Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas 2008

I am going to be brief...the compulsive task-completer that I am really wants to post Christmas thoughts and pics before 2008 ends. I am at 10:08 p.m. on New Year's Eve 2008 with a few thoughts on our family's Christmas.

I must was simpler and more joyous that I could have imagined. We got Disney passes for our family this year as our big Christmas gift. I have been selling everything I could drag out of our closets to save money for them. Needless to say, there wasn't much more under our Christmas tree for the kids. They each got a pair of Crocs (winter shoes in Florida) and one toy and a stocking. Hunter got a tee ball set, and Millie got a Dora the Explorer Magnadoodle. The funny thing is...we didn't even pay for those toys. Our church had a toy exchange where we could bring gently used toys to give away...and we could choose a few toys that other families brought. Seriously...a tee ball set and a Magnadoodle were on my list for Hunter and Millie...and there they were...both in their packaging. The Dora Magnadoodle had never been opened. What a blessing. Opening presents on December 17 was a little strange. We left for Christmas travels on the 18th, so I wanted to have a family Christmas at the 17th it was.

As I look back on this Christmas, I am amazed with how much we tried to "scale back" and how much more blessed I was with less. Don't get me wrong...I'll be lovin' every day I am at Disney over the next 12 months...but it still felt simple.

Here are some things we really enjoyed doing this year to make Christmas special:
1. Our free felt board Advent calendar that I found on Craigslist. Over the 25 days leading up to Christmas, Hunter got to place a new piece of the manger scene on the board. It was neat to see how he instinctively knew and cared about making the scene look right.

2. Advent wreath and readings - We bought an advent wreath this year along with a guide from our church. Although most of our readings took place on Mondays (because Sundays were busy this holiday season), I enjoyed reading the liturgy with the kids, lighting the candles, singing a hymn, and letting Hunter and Millie (with great fear and trepidation) blow out the candles. This year, Hunter learned "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and "Silent Night" along with his favorites from last year, "Joy to the World" and "Away in a Manger."

3. Slowly reading through the Christmas story - I enjoyed reading with Hunter (and sometimes Millie) parts of the Christmas story starting back with the prophets. I began at the beginning of December using a guide from Bible Study Fellowship. It was neat to really take the time to read small portions and the different accounts of Christ's birth. Once Christmas came, Hunter had heard Luke 2 so many different times that he could even fill in the blanks of the story when I would read it to him.

4. The Grinch - This was Hunter's first year to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It was so funny...he watched it three times within the first 24 hours of seeing it. Of course, being the costume man that he is these days, Hunter came out proudly from his room one day in a green shirt with his red fireman's vest and Santa hat and declared: "I'm the Gwinch!" He's in a "my r's sound like w's" phase right we heard a lot about the "Gwinch" and "pwesents" this Christmas.

5. 12 Days of Christmas envelopes - About halfway through December, I realized that Hunter was having a hard time understanding when Christmas was really going to be. Since we were traveling so much this month, we were going to have about 5 different "Christmases" with different family members. Although we had our advent calendar, Hunter's concept of time and especially with numbers above 10 is fuzzy, so he didn't understand when December 25 was going to be. Soooo...I got a great idea from my friend Lori's blog. She does the 25 days of Christmas where she has different activities for her son and family to do to countdown to Christmas. I put a box together for Hunter and labeled it "Hunter's 12 Days of Christmas." In the box I put 12 envelopes labeled 1-12. On the first day he opened 12...then 11...and so forth to 1. This helped him so much more understand that there are 10 days or 4 days or whatever left until Christmas. In each envelope was either an activity or event or Bible verse or gift that would help Hunter prepare for Christmas. Every morning, Hunter woke up asking if he could open another envelope. Thanks, Lori, for your idea that has birthed what will likely be a longstanding tradition in our family.

6. Christmas Eve - This year, during our Christmas Eve service, Hunter got to hold a lit candle for the entirety of "Silent Night." He asked if he could take his candle home, and we let him. When we got home, he sat by his advent calendar (which then had every character on it except Jesus) and asked if we could turn off the lights and sing "Silent Night." Of course. So there we, Hunter, Millie and the dark in my parent's hallway...with one lit candle singing Silent Night. I think that song will mean something different to me from now on.

7. Our Little People Nativity - We have a Little People Nativity that we set underneath our tree on the day we decorate...all the characters are there with one exception...the baby Jesus does not come until Christmas morning. We tell the kids that the people are waiting for Jesus to come and that is what we are doing waiting for Christmas and ultimately waiting for Jesus to return. On Christmas morning, even Millie noticed. Jesus was there. She knows him...or at least his name and that he is the baby in our nativity. I have a Willow Tree Nativity that I set on our TV armoire in our living room. One morning, as I brought Millie into the living room, she looked up on the top of the armoire, pointed up, and said: "Jesus." Sweet words to this Mommy's ears. As we wait for Jesus to join our nativity on Christmas morning, it reminds my heart of how I long for him to come. Come, Lord Jesus. I pray I am waiting and will wait well.

8. Happy Birthday Jesus Cake - For the third year in a row (since Hunter was two), we made a Happy Birthday Jesus cake. This year we went with a cookie cake. None of us (Hunter and Donny especially) are cake eaters, so the cookie cake was great. we set our Little People nativity on top of it (which really made the cookie cake just seem like the ground on which the manger laid), lit four candles, sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, and blew out the candles. Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Ok, it is now 10:39 p.m. on New Year's Eve. I'm sure there are more things to write...but I am going to stop. We had a wonderful Christmas. We traveled around 2000 miles to Tennessee and Kentucky, saw dear friends and family, our hearts were encouraged, we felt loved, and we celebrated the birth of our most beloved Savior. I am ready to enter a new semester, my heart is full, and I am thankful for so much...more than I can say or write.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios for the Dancing Lights
On Main Street at the Magic Kingdom
The castle is further in the background

Christmas morning fun...on December 17
Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Thanksgiving Turkey Fry

Step back with me about six weeks...and here we are at Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was great this year. Hunter, Millie and I went to a local church the day before Thanksgiving to get our turkey fried. They had face painting, hot dogs, and music to entertain while we waited for our turkey to fry. 45 minutes later...voila! We took our turkey home, Jennifer and family arrived, and on Thanksgiving Day we ate the most scrumptious turkey I have ever had. As much as it is in my power, I will always get my turkey fried for Thanksgiving. In addition to a great meal, our families (Morris and parentals...just the sis and fam) went to Disney to watch Tennessee play Siena at the Wide World of Sports...very fun. We all got dressed up in our orange and white. It was general admission, so the guys got there early and saved us seats just a few rows back from the Tennessee bench. What a fun day. It took a few "Goofy Pops" (Disney suckers) to keep the kids happy, but it was a blast. So much to be thankful for.


Here she goes into the fryer!

After...and oh so yummy...sorry little turkey.
The team in the pre-game huddle...GO VOLS!!!
The Morris and Friederichsen Families (with a new Morris coming this summer!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mommy's Superhero

I don't have much to write tonight about these pictures...but I had to post them. Hunter LOVES dressing up and playing pretend. With these pajamas, it's not hard to transform into Superman. What a cutie he is!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Millie at 18 months

Millie on Friday (11/7/08) at the Lake Hart Fall Festival

Well, this post is a little late, but I wanted to write a few thoughts about my little girl as she turned 18 months (back on Oct. 20):

Dear Millie,

How precious you are to me. You are full of energy, into everything...but growing little by little to listen and obey to Mommy and Daddy's voice. We pray one day that will lead you to listen to and obey God's voice. It's hard to chase after you sometimes. I feel like I say "No, Millie" or "Millie, No" a lot...but you are a gem. I look forward to seeing you grow into the vibrant little girl that I see in you even at this young age. You give life to so many...filling our moments with laughter and smiles. Even at this age, friends are happy to see you in the church nursery. You are already a social butterfly.

We have never cut your hair. 18 months, and your baby hair is still there. Unlike your brother, you never lost your baby hair, so I just can't bear to cut it. Everyone comments on how long your hair is. I know I will cry when the day comes to give you a trim. We use (and lose) lots of barrettes (which you call "bets") and rubber bands trying to keep your hair out of your face, and you have even figured out how to push your hair behind your ears...but it never stays.

You are so verbal. Let's see...what words are present in your 18th month:
monkey (because you like Curious George so much), Huner (you are finally getting "Hunter"), cheese (cracked me up at Albertson's tonight pointing out the cheese), Nigh Nigh (saying good-night...and even pretending in the middle of the day. I love those first signs of imagination), Die-Do (Diego), Do-Da (Dora), He-Yo (Hello), Hi (you say "hi" and "bye" to just about anyone), Bye Bye, Doggy, Moo (for both cows and horses), you can put together two word phrases such as mo pease (more please). I'm sure there are many more.

You and Mommy just got back from 2 hours of bargain hunting at Wal-Mart, CVS, and Albertsons...getting nothing less than the very best deals of the week. Even though Mommy can be a little obsessive at times, I hope you will learn from me how to manage a home and family in a way that honors the Lord. I struggle to even write that, because the task of doing that and modeling it to you feels weighty...but I look forward to everyday helping you become the woman God will make you to be.

