Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Teacher's Pet

 Guess who's ready to learn?

Raise your hand if you know!

It's Chilly, that's who!

Our small-and-mighty little guy is Mr. Busy in the classroom these days, keeping his Mama on her toes.

What a great kid.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Look Before You Leap

Dear friends,

It has been a loooooong time since I last posted. Please forgive my absence! Life has been exciting and full in the last six weeks as we have prayerfully considered some decisions that will change the lives of the six big and small people living in our home.

The long and short of it is that Greg has accepted an exciting new job, and our family will be moving to Rochester, New York this Spring.

So much to be grateful for... so much still to chew on and ponder.

I have Christmas pictures to post, and New Years pictures to post, and so many things on my heart that I want to share on this blog.

Thanks for your patience and prayers as I get my act together.

I'll close with a quote I found on a greeting card about 15 years ago. I was in a little card shop in Shadyside, looking for a note to send a friend who was moving to California with her husband. She'd grown up here in Pittsburgh, most of her family was still here, and she was experiencing the mixed emotions that go along with big change. The front of the card had a picture of a little girl jumping over a stream, one arm stretched out in front of her, the other reaching behind her, and her hair flying in the wind. I've never forgotten the words below the picture. Words to live by, I thought.

Look Before You Leap.
Then Leap.

"When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze."
Isaiah 43:2

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 22: Smith Family Christmas

 of Joy!

The annual Smith Family Christmas commenced the weekend before Christmas this year with great glee. The kids waited anxiously for Uncle Andy to arrive as he went over the river and through the woods to get to our house from Charlotte. It was quite a feat for him this year, involving last-minute pet-sitting drama and very little sleep, but Uncle Andy never lets us down. He drove up our snowy lane and was greeted with seven smiling faces, and Smith Family Christmas could officially begin.

There was lots of unwrapping and assembling and noise. There were remote control cars whizzing across the family room and songs sung into a new microphone.

There was lots of eating and drinking and time with Grandparents.

There was sweet time with sister cousins & best pals.

There was lots of joy. It was a happy Christmas.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 21: Celebrating Birthdays!

 of Joy!

On Day 21, we had the privilege of celebrating two very special ladies. Grammy was visiting from Ohio and Miss Hailey was visiting from new York, and since we never have the chance to actually be with these lovely ladies on their December birthdays, we look forward to celebrating with them at Christmas. Happy Birthday to two of our favorite people - we love you both!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 20: The Nationality Rooms

 of Joy!

I have lived in Pittsburgh since 1985, and have never visited the Nationality Rooms at Pitt's Cathedral of Learning. I finally made it with one of my besties and our 9 crazy kids in tow on Day 20!

The Nationality Rooms were designed to showcase the melting pot of cultures that have settled in the Pittsburgh area in the past several hundred years. They're open all year round (and even serve as classrooms for the Pitt students when school is in session), but Christmas is the best time to visit them because they're all decorated for Christmas. Each one also has information about the country's Christmas traditions. I'm not certain how many there are, but we didn't get to at least two thirds of them, and we saw at least ten.

The Austrian room was my favorite. Beautiful!

Because each room also serves as a classroom, the University had local artisans and craftsmen from each country design a case for the chalkboard. The kids loved seeing how each one of these was different and reflected various aspects of the individual cultures.

The Swiss Room:

The African Room - A sculpture of a crocodile catching a fish.

The fireplace that was built to keep the students warm while they learned is big enough for all of them to stand in, with room to spare!

The rooms are amazing - next year we'll probably plan two trips, because there is so much to see that it's hard to take it all in in one day, especially with little kids. It was a wonderful learning experience for them, and perhaps the most awesome part was the Cathedral itself. The kids could not believe that when you go to university, you get to learn in a real live castle! They just don't make buildings like this anymore. The architecture is stunning, and I loved that the kids appreciated its beauty. We talked about the amount of time that went into creating a building of this magnitude, the amount of hands and hours it must have taken to put each stone in place. Things that are strong and lovely and worthwhile take time. I pray that as I'm learning this, they are too.