A Study in 50 Adjectives.

13 Feb

Tender, patient, careful, loving, generous,
quiet, serious, thrifty, interested, interesting,

christinaandjerry

conscientious, intelligent, honorable, honest, merciful,
caring, hard-working, efficient, forgiving, resourceful,

Turkey Jerry

devoted, loyal, fair, relaxed, reserved,
faithful, handsome, practical, homey, fruitful,

Jerry Cele Canning

huggable, untiring, motivated, kind, meticulous,
nurturing, economical, warm-blooded, cozy, deep-thinking,

Jerry Birthday Cake Kids

stoic, lovable, attentive, playful, calming,
comfortable, consistent, supportive, self-sacrificing, beloved.

Happy Birthday, Jerry!

Clothed In Righteousness

19 Dec

Dear Stacy, and Mom, and every other Mom I talked to today,

Thank you.  Thank you a thousand times over.

As you know, today I suffered from a severe case of Irrational Mommy Guilt.  It began at approximately 12:07 this morning when my head finally hit the pillow after an evening of rehearsals, church, more rehearsal, cutting pineapple into stars, transforming strawberries into santa hats, assembling snowman heads out of styrofoam cups, and frantically finishing last-minute gift knitting.

At that fateful minute I realized two things, 1)  I never finished knitting Peter’s Christmas sweater and 2) my daughter didn’t own a beautiful, sparkly, preschool-program-worthy Christmas dress.

The tears, phone calls, and monopolized conversations you all endured are precious to me.  I thank you, because despite the materialist, covetous, prideful nature of my problem, you gently forgave my weakness, shored me up with your words of encouragement and offers to help, and met me with your own parental misgivings.

You are dear women.  Models of motherhood.  Sisters in Christ.

So with you, I share my joy.

Preschool Program

The dress is more beautiful than I ever could have hoped for.  Sleeves.  It has sleeves.

Cele

And I promise, there are sparkles on there.  Cele wasn’t going to leave the store without sparkles.  Talking her down from the glittery, taffeta, rhinestoned purple number was a chore, though.

Pete and Cele

I didn’t photoshop this with some “soft” filter. That blur is just powdered sugar residue left over from my Mommy Guilt about holiday candy.

And although the sweater is not technically finished (I’m going to uncharacteristically not point out it’s raw edges to you, though.) (The armholes.  I totally haven’t put the ribbing on the armholes yet.  I can’t help myself.) he was thrilled to finally be able to wear his “brown.”

Pete

And the tie, “like Daddy does,” was the real star on top of the tree.

The best part of the evening wasn’t their clothing, though.  And it wasn’t my fleeting sense of Mommy accomplishment.  It wasn’t even three-year-old giddiness at new duds.  It was hearing my children remind me that the Maker of everything came as an itsy-bitsy baby, held in his own mother’s arms, which probably rocked a little less violently than preschool hand-motions might lead you to believe.  And that his coming as a man was for the purpose of forgiving my sins.  My sins of worrying about tomorrow and fretting over clothing.

And that’s the Joy I want to share with you, too.

In the Love of His Incarnation,
=Christina=

Cele and me

As soon as I pulled this photo up I realized that I lost one of my earrings. So, if you see it hanging around school . . . but I’m not worried about my clothing. No, not at all.

150 Years Later

19 Nov

Sometimes I wonder if homeschooling for the sake of Classical Education works.

Sometimes I wonder if my children hear one sixteenth of the thousands of words bombarded at them each day.

Sometimes I wonder if someone else couldn’t do a better job of teaching them how to figure out things like the fraction one sixteenth.

Sometimes I wonder if this journey through history, this daily hearing and reciting of God’s Word, this language saturation, this diligence to fact and foundation is working.

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just show them YouTube videos all day long.

