Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Snow to Sun

Last Monday it snowed 7 inches.  By Friday it was sunny and 75 degrees.  Lovely spring.  We went to the zoo, played in the back yard, and had a picnic on our new picnic table.

There's nothing quite so fun as digging in the dirt and mud.

Making a tar pit in which to drown the plastic animals.

Lords of their domains.

Z and Krista

So true.

Underneath the giraffe sculpture.

I just want a nice picture of these two.

But it's very hard to capture them at their best.

The more I tell them to just look at me and smile . . . 

The weirder their expressions get!

Clean-up.  Who can resist that face?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Beautiful Messes

Hi.  Nathan here.  Have you ever paused to notice how the messes kids leave, usually so annoying, are in their own way poetic?  How the intersections of their whimsical toys and our serious adult lives result in something sublime?  Here are actual scenes from our house today, April 23, 2013.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Still Crazy After All These Years

The lyrics to that song don't really fit, but they're the lyrics in my head.

April 12 was our 10th anniversary.

It was the middle of the ice storm and we were still at the Strickland's house.  We weren't sure if we were going to be able to do anything since we couldn't really ask a babysitter to come to the Strickland's, and Lisa's power was also out so she was staying with a friend.  The Stricklands overheard our dilemma and insisted that we leave the kids with them that evening and go out and celebrate.  So we did.

We went to a local restaurant called Parker's and had a fabulous meal.  I decided I should get some sort of fun, celebratory drink, so ordered "a pom-tini, easy on the tini," to which our waiter replied, "Um, ma'am, it's pretty much all alcohol."  So Nathan jumped in to help and asked if they could make a bellini for me.  The waiter wasn't sure, but thought maybe he could, so I ordered a mango bellini.  He came back in a few minutes with a delightful looking drink, but very apologetic -- something about it being blended incorrectly -- and said that if I didn't like it he would take it back and try again.  I tasted it, I did like it, and I told him so.  He seemed very doubtful and insisted that if I didn't like it I should say so.  I protested that I liked it very much and he finally left.  But every time he came back to the table, throughout the evening, he would eye my drink suspiciously and then ask if I'd like to exchange it for something better.  Finally, after the third time he did this, Nathan said, "What you have to know about my wife is that she's got a drinking problem.  It's impossible for her to drink anything with even the tiniest bit of alcohol in it quickly."  When the waiter brought us our check he said he didn't charge us for the bellini because he just wasn't convinced I liked it.  He looked pointedly at my drink, which was still unfinished (after being in the restaurant for almost three hours).  As we were putting on our coats I said to Nathan, "I have to finish the drink or our waiter is going to think I've been lying to him this whole time!"  So we finished it off between the two of us.  It really was very good.

For dessert we had delicious creme brulee, in which they put little candles for our anniversary.  I gave Nathan ten gifts, each one corresponding to one the characteristics I love about him.  And for my gift Nathan simply handed me a CD and told me to go out to the car to listen to it.  (I think he'd originally planned to give it to me at home, but since we had no power, change of plans.)  So out to the car I went and popped in the CD (and turned up the heat).  I immediately recognized Nathan singing, and it was clearly an original song since the first line was about Winchester -- our wedding!  I have several times teased Nathan because he's never written a song for me, so I thought, "Oh, he wrote a song for me!  So great!"  I was all set to pop the CD out and go back to the restaurant when a second song came on, this one featuring Perry.  And then another.  And another.  The CD had ten songs on it, all for me, written by him (apparently over the last 5-6 years!), recorded at a friend's studio.  It is, without a doubt, the most wonderful gift I have ever received.

