Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas 2008 Picture

Mitchell 9.5
Megan 7.75
Madison 4.99

The Town That Forgot About Christmas

Our church put on a Christmas program yesterday adapted from the book "The Town That Forgot About Christmas." Mitchell and Megan were carolers and Mitchell had a short duet. Everyone did a great job and we are proud!

This group picture was taken during practice with only a few of the props, but you get the general idea. Mitchell is standing on the right edge of the group on the left with his hand on his hip and Megan is on the far right wearing a red shirt and white scarf. (I dusted off my sewing machine and sewed her outfit as she had nothing in her closet that could pass for 1940's English era!) My dad took more pictures, so I may add a couple later.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Mitchell and Megan started piano this year, so of course, that meant we were looking for a piano! I watched craigslist for a couple of months, and nothing ever panned out. Finally, I found a piano listed as free and emailed for more information, called Robb to get ready to go pick it up, and then nothing. No email back. No answers to my questions.

"Well, Lord," I said, "That is not the piano you have for us."

Mid-afternoon, Robb called and asked if I had heard anything from the seller on craigslist. At my negative answer, Robb said, "Well, he is a really nice man, and we are going to pick it up tonight!"

Then I still had my doubts. It was free, after all. Maybe it was a piece of junk. I didn't even remember that verse about God giving good gifts; The one where he says something like, "If my children need bread will I give them a stone?" Of course not!

So we picked up our piano, got it home, let it warm up. Guess what? It not only goes well in my living room, and has no chipped keys, but it's in tune!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


We still laugh.
We still trust.
We still love.
We still hope.

Be Still.

And Know.

That I Am GOD.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Photos

It was a quiet Thanksgiving in Waconia, where the fire was warm,
the games were fun, and the house was filled with music.
Enjoying the fire

Playing Spoons- Kids loved it!I had to have Robb take a picture of me, since I'm always behind the camera!

Girls play uke. (Madison dressed herself...can you tell?)

Everyone looking at pictures on Facebook
of the Mexican village where Laura is going to do her practicum.

Is it done yet?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Longing for nothing else

We've been hearing about a recession for a long time, and either I've been in denial, or it took a while to filter down to us. As this current financial crisis has begun to effect our family and those near us, the words of Sovereign Grace's album Come Weary Saints has been a balm in an uncertain atmosphere.

As Long as You are Glorified
Shall I take from your hand your blessings,
Yet not welcome anything?
Shall I thank you for days of sunshine
Yet grumble of days of rain
Shall I love you in times of plenty,
Then leave you in days of drought?
Shall I trust when I reap the harvest?
But when winter winds blow, then doubt?

Oh let your will be done in me
In your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else
as long as you are glorified.

Are you good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled?
Are you King only when I’m carefree
and God only when I’m well?
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night.

Oh let your will be done in me
In your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else
as long as you are glorified

So quiet my restless heart.
Quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart.
In you……

Oh let your will be done in me
In your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else
as long as you are glorified.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Little tidbit

While cleaning out files on my overwhelmed computer, I ran across this document, evidently my attempt at journaling funny things the kids say. It was written in April 2008 and too cute not to share with you all, even if it is months later.

Madison, standing at sink with a pen held under a stream of water.

Me: “Madison, what are you doing? “

“I’m getting more ink”

“But that’s not ink, it’s water.”

“Oh.” Pause. Then how do you fill the pen up again?”

“You don’t. You buy a new one.”

“Like this?”


Pause. Look at pen dripping with water. “Good grief.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Farm Felines

So, we finally caved, actually Robb finally caved, and let us get a couple of cats to "mouse" around the farm. The kids are loving having pets and take every opportunity to dash outside for a school break. The kitties are adjusting well to their new home and at least Nadia seems to enjoy being carried, manhandled, chased, propped up on tree branches, pulled off, fought over etc!
Madison and Nadia (previously named Naughty)

Pooh Bear, a bit more cautious, though friendly if we stand still

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Four Sisters

Andrea and Laura: not the twins!
"OH, you look like twins!" "REALLY?!"

no secrets, just food

yay, memories of yummy food, silly laughter,
sister squabbles about tripods, and new cameras,
but also a bit of serious discussion about life and our Savior

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A jar to keep your stomach in...

