Friday, December 21, 2007

Thoughts on Intimacy in Breastfeeding

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was spurred on to share my experience with intimacy through breastfeeding. I shared a bit of 1 Peter 2, "Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious." It was easy to paint a picture of the desire for milk that this talks about as just about every week Karrots loudly shares her desire for milk.

Breastfeeding is a great picture of intimacy. Your baby sucks on one of your most intimate parts to receive nourishment and love. It's about more than just the milk. I know that when Karrots is screaming for the boob, it's not just the milk she wants, but the intimacy. In the middle of the night she is so comforted by the closeness that it puts her to sleep. She often falls asleep while she is still latched. This is such a great picture of how we are to be with the Word of God. In our darkest hours, the Word is a comfort and necessity to help us though. It's a lifeline to intimacy with the Lord.

As a nursing mother, when you are being intimate with you child in feeding him or her, it is difficult to hide it in public. I know there are some rather discrete mothers out there, but even though you're not showing the latch, it's hard to hide the closeness. Also, a mother and their child learn each others cues and habits. That's how our intimacy with God should be. If we are daily latching on to His Word and being near Him, we should daily be basking in His presence reflecting Him.

A mother's milk supply relies on the baby. The more she eats, the more you'll produce. The more we dive into the Word and chew on it, the more God will give us divine revelation.

One thought I had: Babies go through different feeding schedules. When Karrots was a newborn she fed every hour. Thankfully we've got her down to at least 2 hours between feedings. During her growth spurts, though, she feeds more frequently. I believe this sorta parallels with our Christian walks. When we're newly born again we can't get enough of the Word. Unfortunately, the desire can fade out a bit as we grow. There are those seasons, though, where we go through growth spurts in our Christian walks and our desire for the Word increases.

I'm not the greatest at researching things in my Bible, but in skimming, I found a comment that read:
"Breast milk is God's way of providing a natural source of nourishment for the newborn child. Until this century it was the only method available for feeding infants.

Two complementary functions take place after the birth of a child: the mother's mammary glads fill up with milk and need to be emptied, and a baby displays sucking behavior...

In Scripture, four aspects of breastfeeding are worth special note:
  1. Breastfeeding is regarded as a satisfying bond period between mother and
    child. (Is. 66:11)
  2. Breastfeeding requires a special commitment on the part of a mother to her
    child (Is. 49:15; 1 Sam. 1:22-24).
  3. Weaning of the child - usually by the age of three - was an occasion for great celebration, a milestone in the child's life (Gen. 21:8). It was after weaning that a child was expected to receive the teaching of knowledge and doctrine (Is. 28:9)...



I am FAR from truly understanding intimacy and how to acheive it, but God is working on me. I know I keep posting on breastfeeding, but it has truly been a change of lifestyle for me and challenged me beyond what I could have imagined it to.

I pray that God will truly teach us intimacy, both with Him and each other.

Holiday Wassail

This recipe we grew up with. It's yummy and gets the house smelling like Christmas!:

Apple Cider:Pineapple Juice (1:1; equal parts)
2 Cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp. Allspice
1 Tbsp. Cloves
1 Tbsp. Redhots
1 Cup strong tea

Pour the apple cider and pineapple juice into the crockpot with the other ingredients wrapped in cheesecloth. When I make it I just leave the tea bag to sit in it instead of making a cup. Let it steep for a few hours and dig in!

Christmas Traditions

Karrots on the way to daddy's work's Christmas party today

Growing up there were a lot of traditions our family had at Christmas time. My uncle's family used to come over Christmas Eve and being able to open one gift that night. We had hot apple cider, quiche on Christmas morning, fighting on who gets the most eggnog, pumpkin pie, Christmas recitals at school, special Christmas decorations like our Precious Moments politically correct nativity scene, farting Santa, hand-made ornaments for the tree, chiming silver bells, etc.

As the season approached we'd all go and get a live tree, which had to be watered often as our cat would drink its water. As a family, we'd put Christmas music on to decorate the tree with such ornaments as Santa in the outhouse, popcicle stick nativity (triangle with characters), and shiny balls. We'd also decorate the house with lights, which we all knew needed to be done, but never wanted to help with.

My brother and I would sneak upstairs to go through our parents' closet to find "hidden" gifts for us. We would also make it a point to count the presents under the tree to see who had the most because, as we all know, the kid with the most gifts is the most loved (I'm rolling my eyes now!).

