Tuesday, June 29, 2010

T-shirt Designs

Gramma has provided the kids with fabric paints and t-shirts on several occasions. This week, they each designed another. I think their results are terrific. I trace the design onto the fabric with a washable marker and squeeze the paint onto the design. Then they use a paintbrush to fill in the lines. Andrew chose a soccer theme. Ethan has a wrap-around train design. Abby whipped up a princess castle. And Jadon wanted a tractor, baler, and wagon...which was a bit complicated (so Mom did most of the work on that one).

It's a fun little project that the kids enjoy to do...and get to enjoy again each time they wear the shirts!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This Week: The Numbers

6 – Tappers who live by simple family rules: Work hard, play hard, always share, and love well
23 – date of the last day of school
2 – weekdays spent adjusting to the idea of having all four kids home together
18 – number of worksheets completed at home in one day
8 – bags of VBS craft supplies in my hallway
59 –number Ethan has learned to count to in French
78 – item capacity of my dishwasher
7 – number of times my dishwasher runs
3 – different locations to which Mike reported for work
32 – days between the actual granting of the boys’ citizenship and our receipt of any form of notification regarding the decision
3 – number of outfits Abby is likely to go through in one day
49 – estimated number of picture books read
6 – number of weeks I’ve completed in my second-to-last 8-week course for my Masters degree in Human Services (Marriage and Family concentration)
0 – minutes Andrew sat out of his last soccer game (I may have mentioned his capacity for intensity before?)
85 – hours of visit time (sleep included) with Gramma and Pappy, up from Pennsylvania
13 – loads of laundry required
14 – seconds between the time Jadon’s freshly cleaned glasses are placed on his head and the time they are completely smudged
5.0 – Richter scale measurement of the earthquake that shook our house Wednesday, knocking things off shelves
27 – approximate number of times I had reassured the kids after the Haiti earthquake that earthquakes don’t happen in Canada because we’re in the middle of one of the big rocks under the ground (Obviously, 0 would be the number of times I had heard about intraplate quakes or read about the history of the western Quebec seismic zone…and 27 would be the number of conversations I wish I could take back for the sake of trust-building)
214 – hugs and kisses I received (maybe more?)
1 – often tired but extremely blessed wife, mom, daughter, friend
72,186 – moments for conscious attention to what matters
And with that, here’s one more: 4:4-5 – verses from Philippians that remind me: “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Great Day

On June 22, 2009, we received the long-awaited news that two fabulous boys had been officially declared as belonging to the Tapper family by an Ethiopian court.

Today, June 22, 2010, we received the long-awaited news that Canadian citizenship had been conferred to our sons, enabling us to secure various social services and to travel freely.

I wonder what will happen next year???!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Church Campout

Silver Lake Wesleyan Camp gave us a great day yesterday! Our family's motto for the day was "Play hard!" I think we did.

Andrew swam all the way out to the trampoline (that's him climbing the ladder in the orange life jacket)! He had a blast out there with the big kids.

Abby loved exploring the campground...finding flowers, bugs, rocks, etc., etc.

Here, she found a TICKLE BUG!!!

The kids had their first canoe rides.

It was a great family time...a great time for meeting and getting to know others...and a relaxing time to enjoy such a beautiful setting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dietary Confessions

  • Motivated primarily by my sweet tooth, lack of groceries, and a low level of motivation, I made peanut butter and chocolate chip scones for supper one night this week. My justification: Protein and antioxidants are good for you, right?

  • In trying to present balanced meals to my family, I sometimes allow myself to count popcorn as a vegetable.

  • I really admire friends who abide by strict dietary restrictions.

  • I sometimes wonder if certain dietary restrictions would benefit any of my family members, but I'm scared to really pursue what that might look like.

  • I have not become proficient in cooking either Ukrainian or Ethiopian dishes.

  • I believe half of our family would be quite happy as vegetarians (and part of me would really like to try it, for various reasons), but I can't imagine that the other half of the family would be too excited about giving up regular and substantial servings of meat.

  • I often crave a "texture" of food.

  • I have no idea how I will keep food in my house when my children are teenagers.

  • I often think about the food the boys ate before they came to our family, and I feel humbled. I think about what people eat around the world, and I feel a strange mix of gratefulness and grief.

  • Meal prep is often exhausting and solitary work. I don't enjoy that. Meal prep is often creative and sacrificial work. I love that. I'm not sure what makes the difference.

  • I really wrestle to maintain the balances between the creative and the practical, the nutritious and the efficient, the special and the simple, feasting and fasting. And I know food can easily be an idol. In one of my favorite books of all time, Your God is Too Safe (I'm re-reading it right now), Buchanan writes, "I don't just like food; I love food. And our culture loves food. I am a man of stuffed lips, and I live among a people of stuffed lips." I identify with that.

If any of the above resonate with you, and you've found a way to feel more satisfied with your approach to diet, I'd love to hear what worked for you! Thanks!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Father-Son Road Trip

Mike and Ethan have spent the last several days on a father-son adventure. Fortunately, the route to their destination (a short conference for Mike) was marked with visits with family. This has allowed for some special treats for a certain 6 year old boy: a lesson in police work from Uncle Rob and Auntie Jenn...

...and a very successful fishing trip with Uncle Dave!

Great stuff, E! (And thanks to you, too, aunties and uncles!!!!!!!!)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pleasure in Peonies

Every child is born a naturalist. [Her] eyes are, by nature, open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, and the mystery of life. - R. Search

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Favorite Things from Recent Days

1) Power Blasters from a dollar store (These were a gift from a friend, and they have been used almost every day.)

2) A mini-catapault made from popscicle sticks. (If you'd like to try making one yourself, you can use this pattern that we used. We've turned it into a little target game.)

3) Parks (The city put in a new play structure just around the corner from our house! Also, the kids have enjoyed some playground time with playgroup friends.)

4) Our own backyard (It's good for swinging, playing ball, pitching a tent, or trying to build all sorts of projects with the leftover wood from Daddy's porch project.)

5) Soccer (Andrew's first practice was yesterday. He has been assigned to the purple team. Let's just say he's pretty excited. In fact, he may just bleed purple now.)