Fall 2013-dark leaves

Monday, August 30, 2010

Soccer, sort-of

Marne--my closest St Louis friend.  Has lived here for 8 years, having moved from Birmingham.  Married to John Halsey; mother of Halsey, Virginia Lee, McIver, and Slade.  Told us about playing soccer with Central.

Vicki--the director of my Classical Conversations group that meets at Jubilee Church.  Married to Rick.  Mother of Sarah, William, and Henry.  Members of South City Pres. She's never met Marne or Marne's friends.  Didn't know they did Central soccer before today.

Mallie--Marne introduced us at a swim meet this summer.  They are old friends from Bham.  Here for here husband's transplant surgeon fellowship, or something like that. 

Ginny--good friend of Mallie's, friend of Marne's, from Nashville.  Moved here a year ago for her husband's job.

Christy and Michael Brandenstein--our soccer coach and his wife.  He's the pastor at South City Pres and her counseling office is at Jubilee Church.  Originally from Nashville.

Scene 1:  texting on the phone, last week
Marne texts me and says Mallie's friend Ginny will be at soccer practice on Monday and that they want us to meet.

Scene 2:  Cricket Field, Forest Park.  Soccer Practice #1, today
I meet Coach B. and his wife Christy.  Christy and I hit it off and I end up volunteering to coordinate snacks and get all the moms to sign the waiver right then at practice.  Christy has a child practicing with my girls and a Kindergartner practicing on the other half of the field, so she heads that way.  My ulterior motive for doing the waiver is to find and meet Ginny, but I never did meet her before practice was over.

Scene 3:  on the phone with Brian, after practice
Brian right away puts together the South City Pres connection and asks me if I asked the coach if he knew Rick and Vicki.  Nope, I hadn't asked.  Maybe I'll remember next time. 

Scene 4:  checking email at home, tonight
Vicki had emailed to ask if I have a child playing soccer with Central, perhaps in Kindergarten.  She had met someone who was looking for a homeschool mom of four, whose name is R Brown (Rachel or Rebecca, she couldn't remember). *which, btw, really makes me laugh out loud that that's the description of me.*

Funny connections:  Vicki and Marne have never met or really heard much of each other, but have a random connection now through me and this girl Ginny.

Vicki and Christy are most likely friends...we shall see.

I wonder if Ginny and Christy friends, maybe having known each other from Nashville?

Our CC meets at Jubilee Church, where Christy's counseling office is.

Vicki and Ginny happen to meet at soccer today, but I can't figure out how.  Sarah is 10, obviously not in Kindergarten, but the child Vicki mentioned who is playing soccer.

All this in probably two hours total of God-ordained meetings.  And it feels good to see networks of relationships come into place.  Makes STL feel more like home.  Like when the mom I became friends with at swimteam waved to me at 7am the other Saturday morning from way across the street and shouted, "hey!"  Hadn't seen her in weeks, but we know where each other lives.  And the other week when B had the two littles out at the park, they ran into another mom from the "other swimteam," and she spoke to Brian because she recognized the kids.  Awesome.  Then there's David, Sol's dad, the practicing Jew.  He and Brian talked tonight in the driveway about Hebrew the language because David can read it but not translate it, and it's what B's learning now.  That also means B can talk to Sol about how hard it is to learn the alphabet, etc.  Cool.

Lots of relationships.  Lots of people.  Lots of prayers being offered up and answered around here.  God is so good all the time.  I'm considering changing the title of the blog.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Browns Come To Town

In mid July all the Browns from Bham, minus Jimmy (we missed you!), came up for a visit.  We ate our way across town and did about everything in St Louis you can do with seven kids.  Here are a few shots of our fun.

Outside the penguin exhibit at the Zoo.

Waiting in line at the arch.

The view from the top of the arch, looking west.

View of the ground below the arch.  The Mississippi River has flooded the street at the bottom of the steps.
Waiting to go to City Museum.

The full-body "skating" area in City Museum.  Not sure where Patrick is in this pic.

