Monday, December 28, 2009

Wardrobe Inspiration

So I (re) discovered Polyvore. You can create outfits by clicking and dragging images...lots of fun. I just put this one together:



This outfit is very "me"--that is, comfy, casual, and well suited to doing the stay-at-home mom thing. You know, lounging around on the couch, watching soap operas, and eating chocolate.

PLEASE NOTE: that was sarcasm.

Of course if you want to buy any of the items you're playing around with on the site, they provide you with helpful links. Though I'm not actually shopping for clothes right now--and I would never spend that much for shoes or a bag anyway (they're $200+ each), plus the yellow shirt wouldn't work because the neck is too low. This was just for fun, and maybe for future shopping inspiration. Actually, I am kind of tempted by that skirt, though--only 17 bucks?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow in Texas

A couple of weeks ago, we got snow in Houston. Snow is a rare event here, something we only see once every few years, or so I'm told. We made the most of it, bundling up and heading outside to play.

We even built a snowman.

My poor rosebush got a little icy. Incredibly, even after the snow and a couple of frosts, it bloomed again. I think it's finally stopped blooming now, but maybe it will surprise me once more.

Just for comparison, here's how it looked shortly before Thanksgiving:

This rosebush is still in the tiny pot it came in. It seems to be so happy there, I'm almost afraid to plant it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Little Boys and Their Clothes

Over the past few days, I experienced my first Scottish communion season. I enjoyed it quite a bit. :) But it was hard to keep the boys in clean church clothes through five consecutive days of church services.

Elijah has three pairs of church pants. At the communion service on Thursday evening, he wore his khaki pants, and got grass stains on both knees. To the Friday morning service, he wore his gray cords, and at lunch afterward, wiped mashed potatoes onto them. Saturday morning, he wore his black pants, and fell into a mud puddle. It was almost funny. Okay, it was funny.

Are all boys this hard on clothes, or just mine? By the Monday evening service, I couldn't find anything clean for Noah, so he wore jeans. I hope no one minded. :) Generally we dress in our best to go to the Lord's house, but I figured that Noah is only two, and it was Monday, and after all, these were special circumstances; so we would make do.

Someday I'll be the sort of organized housekeeper who can make it through a communion season with all children smartly dressed the entire time. And with my shoes polished, and car vacuumed, and purse cleaned out. But I'm not quite there yet. Getting closer, though.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Beautiful Story

This is the sort of story that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

A couple of very determined residents transformed their Philadelphia alley from a slum--broken out windows, drug dealers, and all--to Philadelphia's "Most Beautiful Block" of 2009.

Read all about it here.

As I studied political science at Indiana University, I became especially interested in local governments and urban planning, so stories like this are right up my alley (no pun intended).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Surprise, surprise

I elected not to have my children vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine for several reasons, one being that the vaccine had been rushed to market without time for adequate testing. Well what do you know, 800,000 doses of the vaccine are now being recalled because it doesn't hold its potency over time.

A more serious issue: after the recall, there will no longer be single-dose vials available. All remaining H1N1 vaccines come from multiple-dose vials which contain thimerosal. Thimerosal is a preservative which is 49% mercury by weight. Mercury is a poison. I know that the World Health Organization and others claim that vaccines with thimerosal are harmless, but thimoseral is toxic (see the thimerosal safety data sheet from Merck). I'm not willing to have my kids injected with the stuff, sorry.

Anyway, my children may be immune to swine flu already, as they were probably exposed when a friend came down with it a month or two ago. So I'm not stressing. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meet My Family...Last But Not Least...BEN


The youngest member of my immediate family: my little brother Ben.

Ben is short for Ebenezer: "Hitherto hath the LORD helped us," 1 Samuel 7:12. I think that Ebenezer is a great name for the youngest child in a large family. :) But I digress. For years Ben was called Joe (short for Josiah, his middle name) but when he reached his teens he decided that he preferred to be Ben. Certain of us objected to the abrupt name change, but as he suddenly became selectively deaf when addressed by the name Joe, we eventually acquiesced.

Ben works in a welding shop on the east side of Houston, helping to build custom railings for million-dollar yachts. As Ben is mechanically inclined, the work suits him, and he seems to enjoy it (though I don't think he enjoys the 45-minute drive to and from work every day). Ben has always had an eye for mechanical things. I remember that when he was small, he would draw intricate illustrations of machines like, for instance, a windmill, complete with all the gears and parts.

Ben was not the easiest child for Mom to homeschool because he wasn't fond of worksheets and assignments. However, he turned out a well-educated young adult just the same, because he soaks up loads of information on his own time. For instance, I often find him reading Wikipedia articles about things that interest him. As a Wikipedia fan myself, I highly approve. :) Not that he cares whether I approve, but anyway... As a result of his extensive reading, Ben often has interesting facts to share about a surprising number of topics, from classical music to current events to cars, etc. etc.

Ben is a talented guitar player, though with his current job, he doesn't have a lot of free time to play. He spends his free time reading, thinking, fixing himself plates of food that always smell very interesting, concocting complicated coffee drinks, doing errands and yard work, etc.

I think Ben has a soft spot for dogs. He has taken all dog-related chores upon himself, and on his days off, he will often take Juneau (our Husky mutt) for long walks of several miles. Ben seems to like those solitary walks. His longest walk to date: 25 miles (though that was actually an accident--he got lost).

Ben's other soft spot, recently, is for babies. His nieces, anyway. He can often be spotted at church holding or talking to Olivia or Shona. They seem to enjoy it. :)

As of last November, Ben is 20 years old! Wow, hard to believe that the baby of the family is out of his teens. And that concludes the series about my family!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving

I know Thanksgiving was a few days ago, but I wanted to post about the things I'm thankful for this year. :)

Aside from the obvious, like the Bible, liberty, food to eat, etc. I'm thankful for the following (in no particular order):

1. I'm thankful that I am well provided for thanks to my wonderful family. How many single moms get to stay home with their children? Not many. I am very blessed to be able to stay with my boys full-time, and to homeschool Elijah.

2. I'm thankful that my boys are in good health. They've both been seriously ill in the past with asthma (Elijah) and croup (Noah), but since we've moved to Texas, we've not had any major issues. Perhaps Texas winters are easier on them, or perhaps they're just outgrowing their respective weaknesses. Whatever the case, I'm thankful.

3. I'm thankful that Caleb and Leah gave me a rosebush. I am thankful that said rosebush is still blooming, in December.

4. I'm thankful that Elijah has learned to read. I'm thankful that Jeshurun regularly takes the time to sit down and read with Elijah, and to help him memorize Bible verses and catechism questions. I'm thankful that we are surrounded by people who love children, and teenagers who aren't too "cool" to play with the little ones.

5. I'm thankful that Noah likes to give and receive great big hugs. :)

6. I'm thankful that I get to live close to my two beautiful nieces.

7. Last but not least, I am thankful to be a part of a good church and community of believers where family worship is practiced regularly. Morning and evening, we gather for prayer, psalm singing, and reading of the Bible. It's especially nice to be able to share it with our friends--to have guests to join us, or to be visiting elsewhere and to hear the words "Can you stay for worship?" Also, I'm thankful that our social gatherings often include psalm singing, in beautiful four-part harmony, no less.

I would upload a picture of my rosebush to share with you, but I can't seem to find my USB cord. I did, however, find Mom's USB cord. Oops...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Busy Week

What a busy week!

