Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sleeding fun 1

We had lots of fun playing in the 17 inches (!) of snow that fell at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Uncle Mark helped forge a good sled run by the barns! Both kids enjoyed snow "snacks" as they went down...silly kids :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!



May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.
(Romans 15:13)
Merry Christmas 2009 from the Taylor Family

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Marvelous Plan

Harmony's Christmas dance program dress rehearsal! It was a very small stage, but they did a great job.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Conversation with Harmony tonight..

While tucking Harmony in tonight:

H2: Mom, is there another baby in your belly?
Me: No. (Guess I better get back on track with the diet!)
H2: We should have another baby. Jen has four kids.
Me: Why should we have another baby?
H2: So we can have a boy for Henry to play with.
Me: Well, they'd be at least eight years apart, so I don't know how much they'd play.
H2: So how do you know if there is a baby in your belly?
Me: uh...God gives it to you. Moms have ways of knowing.
H2: The baby should have the same birthday as Hope.
H2: But in December. December 16.
Me: You'll have to talk to God about that.


Oh my. First, I better get back to the situp routine and diet. Second, the kids have been eerily correct on talking about babies before they were born (though I am in no way, shape or form ready for/considering more babies!! I'm feeling definitely too old!!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Top Ten things Hope says...

1. Hi
2. Mama
3. Dada
4. Mao (kitty)
5. Mai (me)
6. Babo (Bravo! when she's done something good)
7. Boo (book)
8. dido (diaper)
9. baba (bye bye)
10 Moa (more)

She would make her Chinese missionary great great grandparents proud--she has four "ma" words :)

(Since I made this list over Thanksgiving, she's also added "goo gil" (good girl), oof (dog), no (no), noo (nose--complete with pointing to her nose), nigh nigh (put me to bed!) and nuh (nurse).

Is it just me, or is that a lot for a not yet 13 month old to be saying?

She also followed her first command--two fridays ago I asked her to get her blankie from in my office (I was in the doorway). She stared at me for a minute, then went and got it :)

Tonight in the car I asked her what a kitty says (expecting to say Meow myself) and she said "Mao"...I did the same for a dog and she said "Oof."

She is growing so fast--somehow she doesn't listen when I ask her to slow down :)

Phone home...

The backdrop:

Patrick is on his way to Seattle, so I'm on single parent duty.
Monday nights are dance, and Harmony's friend Emi comes home with her after school until dance (they're in the same class).

The big kids get off the bus at 4, have a snack, play, help me decorate some Christmas cookies for a school event tomorrow, and change into their dance clothes. We're heading out the door to pick up Hope, bring Henry to a playdate, and the big girls to dance when the phone rings. Rather than being late for our carefully orchestrated pick up/drop off dance, I bring the phone out to the car with me.

I'm glad I did--it's Henry's playdate, needing to cancel. That's fine, but Henry is disappointed (to be expected).

So I go to the Greenhouse to pick up Hope. I even manage to not forget my cell phone, which I've actually had with me, on and charged all day, since Patrick is traveling.

When I drop the girls off at dance, I hear my phone ring. I check it--3 missed calls! All from the Greenhouse. I didn't even know they had my number! So I call back...the phone in my hand turns out not to be mine; rather, it's Hope's teacher's phone! My phone is in my pocket...oops. So back to the Greenhouse we go...

On the way home from round 2 at the Greenhouse, Henry decides he'd like to stay at home instead of hanging out at the dance studio. Our house is three blocks away, and we have some very responsible tenants in the upstairs apartment. Henry is well versed in the "stay at home" rules since he's been practicing with Patrick in his office, so I agree to it, on the condition that he call me after 10 minutes to make sure he's ok. Henry's excited to get to be big enough to stay at home alone (even if it's not really "alone", and only for 20 minutes).

So I drop him off at home and go back to the dance studio. They're working on a Christmas recital, and I've learned that if you don't stay for the lesson, you miss crucial information...including having to learn the dance with the girls :| As I get out...I notice the house phone sitting in the cup holder! Ugh, pack Hope back into the carseat and venture back home.

I'm not sure how many miles I drove this afternoon between the Greenhouse, dance studio and home...good thing they're both less than half a mile away!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy (belated) birthday, Hope!!!




I can't believe my sweet baby Hope is ONE! She is definitely a toddler--her new words today were "No" and "my" (mine). She had a good birthday celebration and birthday-day.

And a Hope funny: her favorite teacher at school, Ms. Amanda, straightened her hair today. Hope didn't recognize her and refused to go to her--it took 20 minutes of talking to her for Amanda to convince Hope it was her!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Henry's acrostic poem

Happy
Exprt at math
Nice
Runs fast
Yung

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Harmony's book

My Hos (House)

by Harmony Taylor
Ilust (illustrated) by Harmony

My hos is kol and I Hav buk beds.
My Hos has pupkins. It has wicis and a cat and a pukin pi. The kis got to git the pukin ses uot.

The end.

Translation:

My house is cool and I have bunk beds.
My house has pumpkins. They have witches and a cat and a pumpkin pi (carved in them). The kids got to get the pumpkin seeds out.

The funny thing is that the teacher corrected the pumpkin pi to pie...but really I had carved a pumpkin with a pi symbol!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The whole gang: The kitty bride Harmony, the kitty fairy bride Emi, Commander Cody Henry, Sam someone, Pumpkin Fairy Sarah and Dino-Hope!



Friday, October 30, 2009

Henry's creative writing assignment this week

The topic: Draw a picture of your family eating dinner. Then write a story about your family at dinnertime.

Henry's story:

I eat dinner with my family. On Tuesdays I only have 1 hour until I have to go to cub scouts. Most of the time (flip over to the other side) we have leftovers.

Mercifully, Mrs. F commented: Leftovers make a yummy second meal!

Me thinks I need to get back into the menu planning business...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Henry's Cub Scout Regatta race

He won the first round, but lost in the second...but managed to be a good sport about it :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hope walking

Hope started walking about a week ago, and she's getting pretty good!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hope is WALKING!

Hope has had a busy week!

She claps and says "Babo!" ("Bravo"--one of the teachers in the baby room speaks only Spanish to them)
She waves and says "Hi" "Ello" or "Bubye" (often after the person isn't looking!)
She shakes her head and says "No, no, no, no"
She tries to stand up in her high chair
She stands near the CD player and bounces up and down

AND...

Friday night she took 4-5 steps several times! She walked some today too. She still prefers cruising or crawling when she's in a hurry, but it won't be long until she's walking as a sole means of transportation.

AND...

After being awake with her from 2-3 am and having not slept through the night myself more than twice in the last year, we moved Hope in with Harmony (who can sleep through anything. This meant bunking the twin beds, removing ALL the little piece toys (read: all of Henry's stuff) out of Harmony's room, and partially taking apart the crib to get it in...but we got it all done.

What a week! Here's hoping she does well in her new sleeping environment (and I do too!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

A girl after her great-great-great grandpa's heart (he was "The Potato King of the Northwest")

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adventures in Cub Scouts

Henry really wanted to join Cub Scouts (mostly because he heard there was archery involved). He's really enjoyed it so far! The first "big" activity was a rocket launch--the rockets were made out of two, 2L bottles. They were quite impressive--the winning hang times were 7+ seconds. When I get it to work, I'll post a video.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Henry learned to ride a bike!

In true Henry style, he's now a pro at riding without training wheels. Last weekend we ran into his friend, Sam, who was buying a new bike at the store because he had learned to ride without training wheels (and the old one was too small).

