Saturday, June 30, 2007

Week in Review

This is a sample of what our week has held:
~ Tuesday afternoon, the boys and I went swimming at our local public pool...we had a great time, until a thunderstorm threatened and the pool was closed...still, it was definitely a fun outing...Josiah is wearing one of those swimming suits with a flotation device inside it, though he still clung to me desperately when in the did David...I felt like I had two little koala bear cubs hanging on me :)
~ on Friday my mother and I froze 21 pints of sour cherries...Josiah was a real helper with this (unlike when you let your child "help" you for training purposes, knowing full well that you could do it quicker and better by yourself!)...he got the messy job of filling the containers and did a fantastic job with it
~ Friday evening, we went to our local lawn party...the weather had been iffy all day, but we decided to go anyway...we managed to sit and eat some good fried food for dinner and then have time for Josiah to go on a few rides before the rain came...we decided to head home, but later in the evening Jeff and Josiah went back to the party for Josiah to go on more rides (we had gotten him one of those all-you-can-ride bracelets, and it seemed a shame to not get our money's worth out of it! it's just such fun to see Josiah enjoy himself on those little rides)
Other highlights:
~ we just finished our second week of "official" far, it's going really well!!!...recent conversations include Josiah asking me if I knew that 99 + 99 = 198...or that 30 + 30 + 20 + 20 = 100...or that 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 = 21...I can't take any credit for his math brains; I know it came from his daddy, and the other men in both sides of the family (my dad is good in math, my brother is a CPA, and my grandfather was a math major in college)
~ the BIG project of the week was finishing (well, sort of finishing) the redecorating of Josiah's is now the "boys' room," not just Josiah's room, since we officially moved David into it from our little nursery room where he had been sleeping...Jeff did a ton of work in the boys' room, painting and putting up a border and moving furniture...his sickness last week put a big damper on the whole project, but this week he put in a lot of hours and energy, and it looks great!...I'm thrilled with how it's turning out!!!...however, I'm EAGER to get in there sometime when I have a block of time without little ones around because I need to re-organize, clean, move some of David's clothes over, etc.
~ it has been an adventure to see how David responds to his new room...he's been very excited about his "new bed" (which he loudly proclaims to the world)...but it is definitely different for him to be in a bed that he can crawl in and out of alone, rather than in a crib...and it's different for him to see Josiah in the room with's hard to fall asleep when your buddy is lying there so close to you!'s been taking him a LONG time to fall asleep, both at night and for naps...but overall, the transition is going well
~ the first day I put David in his new bed for a nap, I knew I would need to be awake and near to monitor his behavior :) so I decided to undertake a project that I've been looking forward to for a long time--unpacking my boxes of maternity clothing and organizing my closet and dresser to accommodate the maternity clothes...I LOVE projects like that...and I love maternity clothes :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

David & Smoky

Our neighbors have a new kitten named Smoky--the cutest little gray ball of fur! This morning we walked over to their house to chat a minute, and Smoky followed us home and hung around here most of the rest of the day. David had a blast playing with Smoky! In general, David is a fearless little guy; and I'm sure as he grows he'll have his fair share of bumps and bruises and scrapes and possibly even broken bones. The funny thing to me is that I tend to be pretty relaxed about him, even though I know he's likely to get hurt.* But my mom! Oh my, she's so "concerned" about him sometimes. I can tell she's just biting her tongue nearly to pieces to avoid saying too much. Just wanted you to know, Mother, that I've noticed your great restraint--and I appreciate it very much!!! :)

*Obviously, if I see him doing anything dangerous, I put a quick stop to it. But as far as trying to protect him from every little situation in which he could take a tumble, I don't do it. I don't think it's necessary or wise to always be saying, "No, David, don't touch the kitty; he might scratch you," or "No, David, don't do somersaults on your bed; you might fall off," or "No, David, don't bounce on the couch that way; you might bounce onto the floor," etc. And my own dear mother let us do some mildly dangerous jumping off our high swings while they were still in motion. :) As always, it's a balance--trying to protect my children without being over-protective.

It's the Little Things

Here are some little (and not-so-little) things that I've been grateful for recently...

~ finding Vanilla Coke again in stores (this first came out when we lived in San Diego, and it quickly became my favorite soft drink...when we moved to Israel, I missed it a ton and would take as many cans back with me as I could whenever we returned to the States for a visit...while in Israel, I even received a package once with a few cans of it, sent by Jeff's wonderful sister; and counting the shipping, those were some expensive cans of soda!!!...after we moved back to the States, I once again enjoyed Vanilla Coke--until Coke stopped making it shortly after we returned! could they???...I was so sad...but just last week, I saw it again in the store and bought 5 bottles of it, all there were on the shelf...I think Coke must be making it again, and I'm thrilled!) :)
~ Jeff asking me late one night, "How big is our baby now?"
~ Jeff scrubbing a terribly greasy cast-iron skillet for me, when the combination of hot water and kosher salt I was using on it was pure agony for my hands (I don't have good skin on my hands, which is another story altogether...but suffice it to say that I was in such intense pain trying to clean that pan...Jeff's offer of help was heavenly!)
~ our neighbor bush-hogging our pasture (now we can actually see our dog again!) :)
~ hearing our baby's heartbeat for the first time (heard at my prenatal appointment on funny thing about that appointment is that, after the midwife asked me how much Josiah and David weighed when born [7 lbs, 14 oz, and 6 lbs, 10 oz, respectively], she assured me that my pelvis is large enough to accommodate a baby "at least a pound and a half bigger than that!"...hmm, I'm not sure how I feel about that...first of all, don't let the baby hear that he--or she, though it's so much more natural to refer to him as he--can grow well over 9 lbs!...and second, I don't feel really encouraged by her "compliment" that I have large hips!!!)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm Too Tired to Think of a Title

Brain Dead

I've been struck by a bad case of pregnancy fatigue. While Jeff slaves away upstairs painting stars on the ceiling of Josiah's bedroom, I exert a huge amount of energy to drag myself here to the computer to post something. Rather than the lofty and inspiring thoughts about which I wanted to write, I can only put up a few pictures. I was so exhausted and hormonal a little while ago that thinking about the few minutes of time left until I could tuck David in bed was enough to make me cry. I thought, "How will I ever make it through changing his clothes, brushing his teeth, storytime, lullaby, etc?"--knowing full well that all of that requires, at the most, 7 or so minutes. It still seemed like too much! I will collapse soon...
~ Aren't they handsome??? :)

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Would Have Missed...