Last Saturday, I threw a surprise going away party for Mom and Dad. I thought surely that Mom and Dad were suspecting something, but no, they were pretty surprised when everyone showed up for lunch. :) Our little house was pretty full (and our little street, with all the cars).

Of course Mom and Sam had to get out the violins.

We had lots of little ones running around--so sweet to see them all playing together. This is little Carl. Isn't he cute?

Lots of picture taking. Sam took a lot of pictures which I assume he will be posting to his blog eventually (right, Sam?)

And by the end of it all, Noah was so tired, he just passed out on the couch. Yes, that's a pacifier in his mouth.

Mom has a blog now, did you know that? Check it out--www.hoosierinisrael.blogspot.com Here's where she describes how she felt about the surprise party.

You know, I can't remember what all we did Monday through Wednesday. We've been so busy, it's all a jumble in my memory. I think we did some more visiting/being visited, lots of packing, the usual cooking and housework, etc.

Thursday morning, Mom and Dad loaded up their things and headed to the airport. They flew to London, where they are staying at the FP manse for the weekend. Dad is giving a presentation at TBS on Monday; then on Tuesday, Mom and Dad are back on an airplane and headed to Israel.

After saying goodbye to Mom and Dad, I threw together a couple of pecan pies and we headed over to the manse for Thanksgiving dinner. We had lots of good food, of course, and good company. The young folk were playing croquet and soccer on the lawn; Elijah and Noah played with the other little ones. I held babies and visited.

When we got home, Jesh and I moved all the furniture around. Okay, not all the furniture, but a lot of it. The boys and I now occupy what used to be Mom and Dad's room, and Jeshurun has taken over what used to be my room.

Friday I spent the whole day trying to get things sorted out. I have to find places for all of Mom and Dad's things before I can organize my own. Friday evening we went to my sister's place for dinner. Tonight I'm cooking a turkey and we're having guests over to help us eat it. So I suppose I should get back to work. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Wise Letter

My mom recently got this letter from her brother. She shared it with me and I liked it so much, that I asked permission to share it with y'all (didn't I say that like a true Texan? Aren't y'all proud?)

My point in posting this is not to start a debate over any of the individual points in this letter. I'm not sure that I agree with every point myself. But I really appreciate the general premise, summarized in the first paragraph.

So here it is, basically unedited (I fixed a typo):
EDIT: wow, didn't realize quite how long this would be, so I am abbreviating it slightly. Ellipses where the deleted portions were.

I have a theory that is hard to explain. It is that many times if not all the time in politics the right things happen for the wrong reasons and the wrong things for the right reasons, and that that happens on multiple levels - so that the right things are also the wrong things and the right reasons are also the wrong reasons.

Jimmy Carter was a good president because he didn't do much: the wrong reason but the right result.

Obama may let all the illegals become legal for free without responsibility for having violated the law. His reason may be compassion (the right reason on one level) but an offense of justice (the wrong reason) on another level -- but what may be the result? The illegals become citizens, claiming benefits (the wrong thing), paying taxes (the right thing), getting educated (the right thing) at our expense (the wrong thing), and eventually becoming "climatized" as true Americans (the right thing). The long term result may be the right thing, while intermediate results may be the wrong thing. Or it might play out a different way.

What about the war? Why are we at war? To protect our country against terrorism (the right reason) except maybe that's only a front for the true reason, which might be to protect private oil interests (the wrong reason). Even if it's for the aforementioned right reason, it might be the wrong thing - the wrong way to approach it. So we may be doing the wrong thing for the right reason. But what is the result? We improve the quality of life and slowly teach a stiff-necked people a little about freedom which they would never learn otherwise (the right thing) but this is also the wrong thing because to do so we must force our will upon them (the wrong reason) and expand our imperialism (the wrong reason). And the result, instead of being becoming more free (the right thing), the Iraqui people become instead only more incensed against their imperialist aggressors (the wrong thing), which is also the right thing because American imperialism should not be allowed to go unchecked. Yet despite the wrong result of creating enemies and slowly alienating the world against us (the wrong thing) the purposes of God are furthered because it begins to breaks the shackles of a Satanic religion (the right reason). It does this by introducing the decadent Western ways upon a religious and in many ways moral people (the Saudis, for example, complain that Western ways are corrupting their people), but these decadent Western ways also bring with them an appreciation and love for freedom - the wrong reasons producing the right results, and so in a back-handed way our American imperialism is just what they need and they benefit even if we have no right to force them.

...

Even people's reasons are both right and wrong on different levels. Democrats often do things out of compassion (the right reason) while failing to understand the principles of self reliance and responsibility. While Republicans, upholding these principles (supposedly), sometimes go too far.

The last Republican convention I watched (2004) had all the right reasons, but few of the expressed right reasons actually made it beyond the doors of the convention hall, and they did all the wrong things.

It is noticed that some economic group is being short-changed and the desire is to fix it (the right reason), so a law is passed which gives that group a tax refund, which is right thing because it corrects the injustice, but the wrong thing because again it singles out one group for special treatment, creating a new injustice.

...

And what if our political decisions result in the weakening of American sovereignty? which any trueblooded John Bircher can tell you plenty about. This is certainly the wrong thing. Or is it? Perhaps in the justice of God a nation cannot be trusted and must be reduced whose people violate His laws and ignore and forget the principles of morality. Perhaps we are not worthy of the freedom we have and so some of it must be taken away from us and we must live under reduced liberty because that is all we are capable of abiding. So the destruction of America by scheming and wicked men may be the right thing for the wrong reasons. And yet through it all the other nations of the world are blessed. Yet they also become more and more sucked in to one world system ruled by a faceless nameless elite. Satan's kingdom thrives ... but only so that it will fall in the end and be taken over at the second coming ... and at this point I must end my speculation because it's more and more guessing and how shall I make sense of it all ... but at least I perceive that there are many levels to all developments, and the worst may yet be the best in some ways. As Charles Dickens said, in the days of the French revolution and the accompaning turning upside down of all the systems of men, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ..."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Meet My Family: Mercy!!


I bet you all thought I had forgotten. Here at last is part six, all about my lovely little sister, Mercy.

Mercy, despite the red hair, is a lovely sweet young lady. :) She has always had a mild and good-natured personality. In fact, she only remembers being spanked once during her childhood. (I, on the other hand...)

Mercy's life today revolves around her husband, Mark, her daughter, Olivia, and her stepson, Matthew. Mercy is also fond of her big, black, scary-looking German Shepherd, Luska, though Luska has taken a back seat since the arrival of Olivia.

Mercy is good with animals in general, actually. She worked as a pet groomer for five years or so before she got married. She raised and showed various animals at the county fair. And twice she won the "round robin" showmanship competition. That means she had to handle and demonstrate knowledge of the following animals: a horse, a steer, a dog, a pig, a sheep, a goat, a rabbit, and a chicken. We have owned all of those animals at one point or another, actually, except for a horse; but Mercy took horseback riding lessons for a couple of years, so that part was easy for her too. :)

Mercy has an artistic eye. She is quite talented with graphic design and photography, and can draw quite well too. She also has nice taste in fashion. :)

Last but not least, Mercy keeps a nice blog. So if you want to keep up with her, check it out. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Psalm singing at its best. :)

Someone sent my Dad the link to this video of Gaelic Psalm singing.



