Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Officially Introducing Irene Abigail Sarine (and the meaning of her name)

Irene Abigail Sarine

Your name means peace and a father's joy. We desire that peace would reign in your life. And you are a joy to us and we pray that you will carry a joy inside you that burns bright. You have a great heritage in your earthly family and from your heavenly father. May you know that you are loved and so very special.
The scripture we have chosen for you is:

For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. - Zechariah 8:12

We chose this verse because it represents the blessing of God and His promise to bring the people of Israel peace. The meaning to you, Irene, is that you, as a grafted-in member of the people, can claim these things as yours before God. We believe that as you grow in God, you will receive this blessing of peace, bear much fruit in your life, produce great things from your labors and be like the dew that cools and nourishes everything it touches. 

Your namesake and heritage:

My great-grandmother's (known to me as Granny) name was Jesse Irene Baldwin Birch. However, Irene is the name my Granny went by. (She didn't like Jesse very much from what I understand.) She was an incredible lady. There was always a smile on her face. Even when she was not trying to smile, it was like she was about to. I remember visiting her home in Burlington each year between my dad's parents home (known to me as G-ma and G-dad) and then my mom's mom. I can still see her house in my mind's eye and can even pick it out when we drive through Burlington today. I remember pulling into the driveway around the back of her home. It just smelled wonderful to me. I don't really know how to describe this smell except that when we bought our home in Lindley Park it had the same smell and brought back all kinds of memories. Something about an older brick home. I remember for many years that she always had a huge spread of food laid out to greet us. We would stay for several hours. I used to climb into her lap. It is funny because Olivia does that very same thing now with my dad and her Nana. I see her lanky little body on their laps and know that she is pretty much too big to be in their laps now. But that was surely me when I was a kid and I loved to sit in my Granny's lap. And she was so gracious to let me sit with her.

Okay, so let me tell you about my Granny. She worked in the Burlington Mills. She and my great-grandfather ran off to be married when she was 14. They went to Caswell County and she had to lie about her age to be married. Then they continued to work in the mill. She was a hard worker. My great-grandfather died in his late 40s. They were close friends with a couple, his name was Sonny. Sonny's wife died early also. For a while Sonny and my Granny dated. The story goes that he was courting two women. He was a bit of a ladies' man. He would eat dinner with my Granny on a certain night of the week and this other lady on another night. So one night Granny changed their night to be the other lady's night. Sonny came to dinner. They then married. Granny also outlived Sonny. My memory does not include my great-grandfather or Sonny. I only remember Granny. She was very active in service in the community and in her church. She was well-loved by her neighbors and friends. She went to Israel. I remember her showing me pictures and telling me about this trip. It was then that I knew that I wanted to go to Israel someday. I still have that desire. She walked where Jesus walked. And not only that, but I know that the Bible was so very real to her. She lived it. She had a peace and a smile and an amazing graciousness about her. I always felt loved and welcome. When she had to leave her house and move to the nursing home, she took it gracefully. She stayed active and involved as much as she could.

She died a short time after I found out that I was pregnant with Olivia. I did not get to tell her. I planned a trip home (we were living in Colorado at the time) but she passed away the weekend before I came home. She died pretty peacefully without much medical intervention. I know that must have meant that she was at peace with dying and going to heaven. I can't wait for her to see my children someday and see the heritage that has come from her life. My Aunt Kelly passed on her bible to Olivia. I have it wrapped up to pass on to her one day. It is well loved and written in. It was amazingly real and precious to her. I can feel that when I hold it. It was the most amazing gift to be left with.

She had two sons. The younger one is my grandfather. He is also an amazing man. He serves so wholeheartedly. He is very generous. He smiles just like his mom. He makes life fun. He is young at heart. From him comes my father (his second of four children) who is all of these things. My dad is my inspiration in so many things. It is because of him that I know so much about the Lord and can live this life well. He has the same look and smile that my Granny had. At times I see in him my Granny, just in the way he holds himself and so much in his peace and joy of life. And the heritage continues. He serves so very faithfully. He is a mentor to many just as my grandfather is and my Granny was.

I am so thankful for this heritage. I pray that I am faithful to live it out and to pass it on to my children. As a gesture of love and respect for this family that God has given me, I chose to name my 5th child Irene. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Visit with the Great-Grandparents

We took the kids down to visit Great-grandma and Great-grandpa Baldwin and introduce them to Irene. 

Irene was sweet for GG-ma.

Olivia played her recital piece for them. GG-ma was impressed. She used to play piano in her younger days and wishes she still had the mobility in her hands to play.

Aunt B came by to hold the new little one.

Emma played peek-a-boo with anyone willing to play.

