Sunday, December 21, 2008

Photos from Noelle's party

My mom made her a little pillow with some soft pillow cases, and Noelle had to try it out.


Connor with his creation he built from Noelle's new toy called "Superstructs pinklets."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Noelle turns 2 years old!

I can't believe it's already been 2 years since Noelle was born. She is such a delight in our lives. She went for her check up yesterday and in addition to a perfect health report, her doctor raved about her verbal skills. She is quite a talker. She weighed in at 28 pounds, and was 35.5 inches long - right around 75th percentiles for both height and weight.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting was beautiful

I had the nicest time voting this morning. When Noelle & I showed up to our voting location, there was a very small line out the door. So, we stood in the cheery morning sunlight and were completely blessed with the most beautiful fall colors. Oh, the trees right now are brilliant shades of yellow, orange & red, and these beautiful woods surrounded the parking lot. I wished that we could have stayed outside longer than the 5 minutes it took us to make it inside.

Noelle was so good, staying right with me. Behind us in line was a nice retired couple, and the lady was wearing a pretty fall sweater that had a little pumpkin hanging from the zipper. Oh how Noelle loved that little pumpkin.

Since I waited until late morning to vote, most people who voted with me were retired, stay-at-home moms, or disabled. The volunteers were delightful. I was so happy, not only to be living in our country where I have the right to vote, but to be living way out here in the "country" where there are such nice people. Everyone was so nice & friendly, I almost was sad that I was there only a short amount of time.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008!

Hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween. This year Noelle wore Connor's old giraffe costume (which I think came from my sister-in-law Chrissy - thank you!), and Connor was Spiderman. April came over to go trick-or-treating with us. My mom brought a good book, so she stayed in our house, read, and gave out candy to the trick-or-treaters while Lance & I took the kids around the neighborhood.

We tried to get a picture, and while we took several, here are a couple that give you an idea what they all look like. This is the first one, where Noelle is not in the mood for a picture, and Connor wants to be a pumpkin-head. And then the next one I like to call "everyone cut your eyes to one side or another."


Lance took our kids to a Trunk-Or-Treat thing at a little church right around the corner from us. They had a bounce house there that Connor & Noelle enjoyed (as you can see from the little 3-second video below).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Noelle's Honey

Noelle is almost 22 months old, and her language and vocabulary are growing rapidly. One of my favorite things she is saying right now is ending a request with "honey." For instance:

"I wanna walk, honey."
"I wanna drink, honey."

Lance & I don't really think we say "honey" all that often. We feel like we call her sweetheart, darling, baby, or stinker much more than honey. And if we do use it, we usually start our sentences with it, like "Honey, I'm sorry but you cannot have any more."

Made cuter is that sometimes Noelle stresses the "honey" at the end of her sentence when she really wants something. Many times in Walmart, she repeats "I wanna eat pepperoni, honey" until she is tired of asking nicely and starts saying "I wanna eat pepperoni, HO-NEEEE!!!" I can't help but laugh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Connor and the Tooth Fairy

Connor lost his first tooth two Saturdays ago. It was his bottom front right tooth. It was wiggly for only a few days before it fell out. On one of those days, he asked me if I could take him to the doctor to get the tooth pulled out because its wiggling was bothering him. I told him that it would probably get looser and looser until it just fell out (and it did).

The Tooth Fairy left him $1 under his pillow for the tooth.

The next night, as we were saying goodnight to him, Lance happened to reach under Connor's pillow almost accidentally and found a note that Connor had written - all by himself - thanking the Tooth Fairy. He signed his name, and had taped a quarter on it.

Evidently, the Tooth Fairy thought that was so nice that she took the note that night and left Connor another dollar!

Connor was asking me whether it was a one dollar bill or a five or ten, and I showed him how our paper money has the number value written in the corners.

Lance & I were wondering if this was going to go on, because we felt the Tooth Fairy should not continue to give dollars to Connor, but we waited to see what he would do next.

The next night as I said goodnight to him, I looked under his pillow and there was a little book he had made at school where he was practicing his writing. Before he had put it under his pillow, he had written the number 10 in each corner of every page. I asked him about the 10's, and as you might have guessed, he said he wanted to give the Tooth Fairy lots of 10 dollar bills. Of course I explained that money has to be the special money printed by our government and we're not really allowed to make our own. Besides, the Tooth Fairy would probably be more impressed with his nice penmanship in the book.

I also had to explain that the Tooth Fairy may not continue to come back night after night because she has so many teeth to collect from little children all over the world. He insisted on putting the book under his pillow anyway.

The book was still there in the morning, and it seemed like the Tooth Fairy had not come. Connor was a little sad, but now he's looking forward to loosing his next tooth.

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's Lovely! I'll Take It!

Oh my, I've discovered this hilarious blog called LovelyListing. It features "a collection of poorly chosen photos from real estate listings." They are all from actual listings, links provided, where if you are so inclined, you can view additional poorly chosen photos of the same property.

