Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Welcome Home Day

I got a call from Kirk, our construction foreman, today announcing that today is Welcome Home Day. He had just gotten word that our building inspection was complete and approved! He confessed that he'd spent the night tossing and turning and worrying about this inspection even though he is normally a rather calm, cool and collected person. I was touched that he cared so much about us...Then when I arrived at the house, he'd gotten these flowers for us and they were signed by the 4 guys who did most of the work on the house. How sweet is that?! So tomorrow they finish up some carpentry work they have left, Thursday the cleaning crew goes through and takes care of the layer of dust covering everything and Friday we MOVE IN! But I know here's what you really want - the grand tour! I'll give you some of the highlights.

This is one of the tubs upstairs. The original tubs had been special ordered b/c of their unique size which was dictated by the design of the bathrooms. In order to avoid another special order issue, we had the original tubs refinished and they turned out beautiful!

Here's John Michael and Davey running down the hallway. You can see the carpeting on the steps to the upstairs which is the same as the carpeting on the basement steps. Also notice the hardwood floors have been completely refinished. I can't believe how beautiful they are!

And my greatest joy and delight - the KITCHEN! This is a view from the dining room of most of the kitchen. We replaced every single appliance except for the fridge. The cooktop is my favorite - a DACOR 5 burner cooktop which required that massive micro-hood over it. .

The oven is a self-cleaning, double convection oven- woohoo!!! The 10 foot stainless steel prep table goes right done the middle and the shelves next to the oven are for organizing our homeschool materials.

Here's the long view from the front door into the dining room. You can see how much more spacious the whole downstairs seems with the addition (and the hardwood floors - you can't even tell the transition to the laminate in the back of the dining room in this picture)
Here's the reverse view looking into the living room and front door from the new french doors in the dining room addition.

The girls and the toddlers were sooo excited to be allowed in the house and to run wherever they wanted. Up until now, they usually had to stay outside for safety sake or make little trips in with lots of rules about touching stuff. Here's Davey on the landing going down to the basement.

Here they are enjoying their stage which they've missed very much and was finally about 3/4 free of the smoked wood which landed there about 8 months ago. And here they all are just making faces in front of the fireplace. I have tons of pictures like this because they were so excited they just ran from place to place dancing, making faces, playing hide and seek and demanding that I take their pictures!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Going HOME!

Well, we are in the throes of the final push HOMEWARD. I've been packing almost as quickly as John Michael and David have been unpacking and running...Meanwhile, back home on the range, our construction foreman is pushing ahead as fast as he can. The building inspector is scheduled for tomorrow so we'll hopefully have our occupancy permit by the end of the day. Wednesday will be spent touching things up, Thursday the cleaning company comes through and Friday we MOVE! It feels so good to see that in writing. We are thrilled with the house. It is really beautiful and the addition is going to add a lot of flavor as well. God has been so good to us and so have our friends, neighbors, family....Another day will be the essay about all the lessons learned during our year of conflagration exile....Here's a few pics of what's been going on. Hopefully, I'll be able to put more up in the next couple of days.
Here is the new railing Bill built. He took out all the middle rails and left the corner posts standing. He wrapped the corner posts w/new wood that he stained and routered to look more like the trim at the bottom of the steps. It turned out really nice after many months of all of us staring at it and shaking our heads wondering who was going to do what about it. Those rails are now much sturdier than the original and the corner posts have maintained their Steve-proof-grade mounting.

Here's the kitchen with counters in place but now all the appliances are in place, the pantry has a door and shelving and flooring is in place. It really looks fantastic.

I love this picture of the kids on the new laminate floor in the master bedroom. The floors look terrific and I'm so happy to be rid of carpet - of course, we'll see if the floor outlasts my happiness after kids and dogs have their way with the house! You can see in this picture that everything is still covered w/a layer of dust. Thus, the post-construction clean-up crew...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Litany of the Lover and the Beloved

Well, I finally finished it. I spent Lent meditating upon Song of Solomon and felt led to write a litany. It's still the Easter season so I figure I'm not too late...I thought it fitting to post it here on the day of Fr. Jeffrey's doctoral graduation. He's been my mentor and friend in this Salesian journey and I am very grateful for his guidance and the sharing of his study of St. Francis de Sales. I've been praying this litany daily now and this, along with my Lenten meditations, have radically altered my understanding of God's tremendous love.

Litany of the Lover and the Beloved

Jesus, Pleasing Fragrance Hear Us
Jesus, Heart-throb of Maidens Hear Us
Jesus, Lover of the Dark, Yet Lovely One Hear Us
Jesus, Shepherd Who Leaves Footprints to Follow Hear Us
Jesus, Sweet Myrhh of My Heart Hear Us
Jesus, Handsome Lover Hear Us
Jesus, Host of the Verdant Bed Hear Us
Jesus, Cluster of Henna Blossoms Hear Us

I am Rose of Sharon.
I am lily among thorns.

Jesus, Seed of the Apple Within the Forest Have mercy upon us
Jesus, Cooling Shade Have mercy upon us
Jesus, Sweet Fruit Have mercy upon us
Jesus, Bearer of the Banner of Love Have mercy upon us
Jesus, Strengthener Have mercy upon us

I am refreshed by my Lover.
I am faint with love.

