Saturday, April 30, 2011

Recent conversations with the youngest one

Milo is still in the telegrammatic (telegrammish? telegram-like?) stage of communication ("Oh no! Milk.  Spill.  Wet.") but I get a kick out of some of his current phrases and favorite conversations.... such as:
  • "Lord God Almighty," "Hallelujah," and "Holy, holy, holy."  Long before he mastered saying anything like "juice please," he had these phrases down pat.  And he busts them out all the time.  It cracks me up to hear him walking around saying "Lord God Almighty!" or starting to sing a hymn.
  • "I do!"  This is what he always says whenever Pete or I start a question to the kids with "Does anyone want...?"  The end of the question can be "lima beans for breakfast" or "to play in the fire hydrant" -- it doesn't matter.  Miles does NOT want to be left out -- ever!
  • "Happy Boo-ooooo Choo You!"  His version of the happy birthday song.  He suggests we sing it every time I pick up the phone to call someone.  (In his defense, with extended family as big as ours is, it does seem like we sign that song to the person at the other end of the phone a few times a month.)
  • "Nee-Nee."  This is what he insists on calling Colsen.  He can say "Cole" and he can say "Sen," but then when you ask him to put the syllables together, he always triumphantly yells, "NEE-NEE!"
  • "Pleeeeease!"  Speaking of Nee-Nee, Milo wants everything Colsen has or does.  At precisely the same time that Colsen has or does it.  At first Miles used to chase him around yelling "aaaaaaaugh!" to wear Cole down to the point of just giving him the thing, but we taught him he has to say "please" to get what he wants.  It turns out that hearing him running after Colsen yelling, "Pleeeeeease!" is only slightly less annoying than his former method.
  • "Have it!" and "Do that!"  I've been out of town the last 24 hours and tonight when I arrived home, I immediately found out that these 2 phrases have just been added to his repertoire.  And they, also, are usually yelled while he is running after an older sibling.

Conversations with Milo may not be particularly deep or long, but they sure are emphatic!

*Photo credit: my sister-in-law Amy

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recent conversations with the older 3

Last week I was doing a phonemic awareness exercise with Rayna in which I was saying things like, "What is 'pencil' without the 'cil'?"  And, "What is 'Thursday' without the 'Th'?" 

Strider, who was walking by the table, decided to throw in his own example:  "What is 'America's Next Great Restaurant' without Bobby Flay?"

Evidently Strider is quite taken with that show.


Another day, as part of Rayna's vocabulary development, I asked her to describe an alligator to me.

She started off by saying, "Ok, it's green and big, and can dance."

Later, after she had told me all about its body and face, I was trying to indicate to her that she had forgotten to mention his legs, so I asked her, "How does the alligator move?"

She responded, "He rides on a train."

Her world is a fun place!

Last week, while walking around the pond across the street, Colsen and I were chatting.  He very animatedly started telling me, "A few days ago I was at the pond, and I saw a man fishing and you know what he caught? He caught a FILAPIA! [explanation: tilapia is his favorite fish to eat]  And then I touched it, and then you know what I touched?  I touched a SEA SNAKE and then, and THEN, I saw a FROG laying on her nest of eggs, wasn't that exciting?..."

The story goes on and on with this child... all without any interruptions for taking a breath.  I don't know how alarmed I should be with how quickly he can make up completely fictional stories!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This week Pete and I are facing a rather big decision... whether or not to spend January through June of next year in the poorest country in Europe: Moldova.

So I am writing this post for 2 reasons:  so that anyone reading this would pray for wisdom for us, and so I can look back on my thoughts later and realize (probably) how wrong I was in my assumptions and expectations.

Anyway, at the moment, Pete's pro/con list for going to this country reads basically like this:

  • Get to teach students hungry to learn about Western ideals, markets, democracy, etc.
  • The country is in a critical position in terms of government, policy, and economics
  • May get to reach people with the Gospel, in a place where it is not commonly known
  • Get to travel on Fulbright's dime
  • Get paid by Fulbright, and even get a book allowance!
  • It's a place we've never been
  • Allows our family to live and learn in a very different culture
  • Can't think of any

Whereas my list reads more like this:

  • How in the world are we going to schlep 4 kids and all our stuff for 6 months -- including all our winter gear -- to some remote country, awfully close to Asia.
  • Spending time in a former Soviet country in WINTER is not my idea of vacation
  • Apparently the meat and produce are not always "safe" to eat.  So what exactly am I going to cook this family?
  • We know no one there.
  • If someone gets sick, we've been advised to never buy any medicine there because it could mis-labeled, expired, etc. 
  • We won't be able to read labels on anything.
  • Taxi drivers only speak Russian.
  • It's hard to get out of the country in a short amount of time, so weekend trips to the rest of Europe are not really possible.
  • Roads are not great, so any kind of traveling would be hard.
  • It will be cold.  Did I mention that already?
  • Tourism is not exactly a booming industry in the country
  • I'll stop at this point, although I could come up with more.

  • We could build relationships with people in a very different place, and hopefully share the Gospel with them.
  • A cross-cultural experience for the family.
  • Fulbright might pay for our books/curriculum if we homeschool over there.
Clearly Pete and I are not yet on the "same page" with all this.... So please pray that we will get there soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

The Boyers came to visit again this weekend!  And when you're a family with 4 kids, and another family with 4 kids visits... turns out to always be a party!

 Our Easter celebration was full of Joy!   After a happy worship service and a lively and loud lunch (with the bonus of Sarah coming over too!), we made Resurrection Rolls...
 ... and had a big Easter egg hunt!
 The kids all got some fun surprises...
 ...and some of the special eggs led to bonus prizes.
 When we sat down for dinner, Pete led both tables in song (seriously), and then we enjoyed our loud dinner.
After dinner we went for a walk,

 ... and enjoyed some playtime at home.

The only thing to put a damper on the day was the discovery of a baby bird in our birdhouse... which we feared had been abandoned by the mom.  There was much debate and discussion about what we should do to save the poor bird...  And many prayers were asked of God to bring that mama back.  And, to everyone's relief and joy, it turned out the mother did come back!  In fact, today we've seen a bluebird, a cardinal and a brown bird all going in to tend to that baby bird... and now there are 2 babies...  Not sure what kind of communal nest is going on in our backyard, but we're all just thankful that this wasn't the Easter When We Let A Baby Bird Die.

It was good to celebrate our Source of All Abundant Life on Resurrection Day... and to have all kinds of abundant life in and out of the house!  Thanks for coming, Boyer Family!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Food and Family pics from Good Friday

For breakfast on this special day, we had Crown-of-Thorns Pancakes...

 (Topped with peanut butter and pretzel pieces, if that's not clear...)
 Then in the afternoon we made Hot Cross Buns to remind us of the cross...
 ... and took them to share with some cousins!
We got together with the Clarks and the Dreschers at Dan and Amy's house....  The funny thing was -- Dan and Amy weren't even there.  They're at the beach, so the Clarks are staying at their house to dog-sit, and Karin and I figured it would be fun to bring our clans over to visit -- since that is the site of the very best playroom in the land.

Thanks, Dan and Amy, for being such good sports and (absent) hosts!  :)  Next time it will be more fun, though, if you stay home for our impromptu parties at your house...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Absent-Minded Professor

Once again, Pete can be glad he's a professor since he has an excuse to be absent-minded!

The other night after the kids had gone to bed, I became rather alarmed.  Pete had been fiddling around in the kitchen, and then I noticed it had gotten pretty quiet.  After calling his name a few times and getting no answer, I went into the kitchen and found this:
I seriously started to wonder if the rapture had just taken place!  His slippers were still there, the fridge door was wide open.... Where was he? 

After a few strange moments during which I questioned my salvation and frantically started praying...  Pete walked in the door.  He had gone over to our neighbor's house to take them some food.

Let me repeat that:  He had gone over to our neighbor's house!  And left the refrigerator door wide open!  When I told him that, he just kind of smiled and said, "Oh, I did?"  He was not nearly alarmed by this as I was!!

Then a couple of days later, he vacated the kitchen leaving this:
What is going on around here???!  I mean, Pete has never been accused of being a hard-core, tree-hugging conservationist, but these events are over the top, even for him. 

His absent-mindedness has been noticed by others lately, as well...  Yesterday, as they were driving in the car, Strider and Pete were talking.  But finally Strider had to say, "Dad, by the time you answer me, I've always already forgotten what the conversation was!"  The professor is so busy with his high-level thinking that carrying on coherent (and real-time) conversations with the rest of us is quite a challenge!

