Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Endangered Typewriters and Other Stuff

    Tori was sitting beside me this morning working in her phonics book. After a while she pointed at one of the pictures and asked me, "Mommy, what's that?". "It's a typewriter", I answered. She looks up at me with huge eyes and said, "Wow! I didn't think those were invented anymore! I thought you could just read about them in books now!". I guess she thought they were uninvented? or would that be "extinct" ;)?
   Aside from working at schoolwork we've been very busy getting the house cleaned up and reorganized. At nearly four months Andrew is doing so well and will even play in his exersaucer for a few minutes at a time so it is finally possible to get some stuff done, and boy did the house need it! Andrew has only woken up 3 or 4 times during the night in the last couple of weeks, that has been a blessing, though I admit it reluctantly... We've also been learning and growing in many things spiritually. Does it seem to you that every time you think you've finally "made it" and that you've got it all "figured out" that you look up and see yet another hill to climb stretching before you? Isn't it good of God to be so patient with us, leading us one step at a time. What a wonderful Lord and Savior!
   We are trying the potty training thing with Bethani right now. We're using cloth training pants and we will probably be switching Andrew to cloth diapers at least for a while also to give it a try. Lee made me a clothesline, I said in a comment awhile back that fire ants like shade so maybe we shouldn't put one up but Lee set me right. He said fire ants actually hate shade they like sunshine so he was more than happy to create another shady spot in the yard ;). He does not enjoy battling fire ants. I don't blame him.
  Lee brought home a DVD that he had had to write off because the case came in literally smashed. Some of the DVD's didn't work too well but there was one that had a few movies on them from the 1920's, silent movies. I had never seen a whole silent movie before so that was quite an experience :). After we screened it I put it in for the girls to watch and after about ten minutes Bri said, "Ummm, do they not talk?!". Nope, no talking. After another five minutes or so Tori said, "This is going to be boring!!!", haha! By the end of the movie (over an hour long) I had them rolling (and still interested in the movie) with my running commentary. Now they are begging me to let them see the other silent films on the disc so they can come up with commentary on their own :)!
   I'm planning on doing a give-away in "honor" of my and Lee's 10th anniversary coming up February 3rd. Wow, 10 years! We started off on some pretty shaky feet but I wouldn't change a single thing if it meant giving up what we've got now. He is truly my "knight in shining armor", who ever said dreams don't come true?! But, that's for another post!
   Don't forget to come back February 3rd for the details!

Movie Review "The Thief Lord"

   Hubby brings things home to preview now and then and the other day he brought home a DVD to screen. This one was called The Thief Lord and just looking at the cover he and another employee figured it wasn't going to pass the "spiritually edifying" test. Do not bother buying this movie even if you do see it in a Christian bookstore. There is nothing Christian about this movie. There is one part that takes place in a church, as the boys walk through the church one of them says, "I hate churches, they give me the creeps.". Yep, that is as "churchy" as it gets. Other than that the entire premise behind the movie is that adults are stupid, it is only right for children to live alone and to steal to escape these stupid adults, and it doesn't always pay to be yourself.  The children also run from the authorities after they steal and they try to inflict physical harm on the police in order to "lose" them. There are no repercussions for wrongdoing in this movie and there is magic (a magic carousel that makes you older or younger when you ride it). A six'ish year old (who "used" to be an adult) gets drunk, yes you read that right. There are also a few  "mild" swear words. Are you scraping your jaws off of the floor like I did? On top of all of that it was just poorly done anyway. I hope this post saves someone some money and a couple hours of their life... ;)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

When God Blesses

   A couple of days ago we were out grocery shopping. It had been a full morning getting ready to leave the house, trying to get four little people ready, finding that two of them had outgrown their shoes all of a sudden, getting together water bottles and sweaters and the diaper bag and blankets for baby, etc. Once we got to the store I was already tired! Then it seemed to take us forever just to get out of the van, making sure everyone's hair was combed and faces were clean. As we were nearing the end of this process I heard a lady call to the girls who were waiting for us at the end of the van. Wondering what was going on I went to check it out and saw an older lady with her granddaughter making their way over to us saying, "Oh! what pretty girls I've got to come see them!Nobody puts their girls in dresses anymore, what a blessing to see your girls looking so pretty...". As she walked up she caught sight of Andrew and said, "Oh! Another one! What a blessing!!! I've got something special for you!". Directing the last phrase at the children, she pulled out her wallet and starting handing each of them a dollar bill. When she saw me start to politely protest that she needn't do that she went on saying how she loved to share and how we children of God need to stick together. Before she left she told us again what a blessing it had been to see us and parted with the exhortation to Lee and I to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It all happened fairly quickly but even now I feel the residual affects of her smile and words of encouragement. It occurred to me as we entered the store that had we not run into a few snags that morning we would have missed this sweet lady and the great blessing she was to us. God used those delays and the time it took us to do things we could have overlooked to put us in the right place at the right time. Her words were the sort that will be brought to mind next time it seems to be taking forever preparing to do something as mundane as grocery shopping. We prayed together that night that the Lord would bless and keep her as she had blessed us, thanking Him for the smile He had sent our way :).

