Saturday, December 22, 2012

Age In the Eyes of a Five-Year-Old

The mother of the family that I work for recently related the following conversation that her five-year-old son had with a woman who was meeting him for the first time:

"Who lives at your house?"
"Daddy, Mommy, [Brother], [Sister], and Anna."
"How many brothers and sisters do you have?"
"Just two."
"What are their names?"
"[Brother], [Sister], and Anna."
"How old are your brothers and sisters?"
"[Brother] is seven and [Sister] is four."
"How old is Anna?"
"I don't know.  She's really old!"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Operation West Wall, Part 2

We have continued to work on the siding project on our west wall throughout this year.  It has been a long, complicated project, but we've made a lot of progress.
Chimney demolition complete, rebuilding begun.

Fireplace platform.

Building the chimney walls.

Fireplace installed.

Installing sheathing and rigid insulation.

The new gas line both for the fireplace and for the generator that we are planning to install.  Because of the generator, we had to run a higher volume line through the attic.  We also had a bad feeling about the existing line to the fireplace, which ran underground outside the house just a few inches below the surface... hmmmm.

Second level of chimney walls.

Final sheathing.

The last of the insulation.


Cutting a hole in the wall for a new window in the living room.

Siding at last!

Our official boardcutter.  One time we gave him the wrong measurement for some boards and they came out one inch too short.  When we told him, he said he'd have to get out his boardstretcher.

Chimney completed, cap and all.

The wall is 100% sided!

Papa's pencil after a wall's worth of board marking.

Time for paint!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Grandma's Visit and Thanksgiving

 Grandma meets Andrew for the first time.

The table is full!

Samuel begins his first Thanksgiving dinner.

 James inspects his new toy.

After dinner we opened presents.  James liked the wrapping paper best.

Samuel walks the dog.

Samuel and Peter are holding hands!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Newsletter

From Laura, 13 … I have been reading a book by Helen Keller about her life.  It has been interesting to read about certain limitations she had.  For example, when she spoke of her journey through college she said, “I cannot make notes during the lectures, because my hands are busy listening.”  (Her method of hearing was to have the words spelled into her hand.)  I enjoyed reading her experiences when she was learning how to talk.  She said she had always had a strong impulse to make audible sounds, so when she began to speak, it was very freeing.  She was away from home at the time, and this is what she wrote regarding her return home: “At last the happiest of happy moments arrived.  I had made my homeward journey, talking constantly to Miss Sullivan, not for the sake of talking, but determined to improve to the last minute.  Almost before I knew it, the train stopped … there on the platform stood the whole family.  My eyes fill with tears now as I think how my mother pressed me close to her, speechless and trembling with delight, taking in every syllable that I spoke, while little Mildred seized my free hand and kissed it and danced, and my father expressed his pride and affection in a big silence.  It was as if Isaiah’s prophecy had been fulfilled in me.  ‘The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands!’ ”

From Becca, 16 … This week Mama and I went to the wisdom teeth doctor to see if I needed mine taken out yet.  Happily for us, he said I don’t have to do it for fifteen months.  He thinks they will be ready then.  So we made an appointment for March, 2014.  I’m glad to not have to do it right away.

From Seth, 19 … For the last couple weeks I have been busy learning some really interesting things and trying to finish up the semester.  (Here's one interesting thing I learned: There is an experimentally determined formula for the gravitational force between two objects.  There is a number in this formula that could have really been any number (since the formula is experimentally determined), but it has been found experimentally that the number is not 1.99, or 2.01, but 2.000000000000000000000.  Such precision and exactness speaks of the handiwork of the Master Designer.)

This week I read an interesting article on Desiring God about how, for God's sake, we should commend and praise people, as a recognition of the good that God has worked in their lives.  Also yesterday, I read in Luke about the Pharisee and the tax collector who were praying at the temple.  It was not the "righteous" Pharisee who was justified, but the tax collector, who bowed his head and prayed, "God be merciful to me, a sinner."

