Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wisdom from Oliver

Daddy: "Oliver, do you want to pray for dinner?"
Oliver: "Yea. Foed hands! No, yike this. K. God, thanks food, nice day, daddy work. Amen!"
Mommy & Daddy: "Good job Oliver!"
Oliver (with eyes wide and bouncing): "Luv God so much!!! God bye-bye workin'."
Daddy: "Where does God work?"
Oliver: "Righ here."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's official! Finner is eating food!!! We started at 4 months and his appetite keeps on growing. I'm thinking he'll be weened in no time.

Two new members

Mark grew up owning rats so it didn't surprise me in least when he decided to introduce Oliver to the idea.
This little shop was suggested to us, and though small and smelly, the staff was very helpful, and friendly.

Oliver and daddy got familiar with a couple rats but we went home empty handed and slept on the decision to get yet another pet.
We decided the next day that we would only get them if we could find the equipment for cheaper than the store (a whopping $50+ just to get started).
The next day I went rummaging for just that and stumbled across a cage, food dishes, water bottle, wheel, ball, and lid (with clips) for $3!!!
God was looking out for us and obviously wanted us to have rodents.
Oliver named them White and Black.
One is a Dumbo Rat (due to it's large ears) and the other is a rat with special curly fur (the name escapes me).
Both are extremely smart and a super fun pet for a 2 year old. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a low maintenance pet.

"Gampa Kinn"

I recently came to pick up Oliver at my parents house to find this....
his daddy would have been so jealous (of the bike, not of sharing a motorcycle with my dad:))

Fort Leverton!

Friday, October 29, 2010


"I've been silent instead of speaking up
Gave my advice instead of giving love
I have been unfair, faithless and unkind
I have shut my eyes just so I would stay blind
It's not what I meant to do
'Cause I wanna honor you
Make me over, make me new
Make me a mirror, a reflection of you
Take me all apart
Take me to your heart and pull me closer
Oh, Jesus, make me over
Take away the pride that whispers in the dark
Take the stone out of the middle of my heart
Hidden underneath my insecurities
Is the servant that you've destined me to be
But day after precious day
I get in my own way
Make me over, make me new
Make me a mirror, a reflection of you
Take me all apart
Take me to your heart and pull me closer
Sweet savior, make me over
I am only made of your imagining
I'm dust and clay on the wind
Wash me in the river of your sacrifice
Until I'm changed, purified
Take me all apart
Take me to your heart and pull me closer
My Jesus, make me over
Make me over"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Like a weed!

It's hard to tell in this fuzzy picture but I measured Oliver in June and then again in September and he's grown about 1 1/2 inches in just three short months.
Shouldn't that hurt?

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Mark listens to the radio all the time so he frequently hears about fun, free things to do in the city. This, however, was not free. Mark cheerfully and queasily donated blood and in the process scored us some Brewer's Tickets.

We got to the game early so we could "tailgate" (something I had never done).

It was loads of fun and way cheaper than the stadium food:)

Mark and Oliver caught a little pigskin, while we waited for dinner to cook.

At the ticket window, the nice woman giving us our tickets decided to give Oliver his own ticket so we wouldn't have to cram into two seats.

Our boys decked in Brewers gear (Thanks Caleb and Bridget!)

Mark and I have always made it a tradition to get a souvenir Cheese Fry hat when we go to a game, but this time we settled for souvenir Ice Cream Sunday hats.

Thanks Mark! A very selfless act indeed.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Baby Signing Time

When I was younger we were taught ASL (American Sign Language) to help communicate with my deaf cousin, and I've had the opportunity to use it at several places of employment.
When Oliver was younger we taught him some basic "Baby Sign" to help him and us communicate. We just recently got Oliver the video below from the Library to continue that educating, and he was very quick to catch on to the new signs. Now that Finley is approaching the same age we've started to work on the first few signs with him.
Today during lunch I was signing "more" before giving him a bite of food. Just like a parrot, Oliver was in the background copying my movements and words until I would say "more" and Finley would watch me then look right to Oliver and wait for him to repeat it.

Mark and Oliver Singing

I don't know how clear this will sound, but it's Mark and Oliver singing "The other day I saw a bear..."

