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

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kurt Turns One!

I'm ONE!!

Daddy and the birthday prince.

He loves his new toy!

Hmmm...what's this?

Whatever it is, I DON"T LIKE IT!!!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Little Love

One year ago, right at this minute, I was waiting so anxiously for you to come. We didn't know, your Daddy and I, if you were a girl or a boy. But we sure wanted to meet you. So very, very much. When you finally came, and the doctor stated loudly, "It's a boy!" I was beyond thrilled. Daddy looked at me, and I at him, and he said, "Kurt." I nodded.

I praise God that you are the fifth baby to bless this home. I praise God that you are healthy. I praise God for the charming way you bat your eyes at me, or the way you love to receive praise from your older siblings who adore you almost as much as I. You bring joy into our days. You make us laugh. And you constantly remind me of God's goodness and love, that He would let me have you for this short time.

May the Lord help your Daddy and I raise you to know Him and love Him. May God have mercy upon you, little boy, and call you to be a follower of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Happy birthday, my little man. Your Mommy loves you so!

There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart.

– Washington Irving , writer

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'll Give You Three Guesses...

So, whose house do you think this is?

Look at all of the beautiful grass in the front...

And the big side yard...

And a great view of the hills...

And, God willing, 7 Hoyers and a beagle living in it in three and a half weeks!!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Research Question

Just a little research question for those who might wish to participate:

What would it take to get you to go to a (FREE!) open air concert of orchestral music composed in the last five years? What type of marketing would bring you in? What would make such a concept interesting to you? (Other than feeling compelled to go because you know the guy putting it on.) Comment in the comments section (if you are able :-) or email and I will post the responses here.

Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Trip Around the Block

One thing that has bugged me since moving to CA is how hard it is to have the kids get that daily exercise they were used to in CT. For those of you who remember our backyard there, it was wonderful for running, climbing trees, riding the zipline, or taking a hike through the fields. Needless to say, we don't have that here. Here they measure property in square feet, not acres. And we only have about 5000 sq. feet. It's tiny.

So, we have instituted an early morning bike ride around the neighborhood. Every day. I find that it is helping everyone (read the ten year old boy) to focus much better during school. So, yesterday, after 3 wonderful days of rain, we started out for our morning exercise and I took my camera along. Come see what a trip around the block looks like...

These flowers are blooming in our front yard. Aren't they neat. I'm not sure I would call them pretty, but they definitely have an interesting tropical feel. The 3 big kids all set off on their bikes, Nicholas in the lead, followed by the girls, and Gabriel bringing up the rear while alternating between running and skipping, something he has just recently figured out how to do. I am going as fast as my legs will carry me while pushing the an effort to keep at least some of my children within sight.

As we turn the corner the bikers are all out of sight. Gabriel is that speck you see waaaayyyyy down the sidewalk. See him way down there? He's actually screaming his head off because the big kids aren't waiting for him. The mountains are actually very, very green right now. "Green," when speaking of the native flora here in CA has a very different meaning than it did in CT. If you see any green at all, then it is green. Got it?

So at this point in our jaunt, I have completely lost Gabriel, who knows he is supposed to wait for me at every corner, but apparently "forgot." I am beginning to mutter under my breath with that mix of anxiety and anger we moms are very familiar with. I really hope he's OK, but I'm gonna kill him when I find him. You are familiar with that feeling, no?

Hey, look!! SNOW on the mountains. How exciting!! Too bad all of my kids who would care are missing right now. I stop to take a picture and point it out to Kurt who looks and babbles some new found consonant sounds. Well, I guess that's good enough. I've never seen snow on those mountains.

Well, we go from snow to produce. Only in SoCal! By the way, I still haven't seen Gabriel, but I have been informed by a man rummaging through someone's recycling can that a little boy was running "in that direction." I thank him and continue on my trek, muttering as I go.

This is what a palm tree looks like when you are standing almost directly under it.

More fruit hanging over the sidewalk. The big kids have lapped me and I have sent them on a mission to find Gabriel, after explaining to them that I hadn't lost him, per se. It wasn't my fault. Really.

OK, last corner before home. I am waiting for one of my kids to cut this corner too close and wind up injured. It hasn't happened yet, though! I strain my eyes at this point to try and see our driveway. Surely, Gabriel has stopped there. Right? I mean, he would never start around the block again. Please?

Oh, good. I hear Nicholas yelling at him. So, he must be waiting at home. I am relieved. But I'm still going to kill him.

Someone has brought their Christmas tree to the curb. This reminds me of something Nicholas said this year when we started taking our Christmas decorations down: "I always hate that resigned feeling I get when it's time to put the Christmas things away."

Yep. Me too.

