Sunday, May 31, 2009

How lovely...



How lovely is your dwelling place, 
O LORD Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young--
a place near your altar, 
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.   

Psalm 84:1-4

  

Thursday, May 28, 2009

For me :)


"It's a party Sponge-Bob... I made it just for you." 

 -- Big Man

Even though I'm a self-proclaimed Sponge-Bob hater (my boys don't understand how I could possibly dislike him so, and they desperately wish I allowed them to watch his television program (it's not gonna happen)... and yes, I know 'hate' is a very strong word, but Gramoggie, surely it's appropriate with regards to this ridiculously obnoxious yellow character... please??), how can I feel anything but absolute love for this particular work of art?? 

After all, he made it just for me :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Peonies... a new favorite




That God once loved a garden we learn in Holy writ.
And seeing gardens in the Spring I well can credit it.  

~Winifred Mary Letts


Friday, May 22, 2009

A little Memorial Day randomness

Wow.  It's quiet here.  Really quiet.  Lollipop & and I are home alone (with the gray ghost, of course) while the guys are hanging their hats in Ohio for a few days.  Bub and Noh-man are competing in a long course swim meet there, so this morning Chris, Pops, and the three musketeers pulled out of the driveway and hit the road.  All were excited about a whole weekend in Menstown (I can only imagine the stories I'll hear when they return!), and all were looking forward to the big races to come.  Over the course of the weekend Bub & Noh-man will race in 8 individual events apiece... and hopefully they'll both set a few new personal records; that's their goal at least.  I just hope they have fun.  And I think they will.  When they left this morning, they. were. pumped.

Tonight, however, in the quiet of our home, I'll be painting (wahoo!)-- there's a bit of trim work in the dining room that needs to be touched-up, and then tomorrow, after our home appraisal is complete (we're refinancing), Lolli, Mosby, and I will head to the mountains to spend the rest of the weekend with Grandmom.  And there we'll sit on pins and needles as we anxiously await phone calls from the midwest.  I wish we were there to see the boys swim, but traveling with our littlest-- in/out of hotel rooms and restaurants and car seats and the natatorium-- is tough. So behind we stayed... this time... but next go round, we'll be ready!

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So let's see, since I have the evening to myself, and nothing expecting my immediate attention (other than a paint brush... which can wait!), I think I'll ramble on a bit here.  Besides, Chris isn't here to ramble with me, so I'll just put it all down on paper... err, ahh... a keyboard.

The kitchen (this is an exciting start, for sure!) is almost complete.  Last week the pros came in and repaired our walls.  Then Chris and I painted and replaced the cabinetry hardware.  And then I rejoiced... because my kitchen is coming together!  The big ugly light fixture above the sink is gone and in its place there's a simple recessed light (it's the little things, you know?!), and next week the new windows should arrive-- I'm looking forward to their installation!  And then... we should be done.  Well, except for the ceiling.  It needs a fresh coat of paint and 2 new lights, but they'll fall into place later this summer.  I hope.

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Car seats... ugh.  We need a new one for Lolli as she's outgrown her infant carrier.  I meant to buy one last weekend but it just never happened.  Thankfully I talked to my always-current-on-the-latest-research sister-in-law before buying one, because guess what?  The rules of the game are changing.  Oh yeah... thanks to her, I'm now in the know... the know being this-- with regards to infants and car seat safety, it's now being recommended that parents keep their babes rear-facing for much longer than the law currently requires-- way beyond that magical one-year, 20-pound milestone; it's just safer that way.  And when I chatted with my pediatrician last week at Lolli's 15-month well-check, she supported this recommendation (and even thinks it'll become law in the next year or two).  Since little Lolli is small... very small... the good doc suggests that for her safety we'd best keep her as she is-- facing the back.  So... my petite poi will not be turning around any time soon.  And drat, I was looking forward to it! 

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Um, last on my list (because I'm tired!)... the grand finale of sorts-- Big Man's preschool graduation.  On Tuesday night he marched down that aisle and he sang his songs and he delivered his stingray lines with gusto... and we were proud as punch!  He truly is our big Big Man!