This was very motivating for Henry, though we had one small problem...his bike had disappeared. Luckily Sam loaned us his old one. Monday he went up and down our block a few times with Daddy, but last night he rode from our house to campus, then at least six laps around the track. Stopping is the only thing that's minorly challenging, but he was doing well by the end of the evening.

WTG Henry!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Creative treadmill use...

This link wasn't what I expected but it's way cool...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hope's birth story

Hope was born on November 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm.

Hope was conceived after two miscarriages, several failed attempts at hiring a replacement for me at work, three trips to the hospital, and five days after my due date.

But even though November didn’t appear to be a good time to have a baby, it was perfect in God’s timing.

On November 6, I was watching our kids and four “extras” by myself. By the time the parents came home, we were making arrangements for Henry and Harmony to spend the night with the friends. But by 2 am, we were back home…while I was having contractions every 3 minutes, I wasn’t making “progress”, so they let me go home to sleep in my own bed. In the morning, the contractions were gone.

November 11 was my due date and my grandmother’s birthday. It would have been a great day to have a baby for many logistical and honoring reasons. I tried going for a long walk to encourage things. And while I did start having contractions and the OB sent me to the hospital (and the kids had another slumber party at a friends’ house), once again they went away. No Veteran’s day baby for us.

I was a very miserable, emotional time bomb for the remainder of the week. My mom came, hoping to meet a baby, but no dice. I may have even made another trip to the hospital on that Thursday, but same story. Every trip they offered to break my water in the morning, but considering I had ruptured waters with Henry for two days before being induced with Pitocin, I wasn’t very interested in that route.

Sunday morning I was having contractions—the first time I had them at the beginning of the day. My mom took the kids to church (their last time there), then to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch and playtime. Meanwhile, we walked around WalMart—I wanted to be completely, absolutely sure I’d deliver before going to the hospital. We saw several people we knew (You’re still pregnant?), bought a few things, and ate a final meal at Burger King.

When we got there around 2:30, the nurse-midwife was on duty and checked me. I was at 6 cm—no way I’m going home now! She checked me again at 4 and I was at 78cm…yes! Progress! It definitely got intense, and Patrick and I did “the labor dance” for a while. At 5:30 I was ready to push. Her chest was bigger than her head, so delivering her body was almost as intense as the head. The midwife did a great job making sure I didn't tear. She was born at 5:58 pm.

The midwife's comment was, "if your day job doesn't work out, you should teach the lamaze class"...somehow I doubt that, but I was glad that once everything FINALLY got going, she came quickly.

Patrick's parents got there about 30 minutes later, the kids and my mom 15 minutes after that. Since we knew they were coming, I got up when they took Hope to the nursery to weigh her (gone less than 5 minutes) so they could clean up the bed (and me a little). I was surprised by how badly I was shaking. With Henry I had an epidural and didn't get up for at least an hour, and with Harmony, I was in surgery right afterwards, so I guess I hadn't tried walking after the others!

We had a great hour or so with the kids and grandparents, meeting Hope. What a beautiful addition to our family!

Having Hope

One reason I went into labor multiple times before having Hope was that I was pretty much convinced that she would be stillborn. Despite no logical reason, I was convinced of this. Maybe it was the previous miscarriages, maybe it was the turmoil at church, but for whatever reason, I was pretty much expecting that Hope would be dead. (Even though we didn’t know the gender, I was pretty sure it was a girl.)

But Hope wasn’t dead. She completely lives up to her name, and daily reminds me of the passage she was named from, Romans 5:3-5:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

It totally hit me this weekend how perfect God’s timing is. I definitely had my plans – “wouldn’t the fall of 2007 be nice? I’ll be on leave!” was cancelled via miscarriage. My plan for my grandmother’s birthday on Nov 11 didn’t work either, despite my attempts to “walk” the baby out.

In both cases, God needed me to be broken so I could fully appreciate the gift I was getting. I don’t think I would have treasured the third (or my first or second) baby had I not had the miscarriages. I wouldn’t have gotten the “pre-requisites” for hope—perseverance and character—had I not had all the prior labor. And her birth in the midst of turmoil and stress over church drama reminds me that really, God IS in all of the messiness of life. His timing IS perfect, even when it’s not mine.

So Hope was born, both literally and figuratively. And she continues to grow and bring joy daily, if not moment by moment.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Harmony's weekend report

This weekend was a busy one. Friday I picked up Henry, Harmony and Emi from school, then our friends Emma, Ruthie, Olivia, and Sarah joined us (Henry escaped for a boy playdate). The girls played, made pizza, and watched a movie.

Saturday we did chores (folding a mountain of laundry) then celebrated Samuel's birthday (Happy Birthday, big guy!). The kids went to a movie with friends and hung out at their house while Patrick and I had some adults over for a project Patrick's working on.

Sunday, we went to the donut shop and "home schooled" for church (Patrick played the keyboard for worship, Henry read, and we discussed it). After lunch, the kids and I met a friend at the ice cream store and played at the playground. We ended up eating dinner at Little Mexico.

So what did Harmony write about in her weekend report? The pajama party? The movie? The birthday party? Ice cream at the park?

"I stad hom" (translation: I stayed home). Maybe its what she wishes happened...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Henry!

Today was Henry's 7th birthday and the first day of school! We had to run to the bus, but made it...



I brought snack for Henry's class--ice cream bars. I'm amazed at the difference between kindergarten and first grade--Henry came home with an assignment book; they have homework every day!

After school the kids took the bus to their "normal" destination. They had a mini-party for Henry there and played on the playground while I picked up our CSA veggies (yummy!). Then we went to Henry's requested dinner...the mouse house, Chuck E. Cheese! We met some friends there and had a pleasant time.




Happy Birthday, Henry! What a great boy you've become!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Queen of Bumps, Bruises and Grapes (er, Scrapes)












That was Harmony's self proclaimed titles last year. This year she's just "The Queen" in her mind... Tomorrow The Queen starts Kindergarten. Where did time go?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Party Planning

Henry's birthday is on Wednesday--the first day of school (what timing!) Since I was out of town this weekend (Hope and I went to Colorado for a conference), his party will be next weekend. He wants a military theme, and this is what I have so far:

Enroll into a division (Marines or Airforce)
Basic Training (push ups, jumping jacks)
Sargeant Says (Patrick will be the sargeant)
Hike to campus (one block away--we'll get another dad to help)
Capture the Flag game
Hike back to the "mess hall" for lunch, birthday cake and gifts
Make paper airplanes with special airplane paper
Land airplanes in enemy territory (a hula hoop)
Obstacle course
Water grenade fight

Food will be:
hot dogs and fixings
carrots
watermelon or grapes
birthday cake :) (9x13 with crushed graham crackers to be sand with clean army guys on top)

Is it ok to do two rounds of games? The party is from 10:30 to 1, so I'm figuring the first round of games will be 10:30-11:30, food from 11:30 to 12:15 and round two of games from then until the end.

I'm a little stumped on favors. I think this will be the last co-ed party; we're inviting 14. I think I'll make dog tags...other suggestions?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Six year old narcissism...

Me: Henry, do you know what day today is?
Henry: Saturday.
Me: Do you know what else today is?
Henry: No.
Me: It's my birthday!
Henry: Oh good! That means it's only 12 days until my birthday!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Update

Sorry I haven't posted much...guess I don't have much to say. We've been busy and having fun. My camera is in the diaper bag, which is at my sister-in-law's house, so no pics for a while...and I got a new laptop, so I'm still figuring everything out.

