Friday, March 28, 2008

He's Growing Up!

Steven did a big boy thing this afternoon - he sat on the potty! No, he didn't do anything, but he did sit there for quite some time and was very proud of himself! I was very pleased, too, considering that he hasn't wanted to even consider sitting on it before now! Maybe it won't be long before he actually figures out what it's for! Wow - no more diapers! I won't know what to think! :-)

Yay Doug!

Some time ago I posted that Doug made an "A" in one of his two first seminary classes. Well, he got the other one back today. This is the one he was really worried about because it was the apologetics class - the more academic and less subjective one. He got an "A-"! YAY! I'm so proud of him, and he's so excited! It was timely, too - a nice bit of encouragement that we needed!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Singing

You know, babies always sing now and then and it's so cute, but there's also something special when you can start identifying the songs. Steven's in that place right now. I wish I could get some video of him to post - I'm going to keep trying. (He's also in that phase where as soon as the camera comes out he wants to see himself on the back screen. So, I frequently don't get the picture or video I'm striving for unless I can sneak up on him! Ah, children of the digital age!) Anyway, every night he begs for a song. Typically "Jesus Loves Me" is his favorite, although there are a few others he enjoys. But, it seems he's never quite settled unless we close with "Jesus Loves Me." Of course, that is me singing to him, although I've heard him singing what sounds like "Jesus Loves Me" occasionally. Yesterday Doug sang, "It's time to poke the Pooka (Steven's nickname)" to the tune of the Muppet Show theme song, and Steven picked up singing the real theme song. Then last night in the tub I told the kids it was time to clean up their bath toys, and he started singing the clean up song. Such a sweet, precious voice. I love this age!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ties & Kermit

As you could see in the Easter pictures from Sunday, Steven got to wear a cute little bear tie that Mom had passed down to us from when my brothers were little. I wasn't too sure if he'd wear the tie, but as soon as he saw the bears, he was hooked! In fact, Sunday morning I was planning to hold off until picture-time to even put it on him, but he was so excited about it that I had to put it on him as soon as he saw it!

He got up from his nap and immediately wanted his bear tie back on! He went out to the playroom to watch the Veggie Easter movie, and this is how Doug found him a few minutes later. Doug says he just needed a briefcase and sport coat tossed on the couch beside him, and he'd be an executive relaxing after a tough day at work!









At dinner Steven got something on his white shirt, so I went to take it off of him. He was so upset that I had to take off his tie! So, I told him we could put it on his new shirt. What do you think of this look! :-)










Last Saturday we met Doug's parents, sister, and niece in Leland, MS. Last time we went to Monroe to visit, we went a different route that cut off a lot of time and took us right through Leland, which just so happens to be the birthplace of Jim Henson and his famous muppet Kermit the Frog. There was a nice little museum, and it was decided that it would be a great meeting place for our next family rendezvous.

Morgan, Angie & Livie at the museum.

Morgan & Angie watching the Muppet Show.



Morgan & Olivia visiting a bit after lunch.



As you can tell, the cousins had a great time visiting with each other again, and enjoyed seeing Grandma and PopPop, too. I don't think the kids really care where we go, as long as we get to spend time visiting!



But, since we were visiting the birthplace of Kermit the Frog, we had to get
in a few Kermit snuggles in between those visits!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!




















Hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebrating the resurrection of our amazing Savior!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Update on Learning

After taking a week off from school, the girls are very excitedly getting back into the swing of things. It's so much fun to see how school can be kept from being facts learned in a vacuum. Just the other day, Olivia asked a question about something. I can't even remember what it was, but I do remember that it related to something she'd been learning in math. I was able to show her how those pesky subtraction facts and the other things she's been learning in math could be put to every-day use. It was exciting for her!

History is quite fun right now. We are studying ancient world history this year, and with the help of our timeline we've been able to really see how it all fits together and how it fits with Biblical history. This week we've learned about the conflicts between the massive Persian empire and the relatively small and divided Greek city-states. We've learned about how King Darius had conquered most of the known world of the time, but those stubborn Greek cities were causing him great frustration. He and his successor King Xerxes were determined to conquer Greece! What is exciting is to tie that in to Bible history we know so well. King Darius appointed satraps to rule his conquered territories, and the Bible says that there were satraps under the rule of a certain King Darius who were jealous of Daniel and set up the events leading to his time in the lion's den. Meanwhile, the name Xerxes is familiar from the book of Esther. Although it is sometimes difficult to accurately line up all events of history, Xerxes' gathering of allies to continue the war against the Greeks could line up with the great banquet at the beginning of the story of Esther. The girls are absorbing all of this information with great excitement! It's fun to see how the old ties in with the new, even in history!

