Saturday, February 28, 2009
1. If you enter this club you have to stay in it.
2. You have to keep secrets.
3. No boys aloud.
4. Only Madeline and Lydia can be the hed.
5. Always bring your Bible to come with you.
6. You don't have to dress good.
7. You have to love God.
8. There's a meeting on May first.
9. Do not say bad words.
We had a chat with Madeline about being rude (boys are allowed, or aloud, and free to go in and out of the room they are holding meetings in) and bossy (all leadership positions in the club are open to members and not reserved solely for those two). We're on board with the part about loving God and no bad words. If you're interested in joining the club and think you can keep the rools, please contact Madeline or Lydia.
We called them on the cell phone at each layover, including a 2:30 a.m. chat when they were in Atlanta. They made it just fine and friends picked them up in Richmond. Praise the Lord. They come back on Thursday, but this time fly in broad daylight. Plus they're veterans now, so methinks I'll be more relaxed about this leg o' the journey. Brenton left town on Wednesday, but we don't really worry about him traveling across the U.S. of A. This is a guy that made a 24-hour solo trip to Israel when he was 18. He departed from D.C. at around 8 p.m., flew to Heathrow London, where he had something like an eight-hour layover, then when he got to Tel Aviv he had to find a cab and communicate to the cabbie where to take him in Jerusalem. Mind you there was this issue of a "language barrier." To top it all off, we didn't finally receive word he made it until a couple days later due to various Internet availability and telephonic "issues." But the Lord is with that kid, I tell you. We know the kids are having a great time with their friends back home, and getting their braces fixed as well, but we're ready for them to come back. Yesterday.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Now if we could just nail down the whole `lifting up the seat' thing. What is it about little boys and not lifting up the seat when they gotta take a whiz? Is it beneath them? Are they in too much of a rush? Is it their way of marking their territory? (You would think I would know the answers to these questions. But like the deepest cosmic mysteries -- such as how does Julie keep getting pregnant? -- I don't.) No matter how often I remind, cajole and even threaten them, more often than not the toilet seat shows signs of another drive-by peeing. But then, every once in a while, we get a Hallelujah moment. Such as tonight, when I heard our 4-year-old Eli proudly announce to his mother he had gone to the bathroom. "I didn't pee on the toilet!" he hollered out. She's so proud. So am I.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Here's what happened. We were at church in Williamsburg, Va., and after the service was over we loaded up the van and drove out of the parking lot to a nearby convenience store just a couple of minutes away. Did I mention the convenience store was less than a mile away? Some of our older children were going home with friends so there was perhaps some confusion numbers wise on the proper amount of Sabo children that should be in the van. We got to the WaWa, a nearby convenience store, to pick up some snacks and refreshments (which is a sign of excellent parenting; taking care of the needs of the children), when I got a call on my cell phone. It was a friend from church named Lori.
"Hey Matt, are you missing something?" Lori asked.
"I bet you know the answer to that question," I said.
It turns out, a 2-year-old child who identified himself as "Eli" -- and who our good friend Lori seemed confident was an "Eli" we knew very well -- was back at church. An inspection of the contents of our van turned up no sign of an "Eli Sabo." We quickly deduced it may well be our Eli at the church and immediately headed back to resolve this unfortunate situation. (Another sign of excellent parenting; quickly figuring out if we were a kid short and making the command decision to return to the place where our "temporarily displaced" child was last seen.)
When we arrived at church, it was verified that the "Eli" in question was indeed the Eli Sabo who should have been in his car seat in our van. We were quickly reunited and have mostly lived happily ever after (unless you count the time we wanted to purposely abandon him alongside I-80 on the "Oregon Trail" when he was throwing a Category 5 Hurricane fit of apocalyptic proportions.)
*Technically, it's not an "abandonment" if you don't arrive at your final destination before figuring out that you're a kid short.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The snake that showed up on my computer was a dead ringer for the one sunbathing in my back yard; a long, scaly, brown, deadly thing with a distinctive diamond pattern on its back. Not exactly a playmate for the kids. I ran outside and immediately took charge, hustling into the garage where I snagged an edging shovel and a machete that the previous homeowner had left behind (among a truckload of other useless items.) With the edger I jabbed at the snake right below his head thinking I'd just lop it off. That didn't go so well. All I managed to do was pin him against the bricks and he started coiling around the handle, his forked tongue flicking in and out. Occasionally he opened wide and bared his fangs. My kids were wigging out so I had Brenton hold the edger while I grabbed the machete to finish him off. One problem. The machete was so dull it wouldn't even slice butter. And come to think of it, they make boots out of snakes, right? Which means these serpents must have pretty thick skin ... so I told Brenton to hang in there while I ran into the garage and basically cleaned it out of yard implements. A pitchfork, shovel, leaf blower, chainsaw...the usual assortment. Fortunately, like any self-respecting Oregonian, I've got an ax. As Brenton kept the choke hold on Mr. Copperhead (I'm almost positive it was turning blue at this point), I took a swing with the ax. Thwunk. And with that, the deadly copperhead was neutralized as I lopped off his melon. If only my man Adam had tried that back in the Garden of Eden...