Hope is crawling all over the place, and pulling up on anything she can reach. She's sporting two tiny teeth on the bottom, and making lots of fun sounds--she's added raspberries, pppfffts, and fish lips to her ba-ba-ba-ma-ma-ma's. She has a re-check on her ear tubes (that she got three weeks ago) on Wednesday.

We've had a fun long weekend. Thursday evening we went hiking, and were stalked by four raccoons while we ate our picnic dinner. One of the water fountains shot the water at least six feet--Harmony held the button while Henry and some other boys tried to catch it with their mouths (and got thoroughly soaked). Henry also fell in a small stream, so he took off everything except his underwear for the ride home. No stopping for ice cream! Though we did stop at an Amish farm and get some green beans.

Friday we went to Conner Prairie with some friends we met on the train. They have two girls, one Harmony's age and one Henry's age. When we got to Conner Prairie, I told Henry that next time we should bring his friends, Jacob and Aden...and about five minutes later, we ran into them! Henry hung out with them for the rest of the afternoon. We met back at the ice cream stand, and ran into some of Patrick's relatives--definitely a small world!

Saturday we celebrated Ava's (our niece) first birthday. She and Hope were very cute, checking each other out. It was also the first time cousin Emma and Harmony could really play together on their own--soo cute! Fireworks got rained out...

Sunday we homeschooled for church on generosity, ran some errands, and played at a friend's house, then celebrated Ruthie's birthday. How big you all are getting!

So that's the news from here. I'm taking the kids on the train to see my parents (20 hours on a train, anyone?), and I doubt I'll have internet access up there, so it'll be quiet around here for a while. Hope you're having a great summer (if anyone actually reads this...I'm writing more for myself and the kids' journals at this point...)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Great Paint give away!

Henry wants to paint his new room four different colors, so I'm very glad that Glidden is giving away a FREE quart of eggshell finish paint!

To request yours, choose a color at this site.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Melodic Monday--I was there to hear your borning cry by John Ylvisaker

"I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.
I was there when you were but a child,
with a faith to suit you well;
In a blaze of light you wandered off
to find where demons dwell."

"When you heard the wonder of the Word
I was there to cheer you on;
You were raised to praise the living Lord,
to whom you now belong.
If you find someone to share your time
and you join your hearts as one,
I'll be there to make your verses rhyme
from dusk 'till rising sun."

In the middle ages of your life,
not too old, no longer young,
I'll be there to guide you through the night,
complete what I've begun.
When the evening gently closes in,
and you shut your weary eyes,
I'll be there as I have always been
with just one more surprise."

"I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Melodic Mondays--Reflections

This was one of the songs done in Harmony's recital this weekend. The girls did a beautiful job! And even though I'm in my upper thirties, I still struggle with this (substitute wife for bride, though :))

Look at me
I will never pass for a perfect bride
Or a perfect daughter
Can it be
I'm not meant to play this part?
Now I see
That if I were truly to be myself
I would break my fam'ly's heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight
Back at me?
Why is my reflection someone
I don't know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am
Though I've tried
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Top 10 reasons to take the train

We took the train to Chicago this weekend. Patrick went on Wednesday for work; we joined him on Friday.

10. No traffic jams (unless you get behind a freight train :))
9. No driving in the city.
8. No parking in the city!
7. No car seats required!
6. No stopping to go potty or get snacks.
5. You get to interact with your kids instead of saying "Quiet please, the driver needs to concentrate on the road."
4. It's cheaper than driving-- parking alone would have been more expensive than the train tickets.
3. The gentle swaying and sounds of the train are very calming.
2. It's better for the environment (the train is going whether you're on it or not!)
1. You might make new friends with your fellow passengers. Another five year old that was on the train with us in both directions declared Harmony her "best friend."

Nightmare on Elm Street

So I had my own personal nightmare on Elm Street on Monday.

Mondays are "run around" day. Henry has T ball practice from 5:30 to 6:30, Harmony has dance from 6 to 6:45, and Patrick has City Council at either 6 or 7, depending on the week (this week it was 7).

Patrick dropped off Henry, then Harmony. Once Hope woke up from her nap, we went to watch Henry's practice at the middle school field and pick him up.

I had been chatting with Patty, one of the other T-ball moms. Her son Dillan used to go to the same daycare as Henry and Harmony. We talked about kindergarten since her son would be starting this fall with Harmony. She was nervous, since they had planned for him to go to the Catholic school (which just announced its closing). We talked about a playdate for the boys sometime--Dillan had been asking to play with Henry.

It was 6:40, and practice didn't show any signs of wrapping up. Patty volunteered that Henry could come home from them--they lived just diagonally across the street, on the other side of the school, on the corner by the railroad tracks on the south side. Hesitantly I agreed--this was the second time she had offered. We knew the family from their interactions at preschool, and knew we had similar parenting values.

So I picked up Harmony, and discovered that I had forgotten about picture day (which would have been hard anyway, since we also picked up the costume for the first time). Got the insane schedule for recital week, and went to get Henry.

So we went to the other side of the school. There was one house on the south side of the tracks, and knocked on the door--no answer. Tried again--no answer. Walked around the house--there was a playset in the back yard, good sign, but no kids. Tried the back door. No answer.

Took several deep breaths, since I had both girls with me. We saw a nieghbor working on a car, and asked if there was a kid named Dillan that lived nearby. He said yes, and pointed to a tan house on the north side of the tracks. It didn't match the directions, but I didn't have a lot of options, so we tried that door. All that happened when we knocked is that we activated the large, scary dog in a crate.

By this time, Hope was screaming, and we were all sweaty. So we sat in the car with the air on, and Harmony and I prayed that we'd find Henry, and that he was safe. We drove around the block with the school in the middle, to see if they'd stayed late...not there either.

We parked and tried the first house again...still no answer. Knocked on several other doors on both sides. Several people knew that Dillan lived in the scary tan house, so we tried there again.

By now it was 7:45--we had been looking for 45 minutes. I didn't have my phone with me, so we went back to the house and got the phone. I called Henry's coach and got their phone number, and left a message for the preschool director, asking for their address. I tried calling, but the number was busy...several times.

We got back and started knocking on doors again. And as we were going to the scary tan house for the third time, Dillan's dad drove by, looking for us.

They lived a block over, on Water Street...not Elm, where we'd been looking. Henry was hot, sweaty and happy from playing with Dillan for an hour...I was hot, sweaty, and on the verge of tears.

That was the first and the last time my children will go on a playdate to a house I don't konw. And I will always get the cell phone numbers of the parents!

Thanks, Lord, that You knew where Henry was the whole time he was gone, and for protecting him.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Melodic Monday--Here Kitty Kitty by Justin Roberts

We saw Justin Roberts at the Chicago Lit Fest this weekend--three times! The second performance on Saturday was called for rain, but Harmony got a personal performance of her favorite song, from the "Songs from the Hebrew Scriptures" CD...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Overheard today...

Who needs TV when you have kids? They're much more entertaining :)

The argument in the car this morning:
Henry: Sam, how much older are you than Sarah?
Sam: I'm 7.
Me: Sam, your birthday isn't until July--you're six and a half.
Sam: But I'm 7! We had a party at school!
Me: Henry, can you figure out how much older Sam is than Sarah? Sam is six and a half, Sarah is four.
Henry: So...Sam is two and a half years older than Sarah.
Sam: I am not two and a half!
Me: Sam, you're two and a half years older than Sarah.
Henry: That means you were two and a half years old when Sarah was zero. Right, Mom?
Me: Yes, Henry.
Sam: I am NOT two and a half!

