24 December 2008

Hindsight is 20/20

I am convinced that this is the motto for the year of 2008.  This year especially has been filled with so many ups and downs and twists and turns that I don't know if I can cope with it all. At times I wish that I had hindsight before the event happened, but now looking back I don't know if I could have held on for the ride.  I am not going to go into detail of our yearly activity. I am, however, going to ask  you a question... looking back throughout the past 12 months how does your year rate overall? Was it too exciting for you?(is there such a thing), Was it fun? Did you learn a lot? Tell me what your year was like and what you got out of it the most. 

I wonder if the company of LL Bean would have answered my question this way: "We wish we had waited one week to do our outdoor sports festival this year; we would have saved so much money by not needing to produce our own snow." You may know what I am talking about if you went to Beans before Christmas. They had a huge pile of man made snow out in front of their store, and looking back I cannot help but wonder why they didn't wait just one week for the snow to come to Maine.  For as you all know, this year was a beautiful white Christmas with inches of wonderful fluffy snow.  White Christmas or not this festival got my family out to Beans to see their man made snow and try out their sleds. Here are some pics of what we did at the famous store: 

The boys loved the bubble inside the fish tank at LL Bean.

Elijah sitting in snow that had to be contained with hay. Does anyone else find it odd that we feel that we have to rush winter while living in Maine? Could you imagine living in Florida and rushing in summer? 

Tyler and Josiah sliding down the snow covered ramp. That ice chunky snow on a slope can really speed you along on a sled. 

I would like to close with simply this: Don't get too worked up over what you didn't know was going to happen this year. Instead learn to lean on the Lord in the good and bad times and know that you will be carried through this next year with Him by your side.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Preparing for Christmas is a very important task for me. It isn't because I want everything to be just right on Christmas, or that we host a lot of people (we don't). Rather it is because for me I love to know that it is Christmas. Really know. If, however, I don't try to prepare for the day then I find that Christmas just sort of shoots on by just like every other day and then I feel as though I have missed it. So every year I try to prepare for Christmas and continue to tell myself that it is Christmas so that when the day comes I am fully prepared to seize the moment and relish in the holiday. My mother made Christmas a huge deal, and I want to make a big deal too. After all it isn't everyday that we can take aside and muse over all that God has done for us by sending us Jesus. If nothing else, I want my children to understand why Christmas is so important to me. As a result, we talk and walk Christmas for almost a month so that when Christmas Eve comes and we can start our celebration we all know why.

Here are some of the things that we did to prepare this year:

Elijah, Josiah and Andrew were in their very first Christmas Pageant. Directed by the beautiful and talented Alison Gervais this production shared the birth story of our Lord from the point of view of the donkey whom the writer affectionately named Clopper. Elijah played an adorable Clopper, while Josiah and Andrew were the cutest little wandering sheep you have ever seen.

Alas, this is the first year that I wasn't able to drag Tyler to Portland to walk the mall and watch all of the crazy shoppers go nuts over some stupid toy. We did, however, manage to get to Freeport for the Winter Sports Festival with the boys. LL Bean had setup a sliding slope and had made snow with a machine so that you could test out the snowshoes. The boys had a great time seeing the lights, people, and "fake" snow. 

Pageants, and shopping aside, we of course decorated our house for the holiday. Our decorations are what some would consider scarce, but I prefer to call it classy. Our home is not packed full of those cheap blow up santas and blasphemous air filled nativity scenes. Rather we have a few select decorations handed to us from my mother, aunt, and grandmother. Making our home festive and perfectly garnished for the Christmas season. This year we went all out and even decorated Caleb. 

I pray that your Christmas season is a wonderful time worshiping Jesus with family and friends. God bless you all and Merry Christmas!

12 December 2008

Birthday Bash

Perhaps I should say birthday smash, because that is just what we did. For my birthday this year Tyler bought me lobster and we had a delicious lobster dinner. I love lobster, but unfortunately I had not had any since 2004. Needless to say, I was very excited to sit down in my home with my husband and share a lobster dinner without the noise of kids.  

