Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Advent

Part of my Advent Discipline has included reading, reflecting on, and praying the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer. They are too amazing and wonderful. So I have copied them here.

As you read them, I challenge you to remember that these were written long ago, and are prayed by so many people. When I take time in my BCP, I always have a deep and grateful sense of the 'Great Cloud of Witnesses' both throughout eternity and in contemporary times.

I also challenge you to remember that each prayer is a companion for a full week. It is a rich and wonderful and alive tradition.

First Sunday of Advent
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of
darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of
this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit
us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come
again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the
dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.

Second Sunday of Advent
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to
preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our
Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Third Sunday of Advent
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and
the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation,
that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a
mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

First Sunday after Christmas Day
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of
your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our
hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(I copied these from this website: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/bcp.htm .)

Marc and Dr. DoLittle

One of Anna's homeschool books right now is Dr. Dolittle.This morning as I was getting ready to start my day, Marc was reading it to her while she was eating breakfast.

I must say, you are really missing out on a rare treat to hear Marc read Dr. Dolittle out loud. This morning he was the voices of Dr. Dolittle and his sister.

What a hoot!

(And thank you, Marc, for being such an active homeschool partner.)

Homeschooling Moment

One of the things that I internally battle constantly is the illusion that homeschooling should be a life of idyllic learning and family creativity and harmony. Even though I've 'lived the life' for four years now, I still expect that there will be some magical glow that surrounds our days.

But often, homeschooling is reminiscient of bringing a new baby home from the hospital, with the full expectation and adoration of new life, hand in hand with a brutal nursing schedule and diapers full of questionable material (which we celebrate each time!).

So when something happens that looks like my flawed image, it is worth celebrating and celebrating publicly.

This week I declared a reading week. I wanted to do something different since the kids are so wound up. I had nightmares of pushing through math and handwriting with wiggling, giggling kids. I also was feeling deeply unsatisfied (ashamed?) of the small amount of time that we just sit and read together, and how easily it has become to default to the television.

So this week is reading week. We will do a couple weeks worth of reading, sitting and cuddling in front of the Christmas tree.

So, of course, every good reading week starts with a trip to the Library.

Yesterday, I gave Caleb specific instruction. 'Caleb, I want you to look for three or more chapter books to bring home'. We got to the library. Caleb says to me 'Mom, I only want to get chapter books about real people, not story chapter books.' We've been reading Johnny Tremain, and Caleb has read a few biographies as part of our beginning study of US history.

'Okay Caleb'. So I show him the biography section in the Children's room and how to find who he was looking for (he had already decided on Franklin and Washington). (I should add that every trip to the library this Fall has included a brief suggestion... 'Caleb, here are the biographies'... but yesterday was the first time he 'heard' it.)

It was tremendous to hear Caleb exclaim about all the names he recognized. "Mom, look.... Mom, check this out... Mom this.... Mom that".

I figure if the ONLY thing I concretely equip Caleb with during his third grade year is a love for reading biographies, I've done enough. It took a tremendous amount of self-control to not scream for joy out loud in the library.

HOORAY Caleb!

(By the way, he came home with Three biographies: Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, and George Washington. And he was thrilled to find the one of Ben Franklin which was written by Mary Pope Osborne - author of Magic Tree House books.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just finished....

Anna's New Hat






Caleb sitting at the counter at dinnertime

"I just feel the urge to talk, but I don't know what to say."

Politician, or Preacher in the making?

Monday, December 10, 2007

H - Guilty Pleasures

Arly Hanks is the featured character in the Maggody mysteries by Joan Hess. I read Maggody in Manhattan. There were parts of this book that I really liked, but they were few. I didn't really dislike the book, it just wasn't a thoroughly engaging mystery... it was a little too easy to put it down. But I think I might like to read another Maggody mystery, one that takes place in Maggody, because the characters were quite likable.

G - Guilty Pleasures

Philip Gulley has written a series of books based in Harmony. When I chose Just Shy of Harmony off the shelves at my library, I had no idea what I was in for. It was a thoroughly delightful book. The characters were ones I related to and enjoyed like friends. I laughed and cried, especially as the pastor in the book goes through a 'crisis of faith'. I am looking forward to reading more about Harmony, and highly recommend this book.

In the face of convention...

All the experts say it is important to have family meals together. It creates a time of bonding and fond memories, so they say.

