Here is hoping all of you enjoyed a peaceful day of Thanksgiving with loved ones. We spent the day at Jay’s folks’ and had a wonderful time. Given the context of a holiday spent with young children, I felt it was quite relaxed. Kudos are in order for Grammy Ruth on a most delectably succulent turkey: indeed, one of the best we’ve ever eaten!

The Thanksgiving StoryA month ago I purchased this book which I read to the children to give them an introduction to the Thanksgiving holiday. I think it is a fine addition to our library, and recommend it highly. I was delighted to learn it had received the honor of being named a Caldecott Honor book.

It follows one Pilgrim family’s journey from England to America and documents the hardships the Pilgrims endured to make a home in this new land where they could worship God as they felt they ought. It is told simply enough for beginning readers to enjoy on their own, yet also does a great job of not oversimplifying the story. Our 3 and 5 year old loved the book and its beautiful illustrations. Alice Dalgliesh has presented us with a wonderful account of the first Thanksgiving, helping children to gain an awareness of where this special holiday originated, and why we take time on this day each year to thank God for His blessings to us. And truly, there is much for which we are thankful.

Living History Day

Last week, Jay and I had the privilege of joining Abigail, her classmates and teacher, and the entire lower portion of the Covenant School for their annual Living History Day.

Each year, coinciding with their course of study in a particular segment of history, the students take a day to experience life as someone would have in that time period. All the children, parents, and teachers arrive for the day dressed in clothing somewhat appropriate to the era they are studying. It is a rich day full of learning and fun.

This year we visited Farmer’s Branch Historical Parkwhere they have preserved quite a wonderful bit of history. Through the help of folks from the Texana Living History Association, we stepped back into the time of the American Pioneers and got a glimpse of what life was like for them. We visited a one-room schoolhouse, made rag dolls, explored several different homes preserved from the 1800’s, watched a blacksmith hard at work, heard from female cattle rancher Molly Goodnight, and even visited with a couple of cowboys on the cattle trail to see how they lived. What a treat to spend this day with Abigail and some of the wonderful folks from her school.
Part of the fun was dressing up. I enjoyed planning and working on our costumes, though I didn’t sew all of the pieces myself: only our matching aprons. Part of Abigail’s “pioneer” outfit is 25 years old. The blue dress she is wearing under her pinafore is one that my mother sewed for me when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, and wanted to dress as a Pilgrim one Halloween. After taking a sizeable hem in the skirt and sleeves, it was perfect for Abigail. It was fun to see her wear it again after all these years.

Click here if you would enjoy seeing some more photos from our day. By way of note: Photaccess has changed the way they do things and we notice the resolution on the smaller photos is not very good at all. We recommend choosing the “view photos larger” option for now. And a bit of good news: we are in the process of changing our photo hosting site so look for the new page coming soon.

Just Hanging Around

We’ve neglected our blog over the past couple weeks as we attended to other matters for a time.

Last week we had a houseguest: our cousin/niece Evangeline joined us for a few days while she and her brothers were in town for a visit (the boys stayed over at Grammy Ruth’s and GranDaddy John’s). We enjoyed having all of them closeby for the week. The kids all loved being together and it was a great visit.

Then there is the project that Jay has been working on for some weeks now…but he’ll have to tell you about that himself. (Hint, hint, Jay!!)

Besides this, all of us have been rather ill. We all caught colds last week, some of which have turned into sinus infections (Mommy in this case being the sickest, which is unusual for our family) and on top of this, several of us are dealing with pink eye. Fun, fun. Our family bonding ritual has now become everyone lining up for the administration of their “drops”.

Being around the house for a decent amount of time has given me time for pause and thought (in between administering eye drops, wiping noses, and trying to contain the spread of germs – though this last item seems rather a joke at this point). Even as we deal with illnesses we have access to such creature comforts: central heat and humidifiers, ready access to medications of most every kind, disposable tissues, library books to read together, videos and dvd’s from our local store to help entertain the very sick, groceries aplenty only a mile away, not to mention restaurants which serve up anything we want at a moment’s notice for us to enjoy in the comfort of our own home. For these things I am grateful, for I know they make our days at home somewhat easier.

Not that I have totally enjoyed this little foray into the land of everyone in the family being sick. I admit I am ready to see some indications that some of us are on the mend. I would like to be able to breathe through my nose again, and I will enjoy venturing forth from our sickhouse in the near future to experience other people and places.

Till then, we are here. I hope all those reading are healthy and well, and looking forward to a time of Thanksgiving next week.

Welcome, Baby Sarah!

I have been remiss in officially welcoming our newest niece/cousin. We are delighted to announce the birth of Sarah Kathryn, delivered Monday, October 25th. She is welcomed by proud Mommy (Katie) and Daddy (Peter), as well as adoring big sister Ellie.

Abigail and I had the privilege of seeing Sarah when she was only a few hours old. This was big treat for me as well as Abigail, who was delighted to get to help hold her baby cousin. Welcome to the world, Baby Sarah! We are so glad you are a part of our family!

Embarassing Words

Yesterday after picking kids up from school, we ran an errand to look for a winter coat for Jonathan. As I was unloading the kids from the minivan, Abigail said something and included the word “blast!” in her sentence. I very gently admonished her, saying, “Abigail, it’s not ladylike to say ‘blast’. Please try not to use that word so much”.

The words were still on my tongue as I, in the act of climbing into the van to extricate young Nicolas from his carseat, hit my head quite hard on the edge of the roof/side door opening. And what should come out of my mouth just a nanosecond after my correction to my daughter? “Oh, crap!” (It really did hurt!!)

Surely someone reading can identify with how a parent feels in such a situation. I was absolutely mortified, ashamed, humbled, whatever adjective you feel appropriate.

“Don’t worry that your children never listen to you.
Worry that they are always watching you.”
— Robert Fulghum

The Election Through the Eyes of Children

Though I had a couple opportunities this year to “early vote” on my own, without my three darlings in tow, I made a conscious decision to go to the polls on Election Day, and take the children along. Toward that end, I’d been trying to talk a bit with them about the upcoming election, giving them an overview of the process we as a democracy go through to elect a leader.

I may not be the best teacher, because today as we set out on our excursion to our local school to vote, I was asked some interesting questions. The questions and comments continued as we entered the school to vote, and persisted even after we’d finished voting and were heading home.

Here are some of the things my charges asked, or had to say regarding the election and the voting process:

Jonathan: “I can’t wait to see George Bush! When’s he gonna get to the pool?” (by way of explanation, I think there was confusion over the word “poll”)

Jonathan: (a bit skeptically. he is, after all, a bit fearful around bodies of water) “How deep is George Bush’s pool?”

Abigail: “Not so deep, I don’t think.”

Abigail: “Everyone is voting today for George Bush to be President!” (if only that were true!!)

Abigail: “So do all Presidents have to love God?”

Abigail: “Can a woman be President?”

It turned out that the voting was set up in the school gymnasium. My children are unfamiliar with the concept of a gymnasium, or so I found out.

Abigail: “Is this a basketball place?”

Nicolas: (in a rude, angry voice when his sister blocked his view) “SEE the basketball, SEE the basketball!” (meaning he wanted to be able to see the hoop)

As I began the process of voting with my very cool and modern computer key card, the children were interested in helping.

Jonathan: “Can I please push a button?”

Jonathan: (trying on the headset provided each voter in their booth) “Now is it my turn? When can I vote?”

Nicolas: (still rather loudly) “PLAY the basketball!!”

The kind lady at the exit showered the children with “My vote counted” stickers, except for Jonathan who declared he didn’t want a sticker, he wanted to get to vote! Nicolas was very proud of his sticker though and transferred it to his jammies when it was time to get dressed for bed.

There were many more comments and questions, some of which I did not know how to answer. But I am glad I got to experience this election, for the first time, through the eyes of my children. It is really a treat to see the world they way they see it. We enjoyed our election experience: now we are just awaiting the outcome!