Sunday, August 29, 2010

A & J's Big Day

The backward Blog: starts at the end of the night and moves to the beginning of the night!

Wedding on a boat!! :)

Groom/groomsmen getting ready at our place.

Feeding the Groomsmen (and my family) before the big night!!

Family Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

This week has been full of family time, and we have all loved it. J & T came with Baby Sweet on monday, we canned peaches and made pies all day with them as well as A, K, and all the kids. :) Tuesday i hosted dinner for everyone at our place, then Wednesday we did that again, this time without the boys. It was guys-night/girls-night. The men went wake boarding, and we women stayed in to eat great food and polish nails. Oh yes, there was a foot bath too (thanks to A!!) and some massages. :)

We celebrated A's upcoming bday because it is rare to get all of the girls in the Fam together at once. (with our country being as large as it is). It was wonderful to have all Six of the Naus women in one house together (along with four children too). What a blessing family is. We are all so different, a very diverse group of ladies. I am thankful for that, thankful that we are all different and able to learn from each other and laugh together. Back to A's bday; i just have to say, this girl warms my heart. There is something so kindred about Ann. She has a lot of creative spark in her and a lot of gentle words. I really appreciate the years i've known her, and look forward to spending many more getting to know her better. *oh, she gives awesome massages, of which i was the recipient on our Girls NIght!! yippeeee*

Mercy loved the foot bath when the bubble setting was turned on. hahaha. I gave 'Jo' the usual pre-wedding-massage that i like to do. :) Julia was allowed to stay up with the "Gals" and have her nails painted. She LOVED being one of us, and I am shocked at how quickly she actually HAS become one of us. She has grown up so so so fast.

Here Mark and Karli are practicing: they are expecting their firstborn in late January, so here they are with all their nieces and nephew. :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Last Post: Camping part three

I am remembering our camping trip as I gaze at these photos; and i miss the fresh air, the simple jobs of boiling water, washing dishes, and sweeping out tents, the happy-happy children who enjoy nothing more than being outside ALL THE TIME. ah. lovely. I am so thankful that God created trees, dirt, rocks and brilliant minds to think up "camping for fun". *sigh*

So, these photos have some stories to them. Mercy, laying happily on a "nest" of blankets... hmm... well, this is to remind me that in my extreme efficiency i TOTALLY for got to bring the "pack and play" bed that she usually sleeps in. haha. oops!! So Mercy learned to sleep in a "real bed" without walls on this journey. The experience went very well, i was happy with her flexibility and quick understanding. (our bags were only unpacked a couple times... hahaha, then i learned to make sure everything was tightly zippered before putting her to bed!!!) she is such a cutie - pie. Now that we are home, our friends have delivered us the third hand-me-down bed from their generous home. Mercy is truly a "big girl" now, sleeping adorably on this huge (for her) bed. sweet. Last night we found her on top of her pillow, completely on top of her pillow: hahaha. It was photo-worthy, but i didn't have the camera handy.

Sam: I find this sweet boy growing and changing every day. He has developed some independent skills over the last few months that make him seem so much older all of a sudden. He was very helpful on our camping trip, and when we needed to take everything down, apart, and pack up, he aided the process. I believe he will be a hard worker, once motivated by a deadline. Although Sam has given me some extra trouble this past week, I know we will get through it shortly (to be followed by another difficult time in the future.... life always goes this way, i'm getting used to the flow of difficult times, followed by a time of ease. KNowing that it will come and go doesn't make it much easier in the middle of a hard time though). My sweet boy needs a lot of direction, and it exhausts me. Constant guiding, leading, directing verbally. But in the end, it reaps a great reward. I am so blessed by a daughter (Julia) that is very responsible, reliable, and self motivated. a lot of these traits are in her personality, God really has something special for this dear girl. I really have to look to Julia as I slave away at the task of guiding Sam through social skills, proper treatment of siblings/parents/others, importance of kindness and love over his rights and wants, appropriate play, acceptable - and unacceptable pretend-violence (thank you "transformers" for bringing a whole new area of parental training into view... ug) --in the hopes that one day soon i will see the same reward of constant training (and PRAYER) in a lovely young man that honors his mom and dad, and seeks to protect and love his sisters.

that is the goal. More prayer time is in the agenda. I am just really bad at making that happen, and i think that is the cause of my bad week. My priorities are out of alignment and i can feel it in my heart.

