Monday, December 31, 2007

Great is Your Faithfulness

We are spending the eve of the New Year at home tonight...a pretty good place for a couple with 2 small kids. We remember the days of staying up late, but for now they are far gone =) Now that the kids are in bed, Travis suggested that we think of the ways that God has been faithful to our family this past year. So here is our list. We hope you will praise the Lord with us!

January - Our church's provision of the finances we needed to visit Romania for the first time on a survey trip
and our very first deputation meeting.



February - The trial of Becky's dad's illness and the grace He gave and continues to give us.

March - Travis' grandpa turned 90! He is very special to us.



April - Experiencing the beauty of the body of Christ. This was a very busy month for us. Becky's dad was being moved into a rehab and LOTS of people helped us take care of Samuel (Jessica Holland, Knickerbockers, Brenda Holder, Trent and Traci (Trav's brother), Janelle Francis, Pam Husler, Marlene Post, Jen McLeod, and of course Trav's parents). We were also getting ready for the birth of our little Kara!

May - Kara was born on May 23 after Becky spent 12 days in the hospital (we continued to benefit from so many friends who love us...meals, cards, phone calls, visits, babysitting!) What a beautiful new baby girl. We thank the Lord for sparing her life and Becky's throughout the pregnancy and emergency c-section.



June
- Dad came home on June 8 after 5 months in 5 hospitals. Our nephew Stephen was born on June 10.



July
- Travis ended his job at Analytical Labs. It was a great job for him and met our needs very sufficiently for 2 years. Our home church held a baby shower for Kara and gave so many diapers that we bought our first pack for Kara just this last week!
We also took a very fun trip to Lake Tobias with Trent and Traci, Grace and Ella, Trav's brother and family.



August
- God provided for us to move to Bellefonte to help with Becky's dad and start full-time deputation. Many of our dear church friends helped us move and Becky's parents allowed us to live in their house rent free.
Travis began calling pastors, and God filled our fall deputation schedule in just a couple of weeks.



September
- An encouraging visit from our missionary friend Eve a Douglas. She's a great companion for Samuel and stayed with the children one evening so we could go on a date. She also helped so much around the house to begin preparations for putting our house on the market.



October
- We had a great month of deputation, making lots of new friends and prayer partners. We received a call from Berean Baptist Church in New Castle, DE, saying that they would like to be a part of our support team. This is our first church besides our sending church...very exciting news!!

November - Thanksgiving celebrations with both families (Heckathornes and Gravleys). We are so thankful for TWO families that love us and support us wholeheartedly. As we contemplate our families we realize we have something that is very uncommon...both sets of parents and all of our siblings love the Lord and are serving Him faithfully. That means that Samuel and Kara will never have to pray for any of their grandparents' or aunts' and uncles' salvation!! What an incredible blessing from the Lord!





December
- Samuel turned three and was spared from being seriously injured on his birthday when he swallowed two quarters. We are so thankful for our firstborn. He is the light of our lives.We also had our family picture taken. We want to thank our Father for sending His only Son to be our Savior.



Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What Rudolph Left


video


We left Reindeer Feed (Cheerios) out on Christmas Eve, and Rudolph and his buddies left a trail all the way through the living room and down the steps into the basement. Sam said, "Rudolph left a mess, mess, mess!" He left a new bike with a note that read, "Thanks for the snack." I think we had a bit more fun creating this "reindeer appearance" than Samuel did finding it. =)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Fun Part of Samuel's Birthday

We had fun putting this video together to show you the scavenger hunt Samuel had to find his present on the morning of his 3rd birthday. We hope you enjoy it. This was before the "not-so-fun" part. You'll have to excuse the bed heads and pajamas!

video

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Not-so-fun Part of Samuel's Birthday

