Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pictures and videos

I just wanted to let you know that I uploaded some more pictures and videos:
December Pictures

("Tai-ann eatin' cake!")
(Follow the link above for more pictures.)

Here is a list of the recent videos:
A video from Carrie's birthday, playing with Sparky, Grandma and Grandpa.

The best one was Matthias' class playing "Feliz Navidad" at the Homelinks Christmas assembly.

Carrie Ann playing on the chairs at the assembly.

Bethany particularly wanted to share this one:

The kids playing in their secret house.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Rob posted a video of dolphins playing recently, which reminded me of a forward I got a little while ago:

The one with the nice music had embedding disabled, so follow the link:
Dolphins blowing ring bubbles

This is the one that came in the forward.

You can also read about the science behind how these bubble rings work -- even divers can make them!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Rob posted this song/video on his blog, and I wanted to share it here as well.

I don't know what the creators actually had in mind, but to me, it was the voice of God saying, "Be joyful! I want my children to be joyful!"
It reminds me of a song we sang in highschool choir: "And the Father will dance over you in joy" by Mark Hayes
(Full Text)
which was based on Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
(from the Bible Gateway).

Have you ever watched the movie "Evan Almighty"? The last scene always makes me think of this too. I am so sure that God dances, in pure joy!

Legalism doesn't allow dancing -- nor does it allow mourning. There are also times when I am sure God weeps -- at times with us, and at times over us! But that's a different one of Rob's posts!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advent Conspiracy Promo Video

This is for you, Caryn!

More videos

By the way, when I look at my previous post today, it give white boxes instead of movies. Does anyone else have this problem, or is it just me?

Here is one I've been waiting a long time to post: Carrie Ann's first word. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, skip to about 50 seconds.

Bethany's gymnastics class had their Christmas program last night. Here is her class' routine:

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Well, finally, I have some videos to share!

Carrie Ann dancing, last spring.

We went for a walk on Nov. 22 with three cameras, and got a few videos.
My first video with my new camera.
Going for a walk.
Playing in the new water park down the road from our house:

Swinging together (I had to post this because Aria and Silas both posted swinging videos recently too).

Another time, after we made bean bags, we had a bean bag fight.

I have a YouTube account, with the name FRMBCZ (our initials all strung together). Search on it to see other videos from the past year or two (we've had a bit of technical difficulty getting them sharable). I linked all the recent ones in this post. Find the link that says "More from FRMBCZ" to see more of my videos. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Finally, I got it working (with Frank's help, of course), so here are some pictures!

We made bean bags together!

Soon I hope to post videos, so I will leave it to you to see the rest of the pictures here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Too Long

Sorry it's been so long since I posted a picture! I got a new camera (which does videos, by the way), and a new version of linux -- comes with new versions of all the other software, hence... I have not yet figured out how to work everything to get pictures up. I am getting there piece by piece, and soon, soon....

Deb was right, it's not linear.... two nights ago, Carrie Ann slept in her own bed until 7:30 am (wow), but last night, she was in mine at 11:30 pm already.... well, we are still making some progress.

One more brag... today in school, we did our math drills as usual. Yesterday, Matthias and Bethany both did levels 3 and 4 -- addition facts up to 3+12 and 4+12. Matthias finished both in 10 minutes and got only one wrong! Today.... Matthias did 4 and 5 -- one level up -- and finished in only 9 minutes! Bethany finished all of 3 and 4 in only 15 minutes! (That's 50 questions.) Wow! They are learning a lot!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Multi-purpose words

Kids have a great way of using one word to mean lots of things. When Matthias was very small, "ha" could be house, horse, help, hard.... you get the idea. "Piteh" was computer and printer at the same time. Well, Carrie Ann has her own version. "A-body" (short A sound) means somebody, anybody, nobody, everybody -- you can usually tell by context which one she means! Another nice "a" word she has is "A-deng" for "again" -- she knows there's a g in there somewhere, just not quite sure where! Adeng, adeng, adeng!!! Do it adeng!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Prayer Works

I had a rough month last month -- first the concussion when my toe was being worked on, then the toe itself got infected. I was asking God why, what he wanted me to learn from all this (I don't think he caused it, but he must have allowed it for a reason). Well, after two weeks of nausea and dizziness, the concussion finally got quickly better when Frank and Charlie promised to pray for it. The infected toe continued to respond to nothing very well for another week -- until Jacqui and Candace prayed for it, then it quickly healed as well. A week later, to my frustration, I came down with a very bad, sick-in-bed kind of cold. I just couldn't shake it -- usually one day in bed will do it, but this time, I needed a second day, and still felt bad. Then on the third day, Carrie Ann got tired of napping with me all the time and said, "Mommy, wake up!" I explained that I couldn't "wake up" until I was feeling better. So she knelt on the bed, folded her hands and closed her eyes and said, "Jesus up away, mumble, mumble, Mommy all better, mumble, mumble, Amen!" (She knew it needed more words but wasn't sure what they were, so she just put in some random noises.) I thanked her, and said Jesus is very happy when his children pray to him! And after that, I no longer needed to stay in bed all the time!!! So what have I learned from all this? God didn't answer my prayers for myself -- he waited until I asked for help, and let my friends pray for me. I learned that we need to pray for each other, and let others pray for us. Not a new lesson, just one that needed to be reinforced, I guess. So if there's anything I can pray for you about, let me know!

Monday, November 3, 2008

9 hours!

Carrie Ann slept nine hours last night! Wow, wow, Wow! That's the longest she's slept yet, all the way from 9:30 pm to 6:30 am. I told her no more nursing until the sun came up, but I had 6 am in my mind. Then, when she woke at 6:30 and I nursed her, she paused to ask, "Mommy, why sun not up?" I told her it would be up soon, and it was getting light by the time she finished ("fish-ished, Mommy"). Now if only I could have slept. I woke up at 2 am and 4 am, according to our normal nursing schedule -- and at 2 had a hard time getting back to sleep! I resisted the urge to wake her up, though, because if I can train her to sleep through, surely I will get back in the habit too! Days are hard when you spend so much of the night wishing you could sleep. Oh, well, this too will pass.

Other favourite phrases: "Mommy, where you is?" "What Tysis/Betadane doing?" "Off we go" (Off-a-doe!)-- used anytime we are going anywhere, as in, "Mommy, in car, Daddy, off we go?" for "Mommy, can I go with Daddy when he leaves in the car?" "Tank-oo" has joined "pees", and she has a version of "you're welcome" which she throws in right after she says thank you sometimes. When she needs help, "Mommy, I needing howp!" or sometimes, "Umbey it!" (Open it.) And of course, "Why?" -- sometimes a dozen times in a row. I thought you didn't get that until 3!

In other news, my toe seems to be not infected anymore, though it still bleeds/hurts a little. My head is mostly better, I am only dizzy when I exercise or otherwise overdo it.

After this long break, I've been re-thinking school work, and we may not go back to all the book work we were doing -- it makes it easier to have something to hand in, but I'm not convinced it was helpful in actually teaching the kids. When they are free to explore, they learn new things and grow all the time. With all the book work, either it was covering old ground, or they weren't ready for it yet! Frustrating. Needs a bit more thought.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jesus Up Away

Just when Carrie Ann was learning that hot air balloons go "Up, up and away," she came across the story of Jesus' Ascension. Ever since, her favourite story has been "Jesus up away." She even asks for it when we are thinking of a song to sing! So, finally, I wrote a "Jesus up away" song for us to sing when Carrie Ann asks for it. She sang along on the chorus right way when I sang it to her! Here is a recording with Carrie Ann, myself, and Bethany joining in about halfway.