Millie, there is so much more I could write, but a day of church, resting, coupon clipping, and bargain hunting with you have left me tired...but full of encouragement and love. Love for you, my sweet girl. Happy 18 months (a few weeks late).

Love, Mommy
Photos taken on 10/20/08 (Millie's 18 month old day)
While obviously a cutie, notice the aforementioned hair
we are constantly trying to keep out of her face.

Posing in Hunter's Peter Pan/Robin Hood Hat

This is a fairly common look. Not sure what it means.
Most of the time it's frustration or just trying to show a little attitude.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

To get to OVIEDO!

Although we have lived in Orlando for over a year, we moved this summer to a small town in the northeast corner of Orlando called Oviedo. Oviedo is fun. We are a few miles away from all the conveniences of modern civilization, BUT...we are also minutes away from a very quaint downtown area that is full of charm...and chickens!!! Yes, I said chickens. Downtown Oviedo is known for their chickens. There is a town square where I go to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), and you can very often roll your windows down and hear the "cocka-doodle-doo" of a rooster or literally see a chicken crossing the road. It's hilarious.

If you look up Oviedo on Wikipedia, part of the entry includes this:

Oviedo is known for a population of chickens that roam the downtown area, ironically near the restaurant Popeyes. There are so many of them roaming the area that often traffic stops as they cross the roads. The chickens have been featured on Oviedo t-shirts and coffee mugs and a poster commemorating one of Oviedo's annual civic festivals, "A Taste of Oviedo". There are specific laws and statutes regarding the chickens, both for their protection.

Chicken behind Popeyes

Anyway, the kids and I always enjoy driving through downtown and seeing the chickens ("bock bocks" as Millie likes to call them). We went to the library on Thursday (which is a good mile from the downtown square where the chickens mostly reside), and, lo and behold, there were two chickens in the front lawn of the library. The hilarious thing is that they both flew up into a tree. Did you know chickens could take flight? I know they have wings (I like them with Buffalo and ranch sauce), but I had no idea they could actually fly.

Of course, I had to take a picture...I took a few that I was not satisfied with. I went closer, got my pic, and then the chicken started growling. For was growling. I quickly took a few steps back, got the kids, and we left the chickens high on their perch above the library to stake their territory.

Hunter is sometimes afraid they will peck us. Parking for BSF is limited, so we park near the consignment store where they live and walk to Bible Study. Whenever we get out of the car, a chicken will follow us down the sidewalk. I somehow feel like they are shooing us away from their territory.

So...why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Oviedo. It's home to quite a few. The truly do rule the roost in our little downtown. Come down for a visit. Walk away with the bumper sticker: "I brake for Oviedo chickens."

The chicken in front of the Oviedo Library...right before it began growling at me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Defining Moment on Halloween

I had a defining moment today...seem to be having quite a few of those lately. To set the stage: I haven't felt great over the last few days. Millie and I have been battling with sinus or allergy issues or something. Maybe it's this crazy "It's hot...It's cold...It's hot again" Florida weather.

Anyway, Donny graciously let me sleep in a little this morning. Once I did get up, I spent most of the morning letting the kids watch Sesame Street and just keeping them alive. After taking them to the bank and Wal-Mart after lunch, I asked them if they wanted to play outside. And we did.

Hunter brought out a foam sword and a newspaper pirate hat that Donny made for him. He asked me if I wanted to be a pirate. "Sure," I said. Nothing else to do...just biding my time until nap I became a pirate.

More background: Hunter got a Monster Truck for his birthday from his amazing Aunt Becky. This truck has everything...2 speeds and reverse, a truck bed with tailgate, and a working FM Radio. Millie's favorite thing to do with the truck is turn on the radio and scan the stations (Mommy's little girl...I LOVE scanning the stations until I find just the right song).

Anyway, as Millie was scanning the stations, she stopped it on a Charlie Daniel's song. The one they sometimes play for Monday Night football where it says: "All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight." And we danced...I was dressed up in a newspaper pirate hat holding a foam sword, and I danced with my kids (who were not in costume) in my garage to my 4 year old's monster truck FM honky tonk...and I loved it. I paused (rather dramatically) and thought: "Wow...this is the most energy I have had all day...and I am dancing in my garage with my kids." I kinda looked around to see if anyone was watching...but I really didn't care.

After a while, Millie started scanning songs again. Unfortunately, it landed on "What if God was one of us," and she walked away with it playing. I detest that song, so I bent down and started messing with the FM radio in his monster truck. One of the first songs I hit in my scanning quest was all too familiar, all too appropriate, and the 1980's little girl in me leapt with joy (all the while still wearing my pirate costume). The familar intro complete with synthesizer and bass...It was Thriller.

