Thursday, February 28, 2008

A dog's tale

Almost two weeks ago, Tony, the kids, and I went for a bit of a drive. The kids didn't know it, but we were going to pick up a puppy. No, no, no, NOT for us, for the farm! Last fall, Mac, the farm dog passed away, and Tony had been debating about going dogless or getting a replacement. Problems with four legged trespassers (namely deer) settled the debate.

We went to a farm about 20 minutes away where there were five adorable little pups. The litter actually had two fathers, so some of them had a bit of daschund mixed in, especially the one that I found the most adorable. However, we settled on a cute cream-colored dog that looked like it had a dark eye patch over each eye. My suggested name of "Bandit" was quickly shot down, as was Tony's suggestion of "Barney."

Then Luke decided the puppy should be named "Samson" -- he was going to grow up big and strong; plus, one of his favorite Easter movies is about a boy who wants to be a soldier, has a little sister, a cousin named Samuel, and a dog named Samson -- the similarities were eerie (haha!).

However, Grandpa and Grandma decided on a different name....Rudy. Years back, there was a previous farm dog named Rudy, and they decided this little guy would have the same name. Oh, it brought tears and foot stomps in our household and difficulty in explaining that "Samson" wasn't our puppy and since he belonged to Grandpa and Grandma, they decided he would be Rudy. To me, even with the explanation of the other Rudy, all I can think of when hearing Rudy is "Guiliani" -- and that makes me shudder (although not as bad as if he'd have been given Grandpa's middle name...Clinton!). Even Tony refers to him only as "the pup," telling me that he is having a hard time bringing himself to call him "Rudy."

But, Luke is understanding more that the puppy is Rudy...although he told me today that he doesn't like Rudy the puppy any more. We're working on that now. And he is a bit happier knowing that next time we get a farm dog (unless, God forbid!, Rudy meet an early demise), he will get to name him since we'll most likely be living at the farm then (may Rudy live a long and happy life!)...and he can name the next dog Samson.

I, of course, shot down Luke when he hopefully brought up, "Mama, there is a puppy at the farm, but we do not have a puppy at our house. We can get a puppy to live at our house! They said we can come back and get more puppies!" "Who will take care of him" "we will!" "Who will feed him, and what will you feed him?" (parents, never ask your child what they will feed a dog just after you told them dogs like to eat bones!)

Okay, we're not getting our own dog here at our house, and we are adjusting to Rudy's name...but he's still a cute little guy...and hopefully will live up to his predecessor's name and reputation...and Tony's expectations of keeping out the deer! Once he's bigger than the snow piles, that is....

Monday, February 25, 2008

What an awesome blessing!

I've written in the past about the Family Life Center our church has been building the past couple years. To recap, we are building an addition that would double the size of our church, increase classrooms (much needed!), have a full auditorium for the youth, a second kitchen, a "fire-side room," and lots of other much-needed space as Faith Baptist continues to grow in number. From the earliest planning stages, a huge commitment was made: We would never go in financial debt while building this addition and would only use what money was donated for this building project.

When Faith Baptist started, it was a pretty small church. When I first moved here, the original building was still in use for Sunday School rooms, attached to the much larger church building (it consisted of six rooms, a basement with a meeting room, a storage area, and a small bathroom). When the Family Life Center began being built, the building was separated and moved to the south west part of the parking lot, improvements made, and was renamed "The Chapel." It, like every bit of usable space in our church, is being used for classrooms, meetings, etc.

This past fall, it was brought up that another major item came up for repair on the Chapel -- the roof. Prayers were given, a collection was made, and most of the money was provided. Meanwhile, the work on the Family Life Center (FLC) continued as money was provided.

Less than a month ago, it was announced that stage one (the most expensive and time consuming part) of the FLC was completed...well under-budget due to donations of time and materials. All that was left was internal electric work, plumbing, internal flooring, painting, and a few other items. While a few rooms have been in use for some time now, it was expected that the FLC would be fully used by this summer, even while the other construction projects on it continued. That is, as long as the money would continue to be donated.

I do want to clarify that through this building and renovation project, we have never decreased our financial support for the church staff, we have increased the financial support for at least a dozen missionary families, we continue to care for aged, infirmed, and others in our church family and community, and we continue to financially support other church-based ministries. I don't say this to brag but to assure you that money has not been taken out of one pocket to provide to another.

