Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011.......What a Year.

This last year was at best nuts. Good nuts, bad nuts, crazy nuts, busy nuts, relaxing nuts, rush rush rush nuts.....sometimes just nuts. I can say I have memories that I couldn't live out and others that I am hoping disappear. I gained knowledge and made mistakes. I learned things about myself and changed things about myself. I gave up some things and gained others. I enjoyed my family and friends. We argued and made up. Laughed and Cried. We did it all this year. I am not sure I could pin point anything we missed out on.

I have learned a lot about myself this year. I have learned I am just fine the way that God has made me to be. I am not sure if every woman feels this way but each year brings me more security ad more contentedness in my own skin and I like that. Long gone are the days that I strive for the things that are just never going to be important to me. I will never be the woman with the perfectly clean house and the flowers planted during the correct week of May. I will never have my decor just right or have my laundry completely caught up...because well because life happens and I am okay with that. My home does not need to reflect the seasons changing in order to be a home and well if a dish or frame breaks or if the dog pukes on the couch I probably will get over it pretty quickly. I have found in order for something to matter to me it needs to hold a purpose or meaning....and the rest of it can go. I am realizing more and more that my purpose is to be their for others first and me last. I have come to understand this confuses others at times......I'm okay with that to. I have come to know that my worth hardly ever revolves around someone elses understanding of me. God knows my heart..........And over and over again I realize that having a full house and life and plenty of love means being surrounded by others who feel the same.

This year I was challenged with a thought of living a life connected. I had heard a sermon towards the end of 2010 that challenged to live a life connected. A life in which you lived more in communion of others. A life that caused you to question the definition of family. A life that caused you to live your life in a spirit of putting others needs before your own. Giving in a way that Christ would give. Welcoming people into your home without thinking if it is convenient. In fact it was the complete opposite of convenience. You were supposed to question that as well. Connecting yourself with others in a way where your desires were their desires and vice versa. Their hurts were your hurts and vice versa. Living in complete community and examining what that would mean. It was an experiment and at times it was hard especially at the beginning. But I can tell you in the end this is the most rewarding way to live and i am a better version of me for it. It has caused me to question a lot of things in reflection. Concepts of service and love and attitude and sacrifice have been taken to limits that I have never experienced before and sometimes I failed miserably. But other times, the times in which I let the one who challenged me from the beginning to take full control, HE triumphed. His love poured through and His will was done and that is when the blessings that were intended for others blessed me as well. I plan on continuing this experiment into the next year. I plan on continuing to live a life connected to others which ultimately means living a life connected to Christ!

I don't want this year to end rather just continue on into the next. I turn 30 in Tminus 7 months and I thought about doing a 30 before I turn 30 list but immediately changed my mind. I do have a few goals though and I think they are worth mentioning.
-I want to finish my book this year......not sure if this is realistic.....but if I work hard and allow myself to really pour into it I think I can do it. I'm not even sure what I will do with it when I finish it.
-I want to enjoy life completely in a spirit of gratitude and after reading, 1000 gifts, I am going to have gift journal that I keep out all the time.
-In spirit of the last item I want to focus more on the simpler things and less on the nuts.

And there you have it. No grand plans, because they aren't mine to have.

Can't wait to see what the New Year Brings.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Date With Grace.

It is not very often that Brian and I are together with only one of our children. Sure we get plenty of time for us each to have time with our kids separately but the two of us together and one that is a strange occurrence.

My kids requested separate sleepovers at Grans...another rare occurrence, and so that left us with just Grace last night. So we decided to take Grace for dinner of her choosing. First she said leftover tatertot casserole was fine....then she realized we were offering to take her out:)

She chose La Fiamma Pizza in Bellingham and how could we say no...I love that place.

Grace ordered the kids cheese pizza and a lemonade.

Brian and I shared a side salad and a pulled pork pizza. They top that pizza with a fennel and cilantro slaw that will knock your socks is unbelievable.

We ended the night with a quick trip to Target to get some dishwasher soap (now Grace knows what reals dates are like for her parents).

It was a great night!! It was so fun to give her our undivided attention.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guess where we are going?????


