Sunday, February 28, 2010

Under the Wire!

It's 11pm on Sunday, and I should be in bed, but I wanted to get a quick note in under the wire before we hit the month of March! Here's a few updates for you from our house tonight:

We had a wonderful trip to HK. Simply wonderful. The Lord blessed, gave peace and joy, helped us to get up early for quiet times, gave us energy for the days, and we had a lot of fun! Our medical checkups went very well, and everyone appears to be quite healthy. The weather was much better than we expected and we only had a bit of rain the first day. I really liked memorizing a verse each day to keep my heart in a good place! It was a true blessing and felt like the most God-glorifying vacation we've ever taken! PTL!

Just two clouds in our sunny HK experience: Chloe and I both became violently ill one night in the middle of the night. She threw up (three times, but who's counting?) all over herself and the bed (I've never been so thankful that we had a washer/dryer right there in our borrowed apartment!). I had gone to bed early, not feeling well, and while trying to help John clean up had to rush to the bathroom myself. Yuck, yuck, yuck! The next morning we were supposed to go to Disneyland, and we actually were able to go through with it, though I packed some motion sickness bags just in case! Thankfully, no one else in the family got it. We're not sure where that nasty bug came from! Good thing I was trying to eat more moderately during our trip anyway; otherwise I might have been really disappointed that basically two full days of the vacation I was missing out on tasty food. As it was, my heart was content to let the food pass me by, PTL for that grace.

The other cloud was the brief demise of our camera. One night, as John played fun, jazzy music through his computer and the girls were dancing around in delight, I reached to grab the camera and snap some pictures. I grabbed it by the strap of the camera case. . . but the case wasn't zipped and the camera fell to the floor. Argh and double argh!! The sickening thud was enough to make me sick to my stomach all over again. After that, the camera was unreliable; working occasionally but refusing to focus at other times. The silver lining to this cloud was that we had already taken several hundred pictures on this trip, AND upon returning home we brought it to a Nikon dealer who was able to do the necessary repairs for about $50. That turned out much better than I expected! We'll pick up the camera tomorrow and I'll hopefully post some HK pictures soon.

So, we left the air conditioning behind and returned home to winter again. Today it began to rain, which then turned to snow. Yes, SNOW again, on the eve of March, a rarity in our city no matter the time of year. The girls are thrilled and the accumulation is already an inch or two; we may be playing outside in the morning!

Just three weeks, and we leave for America! I have my work cut out for me; lots of home things to organize before we leave. I plan to sort through basically our whole house in preparation; determining what to keep, what to get rid of, and what we need to buy in the States. That time is approaching fast!

Well, I'm off to bed. Happy March, everyone!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Travelers, again

We're off in a few hours on a brief trip to Hong Kong! We have some medical appointments to complete (actually a rather thorough medical checkup) and then plan to spend some time playing. However, that also meant that my husband got up at 3am today trying to finish some emails before we travel! Better that than "work" pursuing him into our time away. We hope that the week will be quite refreshing!

Something new for us this time is that we are seeking to do our best to "vacation to the glory of God!" This is something we've been trying to do for a long time but I think not ever really doing a great job at it. Why does it seem like "vacation" in our minds means: checking out, being lazy, eating all we want and more, and just generally indulging our every selfish whim? Why do we believe the lie that this kind of behavior is more "fun" than being disciplined to spend time with the Lord?

I think part of it is fatigue. Usually we are tired and just wanting to "relax" going into vacation, which leads to us indulging ourselves, sleeping in everyday, using media or food or whatever to try to fill that need for rest and refreshment, rather than maintaining our spiritual disciplines and seeking refreshment from the Lord. By the end of vacation, we might feel physically rested and with satiated appetites, but we can tend to feel spiritually dull, since we have spent all of our time satisfying the flesh. Another part is probably just the age-old temptation to sin. Not trusting the promises of God to be truly satisfying, trying to make satisfaction for ourselves, rebelling against the idea that disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness CAN and DOES bring refreshment, not just physically but for our whole person!

But I finally feel like we are growing in this and hope to make this vacation different. That's not to say we won't still go out to eat, do fun things with the girls, and all of those things, but our attitudes are different. Our focus is different. By His grace, we hope to keep our priorities in the right place and enjoy the benefits that He brings through that!

What about you? Do you find it difficult to maintain quiet times and a vibrant relationship with Father while traveling or on vacation? What do you do to combat that? I'd love to hear more ideas about this topic!

Here's one idea to get started: I plan to try and memorize one verse each day, so that even if my morning time is a bit shorter or interrupted by kids getting up, I can take that verse with me into the day and meditate on it. We plan to do lots of things out and about, so this could be a good way to keep my heart focused even in those situations.

So, will you pray for us this week? John and I are of one mind on this and want this vacation to be different, for God's glory and our good. Thank you! I'll be sure to write an update when we get back!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

Last night as we were reading the story of Hannah in our family devotions, John was talking to the girls about how Hannah was praying, moving her lips but not using her voice to pray, and Eli the priest thought that she was drunk.

"What does it mean to be drunk, girls? Do you know?" John asked.

Clara Anne shook her head. Chloe had no idea.

"It means that you've drunk too much . . . " John prompted them.

"Al-co-homa," said Clara Anne. And I tried my best not to laugh.

Sorry to my Oklahoma friends!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Feast for the Grandparent's Eyes

Here they are, the long-time-coming photos from our 2nd Annual Christmas Eve family photo shoot. There's some great ones in the bunch. . . have fun looking!
I love this one.
Sweet sisters!

Clara Anne Danielle, 5 years old!

A beautiful smile!

My dancing princess, only too glad to pose for the camera.

Chloe Rachelle, three and a half. Love that big grin!

Giggling at Daddy.

Taking her turn doing some dancing.

Christin Arielle, 20 months, wispy hair, red nose, sweet smile, and all.

Love this precious one!

I didn't do such a great job choosing backgrounds this time. The dresses, which are actually quite a dark, beautiful burgundy, showed up in the pictures quite red. The deeper color of the background came through quite purple. Oh well!

Piling on Daddy was fun at first...until Christin got smooshed.

Not half bad! It's hard to get everybody looking and smiling at once!

That's a classic Christin face if I ever saw one!

Funny girl!

Here's where piling on Daddy was still fun!

Daddy daughter love!

And some Daddy-daughter dancing!

How about a little dancing with Mommy?

Love my Clara Anne!

And the last picture, taken with Lou, our dear helper and friend. Of course she was with us that morning, helping to arrange the girls' dresses, make them smile, keep track of our winter coats, etc. We love and appreciate her!
So, another family photo session has come and gone. I was reasonably pleased with the results and am glad we had it done again. Time flies by so quickly, in a few years we will be so glad we have all of these pictures, capturing the girls and our family at this stage. The girls also love to look at old pictures, so now we're preserved in these photos for all time! Hope you enjoyed taking a look!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Teaser

Finally, I have some pictures to share from our Christmas Eve photo shoot at the studio downtown. I don't have time to post all (26!) of them tonight, but here's a teaser for you to enjoy in the meantime. And this first one may be my favorite of all.

In other news, today was a fun day at our house. I invited five friends over to make oatmeal raisin cookies and pumpkin bread together. This weekend is the most major holiday of the year, so many people are off work and one of my friends even asked off so she could come and participate this morning! Three of them brought their children, and it was more than a little crazy! I had everything set out on my lazy susan and taught through the process, step by step, with my friends writing things down and taking pictures all the way, while the children wreaked havoc in other parts of the house. (Including taking out an entire container of beads and foam craft pieces and dumping them all over the floor!)

We had fun, though! These ladies are all part of my Tuesday night book club where we are reading Sally Clarkson's "The Mission of Motherhood." It was fun to get together outside of the study and they seem to really love coming to our home. I also will say that I took an hour long nap after it was all over this afternoon! Wowza!

Tomorrow we have another fun party planned--the tradition for this holiday is to make dumplings, so we are having a dumpling party with some friends tomorrow night. It should be fun, and tasty too.

That's all from our house tonight! Good night!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Off to School (not quite)

On school (kindergarten) mornings around our house, there's a curious phenomena that takes place. Clara Anne and Chloe drag their heels, eat as slowly as they can, protest having their hair combed, and things like this because they insist they don't want to go out (in the cold); they'd rather stay at home. Christin, on the other hand, gets very excited when anyone is ready to go anywhere. She's ready to get her coat on and go out the door, despite the fact that she's still wearing her feetie pajamas!

But look. . . she's ready to go! "See you later Mama!"
"Oops, maybe I forgot something. I'd better go back and look for it. "
"Well, maybe I'll stay home after all. I do love my morning nap in the dark bathroom. Plus, it's cozier to keep my jammies on a little longer. I guess I'll wait a bit longer to go off to school."
In related news, recently as I was biking home from school with Chloe strapped to my back in the Ergo and Clara Anne riding in the bike seat, Clara Anne shouted up to me (shouting is necessary due to the noisy traffic on the street): "Mommy, what are you going to do when Christin has to go to you'er yuan (kindergarten) too? How will you carry us all?" I told her that honestly, I wasn't sure, but that we would work something out when the time came. Not for awhile, I hope! Clara Anne and Chloe didn't start kindergarten until they were 3 and a half, so we'll be waiting a bit longer with Christin. No rush!
Speaking of school, the girls and I are studying Mozart today. Time to pop in "The Marriage of Figaro" and do a little dancing!