Jesus Up Away

Frank's comment was that it sounds like I'm singing the alto -- so I asked him to write the melody for me! So one day I may come out with an improved version. For now, it is fun to sing it along with Carrie Ann!
Jesus went up, up and away,
He will come back, one day to stay.
Jesus went up, up and away,
Look, he'll be back, quickly!

Jesus was born, lived as a man,
Later he died, but rose again.
He told his friends, "Go tell the world,
I will be back at the end."

Jesus went up to make a place,
In His big house, is lots of space.
There's room for you and room for me,
For all whose hearts are made clean.

While He is gone, the Spirit comes,
To do His work, 'til we go home.
Here on the earth, He'll clean our hearts,
Finish the work of rebirth!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall pictures

Deb, Brad and Caryn have been posting some awesome pictures of Aria and Silas, so I thought I should catch up on my pictures! For all the pictures, see the link at the side for the Family Picture Album. In the September folder, I added pictures of our trip to the beach:

Next is a folder from our trip to Calgary with Homelinks. We visited the zoo, Glenbow Museum, and Science World.

In the pictures from October, we had lots of fun playing in some beautiful maple leaves in the park.

And yesterday, for Sabbath, Frank got out the kites and we had a wonderful time flying them together!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Deb posted a request to respond to one of Brad's blog postings, "Failing All ‘Round?" and I had enough thoughts to justify a blog post of my own rather than a super-long comment.

The question, in a short nutshell, is "Can I succeed at work and family both, or do I have to pick one, and if so, which?"

I guess I fall pretty strongly on the "Choose family!" side. Perhaps this is partly because I am a woman (we tend to be more relational (ie family) and less idea/object (ie work) oriented). Perhaps it is partly because in my life I have chosen to give up a career and most hobbies in order to do a good job raising my family. The following is some of the thinking which has gone into my choice, and my continuing choice to stick to it. (By the way, if you notice a typo, put it down to the concussion. I've been making about 5 times as many as usual tonight.)

First, the eternal perspective. Naked we came into this world, and naked we will leave it (Job). The only thing we "do" on this earth which we can take to heaven with us, is people. Anyone converted by my Spirit-inspired efforts will be my friend for eternity. Furthermore, since I became a parent, I have responsibility before God for the souls of my children. So any work I do toward saving others needs to come after the work for my own family.

Second, Mom's example. All her life, Mom mourned her missed chance at a career. Until she got sick -- then her testimony was that it was as if God said to her, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" -- not because of the counselling job she never had, but because she raised four god-fearing children. (I can't tell if that is a sentence or not. Oh well.) And Mom did lots of unofficial counselling on the side, as we saw from the amazing turn-out at her funeral.

Third is my own experience. At one time, I thought that every action of living up to the certain standard I set myself was a necessity in my relationship with God. This made my life an un-ending pressure of duties and tasks, each equally as important as the other. A friend astutely pointed out to me that "You're having trouble balancing your roles as wife, mother, daughter, sister, church member, and child of God." She was right. You know what? On this earth, we can't do everything.

One of the most important things I learned in highschool (by experiment, not in class) was the 80%-20% rule: For 20% of the effort, you can get 80% of the result. If you want the next 20% (up to 100%) of the result, you need to put in the rest of the 80% of effort. In other words, you have to put in four times more effort for one-fifth the additional quality. I use this rule to great effect in mothering. For example, if I wanted to cook perfectly, I would have to put in 100% of my effort and would have no time or energy for cleaning, schooling, child-rearing or "the rest of the family". So instead, I put 20% of my energy into each area, and get 80% of the possible result. I'm not a perfect house-keeper, but I also homeschool. I'm not a perfect child-raiser, but I also share my life with the rest of my family, cook, clean, etc. I have learned to accept this -- that I can only do 80% of what I could do in any one area -- because of the following.

Priorities. This is what it really comes down to. If your work (may it be in saving souls) is your 100% priority, then I hope you don't have children. The second part of my experience was from a book by Elizabeth George, where she shared the following priority scheme (from memory, from 3 years ago): God -- spouse -- children -- home -- job -- relatives/church/volunteering. I don't remember the order of the last three. This finally brought sense to my life. If I don't have time in my life to spend with God, reading His Word and praying, then how can I really call myself a Christian? If I make my children more important in my time than my spouse, my marriage will fall apart (the demands of children are never-ending) -- and that's not much help to the children! If my home is in chaos, that will carry over into my job and prevent me from working effectively. If I have more loyalty to my church than to my spouse, my marriage will fall apart over a minor difference of doctrine! On the other hand, if I give my relationship with God priority, he will give me strength and wisdom to balance the rest. If I give my spouse priority, he will be a strong support for my work in the home and with the children. If I give my children priority, they won't distract me from my job when I have to work. And so forth. Her book was directed toward women, so I don't know how the priorities would change for a man.

Who do you want to be? Mozart, who died of excess at 35, or Heinrich Schutz, who composed some of his best works later in life and live to 87? (Please, if you pick Mozart, don't have kids! It's just not fair to them.)

God needs people who are 100% dedicated to him, in all that we do. If we have children, they are a big responsibility, and will play a big role in the work he wants us to do (but must not become our idols). Jesus left nothing concrete behind when he was done his work -- only 12 ill-prepared disciples. His greatest accomplishment, was to die at odds with the law. Yet, that was what it took to win everything. As long as we are looking to him, we don't know what it will be -- our job, our hobby, our kids -- which will make an eternal difference -- but we can know that he knows, and will guide us to the place he wants us at the time he needs us there. So be 100% sure to look to him!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Well, I saw the other doctor again on Friday, and he said, no, it is a concussion, not just an infection. I felt nauseous and dizzy again after Tuesday, and he suggested quitting the Advil (ibuprofen), which helped with the nausea. So I am slowly getting better, toe and head both, and getting used to spending lots of time in bed (I can't even read because it is hard to concentrate for long). God must have a reason for allowing this to happen, but I sure don't know what it is yet!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Well, I went in to the hospital yesterday because my toe suddenly looked quite infected. The doctor there was convinced that the nausea, dizziness and shaking were entirely due to the infection (which must have started days earlier and been hidden until then). So I am feeling better now, on antibiotics and ibuprofen. It is looking good!

Carrie Ann was wiping me out (in the midst of this all), by nursing every hour and a half for a couple nights. So I finally told her she only gets two sides (not left-right-left), and has to wait at least two hours until she nurses again. Well, the result of this is that she doesn't quite fall asleep nursing -- and that means when she wakes up at night, she doesn't think she should still be nursing -- so she goes back to sleep instead of crying to nurse! In the last three nights, she slept 6 hours, 6 hours and then 8 hours! (She's never slept 8 hours before!) I hope she keeps this up! And I hope soon I will be feeling better enough to sleep 8 hours too -- so far, because of resting during the day, I've been waking up at 2 or 3 and not able to fall asleep again for a couple of hours. So I haven't entirely benefited yet from Carrie's extra hours, but I'm sure I will if she makes it a habit!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Number Two, Number One!

Yay! Today Carrie Ann told me "Mommy, poopine", which usually means she has just peed, pooped, or farted. I asked if she wanted to go on the potty, and she said yes, and after a bit of work produced some "number two", for the first time! (You won't understand how excited I am until after you've changed a couple hundred poopy diapers!) This is also the first time she's used her potty since the first day -- when she peed in it twice. So I am excited and hope this is a trend she continues! (It's a trend of three now, Rob, right?)