Three months from today I will be on an airplane heading to a foreign country with....wait for it.....only the hubdub. And there is more....for nine whole days.

I promise not to mention it on here everyday from now until then. Maybe just once a month for a proper countdown. But honestly I am so excited I could pee my pants.

-Reason for going (like we need one) celebrate 10 years of married commitment. I am so thankful for a husband that meant his vows to me when he let them pass his lips. I am so thankful for a God that gives us a foundation to build our life upon and words to support and teach us when we need them(all the time). And I am so thankful to be able to take this trip, I know that it is an extra added blessing, not anything that is needed or necessary, the fact that we can take the trip after ten years of saying that we would blows my mind.
-What about your mom will have them on the weekends and our fabulous and wonderful friends, Uncle Justin and Auntie Sarah will have them during the week. We are spoiled.....I totally know.
-Are we
-Do I feel bad about leaving my Are you kidding between my Mom and Uncle and Auntie Extrodinaire they will be experiencing their own version of Disneyland.
-Are there bugs and weird animals in Costa Rica...yes. Monkeys in the backyard reportedly and scorpions that occasionally frequent the floors(yep I still want to go). There are also lizards and beautiful birds and the like.
-Food....Food is high up on my list as they have authentic"mexican" style cuisine with lots of fish. I told Brian if we ate tacos everyday at some dive stand or hole in the wall I would be tickled. Tacos and me have a deep love affair. Bananas are also native to this I will finally be able to slightly "redeem" myself my eating one that is actually locally grown.
-Activities...Beach time, surfing, zip line courses through the rainforest, upright paddling through the mangroves, hiking...I mean come on. We are not necessarily doing all of these things.....not sure which ones yet.

Our story sounds like many others in the fact that we took a weekend away following our wedding and then spent the rest of our,"honeymoon money" on a move to the oh so fabulous state of AZ. We started out saying we would take a "honeymoon" on our 1 year anniversary but seeing as I was three weeks out from delivering our first child at that point, the trip was not in the cards. At this point we got a bit more realistic, Brian told me we would forgo the big trip until our 10 year wedding anniversary...and I am happy to report we have nearly arrived. I know that a honeymoon is not necessary and that plenty of people don't go on one and I am not saying for one minute that I feel it was something I missed out on, but for us it is something we always wanted to do.

So we are going to Costa Rica. We have rented a house in Playa Negra, which is on the upper NW coast. It is a bit away from the typical tourist areas which is right up our alley, we wanted to havve an option to travel to those areas but be located in a bit more of a relaxed local. It should be around 80 degrees the whole time we are there....and heat is my friend. We have promised ourselves plenty of relaxing laying around the pool and beach time along with some time spent enjoying all of the wonderful sights and features of Costa Rica. The thing I am most nervous about is the drive to our house formt he airport. The directions the home owner sent me resemble a joke seeing as the distances are sometimes described by 15seconds until you reach the soccer field take a left at the yellow sign.....yeah so if we make it to our house alive I will be happy.

I love adventure, I love travel, I love my husband, I love living in my bathing suit,I love the beach and the sun and the idea of having nothing I have to do. So the next three months of planning and preparing should be nothing short of a dream.

Heres to a vacaiton!! I feel blessed and excited and overwhelmed and excited:)

Yay for "honeymoons!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Some say red heads shouldn't wear green on Christmas...I say the heck with what some people say.
Well Christmas has come, and although we can live with the promises that the season brings, the festivities are now over. We had a great Christmas. We had plenty of time to enjoy everyone and everything that comes with the parties and outings. My kids survived fairly well and so did Brian and I. I survived the event I had to cater yesterday and although I passed out from sheer exhaustion last night I am feeling at peace today with the completion of it all.
Here is the traditional Christmas morning jammie picture. Elliot appreciated the lack of holiday theme in his....he's to old for that you know. Grace however loves the Christmas jammies!! The dogs even participated.

Later on I will hopefully get a chance to fill you in completely on our Christmas happenings...but for now I will leave you with one of my favorite memories from this Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Not a Creature was Stirring......Except for a Mouse!

