Monday, November 30, 2009

Life at Seven Months

Stephen was seven months old on November 6th. He is now sitting up really well without any support. Since he can sit up, he has moved up to the next nursery, where they have an actual "Bible class" for the babies. Bathtime has also changed -- he can sit up in the water and play with toys, and he loves to splash!

Although Stephen is not really crawling yet, he is definitely mobile. He can "scoot" on his tummy by using his arms to pull himself across the floor (kind of like an army crawl). It is pretty impressive to watch. He does push himself up on all fours and just rocks back and forth, but when he wants to go somewhere, down on his tummy he goes.

He continues to try new foods, and eats whatever we put in his mouth, although he sometimes makes the funniest faces. I try to feed him when we are eating as much as possible, so he can join in the family meals. I have started giving him Cheerios and Gerber puffs on his tray, and he enjoys trying to pick those up and eat them. It is more of an amusement than anything right now, although he is getting better and better about actually getting some of them in his mouth.

The outfit Stephen is wearing in the pictures below (down to the shoes) was one of Rusty's when he was a baby. I had so much fun dressing Alex in some of Rusty's old clothes when he was a baby -- I'm glad I get to do the same with Stephen!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Halloween, 2009

I've been meaning to post these pictures of the kids on Halloween for awhile now, and just haven't gotten around to it. These were taken the Wednesday before Halloween, the night of Hillsboro's Trunk or Treat.
Stephen was an adorable pumpkin. (Thanks to Auntie Ronda for the outfit!)

Alex was Bob the Builder. "Yes, we can!" (Hey, it was Bob the Builder's phrase long before Barak Obama laid claim to it!)

And Rusty, at Alex's request, dressed up as Wendy (Bob the Builder's partner, for those of you not up on your preschool TV shows)! Now that's a real dad!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Rusty wrote this article for the Hillsboro church e-bulletin a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was very well-written, so I decided to share it here. (Read to the end for a picture of Alex in his new bed!)

For those of you who don't know, both of my parents have passed away. Dad died 14 years ago after a lifelong struggle with a heart condition. Mom died 3 years ago this month from a brain tumor. He was 52 and she was 64 when they died.

I don't share all of this with you for sympathetic reasons, but because I often wonder about what they passed on to me and what I will pass on to my own children. One thing my father passed on to me was the hobby of making, building, or restoring things out of wood. I've actually had little time for this hobby over the years and I still have a lot to learn. Two weeks ago I mentioned in our worship service about a set of bunk beds that he had made for my sister and me to use and enjoy. Now I'm in the process of refinishing them and making them 'new' again so that my children, Alex & Stephen, can use and enjoy them. I have really enjoyed restoring a perfectly fine set of beds that my dad took the time and energy to make. Had I not pulled them down out of the rafters of a really dusty old barn in Oregon, they would have gotten thrown in a pile of rubbish and destined for a bonfire. I was able to finish one of the beds the other day. We then went and purchased some mattresses for it. For the first time in a long time, Alex, our oldest, is sleeping well. It brings me a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that my little boy, who was sleeping on a mat on the floor until last week, is now sleeping on a good solid bed – a bed that my deceased father made for his little boy.

As I was working on the bed, it got me thinking about why do we, as human beings, have such an innate desire to make or create things? We encourage our children to be creative in school. Our places of employment often praise or reward creativity and innovation. When employers are looking for a new hire, they often look for someone or something that can bring a sense of revitalization or refreshment to the program. We are often attracted or excited by the newness of things.

Again, I have to wonder why? Why did God instill within us an appreciation for newness? Of course we appreciate and value the old and its aestheticism. But there is certainly more of a draw towards the new. Even if it's old, like a classic car or a bed in the rafters of a dusty barn, it is appreciated more when it is restored and brought back to life.

I think God feels that way as well. You see, when we are separated from Him, He has no relationship with us. But when we return to Him, as a new creation, we become washed by the Lamb, white as snow, made in the likeness of His Son. God gets to see His own creation become alive and new again. Eph 2:10 calls us his "workmanship." In the Greek this word is 'Poema' and is where we get our word 'Poem.' When we are in relationship with Him, we represent His best, His workmanship, His poem. We were handcrafted to display His wonder, to be a testimony or witness for Him.

May we live our days knowing that we are masterfully created or recreated works of art.

Life at Six Months

Stephen was 6 months old on October 6th. We happened to be in Michigan for a visit at the time, so I made an appointment for him with our family doctor there for a check-up. He now weighs over 16 pounds and is 27 inches long! He has graduated to wearing 6-9 month size clothes. The outfit he is wearing in the picture was one of Rusty's when he was a baby.

The major milestone in Stephen's sixth month was the introduction of solid foods to his diet. I waited until we we done with all our traveling simply because I didn't want to mess with baby food while we were on the road. He was so ready for that first bite of food! He smacked his lips and said "mmmm" through the whole first meal. We started with banana, avocado, sweet potato, and rice cereal, and we have gradually added other fruits and veggies. One thing I am really enjoying doing right now is making my own baby food. I don't do homemade exclusively, but I cook and puree fruits and veggies when I can and freeze them in icecube trays. Once frozen, I have little cubes of food, the perfect single-serving size for a baby. I have quite the little stash growing in my freezer!