lately I have been getting encouragement and hope from a blog that I read, and a devotional blog that i visit. Both sites remind me that it is my relationship with God that matters the most.(duh) He has redeemed me, i don't need to sit in my sorrow and guilt, worrying that i am a bad mom. He has forgiven me for my mistakes, and wants me to step into the new life He has made for me. One characterized by love and thanksgiving, not complaining and lecturing. ;)

Some quotes from the blog that encourages me weekly :

"The only explanation for the way we live, love and hope should be in God's divine power."~resolved2worship blog

"An unbalanced world (and unbalanced christians too) need to see the light and love of Christ and what it means to be centered completely on Christ and boasting in Him alone. I cannot do this - I cannot be this light that I so long to be, without coming back, without calling on Him and realigning myself - allowing God to realign my heart - and finding Christ to be the center of my life."~ resolved2worship blog

"Sometimes God tells us to follow Him into something that He has already shown us is going to be tough. Kind of like when Paul's friends warned him not to go to Rome. I'm sure it would have seemed like the right thing to do to follow the warnings." ~resolved2worship blog

""For my grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."
(grace takes on a whole new meaning in suffering. God's power is perfected in us when we respond correctly to our sufferings. When we do not understand God's purposes in suffering we do not have the power to endure or get through without bitterness and resentment towards God.)
2 Cor. 12:9" ~resolved2worship blog

anyway. that is enough of a rant for today.

Some of Susan's-thoughts-that-fell-out-onto-the-page.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Second Post: Adventure Camp & Beach Times

AH, the Beach. So i had a few more pictures about beach times than i thought i did, and this post is significantly LONGER than I meant it to be. Oh well. Here goes:

We all loved the beach(es), although at some points i thought to myself: how am i EVER getting this superfine sand off of everything???? (once home i did a full vacuum of the entire van, and i am still in the process of washing absolutely everything that came camping with us.)
We went to three different beaches on this trip, each one very different from the next. The "mud" made sammy VERY happy. The rocks made mercy VERY happy. the friends to swim with made julia VERY happy. baby napping on the beach made mommy VERY happy. Exploring new places made daddy VERY happy. :)

Adventure Camp:
So i had this idea.... you see when we were out west with my folks, my dad created the "hiking club" or something like that. the children (6 of them on that trip) were enthralled with his lessons. SO, i thought to myself, we should make something like that for this trip (8 children involved). Not only would it be SUPER FUN, but if/when things get a little harried because 8 children are tired, bored, disgruntled, etc etc... we can pull out the "it's time for a meeting of the Adventure survival club". and the day is saved!! :) Well, as it turns out, there were hardly any moments where kids were bored and disgruntled. I never felt like we needed Club to save the day, but it was a HUGE hit. They loved it. All the adults agreed: this is now a staple of the Naus & Van Oordt camping trips.

How it works: i researched some survival tips, what is imp't and what is not, i narrowed it down to what a group of 3-9 year olds would like to learn and went from there. I ended up with a trifold pamphlet for each child and a "teacher's guide". From there, i knew the guys could teach these kids a lot of practical skills (even though i didn't know what i was talking about!!) Lesson One: what to do if you get lost. Lesson Two: how to build a shelter if you are REALLY lost. Lesson Three: finding water and making fire. Lesson Four: Finding true north without a compass Lesson five: knot tying. Lesson six: how to read a compass.

For the fire building lesson, each child was then able to build the campfire for one of the evenings we were on our trip. it was "their fire" and the adults mostly just supervised their progress. (sweeeeeeetness)

For Compass reading, the dads set up this AWESOME treasure hunt, complete with a birchbark map and a made up story of the "Glad Pirate Macgregor" (hahahaha) that the kids TOTALLY thought (and still think) was real!! They had to work as a team, and follow the clues, measuring the paces with a piece of rope...and their prize... buried a foot and a half below the surface of the sand: their very own compass/whistle/magnifying glass combo. :)

For Shelter building: the first time they taught on this topic, the kids ran off and built miniatures of what a shelter COULD look like. Later in the week, Dave took them to an empty camp site and they made a ridge line and lean-to shelter that one could fit into.

Dave taught the kids two different knots that he has been learning himself. Julia was then found teaching a little girl at the playground how to do these. she was fiddling with her rope on the picnic bench there, and the little girl wanted to know what she was doing, haha.

