May 18, 2014

Home Is Where You Are

Matty and I spent our first three formative years of marriage in St. Louis, MO.  We owned a home on Dale Avenue there: a gingerbread, brick, 2/1 with wood floors, leaded windows, and a bathroom Matthew renovated to approximate my dream bathroom.  Good man.  We lived there as if it would be our spot forever: painted, fixed up, beautified, furnished.  That was where we brought Abby home. Where I once left the car in neutral and had the cops come tell us it was sitting in the middle of the street (oops). Where months after marrying, I opened the door to the basement (where the laundry was) and saw to my shock a naked Matthew walking down the stairs and had to remind myself that, OH yeah, I'm married! It's normal to see a naked man in my house.  Where we made best friends who are still best friends.  And then all of a sudden it was time to move.

Davis, CA. Grad school.  We made a new home in an apartment with linoleum floors and a patio Abby loved. The windows were unremarkable, and the kitchen and bathroom very very...adequate. We lived there, knowing we'd move on one day, and yet we painted, fixed up, beautified, furnished. We made that bland spot look like we lived there. And we did for 6 years.  Russell Park Apartments, where we brought Noah home. Where we once came home from Christmas break to find maintenance crews in our place repairing the bathroom after the upstairs tenants had overflowed the bath and the ceiling collapsed. Where we had families of bats living in the ceiling and families of mice visiting for scraps. Where a best friend moved in right across the way and we figured out that life is best spent sipping Rooibos tea, laughing, and watching our kids roll around on the floor.  (Same best friend rescued me a million times over those years). Where I got an MA, Matty got a PhD, and we got to ride bikes and drink coffee together and teach and laugh and grow up alongside our two beautiful children. Where I learned about anxiety. Where the work of school, life, and parenting looked very evenly distributed between Matty and me.  Where we dreamed of the life ahead and put push pins into a big map on the wall during interview season.  And then all of a sudden it was time to move.

Princeton, NJ.  We started out in a townhouse that most people might love--high ceilings open to the upper floor, but we are cozy people, Goldilocks-ish in our desire for the "just right".  We were there 6 months.  And then came the crazy wonderful ranch on Woodland Drive that the owner sold to our family (rejecting a significantly higher offer because she wanted us to live there).  She was elderly, and sadly she passed away a year after selling to us; but when she held my hand and looked me in the eyes at our last meeting, she said: "Enjoy your children in this house. Love them here."  And we did for two and a half years. In that favorite of the houses we've owned where Abby and Noah raced circles around the open floor plan past picture windows that watched seasons of blazing fall leaves and bitter cold snows and waves of new spring colour. Where Abby ran 5Ks.  Where I got to know the indomitable spirits of my neighbor Donna and my friend Sharri. Where we renovated the most awesome family room ever. Where Abby got Lyme. Where a big tree fell, missing the house just barely. Then another tree fell, missing our car only because we were foolishly driving in a snowstorm to pick up a sewing machine.  Where we made best friends who are still best friends. Where we helped build a church. Where I launched into the unknown of homeschooling, a mission trip to Haiti, and the rest of my life without my absolutely priceless grandmother.  Where Matthew figured out that litigation consulting just wasn't his best fit.  And then all of a sudden it was time to move.

Houston, TX.  I flew alone to Houston looking to find an apartment. I flew home having bought a house. By myself. We lived on Brighton Lane in a FOUR bedroom house (that's bigger than any house Matty or I had ever lived in). Texas sized, I guess, and 1/3 the cost of our Princeton house. This time Matty was traveling to distant lands while I painted, fixed up, beautified, furnished.  Well, he actually did significant work on lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, the garage and the bathrooms.  So handy, this one.  I spent the year peeling wallpaper from many walls (WHY do people put up hideous wallpaper!?!?!), patching and painting walls and trim. This big comfy house, with jet engine-powered air conditioning, where we hid out from the heat. Where we said good bye and welcomed Matty home over and over with signs hung in the windows and special dinners. Where Noah kindof did some kindergarten and Abby won her teachers' hearts. Where we never went to the pool because it was too hot.  Where Matty and I walked most nights around the wonderful Meadows Place lake--lap after lap--talking, dreaming, processing, sometimes crying, always sweating.  Where the lizards chirped all night and the queso called our names. Oh the queso! The Breakfast tacos! Where we had dinner with friends every Tuesday night (even when the hubbies were in Africa together). Where we heard the news of a dear friend and cousin's tragic death. Where we heard that Granddaddy died too. Where we heard Aunt Andi needed brain surgery. Where we made fast friends who loved us through fierce pain.  And then, after only one crazy year, all of a sudden it was time to move.

Berkeley, CA. We got here in August--quite late for the rental market in this area, which is notoriously hard.  We've lived this year in a 3/2 house on Los Angeles Ave. Up in the steep Berkeley hills. This not-our-own home, where we've welcomed new friends. Where the art hangs from picture rails instead of nails. Where we walk up craggy hills and steps in the chilly evenings. Where Matty commutes to San Francisco and the kids to their schools closer to home. Where Matty built a gorgeous mid century inspired walnut bed for us from a tree that fell on a friend's family land. Where that down comforter I almost tossed in Houston is a daily necessity.  Where we have the best produce to eat and buddies to share it with.  Where we wont be buying a home anytime soon, but we will find another rental one of these days.  This time, it feels like it is time to stay.

I've learned a lot about home through all of this. What it is, what it isn't, where it is, where it isn't. I've always been a person who longs for home, for security and for a quiet, safe spot to make lovely and to settle in. A place from which to enter into the wider world, and a place to which we return to refuel and reconnect every day.   But "Home" for me is not what I imagined it would be years ago, because it is now landless, placeless, less tethered to walls and floors, windows, and doors that are familiar and bear witness to the lives lived within.  It is increasingly simple. Home is where my loves are. Always right here, held in my heart, even when they fly to Africa or I fly to London, they to San Diego. Home is Matthew and Abby and Noah and me, a family knit together by the creator who welcomes us to be here for a time and then finally, really, fully to be HOME.

May 2, 2014


Before the word "selfie" was even a word, I took this picture of me and Abby.

And it changed my life.