But sometimes, just sometimes, there appears a glimmer of outcome.  After hearing the beginning of the Gettysburg Address on NPR this morning, Thomas’s immediate and unsolicited observation was that Abraham Lincoln must have been a Quaker.  When pressed to explain his conclusion he pointed out that Lincoln said that we were all created equal, and since that’s what the Quakers believed, then he must be one as well.

That, fueled by an immense sense of parental pride, launched me into my own lengthy address on the impact of the Quaker governmental system on the United States of America.

Just minutes later he was back to flipping through Pokemon cards and demanding that backwards 5’s are just as legible as frontwards ones.  But sometimes.  Sometimes . . .

History Lesson

Another exciting history lesson.

Go Big Red!

16 Nov

Family traditions are weird.  Some are handed down, and to maintain them is one of the long-time joys of family lore and love.  Others we’ve worked hard year-after-year to cultivate, so that they no longer feel new and innovative, but well-worn and adored.

Others happen by accident.  When you inadvertently repeat the same things in tandem more than twice you’re treading in those murky waters.  For instance, our children find their football viewing incomplete without the ability to munch on everyone’s favorite crunchy snack.  Pomegranates.

Go Big Red

At least today they color coordinate with the team for which they’re rooting.  Or, as we traditionally say around these parts, “We’re voting for the Huskers!”

Avast, Me Hungry Hearties!

19 Sep

Amid short vowel sounds, Aesop’s’ Fables, Henry Hudson’s fateful explorations, and the differences between manatees and dugong’s, the boys found time this morning to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

They were schooled in the art of pirate naming by one of their favorite landlubbers (middle name + favorite color + favorite fish, in case you want to develop your own sea-worthy moniker,) captured some furniture with their aluminum foiled solo cups,

Walter Green Sword

used 15-year-old portions of an unfinished crocheted afghan to mask their wayward eyes, and brought to life feathered friends with the help of cardstock, markers, and safety pins.

Harold Blue Tiger Shark

Their treasure map brought them to the not-so-deserted isle of Krispy Kreme, where goods of immeasurable wealth were soon within their grasp.

Pirate Booty

And if they don’t share, they’ll be walking the plank.

Stupid Distance

14 Sep

Today is my sister’s birthday.  According to facebook she’s 85, and since I’ve never had reason to doubt anything else that I’ve read on everyone’s favorite social media site, I don’t know why that wouldn’t be true.  I wrote this post back when Stacy was just an early octogenarian, but it’s exactly how I feel today, too.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Did you ever have one of those days when you really just wanted to whisper something in your sister’s ear that made her smile no matter what else was going on?  And it certainly wouldn’t hurt if you were both wearing matching polyester green outfits.

Or even if you don’t have coordinating clothes, don’t you want a day to hold her safely onto the vinyl ottoman and tell her that you love her?

Yeah, me too.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Second First

3 Sep

Do you remember this picture?008

Did you notice this in the background?Cele Closeup

Yes, this girl needs to go to school.  And whatever she needs, her brother needs.  Therefore . . . 015

I bring you a second “first day of school” post.  This one involves a classroom more than beanbag’s throw away from their toybox, a teacher who was not present at their birth, and classmates who don’t all share genetic material.024

That’s right, The Twins (formerly known as The Babies) are headed to preschool this fall.

They get to move their name tags from “home” to “school” while we get two mornings of “homeschool” to ourselves.020

The boys have been prepping them for the joys they will have under the tutelage of this delightful woman.023

And while they, and by they I mean Pete, might miss Mamma a little bit, 029

it helps to know that Daddy is just a short walk down the hall.026

The First Day of the Rest of the Blog

26 Aug

In an effort to dust away the inter-cobwebs  I’m going to make an attempt this school year to used this blog as a place to keep up with our homeschooling adventures and general family events.

So, for at least the time being, ignore the schedule, don’t expect regularity, and don’t be alarmed if the posts seem as if they would only be of interest to those who share the same familial nose scrunch.  It’s okay, that’s what I’m mainly going for, but that won’t stop me from facebook bombing them, so enjoy, even if you couldn’t find the Middle of Nowhere without GPS.

