Monday, August 30, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I love seeing the faith of a child. It always brings me closer to God when I see Him working in them. Yesterday Gabriel asked me, “Mom, can I write in my prayer journal. I really feel like a prayer.” Every morning before we leave for school, we all write down a prayer in our prayer journal, then we take turns praying. I think it helps us all start the day off right, and it encourages the kids to write, and talk to God. I was so touched to have him ask me when it wasn’t even a school day. His prayer was just thanking God that he was able to play a new Mario game on the computer. It’s so encouraging to see that Gabe is noticing the good things in life as a gift from God.

Seeing Gabe’s faith reminded me of another time a few months back. We had to call a plumber because our bathroom sink was backing up. Yuck! The plumber has an apprentice who usually works along beside him. For some reason on this day, he had the young man do the job himself. It was pretty hot outside, so the plumber took a seat on our couch to wait. Of course, Gabriel was there to entertain him. The part that stood out to me was how comfortable Gabe was in sharing about God. He brought out his new Veggie Tales Bible and explained that he likes to read it all the time. He tried quoting him the books of the Bible, and even turned a few pages for him. The most interesting part was a conversation he had with him about Jesus. He told him Jesus was his friend, and he liked to sleep with him at night. He said, “I just climb into my bed and hold open the covers. I wait a little bit, and then when Jesus gets in, I put the blanket back down. And he sleeps with me.” It’s so beautiful to see the faith of my child. I am certain that Gabe is absolutely correct. Jesus is always with him, and I’m sure, that yes, he does climb into bed with Gabriel. If only the rest of us knew all the times that Jesus is with us!

This Life I'm Livin'...

For a long time now I've been wanting to start posting my sermon notes I take during church. Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night I walk away inspired and hopefully a little changed. Our pastor, Gordon, always does a wonderful job of speaking on topics that God has given him. He gives very practical application that is so easy to take to heart.

This Life I'm Livin'...

This is for you: If your life is going O.K. but deep down inside, You just know something is off.

Dissonance - A state of unrest, incongruity, or discord. Lacking in harmony.

Hebrews 11:24 "Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter."

This is not who I am!

If you're NOT going where you should be, or doing what you should be, you will always feel dissonance.

Jacob was born "the tripster" but when he grew up he wrestled with God and became something else, something new.

Genesis 32:28 "Then the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.'"

Who you have been, is not who you're going to be.

Sometimes we allow others to hang an identity on us.

You DON'T know me! (but GOD DOES)

When God created you, he created you to be someone and he created you to do something. You can chase after something different. God will let you, but it never will quite fit.

Psalm 125:4 "O Lord, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you."

If you're living with your life out of tune, if your life is in dissonance, God can make it right!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I heard a scream and went running to the rescue, like every good mother does. Zech was crying and holding his arm, but I couldn’t quite figure out what had happened. He told me something, and I guessed, “Ariel hurt you?” He gets very mad when you don’t get it, so he’s saying to me, “NOO, chair hurt.” He calls his sister “Air” so you can see how Air and Chair might sound alike. I laughed and told him, “oh no, the chair hurt you. I guess Chair and Ariel sound reMARKably similar.” So he gets even madder at me and says, “NO Mark! Chair hurt me!” It’s frustrating to be a little guy and not know all those big words that grown-ups use.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

We were sitting around the dinner table enjoying each other's company when Gabe answered a question of mine. I was talking about school and asked about the new friends that the kids had made. I asked Gabe who he plays with at recess and he gave me a few names of some kids from his kindergarten class. I asked him if he had made any new friends in the class yet. And his response was, "I play with a copy of Kacey. She's like just the same, but she has a different name." Apparently Gabriel has never encountered a twin before!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ward Meade Park

One of my favorite places to go in Topeka is Ward Meade Park. I love to walk through the grounds and smell the beautiful flowers, or stop and have a tea party at the gazebo. But I especially love the Potwin Drug Store, affectionately known to my family as the Soda Shop. They have a real working soda fountain where they make the most wonderful tasty treats.