Four months earlier, Abby fell off of a chair in our living room.  It was her 2nd birthday and I had set out a folding chair, ignored the flash-thought that she might climb up and it could collapse, and was showing our student apartment to my mom and grandmother who were visiting for the big birthday.  And then I heard the sound of chair and precious little baby hitting the desperately hard linoleum-over-concrete floor. I ran to find Abby breathing in that long breath before the wail, but the wail did not come.  Her lips turned blue, teeth shuddered, eyes rolled back, and she fell limp in my arms.   "Oh God, No. No. My baby. Please breathe, please Abby, breathe."  The following scene was an absolute blur of handing Abby to Matthew, phoning paramedics, and running straight out the front door hearing the words, calm and slow, and in my own voice in my head: "so this is how my baby is going to die." And then this prayer, to God who was at the top of an impossibly high chasm, I at the bottom: "Lord, I know I cannot bargain with you for her life. But, Please Please do not take away my baby. Please let her live."

She did live. Thank you, Lord, for the the rest of my life, thank you.  But I had been so broken by the trauma of what was probably a handful of seconds that I experienced things I had never known before: panic attacks, anxiety, depression.  I wasn't hungry anymore. I couldn't sleep well. I cried a lot, especially in the mornings (because that was when Matthew would leave for class, and I would be alone with Abby again. Vulnerable, alone, afraid of something happening to her. Afraid of having a panic attack. Afraid of everything).  One morning as a panic attack began, I sat at our desk and prayed for God's help. "Where are you? I need you to show me that you hear me, that you are real."  And then from her bedroom, Abby sang out a song I'd never heard her sing and hadn't taught her, as far as I could recall: "Jesus loves me, this I know..."  I think God just answered me through her little voice.

And then four months after the fall, me weighing a scary 107 pounds, forcing myself to take Abby outside to play in the beautiful Davis sun, I took this picture of my darling girl hugging me, the smell of the geranium blooms in her hand, strong.  But I didn't feel the force of the moment until later, when I LOOKED at the picture.

Look at us! Look at HER! She is ALIVE!  We are alive, and look at us outside and smiling!

Oh, the recognition of life and the mirror held up in pixels that insisted on speaking louder than color and light to my soul:  your baby girl is alive today, and you are her momma, and you can live and breathe, right now.

That was the moment I woke up from a horrible, sleep walking nightmare.  Not the moment I was cured of panic or anxiety, no that is a longer walk. But it was the moment I was born into the rest of my life, raw and unprotected by the coping strategies, perfectionism, and too-safe version of reality I had known before.  And even though I thought I still needed all of that, it was crushed beyond repairing. I couldn't go back to the way life was before she fell, but I could go forward into the terrifying and beautiful world of the life ahead.

I had proof we were already living in that life.

I think this will be my favorite selfie ever.

April 24, 2014


So after the "Uncertain" post I wrote, I've had a lot of opportunities to press in and experience big and small uncertainties with more curiosity and less need to know for sure how things would turn out.  I'm so grateful for the amazing and beautiful life I get to live. It's astounding.  Here are some highlights from the rest of February through today:

Ice skating with Abby

Finally got new shoes!

Went to the very edge of Golden Gate Park with the fam. Breathtaking! (See Matthew and Noah walking out there?)

 Racing Noah (he won).

Reuniting after ten years with my dear friend (and first college roomie back in the day), Jenny!

Teeter tottering with Abby. She left me hanging up there so she could get this picture.  

Matty and me in PARIS. Not kidding.

Matty and me in LONDON, my favorite city in the world so far, and this, my first time to Europe in my life!  Here we are in front of the Globe Theatre.  Oh yes, I geeked out. And Matty still loves me. He even took me to a Shakespeare play while in London. I feel SO SO SO LOVED.

Home again, and I was inspired to finish up this quilt made with Liberty of London fabrics. I started it when we lived in Princeton. Just needs some finishing touches now.

And these are only a handful of moments and images of two months spent living life to the fullest.  I got to see things I've studied for many years and longed to see in person, I got to snuggle my kids, and be reunited with them after over a week apart (a first), I got to be alone with Matthew for days and days and we got to find our way around London, Paris, and Dublin together.  Cappuccinos, laughs, white knuckles during (light) turbulence on (long) flights, dizzy jet-lagged days, going away and coming home.  All of it a gift. I actually thought to myself while we were in Europe that this was so amazing I wondered if it was too good to be true, like we'd crash on the way home (I worried we'd crash on the way there too, since even going seemed too good to be true, but we made it). The fear that latches on to every experience of excitement and joy is starting to be ripped away, proven false, emptied of its power.  No illusions of perfection or safety take its place, but rather healthier willingness to let the hard realities be what they are and live ANYWAY.  What a tremendous couple of months these have been.  More than I could have hoped or imagined.

February 13, 2014


So I took a quiz in a book called The Worry Cure, which I am reading for reasons that will become obvious shortly.  The scale measuring "Intolerance of Uncertainty" suggests that people scoring  below 40 points are rather tolerant of uncertainty; those scoring above 50 have "problems" with uncertainty; above 70 "suggests real problems handling uncertainty."

I scored 93.

I laugh-cried at the phrase on the next page, describing the anecdotal "Carl's" score of 108 as "an extraordinary level of intolerance of uncertainty" (Robert Leahy, PhD. The Worry Cure. 54-56).

It's a little bit funny to me to realize that I fall on an "extreme" end of any scale.  Extreme is not an adjective I'd ever use for myself, but rather would identify as private, loyal, deeply feeling, creative, loving, fearful, faithful, searching and a bit aimless when I don't have a clear goal or project.  But this quiz used phrases that I would say are very true of me:

Uncertainty stops me from having a firm opinion.
Uncertainty makes me uneasy, anxious, or stressed.
When it's time to act, uncertainty paralyzes me.
When I'm uncertain, I can't go forward.
When I'm uncertain, I can't function very well.
The smallest doubt stops me from acting.
Being uncertain means that I lack confidence.

Phew. This makes a lot of sense out of a lot of quirks about me.  Why I like sheet music when I play and a pattern when I sew, a recipe when I cook and a syllabus to follow.  It makes sense of why it is so hard to choose what to do when I have free time. Or to choose a pair of shoes to buy when my old ones are actually embarrassing my husband (sorry, love). Or to get a babysitter and go out.  Gulp, plan a vacation (or even plan to plan a vacation). Choose what to make for dinner. Decide to do the hard, vulnerable work of writing a dissertation I have no idea if I even want to finish.  A lot of these things, I realize, are luxuries. CHOICES are luxuries, in fact.  And yet, they are to me like a thousand burdens and weights to be hefted one way or the other. Yes or no? This way or that?

