Sunday, November 29, 2009
Anyway, here are some of the shots...
Wait a minute!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
It certainly was not a quiet trip... but it was definitely fun!
Other highlights, besides the turkey dinner, from this trip included:
walks around the property, many, many visits to the gameroom (air hockey, ping pong and foosball tournaments!), multiple sports/games (football, basketball, soccer, tennis), indoor crafts and sing-alongs, and family games. "Three on a couch" was a big hit (girls rule, guys drool!), as was the ever-popular Bowl game and Imaginiff.
One of the not-so-high-lights for Pete and me, though, was the fact that Miles refused to sleep at this place, unless he was being held, and even then it was iffy. We asked him if his teeth hurt, or his ear hurt, or what. He didn't answer us, though.. When Colsen popped in 4 or 5 times to our Full-size bed, the 4 of us all "enjoyed" some cozy, albeit mostly sleepless time.
Oh well, the days were fun anyway!
(Thanks to Al for all the photos from this trip! Forgot my camera)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
One of the first things I put on the list was EXTRA FISH. This has nothing to do with our big, anticipated dinner, but I do think it's a good Thanksgiving story anyway.
I was reading in John 21 about Jesus' encounter with His disciples after He came back to life. While the guys were out fishing all night, and not catching anything, Jesus came to the shore near where they were (He loves suprise parties), and they noticed him, but didn't know it was HIM. I can just picture Him chuckling as He tells them to put their nets back in on the right side (as if they hadn't already tried that a bunch of times!).
And then maybe He laughed full out when He saw their faces as their catch was so big they couldn't even haul the net in. The disciples had not been in danger of starving -- in fact there was already some other fish cooking for them on the beach by the time they got in. And they certainly didn't need all 153 fish. But I think God just gets a kick out of over-blessing us sometimes.
That's how I feel this Thanksgiving. Not only has He given me fish when I've needed it, but so many times He's also given me an extra 152 fish -- just because His love and His generosity are SO BIG.
I'm thankful to serve this kind of God.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Then, during the summer I lived in Oxford, England, I attended an Anglican church (seemed to be the appropriate thing to do!), and discovered something weird: the Spirit was actually very much alive in this church, despite – or perhaps in accordance with? – the liturgical style of the services! It was a very eye-opening experience for me.
A few years later, after Pete and I were married, we attended a couple of different Episcopal-now-Anglican churches, and experienced the same phenomenon – the liturgy and traditions of the worship services were beautiful, alive, and in fact very meaningful. Church tradition became very intriguing and attractive to us; it was both comforting and exciting to think that we were saying the same words, and doing some of the same things that had been said and done for centuries. In this time where new churches are springing up all over the place, with new philosophies, styles, perspectives, etc., it was refreshing to find a bedrock of thought that had stood the tests of time and place.
Soon thereafter we discovered the joy of celebrating seasons such as Advent and Lent, of marking our days and weeks according to the Church calendar. For us, it has helped to sharpen the focus of our family on the Truths beyond what our culture teaches. Marking certain seasons like this, setting apart those weeks as special and different, has allowed me to personally realign and re-set. And by doing special activities with the kids during these seasons, they begin to see more about how significant the Events we’re celebrating are.
Advent, especially, the time of Waiting for the Coming (both for Christ as a baby, and also His second coming), is an exciting time to share as a family. Each year we’ve added to and/or changed how we celebrate this season, but here are a few of our favorite things we’ve done so far:
1.) Make an advent wreath on the first Sunday of Advent. We go to our local Christmas tree seller and ask if we can just have some of the scrap branches, and they always give them to us for free. We put them on our foam ring, add candles, and voila – a beautiful-smelling wreath. Throughout the season we then light the appropriate candles at dinner, and try to have extra family times on Sundays to talk about each theme for the week.
2.) Make 2 Advent paper chains. Each day the kids can take a ring off each of the chains. One has a particular person or family to pray for that day, and the other has a Scripture passage we read together during our dinner/wreath time, which coincides with that week’s theme.
