Noah’s Reading – December 2007

December 31, 2007 Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Lucinda’s Secret (Spiderwick Chronicles #3) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
The Ironwood Tree (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 4) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

Happy New Year

What are you doing this New Year’s Eve 2007? I am sitting on the couch with my new laptop, watching the kids jump and sing and dance along with their High School Musical game on their new Playstation 2. They are happy, especially since their daddy told them they could stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year. Without asking their mommy. He’s the crazy one – I’ll probably head in to bed, and he’ll be up. And he’s still getting over the flu. He did, however, take a long nap in a quiet house this afternoon while the kids and I were visiting at Michelle’s.

I’m also listening to the song Revival from the CD Revival in Belfast by Robin Marks. We found a new church home this year. It has been nearly two years since we left our old church home. And yet, as soon as this song comes up on my MP3 player, I am fighting back tears. This CD came out when I was worship coordinator at that church, and we did many of these songs on Sunday mornings. Hearing this song brings me right back, and I am sad again. How long until that goes away?

I remember when New Year’s Eve was an occasion to stay up late, party hard and celebrate. I must be getting older, because it is now just fine with me to stay at home with my family, and mentally reminisce about the past year and plan for the new one, while they party around me.

My heart is full tonight, and I want to get these thoughts down before they are gone in the flurry of the rest of the week.

I have many things to be grateful for as I look back on 2007.

We were able to refinance our house and get out of debt. Because of that, and in spite of the fact that Kevin still faces the possibility of unemployment this year, we are better off financially than we were last year at this time. God is good.

I wish you could see what I see right now. Josiah is laying on his back with his ankles crossed, hands under his head. He looks like he should be laying in a hammock. He’s watching his sister and brother sing and compete, and when each song ends, he jumps up and shouts, “You got an A!” (The game grades you on your performance of HSM songs.) And on my MP3 player is playing the song This is a Moment Made for Worshipping by Steven Curtis Chapman. “This is a moment made for worshipping, because this is a moment I’m alive…”

I’m grateful for a husband who believes in my writing to the point that he would buy me a brand new laptop because I need something better for my work. And a husband who bought me a second MP3 player for Christmas, because he remembered that I jokingly said in passing that I needed one for music, one for audiobooks. And he indulges my book obsession.

I’m grateful for friendship. We’ve lived in this town for 10 and a half years now, and during that time I have made many good friends. They have all been exactly what I needed at the time, but each friendship has been for a season. And now, for the first time since I was in college, I feel like I have a true best friend. God ordained that Michelle would move here for me; you’ll never convince me otherwise. Our friendship is still relatively new – although I can hardly believe we just exchanged Christmas gifts for the second time – but I have no doubt that our friendship is for a lifetime. Some things you just know.

All right, answer me this: how can I go from lovingly gazing at my children having fun and thinking about how wonderful it is to be their mother to being completely annoyed that they are interrupting my blogging? My blogging about how grateful I am? For them? (The song on my MP3 player is now Fabulous from High School Musical 2. I’m not as selfish as Sharpay, honest.)

I’m grateful for happy, healthy kids. Other than the occasional cold and flu, my kids are healthy. They are also good kids. Yes, there are days when I want to pull my hair out, but there are also days when the receptionist at the orthodontist’s office tells me how much she enjoys it when we come in, because she knows my kids are well-behaved.

I’m grateful for Natalie. My 11-year-old. Just typing those words makes me sigh. She is changing so fast, from an adorable little girl to a beautiful young lady. She is goofy, feminine, able to break a board with her foot while blushing over the cute boy at Tae Kwon Do, and – most importantly – she has a strong desire to follow Jesus.

I’m grateful for Noah. He’s 9. When Kevin gets the pictures off the camera and onto my computer, I’ll post the picture Kevin snapped while we were opening gifts Christmas Eve. Noah has always been a joy to watch open gifts – he is thrilled with each and every one. And though he loves the Playstation and his camera, the gift that got the biggest smile was Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide of the Fantastical World Around You.

