Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow caves

Don't mind me, but I liked the Hanukkah border best. Since Christ is from the line of David and the six-pointed star also is called the Star of David, it seems fitting to use it in celebration that my Jewish Messiah has come. Therefore, Happy Hanukkah.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

If you can believe it...

It was 7 degrees outside at 8:45am. It was 4 degrees at 1:30pm. And it was 2 degrees at 4:00pm. What comes to mind is Groundhog Day, the one radio DJ says, "Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today."
The Second DJ replies, "It's coooold out there every day." Yes, it is.
I think Spring will be a long time in coming.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Best of the Bad

So I staged some pictures, because I realized I haven't taken as many pictures this year as last. With four wiggly kids, blurry images, crossed-eyes or dirty faces...5 pictures out of the 50 seems an adequate return. If I had been optimistic, I would have been disappointed with one-tenth.

Here is my little tongue girl. If you look closely you can see I removed my fanciful crystal chandelier. It already moved to Texas. Ben and I hung a less exciting but pleasant chandelier.

Fritz wanted to wear my grandfather's bow tie and Alex chose a man's clip-on which explains the length. All men with two arms should know how to tie a tie...clip-ons are for little boys. In case you think I'm jabbing at my husband, I'm not. Ben has only real ties.

For some reason, Emily's eyes are the size of onions. She is expressive.

Clustered together. I love how Jane posed herself. Chubby little hands and elbows.

English plurals

As I teach my kids, I realize irregular plurals are perplexing. I came across this funny poem in Alex's English book.

One fowl is a goose, and two are called geese;
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole nest of mice;
Then why can't the plural of house be hice?
We speak of a brother and also of brethren;
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
So nouns and their plurals, it's easy to see,
Make an interesting study- I think you agree.

-Source unknown

A side note: Today I know the term brethren is antiquated. However, my children need to know that a group of Quakers are not being slandered by calling them Brethren. And when they read the KJV of the Bible they should understand that "brethern" refers to those related in the Lord.

I'm glad I'm a native speaker. Otherwise, I fear I would butcher the oxes and put the sheeps out to graze with the deers.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thursday Sledding

We had the golf course to ourselves. It made sledding less treacherous. It really was as cold as it looks. The temp was around 20 degrees and my camera hand was in excruciating pain when I got home.

Sparky, who came home with us this week, tried sledding too. However after one ride down Sparky told Fritz he preferred to sit in the car.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Partially Moved

Our new backyard is a reminder that southern Texas has no seasons. We were amazed how hot it was over Thanksgiving. Packing the Uhaul in the snow made us think down south people will be wearing sweatshirts. Haaa. For example, our huge whiskey barrel flowerpot was frozen solid when it went into the truck. When we took it out the soil was loose and moist. Bizarre...where did all that ice go?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

8 Things About Me

8 TV shows I love to watch

This list might indicate that I watch more TV than I do, but my favorite shows I do watch on DVD or when we get a chance to watch cable (which we don't have).

1. Divine Design
2. Flip This House
3. This Old House
4. I Dream of Jeannie
5. Ace of Cakes
6. Get Smart
7. Design Star
8. 17 Kids and Counting (I have a fascination with large families...how do they do it?)

8 Favorite Restaurants

Again we rarely eat out, but that doesn't mean I don't have a list. For someome who is not confident in her culinary skills, I appreciate other people cooking.

1. Pappadeaux
2. Hu Dat (Vietnamese)
3. Papa Murphy's Pizza
4. Shawarma King (Lebanese)
5. Sushiya
6. La Madeliene
7. Freebirds
8. Neiman Marcus' Zodiac Room

8 Things that Happened Today

1. I woke up with a hoarse voice
2. Jane woke up sad that her Halloween candy is all gone
3. We began school after eating eggs and carrot cake for breakfast
4. Ben came home in the morning unexpectedly, and then fell asleep
5. I packed 5 more boxes and stacked them
6. I called my sister to wish her happy birthday
7. Ben's mom called to report on our house in Texas
8. The sun came out

