Archive for the ‘Birthday Interview’ Category

Kieryn: 7 years old

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You are seven now! How do like it so far.

I don’t know. I guess it’s just the same.

What kinds of things do you like to do these days?

Read.

You’ve been reading a lot lately.  What kinds of books have you been reading?

Well, I have that Loraelei book Memere got me. She also gave me a little dog thing with popsicles, and I got a doll that’s kind of like an American Girl doll.

And she got you both matching outfits, right?

Yes, my doll and I have matching outfits.

What else have you been reading?

I’ve been reading a series called Sisters in Time, I think. It’s about different girls who live in different periods of time.

What else do you like to do other than read?

I like to cook, I guess.

You just helped me make your gigantic cinnamon roll birthday cake, didn’t you?

Mm hmm.  But it’s all gone now.

Yeah, that happens to cake…What are some of your favorite foods?

Ice cream! Wait dessert?

Any kinds of foods.

Maybe ice cream.  I guess popsicles. I guess Caesar salad. (If you haven’t noticed, Kieryn currently struggles with indecisiveness.)

Tell me some of the things you like to do with your siblings.

Well… I guess it depends on the time. I guess sometimes I play with the boys.  Sometimes we play legos.

What about the game you play for hours on the rug in the boys’ room?

Cars? Well, I guess it’s not really fun now.

Are you being serious?

I guess I just do.

Do like to play cars?

I mean, I just do play cars. (It seems I caught her at a bad time where everything seems a little less special and exciting than it usually is…)

Okay, so what do you like to do with Madeline?

Madeline doesn’t really play anymore, because she’s all grown up.  Kind of.  She’s about to be 12!

Tell me about some of the special time you’ve been spending with Eden.

I read her books and sometimes she goes to sleep for her nap, but sometimes she doesn’t.  Sometimes she’s too hard.

Who are your close friends right now?

Well, I told Zoey, “Let’s never leave each other.”  But it’s not really working.

What do you mean?

Well, Hadassah said that Zoey is a tomgirl.  Wait.  Is it a tomgirl or a tomboy?

Tomboy.

She hangs out with boys a lot.

But sometimes she likes to play dolls with you, right?

Mm hmm.

Who else are your close friends?

Hadassah and Izzy.

Are you excited to meet our new baby boy soon?

Yes. He’s going to be my baby.  Madeline had Eden, and I’m going to have Zephan.

So, you’re going to be the first sibling to hold him, and you’re going to help me the most with him?

Yes! (She ended up being a huge helper with Zephaniah right away.  She was the first person to wash his hair, and she held him for hours that first day.  I slept on and off and she just sat in the bed next to me holding him, totally content with life.)

Kieryn is a highly sensitive girl.  She regularly confesses sin and is learning to fight the good fight of faith. We are so glad to have her as our own!

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Anson: 10 years old

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So, you’re 10 now.  Double digits!  And you’re officially off the growth chart! Tell me some of the things you enjoy doing.

Playing legos, cars, soccer, basketball.

You played soccer on a team for the first time this spring.  And you were good! Talk to me about your soccer season.

I dribbled through a bunch of players in my first game. In my second game, I scored my first goal. In my third game, I scored three goals, but one was off-sides. (Erich and I were definitely proud of how adept he was on the field.)

And then you ended up winning the juggling contest your team had. And you thought you would fail.

Yes, I thought I was going to fail.

But then I walked up after grabbing some groceries that we needed and saw you with a big box. You won a mini goal!

That was pretty exciting. I tied 3 to 3 with Jose.  So, we had to do a tie breaker.  That’s when Jose got 2 and I got 3.

I am excited to play again in the fall.

When I get older, I’d like to play basketball.  I’m too short right now, but once I get taller and I get better at dribbling, I’d like to play.

Tell me about other things you like to do.

I like to build with legos freehand.

You mean make up your own designs, right?

Yes, like the time I made that car with doors that lift up.  And I made a Lamborghini.

You’ve been into cars lately, huh?

Yes, I have.  The Bugatti Chiron is the fastest car ever. Well, the fastest production car, that is. The seventh fastest car is the Bentley Continental.  It hits 209 miles an hour! And Bentleys are supposed to be luxury cars!

So, how fast is the Chiron?

Zero to sixty or top speed?

Top speed, I guess.

261 miles an hour!

So, do you have a plan for the first car you’d like to drive in six years?

I do! Except dad would never let me drive this as my first car: an Acura NSX.

