Tag Archives: Thomas

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.

Hello Goodbye

13 Jun

We never know whether this child is coming or going.



21 Mar

Today we have a handful of pictures, one for every goofy child of ours:


His signature dish, “Potatoes and Forks” was preferable to his earlier attempts at raising a tuber, calling out “Ball!” and tossing it at the nearest sibling.


If Curly Girl: The Handbook ever comes out with a new revised edition, Cele will be writing a chapter titled “DIY Styling Products: The Curling and Coloring Properties of Squash Soup.”


During school yesterday he made an character-defining decision.  Abe decided to become a “pencil ear.”  I always wanted to pull that off, but I think he has what it takes.


When you wear your everyday shoes to make a backyard swamp during recess then you’re left with the ever-stunning dress shoe, slipper sock, swimming truck trio later in the day.


The kid loves swimming.  I love the kid.


We Now Return You to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

7 Feb

I’m sort of thinking in snippets these days, so on this, my return to blogging, I’m going to give you some of those simple headings that capture some of this past emotional week.

Thank you.  We are enormously grateful for all of the cards, hugs, prayers, facebook comments, memorials, visits, meals, childcare, coffeecakes, bagels, cookies, flowers, house cleaning and general friendship we received this week.  The Lord has certainly worked through all of you to comfort us in our grief and strengthen us with His promise of the Resurrection.

Sound of Sinner-Saints.  Eighteen Pastors belting out “The golden evening brightens in the west; Soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest; Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!”  may very well be the beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.  I would like them to sing it at my funeral.  Strike that.  I would like them to sing it before my funeral.  By the time my funeral rolls around I’ll be privy to some even better music.

Days of Our Lives.  Jerry’s Dad lived 33, 405 days.  Here’s a picture of him somewhere around Day 2191:
Whole Wheat Flash Back.  You know those bagels I mentioned earlier?  I ate one this morning and had a serious Twin Pregnancy Flashback.  And not the nasty Junie B. Audiobook type, either.  For several months that delicious combo, sometimes with a side of orange marmade or lemon curd, was the primary source of my requisite 3200 daily calories.  The babies must have also recalled this delight.  As soon as they smelled it toasting they came clamoring for bites.

Excuses, Excuses.  My sister has also not been blogging much as of late.  I’ll let her tell you her valid excuse, but I didn’t want you to think she’d disappeared in a cloud of dust.  Although, the same excuse she has for not blogging probably also applies to cleaning her house, so I guess it’s possible.

Mishandling Loss.  Thomas came running into the kitchen, hand outstretched, during breakfast the other day shouting, “Tooth!  Tooth!”  Instead of assuming that my six-year-old son lost his first tooth, I asked, “Did Simeon lose a tooth and give it to you?”   You see, he didn’t tell us he had a loose tooth, although he sheepishly acknowledged that he knew, but I question whether or not he had come to the conclusion that looseness preceded falling outness.  Abraham witnessed the entire drama and is now mortified at the thought of losing teeth.  With full-on shoulder slouching, and his old-man worried look he shook his head and said, “I hope this never happens to me.”  Also, I failed to take a picture of Thomas’ new countenance.  Please accept this one and imagine an empty spot.  I couldn’t bring myself to picnik in a hole.Wait!  I’m off the hook!  You can’t see his lower teeth when he smiles, anyway.  Whew.

Handling Loss with Technology.  The paper delivery has now been reduced to Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.  Poor Simeon thought he would have to wait until today to find out the Super Bowl winner.  We DVRed it for him.  And even though was “voting” for New England because he liked their “suits” and “pictures” he took the loss just fine.  Both times.  Also, I wonder if there are any other eight-year-olds in the greater Grand Rapids area that are as bummed about the lack of M/W/F/Sat paper as our son.

Finding Gains Amid Loss.  Although this past week was filled with sadness, and never let anyone tell you that just because someone is 91 and suffers from Alzheimer’s that it’s any less sad to lose a parent, my husband and I had a delightful week together.  We spent hours together at his father’s bedside, hours together in the car, hours together arm in arm receiving condolences, hours together looking over old photographs, hours together crying, laughing, talking and being one.  And for those hours I give thanks for this week.

Sorry We Didn’t Call

28 Nov

Did you ever wonder how this blog got it’s start?  Well, for our trip down Memory Dirt Road today I will tell you.

Usually after a very busy weekend Stacy and I would send an e-mail with headings of the notable events. They served as an informational peace offering in lieu of all the phone calls we should have made.  At some point we decided the e-mails were so fun to write that we should go worldwide, and voila! the blog was born.

So today, I am recreating that apologetic catch-up for all of you out there.  We’re sorry for any missed blogs last week, please accept this really long rambling, but headed, post instead.

