Saturday, January 24, 2015

Borrowing a Dove's Wings

I believe it was during my sophomore year of college that my roommate had a beautiful poster of a bird in flight with the words of Psalm 55:6 on it: "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest."  I loved that picture and those words and often found myself glancing at it, especially during the challenges that year held for me.

Well, every year holds challenges; and as time has gone by, I have continued to remember that verse and have, at times, longed with great earnestness for dove's wings with which to escape and find rest.  I still haven't sprouted any, but Jeff has graciously provided some for me; and you know, they look an awful lot like airplane wings!  ;-)

It's likely that, while you're reading this, I will be in the air, flying across the continent from Virginia to British Columbia.  You see, my aunt lives there--the aunt whose husband passed away unexpectedly back in October--and Jeff has generously made a way for me to visit her.  In the fall, I wanted very much to fly up for the memorial service for Uncle Jay; but despite hours of searching, Jeff couldn't find any plane tickets that weren't horrendously expensive.  Plus, with very little time to arrange childcare, the logistics were overwhelming; and we scrapped the idea of me going north for a visit at that time.

Lo and behold, plane tickets to Canada in January were much cheaper; and with time to figure out how to make it work, we were able to plan for me to fly up to visit Aunt Joyce and some of my cousins, while Jeff stays here and keeps the home fires burning.  Jeff told me that he figured once in every 17 years of marriage, I could take a trip like this. ;-)

Seriously though, I am SO grateful for the way he made this happen and the way he is unselfishly taking on more of the tasks of keeping our family going, so I can run away for a few days.  I know our kids are in such good hands, and I have no doubt they're going to have a blast with him (and with some kind friends who are helping out, too)!  :)

To tell you the truth, it wasn't as if I was feeling desperate for an escape.  I LOVE my life and my role as a stay-at-home wife and homeschooling mother.  I feel like I'm doing what I was made to do!  :)  But on the other hand, to shake off those responsibilities for a few days feels pretty nice, too.  :)  

I don't think I'll be online much, if at all, so don't be surprised at my absence.  But what I will be doing is soaking up every minute with my extended family that I love so much and see so rarely, and recharging my batteries so that when I return home, I'll be filled to overflowing and ready to pour myself out again for this handsome son of mine...
...and his brothers and sister and their daddy.  I can already imagine how GOOD it will feel to have their arms around my neck again!

Who knows, I might be so filled up that I'm even happy to see this face again.
Maybe.  ;-)

Friday, January 23, 2015

We Told the Kids. Now We're Telling You! :)

Every Time She Wears This Sleeper...

...the one that says...
..."love me" on the front...
...I want to scoop her up in my arms, give her a big hug, and say...
..."I DO love you, Moriah!  Oh, how I love you!!!"
I love you, and your brothers, and your daddy, so, SO MUCH!

And I always, always, always will.  :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Not Such a Little Bear Anymore

At some point in the very early part of Tobin's life, someone called him Tobin Bear.

I'm not sure who it was, or when it was, or why that person said it; but regardless, the nickname stuck and has been used countless times through the years.  As he's gotten older, maybe I've slightly reduced the number of times I call him that.  But maybe not.  He still is--and always will be--my adorable, beloved, sweet little Tobin Bear.  :)

But he's not such a little bear anymore!

This big bear boy had a birthday a week ago and is now seven years old!  Here are some pictures from his celebration.  :)

Because his birthday landed on a Monday this year, and because that's not exactly the most convenient day for a birthday celebration due to Monday evening rehearsals with the Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir, we decided to celebrate a day early.  Tobin didn't mind.  :)

Shav really wanted to be the one to hand the gifts to Tobin, and Tobin kindly let him do that.  :)

We gave him...

...a movie (Chicken Run)...


...a book (a collection of Berenstain Bears stories)...


...a battery-operated spinning toothbrush, new toothpaste, and new cup for the bathroom...

...a Star Wars sticker book...
...a Sketch Wizard drawing tool...

...a toolbox filled with real tools...

...a tabletop pinball game...

...and a musical Star Wars birthday card.

Everyone was eager to share the joy of the new items!  :)










Tobin had an unusual request for a birthday cake.  He wanted apple pie!  He said that when he had apple pie at Uncle David and Aunt Lori's house on Thanksgiving, it was SO GOOD that he wanted to have it again.  :)
I found a recipe for caramel apple pie and thought it looked and sounded delicious, but I had to improvise because I didn't have exactly the right stuff to make it.
The finished product certainly wouldn't have won any awards, but it sure tasted good.  :)
If I had to say which of his gifts was the best, I'd have to choose the tools.  Bright and early the morning of his actual birthday, Tobin was outside in the cold, damp weather, using his tools for a "horse stable" he and our neighbor boy Jason are building.  In reality, it is currently just some boards nailed together, but it's a start!  :)

In the page-a-day calendar I have by the kitchen sink, this was the page I discovered on Tobin's birthday.  It seemed especially appropriate for that day because, yes, we are a noisy family.  ;-)  But oh, how blessed we are--especially by the seven years of joy we've had with Tobin!!  :)

Before I finish this post, let me mention a few special things about Tobin.

* He says--and has for a long time--that he wants to be a cowboy.  He knows that he's got some big expenses coming up, like a horse and a saddle; and he's very motivated to earn "Cowboy Money" so he can save up for those items!  :)  The other day, he helped me carry in a lot of wood from the woodshed to our porch and was happy to receive a dollar of Cowboy Money.  Other times, he'll ask me if there are any jobs he can do to earn Cowboy Money, and I'll have him clean the stair railings and some mirrors and windows and things like that.  He's definitely motivated by Cowboy Money!  :)

* Almost every afternoon, he spends some time playing outside with Jason, our neighbor.  Shav, who is closer in age to Jason, joins in sometimes, too, but at other times, chooses to stay in the house and play inside (which is what I would choose, too, in the wintertime!).  :)  Tobin, on the other hand, is rarely daunted by cold weather.  He'll spend hours outside and not seem to be bothered by the chill.

* One of the things that has brought Tobin much joy recently is riding his bike.  I forget if I mentioned it on the blog--I think it must have just been on Facebook--but Tobin determinedly taught himself to ride without training wheels, one cold day in December (I think).  I looked back at previous posts and discovered that Josiah taught himself to ride a bike when he was seven, as did David.  It appears that, without even trying to, Tobin beat both his big brothers by accomplishing this when he was still six.  :)

* Tobin's special love for animals continues.  I don't know when we first noticed this characteristic about him; but at least by the time he was a year and a half, I had written about it.  I know he's only seven, and I know there is much time ahead in which he can change his mind, and I'm not trying to cement him into a career path at such a young age, believe me!  But I would not be a bit surprised if he ends up choosing a job that involves working with animals.  Even if he doesn't, I'm guessing he'll have quite a menagerie of pets in his home.  :)

Many, many times when Tobin was a baby, the word "adorable" came to my mind when I thought of him.  I flat-out adored that boy!  A lot has changed in the past seven years, but this has not: I still adore him!  :)

Happy 7th birthday, sweet Tobin Bear!  We love you so much and thank God for the gift that you are to us!!!  :)