Saturday, October 25, 2008

Falling Fast

Fall is quickly passing, much to my regret. It's definitely the favorite season: parties when parties are still fun, cold mornings, hot afternoons and fresh chili which the locals compare quality and hotness from restaurant to restaurant. Toby who dislikes any kind of weather, be it too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy,... will more willingly play outside now too, which is GREAT.

A couple weekends ago, Brendan and Sarah had us out for breakfast to celebrate Toby and my birthdays. They cooked a wonderful breakfast for us, including extra donuts with candles, which was a blast. It turned into a really fun day as Scott let me stay while he worked on the house, distraction free. Sarah and I shopped for shoes while the kids napped, leaving poor Unky Bendan (Toby's title for him) with three overly tired and sleeping kiddos. They fed us lunch and dinner too! Amazing and generous. It was the first outing I've had in some time with no worries.

After the wee ones woke, we took them to a little 'pumpkin patch' run by a charitable organization who was advertising their services. The had a small hay-maze, pumpkins to buy, bean-bag toss, Mr. Pumpkin Head table, a trough of corn to dig in, and a horse to ride. It was torture to all the kids, separating from the corn trough. Ranne, in fact, was denied a horse-ride because of that. Bummer.

Scott preached the next day in Rio Rancho on love. It was very good and the church seemed really attentive. Afterwards we had lunch with one of their new members, Effie, and the youth minister and his wife. Effie said she was enjoying it so much she felt he ended it too soon and could have listened more. That's always nice.

This Friday we attended a Halloween party at our friends Peter and Casey's home. It was absolutely WILD, with over fifty people attending. Amazingly, none of the children took on any injury and the hosts' house remained intact, though the dogs were let loose once. After naps and dinner, Scott and I then took the boys to Golfernoggins. Ranne has begged to go back since that first time months ago. Ranne and Toby spent most of the time by the video games while Scott and I played. Very calm and nice!

Today, while Peter and Brendan helped with the new laundry-room AGAIN, Casey invited the boys and me over to visit. It took us 15-additional minutes to arrive as we waited on McCain to make his way to his rally near our house. We waved and clapped as they drove by. We played at Casey's for a couple hours before looking at the clock to realize time had flown and we were late to:

visit the local fire-station with our friend Kristine and her children. It was really fun! They got to see the trucks, a demonstration of the Jaws-of-Life, and collect lots of free stuff. Free stuff that included a bike, won by big-brother Ranne! SO exciting since he's been begging for one since seeing his friend Ethan's. I told him it was on the Christmas list, so he was upset every time I'd go to the store and return without it. He's sick with anticipation now. We need to find him a little (big) helmet to get him used to it now. We're grateful to Peter for that too, as he's picking it up for us to save us the 45-minute drive.

AND, the laundry-room looks like a room now! The drywall is in the interior; about half the Hardibacker on the floor; and, you'll like this John and Betty, the floor extends all the way across to the washer. The other day I nearly did a wipe-out, carrying a basket of laundry through there with half a floor. You must know, then, how excited I am about all this getting done. They've done such a nice, clean job too. Pictures will come soon.

Ranne things: he's said some awesome things lately, which I keep forgetting and forgetting to write down! GRRR. He's been talking a lot about God not leaving or forsaking us. He says things like, "Isn't it great that God gave me eyes?" when he sees something he really likes. That MUST have come from class, though we do talk about that too, just differently. On the way to Rio Rancho today, he was asking about how a car burns gasoline. After my explanation, he said, "Oh, like the water-heater burns gas." which his dad must have explained. His connecting the two was really neat though. THEN, we heard McCain's voice on the radio right after he drove by our car and Ranne said, "That's the man who was on the bus!"

Tomorrow we head out extra early to set up for class, have class, meet with the church, go home, eat, and then are out to Riverside for their services and another talk by Scott. It's so fun to visit these other families in Christ! I will repost this same posting with pics another day. I'm to bed!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkins at the Patch

The day before Toby was born, two years ago, we visited the McCall Pumpkin Patch with friends. We hadn't been there until the Frees came to visit at just the right time of year. We took a Saturday morning and made a good time of it.

The boys were ready to go!

First thing on arrival, other than the jumper pumpkin that scared the boys, was the toddler train. Ranne bravely went on his own and Toby took a ride in Dad's lap.

This is fun. The goats climb the platforms out of enjoyment. People lure them up there for tasty treats for their own fun too. A tin can for goat-
snacks is attached to a conveyor belt which is hand-peddled to the top.

Toby found a play house that was actually quite a hit, especially the plastic fruit and veggies for the little, hungry boy.

This was a blast for the boys too. They each picked out a duck from a bucket and tried to pump the water, with help, fast enough that the ducks were propelled down the gutter to the pool on the end. Very exciting for them. If you look at the first picture closely, their faces are lit!

Ranne's favorite part of the trip:

Perhaps one of my most treasured pictures: He was giddy to hide from us in the toddler-sized hay-maze. There were little holes throughout that let light in. The tunnels were just his size.

Very fun, this was, until I jumped and bounced both boys on their heads. Game OVER. "Pregnant Moms Not Allowed", a sign should have read.

This was adorable. Toby crawled over to me as the pillow bounced crazily. He stuck his head in my lap so I thought he was afraid, but big, muffled belly-laughs begun to erupt from him. After a few minutes he crawled off to lay there, letting himself be tossed by whoever was springiest.

Grandpa John Free and Ranne enjoying the patch.

A dangling spider Scott and John found, hoping my dad would identify:


Toby's 2!!!

Ah, our baby is TWO??!! How does this happen? My cuddle bug, my tiger, my baby has now left his baby years. We're so excited he's healthy and excited by life. We were also thrilled Grandma and Grandpa were able to share the special day with us. When the Frees left us for the rest of their trip, Toby sobbed the biggest tears he's ever shed for anyone.

Grandma Betty with her usual expression of a smile. Grandpa John brightly and dutifully archiving.

After a supper for Toby of pizza, he practiced blowing the napkin across the table so he could do well with the candles. And that he did. He blew out, maybe, four (there were six) the first time.

Ranne obviously enjoyed his dessert, though he ate only a couple bites, anticipating the gift opening.

Toby did not want to part with his new bulldozer to open the rest.

Some of our new color: