Friday, January 3, 2014

the many happenings of November and December

Silas turned 3! We celebrated with a family party and a trip to the zoo. He was a happy boy.



My Mom and brother Steven visited for Thanksgiving. We braved Washington D.C. and Annapolis in verrrrry coooold walking weather, and cooked a lot of comfort food. This was one of my favorite Thanksgivings so far: the boys were up early rolling out pie dough with Ricky and me, and that set the stage for a peaceful day of cooking. We even had time to walk by the lake while the turkey roasted.  







My brother Luke came home from Italy and stopped by our place for a few days. He was all traveled out, so we enjoyed a lot of cozy at-home time. He brought really good wine, and we made good food to go with it. We did venture out to see The Hobbit 2 in Imax 3-D, which very much exceeded my expectations visually. Luke, being one of those people who actually read the book, of course had some qualms about the adaptation.



Ricky's family came for Christmas (we started a new tradition a few years ago of alternating cities, and this was our turn) and we rented a big house in Annapolis so we could all stay together. It had an enormous kitchen, a fireplace, huge windows, and many other fun details--the boys' favorite being the electric fireplace in their room. 










 The grandparents stayed a few extra days, and we ventured out to see the big tree in D.C., and took Nicky ice skating at the National Sculpture Garden. It's one of my favorite spots in the city: Nicky used to take naps there when he was a toddler and we lived here for a summer, and it has an enormous fountain that doubles as a skating rink in the winter.




Ricky and I even got to take a little getaway to Philadelphia, which was truly special. We saw the Pennsylvania Ballet Company perform The Nutcracker on its final night, and visited the touristy things like Independence Hall, the "Rocky steps" at the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the Eastern State Penitentiary. And of course we sampled some cheesesteaks.





We made it back home for a quiet New Year's Eve with good food and drink, and one last night with Abuela and Yoko (there's a story behind the name; let's just say Nicky couldn't quite say Abuelo when he was little) and a farewell to them on New Year's Day.


Whoosh! We're tired but happy, and right now enjoying a big-for-us snowfall from last night. I may wrap my head around a routine again sometime soon. I hope your holidays were lovely; I don't think ours have ever been this jam-packed before! We were rich in visitors, which is really quite special when you've moved thousands of miles and don't see family too often.


On to 2014!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

an announcement

Today I'm happy, and a little nervous, to announce something I've been working on in my spare hours: a new blog! Since I started writing here in 2009, sometimes skipping months in between and sometimes pouring out multiple posts in a day, I've found a bit of my voice, as well as an affection and a craving for writing about faith, doubt, spiritual seasons, and other fascinations. I've used this space to document precious family memories as well. For over a year, I've entertained the idea of creating a separate space that's more defined, where I can really focus writing out my faith, and having a bit more time on my hands lately has given me the opportunity to work on it. And so, at long last A Feast of Crumbs is born. 



If you'd be so kind, please click over, read the About page and let me know what you think! 

I plan to keep two separate blogs, but I imagine the topics will overlap. It's all spiritual, of course, but Noting Now will be where I mainly archive family happenings and updates, and A Feast of Crumbs will focus more on topics of faith and whatever else I'm itching to write about.

{This also makes it possible to make Noting Now private in the future, as the kids get older, if I see the need to do so.}

For most of my life, I've been scribbling in journals and tapping out ideas onto screens, working out my salvation. And so this beautiful community (online and elsewhere) of people with questions and ideas about God and how we relate to Him, what's happening in American Christianity as well as worldwide, church culture, and so much more: it feels like home. 

I've been blessed time and time again to stumble onto words that gave life to my tired spirit, and that blessing in turn directed my gaze to God. And so, if there's even the slightest chance that my words could do the same for someone else, then I want to pursue that chance. I've been feeling nudged, you know?

Thank you so much for reading here, and I hope to see you at the other blog too. Having a space to write it all out, document the journey, and gain clarity means so much to me, as does your presence.

Monday, November 4, 2013

supple

My first big girl Bible was a pale pink Precious Moments NIV softcover. I'm pretty sure I drew ballerinas on the inside cover and doodled my name and a few verses in colorful marker. I faithfully studied my memory verses for Sunday school. I could sing all sixty-six books to a catchy tune by age three, I'm told.

As a tween (we didn't have that word yet then, but still), my parents gave me a thick, brown leather Spirit Filled Life Bible. That was my Bible all through high school. I carried it to school, camp, conventions, and church. I wrote enthusiastic, sincere notes in the margins, followed by exclamation points. I highlighted favorite passages, and then underlined them when I came across them again. (The highest grade I ever received for a college course was a 98, for The Bible as Literature. I attribute that to my time of intense study as a teenager.) By the time my senior year of high school was coming to a close, the spine of this Bible was broken and chunks of pages would fall out easily.

Next came a navy blue slimline New King James Version, given to me upon my high school graduation by my pastors on May 20, 2001, with the inscription may the Lord bless you and keep you scrawled in the front. It's not falling apart, and the notes are a bit quiet, followed by more question marks than exclamation points. This is the Bible with which I've struggled. Its supple leather cover remains intact; I've been the one in pieces.