On the last work day before Christmas my father's company would have a Christmas party. It started at noon and people would dig into barbequed beef, chicken and hot dogs. The owner of the company lived on the property and would bring us to his green house in the back to collect as many orchids as we could fit on a piece of styrophom board. My dad would take home all the left over Sees candy and Honey Baked Ham certificates.

Every Christmas morning, my brother and I would be the first awake, checking out the new unwrapped gifts from Santa laid out under the tree, guessing which gifts belonged to who. Of course, we'd run back in our rooms or the kitchen when we'd hear our parents come down. We weren't allowed to touch them until after breakfast and they tried to teach us not to be greedy.

After our quiche breakfast we'd run to the tree with the cameras rolling and tear open all of our gifts. I would store mine in the biggest box there was and admire my loot, bringing select items with us when we visited relatives.

Most Christmases as a kid we'd have a special family Christmas at our grandfather's. The WHOLE family would come with gifts and Christmas cheer. People we hadn't seen all year, who mother would stress about getting gifts, would arrive and start where they left off last year. It was somewhat magical and a time we'd anticipate all year.

Big Red's family has their own traditions. As the holidays approached his family would all pile into their car, stuffing their faces with home-made fudge and cookies to go admire Christmas lights on neighbors' houses.

It was also a time to blow the dust off the box of their artificial tree. As a family they would add their pasta based ornaments and others they made as kids. They'd set up their hand-made nativity scene and window decals.

On Christmas morning they'd reinact the nativity story with home-made dolls of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, shepherds, angels, and wisemen. The first things they'd open were their stockings followed by handing out gifts one by one. As far as Big Red remembers, his parents didn't play Santa. His dad now states that if he was going to go through all the trouble of getting the gifts then HE wanted the credit for them.

For meals his dad would make his cherry filled candy cane pastry for breakfast and at some point he'd make his eggnog. They'd have a special ham dinner and, of course, the occassional kentucky derby pie or pumpkin pie for dessert.

As a new family we get to take what traditions we want from our backgrounds and make new ones. A few traditions we've carried on consist of the artificial tree, opening stockings first, Christmas cards, Christmas party at my dad's work (as we've both worked there!) and a home-made nativity set.
Big Red holding Karrots at the work Christmas party
Since we don't have much living room, we've been using Big Red's old mini fiberoptic Christmas tree. It only holds like 10 ornaments, but it works for now. I hope to carry on my family's tradition of a REAL tree once we can fit one in and the kids are old enough to help keep it up.

Big Red's mom made us dolls of Mary and Joseph last year so we can carry on the tradition of the nativity story. I'm pretty confident we'll be receiving the set through the years as she's done the same with Big Red's sister's family.

Every year both of our families would send out Christmas letters letting everyone know what's been going on with the family in the past year. We haven't kept that up thus far, but with kids, I'm sure it'll something nice to start. We have, however, done Christmas photo cards. They've sorta worked as announcements as well for both our marriage and baby.

Last year Big Red and I decorated stockings for each other. This year we continued the tradition and made one for Karrots. We also joined the millions of other Americans with Christmas lights ...which we've left up all year long. Our apartment has an eve that borders the kitchen and the lights have called it home for the past year.

We've also had the tradition of going to the Fair Oaks Pharmacy for malts and ice cream soda. This goes hand in hand with the tradition of hanging out with the Spinks for movies. We also bought both versions of the Grinch in hopes to watch them frequently.

Big Red and I aren't going to be playing the Santa game with our kids (yes, we plan on having more). We'll tell them the story of Saint Nicholas and who he was, but we feel it would be lying to them saying there's some fat guy who fits down chimneys and flies around in a sleigh led by flying reindeer and does it for every house in one night. Instead, as his dad did, we'd rather claim ALL the presents we give them. Don't worry, we're not going to teach them to be insensitive to the kids who believe... *;o)

We've been fortunate enough to spend the holidays with both sides of the family the past couple years. This hasn't given us much time to make many new traditions, but as time goes by I'm sure we'll come up with more!

What are your family traditions?

Generosity 101

Most emails now days are Fwds. They had a beginning somewhere though. They were either invented by someone clever or real life happenings. We never can tell sometimes. We rely on websites like Snopes to verify if they are true or not. Well, here is an email I am sending out. I have verified it true. In fact I stood right before the guy after it happened and listened to him tell me the story. Heath is a friend of ours from Africa. He and his wife Emie and their 4 kids are missionaries out there in Nelspruit. I loved his view on Generosity and what God has taught them about it. This family would give anything if God told them to. AND they have been blessed greatly for obeying Him. For instance I know that on 2 occasions God has told them to give away their only car and 2 times God has blessed them back with another car. Here is another example of God's heart at work. This incident happened in Portland before they went to Africa.

