Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Plethora of Firsts

We have had quite a few firsts in our world this past week.
We received our very first set of matching family wear.

We all four have Life Church hoodies with our names on them thanks to C.G.
Ryne and Kyle are posing here but Kade and I also nice blue hoodies, too.
We love them! Thanks, C.G.

Remember how I told you Kade was loving to draw?
Well he has started asking me to take pictures of his artwork before he erases it so that his Daddy can see it.

This was the first time I had to take a picture of this particular drawing pad.
Nice train, huh?

For the first time I decided to let the boys help me sort the dirty laundry for the wash.

Before the actual sorting began it was apparently just a big mountain of fun.

And I couldn't help but share this picture of Ryne that no doubt will embarrass him one day.
I'm telling you this boy makes me laugh so hard sometimes. There is no doubt that he often serves as the comic relief in our house.

Our next family first was one I wasn't quite sure we were prepared for.
A trip through the toy department at WalMart "just to look."
We had to go get dog food and on on the way in we saw traffic on the interstate headed home was at a dead standstill. Therefore, we needed to kill some time in Wally World to let it clear up. So we gave it a shot. I have to say, the boys did great. Seemed to completely understand that we were only looking and not buying.

Ryne tried on this cool Iron Man mask.

Kade found this way cool game to play. In fact it took us a while to get him to leave the game. Guess it's a good thing he liked it since this game is coming his way in January as a birthday present.

Okay, moving on to our next first....
the first snow of the season!

It came early this year. Our weather forecasters have been warning us for a couple of months now that we will most likely be having a pretty crazy winter. I think they just might be right. It is quite unusual to get snow in November where we live.
When Kade saw the snow falling he said, "It's Christmas!!"
Well, actually, Kade, it was only almost Thanksgiving.

Look at these cute snowmen someone built in town.
We didn't build a snowman but we did enjoy the snow with another first.
Our first family sledding adventure...

By the time we got to the sledding hill that afternoon the snow was kind of starting to wear thin. But our boys didn't care. I think they are natural born sledders.

Ryne would zip down the hill smiling the entire time. I thought it might kind of scare him because he would go so fast but apparently he likes fast. Yikes, that scares me when I start thinking about the future and bicycles and cars. Okay, better stop thinking about that.

Kade tried sledding every way he could. Sitting up, laying down, on his back, on his front, holding on, not holding on. He was Mr. Adventure on that sled.

Sweet Ryne even tried his best to pull the sled back up the hill so he could go again.

All bundled up to stay warm.

Ryne was nice enough to let Kyle hitch a ride with him down the hill.
Before we knew it, it was getting dark and starting to snow again. We had to head home.
The only thing that made going home okay with the boys was the promise of a package waiting there for them.

Now, you know packages are nothing new in their world.
However, this package was a first of its kind

It was loaded up with costumes from Monk Monk!
You see Elmo there.

Here is can see Thomas on the chair behind Ryne.

A Transformer.

And Pirate wear.
But that wasn't all. There was also a zoo keeper costume, a dog, a pumpkin, some clown hair and I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

More snow fell that night and the next day so what did we do?
Went sledding again, of course!

The snow was much better on day 2.

They had a blast. Because there was so much more snow Ryne wasn't nearly as interested in sledding as he was just playing in the white cold fluffiness.
There are a couple of videos at the end of this post if you'd like to see them in action.

And here is the snow in action. When Kade woke up to this on the second day guess what he said. "See, I told you it was Christmas!"
But still it was only Thanksgiving.
A Thanksgiving full of firsts!
For me it was my very first white Thanksgiving. I've had very few years that there was a white Christmas, never even dreamed of having a white Thanksgiving. Kyle said he thinks he remembers a white Thanksgiving at his Grandparents' as a kid. But definitely a first for me and the boys.
Another Thanksgiving first...

Smoking a turkey!

Isn't it beautiful?

