Text Box: Pat & Carrie Hurd
401 Pepper Lane
Weatherford, TX  76088
Phurdwford@aol.com
December, 2000

 

Another Boy is Birthed - The big event of the year for the Hurd’s was the September 14th birth of Patrick Calvin.  He weighed in at home, just before midnight, at a whopping 5lbs 5ozs and 19 inches.  It seems that since our move to the country 8 years ago none of our baby births have been simple or routine.  Poor Evan (7) was born on a mattress on the floor of a rent house.  Alison (6) we delivered alone in our bedroom after a false alarm the month before, Melody (4) on the side of the road trying to get home and Andy (2) was induced 3 weeks early in the hospital.  Patrick was no exception.  The fact that he was small in the womb wasn’t the biggest concern.  The problem was that he insisted on being breach.  So we decided that the OB should perform an external version and, once that was done, we then chose to induce the baby before he could get himself turned back around.  24 hours later, with baby still on the inside and Carrie worn on the outside by all the great hospital attention she was getting, we quietly left for home and the rest is history.

 

Text Box: “Please make the baby’s gasoline go away.” – Allison’s prayer for Patrick’s gas during family devotion.Patrick’s birth is also consistent with the past 8 years in that he is a boy.  We affectionately refer to the overwhelming male birth rate in all categories of man and beast as the “bulls, bucks, and boys syndrome.”  Granted, the humans have added two females to the list but the three males have put the boys at a definite advantage around the house.  However, I remind the girls that “she who rules the refrigerator rules the roost” and, thus, the boys are kept in their proper place.

 

Little House Gets Roof Job - Of course, we all know that “where there’s a pregnancy there’s a project” and this one was no exception.  Remember the little house on the corner of the property we were trying to sell last year?  Well, it was still for sale when it hailed one fine spring afternoon.  Yes, the house is insured and yes, we COULD have paid someone to replace the roof with the insurance proceeds, but – hey – why pay someone to do something that your kids can do for you.  Thus, we embarked on a four-week school project to tear off and re-roof the house.  Carrie’s part consisted mainly of superintending while Lindsey (16) acted as foreman/taskmaster, Monica (13) as the chief nailer, Wesley (15) was the muscle, and Micah (11) and Clarke (9) were on the ground picking up shingles, nails, etc…  They did a smashing job!

 

Correction and Retraction - One much anticipated birth that did NOT happen, as falsely predicted last year, was Monica’s then-new-horse, Libby.  Yes, this is an official RETRACTION – the horse was NOT pregnant.  Silly us, eh? Well, as the saying goes, “If you can’t born ‘em then buy ‘em” except that buying requires money.  So where does Monica go when she needs money?  That’s right – to the collie breeder.

 

Counts and Recounts - Perhaps you think that Al Gore controls the market on recount after recount after recount.  No one was surprised when puppy #5 and #6 was born that eventful June 1st.  But it seemed that every time we looked in on mom the mass of little bodies was larger than before, thus, requiring yet another count.  By the time it was all over, Monica was the proud mother of 12 collie pups and visions of another horse began dancing in her head.  Monica, not one to let visions remain unfulfilled for long, divested herself of the puppies and is hot on the market for another horse.  According to her, the best part of shopping for a horse is the test riding of a lot of different horses.  By the way, 9 of the 12 puppies were males.

 

Lessons Learned and Unlearned - We don’t host a 4th of July party every year.  It takes a year’s hosting to remind us why we didn’t do it the year before, but the memory of the trauma is short lived.  Really, it’s a lot of fun though there have been times when the combination of lots of fireworks + lots of kids + mischievous dads = havoc, danger, and confusion.  This year’s party was fairly tame.  But, what little boy can watch older boys light and throw firecrackers and not try it out for themselves?  Well, certainly not Clarke and, therefore, the cause of multiple finger recounts after one exploded in his hand.  Fortunately, all fingers were accounted for, the damage was slight, and Clarke learned the value of exercising caution.

 

Which is a valuable lesson for Clarke who acquired an insatiable fascination for flying and flying apparatus.  His constant talk about building gliders and the such and jumping off the cliff to see if it works was only intensified after his surprise April birthday gift.  He, Wes, Micah, and Evan shared 90 minutes of flying time at our little local airport.  They had a splendid time as each one got a turn in the pilot’s seat buzzing around the airport.  Meanwhile, Clarke has yet to build anything that his mom has confidence in for jumping off the cliff.  We’ll keep you posted.

 

Internet WARNING - Transmitted Computer Virus - You might remember that is was REALLY dry here this summer and August was REALLY hot.  In anticipation of the heat, we made plans to flee to the cool mountains of Ruidoso, NM for a week and we invited a couple of New Mexican families to join us.  A week before the convergence we received an Email from the Holets informing us that their children had contracted the chicken pox and, thus, they would not be able to attend.  L  It was no coincidence that within a week of our return from a refreshing week with the Larimers, our younger kids came down with chicken pox.  Therefore, if you should ever receive an Email with the subject line “Chicken Pox” – do not open!!  Delete immediately at risk of infecting your entire household!

