Monday, October 31, 2011

Dressin' Up and Showin' Off!

DeLaynie wanted to be a princess this year... just like last year. I'm almost willing to bet she's going to want to be a princess again next year. I went to and looked for a princess costume on clearance, and a Snow White dress fit the bill.

Ella wanted to be everything that she saw. She wanted to be a puppy, a monkey, a piggy, a princess... and then I shut my computer. Then I found a butterfly costume on clearance, and made the suggestion. She went for it! I was pretty happy about the situation. (So was she.)

Uncle Micah won "Most Confusing Costume" at the fall festival. Okay, not really. But only because we didn't have a contest. He was actually Prince Ronald from one of the girls' favorite books, "The Paper Bag Princess".

Ella always enjoys the games at the fall festival. She also enjoyed the perks of being the pastor's daughter and grabbing way more than the standard amount of candy per turn.

DeLaynie doesn't like the games as much because her favorite thing in the world is a bounce house. But she likes the games and getting candy enough to take a few breaks.

"Look! Lemonade!"

Sassy little princess!

We had a great time, and now the girls are thoroughly asleep. I'm currently taking parent tax (i.e. raiding the kids' candy stash).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hat Season!

It's fall in Northern New York, and that means that it's time for headgear. (It also means that I'm constantly saying things like, "It's almost Christmas!" and "I can't wait for snow!" But that is a totally different subject.) As a yarn nerd, I crocheted a couple of hats for the girls in September.

But one day we were walking through WalMart's yarn aisle, and my brother, Micah, saw a book of patterns for slouchy beanies which evoked the reaction, "Oooooooooo. Slouchy beanies!" We bought the book and some yarn. Then I started looking through the book, and realized that all of the good patterns are for knit hats. That was a bit of a problem because I had tried to learn to knit, and it was a no-go.

I started a crochet pattern, but I never fell in love with it, so I pulled out the computer and headed over to Youtube for some knitting lessons. After watching several videos on the basics of knitting, I started playing around with a super-simple beginning knitter hat pattern. Although it's a little bigger than I had hoped, the girls both really love it.

Now, $50 in knitting supplies and more hours than I care to admit later, the world's most expensive hat is finally on the needles! I hope that it's wearable after this crazy-long process, but the effort should at least communicate that I love my brother, even if it won't keep his head warm.

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's the Great Halloween Debate, Charlie Brown!

I don't like Halloween. It just isn't my thing. That probably has something to do with the fact that my parents ingrained the evils of all things Halloween into me from a very young age. Now that Ella is older, she is beginning to push for typical Halloween celebration, like trick-or-treating. DeLaynie is so easy-going that it hasn't bothered her that we pull away from Halloween to celebrate imagination and dress-up through sweeter, less vomit-inducing methods. Ella is her mother's child, so she questions everything, like why it's not okay to trick-or-treat, pretend to be a ghost, or joke around about witches.

Living in an area with less Evangelical Christian influence has escalated the debate tremendously. There are decorations everywhere, and the school even has a Halloween "parade" every year. (Essentially, the kids dress up and walk around.) We might could go for this, but the costumes that the kids wear are far from acceptable according to our family's standards. Edwin drove by the school last year, and his comment was that it was down-right disturbing to see the costumes that the young children were wearing.
All of this has brought about an internal struggle over where the line is between healthy imagination and unhealthy fixation on darkness. I considered thinning the line for a while, until Ella started pretending to be a "mean witch". Something about that simply did not sit right. It was at this point that I decided to err on the side of holiness. Yes, it will be extremely difficult to insulate my children from the worldly concept of "innocent fun" that plays around with death, demons, and devils, but it may just be one of those battles that is worth fighting.

If nothing else, the efforts to protect my children from typical Halloween festivities will open doors to conversations about holiness, the value of life, and loving Light and not darkness. We will not teach our children that people who celebrate Halloween traditionally are in sin. It's a parenting decision that we have made for our children because they have been entrusted to us.

Most of the choices that I struggle to make have something to do with the balance between holiness and incarnational living. The Bible doesn't draw a picture of what this looks like in each situation, so it's up to us as parents to seek the answers that we need from the One who has them. He is faithful in all things, even the Great Halloween Debate.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vacating the Scene

I know that I've been MIA lately. This is partially due to the fact that I've been ill with something that doesn't seem to want to move on. It's probably just a bad case of strep throat, so I should be feeling better soon. I guess that the best way to get back into the swing of things is to just jump right in, so...

Edwin and I realized  that we had never taken a real family vacation. We'd left the girls with grandparents and gone on trips, but we'd never taken them anywhere. It was with this realization that we pulled out the school calendar and looked for the first break long enough for some sort of vacation. We decided that the Native American Day/ Columbus Day break would work if we let DeLaynie skip an extra day of school. So we found a rental house in Niagara Falls, Ontario and set out on our first family vacation.

These are the American falls. They're much smaller than the Canadian falls. The little boat is the Maid of the Mist, which takes you right up to Niagara Falls. We took a ride, and I got a couple of pictures. That mist is thick, though, and my camera only took a couple of pictures of the main falls because the lense got wet faster than I could wipe it off.

DeLaynie loved the boat experience, but I've never heard Ella so terrified. She screamed and cried with unprecidented intensity. Five minutes off the boat, though, and she claimed that the boat ride was her favorite part of the trip.

The girls both loved looking at the falls. The view was nothing short of spectacular, and the best part of the experience was watching them marvel at it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Inferiority to Men

Since my brother came to stay with us, I've noticed that I'm much more concerned about the goings-on of the sports world. My previous experience with our television was that it carried children's programming during the week and football on the weekends. As it turns out, it is possible to get sports news every minute of every day, though it does seem like they "break" the same story several times a day.

I've always been fascinated by the male fixation on sports. I honestly don't understand how they have such a natural fortitude for random statistics and strategy for sports to which they claim to be indifferent. My husband, for instance, always seems to know about breaking headlines in golf before ESPN reports them. How is it possible that he can remember who had the most homeruns in the 1936 World Series when he can't remember why he opened the refrigerator?

Please understand, I'm not insulting his forgetfulness. I consider "Fridge Amnesia" a pretty typical disease, of which I sometimes suffer. But how does he remember all that other stuff?

I will now do something very difficult, and admit that, on this one, men have me beat. I could study this stuff constantly, watch all the same things, read all the same news, but I'd never have the library of sports knowledge that they have. I know that there are some women out there who can do it, and to them I say: You go, girl! Represent us well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Big Commitment

Today was our first Sunday Morning Bible Study piece of the one year Bible-reading challenge that I have dubbed, "The Feast". I have to admit that the commitment is a big one. We're reading large chunks of Scripture every single day.

But the women have bought in better than I imagined. They're talking about what they're reading. They're on Facebook asking questions and keeping each other accountable. I know that this is how it should be, but this is how it should be!

I can't take credit. This idea is an old one. It's not like I'm the first person to say, "Hey! Let's read the Bible in a year!" In fact, the church that my dad serves is doing something very similar. Although it is not an original idea, it's powerful. Imagine 30 women reading the same thing, thinking the same God-inspired thoughts. Imagine 30 women who are completely on the same page because they are actually reading the same page!

I'm amazed at what God is doing, and I can't wait to see what's next!