Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Homeschooling: October Review

We've been busy around the Wood Academy of Awesomeness. This month we focused on three main units: apples, turtles, and the five senses. Here are some snapshots of what we did.


Starting at the top left and going clockwise:
1- I put a bunch of apples of 4 different varieties in a bag. Without looking, the kiddos took one out and had to determine which kind it was: red delicious, granny smith, gala, or golden delicious.
2- We made a graph to show the number of different kinds of apples we had.
3- We made/tasted different kinds of homemade apple juice. I love how engaged & excited Caedmon appears to be in this photo. Surprisingly enough, no one said, "Wow, Mom, what a cool experience! Thanks for going to all the work to let us make apple juice!" Oh well.
4- We made homemade applesauce. SO GOOD! At least Andy and I thought so.
5- We had an awesome time going apple picking as a family. More photos here.
6- Our "Words to Remember" for this unit were: "If I stay in Jesus, I will have much fruit." We made a Fruit of the Spirit apple tree and I tried to catch them displaying different qualities and make a big deal about it.

(not pictured)
- diagraming apples
- learning about Johnny Appleseed


1- We made turtle sandwiches for lunch. Caedmon loved this and requested Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sandwiches the next day. I made them, but that was a one-time-only event because it took me FOREVER!
2 & 3- We painted paper plates and made turtles.
4- We went turtle hunting at a local park and actually found one!
5- We acted out being a turtle and going into our "shell" when predators would come.
6- Caedmon learned a turtle poem and was able to put each line in the right order in a pocket chart.

Our "Words to Remember" for the turtle unit were: "I don't give up. I persevere." We read/discussed  "The Tortoise and the Hare". And pictured above is Caedmon racing around our backyard without hinderance and then again with hinderances. It was pretty comical. We discussed the meaning of how the Bible teaches us in Hebrews that we should throw off anything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us so that we can run this race with perseverance.


1- Sense of touch: determine what's in the bag without looking.
2- Sense of smell: Sammy trying to identify soap by using only his sense of smell.
3- Sense of taste: Kids blindfolded and holding nose try to identify various foods (carrots, apples, cheese, bread, bananas)
4- Sense of taste: Dropped different liquids on tongue to determine if it was sweet (sugar water), salty (salt water), or sour (water with lemon)
5- Sense of smell: Caedmon trying to identify grass. I also gave them cinnamon, cologne, fresh basil, lemon, and onion.

(not pictured)
- sense of hearing: dropped various objects on floor while their eyes were closed. They had to guess what the noise was.
- sense of sight: tried to draw picture & write their names with eyes clothes.

Our "Words to Remember" for the 5 Senses unit were "God made us WONDERFUL!"


1- Finger painting to classical music. I love how this picture shows their personalities... 2 seconds in Caedmon was covered in paint while Sammy starts off slow and easy.
2- We talked about how God gives each person unique physical features. We used yellow, red, black, and white paint to try to make the exact color of our various skin tones. I was pretty impressed by their ability to mix paint.
3- Sammy forming the letter Pp with unifix cubes.
4- Caedmon working on math.
5- More finger the end Sammy got his hands dirty too. Just a little slow to warm. Notice that now the backs of Caedmon's hands are also covered in paint!

Reading: Caedmon has TWO more lessons to go in his "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" book. We will both be thrilled to have completed that!

Math: Caedmon is flying through the Math You See Primer book. It's honestly way too easy for him and I'm trying to speed through it to get to the next level book. AND, Sammy can count to 12. Huge progress, People!

Spanish: We watch "Language Tree" Spanish Level 1 DVD every day. So far we've been learning greetings, family members, colors, numbers, and a few other phrases and vocabulary words.

How much time do we devote to all this homeschool stuff? 4 days a week, 2-3 hours a day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Celebrating Sammy

We were busy celebrating Sammy this weekend as our little guy turned 4 years old!

On Friday we started off our Family Day with some birthday pancakes and a round of miniature golf. 

On Sunday morning, Sammy opened presents from family (grandparents, aunts & uncles) before heading out to church. Our gift to him was the congo drums!

That afternoon we had a small party with a few of Sammy's buddies. The kids did a few crafts including painting pumpkins (much to their mothers' dismay, I'm sure!). :-)

Then we enjoyed some yummy food, cupcakes, and more presents. 

