Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quotes: Why didn't they sing?

Last night we were lying in bed watching the president do his State of the Union address.  Molly was in between Amanda and me.  When the president had made his way to the podium and began speaking, Molly said,
"Why didn't they sing?"
Amanda's reply was, "because this isn't church."

Molly shot back, "Then what is it?"

Huffington Post/AP

Friday, January 21, 2011

Caleb is 7 and Lucy is 1

This is what happens when your birthday is right after Christmas.  We fight against it all the time and try to make their birthdays special, but it's difficult.  Joe, you understand.

We celebrated Caleb's and Lucy's birthdays in Alpena.  When I was growing up, you were really cool if you had a birthday party at the Holiday Inn.  So that's what we did.  We all had a great time swimming and celebrating.  It's always fun to celebrate Caleb because he responds so genuinely.  Lucy was a sweetie too.  A one-year-old birthday is always a bit sketchy.  She loved the cupcake though.  Check out the photos below for proof. Oh, and for you long time blog readers, that is a new watch that Caleb is sporting.

Christmas Update

I know, I know.  I'm a bad parent and a terrible blogger.  We celebrated Christmas at home with just our family and then did some time with Amanda's family.  Then we were off to Michigan.  We were in Alpena for a wonderful Christmas with my mom and Tricia's family.  It was a great time.  Mom was AMAZING with the food and acting as our hostess.  The kids had a great time with their cousins and we enjoyed the wonderful north woods.  Here are a few photo highlights from our time.

You can view all of the photos here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hymn of the Week--To God Be the Glory

This weekend in church we sang the hymn To God Be the Glory.  Whenever we sing this hymn, I am reminded of how blessed I am and how much I owe.  One of my earliest memories of church is singing this hymn at Waterford Community Church.  At the end of the Sunday night service, the congregation would sing a hymn as the pastor and his wife, who sat in the front row, would file out.  This hymn was also the theme song to a Bible study to which my mom listened.  I am so thankful to God for my parents and especially my mom and how she taught us that God was an important part of her life and should be in our lives.

I love the verses.  They talk about all that God has done for us.  Then the chorus is pure doxology.  When we really understand what God has done on our behalf, that's where we have to go.

Hymn of the Week
Words by Fanny Crosby
Music by JW. Howard Doane

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.


Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Thanking God and celebrating with Colberts

    For the past two plus years we have been praying for the Colbert family and especially Abbey as they all struggle through leukemia.  Today Abbey took her last chemo treatment.  I am officially taking their banner of the blog and celebrating God's amazing grace and faithfulness to them.  I have loved to watch how in the most difficult times they have pointed to God and the strength that he has given them.  We have been drawn closer to Christ and have had many opportunities to hallow his name through their lives and watching this situation, even from so far away.  We will continue to watch for more opportunities to praise God in Abbey's life and in her family.  Jim and Shelley will be able to replay the last two years for their family over and over again and use it as Moses did for the nation of Israel to point to God's faithfulness.  We will do the same.  Thank you God, for sparing Abbey, for upholding her and Jim, Shelley, Jacob, Caleb and Micah, and for making your name great in all of it.

    Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.

    Deuteronomy 7:9

    New Cooking Adventures

    Gregg and Allison got us The America's Test Kitchen Family CookbookAmerica's Test Kitchen is one of our favorite PBS shows and the companion cookbook as not disappointed.  We have made a number of different recipes from it already.  The shtick behind the show is that they try all the different ways to make a recipe and then come up with the best techniques and ingredients of all of them.  We like the cook book because it mostly contains dishes that you would actually like to eat and for which you actually have the ingredients.  All of the recipes that we've made so far have turned out great.
    • Chicken Enchiladas
    • Peanut Butter Cookies--really, really good
    • Slow Cooker chili
    • Slow Cooker beef stew--a great beefy recipe
    • Corn chowder (on the docket for Friday)
    If you're looking for a good family cookbook, I'd certainly recommend this one.  Very helpful and doesn't assume a ton of cooking prowess.  

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Fun Friday

    The kids are all at the Mall of America for a quick stop at the new Lego store and then heading over to the airport to greet our friends the DeRouchies as they return from their trip to Ethiopia with their new son Ezra.  I have loved walking with them electronically over their time in Ethiopia.  I can't wait to see Ezra in person and welcome him.

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Read Alouds--Johnny Tremain

    As I've stated before, this year's read alouds are mostly historical fiction centered around American history.  I have really enjoyed the vast majority of the ones we've done so far.  We have made it to the period of the American revolution.

    Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, takes place in Boston at the very beginning of the war.  Johnny is a young boy who through many circumstances comes on the side of patriots like Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Adams and others.  The story follows Johnny as he assists the secret rebellion of the colonists, climaxing at the battle of Lexington and Concord.  This was a long book, but everyone enjoyed it.  Johnny is an interesting character and Forbes develops him well.  When we first meet him, he is a selfish and prideful teenager.  At the end, he has become a young man who is ready to give his life for his friends and his country.  I would definitely recommend this one.

    When we were reading this, it made me think of the School House Rock song, "Shot Heard Round the World."  We listened to it this morning and the boys thought it was great.

    Read Alouds--The Witch of Blackbird Pond

    I'm a little behind on my read aloud reviews.  We finished The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare back in the fall.  She is the same author as our previous read The Sign of the Beaver.  As in that book, Speare takes a rather critical view of the people of a particular period in history.  This time her aim is at the rigid Puritans.  When Kit joins her aunt and her family in New England from Barbados, cultures clash.  Kit is a free loving, literary type from the warm shores of a Caribbean island.  Her aunt and her two daughters live in the cold world of New England puritanism, under the reign of a patriarchal father.  Kit's only solace is found in the home of a Quaker woman who man in the town suspect of being a witch.

    The book is well written and it is always good for us to have a story where the protagonist is a girl.  It helps pull Molly into what we're reading more.  It's a good story, but sometimes I do get a little tired of the whole, critical view looking back.  Certainly there were Puritans that were too rigid, just as it was a tragedy how the white men treated the Native Americans when they came.  It is important for us to look back at those times and learn from the mistakes that were made, but it is also important to do so with grace and understanding.  Would we have made similar decisions had we lived in the same period?