Later:
Me: I'm glad we picked strawberries today! They look yummy. We'll have to eat some for lunch.
Harmony: Can we have Strawberry Shortcake? Please??
Me: Sure.

Back at the house, after Harmony and Sarah helped mix up the cake batter...
Harmony: Where is her hat?
Me: Whose hat?
Harmony: How are we going to make Strawberry Shortcake's hat? And where is her head?
Me: um...We're having the strawberry shortcake that is a dessert, not the cartoon character...
Harmony: (very dissapointed look on her face)...oh.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hope's crawling!

Hope decidedly crawled, part swim style, part army, part regular, about five feet tonight! Time for some serious baby proofing...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

God's phone number?

Conversation with Harmony this morning:

H: Mom, what's God's phone number?
Me: God doesn't have a phone number. You can talk to Him whenever you want by praying. No busy signals or not at home!
H: I still want to call Him on the phone...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday

There is lots to be thankful for!
--Henry's out of school for the year. I'm thankful that Henry had such a great year in kindergarten. He's matured a lot. He's now reading very fluently on a 2nd-3rd grade level, and half way through the first grade math curriculum. He's a motivated learner, yet the teacher gave us specific things to work on this summer (like working more slowly and carefully and finishing the math book).

--Bigger than his school work, Henry is growing leaps and bounds spiritually. We got him his own NIrV Bible last Sunday, and he is gobbling it up. He WANTS to read it, and sneaks it into bed (it doesn't fit very well under his pillow!). He's already found great passages, and he's going to be in charge of choosing verses for us to memorize each week this summer. (suggestions on how to channel his enthusiasm are welcome!)

--Harmony is growing too--last week at a T ball game I barely recognized her. Who is that long legged blonde girl? She also has lots of questions about "when Jesus makes a new earth"--like will we be young again? Will our cat be there? Can I have my own purple and pink robe?

Thanks, Lord, for growth-- physical, mental, spiritual-- in my children...and for showing it to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The kids on Marriage...

Overheard in the car this afternoon:

Harmony: When Hope and I grow up, we're having babies. I'm having two girl babies.
Me: What about a boy?
Ha: Well, maybe one. Just like we have!
Henry: But first you have to be married.
Harmony: You have to get married first--you're older.
Henry: I don't know about that...maybe I'll marry God instead.

(I guess Henry wasn't ready by the Jedi Knight argument Ruthie made...)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Down one

Harmony is spending the night at a friends' house. It was very strange without her here--it's the first time she's been gone with Henry still here.

It made me wonder what life would have been like without Harmony. I couldn't even fathom it. It also made me wonder what life would have been like had we not had a couple of miscarriages. Would we still have Hope?

Then I thought about all the people who are remembering children who died before their parents tomorrow, especially those who were serving our country. It broke my heart.

I keep finding pennies somewhere--my grandmother always talked about pennies from heaven, and I'm wondering what she's trying to tell me...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hope babbling

Hope is six months old! She's sitting well, scooting in circles, and the kids swear that she's said her first word, Mama! See what you think...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Wisdom

"For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. " Proverbs 2:6

It's graduation season in my neck of the woods--commencement is coming soon. I love that word--really, the students are commencing with the next phase of their lives, and I'm thankful we have the opportunity to be a part of that.

I'm thankful for my students. The group that is graduating next weekend includes the first students I had upon returning from sabbatical. There are some great people in that group, and I'm thankful to see them learn and grow...and for their patience in dealing with me and my growing family.

I'm thankful that despite major cutbacks, I still have a job.

I'm thankful that the older I grow, the more I realize how much I have to learn.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn in Bible studies. It doesn't matter who has a degree and who doesn't; the ground is level at the foot of the cross, and I'm thankful for that.

I'm thankful that God not only gives knowledge (facts), he also gives understanding (comprehension) AND wisdom (knowing what to do with that information). And I pray that he will give my children all three of those gifts.

And thanks to Lynn for hosting Thankful Thursday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage!

Revelation and Harry Potter.

Bible study last night was really good. It's always good when God smacks you between the eyes saying, HEY, I'm talking to YOU!

We're studying Esther, and were wrapping up chapter 3, starting chapter 4. One of the themes we've been looking at is what is hidden and what is revealed. For example, Esther's identity as a Jew was hidden when she became queen, and she had to reveal it to save her people.

One of the bulleted points was something along the line of God being revealed in a situation often involves a person revealing something about themselves. And one of the phrases that was used was exactly the title of my blog, More Questions than Answers.

I took that as a definite God moment.

Why's that?

Well, I've been feeling a bit like Voldemort from Harry Potter. Voldemort has split his soul, and stores a bit in each of seven different horcruxes. While a blog isn't my soul and I don't have to commit murder to make a new blog, I have been splitting my blogging time between three blogs...this one, Ms. Theophilus, and NaCl and hv. It's partially an audience issue, and partially a privacy issue--the other two are more anonymous than this one.

I thought about merging the three blogs into one, and imported some of the Ms. Theophilus posts here. But as I prayed about it, I think I'm supposed to continue all three...but better center each one on a particular aspect. This blog will focus on family things and memes, while Ms. Theophilus will be more thoughts on Biblical and church related matters. NaCl and hv focuses on work related stuff (bonus points if anyone other than Jonell can translate that title!)

So that's my revelation for tonight...one person, multiple blogs. But I hope I haven't split my soul, and that I still have at least one reader of each blog :)

Harmony's Dream Home

Harmony's been talking a lot about "when we get the new Earth, you know, when Jesus comes back." She has two requests:
1) She wants to be young again (Mom, when we get the new Earth, do we get to be babies again? I want to be young again.)
2) She wants a pink and purple room, all to herself. (I told her Jesus has gone to prepare a place for her, and she wants to request the paint scheme!)

She also might have strep throat, poor girl...

Monday, May 11, 2009

A belated Mother's Day tribute

Last night was the finale for The Amazing Race. It's the only show I watch with any regularity, and we let the kids stay up to watch it (great way to start the week behind).

Watching the interaction between Margie and Luke, a mom and deaf son team, was totally inspiring (it's the last three minutes of the clip above). They made the finale, and were first place going into the last task...and last coming out.

She is just an amazing parent. Watch the clip above, especially their interaction in the car and on the mat. She totally did the race for him, and she was a strong competitor--probably the strongest of the four women in the final three teams.

Happy Mother's Day, Margie. You're inspiring.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day gifts

This was a rare year--graduation is NOT on Mother's Day, so I actually got to spend the day with my family. That was a gift!

Henry brought a bunch of stuff home on Friday, and yelled "NO PEEKING!" as he got off the school bus. He had a petunia, a card, and a worksheet that said:
My mom's name is...Ann
She is special because...she helps me do my homework.
I like it when my Mom...lets me by bokugans at the store.
My Mom can do many things! I think she's best at...grading homework.
My Mom has a pretty smile! I like to make her smile by...cutting out a heart and giving it to her
My Mom is pretty as a...rainbow
My Mom is smart! She even knows...30642+ 300! (He regularly asks me long math questions)
I'd like to tell my Mom...I love you.

Harmony made a flower that said "World's Greatest Mom" in the middle, with these things written on the petals:
She helps the baby.
I like it when she helps me make my bed.
She washed my sheets cause Hope pooped on them. (Love the stream of consciousness here!)
She always helps us.
When I get hurt, she helps me get up.
She's like in charge of the fruits and vegetables.

