The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. Psalm 16:6

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Glimpse into Our Home

Well, we have delayed our camping trip by one day. Therefore, you all get to enjoy some pics of the fam. Apparently, Kurt is not impressed with the book selection in the above picture.

Raspberries are a beautiful thing. There's nothing like sharing a little spit.

In the cranium size contest, Gabriel wins every time!

It's never too early to learn to play Xbox. Kurt is showing off his prowess by using his pinky finger.

My beautiful boys.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Gustav's Music Was Played on NPR!!

Click the following link to see a little blurb on Gustav's CD at NPR's website. They played a snippet of his piece Nerves yesterday on Weekend Edition as an interlude. How exciting!!

Nerves on NPR

A Month of Travel

Well, folks. After last summer's 3 month, 8,000 mile traveling bonanza, I vowed we would stay home for a long, long time without traveling.

I also said we wouldn't have a 5th child. Oh, and that we would never live in L.A. Heh. Heh.

We begin a month-long traveling spree this coming Thursday, when we venture out for our first-ever family camping trip. Yep. In a tent.

We will be camping with some other wonderful families at Yosemite (like this one and this one), and we are all very excited. It should be a wonderful time of fellowship, not to mention unplugging from society for a while. Most of you will remember the ranch in Wyoming idea? Yeah, Gustav's psyched, and may not return to society...

We return on Sunday evening and then Kurt and I are off on a whirlwind weekend getaway to Atlanta. My sister is hosting my parents, brother, and I to celebrate my Mom and Dad's 35th wedding anniversary. It is such a rare occasion that all of the Cranston's are in the same place at the same time. It will be wonderful to catch up and have them get to know Kurt.

We return on Sunday the 10th and then turn around on the 13th to drive up to Washington state for the annual family vacation with Gustav's side of the family. We will be driving 2 days up through some beautiful country. I am hoping to see the Redwoods on this trip! Once there, we will spend a relaxing week in a house with 14 other people (not counting our 7!) It is always a blast, though, where all of the cousins get reacquainted and the grown-ups stay up way too late discussing anything and everything. Gustav's family is an intellectual bunch. I, being unfit for such discussions, usually go to bed :-)

So, suffice it to say, June will be a slow month on the blog. Probably some picture updates, maybe a sentence or two. If you don't hear from us by July 1st, you might want to check the tents at Yosemite!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Escaping to the Hundred Acre Wood

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
Sir Francis Bacon

There are certain books out there that you read and enjoy, and then replace on the shelf and only occasionally ponder or recollect what happened between the covers. As a homeschooling family, we have encountered a handful of these books...they served the purpose of giving information, or helping to drive a point home, but they didn't stick in the mind, as it were. They were tasted and returned to the plate.

We have discovered, however, A.A. Milne's writings on his beloved Winnie-the-Pooh to be exquisitely delectable, and we have savored every. single. bite. All of us. These books were read with the same wonder and love, regardless of age. From this thirty-something, down to 3. Every day, I would eagerly consume my lunch, so that we could turn the pages on Pooh's newest adventure. I read aloud at lunchtime. I have a captive audience. Lunches with Pooh were of the leisurely sort. We would sometimes sit for 2 hours.

We laughed, hysterically at times, at Pooh's lack of brain, or Piglet's panic, or Owl's inability to spell his own name. We feasted on Milne's clear, simple succinct and yet so profound at times. We even got teary in some places, especially the end of the second and last book, The House at Pooh Corner. The tears came for me, because I understood what Christopher Robin was trying to say, but couldn't.

"Yes, Christopher Robin?"
"I'm not going to do Nothing any more."
"Never again?"
"Well, not so much. They don't let you."
"Pooh," said Christopher Robin earnestly, "if I- if I'm not quite---" he stopped and tried again-- "Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won't you?"
And as I sat there, cuddling with and laughing with my dear children, I felt that pang that a mother gets when she realizes that they don't stay that way. They will become too old for doing Nothing. They will become too old for sitting in my lap and reading a good story with me.
But the children, they got teary for a different reason. They were sad because there were no more new adventures to share with Pooh. Everything there was to know about Pooh, well, they now knew it. There would be no more surprises.

Pooh is now an Old Friend. The best kind.

So, we have moved on for now. We are currently reading Pinocchio and enjoying that very much. Not quite as much as Pooh, but still. It's like Hershey's vs. Dove... both very good, one just the kind you eat more slowly and savor, and then remember fondly. Over and over again.
We will visit Pooh periodically, I am sure. Just to make sure he's still there in the Hundred Acre Wood, humming and thinking and giving us a reason to love books.

"But, of course, it isn't really Good-bye, because the Forest will always be there...and anyone who is Friendly with Bears can find it." A.A. Milne

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Some pictures...

Here, Kurt is helping Gretchen with her Latin :-)

These two pictures demonstrate why it's not all it's cracked up to be being the youngest of 5! Yes, those are handcuffs on his ankles below. You can thank your boys for 'accidentally' leaving them here, Suzanne!!

Mama's Big Blue-Eyed Boy!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

All About GABRIEL!!!

Hi! I am Gabriel. I am 3 years old. Here are some things about me:

Favorite food: bananas

Least favorite food: rice & pasta (without red sauce)

Favorite hobby: playing on the computer (Editor's Note: He now has his own log-in!)