What all of this intolerance amounts to in my case is anxiety. And it hurts. It robs me of joy, purpose, and of the thrill of living life right here, right now, surrounded as I am by the most delightful and amazing people and gifts life can offer.  I've kept myself small, "lost much of my muchness," allowed only tiny swells of excitement before the rush of fears crowd out the voice trying to surface.  The ideas do come: I want to make that quilt, write that fiction piece,  call that friend, finish that chapter, paint, play, speak, work, help, live.  And then I opt instead to putter, do the dishes, drink a cup of coffee and run away from the dreams or hopes of the moment and stay "safe" and small.

So I'm writing this today in an effort to welcome the uncertain outcome of writing something like this publicly.  My idea in the shower this morning: write on my blog about my ridiculous score of 93 on that quiz and see what happens. The fears:  That's too personal, it's odd to share. Awkward, really.  And it might make others feel uncomfortable. But what if it speaks to just ONE other person who knows what this is like, who is a beautiful aching soul trapped by fear and doubt? What if it makes life better for even one person for one day, changes one moment of fear to one of freedom?  Then it's worth it.  And what if that person is me? Am I worth it?  Well, I'm uncertain, but I'm going to see.

August 28, 2013

Sixth Grade and Kindergarten (part deux)

I wanted to wait till the end of the day to post about the kiddos' first day of school, mostly so that I could give a report about what they thought about it!  Abby started Middle School today!  6th grade.  She was super nervous about all of the newness and wanted to homeschool actually.  Matthew walked with her the 1 mile trek this morning. Abby says: "It wasn't too far." Took them about 17 minutes.  They run a mile every Wednesday at school too, so she's gonna get some exercise this one!  She likes her teachers, says the lunch room is great (it's state of the art and really beautiful. If I can find a picture I will post it, but it kind of looks like a hip restaurant-big wood beamed ceilings, huge windows, wood tables and benches (dinner table sized), and very good quality food.  She gave it a thumbs up and said middle school is a lot better than elementary school.

I picked Noah up and he beamed, headed over with a paper bag hand puppet raccoon, and talked all about how school was "fun, pretty much fun."  He's not a fellow of many words but he told me it was much better than he expected.  He gave it a big thumbs up, talked about how his teacher was kind, and how the kids were much quieter than the kids in his class last year.  Noah is starting in Kindergarten here because we pulled him from K. last year. He just wasn't ready or thriving so we took him home.  He seems so much more ready to fly this year and we are so happy for him. Oh, yes, he also got a scratch and sniff minty sticker that he is very proud of. ;)

I will admit to crying buckets this morning. It wasn't an easy morning, and this hasn't been an easy season or transition. It's a big change for everybody, and I'm praying and hoping for the best year yet. Day ONE. A success for the littles, and we're all so so grateful for it.

August 23, 2013

Houston Quilts

Even though the year in Houston flew by, I had time to make some quilts.  A lot of this was done while Matthew was out of the country and during the first couple months while both kids were in school.  That was short lived, of course, since we decided to pull Noah from Kindergarten to give him one more year at home before trying again.  So, I had this little season of time just to create...(and play flute too, which was so fun for me, and such a stress reliever).  There are a few little quilts that I can't find pictures of--including one fun "Very Hungry Caterpillar"quilt for a sweet little baby boy.  And lots of other sewn things, but for now, here are some of the big projects I completed:

Geometric color study for Sarah, the artist.

Spider Web "Maple Leaf Rag" quilt top. This one isn't quilted yet...

Cross quilt for Emma

Feather quilt for Hannah (Abby wants one like this now!)

detail of the hand-stitching around the feathers

"Swoon" quilt for Jim

August 22, 2013

Getting Here

It was no small feat getting our family back to California after having just moved from Princeton to Houston a little over a year ago. We are weary of moving; relocating is not high on the list of things that we do well. But we were carried along by a community of people who love us, and we are grateful.  I want to say thank you:

To everybody who prayed for us and talked with us through a huge decision with the job transition. It wasn't an easy choice to make.

To the Jonathan and Maridyth Wiles for letting us use your car and washer/dryer while you were (are) in Africa.  We need a proper farewell, but maybe it's appropriate we didn't really say goodbye...

To Greg Alexander, Quique Autrey, Todd Haberkost, Meredith Maines and Mark Vogan for tremendous packing help.

To Rachel Alexander and family for meals, emotional support, and playdates.

and on the Cali side:

To Mom, Flip, Aunt Andi and Cousin Alec for loving on the kids and keeping them for days during our house search, and then for driving them the 7 hours to us!
Apparently the kids love to swim!
To Flip, for a memorable and long-awaited walk on the beach. Boy how I have missed those. Glad we saw some dolphins :)

To Bron, Jeremy, Teg, Callum and Declan Lea for welcoming us to Berkeley with hugs and flowers, and for bringing dinner to us :) and gluten free brownies. How sweet!

To Jamie C. of Berkeley for lending us your minivan so we could buy a mattress at IKEA. THANK YOU! Wood floors are so hard.

To Brent, Katie, William, and Lucy Webster for letting us crash at your house for nearly a week while you were out of town!  It was SO helpful.  And for a marvelous dinner and laughs that helped all of us feel more at home in this new town.

There are many more friends out there who have helped us in myriad ways, some I bet we don't even know.  Our heart-felt thanks to all of you!!

August 21, 2013

Little Buddy Lost Some Teeth!

This is a funny picture of Noah.  He lost his very first tooth while at Mia and Papa's house in San Diego, while Matty and I were house hunting in Berkeley! He got spoiled by Aunt Andi (his personal tooth fairy).  Then last week the little tooth next to it popped out too!  He has the most adorable lisp now, which I will miss when the new teeth come in (and they are coming in fast...).

August 20, 2013

an outing

We made it down those stairs! GULP.
We heard from friends about an amazing spot in Berkeley called "Indian Rock Park" and then discovered that it is a seven minute walk from our house!  So yesterday the kiddos and I packed a lunch and trekked over. Wow, what a view from the top!  We could see Marin, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland--the whole bay stretched out in front of us.

It was good to get out of the house for a little bit. We're weary of unpacking, and Abby in particular has expressed some trepidation at venturing out at all, so it was time to try something close but different.  The stairs cut into this rock are steep! I led the way and Abby followed Noah (holding his shirt sometimes just in case).  We kept telling Noah to keep his bum down and his head leaning in toward the rock and not toward the drop.  We watched a rock climber freestyle his way up a vertical climb and decided that he was quite like Spider Man: flexible, strong, graceful, and somehow able to stick to a wall of rock that should be impossible to climb.