Hope made a card with her handprints as tulips :)

All three of them took "old fashioned" pictures at The Little Greenhouse. I'll see if I can get them scanned and uploaded sometime.

My uncle also sent me a great haiku! It definitely reminds me of my mom and grandma.
Like bread, a mom’s love
Through kneadings, warmth—seasons, grows
Fills bodies, lifts souls

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms out there--Happy Mother's Day! It really is the toughest job you'll ever love.

To those who have suffered miscarriages or are experiencing infertility--((((Hugs)))).

To those of you who want to be moms someday--enjoy today, and say thanks to your own mom, whether you have a great relationship or not.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baby food

Chiquita has started eating baby food. It's pretty messy--I think she's wearing more than she's consuming. she's on the single flavors--rice cereal, oatmeal, peas, beans. It takes her three meals to finish one jar (I only take out a tablespoon at a time).

I started a new Bible study a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like I'm back to baby food--pre-chewed. I'm learning interesting things, but I'm non-plussed with the format--I'd rather be inducting myself, and videos are just awkward. I'm also feeling like I must not be a woman--the subtheme is "It's hard to be a woman _______" and the issues discussed so far (in another woman's shadow, when beauty is a treatment and in a mean world) just don't fit where I'm at.

But what I miss most is prayer. We don't pray at all, and it just feels empty. Other than the women I already knew, I don't even know anyone's names, let alone how I can pray for them.

What I need is a prayer group--where the emphasis is more on praying for each other. God's shown me the direction my study time should take, and Esther isn't really it.

(And it doesn't help that I feel like a distraction, since Hope is with me and she's starting to fade by that time of day.)

So do I stick it out or try to organize a prayer group? I don't want to take people away from their home churches, and I do know a couple of other women that are "church homeless" that I could invite.

So if you could pray for me, then let me know what you hear, that would be great...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It might be cliche, but today I'm thankful for my mom and mother in law.



I'm thankful that my mom took a job 700 miles away from my dad so that she could be only 100 miles from us. What a sacrifice for both of them!

I'm glad she's able to come over and bake cookies with the kids, take them to the park, and do other fun grandma things.

I'm thankful for all the things she's taught me--too many to list.




I'm thankful for my mother in law--that she raised all of her kids to follow Jesus.

I'm glad she and Pappaw are generous with their time, always willing to come to the kids' performances, even if they're on a weekend.

I'm thankful that she stocks the surprise box, blessing the kids in tangible ways.

And...

I'm thankful that Harmony wants to bless me on Mother's Day--she's been writing a book, and has it in her head that she needs to buy me jewelry.

Wordless Wednesday--toothless grins

Works for me Wednesday--More Kids is Less Work

I'm not talking about having more of your own...sometimes having more kids in the house (by having company) is less work than having just your own.

This is the unmentioned benefit of the childcare co-op mentioned at this week's WFMW by We Are THAT Family.

Somehow when we have guests, my kids behave better, and I have less "she looked at me funny"/"He won't play XX with me"/"She's not playing it right" conversations than when it's just my own kids.

On Friday we had friends over for the afternoon. They played very nicely and I got a chunk of grading done. On Saturday we invited the neighbor kids to come to the park with us, and they all played tag--and I didn't have to be it :)

So invite some friends over! Your kids will be occupied and have a good time. And the other parents may reciprocate, giving you bonus time!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

30 Day Shred

A while ago, I was looking for an intense, 20-30 minute workout to help me lose the last 10 lbs of baby fat/flab, and I found the 30 Day Shred. It sat on my shelf for a while, but I got around to trying it. It's definitely a work out!

Vicki at Virtue Alert has organized a bunch of people who are shredding together. One of the other blogs I read, The Preacher's Wife, is also participating, and her post about not phoning it in on the spiritual realm struck me.

I can either let myself wallow in self pity about our church state, and drift aimlessly. Or I can seek out what God has for us in this time.

So besides stepping up the physical 30 day shred, I'm going on a spiritual 30 day shred, starting next Sunday, May10. I haven't figured out what exactly the spiritual shred is going to look like, but I know that God has already laid on my heart the persecuted church--people who not only don't have a church home, but can't publicly seek one.

Lord, I don't want to phone in my spiritual life. Show me what steps to take to get into spiritually better shape.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Melodic Monday--Salt and Light by Jami Smith

You make me want to be like You
Your holiness I will pursue
I want the heart of Jesus
Show me the meaning of Your grace
I want to give the world a taste
Of the love of Jesus

Make me salt
Make me light
Let Your holy fire ignite
Reveal Your glory in my life
I am not ashamed
To lift up Your holy name
Make me salt
Make me light

As a city on a hill
A lamp on a stand
Mold me in Your image
The work of Your hand

Sunday, May 3, 2009

God is not Burger King

Today I realized how wrong I've been for praying what I've been praying. "I want a church home, God. One with good worship. One where we can use our gifts. With a good Kid's program. Here, not somewhere else. And I'd like it now."

I forgot that God isn't Burger King--you can't special order your life, and it doesn't arrive in less than five minutes.

We went to church at the Mother Church of the Donut Church today. Every time we go, the message is spot on, and our kids end up being the last ones in Kid's Church because we've gone up for prayer. Once again it was right on--you know it's a God thing when someone you don't know points to exactly what the issues are.

They're starting a series on 1 Peter. The message today focused on how to pray in adversity, how to not be tossed around by your circumstances. The answer was to pray NOT for the answer you've generated, but to pray for wisdom and the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control) using Scripture itself.

That's my root problem--I'm so focused on our circumstances that I've forgotten the relationship.

There are millions of Christians around the world who don't have church homes, who not only don't have a home, but live in fear of persecution.

Again, it's not about me. If I get my eyes off me and my circumstances and focus on God, everything will fall into place...church home or not.

Foster parenting

There are a couple of families at the kids' school that are foster parenting. My heart breaks for some of the kids--they deserve to be adopted and have good parents, but the law requires that they give the birth parents a chance (and another and another).

It made me think of my own children--really, we're the foster parents. They truely belong to God. But rather than dreading giving them back, I know that He loves them more than I ever could.

Romans 8:15-16 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

Lord, I thank you for people who are willing to be foster parents, and I pray for wisdom, love and endurance for them. I pray for the two children I know, that baby G will be placed permanently with the foster parents that have had her since day 1 and for complete healing of her hearing, and that Destiny will truly know her destiny in You. You know her needs; reveal Yourself to her; draw her close and be the father she doesn't have.

Friday, May 1, 2009

If you give a professor a key...

If you give a professor your lab key after class, she’ll remember she forgot to turn any of them in.
So after picking the rest up from her office, she’ll bring them to the storeroom.
On the way she’ll spy her overnight cultures in the growth chamber.
After dropping off the keys, she’ll get the cultures and bring them to her lab.
She’ll discover thetabletop centrifuge is missing.
After hunting down the centrifuge in someone else’s teaching lab, she’ll carry it back to her lab.
The inserts are missing, so she’ll search for them.
She finds them in the cold room, and also sees a plate from one of her students.
She’s curious to see if the Blue Fluorescent Protein really fluoresces blue, so she’ll shine the UV light on them. Nothing.
Upon returning to the lab, she discovers she forgot the inserts…back to the light box.
At the lightbox, she also spies a catalog, and remembers she needs to order some things for summer research.
After starting the centrifuge, she sits down at the computer to order some supplies.
Students come to ask about their grades. One of them says how much they enjoyed the blue fluorescent protein project…and she’ll remember the samples in the centrifuge.
She’ll go to the lab and discover her colleague locked it.
She’ll discover she’s wearing the evil “no pocket” pants and can’t find her keys.
So chances are, she’ll ask you for a key.