My kids have no idea what that song is. Hopefully they will never know much of Michael Jackson. But I danced to Thriller today while my kids played outside. They weren't even in the garage anymore at this point. I was in a pirate hat, holding a foam sword, and my soul was filled with a pathetic sense of satisfaction. I heard Thriller...on Halloween...and I danced to it in my garage. Alone. In a pirate hat. A defining moment? Perhaps. Not sure what it says about me. But it was fun. To all those who know how your heart leaps when you hear that familiar intro to Thriller and forget the cares of the moment and recapture something of your youth, Happy Halloween. We are kindred spirits.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hunter's First Pumpkin

I do not like pumpkins. There is nothing at all appealing to me about cutting a hole in the top of one, digging out its innards, and carving a face into it. I don't like the mess mostly...I can't stand the way the inside stuff feels. I told Donny that my favorite time as a kid doing pumpkins for Halloween was the year my mom got us kits to paint faces on the pumpkins rather than carving faces (which, of course, Donny scoffed at). But Donny...he loves carving a pumpkin. He has talked all month about getting a pumpkin. He knew he would have to do it himself if it were to happen. This week came, and no pumpkin had made it into our home yet for the Halloween season. I thought I was going to get away this year without one. Then I took the kids to Wal-Mart on Monday. Their $4.88 pumpkins were on sale for $1. Here's where who I am and who Donny is work hand in hand. You see, I LOVE a deal...and for these huge, beautiful pumpkins, $1 was a I picked one out, put it in my buggy, and brought my husband home a pumpkin. When I brought it home, I actually apologized, because I didn't realize in the store just how flat one side of it was. Donny's response was: "Oh, they're all special." Are you kidding me?

Hunter and Donny carved the pumpkin this evening. Donny asked Hunter what kind of face he wanted to carve. Hunter first said he wanted a "bad guy face." Great. Then he and Donny compromised on a silly face that Hunter made and Donny carved. Millie helped too...kinda...she stuck her hand inside the pumpkin more eagerly than Hunter...much to her mommy's dismay. Hunter, like me, did not want anything to do with the insides, but Millie...give her a mess, and she wants right in the middle. Donny had to work to keep her from eating the pumpkin seeds.

So, here's to the Friederichsen Family Pumpkin 2008. I do like the finished product, and I am thankful the only roles I played in the process were purchasing the pumpkin and wiping Millie's arm once. Other than that, it was Donny and Hunter's creation.

Later tonight, as we were getting ready for bed, Hunter brought a marker to me and said: "This can be the knife. You can use it to cut open the top of my head and put a candle in." Another reason I don't like pumpkins.'s always funny (and sometimes weird) to see how Hunter processes things. I guess, in the mind of a 4 year old, it might be fun to have your head light up from the inside-out...but we'll leave that up to our pumpkin.

Happy Halloween Donny and Hunter...I love our pumpkin.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is this how it's really supposed to be?

I asked myself this question today: "Is this how I really thought my life would be at 31?"

Let me fill you in on the details. This morning, I, being a diligent wife and homemaker, started laundry at 8:30 a.m. in hopes of getting three loads done before the afternoon. I stripped my bedsheets to get them going after the load of kids' clothes was finished. As I walked into the laundry room to throw the clothes into the dryer and put my mattress pad in the wash, I saw something black sticking out from my mattress pad. I took a closer look. A lizard...a dead and's head sticking out from my mattress pad I guess saying his final farewell. A lizard apparently died in my bed sheets and found its final resting place stuck in the elastic ribbing along the edge of my mattress pad.

I screamed (internally so as not to startle the kids), and then I called Hunter (because I love to discover how he experiences things like this compared to me): "Come here...I've got something to show you. A dead lizard is in Mommy's sheets." Hunter looked with interest. I talked with him (because I couldn't be alone during a time like this) and tried to process how I was going to get rid of this intruder in my home, in my dead. Ugggghhhh!!! I told Hunter: "I'm a little scared. I know I shouldn't be scared, but I'm a little scared." Hunter responded: "Just remember...God will keep you safe." Thanks, son. Part of me wanted to hug him for sharing something so true and right...the other part of me was rather annoyed by his calm heart, because I was freaking out and didn't need a theological answer from my 4 year old. was sweet and hilarious.

The laundry had to get done. I cared more about completing that task than I did about facing my fear of getting rid of the dead lizard...did I mention he was in my bed sheets???!!! I picked up the mattress pad and gave it a shake toward the garbage can. Nothing. That lizard was stuck. His little claws were firmly planted in the mesh. I shook, and his body just flailed around...never bending...stiff as a my sheets. I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the last string of mesh that was holding the lizard to my mattress pad...and off the lizard went into my Chi-O paint penned trash can from college. Still in one piece...dead as can be.