Anyway, its a good email. You should pass it on. I do not promise blessings if you forward this email but I can promise blessings if you open your heart to God and listen to Him. I myself need to listen more carefully and obey more frequently.

If you just have to verify if its a true story, you can ask him yourself on his blog.
http://isaiah555.blogspot.com/

Jenni


Generosity 101
Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is a reprieve from up North. I'm not sure if it's the weather (today happens to be a very humid 85 degrees) or the lack of flickering icicles hanging in rhythm to Jack Frost. Maybe it's the lack of commercialism or the lack of finances. Whatever the case may be I get the sense that the 25th of December could come and go without me noticing. With so little to buy I have been forced to ruminate on generosity once more.

I love 2 Corinthians 9 insights into this mystery. I get to determine the level of return I want for my generosity. It may be a lot like the stock market. There is risk involved, but I don't get anything if I don't risk anything. Many of us have a hard time risking so much with such great uncertainty of return. I then take this attitude into being generous. Subsequently it hinders me. Yet there is no possibility that I could ever give and not receive, it's a sure thing. It is a principle of the Kingdom of God.

God loves a cheerful giver. Yet I wonder why we don't laugh when the offering plate passes us, maybe he means something more. The word cheerful connotes more than a
simple chuckle. The meaning carries the idea of hilarious. It's to the point of being ridiculous, wild, and comical. I picture handing someone money yelling, " I can't believe I'm doing this!" or, "Why am I having so much fun giving?" I had one of those experiences awhile back.

I took some used books and tried to get some money for them at a used bookstore. I guess I was getting tired of moving them around. I was both surprised and $150 richer with a wad of cash in my pocket. I came bounding out of the store victorious and noticed a homeless man down the street digging through the garbage can. I knew I should have gone out the other door. I was stuck, the Lord had set me up and he was going to have a hilarious hoot of a time. He told me to give him my spoils. As I strolled over to him, the Lord said to give it all to him. ALL? Yes! ALL. How about $30?

That seemed like a good compromise, so I pulled out $30 and put it in my pocket. "I know you hear me Heath. I said all!" "OK!" Twenty more went into my pocket. By this time I had come up to him and he was in a pretty desperate state. He could not look me straight in the eyes and just seemed to be out of it. It was a few awkward moments before the Lord gave me questions to ask as he kept up his search for lunch. Finally we broke through and he wept on the side of the road as I prayed for him to be delivered of alcohol and other demons. Immediately we had eye contact and he was a different person. He stood up right, spoke clear sentences, and never went back to digging in the trash.

It had to be the most phenomenal conversation I have ever had. We were both crossing borders into each other's lives. He was living a life of guilt and convinced the Lord would never forgive him and I was holding out with "my" money. As we talked we were breaking down lies and he was becoming clean. I have never seen such a transformation like the one I experienced on the sidewalk of Stark Street in NE Portland.

Our conversation went on for about 45 minutes as he shared life as a homeless man and how his choices landed him there. He spoke of his family that he longed to see again and his desire to make things right. It was heavy but freeing all in the same moment.

I asked Him how much money he would ask me for if I told him to ask for anything.
He sheepishly said $20. Twenty dollars? That's all? I was beginning to catch onto God's humor.
Why didn't you ask me for $50?
"I am not worth that much," he said.
"Yes you are!"
"Why not ask me for $100, or $150, or a million dollars?"
"No way," was his reply.
I handed him $50. "Here this proves that God loves you."

With tears rolling down his face and snot coming out both nostrils, he was slowly catching the love of God as his beard was catching his emotions. He took hold of the bills and took hold of about $50 worth of God's love and forgiveness.

This was getting really fun now and I could not contain my excitement. "Actually, here is another $50 for you to prove you are worth it. You already have the most expensive gift you could ever receive. If I gave you a million dollars it still wouldn't compare to the price of Jesus' gift. This money stuff is cheap. Here. Jesus is so madly in love with you, have another $50. And you know what. I have a brand new pair of sneakers in my truck that I think will fit you.

