Sunday, November 30, 2008

An Outing in Pinetop

I wouldn’t be able to count how many times we’ve driven through Pinetop over our lifetime, each time passing a “Family Fun Center” with go karts, mini golf, and arcade games. We thought, this trip to Greer, it would be fun to take the kids as a way to honor Baylee and Nathan celebrating their birthdays in Greer. We had a great time! I’m sure we’ll return again, especially now that the kids will recognize the place as we speed past!

(Baylee with Mommy)
(Nathan with Daddy)
(Owen and Jon getting ready to speed away.)
(I love Owen's expression in this photo!)

2,921...and the Best Is Yet to Come, I'm sure!

Today, Baylee is 8!
She officially made me a mommy 2,921 days ago.
It’s hard to believe. Where is my baby going?

In honor of Baylee's birthday, I have written out 8 things that make her so very special. (I can't wait until she turns 100 so I can say 100 things!)

8. You are a kind-hearted young lady that values human life. You know everyone doesn’t need to be the same and you find beauty in everyone. The bottom line is, everyone has a heart and everyone was created by the Lord…you remind us often of those important things none of us should lose sight of (thank you).

7.You are the best sister EVER! The boys really don’t know how good they have it. One thing they do know though is how amazing of a friend you are to them. You always have time to be with them and make them feel cared for. I know I tell you this a lot. It’s a 100% fact!

6. You have a very nurturing spirit. You like to take care of others and do it in such an excellent, careful way. If God blesses you with children Baylee, you’ll be the best mom around. You value family tradition, order, love, and organization to name a few. In fact, you are embracing your role as a lady already and take the traits seriously. You like to be a helpmate to the men in our home. You enjoy putting together meal plans and shopping for them. You enjoy cooking, trying new recipes, setting the table, and much much, much more. WOW!

5. You are intelligent (and never boast about it) and have a great passion for learning. You know how to think out of the box. It’s never a battle with you to do your homework or to get you to read. It’s such a blessing. I think you’ll be a lifelong learner.

4. You are creative in many ways. You love the arts (and crafts) but also in making the home a peaceful, beautiful place to be. You enjoy decorating tables, rooms, planning themed parties/playdates, etc. It’s fun to be a partner with you!

3. You are blossoming and letting more people into your world of a fun-loving personality. We’ve always seen it at home but many didn’t see that side of you unless they were here, at home, with us. Now many are getting to see this talkative, personable, fun-loving Y-O-U because you are allowing/inviting them. Praise God. Keep it up!

2. You are seeking the things of the Lord. By yourself without any prompting you read His word most days and then share it with us in what you are learning. It is beautiful. It’s like having a sister in Christ in the home (as well as a fantastic daughter). Keep your light shining!

1. You are a ‘saver’. And although sometimes Daddy and I get on you about it, we think it’s cute and have made it lighthearted. Although that means your drawers, purses, treasure trunk, and more are always busting at the seems, you also are great with money and special treats. As an example, remember when you earned your very own box of Thin Mints (Girl Scout cookies) and you would eat ½ a cookie some days? That box lasted for half a year! Now that’s amazing self-control that Daddy and I don’t have…it’s also because you have that “saver” type personality. It’s one of those things that makes you irresistibly adorable!
You’ve totally wanted this chipmunk Webkinz for along time and were convinced you were going to get it. Right when you saw the package, you were flipping out. It was hilarious!

Friday, November 28, 2008


Nathan is 6 today,
which makes him approximately 2,191 days old.
He was born on Thanksgiving, the best Thanksgiving of my life!
I’ll never forget it.

Traditionally I write my kids a lengthy letter each year on their birthday sharing my heart, prayers, their year, etc. This year is no different but for blogging purposes; I’ll highlight 6 things that make Nathan one of the BIGGEST loves of my life!

6.You have this amazing connection with music and love having it playing non stop. You are talented in that area as well and I cherish the times I hear you singing (even when you are sleeping). Even as a newborn, music calmed you. Amazing Grace used to be your lullaby. I still would like to predict that possibly you’ll be a music pastor where you’ll be able to share the Gospel in a way that people can learn from and be touched in the process. (You, on the other hand, think you’ll be a professional ball player of some sort... I think most little boys think that.) I KNOW you will bless people though music somehow, even if it isn’t a profession.

5. You are the BEST big brother to Owen and little brother to Baylee. All three of you are best buds, the only way I’d want it. You share, lift up, and play together so well!

