Friday, December 30, 2005

home inspection

Friday, 30 December 2005

I know that it has been awhile since my last post. We have been feverishly working on our house in every spare moment, and I have hardly had time to eat and sleep. But that is winding down. Our house has to be ready for the market by Tuesday, and it will officially be listed on Thursday the 5th.

Today was our home inspection of the new place. It was neat to go over there again, and really get a good look at the place. We even met the next door neighbors who were very friendly, and even invited us inside for a tour of their house. It was essentially the same house, and gave me much hope for how our house could look with some work and paint. Anyway, here are some pictures of the new place.






Dining Room


Family Room

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

big decisions

Well, I know this will seem a little surprising after my last post, but Ed thought alot over the weekend, made a major amortization spreadsheet that covered every possiblity of interest rates, taxes, prices, fees, monthly payments, etc., etc. And decided that we should go for it. He explained to me that if the interest rates went up .25 percent, it would be the same as spending another 10,000 anyway, so we might as well accept the offer now (seeing that interest rates are going up, and there is no guarantee the house will be there later at the lower price we wanted). So we now have a January 31st settlement date, unless something horrible shows up in the home inspection (after which I will post pictures)!!

So seriously, if anyone knows anyone who wants to buy in Glenside, we are putting the house on the market the first weekend in January for $235. Four bedrooms, one bath, lots of new paint, and a beautiful backyard to name a few features. Let me know...

Friday, December 16, 2005


What a day! We waited until about 12 to hear from the sellers about our offer. Our realtor said that they actually received 2 offers, but wanted to work with us, so they countered at 15,000 above our offer. We said that our offer was firm, but we would negotiated an earlier settlement if they wanted. Around 5:30 we heard from our realtor again, and they had dropped another 5,000, with a settlement date of Jan. 15th (Yikes!!), but we were still firm on our initial offer. Our realtor then told us that they have decided to keep the house on the market through January, and see if they can get more money. If not, they may come back to us.

So, no new house, but I feel a real sense of peace about it. We have been praying through this whole process for the Lord to make it very clear to us if we should have this house or not. And since we were not financially able to meet their price, it is very clear that for today, at least, the house is not ours. I am a little sad that the house that seemed so perfect to us probably won't be ours, but I am so thankful that God answered our prayers and made the decision very easy for us.

Well, at least we don't have to work like crazy people over the holidays trying to get our house in selling shape by New Years. We will have the time to work at a reasonable pace, and maybe even sell our house in the spring when our garden will be at its best!

Monday, December 5, 2005

More car troubles:

1. Apparently (unbeknownst to me) when PepBoys installed our battery they disconnected a wire that enabled the automatic doors to work. So after a week of struggling with trying to open the doors manually (which is very difficult if the doors are automatic, there is a lot of resistence), I decided the problem might not resolve itself, so I took the van to the local Honda Dealership. Well, after 4 hours of labor (at $90/hr) they figured out the problem and fixed it. Now I am stuck with a $380 bill which I am trying to get PEP Boys to pay. Coincidentally, every time I have called them, the manager is busy, left early, coming in late, and as of today, off until Wednesday.

2. On the way to Jim and Steph's house today to watch the kids I was coming up behind a van that was turning left and my car slid slightly on ice. I was going slowly enough, and had started applying the brakes early enough that disaster was averted... for 10 seconds. As I watched in my rear view mirror the van behind me kept coming, and swerving, and rear-ended me. Everyone was fine-- we had just left a school zone and were traveling pretty slowly, but the right rear bumper has some damage. So although I don't have to pay to have the car fixed, I will have to drop it off at some point and be inconvenienced by the repair time, for a couple of days. But on the plus side, it is the same side that was hit by the TJ's shopping cart!

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Nothing lights a fire under your butt more than the prospect of selling your house. The past two weekends have been spent in painting (me) and installing a new kitchen floor (Ed). It still remains to be seen if we can even afford to move, but at least we are getting much needed projects done.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

musings on moving

When we first moved into our house we had the plan to stay here for 5-10 years. It has now been 7 and we are making noises about moving. It is a bittersweet experience. I love our house, all the memories it holds of our young family, the hours Ed has put into it, and the backyard that I wish we could move with us. It is a nice little house, but we are outgrowing it. If our kitchen was bigger, and we had a garage, and maybe a family room, it would be perfect, and we'd stay forever.

So we have given our list of "requirements" to a realtor, and have been getting lists of possibilities. Houses are so expensive-- it's hard to find a nice 4 bedroom home in this area within our price range. If only I had 900,000 to spend on a house. Well, reality is that we might not find anything, and will be staying here until I can work full time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Recently we talked about Mark 13 in minichurch- debated whether it was talking about the End Times, or the destruction of the Temple. Anyway, it led to a brief discussion about what happens after you die.

Since I was a little girl I always thought that you went directly to Heaven or Hell when you die, but I have been mulling that over in recent years, and especially in the last couple of weeks. Here are a couple of thoughts-- if you go directly to Heaven or Hell, what happens on Judgment Day? Won't it be a bit anticlimatic if you already know how you'll be judged? I mean, I know I already know I am going to Heaven, but if I am already there, will I then be judged and sent to the New Heaven? Or are you judged as you die and then sent to your eternal reward or punishment? What about people that Jesus raised to life? Was Lazarus dragged out of heaven and sent back to earth?

Well, one of the men in our group gave several theories that I have never heard talked of, in PCA circles. He said that one theory is that you go into "soul sleep" when you die, and then await the Judgement Day. Another is that when you die your soul goes to Paradise or Hades, but you are still awaiting the final Resurrection and Judgement, and you are still in a state of "sleep". Ok, so if that is true, isn't it better to be alive on this earth than to die (in that case, Lazarus wouldn't mind coming back to life)? I mean, if all you are doing is "sleeping" and awaiting Judgement, then wouldn't my time be better served here on earth? I don't know. Does anyone out there have thoughts?

Monday, November 28, 2005

I can't believe it is almost Christmas! Yesterday we brought our Christmas decorations up from the basement and I felt like it shouldn't be time yet. The kids had such a great time digging throught the boxes "helping" me unpack the items, and place them around our living room. Their favorite was a snow globe that I just purchased this fall. It plays "Jingle Bells" and if you push a little button, the snow swirls around a family of snowmen. N especially likes it. He comes and finds us and drags us over to the snowglobe "Mo! Mo!" so that we can wind it up for him. He then claps his hands in joy and begins his little dance. E enjoyed looking through all of the special Christmas books we pile on the coffee table, and playing with the playmobile Christmas set. N wanted to play too, but after he pulled apart the pieces, "Uh-Oh! Boke, Boke!", we decided it was a big kid toy, and put it out of his reach.

E is definitely into the whole Christmas thing this year. She really remembers traditions from past years, and is looking forward to participating in them again. For now, she believes in Santa Claus, and so she has been considering her list, thinking over what one thing she should ask him for, because we have told her that Santa only brings one toy. Until last year she was too frightened to even sit on Santa's lap, much less request a gift. I think she has settled on asking him for a Pound Puppy. I don't know how long she will believe, this will probably be the last Christmas. It will actually be a relief for me when she figures it out, because I always feel a little guilty perpetuating the deception. She is so trusting, and does not doubt Santa's existence a bit, because we told her it is so. I just hope that when she finds out the truth she will be able to accept Santa for the fun and magic it brings to Christmas, and not feel betrayed. I think that she will like being on the other side, telling N about Santa, and being a part of the fun. Until then, she believes.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Car Trouble

Today was a bad car day. I went out to go food shopping with the kids, and remembered that the battery had died yesterday. So Ed came out and jumped it, and I went to Quick Lube to get an oil change where they had to jump it to start it again. They said they didn't do battery changes there, and since it's a Sunday, not much is open. They suggested Pep Boys. I went, and was told the wait would be about 45 minutes until the car even went into the shop. I am usually well prepared for outings-- I pack snacks, drinks, diapers, etc. But today I was just planning on making a quick trip, and had none of those things. Fortunately there was a small play area for the kids in the waiting area, and of course the whole store to walk around in. Also, they sold snacks and drinks. The kids were remarkably good, and we were able to pass the time pretty well, and the car was done a lot sooner than expected (1 hour). We then made our way to Trader Joe's . As we were driving through the parking lot, one of the guys who worked there lost control of a cart and it ran into the back of my car. I had to file an accident report with the store. I don't think the car was really damaged, it looks like surface marks, but still-what a way to top off my day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

woodsy walk-another almost wordless Wednesday

We went for a walk in the woods on Sunday. It was gorgeous-- here are some pics.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Caramel Corn

Tonight it is my turn to bring a snack/dessert to minichurch, and so I decided on caramel popcorn. I have always loved caramel corn, but this recipe is the best I've ever had. The first time I had it was as a freshman in college. Angel's mom would make it and send it to her in big containers. Angel would bring it down to my room where we would sit on my bed eating, drinking lemonade, and talking into the night.

If you would like to try it, here is the recipe- it takes a while to make, but is totally worth the effort!

Alison, Angel, and me (notice the Country

Time lemonade on the shelf behind the bed)

Oven Caramel Corn

2 cups brown sugar

2 sticks margarine/butter

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

8-9 quarts popped corn (1 quart=4 cups)

Pop corn, don't salt, and place in a large turkey roaster (or 2 9x13 pans). Mix all the the ingredients except the soda in a medium saucepan. Stir until boiling, boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda until the foaming dies down. Pour over popped corn and stir to coat evenly. Bake at 200 for 1 1/2 hours, stir every 15 minutes to separate big clumps. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Halloween 05

For two months I planned for a Halloween party in our back yard. I could see it clearly in my mind- the backyard lit up with torches, fairy lights, pumpkins and a fire. Children running in their costumes, friends chatting in the cool of an October night. And miraculously, it all came together last night. I could not have asked for better weather. The day was warm, in the 70's and the night cool- in the sixties. The children had a wonderful time trick or treating. E, Grayson, and Hudson led the pack, running to the doors yelling "trick or treat!". Little Alice in her sweet Holly Hobby costume bringing up the rear, determined to do what the big kids were doing. She climbed up the steps and held out her bucket for the treats. N sat in his stroller enjoying a lollipop as I walked talking with one parent or another. Then we got back to the house where more guests arrived with their children. There were hotdogs and marshmallows to roast, pumpkins to find, and cider to drink. The children had such fun running up and down the dark yard. As hostess I didn't have much time to sit and talk, but it gave me pleasure to see everyone else having a good time. Also, being able to share the night and the experience with the McCoys there was a special gift I never expected when the party was first planned. God is good-- this was just an insignificant little party but he showered his blessings on it, more than I could have asked or imagined.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Children + Housework

Children have complicated my life in ways that I had not anticipated in pre-child years. I knew that things would take longer, the house would be messy, I wouldn't be able to get up and go whenever I felt like it, etc, etc. But yesterday I was reflecting on how they can make normal household chores a bit more difficult, and that they are often literally, underfoot.

Doing the Dishes: Last night after dinner, if you had looked in my kitchen window, you would have seen me washing the dishes in a somewhat awkward position. I was about a foot away from the counter, stretched forward to reach the sink and faucet, my legs straddling both of my children who had wedged themselves between me and the cabinets. Why they had chosen this particular moment to sit in that particular spot? No other reason except that I needed to stand there. So in addition to dishpan hands, doing the dishes gives me a strained back!

Vacuuming: Whenever I get out the vacuum cleaner, it is like a siren call to the kids, especially N and Erika, to come from wherever they happen to be happily playing and plant themselves in front of the machine. I have to constantly vacuum around them and find creative ways to move them out of my way (like throw a ball across the room so they chase that instead and then quickly clean the spot they were just standing on before they come back). So what would usually be a quick 10 minute job turns into a 20 minute juggling, dodging, racing act.

Making Meals: I have a small kitchen. By small I mean tiny- 9 square feet of floor space. Sometimes I have to put a child gate up and endure the outraged wails of my toddler rather than share this space with 3 or 4 kids and a dog. Because seriously, I will be making dinner and there will be bodies wherever there is spare space on the floor. I have to work around them, stepping over them, cracking the refrigerator so I can get an arm inside to grab what I need, holding back grabby hands as I open the cupboards to retrieve ingredients. At least once a week it gets to be too much and I call Ed to pick up a pizza or some chinese food on the way home. Thankfully, he is always willing to help me out.

And that is what keeps me sane. Having Ed, another adult to share my burden, to take a child when I need a break, to give me a hand when 2 aren't enough. To give me a kiss and a pizza at the end of a long day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Finally some Sun!

Finally!! We had some blue sky and sun today. I really think that having rain and clouds makes you appreciate the sun that much more. After a week of sogginess, the kids were glad to go outside and play. Especially N-- everyday he goes to the back door and says hopefully,"Car? Car?", and then when I tell him no, he has a fit of crying. Today I said,"N-- we are going outside to play in your car!" He immediately came over and wiggled in my lap with excitement as I got him ready to go out. The kids had a blast in our garden, and I had a chance to photograph our zinnias. Man, I love these flowers!

Monday, October 10, 2005

You can't judge a book...

Ok, so E has a ballet class every Saturday morning at the Y. While the kids are dancing, the parents wait out in the hallway in folding chairs. I bring a magazine or book, but usually end up chatting with one mother or another. Two weeks ago a new little girl showed up with her parents. My first assessment of them was that they are rednecks. The mom spoke with a southern (as in WV) accent, they looked a little unkept, the dad's hair was long, bushy moustache, etc. Well, this week the mom and an older (16 yr old) sister came with the little girl, and the mom sat next to me. I turned to her and asked the usual question when you see a pregnant woman, "When are you due?" She told me that the baby is due in mid November, but she'll probably be induced early because her other 4 kids were big. So I asked about the other kids' ages, and they were 18 down to her 3 year old daughter. All of this further reinforced my earlier assumptions (large family, young pregnancies), in addition to the fact that she was wearing shoes with holes in the toes, dirty jeans, and an old t-shirt. She then went on to say that her daughter would be 4 this week, and she hoped it would stop raining because she had an outdoor birthday party planned- a woodland fairy theme, and they couldn't go indoors because they were renovating the house. That got my attention, and then I realized how off-base my first impression was when she started to describe the how they have prepared for this party, how her "tree man" got logs for her to make into moss covered stools for the girls, they have tulle tents to hang from the trees, a decorated gazebo, and rented a pony. A pony?!! This woman was not fitting into the image I had created in my mind. She went on to tell me about the work they are doing on their 23 room house (located in a neighborhood with 2-3million dollar houses), and how she homeschools, and is a Christian. I couldn't believe how wrong I had been, how much I had assumed about this woman and what she would be like, based on just her appearance.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

2 Years without Yai

Thursday, 06 October 2005

Today is the 2 year anniversary of when my grandmother, Yai, went home to be with Jesus. When she first died the pain was so sharp I couldn't even think of her without my eyes filling up with tears. She was such a sweet presence in our family, and there have been many moments in the past couple of years that I have thought of her and wished she were still with us. Each holiday, but especially Thanksgiving when we looked forward to her special mashed potatoes, is difficult. I miss her spidery handwriting across the bottom of birthday cards. Seeing the example that she and my grandfather, Dappie, set before us of a very loving, happy and content marriage. How she would shake her head and laugh at a funny story and say, "Oh _____! (insert name here)". The interesting stories she would tell of people she knew, or things she had done. The way she would cup my cheek in her hand when I kissed her in greeting. Her joy in E and how I know she would have loved N and found such pleasure in him as well. Her interest in my life and how I know she loved me. Her hospitality, opening her home to our family through the years for delicious dinners and get-togethers. I miss knowing that she is close by, to visit with or talk to. She was the first person to die that I had a deep attachment to, and love for. I know that she has such beauty and joy right now, but I still grieve our loss. At her funeral reception there was a slide show of her life that my uncle put together. The song that played throughout was "Going Home" by Sara Groves. I must of sat there and watched that show five times through (it was on a continuous loop), weeping each time. I still cry when I hear that song, because it reminds me of her. But I know we do not mourn her without hope. I might have said good-bye to her earthly body, but because of Jesus I can rejoice and have the assurance that I will see her smiling face again.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

18 months old

N is 18 months old now. Here are his stats:

weight- 22 pounds, 4 ounces (8%)

length- 30 inches (3%)

head- 19 inches (64%)

Ok, so you might think that his head would look unbelievably big on his little body, but actually, it is proportioned correctly, because if you take age out of it, the percentiles for weight and length actually fall in the 50-75%. Which is somewhat comforting-- he might be small for his age, but at least he has normal proportions.

And he is walking (finally), and talking. He can say some form of the following words (although the average bystander wouldn't necessarily understand): Mama, Dada, E, sis, tickle, shoes, hat, please, thank-you, truck, car, ball, cup, push, plane, bye- bye, uh-oh, ow, bath, cracker/cookie.

His favorite activities include being pushed in his red car, going down slides, climbing steps, throwing (we try to encourage soft balls), baths, dancing, singing songs with hand motions- his favorite being "This little light of mine", and climbing on Holly like she is a big black mountain. He finds such joy in these things, smiling, laughing, his whole face lit up with happiness.

His least favorite things are getting out of his car, getting his diaper changed, being told "no", seeing me hold someone else (like Erika or E), and getting his hair washed. His reaction to these things is screaming and crying until he is red in the face and sweating, throwing things, and then a final backward thrust of his head and body if you are holding him, or rolling around on the floor in a tantrum. If I ignore him, he will sometimes pick himself up and go on his way, but usually he follows me around the house, snot, tears, and saliva making their way down his face onto his shirt and the floor, inconsolable until I pick him up.

Despite these fits of rage, I love this age. He is still cuddly, and baby-like, but has a small measure of independence. His features are soft and rounded, his legs, arms and belly are squeezably chubby. He walks with his legs wide apart, a little wobbly still, but with determination. I know that all too soon this will pass, and I will have a preschooler, long and lean, on the run. I will love that preschooler, but for now I want to savor this last little bit of babyhood.

Monday, October 3, 2005

A day in the life of Daisy

So tired. Some days are like this-go, go, go. And I didn't technically "go" anywhere today.

6:30 am -Noah and Ellie wake up. So I'm up too, after a restless night of little sleep. I decide to skip the gym today. Instead I make breakfast, take a shower, and dress the kids.

8:30 am- I take the kids outside and water the flowers. After watering, I tell E I will push her and N in the Little Tikes red and yellow car. So we go, up and down the sidewalk. It is N's new obsession. He loves being pushed in it, and E rides on top (since she is too big to sit inside).

9:00 am - I drag the car and carry N, who is screaming and kicking, up the steps. Steph arrives with Peter and Erika.

9:30 am -I put the babies down for a nap and then do the dishes and vacuum.

10:00 am- Short break, check my email--delete, delete, delete, laugh at Jess' comments on Dina's blog.

10:30 am- N is still awake (Is he trying to drop his morning nap?). Get N up, take E, Peter and N out front. Push the 3 kids up and down the sidewalk in the red car. Carry N up the steps, kicking and screaming to the backyard. Push N in the car while E and Peter play on the swingset.

11:00 am- Wake up Erika, feed her a bottle. Make lunch for the kids, force them to eat it. N refuses and sends it across the dining room. Cries, Cries, Cries (He is really tired, but it is too early for that afternoon nap).

11:30 am- Make my lunch, check the time (Is it still too early to call California?) N is still crying, hanging on me.

12:00 pm - Kids finally playing happily in the other room, I clean up after lunch.

12:30pm - I give up on N, put him in his crib where he happily curls up with his blanket and baby.

1:00pm - Feed Erika her lunch. Call Jess, who is not answering, leave a somewhat confusing message.

1:30pm - Jess calls back and I put Erika and Peter down for naps. E happily watches t.v. while I talk.

2:30pm - Aimee and Allison arrive for a playdate. N wakes up, refreshed and hungry. I feed him a snack, and talk with Aimee while the girls play.

3:00pm - Erika wakes up, Peter wakes up, everyone wants to go outside. We go out and I push N in the car. Then I fix a snack for all the kids.

4:00pm - We go back inside, clean up the toys, and Jim arrives to pick up his kids, Aimee leaves with Allison.

4:30pm - Is it really only 4:30? N is crying again. I decide to put him to bed so I can start dinner in peace. E watches a video.

5:00 pm - I start to make pasta and realize I don't have any sauce. Decide on chili instead.

5:30 pm- Call Ed, find out that he won't be home until 7:00. Get N up (who didn't sleep, but at least wasn't crying around my ankles, and seems to be happier from his little rest) Feed him as I finish up dinner.

5:45 pm - E and I eat, E doesn't like the chili-- too spicy, so I make her a PB&J sandwhich. N eats some sandwhich too.

6:15 pm - N is fussing again, and so I decide to kill some time before bed with a bath.

6:30 pm - While the kids are bathing, I clean the bathroom.

6:45 pm - Get N and E out, dress them for bed, sing songs, and put N to bed.

7:00 pm - Read to E, Ed calls and says he won't be home until 8:00. Put E to bed, clean up kitchen.

7:30 pm.- Check e-mails again. And here I am.

Where did the day go? It seems like it was full of insignificant moments, a blur of activity, a juggling act. Lord help me.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Apple Picking '05

Apple Picking

Yesterday we went to Styer Orchards in Langhorne to go apple picking. It was a beautiful day- blue skies and warm sun. When we arrived we loaded up a little wagon with 2 buckets, and the kids (E refused to walk if N was riding). We easily filled our buckets with Macouns and Jonathans.

E enjoyed both picking, especially with the apple picking pole, and eating the apples. N tried walking between the trees but was thrown off balance by his shoes (he usually goes barefoot), so he ended up sitting in the grass and watching.

I don't know why, but I LOVE picking fruit!! Give me any kind of fruit bush, tree, vine or plant, and I am a harvesting machine. I once applied for a fruit picking job that was advertised in the local Grove City paper. The guy who called me back convinced me that it would be very difficult work, and I obviously didn't understand what the job would entail. So I decided to pass on that job opportunity. Looking back, that was probably a wise decision, but I still try to fill that picking need in my life. Road side signs call to me when they say "Pick Your Own_____".

Well, following our time in the orchard, we went back to the barn area where there was a litter of 4 kittens looking for a home. I was definitely tempted, especially since E's favorite wish is for a kitty, but life with a kitten would be sneezy. N's reaction to the kittens kind of reminded me of that commercial with the little boy petting a frog and squealing with delight when it gives a little jump. N would pet a kitten's paw and it would twitch away, and he would giggle and squeal in response.

After that, we went over to the moon bounce where E bounced away and N cried in disappointment because he was too little. It is such a hard age for things like that-- too little to do a lot of stuff, but big enough to care.

The last thing we did was go on a hayride through the orchards. We stopped halfway and the driver kindly got off to pick us some golden delicious apples to eat during the remainder of the ride. There is nothing like eating a freshly picked apple, it is so crisp and sweet, it makes my mouth water to think about it.

We ended up buying 20 pounds of apples. So far I have made apple crisp and apple pancakes. Later this week I will be making applesauce, apple cake, and of course, apple pie.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

conversations with a 4 year old

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

I often have conversations with E, but it is really hard for me to remember exactly what she said, so I hardly ever post about them. Yesterday we were driving in the car and I made a conscious effort to remember it, not because it was all that special, interesting, or funny, but because it was so typical of the kind of things she asks and thinks about. So here it is, more or less.

"Mommy, who holds babies the first day?"

"What do you mean? Mommies and Daddies hold their babies when they are first born."

"No, I mean a long time ago-- does God hold babies the first day?" I am a bit puzzled by this, where is she getting this question?

"No, God doesn't hold the babies. First they are in the mommy's tummy, and when they are born, the mommy holds them."

"But God holds all the people in his hands" Aaah yes, I have to supress a smile at this.

"You're right sweetie, God does kind of have us in his hand, but you can't feel him holding you. No, just the mommies and daddies hold the babies."


"But what about the first babies?"

You mean the first people? Do you remember who they were?"

"Yeah...Noah?...Jacob?" I can see her struggling to remember what she learned in Sunday School.

"Adam and Eve- but God made them grown up, so they weren't babies. But then Eve had babies that she held, and then they grew up and had babies, and then they had babies..."

"And they had babies, and they had babies, and they had babies..."

"All the way down to us. And when you grow up, you'll have a baby"

From here the conversation went to how people will keep having babies until Jesus returns, and how and why I am looking forward to that. I think it is so neat to hear her questions, and see her little mind working, trying to figure out this world. It definitely keeps me on my toes, I never know what she will ask, and sometimes how to answer-- like 'why doesn't everyone want to be with Jesus in heaven? Will _____ go to heaven?' But is always interesting trying to see and make sense of things through a child's eyes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

First Day of Froggie Class

Today was E's first day as a "froggie" in the 4 year old class at nursery school. Last night as I was putting her to bed she said to me,"Mommy, I'm a little bit nervous about school." "Why is that?" "I am afraid I won't have any friends." My heart ached a little for her, since I could completely relate to that particular anxiety. So we talked a little bit about introducing herself, and asking if she can play. We also prayed for her that she would be a good friend and listen to her teacher, and have fun at school.

This morning she seemed ready to go, even dressing herself in a multicolored (stained) shirt, striped shorts, purple socks and white sneakers. I have to say that I didn't even consider letting her wear her chosen outfit. The only thing I let her wear was the sneakers. She didn't seem too disappointed though, and changed into the designated "first day of school" outfit.

So I took her to school, the last year before she starts "real" school. It's hard to believe she is in the Froggie class. I remember how old those kids looked 3 years ago, and now E is there. And to think ahead 3 years and of her starting 2nd grade, my mind can't even go there!

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Labor Day Weekend '05

The Ocean and River

Evening walks by the river

Our boy-always climbing

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Little Walker

We spent the weekend at Ed's parents' place on Tom's River. It was Sunday night and the kids were all ready for bed. I was with N on the floor, and decided that maybe we could practice walking. I placed him a couple of feet in front of me, and let go. Usually at this point he collapses to his knees and crawls toward me. For some reason, he decided to move his feet this time. One step, two, three, and he was in my arms!! I couldn't believe it, so I had him do it again, and again, soon he was walking to Grandma, E, the chair across the room. I still don't know what took him so long to decide that he would walk, but I have a feeling this is a theme we will be seeing a lot of in his life-- N will do things in his own time, in his own way, and that is all there is to it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005



I have been feeling slightly isolated this summer. It's a combination of various vacations- ours, friends, weekends away, and no regular schedule. It seems in the absence of external structure in my life I fail to make my own. And now I am at home all day with four little kids and the official fall schedule still hasn't begun. It's only been 3 1/2 days, and I find myself a bit depressed and lonely. I can't even get the motivation to call friends and schedule something. The thought of leaving the house with the 4 kids exhausts me, as well as cleaning it to have someone over.

I feel like I am drifting, drifting, out at sea...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Two Week Cycle

Once again we are caught up in the the two week cycle. Anyone who has had difficulty in conceiving knows all too well what this is. There are approximately 2 weeks from when a woman is fertile in which you hold your breath and wait... am I pregnant? Did it work this time?...until you realize that no, not yet. Then another 2 weeks passes from that date when you are fertile once more. And so it goes, the weeks stretch into months, the months pass- 3 months, 6 months, 9 months ("I should be having a baby right now"), one year, etc. For E it took us 1 1/2 years before we conceived. The waiting was agonizing, brutal. We had tests done, and took drugs, nothing was discovered-both good news and bad, nothing broken, nothing to fix, just the unknown "why?". Finally, joyfully, we had our baby, a beautiful girl. Then two years later, it started again. This time the wait wasn't as long (1 year), or as agonizing (we were busy keeping up with our toddler, and had the assurance of one healthy pregnancy). And so, in time, we were blessed with our N. Now it starts again. I almost feel guilty trying to have another child, we have been so blessed with our two-- is it selfish to want another? To ask God to bless our family once more. I know I don't deserve it. Yet here we are, at the start of our third journey into parenting. Our hands outstretched, asking God for another miracle.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Up He Goes!

As I said in an earlier post, N is working on standing. It's hard to believe-- it's taken so long for him to get to this point, but he has finally decided that being upright may have its advantages. In the beginning he would stand briefly, and then fall forward onto his hands. He seemed to think that we were cheering his fall back to the ground because his actual standing time was so brief that by the time we said "yay N!" he had fallen down. As a result he would purposely do a quick stand and fall, looking around for our approval. After playing this game for a few days, we were not so ready to cheer, and so his standing time has gotten longer. I was watching him from the kitchen yesterday. E was dancing around him, and he wanted to join in. So he stood for about 10 seconds, waving his arms like she was, trying to dance. Then he caught my eye and fell back down. But he is doing so well-- maybe he'll walk by 18 months!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Late Summer Garden

Late August is not a good time for the garden. It seems like it should be, all that hard work and money you put into it in the spring should be displayed in all of its beauty at the end of summer. I have not found it to be so. Yes, there are several plants that continue blooming and producing (like my zinnias), but my other annuals that I so carefully selected and planted in the spring are definitely looking overgrown and a bit tired, as if the summer has been too much for them. It seems like the only plants that actually thrive are the weeds. After a long summer of fighting them, there are still far too many in the yard. They are in the cracks of the pavement, throughout the flower bed, up the hill, and some that are even larger than E. It makes for a bit of a depressing picture as I look out the back door, and I sometimes have to wonder if it's worth it.

But then I cheer myself up by remembering that I can soon plant some chrysanthemums, and that cooler days are at hand. My Japanese Maple will soon be in it's glory, the scarlet leaves covering the tree and the ground beneath it. Bright blue skies contrasting with the reds, oranges and yellows of the trees. I am looking forward to the crisp apple-y days of fall.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

NH '05

Here's a sampling of pictures from NH, as you can see the quality is not that great-- disposable camera, and all.

Ellie fishing from the dock

Noah playing in the sand (happy until he decides to suck his thumb) / Me and Ellie

The Hodges' two week old kitten

So we are back...

Some highlights from the week:

1. Blueberry picking with E- It is very clear that E is my daughter, and this is further evidence. As long as I can remember, picking blueberries has been one of my favorite things to do on the island. Going to my favorite spots on the island, standing in the solitude of the woods with the sounds of the waves lapping on the rocks nearby. Picking clumps of ripe berries off the bushes and watching my bucket slowly fill as the berries go from making a "plink, plank, plunk" sound to a soft "plop". It's a nice activity to do alone, as you can really just slow down and think, but it's also nice to have company, someone to chat with and pass the time together. The first thing that E did when we arrived was to race off to find blueberry bushes and pick and eat to her heart's delight (much as I remember doing). Later, when I had unpacked and settled in, I grabbed a container, and E and I set off together to find berries for the next morning's breakfast. It was a bit reminiscent of Blueberries for Sal (minus the bear), I picked and E sometimes gave helpful handfuls, but more often just ate the berries she picked. A couple of times she wandered off by herself to sit and pick and eat in a "special" spot that she had found. Throughout the week we enjoyed several picking times together, and it gave me joy to share something that is so special to me with my daughter.

2. Seeing a bald eagle- We spent many mornings sitting in the boat, as it was still tied to the dock, reading our various books, soaking in the sun. One such day Ed happened to look up, and spied what he thought was a bald eagle. Sure enough, it circled around again, and it was an eagle! We saw it a couple of other times, and it was always a thrill!

3. Campfires- Days on the island are usually warm and breezy, while nights are cool. This makes it the perfect place for campfires. The heat of the fire was welcome in the cool of the night, and there was enough breeze to blow the smoke away. Ed and I built a couple after the kids had gone to bed and spent some nights sitting by the lake watching the stars, and some fireworks shows (almost every night at 9), and the mesmerizing flames of the fire as the wood was slowly reduced to glowing red embers.

4. Ed and E time- Ed and E were able to spend some precious father-daughter time together while N napped. One of their activities was fishing. E had been looking forward to fishing for almost a year now. She "gave" Ed a small child-sized rod for father's day, and we bought worms when we arrived. Ed rowed her out in a small aluminum boat, and the two of them sat there for about an hour. E caught a large bass right away, they lost a couple of worms to some smart fish, and Ed caught a couple of smaller fish. E loved it, and was reluctant to return to shore. A couple of days later they fished off the dock and caught some sunnies until the worms ran out. The other activity was kayaking. Ed took E on 3 separate expeditions, to see other islands in the lake. They both really enjoyed this time together, even though we had to force E to go the first time (she was nervous about going in the kayak). They even saw a loon and watched it fishing and swimming in a cove by Stampact (the largest island on the lake). Near the end of the week E went up to Ed, gave him a big hug, and took his face in her hands and said, "I like being together, just our family, and having you with us. It's more fun when you're with us."

5. N- I would be remiss if I didn't write something about N here. He was working on standing all week, briefly rising and then falling forward onto his hands as we applauded his efforts. He didn't like the fast part of the boat rides when we raced across the lake, but he loved the quiet parts in the river when he could wave at all the other boats and people that we passed. He loved eating at the table because he stood on the long bench to eat (instead of strapped into a high chair), free to roam back and forth from his plate to mine, picking off whatever looked good to him. He also enjoyed playing the piano, much to E's frustration, "He always plays when I am playing, and he messes my song up". Aaah, the life of a big sister.

We definitely missed having other people to share the time with. I thought of our friends and family often as we did various activities through the week--- riding in the boat (E and Allison would have liked sitting together up front), fishing (picturing the Landis boys in the boat with E), exploring in the woods (Grayson leading E in make-believe games), campfires (remembering fires in years past that Andrew made), quiet nights (loud, rowdy game nights with my family around the coleman lantern at the kitchen table). But each year is different, and special in its own way, making memories for years to come. I am thankful for the time we had together, before the rush of the new school year carries us away in activities and busyness.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Friday, 12 August 2005

Most of the day today was spent in preparation for our vacation. Vacations are hard work!! I am the one who is responsible for remembering everything and packing for everyone, and it is a lot to do. I remember when I was growing up all I had to do was pack my little duffle bag of clothes, and a backpack of activities for the car- I had no idea how much work my mom had to do to get us ready to go. It seems each year we have more stuff, thank goodness we have a mini-van!

