Saturday, June 26, 2010

Family Photos

We haven't had a real family portrait taken since Ben was about 4 months old, so needless to say, it was a bit outdated. Over the last couple of years we haven't been super motivated to get some new pictures done, as the kids have gotten some really great pictures taken of them at school for a reasonable price, and as a bonus, we didn't have to be there to deal with it! But this year the school portraits were beyond horrendous, so it forced us to go get our own done. So we FINALLY got some new family portraits today. I'm so glad we did! They turned out so good! We went to Portrait Innovations. The photographer was so amazing, coaxing some precious genuine smiles out of the boys. Here are some of our favorites:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wild Kingdom

Our house has three new little residents these days. We have become a "safe house" for three little baby birds who have outgrown their nest but are not quite yet ready to venture out into this big ol' world.

The first one was brought over by his mommy on Monday. Andrew noticed the little guy out there after hearing very consistent "peeps" from him all evening. We weren't sure where he had come from, but could tell he was very much a young birdie.

The next day we saw that his little brother had joined him...

...and on Wednesday there was another one still.

On Wednesday our neighbor across the street called us to shed some light on these little guys' history, after seeing us checking out our new little birdie friends. Apparently their nest where they hatched was on his porch. Over the first part of the week, he had watched the mommy bird bring her babies over to our house one by one because they had gotten too big for their nest.

We have been watching them all week. It's more entertaining than television! It's so cool to see Mommy show up with a little tidbit for the babies to eat. As soon as they see her, their mouths pop open. Poor mom. All she's good for is a meal.

It's been so cool to watch them become more confident in their flying, and to see mom try to get them to be proactive about getting their food. At first she would bring the food right to them. But then she stopped doing that. She would instead make sure they knew she was there, but then would make them come to her to get it. She's also been trying to get them to venture a little further and higher from the porch. Yesterday they were able to make it up to the roof, which looked like quite the feat for them.

These little guys are so funny. They seem to be almost as interested in us as we are in them. When we're looking at them, they stare right back at us as if they are really trying to figure out who these strange people are that keep bothering them. One in particular seems especially interested in us. He'll perch himself on the sill of the window above our door and stare inside at us. And they are SO loud. Not in a disruptive annoying way, but we can hear their peeps plain as day in the house.

It's been so interesting watching our "birdie friends" (as Ben calls them). We'll be sad when they're big enough to go about their way, but we've sure enjoyed the time we've had with them.... it will be nice to clean up all the poop though. Who would have thought that something so small and cute could make such a mess!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cake Wrecks Book Signing

I have been a long time reader of the blog Cake Wrecks. It is this hilarious site with photos of professional cakes gone "horribly and hilariously wrong." The pictures themselves could make the blog work, but the commentary that goes along with it is absolutely side-splittingly funny. So my sense of humor. The history of this blog is amazing. It started out as something the writer, Jen Yates, did for fun and only told a couple friends about it, but over the last 2 years it has taken the internet by storm. If you haven't checked it out, go there. Now.

Around Christmas time, a lot of her posts and some never-before seen photos were compiled into a book, and her and her husband John have been touring the country promoting their book. Last night they stopped at Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe, and my dear friend Jen and I decided to go check it out. What a great time! We met up for dinner at Wildflower Bread Company and then headed over to the show. We were super early and got amazing seats. Because we got there so early, it gave us plenty of time to talk and catch up. We just don't get to see each other often enough, and chatting on FB just isn't the same. I think we could have been there all night! So fun!

Before the show started, I went into the restroom and ran into Mrs. Cake Wreck herself and was able to chat with her for a few minutes. It was so nice to see what a truly, genuinly nice person she is. We bonded a bit over our mutual love for Disney.

The show was great. Started off with a slideshow of all of their favorite wrecks, all of which we had seen before, but it was fun to hear the backstory of some of the most popular posts (naked mohawk baby carrot jockies, anyone?).

At every book signing they do a Wreckplica contest, where you bring in a cupcake sized replica of your favorite wreck. I had totally planned on entering the contest, but then plain ran out of time over the weekend. Bummer! But I couldn't have competed with some of those entries anyhow!

When it was our turn for the signing, Jen Y (who has voted for my cupcakes in the contest!!!) wrote "Vote for Brenda!" in my book, showing her support. :)

Jen and John were so nice and personable. While Jen was signing books, John went around mingling with the crowd. Here he is eating a cupcake with a fork, which I just found funny. I wonder if he eats a snicker's bar with a knife and fork?

And of course I had to get my photo taken with them both!

