Friday, February 27, 2009


Wow, everyone else is complaining about snow, but we got very little here - and our tulips and snowdrops are coming up! The crocuses are still covered in snow, but I'm excited to see the beginnings of flowers again!

We went swimming for physio today... Matthias' physiotherapist got a concussion Wednesday night (pray for Candace), and she did not show up at all for our swimming appointment. Matthias had watched her enter the passcode for the door lock, so he opened the door for us and we went in and swam anyway. (I even turned the boiler down afterward.) Four hours later, she called up all apologetic for standing us up. I was happy to explain that we hadn't actually missed the swim, though we missed her... She said that actually, the door lock passcode hasn't been working for a couple weeks now -- so it truly was a miracle that we got in! And she was happy not to have to run over to turn down the boiler. God is great -- we could have done fine without the swim, but I think Candace needed the encouragement that, even though she can't do everything anymore with this concussion, God is still looking after her things for her!

Carrie Ann slept in her own bed until almost 5am last night, and Frank even vacuumed upstairs before Sabbath today -- miracles happen all the time!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tongue twisters

(Bad language warning, Rob!)
The kids have been enjoying tongue twisters this week in homeschool. Bethany and Matthias have both mastered the wood chuck one, and even Carrie Ann can say "wood chuck wood". Bethany is also working on Peter Piper: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peckers" is what she usually comes out with (she doesn't know what peckers means, so I chuckle silently...).
The one that split my gut laughing was this one from The Tongue Twister Database:
I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.
Try saying that one without saying a poopy word!

In other language news, I was so proud of Matthias today for completing his Reading Comprehension FSA (standardized test) within the allowed timeframe (and even enough time left to review!). Bethany read "Hop on Pop" all by herself -- I only had to read two words, you can guess which ones! Carrie Ann, when I came in from a brisk walk, spent a couple minutes nuzzling and squeezing my cheeks, and then said, "Mommy, you sheeks towd!" (Your cheeks are cold!) The other day, she was looking at a picture of cookies in a book and said, "Mommy, when I in picsure, I eat this cookie!" I was amazed that she could reason that, if she were in the picture, then she could eat the cookie. "And me doin' cuttin' papers!" she just announced, which is my cue to stop blogging...
And when I took the scissors away, she said, "Thank you. Now you have to put them away. Fishish'd cuttin', now you have-a put dem away." Thanks, kid! Now I *know* I'm just your house-slave!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Incredible Journey

[This is a story Matthias wrote for school. He dictated while I typed.]

I was living in my home, sitting in my comfy chair reading the legend book. It said that you could find a magic wand if you headed in the direction of the Orion Nebula. It would be right above the Orion Nebula. So, I left on my journey. I didn't have enough food, so I sold my house to get enough food. I had a car and I used the money that I got from my house to buy enough fuel. And I sold all the stuff in the house except for my computer. I put my computer in my truck. And then I said, “I'm going to need a lot of fuel.” And so, I got two extra fuel tanks, and drove off to the gas station and filled my tank up. Then I started up my car from where I was and started to drive, following the Orion Nebula. And I got way better suspension at the next stop. And got rubber tires that weren't filled with air because I knew there was going to be a lot of pokes. A lot of poky stuff. And then finally I left on my journey.

I was halfway to the place, that's what it said on my computer. So I continued and the first thing that I ran into was a dungeon! I needed to get through. But I couldn't get through the next door. And I guessed that it was a maze. So I searched and searched for pieces that were lifted a little. And then I pushed on them. And suddenly lots of pieces went down. So I drove on top of them. And I got halfway through and the pieces stopped! So I drove off, got out of my truck, and pushed on every foot of the wall. Until, I found another piece, and it fell down, and let us the rest of the way through. So I drove all the way to the end. And when I got out, there was a gas station. So I fueled up my truck, which only had half a tank left! And then I kept on driving.

And now, I found a big bunch of stuff! To help keep aliens from adopting me. And a huge, very sharp sword, for fighting the giants. And key, for getting through dungeons. It was a magic key, it could open any door. And I put them all in the back of my truck. So, I kept on riding. Until, I ran into a dungeon. This time, I fell right into it! There wasn't a wall with a door. So, I used my magic key to unlock every door. I had to hold it out of my car or else it wouldn't work. And I got to the end, and now there was a very long plain. Which I know, when I got to the end, it would almost be the end of my fuel tank. My fuel was almost going to be gone. So, I started driving. Until I saw alien ships. So, I got my heat gun and shot the ships down. And I kept going until more ships came along. So I shot them down. And then I was nearly to the end. I had one more mile to go. So I drove, and I noticed my fuel tank was getting very empty! So I drove as fast as I could! Until my fuel ran out. And just when I pulled in, just when I went slow enough, to another gas station, and fueled up. I kept on going. There was a very big forest that I was going to drive through. And I saw that it was only one mile long. So, I went into a pretty low gear, and drove across. It took me an hour, which means I was going one mile an hour. And now there was a road that stretched for twenty miles until it ended. And then it started to rain as I was driving down the road. And then it was snowing! And the snow stopped. And I knew there was going to be some black ice on the road around here. And I saw a curve coming ahead. Aliens probably built it, because it was perfect for black ice! So, I drove on the grass instead, and I didn't run into any black ice then! That was fifteen miles through. I was tired! And I had to sleep. So I went to bed.

And then I woke up, a day later. And there was alien ships right above. They were just about to kidnap me. So I got my tool out as quick as I could! And shot them all down. And drove quick out of the dangers of alien ships crashing down on my truck! They fell pretty slow. It's 'cause the blades were spinning so quick that they pushed a lot of air down. So I had time to drive out from under them. And then I had got to the end of the road. So I kept on driving. And then, I ran right into a bridge that was broken! So I had to fix it up. That took me one year. And then I drove across it. My battery was almost dead. Until, I found a shop where I could get a new battery. And then, I continued driving. And then, I ran into a field of giants. They were too big! So I used my alien ship shooter to get rid of them. And then there was a huge lake, and a gate that you had to find a key in the lake to open it. So I had brought a diving suit along, so I dived into the lake, searching for the key. And, I had got to the deepest part and there was a glow. So I went down there and I found a key that said the name of the gate on it. It said where to find the key for the gate. So I used my GPS to track it down until I found the key! And then I went back up to my truck and continued driving. But then I ran into a fast-flowing river which would wipe anything away. So I had to make a suspension bridge. And that took me about half a year. And then I continued driving. Until, I noticed on my computer that I was almost there. And from when I was building the suspension bridge, and when I got to the city, it took me about a year. And then, I searched for the Orion Nebula. And, the city was trying to steal my truck. So I killed all the people in the city. And then, police were chasing me. And I was being chased with my car. Until, I got to a gate, and I had to use my magic key really quick! So I opened the gate, and drove through. And then shut it again. And the police cars went wham! They crashed into the gate, and they were crushed into smithereens! And I said, “Whew! That was close!” So, I drove down the road until I was right above the Orion Nebula, and the grass was a little bit taller. So I got out of my truck and searched until I found the magic wand. And I said, “Ah ha! Here it is!” So, I used it to transport myself very quickly back home, with my truck. I was in my backyard, so I looked where my house was. And I looked around the town, and the town was all burnt up! And I saw that lightning had struck my tree and burnt it to ashes. So I used my wand to make a farm. And then I made lots of robots to work on my farm. And a generator to generate power for the robots.

25 Random Things

This is a Facebook note, actually, but I thought I'd put it here since it will be imported anyway. You are supposed to write 25 random things about yourself. I love reading everyone else's, so I was eager to do my own. Here we go:

1.My favourite flavours are vanilla and almond.

2.My best talent is test-taking. That stood me in very good stead until I graduated from college, but since than (and especially since having kids) has been fairly useless.

3.I can't believe it's been over 11 years since I graduated from college and got married.

4.Frank and I and our children have lived in Germany for about 2 years in total, and during that time visited Switzerland (Frank's relatives) and the Netherlands (my relatives).

5.I am having a hard time writing facts about myself rather than my kids.

6.My first baby, I gained about 20 pounds and he was born 6 weeks early. I was fine but he had a long recovery. My second baby, I gained about 30 pounds and she was born two weeks early, and we were both fine. My third baby, I gained about 40 pounds, she was born two days after her due date, and she was fine but I had a very long recovery.

7.I am learning the value of balance rather than extremes (see above and below).

8.I have always wanted and tried to do the right thing, and nevertheless I have some big regrets. I think the more earnest you are, the harder it is for God to get through to you when you're wrong. That's not to say you shouldn't be earnest – I think humble is the word I'm looking for. Sometimes I feel like I'm not sure about anything anymore – except that God exists and he loves me.

9.When Matthias was a baby, I thought I was addicted to getting mail, because I could hardly wait to go check the mailbox at noon every day. Later I realized it was the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise I was really craving!

10.Frank “gave” me 10 goldfish for our 10th anniversary. But it was unintentional (a rescue), and the fishtank didn't come for another week. A year later, there are six left.

11.I homeschool my kids, and celebrate each of their achievements. This past month, Bethany figured out that she can read, and lost four teeth. Matthias found out that he can memorize times tables if I make the stakes high enough, and Carrie Ann can count up to 9 (“three, four, six, nine, two”). She loves being “up-dy down!”

12.I've had two concussions in my life. The first time I was at swimming lessons practicing the front crawl, supported by the swimming instructor. We each thought the other was watching for the edge of the pool, and I swam right into it. The second time was last October. I went to have an ingrown toenail cut off, and as the doctor was anesthetizing my toe I sat up, fainted, and fell sideways off the bed, hitting my head on a chair leg. It was quite a shock for him, and when I woke up I was back on the bed with two strange faces peering down at me. I said, “Where am I?” then thought “I sound like someone in a movie!” As soon as the doctor answered I remembered everything... Anyway, I also learned that it's much harder to spend a week in bed when you have three small children than when you are 11!

13.Last summer, I prayed to God for a sign that he loves me – and in the next half hour I saw an incredible rainbow! God has answered a number of prayers in the last year – both mine for others, and others' for me. He wants us to pray for eachother!

14.I only fought with my mom twice, that I remember, as a teenager. Both times it was over doing dishes. Now I am being repaid in full by my own kids, who love to fight about it when it is their turn to wash (except Carrie Ann, but she makes more mess than she cleans).

15.I absolutely love pictures and cute stories and little videos of my niece and nephew. I am amazed at my sister-in-law's ability to keep her blog up to date.

16.I really enjoyed getting up to date with old school friends when I joined Facebook. I used to think, “I wonder how so-and-so (fill in your name here) is doing?” and now almost all of my old school friends, and grown cousins, are on Facebook. Neat!

17.I like using public transportation, but trains are my favourite and I've gotten tired of flying. In Creston, the bus system is, well, it's a small town.... I usually walk.

18.The new lightbulbs remind me of swirly ice cream cones.

19.I don't participate in anything that requires you to send it on to everyone you know/a certain number of friends. So I won't tag anyone in this note, but if you are reading this and want to write a “25 random things about myself” note, please consider yourself tagged!

20.I started a photo/story web page nine years ago when we moved to Creston (to help keep in touch with Mom). Over the years it became a photo gallery instead, and when my siblings started blogging I joined that as well.

21.I am amused to note that the older my friends are, the more philosophical their 25 things are. I must be getting old...

22.Ever since I was a child I wanted a big philodendron draped over my window, and for a number of years, I did. (Frank killed it with fertilizer, but I saved a clipping so it is growing back again now – but not yet big enough to drape over the window.) I also love ficus (fig) trees, and have one in my living room which is almost as tall as I am.

23.When I was a kid I wanted waist long hair, like my art teacher (Mrs. DeBree). Unfortunately, my hair doesn't grow that long, and it looks best when the part by my face is chin length. So I keep it shorter.

24.I love to sing. I can't play piano really well, but I can sight-read (singing) not too badly and I love singing alto. Some of my best memories are of choirs (in highschool, and the Oratorio at Calvin). I loved Frank's folky-religious music and early Renaissance preferences when I met him. A friend once said, “You just like Frank's music because you're his wife.” I retorted, “Maybe I'm his wife because I like his music!” Together, with some friends we have recorded one tape (just before Matthias was born), and with Frank's encouragement I have even written a couple children's songs.

25.I have my own Bible reading plan – I read one chapter of Old Testament history (currently in Leviticus), Old Testament writings (currently in Jeremiah), New Testament history (Acts) and New Testament writings (Romans) plus one Psalm and a couple Proverbs every day (well, almost every day). It is interesting to see how the passages juxtapose and reflect on each other, as well as how they speak to my life at unexpected moments. Like the time I was thinking of being induced with Carrie Ann, and the whole chapter (Hosea 9) was about miscarrying wombs and dying children. Needless to say, I turned down the offer of induction. Two days later she was born naturally and the verses were about holding and kissing children (Hosea 11). Amazing!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Matthias won a bike!

Matthias won a bike! Every year, at the Santa Claus Parade, every school child in Creston has their name entered in a draw. In former years, the one winner got to go to Disneyland, but this year they decided to split the money and buy fourteen bikes. Well, Matthias' name was picked! It's funny, because Frank won a bike when he was a boy too! I'll get pictures up later....

I wanted to share more of Carrie Ann's baby talk, too, before it all disappears! Matthias and Bethany sometimes play a game called "Poptropica". Well, the r in the middle there was too hard for Carrie, so she changed it to an l -- and threw it in everywhere! "Plop-plop-pla" After that, a popsicle naturally became a "plop-plo" (it's already corrected to pop-co now). Another favourite is "Demenst Bears", one of her favourite story series -- can you guess?

Monday, February 9, 2009

February pictures

Hi! Sorry it's been so long. I've been spending my spare time trying to get a handle on why I'm so tired and down all the time. Well, the head-fog was likely a cold going around, since other family members have it now as well. Carrie Ann is only nursing twice a day now, and the days are getting longer (though the snow isn't as nice for sledding on anymore), so that is helping with the tiredness too. I'm trying to cut back on wheat a bit and see if that makes a difference. It is hard to be strict with wheat on all our shelves, though!

We have been enjoying some theme boxes from the library. This is from the Castle box.

Carrie Ann drew her first person this past week (on the right) -- head, eyes, body, and even arm lines. The line at the bottom is the hem of the Princess' dress. Wow!

We had a very frosty couple of days, and I couldn't resist taking a few pictures (though I'm no match for Brad and Caryn!).

More pictures are at my Gallery.