31 December 2010

Of Looking Back

This is the time of year when I, as with nearly the entirety of the world's population, tend to consider all the changes that can occur in just one short year.

As of the beginning of 2010 (Is it really ending already?  It seems we've just begun!), we knew our family would welcome a new little one in just a few short months, but at that time, I fully believed there was a baby girl in my womb.  Sometimes God surprises us in the best possible way.

This year held Micaiah's first flight and Emmett's first breath.  Micaiah's second birthday and Emmett's second tooth. 

So much has stayed the same (our home, our jobs, the love of our families) and yet, it feels underneath that it's changing.  Life decisions are on the horizon and little additions (puppies?!) have completely altered what I always thought about how our life would be.

Here comes another (probably shorter) year.  What surprises does God have in store for us in 2011?  Only time will tell - but for now, it's pretty good at keeping secrets.

30 December 2010

Of a White Christmas

I know I'm a little late in bringing it up, but this year we were blessed with our second white Christmas in a row.  The secret, we've learned, is in going to where the snow is, rather than waiting for it to come to you in Oklahoma (which apparently would have worked last year, but not so much this time around).  Thus, in the St. Louis area, we had the joy of spending Christmas Eve watching out the window as snow drifted to the earth.  Christmas day, the world was blanketed in white.  And the day after Christmas, as the sun peeked out, we were able to take our two tiny ones out to the snow for snow angels, sledding and snowballs.  There may have been a little snow man at one point.  Micaiah may have ripped off his head in search of a snowball.

While I wouldn't mind being stuck at home in a blizzard, I'm grateful for whatever snow I get to encounter these days.  And when it stays around for a couple of days?  What a blessing! 

Thank you, Lord, for the glory of your creation this Christmas (and on into the New Year).

29 December 2010

Of Kissing Cousins

After listening to our three eldest run up and down the stairs yelling excitedly while avoiding their parents' attempts for wrangling to be dressed for family photos, my sister asked me in exasperation, "Why did we decide to have them so close together?"

While it's true that having a three-year-old, two-year-old and twenty-month-old scurrying about isn't exactly an exercise in tranquility, there is a lot of fun to be had when the cousins gather together.  Even though peace isn't always a part of the equation, it's been great watching Micaiah and her younger cousin, Kaleb, follow each other around (even if they're only trying to track down the toy which is in the other's hand) or sit on the piano bench staring out the window at the snow.  It brings joy to our hearts to see she and her older cousin, Kylie, lying on their bellies watching Toy Story and then, when the movie is over, joining hands (Kaleb, too) and dancing before falling over each other giggles.

Cousins, like siblings, aren't a choice.  You get the ones God gives you.  But if you're open to it, these relationships can be some of the most treasured. 

So, here's to watching them grow and enjoying many more Christmases together.

28 December 2010

Of Happy Babies

I hear it all the time:

"He's just about the happiest baby I've ever seen."

And it's true.  We're blessed.  Now that our Emmett-man is finding himself with a fuller belly once again, he's back to his happy self (as previously mentioned) and he sure is a fan favorite.  From high school friends (who I got to see for the first time in two years!) to the photographer at Sears, people just love his happy-go-lucky attitude.  I kind of like it, too.

Now . . . breaking him of needing to be rocked to sleep will not lead to a further abundance of smiles in the short-term and I'm not really looking forward to that process.

But for now . . . I'm just basking in the glow of his handsome grin.

27 December 2010

Of Bookworms

When Philip and I arrived "home" after assisting with my precious little niece whose parents were both ill today, we went up to bed to find our daughter asleep on her travel cot, books strewn over her chest and fist still clutching pages.  I love her.

Of Rejuvination

While Emmett's sleeping patterns haven't improved to 100%, our happy baby is beginning to return to us.  The difference?  He has finally started a consistent baby cereal routine.  His chubby tummy is filling up again and his happiness levels have followed suit. 