These pics are of us posing with our lobsters whom we forgot to name and unfortunately you cannot meet because they are no longer with us. It was a sad sad loss for our household, well not really, actually it was quite joyous and filled with laughter. I know, you are wondering what kind of sick demented freaks we are. Well just to give you a hint, Tyler's shirt says "animals taste good", so there you have it.  Until next time... if this is a birthday celebration what do we do for Christmas?

07 December 2008

Elijah Dancing

Elijah has developed his technique in dancing.  He is always asking me to record him so that he can critique his movements and expound on his ideas. Here is one such recording...

01 December 2008

A Place of Production

Look at that Radical Woman!

My good friend Amanda lent me this book called "Radical Womanhood" by Carolyn McCulley and I must say it is very good. I knew it would be a wonderful book because Amanda read it and we all know that whatever Amanda takes the time to read must be fantastic. Anyway, I am only about half-way through but I came across a statement that really struck me.  The chapter is describing the history of domesticity.  I love history and have thus greatly enjoyed reading this chapter; I find it fun to see the connection between what I know about history and what the author is teaching and expounding on.  All throughout the history of the United States one can see the evident change of perception. For example,  male roles shifting from working in their homes with their sons to working without family in large factories reveals the transition to predominantly female maintained households.  Mind you that is just one example that interestingly enough I learned about in US History by studying the techniques of evangelists during the second great awakening. 

Future Evangelist

Learning about other transitions or even what this sort of transition resulted in for the role of a lady in society has been very interesting.  The shift that really interested me in this chapter, however, was that of the home.  Throughout history something else has been evolving with the roles of men and women and that is how we view our homes.  The author of this book does a good job of sharing it throughout the history and shows that in the early 20th century the role of the home completed a long and drastic change. 

"Thus the shift from the home as a place of production to a place of consumption is completed"

Evidence: "Oreo consumption"

As I said, I knew this, but I had never really stopped to think about it. I yearn for my house to be a place of production. We have a garden, and are striving to turn our land into a fruit producing haven. This thought that every home is merely a place of consumption is truly something to mourn.  I am not a collector of "stuff", but that doesn't mean that I don't find myself wanting some of the luxuries of life. (I need a new computer... my birthday is in 1 week, go to apple.com to buy me one.) Yet I find that shift from producing goods to merely consuming them to be a sad occasion. The woman described in Proverbs 31 does not consume her neighbors produce, in fact I don't think there is even mention that she consumes her own produce. Rather, she produces enough food to provide for her family in the good times and the bad. I am sorry to say that I am not this woman, but I must admit that doesn't sadden me as much as the vacant homes I see from the hours of 9-5 everyday because we are now consumers and no longer producers from our homes. 

The Production Process: push one lego onto another

There is so much more that I can say on this, my mind is reviewing the subtle shift in history, and all of its effects.  The only thing that I can conclude is that the feminists have completely missed the point and without Jesus there is no hope for a better future.  

24 November 2008

Happy Birthday Josiah!

Happy Birthday Josiah!

Josiah turned 3 years old on November 9th 2008 and I cannot believe it. He is so little that most people think that he is Andrew's age, and I would think that too if is wasn't for his extensive vocabulary and incredible coordination. Atleast they would seem extensive and incredible if he was in fact Drew's age, but they are normal for a growing man of 3.  Tyler and I have tried to make birthdays special for our boys.  As a result Josiah has known that his birthday was "next" ever since Andrew's birthday was over in March. (Not counting Caleb's because we didn't know what day he would be here) 

Auntie Ali gave Josiah a new corduroy for his birthday, can you guess what the very first thing he did to corduroy was?

So Josiah has been anxiously awaiting his special day for quite a few months now. Part of me felt that he might think we are deceiving him because it took so long, but it came and that is good. On Josiah's birthday we had a small breakfast celebration featuring apple pancakes with a couple of friends before church.  The day was fairly normal other than every once in a while saying "hey Josiah today is your birthday... yay!".  On the evening of his big day we had the grandparents over for dinner and cake.  Overall I would say that Josiah's birthday was a huge success. It was a special day with friends and family, but it was also quiet and normal enough to not contain a lot of stress. All that I can say is that I am very glad that we have this little blonde boy in our midst. 