I’m grateful for Jonathan. He’s 8 and his energy is astonishing at times. He is like contained electricity; he buzzes with it. I love the fact that he is now an accomplished reader, and likes to share with me what is happening in his book. It makes me laugh to see how fast he can go from picking on his sister to defending her honor. (Now, I’m listening to Long Train Running’ by The Doobie Brothers: “Without love, where would I be right now?” Yes, my musical taste is varied and odd.)

I’m grateful for Josiah. He’s 6 and still comes running up to me to say, “I know what you need, Mommy. You need a snuggle from me.” And he’s right; I do. As he has completed the familiar pages in Abeka’s Letter and Sounds this year, it has been startling to realize that this is the last time I will be leading a child through this phonics program, the last time I will watch a child experience the joy of reading for the first time. I am now the mother of four readers.

I’m grateful for parents who live close enough that we can watch football games and go to the movies together. I’m grateful that we found a church that our kids love. I’m grateful that there is a (however tentative) peace with our neighbors. I’m grateful that my kids have good friends. I am grateful that we are on our sixth year of homeschooling, and I still enjoy it and I am still convinced that it is the best path for our family. I’m grateful for weekly phone conversations with my sister Andrea, chatting online with my other sister Debra, and visits with my sister Marni while she still lives close enough. I’m grateful for quiet evenings with a book, a glass of Pinot Grigio, and dark chocolate. I’m grateful for 24, Numb3rs and Ballykissangel on DVD. I’m grateful for all the blogs on my blogroll – and some I haven’t added yet – for making me think and laugh, for giving me encouragement, and for suggesting some brilliant books.

May your New Year be filled with books that make you think, friends you can be “you” with, and days bright with joy and laughter.

Read Alouds – December 2007

Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Eldest by Christopher Paolini (to Noah)
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick (to Natalie)
Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery (to Natalie)

A to Z Reading Challenge

December 29, 2007 Categories: Books | 9 Comments  

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In my follow-the-link rabbit trails from Semicolon’s Saturday Review of Books, I discovered Thoughts of Joy and her A to Z Reading Challenge.

All that’s required is that you align the author’s last name or the title of a book (excluding “the”, “a”, etc.) with its corresponding letter in the alphabet. Each author and title entry must be a different book. I will be working on both the author and title lists at the same time; however, you may complete the alphabet lists anyway that suits your fancy. The challenge lasts throughout the 2008 year.

Joy has a Mr. Linky up where you can sign up if you decide to participate. And she also mentioned that books that have already been designated for other challenges can count toward this one as well, so I’ll be using the same books from my Winter Reading Challenge to fill in some of the letters. I’m going to try to fill in as many of the other letters with books on my shelves that are waiting to be read. I don’t need any excuses to buy more! Completing this challenge this year will not leave a lot of room for outside reading, but I have many of these books sitting on my shelves anyway. It may take more than a year – but it will be fun anyway!

Title list:

AAnna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

BBlack Swan Green – David Mitchell

CThe Corrections – Jonathan Franzen

DDigging to America – Anne Tyler

EAn Equal Music – Vikram Seth

FFather Melancholy’s Daughter – Gail Godwin

GThe Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls

HHouse – Ted Dekker & Frank Peretti

IThe Illuminator – Brenda Rickman Vantrease

JJacob Have I Loved – Katherine Paterson

KKeeping the House – Ellen Baker

LThe Last Witchfinder – James Morrow

MMy Latest Grievance – Elinor Lipman

NNorth River – Pete Hamill

OThe Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle

PPortrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce

QThe Quiet American – Graham Greene

RRumspringa: To Be or Not To Be Amish – Tom Schachtman

SSeven Loves – Valerie Trueblood

TTess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

UUnder the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes

VVanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

WWuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

XExcellent Women – Barbara Pym (I know this is cheating, but you find a book that begins with “X” that looks worth reading! Suggestions would be welcome.)

