Packing, Packing, Packing

So far I have packed 31 boxes of household items and 29 boxes of books. I’m not even close to being done.

Chloe asked me yesterday if three months are a long time. (She was thinking of packing all her toys). I said, “Well, yes and no.” It’s not a long time to get an entire household packed up, sorted through, house sold, and possessions moved. It would be a very long time for the girls to not have any of their toys available or to eat off of paper plates.

This is the dilemma of packing – it’s got to be done and it needs to be started now. But we still need so much of it in order to function for the next three months. I need Mary Poppins to move in…

We Have a Big Kid in the House!

It’s official – Maddie is 6 years old today. We’ve had so many little kids around for so long, I’m not sure I know what to do with a “big” kid. She graduates today from just having her Bitty Baby doll to having her “big girl” American Girl doll (thanks, Nana) complete with doll desk and school outfit (thanks, Grandma).

We are giving her a jewelry box – the kind that is a music box with a ballerina that twirls inside (remember those?) and a little charm bracelet. Kinda strange to be picking out these kinds of things as opposed to stuff on the Fisher Price aisle.

The really weird thing is that it doesn’t feel like we’ve had her with us for 6 whole years. And think about this – 6 years ago she was a baby. 6 years from now she will be 12. 12! As much as I’d like to believe these next 6 years will slow down and allow me time to reflect on the girls’ growing up, I know I’m just going to have to be intentional about making that happen in the midst of the time speeding by.

So Happy Birthday, Sweet Maddie! I love you!

Time for a New Topic

I’ve been waiting and waiting to write about this and as of last night, I’ve been given the formal “go-ahead”. We’re moving in April! There. I said it. It’s official. We’re actually packing everything up, selling the house and moving. To Missouri. Wow!!

I won’t put all of the details into our decision to move in this blog. To find out all about that, you can go to our website. But the short version is that Craig is set to begin classes at Covenant Seminary around the beginning of June. We anticipate being there about 4 years and attempting to live in on-campus housing (read: 3 bedroom student apartment) for that time.

Maybe we’re crazy, but we’re excited about the leading throughout this process and are looking forward to the challenge and change of this next season of life.

There, it’s out.

I Think I May Be a Blog Snob

I had this thought last night, while doing that blog jump thing I already mentioned. While I was visiting the blog reference below, I then jumped from her blog to another one. While on that one, I took a look at her recommended links. Among those links: A Trip to the Woodshed.

I groaned and thought, “Oh rats – one of those people.” And although I had been enjoying the blog up to that point, I immediately jumped back to the previous blog and picked a new link.
The Woodshed people preach the same authoritarian-at-all-costs parenting style that the Pearls do. For more on my thoughts on this, see the book review I did on To Train Up a Child. It’s waaayyy down the list, so just scroll down until you get to it.

What is it about me that makes proponents of these parenting philosophies so distasteful? I think it may have something to do with the arrogant tone they display. People I’ve known who love and recommend these books/websites, always come across as superior and their children are so good because of what they did to train them. That, combined with the abusive techniques (yes, I said abusive) suggested in their material is what makes me run screaming the other way.

I understand the Bible says we are to teach and train our children and I understand (or am trying to) what that entails. There is a significant difference, in my opinion, between spanking a child for disobedience and encouraging a child to do something dangerous so that that child learns not to do that dangerous thing again. I’m not making this up. These are real stories they have written about in their book. But there now, I’ve already reviewed it.

Okay, so back to my point. Last night wasn’t the first time I ran across someone who loves Pearl-type people. And it wasn’t the first time that encountering such a link thoroughly disgusted me and made me leave the blog.

I’m not sure why I can’t be indifferent here. To a certain extent I can read blogs run by folks with different political views, different working-mom philosophies, etc and it doesn’t produce such an extreme reaction in me. Sure I disagree, but they (usually) don’t make me out and out angry. Not so with these parenting links.

I don’t know what that says about me exactly, other than that maybe I’m a blog snob.

It’s a Girl Thing

In Jr. High and High School, I spent every Saturday night watching PBS with my parents (OETA Movie Club with B.J. Wexler -he’s still at it too!). They played all the B&W classics that I loved. On the occasion they were showing something I didn’t want to see again, we’d go to the video rental store – the nearest Blockbuster was a 30 minute drive back in those days.