He was a mess, snot everywhere and completely beside himself. He could barely stand as shock was setting in. Then he would seal the deal and prove my sincerity. He wiped his nose and offered me his snot-covered hand in a shake and said, "We're friends." Without thinking too long, I shoved my hand into his and we embraced. It was beautiful.
He strolled down the road with his cart, $150, and a new pair of sneakers. The most important gift he left with was $150 experience of God's unconditional love. I climbed into my truck and screamed at the top of my lungs, "That was so much fun. I loved it God. Thank you!" My 4Runner became a hovercraft that day. My wallet remained empty, but my heart became full.

For the first time I understood hilarious giving. All I wanted to do was shower this man with the love of God through the tangible. I caught a glimpse of giving when it is so ludicrous, so bizarre, but so God. I could just see Jesus rolling on the ground in laughter, yelling, "I love this stuff! It's so outside their box, it's hilarious." He probably laughed for hours.

I tried to attach a song but could not so here are the lyrics.
SONG LYRICS: Brave Saint Saturn "Heart Still Beats Inside"

"The girl in the alley kneels with exhaustion
She's guarded by the skinny guy who limps from some infection
Behind a veil of bleached thin hair her eyes tell a story
Like a photo of Berlin, December 1944
She's looking for a handout, she's been high for several weeks now
She's too far gone for ********** and the money just gave out

And her heart still beats inside
And the blood runs in her veins
A remnant of life remains
Her heart still beats inside

The man finally comes to the door, I've seen him several times
He always looks pissed off and his sunglasses stay on
I think he got his biceps and tattoos while in prison
And it doesn't seem to bother him when he says "go to hell"

And his heart still beats inside
The blood runs in his veins
A remnant of life remains
His heart still beats inside

The thought it comes to my mind, to somehow intervene
But it could bring me trouble, and what can I do anyway?
It's hard to be effective when it happens so often
To see a life unraveling, through drawn venetian blinds
I'm sickened by compassion, I'm stifled by my limitations
Anesthetic apathy, come take the pain away

And my heart still beats inside
The blood runs in my veins
A remnant of life remains
And my heart still beats inside

Oh God, we need you here
We're sinking fast and we don't care
The evidence is all around me, on both sides of my door
Our hearts beat"

The END


The word "generosity" comes from the Old French; the original word carries with it a meaning of, "characteristic of noble birth." Umm, it sure seems to fit perfectly. People who are generous, characteristically reveal they are of Noble Birth.

So this Christmas, risk it. Your Father has more money to spare and you have something to prove . . . Your Noble Birth!

"Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten" (2 Cor. 9:9). "Thank God for his Son- a gift too wonderful for words (and worth more than all the money in the world)" (2 Cor. 9:15).

Merry Christmas from way down South!
Heath

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Welcome Baby Zack!

Our sister, Carrie, had her baby yesterday and it's a boy! He weighed in at 8 lb. 5 oz. and 22 inches and was born at home, just like her girls. Can't wait for that experience!

Here are some pictures from the blessed event sent by Grandma Knifton:

Daddy with Zack, his lego maniac!

Sister Rebecca holding her new brother

Sister Marci holding Zachariah

Auntie Melanie holding the baby


Papa holding his first grandson. Not sure if he's falling alseep or praying for him...


Baby Zack being measured


Brenda, Carrie's midwife, weighing Zack

Can't wait to meet you little guy! Just a few more days!

Please be praying for Carrie as for her other kids she's had a long recovery time. Pray for a speedy recovery and lots of quality time!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snapfish Update

Me: Do you know which ornament came out blurry so I can get a different gift for that person?

Them: Hi Heather, Thank you for writing back to us. As you already received your order #38527430-06G and we suggest you to check the ornaments with you for the blurry print. Hope fully this clarifies your problem, if not please let us know.

They think I'm an idiot! They obviously don't communicate and this person has no clue that I wrote them asking where this order was as I have NOT received it.

Sorry...needed to vent!

Update: I called and they refunded my money. She said it's possible I could still get the package. She kept mentioning backorder, but that should have had anything to do with my order as their system stated it was completed and shipped. Oh well! For my family - you may be getting a gift a little late.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Snapfish Bites!

I ordered a bunch of ornaments for Christmas presents back in November and they're still not here. They even gave me a credit for one of them and didn't tell me which one. Their customer service is ridiculous! Here's a little example:

Me: FYI - I still haven't received this order. (I replied to the order confirmation they sent me.)

Them: Hi Heather, Thank you for writing to us. We request you to be more specific and clear so that we can provide you a better and faster service. We look forward to hearing from you soon. (This seems to be the only response they have as it's the only one I get every time I write them!)