Oh and it was delicious!!
I think Kyle gets the title "master smoker" after this yummy bird was done.
The next Thanksgiving first is rather sad. It was the very first Thanksgiving that we have not spent with either of our families. So to make up for the sadness we just invited everyone else that we knew couldn't be with their families to join us for a Thanksgiving Extravaganza at our place. And it was quite a fun-filled day. We had 28 people at our house for Thanksgiving!!!

Eddie was the first guest to arrive and his timing was perfect because he entertained Kade while we finished getting everything ready.

Kyle carved up the turkeys. Yes, we had two turkeys. How else do you think we could feed 28 people?

Everyone brought yummy food to share. Just look at this spread.

And then there was the dessert table. Oh my!

The line to the food was long...but oh so worth the wait.

We had a kid table sat up in the living room. Their own special place to celebrate with each other. And a nice break for the grown ups to get to eat together and enjoy each other's company.
I think the kids had a Thanksgiving to remember...

Jace played Batman.

Ryne came down the stairs dressed as a zoo keeper and cracked us all up.

Then the little zoo keeper kept sneaking into the dessert table to sample anything he could reach.

After we were stuffed it was time to hang out and do some football watching.
Arin, Kristy, Mollie, Mr. Ray, Eddie, Alesha, Lucy, Jacob's little head and the back of Kyle.
More of the football watching crew.
Kyle, Greg, Russell, Karla and Kayla.
It was such a blessing to have all of the Surround the Sound church planting crew with us. Well, we were missing Derek and Alissa but they decided to do the fun "life before kids" thing and take a trip to Portland for the holiday. Can't say that I blame them at all for that. I know they had a blast but we missed them.

Brian and Jacob hanging out. Brian, Alesha and Jacob are a military family as well is Eddie. We are so thankful for their service to our country and very happy that they joined us for Thanksgiving.

What you are going to see next is the greatest idea ever.
Our friend, Mrs. Esther, asked if she could bring crafts for the children. Well, of course we told her yes. So she did and it was a huge hit!

Mrs. Esther helping Kadence with her pig.

Just look at that craft table full of busy kiddos.
See I told you it was the best idea ever! We were so glad that our friends Mrs. Esther and Mr. Ray came over. And not just because she brought crafts. Mrs. Esther was Kade's Vacation Bible School teacher last summer so he thought it was super special that she came. We enjoyed getting to spend some time with them.

Kade showing off the lion that he made.

Avery with her pig all jeweled up.

Of course Ryne had to jump right in the middle of it all. Mrs. Belinda was so sweet to help him with his craft.

Ainsley was happy just to play with the cow. She is always a happy girl.

You remember our friend Mollie? Well she joined us for her first Thanksgiving away from home with her friend Aaron who flew up for a visit this past week. It was so much fun to have them with us.

Okay I think this is my favorite picture of the day...

This is Lucy and Kade.
She was so kind as to hang out with Kade while we worked on cleaning things up.
Why do I love this picture?
Well, I heard Kade say to Lucy, "Let's go to the ball and dance."
So he took her to the dining room and spun all around talking about how much fun it was to be at the King's ball with her. Isn't that the cutest? And it gave me another first. My first time to be a photographer at the King's Ball!!
We just love Lucy and it was a blessing to have her with us for Thanksgiving, too.
We had a fabulous day! We have so much for which to be thankful!

What comes after Thanksgiving? Black Friday, of course!
Are we crazy middle of the night shoppers out to get the deals???
Yes we are! Well, except for this year. Yet, another first for me. This was the first year that I can remember in many years that we have not gone Black Friday shopping at crazy hours. I have to admit, I did kind of miss it. I did as much online Black Friday shopping as I could but it just wasn't the same. So, to make up for it, I loaded the boys up and took them out "looking" on Friday mid-morning. We just went to Target and Toys R' Us. Oh man did they ever LOVE being in Toys R' Us and seeing all those toys. I am trying to remember ever taking them to Toys R' Us and I just can't recall a time that we have done that. So I'm guessing it was their very first trip to the toy store! I had a buggy full of wide-eyed boys while everyone else had a buggy full of toys to purchase. I am certain I had way more fun than any of them!

