Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent and Easter, age 3

Gabe was trying to explain Lent and Easter to Jonathan. During this conversation he asked, "Do you remember what we celebrate at Easter?"

"No," said Jonathan.

"We celebrate Jesus being alive again."

"No!! We celebrate Easter eggs and CANDY INSIDE!!!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jenn's Lens

I love to have pretty things on my walls. Decorating is something that I'm not particularly good at, but I like to try! And good artwork or photography is one of the ways that I really enjoy brightening my white walls.

Well, my sister-in-law, Jenn (you probably know her as the boys' Aunt Jenny, if you've been reading long!) is a photographer extraordinaire. And now she has opened an Etsy shop!!!

Take a few minutes and go look at her beautiful pictures. I'll wait.

Back? Did you see this one?

And this one?

And this one that I am really, truly coveting right now?

Did you notice that she's having a SALE right now? 20% off for the rest of the can you pass that up? So go back there, right now (hang on, let me finish my sentence) and buy a beautiful photograph or two to brighten up your walls. You'll be glad you did. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Biblical dysfunction

I'm reading through Genesis right now. I cannot believe the dysfunction that went on in our patriarchs' families.

Genesis 30

The Sons of Jacob
1Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I die."

2Then Jacob's anger burned against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"

3She said, "Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children."

4So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her.

5Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.

6Then Rachel said, "God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son." Therefore she named him Dan.

7Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.

8So Rachel said, "With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed." And she named him Naphtali.

9When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.

10Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son.

11Then Leah said, "How fortunate!" So she named him Gad.

12Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son.

13Then Leah said, "Happy am I! For women will call me happy." So she named him Asher.

14Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."

15But she said to her, "Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son's mandrakes also?" So Rachel said, "Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes."

16When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, "You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes." So he lay with her that night.

17God gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son.

18Then Leah said, "God has given me my wages because I gave my maid to my husband." So she named him Issachar.

19Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob.

20Then Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons." So she named him Zebulun.

Just imagine all the horrors of family life that aren't mentioned in this bare bones account! Imagine four women, all sleeping with the same man, some desiring to, some probably forced. Pregnancy as the supreme "win" over your sister-wives, but only if it ends up being a boy. And the poor man, living in the midst of the anger and frustration of these women, not to mention being informed periodically that his masculine prowess has been purchased for the evening, like it or not.

I've grown up reading the Bible, but I still find so much of it utterly incomprehensible.

Snow trip!

Jonathan has been begging to go to the mountains to play in the snow for MONTHS. We tried, on two different occasions, and the weather thwarted us (once there was no snow at all, and once there was so much snow that chains were required!) But last Saturday the proper weather coincided with a weekend, and off we went!

Getting this point I was starting to get worried that there wouldn't actually be enough snow to play in...

But there was.

Gabe's dad told us about a wonderful place to play in the snow. It is in Running Springs, a little playground next to the library (bathrooms!!!) with a large empty field behind it. Perfect for snow play!

Gabe tried to build a snowman with the boys, but the snow just wasn't the right type. Oh well.

They tried.

I'm a northern california girl. When I think "snow" I think "COLD". Apparently southern california does snow warm. We definitely didn't need all the snow gear I'd rounded up for the occasion!

This tree seemed to be having some difficulty. I thought it was funny. :)

Jonathan is so independent. He ran all over the snowy field, especially up the hill that was perfect for sliding.

Thomas is not. He spent his time either in our arms or asking to be picked up. See?

But he did have fun when I took him sliding down the hill. See that smile?

I had very wet pants, but it was worth it. :)

After we finished playing, we went over here to have warm drinks:

It is a real coffeeshop, privately owned and with tons of character. We sat at a table downstairs near this lovely childrens' play area. Gabe and I actually got to sip coffee and read books while the kids entertained themselves!!!

We drove home in the midafternoon and all three boys fell asleep in the car. It was pretty much a perfect family outing, and we plan to make it a tradition each winter.

Reading words vs. reading stories

Yesterday I listened as Jonathan "read" a book to Thomas, and was amazed to hear him copy our reading inflection as he talked. Obviously he wasn't really reading - he was making it up as he went along - but it made sense with the pictures and it sounded like a story.

It brought home once again how very important it is to read to our kids, because that is how they learn what stories ought to sound like. When I was in college I tutored three siblings with very busy parents (the kids didn't need tutoring; they needed a babysitter who could help with homework.) I'm quite sure that the parents never read a book with their kids, because the children read in a painful, jerky monotone without any expression, and certainly without any enjoyment. I'm not even sure that they knew they were reading a story - they were just words on a page, read because I required it. Back then I was pretty sure that reading TO them was the only way to help them get better, and that is what I did. I hope that it helped, although I wasn't with them long enough to see much result. Now, reading to my own kids, I am seeing the results and it is simply amazing.

Words on a page are just words without the learned knowledge of how to read them. It is so exciting to hear Jonathan learning how.