It was a wonderful celebration of a wonderful little boy! We are so thankful for him. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A birthday letter for Sammy...

Dear Sammy,

Four years ago you were born in a tiny hut in Southern Ethiopia. They named you “Wondimu”, which means brother even though you had no siblings. But God, in His infinite Sovereignty, knew that one day in the not too distant future you would both have a brother and be a brother. You were already crafted in to the Wood family. 

I didn’t hear your first cries but my heart was crying for you in ways that I didn’t even understand at the time. Four years ago we had just moved to California and Caedmon had just turned two years old. My heart was longing for another child. Everything about my life was full of sunshine and hope and dreams fulfilled. Except for this one thing. The thing that made even the bluest of skies a little gray. I wanted YOU! 

I didn’t even know I wanted you; I just knew I wanted a baby. I wanted someone on whom I could pour out all this love that was bottled up in my heart. I wanted Caedmon to be a brother. I wanted another little person holding my other hand. 

As impatience and disappointment grew in my heart month by unending month, you were growing in another Mommy’s arms. You were her gift, too. The gift of your giggle and the brightness of your eyes were just too good to not be shared. God saw fit to allow another mom to bask in all that you are before he placed you in your forever family. 

I don’t know the “why” behind most of God’s decisions. I don’t know why I was born in Florida to a family that could provide for me while you were born in Ethiopia to the bondage of poverty. I don’t know why, when God looked at the 143 million orphans in the world today, he handpicked you to be adopted. I don’t know why your journey had to include loss and grief that no child should ever have to endure. I don’t understand those things, but here’s what I do know:

Your story is one of redemption. 

The fact that you once were an orphan living in Ethiopia is a part of your story, but it does NOT define who you are. God rescued you because He has amazing plans for your life. He redeemed you from the pit and sat your feet on solid ground.

Your story is one of God’s faithfulness.

God was with you in that tiny hut in Ethiopia and God is with you tonight as you go to sleep in your bedroom with your brother. He will never leave you. No matter what tragedy or trial you walk through, you need not fear because God is with you. The One who has started this good work in you is FAITHFUL!

Your story is one of love.

Your birth mother loved you too much to watch you suffer to the point of starvation so she did the most sacrificial thing a mother could do. She gave up the most amazing gift she had ever received in hopes that you could have a better life. Your forever family loves you so much and wanted you so deeply that we went to great extents to bring you into our family. (And we would do it all over again!) 

Your daddy and I pray almost every night that you would understand how deeply you are loved. By us and by Jesus. I know that it can get confusing in the mind of a child whose first family wasn’t forever. But, Sammy, please don’t allow that seed of doubt to take root in your mind. You are loved with a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love. And, in the end, love wins. 

Here are a few things I love about you as you turn four years old:
  • I love that you receive my love. That took some time, to be sure. But now it is as natural as breathing as we hold hands driving down the road or snuggle and laugh on the couch. 
  • I love the tenderness of your heart when corrected. You do not require very many consequences. The occasional time out or “talking to” is usually all it really takes for big alligator tears to roll down those cheeks and for you to find your “happy heart”. I could probably count on one hand the number of times we’ve needed to spank you. I had to laugh the other day when you saw the spanking spoon sitting out and you referred to it as “Caedmon’s spoon”. If ownership was dependent upon proportionate utilization of an object, you would be absolutely correct!
  • I love your silky, smooth skin. You’ve started to notice the color of your skin recently. One day at breakfast you said out of the blue, “Mom, I’m black.” I asked, “Are you talking about your skin?” You said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, you’re kinda brown, like chocolate.” You said indignantly, “No. I’m black.” I got a good laugh out of that. I love it when you run around the house with your shirt off just so I can see and touch your skin. It is so beautiful.
  • I love your sweet disposition toward younger children. You are a nurturer. Even way back when you were in the orphanage (only 18 months old or so yourself!) your caregivers told me that you were so sweet to the other children. If a new child arrived that was upset or scared, they would take you and the child to a different room to play together. You had a way of soothing the other baby even though you were just a baby yourself.
  • I love that you are eager to help. In the kitchen. Carrying loads in from the car. Vacuuming the floor. “Can I help?” is a phrase I hear from you daily.
  • I love that you are so athletic. The first day we put you on a two-wheeled bike, you were off and running! No one at the park could believe this 3 year old was riding a bike all by himself!
Oh, Sammy, I could go on and on...from your picture perfect smile to the way you tiptoe out of your room each morning. There is so much to love about you! Thank you for receiving my love AND for loving me back so fiercely. I realize that Dad out-awesomes me in virtually every way, and I’m totally cool with that. But I also know that there is a special place in your heart reserved just for me. 