Ward-Meade Park
124 NW Fillmore Street
Topeka, Kansas 66606
(785) 368-3888

Admission free
Grounds open 8 AM - sunset
General store and drug store open on
Monday - Saturday: 10-4 Sunday: noon - 4

On a hot day the ice cold vanilla flavored phosphate drink is my beverage of choice. My kids always like to choose the sarsaparilla and they like to keep the old fashioned bottle it comes in. The drinks taste wonderful, but I think the fun part is sitting at the bar, watching our friend Dee mix the drinks on the old fashioned soda fountain. We've been visiting her for years, and no one makes them quite as good.



This weekend we took a special trip to get some ice cream. This was a first time trying the ice cream drinks for us, and we were not disappointed. I loved my strawberry ice cream soda, and Titus enjoyed his butterscotch malt. The kids each got Pepsi floats.


The decor inside the drug store is very fun and old fashioned. They have a jukebox, and several different types of medicine in a cabinet to check out. Zech enjoys stepping on the old fashioned scale. Sometimes we let the kids look through the older brands of candy and choose a piece to take home.




The scenery is beautiful there, and the buildings are fun to look at. They have guided tours of the buildings at 10AM, 12PM, and 2PM each day. The cost for the tours is Adults: $4.50 Seniors: $4 Ages 6-12: $2 . We have actually never taken our kids on a tour, but I remember it being interesting when I was a kid. We've always just enjoyed walking around the grounds and visiting the general store and drug store.


Visiting Ward Meade Park is always a winning situation for my family. As you can see from the photos, sometimes there are a few tears shed when we are forced to go home.


I can't wait for our next trip to the Soda Shop. Maybe it will be in the winter time where we will have some refreshing cups of hot cocoa. It's a very tasty stop in Topeka!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Last night we were all enjoying as a family some music at "Concert on the Lot". This was a youth event for our church, and Titus was playing with the final band of the evening. We all had so much fun, and the night was perfect! They had some concessions there, and I made sure the kids knew ahead of time so they could bring their own money to make their own purchases. It makes you feel good to know you've worked hard and earned the money for that special treat you just bought.


Gabe spent his money right away before the concert had even begun. So needless to say, for the rest of the night he was a little hungry and begged on several occasions for more food. About half way through the evening I heard him tell the woman who was handling the money, "Jesus really wants you to give that candy to me for free." I'm not so sure trying to manipulate others into doing what you want by using Jesus name is a good idea. Actually I'm certain it's a bad idea.

When the show was completely over, we were all packing up getting ready to head home. Gabe had a few friends that were there and one of them was kind enough to share a piece of candy with him. His response to his friend was pretty funny. "Thank you. You're doing just what Jesus wants you to do. Giving to the poor."

So proud of my rock star husband! He was humoring me with this picture.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

This week we invited our friends over to play Jesus Bingo. We thought it would be fun to play it outside, and we drew all the bingo cards with chalk on the patio. The game is played the exact same way as Bingo except the letters at the top spell out J E S U S. The free space in the center is Salvation, and when you win, you must yell out "Jesus Saves!" instead of "Bingo".

As we were playing the game, Gabriel was learning to mark off the numbers by himself. He had a little bit of a tough time, but we would all make sure he got his numbers. I called the number S3, and we all knew he had it and would get a bingo. Over and over again, we would say to him "S3, Gabe. Do you have S3?" Rachael was sitting next to him and tried to show him where the number was, but he quickly said, "That's not a 3! It's a 7!" In my opinion it looked nothing like a 7. Rachael told him, yes it was a 3, and I mentioned that he had better listen to her, because she made his board, so she would know. It finally dawns on him that he just got a bingo, so he's really excited and jumps up and runs to get his prize. We stopped him, and said, "Wait a minute. Didn't you forget to say something?" So he very sweetly looks at Rachael and says, "Thank you." It was pretty cute and polite, but the correct response really was, "JESUS SAVES!!"





