Trick – R – Treat!!

This year the three older kids decided to dress up for Halloween as Superheroes, so little Josiah went along with the theme. Very cool of him, though I am sure he had not a clue as to what a Superman was. This was really his first year to actively trick-r-treat, even though we’ve always taken him along for the outing. It took him only about three houses before he caught onto the fact that every time he ran up a front walk to an open door, the nice adult inside plopped candy inside his plastic pumpkin. Wow, did he ever like this!! It was such fun to watch him run with his little red cape trailing along behind him…

We trick-r-treated with a horde of other families from our neighborhood who gather early each year to traverse the streets all together. After an hour and a half of serious trick-r-treating, we returned home to share candy from our house with the older kids who make the rounds a bit later in the evening. Before the night was over, I had to post a few quick pictures here (mostly for the benefit of some family members whom I know will be checking in for peeks at this year’s costumes!).

Here’s the group altogether, our mighty little superheroes:

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Our Lovely SuperGirl:

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The Clever and Very Dramatic Spiderman (he stayed in character ALL night!):

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Dashing Little Blue-Eyed Batman:

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And the cutest Baby Superman I’ve ever seen:

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Happy Halloween, Everyone. Boo to you!!

Homemade, To-Die-For Pizza

I have used the same pizza dough recipe for years, discovered in the recipe book which accompanied my breadmaker, a sweet gift from Jay during one of our earliest Christmases together. While I have made this recipe many times, last night was the first time I included fresh minced garlic as a topping, and IMHO this simple addition put this humble, home-made pizza over the top. So, so yummy. I am sitting here gobbling a leftover piece that tastes delicious after just a short zap in the microwave.

If you have a breadmaker, and five minutes to spare, you too can throw this dough recipe together, turn on the machine, and go get the kids from afternoon carpool. Or spend a little over an hour folding laundry or whatever. At any rate, once this dough is mixed and has risen, get ready to make yourself a couple of delicious pizzas. Here’s the recipe:

1 cup plus 2 Tbs water (I often use some skim milk for part of the liquid)

2 Tbs olive or vegetable oil

3 cups flour

3 Tbs grated parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Place ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.

Select Dough/Manual cycle.

Move oven rack to lowest position. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Divide dough in half, patting each half into a 12 inch circle on cookie sheet with floured fingers. Add pizza toppings…

I drizzle virgin olive oil around the edge of the crust and rub it in a little. Then I spoon a bit of tomato sauce all over. Add toppings – don’t forget the fresh minced garlic!! – and finish it off with your favorite combination of pizza cheeses: mozzarella, parmesan, romano, feta??

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes till crust is light brown and cheese is melty and golden.

ENJOY!!

Mississippi Miracle

This is just good fun.

Snuggle Buddies

Josiah the big two year-old seems determined to grow up as quickly as possible, and leave the trappings of babyhood behind. A few months back he started hollering each evening about sleeping in a big boy bed. Upon realizing that we were determined to keep him in his crib for awhile longer, he took matters into his own hands. And has now made it a habit to park himself in one of the big kids’ beds each evening when he knows it is time for him to go into his crib. His adoring big sibs think this is hilarious, and will usually play along by tucking him into their bed and kissing him goodnight, but often they jump into bed with him, and try to convince me how wonderful it would be to let him sleep with them “just for tonight”.

Last night, Josiah climbed into Abigail’s bed before I could even get his jammies on. As if to proactively communicate to me how serious he was about staying in her room. While he snuggled under her covers, and yelled “sleep!! bed!!” over and over, I got some pretty cute shots with the camera. Which should tell you what a great parent I am at this stage of things…while my child willfully disobeys and hollers at me, I smile and take pictures of him. Ah, how the mighty have fallen!

But now, since I have taken all these cute pictures, I must share a couple with you. Please note big sister’s cheerful new bedding which finally went on clearance at the same time as an additional 20% off promotional coupon was in my possession, so we were able to get a fantastic deal on it. How nice that after a year and a half in her ginormous bed, she now has bedding to fit it.

Here is the very cute but disobedient little boy:

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Along with his mischievous partner in crime:

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A Cowboy and His Grandpa

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Waterboarding as controlled death

Given the times we live in, I recommend this article: Waterboarding Is Torture… Period.

Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

Shocking

A couple weeks ago, I did something I thought I would never do. Never. Not now. Not ever. It’s all rather shocking. I’m shocked.

I now own this shirt.

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That’s right. I have farmed out my upper body as an advertisement for a political candidate. I paid money to provide advertising, on my person, for Ron Paul. I’m still a bit shocked.

It now sits, freshly washed and folded, on the top of my stack of white t-shirts. I haven’t worn it yet, but that day is coming.

Cussing is for the mature

I have a little saying that goes like this, “Cussing is for the mature.”

I don’t mean it as a joke. Nor do I mean that adults should freely cuss. Rather, it is a specific example of a general pattern I see throughout the Bible, that of a movement from immaturity to maturity, from childhood to adulthood. And one of the key differentiators between childhood and adulthood in the Bible is one’s relationship to one’s tutor, the law.

Is a curfew a good thing? Absolutely… for a child. It could be a disaster for an adult with the responsibilities of an adult. An adult who has not absorbed the lesson of the curfew, who has not learned the lesson from his childhood, is probably an unwise adult. But an adult who remains under the tutelage and dominance of such a rule isn’t fully an adult.

I do not allow my children to cuss. And I aspire to have them learn the lesson of that law by the time they grow to adulthood, at which point I hope they are wise in their speech. But I would be appalled if they thought they were still under my rule, with their conscience bound to never cuss. The point of the rule is to teach maturity. The rule is a tutor for the child. But as adults, if, for instance, one of my sons was married and dealing with another man who was rude to his wife, I would expect him to consider very strong language in his rebuke of that man. I would expect him to cuss appropriately.

In general, rules should become tools in the hands of the wise as a person grows up. But the train comes off the tracks when adults exalt the rule (or process, or program) above the person. Doing so dehumanizes everyone involved. Think of a church program that becomes the end in and of itself, rather than a tool in the hands of the church to help people. When tools enslave their master, the master becomes a child, which is just backwards. And it does more or less the opposite of what the Bible tells us we should be about. As Colossians 1:28 says, our goal is to present everyone mature in Christ. Yet when we enslave adults to the rules of childhood, we put them at risk to remain immature.

Likewise, however, an adult who casts off the lessons of his tutelage is a fool. The point is maturity, not liberty from constraints. The goal is mature, wise speech, not cussing.

There are limits to this approach which I hope are self-evident. I do not mean to imply that adults should set aside prohibitions against murder, adultery, lying, etc. But even here there is some room for the wisdom of maturity. Once again, my children are not to lie, yet I hope they have the good sense (and am trying to actively teach them this) as they get older to lie to a potential kidnapper.

Two Year Old’s Prayer

Along with age two comes lots of firsts: running, jumping, singing, talking, gobs of new words everyday. Josiah seems so much bigger now to us, and it’s probably because his language skills are taking off.

With age two has also come tantrums: big, ugly tantrums reminiscent of Jonathan at this age. I am not so partial to these. What I do love to listen to are Josiah’s little prayers, which he insists on saying anytime anyone in the family prays, no matter what the situation. He always says the same thing:

“Deaw Dod: ank-ew da ood. (pause……pause…….pause) AMEN!!!”

For those of you not familiar with Josey-speak that was “Dear God: thank you for the food.” As much as I am delighted to listen to these little prayers, I know it brings our Heavenly Father even more joy.

From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise…

-Psalm 8