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Let’s Talk about “the rod” scriptures February 28, 2011

Filed under: Christianity,Family Life,Parenting — katieosborne @ 9:08 pm
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My cursor has hesitated over the publish button. My intention here is not to judge other parents’ choices or imply that my way is “the right way,” and I want to be sensitive to my friends who have made parenting decisions that are very different from mine. This topic is important to me. It’s something I spent time researching, thinking about and praying over while Jonas was still in the womb. A recent Bible study lesson on marriage and children in the book of Proverbs got me thinking about it again. Ben and I have a lot of Christian friends who choose to spank their children, and I know that we, by choosing not to spank, are in the minority. I am not out to tell anyone to parent differently. I think the one thing that convinces me to publish is a memory from a few years ago of a friend who, after taking her child to another room to spank him, returned and said, “I wish I didn’t have to spank.” I probably gave a weak smile, but I didn’t speak. I missed the opportunity at that time to open a dialogue about this idea that Christians are commanded by God to spank. So, I am writing this as encouragement for those who find themselves sighing, “I wish I didn’t have to….” You see, you don’t have to. If spanking doesn’t sit well with you, if you are concerned about the dynamic it is creating in your home, if it just doesn’t seem to be working well as a disciplinary tool, please consider my argument…..

This idea that God commands parents to spank their children hinges on four verses in Proverbs. That’s it. Four verses in all of scripture. Here they are:

 

Prov. 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Prov. 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

Prov. 23:13,14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. if you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Prov. 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

 

At first glance, it seems to make sense that these verses refer to corporal punishment. Many of us have been taught that the rod is a physical instrument used for spanking. Spanking advocates often recommend a wooden spoon or switch of some sort. But is that what this rod truly is? Is that how God’s people would have understood these words at the time of their writing?

The word translated as rod is shebet.

 

Strong’s H7626

1) rod, staff, branch, offshoot, club, sceptre, tribe

a) rod, staff

b) shaft (of spear, dart)

c) club (of shepherd’s implement)

d) truncheon, sceptre (mark of authority)

e) clan, tribe

 

The object can be a large walking stick, like that which Moses carried (and that which was carried by the head of a family), a shepherd’s crook, or a king’s sceptre. In each of these cases, the Shebet is a symbol of authority. In the case of the shepherd, it additionally symbolizes guidance and protection, as the shepherd uses it to ward off predators and guide his sheep so they are not lost. Psalm 23 says “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” While the word does refer to a physical object, it is most often used figuratively throughout scripture. The Messiah is referred to as the Rod of Jesse. Jesus’ didn’t come to punish us. He didn’t come to strike us down, but to give us life. He extended undeserved grace to us – we who rebel and scorn and spit in his face – yet he did not condemn us, but extended love in gentleness and patience. His life was a ministry of teaching. Additionally, the word Shebet refers many times to God’s authority in a figurative manner, as in “Thy throne, Oh God, is forever and ever. The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.” (Psalm 45:6), or “If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules….then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes.” (Psalm 89:30-32). In both cases, the rod is a picture of God’s authority and might.

Those who argue for a literal interpretation of these Proverbs, don’t truly interpret the verses literally themselves. If they did they’d be advocating hitting their child with a large, thick piece of wood that has the potential to cause a lot of damage. No loving parent would even entertain such a thought. Yet, that is what a literal reading calls for. So, if we’re not willing to employ the action the verses are truly advocating, is it okay to simply fudge the original meaning, change it just enough so it is no longer distasteful to us?

Doesn’t it make much more sense and pose less problems, to take these verses figuratively and view the rod as a symbol, just as it is throughout so much of the Old Testament? When considering this, let’s take into account the fact that the book of Proverbs contains a lot of imagery and poetic language. We don’t have an issue with determining whether we should read Proverbs 30:17 literally: The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. God does not send birds of prey down to pluck out the eyes of insolent children. The original Hebrew of the four rod verses begs us to take the poetic language of the book into account.

