Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, from our little (slightly disgruntled) Pilgrim!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The new room: In pictures

The new room is done! Well, almost. There are a few little things we need to finish up, but it is fully functioning and looking cute.

The new big bed

Haven had to be in a picture! Her cute little name sign I embroidered. You can't see it very well, but it turned out nicely.
Her bookcase is still a work in progress, but you get the idea. Bookcases are not that exciting.

The tree branch that looks like it's growing out of the door. It doesn't look that cool in pictures, but I love it in person. (And you can see the star on top of her little Christmas tree we decorated!)

The newly refurbished dresser (a $10 garage sale purchase 8 years ago!) and the artwork I made. Her favorite thing on the dresser is her new purple Tinkerbell alarm clock.

All snuggled in for her first night in her new room! I think she likes it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Cale and I have been busy this weekend. We have been on a mission all month long to get several house projects done before the end of the month. Since we are leaving town Tuesday, our end of the month is coming quick. We made the most of a weekend at home and got a ton of things accomplished. Basement cleaned? Check. Windows washed? Done. Dresser painted? Yes, and full of clothes. Haven's new bedroom? Completed- including all the artwork made and hanging on the wall, a closet shelf and rod installed, and everything moved down the hall. (She's sleeping in it tonight as a matter of fact!). Gutters cleaned, carpets and furniture shampooed, woodwork washed, laundry done, Christmas presents purchased and worked on. All D-O-N-E.

Tonight, I will fall asleep lightening fast, thankful for a home to care for and the exhaustion that comes with working hard.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Learning curve

I always knew that the Lord would use any children I had to teach me more about myself and about Him. This has happened in abundance over the last 3 years and some of the same lessons keep popping up. Hmmm...I wonder why? Lately, there have been many of those moments with Haven. Today was no exception, but perhaps the most profound in recent memory.

Haven and I spent the morning at the chiropractor and running a few errands. We had a great time shopping and talking together, which was a gift because that is not always the case. At our second stop this morning, Hobby Lobby, their was a large nativity set up in the entrance area. We hadn't quite gotten inside the doors when Haven spotted it. She pulled free of my hand and took off running. I heard her sharp intake of breath and she said, "Oh!...Baby Jesus!" She literally fell on the floor in front of him and began stroking his face.

I stopped walking and just watched her, overwhelmed at first by her soft, tender heart. Then came the great moment of clarity. When was the last time I pulled free of all the things that steal my attention or hold me back to run and sit at the Lord's feet? When did I last find myself so overcome by Him I had no choice but to just sit and be in His presence? When was I so taken by Him that I couldn't say anything but, "Oh, Jesus!"?

I'm thankful that the Lord gently uses the heart of my sweet daughter to remind me what's important.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Steelers 11, Chargers 10

Cale and I had so much fun on Sunday afternoon at the Steelers game. It was cold, snowy and an absolute perfect day for Steelers football. Our seats were unbelievable and the only time we couldn't see was when the tv cameras rolled in front of us. We were surrounded by super friendly and nice people; the Steelers' fans can't be beat and we cheered, shouted and high fived with the best of them. Some picture high-lights for you (because I know you care!)...

Some over priced snacks, but we don't care because we're just happy to be there!

Starting to snow about 40 minutes before kick-off

There was just a little accumulation! (and this wet snow is what made me freeze during the first half!)

Lining up right in front of us...literally!

Some of our offense getting ready to go in. They had a rough go of it on Sunday.

Bundled up in our Steelers gear- trying to stay warm at half-time.

Big Ben ready to go for it.

One of our favorites, Troy Polamalou and his hair. There was a heater right in front of us that the players kept coming over to use to warm themselves up. Not sure what Jeff Reed is doing (the guy bending over). Warming up his behind? Who cares- he was the high scorer and won the game for us with a field goal!

Everything about the night was great. Yes, even the snow! Well, the refs weren't great (quite the opposite actually), but we won and that was what we wanted to see. It is just such a fun to be at the stadium cheering along with everyone else. I went to the bathroom at the start of the 3rd quarter and when I came back in to the field, 60,000 people were waving their Terrible Towels around. It almost made me dizzy as I was walking down the steps to our seats, but it was amazing to see. We loved it and can't wait to go again! Although, that will probably be awhile...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's game time

People. Today is THE day. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve last night; I had a difficult time getting to sleep I was so excited! It has been a group effort getting us ready for the game- hats and scarves borrowed from one friend, blankets and hand warmers from another, tickets passing hands 3 times to make their way to ours and a helpful Nana to watch Haven.

Here's where I'll be come mid afternoon. See the star? Those are the seats! Six rows up from the field. We are going to get their early so we don't miss a thing. You can bet their will be pictures galore tomorrow. Although we will not be recognizable bundled up under our various layers. The forecast today for Pittsburgh- high of 37 degrees. That's chilly to stand out in for several hours. But it will be worth it!

PS- It's starting to snow! I could not be happier!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A new room

Haven is about to move down the hall into a new bedroom. Her current room will remain the nursery and will be re-done to make way for our new little guy (p.s.- I want him to come home SOON!). We've been dragging our feet and slowly making progress on her big girl room. I realized a few weeks ago why I am so hesitant to finally make the switch. Her new room has been our guest room for the last 3.5 years. We are used to it being empty. But the nursery has been full of light and life for the last three years. When Haven moves into her new room the nursery is going to be very, very empty. It will be physically apparent that we are waiting for someone. And while I know in my heart that we've been waiting, to have the tangible reminder has been enough to make me drag my feet about moving rooms. But it needs to happen and we are finally wrapping up the major projects.

