Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friends, Mountains, Birthdays, PicNics, Catalyst and More

Oh me, oh my. I'm not sure I can even think straight enough right now to get through this post. Why? It is after midnight and I have 101 things still on my to-do list before our plane departs tomorrow night heading south. But getting this post done is one of the things on that list. So here goes....

At my last post I told you that we had friends in town and were planning a night out with them the very next night. And that's exactly what we did!

Here is Jonathan and Mandi and we had a blast getting to go out to dinner with them.

Not to mention the food was scrumptious! This is my bacon wrapped crab stuffed prawns served with apple cinnamon couscous.

And here is the proof that we were actually there. And check out the view of the Sound that we had from our table. It was a magnificent evening!
Having Jonathan and Mandi come stay with us was such a treat.

Jonathan taught us about "" so that we could plan out our running routes around town. (I've told you I'd fill you in more on that running stuff later. It's not time yet.)

We got to go to Bobby and Brenda's for a fun cook-out...

Note all the guys hanging out, no children in sight. Ha!

Kade was completely focused on his cream soda. The first time we've ever let him have a soda of his very own. He was in love with it from the first sip. And I think he savored it and made it last for about 2 hours.

Ryne wasn't worried about soda...there were cookies to be eaten!

And conversations with Bobby to be had...about cookies, no doubt!

And I really do think that Kade is telling Ryan all about just how delicious cream soda is. And look how sweet Ryan is to sit and listen to him.

And from no where here is a funny moment with Ryne:

We are driving down the road and I look back to see this crazy guy. Couldn't help but sneak a pic.

And somewhere during the week we had a big guitar concert by the Lewallen boys. Enjoy these pictures of the event. Be sure to notice the crazy facial expressions....

Now, I know you've been just waiting for this event. We had visitors. We did we HAVE to take them?

Mt. Rainier, of course!
This time we went to Sunrise which is on the opposite side of the mountain from where we usually go. It was a beautiful day.

Kade and Ryne got to visit with one of the Rangers. She gave them buttons with some slogan about staying on the paths so that they could restore the mountainside's native plants.
Kade then thought he was the mountain police and carried on looking for people off the path so that he could correct them. Thanks for the "badge" sweet Ranger lady, I think you now have a ranger in training.

Oh, and check this out:

Jonathan carried my "load" for me!

Unfortunately that meant he was in Jonathan and Mandi's great picture together in front of the mountain. I'm sure people assumed he belonged to them. I was totally okay with that. My back was empty!

The view of the mountain (sorry, Kade, I meant to say volcano) is totally different from Sunrise but it is still amazing! And it was a perfect day to be there.

Russ and Jonathan enjoying the view from the top of the hike.

And I just really like this picture. I can tell that Kyle is happy to be getting to spend some time with one of his favorite friends.

And Kade seemed to really enjoy himself that day. Not sure if the big grin is still from thinking he is the "mountain police" or because things look so funny through Daddy's prescription sunglasses???

And speaking of Daddy...
Kyle had a birthday!!!!

Because we were so busy with friends in town we didn't really have time to plan a big party. In fact Jonathan and Mandi flew out early on the day of Kyle's birthday and we just had a quaint little family lunchtime celebration. Complete with tacos and quesadillas from the "taco bus" that we had been wanting to try out. And wouldn't you know it...they were DE-LI-CIOUS!!

And of course it can't be a Birthday celebration without cake and candles and the "happy birthday" song.
And to make it a real celebration we even had presents ready to be unwrapped....

Look at their faces. Kade: what is that thing? Kyle: oh my, is that what's really in the box?
It was an ipod touch and I think he liked it.

And we had to have enough packages that Kade could help unwrap....

and so could Ryne.
But honestly, I think the boys just wanted to get through the presents so we could get to the cake:

Just when the day was winding down and birthday was almost over, Kristy showed up with this:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake!!

Kyle was trying to scare people away from his cake, I think.
It didn't work. Some kind of yummy!!! Gone in about 20 minutes!