In other news, my toe is feeling a bit better (dull roar rather than on fire) as of Saturday. However, that made me realized that the nausea and shivering was entirely related to the head injury, not the toe operation! So Frank and I figure I probably have a mild concussion, but there's no point in going to the hospital on a holiday weekend (wait for hours, then go on an 1.5 hr ride to the next hospital, ouch!). I will stay mostly in bed, walk around with my head "wrapped in cotton balls" (so to speak) when necessary, and see the doctor when he's back in the office -- provided nothing more serious appears. As long as I move my head and eyes slowly, and avoid sudden or sustained loud noises and tugging or pulling on my hair (poor Carrie Ann), I feel almost fine. Otherwise, dizzy, woozy, nauseous, with a little pain and fatigue. Then I go back to bed! Please keep praying for me. I am also asking God why this happened. Is there something he wants to tell me by it?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ups and Downs

Good news first! Yesterday we went swimming for physiotherapy, and all the kids did a super great job! Carrie Ann, with a pool noodle under her arms, was able to move through the water independently, at least a foot at a time (I remained within arm's reach at all times, of course)! Bethany swam across the width of the shallow end, coming up twice for air and swimming part of the way heads up, without touching the bottom at all! And Matthias finally overcame his fear of letting go, and pushed off from the wall about one foot, then swam under water back to Candace (about one foot). It seems like a little distance, but it is such a huge step for him to try moving through the water without holding on to anything or anyone! Wow, it is so amazing to watch these three precious children grow and develop!

Now the bad news... I had a badly ingrown toenail, and I went in to the hospital this morning to have the sides of it cut off and cauterized. Well, I fainted while he was anaesthetizing my toe, and managed to sit up and then fall off the bed before he could catch me! It was quite a shock for the doctor! I woke up with two faces bending over me, and said, "Where am I?" (Just like in the movies!) So I was on oxygen and a pulse monitor for a while, then went for head and neck x-rays. Good news is, nothing was seriously damaged. However, I had a long day in bed today with a sore neck, head, and foot. Please pray for my complete recovery!

I've been quite concerned with the news of the partial collapse in the USA lately -- I think it will get worse, friends, and if you are living in the city, I recommend that you move out as soon as possible (especially if you live in the States!). Prepare for a reduction in standard of living -- stock up on rice and beans (and learn to cook them). Make sure your heart is right with God and man. Don't store up your treasure on earth -- we may have more time in Canada, but I don't think our economy can survive when the US goes plunging. Keep the Sabbath holy, and don't support any religious legislation (church and state should stay separate!). You are all welcome to join us in Creston area if things get worse in your area! At least we have fresh water and agricultural land here. Ask God what you can do -- and as soon as he answers us, I will let you know where we are headed!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More Talking

Carrie Ann's favourite new word is "Sorry!" -- it works like a charm for making mad, sad people happy again! (For example, after she bites them....)

Frank got my microphone working again (Yay!), and Carrie Ann cooperated very well today, repeating words and not eating the mike!

Bethany and Carrie Ann on Sept. 24 '08 -- Carrie Ann still had trouble keeping the mike out of her mouth!
Carrie Ann and Matthias on Oct. 5 '08 -- he prompted her to say computer words like "web browser", and she cooperatively repeated all of them! At the end, I ask her to say "Finished", and she says, "Nope, more talking!" So we went on:
Bethany joined them, with a toy telephone -- notice how nicely Carrie Ann says "Sorry" and "Thank you".

Let me know how the sounds are, I'm still learning how to edit... Thanks!

Toilet Training

On Friday, I finally washed up the new (second-hand) potty a friend passed on to me, and as soon as I had it ready, Carrie Ann did two pees in it! She has sat on the toilet before, but never managed to put anything in, so I was really excited! Her first pee in the potty! Unfortunately, she loves to sit on the edge, which makes it tip, so this morning she didn't want to sit at all and peed on the floor instead! Like Deb said, it's not linear progress -- there will be ups and downs, but we will get there eventually! Matthias was toilet trained at 4 and Bethany at 3, maybe, hopefully, Carrie Ann will decide to cooperate and be done at 2?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting Big!

My family is getting big! I can't believe it, I cooked a whole five pound bag of potatoes today (our favourite way, baked wedges), and we ate it all up!

I've been very busy with school (I actually got sick last week because I was just so busy...). Bethany can read lots of three letter sight words now ("the" and "and," for example), and is working on long vowels. ("Why would it have two sounds? Why would it sound different if there's another vowel? Why don't you just write "ay" A? (Capitalize to show long vowels)) She's also been working on drawing hands, and today drew a life-sized hand with rings on each finger. Yesterday she drew a princess with full sleeves and the right number of fingers!
Matthias is working on breaking down long words to sound them out accurately -- af-fec-tion-ate-ly, for example, or today's Aus-tra-lia. He is also drilling to memorize the addition facts up to 20 -- and not getting completely frustrated yet!
Carrie Ann writes:
Yesterday she said to me, "Mommy, sit-down table, drink water! Like me, drink water!" Today she asked me, "I yike tum-up, Mommy!" (I would like to come up (be picked up), Mommy!) "Pud-it 'way!" means "Put it away!", and when she was playing she said, "Girl is sleeping ("syeepeen"). Another ("nu-doe") girl is sleeping. A boy is sleeping." When she was drawing she told me, "Me dawyeen piecess!" (I'm drawing a princess!). At the table yesterday she said to Frank, "Pass-it salt, please!"

We are reading Gordon Korman's "I want to go home!" together, and the kids have fun yelling "Miller!" along with the story (Miller is the kid who keeps trying to run away from camp). Carrie Ann says, "Miya!"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bethany's new glasses!

Bethany got glasses this week!
On Tuesday we had the eye check up, on Wednesday we went in to choose a frame, and on Thursday we picked up the glasses! She is near-sighted, so doesn't need them for school work or reading, just for distance viewing (eg. watching a movie from the couch).

She picked a nice pink sparkly frame which looks very good on her (in my opinion), and also resembles my first pair of glasses. Interesting!
See my family picture album (link at right) for more on the neat dolls the kids are holding!

The Year of Living Biblically

Is a great book I read recently by AJ Jacobs. It is a chronicle of his year of trying to follow all the rules of the Bible indiscriminately -- starting off as a secular humanist agnostic, a non-practicing Jew. Since I also try to "live biblically", it was very interesting to read someone else's journey through the same ideal, but from a very different starting point. First of all, he discovered that picking and choosing is not optional -- although he set out to follow "all the rules", from the very beginning this was impossible. In my opinion, that makes the rule by which we pick and choose which rules to follow very important! The best things AJ got out of his year, to him, were living a life of gratitude rather than envy, keeping the Sabbath (he loved this!), wearing white and growing a beard (though he gave these up at the end of the year). He now sees God more as an abiding life-principle (rather than non-existent), not as a personal being, and still has trouble believing in Jesus -- yet his life was clearly changed by the experiment! If you've ever struggled with which rules to follow and which no longer apply, this book is a great read!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


This past weekend we went to a one-day seminar (held by the Bonner's Ferry, ID church near Troy, Montana) by Daniel and Lorna Dreher. We heard about it because Lorna's parents recently moved to our church in Creston. So we camped by the Yaak River. The kids had fun jumping from stone to stone in the river's edge Friday afternoon. (The first miracle was that at 2 pm Frank dropped his work -- just dropped it where he was, instead of finishing his list, and came down and said, "If we want to get there we'd better get going!" I wasn't expecting that so early! It was actually the time we had planned!) So the girls had time to jump from stone to stone in the river after we set up the tent! It was too cold for "swimming". Bethany had fun drawing princesses on the rocks with water, and Carrie Ann cried when the water evaporated and the princesses were gone! Matthias really enjoyed the campfire at the first meeting, Friday night. The night was so cold I could hardly sleep -- but we expected that. We had lots of extra blankets and sleeping bags, and once I finally got them properly arranged (and Frank got cold and snuggled up to me) I got a couple more hours of sleep. Frank got up early (because of the cold) and started a fire -- that was more fun for Matthias, in fact it was hard to drag him away!

