she can be taught

Not that there was any doubt about that.

Mostly in an attempt to burn up some of Maggie's under-used brain power, energy and attention (all were beginning to be misdirected into various forms of mild troublemaking), we began a tiny bit of homeschooling this month. Maggie has been loving the Phonics Museum program and asks multiple times a day if it is "cool time". Her favorite parts would definitely be any time we get to use glitter glue and getting to show off her homework at dinner.

Last night we went to Olive Garden where the adults enjoyed the never-ending pasta bowl and Mags got a "kid pizza". She wasn't able to finish all of her meal, so she got to bring it home in a little box. When everyone else began to write their names on their boxes, she was very excited to realize that the two letters she has learned so far are the first two letters in her name, which resulted in her first marking of food territory...

bernie ebbers is not my uncle

Ok, this really has nothing to do with our kids, but it's too weird to not post it.

While this is very old news, I still think it's funny. When my Uncle Herbert and Aunt Stuffy came to visit a couple years ago (hmm, when are you coming back?), they brought this article from Time Magazine that included the following picture of Bernard Ebbers, perpetrator of just a little bit of fraud...

Why is this funny?

Because this is my uncle...

But really, they are not the same person. I promise. A criminal mastermind would never show this much love to a stuffed monkey...

calvin is clean + shiny

emmett hanson is hungry!

Maggie begged to feed Emmett his bottle after Tuesday night's staff meeting and Katie was gracious enough to trust her sweet baby to a rookie four-year-old feeder. Mags did a great job, as evidenced by these photos...


zacchaeus was a flat-packed, affordable swedish man

About a month ago we got a "Wee Sing Bible Songs" cd for Maggie. I had the tape when I was growing up and really liked it. I am now beginning to see that because of my great affection for the songs, I probably drove my mother crazy. Mags has enjoyed singing a lot of the songs, and gets really excited when it is one that she sings at Sunday "cool". One of her favorites is the one about Zacchaeus...here's a little sample of how she sings it :

He cwimbed up in a sit-uh-more twee,
cause da Lord he wanted to see.
And as da Sav-or passed that way,
He look up in da twee,
and he said, "ZIKEA! You come down!
For I going to your house today."

Hopefully Zacchaeus' wife knew that you don't have to be rich, just smart.

maggie's ever-growing wisdom

Maggie recently started in Awana. She is VERY proud to be a Cubbie, and every night asks if tomorrow is "wana day". (Side note - this question always makes me a little sad - since we live in Washington, tomorrow is never "wana day" for me.) Mags has been a successful memorizer so far - it took us all of about two minutes to teach her the Cubbie motto and first verse. Anyway, this post really is just so that I can brag. Maggie (in her first day as a Cubbie, no less) got herself some very special recognition on one of my favorite blogs. For those of you who haven't seen this masterpiece, maintained by Jesse Martin, you really should check out all the other quotes - pretty funny.

In case you are wondering, there is an explanation (of sorts) that goes with Maggie's quote...but it's funnier just to leave it without one.


curse-killing through roto-tilling

Some of you may know that before Calvin's birth, I was not sure if I wanted to get an epidural as I had during my labor with Maggie. I don't really know what motivated my being unsure...I'm going to guess that a hormone enhanced fear of man played a large role. I also was wondering if maybe it was wrong to try to avoid the pain of the curse in that circumstance. Anyway, after a few hours of labor, I finally listened to my very reasonable, wise husband and got the epidural. And boy was I glad. (Now, if you are wondering what this story has to do with roto-tilling...or even curse-killing, hang on, I'm almost there.)

When we got home from the hospital, a brand new issue of Credenda/Agenda was waiting for me to devour. In that issue was this article, which has come to be my favorite, by far, from C/A - which is saying a lot. I finally understood, very clearly, what Sean had been saying to me throughout the epidural decision. While God is the one that cursed the process of childbearing, that curse is still a bad thing, a result of sin. We are not to take sin, or it's results, as good or acceptable things, but things to be fought against, whenever possible. (I am not saying that every laboring woman needs to get an epidural...it is the principle, not the specific application that is important.)

As the article talks about, the dirt is another arena for men to fight sin and it's results. My husband has been curse-killing this way for a long time. Here is almost-4-year-old Sean (and Annie Grook) showing off one of his very first weapons - his very own little roto-tiller.

Sean's dad was faithful to teach him diligence in taking dominion...

Recently Sean has had more than enough opportunity to apply this diligence...we have been getting ready to plant a new lawn, and it has been a lot of work. Among other things, he has tilled for approximately twelve hours (still a few more to go), and for two of the twelve he was gracious enough to include Calvin. In case you have never done it, carrying a twenty-three pound baby, who insists on leaning as far as he can to the left, in a backpack while doing ANYTHING for more than about fifteen minutes is quite challenging.

