Happy Halloween!

There's no place like home...

Christian Pumpkin Carving

The kids' Sunday school class gave them a handout that promotes learning the gospel through carving pumpkins. I thought this was a great way to turn a holiday that is historically represented as dark and scary and turn it into an opportunity to share the light.

Last night I tried to use some of the examples I liked, however I found my kids were just a little too amped up to really absorb much. Maybe it will work better for you?
Remove the seeds and slime from inside the pumpkin. God sent his son Jesus to do what we couldn't, take away our sins.
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
Look at the clean and empty pumpkin. Once the mess has been taken away, a new space has been created for something better.
"..throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God- truly righteous and holy." Ephesians 4:22-32
Cut a joyful face in the pumpkin. Joy is one of the first things that God uses to fill that empty space.
"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Place a candle inside the pumpkin to represent that now God lives in our heart and when we obey Him, the light of His goodness shines through us.
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
Put the carved pumpkin next to an uncarved one. When we trust Jesus to take away our sins, He makes us into a whole new creature, full of joy and light.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
Set your pumpkin out for all to see, but know that it will eventually rot and perish. Those with the real light of Christ will never perish because we have eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16

This was adapted from "Redeeming Halloween" by Kim Wier and Pam McCune.

Fabulous Fall

I was trying to hold onto summer as long as possible and this year Mother Nature was on my side. We have had the most beautiful Indian Summer. Fall has come upon us gently, giving us glorious days in the 70's with warm sun. Many days the kids have warn shorts and flip flops. I am thankful that it was not like last year where we had a 17 degree freeze in early October causing our pipes to freeze and our basement to flood.
The freeze last year killed the leaves and left us with a muted fall coloring. This year it is as though the leaves have been twice a brilliant.
We went for a nature walk and collected many beautiful leaves and soaked in the warmth of fall.

We've Been Boo-ed and Spooked! The kids in our neighborhood Boo each other where they leave an anonymous goodie bag of Halloween treats with a note to post on your door and instruction to Boo to fellow neighbors or friends. This is one of those sweet things where it better to give than receive. The girls were more fired up to deliver their Boo gifts than they were about their gifts. They had so much fun leaving the treats, ringing the door bell and running as fast as they could to the car.

We took a trip with friends to the Berry Patch Farm to pick berries and shop their organic produce.
Since Hank out grew his Strawberry allergy, he could eat as many as he wanted this year. :0)
If there is a tractor in eye sight, Hank will find it and "want to ride on it!"

We are enjoying Spooktacular Snacks.
Festive Fall Pies.
I know old man winter is around the corner. Hopefully he will be as kind as Fall has been.

Pumpkin Patch 2010

Today we headed to the pumpkin patch. This is normally a family tradition that my parents and sisters partake in, but each of our lives have gotten so busy, the one day we could all go, it rained. So this was our first solo pumpkin patch visit. We dashed over after church in hopes of picking our pumpkins before the weather turned bad.
Hank thought it was pretty fun and found a pumpkin that weighs as much as he does. :0)

Kaitlin searching for her pumpkin.
Karlie had a heck of time. She would find one and then find yet another she liked even better. After finding four pumpkins, she finally found the one!
Hailey found hers first.
My little pumpkins.
My whole world.

Moab- The last 24 hours

Sunday morning we took a drive through Arches National Park. The weather could not have been nicer. We learned October is Moab's busiest time of year and validated that at the park. At the Delicate Arch, it appeared as ants were marching.
The kids had a blast playing on the rocks and in the dirt.
The adults were captivated by the scenery. I have turned into my parents. I so vividly remember them encouraging me as a child to take in the beauty. As they exclaimed with excitement of the golden aspen or the purple mountains, I would roll my eyes and think, "big deal." Now I am the one urging the kids to appreciate the beauty around them and they just want to know when we are having lunch.

The colors in Moab are exquisite. I can finally appreciate what my parents were seeing.
Kaitlin and Hank enjoyed the red dirt on their own terms.

Biker dudes and chicks!

Max and Pops did Porcupine Ridge our first day, but I forgot to show these scary pics.
The trail is right along a cliff but what an amazing view.
So, I am hoping since they both survived and completed the course that they won't have to do it again next time. :0)
On Sunday the boys took Hailey and I to Slickrock, "perhaps the most popular mountain bike trail in the world!" I can tell you I didn't see many 9 year old girls out there. But I did see my little lady doing stuff grown men couldn't do. She was an absolute natural. She has never been mountain bike riding and took to it like a fish to water. She even had two really nasty falls, but after getting the needed hugs and kisses she hopped on her bike and said, "Let's do this!"
This ride was one of those rare times I have experienced the panicked feeling that you have asked your kid to do more than they should. However, your sheer confidence in them is making them bullet proof. If Hailey could have seen the fear welling up in me as I watched her attempt some steep descents, I don't know that she would have been able to conquer them. Max and my confidence in her worked like Dumbo's feather. There were a few times that I only attempted it because I had just watched my precious daughter complete it and she was calling to me that I could do it. This parenting stuff is a real mind blower. Hailey did the ride with Aunt Anna's shoes (4 sizes bigger) because she only packed flip flops and with the seat of her shorts completely torn open from a fall. She did the entire practice loop and was complemented as having the best wipe-out a fellow lady biker had ever seen. What a gal!
Max made it clear that Santa screwed up and bought her a tank of a bike and that he was going to have to take her out and get her a real bike. Way to throw Santa under the bus.
There was lots of snuggles and loves.
A little man to man around the grill.
A star lit stroll.
Some tired campers. All four of them were out for two hours of the drive home. Karlie was so crashed out that her head is hanging below the bottom of the picture.

The only problem with this trip was that it was too short. We can't wait for a 2011 trip.

Moab- The 1st 24 hours

We made a mad dash to Moab to meet Max's parents and sister Anna for the weekend. We tried to pack as much fun in as we possibly could in a little over 48 hours. Max's family spent almost as much time driving (30 hours) as they did playing with us in Moab. Thank you for a wonderful weekend!
Moab or bust! The kids did great on our 6 hour drive. I see many road trip vacations in our future.

The skeletons come out to tackle Pops and Nana!
This was the backyard of the house we stayed at. The kids had to immediately climb the rocks much to Nana's dismay.
The beauty of Moab was endless.
We drove to a spot along the Colorado River to play and soak up the views.
Kids and water. What more do you need?

The kids (Pops included) loved playing in the super fine mud.
Of course it progressed to mud every where. Look at Pop's shorts and Karlie's arm.
Max decided to cool off with a swim. It was very cold.
The little people liked the idea of taking their clothes off. I didn't want muddy kids in the car. Win, win situation.
We celebrated Anna's birthday with a king crab leg dinner and chocolate cake! I think I am still full from all that dinner. :0)

Braids were the in look.
Porcupine Rim Trail 2 - Max and Monty 0
These two (and Sam) tried to ride the trail a decade ago and were snowed out. They vowed to conquer it this time. They did successfully conquer the trail, however, I think it had the last say.
More adventures tomorrow.