I am your Mommy. You are my answer to a thousand prayers. I love you to pieces.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

I apologize for giving you the silent treatment this week. Every day I've sat down to write, and every day nothing comes. Just staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration.

I don't really have any inspiration right now, either, but I thought I could at least pass on a yummy recipe for Butternut Squash Soup from this website. I made some this morning and it is oh so good!

Butternut Squash Soup

2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cups cubed butternut squash, fresh or frozen
1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme (I used dry thyme b/c I didn't have fresh)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. black pepper

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, celery and onion. Cook until vegetables have begun to soften and onion turns translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in butternut squash, thyme, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork tender, about 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree soup. Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and carefully puree in batches in a traditional blender.

Definitely, the trickiest part of this recipe (at least for me) is prepping the butternut squash. Those things are incredibly difficult to peel / cube. I've only done it twice and both times have ended up in a dead sweat and almost gotten into a fist fight with the squash! But, it's really yummy and taste like Fall! They do sell butternut squash already cubed so you could forego that step. I've never used it so you probably just want to check the label to see if there are any unwanted preservatives being used.

In other news, Andy is coming home today!! On an airplane right now. And tonight is Date Night so I'm pretty pumped about that.

Alrighty, well I think that's all I've got for this Thursday. Have a great weekend. We're celebrating Sammy's bday this weekend so stay tuned for pictures from our adventures as well as a birthday letter to him. Love that kid!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beautiful Day

We're in the thick of a unit on turtles right now... we went on a turtle hunt (and found one!). 

Nothing beats a picnic on a beautiful day! 

Free to roam, explore, and be boys. 

This made me a little nervous and I almost stopped him. But then I thought, 
"What's the worse thing that could happen?" He could have fallen into the 
muddy water 3 feet below and we'd have gone home soggy. Fortunately 
that didn't happen, but the fun and adventure far outweighed the risk!

Caedmon was all about climbing that day which inspired some funny 
comments like, "Mom, I may have the spiritual gift of balancing." And, 
"Mom, do you think I could be in the circus when I grow up?" 

My precious Sammy. 

Caedmon said, "Mom, I just thought of one more pose. Take another picture of me."
So here ya go, Folks. 

Beautiful day. Beautiful park. Beautiful children.
Blessed life. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hiking, Poverty, and Ice Cream

While Andy and I were in Tahoe this weekend, we took a hike that led us to Emerald Bay. It was such a beautiful day. I couldn't decide if I wanted to leave my sweatshirt on or bust out with the tank top below, so the whole hike it was on and off, on and off. We sat down by the shore with the sun beating on our backs, just drinking in the splendor of the moment before we headed back up the mountain.

On our way back up we heard an onslaught of sirens. First a couple fire trucks, then some ambulances, and several police followed. There were probably close to a dozen emergency vehicles at the top of the trail when we came out.

We overheard someone say that a woman had fallen while hiking, but that's all we knew. By the time we made it back to our car, the road had been shut down because it was being used as a helicopter landing pad.

It was a somber and surreal scene. We knew that in that moment, someone in very close proximity to us was fighting for her life. In that moment, I would have done anything to help her. If I thought it would have helped, I would have climbed down to where she was just to hold her hand and cover her with my sweatshirt. I would have prayed over her and given her all my water and told her that there were dozens of people here to help rescue her.

But there was nothing we could do.

We sat in the line up of cars for a while before Andy turned the car around and headed the opposite direction. We prayed for her, the rescue workers, and the doctors as we drove away.

Then we did something that felt strangely out of place. We went and got ice cream and a latte. Our hearts still felt heavy and we both continued praying for her, but we knew it was not helping the victim at all for us to just sit in our car in that line of traffic.

