Monday, July 14, 2014

breaking the birthday rule


A few months ago, Ben was with me on our usual run of errands when he spotted some birthday candles in the discount store. With his big brown eyes, long lashes and sweet, pleading look, I broke down and broke the "birthday rule." (The very rule I put in place after a particularly maddening season of hearing the kids talk about and plan for their birthdays all. the. time. Even while their current birthday was happening. Or someone else's. Or at the mention of the word.)

So we bought the candles and I tucked them away until July. Except Ben's birthday was in June.

And we did the cake I made at lunch and thought we were going to have a second cake for the family birthday the following day, only we never did have the second cake and so the candles never got put on the first one.

Besides, I completely forgot about the candles anyway until a few days before the Fourth of July.

I remembered, then, Ben gentle, hopeful look as I considered his candle question, and even though it was one month late, I decided to put the candles on the tarts I made for the Fourth.


So we celebrated and sang and he blew out his candles.


And I was glad I didn't talk myself out of putting those candles on the tarts just because they weren't a cake and it wasn't his birthday and he was already five.

Some rules, the silly man-made Pharisaical ones we make up to order and control what only God can order and control, those rules are meant to be broken. 

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And a few other memories from the Fourth...

Beautiful weather for eating dinner outside.



Luke looking forward to celebrating. And the shirt I made for the parade a few years ago still fits him!

Funny faces awaiting fireworks..


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

fireworks eternal

 
"Is this the grand finale?" Reese kept asking.

Because it's the grand finale we're really waiting for. The other fireworks? They're just leading up to the main event. Sure we ooh and aah at them, but they're not really what we came to see.



We're waiting for the moment when light and sound go crazy sparking the night sky and reverberating deep in our souls.

Last year as we thrilled to the rapid fire fire-light's, the Holy Spirit nudged me..."And God is greater."

Think on that...




We applaud what burns and fizzles in seconds, what lights the sky but a breath and an echo that fades.


But God is greater!


For surely He spoke to me in that moment to remind me that His glory will far surpass the grand finale of human-made pyrotechnics. He will be brighter, more dazzling of color and His voice will thunder. And He will not fizzle or fade. God is our fireworks eternal.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June was...

birthdays & milestones
waved goodbye to grades five, three and one, Brie graduated from elementary school, Ben turned five, Jack turned 4, Ben at five as tall as Luke was at six, started to earn his allowance and learned to ride a two-wheeler, Reese started guitar lessons, Brie got her ears pierced, Brie & Luke passed their white belt tests in Tai Kwon Do
 
  a birthday banner, opening gifts, @the Science Center, birthday picnic









our astronauts @ the Science Center
 

 how old are you Jack?, pool fun, pizza party, camel ride @ the zoo

despite a few close calls, the pinata was the only thing that ended up being hit. whew!

from white to yellow belt

traveling

Wilmington for Casey's grad party...
fountain in downtown Wilmington, washing feet at travel center, looking at the harbor, eating pizza in the hotel room, learning how to save the turtles, backyard antics at the graduation party and that may or may not have been an ice cube being put down the back of a shirt!

 ...then a stop in DC on our way home
washing feet in another fountain, the view from the bottom of the Washington monument, a popsicle on the Mall, looking up at the monument


and in the everyday...

sun & hot temperatures, gardening, having the kids meet the refugee family we're mentoring, learning how to have grace with a pre-teen, Children of the Day Bible study, firefly spotting, rain pouring in the basement, spring cleaning mid-summer and rearranging the living room and our room, discovering vegan milkshakes,
three offers on the house, one more than $5,000 above our asking price, but more than that we have a God who answers prayers and places desires on our heart and is so good, girls night out with Brie, sleepover at Mom's, God's hand on Dad and Lauren's health, cleaning pee off of Lego, J.D., Hilary and the boys coming to visit, starting swim lessons again

Friday, June 6, 2014

endings

Yesterday marked the last day of school.

We began it with some juice jello (100% fruit juice made with unflavored gelatin), ended it with ice cream and filled it with memories.
 

Since I didn't capture the first day (Ben and I were in Ontario), I took the less traditional route of snapping the last day. But perhaps this will become a future tradition?

So we waved good-bye to grades five, three and one.





And Brianna waved good-bye to her days in elementary school.


Sigh. Where did the time go? How did we move so quickly from these days...
 

...to ones where she is shoulder height and on the cusp of starting middle school and before I know it she will be graduating from high school.

The above picture was one we included for the 5th grade graduation slide show. It's the one I picked. Dave told me this one would have been his choice:



And since I'm reminiscing, here's another from her early days...how we'd often wait for Dave to get home and join us for dinner:



And here's one from our brief days of homeschooling:



I couldn't find Brianna's first day of kindergarten picture in a pinch, but here's one of her near the end of kindergarten:

Hmmm...must be a theme on endings. And God just reminded me of this verse from Ecclesiastes 7:8: The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Too true. 

The boys also were waving good-bye to their school unless God surprises us over the summer. We found out last week that they need to attend the elementary school we are zoned for, but I am trusting in God's plan for all of us in this.

