Pictures from Fall 2014

 

 

Here are a few pictures from our Fall. In addition to the big events from the last post, there have been field trips, school projects, a visit from my mom, another lovely birth I attended, and some travels for Josh…

Here’s Lilia on a hayride. (Incidentally, Simeon remembers this hayride and talks about it often): P1010650 P1010653

At the pumpkin patch with friends from Lilia’s class: P1010659 P1010663

Getting to feed the giraffe (at the pumpkin patch!): P1010667 P1010670 P1010671

Simeon loved feeding the giraffe carrots:

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More sweet pictures from the field trip: P1010675 P1010678 P1010688

Lilia’s Kindergarten class!

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Everybody loves Nana Lou Anna!
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Pictures for a school project Jedidiah was doing. his class was making a community alphabet booking, and he had the letter “I.” We learned all about a community event called “It’s Thursday, Let’s Dance!” The kids took pictures where the dancing takes place. P1010697 P1010698 P1010699 P1010700 P1010701 P1010705

Lilia’s class at the Halloween party:

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This guy won Harvest Bingo and got a stick-on mustache!

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Lilia’s table:

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I was in charge of snacks, and we made monster mouths with apple slices, sunflower seeds, sunbutter, and strawberry “tongues”…

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The last days of Simeon in his fedora (we are on to winter hats, now):

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Kindergarten wears Lilia out some days…

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Lilia learned to do the monkey bars!

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Lilia in her beautiful coat from Memaw:

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Another piece of our Fall is that there has been a good deal of construction on our building. Our windows were replaced, and for the past 5 weeks our back porches and stairwells have been torn down and (nearly) rebuilt. During the construction on our unit, we took a short retreat to the community lakehouse in Wisconsin. On a cold day, we decided to do a tour of the Jelly Belly factory. As you probably know, food dye is not really our thing, but it was a fun, free activity. There was a train and jelly bean art and free samples – including the Harry Potter Every Flavor beans. We actually had a blast…2014-11-04 11.27.18 2014-11-04 11.40.13

We had a low-key Thanksgiving at home with just our little family. It was a quiet retreat after a busy Fall. We decided that we wanted to eat Chicago-style pizza one last time – a rare treat for us. In the end, we thought of several Thanksgiving side dishes we simply couldn’t do without. So, we basically had a Thanksgiving dinner with a pizza in place of the turkey. It was delicious.

2014-11-27 13.09.18Coming soon: Simeon’s turned two, and we had a sweet, train birthday celebration for him!

 

Big Stuff is Happening

Oh my. This Fall has felt heavy with decisions to make and new ventures to plan. It has been busy, but busy is really not the right word to describe it all. It’s the meaning and weight behind it all that has made it feel all-encompassing. And, truly, it is only good and exciting stuff! No tragedy or trauma. And woven throughout it all, our daily lives have been quite sweet and almost…normal. Still, I had a hard time finding the energy to bring our stories to this space. I hope to regain momentum for this in the coming weeks, as our lives begin their drastic change. Documenting the change and sharing our experience with loved ones seems like it will be a comforting practice during this time. But, no more dancing around it all, here’s what’s been brewing…

  • I have been dedicating a good chunk of time to launching my business: Sweet Water Offering. I have been seeing many bodywork clients, as well as a few health coaching clients. I even taught a local class this Fall – a series on taking processed sugar out of your diet. It was a new challenge, but one I’ve found fun and invigorating. I’ve also been working on my website and strategizing for an online presence with my friend and business partner Katie Palmer. Here’s our site, if you haven’t seen it, yet: http://sweetwateroffering.com/.
  • We’ve been adjusting to TWO kids in school. They’ve both had a great year, but it’s been a new form of juggling for us to keep their school routines on track and organized and to make time for hearing about their experiences and helping them cope with new struggles (like organization at school and interpersonal situations). So far, I actually really enjoy having school-aged children, but it is a different experience than being a mom to littles. Also, Simeon has been adjusting to being an only child for 7 hours each day. He doesn’t like it very much. He likes having other kids around and usually goes in search of friends in out building!
  • Josh and I did a very intensive “anti-racism training” this Fall. It was a great experience that will surely effect our future approach to life and community. We were given a lot to think about and take to heart, as well as the opportunity to move forward in new ways.
  • Finally, most of our energy the Fall was directed toward our hopes of starting a new Christian community in Little Rock, Arkansas. We are covenant members of Reba Place here in Evanston, which means that we share our money and decision-making in common with our community. We committed to be here “until God calls us elsewhere,” with the understanding that we felt called to start a community someday. Well, “someday” is here! And, we have discerned a plan and received an unfathomable gift of support and sending in a unanimous vote from the 50 or so other covenant members. A large part of that discernment was deciding to buy a house in Little Rock that seems right for hospitality and is in the neighborhood we selected through prayer and conversation and meeting neighbors and walking around. Our community here is helping us to make this happen in a unique and creative way – just the sort of thing they are best at. And we are deeply grateful.
  • SO, recent weeks have been spent making an offer on a house, making plans for renovations, and setting up a transition plan for our family over the coming months. We plan to move at the end of January. There are a million other things I could say about the process and the unknowns and the hopes and the dreams and the people who are dreaming with us. But, this is enough for now.

