Posts filed under ‘Orison’

You are warmly invited into my parents’ living room in Erie, Pennsylvania for…

Orison’s Christmas Concert 2009

It’s a little long, but trust me, this is the short version. The original was over 30 minutes long! The kid just wouldn’t stop singing!

So, hunker down with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy! But drink at your own risk, because there are some laughs that might send it out your nose. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I don’t want any Christmas lawsuits because of your burnt nasal passages….

Or, if you need to get dinner ready this evening, get your church clothes ironed, or get some last-minute gifts wrapped, plop your kids in front of the computer for ten minutes of family-friendly holiday entertainment! Just my little gift to you….

And for those of you who hang out until the end, Morrow makes an appearance as a Christmas dancer! He goes absolutely nuts anytime he hears Jingle Bells!

This is our joy-filled way of saying to all of you: Merry Christmas from The Pipers!

December 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm 41 comments

Orison Loves All Things Christmas

Our five-year-old is in love with Christmas. I know he’s not alone, all kids like Christmas. But I realized that his obsession excitement is helping me love Christmas more.

Not that I didn’t love Christmas before, it’s just that it becomes new and fresh and wonderful when you experience it through the excited and eager eyes of a child. That sounded really cheesy, but it’s true.

Last night my mother-in-law lovingly babysat our kids. One thing you should know about my mother-in-law: she has the most Christmas decorations of anyone I know. It’s like a Christmas Spectacular over there. And as you can imagine, for Orison, it’s a-ma-zing!

There are nativity sets from all over the world, lights in the windows, and even a life-size manger for re-enacting.

Orison told my mother-in-law that he was being Joseph and he was taking care of baby Jesus. She wrote a sweet and beautiful post reflecting on that idea.

Most days you can find him playing with his Playmobil Nativity set or with this magnetic doodad he got from… can you guess? His grandmama (the above-mentioned fellow Christmas fan)! He used this magnetic set to do Sunday School lessons for me and Abraham the other day.

He also loves to sing. There have been lots of traditional carols and some non-traditional ones he writes himself:

So if you’re needing a little shot in the arm of Christmas spirit, let us know! Orison would be more than happy to accomodate. He’s got enough to go around!

December 7, 2009 at 12:22 am 16 comments

Thanksgiving Knit-Up and Wrap-Up

I’m getting this post up during the final minutes of Thanksgiving 2009!

My mother-in-law posted a video of some of our racous family moments today if you’re curious. (Bonus! You’ll see footage of Morrow walking and dancing. Aaand… you’ll get to see my awesome dance moves during a kiddy dance party with Orison and his cousin Grace.)

I mean, who wouldn’t want to see that?

I decided to finish the night quietly, knitting a pair of mittens for Morrow. The weather’s gotten really cold, really fast! So while Abraham sleeps (the lump in the back of the picture) I post on my blog and knit.

I’m thankful for a quiet end to Thanksgiving 2009.

November 27, 2009 at 12:02 am 9 comments

Reentry Sickness

No matter how much I wanted to, I didn’t wake up in El Salvador today. My week with Compassion International is over, and I’m grieving that.

I got home Friday night around 11pm and woke Orison (our then-4-year-old) and he greeted me very drowsily. In the morning he didn’t even remember it! But when he woke up Saturday morning, he was FIVE! That’s right, I got home just in time for his birthday.

We spent the day pretty quietly together as a family. But Abraham and I were so tired that by about 5pm we both knew we needed to get out of the house or we were going to be miserable until bedtime. In some random moment of insanity, Abraham suggested that we take Orison to ride a few rides at the Mall of America (something he’s only done a couple times and would be totally thrilled by).

So… it was Saturday night at the Mall of America. Not for the faint of heart, my friends. I don’t think we’d ever been there on a Saturday night before. It was so.stinkin’.busy. So full of people with waaaay too much.

As we were talking toward the amusement park area, I told Abraham, “I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach.”