Me: More clear? (This is the 3rd email respondence I have going with them so I was a little ticked.) The order number was on the email you sent me that I replied to. I ordered multiple ornaments in November and still haven't received them. They were finished and shipped December 2nd and I still haven't received them. Is there a way to track them or find out what's going on with the order?

Them: Hi Heather, Thank you for writing back to us. Please be informed that we can resubmit your order but cannot assure you delivery before christmas. For further information on shipping please visit the following link, http://www.snapfish.com/helpshipping. If you have any other questions please reply to this email.

That's just the email regarding the package I haven't received. Here's the one regarding the credit:

Them: Dear Heather, You have been issued a credit! Below are the details: Type of credit card: MC. Total Credit:$10.82. Your credit card has been credited for $10.82. If you have any questions about this email or your order, just reply to this email or send an email to service@snapfish.com.

Me: What is this credit for? Did something not go through?

Them: Hi Heather, Thank you for contacting us. Your message has been received, reviewed and forwarded to our advanced level support staff for a solution. They will be in touch with you as soon as possible. We are sorry for any delay or inconvenience you may have experienced.

Them: Hi Heather, Thank you for writing to us. Please note that this issue has already been handled by some of our representatives and issued a refund of $10.82 to your order#38527430-06G towards blurry ornaments. Hope fully this clarifies your problem, if not please let us know.

Does this tell you anything? My question: What ornament was it so I can get a different gift for that person? It obviously wasn't handled already if I hadn't been made known of it.

I've also had to call them regarding a coupon they sent in the email not working. Their system says it doesn't exist. The phone call took forever and the lady on the line kept putting me on hold and had very little, if any, customer service training. What she said that made sense and was somewhat considerate seemed to be part of a script.

Conclusion: Snapfish is great for sharing your photos as they don't charge. I've never had a problem with receiving prints and the photo books we ordered were shipped timely UPS. BUT! They can't seem to get their act together regarding shipping other things and customer service. My account says that this order was shipped Dec. 2 and it was standard shipping, which is 3-5 business days. Ha! It's already the 18th! Never again!

Christmas by the Fireside: Ricky

This is our pastor's son, Ricky. He did the music for our wedding. I LOVE when he leads worship!

He explained that he had to do something or else his parents would kick him out so he learned this song like 5 mins. before the party:

Christmas by the Fireside: Breath of Heaven

In Sign Language - Gorgeous!


Busy weekend!

Friday afternoon Big Red's sister, Melanie, came over. She spent the weekend with us. It was her first time meeting Karrots as she lives up in Cottonwood. We visited with her Friday.

Saturday, our friend, Jeff, called and was down here visiting our other friends so we all went over and hung out for a few hours. The women talked while the men played XBOX 360.

After, we hung out with the Spinks the rest of the day. We first went to the Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain. This is a fairly new tradition as of last year with them. As we walked in Mrs. Spink noted how we were newly married last year and the "awe!"s came.

Once we all stuffed our faces with malts and ice cream sodas, we headed to the Spinks for a Pinky & the Brain marathon. Big Red owns the first three seasons so we watched all we could until after 9:00 when we finally headed home.

Sunday we had church, which was AMAZING! Pastor's dad, Howard, came up on the mic and spoke on intimacy and how our small church needs to learn more about how to be intimate with each other. Last week Donna Nelson came up and shared her testimony, which was a beginning.

Howard pointed out the picture of intimacy we have with Big Red and Karrots. He stands and holds her every week. She just rests on him.

I even got up and shared a bit of my experience with intimacy in our breastfeeding adventure. At some point I had mentioned my dad and Howard noted that the church was to stop and pray for him. He pointed out that my dad was the only grandparent who was absent during Karrots' dedication and proceeded to pray for his salvation. I, of course, broke down in tears when he mentioned it.

When service ended we headed to our friends' house, the Jimenez. It was Amy's birthday and Jenae was finally home again! She had been off in Iowa living with her biological father that she finally met just before Karrots was born this year. It was nice seeing everyone together again.

Our church had Christmas Around the Fireside this year at Ovation, where our services are held. Our pastor's wife even found a fireplace prop to go with the occasion. We had the typical Christmas songs, with the option of asking to sing one and if pastor and Kevin didn't know it, we were to teach it.


Pastor and Kevin leading Christmas songs.