 

Text Box: “I’m a baby holder and diaper changer and one day I will be a baby sitter.” – Allison on her future.DeJaVu – I guess it should not be a surprise that, with the number of children we have, there would be some shared characteristics between the kids, both physically and psychologically.  Take Lindsey and Allison, for example.  Not only do they share the same distinctive beauty of their mother, but these two could pass as carbon copies in character.  Allison is following in Lindsey’s footsteps as very studious and competitive, and also as “beta” mother to Andy and Patrick.  I think there are a number of people who, after watching little Allison carry Andy around (the appearance is that Allison is perpetually on the verge of dropping him), are surprised that Andy survived and believe Patrick’s fate is sure to be as they thought Andy’s would be.

 

Meanwhile, Lindsey has adopted Micah as her current project.  She is convinced that she can have Micah graduated from Harvard before he turns 20 and ready for the Presidency by 2024.  We all think Micah has a lot of potential, too.  He enjoys public speaking – when he can get an audience – and possesses pretty good oratory skills for his age.  Sometimes, though, his topics of conversation can become tedious causing his audience (mainly us) to grow weary in our attention.  Micah has overcome some of that difficulty, not in changing his style, but in expanding his audience.  Micah passed the amateur radio operator’s exam, bought himself a little ham radio, and has expanded the scope of his unsuspecting audience ad infinitum.

 

Household Super-heroes – Then there is Monica and Melody.  There are little to no similarities in looks.  But they both share a love for animals that exceeds the normal appreciation for pets by the rest of the family.  Melody seems quite pleased that Monica’s collie population has grown to four, as that gives her plenty of available dogs to drag around on a leash and boss. One quality that is unique to Melody is her current fascination with heroes – specifically Batman and Zorro.  Her interest has triggered some deep theological discussions between her and Carrie:

 

Text Box: “Why don’t we need a mommy anymore?” – Melody upon learning that Carrie and I were going to Albuquerque for a weekend.Melody: “Mommy, can Batman do all things?”

Carrie:  “No dear, only God can do all His holy will.”

Melody:  “Mommy, can Batman die and wake up dead?”

Carrie:  “No, only Jesus put away death when he rose again.”

 

One can never anticipate just when Melody will suddenly bound down the hallway and present herself fully costumed, with mask and accessories, and ready to battle against all bad guys.  Her most favorite imitation is Zorro, whom she identifies as Zero.

 

Making Do – Now that Allison is more focussed on Patrick, little Andy is left to figure out for himself the best way to get from point A to point B.  Being a late walker didn’t slow him down.  His speed on all fours, with little rear high in the air, was surpassed only by the natural four-legged creatures.  But what do you do when you are two years old and have that typical two-year-old craving to wear mom and dad’s shoes?  Andy’s solution was to walk on all fours with the shoes on his hands.  Even though he is walking on two legs today, the impact on Carrie and me is the same i.e., never knowing if we will be able to find one or both shoes when needed.

 

Text Box: “Can I have the sounds when they are dead?” – Evan asking for the computer speakers when they quit working.Lost in the Mix – We’ve always thought that Evan was the poor little middle child that tended to get pushed to the side, ignored, and forgotten.  In the hustle and bustle of busy family life, Evan, by his own admission, just hangs around waiting for someone to find him and hoping to get overlooked on the chore list.  It was only a matter of time before Evan would make a name for himself around the house and the time has arrived.  Evan has become, as of late, the boy to beat in chess.  Not that any of us are chess masters or anything like that, but among the competition in the home, Evan’s “the man.”  And then, he’s “the man” with mom too, who has insured Evan’s presence with everyone else with an expanded chore list just for him. J

 

Homeschool Suspension – Wes, as the oldest boy, sets the pace for the rest of the household boys.  He has paved the way for their interest in Ham radio, computers, piano/guitar, taking apart the small engines we wear out, spreading the parts and messes all over creation, etc….  All things considered, Wes is a good model for the younger boys and a good big brother.  Additionally, Wes serves the family by providing the advantage of having a man around the house full time. In short, I’ve been able to reduce my honey-do-list by simply transferring my assignments to him.  The next big surge will be when Wes is licensed to drive.  I know he is looking forward to that time.  I’m not sure Carrie and I know what to think, yet.

 

However, I told you last year there was going to be trouble.  Sure enough, Wesley has messed around with VBasic enough the last couple of years that he has learned how to make a real nuisance of himself.  So much so that he was actually blocked from access to the server by one of the Internet schools we use because of his miss-behaving BOTS.  Simply stated, he was suspended from school for a day!  A first for the family.  Maybe a first for homeschooling!!  Even as bad as I acted in school I was never suspended.  Even so, I appreciate Wes a lot, for you see, I can see a lot of me in him when I was his age.  Poor chap, he has a steep hill to climb.  Pray for him.

