Tuesday, October 29, 2013


"I Didn't Do It"

Bonnie bought Obi a red t-shirt that has in simple white letters on it, "I didn't do it." One day Tirzah was crying.  When I went to check on her, I found that Obi had bitten her.  She had a nasty red mark on her back.  I called Obi to me, and I showed him the bite marks.
He defensively said, "NO, I didn't."
I asked him, "Who did?"
He replied quickly, "Zeke did."
About that time, Zeke happened to walk into the room.  So I casually asked in front of Obi, "Zeke, did you bite Tirzah?"
Zeke said, "No."
Obi quickly shouted, "Well, I didn't either!"
I decided to let it drop for a few minutes.  Obi obviously needed a little privacy and time to think about it.  Soon I was able to distract him and we had some minutes alone.  I began to talk to him gently about "telling what is."  I said, "I'm sure you are sad that Tirzah has an owie."
Trying to distract me, Obi pointed to the words on my shirt and interrupted me, "What does this say? Does it say, 'I didn't bite Tirzah?'"


"I Shared With You"

Mitch had a bag of M&M's in his hand.  Obi had a banana.  He walked up to Mitch, broke off a piece of his banana, and extended his hand toward Mitch saying, "Do you want some?"
Mitch said, "Sure," and took the banana and ate it.
Obi then held his hand out and said, "I shared with you..." while keeping a steady eye on Mitch's M&M's.

Street Magic

Mitch has been watching street magic on youtube lately.  He has been practicing his slight-of-hand and showing off around the kids.  It's cute to hear some of the stories of his 3rd graders trying to repeat tricks.  Mitch took his last M&M (from the story above) and was making it "disappear."  Meanwhile, Obi was still working with a piece of banana.  He started getting silly.  The banana slipped from Obi's hand, bounced off his foot, and rolled underneath the stove.  Looking right then left, Obi didn't see the banana anywhere.  He threw up his empty hands, arched backwards sticking his tummy out, and shouted a triumphant, "Ta-da!"

Potty Break

This is an oldie but a goodie.  I had not heard it before, and it doesn't have to do with Obi (3 of these things belong together...), but I want to post it to remember.  This morning we were talking about what our earliest memories are.  One of my earliest memories is of staring into a mirror, fascinated with my chin.  Ahem.  (Sister, you can stop laughing now.  Ok?  Moving on.)  For as long as I can remember we have teased Eden about her potty breaks.  She always seems to disappear at the most inopportune times, for a long period of time.  She said that one of her earliest memories is of kindergarten.  She would always ask to go to the bathroom because there were posters on the back of the doors.  The posters had poems, "Itsy-Bitsy Spider", "This Old Man", and "I'm a Little Teapot."  She loved to read/sing the poems.  :)  I just love that one of her earliest memories has a connection to potty breaks.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gospel Animations

I have been delighted to share animations from Chris Powers (known on YouTube as actionJones).  Our family loves them.  We noticed recently that he has had a few new ones since we last checked.  Here is one, and be sure to check out the actionJones YouTube channel for more.  I promise there is nothing sweeter than hearing my kids sing along together in worship!

Chris Powers also has a blog with free ministry resources (including artwork and a full-color gospel tract) at his blog here:  http://fullofeyes.tumblr.com/.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Colors

 Saturday evening, around 5 pm

 Sunday, around noon
It didn't last long, though!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mini Vacation

Mitch has "MEA break" yesterday and today, so we planned the days off school too.  He took Micah, Zeke, Tirzah, and Obadiah to visit his mom a couple hours away.  I kept Josh and Malachi here so they could go to the doctor for regular checkups.  Certainly, I have Mercy by default, and Eden and Caleb are still home as well.  I also am still doing daycare.  The mini vacation has been wonderful for me. I have had guilty thoughts about Mitch having these little kids--I hope that he will be able to accomplish the projects he has set.  On the other hand, I keep trying to remember that Micah is an incredible helper and usually does pretty awesome with Tirzah and Obi.