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. ~Psalm 67:1

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Growing Up...

   That's what everyone is doing and I'm helpless to stop it. I know, I wouldn't really want to. The future is something I look forward to. Weddings, grandchildren, and seeing the fruits of my current labors. But today I just want to push the pause button for a moment, or two, or more.
   There have been a lot of "firsts" in our home the last couple of weeks. Bri made her first Bishops Chocolate Pie last week, that is one of those recipes that is something like a rite of passage for girls in my family, right up there with rolling your first cinnamon roll and making your first loaf of bread :). Tori went out to check the mail by herself for the first time and a few days ago she delivered a note to a neighbor, they are right next door and I watched her the whole time, but still ;). Bethani is growing and learning every day, her latest accomplishment is being able to feed herself with her fork. Now for the one that will make all mothers who read this ecstatic for me, Andrew slept through the night...twice out of the last three nights. And here is the part that will make most mothers who read this throw tomatoes...I don't like it at all. Since the birth of our second baby I've recognized those late night feedings as precious bonding time. With all of the busyness in the day time I actually look forward to the night wakings that ensure quiet time with Baby. Alas, it seems those times are quickly coming to an end...until about 5 months from now when our babies start waking up two and three times a night again ;). So, perhaps I should focus my efforts on catching up on my sleep before I find myself in round two ;).

Bishops Chocolate Pie

This is a super easy recipe that Bri made all by herself for the first time last week. We usually only have it twice a year, once at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas but Bri asked to try her hand at it and I was not one to turn her down, I love this pie!!!

Bishops Chocolate Pie

1 pre-baked and completely cooled pie crust
2 cups softened vanilla ice cream
2/3 cup of half and half
1 package instant chocolate pudding
1 small tub of whipped cream
1 small Hershey bar, in shavings

Beat the ice cream and half and half together. Mix in a small package of instant chocolate pudding and pour into the prepared pie crust. Chill until firm. Top with whipped cream and Hershey bar shavings.

Our notes: It doesn't take long for it to firm in the refrigerator, just 15'ish minutes if you don't let the ice cream soften too much. We use up to a whole tub of whipped cream and instead of a Hershey bar we sprinkle about 1/4 cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips over the top. We usually have some on hand anyway and I really don't like shaving the chocolate bar, whether we used a knife or veggie peeler it was always a messy business...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Her Brother's Keeper...

Brothers and sisters are each other's keepers.
If they fulfilled their duties in this regard, the
one to the other, life would show fewer wrecks.
They should sheild each other. They should be
an inspiration to each other in the direction of
all noble thought and better life. They should
be each other's gaurdian angels in this world
of danger and of false andfatal paths.
~from J.R.Miller's Homemaking

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Out With the Old, In With the New...

   I know it is silly but I have kind of a bittersweet feeling at saying goodbye to a year that was so good to me. The birth of Andrew was one of the sweetest gifts the Lord has ever blessed me with. The love of my sweet husband and the protection and provision that he provides is invaluable and I'm so thankful for him every day of the year. The fact that we are all healthy and the girls are growing strongly in their faith and dependence on God is another blessing. Friends we've made and the fact that we weren't required to move right at the time of Andrew's birth are a couple other blessings I can think of.  I pray that this new year has many more blessings in store for us and all of our family and friends.
   We had a fun New Year's Eve. Lee brought home some fireworks and the girls were on pins and needles as to whether it was going to rain or not until we finally got to go outside. As it ended up it was sprinkling on and off but nothing we couldn't handle for a few minutes. Bethani was wide-eyed at the whole event. She loved the sparklers...

But she wasn't too sure about the fireworks themselves ;)...

Andrew was too cute. We have never had a child interested in the fireworks at his age. Bri and Tori slept through their first fireworks. Bethani would watch them on the ground but she wouldn't follow them into the air like Andrew did, he has amazing eye control (is that what you would call it? Hmmm...).

Afterwards we went inside to enjoy the rest of the evening in front of the fireplace making s'mores and roasting marshmallows. My heart about melted when I walked in to the living room and found them all laying on the floor in a row, too cute...

I love those big blue eyes!!!

Bethi's first s'more...

I think she liked it ;).
We're waiting, and waiting.... :).
(Don't worry, it's just sparkling grape juice!)

As the new year ushered in Lee led the family in a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings the old year had brought us and prayed God's hand over us throughout the new year. That annual prayer time is one of my most favorite times of every year.

We are truly very,


very, very

blessed :).

