Friday, February 29, 2008


Why I lock my doors when I shower:

The men working on the telephone pole outside our house came to our door this morning while I was in the shower. Sofi opened the door and informed them that "Mommy is in the shower and can't come right now". When she came and told me about this, I had The Talk about Strangers with her-- through the bathroom door. I'm not sure she got it. I came out to find this stuck to the front door:

(in case you can't tell, the picture she drew is of me in the shower.... *rolls eyes*)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dropping Her Off

In case any of you haven't noticed, Sofi is growing up. Now this obviously is something that I've been dealing with for some time now, but lately things seem to have accelerated. The big thing I've noticed this week that has me (I confess it reluctantly) freaking out a little bit is the whole dropping off thing. At some point this past six months, our lives stopped revolving around the parent's activities (with kids participating as they are able) and started whirling (revolving is too tame a word) around Sofi's activities. She has ballet, Homeschool Co-op, homeschool itself, play dates with friends, birthday parties of friends, Valentine's Day Parties, tea parties, etc. And I'm starting to Drop Her Off at some of these events. That's a big deal. I'm sorry, but I'm one of those obsessive parents who likes to keep my children within yelling distance at all times. It's only been in the last year that she's had a babysitter other than my siblings and one young woman we've known since she was in grade school. Dropping Off is a big deal. She got invited to a sleepover last week, but I drew the line there (well, we both did). No way was I going to Drop Her Off and then not see her again till the next day! What if she needed me? Who was going to read her a bedtime story if Daddy wasn't there? Who would tuck her in and kiss her and tell her that if she is loud enough to wake Judah, she has to babysit him till morning?

I do realize that at some point Dropping Off will be the norm and actually staying to watch over her would be "Moo-oom, I'm fine!" I'm just not sure I'm ready for that yet. I'm not sure if I ever will be. It runs in our family, that's for sure. I think Dad would be happier if he were still "supervising" all of his kid's "play dates" to this day! Mom is less clingy, though, so maybe there's hope for me yet. And considering that it took Sofi 36 hours to decide to initially leave the womb, she might not be too eager to gain her full Dropping Off independence for a while yet.

The scary thing to think about is the day that the ultimate Dropping Off occurs. When I have to sit quietly and watch as Jeremiah Drops Her Off for the last time, placing her hand into the hand of the (please, God!) Godly, strong, kind (handsome would be nice) young man who will take our places to nurture and care for her all the rest of her days. I will have to sit on my hands and resist the urge to try and tell her about all the pain and joy and sorrow and depth that her life as a wife and mother holds for her-- the urge to try and somehow protect her from all that, to prepare her for it.

And I know I'll be fine. Because the truth is, the day God gave her to us, we gave her back to Him and I know that He will always be there beside her. No matter what the situation, He never drops His children off.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

For Grammy and Grandma Howell

This is for the givers of music in our... um... ancestry :) Lo, and your influence will be felt even unto the third and fourth generations...

That's Sofi on violin and Judah doing piano and vocals.

By the way, this was taken at about 7:00 this morning. Note the energy displayed by my offspring at this ungodly hour. We'd all been awake for almost two hours already. Bleh. Can I just say that I'm NOT a morning person and it's a good thing I was behind the camera?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Time for a new post...

We spent the weekend with Jeremiah's parents. Sandy had generously offered to babysit for us so we could go out for a belated Valentine's Day date. It was so nice to have an evening to ourselves to talk and just be together. Things have been so busy lately that we tend to crash on the couch in the evenings and kind of stare at each other in a daze until bedtime.

As Sofi gets older and her activities and school become more time/energy/mental powers consuming I've noticed myself more and more desperate for time to spend "re-connecting" with Jeremiah. (makes me sound like a cooky marriage counselor) He's so much better at 'big picture' stuff and helps me keep sane about all that we're trying to do in homeschool and other stuff. A good, close, vibrant relationship with him is essential to my ability to do my part in the job that we have before us, of educating and raising our children to be intelligent, Godly and kind people. When I begin to let the cares of my day loom large in my head and heart well into the evening, all my conversation with my husband starts to take on a tinge of complaining. If I focus instead on him, on our relationship (getting him a drink, a shoulder rub, ask about his day, talk about something interesting I read today, etc), as he walks through the door, I usually find that by the time dinner is over, the cares of the day have resumed their normal proportions and I no longer feel like I'm going down for the third time.

Another reason I really want to train myself in this area: what do I want him to anticipate as he's driving home? Surely not an exhausted, stressed out, needy woman! I want him to be driving home thinking about that backscratching he's headed for! I want him to love coming home, to prefer it to every other place he is during the day. This is part of keeping our relationship the most important part of our family-- therefore the strongest. A house is only as strong as it's foundation and the marriage is the foundation of a family.

So, now I have to go get dinner started and the house clean so I can practice what I "preach"!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Judah Splashing

Judah seems to think that God put him on the earth expressly for the purpose of splashing as much of his bathwater out of the tub as possible on any given night. He so serious about it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sofi and Judah Playing with Bubbles

These were bubbles left over from Sofi's party.

(he's almost cross-eyed-- "Must....catch...bubble...must...catch...bubble!!)

