Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Traditions

One of my very favorite Christmas traditions is constructing Graham Cracker houses. This year we had a small party (27 people). Nani hosted it, and we had a blast! Here's Micah's and Eva's houses. We constructed them ahead of time, and they just put candy on them. I built a bridge, patterned after penny bridges that I saw online. Nate built a water wheel. And some cute houses were built too -- see the snow man waving?

Here's my recipe for great Graham cracker structures:

Off-brand Graham crackers -- get the cheapest ones you can, since they're usually harder, and therefore structurally stronger.

Candy canes -- melt these in a frying pan or griddle over low-medium heat. Use them to glue the graham crackers together into a structure.

Glue frosting -- mix 1 lb of powdered sugar with 6 egg whites and 1 tsp. cream of tarter in an electric mixer on high for 10 minutes (use a Kitchen Aid if you want your motor to last). This is terrific "snow", glue for candy, and sculpting medium.

Candy ad nauseum. Expect a tummy ache the next day.

Test shoes

My first attempt at baby shoes. Aren't they cute? From the same tutorial as the blue shoes made for my friend's baby girl.

Christmas gift Bag

I had this idea more than 5 year ago to make a bag out of ugly ties. Finally, after reading the SewMamaSew blog (, I was motivated enough to try it. Here's the result. It's actually really neat -- I just need to learn to take better pictures. The handles are ties, and the inside pockets are also made from ties. I'm really tickled that it turned out so great. The recipient was thrilled too -- told me to make more and sell them.

So, if you have old ugly ties you'd like to donate.....

Gifts for Little One

Shoes and a teething doll for a friend's baby.

The shoes are actually more like slippers, made from a cut-up wool sweater, using the tutorial at

I really like them. The color in the photo is mediocre -- sorry. I took the pic with artificial light.

The knotty doll is loosely based on this tutorial:
I think she's really cute in tie-dye. I made my baby one too. I think I'll make more.

Isaac's Road Rug

Here's the Road rug I made for our friend, Isaac. It features a lake (blue), a park (just below the lake, with a swingset, etc), the Zoo (see the animals?), McDonalds and Russ's (their grocery store), Their house (the white one), and their church. It was a blast to make!

Lessons learnt:

1) Spray adhesive doesn't work. Sew it instead.
2) Sew from the top down. Even my nice Bernina really complained about sewing 4 layers of felt together.

Happy Holy Days!

And even more so -- Merry CHRISTmas!

We have recently visited several local churches, and have thus made many new acquaintances. When we meet new people, usually the first exclamation is “Wow! all they all yours?!”. Yes, all four kids are ours. Micah is 5, Eva is 3, Moriah will be 2 in January, and Isaiah is about 6 months. Four kids in five years.

When that initial shock wears off, they go on to the normal questions. "So Chester, what do you do?”. We not sure what people expect for an answer, but it certainly isn't his usual, “I'm a full-time Dad and student”. Yes indeed, Amy works part time, Chester is a student. This arrangement, while rather unconventional, allows some really neat family dynamics. Chester dedicates three days a week to studying, and has a major role in the kids lives. He trains them in character, plays in the garage with them (you should see the ramps Micah makes for his cars), and is quickly passing on his love of tools and gardening. Amy works four half-days a week, and during that time escapes from the constant noise of children, and gets things done that generally stay done and are appreciated. What mom wouldn't kill for that? Additionally, her job is flexible with time and pays quite well. Having this outlet allows the rest of the week at home to be a time of reading to the kids, “playing school” (Micah's learning to read) and just loving on the kids. The kids spend one afternoon a week with Nani (Amy's parents are “Nani” and “Papa”), and they look forward to that afternoon all week – she really has the magic touch.

By then, our new acquaintance is pretty well in shock. And we haven't even invited them over yet to discover that we have eight people living in our small three-bedroom house (Nathan and Toby, two of Chester's brothers, live in our basement while all three of them study Mechanical Engineering), that we have no TV (“No wonder you have so many kids!”), that our girls sleep on bunk beds made out of industrial steel shelving, that we grow eight kinds of perennial fruits in our yard, that between the adults who live here, we own ten motorized vehicles (not all of them run!), nor that we spend almost nothing on food for our tribe (God usually provides free food for us). Chester was once told “I like people who think outside the box, but you seem to live outside the box”.

