26 July 2008

American Idol?

Lucy is singing right now. She's holding up a book, as if she's reading it and here is what she is singing, with gusto:

"Glory, don't catch me. Glory, don't catch me. Glory you. People, all glory with me. Glory, don't say poo poo. Don't catch me again."

She uses the word "glory" in her singing A LOT. What does that mean?

Walter just walked in and said, "I hope she doesn't grow up to be some kind of singing performer."

Wee hours

London time is still with me. I was up this morning at 3:55 a.m. I'm sitting in the darkened kitchen, doing a few administrative things online, and now I'm about to plan out all the craft supplies I need to purchase today for VBS next week. Eek, it's a bit overwhelming.

But I am enjoying the quiet. A few minutes ago, a bird started practicing his song just outside the window. It's really lovely. By now the light is starting to come up a bit. It's very peaceful. I hope the lack of sleep doesn't catch up with me too early in the day.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Clayton's 8th birthday. We are having a small party, so I need to prepare for that today as well. He wants to play basketball at the park with his buddies. I hope that it doesn't rain on us, and I hope we can get enough friends there to really play. It's tough with the summer birthdays.

Yesterday was John's day off and we went to Wingaersheek Beach. I think that is my favorite beach. We climbed all over the rocks and found many clams, hermit crabs and a few sand dollars. As the tide came in, the water became deep enough for us to jump off the rocks into the (freezing!) water. Clayton was the first to discover this delight, and as he came bouncing up out of the water, the look of pure joy on his face made my heart leap. I still can't help but smile, remembering his expression. I think he discovered that not only was it fun to jump into water (we don't have much diving board experience), but it was thrilling to overcome a little bit of fear, and to do something BEFORE his big brother could do it! I love that sweet guy. I'm so thankful for him.

24 July 2008

Re-Entry

John and I returned to Boston late Tuesday night, after the LEAP conference ended on Monday evening.  What an amazing ten days!  I'm looking forward to processing everything that we saw and did and learned.  I realize that my posts while in London were rather frivolous, but that in no way reflects the whole tenor of the trip!  I do have to say that joy and fun were a big part of it, though.

Yesterday morning we had a sweet, sweet reunion with our children.  What a blessing to hold little Lucy in my arms again, and to have our cute boys jump into bed with us, tumbling all over each other to tell us of all their adventures, show us their newest bruises and bumps and get in LOTS of snuggles.  They all seemed so much bigger, and Lucy seemed to be talking so much.

I don't know if you've experienced this with your own kids, but I find that when talking to my children on the phone, they sound so much smaller, so tiny.  Their voices seem higher than in real life, and it makes me feel that they are still just my babies.  It was strange to hold them again, and feel how lanky and big they are!  

John took the day off to recoup, and we all just enjoyed being together, reading lots of books to Theo and Lucy, doing a bit of grocery shopping, and playing together.  We played with Clayton's new birthday presents, showed pictures of our trip and gave the children the presents we had brought for them:  a tiny kameez (Indian tunic or shirt) for Lucy, soccer jerseys for the boys and English candy for all.  I scored some perfume at the duty-free shop in Heathrow. 

I am so thankful for our trip and I am so thankful for our family.  I'm looking forward to life at home, jet-lag and all!  Cheers!

18 July 2008

A day in Londontown and GUEST POST!

Today was our day off during the LEAP conference, so John and I have spent the day in London proper. In honor of the occasion, I am going to host my very first, inaugural, initial AND did I mention first, guest post! Here's John:

Trying to see London in a day is a pretty daunting task, but I think Kit and I have done pretty well. We did a little (very little) shopping in Oxford Circus, rode a double-decker down to Trafalgar Square, caught the free lunchtime concert at St. Martin-In-The-Fields church, walked all along the Thames, saw the Houses of Parliament and Westminster, visited the British Museum, ate at Nando's (shout out to Rick!), saw the Globe Theater, walked across Tower Bridge, and checked out (the outside of) The Tower of London (too expensive to go in!). But, of all the impressive things I have seen in this great city, the thing that impresses me most is...the McDonald's! First of all - there would be no guest-posting right now if it weren't for their free wi-fi (what else is free in London?), it is incredibly clean, and the decor is pretty stunning - big, bright lounge chairs, Wagamama-style communal tables, striking modern-art prints on the walls. What can I say? This beats the heck out of the McDonald's on Middlesex Turnpike where I take my kids on occasion. I have added a pic of Kit and me chillin' in their incredibly comfortable lounge chairs, just to give you some of the flavor.



