Saturday, January 31, 2009

From The Master's Inn To Chesterfield

Josh and I are at The Master's Inn campground here in Altavista, VA.  It is a really cool campground and ministry.  The weekend is going well.  The first night is always hard with a new group of kids that you haven't been able to connect with yet and with a long drive up here wearing you/them out.  It was a sweet spirit anyway though.  I'm excited to see where God will lead today=)

The cabin we stayed in was a REAL log/wood cabin, hand built from the ground up.  It has a quite a story behind it.  
The Inside Of Our Room

I must say that I was a little nervous when I laid my head on my pillow last night and looked up at cracked boards and padding.  Good thing Josh wasn't feeling like a kid and wanting to sleep up on the top bunk above me=)
We were Roomies Last Night=)

What I Looked Up At From My Bed

Tonight after the worship set Josh and I are packing up to go lead worship for a church in Chesterfield, VA (near Richmond) so it's gonna be a LONG night.  Please pray that we'll get there safely and that we'll feel rested for the service tomorrow.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Leaving Again - The Lady Who Lights The Candles

Josh and I left this morning for another weekend-long winter conference.  We are stoked about the opportunity and are anxious to see God work among these students.

On the way home from Camp Bethel 2 weekends ago I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the stuff I had to get done to catch up on at home.  Remember, I am still in the stage of pregnancy where I can't seem to get enough energy to get a shower before climbing back in bed at night=)  I was in desperate need of getting groceries, I had TONS of laundry to do, I absolutely could not forget another doctor's appointment, cleaning that had been put on the back burner, a newsletter to get out, accounting work in the office, the list seemed to go on and on.

The feelings began to overtake me as we got closer to the house.  I looked over at Josh and proposed a brainstorming idea.  "What if there was something we could do right before we left that would help me look forward to walking in the front door when we get home and RELAX."  (My family is laughing now because they know I don't know how to relax=))

Here was Josh's solution, being the husband he is and knowing I was in need of a laugh,  "Well, all we need to do is find a lady who will go in our house and tidy it up and light some candles all over."  I couldn't help but laugh.  Now it is an on-going joke.  Remember how I said earlier that I was in desperate need of getting groceries?  Well, that was 2 weeks ago and the only thing I picked up at the store to tide us over was bread and milk, ha!  I was in the process of telling Josh that we were going to have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to eat when we got back on Monday when he looked at me and said, "Maybe the lady who is coming over to light the candles can stock our pantry too?!"

Any takers?=)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Before I actually had kids I always said, "My kids will never be thumb suckers.  You can always take a pacifier away but you can't take a thumb away."  Little did I know that I really have no say in the matter!

When Areyna was about 3 months old I very clearly remember sitting on the couch with Josh watching TV.  All of a sudden I heard a noise.  I ran upstairs to Rainy's bed and found her half-asleep with her thumb in her mouth sucking away.  WHAT?!  This can't happen.  She WILL take her pacifier!!!  After several attempts of gently taking her thumb out of her mouth and  replacing it with her paci, just to have her spit it out and stick her thumb back in, I gave up, hoping it was just a one-time thing.  Nope, she was officially a thumb sucker.

Just about the same story could be said of Zeke too.  Neither of them were too terribly bad though, since they would only suck their thumbs if they were tired or sleeping.  

Now, as for thumbsuckers, I think it is so stinkin' cute to see a little toddler cuddling up sucking their thumb and there are plenty of benefits to having a thumbsucker; such as never losing it like you would a pacifier.  

That being said, it is another thing to see a 4-year old walking around sucking their thumb all day.  Areyna will be 4 in another month and it is time to be done with the thumb!

So, Josh and I devised a plan.  We figured it would be easier to do it with both the kids since they do everything together!  I called around to get this stuff called "THUM".  It's this nasty stuff you put on their fingernails.  Well, we went all out and painted their whole thumb.  It didn't take long for them to suck the stuff off and get back to sucking so we moved on to idea #2.

Check out the short video of the socks and duct tape HERE!  It is hilarious!!!  Not only did it not work, it took several hours for the kids to fall asleep!  Ahh, it was awful.  Plus, Zeke cried off and on for the first hour and a half.  It seemed like torture to him because he couldn't feel his bubby=(  
After several nights of trying to figure out different ways of taping the socks on we gave up on this idea too.  After 2-3 hours the socks would be pulled off somehow and thrown on the floor anyway...