This is fantastic psalm singing, set to some familiar tunes that we use in our services here (Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Santa Fe). Now if only we had better acoustics in our church building...*sigh*

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dad and Mom are moving...to Israel


So no sooner do I arrive in Texas, than Mom and Dad decide to up and leave. :) Dad, as you probably know if you read my blog, works for the Trinitarian Bible Society; he is part of a translation team that is working on a new & improved version of the modern Hebrew New Testament (existing versions have some flaws). One of the members of the translation team is Rev. Goldby, a missionary of the Free Presbyterian Church, stationed in Israel. Well Mr. Goldby has recruited Dad to join him in Jerusalem, where Dad will be better able to assist with the translation project, and a few other projects as well.

So Dad and Mom are leaving on...Thanksgiving Day! That's right, less than two weeks from now, they'll be leaving the country. Mom has been busy winding up loose ends here in Texas, packing her things, shopping, and oh yes, learning Hebrew. Dad has been busy with his usual translation work, language study, online classes, selling off some unneeded books, and packing the most essential books (seven boxes of them) to ship to Israel. And of course both of them have been quite busy with lunch and dinner invitations, as everyone prepares to say goodbye.

A few people have asked, um, Sharon, what are you going to do now? Well, Mom and Dad have decided to keep their house in Texas, so the boys and I, and my brothers, will still have a place to stay. :) And moving will be much easier on Mom since all she has to do is pack what she and Dad need, and she can leave the rest for me to deal with. (I plan on having a big garage sale first thing--shhh don't tell her!)

Obviously, I am sad that my parents are leaving me, just as I've come home to them again. But I am also very excited for them as they get this awesome opportunity to live in another part of the world, and do some important work. And I'm excited about getting the master bedroom once they leave--with TWO closets! :) Hey, gotta look for the silver lining, right?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Amount of energy we consume?

Just read in this interesting post at www.theoildrum.com that Americans in 2004 consumed about 342,700,000 Btu (British thermal units, the standard measure of energy), per capita, per year. That converts to about 230,000 nutritional calories per day. Only two or three thousand of those calories are consumed in the form of food; the rest of the energy--well over 200,000 calories' worth per day--is used to heat and cool our homes, transport us from place to place, etc.

Obviously, that's a lot of energy. I wonder how much of it is used needlessly? I know I use more than I need to just for foolish reasons; for instance, making multiple grocery shopping trips per week, when a minimum of foresight would enable me to get everything in one trip. Each shopping trip uses about a gallon of gas, which contains energy equivalent to about 31,000 calories. Plus it uses other resources, like my time--forty minutes of driving alone, plus the time spent in the store. I think I need to try to be more conservative (with resources). :)

I recommend the www.oildrum.com site--very interesting, especially today's post on windmills. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

He's growing up...

I'm supposed to be posting some pictures from Saturday, and I also still need to finish blogging about my family members...but the wireless card on our main computer apparently needs replaced, so I'm on Jeshurun's tiny little netbook, which is such a pain to use! So I'm postponing (again) some of the posts I've been promising for ages...

I just wanted to share with my mom friends about how big Noah is getting now. In fact, he has abruptly decided to wean, which has taken me quite by surprise! I guess now that I think about it, I should have seen this coming, but I didn't because I was assuming that he would be nursing for at least another six months or so. But nope, he's made it quite clear that he is no longer interested! He is also making great progress at giving up the pacifier. Now all that's left is potty-training...

I posted this before when Elijah weaned, but here's a great informational page about extended breastfeeding: Extended Breastfeeding Fact Sheet
There's a lot of useful general nursing info on the KellyMom site, so if you are or will be a nursing mom, I highly recommend checking it out!

Another sign that Noah and Elijah are growing up: they are getting along so well these days! They still argue from time to time, but for the most part they play together quite nicely. They even share things, and take turns, voluntarily! Right now they are playing church, which is one of their favorites.

Must run--will post again soon (I hope).

Monday, October 12, 2009

I was going through old pictures...

...and found a few to share.

I am very sad that here in Texas, we don't have a proper fall (autumn). I miss fall. Here is a photo that reminds me of the beauty I left behind in the Midwest. From left to right, Jeshurun, Rev. Watkins, Mercy.


When my folks lived in Indiana, they had a small hobby farm with about 10 acres and up to 70 sheep plus various other animals. We Hembds believed then as we believe now that it's important to instill a good work ethic at an early age. No better place to instill good work habits than on the farm. Here is one of Elijah helping with some farm work.


Lastly, just for fun, here are some familiar faces for y'all. We have all of the Hembd family here, plus a few of the Smith boys, plus one extra. From left to right, back row: Jesh, Mark, Carl, Jett, David, Caleb, Joseph. From left to right, front row: me, Mom, Dad, Mercy, Ben (then known as Joe).


I'm not sure if the scanner is dusty or if the pictures themselves are dirty...if you click on these you'll see what I'm talking about. Sorry about that.

Also, I found another good one of Caleb. I added it to this post

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bye-bye pacifier!

Those of you who see us regularly will know that Noah still uses a pacifier. I've kind of spoiled him because I think of him as my baby. :) But the pacifier needs to go, as it's affecting the development of his teeth and gums.

The question is, how to go about it with a minimum of fuss? I did a little google-ing and found the suggestion to prick a small hole in the pacifier. I immediately remembered an old pacifier that got a hole in it somehow--he didn't care for it at all! He said it was too "squeaky." So I guess all of the pacifiers will be getting holes in them as of today. :) Hopefully, once he realizes that they are all "squeaking," he'll lose interest.

I'm posting this here for accountability! I hope it works!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Nice Picnic

Leah & Shona, Mercy & Olivia, Sarah, and the boys & I got together for a little picnic the other day. It was pouring rain and a little chilly, but we ate under a shelter/pavilion thing and enjoyed ourselves anyway. Olivia and Shona were looking really cute and snuggly bundled into their little blankets.

Shona just lights up when you talk to her.


I can't decide if Olivia is really, really calm, or really, really, intense.


In other news, I made refried beans with dry pinto beans that Mom says were at least ten years old [EDIT: Make that SIXTEEN years old]. And they turned out just fine. I guess dry beans really do keep forever. I soaked them with baking soda first, maybe that was the key (3/8 tsp. baking soda per cup of dry beans).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Caleb



Happy (belated) birthday, little brother!

Edit: Here's another one for ya.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So I opened an Etsy shop...

Etsy is a site to buy and sell handmade and/or "vintage" items. I opened a shop to sell some century-old postcards, part of a collection that had once belonged to a distant relative. Check it out:

www.thoughtfuloldrose.etsy.com

Eventually I'll be selling some handmade bags and other handmade odds and ends via Etsy, so this vintage shop is sort of a practice run, if you will. I'll post again when I open that second shop.

So what are you doing this morning? We're going to the library and the park--an exciting morning for the little ones! And later, during Noah's nap, I will head out again to (hopefully) find a new pair of running shoes, as the pair I have has about had it with these country roads.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On the back patio this morning...

Tucked into the corner right up against the back door, Ben found this critter:

I know it's fuzzy, but do you see the red markings on its abdomen? That's right, it's a black widow, a big fat mama black widow. She was surrounded with little babies, too, and a few egg cases. *shudder*

She was dispatched thanks to half a can of bug poison, sprayed liberally about (by Ben, I wouldn't be so brave).

Once deceased, she served as the subject of the following photo:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Look what I got!

I went to an estate sale this morning, and look what I came home with:

The spider plant is easy to identify, but I don't know what the other three are. Any ideas?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baptism Revisited

Hello friends,

Recently realized that I never updated y'all about my investigation into the topic of baptism (see previous post).

