Sunday, November 25, 2007


Back in October, Katie auditioned for the Illinois Music Educator Association (IMEA) Junior Orchestra for our region. We were so happy she was accepted. She practiced her music and then a couple of weeks ago, she and the other selected students met at a local university and rehearsed together all day. later that evening, they gave a public performance. It was very impressive.

What made the performance even more special was that our Katie was selected as principle cellist, or first chair. It was quite an honor for her, and we were so proud.

Thanksgiving dinner

For the third year in a row, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my father's side of my family. It was a short crowd for us this year--about thirty people. If we all attend, there can be as many as fifty! We have plenty of room, though, because we use the funeral chapel downstairs. Some might think it odd to serve a holiday dinner in a funeral home, but hey, it's where I live.

Check out this bird!

My grandma's homemade noodles. They are a holiday tradition and a highlight of our family dinners. They are quite simply, the best noodles ever served anywhere in the universe. No competition.

So much food! In addition to the turkey and noodles, we also had a ham, fifteen pounds worth of mashed potatoes, rolls, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn casserole, White Castle stuffing (made from the hamburgers, I think. I didn't try it), spinach balls and an array of salads, dips and desserts. Yum, yum and yum.

It is a lot of work to host such a big gathering, but I love every minute of it. I feel so blessed to have such a big loving family who truly enjoy each other. I love the memories and traditions we have created together. I even love the sound of a hoard of cousins running through my house. I am so thankful to God for all He has given me--for my family, my home, my health, and most of all, for my Savior.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. Psalm 7:17

Thursday, November 15, 2007

farewell to fall

Our family had a wonderful time this fall. It is hands down my favorite time of year. I love the colors, the crisp air, the crunch of leaves under my feet.

Despite what the calendar says, fall is officially over here. An especially rainy day on Wednesday washed the last of the leaves off the trees and into the landscaping. Temps are dipping regularly below the freezing point at night. Thursday we even awoke to a few snowflakes wisping through the air.

So here is a short pictorial tribute to the fun our family had this fall. We made a lot of memories together.

Dad and Elijah helping bring in the harvest on the family farm.

Mackenzie tries her hand at the pumpkin sling shot at the pumpkin patch.

All aboard!

Ready to carve the pumpkin

EEEEWWW! Pumpkin guts!

Trick or Treat! Eleanor as Cinderella, Elijah as Peter from Narnia, Mackenzie as Titania from "A Midsummer Night's Dream (funny, no one guessed that one) and Katie as a pirate.

So goodbye, pumpkins, and hello, Christmas trees. It's time to break out the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Manheim Steamroller CD's.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Katie's 13th birthday

We had a very special night last Thursday, and I just had to include it here. My beautiful daughter, Katie, turned 13. It's hard to believe she's that old, and even harder to believe that I'm old enough to have a teenager. Still, I am so proud of the gracious, talented and thoughtful young woman she is growing into. She is lightyears ahead of where I was emotionally and spiritually at her age. I can take none of the credit; I just stand in awe at what God has accomplished in her in such a short time.

I took her to get her hair done. She looked stunning, and much more sophisticated than thirteen. Then her father and I took her out to one of the nicer restaurants around--they don't even have a children's menu that I am aware of. After dinner and dessert (creme brulee. yum.), we gave her a special gift: a purity ring. We also presented her with a purity covenant that she and her father signed and I witnessed. Then we were off to see a local university production of La Boheme. Yes, our thirteen year old actually asked to go to the opera with her parents on her birthday. Isn't that sweet?

Here are some pictures of our special evening:

Katie opening her ring

Daddy puts the ring on her ring finger, where it will stay until it is replaced with an engagement ring or wedding ring.

Katie and her prince charming-for-now, Daddy

After the performance

It was a very special night for all of us. For so many, the teenage years are an expected and almost accepted period of rebellion against all authority. I know from my own experience that around the age of thirteen is when my own heart began to turn away from my parents and I became more and more enamoured with worldly ideas. I am so thankful for Christians who have worked so diligently to show parents effective ways to win the hearts of their children. I am grateful for those brave saints who have stood up against our culture and promoted homeschooling, courtship, purity and family discipleship. Most of all, I am humbled beyond words to a great and merciful God, who took this very imperfect, formerly feminist and career minded woman, and gave her a heart for her family and a vision of biblical womanhood. And even beyond that, He has blessed my feeble and stumbling efforts to pass on this vision to my daughters more abundantly than I could ever have hoped for.

Happy birthday, Kathryn Danielle. You are a blessing and a treasure. We love you more than words can say.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chicken pox are no fun

So while her mom is out gallavanting about the countryside with her girlfriends, Katie, our oldest, broke out in spots. Lots and lots of them. On her face, on her stomach, on her back, on her arms, in her mouth...everywhere.

She is miserable, and I am suffering from a bad case of mommy guilt. Guilt that I left her when I knew she wasn't feeling well (I had no idea it would be chicken pox, or I would have stayed home) and guilt that I didn't get her the immunization that would have prevented this.

Here is my beautiful girl, covered in pox:

This was actually taken yesterday. She looks worse today and was in no humor to let me take her picture again.

To make matters worse, she is worried that she will miss our family's plans for Labor Day weekend. My aunt and uncle have a huge get together at their farm with music, food and lots of cousins and friends we don't get to see very often. I think my kids enjoy the Allen Hog Roast more than Christmas. To miss it would be heartbreaking.

Mackenzie is watching her sister in horror at what is in store for her. Elijah and Eleanor both had the vaccine, so they should be fine. It wasn't available back when Katie and Mackenzie were young enough to get their immunizations, so they missed out. I never considered taking them back to the doctor just for that, but now I wonder if I should have. I know there are worse things. I know she'll recover, But she just feels so bad.

Just the other day, Katie and I were doing a mother/daughter devotional together, and one of her questions to ask me was "What is the hardest thing about being a mom?" My answer was the feeling you get when your child is hurting, and you are powerless to do anything to change their situation. At two o'clock yesterday morning, whe I was up trying to get her comfortable enough to sleep, she asked me if this counted as one of those times when I felt that way. Definitely.

Bad Neighbors

We woke yesterday morning to some construction going on right outside our bedroom window. We were disturbed. Normally we are the kind of people who try to get along with anyone, but trust me when I say these were not the sort you would want moving into your neighborhood. We had to take matters into our own hands.

Being the homeschool mom that I am, though, I insisted that my husband wait until all the kids had a while to observe the wasps at work before he eradicated them.

It's not that I don't think wasps are fascinating. I just don't want a colony of them living under the awning of my bedroom window.