Friday, September 17, 2010

Beach retreat 2010!!

PEF has (in my unbiased opinion) the very best way of kicking off the school year -- a three-day retreat at Ocean City, NJ!!  We of course go every year, it being David's job and all.  :)  But this was the first time in years that I was able to attend the whole retreat -- the beauty of being part-time means that I only had to take one day's vacation.  And it was definitely worth taking that one day off, to reconnect with PEFers... and to introduce Joshua to the wonders of the beach!

So we all met up for breakfast bright and early on Thursday morning.  At least, the students all thought it was super early -- we had been up for hours, as normal, since our cute little alarm clock almost never goes off later than 6am.  ;)  Joshua was on his best behavior, though, and had fun being held by new people -- no real stranger anxiety yet!

Then it was off to Ocean City!  We stayed at the Ark Retreat Center again, this great old house just a few blocks from the beach.  The first scheduled activity?  Hand-addressing flyers to be delivered to every single incoming freshman.  Gotta love the abundant supply of free labor...  I, of course, was too busy watching Joshua and taking photos to help out...  :)

And then, to the beach!!  I was a wee bit nervous about sun protection for our little guy, so perhaps I went just a bit overboard... But how stinking cute is he in his little sun suit and floppy hat??

OK, I've got to tighten this up and include fewer photos for the rest of this recap...  :)  Thursday night, we had the traditional walk on the boardwalk and Ferris wheel ride.  I had Joshua in the front carrier, and we felt he was perhaps too young to go on the Ferris wheel himself... Maybe next year!

And just a few more photos of the typical PEFer's fun in the sun...

The retreat was SUCH a fun time!!  What a wonderful way to get revved up for another school year.  Joshua is very much looking forward to spending more time with all of you guys!

A playground playdate

Last week, we took Joshua out to the playground for the very first time!  Normally, we're total homebodies -- Joshua is happy to play with his toys in the living room, and if we're feeling really wild and crazy, we'll mix it up and play in his nursery!!  Real daredevils, we are...  :)  So it's a good thing we have friends like Erik and AndrĂ©a to push us a little bit out of our normal routines!

It's been such a joy watching our little boys play with each other.  They're just getting to the point of noticing other babies, and Caleb can really bring out the giggles in Joshua.  :)  So it was a lot of fun going to the playground and watching them play!

Caleb, having the more adventurous parents, is a total natural on the swings.  Joshua was a bit more unsure of it all... But as long as daddy was there and helping him out, J-bear had a pretty good time!

Nerdy photography note: I also got the chance to play with my 85mm f/1.8 lens -- such a sweeeeet focal length!!  The photos below with the prettiest compression and background blur were taken with that lens.  :)

I'm kind of a swinging champ.  It's no big deal.

Unsuspecting Joshua; unsure Joshua

 Nothing says "Let's be friends" like a poke to the eye!

Yummy sand toys; heart-melting smile!

Heart-melting smile, part 2!

The beautiful G family

We all had such a blast -- we're definitely going to have to do something like this again, now that cooler weather is finally here!

Monday, September 6, 2010

How hard can it be?

[I already posted these on Facebook, but wanted to include these here for posterity.  :)]

Our Sunday small group is made up of eight couples.  All told, we have six babies -- two 2-year-olds, and four babies born within the last nine months.  One whole side of the room is usually taken up by playing babies... We're seriously looking into starting a nursery of some sort, and soon!

Last Sunday, all six babies were there, for the first time in a while, what with summer travel plans and all.  So after the study was over, I was taking some photos of the cuteness of our kiddos all playing together, and one of the moms asked if we could take a big group photo of all six of them.

Sure, I thought, how hard can it be?

Natalie: (Not pictured because she didn't want to be on the futon.)
Jemina: If Natalie doesn't have to be here, why do I?
Aliina: Look at my pretty knees!
Joshua: Wait, you're not mama...
Phil: Hey guys, what's happenin'?
Caleb: Don't wanna sit -- wanna eat this book!

Natalie: (Laughing hysterically because of her mom's tickling)
Jemina: Crazy lady, what are you doing to my friend?
Aliina: If you must scream, don't invade my personal space whilst doing so.
Phil: Is it time for my close-up?
Caleb: Sitting is for suckers, I'm a new crawler on the move!

Natalie: OK, the tickling was fun, but I'm outta here.
Jemina: Seriously. Crazy lady. What are you doing to my friend?
Aliina: I said, stop invading my personal space!
Phil: La dee da, ready for my close-up...
Caleb: Hmm, how does one crawl off a futon?

Natalie: Whee! More tickles!
Jemina: Can I get a little of that action?
Aliina: If you're going to cry, I'm going to cry, too!
Phil: Dum dee dum, still looking good for my close-up...
Caleb: Commencing scouting operations!

And the very, very best of the bunch -- where all of the babies are at least sort of looking in my general direction, and none of them are full-out crying (though Joshua is definitely still thinking about it...):

At least they're all super cute.  :)  I'm glad we got at least that one shot at the end (and the whole sequence is pretty funny, in retrospect), but I'm thinking it's going to be a while before we try this again... Six- and eight-year-olds are easier, right?  Right??

Joshua's baptism!

On Sunday, August 29, Joshua was baptized!

The service was officiated by David Kim, a minister ordained in the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) who is also a member of our church.  David is also the executive director of Manna, the Christian fellowship I was primarily involved in back in college, and he was a real mentor to me for so many years -- so it was really fitting that he was the one to baptize our little son.  :) We also had a number of dear friends take part in the service (and at the last minute, too -- sorry for not being totally on top of all of the details!) -- Matt led us all in worship, and Aime and Andrew did scripture readings.

It was a beautiful afternoon service, held at Hope Presbyterian Church down in Lawrenceville.  Joshua, I think, was perhaps a bit overheated in his pretty pretty church clothes, and wanted to play rather than be quietly held in my arms, so he got a little fussy during the first part of the service... And he was definitely voicing his opinions to us all when we handed him over to David.  But as soon as the water hit his head, he calmed down.  Later, one of our friends commented that it was the perfect analogy to how we're all brought into the kingdom -- kicking and screaming, but then recipients of God's grace.  :)

David's baptism charge was to us as Joshua's parents -- to recognize that we are but stewards of his life.  We can't control him or live vicariously through him, but rather, we have been given the awesome responsibility of raising him up in light of God's covenant promises -- to guide him and direct him, always remembering that he is a child of God.  It's a sobering duty, but also a joyous gift.

We were touched by how many wonderful friends came to stand with us at Joshua's baptism.  Part of the service is a series of vows made by the congregation to pray for and stand alongside us as Joshua's parents -- we're so blessed to have all of you in our lives!

And what blog post would be complete without photos?  :)  Joshua's future father-in-law -- um, that is, our dear friend John Jameson took several photos of the service and the hanging out afterwards.  His work is always beautiful, and this was no exception!

Waiting somewhat patiently at the beginning of the service

David Kim during his charge

Yup, we were all in blue

The baptism

Family photo with David Kim

Newly-baptized wee lad!
Erik was telling us that in his family, there's a saying that babies who are loud during their baptisms are destined for the ministry -- they just want to have their own voices heard in church!

Joshua and his future bride -- er, little family friend, Anna Jameson

What a beautiful time of fellowship, as Joshua received the sign of God's covenant promise!