The seminar was about getting rid of the barriers in our relationships with eachother and with Christ -- so that his love can flow through us. A barrier is a sin -- the first step is to become aware of and acknowledge the sin/barrier. The second is to be sorry for it -- repentance. The third step is to ask for and accept forgiveness -- from God primarily, but also from anyone we've wrong, and to make restitution where necessary. The fourth step is to ask for and accept the Holy Spirit to cleanse us from unrighteousness and fill us with power to walk a holy life.

The greatest barrier is self -- at first I thought I probably wasn't too bad, but when I read the list of selfish ways, all but two or three of the 16 fit me either now, or at some time in the past! So even though it was a "rate yourself then your spouse" exercise, I didn't rate Frank -- he sometimes feels like I'm always judging and accusing him, so it opens up the way for him to search his own heart when I reveal that I'm searching mine -- not his!

The most painful barrier is bitterness. This is when I am right and someone else has wronged me, perhaps hurt me deeply -- and I have the wrong attitude about it. Instead of forgiveness and pity towards the offender, I cling to the hurt and my "rightness", preventing God from healing me. This is one of my biggies -- it sometimes takes years for me to realize that I'm still bitter about something in the past. So this weekend I realized that, although I made some progress in not being bitter toward Frank, I was selfishly protecting myself, not able to trust God, because I was bitter against Him -- for taking my Mom (it was good for her, but not for me!), for the whole Dickendorf experience (it was not what I expected), for the amount of pain it took to have Carrie Ann (I couldn't roll over in bed without pain for about 6 weeks after she was born -- the hernia is only now starting to close). I want to open my heart up to God -- I always knew he loves me, and I belong to him -- but He can't use me (or heal me) when I'm protecting myself from him! So if you've seen my bitterness in my stories, I'm sorry. And if you put me on a pedestal because I concealed it well -- I'm sorry!

One of the tools they mentioned for overcoming a besetting sin (one confession doesn't take away a habit of years) was to use Bible verses to fight it every single time it tries to creep in. So right after the session, as I was reading my Bible, God gave me this verse from Job (my paraphrase) "God will lift up those who mourn to safety". Isn't that funny? The connection from mourning to safety is not immediately obvious, but it was exactly what my heart was crying for. So I know that doesn't mean nothing bad will ever happen, and I always knew God has promised to not give us more than we can bear... but this is a help for me on my road to healing. God really does care -- he really does speak to us, and even write us love letters in the sky from time to time (see this post and this one).

So, please pray for me too, that my healing will be complete, and God will be able to use me.


So one of Carrie Ann's new words is goom. She said this at the table (I want a "goom", Mommy) -- so take a guess, and I'll tell you at the end of the post.

Here are the last of the sounds I managed to capture.
More talking
Thank you
Who's there?

I hope you enjoyed them, because my drivers took a beating in one of Frank's experiments, and I can't get the microphone working again! My next project (which may take a while since school starts again tomorrow for us) is to get the videos off our video camera and post them one way or another. I'll let you know when I get that working (last time I tried, the sound was about 2 minutes ahead of the video, sometimes more, sometimes less).

Ps Goom? It's a spoon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Wow, Carrie Ann is making some sentences now! Three words is common, but once in while she comes out with four or even five:

"Betadane wasp see'd-it. 'Aiyan wasp see'd-it." Bethany and Carrie Ann were looking at the wasp.
"I see'd-it big wasp 'den, Mommy!" I want to see the big wasp picture again, Mommy!
(See the August pictures on my picture gallery for the pictures she was referring to.)

She finally learned how to say her own name (kind of). Right now, she loves telling me what someone said. Matthias, "Hmm-hm-hum-hm-mmmmm" Carrie Ann, "Mommy, 'Tias, 'Hmm-hm-hum-hm-mmmmm'" or "Ahhhh. Mommy, 'Aiyan, 'Ahhhh.'" In other words, "Ahhhh. Mommy, Carrie Ann said, 'Ahhhh.'" It's really cute!

Monday, August 25, 2008

More Sounds from the kids (Again)

A couple more samples of Carrie Ann's baby talk:
"This down"
Hold it
More of this
Please mommy!
Raspberries (or strawberries)
Say about that
Matthias was so proud of this fainting sound he made!
Matthias fainting
Bethany singing about her cute little sister:
Cute baby!

Some new ones which I haven't been able to capture: Carrie Ann says "simmick" for music, one which really tickles my funny bone. She can also say "Amedida Bededida" -- guess who??? And Dopdopdida for Poptropica, Matthias and Bethany's latest favourite game (I highly recommend it, as far as computer games go.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Night pictures

Wow! The other night we went for a walk, and the moon looked really neat -- full, with a bit of a rainbow around it through the scattered clouds. I went out and tried to take a picture of it -- I actually found the moonlight setting on my camera! However, with the regular setting, I didn't get much, and with the moonlight setting, my hands were too shaky and made streaks of moon. Amazingly, my brother Rob in Korea took the very picture of the very moon, a very nice picture, by the way:

Thanks Rob! (His blog post)

Last night, it was incredibly hot (for us) -- up to 87 F inside the house, as hot as it's been all year. We couldn't sleep, so the kids and I headed outside to the tent. Around midnight, the wind picked up, and I decided to move inside before the rain came. After carrying sleeping Carrie Ann and Bethany inside, I came back out for Matthias. As I came up to the tent I looked up. Above, the clouds were dark. On the horizon, the clouds were dark. But in the middle was a bright spot. In the centre of the bright spot was a dark cloud in the shape of a heart. Wow! Love letters from God don't usually come so clearly spelled out! I had been fighting fear, as with every wind storm since the "mini-tornado" that passed a block from our house last year. But after that, it was as if God had said to me, "I promise not to blow your house down with this storm." I tried to get a picture of it, but by the time I ran in the house to get the camera and back out, the heart clouds had blown apart. So I can't share the picture, only the thousand words this time! God loves us a lot, and he is willing to tell us -- just ask, then keep your eyes open!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Swimming for Muscular Dystrophy

I wanted to share this message from ParentProjectMuscularDystrophy, a site supporting Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy people and their families:

Olympic Gold for Ryan Lochte & PPMD

ryan new pic
We’ve been updating you on Ryan Lochte, the Olympic swimmer who is supporting Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, and now we can proudly say that he will be bringing home two gold medals and two bronze medals, as well as a new world record! This incredible athlete, swimming on behalf of those with Duchenne, has truly become one of the 2008 Olympic heroes.

We wanted to give you an opportunity to congratulate, thank, or just fawn over Ryan! We will be bundling up and passing along letters and emails to him, upon his return from Beijing. To take part, simply email and put “For Ryan Lochte” in the subject line. Or, if you would rather send something the old fashioned way, mail it to:
Ryan Lochte
c/o Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
158 Linwood Plaza, Suite 220
Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024

You can also support Ryan by giving a donation to Ryan’s personal fundraising page. Just click here and say thank you to Ryan, while helping PPMD end Duchenne.

The Olympics are not over, but what a thrilling start and what a rare treat to have someone competing on our community’s behalf!

More Sounds from the kids

I thought it was time to post a few more of the sounds the kids made!

