” Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18, ESV)

Grilled Cheese for Lunch

A slice of life on a Christmas season Saturday

Here's a photo of my wife Jenn and daughter Calire this Christmas season on a both leisurely and busy Saturday. Claire is enjoying a grilled cheese, prepared by my my wife Jenn, who is in the background preparing hers. The Christmas tree is framed by the doorway into our living room and you can also see other significant bits of our life: the dogs bowls in the bottom left, the espresso machine which jumpstarts every day with espresso, the outdated and cluttered kitchen, which works just fine, the photo board to the right, which is reguarly updated with prints. 

I've never enjoyed taking photos more than with my latest camera, a Leica M10. Looking through that optical rangefinder is wonderful. It allows me to see real life rather than looking at the electronic version on an iPhone screen or the electric viewfinder of so many of the latest cameras. Framing can sometimes be challenging, as I've always had a zoom lens with a wide angle, but now I look for ways to layer elements, and include portions of objects instead of the entire object. In some ways my photography has taken a step back (such as quickness and nailing focus), but in other ways it's taking a stride forward. And I'm capturing bits of life that normally don't get captured or appreciated. 

Cost Plus WorldMarket

The Costplus World Market has been in the same location, by Toys R Us, for as long as I can remember. It's one of the few niche stores that has not been replaced by something newer. I'm so glad that they continue to survive. Now my own children love to browse and find things.

Jenn, holding a gather sign. Given that this is so close to Thanksgiving, she thinks perhaps people have replaced "give thanks", with gather.

We love this mirror hung on the wall, but have no clue if it's for sale. It was the only one we found. 

Do you know what sitcom this product can be found in?

Bowling and Pinball

At Cambrian Bowl

We bowl with the gutter gaurds up. At times the bowling ball is bouncing back and forth several times before hitting the pins. Are we bowling or playing pinball?! And it's always suprising when Claire throws the ball so slow that a crawling toddler would win the race, yet with hardly any movement, the ball manages to know nearly every pin to the floor. 

We had fun. I definitely recommend going to an old school bowling alley without any screens to distract. I can't stand the new places with darkened lighting, glowing pins, and screens across the wall. I feel as if I'm seeing double as I try to focus on the pins. 

Claire’s Tea Party

An Escape from Flowery Bits

We thought it would take more preparation and planning to put together a tea party. But Claire, in her youthfull zeal, wanted to have a tea party the upcoming weekend. We had imagined a sizable amount of effort was needed to prepare such a danty and pretty ocassion. But it wasn't as much work as we thought. Brownies were baked the day before, the rice crispy treats popped out of the premade treat sized bags, the waterman was sliced Jenn-style, and the tea was replaced by pink lemonade. Apparently little girls like tea parties, but don't like tea.

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We found a spot in the shade, under a massive hybrid tree-bush in our backyard, but the children soon discovered that the tree was becoming a nuisance as it was raining tiny bits of pollen and flower onto their food. A swarm of bees regularly inhabits the bush during times of flowering. All their activity causes bits of flower and pollen to rain onto the grass below. The children held their hands over their food and drinks to protect it from the falling debris.

One of my children proposed I bring out the shade tent. What an exellent idea! And a few short moments later, the children sat in the shade, protected from falling flowery bits. 

I left the kids to talk and chat and live in their tea party reality. When it seemed right, I proposed we capture some memorable expressions.  

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I find it hard to foget these faces.

So stinking adorable, right?

Matthew’s Interpretation of Star-Spangled Banner

When Sung by Whitney Houston

Jenn played the Star-Spangled Banner for a homeschool lesson. She searched youtube and found Whitney Houston's rendition. At the end of the song, Matthew asks, "Is that the song for the freedom of black people?" It's nice to know he has a sensitivity to social issues.

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