Monday, February 16, 2009
An ancient people
Wintertime for Japanese
Spring forth Jesus Christ!
Rice and kimonos
Toyota, Honda, Sony
Lion of Judah!
So, uh, you think I should keep my day job? (Which, come to think of it, would be really hard seeing as how I'm an unemployed student.)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The most recent lesson occurred recently when a fashion trend swept the young Sabo boys. As best I can describe it, it entails "manning up" and is best exhibited by taking off shirts and walking around shirtless. It's unclear what exactly the point of it is, or the genesis of this fashion trend, other than it's a very masculine endeavor to walk around without a shirt on. The other morning, Julie noticed four little boys without their shirts on. Curious, she asked Eli what was up with it. Ever have a 4-year-old look at you like, "Duh." Well, that's just the look Julie got. Eli explained it best this way to his mother when he said, "Dat's just what boys do."
Thursday, February 12, 2009
From the time I announced it was time to get the p.j.'s on and brush teeth, to the time I walked out of the room, I do believe 45 minutes had expired. In between were three reminders to Eli to brush his teeth and don pajamas -- I was doing this while loading the dishwasher with 9 bowls from our ice cream dessert and miscellaneous cups to quench thirsts of varying degrees. Claire, bless her heart, helped Ezra into his pajamas and brushed his teeth, then eventually I made it upstairs. Tonight I read Acts 9 about Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus, then I read a Jonah and the whale storybook, then we said prayers, then by popular demand I told a story.
So to be brutally honest, the story may not have been the best subject matter. I understand my audience (that would be 4 boys between the ages of 2 and 9) so the storyline revolved around a prince who had an issue with um, flatulence, due to his love of bean burritos and how he had to give those up to secure the love interest of a beautiful princess. The bottom line was that it was well received: Mission accomplished. Then two of the boys wanted to tell their own stories ... and the bar was set pretty low by yours truly ... eventually I made it out of there exhausted. Now it's time to try and get Miss Olivia asleep. Not only that, but to successfully get her in her bed while still sleeping. Then it's time to study for my Old Testament mid-term on Friday ... adios.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
We moved to Virginia when the Lord gave us a peace about going out there to take a job with the Daily Press in Newport News. Let me tell you, Virginia is a long ways away. My running joke when I drive guests over the Coleman Bridge spanning the York River is that if you look real hard out to the east across Chesapeake Bay, you can see England. In five years we've had three children, owned three houses, started a youth Bible study that the Lord has blessed, moved back across the country to Corvallis (albeit temporarily), been stretched like a rubber band (the Lord has a way of doing that to all of us, eh?) and grown so much in our faith. It's been hard -- no check that, real hard. We left behind everything we knew, our family, our dear friends, summers without humidity, bug-free living ... so many things. As much as we love it here, our home is in Gloucester. We can't wait to get home.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Evie was born in Redmond, Ore., during a snowstorm. She was supposed to be born at home but came out at the hospital courtesy of a C-section (the little girl was breech and wouldn't turn around). Even as a baby she had these big kissable lips and big eyes. Julie always called them Rosebud lips. What a cutie. Now she's almost in high school ... hard to imagine. Her name means "life" and we have always thought it described her perfectly. Evie is so lively and energetic. On Thursday night we were at a weekly event at our church called "One Voice" that draws a couple hundred middle school, high school and college kids together for a night of worship and teaching. It's just an awesome time and on Thursday it was a night dedicated to worshiping our Lord. I remember at one point looking up toward the front during one of the songs and seeing so many of the kids with their hands raised in worship. Then in the front row I saw these little hands raised high and I could tell they were a girl's hands and she was jumping up and down. I craned my neck to see better and quickly cracked a smile. It was Evie.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Scripture cites frequent fastings (with Jesus pulling a real humdinger of a one at 40 days and nights, as recounted in Matthew 4) and Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, "Moreover, when you fast..." There's something to this fasting thing, I have to say. The prayer meetings at church this week have been spectacularly powerful. And I'm weak, but the Lord is strong. Your prayers, however, are appreciated as we take this week to seek the Lord's will in our lives. And maybe even throw up a prayer that I'll be relieved of these fantasies about ham sandwiches and bacon cheeseburgers. Shoot, at this point brussel sprouts almost sound good. I said almost.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
What makes our family interesting and unique: Duh. Like 12 kids for starters. I’d say one of the unique things about our family is how caring our kids are to each other. Our teens are great helps around the house and I’m not sure what we’d do without them. When we eat out at restaurants or are out and about in public, I’m always so blessed by people telling us how well-behaved our children are and how much they enjoy seeing a large family together.
What obstacles does our family face? Uh, where do we begin? Energy, patience, wisdom, 19 years straight of changing diapers, having teens and terrible twos at the same time, trying to balance letting our kids do activities with not running ourselves ragged … oh, there’s so much. Like remembering middle names and birthdays. That was kind of embarrassing when I couldn’t remember Olivia’s middle name at a School of Ministry study session in October. One of the students was saying how cute Olivia is and then asked her middle name for some reason. I totally couldn’t remember it. Does that make me a bad dad?