From Anna, 22 … I recently started working three days a week as a mother's helper/nanny for a family we know.  They have five children age seven and under, so it's a busy household!  It's a great fit for me; it's work I enjoy, they live close, I'm comfortable with their parenting style, the mom and I work well together, and the children seem to have gotten used to me quite quickly.  I'm grateful and excited to have this opportunity!

From John, Megan,and James … (by Megan) Life has been pretty busy this past month with the holidays coming and just life in general.

James is army crawling all over the place!  Just a couple days ago he pulled himself up to a standing position from on his belly on the floor!  He was very proud of himself, and we now see a new level of baby-proofing!  I hope to get a picture and video of him doing it up on our blog soon.  He is currently cutting his fifth tooth.

Work is going well.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving we went to a Civil War Reenactment at Liendo Plantation in Hempstead with John's Grandma (who was in town for Thanksgiving) and the Wades.  There was a fashion show of ladies fashions of the time, a tour of the plantation house, and a battle reenactment. You can read more about it on our blog!  It was a very enjoyable day!  Long, but enjoyable.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and Andrew (by Katie) We just celebrated our fourth anniversary.  The time has gone by fast, and been full of blessings.  Speaking of blessings, our boys are keeping us busy and entertained.  Peter has been enjoying helping around the house.  He even didn’t want to help put up the Christmas tree because he was “busy washing dishes”!  He soon changed his mind though.  Samuel is into everything and quite stubborn, but also hilarious, affectionate, and delighted with life.  Andrew is a happy baby who smiles at everyone.  He laughs and rolls over, and seems to be in a hurry to get up and play with his brothers.  In other news, Ray received a “Rising Star in Real Estate” award, and got his picture on the cover of the Houston Realtor magazine!  You can ask him for his autograph next time you see him.

From Judith … Laura’s life phases tend to get my attention more than the phases of the other children.  I note each of her phases as the last time for me to have a child go through such and such.  She’s certainly bringing up the rear.  Thankfully, there are sweet grandchildren I’m now privileged to watch grow up.

I really love the fall and here it is again (yes, in Houston our fall is not yet finished) – the coolness, the crisp falling leaves, the golden hues, and the reduction in the mosquito population!  It was a joy yesterday to sit on the front porch bench holding baby Andrew while pulling Samuel back and forth in the stroller.  Both of them were also peacefully taking in the pleasantness of the fall day.

From Gerald … This month has been busy for me with bathroom remodeling.  We have been working to get the apartment area of our house suitable for overnight guests.  My mom’s visit at the end of November provided the incentive for me to take several days off of work to be able to spend more time on this project.  We have rearranged storage boxes and erected temporary walls to make a bedroom area.  The bathroom has been gutted (thanks mostly to Judith), and we have installed a sink and toilet.  We decided to keep the existing tub, but have replaced all of the supply plumbing, including new faucets and valves.  The backer board has been installed for the tub/shower area and we hope to have the shower functional soon.  So, if you want to come visit, we have a place for you to stay without needing to go upstairs.

With love from the Pedersen clan

Monday, November 5, 2012

November Newsletter

From Laura, 13 … Our church put on a conference recently (see Becca’s entry).  They have been doing conferences every year for six years.  We have done registration each time.  I enjoy it.  This year pretty much the only pre-conference work to do was prepare name badges.  At the conference we gave people their name badges and some free literature.  As I grow older it’s fun to be able to do more and be more involved.  Our table was also a place for people to come and get information.  The name badges this year were the hard plastic kind with lanyards attached.  We had to use a special, sensitive printer for them.  Seeing what it could do made me amazed at how far technology has come in this world.

From Becca, 16 … Last week our church put on a conference about church membership.  The most significant inspiration for me was to love my fellow church members unconditionally.  God has put us together in the body of Christ for the purpose of glorifying him together and building one another up.  We find our unity in Christ, even though we might be different from each other in every other way.  God uses our differences for his glory, giving each member different places and jobs to make one complete body.  (1 Cor. 12:12-31)

From Seth, 19 … During the last session of the conference, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile preached about the responsibility of pastors and elders.  From Ezekiel 33-34, he talked about how elders are watchmen for the flock.  There is gravity in their position as watchmen and intimacy in their position as shepherds.  He said that elders should smell like sheep, that their boots should be caked with the sheep’s mud and their mess, that the pastors’ skin ought to bear teeth marks.  Shepherds are not called to be aloof from the flock.  Speaking specifically to the responsibility of elders and pastors, Pastor Anyabwile said they will give an account for the flock before the God who purchased the sheep with the blood of his Son (Heb. 13:17).  Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the sheep, who laid down his life for us.  Sheep, pray for your earthly shepherds, and rest in the Master Shepherd.

