Tuesday, October 30, 2012

in sandy's wake

As the east coast for the most part shut down completely over the past 48-72 hours, so did we.  Thankfully, hubby had purchased a generator about a month ago, so he spent much of Saturday getting it all set up in its own little lean-to outside. And while I don't believe in karma or such things, the result of all that hard prep work was that we didn't lose power beyond a flicker of the lights once or twice. We are thankful. And our prayers are with family who will likely not have power for multiple days, with friends who suffered damage or who are still "in the dark" and with all those who suffered immeasurably more damage than we can imagine, especially in New York.

Meanwhile, having battened down hatches and not having work or school to get to today, we made room for some quiet fun at home. There were UNO games played, lots of LEGO building...
LEGO men at work
a sewing project for the girlie (from the fun book, Sewing School )...
tracing her picture onto fabric...
her "stuffie": a pink dolphin stuffed animal
a hurricane knitting project for me (almost finished, pictures hopefully later this week), and the cats were completely fascinated by the wind and rain outside.
  I finished reading a couple of the books I've been reading, and hope to finish one more tonight (due back at the library tomorrow...). We had crock pot cream cheese chicken chili (thanks, Pinterest!) for dinner. And then there was the pumpkin carving.
Kids go back with a 2-hour delay tomorrow, which will allow us a nice relaxed start and a short day. And all in all, while I wouldn't wish this kind of "vacation" on anyone, it has been a rather nice break for us.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

read :: what I'm currently reading

It is no news to anyone who knows me how much I love to read, and just how much I read. I love to stretch my mind, to expand my knowledge, to think about things and lives that are new to me. I love books that are about viewpoints that are different from my own that I can learn from, and books that challenge and grow my Christian faith. I do love fiction as well, but there are no fiction titles on my current list.  Lately I have had quite a few things going at once and I thought I might share with you what I am reading right now.

Books: (yes, I am in the middle of all of these, I do tend to flit from book to book, so some I go through quite quickly and others it may take me a month or more to read)
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. This is a beautiful book of prose about nature and about the nature of creation. It is peaceful to read and I love to read a few pages just before I go to sleep at night.
  • The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. Markides.  This is an interesting book I've been reading this week, about Eastern Orthodox spirituality, in the form of an ongoing conversation between Markides and a monk on Cyprus.  Definitely teaching me a great deal about what makes Eastern Orthodox unique from western protestant Christianity.
  • Walking the Amazon: 860 Days, One step at a Time by Ed Stafford. I love a good travel book and adventure story. I love the chance to read about places and people that I in all likelihood will never see or meet.  This book was a follow-up for me to re-reading Bill Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods (about the Appalachian trail) earlier this summer. Staffords "walk" along the Amazon is a completely different type of adventure.
  • Beautiful in God's Eyes: The Treasures of the Proverbs 31Woman by Elizabeth George. This is one of my Bible Study texts right now, and I am always challenged by Elizabeth George to deepen my faith.
Things on my library shelf waiting to be read:
  •  Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. This is a sequel to her book The Happiness Project which I read last year.
  • Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll. This Christian marriage book has drawn a fair amount of controversy and I have mixed opinions on Mark Driscoll's teaching/preaching, so I am curious to see what this one is like.
  • The Radical Disciple by John Stott. Stott is one of the great theologans of our age and this book was meant to be his "farewell" book, summarizing what he thinks are the most important aspects of Christian life and following Jesus. Can't wait to dig into this one, too!
  • A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael  by Elisabeth Elliot. I read this once when I was in grad school (about 15 years ago) and recently it was brought to mind again as a biography of a great missionary. Curious to compare it to the recent book I read Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, who at a young age has had a huge impact on children in Uganda.
I was going to list out some of my favorite blogs to read as well, but this entry is already getting pretty long. I'm always looking for something new to read...any recommendations?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

slip sliding away

Our other activity this weekend was a good friend's seventh birthday party, and he chose a really fun and unique setting: we all went ice skating at the U.S. Naval Academy hockey center! The kids were so excited to go.  Of course once they got out on the ice,  excitement turned to stress and frustration for a while...somehow they never got the memo that ice skating is not that easy when you first learn!  There were falls, bruised knees and some tears.  It was a good lesson to learn though, and with encouragement and a little bit of "you will get back out there and try some more!" they both improved significantly and started having fun with it! By the end of the session both kids were able to skate with me holding one hand, out in the middle of the rink. And they both want to go back as soon as possible! What a fun new thing for them to learn...I have enjoyed ice skating since I was a kid, but it had been years since I'd been. I'm so glad to be able to share this with them and look forward to many skating adventures to come!

boys (and girls) and trucks

In the beautiful fall weather we've been having, it's been fun to get out to some local activities. Yesterday our local hospital hosted a "Touch a Truck" event, where they invite all sorts of trucks and heavy equipment to come and allow folks to climb in the cab, look at the truck, and even honk the horns (and yes, it got quite loud at times!).  Several fun hours were spent wandering around with the kids, hubby, the kids' Papa, and me (official family photographer). Some of our favorites were the fire trucks (especially the ladder trucks), the airport snowplow and snowblower, a cement truck, and a car transporter. We even got to see the Oriole Bird and Poe (one of the Baltimore Ravens mascots). Add in free flu shots (not fun, but necessary) for the two of us who hadn't gotten them elsewhere, and a free lunch, and it was a great day. Enough said...I know you are really here for the photos!

Airport snowplow

Kids on the State Police Dive Rescue/Recovery Boat

 We are so grateful for all the hard-working men and women who operate these great trucks and serve us and our community so well!

autumn days

Thursday last week my boy and I took a trip over to a local park and farm for some fall fun. We hiked a little, enjoyed seeing how many colors we could see, talked about what kinds of animals live in the woods, and then ran around the playground for a while. It was a gorgeous day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

equestrian fun

The Girl Scouts did a really fun outing to one of our local riding stables last weekend. Many of the girls (mine included) had done pony rides before but this was the closest these girls had been to horses that weren't merely plodding along in an endless circle. The farm did a great job of teaching the girls about grooming the horses, a little bit about their tack, and giving them each a great experience on a horse. My girlie was enthralled and I don't think the smile left her face the whole time she was on her horse. Do I see riding lessons in her future? Perhaps I do.

pumpkin patch fun

(subtitled: the field-trip I missed)

Last week the preschool took their annual field trip to the "farm": a combination petting-zoo, hayride, pumpkin patch kind of place. And for once they had gorgeous fall weather. It was a great trip and my little guy had a fun time. Or so I heard. Grandma actually got to take him on this one, as our work schedules meant that the field trip fell on a "Grandma Day". So these pictures are actually hers, but it looked like so much fun I wanted to share them here.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ennui's been a while. I have started writing a blog post several times and each time decided it wasn't really what I wanted to say. I even was pondering stopping this blogging thing...wrote that post, and then immediately had regrets and deleted it! So here goes:

First, nothing is wrong. I haven't stopped writing for any major reason other than ennui.

Ennui: noun a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.

I want to keep blogging. Its a great way for me to remember things our family does and the crafts and baking that I do. I love to share those things with family and friends and blog readers from near and far.  But I also want to go a bit deeper with you, my readers. The reality is that I'm a little bored with reporting the same kinds of events and activities over and over.

The other part of this is that there is so much of me and what goes on in my life that has NO tangible product, nothing I can neatly photograph and post. As an introverted, introspective person, so much happens inside my head that I feel like there is a whole other level of my life that you see nothing of, at all. And I want to change that. I am a thinker, and a Christian, and I am constantly learning and struggling and striving in my daily life to reflect that. I'm still trying to figure out if there is a place for those ponderings here on Live.Read.Create.Thrive! or if I would be better served to put those ponderings on another page.As I continue to process that, I'll keep you posted! :)

So that's what's going on. In the meantime, there are some posts that should be upcoming: one with photos of the preschool field trip that I didn't get to go on (because of work) but that my little buddy's wonderful Grandma did get to enjoy with him. I just have to hijack the photos from her!  The other one is that my girlie and her scout troop are taking a horseback riding lesson Saturday. Which will probably result in 16 horse-crazy second and third graders! Should be good fun as long as the weather holds out. My sewing machine has been calling me, and I've been knitting like crazy for a sweet little girl who arrived yesterday, a full 5 weeks early! There is still plenty of life to blog about around here, and so I shall.