Sunday, November 30, 2008

Children's Sermon

While I remember I have to get this down.

We went to the local UMChurch for the first time today. During the tradition children's sermon, Pastor Arlene was challenging the kids to think about giving not getting.

She asked the kids if they made wish list of what they wanted to get. Enthusiastically they nodded and spoke their 'yes'.

Pastor Arlene, leading into her pitch on giving asked, "Do you know what the problem with that is?"

And one sweet little girl piped up, "yes, I can't spell."

Do Children Need their own rooms?

My twitter and facebook status read:

"Added two bedrooms to our home this afternoon. Exhausted, but hoping for a more peaceful bedtime and week."

Perhaps some explanation is necessary.

We have an almost entirely finished basement, including a lovely bathroom. It is almost entirely a wide open space and has served our family in several different ways since we moved into our home almost four years ago (four years?!). Currently we have been doing school, playing GameCube, and housing my overflowing piles of crafty projects or could-be-projects.

On the main level of our home we have three bedrooms, meaning that the girls share a room, Marc and I share a room, and Caleb and his legos share a room. Two of the three arrangements are generally amicable. The first has reached levels of hostility and stress that are overwhelming.

Having lived and worked in residence life at high school and college levels, we have told ourselves for years that we are doing 'some roommate somewhere' a favor by allowing our children to experience community living by sharing a room. We have said, 'oh isn't some spouse in the future fortunate that our children are having this experience now'.

Well, we still believe that. BUT. I. NEED. SOME. PEACE. I have found that I am partly of the personality type that values Peace almost above all else. The only thing I love more than that is Perfection (but I am working on that with the help of my love of chocolate). Further, I believe that the personality of one of our little developing wee ones also values peace and order. While her roommate values being in control. At all hours. In all manner.

I'm not sure which straw or which camel, but somewhere over this weekend, it all became a mess.

Recently, my Dad gave us several room partitions that he had acquired through an odd job. Nice room partitions. And if you know us, you know that we have no shortage of books and happen to be at a season where we actually have the shelving for most of them. And most of those books are on those shelves in our mostly finished basement.

SO, I figured out this morning (before church I might add) that we needed about 45 ft of wall, and that with our found room dividers and sturdy and full bookcases, we had about that many feet of 'wall'. And the most important ingredient to the whole thing: Marc's consent and willingness to help.

We could have had one child move downstairs, but have previously tried this and it was the small part of "unfinished" basement that got to her. We hope that by putting the two older ones downstairs it will seem less like exile and more like a 'secret club of older siblings'. Amazingly, the buy-in from the two olders came quite easily.

After church, we came home, had lunch and set to work.
Rearranging our mostly finished basement, disassembling and re-assembling beds, bureaus, and carrying toys and books.

And now our three children have three bedrooms. They are learning about community that allows separation and alone time.

And allows me to escape from the role of referee (aka family spiritual director) to recharge my own vision for community in our family and beyond.

Black Friday Shopping continued....



I will do my best to not shop for your website or your store again.

Merry Christmas.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Gingerbread 2008

Gingerbread House 2008

Anna and I have tried to make a gingerbread creation each Christmas season. This year I bought a Wilton's kit (which I felt like was cheating - but we had just as much fun). Here are pictures of adventures today.


I don't know what is more amusing about this picture, Cleo sitting on TOP of the fish tank, or Cleo trying to figure out how the music is coming from the speaker.
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Thanksgiving Pride

Marc told the kids on Thanksgiving that they would need to either help prepare or cleanup at my parents house. Anna decided to help clean up.

This is her, doing the dishes. I'm proud of this picture because we are a dishwasher family, so not only was she helping, she was trying something new (she's very good at it, and she's decided she is glad we have a dishwasher).

Further, I was the designated dry-er. We had such a sweet time together as we did the dishes. We had such an enjoyable time.
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Black Friday Shopping. Or, to the women at Joann's this morning.

I knew it was a foolish long shot to try to be at Joann's this morning. I know that they have a crappy inventory, and that the chance of getting the fabric for a Christmas pj's was slim. But when you look at the opportunity of paying $1.49 for fabric that normally costs $5.99 - I guess it makes you a little crazy.

I did it anyway. For the sake of sanity, I did NOT set an alarm. I simply went to bed and said, 'If I'm awake, then I'll get up and go'. As it was I WAS awake, and I did go. I arrived at 6:10, the store opened at 6:00.

I knew precisely which fabric I wanted and where it should be. I headed to the corner. Passed the cutting counter. Where there was a line of women with carts full of bolts of fabric, my kind of fabric (not my pattern), buying the WHOLE bolts. I can't really blame them. I can try to feel sorry for them. Maybe I should even say 'good for them'.

My fabric was NOT on the rack. I cruised the store looking for it in someone's arms. Didn't see it anywhere.

Fortunately the gym that I go to is in the same plaza, and I had gone prepared for that... so that I at least wouldn't WASTE being out before 7 on a holiday morning.

Now I'm home. I'm showered. I've had coffee and yummy sweet bread. I'm with my favorite family watching the cat chase a wind up car.

And I've bought my fabric. At a 50% discount. And it will be coming to my door in less than a week.

And my arms don't hurt. And my legs aren't tired. And my attitude for the holidays has not been too imprinted by lines, crowds and rushes at door breaker deals.

So there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


"No, I believe I'm the laptop in your life." Cleocatra

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

Here are the three kids with the shoeboxes they prepared for Operation Christmas Child. I took each of them shopping and they picked out everything for their Unknown Friends. I'm so proud of the way they opened their hearts and got behind this project. What a great way to start the holiday season.
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CleoCatra, or Cleo for short. Cleo celebrated her six month birthday on Thursday, and has been a part of our family for nine days. We met her at the Humane Society, and she chose us as her family on our first visit.

Cleo spends her time sleeping, looking out windows, and watching our fish. She has done a great job tolerating the excitement of three young kids. She purrs and talks and loves lying on shoulders.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kitty Lovin'

Me at the Waterville Humane Society. Think they are loving the affection? I had no more than sat down that the one on my shoulder was on my lap and purring. The second one was not seconds behind.
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