I think this might be a favorite spot to bring friends who visit and who want a little adventure and a BIG view!
Noah would scramble up as far as we'd let him...

Abby looking at the Bay Bridge. Daddy works over there on the other side of the bay!

August 13, 2013

surfacing again

The Pearsons Four (and our Cat, Ellie) are new residents of Berkeley, CA.  How we got here is a roundabout, crazy story about four creative introverts trying to find where we fit.  A big part of that search included Matthew encountering an opportunity that he felt was too hard to pass up: he is working for Airbnb as a user experience researcher.  This work is what he most enjoyed doing in grad school, and he thought he might never get to do anything so close to his interests again.  So, we took the plunge and arrived in the Bay Area about a week ago.  Leaving good friends and an organization we love and support was by no means easy.  We've all felt the pain of such an ambivalent move.

We think that Northern California has a ton to offer and our family is well suited to lots about this place: we get to be driving distance to G's family, we all LOVE the climate (and the lack of Texas sized mosquitos), and we enjoy living in a college town near a big city.  We have a TON to learn and figure out: this is the first time Matthew has ever had a commute, we have to re-settle into schools in CA, and I (G) will have a lot to discover about on what and how to balance my focus during the next year or so (finish grad school? make more of creative opportunities that have just come my way here in SF? plant an edible garden in our back yard?).  

The kids are handling the move pretty well, but there is a natural cost that comes with uprooting. That part is hard, and these days are filled with highs and lows.  We have two weeks before school starts, which will give us some time to settle in, unpack, and hopefully do some exploring of our new spot in CA.  There's a lot to share about the adventure of getting here. And hopefully when we settle a bit I can  write a bit more about all of that.  For now, just pray for us that we can experience all of this transition and newness well, as a team, and with as much grace and mutual support as possible.  XO, G

October 2, 2012

The Girl is on a roll!!

What a start to the school year! It is a pleasure to share that Abby is having an AMAZING 5th grade year so far.  She was quite anxious before it started (after a big move) but I cannot imagine it having begun better than it has.  She was chosen out of all 5th grade classes (eighty one kids) to read a poem on 9/11, she has brought home projects with accolades from her teachers (including one that read "Best in 5th grade!"), has run for and been elected to student council, landed a solo for the musical, and just yesterday brought home a ribbon and letter announcing that she was named her class' PAL student: Principal's Award for Leadership.  She was singled out for her kindness and excellent citizenship in class.

Seriously, what a shower of praise and blessings on this girl, who really needed it this year.  School has not been easy for Abby, emotionally. Grades have never been a problem, so often she flies under the radar for most teachers even if she is having a rough time emotionally; but she is maturing into a bright and sensitive, but able to cope, little woman!  This morning Matthew and I had our parent teacher conference with Abby's teachers and they were beaming about her performance, her creativity, her love for her family evidenced in comments in class, her consideration of others, and the way she exemplifies kindness and self control in the classroom.  Matthew and I are SO PROUD of her. SO thankful to God for these encouragements and praises for Abby's efforts.  We long for her to know how loved and how capable she is, and this year she is blossoming in her environment.  There will be challenges and struggles for sure, but when the sun shines I hope we can all bask in it with gratitude, for it is GOOD to give thanks for these gifts!  And I hope that Abby will be able to draw on these experiences the next time she faces adversity and anxiety that feels so burdensome.  Way to go Abbs! What a great start to the year, sweet girl!!!!

September 25, 2012

5th grade and Kindergarten

Image 2
Originally uploaded by gennabby.
We're almost to October, and I am grateful for the hope of cooler days, for vacation days. I think the kids are better acclimated to Texas than I am. I still feel very lost, very out of place and longing for home to feel like home but it doesn't. Good things: Matthew loves his work. He is learning, using his gifts, finding himself. Abby has a new bike that fits her, she made student council and is excited about that. She likes school more this year than last year. Noah has a lego Yoda; he thinks this is wonderful. I don't know exactly why, but I am so glad that he likes his tiny lego guy. Still not sure how to read Noah's take on Kindergarten. Mornings he is not happy to go to school. Half way there, some days he is riding his scooter as fast as he can, and by the end of the day most days he says school was great. But it is hard to know what all goes into that, and I have no idea really if it is great or not. Lots of conflicted feelings about this, but the Lord knows Noah and sees him all through the day and loves him more than I am able.

I am ready to have life breathed into me again. I am waiting and hoping and longing for it. Miss my sister and wish she were well and healed.

September 8, 2012

Noah quotes of late

G: Noah, do you think you would like to learn how to play the flute? Because I could teach you!
N: No, because I would like a lego batman.

Still the king of non sequitur.

After a week of kindergarten:
"Momma, the kids in my class haven't learned how to be quiet yet."

Days after Matthew left for Africa:
G: Noah, you seem sad; what's the matter?
N: I feel sad because I don't understand why daddy didn't take me with him.

Oh yeah, and the other night he had an imaginary church service going, during which he made up worship songs, distributed to Abby, Matthew, and me pretend communion (using chocolate squares), and then walked around squirting lotion in our hands while saying "peace of Christ" (or did he mean piece of Christ?  I don't know. But we were laughing).

June 28, 2012


Where to start?  I guess, greetings from Texas is a good place to begin.  The Pearsons Four (plus Ellie, the kitten) have landed in Houston, Texas.  Matthew took a wonderful job as research and evaluation specialist for Living Water International ( and is busy applying his economic skills to help solve the water crisis in the developing world.  I know. It's a huge job that Matthew is honored to be a part of, and he joins a large and marvelous team of people at LWI (among other water NGOs) doing great work.  I hardly know how to recount what has happened in the months that have passed since last I wrote: Matthew transitioned into the new job, went to Uganda and Kenya for work, we sold our home in Princeton, bought a home in Houston, said many painful goodbyes to dear friends and our beloved Westerly Road Church in Princeton.  We packed up our life and made the big move, and now, not quite one week after closing on our Houston home, I'm sitting in my couch-less living room trying to provide some context for how I've come to be here and how greatly our family's life has been shaken up and re-established very recently.

