Monday, March 31, 2008

Breezy News

Spring is here....

The boys are playing many hours out-of-doors now, which is a huge blessing. They really expend a good amount of energy climbing, digging, roaming. Ranne frequently brings treasures to the door, such as snail shells and seed pods. I put them in a special bowl in the house so he seems encouraged to continue. Today I found him on his belly, talking to a wasp that was on the ground trying to keep from being blown away in the constant spring winds.

Both boys fell out of chairs today. Toby has begun to climb so it will probably happen fairly often for a while. He's a determined fellow. He's still a cuddle bug, which is great. He's still nursing socks, which is strange. And, he's a big, little whiner. Hm. Got that from me, most likely. Time for me to repent, I suppose. He's also filled the pipes that allow us to turn the on sprinklers with rocks. If anyone has ideas on removing those rocks, let me know. I'm thinking the try the shop vac.

Ranne continues to have a long attention span. We are now going through the original Pooh book by E. Shepard. A chapter a night covers the time between Toby's retiring and Ranne's. There are several poems written too, from other books, that I think to post as they are either beautiful or ideal to describe our boys thoughts in a day.

Tonight we had some good teaching time playing with foam blocks a friend gave Toby for his birthday. They're great for showing Ranne numbers and letters as well as helping Toby with colors and a little dexterity.

Scott has the kitchen torn apart, or at least the floor. He also has taken the door out between garage and back patio. There are lots of big plans floating around this place. Hopefully they will come to fruition quickly. But, our kitchen was so inconvenient anyway, it's not a huge deal for it to be in chaos. However, having people over will prove difficult for some time. We found a new faucet for the kitchen. This weekend he shops for a new back door. Jason's help with plumbing was a big deal. We're grateful.

Otherwise, time is consumed with Scott's work. Today we've been working on preparing the LifeLine mailings, their occasional bulletin to supporters. If anyone wants one, let me know. Last Friday night, Scott and Garrett worked at the Spring BBQ on Johnson field. I guess it was an effort to sign people on campus up for the Spring Slam, which is a big volley tournament for UNM set up by the CSC at the end of April. On the 20th, we go to Santa Fe for another friendly visit to a supporting church. I believe they're helping with the youth area-wide up there. After that, the guys are working on a big weekend youth "Explosion" with one of the churches on the Westside, Riverside.

Grilling burgers, playing games

Chillin' in the freezing wind, frying bread on the grill

Garrett 'n' Jessie's son showing off his toy and Briana and Jessie trying to stay warm.

I'm off to re-seal those newsletters, which are folded, so they can be mailed on the morrow. Good night.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The FLOP Side

Well, Houston, here we don't come. Ranne woke to the stomach flu, his third bout in three months. He's become so used to it, he curls up at the end of his bed and talks in a high voice, indicating something's not right. He doesn't know enough, however, to use a bowl or toilet, so we wake to a mess to clean and a poor, tired little boy. As we clean him up, he verbally goes through the routine saying, "Poor boy. Mama, I need a clean shirt and someone needs to wash my sheets. Will you get me a bowl please...."

Anyway, please pray for him again. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Awed by You

Yesterday was so fun! Scott took the day off for all the work he did last week. We had a cooked breakfast together, immediately went appliance shopping (not so fun, but productive), and then from there dropped the boys off so we could attend a luncheon provided by Mr. McCall for Congressman Steve Pearce. Mr. Pearce spoke in Q&A format, for the most part, which was fun. He was very good at answering and educating. There were a few things brought out that we didn't agree with, but so much the better for us to know. The lunch was delicious, but then how could it not be as I've not cooked an excesive number of meals lately. The chocolate cake was one more thing that has already added to my pregnancy 'issues'. After this we picked up the boys, Scott worked in the yard and I cleaned floors. Very nice.

