Monday, October 27, 2008

Old Man Martins Had a Farm...

With a quack, quack here:

And a moo, moo there:


While making our debut as "The Farming Martins" at this year's Pumpkinfest, you'll never believe it (unless, of course, you've already read their blog), but we met Todd, Sarah, and Cute Kid Palin hot off the campaign trail:
Everything else after that was pretty much small pumpkins, as you can imagine, but Hope did find some more fun for us to get into. Like heading straight for a pair of HUGE great danes, asking for the leash ("Peeeaaassseee!"), and trying to take one for a walk around the block. Seriously:

And nothing says festival like a little dancing in the streets:

Or taking goofy pictures with Mom (Excuse the runny nose, but now it's fall weather for sure!)

We'd like to thank all the little people without whom these costumes would never have been possible... to one neighbor who GAVE us the duck and cow ones (A little FYI, Hope's first word after Mama and Dada was "duck" and she used to be obsessed! This was a perfect fit!) and to our other neighbor who lent us the cowboy hats. And here's to you Goodwill 99 cent rack for my shirt, along with you Hobby Lobby 50% off ribbon for the girls' hair. Hey, with all these good deals, I had to make some part of their costumes... right? :)

Can't wait to see you or your little cutie(s) should you decide to share!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Glad to see that we're not the only ones for whom this time of the year is addicting. It's been so fun to read or hear about all the cool fall things people are doing here and there, that day-to-dayness that makes up different people's lives. For us one of the perks about moving to this area has been all the family friendly places for making memories, especially in autumn. We try to plan one such time for most weekends so as to savor the season for as long as we can. Plus with the cold weather coming (eek, flu season!), it's necessary to get out now while we still can! You've already seen some of the Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze.

Then there was the Country Ham Festival and one of our final hikes up the parkway's paths.

This weekend is one of our very favorites-- Pumpkinfest! The kids (and us adults, I won't lie) get to all try out our costumes together for the first time. Here's a shot of last fall when Joe, Hope, and I went as Linus, Sally Brown, and The Great Pumpkin from the Peanuts gang:

For another fall fix, stay tuned to find out what Goodwill and other bargain hunting craziness we've concocted for tomorrow... and have a great weekend yourselves!

Breaker, Breaker 1-4...

"Good buddies, we have a problem!"

We've been told that some browsers make our blog nearly impossible to read (or at least we think it is the browser's fault?) We've also been told that several people cannot log in to comment sometimes or all the time. After hearing this multiple times now, we're looking to you our tech-brilliant friends for some help!

Does anyone know what might be causing this? Are you one of the people for whom our blog looks funky and/or difficult to read? If you have advice, PLEASE help us out. OR if you have trouble with the second question, tell us kinda what you see along with what browser you use (Internet Explorer? Firefox? Mozilla?) This might help us diagnose our issues. Well, at least the computer ones! You can leave us a comment (if you can) , e-mail, or call us.

Thanks, everyone! Hopefully we'll figure it out soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today after playgroup I bravely went to the store. It being dangerously close to lunch and nap time and all. But I really wanted to go; we needed the milk and oj at least. Upon arrival the girls were both angels, one sleeping and the other happily saying hello to all the other courageous grocery store mothers. The cashier gave me a larger size bag of free animal crackers than my coupon allowed, and the bag boy loaded up all my groceries and delivered them right into my car. Even kindly asked if he should put my eggs up front. Trust me, there are those other days when I'm helped out alright. It's likely in those scenarios that it could be out of pure pity.

In celebration of all the Southern hospitality and gold star behavior, I went through the McDonald's drive through for a favorite dollar menu treat these days-- sweet tea with lemon. The pleasant attendant smiled affectionately at Hope and Maddie in our backseat and gave Hope a free toy just because. We got home, and I put one to bed while one woke up happy from her nap. The newest one to bed slept for almost three hours, which is typically unheard of for any kind of daytime snoozing. Just when I thought all the stars must be aligned and perhaps I should start googling for million dollar contests, Hope woke up crying loudly in that voice that can make a mama run.

As I entered the room I immediately told her, "Mommy's here" while wiping away the tears and gently pushing back the hair out of her eyes. I quickly surveyed the scene and found no boo-boos or other crib craziness as far as I could tell. Chalking it up to what must have been her figuring out that she had actually tricked herself into napping for so long, I put her on the changing table and began to give her a new diaper. Suddenly she looked right into my face and placed a little hand on my cheek. That Hope grin we cherish began to dance over the tears in her eyes and she confidently reiterated to me, "Mommy's here" with such sweet certainty. Then the grin danced huge across her whole face.

And it got me thinking.

Isn't that how it can be with all of us? We're going along, feeling fine, and then here it comes. It. Whatever that might be. Sometimes it's something we can explain. Other times it alludes us and all we know is we want to figure out what is causing us to feel the way we do. Either way, tears can give way to grins. To dancing. When we remember.

We have a Heavenly Father who is here.

He hears us when we call to Him, and He knows when it's time to come running. The joy it must bring to His heart when our response to Him is faith that He is there. And He can fix whatever is wrong just because of who He is.

