Thursday, October 23, 2008


This is the number of car seats of which I am now the proud owner.




Because on Tuesday, Officer Evans called to let us know they had found our stolen van.


With the car seats.


And (PRAISE BE!), not only are the car seats all there, but every. single. thing. that was in the van when it was stolen, is still there. Every theological book, every important paper, every library book, every crusty sippy cup. Ewwww. It's all there.


To give a little background, two nights after Ethan came home from his trip (during which the van was stolen), I awoke at 1:30 AM to the camper shaking and Ethan scrambling. "Oh, those punk idiots!" he whispered excitedly before zipping the window shut and hurrying towards the door. I was still in a slumbering stupor, so nothing was registering. I flipped over and blissfully enjoyed having the whole bed to myself.


A few minutes later, he came back into the camper, fumbling for the cell phone. "Hello? Yes, we had a car stolen a little over a week ago, and now I'm watching three guys with hoods and backpacks check all of the cars on the street.  They're looking in every car with a flashlight and checking all the doors." The next morning, we discovered they had opened his locked truck and stole his sunglasses and a shortwave radio.


Now, for those of you that know my husband, you know that it is a big deal that he did not go after them himself. Ethan is a strong horse of a man that you don't want to cross by doing something like outright stealing his entire vehicle. And if you have the nerve to come looking around for more, well, watch out. So anyway, it was a pleasant surprise to find him not chasing after them himself.


That was a month ago. We called our officer occasionally to check on the status of the van.




Until two days ago. After we received the call about the van, we began to piece the story together. It took the help of a detective. "Hello? I'm Officer XYZ. Now that your van has been found and is again in your possession, I have been assigned as the detective on your case. Obviously I'm a little out of the loop here. Tell me what you know so that I'll know something."


This is what happened.


The night Ethan called the police, those three thieves were found and arrested.


A week earlier, the van had been found a few hours after it was stolen. At 5 AM the morning I discovered it was stolen (at 8 AM), the thief had been caught speeding near Chesapeake, VA. He was driving on a suspended license. They gave him a citation and towed "his" vehicle away. Since I had not yet reported the vehicle as stolen, they did not know this. Later, the tow truck driver processed the vehicle (meaning he let the DMV know he had it). It came back as "blocked," but the DVM didn't let him know this was because it was stolen. After waiting three weeks, he tried to process it again. It again came back as blocked. He called the state police, found out he had a stolen vehicle, and the rest is history. Well, $500 later, the rest is history. Because we had to pay the impound fee (on which he graciously ...ahem... gave us a 2/3 discount). And the thief? He's already in custody, as he is the same one found stealing from other vehicles. One of the ones Ethan called on. So add grand larceny to the mix.


But I am happy. We were certain that stuff was gone and that was that.


And God would still have been good.


But I am so grateful that He has again expanded our idea of good! He has given, He has taken away, He has given again.


Car seat, anyone?



Monday, October 20, 2008


After hearing four of my children tell me about their wonderful adventures playing "bolleyball" with some friends from church, I decided it was time to set things straight.


"It's volleyball. Vvvv. Volleyball."


"Volleyball," said Benjamin (6).


"Volleyball," said Lily (4).


"Bolleyball," said Abraham and Miriam (3).


"No. Vvvvolleyball."


"Vvvvv...bolleyball," said Abraham and Miriam.


"No. Listen. Say van."


"Now say volleyball."


"We'll try again later."


[10 minutes later]

Abraham: "Mom! Mom!"

Yes, Abraham, what??!!!!

"Watch me! Watch! Ready?






Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where Was I?

