He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9

A birthday and a new baby Fry

Big news: In my blogging absence my baby girl turned 5!

AND

To celebrate this monumental occasion, we adopted a pound from the dog. (Did I mention I'm tired). A dog from the pound. A 6-month old German Shepherd puppy, to be exact. His name is Spencer and he is wonderful. The humane society people think that he is full bred, based on the breeder who dropped him off and his drooping ears, which don't sell as well as pointy ones.

It was a huge deal, this doggy business. Alex helped me pick him up and we hid him from Kayla until the day we celebrated her birthday. We put blindfolds on the girls, hid him around the side of the house - the works. Her reaction was worth it all. She's been fervently praying for a dog for probably at least a year. She would pray for "a new house with a dog." One out of two isn't bad.

In fact, when she blew out her candles right before the whole blindfolded deal, we asked her what she wished for...... "A dog."

She squealed with such delight when she saw him. She's doing well at taking care of him. He's huge for a puppy (gonna be a big dude), and she's been knocked over and scratched. But she's hanging in there - learning to be the boss with him. She says she likes it when he takes off running when she's walking him - says he's "giving her a ride." That's an understatement. Kayla's strong and fast, but this puppy has her beat. I have to stay very close or he drags her around.



Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking...bringing a large smelly animal into the family who I must help feed and bathe and walk and take to the vet on Monday. But I have a 5-year old animal lover who goes out to be with her puppy every morning to remind me why I did such a thing.....

You thought I was gonna say I was expecting a new baby Fry, didn't you? No way! hee hee
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Hazelnut Iced Coffee Insomnia

I made the monumentally stupid mistake of trying McD's Iced Coffee on my way to getting groceries after 8:00 tonight!! So after buying and putting away over a hundred dollars worth of groceries, doing dishes & laundry, showering, and taking care of my family - including one 5-year-old with an extremely painful bruised or fractured tush.....I was rewarded with insomnia.

So I flipped on the lamp to try reading (husband grumbled), sat on the floor in our one-room home watching my 3 beautiful babies sleep (didn't work), wondered if I'll be skinny by our next Christmas card picture (yeah right), wondered how we'll get the dog to sit still for the picture (subject for another blog), talked to my Abba (mind wandered), asked Him to show me why my insides are so jumbled lately (not managing my stress very well), wondered if Kayla's fanny is just bruised or actually fractured (maybe xrays tomorrow), scootched my hubby over to try sleeping again (he's used to sleeping alone all week in Chicago - took the center of the bed!), then talked to you in my head for while.

Then I gave in, snapped my robe on inside out and came down to say howdy.
It just occured to me how absolutely bizarre it is that I just told all of that to anyone who is bored enough to stop by this blog. Sorry to not reward you with something earth-shattering.

I have been reminded today so keenly to live for today - not in a hedonistic, godless sort of way. But isn't it easy to always be working or living or saving or thinking ahead? Don't get me wrong, I'm all about forward thinking. But I'm reminded by that we don't have the guarantee of tomorrow with our loved ones. And in all of my doing and being and working and planning, I'd better remember to live today. To kiss my babies and my husband and talk to my Abba and call my family and remember that today is the most important day I can live. So Carpe Diem, friends. Put your arms around your husband (or wife), crawl around on the floor with your kids (uuh....unless they're teenagers), and let your insides relax and enjoy today.

I won't be able to take my own brilliant advice if this Premium Iced Coffee doesn't leave me alone soon. Maybe some chocolate would counteract the coffee. Don't have any or I'd try it.
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Too Much Ketchup

Lately my blogging has been like banging ketchup from a glass bottle. But you gotta deal with the blogging blob on your plate, I guess! (Dad Fry is a faithful reader and keeps reminding me that I'm neglecting my blog.)

I thought of a couple more stories I have to share before I disappear into a world of primer and paint once again....