Thank you, God, for saving me!

Monday, August 9, 2010

David Traylor Zoo

Sometimes you take a chance and it doesn't quite work out, and then there are other times it works out beautifully. We love to take road trips to places we've never been before. It's most fun when it can be done all in a day too. Early last fall we took a chance on Double Dino's Pizza in Kansas City; that chance didn't turn out at all like we had planned, but we kept our sense of humor about us. They had boasted about two fun dinosaurs for the kids to play on, and even a fun house mirror amongst other special amenities like chalkboard walls, TVs at some of the tables. The dinosaurs turned out to be about the size of Zech and the mirror was broken. We could not hide our disappointment as we ran in the door and Gabe yelled out, "Where's the big dinosaur slides?" Needless to say it was an adventure, and something we've always laughed about as we remembered that rainy day fun.

This time our chance we took turned out to be a delightful choice. We wanted to find something fun and new to do, so we searched the internet until we ended up choosing the zoo in Emporia. The best part about the David Traylor Zoo is that it's completely FREE. It's a fairly short drive from Topeka, about 45 minutes.
David Traylor Zoo
75 Soden Road
Emporia, Kansas 66801
Phone: (620) 341-4365

Hours: 10 AM - 4:30 PM
Open until 8 PM Sundays & Wednesdays from Mother's Day through the first Sunday in October

As we made our way through all the exhibits we were so impressed by the beauty that surrounded us. There were flowers everywhere and it looked like a wonderful spot for the animals to live. It's relatively small, but very fun to see each of the animals up close. They have several different types of birds there, from an eagle to swans, to vultures. It was the perfect place for Ariel.





It was so colorful and green there, and several of the exhibits greenery provided some nice shade to walk through. I couldn't believe how pretty everything was.






Just gorgeous there!

These Tamarin monkeys were adorable, and very tiny!

They had a couple of prairie dogs to see. They were also so little and cute.

The vultures were very interesting to watch, and just a little bit creepy too!


Apparently Zech wanted to visit the Vultures a little bit closer.
So beautiful there!


The large animals are all kept in a separate area behind the main part of the zoo. You have to cross a street, but I believe the only traffic they get there is from the zoo. This part is viewable at any time of day, and can even be done from your car.


I found this rather funny, the Longhorn sticking out his tongue.

The bison were trying to keep cool in their small pond when we visited.

I really enjoyed the zoo, and will definitely be back for another visit sometime in the future.


Since we were in a new place, we decided we had to get a treat from somewhere that we don't have in Topeka. It's always fun to try new or different things. We stopped at Braum's ... wonderful ice cream!


Zech really enjoyed his "birthday cake" ice cream!

We had such a good time on our small excursion. I hope next time we take a chance on something new it turns out as good as this trip did!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wind in the Willows

It's amazing how fast the summer is flying by. It feels like it was only just yesterday and we were celebrating that summer had begun. We have really been enjoying ourselves and have made many good memories. One of our recent activities was our "Wind in the Willows" book party. It's always a little sad when the time comes for the book party because we know that school is almost back in session. Every year we choose a different children's book to read aloud together. When we've finished the book, we spend a day living like we are from that story. We try to do several hands on activities to bring the book to life.

This is our 4th summer having a book party. We've done several exciting things in the past. Our first year we read "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett and took a day trip to Ward Meade park to walk around the gardens there. Our second book party was "The Little Princess" also written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The girls got to experience what life would be like to be penniless. Last year we read "Pollyanna" by Eleanor H. Porter. We had a wonderful afternoon playing the "glad game" and making some beautiful rainbow light catchers. At the end of every party we always gather around the television and watch the movie of the book. The kids really enjoy that part, being able to see the characters come alive before them.

