Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas

This was the best Christmas yet with the boys. Not only did they seem to understand more about why we celebrate this time of year, but they played so well with their cousins, aunts and uncles, that Eric and I thoroughly enjoyed some time to play games and chill with his relatives. Elijah, Maggie and Gracie (Rex and Lynn's twin 4 1/2 year old girls) played all afternoon and until midnight Christmas Day! 0 arguments or tantrums... it was a new day. He felt very grown up being allowed to stay up until midnight. Micah and Isaiah did well all day too- Micah playing with the twins and Isaiah playing mostly by himself as he always does these days, but they went to sleep in Aunt Becky's bed at their normal time.

The only unfortunate part of our holiday was that on Christmas Eve, while the van was parked in Nana and Papa's driveway unlocked for 2 hours between trips, someone stole our portable DVD player and digital camera. They also took my purse, but upon finding no money they dumped it in the neighbor's yard. I'm really thankful that they returned my purse as replacing all those cards and things can be such a pain. Yes, we learned to keep our van doors locked even in broad daylight, and sadly, we won't have any Christmas pictures to post. So, if anyone has an old digital camera that you'd like to sell or donate,... :)

Merry Christmas everyone! If you didn't get a copy of our Christmas letter and you'd like to have one, leave me a comment and I'll send it on to you. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

O Happy Day!

I think I've attempted cookie baking and decorating every year since Elijah 18 months old. I've tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to get the boys involved in the process in the hopes of creating a longstanding family tradition.
Finally, this year will go down in infamy as the first truly successful Christmas cookie baking and decorating event. Things I've learned along the way:
1. Only involve willing participants. If all 3 kiddos don't want to use the cookie cutters, don't cajole, bribe or beg, just invite them to join in if they show interest... and everyone will show interest in icing.
2. Bake a small batch. Attempting to supervise 3 toddlers with icing while continuing to bake additional pans of cookies is a recipe for icing in hair and under chairs while 2 dozen sugar cookies get eaten by 3 children.
3. Short bursts of activity. Fun with cookie cutters, then go play while cookies bake and cool and Mommy makes icing and cleans up. Kids return when all decorating supplies are ready. Yes, this means washing hands and faces twice, but the result of overworked cookie bakers is disastrous.
4. Have individual supplies ready. Each child gets their own 3 cookies to decorate, 2 dixie cups with small amounts of colored icing and a plastic knife that stays in each cup. The icing is different colors so trading is encouraged and welcomed.
5. Get all family members involved. Being prepared enough so that Mommy and Daddy could both sit down too went a long way I think.
6. Age matters. An 18 month will probably not see the beauty in a decoratively iced cookie- but a 2 1/2 year old just might. :)

A River Runs Through It



OK, maybe not a river, but certainly a healthy stream. After several days of rain, our new favorite afternoon excursion is to the park at the bottom of the hill, not to play at the park, but to explore all aspects of the stream that runs behind the park. The boys and I went one afternoon, and we took Daddy along with us this past Thursday. To our northern friends, you will notice that the date WAS December 20th, and we WERE playing in a stream wearing sweatshirts- no jackets, mittens or hats. Crazy.Isaiah is fishing with a weeping willow branch. No bait, no hook- the best way to fish in my opinion. They usually end up swatting at those little bugs that glide along the top of the water with their willow branches.
This little rock ledge is a favorite spot, and when the boys and I go without daddy, our rule is only one kid on the rock at a time for obvious reasons. Since Eric was there to carry home a wet kid if need be, we risked it, but everyone stayed dry. You think we'll have a white Christmas?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Santa pics

I think Micah's looking a little GQ in this picture- skillfully avoiding looking directly at the camera- "show me wistful..good. yeah.. now apathy... good.. good..."
Isaiah... just looks old- so grown up. Where oh where did my baby go?
Elijah. He hesitated just for a moment this year before hopping up on Santa's knee. He glanced at us with a look that hinted, just for a second, "Am I too big to sit on this strange man's lap?" Who knows, this may be the last year for his Santa photo.
Wilmore Old Fashioned Christmas strikes again. Such a lovely little family tradition. We learned from last year, and timed our walk from our house to Santa downtown so as to avoid the rush. Isaiah was much more confident this year as well. For a peak at last year's event, click here.

First Basketball Game


Elijah came home from school a few months ago asking to play on a basketball team, so we signed him up for YMCA basketball. Two practices, a team T-shirt and group picture later, he had his first game.

Elijah's team is the Heat and they have 8 players. Four of the players are 6 year olds and 4 are 5 and it is obvious who is who. The six year olds dribble with ease and shoot at EVERY given opportunity. The 5 year olds are expert defenders, shuffling from side to side with their hands up, but if the 6 year olds ever follow the coach's advice and pass to the 5s, they inevitably drop the ball and there is a mad scramble as 8-10 little bodies go scampering across the floor to reemerge with the ball.

Some questions I had going in-
1. Q- How do you determine when a 5 year old is traveling and what do you do about it? Most of them hold the ball and run until the coach reminds them to dribble.
A- The ref blows his whistle for the player to stop (if he's not dribbling), and tells him to pass the ball. I guess the message is that if you can't dribble yet, become an expert passer.