PARTY FOR TWO
The other Day Kayla was creeping around here, working on some kind of secret project that I couldn't see yet. She hung baloons and wrote notes. Then she "suprised" me with a big party in the kitchen - just for me. We pretended to eat and she made me a new card because she had lost the old one. It said
"Mommy I love."
As we enjoyed our party for two, she told me....
"I wanted to do this to celebrate how wonderful you are."
And she told me...."You're the one who did this, because you make me so happy."

It was one of those moments she has when she's literally brimming over with love and it spills out all over those around her. Priceless.

MEMORIES WITH GRANDMA
I forgot to mention that my hilarious Grandma Parsons was with us for our Wolf Weekend. As the kids splashed in the swimming hole, Grandma and I sat in camping chairs along the creek and talked about everything. She told me about the fellow she likes and her flirting attempts.....we talked about leaving what you love and moving away....having lots of young babies....and the funny things they do and say. She said, "I could write a book if I'd just do it." So I told her about blogging. She was wishing that she had written down all of those crazy and precious daily memories of raising her 5 children with the man she adored. And it made me so glad that we (you and I) have the gift of blogging. If we preserve it, it will be a treasure for our children and families. I have some of my Grandmother Wolf's journals, and I'm so thankful for them.

Let the husbands laugh and roll their eyes. We're capturing the moments!
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Chicago and Friends

Yesterday David needed to make an unplanned trip to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in Chicago to finalize some things before he starts 9 weeks of German on Monday. So we met with some friends - Tom and Jenny McCall -- and made a day of it. Tom is a brilliant but down-to-earth professor of theology at the Divinity School. Jenny and I have become acquainted through blogging and email. They have 4 beautiful, well-behaved kids, ages 7 mo to 6 yrs. They provided a delicious and nutritious picnic, which we at at TEDS. Then we braved Chicago traffic and made our way to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry to take advantage of "free days."

The museum is amazing. Everything from a massive submarine to a walk-through heart to a fantastical fairy castle. All seven kids did very well, despite tiredness and no naps. I think my favorite exhibit was the embryos. They had a real specimen of each stage of fetal development from conception to birth. Amazing and powerful. Kayla also really loved that exhibit. She's learning about some of the facts of life, and wishes she could be present when we have a baby. (yikes!)

We had wonderful fellowship. Jenny is one of those beautiful people who makes you happy and at ease when you're with her. They also understand in a unique way the challenges of balancing family, ministry and post grad education at the same time. They are a deeply principled and home-focused family - a trait David and I have come to value and search out in friendships.

And we had a wonderful day of conversation, food, and fun. Kayla chased alligators and climbed trees with the boys while Abby and Karissa played house or princess or something under the picnic table.

We're blessed to have such friends. (Pics later!)
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Wolf Weekend

We spent the weekend with my family at the cabin. As you may know, my sister and her British husband are moving back to Northern Ireland in a few weeks. So we wanted to have a family weekend before they left.

About 25 years ago, my folks bought a cabin in the hills of Indiana, near the Ohio river. They paid less than 6K for it, and rebuilt and repaired it on weekends - completely breaking any child labor law ever passed (I have pics to prove it!) I don't see how they managed it, with their work load and income, but I'm eternally grateful to them. We've certainly gotten more than their investment back in priceless memories and family togetherness. This has been our weekend (work) retreat throughout my childhood. We have an old fashioned outhouse (running water, too from a rain-fed cistern), no phone, an amazing view of the valley and 3 acres of green hills and woods.

There's something wonderful that happens inside me when we drive into those hills. A sigh comes from deep inside me and I seem to think clearer. It is incredibly green and quiet and beautiful. I was near tears when we arrived and opened the van doors (partly because the drive up the hill to the cabin scares me spitless! You have to get a speeding run for it, and gun it all the way to the top. I'm always afraid we'll flip over backwards all the way back down the hill and crash into the fence or the creek.)

