Thursday, 18 December 2014

Eden's Vehicle Aspirations

Nathan here.  Eden informed me the other day that she likes, even prefers, trucks.  When I asked if she would consider having a truck as her first vehicle when she gets to be a teenager, she answered in the affirmative.  Very quickly she added, "A pink truck.  With unicorns on it."

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Texans in South Dakota

So I have a lot of catching up to do!  We're going to go back to last summer and gradually, over Christmas break, I will try to bring this blog up to date.

Last summer Lee (Nathan's dad) and Derek (Nathan's brother) came to visit from Texas.  We had a great time with them and did lots of fun stuff.  Hopefully they had as much fun as we did!

We went to the Old Courthouse Museum and took a trip on the Oregon Trail:

And we went to Lake Alvin to swim and picnic.

And Palisades:

Saturday, 1 November 2014

We're Moving!

For about three years, Nathan and I have been thinking about the idea of moving to the edge of Sioux Falls, maybe on a little acreage, preferably something near the water.  We've looked at dozens of properties online and looked at quite a few in person.  Two years ago we actually made an offer on a five acre property right on the river, but the deal fell through due to the inspection.  We've kind of discovered that the places we like are out of our price range, and the places in our price range are not places we like.

Anyhoo . . . about two weeks ago one of Nathan's colleagues brought a new property to our attention.  It was way too expensive, so neither one of us thought anything of it until our friend mentioned the owners might be open to renting.  Nathan did a little digging online and then called the owners, and it turned out this was true.  After some negotiating, we have signed a lease and will be moving to our new place in two weeks!  We'll be there for at least a year, maybe longer.  We're keeping our current house and renting it out for the year.  The new house is quirky (it's round) but also charming, but best of all it's on a five acre lot right on the river with fantastic river access.  It really is quite beautiful.  Eden and I have big plans to hatch ducklings and adopt turtles next spring and summer.  It's at the end of a paved road, which means good driving during winter but not much traffic, and (one of my favorite little details) it's right across the street from the Sioux Falls Polo Club.  Actual polo is played there during the summer.

If you'd like to see pictures, check out this site.  And if you want to help us move, just let us know!!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Sleepy Talk

I just went downstairs to check on the kids.  They've been in bed for about an hour.  Eden, sound asleep, was wrapped up in a fleece blanket and getting sweaty.  So I unwound the blanket and covered her with a lighter blanket.  Just as I was kissing her, she started to talk, but I don't think she was really quite awake.

"Mama, I like your . . . I like your . . . I like your . . . "

She rubbed her face and tried again:  "Mama, I like your . . . I like your . . . "

She paused to gaze into my waiting face.  One more try:  "Mama, I like your . . ."

Pregnant pause, and then,  "I like your . . . I like your brain."

And all quiet.  Sleepy girl.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


Last night we went out for dessert with Amah (Nathan's mom).   This is the conversation we had in the car.

Eden:  What's my nickname?
Me:  Well, sometimes I call you "Sweetness."
Eden:  I think you should call me "Sucker" because I suck my thumb.
Z (yelling):  Yes!  Suckerrr!
Amah (trying not to laugh): Or, maybe we could call you something else.  Like maybe "Bright Eyes."
Eden (contemplating this suggestion as she sucks her thumb): No . . . I think you should call me "Sucker."
Z (absolutely delighted):  Sucker!  Eden's nickname is Suckerrrr!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

2nd Grade

Z's 2nd grade school picture.  I like it!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Fashion Plate

I found this picture today and can't resist posting it.  It's from a year ago.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Fossils, Legos, and Doctors

Z participated in his school's Hobby Fair this year.  He and Nathan worked very hard on a display/game in which Z showed off rocks and fossils and other things from his collection, and kids had to identify what each thing was: a rock, a fossil or an "other".  Anyone who played the game got a piece of candy.  It was a great success (except for the fact that I didn't take a single picture of the event).  Kids were lined up to play the game and try to figure out the difference between rocks and fossils.  Z did a wonderful job of explaining the game, explaining the difference between rocks and fossils, telling kids the correct answers, and then handing out the candy.  His display was so busy he had almost no time to look at all the other hobbies on display.  But he did manage to see a couple, one of which was a display of lego figures.  We asked the kid which one was his favorite, and he pointed to a little lego nurse.  He said it was his favorite because his mom is a nurse.

Eden, meanwhile, was having a fantastic time roaming around the room with Amah.  There were quite a few displays of the Lego Friends (legos for girls).  She particularly liked the lego set of a veterinarian's office.  (I don't know why these lego sets have to be called "Lego Friends."  Why can't they just be called Legos, and whoever likes them, girls or boys, can buy them and play with them??).