O.K., we've all made it back home. Gabriel is looking guilty. I am explaining to him that four is too young to go around the block by himself. He just keeps saying, "Yes, Mom." Poor kid. The kids take off their helmets and put their bikes away. History is next on the docket. Oh, but what's this?Time for a break! Mail's here!

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Second Favorite Present and Some Other Trifles...

So, I know I left all of you hanging about what Gustav got me for Christmas. Sorry 'bout that. He got me the Cuisinart Griddler. And, boy, does it make some yummy panini! The first one I tried I made three times in 2 days because everyone loved it so much. We had a fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil panini. Man, my mouth is watering just typing it...soooo good! Next, we tried turkey, Swiss, and tomato. Mmmmmmm. We also grilled up some yummy Omaha Steak fillet mignon. To DIE for. I think I need a snack...

So, Gustav hit the jackpot this year. I LOVE my present!

Next up...

Here's another adorable picture of my nephew, Thomas. Do you like the quilt I made him? I finished it the night before we left was down to the wire! I thought that polka-dot fabric was awesome, and so "un-quilt like." I felt like making an outside-the-box quilt this time. I like the idea of making my girls some sun dresses out of that fabric. I think they would be so chic!

In other news...

The baby Jesus has been found! I'll bet you didn't know he was missing, but yes, our family has been without the baby Jesus in our nativity for 2 Christmases. I just could not find Him and it was so sad/irritating/infuriating! I found Him, wrapped in a bit of scrap paper at the bottom of one of the Christmas decoration boxes in the garage. And I thought... how so like real life. The baby Jesus, thrown into the bottom of the box in a scrap of paper. Brushed aside. Forgotten.

All of the bells and bobbles, wreaths and snowflakes, Santas and reindeer make it out. The trees erected. The lights illumined. But Jesus never makes it into the celebration. The One who is sung about in those songs that everyone knows: "Glory to the newborn King!" "Holy infant so tender and mild." "Joy to the world, the Lord is come, Let Earth receive her King!" Somehow, the tunes and words are remembered, but the Lord of Whom they speak is forgotten...a mere trifle of the season. An old-fashioned and sentimental wisp.

There was nothing sentimental or trifling that first Christmas, when the shepherds saw the terrifying angels in the sky:

"And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Chris the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

May we all be filled with the same terrifying awe that those shepherds felt that first Christmas. May that little Jesus in the nativity be a reminder to us that God Himself came to earth, a humble and helpless baby, but grew into a sinless and powerful man who would lay down His life willingly that those who believe in Him would be saved from certain damnation. May we be those "with whom He is pleased."

For Jesus was actually never lost.

We were.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Present

A very belated Merry Christmas and an only slightly belated Happy New Year to all of you out there in blogdom! We are back from our wonderful trip to Atlanta, and you are beholding a picture of my very favorite Christmas present of 2007. A brand new nephew! This is Thomas John Sinkus, and he was born early so that his Auntie Nancy could meet him!

My sister was having a planned c-section this time around and I tried to plan our visit so that we would be there. However, they wound up scheduling the c-section for Dec. 31st, and we were slated to leave on the 30th! I was very, very sad. But, God knew what I wanted and he delivered (literally!) in a big way. My sister went into labor on her own on the 23rd, and Thomas (a.k.a Tommy-Boy, Tom, and T.J.) was born via c-section on the evening of Sunday, December 23rd. Boy, was I happy!! My sister, Beth, surprised us all on Christmas day by arriving home less than 48 hours after her c-section. She's a superhero!

So, he's pretty darn cute, eh?

Our time on the East Coast was just fantastic. We all loved spending time with my mom and dad, Beth and Paul, baby Thomas, and my adorable niece, Meghan. Here she is embedded in soap bubbles:
Meg calls me Nancy-Nancy. Apparently Auntie Nancy was a bit tricky, but, needless to say, I love it! It was awfully hard to say goodbye to everyone when it was time to head home.

We also got to spend time with the Runkles in SC and the Henriques' in AL. What a blessing to be able to see such dear, dear friends on this trip! I will post pictures as soon as I get them off my hubby's laptop and onto this computer. It's a bit too technical for me....gotta get that cute tech. guy on it :-)

So, we are all home and in one piece. The kids were very good during the flights and I managed to change a ridiculously malodorous 11 month old while balancing him on the tiny little sink in the airplane bathroom. I think I have reached the pinnacle of motherhood. It's all downhill from here.

So now we are trying to establish a routine again. It's been a difficult few days. Apparently 4 year olds take longer to go from EST to PST. Dear Gabriel keeps gracing everybody with his sparkling personality at 5 something-or-other every morning. That's fun!

I will have to type another post later about my second favorite gift. Let's just say it's a kitchen gadget that makes some rather delicioso stuff! Gustav bought it for me...and has been enjoying it immensely himself!