Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June Newsletter

From Laura, 15 … For a while my piano teacher, Anna, was “warning” me that there wasn’t much more she could teach me.  I did wish to go farther, though.  We finally decided to start lessons with a new teacher from our church several weeks ago.  He is probably the best pianist we know.  I hope to take my ability to the level of a professional wedding pianist, and he has more than enough expertise to bring me to that.  I am excited to see where this will lead me!

From Becca, 17 … These are some interesting things that I did in April and May:  On our campout I took the opportunity to try to find some stars that I had been reading about in a star book we got.  A few days later some of us woke up in the middle of the night to watch the lunar eclipse.  I had my wisdom teeth taken out and I looked like there were balloons in my mouth.  I ate lots of smoothies (vegetable banana mish-mash).  Anna, Laura, and I got to go to a free performance of the Houston Symphony and eat gelato with the principal trombonist.  But the best thing that happened this spring was when our little niece was born.  I had fun helping them out and being one of the nannies while Katie was recovering.

From Seth, 21 … A couple weeks ago my bus was going through downtown, and an older gentleman boarded.  Because the bus was getting full, he walked toward the rear and sat in the aisle seat next to me.  I thought he looked familiar, so I asked him, "Do you sing Sacred Harp?"  He said he did (I had seen him at the annual Sacred Harp singings in the Heights), so we spent the bus trip talking about singing, hymns, and music.  He even sang me a song a friend of his wrote.  The most interesting part to me was when he said he had trouble singing some of those more modern songs.  At first, I thought he would say the tempo or syncopation were hard to follow, but then he gave the example of the song, "I Will Glory in my Redeemer," and said, with mist in his eyes, that some of the lyrics were so profound and convicting--"Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails / And hung him on that judgment tree"--that they could hardly be sung.

From Anna, 24 … I recently received my first jury summons.  I was not selected, but I did get put on a panel of 65 for voir dire.  The trial was a murder case with an automatic life sentence if the defendant was found guilty, so there was a strong sense of weightiness throughout the process.  The moment that surprised me the most was when the defense attorney asked if any of us had lost a close friend or family member to murder and six or seven people raised their hands.  I would not have expected ten percent of a randomly selected pool of people to have had a murder in their immediate circle.

I had mixed feelings about not being chosen.  It would have been inconvenient to serve, but after hearing about the case, I was curious about what sort of evidence would be presented and what the verdict would be.  It was certainly interesting to get a glimpse into what a court case actually looks like.  I know I don’t think much about the juries when I hear about trials, so I’m glad for the reminder of the ordinary people who play such an important part in our justice system.

From John, Megan, James, and Ezra … (by Megan) John has finished the large kitchen remodel that he was working on during the last time the newsletter went out.  It turned out great and the customer is very happy with the product!  People continue to contact him for work and want him to do their projects.  The hardest thing to keep up with is quotes, but having hired help is a blessing so that, when needed, John can work on quotes or other pressing office-related things while Paul (John's helper) is working on the current project.

James is very busy and is constantly learning.  He is doing very well with his colors (red, green, yellow, blue, white, brown, pink), and is especially good at knowing the number two!  It really is the only number he counts: "two, two, two!" for “one, two, three” :-).  We are working on the rest of the numbers. 

Ezra is now 6 1/2 months old and is MOBILE!!  He pulls himself across the floor in the form of a modified combat crawl.  He is getting fast and really good at it!  John says he looks like a seal, the way his body moves!

I stay on my toes with the housework and with two mobile boys.  It is crazy-busy and hard, but sanctifying, which is a good thing!  My deepest desire is to be more like Christ.

One thing we were able to get done on our house lately is removing the fireplace!  John just recently got the drywall hung and taped where the fireplace used to be.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel,  Andrew, and Grace … (by Katie) Grace is here!  We are praising the Lord for her safe arrival.  She weighed 8 lb. 14 oz.  We are all thrilled to have her out where we can see her and hold her.  She’s a very calm, peaceful baby so far, and plump and cuddly.  The boys are all excited to have her, and eager to talk to her, hold her, give her kisses, and bring her blanket to her.  We do have to watch carefully to make sure their exuberant affection doesn’t hurt her!  I was very thankful to have my family’s abundant help for the first week, which allowed me to rest and heal, and Ray to keep his business afloat.  We’re all starting to ease back into our normal routine, but with a delightful little bundle along now!

From Judith … bits and pieces from my world these past two months: Check out a new local grocery store and get lots of great deals.  Plan and prepare for the spring campout.  Visit John’s family’s church one Sunday.  (We had visited the Wades’ church in February.)  Take Becca to get her wisdom teeth removed (five children down, one to go).  Attend the symphony with Gerald using free tickets.  Celebrate our Lord’s resurrection with our extended family.  Take the Impala in for body work after someone backed into it while it was parked.  Go to jury duty but get passed over just like Anna did.  (I share her sentiments about the experience.  My case was cocaine possession.)  Get items that passed through our church sharing table ready for The Salvation Army to pick up.  Make arrangements for Laura’s piano lessons with a new teacher.  Prepare a large vegetable tray and help with set up for a friend’s wedding, then attend the wedding.  Celebrate our grandson’s birthday with his family.  Attend with the family a 9-hour pistol safety course.  Visit the dentist and learn a tooth has cracks caused by a very old filling and needs work soon.  Babysit 6-month-old Ezra for the first time, along with James, while John and Megan celebrate three years of marriage.  It has been, as usual, quite a potpourri!

From Gerald … Things have really been wet recently in Houston.  At our house, we received 12.4 inches of rain in the month of May.  On May 26, Grace’s birthday, we had 4.83 inches.  We were really grateful for the maintenance work that the county does on our road ditches.  It makes a huge difference in getting storm water moved away.  Our ditches were full and water was flowing over the bridge that the county built for Becca, but the water did not come up into our yard.  The property of our neighbors across the street is a bit lower than ours and they actually have a berm around the house.  They depend on sump pumps to keep the water outside the berm.  Unfortunately one of the pumps failed to operate, and they had water in their house again. 

This is not the first time we have had a grandchild born during a storm.  But storm or no storm, we are thrilled about Grace’s arrival; she is a precious doll – “a fine baby.” 

With love from the Pedersen clan

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

It's a Girl!

Grace Elizabeth is here!  She is a perfect baby and everyone loves her.

This picture was taken right after she was born.

Grace meets her three big brothers.

Andrew was very excited to hold his little sister.

Hair bows are a novelty for us all.

Peter helping clean the bathrooms while Mommy rests.

Grace is six days old in this picture.

First picture as a family of six!