Inner-City Nightmares

Around 2:30 this morning, I was awakened by my four-year-old son crawling onto the foot of our bed.

“I’m just going to sleep right here,” he whimpered loudly, curling up in the fetal position. “I just had a really bad dream!”

Groggily I sat up, envisioning an action story with some sort of villian. I rubbed his back. “What did you dream about, buddy?”

“Cockroaches!!!!!” he snarled indignantly. “Little cockroaches!!!! Medium cockroaches!!! BIG cockroaches!!!!. . . It was a really bad dream!!!!”


* Special thanks to my sister-in-law Sarah, whose creative comment became my post title. (Thank you, Sarah!) 🙂

Lesson 2: Favorite Colors

Lesson 2 was on favorite colors.

The kids loved it. It was more like “activity time” than “school,” really. Maybe kindergarten is like that? (I actually don’t know, since I never went!)

The science activity was color mixing. I gave each of the kids a couple of clear glasses of water, and we got to experiment with different color combinations. Carissa, 2, joined in the activity time too. Even though these activities and concepts are very basic–stuff they already know, I’m happy that the kids are looking forward school and excited to do more. (Besides, this is only Lesson 2!)


Afterwards, the kids picked their favorite of the colors we had used, and then named something that was that color. Predictably, Micah chose yellow and said “paints” were yellow. Carissa of course chose orange “kittens.” And Mara picked purple and red, since pink was not an option, and she thought of butterflies.

It was a little anti-climactic for the kids though. They were sure we were going to dye Easter eggs, but all we did was color the water. . .

After that, Mara and Micah colored their worksheets according to the directions. It was interesting to see how Micah could color deliberately within the lines, but when he got tired of “school,” his coloring was so much messier. (Note the pink of the ears–staying in the lines.)

He was quite pleased when he finished.


Micah took a picture of Mara’s worksheet, so I decided to include it here too.

Lesson 2 introduces the Vick Family, characters in the stories that are read throughout the entire school year. Micah especially liked “Josh,” Kate’s three-year-old little brother. I think Micah can relate to little Josh.

All in all, it was a good day of school!

Day 2: Prince of Peace

Today’s Christmas passage was Isaiah 9:2-7. Mara understood more than Micah, but even for her (and me!) this passage was a little complicated.

We focused on the names of Christ and talked through the meanings of each and why He is called that:

  • Wonderful
  • Counselor
  • The Mighty God
  • The Everlasting Father
  • The Prince of Peace

When we got to the “Prince of Peace,” Mara gushed, “Oooooo, maybe I could be his princess?!?!” And. . .in a sense. . . if Christ is King. . . and we are His children . . . in a sense, she can be a princess! (Just probably not exactly in the way that she’s thinking right now.)

Our ornament craft today was a crown–relating to him being the “Prince of Peace.” A simple 2-inch section cut from a paper towel roll, painted and lovingly adorned with jewels.

This craft I did with Mara first, and then with Micah. Poor Carissa, never got a crown . . . oh, well–when she is older!!!! [After Carissa tasted the glue while making the “Light” ornament on Day 1, and Micah squirted glue on his pants and the floor while I was with somebody else, I do not feel so compelled to do the craft with all of them at once. I think a one-on-one setup will be preferable going forward, whenever circumstances allow. Even having the materials prepared for all of them ahead of time, it is still challenging to help all three at the same time within their varied and limited levels of capability.]

I’m never happy with indoor pictures–these more so, because they fail to capture the enthusiasm of Mara and Micah in this painting project. They were SOOO excited!! (I’ve never painted with them other than watercolor, so this really IS a whole new experience for all of us. When the paints came in the mail, and Mara and Micah were thrilled beyond words to pick out their brushes and begin!)

As small as the crowns are, it took longer to get ready than to paint them, and being the self-proclaimed “princess” that she is, Mara insisted on wearing the crown–which in reality all of us do at one time or another, don’t we?

After painting those teeny-tiny crowns, Mara and Micah both wanted to paint pictures. I didn’t have heavy-weight paper, so they just painted on a side of a cardboard box.

Micah was so cute. He leaned his cardboard on a paper towel roll as if he were painting on an easel! Unfortunately, it didn’t work so well, but I’m guessing he must have seen people painting on an easel before.  And Mara loved mixing colors. It was cute to see her face light up when she figured it out: “[GASP!] Re-ed! and Blue! Make–Purple!!!!!”

Micah explained his painting to Daniel–something about “here is where we live. . .” but beyond that, I think he was mostly mixing colors.

Mara told me she painted a picture of giving her purple crown to Jesus. And I was touched.

I thought of the passages in Scripture that indicate that we will receive “crowns”/”rewards” in heaven not for our righteousness (because we have only Christ’s) but for our faithfulness and endurance. And Scripture indicates that we will take those crowns and give them back to Jesus someday in eternity.

That’s what I thought of when I saw this picture.

Then I thought of how she is giving Jesus a paper-towel roll crown.

And it hit me that a paper-towel-roll crown is really about the best any of us has to offer Christ. Our crowns are “earned” as we yield to Him and He works in and through us. . . and it made perfect sense why we would give them back–because they were all His to begin with.

When we give to Him–ourselves, our plans, our possessions, our dreams, even our family; when we yield to His plans for us, to His will and His way, then we find the peace that He came to bring.


Already Got the Boot!

I can’t explain it. (Not being part of it.)

But there is this almost–dare I say–elitist? Red-Head Group that instinctively knows who is really and truly “one” of them. You have to be in the group to really know.

Growing up, I knew someone in The Group. She would look at other apparent red-heads and declare, “She isn’t a real red-head.”

Mara is definitely in that group. The Real Red-Head Group.

I would have thought Micah was too.

But . . . maybe not?

In this watercolor, Mara unceremoniously declares him blond.

Poor kid.

Already got the boot.

Beginner’s Artwork

At certain stages of life, children produce art en masse.

Mara’s at that stage. Micah is still dabbling in it.

A friend once suggested that rather than saving every piece of paper your child colors, you could instead take a photo of those you want to remember and keep a computer file of pictures of each child’s art.

What a great suggestion! (Especially for someone like me, who really struggles to keep clutter under control!)

Every day Mara colors and draws and cuts and tapes . . .  She has discovered art! And she loves it.

I love the stories behind her pictures! So often, like any artist, she draws what she loves, what excites her, what makes her happy. . . Usually that includes siblings, family, and beauty (like flowers or princess dresses), occasionally fun activities.

Here are a few of her recent pictures. (You may have to click or double-click to see the explanations I’ve added with Picasa.)

They don’t always make complete sense. For instance, in the first picture, Grandmom S. is pushing the kids on the swing, but Mara told me that Grandpa B. is taking the picture!

I liked how she drew my ponytail blowing in the wind! 🙂

She narrated this one:

You never know what you will see on the blackboard. Here she copied “Nestle” off the back of the baby cereal box.

And both kids love to paint with watercolor! Here are two of their recent watercolors. Note the contrast.

Mara’s watercolor:

Micah’s watercolor:

They both had a great time painting! But unlike his sister, Micah needed a bath afterwards!