Saturday, April 27, 2013

Along for the Ride

MK's don't get to choose their childhood, but it is one like no other.
{Eden in a fellowship hall after one of our meetings} 
 Being away from home for two months is hard on anyone, but for a kid it can be even harder when you can't really understand when you will get to go BACK HOME. You miss your bed, your room, your toys, your friends, your food, your church, your schedule, your place to feel safe and secure. 
Suddenly you're surrounded by gringos. Haha! And a whole new set of cultural rules and boundaries... like no peeing in the bushes. (That may or may not have happened a couple of times.) I think overall MK's are pretty resilient. They are a special breed. I am so thankful for my super spectacular kids who are more than along for the ride, they are bravely making their own waves! 

They have had some pretty cool experiences on furlough so far:

Their Papa worked it out to where they got to drive a train... a real one! They were thrilled!!! 
{Ready to get on the BIG choo choo!}
They drove it backwards and forwards, blew the horn and rung the bell. 
I have a video of them both driving it and they have watched it over and over again! Can you tell by their faces how excited they were?!
While we were over at my aunt and uncles house they got to ride this awesome zip line in their backyard!
My boys are so brave!
Then my sweet aunt and uncle invited us back over to ride their boat and jet skis. The boys loved that too!
Riding with Jonah and Silas was a little bit stressful for mommy and daddy, just because we didn't want to dump them in the river! But, we loved sharing the experience with them. Jonah would say, "Faster, Mama!" 
We were both in hoddies because it was COLD!

I can't leave out the potty bus! That was a fun filled 2 weeks!
We got to go to the creation museum while we were traveling around the country on the potty bus.
Besides these cool dinos, we got to ride a camel!
The boys got a kick out of that!

After we turned the potty bus back in we hit the road again and got to spend several days with Pastor Andy and his wonderful family this past weekend! They live on a couple acres and have a zip line in their backyard too. Jonah and Silas didn't even hesitate when asked if they wanted to do it. I think it is because they liked the zip line at my uncle's house so much. 
For this one they wore a harness. It went between their legs, so there was no way they were falling out of it. 
Can you see Silas in the trees?!
Their next door neighbors had a mini 4 wheeler that they let the boys drive. They were wild on that thing! 
Eden stuck with the tricycle!
Monday they got to see Robbie's plane. We had been trying to explain to them what a little big plane was. Robbie has helped Jimmy with several of his farming projects for the institute, but this was the first time that we had gotten to see his farm and everything he has going on. 
Those are loose bees that flocked to a new queen, starting their own hive. It was neat to see in person. Bees are the next trial Jimmy wants to start at the institute.

I think the boys' favorite part about the plane was talking to each other on the headsets!
They also got to drive the biggest tractor they had ever seen!
Then Tuesday Pastor Andy took Jimmy and the boys up in his plane!
I think Silas turned a little green, but he would never admit it. They loved it!
So did you catch all that? So far they have ridden/driven a
zip line
jet ski
potty bus
little big plane

We are so thankful for all the kindness we have received along our furlough travels. Everyone has been so sweet to our children. They have had a blast so far!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Introducing the "Potty Bus"

There is a 2 weeks stretch of meetings where Jimmy ran the numbers and decided it would cost about the same (or even less... we'll let you know in 2 weeks) to rent an RV for our travels. We would have had to rent a car, eat out, and pay for hotels. Now we get fun while on the road, beds to take naps in for the kiddos, and homemade food to eat. We left on Tuesday and we have already made some great memories!

We had been building the RV up to the boys for a couple months. Jonah and Silas had no idea what an RV was, so after Jimmy's detailed explanation, Silas couldn't get past the thought that there was a bus with a potty on it! So for the past 2 months he has referred to our RV as the "potty bus".

Finally they got to see this cool bus!
Jonah and Silas were thrilled when Jimmy pulled up in the driveway on Monday afternoon. 
They were in button heaven!
When they saw it, they were ready to hit the road! We stayed up long after they went to bed packing for our 2 week trip. The boys were peeking out their bedroom window the whole time I think.
Jonah and Silas love their bunk. We stocked it full of books and surprises for our trip! Daddy got them some cap guns and balls and gloves and I picked them up some legos, puzzles and paints. My parents had a camper when I was growing up and we used it a lot on the weekends. I remember my mom bringing along all types of little surprise activities for us to do together. I also loved sleeping on that same bunk!
My sweet aunt and uncle loaned us the bed rail. They play up there a lot and sleep good too!
{Bible story before bedtime! They like the Moses and his stick hitting the rock story the best right now.}
There is a slide out where the table and couch are, so we even have room for Eden's pack-n-play at night.

And did I mention that Kiki came too! Here they are singing while on the road!
We are so thankful for this time together!

We've already had one meeting last Wednesday and then we had another one this Wednesday.
 The couple on either side have been down to visit us and looks like they might be back again in September! 
We have a meeting in Maryland tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Family Traditions #19: Easter 2013

"Family traditions give identity and belonging to each member." - James Dobson

My favorite activity these days is teaching my boys about God. I love waiting for their responses to the questions I ask them, just to hear what is going on in their curious minds. They are sharp too! Going through Easter with my boys this year and seeing them really experience the story for the first time made it even more precious to me.