Well, we have had family meals, since before Caleb was born. Sometimes multiple times a day.

Last week, after another meal of spending more time talking about manners at the table than talking with each other, we decided to break with convention. For nearly two weeks, the kids get dinner about a half hour before Marc gets home. They sit at the counter, and eat together. I pick up the kitchen and talk to them, or sit and knit and talk with them. Marc gets home, and they get to be with Daddy on the terms that they most love... snuggling and reading, or wrestling and tickling. And they get to see Mommy and Daddy have time to eat together. They are often getting pajamas on while Mom and Dad sit together, peacefully, at the table and eat our meal together.

The experts may say otherwise, but I think our family is onto a good idea... we sure seem to be enjoying ourselves more.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Project

Look what I just finished!














My friend Izzie let me borrow her book Knit 2 Together (Ullman & Clark) and this is one of the patterns. I love the book, and the pattern.
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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rite of Passage

For as long as I can remember, one of the signals of Christmas coming has been Chex Mix. It was something that we always had around the holidays. Today, Caleb was initiated into the Holiday Tradition, and made his first batch of Chex Mix. YUM!
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like Christmas!

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a lot

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It's beginning to look

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The Golden Compass, Follow Up

Well, in all the zeal of my previous posts about The Golden Compass, I truly attempted to read the second book of the trilogy, The Subtle Knife (by Philip Pullman). I really tried. But it just didn't hold me. (This is the second science fiction book that I've tried to read this year that has lost me... I think it just might not be my thing).

Anyhow. Marc persevered through the second book, while I got some far more interesting and fun ones from the library. Marc's thoughts can be found here at his blog.

As for me, I can't recommend the books, and I'm not sure if it is because of the genre preference, or if because the writing and story became less engaging. My sense is that his trilogy might have been stronger if he had stopped after one book. Maybe this will be one instance where the movie is better than the book... we'll see when it comes out on cable next year.

Friday, November 30, 2007

All in a Day's Work

  • Prayed with Marc (and drank coffee)
  • Showered and Dressed
  • Breakfast in front of the sun-lamp
  • Marathon grocery and other stuff shopping trip (with the kids)
  • Lunch
  • Started pizza dough
  • Unloaded groceries, put them away
  • School with Caleb
  • School with Anna
  • Cleaned fish tank, changed filter
  • Cleaned garage, put rest of summer stuff in attic
  • Filled and rehung bird-feeders
  • Turned on snow-blower- yep, still works (bring on the snow!)
  • Plumbing -cleared a clog, fixed a leak in the tub drain
  • Load of laundry in
  • Took another shower (you should have seen the garage!)
  • Picked up kitchen, loaded dishwasher
  • Sat for twenty minutes with Sofia
  • Went to pick up a friend's daughter at dance class and take her home
  • Came home (and parked in previously cleaned garage)
  • Switched over laundry, another load in
  • Read to Caleb
  • Ate dinner, watching Peter Pan (2003)
  • laundry switch, folded and put away todays and yesterdays clothes
  • made homemade granola (a recipe that I came up with 8 years ago, that has been in hibernation for ???? years)
  • filed last weeks homeschool work
  • prepped and pulled out next weeks homeschool work
  • Blogged

All in all, just another day.
Guess maybe I'll stop feeling guilty that "I don't work full time".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

G, part 1 - Guilty Pleasures


In celebration of the long weekend I got two books from the library to continue my 'guilty pleasures' reading. From G, I got Just Shy of Harmony, by Philip Gulley. I began reading it last night. By the third page, I was laughing so hard that Marc asked me if maybe I should read it in the living room instead of in bed. Now I am up to page 52. I have been near to crying several times, and have had more opportunities to laugh as well. WOW!

Challenging Thoughts


I've been reading "breath, Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life" by Keri Wyatt Kent. It's a book I recommend for the most part.

I was introduced to the book of Dominguez and Robin: Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence . They suggest "Frugality means we are able to enjoy what we have. If you have ten dresses but still feel you have nothing to wear, you are probably a spendthrift. But if you have ten dresses and have enjoyed wearing all of them for years, you are frugal. Waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them. Your success at being frugal is measured not by your penny-pinching, but by your degree of enjoyment of the material world."

What a good way to think about it.

Happy Kids

The kids were so excited to have the snow yesterday and today... they couldn't wait to bundle up and og out and play!
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Bathroom fan...