The end of the week arrived, and all the kids had their booklets signed off for the skills they had learned and tried. Dave and I then held the Closing Ceremonies, where we had one child at a time stand on the top of our picnic table while dave announced what they had learned, asked them a skill testing question, and presented them with their very own water pistol and set of water balloons. :) VERY VERY FUN. i thoguht i was more excited about this idea than the kids would be, but i was wrong... they were totally into this!! :) very rewarding!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Post: Eating

The First post i shall write about our 13 person, seven day, 6 night camping trip is this: meal times take up at least 60% of your daylight hours. After all, when you aren't counting to make sure all 13 heads are there, you are probably feeding them. :) From dave's delicious breakfasts', Janet's gourmet burgers, Peter's coffee supply, and my spaghetti, we were well fed and well taken care of. :) As for the kiddo's (all 8 of them) - they LOVED bannock, and anything else cooked in the coals!! They were super grateful, cute, and helpful too. We generally would feed the kids, send them off and then enjoy "adult dinner" simply because the feeding of 8 children requires a lot of activity, which restricts the ability for an adult to sit and eat as well. (at times, at least)

You know, thinking of feeding many children at one time brings to my memory a scene from "Horton Hears a Who". The Father of a Whoville family is asked by his little daughter if he could get her a drink of water before bedtime. This simply request seems easy enough to comply with, until you hear the echos of his 95 other children asking, " Me too please!!!!" Envision this little man with a tower of 96 water glasses coming to the bedroom to give his children their "last drink before bed". ha!! Well, that is why it is difficult to sit still while feeding many kids their dinner. THere is always a glass that needs filling, or a plate that just spilled, or a face that needs washing, or a disagreement that needs guiding. All good things, all important to the growth and maturity of children. :) All leading to the reality of parents eating after children are fed!! :)

Above: Picnic at a beach in South Hampton ( or was that East Berlin? or West Virginia? or West Hamburg? - heeheehee. inside joke, sorry. couldn't resist) The town is lovely, the beach unique. This is the town where we took our whole crew into one of those specialty bike shops. The kind with $3000 bikes, and $20 water bottles, you get the picture. Imagine 5 adults, and 8 kids (ages 22 and 23 months old, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,9)walking into this small three aisle shop....and the shock and terror on the faces of those working there... no joke, one of them went and closed the front doors (that were wide open) as soon as we got there!! (could have been for other reasons, but i thought it was perfect timing to keep our crew from causing anything to escape the store unnoticed!! hahahaha.

Bannock: my recipe was simple. pancake mix (the kind that only requires water), a stick as thick as a hotdog, good hot coals. This was a huge hit!! :) The kids loved preparing their own food, and cramming the warm bannock full of peanut butter and jam. yum.

We always set up our "kitchen" at one of our two sites. It just makes sense. we compile all our plates, utensils, water jugs, etc, and we make it work for the whole crew. This campground was perfect for us, they gave each camp site two tables which seated our 13 bums just right! Our kitchen is also Super-Awesome because our dear friends have this fabulous washing/stove station!! love it!! :) many moments were spent washing dishes here...or boiling water. because everyone knows, when you are camping you are always boiling water for something! :)

This trip was by far our best experience yet with all the kids. Camping just keeps getting easier as we adjust to what it means to camp with kids. We all loved it. even the rained in days. God was so good to us, and we had perfect weather for a lot of the trip. Dry days to set up and take down, sunny warm days, and cool nights to enjoy a fire. Julia loved her freedom to bike everywhere (so did i!!) Sam loved dirt, ropes, sticks, fire, helping daddy, dragging his tricycle everywhere. Mercy loved everything, really, she just happily ran to and fro, discovering rocks, watching the older kids, and following them around. Dave and I got away with our family for a few bike trips through the forest trails, over rocks, roots, boardwalks, snakes (oops) and hills. We were super amazed at Julia's switch from always being scared to start a bike trip, to being very confident and mature in her skills. She did many new things to add to her short biking career, and i think she is ready to try the BMX track here in Sarnia.
okay. whew. that is all for now. My next post will be about ADVENTURE CAMP, or maybe about Exploring. love to all. from Su.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Sister.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20 (ESV)

My sister hardly ever complains. Here she is, 8.5 months into the 9 months of pregnancy, middle of summer, three kids to play with - and no complaints. wow. I admire this aspect of my sister's character, why? because i could learn from it.( oh, and it is admirable, etc etc)

Love you sister. this is a post to let you know that i am thinking of you on this last part of the Preggo Journey, and praying for wisdom and strength for you!!