She FINALLY got it!!!

Emma rode her bicycle today....without help!!! (Yes, I know she is 7 1/2 years old!) This is a monumental milestone for our family!! Jake, Lauren and I were dancing and cheering in the street today as Emma finally rode off on her own! It was like until this afternoon it just hadn't clicked. Part of the problem is where we live....there is no where to ride except in the street which is like the Indy 500 for farmers. It didn't help that she just wasn't all that interested in learning. She was terrified of falling off, couldn't keep the bike straight or balanced and basically was ok with going her entire life without knowing how to ride a bike without training wheels. However, her dad and I didn't really want to be the parents of the woman who still had training wheels on her bike. :-) Plus, the annual school bike-a-thon is quickly approaching and the kids are required to ride a ridiculous 18 miles that day (no, I'm not exaggerating!) and it will be soooo much easier for her this year if the training wheels are off and she can coast some of the time.

Of course, this meant Lauren hopped right on the old bike with the training wheels and announced that she did not need anybody to help her and then she took off! Jake said, "I give it about 2 weeks before she's riding without the training wheels."

And that is the difference between the first and second child!! :-)


What we've been up to....

Dove hunting.....
Well, some of us have been dove hunting. Mostly my husband and my youngest daughter. Jacob is quite obsessed with dove season and measures all other times of the year based on its relation to September 1 (aka "Dove Day"). Every week in church when pastor has us open our Heidelberg to week whatever, he turns to me and says "____ more weeks!" and I know that means "_____ more weeks" until September 1st. He is very strange.....and predictable.
Anyway, Lauren is beginning to show signs of this same obsessiveness. She loves going dove hunting with dad. I used to think that she really just liked going with dad, playing in the dirt, eating the snacks they take with them, etc and probably didn't really care so much about the actual dove hunting. However, her favorite aspect of this hobby is cleaning the birds. (yuk!) That's right. Lauren, the same girl who doesn't leave the house without her purse, is obsessed with make-up, shoes, and everything princess loves to manhandle dead birds. She insisted that I take this picture of her holding this dead, filthy, disgusting, disease-infested creature...

Putting in a new sprinkler system....
Last year, we killed the grass in our backyard. Why? My husband didn't think we had enough projects going on. I thought the grass was fine. Sure it had some weeds in it and the sprinklers leaked, who cares? The thing is, we have three other "yard" areas that we have completely redone since moving into this house and the thought of one more made me want to run for the hills.
However, we rented a trencher (again!) and put in a new sprinkler system last weekend. Jake rototilled today and plans to plant the grass seed this weekend. Now that it's done, I'm glad we did it and I know that it will be so much nicer than it was. Now....to put in the deck!

Other stuff.....
Awana started again and the girls are so excited to be back! Lauren's dance class is back in session and she has informed me (many times) that she is now in the "big girl class, learning big girl ballet." Emma is excited for the fair and is in the junior rodeo next weekend. She chose 2 events....stick horse racing and dummy cow milking. Don't ask. (I'll post pics after...) Jake is in several events over the next 4 days.....my love of the fair is going to be tested to the limits this year! :-) CBS has started again for me and we're studying Luke.....good and refreshing after I & II Kings last year. I've also been reading books about home schooling (keeping those options open!) and have fallen in love with a woman named Charlotte Mason who I find to be brilliant and think she might even have been reformed (although I can't prove it). Jake claims I've read upwards of 20 books in the last 2 weeks but as I scan the living room, I only see 10! :-)


Another prayer post....

Ok, this one isn't about me praying for my children, but my child's prayer to God. See, over the last couple of weeks I have realized that my children's prayers have become very routine and "mundane." They always say the same 3 things...."help me and (insert sister's name here) not fight....thank you for everything you give us.....I'm sorry for when I am naughty." While these are not bad things to pray, I fear that they are simply going through the motions, not really thinking about what they're saying or understanding what those things imply. In an attempt to make them more "conscious" prayers, I stop them mid-prayer and ask them to expand on what they're saying. For instance: instead of saying, "help me and sister not fight", say what you need to do to prevent fights with said sister (and these are very different for each of them).....talk kindly (both), share toys (Lauren), don't do things to knowingly irritate the other (Emma), etc, etc.

So, tonight I was listening as Emma said her bedtime prayer. She got to the usual "sorry for when I am naughty" point and then stopped herself and began to list things she was actually sorry for. I was about to be impressed.....then she said, "sorry for....hitting...." I stop her and say, "Emma. You don't hit. Why are you saying sorry for hitting?" She replies, "Well, I know I don't hit, but just in case I ever do." *sigh* I ever-so-gently re-explain the point of this portion in the prayer and remind her that there are plenty of things that she actually does need to ask forgiveness for and that she doesn't need to be making things up. So, she starts up again and this time says, "I'm sorry for when I whistle for Jasmine (our dog) while Lauren is trying to pet her and I'm sorry that Jasmine comes." This covers the "doing things to knowingly irritate my sister" portion of the prayer. I just kept silent the rest of the prayer.

But you can bet that tonight I'll be thanking God for His sense of humor. :-)


Pray Without Ceasing

Jake came home from our school's board meeting a couple of weeks ago with a handout. Another member was in charge of devotion for that night and passed these out. I had to share because I thought it was something very simple, yet practical and profound! I love things like that! There is a list of about 20 different things that we should be praying for our children each day and a scripture reference to go along with each topic. These (and I'm not going to list all 20 here) are excerpted from the book by Donna Otto: The Stay at Home Mom: For Women at Home & Those Who Want to Be.

"Without prayer, anything else you do to influence your children for Jesus is feeble at best....

*Pray that your child will fear the Lord and serve Him (Deut. 6:13).
*Pray that your children will be caught when guilty (Ps. 119:71).
(This one really struck me! It's so obvious and something I truly desire for my girls, but had never really prayed for specifically.)
*Pray that your children and their prospective mates will be kept pure until marriage (I Cor. 6:18-20).
*Pray that your children will be hedged in so they cannot find their way to wrong people or places, and that wrong people cannot find their way to your children (Hos. 2:6-7).
*Pray that your children will have quick, repentant hearts (Ps. 51:1-3).
*Pray that your children will be teachable and able to take correction (Prov. 13:1).
*Pray that your children's lives will bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)."

I tend to get distracted and off-course when I'm praying, particularly when I pray for my children. I know this is Satan's attempt to ensure that my children go un-prayed for. This simple list helps me stay focused and makes me feel like I've covered all my bases, so to speak.



On Saturday, my mother-in-law and I ventured to Hollywood to see Wicked! Oh, it was fabulous!! We both had read the book last year and listen to the soundtrack regularly, but had not yet seen the play. I do not recommend the book. I highly recommend the play! It was funny and brilliant! The book is dark, gross and kind of disturbing....it really is nothing like the play, although the author of the book is said to be very happy with the adaptation. Go figure!
Anyway, now I am obsessed with the theatre. This always happens. I go see a play, it's great and then I want to go back again and again. I would gladly go see Wicked again with anyone that may be interested. :-) Also, they advertised that Mary Poppins (currently on Broadway) is coming to the Ahmanson Theatre in LA in November, 2009. I'm so excited! My girls are also big theatre lovers and I think Emma would have loved Wicked and I know they will both love Mary Poppins. I think I've convinced Jake that we need to take them.....anyone else want to join us? You need to decide by mid-2009.....that's when the tickets go on sale! :-)

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