If I had not been here today, this is what I would have missed:

~ the discussion I wrote about in the previous post, about the horseshoe nail and Noah's obedience and the importance of the little things
~ Josiah stumbling around with David's clothes hamper over his head after throwing the dirty clothes down our laundry chute
~ Josiah's sadness that when he grows up and moves away, I'll miss him...his solution? Daddy and David and I should come with him :)
~ David trying to climb on Josiah's back for a horsey ride...and Josiah being gentle with him
~ Josiah teaching David to say "Ring around the rosies" as they marched around our magnolia trees and then collapsed in a laughing heap at the end of the rhyme
~ a mid-morning break to run down the hill to see Grandma at her clothesline and prune our magnolias
~ a LENGTHY conversation about Cain and Abel, including, but not limited to, the questions...1. why did God not like Cain's offering?...2. why didn't God raise Abel from the dead?...3. did Cain mean to kill Abel, or was it an accident?...4. did Abel do something to Cain that made him mad? well as much talk about sin in our hearts, anger building up inside us, the role of confession, and God's forgiveness
~ after we read a book about Cain and Abel, Josiah's question, "Mommy, can we read this book again?"
~ a piano lesson in which Josiah learned the outstanding pieces, "A Bear's Song" and "A Mouse's Melody"
~ Josiah and David's friendliness as they waved to someone driving up our neighbor's lane on a tractor
~ many opportunities for me to make kissing sounds as Josiah practiced writing "m" and "n" and "o" (when he starts below or above a line, then goes to that line with his pencil before moving away from the line again, we call it "kissing the line"...for example, writing the humps for "m" and "n")
~ seeing Josiah fine-tune his negotiating skills as he asked his brother to trade the kings (chess pieces) David was holding for...nothing! Josiah had nothing in his hand to trade with David. (Um, Josiah, it might be more effective if you go and get some other pieces that David might actually be interested in, and then ask him to trade! Just a suggestion...) So Josiah trotted off, got the bishops, and then made a successful trade with David.
~ Josiah's request for some snuggle time on the couch after he woke up this morning
~ David's habit of blowing Josiah a kiss as we go to David's room for naptime

Ah, I'm so glad I was here today!!!

Deep Thoughts from a...Nursery Rhyme???

One of the "treasures" that we've been enjoying during Learning Time is Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose book. Most of the rhymes are "Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon..." They're still lots of fun and educational, too, as it introduces children to rhyme and rhythm and the beauty of language. But I don't often expect to be inspired or challenged or think lofty thoughts as I read them.

Today, however, we read this (a new nursery rhyme to me):

For want of a nail,
The shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe,
The horse was lost;
For want of the horse,
The rider was lost;
For want of the rider,
The battle was lost;
For want of the battle,
The kingdom was lost,
And all for the want
Of a horseshoe nail.

That is actually quite profound, and it sparked a good conversation with Josiah about how the little things in life can make such a big difference--and how important it is to choose well and live righteously, even in the little things.

Just prior to our reading this, we had read the story of Noah building the ark which was a PERFECT example of obedience even in the little things, even when it doesn't make sense, even when people laugh at you, even when you fail to see the significance of what God (or your mother!) is asking you to do. The Bible tells us several times that Noah did EXACTLY what God asked him to do. Oh, to have the heart to "trust and obey" so simply!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Confessions of a Non-Crafty Mom

I have to admit...I'm not a crafty mom. I'm not at all likely to whip out a glue stick and some glitter and dive into a fancy project. I'd MUCH rather sit on the couch and read stories to my boys rather crafts.

So at a very lovely lunch yesterday with two friends, I was understandably a bit jealous to hear that the daughter of one of my friends has been doing lots of crafts this summer with her little siblings. I sure could use one of those older daughters around here! But, sigh, there's only me.

However, in my plan for homeschooling, I made the decision to do a special activity/project once a week. And this week's project was tissue paper art! I told you I'm simple. It could have been origami...or tissue paper rosebuds...or something really nice like that...but no, we spread glue on construction paper, wadded up tissue paper, and voila, a craft!!! I actually think Josiah's favorite part of it was using his special scissors (which he still pronounces "zizzers") to cut strips of tissue paper.

To be fair to myself, I didn't even make up this project--no original craft ideas here! Instead, I got it out of a Prime Time Together...with Kids book that was given to me by someone who probably realized that I needed a little help in this area! :)

Anyway, I think Josiah is a cutie pie...and I also think his "art" looks spectacular!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Week 10

Here grows the belly! I'm definitely at the stage of "I won't be able to wear this shirt again until ???" It's hard to believe that one fourth of the 40 weeks of pregnancy is already gone. Of course, this first quarter seems by far to be the shortest...since for the first two weeks of the official pregnancy count, you're not even pregnant...and the next two weeks, you don't know you're by the time you start counting, you're at 4 or 4 and 1/2 weeks. That makes it go kind of fast!
By the way, I FORGOT to thank my first ever guest blogger for posting Psalm 101:2 in Hebrew! Thanks a million, Jeff; you're my hero!!!!! :)

Pregnancy Humor

As I go through the joys and pains of pregnancy, I find I can always use a little pregnancy humor so I was happy to see this recently in a babytalk mom-to-be magazine. I'll type it here because I know it's a little hard to read in the picture...(and I don't know how to type an "e" with an accent mark on top, so in words where it's needed, please substitute it mentally!)... :)

Cafe Preggers
We always have just what you want, at any stage of pregnancy--from the queasy beginning to those last weeks when the baby has taken up every ounce of spare room in your belly.
First Trimester Menu
Tums compote
Fresh Saltines on a bed of Saltines, lightly seasoned with Saltines
Ginger ale (IV drip available upon request)
Ten minutes in a dim room with an ice bag on your head
Second Trimester Menu
Half a roast chicken, extra crispy
A succulent leg of lamb smothered in pork chops, served with BBQ ribs and garnished with cheeseburgers (all burnt beyond recognition for your safety)
Toll House pie smoothie, prepared with 1/2 pint heavy cream
9" x 16" pan of double-fudge brownies
Third Trimester Menu
(Each course followed by 15-minute neck massage and/or bathroom break.)
Three bites of tossed salad
Two bites of lasagna
None-so you'll have room for dessert
A Tic Tac
*Double portions available if you're expecting twins

I find myself still in the first trimester portion of the menu, but I sure am looking forward to the second trimester part! I was thinking tonight as I looked in the refrigerator for something to eat and tried to talk myself into choosing something, that it really is ironic that just when I have a green light to eat anything I want (except sushi, unpasteurized cheese, etc...I know, I know...but most of that stuff is not a strong temptation for me anyway!), I don't feel like eating anything! I tell myself, "We have chocolate ice cream in the freezer, and you can have some!"...but nah, don't feel like it. "There are Double Stuff Oreos in the snack closet!" Doesn't sound appealing. "How about another piece of chicken?" Ugh. "A Hot Pocket?" Nope. "Some rice?" OK, I guess I'll force myself to eat it, since I know the nutrition I got from the Auntie Anne's pretzel I ate around 6:00 pm is probably not sufficient to carry me through til morning. But can I have a lemon to suck on, too???