The only disappointment of the evening was that I didn't get any photos of my friend Jen and I together. I always forget that kind of stuff! I guess that just means we'll have to get together again very soon, right?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Memory Verse: Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Memory Verses

A few weeks ago, our church did a sermon series called "D6". It covered the scriptures contained in Deuteronomy chapter 6, which instructs us as parents in how to bring up our children knowing the Lord. Each week we had a homework assignment - to memorize a verse of scripture. Joshua has the best memory out of anyone I know, so we figured that this would be a good time to start teaching him some memory verses. Our first verse was Deuteronomy 6:4:

Hear O Isreal, the Lord your God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your strength."

We worked on it for just a few minutes every day and by Tuesday he had it down perfectly. Ben didn't really seem interested, but we kept including him in the recitation, where he would proceed to just stare at us. One evening that week when putting him to bed, Andrew asked Ben what his bible verse was. Ben blurted the verse out verbatem. We were shocked! Turns out he had been paying very close attention and just wanted to wait until he could do it all by himself. Silly boy!

We have decided to keep this going every week. Here are the other verses we have learned so far:

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord Collosians 3:20

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things, there is no law.Galatians 5:22

They have been doing such a great job memorizing their scriptures, and can keep them all sorted out in their heads. What has been so great about this is that not only are the kids benefitting from this, but we are too! We have learned these verses right along with the kids. And it challenges us to find new scriptures to memorize, which encourages us to spend a little more time in our bibles.

I hope to post our memory verses here every week. I figure it's a good place to keep our list of what we've learned and when we learned it. I'd love if anyone out there would like to learn them along with us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cupcake Contest - Vote for Me!

My sweet friend Nancy suggested to me that I enter Joshua's birthday cake into a cupcake contest. I so appreciate the vote of confidence from her! I'm not sure if my little cupcakes would be worthy of winning anything, other than the approval of a 5 year old, but I figured I had nothing to lose in giving it a try. So consider this a shameless plug to ask you to vote for me. Just click here to vote. You can vote daily through June 27th. The winner gets a $100 Visa Gift Card and 24 cupcake toppers. Please also ask all of your friends to vote. I would realy appreciate it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Joshua's 5th Birthday

I can't believe Josh is now officially 5 years old! In some ways it seems like only yesterday that we brought home this little 8 lb 11 oz bundle with his little squeaky cry, and in other ways it seems as though he's always been here. I can't imagine life without him, nor do I want to!

The big celebration started on Friday afternoon at school. Josh decided a couple weeks ago that he wanted to bring Icees for his friends at school for his birthday. After all, "everyone brings cupcakes, and Icees will be nice and refreshing on a hot day." (His words, not mine.)

Always the planner, Joshua informed us BEFORE his 4th birthday that his 5th birthday party would be at Peter Piper Pizza, and of course reminded us of this frequently throughout the year. So how could we do anything else! It was so great! All we had to supply was the cake (see below) and everything else was taken care of. Josh even got to make his very own pizza.

Josh had so much fun playing games with his friends and cousins. Everyone seemed to have a great time!

I don't think Trevor left this spot all day. The boy loves shooting things!

Ben just loved the pizza. Can you tell?

A while back, Joshua asked for a Super Why cake for his birthday. Super Why is a great reading themed show on PBS and both of the boys just love it. I came up with an idea to incorporate all of the show's main characters and logo. Here is a picture of the characters from the show:

And here is the cake I made:

I was SO happy with how it turned out! I've never done anything like that before, so I was happy to be able to pull it off. Joshua absolutely loved it! I also made a bunch of cupcakes (which are so much easier to serve!) and had them spell out the Super Story Answer. Can you guess what it is?

Make a wish!

After the party, the grandparents and my sister's family came back to our house to watch Josh open his presents. We somehow were even able to get the four kids together for a group photo.

Joshua said he had the greatest birthday party ever, so I guess he had a good time!

Today was his actual birthday. We made cornbread for breakfast per Joshua's specific request. Then after breakfast he opened his presents from Mommy and Daddy (that was his choice to wait until today. The kid as tremendous restraint for a 5 year old!) He was so surprised to find we had gotten him a brand new big boy bike.

After church, Josh and Daddy went to Target to spend his gift card he got from Uncle Paul and Auntie Melissa and we spent the rest of the day playing with his new toys. Then we met up with Grandpa Maple for a buffet dinner. We had a great time!

Happy birthday, Joshua! I can't believe what a big boy you've turned into. We're so proud of the person you are and can't wait to see the things you will do and learn this year. We love you more than we can ever say!

Give Me Your Ear

We finally got to harvest some of our corn last week. The kernels were sort of small (Andrew said he felt like giant eating it), but they were really tasty. Check it out!

Josh cracks me up in this one. "I pledge allegiance to the corn..."