This is why simple things seem to take forever some days...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Bible Study

This week I started a new Bible Study at a community Women's Resource Center. Since I don't have a church home, I've been needing the accountability and encouragement to spend time in the Word, and hopefully find some community too.

I was half an hour late--it was on the same day as I have a late meeting (I knew I was going to be late and e-mailed the leader in advance.) I brought Hope with me, as we're still nursing, and I can't pump enough for daytime and evening (not to mention that I miss her!)

So I was late. I was stressed. I felt like the baby was distracting. I'm not used to the video format or that we didn't pray for each other at the end.

But God still met me there--He reminded me of truths I had memorized, and the value of a mustard seed's worth of faith.

So this week I'm thankful for:
--Jeannie, for the vision of starting a Community Women's Resource Center
--The presence of this organization, providing counseling and Bible studies for women of all different denominations
--The opportunity to study God's word
--The freedom we have to study, with our very own Bibles and without the worry of persecution or imprisonment

You can share your thanks with Laurie at Women Taking a Stand.

Wordless Wednesday--Harmony's Birthday

Birthday dinner at Little Mexico:


Double Birthday Party with Harmony's birthday buddy, Emi:





The aftermath:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Melodic Mondays: Connected

Both kids are singing this song from "Barbie and the Diamond Castle." It almost could make it as a worship song...

I'm blind folded on this carriage ride that they call life
keep trying to make it through that next turn knuckles white and holdin' tight
so here i go
taking a curve
but i know that I’m never alone
I think of you
and how you never let me go

Chorus: I feel connected (connected)
Protected (protected)
Its like you sitting right, with me all the time
You hear me (you hear me)
You’re near me (you're near me)
And everything else gonna be alright
Cause nothing can break this..nothing can break this
Nothing can break this tie.. connected
Ooh..Connected inside

It’s not an accident
The time we spend apart
But now we’re so close
I can always find you
Right here in my heart

You’ve given me something I need
And I don’t ever want it to end
Because of you
I know I’ve found my strength again

*Chorus

Bridge: Every time that I breathe
I can feel the energy
Reaching out flowing through
You to me and me to you
Wake a dream walk a stair
You are everywhere I am
Separate souls unified
Touching at the speed of... LIFE
Oh LIFE…
Oh YEAH…

*Chorus

Connected
Connected inside
Connected

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The older brother

It's hard to be the older brother...Henry had a tough time this week, both on Harmony's birthday and today at her party. We did things to accomodate him, like inviting some boys to the party (post coming after I load pics!) and spending some undivided time with him. But he was still more whiny than usual, and had a melt down both days.

It reminded me of the parable of the prodigal's son. When you think about it from the older brother's view point, it is totally unfair--why is HE getting the party? I'm the one who has been loyal, who is here day in and day out, and yet I don't get rewarded.

Some days the Christian life feels that way...doing the work day in, day out, without seeing the rewards.

I love the dad's response: 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'

EVERYTHING I have is yours. I love that God promises the faithful everything!

I also evision the loving arm around the older son, a grace-full, loving answer. That vision helped me be gracefull with Henry (or at least attempt to be), even though he didn't have the reason to be offended, like the other older brother.

Lord, help Henry respond gracefully when others get attention or accolades, whether they deserve them or not.

Saturday night struggle

One of the most challenging things about not having a church home is the Saturday Night debate...where are we going to church this week? Before we left the donut church, we were having four day hangovers recovering from attending, and now we have the one day panic attack the day (or hours) before.

There aren't a ton of churches here, yet that almost makes it harder. Where haven't we tried? The hard thing is that we're between charismatic and evangelical, and neither fits us.

Although I've been moving slowly, I am still working my way through Acts. Acts 2:1 really struck me: "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place."

First of all, when I think of Pentecost, I think of the story of Acts--tongues of flames on everyone's heads, speaking in other people's native languages. What I don't think about is why were they all gathered together? I know they were sharing everything, but even sow, just because you're sharing doesn't mean you spend every moment together. Turns out that Pentecost is also a holiday for Jews...the Feast of Weeks, the holy day celebrating the first fruits. That is just too cool, that the first fruits of the Christian "Passover" was the gift of the Holy Spirit!

The other thing that strikes me is that the unity in the church--there weren't separate churches for Peter, for Mark, for Luke, etc. This week I'm starting a Bible Study through a women's center here in town. I'm looking forward to getting know some other Christian women in town...and maybe find a church home too.

Thanks for giving us the first fruit of the Holy Spirit--of reversing the gifting and giving us the gift. Help us find a church home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Harmony

My daughter, Harmony, is turning five on Thursday. Happy Birthday, Princess!!



I'm thankful that Harmony has recently started wondering if we'll be young when Jesus gives us our new bodies. "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." 2 Peter 2:13

I'm thankful that the cup is always full to overflowing for Harmony. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10



I'm thankful that she doesn't walk--she jumps, hops, skips, dances--sometimes I wonder if her name should have been Joy. "Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13



I'm thankful that even when something is hard, she sticks with it. "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 3:14


I'm thankful that she's generous, easily malleable, wanting to please her teachers. "To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness," Ecclesiastes 2:26a


I'm thankful that she loves to paint rainbows, complete with glitter glue and jewels. "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." Genesis 9:16

Thank you, Lord, for Harmony, and the blessing she is to me and our family. Continue to bless her and grow her up in You.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birthday party help

Harmony is having a joint birthday party with her birthday buddy, Emi. It works out pretty well, because they want "Barbie and the Diamond Castle", which stars two girls, Alexa and Liana. We invited 12 girls (including the guests of honor) and 4 boys (Henry, a sibling, and a family with two boys).

The activities for the girls are going well. They're going to:
--decorate a basket with foam flowers (Alexa and Liana collect and sell flowers in the movie)
--Make a heart necklace (the heroines find heart stones in the river that protect them from the villianess later)
--Do a scavenger hunt to find a puppy
--Play Karoke on the "stage" in H&H's bedroom (they perform in the movie)
--Eat lunch (if we're true to the movie, it'll be chicken wings and mashed potatoes...but it might be nuggets, grapes and carrots)
--Do an obstacle course to find the pinata of Slider, the villianness' serpent (the pinata is going to be a challenge!)

Here is where I need help...what do the boys do as parallel activities?? There are twin boys that are also in the movie, but they have smaller roles. So far I have:
--decorate a foam sword
--(need a parallel for the necklace)
--(need something for them to find on the scavenger hunt)
--play outside
--eat lunch
--obstacle course to pinata with the girls

Any ideas? The boys play guitar in the movie, but I don't know how to work that in.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Signs that You’re Getting Older

10. Your little girl is turning 5.
9. You don't know any of the songs on the radio.
8. It's your 20 yr high school reunion this summer!
7. There are pictures of you on Facebook with your collar turned up and feathered hair.
6. You have to use the full 1040 tax forms...and the Home Business Level TurboTax.
5. You shouldn't be trusted by anyone under the age of 18.
4. Your fridge contains vegetables. Of several varieties.
3. You're excited about signing up for a CSA...to get more of said veggies in the fridge.
2. The edition you teach from is the 9th...and you used the 2nd edition when you were a student.
1. During a generational marker conversation, a student asks, "So where were you when JFK was shot??" (A twinkle in my dad's eye...)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ex voyeurism

A friend posted a high school meme on Facebook, and one of the questions was "are you still in contact with your prom date?"