Just when I think I'm past these early pregnancy trials, one of them pops up again and slams me down. I thought nausea was over, but this afternoon I was feeling it again (though I have nothing to complain about; it's been so mild in general). Same with fatigue--I had written in my pregnancy journal a few days ago that during the 9th week, I felt like I was really settling into the pregnancy--being less anxious, enjoying it more, feeling better physically, having more energy, etc. But when I dragged myself out of bed this morning (even after having gone to bed early last night), I was EXHAUSTED...and couldn't even imagine how I was going to make it until 1:00 pm this afternoon when I could lay down for a nap after David was in bed and Josiah was having quiet playtime.

Oh, well, it all keeps me on my toes, I guess. I never know what's going to pop up next!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What a Challenge!

A devotional I read recently in Prayers & Promises for Mothers included this verse: I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. (Psalm 101:2)

I could hardly believe my eyes. Who can say they'll behave in a perfect way or walk in their house with a perfect heart??? Some days I sin before I even get out of bed in the morning! I was not feeling very hopeful at all about this verse.

It was very interesting to go to this site and look up this verse in different translations. The above version is good ole KJV; and, of course, the verse reads quite differently in other versions. Some samples...

I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
(New American Standard Bible)

I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house with blameless heart.
(New International Version)

I'm finding my way down the road of right living,
but how long before you show up?
I'm doing the very best I can,
and I'm doing it at home, where it counts.
(The Message)

In my opinion, it's significantly different to say "I'm doing the very best I can," rather than "I will walk within my house with a perfect heart." I guess the word "perfect" freaks me out. Being somewhat of a perfectionist myself, I know how agonizingly difficult it is to constantly strive for perfection--but constantly be aware of how far from it I fall.

I wonder what the original Hebrew actually says in this verse. Anybody want to take this on as a special project? (Yes, Jeff, that would be you!) :)

Who I Am

Yesterday we went to the library for storytime, as is our custom every other week. At one point, all the kids were "going on a bear hunt" and wandering through the shelves of the children's section led by the librarian, with the parents meandering behind. As I walked past one particular shelf, a familiar book cover caught my eye; and I quickly reached out and grabbed the book. Ah, an old friend--a book by Louisa May Alcott called An Old-Fashioned Girl.

I have no idea how old I was when I first read that book, but I do remember being so fond of it...and as I brought it home yesterday and devoured it both yesterday and today (finishing it just a little while ago), I was reminded of why I loved it so much.

The experience of finding that book again also brought to my mind again how much my identity was formed by the books I read. The shaping of my mind, my heart, my soul, my worldview, my behavior, my expectations from life, etc. was influenced so heavily by books. I'm sure I don't even understand this fully, and I certainly can't put it into words. But a deep sense of gratitude overwhelmed me as I realized again how blessed I was, as a child, to be read to, and then later to read so much by myself...and how blessed I was to be surrounded by such good literature. I don't mean the Greek classics or even Shakespeare, though I've done my fair share of that kind of reading. I do, however, mean stories that enlighten, inspire, and awake a deep desire to be like Jesus--even if they never mention His name.

An Old-Fashioned Girl was one of those books--not a religious book, but an uplifting story that made a lasting impact on many areas of my life. To mention just one example, in the book, we see two families, quite different from each other. In one family, the siblings argue and fight and generally cut each other down; in the other family, the siblings care for each other, serve each other, have fun together, and generally become each other's best friends. I am sure that the seeds of love for my siblings that were planted very early in my life were well-watered as I read this book. The result? A friendly relationship with all my siblings, and a particularly close relationship with my brother David who is closest in age to me (he's 2 years older). That relationship, left to the natural laws of selfish human nature, could have become an adversarial one, filled with tension and meanness. Instead, we grew up the best of friends, learning together, playing together, sharing our hearts with each other, leaning on each other in times of difficulty. When I see my children together, I can only wish that they will enjoy a sibling relationship as good as the one I had/have with my brother.

I could mention so many other examples of how books have shaped who I am. But this reminder--though small--has filled me with a determination to surround my children with good books...and to always be vigilant about what kind of influences shape my children's early years. Because those influences will literally affect them for the rest of their lives.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What Country Folk Do on Summer Evenings

They work in their garden! Notice that I didn't say what rednecks do: they, of course, sit inside and watch TV. No, the real country folk know that God commanded us to subdue the earth, and part of that involves long hours of toil in the garden...and when the temperature is only 80 degrees in the cool of the evening, rather than 95 like during the heat of the day, it's actually quite pleasant! Also be aware of the fact that these are not primarily flower gardens (although flowers are allowed): they are vegetable gardens, producing healthy sustenance for mankind. There's something so wholesome about all of this! :)

Week 9

I haven't been faithful to post weekly pictures of my tummy here...but tonight I did get my mom to snap a few pictures of ever-increasing me. I'm officially 9 weeks and 5 days and am really enjoying this phase of pregnancy! I love my bump! It's a great reminder that there's a baby inside me!!! Although, I must say, I am a little surprised at how quickly my stomach is pooching out. I know that didn't happen this early in my pregnancy with Josiah, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't this way with David's pregnancy either. I've only gained 4 pounds so far which might be a wee bit more than the recommended amount, but it's not terrible. At my prenatal appointment last week, the very nice nurse educator happened to mention (without me even bringing it up!) that it's extremely common for women in their 3rd or 4th pregnancies to "expand" more quickly than they previously had because, as she said, "your uterus isn't the tight little ball that it used to be!" Right. That's for sure! Anyway, I'm not fretting a bit over it; in fact, it's such a blessing to be pregnant that I truly thank God for it and wear it proudly.

Heartache and Happiness

Our good friends Yacov and Natasha, who live in Israel, just had a baby...a little girl they named Nichol. It's times like these that make me wish I could split myself in two and be in two places at the same time. I'd give anything to be able to zip over to Israel to see their little daughter, give them all big hugs, and spend a little time catching up face to face. Sigh... Anyway, we are THRILLED for them. For so many reasons, Nichol is a little angel baby--such a gift of God! Welcome to the world, little Nichol!!!