YA Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 – James Shapiro

ZThe Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story – Diane Ackerman

Author list:

AThe Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

BStanding By Words: Essays – Wendell Berry

CMy Antonia – Willa Cather

DTipperary – Frank Delaney

EMiddlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides

FSomething Rotten: A Thursday Next Novel – Jasper Fforde

GT is for Trespass – Sue Grafton (completed 1/12/08)review

HThe Observations – Jane Harris

IA Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

JDubliners – James Joyce

KThe Dowry: A Novel of Ireland – Walter Keady

LWomen in Love – D. H. Lawrence

MThe Most Wanted – Jacquelyn Mitchard

NThe Last Storyteller – Diane Noble

OThe Gravedigger’s Daughter – Joyce Carol Oates

PMayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War – Nathaniel Philbrick

QA Door Near Here – Heather Quarles

RGirl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her – Melanie Rehak

SGaudy Night – Dorothy L. Sayers

TA Slipping Down Life – Anne Tyler

UKristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross – Sigrid Undset

VLetters Never Sent: One Woman’s Journey From Hurt to Wholeness – Ruth E. Van Reken

WThe Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton

XDiary of a Madman – Lu Xun

YRevolutionary Road – Richard Yates

ZI Am the Messenger – Markus Zusak

Links for Friday

December 28, 2007 Categories: Books , Contests , This and That | 2 Comments  

Guess who’s sick now? Yep, I’ve got the flu. Since all four kids had it, I guess it’s my turn. Good thing we had nothing planned for the rest of the week. Kevin asked me last night if we have any plans for New Year’s Eve. And I groaned. Of course, that’s four days away, I sure hope I feel up to doing something by then. We’ll see.

Just a couple of links for you today:

~ Coversgirl at Between the Covers has a terrific book-lover’s version of The Night Before Christmas.

~ I haven’t read Jan Karon’s Home to Holly Springs yet, so I didn’t read this review yet in case of spoilers, but I’m saving it for later. Anyone else read it yet?

~ Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post to enter my giveaway for a DVD of the Discovery Channel documentary Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen.

Have a great weekend everyone. I’m off to take more drugs. (Don’t worry, it’s only ibuprofen. So far.)

Reading Wrap-Up for 2007

December 27, 2007 Categories: Books | 12 Comments  

Well, here’s the final list for the year. I may finish reading Arthur and George and listening to All She Ever Wanted before the 31st, so I’ll add them if I do. Right now, the count stands at 111. It was a very good year, book-wise. I read a lot of five-star books. I guess that’s not surprising, since I re-read half of the Harry Potter series and completed my goal of reading all of Austen’s works. (Well, all that she finished anyway.) And there was a relatively small number of stinkers. I can give credit to that for very good suggestions from Michelle, my sisters, and my fellow book-bloggers.

As I look over the titles, I noticed a couple of things. I read more classics this year, and I enjoyed most of them. (A Man Called Thursday was a notable exception.) I also noticed that I need to read more non-fiction. I try to read one non-fiction work for every two fiction works, but I don’t think I succeeded. I’ll try for more non-fiction next year.

How did your reading year stack up? Were you pleased? If you compiled a list, either of what you read in 2007 or what you plan to read in 2008, please leave me a link – I love reading other people’s book lists.

Rating system:

1 star – Terrible
2 stars – Just Okay
3 stars – Good
4 stars – Very Good
5 stars – Brilliant, Wonderful, Excellent, Fabulous

5 star books:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – 5 starsrelated post

Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour – 5 starsrelated post

A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary – 5 starsrelated post

An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor – 5 starsrelated post

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (audiobook) – 5 starsrelated post

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (audiobook) – 5 stars

The Collected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1957-19825 starsrelated post

To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian by Stephen Ambrose – 5 starsrelated post

Eragon by Christopher Paolini (read aloud to the kids) – 5 starsrelated post

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (audiobook) – 5 stars

That Distant Land: The Collected Stories by Wendell Berry – 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling – 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling – 5 stars

River Rising by Athol Dickson – 5 starsrelated post

Night by Elie Wiesel – 5 starsrelated post

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor – 5 starsrelated post

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – 5 starsrelated post

Emma by Jane Austen – 5 starsrelated post

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – 5 starsrelated post

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – 5 starsrelated post

Persuasion by Jane Austen – 5 stars

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen – 5 starsrelated post

Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer (audiobook) – 5 starsrelated post

Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset – 5 starsrelated post

The Trouble with Poetry: and Other Poems by Billy Collins – 5 stars

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – 5 stars

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda – 5 starsrelated post

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde – 5 stars

The Road by Cormac McCarthy – 5 starsrelated post

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (audiobook) – 5 starsrelated post