Why wouldn’t he let you drive that?

Because it goes 162 miles an hour.  But that’s as of 2004.  Imagine how fast they’d go now! I bet they could hit 200 miles an hour.

Yes, I guess Dad would have good reason to keep you away from that one at the start.

The real one I’d like to get, that Dad would let me get, is a Honda Civic.  Those cars probably only hit 140-150.  Not very fast for a car like that.

But fast enough to get into a whole lot of trouble still!

What do you expect me to get? One with a governor on it that will only go 90 miles an hour?!  Actually you could put a governor on it that only let it go 5 miles an hour.

I like this governor idea!

I hate it! I like the turbo charger! That’s amazing!  If you get a 12 cylinder it could make your car go 50 miles per hour faster, probably.

Okay, so let’s transition away from cars now.

Aww… (He could talk for daaays about cars.)

Tell me about school.

It’s been hard. Science is my favorite, by far! We’re starting to study swimming animals.  I don’t like to learn about bones of the body, like the scapula.  Bones, bones.  Stinkin’ bones.

What kinds of books have you been reading from the library?

Tell I Survive series, which tells how people survive things that really happened like the San Francisco earthquake or the Japanese tsunami.

Tell me about your new sleeping arrangements.

Memere and Grandmemere bought us a brand new bunk bed. There’s a twin on top and a full on the bottom.  I get the big bed!

So, we’re about ready to have our new baby, Zephaniah.  How do you feel about that?

I’m excited! I bet he’s going to come really early, because we’ve all been early.

And once he comes, we’ll be even – three girls, three boys.

Ha HA! (He’ shouts triumphantly.)  And we’ll actually win, because we also have Hank!

And with that, our interview concludes.  Anson has grown so much over this last year – in self-control, gentleness, joy.  He’s gone through some major spiritual growth.  We all have. We are very proud of the young man he is becoming.

Madeline: 10 years old

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Well, we’re just a tad behind with this one… 9 months to be exact… (That was at the time of doing the actual interview.  Tack on another five months to get it published…)

You could have had a baby in that time!

Yes, that’s how delayed this interview has been.  I could have grown and birthed a baby since you actually turned 10. (But she’s not 11 yet, so sitting in the Black Bear campground parking lot on a date, we are determined to capture her 10 ¾ year old self.)

So, tell me about 5th grade.

Well, it’s harder than 4th grade.

What kinds of interesting things are you learning?

Mostly in science.  Eyeballs, nose, nostrils.

What about history?

Ooh! That’s one of my favorites! Well, partly because I get to draw while you’re reading to us.  Also, though, I do enjoy hearing about all the … I guess you could say, strange … achievements.  Like how Alexandria got its name.  We’ve been talking about the Greeks.  They were very double-minded.  Very, very double minded.  They would say, “Hey! You’re our hero!”  And then when the hero did some teensy weensy thing they didn’t like, they would say, “We banish you!” And then two years later, when they’re in trouble they say, “Hey! Come rescue us!”  Double minded Greeks…

Hebrew is actually my favorite. Ani ohevet pizza.  (Translated: I like pizza.) Ani ohevet mischpacha v’morah.  (Translated: I love my family and teacher.)  Ani yalda.  (Translated: I am a girl.)  Ani lo kelev.  (I am  not a dog.)

What do you like to do when you’re not doing school?

Oh, all kinds of things!  Write, draw, play with siblings, eat.

(She neglected to mention reading.  This girl reads all the time.  She consumes books ridiculously quickly. Below are some moments Erich caught of Madeline reading at Mimi and Grandpa’s house.)

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Let’s develop some of those things a bit.  Tell me more about your writing.

One thing every one of my stories has in common (except when I was littler) is all of them are very, very complicated.  This is a relative of this character, who is the mother of the daughter, who is the sister of this girl, who is actually adopted into the family…You get the picture.

And what types of stories do you write?

I write novels.  And series of books. Most of them are dramedies.  They are dramas with some comedy.

I wrote Luctom the Croc, which is basically a comedy. Luctom is this crocodile and he is the largest one in the zoo.  This was actually based on a trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm that we took.  We stayed in this fancy hotel and ate wonderful breakfast.  Man, that was fun.  Well, so… He’s this crocodile who is grumpy.  He doesn’t want to be bothered or messed with.  He was annoyed by everything and everyone. They put a girl crocodile in, and they mated.

