Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We Are Moving To....

Reform, Alabama

By the time you read this post it will be a few days old but right now this is fresh and raw and writing helps me process. See, I already had this post written. In fact, I wrote it on June 30th and just saved it rather than publishing it. We had a plan that seem to make the best sense for our family. We were moving back to Denver. We had our reasons and they were good - solid reasons. We saw that place as a place that offered "job security" for John, a place we really loved living - that really wouldn't be starting over, and an opportunity to help his sister in the coming year (her husband is going to Iraq). It seemed like a good place to "settle" for a few years till we figured out what next. So we had a plan and we were getting ready to tell others our plan (but for some reason neither of us felt free to tell other - now we know why)...

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Prov 16:9

Over the last week, my heart has become unsettled about the decision and I didn't see a confidence in John that I needed before moving forward with plans. The last few weeks living in Kennedy (Kennedy is 20 min from Reform) were very very hard for me. I was very discouraged about living there and I felt like we couldn't go back for a few reasons. What God has shown me and John (separately but at the same time) is that those reasons were for our comfort sake. The reality is that there is a calling on our life from God to bring the Gospel to this area. But we really struggled with what God did in our life that landed us in NYC for the summer. I mean in order for us to be in Reform John has to have a job and for 2 months he did not have a job. And what if this happens again, then what? So last night as all this came to the surface and as all these questions were raised John said "the last few weeks I have thought about these questions and every time I have come back to the reality that God's calling has to be enough." This morning I looked back over some post I wrote early in our time in Kennedy and this one reminded me of what God was doing in our lives and heart. Specifically, this post reminded me of the verse God gave me about being there and it still applies in the very same ways today as it did when He gave it to me.

"You make known to me the path of life, In your presence is the fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Ps 16:11

So this is it. And as far as John's job goes - for now he will stay with Round Arch and travel for some projects and work from home for some projects. Eventually, he will be able to work from home again but in the meantime he will travel.

Moving Recap

I think I have mentioned before that we are the master movers. Well there is a reason for that. Since John and I have married we have not stayed still long. Here's the recap:
Sept 00 - June 01 - married and lived in Fayette, Al raising support
July 01- September 01 - Pensacola, Fl - stayed with John's mom while we finished support raising
October 01-March 03 - Mobile, Al - on staff with CO
April 03 - March 04 - Orlando, Fl - John in school
April 04 - June 04 - Orlando, Fl - packed up our stuff stuck it in friends garage and lived with them while John finished school
June 04- September 04 - Mobile, Ala - stayed here till John found job and we found house
September 04 - May 05 - Pensacola, Fl - bought a house
June 05 - June 06 - Denver,Co - John took great job - big career step
July 06-October 08 - Birmingham, Al - I was post pardum with a really hard baby, my mom and dad were really sick and I was too far away from home.
November 08 - May 09 - Kennedy, Al - we moved there to live FOC in my grandmothers house to pay off our debt. John moved to a contractor role in his career and was working from home. In March he lost his contracts due to economy
June - July 09 - NYC - John is contracting with a company here. This is a great place to spend a summer (maybe a little longer) but we don't think this is a long term place for us.
August 09 - stay tuned for an update....

So for a wrap up :
*11 moves in 9 years of marriage (some short and small - not the whole set up house but the whole live out of suitcase)
*8 moves for Jake in his 5 years of life
*4 states for us - Jake too

I am sure you are in agreement with me that this is way too many moves. Some have been for financial reasons, one to go back to school, one was forced upon us (NYC), one due to me being seriously hormonal (we both chalk this one up to our mistake move that caused the other moves following it). But in all these moves we have learned so much. I bet we know way better than any of you what our dream house would look like - layout - if we ever were to have our dream house. :) But this has been our road and we have embraced it and all it brought with it. However, after much prayer we have decided that this journey must come to an end. We do not believe that we are they type of people who will ever dig deep and put in roots for the long haul (though we both wish that were true at times). But God has wired us different (mainly my sweet husband). We will always have an open hand to the Lord's leading and though we think some of our decisions were bad in hindsight we have met God in every place and learned things about each other and ourselves and people and God that we would not have learned had our life been still. But we have decided that it is time to find a place and settle for a period of time. After that happens, we are committing to not even discuss what next until 3 years with no plans for moving for 5. John and I have some specific things that we want to see happen in our lives before we move again. So this is were we are. I will give specifics soon. Please pray for wisdom.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Central Park Festibul