We just wanted to thank the Lord. Today is Samuel's birthday. He turned three. =) It started out as a very fun day, but this afternoon something very scary happened. Sam went down for his nap and had 2 quarters in his pocket. He decided to get them out and put them in his mouth, and I'm sure you can guess what happened. He began to cry and then scream. I thought that he was just being stubborn about going down for his nap, so I was ignoring him. I had no idea that he was in trouble. Travis decided he was going to just check on him and he found him in the hallway crying and crying, saying that he had quarters in his throat. Trav called for me immediately and I called 911. The ambulance came and transported Samuel and me to the emergency room. He was breathing okay, but drooling all over the place. By the time we got into the triage bed he was acting pretty quiet and I thought maybe the quarters had finally slid down into his stomach. Just as I sat down with him and the doctor came over, he got a funny look on his face and proceeded to throw up all over us. Out came BOTH quarters!!! Praise the Lord. He was completely normal and happy after that, and he even said "cheese" when they took the x-ray of his abdomen to make sure everything was out. He thought they were taking his picture =) I just held him in his bed tonight as he went to sleep and cannot thank the Lord enough for protecting my little boy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just Regular Life



On Thanksgiving morning we had breakfast with Andy and Suz and then spent the rest of the day with my mom and dad. Dad was really alert that day, and he was even able to join us at the table. He's on a feeding tube, so he's not able to eat, but he sure was eyeing up the food we were all enjoying. Thanks to Andy and Suz for letting us come over and use your house for our big turkey dinner. It was a really nice day for us.



A couple of weeks ago we went to see Travis' great aunt. She's 93 years old!! Doesn't she look good? She lives in an assisted -living apartment. It's a really nice little place and she has everything she needs right there. Aunt Mary is very special to us. She never had any children of her own, so she has treated us all like her own grandchildren even though we really belong to her brother (Trav's pappy). She's just like all the other grandparents (sending money and cards on your birthday and Christmas). I even lived with her for a couple of months before we got married. She had never met Kara, so we took the children to see her.



Sam is growing up so fast. He'll be three next week. Even though he requires so much energy and prayer, we could never imagine our lives without him. By the way, if you read about him back in the summer destroying our computer keyboard, you'd be surprised that now he plays on the computer using the online games from noggin.com. He doesn't even rip the computer apart while he plays! Here's a funny picture from Sunday afternoon. He had gotten a couple of Happy Meal toys from McDonald's and wanted them to watch him play his computer games. He set them all up and made them "watch" him play.


Samuel is even learning how to play with Kara now without making her cry every time. =)

Our sleeping beauty...

Monday, November 19, 2007

All Dressed Up For Church




Saturday, November 17, 2007

So Many Toys...What Shall I Do??


Today we were getting ready to head out to Wal-Mart and I was busy, so I asked Samuel to play with Kara. She was a little fussy, and I thought he could help interest her in something. When I finished doing my hair, this is what I found. What a helpful kid! Sometimes he's a little TOO helpful, if you know what I mean! =) I didn't mean for him to get every toy she owns! As you can see, she's very happy with her big brother!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sam's Excellent Adventure

Thank you, Shannon Conley!! This is so cool. And VERY easy!! =)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Our Little Punkins




Fall in Pennsylvania


I feel like I've missed much of the fall season this year, because of all the traveling we've been doing, but the other night we were home and the sky was BEAUTIFUL!! This is the view from our back porch where we live now (my parents' home). It made me stop and think of how great our God is. Can you imagine the beauty of heaven if this is just a taste of what that will be like?
"O Lord, Our Lord! How majestic is your name in all the earth!"

On the Road

The last month has been really busy. We've been to a new church every weekend. The kids are handling things pretty well. Our worst Sunday with them was when Samuel busted into the auditorium screaming at the top of his lungs and crying for me. He had escaped from the nursery. We decided to try and take him with us to the front for our testimony, but realized what a bad mistake we made when he began kissing me on the lips right in front of everyone. When he realized it was embarrassing me, then he began LICKING my cheek!!! AAAHHH!! Soon it was my turn to give my part of the testimony, so Travis took him and when he started hitting Trav we finally took him down off the stage. What a disaster! Everyone was very understanding and thankfully the church wasn't big at all, so it wasn't as bad as it could've been.

A few weeks ago we went to a missions conference in Grove City, PA. It was a lot of fun. The people were so kind and we had lots of time to get to know them. We wanted to post some pictures of the place where we stayed in Grove City....an RV that an older couple in the church owned and pulled up to the church for our family to stay in! It was really cool. It gave us the time alone that we needed to deal with the kids and not feel like we were being watched all week. (if you know what I mean) =) It was nice to be back home again after living in a camper with two kids, but I thought it was a great idea for keeping missionaries.

