team!) At least he isn't old enough to tell me not to use the cute labels on his sports stuff! :)

And here is the rest of his baseball stuff! His glove got a Tag Mate, while his bat and batting helmet got a Skinny Mini each. :) 

 The other kind of labels included in the combo were called shoe labels, and are waterproof. They are designed to be stuck inside your child's shoes! Here is a pair of Zachary's shoes with the Hart Family shoe labels in them! These have been worn several times, and they are still perfectly attached to the shoes!

 This combo also included two metal Teeny Tags with mini key rings attached! I put this on my key ring about three weeks ago, and it is not chipped or faded in the least. You could use this on your child's backpack if your kids go to school! :)

I just noticed that the Mabel's Labels Ultimate Back to School Combo is only available until September 30th, so you'd better rush over and grab one up now!! If you have older kids who might appreciate more 'sophisticated' designs, or you just want some labels for yourself, check out the Stylish Scholars Combo or any of other products on the Mabel's Labels site! :)

**Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this product review are expressly mine, based on my own use of the products. I was provided with free product to test and review, but was not compensated for this review in any way.**

Friday, February 21, 2014

Kidlet Hilarity #20

SO much has happened since the last time I posted the fun things the kids do and say! Probably the biggest one is that we moved to Georgia! And David started talking a TON more, it is amazing how his vocabulary has grown in the last month - he is finally ready to talk, I guess! :)

David says whoops - "Oopsh" or uh-oh whenever anything falls down!

The day before his birthday, Zachary got up and said, "It's my birthday eve!"  He also had a nightmare about David getting into the box of chocolate donuts we were saving for the occasion and eating a bite out of each one! :)

One night, Zachary and I were playing Connect Four, and I was trying to teach him about the strategy and paying attention to blocking me, and I kept beating him! Finally, he said, "Take it easy on me this time!"

David sometimes says 'toot' when he toots, and he thinks it is hilarious. :)

One night, Natalie asked Zachary, "Zachary, can I sleep in your bed?"  Zachary (who sometimes thinks Natalie is too disruptive during these sleepovers when he is actually trying to sleep) replied, "Natalie, I have been looking forward to it, and the answer is yes."

I handed Zachary a bottle of salad dressing, thinking it was a squeeze bottle.  It wasn't. As he was about to pour it onto his salad, he said, "I hope this ends well." It didn't ... unless you reeeally like blue cheese...

We were discussing the possibility of moving somewhere where the weather is nice, and we could go to the park year-round.  "Yes," Zachary said, "That could be our daily thing!"  And now it is - I think we've missed maybe two days of park-going since we've moved down here!! :)

One day, I overheard Natalie singing, "And when the ocean breaks, we don't have to be afraid.  There's pain the night, but joy comes in the morning. Joy comes in the morning!" (from this Newsboys song)

Another day, Natalie was singing, "Jesus loves the big children. All the teenagers of the world! Yellow, black, white, those big kids are precious in His sight. Jesus died for all the children of the world."

While playing Mario Kart, Zachary exclaimed, "That is so irritating!"

When discussing where we may move, Natalie said, "I want to move to Ohio, so we can visit Daddy." Zachary said, "Natalie, Daddy's training isn't going to last forever!" (SO thankful that chapter of our family's life is over!!)

Zachary wanted to move to northern Canada or Antarctica, so he could go sledding year round.

Zachary got a Batman Gotham City Jail with his birthday money, and he plays with Natalie and her Little People figures in it. He calls her Little People Batman's 'apprentices', but he pronounces it "appreciants". :)

One day, Davey was pretending to be a 'bad cat'. He was making some very angry and hilarious meowing sounds! :)

When Zachary was playing one day, I overheard this: "I wasn't very smart when I was an adult, so I decided to go back to school.  So I went back to college."

David knows a lot of colors now, and the cutest one is 'orange'! He pronounces it in one syllable, like Natalie used to, "ornsh".

