Much has happened in the last several months. This is kind of a "part two" of a long overdue update.
To start, we had our first snow of any substance last night; we had about a 1/2 of an inch around 2 weeks ago, but it was gone in a couple of hours. This one is about 1 and 1/2 now and maybe another 1/2 inch expected throughout the day. Last December we had a record 22 inches in December, this year we have had 2 and the month only has 4 days left in it!
I think I need to go back to September to pick up where I left off - of course that means Grant's 8th birthday on the 10th. This year we've been letting the kids pick out a cake at the bakery. Grant picked out this big, decorated chocolate chip cookie. It reminds me of the cookies we used to buy in the snack shop at college (they were baked in a 9 inch pie pan and cost $1).
Carol and her Mom took their annual retreat to Camp Assurance.
The rest of September was pretty normal - working on the church addition and the kids doing school work.
October brought the normal change of weather. However, there were still some very nice days for the kids to expend more energy before being mostly house bound for the winter. Do you notice the dichotomy in attire? Grant and Kara are wearing jackets and hoods while Josiah and John are wearing short sleeves!
Gardner loves to be outside, but he has learned to get the door open by himself and isn't afraid to be outside by himself - so we have to leave the storm door locked. Even when he is supervised outside, he is fast and knows no bounds so we have to be very careful about just letting him go. He spent a lot of time in a stroller this fall . . . maybe by next year he will comprehend the danger of streets and cars.
The boys would play baseball year round. I finally had to issue an executive order that until the weather was warmer, there would be no more ball. The siding has gotten so brittle in the cold weather that even wiffle balls have broken holes in the siding on the house! They have played so much that they have worn the yard down to just dirt. . . :-}
We have also had to retire the pack and play. Gardner learned to get out of it and so it lost its value to us. It took him a little while to learn to get out, but along the little educational journey he would get to the top bar of the pack and play but not quite have the courage to come all of the way over, so he would just lay on the top bar. It is similar to the internet craze of planking! Here is a still photo and a short video.
The video is nearly a minute long, but only the first 15 seconds show him up there.
At the end of the month, we celebrated Josiah's 5th birthday. We went ahead started him in kindergarten when he was four. He has done well in school and is very business-like in his approach to his work.
Here is the cake he picked for his birthday on the 30th.
The first weekend of the month, I spoke at Camp Assurance for a Youth Leadership Retreat. The 4 older boys went with me and Carol, Gardner went to the Stilleys and the girls went to the Kennellys. The boys rode the zip line while we were there; it was the first time John had ridden it. Grant took right off, but John needed a little help. Finally, the man operating it just had to lift him off and let him go . . .
We had a change of plans at Thanksgiving; Carol's parents had planned to travel to MN to see her brother and family, but due to sickness up there they decided to stay home and so we joined them in Belvidere. Somehow, I didn't get many pictures that day, this is the only one - but Kara's smile shows how we all felt about getting to be at "Grandpa and Grandma's house" for Thanksgiving.
The day after Thanksgiving, we all watched the live stream of Handel's Messiah performed by the Ambassador Baptist College. The kids are all huddled on the floor to be able to see it on the computer.
Maybe not too important, but I love Carol's Salisbury Steak and when she served it I simply had to take a picture of it! Several years ago, she won a cake contest at Camp Assurance, when she received her award, the director announced that her husband's slender frame was "false advertising" for her cooking abilities! So here is the plate of food of which I had to to take a picture . . . as the saying goes, "Eye appeal is half the meal!"
Carol and I watched the video of our wedding about a week ago. At the reception, Mrs. Sheets (the wife of my Hebrew professor) advised us on the video that "kissin' don't last but good cookin' do!" I think that after almost 13 years of marriage I can say that I have the best of both!
Dad and Mom came over on the 14th and 15th. Mom has been wanting to go to the Repeat Boutique in Wheaton with us for some time and Dad has wanted to show us his old haunts in Chicago. Dad's birthday is the 15th and so we planned a couple of days together. I didn't get any pictures of our time at the Repeat Boutique, but we did get some much needed things: clothes, shoes, housewares and BOOKS! After that, Dad took us all to lunch and then we drove through Chicago where he used to run a church bus route when he was in college. The old houses in the pictures used to be very low income housing, but with money from the city and private investors, these apartment buildings are now quite nice. Dad took us up and down 5 or 6 streets each about 5 or 6 blocks where he used to minister . . . quite a bit of history for our family.
Dad also took us by Moody Bible Institute and Moody Church where he spent his first year of college. If my memory is correct, the LifeWay Christian Store is on the ground level of Culbertson Hall, the 19 story dorm where Dad lived his first year of college. The pictures aren't great because they were taken from the van moving through Chicago traffic (I was driving - Laura took them), but they still tell the story.
1. Culbertson Hall; LifeWay Christian Store
2. Moody Bible Institute
3. Moody Church (now has gas stations immediately adjoining both the North and South ends of it.)
Dad has gone through several stages of ministerial education and he has developed into a very balanced pastor. It is intriguing how God takes different aspects like small Kahoka, large Chicago, educational Moody Bible Institute, practical Hyles-Anderson, a mother and father, several mentors, lots of books, various experiences and a life partner and then He forms a mosaic that is far larger than any one of those influences. It is God that makes a man.
When we got back home that evening, we had Pastor Camp's Hillbilly Chili and birthday cake for Dad's birthday. Dad makes a big deal out of celebrations because it makes the grand-kids so happy.
We had family portraits made the week before Christmas. I told Carol that when I get frustrated with the children for various reasons, I should just scroll through our family pictures - it sure helps my perspective. These photos are from the disc we got from the studio, so they are un-cropped.
Gardner - 18 monthsGrant - 8 years
Josiah - 5 years
Laura - 10 years
John - 6 years
Kara - 3 years
Joel - 11 years
It's hard to believe that December is nearly over, let alone the year! We had a different sort of Christmas this year - all the kids had the residual flu (it didn't hit all of them at the same time and it lasted for several days in various stages). However, the sickness forced us to re-plan some activities and all in all it has been quite a restful holiday season.
The LORD has blessed more than we ever would have anticipated this season and we are thankful that we have so much. Even more so, our spiritual blessings far outweigh God's abundant physical blessings.
So, there is a 4 month panoramic of "life in the Deatrick family!"