No I didn't spell it wrong - that is what Jake calls it. John took the boys to Central Park this morning expecting to spend the morning at the playground. But far in the distance Jake spotted some really bright colors and he told John he wanted to go over there and see what it was. And this is what they found:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Using Books to Build Character

I am doing research for school and ran across this article. She does a great job of explaining why it is necessary to expose our children to both good and bad characters in stories. I loved it and wanted to share it. It goes along with many of my reasons for homeschooling - training them to send them out.

Brooklyn Culture

Yesterday we made our way to The Brooklyn Children's Museum. It was a really cool place BUT a bad day to go. It was the last free day before summer schedule starts and it was a rainy day. Too many people in a confined space does not make for an enjoyable experience. It was really neat to see Jake beginning to shift focus from just the playing to learning mode. Brady wanted to play in the sand and water and climb. Jake wanted to learn about the pond life and do some of the science experiments. I was really excited to see his interest but I couldn't focus on him because Brady was running free in a very crowded place. Maybe we will go back before summers end - during off hours (whatever that is). I am still amazed to see how completely the nations are represented in the Burroughs of New York City. John told me that his first visit to Redeemer Presbyterian Church was really cool for him because he was literally worshiping with people from most tongue and tribe (I mean not exhaustive but way more than any other place). We love that about this place. Below are little stores in the museum that represent all the cultures in this city alone.

says it all

There were several little Jewish boys there that the boys played with. I have never seen a Jew with the long payot (sideburns that are uncut). So crowds aside we will say it was another fun day in the city!!!! Oh and my pedometer was 7860 for the day

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Jake has started making this really funny face anytime he is concentrating on something. I tried my best to capture it here. I love that he is so serious sometimes. He is growing in to such a sweet little man. He could have spent hours chalking yesterday. I hope he continues to develop his art abilities.

This is the perfect picture for dear Brady. He is always on the move and so completely carefree. He loves life and lives it to the fullest. He was running on those really high rocks like they were no threat to him at all. I love that he is a thrill seeker much like his daddy. He helps me and Jake lighten up most days.

I love my boys and really am enjoying them so much this summer. They are the best of friends and the worst of enemies. I love to watch them make up their own games and play just fine with only their tinker toys and balloons. I have seen such a benefit of removing conventional toys from them (by necessity due to lack of space) and creating opportunities to use their imagination. Yesterday they were playing a made up game and Jake said - "mommy, I love my imagination." Jake I love it too!!!

A Day in Central Park

Yesterday we spent 4 hours exploring Central Park. It was fabulous!!! Really one of the best days I have ever had with Jake and Brady. Here are a few of our pictures from the day:

We started our day by having a picnic on top of these rocks. The boys are far away because I am still at the bottom of the rocks gathering our supplies. (the camera was zoomed as far as it could) The boys LOVE exploring these really big rocks. After we ate we stayed here for about 30 minutes exploring and climbing. We also had a guest for our picnic - a squirrel who was not afraid of us. We shared our lunch with him and discovered that he likes pbj's and grapes but not pretzels. The birds descended on us when they saw us feeding him. The squirrel got very defensive and his tail got all bushy. This was a great nature lesson for the boys. LOVED IT!!!
Next, we moved on the the playground. Did you know there are 21 playgrounds in Central Park? And still it was PACKED. The boys played in the sand for a long time. Jake made 2 new friends. I love that they are getting to meet and play with so many diverse people.

