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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Once upon a time, Bruce met Lynn....

.... and 42 years later, this is what happened!


The whole gang, together for Thanksgiving.

(And Mom and Dad don't even look very tired!)

Scenes from Thanksgiving

The preparations begin!
Potato peelers in action!

<--- Sweet Addie

Some cousin time

 The newly expanded Drescher clan
 Sampling all the dishes (we had a side-dish competition with 2 categories, veggie and starch)
<---  Uncle John imposing his Uncle Food Tax at the Kids' Table

 <--- The Adults' table
<--- Aunt Amy visiting the Smallest Kids' Table
On the car ride home:
It was a wonderful day!  I was thankful for many things...  One of the best things, though, was having all 4 grandparents there.  (Pete's parents are here visiting)  And it was great to have the whole Wray family gathered together... each time we get together there are more of us!

I was especially thankful that Mom was able to be the Hostess Extraordinaire once again.  Shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, I heard about another mother in about the same life circumstances who received a similar diagnosis... and she died just a few months later.  So I am extremely grateful to have Mom here, as healthy and glowing as ever.  The whole family is so blessed to have such a radiant and generous matriarch!

It was definitely a Thanksgiving to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thing I am Really Thankful for

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?
Who can ever praise Him half enough?"

    --- Psalm 106:1-2

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Random things I'm thankful for: Leaf raking, jumping and crafts

Grandpa and Gee-Gee arrived today!  We spent the afternoon playing...



Happy to have a fun Fall time with Grandpa and Gee-Gee!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random things I am thankful for: my clothesline

(NOTE:  Pete read this post and proclaimed it "over the top" -- and I completely agree.  I thought about changing it, but then decided it's true to how I feel, dramatic and all.  But, be warned that reading the following will likely be considered a waste of time.  Writing it, however, was fun for me.)

I have a bewildering obsession with my clothesline. Over the summer I had Pete install some hooks on trees for me, with the intention that I would save some money by not using the dryer. I figured the novelty would soon wear off, and my natural laziness would kick in, so I was glad that it was a small investment at least. The idea was just to use it on the hot summer days, and even if I only did it a few times, hey, that was a few dollars saved.

But what has developed is some sort of mysterious passion between this piece of rope and me (probably only a one-way affection, I realize). Each morning when I wake up, I roll over, look out the window, and determine whether this will be a clothesline day or not. Living in lovely, sunny N.C., I am rarely disappointed to find I will have use the dryer. And then, once my feet hit the floor, one of my first actions of the day is to quickly get clothes into the washer, so I can maximize outdoor drying time.

Why? Why do I enjoy this? I told Pete recently that I feel like hanging clothes out is one of the most feminine things I do.  In the rest of the dishwasher-loading, blender-running, microwaving, vacuuming life I lead, I can easily start feeling like a machine myself, but the irony of it all is that when I am doing the most old-fashioned, non-machine-oriented chore of my day, I feel most like a woman, connected to women in generations past who dried their clothes in this way. (Believe me, this desire to be connected to eras-gone-by only goes this far; I have no desire to start washing my clothes down on the rocks, or carry water in from the well so I can wash dishes.)

And there is something very sense-full about hanging out the clothes. For the 7 minutes that I am in the yard doing this, I am quiet. Most of the noise is still inside (occasionally a child or two will follow me out, but not usually). I can actually hear the birds sing, the neighborhood clock tower chimes, the wind blowing the leaves. I can feel the breeze, or the crunchy grass beneath my feet. And my eyes are pleased by seeing all the sweet little body-less clothes of my children hanging neatly in a row, being sanitized by the wondrous power of the sun. In the evening, when all the clothes are back inside, I love the way they smell – of the outside, clean and fresh.

There are other reasons to love my clothesline:
-the opportunity to either drill myself on the most efficient way to line things up, or to give my brain a break and mindlessly do the menial task;
-the chances it occasionally gives me to chat with my neighbor over the fence who is taking a cigarette break;
- the way it enables me to “save the environment”;
-and, certainly not least in the list, the way I can save money by not using my dryer!