Kisses For Big Sister...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Sign For "Milk"

Judah is doing pretty well with his ASL (this one is 'milk'), but sign language just doesn't give the proper expression of urgency sometimes...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sofi's Valentine's Day Party

Playing Candyland:
Making Valentines:

No party could be complete without a little dancing to the 'Nutcracker' cd:

Monday, February 11, 2008

An Historic Moment...

...for the first time in six years of married life, my final score is higher than his! Look well, oh my children, this will likely never happen again.....

No, we're not playing against each other-- those are just scores within the game. We (together!) beat the 'bad' aliens.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A New Game for Sofi and Judah

They must have done this 25 times this afternoon, so I figured I owed it to future generations to document the moment....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I wanted to pass on a story to you from Laurie's blog. It's the story of God's work in the life of an amazing family. Nate and Trisha are the parents of a 24-week preemie, Gwyneth Rose. This in itself would be a rough road to walk, but in addition, Trisha has an advanced case of cystic fibrosis and is in line for a double lung transplant. Their testimony of God's abiding love has given me a breath of fresh air tonight. I will be praying for them and I ask you guys to join me. There is a huge body of believers surrounding this small family with their prayers right now-- as witnessed by the volume of hits and comments on their blogs. It's an opportunity to join with the international body of Christ to implore the Lord for mercy and healing. Join me in watching with excitement to see what the Lord will do next in their lives!

Monday, February 4, 2008


Ben is Home! Praise the Lord. We have been praying for him as have you, I am sure, and now it is such a relief to have him home for at least a few weeks. Of course, in all too short a time, we'll have to send him back in the grace of the Lord. I especially covet the prayers of all who read here for my sister and Violet, that this time of renewal for their family would strengthen and refresh them in preparation for the last "homestretch" of Ben's deployment. It's not going to be easy to separate for the second time.

A friend and I are starting to pull together a women's study group to read and discuss the book "Created To Be His Helpmeet", by Debi Pearl. It's a book that examines the hot-button topic of biblical submission, in its broader look at the Christian Wife. I credit that book (along with the Holy Spirit, of course) with many of the things that I consider 'good' in our marriage. I like Debi's perspective that in this age of 50% divorce rates (even among Christians), if you have a man who doesn't beat you or abuse the children, you do WHATEVER it takes to make the marriage a good one. She challenges women to consider their husbands above themselves-- their needs, desires and quirky/annoying/embarrassing traits-- all inclusive. She laments the trend among many Christian women today to hold their husbands hostage to an ideal of "spiritualism" that must be obtained in order to "earn" the wife's respect, submission and, ultimately, Love.

This book is not for men. It simply doesn't address the man's responsibility much at all. If you are looking for a book that talks about "sharing the blame" for the problems, or gives you an "out" if your husband doesn't behave a certain way, then this is NOT the book for you. This book is for the woman who is willing to sacrifice all her "rights" in order to have a happy man and an amazing marriage. And it works!! I can tell you from experience. Women have such power to set the mood of the home and all too often abuse it to get their own ends. I'm including myself here...

The problem is that I am just as selfish as the next woman, and after a week or so of faithfully laying down my rights for my husband, I tend to fall back into the old patterns waaay too easily. Hence the study group! We will be working to encourage each other in our roles as helpmeets (hmm, not sure exactly how to pluralize that...) and mothers. We all need more of that!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Freakin' AWESOME!!

This is a vid of a project done by the group ImpovEverywhere. They all kinds of cool improv stunts with huge volunteer casts. Wish they would come to H-burg...

Ponderings on suffering...

My sister and I had an interesting conversation last night about suffering and since it's been on my mind since then, you all get to hear about it!

The conversation started with the comment (from S.) that "surely God wouldn't do that to her (a friend we were talking about)-- surely she's been through enough in the last few years..." My reaction was to laugh in disbelief at her remark. After all, I've just been through over two years of infertility, in which time God saw fit to allow me to conceive and lose two children. Surely God wouldn't do that to me... right? And she's going through a year-and-a-half-long separation from her husband--also very painful. Surely God wouldn't ask her to bear that! Well, no, I think He certainly would--these are both things that are part of His plan of Greatest Good for our lives.

When I expressed this to her, her first reaction was to call me out for "lack of faith". Hmmm. She went on to describe that God is showing her how to expect good from His hand-- to trust those unthinkable possibilities to Him, without question, not to dwell on them, or try to prepare for the worst. She heard my words as cynicism and hard-heartedness. However, I explained to her that through my times of suffering in the last few years, I've seen the Lord teaching me toughness-- the ability to accept His strength and press on, rather than fold up into self-pity and pain in the trial. I've needed to learn to expect that life is not going to be peaches and cream all the time and I need to be prepared to fight the battles that the Lord allows me to face on a daily basis.

Growing up, the two of us could hardly have been more opposite from each other. Susi was the strong-willed, brave and daring one. I was tender-hearted, self-pitying and compliant one. I was awestruck last night after our conversation as I contemplated the way the Lord has, in the last few years, been working on each of us to fulfill what was missing in our characters. And in both instances He has used the tool of suffering to accomplish His purpose. At the same time He's been teaching me to stand strong and press on in His abundant strength, He's been teaching her to soften up and lean on Him. Isn't our God wonderful? And how valuable suffering can be!

Lord, may I always be able to see that suffering is a tool of Yours, wielded in love, for my own Greatest Good.