One Down, Seventeen to Go

Dear Erin,

Thank you for your prayers. It would be nice if life was easy, but it rarely is. I hope you get a break in the weather soon, or at least a break from the weather.

Let’s talk about something more fun. I promised pictures from the party today, so here you go. I found during the process that a party, like a story, is all the better for editing. I had some grand plans, but in the end, for everyone’s sanity it was better for us to simplify. So – cake mix, only three colors of icing, one pic of LM instead of one from each month. I hope I remember this next year.

Unfortunately, I was still too busy to take many pictures, so the selection is limited – mostly to cake time.

balloons

The balloons were the most popular item with the under-3 crowd, and none of them popped, amazingly. No startled tears, so I consider them an unqualified success. The older kids had fun playing on Little Mister’s new slide from Mom and Dad, and then doing bubbles. The Pinterest party ideas I saw seemed a little insane and not a little awful about the children (Party game: “Snowflake says, ‘Guess how old I was when I turned over?'”). So in the end I ignored it all and went classic with rainbow colors and circle shapes – and toys for the kids and chat for the grownups.

1stcupcake

We had cupcakes – chocolate and vanilla, with blue, yellow, and “red” (as red as you can make white icing in less than 10 minutes, so really pink) icing. LM’s had the number candle; the others had stars. The cupcakes were another hit with the kids. The chaos level seemed to go WAY up once the cupcakes were broken out, and at that point, I was very glad we had a backyard.

bdaycake

He didn’t really recognize the cupcake as food even after I broke it up and handed him the plate, and he was completely flummoxed by the singing. But once I actually put a little piece in his mouth, he worked it out. He didn’t eat much, but he seemed to enjoy what he had, even dancing a little while he was eating each piece. Yesterday, I caught him chewing on some frosting crumbs I had missed during cleanup, so I suspect he’s looking forward to the next time he gets to have straight up sugar and fat. (His father says that won’t be until his next birthday.)

He got lots of very nice presents and will be one of the best dressed kids around for the next few months – he even got a panama hat! And a Steampunk Alphabet book – with the Doctor on the “T for Time Machine” page (I enjoyed finding that Easter egg). Of course, his favorites so far are the toys.

Everyone’s least favorite present was his first ear infection, which showed up this week. Poor baby hasn’t been a happy camper, and on Tuesday he was more cuddly than he’s ever been in his life. But Wednesday, we got meds, and he perked right up again. But I think this week has worn the boy out.

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As for me, I was happy with how last Saturday turned out, and I celebrated in a quiet way once everyone was gone and LM was in bed. I can’t believe he’s been with us a year!

celebrating 1 year

Springtime

Dear Kristen,

I’m so sorry for what’s going on over there in your church; I’ve been praying.  Praying and praying.

Praying for healing.

Praying for sleep – for us.

Praying for a multitude of requests.

And praying for springtime to show up.

It seems to be a confused sort of season.  Last night, lows in the 30s. Today, high of 58.  Tomorrow, high of 78 (Praise the LORD!) Saturday…low of 27.  (For awhile there, the forecast included snow for Saturday which made me cry a little.  And whine a lot.)

And no flowers yet.  Makes you want to leave the Commonwealth and head to our native land for an extended vacation.

Side Note: She still fits in this, almost 2 years later.  I have petite children.

Side Note: She still fits in this, almost 2 years later. I have petite children.

Why I’m Fasting This Week

Dear Erin,

Little Mister’s party on Saturday was a lot of fun and nearly exactly what I wanted it to be. He and his dad might have been skeptical beforehand…

LM Skeptical

but I knew what I was doing. More details and pictures on Friday.

But today I’ve got something else on my mind. Yesterday, our church became aware of some disunity among the leaders, and some controversial decisions that had been made, and so the congregation is uncertain and in pain right now. I don’t think details are important or appropriate here, but what I do know is that God doesn’t like to see the members of His Body hurting each other, or His children hardening their hearts against one another and not practicing the grace, mercy and forgiveness He has shown each of us. We talk it and think we are doing it, until it’s hard to do. And then we are called to give grace sacrificially like Jesus does and mercy sacrificially like Jesus does and forgiveness sacrificially like Jesus does!

And we have to be humble enough to sacrifice ourselves and our pride to really love and to really hear other people, even if we’re dead sure they’re wrong. Charles and I have been through the deaths of two previous churches and that leaves lasting scars, even when God does bring good out of it. I really, really, really don’t want to go through that again.

