Friday, April 30, 2010

Turkey courtship

Saw these two lovebirds (ha ha, punny) upon our return from running errands this morning. I hope she says, "yes!"

They're a little blurry because I was taking them through the window and was all the way zoomed in...

Garden of the Earth

Just wanted to share some pictures from Code-man's concert last night, "Garden of the Earth." They had an Earth Day/recycle/take care of our planet theme. Can you spot Code-man?There he is! Second row, on the left.
Code-man played a drum on "The Earth is Our Mother," a Native American chant.
The kids did a terrific job, and the theme was wonderful. Even better, the concert coincided with the school's art show, for which the kids made recycled art projects. Logo made flowers from old floppy disks (raise your hand if you still have a floppy disk drive--I don't), and Code-man made a bowl out of an old magazine (really). Some of the other classes made CD mobiles, wooden piece collages, rock pictures, and jungle multi-media pieces. Hats off to Mrs. S and Mrs. Y.

And here's Logo, being Logo, before the concert. Chip said that my pictures of the boys in and around trees captured their essences perfectly...I think this one does it even better.

Yup, that's Logo. I might just have to frame that one.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Arsenal

Seriously? Do my children really need this much fire power? And this is just the nerf guns: it doesn't include the squirt guns or the dress-up guns or the bow or the swords...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pictures of children in and around trees

I think I must be trying to connect to my husband's heritage...I have countless pictures of my children adorably looking at tulips. I took more than one of Bubby today, but had to post this one which also contains my famous color-shifting tulips.Here's one of Bubby up a tree. It's easier to keep an eye on him up there, since he can't get down by himself. He looks like he's having a good time, doesn't he?And here's Code-man, practicing for senior pictures, or maybe he's holding up the tree.Logo, looking slightly deranged. He's of the opinion that smiling for pictures is too passe...or something.My attempt at a "professional" pose. Guess I'm not quite ready to quit my day job, yet...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Logo's birthday

My middle baby is 7 now...

Here he is at his party on Sunday blowing out the candles on his dragon cake...beautiful day, lovely party, wonderful birthday boy.

Here's a better look at the cake--I took one with the candles lit, but "unrecognized file format" strikes again...and the dragon was beheaded shortly thereafter, so no retakes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Amazing Egg Hunt

Just have to brag, because once again, I've come up with a brilliant idea (it's rare enough that it's worthy of note). I know that some of you are fans of "The Amazing Race"--those of you who have at least seen the show will appreciate this more than others.

So each year, we send our children on an Easter egg hunt. We generally will send them on a treasure-style hunt, where they are given a clue to an egg, which contains the next clue to the next egg, which contains the next clue, and on until they reach the end. Sometimes there's a grand prize at the end, and others there isn't, but it's all fun.

You may have noticed that I'm in a bit of a funk these days, so I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to put it all together this year--inspiration and creativity is key. So I hadn't really been thinking about it a whole lot until yesterday when the threat of disappointing my kids spurred me to action. Zap, an idea popped into my head, and The Amazing Egg Hunt was born. Really, it was so simple, and the boys had a great time with it. Code-man's already been telling me what the Easter Bunny can do to make it better next year...I didn't bother to tell him that it was the best the Easter Bunny could do in the circumstances, and by the way, the E.B. was freaking out as she was outside hiding clues at 11:30 last night...

If you don't care, you can stop reading now, but I'm mighty proud of this egg hunt, so I'm going to list the clues we used below (there are some pictures down there, so maybe you at least want to scroll through).

Welcome to the Amazing Egg Hunt!
On the hunt, you will be working as a team of three to complete your tasks and bring you to the pit stop and the big prize. You must collect your eggs and clues in the provided basket and not make a big mess when searching for your clues. The person who finds the clue must let someone else open it.
To begin your adventure, make your way to Bubby’s room and search for your next egg.

All team members must make their way to one of three showers, then wash their hair and body and dry off. Once all members of the team are dressed in their Easter finery, you will receive your next clue.

Route Info
All team members must now make their way to the sandbox, where you will search for your next egg.

Team members must weave through the provided cones carrying an egg on a spoon (Bubby can just carry the egg). If the egg is dropped, the team member must start over. When this task is completed, you will receive your next clue.

Road Block
Choose one team member to climb into the fort, out on to the monkey bars, retrieve an egg, and slide down the slide (the other team members can slide down the slide, too, if they want).

Route Info
Make your way to the living room, where you will search for your next egg.

Each team member needs to pick up and put away the number of toys they are old (so Code-man puts away 9 toys, etc). These can be from anywhere, upstairs or downstairs. You will receive your next clue when all of the toys have been put away (all the way away where they belong).

Road Block
Team members must now collect the garbage and recycling from the following areas:
C & L’s room
Kitchen (under sink)
Upstairs bathrooms
Bubby’s room.
Once the garbage and recycling has been collected, place it into the appropriate bins, and take the bins out to the road. Once the bins are in place, you may search for your next egg.

Route Info
Make your way to the garden, where you will search for your next egg.

Road Block
Two team members must make their way to the tree fort, climb up, and yell “Happy Easter” as loud as they can. When the task is complete, you will receive your next clue

All team members must now ride their bikes down the bike path to where the “Lake” should be, where you will search for your next egg. After you find your egg, return your bikes to the garage.

Route Info
Make your way to the basketball court, where you will search for your next egg.

Each team member must make the same number of baskets as they are old. When all the baskets have been made, you will receive your next clue.

Road Block
Team members must now make their way into the house while balancing a marshmallow peep on their head (Code-man—no hands; Logo—one hand; Bubby—two hands). When you have reached the laundry room, eat your peep and search for your next clue.

Route Info
Make your way to the Pit Stop in the Living Room. Happy Easter!

They were the first team to arrive (of course), and as winners of this leg of the race, they won Easter baskets filled with edible and inedible goodies.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Went to the zoo on Saturday--it was a lovely day. For once, the tiger was moving--I think we've only ever seen him sleeping. The snow leopard and cougar (puma/mt. lion) were out, too--I didn't believe they actually existed until yesterday.

Guess what our favorite treat at the zoo (and amusement parks, and festivals, and parades, and the circus, and...) is!

We went to the Conservatory, too. The spring flowers in the sunken garden were gorgeous--well worth the trip, if you haven't been yet. I tried and failed to get a good picture of the boys with the flowers in the background, but they enjoyed staring at the koi. I think the koi liked them, too.


For Jesus' disciples, all of their hopes and dreams had died and were buried right along with Jesus. But today, we proclaim:
Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed!

And because Christ is risen we have been given eternal hope, not just today, but every day.
Amen. Alleluia!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Today I think of Jesus' friends. We know that the disciples still didn't understand what was happening--they still didn't quite "get it" until after Jesus' resurrection. We have the benefit of knowing the end of the story, but what must they have been thinking and feeling on that dark Sabbath day, the day after their beloved teacher's death? Confused? Abandoned? Scared? Wondering what comes next? Where they will go? What they will do? These men and women had literally left their old lives behind, to travel with Jesus and to learn from him. They left their jobs, their homes, their families...all of that, just to have it all end with such sudden and crushing finality.

In the church we attended during my teenage years, it was a tradition to strip the altar at the end of the Good Friday worship service. The congregation would sing the verses of "Were You There?" slowly and ponderously, pausing between each one while someone would read one of Jesus' last words, and more items would be taken from the chancel area: the big Bible, the candles, the altar cloths. After the altar was bare, it would be draped with black cloth, and a crown of thorns would be placed on the draped cross. After each verse of the song, more lights would be turned off, so that it would be completely dark by the end. We would leave in silence, in the dark. It was an extremely moving experience, a loving act of remembrance.

Do you know that hymn?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes, it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

As I would leave the church's sanctuary, devoid of light, seemingly devoid of hope, Jesus' last words echoing in my mind, it was easy to imagine that I had been there, witnessing the horror, the blood, the pain, the cruelty. And, in a way, I was there. Every one of us was there, because our sins were the nails driven through Jesus, into that cross, and it was Jesus' love for us that kept him there.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Warning: Cute Kid Story Ahead

So Hubby called tonight. He was driving on a windy road, came to a place called "Lover's Leap," and decided to call me. I, of course, told him not to jump! But anyway, while we were talking, Bubby slipped out the sliding glass door to our deck (note to self: get a child-proof lock for the sliding glass door). I didn't even notice him leaving until I heard the outdoor faucet turning on. I looked out, and there he was, outside, wearing Logo's shoes, spraying water at our gas grill (no, it wasn't on). It was just so funny seeing my little 'un wearing these 6 sizes too large shoes. What a cutie-pie.

In other news, Code-man called Sawblock to ask permission to build a ramp/ladder in one of our oak trees. SB said yes, and just look what happened!Just in case you can't tell, Code-man and Logo climbed really, really high.

And Hubby--here's where I put the swing, for now...

That was in sunnier times... (uh, yesterday)


From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:45-46

It feels so right to me, that the sky became dark, because this was a dark, dark time. Have you ever felt so utterly, completely abandoned? Oh, it makes my heart ache. Horrible. Even worse than horrible. In fact, that is the definition of hell: being completely and eternally excluded from the presence of God. This exclusion from God's presence is the consequence of sin. Jesus, bearing the sins of the world, experienced this, on the cross, so that we would never, ever have to.

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. Matthew 27:50-51

Do you understand the significance of the temple curtain being torn? In the temple, the curtain separated the holy place from the most holy place. No one was allowed to go into the most holy place except for the priests, because that's where God was. In fact, the priests wore bells on their robes, and a rope was tied to their ankle, so just in case the priest died while he was in there, they could pull his body out without entering the space containing God's presence. The idea was, if they couldn't hear the bells tinkling anymore, the priest must not be moving, and must be dead. With the curtain torn in two, there is no longer a separation. Jesus made it possible for each of us to come directly into God's presence.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" Matthew 27:54

Surely, Jesus is the Son of God!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


In the night in which he was betrayed...

It's Thursday, the day we remember Jesus' last meal with his disciples at the Passover feast. Jesus began the evening celebration by washing his disciples' feet, something which normally would have been done by a servant--just one more example of Jesus' complete counter-culturalism. In fact, Peter was horrified, at first, at the thought of his Master washing his feet. Jesus told them,

"I have given you and example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master...."John 13:15-16a

After supper, Jesus went to a quiet place to pray. He "began to be filled with horror and deep distress" (Mark 14:33), and told his friends "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me." (Mark 14:34)

He went a little farther and fell face down on the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him pass him by. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine." Mark 14:35-36

I'd just like to point out, here, that saying Abba is like saying Daddy. Can you imagine a 30 year old man calling his father Daddy? That, more than anything, demonstrates to me the sorrow and distress, even despair that Jesus was feeling. Luke reports that

He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Luke 22:44

Once again, I love this picture of Jesus. It is so easy, amidst the miracles and healings and teachings and throwing out of demons and walking on water, to remember that Jesus is God. And it is so easy to forget that he was, at the same time, fully human. I think we just gloss over that part sometimes, because it's so difficult to understand how he could be both, God and human.

And yet, here he is in the garden. Jesus knows what he has to do, and, quite understandably, doesn't want to do it. It will be difficult. It will be humiliating. It will be painful. It is beyond words, what Jesus will go through. But Jesus, because he loves us (US!), does it anyway. Jesus has free will, too, we all do, and he chose salvation for the world, redemption for us all, in exchange for his life.

When I was younger, I never really understood why Good Friday was called good. I never understood why Jesus had to die. It seems to me that the day on which Jesus died was awful, horrible, terrible, anything but good. I guess I didn't understand salvation at that point, or how God can use even the most horrific situations to fulfill his purposes.

It is no accident that Jesus' sacrifice came during the season of Passover, the time when Jews remember the angel of death passing over the Hebrews' homes just before their escape from slavery in Egypt. If you remember, the Hebrew people were to slaughter a lamb, a perfect lamb, without blemish, and smear its blood on their door frames, which would signal to the angel of death that this household was to be spared. Jesus, on this night in which he was betrayed, became the perfect passover lamb, once and for all, and his blood is smeared over the doorways of our hearts, sparing us from the horror and the grief, the agony and distress of death: the slavery of this imperfect, sinful life.
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