Monday, January 28, 2008

Better than...

Caleb was watching me put my makeup on before church yesterday when he began bemoaning the loss of a Christian dvd we used to own. I thought I would take the moment to create educational context to his life. I told him that we didn't need the dvd to tell us the story of Jesus, since we had the Bible.

"The Bible has the real story, buddy. Instead of being sad about missing a dvd, you should be happy that you can read from the Bible anytime. The Bible is the most exciting book we own!"

Caleb thought about this for a moment, obviously pondering the validity of the Bible compared to Skippyjon Jones before proclaiming his judgement. 

"Yep. The Bible is better than a chimp in a banana adventure."

I can't make up this stuff!

Friday, January 25, 2008


Hannah has apparently picked up her mother's knack for making up words when the existing ones just don't seem to cut it! Take this comment she made this morning:

I didn't understand how Josiah's bottle worked. I spent a lot of time in puzzle-ation. Now I see how it works.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Leah loves life! Vivacious describes her perfectly. She is more animated than any of our other children, and regularly makes us laugh with her antics. If she had a volume control button on her it would be permanently set to "loud", because if it is worth saying it is worth saying with PASSION.

Leah enjoys laughing, and is almost always in a great mood. She bounds around the house, and will skip rather than walk just to be more exuberant. Her energy is infectious, and we often get smiled at by people passing us in stores and outings because of the lighthearted air that constantly surrounds our little sparkler. She has a genuine heart, that can melt the hardest scrooge with her hugs and kisses. And when she snuggles with you it feels wonderful. I think, because of her constant motion, that is makes those moments of quiet even sweeter.

Leah thrives on routine, and really needs her surroundings to be constant in order for her little world to work properly. She requires the same events, in the same order, usually from the same person each day. Being put down for a nap with an errant sock on the floor would never do! And she utterly adores her younger siblings. Both Mary and Josiah receive her constant companionship, love, and care. She thinks of herself as their guardian angel, and only her kisses will sufficiently communicate our family's joy at their addition.

We would be a much quieter, duller family indeed were in not for Leah Caitrin. She brings personality to every meal, laughter to practically any situation, and gusto to our life in all circumstances. We would be lost without our princess. (PS - she picked out the outfit all by herself... another shinning example of her incredible sense of personal style. This is the face you get when you point a camera at her and say, "Smile.")

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I am a bibliophile. I make no apologies, no excuses. In fact, I actively pursue my love with a book club, which keeps me reading all sorts of treasures (the most recent pictured below). I not only have a love of reading books, but I have a love for books themselves. The smell of an old hardback can practically intoxicate me! There is nothing like the feel of a brand new paperback, all soft and floppy in your hand. Smooth glossy covers, ones bound in cloth, short and thin, or heavy with verbosity, reading the words is simply a delight.

I have always loved to read. In fact, I can't remember a time when I didn't have a book sitting on my bedside table. My mother would comb the New York Time's bestseller lists finding new authors for me. Many Christmases were filled with new books, new series, new authors all waiting for me to devour them - that very afternoon!

I have met other people who claim to love books as I do, and not to say there are no others with my same fascination (or some who are far worse), but I do think there are a few points of distinction that should be noted. The following is a checklist you may use to see whether you are a true bibliophile, or merely literate.

1.) Can you pass an entire afternoon lost in a book and never once regret that you were not outside taking in the fresh air?
2.) Do you read the same book over and over, still aching at the sad parts and rejoicing at the resolutions?
3.) Are your bookshelves arranged such that small paperbacks are stacked in two rows per shelf, one behind the other, so as to make more room for them?
4.) Does a gift card to Borders bring a tear of gratefulness to your eye?
5.) Do you have a collection of bookmarks?
6.) Is folding the corner of a page to mark a spot an utter act of treason? (This seperates the readers from the bibliophiles who not only love to read, but love the books themselves)
7.) Can you relate to characters in novels as though they were your old friends?
8.) Does your family recognize that when you are on the couch with a book you may as well be on Mars?
9.) Would you find it torture to be stuck on a plane without a book? It doesn't even have to be a good book!
10.) When faced with an option to buy a book, or just check it out from the library can you always find an excuse to buy it? (Whether you actually follow through on this impulse is a measure of your self-control, not your existence as a bibliophile)

If you answered "yes" to at least eight of the following than welcome to the club. You, my friend are a Bibliophile!

Monday, January 14, 2008


In case you were wondering how many children we have, the answer is not six. It is seven- Hannah, Bethany, Caleb, Leah, Mary, Josiah and Notme.