8 Things I Look Forward To

1. Finishing packing, and unloading the last item from the moving van
2. A clean, uncluttered house + a sold house
3. Sunday school
4. Time to sew, paint and create
5. Moving into our new house
6. A stimulating book
7. Listening to Rush
8. Having a tan again

8 Things On My Wish List

1. An Orka oven mitt
2. To educate my children to be thinkers, to desire to learn for themselves
3. To know my Bible, but more importantly to love more deeply
4. A trip to Japan, Israel and Spain
5. My own tennis court and a laundry line
6. To write a book
7. To have a quiet, uncomplicated life
8. To buy better groceries...like brie and water crackers

8 People I have tagged
(Don't feel obligated to participate as time is a precious commodity)

1. Jeanine
2. Jen B.
3. Jenny
3. Jessica
4. Lori
5. Margaret
6. Shayna
7. Stephanie
8. And you

Saturday, November 08, 2008

To the test taker

Since I did the abbreviated version of formal school, I have a profound respect for my husband. He has taken the lengthy road. Today he sat for his annual 6 hour exam and I can promise you I wouldn't have switched places with him even if the kids had been running around the house smashing dishes. Give me a dust broom and I will clean up the fragments, but ask me to use my ailing intellect for 6 grueling hours and I would burst out into tears or eat a pound of chocolate and then rip the box of evidence to shreds. How amazingly God made my test taker. He is calm and steady...he has endured many a sleepless night, early mornings, weeks without a day off, demanding patients, psychotic attendings and being quizzed at all hours of the day. I am an emotional wreck and my tests only consist of wiping runny noses and being patient with my cute offspring. Aah, what appreciation I have for the test taker. Someday I hope to be more like him.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My week has been filled with hours of playing Tetris. I'm packing up our over 3,000 volume library and find the process much like a 3-D, book falling from the sky, jigsaw puzzle. How many thin books will equal this fat one to achieve a solid flat surface. It is made more difficult by the fact the boxes are all different dimensions, but beggars can't be choosers. (Truly, I am grateful for the sturdy boxes from the grocery store.) For the casual looker, our house is now stacked with boxes of kiwis and pineapples. If only the weather would cooperate, you would think it is a tropical paradise here.

"Why the packing?" HGTV has made me aware of the decorating shortcomings of my personal love for books. Books make our house look cluttered. Clutter will not sell our house. With the current competition, houses for-sale practically have to come with maid service. Therefore, we are moving non essentials down to Texas at the end of November to cozy up our new home. I'm already feeling lost without shelves of books to peruse. In fact, the most difficult part is choosing what to pack as I've meant to read that or want to reread this. Perhaps the want for books will serve as a magnet and attract me south for the winter.

(Photo-in progress. The built-ins properly accessorized will look better. Extra shelves will be disassembled. Furniture will be rearranged. I have a lot of staging to do.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crisp Weather, Fall Photos

The weight of responsibility on his shoulders.

Picked on our walk to the post office. Some days you find pennies and other days you find flowers.

Who can swing higher?

Yes, there is only one Emily.

A fairy princess wearing her mother's dress from when she was a little girl.

A tree meant for climbing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Retirement Party

Our much battered and abused diaper bag has retired. After lengthy years with our corporation, she has said "enough with you." (This outburst was prompted by her insider knowledge of a permanent layoff.) Very few office employees regret her sudden departure. She sadly was a reminder of ugly business practices. The visionary leadership will be unable to extend references for its former employee. However, they did comment that the anti-pottytraining union is working on her legal rights.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Day of Remembrance

October 9th is a highlight of my year. Six years ago I had a precious brown-eyed baby boy. His puppy dog eyes and sweet disposition endeared him to everyone. Around six months old we began to notice that Fritz had many, many café-au-laits. Ben, being a studious medical student at the time, understood the ramifications of his son’s unusual spots. He had the diagnosis criteria of Neurofibromatosis. I was devastated. Our first son had been a preemie and later had to deal with lead poisoning. Now our second son had a genetic disease. Why us?