And 20 is almost the number of people we had who wanted to go try out that "new to us" park that I showed you before. There were actually 19 of us...

and we went and had a big picnic and let the kids play.

Believe it or not I actually got both of my boys in the same place at the same time and was able to get there picture. I'm surprised that I ever found both of them at the same time. See I had planned so well and dressed them both in red shirts so that I could spot them rather quickly since it was one Momma and two boys this day. Wouldn't you know it, we show up and there is some camp or daycare or something there with about 25 kids ALL wearing red shirts. Yikes!
Can't tell you how glad I was that there were a few more Mommas around to help me keep track of them. They are busy boys.

Natalie was pretty busy that day to taking in all the excitement. I couldn't help but show you this cute picture of her wearing Ryne's hat. Every time she would roll over and it would fall off, he would immediately pick it up and try putting it back on her. Really pretty cute of him.

The boys did so well at the park that I decided to take them for frozen yogurt. Now hold on to your britches for what you are about to see. When we left the park it was so close to nap time that this is what I let them do:

Eat their frozen yogurt in the car...unassisted!!
I know, I had one of my moments of insanity but I just couldn't help it.
I don't think Kade spilled a drop. In fact when he got to the bottom, he handed me his spoon so that he could drink the rest from the bowl. Ryne, on the other hand, spilled quite a bit but it was all spilled right on the very front of him and just on the straps of his seat belt. I was happy with that! And they enjoyed their frozen yogurt just the same!

And since we are talking about things that are enjoyed let me finish up here by telling you what we got to do on Thursday of this week. Our entire Life Church staff and all the wives along with our new church planter and his wife and our sponsoring pastor and his wife got to load up and go to a conference all together. And it wasn't just any old conference. It was the kind of conference where this guy meets you in the parking lot...

handing out Krispy Kreme donuts!
And then is willing to take a picture of your entire crew:

From L to R:
Mollie (Tumwater church plant helper)
Russ and Belinda (Tumwater church planters)
Derek and Alissa (more affectionately known to us as D and Lissa)
Arin, Baby Ainsley and Kristy (Life Church's new Worship leader)
Me and my man Kyle!
Bobby and Brenda (our sponsoring church pastor and his fun wife)

We had a fabulous time!
We knew we would because it was a Catalyst One Day conference.
When we lived in Arkansas we LOVED going to Atlanta every year for the big Catalyst conference. So when we found out they were bringing a One Day event to the Northwest we had to go. And it was totally worth it.
These two guys ...

Craig Groeshel and Andy Stanley just poured out some wisdom for us to glean from.
We also got to hear from Mark Driscoll and Judah Smith, a couple of pastors from the Seattle area who are really making it happen.

Sweet Ainsley was so worn out that she had to grab a nap during one of the breaks.

Kyle and I had a special treat...

We got to go to lunch with about 100 (I don't know, maybe it was less than that, I'm a terrible guesstimator) other people in which there was a small group Q & A time with Craig and Andy.
What they shared was of course great but look at how they fed us:

On some fine china! And it was Yummy!

The food was great and getting to go to the lunch was a special treat. But even if that hadn't happened it would still have been a phenomenal day.

This may be my favorite pic from the whole day. I know you can't see Andy very well but surely you can tell he is sitting on an ugly couch. Great visual aid for us. I won't go into his whole analogy but he just pointed out that many time we have a bunch of ugly couches that we need to get rid of but since we have grown emotionally attached to them we fail to see them for what they are, ugly couches.

Look at this crew just soaking it up! I think we talked back through everything we had heard on our van ride home. I need to be sure to pull my notes out often to be reminded of what I learned.

And that makes me think of something that I did pull out of the closet as a reminder of the past. High school memorabilia! Getting ready for a 15 year class reunion next weekend. Thus the trip to OK and AR that we are about to venture out on.
I'll check in later and let you know how that it going!
Oh dear, it is now 1:07 AM and I am supposed to be running at 6:15 in the morning. Changing out the laundry and going to bed...over and out!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Make Up for the Pictureless Post....

