Monday, November 30, 2015

Down On The Farm

Sweet friends of ours moved out of their neighborhoods and onto a 15 acre farm back during the summer.  Who could blame them?!  Their new place is about 25 minutes from us, and we finally  made it out to visit twice over Thanksgiving break.  They arrived on the farm with their own pet pig and a handful of chickens and dogs, but they inherited 3 beautiful horses, 8 more pigs, more chickens, and have managed to rescue a pony, donkey, mule, and goat in the last 5 months.  Phew!  Their place is wonderful, and we are so grateful for their hospitality!

During our first visit, Sandy the horse fell in love with me, and I with her.  She kept wrapping her neck around my shoulders, and I was a gonner.  Sweet heavens above, someone come hold me.  My Dixie pony died over 8.5 years ago, and I just haven't had a right match to replace her in my heart.  Sandy did me in though.  When a horse blows on your ears and follows you around, that's it.  Stick a fork in me and call me done.  I'll spoil her forever if that's what she wants to give me.  We'll ignore the fact that my son is suddenly terrified of animals bigger than dogs.  He'll get over himself.  Eventually.  He has too, in his own way, in his own time.  We're horse people, by George! He'll be a horse kid too once he realizes how insanely fun they are. #horsegirlproblems

We also met Gabe, the rescued dog, I mean goat.  Goat, he's a goat!  But he thinks he's a dog, so there's always a little grey fluff ball following the people around on the farm.  Poor goat.  I kinda have a sweet spot for him too, but don't tell anyone.  Aggie Belle was NOT happy when we came home smelling like goat.  As in, snubbed us and refused to acknowledge our presence for hours.  Ha.

Man Cub was fascinated with the chickens.  He knows most of his barnyard animals, so I heard a lot of 'chickchick' and 'peep' coming from him.  They're the smallest animals, and he seems to go for things smaller than he is at the moment.

We met Jack the pet pig too.  I don't know why I didn't snap his picture, but he's precious and thinks he's a dog as well.  The entire drive home, we heard 'oink oink' and various snorting noises from the back seat.  Good work, Jack.  Man Cub learned well!

We went back later in the week, bearing gifts of apples and carrots to feed spoil the equine girls.  See that bottom left picture up there?  That's my idea of Heaven, with an elephant and giraffe thrown in for good measure.  Just sayin'.  God has it all lined up for me.  We talk about this often, and I can't wait.  Thrill me, Lord!

Brownie, the biggest pony I've ever met, moved in on the farm over the week, and we were able to ride him.  Have mercy, I was reminded why I rarely ride bareback and haven't done it in 11 years.  That's a workout!  Man Cub rode with me, and Isaac walked beside us.  Brownie is so used to being led that he wasn't sure what to do without someone next to him.  I'm sure he'll figure it out soon in his new home.  He has the BEST new family, and they're going to soak up this silky soft, thick furred boy.

The baby drove the tractor not once but twice!  A tractor monster has been created!  I'm not sure his daddy minded helping him one bit.  Those two!  Melt me.

Man Cub seemed more comfortable the more time we spent there, and he wandered the barn until he found eggs from the chickens!  He was gifted with 7 eggs to take home.  Yum, yum!  What a special treat.

My sweet mom keeps saying that if anyone needs to live on a farm, it's her girl.  She's right, and she raised me. But it's a huge change and not cheap, so for now we pray and wait for guidance.  And thank God all the time that precious friends love on us and indulge us while we wait!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but it was a relaxing day at home and later with my side of the family.  We did massive amounts of cleaning and yard work in the morning before heading to my parents' after Man Cub's nap.  Mom and Nanny made a wonderful feast (as always!), and we had fun chatting and just being together.  We don't all seem to get together as much as we used to, so it was a treat watch the baby play and laugh together.  Man Cub thinks it's a hoot to do something silly so that we'll all laugh and cheer with him.  His favorite way to do this is to make baskets on his basketball goal, turn to face us, cheer for himself, and then keep going until we all join in.  It's hilarious.  That right there is more than enough reason to give thanks, but it's certainly not all we celebrated today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Andrew 16 Months

Baby Chimwemwe,

You are curious, loving, funny, and so cuddly!  We love you so very much.  We ask God each day to woo you to Him in all that you learn and experience.  You're growing much too fast for our liking, and you're talking and talking.  You fear very little and enjoy trying new activities.  Keep making people smile, Man Cub!

