Friday, August 28, 2009

Keal Family Newsletter, August 2009

Hello Friends and Family!

We have been living in our new house in Bryn Athyn for almost a month
It's been a busy month of unpacking, visiting with friends and
family, and lot's of shopping. Thea and Cirdan will be going to
Kindergarten and 1st Grade in the Bryn Athyn Elementary School, which
now has a dress code. So we've very quickly learned the location of
many thrift stores in the area, and have been putting together a
school wardrobe for Thea and Cirdan.
As we near the end of the month and the beginning of school for Thea,
Cirdan and I, we are feeling mostly ready.

Zoe is now 3 months old. She smiles a lot, and has even blessed us
with occasional laughter and cute "talking." Just the other day we
tried putting her in the exer-saucer, which allows her to be in a
standing position. She loves watching her older siblings. Thea and
Cirdan and Jaden have taken to running or riding their trikes around
the front porch of our house. Often times letting Zoe watch this
racing event will calm her down when she's crying. And just like
Jaden at this age, Zoe also loves to be outside. She has moved
out of the bed-buddy, and into her own crib, set up in our bedroom.
Unfortunately she hasn't been sleeping very regularly lately, so
Tirah has not been getting good nights of sleep, but hopefully that
will improve. Zoe has been getting a little bit more used to me.
I've been able to hold her for longer periods of time while she
remains happy. Tirah has even had the chance to go out and about at
times, while I've had the four kids at home. But she definitely
still prefers Tirah to anyone else, especially when she's upset.

Jaden is now two. He has entered the realm of "two-hood" with a bit
of a whine. He has started throwing more tantrums lately. But he
still remains one of the cutest kids on the planet. We had a nice
little birthday party for him, here in our new house. It ended up
being a small party, but I think that was a good thing in the end.
Since we've moved, we've gotten back into singing lullabies to the
kids at night, and Jaden very often will sing along with, much like
Thea did at this age. It's wonderfully cute.

We've taken the opportunity of the change in life associated with
moving to make some other changes in our habits. We've gotten back
into a very nice bedtime routine with the kids. After cleanup and
teeth-brushing are done, we read a story from the Word. And then we
read a story of the kids' choosing from our bookshelf of kids books.
Then we sing some lullabies and say the prayer, and then end with a
few more lullabies. This has really helped the kids settle down in
the evening, and I think helped them feel more comfortable in a new

Cirdan is 5. He is looking forward to Kindergarten. He hasn't
really expressed any nervousness about it, which I'm assuming means
he doesn't feel nervous, which is great.
Here at our new house, his favorite thing is that we now have a Lego
room. Our house is a 5 bedroom house with 3 bedrooms on the 2nd
floor, and 2 on the 3rd floor. The 2nd floor has our bedroom, the
kid's shared bedroom, and my music studio. The third floor has
Tirah's craft room, and our guest room, which also doubles as the
Lego room. While I was growing up, my favorite toy was Lego, and
over the course of my childhood I collected quite a bit of it. Since
most of my Lego contained small parts, and because we lived in small
houses up until now, we hadn't brought my Lego out of storage until
now. But now that we have the space, and Thea and Cirdan are old
enough, all my Lego is out of storage and able to be played with.
Cirdan loves this, and often spends most of the day in the Lego
room. He especially likes the Lego knights and Star Wars Lego.

Here's a funny story. I can't remember now if this was Cirdan or
Thea who said this, but one of them did.
I was reading the story of Jonah to the kids. After the story we
started talking about it. One of the kids, Thea or Cirdan, said:
"It's a good thing that Jonah started listening to the Lord, and
doing what he was told, because if he didn't, then the Lord might
have given him an even worse Time-Out than the whale!" :-)

Thea is 6, and is entering 1st grade. I think she's a little bit
nervous about it, but much less so now that she's had a chance to
meet her teacher and see her classroom, and even meet some of her
Thea has been able to set up a little "office" area at the top of the
stairs on the third floor. She also has a drawing area set up in the
very sunny dining room. And as always, she spends a lot of time
drawing and doing projects. She recently came up with a very
clever project: She took an old birthday party hat and cut the very
top off. She then drew a picture of stars and a moon, and taped the
page over the wide end of the cone-shaped hat. She then presented it
to us as a telescope. You hold it up to the light, look through the
small end of the cone, and you see the moon and stars. Very fun!

Tirah has been having fun getting to see so much of her family and
friends lately. Our life has definitely been more busy socially
since we moved, which right up Tirah's alley.
We're coming up on the 1 year anniversary of Tirah's mom's death, and
it's definitely been quite the emotional process for Tirah over the
last year. But combined with everything else going on in our life, I
think it's ultimately been a good emotional process, something that
has helped Tirah become aware of, and focus in on many aspects of her
spiritual state.
Tirah is about to face the challenge of being the stay-at-home mom
for 4 kids, after having worked for many years outside of the home.
We've had a wonderful summer of being at home as a family, and now
we're all about to be tested in this new life we've chosen.