On the drive down, Mitch text me (Micah was driving!) with a few of the funnies that the kids had:

When Obi likes to eat something, he says, "It is nummy!"
Zeke tried to help him and said, "Obi, say /y/, /y/, Yummy."
Obi says, "/y/, /y/, Nummy."
I can just hear it.  LOL  This is an oft repeated scene over the years as the older kids try to help the littlest ones learn to enunciate words correctly.

Tirzah asked, "How many months until we get there?"

Side note: [I was looking back over previous blog posts, and some of the sweetest are the short ones where I post funny things the kids have said/done.  For a long time I was using facebook to post a few of these funnies.  I really dislike facebook and have been avoiding it as much as possible, but that's another post.  Anyway, I wish I had kept posting them here...I consider my blog not just a way to share with friends and family (especially the far away ones), but a place where I can sort of "take notes" to put into our scrapbooks later.  Or if I never do, it will serve as "good enough" for a scrapbook or journal.  The format is much easier to search through the history than facebook is.]

So I'm not spending my vacation doing actual relaxing things--curled up with a good book and a cup of coffee--but you will see that I have done a bit of blogging.  I have listened to some speakers at a conference online (www.tmstrangefire.org), and have a couple others I want to listen to today.  I have been reading a book (Help for Women Under Stress by Randy Alcorn).  We even found time to laugh through a couple episodes of Duck Dynasty on the A&E website.  The big project, however, is the great winter switch-over.  I have (with Caleb and Eden's help) drug down many many tubs of clothing from our attic storage area.  I am sorting through previous years' clothes, purging things we don't need, and getting out the long pants and long-sleeved shirts, while putting away shorts and t-shirts.  It is usually a formidable task that I try to spread out over more than one weekend and do one child at a time (based on who needs it most).  Every now and then things just get so disorganized and out of control that I have to do a more in-depth project.  Without Tirzah and Obi, and the demands of a school schedule, I am able to do just that.  We are so blessed to have all these hand-me-downs!!!  And now I am again blessed to have the time to organize it so that we will be able to find and use the items we need.  I have spent hours unfolding and refolding clothes, counting, putting up, putting away, or giving away.  It's like doing 50 loads of laundry.  :)  Seriously.  Today I will hopefully finish it all up.  I'm waiting to do the "snow stuff" (winter coats, snow pants, boots) until everyone else is home.  That shouldn't be quite as many hours involved.  *I hope.*

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Zeke is 10 years old!

This past weekend we celebrated Zeke's 10th birthday.  He chose enchiladas for supper and carrot cake for his birthday dessert.  He had a surprise blessing--his friend Matthew was able to come over to play for the day and ended up getting to stay overnight.  Zeke was SO thrilled!  We have been video-game free for a couple months now, so I wondered how he would do with a friend over.  The weather was cold and rainy, too, so there wasn't a lot they could play outside (though they did find a reprieve).  During the afternoon while I did my grocery shopping, Mitch took them all to the YMCA then to the pet store.  We ended the day with the new movie Epic.  I'd say the day was nearly perfect!

At 10 years old Zeke:
~seems almost "bigger than life" with his abundant energy and friendly, outgoing personality
~knows almost everyone in our neighborhood, and seems to be a natural when it comes to making people feel welcome
~loves to be the life of the party...unfortunately, that means he would also rather be the life of the party than to focus and do schoolwork...aka "the class clown"...and our class size is fairly small, but large enough to be a distraction when he can get at least one person to giggle (Josh)
~seems to be quite capable of learning anything anyone else can, just using a different method; and that makes me all the more glad that we are homeschooling
~loves to play any sport...right now that especially includes soccer or backyard games of swordplay
~loves to ride his bike or his ripstick
~has beautiful cursive handwriting
~says he hates to do school, but he voluntarily reads to Tirzah and Obi almost every day
~doesn't like forced memorization, but can remember and retell facts about all kinds of different things he has read or heard on his own
~works very well when motivated by reward or for emotional gain (such as to help someone else--he is happy when he is helping others), but does not work well under pressure (giving him a time limit often backfires on me...rather than helping him focus, it is distracting to a nearly painful point for him)
~has asthma and is allergic to dust mites, and I suspect has seasonal allergies as his asthma is worse at times
~is responsible for putting away his own laundry, helping to keep his room clean, and helping with lunch
~has longer hair than Caleb, and his curly mop is beloved wherever we go
~is 54" tall
~has a tender heart that is sensitive to God's call