Next we chalked for a long time. Rather, Jake chalked for a long time. Brady doesn't do anything for a long time. He decided he would fly his airplane (as you can see in the pic). After this we moved on and played in the splash pad for a really long time. Then on to more climbing and exploring the park.

We ended our fun filled day with tea at The Plaza. HA!!!!! Just kidding. Instead we ended with Jello at The Plaza fountain. The boys were filthy and well they are boys - no tea for them.

As you can see Brady was exhausted. It was such a fun day and 4 hours passed like 1. My pedometer read 7,642.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mission Completion!!

But it took more than 3 special steps!!!

So today I felt like a New Yorker (well as close as ever)!!!!! Monday are home and errand day. And every other Monday guess who shows up at my house? Magley my precious housekeeper. Yes you heard me right - the apts that the company put us up in provide biweekly housecleaning. FOC for us!!! Can I get a YIPPEE!!!! So we did 4 loads of laundry ($16), Pharmacy, grocery - this was big because it happened without a hitch, library, bookstore and McDonald's for a happy meal. (that was the first micky dees we have had in well over a month - big deal!!!) So when I was preparing for the housekeeper to come I found my pedometer so I put it on to see how many steps my typical Monday included in the big city - 9,455!!!! I was breezing up and down these streets like nobody's business. Sounds silly but this is a huge accomplishment. So now the boys are resting and so am I.
Oh and I saw a drivers school car while I was out (which I initially thought was a student driver car). This made me think - can you imagine your teenager learning how to drive in this city? Not so sure about that!!!
Have a great day

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fun Times

We are slowly moving from surviving to thriving!!! Whoo-hoo!! Soon we might have some pics of iconic NYC outings but for now we are just enjoying living life doing the regulars - with a few cool things thrown in here and there.

Batman made entirely from Lego's (really cool!!!) You can take him home with you for a slim price of $27,000. Any takers???

No blood - just a really great Popsicle after a day of playing in Central Park!!!

John's company treats their employee's well. This is a pic from an all expense paid dinner cruise around Manhattan.

Father's Day Breakfast - Waffle Sundae - Waffle, Ice Cream, Homemade Whip Cream, Chocolate Syrup. It was GOOOOD!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jake the Prophet

Jake told me tonight that he wanted us to have 10 girls and 10 boys and then he proceeded to name them:
Guuurrls (as said by Brady):
Daisy, Jadey, Jeet, Cassie, Casey, Jones, Tasey, Twinkle, Anna Katherine, Caroline

Jake and Brady of course, Sam, Pierson, Jack, Sake, Noah, Jonah, Zack, Will

Not sure how I feel about this.

Rainy Day Ramblings

Ok so I have spent way too much time online today but oh well. I found this blog today and I am completely in love with this idea. She also did one for another child here that is really cool. But I really love this quilt with a collection of her sons drawing and scribblings.
My grandmother taught me how to hand embroider as a child but not sure I remember. April can you do this? If so will you teach me in all our spare time and 1000 mile distance seperation?
What a great way to keep some of those special drawings.

