Saturday, August 29, 2009

Place and Home

Two weeks now in this new home. And, as life tends to be around the Jenkins house, it's been quite eventful. Amongst loads of cleaning, unpacking, organizing, reorganizing, arranging furniture, rearranging furniture, moving the furniture outside because the next-door laundry room hot water heater burst and flooded our downstairs, recleaning, rearranging, etc., there's also been a fabulous flurry of people in and out: four dinner parties (one of which was for 16 people for our home group), houseguests for two nights, a host of spontaneous visits and playdates with friends that live further away, as well as delightful entry into the lively community immediately surrounding us. This area is abundantly more conducive to community than apartment living, and therefore is so much more enriching and ideal for our style of living! For example, last night we enjoyed going to an engagement party for a couple just across from us, that although we have only known for two weeks are quickly becoming close friends simply through proximity and chatting together most every day while their 3-year old son plays with Cora. Tonight, as we ate dinner together as a family in our "backyard", a huge green space shared by all the surrounding townhouses, some neighbors brought us over some incredible chicken and lamb they had just grilled out insisting that we try some (which ended up falling like a little gift from God as our simple vegetarian meal turned out to be a bit lacking.) In typical Filipino fashion, it required four times for us to finally assure them that we had plenty and didn't need anymore. It's all exactly our cup of tea.

As it's a pedestrian-only neighborhood full of families, it's also so perfect for Cora. She has so many playmates and is enjoying much more outdoor time than was possible in our apartment. Here are the three musketeers who have been almost inseparable these past couple weeks:

Being here has helped me understand better the importance, and distinctiveness, of place and home. We can make a home anywhere, and it will be rich because it includes our family and hospitality and good food and a comfortable atmosphere. But choosing the right place for our home is crucial for augmenting the values we hold as a family, those of community and simplicity and sharing and leisure time not predominantly spent in front of a television or computer, but in the company of God image-bearers. We won't always find a fit like this--being in family housing on a large university campus obviously has the advantages of diversity, children, and varying intellectual pursuits. But the value of community-style living that we experienced in our community house combined with having our own space and home is something I hope we can work hard to find wherever we end up in the future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crazy Child!

Hannah is absolutely nuts! We have all these fantastic toys for her that are barely used. Her swing and bouncy chair and bumpo and exersaucer are all useless already as she hates to be contained. Even her regular toys are usually ignored. The only thing she loves, loves, is furniture or anything she can use to pull up on. I can put her in the middle of the floor surrounded by toys, but in a jiffy she's at the couch pulling herself up to standing. She's even begun cruising along it with small faltering steps. What the Babycenter milestones list puts as an advanced skill for an 8-month old, Hannah has mastered at 6 1/2.

Here she is in three different rooms in the house finding something on which to pull up. She especially loves the still-unhung mirror in our hallway--it has slobbery kissing marks all over it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Flower Girl #2

She's for hire if you want one for your wedding.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Skills

Hannah has been so excited about her new skill of pushing herself from a lying down to sitting up position that she hasn't slept in a week. Not enough anyway. Consequently, nor have I. At least twice in the night, she fails to quickly put herself back to sleep like the good old days, but sits up and starts talking, so proud of herself. Since she's sharing a room with Cora, I have to drag myself out of bed before long and go remind her that it's the middle of the night, not play time, then nurse her back to sleep. Going to bed time has been very difficult too: if I don't nurse her all the way to sleep, as soon as I lay her down she pops herself upright, even if she's dead tired.

Today after a long morning swimming with my oldest friend in the world, Erin, and her two sweet boys similar in age to Cora and Hannah, both girls were so tired. Cora curled up in her bed without a problem, but Hannah was not interested in nursing nor in lying down. She only would sit in bed and cry from being so tired. I waited and waited for her to get herself to sleep, but it was not happening. She just would not lie down! Finally, I left for a few minutes and at one point it quieted down, so I peeked in, and there were the two of them sitting in the crib together, playing with blankets. Cora piped up that she was "helping Hannah." She is an extremely empathetic little thing and can't stand for anyone to be upset.

Yesterday at naptime we had the same problem, and I thought I'd catch her on video so her daddy can have a peak. Tomorrow we'll be back home, so no more missing his girls!

Mommies and Babies

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Playing Outside

One of the many wonderful joys of coming home for visits is the incredible photography of my mom, brother, and sister-in-law. Check out some of the fruits of their artistic labor. I only have a fraction of it on my computer, so more will be coming soon.

In mom's backyard:

Snacking on the roof her her beloved playhouse:

At a park with the cousins:

Getting tired:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Birthday Boy

This cute little guy is 29 today.



Those sparkly blue eyes have seen a lot of adventuring in the between years. Singing his way across Europe. Biking the U.S. coast to coast. Skiing the American Rockies. Hiking the Canadian Rockies. Scuba diving in Jamaica. Sailing the Atlantic coast. Climbing Scottish Munros. Eating bear in Bhutan. Getting sick in India. Boating the Italian Veneto. Camping in Romania. Twice he’s driven his laboring wife to the hospital. Thrice he’s changed careers (bicycle mechanic to physicist to civil engineer to…pastor?) I can’t wait to see what’s still to come.

David, if I had to describe you in five words, this is you: Spirit-filled, genuine, peaceful, adventurous, faithful. 11 years ago you captured me with your smile and humor and kindness, and today I am ever so much more captivated by the extraordinary man you are.

Tonight you’re playing poker with the guys while your three girls are missing you 3,000 miles away. I’m so sad I’m not by your side tonight, honey. But I can’t tell you how happy I am that I’m by your side for life.

[David's birthday is the 9th, but I was having internet trouble last night so am only posting it this morning.]