Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Bear!

Yesterday as we were preparing for lunch, Ben looked out the third story window of our temporary housing and shouted, “Oh look!  A bear!”  Nobody immediately paid any attention to him. 

We have seen all kinds of wildlife out these windows – deer, turkey, cardinals, blue jays, our resident groundhogs “Dandelion” and “Clover”, squirrels, vultures, and woodpeckers.  Ben has even shouted “Look a bear!” before, just to tease the kids.  So this time, everyone just assumed Daddy was teasing again.

But his shouts did not give way to a “just teasing”, instead he insisted, “No – seriously.  There is a bear!  I’m not joking!”  This brought the rest of us rushing to the windows to see a black bear – a real, live bear – lumbering across the field below our house, checking the trash can for food, and disappearing into the woods.  We even hollered at him to get his attention and try to slow him down.  He did turn to look at us. 

I took these pictures through the window, and zoomed out a lot, so some of them are not super-clear. I was also getting elbowed a lot by excited kiddos. But you can tell he’s a bear!

Mountainville Bear

Mountainville Bear

Mountainville Bear

Mountainville Bear

Mountainville Bear

Mountainville Bear

Mountainville Bear

#takemebacktothecity

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Bath Time
Henry in the bath

Bath Time

Bath Time

Mountainville Deer
Deer outside our window

Mountainville Deer

Twins in a Box
Twins in a box…I think  I would prefer Liberty’s spot!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Henry In Carseat    Henry Smiling
Henry…we were just driving along and he popped up!  I had forgotten to buckle him in!

IMG_8593
THere’s a lilac bush on the property where we are living.  I love lilacs.

Maggy's Baby Shower
Baby shower for my friend Maggy.  These three have been friends since infancy! 
Elaine, Adelei, Selah

Mother's Day Planter
Mother’s Day planter for Ben’s mom.

Storytime with Grandpa
Story time with Grandma & Grampa Fezzie.  Ben talks often of his dad reading aloud to the kids.  This is the first I heard him…and he is an excellent reader!

IMG_8717
I struggle to keep up with this one these days!

IMG_8718

Grimaldi's Pizza
Ben & I ate at Grimaldi’s last weekend.  Henry loved the pizza crust!  We are finally getting him to ingest some solid foods!

Grimaldi's Pizza   Grimaldi's Pizza

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Staten Island Ferry

A couple of weeks ago, after a meeting in Queens, we stopped in Staten Island and rode the ferry to Manhattan.  It’s good, free, clean entertainment!  The kids loved the boat, and we sailed past the Statue of Liberty at sunset!

Ride on the Staten Island Ferry
The first ferry we rode didn’t have the upper deck outside.  That didn’t stop my kiddos from pressing their noses to the glass and staring at Lady Liberty until she was no longer visible!

Ride on the Staten Island Ferry
Tulips in the park near Wall Street

Ride on the Staten Island Ferry
Kiddos on the ferry.

Ride on the Staten Island Ferry  Ride on the Staten Island Ferry
“Look mom!  The Statue of ME!”

Ride on the Staten Island Ferry
Love Elaine’s smile!

Ride on the Staten Island Ferry
The view was amazing!

Ride on the Staten Island Ferry
Lower Manhattan

{Gasp!} They are Three!!!

The twins turned three at the end of April.  Today I took them outside to snap a few pictures of them.  They had me smiling and cracking up the whole time!  This really is a fun stage {minus the potty training}, but having the twin dynamic inserted into the picture makes it all that much better!

Liberty is a master of expression.  I am constantly laughing at her.  She has this curly, reddish hair that bounces a lot the morning after a bath.  She knows how to use it to her advantage, or to add spice to her attitude!  She “wuvs” everything, constrantly exclaiming in a very excited manner, “Oh, yes!  I wuv this one!”  She espcially loves to twirl in her church dress, but she also has a good dose of her mom’s klutziness (you can laugh at the mental picture!).  She is my veggie eater, and loves avocados in particular.  While usually the last one finished with a meal, she eats the best and the biggest variety.  The opposite of Nehemiah, she chooses her vegetables first and then struggles to finish the meat or sandwich.  She plays well alone and is always toting around princesses or doll house family members, chatting away to herself the whole time.  She loves stickers and coloring, and purses.  She is even starting to leave her hair bow and ponytail in place for longer than five minutes!  Liberty is smart and bossy and will definitely be a typical “older sister” once she realizes that 35 minutes makes her older than Nehemiah.

Twins 3 Year Portraits square
I can’t get enough of the hair!

Twins 3 Year Portraits  Twins 3 Year Portraits
I said “smile” and she immediately made a funny face!

