Saturday, November 29, 2014

Advent resources.

Advent begins tomorrow.
It's my favorite time of the year besides Easter.
We fight hard against the busy-ness,
to make a quiet space to reflect and wait on a Savior King, born as a baby.


Our advent traditions have developed slowly over the years since we've had children; I've blogged about them here in 2010, here in 2011, and here and here in 2013.  You can see how we've tried different things through the years, and found a rhythm for our family.

In addition to the ones we use that I've linked in my blog posts above, here are some other ideas and resources that may be useful as you plan Advent for your family:

(Click here for a free ebook version.)



Shepherd’s pouch: John & Noel Piper gave each of their kids a small pouch in which to collect money (allowance, chore $, etc.) during December.  As a family, they would decide where all their collected money would go: to a particular family in need, a particular ministry, a local outreach, a missionary overseas, etc.  On Christmas Eve, everyone would bring their pouches to their dad and see how much $$ they'd collected together.  By the next morning, the parents would fill the pouches with small gifts and treats for the kids.  What a fun twist on stockings!

Names of God ornaments like these or these 

Books
Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Other Jesus-centered books to celebrate advent

Advent readings and ornaments for kids
Names of Jesus

Advent readings for older kids and adults
Good News of Great Joy by John Piper (free advent devo)
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper (another free advent devo)

Music ideas
Shane & Shane Glory in the Highest 
Joy: An Irish Christmas by the Getty's

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chewy chocolate chip cookies

I found this recipe for chocolate chip cookies on allrecipes.com, made a few tweaks based on the reviews and comments, and ended up with some really yummy chocolate chip cookies!  I will make this again, probably sooner rather than later.  I think the parchment paper and refrigerating the dough are the key to how "pretty" these cookies turned out.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
just a little less than 1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips 
 
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and do not grease.
  2. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended.  Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.  Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
  4. Refrigerate cookie dough until chilled, between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
  5. Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoon full onto the prepared cookie sheets.  You can make them as large as 1/4 cup each.  Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes in a preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted.  Avoid overbaking, as that is the key to having a chewy cookie.
  7.  Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.  Store in airtight container.

Monday, November 24, 2014

5 miles!

Major milestone for me today:

I have been running for a few years now, but have never really been able to make it past the 3 mile mark.  I think it was somewhat physical, but after a while, it became mental, too.

When we were in California, we spent some time with Robby Pitt (the city strategist there), and he is a for real runner.  I was telling him about my 3 mile block, and he suggested trying to run for 8 minutes and walk for 2, continuing with those intervals, to see if I could push myself past the 3 mile mark.  I finally tried it earlier this month, and have gradually increased my distance until, finally today, I hit this!  

I don't always have an hour to run, so I won't always be able to go this far, but it's super exciting to me that I can sometimes.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gravy Bowl Invitational 2014

Lana swam today at University of West Florida in her second meet ever.
We were so proud of her - she swam her personal best in both events today.

She gets up on that block and my heart nearly pounds out of my chest -
I can only imagine how it feels for her!

This is how she gets out of the pool after every.single.heat.
This is why we do this, folks:
practices 3x a week, up at 5:30 a.m. for this meet....
it's because she loves it.

There's often a long wait between events, usually an hour or more.
This time she spent her wait studying qualifying times, 
following along with who was swimming in each heat and how they were doing.

She also did a little of this, 
which made the littlest Davis so happy:

She swam the 25 in backstroke and freestyle today.
We are seeing consistent improvement in her form and speed,
and she is so pleased with herself.


We are super thankful for Coach Alex,
who has exactly the right personality for Lana!
She's very laid back and calm, very matter of fact,
but she pushes her hard.

Up at 5:30 a.m., in the pool for warm ups by 6:45 a.m.,
done by 11:00 a.m. in time to make 2 birthday parties.
What a fun day!

Edited to add meet results:

 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tucker's VPK Thanksgiving Feast

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Tucker's sweet school today with a precious performance and YUMMY feast!

They sang and The Potato Song, which has a super cute ending.

My little buddy sang and did every motion: what a cutie!

