Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recent Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for:
  1. Josiah being okay, even after he fell down our entire flight of stairs and landed with a bloody head.
  2. Ethan's delight in coloring. He bends over his paper in serious concentration, as though he's doing a masterpiece.
  3. Naomi's accomplishment in learning how to read. She's doing great!
  4. My neighbor Sarah... her letting me join her in an online grocery order, her encouragement, her having me over for tea and toast...
  5. Steve's hard work at learning to read Arabic. Everyday is a challenge for him, an uphill struggle. But he's seeking help and persevering.
  6. The sweet ways in which Naomi and Josiah talk to Ethan when they're playing with him or helping him.
  7. Baths -- the kids have so much fun with just water and a few plastic toys!
  8. My new bike -- it has really helped me get around this past week. I can't believe how much faster cycling is than walking!
  9. Hot water bottles -- my feet would be freezing every night without them =)
  10. Flexible, temporary, part-time work at Pembroke College. I enjoy the company of other women, and the chance to get paid for typing on a computer!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Puddle Jumping!

It's rained off and on for the past few days, and today the temperature finally rose a bit. I've had to go out by myself to run a couple errands yesterday and today, and each time, Ethan grabbed his shoes and sat by the door, ready to come with me. I hated to tell him that he wasn't coming! So today when I got back from an errand, I decided it was definitely a great day for a leisurely walk -- a puddle walk!

Ah, the joys of childhood.

The kids donned their wellies (rain-boots) and sweaters and we took off around the block. Naomi and Josiah took turns riding our one scooter and Ethan enjoyed every single puddle.

He was doing great at staying dry until we got to a mega-puddle (mini-pond!) near the end. This was so deep that stomping in it got his trousers completely wet above the wellies. Unbeknownst to me, his trousers and socks within the wellies were also soaked. (I only discovered this upon our arrival at home when I removed his boots.) This didn't seem to bother him in the slightest.

Then he tripped and fell face-first into the pond puddle. I thought for sure that was the end of our fun, as he doesn't like to be dirty and now his hands were wet and cold. But he wiped them off, shed a few tears and then wanted to keep splashing! Naomi and Josiah both really liked scootering through the mega-puddle. They tried to get up enough speed that they could coast through the whole thing without putting their foot down in the water.

After a long, relaxed, fun walk we finally made it back home. We'd only gone down our street and the one parallel to ours, but the boys were dirty and wet. I stuck them in the bath tub where they merrily played and continued to splash -- this time on my bathroom floor.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mysteries for God?

I’ve got a question: is there any way I can use my love for mysteries/thrillers/crime novels to glorify God or further his kingdom?

I know it sounds crazy. I feel crazy sometimes! But I’ve been taught so many times that God’s made us who we are, and that he wants us to use every part of us in service to him. So I’m just wondering… why do I have this passion for the books and movies that I love, the whodunits? I feel lazy while pleasing this part of me, but is there a way to redeem it?

London - Jan. 2009

It was so cold, but we wanted to show the kids the part of London we'd enjoyed while dating. So we dragged them to the Thames and made them see Tower Bridge (I used to live just a few blocks from TB). Naomi doesn't like having her photo taken, and Ethan was asleep in the stroller.

We rode the Docklands Light Railway because the kids were so excited about trains. The DLR uses a computer system to drive their trains, instead of actual people. The kids were thus able to stand right next to the front window of the entire train!

Meals were a little crazy with my family of 5 added to Becky's family of 4! For six days we were serving 4 adults and 5 kids who were 6 or under.

My friends Simon and Claire live around the corner from my hostess friend Becky. They'd come over with their 2 year old and newborn and then we'd have 7 kids aged 6 and under!

Playing with the kids while my friend Becky did some work at her church.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anniversary Date

Last week Steve and I celebrated 9 years of marriage, in the same city where he proposed to me in May 1999. Nine years is a drop in the bucket compared to some, but a milestone compared to many. I'm grateful for Steve's constant patience, encouragement, and tender love. He is faithful and respectful and such a gift to me!

For our anniversary, he brought home a dozen roses, of mixed colors. I think they're the best flowers I've received in years!! I was thrilled! We also asked a friend to come stay with our kids so we could go out to dinner. We went to a Mexican cafe in city centre for our main course and to the Eagle and Child pub for dessert.

Mexican food is not easy to find here in England, but we were impressed with The Mission. Their prices were very reasonable, the quantity was fairly large by British standards, and the taste was delicious! Guacamole was a highlight.

The Eagle and Child is a pub that was frequently used as a meeting place for a group of writers known as the Inklings. C.S. Lewis and Tolkien were among them, and as we love these two authors, we enjoy eating where they ate. (We also first went there while engaged.) A friend had recommended the sticky toffee pudding and we thoroughly enjoyed it as our dessert!

Here's to my loving husband, Steve, and many more years of marriage yet to come...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Naomi Misses Home

Naomi said today that she likes our home in Virginia better than our home here. I asked her why and she said, "Because in Virginia it was summer. We could swim in our wading pool. We played with [cousin] Owen a lot. I liked going on walks and playing with the neighbors' dogs."

Sigh... She forgets how few walks we took during our winter in Virginia, and she forgets that until we lived with Mimi and Papa, we didn't have any neighbors with dogs. It was really our short summer living with Steve's parents that she remembers so fondly. And I told her today that it's true: we probably won't have a time just like that again; it's a treasure in our memories.

But this afternoon we have a girlfriend from church over playing. Izzy is also 6 and they've enjoyed decorating handbags, making bracelets, and sorting nature pictures. I'm sure that's raising her spirits =)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

From Home to City Centre

These are pictures from our weekly trek into city centre. We go on Wednesdays because that’s when there’s a farmer’s market in Gloucester Green. Walking with the kids takes about 45 minutes, if we don’t stop to watch the ducks in University Park. Then on the way back, we have more to carry because of our purchases at market. The kids usually take turns pulling our shopping trolley, while I pull another load and push the stroller with one hand.
The final picture, of a cab with the periodic table on it, is in honor of my Grandpa, previously a science teacher. I thought it might make him smile =)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sing Your Praise to the Lord

While down with the flu and sinusitis a few weeks ago, I lost my voice. I was annoyed to go through advent and Christmas without being able to sing carols. I missed reading books aloud to the kids. I couldn't sing songs as I put my three to bed.

I wasn't ill too long, but even after recovering my speaking voice, I still could not sing. I faced another Sunday of church when I couldn't outwardly participate in the worship music. I eventually could poorly sing just for my kids, but it wasn't fun because I felt weak and couldn't reach my normal range of notes.

Today I attended All Saints' Church in Peckham, London, with my friends Becky, Simon and Claire. We must have already been in our second or third praise song when I suddenly realized what a novelty it was that I was singing -- with gusto and joy! I was so happy to be able to join people of diverse races and ethnicities in lively adoration of a great God. I was so grateful to have my singing voice back!

We sang of the Lamb upon the throne, and I tried to picture Christ as John described him in Revelation. I imagined saints from around the world, and from all generations, worshiping just as we were this morning. I thank God for his unending love and his perfect sacrifice. I thank Him for the privilege it is to praise Him.