It has been a while since I've posted anything. We'll just blame that on moving, a slow Internet connection, and lots of little children.
Those are always convenient things to use as excuses, and people seem to be satisfied.
So here's the scoop on our lives:
Yes! We are now in a house! For those of you that know the area, it's very near the Salem Church Library. And two minutes from Ukrops! It has its quirks, which will be unquirked as soon as the plumber decides to show up. Again. I can't really blame him for taking his time, as there are quite a few things for him to fix. Wait a minute, I CAN blame him! Huh. Anyway, the house will be PERFECT when the master tub, washing machine, dishwasher, and right side of the kitchen sink are in working order.
But even so, it is a WONDERFUL house. It is a split foyer, with a family room, laundry room, bathroom, and large garage downstairs. Upstairs is a living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, three bedrooms (and the master has a bath), and a screened-in back porch (with ceiling fan!!) next to the deck, which overlooks a large fenced-in yard. We've divided the bedrooms into our room (and Jon in his crib), a boys' room, and a girls' room. We LOVE having a living room and a family room. And we LOVE not having a lot of stuff. Most of our stuff is still in storage, as we will be moving again shortly (more about that below), but we are taking 10 boxes at a time out of storage and paring down. This is because we are realizing how relaxing space is and how stressful non-essential stuff is. Right now each kids' room has a set of bunk beds (and the girls' also has Edee's toddler bed). And that's it. Clothes are in the closet. And I love it. The kids play much more happily together with no toys to fight over, and it's so easy to maintain the house. There are some things we don't have right now that I will want to keep (photos, books, shelves), but there are LOTS that I don't (excessive clothing, videos, chintzy toys that shouldn't have made the first cut, stupid junk I've kept for sentimental reasons).
Ethan left for twelve days (right before the van was stolen) candidating for a position as a pastor in a small church. He was offered a call (that's the presbyterian way of saying they want him). Due to the fact that another church had already asked him to candidate, he (and I and Edee [20 mos.] and Jonathan [3 mos.]) will be traveling to another state for him to candidate there as well. Then, if they issue him a call, we will have to pray for the Lord's guidance in deciding which call to accept. Either location is fine with me. Here's a hint: we will no longer be on the East Coast.
We have one! And it doesn't have the word "mini" in front of it. It's a 12-passenger with two benches (we'd have to stick another bench in if we truly wanted to um... passenge 12 people). It's a 1999 Ford Econoline, with...drum roll...60,000 miles. Can you believe it? The price was outstanding. Everything looks brand new on it. And everything works. I've never owned a car where everything works. The driver's side window, the interior lights... My parents generously provided financing for us. This might have something to do with the fact that it took all three of their cars to get us to church.
::big sigh::
Is it any sort of clue that I've read The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's article on Mary Hood (known as "The Relaxed Homeschooler") three times?
I'm trying. I'm really trying. Ben (6) reads to me regularly. He's a very good reader. I'm reading Paddington Bear to him and Lily (4). We are reading through Mark and memorizing some Psalms. We have been doing Ann Voskamp's A Child's Geography (love it! love it! love it!), and we checked out a DK book on weather from the library with easy experiments included. We've started Cozy Grammar just for the heck of it (I think he's still a little young for grammar, but oddly enough, he loves it). My friend Kendra's advice to just get the kids outside and let them love nature on their own has proven to be true. He researches bugs and snails and other boy things all on his own. We've been doing some Walmart workbooks, which has him practice stuff like alphabetizing, following directions, etc. I know I'm lax in the math department, but that has to do with our math stuff being in storage still. So until that gets unearthed, we're practicing with the 100 chart and skip-counting.
Lily is still doing her 15 minutes of phonics and sitting in with Ben on his stuff. All in all, it probably takes us 1-1 1/2 hours to do the "formal" schooling part. Which fits in nicely with the younger four's nap.
So that, grouped together with normal life (what's that??), constitutes our schooling right now.
And you know what? I'm honestly OK with that. Ben is learning and maturing and loving his life. Lily serves as an able classmate and enjoys having time to help me and call it school.
So that's where we are with our Home, Job, Van, and School.
Although currently, I'm sitting at my parents' house waiting for the wash to finish. And yes, loving their high-speed Internet.
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