We're not just weird to be weird though. We have a purpose in life. We hope that when we're finished with the necessary education, God will allow us to serve missionaries through Chester's aviation and engineering (and maybe through Amy's computer skills too). It'll be four years or so before he's done, because his three days allotted to study allow just enough time to take three classes per semester. But the pace is reasonable, and he's able to absorb the knowledge rather than just cramming for exams all the time. And by God's grace, we are staying financially afloat living on one part-time income. Money is tight, of course, but we trust God to continue to provide, just as He always has. The Davis clan in Omaha has a sign that we love: “We don't believe in miracles, we rely on them.”

Yeah, compared to the average American, and even the average American Christian, we're odd. We have a reason though, and we're living on purpose. In a world where everything is increasingly busy and costly, it's nice to know why we choose to live the way we do, and trust the One we serve. If our new friend hasn't yet run for cover, we finish with these questions:
"How about you? What's your purpose in life?"
"What do you do, and why do you do it? ”

We'd love to hear your answers to these questions, and what God is doing in your life – drop us a note!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Crazy daily life

Argh ----- I'm tired.

Thursday night I was up with Eva (who had an earache) until 7:02 am. Then I worked Friday from 9 til 2:30. When I got home, I took Micah out on a date to the Harley Davidson store to gawk at motorcycles. They gave him a Harley temporary tatoo. It looks really cute on his skin-n-bones arm. I'll try to take a pic tonight. Got home, and stayed up late transfering data from the old computer to the new computer (Wendy just gave us her old computer, which is much much nicer than the 7-year-old computer we've been using which is about to die). I crashed around 9:00 (I'd been up for 38 hours or so, afterall). But Chester came home around 11:30, and Toby and Nathan (Two of Chester's brothers live with us!) had a friend sleep over, and they were up until 2:00 or so. Eva was up again with her ear ache from 1:00 till 3:00, when I finally successfully left her sleeping on the recliner and crawled in to bed. Isaiah ate at 5:30 (an hour later than usual, Thank you Lord!), and the kids were up around 7:00 for breakfast.

Now I'm at work, where at least it's quiet.

We put up bunk beds for the girls this week. Actually, they're industrial shelves (Think really beefy metal garage shelves) that we put mattresses on. I'll have to post a pic of that too. We had to go and put our most clumsy child (Eva) on the top. So we put rails all around. She still managed to fall off the first night, and messed up her back. I've now brought my chiropractor so much business that she sent us a gift card to Famous Daves this week. It's nice timing, because our anniversary is next week (6 years!), and she just paid for us to take a nice date :) But still, I wonder if I'm a little chiro-overboard right now.

Toby ordered a part for his moped -- a $70 piston. Chester accidentally threw it away. The trash man came before we figured it out. Poor guy. This week he's flunked two tests (that he studied like mad for), left his USB drive in a computer on campus, spent most of his money getting his own back fixed, and now his brother throws away the part that he needed to get his moped running so that he can save money on gas. We owe him some big money for a new piston.

Ahh daily life. This is the stuff of stories and memories.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

cashmere butt

As you likely know by now. IT'S A BOY!

Here's a picture of Isaiah Matthias Davis, not too long after his birthday, on May 16th, 2007. He was 7 lbs, 12 oz. 20 inches long, and quite healthy.

Isaiah sports an ever-so-stylish cashmere, yes, that's right, cashmere diaper cover, homemade by his loving mother to cover a cotton (of course) cloth diaper. It was a frugal investment -- a tossed out old cashmere sweater rescued from the People's City Mission, some thread and elastic, and a few minutes of sewing... viola!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Remember the old MAC screen saver of flying toilets?

Last week, Chester finished finals (hallelujah!), and asked me what my top projects around the house were for him. I know, he's an incredible guy. I answered that I really wanted the toilet fixed -- it had been leaking from the seal for a while, and was gross and smelly. It should have been a red flag when his next question was "How long can you live without the diaper changing station in the bathroom?"...... but it didn't.

So, on Monday night, out came the diaper changing station, and part of the floor.

Tuesday when I got home from work, the toilet was on the front porch. I started to catch on. Soon, the sink, mirror and doors were in our bedroom, and the whole floor was removed.

This all had a reason, of course. Chester happened to know that the toilet was leaking due to a wobbly floor, not due to a bad seal (as I had assumed). Therefore, correcting the problem meant correcting the wobbly floor. Here, I thought I'd asked for a two-hour project. Silly me.