First Day of School

What is a first day of school without the customary child-beside-the-door-with-backpack-and-lunchbox picture??? Here's our version of it...child beside the door...little brother close by (who wants to do everything big brother does in Learning Time) holding up some new books. After we took this picture, instead of sending Josiah off to school in a bus or driving him myself in our minivan, we opened the door, walked back inside, and had our first day of school. I didn't even shed one tear--didn't have to cry because, joy of joys!, I get to keep my boy a little longer...get to be the one to see the lightbulbs come on in his head...get to be the one to guide his heart as he deals with the frustration of not tracing a "c" perfectly in his writing book...get to be the one to cuddle with him and read great stories and poems...get to be the one to answer his multitude of questions (his question of the day: do boys ever marry their mothers? he was concerned because the only two girls he can think of marrying are me and a college student named Amorette...we haven't seen her for a while, so Josiah was getting desperate...I reassured him that only God knows who Josiah will marry, but Daddy and I have already started praying for her...then I told him that when Daddy was his age, his future wife wasn't even born yet!). I think I've said this before (I feel like I repeat myself and constantly circle around the same few themes!), but I am thrilled beyond words that we get to have this year of homeschooling together!!!
~ how cool is this that my boys get to stand on the same steps I stood on as a wee little girl on her way to kindergarten for the first time! the sun sure was bright out there and shone right in the boys' eyes, so we cut short our outdoor pictures and headed inside
~ Josiah wanted to take a picture with ALL his new books, so we took lots of pictures! this picture Bible was given to me when I was 8, and I loved it! today after we finished reading one story from it and moved on to other reading, David sat for a long time and flipped through the pages of this book
Here is what we did today during Josiah's first day of school...
~ read a story from a picture Bible
~ read some pages from Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose book
~ read from Why Do Roosters Crow?, a Q&A book about farms
~ did the first lesson from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
~ did a page of handwriting from a Dick & Jane workbook
~ did two lessons from the Horizons Math K book
~ did a page from a new bilingual sticker/coloring book that a friend gave Josiah for his birthday
~ had a piano lesson
Oh, and we also...
~ snuggled
~ prayed
~ built memories
~ expressed love
What a wonderful way to begin!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

What a Dad! - Times Two

In honor of Father's Day, here are some pictures of my two favorite dads--my own dear dad, of course, and my beloved husband with whom I fall more in love every day as I watch him be a dad to our boys. I feel incredibly blessed to have both of these men in my life. To me, they epitomize what being a dad is...
D = death to self: they sacrifice their time, energy, money, and ambition to focus on their family
A = available: I have vivid memories of my dad driving long distances to be there when I played basketball games or sang in concerts; I also see this trait in Jeff as he works hard to cut his hours down at work so he can spend more time with his children
D = devoted & dependable: both of these men are faithful men--to God, their wives, their children, as well as other relationships
Words can hardly express what I feel, but let me say a simple thank you to both of you for all you do, for all you say, for all you are. You're the best!!!
~ the picture Dad hoped would mysteriously be deleted from my Dad is intently playing with his grandsons' LeapPad!'s OK, Dad, just shows you're a kid at heart!
~ Jeff filling my love tank with acts of service by painting Josiah's room
~ quality time with the boys: making homemade doughnuts...yummy!

Needs Improvement

Remember those old report cards we used to get in school? With S for Satisfactory, N for Needs Improvement, etc. Maybe they still give those out?

In any case, as I've been evaluating our home life, I've noticed one area that ranks a very strong N. It is the time period from about 5:30-7:30 pm every evening. I've often heard this described as the "piranha hour"--and with good reason. Mom is tired from a long day with the kids and is trying to get dinner ready while keeping the rest of the household under control. Kids are tired and hungry, more prone to "need" Mom's attention just when she is least likely to feel like giving it. She wonders if she should just go ahead and feed them early or make them wait so they can eat with the family and learn self-denial and patience. Dad comes home from work tired; but instead of being given a break, he's instantly forced to deal with kids who have eagerly been awaiting his arrival. The supper table is not always a peaceful place...with discipline issues cropping up...little ones needing help with their food...Mom feeling like she never even gets started eating until everyone else is done. After supper, kids beg Dad to play a game, just when he would like to collapse on the couch. It seems like there's no relief until bedtime comes and the kids are tucked in for the night.

I'm painting a pretty dismal scenario, of course; and fortunately, it's not always this bad at our house!!! But recently, I've been feeling like more often than not, our household resembles this in the evening.

This has particularly been in my thoughts recently because of a book I started reading during our anniversary trip and finished a few days after we got home. It's called A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich, and it tells the fictional story of a woman's life--from childhood to death. I LOVE this book! I've read it before and thoroughly enjoyed it; and I am certain that the next time I read it, I will appreciate it even more! It always reminds me of my grandmother...not that her life exactly paralleled the life of the woman in the book...but there are similarities, especially in the way they spent their last years.

Here is a quote from the book, and this is the quote that jarred my thinking about the whole dinnertime/evening hours stuff...
"There are many memories. But I'll tell you the one I like to think of best of all. It's just a homely everyday thing, but to me it is the happiest of them all. It is evening time here in the old house and the supper is cooking and the table is set for the whole family. It hurts a mother, Laura, when the plates begin to be taken away one by one. First there are seven and then six and then five...and on down to a single plate. So I like to think of the table set for the whole family at supper time. The robins are singing in the cottonwoods and the late afternoon sun is shining across the floor. Will, your grandfather, is coming in to supper....and the children are all playing out in the yard. I can hear their voices and happy laughter. There isn't much to that memory, is there? Out of a lifetime of experiences you would hardly expect that to be the one I would choose as the happiest, would you? But it is. The supper cooking...the table set for the whole family...the afternoon sun across the floor...the robins singing in the cottonwoods...the children's merry voices...Will coming in...eventide."

When I read this, I sighed and thought, "Oh I would love for my piranha hour to become the happiest time of day! Will it ever be this way for me???" But I've come to realize that, instead of being discouraged, I have to believe that it will get better. This stage of life will pass...the children will not always need their meat cut up or their applesauce fed to them...they will be able to play together more independently without so much intervention from me, even playing outside without an adult present...all I can do now is strive to keep my heart happy and my face and voice cheerful as I cling to God's strength to get me through even this most difficult part of the day. I realize, of course, that by having another baby, I'm making this whole situation worse rather than better! But I know someday, we'll be in another stage of life with less direct intervention required from me to simply help my children with the very basics of life...and after that, we'll reach the stage of plates disappearing one by one from our table. In THIS season of life, I want to learn how to make our evenings together a special time of joy and peace and love.

The Conclusion of the Matter

Josiah's birthday celebration officially concluded last evening when we had some friends over for our regular every-other-Friday potluck and Bible study. It turned out to be a smaller group than we normally have since two families were away--a smaller group, an older group, a quieter group! Nevertheless we had a great time together, as always. In honor of the occasion, Josiah got to use the Celebrate plate, we had birthday cake (chocolate cake, chocolate icing, sprinkles on top, a "5" birthday candle, plus 4 other twisty candles...just the way Josiah requested!) and sang to him, he received some nice cards and gifts, and he got to choose all of the songs that we sang together. His selections: Only a Boy Named David/Only a Boy Named Josiah...Walking on Heaven's Road...The B-I-B-L-E...Psalm 131...and Halelu, Halelu. What a joy to see him participate in worship so freely!

