Thursday, August 16, 2012

Feeling Poured Into

What a day!  God kept pouring on the blessings again today, and we are just all feeling so grateful!  We could feel it; Carlos noticed and could feel it too – it was really great. 

Two days ago the kids were invited to participate as extras in the shooting of a commercial for a local university.  The filming was this morning.  The compensation was a gift card for each child with the idea that they could use it toward school supplies.  I’ve been meaning to go and buy some school supplies for the past week, and I’m so glad that I waited.  We took the kids to the store this afternoon and let them each pick out something that they wanted (they both chose small Lego sets) and then we used the rest for school supplies.  The amount left after the Legos was exactly the amount to cover the supplies minus about $2.00!  How awesome is that?!

Kevin dropped us off at the set this morning and went to do a show at a local preschool before picking us back up.  We were done before Kevin was back so we were sitting outside waiting for him, reading and talking.  The production manager walked out to her car about 15 minutes into our waiting, and when she saw us she stopped and smiled and said that she was just looking for some kids.  She asked if they liked to color and draw and when they answered that they did, she proceeded to unload a stack of coloring books, drawing pads, and a brand new huge set of markers for each of them!  She had bought them to help keep all the kids at the shoot busy while they were waiting for their time to be on camera, and she didn’t want to keep them so she excitedly gave them to us! 

About 20 minutes or so later, she came back out and said that the crew was having lunch now and they had a lot and offered to share it with us.  We declined at first, but she insisted, so we were blessed with a delicious lunch from them as well! 

And then last week we had to take our van in to get looked at.  There were several things that needed to be repaired, and only one of them was covered by the warranty.  We were bummed of course, but what do you do?  Kevin took our van to get a new tire which is one of the things that needed to be done.  He was told at first that they’d need to order the tire and it would be a couple hundred dollars.  But when he took it somewhere else to get their perspective, that guy also told him it would be that much to order a new one, but instead of putting the bad one back on while we wait for the new one to come in, he suggested that we put our spare tire on.  It turns out that our spare tire was in great condition and was actually a better tire than what would have been ordered for us!  So now we’ll just get a spare tire some time in the near future when a used one comes in to the lot.  And we picked up our van from getting repaired today, and we surprisingly didn’t owe any money!  The dealer where we bought the van covered one of the repairs and they talked to our warranty company and they apparently were great to work with and they covered the final repair that we had left!  So we thought we’d need to spend hundreds of dollars today, and we didn’t spend any!  Praise God!  

We feel very poured into today.  We feel very loved.  We are looking forward to pouring into others...:)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Cool God Moment Today

All month I’ve wanted to take the kids to the zoo.  We have a membership to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, and they do membership exchanges with other museums and attractions during different months throughout the year.  It’s such an awesome thing!  This month they are doing a membership exchange with the John Ball Zoo, which means we show our GRCM card and we can get into the zoo for free.  I’ve been looking forward to this as soon as I saw it on the membership exchange calendar months ago.

Looking at our schedule, this was the week for me to take the kids there.  And then today looked like the best day out of this week.  So, this morning I told the kids we’d be going there.  My original thought last night was that we’d go this morning, as that’s when the animals are most active.  But it turned out that Kevin had to be somewhere and needed the van so we couldn’t go until after lunch.  We had a great morning at home, but the kids were eagerly looking forward to when Daddy got home so we could go.  It turned out to be just one of those days though where I ended up having so many little things that HAD to be done before we left, so I kept saying to them we’d go soon, after lunch, after I do this, as soon as this is done, oh sorry, one more thing I forgot to do, etc., etc.  They were really patient with me, even when we had to run two quick errands on our way there.  We finally arrived just after 3:00pm.  Carlos and Maria were excited!  We had to park at the far end of the lot and the whole way up the zoo entrance they were so cute talking about which animals they wanted to see. 