Houston, here we come. Thanks to the generosity of a sister in the church, the boys and I will be able to see grandparents unexpectedly. We are, truly, grateful for being allowed to tag-along on this "jaunt" to the Houston area. We should leave sometime early Friday afternoon and return a little over a week later. It should be a good trip.

Today was a good day. Our friends met us at an unfamiliar park, which turned out to be pretty nice to meet at. There were, at least, tables to lunch on and play equipment to climb. There was also a LOT of trash in the sand, but it only provided that much extra fun as the kids dug with plastic spoons, pouring the sand into used plastic bottles as well as collect sunflower shells and old candy. MMMMmmmmm. Catching up was so nice. What a blessing God gave us in church family/friends.

I'll take cameras and blog while away, if Dad and Brenda don't mind. It should be super nice. I'm hoping to actually get in some very early morning jogging, daily, before the boys wake. If not, perhaps late evening. I'm just hoping to not stress too much about all the insanity around our home here in Albuquerque. Really, the vacation is well-timed and I'm grateful to God and willing family.

Scott plans on remodeling much of our kitchen while we're away. Dear Jason, my cousin's husband, has committed to helping plumb our kitchen on Saturday, which we are grateful for too. He's in the middle of building his own home, so it's a real sacrifice for them. The gentleman who sold our home to us is bringing his trailor to help us haul all the junk that was left by the previous owners (old metal, the rotten floor of the shed, old limbs from hurting trees and bushes, laundry-line poles...). The owners before were very good at hiding it all. Now that it's been drug out, it's taking over the yard completely. All this to say, we are thankful. We'll have to have an open-house for all those who helped us move, redo the floors, remodel our kitchen and the list goes on. Oh, and our friends are giving us their old microwave that they're replacing. There is just no way to pay all this back. Hopefully people will be open with us enough that we can know their needs and bless them similarly.

As always, I am awed by all of you and your love shown through your help. It is humbling.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Signs of Progress

So, most of you know what this indicates for the Free family. Lord willing, we'll have another addition to our little herd in late November.

After Ranne was told we were going to have another baby, he was very thoughtful. We took my brother out for a birthday lunch of generous and sloppy helpings of Mexican food and Ranne said, "If you eat all that food and it goes down to your tummy, it gets the baby all messy!"

We are excited but are still in the very early stages of the pregnancy. We decided to share with you all so you could, we hope, pray for our child's health. Perhaps we were too ignorant to the possibility of miscarriage until it actually happened to us last December. Many experience it. So, though we've always praised God for the miracle each child is, we see even more the delicacy and intricacy.

The trips South seemed to go quite well. Most churches are not especially excited about the idea of us being there to ask for funds to support the ministry. But, they do like breaks from classes and preaching and such. So, we are delighted to go, encourage the bodies there and try to educate the youth in those areas about myriad opportunities to serve God while attending a state school. Interesting fact, most youth in the youth groups right now do not have parents (many do, but not the majority) who regularly meet with the church. This is good for us because we don't have to battle the Christian school vs. state but instead UNM vs. all the other inexpensive schools in NM. We would like to bring in souls to the CSC, help them mature in Christ in very visible ways and send them back home to their families and churches as strong and serving individuals.

Ruidoso on Monday went well for getting to know what is going on down there.

On Wednesday it was good to catch up with church family who nurtured my family so generously when I was there with Mom and Dad. They continue to be amazingly generous and encouraging to all who walk in. We were updated on the church history in Roswell, which was fascinating.

An interesting and giving couple hosted Garrett and Jessie and their son. Their beautiful home was opened to them as well as very joyful hosts. The Schmillies seemed honored.

We spent the night with my 'cousin'. Our great-grandmothers were sisters. The connection we have is stronger spiritually than physically, but it was wonderful to catch up with them. Their cat entertained our boys thoroughly. Their two sons were very patient with our boys and one gave up his room and sleep for our stay.

Not long after we arrived there for the night, everyone was sitting in the living room visiting. Ranne reached over to his dad, ruffled Scott's hair and asked, "Is it okay if I make them laugh?"

