Friday, December 31, 2010


While Isaiah listens to the explanation behind how dinosaur footprints are discovered,

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Science center

The other two play on the footprints of dinosaurs.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Take a look at thi

On our way home.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Elijah's drawing

Micah's First Lost Tooth

During the Christmas play at church on Saturday night, after the first song when the lights dimmed, Micah crept off stage to tell the director, "My tooth is loose.  What if it falls out while I'm singing?"  She laughed and assured him that it would be all right.  He finished the show without incident.  Sunday he made sure to excitedly show every person we know "ook, I ha a oose ooth."  I had forgotten the excitement of your first loose tooth.

A couple of weeks ago, he showed me that he had a tooth growing up behind his baby teeth.  While I contemplated finding a new dentist, paying for said dentist and making an appointment, the tooth falls out on its own.  Score for procrastination.

Every night this week, after lights out at bedtime, Micah comes into the living room saying his loose tooth is preventing sleep.  Eric would try to wiggle it for him, but Micah wouldn't let him do much.  Finally on Wednesday, his annoyance trumped his low pain tolerance, and he let Eric pull away.  The tooth popped out and you've never seen a happier Micah.

Our tooth fairy has been a little unreliable in the past.  She is sometimes unprepared for Elijah's teeth because his seem to just fall out all of a sudden and she is caught on vacation, or she has a cold.  This time though, she was ready.

Elijah's comment the next morning when Micah emerged from his room with his dollar:  "Wow, the tooth fairy remembered you on the first night.  That never happens to me."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Elijah's verse

Christmas Program

Elijah and Micah sing solos

Zay dances

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Gift Giving

For over a year I've been reading and thinking about micro-finance.  There are several reputable non-profits that provide individuals with the opportunity to financially invest in the livelihood of a person who would use the funds to receive training and grow a business for themselves and their families.  Because women have been deprived of education for so many centuries in some countries, I felt most burdened to support their efforts. 

Cambodia is a country famous for many positive things, but also for sex-trafficking.  Many organizations are working hard to end the sex trade using a variety of methods, and World Hope International is certainly doing their part.  Adelphe is one of their more recently developed programs where international sisterhoods are coordinated.  Women commit to sponsoring other women (many from Cambodia right now).  This gift of monthly sponsorship, $1 a day, provides the Cambodian sister with education for herself and potentially her children, capital to grow her livelihood, health and nutrition education, resources and tools for agriculture, entrepreneurship skills and animal multiplication skills.  All of these gifts result in a woman who will be able to care for herself and her children, and who will not feel forced to resort to prostitution in order to provide for her family.

My new sister's name is Yat Luoen.  She is a young single mother and currently earns about $0.08 a day for her family by growing and selling vegetables.  Consider giving the gift of opportunity through Adelphe of World Hope International or some other trusted organization as you make your gift giving list for Christmas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Colorful Frames Christmas
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Community Life Memories

For my Community Life ladies.  Love you Guys!

Monday, November 08, 2010


You asked for oatmeal this morning
I mashed bananas and mixed them in, since
they were going bad and variety is good

Your first bite.
Gag. choke. big tears well up in your eyes.
You spit the mouthful back into the bowl
and look at me in despair and anger.
How dare I taint your favorite breakfast dish?

I'll put some chocolate chips on it.  Bananas are
good with chocolate right?

You nod.  Oh how you trust your


2nd attempt.
Gag. Choke. Alligator tears spill down over your cheeks.
You chew a few more times, moaning, apparently trying to
convince yourself that chocolate chips make
everything better

but they don't.
thin brown drips of pureed banana oatmeal chocolate chip
mush begin streaming from the corners of your mouth

swallow. I order. just swallow that bite and you
don't have to eat anymore.

um! um! You shake your head.
nauseated chipmunk cheeks puffed out.
Daggers in your eyes.

