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Entries in the five of us (4)


Easter Outtakes

A normal person would follow up an Easter post with something nice like family pictures from the morning or photos of the gorgeous flowers in the sanctuary.

Here is a little known fact:  I am not a normal person.  I am a blogger.

That makes me much more interesting.  My family, too.  You not only get to see on a regular basis how much we (DO NOT) have it all together, but you also get to see what a typical photo session looks like around here.  My guess is, though, that maybe just a few of you can relate.

Ah, here we have the quick dash to get in front of the camera (our neighbor was sweet to come over and take pictures for us)...and please let's not forget the last minute boogie hunt. 

In the following picture, Christian looks very cute trying to pick up his little sister.  What is not so cute is that I appear to be spontaneously lactating.  I do not, I repeat, I do not have LBS (Leaky Boob Syndrome)!

It wouldn't be a proper photo session without the traditional escape artist!

To thwart any other plans she may have had to escape we engaged "Operation Immobilization".

And finally!  We actually made a photo that we could be proud to show off.  Maybe we are a normal family after all.


A girl can dream, right?


A Spring in My Step

It seems with the arrival of March spring is truly on its way.  The winters here are mild compared to many places in our country or around the world, but it has been a rainy, dreary, and cold season this year and just like everyone we are so glad to see spring make an appearance.

We headed out after church on Sunday for a little bird-watching-flower-appreciating outdoor fun.  I just knew I was going to get pooped on (**it happens to me.  Often.) but not a single bird targeted me that day.  So even I had a good time walking the block and capturing the signs of spring, with the camera or just in my mind.

Mike had the camera at first.  He likes to call it my camera (as in Christina's), but the truth is he knows more about photography than I do...he actually studied some about it when he was younger.

By the way, does this surprise anyone?  I thought not.  He studies.  I pick up a new anything and expect it to come naturally, automatically.  We have recently coined the phrase spontaneous education.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Back to real life...

He came upon a little bird that took notice of his lens; he shook out his tail feathers (the bird, not Mike) and strutted around the yard like a little supermodel.  I think I actually heard him say,"I'm too sexy for my breast, too sexy for my breast, so sexy I'm the best," at least once.

This little red-chested bird was posing for the camera, make no mistake.

We went on our way after the photo shoot and took a few minutes to look closely at all of the things that have been changing around our neighborhood.

The trees have burst forth with gorgeous clusters of tiny white flowers that float down every now and then, covering the ground just as they cover the branches above.

There are daffodils shining brightly just about everywhere you look.

As the daffodils radiate their glory, so the faces around me radiate the joy that comes from being in the sunshine on a day that has not a cloud in the sky.

We find the busyness of planting flowers as the sun warms one's back (or relocating flowers, as the case may be...)

There are of course the birds of a feather that flock together...

This guy kind of looks like he's in charge, don't you think?

And we even saw a bird that seemed to have an injury...a bright red spot on his wing that we surmised might be blood.

 We so enjoyed being outside, and being together.

I hope that those who are reading this can hear my voice, and that it sounds genuine.  I mean all of it.  There is something to be said for spending time with people who are joyful.  It brings to mind the passage from John, where Jesus is talking to his disciples and he encourages them to remain in him; he goes on to say,"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."  I feel like when I am around my joyful family their joy rubs off on me and then my own gladness completes their joy, as well as that of my heavenly Father (or brother, however you want to say it).  Joy, joy, joyful, joyous, joy.  Can I use the word one more time?!

Watching Michaela delight in taking a picture of a bird in a tree...

or the sky through the branches...

These things bring me joy.  (Oh, look, I can use the word one more time!)

I love that Michaela took pictures and got her own shadow as well...

and I love seeing her own appreciation of the daffodils...

I love Christian's exuberance...

and Eliana's love for her daddy.  (It's mutual.)

I find that in spite of how I have been feeling recently, I am smiling.  How sweet that is.  How sweet they are.


