Saturday, November 21, 2009

First Sleepover

Sam and Will had their first official sleepover. It started out at Will's house with a Scooby Doo Christmas movie and then they came over here in their PJs to play Hide and Seek and Leapsters before bed. They had a GREAT time. Hopefully, there will be lots more to come! =)

Getting Bigger

My little girl is growing up. Even though she is thoroughly in the midst of the 'terrible twos' we are still having a lot of fun dressing up and doing her hair and nails. Here's some recent pictures of my beautiful girl.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sam Sam the Money-Making Man

Samuel has been earning money for the past several months in order to purchase a new portion of his favorite toy, his Geo-Trax. He is very focused on buying the airplane and remote control that comes with it. We have decided, with the advice of my mom, to capitalize on this desire and give him new chores and responsibilities around the house in order to earn it for himself. I have been amazed at what he is able to do. I'm sure we pay him way too much for these chores, but this is no cheap toy. It will take him until he's 15 to earn the money =) unless we pay him well. He unloads the dishwasher, laying everything on the counter for me to put away. He does the silverware minus the sharp knives. When it's time to load it up again, he puts in the soap and presses the button (these, I think, are his favorite parts of the dishwasher job). Sometimes I give him the job of "babysitting" Kara while I take a shower. Of course, he loves this one because he gets to be the boss! My mom has also been employing him to help with small chores in her bedroom. He gets paid a quarter to stack Pappy's formula and briefs in the closet bins. HOWEVER, I have been most recently amazed by his ability to do this.......

Buckle your seatbealts, everyone, this boy is FOLDING LAUNDRY!!!!!!

YAHOOOOOOO!!!! He's up to 14 dollars and something now. I can't wait for the day when we take all of the quarters and go to make our big purchase!! =) Great job, Buddy!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Milkshake Contest

We don't often have friends over to visit. The kids make it a little harder as well as traveling every weekend when most people are off work and available to visit. Tonight, though, we invited a couple over to get to know them better. Andrea and I were friends in elementary school, actually. We have seen each other a few times over the years, but just since we moved home to Bellefonte, I have seen her a little more...mostly from attending the same Bible Study for Moms. We've also become friends on Facebook, so when I saw her status the other night (she reported she had just made the best peanut butter milkshake ever), I commented that Travis makes pretty good p. butter milkshakes too. We thought it would be the perfect time to set up a milkshake making contest after having dinner together =) It was great to meet Andrea's husband, Kevin, and spend some time getting to know their family. Samuel and Kara had a great time with their children, Kate and Christopher. We played puzzles and trains, watched Curious George and had the long-awaited "MILKSHAKE MAKING CONTEST"!! And the winner is........

(after blindfolding Sam for a taste test - wish I'd gotten a picture of that and getting Kate to taste both shakes - she wouldn't wear a blindfold....)



I guess congratulations are in order, since we heckled you guys all night about who would make the best shake! It must be because you bought the ice cream (unfair advantage) =) heehee

Thanks, Kevin and Andrea, for a really fun night!


Since Kara's hair is getting longer, we're having some fun with it in the bathtub. Take a look...

After we did this, we let her see herself in the mirror. Now everytime we wash her hair, she wants to look in the mirror. We're having so much fun with her, especially now that she's getting a little bigger and can do more things. She and Sam are beginning to play more and more together. She also lets me do her hair in pigtails and other little hair-dos. It's fun being the mommy of a little girl. She loves to have her nails painted, and she's starting to request certain outfits. OH BOY! Here we go!

Camping with the Fam

Trav's mom and dad purchased a cabin in the mountains near Lock Haven, PA...which happens to be only about 45 minutes from our house =) We have had some really nice times there already with the family. Here's some pictures of our big sleepover with Ninny and Pappop and ALL EIGHT grandkids (the oldest just turned six in August!!). Yeah, it's kind of like a daycare when we're all together....