I don't know exactly why, but this site has had me laughing so hard. The blogger (Sara) provides witty titles and comments for each photo. I certainly feel a little better about my own home now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yearbook Your Husband

Here is a photo from Yearbook Yourself of Lance (using a current photo of him) as he would have looked had he graduated in 1988 (with my class). I love this one, because he looks so much like the guys I remember from my high school class.


Here is his actual senior picture, taken in 1979, for his 1980 graduating class. (Now you see where Connor & Noelle get their blonde hair!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

What fun! I highly recommend you hop on over to Yearbook Yourself and see how you would look had you graduated in different years. Above, you see their version of me (my face is from a recent picture) in the classes of 1960, 1966, 1972 and 1984. Thank you Keri for the link.
Just for the fun of it, here's my real high school graduation picture (class of 1988):

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tanya's Visit

We had a great month with Tanya. We were very blessed to host a mature, well-mannered, very intelligent, happy girl who spoke quite a bit of English! I feel like it might not be fair for me to so heartily recommend this program, because I know our experience was exceptionally good. But, it's a great way to be a missionary while staying at home. Chattanooga has a great Chernobyl Children's Program and being a part of it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Here are some photos to help describe some of our adventures with Tanya. There were so many; I'll have to break it up in several posts.

Here we are swimming at my mom's house on the 4th of July. Notice how Tanya is using a floatation device, as she does not yet know how to swim. By the end of the month, not only did she no longer need any floatation device, but she was jumping off the diving board and swimming to the ladder! We swam at least 3 times per week, so she got a lot of practice!


The group went to the Chattanooga Railroad Museum and the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Tanya really enjoyed the train rides and museums. It was soooo hot that day. I tried to get a picture of Tanya and my kids together by one of the trains, but this was the best I could do.

Tanya is standing with the couple who lives across the street from us. They are super nice folks, and were very interested in Belarus and the Chernobyl Children's Program. They donated many items for Tanya's family, and gave her a gift card to Target so she could get some school supplies and other things for herself. That was a fun shopping trip, because she had never been to a store like Target before. She loved it!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Welcome Tanya

We are having a great time with our Belarus daughter-for-a-month, Tanya. Connor absolutely adores her and wants to play with her every waking moment. She has had some English classes, so we can communicate better than I expected, although there are many times she wants to tell me something and cannot find the words.
We looked up how much her call to Belarus was the first night and discovered, causing our mouths to fall open, that it was over $5 per minute. So, after a recommendation from a neighbor and some online research, we downloaded Skype for free and now she can talk to her parents for around 22 cents per minute (a little better, don't you think?). If her parents had a computer, internet, and downloaded Skype, they could talk for free, with video & sound!!! What a cool age we live in. But, her parents do not have a computer or access to one. So, we just use our computer to call her parents' home phone.
Here are some photos of her over the last day and a half:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wednesday in Skagway

Wednesday we spent in Skagway, riding the White Pass train and dredging for gold!
White Pass Railway

Noelle on the train

Lance's mom taking a little nap

Shallow river

Looking back at our train crossing a bridge - best shot of the day


Getting the mountain in the shot

The valley


A waterfall we rode by


I wish Noelle had slept a little longer

Gold dredging machine

Panning for gold demonstration

Back to the ship

Goodbye Skagway

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tuesday in Juneau

On Tuesday of our cruise, we docked in Juneau. Our excursion was whale watching, and we did see some humpback whales. We even saw one breach, or jump all the way out of the water! The guide said that is very rare in Alaskan waters; it usually only happens in warmer waters when the whales are mating (the breaching is showing off for a potential mate). They come to the cold Alaskan waters to eat. I kind of think the whale just enjoyed breaching, and maybe was showing off for our boat. We saw a couple of whales together, and the guide said that was rare, too, but these whales are together every season. We also saw many bald eagles and a big group of sea lions. Our tour boat served complimentary hot chocolate and we each got one cracker with smoked salmon on it - very tasty. We loved our tour guide - he was a 24-year-old Alaskan native with enormous knowledge of wildlife and some great stories.

We woke Tuesday morning up to see this beautiful view of Juneau out our balcony window:


It was a busy port with a few other large cruise ships arriving the same morning. This first photo was taken from our balcony as we were pulling into the port.


This picture was taken a few minutes later, also from our balcony, but the view is from whence we came - isn't it beautiful.


Here's a picture of the rare pair of humpback whales I mentioned earlier.


Here's the sea lion colony - they were noisy. the guide told us how they like to be trouble-makers, like knocking over kayakers for no reason. He also told us that sea lions have hips, while seals do not.


Here's Noelle & I braving the rain up on the outer deck, hoping to get a good look at some whales. I'm glad we went up there, because it allowed us to see the whale breaching. We couldn't stay out there very long, though, because it was so cold!

We thought this ship looked pretty against the sunset as we were leaving Juneau.

"Goodbye Juneau," we call as we sail away.

Fabulous sunset sailing away from Juneau. As you can imagine, it was even better in person.