Thursday, March 26, 2015

Of Forests and Fields: An Ode to Inspirational Trail Running Films

When someone in your household is into trail running you end up viewing many short films meant to inspire and encourage a love of the sport.  Here's the Chew Crew's take on the whole thing.  Hope you're inspired to go run a few miles!

Password: 2005ChewCrew

Of Forests and Fields from Chew Crew on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Happy Birthday Becca!

33 years ago the Lord saw fit to bring into the world Rebecca Lynn Valentino who would eventually become Rebecca Lynn Chew!

And boy am I glad that He decided to do that!
I don't have anything necessarily eloquent or profound to say, other than I am humbled and blessed by the Lord to have been brought into marriage with Becca, not quite sure why He would pick the two of us from completely different backgrounds and geographical locations (try the other side of the world, literally) to be one to represent the love that He has for the church (try Ephesians Chapter 5).
So let me attempt an acrostic poem to try and capture the essence of how we feel about Becca:
R - Radiant
Becca continually reflects and shines the light of Jesus more and more everyday to her family and to our friends!
E -  Encouraging
Becca is an encouragement to other moms in their journeys in following the Lord Jesus!

B - Beautiful
Not much to say here, other than Becca is beautiful and continues to reflect and be adorned with,"the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves..." - 1 Peter 3:4-5

E - crEative
When it comes to organizing things, making things, crafty things, teaching things, Becca is very creative she often has a different way of looking at things that is usually helpful, once I get over thinking that my way is right... 

C - Compassionate
Becca is compassionate towards, especially in light of the constant demands of the many needy members of the Chew household, to me this is quite supernatural and can only be inspired by Jesus!
C - Charis
   This is the Greek for "grace" or "gracious", Becca is extremely gracious towards us all in the Chew household, even after day after day of nagging, tantrums, bad attitudes, teaching, training, pottying, diapering, cooking, homeschooling, even after all of that she still is able to send me out of the house to go run somewhere out of cell phone reception for a day!
A - Aletheia

Becca is interested in the truth, the Truth of Jesus, the Truth of the Scripture, the truth of most subjects, and that is something that the Lord has usually used to unite us even more as one.  I am very thankful to be married to be someone who so highly values the Truth of Jesus Christ.

So there you have it, nothing overly sentimental but believe me, words cannot communicate how much I love and honor Becca!

Happy Birthday Becca!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

These Days

At tthis point it has been several days since I wrote this post.  I wanted to put a link to kiviak and Inuits who go under the sea ice to collect mussels in the spring.  It's not going to happen any time soon and I want to push publish.  If you are interested in the diet of Inuit people try Google.  And if you don't care to know, then the link wouldn't have served much of a purpose anyway and I won't feel bad about not including it. here's what I wrote a few days ago...

I wrote this yesterday...didn't get around to publishing.  Between writing this in the morning and bed time last night I witnessed my children gathering mussels from  under the sea ice in the Arctic.  They fermented the mussels in order to make mussel kiviak.  I overheard Abby explain to her two-year-old brother how gums are very small when you're young and will get bigger and bigger as you get older until they are all of half an inch long.  Josua and Hannah spent their evening free time playing a homemade game about seeds - it came right out of the science text book.  I think this classifies them as nerds, if watching the imaginary tides until just the right moment to venture under Arctic sea ice in order to ferment mussels isn't already nerdy enough.

And how could I forget the hugs from Rachel?  She and Jer are the first of our kids to be so affectionate.  I am (sometimes literally) showered with hugs and kisses from them during the day.  If I wasn't a softy before having kids, I most certainly am now.  Of course, a bunch of pregnancy hormones probably has something to do with that.  Or not.

Maybe I'm just getting old.'s what I wrote yesterday...

There is a storm coming in today.  Right  now the sky is grey and getting darker by the hour.  The wind is starting to blow so that the trees on our property are swaying significantly.  It's the kind of day when I want to curl up under a blanket and read a good book.  But around here, there is no such thing as a "curl up on the couch" kind of day.  The activity levels are as high as ever this morning, which has proven to be both good and bad.

Today I was reluctant to get out of bed.  There are those days when I just don't want to do anything - not like doing nothing is ever an option.  As my feet drag, especially through the afternoons, I have discovered my coping mechanism.

Earl Grey.  Hot.  It smells good, it's decaf, and it is not chocolate.

We are having some friends over on Saturday afternoon.  As I was thinking of necessary preparations for their visit, I realized that we haven't mopped the kitchen floors since the last time we had people over.  That was sometime before February began.  Sweeping is done at least twice a day and usually three times, but no mopping in over a month?  This says a lot about my current housekeeping habits.

If you could see the clean laundry that resides on the floor in the master bedroom, you would also have a picture of how well I've been doing in the household management department.  Of course,  you should also look at the pantry, re-organized kitchen cabinets, and the fridge which is about to burst at the seems with pounds of newly cooked beans.  So, I suppose only some things are left to the wayside.  Mopping and putting away the laundry just don't rate around here.

While I'm on the subject of cleaning, I asked Joshua and Hannah if they would vacuum the upstairs today.  It's been even longer since that happened than the last time we took out the mop bucket.  My instructions were to be thorough.  They moved all of the large toys and containers out of the toy room, cleared out the underbed storage bins, and even attempted to move their clothing drawers.  My concept of thorough wasn't quite so, well, thorough.