Gee, I seem to have the hardest time lately managing to sit down uninterrupted to compile a blog post. Case in point, this is now the fourth time that I have sat down at the computer in an effort to add words to all these pictures. Pictures that I felt were necessary to make up for leaving the grandparents hanging pictureless in the last post. So hopefully I will make it through to the end. Boys are down for a nap and Kyle just offered to make my trip to the grocery store for me. I'm thinking I have about 1 hour of peace and quiet (as long as I block out the noise of the pressure washer cleaning the roof of the house next door) in which to finish this post and relax for a brief moment before Kyle gets back with groceries to be unloaded and put away.

So, here we go...

This was my "happy" flower that bloomed in the backyard this week. Yes, we still have flowers blooming away here in Washington and I love it. One day soon I will try to do a post showing you all the pretty flowers we've managed to grow at our house this year. It has been so much fun and I enjoy taking pictures of them. And I think this week as I was getting a shot of this pretty little yellow flower and a few others I realized just why it is that I have grown fond of photographing our flowers. They are still subjects!! I don't have to chase them around in hopes of catching them in a quick glance at the camera. I never have to call their names or even attempt to get them to pose. And in case you don't get what I'm saying, I'm pretty much just telling you that they are the complete opposite of my children.

But I still try to get pictures of those crazy boys. Mostly just for the sake of recording their lives because I've not been so good at putting down all that stuff in their baby books like I should have. Woops! Another Mom of the Year award down the drain there.
Anyway, getting over that and moving on, here is what I've recorded lately...

The boys and I planned a trip to get frozen yogurt one afternoon after nap time and invited Dad to come with us. We think he really liked it! Cheered us all up enough that we decided to stop and visit a park on the way home. This is a park that we spotted quite a while back and have been waiting for just the right time to give it a try. It is not in our city, but only about 10 or 15 minutes away. We should've checked it out sooner....

Kade and Ryne both had a blast at this park. If you couldn't tell from the pictures, it is a pretty big park with all kinds of cool things to play on. I'm sure we will have to visit there again soon.

Remember our new friends, The Jenkins', who just moved to town?

Well, their baby girl, Ainsley just turned 1 and we got to have her birthday party at our place.

Just look at all that pink and purple!
A girl explosion at the Lewallen house. It was good for us.
Something not so pirate-y was nice for a change.

Ainsley enjoyed her cake.

This is Ryne checking out what everyone has on their plate at the table to eat. I think he begged everyone that he could out of their cheese slices if he saw them on their plate.

Kade seemed to think the purple cupcake was not only yummy, but also good for a little extra decoration on his face.

Then it was present time. It was all Kade could do to just stand and watch and not get to rip into any of the gifts. Oh, he did ask a few times to help but took the gentle reminder that it was not his birthday and stepped back.

Ryne on the other hand just waited for the gifts to be opened and passed his direction so he could check them out. Smart kid!

And for the grand finale...a cupcake pinata that exploded to send candy flying everywhere. Here are all the little people filling up their loot bags. Alissa is being so kind to help Ryne out. At one point he wandered into the middle of all the kids and candy, picked up one tootsie roll, and came out holding it in the air with a smile on his face and exclaimed, "I got it!" Then he put it in his bag and was done. We had a fun time celebrating Ainsley's first birthday.

Okay, I'm not sure some of you are going to believe this but "summer" finally came to western Washington this past week. We had three or four days in which the temps reached the nineties.
Oh, don't worry, it didn't last long. Summer came and went quickly for us. We are back to needing jackets in the mornings and evenings.
But while it was here we thought the boys might enjoy playing in the water to cool off.

Kyle set up the water hose to spray across the back yard and we even put the slide under the sprinkle so that they could enjoy their very own "water slide."

Kade slid one time just to appease me so I could get a picture.
But this is what they chose to do instead....