Does he get happy after he has a wife?

Yep! The story doesn’t really have a point or teach anything.  It’s just supposed to be fun.

(bathroom break)

Tell me a bit about your drawings.

Well, I kinda go through phases with drawing. There was one point where I drew Esther. Esther. Esther.  You get the picture. One of the biggest sections in my drawing binder is the Esther section.

Now I am going through a Mary and Joseph and Yeshua phase.  Drawing all about that era.  Different scenes, like the wise men going to see Yeshua when he was a baby.  I put the scenes in order, from when Mary was pregnant and she went to see Elizabeth, and John jumped in her tummy. Then Joseph and Mary were traveling to Bethlehem.  And then Yeshua was born and the wise men came to see him.  There are more.

Tell me what you like to play with your siblings.

Well, we play cars with/without eyes.  We have a big rug with a road outside on the carport.  And we take our cars and drive them along the road and play with them.  Some of the cars have eyes, like the ones from the movie Cars.  There are also Hotwheels and toy Corvettes, which don’t have eyes. (Hence the name.)

And we also like to play pitch ball.  It’s a game we made up earlier today where someone sits in our little purple baby seat and there’s a blue ball… And there has to be at least three players.  So, that’s at least Kieryn, Anson, and I… Earlier this morning, there was Simeon too, which made it even more fun.  So, for example, Kieryn had the blue ball and Anson was sitting in the purple seat.  I stood by as a witness.  Kieryn gently tossed the ball when Anson wasn’t ready.  Or tried to at least.

So the point was to try to throw it when the other person wasn’t ready?

Yes. Anson tried to block the ball from hitting him, using his hands.  If Anson blocked the ball, Kieryn struck one.  If Kieryn hit Anson, then Anson struck one.  Three strikes and you’re out.  The person standing by takes the place of the one who struck out.  That’s really fun!

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Tell me about your relationship with your siblings.

Anson and I are about the same age (2 years difference), so that makes us closer than the other siblings, in that sense.  So, he and I can relate in a lot of things.

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Like you do some school together.

Yes, like Hebrew.

And Kieryn and I are so close that Kieryn let me share the top bunk with her, and we sleep there together almost all the time.

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Simeon and I are just about the youngest and the oldest. Except for Eden… So, we do some things together.  Sometimes Kieryn and Anson will be doing something with dad and Simeon and I will go jump on the trampoline by ourselves.

Once he helped you make up a really yummy cookie recipe, right?

Yes! That’s one of my favorites!  He likes to help me cook.  He’s one of the first siblings who comes up and says, “Can I help, Madeline?”  It’s rare that something would get in the way of him helping me.  It’s fun.

Also my relationship with Eden is great, even though she’s little and I’m bigger.  After mommy, she chooses me (most of the time). She and I do fun stuff too!  Like, we go and jump lightly on the trampoline together.  She loves that.  And I’ll walk up to Hank, and she’ll smile and squeal and reach out her hand.  I’ll show her how to pet gently.  We say, “geeeentle” in a soft voice.  (Sighs)  Good times.

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What else?

Well, you said you also like to eat.  So, tell me about the foods you like to eat or cook.

I love this subject! I like to cook.  Some of my favorite recipes are posted on my blog.

As far as eating goes, I enjoy eating quesadillas with beans inside and sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on top.  Yum!  I also like macaroni and cheese with broccoli.  And grilled chicken on salad.  Mmmm… I could name a million more things if they would come to mind…

What about desserts?

Yes! White bean cupcakes with whipped cream and strawberries!  Or black bean cupcakes with Memere’s frosting.  And I looooove Navajo Fry Bread.  And macademia nut clusters.  And banana split cake.

What kind of spiritual things are you learning lately?

Daddy’s been teaching us about watching our words and putting on the armor of God – the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the sword of the word, the shoes of readiness… Is that it?  Oh! The helmet of … I just looked at it this morning… The helmet of …

Want a hint?

Yes! What letter does it start with?

S… Want another hint?

No! … It’s not Satan.

True! We don’t put the helmet of Satan on!

It’s not slimy either.  Or sandwich.

Correct! Ready for another hint?  I can tell you the Hebrew version of the word.

Fine.

Yeshua.

Salvation!

Good! 

And with that, it’s time for us to head over to get some ice cream before we go back to the house.  This girl is a joy to watch grow up.  She is a delight to us.  A magnificent gift.