So, what then, is this rod a symbol of? As I said above, it is a sign of authority. God has indeed invested us with authority over our children, and we have the responsibility to exercise that authority by “training them up in the way they should go.” (Proverbs 22:6).

Before moving on, it is essential to define the word discipline. Too often it is used as a synonym for punishment, but punishment is only one of many definitions. Our English word discipline comes from the Latin words discipulus, meaning pupil or disciple and the word discere, meaning to learn. We are to treat our children as disciples.

 

Discipline:

1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.

2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.

3.

a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.

b. A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.

c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.

4. Punishment intended to correct or train.

5. A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a church or monastic order.

6. A branch of knowledge or teaching.

 

While discipline may include punishment of some sort, punishment is not inherent in the word, and the main focus is really on teaching. And isn’t that what the Bible clearly says is our duty? To teach our little ones? One of the most explicit instructions for parents is found in Deutoronomy 6 (and recorded more than once in almost identical words a few chapters later – must be important):

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”. (Deut. 6:6,7).

This is what is written in the law about parental responsibility. We are to diligently teach our children God’s Word. If God intended spanking to be an important and beneficial aspect of parenting, would he not have clearly laid that out in the law? Instead, we have this beautiful, rather gentle picture of family life with communication at the center. We are to teach our children how to live godly lives by talking to them. Ever talking. Relationship. It is to be a constant, consistent process. It takes time, constant repetition. They will not mature overnight. Goodness, I look at my own life, and see my constant falling and failing. Me, an adult, who knows clearly what God expects of me and have had years to practice it. And yet I don’t find condemnation from him. It’s always grace. Undeserved grace. If we faithfully teach our children at every given opportunity, if this communication is a river that flows through our days together, they will learn. If we extend grace, instead of condemnation, they will trust and they will thrive.

Let’s look at the rod verses in a little more detail. It’s very difficult to separate ourselves from the cultural attitudes about these verses and to see them fresh. We’ve assumed without much question that we’re talking about spanking here, but, at least for me, when I get to the heart of what each interpretation really says, the oft assumed reading doesn’t make all that much sense unless we are intentionally looking through our punitive lens, the lens most of us were brought up with, the one that says children must be punished and hurt by their parents in order to learn, in order to embrace the LORD – this lens built on tradition and culture. It is something I am still shaking off, something I’m determined to shake off because I believe that the Bible teaches a better way.

Here’s my plain interpretation of each verse from both points of view. I tried hard to be unbiased about how I worded each side.

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

* The parent who doesn’t spank, hates his children, but if he loves his kids, he will spank them diligently.

* The parent who doesn’t teach his children with authority, hates them, but if he loves his kids, he will teach them diligently.

Which of these makes more logical sense? Which is a greater act of love? Did we learn more about God’s truth from a spanking or from our parents teaching us of him, and modeling the Christian life? I have a couple vivid spanking memories, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you, in either case, what my offense was. All I remember was the fear and panic. My sensitive little soul was focused on my physical and emotional hurt, not on the sin that the spanking intended to correct. Sure, I learned from spanking. I learned to fake it. I learned to say and do what my parents wanted, so life would be pleasant and I would be praised as a “good girl,” not so I would be pleasing to God.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

*Children act foolishly, but spanking them will lead them to maturity.

*Children act foolishly, but teaching them God’s Truth will lead them to maturity.

We are all born with a heart stamped with Adam’s sin. We cannot escape that inheritance. Christian parents will all agree that it is our job to bring our children to an understanding of the nature of their heart and the nature of God’s grace. Will simply spanking a child enlighten his heart? How will spanking drive off foolishness in a real, heart centered way? I know from my personal childhood experience that spanking can lead a child to put on a façade of goodness in order to please and in order to avoid pain. But, in my case, that had absolutely nothing to do with my heart. Spanking, or the threat of it, did not cause me to truly give my heart to God. Again, isn’t it the teaching – the laying out of God’s expectations for us, his great gift to us, our response of heartfelt thanksgiving to him – that will bring the child to repentance and to godly maturity? Romans 2:4 says that it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance. Kindness. Doesn’t that just make sense? So much more sense?