Pappop trying to maintain some kind of order during the tent set-up. Travis and his brother, Trent, slept out here the second night with 3 of the lunatic children. They couldn't move the next day....guess they're getting old! =)

Kara LOVES bubbles!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The End of Summer

Yesterday Sam and his cousin Will captured a butterfly. They were VERY excited! I ran upstairs to grab my camera to get some memories. What a wonderful time these two (and Caleb and Kara) have had this summer! Endless hours of running around and around our two houses. We definitely don't have to wonder if Samuel and Kara will remember (when we go to Romania) our home here and their cousins who practically live with us! =) Hope you all enjoyed your summer too. We're LOVING the beautiful cooler weather this week. Just makes me want to run out and buy some mums for the porch =) Happy Back-to-School everybody and Happy Back-to-On-the-Support-Raising-Road for us!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

God's Covenant

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Here's a link to a short post I saw on the Girltalk blog (which I LOVE). It has a great view on hospitality, helping me to see that it is a responsibility for all believers. I believe that hospitality can be one of the primary ways to bring others to Christ, by inviting people into your home and showing them first-hand what it is to be a Christian. They can watch you with your kids and with your husband (hopefully, it's a good example you are setting - ha!) and wonder how they can get a home like yours. What they will see is not YOU, but the Spirit of God IN you, and it will be desirous. Hope this makes you think, like it did me, about a way you can be hospitable. Why not start with a neighbor with whom you don't feel that you have much in common besides both of you being mothers? You never know! =) I loved the section that emphasizes that we don't all have the same way of showing hospitality. It will be varied based on "God's varied grace." That takes a lot of the pressure away, knowing that MY way of showing hospitality doesn't have to look like the way others show it. It can be original to me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summertime 2009

I have been very lacking in my updating, so I thought I could make up for it in one post. We continue to travel just about every weekend, raising support for our future ministry in Romania. We are so blessed to have family living nearby and love to celebrate all the birthdays and other holidays with them. Here's just a few pictures showing how the summer is going and how the kids are growing...

We took about a week and dug up new flower beds and planted flowers here at the house where we live with Mom and Dad. It was a lot of work, but it looks SO pretty!

At the end of May we celebrated Kara's birthday....TWO YEARS OLD!! We had a party here in Bellefonte...

You can't see it too well, but I found this cute cake online (just jelly beans for the rainbow and white mini marshmallows for the clouds) =)

...and then one in Mechanicsburg a few days later (with Trav's family).

We found these hats in a missionary closet on our travels! Cute! =)

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Many Faces of Sweet Kara

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ladies Retreat and Jumping Beans

This past Friday and Saturday Trav and I had the opportunity to co-speak at a Ladies Retreat in Lancaster.  Calvary Baptist Church of Elkins Park, PA brought their ladies to a Christian camp in Lancaster.  Travis spoke on Friday evening, and then I spoke twice on Saturday.  We used Titus chapter 2, specifically verses 3 through 5 as our main theme.  We've never done anything like this before, and Travis joked that it was his first Ladies Retreat. =)   Leading up to the weekend, we both spent some pretty late nights preparing, so now we're WHIPPED, but it gave us some great experience to draw from in the future.  Travis gave a lot of background to the book of Titus, and then I (using A LOT from the book Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney) filled in more practical thoughts and application to us as women.  I can see how the Lord is giving me opportunities like this that will help me when we reach Romania.  I'm sure these principles will be a HUGE help for the Romanian and Gypsy women.  I think we, as Americans, really take for granted the resources that we have at our fingertips for help in areas of Christian living.  We can pretty much just jump online and find any books we could possibly need, as well as encouraging Christian music and anything we want to help us along our way.  These women in other countries, especially places like Romania, have pretty much only the Word of God to help them.  I'm not trying to convey that the Bible is not enough, just simply how much easier it is for us here to receive encouragement along the way.  Anyways, though it may not interest you that much that I spoke at a Ladies Retreat, I've been wanting to use this blog for my own self too as a journal of my life and my family's life, so just consider this a little look into my blog/journal =)  

As an extra, here's a little video I took the other day of the kids.  Sam is teaching Kara how to jump.  So funny!  I think that jumping must just require a certain level of skill that Kara doesn't quite have yet.  My sweet kids: how I love them! =)

Monday, April 6, 2009

My Sweet Kids =)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Little Red Riding Hood