 

Anson: Nine-year-old

Anson’s birthday was a little over two weeks ago.  Given my record of majorly delayed interviews these last couple of years, combined with this being the day before we begin school, I asked Madeline to conduct Anson’s interview.  Not only would it free me up a bit, but I figured it would be neat to see how it went. 😉

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So, how do you feel? Being eight I mean.

Nine!

Oh yeah. Sorry. I guess I’m just used to an eight-year-old-Anson! So, what are some of your hobbies?

Eating.

What else?

Hmmm. Soccer, basketball.

Well, that’s cool. What kind of things do you like to eat?

Wraps.

Okay.

Donuts. Cake. Ice cream.

(This picture is from last year, but it shows Anson’s love for ice cream.)

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I’m not surprised.

Five Guys.

What else?

Zaxbys. Sonic. Chick-fil-a.

Well, okay, but you’re going junk-food.

Mmmhhhhmm. How about this: Caesar salad.

We’ve made a small improvement.
Hey!

A pretty big improvement. How’s that?

That’s better.

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So, I would like you to name something about all your family members you enjoy.

(Seconds pass. He puts his head on the table and bangs it gently. He’s thinking.) Well… funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, and funny.

That doesn’t count.

What!?

Do it again.

But everybody’s silly in our family.

Fine, but we all have different things we’re good at, or… you get it.

(Kieryn says to Anson, “Like you. You’re good at climbing!” They proceed to copy lines from Despicable Me. Then they get silly and start whispering lines! I love it when they interact.)

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Guys! Let’s get moving. We only got a little bit in.

(Kieryn says, “But that’s a lot Madeline!” Then she begins to read the previous conversations.)

I’m serious. Let’s get going again. Anson, what do you like about being neighbors with our friends?

You’re supposed to say, “friends” he says in a southern accent. (He’s imitating our neighbor, Hadassah, who is Kieryn’s age. Then Kieryn begins to sing, “Friends, friends, friends!” Then they get up from the table and start running away, pretending they’re penguins.)

Anson! Come back! Okay, let’s try this one more time. Anson, okay, come here. You’re going to like this one! Tell me some fun facts about an animal.

Mmmm. A crocodile can get to be twenty feet long.

Wow! Really?

Yeah. Do you remember seeing Gomech? Imagine him three feet bigger!

Was Gomech a croc or gator?

Oh, definitely croc. He was a salt water crocodile.

Oh. I thought he was a gator. He was massive though! I bet he could’ve fit just about ten of me in there! What else do you know Anson?

Well, can I keep talking about this for a second?

Sure, go ahead.

Okay. Gators are much smaller than crocs. The biggest gator gets to be about 14 feet long.

And you say the crocs get to be even bigger?!

Yes!

I didn’t know that! What else do you know? On another animal this time.

Okay. (He says sadly) I was going to say something really quick.

Well, go ahead I guess.

Thanks! Do you remember how tall was his head to the ground?

No I don’t. How tall?

I’m guessing probably how tall I was then.

I’m guessing you’re probably right.

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Hey! Do you want to say what we found out Eden could do yesterday?

Yeah! She can walk!

Not just with our help though right?

Yeah! All by herself!

It’s very cool.

Yes it is.

Little Eden’s growing up.

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Anson, I have another question for you.

Okay…. (He says it hesitatingly.)

You have a blog about animals, right?

Yup.

Okay, what is it’s name?

Animal wow! Capitalize “Animal” and “Wow”

Actually, you don’t capitalize it.

No. I’m saying please do.

Oh, okay. Let’s see… Animal Wow. There.  So, do you want to link it?

(He nods) Yes!

Okay, here: animalwow.wordpress.com

There. That’s done. What do you want to tell readers now?

(He thinks for a minute) I’m not sure.

Well, let me help you. mmmmm. Do you want to say something else about animals?

No it’s okay. They can go to my blog.

Okay, then. Umm. Do you want to say something that you like doing with Daddy?

Ummm. (Seconds go by.) Playing LEGOS. (He says, “No Madeline. It’s capitilized: LEGOS.” I capitalize it but the computer doesn’t recognize. He says, “What??!”)

What else?

I don’t know.

How about this: Ouch. (My wrist hurts from typing so much.)

(He says, “Ouch?”)

Well, let’s wrap it up soon, okay?

Okay! This interview is over!

No, I said, “SOON.”. Do you want to tell readers what kind of games you like to play with your siblings?

I don’t know.