Are there any financial issues?You’re kidding, right? We have four teens who eat food by the ton, all four of them are in braces, we spend all sorts of dough on diapers (we have two of them in diapers at the moment and let’s just say our little ones have a fast metabolism, if you, um, catch my drift). We’re a single-income family living on a relatively meager newspaper reporter’s salary…and yet the Lord provides for us. Finances are one of the biggest struggles for us as a family. We don’t have a lavish lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination, but just the size of our family forces us to make tough financial decisions. But hey, we're saving money on birth control! Generally speaking, I always struggle with feelings of cheating my kids because we go without certain things, even though when I really stop and think about it I know that they have a wonderful life. (Go ahead and shed a tear or two.)
Is our family religious? Well, no. I define religion as man reaching up to God. We’re Christians, in which God reaches down to man through His son, Jesus Christ. We are non-denominational, attending Calvary Chapel, which is distinctive mainly by the fact that the pastor doesn’t give topical sermons but rather he teaches through the Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book.
Like and dislike about a large family? You know, if I could trade in say 6 or 8 kids, or even 10, for a more “American” lifestyle I honestly wouldn’t. One of the biggest struggles for me, aside from finances, is just having time with my wife (I’ve obviously had enough time on occasion) or even there are times I get frustrated with not being able to do something I want to do. But when I think of not having this family, I really don’t like it. I went to Virginia for 3 weeks over Christmas to work for the newspaper and stayed in our big house in Gloucester and really didn’t like it. It was too quiet. I was so lonely. I love babies, I so enjoy how much our children love each other and I am just amazed that God has blessed me so richly.
Julie, 40, is the matriarch of Team Sabo. She’s birthed 12 children, all naturally and drug-free, which is remarkable in and of itself. She leads a Bible study, homeschools all of the children, wields a mean wooden spoon, is loving, caring, kind … she’s a keeper.
Brenton, 19, just finished a two-year Bible college program with a 3.92 GPA. He’s called to be a pastor and we’re praying about planting a church when we return to Gloucester. He plays guitar and is also doing the School of Ministry with me. We pretty much have our own congregation, eh?
Taylor, 16, leads a Bible study in Gloucester and when we moved to Oregon joined the local high school cross country team. Even though there was only 4 weeks left in the season he made varsity and helped the team to a 5th-place finish at the state meet.
Ethan, 15, will be joined by Taylor and going on a missions trip to Brazil with youth from our church in Corvallis in March. He is a perennial All-Star in the summer baseball league and ran cross country this year as well. He’s also learning to play guitar and sing worship songs, following in the footsteps of his older brothers.
Claire, 13, is quite the baker – cheesecakes and chocolate chip cookies are her specialty – and enjoys the usual teen girl fare of shopping, snapping photos, Facebooking, etc. She is really enjoying hanging out with Godly young women who are discipling her.
Evie, 11, enjoys playing soccer and is a voracious reader and our little artist. She’s outgoing and makes friends easily and loves to e-mail and Facebook with her friends back in Virginia. Like Claire, she's enjoying being discipled.
MerriGrace, 10, cannot write a sentence on someone’s Facebook wall without a minimum of two exclamation marks. She loves to play piano and is our mini-mommy and can often be found carrying around the baby and putting her to sleep on her shoulder.
Abram, 9, loves building with Legos, particularly Star Wars, and is a pretty quiet little dude. He’s very observant and also has been putting the hurt to the Tooth Fairy lately as well.
Madeline, 7, is very social and enjoys going to her friends’ houses and is very talented at memorizing Scripture and picking up concepts in school. She’s a vivacious little girl who always has a hug for her Daddy.
Gabe, 6, still likes a good sniff of his favorite blankie. He likes to play Legos, go over to his friends’ house and go swimming and when we roll through the bakery at the grocery store likes to pick out his wedding cake.
Eli, 4, can tell you pretty much anything about Star Wars or Narnia and reenact entire battle scenes. He’s a fan of Spiderman as well. We’re trying to cure him of his addiction to video games.
Ezra, 2, is a daddy’s boy and likes going to the market with his dad to get potato chips and gummy worms. His favorite book is “Goodnight Moon” but if you ask him his name he’s liable to say, “Billy Bob Joe Stinky Diaper.” It’s a long story…
Olivia, 10 months, is a pure sweetie and the proud owner of 4 teeth and the longest set of eyelashes you’ll ever see. She likes to crawl around and cause trouble and eat whatever she finds on the floor. Who needs a mop?
What does our family like to do together?: We like to go to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg together (picture in your mind taking 12 children to a theme park … do you see yourself having a good time?), or we like to go pick blueberries, go to the beach, go to church…the usual stuff. We usually try and go up to Washington D.C. for the day once or twice a year to see some history stuff. We’d like to go to Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home. We like to drive across the country together. Well, not really actually. But we’re going to do it anyway. We like to be home a lot to tell you the truth. We have a good time being together. Crazy, isn’t it?