And now, as promised, a couple of sledding videos for you to enjoy...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's Been A Month Already???

I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that today is November 20th. That means that it has been one month since I flew home from New York City. Guess what my last blog post was about. Yep, my super fabulous trip to NYC. I didn't intentionally set out to take a month off from blogging but it happened. As usual, we have been busy doing life here in Washington. I decided to take a short break from the blog world so that I could focus on a few other things. I haven't read my friends blogs or posted anything on ours in a month. I've missed it. I also realized that I wasn't taking near as many pictures of our life because in the back of my mind I knew this day would come. The "catch up" blog post.
So let's just get right to business and do a bit of catching up.
Just what have we Lewallens been up to the past month?
Well, Kade does lots of this...

He is really becoming quite the artist!
Check out this creative work...

Not sure what this was supposed to be but I thought it was cool.

Ryne has been doing lots of this....

Making us laugh!

I had a birthday.
Which really just means I got assigned a new number and had an excuse to celebrate with my boys. And that is what we did. They took me to dinner at Red Lobster for all-you-can-eat shrimp. Yummy!

On the way out the boys got to touch one of their live lobsters. You can tell that Kade was way more into than Ryne was.
Now you aren't going to believe this but I actually had 3, yes that is the number 3, birthday cakes. Here is the first one....

On our way home from dinner Kyle stopped at Farelli's and got a slice of my favorite "Big Fat Chocolate Cake" to take home and enjoy after the boys went to bed. It was quite scrumptious.

Those smiles are in the midst of eating that yummy cake.
The next day was my actual birthday so we celebrated some more...

Here are my sweet boys handing me birthday cards.
Guess what card the boys picked out for me.


And it sparkled and played music when I opened it.
It was perfect!

Birthday cake #2!
Another super duper yummy chocolate cake!!

Just ask was super duper yummy!

Now check out birthday cake #3...

Pumpkin cheesecake that my friend Kristy made for me.
Now who could have a better birthday than me?
Seriously, who gets to have 3 birthday cakes?!
We celebrated, ate cake and, just as with every other birthday, carried on with life.
I'm just so grateful for another year of the amazing life that God has blessed me with.
So what fun thing would we be doing next?
Attending a PLU ladies soccer game!

We know quite a few of the soccer players because they come to our college Life Group. We had been wanting to go watch them play all season and finally worked it out to be there.

Keeping Ryne off the field was not easy and we eventually had to strap him into the stroller and entertain him with the ipod. It was hilarious because he was totally glued to the ipod and every once in a while he would yell out "go Lutes!" without even looking up.

Kade, on the other hand, really seemed to enjoy the game. He watched and cheered and when he did get a little bored he just played around this tree and had a fun time.

This is Kyle and Jordan after the game.

The next big thing to happen in our world was Halloween.
Not that we are super crazy about Halloween but we are super crazy about parties and hanging out with our friends. So we did as much of that as we could.

Me and my eighties self with the ever handsome "iron chef" took our little musketeer and peter pan and headed to a party with our friends Brian, Alesha and Jacob.

Kade and Jacob quickly found out that costumes with swords are great fun!

Peter Pan was having an identity crisis and thought he might just would rather be iron man.

And just look at this cute family...

Grant, Mary-Hayden and Isabella made the cutest little pirate family I've ever seen.

The next day I had a jewelry party at the pics....but since it was a party I had to mention it. When that party was over we headed out to our friend Maria's surprise birthday party! We met lots of new people and got to hang out with some of our favorite people, too.

Derek and Alissa!

And that oh so cute pirate family showed up there, too!

Maria and her hubby Jeremy sing a little karaoke!

Kyle and I even took a turn with the mics.

Another fun party with my "iron chef."
All that fun and Halloween was still to come.
On Halloween day we did this...

Put together the gingerbread spook-house that Granna and Paw gave us.

It was quite the sticky adventure.

But the end result was still a lot of fun.
That afternoon we had a Fall Fest at church.