You still love your sleep!  11-12 hours a night is completely normal, and you nap 2-3 hours in the afternoons.  Tonight, we gave you a flat pillow for the first time, so we'll see how that goes.  
Ugh.  You try our patience daily with food.  You still love dairy, but you are completely vegetarian now.  I'm not worried about protein, but I don't like how picky you are.  Daddy started making you smoothies with kale, carrots, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, bananas, and ice, and you LOVE that.  Yay!  
You are still doing all of the same things from last month, but you've added identifying your eyes, mouth, knees, head, and toes.  You have added lots of new words to your vocabulary: door, hat, cup, back, Jes-te (Jessy), baby, knee, toes, eyes, nose, up, George, and lots and lots of car sounds.  You can go down the stairs completely unassisted.  Yippee!  You like to help Daddy with the sewing machine.  You still feed the puppies their meals and treats.  Books and the playground are still some of your favorite things.

Talking, hugs, kisses, cars, hugging Bailey, being outside, bubbles, baths, books, Curious George, the playground, feeding the dogs, giving the dogs treats, being with you family, music, and playing, playing, playing!

 Veggies, trying new foods, being tired

16 Month Stats:
Weight: 23.8 pounds
Length:  31.5 inches
Eating: nursing 7:00 AM, 4:45 PM, and 7:30 PM; breakfast around 7:15, lunch around 11:15, and dinner around 5:30.
Bedtime: between 7:30-7:45
Awake: sometime between 6:45-7:10
Naps: ~12:30-3:00
Diapers: Size 3
Clothes: size 12-18 months, and 18 months onesies; size 12 months pants/shorts; 12-18 months, and 18 months rompers.  12-18 months and 18 months pjs.
Shoes: Size 4

Year One:

 Year Two:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Baskets

A few weeks ago, I received an email from our missions pastor asking if our family would like to put together a Thanksgiving basket for local refugee families.  I asked Isaac, and the look on his face basically told me I shouldn't have even bothered asking him if we should participate.  Of course we were!  Noted, Honey.  We will help refugees in our city.  Got it. 

Our instructions were simple.  We were to purchase a laundry basket (a very useful item!), and fill it with black-eyed peas, rice, cans of green beans and sweet corn, apples, a Thanksgiving themed card with a greeting of welcome, and a gift card to a grocery store.  Once we delivered the basket to church, a copy of the Jesus film was added to it.  Easy!

Man Cub enjoyed going shopping with Isaac and me for the items.  He made sure I had sealed the gift card into the greeting card nice and tight so it wouldn't get lost.  He liked counting the items, too!  Man Cub might be just shy of 16 months, but he's not too small to learn to go shopping for others, to write notes to others, and to pray for others.  Our little family gathered around that basked and asked some big things for the family who will receive it.  We fully trust that our God is mighty enough to answer every single one of those prayers!

I kept thinking of other things I wanted to add to our basket, like warm fleece blankets, various sizes of socks, oranges, and basic school supplies.  It would have been so easy, but since our church was asked to make numerous baskets that would be delivered at once, they needed to be uniform.  I get it, but my imagination was running wild with possibilities. 

Yesterday after church, several folks took the baskets to the various apartments complexes where the families live.  Our friends met families from Burma, Bangladesh, Iraq, Somalia, DRC, and other countries.  We debated long and hard about whether or not to help deliver.  We finally decided that a cranky 1 year old in need of lunch and a nap would detract from our visit more than add to it, so we stayed home this time.  We learned that lesson the hard way in Zambia this summer.  It wasn't an easy decision to make though.  I'm hoping for more opportunities to reach out so we can continue to instill in our little guy the attitude of Jesus.  

