Monday, March 8, 2010

Love Love Love!

Here are some pics from our Valentine's Day.. better late than never right? Unfortunately our Valentine's day was clouded with the ever daunting statistics project I was working on but since Sam worked the night before I was forced to take the evening away from work (yay!) and had a great night with Sammy and Hannah and a fabulous morning before returning back to work (boo!). We try not to go to all out on Valentine's day as it seems like such an artificial holiday but on the flip side I am not one to miss an opportunity for a teachable moment. Valentine's day is such a fun way to teach some good love lessons to your children and a great excuse to sneak away and have a wonderfully romantic date night with the love of your life, or if you are single to have a fun girly day with your girlfriends.

How did we celebrate you ask? Well Hannah, Sammy, and I all went out on a date and had a wonderful time. We went out for pizza b/c that is what I had a coupon for, not quite as fancy as I had hoped for but hey.. it is our reality but we made the best of it and had such a fun time. Hannah pretended she was a fancy lady and wore some fancy jewelry and I just truly enjoyed sitting at the table chatting with them. I love that Sammy can join the conversation now and that he has his own opinions an thoughts. They are rather silly for the most part but still I love that he is a part of it. We talked about a wide range of things, from serious to silly and we laughed a whole lot. We came home and made cookies, played some indoor soccer, and made a fort with sheets and once inside it we had our "love lesson" where we learned some about how God commands us to love one another. I tried to talk with them some about how when we celebrate Valentines we are not only celebrating love in the romantic sense but also we are celebrating God's love for us and b/c of that our love for others.

After they fell asleep I put out Sammy's "art cloth" which is a plastic table cloth from the dollar store we use to cover the table when he paints or uses glue. I realized it had pink cupcakes (this is why it is his art cloth, ha ha) on it and would be festive for Valentines day. I put that on the table along with my flowers Sam and the kids surprised me with in the center and then arranged their surprises. Molly's bday party had been the night before and I had swiped some cute heart goody bags filled with Valentine's candy and treats so Sammy & Hannah really lucked out this year! Each year they get a little stuffed animal and a candy treat of some sort but this year they had goody (or doddy as Sammy called them) bags too! Hannah especially made out b/c Valentine's fell on a Sunday, so she got extra! See, after first being matched with her it came to my attention that she and her sibs miss out on some of the cool stuff involving parents at their school (field trip chaperones, family picnic days, etc etc). So, for our first Valentine's day together I left a brightly colored gift bag at the front desk of her school. It had a small stuffed animal and some treats with a Valentine's card in it so that they could deliver it to her in class and surprise her. I did it that first year and it made her feel just oh so special, it was ALL she talked about for several weeks. Her teacher even called me at home to mention how important it was to her and that she had that moment where she could show all the rest of her class how special she was to us. I decided right then and there it would HAVE to be a tradition. So, not only did Hannah get her treat at school, but she also had something valentine's morning b/c I didn't want her to feel left out. I found her a $3 lava lamp at Kmart and thought it would be perfect. Lets just say it was $3 for a reason. More to come on that another day.

On Valentine's morning I like to sprinkle sweathearts candy on the stairs for them to find when they wake up and the candy trail leads down to the table where their surprises wait. This year was even better b/c Sammy was old enough to really get into it too. We had such a great morning together! I made heart shaped pancakes and we had a sweet family prayer time, it was just wonderful and was oh so hard to take Hannah home but I had to get back to my stats project. As I drove her home I told her I wanted to be sure she really understood why we gave her the gift and why we made valentine's day so special. She responded with "cuz yall love me". Yes true, but it is so much more I said (I thought to myself "um hello child.. can you not remember what we talked about in our fort not less than 12 hours ago!" but I kept that to myself). We had a great talk about loving God and loving others. It seemed to really sink in this time and I prayed that some of that conversation will be stored away in her heart forever.

Anyone who has been to our home recognizes the sign in the above pic as the one that hangs in the family room above the entry way to the kitchen that states very simply "Love God. Love Others". We chose this location so that it can always be seen and serve as a daily reminder that this is our family "motto"if you will. This is what we hope our family will be known for and remembered by. I recently read this written by Mike Clark..

1 Corinthians 13:2 says "if I have all faith and can move mountains but have not love then I am nothing." That is what makes us either something or nothing. It is not our status, race, nationality, position in the community, or wealth. It comes down simply to the question "do we love others?". Your quality of life will be measured by how much His love flows through you to others. Without love your spirituality becomes useless and cold.

I firmly believe that when I die, the job I had, degrees I earned, money I made, etc will just not matter. What will matter is how well I loved others. His words regarding quality of life are so true, if you are not living your life in a way that pours love out on others, you really will lack joy. Sure you can feel happy and I am sure you can feel happy quite often but I think there is a huge difference between happiness and Joy. Joy is from the Lord and doesn't leave you, even in your darkest moments. Even when your world is caving in it is possible to still have joy when you have a relationship with Jesus and I for one am a living breathing example of that! I have had some dark moments but never did his joy leave me, never did He leave me. Life is all about relationships and I need to be sure that each and everyday I do my best to reach out and love others, especially those who feel they are unworthy of love. This is what it is all about, truly making a difference in the lives of others and being His hands and feet to a world of hurting people. This is not easy, especially with people who are hard to love and those who do not appreciate your self sacrifice and effort. It can be exhausting but let me tell you, God will ALWAYS see you through and multiply your time and energy when you are obeying Him in this way. So, if you have been thinking about stepping out in faith and taking on something extra maybe some sort of volunteer position or a mission activity of some sort, I strongly urge you to stop "thinking" about it or "praying" about it and just Do it! The answer is YES and I am sure God agrees with me on this one. We love each and everyone of you who reads our blog! Thank you for caring about us and our little family!

If you like our sign, you can click here to order one yourself! I found this site where they offer $10 of the purchase to Hati's disaster relief through Compassion International. How great is that??

Sammy had fun writing out his valentine's cards for his little friends in his class.... and making some for our family and friends. *sidenote* he BEGGED to wear his train sweater vest with jeans to school that day! He looked ridiculous and didn't match but I let him b/c it was oh so important to him. ha ha It is funny to watch his little sense of style emerge, I love it.
He took this very sticky vday card to his YaYa and she was proud that it was all written in spanish and we got it right too! Mui bien mi Samuelito!
He helped me make cupcakes for his class and Hannah's class parties...
Check out all his cards! If his Aunt Sarah or his Aunt Cindy are reading this right now then don't peak.. we have been slackers and haven't mailed yours yet and we want them to be a surprise so just skip past this pic! Better late than never right?????? Hey I have been seriously really busy
This is a historical picture.. please everyone take note!! This is the last ever picture you will see of cupcakes for either kid's classes b/c I vowed to NEVER sign up for cupcakes again. It is too much work and I have learned to only sign up for plates and napkins from here on out!
He was really proud of his bag of valentine's from his buddies. We had to read them over and over again for about a week until they all kinda fell apart and I snuck them in the trash when he didn't notice.
My man surprised me with these beautiful flowers!!!! It was so sweet and I loved that Hannah got to see him spoiling me.. I told her when she is considering a hubby to get one who spoils her, even if it isn't with things, not talking money talking LOVE. She needs to be treated like a princess always and needs to accept nothing less!
My little chef making a kissy face.. muah!
Teaching Sammy how to do it. She was great sport b/c his turn really messed up all her hard work.
Already for the am!
Sammy was up first and excited is an understatement. He was in total awe that there was candy on our "staiws"!
He grabbed all the candy off the steps he could reach from behind the safety gate
My sweet card from my sweet little lovey!
look who we found creaping down the stairs grabbing up all the sweathearts!
I love this action shot of the two of them, they couldn't grab it fast enough ... Sammy's little mouth was so full! *sidenote* I do not usually approve of eating off the floor but the stairs were freshly vacuumed in preparation and I figured it was worth it for just this once.
reading her card.. that's right cuz our girl can READ like a champ now!!!
They did a switcharoo for the pic but Sammy named his dog "Ralph" we have no idea why and she named her dog "Sarah" because "Sam's sister Sarah is getting married and she is so pretty and I want to be like her" awww! Hannah loves her some Sarah that is for sure! She always takes their pic off our fridge, I need to just print her her own copy.
Here is my sweatheart trying to figure out Hannah's horrible lava lamp... oh the drama that ensued. My honey was such a good sport and he got it working after all and was oh so patient!!!
I love my Hannah Banana and she loved her heart pancakes!
Such a fun fun morning!!!

Here is Sammy making a idea what the bumble bee song is and also no idea why he mentioned Campbell, his little friend down the street that he rarely plays with

and this was a second attempt at getting his heart song on film that was a failed attempt!