Thursday, December 24, 2009



One dear family in need brought Christmas to us
more than all the presents under our tree.
As a parent, we want to give and give to our children
but what are we giving our kids this Christmas?
Will our kids remember seeing the little girls wide eyes as she danced around holding her new clothes?
Will our kids remember hearing the sickly mother with Cancer who could only say Muchas Gracias?
Will our kids remember the shy but thankful father?
or will they be too focused on the toys under our own tree?
Is it just another day to help a family in need and pass it by without pondering on it?
Hand-me-downs, used toys, new clothes is that really enough?
Dear Family, will you read the Bibles that we set before you?
Oh, how we wish that we could take away your life's grim reality and give you HOPE.
Hope for a new day, cancer free
Hope for a new way, to provide for your family
Hope in Jesus, the only Hope that lives forever.
So, Dear Family (in need) , in You we saw Christmas
But in us, did you see JESUS?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beauty Will Rise

This interview is worth watching. Hope in a tragic story!
Steven Curtis Chapman: My life and My Family

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Happy Birthday Owen.... (in Reese's Truck)

Happy Birthday to our 3 year old son who fills our lives with JOY
there are a gajillion things WE LOVE about you, but for the sake of lists,
here are a few:

1. His passion for Maurice's Truck, --the silver Toyota work truck pictured above that Maurice drives for Woodsmoke. Owen calls him Reese. (We have joked that any fortune cookie Owen may read could end with the phrase "in Reese's Truck")

2. His constant smile mixed with a crinkly nose, blonde locks, and sparkling blue eyes (in Reese's Truck)

3. When he snuggles with mommy and says, "I like you" (in Reeses truck)

4. A true Daddy's boy and will do anything to be with him (in Reeses's truck)

5. His passion for playing with toys (in Reese's Truck)

6. He can't stay hidden but loves to hide when Daddy comes home (in Reese's truck)

7. His love for hats worn backwards and sunglasses even indoors (and in Reese's truck)

8. The way he yells "Caeden" with pure glee when big brother arrives home from school (in Reese's truck)

9. He never has a lack for words (not even in Reese's truck)

10. The way he parks his trucks by his bed everynight (in Reese's truck)

11. You can always tell what he has had to eat, cuz the evidence is all over his face (in Reese's truck)

12. "I'n hungwy....I'n still hungwy.....I'n still hungwy" (all day long and in Reese's truck)

13. When he has nothing else to say, his default words are "Why?, What?, and Badguy!" (in Reese's truck)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cheer

I am not sure if it is Christmas Cheer, or the Starbucks sweetened Black Tea Lemonade that I just drank (can't get it in decaf), but lately there is a smile inside me that can't be wiped away.
I am so thankful that God has provided a job for me in December because I have had a lot of fun with gift buying and gift making this season.
Today was a fun day too.
9:30 am took Caeden to school for his Christmas party

10:00 am ordered Owens birthday cake from publix.....this is the first birthday cake for the boys that will not be homemade, but it is special because we are putting this picture on it :)
If you know Owen, then you know that he
is obsessive over Maurice's work truck.
No matter what subject you talk to him about
this truck can be brought into the conversation
at any given moment. for example
Me: "Owen, what is your favorite color?"
O: "Reese's Truck"

10:30 am: Owen and I got our haircut.
My soon to be 3 yr old son sat with me for 2 hours without a fuss. Christmas miracle? maybe. We brought 4 different truck books and read them over and over again, and of course the cookies given to him by the ladies at the salon helped too. He acutally just got his bangs trimmed because Aunt Hopey wants it long for her wedding that is in 2 weeks.

12:30 pm: Went shopping in Anthropologie and wanted 1 million items for myself, but bought a few great gifts for others instead

1:00 pm Owen and I got drinks at Starbucks....hence the wirey Christmas cheer inside of me right now.

1:30 pm Came home to my house that just got cleaned by my mom's cleaning service. That alone can bring a whole lot of cheer. We have listed our house with a realtor and they were supposed to take pictures of the house today, but it got canceled due to rain. But I will enjoy the clean today for after my 3 yr olds party probably won't be clean.

2:00 pm The mail lady delivered these today
Custom Tutus for my nieces made by Nanastutus from Etsy. I ordered the pink and green for Aspen and the Purple for Addy. They will loooove them.

3:00 pm Owen is apparently experiencing theChristmas cheer as well,
because he is wide awake after a 45 minute nap. Or it could be due to the 2 homemade shortbread cookies he ate at the salon and the cookies i let him after after the salon as a special treat for acting so well behaved.
Whatever this cheery feeling is from, I pray it lasts well beyond the holidays and into the New Year and thay you experience the same! Merry Christmas

Friday, December 11, 2009

Creativity or Competition?