JUST swallow and take a drink

um!um!  moreheadshaking

don't spit that out.

ummmmm, moaning, desperation
you hold your mouth open like a baby bird
keeping the watery goo in, but taking some breaths
of air through your mouth.
You've earned a bowl of Lucky Charms instead.
Lesson learned:  mashed bananas in oatmeal sounds better
than it tastes.

On bullies/teasing

Elijah is the new kid, and let's face it.  His interests and talents are a little bit outside of the mainstream.  We knew that moving to a new school for 3rd grade would not be easy for him, but he has handled it with more maturity and courage than I thought possible.  

For the first several weeks (two months really) there were a couple of boys in his class who had been picking on him regularly.  He says they "bug" him.  He says Joe hurts his feelings while Jacob's specialty is pushing him around.  We encouraged him to tell an adult nearby when the boys were bugging him and to avoid them as much as possible.  Daily he brought home more stories of being pushed in the hallway and being called 'stupid' and 'cry-baby.'  I went to talk to his teacher and she assured me that she'd keep an eye out.  She said that the two boys doing most of the "bugging" were not in groups with Elijah, and he concurred that most of the teasing was going on in the hallway, at recess or at lunch. 

The same day I talked to Elijah's teacher, he came home with an office referral.  Apparently Jacob took his lunch box and was playing keep-away with it.  Elijah looked for an adult, couldn't see one close by so he punched Jacob in the stomach to get his lunch box back.  

Fighting is a serious offense.  Eric was the parent on duty when Elijah came home, and could see that he was already very upset by the trip to the office and the referral, so they talked about how to make better choices next time.  When I got home, I talked to him as well, and he agreed that forgetting the lunch box and ignoring the teasing would be better options if no adult could be found.  

But here's the thing.  Since the fight, two weeks have gone by and the daily teasing seems to have lessened significantly.  Today he said they were making faces at him across the room, but the verbal teasing and pushing seem to have stopped for now.  There is a part of me that feels, "Way to go standing up for yourself!  Its probably what needed to happen."  I don't want him to resort to fighting again, but I'm not disappointed in him for taking a stand.  

Sometimes parenting makes that line between right and wrong so VERY blurry.        

Thursday, November 04, 2010

From Isaiah

I was a ninja for Halloween!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Group Shot

Soldier, Indiana Jones and the Ninja!


 Painting #1
 Painting #2
Painting #3

Just because I was in a painting mood (and I love to share the love), we decided on a theme and painted dragons together a couple of weekends ago.  These are watercolor on canvas from the craft store, and they will be displayed in the basement play space.  The boys worked really hard on them, and I love how each one is so unique.  Any guesses on who did what?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Isaiah Sings

We were playing with the video camera on the computer tonight.  Isaiah decided to sing a couple of songs.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

Educational Moment

I love everything Dan Meyer has to say about problem solving in this clip. Its long, 15 minutes, but you'll learn so much from him. I believe his same philosophy can be applied to the church as well. How often are our sermons and devotional talks scripted just like the math problems in a textbook? Are we letting people think and explore and involve themselves in the Kingdom? Or are we relying on neatly packaged devotional type messages that leave people trying to follow formulaic methods for living a life that reflects a Kingdom and God who are not formulaic, nor are they chaotic. I'm going to think about this more, but I see a lot of parallels here.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Barrel Riding

Favorite entertainment lately!  Everyone gets invited to go barrel riding, even the lawn mowing guys.  I'm not sure what Isaiah said when he ran up the hill, but it illustrates his excitement. Micah has bruises all over his shoulders, but he continues to beg to go riding.  When I told him today that he needed to take a break for a while, he threw a fit saying, "the bruises don't hurt."  Crazy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

After (Basement/ Guest Room)

 New carpet and trim painted, but no walls yet.
 The whole family painting.  Everyone was actually quite helpful.
 Finished 'living room' area downstairs and...
Finished guest room.  Well, except for furniture.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Basement transformation in process