Yesterday before the start of the sermon, our church body was told about a gift given to our church to be used where needed. We were blessed with a bequeathment of $85,000.00. Wow! What an awesome way God continues to bless us as we continue to seek His will, His direction, and have faith that He will provide!

Come visit us here at Faith Baptist some time. While I'd love for you to visit in person, you're welcome to check out our website, too! And please pray that we will continue to always use that which God has given to us in the way that He intends, in a way that will glorify Him.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

More favorite things....

Some of my favorite stores (most of which I can't shop at anymore, or at least not frequently, since I'm now in "northern" Minnesota!) -- and as a disclaimer, I am not one who usually enjoys shopping!

1. Trader Joe's (my cousin Liz just had a blog on TJs -- which triggered this whole blog!)

2. Cost Plus World Market

3. Bath and Body Works

How about you...what are some of your favorite places to shop?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A few of my (obvious) favorite things! (and one that isn't...)

Okay, and the one that ISN'T one of my favorite things is THIS WEATHER! Just when we think it may finally be warming up, we get another cold snap. The temperature this morning at 8:00 was -30. That is WITHOUT the wind chill. It is finally up to 0 right now, eight degrees warmer than what it was forecasted to be today!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A few of my favorite things...

Okay, every once in awhile (which means, whenever I can remember to do so), I'm gonna try and write a few of my favorite things.

1. A dear friend of mine in California enjoys tea just as much or even more than I do. I think one of my all-time favorite birthday presents came from Sheila back in 1995 (which I remember only because I still have the card with her present!). It is a book titled "If Teacups Could Talk" by Emilie Barnes. This is an awesome book filled with all kinds of tea recipes, traditions, decorative hints, and recipes for the delicacies that go with a "proper" tea along with themes, and all kinds of fun stuff!

2. Basic Scones: We had a mother/daughter tea several years ago at AWANA. What a blast! The leaders and I were busy with preparations of tea sandwiches, different teas, and this yummy staple to every "proper" tea. I've made these for breakfast (quick to whip up in the morning, 15 minutes from start to putting them in your mouth) a couple times this past month. Big hit!

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (Watkins' is aluminum-free and raises higher than any other I've seen)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (I've used skim with the same results)
lightly beaten egg

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Make a well in the center and pour in milk. Mix until dough clings together and is a bit sticky -- DO NOT OVERMIX (this will toughen the scones). Turn dough on lightly floured surface and shape into a 6-to-8 inch round about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into pie wedges (I do six wedges). Place on ungreased cookie sheet, being sure sides don't touch each other. Brush with egg. Bake 425 degrees for 10 to 20 minutes (I do 10 minutes in a convection oven -- perfection!) or until light brown.

3. Clotted cream: This doesn't sound great, but it is really yummy! Slice your scones and spoon some of this on, topping it with your favorite preserves (like Carter's strawberry freezer jam!). While you cannot find REAL English clotted cream in the States, this is a great substitute! Luke and Tony gobbled this up, Susanna wouldn't try it until we forced her to -- and the moment it hit her tongue, she was umming and ahing and talking about how yummy it was!

1/2 cup heavy cream or 8 ounces cream cheese (I use cream cheese)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream

Whip heavy cream until medium-stiff peaks form, adding sugar. Fold in sour cream and blend. OR, just stir cream cheese together with sugar and sour cream.

Our little family can wipe out a full batch of these lickety-split, warm from the oven, so plan accordingly for your family!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cool Story

This story was on our yahoo! home page under Minnesota news. Thought it was really cool!

White Bear Lake couple marks 83rd wedding anniversary
Associated Press

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn.—A couple from White Bear Lake celebrated 83 years of marriage Sunday, possibly setting a record.

The Guinness Book of World Records was researching the possibility that Clarence and Mayme Vail qualify as the longest-married couple alive.

"It's unbelievable," Mayme Vail told WCCO-TV.

Clarence Vail is 101 years old, and Mayme is 99. They were teenagers when they married in 1925, when Calvin Coolidge was president. And they've known each other even longer, meeting when they were in the 8th grade in Hugo, Minn.

"He had gone through the 8th grade in the other school, then he comes to our school—smart as a whip," said Mayme Vail, who still exercises and participates in Bible study classes at the assisted living center where the couple now resides.