When Natalie went to the doctor for her well-check a couple of days after Christmas, the nurse asked her if Santa had come, and Natalie looked at her like she was crazy, and responded, "No." The nurse's head popped up to look at me, and I explained that a lot of our kids' presents come from our extended families, so we don't really 'do' Santa, we just tell the kids who the presents are from - but I think she thought we were crazy!!

Natalie: "Mommy, what does twice mean?"
Me: "Two times."
Natalie: "Okay, Mommy. I'm going to kiss you twice times."

David brings his diaper and clothes that he has picked out on his own to my room for me to dress him in as soon as he gets up now - it's so cute! He also says "dar-per, shirt, panss", so adorably. :)

On Mario Kart, Zachary pronounces the piranha plants "Pee-ra-ha-na" plants. :)

One day, Natalie was carrying around a Bob the Builder doll. She said, "His name is Bob the Builder." I said, "Oh, is he going to be a builder when he grows up?" She said, "Well, if that's what God wants him to be!" :)

One night, Natalie was up playing with toys after bedtime, so I was discussing her disobedience with her. Her response - "But, Mom, I'm only four. I don't really understand." :) Hmmm...she may have heard that twenty or five hundred times to explain why 'baby Davey' gets away with things more often than he probably should... :)

Natalie handed me her Potato Head when the back flap had fallen off and asked me, "Mom, can you put my Potato's booty back on?" Ha!

One morning, Zachary and I were sitting on my bed chatting. David brought his Scentsy Buddy monkey into my room, and Zachary sniffed and said, "What is that terrific smell?" :)

When we went to the bouncy place in the mall, there were some other kids there, so I asked Natalie if she had talked to any of them or made any friends. She responded, "A boy said hi to me, but I just looked at him, because I wanted to have peace." Okay, then.

Natalie was watching Z play Mario Kart and Diddy Kong jumped up and did a flip in his seat while he was driving. Natalie said, "That's not very safe."

One night, Joel came home late and kissed Natalie in her sleep. When he asked her the next morning if she remembered it, she said, "Yes! I remember I said, 'What's that prickly thing?'" :)

One night, we were praying and Zachary's prayer was, "Jesus." I said, "Um, why did you say that?" His response: "I didn't know what to say, so I just said Jesus. That song told me to."

I had a headache one day, so Dr. Buzz Lightyear (represented by Zachary) stood on my head and diagnosed me. "Your brain has a problem. You have been watching too much SpongeBob. You should not watch any more SpongeBob."

David sometimes breaks out in a little song when he is bored in the car, using a bunch of random words like, "Ouchie wa wa, ooh ooh aah aah, ee-ee, Bubby, obey Mommy Daddy, no way, no way, no waaaaaay". He also said Zach this week for the first time - so adorable!! Some more of his newest phrases from this week include iPad, Watch BibleMan, shoes socks, Oh-tay for okay, and thank you (finally!!).

Last week, Zachary was helping me make taco casserole, and I asked him how we should crush the corn chips. "I will crush them with my manly crushers", he responded. "What are your manly crushers?" I had to know. "My hands", he said.

Joel is very good about reminding the kids to thank me when I make meals, and sometimes it rubs off when he's not home. :) The other day at lunch, David said to me, "Mommy, thank you eat." It is so fun that he is finally talking!! :)

We're pretty much settled in our rental for now, and still actively looking for a house to buy - we've had a couple offers fall through, so that's been disappointing, but we're trying to trust that God has something perfect in mind for us! We are enjoying the warm weather here, and having Daddy home every single day is a huge treat after the three months we went through before this!! The kids are enjoying it all, but obviously they miss everyone from New York, too (I had to struggle not to type 'back home' right there myself). Your prayers are greatly appreciated as we continue to believe God for His best for us here in Georgia!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

House Hunting

We have learned a lot about buying houses this week - and renting! I will share some first-time-home-buyer/renter lessons that I have learned in the past two days.