Remember this room?  It now has new carpet and paint.  Stay tuned for photos of the new and improved space.  The plan is to make the 1st picture a guest bedroom.  The 2nd picture will be the boys' toy room but will also be easily transformed into another bedroom for cousins or friends.  More to come.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stopping to Breathe

There are a few things you should know about these three boys.  They are amazing young men and grow more a part of my heart and soul every single moment I know them.
Zay has become a man of precision.  Everything about him right now is meticulous.  He is always the last one in the van, ready for school, finished with homework... because he does everything with a level of determination and thoroughness that is awe inspiring (and more than frustrating at times) but notable none the less.
Micah is thoughtful, contemplative and incredibly perceptive.  There is no hiding anything from him.  His soft heart and sensitive spirit stay guarded often, but once he lets you in, there is a whole world of love and connection that is complex and beautiful.
Elijah.  He is still the explorer, the adventurer, the incredibly creative boy that he's always been, but there is something new too.  He's learned to complete the menial non-creative tasks of life like feeding the dog and doing homework with a smile and a bounce (most of the time) instead of tears and stomping.  At dinner tonight he was telling us a wildly imaginative story, then stopped midstream and said, 'Just to clarify, what I mean is..." and then went on.  There was a time when he wouldn't have cared to notice if clarification was needed or not... and he used the word "clarify".  

They amaze me.  I remind myself almost constantly now to stop.  breathe.  soak up these moments and days and weeks.  To be gentle in my words.... ALWAYS because every. thing. I. say. or do. makes a difference.

PS- Most of these pics (except the tiger face paint) were taken at the Science Center where we'll take you if you come visit us.  :0 )  Everything I write lately comes with that ploy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Bruises on Micah's back. He's been rolling down the hill in a large plastic barrell. Fun is painful I guess. When I asked him if it hurt he said "kinda but its more fun than painful. "
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Hairwashing with goggles is so much more fun.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Jersey Shore with the other Crisps

Before we moved to Maryland, we made a stop to visit the cousins in New Jersey.  All 8 kids and the adults all had so much fun at the beach for a day.
The boys requested that I post this picture of Gid the Kid.  They said, "You have to post it because he's just soooo cute."  I agree!

Maryland Science Center

This place was awesome!  We will definitely be returning... soon.  Elijah is in the bones and medicine area of the kids room which had a skeleton to play with, a microscope, a couple of computer games and the costumes and xray center you see above.  Elijah says he's Lex Luthor.
Isaiah is piloting a submarine here.  The submarine is a two-level play space where the kids are free to roam, explore and pretend and they did plenty of pretending!  Isaiah says he is the king of the sea.

This giant water table was really cool!  If I were a kid that's where I'd spend my time.  Isaiah is building a dam right in the middle of the picture.  To the left you can use PVC pipes to reroute the water and make different fountains.
Newtons Alley had all kinds of experiences that show Newton's laws.  Zay and Micah both played with this air tube and ball for a long time.
More from Newton's Alley... playing with clouds.  Elijah pretended he was Harry Potter and made the clouds his experiment.

There is so much more I could show from the science center, but you'll just have to visit so we can take you there to experience it for yourself.

MOVED IN- the tour

We are officially moved in and VERY excited about it.  This is Micah and Isaiah's bedroom with the airplane curtains.
Our living room.  We might eventually have couches that you can sit on when you come to visit.
Dining room area is at the end of the living room.  I found this table, chairs and china cabinet set at a resale store.
We're calling this the entryway even though this door goes to the back of the house.  Its the door we most often enter and exit.  Micah calls it the lobby.  We're putting our kitchen table and chairs in here for daily use. We'll probably take up the carpet in here too so we have a daily eating spot that isn't carpeted.

This is the table we put in the entryway.  The church folks put a new faucet and dishwasher in our kitchen- which I love.  They made quite a few other updates as well and have continually been bringing fresh garden veggies.  Very thankful for them!