~ one special guest was my Great-aunt Lorraine who was able to visit us in our home for the first time
~ what a big boy! what a treasure!

Birthday Fun, Part Three

~ what's a trip to a lawn party without some cotton candy and a snow-cone???
~ this was thrilling for our newly-turned 5 year-old!
~ at home: finally, the gifts!
One of the best gifts Josiah got this year was a Bible--his very first real Bible with all the words in it! He had asked specifically for this gift, and my parents gave one to him. We have lots of various Bible storybooks; but when Josiah started asking about this, I realized that we didn't really have something like this that he could use. I, of course, think he's well on the way to being a spiritual champion because he asked for a Bible for his birthday!!! :)


While Josiah was having fun on the rides at the lawn party, David was stuck on the outside looking in. His enjoyment came from being held by Jeff or I or by twirling around on the grass until he got dizzy and fell down--nice, cheap entertainment. Sometimes it's hard being the youngest, David; trust me, I know. :)

Birthday Fun, Part Two

I had grand intentions of spending a lot of time blogging tonight to catch up on some recent events here in our household, but then I got sidetracked by a more important project: doing some planning for Josiah's first "official" day of kindergarten. We are going to start his kindergarten work on Monday, rather than waiting for the fall, for several reasons. First, when our baby is born in January, we'll take a substantial amount of time off then, I'm sure. And secondly, we were continuing to do Learning Time together; and I was finding that one of the books, in particular, was sooooo easy for Josiah that it was, frankly, quite boring. Jeff and I discussed it and realized there was no particular benefit to waiting any on Monday we begin! I'm VERY excited and had a great time planning tonight. I am SO GLAD we made the decision to homeschool Josiah this year! But enough about that...I could write pages and pages about homeschooling...but I'm going to try to stick to the topic of Josiah's birthday and finish this out tonight. :)

Here Josiah is at the lawn party having a blast...
~ riding a ferocious crocodile
~ on the merry-go-round with Daddy
~ on the Ferris wheel with Daddy...the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel were Josiah's favorites, I think...well, those and the big slide, but I didn't get any pictures of that...bottom line, he had a GREAT time...and I had a great time seeing his joy!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Birthday Fun, Part One

Last evening for Josiah's birthday, we changed our initial plan of going out to eat and instead headed for a local lawn party. I don't know how prevalent lawn parties are in other states; but in my state, every little podunk town has a lawn party at some point during the summer, so it seems. Lawn parties are like a carnival--fattening food, thrilling rides (thrilling, if for no other reason than the fact that they're probably a whole lot more dangerous than rides at an amusement park...after all, if they take those rides down and travel across several states with them and then set them up again every few days, isn't there a good chance some important screw might have come loose???), rip-off games that look so easy but never let you win, country music, and usually people you know--which seems to be the biggest reason people go--that, and the fact that it's a fundraiser for some good organization. At any rate, I love lawn I'm poking fun at myself if I'm poking at anyone! Lawn parties do seem to bring out the redneck side of the population though. :)

Yesterday afternoon Jeff heard from one of the other barbers at his shop that there was a lawn party in a town a bit south of us, so we suggested to Josiah that we go there to celebrate his birthday...and he was delighted! The weather forecast called for thunderstorms, and it was actually raining as we drove down the road and parked. We found a table under a big tent--the bingo tent--and Jeff dodged raindrops to get us some food which he brought back to us. As we finished eating, the boys ended up playing a little bingo--25 cents a game--which to us, seemed like a great price for a seat at a table out of the rain!

After a little while, the rain stopped, and we left the tent to go explore the rest of the lawn party. More in the next post...
~ Josiah studiously helping Jeff find the numbers
~ "hmm, this looks interesting!"
~ "I think I'll play, too! just wish I knew how to say 'bingo' in case I win"


~ a conversation that Josiah had this afternoon with our next-door neighbor (who will be 7 years old next month).

Josiah: You know what I want to be? A Mennonite. Cuz I like Old Order Mennonites, and I kind of feel like I am one. I know I'm not, but still...

Neighbor: You can be glad you're not one. I'm glad I am one, but you can be glad you're not!

~ the bathtub a few nights ago.

Josiah (singing): Wade in the water. Wade in the water, children. Wade in the water. Oh-oh-oh, God's gonna trouble the water.

~ another tidbit about that wonderful kid: Josiah's latest burning question is why did God let all the dinosaurs die? Or more pointedly, why did God kill all the dinosaurs? My half-hearted suggestion that maybe it was so the dinosaurs wouldn't eat all the people didn't satisfy him, and he's determined to ask God about it when he gets to heaven.

A Dog's Life

One of my aunts forwarded this email to me; and although I virtually never forward emails like this (I am the weakest link, so if you're worried about bad luck associated with breaking the chain, don't send something to me!), I decided to include this on my blog for two reasons. First, I had never read it before, and it's refreshing to see a forwarded email that I haven't already received a dozen times. And secondly, I've been reminding myself of a few things today: Jeff likes a happy wife...Jeff likes a relaxed wife...Jeff likes an affectionate wife...Jeff doesn't really care about dirty dishes, dirty laundry, dirty floors, remember what's important, Davene! :)

In the spirit of being happy, relaxed, and affectionate, here are some words of wisdom--from dogs...*

If a dog was the teacher you would learn stuff like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When it's in your best interest, practice obedience. (Don't tell my kids this one. They need to know it's always in their best interest to be obedient!) :)
Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back in the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

* Speaking of dogs, when I fed Molly this morning, Sweetie Pie, the calf that shares Molly's pasture, ambled over and started eating Molly's dog food, too!!! I had never heard of a calf who ate dog food! Molly didn't chase her off; they seemed to be sharing the bowl of food quite peaceably. When our neighbors were bottle-feeding Sweetie Pie when she was younger, Molly used to try to drink her I guess they share and share alike! Now if we catch Molly eating grass, we'll know our dog/calf partnership has really gone too far!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Josiah turned 5 years old today. I find myself simply astonished by this fact, lending further proof to the theory that I'm actually getting old. I hear myself saying exactly what "my elders" said when I was young...
~ "I can't believe how big you're getting!"
~ "My, how time flies!"
~ "Another birthday already?"
~ "I remember you when you were THIS big!" (with hands held roughly two feet off the ground...although in the case of Josiah, I could literally say this with hands held an inch apart, and it would be true)*

Josiah, at age 5, seems like such a real person now. This is the age of genuine conversations, kindergarten, a world of activities that suddenly open up when a child turns 5. He's such an interesting little/big minute I think how much easier he is to deal with than he was a year or two ago...the next minute I'm comforting him because he clumsily whacked his head on a table...the next minute he's having a full-blown tantrum because another kid touched his toys in the play area of Gift & Thrift, or because, horror!, his balloon string is lying across his leg. Despite his growth, he's still a kid; and I find the balance hard to maintain sometimes. I know I treat him "too young" at times, and at other times I push him to be "too old."

