"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

29 June 2014

"Church Camp" at Chase Oaks: Summer Bible Blast!

Phew! We have had a busy start to our summer! All of us except for N caught hand-foot-and-mouth disease three weeks ago, which made for a miserable week. Thankfully, the children had a mild case of it and I was hit the worst. We think it's a miracle that N didn't catch it!

 We then took off for a week in upstate NY, where we enjoyed spending time with people we love dearly. Our friends, Mike and Tanya, got married, and B rocked his job as a ring bearer.
He pulled the bride's nephew and niece in a red wagon all the way down the hill and down the aisle!

Little Lady with the beautiful bride: such pretty girls!
Fixing B's tie
This was one of my favorite moments from our trip; I just love how much our son adores his daddy (and vice versa)!
This past week was our church's "VBS" week, except we call it "Summer Bible Blast" (and B calls it "church camp"). Technically, it is for children ages 5 and up, but if a parent volunteered, our younger kiddos had the opportunity to attend.

So after returning home from our NY trip late on Sunday evening, we got up early on Monday and took off running. There were a couple moments when I wondered about the sanity of going into a week of so much fun and busyness after a big trip, but it did offer the benefit of getting us right back into a solid and set schedule. And B took terrific naps all week, thanks to church camp.
We had a nearly bare pantry due to being gone all last week, so on Tuesday morning, we did a lightning quick run to the grocery store. B was SUCH a terrific helper!
So strong!
On this rainy Wednesday, they brought the fun inside!
My little daredevil rarely does thing the conventional way.
I think crafts like this demonstrate a lot about each kid's personality.
Outdoor water fun on the last day!
While B had fun with his class (they even got to go to "worship song time" in the sanctuary), I volunteered in one of the preschool snack rooms. Such cuteness!
This class was a riot every day. There was just one girl and a whole lot of boys.
I made a new friend! This is Maya, who was my co-volunteer. She had two little boys of her own and was so sweet to bring a carrier and hold my Little Lady for her morning nap.
Looking like such a big kid!
I brought B a fruit cup each day from the volunteers' snack stash as an incentive to get into the car quickly.
He liked his fruit so much that he wouldn't look up for a photo.
He said it was a "bright day" (it was actually quite cloudy), so he "needed" his hat and sunglasses.
Running back from telling his favorite neighbor (Mr. David) about "church camp" and doing a great job staying on the grass and not going into the alley
What a fun week!
On Wednesday night last week, my MOMS table from this past year had a "reunion dinner." It was actually a surprise baby shower for our friend Julia! She is expecting a baby girl in August, so we wanted to make sure to celebrate with her as she prepares for Baby Lydia's arrival. 
And finally, in other big news, Little Lady learned to roll over this week!

And this morning, after church, we saw this on the pavement outside the main building:
It was a nice reminder of the fun B had this week, although N said it was reminiscent of a crime scene (with lots of little people involved).
I hope everyone's summer is off to a great start!

15 June 2014

Thai Food & Culture Festival

A couple weeks ago, we ventured downtown to the Buddhist Center of Dallas to attend the Thai Food & Culture Festival. One of my favorite aspects of living here is the great variety of foods and cultures to which we have access. I love that my children can grow up tasting food and meeting people from all over the world.
It was hot.
We found a semi-shady spot where we could sit and wait as N grabbed us some yummy lunch from the food tents.
Enthralled with the massive goldfish
The performances varied from being kind of boring (like this one, where the ladies just kind of assumed poses and held them for long periods of time)...
...to being fascinating (like this instrumental piece).
B lost interest. There were airplanes to observe.
I love elephants.
Best picture I could get
This photo makes it look deceptively uncrowded. There were a LOT of people there.
And our Little Lady A just snoozed right through the entire thing.
Tonight, we put the kids to bed early. B had been cranky all afternoon, due to an "off" day yesterday (because I was in bed sick) and going to bed pretty late. And A was fussy, partially due to gas, but probably also because I hadn't held her much in the past couple days.

After both kids were in bed, N asked me what I wanted to eat, because he was going to treat us to take-out and a quiet night in, catching up on a couple of our favorite shows on Hulu.

As I thought about it, I realized, "Wow! We really DO have such great options here!" 

Since it's Father's Day Weekend and all, I picked Mexican. Because although we joke around here that food is one of N's love languages, Mexican food takes that to its own level. My husband lo-o-o-oves Mexican food.

And one of my new favorite things?

Mexican coke.

It comes in a glass bottle.

And almost ... almost ... tastes just like home.

06 June 2014

Cookie-Loving on Our Neighbors

I just really love our church. I mean, how can you not love a church that sends everyone home with a box of cookies to bake for our neighbors? Cookies say "love" no matter where you are, right?

The box we received were snickerdoodles. I had to laugh, because I never make snickerdoodles. N has an aunt who makes amazing snickerdoodles (he talks about them all the time), and so I don't even try to replicate hers.

Anyway, B was a great helper, and it turns out, snickerdoodles are the perfect cookie to bake with a 3-year old. I rolled the dough into appropriately sized balls and he coated them with the sugar mix and placed them on the cookie sheets.
And of course, we had this adorable little onlooker cheering us on.
As the cookies baked and cooled, I made lunch while B entertained his sister.
I packaged the cookies while the kids napped. B had been very specific about which neighbors he wanted to bless with the cookies, so I made bags for those three houses and then one more. On Sunday, as I was heading out to the store with B after church, I had noticed that our neighbor on the corner was being dropped off by a younger couple. He was holding one of the fliers from our church! I thought it would be nice to meet him, and this presented the perfect opportunity.
After naptime, we headed out to deliver our goodies.
B initially insisted on having the cookies on the back of his tricycle, but he quickly realized that wasn't the most stable method of transportation (nor could he go as fast as he wanted with the cookies on his trike).
He delegated that responsibility to me and zoomed on ahead.
At each house, B would park his tricycle at end of the sidewalk, retrieve a bag of cookies from the stroller, and run up to ring the doorbell. Each neighbor greeted him with smiles and praise, and I could tell that he was really enjoying the process.
Mr. David & Mrs. Sharyl
Mr. Forrest & his family
Mr. Lonnie and "Mr. Lonnie's Mrs. Cheryl"
I didn't take any photos at our newest acquaintance's house in the off chance that he might be looking out the window or something as we walked up to the door. Because if I looked out my window and saw someone taking a picture, I would think that was weird, too.

And we did the praying for our neighbors portion after the fact, because standing out in the afternoon sun in June in Texas any longer than we had to just isn't smart thinking when you have a baby in tow.

Anyway, thanks, Chase Oaks Church, for giving us an opportunity to love on our neighbors in this way!