The Vails had six grandchildren, 39 grandchildren and 101 great grandchildren. Mayme Vail said the key to a long marriage is patience and humility.

"You've got to admit you're wrong now and then," she said. "I've had to do it."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Birthday party!

Dreams come true cake
Cinderella cake
blowing out the candles
Following are some posts from Susanna's birthday party last night. These are of her cakes and the enjoyment she got from them. Next are photos of opening presents and some of her gifts. The last post from today are some of her guests. A good time was had by all! (I think...)

Birthday presents!

birthday girl with balloon and new shirt
opening presents
thanks, Samuel!
new vacuum
happy birthday!

Birthday party guests

Nicky and Grandma LaMae
Grandpa Carter
Uncle Jonathan, Aunt Julia, Samuel, Maggie Kay, Hazel
Grandma and Miss Brittany

Uncle Mark

Friday, February 15, 2008

She's Three!

One day old February 16, 2005
Six months old
First birthday party!
Second birthday party!
January 2008

At this time in 2005, I was not a comfortable woman. I was 9 months pregnant with a creature inside of me who persisted in dancing, spinning, and twirling around non-stop. And I still had two weeks until my due date, ugh! I'd been hoping I could hold out until my grandparents' anniversary, which is also my oldest nephew's birthday, but at this point, I just wanted this baby OUT! I'd already been in the hospital four times with false labor, and things weren't getting any better. Tony and I went bowling on January 12 in hopes that THAT would trigger labor...well, it did (false labor, that is!). We went out for supper on Valentine's day and followed that up with a swim at the farm...and again I could feel those contractions starting up.
We went in to the hospital AGAIN for the fifth time the afternoon of February 15. Doc sent me home at about 7:00 p.m. with a scheduled appointment for me the next morning to come in to be induced. We were all tired of the false labor and just wanted it over. Well, in a fore-warning of what was to come, that baby decided WE weren't going to pick the time of birth...not long after arriving home, I was begging Tony to take me back in -- my water broke and those pains were coming fast and hard! After convincing him this was finally the real thing, I was impressed with my law-abiding husband and the speeds he reached on the way to the hospital. Susanna Joy was born not too long after we arrived.
Susi still loves to spin, twirl, dance, and move non-stop as she started practicing while still in my womb. She still loves to throw everyone thru a loop by going on her own time table, and is still quite strong willed. But we love her, the enthusiasm she has, the love she has for all things pink, all babies, all princesses, and it's hilarious to see how she usually has the men in her life twisted around her little finger, whenever she beckons with her sweet smile. I'm thankful that she's as precious and beautiful on the inside as the reflection she has on the outside.
Happy birthday, princess sweet pea! I love you forever!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Catching up....

Wow, things have been really hopping here. Last week, I was in Ohio for a few days for training on becoming Greenstar Cooperative's newest sales rep here in Minnesota. Came back with a really bad sinus infection and chest cold -- those pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the week.

On Friday night and a good part of Saturday, Tony and I took part in a conference at church on Emerson Eggerichs' book "Love and Respect." Wow! I would recommend both this book and the conference (it was a video conference) to ANYONE, whether you are married or not. I was impressed at the number of single folks who our pastor noted, it is an excellent study, even if you never do get married, as it will show you how to better communicate and work with the opposite sex in God's family. Tony and I came away from the weekend with so much great information that we've both been putting in to practice already.

Sunday was church, rest, then rushing around to finish last minute things before we left for the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference and Trade Show in St. Cloud. Tony has taken over teaching Sunday School for the 3-year-olds at church and is really enjoying it. The kids also are loving having him for a teacher. It's funny...there are times at home that Luke will refer to him as "Mr. Carter"! We also had a great sermon Sunday about the sanctity of life as Pastor Marty is continuing a mini-series on that topic. Sunday he focused on the importance of life and the continuing threat of "mercy killings" and other such things. Just because a life may not be deemed as "valuable" does not mean it isn't in God's eyes. Marty is a very good one to talk about this topic as he had a sister who lived nine years before going home to Jesus. She was born severely retarded with about every health issue that you could imagine. Never progressed mentally beyond 3-months of age, waking up every night several times for feedings, etc. And yet Nancy profoundly touched the lives of not only her four brothers (one of whom passed away also during the "growing up" years), parents, and extended family, but also the many workers who were employed at their family farm, the church members (most of who were extended family!), and everyone in contact with their family. I did miss the last ten minutes or so of his message as Susanna needed to go out for a potty break.