New Family Picture...finally! =)



Here's our first and only family picture since Kara was born. We found an old barn close by and took this picture by ourselves. Samuel did such a good job smiling at the camera with no one to look at. We went straight to Burger King for chicken nuggets and french fries as a reward and then a LOLLIPOP too!! (Sam calls them Lionpops) =) This is the picture we wanted to include in our new missions presentation, but my shirt came out so bright that Travis wasn't happy with it. We're having a bit of a competition about whether it would be okay or not. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pappy and the Ducks

We wanted to thank all of you for your prayers for my dad and to show you what he's been up to lately. Before Dad got sick, Samuel had a special game that he loved to play with his Pappy. These little plastic ducks "swim" around and around this pond and make LOTS of noise. When we went to Romania for our survey trip in January, Samuel spent several days with Grammy and Pappy. Even though my parents were both teaching full time, each afternoon when Pappy came home, Samuel would meet him at the door with the duck game saying, "Play duckies, Pappy, play duckies!!" On the bottom of each duck is a colored shape, and my dad taught Sam the colors and shapes while they played. Since his illness, Dad has not been able to play with Samuel really at all. Last week, though, we were able to bring him home to his old house (the place where our family is living now) to visit. When Samuel awoke from his nap, Pappy was HERE!! He was so excited, and we reminded him that there's a very special game that Pappy came home to play....DUCKIES!! We thought it would be nice to show you the pictures we got of Samuel "playing" ducks again with his Pappy and to thank the Lord that my Dad is still with us. He may not be able to truly play with his grandchildren, but at least he can sit on the couch and smile while he watches them. And at least we can sit next to him and hold his hand.

Family Night

We've recently instituted "Family Night" into the Gravley household. Our inaugural night was last Friday. We played flashlight hide and seek in the complete dark. Samuel wasn't so sure at first, but very soon he was having a blast. Then we moved on to Bible story charades while Mommy fed Kara. A pretty lame idea, I know, but we had to do SOMETHING to keep the activity going. Watching Kara eat wasn't going to cut it =) Next, we moved on to Veggie Tales on Mommy and Daddy's bed on the BIG screen. We hooked up our projector that we use to show our missions presentation and watched on the bedroom wall (all the while eating popsicles ON THE BED!!) We definitely shouldn't have started out the "Family Nights" with so much excitement, because tonight (our second one), all we did is play with play-dough and dominoes on the kitchen table. That's the great thing about a 2 year old. I don't think he really cares WHAT we do, as long as we're paying attention to him. Ever since the first Family Night, he's been asking for another one. We're really attempting to make this a scheduled weekly night for our family. We even write it on the calendar, so it won't get squished out of the way by other stuff. I'm sure that someday our kids won't LOVE it as much as they do now, but we're trying to create some family loyalty while they're very young. Obviously, we're not very creative (hence, the play-dough and domino night), so does anyone have any Family Night ideas for us?





Monday, August 20, 2007

Swimmin' Sam



At our house in Dillsburg, we had a GREAT backyard. Samuel loved to run around in it and especially swim in his pool. One week I think he swam in his pool every night. He's really cracking us up lately with his expanding vocabulary. If you listen carefully, you'll hear him say, "Somebody stop me!" He really enjoys it when we tell him NOT to do something (in a joking way...like reverse psychology) and then he does it anyway. So in this clip he wanted someone to tell him NOT to slide down the slide, so he could do it anyway and then laugh. I don't know if this makes any sense. Maybe when you watch the clip it will. Whether you get our silly games or not, I hope you enjoyed the video.

Some Family Pictures




People have told us that a mom, dad, boy and girl are the "Million Dollar Family." We think so too. We've really been enjoying our kids. Sam is crazier than ever and Kara is getting so big! She's just starting to smile. We'll post some pictures of that soon. =) Praise the Lord for His good gifts to us.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

HELP!!

We have the stickers, we have the charts, we have the potty, we have the 2 year old and we definitely have had ENOUGH of the diapers!! Does anyone have any suggestions before we begin? I've tried to look up info on the internet, but everyone wants me to buy their book. Does anyone know of a particular method that's tried and true (sort of like babywise for potty training?) =) And now, for the big question, what do you think about discipline for little boys who know how to go to the potty (especially #2) and just choose not to do it in the potty???? AHHH!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Never a Dull Day

Today was going along so smoothly. Samuel and I were playing and getting ready to go for a haircut. I've had to wet his hair completely to get it to stay down, so I thought it was time.

