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!