We were running out of ideas.  We had heard of one other trick that might work.  Tobasco-type hot sauce.  This has actually worked the best.  Zeke cried out at about 2:30am because his tongue was on fire.  That's a good sign, only because we know he still had the stuff on his thumb and he hadn't been sucking his thumb up to that point.  When we went in the room Rainy wasn't sucking either!  

So, we have a 2-step process to nip this in the bud, or at least to guarantee a shorter span of thumbsucking...

Step 1:  THUM stuff all over their thumbs. We got it at Target for about $3.
Step 2:  Tobasco sauce, Texas Pete or any other spicy HOT sauce on the tips of the thumbs (it Areyna's cracked thumbs). I get it for free with coupons all the time at Harris Teeter. I always go in to kiss the kids one more time before I go to bed and I have yet to see their thumbs in their mouths at that time.  The battle is not over, but we are making some progress.  Areyna really wants to be done sucking her thumb but a 4-year habit is hard to break!  

How about you, do you have a thumbsucker?  What did you do, or what are you doing, if anything at all, to stop the habit?

*Disclamer-we are not trying to punish our children by not allowing them to suck their thumbs.  Areyna has terrible excema and her thumb has been cracked and bleeding a lot, this winter especially, from the dry air that we needed to do something.  Not to mention the oral benefits from quitting.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

These Are A Few Of His Favorite Things

Zeke's personality has really blossomed lately with his growing vocabulary.  He definitely has some favorites.  Here are a few phrases we hear a lot around here lately=)

1- "Can I Hear Oh Pase Him again, daddy?"
  Translation:  "Can I hear Oh Praise Him again, daddy?"

2- "I want to blush!!"  
Translation:  "I want to flush!!"

3- "I need my tootahr."
Translation:  "I need my guitar."

4- "I'm code!!!"
Translation:  "I'm cold!!!"

5- "Maido is nuths"
Translation:  "Mater is nuts!"  (from the movie, Cars)

6-  "I want to watch Monto Eek."
Translation:  "I want to watch Monsters Ink"

7- "One day I had b00ggies and I ate them and I didn't like them."
No translation needed=)

8- "I want to wear my g-lubs mommy"
  Translation:  "I want to wear my gloves mommy."

There is never a dull moment around here with our 2 kids.  I can't imagine what it's going to be like with 3!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Almost 13-week Belly

Some of you have been asking so here ya go.  I'll try to keep up with my pregnancy with some belly pictures.  Just for the record, I feel MUCH bigger than this pictures looks because I don't see that pizza craving that I got last night.  I'll try to remember this angle for the future=)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cirque De Sole - The Via Version

The kids were absolutely WIRED this past week.  We were even spending almost entire days outside and they were still not out of energy by the end of the day!  Josh and I spent the majority of our evenings laughing our heads off at the ridiculous stunts Rainy and Zeke would pull off.  Well, one night Rainy got Josh to do the "airplane" and Zeke just couldn't help but get involved too, naked and all=)  (He goes absolutely NUTS when we let him run around naked!)  So this is what I was looking at.  Quite an eye sore=)  I think I'll submit these to see if we could get some additional income working for Cirque De Sole

Saturday, January 24, 2009

SOP - Part 3

Creative Mom-Of-The-Year Award

This SOP is just a lack of creative juices...

I should have gotten one of these yesterday.  At Areyna's school, Friday's are special days.  They are supposed to wear the color of the week and they are supposed to bring something for show and tell that starts with the letter of the week.

Well, this morning I racked my brain trying to think of something, anything that started with the letter "O".  All I came up with was an orange.  Now that's original, ha!  (We are fresh out of Oscar The Grouch paraphernalia in our house!)  As for the color of the week, I couldn't find anything warm enough with the color blue so her ponytail holder would just have to do.  Those teachers are gonna think I'm such an idiot!=)

At least I remembered to get her to school on time this week!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Words Of Wisdom - Thankful

Areyna looked at me this morning and said...

Rainy - "I am thankful today."

Me - "Oh?  That's wonderful.  What are you thankful for?"

Rainy - "I am thankful for you. I am thankful that God gave you to daddy."