(I’m not suggesting that Christian parents who spank don’t teach their children, as well. I’m merely discussing what the verse itself says, and if we’re going to choose the first interpretation, it clearly states that spanking alone – not spanking and teaching – has the power to drive folly out).

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. if you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

* Do not withhold spanking from a child; if you hit him with a large, heavy implement, he will not die, if you practice corporal punishment, you will save his soul from hell.

* Do not withhold discipline (teaching, guiding, correcting) from a child; if you parent him with your God given authority, he will not die. If you teach and guide him, you will save his soul from hell.

If we analyze the first interpretation, we’ll see that it just isn’t true, and if it isn’t true, it isn’t biblical. If we are speaking of corporal punishment, this verse tells us that it is our job to spank out child with the rod (walking stick, shepherd’s crook, sceptre), and that if we do this he won’t die. If we are speaking of physical death, this is a lie, because a child certainly can die by being hit with such a tool. Tragically, there have been children who have died from their Christian parents carrying out the advice of “Christian parenting experts” with far less menacing instruments. If we are speaking of spiritual death, please tell me how this practice will rescue him from damnation. What is it about striking a child as payment for his sin that will save him? It’s impossible. It is Christ alone who saves. He paid for that sin; a child cannot atone for it himself through a spanking ritual. If instead we view this verse as an encouragement to parents to do what God commands us in Deuteronomy 6, it works. Faithfully teaching them the ways of the LORD leads them to his saving arms. Is this a rule without exception? No. I know that there are parents who raised their children in a godly home, and yet a child strayed and went to his deathbed without making his parents’ faith his own. But that is the exception to the rule. When we are dealing with Proverbs, I think it is important to take into account that as wisdom literature, this book functions primarily to give us instruction, that if followed should lead to a desired outcome. (My ESV study bible says “The word wisdom (HB. khokmah) can have the nuance of “skill,” particularly the skill of choosing the right course of action for the desired result. In the covenantal framework of Proverbs, it denotes skill in the art of godly living.”) I know many parents who have wayward adult children, but we are only seeing in the moment. We don’t know how God is working in those situations. We don’t see the end. So, while we ultimately don’t know with certainty in each case, we can have faith in this general rule that if we train our children up in the way they should go, when they are old, they will not depart from it. When they are old. It may take lots and lots of time.

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

*Spanking and correcting will make a child wise, but a child who doesn’t receive these things will bring shame.

*Teaching, guidance and correction will make a child wise, but a child who doesn’t receive these things will bring shame.

A literal reading of this verse poses the same problem as the one above because, though reproof is spoken of in addition to the rod, the instruction to parents is still lacking in completeness. But if we view the rod as discipline – as teaching, training, guiding, discipling – then the pair, the rod and reproof, fit so perfectly together. We teach them what their duty is, and when they fall, we correct them and give them tools to help them do better next time.

 

I believe that The Bible calls parents to raise their children with gentle authority. While one can argue for a literal interpretation of the rod verses, it is an inferior reading that lacks the fullness of what God clearly commanded his people in the Law and seems out of step with other, clearer, verses related to parenting. In an upcoming post, perhaps I’ll discuss some of these other verses.

As I sit here considering what I’ve written, I know how short I fall. I am not a perfect parent, sometimes I’m not even a good parent, but I love my children, and with God’s grace, I will persevere and reach for better things. I’ll continue to shed that pervasive punitive mindset and strive to teach, guide and correct my children with gentle authority and kindness.

We all have choices; this is mine. Ours. I have friends who are wonderful parents who choose to spank. It would be wrong for our home. The main point I want to make here is that spanking is not an issue touched on in The Bible, therefore parents need to discern for themselves what is best for their children and themselves. If they decide that spanking is a worthwhile form of discipline for them, it should be with the understanding that this is a personal choice influenced by culture,  not a command given by God.