And today, we celebrate Ben turning five!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

the current of motherhood


Everyone said it would happen - the years that would fly by and suddenly the infant you held is inches away from looking you in the eye as she stands on her own two feet.

And they were right.

Except in the midst of many sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, miles walked comforting a fussing child, and thousands of answered questions, demands met, it feels as if this physically intense parenting time will never end. Only it does and is replaced by emotionally intense parenting.

How I miss those days when I could make things better with a hug or a kiss or a cuddle. When decisions were focus on meeting basic needs of food and clothing and helping my children navigate relationships was a simple as teaching them to share their toys, and "no, it's not all right to hit because someone took the toy you were only thinking about playing with."

Perhaps I'll look back on this time in another decade and think similar thoughts about this new phase of parenthood we're on. The one where we face the advent of middle school, a diagnosing learning challenges, try to instill good work habits and teach God's way of being reconciled to one another and "no, 'doing unto others' does not mean you get to hit them back because they hit you first."

Sigh. I meant for this post to be a lighthearted look at our Mother's Day hike with a splash of photos to remember these all too fleeting days. Instead it has gone much deeper than I intended.

There were spots like that in the river too. From the banks it looked negotiable, but wade on in and the current is strong, the bottom rocky and pockets deeps.

My will would say battle the river, overcome the currents. But if I'm to survive the tide of motherhood, I must yield to the Lord's way. And His way is to halt the waters while I pass through or to lead me beside quiet waters where I remain untroubled. Perhaps this is a lesson to be learned for these next ten years...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

january :: february

January 2014: snow, snow,snow; not one full week of school the whole month (!) due to cold/snow days and scheduled days off; training as a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) Children's Leader for me; huge snow piles; visits to the pond at Dad & Mom's to feed the ducks and geese; Dave entering his second year in the Master's program; continued work on the house rehab; many times of feeling anxious and overwhelmed balanced by lots of sledding down hills and some cross country skiing

January 2013: It's hard to believe that a year ago, Dave started the Master's program full time and we only beginning to prayerfully consider whether to sell our other house. I remember praying that we would move by the end of February, but am so thankful God didn't move us until July!

finding beauty in the sunsets despite the frigid temperatures

this was after one brief thaw - the massive snow pile gave the kids a leg up for climbing the tree

a skating party?


February 2014: more snow and cold; squeezing in some more sledding; winter hikes on a river bed, sliding down steep hills on our bottoms, walking out on the lake, the kids learning the joys, and dangers, of tunneling into snow banks - this was the first time in years we had enough snow to even make a snow bank!; traveling to celebrate Nan's 90th birthday with a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the way home; Brie, Reese & Luke starting Tae Kwon Do; looking back at the pictures, it's hard to believe how much snow we had!


February 2013: We began preparing the house to move although we 100%  "there" on selling it; I was preparing for my first mission trip into the city and learned so much about urban missions; God was really using the BSF study we were doing on Genesis to speak to my heart about this new adventure He had us on of a major change in direction for Dave and moving homes.

And to think God washes us whiter than snow!

ready for another run

apparently, a toppled tree makes for an amusing shelter :)

I've heard of giving bunny ears in a picture, but this is a little ridiculous ;)

I've got cabin feveeeeeerrrrrr!

Nan & Moses on our walk at Crawford Lake before the birthday celebration

C'mon Jack

cousins sitting on a lizard

my first time seeing Niagara Falls frozen like this - it reminded me of meringue

and the American side view

Reese who? (taken at the Hershey store at the Falls)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

snow and the beach

Here we are nearing the end of February and we still have snow on the ground. It's been here since New Year's-ish (I'm not counting that one 40 degree day when most of it disappeared ;) ). A record by far.

And am I complaining about it? No way! Our kids have finally discovered the joys, and been warned of the dangers, of burrowing into snowbanks. As one who grew up knowing the delights of playing in the snow, I never thought I'd need to teach this to our children. 

With another day off school yesterday, I decided to take the kids to the beach. I think this was a winter first for me. :)

a view from up top..see how far the lake is frozen?

really? so disappointed. we brought our towels and everything 

walking on water...just like Jesus...well maybe not exactly like Him

usually we're up to our knees at this point

and so begins a game of piling on one another...

fun, right?

lots of smiles?

not exactly. there's always a few tear. do you think Brie & Ben will be happy I captured this on camera?


I find it hard to grumble about snow. The way it silently falls to the ground transforming the world in a wash of white. It's a transformation that reminds me how Jesus washes us whiter than snow when we believe Him for His sacrifice on the cross to cleanse us from all impurity caused by our sin.

And when the sun shines, it dazzles and I find it much harder to be depressed on blueskysnowwhite days.

However, I did grumble about the lack of full school weeks we endured when I felt like I did just before we put the kids back into the school system after a stint of homeschooling (not that this should deter any of you who are considering homeschooling, it just wasn't where the Lord wanted us to be so He challenged us to rethink the public school system). I also find it easier to grumble in the winter we're used to having. Days of damp, dingy, slushy streets with teases of snow or spring but never lasting long enough to give full reprieve. 


 It's all about to end soon though with a mild, rainy forecast...