And I this what I signed up for with marriage, kids, and life as a homemaker? Since we moved to Florida, I have dealt with more bugs, frogs, snakes, and lizards than I care to count. And I deal with them. But still I ask...are you kidding me? I didn't think being a mommy meant saving my children and my home from such rodents. But I do...and that's part of life right now.

I deal with other funny, scary, tedious, and wonderful things during my days. This afternoon, Hunter peed in the front row of the Publix parking lot. Millie was already in her car seat, he could not wait, and I could not stop him. So there he was for all of the Publix shoppers to see. What can you do? Again I asked: Is this how I really thought things would turn out? Ten years ago I was singing opera, living in Massey with my sorority sisters, pining after boys who I just knew would be my husband, and looking forward to my future.

Where am I today? Wiping bottoms, doing laundry (with dead lizards), living in Florida with my seminary husband...and loving where I am. I didn't love it this morning at 9:30 in the laundry room...but I do love it. I am thankful for my "right now," and I look forward to the future. Is this how I imagined it? Not really. could I have ever imagined that a dead lizard and an overfull 4 year old bladder would offer me the adventure and joys and memories I will have forever. I do love being a mom. I don't like lizards. BUT...I will fight the lizards and get the laundry done...and feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing I have done and been exactly who God wants me to be today.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Havin' a Little Church in Here

Hunter is in "room time," and Millie is down for a nap. I usually use this time for cleaning, showering, getting some time with the Lord...but I had to write/type this down.

Hunter just led me in his own little version of church. It was really sweet and hilarious at the same time. He had me get my Bible and sit down in our living room. Here's how the Order of Worship went:

1. Hunter walked in holding his Bible. He opened it up and said: "SO...the soldiers took Jesus on the cross...and then they put a stone over it."
2. We sang the first verse of "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." Hunter sang and conducted, so I guess he was pastor and choir director.
3. He opened his Bible again and said: "SO...this is how we learn to obey God."
4. We sang "Jesus Loves Me."
5. He opened his Bible again, but I can't remember what he said. But he brought his Bible to me and had me touch the page he was "reading." Then he went around the room for "everyone else" to see the page he was reading from. Mind you...we were the only ones in the room.
6. Then he brought over a coaster and said: "Ok, here's where you put the money." And we passed around the offering.
7. Then he passed around another coaster and said: "Ok, you can pick something out." Not sure where he got that from, but it sounds fun.
8. We stood and sang the "Sanctus" by Schubert...affectionately known in our home as "Holy, Holy."
9. Then he took two coasters and had me kneel at our coffee table where he proceeded to serve communion. At our church, the elders share some words and pray for your families individually before you take communion. Although I can't remember everything that was said, I know Hunter said very clearly: "Jesus died on the cross," and then he prayed: "Lord, thank you for today and for Mommy coming to church to learn to obey God." I think I needed that prayer today.
10. After "communion," Hunter told me about Jonah the prophet.
11. Hunter closed with the "Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog" song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Amen. To God be the Glory.

I am privileged to partake in these moments. I had to write it down.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Search for a Fall Festival

I love activities. I have learned since becoming a Mom that I love to take my kids out to do things. I am definitely not a home body. Don't get me wrong...I love quiet days at home where play is a high priority and where Hunter takes me on great adventures in our living room through his incredible imagination...but I get stir-crazy really easy.

Since I love getting out with my kids, one of my favorite things to do as a family when Donny is home is to get out all together. Poor Donny...he is out all week, and he probably just wants to be home and rest...and I am always trying to figure out what a fun activity will be for us. Perhaps that's why I LOVED Disney so much last year (among many obvious reasons). I about an activity!, I decided that we were going to crash a fall festival. It didn't matter who was holding it...we were going to find one to attend. I actually said to Donny this afternoon: "Let's find a church's fall festival to crash." Pathetic...but I needed to be around pumpkins and hay just to feel a little like fall here in Florida. A few parameters: 1. It must be free. 2. It must be kid friendly 3. There must be some hope that there would be hay or pumpkins...preferably with a hay ride. With those things in mind, we put our kids down for their afternoon naps, and my Google search began. I knew Oviedo (where we live) was having "Oktoberfest," so that's where I began. $7 per person...NOPE, not that one. BUT...on the seminole county web site, it said something about a Hometown Harvest in Winter Springs (the next small town to our west). Oh Lord...could this be the one? This is what I was really was so I was waiting for a treasure to pop up on the computer screen...and there it was...
I found it.

5:30...perfect time...after naps but in plenty of time to go and get home before bed time.
Interactive hayride, Chick-Fil-A Kids Zone, Pumpkin Painting...oh Lord, thank you.