It's not to late to do something similar where you live!  If you have a missions pastor at your church, start there.  Or, contact your local Interfaith Caring Ministry, NAMB, or other local ministry that you know.  If you don't live in an area that is helping refugees, call up your nearest homeless shelter, and ask how your Sunday School class or Bible study could minister to their clients.  Perhaps a backpack with toiletries would be a more appropriate option in that situation.  Most of all, be aware of everyone residing in your community.  Love them.  Be Jesus to them, and thank God for all of His children this Thanksgiving.  It takes a village, and we are the village.

*I always hesitate to write posts like this.  I know Jesus doesn't want us to brag or show off our good deeds.  The glory is never to come to us, but to be put on Him.  When I do choose to write these kinds of posts, it's meant to encourage and share ideas about how to love and serve, not to say, "Look at us!".  I hope that translates well and that God uses our experiences for His glory alone.  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Advent Giveaway Winner!

I had so many entries from old friends and new friends, long-time readers and new readers, and I was so excited to see who Rafflecopter would pick as the winner of the Advent giveaway. I'm grateful for Rafflecopter and how it handles all the entries, because if I'd had to sort for a best answer or something like that, it would have been an impossible task.

Sweet Lauren and I have known each other since we were tiny.  Her big brother and I were in kindergarten together.  I'm grateful social media and blogs allow us to keep up with each others adorable families.  Lauren, congrats, and be looking for an email from me so I can get your book and necklace to you!

So many of you left such awesome comments about how you hope to make Advent meaningful for you and your family this year.  I wish I had the budget to send you all a paper copy of the study, but be sure to follow along the study all through Advent at She Reads Truth.  It's free on an internet browser!  You are being prayed for personally as you celebrate the birth of our Savior the next 4 weeks! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Advent Giveaway Ends Today!

Don't forget my awesome SRT and Noonday giveaway ends tonight!  Go enter if you haven't already done so, and share the love!

Isaac has to do some work traveling in the middle of the days we normally decorate, so we're busting out Christmas this weekend for the first time ever.  I have a precious stack of 25 Christmas books to wrap for Man Cub, a cute little nativity Advent Calendar, and of course our SRT study to sit on the table for dinner time devos and the Sacred Holidays study for my own personal time in the mornings.  And the tree!  I'm secretly glad for one more rainy Saturday tomorrow so I can decorate away! 

Check back in the morning for the winner!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Advent

It's not a secret that Advent is my favorite time of the year.  I adore the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas Day.  It's a joy to dig into the Word and focus on the birth of Jesus.  Isaac jokingly said over the weekend that I needed an Advent Calendar to count down the start of Advent.  Love that idea!

We definitely let the Turkey get his day in our family, but we're getting ready to start our Advent studies on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  To share the love and joy, I purchased an extra copy of She Reads Truth's Advent study, Born is the King, to give away to you lovely readers.  I love how SRT keeps me in the word 7 days a week, and their Advent study never disappoints.  This year's study comes in a full color book with Scripture and commentary.  The website has more information, so check it out! Also, the guys in your life need to get in with He Reads Truth.  Isaac has loved their studies!

The study also came with 4 Scripture memory cards for each week of Advent.  They are wallet sized and perfect for carrying around to memorize Scripture.  

To keep Jesus as the focus of Christmas, the SRT team designed two 8x10 prints.  I think they're a gorgeous addition to any Christmas decor.  I can't wait to put these up in our home after Thanksgiving.

The last piece of my giveaway is this gorgeous Noonday Collection necklace handmade in India.  Noonday teamed with SRT to remind us to buy fair trade and sustainable gifts this Christmas by sending a necklace with each order of 2 or more Advent books.  I'll be honest, it was hard not to tuck this little beauty of gold and leather into my jewelry box, but that wouldn't be keeping with the Christmas spirit of giving, so make this little beauty all yours by entering the giveaway!  Visit Noonday's website for other awesome gift ideas.

Are you ready to kick off Advent yet? Enter the giveaway, and do it soon!  It closes Friday evening so I can make sure your goodies arrive in time for Advent to start.

