Like Father, Like Son


What can I say? 
My son sure loves his daddy and wants to do exactly what he does. 

Certainly makes one examine his steps, knowing that there are little ones following closely behind. Parenting sure is a weighty responsibility... and an incredible privilege to impact the next generation! 

Homeschool: Germ Experiment


After reading about another family's germ experiment here, I knew that I wanted to give it a try. Here are our results. 

We took cotton-swab samples from 4 sources and had a 5th tub that we left plain, for our "control."  The 4 sources we swabbed were: the coffee pot handle, the computer mouse, the inside of my mouth and the rim of the toilet. We all expected the toilet, mouth and computer mouse to be germy. It was my daughter's suggestion to swab the coffee pot handle, which surprised me, but we went with it. 

Our germs needed more than 4 days to grow. We gave them 6 days in a dark, warm place (inside a kitchen cupboard) and they still didn't grow as colorfully and prolific as we hoped. But they did grow. You can't tell a lot from the pictures, but the 2 furthest-left tubs have some growth, the middle one has a small amount and the 2 on the right look clean.

The winner was: the coffee pot handle!
2nd place - computer mouse (not a big surprise there - who ever cleans their computer mouse?) 
3rd place - the toilet rim
4th place - my mouth 

This was a fun and super easy experiment. The base substance is just gelatin, water and sugar which cools in the fridge for 24 hours. Then add the swapped cultures and let those germs grow in a warm and dark place.

Do share! Where do the germs live in your house?!

Children's Reading List


It's been a while since I've posted about books we've been reading. This certainly IS NOT because we haven't been reading. Since we're using Sonlight as our homeschool curriculum, we do lots of reading every day. My daughter has books she reads herself each day (referred to as "readers") and there are also books I read outloud to her (referred to as "read alouds"). There are days that the sections are rather lengthy, even making my voice give out! But we love the books we've been able to read this year. Someone recently asked my daughter what book is her favorite. She couldn't come up with one and responded "All of them!" I agree. They are all so good and we've enjoyed each one, for different reasons. But I'll try to list the best of the best here.

Tolliver's Secret by Esther Wood Brady is a simple story about a spy for George Washington's army who ends up wounded and can't deliver his important message. His grand-daughter, Ellen Tolliver, is sent to deliver it in his stead. Through incredible delays and set-backs (including getting mixed up with a boatload of Redcoats) she keeps on until she finally delivers the message into the right hands. This young lady is a great example of perseverance and bravery and courage. One of the follow-up assignments for this book was for my daughter to write a speech for George Washington to deliver, thanking Ellen Tolliver for her heroism. This book was my favorite of all of them this year.


Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes was a definite favorite from our reading list this year. Johnny is a young silversmith apprentice who has every reason to be bitter at an accident that changes everything. But before long he finds himself involved with Paul Revere and all of the happenings of the Revolutionary War. This book is exciting with twists and turns that keep you from putting it down. And the best part is that you are learning about history as you go! My daughter says this is her #1 pick of best books from 3rd grade.

The Journeyman by Elizabeth Yates We just finished this one recently. The main character, Jared Austin, is a creative young man who becomes a journeyman painter (a traveling painter, back in the 1800s). My daughter enjoyed the book because she enjoys art and has her own creative bent. I liked it because it taught underlying lessons in perseverance, hard work, dealing with difficulties in life, and responding to gossip in a godly way... and the happy ending.Carry on, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham was another favorite. While the characters of the other books I've listed were fictitious, the main character in this book, Nathaniel Bowditch, really lived and took part in America's history. I knew nothing of him prior to reading this book. I learned a lot - about seafaring and navigation. The book does a great job telling the story but also showing the reader just how important math (and precision) are in real life. To many mariners, it meant life or death, back before GPS was available.

We are about 20 days from finishing 3rd grade. We're already excited about what new books we'll get to enjoy for 4th grade!

Back to Work


18 months ago I stepped away from a part-time job that I'd held for 6 years - as our church secretary.

Next week I return to that position.

I'm excited about the change. And nervous.

Not nervous because of the work - I am an organizer by nature so the work comes easy to me and is enjoyable.

Not nervous about the coworkers - I have a good relationship with our pastors.

Somewhat nervous because we've moved to a different building so there are changes related to location (like a security system to figure out).

But mostly nervous because I feel like a different person than I was before. The last 18 months have felt like a lifetime to me. I have lived a lot in those months. I have grown up a lot. God has done a lot of molding and chipping away at me. In so many ways I am not the same person I used to be.