4. You are always kind, self controlled, and considerate. Teachers, other adults, kids you are surrounded by all comment on that.

3. Your smile brightens up any room. It makes your eyes glow and makes me feel so very special and warm. Just writing this gives me big images in my head and again, I’m warm!

2. I tell you this often, you have the BEST hair out of everyone in our home. It is so thick and amazing! I love the thickness, color, wave, texture. I tease you saying that it’s a gorgeous color and shine because you used to eat so much dog food that it gave you a ‘glowing coat’. You love hearing those stories.

1.You know how to love and aren’t scared to share it. You tell me so many times a day the most beautiful 4 words I could ever ask for, “Mommy, I love you!” Now that you are at school practically all day, I feel a loss for it but right when I see you, you pick up where you left off! Seriously Nathan, you tell me at least a handful of times each and every day!

Sweet, sweet Nathan. I love you. You are beautiful inside and out. I am honored to tell the world that Nathan Kempiak belongs to me. I praise God that he has given me the total privilege to raise you. I don’t take it lightly and earnestly pray that God is pleased in the way we are bringing you up. My biggest prayer is that He touches your heart with his everlasting love and that you passionately seek him as the years go by. He will always be your best friend! I love you buddy. Happy birthday!

Here you are Nathan with your favorite breakfast food, scrambled eggs. Notice the candle?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Surprise!

Thanksgiving is my “dad’s holiday". It has been for 18 years or more that we’ve been with him and Pat. And for ten of those years, it’s been spent in Greer (even before my dad and Pat’s cabin, Mountain Spirit, was built), a truly beautiful place to be, especially for the holiday.

Usually we spend it with Pat’s kids too, but this year neither set could come. I was going to miss their absence.

My dad and Pat had other plans, sneaky ones! Without telling us, they talked to one of our dearest friends, the Keller family, and invited them to join our traditional long weekend and feast. As our van pulled into the lot, another van was before us, unveiling the surprise, and on the front deck, my dad, Pat, Tim, Lisa, Daniel, Benji, Ethan, and little Noah were all waving as the Kellers pulled in just 20 minutes prior. You should have seen my family’s faces in the van. I wish I had it in photo form! I don’t know how they pulled it off!
(The cabin was so warm and welcoming. This is the view from walking in.)

(Where we hang out, the family room)
(This is Barney the Bear, our mascot you can say...carved from a tree by the deck. He dresses for all occasions!)

We had a wonderful time altogether. We went Geo Caching, hiking, played frisbee golf, lots of games,

great conversation, cookouts by the fire, playing in the snow,

animal watching, go carting,

tree decorating,

and much more. The best part was… we were together and ever so thankful for kindred hearts.

This was another, never forgetting Thanksgiving celebration and I thank Dad and Pat from the bottom of my heart for their hospitality and love. I also thank the Keller's for leaving behind their family in the valley to warm our hearts. We were truly honored! It wouldn’t have been the same without you!

(I had to add this in here. It's "the guys" in the kitchen, doing dishes!)


I’m pondering the words of “Thankfulness” today and have many things floating in my mind.

Thankfulness has little to do with what I own.

Being thankful is when I look into my life, at the blessings that I have been bestowed, and I take the time to cultivate a grateful heart.

It’s when I offer up thanksgiving for my needs being met, more than most fanciful desires.

Being thankful creates a compassionate heart, and helps one realize that nothing that we have is ours alone.

I heard once, “The bread that is spoiling in your house belongs to the hungry. The shoes that are mildewing under your bed belong to those who have none. The clothes stored away in your trunk belong to those who are naked. The money that depreciates in your treasury belongs to the poor.”

My prayer this Thanksgiving is that this day will be more than a holiday.

That it will be a way of life that I sincerely live and teach my children to.

That in being thankful we will gain a new perspective, giving us a tender heart and an ability to see the needs of others whether they ask or not, and the courage to reach out, expecting nothing in return.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118

Monday, November 24, 2008

These Happy Days Are Ours!

One of the many perks of Jon’s job at SAP is that he gets discounted tickets to shows. As many of you know, we love the theatre and we want to continually expose our kids to the arts, whenever we can. Tonight, as we were eating dinner, Jon shared that Happy Days, the new musical was at Gammage. After more conversation steered in different directions as it always does at our table, he left us then returned sharing his idea to take our Party of Five, using his $10 ticket option. The show was to start in only an hour, so we booked it to downtown Tempe, just in time.

