Our big girl lost a tooth!
She is totally excited and proud of herself. Apparently sometime after lunch she went to wiggle her (very) loose tooth with her tongue and realized it wasn't there! They had pizza for lunch and Hannah said that some cheese got caught on her tooth and she guesses that's when it came out. But since she doesn't know where her tooth actually is, we assume that she swallowed it (yuck!). I'm a little grossed out by this (and a little disappointed that we won't have her first tooth), but she doesn't seem to be bothered by it in the least. Additionally, Hannah is doing great in kindergarten and loving school. She says that music class is her favorite. She also loves art and P.E. It's been awesome seeing her reading and math skills improving rapidly. She's sounding out many words on her own, using phonetic spelling. For example, she did a journal entry on a summer activity. She drew a herself with a boat on a river, commerating our weekend spent in Hannibal, MO and Quincy, IL where we took an afternoon trip down the Mississipi with our friends. She wrote, "I went to teh Misospipe Revrh." I was pretty impressed!
At the end of today, Don will be (in his words), halfway done with the first third of the last third of seminary (!). Basically, the current fall quarter is halfway done today. Then just winter and spring quarters to go. We can't believe how fast the time has gone. The week of Thanksgiving we will have our next vicarage interview with Dr. Neilsen. He'll be the one trying to match us up with a church for a "convertible" vicarage. Basically, the hope is that Don would do his year-long internship at a church somewhere in the country. Toward the end of that year, if we and the church all agree that it's a good fit (which is usually what happens), Don would be ordained as a pastor in our Lutheran church body and also installed as a pastor for that particular church. He would then stay at that church until he decided to take a call somewhere else or began graduate school or....? (Who knows what God has planned?)
The rest of the family is doing well. I've posted some recent photo albums on Picasa - please check them out! Noah just turned 4 months old and was in the 90th percentile for height and 75th for weight (basically where the girls always were as well). He "talks" to us all the time and is showing signs of being a thumb sucker like Bethie. He may be able to sit up on his own sometime in the next month - he's sure trying! He has recently begun flinging his upper body backward when you're holding him - I've almost dropped him several times! He can roll from back to tummy (and does so obsessively!) but then he lays on his face and screams. The girls did the exact same thing. It's fun (not). We're still working on his sleep. The last two nights he has only woken up once to eat, which is an improvement. Sometimes he'll nap for longer than 45 minutes or an hour at a time, but not often. He'll get there eventually!
Elizabeth is 2 1/2 and definitely acts like it! She has begun having tantrums and wants things her way. The saving grace is that her moods don't last long and it's usually easy to get her out of them. Yesterday she wanted someone to taste the "tea" she had made. I was busy cooking dinner so I told her to ask Hannah. Hannah was busy drawing or something, so she said no. Bethie headed toward the den where Don was but I told her not to bug Daddy, he was studying. So she took her tea, sat down on the floor in the hallway (and by the way, she was wearing her Easter bonnet), and put her face in her hands. You have never seen such a sad, dejected little girl. She didn't cry or throw a tantrum, she just sat there being sad by herself. So of course I stopped making dinner for the moment and asked her if she needed a hug. She did, so we cuddled and drank tea. Then all was well. Don't get me wrong, she has her share of defiance and tantrums too, but this was an incident that just shows her sweet spirit. Recently Hannah had a minor injury (can't remember what), and Bethie just stood next to her, gently rubbing and patting her arm to help her feel better. She's such a sweet heart!
I've begun another year of MOPS and my good friend Mendy has joined as well. Now that we have the Yukon, we're able to carpool the 20 miles to church for meetings, so that's working out nicely. I'm still going to Bible study on Monday nights, reading through the Bible in two years. I'm now more than two years into the process, which means that we've now circled back and are reading stuff I read last fall. But there are a lot of segments along the way that I never read, so my plan this final year is to catch up on all of those and have read the entire Bible by the time we leave seminary next summer. I've been doing a little child care as well, both exchanging with friends and also for money. I am tutoring a student in Precalculus once a week and participate in various seminary activities. I helped with Field Day, attend women's events, and we all go to the Family Night dinners on Tuesdays.
Finally, we are asking for your prayers. Don's fall quarter tuition is due Friday, October 16 and as of today, we don't know how we are going to pay that bill off in full. God has been so amazingly gracious to us so far - we haven't incurred any debt in the two years, 3 months we've been in St. Louis. We would like your prayers that God would continue to provide and for wisdom as to whether it's time to take out the first student loan. Thank you, God bless you, and as always, please let us know what we can pray for on your behalf. God created us to live in community with each other, even if we don't live in the same state!