My answers were no and no. Considering prom was the only time I ever went out with my junior prom date (and he asked me in a note), I don't even remember his last name.

But it did make me curious about my senior prom date. We met through 4-H; he lived in a neighboring town, about 15 minutes away. We dated my entire senior year, then I broke it off because I didn't want to be dating someone at college.

Amazingly enough, a quick Google search brought him up, along with his wedding page and he and his wife's (well, really only his wife's) blog. I was glad to hear that he's an electrical engineer, happily married, and running marathons. His younger sister has dyed her hair blonde and is as beautiful as ever. And strangely enough, his daughter was born a couple of days before our Chilita.

I was happy for him--happy things are going well, that he's healthy and has a family.

I didn't have the same response when I've been reading about our old church. They're moving into a new building, and I have a twinge of jealousy about not helping paint. They had a leader's retreat, and part of me thought I should have been laying on the blanket in the sun with friends between sessions. I want to have a church community, and I don't. At least not one that meets on Sunday mornings, or that I see on a regular basis.

So I guess I'm feeling like a dumped prom date. I know eventually we'll find a church home here, and the jilted feelings will fade...I hope someday I can be happy for the donut church, and not feel any of the negatives.

Bless the new donut church as they transition into a new building, and heal our wounds. Show us where you want us, and make us willing to go there.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's a crazy week, but I still want to share my thankfulness!

This week I'm thankful for:
--Both sets of grandparents having some special time with Henry and Harmony during Henry's spring break
--Hope being such a smile-y happy baby--she is such a blessing (even if she doesn't sleep more than three hours at a time!)
--There is a CSA delivering to our town this year! http://www.tranquilridgefarm.com/

Monday, April 6, 2009

First communions?

Even though we've had the "just friends" conversation with the neighborhood church and I don't think we'll be there long term, God and our children might have other plans.

Both kids have now had their first communion there.

In the church I grew up in, your first communion was a ritual of fifth grade. After a four week series of classes (including making a special altar decoration and the unleavened bread for the week), we all went down the aisle and had our first communion together (with our families, of course).

While I'm glad for the seriousness that my childhood church took in making sure everyone knew what communion was all about, it was a little artificial. Some children have professed faith years before fifth grade, while others are just going through the motions to make their parents happy.

The neighborhood church is fairly open about communion--the liturgy before communion is something like "all who have placed their trust in Jesus are welcome," and my kids have taken that literally. At the Sunday night service in February, I thought the kids were hitting the snack table while I took communion (Hubby was in the band), but Henry had other plans--he jumped in line behind me and took it. Afterwards we had a long talk about communion and what it means--he understood it and wanted to do it, so we decided it was ok.

This Sunday, Harmony did a similar thing. On Saturday, we had a long talk about what happens after you die (sparked by the death of a friend's dog), including a profession of faith by Harmony. On Sunday in morning church, she wanted to take communion too...so we let her. Though the three minutes she had to hold the cup before everyone was served must have seemed like an eternity to both of us--her because she was so eager, me because I was afraid she was going to spill it!

So I'm taking Jesus at his word... "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Thanks, Lord, for leading my children to you. May their faith have deep roots and last a lifetime.

Melodic Monday: PassOver Us by Andrew Peterson

This week is Passover, and this song is a great one celebrating passover...

Well, we all remember Moses on the banks of the river
He said "Pharaoh, you've got to let my people go.
You don't want me to have to tell you this ten times over--
Denial ain't just a river, you know"

And we all remember Pharaoh, he just wouldn't do it
So the plagues they came upon Egypt one by one
His heart was hard and the other nine just couldn't move it
So the last was the worst: the death of the firstborn son

But the Lord, he gave to Moses a word for the people
He said their firstborn sons could live to see another day
"Put the blood of a lamb on the doorway and death will pass right over"
That night all of the children of Israel prayed,

"Lord, let your judgment passover us
Lord, let your love hover near
Don't let your sweet mercy passover us
Let this blood cover over us here"

So the years went by and the people they whined and they wandered
And only sacrifice atoned for the sins of the land
So you see the priest he placed upon the holy altar
The body of a spotless lamb
And he prayed,

"Lord, let your judgment passover us
Lord, let your love hover near
Don't let your sweet mercy passover us
Let this blood cover over us here"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

And the winner is...

Here are your random numbers:
1
Timestamp: 2009-04-06 03:27:51 UTC

So Jonell, the PotBelly card is yours...I don't think I have your snail mail addy, so please send it to me! Thanks everyone for playing...

Legal Stealing

So I got a deal at CVS today that was so good that it feels like stealing...

2 packs of Huugies size 3 diapers $10 each
1 pkg Gentle Care Huggies wipes (184 ct) $5
Tax 1.76
Total 26.26
MINUS:
-$5 off $25 CVS coupon I got in my e-mail box
-$2 quarterly Extra Bucks
$5 coupon off of Gentle Care (from coupons.com)
$1.50 Huggies
$1.00 Huggies

Total out of pocket: $11.76
PLUS I earned $10 Extra Care Bucks

So I paid $1.76 for 2 pks of diapers and a refill of wipes!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Side lined

Last night my mom showed me some things she had picked out of a catalog for my Sunday School class...which I'm no longer teaching.

Ugh. It feels like I've been sidelined. Hubby has picked up a Sunday night worship gig (before all this fell apart), so he's got an outlet for using his spiritual gifts. I'm very glad for that. And while I'll occasionally generate a lesson to use with our kiddos (and sometimes their friends) it does feel strange to be out of the game.

Not getting to use our gifts was a contributing reason for not going back to the church we were attending before we went on sabbatical. And I'm sure that no matter where we go next, it'll be a while before I'd be allowed to teach Sunday School. But I'm itching to be back in the game.

Give us opportunities to serve You and use the gifts you've given us, Lord.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Lessons from the Beach


We had a great time at the beach when we were on vacation. One morning Harmony and I went down to see the sunrise. We looked for the sandcastle we built the day before, but it was nowhere to be found--the tide had washed everything smooth and flat.

It reminded me of the messes and piles I make in my own life, and that all I need to do for Jesus to wipe them clean is draw near to him and ask.

So this week I'm thankful for God's forgiveness, that wipes everything smooth as the beach when the tide goes out.

I'm thankful for the shells we found on the beach--but more thankful for the reminder that if you want to find life (not just empty shells), you have to jump into the ocean of God's love. The Christian life isn't a spectator sport!

What are you thankful for today? You can share your list at Laurie's this week.

Breakin' up is hard to do...

Although we've been estranged for a while, we have yet to have the "break up" conversation with our old pastor. It's like that dating relationship that should have ended a couple of months ago, but drags on...though both parties know it's over.

I knew it was time for us to finalize things when I found myself wanting to toss the Manderin Orange Bath and Body Works body wash and Cool Citrus Basil lotion that I got as "thank you's" for teaching at the donut church. And wondering who I could give the gift card to a restaurant that isn't even in my town (another "Thank You" gift). Kind of like cleaning house after a break up.

Hubby was going to bring a letter and have the conversation yesterday, but his car started acting funny--it wouldn't go over 40 mph, then would rev up to 3000 rpm. Instead he headed home. We took it as a sign that yesterday wasn't the day.