*Neither She Reads Truth nor Noonday Collection have given me anything for this giveaway.  This is all my doing because I truly enjoy and appreciate their work. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 9, 2015

So Long, Snow

We finally had a morning to sleep in, and I was still awake before 7.  Body clock fail.  Ah, well, it allowed us to take our time packing up before we enjoyed one last tromp in the snow.  It was so hard to leave.  Much of the snow, especially on the south facing mountains, has melted, but tomorrow and Wednesday, Vail is going to get at least another half foot of snow.  I wanted to stay and see it falling again so badly.  Until this weekend, it was just shy of 3 years since I'd last seen any kind of snow.  I've resigned myself to the fact it might be another 3 years before I see more.  It's the fate of coastal prairie people.

We had a fabulous getaway, and I know I'm grateful we saved up and found deals to make this happen. There was only one time we nearly killed each other.  Apparently my fear of heights and ice make me say absolutely wonky things, and it might also mean I forgot that my hubby also really does know how to handle a car in winter weather.  Whatever.  We're safely alive because I play it safe and make us find hiking trails not halfway up mountains.  That's what normal people do, isn't it?  I apologized and we had chocolate at dinner for dessert to prove I was sorry, so yeah.  What's a vacation without at least one real life moment, right?

We love Vail Cascade, although without a super awesome discount like their Groupon deals, we'd never be able to afford it otherwise.  Check out the resort, and all of the other places we've mentioned this weekend.  They won't steer you wrong, and no, they didn't offer us any kind of anything for our review.  We just really liked the places we found.

Back to the grind.  All of the kids, 2 and 4 legged, are sleeping, and we're trying to muster up the desire to unpack.  Laundry tomorrow, friends!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Hiking We Will Go

We love to hike, but I've never had an opportunity to hike in the snow before.  It took us a bit this morning to figure out a trail head we could reach with some of the side roads being icy, but we discovered one right in Vail called the North Trail.  We hiked about 3.25 miles total and climbed a little over 1000 and back, while stopping for our Subway picnic lunch.  A few places were really muddy where the snow wasn't think, but most of the trail was snow packed and perfect.  We had great views of Vail village, and even saw New York Mountain and Beaver Creek ski runs from the last crest.  A few chipmunks were out and about, enjoying the sun.  We had a great time!

This afternoon, we indulged in massages and the spa's relaxation room and aromatherapy steam room.  It's the off season, so the spa had incredible specials to attract business.  It was such a treat!

Dinner was at Blue Moose Pizza.  We were so tired that we didn't feel like looking for someplace super unique, but Blue Moose was adorable and really yummy.  We loved that they had the tables covered in butcher paper so we could draw and play!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Mountain Ride

I was not made for this cold.  I don't know the last time I felt 10 degrees.  Still, there is no way I'm going to let the temperatures keep me from enjoying the goodness that is Colorado.  Layers, layers, and more layers, some sunscreen, and the sun that warmed us up made for a great day!

Today found us back at 4 Eagle Ranch for some horse time.  We had ridden there 3 years ago, and we were anxious to get back to enjoy their horses and their 1200 acres of roaming room.  4 Eagle is amazing to their horses.  Once their done with rides for the day and have been brushed down to their little horsie hearts' delight, they get to roam in huge pastures to munch and munch.  They're obviously comfy with each other in their home because it's not uncommon to see several of the lay down to snooze in the sun.  Horses only do that when they feel really safe!

Isaac had requested an advance ride for us so we wouldn't have to stay on any trails or keep to a walk.  Neither of us are experts, but we're certainly comfortable and can handle our own well on the average stead.  Thannie was our guide today.  By pure coincidence, I ended up riding Pepper again, and Isaac rode a sweet by named Fraidy.  Apparently he's terrified of the cattle that come up from the other side of the mesa.  That gave us a good laugh. 

We took off into the main pasture and worked out way to visit their Belgian draft horses and Percherons.  I love draft horses, and they were excited to have some visitors.