It made me think about how we respond when exposed to pain, heartache, and tragedy. Maybe you went on a mission trip and saw 3rd world poverty for the first time. Maybe you watched a news report or read a magazine article that opened your eyes to suffering in the world. Maybe you went to Ethiopia to adopt a son and realized that you're leaving millions of orphans behind. And you feel absolutely ruined.

And when you get back to life as usual, everything looks different. The cost of a drink from Starbucks could feed an Ugandan family for a week. The dinner your child turns his nose up to would have been gladly received by those in war-torn Somalia.

You feel guilty for having too much, spending too much, and enjoying life too much. Until you don't anymore. You move on. Other things vie for your attention. It shook us up for a while, but now the dust has settled and we can once again sip our lattes in peace.

But what if there's another option?

What if we could live in our reality without forgetting people who live in quite a different reality? What if we could enjoy the immense ways that God has blessed our lives and receive them with gratitude instead of feeling guilty that someone else's plight is not our own?

What if we chose to live, not with guilt or with greed, but with radical generosity? What if we saw the resources God poured into our lives as a tool to bless a hurting world? What if we changed our perspective from "How much money can I make this year?" to "How much money can I give this year?"

We are among the most blessed people in all the world. Don't feel guilty about that. Be thankful, and be generous.

Don't know where to start? Here's some organizations we believe in:
By the way, we don't know the outcome on the hiker. We found a news article that said she is a 20 year old from Chico, CA and that she sustained major injuries by falling about 100 feet. As far as we know she is still fighting for her life in the Reno hospital. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Marriage Getaway

This post is not intended to make anyone jealous...'s just too good not to share.

Marriage getaway. Lake Tahoe. Birthday weekend. 

Slow mornings at Starbucks. 

Reading for hours.  

A hike around Emerald Bay. 

Freedom. Joy. Fun. 

(I love Andy's expression.) 

An afternoon treat. Latte for Andy. Ice cream for me. 

Perfect fall weather. Breath-taking views. Rich conversations.

Movie watching. Dessert eating. Nap taking. Memory making.

It took planning and budgeting and the help of some awesome friends watching our kiddos. But it was a highlight of my year.

So thankful for my man. I'll roadtrip with you anytime, Baby!

Friday, October 12, 2012

God's Favorite People

I met a man today named Reggie. He’s one of God’s favorite people.

When he turned around and I saw his face, I couldn’t help but gasp. He has two small holes where his ears used to be. Smooth, shiny skin has replaced his hair. His disfigured arms only allow a very limited use of a few fingers. Reggie is a burn victim. 

Reggie held out a small cup at a stop light for people to drop change in. We grabbed a few quarters sitting in our cup holder and dropped them in the Reggie-fund along with a silent prayer. 

When the light turned green, we were off to our destination while Reggie stayed behind. 

We stopped at the restaurant for lunch just a couple hundred yards away. But before we ordered our food I said to Andy, “I want to go ask that man if he’d like to eat lunch with us.” Andy readily agreed.

So we walked the 200 yards and Reggie met us on the side of the road. We invited him to lunch but he declined. He said, “I don’t like to eat in public because I can’t use my hands. I have to eat like this.” And he demonstrated how he has to lean his face to his food like an animal. We assured him we didn’t mind, but he said he was okay. 

Reggie told us his name and shared that in 1995 he tried to take his own life by pouring gasoline on himself and lighting a flame. The only indication he gave as to why he did that was that he said, “I wasn’t a very good father.”

I asked him if he felt like he has more hope for living since that time and he said he has more hope than we could imagine. He said that God has given him hope and told him during his healing process that, “It wasn’t his time yet.” 

Reggie told us, “I don’t feel sorry for myself and I don’t regret what happened. God used it to open my eyes.” 

After our goodbyes, Andy and I walked back to the restaurant thinking of what Reggie’s life must be like...all that he’s been through. The years of being a bad father, the sorrow so deep that it motivated him to hurt himself in such a painful way, the days and weeks and months of recovering from 3rd degree burns that covered his entire body, learning to function and hope again while caged in a disabled body. 