Bethany and Carrie Ann singing
Bethany singing
Carrie Ann crying --yes, even our sweet, cute little girl has her moments!
Carrie Ann -- really loud!
Daddy's Home! -- one of the girls' favourite phrases when they see the car drive up in the driveway!
Jesus goes up, up and away! -- Carrie Ann was very impressed with the story of the ascension!
Matthias and Bethany laughing
Stories -- I posted this one before, but if you didn't finish it then, you can listen a bit farther now!


Thursday, August 14, 2008


Bethany says, "Cutis" for computer (I'm not sure why...), and Carrie Ann says, "Putah". One day, Carrie tried to imitate Bethany asking to go on the computer, and said, "Cutosis". Huh?

Bethany is another great word. Matthias said, "Bethaninininiai", Bethany said, "Bessassa", and Carrie Ann says, "Betadane" or "Betadine". Now she can already say, "Betany", but today it came out like this: "BetaNEEEEEEEEE!"

The kids love swimming -- though Matthias not as much anymore. Bethany can swim underwater about 10 ft, and above for about 3. She is just learning to swim underwater, then pop her head up and take a breath, then swim again, in water that is over her head (closely supervised, of course). Matthias is learning to push off from my legs and glide to the wall -- but he's scared to go more than 3 or 4 feet from the wall.

Today Carrie Ann poured her water on her plate, then said, "Simming! Food simming!" What will they think of next?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meteor Shower

Ever since we read in one of Matthias ' space books that meteor showers are a regular, predictable event, I've wanted to catch one. Well, last night was the peak of the main one, the Perseid meteor shower. We went out at about 1 am, after the moon finally set (it was casting too much light to see the meteors). In the next half hour to 45 minutes, I saw about 7 meteors, and Frank and Bethany about 5 each. (Matthias didn't want to get out of bed!) For a good write-up, see Spectacular Summer Sights: Shooting Stars by Joe Rao of His picture is a good reflection of what we were seeing:

They will dwindle off slowly, and I read that there are more meteors in the early morning, so if it is clear, get up early in the next few days and see if you can catch some yourself!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Love and Dancing

Rob had an awesome post from his friend Tamie, about how hard it sometimes is for us to feel the love that God and others have for us. Rob's post Tamie's post
This part particularly struck me: How I am missing the joys of my life, missing the glorious cosmic dance. Not because I'm not a part of it, but because I'm deaf to just how much of a part of it I am. I can't hear that the music is everywhere.
I should tell you that when Carrie Ann dragged me outside for a walk in the rain, and we saw the rainbow, I had just been sitting on the couch feeling depressed, unloved, and unappreciated. I prayed that God would give me a sign that he really loved me! I knew right away that it was an amazing rainbow, and it was really neat that I got such a great picture of it. But it took me a little longer to suddenly realize that that rainbow was also God's answer to my prayer! Last night, watching the meteors with Bethany and Frank, was one of those times of dancing consciously along with the cosmic dance, of listening actively to the music of the spheres. God puts on a spectacular show for us, and we can miss it because we're too busy, observe it academically, or participate in wonder and praise. If we choose the third, we will grow in love and grace!
Here's the rainbow again:

... and a picture of the sky on the way home after the rainbow:

"A glorious cosmic dance." Thanks, Tamie.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Carrie Ann wanted to go outside for a walk, but it was kind of raining a little. I went anyway, and we saw the most intense rainbow from the park! God still loves us, everyone.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hot, Pot and Cherries

So, this week I've been canning cherries. (Remember, Deb?) Monday we canned pitted cherries in pure blended and strained cherry juice -- boy was that a mess! The cherries splash all over when the pit comes out. I cleaned for two hours after the last load was done! Tuesday we did whole cherries, and the juice with the steam juicer. Matthias had so much fun he wanted to make cherry juice next. Wednesday we got started too late and Frank needed the car, so we went swimming instead of canning -- it was so hot, we were totally sweaty again by the time we got home! Thursday, yesterday, we did the juice Matthias wanted. It was really hot outside -- up to about 35 C, I think, and inside we had the steamer running until almost 5 pm. It got up to 88 F inside the house. So I was really glad when it was all over and I could settle down in the tent outside -- we've had it set up in the yard for about a week now. When it was cooler out, it was hard to sleep because it got too cold -- I had to sleep with a hoodie on! Last night, it was wonderfully cool, especially with the whole house so hot still! The only drawback was the pot smoke drifting over us from the new neighbours -- argh! I found out recently that if I inhale pot thickly enough my airways close and I choke on it (someone was smoking right outside the library door, and I walked out unawares and took a deep breath of it, and coughed uncontrollably for five minutes). So I may have to talk to the neighbours -- we've smelled it a couple other times at night, but it didn't bother us until I wanted to sleep out in the tent!!
So if you come visit, be sure to have some canned cherries or cherry juice! We did 21 jars of pitted cherries, 14 jars of whole cherries, 12 jars of juice, one cookie tray of frozen cherries and we have a fridge full to eat fresh. Wow!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Long sentence!

Yesterday, Carrie Ann came out with her longest sentence yet! Bethany was playing on the computer, and Carrie Ann said, "Dora, play Dora" to ask her to switch to the online Dora games. Bethany switched over, but then had to go to the bathroom for a minute. This drove Carrie crazy, as she was eagerly anticipating the Dora game! So she said to me, "Mommy, play Dora -- Mommy, sit down computer button Dora!" (Computer sounds like putah.) That's at least a five word sentence (counting sit down as one word, because that's how Carrie uses it). So far she's only done two or at most three word ones, but she is definitely learning fast!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sabbath Art

I have always been curious about the gems used in Aaron's breastplate and the foundations of the New Jerusalem. Are they the same? In the same order? Do both reflect the different tribes of people? I have heard that birthstones come from Aaron's ephod, and that the signs of the zodiac and some personality tests reflect similar character groupings as the twelve tribes and the foundations of the city. So on Sabbath I requested that we do a craft comparing the gems used in the ephod and the city's foundation. Frank and Matthias helped with the research, and I used gem pictures from this site:

It turned out there is some question about which gems were meant by the old Hebrew words, but here is our best guess at the ephod:I wasn't sure how to arrange the gems of the foundation: I always envisioned them stacked, under the entire city. But for the purposes of this craft, I arranged them in a square.
Bethany had her own plan for a picture of the New Jerusalem:
Matthias did some cutting, but didn't end up with a final project. That often happens, but I'm sure he learned something nonetheless. Carrie Ann had fun with the glue sticks, but didn't stick anything on the glue afterwards!

I learned two things: we won't know until we get there, and it will be more beautiful than I imagined!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oboe and Beep

We read a book about musical instruments today, so I had to find a movie of them playing too! I thought this one was very good (for oboe):

Well, I looked on some MP3 blogs, and it turns out they put the mp3s in with links, just like I did in the previous post. So there you go. And here are some more.


And one more picture -- I wanted this one of the smocking on the girls' dresses. One day, someone came up to me and said, "I really like the smocking on Bethany's dress." Turns out she had done smocking herself. So now I know what it is called!

On a second look, I realized that it is hard to tell from this picture what smocking is: embroidery on top of pleats. I finally found a good set of pictures on this site (though Wiki tells you all the different stitches as well as the history...).

Speaking of crafting, did you notice the quilt hanging in the background? Deb and MaryAnna made it for Carrie Ann, using some pieces of one of Mom's dresses. I finally found a good place to put it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pictures and Sounds

I haven't posted pictures in a while!

Here is Carrie Ann, being a munchkin:Bethany loves to read (just the pictures, for now, though).
Matthias created a video camera from Construx.
We spent some time recording our voices. The first "podcasts" should be included with this post (how technologically enabled am I?). "Stories" is a long one by all three children, while "potatoblanket" is a short sample of baby talk. If they work out, there will be more to come.
. . .
Well, I guess I figured out how to send a podcast, but not how to receive one. So if you know how, you can listen to mine. If not, click here (for baby talk) and here (for stories)! If anyone knows how I can get the sound links to appear on my blog page (or even if that's possible), please let me know. Thanks!