“Literally?” He asks. (All too often I’m actually sick to my stomach, so he has to make sure….)

“No… more heartsick.”

“So, you’re sick to the stomach of your heart?”


I mean, the day before I was still seeing tin-roofed, dilapidated shacks that people call homes. The day before I was still in the thick of El Salvador and it’s poverty. And I was still there in my heart and mind. But somehow my body was travelling through the Mall of America.

Walking paradox, no?

I keep thinking about objects in space, and how they have to very carefully calculate how the object will reenter the earth’s atmosphere, or else any number of catastrophic ends will result (blowing up, exploding, catching on fire). Perhaps a trip to the Mall of America wasn’t the best reentry strategy.

I’ve already cried a few times today, my emotions just barely below the surface. I feel okay with that, though. If I were just pushing it all down and refusing to let it touch me, that would be unhealthy. My mentor tells me, “Don’t be afraid of tears. Tears are often a sign that the Holy Spirit’s at work.”

So that, for now, is my reentry strategy. Try to let the tears come as they need to. Remember what I saw. And try to avoid the Mall of America.

My El Salvador Posts

November 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm 37 comments

A Halloween Treat for Y’all

Orison went trick-or-treating for the first time tonight.

I wish I could’ve bottled up some of his enthusiasm and zest as he ran, full-speed, from house to house.

I wish I could’ve apologized to all the people whose doorbells were rung in rapid-fire fashion as he waited to scream “Trick or Treat” with all the excitement a four-year-old body can handle. He didn’t seem to hear me when I said, “Only ring it once!”

He dressed as a cowboy, and he was the cutest little cowboy there ever was.

There’s another pretty cute cowboy in this town, too, and they joined forces for a little croonin’ before bed.

(Yes, they both have *real* cowboy boots!)

Happy Halloween, y’all!

October 31, 2009 at 10:51 pm 22 comments

Making a School Decision: What Should I Ask?

Our oldest son, Orison, will start kindergarten next fall! We’ve been evaluating our options for a loooong time, and feel like the right thing for him is to send him to school, as opposed to doing homeschool. Perhaps that’s another post.


We’re considering a few different options for schooling. We’ll be looking at a few private Christian schools and a couple public charter schools (classical education). We live in a very urban neighborhood, and feel like the public schools in our immediate area would not be a good fit for Orison.

I’m really new to all this school stuff, so my brain kind of turns to mush when I start trying to figure it all out.

So… do you wanna help me out?

One of the Christian schools is a Charlotte Mason school. If you subscribe to that theory of education, let me know what questions I should be asking, or what I should be looking for at the school.

Both of the public charter schools are Classical schools. Same deal—if you have experience with that model, help me know what to look for or what questions to ask.

I have the book The Well-Trained Mind, but feel really overwhelmed to even crack it open. And plus it’s a homeschool book, so I don’t know how relevant it’ll be for my current search.

And to be honest, I’m a verbal processor. I feel like I learn best through talking! And since I can’t sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with all of you, I’d love to learn from you through a blog conversation.

Thanks in advance for your help!

October 20, 2009 at 11:42 am 74 comments

Felicity’s 2nd birthday (mostly in pictures).

On September 22, we marked Felicity’s second birthday. We don’t do anything extravagant, just things that recognize the significance of the day in our hearts.


At the cemetery Abraham and I try to give each other a few minutes of peace and reflection while we alternate caring for the other kids.


Morrow was alert and aware of his surroundings this year, as opposed to last year when he was one month old. At thirteen months he’s a busy one! He enjoyed the birthday balloon the best, more specifically bopping his brother.


And he enjoyed crawling all over the cemetery (note the filthy knees). He eventually found some goose poop on a veteran’s grave and decided to give it a taste. Abraham used most of a bottle of water trying to flush his mouth, hence the soaked shirt.


My girlfriends had already brought some of these flowers. It was like a welcome banner for us. And it meant a lot to know that they’d been there.


