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Our Weekend

Chris’ brother, Phillip, was visiting us this past weekend. It was his first time to see Leah, so that was exciting! We showed him the sights of Pittsburgh, which was interesting, since we hadn’t seen most of them ourselves. He liked Pittsburgh a lot and I’ve concluded that I do too!

Everything is a lot older here, than it was in CA, so the buildings have tons of character. On Thursday night, we found some fun cultural places to hang out and shop in. Friday, we rode a tram type thing up The Incline on Mt. Washington. As I understand it, it used to be for transporting miners, but now that the mines are shut down, it’s mainly a tourist attraction. It taxed my fear of heights a little, but it wasn’t too bad.

We ate at Buca Di Beppo, which was fabulous! They had a statue of Michelangelo’s David in the lobby. Isaiah quickly realized that the only clothes David wore was his slingshot on his shoulder, so he started a running dialog about this interesting fact. It went like this, “Look at the guy! He got a pee. He need big boy pants. He take a bath?” I found it pretty amusing!

Another exciting feature of Pittsburgh is the sale prices. I found $5 shirts at Urban Outfitters and AE… that never happened to me in CA. We also really like H&M, which has super cool stuff at great prices. But the best part PA doesn’t charge sales tax on clothes! Of course they get it out of us in other ways, but it’s still fun to buy a $6.89 shirt and only pay $6.89!

Going back to funny stuff Isaiah says, he calls donuts, “burgers.” He has called them that at the grocery store. Then we stopped at Krispy Kreme today and Isaiah, who can’t read, but knows his labels, said “I want a burger!” I guess they kind of look like a burger.

In honor of Mother’s Day, Isaiah’s preschool class sang a couple songs in front of church today. I laughed so hard I cried… it was the cutest/funniest thing ever. None of the kids really knew what they were supposed to be doing, so they were either improvising their own thing or staring off into space. First service, I think Isaiah was still kind of asleep. He just stood up there, completely oblivious to what his teacher was trying to get him to do, just sucking on his finger. Second service, there were more kids and he was more awake. He still didn’t sing the songs. Instead he and another little kid were climbing all over the steps, trying to grab the mic, and generally enjoying being in the spotlight. We’ll try to post the video later, but I’m sure it won’t do justice to the moment. The church enjoyed it, even if the kids didn’t sing three words of their song.

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Never dull…

So I was shopping for a new dog today. Not because we want another one. No… it was because Chester ran away. His lead broke and he disappeared into the woods. He’d only been gone for about 15 minutes when we realized it, but a dog can get far in 15 minutes. Especially when he’s got open woods for miles.

Chris went looking for him, but he eventually gave up and came back. I was all positive, and said, “Maybe he’ll come back!” But Chris was pretty sure his nose would keep him chasing stuff permanently. Our biggest concern (besides not wanting Chester to suffer or something) was how Isaiah would take it.

It didn’t take him too long to ask, “Where’s Chester?” We already had a speech prepared, so Chris told him how Chester went to play with the other animals and that he might not come back if he made lots of animal friends. Isaiah had my positiveness. He said, “Chester will come back.” A little later he told me, “Chester want to come back, be with Mommy, Daddy, Isaiah, Baby Sister!” I tried to tell him Chester might like his new animal friends better.

So that was when I started looking online at dog breeds. At first Chris had said we would wait a while before we got another dog, but with Isaiah being so concerned, we started thinking we might need something to distract him. I shied pretty clear of anything houndish or big. The last thing we need is a dog who loves his nose more than his family.

As I was searching for something small, low maintenance, good with children, and not butt ugly, Chris heard a bark! He ran outside, but if it was Chester, he was super far away. We put Isaiah down for his nap and then heard more barking that was definitely Chester! Chris decided to walk along the road in the direction it came from.

About 20 minutes later he came back and announced, “The prodigal has returned.” He had found the dog by following his barks. All in all, Chester had been missing for about 3 hours. When Chris found him, he thought Chester was hurt at first because he acted all droopy, but it turned out he just felt guilty. He knew he’d been bad.

So it turned out OK. I had helped Isaiah pray that Chester would come back safe and I guess Jesus couldn’t refuse the prayers of a sweet little boy… and girl, because if Leah had understood, she would have been praying too. She loves Chester better than any of us!

Isaiah is so full of conversation and new expressions. The other day I asked him to do something, which he didn’t hear. He came over to me and said, “What did you say?” Whenever we say, “Isaiah,” he answers, “Why?” It’s pretty funny. He has also started saying “well”. He’ll be telling me something about his trains and he’ll say, “Well… Percy is over here.” He’s also really into “scary” stuff, like dinosaurs that roar and suspenseful moments in his little movies.