It was beginning to look like Alfalfa's (all slicked down and plastered to his head). I was expecting one strand in the back to pop up any minute. =)

As we were pulling out of the driveway, I backed up as usual into our neighbor's parking space (the space that I THOUGHT was EMPTY!!) and,lo and behold, I found that it wasn't empty at all. Betty's car was in it's usual spot and I crashed right into it. It kinda goes right along with the year I'm having so far...crazy!! Oh well, Travis says we have good insurance. Praise the Lord for that! Of course, Kara slept right through the whole thing. Samuel was such a good boy and never once opened his mouth until we got to the barber shop. It was there that he told everyone waiting for haircuts that "Mommy crashed into Miss Betty's car!!!" Thanks, Sam.

P.S. I always have some good story about Sam, so here's some recent shots of our beautiful baby Kara. She was very comfy with her daddy last night after dinner resting on his chest.


July 4th


We visited my brother and his wife for the 4th of July this year. Samuel and his cousins, Will and Micah, had a great time watching the "fireworks." Here's some pictures from the huge event (which consisted of a couple of spinning light up things and some charcoal snakes). When we celebrate, we really go all out! Samuel kept singing, "America, America...asleep on the hay." He's still working on the difference between Christmas and Independence Day. Heehee!

The Brave Hunter

It's definitely been too hot to open the windows for the last couple of weeks, but we had some really nice, cool weather a couple of weeks ago. Travis was having great difficulty with the fly swatter. He never could seem to hit the flies he was swinging at. We had TONS of them in our apartment, because we had the windows open. One night he was unusually successful and actually hit this poor fly in mid air and sent it flying across the room to it's final doom! Honey, you're such a brave hunter...I'm sooo proud of you =)



Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Moving

The boxes are starting to fill the house again! We're heading to Bellefonte, PA the end of this month to assist my mom with the care of my dad. Travis is quitting his job, and full time deputation begins! It's been quite a busy time trying to pack and take care of a newborn and a 2 yr. old! I'm not sure if Samuel is going to make it. He's very tired of having no one to play with, cause his only play mate is always either packing or feeding his little sister! =( Just yesterday he decided to dump his entire plate of chicken and rice on the kitchen floor (which is carpet). And last week, he poured all the milk I had just finished pumping for Kara all over our khaki chair. If we make it through toddlerhood it will be a miracle. (or should I say, if HE makes it through toddlerhood...) Oh well. It will teach him patience at least to have to play by himself. I'm not sure what lessons I'M supposed to be learning from all of his mischief?? Here are some recent pictures of what we've been up to.
On Saturday morning we had eggs and grapefruit for breakfast. Samuel decided he wanted to try the grapefruit after Travis was done with it. First Trav said no and then we decided it would be fun to watch his reaction to such a bitter taste. Well, apparently, he liked it! What a weirdo!

Travis' mom found this awesome toy at a yard sale for a dollar! It's made by Playskool, and I checked it out...they still make it (a new and improved version...$20). It's the coolest toy. You place the balls in the top and they roll down the spout into the bottom where they are shot back up through the tube by air pressure. You have to press the red button on the back to shoot the balls out the top. Samuel has played with it ALL morning.

My friend Kelli encouraged me to take LOTS of pictures of Kara as she was growing so that I could remember how small she was. So this one is just to show you what she's looking like these days. I bet she's close to 7 lbs now!! What a sweetie!
(I know I'm only saying this cause she's not 2 yet!) =)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ready for a Wife



For the last few days, I've been letting Samuel help me with the dishes.
He used the sprayer to rinse them and to rinse a few other things (like the counter, the floor and himself!). And just a few days ago he brought me a flower from the plant outside our house.
I was beginning to think that he was just about ready to get married, since he's able to do so many things that wives love (washing dishes, giving flowers), until I thought about the fact that he's still wearing a DIAPER! I'm not sure his wife would go for that! I guess we still have some work to do in the dishes department too, because at the end of the rinsing he started drinking the water from the spoon he had just rinsed.
OH WELL!! We'll have to do a bit more training before the big wedding day! I think we'll start on the "no drinking the water from the rinsed dishes" first, cause I'm just not ready to tackle the diaper yet. Maybe by the time he's 25 we'll have that one accomplished!