This year we chose the book "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame. It was a Christmas gift from the kids great grandparents. We thought it would make a nice summer read. This book was a little more difficult for the kids to understand and grasp, but I believe they enjoyed it just the same. The main characters of the book are four different talking animals that have many adventures and share a special friendship. The book is British so there are several terms and phrases that you may need to research to get the full meaning and understanding.


To start our party we headed to the pond at Gage park for a nice quiet picnic lunch. The picnic we were reenacting took place at the very beginning of the book with Ratty and Mole. It was the start of their friendship.

The rat reappeared staggering under a fat, wicker luncheon- basket.
What's inside it?" asked the Mole, wiggling with curiosity.
"There's cold chicken inside it," replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater-'

We chose to eat fried chicken, rolls, sweet gherkins, and ginger ale.

One of the chapters "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" the Mole and Rat are treated to a rare glimpse into the magic of nature. We found out for ourselves what that was like. The kids all brought a notebook to record their findings and we just sat and listened by the water. We tried to use all our senses as we felt the peace and tranquility of nature.






Another of the main characters is Mr. Toad. Now Mr. Toad is about as ornery and selfish as you could be. He thinks only of himself, and is drawn to motor cars. His friends try to keep him in check, but that can be a difficult thing. He escapes their watchful eye, and ends up stealing a motor car for the thrill of it. He wrecks the car and is thrown in jail. After a few days the jailer's daughter takes pity on him and helps him escape. He has many more unfortunate experiences where he appears to show his true colors. Mr. Toad really is a good example of how NOT to live. For our next activity, we pretended we were police officers looking for Toad after he had escaped from jail. We created some "Wanted" posters for him, trying to include as much information about his character as possible.

I thought Ariel did a wonderful job of making her "Wanted" poster.

Just for fun we all took turns being "Wanted". Some of us did a better job than others at looking the part.









Our last activity before we watched the movie was the most fun I thought. It was again inspired by Mr. Toad. He is quite proud of himself and tends to exaggerate. After all of his adventures he makes up songs about his heroics, and sings them often to himself and anyone who will listen to him. We all wrote poems or songs about ourselves. The fun part was that it didn't even need to be true and we could exaggerate as much as possible. We got to turn ourselves into heroes.


Gabriel's Song
Gabriel even went so far as to add music to his page. We were all impressed, and he sang his song very well for us all.

Ariel's Song
Smart and intelligent
Ariel knows more than anyone about birds.
She saved a bird.
All the birds love her.
She's the best leader of a team.
Everybody she meets becomes a friend.
Ariel Rocks, She Rules, She's Awesome
She's Awesome, A-W-E-S-O-M-E

Mikaela's Song
Oh, me, me, me!
Who is the best!?!
Oh, that would be me, of course!

Who is the greatest!?!
Oh, of course it is me!
Oh, me, me, me!

Amanda's Song
Who is this wonderful, beautiful woman?
It's Super Mom!
Who is the adventurer, bold and daring?
It's Amanda, the Super Mom!

She flies through the house, as quick as a mouse
Saving her children from harm.
She runs down the halls, cleaning the walls
As her children scream with glee to her arms.

Everyone loves and cares for this woman
Everyone envies the things she can do
God made her beautifully, wonderfully, fearless and brave
Who is this mom? She's Amanda!

Rachael's Song
She sports the latest fashions
Makes friends everywhere she goes
Upon entering a room
The people always know
That this girl holds many secrets
Never lets anyone get close
On the outside she slides by
But how long can she live a lie?

Debbie's Song
Over the river and through the wood,
Where do you think we'd go?
Off to the best place on this earth,
All the way to my Grandmother's home!

The very best place?
How can that be so?
Why you never would ask if you ever did go
To the very best Grandmother's home.

Her house is so grand,
The best in the land.
Her cookies and cakes
Are divine.

No one can compare
But I don't want to share
Because my, oh my, she's all mine.


We had a wonderful party, and the kids really enjoyed the day. I'm already looking forward to next summer. Who knows where that book will take us?