And yes! Susanna is almost potty trained, yippee! We've got the messy part down and just have to remember to also do the wet stuff in the potty.... I'd tried all kinds of incentives in the past few months and nothing worked (unlike for Luke who LOVES incentives!). Nothing worked, that is, until the "princess dresses." Susanna LOVES being a princess, and once she realized she would be allowed to wear one of her fancy princess dresses (her three favorites are her Belle dress, Sleeping Beauty dress, and Barbie ballarina dress) each time she did her messy business in the potty, she pretty much lives in her princess dresses. I'm not sure who was more excited at this new stage in her life...for her, it's just no big deal. For Tony and me, it's the end of dirty diapers, yippee! And yet for her brother, well, he just loves to brag on her. "Mama, that girl just did poopy in the potty! Isn't that WONDERFUL? Good job, Susanna! You're so big!"

Monday about 1:30 p.m., we headed down to St. Cloud. Bekah and Laura Schrader, two young ladies from church, came with us to keep watch over the kids and keep them occupied as Tony would be attending the conference and I would be participating in the trade show the whole time. Well, it was like we no longer existed. Even when they came to visit me in the trade show (once!), Luke and Susanna were much more interested in getting back to the hotel room to play with Bekah and Laura than in even seeing me and/or Tony! Well, that is, until Luke noticed the John Deere booth right next to me. I'd warned Jim, the JD rep, that once my kids saw his gator, it'd be hard to get them off. Jim assured me that he had grandkids, understood, and didn't care if they were on the gator the entire time. Little did he know.... Luke came down, saw me, "hi mama!" then got huge eyes as he gasped, "Oh, Mama!" Heaven. We also had a little incident Monday night when we headed down to the swimming pool and Susanna had her first accident off the potty in the kiddie pool. I headed down later than everyone else...I'd been setting up my booth at the trade show and got back to the room in time to go to supper, then they all wanted to go swimming. Tony took all four kids down while I unpacked and got us all settled in the suite. By the time I came down, I noticed some floatie stuff in the kiddie pool, told Tony to keep them out of it as "some kid" had an accident. He looked at me and asked, "are you sure it wasn't one of our kids?" while nodding towards Susanna. I pulled her suit aside and discovered, to my horror, it WAS one of our kids....and while he suspected, he did nothing about it!!!!!! I took her back up to the room to get her cleaned up, and all the while reminding her we do NOT do poopy in swimming pools! I was pretty cool and collected, although there were a couple times I did sigh, "Oh, Susanna!" to which she'd reply, "Oh, Mama!" before starting in with "Mama, it was just a terrible accident. How could this have happened? Oh, my! Why do you think I did that? How can we make everything all clean again? Oh, dear, what did I do?" I was fighting back the laughter by then...and we both agreed it was a good lesson learned. I did call the front desk but couldn't bring myself to be completely honest....just told them we took our kids down to the swimming pool and it looked as if someone's child used the toddler pool for a bathroom....

The trade show was great! John told me anything above zero would be good results, and I did have fifteen people who had great interest in Greenstar and our products. Several others also took my business card to get more information (or not?) in the future. We'll see how many actually do become customers, but I'm confident I will be getting some commission checks from Greenstar this summer!

We got home last night (Wednesday) and had just enough time for Tony to transfer Luke's car seat to the car before he, the girls, and I headed in to church for AWANA. By that time, we were getting a good snowfall, which we need, but the snow was coming down almost sideways, due to a light wind. It made the driving terrible and me very nervous. Things were even worse on the way home as the snow didn't let up, the roads (even the highway) weren't plowed, and the snow was higher than the bottom of my car all the way home. I thanked God continually that sometime before someone else had driven the same route as we took, at least giving me tire treads to follow....I literally could not see the road or the ditches on either side. I was apprehensive about turning on our street...a very short drive as we're the first driveway, as I wasn't sure if I'd be able to actually get the road without miscalculating and driving into the very deep really was that bad. But! As I turned on our road, I again thanked God that someone else had driven that way not too long before we did! And I thought about how relaxed Luke was in the back, chattering and singing away about AWANA, not having one clue about how dangerous the conditions were around us, complete trust in me. And it reminded me yet again about how I really need to have complete trust in the One who is taking care of put aside those worries and cast all my cares on Him.