We treat Easter like we do Christmas, it isn't that we hate the Easter bunny, we just didn't have any time for him with all that we wanted to cover. Even with being in the States for this holiday, my boys didn't notice bunnies or eggs. I hope that when they do start noticing, they don't look at the Easter bunny as a bad thing, but just as something that isn't their own. I don't think they will feel like they missed out, they were pretty happy about our week. I would tell the boys each day "we're going to do our Easter activity" and even up to the last day they were excited and eager!

We started 12 days before Easter. I got my inspiration here. I adapted it a bit for our family so I am only going to put a link where our craft differed from hers. I loved the way she laid it out. It tells the whole story. She also has a free bunting printable.

Day 1: Jesus Entering Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-17)
We made palm branches.
As we read the passages, the boys liked holding their own Bibles. They can't read, but they like finding the numbers. 
Kiki helped too!
Then they shouted, "Hosanna!"

Day 2: Judas Betrays Jesus (Matt. 26:1-5; 14-16)
We rubbed 3 dimes for the 30 pieces of silver.

Day 3: Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet (John 13:1-17).
We traced our feet.

Day 4: The Last Supper (Luke 22:14-20)
We made a diorama out of an Egg Carton.
We also had some crackers and red tinted water out as visuals as we talked about the Lord's supper and what it symbolized. I love listening to my boys explain it back to me. They always tell us about the things they learn. 

Day 5: Jesus in the Garden (Luke 22: 39-46)

Day 6: Jesus is Arrested (Luke 22:47-54)
Since they are 3 we focused on the cool ear chopping off part of the story and Jesus healing it... so we made cardboard and tin foil swords. 
With a story like this, nobodies ears were safe!
Not Daddy's...

or Papa's...
or even Mama's!

The boys skyped with G after this and told him about the story. Unfortunately they said "Peter Pan" chopped off the soldier's ear. They did get the rest of the facts straight though!

Day 7: Crown of Thorns (Matt. 27:27-31)
We made crowns of thorns out of playdough and toothpicks. 
I was surprised at how solemn they got when I explained to them what the soldiers did with the crown. They talked about how it would hurt and they were very sad about it. 

Day 8: The Thief on the Cross (Luke 23:32-33; 39-43)
We made a wax paper sun-catcher of the 3 crosses. We used this method, but with 3 crosses. 
They can point out Jesus' cross and then they point to the other two and say "bad guys'!

Day 9: Jesus Dies on the Cross (Luke 23:33-38; 44-47)
We searched for sticks outside and then made crosses wrapping them together with pipe cleaners. 

Day 10: Why Did Jesus Die (Rom. 5:8)
We drew red dots on our hands to symbolized Christ's scars and then we wrote our names over it since He did it for us. 
My boys took this part very seriously. As I was drawing the dots on their hands Jonah said, "Mama, feet too! Nails in Jesus' feet!" That made me so happy because we hadn't even talked about that yet that day, he remembered it from us talking about it all week. Love!
Now when we ask Silas why did Jesus die, he says, "He loves us."

Day 11: Jesus' Body Placed in the Tomb (Matt. 27:57-66)
We made edible tombs. We used chocolate icing, green colored coconut, a cupcake, Oreo, and a marshmallow to hold the sign. Each year I do this craft with my church kids, so it was fun to finally get to do it with Jonah and Silas!
{Love the chocolate already on his face!}
{We forgot to roll the stone away... oops.}
It just so happens that my great uncle sent us a video of the Easter drama his church did last year and it arrived while we were doing our craft. It was playing in the background and when it got to the crucifixion scene my boys were very interested. It was perfect because then they could point out the nails, His blood, the sign on top of the cross, and His crown of thorns. It was a wonderful visual for what we had been talking about!
Then they watched the tomb scene. And they didn't want to stop watching until they got to see Jesus again, to make sure He had risen again. 

Day 12: Jesus is Risen (Matt 28:1-10) 
Using free printables, we recreated the resurrection scene. 

Jonah and Silas used the figures and told me the story!
"Three days later He had risen."

Here are my boys doing this same activity a year ago:

We kept an Easter wall for those 12 days of all the things we had learned!
We didn't cover Jesus returning to Heaven, but when we picked them up from their class Sunday morning, they had made a craft of Jesus ascending to Heaven and Silas ran up to me (as he was moving the Jesus he had colored) and said, "Look Mama, Jesus going in the sky to Heaven!"So that worked out perfectly!

We did a couple other activities last week as well:
We brought our Easter book back with us. It is a great summary of the whole story.
We also tried this idea. We talked about how Christ hadn't done anything bad, but He took on the bad things we had done. 
The carnations did soak up the red dye, but only after they had died. It took about 7 days. I guess the grocery store where I bought them must have had them for a while. They still were very effective because of the discussions we had about them. 

Easter eve, we used this recipe and made Resurrection Cookies!
{Silas explaining to Jonah exactly how to use that hammer!}
Each ingredient ties into the Easter story.
This was a big hit with my boys!
Easter morning we tried them. They were hollow inside (like the empty tomb) and delicious!

After church we came home and had a big yummy Easter dinner together that my Mom prepared!
I loved every meaningful minute with my boys those 12 days! They are so smart and soaked all of this up like sponges!!! We had a wonderful Easter celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death. We hope that all of you had a wonderful Easter too!
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