All of the Smith boys except for Ben (Tyler's brother). From Left to Right we have Blake holding Caleb (Blake is Tyler's brother), Andrew, Isaac (Tyler's brother), Tyler, Elijah, Randy, and Josiah. 

Can you tell that Josiah had a wonderful day?

18 November 2008

Ego Trips for All

I love that song by the Newsboys called "Fad of the Land". There is a line in that song that says "I'm packing for an ego trip".  Now I came to a realization this week that made me think about this song, well mostly, about that line in the song; and I'm not talking about keeping up with the Jones' (you should listen to this song if you don't know it). Well let me start at the beginning and show you what I am talking about. 

Last Week I watched Tyler and two other men mill some pine and oak from our land. They had a sawmill here that was attached to a trailer. The mill did most of the work, or at least that is what it seemed. The only thing that the guys had to do was run the blade and move the cut lumber off of the mill and onto a pile. Now Tyler and these other gentlemen would take turns pulling the cut 1X's and 2X's off of the mill and carrying it over to the pile. These boards ranged from 10 -14 feet long and were between 4 and 11 inches wide. Not that big in comparison to beams and such. While building the house we would use boards this size in trim work and framing and such. Sometimes these men would take two boards at once and it didn't seem to be that difficult to them. (Are you starting to see where my ego trip came?).  Overall, the men did a great work and I am very thankful for them and the lumber that came out of their day of work. 

They stacked the wood in two places and one of them, unfortunately, is in the way of some stumps that I want Tyler to remove with the excavator, and thus needs to be moved. Thankfully this is the smaller pile and only contains about a third of the wood. Monday during my 30 minutes of all boys napping I decided to go outside and move some of the wood to help Tyler and lighten his load at home.  Let me just say I never realized how much heavier wet lumber is to kiln dried seasoned wood that you buy in the store. I had a hard time to move even the smallest board out there. When all is said and done I only moved about 3 1X6 12 footers. I could not have lifted anything larger. These are some heavy boards! I have no idea how those guys lifted all of these boards for the entire day of milling.  Tyler is not any larger than I am; as you probably know we are about the same height and normally weigh about the same. (although lately I average a higher weight than him, shhh! don't tell anyone).  But man let me tell you he is a lot stronger than I am, and I am no dainty woman. I can lift with the best of them ( at least I used to be able to). I spend the whole day lifting kids and I can paddle a canoe all day, and hey, I can leg press 160 lbs; but I cannot stack that lumber in my backyard.  Thus I have gained a new respect for the physical strength that God seems to have bestowed on men rather than women.  

Don't get all girl power on me ladies! I respect the strength that men have, but I know that they would practically die if they had to go through the pain of childbirth. Thus, the equal balance that God has created: Men are physically strong to lift heavy objects (their wives when they are in labor) and women are physically strong to handle the stress before, during, and after childbirth.  Hopefully my blog has not set you up for an ego trip; please do not go hurting yourself by trying to prove that you can lift more than some guy. It isn't worth it! After all he cannot prove that he is as strong as you by having a baby, so stop pushing your unfair advantage on the guy!

13 November 2008

Back to the Daily Grind

Caleb is now 3 weeks old and he is adapting very well to our all boy family. The boys still adore him and love to sit and talk to him or poke him in the face.  Overall I would say that the adjustment period has gone well and we are now into what the boys would call normal days.  It feels as though he has always been a part of our family and I have a hard time to remember the days Before Caleb. Of course, everything was easier...  I could sleep at night, we could go outside to work during the morning time even if it was only 30 degrees outside, and I could eat dinner with two hands. But that doesn't mean that I ache for those long lost BC days, no rather, I am enjoying this time of having yet another newborn child. A beautiful child made by God, and I am daily reminding myself that this time is short and in just a few years all of the boys will be outside helping me with our "mini arboretum".  In fact, life continues even as it starts.  It is amazing to see that even though I am always tired; it is not always time to sleep, and even though we just had a new baby and are in a slowed down atmosphere the world continues to speed by us with their clocks and schedules. I was reminded of this very fact when Caleb was only 1 week old and suddenly we found a skidder in our yard...

