Sunday, September 30, 2007

What a change in weather will do

I felt a bit like a northener today. Let me explain....

Today was the first noticeable respite from muggy, oppressive Florida summer. I felt the dryness in the air going to the car this morning. I didn't sweat walking out of church. The sun actually felt warm in a good way, comforting and welcome.

After naptime, we all got sneakers on and went out to the front yard. Ben sat on a beach towel on the newly mowed lawn and Dave and Rebekah got out balls and sidewalk chalk. We were joined by our neighbors' kids ranging from a college freshman to 5th grader and a few of their friends. Our front lawn joins with our next door neighbors to form the largest expanse of grass on our circle and soon Dave was kicking soccer balls and throwing footballs. Pastor Creech even tossed a few!

We chatted with neighbors, talked college football. A neighbor taking his trash to the curb yelled "War Eagle" across the cul de sac to the Gator. Our soundtrack was the classic rock coming from his garage. Rebekah flitted and chatted and scribbled. Ben tried to eat grass clippings. Everyone was out enjoying the change in weather.

It was like we all emerged from our burrows after a long winter and finally saw another human again. That's what a slight cool front that brings the temperature to the mid80's will do.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kiddie Food

So, out of the last ten nights, Dave has been gone for eight of them--class, NYC, dinner meetings, UCF game. Which means I have to get more creative for dinner when I'm just feeding myself and the girl and when I have to do it all solo.

We've made pancakes for dinner two nights now and we've found a new recipe we really like: Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes from Sara Moulton. I didn't do the cinnamon sour cream topping and we have tried them with raisins, dried cranberries, and blueberries. My favorite is fresh or frozen blueberries but Rebekah likes them all. She also thinks she can eat 20 pancakes.

Last Friday, with Dave's dad over, I made BBQ chicken and red onion pizza and a pesto-tomato-roasted chicken-fresh mozzarella one. Tonight I again made pizza. Mom and Dad went to a local pizza joint on their vacation and had an incredible half Carne Amore and half veggie pizza. So I tried to recreate it based on her description. My version (in order): olive oil brushed on dough, 2 cloves of garlic (straight from the press to the dough), 3 thinly sliced plum tomatoes, 1 thinly sliced zucchini, chopped red peppers, about 1 cup Italian mix shredded cheese, fresh basil, ground pepper. I thought it was excellent. Rebekah on the other hand ate maybe three bites despite the fact that she likes cheese, tomatoes, zucchini, and I didn't tell her about the red peppers. Oh well. I'll have a nice lunch for tomorrow.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Go Yankees!

Dave did the traditional "daddy travelling" thing and brought back t-shirts for the kids. Go Yanks! (Please note that my children were less than thrilled about being photographed and did not sit still. These shots are not entirely a commentary on my photograpy skills.)

Rebekah has a pink (of course) Alex Rodriguez shirt and Ben's is #2 Derek Jeter. Dave looked for Roger Clemens for Ben since that's more his body type but no luck.

For himself, Dave got a Joba Chamberlin shirt with "Joba Rules!" on the front and it wasn't until later that he got the joke: Coach Torre has implemented a set of "Joba rules" limiting the days the rookie pitcher can play and now fans yell "Joba Rules" for him. Dave said the place went nuts on Sunday when they brought him out. And they won too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

While daddy's away

Dave and his dad spent the weekend in NYC taking in some baseball games--Yankees and Mets--and touring the high points of the city. And since I wasn't able to go, I decided I should get to paint the family room. The color is Benjamin Moore's Mayflower Red and quite different from the neutral shade I painted the whole house in when we moved in. I had evidently forgotten what a difficult room it is to paint. It's not large and there's only three walls really but this is the only room with a vaulted ceiling which meant I had to get the 12 ft. ladder out (very humorous to watch) and try not to kill myself. Plus, these walls are heavily textured and my wrist is still sore from pressing the roller into the wall to get the paint into every nook. And it's the drippingest paint ever and red paint that drips is not good. Add a popcorn ceiling that's hard to cut in next to and 1980's paneling with grooves and it was not an easy paint job. You can see I still have the hallway to paint (and I'm trying to remove that shelf by the fireplace) and I'll be rearranging the accessories. I didn't show Dave the color before he left but he approved when he got home. I can't wait to get my fall decorations out to complement the new color.

