Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat - 2009

Wow, I'm really surprised how much fun today was and how much our children both enjoyed it.

Earlier this week, I was feeling bad about not having anything at all planned for the children for Halloween. I had no costumes purchased. No events planned. Nothing.
I can sort of reason this the same as I reasoned doing nothing for Easter - they are too little to really do much.

But, oh, I was wrong.

And thankfully, Grandma and Papa G sent some cash earlier this week. So the children had costumes after all. And also new, reusable, adorable, fabric monster pumpkin baskets. We went out and bought Jasper a duck costume. It works perfectly because he loves to "quack." (he can actually do three animal sounds now - a duck was the first, but he also knows monkey and elephant)

And I also picked up the supplies to make Petra's bluebird mask - which by the way was super easy. So easy that Petra actually helped make a large part of it. And I added the mask to her costume from last year - it has a whole new look to it.

We tried Jasper's costume on him yesterday and he strutted around like hot stuff. He was quite pleased with his new look. And I was surprised he liked it so much.

Petra absolutely refused to wear her new mask. So I thought, maybe she would wear it on her head more like a hat. She broke down crying every time I tried to put it on her. And I kept trying to make it seem cool. Surprisingly (yes, I was surprised once again) Jasper really liked it and wore it around for about 15 minutes this afternoon, and that was all it took. Petra was more than willing to wear it the rest of the evening! yeah.

Then, while it was still daylight we carved up the pumpkin. Thomas did his best on it while the two children kept climbing on his back and making a mess of it. But they helped as well. Thomas had them pulling the seeds out and dumping them in a bowl.

I love the tail on this duck costume.

Time just flew. The next thing I knew it was dark and time to trick or treat. So I headed out with the children while Thomas stood guard at the house to pass out candy.

Not at all sure about what we were about to do, Petra was still eager and ran to the first house in a gallop. She happily said "trick or treat," please and thank you at each house. And by the time we got to our 5th house (and last) she said everything on her own without my prodding and was not ready to quit. Jasper was not so sure about all of it and really just wanted to be carried around.

The night was fun, and Petra loved her candy...a little too much. She kept digging more out to eat, and I kept having to tell her no more. And she didn't want to stop long enough to go potty, so I had to make her when I saw her "dancing" in the driveway.

You can tell she got a little disappointed when I told her she couldn't have any more candy tonight. how sad.

And I felt like I would be amiss if I didn't mention how absolutely wonderful the children have been this week. With the exception of a 2 hour meltdown on Petra's part one night (which is mostly my fault for being away all day) the children were very obedient, and loving this week. Jasper is beginning to follow basic instructions. And every day I am just amazed at how much Petra knows and can do. She's learning to put the silverware at each place at the table, she can pick up more and knows where many things belong, she can feed the dogs, and she can follow some pretty detailed instructions.

Yes, I've been sewing lately

We have three new baby girls between our friends and family lately. Which means I've been sewing baby blankets and burp cloths.

Also, the really cool part is now that I have an embroidary machine I can also add names and monograms. The only problem is my machine only came with trail software for monogramming - which means I have just one font in one size. Not many choices there. But see the top photo. I added "Eve" to the blanket for my new great niece Evelyn Rose. This quilt also has a ribbon attached so it can be hooked to a stroller if need be. (obviously the date on the photo is wrong and bothersome. Thomas somehow added the date to all our photos and neither one of us can figure out how to get it back off. and its ruining all my photos ...arggh)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Festival 2009

One of my absolutely favorite annual events is our church's fall festival. Hosted by a family in our church in Thomasville, GA, we get to spend the afternoon on their family farm talking with friends, petting the donkeys, and the children get the opportunity to bounce on the inflatable play gyms.

This was the first year the children were interested in these activities. And while they didn't jump all day, they did have a lot of fun just wandering around.

After keeping them both close to us during the camping trip, we didn't feel too bad about letting them wander some around our church family. The biggest problem was keeping Jasper away from the grill and away from the basketball goal. They generally didn't get in any trouble, or cause any disturbances, they just simply wanted to look around.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Children Available for Adoption

What is rapidly expanding into more and more hours each week, is my involvement with Heart Gallery North Florida. We are focusing right now on a event scheduled for Nov. 13th. The date is fast approaching and there is still a lot of work.

The event will honor adoptive families in our community, but also provide a venue to set out the Heart Gallery exhibit. All of the children featured in the Heart Gallery are children from our community looking for a home and family. We are raffling a small LCD TV to help raise funds to add more children to the gallery.

Our partnerships with our local photographers, printers, and children's agencies all make this work with very limited resources.

In fact, just last week 4 more children were photographed by Long's Photography here in Tallahassee. Check it out here.

I won!

I won the cookbook giveaway I posted a few days about for Family Feasts! I'm absolutely thrilled and can't wait to crack it open.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jellystone Park

Taking what I would consider a risk, we ventured out on a camping trip as a family. The last camping trip Thomas and I took was to hike part of the Appalachian Trail in 2007. This was before children and was hard and hot. I learned my lesson and this wasn't anything similar. I certainly didn't think that would work with two young children. Instead, we spent a weekend at Jellystone Campgrounds in Madison, Florida (about 45 minutes away) and spent the nights in a cabin (with beds!).