That's all for now. Guest post: out!

17 July 2008

Not an Oreo, not a Nutter-Butter, not a chocolate chip...

In a talk we heard yesterday, one of the World Harvest Mission staff said something great:

"There is no cookie-cutter way to share the gospel.  I'll tell you why.  Because the gospel is not a cookie."  

He went on to say that it is a many-faceted diamond, more beautiful than anything we have ever seen, and that we consider what facet to present to our audience based on what they need to hear most.  A very fascinating and wonderful concept, and one I hope to discuss and learn more about while I am here.

15 July 2008

Wembley

Good evening, friends.  It's just about pub time (if I can stay awake), but I thought I would give a quick update on our day today.

This morning we had two great sessions of learning from Bob Heppe, the founder of the work here in London.  He is very wise, having been here fourteen years, and is a wealth of knowledge about the Sikh, Hindu and Muslim cultures.

This afternoon, we visited the neighborhood of Wembley (home of the stadium).  We were given a map of the area and instructed to eat an Indian meal and do cultural exploration.  We had such a great time, and were able to have chats with several people.  In fact, John met two people that he had met last year on this trip!  One of them even remembered him and the things they talked about.

For lunch, I had sheekh kebab with salad and naan bread.  BOY, was it spicy!  Oooo, my mouth was really burning and I was sweating.  Don't worry, I played it cool.  Didn't let on.  I like to blend into the culture like that.

Then we visited a sari shop that is closing its doors.  I spoke with the owner, asked question about the saris and the shalwar kameez (traditional Punjabi dress).  She is closing her brick and mortar store to go online.  I was able to buy an adorable tiny kameez (long shirt) for Lucy for £3 (that's about $6). 

Another of our assignments was to buy something after haggling on the price.  So I bought a tiny string bracelet that the guy wanted to sell for £1 and I ended up paying 50 pence.  Hmmm.  I think I still got ripped off, because another girl bought about 8 bracelets for £2.  Oh well, anything for relationship, right?!

Then John and I stopped to speak with a man selling Bollywood videos.  So we asked him who his favorite actress is and why, and asked him to suggest a good, classic Bollywood video for us.  We talked with him for so long that we really felt that we had to buy something, so we got a video (probably some illegal copy!) for £5.  He was from Bombay (also called Mumbai), but has lived in UK for 20 years!

The most fun thing I did, and I still can't believe I did this...I had my eyebrows threaded in an Indian beauty salon!  This is a method of shaping/plucking eyebrows using a thread instead of tweezers.  WHY did I do it?!  Well, my eyebrows were in terrible shape, something I noticed on the plane on the way over.  Oops.  Anyway, I had heard of this method before and the sign outside the shop said it was only £2.50!  That's $5!  So cheap.  Anyway, I had a moment of panic as I sat in the chair, wondering if I was going to come out with no eyebrows at all.  But the girl was sweet and quick and it looks great.  Crazy!

More to come later, and hopefully some pics.  Leave me a comment if you read this, and let me know if you're praying for us.  Tomorrow night we will be going door to door in these neighborhoods!

14 July 2008

London!

People, I am posting this FROM the U.K.!  That's right, we have arrived, we are in the mother country. 
Our direct flight from Boston to Heathrow Airport was quite pleasant, made so by the most solicitous, sincere and kind British Airways flight attendants.  Here is a sample of the usual airplane banter, but with a British twist:

(to be read with a lovely English accent in your head; think BBC)

As they interrupt the in-flight entertainment for an announcement:  "We are most sorry for the interruption, but we just did want to give you the update that blah, blah, blah..."

The pilot's announcement:  "Good afternoon, folks.  This is your pilot, Phil Channery. [when do pilots tell you their first and last names?] It's a lovely day for flying, and you'll see that we're just passing over Liverpool, on our way into London..."

As the movies end and we begin to descend into London:  "Well, we do hope that you've been able to get some rest on this flight.  And, if not, then we do hope that you enjoyed the movies that you've been able to watch.  And, if not that, then we hope you've enjoyed the lovely croissant with jam and tea."  (Just kidding on that croissant part.  But the rest is true)

Anyway, we sailed through immigration, despite the humiliating signs for the two types of pass ports:  EU countries, and All Other Countries INCLUDING US and other countries.  What happened to our special relationship, England?!

Well, our team is beckoning me to come to pub and how can I resist?  More pictures and updates to come, including my very first guest post!  Here's a hint:  "Kit and Cat in the UK".

Love to all, and keep praying.  This is going to get challenging.