Really, it all just feel so epic I have a hard time putting it into words: a new business doing things that I love, a chance to live near my family again for the first time since summer breaks in college, a location to call home, the promise of new community and new manifestation of God’s work in the world. The sadness and brokenness of the world swirls around us constantly, and I know it is bigger than I can fathom. Still, I feel a peace that we are walking on the path God has laid before us. And, in this moment, I feel excited about offering the simple gifts we have to others. Please pray for our family during this time. We know that excitement will give way to long days and lost routine and hard work and missing friends and wishing for familiar things. Recently, Jedidiah said that he wished he had more real adventure in his life. So, we’re all trying to look at this as a real adventure. Pray that we would be able to remember that perspective on the hard days.

 

And one more epic thing…I got my long hair cut off!Photo on 2014-10-16 at 07.59 #3

Summer 2014 Catch-up – Part 2 of 10

We had so many fun summer adventures in Evanston and Chicago! We went to the zoo twice, to the nature center (and butterfly room!), to a water park, to a nature center and local historical center, and to the beach (about once a week). We even took a family outing to Navy Pier to ride the famous Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. Our weather was really mild all summer, so it was perfect for long days outdoors. Here are a few photos:

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Summertime

Summertime is the best. Most days I feel like I live in a children’s book or a fairy tale. Days filled with trips to the library, the zoo, the museum. I get to join in with my kiddos playing in the sprinkler, building sand castles at the beach, reading books, eating apple slices, having picnics in the backyard, and picking mulberries. As great as it is, it’s pretty non-stop. There are few quiet moments, and solitude is only a dream. Still, I know these days will pass quickly, and I’d rather treasure them than focus on the hard moments. I am thankful for this sweet life that I have as a momma of three little ones.

This first picture of the kids was an attempt at our “morning ritual” – getting out of the house first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, Simeon wasn’t interested in having his picture taken. 🙂

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Josh instituted a lovely summer tradition of having a family breakfast and devotional time. Also, Lilia and I have been juicing every morning (see picture of our juice ingredients below). It’s helped us to start the day off right, which has been a huge blessing.

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Also, the big kids are playing t-ball!

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Pictures from Winter 2014

 

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The winter is a time to hibernate a bit – to stay inside more, to eat warm & nourishing foods, and to get a little more sleep. Still, there’s been a lot of activity and growing going on during this long winter. Here’s an update through photographs…

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Simeon loves to say “water,” and he says it pretty well. He also says “cup.”

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Unfortunately, he does not really care about drinking much water. He prefers to pour it on the ground or all over himself.

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He also likes to play in water in the form of taking baths and “helping” wash dishes.

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Simeon is a bath beggar and wants in the tub anytime anyone else is in the bath.

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Lilia declared an “apple day” in the middle of winter, and wore her apple shirt with red and green tights and red and green hair rubber bands. We also made homemade apple juice.

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Visiting a new toy store in the neighborhood…

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The kids took a gymnastics class together this winter, where they learned floor, vault, balance beam, and rings.

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Jedidiah actually got the report of “best cartwheel in the class,” and he was recommended to do a higher level class next term (if he decides he wants to take it again).

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Our friends Allan & Jeanne came over for a Sabbath meal and story time.

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The big kids have enjoyed “camping out” on the floor of the room on weekend nights a few times this winter.

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Lilia is full of craft ideas, as always.

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Jedidiah draws and draws and draws. He creates characters and stories and new Pokemons…

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Simeon does that thing where he scoots back and squats to try to sit on things. I love that phase! He tries to sit on little stools and chairs, but he also tries to sit on small toys!

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Simeon in his plastic bag “boots.” Thanks for the great idea, mom!

And, we continue to brave the cold and snow and get out in the great outdoors as much as possible. Yesterday, Lilia and I went “ice-skating” on the huge sheets of ice at the park. But, ice is melting and spring is in the air! Today is the official first day of spring.

Lent

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We are making a big deal out of Lent in our home this year. We’ve wanted to do more in the past, but we haven’t really made it happen before. And still, this year, it is more Josh and I who are taking on some new practices. Yet, we are reading verses with the kids and discussing Lent more with the children. We are also attempting to eat few sweets as a family, in addition to a more intense cleanse that Josh and I are doing. There are several levels to our participation in Lent this year…

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First, there is the physical level. We are taking part in an intense Candida cleanse, that includes eliminating corn, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, vinegar, processed meats, caffeine, most fruits, and fermented foods from our diets. It also includes some detox and antifungal supplements, as well as probiotics. As much as that probably sounds like an excruciating undertaking, it’s actually been really fun! I put out a call on facebook for others to join us, and they did! It’s been a far greater group of folks than I ever expected – encouraging one another, posting new recipe ideas, asking tons of questions, and even answering questions I didn’t know how to address. So far (we are two weeks in), it’s been an amazing experience. And, people are seeing real results in weight loss, energy level, digestion, and more. I love this kind of stuff, and during Lent I’m searching and praying about how this sort of thing might fit into my future career.