So, because I’m a member, and because I love my church, and because I believe that God can bring guidance, supernatural healing, and reconciliation if we ask, I’m going to be asking – constantly – until an answer has come. I’ll be praying and studying the unity of God’s people in the Scriptures, and even though I hadn’t planned to fast during Lent, I’ll be fasting on Wednesdays at least, starting this week.

I don’t know what God’s plan for our church is. One thing I have learned from the two earlier churches is that the Lord is who I base my faith upon, not the imperfect and fallible church, as much as I love the church. But I know He can do miracles. And if what we need now is miraculous reconciliation and great love and forgiveness among each other, I know He can do that. And I refuse to forgo the possibility of receiving that miracle just because I didn’t ask strongly enough. I’ve never been great at perseverance, but now is a great time to work on that virtue. I want to be like the persistent widow in the parable, who won’t give the judge peace until he grants her request (Luke 18:1-8).

I won’t ask you to fast, as you’ve done plenty of that lately for other reasons, but I’d really love it if you could be praying, too.

Getting Cultured

Dear Erin,

See, this is how I know it’s really my sister writing on the other end of this blog. When you hear “Montgomery,” you think WWII general. When most other people I know hear “Montgomery,” they more likely think this.

Anyway, I approve of your name suggestion for the cow, and I would totally use it…except for two slight problems. One, how do I explain to Little Man when he’s five that an Angus is a type of beef cow and people eat beef cows? (His cow is a dairy cow, or would be if it was real.) I don’t really want him to become a vegetarian at five because he’s traumatized by the thought of eating his best stuffed friend.

Also, I feel like a cow named Angus should look more like this.

These are Scottish Highland cows. Or, as we call them in this house, “fuzzy coos” – a holdover from our semester in Aberdeen. So, you know, the name Angus is Scottish, these are Scottish. Done, and done.

Enough about the cow. This past week was very cultural for Little Mister. Last Friday, he and I went for the first time to the Children’s Discovery Museum, and it was totally awesome. We had a picnic in the park outside under a tree that had a surprise in its branches.

yarnbomb

Yarnbombed!

And then we went inside, where there are lots of fun things for older kids – a bubble room and a fire engine and even an exhibit on mammoths, so Little Man could bring Monty to check out his relatives some time. But even for the very littlest, they have a fun room to play and learn in.

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Song time!

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Look how many of me there are!

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He has blocks; they must be better than mine.

We were there for well over an hour, and he had a great time and just conked out when we got back home.

Friday was much more his speed than was the museum we visited on Saturday – the Legion of Honor art museum in San Francisco – but Charles and I really liked it. While we were there, a string quartet was performing, and the way the music filled the high-ceilinged rooms and just hung in the air was ethereal. And then the artwork was kind of funny. I told Charles it was a little like someone took an art history class, then used their money to buy a piece from each person studied. So, name a famous male European painter up through the Impressionists and he is probably represented. Monet? Of course. El Greco? Yup. Gainsborough? Uh huh. And so on.

LM just liked the echoes, his own echoes especially. So we weren’t there for too terribly long, as we didn’t think everyone else enjoyed them quite as much. I had a good time, though, and then we drove home along the coast, capping off a lovely day.

So I’m sure LM is much more cultured now and well on his way to that PhD by the time he’s three.

Immigrants

Dear Kristen,

I’m so glad that Little Mister likes his cow!!  But Mr. Cow?  I guess if we’re being proper, that works…or Mrs. Cow.  But since the cow is an immigrant from England, I think he/she should have a British name!

Take for example: Baxter.

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He is definitely British.  Or sorta – because if we’re being technical he’d be from Antarctica.  But he could be from the British section of that frozen wasteland continent.  But Baxter just SOUNDS British!  Try saying it in an accent other than a British one and it doesn’t have quite the ring.  I think of The Great Mouse Detective – who’s name is Baxter.  And then, apparently Baxter means “baker” which brings to mind another fictional Brit.  This one:

So, yeah.  The penguin is British.

And then there’s Montgomery, or Monty for short.

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He’s an extinct, but awesome animal – the wooly mammoth! And I’m sure there are other, famous Montys but I only ever think of this one:

So, yeah.  The mammoth is also British.

As the cow hails from the same great-island-nation-that-is-not-as great-as-this-nation-but-is-still-pretty-cool that the mammoth and penguin hail from (because they are all Jellycats), its worth considering a British name.

Maybe….Angus?