The reason I say that Reggie is one of God’s favorite people is because, the truth is, every single person created in His image gets to bear that honor. Not just pastors or wealthy people or educated people or powerful people. But also people who are hurting, the down and out, the forgotten. 

When you look at each face that comes your way today, think to yourself, “This is one of God’s favorite people.” God cherishes them like you cherish your precious 4 year old daughter that snuggled on your lap this earlier today. How can you love that person and honor them as one of God’s very favorite people?

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, 
you did it for me. Matthew 25:40

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Take a load off...

You are to labor six days but you must rest on the seventh day; 
you must even rest during plowing and harvest times.    Exodus 34:21

Isn't it fantastic that God tells us (commands us!) to take a break? I saw a tweet today that says, "Exhaustion is not a badge of honor." The God who created us made us with the need to slow down, to rest. 

I love how the verse says, "You must even rest during plowing and harvest times." During our busiest seasons (the Grand Opening of a church or business, welcoming home a new baby, Christmas holidays, etc...), even then we need to make windows to rest. 

Ways we try to rest:
  1. Weekly Family Day: Andy takes every Friday off from work. That is our day to shut down the computers, take naps if we can, and do something fun as a family. A Sabbath with young kids may not always be the most relaxing and there are obvious chores that still have to be done just to keep people fed and children taken care of, but we view Fridays as our days not to do any extra work.
  2. Weekly Date Night: Thursday is our night. Highlight of my every week. Find a family to do a babysitting swap with and make Date Nights a habit. If you're gonna be legalistic about something, be legalistic about Date Nights with your spouse!
  3. Marriage Getaways: Andy & I are trying to institute a spring and fall getaway for a couple of nights just to enjoy being together and focusing on our marriage. It seems like a luxury, but we see it as an investment. A priority. We want to still be madly in love and enjoy spending time together 50 years from now, so we better make some memories and keep remembering why we just can't get enough of each other. Our marriage would probably be fine without it, but it will sure be better for it. 
  4. Family Vacations: We're still trying to figure this one out because we often spend our vacation time visiting our dearly loved and much-missed family on the East Coast. But we also value making some special memories with just our immediate family. When our kids think back on their lives, vacations and special events are the types of things they will remember. Vacations are such a great way to unplug, unwind, and bond together as a family. 
There are lots of other ideas to rest as well... a day alone with God by the beach, a long walk to clear your mind, driving a scenic route to see the leaves changing... There's no one "right" way to rest. The key is just to make yourself do it. Regularly. Even when life is busy.

What refreshes you?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kisses From Katie

I'm reading Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis right now and I CANNOT put it down. I'm talking reading while brushing my teeth, reading while I'm supposed to be watching my kids at the playground, reading while I sit on the couch during family movie night, even flashlight-in-my-teeth reading while Andy is asleep. Needless to say, it's a good book.

It's my favorite kind of book. I love stories about people who have said a wholehearted, "YES!" to God. I feel so challenged and inspired by her story, and every time I read it I get a healthy dose of perspective.

If you're not familiar with the story, when Katie was 17 she went on a short-term mission trip to Uganda for the first time. When she was 18, she went back for a year long commitment which has turned into a lifelong commitment. By the time she was 22 years old, she had started a sponsorship program to provide education, food, and medical care for over 400 children AND adopted 14 (FOURTEEN!) little girls.

Here's a few excerpts from her book:

"I no longer have all the things the world says are important. I do not have a retirement fund; I do not even have electricity some days. But I have everything I know is important. I have a joy and a peace that are unimaginable and can come only from a place better than this earth. I cannot fathom being happier. Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together more beautifully...

...I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person...

...I can do only what one woman can do, but I will do what I can."

She challenges me to evaluate if I am doing what I can. Am I loving who God puts in front of me each day? Am I trying to meet the needs of which I am aware? Am I stuck living my life in safety, comfort, and convenience instead of radical generosity, courage, and obedience?

Katie says, "When I imagine God creating each one of us and planting a purpose deep in our hearts, I never imagine that purpose being mediocrity."

I want my life to be one of full-surrender. There is no limit to what God can do through the life of one person who will unreservedly say "YES!" to Him!