"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving." ~Psalm 69:30

Our Christmas in Pictures

   Birthdays and holidays are over and things are slowly getting back to normal. We have spent most of this last week going through the house decluttering and deep cleaning. I'm taking a break to share some pictures of our Christmas season.
   I know a lot of families don't celebrate Christmas at all, I believe that their decision to forgo celebrating the holiday all together is a very valid one. We know that it is highly unlikely that Jesus was born in December at all, let alone on the 25th, and it was never commanded that God's people were to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Personally, I am a "sucker" for a celebration. We celebrate both of our anniversaries, our wedding anniversary and the anniversary of our vow renewal ceremony. We celebrate the girls "eternal" birthdays (the anniversary of their profession of belief in Christ). We even have a "party" every year to celebrate getting our new school year's paperwork in the mail, making the school year "official" for us. At this point we haven't felt convicted to ignore the holiday though I have to admit that when we were first married we wouldn't have imagined we would be giving up a lot of the things we have given up over the years.
   Our Christmas season actually starts Thanksgiving evening when we decorate the tree. We give the children a new ornament every year so it fits nicely with our Thanksgiving celebrations to give thanks for the many years we have had together. While the ornaments chronicle our lives together here on earth, the evergreen tree symbolizes our eternal life, and the tree lights our need to "let our light so shine before men" in this life on earth.

Bethani's idea of decorating was to push the ornaments back as far as they would go and then let them land, wherever :). See the little pile she created with her first attempt down near her feet?


Here is what the tree looked like a few days later...  

It's hilarious :). There are no ornaments on the top because the girls couldn't reach that high and Lee and I hadn't gotten a chance yet to fill in the holes. And there are nearly no ornaments on the bottom because every time Bethi would pull one off someone would put it back on higher so she couldn't reach it again.
   A couple of weeks later, after solving the issue of the migrating ornaments, we all strung popcorn chains for the tree for the first time. It was really pretty and a lot of fun, and when we take our tree down on Wednesday we'll take the chains outside and string them in the trees for the birds!

    I think one of our prettiest decorations in the winter is our "snowflake tree". When we moved down here and accepted the idea of snowless winters indefinitely we decided to "make" our own snow :). What is really special about our snowflake tree is that each of the gifts underneath has a bible verse or two taped to it that mentions snow, you would probably be surprised to see how many times snow is mentioned in the bible. One of the greatest gifts of our lives is the ability to read and study the word of God :).

   We do not "do" Santa Claus, but we do celebrate St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) in the same way that many people celebrate Columbus Day (which we don't but that is a whole other post...). We do a unit study in our school time learning about the real St. Nicholas and we give each of the children a small gift as a reminder that it was St. Nicholas' generosity and love of God that made him a prominent man in history. We do this partly because it is fun and we like to share good things with our children, partly because it is a great and a fun way to study church history, and also so our children will be very well versed in the truth. There is very little chance of anyone convincing them that a historic man of the early church who passed away thousands of years ago is the "jolly old St. Nick" of today ;).  This year the girls got paper dolls and Andrew got a little book.
   Poor Lee, one of these days the words, "Oh! How about...?!", coming from me will make him tremble ;). I had the clever idea that instead of just giving out our annual plates of Christmas candies, this year we could make homemade wreaths to go with them. The girls had a ball going out to hunt for pinecones...

But when we got them home there were little stowaways running off of them and it kind of cooked the fun for all of us females ;). At one point we were all pointing and shrieking in different directions at the same time :). When one rather unusual spider looking creature appeared to have been hopping around I asked Lee what it was, "I don't know!", he replied, "You scream and I squish!". My hero ;)... Anyway, Lee happily did a really good job on the wreaths with minimal help from us (after the girls ran away shivering) while I made supper. Aren't they pretty :)...

You can also see our advent wreath that we assembled ourselves in the top right of the picture.

December is a fun month in our home for cooking...

Hanging around the kitchen while mom bakes...

and making gifts...

The above picture is of Andrew "making" Daddy's Christmas gift. He added his hand print to the T-shirt that the girls gave Lee for Father's Day before Andrew was born, it was quite comical to see Lee open it up and find it contained his own shirt ;).
   The town of Chapin even tries to help it's citizens get in the "Christmas spirit" by decorating in... sailboats???

Yep, that's what I thought our first Christmas here too ;)...

   We also enjoy walking around the zoo during their Lights Before Christmas and the last few years we have enjoyed a "Pioneer Christmas" celebration with my side of the family that we were unable to do this year :(. We make treats for Lee to take to work for that nightmare of a work day known as "Black Friday", to help keep up moral :). We love our advent nights when we have chili and eat by candlelight while we converse on the meaning of that nights devotion and one of the girls favorites this year was going caroling in the neighborhood while looking at lights.
      Christmas day the girls awoke to their special surprise and then we stuck a candle in our cinnamon rolls and sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. While we ate our breakfast we watched the video Faith Lessons: The True Christmas Story. I love it! It takes you to Bethlehem and compares the legacies of King Herod and Jesus, the King of kings. I would love to have the entire series! We spend the rest of the day eating good food, enjoying each other, and thanking God for the most precious gift of Jesus.
   While we do fairly burst with busyness during the Christmas season we do our utmost to remember to keep our focus on thanksgiving to and for Him, and we always make sure we're never too busy for moments like these...

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." ~Colossians 3:17

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Future Carpenter Perhaps?

Andrew loves his first little (toddler) tool
box that he got for Christmas...

Well, he apparently thinks it tastes
pretty good anyway ;).

"And let the beauty of the LORD our
God be upon us: and establish thou
the work of our hands upon us; yea,
the work of our hands establish thou
it." ~Psalm 90:17