I am now a paedobaptist. :) The key was a pamphlet entitled "Covenant Baptism" by Peter Bloomfield, which I borrowed from a family at my church in Bloomington. My sticking point had been my understanding of the covenants, but Mr. Bloomfield explained the Covenant of Grace in such a way that I could finally understand the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. As I read this I felt the light bulbs going on! It was such a delight to have it all finally make sense, after days (weeks?) of reading and pondering.

Love to all,
Sharon

P.S. The booklet by Mr. Bloomfield is only three dollars, and I highly recommend it to all.  The first three pages are the best part.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Homeschooling!!?! Yikes!

Elijah is officially reading now, well enough that he can sing along in the Psalter, for instance, or read most any children's book. He still does quite a bit of bouncing off the walls (literally) and building with Lego, but now he also spends large blocks of time reading to himself--standing on his head, as often as not; right now he's sort of rolling around on an end table while reading "The Sleepy Story."

He's obviously learning quite a lot on his own, but lately I've started to think that perhaps I should be directing his education a bit, via some proper schooling. I started looking at homeschooling curricula, and boy, talk about system overload! There is so much to choose from, it's overwhelming. Plus, there are many radically different opinions about how children ought to learn--so far, "unschooling" has worked pretty well for us, but recently I read this article:

Homeschooling With Textbooks

Mrs. Maxwell makes some good points about textbooks, I think. I don't think she quite understands the motivation behind things like unit studies, and Mom-selected learning materials--she assumes that it's all about making learning fun, but I always thought it was more about going straight to the original sources for info, rather than getting things filtered through a textbook author's lens. I like the idea of reading "real books" a la Charlotte Mason.

But she makes a good point about textbook learning being much easier on Mom. As a single mom, I do have to work a bit, though so far I've been blessed to be able to work from home. Still, I don't have the freedom to devote all of my time to educating my children, so if textbooks would make it easier for them to learn on their own, I need to consider them. Also, I do feel strongly that my children need to have the self-discipline to work and learn independently, even on topics that aren't their favorites, and perhaps some textbook work could help them to learn self-discipline.

But which textbooks? That decision alone is enough to make me learn towards unschooling--besides, textbooks cost money, and the library is free. :)

If you have an opinion to share, feel free!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I haven't forgotten...

To follow up on a previous post:

I just think that the truth ought to be able to win on its own merits, and that it shouldn't be necessary to exaggerate the views of our opponents to prove that the truth is better. Consider 2 Tim 2:24-26, about speaking the truth in meekness. I thought Matthew Henry was helpful in understanding these verses.

I find myself thinking of a friend I had in college, who was your typical secular Muslim. He was converted his senior year. As far as I know, he became a Christian not because someone sat down with him and pointed out all the errors of Islam, but because he saw the truth in action via the witness and lifestyle of several Christian friends.

I'm trying to imagine how he would have responded if I had gone to him, before his conversion, and announced, "Islam is really a religion of violence!" I would think that he would have been insulted, just as I would be insulted if a Muslim came to me and tried to tell me what Christianity is all about. None of that was necessary anyway, as once he started reading the Bible, he was convinced just because, well, the truth is convincing, at least that's how I would like to see it. :) (And Mr. Friend from College, I don't know if you read this, but if you do, feel free to correct me if I'm misrepresenting you.)

Last point...I feel as though some (many?) think that there's secular Islam, and then there's "true" Islam as defined by the Quran, much as we have secular Christianity today versus "true" Christianity as defined by the Bible. But since the Quran is not inspired by God, then all of Islam's many variations are inventions of man, and no one branch of Islam is any more "true" than another. So we as Christians may as well concern ourselves with what the majority of Muslims think (don't forget to check out this study), since the radical few are no more relevant than the rest. I hope that makes sense.

Of course, this is just all my opinion, so please don't take it personally. I am almost hesitant to click "publish post" but I think (hope) that this is not written in a way to cause offense. :)

Coming soon: A New Blog!!! After I finish the series on my siblings, that is. (Mercy, I know you were hoping I'd forgotten, but you're next!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just In from the Hembd Household

Elijah: "Mama, Mama, Noah climbed all the way to the top bunk!"
Mama: *drops sewing project and races to bedroom*
Elijah, in a tone of wonderment: "I just don't know how he did it!"
Noah, huge smile on his face: "Mama, I seeping on a TOP!"

*sigh*

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Life in Texas

I'm slowly settling in here in Texas. It's finally sinking in that I'm here to stay, and that this is not just another visit. And I'm mostly happy about that. :)

Life in Texas doesn't hold a lot of surprises, as I'd visited a few times during the last year, including in the heat of the summer. However, there have been a few things...like when I drove by a bank in northern Texas on my way down here, and the time/temp display out front read 105 degrees! I checked three times to make sure that I was reading it correctly.

Then, when I had just arrived, I went out to the car to get some things, and came upon an armadillo in the front yard. He went crashing away into the trees...I guess armadillos are rather clumsy creatures, which might explain the number of dead ones I see along the roads. Then the next day Ben opened the back door, then said "Hey, come take a look at this," and I peered over his shoulder to see a big mottled snake slowly slipping its way beneath the threshold of the door.

One thing I really appreciate--it's so nice to have other adults in the house! In Indiana it was just me and lots of small children, day in and day out...and while I enjoy children, I did miss having adults to talk to. With other adults here, I'm able to slip out the door for an early morning walk while the boys are still sleeping. Often as I leave the house, I meet my dad just coming back in from his morning run--he runs between four and six miles at a time. He's fifty-nine. :)

We do have quite a full house here--five adults and two children in a smallish three-bedroom house. :) I think we'll all be comfortable and happy here, but the initial settling-in process is challenging--Mom and I are having to do a lot of brainstorming to make it all work. We do have overnight guests from time to time, as well--at the moment we have Mr. Roland, from London, staying the weekend. And frequent dinner guests--last night we had my two married siblings over for dinner, and their spouses and children of course. We enjoyed hearing about my brother Caleb's recent trip to Kenya to visit the FP mission. He looked a bit hollow-eyed, as he'd just recovered from the amoebic dysentery he got on his trip, but he was still enthusiastic about his experience there.

All righty, it's picture time. :) Here is my super cute niece Olivia yawning. She is a sweetie. Shona, my other niece, was also present, but I didn't get any pictures of her, sadly.



And here's Olivia again, being held by my brother Jesh. Jesh is great with babies and small children.



Here's Caleb smiling politely as I interrupt his conversation with the camera.



And here he is again, deep in conversation with my brother-in-law Mark (not in the picture).



Must go, as we are headed out to dinner.

Monday, June 29, 2009

nice site

How have I not come across this one before?

psalm-singing.org

Mostly from the good ol' Scottish 1650 Psalter, which is what my family's church uses.

I look forward to listening to more once I reach my parents' house...they have better speakers on their computer. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coming soon....er, someday

...at some point, I would like to say a few words about how misrepresenting the views of our opponents is really counterproductive; as an example, I will discuss how misrepresenting the views of Muslims is not helping us to win any converts. (And that's the goal, right? Winning converts? As opposed to fear-mongering?)

If you're looking for some interesting reading regarding the real views of most Muslims, check out this Gallup poll research

Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think

But I won't get to this for a while, perhaps after I move. (Wow, I can't believe that I'll be moving in less than two weeks!) I'm busy busy busy going through things in preparation for my move, selling stuff via Craigslist, and of course I have to keep the house looking good at all times for showings. Lots of showings...apparently the economy isn't hurting this sector of the housing market. :)

NOTE: After some thought, I have deleted the anonymous comments. Sorry, I know that others had responded to those comments, so the "comment conversation" may not make as much sense now! If "Anonymous" would like to repost with his name attached, he (or she) is welcome to do so.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Procrastin...I mean Meet My Family, Part 5--Caleb

(Updated July '11)

I ought to be cleaning my house, but instead, I'm on the computer...so, next up is my wonderful brother Caleb.