The local Ravens were everywhere, and as we worked our way toward the mesa, we found coyote, snow hare, and deer tracks.  Before the day was over, we found a golden eagle, a snow hare, elk, and deer.  Gorgeous.  It's crazy to me how we can travel 20 miles west from Vail and hardly see any snow.  We had so much snow in Vail yesterday, but where we rode hardly had any.  It was still so pretty though!

Thannie and her mom both work at 4 Eagle, and they were fabulous to us today.  Thannie took so many pictures for us and made sure we had plenty of opportunities to take off and explore.  It was an incredible day.

For lunch, we headed to Smiling Moose Deli for soup and warm sandwiches.  We had found a Groupon for Crazy Mountain Brewery, so we went there next.  I wasn't a fan of most of the selections in the flight, but I did like the one made with blueberry tea.  Figures.

After all of that, it was time for a catnap before heading into Vail to explore and find Moe's Original BBQ for dinner.  Some Bama boys opened it awhile back, and everyone in there was cheering for Bama tonight.  We just laughed and laughed.  They did beat LSU, but I think the fans were more entertaining than the game.  I love Colorado...dogs are allowed in the restaurants, or at least some of them.  We got some great love from a bull mastiff/pit mix.  He was precious.  And well made pulled pork hit the spot.  We don't get that in Texas. 

We had some amazing star gazing tonight.  We don't get that in Houston either.  And sometimes, you just have to pretend to attack your abominable snowman hubby with a ridiculously large icicle because those don't happen in Houston either.  Please oh please don't make me go home!

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Snowy Little Getaway

The hubby and I decided a few weeks ago that it was time for a getaway from home.  We've had a night here and there away from Man Cub and the pups, but never anything long enough to truly play and have a full length conversation that went uninterrupted.  With the baby still nursing, it meant pulling back out the pump, but getting away is so worth it!!!

Southwest flights were our only limit as we had some free tickets to use.  I began searching for great hotels, and found another Groupon for the same hotel we stayed at in Vail three years ago.  We talked about it, and decided we wanted another mountain getaway.  We love hiking and horseback riding, and wanted a chance to grab some cooler temps.  We never dreamed we'd find the weather that we did this early in the cold season, but lots and lots of snow was waiting for us!

Last night we flew up to Denver really, really late, and stayed in a hotel near the airport. The hotel at Aspen trees still in their golden glory.  Love!

This morning, we drove over to Vail. The further west we went, the more snow we saw on the ground.  It was gorgeous! We stopped in Silverthorne on our way to Vail for lunch at Blue Moon Bakery.  For the love of all the gluten free amazing bakery goodness you can fathom, get yourself there and enjoy the hot sandwiches, amazing coffees, and phenomenal goodies.  Yum!  On the way out of town, we swung across the Dillon Dam to see Lake Dillon in the snow.  Lake Dillon is a place we want to really explore some day.

Just before entering Vail, the snow fall turned from a light flurry to a full blown snow storm.  Visibility went to nil, and it was AMAZING.  This Texas girl was squealing just a bit.  After we checked in at the hotel, we crashed for a nap.  Two really bad nights of sleep had caught up to us.  The snow was still falling after we slept, so we threw on the snow gear and went out to Gore Creek to play!  There was more squealing and spinning in the snow, and lots of snow balls.  We might have even made a snow angel. The silence of falling snow always intrigues me.  We heard the softest sound as the snow settled and the ripple of the creek as it ran past us.  It's so peaceful, and a treat I don't take lightly.  Today's good gifts from our Father have thrilled me!

On our walk back to the hotel, Isaac's snow boots literally fell apart.  They had dry rotted!

A trip to Avon led us to a new pair of snow boots before we feasted at The Gashouse in Edwards for dinner.  We had incredibly tender quail, elk steaks, and bison steaks for dinner.  They were served with fresh veggie zoodles that were so tasty.  We love finding the restaurants that the locals frequent, and Gashouse is definitely one of those. On the drive home, I learned another reason I love being married to Isaac: he knows how to drive in snow and ice from growing up in Ohio.  There were some black ice patches on the interstate, and he handled it like a pro.  So thankful for a many who knows how to keep me safe in any situation!

Tomorrow is more fun in the snow, and we can't wait!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...