Today at Gift & Thrift, I saw a prime example of a child pushed to be too old. In the play area, there was a little boy who was probably about David's age with his big sister (who I'm guessing was in the 8-10 year old range). The little boy was being a bit of a brat (as were my boys at times, so I'm not throwing any stones!). Once the mother stopped by the play area to let her children know she was going to continue to shop, and I heard her tell the daughter, "Now you watch him and if he does something he shouldn't do, just slap his hand or something." Hmm, I don't think that's the right type of responsibility to put on an older sister. To keep an eye on a younger child, yes...but to be the disciplinarian??? Not in my book.

Anyway, back to the birthday boy... :)

So far the birthday celebration has included:
~ LOUDLY saying "happy birthday!" to Josiah as soon as we all got out of bed
~ Jeff taking the boys to the mall to play while I had my first official prenatal appointment (which went fine, by the way...mostly talking...nothing major happened at it...but I'm continually impressed by how nice and helpful everybody at this OB-GYN practice is!)
~ going to a Christian bookstore to buy Josiah his very own first Bible WITH ALL THE WORDS IN IT...this was a special request of his, and is actually his gift from Grandpa and Grandma...we have lots of Bible storybooks, but he was very interested in having a "real" Bible, so even though it's a little over his head, we were more than happy to encourage him in that way!!!
~ going to Home Depot to buy paint for his some point, we are going to move David into Josiah's room in preparation for the baby sleeping in our little nursery...we want to do some painting and re-arranging of furniture before that happens
~ going to the barbershop for Jeff to give both the boys a haircut (at the barbershop, Josiah wanted to take his Bible into the shop to show the other workers his new gift)
~ going to a local fruit market to get a gallon of strawberries
~ home for two sleepy boys to have a nap

Later we plan to go out for dinner, then head home for Josiah to open his gifts from us. On Friday, we'll have a few people over and celebrate more then...but today has been a wonderful day of just being together as a family and celebrating this most special gift from God, our wonderful firstborn Josiah!

* Last night as I wrapped Josiah's gifts, I looked down at my ever-increasing tummy and thought, "It is really unimaginable that someday I will be wrapping birthday gifts for this little baby's 5th birthday!" Yet, Lord willing, that will be happening sometime in the early part of 2013! Time is so strange--sometimes crawling, sometimes flying--often catching me off guard.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Best B&B

Of all the Bed & Breakfast establishments that we have visited during the past 10 years (not that there have been hundreds and hundreds! but it is our favorite date/get-away), Jeff and I both liked this one the very best. The style suited us completely. It is only about 10 years old and seems very well-built. It is a log inn which is without a doubt my favorite kind of building material; if I could have any kind of home in the world, it would be log. At this particular B&B, we couldn't see anyone else or hear anyone else. It is surrounded by national forest on all sides and is in its own private world. We LOVED it!!!
~ Jeff at North Fork Mountain Inn
~ the view from the private balcony off our room
~ front yard visitor

Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

I realized this evening that I haven't posted any pictures of our trip last week to West Virginia. Oops!

The scenery was breath-taking--truly a gorgeous part of God's creation. Everything seems so much more rugged back there. Here in Virginia, the mountains seem softer, more rounded; but as soon as we reach the West Virginia line at the top of the mountain and start going down the other side, I can see a difference--more jagged peaks, I suppose...fewer people...more wildness.

We drove through such greenness! Such rich foliage, millions of trees, beautiful streams. It's almost completely opposite from some of the terrains in which we've lived during our married life.

It was such fun to simply drive through mountains and valleys and soak in all the lushness. Well, it was fun until I started feeling really sick; between a cold that I caught from my boys and my weak pregnant stomach, I had quite a time of it on the second day of our trip. By that point, the best thing I could think of would be for the car to stop--simply stop--so that I wouldn't have to deal with constant motion anymore. I didn't care where we stopped, just as long as the car wasn't moving. So we did stop--a few times--and somehow I survived the trip home where I collapsed on the couch and watched a spirited game of Uno between my mother and my oldest son. It was good to be home. But oh, it was wonderful to be gone, too! :)

Here are some pictures of the scenery...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

44 Years Ago...

...two people were married in a little country church near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. Those two people were my parents; and if not for their wedding on that day, I would not exist.

I am unspeakably proud of them for their commitment to each other and to God that has sustained them through the past 44 years. And I'm eternally grateful for the security that has always surrounded us children (to the present day) because of their solid marriage. What a legacy!

Happy anniversary, Dad and Mother!!!!!!!!

Great News!

~ My sister stopped by for a visit today and is seriously considering moving back here to our town! She lives about 4 hours from here, and we would be thrilled if she would live closer. My boys love their Aunt Donna!!!

~ My nephew was released from prison this past Wednesday and is living in our town again. We're really looking forward to spending more time with him, and we pray earnestly for his success (and reliance on God) as he rebuilds his life.

~ Speaking of prison, we just heard this evening that the defendants in our robbery trial have agreed to a plea bargain of 25 years for their crimes. The trial was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, and I don't think anyone (at least, any of the prosecutor's witnesses) was looking forward to it. It's a relief to have it over and to know that we won't have to worry about these guys for 25 years. The really alarming part of it was that there was absolutely no expression of remorse on the part of the robbers; in fact, they made some statements that were definitely frightening. So until 2032 (a year which seems so far away that I can't even imagine it--it's like something out of a sci-fi movie!), we won't have that particular worry on our plate! God is gracious, and we continue to lean on Him for all our security. (I also, however, have a heavy heart as I think about these two men, and especially their families. We know from firsthand experience what it's like to have a relative sent to prison, and it's hard. Even when fully deserved, it's hard. My heart goes out to all involved in this situation, and I pray for these affected families quite often as I drive by the house of one of the men.)

Snowball's Outing

Doesn't the title of this post sound just like the title of a children's book? Hmm, maybe there is a book like that. I'll have to Google it and see... Just checked, didn't find anything. Anybody want to write a children's book called Snowball's Outing???