1.  You can make ANYTHING look good on the internet.  Anything.

2.  When looking to buy a house, do not look on,, or, find SO MANY GREAT houses that you like and get your heart set on two or three of them working out.  These sites can be outdated, and you may meet your realtor at the first house you're looking at that day (the one you like the least, with the ugly cabinets and pink wallpaper in the bathrooms, of course) only to hear him say that ALL the other beautiful homes in your price range that you sent him the addresses for are already taken.  You may have to hold back tears in front of a realtor you met just two minutes ago.

3.  All the apartment complexes are 'running a special this week'!! How convenient that we happened upon all the specials this week! :)

4.  If something seems 'too good to be true', it probably is.  For example, "Wow, Joel, this rental house is $200 cheaper than all the rest! It doesn't hurt to drive by and check it out!" may actually equate to, "Um, I'm not comfortable driving any farther down this alley to find this house. Let's get out of here."

5.  When a seller somehow doesn't get the message that you would like to see their house at 10 am, you may arrive to find an elderly lady in her bathrobe and pajamas, and her husband pulling on his pants with belt unbuckled and messy hair making VERY FRAGRANT BACON in a house that somehow still smells like cats, even over the bacon smell.  Cats and bacon. That's not a smell you forget quickly.

6.  God really does always provide.  I'm so thankful for the home He has provided us to rent on a monthly basis, which gives us the flexibility to still look for the perfect home for our family and not feel rushed into making a decision! I'm so thankful for God's leading through the last six months, and so excited to move to Georgia soon, and be together as a family again! :)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: The Year In Smiles

Wow, 2013, what a year.  I can hardly believe all the changes that God has brought into our lives this year!! He has given us so many blessings, and I want to praise Him for each of those, especially for my husband and my children, and how God has grown each of them and made them even more precious to me over this year! So, without further ado, here is the Hart Family 2013 Year in Review!

In January, we stayed home, enjoyed retreats at camp, and played in the snow! Joel and I celebrated our 10th anniversary!

February was, you guessed it, more snow and retreats!! We celebrated Valentine's Day at home!

March was mostly snow and retreats, but it ended with a bang- Grandma and Grandpa Hart visited, and I was able to attend the Quirky Hobbies retreat at Bethany Camp! :)  We had a great visit with them, and enjoyed celebrating Easter at home!

April was a fun month, getting into spring and getting outside! We took a family trip to the Buffalo Zoo, and towards the end of April, we traveled to Iowa to be in Auntie Beth's wedding on April 27th! 

May started out with a Hart family vacation in the Smoky Mountains!! After we came home, we enjoyed getting out in the beautiful weather!

In June, Grandma and Grandpa Harriss were able to visit! We enjoyed the warm weather, and got ready for summer camp to start!!

In July, we got to meet (Judy's) baby Noah!! We enjoyed going to camp to see our staff and camper friends, and we celebrated Davey's 2nd birthday on July 26th!

In August, we finished up summer camp, took a family trip to Darien Lake with the camp staff, and spent some time at home as a family before Joel began work with retreats again! Joel and I were able to ride the motorcycle to Erie for a couple of days and just be together as a couple! During the month of August, after many months and weeks of prayer, God led Joel to submit an application to Lifeway Christian Stores to become a store manager.  August was a month of waiting on God to see if this was the direction He was leading us.

In September, we started back to school at home! Zachary is in kindergarten this year, Natalie in preschool, and David in Tot school.  David upgraded from a crib to a toddler bed, which was an interesting adjustment!  Near the end of September, Joel was accepted into the Manager-in-Training Program with Lifeway Christian Stores, and we began to tell our friends and family about the change God was working in our family.

October was back into the swing of things with MOPS and story hour at the Sinclairville library!  As Joel began training with Lifeway, God has provided much strength and encouragement for each of the five of us along the way.  At the end of October, our friends at Bethany Camp blessed us with a going-away open house party which was a wonderful time of celebrating the years that we have enjoyed working and living here, complete with LOTS of cupcakes, balloons, and the popcorn machine!  