It was on one of those 30 minute trips to Blockbuster that I discovered my favorite classic movie of all time: Bundle of Joy. I’ve always been a sucker for sap of the old time variety and this one is covered in it. It stars Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fischer during their “on” stage of life. In fact, I believe they met during the making of this film and married. Soon after, they had a couple of kids, including Princess Leia (otherwise known as Carrie Fischer), then divorced. This is all from the top of my head so my order of events may be off a bit.

Anyway, the movie remains at the top of my list. The lullaby song I sang to all of the girls (Lullaby in Blue) is one I learned from watching this movie in the early 90’s.

In place of doing any real Christmas activity tonight, I told the girls they could pick a movie from our stash and watch it. Low and behold they picked Bundle of Joy (I have since obtained my own copy, although it is a VHS one… I’d love to get my hands on a DVD…). I’ve been working on some projects, but can hear the movie and can hear their responses and from time to time have been peeking my head in the family room to watch them. They are completely enamored.

By that I mean, these three little girls are completely captivated by a non-animated film. It’s a musical, so when the songs come on, they dance. When the romantic moments (and I’m talking sweet romantic ones that are okay for little girls to watch) happen they giggle.

Sigh. This is why God gave me little girls.

My Book Picks

After saying I would do a “top ten”, I realized I would have to pick 1/3 of my list, so I’m narrowing things down to five. And I’m not ranking these in any particular order, as they are all from different genres, so saying one is “better” than the other is pretty tough to do.

So here we go: The five best books I read this year (drumroll please)…
Real Love For Real Life by Andi Ashworth
Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
TwentySomeone by Craig Dunham and Doug Serven
On Writing by Stephen King
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Honorable Mentions go to: Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Winner and Thr3e by Tedd Dekker.

Anybody else have a “top five” list to recommend? I’m looking to build my 2005 reading list…

2004 Booklist

I’m going to go ahead and put up my book list for 2004. I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to squeeze in another after the one I’m reading right now, but if for some reason if I do, I’ll come back and add it in. Here it is:

Real Love for Real Life by Andi Ashworth
Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson
Seabiscuit by Laura Hildenbrand
Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan
Thr3e by Ted Dekker
Miss Julia Hits the Road by Ann B. Ross
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
TwentySomeone by Craig Dunham and Doug Serven
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
Blink! by Ted Dekker
The Last Girls by Lee Smith
The Director’s Handbook for Keepers of the Faith by Jeff and Susan Zakula
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Winner
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowatt
Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox
On Writing by Stephen King
A Delirious Summer by Ray Blackston
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler
The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson
Ordinary Losses by Elisa Stanford
Black by Ted Dekker
Fidelity by Wendell Berry

Some of these have reviews up on our website. Some of them were book club choices and not ones I would have ever picked; some were absolutely fabulous. I’ll do a “top ten” post soon.
I didn’t quite make my 3 book/month goal. Some months I did that no problem and some months I had to count books like the Directors Manual for Keepers at Home Club to meet my quota. Although that is a book, technically, that’s probably cheating. Anyway, I averaged 2.5/month over the year. Here’s to next year and actually getting the 3/month in that I tried to do this year…

On the First Day of Christmas…

Here’s what we’ve done so far this month:
1 – Made snowflakes; Pioneer club at church
2 – Painted Christmas plates for the Grandmas and also Ceramic Christmas ornaments
3 – Attended Amy Porter’s Pampered Chef Party (okay, so it wasn’t “Christmassy” – it worked)
4 – Made Christmas cookies (Laura is quite the baker!)
5 – Attended half of Handle’s Messiah at church
6 – Keeper’s at Home Christmas Party
7 – Watched American Girl Christmas TV movie (thanks to Amy Porter for taping this!)
8 – Pioneer club at church; passed out Christmas candles to all the teachers
9 – Put out all our Christmas decorations except the tree
10 – Bought and decorated our Christmas tree; Went to the Electric Safari at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
11 – Attended the Rock Ledge Ranch Holiday event
12 – Children’s Christmas program at the church
13 – Went to the Cline’s for dinner and highly enjoyed their disco ball tree topper
14 – Hosted my book club Christmas party – punch and cookies all around!
15 – Going NOWHERE tonight! Staying home, reading some Christmas books, going to bed on time, as “normal” of an evening as possible.