I can mark the seasons of my life by these books. I keep them all, but I think I'd like to get another one soon.

For the new season.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

right now the littles are...


Autumn showed up this month. Our neighborhood trees are colorful, and we crunch leaves underfoot when we walk around. We have coats, hats, gloves and the like unpacked and ready. We're doing fall things. Candles, soup, snuggling under the big yellow blanket, watching Harry Potter (that's mostly just Ricky and I), and plenty of walks to admire the beauty.


Nicolas has quite a bit of homework this year: spelling words, a math worksheet, and reading to do each evening, along with special projects. He was also selected to be part of the school spelling bee in December, so we're working through word lists for that. His reading is really improving. He finished Charlotte's Web, and we just started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which he's reading out loud to me after dinner. He's at the age where he realizes he has the ability to lie, so we've had some issues with honesty about how many pages he's read. Having him read out loud seems to be the solution, for now. He's learning some big lessons, transitioning into a different phase of childhood. It's painful to see sometimes. I have to remind myself that childhood is the perfect, safe time for learning. He needs to fall on soft ground.

He loves silly humor, anything related to martial arts, dancing and building Lego creations. He's occasionally excited to go work on riding his bike, but tends to need some encouragement for that. He's been going to a karate class every Monday night and will probably get to test for a belt soon. There are a lot of similarities to what he learned in Taekwondo. It's so cute--he's quite focused and serious about it. He's still working on piano, although we haven't been as consistent with lessons since moving here. Sometimes it's just too much. Still, he's making his way through his book and coming home from music class at school with quite a bit of new knowledge. I think I'm hearing a pretty nice singing voice these days too; he's learning to control his pitch a bit more.




Silas is, well, toddlery. He's sweet as can be when he's sweet, and will fight to the death when he doesn't like something. It's challenging, but we have our nice moments and I truly savor them. He takes to the role of big brother well, and seems to feel quite a bit of responsibility for Aimee (this morning he helped me dress her. It took forever, but it was pretty cute.) He's learning his letters and shapes, and how to say please and thank you. I find that if I can spend pockets of quality time with him, the day goes a bit more smoothly (because toddlers never say spend time with me, please. They simply empty out all of the construction paper and slide around on it.) 


He's inherited a nice stash of hand me downs this fall, from Nicky's garage box. It makes me happy to see them out again.


He wakes up early and heads downstairs to watch "shapes". This is how I find him, usually. Or I hear his raspy morning voice saying, "Come on, Nickboy. Let's go downstairs." He usually commands Penny to come wherever he's going, too. He consumes crazy amounts of apples (seriously, like 3 or 4 a day), insists that cheese is really pronounced chee, and wants me to kiss his ouchies. He likes to put on his backpack and boots and explore the backyard, and brings me any and every dandelion he can find, with great excitement. He's just the delicious epitome of toddler boyness.


Aimee took her first steps this month! Some days she's excited to give repeat performances, and some days she just doesn't want to. Her development has always been like that, so we take it slow. She's curious, and she pulls back. I think it's partly her personality and partly a fearfulness that comes with her history. I have to reserve a special kind of patience for her; one I'm still figuring out. She's repeated a handful of words back to us: ball, Pa, up, cat, Si (for Silas), neigh (for the sound a horse makes), duck, and goat. She says "hi! hi!" and "deh-deh" for thank you all on her own though. For a while, she's been answering questions with a quiet and serious "Yeah."She loves to play with her brothers. We've discovered that she loves to swing, too. She's been too small to put in the infant swing at the park for so long, but now she fits. She laughs hard when the swing starts; it's wonderful and sweet.


I think she's transitioning to one nap, which is actually nice because it lines up with Silas' after-lunch nap/rest time. She still just about falls over with excitement when her Papa comes home. She gives kisses and offers her cheek for them, saying "ooooohhhhh". She gives high fives.


She's learned the art of feeding her food to Penny when she doesn't want it, but she's by far the least picky of our three. She's cutting three teeth right now.



So, those are the littles right now. Growing and changing all the time. On to November!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Earlier this week, after I explained the concept of trick-or-treating to Silas and he shouted that's a GREAT idea!!! It really didn't take much explanation, come to think of it. Put on your costume, walk around, get candy. Got it.

We've never done trick or treating with the kids before, because our church always did a big, fun Harvest Party. That was fun, and I did miss it. But this was fun too, and simple. Simple can be really nice. What's more, we met some neighbors. Halloween is the perfect holiday for neighborhood newcomers.

My favorite stop was a house that boasted a carved watermelon and spaghetti squash, as well as a tray of grown up candy. Truffles for the win.


We carved pumpkins the night before. Aimee didn't participate because it was just too late for her. Sister was done.




Ricky cleaned and roasted the seeds. Yum.


The kids all went as ninjas.(Is the plural ninja? ninjas? I don't know.) Sometimes, when you're a ninja, you wear a sparkly tutu.  


Aimee discovered candy. The crinkly wrappers! The sugar! She was so happy and chocolate-y. Well, they all were.






I'm letting them enjoy their candy today, and tomorrow it will mysteriously disappear. That's the plan.

Happy Halloween!

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