The Cure by Athol Dickson – 5 starsrelated post

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – 5 starsrelated post

All She Ever Wanted by Lynn Austin (audiobook) – 5 stars

4 star books:

The Duel by Anton Chekhov (translated by Constance Garnett) – 4 stars

The Children of Men by P. D. James – 4 starsrelated post

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (read aloud to the kids) – 4 starsrelated post

The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin – 4 starsrelated post

Great American Women’s Fiction: Ten Unabridged Classics by Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, & Charlotte Perkins Gilman (audiobook) – 4 stars

Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson – 4 starsrelated post

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (read aloud to Natalie) – 4 stars

Super Mom Saves the World by Melanie Lynne Hauser – 4 starsrelated post

My Own Two Feet: A Memoir by Beverly Cleary – 4 stars

Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft by Jane Yolen – 4 starsrelated post

The Breakdown Lane by Jacquelyn Mitchard (audiobook) – 4 stars

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – 4 starsrelated post

The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer (audiobook) – 4 stars

I Went to Vassar For This? by Naomi Neale (audiobook) – 4 stars

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman – 4 starsrelated post

Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community: Eight Essays by Wendell Berry – 4 stars

The Living End by Lisa Samson – 4 stars

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards – 4 stars

Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher – 4 starsrelated post

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman (audiobook) – 4 stars

Echoes by Maeve Binchy – 4 stars

The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy – 4 stars

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – 4 stars

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen – 4 starsrelated post

In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols (audiobook) – 4 stars

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – 4 starsrelated post

Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn (audiobook) – 4 stars

Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell – 4 stars

Austenland by Shannon Hale – 4 starsrelated post

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton – 4 stars

The Teacher’s Funeral : A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck (read aloud to the kids) – 4 starsrelated post

I’ll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock (audiobook) – 4 stars

Rules by Cynthia Lord (audiobook) – 4 stars

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (audiobook) – 4 stars

Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout – 4 starsrelated
post

Unnatural Causes by P.D. James (audiobook) – 4 stars

Kristin Lavransdatter II: The Wife by Sigrid Undset – 4 starsrelated post

The Book Without Words by Avi – 4 stars

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier (audiobook) – 4 stars

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke – 4 stars

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi – 4 stars

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde – 4 stars

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs – 4 starsrelated post

The Warden by Anthony Trollope – 4 stars

The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick (read aloud to Natalie) – 4 stars

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide (read aloud) – 4 stars

Arthur and George by Julian Barnes – 4 stars

3 star books:

Bibliotopia Or, Mr. Gilbar’s Book of Books & Catch-all of Literary Facts And Curiosities compiled by Steven Gilbar – 3 starsrelated post

An Irish Christmas Feast: The Best of John B. Keane3 stars

Proverbs and Sayings of Ireland Edited by Sean Gaffney & Seamus Cashman – 3 stars

Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman – 3 stars

Redemption by Leon Uris – 3 starsrelated post

The Collected Works of Emily Dickinson3 stars

Writers on Writing, Volume II: More Collected Essays from The New York Times3 starsrelated post

The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Krauss & Emma McLaughlin – 3 stars

The Tales of Chekhov, Volume 1 by Anton Chekhov – 3 stars

Immersed in Verse: An Informative, Slightly Irreverent & Totally Tremendous Guide to Living the Poet’s Life by Allan Wolf – 3 stars

The Dragon’s Eye: The Dragonology Chronicles, Volume 1 by Dugald A. Steer (read aloud to Noah) – 3 stars

The Last Girls by Lee Smith (audiobook) – 3 stars

Nerve Damage by Peter Abrahams (audiobook) – 3 stars

Fondling Your Muse: Infallible Advice From a Published Author to the Writerly Aspirant by John Warner – 3 stars

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence – 3 stars

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Breaking the Bondage of Destructive Eating Habits by Elyse Fitzpatrick – 3 stars

Plainsong by Kent Haruf (audiobook) – 3 stars

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – 3 starsrelated post

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler – 3 stars

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks – 3 stars

To My Dearest Friends by Patricia Volk – 3 stars

Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett – 3 stars

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham – 3 starsrelated post

Enzymes and Your Health by Howard W. Fisher – 3 starsrelated post

A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow (audiobook) – 3 stars

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan – 3 stars

2 star books:

Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston – 2 starsrelated post

Famous Writers School by Steven Carter – 2 stars

Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs – 2 stars

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton – 2 starsrelated post

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta (audiobook) – 2 stars

Books I Started but Didn’t Finish:

Black Girl, White Girl by Joyce Carol Oates

God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It by Jim Wallis – related post (comment section)

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Great DVD Giveaway for Homeschoolers

Categories: Contests , Homeschooling , Movies | 11 Comments  

(Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen was provided to me by Special Ops Media for the purpose of this giveaway.)

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Heads up, homeschoolers! I’ve got one copy of Discovery Channel‘s Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen on DVD to give away.

Deep beneath the sands of Egypt ‘s fabled Valley of the Kings lay the anonymous remains of one of ancient history’s greatest – and least known – rulers, Queen Hatshepsut. More powerful than Cleopatra or Nefertiti, Queen Hatshepsut not only died mysteriously but every sign of her existence was systematically erased. Now for the first time ever, top archaeologists use cutting-edge forensic techniques to unravel the mystery of Hatshepsut’s life and death, unearthing her fascinating story that has remained buried for 3,000 years.

From the official site:

In what is being called the most important find in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings since the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, Discovery Channel’s Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen exclusively reveals archaeological, forensic and scientific evidence identifying a 3,000-year-old mummy as Hatshepsut, Egypt’s greatest female Pharaoh.

More powerful than Cleopatra or Nefertiti, Hatshepsut stole the throne from her young stepson, dressed herself as a man, and in an unprecedented move, declared herself Pharaoh. Though her power stretched across Egypt and her reign was prosperous, Hatshepsut’s legacy was systematically erased from Egyptian history — historical records were destroyed, monuments torn down and her corpse removed from her tomb.

The film follows a team of top forensic experts and archaeologists led by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, as they use the full range of forensic technology to identify Hatshepsut.

The investigative journey of Dr. Hawass and his team led them through the massive crypts beneath Egypt and into the depths of the Cairo Museum. Using knowledge of royal Egyptian mummification and clues from two known tombs linked to Hatshepsut, the team narrowed their search for Hatshepsut to just four mummies from thousands of unidentified corpses.

Computed tomography (CT) scans allowed the scientists to link distinct physical traits of the Hatshepsut mummy to that of her ancestors. The search was further narrowed to two possibilities — both from the tomb of Hatshepsut’s nanny — but the final clue lay within a canopic box inscribed with the female Pharaoh’s name. A scan of the box found a tooth that, when measured, perfectly matched a missing upper molar in one of the two mummies.

“The discovery of the Hatshepsut mummy is one of the most important finds in the history of Egypt,” said Dr. Hawass. “Her reign during the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt was a prosperous one, yet mysteriously she was erased from Egyptian history. Our hope is that this mummy will help shed light on this mystery and on the mysterious nature of her death.”

Applied Biosystems and Discovery Quest, part of Discovery Channel’s initiative to support the scientific community’s work, funded the construction and equipment for the first-ever DNA testing facility located outside the Cairo Museum in Egypt for the program. The DNA testing facility will not only be used to extract and compare the mitochondrial DNA of the Hatshepsut mummy and mummies from her family, but will also be used by scientists to examine future finds in Egypt.”

If you’re interested in winning this DVD, please leave a comment on this post by 12:00 am Pacific Time, Tuesday, January 1, 2008. I will use a random number generator to draw a winner – and you’ll receive it quickly, since I already have the DVD in my possession. Oh, and this contest is open to everyone – not just homeschoolers. I just thought it would be a perfect addition to a resource library for Ancient History studies.

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2007 Categories: Holidays | 1 Comment  

My nephew, Peter, has a fever! I know it’s horrible to be happy about that, but my sister said we all might as well be sick together, so we will be going down to Mom and Dad’s tomorow afternoon for Christmas dinner. The whole family – sickies included. And I am glad.

I hope your prayers are answered at this Christmas, too – big ones and little ones. (No, I didn’t pray that Peter would get sick, but I did pray that we could all be together.)

I leave you with the lyrics to the song I sang at the Christmas Eve service this evening.