But probably, realistically speaking, one of the reasons I love my clothesline the most is because I don’t have to use it. I do have that dryer back-up, and can switch back to that method at any time. I am thankful that connection to the women of yore only goes so far. :)

My joy in the hanging may wane soon -- perhaps when the weather gets too cold -- but for now I feel like starting a p.r. campaign:  "Clotheslines:  good for the environment, good for your soul."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random things I am thankful for: baby laughter

video
(If you are wondering, I am making funny faces at him behind the camera.)

Another, related thing I'm thankful for:  baby language.   Miles has one of the cutest baby words I've ever heard:  for "snack" he clicks his tongue on the roof of his mouth.  He sounds like a squirrel.  But he's trained us well and we know exactly what he means when he clicks!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Many, many birds

While I was in New Jersey this week, I kept spotting several different flocks of hundreds of birds each, either all flying together, or all sitting in a field together.  I love seeing large flocks of birds!  (I have never seen the classic movie that apparently freaks out a lot of people so they don't like large flocks of birds.)  I think it's thrilling to watch them all soaring or swooping or standing watch together. 

So when I kept seeing thousands of birds in NJ, I commented on it to Keiko and John, while I was riding in their car.  I told them how excited I had been in the past when a huge group of birds had landed in our backyard.  (Strider says I tell that story too often.) 

Well, on Thursday, the very next day after I came home from this trip, the kids and I were sitting reading together on the couch, and I found myself reading louder and louder because a background sound was getting louder and louder.  Eventually I realized it wasn't actually any of the kids making that noise -- it was coming from the backyard!  And...  I'm sure you can guess the punchline here... it turned out to be a huge flock of birds!   Once again they had chosen our yard as a stopover on a big flight, I guess, and I was so happy to host them.

I scrounged around for the video camera, finally found it, and went out to get some footage.... but it really doesn't do the scene justice. There were probably thousands and thousands of birds in all the trees of our yard, and they stayed for a long time. Such a racket they made! Here's a small clip as a little portion of them flew from one spot to another:





video

Perhaps these were some of the very same birds I saw in New Jersey the day before, making a southbound journey, I don't know.  But I think I will always remember Grandpa, and the trip to NJ for his memorial service, when I see big flocks of birds now!

Friday, November 19, 2010

When Daddy comes homes

It is always very exciting when Daddy comes home.  Sometimes Miles spots his car coming down the road and starts shrieking at the window.  I finally had the video camera ready one day last week when he walked in.  (Pete has been out of town for a couple of days, and hasn't come through the door to receive this welcome recently, so I thought I'd put this here for him to enjoy from a distance.)

video

If only we all always welcomed each other home this way!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Catching up

This week has been a little hectic as Pete and I have both been making plans for trips, and then traveling.  Yesterday I flew up to New Jersey for my grandfather's service, and it ended up being a really nice, albeit short, time to see the relatives.  (I hadn't counted it up before, but there are are more than 50 members of Mor-Mor and Grandpa's family!)  I enjoyed seeing Mor-Mor, catching up with everyone, reminiscing about Grandpa, seeing pictures of him, hearing their minister talk about him, etc.  It was a whirlwind trip (I passed Pete on his way out to D.C. as I came home last night), but a very good one.

Meanwhile, the kids have been doing some fun things.... so here is my photo log for the last several days:

It's been a beautiful Fall, and they've enjoyed playing in the yard a lot...



Strider had an opportunity to visit the chicken farm some friends live on.  In addition to chickens, they have sheep which they shear, and then they spin the wool!  So he was able to learn about all kinds of things that day.  Here he is chasing the sheep:
... and being fascinated by the deer the man had just brought home:




... and learning about spinning wool, snakes, etc.
 Oh -- and the chickens! 

(I give up trying to format the pictures and text in this post!)

Another day, Strider and Rayna were James and Dolly Madison for a little presentation they did at their co-op.  :)

I don't have any good photos from the New Jeresy trip, but if I get some from someone soon, I'll post them here.  (hint, hint Keiko and Mom!)  :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grandpa

Methodical and meticulous fixer; hearty hand-shaker, hugger and singer; extremely patient giver; memorizer of long poems; Saab driver; cable-slide maker; household handyman; congenial conversationalist; septuagenarian soccer player; careful grammarian and enunciator; long-term babysitter extraordinaire;  good sport; trailer-pulling traveler of the nation; adventurous traveler of the world; slide show producer; enduring soccer game watcher; active daily walker; convivial neighbor to many; bedtime-story reader; slow cooker of daily oatmeal; faithful attender of all big or small family events;  lover of -- and perfect companion for -- my grandmother.