Well, we will be off tomorrow morning, hopefully around 4am. To all those who know, the island is cut off from any kind of modern amenities (electricity, flush toilets, Internet), so I will give you the full scoop when we return. Pray for us- safety in the car and on the island, and that all runs smoothly (you don't know what stress is until you are stranded on an island with no way to get back to the mainland), and that we will enjoy our time together as a family.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


We joined Pennbryn pool this summer and we have been going several times a week, during the day and evening (when Ed can join us after work). There is a baby pool with a whale slide/fountain, a midsized pool that goes from 2 1/2- 3 1/2 feet, and then the large pool that has swimming lanes, slides, and a diving board. We spend most of our time in the middle and baby pools. And although E enjoys swimming, she still refuses to put her face or head under. It is really frustrating, and nothing seems to work- bribery, threats, goggles- it doesn't change her mind. N is also resistant to getting too wet. He will happily play in the baby pool where he can stand by the side and pour water into buckets, and he will crawl all around the edge of the middle pool where the water overruns in a puddle onto the pavement, but he doesn't like going in deep and being submerged up to his shoulders. I have come to the conclusion that it is in the genes. I was fearful of water as a young child, and I must have passed that on to my children. I have seen other children half E's age dunk their heads under again and again, jump off the side, and splash around. This may be one of those things that they will outgrow, as I did, but it is hard to be patient and understanding. I don't know why I even give it a second thought. The kids are happy playing, and enjoy themselves when I am not trying to force them beyond their comfort level. I should just let them be, and when they are ready to move onto the next level, they will. I guess it just comes down to a pride issue on my part. I want them to have impressive swimming skills, so that I will then look good (as if it has anything to do with me!). So I guess I will relax these last few weeks of summer, and let my kids have fun doing what they want, and then try again next summer, and see if they are ready for the next step.

Friday, July 29, 2005

With one thing or the other, I hadn't been to the gym in about, oh, 5 months. So the plan was to start going again once we returned from California. I was further inspired after a brief conversation with E. We were sitting on the couch together, and she was taking one of my upper arms and kind of slap/smooshing it between her two hands. After 30 seconds of this she said, "Mommy, your arms feel like wet sand". I don't know what trait of wet sand she was thinking of--softness, moldability? She didn't quite know either, but she firmly pronounced them as "wet sand". Well, I have been faithfully getting the kids and myself out the door by 8 a few mornings a week so that I could go to the gym and resolve my wet sand issues. E just reassessed my arms , and to my dismay, said that they now remind her of jello. Great. I think I prefer wet sand.

Monday, July 25, 2005

There is a River

There is a river where mercy flows

I'm gonna follow where it goes

Where it goes, where it goes,

Follow wherever it goes.

There is a fountain that will cleanse

All those who wash there from all sins

From all sins, from all sins,

All those who wash from all sins.

There is a refuge for wounded souls

Where broken hearts will be made whole

Be made whole, be made whole,

Broken hearts will be made whole.

There was a death

That empties tombs

There was a scar

That heals all wounds

Heals all wounds, heals all wounds,

A scat that heals all wounds.

There is one name

That leads us home

It is no other than Christ alone

Christ alone, Christ alone,

No other than Christ alone.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

We have had friends, two couples, who have been pregnant together for the last 9 months. Today their two babies were born. The first one was a healthy baby girl, Lauren. And although I don't know the specifics, the second baby, Joshua, didn't survive the delivery.

There will be a service on Sunday, and although we have known about this for months, it doesn't make the reality any easier. All day long my thoughts and prayers have been on our friends, and for the moments they had with their baby.

In times like this I cling to the promise of heaven. One day Joshua's parents will be able to hold their little boy again, and he will be whole, perfect, made new. Without that promise, there is no glimmer of hope in the midst of this deep, deep, sorrow.

I Thessalonians 4:13-14

13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

15 Months

N just had his 15 month check up. Here are his stats: 28 1/4 inches long (2nd%), 21 pounds (10th%), head circumference 18 1/4 inches (63rd %). He is saying several words now. In addition to Mama, Dada, Ba-Ba (Bye-bye), he has added "Tck,tck,tck" (tickle-tickle, complete with fingers scrabbling all over his own belly), "Baa" (ball) and just this morning, "Woo" (Woof, as in "what does the doggy say?").

He is climbing up and down things- stairs, chairs, the rocking horse. Walking with our help, although hasn't graduated to the one-hand walk. And of course, crawling everywhere, always on the go.

Yesterday we had an in-home evaluation to see if he would be eligible for some county funded physical therapy. Four women came to our house and stayed for about 40 minutes to watch him play and interact. They were very pleased with what they saw. They said that his social, play, speech, fine motor and cognitive skills were great, right on target. And, as we knew, he is lagging behind in his large motor skills-- about 2-3 months behind. So he is operating at a 12-13 month level instead of 15 months. But to qualify for the program, he would have to be at 11 months or younger. All in all, it was a very encouraging visit. I think that if we had done this evaluation before the ear tubes, he would have qualified, but since he got them, he has shown so much progress and "catching up" in his development. The recommendation we got was to basically do everything we have been, and keep encouraging N to be on the move. If he isn't walking by 18 months, then give them another call, but I have a feeling he will be walking sometime in August.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Final Day

Some final pictures from our last day:

E and N playing

Alice on the beach

E and Grayson playing tag with the waves

The fireworks