We got up to the ticket window and I told them that we are GRCM members.  The woman asked for my membership card and I.D. which I happily gave to her while the kids continued to talk about animals.  She then looked up at me and asked, “Did you renew this recently?”  My face fell and my stomach dropped as I told her no and asked her why.  She showed me the back of my card which said that our membership to the GRCM expired on July 26th!  Oh no!!  I stood there for a moment with my mouth open.  She handed me back my card and said a simple “sorry.”  I glanced at the rates board and then looked at the kids and then looked up at the woman and then back at the rates board and then back at the kids...and told them that I was so sorry but we couldn’t go into the zoo today.  Carlos asked why and Maria looked up at me and said so sweetly, “But I want to see the penguins.”  I felt terrible as I took them aside and had to explain to them what happened, and that we couldn’t afford to spend $24 to go to the zoo today.  Their faces and shoulders fell, but they didn’t say anything.  Just then two separate families walked up to the ticket window and one turned to the other and asked if they had a free pass to the zoo, while she was holding one out to them.  They thanked her but said they already had one.  This woman looked the other way (but not behind her where we were) and not seeing anyone else she started to put the pass away saying that they had two passes and really wanted to give this one away to someone since they didn’t need it and it was going to expire.  When I heard this I jerked my head up, and then sheepishly walked up to her and asked her if we could have it.  A big smile broke out on her face as she handed it to me saying, “Sure!”  She reiterated that she was hoping to find someone to give it to and with tears in my eyes (which totally surprised me!) I just said that it was a long story why we couldn’t go in but THANK YOU SO MUCH because now we could! 

With his mouth wide open, Carlos took the free family pass in his hands.  We couldn’t believe it!  What a blessing!  What a gift God gave us today!  Thank you God! 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Catching up on photos - Spring 2012

 At Riverside Park

 Kevin's cousin Justin moved in with us this spring.  We all love having him here!

 We did a small unit on ostriches and to help Carlos grasp how tall an ostrich really is, I had him construct a tower the same height as one.  At first we predicted that an ostrich would certainly fit into our living room, even though we knew they are tall creatures.  After the tower was built and we tried to stand it up, we realized just how tall ostriches are!  The portion that Carlos is holding in the picture would represent the ostrich's upper neck and head!

 Viewing the butterflies at the Fredrick Meijer Gardens

 We did an architecture unit and the kids were constructing houses.  On his own Carlos decided to construct a bridge.  We were impressed!

 Kevin was part of Tulip Time this year, performing every day.  All of us got to be in the children's parade!  The Dutch costume that Maria is wearing was Kevin's dad's costume that he wore as a child!  The costume I'm wearing is Kevin's grandmother's that she wore twenty years ago.  

 Kevin ran in his third 5K Riverbank Run, this year with Zach, Lori, and Todd.  Kevin is mysteriously not wearing a numbered'll have to ask Lori the story on that one! :)  (Love you, Lori!!)

 This is the medal that Maria received graduating from preschool!

These were her teachers, Miss Colleen and Miss Marla.  (They don't normally dress this way!  The graduation theme of the school was a Disney one.)  What a great year Maria had with them!

Catching up on photos - Winter 2012

 Some of Carlos' amazing art.  These pieces are drawn with a wet brush on paper.

 Celebrating Carlos' half birthday with half a birthday cake and half a birthday song!

 February 23rd was Maria's 2nd Family Day.  We've been a family of four for two years now, praise God!  What a gift she is to us!

 We gave her two gifts from Colombia: a pan flute and a small purse.  

 On each Family Day, Maria gets to choose what we do as a family on hers, and Carlos on his.  One of Maria's favorite places is the Grand Rapids Children Museum.  Her two favorite things to do there are to play in the big yellow car and to play with the pretend guitars.  

 One of her favorite things to do wherever they are is build with Legos!

 Yes, that's a swimming mask on her head.

Carlos and I hard at work on a story he wrote after being inspired by attending an author visit by Jonathon Rand at a school where Kevin was also presenting.