Saturday, 7 December 2013

"He Ordains Praise"

I heard Z singing and playing his guitar during his quiet time today.  By "playing his guitar" I mean strumming loudly.  He was singing a song he made up himself, and I managed to write down two of the verses:

Thank you for creating our world.
You are our king.
We love you, oh God,
And Jesus your Son,
And of course the Holy Spirit.

We will trust you, oh God
We will trust you,
We will trust your son, Jesus.
We trust in you and your Son, holy God
You made your Son rise on the third day.
That was the day of trust.

Now I know I'm biased, but I actually think this is a pretty good song!  Theologically it's way better than half the worship songs out there these days.  In the first verse he talks about the creation of the world, and in the second the resurrection.  This is a great juxtaposition of events, since each is the beginning of a new age.  Secondly, I very much like his emphasis on the Trinity.  And finally I really like the last line describing the day of resurrection as the day of trust, since not only is the resurrection God's response to Jesus' trust in him (Jesus' last words before his death were words of trust -- "Into your hands I commit my spirit"), but also, of course, it is through the resurrection that we are able to trust Jesus.

And of course, I couldn't ask to hear anything better than this coming out of the mouths of my babes.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Kate and the Beanstalk

Last time we were at the library we got Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne.  It's Jack and the Beanstalk with a female protagonist.  Both kids immediately loved it, so much so that they quickly memorized the most famous lines of the book.  Here's Eden reciting them.  They're changed just a little because they refer to Kate, not Jack.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Halloween and All Saints Day

We had lots of fun on Halloween.  Our church was having a party for the kids in the neighborhood, so we trick-or-treated in the church neighborhood first.  We had some funny encounters (like the older, shirtless man, who was smoking a cigarette and let out a wall of smoke when he opened the door.  He also gave each kid a huge fistful of candy), and then a very nice time at the church party.  The party included a chili cook-off, and Nathan won the prize for most creative chili!  I couldn't find my camera, but fortunately Lisa took a few pictures of the kids at the beginning of the evening.

Nathan was some really smart guy, Z was Captain America (we made his shield) and Eden was the cutest frog ever.  Anytime someone talked to her she would just look up them and say, "Wibbit, wibbit," very solemnly.

The next day, appropriately All Saints Day, my Church History students dressed up as their favorite person from Church history.  They were all so well costumed that I was able to accurately guess who each one was (except one) without any help.

Front row, left to right:  Macrina, Joan of Arc, Charlemagne, Adoniram Judson, Martin Luther (who nailed [taped] his 95 theses to our classroom door), an unnamed peasant from the Peasant's Rebellion.
Back row, left to right:  Francis of Assissi, Augustine, and Pope Innocent III (who is wearing boxing gloves named Excommunication and Interdict.  You can see he's aiming one of them at the monarch in front of him, as Innocent III so often did!)

This picture's a little closer, but unfortunately has cut out the unnamed peasant.  Isn't that just always the way of things?
After each person gave a small speech on why we should vote for him or her, we voted on best costume.  The speeches were fantastic!  Each one completely in character.  Macrina said we should really pay attention to her brothers.  Augustine discussed how with our new nature we are now able not to sin and therefore could vote for the right person (him).  The unnamed peasant encouraged us to vote for Martin Luther (apparently the tables hadn't turned yet, which I guess is obvious given that the peasant is still alive).  Charlemagne essentially commanded us to vote for him.  And Innocent threatened excommunication and interdict for anyone who didn't vote for him.   And the winner was Charlemagne!  The guy with the sword always wins.

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Kid Knows Some Spanish

Tonight as I did the dishes, Eden and Z were absorbed with coloring in the dining room.  Eden ran into the kitchen several times to show me her pictures, but Z kept his hidden.  When he was done, this is what he showed me.  He did it all on his own, with absolutely no help from me or anyone else.

He read it for me in Spanish, and the English translation is, loosely, "All of my friends are my friends.  I also like playing with my friends outside. My friends are very good for me. These are my friends"

Wow . . . I'm impressed.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Eden and Martin Luther

Last Sunday in church we had a missionary on furlough speak to us.  At one point he began to talk of the return of Christ and what it meant for mission work.  Eden, who was sitting on my lap, turned to me in great excitement and said in a loud whisper, "He said when Jesus come back!"

I said, "Yes, he's talking about when Jesus comes back -- that's right!"

Eden, literally bouncing up and down with excitement, said, "When Jesus come back I get to pet the little baby cheetah!"

