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Monday, April 17, 2017

Possibly the best Easter ever...

I'm not sure what it was but in my head this Easter has been the best one ever......I think its a combo of the following blessings...

1-I teach New Testament every year but this semester we really dug in deep about how ridiculous the celebration of Easter (bunny, eggs, jellybeans,etc) is and how valuable and important the observance of Passover is. It kinda struck a cord with me and I made sure that everything we did was a reflection of Christ's sacrifice for us. My kids still got their baskets-but they  had 3 eggs with gum, a pack of jellybeans, peeps and their Year Book I always make...we even used that as a time to reflect on what God has blessed them with this year and I made sure each book had scripture and pointed them towards seeing God's hand in their life. I don't want to become a kurmudgeon about holidays but I do want my kids to not get caught up in the material way we tend to celebrate in America.

2- We got a 4 day weekend. 4 glorious days to spend together....and as you know the Harvells use our days to the fullest! Adam has made so much progress on the playroom remodel---he has been a beast! The kids and I cleaned out the house!!!! LIKE FOR REAL-5 bags to GoodWill and then a yard sale where we made $130 bucks...pretty good for 3 hours! I HATE CLUTTER...I HATE PILES and now I feel like I can breathe again! We also went to a surprise birthday party, a glow in the dark party for our friends kids, a FANTASTIC church service, worked nursery as a family for another church service, had the ultimate dance party, tried out a new Pizza place, followed by Steel City Pops (who knew avocado Popsicles would be sooo dagum good?), we facetimed with Uncle Chris, Aunt Micah and the sweetest little man we know, Mr. Levi. We got some ideas for our big road trip this summer, we hung out with neighbors, got some groceries, cooked and finally the best part-we facetimed with Aunt Jill-who my kids had NEVER met and who I hadn't seen in 10 years!!!!! Its a long story but the ending is all that matters. She is alive, she is safe, she is well, SHE LOVES JESUS. It was the best ending we could have hoped for. I loved seeing my dad so happy about finding his sister and seeing her meet my kiddos and call them "heathens"....she hasn't changed a bit :).

3-Easter day was unreal. I mean it. Easter tends to be one of the few holidays where the Harvells get slightly depressed. Everyone spends it with family and we do our own thing, except those special years when we have family in town! This year though God really has been showing off and giving us such great family through his body, the church! We had two other families (who like us don't have family near by) over for lunch. The 4 little kids sat together at the breakfast nook and entertained each other the whole time (it was loud and lots of laughs). The two older boys (Goober and his swim team buddy) sat at the bar and made mischief and nicknames for everyone. The couples sat in the dining room and went over all the summer trips we are taking, our upcoming family camping trip and caught up on life. THEN THE FUN STARTED. The 2 big boys hid about 100 eggs in our back yards for the little kids. We loved watching them find eggs (even in the chicken coop!!!).  Then we came back in and dyed eggs. I had seen a neat way to do it with shaving cream and so we tried that. We dyed 36 eggs and the kids were MESSY! The eggs turned out sooooo neat!!! We are for sure doing it again! After that we ate matzah and talked with the kids about the stripes and holes in the matzah symbolizing Jesus's body. We showed them how to break it and how its unleavened symbolizing how fast the Egyptians had to flee Egypt and how leaven in bread is taken out of Jewish homes around Passover.  Then we played beanboozled....I don't think we have all laughed that hard in a long time. EVERYONE was playing and laughing and smelling each others breath. As everyone packed up to leave 3 hours later we ended with a dance party to Tripp Lee's Manolo (a christian rapper) and everyone got to see the parents bust a move........I thought to myself " this feels like a family lunch". I am so thankful for people who step in for us as family....even at Grandparents Day this year, Papa Dan (one of our co-workers who adores our kiddos) stepped in and attended their programs, took them candy and loved on them. It sure doesn't replace family but it allows our kids to grow up surrounded by others who love them and teach them and support them. I am beyond thankful for that.

4-The last thing that made Easter so very awesome is that we allowed our kids to watch The Bible Miniseries, episode 9 "Passion"-the segment where Christ is crucified and resurrected. They watched with the biggest eyes AND LOTS OF TEARS. They had never seen the torture and physical pain that Christ went through. They had never thought about how much his mother and disciples must have grieved at his flogging and death. We told them it was hard to see but something that we must acknowledge to understand the full measure of Christ love for us. We let them sit on a towel in the living room to eat their dinner as we watched. At the end, their dinner plates were full-they couldn't take their eyes away long enough to eat. They had so many questions and Ribbit cried big tears and wouldn't leave my lap. They were so upset when the crowd chose Barabbas and when Pilate sentenced him to death even after finding him innocent.