Caleb is a Texas A & M grad.  For a few years, he worked as a technical writer for an oilfield services company in Houston; but just recently, he has become a student for the ministry in the Free Presbyterian Church, so he is studying full-time, and preparing to move to Edinburgh this fall, Lord willing.

Caleb and his lovely wife Leah have two beautiful little girls, and are expecting a third child next February, all being well.  I can't wait!  Sorry this is such an old picture, from when their oldest was a brand new baby.


I remember Caleb as being a very outgoing, active, and cheerful child, with a goofy sense of humor, and always lots of energy. Today, while he's still athletic, he's also a surprisingly studious and intellectual guy who can maintain a good conversation on topics ranging from politics, to history, to Biblical Greek. He is a talented writer and public speaker. He has a strong work ethic.

In high school, Caleb raised sheep, and pigs (won championships with both), and played soccer and ran track. When he left Indiana to go to college in Texas, he planned on becoming a veterinarian, and was a bit surprised to find himself at a desk job instead. But the job worked out well for him for a time.  Still, I think he is quite happy to have left that job behind, and to be studying for the ministry instead.

Recently, Caleb went to Kenya to visit the FP mission there. Despite coming down with a nasty case of amoebic dysentery, he enjoyed his visit quite a bit. He was especially impressed with Rev. and Mrs. Watkins (whom I also remember with fondness from the times they visited us in Indiana, years ago).

I'm trying to restrain my impulse to brag on my siblings here...I think I've done a pretty good job of just sticking to the facts, don't you? :)

Okay, I really really ought to go get to work now. Feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Meet My Family, part 4-Jesh

Updated July '11

Next in line is my biggest little brother, Jeshurun.

Photo credits: Samuel Smith

Jesh (short for Jeshurun, Deuteronomy 33 etc.) is sort of the "man of the house" in my father's absence.  He works as a geophysicist in the oil industry, work which he enjoys, but which he says is a little too "consuming."  He works long hours, and occasionally travels to meet with clients or to participate in geophysics conferences; so we don't see much of him, but when he is at home, he still makes time to talk to and interact with my children, something I greatly appreciate.

Jesh is very level-headed, and has a good deal of common sense; you can always count on him to provide you with an intelligent, well-reasoned viewpoint on an issue, that is, if you can drag it out of him, since he is not quick to share his opinions on things. 

In his spare time (what little he has), Jesh is kind of a jack-of-all trades, capable of handling tasks of all sorts.  Past projects (not in chronological order): small-scale sheep farming, replacing the clutch on his own car (a project which involved suspending the car from the rafters of the garage), helping design and manage a website (now defunct) for FP youth, working as a butcher at a meat processing place, converting a wing of the church into living quarters for the pastor and his family (he did much of the work himself, including electrical, tile, etc.) and many more. Feel free to remind me of some of his more interesting projects that I'm forgetting. :)

Jesh's memory is quite impressive; for instance, he remembers every detail of our childhoods, including the details of many of the books we read as children. 

I think that's about all I can fit into this post. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Meet My Family, Part 3--Me!!

Updated 1/10

The next family member is myself. That's right, I'm the oldest sibling (of five). Hmm, what don't you already know?



Well, for those who don't know, I'm a single mom of two lovely little boys (5 and 2.5). Until recently, I lived in a college town in southern Indiana, where I worked as an in-home childcare provider. Then, last summer, the boys and I moved to Texas to be with my wonderful family. Initially I lived with my parents and two of my brothers, but then my parents up and moved to Israel. So now it's just my brothers and I, and my boys. I spend my time raising my boys and keeping house for my brothers.

My interests include: everything pertaining to children, their education, and their development; Reformed theology; classical music; hiking/nature/the out-of-doors; environmental issues; energy issues; and politics to a certain extent (I do have a degree in political science). I like to crochet, sew, and quilt with salvaged and recycled textiles. I run for exercise (someday I'd like to run another 5k). If I were rich, I would take singing lessons, and buy a piano. Hmm, I think that's about it. :)

ETA this is my 100th post! Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet My Family, Part 2--Mom

Updated 1/10

This is my mom.

My mom is a career homemaker who raised and homeschooled five children. Mom is the middle child of three siblings. She was raised in a wonderful Christian home in Indianapolis. She is a highly intelligent person, and musically inclined--she has played the piano and violin since early childhood. After graduating from high school, she worked and took a few semesters of college (early childhood education) before meeting my dad and getting married.

Mom is more quiet and reserved compared to some of the more outgoing members of my family, but she is happy to talk once you get to know her.

Mom is good with languages. At one point, she was studying six!!! languages--Romanian, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, French, and Dutch. I asked her if studying all the different languages at once was confusing, and she said no, she really enjoyed seeing how the different languages compare. Hindi was especially interesting as it uses a different alphabet with 44 characters, with four different types of "T's" and four different types of "D's." It sounded pretty complicated to me! Now, of course, living in Israel, Mom is studying Hebrew.

Mom also plays the violin and the tin whistle--the last few times I heard her play, she was playing a lot of Irish folk music. (Did you know that she has perfect pitch?) She also designs and pieces quilt tops, and gardens.

Mom's mind works in unique and interesting ways (at least, I find them very interesting). She likes numbers and patterns. Once she designed a quilt top based on prime numbers. And just for fun, she recently worked out all of the repeating decimals up to 16 places. Even phonics instruction became an exercise in geometry, as she laid out grids of words that followed certain phonics patterns (all of her children became avid readers, for what it's worth).

Mom was happy to have me and my sons join her in her Texas home last summer. My brother Jesh finished school and moved in on the same weekend, so for a short time, Mom had three of her children at home, and the other two (married) within a short distance. But then Dad was invited to move to Israel, so she and Dad packed up and left. While Mom misses her family, she finds the challenge of settling into a new country to be quite interesting. She now spends quite a bit of time studying Hebrew, but still finds time now and then to post to her blog.

Coming soon: Meet My Family, Part 3!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Family, part 1

Updated 1/10

Hello friends,

I have a wonderful family. I am happy to talk about my family to anyone who will listen. Sadly, opportunities to talk about my family do not arise as often as I would like. So I have decided that I will share a little more about my family on my blog.

Many of you already know my family and will not be learning anything new here, so these posts are for those who don't know anything about my family, and are curious. :)

This is my dad.

Dad is a Bible scholar. He works for TBS (the Trinitarian Bible Society), doing translation work, in conjunction with Rev. Goldby of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Just last November, he and Mom moved to Israel to work more closely with the translation team there. They now live in a small flat in Jerusalem just minutes from the Old City.

He is a highly intelligent individual who loves to study theology and Scripture (and politics). He is also quite outgoing and happy to engage in long discussions of said topics. He acquires books in large quantities. When he moved to Israel, he took "only the essentials" from his book collection, which meant six or seven boxes' worth. He has excellent recall of almost everything he reads (I wish I knew how he does it!) For exercise, Dad runs regularly, up to six miles at a time--not bad for an old man!

Dad grew up in Indiana. He's the oldest of five siblings. He initially got a bachelors degree in music (he played the trumpet) but then became a school teacher, and taught elementary and special ed for years. When I was in high school, he went back to school himself and entered the field of computer programming.