It was about at this point that I realized that today was the day that I was to learn how to install a bathroom light/fan fixture.
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Sunday, November 18, 2007

for today

Dick and Judi
helpful kids
clean desks
new mercies
knitting

Saturday, November 17, 2007

for today....

high school musicals (Anna and I went to see Annie at WHS)
donuts on Saturday morning
knitting
hugs from Caleb
Sandra Bullock movies

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Public Library
Marc is home - early!
New windows
Pizza delivery
My sister

Monday, November 12, 2007

For Today...

Time outside
Christmas blend coffee
reading with my kids
Anna reading
Our neighborhood

Sunday, November 11, 2007

thankyous

  • My sermon is done (based on 1 Peter, The Incredibles, and an NPR interview and Shekhar Kapur)
  • New washer and dryer (and the laundry is done - temporarily)
  • New friends on Facebook
  • Marc's safe travel
  • Caleb's cooking dinner

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

For today....


1. Lee (Leigh?) at the library
2. Book titles that crack me up (just picked up Desperate Pastor's Wives, Kolbaba at the library... seeing the title sent me into a fit of giggles)
3. Potato Soup and warm bread
4. interviews on NPR
5. a husband who gives me a night out on a regular basis

I am the Hulk

I'm researching super-heroes, anime, and comic books for the sermon I'm doing and came across this quiz.
**********************************************************
Your results:


You are Hulk
You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.














Hulk
75%
Spider-Man
70%
Robin
65%
Superman
60%
Iron Man
55%
Wonder Woman
53%
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thankful for

1. Dreams about high school friends
2. Someone else cooking and hosting dinner
3. Izzie
4. VCW... what a team of friends
5. Aha moments on a website

Sunday, November 04, 2007

On a lighter note.... thankfulness

Went into Walmart to pick up a few things yesterday, and heard Christmas music playing. Looked around and saw Christmas decorations. Shook my head to get my bearings, wait, isn't it November third?

Then my cynicism kicked in. Isn't that just like us.... straight from the overconsumption of Halloween to the overconsumption Christmas, with barely a pause for Thanksgiving.

It will be my intention, and it is my challenge to you, to take the time to be thankful for five things a day until the end of the year. I'm going to create a 'ThankYou spot" in our hallway for our family, and will use my blog as my personal "ThankYou spot" until 2008.

My husband
Clean carpets
Warm brownies
Good books
Flannel Sheets

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PS. If you want to participate with me in my quest to be thankful, feel free to lift the "ThankYou Spot" from my side bar. : )

Christian Censorship: The Golden Compass - Part 3, a rant

I can't abide Christian censorship. Censorship bugs me, but Christian censorship really, really bugs me.

Let me state my position. I am a Christian. I think I am fairly conservative, but then I run into people who call themselves conservative, and find that I am not so conservative as I thought. I am homeschooling mother who would fight for my kids safety, but at the same time hope that I would have the courage to let them explore things that make me uncomfortable, rather than keep them huddled away in a sterile environment. And I am a member of the Board of Trustees of the Waterville Public Library. I value our right to read what we want to read as one of the most precious rights in this country.

So when Christians begin practicing censorship, I am angry and embarrassed.

Censorship is thought control by those who believe that their way is higher and better. It is an act of arrogance and fear.

There are certainly things that I am not going to expose myself to. I rarely watch a rated R movie... that is a thresh-hold that God and I worked out for me. Not something that my pastor told to abide by (in fact, my pastor - also my husband, has an incredible knack for watching rated R movies with discernment and wisdom - and delight). There are things I won't read, and I won't look at. There are places I will not visit. But by and large I will make those decisions on my own with the Holy Spirit as my guide. There are only a few people who have permission to say 'do not read (taste, touch, look)' to me(and they know who they are).

When Christian censors start their campaigns, several things stir up in me. First of all, I believe that all truth is God's truth. I believe that excellence reflects the Creator. I believe that God is not intimidated by the irreverence of authors (artists, readers) on a journey (I guess that that means that I also believe that artists of any sort are journey-people, how else could you participate in creativity if you aren't journeying).

When Christian censors start their campaigns, I wonder what they hope to accomplish. Nobody is forcing us to read things we don't want to. If we start a book or a movie, we aren't obligated to finish. If we find ourselves being challenged, we can leave, or stay and use our minds. God has given us wonderful minds, and the Holy Spirit, to guide us, instruct us, grow us. Christian censorship isolates, insulates, and alienates us from the very people Jesus challenged us to love and reach out to.... those Samaritans and Greeks.