We try to talk about the resurrection and return of Christ regularly and often to Z and Eden, and both Nathan and I are thrilled to see how it is affecting the way they understand who Jesus is and who they are in relation to him.  But talking about Jesus coming back can be difficult, because we're not sure what it will look like, and we're not sure how to articulate what will happen.  But going off of Ephesians 3:20, which speak of God as the one "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine", we encourage the kids to think about the New Heavens and the New Earth with a wild imagination.  As far as I'm concerned, anything goes, as long as it's not directly opposed to Scripture or Jesus.  (For example, imagining getting even with the mean kids at school isn't going to fly.)  So Eden's imaginative picture of the resurrection right now is seeing herself petting a baby cheetah.  

When Eden got excited in church last Sunday, at first I thought it was kind of cute.  Then I thought maybe it shows the questionable theology of a 2 year old.  Then I saw it as really a profound moment, in which my own theology could be sharpened by Eden's theology.

First, how wonderful that her ears are attuned to the words, "When Jesus comes back."  Z has done this before too.  It's like they have radar on that is searching for those words, and when they hear it, all their attention is focused on it.  Shouldn't we all be anticipating the return of Christ so much that even the words that symbolize that idea should instantly focus our attention and at the same time fill us with so much excitement we can barely sit still!

Second, Eden's vision of petting the baby cheetah is almost identical to Isaiah's vision of the restored earth, where "the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.  The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  Infants will play near the hole of the cobra; young children will put their hands into the viper's nest.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Is. 11:7-9).  Eden's desire to pet the baby cheetah is simply the desire for life without fear, without pain, without death; the desire for life with reconciliation, with power, with eternity, with God.

All of which reminded me, because of my tendency to look down on or be amused by the theology of 2 year olds, of the following quote from Martin Luther:  "Now the Holy Ghost does not consider red caps or brown, or any other pomp, nor whether we are young or old, layman or priest, monk or secular, virgin or married; nay, he once spoke by an ass against the prophet that rode on it.  Would to God we were worthy to have such doctors given us."

Thursday, 3 October 2013


Last Sunday after church I noticed that Eden's eye was a little red a swollen, like this:

I thought she'd bumped it or something.  But the next morning, the eye was completely swollen shut, and upon closer examination I found what looked like a sting or bite in the corner of her eye.  After a quick trip to the nurse and a good dose of antihistamines, we decided not to worry about it.  After a full afternoon of playing in the dirt, this is what our beautiful little girl looked like:


We had a rainy day today and spent a little while in the backyard.  Z can do this for minutes and even hours.  Who knows what story lines are running through his head.

Meanwhile, Eden looked for an ocean for her baby turtle and sang songs:

"Jesus Loves Me"

"Hush Little Baby"

Thursday, 19 September 2013

From the Past

July 2011 -- Learning the alphabet

Monday, 16 September 2013

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Eden goes to a daycare two days a week.  The other day I was there to pick her up, and as usual she ran over with a happy cry when she saw me.  She had a small stuffed bear in her hands, which she immediately showed to me, saying, "This is my baby bear.  Her mama work all day.  She miss her.  I take care her."  Ouch.

Last week Nathan was helping Z with some math homework -- a word problem involving adding up the number of birds in a tree.  As Z thought about it, he closed his eyes tightly and made fists with his hands.  Nathan said, "It's ok if you want to use your fingers to figure out the answer."  To which Z responded, without opening his eyes or unclenching his fists, "I am using my fingers -- they're in my cabeza!"

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Quilt

In 1945 the ladies of the Winchester, KS Reformed Presbyterian Church held a baby shower for their pastor's wife, who was expecting her second child.  As part of the shower, each lady made a quilt square, which was given to the expectant mother to be stitched together to make a quilt for the new baby.  The pastor's wife was my grandmother, Winifred Elliott, and the soon-to-be-born baby was my mother, Kathy.

The quilt blocks were beautiful, but, not surprisingly, Grammy did not get them quilted together before the baby was born, and she certainly didn't get them quilted together after the baby was born!  She did accomplish the task many years later, but since her daughter, Kathy, was much too big for the baby quilt (since she was, in fact, all grown up by the time the blocks became a quilt), the quilt was promised to Kathy's first daughter when she got married.

While some suspected the great day would never arrive, I did actually get married and inherited the quilt.  I put it away for the day when I would have a daughter of my own.  And tonight, Eden for the first time goes to sleep under the Winchester quilt.

Thank you, dear Tabithas of the the Church, who in 1945 made a quilt for the new baby, who became my mother.  I was married in their church building 58 years later, and cover up my daughter with their handiwork 68 years later.  I hope she will be so surrounded by the Church all of her days.