PS read on, I posted a couple today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Dumbest Generation

I just finished reading a book called "The Dumbest Generation" by Mark Bauerlein (from the library). His hypothesis is that, because teens spend so much time in front of the screen, and they spend it socializing, not learning, the next generation of adults in America will not have the knowledge and intellectual base to support a healthy democracy.

Questions it raises:
Am I dumb (because I don't know most of the historical/civil facts he quotes)? -- Or maybe it's because I'm Canadian, and I have chosen to specialize in geographical and religious facts rather than American social and historical facts.

(Here's a little aside from Carrie Ann: v bbghn n Bachlbghnt
???*&^""""""""""""""""VC f /end aside)

Are my screen habits (blogging, Facebook etc) making me dumber? -- The argument being, I may not have as many facts in my mind, but I can easily find them on the computer if I need to. Does that make me dumber, or smarter -- because I'm not tying up my mind in remembering non-essentials to my daily life?

Are videos and computer games helpful or a hindrance in my kids' education? Some videos introduce them to science, geography, current trends, history and literature -- or at least, modern children's versions of literature. Some games develop imagination and spatial intelligence (something I'm lacking in!). But is the balance between that and other forms of learning appropriate, or is it heavy on the screen learning because after all, the computer keeps them busy and out of trouble for a long time?

Are books obsolete, or necessary for developing emotional and intellectual intelligence? Is it the same to read a book online as in the hand? I agree that reading online leads to skimming -- but as a teen I practiced skimming and speed reading as a desirable skill! Is it just the ability to concentrate which must be developed using a more static medium?

Do blogs/gaming promote or hinder analytical reasoning? I liked Rob's blog about complaining expats because it was an analytical dialogue, with reference to history and even past literature. Was it lacking because it didn't refer to more sources outside of "I observe" or "I think"? Mr. Bauerlein, I'm sure, could recommend some resources which would enrich the discussion (in his opinion). Do I agree that it would be enriched with references to past philosophers and social critics, or do I think that would just add knowledgeable sounding fluff?

How can the media/web be used *effectively* to share the most important truths I know? I can add great content -- my own, or based on my friends' work, but how can I get it viewed by lots of people? Or, as Mr. Bauerlein argues, have I even lost the ability to criticize my own work and evaluate if it is great content or not? Do I have to create a "gospel game" in order to attract visits......

What will the world look like when Web 3.0 comes? What is the possible result of all this read/write, control in hands of masses, social rather than political democracy -- especially if good judgment (and spelling) goes down the tubes? Already, the young voters distrust the political system so much that they hardly consider it worth the trouble to vote (including me, I guess...). I guess like Rob and millions of other bloggers, I hope that writing and talking about what is important to me will somehow "trickle up" to the people in power -- even if I don't trust them to act on campaign promises, or even really mean those promises.

Now for a couple quotes I really liked (they stuck out after disagreeing with much of the book):
"Young Americans need someone somewhere in their lives to reveal to them bigger and better human stories than the sagas of summer parties and dormitory diversions and Facebook sites." (p. 199) But are those stories from American history and American literature, as he argues? I would offer a more international mix than Bauerlein seems to choose. ("These are the materials of a richer existence, and they come from a narrow slice of time and one nation only." p. 217)
Did I mention that he is an English professor at an American college? It comes through.

Another quote that stuck in my mind was actually from Thomas Jefferson. "If 'we leave the people in ignorance,' he warned, old customs will return, and 'kings, priests and nobles . . . will rise up among us.'" p. 212. So, if people are choosing ignorance of the rich cultural democratic heritage, will that lead to the rise of arbitrary authority systems again? Ignorance of what, I ask? Somehow I think the value of the American heritage is not inherent in the democratic system, but in the biblical values it originally reflected. Having rejected the ways of God, studying the early American leaders may help, but it won't turn us back to the values that made they system work.

So from my Bible reading today, Proverbs 18:15: "An intelligent mind acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge." We can't throw out knowledge, but we need to be aware of what kind of knowledge we are seeking -- knowledge of what?
And as for the accusation of the "dumbest generation", and his recommendation that "Adults everywhere need to align against youth ignorance and apathy" p. 235, what we need is someone to "...turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse" Mal. 4:6 (quotes from NRSV).

Comments, anyone?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Videos I enjoyed

A link from Rob's blog led us to this neat video of a young man singing with himself!

I love the expression he uses -- it reminds me of Mr. Bean.

Sesame Street sure has changed. I like the international flavour, it reminds me of living in Vancouver.

This video came from a link on Brad's blog:

It is from this page.
I don't know how practical this is on this earth, especially in Canada, but I hope to have a living tree house in heaven for sure!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Actually, Carrie Ann's vowels are so fluid still, her Okay ranges from "Ai-tai" to "Ah-tay." She always says it with the same intonation, which is the same as my intonation, so it is totally recognizable! I think what makes it so cute is also the fact that she is showing agreement and cooperation with something I've suggested -- "Ah-tai!" sounds way better to me than "Uh-uh!" (She's not a big "no" sayer, for some reason, but uh-uh works just as well!)

We went swimming yesterday, and I put life jackets on the kids and took them in the deep end. Bethany got so comfortable, she managed a slide down the slide, with splash-down and swimming to the side all by herself! Matthias held on tight to the top of his vest to keep it from riding up onto his chin, but was able to tool around a bit using just his feet to propel himself. Carrie Ann kept rolling her face into the water, but she sure didn't want the life vest off -- she fought my hands off every time I tried to take it off, until she was so tired she was practically ready to fall asleep in the pool! Her favourite part was when I put her on my tummy and did a back float with her riding on me -- she loved it, but I had to kick so hard (to keep my head up) I got a charley horse this morning!

I turned off comment moderation, so if anyone is reading this blog besides Aunt Greta, feel free to leave a comment!

Response to Rob

Hey Rob! Carrie Ann's Okay is way cuter than Lee Hyori's (though I wouldn't give Carrie a B in English, yet, I guess!) "Otay!" I don't remember my other kids saying it this way, but it sure strikes a cuteness chord. I guess it must have been used this way in some TV series or movie?

Anyway, about expat complaining -- have you heard of the three levels of cultural adjustment theory? The first stage is the honeymoon stage -- it is a big adventure. It is easy to pass off the things that bug you, and you are very excited about everything that is new and different. The complaining at this stage is usually along the lines of "the cheese is really expensive!" The second stage is the main complaining stage -- you have realized in your gut that you are here to stay, and the things that bug you start to bug you more and more. It is really hard to fit your previous image of yourself with your current situation. The complaining here comes from the struggle to change, to know what you can and can't change, how far you can go and what you can't accept. Sometimes you try futilely to change the new situation to fit yourself, sometimes you get depressed, sometimes you leave. Sometimes you go on to the third stage, cultural adjustment. You make the personal changes that are necessary to fit in to the place where you are, and start to feel like a composite person -- half this, half that. You learn the language, history, customs, etc. You make some really close friends. You start to feel out of place when you go "home". At this stage, any remaining complaints are likely to fit the "constructive social criticism" category, unless you are a habitual complainer.

I experienced this in Germany, and have heard that it is a common experience for missionaries -- and foreign ESL teachers too, I guess!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fun and games

This morning when Carrie Ann woke up, she said, "Betadine, foo." At first I thought she meant foot, but then realized she was asking for food (and Bethany). I said, "Would you like to go out and pick some raspberries?" and she replied, "I-sy dopadies! Betadine dopadies! Tysis dopadies!" In otherwords, "outside, raspberries!" Outside is sometimes ouw-sigh, or i-sigh. Dopadies was first strawberries, but now means raspberries. Tysis is pretty consistent for Matthias now. I tried to get her to say her name. "Does Bethany like raspberries?" "Betadine dopadies!" "Does Matthias like raspberries?" "Tysis dopadies!" "Does Carrie Ann like raspberries?" "Tatie ann dopadies!" It is very hard to distinguish between Carrie as she says it, and Daddy! The Ann is very low, like "awn" or "on", so Carrie Ann -- Tatie on -- almost sounds the same as "Daddy's home!" one of her current favourite phrases!

I found this site on one of Rob's friend's blogs:
Meez 3D avatar avatars games
If you want one too, go to Put my username in (rebeccajz) when you register and we both get extra coinz. (Coinz are points for "buying" some of the fancier items, such as the striped Hanbok I chose.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Menstrual Miracle

(Bodily fluids warning: if you're uncomfortable reading about bodily fluids, skip this post!)

This week I had Praise and Worship for our church service: leading the singing for three or four songs at the beginning of the service. On Friday, my period threatened to start, and lately I've been really exhausted and crampy for the first two days of my period. So I prayed that God would let my period wait until after Praise and Worship to start, so that I could give the praise service my whole energy. Well, I had a little spotting the rest of Friday and Saturday morning, but I felt great, and no period. Praise and Worship went really well -- it was apparent that God had led the choice of the songs, and half a dozen people told me after the service how blest they were by the singing. Within ten minutes of the end of the service, I started cramping, and sure enough, my period had started. Amazing! You know, my meditation at the beginning of Praise and Worship was how God shows his love for us in a million ways -- I mentioned the random, beautiful poppy blooming in my yard -- but delaying my period for one day is another wonderful gesture from Him, blessing me by allowing me to be a blessing to His children in our church. Thank God for small miracles that mean a lot!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Carrie Ann looks like her cousins (or they look like her)

First Aria, then Carrie Ann at about the same age.
(Wearing the same sleeper, since we handed it down. Yay for handing down! Carrie Ann also started sucking her thumb at this age.)
Next, Silas and then Carrie Ann at about one month:

They even have the same rash!
Silas and Aria generally look so different, I was amazed to find pictures of Carrie Ann that fit to each of them!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Father's Day

Going backward in time, here are some nice pictures Mom Z took on Father's Day:

This one turned out well, but for a laugh look in the photo gallery for the one of me sticking out my tongue!

PS I posted a few today, so read on...

Children's Parade

Wow! I must have been tired when I posted on May 21 (Famous!). Not only did I get the pictures in the wrong spots, but I found at least one typo. Sorry! (It's fixed now.) Frank's mom took a great picture of us at the children's parade, thereby ending my photographer's regret of taking lots of pictures and not getting a single really good one. Here it is:

Dance Recital

Bethany had her end of the year dance recital at the end of June. I got to be "backstage Mom", which was a lot of fun! It made for a busy week, especially since the parents were responsible for the stage makeup and I don't have a clue about makeup -- nor any around. But a friend from Homelinks who had a daughter performing as well helped me out, and I only had to buy a couple things that you shouldn't share. There are a few pictures up in my photo gallery (link at the right), but here is one of Bethany's class doing their "final pose":

The teacher liked the "hand pointing down" pose, and used it in a lot of the dances. Carrie Ann must have noticed, because on Canada Day, while the Creston Fiddlers were playing, she danced around in a circle with one arm up, hand pointed down! In fact, she danced around and around until she was so dizzy she couldn't walk in a straight line anymore. It was quite cute, and lots of the grandmas commented to me on it afterwards. She also walked through the audience, greeting everyone. I think she might have been looking for Grandma. She sure was excited when she finally found her!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Wow! Last Thursday, we were playing with some friends who have a 2 ft baby slide, and Carrie Ann got up the courage to slide down all by herself, without holding my hand! Today, Matthias read four chapters in his chapter book (about 5 pages per chapter) without any nagging from me! I just suggested that he read, and promised I would match whatever he read (read him one chapter aloud for each chapter he read silently), and he sat down and read two chapters. Then I matched him one for the chapter he read yesterday, and two for the chapters today, and then he went ahead and read the last two chapters on his own! This is a real break-through for him, it is the first time he has read willingly, more than I required! I am so excited! It is common for MD boys to be a couple years behind in language skills when they are young, but usually the difference diminishes once they are able to read fluently. So he is almost there! (Well, we still have to work on writing!) And Bethany managed to swim about 2 metres head-up today! She has been practicing so hard, and could swim quite far underwater, but the need to come up for air always hindered her. So now she paddles like crazy and can keep her head up for a bit! There's still room for work, but this is a major step for her too. It is hard to believe she will be six in two more months. And I'll be 32 in two days -- 32 is one of my favourite numbers, so I hope that means it will be a good year!

Monday, June 30, 2008


We really enjoyed the campground in Keremeos on our way to the Coast. Here is a link from their pamphlet.
Ashnola Campground
The manager was very friendly, loved little children, and sounded a bit lonely. I hope she enjoyed the big powwow she was preparing for!
We went camping last weekend (the 21st), along Kootenay Lake. It was very nice -- the children enjoyed the water and fire, the neighbours were friendly, and even though it rained all night long, it only stormed hard enough to keep me awake for about one hour! The last time we were at that spot, the waves were so noisy and close to the tent that I hardly slept all night. This time, we were a little farther and higher up the beach, and the wind wasn't as strong, so I slept much better. It's a nice pebbly beach, so even though it was very wet, it wasn't muddy at all. The wild roses along the path to the beach were all in bloom! Sorry, no pictures, I didn't bring the camera (after 400 pictures in May, I had to slow down a bit in June!).

Monday, June 23, 2008


Hurray! Last week, Matthias finally rode his bike all by himself,
and Bethany learned to tie a bow!

The kids are all learning and growing so fast suddenly! Carrie Ann is starting to use small sentences ("I want up" instead of "up" for example), and loves learning new words. This morning she woke up, pointed out the window, and said, "Boe-ta-bite". Any guesses? I thought Motorbike, because that sounds like "moe-ta-bite", but she said, "uh-uh." Hmmm... Then I remembered her pointing to a bug and saying the same word yesterday, and guessed, "Mosquito bite?" "Yeah-yeah-yeah! 'Tias!" In other words, "Yes! Matthias has lots of mosquito bites!" Where does she get these things from? Matthias does have lots of mosquito bites, but what did she see out the window that made her think of that? Lots of fun! Telepathy does exist--every mother uses it to talk with her toddler!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Our trip to the Coast

We did so much on our trip! For all the pictures, see my photo gallery (link at the side).

The purpose of the trip was to meet my sister Deb's baby Aria, and visit with Dad and Mary Anna (for the first time since their wedding). Isn't this a great picture?
My best one of Aria:

Deb and Brad are making awesome parents. It's never easy, but usually you are doing better than you think you are, at this stage! (That goes for you too, Dan and Caryn!)
We had lots of fun visiting our church friends, camping, going to the zoo, hanging out with Mary Anna's girls, and swimming in Trail. You can see lots more pictures in my photo gallery, but I couldn't resist putting this one in my blog:

It bloomed at Victoria's in Trail, where we stayed at the end of the trip while Frank set up a couple satellite dishes. (Actually, he was done late on Friday, so we stayed for Sabbath as well.)
It was a bit funny actually: we spent about 2.5 days with Deb, Aria, Dad, Mary Anna and the family; 2.5 days travelling and camping; 2.5 days visiting our church friends; 2.5 days in Trail for satellite dishes. Our week turned into ten days, split equally between our four different activities!
Please read the next couple posts, I'm posting three today.

What to do?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the climate change crisis and other recent events in the world (like most everyone, I guess).

Brad J put a link on his blog to a great little movie on the subject called The Story of Stuff. Please watch it if you have any question about what I'm talking about! (It's about 20 minutes long, very short, yet thorough.)

A couple verses have leapt out at me recently during my Bible reading, and I wanted to share them with you.

The first was Ezekiel 18:31-32: Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have not pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live!

What transgressions have I committed? Look at Ps. 24:1:
The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;

So, my "footprint" not only hurts the earth -- it hurts the Lord who made it. In fact, it also hurts "those who live in it." We watched a movie about soaring cancer rates in China due to polluted rivers; but whose dollar is demanding the manufacturing which is polluting the river? Mine! Remember those starving children in Africa who we all wanted to send our broccoli to? Well, one of the documentaries we watched said that the drought which starved them was caused by the exhaust smoke from our parents' cars! What human suffering am I causing without even being aware of it? I may be angry about the rainforest being cut down -- but are they doing it to make my junk mail, and grow my bananas?

But what can I do? Our whole lives are steeped in this materialistic way -- how can I change everything (short of moving to Africa!)? Psalm 25:11-12 gave me this answer:
For your name's sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who are they that fear the Lord?
He will teach them the way that they should choose.

I will make the small changes that are possible: flying less, walking more, recycling, changing lightbulbs, buying less (and more secondhand), saying no to junk mail. God will show me the "way that I should choose". (Please share with me anything you've thought of that can help!) The rising fuel prices will actually help us as a society get serious about these changes.

We had a beautiful, restful Sabbath day today. Ezekiel 20:12 says, "Moreover I gave them my sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, so that they might know that I the LORD sanctify them." He reminds me that I can't save the world, or even myself (or my children, family, and friends, who I love dearly). But he can save us all, and will if we let him. So come, Lord, and work your will in my heart and family!

In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray that he will "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" -- in my Bible, it says, "do not bring us to the time of trial." Also in Gethesemane (facing a crisis) he twice exhorts the disciples to "Pray that you may not come into the time of trial" Luke 22:39-46. So when I fear the coming crisis, this is my prayer. I don't know if he will spare us from the awful events, or just give us peace of mind and heart throughout them; but I know I can't go wrong praying the prayer he told the disciples to pray!

And to all the children of the world: Sorry!

Tower of Bauble

Matthias' marble run came!

On our trip, we made a point of stopping at Science World to see the ball sculpture outside the front entrance. I didn't take any pictures because Carrie Ann was sleeping in my arms, but I found a video on the internet (sorry about the background music). It is called the Tower of Bauble, and runs from about 30 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds in the movie.

Sit down!

"Zit down!" Carrie Ann pronounces this very emphatically. I think she learned it from me telling her to sit down in her chair so I could give her food. She says it to me when she wants me to sit on the couch and read her a story, or nurse her. Usually, I ask her to add "Mommy, please", which she can and does say! "Peass, peass (sounds like peace, but shorter), mama zit down!"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We're back!

We made it home again! I just finished going through the pictures of our trip, and realized that in May and the first week of June I (with some help) took almost 400 pictures. I hope to not keep that up! Taking and posting pictures has been my outlet this month for some loneliness and feeling unconnected with my family, especially since two siblings just had new babies! Now I've met both babies, which is wonderful. It is an amazing thing to be an aunt of blood-related (not just marriage-related) children! Speaking of which, congratulations to Erik, my first marriage-related nephew, on his graduation from highschool! It's hard to believe it's been that long -- he was just Matthias' age when I met him.

Back to the pictures, I was pondering one evening if I was wasting my God-given time on "connecting" and documenting. Then, as I thought about it, I realized that angels are going back and forth to heaven all the time, observing what we do and recording it in the books of record. Nothing will be truly forgotten -- sins overcome will be listed as victories. Last Sabbath in Trail we discussed whether the memory of sin would be wiped out, and I have to say I agreed with those who maintained that it will not. The memory of sin (and its results) is the very factor which will ensure that God's children never fall again! This is one of the benefits we will have which Lucifer did not have, before he fell. It is like our vaccination against sin. So anyway, I figured if record-keeping was that important to God, it couldn't be wrong for me to spend time on it (provided I don't neglect my other duties, of course).

More pictures are coming later, but I wanted to share this one with you:

This one has had such an impact on Carrie Ann's life, since it is where she learned "Bike, Hat, Owie!"
Her first real word was "up" -- Frank taught her to say this instead of crying when she wants me to pick her up! "Dada" came months before "Mama" ("Mum-mum", which sounds an awful lot like her word for yummy, "num-num"). She calls Bethany "Bet-a-dine" with the emphasis on "Bet", and where "dine" is so long it almost rhymes with "Jane" sometimes. Matthias is some version of "Tias", with an "a" in front occasionally, or an extra "us" at the end, or a "sh" sound at the end... but usually we know who she means! She doesn't refer to herself at all yet, though once she pointed to herself and said, "me-me-me". She is the only baby I've known to learn "pls" before "no" -- which she rarely if ever says. Yesterday Bethany asked if she wanted to go up and jump on the bed together, and she nodded enthusiastically, saying, "Yah-yah-yeah!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Ever have that, when you are made a liar just as you are saying something???
I was just admonishing Bethany to keep going without being afraid, because, after all, you never sink in past your knees -- when I sank right to my thigh! I was sitting on the snow, one leg kneeling and the other fully buried!
Frank took us up to the summit for our yearly springtime snow play -- it is really fun to play in the snow when it is already hot in the valley. Even up at top, the air is warm and the snow cool, creating perfect conditions (if you don't get too wet). It was a little meltier this year than last, though, and I went in deeper than expected! I was sure glad I was wearing my hiking boots, which were tied tight and didn't come off when I pulled my leg out!
More pictures in my picture gallery, see the link at the right. I didn't comment them yet, I will get to that after our trip.
PS I posted a few today, keep on reading until you get to an old one!


"Zane! Zane!" Every night between 8 and 10 pm we hear this word, accompanied by train whistles, ringing through our house. Carrie Ann is fascinated by transportation right now. This morning, she looked out the window and said, "Duck" (which might mean crow), and then Bike, Tar (Car) and Zane (Train) were her next three words. "Kuck" for truck, and "yeyitata" for helicopter, as well as "hot ah babayoon" (up-away!) for hot-air balloon, up up and away! have also entered her vocabulary, due to a DK Reader from the library called "On the Move" -- which she wants to hear at least three times a day!

I got out Matthias' old wooden train toy, and she enjoyed playing with it! Tonight, the train stopped on the tracks (it was around 8 pm, still light out). Carrie and I rushed out with the stroller, to see if we could get closer before it left. After two blocks, we saw a line of stopped cars (52 of them in fact). The engine had switched to another track and was dropping off four cars behind the seed and feed place in town. We watched it shunting back and forth, and finally waved goodbye as it disappeared down the tracks. We even got to wave at the two engineers, as the got on and off the train to switch the tracks back and forth. I hope they had a smile at the little baby who dragged her mom out at bedtime to watch a train! Maybe they appreciated their job just a little more than before!

On the way to the train, we saw the most incredible sunset, with alternating pink and blue lines streaking up from the top of the mountain. I wished I had my camera, but anyway, I stopped for a moment and thanked God for his incredible painting with mountains, clouds, and bent sunlight!