So off we went, arriving right at 5:30 to a pretty hoppin' place. Part of the street was closed off by the Winter Springs town center, tents were full of all kinds of vendors from Farmers' Market to personal embroidery to a myriad of chiropractors (who, of course, told Donny his back was in terrible condition)...but they all had candy...and that made Hunter (and us) happy. He got a plastic bag from one of the first booths we visited, and then the candy/booth hopping began.

We visited every booth, I soaked up the cooler (high 70s/low 80s), overcast weather, and we just strolled the Winter Spring Hometown Harvest. It was a delight to this Tennessee mother's heart who just wanted a little fall fun for her family today. We topped the afternoon off with a hay ride...which we squeezed in right before the rain began. Thank you, Lord, for the hay ride before the rain. If only we had time to see the "Country Western Stiltwalkers" before the rain...but you can't have it all.

The night ended at Chick-Fil-A where we got Hunter and Millie kids meals from free coupons from the festival. All my prerequisites were friendly...hay and pumpkins...and free Chick Fil A to top it off.

I know it's a simple afternoon out for most...but to me, it was a soul refreshing taste of home. For a few minutes, I was surrounded by southern hospitality, the smell of hay, a little boy with a bag full of candy, a hayride through a tiny "field" surrounded by tall trees, my family (kids dressed in Tennessee outfits, of course), and a heart full of thankfulness for the blessing of the treasure I found today in Winter Springs. A Hometown Harvest...where, for a moment, I felt at home.

Daddy and Hunter on the HayRide
Hunter was more interested in his treat bag than the ride itself.

Mommy and Millie...Millie obviously occupied with the little boy
across from us whose face was painted like a tiger.

Hunter at the Winter Springs Fountains

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Millie's Lovin' the 80's

I have wanted to post this pic ever since I took it last week. As soon as I took it, I immediately thought of Olivia Newton John and "Let's Get Physical." With that hair sticking out of that sweatband and her footie pajama's...I just feel like she's ready to jazzercise or something. I have quite a few friends who are self-proclaimed "stuck in the 80's" (some of whom may be reading this), so, girls...this post is for you. Millie is one of us...sweatband and all (although it is Hunter's spiderman sweatband). I know this post is random, but I just had to find a reason to post this pic.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cracked up by Crackers

Dinner on Saturday night was funny. Cranberry chicken, rice, and green beans...nothing too funny about that. BUT...give my kids some crackers, and let the party begin.

After we finished our meal, Hunter asked for something else to eat. I hadn't served any bread with the meal, so I offered him a few Ritz crackers. Millie, of course, wanted some "nana" too. (That's what she's calling crackers these days...go figure). Well, Millie shoved a Ritz in her mouth (see pictures), let half of the cracker hang out. Let the silliness and laughter begin. Hunter thought Millie's "cracker smile" was the funniest thing. He belly-laughed so hard that he started to tear up. He said: "I'm laughing so hard I'm starting to cry." That has never happened to him before, and you could see the confusion/panic in his eyes wondering..."Why is this happening? I'm not sad...but I'm crying...but I'm laughing...what's going on?"

While this may seem only mildly funny to most, this was HILARIOUS to me, because my sister, Jennifer, and I always know a good laugh when we start to cry. Maybe Hunter has inherited that trait. By the end of the cracker episode, everyone - Hunter, Millie, Donny, and I - were belly laughing. Cracked up by a cracker.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Icky-Ow and Melmo

Millie and Hunter probably watching "Icky Ow" or "Melmo"

I don't know why, but God has chosen to give me children who talk long before they walk. Both Hunter and Millie waited until 16 months to learn to walk. Millie is now 17 months old and has only been walking steadily for a few weeks.

But, boy, do my kids talk...and I love it. For this mom who an be a bit of a talker herself, it is so much fun to start even the smallest conversations with Millie...and quite profound conversations with Hunter.

Today I felt the urge to document some of Millie's words. I am a scrapbooker, but I am often behind and forget the details once I get around to actually scrapbooking their little lives. Sooo...this is more for me than it is for anyone reading this...but enjoy anyway. The parentheses are the translations of what she is saying.

Words Millie has had for a while: Mommy, Daddy, No (a favorite), Mimi (My mom - she got that one after a trip to Chattanooga in July), nana (banana), Bubba (our neighbor's dog...whose name she now attributes to most animals except for cows and cats - see below)

Recent developments: Up, Down, Memo (Nemo), Melmo (Elmo), Pease (Please), Meeeeel ( stands for anything to drink), shoe, choo-choo, bubble, bumble (for Hunter's Transformer Toy - Bumblebee), moo (cow), me-ow (cat)

Words she is working on: Hu-tee (I think it's Hunter), Icky-Ow or sometimes Icky-Mow (Mickey Mouse)

Today we went to church for Bible Study, and she walked into the nursery. Her first words? Au-dee (her little friend, Audrey Little). It was fun for her to recognize, know, and verbalize the name of a friend.