 

A Few Thoughts on A child’s acquisition of knowledge January 12, 2011

Filed under: Education,Family Life — katieosborne @ 4:12 pm

This has become quite a meandering little ramble, prompted by a very simple exchange. Forgive me for not being more succinct in my thoughts. This is largely just me, thinking out loud and trying to connect the dots.


When it comes to education, our society places so many unrealistic and trivial expectations on children. Rather than giving them the opportunity and freedom to learn (truly learn) and master skills at their own pace and in their own way, they are most often expected to learn the material at the same rate as their classmates and in the manner established by their teacher, without their individual needs really being taken into account.

(Now, I do understand why this has come to be in classrooms of 20-30, especially considering the fast pace of modern life where merely making it through the day is the goal of many, but all that is really beside the point if one is interested in the education of a child).

Individuals are all unique, with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t make sense to me to force children into a prescribed mold and label him one way or another based on whether or not he conforms to this mold – especially when the typical methods of learning these things are often unbearably dull, unimaginative, and restrictive.

I’ve started thinking on this because of a bit of online messaging between my mother in law and me. She was amazed today when she realized that the colors of the rainbow Jonas (age 4.5) drew at her house the other day were in the correct order.

“How does he know that!?!” she asked, just like that.

Well, he was interested in drawing rainbows this fall, so he learned the order.

My wonderful mother in law was a K4 teacher for many years in the Milwaukee Public Schools. She insists that it is very unusual for a four year old to know this, and that, in fact, she doesn’t remember any of her students knowing it. Her incredulity made me chuckle, though. Why shouldn’t he know it? Why shouldn’t little children know plenty of wonderful and detailed little things about their world?

Now granted, God has blessed Jonas with a sharp mind and a very good memory, and maybe it is unusual, but there is no reason a four year old can’t learn and retain this kind of information. I’m sure she had students over the years who knew this particular tidbit, and it just never came up in class. Kids know all kinds of things that we adults are unaware of.

My point, really, is that kids are capable of far more, intellectually, than adults give them credit for. If a child is nurtured and given the right resources, if he is left to play and be creative and follow his interests, if he’s not made to feel stressed out and over burdened, he can learn just about anything. Unfortunately, not all children are blessed with environments that nurture their minds (and souls), that do what is necessary to kindle their God given curiosity. They may not be offered a lot of opportunity to just learn stuff. To learn in their way, to learn what is interesting to them, to learn for the sake of knowing, to learn in a way that it will be remembered….

Would Jonas be less intelligent if he didn’t know the color order of the rainbow? No, of course not. And yet, that is how we often treat children and their education: like a checklist. And we use that list to compare them to their peers and label them “gifted” or “remedial” or whatever. Education is not a checklist. It’s not merely something you do sitting in a little desk in a school building for seven hours a day. Education is a lifelong undertaking. It isn’t about merely acquiring a set of facts and skills that teachers and school boards and the government see fit for our children to learn so that they can do well on a test and be good little members of society. Education is about marveling in and loving the world that God created; it’s about appreciating beauty and order and truth and a host of other things; it’s about the love of learning; it’s about learning how to think – not what to think.

My desire as a mother is to open up as many avenues of learning as possible for my children. To allow them to explore and wonder and take pleasure in the world around them. To let them go at their own pace and work things out. I think if that is the starting point, then they will find success in their educational endeavors. There are certain things our children need to be taught, no doubt, and some of those things might not be enjoyable for them. I do understand that, but sometimes I feel like our society makes all of education such drudgery, and it doesn’t need to be that way, and it would be much more beneficial to the children if it wasn’t.

And by the way, none of this is said to, in any way, infer that our home life is an example of education at its very best or to belittle my mother in law’s teaching experiences. She is such a blessing to us, and especially to the kids. She is completely in her element with them, and her years of teaching have really given her the skill to listen to and interact with toddlers. The exchange just sparked some thoughts in me. Certainly working in a city school gives her a completely different lens through which she views these things, than my own.