In November, we enjoyed time with Anna & Elias, and had a great time on our family trip to Columbus! Joel and I were able to spend a few days together as a couple, which was wonderfully refreshing.  Then God laid it on the heart of a man who had never even met us to gift us the money to take our family to the Columbus Zoo! We loved it!! We celebrated Thanksgiving at home, and began to deck the halls for Christmas!

December is always a month of celebrations for our family! On December 5, Zachary turned six! He enjoys magic, and received not one but two magic trick sets! He currently wants to be a magician when he grows up!  He has lost six baby teeth at this point as well! To celebrate his birthday (and Natalie's), our friends Kelly & Sandy blessed us with a day at Chuck E. Cheese! On December 22nd, Natalie turned four, and received her very own Bible as her gift from Joel and I, which she was very excited about! We celebrated Christmas at home as a family.  With some of our Christmas gifts, we spent a day at the Buffalo Museum of Science!

You can see what kind of a whirlwind year (or at least a whirlwind fall) 2013 has been for our family! We are still waiting for the final word on where exactly God is going to ask our family to relocate, but we are trusting that He has that perfect plan in mind, and He will let us know in His perfect timing!!  He has been more than faithful in every step of this process, and we are constantly growing in our faith, and every day depending more and more on Him to lead us.

In thinking about a New Year's Resolution for 2014, I want to make Psalm 141:3 my theme verse: "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!"  I say so many, many words each day.  The prayer of my heart for 2014 is that every single word that exits my mouth would bring glory to God and Speak Life to those who hear it.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Kidlet Hilarity #19

Lots of hilarious-ness going on around here these past few weeks!! I thought I would take a minute to share just a few of the funny things the kids have said lately!  It seems like there is always something - I wouldn't even have time to write them all down, I would have to carry a tape recorder around with me to catch every one! :)  One of my favorite things is when they (all 3 or different combinations of them) are playing together and interacting.  The things they come up with and pretend are just so funny. 

One day during school, I asked Zachary if he wanted to do phonics or math next, and he responded, "F is for Phonics!"  

I love when the kids share with each other, too, most of the time - one day I had told Davey he couldn't have any more juice, and when I came out, he was drinking of Zachary's cup!  Z said, "It's okay, Mom, I said he could have it."  

Natalie came into my room one afternoon after waking up from her nap, with a big frown on her face.  When I asked her what was wrong, she said, "I just woke up a little sadly."

David is learning more words each day - and he says little sentences now, like, "Juice Ew." (when he doesn't like his juice), "Stool Ow." (when he gets hurt by a stool), and "My spill." (when he spills something).

David can climb into the tub now, but not out.  So sometimes I will hear him yelling from the bathroom, and go in and there he is, just standing in the tub, getting his socks wet, yelling for me to get him out.  

Zachary, while using a yo-yo, and discussing the reason why it had been taken away and hidden on a pantry shelf - "I am not going to hit people with the yo-yo.  I am using it properly this time."

Natalie, to Zachary, while playing: "Did you know I go to homeschool class, downstairs?  I go whenever my Mommy says."  

Natalie, to Davey: "Good night, sweetheart."  David is really good at stalling his bedtime, and his favorite thing to do is run around and tell everyone, "Bye!" at least once.  He also likes to read books, and he prays for all of his family members at bedtimes and mealtimes, which is so cute. :)  

Natalie: "My book is called Me Verses Grandpa."
Zachary: "Versus means against something.  You don't want to be against Grandpa, do you?"
Natalie: "It's called Verses because it has a lot of verses in it, like Bible verses."

I made a turkey and stuffing casserole one night (seriously, the cheapest and fastest meal ever, a box of stuffing takes 5 minutes, and if you have leftover (or frozen) shredded turkey on hand, just throw some of that in and mixed veggies and you have a really easy, quick meal!).  Anyhow, after we ate that for supper, Z said, "That was a great Thanksgiving meal, Mom!" :)

After the kids visited their aunt, uncle & cousin in Tennessee recently, they were all rather enamored with their dog, Ferdy.  We asked them if they wanted a dog someday, and of course they said yes.  When we asked them what we should name our dog, Natalie replied, "Ferdy!"  Joel asked her, "But what if we were together with Jason & Emily, and we called for Ferdy, and both dogs came? What would we do then?"  Natalie's response: "We would freak out!"  LOL!!