Dad and my family are happy to belong to the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. After years of being a member from a distance, Dad was finally able to get a computer programming job in Houston, so he and the family moved there. Shortly afterwards, Dad was happy to land his "dream job" with TBS. And he hadn't been working for them for long before he was transferred to Israel.

Coming up next: part 2--my mom!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Noah's New Favorite Book

Noah's new favorite book: My World, by Margaret Wise Brown.

My World Lap Edition


I think Margaret Wise Brown must have paid a lot of attention to small children, because she really seems to know how their minds work. Noah, who has a favorite spoon that he requests at every meal, is fascinated by pages like "My spoon. Daddy's spoon. The moon belongs to the man in the moon." Sometimes he tries to pick the picture of the spoon off the page, and says, "Want it spoon. Can't get it spoon."

Which reminds me. The other day I found him with a board book about tractors. He was making distressed noises, and trying to stick his feet into the picture. "What's the matter, Noah?" I asked him. "Can't get in it," he whimpered.

Reminds me of a story Mom tells about when I was small. She found me ripping the page of a book, and asked me what I was doing. "Sure I can put my feet in the snow!" I told her. LOL

Elijah can read My World quite fluently. I think he has it half memorized, as he does most of the books in the house. Nowadays, when I go to the library, I pick out a few books just for Elijah, and refuse to read them out loud to him. "These are for you to read," I tell him, and he does. He does pretty well with "Step 2" readers.

More Noah cuteness (in my opinion, of course): his two new favorite phrases are "Maybe," and "I think." Often I will give him two options, for instance, "Noah, would you like to go a little more quickly, or would you like to ride in the stroller?" (He moves at a snail's pace.) He ponders this, then tells me "Maybe just walk." Or I say "Would you like Raisin Bran or Cheerios?" to which he responds, "I think Bam Ban." Raisin Bran is his favorite cereal. Strange child.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Go Buy Stamps

Hi friends,

Stamps go up in price by 2 cents on Monday. So tomorrow while you're out, pick up some "Forever" stamps.

You're welcome,
Sharon

p.s. What's that you say? Stamps are for Luddites? Ha, funny.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I like bad puns :)

So, lately, I have been immersed in the topic of baptism. :)

LOL okay, that was horrible, I know.

I have been attending a membership class at my church for a few months now, and recently spoke to a pastor about interviewing for membership. As I had expected, he told me that upon becoming a member, I would be expected to get the boys baptized (they haven't been). The problem is, I don't understand infant baptism, and never have, really.

So I have embarked upon a quest to "get" infant baptism. I have been talking to my pastor and my parents, and reading extensively from books, articles, and online discussions. The more I read, the farther I think I am from a conclusion (at least, the farther I am from the "right" conclusion, that is paedobaptism). I have encountered some good arguments and some bad arguments on both sides. As soon as I come across an argument that I think has settled the issue for me, I come across an equally convincing rebuttal of said argument. *sigh*

I found these two interesting sites, and thought I would share them:
www.puritanboard.com (discussion forums)
www.monergism.com (collections of articles, sermons, etc)

I'm also struggling with the issue of authority as a single mother. If I were married, then obviously I would have a husband/head to lead in these decisions, but as a single mom, am I entirely "headless"? What role do the church and my father play? Tough questions! (at least for me!)

Well, just thought I would share what's on my mind lately. I hope this isn't too personal! In case you're curious, here's the latest article I read:
A String of Pearls Unstrung
Feel free to let me know what you think of it!

EDIT: I did, after weeks of study, thought, and prayer, finally "get" infant baptism. More here.  By that time, though, I was in the middle of a move to Texas, so it wasn't till the following summer that my boys were baptized at the FP church in Santa Fe.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Elijah's hearing, update

Well, Elijah passed his hearing test with flying colors. The doctor says that based on his hearing test results alone, he ought to be able to hear the spoken word without any trouble. However, his ears aren't quite in normal condition--they do have fluid and bubbles in them, which led the doctor to do a tympanogram (measures vibration of the eardrum). The tympanogram was also abnormal, so the doc prescribed a nasal spray to be used for six weeks, at which point we'll get him re-tested.

I'm not sure how everything fits together--he passes a hearing test easily, yet his eardrums aren't vibrating like they should? And how does a nasal spray have anything to do with the ears? I have a little more research to do.

To clarify, once I get Elijah's attention and he looks at my face, he can understand me without difficulty--it's just getting his attention in the first place that's hard to do. Perhaps he just gets so absorbed in what he's doing that he tunes out the world around him; he can be pretty intense about things like Legos and books. :)

Speaking of books--the boys went to the library with their dad yesterday, and Elijah helped pick out a half-dozen books, mostly about volcanoes and astronomy. The one that looks most interesting delves into topics like quasars, relativity, and dark matter--of course it also extensively discusses how those interesting topics relate to the theory of the Big Bang. I'll probably end up skipping every other paragraph, as I don't want to get into the Big Bang theory just yet. :)

And to conclude, a couple of pictures of the child in question. First, with a book about human anatomy. I told him to pick out his favorite page to include in the photograph, and he picked this one:

And secondly, here he is with a Lego "mountain." I know these aren't technically Legos; maybe they're Megablocks or Duplo or something. Anyway, we call them Legos. This photo is from a few weeks ago--note the old carpet, now gone. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elijah's hearing

Elijah has a doctor's appointment next Tuesday to get his hearing checked. His hearing seems to have gone downhill the last few months. Please keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday April 14th

Today is cold and chilly. I went for a long (3+ miles) walk down a route I used to take when I was young and crazy, which would be, oh, seven or eight years ago? Not much has changed since I last went in that direction, except that part of the sidewalk has been replaced with a nifty boardwalk. The "goat farm" is still the same, and the roundabout, and the creek. I ought to go in that direction more often.

I passed a couple of runners, which got me thinking. Two years ago I ran a 5K in June and set a blistering pace--finished up at 37:50. I'd kind of like to run the same race again this year, and see if I can break my record. Which you might not think would be hard to do, seeing as 37:50 equates to well over 12 minutes a mile...but I haven't actually started really running yet , and the race date is June 6th. Do I have enough time to train properly? Meaning, can I get myself to the point where I can run the whole thing without collapsing? Hmmm...

I think perhaps I'll go ahead and register, to ensure that I'm motivated to get going with this running thing. Do I have any Bloomington readers who would like to join me in my quest? To qualify as my training partner, you must be very. very. slow. :) Perhaps I'll use this Couch to 5K running plan again. I just barely have time to complete the 9-week program before the race.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rose of Sharon

I was named from Song of Solomon 2:1. "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."

Here is a modern-day Rose of Sharon (not thought to be the rose of Sharon mentioned in Scripture):


A humble sort of flower, really. But did you know that hummingbirds like it?

The Rose of Sharon is a shrub or small tree. It comes in various shades of white, lavender, or purple, but I like the white ones best.


When my parents lived in Freedom, Indiana, they had a couple of Rose of Sharon bushes out by the barn, next to the gravel road. One was white, and one lavender. They probably could have used some pruning. It's funny, I don't remember the hummingbirds out by those bushes, but I do remember that the bees liked them.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Success! ...sort of

Well today I went clothes shopping again, yes, in spite of my lousy experience last time. My unfailingly optimistic self was just sure that I would find something this time around. And yes, I did have some success--sort of. After five hours (not kidding, sadly) of searching and trying things on, I found a shirt that is cute, feminine, and modest, mostly. Of course, the neckline is too low and loose, but I think it should be pretty easy to fix--it's gathered with elastic in a casing, so all I have to do is open up the casing and take in the elastic a little bit. I was so happy to find something that would work, I bought two! I also found a tank top to go under things. So all in all, I had a fairly successful day (if you call finding three things in five hours a success).

