Saturday, April 11, 2015

Not What I Had Planned

This past week, we were supposed to be in NOVA visiting our VA grandparents.  Sadly, they had a pipe burst in their basement which meant where we normally stayed was being dried out and having repairs done.  My plan was to spend a few days in DC to learn about some US History.  It is obvious that God had other plans, so we just rolled with it.  Since, I already had the week marked off for field trips, I spent some time in prayer trying to figure out what we would do during the week.

So, this is what our week ended up looking like:

We didn't have school on Monday intentionally.  I didn't want us to rush past Resurrection Sunday and jump right back into our routine.  We took the day off and just continued to celebrate Jesus defeating death  We spent most of the day outside (we spent over 5 hours outside and had some tremendously tired Hooties that night)!  I took advantage of opportunities to bring us back to Sunday.  It was such a sweet day.  

On Tuesday, we cooked a meal for our pastor and his family since they were getting ready to move into a new house.  A bit of honesty here...most of the time I like to cook by myself.  I can get it done quicker and to be is therapy for me.  So, as I was praying about what our week was going to look like, I really felt like the Lord wanted me to include the Hooties in this process.  Usually, when I cook for a family, I pray for them.  If they have just had a baby, I pray for a smooth transition as they get used to having a little in the house.  If they have just lost a loved one, I pray for the Lord to comfort them.  If they are just going through a rough season, I pray that God will sustain them.  So, on this day as we were cooking for our pastor and his family, the Hooties and I spent time praying for them...we prayed that they would get settled quickly in their new home.  We praised God for providing a new home for them.  During this time, I had some personal prayers that our children would have a heart to serve others...and to serve them joyfully...and to serve not because it is something we HAVE to do, but because we desire to show the love of Jesus whenever we are given an opportunity.  It was such a sweet time with the Hooties, and I am so thankful that I brought our week before the Lord.  I am so thankful that He gave me this time to teach our children about loving others like Jesus does.

On Wednesday, we went to this super fun children's museum in Raleigh with Lin-Lin.  The Hooties had so much fun...and let's be honest...Mom and Dad did, too!   Here are a few pictures from our trip

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh...if you are ever in the area...well worth the trip

Josiah playing chess with Daddy

The fire engine was a HUGE hit with everyone!

Fireman Sophie with her dalmatian.

Tobias driving the fire engine

Tobias playing with the trains

Kyrie driving in the city

At the vet station giving a dog a bath

Fisherman Josiah

Such a on her hip cooking a meal

So much fun in the kitchen area

Kyrie and Lin-Lin

Scientist Kyrie

Lin-Lin with the Hootie Hoos

Farmer Sophie...she sorted all the piglets before feeding them...she is so like me!

Such sweetness here

Farmer Tobias

Learning about power

Playing in the water pool

The aprons they provided must have been thought of by a mom!

Looking through a periscope on the submarine

Playing a little basketball

Building Time

More building time with cardboard boxes

Such focus there

She wanted to build a giraffe

Kyrie exercising

Josiah using his muscles to pull himself up
So, as you can see, we had a BLAST at Marbles.  If you are ever in the Raleigh area, we HIGHLY recommend a field trip.  We have been to plenty of children museums in our children, teacher and parents...and this was by far our favorite one! 

On Thursday, we got up and headed to Durham for a history lesson...a family history lesson.  Back in 2007, Chris was accepted as a candidate into the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).  We started attending the closest EPC church to which happened to be Peace Church in Durham which was a church plant.  When we first started going there, the church didn't have its own building so they meet at some community club.  While we were there, we met were so privileged to meet James and Cari Banks (the pastor and his wife).  The purpose of our trip was for the Hooties to meet Pastor James, to see the church that God has blessed them with and to talk about how Daddy began his journey of becoming a pastor at Peace Church.   One thing I admire about Pastor James and Peace Church is their passion for prayer.  It is not just something that is talked about, but truly a part of who they are.  We got to see the prayer garden they have on their property.  It was so peaceful and I am sure it is absolutely beautiful when all the trees and flowers are in full bloom.  In the church building, they have a prayer room.  It is so thought out...comfy chairs and cushions available for sitting, books to guide you in prayer, paper available to write on.  But I think my favorite thing is the prayer walk that goes through the woods that leads to a 17-foot cedar cross.  While we were walking the path and stopping at the different stations, the Lord reminded me about how much He has provided for us and how He has ALWAYS taken care of us.  When Chris started seminary in 2004, we had no idea what exactly Chris was going to do with a Masters of Divinity degree, but knew he needed to get the degree.  Then He reminded me how He showed Chris what denomination to be a part of.  We had NEVER heard of the EPC until a friend of the family mentioned it to him a year into seminary.  So, as we are we have moments of feeling like God has forgotten about us, God reminded me of how He directed our steps to be a part of the EPC denomination.  As I continued to walk, I felt like the Lord wanted us to pray together and to take a moment to teach the Hooties about how He is faithful and how He has  provided for us and will continue to provide for us in the future.  (The Hooties have been having a hard time lately and have been asking more frequently when God is going to give us a new home).  So, we sat at the foot of this 17-foot cross and Pastor James prayed over our about having a peace that surpasses all understanding.  Pastor James then pointed out all the rocks at the bottom of the cross.  He explained to us that people have left those rocks there to show that they have prayed about a situation and are now leaving it at the foot of the cross...and let me tell you there were a TON of rocks there!  So, the Hooties grabbed a rock and left it at the foot of the cross.  After going on the prayer walk, the Hooties played on the playground at the church while Chris and I were able to catch up with Pastor James.  Then we headed to Chick-fil-a for more time of fellowship.  This was not at all what I had planned for this day, but let me tell you, we were completely blessed by our time at Peace Church with Pastor James.  It is exactly what we needed...we needed that reminder of God being faithful and God providing for us.

