Saturday, July 5, 2008

Prayer Request

My brother, Kevin, left on a two week mission trip to Ukraine today. A year ago he wouldn't even have considered doing something like this. The Lord has done an amazing work in Kevin's life. Please pray for his (and the other 5 members of his team) safety, health, traveling mercies and that the Lord would use him to further His kingdom.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

For the past seven years we have celebrated Independence Day with 150 of our closest friends. Our pastor and his wife open their home each July 4th for an old-fashioned Independence Day picnic. Each picnic is spent swimming, playing volleyball, sweating, watching the kids play, eating fried chicken, sweating, dodging the rain, sweating, enjoying homemade ice cream and wonderful fellowship.

It was somewhat depressing for us to know that we would not be able to attend this year. In order to help the kids (and the grown-ups) not dwell on what they couldn't do, we had our own celebration.

We began the festivities by having an ice cream treat during the early afternoon. Around 5:00 we went outside and played games in the back yard. The first game was an egg and spoon relay. Brian, Luke, Hayley and Will were on one team. Ashley, Emily, Kathryn and I were the other team. Brian's team won the egg and spoon race.

Next I sent everyone (except Kathryn and I) off on a scavenger hunt. They had to find a toilet paper roll, a fruit, something purple, a penny, a kitchen utensil, some lint, dental floss, etc. Once again, Brian's team won.

Brian searching for a penny.

Kathryn "scavenging" the chips and black bean salsa!

Our next relay race was the chimp race. Using the same teams, each person had to grab their ankles and walk as fast as possible to the end of our yard and back. Brian wasn't sure he would be able to participate. He said I was assuming he could actually grab his ankles! My team was somewhat handicapped by Kathryn, and we lost once again.

Notice Brian "stretching out" while he awaits his turn!

Our final game was a water balloon toss. At first the kids didn't want to do it (claiming they didn't want to get wet). In the end most of them said it was their favorite. Finally my team won. Brian and I were the last competitors and he dropped the first balloon I tossed him!

After the games we watched Benji. This is the first movie I remember seeing in a movie theater. The kids enjoyed it.

For dinner we had a picnic in the backyard. Brian grilled chicken for fajitas. After dinner we all iced and decorated our own cupcakes. I think the children enjoyed decorating them as much as eating them.

From the top of the hill in our subdivision you can see most of the city of Irvine. Around 9:00 Brian, Ashley, Emily, Hayley and Luke drove up to watch the fireworks. They were able to see fireworks from 5 different celebrations.

Although we missed celebrating with our friends today, I think we all enjoyed the time we spent together as a family. Some blessings of the day included watching the children devour special treats, cuddling with Kathryn while watching Benji, cool weather, the smell of lemon blossoms in our backyard, hearing shouts through out the house of what had been found or was still needed during the scavenger hunt and most of all sharing the day with the people I love.

Will's Birthday

Will turned 5 on June 30th. Since Brian's parents bought tickets for everyone to attend an Angels baseball game on the 30th, we celebrated his birthday a few days early. Will selected a Backyardagains theme (Nick Jr. show). He was especially excited to have a Pablo pinata. He asked for rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, strawberry applesauce, salad and chocolate cake. His gifts included more trains for the train set he shares with Luke, a Playmobil horse and knight set, Chutes and Ladders and some hand made gifts from his siblings.

Pablo (aka Will) gets ready to blow out his candle.

Will takes a swing at the pinata. Hayley was able to "behead" him, but we eventually had to pull the strings on the back to release the candy.

Will's grandparents gave him a Thomas and Friends book after learning he could read so well.

Sea World

Brian's parents flew to Irvine on June 22nd. They spent 10 days with us. While they were here we visited Sea World San Diego. We enjoyed our day despite the warm weather and crowds. We saw Shamu's show, a dolphin show, a 4-D Sesame Street show, an acrobatic show over the water and a pet show. Most of us enjoyed the pet show the most. All of the animals are rescued from animal shelters. It's amazing what the animals have been taught to do.

Brian, Ashley, Hayley and Will rode Shipwreck Rapids and got soaked. Afterward they were willing to sit in the soak zone at the Shamu show. People near them got wet, but they didn't. At the end of the day Brian, Ashley, Emily and Hayley tried to ride Journey to Atlantis. This water ride has a 60ft drop at the end. While waiting in line the ride was stopped for some maintenance which prevented them from being able to ride. The tickets we bought will allow us to return once before we leave CA. Hopefully they will be able to ride then.

This dog is jumping rope while his trainer and another dog turn it for him!