Saturday, January 30, 2010
Isabella's been playing make-believe and interacting with others for awhile, now. But, to see her playing with her sister (and not just Henry), the way my husband or I play with either of them just tickles me pink. In this video, Isabella's doing "This little piggy" with Victoria's right hand, and she had already done that twice before I shot the video, once with each of Victoria's feet.
The Children's Museum is a three-story place, and we didn't get past the first floor this time. Thanks again Momma, Poppa, Aaron, Jenny, and Becky for a YEAR'S MEMBERSHIP to The Children's Museum. The girls had so much fun in the shoes-off area of the first floor. The rest of the videos are taken from part of that area.
Before talking about those videos in more detail, I'd like to say that my blog postings aren't ever meant to be these shiny perfect little resumes of what my children do. In fact, I've been careful to point out what I shall refer to as struggles. I don't want parents to stress out about what their children are allegedly failing to do or to let achievements alone define a person. Observing certain strangers react to their children, at the Museum, is a stark reminder to be super careful about not being unrealistic with my children, to expect age appropriate behaviors, and to exude patience whenever possible. One instance that comes to mind was in the midst of the kiddos participating in a craft activity. There was this little boy, not more than Isabella's age, probably somewhere between my two daughters' ages, who was trying to figure out how to use a pair of scissors. His mother kept trying get him to hold the scissors correctly, and we could see the frustration and impatience in the mother's words and physical gestures. She got mad at the boy for putting too many figures in one place. Then she got mad for him cutting with the scissors using two hands. His face looked so broken and sad, and he gave up trying all together. The mom forgot or simply neglected to realize that boys take longer to master fine motor coordination. Besides, so what if the little boy uses two hands to cut paper?
I'll get off my soap box now. Changing my tune a bit towards the positive, it's fun to see my younger one emulating me. Towards the beginning of the video, she announces that she's cooking.
Food or cooking isn't the girls' only fascination. The footage of them sitting and playing with food related items was simply easier to capture, because elsewhere they were constantly moving and climbing. Below is a video where my older daughter was fixing a meal, and she made and set aside three dishes for me (how did she know I was hungry?!).
The last video, below, involves Isabella and Victoria playing in the same space and playing some with each other. It almost ended badly, with Isabella wanting to take the rolling pin from her sister so she could make cookies.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Knowing that he was likely going to be in bed for awhile and the car would therefore be home and available, I took the girls along for a weekly grocery store run. Three stores later and everything put away, I was surprised that I wasn't drop dead tired and in a horrendous mood.
And caffeine is not responsible for the energy that kept me going; I'm not sure what is. Fed the girls their lunch, read with them, and put them down for nap time (Isabella ended up not sleeping, by the way). Speaking of nap time, part of their more recent routine, whether day or night time sleeping, they've been enjoying rocking with me for about five minutes, until the last day or two. Now they want to rock on their own, without. How come they're growing up so fast?
Whilst they napped, I cooked curry, so we'd have food to eat. In addition to the fried rice I made yesterday.
Now? I'm tired.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I have been watching Hell's Kitchen, and before that, Kitchen Nightmares, with intense interest. Hell's Kitchen would have scallops on its menu from time to time. It's been awhile since I've had scallops, and I've never tried my hand at cooking them. Well, Sunflower Farmer's Market, one of my weekly shopping joints, put them on sale; I saw that as one of my opportune chances to try. I was really afraid of overcooking them or cooking them in such a way that they weren't all that tasty; neither happened. Look at the picture below, how juicy they still were after cooking!
For details on how I prepared this creation of mine, go here.
P.S. I decided to try something different, with the pasta. I wanted to avoid the carb coma I sometimes get after consuming wheat-based pasta. Although more expensive, on a whim (not in accordance with my strict budget), decided to try rice pasta. Not just any rice pasta, brown rice pasta. Healthy, healthy (well, all except for the 1 tbsp butter).
And here's both of them, singing the song in collaboration. Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but this tickles me pink and I believe it's pure sweetness.
WELL, the love seat and chair, that we ordered in November, arrived today. Today. I am so excited. I like the way it looks in our living room. Don't you?!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Yesterday, the girls and I were playing with the nativity set that Grandma and Grandpa (Nunley) gave the girls for Christmas. We spent time having the kids (in the nativity scenes) dialogue with the animals and Sesame Street characters (which did not come with the nativity scenes). We then lined up all of them, facing baby Jesus, and Isabella decided that Snow White (her next favorite companion these days, next to Henry, of course) and Henry needed to face Jesus as well. Today, Isabella asked me to line up the animals and little children to face baby Jesus.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
When we've been praying before meals, Victoria's contribution is usually a very enthusiastic "amen," without any other words. It appears she's been listening carefully to what Isabella and I have been saying. Until tonight. Before dinner tonight, she kept saying the before-meal prayers over and over again, without any prompting. It's something to the effect of "Jesus, thank you for giving us our food. Thank you for our home/family. In Jesus's name, we lift up our prayers. Amen." Her prayer is hardly intelligible to anyone, even those who can understand Chinese, except for me. Only Isabella and I, alone, know what Victoria's saying. And our Lord as well. But, it's still so cute and sweet. Isabella's great at praying before meals, too.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I somehow knew that Isabella was interested in helping me cook, so I elicited her help. Mommy instinct, perhaps. Of course I couldn't get her help in cutting the various vegetables - the onions, the green peppers, or the potatoes. Instead, she grabbed the portable potty, which she now only uses as a stepping stool, and placed it in front of the stove to help pour various vegetables in different cooking vessels.