Jesus, Sweet Embracer Pray for us
Jesus, Arouser of Love Pray for us
Jesus, Awakener of Desire Pray for us
Jesus, Lover Pray for us
Jesus, Leaping Gazelle, Young Stag Pray for us
Jesus, Gazer through the lattice at the beauty of
your Beloved Pray for us

I am beckoned.
I arise.
I come into the Spring of my Lover's arms.
I come from my hiding place.
I turn my lovely face to my Lover.
I speak my sweet voice to Him.

Jesus, Possessor of My Soul Bless us
Jesus, Browser Among the Lilies Bless us

I search for my Lover.
I find the one my heart loves and I do not let go!

Jesus, Noble King Mold us
Jesus, Crafter of the Cedars of Lebanon Mold us
Jesus, Craftsman of Silver and Gold Mold us
Jesus, Wearer of the Crown Mold us
Jesus, Rejoicer of Heart Mold us
Jesus, Describer of Beauty Mold us

I am Beautiful!
I have teeth of white and lips of scarlet.
I am elegant.
I am beautiful, there is no flaw in me.

Jesus, Rescuer from the Lion's Den Deliver us
Jesus, Caller Forth form the Haunt of the Leopard Deliver us
Jesus, Possessor of Hearts Deliver us

I have stolen His heart!
I am His sister, His bride.
I have stolen His heart with a glance!
I am a spring enclosed.
I am a locked garden.
I am a sealed fountain.

Jesus, North Wind Blow upon us
Jesus, South Wind Blow upon us
Jesus, Emancipator of the Garden Blow Your Spirit upon us
Jesus, Gatherer of Myrhh and Spice Blow Your Spirit upon us
Jesus, Taster of the Sweetness of Your Beloved Blow Your Spirit upon us
Jesus, Drenched in Dew Blow Your Spirit upon us
Jesus, Disrobed before the Beloved Blow Your Spirit upon us
Jesus, Washed Clean Blow Your Spirit upon us
Jesus, Who Opens the Latch Blow Your Spirit upon us

I awake to my Lover's beckoning.
I arise to open my doors to Him.
Alas, I am too late!
I look for Him and am beaten down.
I tell of Him to all I meet.
I remember His attributes with my lips, with the words of my mouth I tell of His Beauty.
I cry out, "He is my Lover!"
I search for Him in His garden.

Jesus, Gardener of the Beds of Spices Deliver us
Jesus, Gatherer of Lilies Deliver us
Jesus, Browser Among the Lilies Deliver us

I am beautiful!
My Lover sees my beauty and calls me His dove!

Jesus, Fair Bright Majestic One Heal us
Jesus, Admirer of the Open Blossoms Heal us
Jesus, Full of Desire Heal us
Jesus, Among the People Heal us

I am beautiful!
I am pleasing to my Lover.
I am full with the fruit of my Lover.
I belong to my Lover.

Jesus, Arouser of Love Have mercy upon us
Jesus, Seal of My Heart Have mercy upon us
Jesus, Mighty Flame Have mercy upon us
Jesus, Unquenchable Love Have mercy upon us

I am a wall.
I give my vineyard to the One I Love

Friday, May 19, 2006

Everybody Loves Their Body

This is Miriam. We decided she looks rather like Dora the Explorer with the hair thing going on.

And this one is Philip. I thought he did a great job with his face!

This is JT's loooong skinny body. His body was too long for the organ templates we were using so his parts are bit disjointed..
Here is John Michael on the left and Betsy on the right. John's body would be troublesome to any serious student of anatomy but I think Betsy has hers together fairly well.

Ben's at the bottom.

I have a lot of catching up to do! We finished this homeschool project a couple of weeks ago. We did this once before when the bigs were Betsy and Ruth's age and so I thought it could use a refresher for the bigs and the littles would get something out of it as well. We traced all of their bodies on large newsprint paper and then each day we studied a new organ, colored it, cut it out and glued it onto the appropriate spot on our bodies. John Michael decided to join in but his spots aren't always appropriate...the liver he had glued to his right hand seems to have fallen off as well as the body part he had in his left armpit. But, hey, he got to "sticky" with the rest of them!

Hmmm....I seem to have misplaced Ruth's body. It's probably standing somewhere and forgotten to move...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Math- Oh My!

I tried to explain the commutative property to Philip today - he's up to +4's and I figured it was time. He was completely confused. He didn't want to give up his start here and jump that many routine.

Well, wouldn't you know it, Betsy was just in the car on the way home from the baseball game rattling off math problems so I thought, "what the hey" and explained it to her. She had said, "Mom, 2+4=6" Yes, good Betsy. "So what's 4+2?" Well, Bets 4+2 and 2+4 are the same thing. You can turn the problem around and get the same answer. "Oh, so it's 6." "Yes." "Well, then 3+3 is the same as 2+4 which is the same as 4+2. They're all 6, right?" Mmmmhhhmmmm.....She jumped straight from there to subtraction and got those all right too. So..we have at least one budding mathemetician in the bunch!

Now if I could just get the 4 yo to teach the 8 yo we'd be in math heaven!!!