100 Miracles and a Few Kiddo Quotes

Josh and I went to New Mexico last week. It was our first time away from our kids. Jane and Chris (Josh’s parents) flew in from Florida to stay with Jedidiah and Lilia. The trip was amazing. Truly, the whole trip was a gift that we will remember for the rest of our lives. The words that keep coming into my head are “100 miracles.” Little things and really big ones – too many things to say right now. I’m not quite ready to write a blog about it. But, I will once I’ve had a little time to process things.

In the mean time, here are a few quotes from my beloved children (who, might I say, seem oh so delightful, adorable, and hilarious after being away from them for 5 days!)…

Jedidiah: Pirates are bold, brave, and ready!
Me: I wanna be bold, brave, and ready.
Jedidiah: Then, you’re a pirate! (a few minutes pass) Let’s be the McCallister crew!!
and so we are….


Lilia: It’s slippelly on the flah! (in other words, “it’s slippery on the floor”)
(we’ve been having a lot of fun repeating that one tonight)


Lilia: “Why you taste your finger, momma?”

Me: “I was just picking something out of my tooth.”

LIlia: “You need use a toothpick, momma!”



Little Things I Want to Remember about Today…

We went on a big grocery shopping outing this afternoon – 2 grocery stores and 2 other errands with a mother and son from China along for journey. Jedidiah and Lilia were very patient despite quite a bit of waiting. In the car we were talking about how tonight would be Sabbath, and Jedidiah said in a sweet voice, “Sabbath is the best holiday, because it comes every week!” Ahhh….moments like those remind me of my deep love for my son and encourage me as a mother. (See a great post on kairos moments here.)

In the second grocery store of our adventure, Lilia’s darling face and happy demeanor charmed a sweet foreign butcher. He was talking to her in a high voice and waving to her. We were getting salmon, and he was waving the salmon around to make her smile. He looked at me and said, “I going to cut the skin off [of the salmon]…for da’ baby.” I really love all the positive attention one gets when there’s a cute little kiddo adding smiles and life to a regular daily routine. I want to cherish these moments.

And so, I write them down. 😉

The Past Few Weeks

I am a little behind on blogging, as you can tell. Here are some pictures to catch you up on our family’s activities over advent and the holidays. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. Happy 2012!

As we do not have an official nativity, Jedidiah had the idea of making one out of popsicle sticks. It actually turned out pretty well!

We celebrated our friend Seth’s third birthday at a fun play place…

We had our first snows of the year (both of which melted very quickly)…

We waited and waited and got extra-excited about seeing grandparents, and we enjoyed making silly faces in general…

We did crafting, crafting, and more crafting (pictures to come).

We rode an AMTRAK train to Arkansas…

And, we had a memorable and very merry Christmas with my family (highlights from the trip are coming up in the next post)…

We also had a delightful New Years celebration with a few other families. Our celebration was complete with a countdown, confetti, noise makers, and sparkling grape juice – all at 8 pm!

The Kindergarten Search

December has felt really busy around here. With the addition of Christmas crafting and advent activities, we have had less down time than normal. Also, Josh and I have been visiting schools in the area to begin our decision-making process for where Jedidiah will go to kindergarten in the Fall. Jedidiah is very excited about this big step in his life, and we want to choose a place that will be a good fit for his needs and personality. Since neither Josh nor I grew up in this area, we are not familiar with the Evanston schools at all. We both wanted to see what our options were before simply choosing the neighborhood public school. Evanston also has a public magnet school with a focus on the arts. There is Montessori school just blocks from our home that goes from Pre-K through 8th grade. There is also a Catholic school only a few blocks away where a few friends from our church have sent their children. We are also only a mile or two away from a highly esteemed Waldorf school. And, there is a neat Christian school in Chicago that we wanted to see. So far, these are the schools we have visited:

King Lab – We loved the focus on the arts at this school. We also loved the diversity, the small class sizes, the community feel, and the fact that it is a public school.

Chiaravalle Montessori School – This school was absolutely gorgeous. It is a small school, very close to our home, and it has a special community-type feel. I love that the students learn daily living skills as a part of their curriculum all the way through. I think this would help Jedidiah who tends to get overwhelmed easily.

Chicago Waldorf School – Let me just say that this school was amazing. Every person I talked with was exceptionally genuine. The education offered at this school is incredibly well-rounded – from science to athletics to art to music.

Daystar Christian School – This school is a unique Christian school that is located in the heart of Chicago. The school takes advantage of their location by doing many, many excursions to museums and locations in the city. They have worship services, small classrooms, and caring teachers. Major downside: it is at least a 30 minute commute each way.

Honestly, I would feel good about my child attending any of these schools. They have all been great schools with clear philosophies that help children to learn and grow and develop friendships. And, all of these schools go through the 8th grade, which I think is so much better for children developmentally than changing to a new school during the fragile early adolescent years (although, we don’t really plan on living here that long). Of course, the private schools are expensive, but one thing we have learned is that financial aid is always worth a try…you just never know. We have not made any decisions, yet. But, the process of seeing the schools has been encouraging and enlightening. I have come home with many new ideas to enrich our home environment, as well. All of this makes me excited about this next phase of Jedidiah’s life. I will be sad to send my little boy away for several hours each day, but I think there are many beautiful adventures in life and learning ahead of him. I would appreciate your prayers as we make this big decision.

One more cute story: Jedidiah has not gone with us on any of the school tours until today. He was so excited that the school (Daystar) invited him to come along that he decided to dress up. He wore a tie and vest and looked oh-so-cute and handsome. It was great to have one-on-one time with him and both parents. I think it made him feel really special. 🙂

Thanksgiving & A Few Lilia Quotes

This year, we spent Thanksgiving at home for the first time in our marriage. I have to admit there were many things I missed about being with family. In some ways, staying home on Thanksgiving felt like the holiday turned into just a regular day of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. But, it did turn out to be a really nice day in the end. We had several guests over – friends from church and the neighborhood. We made lots of delicious food. The kids and I made decorations, and I think that our home looked very festive for the occasion. The kids had a great time entertaining our guests after the meal – talking about all the things they are thankful for, showing off ballet and karate moves, and doing all sorts of cute and silly things.

The past few days, it has been Lilia who has been cracking me up with her comments. Here are a few…

– We made a special juice punch with juices and sparkling water for the Thanksgiving meal. Lilia really liked it, but left some in her glass for an hour or more after dinner. When she went back to drink it, she said, “It’s not punch anymore! I need new punch, momma.” The punch had gotten “flat,” so to her it wasn’t even punch anymore!

– Tonight, we went to a wedding rehearsal dinner with Greek food. Lilia really like the falafel and kept saying, “I want more waffles!”

– Lilia and I made a white turkey chili in the crock pot today. She has only seen me make beans in the crock pot for our weekly “beans and rice night.” When I went to put other ingredients into the crock pot she said, “No, momma! It’s a bean pot!”

– Misunderstandings….Lilia still has some unclear words, and a few of my misunderstandings have been really funny, too. Tonight, she saw a picture of our neighbor Rob speaking into a microphone. She looked at it and said, “Rob has make up on?” Really, she meant, “Rob has microphone?” Then, tonight in the bath, she said (in a distressed tone), “I am naked and wet!” I responded with a laugh, and something about how that’s just how it is in the bath! She really said, “Band-aid is wet!”

I hope you are all enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend! Josh did take some pictures with his fancy camera – I will try to post those soon.

Sweet Morning

This morning turned out much differently than my daily plan laid out for me. We had scheduled a retired teacher friend from church to come over and do some learning activities with the kids. The house was in need of a “cleaning blitz,” that’s what we call it when we all work together to quickly tidy up the whole house. We worked hard and had everything presentable just in time, but our friend had not arrived, yet. I sat down on the couch with a stack of newly borrowed library books, and we began to read while we waited. Twenty minutes later, I decided I had better call our friend to make sure she was still coming. It turned out that she had completely forgotten, not realizing it was already Thursday. I felt myself relax. It felt like a gift really…a clean house, a whole stack of new books to explore with the kids, and an open morning.

We spent a long while reading, and then Jedidiah got the bright idea that we should make cookies. It was only eleven in the morning, but, hey, why not? So we worked together and made snickerdoodles, cookies that remind me of my mom (I think, because her grandmother used to make them for her?). While the cookies were baking, I made some spinach quesadillas, a simple favorite. The kids actually gobbled down the quesadillas before they began asking for cookies. Jedidiah really and truly said (after biting into his quesadilla), “DElicious!! Mom, you’ve gotta try these! They taste like cake!” And later, he shouted an enthusiastic, “Yumm-O!!” After the quesadillas, we all enjoyed each other’s company and the tasty cookies we had made together. The point is, that a free morning without any chores tugging at my brain is a rare occurrence…a chance to be fully present with these little ones changing and growing so quickly right before my eyes. A gift. And, every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.


And, just because, a few sweet pictures of my dear kiddos earlier this Fall…



Oh, and the spinach quesadilla “recipe,” in case you were interested…


Corn tortillas

Fresh spinach

1/4 cup chopped onion

1-2 cloves minced garlic

Oil or butter (whichever you prefer)

Soy sauce

Cheese (shredded – I used mozzerella, but whatever you have will do)

This “recipe” will not have exact amounts. I just eyeball everything and make more or less depending on how many people I am feeding or how much my kids are eating. First, in a small pot, saute the onions and garlic in oil or butter until the garlic begins to brown. Then, add spinach (I usually just fill my small pot to the top, since it cooks down so dramatically). Add a teaspoon or so of soy sauce, and a very small amount of water, if necessary. Cook until the greens are wilted. I’m going to assume that you know how to cook a quesadilla in a skillet. I usually cook the quesadillas in a little butter, because I think my kids need the fat & it makes it taste super-yummy. I simply put a corn tortilla in the pan, sprinkle some cheese on it, spread a little of the spinach mixture over that and then top it with a second tortilla. Seriously, my kids LOVE this recipe, and I love that it gets them to eat spinach.