Pics--Fourth of July

I learned how to add pics!  Here's from the first part of summer.  We decided that morning at 8am to make it to the 10am Fourth of July parade, followed by the 12pm air show at the arch.  Then we had to stop and play in the fountains to cool off.  It was a very hot and very fun-filled day!

Blog Subjects

Hey, guys. Lately there have been some good blog-worthy events that I can't get to . So here are the titles with a brief synopsis of the entry, which will probably never be written:

Mama Called the Doctor--Why is it that the only time I remember to call to make an appointment for the dentist when it's either before/after hours or during their lunch break??

Car Full of Fun--Last night we tried to go to the zoo. We double checked the hours and headed out, only to find out there was an adult-only event that evening. The kids complained that it would have been so much fun. Brian's response? WE are a car full of fun; who needs the zoo?

Stop Screaming! -- Yelling, "If you don't quit yelling at each other, you're going to have discipline!"

Poor, Unwanted Little Girls--seem to be the theme of our Read Aloud books lately: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Anne of Green Gables. Do my kids think all literature is about these types of girls? And do you have to be of somewhere to be book-worthy?

Little Girls in Wagons--Add the Little House series to the above list, and I wonder if they think all books are based on a time period before cars were invented?

Rush--Ever feel like the beginning of fall semester at any school is like Sorority Rush--Hi, nice to meet you. Where are you from? What's your major? Tell me about your family. It's the same in seminary.

Homey--Why do I stay home with my kids? Really, why? What is it that is compelling enough to keep me from delegating parts of my responsibilities and slipping away for a little fun for myself? Fun as in doing anything other than being Mom-who-stays-home-with-four-kids, including work for pay, volunteer work, daytime exercising, reading a book at a coffee shop, meeting a friend for lunch, etc? Is this really necessary for me? This could really use some processing. I have nothing near an answer right now, although I am confident it is right for me right now. I just don't know exactly why.

It's Greek to Me! Wait, I mean Hebrew.--Brian called this morning after his first Hebrew class and said, "Hebrew is so different than English! And Greek!" Well, yeah. It was just funny how he said it. We also will have to retrain Lillian to answer the question, "Where's Daddy?" from "He Geek" to "He's Hebrew." Probably won't sound as cute.

Rusty Art--In practicing for a science experiment for CC, I had a brilliant idea for an art collage. We sprinkled iron filings on paper that had a magnet under it and sprayed the paper with vinegar. The filings rust on the paper in the pattern of the magnetic field. Very cool looking if you did several different magnets on some good paper and framed them.

And, hey, look! It's 1pm now. I can call the dentist!

Have a great day, friends!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Year Two, Day One

Well, we have been in St. Louis for a full year now. I wish I had time right now to make a list of all the wonderful memories I don't want to forget, but alas time moves on and I must keep up! :D

We started school today with the big girls. Homeschool again. Except this year is sooooooo much better! We gave up our classroom for Patrick to have a bedroom, so we're much more laid back at the dining room table. And I have lesson plans this year! Last year I never got a chance to make a plan, so I always felt behind and unsure that we were going to learn enough material quickly enough. And already I'm realizing they learned--and have retained--much more info than I expected. Yay!

This year, I've also made a check list for each girl for the day so they know what has to be done for school. The day is split up into 3 or 4 hours of work, divided into 20 min. sections. So we're always changing up what we're doing to keep it moving AND they have a time limit to get the work finished. Plus, within a particular hour, they rotate a 20 min. block of time with me, so I can teach them individually, and they can practice individually, and I can also have 20 min. to do a chore like move laundry. Of course since this is day one, and since Brian has the little two with him out of the house, this is all theory. But we all seem to like the idea. The girls love checklists about as much as I do. I just have to be ready for the day before it starts.