The little ones have been rocking out to demo songs on the keyboard.  They're bottom-wriggling dances are quite funny.  And the laughter that ensues from a good dance session is priceless.

To wrap things up, I am feeling extremely pregnant.  Aches and pains I normally feel in the last few months have been with me for a while now.  I'm only 21 weeks.  The second half of this pregnancy may just feel like an eternity.  In addition, the first trimester nauseau persists.  I guess my body has gotten mixed up - the second trimester is supposed to nauseau and pain free - hello sixth pregnancy!  Or perhaps that should be, goodbye abdominal strength and general agility.

Maybe I'm just getting old.

This little guy is very active, though, reminding me of the reason for the discomforts.  While I can try and feel bad for myself, and for the first time think that pregnancy is really hard, the pity party can't last long.  We have had two in-depth ultrasounds in this pregnancy.  No complications, just a question about the due date and a routine mid-pregnancy scan.  To see such a tiny person (he was only 3 inches long the first time) wriggling around and putting his hands to his face was nothing short of amazing.

Aches, pains, nauseau, heartburn - none of it can compare to the awesome privilege of watching these kids grow up.  And if this little one is as active out of the womb as he is inside, we'd better be ready.  The Crew is about to not only get bigger but busier.  Much busier!

Tantrums Abound

Last week we had a couple of doctor appointments in town.  The kids did great sitting through everything, but after being in a waiting area or an exam room for three hours we were ready to go home.  Before going home, however, we decided to stop by Walmart.

Walmart, my least favorite place on earth.

Praise the Lord that our trip was uneventful.  Quick.  Smooth, even.  Until we got out to the van.

That is when I realized that I had locked my keys in the ignition.  Thankfully the van was not on.  I suppose if it had been I would have noticed before we had gone into the store that something was amiss.

There wasn't much to be done about the situation, though.  So, I called Claude to ask him to stop by Walmart after work and we set out to kill three hours.

We started our adventure by walking up the hill to Sam's Club.  After a round of hot pretzels and cold water from the soda machine, we began the Alphabet Game.  We walked the store, slowly (always very slowly) for an hour and a half and found the following items:

The rules were that we had to go in order and we could only write down items that we saw as we wrote them down.

Upon completion of the Alphabet Game we realized that Rachel had taken off and dropped both of her socks.  A game of Find the Socks ensued.

Once we had exhausted our options of productive occupation at Sam's Club, we headed back down the hill.  If you ever find yourself in Walmart with a few hours to spare and a handful of kids I would highly recommend locating the fish tanks.  From Chew Crew 1 down to Chew Crew 5, everyone was enthralled by watching the little fish flit around.  We stood there for at least 20 minutes without a single complaint.

And then the nagging began.  From an un-named member of the Crew, I heard "I'm thirsty" at least a million times in approximately 30 seconds.  I had already made very clear the water-drinking regulations for the afternoon.  Designated water stops mean more predictable potty breaks and preventable accidents.  In a family of many littles, this can make or break an outing.

The thirsty child knew when to expect another drink and was decidedly unwilling to wait.  It had to be on her terms and when I didn't budge, she began throwing a tantrum.

First it was just crying.  Then the crying became shouting.  The shouting then led to her sitting down in the middle of the aisle.  When that didn't get her a drink, she began screaming and shuffling next to the stroller on her knees.  This, of course, all started as the after work crowd was making their way through the store.  We had quite the audience!

By the time Claude arrived, she was in a full-fledged temper tantrum.

We decided that Claude would take the other four kids out to the parking lot while I worked with the tantrum-thrower.  Her screams had gotten louder, her nagging about water continued, and she proceded to throw herself onto the floor and wriggle and writhe so that a group of ladies came over and tried to sympathize...with her!

I'm so glad my back was already to those well-meaning women, because it meant that I didn't have to reply to their questions or comments.  I just kept on keeping on, requiring obedience and silence.  It was reasonably successful and we were nearly out of the store, when the nagging began again.

A second tantrum  was right on its heels.  At least this time we were in the privacy of our own car and I had some music to turn on nice and loud so the rest of us could attempt to enjoy the long ride home.

Eventually she stopped screaming...and fell asleep.  But before she did, I got a good chuckle.

"You're never going to make me stop my tantrum, Mommy!" she yelled.  "The more you tell me no water the more I will nag and nag and scream!"

At least we had gotten past all of the pleasantries and could see the beast for what it was: Just another sinful, selfish person trying to get her way.

Don't we sometimes throw the same kinds of fits?  They may be quieter, but I'm sure a four-year-old is not the only one who has ever lost all sense of self-control in the face of not getting what she wanted, when she wanted it.

I doubt she will be the last.  At least not in our Crew.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Boy or Girl?

For the past several weeks the Crew has been in an ongoing discussion.  Will Chew Crew 6 be a boy or a girl?

Last week we found out and now that we've had some time to celebrate with cake, we're ready to let you in on our little surprise.

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Chew Crew 6 - Boy or Girl from Chew Crew on Vimeo.