Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garden series - post 2

You may have read post #1 in our garden series.  If not, now would be a good time to do that. 

Day #2 of building yielded lots more children getting in the way of things help from the littlest members of our build team.

Oh yea, that looks all kinds of safe.  But at the end of the day, all members of the team survived, and we had a structure.  It certainly wasn't a garden.  And it wasn't going to keep anything out quite yet. 

In fact, it looked a little more like it was especially designed to let the groundhogs and other critters in.  I was careful not to point this out to my father-in-law and husband who had been shedding a lot of blood and sweat (leaving the tears to the kids) for the past two days.  Or maybe I wasn't careful not to do that.  Nonetheless, they had paid close attention to structural integrity as promised in garden series post 1.  

Except, they ran into a little issue with their desire for structural integrity.  Apparently, we have really really rocky soil (like hit a rock the size of your head every time your put your shovel into the ground rocky soil).  This meant two things.  First, they could not sink the posts nearly as deep as they'd planned which left the structure a little short of the desired integrity.  But, they had a solution.  A solution that would, of course, not come to bite them me in the you-know-what.  They added in some support beams.
Take a good look at that last one.  I wanted to make sure you got up close and personal to that beam, because well, I've done so more than a couple times now. So, there are two diagonal supports on each end and a beam going straight down the middle.  Aesthetically, not ideal. (And I didn't complain about that at all.  Really, I didn't.  Why don't you believe me?).  But more of an issue was the beam straight down the middle of where you might be say, gardening, if this was, say, a garden.  It's ok.  We'll leave it at that.  Just take a good look at the beam.  You'll see it again.  I promise.

The other major issue (I did say there were two) as a result of our crazy rocky soil was the 12 x 12 inch trench that had been originally planned around the perimeter to sink the fence down into truly foiling those frighteningly smart groundhogs.  We spent a lot of time thinking about those groundhogs, thinking like a groundhog, and consulting multiple, well, let's call them 'groundhog elimination specialists' who have quite a passion for keeping these small (or not so small in our case) furry critters out of our garden.  Since we were choosing to avoid the option that included various firearms, at least to start with, (it's still a backup option), we settled confidently on digging a 12inch deep trench around the perimeter to sink the fence so that when the groundhogs tried to dig down, they'd hit fence and give up.

Now, that carefully constructed and theoretically sound (much more a passion of mine that structural soundness) idea was tossed to the wayside because the ground was just too hard.  My husband and father-in-law just could not imagine digging all. that. dirt.  I took this reality well.  I threw a small fit (yes, I'm woman enough to admit it.) and sent my husband a few days later to buy himself a pick axe.  Before you get all snotty on me, I then PUT DOWN the camera (which is why there is a large gap in our photographic record) and picked up the pick axe and a shovel and went to work alongside my hubby.  And dammit, that ground really was insanely rocky.  Like hit a rock the size of your head every other time you put your shovel into the ground.  And the times you didn't hit a rock the size of your head, you hit a rock the size of my youngest child's head, which if you've ever met him or heard about his head, well it ain't small, really it's freakishly large.  So we dug, and we dug... and we got blisters, and we dug some more.

To be continued....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Seven years ago...

Seven years ago, I married this man.

We met at this camp on this staff.

For many years, our relationship took place via AOL instant messenger, email, phone calls that resulted in ridiculously high bills, and webcam and picture conversations like the ones you see below. 
(I know, amazing we ever made it past that point... really it should have been a deal breaker.)

We got married in this dining hall at the camp we met at 6 years prior.
(Not bad for a dining hall, eh?)

Yea, it was supposed to be a lovely outdoor wedding at this chapel. 
The thunder, lightning, and copious precipitation changed that.

A few years later, we had this baby...

and then we had this baby....

Over the years, we've had lots of fun, gone lots of places, and did lots of things.

And over the years, I've tortured him in all sorts of ways.
 Did I mention he was afraid of heights?
I was in labor, give me a break.
Oh please, he thought it was fun.

Yea, I don't really have an excuse for this one.
It couldn't have been that bad, he's stuck around, hasn't he?

Seven years ago, I was so in love with that guy at the very top of this post
(yea this one
that I had no idea that
I could love this guy...
 ....so much more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The garden series = post #1

You might remember how we started our seeds for a garden way back when.  Then it became time to build the garden.  We live in an area where we are blessed with lots of furry friends from bunnies to bears, we've got a little bit of everything with the groundhogs and deer being some of the biggest chompers around.  As a result, we knew we couldn't just plant stuff in the ground and leave it at that.  That's where we started.  With a husband who really likes to build things (talking about the 'structural integrity' and 'design plan' along the way), you can imagine how this might have grown along the way.  Nevertheless, I am really happy with the end product for the most part.  We put in a lot of blood, sweat, and yea, their might have been a few tears into this (along with the help of my father-in-law and $52.50 thrown at the local landscaping company for a little labor), and we seem to have come out the other side with a very sound structure that still has some appealing design features (no, I'm not mocking my husband, I would never).  To his credit, a number of folks from church have asked if we built it from a kit.  We'll take that as a compliment, thankyouverymuch!