We are on to studying mummies and the process of mummification. Mitchell and Megan made canopic jars (with a little sculpting help from their crafty mom). These jars were used to store preserved organs from the mummy, and these jackal heads on the lids specify that each jar contains a stomach, though I believe my children have decided that theirs will store money.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

School is fun!

The Sun rises on the Nile River!
And our crops are growing!

We are still studying Ancient Egypt,
home to hieroglyphics (rather difficult for a 7 and 9 year old to master)
and Sumer,
the creators of cuneiform (slightly less difficult and thus our choice of ancient writing).

Can you translate what Mitchell and Megan carved?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

School projects

I am using a great history curriculum this year with lots of fun projects for the kids (and I) to do. The Story of the World starts at the beginning, and for four years, will follow the course of history to modern time. Here are a couple of pictures of what we've done:

How do we learn about history? One way is archaeology! This is our "dig." The kids buried items from our house and then we dug them up a week later.

This is our model of the Nile River. Notice the Pyramids and Sphinx. We will "flood" the Nile to water our "crops" just as the ancient Egyptians relied on the annual flooding to fertilize and water their crops near the river. Notice also the Delta region at the top, named for the Greek letter D which is shaped like a triangle...Yes, I am turning into a very smart homeschool mom! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Cute couple (if I do say so myself!)

  Alan, Kyrsten, Melissa, Matt
Jeff, Lisa, Drew, Maddie
All our kids riding bikes on the boardwalk

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cleanliness vs Creativity

I know they say children should be allowed to explore their creativity. Mostly I do. After all, I was allowed to make barbie clothes out of fabric scraps and mess up mom's entire laundry room with thread, pins and fabric bits. I was allowed to try every new craft idea that came out and mom graciously nagged me to clean up my creative stations around the house. So why is it so hard for me to allow my kids to make messes? Actually, now that I think about it, the allowing comes easy. The cleanup does not. I just don't like the result of creativity unless it is my own! How controlling of me. Yuck.Here are my kids and their three-roomed fort made out of three tipped over living room chairs and blankets. They are watching a PBS special about a National Geographic photographer. That part made me happy.

What you don't see is a snack haven on the other side of the fort: popcorn all over. I cleaned up the mess. And I wasn't happy about it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm still recovering from the busy weekend, and it's not even Monday anymore! We packed up the camper, last minute, for a quick trip to Higher Ground on Saturday to enjoy some Christian music and friends. The trip was short--but we got to hear Sara Groves and MercyMe, and a couple other less known groups.

The kids ran around with friends, they all played in a great big blown up "amusement park" the girls got lost (they couldn't find where we were sitting), Mitchell thought he was big stuff to help out in the Pizza Ranch booth, and I got to eat mini donuts! And dessert pizza, and a foot-long corn dog, and a vanilla shake. :)

Sunday we were surprised to see some college friends at church who recently moved back to the states from Taiwan. We had them out to the farm for some catching up and we enjoyed a beautiful evening and sunset together.
(Sorry, I don't have a picture of Sunday's sunset, but here's Saturday's.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

School, to start or not to start

So, swimming lessons are over and we are in the final weeks of summer....Labor day is coming and we are looking forward to camping. Then starts school. Or I was thinking that we should get a week of school in before Labor Day. I was telling a friend this thought, and her response was, in her nice British accent, "You should tell yourself to shut up!"
So maybe we'll wait till after the holiday, or better yet, start after the laundry is done, the camper is cleaned and I feel all rested from a busy vacation. Oh wait, then I'd never start at all! Well, I don't want my kids to grow up stupid, so I'd better start at least sometime in September!

Oh my, I was just typing away and Megan ran in saying there were cows at the end of our driveway! And there were. At least 20 cows stampeding down our country road chased by a four-wheeler. Never seen that before!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Baffling Call of God

I promised to write about Oswald Chambers August 5th devotional, so here it is, at least part of it:

"Jesus Christs' life was an absolute failure from every standpoint but God's. But what seemed failure from man's standpoint was a tremendous triumph from God's, because God's purpose is never man's purpose."