Leah finally figured out solid food is a meal, not appetizer before nursing. She likes bananas and oatmeal the best, but has also tried applesauce and carrots. She is working on her sitting up skills and she looks like she will crawl soon. She talks and screams a lot!

We’re really enjoying PA life! Especially as it’s finally warmed up! We’ve been to downtown Pittsburgh a bunch now, but always for events and stuff. We still haven’t gotten to explore the city the way we want to. Chris’ brother is coming to visit us next weekend, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to look around it with him.

God’s doing a lot in our church. It seems like every week the atmosphere is different. It’s wonderful to see how the Lord brought us all together with this church to accomplish great things for His Kingdom!

Something else I like about living in Pittsburgh is that we get a lot of cool speakers and events into our area, because it is more conveniently located than CA was. We got to go hear Lila Terhune (one of our teachers from BRSM) this weekend. It was great to see her again and hear her laugh! It was cool because some of the stuff that she was teaching in her session was the same stuff our Pastor preached the next Sunday and he hadn’t heard her speak!

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Our Dog Is Evil

Our dog is evil. He’s family and we love him, against our will. And he’s lucky we do, or I’m sure we’d have given him away by now. He’s been a poop-butt (please pardon my vernacular) ever since we moved to Pittsburgh. Yes, I realize it’s a major transition for a little animal, but it’s getting old.

He barks every time the house creeks or a car drives by or I shut a cabinet door. Our house is so big that things must sound weird to him when he hears them from a distance. And he doesn’t bark once, discover everything is fine and then drop it. He keeps barking and there is nothing we can do to get him to stop.

He also barks randomly in the night. We can’t just ignore him, because he is super loud and one of our youth staff has her apartment right above the part of the basement that his house is in. So we have to run downstairs and tell him to hush. When the sun starts to rise there is nothing we can do to get him to shut up, except let him come upstairs and sleep on the end of our bed. It has become a habit, so every morning we have a dog in bed with us. Very annoying.

But last night, Chester really topped off his annoyingness. I was taking him outside to do his business. I didn’t have my hand through the loop on his leash and he saw a cat in the woods. He took off and the leash slipped right through my fingers. So there was our stupid beagle running through the wooded hills in the middle of the night with rain drizzling down. Obviously I’m helpless in a situation like this, so Chris had to chase him. It took my poor husband forever to get him back. He was only in sandals and had no coat and he was chasing a dog through the freezing woods. He despaired a couple times, but he prayed and finally managed to step on the end of the leash and grab him. Chris had to take a hot shower to get warmed up again.

It’s a good thing Chris was home when this happened. He had taken our youth to a Battle Cry conference in Detroit over the weekend. I’d have died if Chester had taken off while he was gone! But I will say this for Chester; he was sorry. If that makes up for anything. He was kind of mopey all night because he knew he’d been a bad boy.

Chester is young, but I already have plans for when he goes to his final reward. Granted, I’ll probably miss him more than anyone else, but I say our next dog will be a “purse dog.” Something small that I can control and can go on a plane as a carry on. And something that will cuddle. Yes, that would be nice.

Other excitement? Leah rolled from her belly to her back, so now she can go either way! She tried oatmeal and loved it! She’s also eaten banana and that was a big hit too. She’s working on her hand-eye coordination and likes to grab at stuff (like Mommy’s cell phone).

Isaiah is working on his ABC’s. He can sing the song, but some of the letter names don’t sound quite right! We have flash cards that he loves to go through with me. His counting just keeps getting better. We’ve always practiced counting items by me holding his hand and helping him point to each thing while he counts. Last night he pointed to each thing by himself and counted perfectly!

Pastor and Clara took us, and everyone visiting from CA, to a play of Willie Wonka in downtown Pittsburgh. It was done with a cast of only 7 people and very creative. The set was simple, but the props were done artistically so that it worked. The actors played multiple parts and sang and danced really well. Isaiah was a little bored until they got to the part at the factory. Then he was intrigued.

Pittsburgh is quiet on Sunday. It’s a little big city, I think. Parking was only $6, which is much nicer than the $10-$20 that we paid in CA. There were a lot of cool looking areas that we need to take time to explore!

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Life NEAR the Big City

Leah is growing too fast. It’s hard to believe she’s already 6 months old. She tried her first solid food about a couple weeks ago. She was not impressed. But I kept shoving rice cereal in her face every day. Finally, a couple days ago, she decided she liked it! Since then, she’s also tried a little banana. She liked that a lot! She also rolled over from her back to her belly a couple week ago. I actually missed the first time she did it. She was laying on the floor in her room. I had my back to her, putting stuff away in her dresser and when I turned around she was on her belly. So I got the camera and waited for her to do it again. She did, but she was so laid back about it, it didn’t look like the big event it was. Now she rolls over all the time. She’ll roll over in bed and then fuss because she’s still all wrapped up in her blankets.