In all my imperfections and all my shortcomings, if my daughter can believe this about me, how much more we can believe it to be true about Him? The One who loves with a perfect love that casts out all fear. Somehow I see this a little clearer tonight thanks to the little girl once again sleeping down the hall. Now may I live it out. Somehow. Even when it can be hard.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moments With Maddie- Month Three

I remember when we sent out albums throughout Hope's first year; it was this same feeling of wonder when thinking, "It's month (fill in the blank) already?!" And that's just how I feel now with this post, Maddie's already growing and growing. Three whole, precious months old.

Here in this her third month we are also excited to finally share that we have found a church! After more than a year of searching and praying, we are ready to plug in and make it home. Thanks to all those who offered suggestions, invited us to visit, and prayed-- it was a hard blessing because there are many great houses of worship in the area. May where we feel led be a place our girls can grow, not just in stature, but in their giftings and in their callings... spreading "hopeful" and "good hearted" seeds wherever they go!

Without further adieu... here's some snapshots of Maddie from the last weeks. Hope they make you smile!

Friday, October 17, 2008

For the Record

While Joe puts Hope to bed and I'm cleaning off the camera for the weekend, just thought I'd take a moment for an important announcement... it's officially starting to feel like fall! Just thought y'all would like to know that I'm doing the happy dance over here.

So, how did we celebrate?

By letting Daddy twist our arms into going out for ice-cream WAAAAY past bedtime, of course! Maddie even got all dressed up in her jammies for the occassion. Not very fallish, but sure made us some happy-dancing campers.
Time to go watch a movie from that wonderfully affordable Red Box inside Micky D's. Enjoy what we hope will be a beautiful October weekend for you, and check back for Maddie's three month pics around the beginning of next week!

Retired, But Still in Business?

Some of last post's sweet comments (thank-you!) got me thinking... as you may know, I am a teacher by trade. In teaching's purest form, I have always loved what I do. I get a natural high when kids suddenly want to read for the first time, figure out that math concept that they've always struggled with (Just ask Joe; he'll sing you the problem solving rap I wrote for my kids. Then he'll die laughing. Like right now.), find their writer's voice, learn to make up with a friend who's hurt their feelings, and more. Now that I'm temporarily retired, I'll admit it, I can't help myself. Surely you teaching friends, you crafty friends, some kind of friends out there can tell me you understand why there are book baskets or tubs everywhere I can think of along with what I'm about to show you...

That "schedule" is one in the loosest sense of the word, especially considering trying to care for a newborn and everything else that pops up throughout any given day. And truthfully, most of the day is spent at "recess." Oh, why am I explaining myself? I told you I can't help it; it's in my blood or something. To see these girls discover and learn, well, that ranks right up there with one of the highest teaching highs of them all. "Do you give up when a problem is tough? No, we don't! No, we don't! Do you give in and let the problem win..." Sheesh, Joe, enough already!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fast and Frugal Fall

After a weekend full of corn-mazing and pit-nicking (Please admire our matching headlamps; Joe's been waiting for me to sport mine since last Christmas. Patient man.)...

Yard-saling (Many offers made on Maddie- none taken!) and yard-working and house-reorganizing...

Along with saying farewell to some precious friends all practically in 80 DEGREE WEATHER...
we are determined for it to feel more like fall, even if so far we're missing out on the nip in the air. So, here are some ideas from around our place that are easy on the schedule and the pocketbook. Hope you enjoy!

How about a little artwork? Take some paper, some tempera paint, and five sweet fingers. Voila... we call this, "Hope Gives Fall a Hand." I think I just made that up, but whatever you name your masterpiece, a little fingerpaint can make for a good and messy time!
While you've got out your art supplies, how about a little crayon action? No matter the age it really can be quite a stress reliever and, face it, everyone needs a scarecrow door hanger. Just look at Maddie's face, obviously overwhelmed by the creative genius, when seeing her door for the first time. What's that, Hope? Ah yes, she says to place your order soon if you expect yours to arrive before the end of the month rush. :) (Seriously, ideas from sites like this are quick little boredom busters for kids if ever you need some).

Need a centerpiece? Straight out of Rachael Ray's fall issue last year, fill up some juice glasses with an array of beans. Economical and natural- a favorite combo of mine! If you happen to have some cool glasses you picked up at a yard sale, antique store, clearance shelves of Target or TJ Maxx, etc. fill 'em up too. Since these pics I've moved mine to the windowsills to make room for some of the funky gourds and teenie pumpkins you find during these fall months. Either way, the tea lights cast a warm glow on these cool evenings that are to come.
And lastly, something for your stomach? (Which if it is anything like mine, calls out for comfort food starting about now!) Seriously, this is all you need...
To make these! Sooo easy! Just combine the pumpkin and spice cake mix, bake at 300 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Some of the BEST pumpkin muffins... enough for eleven biggies and one Hope-sized one.
Have any tips or ideas for the season? Do share! The faster and the frugalier (Um, don't look that up), the better!