The Estate of Marriage

I attended the Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association (NCHEA) conference and curriculum fair this past weekend.  We have Kindergarten books (and ant hills, classical CDs, and math rods) in hand.  I even got some workbooks for Elsie, who will be doing 3 and 4 year old preschool this year.

One of the best quotes I heard this weekend was in the class “What Do You Do All Day, Dear?” by Betsy Ray.  This quote is from Martin Luther during the third part of his three part sermon entitled “The Estate of Marriage.”

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“Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? 0 you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful. carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, “0 God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers. or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? 0 how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labour, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.”

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Hope this encourages you as much as it did me.

Cast not your stones…

I know, I know.  5 people have told me in the last 3 days that I should blog more often.  Here’s what I’m doing these days:

1.  Elsie is turning 3 on Friday.  I wasn’t going to have a birthday party.  Now there will be 20 kids plus their parents and our extended family there.  It’s a Wizard of Oz themed bash, and I’ve been cutting, pasting, cooking, shopping and sewing for the party…so far!!

2.  I joined the Zion Church Arts Committee.  We organize events like art shows, concerts, etc.  We have a book lecture and art exhibition called “God in the Gallery” on October 18th.  Guess who’s in charge of food?

3.  Zion’s Fall Fest is on the 26th of October.  I’m in charge of/singing in the bluegrass band.  We haven’t practiced yet

4. We throw a super big Halloween/Reformation Day party every year. And my costume kicks butt this year. As does the children’s.

5.  Tess will turn one (!!!!!!) on November 6th.  I have to do something for her 1st birthday.  This time I’m seriously only inviting close family and making some cupcakes.

6.  Another Zion Art deal – Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace will be at our church on November 20th.  Also in charge of refreshments for the band.

7. I teach sewing lessons every Thursday night.

8. We’re going to St. Louis for Thanksgiving, Dallas for Christmas, and our dear, dear friends are coming into town from Japan for Christmas, but mostly just to go to/be in a wedding. I’d like to have a New Years Party as well in there.

So, bear with me. Once the weather cools we will be spending more time inside, so that will be more accommodating to blogging. Until then, my friends…hang tight.

Here’s Tess’s 10 month pictures from JC Penney a few weeks ago. They have improved by leaps and bounds.

Get out(to) Dodge

Two weekends ago we visited Mike’s Uncle Doug and Aunt Scherry in “the country”. We left bright and early in the morning and didn’t come home until late at night. We picked fruit off of fruit trees and vegetables out of the garden. We rode on of their 24 horses, visited a farm house that they purchased in foreclosure a few years back. I’m in love with that property, by the way. It’s 14 acres of the most beautiful land I’ve ever seen. It’s got 4 or 5 out buildings/barns, a large garden, a place where a Summer Kitchen once stood, a 2 stall garage, a creek, a miniature forest, it’s all fenced in and it has a 5 bedroom two story farm house to boot. I’m in LOVE, I tell you!

Here’s some pictures from our adventure. Enjoy!

Elsie was the first to ride. Nobody’s surprised, I’m sure.

Elsie like being up there but didn’t like that Daddy and Uncle Doug had to be there, too.

Pete was way less scared than I thought that he would be. He really liked being on the horse.

This is Pete asking Uncle Doug if Chester knew how to go fast. You can see a video of Chester going fast here.

Elsie was taking pictures just like Mommy.

Mike did a great job riding Chester.

Like Father, like Son…Mike had to go “fast”, too.

I look a bit like a Narnian warrior. I have on a Moby Wrap which Tess was in until I got on the horse. I decided it wasn’t best to ride a horse while having a baby strapped to you. I should get an award.

Pete at the end of the day.

And Elsie at the end of the day.

I Stand Corrected

New photographers who love their jobs, new managers with (gasp!) management training, new lights and photography equipment, and a touch of professionalism = GREAT PICTURES.

Well, there you go. They probably read my blog.

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Let the Games Begin

It’s official…we are a home schooling family. This past Monday we started a very loose preschool program with Pete.

I have some workbooks that build on each other, 6 in all, that we got at the home school curriculum fair back in August. The first book is learning how to follow directions and take your time, then we’ll move on to cutting and pasting, left and right, opposites, big bigger biggest, etc. Pete had nothing but good things to say about it to Mike that evening at dinner.

We have school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons while the girls are sleeping. It works for our schedule. It take about 30 minutes or so, which is just right.

Mike hung our chalkboard and did a fantastic job.

Here are some pictures from our first day. Enjoy!

Photo Friday, July 25 edition

Here’s another round of Photo Friday!

The infamous Mine Piper.

My sweet Tess in the bathtub, the surefire way to calm her down. She splashes and “swims” all over the tub. Prepare to be soaked!

Tess is standing in her crib all the time now. I love the way she has her leg pointed out like a dancer. Follow this link to see a video of her standing in her crib.

Tess’s look is starting to be more of a toddler than a baby these days. She’s getting a bit of chubby on her, which means she’s getting ready to grow tall again. She’s saying, “Let me get this straight…” here. She is also signing “all done” and “bye-bye”. She waved to me, while standing in her crib, when I laid her down for her afternoon nap.