I am so thankful for little talkers. Sometimes I don't think that at 3am when I hear "Mommy" very loudly and clearly...but isn't that what being a Mommy is about?

Also, I really love turning the radio on and trying to find a "rockin' song" for us to have a dance party to. Today, as we were driving to the gym, we heard Chris Brown's song "Forever." Hunter said: "Mommy, that's where he says "and me." Sure enough...the first few words are "You and me." I need to start listening to what we are really listening to...because he is really picking up on words in songs...and I like a little Top 40 and hip-hop every once in a while...for a Friederichsen Family dance party in the Chevy Venture...the party van.

Thanks for humoring my desire to record these memories. Good night.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Hunter!

Hunter turned 4 last Sunday on the 14th. I can't believe how big he is. He is all about pretend right now, so it was the birthday of costumes and characters. When he's not dressed up as a pirate or Peter Pan or a cowboy, he's playing out some kind of show with his new Mickey, Toy Story, and Diego figurines. We love seeing his little imagination at work.

It's Saturday night...almost 11:00 p.m. Donny and I sat down to watch "Made of Honor" (my pick). About halfway through, Millie screamed out about something. She has been sleeping a little weird these days. Anyway, I was just having one of those mom moments when I wanted to hold her and snuggle rather than let her cry it out. So...Millie watched her first official chick flick tonight...and it was so fun to just hold and snuggle with my little girl.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Let My People Go!!!

Donny and I began teaching children's Sunday School in August as the new school year began. Donny is teaching 4th and 5th grade, and I am teaching 4-5 year olds. I am in Hunter's class. At the beginning, I asked the Christian Ed. director if I could do it on a trial basis, because I did not know how it would go being in Hunter's class....It's amazing.

I am officially in love with teaching Hunter's class. I don't know if it's 4-5 year olds or being able to teach Hunter and his friends...or both. The funny thing to me is that we are going through the life of Moses. I am team teaching with the pastor's wife, so I officially taught for the first time today...on the 10 plagues of Egypt (Exodus 7-10)...lovely. The curriculum we are using has fairly graphic pictures of the Nile turning to blood, livestock dying, boils, etc. I had to warn the parents as they picked up their kids that we talked about God's power in the plagues, so don't be surprised if they asked questions about locusts, boils, and the like. Hilarious.

As I taught today, I had the children pretend they were Moses giving Pharoah the Lord's message from Exodus 8:1 - "Let my people go, so they may worship me." I had them repeat it throughout the story. It was so fun when we got in the car this afternoon, and I asked Hunter to tell Daddy what Moses said to Pharoah, and Hunter shouted: "LET MY PEOPLE GO...SO THEY MAY WORSHIP ME!!!" I want Hunter to know so much that God does what he does because he loves us and wants us to worship him...and I guess I want to know more and more that God does what he does because he loves me and wants me to worship him.

Today was the first day Hunter sat through the entire church service with us. It was a communion Sunday, and they don't do a Children's Church on communion Sundays, because we value having the entire family in the service. We let Hunter bring his Jesus Storybook Bible (Thanks, Aunt Jenn!!!) to have during the service. When we got in the car after church, he asked if he could read his story Bible in the car so that he could "learn to obey God." Amazing.

We had lunch with some friends from church today, and we did not get home until 4. We put Millie down to sleep for about an hour, and I needed to rest too. Hunter came into my room and wanted to rest with me...precious. Then he brought in a toy cup and bowl with puzzle pieces in it. Hunter was going to serve me communion (not the first time this has happened). Before he served me the bread (puzzle pieces), he did something different...he said: "First, let's pray." Our elders pray with us before we take communion, so I guess he was taking his cues from that. Although I can't remember all of his words, I pray God will help me remember watching him bow his hands, fold his hands, and really talk to God. Some of his final words were "so I can know you." Oh Lord...would you let my son know you? Would you take any efforts we have to train him and turn them into a heart knowledge and love for you? Thank you for a precious day of seeing you at work in his life.

After "communion," Hunter told me a story from his Bible similar to how I do in Sunday School. He "read" from the Passover story in the New Testament (Lord's Supper). He would hold up the pictures and ask "Can everybody see?" as if he had a captive audience. After the story, we sang (his idea) "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." Alleluia.

It was one of those days when I had a number of moments when I shot up a little prayer asking God to help me remember this moment...and my memory fails me almost I thought I would write down what I could remember.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Is it August already?

