Friday, August 31, 2007

A Smile on My Face

I "stole" this quote from a new-to-me blog that I've been perusing, Life in Seasons.

"You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." C.S. Lewis

That made me smile, as I can totally relate! Except in my case, it would more likely be a cup of mint hot chocolate that couldn't be large enough. :)

More from Wednesday's Appointment

Besides the big news from Wednesday that I wrote a few posts ago, I realized that I didn't really say much else about that appointment...and I didn't answer the questions that were raised in the comments. So here's the scoop!

Josiah was with us at the ultrasound and did great. I'm really glad he was there to be in on the news from the beginning. When I first got pregnant, we asked Josiah if he wanted a brother or a sister, and he said sister. But a few weeks ago, he said that he wanted another brother because boys are rougher. Before our appointment on Wednesday, Jeff asked him what he thought it would be, and he said boy. But when the midwife asked him what he thought after the ultrasound, he said he wanted a sister. So...a little back and forth in his opinion, I guess! :) One thing that I think will happen after the baby is born is that Josiah will realize how big David is and how much stuff they can actually do together, since compared to the baby, David really will be a big, capable boy. But who knows? It's always hard to guess how all the members of the family will adjust to a new addition, and it's a bit dangerous to make too many assumptions.

David has heard the news that our baby is a boy; but despite the fact that every day he prays for "Baby," he seems incredulous of the fact that there actually is a baby in my tummy. When I tell him excitedly that he will get to be a big brother, he says, "No, LITTLE brother!" So I say, "Yes, you'll be a little brother AND a big brother!" But he's not grasping or admitting that. :)

I think the day will come when all 3 boys will be very grateful for the fact that they have each other; at least, that is my fervent hope and prayer!

One unexpected benefit of the appointment on Wed.--I realized as I looked around at all the other pregnant women (some, HUGELY pregnant and looking seriously ready to pop) that I'm not really that big after all! :) It was really quite comforting! Here at home, I feel like I'm just growing and growing and growing; but I was assured that I'm not really the biggest pregnant lady in our town after all. Not that I'm comparing or anything... ;)

It's funny to see my parents respond to my "growth" since in my pregnancies with Josiah and David, Dad and Mother lived too far away to see me expand. When Mother came to San Diego to attend my baby shower and celebrate my birthday when I was 7 months pregnant with Josiah, I remember her "studying" me in the airport when we first saw each other, then saying, "Yes, you really look pregnant!" :) Now she and Dad get to see me gradually filling out more and more of my maternity clothes!

One funny thing about Dad--during our trip to Maryland/Pennsylvania last Sunday (which I intend to blog about, but still haven't done), we had gotten a bag of gummy bears to eat in the car. At one point in the afternoon, I was driving...and reaching into that bag for snacks. Dad made some comment about that not being the best snack for a pregnant woman. But THEN...a few minutes later, I caught him with HIS hand in that bag...and had to remind him that I didn't think it was the best snack for non-pregnant men either!!! :)

At our county fair, our hospital had set up a booth and was doing various free medical tests, including checking blood pressure. So I stopped by and had mine checked. It was high--141 over 85--so I got a little anxious about it. My easy-going doctor dad said, "Oh, don't worry about it. You were at the fair after all, and it was hot and crowded and you had the boys to look after and you'd been walking, etc." So I tried not to worry. :) But I was eager to see what my blood pressure would be on Wednesday. It turned out to be 130 over 70, which the midwife assured me was fine. Whew! I was glad to hear that.

When I stepped on the scale at the doctor's office on Wednesday and the nurse started adjusting the weights to see how much I'd gained, unbeknownst to us, Jeff put his foot on the scale to make me weigh more. Thanks, hon, that's exactly what I need right now!!! :) (He took it off then, of course, so she could get an accurate measurement.) My weight was fine--and belly measurement was 20 centimeters; perfect for my 20th week.

The midwife said the baby looks to be in the 66th percentile as far as size, I think. I know it was the 60 somethings, but I don't remember for sure. Anyway, she said that looked good--not too big, but just a little bigger than average.

During the ultrasound, when the technician was trying to capture an image of his feet, he was kicking and kicking. It was so much fun to see him move! I remember during one of our ultrasounds with Josiah when we were really new to the whole ultrasound thing, Josiah was moving a lot, too; and the doctor said, "Movement is a good thing, a sign of health," and that has always stuck with me. I can still hear her saying it. :)

On Wednesday, Baby was head down so his feet were up under my belly button doing their wild dance.

And...let's see...that's all I can think of for now! :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Take Two Bundles of Energy, Add One Trampoline, and Presto...!

video

This is an experiment...testing out Blogger's new video upload capabilities. So far, it's taking a while. Hmm, maybe this isn't gonna work? We'll see...

I love the squeals of laughter coming from the boys in this video! I can't help but smile when I see their joy! :)

A Few of My Favorite Things

1. all the kind comments and emails that have been sent to me in response to my post yesterday - I deeply appreciate each one and am thrilled that this little boy will be welcomed into such a loving, enthusiastic circle of family and friends

2. Google Reader - a while back, I was having a conversation with my friend Jackie about RSS Feeds and other such things that I didn't have a clue about, but knew that they were good - she and her husband Pete got me informed enough about Google Reader that I could start using it - wow, what a wonderful thing! - in case you're as clueless as I was a few months ago, with Google Reader, you can enter a bunch of websites that you check regularly, sites like blogs or news sites or other sites that get updated frequently; then, rather than checking each site every day, you can simply go to Google Reader, and it will tell you whether all those other sites have been updated or not; if so, you click on them and read whatever you want to read; but it saves SO MUCH time by eliminating that whole click-on-every-blog-every-day kind of craziness - I don't know if this makes any sense or not, but that's as good as I can do with explaining it :) - anyway, Jackie, a huge thanks to you for helping me get going with this - I love it!!!

3. the lullaby we've chosen for son #3 - "All You Are" by Michael Card from his CD Sleep Sound in Jesus - it's adapted from the poem "Baby" by George MacDonald - here are the words...(our son may not have a name yet, but he has a lullaby!) :)

Where did you get those eyes so blue?
They're from the sky that you passed through.
Where did you get that little tear?
Did you find that it was waiting for you here?

And what about your little nose?
He knew you'd need it for the rose.
And as for your soft curly ear,
He knew there would be songs for you to hear.

For all you are, and all you'll be,
For everything you mean to me,
Though I don't understand
I know you're from the Father's hand.

How can it be, that you are you?
He thought you up, and so you grew.
Because you're mine, it must be true
That He was also thinking of me, too.

Lest anyone worry that our son might not have blue eyes and thus the lullaby wouldn't apply, let me assure you that genetically, we've got a pretty good chance of having another blue-eyed son! And if he does indeed have another color for his eyes, we'll just change the song. :)

4. this outfit - when we found out Josiah was a boy, we were overwhelmingly blessed with hand-me-down boy clothes from friends in San Diego - it was terrific! - I'm sure this outfit was one of those that someone gave us; but if my memory is correct, I don't think either Josiah or David ever got to wear it because of it being the wrong season - since we're having a winter boy, he'll actually get to wear it! - last night I got out our box of 0-3 month boy clothes and had a blast looking through it; such fun; so many memories! - I discovered quite a few shorts outfits that our new little guy will never get a chance to wear, but there were some warmer things - once I get everything unpacked and put in the dresser and armoire, I'll have to see if we need to buy anything to fill in the gaps in the wardrobe for Baby Brother

5. this trampoline that our next-door neighbors own but are letting us borrow - a few days ago, they pulled it over onto our lawn, actually the piece of our land that is closest to their house, so that Josiah and David could enjoy it more (since their oldest two girls are back in school and they just have one girl left at home, they thought that this might be a good time to bring the trampoline over) - in the past, our boys have had an open invitation to jump on it at their house, but I know we'll use it more now that it's here - jumping on this is, without a doubt, David's favorite thing to do in all the world :) - it is so much fun to watch him...well, watch both of them - some people watch TV - I watch my boys jump on a trampoline - today I got out a nice, comfortable lawn chair, set it under a shady maple tree, put my feet up, and ate my lunch out there while I watched them - to see David jumping around with a huge smile on his face is pure pleasure - not to imply that Josiah doesn't like it, because he certainly does! - it's great exercise and entertainment for both of them - and as a side bonus, it inspired David to quickly finish his lunch today (a battleground for the past few days) and it made them both so tired that they fell asleep almost immediately for their naps!

Taco Salad, Anyone?

This is Josiah's idea of a taco salad. All the right ingredients, but absolutely nothing touching! (I see now that his lettuce was actually a little too close to his beans; he probably pushed them apart as soon as he sat down at the table!) Oh, well, his love of plain, SEPARATE foods is just one of the things that makes him who he is. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's...IT'S...

~ a baby!
~ a living, breathing, moving person!
~ a child of the Living God!
~ a beloved member of our family!
~ an adored little sibling!
~ the newest member of the Fisher clan!

What? You’re still here? You’re still reading? You’re waiting for one more little word, for just one more tidbit of information? Oh! Well, in that case…

Boy.

That's right--BOY!!!

The ultrasound tech spotted very quickly what we were all waiting to see, and the evidence was pretty unmistakable. :) So, another boy to wrap in blue, another boy to cuddle and love, another boy to watch grow up and race after his daddy on little legs. We are blessed.

Now if we can only decide on a name... :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Week 18...and Week 19...and...

Just one of the many things that I haven't been successful at keeping up with is updating this blog with weekly preg pics. So to catch up, here are weeks 18 and 19.

Tomorrow--oh, tomorrow--is the first official day of week 20. It's also the day of my long- (and I mean LONG-) awaited ultrasound!!! Jeff & Josiah will go with me while our neighbors keep David who will hopefully sleep through most of the time we're gone. I'm SO GLAD Jeff & Josiah will be there with me!

Besides finding out the sex of the baby (if it is so kind as to cooperate), I'm just plain eager to have another glimpse of our little one...to be able to see a beating heart, count arms and legs and fingers and toes, view the pearl necklace of the backbone, etc...just to know that everything is OK. Though I have no idea how a druggie really feels, I think I feel like a druggie searching for my next hit--looking desperately for that next bit of reassurance that our baby is alive and well--feeling like after that next piece of good news, I'll be OK for a while...until it wears off, and I need to be reassured again.

It is so funny to me that after waiting for what seems like such a long time and thinking so much about this, I am one night away from knowing (probably) whether we'll have a son or a daughter! The time seemed to crawl, yet from this side of it, it seems to have flown. Isn't time the strangest thing?!

I don't remember wondering quite this intensely about whether Josiah and David were boys or girls before their ultrasounds. I admit freely that I simply may have forgotten how anxious I was about those ultrasounds, since memory does tend to fade after a while. :) But this time--wow!--what a ton of brain power has gone into this question!

Wouldn't it be hilarious if, after all this anticipation, the ultrasound tech was unable to get a good glimpse of certain parts of the baby...and the mystery remained until birth???

I realize that, scientifically, there's a 50/50 chance of having a girl. But in my mind, it actually seems more like a 99/1 chance! As I spend this last night pondering, I realize that I fully expect a boy...and feel like a girl would be nothing less than a miracle.

We shall see... :)
~ Week 18...this isn't the greatest pic, but it's all I had from week 18...this is David and I in the parking lot of the fair after our night of revelry there
~ Week 19...I was so glad to see today, on a friend's blog, that by her 19th week, she has popped out quite a bit, too! :)


Monday, August 27, 2007

Gone Living

Ever seen those cute signs that say "Gone Fishing" or "Gone Shopping" or some other fun thing? I feel like I need a sign that says "Gone Living!" My life has been so busy the past few days that I haven't had time to blog at all about...my life!

I hope to get at least partially caught up on this blog; but to begin with, I'll share one lesson I'm continuing to learn. Busy spells like this make me realize that more and more, I have to count the cost of having so many activities in my schedule. As I look back over the past few days, I can't think of anything that I would like to cut out!!! But I realize that I do pay a price when such wonderful activities get piled up on top of each other, and that price gets paid in the areas of: household organization and cleanliness, Josiah and David's fatigue which easily leads to grumpiness, my own fatigue which can also lead to grumpiness :(, our school schedule (which I realize can be quite flexible because learning--true learning--is taking place in lots of different ways, not just sitting at a desk working, but still...), time with Jeff, etc.

Speaking of Jeff, he has a knack for helping me keep things in perspective and say "no" to things I might otherwise say "yes" to! Gently or not-so-gently, God uses him to help prune my schedule so I can stay sane. :)

Anyway, I only have a few minutes to blog now; but to get things started, I'll include this picture of Josiah looking up at a paper chain he made to count down the days until we go to the beach! He made it the end of last week when there were 24 more days to go, and he has faithfully taken one link off each day--he doesn't even need me to remind him! I have great memories of making such chains with my brother, and it was a fun project to help Josiah make this one. Today we only have 20 more days until we leave! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why I Cried

Last week I cried because Josiah told me he didn't want me to sing his lullaby* anymore when I tuck him into bed.

What??? How can this be? He's only 5! I didn't expect this kind of separation from the parent until much closer to adolescence!

I handled myself calmly in front of Josiah, then talked with Jeff about it later because I wanted his opinion about whether I should simply honor Josiah's wishes and not sing his lullaby anymore or whether I should "encourage" Josiah to let me keep singing it. One of the reasons I thought I should "encourage" Josiah to let me keep singing it is because I've realized that sometimes our children need to be taught how to love, for example, and what is appropriate in various situations. To be specific, a few years ago, probably shortly after we moved to Virginia, Josiah went through a phase where, if someone said "I love you" to him, he would not say it back. Before this phase, he would be quick to answer with an "I love you," but suddenly he was choosing to remain silent. At that point in time, it seemed right to let him know that when someone says "I love you" to you, it is loving and kind and appropriate to say it back to them. Obviously, I'm not talking about some child abuser in the grocery store saying it...this is about how to respond when Mommy or Daddy or a very close family member says it. So we talked about it with Josiah, and it didn't take him long at all to go back to his happy, loving way of answering "I love you."

So this lullaby episode rolls around, and I'm thinking, "Is this another situation where I need to teach him how to receive love and show it? Or do I just let it go?" In times of perplexity like that, I always turn to Jeff and seek his advice...and man, am I ever grateful for that!!! I can't even count the number of times I have found such security from knowing I can get Jeff's opinion and I don't have to rely on my own ideas in various circumstances.

Can you guess what Jeff said when I asked him how to handle Josiah's request for no more lullabies? He said, "Well, he's growing up, and you need to respect that." That was NOT the answer I wanted to hear! But I knew in my heart it was right. That, however, did not keep my heart from hurting deeply; and as I lay in bed that night, the tears rolled down my face and into my ears (know that feeling?) while I made myself untie the apron strings a little more. Being an emotional woman, my thoughts even jumped ahead to Josiah's wedding day, and I sobbed as I thought about another woman coming into his life and being more important to him than me. I really don't know how mothers let their sons go when they get married. I also don't know how they let their daughters go, but I don't have to worry about that one yet. :)

That night I KNEW I was being overly emotional and blowing things WAY out of proportion, but my mind did a poor job of overruling my heart to get me to stop crying. Eventually I fell asleep. :) It was, without a doubt, my hardest letting-go moment yet...but I'm sure it won't be my hardest one ever!

Speaking of letting go, a few nights ago we were driving past the school that Josiah would attend if he went to a public school; and it was meet-your-teacher night. As we watched parents and young students file into the building, I was reminded again of how incredibly happy I am that I don't have to cross that hurdle yet! :) Although, to be honest, that--my difficulty with letting go--is not our main reason for homeschooling. :)

* His lullaby is "The Cuppycake Song." "You're my honeybunch, sugarplum, pumpy-umpy-umpkin..." Josiah was born on a Thursday, we brought him home from the hospital on a Saturday, the next day was Father's Day and Jeff was preaching on the topic "The Apple of My Eye." In the middle of his sermon preparation that Saturday night, he called me to come into our study and he played for me this lullaby he had found online which included the phrase, "You're the apple of my eye." It was "The Cuppycake Song." I bawled my eyes out. Ever since then, I have sung that lullaby to Josiah before naps, night-time sleep, and other times when he has needed comforting--truly countless times during the past 5 years. It is unspeakably precious to me.

*******
This week I cried--today actually--as I was tucking Josiah into bed for his nap. As near as I can remember it in my tear-blurred mind, this is how our conversation went.

Josiah and I were talking about how we need to find a lullaby for our new baby. Josiah suggested that we use David's lullaby for our baby, but I told him that we liked having a different lullaby for each child. He, of course, asked why. And I told him that we always wanted each child to know that even though they were different from each other, we love them all SO MUCH, and they are all so very special to us. Then I said that with his lullaby, for example, every time I hear it for the rest of my life, it will remind me of him and of how much I love him.

I was not thinking at all about the lullaby incident last week, and I wasn't feeling particularly emotional--was certainly not trying to bring on the emotional volcano that erupted. Josiah dissolved into tears, and the closest thing I could understand is that he was sad about me dying and not being able to sing his lullaby anymore. The issue of me dying comes up from time to time, and is always accompanied by tears on the part of Josiah and attempts at comfort on my part. But today, I was so touched by his tears that I just gave in and lay down beside him and cried, too!

Eventually, when I could talk again, I reassured Josiah of some things:
1. crying is good; it's a way to release emotion; God created it so our eyes could overflow when our hearts were too full
2. Jesus cried
3. death is only a doorway, not an end
4. facing death is one of the hardest things in life
5. death and heaven is like this...if you had never been to McDonald's but people had told you how wonderful it was there, all the yummy food, the toys, the playground, etc., but if you were too afraid to go through the door, you would miss out...death is like that door...we know that heaven is a wonderful place, but we haven't been there so we feel nervous about going through the door to get there
6. I showed Josiah the book The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, one of my all-time favorite books about facing death and embracing heaven...I think Josiah is a little too young for it, but I'm almost tempted to take it along with us on our beach trip and start reading it to him there...hmm, not sure what to do about that
7. Josiah didn't think he would be prepared when the time came for me to die, but I told him again how a lot of times when people die, we are sad, but we are also prepared for it...like when my grandparents died, it was very sad, but we were basically prepared because we knew they were suffering here on earth and it was far better for them to go on to heaven...I assured him that God knows everything and He knows the time when everything will happen: when I will die, when Josiah will be ready to bear it, etc.
8. I suggested that Josiah visualize holding a big burden (his fear of my death), then imagine stretching out his arms and putting it into the arms of Jesus who is big enough and strong enough to carry that burden for him
9. I told Josiah that God will carry him, just like a mommy or a daddy carry their little child, just like Daddy carried Josiah last night to his own bed after he fell asleep in ours. God will carry him through his grief, just like that.

Whew, what a talk. What a tender heart Josiah has. I think he was surprised to see how touched I was by all of this; but crying together with him was actually really sweet and, I think, bonding for both of us.

It was actually hard to write all of this. Tears constantly threaten as I type—and occasionally spill over. But someday, years from now, I hope Josiah will read this and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, how loved and cherished he is.

When the day of my death comes, if I have any advance warning of it, I don’t know how I’ll ever say goodbye to him. The burden that he carries in this area is matched by my own; and like him, I have to continually visualize myself giving that over to Jesus. It’s simply too big for me to carry. But I thank God for a “big enough” and “strong enough” Savior to carry my burden—and to carry me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Finally!

Meanwhile today...while Jeff was building a kiln and making pottery...while Josiah was helping his daddy and being a fireman...while David was proudly wearing his new Thomas water shoes...I was happily FINISHING a project which has been going on for a very long time--organizing the cellar!!!

Our cellar is such a cool room--one of the main reasons we bought this house. Just kidding. The previous owners were pretty persuasive sellers; that's the real reason we bought it. :) But we are very fond of our cellar. Jeff likes it because it makes him feel safe and secure to look around and see so much good food. The boys like it because it has a gravel floor that they can occasionally (when Mommy doesn't care if they get dirty) play in. And I like it because it has such great storage space. It's incredible! Compared with the previous places we lived after marriage and the tiny spaces I tried to squeeze canned food into, this cellar is like a palace! :)

So now, nearly two years after we moved here, I have finally finished the project of organizing it--sending various unidentifiable items down the hill to my parents' house ("do YOU want to eat this?"), getting rid of a few jars of mysteriously growing things (maybe fruit? maybe veggies? who can tell?) that were a decade or two old. I had started and stopped this project a few times along the way; but wow, it is such a good feeling to actually finish this!

And by the way, lest someone notice the rows of soda and think we are soda junkies, we are not at all! Jeff doesn't drink the stuff, especially after his latest bout with mouth sores (caused by a certain ingredient in sodas). And I only occasionally indulge, and then it's only Vanilla Coke. :) We actually keep so many sodas on hand to offer to guests when they come. So if you stop by, we have quite a selection! :)




My Puzzle Piece

God must have known in the area of arts & crafts, I would be seriously deficient. (Does music qualify as art?) :) So He gave me a husband to fill in the missing parts of my life with strengths of his own.

One such example of this is Jeff's creative, artistic nature. Being the son of an artist, he has been exposed to art his whole life, so not only was his environment artistic, so are his genes. Recently he has developed an interest in raku pottery and has learned enough about it to make his own kiln and order all the supplies to make and glaze and fire (and do whatever else you do to pottery) his own raku pottery. He has also started taking a pottery class on Monday nights; that was his Father's Day gift from the boys and I which just now started up.

In any case, his day off today was filled with experimenting with this new kind of pottery; and what a great learning experience for Josiah (and to a lesser extent, David)! Jeff was so gracious to let Josiah help him with the paints and glazes; to see Jeff include his son in things that would have been easier to do alone was a spectacular example of sacrificial love. Josiah was delighted and even at the end of the day was asking to do more pottery. :)

Some of the materials Jeff was using to make the kiln were dangerous, so he pulled out the gas mask we had gotten in Israel during the beginning of the war with Iraq when there was a strong possibility that Israel would be attacked with missiles from Iraq, just like during the Gulf War. (At the beginning of our time in Israel, every person was required to have one of these gas masks and CARRY IT WITH THEM AT ALL TIMES. That was a sight to see--children going to school, carrying their gas masks. Mothers with their babies at the park, with their gas masks handy. What an introduction to a country!) Fortunately, we never had to use it in Israel, but we thought it would be fun to bring it back to the States with us, and it was useful today during Jeff's project! Doesn't he look handsome with it on??? :) (This, by the way, is the reason Josiah wanted to also wear a mask today, so he got to wear a smaller white one. I thought he would get tired of it quickly, but he didn't--and ended up wearing it a significant part of the day.)






What Do You See?

Is this a 5 year-old boy wearing pajamas and new flip-flops, riding a tricycle, and wearing a mask to combat allergies? If this is what you see, you obviously need your eyes checked!

This is actually a FIREFIGHTER, slipping his feet quickly into his boots, racing to the rescue in his siren-sounding, lights-flashing fire truck, and wearing a mask to protect him from smoke inhalation as he jumps out of the fire truck and quickly sprays water on the fire to extinguish it.

NOW do you see it??? :)

In the Corn Patch

Despite a serious lack of rain (and a lack of pampering by its owners), the corn in our garden has somehow managed to produce! So for dinner tonight, we had a simple summer supper of corn on the cob from the garden, marinated tomatoes (also from the garden), hard-boiled eggs, fresh peaches, cookies from our neighbors, and the crowning achievement: French onion soup, a new recipe for me, found on Crabapple Pond blog. I love how the soup turned out; and my dad even paid it a fine compliment, saying, "It's as good as any French onion soup I've ever had in any restaurant!" :) So thanks, Mrs. Bonnie, for that new recipe!

Josiah and David helped me get the corn we had for supper, and Josiah was actually a good help with shucking it. Then he and David explored the tunnels made by the corn rows, and I couldn't help but see myself and my brother David doing that about 28 years ago on the same patch of ground. :)


Thou Shalt Not Covet

Boy, did I mess up in this area big-time yesterday.

We needed to run into town for a few things last evening--little things like tape and a board to support the boys' beds--so we went to Home Depot and Walmart. In our town, those two stores are beside each other in a shopping center dubbed by at least one local resident as "The Pit." Last night, there were mobs of people there, almost as bad as at Christmas. The reason it was so busy yesterday? Classes are starting up again at our local university, and thousands of students are descending upon us again. Unlike some of the people who have lived here for years and years and years, I actually like our university AND the students there; and seeing them last night brought back so many memories of my own adventure with going away to college for the first time and all the preparations for that. What color towels should I buy? What comforter should I get? Do I need a rug for my room? What kind of laundry basket should I buy? These were just a few of the hundreds of decisions I had to make before leaving home for college--and I loved it.

But I digress...

Last night, seeing so many people shopping and spending what I'm sure was large amounts of money, and realizing what incredible merchandise is available in the stores in our country, and thinking about all the things I would have liked to be buying, was just too much for me. It started at Home Depot. Oh, a book about redoing a patio or adding a porch? That looks great! I'd sure like us to do a project like that. Oh, look at these ceiling fans? Aren't they gorgeous? And the kitchen section? I didn't even dare to go there because I knew I'd be drooling for sure. On and on it went.

Then off to Walmart for more of the same envy. So much nice new stuff! And I found myself just wishing that I had more money. Then I realized how sick my heart was--to be thinking of all that I didn't have but would like to have, rather than how blessed I am by the abundance of things we have and blessed by the secure feeling that comes from living within a budget and not being unwise financially! I would never want to trade that for a new________ -- anything!

So home we came with our simple purchases. And the funny thing is the boys were absolutely thrilled by our cheap, end-of-the-season, marked-down flip-flops we bought for our upcoming beach trip. We couldn't find real flip-flops for David, but we did find these Thomas the Tank Engine water shoes for him, and he has not wanted to take them off since we got them. We had to tell him that he really couldn't sleep with them last night before he was willing to take them off! This morning, the first thing he wanted when he got out of bed was to get out these shoes and put them on. I long for that kind of heart--content with the simple things, living in the moment and enjoying it completely, being completely oblivious to how much or how little something cost. Being thrilled with $3 water shoes--that is my goal. :)

Two Boys and a Grandma

Yesterday, our regular plans to visit my great-aunt were changed because of an infection she had that actually landed her in quarantine! So, Plan B was picking beans from our garden and canning dill beans. My incredible mom did almost all the work of this, but she was "helped" in the morning by her two youngest grandsons. It was so much fun for me to be working in the kitchen, listening to peals of laughter ring out from the porch. My boys are so blessed to have grandparents so near! If for no other reason (and there are actually MANY other reasons), I will be eternally grateful that we moved here at this time because of moments such as these.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Singin' in the Rain

We've had some wonderful storms recently which have brought much-needed rain to our land. When David saw Grandma walk in the door with an umbrella today, he wanted to play with one, too! But rather than letting him play with the huge one she was carrying (and thus leading to a series of events which would have surely resulted in someone's eye being poked out or something fragile being broken), I suggested he play with this small Hermie umbrella. That did the trick, and made him a happy boy. :)

History in the Making

Yesterday was a momentous day.

For the first time, Josiah turned pages for me as I performed on the piano.

I had the privilege of playing the prelude and offertory at our church yesterday--a first for me in that church--and so I asked Josiah if he would turn pages for me. He agreed, but was actually nervous about it--specifically, about the fact that other people would be in the room with us while he was turning the pages. :) He did a great job, although the edge of the music rack on the piano was a little higher than ours at home, so it was harder for him to get the edge of the page up and over that and I needed to reach up and straighten the pages after he turned them. But he was SO attentive, and just sat there like a little champ, waiting patiently for me to get to the right place for him to turn the page.

It brought back a flood of memories for me, since I too started my career as page-turner at the tender age of 5. :) For years, I turned pages for my mother as she played in all kinds of settings: accompanying musicals, playing for weddings, and on and on. I'm convinced that those hours of sitting beside her on the piano bench watching along in the music helped my own love for and understanding of music to grow immensely.

During college I had the opportunity to turn pages for all kinds of top-notch musical ensembles who played in the area of my college (near a capital city, so these really were outstanding musicians). What an honor to be on stage with them, and how very interesting to only be an arm's length away from them as they performed! What an education!

Who knows where Josiah's musical career will go? But it was a fun step yesterday to have him with me as I played! :)

The other really special thing that happened yesterday was the bridal shower of my good friend Dori. She and I were part of a group of 5 women who lived together the last two years of college and became very, very close. Though separated by distance now, we still stay in touch, and are definitely bonded at the heart level. The shower for Dori (she's the one in the center of the picture below...at the far right is one of the other former roommates, Jackie) was in Pennsylvania; and the trip up and back yesterday--although quite long--gave me a wonderful chance to have alone time, listen to some cassette tapes (since I traveled in my parents' car which does not have a CD player) including a tape of my wedding, and be refreshed and rejuvenated by being apart from others.

It was SO nice to see both Dori and Jackie again, and I am unspeakably thrilled for Dori at the incredible gift of a Godly man and a Christ-centered love. I can hardly wait until her wedding next month, although I'm sure my anticipation isn't quite at the level of hers! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

You, Too, Can Be a Master of Crafts

I've written previously about my lack of creative ability in the foggy realm of...(sigh)...crafts. However, at the homeschool conference I attended back in July, I was overjoyed to see a booth set up by The Krafty Kid with ready-made craft packets--10 crafts centered around a theme, with ALL supplies, ALL directions, absolutely EVERYTHING included except scissors. It couldn't possibly get any easier. This is exactly what I need!!! :) I know some of you moms reading this have advanced degrees in the field of crafts; but unfortunately I'm not one of you, so I hobble along, relying on crutches to get through. But now...ah, now...even my son can make wonderful crafts, and doesn't have to be limited by my feebleness. :)

Since we're going to the beach for vacation next month, I got the ocean-themed craft set. The pictures show Josiah making the first craft: an ocean life mobile. This afternoon, after Josiah wakes up from his nap, I'll let him choose another one to do.


~ doesn't this kid look happy, because--that's right--now he's a Krafty Kid! :)


Friday, August 17, 2007

Bob-a-Rea's and Wildwood Park

Tonight was David's family night, and since he can't actually tell us what he wants for his family night, I got to plan it. :) So we did a couple of simple, local things: got subs at a restaurant that opened a year before I was born and then went to a beautiful park that we had not gone to before as a family. One of the joys of being back in this area is that I get to share a lot of the places where I made memories as a girl with my husband and sons, and that is really special. That's how it was with this park tonight. Watching Josiah run around the playground equipment and imagine being different people and doing different things reminded me SO MUCH of how I did that with my girlhood friends on playground equipment--creating and living out elaborate stories in our heads. Watching David excitedly cross the footbridge over the river reminded me of my own excitement as a girl to cross that bridge to the "island" (which I discovered tonight is not an island at all). One more childhood illusion demolished!* :)

Guess how many pictures we took tonight? 119. That's right--119. I took 15, turned the camera over to Jeff because I was having a really hard time taking good pics because of the fading light, and he took the rest of those 119. All I can say is--gotta love digital cameras!!!
~ small dam at the river
~ David looking up a tunnel slide he thoroughly enjoyed
~ looking down the river at dusk
~ Josiah playing Poohsticks...or trying to...the water wasn't moving, so we would throw sticks into the river and they would just sit there...in case you're not familiar with the game of Poohsticks, the sticks are supposed to come out from under the other side of the bridge; and it's a race to see whose stick will come out first

*The funniest-to-me personal example of childhood illusions being demolished happened early in our marriage when Jeff and I had taken a trip up the California coast and found ourselves in Morro Bay. Jeff told me all about his good memories of how he and his family used to go there for his dad's art shows...and they would buy delicious smoked fish to eat...and there was a life-size outdoor chess board where people would pick up these huge, life-size pieces and move them. So we decided to drive around until we found this big chessboard and pieces. The town of Morro Bay is not that big so it didn't seem like a hard thing to find. Surely chess pieces that big would attract some attention, right? Well, we drove around and around and...(you can probably guess what is coming)...we finally found the outdoor chessboard. But was it huge? No! Were the pieces gigantic? Not at all! In fact, they came up to maybe the knees of an adult! :) But in Jeff's child eyes, they had indeed seemed huge; and his mind preserved them that way. I can still picture his face--confused, crestfallen, a bit disbelieving--when he discovered the truth. But in fairness to Jeff, I'm convinced we all have illusions like this. Some are uncovered as we grow older, and some remain hidden...but all of us have them. That fact didn't keep me from teasing Jeff about his "life-size" chess pieces though! :)

Jeffrey, the Brave

Last night we had one of the most intense lightning-and-thunder storms I have ever witnessed. In fact, if my memory is correct, I have NEVER seen such lightning before. It was literally flash upon flash with no pause between. Truly amazing!

I am not terribly afraid of storms; in fact, on the one hand, I find them fascinating. On the other hand, however, I tend to think of all the things that can go wrong during storms--will our house get struck by lightning? is our house grounded? can lightning enter a house through glass windows? will the towering oak tree by my parents' house be struck and topple onto their house? will any of our trees fall over? if either maple behind our house fell, could it crush the boys' room? I try to be extremely careful to not communicate any of this anxiety to Josiah and David, so I play it off like storms are exciting and wonderful. But one member of our household actually thinks that storms really ARE exciting and wonderful--and that's Daddy dearest.

I love the fact that when we have a storm, Jeff says to Josiah, "Let's open the curtains and snuggle on the couch and watch the awesome lightning!" And it really becomes such a fun adventure and memory-making time for them. Jeff's boldness and bravery teaches Josiah (and will someday teach David, who at this stage of life seems to sleep peacefully through all our storms) how to be a strong, brave man. Let me add this to the list of a billion reasons why I love my husband...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

End of the Day


As we made our way to our car, the sky was growing dark...but the lights of the fair were still bright, and many revelers were still enjoying themselves. Enough for us though...two tired boys need a good night's rest to sleep off the sugar rush and the excitement of going to the fair.

Until next year...

How Daddy Has Fun at the Fair?

~ by...um...standing in long lines? paying for admission, food, and rides? oh, I know, he receives joy from giving joy to his family...thanks, Daddy-O, you're the best!!!

How Josiah Has Fun at the Fair

~ by riding the rides, of course!!! Josiah knew the agenda for the evening: look at the animals, eat food, then ride the rides...but he kept getting ahead of himself and asking about the rides before we finished with the exhibits...thus, the reason that I didn't get to look at every single sheep at the fair :)

While Josiah rode the rides and Jeff waited with him, David and I walked around, ate our snow-cone, and chatted with some friends we happened to see there.

How David Has Fun at the Fair

~ holding a silky-soft young rabbit
~ enjoying a snow-cone -- David and I shared this grape snow-cone (while Josiah was having his "fun at the fair"); and even though it tasted almost exactly like cough medicine, we relished its coolness and ate/drank it to the last drop!

How a Pregnant Mama Has Fun at the Fair

~ eating a bloomin' onion, that's how!

In the Livestock Barn

Our county fair is being held this week; and--OF COURSE!--we couldn't miss it! After all, this is something we look forward to all year!!! I have such good memories of the fair from when I was a little girl attending it yearly and occasionally entering things in it. The highlight of my fair career was the blue ribbon I won for some gladiolas I entered; I'm still proud of that accomplishment! :) Maybe next year, we'll enter something...
~ our visit to the fair began in the livestock barn where Josiah posed by a friendly goat...
~ and David checked out a curious pig...
~ and we admired the big, fat cows
Just for the record, I could have spent MUCH more time in these barns than the males in my family were interested in...so we hurried through pretty quickly and moved on to the next item of interest: the food! :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Week 17

What's new this week in Pregnancyville? Well...

I had a bit of a scare last week when I took my customary Sunday afternoon nap on the couch (I am so thankful for that tradition!); and when I woke up, for some reason, I felt like I had not been feeling much movement and I quickly grew concerned about it. I don't know if I had a dream that something had happened to the baby or what exactly prompted it, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. You know those dreams/feelings that are so gripping that, after you wake up, you have to remind yourself over and over that it's not real? That's how it was. On the one hand, my head was telling me that at 16 and 1/2 weeks, it's not at all uncommon to go a significant length of time without feeling movement; in fact, some women aren't feeling anything at all by then! But my heart--oh, my heart--instantly seized up with worry. Jeff tried to listen with this old-fashioned fetal stethoscope (there's an official name for that, but I don't remember what it is) that my dad had given us to try to sell on eBay :) -- but Jeff could barely hear MY heartbeat with it, much less the baby's! I was thinking maybe I should call my midwives...maybe I would have to go in to their office the next day...maybe I was going to be hit with tragedy again.

Then I calmed down (a good IM chat with my friend Julie helped!) and decided to just take some time and lie down and try to focus on the baby's movements. Well, I don't know about you, but as soon as I started doing that, I was OVER-analyzing everything. "Was that a movement? I don't know. Maybe that was? No, I don't think so...Hey, baby, would you please give me a good kick so I could know you're alive in there???"

In the end, after a day or two, I gradually became convinced that I was indeed feeling real movements and not merely tricking myself into thinking I was feeling them. Last night as I laid in bed, I found it amusing that less than a week before, I had been so scared about lack of movement...when last night, I was feeling plenty! (The movements last night made me think of someone gently kneading my internal muscles like bread dough. It's always hard to describe early fetal movements, in my opinion; but that's the image that came to my mind.) Again, I'm reminded of the fragility of life...and of the need for much faith and gratitude every step of the way.

Now I'm 17 and 1/2 weeks along, and already I'm beginning to feel some discomfort sleeping and some back pain when I wake up in the morning. I'm considering getting one of those "egg crate" foam mattress pads to sleep on because I've heard they can help. Any moms out there have any opinion about those pads or any other good ideas for dealing with this problem???

