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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pictures

Adam, of course, figured out the computer charger cord problem....it was me :).

So here are pictures of our Easter and Mother/Son camp....
He loved his frog Easter card from CC and Papa.

Glow in the Dark birthday party with some of Ribbit's sweet friends.

Silly Rabbit, Easter is for Jesus.

We love having a Steel City Pops so close to us now!!!...however, we had to split up because Ribbit and Goober wanted Menchies!

Easter lunch with our Tx Family!

The big kids table.

Easter Egg Hunt!

Everyone wanted to play Bean Boozled!!

Things got dramatic pretty quick ---barf flavored jelly beans will do that to ya.

I love how close are kiddos are to other moms and dads...it takes a village!

Little Man was making sure Brayden swallowed his stinky sock flavored jellybean!
I love this picture of my parents for two reasons...1-I never thought I would see a selfie of the two of them and 2-They are both smiling and happy with my childhood home in the background!

They even found eggs in the chicken coop!!!

The big boys were our bunnies and hid over 100 plastic eggs.

Dying eggs with shaving cream and food coloring...pinterest WIN!

Love her sweet little face!

Washing off the shaving cream to reveal swirls and swirls of color!

Hehe, I love how my friend captured my face while eating a dead fish flavored jelly bean....I was trying to pick it out of my teeth! 

He has mad hair do skills!

Of course he took the top bunk!! This is the face I make when I have been awake for over 19 hours!

Getting ready for Pitch Black Attack...where is Goober?

These people, they are mine...they are my village, my tribe...they get me..I love them tremendously!

We enjoy the snot out of one another!

Our craft project....hehe, I listed this as my favorite part of the day and Goober listed it as his worst :).

See that little boy at the tippy top of the tree house? He smiled and then threw 3 frisbees at me while I darted around!

Ready for the Gauntlet--aka the High Ropes Course!!!

He was riding Woody, I rode Dudley! Yes I was THAT COLD!!!

The beginning of our trail ride was beautiful!

He was a pro!

Game 3 of 50000....I think we grunted and yelled and laughed loud enough for all to hear....Harvells take tetherball seriously!

Thunderfist 10!!!!!

We came with a group of 14-7 moms and 7 boys...see all of our cute sons??

Here is all the cute moms in the same place as their sons.

We ate every meal as mother/sons but for the last meal we let them have their own table and the moms took over the table next to them...of course there was some intervening along the way ;)


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mother/Son Camp

This weekend Goober and I spent the weekend at a Mother/Son Camp at one of the Pine Cove Camps. We had signed up for it last April and I was a little on edge about it. Some of the anxiety was caused by Goober's refusal to look us in the eye and tell us the truth here lately. Its like talking to a wall, a literal wall because you can tell him not to lie, you can spank him for lying, you can show him how lying hurts others and causes relationships to deteriorate...but that wall, just like Goober will not change. His counselor has also been speaking to him about the damage he is doing and I had him write down scripture about lying and God's view of it. Its AN AWFUL cycle though..2 weeks of what we think is great behavior just to find out the lies that have been going on later. Its sad, thats the biggest emotion, grief over his lack of wanting to be honest. With that said, my boy did deserve some one on one time but the lies had created some tension between  us.
On top of our sins (mine and his) the weather was COLD and RAINY.....I hate both of those things. Ask my husband. I become a BEAST when I am either Cold, Wet without wanting to be or Hungry. However, I gave myself my pep talk that I also use right before a half or full marathon.
"Give this your all, leave no amount of energy unspent, its only a small chunk of  your life and you don't want any regrets at the end". This sounds dramatic but in order to keep myself accountable I had also told Goober that he was making our schedule and I wasn't going to say NO to him all weekend. "insert dramatic theme music"
Sooooo, we played HARD. 
As requested I played in the  mom/son dodgeball game and lost. I let him give me a makeover with hairspray and clips. I RAN across camp to the cafeteria in the dark holding his hand because he wanted to be first to get ice cream at 10:30 at night. I signed up for The Gauntlet..not the low ropes course but the HIGH ONE...I was proud of myself for being the only mom to do it...but I also was not going to let my pre-teen boy down! I ziplined through the woods while acting like I was running in the air. I played 8 games of tetherball and all but broke every blood vessel in my hand and have rope burns going down my whole right arm....BUT WE WON! I rode horses through streams, trails and meadows (i am a tad bit scared of horses after being thrown off one when I was younger).

 I competed in Pitch Black Attack....which is an ALL BOY SPORT. We started at 9:30, dressed in all black and camo. We had 4 checkpoints all over camp to get tooo...and the posse couldn't catch us. If they did we had to be creative and figure out how to convince them we weren't campers. So I let Goober take the lead and he had us army crawling through the woods, darting  behind trees and then we got caught. So what did he tell the posse?...He dropped to his knees and started snorting like a pig. So what did I do? I dropped to my knees (remember the cold and rain?...) So I dropped to my hands and knees in the mud and snorted...the posse then said "oh are you special pigs? and Goober whispered "mom do tricks". So I begin to do donkey kicks and break dance moves all while on my hands and knees in the mud and snorting. The posse (once they stopped laughing) gave us creative points and sent us on our way. Goober was so proud of us for coming in 4th that he offered to show the whole camp how we had out smarted the posse. My throat hurt so bad from snorting!!!!
The best part was I also said Yes to making a craft with Goober. We had to choose one word to describe each other and paint it. I chose merciful for Goober..he has always shown undeserved grace and mercy to everyone around him...to his birthmom, foster parents, siblings, mom's boyfriends and most of all Adam and I. Unexpected he chose Faithful for me and when one of the counselors asked why  he said "because she believes and loves God"....I cried. The other great things I said yes to was boy style worship which included LOTS of jumping during songs and then screaming at the top of my lungs "More Jesus, More Sweat"...and "Salvation, Perspiration"...over and over. I also learned a lot about how I should be raising Goober and we both came out of the weekend with a new saying "We are on the same team"....thats something boys need to know from their moms. That we may not "get" them or it may seem like we can relate to them but in the end we are on THEIR TEAM!!!
I can't wait to go back to Tween/Mom camp and take my other two to these camps. It was really great and such a great way to spend my weekend.......however, I did get under 3 blankets and take a LOONNNGG nap when I got home.

I'll post pictures later...my computer is dying and the charger has wires poking out which I assume means its broken :) 

-- 

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 Ranch...my 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

Reflecting

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.

hebrews4christians.com

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!