It is now 6:53am. The time of the mouse was 6:17 am. I am here to tell you Christmas will now include green bricks of mouse poison cheer and the sound of mouse traps(one could hope). I will have to be honest and tell you I was hardly sleeping anyway. I have never slept well on Christmas Eve. When I was a kid and maybe even as young as 3 or so I can remember the idea of Santa coming into my house being completely unnerving (this is how Grace feels about the tooth fairy). And I also remember the first year I realized he wasn't the real deal. I was 5 1/2...I got up because I thought I heard him....I was on a mission to bust that guy with the big white beard. But what I found was my mom wrapping my Christmas aluminum foil no less. I suspect and know that we probably really didn't have money for presents let alone wrapping paper. But I can tell you it was really shiny under our tree that year. I can also tell you two things that I received.....a crimper (yep the original fry your hair till it crimps), and Christmas patterned tights from Avon (my aunt sold it). If I can find the picture of me with my crimped and hair and patterned tights I will share it I promise. But back to Santa....yep the jig was up and I was sort of relieved, there was no creepy man creeping around my house dropping things off and eating my cookies. My mom however, much to my enjoyment, continued to send me Christmas letters until the Christmas after my Senior year of high school. And I think she still believes in Santa, and thats fine by me.

Christmas Eve also brings so much anticipation. Every year during that service God fills me to the brim with overwhelming love and joy and peace and all of that Christmas stuff until my heart can no longer handle it and I enjoy the entire service through misty eyes and a giant lump in my throat. Last night was no different and to top it off I was given the extreme privilege of reading the kids a story about the true meaning of Christmas during the service last night. This was almost the icing on the cake as I watched their eyes hear of the animals in the story. They pointed at the pictures and told me what they liked and I can tell you that is the moment it hit a high for me. These children were experiencing a gift in their own way. There is a gift for everyone on Christmas.....a gift that is there for anyone no matter, their age, size, marital status, background long list of sins or grievances. The gift is there and God just serves it up on a silver platter. I am not sure how the idea of our Lord coming to us in the form of a baby can not knock your sock off. A baby that was formed in his mothers womb, just like each of us and given the most humble of births, only to later be risen as king after dying a most humble death just for me. And not just for me but for anyone who will BELIEVE. This is Christmas.

Sandwiched in my pew at church between my Grandmother and my mother I could hardly handle my emotion last night. It was boiling inside of me. I could feel all of my prayers churning and all of the anticipation and worry, and heartache that I had been feeling over the last year was on the move. I could feel prayers being answered and things leaving that I didn't need and it was was peaceful....It was Christmas.

It will be my prayer today for those of you who don't feel Christmas to feel it today. I have struggled this year with feeling "it" in my soul. But I know each of you just like me can feel it if you truly want to.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And this is how Christmas Vacation Begins.

We have school break traditions and they don't really line up with anything else I preach but whatever.....traditions they are.

FIrst on the last day of school before break I pick my cherubs up from school and take them for a happy meal(they have a half day). Yep they know thats where we are going and its a treat and well its great! Oh and by the way we take it home, I can't let my guard down enough to be surrounded by other kids germs days before Christmas......

The first day of break they get to watch an endless amount of toons in the morning. Its just the way it is. They watched the Chippettes this there any other child of the 80's out there that remembers this movie? Oh man I need the soundtrack!

So now you know my secrets. Judge on judgers:)

And just so you know that we are not all lazy lumps, Elliot is holding his end up in the brains department. Out of nowhere this is the question that comes out of his mouth,"Mom why did God make germs?" Yep, these are the questions I will experience daily for the next two weeks as I fail to stimulate his brain as much as school can. And by the way I answered I don't know....????? Anyone have a more theologically full answer for my wonderfully brained child?

And so it begins Christmas Break people......I am truly excited! We have nothing planned after the holiday and that is how I like it. The lack of plan leaves time for spur of the moment playdates and excursions. They are more fun that way!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

3rd Grade Christmas Party....

This year I am by default room mom for the 3rd Graders. I was supposed to be Graces room mom, but because of room mom shortage in 3rd grade this year I switched last minute....Elliot was thrilled....Grace was sad. Next year we will for sure do the switch.