Notme joined our family about five years ago, and has remained our constant companion ever since. He is very fun-loving and plays with the toys more than anyone else. He often makes large sculptures using all the organized tupperware from the cupboard. His other favorite game is drawing on surfaces other than paper. In fact, Notme loves this particular activity so much he will try and take credit for it even when one of the other children actually wrote their name to it. Such a selfless little one.

Notme has relationships with all his brothers and sisters, although I think he has a special place in his heart for the ages of three to seven. During these sweet years he enjoys allowing the playdoh to dry out by forgetting to put the lids back on the containers, he breaks valuables, ruins clothes, loses possessions, and purposely tests the boundaries just to make sure Mama and Daddy really mean business. Because he is so selfless he willing takes the responsibility for these actions so his siblings won't get in trouble.

I didn't understand what a wonderful addition to our family Notme would make. I just assumed he would visit for awhile, but we would all realize we didn't need him. I am happy to report that we all saw the error of this thinking, and invited Notme to stay as long as he wished. I only hope that he will provide the same joy to our own children when it is time for him to move in with them as he has brought to us.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Man Law

The name should say it all, but in case it doesn't I am here to try and explain something that has occurred in our house: Man Law.

It happens when you ask your dad a question that doesn't seem to have an easy answer and he replies, "punt".

It is what causes a father to punch his perfectly peaceful son, who is minding his own business, and not receive anything more than a chuckle from said son.

Man Law has no respect for gender, and if you are the "fortunate" female in any given situation prepare to play according to the unwritten rules it sets forth. For instance:

Strictly speaking, interruption of a televised sporting event should involve blood - and even then it is up for debate.

Don't question the need to buy twice as much equipment as necessary for any given adventure. What isn't used is recognized as "research" and validated in the R&D department of his brain.

Under no circumstances should a woman try to understand the timing or priority of correspondence. Men think we have ESP, but with the lack of actual speaking that goes on between their own gender I am convinced it is the other way around. We at least have to communicate our thoughts with words, be they spoken or written. They simply need to be in the same room to count it as quality time.

Decorating of any kind is entirely optional. A poster is not decoration, it is art.

Clothing only hinders a man's wife from truly appreciating the physique of wonder God blessed him with, regardless of how well her cooking has added to the original form.

And the ultimate of all:

Never, ever give up the garage.


Caleb Joseph is incredibly tender-hearted. In the quiet morning he will snuggle with me, watching contentedly while Josiah nurses. He quickly becomes upset when he accidentally hurts one of his siblings, and he genuinely adores his older sisters. Caleb soars with excitement when he is allowed to spend the night in the girls' bedroom.

Caleb is a little warrior. His intensity to fight, and protect is evident even at four. His passion and exuberance for life are easily recognizable from spending only a few moments in his company. He makes everyone in our family laugh out loud at his antics, and his willingness to be the point man to anything physical. Wanna see how hard you can throw a pillow at a person before they fall over? Caleb is your man. Wanna check out how high you can throw a person onto the couch? Caleb is game. And anything that has wheels on it counts as heaven in his heart. Bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and roller skates all get equal opportunity to give him their best. He always prevails. He has a natural sense of balance that has wondered his father and I on more than one occasion. For instance, when we thought it was time to take his training wheels off, on his 4th birthday, he only needed Daddy to push him once before he was riding solo with style. 

Our firstborn son is a gentleman, and if God ever blesses him with a wife he will make a wonderful husband. He thanks me for dinner almost every night, telling God in his prayers how delicious and wonderful the meal is (even when he is staring at a bowl of cereal). He also loves to brush my hair, and gently pulls a brush for an eternity all the while telling me how beautiful I am. He is a treasure. I know that God has such an incredible plan for his life, and I pray that he follows after his biblical namesake, taking the land for the Lord!  

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


We had Bethany's middle name narrowed down to Hope or Joy. Her daddy filled out the birth certificate, and what I thought was still up for discussion was apparently not - so Bethany Joy joined our family. Boy, was he right! Bethany has been such a joy, filling our hearts with overflowing love.

Bethany has a soft spirit that makes her an ideal older sister. She loves to play with all her younger siblings, and works hard to include her family in any special treats she earns. Her generous nature includes even her most prized possessions, and hardest earned dollar. I am forever amazed at how quickly she gives of herself so others can feel special. She needs to be with people, and would willingly sleep with her sister or brother every single night. She needs lots of hugs, and cuddles with her daddy each evening to get her fill before going off to bed.

Bethany and I love to shop together! She works hard on chores, and when we go out she always brings her purse to make sure she doesn't miss out on a deal. We enjoy thinking of the little things that might make others in our house smile, and I know we share the joy of buying for others more than for ourselves. I am thrilled that God blessed me with such a tender-hearted daughter. I have great confidence that God plans great things for this little lady.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Hannah is an amazing girl! I literally could not run my house without her. People will sometimes offer to take my older girls to "get them out of my hair" and "help me out". Trust me, taking Hannah isn't necessarily a great help!