You know Anson, we have 695 words right now typed up. Amazing?

Yep.

Do you want to say what’s happened recently with Memere?

She’s in Florida.

For how long?

I don’t know.

Why is she there?

Cause Grande-memere had a stroke.

Right. Are we and you specifically praying for both of them??

Yes.

(Here is a picture of mom and Anson playing chess while we were visiting Grande-memere in Florida)

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That’s very good. Now…. Okay, let’s change the subject to more happy things: What time is it right now?

(He looks at the clock) 9:05

pm. or am?

am.

That’s right! How have things been going with school?

I don’t know. We haven’t been doing school. We start it tomorrow.

Right! That’s funny. Okay, well, before we close-

Can we try to get to a thousand words?

Yeah! Sure! That’d be a fun thing to make as our goal. I’ll see if I can hold up until then. Right now we have 831 words. How many does that make to a thousand?

I don’t know.

Oh, common, Anson!

Okay.

How much is 831 words to a thousand words?

(He thinks for… not all that long actually.) 279.

Okay, let’s go check a calculator. Will you grab one?

Sure.

(He gets up and is trying to find it.) Finally, he shouts, “I can’t find one!” Then he and Grandpa talk about calculation.

So, what is it?

169.

Aw. I see. Okay, well, we still have-

Ninety words to go.

Okay.

How much is 831 words to a thousand words?

(He thinks for… not all that long actually.) 279.

Okay, let’s go check a calculator. Will you grab one?

Sure.

(He gets up and is trying to find it.) Finally, he shouts, “I can’t find one!” Then he and Grandpa talk about calculation.

So, what is it?

169.

Aw. I see. Okay, well, we still have-

Ninety words to go.

 

We’re there!

Wow!!! You’re right!!! We’re at 1013! That’s awesome!

Okay, just one more question……….. Two more: what bible verse has proved to help you when you need it.

Isaiah 41:10.

Recite it real quick.

Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am you God. I will strengthen you and help you and uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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Good job! And what about your sleepover?

Awesome!

But nobody knows anything about it, so tell them about it.

I had a sleepover at AJ’s house. For two nights.

(Below is a picture of Anson and AJ at a field trip a few months back.)

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I’m sure it was very fun. Alright, well, he’s eating oatmeal so we’ll wrap up now.

Bye! (Simeon says, “Bye!”)

Including this paragraph, we got to 1160 words without stop. He has grown into a handsome and wise young man. I encourage all those who read to comment on him and congratulate him and his parents for being raised and raising such excellence!

Kieryn: 5 years old

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Oh, babygirl, Kieryn… Tell me about yourself.

What do you mean about myself?

(Okay, maybe that question  is still a bit too open-ended for a five year old.)

Well, tell me how you like doing school  now that you are a kindergartner.

Well, I like doing school, because I get to read books, and make books, and color.  I get to do science.  I get to count. (She proceeds to count to 20.) And that’s why I like school!  And I like doing Starfall.

(I must say, she is my best student so far.  Where Madeline had a bit of trouble accepting direction, Kieryn has none.  Where Anson struggled with motivation or discouragement, Kieryn has not.  She is eager to learn, and doesn’t crumble when I tell her that her 5 is backwards. It’s been a very exciting time as a teacher, especially considering that I was a bit concerned about what life would look like to incorporate a third child into our school day. She’s made it easy and fun!)

Tell me what your favorite book is.

Mox the Fox, because there are cakes in it.

(Yep, she’s still our Sugar Queen.  The others reach a point of being unable to finish a big treat, but not Kieryn.  She offers to finish what the others cannot.)

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What is your favorite book to read for bedtime? Like one that Mommy or Madeline reads to you.

I like the one, “How Can it Be Worse?”

Tell me what that story is about.

So, there’s a mom and a dad. They had a lot of kids.  They were making noise, and noise, and noise.  They didn’t want that.  So, they went to a person who told them, “Bring in the donkey. Bring in the cow. Bring in the goats.” And then they brought them in.  And then, I think, Miriam said, “It’s even worser!” So, they let all the animals out, and then it was quiet.

So their kids didn’t make noise anymore?

I think. (Madeline corrects.  “No, the parents just thought it wasn’t as loud.  The animals made extra noise, so when the animals went away it sounded quieter, and they realized it could be worse.)

What kinds of things do you like to do when it’s not school time?

Go outside and ride bikes with Simeon. (This is one of her primary activities when I am doing school with the two oldest.) Play with Anson’s cars with him. Or play babydolls with Madeline.