You see, BC, Tyler and I had started planning to turn part of our backyard into an open farmland area for fruit trees, maple trees, christmas trees, blueberries, bees and anything else we wanted it for. We talked to a few loggers about selling the wood that we currently had so that we could pay to rent an excavator and turn the land into basically a field. If their is anyone looking for work you may want to consider logging, because if anyone is working right now it is the loggers. These men that we have contacted have been so busy that they had not been able to start working out back. Then one day we drive home from church and low and behold there rests a very large skidder right behind our house.  Nat (the logger) started work on our "field" the very next day and finished this past week. Now we have a very many things to do before winter and suddenly find ourselves very busy with the land. So as you can see life has not stopped, but continues to blaze by as I watch. In fact, the whole household had a blast watching Nat fell trees, and load logs onto his pulp truck. Needless to say I am excited to put on some chaps, use the chainsaw, and help clear up the field area in preparation for Tyler's little arboretum.  

 This activity that seems to go on all around us as we sit dazed in new baby nation has, I believe, helped our family transition into a 4 boy family easier.  The boys have been able to find entertainment in the activity even as they are not able to go outside for very long due to the weather, and it has also brought a sense of normality back to our days.  All things said and done this great new baby season has brought a little less outdoors time, but a lot of great entertainment and the start of something yet to come. 

30 October 2008

Then There Were Four: The Birth Story of Caleb

Caleb Thomas Smith

They say that every birth story is different. Now I don't know who "they" are, but I can tell you that my experience thus far has showed me that they are right.  Caleb's birth story, much like every birth story, is different from the rest.  Considering our past experience with Andrew's birth (see Oct 2007 blog post) you can understand why we would be a little uptight about this coming labor. Tyler especially was a little overzealous in his reactions. Every time I breathed funny or sighed or made a funny face he accused me of having labor pains and not telling him. Well, it is nice to know that he doesn't trust me; I cannot imagine why.  In light of our most recent birthing experience anyone can understand why Tyler was a little afraid to leave and go to work as we neared the end of this pregnancy.  Obviously he did not want to miss the birth that he was sure was going to be very fast; actually Caleb's birthing experience really started 6 days before he was born...

On Thursday, October 16th Tyler was working from home, which had become a normal thing, so that I could get groceries and we could save gas. Anyway, while he was doing whatever it is that he does (I have no idea), I felt what would be considered minor labor pains - Braxton-Hicks probably.  Naturally, I thought they were just B-H and didn't tell Tyler, but still planned to go run the errands that I had set aside to do. On my way to Augusta these pains started to increase some and I was a little nervous about being stuck in Augusta with no alternate driver and two small children.  So I stopped at Mister Market got some groceries and took my little self back home.  Obviously Tyler wanted to know why I was home about 2 hours early, and I had to tell him.  But I did assure him that they were very minor and nothing to get too worked up over. What does he do then? He calls everyone we have ever met to tell them that I am in labor. Great, now do you know why I didn't tell him earlier?  Well these so called contractions lasted for 48 hours (not a typo)  and did not progress hardly at all. I told you they were false labor, whatever happened to mother knows best? Oh wait, that is father knows best; whatever. 

So now everyone I know is calling wondering why they got a labor call, but no call to announce the birth. Man I love overzealous husbands! We managed to get in a fairly normal weekend because I refused to set everything aside for the future birth of a child not due to deliver for another week and a half. As it turns out no other signs of this child's coming were shown until Tuesday morning at 4 AM.  On Tuesday morning like every other morning I was having a hard time to sleep so I got up so that Ty could sleep. He followed me into the living room and pelted me with questions. Finally at 4:45 he had convinced me that it wasn't B-H again, and that we should call Amanda. To make a long story short by the time Amanda arrived I was definitely on board with the whole real labor theory and we left for the hospital at 5:20.  While in the car the labor progressed so fast that I was worried we wouldn't make it to the hospital, or that we would get in a car accident. Tyler was driving 70-80 miles per hour with his double flashes on through Augusta. We arrived in record time and Caleb Thomas Smith was born 45 minutes later. 