These are just a few of the things I saw him be-- and I only knew him for the last third of his life.  He lived well, loved well, and died well.  We are thankful.
(This picture was taken a few years ago -- when he was already well into his 90's.  Although he was a giant of a man, figuratively speaking, he wasn't quite as giant as he looks in this picture-- my grandmother is sitting down.  :)  )

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Or rather are known by God"

Recently, while I was reading Galatians 4, I was struck by this phrase. Paul is referring to a turning poing in the lives of his readers and starts out, the way I would, "But now that you know God..." But then he seems to correct himself, and adds, "-- or rather are known by God --..." In other words, it looks like he's saying the key is not the fact that we now know God, but that He knows us.

I've been thinking about this great need we have to be known. Isn't that a lot of the motivation behind our desire to post things on Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, blogs? Didn't we love Show-and-Tell as kids, because we got to share a small part of who we are with others? When we move to a new city, isn't it gratifying when we finally make new friends who really know us?

I remember being distinctly aware of this desire to be known at a deep level during the summer I spent at Oxford. There I was, experiencing all the things I had dreamed of --seeing magnificent castles, gorgeous countrysides, quaint old bookstores -- and yet I kept longing to share all of it with someone who actually knew me (as opposed to 75 strangers in my dorm/college). I think I was a bit of a nutcase that summer, on emotional overload. (By the end of the summer I had made some good friends, finally, and God even graciously let me borrow my best friend's friend, who I stumbled into, almost literally, randomly -- but that's a different story.)

Anyway, I think it's cool that God has put that desire in us to be known, and then, as the turning point in our lives, shows us that He knows us. Sometimes it doesn't feel like enough... and I look forward to that day when it will all be complete: "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (I Cor 13:12)

But for now, it's a good goal to remind myself to cling to the truth that He knows me.

"The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
He knows those who take refuge in Him."
-- Nahum 1:7

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I just love this.

The first person in our house up and about in the wee hours of the morning (way too wee for me) is almost always Pete.  He likes to have a little bit of time that when the house is still still to think, read and pray.  The stillness never lasts as long as he'd like, though, as Milo is also an early riser these days.  But, Pete tells me that Miles is remarkably cooperative during this precious, quiet morning time.  He just contentedly sits on the couch, pajama-clad with his sippy cup.  Sporadically, Pete will say, "Let's pray."  And this is what little Miles does: 


That just melts my heart.  I love thinking about how my men are downstairs praying for us, before we even get up in the morning!



Updated:   I was just looking through some old pictures for something else, and came across this picture of Strider at exactly Miles' age (21 months) -- also praying!  So thankful for all my praying boys.  :)


Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Sweet" days

Our most recent field trip was definitely the tastiest one yet -- it was to...
(Stacy is hereby nominated for "Best Field Trip Planner Ever"  I'm sure it would be a unanimous vote if put to the kids.)

The first part of the tour consisted of letting the kids run around the main scooping room, checking out the various flavors on-hand.  Pretty "cool."


Then, we all moved into the back room, and lined up to go into the really cold rooms (freezer).


Yep -- it was cold back there!

Then the kids got to watch a batch of cotton-candy explosion get made.  (Strider, below with his hand raised, of course had some opinions and suggestions about the process)

So exciting!

And then it was time to sample -- and get big cones!

(Afterwards we all went to a park and let the kids run around for awhile, and then tried to pry some veggies into them after their ice cream lunch.)


 
Another "Sweet" day we had last week was when Miss Wendy came over to play -- and make cookies for a retreat she was putting together.  Of course this was a major treat for the kids! 

And, finally, Strider had a "sweet" time when his friend Sam came over for the whole day on Friday.  Those two are quite a pair!  My favorite sweet moment was this one, when they were working together to convert Base 10 numbers into binary code, and vice versa.  It was fun to see them put their heads together for the challenge!

 Strider will definitely disagree that this was the sweetest moment, but my answer to that, as always, is "Hey, it's MY blog."  :)