Nehemiah is my cuddler, and also my athlete.  He is a natural at anything sports – from sling shots, to bike riding, from throwing a ball, to climbing and jumping.  He is also the sensitive one – if someone is going to have a bad dream or get scared in a movie, you can count on it being Nehemiah.  (Like…the cat in Cinderella sends him running!)  He has learned enough about Star Wars from his siblings and seeing it everywhere that he is always ducking in the corner shooting Storm Troopers.  Nehemiah loves his baby brother and can’t keep his hands off Henry…even though we haven’t mastered the meaning of gentle as of yet.  He is the singer in the family, picking up snippets of songs and tunes everywhere, and pulling them out at the funniest time.  The other night we were getting him dressed for bed when he burst out with “Mary makes the sun shine bright!” from Mary Poppins.  He loves Patch the Pirate, too – especially Ocean Commotion and Incrediworld.  He doesn’t care for the nursery and would rather sit with me in church.  He’s a great encourager, too, and gets VERY excited to celebrate the victories of his siblings (especially when it comes to potty training). 

Twins 3 Year Portraits Nehemiah  Twins 3 Year Portraits vertical
That smile!

Twins 3 Year Portraits
Typical boy!  Always running…and in “cow boots”

These two…they are best buds, great playmates, and big tattletales!  But they understand and communicate with each other in ways that make me in awe, and I’m so blessed to be a twin mom!

Twins 3 Year Portraits
I love these two!

Twins 3 Year Portraits
One is always looking at the other!

Twins 3 Year Portraits
Red hair…cowboy boots…overalls…twins…and lots to watch except Mom’s camera!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Everyone SHOULD Celebrate Mother’s Day

I’ve noticed a trend around the blogosphere the last few years on Mother’s Day. Everyone starts posting about why we should “tone down” our Mother’s Day celebration and be uber sensitive to those for whom Mother’s Day is a painful reminder instead of a joyful day. It includes those who may struggle with infertility, who have had a miscarriage, whose own mother has passed away, or those who are still waiting for Mr. Right to come along so they can begin a family.

I certainly understand that we should be sensitive of the pain experienced by the ladies in these situations. We are supposed to bear the burdens of others (Gal. 6:2), to comfort the feebleminded (fainting), and to support the weak (1 Thess. 5:14). Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us that there is a time to weep, and a time to mourn. Romans 12:15 teaches us to weep with those who weep. However, the pain of some does not negate the rejoicing of others. Both Ecclesiastes and Romans tell us this – continuing the verses mentioned above with “there is a time to laugh… and a time to dance”, and that we should “rejoice with those who rejoice.”

Now, I have been blessed with five children. (In six years, no less). I do understand that this is a great blessing! I do not personally experience painful emotions on Mother’s Day. But I do know this personally – being a mom is hard work. Tiring work. Exhausting work. And once in a while, it’s really nice to be appreciated for all that I do for my kids. Most of the time I don’t grumble about folding the laundry or washing the dishes, changing diapers, and wearing spit-up.  I do these things because I love my family. Because it is my God-assigned role. But sometimes its nice to be noticed for the sacrifice.

Paris Mountain Hike

The blog posts on the topic of considering the childless women on Mother’s Day usually say something like, “Don’t make the mother’s stand in church.” Or “realize that everyone can be a spiritual mother”. Or they bemoan the fact that they have to stay home from church on Mother’s Day to avoid the painful reminder.

My question is this: why can’t we celebrate mothers? Every person on this earth has a mother, and if you survived to adulthood you need to thank your mother for her hard work. She wasn’t perfect. She may not have even been a good mom. But she was your mom, and you should applaud her. And chances are you have friends who are mothers, and you can rejoice with them on this day, their special day, when we celebrate their motherhood. You can rejoice with them, even if you aren’t able to celebrate your own motherhood.

When Veteran’s Day comes each year, I don’t stay home from church because I don’t get to stand up and be recognized for my service in the Armed Forces. On your birthday, I don’t refuse to be happy for you as we celebrate another year of your life, just because I am not being recognized and celebrated too. That would be incredibly self-centered! So why do we think Mother’s Day should be different?

I recognize that this could be a hard day for many women. I personally know ladies who have walked through the roads of infertility, difficulty getting pregnant, miscarriage, infant loss, and long-awaited adoption. My heart has hurt for them and my eyes have wept with them as they bear the pain of these difficult circumstances. Bearing children is a “rite of passage” in many respects. But if God has so ordained that some have children and others do not {yet}, should we question His choices, or accept His sovereignty? Should we refuse to be thankful that He has blessed others with children, and that they are doing a fabulous job in their mothering role? Or can we rejoice in their example and recognize their hard work?