If we allow censorship to prosper in our Christian circles, then I am afraid of all that we will miss, and how impotent we will become. There are some amazing ideas and thoughts that evangelistic atheists have that we need to consider and be challenged by. There are scientists that are pushing our comfortable understanding of our universe being flat, that can greatly enhance our awe of how great is our Creator God.

My most recent tangle with Christian censorship involved The Golden Compass, a movie coming out in December, based on a book by Philip Pullman. I read the book. There is comment on the church, on original sin, and science attempting to explain our fallenness in the book. But it wasn't threatening at all to my faith. Nor can I see how it would be.

One thing that particularly frustrates me about Christian censorship is that people pass on the censors 'opinions' without thinking for themselves. We are so quick to pass on emails (I hate forwards... ) or anything we hear or read from Christianity Today or Focus on the Family (for instance.... and which I also hold in low regard) without doing a little research. Even if I hadn't taken the time to read the book, I could have at least looked for more information. At HisDarkMaterials.org there are three sources of rebuttal to the Snopes review of the email that is being circulated. And I could have read the book and totally agreed with Snopes, but at least then I would have done my thinking for myself.

Finally, when it comes to what me and my family read, I would much rather read excellent work by an atheist than poor to mediocre work by a Christian.

For a list of banned books and authors go to banned-books.com

The Golden Compass - Part 2, a review

Whenever I get a warning on my computer from (well-meaning) Christians, I am naturally (rebelliously?) skeptical. If I have time or resources, I try to do some research. This time, when The Golden Compass warning came across my desk (see the preceding post), time and passion combined, and within four hours I had gotten the book from the library and had begun to read it. (I thought I would be able to finish the book in 24 hours, but it took me 3 1/2 days to finish it. Oh well.) So here is my review of The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. (Fair warning, this may contain some spoilers.)

The main character in the book is Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. The story starts in Oxford, and moves more and more North toward the Aurora Borealis. Gobblers have begun to steal children and send them North. Nobody knows who the Gobblers are, and what they are doing with the children. Lyra becomes involved with a rescue effort by the 'gyptians' who have most suffered the stealing of children.

The journey north includes the meeting of other characters, notably Serafina Pekkala a queen of witches, Iorek Byrnison a king of bears, and Lee Scoresby a Texan. Lord Asriel is being held captive by armored bears, by order of Mrs. Coulter, head of the General Oblation Board (gobblers).

There are battles, journeys, and a quest for understanding Dust.

I began to have difficulty with the book on the first page. As Lyra is introduced, her 'daemon' is right by her side. After a few pages of reading about Lyra and Pantalaimon's interactions, I finally went to the dictionary to get some understanding.

1.Classical Mythology.
a.a god.
b.a subordinate deity, as the genius of a place or a person's attendant spirit

It can also be translated as 'demon', as in evil supernatural being, but I took the mythical definition. As the book progressed, the interplay between humans and their daemons became more and more important and I became more and more appreciative of the role that they played. I kept telling Marc what a 'genius literary tool' it was, because it told the story perfectly.

The other difficulty that I had with the book was Pullman's language. My daily reading level hovers somewhere around 'hop on pop', and Pullman is very intelligent in his writing. There were a combination of words and places that I did not know and that he has made up. Science and myth meet in this story.

I love this story. It is good guys against bad guys. It becomes an encounter of greed and fear against the innocence of children. It is about an attempt understand 'human nature' and our place in a 'war that we are born into'.

Lyra and Pantalaimon (her daemon) are an amazing team. Pantalaimon pushes Lyra when she needs to be pushed, comforts her when she needs comfort, counsels her when she needs counsel.

Serafina Pekkala and Lee Scoresby have a great conversation about being born into a war.

Lyra and Iorek Byrnison talk about what the armor means to the bear in comparison to what a daemon means to a human.

The quest that overtly brings the gyptians and Lyra north is to save the children that have been stolen. I found this particularly interesting in light of child traffiking, child soldiers, and child sex slaves.

Many times over, Lyra found herself at the end of herself, and had to go on anyway. Her courage and strength, and her alliance with interesting and wonderful friends were a beautiful mix. Throughout the book, there is talk and understanding that Lyra has a particular destiny, but Lyra isn't a destiny character. She is a hero only in her love and work with those around her, not as a stand-alone by any means.

