Monday, September 15, 2008

baby talk

Sitting here on the couch with my two girls and my sweet baby boy.  Zeke was in the shower, Mercy was on my lap, Judah was laying next to me, holding my fingers while Brooklyn read a library book to us.  Judah is a pretty quiet little guy, but he bursted out with what really, really sounded like "Brooklyn".  We stopped and looked at each other with wide eyes, thinking "Did you just hear what I heard?" and "Did he just say what I think he just said?"  We all talked to Judah and asked him to say it again, and I kid you not, he did.  It sounded pretty clearly like "Brooklyn".  Just to be sure, Brooklyn asked him to say it one more time.  It took a little while, but he did it.  That was quite a gift to his big sister.  Her eyes and smile were so wide with love and excitement.  And so it will go down in the books that Judah's first word was "Brooklyn".

Saturday, September 6, 2008

first week of school

We just finished our first week of school.  We're adjusting to a different schedule this year.  Since Joe works from noon until 8:00pm, we take the mornings off to be with him.  We start school at around 11:30, take a lunch break after a couple of subjects, put Mercy down for a nap, and get the rest of our school day done while she's asleep (which makes it easier).  It's a different schedule to get used to, as before we always enjoyed being done by lunch time.  But it is nice to have the mornings off, and we've just started a running program.  So a couple of days this week we've put Judah and Mercy in the bike trailer/stroller and Joe and I run/walk while Brooklyn and Zeke ride bikes, scooter or skateboard alongside us.  During the school part of our day, Judah sleeps for a while, then hangs out with us.  He's pretty mellow and content.  Yesterday he was sitting with Brooklyn while she worked on her math drill.

Brooklyn has been so excited for weeks because she asked if she could teach Mercy preschool this year.  She even went shopping with me the week before school started to a teacher supply store and bought some things with her own money that she could use for teaching Mercy.  Mercy loves the one on one time, and I use the time to do Language Arts with Zeke. 

When Zeke and I finish, he plays with Mercy while I work with Brooklyn individually.  It works out great.

We're enjoying our studies on Exploring Countries and Cultures.  This week and next we're studying about maps and globes, and getting ready for our trip around the world through books and food.  I'm really excited to try new recipes for each area we learn about.  My sister is going to Russia in a few weeks on a missions trip (and I get her kids while she's gone.. Yay!!!).  It will be fun to be learning about and praying for Russia while she's there.  This week we drew the continents on an orange and then tried (unsuccessfully, unfortunately) to peel it in a way that we could flatten it out, to show how map makers have to distort things a little to put a round world on flat paper.  The kids also filled out passport applications and we took pictures for them, so they'll have passports to stamp for each country we visit.  They also learned about scale and made maps of their rooms, measuring everything and transferring it from feet to inches for the map.  They love the activities that we're doing.  It definitely makes learning fun.
Here are a couple of pictures of our school room.  We each have a table for individual work, and lots of floor space for reading together, activities, etc.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


What a weekend!  The last several days I have been very sad and missing family and friends.  We're getting more settled here and today's our first day of school, so with that means new routines.  I guess it hit me that these routines don't include the people and places that our old routines included.  It also hit me that the ministries and "outlets" that I was involved in on a weekly basis there are no longer a part of what I do or who I am.  I was feeling sad and disconnected.  

Joe and I were looking online a couple of weeks ago for a "NOR * CAL" decal for our car, knowing that soon the unfortunate day will come when we have to trade in our California license plates for Minnesota ones.  We decided to get a norcal sticker so there's still a representation of where we're from.  While on the website I saw this "uprooted" t-shirt and Joe said I could order it.  It came last Friday, when I was in the midst of heartache.  The lovely poppies and their long, scraggly roots.  I felt uprooted, yanked up from my homeland, torn away from people who know and understand and love me.  I didn't want to tell Joe much about my sorrow because I didn't want him to feel bad.  I wasn't blaming him or anything... just very sad.

On Saturday Joe's mom called to let us know she just found out that a friend Joe grew up with in church had recently started a church just 10 miles from where we live now.  She didn't have any other information but we looked it up online and found where it meets and the time of the service, and decided to go.  So Sunday morning, I was full of emotion as we drove to this new place of worship.  It's just hard finding a new church.  Especially when you're so sad to have left your old one.  But we drove up to this beautiful log building on a golf course where the church meets and followed the signs to where the kids would go.  The children's staff was very nice and welcoming, and Brooklyn and Zeke quickly made their way toward the kids church area.  Mercy, on the other hand, was holding me tightly, saying, "I don't want to go to my class!"  We took her over to some very kind ladies in the nursery, and one of them reached her arms out and said, "Can I hold you?"  Mercy nodded and went to her, snuggling in to rest her head on her shoulder.  I was almost in  tears myself leaving her, and then Joe and I (with Judah) made our way into the service.

We walked in and in the back of the room there was a coffee shop!  I lost it!  I couldn't keep the tears in anymore.  I cried through most of the songs and the rest of the service.  But it was good.  God was there, and He was reminding me I was in His presence and that's the bet place to be.  The last song we sang at the end was "Better is one day in Your courts, better is one day in Your house, better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere..."  And I realized that if I'm really honest, I'd much rather be in His presence here than in Vallejo without Him.  And then the pastor read from Psalm 84:
"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."

Later that afternoon, Brooklyn got out an old jar that was chipped and asked if she could have it to put dirt in and then pick flowers to put inside.  I told her that the flowers would die if she did that.  I said they have to be uprooted so they can grow.  As I said the words, I caught myself and remembered the t-shirt.  Uprooted.  I was doing just fine where we were, growing, even flourishing.  But God had plans to move us to another garden.  I'm so thankful He didn't just let me be plucked up, snapped from the stem.  Because of His love, I was uprooted so that I can continue to grow.  His ways are higher than my ways, that's for sure.  But I trust Him completely and I'm glad He cares enough to pull me out from the roots.