2. Q- Will any of them really make any baskets? The baskets are 8 feet high.
A- There was one "Shaq" on each team. They don't keep score but my guess would be that our Shaq- Christian- scored about 5 baskets. The other team's Shaq- Brady- scored probably 3 or 4.
If you know Elijah, you could probably guess that he had no idea what the score was nor did he care, and while the other kids were asking the coach "who won... did we win?" he was busy eating his poptart. He did prove to me today though, that it is possible to enjoy a sport when you're not very competitive.

3. Q- Quaters? How long will they play, and will Elijah be disappointed about not playing as much as the 6 year olds?
A- Four, 5 minute quarters I think- although the last two seemed to go a lot more quickly than the first two. They started with a jump ball for each quarter and Elijah got more than enough play time. In fact, twice he asked to go back to the bench citing injury as the reason. Truth be told, I think he was having as much fun hanging out with his buddies on the bench as he was on the court. At one point their team made a basket and the coach turned around to high five the 3 boys on the bench. They were so involved in whatever they were laughing about that they didn't even notice the basket. Coach just smiled.

Their coach is great. He has been really encouraging to Elijah, telling him that he's improving a lot. He works with him one-on-one quite a bit and Elijah really listens and follows his directions- well, until something more entertaining comes along.
So that was our day.

We'll keep you posted on his athletic development. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Pictures

Nana, Papa and all 7 grandkids.
Aunt Jess, Esther and new baby Gideon at the hospital.
Here are all of the kids in their new PJs from Grammie B. Thanks mom!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving in Michigan

Josh and Jess hosted us for Thanksgiving '07 and it will forever remain a special day because we welcomed the newest member to the Crisp clan shortly after midnight on Thanksgiving Day. Gideon Joshua was born just a few hours after everyone arrived and both Jess and Gideon are home and doing great. He was 7lbs, 3oz and is beautiful and healthy. Sooo, we postponed our Thanksgiving meal until the new family member was able to join us. The kids all did really well together and we enjoyed our visit so much as always! Keep Josh, Jess, Olivia, Garrett and Esther in your thoughts and prayers over the next few months as they adjust to welcoming a newborn into their already busy household. Pics to follow soon.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stargazing



We arrived home after church last Wednesday night. The speaker taught about prayer and specifically about seeing God in the small moments of our lives. We did an exercise where we meditated on a grape- an actual grape. We felt it, smelled it, tasted it and then meditated on what God might want to impress upon us through that moment of appreciating something He created. It was about slooowwwwing down and looking at the good things of life- really looking. Good stuff.

So we're getting the boys out of the van, thinking about hurrying them into bed since it's past their bedtimes, and they're taking their sweet time of course. Eric and I finally wrestle Isaiah out of the driver's seat and join Micah and Elijah at the front door, and what are they doing? They both have their little heads thrown back, their mouths wide open and they're gazing up at the clear, night sky. Isaiah, of course, joins his brothers, and Eric and I stop and look at each other smiling. Our rushing ceases. We join our boys in stargazing, slowwwing down enough to enjoy the really good stuff. :) What good things of life have you noticed this week?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Pics

Dash...
Super Turtle
and superman showing off his massive chest muscles.

Happy Halloween!

Yes, Isaiah is wearing two costumes. He couldn't decide between a Ninja Turtle or Superman, but her finally did commit to the turtle suit for the evening.




Costume pics of our super heroes.

Wild West Fall Fest






Elijah has been looking forward to our church's Wild West Fall Fest since they started talking about it a month ago. He was not disappointed. The kids had all kinds of fun playing games, winning candy, riding horses and eating s'mores. This was the first "horsey ride" for all of the boys, so it's a day to remember.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ladies Retreat

Our annual seminary wives' women's retreat was last weekend, and as always we had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, and we had much needed opportunities to spend quiet time with the Lord and quality time with each other. I met a courageous friend from Korea who knows very little English, has a 10 month old baby, and jumped into an environment completely foreign to her. Her name is Hye-Seong (Hay-sung kind of) and we spent quite a bit of time together, learning about each other. She amazes me because she has only been in the US for a few months, she knows almost no one, and her limited English makes it difficult to get to know anyone, yet she is smiling and taking risks to follow God's call on her family's life.

The other lovely lady in the picture is Angela, a good friend and fellow babysitting co-op member. Her daughter Mackenzie rides the bus with Elijah and she has a beautiful red-headed baby boy.
Retreat center pictures. A nice place to spend time with the Creator.
Look mom, the leaves are starting to change color... finally. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pumpkin Patch and Carving

The only way to get a decent picture of Elijah... make him sit down and be ready!
The boys in the giant chair at the pumpkin patch.
Daddy carving our pumpkin.
Papa doing the detail work. Check Papa's blog later for some pictures of the boys pulling out pumpkin goo.
This is Elijah making the face that he wanted us to carve on the pumpkin. He's been showing Eric and I this same face all week saying, "I want our pumpkin to look like this!" How did we do? Is it close?