Still searching for: a pair of sandals that I could walk a couple of miles in. Sadly, I am having trouble finding a good affordable and practical sandal that fits well.

Now clothes shopping was not actually part of the plan for today. I actually meant to finish up some of the trim work in the living room, and I was also hoping to go for a run (*ahem* meaning, a walk with brief jogging intervals). But now I only have an hour until the boys come back from their dad's, which is not enough time to do both, and besides I have to start getting ready for tomorrow (making sure church clothes are cleaned and ironed, planning meals, tidying the house, etc.)

OH I almost forgot! Yesterday I went to a performance of "St. Matthew's Passion" by Bach. What a treat! Actually it was a dress rehearsal, not the actual performance, but a delight none the less. I've never heard this piece before, but a few parts were quite familiar; for instance, I was delighted to hear the melody to one of my favorite hymns, "Oh Sacred Head, Now Wounded." I enjoyed myself quite thoroughly, even though the pews in that church were very hard and uncomfortable, and the rehearsal wasn't over till 11:30 p.m.!

All right, I'm heading to the park to go for a run (err, walk).

Monday, March 30, 2009

I made chocolate crinkles the other day. Elijah and Noah helped.

And a couple of weeks ago I got new glasses. I would just like to take a moment to say how happy I am with www.39dollarglasses.com. I got a complete pair of glasses, lenses, frames, and all, for 39 bucks. Well, plus $4.95 shipping. Sadly, I have not got any pictures of myself in said glasses, but Elijah volunteered to show them off for me.

Elijah is less obsessed with the planets lately, because he has discovered a new fascination: volcanoes! I explained volcanoes to Elijah when we heard about the eruption of Mt. Redoubt in Alaska, and they've been on his mind ever since. We got a couple of books from the library to help answer his questions. A particularly exciting moment for Elijah was when we discovered a photo online of a volcano on Mars! Volcanoes and planets together? Wow! He was impressed.

Noah is talking up a storm these days. This morning he woke me up to give me a "Hug and a 'queeze and a kiss on a fo-head." Then he wanted the same in return, and, well, how could I not oblige such a sweet request?!? He also says "I yuv you," a lot, and you should hear the enthusiasm with which he says "Thank you!" and "You're welcome!" It's interesting to see how his and Elijah's talents develop in such different ways. I could go on for ages about the differences between the two...

Last but not least, I have a new house! At least, it feels that way. I found a nice individual from my church to redo my upstairs bathroom for me. Everything in that bathroom is now brand spanking new (well, except the vanity, which I found at the Restore--love that place). Said individual was also kind enough to patch a small hole in the floor, and to stabilize my wobbly banister. Shortly after the bathroom was completed, I got new carpeting on all three floors (basement, main floor, upstairs). And Mom has been busy painting trim and walls and wrapping up various small projects. So now my home feels fresh and clean rather than dingy and worn; the place looks great! And all of a sudden, the burden of things to do seems so much lighter--this house is almost done, and ready to sell! Wow!

Bedtime again! Where does the time go?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I hate shopping!

Why does clothes shopping have to be so difficult? I spent a good part of my day looking for some clothes that would be
1. modest
2. attractive
3. affordable
4. comfortable
5. practical (i.e. suitable for an active lifestyle)
6. well made
and had absolutely no success. I find clothes shopping to be physically and emotionally exhausting.

If I buy stuff in my size, it's too form-fitting to be modest or comfortable. If I go up a size or two, I look sloppy. Am I the only person that finds this so difficult?

If I had more time, I could sew my own clothing; if I had more money, I would be more likely to find what I needed in the stores; but I have neither. *sigh*

I am seriously exhausted and I am going to bed (daylight savings time kicks in tomorrow, yay)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Conversation this morning:

Elijah: You be the mother bunny, and I'll be the baby bunny.
K: My name is Cinderella.
Elijah: No, you can be the mother bunny, and I'll be the baby bunny.
K: No, I'm Cinderella!
Elijah: But I don't want to play princesses! You can be the mother bunny.
K: No, she can be the mother bunny (pointing at me).
Elijah: No she can't, she's the great-great-aunt bunny. You have to be the mother bunny.
K: But there are no bunnies in Disney!

We have conversations like this almost every day. The other day it went like this:
Elijah: I'll be Elijah, and you be the prophets of Baal. (!?!? I wasn't sure how I felt about this one.)
K: No, I'm Cinderella.
A: *echoes* 'Ella!
Elijah: But you have to dance around the altar like this. (demonstrates by jumping up and down)
K: I know, I'll be Snow White!

Perhaps Elijah needs to have some little boys for friends! Not to criticize K, as I was a girly girl myself when I was that age (hard for me to imagine now). I'm so used to little boys and their trains of thought now, that it's hard for me to remember that when I was K's age, I was fascinated with princesses and ballerinas, and loved wearing twirly dresses (okay, I still love wearing twirly dresses).

Friday, February 27, 2009

I've been waiting for this moment!!!

Today something exciting happened! Elijah spontaneously read a book to Noah. Before breakfast, Noah plopped himself down in Elijah's lap with a book (which looked slightly ridiculous, I might add, as Noah is almost as big as Elijah) and Elijah obligingly read it to him. I've always said that it would be so nice when Elijah could read to Noah, and now that moment has finally come! This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it, as Noah looks so silly on Elijah's lap:

And here are a few more pictures. Elijah sounding out words (though he insisted that this was chapter thirty-one, rather than chapter one):

Noah, being his cute self:

Elijah and K., the oldest girl I watch: (she does such a better job of posing for pictures than Elijah does! When I get out the camera, Elijah starts making ridiculous faces.)

Noah and A., K's little sister:

And I guess that's all for now, since Blogger will only let me upload five pictures at a time, and it's time to go fix lunch. We're having fresh broccoli!!! The kids will be delighted. Every time I fix fresh broccoli, they practically inhale it. I finally got wise and started fixing two heads of broccoli instead of just one. After the broccoli, we're having what we call chicken enchiladas, though I think technically it would be a burrito. Those are another kid favorite. Better go get started.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More boys

Since this blog is entitled "Sharon's Babies" I thought I might as well inundate my readers with updates about my boys for a while. :)

Noah has reached the point where he fully expects that I will understand everything he says, and gets frustrated when I don't. This morning, as soon as he climbed out of bed (at the blissfully late hour of 6:45--it was so nice to sleep in!) he was saying what sounded like "inna" or "anna" and pointing at the bed with an expectant expression. I could not figure out what he could be talking about. Finally I concluded that he was asking for a specific stuffed animal which he expected me to find under the blankets, but which stuffed animal? I have no idea which one he would have named "inna" or "anna" or "innit" or whatever it was.

Yesterday Noah was attempting to swing a short length of cord around in circles like a lasso. I heard a number of frustrated shrieks as he just couldn't get it to work. Finally I sat down and coached him till he got it--he was so proud of himself! Speaking of yesterday, that's Noah's new favorite word. He's been saying things like "Daddy deh-daday," to which I reply, "Yes, you did see Daddy yesterday."

Elijah is fixated on the planets! Before he had finished his breakfast, he was asking me, "Why do only three of the planets have rings?" "Why does Venus spin this way and all the other planets spin that way?" (demonstrating by waving his arms around). Etc. etc. We can see Venus in the evening sky (at least I think it's Venus) and he keeps telling me "I think maybe that's Pluto; I'm not sure," even though I've told him at least half a dozen times that Pluto is too far to be seen without a telescope.