Precious Promise
Words and music by Steven Curtis Chapman

Oh, what a Precious Promise,
Oh, what a gift of love,
An angel tells a virgin that she’s gonna have a son.
And though it’s a Precious Promise,
She wonders how can this be?
What will the people say and what if Joseph can’t believe?
And her questions and her fears
Are met with an overwhelming joy that God has chosen her.
Oh, what a Precious Promise:
Mary waits as Heaven comes to earth.

Oh, what a Precious Promise,
Oh, what a gift of love,
Joseph makes his choice to do what few men would have done:
To take Mary as his bride, when she’s already carrying a child
That isn’t his own.
Oh, what a Precious Promise,
Mary and the child will have a home.

And shepherds stand on a hillside;
Their hearts are racing with the news the angel told them.
A star’s light fills up the dark sky,
As the night of Precious Promise is unfolding.

Oh, what a Precious Promise,
Oh, what a gift of love,
The waiting now is over and the time has finally come
For the God Who made this world
To roll back the curtain and unveil
His passion for the heart of man.
Oh, what a Precious Promise,
Lying in a manger in Bethlehem.
Oh, what a Precious Promise,
Lying in a manger in Bethlehem.

I’m trying not to pout. Really.

December 23, 2007 Categories: This and That | 5 Comments  

Jonathan woke up in the wee hours of Friday morning with a fever, sore throat, aches. Natalie came home from her friends’ house Friday afternoon with a fever, sore throat, aches. I thought we were over this – it had been a week since the other two boys had it! But no, it looks like the same exact thing, which was a five-day fever for both Noah and Josiah. So, if I’m counting right, that means that Natalie and Jon will not be fever free until December 26th. Bah humbug.

Yesterday, Kevin took the two healthy ones sledding with my Dad, my sister and brother-in-law, and their two boys. Josiah and Noah headed to Mom and Dad’s with Dad, while Kevin came home to take over the medicine-dispensing, temperature taking duties with the other two. This afternoon, I’ll head down with Josiah and Noah again to watch the Seahawks game with Dad while the kids decorate sugar cookies.

Our original plans involved Christmas Eve service at Mom and Dad’s church – at which Natalie and I were both supposed to sing. Then the kids would sleepover at Grandmama and Papa’s, while Kevin and I would come home to sleep and head back in the morning for the tree and Christmas dinner in the afternoon.

Revised plans are such: I will take whoever (or is it whomever?) is healthy to the Christmas Eve service, where I will sing. Natalie and Grandmama’s duet will be saved for next year. Then I’ll bring home all the presents that we’ve been piling up under Mom and Dad’s tree. We’ll have Christmas morning at home, and then I’ll take the healthy ones to Christmas dinner at 1 pm, and bring home leftovers to the rest of the clan. If it was any other year, I would just forget joining Marni and Hans and their boys and Mom and Dad at their house, and spend the entire day at home with my kids, but this is the last Christmas we’ll be having with Marni and Hans for a long, long time. They’re moving to St. Louis in the early summer for Hans to attend Covenant Theological Seminary. For those of you who don’t know, we’re in northeast Washington State. So basically, they’re moving to the other side of the country. I want my six-year-old, Josiah, to have as much time as possible with their six-year-old, Peter, before the big move.

So our holiday plans are totally messed up, and it makes me sad. And I feel guilty for leaving the two sick ones at home with Kevin. The only thing that has saved the holiday for them is that Kevin gave them an early Christmas gift last week: a Playstation 2. So Natalie and Jonathan know that while the other two are at Grandmama and Papa’s house with me, there is less competition for the game.

I know there is still a possibility that they will be better by Christmas morning, and we are all praying hard for that. And I’m trying not to be too discouraged by the whole thing.

Change of plans

December 21, 2007 Categories: Kid Stuff | 4 Comments  

I wrote the links post below before I went to bed last night and set it to publish early this morning. Then at 1:30 a.m. I was awakenedy by a shivering, feverish Jonathan. He and Natalie never caught the five-day fever-inducing bug that Noah and Josiah had last week. So – no ortho appointment, no play date – just extra vitamin C and fluids and prayers that he will be better before Christmas. Sigh.