Toby survived the trip with a decent demeanor, but definitely more serious and clingy. He seemed to get through it all mainly through his most recent comfort of sucking on his socks. He pulls them off and acts like he's trying to nurse them. He does this around the house, stealing socks out of the sock box, sucking on them and leaving them scattered around the house. It's pretty sweet, but strange.

We're proud of him. He does really well with difficult situations. In Alamogordo on Saturday, a young girl was holding him and carrying him and generally being motherly and rough. I put a stop to it fairly quickly, but he was patient the whole time. Sunday night his face was scratched by a little girl. As blood from his cheek was oozing down his shirt, he didn't utter a peep. I'm not sure if he knew it happened or not, but he handled the stress and the anxiety of everyone else well.

He always says yes, please and thank you. His vocabulary is growing a great deal. His little voice is so sweet to hear.

We were invited to go to the Houston area to see my dad next week with a friend. I believe we'll take her up on it, though I need to call my dad to confirm with them. Scott plans on doing some major remodel while I'm gone. Painting in the house has been put off until I'm past the first trimester of the pregnancy. I don't really want to expose the new one to paint fumes while his/her organs are developing.

There are more stories, but I have two weeks of house work to catch up on so need to run.

God bless you all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March Flurries

Mmm, the latest? It's been a while....

Last Monday a woman from Mountainside who works for the church with her husband heading up the children's ministry, met the boys and me near her home in Moriarty. The boys played at the town park and we were able to learn about each other and hopefully, generally, encourage. She generously had us over and fed us lunch (I had been planning on picking-up take-out to take over). It was a very nice time.

Tuesday we were gone all day, but I can't remember why. Wednesday the boys helped me with major house cleaning. Thursday was shopping and Student Center most of the day. Friday I took the boys on some errands, worked at home and then we had a family night with the church, which I'll mention later.

Scott is distracted, caught off in space most of the time. Three days of next week will be spent fund-raising out of town. We plan to be a part of 2/3rds of this. We'll see how the kiddos survive it. Hopefully they'll be napping much of the driving time. The CSC continues to surprise us with odd attendance: the same number of people but hardly ever the same group. There are 15-18 constantly committed and serving, which is really a big group. If only they could be inspired to bring others!

We went to Golfernoggins for that family night. Our friends, the Wests, have begun this venture, designing and building an indoor miniature golf adventure in our neck-of-the-woods. They were not yet finished with it, but did allow the families from the church to come picnic and golf/climb/run around their construction site. You know how when you go to the outdoor courses they have large animals and architecture that when climbed on or played with, the loud speaker calls you out and orders you off the equipment? Golfernoggins is designed so that children are encouraged to climb the animals, spin the windmill, and generally "off-road" it. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

Clint, Scott and the boys standing in the Grand Canyon as well as Toby climbing to the bottom of it:

Our friend Leslie with her boys, golfing on the race track.

On Saturday, I shopped for Brendan and Sarah's birthday gifts so we could present them that evening over dinner, which we canceled unfortunately and for naught. Er. Grrr.

Today Mountainside had an Easter Egg Hunt after late services. Most kids quickly understand the notion, and fun, of grabbing and bagging as many eggs as possible. Our boys seem content to find a few, wander and socialize. I talked with Ranne before we arrived about helping children who were having a hard time finding eggs and sharing his in case there weren't a lot to go around. Well, there were hundreds of eggs (1600? can that be right?), averaging take-home count to 35 per-child. He seemed to understand about helping others find them, but forgot to keep some. Those he has, I strongly encouraged him to put in his sack.

Toby went right to it as we left the gym. How wonderful to have the Johnsons with us lately on Sunday mornings!

Ranne found some in the bushes. AnneMarie quickly stocked up.

