Saturday, March 30, 2019

Now Brewing

A couple of weeks ago I took Elaine on a special errand with me.  We waited for our appointment for about two hours, and the whole time she had no idea what she was there for.  Finally we were called back and the technician began an ultrasound to determine if I was having one baby, or twins agains.  As soon as the image appeared on the screen I asked Elaine if she knew what that was.  "A baby?"  She had seen enough ultrasound pictures to know!  She couldn't stop talking and screaming about it all the way home!  

I allowed Elaine to break the news to her siblings.  This is how it went...

They were totally unimpressed and unexcited.  It grew on them, though, and everyone is voting for a girl!  We have decided to wait until September 30th (or whenever baby makes its appearance) to discover the gender!  (Elaine and Nolan were surprises!)

Henry has gone through mixed emotions.  One morning he shot my tummy with a nerf arrow to "get my baby."  The next afternoon he was warning me to be careful on the steps because of the baby in my tummy!  He crawls in my lap and asks if he can still be my baby, and if the baby can come but only stay for a little while.  So we will see how this goes!

Visualized Hymn: O Say But I'm Glad (English and Spanish)

In Spanish class (which is far less consistent than it should be) my kids learned the hymn O Say But I'm Glad in Spanish.  So I took the opportunity to make that our hymn of the month in February.  In January and March we learned some songs I had purchased visualized.

Even Henry did a good job with the catchy tune and easy phrases of this hymn, so we ended up singing it in church.  Most of our congregation is bilingual, and they enjoyed the kids' effort to sing in Spanish!

With the exception of a couple visuals, this song is designed for you (or your kids) to color in before laminating and using.  Here's a peek at a couple of the visuals:

Some Fabulous Reads

Recently I have come across a couple of really good articles, and I wanted to share them with you here. 

I do not regularly read Desiring God, but this link was shared in my Bible Study group as we studied James 3 and the destructive power of the tongue.  I found this article to be very succint and well stated, especially regarding some "pet peeves" I often encounter when surfing social media.  

The author of the article gives some guidelines for how often and how quickly we should respond to someone else online, as well as some guidelines for the content of our comments.  It bothers me greatly when professing Christians "like", comment on, and share items which have crass, vulgar language or cursing on it.  If you have to qualify your share with "please excuse the language" then you probably shouldn't be sharing it!  I also try to be careful to look at the name of the page or group from which the post or picture originated.  If the name of the group is also crass or includes cursing, then I don't click "like", even the picture or post itself is completely fine.  I don't want to support groups that are going to identify themselves with something which is not in line with God's character.

I found this to be an excellent contradiction to the feminist thought that marriage and child-bearing are not important life goals.  I have sometimes felt insignificant because I don't have a title or a string of accomplishments outside of my home.  And yet most times I realize that my life is very fulfilling in my support role to my husband, and the rearing of my children to be able to serve God with their lives.  I want to quote the whole article here because it is just that good.  It brought affirmation to what I am doing at home.

Being a stay at home mom is learning to give up what you want in order to serve others.  I struggle with it too, sometimes.  I want "me time" or to be noticed or recognized.  I don't want to always serve in the shadows of the kitchen.  But it is learning to die to myself, and it is good for me. 
"I wish we loved the strength it takes for a woman to become a wife and a mother. We marvel at her physical strength when she births a child. But we forget what invisible strength she shows when she lays down her life for her home every day after that. Social media spends all of its energy telling women to remember who they are, to fight for their sacred spaces, to become the woman they want to be...  Everyone in their 30s is talking about a rebirth and I’m still learning how to die."
:: The Church Planter's Wife by Christine Hoover 
I had picked this up at a seminar before deputation was finished.  It got buried on the bookshelf and forgotten until a fellow church planter's wife recommended it as vital reading.  So I found it, and started reading.  I'm not done yet.  But Christine Hoover has walked in my shoes and so accurately articulates the feelings and process of supporting my husband in a difficult and daring venture like starting a church from scratch.  If you are called to this, or considering it with your husband, I challenge you to read this book.  If you have a close friend who is a church planting wife, this may help you to understand her calling and struggles and joys that you might pray for her even more effectively, for she is fighting on the front lines with her husband.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

New Hymn: Come Ye Thankful People, Come

We didn't do hymns at the beginning of this school year...I was swamped learning to teach Kindergarten to two kids at once.  That is still a work in process!  We reviewed some hymns which we had already learned last year.  

Learning to stand and sing hymns and pay attention always seemed like creating a discipline opportunity.  There was a lot of fighting and not listening.  I thought my kiddos didn't like the singing time.  But two of my kids asked for hymns again in the same week, so we are bringing it back!  We have also been letting one child in each bedroom choose a song to sing before bedtime prayers each night.  I love that they are asking for songs like "Praise Ye the Lord, the Almighty," "I Sing the Mighty Power of God," and "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus"!

This month we are learning Come Ye Thankful People, Come in preparation for Thanksgiving.  I had a good time visualizing this hymn because fall is my favorite season.  I found lots of rich pictures, so I didn't make this into a color-your-own hymn.

Psalm 118:1
O give thanks unto the LORD for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

2018 Sports

This year we gave each of the kids a choice of sport.  Even just limiting it to one each is a financial stretch!  Liberty has always been a water baby so it was no surprise that she chose swimming lessons.  She completed an eight week course course starting in February.  She is now quite adventurous without her water wings on and will be swimming completely on her own very soon!