In science we are back to studying space after taking a brief break to learn a little about electricity. We are currently learning about the solar system. In reading, we are delving into the life of Helen Keller, a story that used to mesmerize me as a child. Olivia is fascinated by the concept of a world of silence and darkness and how Helen overcame those obstacles.

Angela is showing her readiness to read. She is soaking up spelling concepts. Olivia is teaching her to spell all sorts of words. She picked up a ball the other day and said, "B-A-L-L, ball!" When she found out what we were having for supper last night, she said, "Mommy, we're having P-I-Z-Z-A for supper!" She still hasn't quite figured out how to apply phonetic concepts to similar words, but hey - I've got to have something to teach her in kindergarten!! :-) Of course, she is regularly asking how to spell things, and I usually give Olivia the chance to spell the words first. Olivia is becoming quite the speller thanks to these fun little exercises!

Off to make lunch for the girls and let them pick out a piece of chocolate or two in honor of American Chocolate Week! A very thoughtful mother brought each member of the MDO office staff a small bucket full of chocolate as an Easter gift. I suppose maybe I can share a piece or two from my bucket!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Silly and cute

We have attacks in our house. They alternate between attacks of silliness and attacks of cuteness (with some attacks of other less pleasant natures stuck in between, but we won't discuss those!). For example, Tuesday I walked into the living room to find my girls lying snuggled on the couch under a blanket facing each other and blowing into each other's faces! I haven't a clue what possessed them to do such a thing. Sometimes it seems that they have this uncanny ability to come up with things without a work being shared between them. Sisters...

Then there's just plain cuteness. This sweet little grinning face was keeping me company while I was doing some work a few days ago. Does that little smile not make you want to just scoop her up and give her a great big hug?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Catching up

It's been a few days since I've posted, obviously...we spent the rest of vacation spring cleaning and visiting with family. It was nice, but I think we were looking forward to being back in routine (except for having to go back to work!!!) So, real life returned. With a bang! After dragging ourselves out of bed this morning, we all managed to get outselves going and out the door. I realized I'd forgotten something I had to have, so I turned around and returned home to get it. About ten minutes later I got a call from Doug asking where I was. Come to find out, he'd stopped for gas and then hit the interstate only to have the truck die on him barely a mile after getting on the interstate! So, I took the next exit and went back to him after calling MDO to tell them I'd be late. Doug found out he'd have to wait an hour for a tow truck, so I reluctantly left him on the side of the interstate while I took Angela and Steven to MDO. As we were heading back to Doug he called to say he'd made it to the auto shop, so we went there to pick him up and take him to work. He made it to work a good hour and a half late and I was about two hours late, but we made it! (The truck, by the way, is 18 years old with 110,000 miles and quite a few original hoses and other parts still on it! The timing belt was the primary problem, but several other things fell apart as they started getting into the repairs, and several other things were about to fall apart! These things they happen!)

We did end the day much more positively, though. I had picked Doug up from work and we were on our way home when we got a phone call from our dear friends the Shawas. They had been in Memphis for an appointment for their son, and they needed to get supper. They asked if we wanted to join them. We couldn't turn that down! So, we all met at CiCi's for dinner - just like old times! As we visited a man approached Doug and told him that he was happy to see people who weren't ashamed to pray in public and were teaching their children to pray in public as well. He was a retired Baptist preacher, and Doug shared that he and Jason were preachers as well. The neat thing about it is that we'd really been praying about where to go to church for Easter Sunday, not having a church home of our own right now. When this man found out we were between churches, he invited us to join him where he attends, and said he'd be looking for us. I can't help but think - since God works in all things in our lives - that this might be the answer to our prayers since we hadn't felt a real peace about any of our other church options. So, we'll be trying a new church Easter Sunday. We ended our nice visit with the Shawas and came home to get everyone in bed, which is where I'll be headed soon.

We do have an update. The church in Monticello, AR, where Doug went to supply preach a few weeks ago has asked us to come back. It's supply preaching again, but this time they really wanted to meet the kids (so, no excuse to get away on our own again! Oh well - the girls really wanted to visit the church, too!), and they have also worked in an after-church lunch for us to get to meet more church members. We haven't really had any confirmation of a definite interest in bringing Doug in view of a call, but wanting to spend time with us and meet our kids does seem to show a more serious interest. We are very excited, and although we definitely want to wait for God's timing and direction, we wouldn't mind Monticello being our new home! There's a great deal of uncertainty, of course - timing based on what money we'll have left in savings for income after paying for the truck repairs; how difficult it will be for us to sell our house in this economy; timing for leaving our jobs, especially MDO with summer approaching. But, as God has been teaching us so strongly lately, the answer to all of those questions of uncertainty is simple - trust Him! He already has it all figured out - we just have to walk in obedience. Please pray for us to do just that and that we will be quicker and quicker to respond with trust with each uncertainty!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Missing Picture



Here's the missing picture of Seven watching the elephants!