3.) Watch Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem: For the younger kids especially, it’s been fun for them to try and find Mary and Joseph each morning as they make their way around our house, headed towards to the Nativity scene we’ve set up. (We hide them each night after the kids go to bed… if we remember!) Then after Christmas, the Wise Men begin their trek, to end on Epiphany.
4.) Celebrate St. Nicholas Day. This has become one of our family’s favorite holidays. In the past we’ve had friends over, had a Moroccan meal, decorated Gingerbread men, and then hung out the kids’ stockings after they go to bed. This year we’re planning on doing more St. Nick-type activities as we try to do some anonymous things for people in need. One of our plans involves some “candy-caning” of peoples’ yards… the kids think anything that involves sneaking around in the dark is FUN!
There are, of course, many other opportunities to do things outside the home – so many concerts, celebrations, etc. – but these are just a few of the things we do within our family, to commemorate this Season of Hope!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
In addition to this alarming piece of information, the author also presented this nice tidbit: the more we multitask, the more our brains actually change shape physically… and it was insinuated that this change was not one for the better. Therefore, he very evenly and rationally proposed, we would be much benefited if we simply just did one thing at a time, focusing solely on it until its completion.
As I read this, alarm bells started going off in my head as I recognized the effects of this phenomenon in my own life. My thoughts/words were something like:
“DING! DING! That’s just what – Rayna, stop pushing him – my problem – Colsen you can’t put that on your face! – is when I – DING! DING! What? I mean when I multi – Shoot, Strider can you pull that off the stove before it boils over? – DING! Is that the microwave? Or the washing machine? What was I doing here in this room?”
Eventually, though, I had enough pieces of thoughts to finally string them together into one coherent conclusion: THANKS A LOT BUDDY. I believe your hypothesis – that my neurons are exhausted with all their constant firing up and firing down as I switch from one thing to the next (times a million). And while that does give me some explanation for why they are all sweaty and complaining all the time (and are they setting up sleeping bags under my eyes to rest? That would explain THAT issue as well), it also plunges me into despair, because I cannot hope to attain the solution: focusing on one thing at a time.
The chipper author matter-of-factly just set about his day, from thence forth, striving to do one thing at a time. He ate his breakfast, drank his coffee, turned on his computer, did some writing, read the newspaper, etc… all in a nice peaceful succession.
If I tried doing just one thing at once, one or more members of this family would be in great peril, something we were planning to eat would burn, we would completely run out of clothes to wear, AND my children would be illiterate forever, among about 782 other negative outcomes. Moms have no choice; we must switch-task at the approximate rate of 37 things/second, or bad things happen.
I can’t even load the dishwasher after a meal from start to finish anymore. In the 6 minutes it takes to put the dishes in, I have to stop about 3 times to move Miles away from the dishwasher as he tries to put the dirty knives in his mouth, twice to call Strider to come play with Miles in another room, once to go help Colsen in the bathroom, once to answer the phone, and 16 times to tell kids to stop doing something. Not only are my neurons getting a workout, but my hands are dried to the texture of leather by the time I finish re-washing them 22 times in that span of 6 minutes.
Even my simple skincare routine is not possible in my current state of life. According to this “routine” I am supposed to put one potion on my face in the morning, let it dry, then put another lotion on. In the span of 2 minutes that it takes for the first to dry, it is very likely that I will have had to: start a load of laundry, wash the hardened toothpaste off the kids’ sink, make 2 beds, start breakfast, get 2 people dressed, and checked my email. Needless to say, that 2nd step gets forgotten about 80% of the time. So now I’m walking around without sunscreen!
My neurons are exhausted, my hands are leathery, my face will soon be leathery, and my brain is now incapable of composing and expressing a complete thought all in a row. And they say motherhood isn’t glamorous?
I guess it’s good to know what the diagnosis is anyway, even if I can’t do anything about my multitasking inefficiency. And the other good news is that even though I don’t have time to give my body a workout these days, at least my neurons are getting a massive one. If it doesn’t kill them, that is. I need to go get some Neuron Gatorade.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
And then when Miles pulled a pile of large serving bowls out of the cabinet and dropped them on the floor so that 3 of them broke, before I had even made breakfast, I thought, "Lord, I am pretty sure I am going to need YOUR strength today."