This new work is not a random choice; Matthew has known for quite a while that he wanted to find work that would use his background in economics and also his passion for serving God and loving his neighbor.  We are grateful and simply stunned when we think about the fact that his work includes exciting travel and life-saving efforts on behalf of those who are the poorest of our neighbors in the world, even as it uses his ability to run regressions and apply statistical models to data for the good of others.  I know it sounds so idealistic to put it that way, but it's the truth, and God has designed and prepared Matthew for this work at this time.  I am more excited than I can possibly communicate to get to watch Matthew find himself and learn to lean on Christ as he discovers his inadequacies in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

The rest of us are learning and growing too!  Abby finished 4th grade in Princeton and continues to make strides with her artwork and fashion design interests.  She is volunteering this summer at LWI, helping with a program designed for children called "The Story of the Thirsty."  Groups of kids come on tours at LWI and learn about the water crisis, the health and education ramifications of not having clean water, the efforts of water NGOs to help remedy the problem, and the ways even little kids can help!  All of this is shared with a clear presentation of Living Water's belief in Christ as our source of life, salvation, and hope, and the belief that access to clean water is something all people should have!

Noah is taking it all in and is keeping us laughing with his sense of humor.  He's such a funny mix of introverted and zany.  Noah will start preschool in September, but in the meantime he is busy flying his Captain America around the livingroom, vrooming Lightning McQueen, snuggling mommy, shadowing Abby, clobbering daddy, and playing with Ellie the cat.

And me. Well, I am keeping very busy with figuring out life in a new place and with a new rhythm.  I don't know yet just what my work will be in addition to keeping things going at home, but we're discovering a lot about who we are as a family and how we might be stretched.  I'm sure I'll have more to share as time goes by.

Anyway, that's enough for now! I'm tired just typing all of that, let alone living it.
Yours in the Adventure,

April 22, 2012

Why my people make me laugh

Matty to our grey cat: "You are an orange cat on a black and white TV"

Noah to Mommy after climbing off of the sideboard/buffet: "See, I didn't break any bones!" (I told him he could climb up there as long as he didn't break his leg falling off).

While reading Noah a story about Joseph (son of Israel and the boy whose brothers throw him into a pit and sell him as a slave), I'm interrupted by Noah: "Mommy, they are mean! They are (long pause) they are SINNING!" He says, triumphant and giddy at recalling the word. Me: "Yes! Yes they are!" Noah: "Yeah. Sinning. That's the spanish word for disobeying."

Talking to himself in the bathroom, apparently impressed: "It's a whole family of poops!"

Matty to Abby after looking over a graded book report that received 100% M: Abby, I noticed you did a horrible job on your book report. A: I know, I'm so ashamed of myself.

March 29, 2012


Originally uploaded by gennabby.
It will take me some time to process the past week and all that happened in Haiti. I will blog about it bit by bit, but I'd like to share the following story, which I will get to share at church during the worship service this Sunday. To each one of you who has prayed for me, supported me financially for this trip, and encouraged me to go, thank you. Thank God for you.

It is an honor to bear witness to the Mighty One who is at work redeeming and shepherding His creation. I'd like to share with you just one story of many that the Westerly Haiti Team could tell about this most recent trip.

After seeing the Haiti trip mentioned in the bulletin, I penciled in my initials and a question mark, showing it to my husband Matthew. My excitement swelled for about ten minutes and then was quickly overtaken by the fears and anxieties that crowd out anything requiring of me risk and sacrifice. I wrestled with the discomfort of knowing I'd ask others to sacrifice on my behalf to send me, wondering if the financial gifts and prayer might be better used if sent directly to Haiti without the expense of my going. The following month was filled with prayer requests of my small group, family, and friends asking for wisdom: should I go? While praying with my sweet friend and neighbor, Donna Nitchun (who knows the lengths to which I'll go to maintain a quiet, peaceful, small, domestic life), she said that the Lord put on her heart a verse for me:
Isaiah 54:2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes." I prayed through this verse, finding in it the injunction to go and to see how my fears and doubts might be met with grace.

On our first full day in Haiti we visited a village called Kwa Kok, where we met a woman named Ti Fiyel. She was living with several of her children and her four grandchildren in a deplorable sheet dwelling filled with mildew and ants. Her three month old granddaughter was born in this dark place that had no ventilation and that leaked terribly every time it rained. Our team set to work pouring a foundation for a new home for Ti Fiyel. We knew it would be months--a long rainy season--before her home would be ready. That night as the team discussed the day and prayed for Ti Fiyel, I turned to Chris, an American intern working in Haiti and asked: "When we go back, can't we just bring Ti Fiyel a tent to use until her house is built?" With irony and lovingly exposing my naievite, she said: "Do you have a tent?" In a country with such systemic poverty, one can't just go buy a tent in town. It doesn't work that way. While we prayed her question rang in my head over and over--and the voice asking it wasn't Chris' voice anymore, it was the Holy Spirit's voice: Do you have a tent? Yes, Lord, I have a tent. A nine person tent. It's in my basement in Princeton, and I have a husband who can drive it to my Pastor who is flying to Haiti in a day and a half!

A flurry of international texts and less than 48 hours later, Pastor Matt arrived with a tent, a tarp, stakes and cord to erect for Ti Fiyel and her family a dry place to live through the months of rain. Our team hardly had to lift a finger to pull down the old tent, to make the ground level, and to put up the new tent: the village came together to do that for Ti Fiyel with great joy--one woman cried out in Creole "Halleluia! Halleluia! I know God is real! I know He is here! I have prayed for Him to help Ti Fiyel and her children for so long! Halleluia!" What mercy God displayed to our team and to the community in Kwa Kok that day! But there is more to the story--something private, and something I will treasure in my heart until I see the Lord face to face:

Before we returned to the village to put up this tent, I prayed privately that God would keep me humble, that He would receive all the glory for this amazing provision. I felt so conspicuous when the team learned that our family donated a tent, so uncomfortable with the idea that this act would get me credit for generosity and ingenuity, when all along this amazing trip so far I was being convicted of how deeply I held onto the things of this world, hoarding and idolizing material things, health, and God's good gifts. Here is how God answered that prayer:
* I was not there to see Ti Fiyel's tent put up; I was handing out hygiene kits with others on the team.
* I was not there when the village lifted their voices and arms in praise to God, so no one could point to me and say, "she's the one who brought the tent."

As storm clouds rolled in quickly, requiring our team to race against the rain back to paved roads lest our bus get stuck in the mud, I ran to catch a glimpse of the tent set up. Carine yelled, "get in the tent, Genna!" I stepped inside where it was clean, dark, and dry despite the rain, and saw only Ti Fiyel's silhouette. Carine said to her, "She brought this tent for your family." Ti Fiyel wrapped her arms around me and kissed my face. I wept as she blessed and thanked me, and I blessed her with the few words I could say in her language. Carine tried to capture the moment with two different cameras--both of which worked before and after but simply would not work just then. When she said "Oh, this was supposed to be your moment!" I said with full confidence, "No, this is not my moment. It is hers, and it is the Lord's." You see, Ti Fiyel didn't need to see my face, to know what I look like. I did not need a snapshot of hugs and tears, or of my smiling face in front of a tent to send to my donors. This embrace, this moment was the Lord's and it was holy. His Spirit was healing me, blessing us, answering prayer, protecting the honor and glory that is all His.