Although Caleb's birth was not as fast as Drew's, it was plenty fast enough. I learned a few things from this experience. One: Tyler's fear of missing the birth because of time to travel from work to home to the hospital was real, and if he had been working we probably wouldn't have made it to Maine General. Two: Braxton Hicks pains for me are apparently early signs of labor and once my true labor begins I have less than a couple of hours. Three: You must have a friend like Amanda while expecting so that you can leave your kids at the drop of a hat and not worry.  Four: Don't let your husband call anyone about labor until you are admitted to the hospital.  And Finally: It may take you four labor experiences to finally get that movie type experience of driving too fast through traffic with the thought that a cop would actually escort you if he saw you. 

Caleb Thomas Smith was born on 21 October 2008 weighing in at 6 lbs 2 oz and 19 inches long.  He is named after Caleb from the bible and Tyler's grandmother whose middle name is Thomas (really).  

28 October 2008

Ode to the Alpha Female

In life their are cat people and their are dog people and then their are the rest of us.  I do not consider myself either a cat or dog person, I may prefer one over the other, but in fact I only love one cat and not cats in general.  If you have ever visited my house you have met my cat, Penny.  Penny Patch Nicole Severy to be exact. 

When I was a little girl I begged my mother for a cat, and while we were living in VA my mother granted my wish. I received an orange little kitten whom I named Patch. Patch was a nice cat, but now looking back on it I realize that Patch mostly put up with my five year old personality and would rather have not been slept with, or picked up.  When we moved to Maine I was forced to find my kitty another home (very devastating for a little girl).  

Fortunately we had not lived in Maine long when my mother brought home the smallest kitten I had ever seen. She was working at a diner and they had found the starving kitten out back on the steps. Now it is true that my mother is not an animal person, but she is also compassionate. So she brought the cat home with the words of "If you can keep it alive, you can have it".  So I kept it alive for 17 long years. In that time Penny quickly grew from the most pitiful creature to an elegant tri-colored alpha female cat.  She ruled our house.  Any animal that visited, or moved in quickly learned that Penny was in charge. I have scars from protecting even the largest dogs from this cat.  She had this attitude that showed that she was the boss and she knew it.  

Just like my grandmother Penny had a "look" that she gave to you when you were being annoying

I was given the privilege of feeding, and caring for her from the time she was young and in return I received unconditional love. Penny knew when I needed her love, and she loved me through my absent time while at College, when I kicked her out of the bed, when I got married, and through each of the births of my children.  Just last week Penny welcomed Caleb as she did each of the boys: she laid in my lap while I was nursing and put her head on his belly.  It is true that she didn't really like a lot of people, but if I loved someone then she loved them too.  A more wonderful cat could not be found and I am truly thankful that I was given this 6 pound ball of fur.  

I will never find another cat like Penny and I never plan to look. Penny died yesterday afternoon while enjoying a snooze on the deck in the sun she was 17.5 years old.  I just thought that you might like to know why, although I am not an animal person, I love one cat. 


20 October 2008

Autumn = ... + Foliage!

The completion of our equation has come! 

Autumn = Pumpkins + Apples + Foliage

Now I know what you are thinking: Two of those are edible, but one is not, how do they go together? What I would like to propose is that the season of Fall brings them together so that they are all similar. In October of every year in Maine we receive God's grace in that we can enjoy these three items to their fullest.  The fact is that these are really all harvested items that take all Spring and Summer to mature to their beauty.  The sweetness of a crisp apple, the beauty of the red, orange, and yellow leaves, and the unique taste and decoration of the pumpkin are climaxes of a great season. This great produce result does not happen overnight; but is slowly transformed from early Spring when the seeds are planted, the leaves are budding, and the buds are fertilized.  

Every year, much like other New Englanders, our family (and yours) relishes in the harvest of Autumn. We enjoy our apple festivals, carve our pumpkins, and drive miles upon miles to view clusters of beautiful colored leaves.  Autumn is not yet over so if you have not had the pleasure of seeing some beautiful colored trees (if that is possible in Maine), or if you haven't been given the chance to pick some apples, or cook a pie from scratch: I pray that you are diligent in engrossing yourself in the harvest left to enjoy. You best hurry though, because this time is passing quickly, and although it comes every year, it is still something that we all miss when it passes.