I think I should be worried...  At least I would be, if I wasn't so absent-minded myself....  But we won't go into that right now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Son of an economist

Last week we went to our Classical Conversations end-of-the-year ceremony.  Strider participated in the Essentials program this year, and each student of each class is individually recognized by their teachers during this ceremony.  When it came time for Strider's class to go forward, they ended up all standing with their backs to me, so the picture (below) is pretty lame, but it was nice to see them collectively diagram a sentence and answer some grammar questions anyway. 
Each child in the class was given an award, and Strider's award was the "Proficient Ticket Analyst."  This may seem like a strange honor in a writing class.... and it is.  As the teacher explained it, her motivational system for the class all year included her handing out tickets for things the students did well.  Apparently, one day recently after watching her give away an excessive (in his opinion) amount of tickets, Strider blurted out, "Stop giving away so many tickets!  You're devaluing the tickets!"

His dad is very proud.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

While Mommy was gone...

I had a job this weekend which took me away from home for 24 hours.  During the time I was gone:
  • a child broke a bowl into many, many pieces
  • a child broke a glass into many, many pieces
  • a child persisted in trying to run away without shoes on many, many times
  • a child woke up at 6:00 am
  • a child got a busted, bloody knee
  • kids did Taekwondo in the living room
  • ferocious wind and storms cancelled both our yard sale and Strider's baseball game
  • everyone was stranded inside due to rain for a lot of the day
  • someone played the theme to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on the piano no less than 20 times
  • oh, and 6 extra people came for dinner and to spend the night!  (Pete's sister's family)

And even though I spent the day teaching a class from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (yes that's seven hours!), it felt like I was on vacation!  Of course it didn't hurt that I spent the night at the lovely Waverly Inn

I'm excited that I get to go back there for another class in 2 weeks!

Now before everyone starts the "Poor, poor Pete" chorus (a song my friends and family seem to have perfected), let me just say that he gets to go the exact same place (same Waverly Inn and all) this summer on SIX different nights.  So he'll have more than plenty of his own teaching vacations.

And we'll see what happens here while Daddy is gone (yet again)!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Field Trip: Bright Blessings

 Bright Blessings recently re-located to a building right in Matthews, and now that it's so close, we've enjoyed going over to help out and see what they're doing.  Strider, Rayna and Colsen have all been challenged to think about how homeless children live, and the fact that they often do not get to have birthday parties has startled them.  Bright Blessings has found ways to help kids feel loved and cared for, and we've loved hearing about what they do.  On Wednesday, our co-op group took a little field trip to visit and volunteer.  It was a great experience!
After a little tour and explanation of their programs...
...the kids got to work...
...wrapping up craft supplies... putting tags on bagged toiletry kits....
...making new toiletry kits...

...and making wrapping paper.
The kids loved being helpful and creative!
It was one of our best field trips yet!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Colsen's comparisons continue..

This morning I asked the kids, "How much does Jesus love us?"

Immediately Colsen answered:  "More-ther than the house is big;  more-ther than the city is wide."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend getaway

For the first time in almost 3 years, Pete and I had a whole weekend kid-free!  And it was the best weekend EVER!

We started out in the most luxurious way we could imagine... by getting looong massages at Ballantyne Resort.  (We had gotten a gift card when Miles was born and were finally able to use it!)  Here we are afterwards.... Do we look relaxed?
 Then we were off to an Asian-fusion restaurant...
 I took this picture of the food in honor of Keiko.  :)
We spent most of our time at Sonshine Inn.  As usual, Mom went OVER THE TOP with all the decorations and delicious food ready for us there!   We were very happy to just chill and relax in such a beautiful setting.
 (Pete took this picture of me, and when I saw it afterwards I was dismayed by all the wrinkles around my eyes!  So I'm leaving it SMALL here, so the wrinkles are less noticeable...)
We also went for a bike ride...
...and for the first time in way too many years, hit the courts!


I'd LIKE to say that I actually beat Pete in a set... but that would be bragging, so I won't.

The rest of the weekend we mostly just chilled out, but we did take the opportunity to do some kid-free shopping as well... Shopping for really exciting things like a dishwasher and a vacuum cleaner.  We were successful with one of them anyway!
I need to note here that Pete was being a very good sport with all my picture-taking this weekend.  He thought I was a bit over-the-top myself, but didn't resist too much.  I have a terrific husband!

Meanwhile, while we were at Sonshine Inn, Nonna and Poppa were watching the kids.  I'm not completely clear on all the details of their adventures, but I do know that when we arrived home we found that a bottle of corn syrup had just been dumped on the carpet in our living room, and permanent marker was all over the pantry door.  So we didn't ask many questions about the rest of the weekend.  It sounds like the kids had fun, though!  (Whether Nonna and Poppa ever recover... is a matter for prayer.)