Sometimes facebook is really, really funny.

Friday, February 20, 2009

CVS 2/15 and 2/19

I ended up going to CVS twice this week, which made me feel just slightly those people who show up twice a day just to scan their card and try to get good coupons! (Yes, there really are people who do that!) It was worthwhile, though, because I found out that the diaper promotion had been extended, and we needed a new toothbrush for Jonathan anyway. :)

Here is the result of the first trip. I didn't keep all my receipts to detail this one for bloggyland, because I sent some off for rebates. Suffice it to say that my total oop was a little less than the cost of the diapers alone on a decent sale elsewhere. Since we needed the drano, crest, and toothbrushes, and the rest I can give away, I was pretty pleased. (Have I mentioned how much I enjoy being able to drop things into our church's basket each week? Blessed Sacrament sponsors a women's shelter in the area, and it makes me really happy to be able to support it in this way.)

The second trip:

I had such a nice clerk for this trip - she let me do three transactions and was happy to see me saving so much! I started out with $13 in ecbs ($2, $5, and $6):

Transaction #1

1.99 Suave body wash
1.99 Suave body wash
1.99 Suave body wash
1.99 toothbrush
2.99 Colgate
2.99 Colgate

- 1.50 colgate coupon
- 1.50 colgate coupon
- 3.00 free suave product
- 1.00 suave coupon
- 1.00 suave coupon
- 5.00 ecb
- 0.94 ecb (adjusted down from $2, unfortunately - I had thought that the "free product" coupon was only worth $2 instead of $3. Oh well!)

= 0.66 tax oop
received $5.98 and $2 in ecbs

Transaction #2

2.99 Colgate
3.99 Stayfree
2.49 CVS envelopes

- 1.50 colgate coupon
- 2.00 stayfree crt
- 6.00 ecb

= 0.09 tax oop
received $2.99 and $2 in ecbs

Transaction #3

8.99 Huggies
8.99 Huggies

- 1.50 huggies coupon
- 1.50 huggies coupon
- 5.98 ecb

= $9.99 oop
received $5 in ecbs

So my total oop spending was $10.74, and I still have $11.99 in ecbs. At another store, this oop amount wouldn't have paid for the diapers alone, even on sale with coupons. Thank you, CVS. :)

Good for North Dakota!!

Their legislature just passed (51-41) a bill that gives a fertilized human egg the legal rights of a person, and thus protects it under the constitution. The Senate must now approve the legislation as well, but at this point it seems likely that they will. Obviously this is a major challenge to Roe v. Wade, and will almost certainly end up in the courts. It sounds like they're really willing to fight for this, though: the sponsor of the bill, Dan Ruby, pointed out that his state has been willing to go to bat for other principles that were less important. Way to go, North Dakota!

I think this is a brilliant new front in the efforts to stop abortion. The biggest problem we face right now is that the debate is always framed as the "woman's right" and everyone talks about the poor woman who is facing such difficulty, etc. We've been trying to make abortion illegal for decades, and it isn't working, because we have not yet succeeded in getting to the root of the problem: recognition (or lack thereof) of the fetus as a person. This legislation does exactly that, and I'm hopeful that we might actually get somewhere with this new tactic.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mid-day tears

I'm about ready to throw in the towel and go back to bed. I feel like I'm running on a treadmill and never getting ANYWHERE. It is 11:30am, I've been up for nearly five hours and busy for all of them, and the sum total of my accomplishments is...negative. Partly because the boys have dirtied FIVE outfits between them.

I'm never. going. to. catch. up.

I think I'm too tired to try anymore.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lots and lots of pictures!

Last week Thomas turned two years old. In honor of the occasion, we got him his very own tricycle. He hasn't figured out how to pedal it yet, but he's having fun just the same. It is just his size and he's enjoying being one of the "big kids" who can race around on wheels.

Thomas' speech therapy is continuing. His therapist, Mrs. Heather, is a treasure. Thomas loves her, as you can see!

It has been raining a lot around here recently. Last week we took advantage of some dry moments to go out for a walk. Look what we found!

A duck!

TWO ducks!

Why they were hanging out in our parking lot, I have no idea. :)

Pretty flowers in our complex - we have good gardeners right now.

Pretty flowers in my house! These are some of the bouquet that Gabe gave me for Valentine's day.

Josiah is growing, growing, growing. He's reaching for toys now, often successfully.

We had wanted to go camping this past weekend, because Gabe had Monday off. But rain was forecast. So...we went camping inside!

The boys moved all my living room furniture and spread out the tent...

Still working...

That is a big tent!!

While the boys set up camp, I cooked dinner. I must say that I prefer my kitchen to a rainy campsite!

Mmmm...fresh bread!

Camping just isn't complete without s'mores!

I like 'em, too. :)

Thomas' very first s'more!

Today the tent is down, but the furniture hasn't been put back yet. So of course we had to make a train. With ALL the pieces!

My house is a wreck. But we had so much fun. :)