Check out her awesome ministry called Amazima and maybe even sponsor a child today!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I'm pretty sure the "Mine" stage is a scientifically supported stage of development for children. They all go through it. For some (dare I say "most"?), however, this stage extends far into adulthood and consumes many people's lives. It's not really a stage at all, more of a socially acceptable way of thinking. Most of us, as adults, just learn enough social graces to not shout MINE! at the top of our lungs when someone wants to mess with our stuff. 

We work hard for our stuff. We're not sure others will take care of it if they borrow it. We're not sure there will be enough for us if we share it. 
  • It's my house.
  • It's my car.
  • It's my food.
  • It's my computer.
  • It's my money.
I might be willing to share a little. But only on my terms and don't ask too much. Because it's mine, remember? Go get your own!

Of course we never say that. But most of us live that way...Painstakingly guarding that which rightfully belongs to us. And nobody around us really notices, because they, of course, are busy protecting what belongs to them. 

While this may be the norm in our culture, it is far from Biblical. The early church shared EVERYTHING. If there was ever someone in need among them, someone else would meet that need, even if that meant they had to go sell a piece of their property to have the money to do it. 

This is something we try to drill into our kids' heads. By our example, by our language, and by our requirements of them. 

Our Example: 
  • If Andy is going to be out of town for the week, there is typically someone we know that could benefit from borrowing his car. We're happy to do that.
  • When we were blessed to be able to purchase a new vehicle, we gave away our last one. Let me be honest, it was not very nice. Actually the kind of car you feel bad about giving to someone. But it met a need for a little while.
  • When we see a need that we have the capacity to meet, we try our best to jump in and do it, even if it comes with personal sacrifice involved.

Our Language:
  • When the Mine issue comes up, we often say, "Nothing in this world belongs to us. Everything that we have is a gift from God. He's given us so much so we are happy to share it with others." 
  • A shorter phrase that you could hear me say (probably multiple times a day) is, "In our family, we share." It's part of what it means to be a Wood.

Our Requirements of them:
  • We're not real big on identifying which toy belongs to which child. Sure, certain toys were given to a certain child for a birthday or Christmas, but once the toy is in the house it is a shared possession. We have guidelines for possessions that could be damaged by a younger sibling, but we don't typically give anyone the authority to say "That's my favorite car. You can't play with it." In our family, we share. 
  • Also, an unwillingness to share with friends or siblings is simply not tolerated. It's not something that we're going to have a long, heartfelt discussion over on a counselor's couch. I'm not going to try to coax him into giving another child a turn with the soccer ball by telling him how good it feels to share. No. We share. That's what we do. Whether it feels good or not, it's the right thing to do. 
You know why "Mine" is one of the first words a child can say? Because it's part of our DNA to be selfish. If a newborn could speak, he would say "Mine" right along with the rest of us. To live the way Jesus wants us to live (with open hands instead of clinched fists) we have got to make some very intentional lifestyle choices. 

Generosity brings blessing and joy. Greed brings anxiety and isolation. 

What can you share or give away today?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An apple a day...

We've been studying about apples this past week during homeschool and, lucky for us, California grows lots of apples. So last Friday we took a Family Fun Fieldtrip to an awesome apple orchard. If you live in the Bay Area and would like to check it out, you better go quick because this weekend is the last weekend for apple picking this season.

Get ready for picture overload. I just couldn't resist (and the Grandparents wouldn't want me to!).

 This photo was taken by Caedmon. Not too shabby, eh?
 This photo was taken by Sammy. We'll put it in the "needs improvement" category.

 Of course, you can't go apple picking (or anywhere!) without 
spontaneously erupting into a sword fight.
Check out the gorgeous backdrop.

We got a little over-zealous with our apple picking and got more than our $20 budget 
that we had set. Had to rob Caedmon's wallet for additional cash! (Don't worry, 
I'll pay him back.) 

Unbelievable. The smell was intoxicating. Andy & I did share one piece with 
Caedmon and 1/2 a piece with Sammy. The rest we ate ourselves after 
the boys were in bed. Don't judge us. :-) 

It was such a perfect family day. One of those times that I could hardly keep myself from busting out with Edwin McCain's lyrics: "These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive. These are the moments I'll remember all my life. I've got all I've waited for, and I could not ask for more."

And goodness knows, every mother with young kids needs moments to feel like that.