 

Anti-Drive – While some are getting their Amateur radio licenses, someone else is NOT getting their driver’s license – Lindsey Hurd.  Not that we don’t want her to, mind you, she just doesn’t seem to be motivated.  If fact, knowing the amount of errand running and kid shuffling she would be doing, we suspect she might just be anti-motivated.  But that’s OK – for now, at least.

 

For you see, Lindsey seems content to stick around the house and be Carrie’s right hand woman.  Lindsey does more than her fair share of cooking and housework as well as teaching and training the younger kids.  In her spare time, she does her own schoolwork.  It’s been interesting to watch Lindsey’s writing skills and style mature over the past several years.  This year, she has had an article published in a couple of homeschooling magazines and a couple of essays used as literary examples in a newly published (and highly recommended) creative writing curriculum.  Contact me if you want more information.

 

The Ghost of Jeeves – Monica, too, continues to come into her own, both in her responsibilities around the house and her developing writing skills.  She does her share of the cooking and cleaning.  She has done quite a bit as of late to encourage and train Allison and Micah in the realm of cooking.   We’re trying to decide if there are selfish motivations involved.  She is involved in some of the schooling of the younger kids, but most of her time is devoted to reading.  Now, we like the fact that Monica loves to read more than eat and are pleased that Monica enjoys and knows how to pick out good literature, but it does sometimes get in the way of the more menial duties of life, like, preparing dinner for the family or finishing that school assignment that is due tonight or rescuing one of the babies from drowning or the such.

 

Text Box: “I don’t want my hair to get thin.” – Micah upon reading the shampoo label identifying the product to be for thin hair.Be that as it may, another aspect of her intense reading is the influence of such reading upon her writing.  This has been most noticeable this past year as we have done several works of P.G. Wodehouse and G.K. Chesterton, each of which have a distinctive British style of writing (probably because they are British).  Accordingly, Monica’s writings are typically spattered with colloquialisms such as  “dash it all”, “jolly”, “cheerio”, “hullo”, “poor blighter”, “chap”, “bloke”, “the old egg”, “aged relative” and the likes.  It certainly adds a different kind of flavor to her writing, which in some cases and with certain expressions not mentioned here, we’re not exactly sure what her teachers think.

 

Carrie and I send you our greetings.  The time seems to swirl by at an increasingly faster pace.  Carrie spends her time managing all the differing aspects of school assignments for the various kids, nursing the baby, getting them to and from their limited activities and obligations, nursing the baby, identifying maintenance issues around the house, nursing the baby, making sure the food supply pipeline is full, nursing the baby, administrating rewards and punishments commensurate to the behavior, nursing the baby, dreaming of her next big project (currently content with only dreaming), etc….  Between our respective responsibilities, there seems to be little time or opportunity for our paths to cross in anything beyond familial issues.  We have learned to enjoy time alone on what we call “the point” in the evenings after the younger kids have gone to bed.  It is our outdoor, evening away from the house refuge to gaze at the stars and actually be able to finish a sentence without some interruption.  So important a time it has become for us that we will brave the cold, bundling up in coats, gloves, and hats to sit and talk and shiver, or just listen to the quiet and count the falling stars, for as long as we can maintain against fatigue or the elements.

 

As I write, I am iced in at home and tonight Gore is to give his concession speech followed by Bush’s victory speech.  The struggle over the contest for the Presidency of our nation reflects, I believe, the growing advocacy and acceptance of the American people with the ideology of a democratic government (the “will of the people”) versus the representative republic form of government originally established by the founding fathers and the Constitution of the United States.  That the issues of rule of law vs. the will of the people would be the center of debate at the highest level of our nation should cause concern for the future of our present constitution.  It is a matter of objectively living according to the laws as established by the representatives elected by the people or subjectively re-interpreting the laws by judicial reconstruction to achieve a temporal goal.  With regards to objective vs. subjective rule, Robert C. Winthrop said to the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society in Boston on May 28, 1849, “All societies of men must be governed in some way or other.  The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government.  The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint.  Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet.  It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion.  Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.”

 

In 1688, the benefits of embracing the Protestant Reformation evidenced itself in England’s Bloodless Revolution. The French, on the other hand, having rejected the influence of the Reformation, choose the bayonet (Madame Guillotine) in her bloody revolution from 1789 to 1799.  Our country has already chosen the bayonet once to crush the rights of the States under the Constitution.  If there is nothing else we have learned the past eight years, we have learned that the fabric of our nation 50 years from now is taking shape in the form of our children’s character today.  If our children and grandchildren are to be armed well enough theologically to stave off tomorrow’s assault against individual freedom, someone has to train them today.  I suggest to you that the future results are predictable if today’s parents depend on the same societal institutions that trained the current generation of leaders 50 years ago.  Whatever course you take, be assured that the future of our nation rests not in the next generation alone but, rather, in you and what you do today to prepare the next generation for the challenges of tomorrow.

 

May God’s grace be abundant to you and yours this coming year and for many more to come.

 

The Hurds