Friday, April 26, 2013

Picture Roundup


Burning John and Megan's Christmas tree...

James thought that was really neat!

I've been informed that I've pretty much reached the limit for candles on a birthday cake without being a fire hazard-- I guess that means I'm old now!

Andrew hanging out with Great-Grandma.

Our little academics.

Planting an avocado tree.

These baby wrens were in a nest in one of the hanging baskets on our front porch.  They left the nest the day after this picture was taken.

We had some excitement last week when the dilapidated house across the street was torn down.  It was amazing how easily the excavator completely demolished the structure. 

John demonstrating his new potato gun, much to Peter's admiration!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Campout

We just got back from a lovely weekend camping on the shore of Lake Livingston.  Despite the puddles left from rain earlier in the week, we had beautiful weather throughout the weekend.  We all enjoyed the chance to spend time outdoors and visit with friends.
An inlet of the lake.

Samuel roasting marshmallows.

James enjoying the fire.

John and Megan roasted peeps instead of marshmallows.

James exploring the great outdoors.

Wildlife-- swimming, anyone?


James, very happy with his piece of bark.

Playing ladder golf.

A young friend giving it a try.

Peter's turn!

A pond we found on one of our hikes.

Off on an adventure!


All tuckered out.

Birds over the lake.

Doing semaphore from the observation tower.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April Newsletter

From Laura, 14 … Recently I have been trying to practice my music more.  My basic instruments are the piano and upright bass.  My current goal with my bass playing is to be able to play the bass part of hymns with the bow.  I am not good with my bowing skills, and therefore I need practice.  The things I like about the bass are that it keeps the beat but still plays notes, unlike a drum, and secondly, it is versatile in that it sounds perfect with a bluegrass band or an orchestra.  (Hint: pluck for one and bow for the other J)  I also like the full, rich sound of it.

From Becca, 16 … This month we enjoyed watching some baby birds grow up in a nest right outside our dining room window.  We saw the parents bringing bugs to the nest constantly, so we looked in and saw five little birds!  They were quite ugly at first—their eyes were closed, their skin was featherless, and their mouths and throats were huge.  But a week later they had developed into good-looking birds and we saw them peeking their heads above the nest to see the world for the first time.  We hoped to see them fly away, but when we came home from church on a stormy Easter Sunday, the nest was empty.

From Seth, 20 … I was thinking about how busy I am with school, and how important it is to use my time wisely and to not waste it, and that made me remember a quote I saw earlier today: "Your time is $1000/hour, and you need to act accordingly."  But then I was reminded of a verse in Colossians that admonishes servants to, "whatever [they] do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."  If I work heartily in order to feel good about my high productivity, that's pretty much rubbish.  The verse from Colossians comes after two chapters that explain Jesus and the Gospel, and that good news entirely reorients our priorities, so that we work heartily, as for the Lord.
From Anna, 23 … My big adventure for the last couple of months was a ten-day trip to Israel with a tour group organized by one of our pastors.  It was an amazing experience!  The amount of history packed into that little land is hard to wrap one’s mind around.  All that I learned about the historical and geographical context surrounding the Bible has made so many things come to life in new ways.  One example is the Biblical imagery concerning water—streams in the desert, living water, fountain of life, etc.  I appreciate the importance of water and the meaning that this kind of imagery would have had for the original readers of the Bible much more after having stood in the desolate wilderness near the Dead Sea.

This was my first trip overseas, so I also enjoyed being able to experience a different culture first-hand—the food, the language, the people.  Jerusalem was especially fascinating culturally because of the blend of cultures that exist there in close proximity, yet in stark contrast.
From John, Megan,James, and baby … (by Megan) Back in March we celebrated James' first birthday!  After dinner we went out to get cupcakes at a new local “cupcakery” called Smallcakes.  We got James a birthday cupcake, and John and I got a vanilla and an Oreo cupcake to split.  We then stopped at the 99 Cents Only Store for some balloons!  Upon returning home we inflated some balloons for James to play with, then had cupcakes!  It was a special evening!

Back in February our garage door spring broke.  John, being the amazing handyman he is, began to look into fixing it himself.  He did his research online, ordered replacement springs, and followed a step-by-step tutorial on how to fix it.  After many re-readings of the tutorial and words of caution from me, he got it fixed!  It's very nice to have a working garage door again!

Our latest news is we are expecting again!  Baby #2 is due in mid-November of this year!

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and Andrew (by Katie) We took a road trip to Washington state in February.  It was our first time to drive rather than fly, and, while it was certainly long (four days one way) and tiring, it wasn’t as bad as we feared.  Andrew slept a lot, Ray did great on the driving marathon, and Peter, Samuel, and I kept each other busy with toys, books, snacks, and observing things out the window.  We tried to stop fairly often for running around, and a couple of times there was snow to play in!  We finally made it, and had a great visit with Ray’s family.

We sold our old house to some friends, closing on it in mid-March.  We’re very thankful to have that done, and we’re happy to have more friends in the neighborhood.  Another family we know bought a house nearby too, so we joke that we’re taking over the neighborhood.  Speaking of selling houses, Houston has become a strong seller’s market this spring, with homes “flying off the shelves.”  It has Ray hopping.  We’re certainly thankful for the business, although Ray’s trying to figure out how to clone himself, I think.

From Judith … For those of you who haven’t been to our house, let me familiarize you a bit.  Besides the living room, dining room, kitchen, utility room, and half bath, we have a guest suite downstairs.  All of our other bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs.  Ultimately the guest suite will have a bedroom, full bathroom, kitchenette, small office area, and small sitting area.

Our guests primarily need a bed, so that is in.  Next, they need a bathroom, so that is where Gerald has been focusing his recent remodeling work.  (We gutted the original kitchenette and Gerald has completed the rough-in plumbing and electrical for it because we wanted to get drywall up for a better temporary appearance, but have now bumped the kitchenette down on the priority list.)

The guest suite, formerly referred to as the “apartment”, was one of the reasons we bought this house.  We wanted space for our parents, should any of them ever come to live with us.  While not currently needed for that purpose, it will function as a great guest space.  A long way down the road, though, it will actually become Gerald’s and my space when we need to have a downstairs bedroom.  So we’re making choices for the guest suite with ourselves in mind.

About Gerald … A significant change has occurred at work for Gerald.  Here is how it was announced within his company: “Gerald Pedersen has transferred into the IT group from Tom's engineering organization to join Lewis's Engineering Services team.  Gerald joined the company in 1993 in Liner Hanger Engineering and has been acting as an advocate for Engineering with the database support team since 2003.  He was already working closely with Lewis and his team on a number of key initiatives to provide database support to the engineering community.  This change formally brings Gerald into the IT organization and will allow Lewis and his team to further leverage his talents and relationships in the engineering community to further our support for this important area.

With love from the Pedersen clan