It seems everyone is noticing our baby boy's adorably animated giggles and grins.  He loves to take in the world around him and is currently breaking into fits of smiles as my sister teases him with a burp cloth and helps him dance to the soundtrack of Home Alone (which Micaiah is currently watching intently, but may run to Daddy's lap when everyone starts getting hurt again).

Welcome back, my bubbly boy.  We missed you.

25 December 2010

Of Church Moments

This evening, after presents, stuffing, ham, turkey and plenty of "thank-you"s, we headed out to catch up on our lack of church service the night before (truth be told, this evening's attendance was planned previous to last night's incident, so we weren't really "making up" for anything).

As the plate was passed for honoring the Lord's Supper, Philip and I exchanged glances.  Communion involves juice.  Our little one, who was sitting (quietly, though reluctantly) on Daddy's lap, loves juice.  She does NOT love when others get juice and she does not.  This would be a good, teachable (though potentially embarrassing) moment.  Therefore, as Daddy grasped his juice and small piece of unleavened bread, he quietly explained to Micaiah how he does this to remember Jesus and gave a slightly involved (though child-appropriate) briefing of the significance behind the cup and bread.  At the end he asked, "Do you understand?"


"Why do we do this?"

"Ba-cuz . . ."

"Because, why?"

"Ba-cuz . . . I want cereal."

Close enough for now.  (Needless to say, she had no "cereal" and no juice, but she handled this lack of snack surprisingly well.)

At the close of the service, as we were dismissed, our child let out her first outburst of the evening, a resounding, "Amen!!!" in response to the announcement of Christmas cookies in the lobby.  At which point, the entire auditorium erupted into laughter of approval.

There are worse things our daughter could yell in church.

24 December 2010

Of Christmas Eve Moments

Sometimes . . .

. . . sliding through the snow-laden street to the point of rear-ending your father is all you need to realize that perhaps your life and those of your children are more important than a Christmas Eve service (no matter how beautifully planned).

It's at this point you make the slow and steady drive around the block to return home and, after testing all possible entries into the home to which you no longer own a key, you finally try the front door to discover it is unlocked. 

Your two-year-old might cry because she wants to go in the car, but if this should occur, a successful diversionary tactic may be to suggest she play in the snow.  And, excitedly, she will.  Decked out in her beautiful crimson and black Christmas dress, white tights and fancy black shoes, covered in her classy, red-hooded coat, black faux fur trimming her gorgeous face, she will, fearlessly, grasp the freezing particles of ice and snow with her bare naked hands, flinching not at the coldness, only to toss snowballs at her father. 

You'll sit in the aged plastic lawn chair on your parents' front porch, feeding your son (whose snazzy suit worn by his father at this age is currently hidden by the blue Mexican blanket hurriedly grabbed on your way out the door) the bottle you warmed for the church service but now, instead, provides a way for you to quickly feed him while you watch the aforementioned snowy scene unfold before you. 

When all of this happens, you know you'll treasure Christmas Eve moments like this in your heart - probably more so than singing carols in a church pew.

23 December 2010

Of Helplessness

He's not getting enough to eat.

He's too hot.

He's having an allergic reaction to his diapers.

He's too cold.

He's teething.

The Pack n' Play is too small - maybe he feels crowded.

Maybe the bed is too hard.

Maybe he's gassy.

These are all the excuses, plus more, we find for why our son, who has slept without waking for 12 hours since he was three months old, will suddenly NOT sleep through a night without screaming at some point.  When we're visiting family, he won't even fall asleep on his own.  When we're at home he wakes up in the wee hours of the morning, screaming so loudly we come to believe he won't ever return to slumber without assistance. 

So we become a crutch. 

Snuggling, rocking, feeding him to sleep. 

I tell myself this is only for a season (which it is) and I treasure these limited moments of holding my son close in the middle of the night (which I do), but deep down I want to lay down next to him and cry myself to sleep as well.  I'm not used to a fussy baby.  Especially one who started life so calm and mellow.  And all I want to do is make it better.

So I pray.

Because after running through the aforementioned list of excuses and seeking solutions for each individual issue, it seems praying is all a momma can do. 