Grandpa and Great-Grandpa have been busy. Out in the back, they built a platform and zipline for the kids. Olivia was fearless and went down the line at least a dozen times. Gabe went down a couple of times, too. I wish I'd had the camera in-hand so I could capture the look of pure, abject terror. Ezra wouldn't try it at all. I tried it once and wound up on my back sliding across the lawn. Rebecca went the way of Ezra and passed. :)

They also built a sandbox for the less adventurous folks. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

This Year's History, Part 2

Later in the year, we got into the history of Greece and its science and culture. As part of the curriculum, we read two books: one about Archimedes and the other was a children's version of Homer's The Odyssey.

 Archimedes and the Door of Science was great because it not only gave us a look at the life of Archimedes, but also had tons of scientific info that we could use to make small experiments to try or observations to make. We talked about simple machines (levers, pulleys, screws), buoyancy, geometry, and numbers themselves. It's really amazing the contributions he made to modern math and science.

 We looked at buoyancy by making a boat from aluminum foil and floating it in some water. Then we crumpled the boat into a ball and dropped it back in and saw how the same piece of foil can float or sink depending on its shape.

We also experimented with centers of gravity and balance points. We made a tower of 5 bricks and saw how easy it was to knock over. Then we built a pyramid from the same 5 bricks and observed that a structure with a lower center of gravity are more stable than one with a high center.

Olivia then had to find the balance point (or center of gravity) of a butter knife, which has a heavy handle. She quickly found out that it wasn't right in the middle like she thought.

The Children's Homer was a great retelling of the Odyssey and the Trojan War. It was, by no means, easy to read but it was far easier than reading the original. The Trojan War story was somewhat confusing with all the various characters involved, but when we got to the story of Odysseus, Olivia was rather impatient to find out what would happen next each night.

To go along with the reading, we talked about the structure of Greek culture, which was primarily independent city-states, each with its own king and government. We talked about how each city ruled itself and how they often fought against each other.

Olivia also studied Greek art, which, for this year, was primarily pottery.

  She looked at all the different kinds of pots they used for different functions. She also had to make a few geometric patterns similar to ones that we saw in her history books.  

Also, we have been reading Aseop's Fables for Children at the table to all the kids. The kids have a chance then to narrate back to us the stories. They are short stories so it gives Gabe a chance to get in on some narration, even if it is just telling us who was in the story and where they were at or what they were doing. Olivia enjoys trying to guess the moral for each story. Ezra sits and listens and then comments on the pictures when there is one.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Swimming season is here!

Now that June is here we can take advantage of my parents' neighborhood pool again. The kids have been looking forward to it so much. Especially Gabe and Olivia, who both took lessons over the winter and really built their confidence and skills.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cherry Picking

We first heard about going cherry picking from friends of our last year, but the season is so short, we didn't make it in time. This year, however, we kept a close eye on the calendar and the websites to make sure we were there. It was our first time doing it and we all had a blast. We went to Levering Orchard in Ararat, Virginia because they were the first one to start picking this season. They have 32 acres of trees and 44 varieties of cherries! They put ladders out in all the trees that are ripe so you know which ones to pick from. 

The kids were so excited to get to climb the ladders.

Ezra decided the best place to find cherries was in the bucket. 

Olivia was so brave and scrambled right up the ladders, reaching some beautiful cherries.

There were plenty to pick, even from the ground.

Ezra finally had his fill and wanted to try his hand at climbing.

Even Mommy got into the act.

Our bountiful harvest of 10 lbs! 

Then came the pitting. We bought a great pitter from Sur La Table and set Olivia to work. It took a while, but when we were done, we canned enough cherries to have them all through this year until the season comes around again next June.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Irene!

Like all our children, Irene is pretty good at sleeping. 
She especially loves her Mama. No surprises there.

Though, now that she's a couple of weeks old, she's starting to be more awake and alert. She's getting strength in her neck to hold her head up and, if upset, will move herself around in her crib. It never gets old seeing a little one like this as they change almost daily.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Our Cute Little Girl (No, not Irene!)

I know we have been talking about Irene a lot lately because she's the newest one, but Emma has not exactly been sitting quietly to the side during all the excitement. She's growing more independent and showing her unique personality more and more. She's trying very hard to stand on her own and likes to hold our hands and walk around the house. She is starting to use a fork and spoon now, though I often have to feed her with a different one so she can still hold hers.
She loves to be adventurous and climb up and down stairs, couches and chairs.

She loves to play with Cousin Rooney.

Now she wants to sit in a chair by herself and play at the school table. 

Well...not always sit.

She likes to be near Irene, especially when Mommy is feeding her.