The Friederichsen Family at Tacky Prom...a Campus Crusade tradition and a fitting farewell to 6 years on staff!

Wow, I (Kim) can't believe July flew by so fast. We moved into our new house on July 1...that was tumultuous to say the least. Since then, we have tried to get settled, we took a week long trip to Chattanooga to visit family and get stuff out of storage, and we had two different sets of house guests. Whew!

Because of my constant level of exhaustion from the frenzy of the month, I don't have much to write tonight. If you want to skip the formality of the written word and get to more pics, just keep scrolling...there are more pics of the kids below. Millie is close to walking...she's 15 1/2 months...and almost there. Hunter was 16 1/2 months before he walked, so this is par for the Friederichsen course.

Donny finished his Greek class which is a prerequisite to full-time study at RTS. I think he's remarkably smart and will actually do really well with this whole seminary thing. It just seems like the Lord has grown him up "for such a time as this." I hope that doesn't sound too cheesy. Life is overwhelming, and the prospect of full-time study plus regular ministry feels like a lot...but I am excited for how God is leading our family.

Before I finish, I thought I would refer you to a friend's blog. They had a baby last week when Rachel (the mom) was only 27 weeks along. Their firstborn was really early too. I am inspired and drawn to the Lord by their story and faith. Thought you might be encouraged as I was. Their blog is

Have a great week. I'll try to be better about this whole blogging thing. If I'm not here, I'm probably on Facebook. :)

Hunter and Millie at the Chattanooga RiverPark with their cousins

This is from Mother's Day, but I love my here it is!!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Birthday Fishin'

My sweet wife surprised me with a little fishing trip out to the Indian River. She didn't actually go fishing with me. She did, however, get some guys from work to plan a little excursion to selectively weed out the redfish population.

We went out to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and fished for Redfish and anything else that was unfortunate enough to snag our lines. This was my first time to Merritt Island. I've gone to the general area for an airshow and shuttle launches, but never to the Refuge. It was beautiful. There is a single-lane dirt road that snakes through the swampy areas. The water it is a large coastal swamp, so there are tons of wildlife. We saw some Rosetta spoonbills. There were tons of crabs and horseshoe crabs. We also saw a little gator. It was probably 5-6 feet long. Much smaller than the 11' 1" gator they trapped in the pond right next to Lake Hart. It's an occupational hazard.
We slowly worked our way down the road looking for tailing redfish. The water is very shallow, so when the redfish go after the bait fish, their tail fins often break the surface of the water. When we saw the bait fish moving, we got out, waded into the water and got our lines wet.

Mike was the first to catch a red. It was 25 inches and probably 7ish lbs.
I got in on the action by hooking a decent spotted sea trout.

Then, while Mike was helping me filet my little trout, I noticed his rod was walking towards the water. I went down and grabbed the pole. Fortunately for me there was a nice redfish on the other end of the line. These fish are a ton of fun to catch. They are hard swimmers and put up a pretty good fight. Despite his efforts, he succumbed to my superior strength and intellect...yep, I outwitted and outmuscled a little fish. Cheers all around!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My friend Scott took these pictures at the Night Launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor the other evening (actually, it was the other morning at 2:30am). I thought they were awesome, so I wanted to share them with you.

If you've never made it to Florida for a Space Shuttle absolutely must. They'll retire the shuttle fleet in 2010, so make your plans now.

We actually woke up to watch the launch. We couldn't see the shuttle because of the clouds, but we did see a bright glow over the horizon. The launch facility is 45 miles from our house. The power of a shuttle launch is amazing. It lights up the sky 50 miles away.This one is my favorite!

Saturday, February 23, 2008's been a while

Let's just say that we're not the most faithful at updating our blog. It's February now...our last post was in August. I'm amazed if anyone is checking this anymore...but here we are. And here's a little about our life.

Life in Orlando is so weird in February. It was in the mid-80s yesterday. So weird. I (Kim) think I have worn a sweater once all year...and we had a pool party on Wednesday. I am missing the seasons but definitely won't complain about the sun.

Donny is over at a friend's apartment watching the Tennessee/Memphis bball game. I hope he comes home happy...GO VOLS!!!

Would you pray for us? The Lord has used this year in Orlando in some neat ways to help us grow deeper in our walks with Him and to learn more about our giftings, talents, and desires. We are seeking guidance about what He would have us do after this year. It is crazy to think that another move might be around the corner in the least we know for sure that we have to move out of our apartment by June 30...we will see where we end up...and we'll let you know as soon as we know.

For whoever is reading this, we appreciate your love and prayers over time and distance. Please make a post or email us to let us know how you are doing.