Happy Memorial Day!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Montpelier

Yesterday Leslie and I loaded up our vans-- with kiddos and a picnic lunch-- and journeyed west to Montpelier, the home of James & Dolley Madison.  We had never been there before, and they had just finished reading about the Madisons, so we both figured it was the perfect time for such a trip.  And it was!  We all had a wonderful visit because the weather... it was glorious.  And the setting... it was lovely.  And the company... it was the best!  


I took the three oldest children on the house tour (extremely informative, but a little long-- over an hour-- for their liking) while Les kept the 4 smallest kiddos outside; then we ate our lunch, and afterwards, Les enjoyed the tour herself while the rest of us played ball in the meadow. 

We later discovered the "hands-on" tent which sits just behind the mansion, and all were thrilled to find it filled with tools and woodworking supplies for them to sample.  They carved wood and sculpted table legs, they sharpened chisels on the stone wheel, they hammered nails and wooden pegs, they drilled holes and split logs... it was every little boy's heaven (and evidently, every little girl's, too!).  The gentleman manning the station was incredibly helpful, and he patiently explained the function & use for each and every tool.  



If you're ever in that neck of the woods, check it out!  The home is almost fully restored (it was basically completed last year), though there's not much in it.  The historical society is currently working on changing that, though. They're madly researching now in an attempt to refurbish and decorate the home as it may have been while occupied by our nation's 4th president and his wife.  It's truly a worthwhile trip!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let the battle begin!

As I passed by my desk just now, I couldn't help but notice Bub-- sitting there, staring intently at the computer screen.  "What are you doing?" I asked.

Bub: "Lookin' at the (swim team) records."

Me: "Why??"

Bub: "Cause I'm thinkin' about breakin' some."  

... that's my Bub.  Oh, how I love his fighting spirit!

The apple


to share (according to Webster's): to partake of, use, occupy, experience, or enjoy with others; to have in common; to grant or give a share in

Does this count??




Sunday, May 17, 2009

The lily of the valley



"I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens." 

Song of Solomon 2:1-2


Thursday, May 14, 2009

My big Big Man

I cannot believe the school year is almost over.  Just yesterday Big Man was lacing up his brand new blue sneakers and grabbing his orange school bag for his first day back at preschool, and today... it's over!  Well, almost.  Next Tuesday is officially his last day, and that evening the 3- and 4-year old classes will present their spring spectacular. I'm not sure of the program title, but I do know that Big  Man will be playing the role of the stingray.  He's excited about his "solo" part, and thankfully, it's already memorized! 

At the bottom of the ocean the stingray flaps his wings.
But don't you get too close to him, his tail really stings!

Anyhoo, this morning the preschool classes met at the House of Bounce, an indoor play place stuffed to the rafters with inflatable moon bounces and the like.  And while the munchkins played, the parents and teachers met for an end-of-the-school-year conference.  Big Man received a glowing report from Mrs. Rouse (she's a real gem!) and is definitely ready for kindergarten.  

Kindergarten.  Kindergarten.   Yikes!  My little Big Man will be in kindergarten next year.  As I've said so many times in the past, how did that happen??  Just yesterday...

Ah well.  Summer's here.  Almost.  Bub & Noh-man still have some work to complete before we close up shop for the summer, so Big Man will have to keep up with his "schoolwork" (as he likes to call it) for a bit longer, too.  This year he's worked diligently, all-be-it in brief spurts each morning, while the older two have studied, and just as Mrs. Rouse pointed out this morning, he's made tremendous strides.  She showed me several pieces (one being a very colorful self-portrait) that he completed last September, and then she showed me his modern-day version, so to speak... the difference really is astounding!  He's met and surpassed every mile marker, and in some instances, he's even outpaced a few of the others (all of whom are older).  Pretty nifty for the youngest pupil in the class, huh?  

So from here we go... onward and upward, I guess.  This summer we'll continue to play with the Cuisenaire rods,


and we'll keep working with the magnetic letters.  Big Man already knows several sight words (which Mrs. Rouse taught the class), so we'll keep practicing those, and soon we'll start sounding out a few simple words on our own.


The lacing cards aren't his favorite, as they often require a bit more patience than he'd like to expend :) 


 and "pencil & paper time" isn't always met with enthusiasm, either.  
Funny, though... his older brothers aren't too crazy about penmanship practice; it must be a boy thing!