A few weeks ago, Trav's parents came to visit for the evening.  We had dinner and spent some really nice time together.  No pressures, just hanging out =)  Samuel has been practicing the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and he employed his Ninny and Pappop as actors.  Samuel T. Gravley (Little Red Riding Hood), Patricia A. Gravley (Wolf), and Raymond G. Gravley (Grandma) present....THE LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The New Gravleys

For about the last 2 years, our family has been experiencing some very difficult times with our son, Sam.  Those of you who know us well have heard our whining, complaining, and crying.  We've mostly tried to contain it just within our family, but recently have been asking more and more people to pray with us concerning his behavior.  We have tried SO many different methods, focusing mostly on the biblical ones (I will not be too specific, knowing that really anyone can read something online).  Samuel has been disciplined more than any other kid I've ever known.  We had our parents, brothers and sisters praying for us and talking to us, giving their advice so sweetly whenever asked.  No one could quite figure out why Sam could be so sweet and then his attitude could turn on a dime.  It seemed the slightest provocation would send him into huge fits of anger and reduce us to anger and frustration in return.  We worked so hard to control our own selves so that our discipline was done in a godly way.  We have been so humiliated a multitude of times, especially since beginning deputation and being in a different home each weekend.  Everyone we have met has been SO gracious toward us, trying to encourage us in any way they can.  We've been begging the Lord for wisdom and trying to gain all the knowledge we can from other parents (old and young).  Mostly everyone who has talked with us just encourages us with the same advice..."Be consistent and win the battles; you'll be so glad you conquered it now instead of waiting until he's older."  While we appreciated this advice, it seems that no one could put a finger on what was causing the outbursts and what we were doing, as parents, to fuel this poor behavior.  We did have some angry times in disciplining him, but I just felt that our consistent pattern of punishing him was calm and calculated, not in great emotion.  I felt that as near as possible to 100% of disobedience and defiance was punished in love and firmness.  

As we drove to Cleveland this past week for Launch Seminar at our mission agency (Trav and I were by ourselves), I began to read this new book I received from a friend.  It is the preschool book from Gary Ezzo (the Babywise/Growing Kids God's Way guy).  We came across a chapter called "Addicted to Choice."  NEVER IN ALL MY DISCUSSIONS with people have I come across such revealing information about my Samuel.  It was AMAZING!!!  The chapter describes a boy named Jackson who makes his own choices all morning long (what color cup he'll use, where he'll sit, what he'll play with and when, etc.)  When his mom would suggest something like, "Come sit here, and I'll read to you," Jackson would choose to simply sit in a different place.  His mother, not wanting to cause a conflict over something so dumb as a place to sit or a cup to drink from, would just go along with Jackson's ideas.  When it came time for lunch, however, his mother required him to come to the table and quit playing.  Jackson was LIVID!  How dare his mother cross him after having his own way all morning.  Ezzo explains that children (about 4 years of age - like Sam) CANNOT differentiate between moral and non-moral choices (huge revelation to me!)  I had no idea that he saw choosing a cup color the same as coming to the table for lunch or going to bed for a nap!  We had so much trouble with Samuel at these times of non-negotiation (naptime, mealtime, going home from a friend's house time, etc.) that we decided to cause as little conflict in negotiable areas (cup color, seat at the table choice, etc.).  By doing this, we had created a little boy whose day was, on the whole, directed by himself, not his parents.  When it came time for us to exercise our authority over him, he would get angry when we didn't give in.  We were doing a great job not giving in at those times, but the rest of the day was Sam's to control.  I don't know if you can follow all of this reasoning, but it sure made perfect sense to us.  We feel that this is such an answer from the Lord, and we thank Him for showing us mercy and giving us wisdom to find the proper resources to help us.  
We have revamped our whole lives and created a schedule for Samuel and Kara for the days when we are home and not on the road.  The schedule includes things like roomtime, coloring time, puzzletime, reading together, Bible story time, etc.  Though the kids do have some free time during the day to play with whatever they choose, most of the day is planned out and directed by us, the parents.  We have had two very good days.  The fits are not gone, by any means, but we have been really encouraged to see that they are greatly lessened in intensity.  I have so much more to write, but I'll be finished for now.  I hope to write an update on this in the next few weeks.  I'm looking forward to reporting big improvements in Sam's behavior. Thank you to those who have prayed for us.  We are so thankful!