I am so thankful that I was provoked to reading this book. I am looking forward to the movie, though I know it won't be as good as the book. And I plan to be at the library at opening time tomorrow to pick up the next book.

I would not consider comparing this with Narnia or Lord of the Rings or even Harry Potter. I might compare some of L'Engle's writing with Pullman. I would not yet have Caleb read this book (he has read much of Potter and Narnia) for the same reason I wouldn't hand him Lord of the Rings... it is just a little above his level of reading comprehension. But I look forward to reading it with him in a few years. It is incredibly refreshing and exciting to find a new author, and I will continue to post reviews as I finish his trilogy.

For more information about Pullman's Dark Materials, check out the fascinating wiki site at 'hisdarkmaterials.org'

The Golden Compass - Part 1, a rebuttal

Recently, I found on my desktop a referral to an email that is circulating, and has been 'verified' by Snopes, regarding the upcoming movie release of The Golden Compass, the book that it is based on, and the author, Philip Pullman.

Here is a link to the Snopes article on the email and Pullman

There are several 'warnings' about the danger of Pullman and His Dark Materials series and about Pullman. The email warns that Pullman is an atheist and that his mission is to promote atheism. The email reports that Peter Hitchins calls him the 'most dangerous author in Britain'. The email says that he doesn't like CS Lewis. Finally, the email warns that this is part of a conspiracy to entice children to read the whole trilogy and get the full course of 'atheistic' and 'anti-god' propaganda that Pullman has poured into His Dark Materials.

I feel very strongly about this, and will answer this email in the posts on my blog. A rebuttal, a review, and a rant. This is the rebuttal.

My first rebuttal: Pullman is an atheist.... First of all, so what? Lewis was an atheist, too. As Pullman writes stories, his own story is being written.

On the reference to Peter Hitchins.... I did some research about Hitchins. He seems like he might be the British equivalent to the American Religious Right. And I personally tend to disregard most of the platform that the Religious Right is posting. (Talk about propaganda.)

On the fact that he has hidden an atheistic agenda..... I didn't see that at all in the first book. I saw some very harsh, but I think fair criticism of organized religion (Christian and otherwise), and think we would do well as Christians to seriously consider them.

On the fact that he doesn't like CS Lewis's Narnia. So what? Is that our barometer of spirituality or literature? Even Tolkien had issues with the liberties that Lewis took with the mythical characters. And the article I read (for myself) said it was actually "Lord of the Rings" that Pullman didn't really care for. And even though I don't understand them, I actually have friends who feel the same way!

On the fact that this is all a conspiracy to get our children to read 'dangerous' literature.... Oh please. Enough with the conspiracies. Do we serve the Almighty God or not? Shouldn't our children be equipped enough to read difficult things, even things that are opposed to what we believe? How are we helping them be strong warriors by hiding them from the battle?

Further, this is CLEARLY a SCIENCE FICTION story. The America Heritage Dictionary defines:
science fiction n. A literary or cinematic genre in which fantasy, typically based on speculative scientific discoveries or developments, environmental changes, space travel, or life on other planets, forms part of the plot or background.
It is not meant to be symbolic the way that we have made Narnia and Lord of the Rings to be (btw, those authors weren't meaning to write in allegory either, we've done that to them).

For further rebuttal and information go to this article or this article. Both are written by much smarter people than me.

I am thankful for the Snopes warning that came to my desktop. "The Golden Compass" is one of the most intelligent and courageous stories that I have read in a long time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What are you doing this winter?

My sister just told me about this airing on PBS beginning in January.

Coming: The Complete Jane Austen

Looking ahead into 2008, Masterpiece suggests you flag January 13th in your datebook. That's when "The Complete Jane Austen" begins airing on Sunday nights, with new presentations of Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility. The lineup also includes Emma, the acclaimed film starring Kate Beckinsale, and Pride and Prejudice*, the Emmy award-winning miniseries that made Colin Firth a heartthrob. Miss Austen Regrets, a true story based on Jane Austen's own letters and diaries, will also be a part of the four-month marathon.

*A production of BBC Television and BBC Worldwide Americas, Inc. in association with A&E Networks. Masterpiece Theatre's broadcast of Pride and Prejudice is the first in the U.S. other than on A&E Television Networks.
Here is a link to Masterpiece Theatre with more information, an opportunity for an e-newsletter, and loads of other amazing programming!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Observations from the leaf pile

The leaf pile. One of the things that marks the time of year. I don't remember it being so significant to me as a child, but for my kids, it's as counted on as the Christmas tree.

