Monday, November 29, 2010

The day before Thanksgiving...

We visited this lovely bearded man--do you notice there are only 3/4 of the Olsen children? Yes, Tate refused to even get out of the stroller. But thankfully, there was no screaming involved this time. Like the time we were at the furniture store 2 weeks ago and there was an unexpected visit from a nice jolly white-bearded fellow. There was a lot of screaming that time. But this is a great picture of the older 3. And Santa was very nice. Except when Zoe said she wanted a doll, he asked "a big doll or a little doll?" and of course, Zoe said "a HUGE doll...please." Oh boy. Santa better get shopping!

The kids got to take a super fun ride on the train. Here is Mr. Independent. He really wanted to ride in the first car, since that is where the bell is. So he did. With 3 little girls we didn't know. :)

And there's the caboose! What a great day. We all love when there's no school!

P.S. A very Happy Birthday to my dear friend Sarah! She's a loyal reader and one of my oldest friends--not that she's old (haha) but I've known her forever. Happy birthday, sweet friend! Love you and miss you, and I am putting your card in the mail TODAY! :)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Really, what's the point of the brush? Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

More house work!

No more major re-do's but there is a lot of cleaning and purging that we have to do in a lot of areas of our home. I am more of a "let's keep that and decide later if we want to throw it away" kind of person, while Buck tends to throw it out now and think later. :) Needless to say, I usually win so there are lots of piles of "stuff" everywhere! I decided to tackle our office/library/computer room/piano room--really I should just call it the "catch-all" room. It's beautiful with great built-in cabinets but the books have been in exactly the same places since we moved in (almost 4 years ago), at which time I was so tired of boxes of books that I just threw books up on the shelves. My intention was to group books by subject and then add some of our little treasures around them as well. I am not a big knick-knack person but my one weakness is nativity scenes. I collect them from all over the world (literally) and have not had a great place to display them and could never decided if I wanted them out all year or only at Christmas or if I wanted them in various places around the house, or just in one room. So with a little help from my organizational queen friend Ann, she got the ball rolling and I took it from there. Here is the before shot of the library shelves:

DURING (yes, there was a method to my madness...all those piles had a purpose!)

And AFTER! AHHH...Just a big sigh of relief...

There are the sections that I had always wanted: textbooks, fiction, parenting, marriage, spiritual growth, business, and of course I have a whole shelf devoted to midwifery and birthing books! And believe it or not--I learned this trick from organizational queen Ann--there are more books hiding behind the books that are displayed. Yes, I'm a nerd. I have THAT many books.

Here are a few of my nativity scenes. The black set on the left is from my sister-in-law's trip to Uganda. The colorful one in front was from my mom's trip to France. The wood one in the back was from our high school youth pastors' trip to Israel--that was our wedding gift. It is extra-special to me since Buck and I met in our high school youth group. :) The wood one on the right is from my uncle (who used to be a photographer for National Geographic magazine)'s trip to Nigeria. Anyone traveling anywhere fun soon? :)

The nativity on the far left is one I just bought on our trip to Riviera Maya. I had to buy it because all of the people are kind of chubby and smiling, and the baby Jesus is in a hammock for goodness sake. How great is that? Like he's taking a siesta. The stone one on the right was from my mother-in-law's trip to Kenya, when she visited hospice facilities there and did some training with the workers there. She is a hospice administrator here in Iowa.

The woven bowl is from our friends Eric and Becky, from their trip to Ethiopia to bring home their daughter D. The small nativity in front is from my mom's trip to Italy (she is quite the world traveler, huh?). The blue one in the back is a little hard to make out but it is cool in person. It is from Canterbury, England, which I got on my once-in-a-lifetime trip to England and France after I graduated from nursing school.

I love how colorful this one is. It is from Haiti. My mom just went there this past spring on a mission trip. Buck and I both spent time in Haiti while we were in college, and being in Haiti is when God laid it on my heart to adopt sometime in the future (I would have done it right then and there, but I was a 20-year-old college sophomore!)

And this one is from one very special place--can you guess? Yep, Ethiopia. Zoe has one waiting for her too, when she is older. And next to the nativity, that maroon leather book is an Amharic (the language spoken in Ethiopia) Bible. It is absolutely beautiful. G-Funk gave it to Zoe on her baptism day.