Play in the mud!

I'm telling you these boys of mine are ALL BOY!

What, Mom? You got a problem with us getting dirty or something?

Ryne is assisting Kade here to be sure that he gets his full dose of mud on the head.
And Kade in turn did the same for Ryne. All was good until Kade decided it might be okay to find out how Ryne responded to mud in his eyes. Not so well. That ended our joyous summer fun in the backyard on that particular day.

And on another particular day we missed out on any summer fun because we spent the day at the doctor's office and hospital trying to get Ryne checked up on. After our crazy episode last week of some wild reaction with the poor little guy, he was scheduled to go back to the doctor for follow up this week. She wanted to do some allergy tests that required him having his blood drawn. So we went to the lab at the doctor's office. I'll spare you the details, but will tell you that it was not a good experience for the poor guy and they did not get enough blood drawn from him. Therefore, they had to send us to the hospital and have blood drawn at the lab there.
Yep, I said hospital. You know what that means. We did the whole hospital routine. Check in. Wait for your name to be called. Get your name called to go through the registration process. Go back to the waiting area to wait some more until they call your name again.
Have someone from the lab come out and tell you that they can't read your doctor's handwriting and they are trying to get in touch with her before they can call you back to the lab. Wait some more.


Pretend to like the color that your brother has so that you can take it away from him only to NOT color with it but be happy that you got what he had.


Get fed up with the place and take the bag in an attempt to leave this silly waiting place that is not made for children.

Have Mom veto the escape plan, so set up for snacks at a new location.
And then finally get your name called just before all three of us have major meltdowns from the extended waiting time.
Took all of four and a half minutes to get in the lab blood drawn and back out of the lab headed to the car.
I have to say, the boys were troopers and all three of us survived...Ryne was the super trooper because he is the one who endured the most that day. Poor baby! But like I said, I'm sparing you the details. I'll just say, ice cream rewards were definitely on for that day! And we didn't even find out was a test that had to be "sent off." So we are waiting to see what it said.

And to make up for our not so fun day we decided to take the next day and go to the park for a picnic with our friends Dawn and Aaron.

Oh, capturing all three of them in one picture wasn't easy. But there they are.

Kade and Aaron were good and actually sat down to eat lunch. Ryne didn't want to stop for food. He is probably somewhere on the playground that you can see behind the other boys.

He did, however, stop briefly to read a book. Random, I know, but that is pretty much a good word to describe our Ryn-0.

Kade did finish lunch and head to the playground. Only to get stuck there like this and have to be rescued. Silly boy!
Oh, did you notice the jackets they were wearing? I told you "summer" didn't last long.

Our next big excitement? We have friends here to stay with us. When I started this post last night here is what was going on:

Kyle, the boys, and I were hanging out with Janna and Ryan while their Mom and Dad went to the airport to pick up our guests and take them to Seattle. Babysitters are hard to come by for us sometims so we are trading out with the Knights this week....otherwise we would have gone to get them, too. I only tell you that because I don't want you to think that we are so excited about our friends coming that we sent someone else to get them. That just sounds bizarre. But Russell and Belinda are friends with them as well and wanted to spend some time hanging out with them. And since we get to have them at our house....I guess we would be kind of "friend hogs" if we didn't let them take a turn.
Oh, you want to know who is here don't you?
It's Jonathan and Mandi!
They are friends of ours from AR. Kyle and Jonathan were both doing ministry in West Memphis for a while and were friends way before I even knew Kyle. Johnny J, as we like to refer to him, was actually in our wedding. Anyway, we are excited that they are here and you know I will take pictures of the stuff we do and tell you all about it.

So much for that hour of peace...Ryne is already awake up there. Better go get him!
I'll leave you with a little video of a ditty he played at the park for us:

On an end note, the doctor just called and said all the allergy tests came back negative. So we still have no idea what was wrong with him. It may always be a mystery. I'm okay with that as long as it means it doesn't ever happen again.