Recently our friend Alison gave Tyler and I the gift of spending a day out of the house with no children. What do you think that we did? We drove all over Western Maine and down through New Hampshire viewing the beautiful colors, so in closing to this glorious season I will leave you with some pictures of the fall foliage to enjoy.

Height of Land

Coos Canyon

15 October 2008

Autumn = ... + Apples + ?

Aha! We Mainers love a good apple don't we? Where else in the country can  you go and find people upon people participating in Apple festivals; eating apples for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and paying more to pick the apple than to buy the apple.  Seeing as the fall season reaps so much fruit around our neck of the woods we also get wrapped up in the excitement.  Here are some pictures to show you just how much fun we have with crisp Maine apples. 

Considering the lack of height that these boys have they prefer to sit right in the trees to pick their apples. It makes reaching for the apple so much easier and is also a lot of fun. 

This year we went to the Apple Festival in Manchester with our good friends Alison and Charlotte. The boys had a great time jumping in the blow up eye sores, riding in the horse-drawn wagon and watching the parade. Alison and Charlotte are such a huge help with the boys, just look at what they do to carry Andrew around; He couldn't get away if he wanted to.

If you want a good recipe to eat apples for any meal then make up some German apple pancakes. I wasn't aware that Germans had a lot of apples, but they sure do know how to make a good pancake. It is also a great way to impress the ladies... just ask Alison; I bet the first man to make her these pancakes will capture her heart.

What else does Autumn bring? Well, it isn't something you can eat.

09 October 2008

Autumn = Pumpkins + ?

The season is upon us.  Need I say more? You don't even need to ask which season for no one can live in Maine and miss the glorious changes that take place at this time.  For with the start of Autumn comes three significant gifts from God; one of these gifts is the harvesting of pumpkins.

This has been a wonderful time for us partly because this is the first year, since moving to the woods, that we have had a decent pumpkin harvest.   And what comes with a good harvest? Pumpkin pies for this season and beyond!

What other gifts does God send us in Autumn? Just wait and I will show them to you.

29 September 2008

Life, Education & Work: You never had so much fun!

Education, like so many aspects of life, takes on many forms.  Like other great American mothers out there I refuse to shove my child into a hostile environment (aka public school) and instead I choose to home school my three boys.  Home schooling takes on many different forms; basically anything from overly structured to completely laid back. The hard part in light of this information is to find a medium that works for our family and individual children.  Unlike many institutions our child's differences, strengths, and weaknesses all come into play when we lay out the method of teaching that we use.  For example, I have met mothers of preschoolers who have a complete curriculum selected, purchased, and followed in their own homes. I have also met mothers of teenagers who have never purchased a core curriculum and wouldn't use one if you paid them. Is one method better than another? Is one woman's children turning out smarter than the other? Actually, no. I have never met as many boys trained in classical literature, and yet still trained in good work ethic as those taught by an overly dedicated mother (is there such a thing? probably).  In fact, the curriculum has little to do with it. 

The art of serving snack on a piece of cedar wood

Where is my family in this great spectrum of organized textbooks and flashcards? Somewhere in the middle. Given, Elijah is only 4, so our style is not as evident now as it will be when all four of our children are of school age. There is one thing I do know though: Our style and path in home schooling is different because we have boys. What do I mean by this? Boys are different from girls (for all you feminists out there: it's true, get over it).  A parent can see the basic differences in gender by pure observation. When you tell a girl that something is hot she instinctively backs away, while if you tell a boy that it is hot he replies "how hot" and goes to touch it to see just how hot it is.  What a wonderful truth! Isn't there a small part of you that would be sad to discover that men really are just the same as women? I am so very glad that men are different.  What would we women do if we didn't have a strong man to chop down our firewood, a competitive man to push his way up a corporate ladder, or a problem solving man to fix the car?