So today, on Mother’s Day, I want to rejoice with those who rejoice. I want to clap my hands and shout “Great job!” “You can do it!” “Don’t give up! You’re making a difference!”

To my mom, I don’t know how you did it all! As I mother my own children I am more and more amazed and all you accomplished and all you taught us, and that you didn’t die in the process! As I shepherd my strong-willed children, I wonder that you didn’t give up on me because I was that difficult too. I faint when I think that you homeschooled three children from K5 to high school graduation. {I faint because I am weary and I only homeschool one kid!} Thanks Mom!

Elaine, Andrea, and Grandma Godby on the Brooklyn Bridge

Mother's Day 2009

The Girls on Easter Sunday

To my mother-in-law, I am blessed by your hard mothering work everyday of my life. You raised a fabulous son who leads and provides for our family, and walks with God. He learned that at your feet, and I am eternally grateful that he had a godly mother. And you continue to be a blessing to us – through your selfless giving, watching the kids, and coming to help when I had a baby.

Grandma Fezzi and the Grandkids

Storytime with Grandpa

To all of my “mommy friends”, but especially Diane, Sherry, and Jenilyn – you have encouraged me to keep going when it was hard. You have prayed with me and for me. You have given me encouragement, wisdom, and creative ideas. Thank you for walking the Mommy Road along with me!

Andrea & Jeni prego bellies   Henry & Lydia 2 weeks old

Celebrate all the mothers today. Applaud them. Recognize them. It’s one day when they get pampered and spoiled for the other mundane 364 days of the year.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

9/11 Museum

After the birthday celebration, Ben’s parents took the big kids home for the weekend and Ben and I had an “alone” weekend with Henry.  It’s been…too long.  We went away for our five year anniversary (3.5 years ago), and we had a week of orientation for the mission board. 

We took the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Museum.  I have been wanting to go for a while, and this was our opportunity to go on the cheap!  We arrived at 6 p.m., and the average visit takes two hours.  I could have spent an extra two hours, but the museum needed to close. 

I was very impressed with the Museum.  It is VERY well done.  Though I was not personally affected by the tragedy in 2001 as so many of my NYC friends were, I was still touched and affected as an American.  The museum not only had many artifacts and treasures to remember the Twin Towers and the people who were there that day in the tragedy of 9/11, but it did an excellent job remembering the lost lives (as individuals, not just a collective 3,000).  There was one room which had a picture of every person who gave his life that day.  In the center of the room there were benches and loop of video and audio reading each name and telling about the person who had died.  It was a quiet place where you could reflect, remember, and learn more about those people.  There were multiple kiosks with touch screen computers where you could select a person at random or search for a sepcific individual.  It displayed the biography of each person, often including auido from friends or family. 

The museum also laid out the timeline of events clearly and I understood some things a little better.  The more graphic, difficult images from that day were often behind a column or around a corner, so that even young children could enjoy the museum.

Here are a few of the pictures I snapped.

911 Museum
This photo hung at the etnrace of the exhibits, depicting the Manhattan skyline with the twin WTC towers.

911 Museum
This sign stood outside of the WTC since 1995.  Some amazing facts: 200 elevators (express and “local” system, like the subways), 1200 restrooms, 40,000 doorknobs, 200,000 lighting fixtures, 7 million square feet of ceiling tiles, and more structural steel than the Verrazano Bridge.  Every workday 50,000 people came to work at the WTC in 12 million square feet of office space, joined by 80,000 visitors.

911 Museum
Part of the original slurry wall to hold back the waters of the Hudson River (from the North Tower I believe).

911 Museum   911 Museum
The Last Column – one beam which remained intact after the towers collapsed, and it was the last column to be removed from the recovery site in May 2002.

911 Museum911 Museum
This is a neat wall.  It includes one square for each victim of the 9/11 terrorist attack, each one a different shade of blue.  The artist was trying to remember what color the sky was on that September morning, and also highlighting the fact that we all view the events differently.  The quote say, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”

911 Museum
Ladder 3 truck – story below

911 Museum

911 Museum

911 Museum
One of the beams, twisted

911 Museum

911 Museum
This is the National 9/11 Flag.  What a story and unique idea!  As the battered flag from the 9/11 recovery site traveled the country, different places which were also affected by disaster sewed or patched threads into the flag from their own tattered flags.  There are strands from the flag which hung in Ford’s Theatre the night President Lincoln was assassinated, the Pearl Harbor flag, as well as from the original Betsy Ross flag and the flag from the Oklahoma City Bombings.  You should read more about it!

9-11 Memorial at Night with Freedom Tower  9-11 Memorial at Night with Freedom Tower
When we exited the museum evening had fallen…and the memorial was spectacular in light!