 

My No Knead Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread January 5, 2011

Filed under: Food — katieosborne @ 11:55 pm
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I’ve long been on the hunt for the perfect, healthy homemade sandwich bread, and I’ve come across some good recipes along the way. The Buttermilk and Honey Whole Wheat Bread at The Fresh Loaf has been a favorite.

About a year ago, I discovered Jim Lahey’s recipe for no knead pot bread, which is an amazingly simple way to produce artisan style bread. Try it! It’s great as is, but also very good with whole wheat flour or a combination of both.

The basic concept of no knead bread is that you let time do the work for you. Just stir up the ingredients, cover, and let it rise for 12-24 hours. Letting it sit so long produces complexity of flavor that is often missing in traditionally kneaded breads.

I highly recommend his book My Bread. The recipes I’ve tried are wonderful; though there are actually not as many bread recipes in the book as I had hoped. The middle of the book is devoted to pizza – one dough recipe and lots of recipes for various topped pizzas. And the last third of the book is full of mouthwatering looking sandwich recipes.

Another book devoted to the same topic is Kneadlessly Simple. I borrowed it from the library (for nine weeks), and had an opportunity to try a lot of different recipes. There’s an amazing amount, and a lot of them are very good.100_6675

So, anyway, on to my recipe. Despite these two books, I didn’t find the perfect recipe for a healthy, everyday, multipurpose loaf, so I started with a basic recipe, made a lot of adaptations over the course of a couple weeks, and here is the result.

It looks unremarkable, but I think it is delicious. The crust is slightly chewy, and the interior is moist and soft while still having a lot of substance. It has a nice crumb, not too dense, and a wonderful mild flavor. It also keeps well on the counter.

I’ve updated the recipe with mass measurements. I’ve found that if this dough is too wet, the top will cave a bit while baking. Measuring flour by volume varies so much from person to person, so here’s more accurate measuerments:

Ingredients:

4 cups whole wheat flour (540 grams)

1 3/4 t salt

3/4 t instant yeast

3 T butter (melted)

3 T honey

2 cups  ice water (475 grams)

Directions:

1. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl

2. Melt the butter. Once melted, stir the honey into the butter.

3. Add the butter, honey and water to the dry ingredients and mix well. The dough should be fairly stiff.

4. Cover and let rise for 12-18 hours.

5. Stir the dough and let rise for about 2 hours in a large, greased bread pan.

6. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for about 70 minutes. You will probably want to cover it with foil for the last 15-20 minutes to prevent the top from getting to dark.

 

Christmas Banner November 16, 2010

Filed under: Sewing and Crafts — katieosborne @ 2:07 pm
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100_6707 (2)

I got the basic idea for our Christmas banner from Life in Grace. I liked the casual look of her raw edges, and hey, not having to sew around each flag means less work for me. So, if you want to do something similar, take a look at her instructions, or follow what I did:100_6709

I used canvas for the flags and cut each piece 7.5 x 11.

Next, I drew a simple tree silhouette, traced the outline onto my fabric pieces, cut each, and then fused them to the canvas with Steam a Seam.

Then I stitched around each tree with a straight stitch for added interest.

I have 3” tall cardboard letters I found in the scrapbook section of the craft store. I traced the letters onto felt, cut them out, and glued them onto the trees with felt glue.

After that, I folded the top of the canvas under one inch at the top and sewed a channel for the ribbon to run through.

I was lucky to find these fabric covered brads on clearance a couple weeks ago. Aren’t they cute? I didn’t know what I would use them for at the time, but for $2.50, I couldn’t pass up buying the last package. And there was just the right amount to top our trees! You could also sew buttons on if you don’t have any decorative brads.

Last, just pin a safety pin to one end of your ribbon, and string it through the channels, and it’s ready to be hung up!

 

Christmas Crafting Inspiration November 10, 2010

Filed under: Sewing and Crafts — katieosborne @ 9:19 pm
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100_6678Yes, despite two months of silence, I am in fact still here. In recent days, I’ve been scouring the internet and pouring over crafty flickr pools for inspiration to beautify my home for the holidays, and I thought I’d share some of my finds here.