22 December 2010

Of Awaiting the Messiah

Tonight Philip gave me one of the best gifts I have ever received: a copy of my favorite Christmas musical (from G.T. and the Halo Express) which I listened to on cassette tape (yes, I did) numerous times every Christmas which is saved in my memories.  I don't even remember where the tape came from or, sadly, where it went.  But tonight, in preparation for our Christmas road trip, Philip gave me my very own CD copy (which still shows signs of being behind the times, but sadly, even if I had anything on which to play mP3's, G.T. is not so technologically advanced - apparently we have something in common.)

My favorite aspect to this musical, designed to be performed by children's choirs across the nation yet I've never heard it in any arena wider than my own stereo speakers (which aren't very large), is the Bible verses set to song so that I have memorized many references to the birth story of Jesus, but more than that, these verses are not always the typical ones associated with the Christmas story.  Yes, we hear from the Shepherds, Wise Men and Angels, but also from Isaiah, who prophesied the birth of the Christ child and, my favorite, Simeon, who eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Messiah.

What I love about Simeon's story, as presented by G.T. and his choir, is the eager anticipation of the Savior of his people, not just the Israelites, but ALL people - "a light of revelation for the Gentiles."  I adore the eagerness in the voice of Simeon as he describes rushing to the temple day after day, seeking after the babe he had been awaiting.

And then there's the awe.

As he knows the day the Messiah is presented to the temple, his frail legs run with joy to greet the newborn Savior.  As he held the tiny baby in his arms wearied from years of seeking, he asks the child's name.

"Jesus,"  he breathes in pure adoration, "what a beautiful name."

To imagine this man, Simeon, holding this new being and knowing in his heart that he would grow to be the Messiah - the one prophesied in the Old Testament. And hearing his name for the first time.  A name so over-used and worn out in our culture - most often by those who profane our Savior.  And here it was on Simeon's lips, dripping like pure honey.  The most beautiful sound in the world.

I pray that my awe and adoration of the Christ child would mimic Simeon's this Christmas.  May I eagerly seek after him and breathe nothing but devotion and worship of the purest form.

21 December 2010

Of Grace

I heard a song for the first time this Christmas.  It begins with the lines:

"A teenage girl, much too young
Unprepared for what's to come
A baby changes everything."

These words led me on a thought path (you know how it goes) of reminiscence in how, indeed, our babies changed everything in our lives.  Diapers.  Spit-up.  Nursing.  Crawling.  Toys.  Pureed carrots.  Bibs.  So many little things that we had never before considered were now consuming our lives.  Indeed, babies change so much about us.

As my mind meandered, I was pulled back into the song with the final verse:

"My whole life was turned around.
I was lost but now am found.
A baby changes everything."


What truth. 

Babies do change everything.  But this baby, the son of no man, did not just bring into the life of his young mother worry about bath-time, feeding schedules or runny noses. 


Redeeming grace.  A direct line to our Creator.  Truth.  Life. 

This baby, indeed, changed everything.

Our pastor's wife (a most beautiful woman in every conceivable way) recently changed the song "Silent Night" for me by giving prominence to the words of the second verse: "Radiant beams from Thy Holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace."  The dawn.  The beginning.

The world knew nothing of grace before this one baby changed everything.  With His arrival, God's relationship with His creation changed forever.  I've often discussed in Sunday School or Bible Study the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  We no longer sacrifice spotless lambs.  We have no need for a priest as intercessor.  The Old Testament law was fulfilled and is no longer a laundry list of tasks, rules or regimented commands for us as believers.  We live by faith.  By grace.  By the Holy Spirit living within us.  A concept never fathomed by those of the Old Testament.

These things I have known.

But I never truly dwelt on the fact that Christmas is the celebration of that change. This shift between Old Testament Law and New Testament Grace was not a gradual re-molding of God's design for the church.  It happened in one short lifetime.  A lifetime that began on that one holy night in Bethlehem. 

A baby changed everything.

A baby was the light of revelation to we the Gentiles - to allow those born outside of God's chosen people to come to Him and be enveloped in His love.

