Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

she's five

"I miss being 4." This was the first thing Jeneva said this morning when she got up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

my sincere drama queen

Tonight as Jeneva was giving me a hug before heading upstairs for the whole bedtime routine with papa she said: "oh mama, you are the preciousest mama I have EVER my WHOLE entire life."

She turns five tomorrow. And I hope I'm the ONLY mama she's ever had in all of her five years!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

camo and a pink dress

It was a fun and bumpy ride. Good thing the speed limit was only 6mph.

Friday, August 22, 2008

when ava comes over...

....the imaginations soar and the girls spend the entire time making up stories. Jude was their active audience and even a prop for a few "plays."

We went for a nature walk. Five minutes from our front door took us over the railroad tracks and to the creek. For the girls, those five minutes took us over the ocean, through the mountains and to the forest where there were all sorts of wild creatures to chase and berries to pick.

At first I thought they were looking at squirrels in the tree or something, but no, they were speculating why there were two airplanes in the sky rather than just one. Ava thought it was because one of the "plane flyers" needed help from the other "plane flyer" (driver's ed maybe?). Jeneva thought it was because one plane had too many people and so they needed to fill up another plane with the people that didn't fit in the first one.

Are all girls like this?

Four year old girls outfitted in "princess" attire, I've found, attracts other little girls who are out for walks, honks and waves from the train conductors, and "oh's and ah's" from the folks sitting outside of the retirement home that we walk past.

Friday, August 15, 2008

what do they do in iowa anyway?

This is for those of you who always wonder what we do when we go to Iowa to visit my side of the family and Wisconsin to visit Steve's side. First, I will take you on a little trip to Iowa where we visit my parents. You can get a little glimpse of our life 5 hours south.

My mom and dad. Also known as Gramma and Grampa Stutzman. J & J are their first grandkids. My youngest brother Matt lives with them in the summer, but just moved back to Virginia where he is a senior at Eastern Mennonite University.

Jeneva and Jude are obsessed with all of the cats. I'm not so much. :)

We enjoy cozying up by the fire pit.

Jeneva likes to squawk at grampa's turkeys.

We take a walk down the 'path.' (jeneva calls gravel roads, paths.)

Here's the pond. We don't do much in it yet, but I suspect when Jude gets older, he'll be interested in finding creatures in there.

We enjoy my grandma's gardens. Seriously, my parents could have been landscapers. I certainly did not inherit that gene of theirs! That really is unfortunate.

Did I mention that the kids are obsessed with kitties?

We visit my aunt and uncles dairy farm.

The space. Oh the space to run! Jeneva spends a lot of time just running around. This is the barn that Steve risked his life to make red!

More fun at the firepit!

I wonder what they are discussing?

We also enjoy a visit with Great Gramma Stutzman

and Great Gramma Roth.

Next time we'll take you on a journey to Wisconsin to see Steve's side of the family!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

five year old evangelist

Today in the mail we received an update letter from some friends who will be headed to China to work in Tealand (ethnic Tibet). Because they were also Jeneva's Sunday School teachers and dance teacher, she prays for them during our family devotions.

We also received a magazine from the TEAM missions organization of which some college friends of ours are a part of and will soon be going to Central Asia.

So many exciting things to look at! Jeneva always pours over pictures and information of people from different countries and cultures and seems to genuinely have a heart for people who are less privileged than us and who don't know the gospel. I thank God for her spirit and know that it is a gift from Him.

Neither Steve nor I have been world travelers or on many missions trips, but would like to be someday if we are called. It is easy to get engrossed in our own little American culture/lifestyle and forget about the rest of the world. We try and read/pray through Operation World as well as Voice of the Martyr's.

So, after reading some interesting facts about Pakistan, Jeneva told me she wanted to write a letter to people in Pakistan to tell them about God. We came to the computer and I typed what she said. In her exact words:

Dear people in Pakistan,

You have to know God. He is a strong and mighty God and he's the person who created you. You shall love God and you shall love other people. You shall love everybody in the world. God is the greatest. He's the ruler of all nations. He's the one who made the stars and the sky and made YOU. Please listen to what I said. This is very important about God. And you shall listen to this: Love your neighbor as yourself. The Second is like it. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might. This is the greatest commandment!

Listen to me cuz I know about God.

God, I pray that you would continue to grow my daughters heart to have a passion for your people and for the nations! Please grow MY heart to be more like hers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

naming children...

I am always interested in what people name their children and their reasons for choosing a particular name.