Today we had warm weather, blue skies, and a fresh crop of fallen leaves. After naps, we headed outside, raked, and commenced the playing.

Caleb is the one that most amuses me in the leaf pile. He is Mister Structure. Mister Rules. Mister Let me have My Square Lego Blocks, and I will only make copies of what I've already seen. Mister Literal and Dogmatic. But get him in a leaf pile, and he is someone else altogether.

First the pile was a car, and we all took turns driving. Then it was a race car. Then a roller coaster. Then a space ship.

I mean really. It was a pile (or scattering) of leaves. It looked like none of those things. The leaf pile is the ONLY time I see Caleb imagining abstractly.... and it's not like I don't provide opportunities or the example. I am Miss the Opposite of all of Calebs structure and form. But to me the leaf pile, was, well a leaf pile, that smelled great and sounded great and felt great. But it remained a leaf pile to me. Ironic or something, isn't it?

I got my final giggle as the leaf pile took on it's final form. Caleb, in all his homeschool precociousness, turned to Anna and Sofia thoroughly excited "Let's use it for an ancient burial ritual. I get to be the first dead guy!"

A Fall Day

This afternoon we played outside in the leaves, and with a new camera. There is a cool 'sports' setting that allowed me to get the fun pictures of the kids jumping into the leaves. Enjoy the show!

Anna on her bike

Today it all came together for Anna on her bike with no training wheels. Here is a video:




PS. Please don't be alarmed by the fussing noises at the end of the video. Sofia is making those noises for fun... REALLY

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What I did today




Anna has outgrown all of her clothes all at the same time. Talking with her about what she would like, she said she would like nightgowns and not pajama pant sets. I personally don't understand her preference, but hey. So today I made her two nightgowns. This picture is the one that she picked the fabric out for. She says it is the prettiest fabric ever. The other nightgown is made of cozy gray sweatshirt material that belonged to Marc's grandmother.

Heard at the Pitman home this morning

"I love you, my fishy! Bye Bye!"

**flush**

**giggles from two little girls**



(glad they didn't take it too hard)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

a Dragon!

Here is Sofia at the Children's Discovery Museum in Augusta today. Isn't she a scary dragon?
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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

TOO FUNNY, TOO TRUE.

Thank you to my Mother-in-law for sending this to me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Piercing my nose....


So last Thanksgiving, after a bad Starbucks experience, I rather spontaneously went to get my nose pierced. Except it wasn't really spontaneous because I had wanted to get it pierced for nearly 8 years.

Today, I felt like doing some extra nose exfoliation, so I took out the nose ring and tackled those large dirty pores.

Problem was that I forgot to put the nose ring back in. Until about thirty minutes ago, when I saw it sitting on the counter in the bathroom. I went to put the ring (properly called a nasal screw) back in. Blocked door. Tried again. It isn't easy to put in a nasal screw... still no luck. Looked closer.

Hmmm. Am I ready to give up my nose jewelry? Hmmm. God, are you ready for me to give up my nose jewelry? I get a no to the first question, and a no answer from the second. So what do I do? How to fix it??

I paw through my jewelry box and find one of those earring with the really sharp end from when the girls got their ears pierced.

Alcohol. Check. Earring to break the hole. Check. Nasal screw to insert after the operation. Check. Q-tips. Check.

So I swab, stick, swab, push a little harder. OW.

Caleb comes in and asks for lego help.

"Mom, can you help me."
"No Caleb I'm trying to put my nose ring back in." (This is a typical pastor's wife/pastor's son conversation... right?)
"I didn't know you took it out. Are you supposed to?"
"Apparently not for this long because it's not going in. So no I can't help you, and would appreciate if you would go out and shut the door so I can cry alone."
"Okay, mom."

Swab, push, almost through. This really hurts. Okay. The post is through. Do I pull it out or leave it in for a few minutes to secure the hole? Who knows. I go get a drink (of WATER) and move onto the second part of the operation.

Stud out. Swab. Screw in. WOW. Really in.

I don't think I will make the same mistake again. But, now I know that if I want to ditch the nose ring thing, it will only take 6-8 hours for the hole to begin to look and behave like those pesky large pores that started this whole thing in the first place.