What else do you like to do with Madeline?

Feed her fish with her. And go outside with her.  And, um… Play babydolls.

What about drawing?

Yeah! Draw with her. Color with her.

(Madeline gives her drawing lessons, and will sometimes draw pictures for Kieryn to color. They have a very sweet, close relationship.  I’m not sure she knows it, but Madeline is her best friend.  Madeline washes her hair when they shower together and will help pick out her clothes and get her hair brushed and done up.  Sometimes they come out of the room after a long getting-ready-session and they both have fancy dresses and abundant accessories. They make sisterhood look beautiful.)

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What are you favorite dolls or stuffed animals?

Lamby is my favorite stuffed animal. I think Emma is the best doll.  I think so.

What is your favorite color?

Probably red. I really like red.

So, it’s not pink or purple anymore?

I don’t think so.

(Well, they say you learn something new everyday.  This is my something for today.)

What are your favorite things to eat?

Caesar salad with croutons, potato soup, juice, broccoli with Ranch, waffles.

What is your favorite thing God made?

Oh dear. Is this an animal thingy?

It could be.

Flowers, animals, humans, and trees and plants.

What is your favorite day of the week?

The Shabbat day and the days that we go on dates!

What is your favorite thing about Daddy?

That he lets us go to the park, and he lets us eat ice cream, and he lets us go to services. And he lets us see Johnny and Katie and lots of things.

(An interesting assortment of highlights!)

What is your favorite thing about Mommy?

Oh! You help us do school, and you help Daddy make money for us.  You cook breakfast and dinner and lunch for us. You have babies and that stuff.

(“You have babies and that stuff”… Yes, I guess I do.)

What is your favorite thing about Madeline?

That she draws with me.

What is your favorite thing about Anson?

Playing cars with him. And then what’s my favorite thing about Simeon?

Yep, that was my next question.

That we go and ride bikes together.

And what about Eden?

Oh, I like to hold her.  She’s cute.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

(She echos) What do I want to be when I grow up? …Um… Riding a horse and having a dog.  (“That’s not something you can be,” Madeline says. So, Kieryn adjusts.) A farmer.  Or making a shop and then people buy stuff and I get money. Now what, Mommy? Is that all?

What else would you like to say?

I like colorful leaves and flowers.

And with that, she’s done. She has grown so much over this last year.  We don’t see the abrupt mood swings that were so prevalent last year.  On the occasion when she gets sullen and draws inward, feeling inadequate or unimportant, she hears and responds to the truth we tell her. More and more, we find her settling into her role as a big, important part of this family. We are eager to watch our Elohim continue to grow her into a girl who will one day bring joy into darkness.

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Anson: 8 years old

In customary fashion, we are conducting our birthday interview slightly late.  Almost six months late, to be more precise. Nonetheless, here’s our eight year old boy.

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What is your favorite animal at eight years old?

Every animal.

Every animal? Name them all.  In alphabetical order.

I can’t name them…

What about your favorite animal? If you had to choose one, what would you choose?

I would leave the room.

Too many animals?

Yes, I like all animals.  Even mice. People look at the down side of them…

If you could be one kind of food what would you be?

I’d probably be… burnt gasoline, because nobody would eat me.

(The other kids have been sitting on the bed behind Anson until now.  But this was evidently too much for them to handle quietly.  Erich tries to reign them in.)

No comment from the peanut gallery, please.

Oh, good point! I’d be rotten peanuts! Then nobody would eat me.

(At this point, we pause the interview to reassess the interview direction. We resume, but it still takes a while for us to get to some really good stuff.)

What are some of your favorite things to do at eight years old?

Ride my bike, play soccer, play more soccer after that, play basketball, a little more basketball, come inside to watch tv, do a little not-so-fun school, jump on the trampoline…

Let me ask you a little bit about school.

Uh oh.

No. No bad attitudes about school. What is your favorite subject?

Oh dear… Maaa…. Grrrr…. Probably geography.  Well, actually, my first is science, but not the human stuff as much.  The animal stuff.

Do you have a least favorite subject in school?

Probably phonics or grammar.

You don’t like to label sentences much do you?

Not very much.

(But as his teacher, I must report that he does very well with them. On the days when he works with a good attitude, he zips through it pretty skillfully.)

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I want you to tell me just one thing you love about each of your siblings.  Starting with Eden.