So thank you for indulging me in the little tour of my shelves. And who knows, maybe inspiration has hit and you can clean off some of your shelves too! Happy day, friends.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A little update

Remember how this sassy sweetheart has had to rock an eye patch for the past 3 months? Well, she has been such a trooper. She just takes whatever life hands her and does it with flair. We had our follow-up appointment with the fabulous Dr. S yesterday and had some mixed results. While the vision in her weak eye (eye that was not patched) has improved slightly, the eye that was patched (formerly the strong eye) has seen some decreased vision over the past 3 months. This is to be expected because of the patching. However. Interesting to note--Dr. S says at this point, Zoe's overall vision is still so poor that she would not legally be able to drive. Whoa!! I had no idea it was that bad. But the good news is that it is potentially still correctable. We just need to keep working at it, patching when it needs to be patched and staying on top of it. The vision that she has when she is around 8 years of age is the vision that she will have as she moves into adulthood. So we still have a few years to work with it. It is amazing what the eyes and the optic nerves can do and adjust to! We are just overwhelmingly thankful, as always, that this was caught so very early, that we have such an amazing pediatric ophthalmologist right here in our backyard, and that she can read and write and play soccer and all of those things that require vision! :)

So the treatment at this point is much less painless (not that it was painful per se--I just felt SO bad for Zoe with that patch every day at school--it literally drained the life out of her). We have to patch her eye for just 2 hours a day, and NOT while she is at school. Praise the Lord. I kid you not, that is an answer to prayer. We are going to be alternating the patch--right eye one day, left eye the next day--for 3 months, then she gets 2 months off from the patch entirely. We don't have to visit our fantastic Dr. S for another 5 months. Our little Miss is most unforgettable and our optical tech and the nurses readily remember her each time we go, even if it's been 5 months. :) At this point her chances of needing surgical correction for anything are about 30 % and I'm not entirely sure what would cause us to need surgery...but I'm holding on tight to the 70% part of that equation. As you can tell, we are very thankful for the great care that Zoe has received with her vision. As far as ongoing medical problems go, I will take this one any day--6 pairs of broken glasses and all! Her glasses and the patch just add to her sparkly little personality. Her teacher told me the other day when I said we were hopefully going to be getting rid of the patch that she would be a little sad to see it go--it's just part of what makes Zoe who she is. :) That's our girl.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2 years ago...

On November 14 at 6:52 in the evening, after a very long day of not much happening at all...then about an hour and a half of A LOT happening...then 2 pushes...this sweet, sweet baby boy came flying into our world...

Smaller than we all much sweeter than we could have imagined!

Nothing is much more precious than a bundled up newborn...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Home sweet home

And this

Well, and of course we had to eat...

Well, and we didn't want to get thirsty after being out in the sun all day...

There were some educational experiences as well...

Our friendly iguana here outside our condo was always fun to look at!

But mostly it was just about relaxing and enjoying God's creation. It was amazing. View from the deck of our condo:

Buck and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in June and Buck knew it would literally take removing me from the country to get me to relax. We spent a glorious, sun-filled week in Riviera Maya, Mexico at an all-inclusive resort. Our biggest decision of the day? Which of the 12 restaurants to eat at for dinner. It took a couple of days, but it worked. I got out of "mommy mode" and into "relaxation mode." It was the trip of a lifetime and we were so blessed to have our good friends Brad and Annie with us for a couple of days as well (some well-timed overlapping made for a ton of fun!). But I must leave you with this picture and illustration of God's beauty. Sunrise on the beach:

Buck's parents, Buck's sister and my mom held down the fort here at home. We are overwhelmingly grateful for their gifts of time to our family for this vacation! But the best part of being gone? Coming home to this:

Yep, rested and refreshed and ready to get back at our life together! Lovin' it!

Happy Monday, friends. Love, Laura Joy

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...The Bigs and Funky T

Happy Wednesday, yo.

Monday, November 8, 2010

As promised...

Pictures of the boys...but alas I couldn't resist this one:

Dressed in a fairy costume just because, and sporting some orange vampire teeth while eating animal crackers. Love it.

Max's comment: "Here, Mom. I'm going to do this. Just like Superman." Yep, Kids for Christ! Jesus is our Superman!

This guy is so cute he could hardly hurt a fly...but wait, he's going to try to do it without smiling...


YAH!!!! (I love how Tate is just standing there with a cookie. Nothing fazes this guy.)

See--he couldn't HI-YAH! without a smile! :) Love my hardworking Karate Kid!

Back to Mr. Serious. Thank you, sir.

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