Orison really likes to take pictures, so here’s one he snapped of the rest of us:


Orison kept himself very busy while we were there. He often brings his bike to the cemetery, but this time he had no training wheels! He hadn’t exactly gotten the hang of it until this day, so bad mommy didn’t even bring his helmet (I totally wasn’t expecting him to get it!)

It truly was a special gift from the Lord to have something to celebrate through our tears. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience or something while I watched him—how did I get here? how did he get to be so old? how is it that he’s taking this huge step of independence right before my eyes?

It felt like a launching forward.


Happy birthday, Felicity Margaret. We miss you.

October 11, 2009 at 8:05 pm 33 comments

Hot weather is good for… naps.

Last week we moved Orison and Morrow into the same room. I thought for sure it was going to be the end of naps as we knew them. But it’s been good so far!

For Morrow, I just secured a sheet around Morrow’s crib so he can’t see out and he goes to sleep just fine. I’ve always found that if you treat a baby like a bird (cover their cage and they sleep), you usually get a good nap out of ’em.

For Orison, who’s always been kinda chatty at bedtime, he needs to “help Morrow” take a good nap by being quiet himself.

And since it’s unusually hot around here, I think Orison goes to nap intending to not sleep, but the heat just lulls him into dreamland. And thus, how I’m finding any time to post!

I know for those of you in Southern regions, 90+ ain’t no thang, but around here it’s a big deal. But since we wait for it for sooo long in this climate, I want to enjoy it, thank God for it, not complain it away.

And if it helps my kids nap, all the better!

Uh-oh… time’s up.

June 24, 2009 at 4:18 pm 13 comments

It’s been an eventful couple weeks for Orison’s head.

Ever since our first-born son arrived on the scene, people have commented on the size of his head. When we was six months old, he was something like 1oth percentile for height, 3rd percentile for weight, and 90th percentile for head size. The kid has a large noggin.

His head has been the center of much drama in the last couple weeks.

Act I: I got Orison off the school bus last Friday and was told by his bus driver that there would be a message on our answering machine from the preschool director, because during school that morning, he had decided to cut his hair.

I suppose I never thought to tell him, “Never cut your own hair.” I guess I didn’t want to give him any ideas.

But at school that day, while they were potting their Mother’s Day flowers (which of course meant that the teachers were trying to handle 17 4-year-olds in a project that involved copious amounts of dirt), Orison sauntered off to the writing center and snagged himself a pair of scissors.

He then proceeded to hide behind a bookcase in the reading area and go to work! He snipped some hair from the sides, the back and the front. Apparently, after a few minutes, he popped up from behind the bookcase and exclaimed to his teachers, “I’ve been cutting my hair!”

Needless to say, he looked really funny. And because Abraham was busy with a conference for work at the time,  he had to stay that way for two days until the situation could be remedied. Every time I looked at him I wanted to laugh!

Orison's hair

So he ended up with a pretty short buzz cut, just in time for summer. Which leads us to…

Act 2: While Abraham was shaving Orison’s head, he got to the one side and said, “Uh… what’s this?”

He had uncovered a scabby, scaly patch on the side of Orison’s head. I knew right away what it was. “Ringworm!” I exclaimed.

You might wonder why I was happy to have made the discovery. But it’s been driving me insane for months! Orison has developed splotches of ringworm on his torso that I’ve been treating with topical cream, but they never seem to get any better. I had searched through his hair many times before, looking for a patch in his scalp, but never found one under his long tresses.

It was like solving a mystery. I felt guilty that I hadn’t seen it before, but more than that I was just happy to know the cause!

So a trip to the dermatologist and a few scrapes of the head patch yielded a new prescription that should blast this out of his system once and for all.

*Intermission* Nice, uneventful rest of the week and Mother’s Day weekend.

Act 3: About an hour before we were supposed to head off to dinner at a friend’s house Monday night, we heard a thud from the kitchen followed by a loud cry.