Elijah's other interest is anatomy. The other day he created a lego creature that he informed me was a bear, complete with trachea, lungs, and a tailbone. If he makes one like that again, I will definitely have to take a picture! It's not the sort of thing you would recognize at first glance--you would definitely need him to identify the components for you--but it's neat that he attempted to include some of the internal organs!

The other night I found some candlesticks and candles in the basement, and thought, "Hmm, we might as well be using these." So we've been eating our dinner by candlelight the last week or so, with classical music (Mozart, the last few days) playing in the background...makes a very classy setting for our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! LOL Not that we eat peanut butter and jelly every night, mind you, but I find myself more likely to cook a "real" meal at lunch time, and do something quick and easy for dinner.

If I forget to light the candles, Noah is quick to remind me, "Forgot someping. Forgot candles." He is also quick to remind me if I forget to give thanks for a snack! "Forgot to pray, Mama!" Good thing I have this little one to keep me on my toes!

These boys are growing so fast! I'm finally coming to accept the fact that Noah, almost two years old, is no longer my baby. Even the little ones I watch are all growing up; the smallest is now a year old, and walking. Good thing I will soon have two little nieces to hold and play with from time to time. :) Seems like everyone is pregnant these days--six family members and family friends will be having babies in the spring, if I counted correctly.

Well, Elijah wants a second breakfast, and so do I, so off I go.

Friday, February 13, 2009

this and that

What are the boys up to lately? Hmmm...

Elijah continues to learn to read. We make regular trips to the library. His latest favorite is a book about the planets (he can't read it all yet, but he likes to have it read to him). The last couple of nights he took it to bed with him because he said "When I wake up in the morning, you can read it to me the first thing." He loves our MegaBlocks/Duplo/whatever they're called. And he has been asking tough questions like the following: "I was just thinking about something. Do the worms like it when the birds eat them? I'm not sure about that." LOL That was a tricky one.

Noah is talking quite a bit now. He loves to be read to--his favorite is "Goodnight Moon" and he likes to find the mouse on every page. He is learning his colors and some of his alphabet letters--so far he knows A, M, and O. He recognizes the word "Daddy" which I discovered when I wrote it on a piece of paper to keep him quiet in church, and he pointed and shouted "Daddeeeee!" quite loudly. Any other word that I write for him, he assumes says "Mama." Ever since he got over his tummy illness, I have been hearing a lot of "Eat someping, Mama? Eat someping? Hunnngeeeee." His favorite foods are spaghetti and ketchup. He also likes applesauce which he calls applesalsa. Oh, and he is very polite, always saying "Peese" and "Thank you" or "No thank you," usually without being reminded (he learned that soooo much more quickly than Elijah did!) Last but not least, he has a cute sense of humor. Here is a conversation from the other day:
Me: Do you like to eat pizza?
Noah: Noooo!
Me: Do you like to eat peanut butter?
Noah: No! No thank you.
Me: Do you like to eat chocolate chips?
Noah: No thank you. Eat CARS! *laughs and laughs* Noooo, no eat cars. (said in a "how silly" sort of tone)

And what am I up to lately? Hmm...well I put myself on a strict schedule which has made me surprisingly productive. I made sure to schedule some crafting time too. :) Perhaps I'll post some pictures soon of some of the crafts I've been working on.

On Feb 10th we took our first walk to the park. (2.7 miles round trip, thanks again g-map pedometer) Elijah seems to have gotten out of shape over the winter--last summer he would happily run/walk the whole way there, but this time he prefered to ride in the double stroller, which of course made it much more challenging for me. I am still longing for a nice double jogging stroller, and if I ever find one used, I will buy it, even if I do have to resell it in five months when I move.

Last but not least, I got a new computer from a friend of a friend, whose workplace was selling their old computers for $25...this one runs sooooo much faster, and even my internet works better, strangely enough. Oh, and I discovered Google Analytics. Pretty nifty. I can track traffic to my blog and to my Etsy shop (yes, I have an Etsy shop, but there's nothing in it yet--when I put something in it, I'll post the link here).

Okay, that's all for now, and don't miss the next post about my new favorite piece of music.

All right, here it is

My speakers still aren't really working--I had to hold the speakers up to my ear to hear this, but it sounds good enough to do for now. I might edit to change the video later.

Saturday mornings in the summer, the boys and I like to go to our local farmer's market. The local farmers' market is more than just booths selling fruits and vegetables, potted plants, honey, and locally raised meats--there are also usually a number of musical performances to see. You might see anything ranging from the lone musician with his/her instrument and/or voice, to a small orchestra set up on the plaza in front of city hall, and everything in between. They might be playing anything from traditional folk music to jazz to classical. Suffice it to say that for those who appreciate good live music, our local farmer's market is quite a treat.

Anyway, one summer morning I took Elijah into city hall to use the bathroom. Sitting in the lobby was an Asian man playing an instrument that I'd never seen before, with a long neck and a bow (later I learned that it was probably a traditional Chinese instrument like an erhu). The music was unlike anything I'd ever heard, and breathtakingly beautiful. The acoustics in the building were perfect for a lone musician of that sort. Sadly, the farmer's market was drawing to a close, and after a few minutes he packed his instrument away. I left wondering what the instrument was and wishing that I could have heard more.

Then a few weeks ago I was listening to NPR late in the morning, and heard the following piece. The violin music sounds much like the music I heard that morning last summer. I was thrilled and of course wrote down the name of the piece to look up later. I'm a little disappointed that the instrument played here is the violin rather than the traditional Chinese instrument, but the violin here is played in a similar style and sounds quite beautiful. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Coming tomorrow!

Coming tomorrow: my new favorite piece of music--the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto by Chen Gang. I heard this on NPR and fell in love with it. I'll check out a few videos on Youtube and pick one to post tomorrow. Right now it's bedtime!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Noah made a pun

I was getting Noah ready for bed last night and when he was all set, I gave him a few pats on his bottom. He giggled but shook his head "no" and said "Stop spankin' me, Mama." I said, "What, you don't want a spanking?" ...and he said "No spank you." LOL

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day


Today is a snow day for me. Indiana University is closed for the day, which is highly unusual; and of course all the local middle and high schools are closed as well, which means that all of the parents of the girls I watch are off work for the day; therefore I have an unexpected day off as well.

The above picture is the view out my front door. Looks like most of my neighbors are staying in for the day.

And here's my own car. I don't think I'll be going anywhere any time soon. :)
The only thing that bothers me about being snowed in is the fact that I really need to make a trip to the library. I have overdue books to return, and I need to check out another book to read for a book club this Saturday. But the library is closed due to the weather, so there's no point in shoveling the snow off my car and attempting the short drive.

Yesterday evening I went for a walk in the snow and sleet. The sleet accumulated on my glasses but I was well bundled up and quite enjoyed my tromp through the snow. I went 1.3611 miles (thank you Gmaps Pedometer) and listened to the hush that falling snow creates. The roads were slick--even the snowplows were moving in slow motion--but the sidewalks had all been shoveled recently enough that my non-booted feet stayed dry.

For my southern readers who may be assuming that all Midwestern winters are like this--well, they're not; here in southern Indiana, we only get a snowfall like this once every couple of years. Usually we don't get more than a couple of inches of snow, and it's often melted within two or three days.

All righty, better go be productive.