Yesterday I enjoyed creating a homemade snowman with my kids.
I was proud of us!
It was one of Caeden's school projects
Then, when we brought it to school today and saw some of the other snowmen..............
I was humbled.
This was our cute little guy:

(notice he has feet, because Owen wanted him too :)
and Caeden wanted him to have a sailor hat instead of a top hat)

This was theirs:
1) one was made entirely out of food and is more creative than the picture i found on the web
i was so impressed that i want to make one myself and posted a link to this foodie snowman for a recipe.

2) One was made out of styrofoam that looked completely like they had some Northern snow shipped down here and made a perfectly shaped ball out of it. Similar to this one below, but much larger

Even though our snowman is not 3D or edible or perfect.....what I am trying to learn is to relish in the creative time and NOT be a mom that is just in competition with other moms.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

10 reasons why I've loved this week

Besides the previously negative post, this week has been riddled with GOOD. It was the small pleasant memories each day that I chose to "ponder in my heart." I must say, I feel alive in the Winter. December in particular is my favorite month. Staying home is so much more enjoyable when the windows are open, the breeze is cool, and the air smells like Balsam Fir. Let me clarify, this is Florida winter I am talking about. Sometimes I forget that the majority of the country is shoveling snow.

Some of the cherished memories this week:
( pictures will be added a little later)

1. THE mentioned above

2. An afternoon outside laying on the hammock while the kids dug in the dirt, playing a little football with them, then taking pictures while Daddy dug out the dirt hill to form a bike ramp and watching with a nervous heart while all three boys (Dad included) jumped the hill on their bikes.

3. Getting our Christmas tree. Probably the tallest and fullest one since the establishment of the Connell household 9+years ago. There are several great things about this tree. a) it smells lovely, b) we moved furniture and redecorated the whole living room around this tree. (some may know that it doesn't take much for me to re-decorate :)) c) we have new LED energy efficient lights on it, thanks to a large garage sale by Home Instead Senior Care- the lights have a much kinder glow and are not hot to the touch, d) Now the darkness of the mornings and evenings is made cozy and inviting for plenty of book reading and breakfast picnics.

4. Our Advent Calendar: found it at Jo-Ann's fabric, consists of 25 little booklets, and comprises one excellently told story of Christ's birth. So much so that I tear up everytime I read it. Each night we read one new story from it and will continue to do so until Christmas Eve.

5. Imagining with Owen: This boy's brain is so imaginative that it intimidates me at times. He loves to create with his mind and role play. He is so enamoured with his trucks that i will admit it is hard for me to sit and play, but when I let go, I find myself in a fantasy world that is so incredible and there is no turning back. It is times like these that help ease 75% of the other times right now when he is acting "3."

6. Date night with my husband: ENOUGH SAID!!!

7. Blind side: an inspiring movie seen on date night which afterward we both expressed our desires in living out of a missional life.

8. Christmas Shopping: I love shopping for the kids

9. Cookbooks: It was a highlight for me while shopping in Marshalls, to come across a cookbook called Decepetively Delicious for $6.99. My interested was sparked when I heard about a cookbook that "sneaks" vegetables into meals and desserts.
The other cookbook I have been wanting is The Almond Flour and Gluten Free Cookbook. My mom ordered it for me today from Amazon. I have tried 2 or 3 of these recipes and they are very delicious and healthy.

10. Harvest time ministries. Well this could have been #10, but unfortunatley due to the constant rain the last two days, our family service project was post-poned. I was really looking forward to this. We will hopefully participate in the near future.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tis the Season