We are enjoying our new house in PA. We’re only 20 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, and about 5 minutes from a major shopping center, but we also get quite a taste of the country. One night I got up to feed Leah and my half asleep eyes saw something standing in my neighbor’s yard. I did a double take, thinking that it was awfully big to be a dog. It was actually a deer!

We have a couple friends from CA staying with us. One of the girls was looking out my kitchen window and she said calmly, “You have a beaver in your backyard.” I freaked out! I’ve never even seen a real beaver, much less had one wandering around my yard. It was about the size of a big cat and the fattest little guy you can imagine. He was waddling around all cute. I was surprised by his tail. I always thought they had leathery tails, but his was furry. So our theory is that they just look all smooth when they are wet. We saw the beaver again today, so think he’s taken residence in our area, which makes me happy. I hope he’ll build a dam in our creek. That would be exciting! Yes, I am a city girl.

Tonight I was putting Chester outside and he saw a deer in the woods behind our house. She saw him too, and took off running. Chester almost dragged my arm off as he tried to chase her. He did not appreciate having to share his yard with another animal. He’s a city dog, too.

We had a nice Easter! Our church had really pretty services to celebrate. Both our Good Friday service and Easter morning were a delightful blend of traditional and modern, tastefully woven together. Like I said, we have friends visiting from CA, which is a big treat! My children both looked adorable in their Easter clothes. We had a fun little Easter egg hunt with Isaiah. And we ended the day with a fabulous meal over at Pastor and Clara’s house.

Speaking of our church, one of the things that really blesses us is how much Isaiah is learning in his little classes. The other day I heard him making a lot of noise in his room, when he was supposed to be napping. I went in to lay him back down and he defended his actions with “But, I say ‘Jesus!'” And then he demonstrated how he had been jumping on his bed shouting, “Je-sus! Je-sus! Je-sus!” How can you correct him for doing that?

Then, a couple nights ago, I told him he couldn’t have a toy in bed with him. He was unhappy about my decision and then told me, “Jesus help me.” I said, “Jesus helps you?” He responded, “Yeah, Jesus help me when I’m sad.”

We have videos of Isaiah hunting Easter eggs, Leah rolling over, Isaiah singing, and Leah eating. You can view them by clicking here: Videos of our kids!

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

You know, Pittsburgh life didn’t seem like it was going to be too bad. After a few days of freezingness, it warmed up and spring seemed to have sprung. Oh, how naive I was! Winter has returned with a vengeance. But I can’t really complain, because it is a beautiful vengeance.During the warm spell, we had some rainy days, which turned the creek in our wooded backyard into a raging torrent. I love the sound of the rushing water outside our windows. Now, before all the parental instincts rise up in you, we do not let our son play in the backyard, he has no access to the creek, and he will not die an early death due to drowning.

So I was feeling very happy about the creek noises, when it started to sleet or ice or something like that. This sounded very cool on the windows, so I enjoyed this weather phenomenon as well. You can tell, by my fascination with these little things, that we’ve been in a very weatherless California for the past couple years.

The sleet was followed by big fluffy snowflakes, which were by far the prettiest things to yet fall from the sky. The snow is still falling, coating the trees, the hillside, the falling down barn and even my dog, when he chooses to go outside. It’s absolutely gorgeous… if only it weren’t so cold!

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I’m Now An East Coaster… Kind Of

Well, we all made it to Pittsburgh safe and sound!  I know this update is a long time coming, but we just got internet today (Hallelujah!).  I got in a week ago, Tuesday and Chris got in last Friday.  He and his dad drove our Jeep across the country.  I flew with Isaiah and Leah.  One of our youth girls from Cali flew with me and helped with the kids.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her!  Her boyfriend is our pastor’s son, so she didn’t mind taking some time out of her schedule to visit him in PA.

We expected our truck of stuff to come on Tuesday, but it came on Sunday instead.  This was great, except that the carpets hadn’t been cleaned yet.  So we shoved everything in the kitchen and laundry room while they clean the carpets.

I can’t wait to post pictures of our house… it’s huge!  It’s technically 3 stories.  I’ll have to be careful not to lose Isaiah in it!  The people from our new church have been remodeling, painting, and cleaning the house for weeks.  After the carpets dried from being cleaned, a bunch of people from church came over and unpacked all my boxes!  They were amazing and it was such a blessing, but now I just need to find where they put everything :-)!

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