 Snappy: the baby snapping turtle

How does this realization make educating the next generation of men different?  For us I know that work ethic has become just as important a part of the boys education as learning US history.  What would I do if I raised a boy who couldn't, wouldn't or didn't want to work? What a sad little loser he would be; knowledge is useless if you are not willing to use it, or if you don't know how to use it. Does this mean that we start our school year out with no plan? Of course not!  Goal setting is a part of life and many goals need a good plan, however, we are not slaves to our plans.  For example, I would never spend thousands of dollars on a college education if I didn't know what I wanted to major in, how my major and experience will help me after graduation, and if it was God's plan for me; however, that doesn't mean that I cannot change my plan once I have started.  It is not someone else's job to lay out a plan for me, especially once I have graduated from high school, and this is why I need to teach my boys how to be the masters of their own education. I can throw all of the books in the world at them, but if I don't help them develop a love of learning, work, God, and life, then I have failed.  

So what does our school year look like anyway? A little bit of reading lessons, some number recognition, a lot of arts and crafts, some experimenting with the world around us (everything from nature to people), and a lot of good hard work.  Learning is quickly becoming a part of our life in every conversation, walk, and chore. What greater way to teach the boys to love learning than to make it a part of something they have come to love: life.  

What have the boys learned? Well come on over and ask them...

22 September 2008

My "Accident Prone" Son

Most people who know our family know that we are fairly laid back when it comes to seemingly dangerous adventures. We love to go exploring in the woods where we might see a wild animal; hiking up a mountain that may contain a cliff is just part of the experience; and boys that climb up ladders are normal. These same people that know these things about us also know that Josiah is my accident prone child; he is always bumping his legs, falling while running, and just getting hurt in some way.  I am not going to relay the things that seem to happen to this boy, but I will tell you that other than a bump and a bruise nothing serious seems to befall him.  

In light of that you can imagine the surprise that I had when Andrew, not Josiah, was the first of our lot to break a bone. Everyone has told me that it is the first of many, and I can easily believe that, but I honestly didn't think that it would start this early. Andrew is only 18 months old and yet he is one tough little guy. Of my three he is actually the most tolerant of pain. A hit from a sibling is shaken off or maybe fussed over for a second, but not long. So a few weeks ago when he fell and cried for more than 15 minutes I knew that something was wrong with him.  As it turned out he cracked the growth plate in his right elbow. Nothing too major for a child so small, and not uncommon, but it has still required a splint for the past few weeks. Actually, the splint should come off today, and overall through this whole process he has been a real trooper. Once again showing me that even though he isn't the accident prone child he can take a hit and get up again to give one back.  

When Andrew and I returned from the doctors, Tyler and Elijah stole Andrew bear and went and put a wrap on his arm as well. For the next two days Andrew kept pointing to his bear's arm and saying "uh oh".

Despite his recently large wrapped arm, Andrew is still one of the happiest and cutest boys I have ever seen. Just look at that smile!

12 September 2008

Finally... A Hot Beach Day!

The Lord has been so good to us.  Not only does He provide everything that we need, but He provides it at the best time.  Every Spring I try to narrow my long list of desired trips down to two or three manageable destinations. This year, I chose one family camping trip, one hot day at the ocean, one good hike up Big Spencer Mountain, and one camping trip to camp Wesley. 

Needless to say that in Spring I do not know what the Summer will bring and, as you may know, our car died at the end of June.  During the month of July it seemed that we would not be able to do any of these trips. But alas, God is good: Not only did he provide us with a vehicle, but He also gave it to us in time to enjoy a couple of the things on my list. We have been able to do the family camping trip; we made it to the base of Big Spencer Mountain; Tyler and Eli did a camp Wesley trip with Randy; and last week Tyler, Elijah and I fit in a hot morning at the ocean.  Even though we didn't get to do these four things according to my plans, we were able to do them according to God's plans and for that, I am thankful.

Tyler and Elijah setting off for a kayak ride around the rocks of Reid State Park. 

Like every other boy, young and old, on the beach, Elijah had to build something when he found these large pieces of driftwood just laying around.

Just look at how proud he is of his creation!