Hannah has always been blessed with a thorough and responsible personality. Ever since she was little I could trust her to obey, follow directions, and make wise decisions for her age. For example, at three I could ask her to go get my brush, and if she couldn't find my brush she would bring a suitable replacement, such as a comb, rather than simply come back with nothing. Any mission I send her on is usually met with diligence, and she is not afraid to get in and work. When there are chores to be done Hannah will roll up her sleeves and tackle them head on. Best to get them done and over, than let them hang over your head. She will initiate service, and cares for me by cleaning without being asked!

My first born is very independent, and needs moments of solitary time in order to keep sane. As an avid reader she can easily engross herself in a good book and not come up for hours. She has been known to finish a chapter book in a single afternoon. Right now she is enjoying Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Another of her books which defies understanding is the Body Atlas book, which is written for a 50 year old college educated doctor. She was the one to inform us of what exactly her great-grandmother's pancreatic cancer was doing after she heard the diagnosis and researched it in her book.

I love her dearly. We can sit next to one another for hours reading our own books and enjoying our parallel company. I like the way she problem solves, and tries to find logical answers to her questions before she simply asks. I think she is going to grow into a very intelligent, and self-confident young woman. I am excited to see what God has in store for my Hannah Olive. 

Friday, January 04, 2008

Moses's Basket

Mama, I know why they call it "Moses's basket."

Why, Caleb?

Because that is the basket that they made for Moses so he could go in the water.

The very one.


Mary has taken to getting into the refrigerator against our express wishes. Apparently we are not being express enough.

We used to have eggs. They looked like this:

Now they look like this:

We are hoping that the swollen hands and face from the topical exposure of one of her worst allergens will help to express our wishes more clearly.

I personally don't hold out much hope.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Right or Requirement

There seems to be a misunderstanding in our culture between the definition of a "right" and a "requirement". I find, especially in my particular profession, that the misunderstanding goes quite deep. Merriam Websters defines the two with the following:

right: An abstract idea of that which is due to a person or governmental body by law or tradition or nature

require(ment): Consider obligatory; request and expect; make someone do something.

In other words, one gives you freedom while the other takes it away. In case you aren't following my train of thought so far, the two words mean very different things, and are not interchangeable.

Now, what does this have to do with me, my profession, and our culture at large? I am so glad you asked! I believe there are a great many people under the faulty assumption that the right of a woman to earn a college degree, procure gainful employment, and stand on equal footing as men in the professional and academic world is also a requirement for that same woman to obtain all of the above in order to be a contributing member of society, and ultimately personally fulfilled. It is a subtle transition between right to requirement, but it is there nonetheless. And ironically the more determined players in this game tend to be the women themselves! Because the fight for professional and academic equality took such an emotional cost in the women fighting on the battlefront many of my gender think the only way to honor their work is for all women to participate in the corporate or collegiate dream. I must have a higher degree because it is available to me. I must pursue financial independence because the law says employers are not allowed to discriminate against gender. And if I don't see the value in these pursuits I am ignorant, wasting my life, keeping our society in the "dark ages", in short single-handedly undoing the work which took so long to establish.

Right or Requirement? If what those men and women fought for in providing the means of literacy and financial gain to women was about requirement then I am indeed in the wrong. But I don't believe that was the point. I believe the point was to give women the choice to pursue their God-given talents without the hindrance of culturally defined stereotypes. The problem now is that much of our society has swung to the opposite end of the extreme we fought against years ago. Ask the average American woman whether she feels like she can be a contributing member of society staying at home and tending to her family's needs, and I bet you will get some version of the following answer:

I think that it is great if a woman wants to stay home while her children are young.

Hmm, so the first assumption is that a woman can only stay home if she has children, and the second is that those children must be small to boot. But a family is more than small children. A family can be older parents in need of care, a self-employed husband in need of bookkeeping, teenagers requiring gentle guidance through the last phase of adolescents - in short, it can be as diverse as the educational and financial choices now available to those same women. But I don't think it is often seen as a choice that stands on equal footing with the others.

I stand in opposition to this way of thinking. I don't see that a college degree necessarily guarantees any future success in life, and it certainly is no guarantor of happiness. I don't believe that my daughters must pursue financial independence in order to play an important role in their marriages. I don't believe that any woman should feel the pressure to leave their home and families in order to satisfactorily contribute to society, or fulfill their own personal sense of accomplishment. The only thing I recognize as a requirement for success in any pursuit a woman endeavors to achieve is an acknowledgement of Christ as Lord in her life.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31