I really loved the name Jeneva (not Geneva) when I first heard it. When I was teaching 2nd grade, I had a student whose sister's name was Jeneva. Her mom told me that it meant 'Purity.' Very appropriate for our little girl we thought. We also found the meaning 'Juniper Tree.' At first that may seem like a strange meaning, but we embraced the idea of her name meaning a 'tree' or something that has 'roots'. We liked the visual that this meaning evokes and this is the verse that we chose for her. Her middle name is Rae, which is the same as mine.

Jeneva's name gets mispronounced by people who don't know her sometimes: Genevive, Geneva, Jennifer. She's gotten good at saying very firmly: "it's jen-i-VUH". She'll probably always have to pronounce it and spell it for people. She told me yesterday that she likes her name because no one else has it. That is also one of the reasons I love it as well, but of course would be happy if someone else chose it for their little girl too. :)

Choosing our boy's name was more difficult. Steve and I went back and forth with several different names and we never seemed to agree. Even on the morning that I was scheduled to be induced we were on the internet frantically looking at boys names and trying to have a list of options we agreed on. We chose not to find out the gender of either of our children before delivery. We had our girls name picked out. It was going to be Josie. The baby was going to be born on Steve's grandma Josie's birthday. How appropriate if it were a girl. We were uncertain on a middle name though for a girl.

So, about our boy names, we still hadn't chosen one that we agreed on. Jude was at the top of Steve's list. Isaiah and Levi were at the top of mine. Jude was following in 3rd place for me. He was born at 7:30 the evening of November 1. We still didn't have a name for him until the next day in the afternoon. Jude Isaiah. I fell in love with it. I knew he would get a lot of 'Hey Jude' in reference to the Beatles song, but I didn't care. Jude means 'Praise and Thanks.' Isaiah means 'God is Salvation'. You certainly can't go wrong with those meanings! We weren't intentionally choosing Biblical names, those just happened to be the ones that we were drawn to. I also loved the way his name looked on paper. It just flowed well. I'm weird about stuff like that I guess.

Our ideas for boy middle names were: William (Steve's Dad), Harold (my dad....though we didn't really consider this one because, well, Harold?!? Love ya dad:) John (Steve's middle name and my grandpa's name, but sounds strange with Jude) Lambert (Steve's grandpa, Josie's husband....this is a rather odd name too though). We decided to skip the 'family' names and just choose what we liked.

Some people have asked if all of our children's names will begin with a J. Probably not. It wasn't intentional.

Around the same time that Jude was born there was another baby born from our church with the name Judah. Very similar.

This is even more ironic. On Sunday I was working as a Childcare Coordinator at our church in the nurseries. I used to do this every Sunday, but quit a couple of years ago when Steve was gone over a 6 month period for the National Guard. Now I fill in for other staff every once in awhile. So, Sunday I was filling in for Andrea who is on maternity leave. I was helping babies get checked in to Nursery 1 (0-12 months). I noticed a mom whom I had never seen before put her child's name tag on that said 'Jude.' Excitedly, I said, "oh, my son's name is Jude too!" She asked if his middle name was Isaiah? "Yes! How did you know?" She told me that her son's name was Jude Isaiah too and she had seen my son's name on the list of children getting dedicated a few months back and was shocked when she saw the exact same name as her son. Now a name like 'Jennifer Lynn' or 'Stephen John' or something more common like that wouldn't be too shocking, but the combination of 'Jude Isaiah' seemed very ironic!

I was congratulating another woman yesterday who just had her 5th son. They named him Levi. I told her that had been one of our options for boy names. She told me that they had a difficult time deciding between the names Jude and Levi for their son too. There must be a trend to certain names.

One day Jude was in our church nursery with four other boys whose names were Noah, Micah, Jonah, and Abraham. I believe maybe Biblical names are a trend now. Especially in Christian circles, but not necessarily.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

use the bike path!

We are fortunate in this city to have access to so many bike paths. There are trails everywhere. In fact we are a one car family because my husband quite often will bike himself to work downtown which is only 4 miles. Why is it then that some choose to use the road instead of the freshly paved, well marked, smoother-than-the-road bike path 3 feet away? It especially drives me nuts when there is heavy car traffic. We were driving along St. Anthony Parkway this morning and someone headed towards me was passing a biker and nearly crashed in to me. Yes, that driver should have been more cautious, but why wasn't the biker using the bike path? I understand if there is not a bike path close by, but that was not the case this morning. Is this frustrating to anyone else?