It has been about a month since we last went to Story Time at our local library. The last visit landed us in the ER discovering that Owen has an ear infection and tonsilitis. His fever came on about 1/2 hour after leaving the library. So from a mama's point of view, it seemed likely that the infected germs came from the library. Do they really disinfect all those kids books, and puzzles, and toys? I sound like a germ freak, but when you really think about it, I know our kids have not necessarily kept each book clean that we have brought home. None of us have gotten the Seasonal flu or Swine Flu vaccines, an since Tis the Season for those paticular illnesses, I have tried to be careful without going overboard on baby wipes, and hand disenfectant, and hand washing. Yesterday we decided to attempt story time again. We weren't there too long, just long enought to sit in on story time and check out TEN books because when my kids ask for books I can't say NO. I could spen more money on books than toys for them this Christmas. About 1/2 hour after we left the library I developed a sore throat, left ear ache, and slight headache. Am I a hypochondriac, is it a coincidence, or does the local library really have more germs than a herd of Mexican Swine? My symptoms kept getting worse, so by 4:30 I drove over to the Urgent Care. Usually I wait it out a few days, but I knew I had to work the next day and all I could think was I would end up with Owens earlier diagnosis. SO 3 HOURS later I finally left. I saw the rad tech for 5 minutes who only asked questions while he typed info on the computer, then put my finger in the little pulse oximeter to check my oxygen saturation,( weird)! When the P.A. came in for 3 minutes, the first thing she said was, "seems like i saw you walk in about 3 hours ago", DUH, and trying to make a joke about it wasn't helping. She was in the room with me just long enough to make me think she didn't believe me, told me she is "not worried about the flu, it is pretty much over" (although they were still giving out vaccines last week around here) asked if I were pregnant, (I am not), never took my temperature, looked in my ear and throat and said I could have some amoxycillin if I wanted. Supposedly Publix grocery store gives out free oral antibiotics, but of course I got there 3 minutes after the Pharmacy closed so I have to pay $13.49 at Walgreens. I am feeling better this morning, still have a bad headache and sore throat and eyes are the color of tomatoes no matter how many drops I put in them. Did I go to the doctor too soon? Do I really need the antibiotics? Would I have taken anyone else in my family to the doctor so quickly? I am still going to work today, mainly because I need the money to pay for the 3 hour wait at the Urgent Care.
Sorry if this post seems so negative, gotta go read in the WORD for a little while :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gettin Crafty

Feeling a lil crafty this Christmas Season
and inspired by the follwing 3 crafts i found on the Web

1. Cassette Tape

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Family Pictures

Proof of what can happen with a camera, tripod, and an urge for a photo shoot
This was a last minute idea right before church on Sat. night
Mike got the boys dressed in their new shirts and instantly I was swept away with emotion from how much my boys are growing older right before my very eyes.
I have learned that if there is a particular outfit i want them to wear in pictures, not to let them wear it at all beforehand. Boys attract Dirt.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Christmas Card

I am so excited about our Christmas Card this year
I found this etsy site. The seller will design the card for you at a cheap price. All I needed to do was email her the picture and she emailed me the card. Then it is up to me to print it out on my own. I will take a trip to costco for that. Isn't this so perfect for my Wild Boyz?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fire Train

From the mind of Caeden and the pen of Mommy
This is OUR poem

Fire Train
When I Dream
I see a
FIre Train that is Red and Fast
Zooming down its track in a blast
Hoses for water
Ladder for height
Travels in daytime and at night

Fire up ahead, Danger in sight
Racing to it with all its might
Water released
Fire is gone
Time to rescue the wild ones

All aboard through the trees
Koalas, Rhinos, and Wallabies
Hurry wild ones
With a shout
Let us bring you safely out

Mom's and Dads anticipate
That Fire Train will not be late
Hugging Now
Home at last
Job well done from what has past

A lesson to learn is here indeed
From Fire Train, a safety plead
Fire is dangerous
Not for play
Learn the signs and Stay Away

we wrote this one day after being inspired by several library books. C was adamant in how he wanted the story told and several times after I would read to him what I wrote down, he would tell me, "that's not what I said." So this is really his poem, he just can't read or write yet :)
we also tried to illustrate the story, but that was hard to scan and since I don't have any artistic talent, it is better to stay off the web for all to mock.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Great Day

This morning over breakfast the boys and I discussed SIN and how it separates us from GOD. It's one of those things that I pour my heart out and use too many words, but never really know if they are listening or retaining anything Then on the drive to school today, I wanted to explain myself one more time about our converstation. I told C that if he asks Jesus into his heart he will receive all of God's power. It ended with Caeden praying with me to ask Jesus into his heart. It was so awesome. I know that he is really young and might not fully understand everything this entails, but we as parents want to celebrate it and encourage him in his new Faith. If you are reading this, please say a prayer for him and us.

Tonight at bedtime, we were discussing Noah and the Ark.
Me: "what did Noah and his family do after they stepped off the ark?"
Caeden: " SIN"
haha i was hoping he would say, worship God, but saying SIN makes me realize that he was in fact listening to me at the breakfast table.

Here is a video of that last few weeks of caeden in his BMX class.
it has been so much fun to watch.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkins make me Cry

I have never posted pumpkin patch pictures before
so here is a look back from the last 4 years.
Where has the time gone?





They can still fit in the wagon, but no kiss for little brother this time

Boo Hoo

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grinning in Pordenone

Pordenone, Italy:
filled with great cobblestone streets, people dressed head to toe in the latest fashions, delicious coffee shops, and a little boy who likes to pose with his hand in his mouth!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Picking Pears

Fiume Venetto, a lovely and quiet, little town north of Venice, Italy. In my sister's yard there are pear trees, walnut trees, and hazelnut trees. Owen really liked the pears.