Cal is checking on his dad's progress here...

Posing for the camera - I love the similiarities between Sean tilling at four and at thirty-two. And look at that baby!

Okay, I have to include just one more - look at that little face. How could I resist? I do have to say that his little face was not this clean when he was finished.


calvin's addiction begins

What is our son hugging and kissing in this picture? Is it a new toy? Some sort of delicious treat for babies? I can't really make it out...and is that a beaming look of pride on my husband's face?

Oh, good, Calvin moved his arm so we can see the object of such great affection. Wait...these cell phone cameras aren't very clear...that can't be what it looks like.

Well, look at that, it is what it looks like. I guess the male Starbucks gene is a strong one.


on demand : maggie's birthday, part 3

And now to finish the series, we move on to Red Robin for lunch and home for cake.

At Red Robin Mags enjoyed licking a substantial amount of honey mustard off of fries while cuddling up to Aunt Nancy. Later on some of the waiters and waitresses came and sang Happy Birthday very loudly...she liked that too.

Back in January Maggie had found a magazine I had with lots of different birthday cakes in it and had selected a cake for Calvin's birthday (ten months ahead) and one for hers as well (seven months ahead). She was absolutely sure that she wanted a Lollipop Garden Cake. I was absolutely sure there was no way she would eat carrot cake. So, we revised it a little - it was chocolate with green-tinted vanilla frosting. Here is my (sad) attempt to recreate her dream cake. She really liked it, and that's all that really matters for a birthday cake. (If you are wondering why there are two cakes, at our house you get your very own miniature version of whatever cake or pie you want for your birthday.)

Here is the birthday girl blowing out her candles...the end.

on demand : maggie's birthday, part 2

Maggie has been content riding her tricycle like a maniac around our house and driveway for the past year or so, but recently started asking when she could have a real bike with training wheels. She had been watching the Greens ride their bikes and thought they were really cool. We told her that she could have a bike when she turned six - partly because that's when Sean got a bike and partly because we thought she'd be too chicken to actually ride one. We were all pretty surprised when with just a little encouragement and direction from Boppa, a couple weeks before her birthday she was riding one of the Greens bikes with absolutely no fear. So, we decided to move the bike up a couple of years.

After we reminded her that we had said she had to wait until she was six for a bike, she opened up a package from Boppa and GG that had a bike helmet (with a lovely cat decal on it, no less), handlebar streamers and a basket. Our sweet child was so excited about the accessories, she didn't even mind that there was no bike to use them with. As GG and Sean snuck out to capture the moment, I told her that I had left her gift from Sean and I on the front step. Here is the big moment!

Then she wanted to check it all out and touch everything. Here she seems to be performing a safety inspection...

Once she got her hew-meht on and we attached the basket and streamers, she was off and riding. She would stop occasionally to check on her basket-passenger, a nice little zebra.

Calvin, of course, was fascinated by the whole thing and wanted to get down to ride with her.

He loved it when she'd yell while riding as fast as she could, as evidenced by this picture.

on demand : maggie's birthday, part 1

Yikes! You better give my sister-in-law what she wants...from instant messaging her yesterday, I've come to realize that my life is in danger if I do not post some birthday pictures RIGHT NOW. So, to keep my children from being motherless, we will begin now with a crazy amount of presents.

Aunt Nancy came for Maggie's birthday this year and gave her this doll. While Maggie loves the doll, she seems to love it's shoes the most and walks around with them on her hands...she even sings a song to "her kids" about how they should wear shoes on their hands.

Uncle Herbert and Aunt Stuffy sent two dvd's for Mags which she is dying to watch - The Velveteen Rabbit and Veggie Tales. I used to say that our kids would never watch Veggie Tales...I also used to say that we'd never have Elmo stuff, and we probably have around 15 Elmo things - some of which I actually purchased. I am, however, holding fast to the ban on Barney.

Grandma sent lots of fun stuff - a cute sweater, an elephant card, animal books, a set of magnetic princess paper dolls and the most recent publication in her series of Maggie books, "Maggie Remembers Grandpa Higgins". Maggie was sure to show everyone all the pictures of her and Grandpa, telling us how she remembered each one - even when she was three months old.

Bop and Geet (this is what Maggie is calling Boppa and GG right now) not only gave accessories for Maggie's bike, but her very own real set of golf clubs (pink, of course). The picture cracks me up. Maggie has a tendency to close her eyes when she thinks your photography involves a flash ("it too bwight!"), so I'm always telling her to open her eyes and look at me, and recently that has produced the face pictured here. It is also impossible to get my dad to look at the camera, so the two of them together always end up looking funny.

Without any further delay, here is Maggie showing off her gifts from Annie Grook. Not only did she get a birthday sweater, but birthday t-shirts and jeans to match!

Here is a better picture of the sweater...