12 July 2008

To look at the queen?!

When John first went to the London Evangelism and Prayer Conference four years ago, I told the boys that Papa would be going to London for a few days. Theo's response was, "London?! To look at the queen?!" His only reference point for London was the nursery rhyme:

"Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? I've been to London to look at the queen. Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there, I frightened a little mouse under her chair."

So, en la manana, we are off to look at the queen (or should it be Queen?)! John and I will attend the conference this year together, his third time and my first! I am very excited to have this chance to see all that he has experienced there, in World Harvest's ministry among South Asians.

I am especially grateful to all those who are supporting me in SO MANY ways! It takes a lot of people and helpers to get a mother of four out of the country! The Barnes' are going to be parents of SEVEN children for the next five days! Then Tyler and Amanda are going to take on the challenge of their lives, as they child-wrangle (I think that should be my new term for babysitting) for the remaining five days. Not to mention all the lovely friends who are supporting me financially to cover the cost of the conference and flight. I also feel especially blessed by those who are praying for me and for John, and for the children, and for the gospel to go forward among the South Asians of London.

Would you pray for me, if you are a praying person? Pray for my understanding of the gospel, pray for the people I will meet, pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work and for us to be malleable. Also, pray for our sweet children, as we have never been away from them for so long.

I will do my best to update as I am able from London...no promises, as I'm not quite sure of our schedule.

Blessing to you. I'll give the Queen your regards!

10 July 2008

My job description

Today, as I vacuumed, I had a realization. I now KNOW what my job in life is, what I spend the bulk of my days doing.
I don't have time to give much of an explanation, but I'll just give you the title. Maybe we can chat more about what this means later.

Kit Standridge: Entropy Fighter

Any questions?

Lost treasure

I came across a curious receipt as I was straightening the kitchen a few days ago.  

[Imagine a picture is here, which there will be as soon as I can get my internet and my photo program to work AT THE SAME TIME.  Grrrr.]

Let me explain:

About a month ago, during the height of Little League season, the children and I were at a, guess what - baseball game.  Walter's team was playing, and the other three children were making use of the nearby playground.  Lucy, as usual, was parading back and forth between my baseball viewing position and the playground.  At some point, she asked to put on my necklace and I (stupidly) let her.  It was a silver necklace with a big turquoise and lapis pendant, something that John's parents gave me many years ago.  I wear it fairly often as it complements many outfits and it reminds me of my Southwestern roots.

So I put it on Lucy, thinking that I would make sure she stayed near me while wearing it.  Good move, Mom.  Because I, of course, was really watching the game, and not watching Lucy and at some point she scampered over to the playground.  Did I mention the sand pit that houses this playground?  And all the playing fields around the playground?

The game ended and I discovered that the necklace was no longer on Lucy's neck.  I questioned her about its whereabouts, to which she replied, "It's nowhere."  Oh shoot!  I probably spent about 2o minutes searching in the sand and the grass, and did manage to find the silver necklace portion lying in the grass.  But the pendant was still missing.

We went home, as it was getting dark, but I pledged to return in the morning to search some more.  But then I had a brilliant idea...a metal detector would make this a whole lot easier!  The pendant is backed in silver, so it could be detected by said detector.  So I called a rental place down the road, found out it would cost $22 to rent a metal detector for a few hours, decided the pendant was worth it to me, and went to rent one.

I totally felt like one of those nerdy people you see on the beach or at the park, with big head phones on and a fanny pack.  Only I didn't have a fanny pack or ear phones.  But I did feel pretty nerdy, walking around the fields, sweeping my metal detector over the ground, actually praying that God would help me find this thing.

And I found it!  There it was, face down, a bit muddy, under a clump of grass.  I gleefully walked home with my found treasure.  Then I let the boys play with the metal detector in the yard for a while before taking it back.  

Here's what I learned:
1.  DO NOT, even under threat of tantrum, give Lucy things that you are not willing to lose.  Why, oh, why haven't I learned this yet?  Probably the threat of tantrum.
2.  You can rent lots of cool and useful things at Taylor Rental.  Like a cotton candy machine.  Or a backhoe.  Or a wedding candelabra.  Or a metal detector.
3.  Metal detectors are fun, but they beep  A LOT.  And they can really help you find things. 

07 July 2008

It's definitely summer...

when you're sweating in your own house, you hear the buzz of some one's lawn mower, you have all the shades drawn and you and your children are eating root beer floats instead of lunch.  Mmmmm.