I want to share a segment of a letter I wrote to a friend in 2003.

“There was a little girl, around 7, in our church who came by herself. She had walked from her home many blocks away and was sitting on the curb an hour before church began. Her name is Misty. In Sunday school I heard someone mention how she has tumors all inside her body and also her brain. They had forgotten the name of her condition. Later in church I sat behind a little girl who looked…to have some physical problems. I realized this had to be Misty. I also noticed she had the same café-au-lait spots that Fritz did. It was then that Ben and I realized she had Neurofibromatosis. It was very difficult to sit through the morning message; I cried almost the whole time. It made the disease so real and so scary. Supposedly this girl has defied her life expectancy due to the severity of her complications. I should have been praising God for her still living, but I think I was selfishly crying over my son. I don’t remember a word the pastor said that day…”

This remarkable incident triggered Ben to set up a time to intercede for our baby boy with the pastor. Later that week a dear believer from our church came over and prayed over Fritz and poured out Scripture to me. My heart which had been in turmoil was flooded with peace. It was one of the most memorable days of my life. The next day our faith-filled pastor and elder came to our home and anointed Fritz with oil and prayed over him. I really believed Fritz was healed. Today I know he was. Years later my definition of healing is slightly different. Then I just wanted him to have no physical and mental problems. Now I know God has a bright future for my son even if he does experience physical suffering. Fritz is a new creation. When he became a Christian his old body became a temporary shell. As I have lived longer and met more Christians with ailments I realize the Man of Sufferings is precious in their lives. I would never wish ugly deformity or pain on my son, but God is merciful and good. And He is powerful. Is anything too hard for him? Jeremiah 32:27

“The following Sunday after our prayer time, the pastor spoke on 1 John 5:13. After the service, he asked me if I had read on to verse 14 and 15…I had, and felt that the words promised that God had answered our prayer. The pastor felt the same. The dear believer, who had also prayed with us, independently came up to me with the exact same verses in reference to Fritz.”

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

My faith journey continues. Some days I fall into sinful worry and forget that my son is in the hands of the Great Physician, the Maker of the Universe, the Gentle Shepherd. When my eyes refocus on Christ I am embarrassed at my lack of faith. Today I am more thankful than ever for my son Fritz. I no longer question “why us?”, but rather count it a privilege to bear testimony of God’s extraordinary work in our lives.

I wish I could share Misty's testimony too, but I don't know it. I have to believe that a child who limped to church without parents will someday be sitting on the lap of her Heavenly Father. When Fritz's birthday arrives I think of her too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A random laugh

Alex asked me what Ben use to do for a profession before he was married. It is really quite a difficult question as he was an entrepreneur and used his talents in many crazy jobs, but I responded he worked in the oil field. Alex then said, "I thought he worked in the greeting card business." That was news to me. Imagining Ben with a chewed-up pencil in the corner of his mouth contemplating sentimental nonsense that ryhmes with roses, made me laugh.

P.S. If you come across one of his highly-classified greeting cards, I'll pay for postage.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Newly-formed Lake Bronson

The deepest part I discovered was eight inches above my knee. The water was cold and Jane was hesitant.

The water in the adjoining parking lot was quite shallow and as warm as bath water.

Walking on water...or submerged park benches.

Due to the eleven inches of rain and a creek overspilling its banks, Bronson Hospital (in the background) now boasts private rooms with lake view. This use to be a large grass field.

We live five minutes from the hospital, but with the flooded roads it took Ben 45 minutes to get to work.

Well, a nice policeman thought I was crazy to let my kids wade and play in "stagnant" water, but the water was irresistible even to this grown-up. And it was doctor approved. Frankly, I was only to pleased to get their bathing suits and fritter away an afternoon at the park. We had so much fun that I took them twice within a few days.

Emily is thrilled Cubbies has started again.

Necklace models.

Sunday, September 07, 2008