To walk back into a job that once came so easy and was such a good fit now makes me nervous. Will it still come easy? Will it still be a good fit? Are my pastors expecting it to be just like it was before? Expecting me to be just like I was before? Because I'm not the same.

Hopefully I'm better. Hopefully I'm more Christlike. Hopefully I'm more grace-filled. Hopefully I'm leaning more on the strength of God than on what I can muster up. Hopefully the beautiful fruit of the Spirit is more evident in my life, because of what I've lived through in the last 18 months. More love. More joy. More peace. More patience. More kindness. More goodness. More gentleness. More faithfulness. More self-control.

At least that's what I pray for, as I enter a new-yet-not-new season. A season that will feel familiar and yet different.

If you think of me this week and would like to pray for me, I welcome it!
*Pray for clarity of mind as I learn new things and adjust to the work again
*Pray for my family, as we all adjust to this change in our schedules
*Pray that in this work situation (and in all of life), God would be growing His fruit in my life and His love would flow through me
*Pray that He would be glorified through all things

Girl Scouts: Powder Puff Derby


Last Saturday my daughter and I attended our first ever Girl Scout's Powder Puff Derby. This is the equivalent of the Boy Scout's Pinewood Derby, where the kids race cars they made (from a kit).
My daughter did not make a car to race. Anything that involves competition, she wants nothing to do with. She would like to make a car, but not to race, just to enjoy and play with at home.

So we attended the event to see what it's all about, to help out behind the scenes and to cheer on the girls from our troop who were racing. There were crafts and face painting to help pass the time, as all 65 cars were raced at least 10 times each.
I was encouraged to see so many moms AND DADS there with their daughters. At most Girl Scout events, girls are accompanied by their mothers (or dropped off and accompanied by nobody). This type of event brought out the dads as well and that is a positive thing.

Win or lose, I think this was a good experience for everyone involved!

Ag Days


Last weekend we made it to our local Ag Days event. This is one of the kids' favorite events of the year... and it's free to boot! I love that it can count as a field trip and we spend enough time there to ask questions and learn things as we go. Having grown up on a farm and yet now living in suburbia, this is as close as my kids currently can get to farm animals and farm life. Pretending to drive tractors. Pretending to ride horses or calves. Seeing cows and calves. Petting precious lambs. And petting crazy poodles like this one, who was incredibly soft. Touching a large turkey was a highlight for my daughter, as well as watching pet rabbits do tricks (like jumping over low hurdles). My son loved being up on the tractors, eating the free cookie, and touching the soft bunnies.

Hooray for Ag Days!

Family Photo Friday


It's Friday, so here are a few photos to share from our week.

Yes, it's a dandelion, but my son picked it JUST FOR ME!

Aunt Karen come over one night this week. She played a fun game with the kids. Then she and my daughter played dress-up. Here's my daughter's beautiful outfit. Our pet bird Weezy has enjoyed more freedom lately, flying around the house. One of her favorite perches turns out to be my head! I know... I better watch out!

Happy Friday to you!

Easter Out-takes


Here are a few more shots from our Easter celebrations last Sunday.
My daughter in the breakfast line at church. I really like that pink! Easter egg hunt at my in-laws' house. My girl in the foreground found plenty of eggs. My son... well, he found one and then headed for the sandbox (seen in the background). Here's my boy with his one egg, which he broke open immediately to see what treasure could be found inside!Like father, like son!

Miscarriage and New Life


Each year, prior to Easter, we have the opportunity at church to purchase a beautiful flower to help decorate the sanctuary on Easter Sunday morning. After the service, we are free to take our flowers home. This year, we bought a flower in honor of our two babies in heaven.

Easter = new life = reason to celebrate for those who are enjoying new life in heaven

This hydrangea is big and beautiful, full of blooms and full of life. I love it!

I've mentioned before how my heart has been encouraged by flowers planted in honor of our miscarried baby. There is just something so joyful about springtime and flowers in bloom.

I'm reminded of Luke 24:5 "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" This was asked of the women who came to the tomb, looking for the body of a dead Jesus Christ. My babies are not living on earth, but they are very much alive. I do not seek them at the cemetery, for I know that they are not there. They are alive and I am reminded of them when I see the beauty of the living - the beauty of flowers in springtime.

And Matthew 22:32 comes to mind too. "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." In the same way that Jesus could talk of God being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (who were long since dead, on earth), He is the God of my children who are dead on earth. Once life begins, it has no end. It goes on forever. A short portion of that life is spent on earth, while the rest is spent in eternity and has no end.

