Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Well I took these pictures to share yesterday, and then forgot to post them.  So since it’s not Wednesday, I figured I didn’t have to be wordless!  My kids got new sunglasses this week.  Trouble is…Nolan doesn’t like to wear his.  He likes to chew them.  So it was hard to get a good picture.  But for what they are worth, here they are. 

New shades
Elaine picked apples, and mommy picked camouflage for Nolan. 

New shades
This is what my kids really do most of the time.  Elaine picks her nose, and Nolan chews on anything that resembles a camera or a phone.

New shades
I cropped this picture, but I had to hold their hands down while I took the picture so Nolan wouldn’t rip his glasses off.

There you have it.  Worded Thursday.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Bronx Zoo

We had the opportunity to visit the Bronx Zoo on Saturday with Ben’s folks.  One the benefits of closing my diaper business is that I had some spare money for a zoo membership, which gets me into four NYC zoos and the aquarium for free.  We found out during our visit that the membership was worth even more, as it allowed us to get into any of the “extras” for free.  And some of the extras were things like the monkey house, the children’s zoo, and the carousel.

It was supposed to be raining, but God answered our prayers for good weather and we had sunshine all day!  Ready for picture overload?

Bronx Zoo
Nolan was really excited about the snake, to my dismay and my dad’s delight.  My dad can’t wait to introduce Nolan to a real snake when we visit Colorado next month.

Bronx Zoo 
Nolan also thought the goats were great…until one licked his finger!

Bronx Zoo
Nolan’s first look at a real cow.  And a pretty sorry looking cow it is!

Bronx Zoo
Elaine had been asking to feed the animals all morning.  We finally got there, but she was too scared of this goat to feed them.  She did hold out a couple of pieces of food, but quickly backed up with the tongue reached out to get it.

Bronx Zoo
Mom & Dad sporting their new ears.

Bronx Zoo
I guess it must be zoo protocol to have a bunch of peacocks roaming freely.  The Denver Zoo is the same way.  This one was showing off his colors!

Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo
Elaine was looking all over for the giraffes, but we were having a hard time finding them.  She settled for this African Wild Dog and a short rest on the rock.  Looks pretty real for a zoo sign, right?

Bronx Zoo
Finally!  The giraffes!

Bronx Zoo  Bronx Zoo
Time for a couple of pictures…

Bronx Zoo
Nolan was snoozing, Elaine didn’t want her picture taken.

Bronx Zoo
There were 3 mother-baby pairs of these monkeys.  We were watching just one couple when all of the sudden the monkeys chased another mother-baby duo out of the house and all sat there screaming at the mother and baby.  It was pretty funny!

Bronx Zoo
This polar bear changed positions while we watched…and he had a hard time standing up on those back legs!

Bronx Zoo
I was really excited to see this Red Panda out and active.  Elaine just got a National Geographic Magazine all about the Red Panda, and we have been reading it together.

Bronx Zoo
Pretty boring lion.  Just like a male.

Bronx Zoo
Elaine enjoyed reading all of the zoo signs, which Ben said is just like his dad.  :-)

Bronx Zoo
We had fun watching the apes and gorillas.  {This was one of the extra fee entrances…I never heard of charging extra to see the monkeys before}.  The gorillas kept running and banging the glass {though we seemed to be looking away each time it happened}.  They also walked around over the top of us, and Elaine enjoyed watching through the glass.

Bronx Zoo   Bronx Zoo
We finished the day with a ride on a grasshopper and a praying mantis.  The bug carousel totally made Elaine’s day, and Nolan was happy too!

Bronx Zoo
“Pa Fezzi” has current favorite Grampa status.

Bronx Zoo
Family photos

Bronx Zoo
Sissy, Andrea, Nolan, Ben, Elaine, and Jim

Bronx Zoo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

How They Grow!

Here is Elaine and her “Pa” Hamilton on September 6, 2010.  We were at Prospect Park for Labor Day.

Labor Day in Prospect Park  Labor Day in Prospect Park

And just about a year and a half later, here they are again!  This time at the Bronx Zoo.

Bronx Zoo  Bronx Zoo

She lost her paci, but she’s still the same Elaine.  How fast she has grown up!  Oh, and by the way…I think that “Pa Hamilton” has regained favorite Grandpa status, at least for now.  The light-up ducky helped a TON, and the running, playing, and carousel ride at the zoo didn’t hurt.  But next month it will probably be “Pa Godby” again when we go visit his house!  {This is the on-going competition of the “Pa’s”}

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Big Girl Bed

2012 - Page 035

It’s More Fun Together

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.  We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to run when we were kids.  On Fridays we write with gusto, unselfconscious and flat out.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Today’s prompt is Together…

When Ben and I were dating we read the “Five Love Languages” book.  I dsicovered that my love language is quality time.  Things are more fun when we spend quality time doing them…together.  I’m learning this now in my mothering as well.  The things we enjoy the most are the things we do together.  Playing.  Being silly.  Riding bikes.  Going to the park.  Washing the dishes.  Even work can be fun if we are doing it together.

Fun with a box

Yesterday Elaine got a “Big Girl Bed.”  The mattress came in a big box.  Today we cut a window in the box.  We decorated it.  We played in it.  We laughed when Nolan catapulted out the window.  We had fun…together.