We met somewhere in the middle between him running to us and us running to him. He had been messing around on a step stool in the kitchen and had fallen off backwards and hit his head on one of the handles to the kitchen cabinets.

He had a small, but pretty deep, split on the back of his head. Of course Abraham and I went back and forth about whether we should take him to the ER or not. Since it was in his hair, a Band-Aid wasn’t going to stick, unless we shaved it. And then we’d have to be really diligent about making sure he didn’t mess with it, that his butterfly Band-Aids were staying on correctly, etc.

After about a half-hour of discussion, we decided I would take him in. Three hours, three stitches, and a popsicle later, we emerged. He did a fantastic job laying still for the suture nurse and remained very calm through the whole process.

Orison's stitches

Needless to say, I’m ready for the Head Trauma Drama to be over. Everyone just take your bow and drop the curtain already!

May 13, 2009 at 10:12 am 26 comments

Saturday Snap

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a picture of the kids, so here’s a more recent one with them decked out in their brother gear.


(Thanks for the shirts, Miss Jessica!)

March 21, 2009 at 12:22 am 20 comments

Extended Scripture Memory for Kids (and parents)

During the month of December, we decided to read Luke, Chapter 2 every night before bed with Orison. We would do our Advent Calendar reading for the night, then Orison would settle into his bed for Daddy to read the account of Jesus’s birth.

He got excited about the repetition and predictability of it. “Are we going to read Luke 2 tonight?!?!”

The effect of reading one section of Scripture every night for a month was surprising. Nothing we anticipated, really. But on December 23rd, Abraham got him started and did an experiment to see how many words he knew in the story.

Basically, he just kept going. And going.

He had the whole thing almost word-perfect from verses 1-21. We were STUNNED!

So our new plan for family devotions for 2009 is to introduce Orison to important people/accounts in the Bible, reading a section repeatedly for a certain amount of time. We might not do a whole month with all of them, but the repetition has proven really good for his little memory.

And it’s had its effect on us, as well. I know a lot more of Luke 2 than I ever have before. So not only do your kids get concepts and stories from the Bible into their eager little brains, but you learn it too!

Enjoy the edited version!

January 1, 2009 at 11:03 am 87 comments

Why are you pew-suh-curtin’ me?

“Pew-suh-curt.” That’s Orison’s pronunciation for persecute. We’ve been reading Acts, Chapter 9 for family devotions for the last few days—Paul on the road to Damascus.

“Saul! Saul! Why are you pew-suh-curtin’ me?”

December 31, 2008 at 1:07 pm 7 comments

When I am afraid, I put my trust in Elton John.

In the last couple months, our oldest boy Orison (who just turned 4), has gotten into the “I think there’s something in my room!” phase. He comes running out of his room crying and telling us these elaborate tales about the rhinoceros with red eyes that’s in his pillow, or the giant in his closet who’s going to eat him.

This mostly happens in the 30 minutes right after we close the door and say our final goodnights. See, Orison has one of the most active imaginations I’ve ever encountered. He often pretends about pretending. So, we’re trying to be sensitive to the things he fears. But I also don’t want to coddle him too much.

We usually say Psalm 56:3 right after we’re done praying: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you [God].”

Then we go through the litany of “Mommy and Daddy are going to be here the whole time you’re in bed. You’re not alone. We’re here and Jesus is here.”

Then there’s usually a round of, “There’s nothing in your room except you, your toys, and your books. It’s the same room in the day and the night.”

Finally, there’s suggestions for good things to think about. Usually we talk about good things that happened during his day that he can remember and think about. Or think about a story he’s read recently that he liked. Or a video he’s seen recently on YouTube. The one he likes best right now is this one:

So last night I suggested all kinds of things he could think about. But after two times of running out of his room crying, Abraham went in to have a little heart-to-heart.

Orison (through high-pitched, heaving sobs):

Mommy said to think about good things.

Elton John is a good thing.

I will think about that.


December 11, 2008 at 10:50 am 37 comments

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