Anyway...when I got out of the van I took a deep breath and breathed in the memories. I sigh now, just thinking of it. I asked Kayla if she could smell that happiness. She couldn't yet, but later I asked her again, are you sure you can't smell the happiness? She sniffed and said, "Oh YEAH! I smells yummy." Clover and fresh cut grass and the woods.....there's nothing like it

So our family slept in our 4-room tent on Friday night. It's a 3-bedroom cabin so we volunteered to camp out with the chilluns. We went to the new Answers in Genesis creation museum on Saturday. It was an amazing worship experience. You HAVE to go.

We went hiking, boating, visited the old swimming hole in the Laughery Creek, played Dominoes, examined hundreds of butterflys and countless crawling creatures, and ate like happy royal people. On Wolf vacations, we're each in charge of a different meal so that no one gets stuck cooking the whole time. The husbands even get involved. And it's always delicious.

It was a wonderful weekend. Again - Come back later for pics.
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Caiden's First Birthday

Caiden turned one on Thursday! We quit work early to come home and celebrate. Mom Fry had purchased the bavarian-creme-filled-cake, baloons, and decorations. We sang several versions of happy birthday - most of them in Spanish. My favorite verse is the one about wanting cake. And then we had to repeat them because Dad Fry thought he ran the video camera wrong! Our friend Lupe, Evon, Lucy and Ray came - and brought delicious tortillas con carne, hot peppers, arroz, and colorful jugo.

Caiden made a mess of his cake - all over his face and in his nose. I had this unbelievable moment during the party when it hit me that this is my 3rd child to turn one.

He started walking on Sunday. And his most exciting development of late is that he sings Jesus Loves Me! Pretty cute, if you ask me. He has music in his bones and mimics sounds (words) like crazy. I realized yesterday that I'd be absolutely nuts if I don't keep that boy consistently exposed to other languages from right now. His language door is wide open.

You'll have to check back later for pictures - I have to wait until I go somewhere to use my own laptop.
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What We've Been Up To

These are the "BEFORE" pictures.

I didn't have time to explain yesterday when I posted them - we were at Trinity in Chicago, and I just had enough time to upload a few pics.
This house was recently purchased by the church, and is right behind the parking lot. We've been working on it for 2 weeks, and are really excited about the potential.

Kitchen (window looking out towards the back yard and church - so I can see the kids when they ride bikes in the parking lot)

Living room: (no - the stove and fridge won't stay there! The door straight ahead is to the dining room - which is now painted "crushed seed" red!!!)


View from Back entry way and stairs to the basement (laundry). I'm working on creative ways to make this wall space cute and useful - any ideas? I'm planning to have Dad Fry make me some kind of board to lay across the back of the stairs so I can get to the wall space without killing myself. I have flat-backed woven baskets to hang on the walls for cute storage. I recently saw an idea of actually mounting bookshelves on a wall for storage.


Kitchen: (Hilarious note - the ceilings were dropped or something, so the previous tenants just cut off the tops of the cabinets! You can see the shortened cabinet door tops.) These cabinets are really tall, which will be useful, but that makes the counter space VERY short, so I don't think any of my cabinet appliances will fit (bread machine, juicer, coffee pot, etc.) I'm thinking about one of those stainless steel storage shelves from Wally World.



What child labor laws?

This picture does not fully express the condition of the tub and shower. But they cleaned up much better than I expected and are now white and shiny! (Stay tuned for "AFTER" pictures) We were also able to salvage the toilet after scraping the layer of paint off. (What were those people thinking?)

Basement (note the old fashioned ringer washer. Can you believe I actually remember doing laundry with one of these?) We still need to scrub, paint, dehumidify, replace furnace, finish installing washer and dryer, etc. I use the term "we" broadly here - I'll only be involved in the scrubbing and painting. I shudder to think of what would happen if I were involved in the furnace installation and plumming work....!



Special, loving, wonderful thoughts to David's family. All of them have been working on the house, and Debbie and Mom have kept the kids for countless hours while I worked on the house. I sure lucked out in the in-laws category, huh? They took off work to come down to Alabama and move us, then came back and without even a day off, went back to their normal jobs PLUS our little house project. We love them!!!
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