She is so cute and she can crawl really quickly.  And I hope she can eat food soon.

Why?

Because then she’ll be able to eat my green beans for me and stuff.

You’re going to feed her your vegetables?

I like Caesar salad, and sometimes I eat asparagus.  But I can feed her black olives and stuff.

What about Simeon?

He’s funny and sometimes tricky.

What about Kieryn?

She’s funny. And now it’s Madeline.

Okay. What is one of your favorite things about Madeline?

Um… I like to play with her and she’s funny too.

We have a very funny family, don’t we?

You’re funny too.  And I love mom. And she helps us and cooks for us.  Well, usually.  Yesterday we made breakfast – the kids did.

(They did, indeed.  Every now and then, Erich and I wake to the sounds of clanking dishes.  We smell breakfast smells.  Then, the bigger ones send a smaller one into our room to make sure we stay put until they summon us. When we come downstairs, we find an empty, dark room. Suddenly, the lights come on and kids hop out of every corner shouting, “Surprise!”  We have cool kids.)

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What is your favorite book of the Bible?

Revelation.  Or Genesis.  Maybe the Psalms.  I also like to hear about the kings.

Tell me about the tapes you like to listen to before bed.

(A college-age friend of our family passed on her set of Bible story tapes from her childhood. Our kids listen to them almost every night.  It’s actually the primary motivator to get our kids ready and in bed by 8:30.  If they don’t get into bed in time, they don’t get a tape.)

The one about Elisha and the army of Assyria.  Their army was surrounding the city Elisha was in. Angels smit the army with blindness and Elisha took the Assyrian army into the midst of Samaria.

Is that your favorite story?

Probably.

What do you want to be when you grown up?

Probably a police officer.  Maybe I want to have a job at home.  Something I can do at home that doesn’t take very long, but that I can get paid really well.

(He gets this kind of ambition from his dad.)

Tell me about what chores you do.

I clear the table, wipe the table, brush my teeth, and feed the cats.

What is your favorite meal?

Probably chicken fingers with Zax sauce. That’s reallly good.

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What are your favorite colors?

Green and blue.

Tell me about some of the hard things have happened this year.

I remember school. It’s just hard. Well, some school. (Madeline whispers something.) Oh yeah.  It’s been hard about Wild Kratts.

You have a pretty incredible testimony about taking authority over the enemy.

(He has a wonderful testimony of victory over the enemy, but he’s not ready to share it.  Though we have explained that we all sin and that our God’s greatness shines forth in how He redeems us from our sin, he gets very sad remembering some of the harsh, untrue words he said.  We were able to record his telling of the story for historical record, but for now, I just wanted to say here that our God is faithful and good.  Anson is on his way to becoming a warrior for the kingdom.)

(Around this time, we get off track again.  Erich says something about Anson’s favorite movie being How to Train Your Marsupial. Anson puts his eyelids inside out. And the children erupt into a wrestle-fest… We do another reassessment of the interview.  This time, we decide to send the other kids out and to wrap up with just Anson.)

What are you really good at?

I’m good at soccer, and I’m good at thinking.

What else?

I’m good at… What am I good at?

Do you want me to help you think of other things?

Mmm…Yes.

You’re good at building things out of Legos and learning facts about animals or states. Actually, you are great at learning all sorts of facts.  You learn memory work faster than everyone else. (He can rattle through bones of the skull, parts of the eye, and dozens of scriptures with ease.) You are great at Hebrew, especially making the “chet” sound. (Although when he gets exuberant with it, it’s a little scary…) You pick things up quickly and are a fast learner when you put your mind to it. (That seems to satisfy everyone, so we move on.)

What do you like to sleep with at night?

I like to sleep with Snoopy, Puppy, Bane, and all my animals.

Once again, things get off track. Erich and Anson end up getting involved in some kind of Buffalo game where Anson uses his head to try to shove Erich off the bed.  This time, we’re not going to reign it in.  We’re done for the night, and that’s probably a good thing.

You are a boy with immense potential, Anson.  We are excited to watch our faithful Abba continue to grow and mature you!

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Madeline: 9 years old

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Phew! You have only one more year until you are into the double-digits! That makes me feel a bit old.  How does it make you feel?

Well, older than I was when I was five. And six. And seven.

True. Do you like being nine so far?