Solomon is 32. He is looking forward to Theological School. He
hasn't really expressed any nervousness about it, which I'm assuming
means he doesn't feel nervous, which is great. ;-) This past month
has been such a whirlwind of logistics and general household tasks,
that I almost haven't had time to think about my new life as a
Theological School Student. Just a few days ago, Tirah's sister
Abby came by and babysat our four kids for us, while Tirah and I
escaped for some wonderful time away. We went to the Willow Grove
Mall, and sat in the Food Court eating french fries, and just talking
for an hour. I know I certainly felt like I was waking up out of the
stupor I was in, induced by the sheer busyness of our life. Tirah
had the wonderful idea of using one of the Lori and John Marriage
Exercises that we've learned to really dig deep into how we were
feeling. We were each able to express to each other how excited and
nervous we were about our new life. It was very enlightening and
conjoining for us.

This past month we were very happy to attend two marriage support
groups for the Theologs and their wives, led by Lori and John Odhner
of Caring for Marriage. Not only was it great for our marriage, but
a wonderful way for us to meet some of the other Theologs and their

This past weekend Carl Smith came down to visit, and we went to the
Bryn Athyn Swim Club pool. That was lots of fun. They have a kid's
pool that is only 1 and 1/2 feet deep. It was perfect for Thea and
Cirdan. And eventually they even got brave enough to try the adult
pool with us.

It's been interesting getting used to the idea that everything down
here is a lot closer together. In Kempton, anything that you had to
get to was between 15 minutes to 30 minutes away. Down here
everything is between 5 and 15 minutes away. In Kempton when you're
driving through a town, you know you've left the town because it
turns into farmland. Down here, you drive from town to town without
ever leaving the "town." It has been nice to have shopping trips
not take up so much of the day.

As I mentioned before, we have shopped at a lot of thrift stores in
the area. Our primary mission was to find school clothes for Thea
and Cirdan. But a by product of those shopping trips has been that
we've been able to buy really cheap movies! In Kempton, we used to
have Carl Smith's movie collection (hundreds of DVDs) in our home,
for people to come and borrow. And because that was the situation,
Tirah and I never bought movies, because we could always watch Carl's
movies, Since we moved, we're back down to our original small
collection of mostly VHS movies. But then all of these thrift
stores have huge collections of VHS movies (because everybody wants
DVDs these days) for around 50 cents a piece! So we've been able to
boost our movie collection very inexpensively.

One of the things that has made our life a little stressful this past
month is that our mail has been a little goofy. Because of a series
of circumstances, our mail could end up being delivered to one of
about 4 different places:
1. For some reason, my forwarding request, back at the Lenhartsville
post office, didn't go through right away, so some of our mail was
sitting up in Lenhartsville, with no where to go.
2. Here in Bryn Athyn, we have a street address, but like most
Theologs I planned to pick up my mail at the Theological School. But
if a piece of mail had only our street address on it, and not the
College Post Office Box number, then our mail could end up sitting at
the Bryn Athyn post office, with no where to go.
3. If, perchance, our mail managed to get to the College, but went
through the hands of someone who didn't know I was a Theolog, then it
could end up sitting in the College Students mail box, with no where
to go.
4. If it managed to get to the Theological School, well, for the
first half of the month, I didn't have a mail box there!
It's all getting sorted out now. I've talked to the Bryn Athyn post
office, I've talked to the College and Theolgical School offices, and
I've started seeing forwarded mail, so it's all good.

F.Y.I., if you want to send us mail, please be sure to include PO Box
717 on the address, or even add it to the Zip Code, like this:
Solomon and Tirah Keal
865 Fetters Mill Rd.
Bryn Athyn PA, 19009-0717

We love our house here. We are definitely going to be spoiled by
it. After 3 years of school, and very likely being sent somewhere
else, we very probably won't have a house this big again. So we're
trying to live in the moment, and enjoy our time here. We have a
fireplace in the living room, and I now have a real piano. Can you
believe I haven't owned a real piano until now? Just keyboards.

One of the things we love about Bryn Athyn is the variety of church
services here. We've been able to take our kids to the younger
children's service at the Cathedral every other Sunday. And I
believe it's every Sunday once school starts. There's a
contemporary service every Sunday. There's the Ivyland Church, and
the Lord's New Church nearby. And just this year, they've started a
new service called New Church Live. New Church Live makes the
contemporary service look like the traditional service. It's
definitely stretching a lot of people's perspectives on what is
worship. In many ways it's more like a Christian Rock Concert that
what a lot of us would call "church" based on what we grew up with.
I think it's good. It's still in the early phases, and I think it
needs some tweaking, but I was very grateful for what it did for my
spiritual life the week I went to it. And they're also started New
Church Live for kids, so eventually our whole family can go to it.

On Monday I go to Orientation, and on Tuesday our new life begins.
Wish us luck!
I'll try to send family and house pictures soon.

Thank you to all of you who helped with our move. We could not have
done it without you!
May the Lord bless you all!


Solomon (32)
Tirah (29)
Thea (6)
Cirdan (5)
Jaden (2)
Zoe (3 months)

No comments: