Friday, May 29, 2009

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

We went to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium yesterday and had a very nice time. Doodle, having just completed preschool was kind of gyped out of a preschool field trip to the zoo. When Muffin was in preschool, they went every year. They don't do that anymore so I wanted to take Doodle. My mom has a membership that allows us all to go for free (THANKS MOM!!) so she and I took Doodle and Mator.

It was neat because we didn't go last year so neither of them remembers anything about the zoo so it is like the first time for both.

Some highlights:

Two month old baby Asian elephant:

There is a long line to see this and I was trying to figure out why. It seemed like I had seen a baby elephant there before. It turns out that Asian elephants born in captivity are VERY rare (as in one or two a year) and the earlier elephants were African elephants. Interesting.

Another favorite moment: feeding the Lorikeets. Actually, feeding the Lorikeets freaks me out, so I realized that if I stay behind the camera, they ignore me and land on other people (like my kids). One landed on Mator's head and it was hysterical!

She was so good about not screaming or jumping around (two of her trademark activities) but just standing still and being uneasy.

Here are some other random shots:

Doodle cuddling with a Tiger:Merry Go Round with Grammy:
Mator standing (and acting like) a stingray:

Only downer: it rained. I like to think of myself as prepared but I was totally not in this case. I had wipes, hand sanitzer, snacks, lunch, towel (for table cloth/blanket/ shade/etc.), change of clothes for Miss Potty Trained, video and still camera. Everything. Except rain coats or umbrellas. Last time I checked there was a chance of showers in the afternoon and I thought we'd be gone by then. So, we were pretty wet. But no one complained about that (except maybe me!)

We got home about 4:00 and just skipped naps (WHAT!!!). Then Andy took Doodle and Mator to visit his Grandmother Mona who is in the hospital. Muffin and I went to see cousins (Justine, Jared & Abbey) in their band/choir/strings concert. They all did so well and Muffin and I especially got into the Music Man medley that was performed (tried not to embarass anyone but how can you not march and sing to "76 Trombones" ??) and a Phantom of the Opera medley. And, my niece was correct when she said that their last song, "Intensity", was the "Greatest song in the world, LITERALLY."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Disciplines of A Godly Woman- Part III

This is my third and final installment about my overnight with Muffin. Part I is here, Part II is here.

We stayed in the pool until it closed at 10 and by the time we got cleaned up and ready for bed it was close to 11. We got up around 7:30 and went down for some complimentary breakfast. Now, you never know how that is going to work out but this one was pretty decent. They did have a waffle maker and cereal and bagels so we were quite content. When we got back to the room we did a lesson on Bible Study:
I gave her a Devotional for girls and we did the first one together. Then we got showers and got ready to go. We also did a lesson on tithes / offerings.We had asked the church for an extra set of giving envelopes for Muffin to use and to keep track of her giving. Hopefully that is an incentive.

We left the hotel at 11 and headed to Picktown. We grabbed some lunch at Wendy's and then went to see the Hannah Montana Movie.

Quick Review: Cute movie, mostly modest, a little too much focus on LOOOOVE but we liked it anyway.

After the movie, we headed back to Lancaster to pick up Doodle from preschool. Muffin fell asleep on the way there. But there was one more stop. We sat in the car and talked about prayer:
We talked about how in Old Testament times the Israelites made sacrifices to the Lord and the aroma was pleasing to Him. So we went into Bath and Body Works to select a nice spray that Muffin could use when she prayed to remind her (and us) that our prayers can be an offering that is pleasing to the Lord.

We were done just in time to pick up Doodle from school and Mator from Grandma Sue's. I am so thankful for this opportunity to spend time with Muffin and share these important thoughts. I am so thankful for my mom (who watched Doodle and Mator), Andy's mom (who kept Mator during her nap) and Andy (who financed and supported me on this adventure).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Disciplines of A Godly Woman- Part II

This is the second installment in my story about the overnight trip Muffin (my 8 year old) and I went on in early May. Part I is here.

The nail painting that was supposed to take about 30 minutes, took closer to 90 but who's complaining? We were pretty hungry though so instead of driving out of town to eat, we just stopped at our local "Bob Heavens" so we wouldn't starve to death (or get too grumpy!) Here I got out the notebook and as we were waiting for our food, we did the first lesson: Fellowship. Here is the paper I used:

We got to sit at the bar in the restaurant and look up Scriptures and talk about the value of meaningful fellowship. She is blessed to have a few WONDERFUL friends and I am so thankful. She will always be able to compare future relationships to the purity and delightfullness of those she has now. And now she has a scriptural filter to begin learning to discern what kind of fellowship is pleasing to the Lord and what kind isn't. To be sure, I am not saying that she should only fellowship with believers; although at this age, we are still carefully monitoring all of the influences in her life. But as she grows, our hope is that she will be a light to all those with whom she comes in contact.