Peace Church

Pastor James, Chris and the Hooties

So, this week didn't go exactly as I had planned, but it is exactly what our family needed.  I am thankful for the opportunities that God gave us this week to spend learning about loving others as Jesus did, having fun learning how things works and learning about how God called Chris to be a pastor. 

In Christ Alone

"There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ."
(In Christ Alone--Words by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend)

Love this silly, full of life little boy

Love this baby loving full of sass little girl

Love this compassionate, cautious girl

Love this thinking, silly boy

These Hooties absolutely melt my heart!

Happy Easter from the Greenwoods

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Break 2015--Smokey Mountains of TN

Well, it has been about a week since we got back from our spring break trip.  Another benefit of homeschooling?  We can have spring break whenever we want and so that is what we did.  A few months ago, John and Jen were talking about going to TN to celebrate James' first birthday and wanted to know if we would like to come along.  Since, they weren't going to do a big birthday party, we knew without a doubt that we would be in TN to celebrate his first birthday with them!

Tobias got sick a couple of days before we left, he had a cough with a fever, so we decided that keeping Baby James healthy was most important, so we would delay our trip until Tobias didn't have a fever.  We were to leave Friday morning, but when we got up Tobias still had a fever.  We decided that we would try the next day.  It was a hard Friday because we all wanted to be in the car traveling that day.  We had some antsy Hooties, so I got creative and we did some things we wouldn't normally do to make the day pass.  Chris went ahead and packed the roof top carrier in anticipation of leaving Saturday morning.  While he was loading up our stuff, the Hooties and I spent some time outside.  Eventually, the Hooties made their way inside the van and decided that they were going to take matters in their own hands!!!

They were ready to go

And Tobias didn't want them to leave him behind

We got up Saturday morning, and Tobias was FEVER FREE!!!  We were so thankful.  We quickly finished loading up the van, got breakfast for on the road and began our trip to TN!  We got there that afternoon (on James' actually birthday) and we unpacked and spent some time just hanging out.  We had dinner that night and then we had some YUMMY cupcakes and got to watch James enjoy his smash cake.

These were the YUMMY cupcakes

James' smash cake

Happy 1st Birthday, James!

Kyrie LOVES her some Baby James

Excited to FINALLY be in TN to celebrate James' birthday

One tired boy, but not too tired to eat some cupcakes

Daddy and Tobias
James wasn't too sure about the first!

He got a taste of frosting...still not too sure

He was starting to get into it

By this point...he thought it tasted pretty good!
Taking a sip of water...

This is what was left of his cake...he may have gotten some help from his mom, but he had a fun time smashing

After celebrating James' birthday, we got all the kiddos ready for bed and then the parents enjoyed a night of playing board games.  The next morning we got up...this was our view from our room.

We made a yummy breakfast, James opened birthday presents and played a little putt-putt before we headed to church.  I am just exhausted typing that list.  All that happened from the time we woke up until about 10am! :)

During breakfast, James had milk for the first time.  He did a MUCH BETTER job transitioning to milk than any of the Hooties did.  He downed the cup and wanted more!

Yup,  James liked his milk

I could just kiss this milky face!

Before heading to church, James spent a few minutes opening his birthday presents.

Tobias at the putt-putt course...such a handsome boy!

She melts my heart

And this is what she did when I asked her to look at me so I could take her picture!

Josiah having fun playing putt-putt

Tobias found some rocks...he was in heaven!

Sophie having a great time playing putt-putt...she made a hole-in-one
Sunday afternoon we just hung out and relaxed.  The Hooties were able to swim some in the pool which they were SUPER excited about!  Sorry no pictures, but it is kinda hard when you have 5 kids and 5 extra hands to snap pictures! :)


James and Josiah looking out at the mountains

All five kiddos were behind the curtain...all the giggling and squealing melted our hearts!

On Monday, we went to the aquarium.  This was a great activity since Josiah had been studying ocean animals most of the school year...another great benefit of homeschooling...he wanted to learn about ocean animals, so I found a curriculum and we have done just that!

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Got everyone in the picture

Ready to go see the animals

So ready to see the sharks!

Ready to the see the sharks, too!

Ready to go see the fish

James was ready to go experience the aquarium

Looking at the fish

Looking at the jellyfish

Tobias was fascinated by it all

Love these two!

He could have stood there for hours

Going through the shark tunnel...this was the BIG hit!

Tobias wouldn't sit still long enough to have his picture taken

Touching the horseshoe  crabs

Missing Tobias...he was off exploring with Daddy

This jellyfish was AMAZING!!  God created it to change many different colors as it moved!

There were many other colors, but I didn't want to explode the blog with all of them!

On Tuesday, we drove over to see Chris' grandparents and spent the morning with them.  The last time we saw them was when Kyrie was 6 months old, so that meant that they had never met Tobias yet.  It so nice for the older Hooties to have that time with them and get pictures for the youngest Hootie of our time with them. 

Sophie focused on riding that scooter

That is the coolest tricycle we have ever seen

Such a strong boy pushing his big sister around

Kyrie having a go on the scooter

Tobias doing a little cleaning.

The Hooties with their heart was full when I saw this picture!

We had a wonderful time in TN with the McLeodys!!  We were sad to be leaving the mountains, but even sadder to say good-bye to our friends.  We pray this is the first of many Cleody-Wood trips!