A Day at the Zoo and a New Roof

Yesterday was quite the day. Let me explain by backing up to Monday. Monday morning we were headed to the library when Doug saw a truck for a reputable roofing company turn down our street. We had not gotten any quotes on our roof yet, but the insurance company had sent us what we hoped would be enough to replace the roof. Someone had said he'd get us a number, but we'd never connected on that; we had someone else's name, but didn't know how to get in touch with him; we had contacted one company, but hadn't gotten a quote yet and figured it wouldn't hurt to get more than one quote. So, Doug called this company. Within thirty minutes we had contact from a sales rep, and an hour later he was at our house figuring our estimate. After a little bargaining (Doug says my Jordanian upbringing didn't hurt there!), we gave them our business. They said we'd get our new roof within five days.

Which brings us to yesterday (Tuesday). At 9:00 yesterday morning, two guys were on our roof removing the trim of the old roof. We'd already planned to be at the zoo much of the day, and we believe that God laid the perfect day on our hearts to do so!! We left for the zoo around 10:00 before "real" work of the roof had begun, and we had a new roof by 7:00 yesterday evening! Amazing!

We had a lovely day at the zoo. Steven really got into it this time - the first time he really has. He insisted on walking the entire time! He didn't asked to be picked up until we were headed to the entrance. We were there for several hours! What a trooper!

Hatching three munchkins!
Steven and Daddy watching the penguins.
Well, I accidentally pushed the wrong button and deleted a cute picture of Steven watching the elephants! Oops! Oh well - I'll put it in a separate post. Anyway, like I said, Steven really enjoyed the trip. Here he and Olivia are watching the elephants. All three of the kids seemed to have a great time. Steven was thrilled about the penguins and the hippos, Angela enjoyed seeing the Komodo dragon, and Olivia liked the fact that the hippos actually moved when we went to see them!

The weather was gorgeous for our picnic lunch, and we all were delighted to be out in the sun and away from the pounding hammers on our roof!
We were quite the entourage on this lovely day. Afterwards, we ran a few errands while Steven napped in the car (he crashed almost immediately!), and then Doug treated us to TCBY before we headed home for the evening. All in all, it was quite the lovely day!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Being the Youngest

Steven has started doing something that I find quite fun to listen to. Olivia has learned to read quite well, and Angela is in the beginning stages where she is learning to identify how sounds fit into words. So, one of their favorite activities is to go through life saying a letter and then coming up with as many words as they can that start with that letter. (Makes for a great check-out line activity to keep minds busy and hands distracted!) Anyway, Steven has been listening and has started doing the same thing! The other day on the way home from MDO, he was ready to see his daddy. I heard him in the back seat saying, "D-d-d Daddy!" There have been several other words that he has used to practice his letter sounds as well. I would just love for it to be easy to teach him when the time come simply because of what he's picked up from those sissies of his! Let's just hope they can pass mostly good habits on to him!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

White Birthday

You know, with a March birthday - even an early March birthday - you don't typically expect to have a white birthday! But, I did! It was absolutely amazing! Yesterday was dark and gloomy, and the snow started around noon. It snowed the rest of the day and into the night without a break, and we awoke this morning to a gorgeous display of bright sunshine on a white blanket. The official measurement for our area was five and a half inches, but in many places in our yard we measured eight to ten inches! It was incredibly beautiful. It was not our typical icy snow, either, but it was real snow - the kind that they have up north where they can have ten inches and still function! :-) The morning temperatures were awesome, too, and we had a wonderful time playing in the snow. Here are pictures from our time.
The girls were knee deep in much of the back yard.
It was cute to watch them trudging through it.
Steven was ecstatic about the snow all day yesterday and even this morning. Being out in it, though, was another story. This morning he wouldn't even get down, and eventually ended up going down for a nap while we played. This afternoon when we were getting back out to run some errands, though, he was willing to at least walk on the sidewalk and stare at and talk about the snow, but he didn't want to go anywhere near it. It was strange stuff!!

After Steven went inside, weenjoyed the typical snowy day activities such as snow angels....


...and, of course a snow man. It's not huge, but I think it wins the prize as being the biggest we have ever built.


All in all, it was quite the fun morning! The day warmed up beautifully and the snow melted very quickly, so we were glad we got out early. But we were also thankful for the beauty of the rest of the day. We stayed out and about all day long and had a wonderful time. Thank You, Lord, for such an awesome day!


Friday, March 7, 2008

Waiting for snow

Well, once again, after two days of sunshiny weather in the 50's it has become quite cold. We are waiting for the snow that is supposed to be coming our way. Supposedly it will start within the next couple of hours, and they are saying that when it's all said and done we could have upwards of four inches! Wow! It's rather amazing to go through the whole winter - and a colder one than of late at that - without hardly a flurry, and now in the first week of March we are scheduled to have our big snow.