 
The pattern blocks-- those he really likes, and there's lots he can do with them,


and painting with watercolors (balloons, this go round) is always a big hit!


  These precious little handmade alphabet books are lots of fun to read.  Big Man made each one in his preschool class this year, and though he has most of them memorized, he still likes to admire his own colorful artwork!


Legos, clay, little toy gears, dominoes, checkers and so on... there are all sorts of other fun things to occupy my Big Man, when he's not too busy conquering the Dark Side, that is.  I'm certain he'll continue on his quest to rid the world of evil, one storm trooper at a time, and I'm also certain that soon-- very soon-- he'll begin to teach his little sister everything he knows (in addition to climbing up the slide, that is :).  I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The river

With the arrival of spring, the pace of life in our house has, without a doubt, accelerated at an amazing (and almost alarming) rate.  From special events to swim meets to practices to meetings to out-of-town trips to projects to standardized tests (yuck!) to all the other various & sundry commitments we're currently juggling... I simply cannot keep up!  Thankfully, school is almost over (I've attempted to school year-round in the past, but with the changing of the seasons, I need a summer break as much as my kids do-- not a full 3 months mind you, but at least 6 or 8 weeks... 'til August... then we'll get back into gear) and I've successfully filled out my calendar with all the activities known to me at this point in time so that I can keep our lives in check... hopefully.  

The point-- the photos that follow are from 3 weeks ago (I think... I can't even remember when they were taken exactly, for goodness sake.  Just sometime after Easter-- I know that!).  Well, just a few days ago, I finally got around to downloading them from my camera to my computer, and after a quick perusal, I snatched a few to post here.

Every time we visit my folks, the boys beg to walk down to the river; it's definitely one of their favorite hang-out spots!  So whenever the weather is agreeable, we try to make a trek or two down that way.  This past visit, the Lord blessed us with a scrumptious spring day, so mom I decided to walk the crew down the hill for some fun.  The water was cold... ugh, maybe even freezing (of course temperature never stops the kids!), but the sun's rays were glorious and all of us-- even Mosby-- had a delightful time.  Here are a few snapshots (I was going to split them up into a couple of days, but decided I'd better post them all here.  Otherwise, 3 more weeks might pass before I get around to it!)~


Along the river bank, the beaver had been hard at work!





Bub gradually conquered the bitter cold water...


and finally waded across to the "island."


But when he decided to later take the plunge completely, it caused quite a shock to his system!


Noh-man, never to be outdone by his older brother, eased his way in, too...


but quickly had a similar reaction to the chilly water!


As I've mentioned before, Lolli loves mud...


but Big Man isn't crazy about it.  


He did eventually get his feet wet, though, and once, he even plunged all the way under. Amazing what a little brotherly encouragement will do!







Monday, May 11, 2009

Just laugh!


"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
--Victor Hugo

This week we're all laughing over at i heart faces. 
Head on over to check out all the other entries-- they're sure to give you a good chuckle!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

You know, so often I take life for granted-- a wonderful husband; beautiful, healthy children; a comfortable home; the privilege of spending every day with my babes... of educating them and exposing them to all things noble and good; a loving family, 4 fabulous grandparents... oh, the list goes on and on.

But today-- Mother's Day-- I'm reminded... I. am. so. rich! God has bestowed on this very undeserving gal

life's greatest treasures...




Oh, I neglected to mention their lovely artwork... you see, while Chris was grilling steaks in the backyard, I followed my littles out front and watched them decorate the drive way. Here's a peak :)









(When I asked Bub why "rocks" was spelled "roks," he casually informed me that that's how "they" do it... as he enthusiastically strummed his air guitar... ???)




Precious. Truly.

Ok... so my Mother's Day rocked, and I hope yours did, too! Before I wrap this up, though, and head off to bed, I'd kick myself later if I ignored here (in this specific post, so creatively titled, "Happy Mother's Day!") the two very special women in my life who have influenced me more than any other:

Mom, you are my greatest role model and my inspiration. Thank you for modeling for me, every single day, the love of Christ... sacrificial love... pure and unadulterated... flowing from a heart that knows no limits. You are truly heaven-sent.