We love you so much Zeke!  Happy 10th Birthday!!

Mercy is 7 months old

Sweet little girl is working on the second half of her first year out of the womb.  My older kids, who recently participated in the Pregnancy Resource Center's Walk for Life, pointed out that she's actually 16 months old (9 months in the womb + 7 months outside).  :)

At 7 months Mercy
~has two teeth on bottom, and is working hard on the top two
~crawls everywhere, and gets into a sitting position from crawling
~occasionally, cautiously, pulls up to a stand
~gets in to absolutely everything
~still doesn't care for baby food, but has been happy to sample our food as we eat
~thinks cheerios are pretty cool
~loves to get people's feet
~crawls to find me when she needs something
~nurses about every 2-3 hours
~sleeps better at night again...somehow we got over that hump...this week she has been sleeping about 6-7 hours, then going back to sleep for another 2 hours
~takes about 3 short naps per day
~has eczema on her chin, inside her elbows, and the back of her legs
~is interacting with her siblings more and more...she loves them and they love her so much!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More Garden Pictures

It was raining yesterday, so today I had to take advantage of the sunshine and get a few more pictures.  While I was out, I picked a bowl full of tomatoes and I even found a small cucumber just barely hanging on!  My bell pepper plants keep trying to make peppers, but the last one that I had from there was a bit...intense...so I'm not sure I want to even taste them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Well, so far we've stayed above freezing for the most part this Fall.  We have had a couple mornings with a little frost on the ground, but my garden does not seem deterred.  I went outside to gather some tomatoes for a salad on Sunday evening, and it just didn't even hit me until 24 hours later...I took tomatoes from MY garden on October 13.  The middle of October!!!  So as sad as I may be that summer is ending, daylight is waning, and time to drag out boxes of coats and snow pants is upon us, I must pause and praise for the extra long growing season.  And do I really need to feel sad?  Has God not been faithful to keep His promises?  It's time for the earth to rest in our part of the world.  Autumn rains are drenching the ground with moisture, and I read last night that these rains do more for the next growing season than any other rains throughout the year.  He is already preparing for the next year.  So I won't pout.  I too will prepare my home for the cold months.  I will submit to the quiet stillness of winter and wait patiently for the spring.  He tends the earth, and He tends my heart.

I Am the True Vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:1-11, ESV)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Family Pictures 2013

This is seriously one of my favorite days of the year now.  I will always be a perfectionist, and I'll always see flaws, but I really love taking the pictures.  This year I took over 400 photos.  Oh the blessing of digital cameras!!  I've narrowed it down to "just a few" for you...

We'll start with the outtakes...

 And now down to business..

 {Mercy, 6 months}

 {Obi, 2.5 years}

 {Tirzah, 4.5 years}

 Malachi, 6 years

 Josh, 8 years

 Zeke, 10 years

 Caleb, 12 years

 Eden, 14 years

 Micah, 16 years

If you are curious, I am using a Nikon D80.  For the family shots I used a 18-55 mm lens.  For all the portraits I used a 50 mm prime lens.  I shot in manual nearly the entire time, setting my aperture where I wanted it and using the meter to set my shutter speed and control exposure.  Go me!!  LOL  Eden took the pictures of Mitch and I, using aperture priority mode.  I used a tripod and a remote for the family shots.