And then the tears started!  Just kidding, but it sure did warm my heart=)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Baby In The House

Areyna and Zeke's imaginations have been running wild this week.  Zeke has been crawling around and pretending to fuss like a baby.  Then he crawls over to Rainy and says "Hold you Rainy" which means, "I want you to hold me".  Areyna then proceeds to act like his mommy.  It is hilarious to watch them.  They had been playing this ALL morning today so it shouldn't have surprised me to find this when I walked in to get them after room-time...

Zeke was in his "bathtub" with his baby bib on=)
Areyna was feeding him (yes, that IS a penny)
Now she's giving him a drink
What will they think of next=)

***Thank you all for your advice to help Zeke.  He is acting MUCH better today.  I must say that the picture at the top of yesterday's post was taken last year to show how bad his snotty nose was.  That is why he is so attached to his "bubby" (blanket) now.  We carried one around with him the whole first year and a half of his life to wipe that runny nose!  So, it isn't actually that bad right now, Thank Goodness!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


There are a few signs that we consistently see Zeke develop when he is beginning to get sick.  Way before the signs of a cough or vomiting we begin to see...

1- Whining - you know, the kind that continues to crescendo throughout the day until you want to pull your hair out.

2- Lack Of Appetite - he normally eats enough for all of us in the house so when he turns down his favorites like broccoli, cookies or peanut butter then we know we have a problem

3- The Return Of The Runny Nose - before we came across the wonderful invention of the humidifier Zeke was plagued with one of the worst runny noses I've ever seen.  So, when he starts wiping his nose again, we know a big sickness is coming on.

4 - Did I mention he just won't eat?!

Anyway, he has all the simptoms of pre-sickness.  Is there anything we can do to help prevent him from getting sick?  He is 2 1/2, gets a daily multi-vitamin, and plenty of exercise and veggies.  We hate to just sit around and wait for the bug to hit.  Any suggestions?

I Think It's Safe To Say...

...that I am getting older=)  I am still recovering from the LATE nights and early mornings from last weekends retreat.  It doesn't help that I'm already exhausted from being pregnant=)  I started getting that feeling you get when you have to eat right away or you'll get sick.  Well, this one was, I have got to sleep right away or I'm REALLY gonna get sick!  Not fun.  It was a GREAT weekend though!!!  I know that I was challenged in several areas for sure.  I'm sure Josh will give a recap soon, we're just waiting for some pictures.

Today has been full of successes!  I was thankful for a little motivation from the snow yesterday to get me going=)

I got a shower and got dressed before lunch, I got a grocery list together, went to the store, rang up, remembered all my coupons (I got all the way to the checkout with my buggy full of food last week before I realized that I had forgotten ALL my coupons, ugh), put the groceries away AND have a menu planned for the rest of the week.  None of these things have happened in a very long time=)

Checking things off my list sure feels good=)  What do you have to check off your list this week?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Day - Part 2

The Preparation
Rainy kept eating snow=)
We made a sled out of the top of our sandbox
I busted it! But the kids had fun...
Josh decided to body ski
Then he took the kids with him!
After we got in and warmed up while we watched the inauguration 
we ate lunch and made snow ice cream!
I LOVE snow days...

Snow Day - Part 1

It snowed...and it's STILL coming down!!!

Here is the view of our backyard

Here is the view out the kid's playroom window.

Areyna woke up giddy just like I did. We've already played outside in the snow. Pictures later to come=)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Don't Tease Me

It is predicted to snow ALL day tomorrow!  If you know me at all you know that I am most definitely going to be setting my alarm for 3am when it is supposed to start and won't be able to sleep much after that waiting in sheer anticipation for my favorite weather ever.  Josh always laughs at me because 90% of the time that snow is predicted we get a couple of flurries and you're lucky if you even see those.

So, I beg you weather man, do not tease me.  Don't toy with these sensitive emotions of mine=)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend = Winter Conferences

Almost every year since Josh and I have been married this extended weekend has been spent at some youth winter conference or another.  This year is no different.  We are headed up to Camp Bethel in Fincastle, VA for a weekend of leading worship for a couple of churches joining together for this camp.

This weekend also happens to be my birthday weekend and I'll be 30!!!  I feel like I'm still a teenager sometimes=)  Josh's mom graciously offered to keep the kids so Josh and I can have a day-long date.  That is the best birthday present EVER, a day spent alone with my favorite person, my best friend!!!