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We’ve been doing chores this week. I made up a chart for Peter and Elsie that has pictures down the left hand side and the days of the week across the top. Each chore that is completed gets a sticker, and each day with all chores completed gets a piece of candy – hershey’s kiss, licorice, etc.

Here’s a picture of what Elsie’s bed looks like after she’s made it. I think it’s a woman thing. She can make her bed so well!

I promise that I didn’t help her at all with it! She’s just good!

This Saturday evening, if Pete does the rest of his chores (teeth brushed, toys picked up, help set table for dinner) for the rest of the day and all of his chores tomorrow, then he gets $2. He is stoked. I’m not sure if we will give Elsie an allowance or not. Maybe 50 cents or so. She doesn’t have a concept of money yet.

It sure has been easier on me this week with them doing a lot of their own picking up. It’s also made me clean up better after myself. Pete asked me why there was stuff in the bottom of my closet…OUCH!

Elsie has been way less of a monster since Tuesday. No more bologna, thank goodness. I told her to show me her sweet smile.

Pete sometimes just looks at me like this, and it sort of freaks me out. It usually takes me a moment or two, but I finally realized the other day that this is him showing me that he has a happy heart, as evidenced through his smile. He’s such a good boy!

My Little Monster

Everyone who knows me knows that Elsie is just more than a handful.

This afternoon at lunch she hit a new low.

She was picking her nose, as usual, and I told her to stop, as usual, and she told me that she had to get the bologna out.

THE BOLOGNA. OUT OF HER NOSE.

I went and got the tweezers and it took me a good 3 minutes to get it all out. I probably gagged a good 3 times as well. When it finally came out,gradinita privata cluj it was 1 inch long. I flipped it off of the tweezers onto her plate where Elsie proceeded to eat it.

The bologna that was in her nose was now in her mouth.

Here’s a picture of our little monster. Her brother wrote her name on the chalkboard and she drew a picture of herself in the middle of her name.

Violet and Pete

Pete loves his “babies”, his stuffed animals. He has this one kangaroo called Violet. (He names his animals things like Anna, Alice, Meredith, Tiny, Yadier, Fro, Louis, Albert…I don’t know where he gets it!)

This afternoon, Pete and Violet were bouncing around the house and he stopped and told me, “Mom, I love Violet. She never flips you off…

[takes drink for a good 10 seconds]

…of her back.”

Didn’t know where he was going with that one.

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Also, Pete and his friend, Nolan, made up a game this morning.

Mommy: What is all that noise?

Pete: We’re playing Mine Piper.

Mommy: What’s that?

Pete: It’s like a video game, only this is just pretend.

Mommy: [Thinks to self: Mine Piper? Like this?] Mine Piper, huh? Well, don’t hurt anyone. And, Pete?

Pete: Yeah, Mom?

Mommy: Video games are pretend. Playing with your friends in your living room is for real.

Pete: Hi-yah! Hi-yah [crash, bang, splat]. Did you see that Mom?

Mommy: Yeah, Dude.

Sweet Retreat

I love this time of day. About 1:30 in the afternoon.

I grab some reheated something, or maybe if I’m feeling feisty some Pizza Rolls and a Mountain Dew.

And I sit. I give myself the time that it takes me to eat my lunch to just sit.

I can blog (you know, now that I’m so cool and I have a blog)

I can read blogs

I read people.com (a guilty pleasure)

Really, I can do anything I want as long as it’s not work – like paying bills, researching a recipe.

I enjoy this time. Elsie is down. She’s been putting herself to bed for her nap recently. I have the kids wait until everybody is done eating before they get down from the table, so Elsie has taken the option of just going to bed several times. She heads to the potty, washes her hands and crawls into bed. Two hours later she comes bounding down the stairs saying something like, “Good morning, Mommy. Peez have gummies? Where Peeyer [Peter]?”

Tess goes down at the same time. Although she doesn’t put herself down quite yet, she really isn’t any trouble. The way we do things for Tess around here is when she first wakes up (morning, naps) she gets nursed. Then she plays around until the next meal is ready. She eats with the family, plays for a bit more and then goes down. I don’t rock her to sleep, though I do rock her and sing a sweet song and give her her blankie. Done. Off to Sleepy Town.

I let Pete watch a movie and drink a little bit of something sweet – juice, tea, Sprite – which is a real treat. He’s pretty easy going. He just doesn’t need a nap and it’s more trouble than it’s worth to make him lay down.

Then I sit. For a good 30 minutes. Then it’s back to the field.

Baby Mine

Tess is my baby. Sure, we’re planning on having a dozen more or so, but for now, she’s my baby. I still rock her every night, I don’t let water get in her eyes in the tub, I nurse 4 or 5 times a day still.

This morning I “caught” her standing, yes, standing next to a toy I have out for Logan, an 18 month old that I watch a few mornings a week. She was having a blast. She was squealing and laughing out loud with it.

I forgot that she is growing up.

We spent the morning cleaning Elsie’s room, and I found some great toys that I had forgotten about. I thought I’d bring them down for Tess, just in case the teething rattles weren’t doing it for her anymore.

She crawled faster than I’ve ever seen her crawl to those toys. She played with them for a good 20 minutes, which for an 8 month old isn’t too bad.

My baby’s all growed up. Sniff.