You know that plate I told you I wanted...that said "Silly Rabbit, Easter is for Jesus"? Well my mom had already bought a sign that had that exact quote on it and had put it in the mail to me and I opened it the day after my last post. Great minds think alike :). I think I am going to leave it up a couple more weeks, just so we are fully reminded of what this 4 day weekend was really all about-not jellybeans, finding eggs, ham, getting stuff done or even the special things like family, friends, enjoying life...but about the fact that God would give up this Son to take on my punishment, to allow me the chance to spend eternity with him.....
my new favorite song has this line in it.....

"You didn't want Heaven without us,
So Jesus you brought Heaven down.
My sin was great,
Your love was greater.
What can separate us now?"

Papa Dan letting the kiddos make their own root beer floats

8th Grade Passover Seder

Inviting in the Holy Spirit..recognizing that God is our light.

Washing each others hands in preparation for the meal.

Serving one another.

Breaking the matzah and talking about how Isaac's body was almost broken but God provided a Ram to sacrifice instead...a symbol that later on he would provide his son as the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Sweet Kenna breaking her matzah.

Blowing the shofar

Love this Seder every year!

I always sit my students and partake in the reading from Exodus. I learn something new every year.

Some of the guys from our Sunday School class went hunting/ fishing/ four wheeler riding out at the Reeder boys LOVED it!

Learning how to shoot.

Our AHG unit after our Noah's Ark puppet show. I was extremely proud of them for making their own puppets and props!

Goober and his best friend Brayden on the swim team practicing the I AM kick..don't ask me what that is...I am still learning the proper way to swim without drowning!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


I just finished grading 30 Bible tests...5 pages long...concerning the differences between the way we celebrate Easter vs the way Passover is celebrated. I honestly prefer Passover as my eyes are slowly opened to the craziness that Easter has become when it should really be about what our Lord did for us, remembering his body and blood and how he will one day return to gather up all of us nasty sinners and take us to Heaven..instead we hide eggs and mention that ole Easter Bunny. Ugh. This website is actually very helpful..its the one that my friend who comes to lead my 8th graders through Passover every year uses.

One of my running buddies bought a cute plate that says "Silly Rabbit, the Easter is about Jesus". I love that. One of the ways I try to make Easter less about candy and eggs is by making a book of reflections for my kiddos each year. If you haven't already figured out I love memories, traditions, what makes a family unit special. So every year at Easter my kids get a book that looks back over the past year. I want them to see how God continues to knit us together as a family and continues to grow the tiny seeds of the purpose that he has already planted in them.

As LLOOOONNNGGG as it takes for me to sort through the 1000s of pictures I have, and then make 3 seperate books I do love looking back. I love seeing their toothless grins, our fun times traveling and memories of those times that I thought I may LOSE it, and yet I didnt. I also love seeing tiny glimpses of what I think God's purpose may be for my kiddos. Its funny how God already knows what our future will be and as parents we get to see those things shine in our kiddos. As parents its our job to take those characteristics and make sure our kids are using them for a greater purpose. For example, Saul's HATE and DEMONSTRATIVE acts of passion for the Christians was the same HATE and DEMONSTRATIVE acts of passion that Paul (after the Lord changed his name) used to build the early church and lay a foundation for the Gospel to spread everywhere. He had those seeds inside of him, but it was how he chose to use them.

This sounds weird but I had a conversation with a sweet friend of ours (the Delph-our TX grandparents as we refer to them) and I told her how I kept thanking God that Little Man was growing up with christians surrounding him. I love his rambunctiousness, his big attitude, his carefree spirit, his way to charm anyone....BUT in the wrong hands Satan could definitely use that, twist it and create a whole lotta havoc. Instead, my Little Man is being told constantly that he is Gods Helper (the meaning of his name) ...that he is an image bearer of God....that he has been given a GREAT PURPROSE on earth and therefore I know all of those little seeds of characteristics will be used for God's glory!

We are going to have a very low key looonnnnngg Easter weekend. I want to do a mini Passover Seder with our kiddos, then we have surprise birthday party, Easter at our church, lunch with friends and then we hope to get some more done on the master closet-Adam started that this week.