So here's a ridiculously long, well what we'll call a little recap of the build. 

Day #1

My fabulous father-in-law came up to help with the impending build.  He likes building things that are "structurally sound" and taking far too many trips to Home Depot, Lowe's and the local hardware store (yep, they did all three multiple times) as much as my husband does, but with all the work he did, I cannot complain one bit (though I can still make a little fun on my blog, it is my blog after all). 

We started with something like this.

The boys set to work sinking posts.  Apparently, we have really rocky soil or something 'cause they said it wasn't so easy.  (I didn't get pictures of them working the 2 man post hole digger which I'm a little sad about, but I've had to move on.)  Meanwhile the kids were soooo helpful.  Seriously, worth their weight in gold.  What?  My nose is growing? 

Yes, Daddy, I am filling in those holes that you so painstakingly  dug?  But, aren't I cute?
Dammit, I really am cute.  What do you mean, where's mommy?  She's taking pictures of me, because, yes, I really am cute.

The older one was a little more helpful.  He helped gather rocks to throw in the holes before they poured in the cement.  And yes, barefoot construction is totally a good idea.  Safety is number one around here.

Oh and yes, here are the tears I spoke of.  What do you mean I can't eat concrete?  My parents hate me!! Where's DYFS?  Oh, the huMAAANity!

 And here is where we finished off day #1. 

Did I mention we only had a half a day left with my father-in-law.  Well, crap.

I promise, the story has a happy ending!  Stay tuned.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Children in Church

I've been meaning to post this newsletter article I wrote about children in church, because I think it something with which many parents, families, and congregations struggle.  I was reminded of it by hikerrev's post over here.  I appreciated his words.

Children and Worship
Worshipping as a parent of young children is always an adventure, and as a single parent when it comes to Sunday church service (go figure, Daddy's kind of busy, being the pastor and all) it's even more so.  I often feel like I should dress like I'm going to be running a marathon rather than in my 'Sunday best', and there is very little quiet contemplation involved.  Instead, I spend every single second trying to keep my children engaged, quiet, and taken care of.  With a three year old and a one year old, I am torn between feeding Elijah cheerios as fast as I can and/or pacing the aisle in order to keep him content while trying to help Benjamin follow along with the service, pray at the appropriate terms, and  learn the rhythm of the service and the work of the community present.  Phew... I get tired just thinking about it.

I've often been asked by well-meaning friends in other churches, why?  Why work so hard to keep my children in church?  It's a good question.  It really is.  There are a number of reasons why my children worship with the rest of the community.  First and foremost, they are a part of the body of Christ, and the best way for them to learn to worship is to be present in the worship community.  How they worship may be different than how you or I may worship, but they are learning to worship and, possibly even more important, they are learning that worship is important, it is the work of the community of believers.  Jesus said, "Let the children come to me", and I believe he meant it. 

My husband and I, along with my children's sponsors, and the congregation gathered at their baptism publicly commit ourselves to the spiritual nurture of the newly baptized and that includes teaching them to worship.  We have since transitioned from the congregation where my children were baptized, but I rejoice daily in the warm welcome my family has received here at Holy Counselor.  We have been so blessed by a community that has taken up those baptismal promises to raise our children up in faith, individuals that have gone out of their way to create personal trusted relationships (which is not always easy with a preschooler) with Ben and Elijah, families that have welcomed us into their homes and lives, and worshipers who have gone out of their way to support our worship experience.

It's the little things that really count during worship... like when Mark Rossi scooped Elijah up near the sanctuary doors and engaged him with peek-a-boo and bouncing to the choir anthem during Easter service...or when Kathy Baumann snuck to the back of the church where I was pacing with the boys after the choir anthem to take Benjamin to communion for me while I nursed Elijah.  I can't begin to name every single instance or person who has done these things... like Morgan Tarantino sitting with us during the outdoor service at the end of the summer and reading books with Ben while I quieted Elijah... or the Duryea family sharing their pew with us and joining us as we teach Ben and Clayton how to pray and what worship is all about.  So this is to say THANK YOU.  Thank you to the Holy Counselor family for welcoming my family into the community, for taking on the baptismal commitment that the Body of Christ made for my boys, and for understanding that it's not always easy.

It's not without rewards.  I can't tell you how many times people have come up to me after church to tell me how wonderful it is to hear Benjamin say the Lord's Prayer, and it's true, he says it louder and with more gusto than almost anyone I know.  Elijah will be there in just a few years, but for now, it's amazing to watch Ben worship.  He comes to church, he prays and sings, he passes the peace, joyfully gives our offering, and excitedly and gratefully receives Jesus at the communion rail.  It's a lot of work for me, and well, for all of you, but it is the work of the Body of Christ, raising children up in the faith and growing the church.  So the next time you see a family with small children, whether myself or one of the other families that join us for worship, struggling with the juggling act that is worshiping with young children... play a game of peek-a-boo, choose to sit with them the next Sunday to see if you can help, or just look forward to seeing how these children grow up to be faith-filled, worshiping youth and young adults.  And you, yes you, played an important part in that!