Dave Thompson holding Karrots

Big Red, Karrots, and I got to sit with a couple we didn't know very well. It was nice to live out the sermon and get intimate and familiar with our church body. Karrots got passed around as we sat and visited.

We had our traditional "gong" show as well. Here are a few of the presentations:










(I'll try to post others on a different post.)


Needless to say, we had a lot of fun! We also had a smorgasbord of little food trays, like BBQ wieners, chips and dip, taquitos, cookies, etc. At the end of the party our pastor handed out books that he wants us to read during a fast he announced we're having in January. He's encouraging us to fast entertainment and whatever else God puts on our hearts, all to work on being intimate with God. Our house church pastors are going to be calling up people from our groups to see what insight they had on different chapters through the fast.

We didn't get home until around 10 and then had to get up extra early on Monday to go down to Mexico. Yes, this was Karrots' first time down! I was quite anxious. We met my mom around 7 am and headed out. We made a couple stops. One for feeding Karrots and the other for getting food, gas and insurance...and feeding Karrots. The whole time in the car Karrots wasn't happy unless she was sucking on my finger. It helped calm her down to sleep as I played with her hair as well.

Karrots sucking my finger

We got to Casa Hogar around 1 pm. There were a few changes, like the entrance was on the other side of the property and the school looked almost done.

It was weird to see the kids. The ones we knew were excited to see us and Karrots. Big Red got out and played with them as he always has. I just carried Karrots around in the Maya wrap.

The purpose of this trip was to come down to see Lucia's graduation. She is one of the girls who used to be at Casa Hogar. She lives with her sisters and her sister's husband, Carlos. The oldest sister, Mari, is more like a mother to the rest.

Well, Lucia had told me about it on-line and said she'd talk to Soledad about us following her to the graduation. When we got to Casa Hogar we found out that Soledad was in San Diego. No one had her phone number and she was the only one who had Carlos' phone number.

After hanging out a while, someone mentioned that we should try to find Carlos at the Institute he teaches at, which is down the road. As he was more than likely going, he should know where it is. We rushed over there and didn't find him, but we found a guy named David. He was from Arkansas and has been living there for a couple month and hardly knew any Spanish. He showed us who to talk to so we all played telephone, calling the director of the Institute to call Carlos.

We found out the graduation wasn't until 5 and that they'd swing by around 4 so we could follow them.

While we waited to find that out...and for them...Big Red spoke with David and one of the students got to practise his English on my mother and I. It was a total God thing that we met David and a real encouragement to all of us. He's a fairly new Christian (3 yrs.) and had been led down there and decided to stay for a while.

The guys shared their testimony and what God's been showing them in their lives and even prayed for each other.



Big Red and David talking




Karrots sleeping on Grandma

Once Carlos, Mari and Itamar (her sister) showed up, we headed out to Ensenada for the graduation. Here are a few pictures from the event:

Carlos, Mari and Itamar, Lucia's family

Lucia receiving her diploma

Lucia giving her speech as valedictorian

Graduating class of 2007

There were only 9 graduates. At the beginning of the ceremony they had military there with drums and trumpets and they did a salute to their flag and their national anthem. It was strange to me. To salute the flag they had their hands perpendicular to their chest instead of laying on it. They also did something where they had their hands all pointing toward the flag. It looked like Nazi Germany.

After the graduation ceremony there was to be a children's Christmas play. We took off because it was already after 6:30.

Karrots didn't have the best time in the car. She was exhausted from not having a normal nap all weekend and little sleep the night before. She slept in people's arms, in her car seat, on people's floors and a bed. Poor thing!

We didn't get home and to bed until after 1. We (Karrots and I) slept in until noon and she's been taking plenty of naps. Now it's time to recover!

Meeting New People!

This past week I did something completely out of character...I invited our new neighbors over for dinner. I've always wanted to have neighbors I was friends with and knew, but never really did anything about it - until last week.

Now, I haven't really done any entertaining since we got married. We've had friends over, but a big dinner. So, this was a first in many ways. I made blackened salmon, veggies, potatoes, salad

They're a charming couple who had gotten married 3 weeks ago. The husband, T, is a triplet and the wife is a twin. They both come from families of 5. While he was on a mission trip in Spain his friend, H's brother, asked to meet his sister because he liked her picture. T saw a picture of H and said they sure, if he could meet H. Now his sister is married to her brother. Awesome!

Hopefully, now we have a couple close by (at least 'til we move) that we can hang out with. Most of our friends and family live quite far (except for Daja!).