Pumpkin Patch Days

Oddly enough, Isaiah wanted to be carried or held all afternoon. Usually he is Mr. Independent.
"Hmmm, I wonder how long it would take me to completely disappear if I jumped out of this wagon right now."
Micah helping Nana look for the perfect pumpkin. Our child most concerned with perfection was in his element. Elijah and Isaiah tend to pick the first pumpkin they see.
According to the mathematically precise giant orchard apple, Micah is 3ft. 4 inches tall. We'll have to find last year's picture to compare. Isaiah wouldn't stand next to it. He was a little freaked out by the giant smiling apple for some reason.
Nana lovin on the boys. I'm going to have to look for a picture of Elijah. I'm telling you, that kid is a master at avoiding the camera. Every time you're about to snap is picture, he bolts away to do something new so all you get is the back of his head or the blur of his arms and legs moving away at light speed. Our annual trip to the pumpkin patch was made even more special this year since Nana and Papa could join us.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Summer 2006


Just a little reminiscing... these pics are all from last summer. It's fun to see how they've changed. This year I don't feel like they've changed as much as years past. I think we're mostly past the exponential growth phases.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Elijah Reads!

videoThis video has sound but it's really low because I just used the digital camera to record it. We wanted to capture the momentous event of Elijah's first book- the first book he has been able to read all by himself. After some help the first couple of times through, he read it to both of his brothers several times. It is a library book called This Car, and all three of the boys loved it. Elijah is so proud of himself for reading. He often says, "Mommy, I'm reading my first words" when he sounds something out on his own. He is learning and changing so quickly right now. He points out his sight words (aka popcorn words) everywhere we go. :)

On Being Boy




What is it about boys that makes them want to take risks? When we have little girls over to our house, they rarely play on the playset in the same ways the boys do. To the boys, the treehouse is a mountain to be explored, climbed and conquered in every way. To girls, it is a house, a fort, a home, a cave, a shelter, a car, a space to be tamed and domesticated with chalk drawings, but rarely the source of risk. I thought about trying to keep the boys from climbing up onto the rails for a while, but I knew it would be a long, painful battle for both of us that would probably result in them not wanting to play in the thing at all, so here they are, doing what they do best, taking risks to conquer the world.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Yay, You!


One of our most recent library book aquisitions is the book Yay, you! by Sandra Boynton. On one of the pages, there are two pictures side by side. One

reads, "Do you want to be terribly busy?" and includes a pictures of the bear character sitting at a desk covered by papers, typing on a computer, clutter all over the room etc. The other page reads, "or not?" with a picture of the bear floating in an inner-tube with a glass of lemonade on his tummy.

I've read the book to all three boys individually now twice and they've each answered in the same way each time.

Micah- Wants "to be terribly busy," Elijah? "or not", and Isaiah just wants the lemonade from the off of the bear's tummy as far as I could tell. :)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Conversations...

Me: (calmly) Elijah, do not ride down the sidewalk again. We're going inside.
Elijah ignoring me.
Me: (Still calmly) Elijah, I know you can hear me. We're going inside. DO NOT go down that hill.
Elijah still ignoring me, turns his bike around to face downhill.
Me: (Raising my voice a little) Elijah! You heard me!
Elijah finally gets off his bike and walks over to the step where I'm standing.
Me: Why aren't you listening to me?
Elijah: You were talking so calmly, I didn't think you really meant it.
Me: What? Every time I ask you to do something I mean it. I shouldn't have to get angry before you obey.

I was really annoyed by his comment and I'm still thinking about what this means to us as parents in teaching our children to listen, but it also got me thinking about how often we as adults don't really listen until it is urgent. How often does God have to "raise his voice" to get my attention? Do I practice listening to Him all of the time instead of just when circumstances get difficult? Ahh the lessons of parenting.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bricks, rocks and boards? or boat?

Uncle Garth and Dillan, these pictures are for you. Does this look at all familiar? It should. How many hours of our childhoods were spent building things out of the scraps in the brick yard and the shop? The boys found a bunch of scrap wood and bricks behind our shed and have been busily building on what used to be our lawn for several days. The grass was dead long before they started, but I think it's lost all hope for recovery at this point. They reminded me of us.
This is Isaiah contemplating mass destruction while his brothers are gone. When it was finished Elijah insisted that it was a boat complete with motor, sail and seats.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Pictures

We weren't even going to attempt a group picture, but they were all doing really well so we got lucky with this shot.
Elijah at 5 years and 4 months old.
Isaiah at 2 years and 2 months old.
Micah at 3 years and 4 months old.
Picture day with the boys was actually about a month ago, but I've been slow getting them uploaded. The guy at Sears did a great job!

Simile Metaphor Collection

Elijah after running: My heart is beating like a coconut rolling down a hill.
Elijah on urination: Pee is like horses galloping out of the gate. Once they get started you just can't stop them.
Elijah: If school were a human I'd give it a wedgie.
Elijah: I am like a hot rod and I just want to be a plain old Ford
Elijah on the fruits of the spirit: I've got them all covered except self-control. Its like a tiny green tomato and the rest are all big ripe ones. Especially love. Its like the biggest tomato we saw in the garden tonight.