After dinner we drove the 25 minutes to Canal Winchester to the Best Western. By the time we got settled, it was about8:00. We decided to do one more lesson now and then go swimming until we were too tired to move. Next we discussed Worship:

We went over this sheet and then we made a list of all the words she could think of to describe God. We made those into this wordle. We printed this out at home and put it in the cover of her notebook. After this activity, we went to the POOL! We were the only people there for the first half hour. Then about seven kids came in ranging in age from 8-16 (unattended) and I thought it was going to get pretty rowdy. Actually, they were pretty well behaved and when I was tired of swimming was about the same time that Muffin made friends with the 8 year old girl.

Here is probably my second favorite moment. Muffin is QUITE competitive. That is an understatement. Anyway, this little girl wanted to race Muffin (who is a pretty good swimmer). I felt a little sorry for Alexis because she was definitely NOT a good swimmer and I couldn't figure out why she wanted to keep racing Muffin. Then I realized that Muffin was letter her win. I don't think that has EVER happened before. This little girl was staying at the hotel because her house had had a fire and they were unable to be at home for a month. Muffin realized that she could bring her a little bit of joy and made a HUGE (for her) sacrifice. I was so proud! Here she is doing a "handstand" from the side (yes, it is a dive, I know!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Disciplines of A Godly Woman- Part I

My last blog entry (good gracious, a month ago!!!) told about how my oldest daughter, 8 year old Muffin, made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior. In that decision are a whole lot of details that can be overwhelming to a new believer. Without discipleship, a new believer can not mature or develop in the fullness of Christ. As her mom, it's my responsibility (along with her dad) to make sure that she understands that this commitment is only the beginning of something, not the end. I also wanted her to know that this decision is huge, one that will affect the direction of the rest of her life. With those things in mind, I planned an overnight for us to talk about the "Disciplines of a Godly Woman".

Step 1 - Plan a place to go. I looked online for a cheap local hotel. My girl is in heaven if she can swim in a pool so that's what we were going to do. The cheapest nights are weeknights so that meant (GULP!) missing a day of school. As a former teacher, this is a BIG deal for me. Here's my philosophy: I really don't like to send my child mixed messages. I want them to know that if I say something, they can bank on it. I try really hard not to make promises I can't keep (or threats!). So, I have a hard time sending a message that school is not important when it is inconvenient or I need something but it is important every other day. Yes, we do miss school, but it is a BIG STINKING DEAL when we do. I digress...

Step 2- Check with teacher to see if there is anything happening that can't be made up or done in advance on the day we are going to miss. Another blessing of attending a Christian school: I just flat out told the teacher and the attendance officer what we were doing and both were very supportive.

Step 3 - What are the disciplines of a Godly Woman? I narrowed it down to 5: Bible Study, Tithes & Offerings, Prayer, Worship & Fellowship. I want to make sure that she understands each one and knows how to practice them. I bought a 3 ring binder that is about 9"x6" so that our sermon notes (that come on a half sheet of paper) can be stored in it. Then with Andy's help, we developed a little lesson for each subject and thought of a physical reminder for each one and put them in the book. Then I gave her an invitation that looked like this:

So, here is how it went down...
Thursday after school, Andy and Muffin had dentist appointments so I met them at the dentist at 4:15 and we traded kids. Muffin and I had appointments to get our nails painted at 5:00 so we stalled until 4:50. When we got there, the lady told us that she was behind some so we walked down to the Christian book store to kill some more time.

Let me just say upfront that I do not make a very good girl. I have no real decorating talents (just look at the interior of my house). When I am a hostess, I love to focus on the food and activity, I have no desire nor any giftings in centerpieces, name cards, invitations, etc. And the last time I had my fingernails professionally done was for my wedding (12 years ago!). But this was the best $5 (each) I think I ever spent. I got a french manicure, Muffin got hers painted and airbrushed with stars, and we got to witness to the lady who did our nails. This was one of the neatest things that happened so I'll wrap up this post with the story...

A lady in the salon was getting her hair done as we were waiting to get our nails done and getting them done. At one point, the nail tech asked what why we were on our little outing. Muffin told her, "I got saved". When the tech didn't say anything, I said, "Why don't you tell her what that means?" And she did. The tech still didn't say anything but the woman getting her hair done heard her and stopped over to us and said, "Did you get saved honey? That is so wonderful. I knew there was something different about the two of you when you walked in here but I didn't know what it was. Now I know!" Oh thank you Lord for a confirmation of one of my favorite verses right now,

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

I just love that God can make His word so real for us. As I struggled to adequately prepare the lessons we were about to embark on, He taught us one just as important. Thanks be to God!