Lilia eating her healthy food - half an avocado, strawberry smoothie, and egg made in the piggy pan.

Lilia eating her healthy food – half an avocado, strawberry smoothie, and egg made in the piggy pan.

Wheat and dairy free lasagna!

Wheat and dairy free lasagna!

Second, I have been taking in more spiritual food over Lent. I’ve been reading the daily devotionals at http://sortacrunchy.typepad.com/. The focus is on servanthood, which is a great topic for me as a mother of three. I have also been getting up early many mornings to pray and read the Common Prayer Book for Ordinary Radicals. Also, as a community and as a family, we have verses to focus on for each week of Lent.

Third, Josh and I are coming to God daily with the question about our future and about the possibility of Little Rock, Arkansas as a place for our family to help begin a Christian community. We lift this up to the Lord daily, pray together many days, and take time to share our insights and thoughts. We have decided to take another trip to Little Rock over spring break in April, as an opportunity to get to know the place and people better. This seems fitting, as it will be toward the end of Lent. We would love to have you praying with us about this big decision. We know that I move would not be easy, but we are ready to be faithful to God’s call and to give back from the wisdom and maturity that we have gained from living in Christian community here.

Also, I am liking the image of “pruning” this year. I am taking on less additional responsibilities and saying no to little things in my ay that feel stressful. In this way, I am making room to hear God. Finally, I am hoping to begin some hand work projects – perhaps crochet or sewing patches in the knees of Jedidiah’s pants. I am hopeful that some quiet work with my hands will help me to be still, to listen, and to pray.

More Kid Quotes

Jedidiah: “My mouth is so hot that sometimes I don’t even need to chew – the food just starts melting!”

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Lilia (after I grounded her from cooking for a few days for using ingredients without asking): “But, Mom! How can I not cook?!! I am a cook.”

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Lilia (when I asked her where her friend Chen Wu (who doesn’t speak much English yet) is from): “I don’t know, but I’ll ask him. I can speak his language.”

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Lilia (to our friend Jeanne): “I’m too good of a cook.”

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Me (while on the phone): “Lilia, I need you to be a little queiter. I’m on the phone.”

Lilia (holding her play phone): “Well, I’m on the phone, too!”

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Simeon likes words that end in the sound “oo.” He calls Josh “Dadoo.” He says “hold oo” when he wants us to pick him up. This morning he called the potty, “Pah-too.” And, when Lilia was talking about her friend Chen Wu, he said, “Chen-oo.” Unfortunately, the big kids have followed suit with the “oo” trend, and they are now calling me “Mom-oo.”

Kid Quotes

Jedidiah (after spending winter break in our very cold apartment): “School is so HOT! I can’t stand it!! Mom, it was so hot that I was ready for a frostbite!”
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Lilia (riding in the cart at the grocery store with the shopping list propped up against her torso): “Look, Mom! I’m your weasel!” (She meant easel, in case you didn’t catch that.) She spent much of the rest of our time (just the two of us) at the grocery store saying things like, “Your weasel is hungry!” or “Your weasel wants to buy THAT!” I chose not to correct her…
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Jedidiah (in an existential mood & a bit of a whiny voice): “I don’t even know if I want to be a grown-up. But, I don’t know if I want to be a kid, either…”

Lilia (very upbeat): “Do you wanna be a COWGIRL?!”
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A few of Simeon’s new words….

  • “Hold oo” – means “hold you” – when he wants us to hold him
  • “Go home”
  • “I love you”
  • “Heart”
  • “Ears”
  • “Eyes”
  • “Nose”
  • “Shoes”
  • “Hot”
  • “Night Night”

Funny Fathers Day Letter

Here’s the hilarious Fathers Day letter from many months ago. The kids dictated this to me as a letter all about their daddy! I put in parentheses which kid gave certain responses. This was back in June – I think they might be more accurate now. I’ll have to try this again this year.

MY DAD

My dad is Josh McCallister Wade. He is 52 (Lilia) or 80 (Jedidiah) years old. He works at Plain and SImple, where he works on furniture and works on doing the customers – the people who come there to buy stuff. Daddy grew up in the Wild West. His parents are Chris McCallister and Jane something.

Some of daddy’s favorite things are doughnuts, exercising, beans, sleeping for a longer time, and mommy – Candace Nisbett.

I like the way daddy can drive (Jedidiah). I like his strong muscles (Lilia).

Daddy likes to go to a restaurant just with mommy (Lilia). Daddy also likes to make his muscles stronger with those big weights (Jedidiah). Daddy likes to cuddle me (Lilia). He likes that I’m his son (Jedidiah).

We love you, Daddy!!!!!!!!!

Love,

Jedi (6) & Lilia (4)

And, one pic of each kiddo, just for fun…

Lilia making her lunch for “Lunch Bunch” – she has one day of full day preschool this semester:

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Jedidiah with his mouthful of missing teeth:

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And, Simeon doing one of his favorite activities – washing his hands!

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