Missing Daddy

Most of our pics of the last few month are on my computer stored at a friends house so these will have to do :)
For the last year we have been blessed with John working from home. His schedule was so flexible most of the time so we really got to enjoy great time with him. It seems that we have gone from one extreme to another. With his work there have always been seasons when he is really busy. This was even true when he worked from home but then we still got to see him. We know this is just a short contract but the long hours he works right now are starting to be hard for the boys. Almost every day they ask about when daddy will be home and how many days until he gets to stay home for 2 days. Last night at dinner, Jake ask me if we had a real house would daddy be able to work there like he use to.
This morning our plans were thwarted because of the rain. We are still not fully equipped for life in NYC so we couldn't just load up and go somewhere for a rainy day. That just requires to much. So we are spending our 2nd day at home. Yesterday was great but not sure about 2 days in this small space. Jake has been really acting out this morning. Biting, pinching and hitting Brady. Very out of character for him. So the last time I just ask him why he was choosing to be unkind to his brother and he said he was really sad. He just started crying (real tears - not just the drama ones) He said he really missed his daddy and he didn't understand why he couldn't just work from home like he use to. Well of course mama didn't handle it well - I just started crying with him. It was good though. We just talked about how sometimes God puts things in our life that we don't like or want to be there. But that God is good and His plan for our life is the very best even when it doesn't seem that way. It was a good talk.
Times like that one are such teachable moments. They expose that void in our heart for what it really is. The reality that people in our lives that we so depend on and love will not always meet our needs - appear to fill that void. So Jake and I prayed and ask Jesus to make our sad hearts happy. That He would help us to learn to be content with what He has put in our life for this time. We talked some more but that was the gist of the conversation. All in all, I feel like we are transitioning really well though it hasn't been easy in any way. I have experienced God's grace at every corner but in very unexpected ways. He hasn't made it easy but He has carried us through it. Please just pray for our day today. That God would show up in Jake's heart and that he would fill that void that John being gone has made in his life. It makes me sad and it makes me want to fix it - but these times of void are great ways to see God work. Will you ask Him with me to work in Jake's heart?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why I am Homeschooling

While living in Reform, I had several people question our decision to home school the boys. And I have had a couple friends ask me about our decision - why we are making this choice. John and I have some very specific reasons for why we are making this choice. I must admit this is not the path I EVER saw myself choosing. But once when we made the decision, it made perfect sense for our family. I think there are many reason why people choose to home school their children and most of those reasons are not our reasons. I don't want to spend this post defending our decisions or making those that don't make the same decisions as our family feel ok about their decisions. I think there are very few MAJOR things in God's word that as believers we need to agree on. How to educate our children is NOT one of those major things and I DO NOT think in any way that people who choose a different path or even the same path for different reasons is not glorifying God. So for this post I want to give you my reasons without feeling the need to give credit to the choice of others but do not hear me say this is what is best for your family. This post is a response to several people questions. That being said here are our main reasons:
1. To develop a Christian world view in our children. I want my children to know that all of life is about Jesus. I want them to see the world through that lens. I don't want Him to be something they do here and there but that all of who we are and what we do is for God's glory - even the simple things in life like playing. I want God's word to be their filter for EVERYTHING. This seems to require lots of in the moment training that keeping them at home affords us.
2. They are boys. From what I understand about boys - mine in particular - the public school system is not geared for educating young boys successfully. My boys learn best by doing and not hearing. Hands on learning - with lots of time for outside exploration which cultivates LOTS of learning opportunities. I want to create in them a love for learning so that they will become self learners. I want to help them - while they are young- to take personal initiative for learning so that for the rest of their life they know what and how to learn whatever it is they need to know. This is very specific for each child. Keeping them home allows me to cultivate this love for learning in each specific child - I don't have to fit them into the mold.
3. Social Skills - some of you may read that and laugh because one of the criticisms of homeschooling is that children don't get socialization when they stay at home. I disagree and most people with more than one child will also disagree. Being at home with your siblings is prime real estate for all things social - sharing, considering others above yourself, conflict resolution, true bonding/forging of friendships, dealing with people you don't like - who are different from you. We deal with all of these things on a DAILY basis. And the more children you have the greater this compounds. There are also plenty of outside activities available today to account for other socialization. All that said, I want my children to learn how to biblically relate to others. How God tells us to deal with conflict, to treat others - opposite sex, authority just to name a few. I don't want it to be just about surviving the day. I want to equip them to enter adulthood (really their teenage years) prepared to deal with other people. I also want them to have personal convictions and to know how to respond when those are challenged.
4. We want them to have a love for the lost. We want God to put in them a heart for His kingdom and a desire to labor for a lifetime. Only God can do this and keeping them at home won't make this happen. But what I do know is that children are loosing their innocence a lot earlier now than ever before. (I heard a 5 year old girl call a man sexy the other day) There is so much that I want them to learn and battling this culture and all that it exposes them to at such a young age just makes the process more complicated. One of our mentors told us once that we don't send men into battle until they are trained appropriately. This is also true for our children. That being said - John and I are not planning on keeping our children home all of their school years. I reserve the right to change my mind - and it will probably be on a per child basis. But for now my hearts desire is to spend the younger years preparing them for battle - to send them out to be a light in this world for God. I don't want to protect them from sinners - because we are all sinners. I don't want to keep them from the hurt and anguish of this world. What i do want to do is equip them to love people and to engage a culture that is lost and hurting. If God puts in my boys a new heart - one that desires the things that I pray they will desire - we want them to be equipped to engage people and to be emotionally ready to get messy with people for the sake of the gospel.
5. Each of my boys have very different strengths and abilities and weaknesses. I want to be able to develop these and to choose a path of education that best suits each of them. No one will be as committed to my children as i am - no one has time to develop them as individuals like I do.