All weekend we couldn't decide if this was something we would want to do again soon. It had its perks and the not so perks. It was a ton of work - I had to pack everything in the house. It is going to be a lot of unpacking and cleaning which I have to look forward to tomorrow. It was nearly impossible to keep up with two children at all times - there was definitely no rest for us including at night when they slept with us. It was impossible to keep Jasper out of the lake. We had no running water or bathrooms in the cabin. It was impossible to keep Jasper clean. It was expensive - $65 a night for a tiny cabin with no bathroom.

But we roasted marshmallows for the first time with the children. And we fished for the first time with the children - and Thomas even caught two small fish. And we were able to sit around a campfire and spend time with each other. And we got to snuggle up with our children every night. And there was a playground for the children that had swings. Or as Petra said "swing! fun! swing! fun! ..." And there was trick-and-treating (which I didn't do - the children are still too young, but they helped pass out candy). And there was a cornbox (instead of a sandbox) which Petra thought was great. And we went on a train ride with Yogi Bear. And there were fireworks.

It was a great, crazy, busy, expensive and fun camping trip. Look for a Jellystone Park near you.

I promise this is a different fish - the second he caught before breakfast.

And this afternoon, we also went to our church's fall festival ... so more photos to come. We are all exhausted.

Pumpkin Festival 2009

Real quick. Here's a photo from the Pumpkin Festival in Havana, Fl. Every single photo has a haze on top of it - there must have been something on the lens.
So this is the best pic from the trip.

The ride seemed way to expensive - $1 a ticket, with even the 8x8 petting area being several tickets per child. So all we did was walk and eat a ton of ribs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Favorite Blogs

If you look closely, you will notice I added some favorite blog sites - look to the right of this post.

One of my new favorite blogs is Owl Haven - she's a mother extraordinaire of 10 children, including several who are adopted, a Christian, and an author.

She has a new book titled Family Feasts for $75 a week. Who wouldn't want to spend $75 a week for groceries? For a family of 4 that is great! But what really impressed me was that she did it the month of September for a family of 12!

Her blog is a perfect match for my interests covering: family, adoption, cooking, frugality, and faith. And to only improve things, I skipped over to her husband's blog and found interesting details on gardening and chickens. I can't wait to get some chickens of our own.

To top it off she is having a giveaway of her new book - Family Feasts for $75 a week - and I'm hoping to win. Would love to have it.

(for anyone who is interested she is also having a Cheer detergent giveaway, but since this is a detergent free house I'll let everyone else try for that one)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gap Casting Call 2009

We've been told for over a year now that we need to enter Petra into the next Gap contest. And again, at the prodding of someone else we went ahead and put her in the contest. This is why we have drug our friend Leigh outside twice in the last week for photos...her camera is SO much better than mine.

To view Petra's photos, and the other zillion adorable children entered - click here.
And then search entries for "sajoyner1"

The pictures are judged on the following criteria: 34% appearance of child, 33% personality of child shown in photo, and 33% quality of photo.

After the search you should see 3 pictures of her, and one of Jasper as well. It didn't quite seem fair to enter her and not him. (all the pictures entered in the contest are posted here)

Another Wonderful Saturday

I'm not even too sure where to start. I'm trying out opening sentences in my head, and they all sound way to sappy to type.

I love spending the day with my family. And even better is when we have a day planned with others.

It was a cold 46 degrees this morning when we headed out to our regular $2.55 Saturday morning breakfast. This was already a great start because 1) it has finally cooled down, and 2) because we have missed several Sat. morning breakfasts in the last month due to Thomas' tests.

After breakfast, we had gymnastics, a pumpkin festival in Havana, and Kacy's football game to attend (to see her cheer and to pick up some photos of the children). And it stayed cold - in the high 50s most of the day with the wind blowing 10-15 mph.

And I want to mention that Petra is performing beyond my expectations with the potty training. We just started this week. On Tuesday night I bought a large pack of panties, and she started wearing only big girl panties on Wednesday (except when she is sleeping). Wednesday morning she had 2 accidents. But that was really the last of it. Over the last three days she has only had 1 accident and she told me, just not soon enough. And that includes wearing panties everywhere we have been (which took a big leap of faith on my part-I was especially worried about causing a big puddle on the mats in gymnastics). So she has been out to eat, the park, the football game, SAMS, the pumpkin festival, gymnastics, etc. all wearing panties with no problems.

Last night, we went back out to take some photos of the children. Well, our dear friend Leigh Ann took the photos. So there are lots here for your enjoyment. More information on the photos to come.

Have a mentioned that Petra loves to be a wheelbarrow . Here she is having a blast (with big girl panties =). And Jasper loves to demonstrate "arms up." And also below is a picture of "Leigh Leigh" with Petra - they are watching Kacy cheer which is always loads of fun.