"It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because His call is to be in comradeship with Himself for His own purposes, and the test is to believe that God knows what He is after. The things that happen do not happen by chance, they happen entirely in the decree of God. God is working out his purposes."

"If we are in communion with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, we shall no longer try to find out what His purposes are. As we go on in the Christian life it gets simpler, because we are less inclined to say - Now why did God allow this and that? Behind the thing lies the compelling of God. 'There's a divinity that shapes our ends." A Christian is one who trusts the wits and the wisdom of God, and not his own wits. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the leisureliness which ought to characterize the children of God."

I'm sorry to use my blog space for the thoughts of another, but I love Chambers. He makes me think. "the simplicity and leisureliness which ought to characterize the children of God." Does that describe the Christians you know? Is that an accurate view? In the past I may have said no, but as my faith grows, I see myself relaxing in the sovereignty of God. As my pastor used to say frequently, "It's all good." Really, in a believer's life, all things do work out for good. Sometimes hard good. Sometimes easy good. But still good. And in the end of ends it will ALL be good.

We with faith in Christ have a HOPE that goes beyond reason!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

the calm after the storm

Sorry I left you hanging there...if you don't know what I'm talking about, read the previous post.

On Saturday morning Robb went out to coffee with his brother. He called me on his way home. "I cleaned out my desk at TREAN." I guess after being married for 10 years, I've gotten pretty good at understanding my husband. I already knew he'd gone to Eden Prairie and done that.
I said, "I know."
He said, "Oh, did you talk to someone?"
"Nope. I just knew."

I can't say I responded well to this. In fact, we argued. Even yelled. That's not normal for us.

But we talked about it, and I understand his heart. Those words were a direct attack where he is most vulnerable. Really, that is any man's most vulnerable area: feeling respected. Once a word is spoken it cannot be erased, and if he went back to TREAN, no matter how hard he worked, Robb would always wonder if it was enough. No matter how many apologies. No matter how many compliments. The words were said.

So we are moving on. We still have PRIME, our promotions storage and shipping and rebate company. Robb is now free to focus on growing our business and he has his life back. He is returning to breakfasts, coffee, and lunches with friends. He may even start exercising! (I'm not holding my breath on that though!)

I don't pretend to understand why this happened. In the August 3rd reading for My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes, "We have no conception of what God is aiming at, and as we go on it gets more and more vague. God's aim looks like missing the mark because we are too short-sighted to see what He is aiming at. At the beginning of the Christian life we have our own ideas as to what God's purpose is -'I am meant to go here or there,' 'God has called me to do this special work'; and we go and do the thing, and still the big compelling of God remains. The work we do is of no account, it is so much scaffolding compared with the big compelling of God. "

The next day's devotional says, "The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship."

Hmmm...I just peeked at today's reading. I'll have to post something on that later.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Praise in the Storm

I thought I had learned my lessons on faith and trust, but evidently, I need more practice.

Robb called on his way home from work today in tears. He's had a rough transition to the corporate world, and it doesn't help that he's learning as he goes with no training...just an insurance manual. He's especially had it hard the last two weeks as both the other guys on his team have been traveling and he's been bored. He misses the freedom of his own company. And who wouldn't miss it? When you're self employed you are THE MAN. In the corporate world, he's still a peon. That sucks.
So he called in tears. He overheard the president of his division say he is "as worthless as tits on a boar".

I'm afraid he's going to quit. And I'm tired of change.

So as I'm driving home and mulling this over, God impresses me with the thought of praising him. Give thanks in all circumstances. Hmmm. Don't really feel like it. I flick on the radio. The first words on the speaker are these:

I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm.

I came home and downloaded the rest of the song. Here it is:

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”,
and it’s still raining
But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise
You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

God's words for me. Now. When I need them. He is with me. I still don't feel like praising, but I'll get there. And though I don't know the future, He does. And it will be OK.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer Vacation

So, I guess I've taken a vacation from blogging. Though I think our life is more interesting in the summer, it just isn't much fun to write about it when I'd rather be at the beach! After two weeks spent traveling and visiting Robb's family, I recovered by immersing myself in fellowship! The kids were in VBS last week and I spent that three hours each day chatting with pals over coffee, visiting at a friend's house, looking at homeschool curriculum and discussing philosophies of life. We also fit in a few trips to the beach with more friends. My life's rough, I know! :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Toothpaste analogy

I recently found a Heritage Builders Family Night Toolchest Activity Book at our local library sale table for 25 cents. (That library has supplied me with the best Christian reading material lately!) I planned our first object lesson, and Megan reminded me for three nights in a row, until the evening came when we had time to do it together.