I’m happy to say that I completed project number one this afternoon. Instructions for this lovely fabric wreath can be found at Piccadilly Peddlers. The whole project took about three hours, and honestly, if you can trace a measuring cup and wield a hot glue gun without burning yourself too badly, you can do this. And what’s more, you can do this with your kids, even toddlers. Jonas had a great time stacking up the pieces of fabric for me to put the brads through, and later choosing the pieces to hand me as I was gluing them onto the wreath.

Next up for me is felt and fabric ornament making. I’ve long felt that our home at Christmas lacks a cohesive theme to pull things together. It’s a mish mash of little things collected over the years from here and there – or given as hand-me-downs from my mom – and I’ve just never been completely pleased with how our home looks over the holidays, yet I haven’t been willing to shell out a lot of money for a makeover. So, this year I am attempting to make a lot of little things, that will hopefully bring it all together a little better. I think color is key, and I’ve always been drawn to the combination of red, turquoise and white. So, I’ve got some felt, fabric, ribbon, ric rac, buttons, embroidery floss, etc. in these colors, with a little light pink thrown in. They will soon become ornaments for the tree and beyond.

If you are looking for ornament inspiration, take a look at the following links:

Saidos da Concha’s how to on making felt ornaments

Birds of a Feather Felt Ornament

Felt Gingerbread House Ornament

Felt Bird Garland

Pine Cone Elves

There are lots of other things on my creative list including a few gifts for the kids, garlands, and mod podge blocks with festive sayings that I’ll share in the coming weeks.

Happy Christmas crafting!

 

A Post For August August 30, 2010

Filed under: Family Life,Food,Sewing and Crafts — katieosborne @ 3:53 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve never been one to mourn the end of summer. I always welcomed the beginning of a new school year and eagerly awaited the feel, smell and activities of autumn, but I have to ask: how is it that this month is already at its end? And the summer nearly too? And how is it I haven’t blogged in about two months?

Seeing a missing month in the archives bothers me, so I am finally forced to post. I don’t know why I haven’t felt like it this summer. I have almost blogged many times. Almost. And, I don’t know, I guess I just don’t exactly have heaps of time, and by the time I sit down in the evening, writing doesn’t sound all that appealing.

So, what have we been up to this summer? Not nearly as much outdoor fun as I had dreamed. We have been terrorized by mosquitoes the last couple months, and only recently have they begun to be tolerable. My garden and flowerbeds are overgrown with weeds and the tomato plants are completely out of control from lack of care. They’re growing like crazy. We’ve been getting daily handfuls of pear tomatoes for the last few weeks, but large tomatoes only here and there thanks to our resident chipmunk who has developed a keen appetite for them. I think for every one we’ve eaten, he’s filled his tiny tummy with five or six. The cucumbers have been abundant, so I’ve been doing a lot of this:

pickles

We’ve already devoured a couple quarts of our pickles and still have seven jars in the fridge. I’m not sure they’ll see winter, though.

And I’ve been doing some other lacto-fermented goodness with the bounty from our garden and the farmers market:

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(Salsa and Sauerkraut)

This weekend I did some more of this:

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I made most of our jam when I picked strawberries in June, but I couldn’t resist buying a big box of deliciously pinkish-red raspberries at the farmers market on Saturday. The result was Triple Berry Jam to add to our pantry stash. I thawed a bag of strawberries I had frozen and added a pint of blueberries from the store.

And all summer I have been doing a whole lot of this:

100_5878  100_6033

This is cinnamon raisin bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and our everyday whole wheat bread for toast and sandwiches. I have tried many all whole wheat recipes and this one consistently produces the best loaf. I will have to devote an entire post to bread sometime soon. I don’t know what it is exactly about bread, but I could go on and on.