Budget Living

We've been using a budget for the past 2 years. For some of you this may be old hat, but for us it's a fairly new discovery.
I'm the kind of person who likes things regimented and orderly (for the most part) so it only makes sense that having a plan would be right up my alley.
I'm monthly amazed by how God helps us cut back. Every time I think there couldn't possibly be another thing we could reduce to come up with money God shows us something I hadn't even considered.
For instance:
Up until the last couple years I wouldn't have been able to tell you what we spent on groceries monthly. We would just grab favorite items off the shelves, and often things would get thrown away because we would forget we had them or not know how to use them in a meal.
In addition we were eating lots of processed foods, and making very little from scratch. Wow, things have changed.
Our currently monthly budget for groceries is $320. That may not seem like very much to you, but we've made it work for months now. I've gotten much better at cooking and getting creative with recipes, and Mark has always loved to cook and help me in the kitchen so it makes it easy when we work as a team.
But, before this last grocery trip I did something very different. I planned out every single meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and even snacks).
It took me a couple hours to do, but I now have a fantastic base for the next several months to come.
After Grocery Shopping I almost choked when I realized how much I had spent: $182 FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH. We really didn't have to do any major compromising, I just formulated a list and stuck to it. Woo Hoo!
It ended up being 27 Dinners, Lunches and Breakfasts + Snacks. I'm still thanking God.
I won't bore you with anymore details unless you want me to explain the system I used.
I'm planning on posting some of the recipes we're trying. Everything from Mongolian Beef, Shepherds Pie, South African Peanut Chicken, Siracha Sauce BBQ chicken and more.
Check out this blog that I follow click here
It's by the Author of the book that prompted my meal planning.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Feeding the Ducks Day 3

This trip was all about being spontaneous. We stopped at this park to..... well we didn't really have anything in mind. Then God brought over ducks and I remembered that I had swiped a bag of crackers from the restaurant and tada! Free entertainment.
Oliver had a blast and no fear.

On our last day we went to Al Johnson's for a yummy breakfast of Swedish Pancakes and Meatballs. So yummy!
On our way out of town we grabbed some fudge and Door County Cherry Soda from the Cherry Hut. It was great! We sampled bunches of homemade salsas and cheese spreads. Oliver especially enjoyed it.

This was one of the best trips we've ever taken and we were thrilled to be able to make new memories and traditions with our boys.

Door County Day 2

This was the nasty stuff I found in the "nice" bathroom
Needless to say we used the woods the rest of our stay

Both boys were amazing the whole trip. In fact, everyone was in "relax" mode.

Campin' Eggs

Our family favorite camping breakfast tradition

A Visit to the Bay

Oh my gosh! I cracked up when I saw this. It totally reminds me of the famous Patterson "Big Foot" sighting.

Eh, it was a no makeup weekend

There ya go dad. That's for you:)

Skipping Stones. Mark was getting pretty confident skipping med size stones so he bet me that he could skip any stone I gave him. I picked out a misshaped enormous rock that he had to hurl with both hands and ended up losing after he skipped it at least 3 times.

Founders Square

Since the Park was just a stones throw from the heart of Fish Creek we were able to visit all our fav spots.


Not licked Yet (Crazy awesome Sundays)

The Cookery (for amazing Fish Chowder, or so I've been told)

A touch of the World (My favorite nick-nac shop

A Toy Store (that I can't remember the name of, and more.

Door County - Anniversary Weekend

Since Finley was born we've been waiting for the right time to get back into camping. Although Oliver was a mere 2 months old on his first camping trip, we decided to wait a bit longer with Finley.

Mid September proved to be just right. We were on our way to a campground about 50 mins from our house. We were on our way and according to our GPS (Jane) we had approximately 7 miles to go when suddenly Mark saw a sign for Door County.

He jokingly remarked how it would only take us a few extra hours to stay at Peninsula State Park. I laughed and said "no".

I came up with a list-full of reasons why should maintain our course.

After making a call to our current destination and finding out that they only had 5 campsites left and didn't take reservations we started to think a bit more seriously.

A quick call to PSP told us that they had tons of sites and it cost the same to camp there.

It was done. We passed our exit, grabbed a couple Carmel Macchiatos and headed straight to Door County. I was absolutely giddy or "glowing" (as Mark put it).

-If you know us you know that we're very sentimental. We could liken a weekend in Door County to the way some feel about Disney (ie Kristin:D).

Both of our families have taken lots of trips there so it was equally special for each of us to be able to share the same memories with our boys. (sigh)

We arrive around 7ish and set up camp right away. Ate over a fire, put the boys to bed and sat up talking.

The weather the entire trip was beautiful! 60-70's during the day and 40-50's at night. Perfect!

Oliver saw daddy using his knife to cut kindling so he had to grab his plastic version and give it a try.

"Pecial" Grams

Mark's Grandma suffered a stroke last year and then, most likely, another earlier this year.
It broke our heart to think that her current condition would prevent her and Oliver from getting to know each other and create memories the same way that Mark did as a child.
I'm still (ignorantly) surprised when God answers prayers I don't put into a "proper" prayer form (more on that another time), and this is no exception.
Oliver asks and looks forward to going to visit Grams, and from what we can tell she clearly remembers Oliver, and in our absence will ask about him.
It makes me want to cry just thinking about it. She will be celebrating another birthday next month (her 94th?).
It's so amazing to see these two bond and know that even though things are very different now than when Mark was younger, God is still helping us create lasting memories with her now.