First, the red potatoes were boiled separately . . .
Then, we put the sweet onion in the frying pan, along with some olive oil . . .
Once the onions were done cooking, I added the potatoes and had Isabella help put in the green peppers.
For a more complete recipe, go here. The finished product, curry soup served over a bed of rice. Viola.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
CT scans showed that Jeff suffered a stroke (due to massive blood loss on the crash site as well as the immediate surgery he underwent, and due to the damage done to his heart) and a brain herniation. Troy and I were made aware of the accident three days after it had happened, on Saturday. His condition deteriorated rather rapidly and Jeff left to be with the Lord on Sun., January 10, 2010, at 6:20 EST.
Jeff was only 35 when he passed away, and he left behind his wife of 10 years (Marne) and two very small children (Ana - 5 yrs old and Kate - 1 yr old). Tragic, sad, difficult, painful.
However, his death, for me, is a vivid reminder NOT to take for granted the loved ones around me or each day the Lord is giving me here on this earth. How would I live differently if each day might be my last one? An important question of eternal significance.
Here's a link to a news article of the accident: Man dies nearly a week after crash: Jeffrey Wittung died Sunday.
The following was written by Jeff's employer, Baker Publishing Group, where he worked as an academic editor:
Here is Jeff Wittung's obituary:
, January 11, 2010 -- Baker Publishing Group mourns the loss of a colleague and friend, Jeffery A. Wittung. Jeff, one of Baker's academic editors, was injured in a car accident on his way to work January 6, 2010. He passed away the evening of January 10. He leaves behind a wife, Marne, and two daughters: Ana (5) and Kate (1).
Jeff joined the Baker staff in April of 2006. He quickly established himself as a colleague of exceptional intellect, wise judgment, gracious spirit, and keen wit. Academic authors who worked with Jeff frequently commended the quality of his editorial interactions. In the workplace, Jeff combined an old-fashioned work ethic with cutting-edge theological insight, wrapping them in a polite, cordial, and good-humored demeanor.
Jeff's scholarly acumen was also on display outside the workplace. He held an advanced degree from Deification in the Christian Traditions.
(MDiv) and had just finished work for his MPhil from , completing his comprehensive exams at Drew with distinction. Jeff's interest in the theology of the early church was evident while at Drew, where he was involved in the production of volumes in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series and was coeditor of a well-received volume of academic essays, Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of
His academic and professional skills and accomplishments, however, were not the primary focus of his life. Jeff was a devoted family man who loved his wife and daughters deeply. He also expressed his knowledge and spiritual gifts in teaching and preaching at his local church, Encounter Community Church of .
We at Baker Publishing Group will miss Jeff greatly, and we invite you to pray for the family Jeff leaves behind: his wife and daughters; his mother, father, and sister; his in-laws; and the extended family. They find comfort in Jeff's faith and in their own, but their loss is severe.
Jeffery A. Wittung
Jeffery Alan Wittung, age 35, of Belding, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Sunday evening, January 10, 2010. He was born on March 9, 1974, in Van Wert, Ohio, the son of Frederick C. and Sylvia I. (McClure) Wittung. He graduated from Van Wert City School and completed his undergraduate studies at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, where he met the love of his life, Marne Janelle Dixon. The couple exchanged vows on July 24, 1999, after a five-year courtship. Jeff continued his academic pursuits at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, where he earned his Master of Divinity degree. He was attending Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where he had recently completed his Master of Philosophy degree in theology and was pursuing his Doctor of Philosophy degree in theology. Jeff worked as an academic editor for Baker Publishing Group and cherished the written word, studying, reading, and writing whenever he could. His other accomplishments included co-editing a book entitled Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions, which explores the subject of theosis, and serving as an editor for the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. He also served on the Alvah N. Belding Library board in Belding and was an active member of Encounter Community Church in Belding.
Left to cherish Jeff’s memory are his family, including his dear wife Marne of Belding; children Anastasia Maria and Kate Elise, both at home; his parents Frederick C. and Sylvia I. Wittung; a sister, Cindy J. (Jeff) Dickman of Thousand Oaks, California; a father- and mother-in-law, William D. and Marcia R. Dixon of Mercer, Pennsylvania; a grandmother-in-law, Helen R. Lehman of Northumberland, Pennsylvania; a sister-in-law, Maria N. (Terry) Hanna of Kernersville, North Carolina; a brother-in-law, William D. (Shelly) Dixon, Jr., of Pasadena, Maryland; several aunts, uncles, and cousins, and many dear friends and colleagues.
