State of the Household, February 2016

“What was Jesus in his church? Was he like a pastor?”

– Micaela

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Yesterday was the coldest day of the 2015/16 Winter season so far. Emeth had stayed overnight with Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop to celebrate his birthday, and it sounds like he had a grand time being an only child for 24 hours, eating pizza and bacon, and watching Frosty the Snowman. I ended up taking the three girls to the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse (the playground was closed for the winter) to meet up with a friend and his three girls. In the afternoon Emeth rejoined us with his toy chainsaw from the thrift store, and a “You’re #1” balloon, which Micaela appropriately pointed out was inaccurate, as he is now actually five.

The day of Emeth’s actual birthday I stayed home from work and we took the high speed line two stops over into Haddonfield, then walked to the park by the Presbyterian church. Here is a photograph of Emeth with his new backpack, and compass around his neck. I’m not sure who those ladies are behind us, but they were taking up the entire bench.

Emeth and daddy on his 5 birthday

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Several weeks ago we got a queen bed for Micaela, Emeth and Annie to share. They’ve since reverted back to individual beds, I guess needing a little more space then the queen afforded. Micaela is now the sole occupant of the queen.

One night/morning, before the reversion, Emeth was calling my name in his confused It Could Be Anything voice. So I crawled as inconspicuously as I could under the covers with them, between Emeth and Caela. I was facing Emeth, with my hand on his belly, asking him what was wrong. Soon he said, “It’s the clam.”

“What clam?” I asked.

“I think he means the clamp,” Caela says from behind.

“What clamp?” I asked.

“The clamp in his leg,” she said.

Oh, right. The cramp. At dinner he had been complaining of pain in his leg, and we assumed it was a cramp. Cramp, clam, clamp. I can see how the terms might be confused in his in the early morning head. Clams can clamp, and cramps feel like a clam is clamping your leg. It all makes sense now.

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In some way or another I’ve been trying to get the kids out of the house on a Saturday morning to give Rache some time to catch up the ever replenishing mountain of laundry, or really to do whatever would be refreshing after a week of hard Momma work.

The first Saturday of the New Year I took the kiddos to the Art Museum. Micaela had remembered seeing some wonderful looking climbing rocks while on their way to pick up the Farm Order, so she suggested we go there.

It was another chilly day, and Talia stayed snuggled in her hat and blanket in the stroller, while Micaela and Emeth climbed rock walls. Annie was a bit intimidated, and mostly skirted along the base.

Once we passed the Rocky Balboa statue, they found a Secret Passage which led them in and out from behind the bushes, one side to the next. Then it was a quest for secret passages. They were understandably not as interested in the mountain of steps going up the middle, where everyone else chose to walk or run. They preferred the gently sloping wheelchair incline to make their way to the top. And so we did. Up and down, then back home for warmth, food and drink.




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The great Winter Snowstorm of January 2016, Jonas, brought hours of fun as we built villages and took walks to find mountains of snow.






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At Knight Park. Yes, Emeth is wearing shorts. I think I can count on one hand how many times this winter he’s chosen of his on volition to wear pants.


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Rachel has been enjoying her Fridays out while Mom-Mom comes to watch the kids. She’ll usually come home with a fresh pile of books from the library. Since it’s been so cold, we’ve been spending more time inside reading books: to the kids, or just Rache and I after they’re in bed, or individually, in the quiet hour before falling asleep. Some recent and current reads are:

  • Indians of New Jersey – M.R. Harrington (k)
  • Living Buddha, Living Christ – Thích Nhất Hạnh (j+r)
  • Infant Massage – Vimala McClure (r)
  • The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle (j+r)
  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien (j)
  • The Courage To Be – Paul Tillich (j)
  • Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea – Carl Zimmer (j)
  • Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 1: God – Thomas Aquinas (j)
  • The World of Carbon – Isaac Asimov (j)
  • The Wisdom of China and India – Edited by Lin Yutang (j+r)
  • Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carol (k)
  • The Encyclopedia of Elephants, Big Cats, Bears & Whales – Rhonda Klevansky (k)
  • Birches – Robert Frost, Illustrated by Ed Young

And lastly, some recent music we’ve been enjoying:

  • Screws, Nils Frahm
  • Boys & Girls – Alabama Shakes (or as Caela puts it, the ‘Balama Shakes’)
  • Bass & Mandolin – Edgar Meyer
  • Bium Bium – Icelandic Lullaby Music Box
  • Songs of Sense and Nonsense – Moondog, with Julie Andrews and Martyn Green
  • One Light, One Sun, and Quiet Time – Raffi

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There are other joys in our routine, which seem insignificant and minute, but in reality they are the life-blood of our winter.

Rache started attending Yoga classes in town on Tuesday or Sunday evenings, which has been peaceful and refreshing. Sometimes it makes for a long day of work, then home, but the Lord has given us strength through good rest, reduction in stress, nutritious eating, and healthy relationships.

I’m still meeting up with friends and mentors in the early morning before work, which helps me hold onto sanity in the midst of all the questions I tend to ask myself in my head.

There are the afternoon snacks of prunes, almonds, hazelnuts and cashews. The evening, frigid walks with a square (or two) of Ghirardelli’s 100% baking chocolate swirling on our mouths.

Most mornings I’m up before everyone else, spending an hour reading my Bible, and other assorted literature while squash bakes in the oven before being turned into pumpcakes.

The evenings are mostly filled with dinner preparations, cleaning up, maybe a walk or an episode of Reading Rainbow on Netflix. Then trying to get everyone settled by reading about Pharaoh, the Hebrews and the Exodus (a very unsettling story), or a Psalm.

And there are the three cups of really strong coffee to keep me awake through it all. An insanely, joyful time.


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