First the kids each squeezed a (small) tube of toothpaste onto a paper plate. Next I offered $5.00 to the one who could put it all back in the tube in three minutes. I laid out the five dollar bill and set the timer. Robb, having not read the lesson, was astonished, and hid his grin. Here they are trying to complete the task.

Of course, the task is impossible. Which is the point of the lesson. Once we speak unkind words, we cannot take them back.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Camping - Memorial Day Weekend

Robb with Jeff and Lisa
Megan, Drew, Mitchell, Maddie

UFDA! Sorry I've not blogged in two whole months! I'll try to fill in the blanks.

Joni and I share some tunes on the drive to Chicago and Willow Creek's Children's Ministry Conference.

Me thinks Kyrsten is ADHD! :)
Kyrsten and Allen show off their Chicago Style Pizza.
At the very first ever premier of the American Girl movie Kit Kittredge.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kristina's 4 things

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Florist
2. Driver’s Ed. Teacher
3. Homeschooling Mom
4. Blog Book Designer

Four Movies I would watch over & over:
1. Anne of Green Gables / Anne of Avonlea
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. Sweet Home Alabama
4. Calendar Girls

Four things I could live without, but would rather not:
1. Bath and Body Works hand soap
2. double computer monitors
3. Clorox wipes
4. Swiffer wet mopping clothes

Four small appliances I could NOT live without:
1. sewing machine
2. food processor
3. mixer
4. blender -(I'm only allowed 4?)

Four countries I have visited
1. Germany
2. Russia
3. Taiwan
4. Mexico

People who e-mail me (regularly)
1. Robb
2. Facebook
3. Lisa
4. Carrie

Four of my favorite foods
1. a Mocha
2. Bourbon Street Tilapia from Bubba Gumps
3. Wild Rice soup
4. Pastries

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. a coffee shop
2. Mexico on vacation with my Husband the beach with friends
4. Mementos

Four things I am looking forward to in the next year:
1. My sister's baby's birth
2. Entertaining
3. Cupcake '10
4. Trip to WI Dells

Spring Mud on the Farm - Again

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I love winter in Minnesota, really, I do. Until March. Then, even those of us born here are quite tired of the cold and snow. I relish spring, rain, and grass: green, lush grass to tickle my toes. So when spring really does come, and the mud comes along with it, I am not quite satisfied. Somehow in the year since the last spring, I've forgotten that mud must come before spring.
So, spring came (if only for a couple of days. We had a snowstorm on Easter weekend that left us right where we had started in the snow coverage department). The kids went out to play and like true children, made a beeline for the mud puddles. I didn't watch them. Maybe if I had, I could have stopped them, but I doubt it. Maybe if I had, I'd appreciate how much they enjoyed themselves.
But as it was, all I saw was the result. The mess. The mud. They know the rule about coming in from playing in the mud. They strip down to their undies outside, and come in shivering and laughing. (Our nearest neighbor is a mile away, my modest friends!) Thankfully they followed my rule. Somehow, though, they still came in with their naked bodies smeared in mud! ACKKK! Here is part of the result:

I bagged the mud caked coats and clothes and carried them gingerly upstairs to the washer. The whole load had to be washed twice. The kids had to stay in the kitchen, on the lynoleum, until they cleaned up themselves and their trail of mud. Now for the boots. What do I do with mud caked boots when I don't have a utility sink and it is too cold to use a hose? Well, I just left them there, and I'm waiting for the mud to dry so it will come off in chunks of dried dirt! The key is to time it just right so the boots can come in before it starts to rain and the boots become muddy again. Then the rain will wash the muddy sidewalk and we'll start all over again. --Never mind relishing spring. I just want summer!