I've asked each of my children to contribute a Christmas song for your listening pleasure this week. Press the Play button as I present to you, the Teske Christmas Playlist of 2006.
Rebekah- We Three Kings "Because it really jams!"
Ellie- Angels We Have Heard on High "I like the 'glo-o-o-o-o-o-ria part."
Anna- Doggie Jingle Bells Because she is TWO. What can I say?
Erin- Our God is With Us "Love the words and the inspiration."
Steve- O, Holy Night "It's just a beautiful song."
We added a few others, so you can leave us on in the background while you bake cookies and wrap presents this week. Our Christmas gift to you. Enjoy!
Erin on... Anniversaries
Dec. 19th marked our 12th year of marriage. 12 LONG, SHORT years! On the one hand, I can't remember much of my life without Steve. On the other hand, how could it already be TWELVE years?! The time has flown. (Too many cliches are entering my mind here.)
I am very blessed to actually enjoy my husband. Still. And very blessed that he's put up with me for 12 whole years. Some pretty rough edges get sanded down through marriage. Others... well... other rough edges just get brought into the spotlight when those first rough edges get worn down. But he's still around, loving me in spite of rough edges and more rough edges.
I will say that anniversaries less than a week before Christmas tend to present a lot of scheduling conflicts. Especially when you start having kids and want to go for a date to celebrate. Finding a babysitter or a relative to keep the kiddos is tough. EVERYONE has a Christmas party to go to!
And when we DO go out to celebrate, it's usually coupled with a super-secret-Santa trip to the toy store. "Happy anniversary, Love. Now, what do we have left on the list to get Francescarita? Did you end up finding that pink pony for DebraLou?"
Erin on... Charles Dickens
I just finished reading, Bleak House. ONE THOUSAND TWENTY FOUR PAGES. Oh yeah, I'm definitely in the "devoted reader" category of that quiz thingamaroo. Once I finished reading the book, I trotted out and borrowed the BBC film version from the library (starring Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame) and got said husband-of-12-years hooked into it.
I enjoyed it a lot, but didn't find the plot and characters to come together as cleanly as in Tale of Two Cities. If you're looking for a Dickensian world to enter into over the holidays (and trust me, he creates a world and draws you into it), I recommend Tale of Two Cities. It's still my favorite Dickens' novel and you will love the ending. You will LOVE it.
It will make you jump out of your chair. You'll be pacing the floor or tapping your foot, just waiting to get.
to find out how it's all going to come together. Such a delightful prize awaits those devoted readers who can hang on for a mere 544 pages.
(If you're a literary purist, definitely read the book before you watch the film. Very few movie versions of any literary genre are better than their original books. I can only think of one- The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.)
Erin on... Homeschooling.
We've been off of school since the beginning of December. In my mind, there are just too many things going on this month to think about getting school work done. Much to my surprise, I'm not able to tackle much of it because my kids are bored.
One in particular keeps wandering around asking if she can watch a movie. Or play computer. Basically wanting to numb her brain to the fact that it's atrophied.
Good gracious, Girl! The nativity sets are out, the Christmas tree is up, the weather is gorgeous, you've got 2 sisters! Why are you bored?!
(I tried to give her some chores to do. Can you believe she turned me down? Hey, I thought she was bored! I was trying to help her conquer the boredom. )
I'm thinking that next December I'm going to go ahead and plan some schoolwork so the kids will have an occupation and combat that wretched atrophied-brain syndrome.
Erin on... Favorite and unusual Christmas Gifts
One year my dad gave me a Xyron 810. It laminates, it makes stickers, it slices, it dices. This was back in my scrapbooking days and boy, did I have a ball with it! Now, I no longer have time to make those scrapbooks, so I use it mainly for laminating homeschool stuff. I'm still having a ball with it.
This year my brother and sister-in-law gave me a ton of plants from their farm's garden. Specifically bee balm, butterfly bush, and lilac. All plants that butterflies adore. Since the weather has been so warm here lately, I actually got out and planted most of them around the windows to our school room. In the spring, the girls will have some lovely nature to learn from and entertain them right outside the window when Mommy's being a slave driver. No atrophied-brain syndrome around here. Excellent gift!!
Oddest gift- one of those universal remotes for the TV, VCR, CD and DVD players. Except this one was operated by voice command. (I know, you're so jealous, right?) Only glitch was that you had to press a button and speak into the mike in order to make it work. What is the point of pushing a button in order to talk to it, when I have to push a button to make the old style change channels anyway?? I'm still pushing a button! Half the time voice activation turned on the TV when you wanted the CD player. The other half of the time the batteries were drained because voice activation required so much juice. Oh, I luuuuuuv new technology sometimes.
Ellie on... Salvation.
Shooweee! I just got an impassioned earful from Ellie, my 6 year old, dramatic evangelist! Sometimes she likes to role play with me- prince and princess, shopkeeper and customer, chef and patron. Today she was the PlayDoh chef and I was the PlayDoh-eating Customer. After my 7 course PlayDoh meal she was handing me my "bill" and said, "Mommy, pretend you don't know anything about God."
10 minutes later, she'd woven this beautiful vision of Creation, the Fall, sin, grace, the Trinity, faith, Providence, drama, simplicity, and heaven. I tried to play devil's advocate the entire time, throwing up smoke screens and asking goofy, sarcastic questions. "What is 'sin'? That sounds like tennis shoes." "Who is God and what are you talking about 'He made everything'? Did He make this table?" "Surely Jesus must've done something wrong if so many people agreed to hang him on the cross. I don't believe you."
The girl was undaunted. She was determined to help her PlayDoh-eating Customer know the Truth. Lovingly. But passionately.
(Feeling some Mom-pride here.) Dead-on theologically, she handled each and every snide remark I made, and even recounted some of her own struggles with her flesh. Talk about a witness!
This is not the first time she's done this play-acting evangelist with me and it always gives me chills to hear her connecting the dots.
Although she couldn't quite come up with a good comeback to "If Jesus lives in your heart, that must hurt your heart a bit to have Him in there." She just shrugged her shoulders and said something like, "Yeah, you'd think so huh? But look, I'm fine!"
Rebekah on... Salvation.
The other night at dinner, Rebekah was recounting to Steve all the fun they'd had that day. Apparently they'd been pretending to be animals in the stable the night that Jesus was born. So she was telling her dad, "Ellie and I are baby sheep. Baaa baaa! Little lambies." Oh-so-cute.
"And Anna is a baby goat."
To which Ellie nodded happily.
And Anna nodded happily. "Naaaaaa! Naaaaa!"
Always one to take up the offense of the youngest child, I reproached Rebekah for not letting Anna be a baby sheep too. Let her play with you, don't lord it over her, you're no the boss of her. All that kind of rot. To which she responded, "But Mom, she hasn't trusted Jesus yet so she has to be a goat! She certainly can't be one of His sheep."
Well I'll be.
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." Matt 25: 31-33