Monday, March 31, 2008

Catching up

Well, March has been busy. We'll just call these posts a March madness round-up and pretend they were nicely spaced. Of course, I may just be talking to myself here, since even my loyal sister may have given up on me by now.

Levi heard about this crazy tradition that other children participate in called "spring break", so he coerced his mother (ha!) into taking one the week of the 21st. He also informed me that we always do some painting or a house project during spring break, so we brainstormed and came up with letting them personalize their rooms a bit. A few shelves, posters, paint and lights later, here's some of what they came up with:

I have to point out what Jesse chose for his poster (it says "born to ride" under that, by the way). He is a true Norton:

And then Levi's (Ahhh, my boy!):

We also made an afternoon out of a trip to Dayton's Boonshoft Museum, a jewel of a find that we will definitely frequent from now on. The discoveries were endless, from leaf rubbing... lots of dress-up and much more.

Then began the "Gauntlet of Visiting". First, extended family from Arkansas came to my parents', and a bunch of my mother's side of the family were able to get together. Here's my mom with two of her four siblings:

The next day was on to southern Indiana, where things were 10 degrees warmer but just as wet (although we had a beautiful first day and soaked in the sunshine -- and 70 degrees!! -- when we got there). We celebrated the resurrection of our Lord, and the xxth birthday of my dear mother-in-law, Doris. If I put her picture on the Internet, you would never hear from me again, so instead I'll post a pic of my dear niece and grand-niece (yes, that does make me feel old!):

Next it was home again, as we readied ourselves for visitors whom we had been looking forward to for some time...the Smith's from Alabama! Yes, the same dear new friends who opened their home to us on Thanksgiving Day as we headed north through Alabama on our Road Trip of '07, spent some of their vacation in Ohio and were able to share a meal and time with us. Actually, their five children (including boy-girl twins, of course!) were very, um, comfortable here, right, Sarah? ; ) The best part was when their five year old daughter came bouncing into the house after a verrrry long day in the van, and said, "Your house is a long way away!" We were very blessed to get to see them in person again and look forward to the next time. For you who have read this whole post, a very rare, hard-to-find picture of ....The Moms:

Now since today is the 31st, I am all caught up on March. Nothing else can happen today, right?

Monday, March 10, 2008

O Rules, how many ways must I say thee?

Yes, I'm sure it must seem to our children that we sit around at night making up more rules.

"Don't run through the house."
"No, you can't stick your playdough heart on the walls with glue."
"Don't go toward the road."
"No jumping off the bunk bed and grabbing the ceiling fan."

So how, HOW, could we have forgotten to mention this one??

"Do NOT cut the light cord with your scissors!"

It was just a small expoding sound. And Sara is fine, thanks to the grace of God and rubber on the scissor handles. It turned into a good lesson on electricity, too.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What I didn't know I needed

My mother tells me I was quite the bossy child. I think she may have even heard that confirmed by my kindergarten teacher, who commented politely on my skills in directing the other 5-year-olds. I wasn't even a first-born, but I did have quite a few years -- six, to be exact -- at practicing being the youngest. Then my parents informed me that there would be another baby coming. I remember being excited about helping pick out a name, and the fun of baby blankets and other baby gear being bought. Sure, I was excited about the baby, too, but I have a feeling that was mostly due to the fun I thought the baby would bring to my world. I would control the baby.

The baby turned out to be a sister, named Karyn, who was not about to fit into my box, literally or figuratively. (I believe this would not have been the case if they had only spelled her name with an "e".) She was very cute, with lots of wispy blond curls, and she sang, all the time. She sang while refusing to play the way I wanted her to, and she sang while she cut off my Barbie's hair. She sang when we wrapped her up like a mermaid, and she sang like a canary when she told on me.

I know that I am a better person today because I have a younger sister. She challenged me to shed some of my controlling bubble, and she inspired me -- and still does -- to think of others' needs before my own. We sing together.

But God knew I needed more work. Fast forward a couple decades, one husband, and four children. I still, with four children under four, thought that I needed to be in control. I thought, "ok, four. I can handle four." So, when my twin babies were 14 months old, on a cool March morning in 2004, the Lord gave me another Karyn. We named her Leah Hope. She has wispy blond curls and sings, all the time. She sings at the school table while I am doing spelling words with her brother, and she sings while we travel down the road. When the rest of us do one thing, Leah does the other, and waits for us to catch up.

I am a better mother by far because of the miracle that is our Leah. I am so thankful that God moved beyond us and gave her to us. Today, she has turned four years old. Happy Birthday Leah!

They even share the same birthday month! We love you Aunt Karyn!
Here's Leah today, on her birthday