So, have a good weekend everyone...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

He's 2 - #17

We've had lots of cold, rainy days lately but we HAD to get outside.
Here's just one of the mud pits in our backyard.
Zeke & Rainy WERE sliding down the slide and then Zeke got a better idea...
The belly slide, and then the knee slide down our muddy hills=)
We did have a GREAT time though=)
Don't you just love how Areyna interprets
 "Rainy, go get WARM clothes on, because it's VERY cold outside"=)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh Yeah, I Was Browning The Meat For Dinner!!!

My kids should have been fast asleep by the time I got back in from my walk but apparently neither of them were very interested in sleeping, even though Zeke, especially, NEEDED a nap.  I ended up putting both of them in the playroom for a little bit of time because I had some work to get done.  Zeke was constantly fussing about something though.  I was in the middle of browning stew meat for dinner when I heard a "ruckus" and needed to go intervene.  After I solved the issue I went to go check my e-mail and that lead to reading a few blogs and...oh yeah, the memory of being in the middle of something...hmmmm...

OH YEAH I was browning meat...and now it was BURNED!!!  As if the smoke-filled living room weren't enough of a reminder, ha!

Then, I went to go switch some laundry and pushed over my over-flowing basket of clean clothes that I have yet to fold so I could put my wet clothes in the dryer to find the dryer FULL of MORE CLEAN CLOTHES!  

I cannot keep up!  My pregnant brain IS NOT functioning properly, or maybe it is!;)

My mom says I'm being too hard on myself so I'm trying to laugh about all the meat I just burned, the wet clothes in the washer that now smell like mildew, the OB appointed that I completely forgot about this week and all the other half-done projects around the house that I keep forgetting I'm in the middle of=)

Now, what was I just doing?

Feels So Good

I just haven't been able to get my energy up to do anything productive this week.  Although, today I managed to get the kids dressed before lunch which is a major accomplishment=)  I even missed my OB appointment on Monday.  I completely forgot about it until that night...ugh!  I've been so tired and scatter-brained.  Not because we haven't been going to bed on time, though, because we have made our goal of 10-10:30 every night.  I think that the major physical effect of this pregnancy is definitely the exhaustion.

But today, being one of my most tired days, I decided to go get some exercise.  Not only did I KNOW it would give me a boost of energy but I'm afraid my body isn't going to keep up with my appetite and crazy cravings much longer;)  

So, off to walking I went and man did it feel good.  I ran consistently through my entire first pregnancy and attempted it with my second to no avail because of a knee injury that has yet to go away so a-walking I did go and I'm so glad I did!  It's going to be a good day after all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Always Want To Get Back There

Josh and I were at Ridge Church on Sunday.  It was one of my favorite Sundays there, for more than one reason...
*I LOVE to see a godly church plant growing=)
*Josh did a GREAT job leading worship!
*Pastor Chris Brown got to preach live and he is a GREAT communicator!
*I felt the presence of God so heavy upon my heart during the worship that all I could do was cry.

I didn't play.  Plans changed last minute and I had another week violin free!  That isn't why it was so good though.  It was one of those Sundays where I felt totally captivated by God.  Totally in His presence.  It was one of those moments that I am going to remember, I'm going to strive to get back to, for the rest of my life.  I admit that, even as a worship leader, I sometimes have to MAKE myself worship.  It doesn't always come naturally like it should.

Before the message even started Pastor Chris was just speaking from his heart and at one point he mentioned that there will be a moment in your life that you'll feel so close to God that you can't get it out of your head and you will spend the rest of your life striving to get back to that place.

One of those moments for me was when I was working at Camp Longridge as a camp counselor during the summers between my college years.  One summer in particular sticks out in my mind.  I felt in constant conversation with God throughout the day.  I remember waking up early each morning to start my day with Him before the campers got up and feeling so close to Him.  I remember that time often and want to get back to that place.  

Sunday was another "moment" that I will never forget.

What are some of YOUR moments that can't escape your mind?  Where do you strive to get back to?

Monday, January 12, 2009

When Your Older Sibling Is A Sister

Zeke came out in one of Rainy's princess dresses saying "I am beautiful!"