Yes! I didn’t discover that 10 was actually double-digits until I was almost nine. So, that’s kinda funny.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Okay! Um… I like horses… (Thinking silently…) Uh, when I need thoughts I can never get thoughts!  (She returns to thinking.)  I like to play with my siblings.  And we have a new baby coming.  This time, this baby is going to be half my baby.

Explain that “half my baby” thing.

Oh, okay.  Well, it started when I wanted a baby, but I was a little bit tired of pretending my baby dolls were babies.  So I figured that when you have a baby I can help take care of it a lot.  Memere said that she was kinda like a mom to Uncle Jimmy.  And Miss Myrna said that her big sister took care of her when she was a baby.

So, will you help me change stinky diapers and wake up to feed the baby in the middle of the night?

Yes! Most of the nights, anyway.  Some nights I’ll be tired.  But most of the nights I’ll help.  I need to practice for when I’m actually a mommy with my very-very own children.  Now that I think of it, I’ll never have my very-very own children, because I need a husband to have children, so they’ll be his too.  This baby will be yours, Daddy’s, and mine.  And my baby in the future will be mine and my husband’s.  So I’ll never have my very own baby.  It’ll still be mostly – like half – my baby.

Well, I can tell you from experience that sharing a baby with a husband is the best. It’s nothing to be sad about.

That’s good.  I didn’t say I was sad.  Just that I’ll never really have my very own baby.  So, now I really won’t worry about it at all.

Good call. Now tell me about things you enjoy doing.

I like riding bikes, and hanging out with Adeline, and going horseback riding, and camping.  I like it most times when I go to Memere and Grandpa’s congregation.  And I like jumping on the trampoline sometimes.  I like sleeping most times. I can’t think of other things.

What about cooking?

Oh, I love cooking! I totally forgot that!  (She is quite an able baker.  I enjoy being able to give her a recipe and letting her take care of the rest.  While she’s working on a recipe, she loves to pretend she’s on a cooking show. At some point, we’ll have to get some of that on video.) Wasn’t Kieryn cute when she was young?

Yes, random-girl.  (Apparently, she was looking at a picture behind me, so that wasn’t quite as random as I thought.)

Well, this is a birthday interview, so there are lots of random questions anyway.

Okay, so tell me a bit about school.

Oh, here comes the hard part.

Hard part?!

Yes.  We haven’t been doing school much lately.  (It’s true.  We’ve had the past three weeks off for Sukkot prep, Sukkot, and then Sukkot recovery.) But last time I liked writing and art.  I like reading Adam and His Kin, and doing special assignments that are fun.  I wish we did science though.  (Yeah, I need to work that subject in officially.  I’ve been counting random animal studies – like Wild Kratts – as science.)

Tell me some things you’ve been enjoying from your Bible reading lately.

Xander’s mom made up this game called Three Spies.

(I interrupt.) Does this have anything to do with Bible?

Yes.

Okay, continue.

It’s about Rahab and the spies.  But were there two spies or three?

I thought maybe two.  But did she call it Three Spies or Two?

Three.  Anyway, you follow the Bible basically to play.  We used Legos – like a red Lego as the scarlet thread at the door of the Lodge.  We didn’t actually play it, but I think that’s what it was about.

Okay, so is that your favorite Bible story?

Well, not exactly.  It’s one of them.  I really like the one with David and Bathsheba, because he learned… It was kind of sad, but um… David learned something when he shouldn’t have committed adultery with Bathsheba.  The kind of good part was when they had a baby.  But I think the baby died, right?

The first baby did, but they ended up having…

Solomon (She answers with me)

Tell me about the prayer time you had with Daddy the other night.

Well, it started with Daddy praying for me for my dreams and stuff.  But my eye was hurting like when you get an eyelash in it. I kept pulling gently on my eyelashes to see if there were any loose ones, but it still kept hurting.  So, I told Daddy at the end of his prayer, and he prayed for me again.  This time, for my eye.  He prayed that God would heal my eye and give me more faith when He did heal it.  Towards the end of his prayer, my eye just stopped hurting. I told him afterwards, and he said, “That’s the kind of faith I’m talking about!”  We said goodnight, and then I fell asleep, I think.  That was probably the most recent miraculous thing that’s happened to me.

We get caught up in a conversation about the physical and spiritual parallels in life.  It was too involved to catch it all on here.  But I love being able to have adult-like conversations with this little girl.  She’s pretty cool!  When we finish, both of us are kind of worn out with the birthday interviews. But we’ll try to do them on time next year so that they’re spaced out a bit better. 🙂