Favorite movie: Cars...although lately we've been hearing lots of Night at the Museum quotes..."Dum-Dum, bring me Gum-Gum!"

Favorite book: The Little Engine that Could (the new version)

Least favorite book: The Princess and the Kiss

Favorite Thing to Do in CA:
Disneyland (EN: Gabriel goes on every ride except Indiana Jones, and only because he's too short. He loves Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain.)

Favorite Thing About Moving to CA: Dad has an office (EN: ? He had an office in CT)

Something I miss a lot in CT: lots of trees and grass, having stairs in our house

Favorite toy: My swords.

Most afraid of: snakes

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Funny Things About Moving to Sunny CA...

Well, I've been thinking a lot lately about God's will in my life, and why He chose to move our family to CA. Of course, when one is thinking about such things at 5AM, while nursing a baby, or 6AM, while working out on the elliptical machine, or 9PM, when the synapses have long since ceased to fire, you think of pretty funny stuff. So, here's my list of:

Top Ten Funny Things About Living in CA

(10) After attending church for a few weeks with a newborn, you begin to develop 'stroller envy.' Everyone out here seems to push a Peg Perego or Maclaren. It made my Graco seem small and insignificant.

(9) Mileage has absolutely no significance when figuring out how long it will take to get someplace. It is some kind of crazy math where you divide the time of day by the highway you're on and then adding one hour, or something like that. I've never been very good at math.

(8) Speaking of highways....Do NOT say, "Take Interstate 210 to get here," or you will get lots of funny 'you haven't lived here for long'-type looks. You must say, "Take THE 210 to THE 2 to THE whatever..." It's not a highway if it hasn't a THE before it.

(7) You begin fantasizing about how else you can eat salad, tuna, grilled cheese sandwiches, on crackers, with chips, tacos, enchiladas, etc., etc. They are really YUMMY and so cheap here.

(6) You long for the days of low-cost gas in CT. I've seen it as high as $3.66 right now.

(5) You understand that the flip-flop is not merely a convenient way to get from the beach to the car. It is a fashion statement. They devote whole isles to them at Target. You can get them with rhinestones, leather, feathers, colors. You name it!

(4) You realize that it might be necessary to sell a child or two in order to put a down payment on a house. Then, the remaining children will have to work full time to pay the mortgage payments.

(3) You get used to putting the heat on in the morning and the AC in the afternoon.

(2) There really is a "Let's do lunch" mentality out here. It's just another way of saying, "I like you," without any commitment to future contact.

and the NUMBER ONE Funny Thing About Living in CA:

(1) All those stars we watch in movies and TV live here. Like, they really live right here. Of course we haven't actually seen any of them yet. I don't think many of them are Christian homeschooling, stay-at-home moms. They're not really the type to be in my circle of friends. But one of these days I may actually see one of them... IN PERSON!

No, really. I thought I would hate it here. I really did. But I am finding that I actually 'like' Southern California. Despite the traffic and the smog and the fact that right outside my door there are a few million people...most of them driving on THE 5 as we speak. Go figure. And, hey, if you're ever in town, let's do lunch.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

So blessed!

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

A rare sight...a picture with me in it!! This picture was from our trip to Sea World. Kurt loves his Peanut Shell sling and so do I. It makes Sunday mornings possible for me, as I walk around Grace Community Church's monstrous campus, depositing children upstairs and down, going to Sunday school on the 3rd floor and visiting the nursing lounge! I highly recommend this sling for anyone expecting out there (Kim!!)

I put Kurt in the church nursery for the first time this past Sunday. Of course, I dropped him off 15 minutes into the second hour, and retrieved him 1 hour later, but I actually left him there! It was the first time I left him with someone other than family. I had to choke back tears as I walked certainly doesn't get easier the more children you have! Kurt has also officially outgrown some of his adorable little outfits. He's growing like a weed. How dare he!

We are Daddy-less right now, as Gustav is in NYC, living the New York lifestyle for a few days. He received a "meet-the-composer" grant for a piece of music he wrote for a small vocal group there. So he gets to go and speak about his music and answer any questions the audience members have. I am a tad envious of him, getting to be on the East Coast again! But, as you all know, it costs a lot of money to fly when you are a family of seven!

I am going batty putting our curriculum together for next year. It gets more difficult as the children get older. Can you all believe that Gabriel will be a 4-year-old preschooler next year! YIKES! I am trying to take the children's interests and desires into consideration more than I have in the past. Nicholas is dying to do a geography course, and the girls want to learn how to cook. I am going to try and incorporate those things into next year's schedule.

OK, this was a boring post, but I wanted to give you all an update. I was only interrupted about 12 times while typing this! I told Gretchen that I don't remember what the Latin verb 'to ask' is, scolded the dog for barking while the baby is sleeping (like he cares), bought 2 books that Gabriel "wrote" with the pretend money I always have in my pocket, listened to Lillian persuade me to let her pass her German lesson with an '89,' even though I require a '90,' tore pieces of paper out of the large pad, and answered 'I don't know yet' 2 or 3 times to Nicholas' repeated question, "What's for lunch?" Ha!

Stay tuned for "All About Gabriel!" in the next day or two, as well as some more interesting writing from me. If only I could type and nurse the baby at 5AM...that's when I think of all kinds of interesting things to blog about. Unfortunately, they are long since forgotten when I get to the computer a few hours later!