Computer Kaput
During our Thanksgiving Festivities I carefully placed my laptop in our bedroom, seemingly out of harms way, when somehow a wee toddling lad (or lass, but my money’s on the lad) made his way into the room, pulled it off the nightstand, and caused the screen to crack against the clamp that attached to the body of the computer.  The clamp was our solution to the screen’s persistent flicker. Its imprint spread darkness across the bottom third of my viewing area, and in the days since the incident, the blackness has edged up toward the tabs and menus at the top of the window, giving me a sense of drowning in my browser.  That’s a pretty valid excuse for not blogging, yes?

But at last I can breathe easy because my darling husband had a revelation:  he could hook my laptop up to another monitor we have in the house.  So, now my lap top is actually a desktop, that is sitting on the kitchen counter, which makes it a countertop, which seems like a whole niche of computers that someone really ought to think about marketing to accident prone moms like me.

Parenting Strategy of the Century
I don’t think my heading is any exaggeration, but I’ll let you judge for yourself:  Instead of normal Sunday School the children were in the church yesterday morning rehearsing for next week’s Advent Service.  Thomas, our somewhat change-resistant child, is having nothing to do with this mix-up of location and routine.  They had to bring him to me at the organ.  He sat next to me sobbing about how he missed Sunday School and the story, and he wasn’t going to do this service, and that he would only go back up with his class if I came along.  Since organ is not such a handy “pick up and move to a new location” kind of instrument that didn’t seem to be workable – but then inspiration hit.  I quickly grabbed a piece of scratch paper, and drew this*:

It’s me, of course.  What?  You were thrown off by the chicken feet and penguin hands?  Or did the smile on my face seem unnatural to you?  It doesn’t matter, because Thomas knew it was me.  And off he marched, with me crumpled up in his hand to go sit with his class for the rest of the rehearsal.

So, when do they hand out the Parenting Grammy Awards?  I need to find someone to make me a dress with uneven shoulder pads and some serious skirt flare.

136 Cubic Feet of Christmas
At our house it’s not Black Friday, it’s Evergreen Friday. Every year we go out to Prince Tree Farms and yell “Timber!”  We love the nice folks out there, and their tree prices cannot be beat – our tree cost less than $0.10 per cubic foot (a half pence more to have it shaken, drilled and tied.)  This year I had my dear husband cut off the top of a rather large tree.  I don’t know why he agrees to do these things for me.  It’s nuts.  But he and his brother sawed that forest dweller down and we drug it home.  It’s a monster at over nine feet high, and nearly eight feet wide.  It’s possibly a wee bit crooked, but only if you fail to tilt your head.  So far, it is adorned with white, gold and orange lights, like all good Christmas trees.  In my defense, the second box of lights looked gold, it was named amber, and I’m sure I’ll grow to love them.  Probably around Jan. 6.

Grab Bag Saturday Make-up Session
Here are two pictures of Stacy and I decorating our 1980 Christmas Tree.  For your protection, and her’s, I have blocked out my sister’s training pants.

Prepositional Milestones
The twins learned not only how to climb up and on things, but in them.

51 Guests
At our house this weekend!  And I’m only slightly exaggerating.  For real, there were twenty-six people at Thanksgiving Dinner and another twenty-five for a Sunday dinner to catch up with out-of-town friends.  But, in all honesty, our family alone makes up over a quarter of each group, and we can’t exactly be called guests.

This is what made both events possible:  Everyone else brings wonderful food, lends gracious and hospitable hands, and warms our house with their presence. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  In the meantime my husband might go cut down a second spruce.

Big White Rectangles
The newest trend in birthday cakes at our house is one I can completely get behind.  The boys want plain, old, regular, boring cakes with a literary tie-in, and a cheap toy plopped on top.  Okay, what they really want is cake and toys, but if you fill in the blanks the rest of it works out great.  Thomas requested an Indian in the Cupboard cake for his Sixth.  Here it is:

And he didn’t seem at all disappointed that Little Bear and Boone were still “plas-tick” and didn’t come to life.  Whew.

No e-mail to our Mom is complete without a weather report, and I want you to feel like you’re getting the Real Deal here:  It was SO NICE all weekend long.  Nice like over 50 degrees, nice. Nice, like we cut the tree without experiencing frost bite, nice.  Nice, like I over-dressed for my runs by wearing a long-sleeved  shirt, nice.

Nice, like the boys got in a game of Charlie Brown football on Thanksgiving, nice.  Nice, like you could stand to be out in the rain without thinking it was horrible, nice.  Okay, the rain was actually not that great, but still, overall, nice.

I Should Quit
Most e-mails end with some explanation about how we should attend to our children, or our husband, or our houses, or our jobs.  In this case my children are asleep and/or helping Jerry with the downstairs Christmas tree, my house is clean because we had all this company, and I’m not at work, so . . .

Don’t worry, I’ll quit boring you now.  Hope you have a lovely week.  Back to our regularly scheduled blogging.  Maybe.

*The above picture was a replica of the replica of me.  Apparently I was thrown away shortly after playing the last chord of Joy to the World.

Tomorrow’s Weather Forecast

23 Nov

As you prepare for your feasts, Thomas has this Thanksgiving wish for for you:

May your day be filled with a Tornado of Food.


How Do You Spell Happy Birthday?