So I'll hold onto the body wash a little longer...but does any one want a PotBelly Sandwich gift card? My best guess is that it has $5 on it. I tried to check the balance, but the calculator didn't work. If you're interested, please leave a comment with an e-mail address, and if there is more than one person interested, I'll use a random number generator to choose a winner on Sunday.

Wordless Wednesday--signs of spring!



Monday, March 30, 2009

Henry's music program

Tonight the kindergarten had a "Fine Arts" open house; their artwork was displayed throughout the building, and there were two different musical programs with four classes each. Here is one song--Henry is the boy in blue with white stripes (and the only boy in the frame!)

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 things on my to do list

Yano at YanowhatImean (a great blog name!) posts an idea for "Ten on Tuesday" every week--thanks!

Here's my to do list at work:
1. Send out Faculty Development letters to recipients...and ones we turned down.
2. Write a report about possible ways of running Faculty Development with a tighter budget.
3. Grade 30 lab notebooks
4. Grade 14.5 6-10 page formal lab reports
5. Prepare my lecture for Wednesday
6. Revise and submit a departmental writing statement
7. Revise a case study I submitted to the Science Case Study Library
8. Review a paper for a journal
9. Order primers for my research student
10. Advise two more students tomorrow

House:
1. Play with Hope
2. Read Harmony her new book
3. Help Henry figure out how to play his new game
4. Balance the checkbook
5. Vacuum (this is always on my list)
6. Clean out the diaper pail (ew!)
7. Laundry (this is also always on my list)
8. Do some menu planning
9. Go grocery shopping
10. Plot my next Walgreens run

But now, I need to go to bed! What's on your to do list this week?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dust if you must...

Laugh for the day, courtesy of my aunt:

LADIES... Remember...a layer of dust protects the Wood beneath it.

'A house becomes a home when you can write 'I love you' on the furniture.'

I used to spend at least 8 hours every weekend making sure things were just
perfect - 'in case someone came over.' Finally I realized one day that no-one came over; they were all out living life and having fun! NOW, when people visit, I don't have to explain the 'condition' of my home. They are more interested in hearing about the things I've been doing while I was away living life and having fun.

If you haven't figured this out yet, please heed this advice.

Life is short. Enjoy it!
Dust if you must .......
but wouldn't it be better to paint a picture or write a letter, bake cookies or a cake and lick the spoon or plant a seed, ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there's not much time . . . . rivers to swim, mountains to climb, music to hear, books to read, friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair, a flutter of snow, a shower of rain.. This day will not come around, again.
Dust if you must , but bear in mind, old age will come and it's not kind.

And when you go - and go you must - you, yourself will make more dust!

(I think I'll still have the cleaning lady come every once in a while :))

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week I'm thankful for evidence of spiritual growth in my children, despite not having a regular church home. I'm specifically thankful for:
--AllBoy's weekend report being all about going to church
--AllBoy praying for Princess to be healed from her cough and fever in a hands-on and faith-filled way
--Princess talking about Jesus right and left. Tonight she was asking about seeing Jesus, and how she couldn't wait to get to heaven to see him face to face.

Lord, I thank you for spiritual growth in my children, and for showing it to me.

Just friends

We had to have a "just friends" conversation with a pastor a couple of weeks ago. We've visited several times, and hubby plays for a monthly Sunday night service, and they were excited about a new young family.

And while we've worshipped there, it's not going to be our home church--it's a place holder while we're seeking God. It's two blocks from our house, so it's convenient.

So we had the "just friends" conversation, and it went well...though it's a strange one to have with a church!

Thankful Thursday--new life!

Spring has sprung around here! The hyacinths are poking their heads out, the trees have buds, and the students are wearing flip flops.

So this week I'm thankful for new life:
--for all the newness of spring
--that spring didn't spring a leak around here (with prayers for those threatened with flooding in the Northern Plains)
--for Hope--she's rolling over, blowing raspberries and generally being cute (though still not sleeping through the night)
--for the new life scripture promises us:
"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4

and thanks to Lynn for hosting Thankful Thursday this week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ten on Tuesday--Favorite things on vacation




Patrick and I have different vacation styles, so it's taken us a while to master "the vacation"!

Shared:
1. Eat at good (generally non-chain) restaurants. Since we have about 10 restaurants in town, this is generally easy. Patrick does lots of research ahead of time, and he does a great job picking winners.
2. Go to museums.
3. Walk around old neighborhoods and farmers markets
4. Eat donuts for breakfast

The kids and I:
5. Play in the hotel pool (while Daddy does #8 and #9)

The kids:
6. Take modes of transportation not available at home, like taxis, buses, trains, etc.
7. Do fun kid things, like play on the beach, go to a water park, children's museum, zoo, or the Mouse House

Patrick:
8. Sleep in
9. Read the paper

Me:
10. Take a bubble bath!

So what are your ten favorite things to do on vacation? I made this Mr. Linky long ago and far away, so might as well use it:


You can also share by making a comment here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Saying no

On Sunday afternoon, Henry and I were working/playing in the yard. He asked if we could have a squirt gun fight and I said no--it's not summer yet.

Henry wanted to play light sabers, so we invited the neighbor boys (who were also outside) over to play. They were looking for a third light saber, and ventured into the back yard.

After a while, I got suspicious--usually their duels (or tri-els) range all over the yard, and I hadn't seen them in a while. So I went looking.

What I found was a soaked Henry and friends, Super Soakers in hand.

Uh oh...time for the neighbors to go home.

Henry was quick to point a finger at the oldest boy, saying it was his idea. My response was, "But you knew the rules. It's important that when someone asks you to do something that you know is wrong to stand up to them. Say no and tell them why."

I think that's easy advice to give, and hard to live by. Saying no has never has been my forte, so I hope I can teach my children well.

Lord, give us courage to stand up and say no when we know something is wrong. Help us to teach our children both your rules and the ability to stand up for what they believe in.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Church history

We have an interesting trend in our church attendance history:

Church #1: we attended here when we were dating until we moved. Our first Sunday was their groundbreaking for a new building. They met in the gym of a church school, and moved into the new building the year we were married (the gym wasn't really ready in time for our reception, but we had it there anyway!) They went through a huge transition during this time, with explosive growth. I was a middle school youth counselor, and my husband was on worship team and was worship minister for awhile.

Church #2: met in the Boy's and Girl's Club when we first started attending, and moved into a new building shortly before we moved. I really learned to study my Bible, but we were not well accepted because of my education level and occupation.

Church #3: We knew we were living in this town for only a year, so we wanted to plug in quickly to a church. The church met in a movie theater, then a school gym. They were transitioning from being a college church to a community church.

Church #4: During the year we were attending church #3, we felt called to continue going to that denomination, even if it meant driving an hour on Sundays. The day we committed to that, we discovered a new church listed in a town only 25 miles away. We didn't think it was real--the phone number had the wrong area code, and we both knew that town really well. We called, and that Sunday had been the contact's last Sunday at the old church; they were planting a brand new church. Their first activity was the day after we moved back to the area. We were as close to being on the plant team without moving with the team, though there was a distinct division between leadership that came from the mother church and the "townies". We were life group leaders, I taught kids' church (and coordinated the curriculum) and hubby played on the worship team. We easily could have been "lifers" there, never leaving that church.

So what patterns emerge?
--We must like setting up chairs, since most of these churches have not had buildings and had to set up/tear down each week.
--God has been very active and present, moving these churches to new/different levels.
--Serving is important to us; it's not enough to be a member of the congregation, we need to be actively using our skills.