Anyway, the point of this post is to show a lovely, happy family relaxing on their lawn with their pet rabbit who is also lovely and happy. Since our old mama rabbit died, Snowball is on her own. She's grown big and fat--and is so incredibly soft. Doesn't she have a nice blue leash? Did you know they make rabbit leashes? They're different than dog leashes. Don't I write about such interesting things? I'm sure 50 years from now, my descendants are really going to be enjoying reading about rabbit leashes. "Yep, old Granny, she sure wrote some great stuff! Was a little crazy sometimes, but we love her. Good old Granny!"

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Today was the last day of Josiah's soccer season. Actually, last week was the scheduled end of the season; but because of our freak snowstorm the day before Easter this year, a game was canceled then and a week was added to the schedule...which was fine with Josiah! I think he's really going to miss these soccer games.
I took the top picture a few weeks ago. Josiah is the purple-shirted kid on the far left, actually kicking the ball--in the right direction! I'm so proud. :)
The bottom picture is from this morning--Josiah with Coach Miller (who was a fantastic coach--always encouraging, never upset or critical--perfect for this level of playing)...and surprise, surprise, little brother wanted to be in the picture, too!
What in the world are we going to do with our Saturday mornings now???

Friday, June 8, 2007

This Is MY Blog

Well, of course it is. That's rather obvious. But here's what I mean...

I've spent a good bit of time tonight catching up on other people's blogs that I follow, and it has been such fun!!! Some of the blogs are written by people I know, and some by people that I don't know. But from each one, I glean a bit of insight, encouragement, laughter, wisdom, or something that keeps me coming back for more.

However, being human, I can start to compare my blog to others. Thoughts like this can wander through my mind...
~ Wow, that lady sews and bakes and homeschools and exercises and makes her home look like a million dollars and takes care of 5 kids. The clothes and quilts, etc. that she makes are amazing. I can't do anything like that! I've really got to try harder to be domestic.
~ The pictures on this blog are incredible. My attempts at photography are nothing compared to those. I've got to do better.
~ I love the way this blogger writes! She should write a book! I wish I could write like that and express my thoughts so originally.
And on it goes...

So tonight I'm reminding myself of several things.
1. This is my blog, written by me. I don't have to compare any part of it to anyone else's. God created me as a unique individual, and apparently the sewing gene was not included in my package...but God still loves me, and I don't have to fit the mold of "perfect woman."
2. The main reason I started this blog was for myself. Not to be selfish, but really, I wanted a place to record my thoughts...and 10 or 20 years from now, I'll be the one to look back on it and care about it (well, hopefully my family will treasure it, too!). My primary goal was never to write for the masses or impress the whole world with how wonderful I am.

Isn't it incredible how quickly competitive thoughts enter our minds, no matter what arena of life we're dealing with???

Birthday Girl

As a result of our out-of-town get-away, I missed wishing my friend Julie a happy birthday on the actual day, which happens to be our anniversary...that should make it very easy for me to remember.* :) So tonight I wanted to post a picture I took a few weeks ago of Julie and her youngest daughter Kanah to wish her a very happy belated birthday and to let her know how grateful I am for her friendship! God brought her into my life in an unexpected way at an unexpected time, but it was perfect and exactly what I needed. I've learned a lot from her and look forward to gleaning more gems of wisdom from her as the days go by. Here's to the best year ever, my friend!!!
* Incidentally, within the past few months, we were sitting around my kitchen table talking about anniversaries and birthdays; and Julie and I discovered that her birthday falls on my anniversary. I was surprised by that and said so...and then her oldest daughter (kindly) said, "You know this already. You've already talked about this another time we were here." Oh. I guess when you reach our age :) and the mommy brain turns to mush, you can actually have the same conversations over and over because you forget about them each time! It makes life kind of interesting, but you have to do this in secret because if too many people find out, they start to think you've gone crazy.

Heartwarmer, Tearjerker

My friend Christin sent me this link tonight with a promise that I WOULD cry as I watched it. Was she ever right! Wow, this is powerful. The next time I find myself lacking appreciation for my children, I hope I remember this...and pause to hug them, kiss them, love them, and whisper once again a heartfelt thank you to God for them.

Overjoyed, Again

Once again, I am overjoyed as we smoothly crossed the second hurdle of this adventure called pregnancy! After seeing those two lines appear in a pregnancy test, the next breath-holding step is always the first ultrasound...and what a blessing and joy it was to have one on Wednesday. The baby is fine!!! Our little peanut has a real live beating heart--169 precious beats a minute--and is just the right size for this stage of pregnancy. I've included the obligatory ultrasound picture, although I know it doesn't really show a thing. thing.

A baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Book Reports

I remember when...

I had to write book reports in school. I wasn't particularly fond of them at the time, although I did OK with them. But now, I find that writing a little about a book I've read really helps to condense my thoughts about that book and to remember what I might have learned and/or felt as I read it. Funny how some of those school things turn out to actually be useful!

One thing that my mother started with me when I was very young was keeping a reading record in a notebook; and from the time I first learned to read, I wrote down a list of books I finished. I haven't kept a perfect, uninterrupted record through the years; but I do have quite an extensive list from my at-home years. And when we moved to Israel, I revived that tradition and have continued faithfully with it ever since. One aspect of that reading record that makes it especially meaningful to me is that after most books, I jot down a sentence or two about it; and as I look back through my record, I can get a lot more info than simply the fact that I read a certain book.

In any case, I've finished reading a few books recently, and I want to write a bit about them here.

First, Centennial by James Michener. I'm incredibly fond of Michener's books; he is a master at blending educational history and entertaining stories. I have to be careful about when I start reading one of his books because I know that as soon as I pick up his book, I'll have a very hard time putting it down again! Reading Michener always reminds me of the time when David was born. I was reading his book Poland which is a very long book, and I would read that at night while I was nursing David. I'm convinced it kept me sane during those first groggy weeks of night-nursings and sleep deprivation. It certainly made me a much happier camper as I awoke during the night to attend to David's needs!

His book Centennial which I finished recently was about the history of Colorado, particularly a fictional town named Centennial. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot from it which didn't surprise me at all. The thing that did surprise me was how emotional I felt as he described the treatment of Native Americans throughout their history of interaction with whites. I'm usually a fairly matter-of-fact person, content to let history that is several centuries old stay in the dust, not usually consumed with passion over the treatment of certain people groups in the past. That's not to imply in the least that I deny the horrific behavior demonstrated towards certain groups--not at all. I acknowledge it--and mourn it--but am usually never shaken to my core by it because, let's face it, it seems like almost every group in the history of the world can, at one time or another, claim abuse. Even white Europeans were persecuted in various ways--Catholics v. Protestants in the history of England springs to mind.

However, while reading certain parts of Centennial, I wanted to rush out and find some Native Americans and apologize with ashes on my head for the indescribably unfair way they were treated. Of course, during the settling of the west, there were terrible crimes done by both sides; but without a doubt, the deck was stacked against the Indians--and the U.S. government shamefully broke promise after promise to the Native Americans--and traders shamefully used alcohol to subdue the natives--and an entire way of life was demolished. Progress marches on, I know; but what a sad way to do it.

On a much lighter note, I also recently finished reading a book called Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman--and I LOVED it. Any readers of Catherine's long-standing weekly column on are already familiar with her style of seeing the world--and capturing it in writing. One of the things I've learned from Catherine is that even though she and I have completely opposite opinions about many things in life, we also share a huge amount of common emotions/desires/experiences as mothers. When she writes about certain things, I think, "Yes, that is EXACTLY how I feel--but I could never put it in words like she just did!" When I was reading Waiting for Birdy, I literally laughed out loud...and cried sometimes...and occasionally laughed out loud until I cried. It was great reading, with the only problem being that the book was too short!

That book, by the way, was a special gift from Jeff to me. He had actually gotten it for me last year when I was pregnant and was planning to give it to me for Christmas. But after the miscarriage, he decided it wouldn't be the best time for that! He hung on to it until now, and just recently pulled it out and surprised me with it. I adore surprise gifts!!!

Another book that I'm still reading--and am thrilled about--is Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna, a research-based book about producing spiritual champions. I've only read two chapters, but I'm already inspired and convicted by what I've read. One interesting thing that Barna writes is that firstborns are actually the most likely to become spiritual champions. This is not to say that other children can't or won't do the same, simply an observation based on statistics and probability. I was actually very relieved to read this because of all my angst over my own firstborn, as well as other situations I've seen where the firstborn actually turned away from a relationship with God even though the parents were devout Christians. That's one of my greatest fears, as other posts in this blog have described; and I've often thought that perhaps the firstborn is the child most likely to NOT become a spiritual champion. Yet Barna's words helped me to relax and realize, once again, that we do the best we can, faithfully following God's instructions as we parent, and then we leave the outcome to Him.

Oh, I love reading! I'm looking forward to doing more of it during this upcoming get-away! :)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Just Wondering...

I know a few pregnant or formerly pregnant women read this blog, so I've got a question for you... Have any of you ever experienced a recurrent feeling of lump-in-the-throat during pregnancy? I don't mean a "oh my goodness, I'm pregnant" lump in the throat...or a "how in the world am I ever going to handle another baby?" lump in the throat...or even a hormonal "I just love this new baby and God and the whole world so much" lump in the throat. I'm talking about a real-life physical lump in the throat! For the past week or so, I've had this feeling from time to time; and its frequency seems to be increasing. It's not particularly painful, but it IS annoying...and I'm wondering if it's a pregnancy thing that I will see the last of in...oh, January or February of next year!

When I brought it up to my resident medical expert (dear old Dad), he suggested it might be related to my gag reflex, since I've had more nausea the past week than before. I thought that sounded like a reasonable assumption--or it could be something terrible like throat cancer--so I Googled it. What else do self-respecting, wanting-to-be-informed mothers or mothers-to-be do when questions arise? :)

One article I found suggested (and my explanation is a MAJOR over-simplification) that when the bottom of the esophagus opens more (as in the case of pregnancy heartburn), the top closes more, as if to compensate for the leaky valve at the bottom. And that can produce the lump in the throat feeling. Hmm, sounds possible. I have not felt any heartburn, so I'm grateful for that. But again, I'm not exactly thrilled about dealing with this feeling for the duration of this pregnancy. Of course, if it results in a live healthy baby, I'll do anything to make that happen--and I realize in the larger scheme of things, this is a very small price to pay.

But I was wondering...anybody out there have any experience with this (your own or any urban legends you've heard)? or any other thoughts to share?

By the way, I received the WONDERFUL news today that tomorrow--"tomorrow, tomorrow" I'm singing the song from Annie as I type--I get to have an ultrasound! Glory hallelujah!!! What a perfect anniversary gift! That's right, folks, Jeff's and my 10th anniversary is on Thursday...and to celebrate, we're leaving town right after the ultrasound and heading to a B&B in wild, wonderful West Virginia. During the early years of marriage, I often pictured us celebrating our 10th anniversary by, oh, going to Europe, perhaps touring Italy, maybe Ireland, something long and expensive like that. But instead, reality crashes in--and we're heading to the mountains for a quick get-away. But you know, I don't think I could be more thrilled, even if we were heading to the far corners of the world! This is exactly what we need--relaxed time together in beautiful surroundings, where we can do as much or as little as we want. And I'm extremely grateful to my parents for watching our little guys while we're away. Don't anybody call them after about 8:00 pm on Thursday night; I'm sure they'll be completely exhausted after two days and one night with their littlest grandsons! :)

Elizabeth's Baptism

The original plan for Sunday afternoon was an outdoor church picnic followed by baptisms in the creek that runs through my college campus. However, the weather had other the "picnic" was held in my college cafeteria (whoa! what a rush of memories there!); and the baptisms were held in the college swimming pool. The water in the pool was warmer than the water in the creek, I'm sure; and the air in the pool room was definitely warmer than the outside air, as everyone sitting in there soon become hot and sticky. But it wasn't a great place for taking pictures--or for hearing the words that were spoken during the baptisms. In any case, God heard; and that's the most important thing! :) We are so proud of Elizabeth for her decision to follow Jesus!!!
~ Elizabeth, my niece, is the girl on the left, with the blue swimming suit
~ Jeff and Josiah had fun dipping their feet in the water during the baptisms
~ David didn't want to be left out so he got a prime seat on Daddy's lap and could get his feet wet, too--that boy! he has no fear! if Jeff or I had not been holding on to him the entire time we were in that room, I'm sure he would have gone headlong into the pool! :)

Pennsylvania Trip, Day Two

After a delicious breakfast at our relatives' house where we spent the night, we attended a wild and crazy church service run by the children's ministry at my brother's church. My sister-in-law was very involved with the service, so of course it was lively and fun--just like her. :) After that, we headed back to my brother's house for some food and downtime. Josiah had so much fun playing with his cousins! They are a little older than him, and it's good for him to have older kid companionship so he learns how to relate to different age groups--i.e. your 10 year-old cousin won't let you boss him around like your 2 year-old brother does! :)
~ Josiah playing on a trampoline with his cousins Jacob and Isaac
~ Josiah playing foosball (again! wow, what a fun weekend!) with his cousin Isaac--last evening Josiah announced that we needed to buy a foosball table--after this weekend, he's fallen in love with the game!
~ my sister-in-law Lori holding David, who was not his normal chipper self--he seems to have caught a little cold yesterday and had some crying jags yesterday and last night