Now some of you are thinking... I DID NOT need to know this. I know. But if you did something as silly as I just did wouldn't you want to blog about it?

And while we're at odd topics. Does anyone have any better solution for tackling those large pores on my nose and chin?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Caleb turns 8 tomorrow!


Here is the birthday cake I finished decorating about an hour ago. My first attempt at 'serious' decorating. (Like I need a new hobby.) I'm quite pleased with how it came out.
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Apple Picking

We had a glorious day apple picking at The Apple Farm in Fairfield on Sunday. Here are some picts... I think more of apples than of people...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Double Standard


Caleb and I drove to The Apple Farm today. In the back seat he was studying his suction cup gun, and we were having a chatty conversation.

After a pause, I hear "COOL!" "What is it Caleb?" "I bet I could shoot an ant with my suction cup gun!"

Just as I began to say we should be kind to all living things, a still small voice reminded me "Emily, you're the one that puts poison out all over the house hoping to wipe out entire colonies."

Needless to say, Caleb didn't get the lecture I had planned.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

F - Guilty Pleasures


(Guilty Pleasures is my alphabetic jaunt through fiction at my favorite library.)

It has been years since I watched the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, and a friend of mine and I have been talking about watching it again. When I found Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg, on the "F" shelf at Waterville Public Library, I thought it would be a fun read. And I was right. It was a quick and pleasant read.

AS it is with most books become movies, the story was way more developed. There were more side-stories, and Flagg has a couple of wonderful mini-essays about language that values and devalues women. As Evelyn has her mid-life crisis and defines who she is going to become, she considers what she has been told about women.

Really spunky and fun.

Now I'm ready to watch the movie.

E - Guilty Pleasures


(Guilty Pleasures is my alphabetic jaunt through fiction at my favorite library.)

I forgot to blog this awhile ago. My "E" choice for fiction reading was The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans. This was a fun romance that took place mostly in Peru. It highlights some of the social situation in Peru (hmmm, Caleb and I just finished reading Secret of the
Andes
- another Peru book, what's up with Peru?)

Need a weekend pick-me-up... I highly recommend this one.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

From our anniversary, part 2






Last Spring we celebrated our anniversary with National Penny Day, collecting pennies to give to Heifer Project.

Today, in the continuing spirit of "finishing things", I finally cashed in all those pennies and other coins. I am please to say that we collected $64. So in honor of our friends and families, I just purchased 'a trio of rabbits', and a share of tree saplings.

Thanks to everyone who came and celebrated and gave. Someone's life is going to be greatly impacted because of us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My friend Mark


My friend Mark is riding a thousand mile bike ride from Seattle to San Francisco to raise money for the American Lung Association (and enjoy the adventure). Here is a link to the event:
Big Ride Pacific Coast.

I was so blessed that Mark asked me to blog for him during his adventure. So once in awhile I get a crackly voicemail that I get to transcribe onto Mark's blog.

I'm so proud of and excited for him.

YAY Mark!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Luke 15:8

"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?"

Here's my version:

Suppose an overtired mother has a thousand piece puzzle that she's been working on for over a year, and she loses four pieces. Does she not grab her swiffer and enlist the strength of her whole family to find the pieces? Does she not move every piece of furniture and dust in corners that never see the light of day? Does she not thoroughly clean the dreaded 'junk' closet from top to bottom, while praying that something won't bite her? And suppose she finds one piece after the manic burst of cleaning? And is still missing three.

Then she thinks about what craft projects can be done with the pieces with her friends and good chunk of chocolate.

Today, we killed our treadmill....



No, we weren't joining some anti-fitness war or any such thing. It had just stopped working, so we tore it apart and sent it off to the junk pile. The only reason we tortured it so much was that it was too heavy to get from the basement to the van any other way. When we put it down there we had hired moving guys.

Of course there was a certain amount of glee in ripping it to pieces.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Finishing things....

This past week I have been making an attempt at finishing some projects. I am a great starter of projects, but if you look closely at my piles you will see many mini-project graveyards.

So this week, in a bit of the spirit of a good purge, I have been tackling the piles, enthusiastically finishing or throwing out projects before I start my slew of Christmas projects.

This puzzle "The Rescuing of Pooh" is one of the many projects. This puzzle has been on the cardboard and coffee tables I don't know how many times over the past 18 months. Thank God for the puzzle mat that I bought.