Today is Valentine's day, the first time my kids are understanding a bit about today. We never focused on it before, and probably wouldn't have this year had the Cubbies not had a Valentine's Day theme last night. We did end up making heart-shaped sugar cookies, heart-shaped jiggler jellos, and we'll have heart-shaped noodles for supper tonight. Luke and Susanna continuously look at each other telling each other "I love you!" And Luke got his first Valentine.

We have a little girl a few months younger than Luke at church. Her name is Nicky, and for those of you who know LaMae, she is sorta kinda LaMae's granddaughter. I say "sorta kinda" because she is not the biological child of LaMae's son, but he and his wife are raising her. Well, she adores Luke and tells everyone she knows that she is going to marry Luke one day. Luke loves Nicky, but doesn't get the whole romantic thing...she's just really fun to be with, loves to play with him, and isn't mean....all homeruns in his book! A couple weeks back, Nicky came to church with her hair all fancied up in curls and proudly showed her new look to Luke who responded in typical little boy fashion. It crushed her feelings to the point where she went home and told Ron (LaMae's son) that she was afraid Luke had someone else now since he didn't like her any more. Ron told me Nicky is already thinking of ways to get him interested in her again so that she can get him to marry her when they get older. Arg! Already, at age 4!!!! Oh my.... Well, that did get me curious, so I asked Luke if Nicky was still his friend. He informed me that of course she was! I asked him, again out of curiosity, if he was going to marry her when he got big. "Oh, no, Mama. I'm going to marry Bekah!" And just giggled and blushed. I told Bekah she may be the very first bride would could honestly say she changed her husband's diapers when he was a baby!

And in closing...for now, that is! My husband did good for Valentine's day. He informed me early on that I needed to let him know what are important days for me, days that I want even more attention than what he usually gives me (and he is already wonderful in that area). Christmas. Anniversary. Birthday. Valentine's day. I kept the list short and sweet. And it isn't as if I'm asking for "stuff." But I do love cards from him, especially when he adds his own artwork (he is a wonderful artist!). Boy, was I embarrassed after sitting down to check email this afternoon when he finally had to ask, "did you notice anything different about the keyboard?" He'd tucked a Valentine's card (modified) between the upper keys for me! Ah, my Valentine! I love you, honey!!!

P.S. If you've not read Jane's blog lately, click on it and catch up -- the link is to the side of this blog. She's been reminicing about days of yore, early on in her almost 54 years of marriage. Wonderful memories! And while on her blog, click on the link for Brownie -- while this person wishes to remain annonymous, it is someone close to Jane and her blog recounts a miraculous story of what she and her husband went through, and miracles God provided, during a double organ transplant not too long ago. Also catch up on the funny antic's of Martha's boys, Laurel's Spirit Week (under Liz's blog) along with some great recipe's Liz has posted, and the even busier life of Karen. What awesome women God has placed in my life! Oh, and while she doesn't have a blog and doesn't always read my blog on a regular basis, happy 50th birthday to my wonderful sister-in-law! I LOVE YOU!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Hi all! We've been super busy as I've started my training and new adventure with Greenstar Cooperative in Ohio -- just came back from doing a trade show at the MN Fruit & Vegetable Conference in St. Cloud, an event Tony and/or his father tries to get to each year -- good results, we'll see how this all REALLY results in the upcoming months...and I'll blog more about it later. Super tired, missed writing about "regular" happenings, and we still have several busy days this week (including Susanna's third birthday party on Friday with cousin Maggie Kay's birthday party on Saturday...her birthday is actually today).

More later!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Okay, just when we thought we'd finally be getting a bit warmer weather, we realized...nope, not for awhile! Once again, the temperatures are subzero. On the weather report tonight at 10:00, they reported that the entire state of Minnesota was below zero. Right now, the temperature is 15 below with a windchill of minus 40. ARG!!!!

At least we aren't in Alaska. Friends at church today told us that their friends up there are reporting temperatures of 70 below. I asked if that was wind chill, and Jim told me they never even factor wind chill in when reporting temperatures.