And Moggie-- you raised one heck of a guy! Thank you for sharing him with me~ You have been like a second mother to me and a best friend, too. You have encouraged me and you have helped me; you have loved me all these years, and for that, I thank you~

I love you both immensely! Happy Mother's Day~

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.

~Washington Irving


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Motherhood

The days are passing all too quickly... and my little people are growing up.   There are so many things they say and do on a regular basis-- I simply do not want to forget!  So, I decided to jot some of them down to help me remember:

Big Man has absolutely no concept of time.  He's always asking, "When is tomorrow?" or "Is it tomorrow yet?" And just the other day he asked me if, after completing Mrs. Rouse's (4 year old preschool) class, he'd be going on to college :)

When Lolipop calls from her crib, ready to start her day (or even ready to rise from her afternoon nap), Bub and Noh-man race to her room because they both want to see her first... every single time.

Whenever Lolli sees someone she recognizes-- someone special to her-- her little face lights up like the northern stars. And each night, when her daddy and her brothers walk through the front door, home from swim practice, she claps her hands with joy!

Noh-man, so completely unaffected by the cares and fashions of this world, quite often heads outside to play in an outfit such as this: a red t-shirt, royal blue & yellow athletic shorts, tan "church" socks, and white Nikes... a real fashion hound, no doubt!

My big, big Bub-- my firstborn son-- still willingly (and gladly!) shares a hug with me-- a big, Bub-sized squeeze-- and he even asks to share prayers together before bed :)

Spontaneously (and throughout the day), Big Man sneaks up to my side and softly whispers, "I love you, mama."

At night, when we read aloud a book in bed, all three boys still choose to snuggle with their mommy (unless, of course, Big Man is still heavily entrenched in lego warfare on the floor... sometimes, that must take priority.  Grin. :)

By the time Noh-man comes downstairs in the morning, he usually finds me at my computer. And on most occasions, he slowly strolls over to where I'm sitting and then wraps his arms around me in the sweetest embrace...

Angels We Have Heard on High ("Angels") is Big Man's favorite song, and we sing it every night before bed.

Lolli "talks" all the time, as she almost always has something to say!  She babbles and giggles and goggles and gaggles, and she scrunches up her nose in the most delicious way whenever she laughs.

Big Man calls ravioli, "rabioli," and "disgusting," "e-scusting."  Sure I should help him pronounce them correctly, but it's just too sweet, and I know in time he'll figure it out.

Even though we disagree with the President of the United States on oh-so-many levels, my two oldest sons-- ages 8 & 10-- pray faithfully for him every. single. night.  For his family's safety, for wise choices, and for a changed heart.

Big Man can never remember the last line of the poem, "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe."  His version: "One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door. Five, six, pick up sticks. Seven, eight, lay them straight. Nine, ten, a big fat bird."  And it makes me smile every time :)

Noh-man takes his swimming very seriously.  And he likes to be early for practice.  Very early, in fact; it's his way of being prepared :)  At times this frustrates me as I'm still trying to wrap up a thing or two before we head out the door. But then I catch myself as I'm reminded of his dedication and his commitment to excellence... and I realize... I wouldn't change a thing.

Bub, on the other hand, while completely committed to his sport, would rather squeak out an extra five minutes with his video game rather than leave the house early :)

Lollipop loves tomatoes... diced roma tomatoes, to be more precise. Her brothers won't touch them and her daddy doesn't do much better, but offer her half a tomato at snack time and she'll slam it down!  It's absolutely the craziest thing~

When I ask Big Man to run to Lolli's room to fetch her tights, he asks, "You mean her big socks??"

My three boys shower their little sister with love and affection all. the. time.  They never complain when I ask them to watch out for her and they never grumble when she needs their help.  Instead, they bask in the privilege of being the one in charge and they jump at the chance to be her chosen companion.  Having the opportunity to witness their selfless behavior on a very regular basis... having the opportunity to spend each and every day with them... is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the greatest joys of my life (thank you, Chris, for allowing it to happen!).  My children truly are a gift from the LORD, and I'm blessed beyond measure to share my days with them~ 

So there you have it--- a few of my favorite things!  I know there are oodles more, and perhaps one day soon I'll post Motherhood: Volume 2, but for now, I'll just cherish my kiddos and our time together~