How gracious is He to invite us to join Him in a glorious eternity?! What marvel and beauty we will behold, if we make Him our choice. This is all my hope and peace. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow... and each day thereafter.

This year, more than ever before, I am enjoying spring and the gorgeous flowers, which are the small foretaste of what is yet to come!

My Mom's Visit


My mom visited us over the weekend. She usually comes once a year for a long weekend. Last year it was Mother's Day. This year it was Easter.

The kids adore Grandma. They fought over whose room Grandma would sleep in. They fought over who would sit next to Grandma at the dinner table. They love Grandma.

We ate good food, went for walks, sat in the backyard chatting, ate more good food, enjoyed a special Easter service at church, and stayed up late. So we did all those things that make for a good visit!
My daughter enjoyed playing a few different board games with Grandma, who is always a good sport.

My mother reads children's books like a pro and the kids love to climb up on her lap with any good rhyming Dr.Seuss-type book. [PS: If you haven't read The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories then you are missing out! We thought a few of these shorter Seuss stories were some of the best yet... and we are near experts on Seuss!]

Thanks for taking the time to visit, Mom! I love you!

I love my family!


I love my family! And I love photos of all of us all dressed up!

Making Easter Special


It's Holy Week, so we've been doing a few special things as we consider the death and resurrection of Christ.

For my daughter's daily Bible study, I've written out some lessons that focus on the last few days of Jesus' earthly life. This has been helpful for me and for her, as we read the Bible passages dealing with the triumphal entry, the last supper, praying in the garden of Gethsemane, the crucifixion and the resurrection. It seems that the more familiar we are with these Bible stories, the harder it is for us to see how extraordinary they really are!

The kids have also done a few special crafts, like making palm branches and making these stained glass crosses. Such a simple idea, but very pretty.

My mom is coming to visit this weekend, which is special. And there will be a family dinner on Sunday afternoon.

Easter is such a glorious time of the year, celebrating new life and hope after the grave. Celebrate Jesus!

Little Boy Quotes


I love the cute things my 4-year-old boy says these days. Though he's quite shy in public, at home he battles with his very-talkative sister to be heard.

Last night when I was putting him to bed, we re-read the birth of Jesus in our Bible storybook. I asked him "Would you like to have been born in a barn or to live in a barn?" He said "No, but Daddy would! He told me so last night!" Okey dokey.

Getting into the car to leave with Daddy, while I stayed home, my son says "Mom, take care of yourself!"

Recently I pointed out the new buds on the trees and how pretty green they look now. He excitedly replied, "Yahoo! We have the baby leaves now! Yeah!"

After eating some chocolate and then grabbing some grapes to eat, my smart boy told me "Mom, I have the chocolate germs in my mouth. I think this grape will taste bad now."

Big sister had slept in late and when she finally joined the rest of the family at the breakfast table, little brother tells her "Welcome to the party!"

When cuddling with Daddy, I asked him "Do you love your daddy?"
Son: "Yes."
Me: "I love him too."
Son: "But I want to keep him!"

My son got a new toothbrush. It has "Snooby" and "Woodstop" on it.

Tucking my son in one night, he told me he loved me. I told him I loved him too, very much. He replied, "You have to love me very much. That's why you're the owner." Owner? Where did he come up with that?

Having lost 2 babies in the last year, we talk a lot about heaven at our house. My son is very curious and regularly asks me "How will we get to heaven? Will Jesus fly down to get us or we can drive there in a car? Will he carry me or will I run there?" This led to a discussion about whether there will be cars in heaven. I said I'm not so sure, but there will be streets of gold and a very shiny sea. He then wonders "Are there fish in the water?" Ummm. Maybe. He says "Probably God wants to see some people go fishing there." Maybe, Buddy! Jesus did seem to like hanging out with fishermen!

PS: Here's my organizational system for keeping track of these cute things my kids say or do. Sometimes I will write it on our family calendar - the physical calendar that hangs in the kitchen - noting who said it and when. More often I write it in an email draft that I just keep adding to. I have one with my daughter's name and one with my son's and I just open it and add a sentence or two as life happens. Eventually I print that off and stick it in their baby book / scrapbook. Just recently my daughter was going through her album and laughing at the funny things she said as a toddler. Precious memories... and I know that if I don't write them down, they will be lost forever. So I work diligently to write them down as they happen so we can enjoy them for years to come. I feel the same way about photos - they tell the story of our lives and without them to spark my memory, I know I would forget a large percentage of all that we do with our kids.