Keep the Ball Rollin'

Mike has had some serious sinus pressure the last couple of days, and it seemed really bad around dinnertime tonight.  I know what that feels like, when your face seems like it's going to explode, and it hurts so terribly.  He doesn't complain about physical pain all that much (at least compared to some total weenies around names mentioned) so when he says it hurts then it must be quite painful.

So, we were sitting at the table and everyone was pretty much done, except for Michaela (who I am convinced must actually be French since she enjoys lingering about her meal for hours and would indeed love dinner to include five courses-one of which should certainly be soup) and Mike said with a groan,"My eye hurts so badly that I think it might pop out!"  The kids, of course, thought that was hysterical, and there was talk of at whom the eye ought to be aimed, and a lot of shrieking and ducking. 

I told the kids that I had known a girl in high school who had a glass eye and could take her eyeball out of her head.  They thought that was fabulously gross, and there was more shrieking.  Mike had gone into the kitchen and come back to the table and caught the tail end of our conversation; he added to the hysteria by telling us that a football player at the college he attended (for one year, before he transferred to the school from which he graduated) would take his position as a linebacker (oh boy, I think that is right); this guy also had a glass eye which he would remove and then just before the play he would look up at the opposing team's player straight across from him and freak him out with his one eye! 

Mike sat back down at the table and took off his glasses; he started rubbing his eyes and once again moaned about how badly they hurt.  Then, it started to sound more serious, and he said,"Uh, oh...oh, no...oh, no!  My eye!" and he flipped his hands out from his face and a small, round object went flying through the air, straight towards Christian!

Christian (who had been hiding behind Michaela's chair from the earlier pretend eye-popping episode) screamed, laughing and scooting backwards from the dining room into the kitchen.  He quickly scrambled to find the object (a little rubber ball) that Mike had thrown across the room, as everyone howled and hollered.  Mike went into the kitchen, doubled over with laughter, and I could hear Christian through his own laughter saying,"You fooled me!  You really fooled me!"

I have not laughed that hard in a long, long time, and boy did it feel good.  Now that the ball is rolling...let's see if it can keep on going!



For days the kids (Michaela and Christian) have been plotting secretly, decorating sneakily, squealing,"Don't look!" when we go up the stairs.  We knew they had a Valentine's surprise for us, but that was all.  Except it was requested of me to make brownies for "refreshments".  After much twisting of the arm, I obliged.  I'm no spoil sport!

All day they asked me,"Can you make the brownies already", and "Could we have the surprise party now?", and "Did you see the invitation?!"  We went out to lunch first, which was very nice, and ran to the SuperWalmart so that I could hop in there by myself and grab some things for the week.  As we pulled up to the storefront Christian said,"What are we doing?" indignantly.  Believe me, I'm not taking them in there if I can help it, ever again.  Last week I went in with all three, and there is not enough chocolate in the world for me to do that again.

We finally got home and I began my part of the preparations in earnest.  I whipped up those brownies and cut them out into heart shapes.  Michaela was set on having cut-out somethings.  I told her about her Aunt Wendy's plan to cut footballs out of brownies and Michaela was excited about brownies, and it was decided.  I was happy with that.  I hate making cookies.  I was also inspired by Wendy to frost the brownies.  Let the dinosaur experience be revisited!  I am no good at frosting.  However.  The kids loved it, and that's all that matters, right?

The hearts were a little smaller than I thought, so when I wrote "Be Mine" it looked more like "Be Mike" he ended up with that one.

Mike and I were summoned upstairs and greeted with their singing.

They had set up our goodies (note the fancy milk container)...

And we were served as soon as the entertainment portion of our party was over...

We were also given a special Valentine...

as well as a Valentine presentation...

I have to tell you that I had tears in my eyes as we sat there eating brownies and drinking milk.  I looked at Mike and we shared a quiet smile.  Then Christian got up and gave me a hug, and then he hugged his dad.  Eliana followed on his heels, and Michaela after that.  It is a moment I will never forget, one that is etched into my heart forever.  I couldn't have asked for a sweeter Valentine...but I have four!