So these are our top 5 reasons for keeping the boys at home for now. I am excited about this journey most days. To know that God has entrusted me to with 2 pieces of history in the making. That I have the privilege to entrust the things that God is teaching me in to 2 boys and pray that God will make them faithful men who will one day do the same for others. God can do all of these things in my boys life without me. He can do it even if I sent them to school for 8 hours a day. But I want to be a part of the process. I want to choose to embrace this ministry of motherhood to its fullest. I know that God has called me to this and though I am very excited about this journey I am not stupid. It is very hard and requires a lot. But God tells me in his word to not grow weary in doing good for in time we will reap a harvest. One day I might get to see that harvest in the lives of my children or I may not see it until I see Jesus. But non the less - I want to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of my children. So this is our choice.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


On Friday we did our first real New Yorkish outing. We met up with one of my college friends and her kids (and sister) and visited the Park Avenue Armory to view a really cool art installation by Ernesto Neto called Anthropodino. The kids loved it (other than Eben getting red pepper in his eye from one of the spice pods). Here is a clip about it if you are interested or you can scroll down and just see our pics.

Here are some of the pictures we took:

This is one of the spice pods.

The ball pit was great. The color of the balls made me happy - very different than the traditional bright red, yellow and blue that you normally see in children's ball pits.

Our Home

or наш дом(russian), or nuestra casa(spanish), or notre maison(French), or la nostra sede (Italian),or 我们的家 (Chinese). Literally you could be standing on a street corner and hear all of these just in the time the light changes. Absolutely amazing.
Here are some pictures of our new home. It really is great for us right now. We have plenty of room.

This is standing in the door. By day it is parking for the stroller. By night it is Brady's bedroom.

Here I am standing in the hallway. This is the bath and kitchen. My friend Jessie said that most of the studio apts she had seen did not have a stove so we are blessed to have a stove - especially since eating out here is NOT cheap - unless you eat at IKEA. We all ate for $8 there yesterday. That is 4 hot dogs, 4 drinks, 2 chips and large cinnamon roll. Impressive huh?

This is it - the bulk of the place. To the right of this picture (right by the bed) is a 6x8 rug that is open space for the boys to play. The chairs that are at the end of our bed were there but the boys have to sit close to the TV because of their vision problems so we just moved the chairs there and left the sitting area open for them to play. It is great!!! There are also 2 closets at the end of the rug that have all our clothes and toys in them. So we have all of our floor space open.

This is standing at the bed looking down the hallway (it is L shaped). You can see one of the air mattresses there. The hallway is really wide so it hangs out there during the day and it becomes Jake's bedroom at night. We got those curtains at Ikea so that when they go to bed we can stay up without disturbing them. There is a big closet in the back that the other air mattress can stand up in so it is out of the way during the day.

You can't tell in the picture above but Brady is asleep in the bed while I was taking the pictures. Just thought I would add this sweet picture for your viewing pleasure!!!
So there you have it - our home. We are thankful for it. Come see us - we can squeeze you in. Just don't bring much luggage!!!! No room for that :)