We ran through the rain to the bus and our whole team erupted in a hymn of praise in Creole: "Merci, Senior! Merci Senior!" Carine held my hand as I wept and grinned and recalled that verse Donna had given to me many weeks before: "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes." Our sweet Lord gave me a picture of a tent being erected. He knew the plans He had for me, for our team, for Ti Fiyel, for the people of Kwa Kok. And He accomplished them bringing glory to His name. Alleluia.

March 7, 2012

Life as I knew it

Will never be the same. My precious Nonee went home to be with Jesus yesterday. In His mercy, this was not a drawn out affair, but neither was it anticipated. Nonee had a fall this weekend and she decided it was time to be done with all of this waiting around to dance again with hips and knees that work like they should.

I miss her terribly, and have missed her since living so far away for so many years. Only now I can't press the speed dial button and talk to her till she tells me she's running up my phone bill, and I insist I have unlimited minutes. But they were limited after all, weren't they? You were right, Nonee.

I can't possibly write a post that describes her well. "How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?" comes to mind. I can say that she loved fiercely, with loyalty and generosity. She was too apologetic and thought people really ought to be able to read her mind. She wasn't afraid to cruise around the world, but say you saw a lizard near her front door and she'd have palpitations. Nonee hated to be called "She" by the way--"She who?" she'd say. No pronouns for Nonee in her presence.

Nonee liked things just so: her bed to be made (with lots of pillows), her hair to be set, her family to be near, her wine to be chilled, her dinner to be the same as ever (weight watchers, lean cuisine, even though she was tiny as a minute), her Christmas cards sent on time or not at all, her coffee weak and black. And there was no convincing her to give up her independence; that would have to be taken from her and she could put up a (polite, firm, and winning) fight. Apparently only God was going to win this one. Stubborn one, this gal.

But besides all that independence was her sparkle. Nonee was a performer--I mean the real deal, with facial expressions (her dreamy silver screen look, the graceful mannerisms, and all) and with a way of dancing her way around a room. Until her body was too owie to dance, of course. But I remember so many times despite her swollen knee, I'd catch her doing little tap routines in the kitchen. She'd sing, raise her eyebrows, and--eyes twinkling--bite her bottom lip as she headed into the break and her dance solo, more compact and quiet in her slippers than it once was when she was a girl. But it was unmistakably Nonee.

Her prayers were sincere and her devotion to the Lord expressed on her knees. In one of the last clear moments of her life she lamented about not being able to get on her knees to pray (obviously not with her hip, leg and wrist broken and barely enough energy to keep her eyes open after that fall). I told her I would do that for her, but she didn't need me to. It's not her body but her spirit that was bowed before God and that's more important anyway. Mary, the mother of Christ was important to Nonee, being a tender and welcoming and safe conduit for her devotions. I wonder what it's like right now for Nonee--seeing Mary, Christ, her sisters, face to face, and whole again. No tears of sorrow or pain. I am so glad her struggle is over. And selfishly I am sad for my loss.

My family will gather to say "goodbye" together in a memorial service on St. Patrick's day. I don't think there is any mistake in the fact that I have a plane ticket for that date--but the destination is Haiti, not California. Lord, why??? Why this timing? Why when we were going to get to see Nonee in just a couple of months before moving to Houston is she gone from us? And why call me to go to Haiti to serve you in a hurting place, instead of to the place where I am hurting? Nonee was excited for me to go--we talked about it last week. And now it will cost me the experience of the last family gathering with Nonee at its center. This hurts and I hope I get some glimpse as to what your purposes are in it.

My Nonee was beautiful and funny and she taught me to love God and the church and my family. I'm fearful like she was, prone to stubbornness, and oversensitivity. Is hypochondria and anxiety genetic? I think I get it from her if it is. But oh, if there is any of her gentle spirit, her grace and her sparkle in me, I can only thank God for every last drop of it.

Nonee, I love you. The world is smaller without you in it and my heart carries more ache, but I would not give any of that up for one fewer day with you. Thank you, Lord, for my Nonee, for every day of her life that you ordained and blessed us with. Your mercies are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

February 15, 2012

Love Day

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
Sweet Noah called me out to the front yard the other day to show me something. He said, "Happy Valentimes Day!" Look at the footprints in the snow...see it? My little guy made a valentine for me all by himself--no direction, no crafty supplies, just the sweetest heart and some careful steps in a shape that spoke volumes to his mommy. I think this was the most precious valentine I've ever received.

January 17, 2012

Double Digits

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
Sweet Abby turned 10 years old yesterday! We were all glad that she had the day off from school to hang out. Reflecting on this tenth year, Abby said that one of the biggest highlights of the year was getting her kitten, Ellie. They are fast friends, and Ellie can often be found snoozing at Abby's feet, or waiting in the window for her to come home from school.

Abby's experience of life has been different from a lot of her friends around here. Matthew and I married young and had Abby when we were 24 and 25. We had just started grad school and the long road to figuring out what kind of work we would do (we're still on that long road eleven years later...). So our lives have held uncertainty and cross-country moves, long seasons of job searches and impending change, living far from family, and always budget constrained. Matthew and I are both good at some things and lousy at others, and in the places where our "lousy" overlaps, there are these gaps that make life more challenging. We're not great at being consistent and intentional about traditions. Not great planners. So much of life feels ad hoc, a little last minute, a little chaotic. Matthew is in his head a lot and I am "available" to the kids but feel stunned and dazed by the pace of life and of the kids' questions. I rarely have an immediate answer to any question--needing to say the words back to myself at least once before answering (can. Noah. get. chocolate. milk. UH, yes, I think so. Can he? Wait, no. We never have chocolate milk. Is there chocolate milk in the fridge? How did it get there? Or are they planning to melt chocolate and make chocolate milk?). This makes me a frustrating person to ask a question of, I bet. But they keep asking.

It would seem that Matthew can answer every question asked. Usually without looking up the answer. ANd we all wonder how in the world he knows that answer too...

So chaos, creativity, clutter and a simultaneous aversion to clutter (and no budget for hiring someone to help with it) make us a family always just a little bit unkempt.