And lest you think my life is totally consumed with food and its preparation (which sometimes I do feel is nearly the truth), we also did quite a bit of this:

100_5858 100_5574 100_6015 100_5985 100_5941 100_5920 100_5822 100_5966

But unfortunately, I haven’t done any of this since June:

100_5542 100_5545 100_5530

Though I was able to make myself three tank tops from this tutorial before the neglection (can that be a word?) of my sewing machine began thanks to a too-adventurous little girl whom I can barely take my eyes off:

So, that’s a bit of my summer. Maybe I’ll get around to posting more about my garden at some point. Remember my trepidation in the early spring? I have learned a lot, had some failures, but overall am pleased with my first year at managing a larger garden.

 

Four July 1, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — katieosborne @ 4:13 pm
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Dear Jonas,100_5691

Tuesday was your fourth birthday. Four. I keep saying it to myself, hardly believing it. 

You, Bridget and I went downtown to the gelato shop for a birthday treat in the afternoon. You rode your trike the whole way as I pushed the stroller. You did such a great job listening and crossing the busy streets. When the girl at the store found out it was your birthday, she asked how old you are, and you replied, “three.” I said, “are you sure?” as you concentrated hard on your apricot sorbet (since they didn’t have mango). You nodded, and then slowly remembered that you get to say “four” now.

Last week, we threw a birthday party and invited all your friends. We filled water balloons and also had a scavenger hunt. Mostly, you kids just had a blast running  around the yard. Dad grilled hotdogs and we had chocolate applesauce cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting topped with dinosaurs for desert. You seemed to think the whole event was pretty amazing. On Saturday, we went down to Great Jonas 4th bday4Grandma and  Grandpa Beem’s house for a little party, and you got to swim in their big pool. You loved it.

Currently, you are extremely interested in dinosaurs. This started last summer when Grandma Osborne gave you a book about them. And once the PBS show, Dinosaur Train, started airing in the fall, you were pretty much obsessed. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could name over forty types of dinosaurs. You just soak that information up, and you talk about it non-stop. I love how you’ve invented your own descriptive words, like “curbivore,” (even though you know the word “omnivore),” and you often call “quadrupeds” “four-drupeds.” That makes me smile. You still like Thomas the Tank Engine a lot too, and since Christmas, you’ve been really into Legos. You love to build, and you and Dad play Legos together most every night  before going to bed.

It’s been a challenging year for you. Learning how to be a big brother has not always been easy, and while you love your sister, it was difficult for you to figure out where you fit in the family after her arrival. That caused a lot of big feelings in you that you didn’t know how to deal with. While you have been learning and making strides all year, it has really been in recent weeks that I have observed a marked change in you with regard to Bridget. You just seem so  much more mature and able to handle the frustrations of having a baby sister. I am so proud of you and the patience and kindness you have extended to her. Not only that, but you have been joyfully trying to teach her how to do things and you seem to take real pleasure out of playing silly games with her. I love watching you two play and see the happiness you have in each other. Sometimes when you’re interacting with her, I hear myself in you, good and bad, and it reminds me once again that you are both watching and listening to everything I say and do, and that you are learning 100_5626 how to be, from me.

You are still as particular as ever, and at times, this can cause big frustrations for you. You have been doing a good job of learning how to deal with life when it’s not the way you like it, though there are days when you can fall apart over a hamburger not fitting perfectly in its bun.

Some of the things I enjoy most about you right now include the way you make up songs that just go on and on and the way you love to dance with your sister after dinner. I get a kick out of how you speak in similes – on our walk downtown, you said that Bridget was “singing like a cloud.” You also use terminology you’ve learned watching Thomas the Train. My favorite is when you point out a worker at the grocery store who is bringing the carts in. “Look,” you exclaim, “he’s shunting the carts.” I also like how you enjoy helping me bake. You like to dump the ingredients in, and of course swipe as much batter as possible if I’m making cake or cookies. I love the concentration with which you play. You take it quite seriously and you become very involved in what you are doing. And I love how you pray. Sometimes, like last night, you will interrupt your dad as he prays at dinner to add your own. It warms my heart. I love everything that makes you, you. You are so special and unique.

You are an amazing gift from God, and I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Your Mama

(who is now most often addressed as Mom)IMG_2951_2