We survived without Dad for three days though Rebekah was quite mopey which I must say, I was a bit offended by. Am I not the one who gets her fed, dressed, cleaned every day? But when Dad leaves, so does the fun. And having Dave gone over a weekend was a bit rough for her. She did faithfully watch NASCAR on Sunday without him and saw Carl Edwards win. By Monday night I was missing my man too--not just the extra pair of hands but actually him. Good to know after nearly 7 years.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This is my story...

I've been pretty sporadic in blogging lately, partly because I've felt really busy and harried (and even a bit hairy when I'm so busy I forget to shave) that I don't stop to think and write or don't feel like I have something interesting to say or the means to say it or nothing spectacular has gone on. Just the same ol' stuff that wears me out and makes me want to watch a mindless baseball game instead of think or read or write.

But the sweet hymn "Blessed Assurance" has been bouncing around my head these past few days and dontcha know that we sang that this morning. I've found myself thinking of simple refrain "This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long" as we've been studying 2nd Timothy as Paul is passing on his legacy to Timothy and admonishing him to entrust the gospel message to others. And I've been thinking about L's excuses for not writing down her family's story: "What could I say that hasn't already been written?" And K's comments are on the money, as usual.

And I've been thinking that all our stories, for those who have been redeemed through the grace of God, are the same story. Of course there is nothing unique. It's the story He's been telling since "In the beginning" and every story whispers his name. Whatever analogy you use--mosaic, tapestry, quilt--we are reflecting the story of redemption in the myriad of His means and methods.

The crux of it though is in the telling, the passing down, the communication of our personal story to show how His story interrupted the one we were telling apart from Him and how he rewrote the ending. And the telling of the story, regardless of the size of the audience, is how He uses us to bring others into the story.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

For your bookshelf...

I saw this book in the pile of new literature Debby bought for the renovated nurseries and tucked it away on my "gotta buy" list. Then good ol' Aunt Jennifer got it for R for her birthday! It's incredible! The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones--the title alone gets me excited.

Lloyd-Jones uses the context of our culture's renewed fascination with fairy tales and heroes in her introduction: "It's like an adventure story about a young Hero who came from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne, everything to rescue the one he loves. It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that have come true in real life. You see, the best thing about this story is--it's true." The storytelling and word choice (from an English teacher's perspective) is remarkable in the way Lloyd-Jones foreshadows or reflects upon or ties in the greater Shepherd, stronger Warrior, perfect Leader, and wonderful Rescuer.God's love is described as His "Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love," a phrase she repeats several times. Many of the stories' titles are equally descriptive and captivating; Zacchaeus' story is "The man who didn't have any friends (none)."

Today Rebekah and I read "A new way to see," the story of Saul's conversion and "new job" since R had a little lesson about Paul the missionary during nursery this morning. (The ladies' Bible study is on 2nd Timothy and Titus). And there's been quite a lot of discussion of sin in our household lately what with Adam & Eve in Sunday School this week, Psalm 53:3 "There is no one who does good, not even one" as her memory verse, and, well, a 3-year-old's heart. I love how the author summarizes his message: "It's not about keeping rules!" Paul told people. "You don't have to be good at being good for God to love you. You just have to believe what Jesus has done and follow him. Because it's not about trying, it's about trusting. It's not about rules, it's about Grace: God's free gift--that cost him everything."