The view out the front door down the street toward the rest of Keymar.
Out the front door up the street toward Taneytown.  The building you see on the right of the picture is the church.

The family room.  It looks better than this now.  It used to be a garage which explains the long, narrowness of the room.  All of the boys' toys, puzzles and games are in really nice built in cabinets on the wall to the left of the room behind that open door you see.  It also makes a nice guest room when you come to visit.

The basement is still under renovation.  There is a full bathroom and several rooms down there that make for great storage and play space currently.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Living room safari

Its amazing what the boys come up with to entertain themselves while we move in. VBS at our church has been a huge blessing this week since the boys have quickly made some new friends and the VBS theme of an African safari has made for some awesome play ideas. Today they built a hippo, elephant and cheetah in our living room out of blankets, sheets, VBS crafts and newspaper, and brought the VBS CD out for background music. They played out about 10 different story lines all morning and made up their own tribal language. I'd say their adjusting well!
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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Pretend blogging

Micah has started playing with our broken portable DVD player. Things he does with it:
-Cleaned every scratch and scuff with wet wipes.
-Asks to take it with him into church and stores.
-Blogs numerous times every day. We asked him what he blogs about and he said "oh. Just stuff that's in my head. "
-Checks his facebook happy pets, feeds them and buys new ones.
-emails friends and family.
All of this with no internet access or a keyboard.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010


What amazing little travelers we have. 12 hours in the van with only 2 very quick pee stops and they're still smiling. Amani, our new puppy, is a great traveler too- sleeps the whole time.
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Sunday, June 27, 2010


In an ocean of canola beside our house,
I was driving by and saw the distinct sleek black image of a bull moose. Contrasted against the yellow of this field, he was hard to miss.
I turned back to tell my family, but alas, when we returned to look, he was gone.  The boys thought Grammie and I were crazy, taking them out to look at a moose.  For some reason they thought a moose was dangerous.  Only when he's on the road in front of your car.  :)

FYI- These pictures were not taken on the same day as the moose sighting.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Perfect Moment

There's a John Mayer tune on the radio,
Both windows in my brother's battered grey pick-up truck are rolled
all. the. way. down.
Micah and I ride toward home, each with one hand out our open windows
our other hands meet in the middle to share a basket of fresh
strawberries from the farmer's market.  Blue sky and wispy clouds above,
waves of winter wheat and bright yellow canola flowers
roll along next to the truck.
I look over at him; he's quiet, intent on picking a stem from a large
juicy red berry.  He throws the stem out into the wind and looks at me.
Pink stains on his fingers and chin are accompanied
by sticky red drips down his shirt.  He bites into one
and oh that smile.  Ruby red lips embrace juice stained teeth,
tiny fragments of berry and seeds still plastered to his face.
He turns back to the window, pressing his face into the wind,
and John Mayer continues to serenade our perfect moment.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy fathers day

I was just about to go to bed when I decided to post this picture of the best daddy I know. Even though we celebrated him from afar this year (week long class in Kentucky right now while we're in NB), we missed him and want him to know what an amazingly caring, devoted and intentional father he is.

And, I was just about to post this when I heard Elijah on the stairs.  I went to see what was up and he puked from about halfway up the stairs to the bottom where I was standing.  I ran to get a bowl and he made it in the bowl for most of it, but I think that's a pretty good father's day gift.  Eric is fortunate to miss out on the puke clean up and sick-kid vigil tonight.  I'm off to bed, hopefully to sleep but probably not.  I love you dearest.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Park Sprinklers

Warming up after playing in the frigid sprinklers.
These umbrellas from Grammie were a big hit with all of the kids at the park.
It was a rare HOT day in NB today.  Right around 85, so we took advantage of the sun and nice weather to visit the Woodstock park.  The sprinklers are a fantastic addition to the park since I was a kid.  Free fun all day every day.

Elijah is obsessed with this tank.

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.