This is one of the most difficult puzzles I have done.... with about a hundred different shades of green and blue all looking like each other. Yesterday and today I became more and more excited to be finishing one more project.

If you look closely, you will see four pieces missing. Where are they? I don't know. When did they go missing? I don't know. I had hoped to glue the puzzle together and make a poster, but alas. When you take 18 months to finish a puzzle with three kids in a busy home, I guess your pictures sometimes have a few pieces missing.

But it is another project done.
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An overheard conversation....

Caleb and Anna to Sofia: We don't want to play with a baby. No babies allowed. (note... mommy internally growls and gets ready to intervene.)

pause.

Caleb to Anna: Wait. We need someone to test the booby trap on.

pause.

Caleb and Anna to Sofia: Sure, you can come play Sofie.

(another note... mommy struggles - do I intervene or not? naaah.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

It is finished....

sort of. All the construction work is finally done on the swing set. I hauled load after load of dirt to build the 'foundation' area for the slide yesterday. All that is left is the retaining wall and wood chips, which we just might leave until next spring. We'll see.

 
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Labor Day Photos

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Big Sigh from Maine

We spent a blissful day in MA yesterday with Shelly and Su-San... a picnic on the beach near their home and sea-glass hunting. Then we took a trip onto Gordon and saw some of our favorite Nyland residents. Finally we saw Lisa and Paul as we grabbed one last cup of coffee at Starbucks for the trip home.

As we drove up 95, the traffic going South was AMAZING. And the traffic going North was near to nothing. It was almost as though you could hear Maine giving out a collective *sigh*. As each tourist (thank you for coming and supporting our economy) left, there was a little more oxygen and space for all of to relax and be Mainers.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Pretty good odds


I made just over ten dozen chocolate chip cookies this morning for the Colby Christian Fellowship to put in freshmen boxes. And out of 120, I think only two made it into my mouth. Batting .01666-tremendous improvement for my cookie game.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This bugs me....

This past weekend we were in a christian book store. There is a devotional book that I have been considering buying Caleb for a LONG time (Life Lessons from the Squire and the Scroll, Bishop), so I looked for it on the shelves. It wasn't there. But that isn't what bugged me, because it was a small store. What bugged me was that there were at least five devotionals for little girls (gender specific).

Well, I let it pass, thinking thoughts about small Maine town Christian book stores which might not have been very charitable. But I confess, I am a child of the age of Amazon. And while it has been easy to throw my support and enthusiasm behind local libraries (and not buying too many more books - which weigh a ton whenever you move), small local bookstores have a long way to go before they endear me....

Anyways. Back onto my rant.

Today I was pulling a few books online that I need to buy for ministry and homeschool, and just decided to give another look for the above mentioned book. Devotional books available at CBD: Boys 11, Girls 27. And it's no better over at Amazon. And when you expand the range to include teens, it doesn't get any better... maybe it gets even worse. I know you could argue that little boys aren't sit down reader/thinkers, that they are wired differently than girls, that they don't read until much later. But I'm thinking that the message being sent is very much that faith-growing is much more for little girls than little boys. AAACK!

I'm told by my best friend that the things that most get your goat may be the ones you are around to help solve. So, now I guess I need to make time in my schedule for writing devotional material for young boys, young teenage boys, and young men.

Yeah. And I'm so qualified to do that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Okay... it's been 21 days since I last blogged

Today we enjoyed our third Tuesday of school. Yes, this is our third week of homeschool - with Caleb in the third grade and Anna in kindegarten. So that is why I have not been the most frequent blogger these days.

Again we are happily using Sonlight Curriculum. It is a good solid dose of literature, good history, and Bible education. We have used it since Caleb was doing PreK work so this is our fourth year.

Everything seems to be going well so far. I'm using a new math program with Caleb, and I am seeing improvement in basic skills and understanding every day. Anna is hungry to learn, and very smart. Sofia is determined to stay busy with the other two and has her own binder which she busily fills with her markers (determined to NOT use crayons).

I am particularly thrilled with three extras that we've been able to add this year: piano lessons for Caleb and Anna; drawing lessons; and Spanish lessons. I was concerned about adding these three because they are extra, because I am more in an upfront teaching position, and because I am learning beside the kids. I have minimal experience in all three places. As it has worked out, each day these are the highlight for all of us! I can call out to the kids 'time to come do Spanish (drawing, piano)' and there are cheers of joy!