Liberty at swim lessons

Liberty's Final Swimming Lesson

Elaine and Nehemiah chose baseball.  Nehemiah has been dying to play baseball for quite a while, and he couldn’t wait to get his T-Ball uniform!  Ben was the assistant coach for his team, the Falcons.  He had very good attention and always wanted to be first on the ball.  He is also a strong hitter, and seemed to stick with the game longer than many of the young kids on his team.  During three weeks of rainout games, Saturdays were miserable around our house because Nehemiah would walk around asking when he could play baseball again.

Nehemiah Peewee Tball Falcons

Nehemiah Peewee Tball Falcons

Nehemiah's Falcons T Ball Team

Nehemiah's Peewee Tball season

Elaine registered for baseball, but we were contacted to put her into an all girls softball league.  They are trying to re-vamp the program and wanted as many girls as possible.  They also asked Ben to coach, so we had two Basher’s in the house.  There were only four softball teams, and Elaine’s took second in the league.  For only having seven players, and most of them not having played before, they learned and improved a lot!

Elaine's Bashers Softball Team

Opening softball season

Go Bashers!

Nolan decided not to continue with T-Ball from last year, but has been wanting to play soccer for a while.  It was too late to get him into a spring league (and Saturdays were already pretty busy), so we held our for Fall.  We have found a lovely niche playing sports in Riverdale (a predominantly Jewish neighborhood), because it seems like the Gentile teams get the fields on Saturdays.  However, the park we use for both baseball and soccer is getting ready to undergo a huge renovation so the fall leagues are being shortened and there will be fewer teams.  So…we ended up on the waiting list for soccer.  In the interim, we registered for a six-week summer class with Super Soccer Stars.  Once again rain was our enemy, and we lost two weeks of play!  But, praise the Lord, we get to reschedule since there are so many different classes with SSS in NYC.  Nolan was thrilled to pick out soccer socks and shin guards, and he’s learning a lot about dribbling the ball!

Nolan's Soccer

Nolan's Soccer

Nolan's Soccer

Nolan's Soccer

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Orchard Beach

On Monday we checked the first item off our bucket list...Orchard Beach!  We hit 91 degrees that day, and we were tired after having a mission team here for a week.  The kids were thrilled to go to the beach.  The water was pretty chilly, but we arrived at low tide so the tide pools were full of "treasures" to explore.  The tide was coming in as we left, and that's when the trash washes in!

Nolan found a shell while we were wading.  He stepped on it under the water, then dove to retrieve it.  It was a small shell with a hermit crab inside!  We added another shell to his bucket that I found, and by the end of our visit we had seen the crab attempt to change shells.  In the end he chose neither shell, and our prodding and watching may have been his demise.  :-(

We also rememebered our sunscreen this time (how did I forget last time?!?!) and managed to return home unburned.

I'm not a beach person at all - I much prefer mountains!  Really, I like the water.  But I despise sand.  It's all just a big mess and it drives me nuts.  But I had a good time and the clean up wasn't too bad this time!

Walking to the boardwalk.

Sandcastle building

Nehemiah the sand monster

More sandcastle

First dip in the water

Selfie with mom

Orchard Beach, the "Bronx Riviera"

Nolan's Hermit Crab

Summer Bucket List

We're not really traveling this summer...there are a lot of ministry things going on, and we don't really have the funds for it since we're still finishing the house projects.  And we're visiting a supporting church in OH in October, and we're saving to stop at the Ark on the way home.

But I have five energetic kids who no longer have school to occupy their mornings, so I knew we needed a summer plan.  I scoured some websites like Mommy Poppins and other urban bloggers for the best things to do with kids, and I limited it to the free stuff. 

Mondays are Ben's "day off", so we alternated those days with outings that require Daddy's help, and with house work projects.  This coming week we are finally getting to replae our garage door!!!

Tuesdays are library and reading days.  Maybe I will even get to sneak in a book or two this summer!  The kids were thrilled for summer reading program to start, and we have a great "small town feel" library branch.  However, the prizes are kinda lame this year, and the theme doesn't thrill me - it's "Turn it Up" and its all about music.  Most of the recommended books are NOT on my recommendation list!  But we are finding other things to read, and Nolan is really taking off in reading too.

Wednesday is our outing day.  A lot of attractions have free days on Wednesday, and we don't have any other committments that day.  I can wear the kids out, stay out as long as needed, and collapse when we get home!

Thursday nights are Bible study nights, and its at our house for now.  So we're not going anywhere on Thursdays.  We have piano lessons, a baskeball hoop out back, a patch of grass, and a whole closet full of games!

My assigned summer project from Ben was to finish teaching the kids to ride bikes with no training wheels.  So we will probably spend Fridays at Van Cortlandt Park, working through this one kid at a time.  I already feel tired!

Summer Bucket List items:

  • Orchard Beach (the only beach in Da Bronx)
  • Little Red Lighthouse (under the GW Bridge, but we need to park and walk in)
  • Hike the Palisades
  • Explore Fort Tryon Park
  • Try the Van Cortlandt Park Pool
  • Take a day trip to Lake Taghanic upstate
  • Visit Ben's parents
  • Visit the splash pad on top of the American Museum of Natural History
  • The AMNH is free for a donation, so we will head there on a super hot day to explore while staying cool
  • Bronx Zoo (an old favorite)
  • Cow Appreciation Day at the largest CFA (in Manhattan)
  • Ride the tram to Roosevelt Island and have a picnic
  • Explore the Bartow-Pell Mansion and Carriage House in Pelham Bay
  • Visit the Bank Street Bookstore in the Upper West Side
  • Visit the Strand Bookstore in Union Square
  • Visit the Ninendo NYC store in Rockefeller Center
  • Explore new splash pads - like St. James Park, Pelham Bay, DeVoe Park, etc.
We'll see how much we get done!