Abby is the product of all of that plus a ton of love. She's grown up with the security of a mom and dad who love each other and who try very hard to trust God and love the gifts He has given us. We point her to Christ when she's sad, when we're confused, when things are great but our hearts are not grateful. So she has this wildness to her--she has the creativity without the same hang-ups we have. She is smart but doesn't think that a PhD is impossible to get (nor is she sure she'd want one or that it matters right now for her to know either way). She is easily frustrated, has high expectations of herself when it comes to drawing and creating with her hands. Her feelings are easily hurt and she is annoyed by kids at school, but she comes home and shares her heart without holding back. And then she feels better.

Abby is loving, intense, capable of more than she realizes, clever, funny, blessed, healthy, modest, energetic, prone to headaches and bellyaches (especially when she needs to clean up her room). She's not tidy--she's way too busy and creative for that. She's a good friend, loves to spoon and snuggle. She's learning to be an encourager. She is beautiful.

Happy Birthday, precious Abby, we love you so much.

September 29, 2011

First Day of Pre-K!

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
Noah Bean started pre-K. Is it possible this little guy will be in Kindergarten in just a year? His language skills have exploded this year and so has his sense of humor! He's as loving as ever, gives kisses he calls "smakerals," loves to play chase, and snuggles every morning. How he managed to get a Jersey accent is beyond me, but hopefully we will remedy that with time :)

A quick Noah interview:

G: Noah, who is your best friend right now?
N: Well, I am a horsey cowboy, and I am riding a horse. Daddy! Daddy is my best friend.

G: What things do you like to eat?
N: Um, broccoli and cheese and pizza.

G:What do you like to do?
N: I like to play with my toys.

G: What makes you happy?
N: WHen you get me a lollipop, some brand new toys, and cherry picker trucks, and tree picker trucks.

G: will you tell me a story?
N:Twinkle twinkle little star. My horses are all locked in the fence. Once upon a time there was a little chicky crossing the lake and then he would go back to the farm with the eggs and the chickies and the mommy chick. That is a story.

Once upon a time there was a BIG daddy chicky, um, and he got some food for the babies; and once upon a time there was a little birdy going in its nest and then the mommy and the daddy were getting some food for the baby. that's a story?

Once upon a time there was a tiny chicken and he crossed the lake and then he went "cock-a-doodle-dooooo" and waked up all the animals on the farm.

Once upon a time there was a big truck coming and he took all the horses to the dancing party and they danced and danced and danced. The End.

Well, a decidedly famish bent to these stories this morning. Yesterday it was space travel, the day before race cars and diggers. I love the variety.

September 15, 2011

4th grader!

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
Here is our sweet girl on her first day of FOURTH GRADE! I really think Abby is destined to do something creative and whimsical. Something that makes the world more beautiful and interesting. The night before school started, we were talking about life, identity, school...Abby said: "We are a family of geeks. Daddy is a bike/computer geek, mommy is a sewing geek, Noah is a car and truck geek, and I am a crafty clothes and fabric designing geek." She then said, "I'm not popular, but I like me." Abby's sense of style is so much more bold than mine, and I can say with confidence that she is her own person! For day one, she chose blue tights, jean shorts, a yellow top and a tomato red coat. (Today she has her lime green shoes on to go with her curious george t-shirt). I love this kid! LOVE LOVE LOVE her.

July 4, 2011

who needs fireworks?

Happy Fourth everybody! It would seem that we are still in the phase of life during which our kids are wiped out and asleep by 9pm when fireworks get going. Last year Noah buried his head on me, held my hands to his hears and cried during the fireworks show; this year we decided to have a mellow and fun evening with friends and let the kids go to bed at a normal hour.

We joined our friends Andrea & Todd (and their boys) and Sharri & Bob (and their kids) for a BBQ, some swimming, and relaxing. Well, relaxing was the plan. And it happened eventually, but before that, we had a big mess to deal with. I relate this story in part so that nobody thinks life for the four of us is perfect or that we have perfect kids or that we don't ever seem to deal with setbacks and messes. I hope I don't give that impression--but lots of my posts are written when I am cheerful or otherwise feeling proud or loving. I relate this also in part because I don't have a journal and I want to remember some of these ridiculous moments too.

So we arrive at our friends' lovely home and everyone runs off to play or chat or cook or drink sangria. Noah heads straight for the den with the awesome collection of legos and trucks. Before heading to the kitchen to join the grown-ups, I said to Noah "Sweetie, if you need to go potty, you have to use the bathroom. It is right here. Do you see the potty? OK. Do not tee tee or poop in your pants. Understand?" I said this to him because we've had a few accidents at home of late, despite Noah being potty trained for quite some time. Anyway, fast forward 15 minutes. Noah has been quiet (not unusual especially if he is playing with new toys), and I decide to check on him. I knew it the moment I saw the look on his face. Noah had pooped in his (white, clean) pants.

Not 20 minutes into the party and I am cleaning up my wailing kid in the bathroom as five other kids are listening at the door and wondering what I am doing to the poor kid. They should have been wondering what he was doing to me. Now, this poop was not a friendly, easy, just shake it out of the undies into the potty kind of poop. It was voluminous, stinky, and fully blown out of his undies. Matthew got the unsavory job of running the clothing outside to be hosed off. He returned to me and said "that was an epic poop." "Yes, it was," I said as I finished bathing a naked Noah in our friends' marble sink and tried to let compassion win over frustration and anger with my kid, who clearly was embarrassed and sad. Well, he recovered. No more accidents after that. He played, swam, ate, and played some more. We borrowed clothes and made the best of it. And our friends laughed the whole thing off without a second thought.

Sigh. Well, the kids are asleep, Matty and I got to enjoy eating some leftover peach cake that he made--from scratch, of course (DELICIOUS!!!), and--now the part that makes you think we really are some kind of 50's TV family--the evening ended with my sweet husband watching a movie with me while helping me baste a quilt with hundreds of safety pins. Not kidding. He knew I wasn't looking forward to it and offered to help. How sweet is that? So no traditional fireworks this fourth of July, but still plenty of spectacular moments.

June 22, 2011

Such a Good Daddy

Father's Day morning:

G: Abby, what is one of your favorite things about daddy?
A: He is FUNNY.

G: Noah, what do you love about daddy?
N: He makes things!