21 Nov

The November flurry of birthdays comes to a close today as we celebrate Thomas, born on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Sometimes we falter when asked the actual date of his birth.  Tricky Thanksgiving, always moving around and causing us problems, is at fault.  But this year his actual birthdate reflects the day we always remember.

In a ploy to get my newly minted six-year-old to write this blog post for me, I asked Thomas how he would describe himself to someone who didn’t know him at all.  His answer:

I would just say, “T-H-O-M-A-S.”  But, only to people who can spell.

So much for my plagiarized blog post.  He is a bit much to describe with mere words.  In addition to the words, you need some non-stop singing, rambunctious wiggling, and intense cuddling.

That’d about do it.  We love you, Thomas Thomas.  Happy Birthday.

On Sports

2 Oct

A game update from the peanut gallery:

The score of the Lions’ game is like 71 to 3.  Or maybe 17.  Anyway, the bad guys are winning even though none of us are voting for them.  They might be the grand winners. I call them bad guys because you know how sometimes they’re evil?  They are.  But I think the Lions are warming up.   They almost got 15 points, but instead they only got three, because sometimes in games you don’t get extra points.   – Thomas

Regardless of how colorful he may be, I don’t think he has a future in commentating.

It's hard to imagine what he might be thinking about baseball.


17 Sep

While I could hardly say that our oldest and youngest children were quiet this week, it was the three in the center that provided that most memorable noise, er, I mean, quotes:

“I think I know why they call it recess, because we don’t get to play, we have to solve problems.”
Thomas, analyzing the new Sibling Squabble Reduction Rule that allows the boys to earn a  sticker for every day they make it through morning recess time without coming in to report a fight or unfairness.

“Races are only for cars, not for people.”
Abraham, struggling to catch up with the Brothers in the middle of mile 11 of the Children’s Marathon.  Mile 10 was brought to us by a very pitiful, “I don’t like The Mile. ”

“Oh no.  I can’t see at all in the dark!”
Abraham, prior to his first optometrist appointment when I explained to him that the doctor was going to check his eyes to make sure he could see okay.

“Can we go sledding?”
Thomas, recess on the first 55-degree day of the school year.

“Wesha bleda floply blooo da.”
Abraham, who attains language skills by watching the Twins.
“Abe, you should stop speaking Spanish.   I’m probably the only one who understands it.” 
Thomas, who attains language skills by watching Imaginext in Frenchuguese.

“I know”
“Oh no”
“No, no.”
Cecilia, who attains language skills by watching her mother.  Although Thomas is the one who taught her to spell.


19 Aug

Do you notice something missing?

I know there is a trend out there in the Blogosphere to do Wordless Wednesdays, but this one is more of a Pictureless Post.  The past eleven days of our lives run the risk of being completely forgotten. You see, my camera is shot.  It had taken it’s share of sidewalk close-ups in the past, but this last one pushed it right over the edge.  And thus, it entered it’s Magenta Period.

Alright, I know I implied earlier that there were no pictures to show in this post, but I have to let you get a little glimpse of the post-fall artistic stylings of our little Sony Cybershot.

Nice, eh?  Maybe the camera was just trying to send me some message about how I need to look at the world through rose colored glasses, but I wasn’t buying it.  In fact, all I wanted to buy was a new camera.

We’ve been through several point-and-shoots, and after the first one suffered it’s tragic demise in the purse-of-no-return my smart husband began purchasing the extended warranties on them.  We’re not typically “Warranty Folk” but since the pocket that these pocket-sized cameras often gets thrown into is torn, and I haven’t bothered to repair it in three years, it seems a little 24-month insurance policy might be a good idea.  Not to mention the danger these cameras encounter in stroller bins, van cup-holders, and worst of all – the hands of a five-year-old.

This last camera survived our rough and tumble life for two years.  Two years and eight days to be exact.  Yep, 24 months and EIGHT DAYS!  AGH!  So close, and yet 192 hours too far.  In one last-ditch effort we showed the camera to the nice people at the store when we went in to check out new models and do you know what they said?  “Call the 1-800 number.  I’m sure they’ll honor the warranty.”

I could scarcely believe my ears, and was still positive that the response from the help-line would be negative, but guess what?  They honored it.  Amazing.  They didn’t have to do that.  They were in no way obligated to reimburse us for a warranty that was expired.  But, a gift card in the amount that we paid for the camera is currently being sent our way.  And now, I must tell you the name of this store, for they deserve laud and attention for going above and beyond the call of duty in customer service:  OfficeMax.  Shop there.  We will.

So, do you have any great point-and-shoot recommendations?  Remember, they have to be available through OfficeMax.  I’ve done a bit of research, and have the Consumer Reports chart in hand,  but I can’t seem to make up my mind.  I want fast shutter response, image stabilization and good low-light quality photos.  So, do you have a camera that you love, or even hate for these reasons?

And until my gift card arrives, here’s one last photo to remind you why OfficeMax warranties have a permanent place in our life:

A Self-Portrait