Lastly, we've joined a group called Classical Conversations. It's a homeschool group with curriculum that will help me by providing direction and accountability. The kids memorize an amazing volume of grammar facts, basic facts to make it possible to speak to a particular subject, in six or seven subjects: chronological history events, history sentences to expound on certain events, science facts/lists, English grammar facts/lists, Latin conjugation, math skip-counting and formulas, geography, and scripture memory. Each week as a group they also do a science experiment, give a 3min. presentation, and have a music or art lesson. I'm tutoring the oldest kids (3rd-5th "grades" for our group), so my girls will be under the instruction and authority of another mom, which I am also glad for. That means, among other things, I can tell them, "Now, we need to work on this because Mrs. Graff expects you to know it cold on Monday." :)

Patrick will be at Covenant Christian School again this year in a PreK class that meets M,W,F. He will have Mrs. Byars again, YAY!! She is FABULOUS and loves Patrick as much as he loves her. He was very, very sad that he wasn't going to school today. He starts Wednesday. There are several kids in his class that were in his last year too, including a few boys who are also in his Sunday School class.

And, hey, my 20 min. is up. More later.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I Love

Things I Love About Right Now:

1. Every piece of laundry in my entire house, including the clothes we wore yesterday, are washed, dried, and folded. Now to put them away! If you know me well, you will appreciate the miracle this is.

2. Brian is finishing his last requirement for Greek as we speak. Then we will be done with Greek forever. Kinda. But Greek classes will be over forever.

3. Catherine, Patrick, and Lillian are playing "boat" or "sea race," as Patrick calls it, in the living room. This means the 3 of them are each in their own *empty* laundry basket riding the waves of their imagination.

4. Sarah Frances is doing her handwriting pages upstairs alone because she wants to. :)

5. We are leaving for Birmingham tomorrow!

6. My parents are coming up to the lake to see us while we're in Alabama.

7. We cleaned the house yesterday, so once the laundry is put away we can leave and come home to a straight and clean home!

8. I timed groceries well--we'll finish all the milk, deli meat, and fruit today.

9. I found the next 2 books of my "vacation series" at the library last night. Too bad I stayed up till 2am to finish one of them, but at least I have another for the trip.

10. The Cards scored 6 or more yesterday, which means today is an On The Run day! Fountain drinks, frozen drinks (icees), and coffee are 25 cents all day.

11. I can stop and restart my mail online.

12. Cell phones have free long-distance.

What is your very favorite thing about Right Now?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Prayer Request

I've joked before that I need a MA in Counseling, but I'm not kidding. There have been a few people lately sharing some really big, really hard things with me. I am grateful that God seems to think I can handle it, but I don't trust that I have the right words to share with them. I am also very thankful that Brian is very, very good at knowing what to say. So he is helping me. For now I'm trying to be a good listener across the board. But I'm asking my friends to pray for me--for wisdom and discernment and patience and peace. So thanks, in advance.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Can you tell I think about heaven a lot? At least I reference it a lot on here.

But I'll tell you a new reason why I'm excited about and long for heaven. It has to do with moving. My moving and others' moving. (No, we have no idea where in Birmingham or Alabama or the US or the world where we are moving next. This is not a coded message.)

(The Woods, by the way, did not move this year, by God good grace and mercy to me! And our neighbor Aaliyah and her father have moved back in with his parents in the last few weeks. See previous post on moving.)

Bottom line is people I love dearly keep moving away from places where I expect to be able to get to them--primarily St Louis and Birmingham. There are friends I have not seen in over a year, whom I have not spoken with in over a year, that I could immediately pick right back up with should our paths cross for any amount of time. Many of these families are in ministry, and such is the life. God calls us to go, and we do. To Florida. Texas. California. Equador. Thailand. New Zealand. Of course other jobs require moving as well--to Tennessee or Georgia or even just the greatest small town in Alabama. Odds are I probably won't see many of these precious people again. And that hurts. Because I love them. And I want to have access to them.

But how much bigger is my investment in the world growing because of the personal, intimate connections I have with people all over it?! I care in a new and different way about the people in Los Angeles because there are specific people there whom I love. When I hear anything about Bangkok, Thailand, I wonder how close that is to my friends who are ministering there in the slums. If it might involve someone they know. Etc, etc.

But I digress. One day, when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory. And I'll have as long as forever to hug their necks and get to catch up with them all!