I heartily recommend this for your bookshelf, even those of you with older kids. Dr. Tim Keller says every Christian should have this book so, well, there you go. (He did really; I saw it on Amazon.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Birthday Girl

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I can't believe the girl is three. No really, I can't. It doesn't seem like "just yesterday" because I can't remember "yesterday" but three seems really big for me. She's not a baby, not really a toddler, she's three!

We had a few friends and family over yesterday for some BBQ brisket, racing, and college football. Sorry, Michigan. As I suspected, Rebekah did not want to actually race with her car being as the grass was wet and dirty but she had fun, I think. The cake looks homemade because it was but Rebekah told me I make good birthday cake. This after she "helped" in the morning by sticking the little cars into the unfrosted cake, leaving gaping holes in the cake that I had to cut out and frost over. The biggest hits of the day--the huge mylar "Mater" balloon Dave got for her in the morning and the talking Mater from Aunt Jennifer. She actually squealed everytime he said something or raced across the room and I saw her hugging him at night.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Girl Genius?

Yesterday afternoon, Rebekah and I were playing in her room. I had convinced her we needed to pretend to go to sleep. She was done with her "nap" after 10 seconds. I still had my eyes shut.

"Mom, you need to open your eyes."

"I'm just resting my eyes. My head hurts today."

Rubbing the top of my head, "I don't feel any bumps. You're okay."

Later, at the fridge, while I was making dinner, she asked how to spell "Meg," a friend at MMO. I instructed her to listen to the letter sounds and then I slowly sounded it out.

"M, M," she said and found the M magnet. "Eh, eh, E!" "Guh, guh, G!"

"Mmmehehehguh," I said. "Way to go, Rebekah!"

"Meg," she said, and then put a "D" at the end. Which makes perfect sense considering her G's sound like D's as in "bid dirl," "yodirt," and those "dram crackers" she likes for snack.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Experiments in Buoyancy

Ben's in his third week of swim (float) lessons. He floats well, no surprise there, but getting to the float has been difficult. The good thing is that swim lessons have revealed some areas of weakness and quirks of his, especially in regards to right brain-left brain movement and tactile sensitivity. Like when he has a swim shoe on his left foot only, he will kick with both legs and be decisive about which direction he wants to turn in to roll over and float. Without the shoe, his left leg stiffens and he gets stuck (with his face underwater) turning in either direction but not completely rolling over. So the wonderful Linda Green keeps coming up with new ideas to try and new movements to encourage him and teach him and which we can work on both in water and on "land." He has been moving more lately, making great strides in his efforts to crawl, and we're slowly figuring him out.

The difference between Rebekah's swim lessons last year and earlier this summer and Ben's is night and day. Rebekah, the drama queen, would go limp, have tantrums, scream and yell the whole time her face was out of the water. Ben fusses a bit when I hand him over and that's it. Barely a whimper during the whole lesson. I would have to cover my mouth so Rebekah didn't see me laugh during her lessons. Ben, I just feel so sad for because he's just taking whatever is thrown at him. What a trooper!

Ode to Autumn

To Autumn -- John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Come NOW!!!

It's Labor Day, the traditional end of summer. The day after which you are no longer supposed to wear white shoes. (Though Stacy and Clinton say it's okay now).

Dave spent the day taming the jungle of the backyard and pressure washing the patio for Rebekah's birthday next weekend. You would have thought it was Memorial Day weekend from the temperatures and our pool readiness.

Meanwhile, I'm already burning my Autumn Woods and Spiced Pumpkin candles (de-lish!), anxious to bake pumpkin bread and spice cake in my new fall-shaped molds and pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies, chomping at the bit to get my fall decorations out, and trying to decide on "Fall Festival" costumes for the kids that they won't swelter in. (We're between Very Hungry Caterpillar and sumo wrestler for Ben. Rebekah has asked to be a rhino, cat, or race car driver.) And it's 94 degrees outside. I'm ready for a hint of coolness, for the heat rash on Ben's skin to disappear, for some mornings in the yard or at the park with the kids or evening walks. I'm beginning to think warm days will never cease.