No matter how much I wish my girls would stay little, they keep on growing up! Over the past couple of months my youngest two have reached several milestones. They began to do "kindergarten" with me at home. They moved from the Pre-school department to the Children's department at church, so Cubbies has been replaced by SPARKS. And each one lost her first tooth.

I expected most of those achievements for months now, but the lost teeth took me by surprise! One day they each had a slightly loose tooth, and before I knew it they each had a tooth that was ready to come out. I was excited, but a little sad at the same time. My babies are growing up!

I had always wondered whether they would lose their teeth at the same time. They are so identical that I suspected they might. And I was right. They lost their first teeth a day apart. Since I'm a bit squeamish about pulling teeth, Paul did the pulling. (The teeth needed to come out and were ready to come out, but the girls couldn't get a good hold of them.) They could have lost their teeth the same day, but Joy said she wanted to have her own day for losing her tooth, so she chose to wait a day to have hers pulled.

The baby smile is no more, replaced by a reminder that little girls will grow up, and that I need to cherish these days while I still have them.

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In Memory of Li"l Blankie

Today we remember Li'l Blankie. Li'l Blankie was born at Target and was brought into our home in 2002, just before Joy and Grace were born. She began her tenure with us as a useful servant, being used to swaddle Grace, and, later, to cover her at night to keep her warm. She soon grew into a trusted friend, faithful confidant, and ever-present companion to Grace.

Grace christened her "Li'l Blankie" during her second year. (We think she was trying to say Yellow Blankie, even though Li'l Blankie was pink!) But the name stuck, and she remained Li'l Blankie all her life. In addition to sleeping with Grace, Li'l Blankie went practically everywhere with her: friends' houses, church, stores, doctors' offices, dance class. Grace loved Li'l Blankie even when her pink color turned dingy and she developed larger and larger holes. In fact, I think those things may have made Grace love her even more.

Li'l Blankie accompanied us to Family Camp this year. Sadly, during play time with her friends, Grace set Li'l Blankie down and forgot to pick her back up. By the time Paul and I realized she was missing, it was too late. We prayed, searched the camp, asked the staff, announced our loss to our fellow Family Campers, and prayed some more to no avail. Li'l Blankie was gone! We believe someone unacquainted with the ways of young children threw her away, believing her to be a rag, rather than a beloved friend.

Li'l Blankie is survived by her beloved Grace, by her sister blankies, Grace's Yellow Blankie, and Joy's Yellow Blankie, and an assortment of cousin blankies.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests all parents to carefully guard their children's comfort items, lest they befall the same fate.

Of course, Grace mourned for her lost friend. I think we all did. Her sisters rose to the occasion, offering to let Grace have their blankies either temporarily or, in one case, permanently. Grace was consoled by the addition of a new blankie purchased from Gymboree on our way home from Family Camp. In fact, Grace hasn't cried about Li'l Blankie once since she got her new blankie, which she has named Squirrelly because of the squirrels printed on her. God has graciously allowed Squirrelly to take Li'l Blankie's place in Grace's affections.

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The Busy-ness of Summer

Although the summer weather is going to continue for at least a month here in my neck of the woods, our summer schedule (or lack of a schedule) is now over. I wanted to accomplish big things this summer: read several books, get my home organized, get our last year's school things filed away, relax. I didn't complete any of these things!

Not that I did nothing. I taught VBS. I ferried children to cheerleading camp, swim lessons, and dance workshop. We traveled twice to visit family and once to visit friends. We also were visited by family and friends a couple of times. I facilitated a ladies' Bible study at church. I planned and put on three birthday parties (two of which were rather elaborate). And the weeks in-between I was either preparing for one of these things or recovering from one of them (or both!).

About midway through the summer, I realized that the plans I had were a bit lofty, considering all the other obligations I had. And I realized that for our family, the pace of summer, rather than being one long, relaxing season, was a series of much activity followed by a week or two of planning for the next thing or recuperating from the last thing. The pace of our school year is rather relaxed. We don't have to be somewhere every day. So getting everyone ready to go somewhere every day of a week (particularly those things that begin in the morning) was a challenge. By about the third day of whatever activity we were doing, at least one of the girls was tired of getting ready and going out. (And to be honest, sometimes I agreed with them!)

As much as I had wanted to begin this school year with an organized home and having learned much from the great books I had read, I will have to start where I am. And as we settle into the routine of schooling and church activities and dance, maybe I'll be able to fit in some of my summer goals into the school year.

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Who am I?

I a Jesus follower who is trying to teach my four girls at home and be a wife to my minister husband. I prefer reading to cleaning and have a crazy Border Collie and the world's best cat!


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