I'm discovering that the night is the time when I think the most about the baby. Days are busy, of course, with Josiah and David and everything else in life. But at night, when I lie down and try to go to sleep, I feel like it's my time with the baby, and it's really special. Jeff is invariably already asleep by this point because he has the uncanny ability to decide to go to sleep and then literally be asleep in less than 30 seconds (he inherits it from his mom)! On rare occasions, he will mention that he's having a hard time going to sleep; and it will usually be less than 5 minutes that he's been lying there trying to sleep--yeah, that's some really bad insomnia. :) Oh, well, that characteristic is just one of the many things that make Jeff unique and that make me love him so fiercely!

Anyway, during the past few nights as I've laid in bed, I've been thinking a lot about whether this baby is a boy or a girl. (I almost wrote "whether this baby will be a boy or a girl," but then I realized that's definitely already been decided!) For a little while, I'll try to wrap my brain around the idea of it being a boy, and I'll imagine what it would be like to have another son. And then I'll switch and roll the idea of a girl around in my head to see how that feels. It's a fun mental exercise which always leaves me full of longing for the real knowledge of whether it's a son or a daughter. I can hardly wait to know what we're having--to imagine it so much more clearly--to start putting the appropriate baby clothes in the armoire--to be able to call it by name, etc. Although, if it's a boy, he's going to have to wait a while to hear his name because at this point, we're in a huge quagmire about boy names! It surely is a good thing we've got plenty of time because right now, I don't know how in the world we're going to resolve this one!!! :)

Josiah's Sunflowers

Josiah helped me plant these bright bursts of sunshine; and, although they have not received a bit of pampering, they have still managed to grow and bloom and add a splash of color to the white wall of our woodshed. When we were buying seeds back in the spring, I decided to try a little different kind of sunflower, so I bought the variety "Autumn Beauty" and have been quite pleased with the results.



August Blooms

In spite of our August heat, very minimal rain, and severe lack of attention from me, a few things have managed to bloom recently to beautify our corner of the world!
~ crape myrtle (which, I just discovered, can also be spelled crepe myrtle...both spellings are acceptable...isn't that great?)
~ more crape myrtle
~ these gorgeous lilies are almost done blooming; this was really the last decent lily standing...my mother always thinks of these lilies as Jeff's lilies because the very first time he ever came to visit us--way back in the summer of '96--these lilies were blooming when he arrived, and Mother used them to decorate our table...they really are striking flowers, I think

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Calling

I'm one of those people who, when they hear about a great opportunity for volunteering or serving others in some way, immediately think, "Oh, I'd like to do that!" If I could, I would be currently volunteering for our local literacy coalition and at our local pregnancy center...and probably more. Instead, I stay at home, care for my children and husband and home, and that's it. Big deal, right? If I was really disciplined and organized, surely I would be able to care for my family and teach my children and keep house and still have plenty of left-over time for worthwhile service outside the home! Right? Right???

While reading the (simply outstanding!) book Things We Wish We'd Known (compiled and edited by Bill & Diana Waring) recently, I came across this gem. I think I might need to get it tattooed into my forehead so I'm reminded of it every time I look in a mirror...or maybe to have it written on my hands would be more effective so I could see it constantly throughout the day. :)

I do not ask that Thou shouldst give me some high or noble task. Give me a little hand to hold in mine. Give me a little child to point Thy way, over the strange, sweet path that leads to You. Give me a little voice to teach to pray. Give me two shining eyes Thy face to see. The only crown I ask to wear is this, that I may teach a little child. I do not ask that I may stand among the wise, the worthy, or the great; I only ask that softly, hand-in-hand, a child and I may enter at the gate. - Anonymous

Just Another Day in Our Homeschool

Saturday is a "school day" for us (although the more I learn about homeschooling, the more I realize that learning is a lifestyle and not simply something that is fit into the schedule during certain hours of certain days). That is a whole other topic though...

Here are some snapshots from school today:
~ We've been reading the book Lentil by Robert McCloskey this week; it's one of the books from the Five in a Row plan (which I'm a huge fan of, by the way). If any of you have read that book, you might remember that the boy Lentil learns to play the harmonica; and he prefers practicing in the bathtub because "the tone is improved one hundred percent." So, of course, we had to try it out!
~ Here David gets a turn with the harmonica, and Josiah pipes along on the kazoo. You can't see it well in this small of a picture, but David's eyes look so soulful in this shot. My little 2 year-old playing the blues! :)
~ At one of the bookstores in our town, there was a special storytime with Curious George today; and that made an enjoyable (free!) field trip for us. At home this morning, we read the two Curious George books that we have, and then we also read Katy No-Pocket because, although it was written by someone else, it was illustrated by H.A. Rey, so the style and color of the pictures is very similar to Curious George. (Josiah thought it was neat that "H.A. Rey" rhymes!)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tennis

At this stage of life for Josiah, tis the season for introducing him to various activities/skills to see what interests him and in what areas he shows potential. At least, that's what all the "experts" say. :)

So our latest "extra" was a series of tennis lessons! Josiah actually participated in this program last year as well, when he was a young 4 year-old. Now that he's 5, he's able to hit the ball more times than last year. :) Best of all, he's having fun, acquiring some knowledge of tennis, experiencing peer relationships, and learning from (and submitting to the authority of) a teacher besides me. It's really a great program--with coaches who are laid-back and extremely patient with the kids--perfect for this stage.

Josiah was thrilled to have Grandpa and Grandma come watch him play on Wednesday and Jeff on Thursday. I really appreciate Jeff taking the time off work to come watch his little/big boy!


While Josiah had his lessons, David and I got to play together: rolling cars back and forth to each other, throwing/kicking a ball back and forth, etc. Plus, David got to make friends with some other little siblings who were there, especially these two cute little sisters, Kate and Claire.