Both of these are true of Matthew. But what seems really interesting to me is that these describe Matthew at his happiest and most fulfilled moments. I love that the kiddos value and recognize a happy daddy who is funny and who makes things! Matthew's gifts are not lost on this family; we really are blessed when he is using those gifts and enjoying the process! I love that when something is broken, Noah says "that's ok. Daddy can fix this." Or that when I hear true cackling coming from the family room, I can be certain to find Matthew and the kids clobbering each other or playing a game or watching kittens on you tube.

This has been a tough year for Matthew in terms of feeling personally fulfilled and able to use his creativity. And that has taken its toll on his levity. But it would seem that these kiddos bring out the best in him and provide the most lovely glimpses and reminders of Matthew's best self. I am very grateful for Matthew, for our kids, and for the way God gives us hope by giving us meaningful relationships. Happy Father's Day, baby. It's a good thing you're a daddy.

June 5, 2011

Practice 5K!

Superstar Abby ran her practice 5K this weekend in preparation for next week's official 5K. She ran this one 5 minutes faster than her 5K last Spring! We are so proud of Abby for taking on the challenge and the fun of being a part of Girls on the Run two seasons in a row now! And we are loving watching our girl grow in confidence and grace. WoooHoooooo! Go Abby!!!

Check out the pictures posted on flickr...

April 11, 2011

Four Years Old today!

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
Sweet Noah is such a grown up little boy now! He is clever and snuggly, busy and imaginative, empathetic and ALL about his cars...

He says hilarious things. Yesterday he was jumping in a bounce house and fell out of the entry way, dusted himself off and said: "Hmm, I misjudged that!" He loves to say prayers, most often thanking God "For my family and for my house and for my toys."

Most early mornings he ends up getting in our bed to warm up and snuggle before having a bowl (or three) of cereal. Noah loves to help. His current favorite jobs are: unlocking the front door with the keys, answering the door when someone knocks, filling water cups at dinner time, and gathering his cars into a wagon to take them to another room. He drags fallen limbs to the street, carries baskets of laundry, and loves to use the spray bottle to wash anything in sight.

Noah adds so much to our lives! Abby said of him, a few months ago: "Without Noah our lives would be gray. With him, life is hot pink!"

We've had a great day today celebrating him with his pre-k buddies (Daddy, Abby, and Mommy were all there!), and tonight we'll have cake and presents at home!
But before all of that I'll take a sec to ask Noah some questions:

What is your favorite color? "Blue. That is my favorite color, blue."

Who is your best friend: "Abby"

What is your favorite thing to eat? "Jelly Beans. They're sweet." (I think he's had them at twice in his life)

What do you want to do when you grow up? "I wanna be a fireman to drive the big fire trucks at the fire department."

Do you like animals? "Yes." (favorite is a lion today)

What's your favorite thing to do in the daytime" "Eat snowballs"

What do you dream about? "Um, machines and elevators and dump trucks. They make loud sounds in your ears and they are very very so so loud!"

April 4, 2011

Eats with an Audience

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
And sleeps, plays, travels, chats, bathes, LIVES with an audience. Noah is seriously attached to these cars (from the movie, Cars). He lines them up, races ("vrooms") them, you name it. Many a night I wake up to the sound of cars crashing to the wood floor out of his bed after he rolls over. If his hair were not so short, I'd have to check it for cars.

cute haircut for Abbs

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
Abby is a happy camper these days, and this new haircut seems to mirror her new carefree feelings. Isn't she adorable?

March 11, 2011

A Mia Sighting!!

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
Living on the "other" coast has meant visits from family are especially savored. We got to see Mom, who made it here for Abby's 9th b-day! The first day of her trip she spent holding down the fort with the kids as a crew dug out the 550 gallon oil tank from under our driveway. This was NOT how I wanted her trip to start; the tank removal company had been putting us off for months and this day worked--for them. Turns out it was a blessing in disguise because the kids were having a blast when they otherwise would have been miserable, since the tank removal became tricky and I had my hands full with that.

Thankfully the rest of the trip was more fun. We toured Princeton and had a most delicious dinner in Hopewell. Matty car and kiddo sat while mom and I snuck away to look at some antique shops and laugh about life a little. It was great to have her see where we live and meet our friends here!

Nothing prepares me for Abby's tears when her Mia has to go home. I mean, I know they are coming, but oh it is sad to see her hurt. And it is sad to live too far from family. But we continue to be grateful for the visits and opportunities to stay connected. Now if we could only get my sis and her kiddo out here...

March 5, 2011

Abby did turn 9 in January...

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
I just haven't been blogging. I need to write a catch-up post, because we have been SUPER busy. But for now, I'll just post this adorable game Abby made for her b-day party (which included having her buddies decorate lots of cupcakes. And eat them.) Abby drew a cartoon version of herself. I helped her color it in (though she doesn't need my help any more; she is a great little artist!). Then her buddies colored in cupcakes and "pinned" (stuck) them on with magnets--with the goal of putting the cupcake in Abby's hand. There will be no pinning of tails on donkeys here. Not when Abby can come up with stuff like this!

Happy b-day, Abbs! You are our delight!

I've got a pocket full of sunshine

Originally uploaded by gennabby.
His name is Noah. A few days ago as he was laying on the ground (eye-level with his cars, of course), and I was sitting at my sewing machine, Noah looked at me and said: "Mommy, I love you in the night and I love you in the day." It was a hug and kiss-fest after that.

Oh, and the day before that, he ran out to the dining room and (out of the blue) said to his sister with great excitement and purpose: "Abby, do you need rescuing?!"

(He has his moments of disobedience and whininess too--pretty much all of today was an example of that--but for the most part he is a very sweet kiddo).

January 4, 2011

Are you smarter than a 3rd grader?

Abby was doing her homework this afternoon and said: "Mommy, they don't give you enough information in this question."

Here is the question: "Mary is making lemonade for lunch. There are 5 people having lunch. Each person's glass holds 9 ounces. A can of lemonade makes 32 ounces. Will Mary have enough lemonade for everyone? Explain why or why not."

She was right! How can one answer this question without knowing the amount of lemonade Mary has?

Matthew told her to give as her answer: "Yellow Dump Truck" and when the teacher asks her why she wrote that nonsense, to tell her "Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer." I gasped. Matthew snickered. Abby giggled.

December 13, 2010


Originally uploaded by gennabby.
In her take-home folder today was this most precious card from Abby, expressing what she is thankful for:

"I am thankful for my 3 year old brother. His little hands keep me warm at night. When he tells me he loves me it warms my heart. I can not think of a better time than with my 3 year old brother, Noah, my sweet heart."

My cup runneth over.