Fun with a box

Thursday, April 19, 2012

She Taught Me How to Teach

I was planning to skip my Thankful Thursday post today.  But then I got this email from the mom of two of our Children’s Church kids.  And I changed my mind.

I shared with you earlier this week how excited we were to have all of our students bring their Bibles.  I also encouraged the kids to read their Bible everyday, or to ask their parents to read with them if they can’t read by themselves.  This mom told me that both of her kids have come to her separately and asked to read their Bibles every day.  Her little boy {who is only 3, but sits very well in Children’s Church} said, “Mrs. Hamilton says if I read my Bible every day I will grow, grow, grow and I want to.” 

Andrea's HBC 2nd Grade SS ClassWell…that was a BIG encouragement to me!  But it started me thinking…where did I learn to teach kids like this?  From my mom, of course.  And though I had some formal training through college courses, it was really just reinforcing what I had observed in my mom through the years.  I guess she had some good training too!

Since I can remember, my mom has been a Sunday School teacher.  In fact, I remember that we left the Southern Baptist Church because in my mom’s Sunday School curriculum, they skipped teaching about sin in the story of Adam & Eve.  Mom has taught 2s & 3s Sunday School, as well as Kindergarten.

[Hamilton]0108In college I had the opportunity to practice my training with a weekly Bible Club.  Then when I came home on college breaks, I taught 1st Grade one year, and 2nd Grade the following summer.  It was nice that way, because I had the same kids.  In fact, my two regular attenders were Mike and Stephanie.  They were the ring bearer and flower girl in my wedding! 

In the Primary Department opening, I watched my mom challenge the kids to bring their Bibles to church every week.  And when they had a perfect Bible count three weeks in a row, we celebrated with “Donut Sunday.”  Then Mom would challenge the kids to read their Bibles every day.  She rewarded them with $1 McDonalds gift certificates that they could save up for ice cream or a Happy Meal. 

Elaine at Sunday School in Colorado

So now that Ben and I teach Children’s Church, I still find myself teaching just the way my mom does.  Ben usually teaches the lesson, but I get to do songs and the review game.  And it is exciting to me to see the kids bringing their Bibles and asking to read their Bibles because it was always exciting to my mom.  And it is exciting to see kids grow in the Lord and have a desire for His Word!

So thanks mom, for teaching me how to teach!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Ben and I have been teaching Children’s Church for just over a year now.  And last week…for the first time everEVERYONE brought their Bibles!  This is something we have been challenging the kids to do…but inevitably someone always forgets.  Ben wants the kids to understand that they need to bring their Bibles so that they can verify whether or not the Pastor or teacher is teaching correctly.  This is based on the principle in Acts 17:11 speaking of the Berean Christians.  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

Bookmarks for Sunday SchoolI wanted to do something special for the kids…but not just giving them candy.  Plus, we have two kids with allergies, so we have to be careful in the candy department.  I finally settled on bookmarks and Jell-O.  Okay, that probably sounds lame, but let’s take a closer look!

I made these bookmarks to remind the kids to read their Bible and pray every day.  Now that they are bringing their Bibles, we are starting to challenge them to read it each day during the week. 

Bookmarks for Sunday School

You can steal my bookmark if you want.  Just click on the photo below to view it full-size.  Then right click and save it to your computer.  I just inserted several of these into a Word document to fill a sheet of paper, and then cut them out and laminated them.

Grow bookmark jpg

Now back to our celebration.  We had Jell-O.  Not just plain, ordinary Jell-O.  What kind of a celebration would that be?  This is special Jell-O.  The recipe came from my Aunt Robin, or so my mom tells me.

Really Cool Jell-O

9 ounces Jell-o {or 3- 3oz. boxes.  Blue Raspberry is amazing}
3 envelopes of Knox gelatin {helps it stay nice and firm}
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
8 oz. Cool Whip.

Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl and stir in the water.  Stir for about 3 minutes to completely dissolve.  Add the cool whip and stir until it’s melted.  Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish/pan and refrigerate until set.  Cut into squares, or use cookie cutters.  The Cool Whip separates during chilling and makes two unique layers.  Enjoy!

I forgot to take a picture of the kids enjoying the Jell-O (I used a music note cutter).  So this picture will have to suffice to show you what it looks like.

We made Melon Blend and Blue Raspberry.  Elaine is in a Jello stage and is constantly asking for it!

The Verrazano

The Verrazano Bridge connects Brooklyn and Staten Island.  It crosses the Narrows and is named for the first known European navigator to enter the New York Harbor {source: Wikipedia}.  In 1964, when it was completed, the Verrazano Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Tonight we took a trip to the walking path that runs under the Verrazano, and along the eastern shore of Brooklyn.  I needed a sunset picture for my April Photo A Day Challenge.  It was a bit more cloudy/hazy than I would have liked, but it was a perfect night to be walking.  And I still ended up with a couple of good pictures.

Verrazano Bridge at Sunset edited

Verrazano Bridge at Sunset  Verrazano Bridge at Sunset
{the fire ball of sun can be seen in the bottom of the picture, just sinking between two clouds}

Verrazano Bridge at Sunset
{before sunset}

Verrazano Bridge at Sunset  Verrazano Bridge at Sunset
{Daddy and his kiddos: Nolan and Elaine}

Verrazano Bridge at Sunset

“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised.”
Psalm 113:3