Friday, January 28, 2011

Enjoying the view, however foggy.

When I was 16, my grandmother took me to Europe. We boarded train after train so she could introduce me to her family and friends all over Germany.

At one point during the trip, she wanted to surprise me with our next stop. We got on a train, but she wouldn't tell me where we were going.

I couldn't handle it.

I couldn't relax into my seat and enjoy the view, not knowing whether we'd be sitting there for 15 minutes, or four hours. Should I start a new chapter in my book? Did I have time to write a letter? It was unnerving.

So, I threw a bit of a fit, insisting that she tell me how long we'd be on the train. She refused, because she knew I could look at the train schedule and figure out where we would be getting off -- and the surprise would be ruined. (We were equally stubborn!) Never mind that I hate surprises.

I'm sorry to say that nearly 20 years later, I am no less likely to throw a fit when I feel out of control, blind to the future and not knowing what to do with myself while I wait for the next thing.

Which is why Nicole's new post at Burning Bushes about Psalm 25 and trusting in the Lord to know the way forward hit me so hard.

This has been a very long month, for no other reason than it's January, and the Tule fog is blinding me.

I know it looks all fun and games around here most of the time, and that part of this life is very real. I have SO much to thankful for!! But sometimes I'm also working really hard not to show you my Ugly Cry. It can get really ugly.

You, my friends, deserve to see the whole picture. You have been so supportive and encouraging, and I am so grateful. Even though I sometimes wonder, "What the heck do they see in me?"

I know better than to ask that question. I know if you see anything in me at all, that it's Him. And I know that His grace is sufficient to cover all my insecurities, doubts and neuroses.

So why can't I trust Him to take me where I need to go?

Courtesy Wikipedia

Heidelberg. That's where my Omie was taking me. Beautiful Heidelberg, where we could climb up to the ruins of a Renaissance castle, and peer down to a gorgeous view of the Rhein river.

No friends to visit and try to make stilted conversation with in my beginner German. Not the disturbing death camp of Dachau. Heidelberg.

This life is so beautiful. God has given me nothing but blessings.

And I am learning, oh so slowly, to stop fretting about what to do with myself, and just enjoy the view.

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good... He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. --Psalm 25:7,9 

{this moment} STRIKE!!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, visit Soulemama.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Whoops! You're out of space!

Ack! So, I'm uploading photos for another post tonight (yes, twice in one week, can you believe it? I'm getting my groove back!) -- when I'm suddenly informed by Google that I cannot upload even one more picture; my photo storage is full.

Shoot. Or, don't bother, since I can't upload the pics anyway.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised my free storage has lasted this long, considering I've been blogging for nearly seven years! A gigabyte goes a long way, baby.

I debated whether or not to buy more storage... for about 10 seconds. But now I have to wait for my transaction to be processed. So, you'll have to wait another day to see pictures of our field trip to the bowling alley. I know, you can hardly stand it.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about making The Big Move. Maybe this is the right time. I've gotten a little too comfortable here, despite being irritated by it nearly every time I post. I feel like I did in 2002 when I still didn't have a cell phone.

What do you think? Have you thought about moving, or have you been at Wordpress or Typepad forever already? Do you like where you are? Any advice for this blogging dinosaur? And if you love Blogger, will you follow me if I move?!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday afternoon science: Bottle rocket!

Sometimes it's nice to do the fun things when Dad's home.

On Saturday, Scott and the boys got out the baking soda and vinegar "Meteor Rocket" kit my grandmother gave them for Christmas. He helped them cut out the balsa wood aft fins and attach them to the liter bottle in the kit, which also included a nose cone, a fuel tube, and a screw-in plug.

Yesterday, even Papa was around to join in for the trip to the park launching pad.

They measured out the baking soda into the tube, carefully poured in the vinegar into the bottle, inserted the tube, gave it a quick shake, and...

Nothing happened. Well, not exactly nothing. The mixture fizzed a bit, and we got the attention of all the kids in the park.

Rinse and repeat.

Still no lift-off -- and then my camera battery died. By take 3, I remembered I had my iPhone in my pocket!


A few seconds after it was set on the ground, the rocket shot about 20 feet into the air, then fell back only a foot away from the launch site.

HOORAY!!!  The crowd was ecstatic!

Take 4 shot sideways because it tipped over when Scott set it down. Take 5 was a dud. Take 6 was in the air again. And then the photographer had to go home to make dinner.
This is a good explanation of what happens between the vinegar and baking soda to make the bottle rocket fly.

You don't have to have a kit; there are lots of homemade bottle rockets online. This one is very similar to ours. You can also do mix the two reactive ingredients in a film canister, if you're able to find one. The small size of the canister makes for a much higher launch.

Another version of the bottle rocket uses water and a bicycle pump. A more dangerous version uses a small amount of rubbing alcohol and a match at the end of a 2-liter bottle. Scott tried that one a while back, but no luck.

Have you done this before? Let me know if you decide to try it!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January days gone by...

Oh my goodness, I swear I did not give up blogging as a New Year's Resolution! How did it get to be the 16th of January with no new posts for 2011?! Is anyone even still here?

Apparently, we've been keeping busy.

After a full month away from anything that smelled like schoolwork, we Mommy needed a few days a week to transition back into our usual routine. I was also trying to figure out what Littlest meant when he requested to "start kindergarten" right after Christmas.

I went ahead and bought the My Father's World kindergarten curriculum I'd been looking at forever. Of course, I'm not using it exactly as it says, because I don't like following directions. And yes, I wondered through the first two weeks whether I should have ordered something different, or written my own curriculum, because I'm picky, cheap and indecisive.

But, so far, it's working out.
I do think it's more of a preschool curriculum, as they take the entire school year to introduce the first 26 letter sounds, but that's fine because he's only four anyway. The science is pretty basic, too, but I'm attempting to expand on it by coordinating the themes with the older boys' science. And I really like the Bible/character lessons that go with each week's theme.

Other things that kept us busy...

Fake snow that came in the boys' stockings.

The big boys took up their knitting again. (The gloomy cold outside was inspirational.) And Littlest learned to cast-on.

Lots and lots of reading, thanks to new books and gift cards for Christmas!

A little Celtic crafting with our history lesson.

Escapes into the sporadic sunshine, and visits to the park after too many days indoors.

The ever-changing, ever-present fort, and Nerf war.

And yes, even a little baking (the kids' fruitcake recipe from our new Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)...

And somehow we managed to get all the Christmas decorations put away, too.
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