These miniature pony's are one of THOSE toys that Rainy 
and Zeke constantly fight over.  They are actually one of Zeke's
favorite toys!  He puts their shoes on and off for hours of fun=)

What can you do, huh?  He is very confident in his manhood=)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Outing

Last night I was CRAVING a sub from Subway and I just couldn't handle any other food.  It seemed like everything else was making me sick.  Josh is so good to let me give in to my cravings.  Anyway, we went and got subs at Subway for me and Josh and then headed over to McDonald's for the kids.  **NOTE:  we fed the kids from the $1 menu for cheaper than 1 kid's meal would have cost us**  I don't remember the last time we went out to eat as a family just for fun.  We had a GREAT night.  After dinner the kids played in the play area and had a blast.  

Here's the best part of the night though.  We took Zeke on this outing in his BIG BOY UNDIES and he did AWESOME!  No accidents.  I am still shocked at how well he is doing and how easy he has been.  He's even started wearing his big boy undies during his nap time!

Today has been a nice, lazy, relaxing day.  The kids are down for a nap, Josh is rehearsing the set for the weekend and I've been going through the house to get every last thing for a BIG goodwill dropoff we're making tomorrow.  It always feels good to get rid of the things that we no longer need/use.  Hope everyone else is having a good weekend...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another Year (A Little Late)

All the way home from Maryland and Virginia Josh and I talked about personal and spiritual goals we wanted to accomplish or work on in 2009.  I love the beginning of a new year.  Fresh starts, new beginnings and the feeling that changes CAN be made.  Here are just a few of the things that I want to work on this year.

Here's to a year of...
  *Going to bed on time - 10-10:30pm
*Getting up early - a goal of between 5:30-6am
*Consistently exercising
*Office hours - Josh and I set up office hours for me to help me get all the ministry stuff done and not feel so pulled in different directions.
*Date nights - We are going to line them up in advance so we have them on our schedules and CAN'T schedule anything else
*Song writing - Josh and I have a goal to write a song together this year!
*Trying to finish memorizing the book of Titus.  I'm finally on the last chapter and I WILL get through it!
*Being a better LISTENER
*Loving & supporting my family as a mother and wife like NO ONE ELSE can.  This is my GREATEST calling!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

String Party 2008

***Read more about our yearly String Party Tradition HERE***

My sister-in-law, Dana, is enjoying her army crawl under the strings
G-Daddy & Nonnie looking on in support
My brother, Andrew, and sister, Deedee, climbing high
Making sure we didn't miss anything
Pinning up the surprises


Cousins, Joey and Alex following their strings
I think Alex likes what he found
Rainy found a treasure
Zeke even got to join the fun this year
Rainy's bootie bag

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas At Home

It was so awesome to have our first Christmas morning in our own home.  The kids woke up so excited.  They got one present before breakfast.  

Josh and I carried my family tradition of homemade Strawberry Butter and crescents.  The kids weren't too fond of the strawberry butter so Josh made them pancakes.

After breakfast we read a VERY brief version of the Christmas story;)  It's a little hard to keep the kids away from the presents that have been screaming their names for weeks from under the tree!

Rainy LOVES my littlest pet shop toys, can you tell?

Now Zeke doesn't have to use sticks and toy screws as microphones!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back In The Saddle Again

Guess what Josh and I did yesterday? We went to church! I know it doesn't sound like much to you, but let me explain. We got up together, had breakfast and went to church as a family.

THEN, after the service was over we came straight home. No packing up, no tearing down.  We had our first weekend off in I don't know how long! It was incredible.

After lunch we began taking down Christmas and trying to find a home for all the new things that have been added to the Via household from Christmas. Our house if FINALLY back in order ... well, except for the piles of laundry that need to be washed and the kids playroom which looks like ToysRUs blew up all over it=)

It is so good to be back in the blogosphere and getting back into a routine.

This week I'll be posting some goals that I have made for 2009 and posting pictures of our Annual String Party as promised.  Stay tuned and Happy New Year=)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

On Our Way

I'm sitting here while Josh packs up the car. We are ON OUR WAY HOME! I'm not looking forward to all the work waiting in the office for me but I am looking forward to being back in my own bed tonight. I left my camara adapter at home so I'll be posting pictures of our awesome week soon=)