And, yes it was an interesting day, and yes, I did need the Lord's strength.
For example, I sent the kids out in the backyard this afternoon, and 20 minutes later I heard them all troop back in, and the first words out of Strider's mouth was, "We're all going up for showers, Mom." I didn't even want to look.... I knew my next hour had just been spoken for. And I was right!
Later in the afternoon I walked in to find this scene:
Hmmmm... I was trying to think about how I could make the most of this, but then of course before I could even turn around, here was how it looked:
(Miles on the left and Titus on the right!).
So all is good.
P.S. I was just telling Pete on the phone that Titus is getting so big -- even though he's 5 months younger than Miles, he seems like he's almost as tall. Pete's reply was, "No way -- Miles could kick his butt." Nice.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
And he also has some fun little quirky things he does -- like crawling over to us and then sticking his butt up in the air as a "sign" that he wants to picked up. He also does a funny little hand-sign when he wants to eat - -purely instinctual, not learned. (It's interesting to me, though, because it's the same sign I've taught the other kids in previous years. It must be a universal instinct!)
And his latest little habit is wanting to engage people in conversation, unbothered by the fact that he only knows one word: "AAAA." That is what he's saying in these pictures:
He likes to have this conversation with anyone he can make eye contact with... needless to say, he was a little loud during church on Sunday.
...but most of the time he is miles of smiles!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Miles has always been our good sleeper… until the past month or 2. Now he likes to wake up everyday between 5 and 6:30, and sometimes a few times during the night as well. Usually he just wants hugs, so it’s hard to get angry, and we usually end up bringing him into bed with us, which he greatly enjoys.
And often Colsen comes in at some point of the wee hours to announce he’s either a.) cold, b.) hungry, or c.) thirsty. We can usually just persuade him to lie back down – but usually he insists he must stay with us, too.
On the nights when Pete and I are both squished in with 2 children laying either on top of each of us, or between us, we start whispering about how it might be nice after all to have a king-sized bed. One morning recently I woke up to find that Pete was gone (having long since surrendered any hope of sleep), and Miles, Colsen and Rayna were all sleeping next to me.
Rayna spends many nights on our floor. Sometime after midnight she must trudge in with her pillow and blanket, or sometimes without them, and lies face-down on our floor just inside our door. We’ve had to be careful to not trip over her when we’re going to rescue a screaming Miles.
Strider, thankfully, does not awaken us during the night much anymore (although now that I just wrote that, I’m pretty sure he will tonight), but he does plague us with his hyper-ness until sometime between 9:30 and 10:30 every night. That boy does not need much sleep.
But I do. And somehow I keep acting like an idiot night after night. It is some sort of unhealthy feedback loop wherein I am so tired I do not think straight, so every evening I want to stay up late! I can rarely physically make myself lie down before 11 pm, and on weekends Pete will almost always hear me whine, “But you can’t go to sleep at 10:00! It’s the weekend for crying out loud!” -- as if my children actually slept in on the weekend.
So we are foolish, sleep-deprived managers of this household… But we should get positive points, at least, for having an “open door” policy, even at night. I distinctly remember hearing in my business classes that that was a good thing for managers to have. Of course those excellent managers probably were able to go home and shut the door for some sleep at night…. Unless they had kids, too.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Since his games went from 8:30 am until 2 pm, our day was pretty much sucked up by the tournament. So, my house continues to be uncleaned and my life continues to be unorganized.... but it was a relaxing day anyway. :) Dan, Amy, Kai and Addie came for part of the marathon tourney and the cousins got to play together for a bit.
What a beautiful weekend!! As Colsen says, "Thank you God for making these beautiful leaves for us!"
Friday, November 13, 2009
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing." - Zeph 3:17
Thursday, November 12, 2009
And the results:
We ended up making some fall decorations out of the leaves...
So it was a fun way to spend an afternoon.... although trying to scrape all the dried wax droplets off the stovetop the next afternoon was not as much of a fun time. Live and learn I guess!