Today was our first day of school.  I always thought it would be great if my kids could have the experience of walking to school.  I’m sure some expert somewhere once said that beginning the day with fresh air and exercise makes kids approximately a trillion times smarter, impossibly obedient, and general angels in the classroom.  That’s probably what’s been lacking in our schooling up until now, so this year we’re changing it up.  First thing every morning:  a one-mile run017

We’ll keep this up at least until the Grand Rapids Children’s Marathon,016

or until the cold Michigan air is credited for the loss of earlobes or pinky toes.018

The next best change for the 2013-2014 academic year is the presence of a REAL LIVE SCHOOL ROOM.  Okay, fine, it’s not alive (because I teach my children science, I feel like I need to point out that I understand the concept of living beings.) 008

But it’s a room.  And it’s for school.  And it’s real.  Real cool, that is.  Awesome.  Wonderful.  Stupendous.  Fantastic.007

Can’t you tell by their happy faces?010

Apparently the problem was that, and I quote, “I only have three markers.  That’s it, the first day of school is ruined.”

Happily the marker debacle was cooperatively solved.  Solved well enough, in fact, to grant markers to even the littlest scribblers among us.012

The same little scribblers which later earned a home ec. lesson in laundry after “rest time” and “potty training” had an unfortunate intersection.  That is all on that subject.019

What will the rest of the school year bring?  Hopefully more posts, and less impromptu laundry, but for now I’ve got to go grade some math.  I’m going to use a marker.

 

Educating Masses

23 Jan

This afternoon marked my favorite yearly children’s choir rehearsal.

Not because the Schola Cantorum just returned from their annual trip to Concordia Theological Seminary where they blew the roof off Kramer chapel with a splendid Trinitarian descant, a reformation era hymn setting, and rock-solid chanting.

Not because they were still bubbling with excitement and couldn’t wait to both tell their younger vocal counterparts of the joys that await them on future trips to Fort Wayne, and demonstrate the music they accomplished in just two rehearsals.

I heart childrens choirs

Not because they moaned in disappointment when they found out it was time to hand in their music and that they couldn’t take it home as a souvenir.

Not because they were shocked to find out that not everyone has been singing Luther’s creedal hymn “We All Believe in One True God” by heart since birth.

Not because they got to see the OSLC funeral pall for the first time and immediately made the connection between it and the robe of righteousness we receive in our Baptism.

Not because they immediately glommed on to “Preach You the Word” and connected the text to their sneak peak of the amazing Sower Triptych by Edward Riojas to be dedicated at the seminary tomorrow.

And not because when I told them they were a Liturgical Choir they innocently asked, “What other kind of choir could there be?

Don’t get me wrong, all these things were great.  But the real reason this time of year is my favorite is because I sent these young choristers home knowing that sooner or later they’ll have a conversation with their parents that will, I imagine, go something like this:

Parent:  (Sweating profusely) Beloved Jr. High offspring of mine, do you have any questions about sex?
Schola Cantorum Member:  No, Dad/Mom.
Parent: (somewhat relieved, but bewildered)  Really?  No questions at all?
Schola Cantorum Member:  Nope, Mrs. Roberts explained it all.
Parent:  (with understandable anxiety) Mrs. Roberts?  Your choir director?  What exactly did she tell you?
Schola Cantorum Member:  That it’s roughly 60 days before Easter.

Yes, today was the rehearsal where I handed out propers for Sexagesima.

Pre-lent.  It will humble you every time.

Eggs Hard-Boiling on an Open Fire

17 Jan

In an effort to get around my Christmas Music Ban the boys have employed selective substitution and pre-celebratory techniques just like the good commercialized Americans they are.  Here’s a sampling:

  • Rockin’ around the Easter basket.
  • Joy to the world, the Lord is ris’n!

and my personal favorite:

  • Rudolph the Easter Bunny, ate the snowman’s carrot nose.
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