So, we've been without a bathroom all week. The up-side is that when it's finished, we'll have a ceramic tile floor that really looks nice! And a new toilet (the old one is going to replace the super-gross basement one that we've been using all week). I think he even has plans to replace the wall paper and maybe the sink.

I'm still wondering why he asked me how long I could live without the diaper-changing station, rather than, say, without a toilet, without a sink, without a mirror or without a shower.....

Monday, March 26, 2007

Doctor, Doctor

"So the kids decided to play Doctor today"......

This is how the story, as related by Chester, began. Words enough to strike fear into a mother's heart (at least this mother!)

"Oh no, what did they do?"

"They tried to draw blood." Yep, reason to strike fear.

"Well, I guess they did just have their hemoglobin tested last week.... what were they trying?"

"Micah was trying to poke Eva's finger with a diaper pin."

*Amy nearly dies laughing.

And it's happened now every day for about 4 days. Micah finds something sharp, and says,
"Mommy, this side is for poking, and this side is for the blood. I'm going to get blood from Eva!" He never seems to understand why it's okay for the doctor to make someone bleed, but not okay for him. (We told him it's fine for him to prick his own finger, but that doesn't seem quite as fun, somehow).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mo the Mimic

Micah saw the neighbor kids doing cartwheels yesterday, and of course spent the evening in the living room trying to do them. He's no where near actually getting a "real" cartwheel done, but you can tell that that's what he's trying to do.

Moriah, though, is so convinced that she's a big girl seeking to be all that a one-year-old can be. While Micah's cart-wheeling back and forth across the living room, she crawls out on the floor, puts her head down and her hands up by her head, rolls over, and giggles. Over and over, back and forth on the floor. It took us a good while to figure out that she, too, was doing cartwheels.

Today at Nani's house (Grandma Beckwith), they started this up again, and after we all nealy died laughing at Mo copying Micah, Nani impressed us all by showing us the proper way to do a cartwheel. Go Nani!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

19, that is

I just counted. I can remember 19 vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds) that we've owned. I'm not sure I got them all though.

Oh, and that's since getting engaged, 6 years ago. We had sold off 2-3 already by the time we got married 5.5 years ago.

Just for the record.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

And Nighthawk makes Nine

Yes, since Chester and I have been married, this is indeed the number of two-wheeled motorized vehicles we've owned (motorcycles and mopeds). 

Got a really good price on a Honda Nighthawk with an "electrical problem".  Dad Beckwith was going to it's location anyway, so he picked up and brought home Chester's new baby. (Thanks Dad!)  Chester hooked up two disconnected wires, and voila!

Actually, it does need a bit of work still -- cleaning the carburater, new air filter, etc.  But it's a really beautiful bike, and I think he'll like it lots.

 This brings our total motorized vehicle count somewhere between 15 and 20.  Not bad for 5.5 years of marriage.

Rock a Bye Baby

God is so good to us!

I finally decided that the current crib was just not safe last Sunday.  Two corners were nearly detached, one side didn't stay up, and Moriah kept falling through the mattress corners.

"We need a new crib, SOON", I told Chester.

Within five minutes (yes, I was really impressed), he had one lined up, from a wonderful family with whom we are friends.  (They GAVE it to us!)  The next morning he went to pick it up, and now Moriah has a new crib.

Thank you LORD!

Sicko Groupo

Three eardrums later, I think we're finally recovering.  It's been a long week, and we've all been crabby.  Eva got an earache Saturday night, and from there, everything has just gone around.  Stuffy-runny noses, ear infections, sore noses, sore throats. 

It seems like we're getting better though.  I hope so, because sick kids are starting to drive me batty.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mopeds R Us

We are always telling Micah that he can have a moped when he is big and tall like Daddy. He frequently comes up with logic that goes something like this.

"Mommy, I'm pretty big, aren't I!"

"Yes, you are getting big."

"Mommy, I'm getting taller too, aren't I?"

"Yep, you're always growing"

"Then I can get a MOPED!"

Created with a hole in our hearts

Micah says this morning: "Daddy, all people were created with a hole in their heart!"

"Really?" says Daddy, "And what is supposed to fill that hole?"

"A nice donut-hole!" was the reply.

And here we thought maybe there was a spiritual discussion starting.