On the way home, the three of us had the following conversation:

Z:  Why did that kid like the nurse lego figure the best?
Me:  Because his mom is a nurse.
Eden:  His mom is a nurse?
Me:  That's what he said.
Z:  But you're a doctor, right?
Me:  Yes, I'm a doctor.
Eden:  But not the kind that helps people.
Me:  That's true.  I'm a doctor of theology, not medicine.
Z:  But you help people learn more about God.
Me:  That's true! (feeling happy to be understood and appreciated!)
Eden:  But you're still our mom, right?
Me:  Yes, I'm your mom, and I'm a doctor.
Eden:  Is everyone's mom a doctor?
Me:  No, not everyone's.  But yours is.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Work of the Holy Spirit

Last weekend our church had an outreach party/picnic in our neighborhood.  We're located in a lower income neighborhood that is home to a lot of immigrants, including many Hispanics.  We arrived at church that afternoon and the kids immediately wanted to jump on the inflatables, so we went over there.  I was watching Eden when I noticed a woman standing by herself watching a couple of other kids.  When she saw me looking at her she smiled, which I took as an invitation to walk on over and chat with her.  We introduced ourselves, but I quickly discovered that she spoke very little English, and of course I speak no Spanish.  We were struggling along when Z ran past.  I reached out and snagged him and said, "Z, this woman only speaks Spanish, so I can't really talk to her.  But can you tell her that she should stay and have some food and the kids can play as long as they want?"  Without missing a beat, he just started talking away in Spanish, gesturing towards the food and the bouncy toys.  She smiled and nodded, and then Z ran off again.

To put it mildly, I was thrilled!  And not primarily because Z can now act as my interpreter whenever I need him to, although that is fantastic.  Later that afternoon I told Z that the first gift the Holy Spirit ever gave to the Church was the gift of tongues.  That's how important God thinks it is that people hear about Jesus and get invited into his people in their own language.  And now Z is a part of that!  He is using his Spanish to welcome Spanish speakers into God's Church!


I have had several remarkable conversations with Eden in the last few days.  On Sunday we were driving in the car when she initiated this conversation:

Eden:  Did God's Son really die?
Me:  Yes, he did.  You know God's Son is Jesus, right?
Eden: How did he die?
Me:  People killed him by nailing his arms and legs to a piece of wood.  The wood is called a cross, and that's why we say that Jesus died on the cross.
Eden:  Are you KIDDING me??
Me:  No, it's a true story.  Jesus died so that we wouldn't have to.  But what happened three days after he died?
Eden:  He came back alive again!
Me:  Yes, he came back alive again!  That's how we know that Jesus is so powerful, because he didn't stay dead.
Eden (very seriously):  I think I want to love him.

Then yesterday as she and I were taking a walk she said again spoke up out of the blue:

Eden:  Mama, I want to obey Jesus.  
Me:  That's so great, Eden!  We obey Jesus because we trust him and know he loves us  
Eden (after a few moments of thought): I'm glad I got baptized.
Me:  Me too!  Why are you glad?  
Eden:  Because I want to love Jesus.

Her baptism is the oddest mixture of both infant baptism and believer's baptism, which seems wonderfully right somehow.

And just today as we were driving to the zoo Eden again spoke up suddenly, saying, "Mama, when Jesus comes back he'll make our baby alive again.  That's why I love him."  It is almost impossible for me to say how happy I am that when Eden thinks of her twin brother or sister, she does so in the context of resurrection, and that at three years old she is able to articulate that that is the reason she loves Jesus -- because he brings life out of death.

"When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father -- the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me."  John 15:26

Saturday, 16 August 2014

From the Past: Eden

I've been working on moving pictures from our computer to our on-line account, and came across some adorable pictures from a couple of years ago (Summer and Fall, 2012).

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Black Hills

In July we went on vacation to the Black Hills with Micah, Christie and their crew.  We rented a lovely cabin with plenty of room and a creek right outside the front door.

On the first full day we were there we went to Hot Springs and played at the little city park which has a beautiful stream rushing through it, we went to the Mammoth Site, and we went to  Cascade Falls.  The City park was a big hit with everyone, but the Mammoth Site was pretty disappointing.  It cost a lot, wasn't very hands-on, and we got a pretty bad tour guide.  I think Cascade Falls was the big winner for the day, and we all had so much fun that I didn't get a single picture of it.

Hot Springs park:

Eden and a bone.

Old technology vs. new technology.

The second day we stuck around the cabin, and I have no pictures at all of the cabin.  Too bad!

The third day we went to Mt. Rushmore.

I like this picture because Nathan and Eden are striking exactly the same pose.

This picture was before Aunt Christie bribed Z with the promise of icecream . . . 

. . . and this one was after!

And on the fourth day we went to the Spearfish area and hiked Roughlock Falls, toured an old gold mine in Deadwood, and panned for gold at the same gold mine.  We highly recommend touring the gold mine (go to the one in Deadwood, not Lead) and panning for gold!  Our tour guide at the gold mine was worth his weight in gold (haha!) especially compared to our Mammoth Site tour guide.  He was full of bad jokes and good information.  At one point he showed us a huge open cavern and told us that a bad movie about a huge spider had been shot there, and every once in a while the spider still emerged to grab the tourist standing closest to his tunnel.  Here he stopped and just stared at me until I finally realized I was the one about to get grabbed.  Eden also understood what he was saying and for the next week kept asking when we were going to see "the humongous spider".  And although  I have always thought of panning for gold as just a scam and totally touristy, it was not only very fun but also very interesting!  Each of the kids came away with a little vial of gold dust, which was absolutely thrilling.

Roughlock Falls:

The water at Roughlock Falls was SUPER cold, unlike at Hot Springs (for obvious reasons!).