Snuggle time!!!!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Life in the Carter House

I have despaired in ever having a clean house again (wait, does that sentence make grammatical sense, Liz? help me out!). I have an almost 3-year-old and a 4-year-old and some grandparents that love to fill our house with all kinds of STUFF (we've had a talk...hopefully, it's changing....although lots of our current stuff will be going to a local charity rummage sale...). Oh, we've also moved two full sets of toys (gears and Rescue Heroes) down to the Blakes' home since they're back in the Phillippines for now.
It was nice being gone Sunday thru Tuesday this week as I could go without seeing the mess, figuring Tony would take care of it each day. I was delighted when I got home Tuesday night to a very clean, freshly vacuumed floor, clean kitchen, etc....then Tony told me they didn't clean anything up until Tuesday night! He figured, "why bother before?" Arg!!!! I told him, it's good discipline for the kids to learn to pick up after themselves daily, keep things tidy....then he wanted to know why my philosphy didn't apply to OUR room. I'm still trying to come up with an answer......

Here are a few shots of what our main living area looks like EVERY DAY. The kids clean up every night before bed time and occasionally during the day when I finally cannot take the mess any more.

One of the things Luke enjoys doing is emptying out all of his toys into the middle of the floor. Just because. Susanna lately has started taking after her brother (although there are many times he just goes to her toys and starts emptying them out....just because.).

Well, at least they clean up after themselves (with constant prodding....) Hard to believe I've always had a neat, orderly, organized home and life....before kids. I'd say I wouldn't change a thing, but it would be so nice to have at least one area always clean and organized!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Blast from the past...

Aunt Kath, Tio Jorge and their beautiful flower girls

Martha, Traci, Dianne, Liz, Me (Linda)

No idea wherethis was, but the date was 1975. From the far left...
Roger, Liz, Martha, me, Tim with Ron behind him, Karen, Traci
back row: Tim, Liz, me, Mar, Ron
middle row: Roger, Terra? Traci, Karen
front row: Dianne? Phil?
back row:

back rown: Endre, Peg, Russ, Phil, Adena, Liz, Martha, Karen, Carole, Ralph, Bonnie, Ken
front row: me, Ron, Tim, Kath, Traci, Grandma, Roger, Grandpa, Aunt Janet, Rich, Mark

Years ago, my Aunt Kath sent me a great letter which included many old photos scanned on to one sheet. I carefully scanned each one into an individual file and thought I'd share some of them with you. This was an especially treasured letter as all of our old family photos burnt in a house file more than 25 years ago. The quality is poor, but the memories are dear....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Getting ready to leave for a few days...

Well, I'm getting ready to fly to Ohio for some job training for two days. I am both eager and apprehensive. Eager to start my new venture, eager to have almost three full days of no preschoolers fighting and screaming -- yet apprehensive about being without my family during that time. I think I can speak for most if not all mothers of young children when I say that it's hard to even imagine a day without some kind of battle of wills, without the arguing, without the mess that's created in the blink of an eye...

Tony is an awesome father -- he does so much more than most dads do, partly because he doesn't have an "office job" and can pop in and out of the house throughout the day when he has time and can take the kids with him to "work" on the farm at times. He doesn't mind changing diapers. He does bath time. He will often get breakfast for the kids while I steal a few more minutes in bed or check email in the morning or catch up with some accounting or other such work.

But he's not a mom. I worry...will he remember to put menthol-camphor salve on Susanna's chest at bed time if she continues to be sniffly? Will he give hugs and kisses when "owies" happen, even when they're just imagined? How will he deal with Luke if Luke gets on his "I only want Mama" kick that he occasionally has been pulling during the day? Susanna has been terribly fickle and willful lately (early training for teen years? early doses of hormones?) -- will he be able to stay loving and patient and understanding while at the same time not letting her run the show (okay, I often have problems with this one myself!)? Will he be able to deal with them by himself during church? He's a sound sleeper...what if one of them wakes up with a bad dream and cries during the night....or gets sick....will he hear them? Will they get well-balanced meals (I have everything in the fridge for him to fix...quick and easy and stuff they all like, like venison). What's going to happen when he has to run down to the farm in the evenings to stoke up the furnace and check on the animals before bedtime...when the kids are already in bed? I remember when I was at a conference last year and got snowed in an extra day...and some of the things he experienced. For a mom, we're used to dealing with that stuff (even if we don't want to)....for anyone else, it's often a shocking eye-opener on what a child can do/damage/get into in a very short amount of time.