Check out Mr. Cool!

Ryne spent probably an entire hour trying to climb up the back side of the slide in the inflatable obstacle course. He was so determined. Eventually a sweet little guy helped him get to the top and he was so happy to slide down.
You won't believe who Kade found to play with...

Tinkerbell, of course!

They were stuck together like glue all afternoon. Our little friend Aubry sure did make one cute Tinkerbell!

Trick or Treating time was upon us.
After trying out a couple of costume options...

We ended up with the cutest ever...


Peter Pan

And we were off to visit the neighbors to see what kind of treats they had.

It was a super fun night!
And the boys were really excited to have a stash of candy to snack on.

We got to spend a couple of afternoons with Kayla and Connor while their parents were at a conference. We would pick them up from school and hang out with them for a while. I've told you before that Kade and Ryne just think the world of Kayla and Connor so they were super excited about this arrangement.

Ryne wanted to do homework with Connor.

And Kade talked Kayla into watching a movie with him.
The next weekend Greg and Karla repaid us by keeping our boys so that Kyle and I could go with a crew to Vancouver, B.C. for a Passion One Day conference.

We stopped on the way at the one Chic-fil-a in the state!
There were a lot of happy southerns at lunch that day.
When we got to Vancouver we had a bit of time to kill so we just walked around town a bit.

Posed with the famous gas powered clock in Gastown.

Had some yummy coffee with a fabulous presentation.

Alissa and I sported our "happy" raincoats.

Mollie, who recently moved here from West Virginia, enjoyed the trip to Canada. And I totally enjoyed getting to hang out with her. She is gold! Moved here to help with the new church plant just south of us in Tumwater and we've gotten to spend quite a bit of time with her.

Look familiar?
Think Winter Olympics 2010.

Posed with this cool Orca Whale statue.

Saw a beautiful rainbow.

And then headed to the main event!
Great message from Louie Giglio.
Awesome worship with Chris Tomlin, Matt Redmen and...

David Crowder.
Tens of thousands of people there. Mostly college age and it was fabulous. So, so, so glad that we got to go. And super glad that the Thompsons let our boys stay the night with them because we got home at 3am that morning.
Just in time to catch a quick nap and get ready for the next party.
This was a Baby Shower party.

For Baby Levi!

And his sweet Mommy Laura!
We had tons of fun! Can't wait to meet Levi sometime next month

This is a picture of Laura with the shower hostesses.
Kristy, Alissa, Laura, me and Amanda.
I had to include it because I laugh at just how short I am!
I'm so thankful that tall people aren't opposed to being friends with us shorties!

That is the last of the party pictures. But it wasn't the last of the parties. The very next Saturday I had a purse/organizing tote party at the house. It is cool stuff that Alissa sells and we ladies got to do a bit of Christmas shopping. That made three Saturdays in a row that we had "girl" parties at our house and Kyle watched the boys during party time. I promised him that would be the last of the "girl" parties at our house for a while.
Then look at what we saw out our front door...

The sign of a promise!
Of course, God's promise is a way bigger deal than mine.

Oh, but the parties still weren't over. This past week was Life Group party week.
Monday night my ladies Life Group went out to dinner. Tuesday night the boys and I joined Kyle for his college Life Group party that was a bonfire and cookout. To wrap it up we had our Thursday night Life Group party at the house and ate Frito Chili Pies and had some Wii tournaments going on. Such a fun week! So much fun we just couldn't stop. So tonight we had our Life Church staff and families over for burgers. Whew! I might just be partied out!! If that is even possible. I better recoop quickly though. At least 19 people are showing up here on Thursday for a Thanksgiving extravaganza!!!

Before I go I'll leave you with a few pictures that we took last week in preparation for Christmas cards. It was our first attempt at doing our very own "studio" photos. Not too bad for a first try...what do ya think?

Now to get pics ordered and Christmas cards started!

Looking forward to this Thanksgiving week because I have SO much to be thankful for!
I pray that you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving!!