We are having a slow day. We shortened our school day a bit - I think our hearts are already in vacation mode (which is next week). It was precious, though, to see Angie make a beeline for the couch when Olivia announced that it was time for reading. Angela loves to hear her sister read aloud.
On another cute note (and one my family will appreciate immensely), Steven has learned a new word. Several weeks ago my mom taught the girls to say "shukran," which is thank you in Arabic. Well, Steven has picked up on it, and he easily switches back and forth between thank you and shukran when he is given something. The most precious part is that when he says "shukran," it is not acceptable for us to respond with "you're welcome." We HAVE to say "afwan," which, obviously, is you're welcome in Arabic. He is very aware of the difference!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

True Love?

Today we had our monthly visit with our former neighbors and dear friends the Shawas. The kids and I loaded up and headed to Myrtle, MS, for a little play and fellowship - like a long-distance play date!

When it was time to load up and go home, I told Steven to tell his friends goodbye. When it was time to tell 17 month old Emily goodbye, he went to give her a big huge hug and kiss! The first time she didn't mind it - in fact, they were quite cute!
But then Steven decided he enjoyed it so much that he kept after her to give her more hugs and kisses! Emily wasn't too sure of this, and eventually she started pushing him away. Poor Steven was crushed!
Of course, Charlene and I didn't help much with our laughing and picture-taking! In the end, Emily ran to Mommy to get away from this persistent, crazy boy, and Steven, after some bitter tears, managed to deal with the rejection and move on with life! :-) Ah, the first heartbreak - won't be the last!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gotta love the south

I'm getting ready to pay bills and balance the checkbook for this week, but I had to come first and comment on this crazy weather! Ah, the south! At bedtime on Sunday night we closed the windows just because we knew rain was coming, but it didn't start to really feel cool until after about 8:00. Even yesterday we wore long sleeves but no coats or jackets to MDO. Then today, we have snow! Nothing stuck, but it was gorgeous coming down! It was also a nice break in the gloom. We were all feeling the gloom. Steven had a cranky morning, math was an immense challenge for Olivia and me, and Angela burst into tears because she had to be put in bed with one of two identical blankets when she insisted she wanted the other one! But, God sent snow to remind us that even in the midst of a gloomy day, there is still something beautiful and pure because it's a day He made! God is so good to us!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Oops!

This picture was supposed to be on the last post but accidentally got deleted. I can't leave out my Livie!

Beautiful Weekend

What a beautiful weekend it was! After a longer and more continual stretch of cold than we've been used to in recent years, two days of sunshiny 70's made for an absolutely delightful weekend. We spent a lot of time outside as a family Saturday and Sunday. Doug used Saturday to clean out and reorganize the shed while the kids played - I played to, with the camera! :-) Our time playing outside on Sunday afternoon helped with the adjustment to actually being at home as a family on Sunday! (It was a bit odd to get home from church a little before 11:00 and have the whole day still in front of us.)

Like I said, I played with the camera. I picked just my absolute favorites to post - yep, ONLY my favorites. I bet you can't tell that I like to take pictures!
Picking flowers.

Outside! (Steven's favorite word this weekend!)


Take a picture, Mommy!

Hi!

I'm a fireman!

Playing ball with Daddy - Steven loves to play ball, by the way, and has quite the arm and accuracy. It's a bit frightening!

Future mechanic?

Mommy's cutie...

Yes, Mommy, I am big enough to ride this bicycle!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

He Always Provides

I just love the way the Lord works - and turns bad things into good! When we first bought our house, we knew that the roof was not in great shape. It had to be patched as part of the sale, but we figured that we could hang on for a few more years before we'd have to talk about spending the money to replace it. Such a daunting thought - we just left it in the Lord's hands, knowing He gave us the house and He'd help us take care of it! Well, over the past month or so we've had two storms that have caused damage to our roof. The first was a wind storm, and we called the insurance company to file a claim as soon as we discovered that damage. A week later, though, before the adjustor came to look at it, tornados came through the area increasing the damage to other parts of the roof! Well, just yesterday we heard from the insurance company with an amount. Not having any idea how much it costs to replace a roof, Doug talked to our neighbor who is in construction and had offered to repair our damage. He can't do the whole job for us, but he said that as long as the roof doesn't have to be stripped, we should be able to get it replaced for the amount the insurance company is going to send us with no additional out of pocket expenses! A new roof paid for! Of course, anyone who can do any roofing is EXCEEDINGLY busy right now thanks to storm damage, so we're just praying the roof continues to not leak while we're waiting. Please pray with us that the Lord will lead us to just the right person or company to do the job, making even that a show of His amazing hand in all of this. What an amazing thing to be a child of the Most High God!