Eden with her beautiful quilt.

Eden picked out this square as her favorite, which is wonderful because Minnie Belle is actually one of the few makers of the quilt I actually met.

Eden points out another square she likes -- this time an elephant.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Our Little Cassandra

Two nights ago Z helped me make dinner and was a wonderful assistant.  He wore my apron while we worked, and when supper was ready he had to really wrestle with it to get it off.  When he finally rid himself of the apron he ran through the dining room shouting, "I'm free!  I'm free!" with great joy.  Eden, who was sitting in her highchair, watched him run by and then muttered forbodingly under her breath, "But you're NOT free!"  Scary.

Monday, 19 August 2013

A Day at the Zoo

Today was Z's first day of 1st grade!  I took him to school this morning (he'll carpool with friends from now on), and he just acted like an old pro.  His first grade class lined up beside a kindergarten class -- oh the kindergartners!  They are so little and scared!  I'm glad Z was so brave last year, because I was not!

But with Z off to school and me still not in school, Eden and I decided to hit up the zoo.  We had fun!

Eden and the Kookaburra -- "Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra"

Feeding the ducks was the highlight -- see the videos below!

What a big girl she is becoming!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Popsicle Sticks and Papu's Birthday

Tonight we had popsicles for dessert and then a contest after to see who could throw the sticks the farthest.  Z usually won, and maybe it was because of his willingness to yell something crazy each time.

And it is also Papu's birthday -- Happy Birthday Papu!!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Creek-Walking and Lake-Swimming

This morning we all jumped out of bed and headed to Lake Vermillion.  Nathan and Z started out fishing and Eden and I went off to explore the creek.  Thanks to the Ergo, we were able to boldly go where no mother and toddler have gone before (thanks, Trudy!), and had a splendid time throwing rocks, catching frogs and just hanging out.

Then Z decided he was done fishing, so he joined us and the exploring got a little more rigorous.  Before long Z had us all wading up the creek to see what we would see.  We didn't catch any more frogs or turtles, but we did get wet and we did have a good time!

"What's that??"

Our little scientist.

This is one of Eden's favorite looks.
Yaya and Papu -- please notice the shirt!!

He didn't fall down (this time), just went in for a closer look.

"This is fun!"

My view for the few minutes I was sitting down.

And the very big and very dead turtle we discovered.  Some girls fishing also gave us a live turtle they caught, but I didn't get a picture of it.

By this time we were all hungry, so we picked up Daddy, who had caught two huge carp, and went to lunch and then swimming in the lake.

That's Z in the water.

Z's creation on the beach.  The "T" shape is a big tar pit and the mound on the left (just by the rock) is a volcano.  (We saw Titans of the Ice Age at the Pavilion this week.)

Bathing beauty, complete with floaties.

This picture reminds me of The Great White Man-Eating Shark: A Cautionary Tale.

I like how you can see Nathan taking the picture in our sunglasses.

And a fine day was had by all!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Eden Loves Babies

Yesterday Eden and Z were watching Wild Kratts.  The episode was about termites and they showed one big termite, kind of bloated with huge pinchers on its head, surrounded by a bunch of little, larva-like termites.  Eden's response to these little monsters?  "Look at the mama!  And the babies!  Ahhhhh!"

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Fun at the Hotel!

There's a nice big hotel just over the state border in Iowa that we like to visit for mini family vacations.  We thought it would be fun to have one of these coincide with Z's birthday, so off we went for a one-night stay -- and this time I remembered to bring the camera!

The elevator is a thrill every single time!  Especially when you're riding it to get to the pool!

The hotel has an indoor pool, a beautiful outdoor pool and a ginormous hot tub, all of which are mostly empty most of the time, which is fine by us!  These pictures are from our evening swim, so they're all in the inside pool.

Eden figured out how water wings worked and loved being able to float by herself.

We all slept late thanks to the sun-blocking curtains.

The breakfast buffet is a great treat for everyone (although Eden does look like she's about hurl in this picture) . . .

. . . but Z was very sleepy this particular morning.  The night before he first convinced me to watch the show "Chopped" and then convinced me to let him watch it with me . . . until midnight!  But we were having so much fun!  Z had lots of interesting comments and predictions, and everyone knows I can't resist a good conversation!  So I didn't.  This was the result the next morning.

The floor was inlaid with tiles of a different color forming a big circle.  Eden loved running around the edges of the circle, which immediately reminded me of Z doing the same thing at the Omaha zoo at almost exactly the same age.

He looks a little different now.

Holding hands while going out to the parking lot:

And there's nothing like a hotel hallway for a good sprint.