The kids are making great progress in swimming. Goober is a natural at the butterfly-which is the hardest stroke to learn. Ribbit and Little Man swim their heart out and make friends easily at the pool. I am still trying to learn proper technique and keep from drowning in 4 feet of water.

Our church had a huge Serve the City initiative and our class chose to serve Firegfighters. We met up with friends of ours to deliver baskets of goodies and thank you cards!

They were more than kind to give us a full tour!

R2D2 is finished! He is lifesize and the mom who commissioned him picked him up last week. We were sad to see him leave!

She is going to line the inside with pictures of her son and have this on display at graduation.

This picture is hard to make out. But, Ribbit is sitting on my arm and Goober is holding my hand while we watch a Planet Earth show...warmed my mommas heart. ...and, there is the "Laundry Chair" in the background!

Field trip to Lowes Farm. This boy was super ready and eager to complete his farm chores!

Sweet little class..minus Collins!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Workout Changes/ Kiddo Updates

Well the musical is over..gone and done. However, my kiddos are still singing " A blessing on your head, mazel tov, mazel tov"...."matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match" and our favorite " If I were a rich  man, dieele, diddle, dee di di dium".......OVER AND OVER. I have to laugh though at the though that its a true sign that your kids attend a classical school when they know all the musical songs and know about the Tailor Motel KomZoil :). We loved every bit of Fiddler but now we are moving on to Gallery Night and winding down the school year.

This was before the stones were complete on the left but I love the angled windows-I was trying to create a "marc chagall" style...and the dried herbs are fantastic too!
One of the first scenes looking into Tevyes home!
Side panels of Anatevka
Love the lighting during "Tradition"
The Inn Scene was a hit for everyone. The boards were stained all different colors and with different lighting looked awesome!
The blessing in Motel ComZoil's tailor shop. Ribbit, Goober and I painted that old dresser to look like a sewing table with a folk art design. It was blue and thrown out on the side of the road.
More of the Tailor Motel ComZoil's you see the peeling plaster on the walls and thread racks?
See all that stone work on Tevye's chimney? All FOAM!
A closer look at the exterior of Motel's tailor shop!
Another great thing about joining our gym has been the ability to incorporate swimming into our workouts. WE LOVE TO fact, Goober just made the swim team and is really loving it. I like that he is meeting friends outside of school and church and that is PHYSICALLY wears him out. I know from personal experience that if you are wrestling with anxiety that a good hard swim can destress you. As I watching the kiddos take swim lessons I became interested in swimming more and now I swim in the lane beside them during the lesson. Goober and I even go up some mornings and do swimming workouts on our own, practicing the different strokes, entry and exits and how to flip to start a new lap. I am a really bad swimmer as far as holding my breath goes so I am really proud of my 3 for tackling it!
I taught Goober how to pump gas one day including how to pay for it. HE HAS OWNED IT SINCE! He doesn't want any help!

Some recent favorites-Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Paprika. A grassfed burger topped with onions and tomatoes cooked in balsamic vinegar!

This is pretty much a heap of everything left in the fridge but was good....Tuna, cucumbers, pickles, cilantro, onions, pickled beets and some spicy brown mustard! YUM!

We have had a lot of fun making puppets for American Heritage Girls lately....Ribbit had to make 3 different kinds-finger, sock and marionette. The girls all worked very hard and are looking forward to putting on their puppet shows. We also have our lock in tomorrow night and Ribbit is busting at the seams to go play and be a part of the Talent Show!

We went to see Beauty and the Beast with our good friend Kason...they love watching a movie and eating dinner at the same time!

You may have seen the videos of my 7 and 5 year old scaling these rock walls like a beast....THEY AREN'T SCARED OF ANYTHING! Goober was at the batting cages with Adam.

We got an awesome Easter box from Aunt Robin and Uncle Carl yesterday. The kids loved it. Goober said "Aunt Robin is the best great aunt!, Little Man said " those easter snack cakes are awesome" and Ribbit loved the snugglies and said "that is a lot of candy!"

Speaking of Ribbit she got Daniel of the Month again for March..she is such a sweet obedient child and I am so thankful that she wants to do everything to show her love for God. She is so tenderhearted and always points out the good in everyone. I really am proud of her!

She is just as beautiful inside as she is on the outside!

One proud little girl!