Monday, July 30, 2012

Dedicating Tristan and our Children to the Lord

This past Sunday, as with our other two, we had the chance to stand publicly at our church and commit Tristan to the Lord.  Our children are a blessing given to us by God.  They are also a great responsibility for we are commanded to bring them up in the "nurture and admonition" of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)   Many other families at Reston are committed to doing the same!

It was a really special day for our family
to dedicate Tristan!

Several years ago was Caelan's big day.  Poor kid cried the WHOLE time on stage. 
Um, embarrassing.

And two years before that, was Micah's big day.

Thank you Lord for the gift of these children. 
Patrick and I are asking you for wisdom every day to raise them up in a way that honors you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Audrey's Charlottesville Wedding

This year,  when we joined Reston Bible, we immediately got into an evening bible study group that we absolutely love.  One of the young gals we got to know, Audrey, just got married to Zachary yesterday.  Their wedding was so beautiful and such an example of what it will like one day for God to meet His bride, the Church. 

She is absolutely stunning.  Many of the friends came from our Shepherd group to the wedding.  Ben, Amy and Sebastian are like the cutest family ever.

Maggie, me and Bridget Goetz (and one of the seven little Goetz's
 finding themselves in a picture.)

See what I mean? (smile)

The wedding was set in Charlottesville at the home of James Monroe.  We got to tour the inside and beautiful grounds.


It was a beautiful wedding, and a wonderful time for Patrick and I to have the whole day to celebrate them, and have some time for ourselves.  We also went to a Vineyard as part of our day trip.

We pray for you, Audrey and Zack, that you would continue to grow in love and have tons of children!  That you would love one another as Christ loved.  (Ephesian 5:25)  Thanks for letting us be a part of your lives, and your special day.  We toast to you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Walking, Somewhat-talking, No-tantrum, Sleepless Toddler

Tristan can now drink really well from a sippy cup (without excessive violent choking) and he also can use a fork super well, too.  Pretty impressive, son, at 14 months! 

We are experiencing some pretty bad night wakings and operation cry-it-out is not working for this stubborn toddler.  We're on day 6 of sleep re-training.  I assure you that this is tormenting me more than it is him.  You think this would be easier since I'm not a rookie-mom anymore, but it is true that every child is different.  One thing is the same:  sometimes a parent will give you, what is best for you, even though it means you will experience pain.

Just to ensure that he feels secure, we are spending more time during the day cuddling.  Outside of night time crying, he doesn't do tantrums yet.  Doesn't say no yet (thanks be to Jesus!) He loves balls, cars, and chasing brothers.  He's pretty low key when he's rested.  As a side note, this is Micah's first time using my SLR.  Good job son #1!

He's also getting toddler playdates versus being in group playdates with older brother's friends.  Here's Zachary, 18 months, who plays super duper well with Tristan!  What a cutie. 

What does Tristan have to look forward to?  Yes, one day, he too will spend time 'rifling' through the legos, and making his own uniquely complicated weapon to fire at will.  It's a rite of passage around here. 

And finally---so I have it on blog record.  He may not be running yet, but son #3 is definitely walking.  His first steps were sometime in early June, here's his first footage of it.  He's recklessly fast....

Monday, July 9, 2012

Staycation Part I---Pump it Up, Baltimore Inner Harbor, Ms. Karen's Birthday Fireworks

Ever heard of a staycation?  There are many definitions for it, but ours is:  A vacation you take in a unique season of life when you don't want to spend a whole lot of money to go to exotic places your children will not remember or fully enjoy.  You get to sleep in your own beds, and you don't have to make meals, and everybody including mom and dad get to have fun.

So, there you have it.   Patrick got off two days for the fourth so we combined the whole thing from Tuesday night to Sunday night.

Tuesday:  Pump it up in Leesburg and Dinner out!

Wednesday:  Baltimore Inner Harbor for lunch on the water & the famous Baltimore Aquarium.  We met Seyla and Halys up there, who by the way, celebrated their 11 year anniversary that day. :)

I got the coolest shot of the dolphins in the air.

Apparently Tristan thought it was cool, too!

We ended our fabulous day with celebrating my sweet friend Karen's birthday and also celebrating our country with walmart fireworks!

 Our neighbors came to celebrate with us! 
(Looks like the holy spirit was there too...ha ha...)

More on our staycation part II.....

Staycation Part II - Georgetown Harbor Cruise, Blackberry Pickin', Sushi & Karoakin'

Some of the benefits of staycation is maintaining a toddler's naptime and also using the money you would have spent on hotels to buy yourself childcare and go out like rockstars every night.

Thursday:  Georgetown Harbor Lunch, Cruise and Fun in the Water.

For a little while, it almost felt like we were really far a way.  Sipping margaritas and pineapple juice under umbrellas, staring at water----while Reggae music is playing?  That would be "ultimate staycation replicated moment".

We're in the middle of a heat wave this week.  We took our kids out on a 99 degree day.

But we're good parents....there was a beautiful newly made water fountain right there at the harbor.  Daddy took off his shirt, Tristan stripped down to a diaper and well, the boys---they were running in without any hesitation!

Who would have thought you could go 25 minutes into town and have fun at a mini-water park, here?

Friday: First the city, now the country!  Let's head to Country Meadow Farms.   Hayrides, animal petting zoo....blackberry, swiss chard and green bean pickin'!  Bluemont Vineyards is included in your ticket, but naptime was approaching so we didn't get to do the wine tasting! :(

After Tristan inhaled half a crate of fresh vine-ripened blackberry (evidenced by his outfit), he then took a try of Swiss chard.  I actually think he liked it.


In the early afternoon, daddy let me have have spa time!  And then we met our couple friends out for a fun night of sushi and karoakin!    Staycations are divine!

Sorry photos taken with iphone.

Aaah....last part coming up!

Staycation Part III: Celebrating Birthdays, Couples Date Night & Beachin' it at Lake Anna

Another fantastic benefit of a staycation is when you need a vacation from your vacation--um, you can take one!  Saturday morning, we just hung out and got Tristan caught up with sleep.  Then in the early afternoon we celebrated Toby's First Birthday (my friend Victoria's youngest child) and then picked up our staycation at night.  I always like to go out to a movie in whatever city we happen to be in on vacation, but we never had childcare. Not this time!  We saw the Amazing Spider Man.

Sunday:  Where can you go about an hour away for beach, sand and picnic, with no jellyfish or ecoli breakouts?  Lake Anna State Park.

We put up a huge canopy and picnic'd with gourmet sandwiches and fresh fruit.

The kids swam and played on a beach like it was a REAL beach, except it was on a beautiful lake surrounded by trees.

Daddy took a nap and Tristan said if I'm not getting one, you aren't either!

Well, I think we are definitely going to do this again.  It took the stress off of odd sleeping arrangements and also wasting money on things we knew the kids at this age would only enjoy for like an hour before they were done.  It was a great week.  That's the end of wonderful staycation!!!  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Please God, make the power go back on!

So, it's Friday night and Patrick and I are in the basement.

me: Did you see that lightning?
him: It's just heat lightning.

Um, no.  Within seconds, winds started howling and rain came pelting down hard. Was that hail?  We ran outside to retrieve our patio seat cushions and I stood there paralyzed as I looked up and saw the forest in our backyard sway back and forth violently while the night sky lit up like a strobe light.  I was terrified!  Within minutes, our power flicked in and out, and it remained out for what we thought would be a few hours. Yeah, not so.

Wind gusts clocked at speeds of up to 79 mph were reported, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes in the Washington, D.C. area. They called this massive storm--Derecho.  We had no power starting Friday night and didn't get it until late Sunday evening.  With the temperature being in the high 90's each day, it was tough trying to figure out to keep the kids cool.

Just like any storm, when the going gets tough, the Rings get tougher. :)  It was about 89 inside the house and all the pools were shut down.  What to do?  Let's hang our sprinkler on a tree and have an outdoor shower!

Saturday:  We hung out at an air-conditioned Walmart most of the morning.  We had lunch and attempted to nap Tristan in his crib with a newly bought battery operated fan.  It worked for about an hour.  We then headed outside until it was unbearable and then went to dinner with friends in our old stomping ground, Lansdowne, which had power the whole time.  After dinner, we assessed the house temperature and decided not to go to Purcellville for the night.

Not the best decision.  I won't lie to you though, it was HOT at night.  The two older ones and I slept in the basement and Patrick stayed upstairs with Tristan who had the fan in his crib.  By Sunday morning, after a popsicle breakfast in the basement, the church had power and we went there for service.  Afterwards, we ate lunch in an air-conditioned Wendy's in Reston and napped Tristan at Karen and Michael's place.  Thank God they had power in the nick of time!  

By Sunday evening, we headed to Purcellville and had dinner with Patrick's parents and was bathing the boys when we got a text from our neighbors that our power had come back on!   No other text was more precious than: "POWER BACK ON!"

This whole thing also made us realize what great neighbors we have, too.  One neighbor traveled to four grocery stores and brought us ice Saturday morning to refrigerate our food.  While they were out, we were able to take their dog out a few times. We checked on our elderly neighbor in case she was by herself.  She wasn't.  Another neighbor kept texting back and forth and when  rumor had it that our power was back on, he left his hotel to do a drive by for all of us.  This whole thing got us all a little closer together.  Praise God we were all safe.  I do feel so blessed as I was stripped away from everything that was convenient, especially in bringing up young children, and just felt like I took so much for granted.  

We got home and the house started to cool down by 10 p.m.  With all the food in the fridge and freezer thrown out, Patrick and I sat in the family room, just looked at each other with just relief and a gratefulness.  On Monday, my sister in law and three kids spent the whole day with us because they STILL didn't have power in McLean.  They had that same look that they just wanted to be home, too.  What craziness!