The 3rd graders needed a Christmas party and since today was there last day of school there was no better day to do it. With some help of some other moms we put on a great party. Complete with a snowman game, stocking craft and melted snowman snack and hot cocoa. The kids had fun and the moms had, win all the way around.

We split the class into 4 groups and they got right to work. The students that were dressed up in the "snow" were great sports!

Elliots Group with their snowman(Zachary),

Elliots Class this year...

Elliot with his melted snowman snack.
Little secret on the sister actually took over the project for me. She did an awesome job.

And here is the traditional, yay we got our tree photo.

And just for cute comparison, here is our first Christmas as a family of four.
I wish it were snowing every time we went for our tree!

And my little cherubs next to our tree.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas To Me!

This is our Christmas tree this year. It probably isn't going to win any awards by decorating expert standards. I don't believe in having a themed tree, or a matchy match ornament my opinion our tree should represent our family and the love that we share. I think a tree should be covered in your blessings, it should be a spot of joy to remember why we celebrate Christmas. I believe in bright colored lights, handmade ornaments that were pricelessly put together by chubby fingers....ornaments that are covered in glue and glitter are my favorites. Ornaments adorned with the pictures of little cheeks of years past, I have to say my kids preschool ornaments are some of my prized pieces....sweet faces. I can still remember the pride in their eyes when they gave them to Brian and I. I love ornaments that have been dated from my husbands childhood, marked with B.J. by his grandma. I love ornaments I collected my first year living on my own in my little apartment on Queen Anne. None of them "match" yet they all fit together and remind me of Christmas' past. Each one holds a different memory.

We went and got our tree from the same farm we travel to in the foothills every year. I have been there with babies in front packs, toddlers that could barely walk let alone grasp the concept of picking a tree, little ones that look up the trees in wonder, and now with two kids that have their own opinions of what the perfect tree looks like to them. Grace thought she needed her own tree for her room this year(I did not fulfill her dream). Elliot attempted to cut down the tree himself again this year (he actually cut a bit of it this year). I love watching my husband carefully instruct him each year on the best technique when holding the saw, he is so patient, just wanting to see the little guy succeed. One of these years he will get it and I can't wait. These memories at the Christmas Tree farm are ones that stick with me from year to year. This year I traveld with a freshly ruptured ear drum(when my mom took our picture with the tree she said your face says I have a ruptured ear drum take the darn picture:). Upon arrival I pointed at a tree from the car got out looked it over and sure enough it was the perfect tree, that was the one we ended up with. Probably the quickest tree picking on record. I wanted a tall skinny tree this year and thats what I got....I love it.

Once again I am feeling the anxiety of festivities approaching. I like to be home for Christmas. I like to be with my little family. It is not to say I do not feel incredibly blessed by the large amount of family we are surrounded with. I just feel like sometimes the holidays start to feel like an obligation. Yep I said it. And I have bounced this feeling off of enough of my friends that I know I am not alone. The obligation to buy gifts, the obligation to not disappoint anyone and the obligation to fill each and every day of the two week window surrounding Christmas. Yep now you are calling me the grinch and asking yourself if I really just said all that. Yep I did. And I'm okay with it. I love Christmas...I love the true meaning. I however dislike the fatigue and let down afterwards. I also dislike the upheaval of normal it can bring. For the first 20 years of my life I experienced every divorced kids worst nightmare ping pong Christmas. I was shuffled here and there and everywhere. Experienced the arguments of who would "get us" when. And although there are some good memories they can all be found on the days I got to stay "home" on Christmas, in my jammies. The Christmas' when my grandparents came to us and we could sit and laugh at my grandpa and eat my grandmas cookies until we felt sick. These are the memories I want for my kids. Every year I think maybe we are getting closer to this. I want my kids to feel at home on Christmas. I want them to be able to focus on the simple reason for the season. I want them to feel at peace in it. And so this explains my precious statements above I hope. I want to enjoy and not feel obligated, not feel like i am hurting anyones feelings by being willing to say what is best for my own. I am strong proponent of bedtimes during the holiday season, and have found this makes me seem like a crazy person to others. I can tell you if my kids don't get sleep not only are they crabby but I am crabby and this is not an option for the holiday season. This does not encourage enjoyment.

I can only remember a handful of gifts from childhood this isn't because I didn't receive anything that was worth remembering, my mom is a great gift giver she knows exactly what to get each person. I think the reason I don't remember is because the time spent that was enjoyable is what really left an impression on me. This is what I want for our family. I want it to be about the time spent not the presents received, Brian and I have some plans up our sleeves to implement this more as the kids get older.

Praying that each of you will feel love, peace, joy and hope this Christmas. May it be a season of reflection for you as well as you think of your Christmas pasts. There are so many memories to glean aren't there.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elliot vs. The Babysitter

We had a babysitter tonight. I always warn the babysitters that my kids are crafty...not overtly naughty but for sure crafty.

The babysitter was downstairs watching t.v. Elliot was upstairs supposedly sleeping in his bed when the babysitter hears his radio.

So she treks up the stairs and confronts the little rascal.

She tells him he needs to turn it off because hes not sleeping.

He replies with,"The Lord is more important to me than my sleep." (Because he was listening to Praise.)

She says to me....At this point I didn't know how to respond:)

He did make the right choice and turned off the radio.... and was sleeping when I got home....but really these kids are crafty.

Also today the 3rd and 4th graders went to the health care center to sing to the residents. Upon walking into the facility a child walks up to my son and says, "The teachers totally lied it doesn't smell weird in here at all." to love them!!

And one last Elliotism before I leave you this evening, "How could I not believe her? People with glasses are really convincing."

Thats all folks!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whats Up This Week.?

What is 70x14? 980......This is how many appetizers I will be making this week. Yep my fingers will be flying. Countless hours of appetizers. And this people is why having an appetizer party is by no means cheaper than a sit down jokin.
On the list....

Beef Tenderloin served with a horseradish cream on a housemade potato chip.
Seafood Spring Rolls
Chorizo, Red Pepper and Prawn Skewers
Shrimp and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
Seared Scallops w/ Carrot Marjoram Sauce
Pork Belly Sliders topped with pickled red onion, arugula and spiced aioli
Gougeres-Fancy Cheese Balls:)
Bleu Cheese Baklava
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Pate served on country style crostini topped with a Dijon aioli and cornichons
Chicken Empanadas
Baked Stuffed Mussels
Scallion Pea and Ricotta Tartlets
Onion and Sage Tartlets

Sound Yummy?

The party is on Saturday evening. I have an awesome staff lined up so it should be great!

We have countless other festivities and celebrations this week, but I will mention them as they come.

Hope you are all enjoying this time before a glorious holiday of Christmas.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shes Watching Me.

Graces new statement when she gets ready in the morning is, look now I look just like you. She likes to match our outfits and do our hair the same. And although there is nothing better than the love of my little girl, sometimes its snaps me into reality. This little lady is watching me. Oh man what a high calling I have in mothering this little beauty! Its a challenge that I face everyday wether I realize it or not.

She woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. She came down and stated she would not like to eat my lovely prepared breakfast she would much prefer cereal. She didn't want her brother to look at her, and geting her into the shower was like wrestling a bear. Brian looked at me and said, "you don't think you have a part in this?" Hmmmmmm. Yeah well I guess sometimes I don't really feel like eating what others have prepared for me to the point of wanting to retreat to my home to have a comforting bowl of soup that I made. I do have days where anyone looking at me sends me over the edge and honestly a shower somedays does seem like to much. So there! And wether she has learned this from me or she was just having a bad day, I am sure that today she was having a bad day. However when I reflect upon my own actions I think harder about how I should react to things sometimes....because she's watching me. Reflecting upon ones self also can stir up the grace within which helps me to look at her differently.

She is watching how I carry myself, how I dress, how I treat her father, how I care for my family, how I mother the pair of them, how I keep my home, how I treat my friends, how I give of my gifts and my time, how I practice my faith......she sees all. And I can't help but realize that I play a large roll in who she becomes. God has given me this. It is deep and vast and sometimes I feel like I am heading into the dark in how I should respond to her questions, in how I should guide her, in what I should model for her. I don't think this will change anytime soon.

I feel blessed to have the challenge though. To be trusted with the gift of a daughter. It takes a lot of prayer, a lot of trust and a lot of grace, which is her namesake, its not just a cute old fashioned name.

I happen to love this girl more than my heart can handle sometimes!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Real Life Catch Up.

I am going to catch you up to speed on what has been going on in our lives outside of food.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We always start the season off with a good celebration with friends appropriately named Friendsgiving. This year did not disappoint with a heritage breed locally raised by a farmer I know turkey and all the fixings. Laughs and among friends over a shared meal cannot be beat in my opinion.

Elliot and his classmates performed a play in which he played the part of a prized turkey. Brian and I made a bunch of props...including Elliots tail.

Next up Thanksgiving morning. You should know that I have never spent a Thanksgiving morning with my children and I love that. And no I do not feel guilty about this. My husband wakes me up with coffee and the black friday paper, turns on Christmas music and we sift through the adds to see if there is anything good (I know I am spoiled and I am fine with that as well). I do not go shopping every year however I had two invitations to join two lovelies at separate times and I am a sucker for girl time even if it does involve a bunch of psychos standing in line waiting for there $200 tv. We are with the psychos but not one of them. We don't go looking for anything to particular and just enjoy each others company...its great.
Bubba and Nick were home over Thanksgiving this year and the urchins(my children), were beside themselves with excitement.
I only managed to get one picture of them with Uncle Nick though.
I am pretty sure the kids think they come home just to visit them.

The cutest Grandma and Grandpa I know were there as well. Got to love them!
My children are deep into the love portion of their relationship at the moment and spend most of their waking moments together by choice. I will take it while it lasts.
Grace and I had a complete evening of everything Christmas yesterday, we decorated the window with christmas removable stickers, made antlers complete with a rudolph nose and made sugar cookies. We also listened to the chipmunk Christmas album....a must have for the Christmas season, sorry if you don't agree.
We also spent a couple of days celebrating this guy turning 30, he butchered a 1/2 of pig. It was exciting and yummy as we got to taste the fruits of his hard work the following afternoon.
Yes that is a trotter in Sarahs hand giving Todd a high five.

And last but not least my little girl got her library card today. In our town you go to the library with your class in 1st grade and at this time you can get your very own library card. I love this tradition it is so fun and the kids get so excited.
Yes she is all Christmas blinged out. My Mom got her the headband and I got her the necklace, the shirt is from last year. All together there could not be a more perfect outfit just ask her.
And last but not least the Josherwoggie continues to get cuter every day so I won't neglect sharing that with you as well.

And now you have seen some of it. I think what I like most about this time of year is my little family of four and all the holidays bring in to remind me of the most important blessings in my life. Its overwhelming sometimes but oh so good!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Its Rump Roast Time.

On this edition of So I Bought 1/4 of a Cow.....Rump Roast.

Now you can always cook a roast in a crock pot and most of the time that will do. But what if you want to serve pretentious fancy roast beef to some guest or what if you want roast beef that you can slice for sandwiches. I have the ticket right here.

Again this cut comes from well the butt or the rump...hence the name.

I prefer to get mine bone in. I prefer this for a number of reasons. One I think when prepared this specific way it helps retain some moisture and secondly I can make stock from the bones.

This is going to sound crazy but the best way to start your roast is at a super hi temperature for just a brief period of time no mor than 15 minutes in my opinion. Then back the temperature down to a unbelievably low temp. like 275 degrees. At this point you need to cook the roast an additional 20 minutes per pound. Make sure you have a meat thermometer near by because when you think it is done you need to temp. it. 145 degrees for medium rare and 160 degrees for medium well. The #1 rule for this method is once the roast is in the oven do not open the door until it is done....don't let me catch you peaking at it poking it or checking if may have cooked won't cook quicker just leave it be. I prefer to cook it to about 150degrees, this leaves it a bit pink in the middle which is saved for sandwiches.

Rump Roast to die for.

3-4 lb rump roast bone in
1-2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 cup stock

Rub roast with salt and pepper.
Place in pan.
POur stock into pan.
Put it in 500 degree oven...15 minutes.
Turn oven down to 275 degrees and leave it alone for an additional 20 minutes per pound. Approx 1 hour for 3 pound roast.

And that is that. It is impossible to mess this up so do it!!!

Serve with roast root veggies or good old mashed potatoes and gravy. We has beets, carrots and potatoes with ours.

Reading with Grace.

We are the parents that read to their kids every night at bedtime. We have been doing this since their birth, yep I am not being dramatic I would sit in my beloved glider in the nursery next the window and we would read before their eyes could see the pictures and before their ears could understand the words. Even now I feel just as I did then a special relaxed peace comes over me when my head hits the pillow next to theirs and I can say its probably one of the best parts of my day. I am eating up the opportunity to read to them until they inform they don't want me to anymore. I am sure it will come seeing as they can both read without me just fine at this point.

In addition to all this sweet mush I happen to be a self-proclaimed bookworm. I love to read and I am not super picky about what it is.....except self-help... I will not read self help the Bible is my go to self help book. We have a picture book library upstairs and a chapter book library downstairs. I pick them up second hand mostly at the Second Chance or garage sales, unless I can't find a specific book then I stoop to the level of a chain bookstore. I love old books that have been read before time and time again. I love coming across wrinkles in the pages and -gasp- tears every now and then. I have one book that I have read so many times the cover is gone and dog ear marks have broken clean off on some pages. As a kid even librarian was my favorite make believe activity. Nerd much...maybe.

Elliot loves to be read to the most, I think. We have been reading chapter books to him since he was 3 1/2 and he has loved the complex story lines form the beginning. Even if the story is a bit over his head he will ask questions until he understands. He can remember fine details that I forget making parts of the story relevant that would have otherwise been looked over. I love this. I love that he loves this!

Grace until recently loves stories with pictures. Fantasy and mystical story lines being her favorite. With lots of wonder and colorful pictures. A story with a heroine that is about her size will always do the trick. But recently I decided that it was time to read through the Narnia series with her. We read them to Elliot in the first grade so I thought that would be a fun "tradition" to uphold. She was resistent but we are 3/4 of the way through the Magicians Nephew and we are enthralled. She is especially taken by the Lion-if you have read the series you know the character only becomes more and more developed from book to book-now there is plenty of biblical insight and hinting in these books, more than the world would like to admit or realize but oh my its there and Grace realized it last night all on her own. I am reading it to her much as we read it to Elliot, not pointing out the similarities to our beliefs rather waiting for them to notice them themselves. It is a beautiful experiment. And Grace gets it in ways that Elliot never did in fact I feel as if she feels it. This is when I know she is my child...beneath the tough no one can bother me exterior there is soft center to her that can be rocked.

There is a chapter in the book where they have entered another "world" (the new world being Narnia-and are experiencing or witnessing rather what can only be described as creation. It is one of my favorite chapters in the whole series because it describes the Lions actions to a point that makes me cry every time. When they come into the world it is completely dark and silent and in the next moment they hear something - In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath him. The lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it. - Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices;more voices than you could possibly count. -The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. One moment there has been nothing but darkness; the next moment a thousand, thousand point of light leaped out-The new stars and the new voices started all at once.-you would have felt that it was the stars themselves which were singing, and that it was the FIrst Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing. The Magicians Nephew-C.S. Lewis

There is so much more description of his singing and the earth coming to be....but I won't bore you with it here. If you want to read it, find a copy. You won't be disappointed,

Grace asked me if I thought God was singing when he made the stars. Oh man what a big question for this old sappy heart. i told her I like to think so. She said she thought that too! How blessed are we to know that there was a God that brought the world to existence. And that the sames hand that made it also made me.

There are only a million different things and symbols you could see when reading this chapter. I mean is not the darkness and then the instant light not a picture of what our lives look like before and after our acceptance of Jesus. Could it be anymore beautiful yet simple at the same time.

If you get anything from this long post I hope that you not only reread these books...but take the time to read to your kids if you have them. How wonderful to be able to have an opportunity to see the world and our faith through a set of innocent eyes. And to hear questions from mouths and hearts that aren't ashamed to ask them. I only wish after Grace I had another set of ears to read to these books to. Maybe decades from now I will have a grandchild I can share them with.