We ate at Culver's when we were in Columbus, and we gave the kids the meal options to choose from.  I asked Davey, "Do you want a hamburger, grilled cheese, or corn dog?"  He responded, "Woof woof!" :)  Corn dog it is!  That one had our cashier cracking up, too! :)

Nat, overheard playing: "Okay, baby, I have to make some fish sticks now.  What?  You want to be holded?  Okay."  She proceeded to hold the baby while pretending to make fish sticks. :)  What a good mama!

We were discussing the fact that when we do move, God may ask us to live in an apartment for a while, during the time of finding a place to live, etc.  I asked Zachary how he would feel about that and his response was, "Well, that would be frustrating, but I would do it."  I thought frustrating was an interesting word choice there.

Natalie: "Come on, David.  It's time for our wedding."
David: "No."
Natalie: "Well, then, I'm going to marry somebody else!"
David: "No."
Natalie: "Then come on!"

Zachary: "Natalie, we're going to play sumo.  First, you have to take your shirt off.  Now, pretend you're wearing a big white diaper thing.  You have to throw the other person off the rug!"

Natalie threw up one morning (she disliked her banana and somehow got sick on it) and did not tell me.  I discovered it later, which was lovely.  I told her she needed to let me know the next time she got sick like that, and she responded, "Okay.  Next time I throw up, I will tell you.  After I'm done throwing up.  Because you can't talk while you're throwing up." 

While reading through Proverbs last week, I was reading a verse about a nagging wife.  Z asked what nagging was, so I gave an example in which I was pretending to ask the kids over and over to do their chores.  When I finished, Z said (totally seriously and respectfully), "Um, you're kind of nagging sometimes, aren't you?"  LOL!!  I said, "Well, yes, but I'm your mom." :)

My grandparents sent the kids each an apron to go along with a Curious George Makes Pancakes book, and the kids LOVE them - I'm not sure they've taken them off yet, except to go to bed. :)  Natalie calls hers her "april". :)

Two of David's newest words are 'bite' and 'wet'.  He also says 'boo-boo' a LOT, whenever he gets hurt.  

Playing Wii with Daddy, Joel reminds Zachary to turn the sensor around to face them, and Zachary mumbles, as he's turning it around, "Oh, yeah.  I always forget that.  I guess I'm just too impatient."  

The kids were SO excited to watch a Hoops & Yo-Yo Christmas special this week, and while they were talking about it in the car, Natalie said, "Mom, when do we get to watch Larry and Ho-Ho?"

We did a "noun Thanksgiving" exercise at the Thanksgiving table yesterday, and I wanted to write down the things the kids were thankful for - David can't really articulate this stuff yet, so it's just Natalie and Zachary's responses:

A PERSON Zachary is thankful for is: Greg Frank.
A PLACE Zachary is thankful for is: the camp playground, and our house
A THING Zachary is thankful for is: a thing that happens - his birthday!

A PERSON Natalie is thankful for is: Her friends, Ari & Kaylie Main
A PLACE Natalie is thankful for is: The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
A THING Natalie is thankful for is: To be a Mommy someday
(not sure about Natalie's stuff going in the right category, but so sweet anyway!!)

Speaking of Zachary's birthday, he is going to be SIX in less than a week!! It is crazy how time flies!!  And Natalie will be FOUR in less than a month!  At least Davey gets to stick with two for a while longer. :)  

Here's Zachary showing off his latest round of missing teeth - three in the last month!  The tooth fairy has been busy! :)  

David wanted to show off his perfectly healthy baby teeth:

Natalie didn't want to show any teeth, just her bathtime baby doll: