Friday, February 26, 2016

Medieval Times!

Rivendell went to Medieval Times for the matinee showing today.  We did this as well the last time we were doing year 2 of Tapestry of Grace, and it was exactly 4 years ago to the day, as my Timehop reminded me.  That time we went to an evening show.  Bob took the 4 boys plus Anna and Grace, and I stayed home with Faith and Micah, so I had never been before.  We had such a fun time!  Kudos again to Emily R., our outstanding field trip coordinater!
   Anna and Faith wore their medieval dresses, which were Christmas presents from Grandma and Grandpa G.  Grace thought she would be "too scratchy" to wear hers for such a long time, but Anna and Faith looked so cute!
 When they announced our group, they also wished "Lord Luke" a happy birthday, which was entirely Christine's idea!  We took up a whole section, but the 6 younger kids and I sat in the bottom row, right next to the arena, along with Craig, Christine, and Elena.  We had such a great view!  Verity was a "lap baby".  At first she was absolutely terrified and hardly moved a muscle, with all the noise, fog, lights, horses, etc.  But then she relaxed and pointed eagerly at the king, the princess, and all the horses.  She was especially thrilled with the falcon flying around.  That made me miss the falcon shows at the USAFA home football games.  A falcon can really put on a display in an open stadium!  But this was a good second best, lol.
 Anna was excited to be given a flower by "our" knight, the blue knight.  She was wearing the right colors!  But then he picked Faith to give his favor, this blue sash thing, before the jousting.  When he put his joust in front of her with the sash on the tip, she leaned as far away as she could and definitely was not excited about taking it.  Christine was sitting next to her, and she was encouraging her to take it when Faith said, "But I don't want to marry him!"   After we got that cleared up, Faith did take the favor and wore it the rest of the day, lol.  I wish I had gotten a picture of that!

I was worried that maybe there wouldn't be enough food, since Verity didn't have a plate of her own.  I needn't have worried!  Between my plate, as well as Micah's and Drew's plates, we had plenty of food for the 4 of us!  Micah and Drew were absolutely transfixed by the whole show. They are the perfect age for choreographed stage combat!  I can foresee there being a ton of sword-fighting (non-choreographed) here at the house, with many hurt feelings and bumps and bruises for the next little while.  Micah wanted to wear his crown to bed.   As soon as the food was done, Verity was pretty much done as well, so the last part of the show I spent wrestling her (non-choreographed).  I felt very validated that I stayed home with Faith and Micah 4 years ago, lol.
 We actually had a huge group--41 of us--so this is just a small subset!  I was too busy trying to keep track of Micah, Drew, and Verity that I didn't end up taking very many pictures.
This was Verity as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot.  That was a lot of stimulation for a little pumpkin!  We all had a great time, though.  Just think--in 4 more years, when this rolls around again, Verity will be 5!  No more wrestling a lap baby!  I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dryer Woes

We bought our Maytag washer and dryer when we moved out to Colorado the summer of 1995.  They are not fancy at all--only dials, no electric controls--but they have been real workhorses.  They hold a ton of laundry, and they have never before needed a repair.  I went through a period of time maybe 7 or 8 years ago when I was so envious of those spiffy new front-loading washers and dryers.  I was even sort of hoping our old ones would break so we could get shiny new ones!  But then I started hearing some reports about those new appliances that made me change my mind--mold around the door seal, they don't get clothes very clean because they don't use enough water, lots of repairs, etc.  So I changed my mind and started praying my faithful appliances would never break!

Over the past few months, however, our dryer started making some funny noises.  It had sounded for awhile like there were rocks in it, tumbling around, but then it started sounding a lot more serious.  Last Thursday I put a light load in there of a few clothes and a car seat cover, since Drew could NOT make it home from picking up the girls at basketball practice, as it turned out, and it really sounded bad.  I stopped it, took everything out, and Bob took the poor thing apart.

The first thing he did, once he got the front and top off, was to take off the three paddle triangular paddle things inside the dryer.  In one of them we found the source of the "rock" noise:  $1.58.  The interesting thing was seeing how coins look after being in a rock tumbler for years on end!  The pennies all shrank terribly, and you can see the zinc underside very clearly.  It looks like a rim around the pennies.  Also, poor Abe Lincoln is pretty much worn clean off on the ones who have been in there the longest!  I put a brand new 2015 penny from our change tub on the far right so you could see the size difference.  The dimes and quarters aren't quite as intriguing, but all the ridges are completely worn off the edges, and you can see the copper under the nickel outer coating.
After all that excitement, Bob found the actual source of the problem:  this wheel that holds up the dryer.  The bolt holding it in had gotten loose, so the wheel shimmied around.  Compared to the wheel on the other side, this one looked terrible!  Parts on the front had come clean off, and the black rim had really worn down.
Bob found the model number of our dryer and was able to figure out what part we needed on an appliance repair website, so he ordered it.  The part finally came in Monday, and he was able to install it last night.  I am thrilled to say that not only is the dryer working again, it is practically silent!  Our dryer has been reborn!  Now maybe it will last 21 more years!  Still--one repair in 21 years is a pretty good record, I think.  And yay for handy husbands!!  Bob is such a blessing!
I am so happy to have it working again.  I did 2 loads of laundry Friday, and I brought a huge laundry basket of wet clothes over to the L's house so we could use their dryer during Bible study!  It will be nice to show up over there this Friday with just ourselves, lol.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


As I mentioned briefly at the end of my last post, we had hoped to catch a space-a flight out west to visit my dad's side of the family last Saturday.  At the last minute, the flight got moved up, and so we weren't able to get there in time to catch it.  And since then, there hasn't been another flight to Travis, so that little plan is a no-go for right now, anyway.  We may try in a few months, if we can avoid the whole spring break rush of space-a travelers.

But the whole scenario was just befuddling.  I had been looking at flights for several weeks, but only out of Dover AFB, since that's where we caught the flight 2 years ago to Travis, and since its posts show up on my newsfeed almost daily.  There were really very few flights out in January, and then none in February.  I tried to look at McGuire's facebook page, since I remembered doing so 2 years ago, but I couldn't find it by searching.  I figured they probably took down the page, possibly for security reasons, and I didn't think much more about it. But then, last Thursday, a post from "Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst AMC Passenger Terminal" showed up out of the clear blue sky in my newsfeed, with this flight to Travis on Saturday, roll call at 1155!  Wow!  We were all so excited!  I kept checking the schedule, but to get to the page, I had to go to my "likes", and scroll down to where it's listed, since it still wasn't showing up when I searched for it (although I just tried again, and this time it popped up, which is weird).  We got all packed up and went to bed at midnight Friday night, after having called the terminal just to make sure nothing had changed.  To get to McGuire by 10:45ish for an 11:55 showtime, we needed to leave about 6:45, so I got up and checked facebook one last time at 5:45--only to see that the showtime had been moved to 7:00.  Since McGuire is about 3 1/2 hours away, there was nothing we could do except be disappointed.  In fact, even if I had woken up and checked right around 3:00, when they posted the change, there was still no way we could have gotten there in time to get checked in and park the van a mile away in long-term parking, so clearly it wasn't meant to be.

But why did the Lord allow us to get our hopes up?  I mean, why bring the flight to our attention?  I had already pretty much given up, since there had been no flights out of Dover.  It actually brought me back to last year, when Nathan didn't get the USAFA appointment.  Why get us thinking that was the way the Lord was moving, since he had gotten 2 congressional nominations, plus the early West Point appointment.  Obviously Nathan is doing fine where he is, and knows he is where he is supposed to be, but still . . . it makes me ponder.

I don't, of course, have any answers--sorry!  But Mike did preach a very applicable sermon Sunday on John 11:1-44, the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Why did Jesus wait, allowing Lazarus to die?  Obviously Jesus valued more than Mary, Martha, and Lazarus's temporary comfort.  He is committed to giving us what we need most, which is a vision of God's glory in the ministry of Christ, as he acts through our circumstances, so we can come to greater faith through our circumstances.  Not getting into a particular college or missing a flight can't really be called suffering, by any stretch of the word, but when we do suffer, the cross is ultimately why we have hope.  God sent his son to die for us while we were still sinners.  Jesus didn't come just to weep impotently and offer us a temporary physical extension of our lives.  He came to save us for eternity.

I still don't know why we weren't in Oregon this past weekend.  But I do know that the God who did not withhold his only son will not withhold any good thing from us, and I can rest in that, even when I don't understand.  And we're all still praying for an airplane to work out maybe in April!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Birthday Weekend!

We kicked off our birthday season last weekend by celebrating my birthday and Faith's.  In the next 5 months, 9 of us in our family have our birthdays, not to mention various other aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.  Lots of desserts and celebrating!
We brought dessert to Bible study last Friday.  I once again picked chocolate covered strawberries.  We dipped 4 pounds of them, and I had lots of eager (messy) helpers (tasters).
Faith really wanted a cake.  I thought she was going to pick cupcakes again, but she decided she wanted an actual cake.  We tossed around a few ideas for the cake, but then she pulled "snowman" out of the air--must have been memories of the blizzard!  I was happy because what could be easier than a snowman?!  We whipped it out in short order!
There was a small crowd at Bible study, so we all got to eat out fill of the strawberries.  Even though the strawberries were not to sweetest, juiciest, summer ones, they were still yummy, AND we got to take some back home with us, as well as a little bit of cake!
We celebrated Faith's birthday on Monday.  She was very excited to open her presents!  From Grandma and Grandpa she got a beautiful medieval outfit for her American Girl doll, on loan from her cousins.  She also got an outfit for her, a kit to make a garden stepping-stone, like we got Grace for her birthday last year, and some candy.
That big uncreatively-wrapped present that was just in 2 brown paper bags was this ice cream stand for her American Girl doll.  As one who constantly struggles with finding presents for everyone, I am loving the gift-giving opportunities that the AG dolls present!  This was from Walmart, so you know it was not ridiculously-priced, and now, hey, they have even more way to play with their dolls!  The dolls have taken over our downstairs guest bedroom, and the girls have made furniture for them out of boxes.  Each doll has her own separate living area, so it's more like an apartment building or something down there.  And now Faith's doll has an ice cream stand!  It's good to encourage entrepreneurship in dolls as well as kids, lol.  So fun!  The girls are having such a marvelous time playing with the dolls.  

So the first family birthdays have come and gone, and now we are back to our regular busy routine.  We had hoped to take a special trip today, out to Oregon to visit my side of the family, including my Aunt Rocky, who has faithfully made a beautiful quilt for each child, plus their well-loved blankets.  We were all set to drive up to McGuire AFB in NJ to try for a space-a flight out to Travis AFB, CA.  I got up at 5:45 so we could leave around 6:45, but when I checked the facebook page, the flight had been moved up to 0700 (from an 1155 showtime).  Since you have to be there an hour before showtime to check in, park in long term parking, etc., there was no possible way to make it.  I'm just glad we realized it before we drove 3 1/2 hours for nothing.  Still--very frustrating and disappointing.  All that frantic packing yesterday for nothing, and it would have been perfect, with the 3 day weekend!  As Christine keeps reminding me, "God doesn't withhold any good thing."  Sigh.  So now it's back to writing the biology exam and making up another Latin extra practice sheet.  Ah, February--it's a good thing we have 3 family birthdays this month, or else this would be a bummer, gray, winter month!