He was concerned about his friend beside him who wasn't singing.



Loved this sweet morning with our youngest, and thankful for the place he goes to school.  It's hard to believe that next Thanksgiving he will celebrate in kindergarten!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Through the thick and through the thin.



"Buttons"

For better or for worse
Make it work
I ain't goin nowhere

[Verse 1:]
Yeah, I messed up, but you hurt me, blew it like it's yo birthday
And you love it baby on Wednesday, but I make you sick on Thursday
And I know I'm wrong and you shuttin' down, and I touch down like "What now?"
Why we going through all this? Why things gotta be rough now?
But, you had so many break-ups, you can't believe
You go and break my heart that I forgive and I ain't leave
Don't define you by your faults, ain't gon' push your buttons either
Everyday we startin' fresh, this is how it's s'posed to be
Never try to take advantage, you respect me as a man
But every once awhile you get to poppin' off and say stuff you shouldn't be sayin'
But I'm with you, I ain't playin', if it's thick or if it's thin
Both the times and your figure, girl, this is who I am
I love you baby, that's real talk, and this life we live is a real walk
I ain't goin' nowhere, tell your girlfriends that it's still on
I love you baby, that's real talk, this life we live is a real walk
I ain't goin' nowhere, tell your friends that it's on

[Hook:]
For better or for worse
Sometimes I make you sick, and you get on my nerves
Make it work
I ain't goin' nowhere, and I give you my word
I'm a be right here
So though you push my buttons
I ain't leavin'
You can keep on pushin'
I ain't leavin'

[Verse 2:]
I be makin' you mad, girl
But you said you'll never leave me lonely
So I had to put a ring up on it, cause our commitment ain't no game
Yeah we laugh, but we ain't playin', I'm a always be yo mane
And I know sometimes I upset you, be pushin' all yo buttons
We be fussin', fighting over nothin', you can try to leave, but I'm comin'
We gon' work it out with no runnin', pushin', shovin'
I know sometimes that I'm selfish, but I jump in front of yo' bullet
Cause you everything that I prayed for, plus a little bit extra
Even when you getchu' an attitude and you act a little bit extra
Listen, you make me better, babe, you make me better, babe
You got my heart and you can have it for forever, baby
And though we'll never break up, I hate it when we mad
But love it when we get to make up, no lines that I could make up
To let you know how much I got you covered, girl
And I only be pushin' yo buttons because I love you, girl

Monday, November 10, 2014

Life with Tucker today (5 years, 2 months)

Profile of a 5 year old Tucker
46 pounds (80th percentile), 46" tall (90th percentile)

  • Interests: playing ball, shooting things, making messes
  • Enjoys: playing electronics, reading books, watching TV, taking naps with mommy, drinking chocolate milk, positive encouragement
  • Turn Offs: sandwiches, stopping a movie early, interruptions to the routine
  • Vices: has a terrible sweet tooth, often acts without thinking, is a bit lazy and will sometimes look for ways to get out of work
  • Strengths: feels genuine remorse when he's done wrong, sleeps like a champ - still 10-12 hours at night and a 2 hour nap every other day or so, loves his mommy beyond all reason
Favorites of my five year old
  • Foods: bread, cereal, eggs, applesauce, cooked cabbage, roasted cauliflower
  • Shows/Movie: Wild Kratts, any animated movie
  • Books: anything that we will read to him
  • Toys: Nerf guns, water guns, toy guns (do you see the theme here?)
  • Activities: swim lessons, playing outside, wrestling with Daddy

Development:

  • Physical: Tucker is very cautious when trying new things.  He's still go training wheels on his bike, and after months of swimming lessons, is finally making significant progress.  He's a fast runner, a good climber, has a great throwing arm.
  • Spiritual: He is the one to remind us to read the Bible every night at dinner, and often volunteers to pray.  He remembers much of what we've taught him about Scripture, and in January, we're going to start an organized system of memorizing Scripture that I think he will love.
  • Emotional: When Tucker is happy, he is very happy, and when he is said, he is very sad.  There's rarely an in-between for him, and you never have to guess about how he's feeling.  He is growing more and more in self-control, and thinking about how others feel.
  • Educational: He is a smart little guy, and made a nearly perfect score on his VPK beginning of the year assessment.  He knows all his sounds, and can blend them into words, and can read beginning books, although it's hard work, so he doesn't want to do it for long.  He is now writing his name legibly, although that takes work, too, so he's not a huge fan.  He has an amazing memory, and can recall things people have told him weeks before.  He has an aptitude for math, and can do basic math computations in his head.  I think he will more than prepared for kindergarten next year.
  • Character: Tucker has a clear sense of right and wrong, and likes for things to be "fair."  We talk with him often about how fair isn't everyone getting the same thing, it's everyone getting what they need.  He's beginning to understand and accept that.  He tends toward arguing his point with those in authority....his classic statement is "See, the thing is....."

How 5 year old Tucker is like his... 
mommy - doesn't like to drink the last sip of a drink
daddy - will do anything for a laugh, or to make someone smile

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Life with Lana today (8 years, 3 months)



Profile of an 8 year old Lana
64 pounds (75th percentile), 53.25" tall (90th percentile)

  • Interests: swimming, art, biographies, playing the piano
  • Enjoys: all kinds of food, taking walks/runs with Mommy, going on dates with Daddy, drawing, reading
  • Turn Offs: being woken up before she's ready, making her bed, anyone around her being upset
  • Vices: grumpy when overtired, has to be reminded often to pick up after herself, talking in class
  • Strengths: able to read people's emotions well, tenderhearted, very compliant
Favorites of my eight year old

  • Foods: almonds, Chobani yogurt, sushi
  • Shows/Movie: movies based on books she's read
  • Books:
  • Toys: bead art, Nerf guns, art supplies
  • Activities: riding bikes, reading books with mommy, swimming, climbing things

Development:

  • Physical: She loves riding her bike, and rode almost 4 miles with me while I ran a couple of weeks ago.  She practices with her swim team for a full hour, 3 days a week, and she never stops while she's in the pool.  You can see the little muscles she's developing.
  • Spiritual: She knows lots about the Bible, prays sincerely and with an open heart, and is sensitive to the things of the Lord.  We talk often about salvation and baptism, waiting expectantly for the Holy Spirit.
  • Emotional: She is not dramatic at all, generally very calm and even-keel, with the exception being  if she's overtired...like most women. :)  She is strongly affected by the emotions of others, particularly those in our family.  She can't stand for anyone to be upset or angry.
  • Educational: She is in a class this year with others who are high academic achievers, and it's been good for her to be challenged.  Reading and language arts come very easily to her, still.  She's working on mastering her multiplication facts, and that's not coming quite as easily.  The area for improvement that her teacher is focusing on are her class presentation skills, which is by far her least favorite thing to do.  She doesn't like being the center of attention as she presents.
  • Character: She has a clear sense of right and wrong, and while she'll sometimes make poor choices, she will eventually 'fess up.  We are proud of the strength of character she's developing in letting her no mean no.  The other evening, I watched another girl pressure her to do something that wasn't appropriate and that she clearly didn't feel comfortable with.  I didn't remove her immediately from the situation, but just closely watched to see how she handled it.  She let her no be no, and she stuck by it.  We've prayed for that!

How 8 year old Lana is like her... 
mommy - needs some time alone every day
daddy - very flexible and happy-go-lucky in nature

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Blue Angels 2014 Homecoming Show - 100th Anniversary

We have lived in the hometown of the Blue Angels for over 3 years and haven't made it to a show yet!  This weekend was their Homecoming show, so we decided to change that.  

Dan's brother and family came over to spend the weekend, and we all spent the entire day out at NAS for the show - it was really amazing!  According to the write up in the Pensacola News Journal, there were record crowds.  The Blues didn't fly until around 2, but there were preshows flying all day, and they were really wonderful.  We staked ourselves out a spot in the field, ate lots of fair-style food, let the kids play in the kids area, and had a great time together.

Here are a few shots of the air show, and a lot of pictures of the precious cousins.
You can click on any picture to enlarge.