Another sign of summer is that the boys all have summer cuts.  Last week I bought a clipper set and gave everyone haircuts.  I've been thinking for a while that I could save a good bit of money by giving the boys haircuts, but I never actually bit the bullet.  Last week we all went out to go to the barber.  First, we drove to my barber of choice, but they were closed for a two-week vacation.   We stopped at another barber along the road.  As soon as I walked in, with four children in tow, the lone barber said, "We don't do kids."  Okay, then.  As we drove back toward our house, I decided if the barber shop closest to our house (which I don't like), had a parking space near it, I would stop there.  No parking spot.

So we just kept on driving, to Bed, Bath and Beyond, used a coupon and came home with a clipper set.  Walter took it out of the package on the way home, and within five minutes, he said, "Okay, I think I have this thing figured out."  Typical.

So Clayton was the first guinea pig and it came out really well!  He ended up with the #2 clipper.  I trimmed Lucy's hair, gave Walter a #3 and the biggest change of all was cutting off Theo's long locks!  He looks so different without his long hair; I hardly recognize him.  We did give him a short haircut when he was about three, but I have always liked him with the long hair.  It just seemed to suit him.  But I have to say, he looks very handsome with his #8 (I didn't dare to go shorter!).

Oh, the best part of getting the clipper set?  It cost less to purchase it than it would have to get three haircuts at the barber.  It is well on its way to paying for itself!

Yep, it's definitely summer.

04 July 2008

Independence Day 2008

It's the Fourth of July, y'all!  

This is one of my very favorite holidays, especially here in New England.  Back in the day, when we lived on the North Shore, we would typically go to the parade in Manchester-by-the-Sea.  This is a wonderful, small town parade, with marching bands, homemade floats, kids riding bicycles, candy being thrown from antique cars, Revolutionary War soldiers (with loud guns), and LOTS of fire engines.  People line the streets in their folding chairs, decked out in red, white and blue, waving flags of all kinds.  It is a ton of fun, and one of the best things about living in this area.  I love to get there early with a box of donuts, a nice hot coffee and wait for the parade to begin.  We always were able to get prime parade watching real estate right in front of the cemetery.  The old gravestones provided pre-parade entertainment, as we would search for the headstone with the earliest date.

One year in particular sticks in my memory.  I was hugely pregnant with either Clayton or Theo, and we had spent the day at Singing Beach with our friends.  These friends were living in the top floor of a HUGE mansion in Manchester, and basically had the run of the place, as the owner was away.  When it got dark, we headed up to their apartment for food and to wait for the fireworks.  I remember that Walter got bitten by some kind of sand flea and had tiny bites ALL OVER his back.  And I remember sitting in their tiny (but so cute) third-floor kitchen, sweating, drinking Corona and feeling so heavy.  We tried to go outside to watch the fireworks, but were positively eaten alive by mosquitoes, so we retired inside.  I know it doesn't sound very pleasant by my description of it, but I remember that time with fondness.  Matt and Caroline, if you're reading, do you remember that year? 

Another Independence Day we celebrated in Maine with my mom and dad.  I made Firework hats for the kids, and they were too embarrassed to wear them.  So my mom and I wore them to the parade in Naples and had a great time!

Today is cold and rainy.  It doesn't really seem like the Fourth of July.  We didn't go up to the parade, and we're not going to Castle Island, like we did last year.  The boys just decorated their room with American flags and Clayton and Theo say they are going to do their own parade in our house.  That's the spirit, boys!

I, for one, am going to make oven fried chicken (my mom's recipe; delish!), strawberry roll cake (lots of berries and fresh whipped cream), corn on the cob, veggies and dip and root beer floats!  I also bought Doritos (which we NEVER buy) and cans of Mug root beer, just for a holiday treat.

What's your favorite thing about the Fourth of July? 

Have a great day of celebration, everyone!  Look for more posts over the holiday weekend!


03 July 2008

Happy Birthday to Tata!

Hope you had a great day, Dad! We were thinking of you!

video

We love you and can't wait to see you in August!

02 July 2008

I am here!

Just wanted to reassure you that I am still here!  Our internet has been spotty this week, and I have a couple of posts that I just need to finish up.  Can't wait to get them up, one about childhood vacations and another about last weekend's yard sale finds.

Lucy note:  When Lucy has tears in her eyes, she says, "My eyes are really sad" and she wants you to wipe her tears.  Today, Lucy and I had, how shall I say...a moment of conflict.  Later, we were lying on my bed and I wiped her tears and said, "Your eyes are really sad."   And she reached out her little tiny thumb, and wiped my own tears away.  "Don't cry, Mama," she said.