Visitation will take place at Verdun Family Funeral Home, 303 S. Bridge St., Belding, on Thursday, January 14, 2010, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A Life Celebration service will take place on Friday at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 409 S. Bridge Street, Belding 48809, with Pastors Chad Current and Jim Bowen officiating. A reception will follow in a gathering space attached to the church. Services will also be held in Van Wert Ohio with a gathering time at 12 noon and service at 2:00 p.m. at Calvary Evangelical Church. Interment will take place at Woodlawn Cemetery in Ohio City, Ohio. Those wishing to express sympathy are welcome to consider a memorial contribution in Jeff’s memory to the Jeff Wittung Benefit Fund, Firstbank West Michigan, 9344 W. Belding Road, Belding, Michigan 48809 or to Gideon’s International. For additional information, please contact Verdun Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, which is caring for the arrangements at (616) 794-1300 or www.verdunfh.com.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
I'm not really sure what a proper prayer before a meal, in Chinese, is supposed to sound like, but I've taught my children to pray before eating. Here is my 3 year old, Isabella, praying, with Victoria (almost 20 months old) finishing her version.
Saturday was family time. Though temps are climbing a bit higher, we weren't sure the Denver Zoo was a good idea yet. Instead, we did a bunch of stuff, mostly of which I knew Isabella would be keen on doing. I've been asking her for a few days by that point, whether she was interested in buying an Elmo seat that we could put on the regular toilet; and I got a very positive response. After Christmas, I purchased a couple of Christmas board books for the girls for a discounted price. One of the books had a picture of a mother baking cookies, peaking Isabella's interest in making cookies. Part of our family activities involved picking up ingredients to make cookies. I decided on gingerbread cookies this time. And, we also dropped by the pet store.
Then, yesterday, before church, Troy was such a trooper and helped in the cookie making process. He's such a great guy; that's not even to the extent to which he helped. We finally, many months after experiencing winter weather and storms, put a cover on our swamp cooler (a.k.a. evaporative cooler); that involved venturing onto the roof, not my cup of tea. And, Troy and I put away Christmas decorations together.
The finished product - yummy, crunchy gingerbread cookies. The girls actually love them, despite the strong spicy flavor to them.
The sad news for the weekend. . . Wednesday, one of Troy's closest friends from college and seminary (and they both worked for Sprint to help get through seminary), Jeff Wittung, was in a really bad car accident on the way to work in Michigan. Another car accidentally slid on ice into him on the interstate. The collision was so forceful that the other vehicle was torn in half. Jeff not only lost a lot of blood, but he sustained damage to his heart and brain. CT scans showed that he had a stroke (due to the heart trauma and massive loss of blood) and a brain herniation. We heard of the accident Friday, 3 days ago. He died yesterday, at 6:20 pm EST, leaving behind his wife (Marne) and two fairly young children (Ana and Kate). Very, very sad.
Friday, January 01, 2010
I confess, I have more than one best friend. How does that work when "best" is a superlative? Don't know. I do know that I'm not the only gal who uses that phrase, "best friend," that way. Perhaps those of us who do that simply aren't speaking accurately or carefully. Or, maybe it's just a shorter way of saying - super, duper close friend with whom I can easily and deeply relate.
Anyways, my sister and I got to connect close to Christmas time, this time in person. We communicate by other means, such as phone, e-mail, and occasionally facebook; but I haven't seen her since December of '08. We were due for a visit.
Growing up, I looked up to my sister in every way. She's 2 years and 11 days older than me, and she, well, was someone I thought to be really cool. Little did I know or allow myself to recognize how annoying she thought that to be at the time, to have a little sister trailing her every step. Around the time my sister went to college, we started to get a lot closer and we became more equals than little sister versus big sister. Even though the paths and interests we took diverged and we were geographically distant, we continued to deepen our relationship.
In 2002, I got married, the first of the two of us to get married. This was a first, do-it-first thing for me. My sister had always paved the road ahead for me. Well, that's not altogether true, I became a Christian long before my sister did. I accepted Christ when I was about ten years old; My sister accepted Christ sometime in graduate school, in California, of all places. I was the first to give it a go at figuring out how marriage works.
After Troy and I got married, both of us were interested in having children, but we wanted to wait until I was just about through school (I wasn't about to be on the verge of finishing school and be stuck with an ABD) and we had health insurance already in place (those "pre-existing conditions" exemptions can be killers). So, in December 2005, over 3 years into our marriage, towards the end of my dissertation writing and after our health insurance started, we started trying. Took us one try to get pregnant. Coincidentally, turns out Tenny got pregnant around the same time. We shared our stories of the pregnancy experience as each of our first pregnancies progressed. We both had a strong desire to deliver vaginally and we both planned on breastfeeding our respective children; we shared and relayed information we researched on those topics. Tenny found out that her baby was breech and she couldn't find anyone who was willing to vaginally deliver her baby breech (all those fantastic lawsuits for which the U.S. is infamous). Despite repeated efforts to get her baby to turn, she faced what she saw as a grim reality of a C-section. An induction that my ob-gyn insisted I do, a day and a half later, went wrong and turned into an emergency C-section. We both commiserated over what had happened (getting a C-section) that we did not want to happen.
I love my sister and friend. She's great.