Then there is the husband part of this. I'm gonna miss Tony even though it's "just" about three days that I'll be gone. Who is going to snuggle me at night? Keep me warm on those cold nights (although Ohio IS predicting warm weather in the upper 40s while I'm there!)? Look at me and laugh at the different antics the kids pull, the funny things they say? Help me stay sane just by being so stable and constant? Who will rub his back as he is falling asleep? Yeah, we survived over 35 years of being on our own, but we haven't HAD to be on our own for almost five years now!

How do couples who have one spouse that travels manage to survive this? I have a friend at church who has seven children....her husband is a trucker and she did most of the child-rearing and home maintenance herself -- how did she manage it?

If you remember, pray for us while I'm gone...that I'll have safe travels, that the kids will be well-behaved, that Tony will get much accomplished with his work AND my work while I'm gone.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Now for Luke

Lining up the Philistines
getting the sling ready...
What did I do????
Tired little Indian...

Here are some shots of Luke from January. Luke got a David and Goliath set for his birthday and loves to play Israelites and Philistines! It's so funny watching him line them all up then have them go after each other. He also loves acting out the David and Goliath story, preferably with Daddy, and they'll quote whole passages of scripture at each other (Am I a dog that you come against me with a stick? Do you defy the Lord God of Israel? -- Luke is usually Goliath so that he can wear his armor while fighting....after all, Saul's armor was too big for David to wear!). He also has created his own sling shot...a shoe string with a foam bead on it for a stone (he also carries around another four "stones" since David had five stones with hime). He discovered a foam bead made the best stone when, one day, he was twirling his "sling shot" around, having used some small round plastic toy with a hole in it for a stone when he bonked himself in the head. Thankfully, the end result was NOT the same as it was in the Bible!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The many sides of Susanna...and playing "Jesus"

Princess Susi
I put on make-up by myself!
God's soldier
Lil artist
My wild indians

My kids love to play pretend. Above are a few shots of Susanna in some of her favorite roles.
Two of their favorite things to pretend are being Laura and her family (from the My First Little House books...all of which Luke pretty much has memorized) and "being Jesus."
Let me explain. Our kids have always been fascinated with the Easter story from the time we started using the Resurrection Eggs last year. We got a video from church called The Easter became such a huge favorite that after checking it out about ten times, we finally got our own copy. They cry when Jesus is beaten and put on the cross, they cheer when the empty tomb is found, they get so excited when they realize that JESUS IS ALIVE!
A couple weeks ago, Tony and I watched, amused but even more fascinated, as they acted out the story of Christ's death and resurection. First, Luke started by bending Susanna over and "beating" her back with his favorite blankie, just like Christ was bruised for our transgressions. He then "crucified" her by putting her on the ground, spreading her hands, and carefully threading some shiny red pipe cleaners between her fingers so it would appear that blood was falling from her hands. He then repeated his actions with a silver pipe cleaner at her feet, "nailing" her feet to the cross. Meanwhile, she was quietly moaning and whimpering (acting, honestly!) while Luke called her "King of the Jews" and said "Crucify Him!" After "nailing" her to the "cross," he then lead her to the "tomb," some chairs that were side by side," laid his blankie over her (linen clothes), and place a "stone" (his toy storage bin) in front of the grave. A few moments later, she popped out shouting "I'm alive!" as Luke happily joined her in shouting, "Jesus is alive! He isn't dead!"
I was frustrated that the video camera isn't recording right now and we couldn't get it on tape...but they've acted out this little scene several times. They also take turns in the different roles.
My heart sings when I see them portraying in such depth and with such accuracy their favorite stories of the Bible (there are others they act out, too)...and I am thankful they are ingraining these images into their minds. I am also very thankful that both are careful not to hurt the other while "whipping" them with the blanket, "nailing" the other to the cross, or "laying" each other in the tomb!
Susanna also loves to be "Mary" and has a doll that is "Jesus." I've wrote about this earlier...and there are still many times when she gets bored that "Jesus" goes flying across the room. She, however, keeps on her "Mary" garb while going about her every day business.