That's about it for now. I am extremely tired and not really ready for another busy week. A friend is spending tomorrow evening with us while Scott's away. Tuesday is dinner with old friends from out of town (as well as Brendan's BIRTHDAY). The trips on Wed and Fri sound like fun. Those are to Roswell and Alamogordo. Scott goes to Ruidoso tomorrow night. Please pray that travels are safe and much goodwill and encouragement can be gained from the churches in the state, as well as that we can find ways to encourage them as we go. Oh, and Saturday, three events are going on at the same time, 5:30, and I don't know what to do!

God speed.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Monkeys and Micah

The boys are napping. They are also feeling almost 100% better! Thank you for your prayers, all. We are grateful. Amazing how much happier life is when sicknesses are past. Sayler, we hope you're better very soon!

On Saturday Scott worked all day so, feeling sorry for us loners, I packed up a picnic and took the boys on an adventure (if I am stir-crazy and desperate to get out of the house, I'll tell Ranne to grab-up his adventure hat and climb in the car). We had a wonderful time in super warm weather, eating ice cream, and walking our legs off. Ranne is amazing. As soon as he saw downtown and his Uncle Brendan's workplace, he knew we were headed for the zoo. I was trying to keep it a secret until we got there.

Toby quickly adjusted to the routine. When the stroller stopped at an exhibit, he would either stand in the seat to see, or climb out and stretch his legs. Ranne is showing off his favorite animal habitat, the Sea Lion tank.

One animal picture was all I took, other than of a duck. Here are my two little guys feasting on grapes.

This picture makes me proud. There is a large play set at the zoo for children to scramble in. It was infested with kids! Yikes. Even so, Ranne went in alone, made friends, was patient, forgave elbows and feet and knees jabbing at his person. He did great. It's nice that it's mesh too, so the sun can bake all the grodies off from sick kiddos.

Yesterday, Monday, Scott stayed home since he worked Saturday and Sunday (preaching in Bosque Farms for the latter). The women the CSC helped move on Saturday donated $400 for their help, which was awesome. The church in Bosque Farms reacted to Scott's visit very favorably. They are interested in possibly contributing again to the Center as well as just give a lot of GREAT encouragement to Scott for his teaching and his work. Praise God for that.

Scott's stay at home yesterday was wonderful. We accomplished many things. I am slightly embarrassed to say, the best of all was finally purchasing and installing a new toilet seat for our main bath. Stupid how that can be such a relief. He also did major damage, help, to the Junipers on our back patio. Ranne received a birthday package from Grandma and Grandpa Free that he's enjoyed all day today. We will put them to MUCH use.

No, Toby's attire is not of great taste. But, he is a cute little man if you look beyond the unsnapped onesie, no pants, stocking cap look.

Today, I have shopped for a house with empty cupboards, cleaned the wood floors, made cookies, picked up junk, worked with Ranne on his alphabet and planned dinner with ingredients on hand. Seems fairly productive. The boys played most of the day alone, and well. Ranne knows he can't be ugly to Toby, but is whining about his brother not sharing (giving him whatever he wants). That's been the ONLY distraction. WONDERFUL. I like the following picture of Ranne. He's always watching and dreaming.

Lately I have had some pretty fun thoughts on Micah 7 inspired by a question from a friend. Read the chapter and tell me what you think. My mind rolled on her question of forgiveness and anger as she studied a verse in this chapter for a study we are going through. The study talks about the qualities of Love, one being that it is not quick to anger, referencing the end of Micah 7. I don't think the reference applied at all to the study, BUT good contemplations came from reading it. I thought to write my opinion on here, but that would be preachy and perhaps not appropriate for some of my gentleman readers. Hehe. I can email them to you, but only if you first tell me what you think. ;-)

Saturday the Prayer Circle with the Student Center ladies has been worked into a hike in the foothills. That is encouraging since I didn't initiate it at all this time. One of the laides emailed me with news that one of her prayer requests from last month was answered in a very big way. This is EXCITING!!!!! Praise God.