It was a fun, clean show however I wish the kids had seen the tv show first so they could relate like Jon and I could.

The Fonz, Joey Sorge, looked the part, and imitates Henry Winkler's supercool mannerisms with ease and is a heck of a dancer and singer, to boot. And then there’s Pinky Tuscadero, who could belt any note with ease. This girl had lungs.

It was another fun, spontaneous FamilyFun night. I wonder what the next show will be that we can enjoy together.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Family Fun Night- Baylee's Turn!

When Baylee put her Family Fun Night suggestion in our box to pull from, arts and crafts were on her mind. Tonight her idea was pulled so we sat around the kitchen table with some Martha Stewart puppet kits (from Wal-Mart) at the tip of our fingertips. Once all five of us easily put them together, we created a puppet show, having fun from start to finish. It was a great night! Thanks Baylee for such a great suggestion!

(I have no clue where the other two puppet photos went. If I find them, I’ll be sure to share them with you all. Aren’t they so cute?)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ahoy There Me Hearty!

What a fun-packed weekend! This late afternoon, Jon had the honor of playing Long Jon Silver Kempiak, the pirate, at Daniel and Benjamin Keller’s birthday party. The kids loved searching for treasures, sword fighting with Captain Keller (Tim), deck swabbing, the peg leg races, and much more! The Kellers always know how to throw a fantastically fun party!


God has blessed our church, East Valley Bible Church, with 17 years! Today we celebrated our anniversary together at the Mesa Amphitheater for one service (instead of the usual 6 each Sunday). It was an incredible sight to see the entire body of our church in one place, worshipping together! Besides being all together, my favorite part was knowing that Bonnie Codier, a gal we pray for often, was able to make it to church today, the first time in many, many years due to her health issues (see her blog). Also a favorite was listening to some powerful testimonies on how God worked miracles in two family’s lives. I was moved to tears and thankful for the transparency of these brothers in Christ.

All three music venues came together as one, to lead our time of worship through song. They sounded so great together!

Our friend (and music pastor) Aaron and one of our original Elders, Jerry Smith.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gilbert Days Parade

The city of Gilbert has a long-lasting tradition of coming together for a week’s span of time with many activities; starting off with a “hometown” parade, a rodeo, carnival, and family run. This is our Brownie Girl Scout troops second year participating in the parade, a highlight for many of the girls’ ‘year’ as they wave like movie stars to the hundreds of people that line the streets.

This year’s theme centered on the three “R’s” (reduce, recycle, reuse) so we decided to decorate ourselves and the float that way. We made big newspaper flowers and created posters with recycled materials for the float. The girls wore recycled hats while holding signs, and even yelled for the three miles, a recycle chant (thanks to Mikelle’s creative side). Right next to them, I followed by foot (with many sweet moms), pushing our home’s recycle bin and collecting recyclables found and given by the viewers. My once empty can ended up full (and heavy) by the end of the route.

We had a fun day and to top it off, our float won, “Most spirited!” With 19 fun- loving, energetically passionate girls, I wouldn’t doubt that title!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Okay!

I’ve had to take some things off my full plate and blogging has been one of them. I don’t feel right blogging if I haven’t…
had time with the Lord in prayer, reading, and meditation,
time with Jon,
time with the kids,
and a clean home.

I miss blogging and find it to be both therapeutic and enjoyable but for a short time, it’s had to sit on the bench. So many things have happened in our lives since my last entry that I’ve been jotting down…(thank God) just not entering yet. I will however because this is my way to journal the Kempiak Party of Five’s days.

For those that care, I promise I will catching up on our family blog very soon and catching up on reading and commenting on my blogging friend’s stories as well.
My goal by the end of the week is to be “caught up”. So while many of you sleep, I’ll be blogging my little fingers off.

Wish me luck and a compliant speedy computer!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day 2008

The kids are off today for the holiday and I thought it would be a great time to visually show them the meaning behind their day off, so…off to a Veterans’ Day parade we went (with my cousin Laura and kids joining up with us as well). This was a great decision! I felt so proud to be an American facing the endless rows and miles of soldiers that paraded in some form or fashion down the city streets of Mesa.

Boy Scout troops at one point held flags with photos of Arizonan soldiers that have lost their lives sacrificially. This went on for almost a mile, I’d say. It was very touching!

After the parade some sweet gals from my Brownie troop held a Veterans’ Day ceremony with one other troop at a new senior living center. Again, another touching thing to do…very moving!

What a great, MEANINGFUL day this was!

God bless America!