What a happy ten years.  How we hope for many more.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ice Storm 2013

On Tuesday, April 9, it started to rain in Sioux Falls.  It was a cold day, so the rain quickly turned to sleet.  We sent Z off to school at the usual time (7:35), and then Nathan and I continued to get ready to go to a local theological conference.  Eden usually stays with me at home on Tuesdays, but because of the conference, she was scheduled to spend the day with Amah.  At 8:15 we heard a cracking noise, then a resounding thud, and then the power was gone.  Through the back window we could see that a huge branch, probably about a 15-18 inches in diameter, had fallen through some power lines behind our house and landed on a truck.  Ouch.

But, no reason to change our plans.  Eden went to Amah's, and Nathan and I headed to the conference.  The sleet kept coming down, and by the time we went to lunch, there was probably an inch of ice on the windshield.  We went to a local bar and grill which had the TV on to local news, all of which was about the sleet and ice and the damage it was doing.  The central part of town (where we live) was hit the hardest because that's where most of the mature trees are.  At one point I even caught a glimpse of our house as the news showed a picture of a car damaged by falling branches.

Although we had several offers from friends to stay at their houses, we decided to try to weather the storm in our own house.  So that evening we pulled out the blankets and the candles and were thankful that the Kindle's battery was fully charged.  All schools (Seminary, USF, and Robert Frost)  were closed on Wednesday, so we slept late and then went to eat lunch with some friends who still had power.  But by then we were ready to throw in the towel, so we went home, packed our bags, and headed to the home of one of Nathan's colleagues.  They have a fully finished basement which they gave entirely to us, and we ended up staying there until Saturday night, which is how long it took for the city to get our power back on.  School across the city was cancelled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (amazing!), and given the circumstances, we had a very nice time staying with the Stricklands.  The kids especially loved it since there was no school, there was lots of tv, and every morning Gary made pancakes and bacon and sausage just for them.  When we finally did go home on Saturday night Z said, "Let's just dump our home."   And just before bed I found him weeping into the couch pillows.  When I asked him what was wrong he wailed, "I want to live at the Strickland's!"  We are so thankful for their generosity in sharing their house and time with us!

The damage done to the trees of Sioux Falls was incredible.  On Thursday Nathan dropped me off at our house to do a few things while he took the kids to the Seminary.  I walked the four blocks from our house the Seminary, and it was eerie.  Creaking and falling branches, streets and sidewalks littered with branches, many of them large, trees literally split down the middle, and people out in the streets with chainsaws.  One newspaper headline said, "Grief over trees palpable in Sioux Falls."  How the prairie dwellers love their trees!

It has been cold and snowy every since.  We had 5 inches of snow this past Wednesday, and it snowed again yesterday afternoon.  Oh spring, where are you???

You can see the branches piled around the trunks of the trees, waiting for the city to come pick them up.  There are piles of branches like this up and down all the streets of central Sioux Falls.   The clean up will probably take a couple of months.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Monday, 15 April 2013


Easter was on March 31st this year.  It was a chilly day in South Dakota and even snowed a little bit, but still a day of celebration.  Nathan preached his first Easter sermon at a little church in Slayton, MN.  The church was very welcoming to all of us, but especially the children, and Nathan's sermon was terrific.  So terrific, in fact, that it gave me just the idea I was looking for to completely overhaul my Intro to Christian Thought class, which I've been wanting to do for some time but haven't been able to discover the centering idea . . . until Easter!

After church we came back to Sioux Falls and had a lovely lunch with several different friends, and the traditional Easter egg hunt.  A wonderful time was had by all . . . and many pictures were taken!

These two pictures aren't Easter, but I just think they're funny:

Z and I colored Easter eggs out back on our new picnic table (which I'm very excited to have this summer!  Hopefully it will make eating outside even easier and more convenient.)

Isn't he just the sweetest boy?

And the sweetest dog . . . 

Easter morning with the Easter baskets (boxes):

One of Z's presents was this bow and arrow set:

Friends at lunch:

Henry and Lisa and Eden at lunch:

Eden found this viking hat at our friends' house:

And she found a turtle too -- what could be better!


The hunt is on!

I love how Eden is checking out Z's basket.