April 15, 2013

Quick catch up and pictures

What we've been up to lately:

Park time. Two weeks ago it was finally a little nicer out so we had fun being outside for a few hours.
S found his favorite toy, Larry Boy from Veggie Tales, that had been missing for a few weeks. It was in the stroller, which we hadn't used because of weather/sickness.

Inspecting K's space.

Deciding to go another way...

Little brother attack!

Toilet seats make great hats. At least it was clean!

Lego maze. He used a marble (or two) and tipped the board to get it into the middle.

We finally moved S to a bigger bed, the bottom bunk. No more crib!!!! It's ridiculous how much more space we have in the room now.

We played Yahtzee to practice math. K got two Yahtzees in a row and beat me by over 150 points!

Each week in church, S does a craft of some sort. Neither of my boys has ever been much for group craft activities, which I have to say makes me a little proud. (I'm not much into crafts either.) I knew immediately that this was S's craft for the day because of all the extra little ink marks all over. The other kids' pages had a perfectly placed handprint near the middle of the page. That's just not S's style.

A few of my AWANA students from my team, getting recognized for saying verses or finishing their books. It's so cool to see how hard they work and all they learn about the Bible! Only two weeks left of AWANA. It was fun, but I'll be glad to have my Wednesday nights back for a couple of months!

April 6, 2013

End of an era

Five months after Jim and I were married, we bought a 2001 Honda Civic with 5100 miles on it. It had been a dealer car, so we got a discount. Jim had researched and we knew it would be a reliable, long term car with good resale value. And it was!

We hit 200,000 miles about a month ago. There was a semi-absurd amount of pride we felt in that milestone. Even though we knew that Hondas can go to 300,000 prettily easily, it was still a sense of accomplishment.

Our tiny little four door had gone on road trips to New York, Georgia, Wisconsin and Maine. It drove us to our new homes in Colorado and Ohio. We made many, many trips back and forth from Ohio and Illinois. Both of our boys came home from the hospital in it. That Civic took us to work, church, family gatherings, emergency rooms, doctors visits, on dates, shopping, on mini-trips as a couple and later as family. Almost the whole history of our little family was tied into that car. We loved it well. (Though we never named it. Could never figure out something appropriate.)

When we bought our Vintage Plum four-door (in a nine hour car dealership marathon), we had high hopes for it. Much prayer was expended in the beginning; prayers for safety, a car that wouldn't need to spend much time at a mechanic, prayers for protection from accidents. Our families both had many bad cars through the years and both of us had old lemons as our first cars. So we vowed to always be grateful for a car that started every morning and worked well enough to get us where we wanted to go.

After twelve years and 200,000 miles, we are still profoundly grateful that God answered all those prayers and more. We did our best to take care of the Civic but we were by no means perfectly prompt with all the maintenance. Yet we were never in an accident and never had any major problems with it.

Despite all its wonders, a four-door Civic is not an ideal car for a family of four. Two carseats in that backseat was not fun, for the kids or us. No power locks and not a lot of storage space made even trips to the mall difficult, trying to maneuver a stroller in and out of the trunk and getting the kids in and out, circling back and forth around the car. Plus it was practically impossible for us to travel anywhere with other people. On Easter, for example, we picked up my grandma to bring her to Easter dinner at my parents' house. In order to do this, I had to climb in between two carseats and wedge my expanding hips into a tiny space with no wiggle room, drape my arms over the backs of kids and carseats and try to keep my legs from falling asleep for the 15 minute ride. Not exactly an ideal situation. But the last of its kind!

Thus, we've had it in the back of our minds to get a new, larger vehicle and sell our dear little Civic. And this week we did.

We are the proud owners of a 2004 Toyota Sienna mini-van! From seating for "five" to seating for seven. A back row that folds down completely so we can transport stuff or pack it full for camping! Leather seats! Heating and A/C that adjusts for each side and the back! Screens on the back windows for the boys! Room to spread out comfortably! Space for other people to ride with us! We are still pinching ourselves.

We're all itching for a road trip now. A new chapter in our lives is demarcated. April 2013 is the beginning of a new era for us. I wonder what adventures we'll have in this car?