Whew! Sounds like it’s been a busy month. Some of these things, of course, didn’t take that much time, but a few of them were pretty significant events for my crew of under 6ers. We’re taking a break tonight and gearing up again for the weekend. I’ll post an update later on…

Homskoolen Revisited

Our homeschool co-op ended for the semester and will start back up in February. On the last day of classes, all the moms/teachers were passing out all the kids’ belongings including their boxes of school supplies.

For Maddie’s stash of supplies, I didn’t buy her a traditional school box, but wrapped up a little shoe box in cute paper and put her name and grade on the top of the lid with construction paper. It looked pretty cute, I thought.

The box has been Maddie’s best friend this past week and she’s taken it with her everywhere so she can have that emergency stash of art supplies for whenever inspiration strikes. On Sunday, between the service and our Sunday school class, Craig all of a sudden remembered to inform me I spelled “Kindergarten” wrong on the box.

So there – I made a mistake and I can admit it. I’m not completely heartless.

But you better believe I’m going to fix that box before taking it back out into homeschooling “public”.

I’m a Cheap Date

Today officially marks the 8th year of marriage for me and Craig. We celebrated this morning by Craig staying home working on the computer and watching the girls while I ran to the store, Blockbuster, and the post office (20 minute wait there just to get stamps…).

Last week when we took notice of the fact that our anniversary was approaching, I said, “Hey – how about for our anniversary this year, you go to Glen Eyrie and play the part of the Bard in the Christmas Revels. I’ll stay home with the girls and host a Christmas party for my book club. Sound good?” Anniversaries don’t respect time and seasons of life very well. I guess that’s our fault for getting married in December.

Now to be perfectly fair, yesterday Craig asked if I’d like to go out for breakfast this morning. He offered to try to find a babysitter and really do something in commemoration of the day and I said, “That’s okay, we don’t need to do anything.”

He then said, “Well, do you want to do anything at all tomorrow?” My reply? “How about you bring home some nuggets after the Revels tomorrow night and we can have a late dinner and watch a movie.”

Yep, I am definitely a cheap date.

My attitude towards this is so different from our first anniversary. We were in Illinois at the time while Craig and the rest of the Red Letter Edition band worked on an album. He asked if I wanted to spend an evening aboard a dinner cruise ship on Lake Michigan. Normally, this would sound pretty fabulous, but we had just spent the previous two weeks with his album producer and co. (we were living with them too) and these same people sang for the cruise ship. The way we were going to be able to go would be to go with them. I wasn’t exactly that excited about spending our anniversary with this particular group of folks, especially after just having spent so much time with them. Instead, I wanted to go to a hotel for the weekend and just be alone. So we did.
I don’t think we’ve really “celebrated”, so to speak, in a formal way ever. The first couple of years we were married this was a surprise to me, as was the fact that Craig didn’t enjoy celebrating holidays or events of any kind. Wait, “didn’t enjoy” is putting it mildly.

So now, 8 years later, I have learned not to expect anything and actually be okay with that. About a year ago I started joking that Craig “cured” me of my love language. I don’t know about that. Perhaps he just showed me what it really is.

Anyway, also in defense of Craig’s views on celebrating, within a 30 day span of the year we have Thanksgiving, my birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, and Maddie’s birthday. That’s a whole lot of potential expectation floating around. My present to Craig every year is to let go of that expectation. And mean it.

I did buy a present for Craig though. I probably would have bought it anyway and made up an excuse to give it to him. I actually bought it for Christmas, but it came yesterday and I couldn’t help myself. I told him I had a present for him and he hates that (not the present, necessarily, but the fact that I tell him I have one). He can’t stand knowing there’s a surprise somewhere for him. So I said, “Well, I guess I could give it to you for our anniversary.” That sounded pretty good to him, so I gave it to him last night. He loved it.

So thanks, Crazy. For 8 years of, no, not “bliss”, but of real life and real love. Thanks for 8 years of living out the Velveteen Rabbit.