I saw this idea at Pottery Barn Kids and decided to make my own rendition for Haven's new room. A little scrapbook paper, some fabric, buttons and mod podge and here you go:

So my bird is a little goofy looking, but Cale told me he liked it and I kept cutting it down and tweaking it and finally had to stop or I was going to run out of fabric. Overall, I am really happy with how they turned out, save a few cursed air bubbles. You can't see the cute rick rack and ribbon I wrapped the edges of the canvas with so you'll just have to take my word for it that they are there. We painted her walls the palest of lavenders and these look great against the color. I will post pictures in a few weeks when we get it all done and ready for our big girl.

Then we'll tackle the nursery!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

The holidays are upon us, there is no denying it. And I'm the kind of person that's thrilled about it and has already been planning, shopping and thinking about how we want to celebrate this year. For our family, one of the ways we start off the holiday season is my contributing to Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. I have happily shopped for and filled shoe boxes since I was single and the tradition has carried over to now doing it with Haven.

Last night I laid out all my supplies that I've been accumulating for the last several months. Yes, this year I got smart and have been buying small toys and school supplies all year long so it wasn't such a daunting task all at once. I was thrilled to see that I had almost everything I needed. We hit the stores in need of a few more items and the boxes that we needed to fill. Three stores later we had all we needed.

This morning Haven and I laid everything out and proceeded to fill our boxes. We had so much fun! We talked about why we were doing it and about the kids who were going to receive these boxes. She was so thoughtful and such a great helper, counting out candies and making sure each box had a comb, soap and a toothbrush. When we were done she wanted to put some of her toys in the boxes, too. We decided that sharing some stickers would be a good compromise. I love her little innocent heart and how much the Lord uses her to teach me things.

OCC is also near and dear to us because we got to see first hand the way these simple boxes blessed kids lives when we were in Namibia serving with Christ's Hope International. CHI was asked to partner with OCC and coordinate one of their delivery parties which meant signing up kids to receive the boxes. While we actually had to leave before the boxes arrived, though we got to help coordinate this huge event. We know that these boxes make a difference in kids' lives.

National Collection Week
is November 17-24 for the shoe boxes. I hope you will start off your holiday celebrating by packing a shoe box this year!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday's List

Random Friday thoughts...

-We have been working hard at our house this week. Cale and I finally tackled a project that we have been dreading for a year: staining our new windows and trim. It was a huge job that was spread out over 3 days, but it honestly wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. But I can't tell you how thankful I am to have this major task crossed off our to-do list! Go us! And they look good, too!

-I came across the cutest gift idea this week, the I Spy Bags! It is such a clever idea and I love that it doesn't beep or talk or have a bunch of pieces. I ordered one for Haven for Christmas and I think it is going to bring her hours of entertainment. And they are so cute, too!

-We are having friends over for dinner tonight and I pulled out one of my favorite fall dessert recipes: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Honey Frosting. It is found online here on the Everyday Food site. It is soooo good and it makes lots of frosting which is never a bad thing I don't think.

-I am still reeling from the excitement of yesterday! I can't wait!

-But before next weekend, I get to have a great time this weekend. Jess and I are meeting each other for a little girls' getaway tomorrow and Sunday. We have no real agenda other than to spend time together, shop and eat some good food. The perfect weekend I think! Back in our younger years we went on many a road trip together, but since I got married we haven't done anything so I am really looking forward to it. Hopefully without any of the drama that surrounded our previous trips!

-And a favorite picture of Haven from this week. We enjoyed the last beautiful, warm days of fall with leaf pile jumping and just general running around! She is such a silly girl!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Surprise, surprise!

Sometimes, the best things happen to me on Thursdays. Like today, for example. Despite the fact that my purse, with my phone inside, was sitting on my lap in the car I missed a call from my brother Steve. I was alerted to the missed call when the phone beeped because of a new voice mail. No sooner did I hear, "Kate, call me, " in my ear when Cale's phone started ringing. It was Steve, apparently making every effort to get a hold of us. He spent a few moments with Cale chit-chatting and then the phone passed to me.

The first words out of Steve's mouth are, "Who loves you?" Knowing exactly what he's going for I answer, "Jesus." We play this game for a moment and then he gets serious. He proceeds to tell me that a friend of his offered Steve two tickets to the Steelers vs. Chargers game next Sunday in Pittsburgh. Steve was going to go with my other brother, Mike or an old friend, but then my mom just happened to mention that was the game we tried to get tickets to for our anniversary. (We gave up relatively quickly because the tickets weren't in our price range which means they weren't giving them away for free.) Well, they are free today!!!!

Steve has graciously offered to give us the tickets for the game. And did I mention that they are in the SIXTH row at the 50 yard line, right behind the team?!!!?? WHAT? This is amazing! And you got that they're free, right? Seriously, people, this is so exciting. We just happened to be in a department store when this conversation was taking place and I am not too proud to admit that I was jumping up and down because I was elated. Still am, actually!

So next weekend we are heading to my mom's for part of the weekend and then will leave Haven with her while we GO TO THE GAME. I still can't believe Steve's generousity to us in sharing these tickets. Do I have an awesome big brother or what?!! (And I'm thankful that my mom opening her mouth paid off this time!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Preschool theology

From the backseat of the car...

"Mama, look at that beautiful sunset God made for us."


"He's such a good God."