From Anna, 22 … I came away from our church conference with a renewed sense of the glorious unity that believers share in Christ.  One speaker discussed two threats to this vision of many members working together in a unified body.  The first was members who believe themselves to be inferior and insignificant and thus do not seek to make contributions.  The second was members who believe themselves to be superior and self-sufficient, and thus refuse to accept or seek the contributions of others.  Both of these attitudes ultimately reveal a self-centered lack of trust in God’s wise formation of the body.

From John, Megan,and James … (by Megan) October has been a full month!  The weekend of the 12th to the 14th, we went on the fall campout to Pedernales Falls State Park.  The falls were beautiful!  We enjoyed our weekend even though it was warm and we got some rain.  We had a large plastic tarp over our tent, and we are grateful that we did!  Sadly, some of our friends didn't fare so well and their tents flooded.  James really enjoyed the campout.  We brought along his Johnny Jump-Up (a doorway jumper) and hung it on a tree limb - it worked and he loved it just as much outside as inside at home!  James also really enjoyed the campfires!  We have pictures on our blog, so enjoy!

John's work is continuing to go well.  He is pretty busy.  We are thankful for the work!  John is pretty much booked up through Thanksgiving.

This past weekend (28th & 29th) we took a last minute trip to NW Arkansas for a friend's wedding.  The trip was intense (By intense, they were really long days of driving!), but we had safe travels and it was so nice to see our friends again!  Three of my friends (we are all within a month of each other age-wise) were all together again for the first time since our 15th birthdays!  We left home about 2:40 Sunday morning and got home about 6:45 Monday evening.  We were very glad we made the trip even though it was tiring.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and Andrew (by Katie) We moved into our new house on October 20.  We were very blessed with lots of great help on moving day, so it was done smoothly and quickly.  We love being in the new house, and are very thankful to have so much more space for our family and for extending hospitality.  There is still a lot to do, but we're getting settled in bit by bit.  The boys have done well adjusting to a new home, and they seem to enjoy sharing a bedroom.  Ray has a bigger, quieter office space, and I love my new kitchen and laundry room.

From Judith … I’m always amazed at how much faster some tasks are accomplished with lots of hands!  That was the case with the Wade move and again the other day when the girls helped me move our guest bed to the apartment and some of the apartment contents to the upstairs.

I’m very glad that our guestroom is now on the main level.  It will be much more convenient for our guests than the room in the far corner of the upstairs was.  The new guest room still needs flooring installed, a wall and closet built, a wall pass-through closed up, windows finished and covered, and walls painted, but at least we got the bed in!  Blinds are all that must be done for it to be ready for guests.  Our guests can use the half bath downstairs but showers will need to be done upstairs until we get the apartment shower finished.

From Gerald … We had a great time camping this past month.  It was really a blessing to be able to enjoy a relaxed visit with friends in such a beautiful place.  It was fun to have James (along with his parents) with us for his first camping experience. 

With love from the Pedersen clan

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Campout: Pedernales State Park

We had a grand time camping at Pedernales State Park a few weeks ago.  The weather was a bit warmer than we would have picked, but we were still able to enjoy hiking, playing games, fellowshiping with friends, singing, sitting around the campfire, and enjoying God's beautiful creation.
Vultures spotted on our hike.

Crossing the river at the low-water crossing.

These yellow flowers were all over the park.

Cypress roots along the river.

John and Megan shared our campsite with us.  This was James' first campout, and we all think he liked it!

At the falls.

Sleepy boy.

There must be a way up this rock...

More vultures.

Exploring the rock formations.

Mama with a friend.