Sunday, February 18, 2007

L'Abri Conference in Rochester, MN

Today we returned from a three-day weekend down at the L'Abri Conference in Rochester, MN. Brad's folks came up to stay with us in the hotel and watch Atticus for us and hang out in the evenings and parts of the afternoons. Our friends, Melody & Cody Oaks, also came up with us to hear the various speakers on Christianity and Film, Societal Patterns, Marriage & Family, Adolescence, Poverty, Politics, History, Sex, Having Bodies, Eating, Feasting, Hospitality, etc.
The first evening we all gathered for chocolate fondue and were planning to stay up talking but were all so tired we didn't make it too much past 10 pm.

Atticus had so much fun walking down the hallways -- long stretches clear of obstacles -- perfect for practicing. We brought a tub of toys and books and Grandma Nancy entertained while Grandpa Tom, poor guy, tried to recover from a very very bad flu.

Nancy, Atticus, and I visited the nearby Barnes & Noble Saturday afternoon. Of course, Grandma bought him two books -- a John Deere tractor board book with real wheels and a Lift-the-Flap book with furry animals and even a mouse with a working squeaker. Atticus just loves flaps on books. He does them himself now.

Atticus gives kisses now on his own -- they are usually big wet open-mouthed kisses, but melt your heart anyways.

Saturday night we all went out to a semi-fancy Italian restaurant. Atticus was a good boy. I mostly had his meals and timing of the meals planned so he would make it to the end of everyone eating. Lunches were catered by the conference -- we took Atticus with us for those. Evenings we went to a restaurant. It was a precarious, juggling performance but A. is awfully good-natured (though pretty demanding about his food) and so it was good, though exhausting for me.

Sunday morning Nancy and Tom took us to Panera for breakfast before we all took off for our homes. We had a bit of a scare when Atticus grabbed a just-served coffee mug spilling it over his front. Brad and I got his clothes off immediately. Tom grabbed ice and a washcloth. We took a wildly screaming Atticus back to the bathroom. Brad and I decided that it wasn't a critical burn -- I think he was more scared than anything -- and so calmed him down and brought him back to the table to eat our breakfasts. Nancy kept a cool cloth on him until we finished. Shortly thereafter Atticus got excited and laughed so hard he threw his head forward and banged it into the edge of the table. He screamed worse than he had with the coffee. We decided it was time to go on home. Atticus slept all the way back. We checked him when we arrived: His forehead had a red-crease from the laughing incident, but his chest and tummy had nary a red-mark.

We give out a hearty Thanks to our friends Eric & Liz who house-Victor sat for us. We felt good returning home knowing someone had been able to enjoy our house as a retreat of sorts and also that Victor had some company. And having them to eat popcorn with at dinner helped ease us back into our work-week with their good company-fellowship.

Atticus at 9 Months

At Atticus' nine-month check-up he weighed in at 20 lbs. 11 oz. and 28 1/2 in. tall -- both at the 60% mark on "the charts". He has begun walking on his own. He still has fairly little interest in crawling and is pretty reluctant to pull up on anything other than someone's hands. But his walking is getting more and more steady.

Pulling books off shelves -- a favorite past-time.

Getting into his toy cabinet...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dad & Jonathan Visit for the Pastors' Conference

Jonathan and Dad came up for the Pastors' Conference at Bethlehem Baptist Church (John Piper and R.C. Sproul: main speakers) here in Minneapolis. It was a "last-minute" thing due to the conference being prematurely booked up out at Grace Community Church (John MacArthur and Dr.Al Mohler: speakers). I was thankful to have "the boys" come early on Sunday night to have popcorn-Super-Bowl night with us. And then they spent the day with Atticus and me until supper before checking in at the conference. I was able to get a good deal of work done on an art piece with Jonathan helping directly and Dad watching Atticus (i.e. incessantly walking Atticus around the house in circles). Late that night we all called Rebekah to wish her a happy 21st birthday. My mom had 21 balloons sent to her at work. Amazingly they fit in the Festiva but she couldn't see out any of the windows so she had a friend help her get them home. A silly, extravagant gesture perfect for my sister.

Jonathan's new Tuxedo -- no shirt and tie yet. He wore this one day and the next day, his black pinstriped suit with a blue shirt, yellow tie and a blue pocket kerchief. Dad said no one else wore suits. Jon said he didn't care what other people wore. A rebel with class.

Tuesday Dad and Jon had supper with us and then Jonathan stayed for the evening to play our new strategy game, Citadels, after Atticus went to bed at 7 o'clock. My mom, as the head (and sole) librarian, hosted a very snowy grand opening for the new Potosi library. The governor's wife was to attend as the guest of honor but was unable to make it because of the roads. Nonetheless, 85 people braved the weather to come celebrate. Bekah called during the game, distraught. Her friend's pet mouse was snagged by the friend's cat. She wanted to know how to save it. I gave her basic first aid advice, but it isn't looking good for the rodent. Cats are pretty good at their business. Poor B., never did get to go out for her birthday and now she has some sort of horrid head-cold.

This morning Jon, Dad, Atticus, and I had coffee together over at Anodyne. Then Dad and J. took off for home. An hour later they called to say they were on their way back -- my dad had forgotten his brief case with all of next Sunday's sermon notes and his study books up in our family room. So a second goodbye. Thanks for bringing up the rugs! And thanks to Mom -- for the new clothes for Atticus and the cookies (already "et" up) and biscotti!!

Groh's Come for a Visit

Kaylene, my erstwhile roomate from Dekalb, and her husband John visit from Rockford, IL. John is on the alumni board of Bethel College and comes up here periodically for meetings. This time Kaylene came along with Coleman, their son. He was born three days after Atticus.

Friday we visited the Minneapolis Art Institute Museum. It was the coldest day to that point of our winter -- negative 7 degrees F, windchill 32 below. But it was nice to walk around inside once we thawed out. Poor Coleman (and Kaylene) missed his nap and was not having a happy time of it. Unfortunately this was our only day of visiting because of the difficulty of coordinating naps for the boys and the bitter bitter cold.

An absolutely beautiful inlaid bureau. I adore the design -- hopefully I can use this for something somewhere or another.

Paul-Cesar Francois Helleu pastel from 1895...

An Eakins portrait...beautiful work, twisted man...

Fantastic Art Deco Textile...I wish I had this as wallpaper on one wall or carpet in our study...