This baby is the reason we celebrate.  This change, this grace, is the reason I sing.  Glory to God in the highest.  And on earth, peace to men, on whom His favor truly rests.

20 December 2010

Of Overshadowing

"Is he making sounds, such as 'Dada,' 'Mama,' 'Baba'?" Emmett's doctor asked me at his six-month well-baby check-up today.

"Um . . . "  Flashbacks of a previous blog post along with questions asked at his four-month appointment which left me answering in my head, "I have no idea if he's reaching for things - he never has the chance when laying all alone on the couch."  Only this time the answer in my head was, "His sister's too loud for him to get a word (or sound) in edge-wise."

So, no.  Emmett is not making distinguishable sounds at the moment.  For now what he gives us are snippets of "Aaaaah." and "Yaaaah." accompanied by high-pitched squeals of excitement squeezed into those tiny moments when his sister is silent (in other words, she's sleeping).

In the meantime, he's too busy staring wide-eyed at her every movement or giggling in delight with every "Hi, Emmett!", marveling at the energy wound up in such a small package.  I'm sure he's telling himself, "If that's what I have to keep up with, it's not worth it.  I'm more than happy with being a spectator of life."

My charge to you, Emmett, boy, is to stand up on your two chubby feet and live your life - step out of your sissie's shadow every now again.  You're a star all on your own.

PS Our bubba boy (this is one of the many names I call him) currently weighs 18lb 8oz and is 28 inches long.  He's a'growin!

18 December 2010

Of Comfort


Unknown surroundings evoke a scream in the night.  A groggy mother wonders, "I'm right here.  Why is that not enough for him?"  Even after a hand is placed on his tiny chest, the cries persist. 

Only a mother's loving arms are enough to soothe.

A reminder of the Father's love for us.

We find ourselves in unfamiliar circumstances and, though we should know our Father is right beside us, we cry out in fear.  He wonders why is presence is not enough.

Yet He loves that we take comfort in His arms.

May we always stay close enough to our Father that we know His security, even when we know nothing of our surroundings other than that the Lord has brought us here.

17 December 2010

Of Mood Cleansing

You might remember, a few days ago, I had a rather bad day (for me anyway) and it all started because of a lousy attitude about a simple haircut.  I have a feeling the Lord is teaching me that my outlook is my choice. 

Today started out even worse than a bad haircut - without boring anyone with details, I will say the morning included, among other things, an obstinate little potty trainer who needs to get her priorities straight (as in, getting to the toilet in time is slightly more important than turning on the light).  And, boy, was I prepared to stay crabby ALL day if I had to. 

But that's just the thing - I didn't have to.  No one ever has to be in a bad mood.  It's a choice.

And I chose to make a change. 

So, while one child sat buckled in her booster seat crunching Honey-flavored Kix and the other sat in his exer-saucer gnawing the attached plastic giraffe, I snuck away and treated myself to a shower (and believe me, for a stay-at-home mom of two tiny ones, that is a treat!). 

Under the warm flow of water, I allowed the pessimistic thoughts and angry mental tirades, which had been clouding my mind, to quietly slip down the drain.

As I stepped out of the shower (grateful not to hear any screaming or sounds of woe at having been abandoned to watch Diego by their lonesome), I felt as though I were starting a new day.

I thank God for the discipline which molds me each day into a person I like just a little bit more.

16 December 2010

Of Dependency

I went through withdrawal yesterday.

While preparing for bed I attempted to place my finger on the source of my feelings of disconnectedness I was enduring with regards to my son.  I realized, he had not smiled at me all day.

As a result, I felt empty.

As one experiencing the concept of teeth for the first time in his life, little Emmet not yet sure how to handle those little buggers and sometimes causes me pain while he eats.  Upon such occasions he receives what should be a gentle flick to the cheek, but in the heat of the surprising and painful moment there tends to be just a slight amount more of force than initially intended.  And with each instance I receive the most pathetic and heart-wrenching of pouts followed by the saddest cry you've ever heard and a look that says, "Why, Mommy, why?".  While he has not had an overwhelming amount of issues previously, yesterday he seemed to simply be throwing caution to the wind resulting in numerous cheek-flicks.

So it was that we found our way to the end of the day and as I told him I loved him, I observed my little Emmett's eyes with a blankness behind them.  A numbness to anything Mommy said or did.  My heart was officially broken.

Fortunately, babies have short memories.  When I plucked his squirming form from his crib this morning and cooed in his face, those chubby cheeks wrinkled and those deep brown eyes glowed.  And my heart warmed.  The emptiness I had felt crawling into bed last night was re-filled with his waking this morning.  Who knew my entire mood for a day could become so dependent on one little thing?

But that smile is the best drug out there.

15 December 2010

Of Making It Better

Micaiah has a habit of sucking on her fingers.  I've always been very happy that she's not paci-dependent and was also a little pre-occupied with my awe in how she bends her little arm to hold her fingers upside down in her mouth (you'd have to see it to understand, but trust me, I've tried it and it's not comfortable!) to really be all that worried about it.  When winter hits, though, the combination of dry weather and moisture sucked right out of the skin kills those tiny little fingers. 

Her first winter was spent with sock-covered hands to keep her itty bitty fist from chapping.  As icy temperatures chill the air once more, her poor little pointer and middle fingers have begun to crack - to the point of bleeding.  While we attempt to break her of the habit, my little heart breaks at the sight of blood on my baby girl.

But it makes it all better when she holds her finger out to me (as she did for the first time EVER today) and says in a small voice, "Tiss it." After receiving my pucker she brightens only slightly and mumbles, "Tank oo."  Oh, it's good to be a mommy.

14 December 2010

Of Crankiness

Our Little Boy has been cranky lately.

This may not seem like news to most people but, quite frankly, we don't know how to handle cranky babies.  A moody toddler?  Now that's a different story.  But our babies, when babies, tend to eat, sleep and be merry.  So a fussy baby (especially after eating)?  That's new.

Whether it's that he's simply needing more nutrients at this age (we're moving toward cereal but he's not getting it as consistently as we'd like) or that our frigid home leads to shivers and discontent, I'm not a fan of the fussing that only stops when snuggled in someone's arms.  Not that I dislike the cuddling or the excuse to do so, but sometimes a momma has got to get things done - preferably without the soundtrack of a screaming baby.

It's not all bad, though, as he did spend movie time on mommy's chest tonight and got a good giggle out of  silly faces made for his benefit.  Any day I can make my son laugh and show off that famous dimple is a good day - regardless of any prior amount of time spent screaming.

Baby snuggles and giggles have a knack for initiating short-term amnesia.

13 December 2010

Of Hide-and-Seek

We've tried playing hide-and-seek with Micaiah before - wherein one parent would hide with her while the other sought and then we'd switch and she'd get to look for one of us.  But she didn't quite seem to get it. 

She still doesn't get it - but it's so much cuter watching her try at this point.

Therefore, tonight, while I cooked dinner, Philip stood in the kitchen, covered his eyes and began counting after instructing Micaiah to hide.  When she continued standing next to the dining room table with a huge grin on her face (apparently excited to see what would happen when the countdown was over), I rushed her over to the hall closet, coaxed her inside and went back to cooking.  As Daddy opened his eyes and began his search there was an excited "Daddy!" from the closet.  She was caught.

After helping her count while Philip hid, hoping she'd get the idea, we tried again.  He stood in the kitchen, covered his eyes and began the count.  She stood still.  Again I whisked her away, to the bathtub this time, telling her to be quiet and Daddy would come get her.  Just as he opened his eyes I heard a small voice yell, "Mommy!" I yelled back, "Shh.  Daddy's going to come get you but you have to be very quiet!"  Just as he entered the hall there was an, "O.K.!"  Foiled again.

After yet another round of finding Daddy, I helped her hide again.  She insisted on the hall closet again - I thought it was a good technique - who thinks of looking in the same place twice?  Genius, really.  Until she giggled quite happily while he began to seek.  This time, though, Daddy was a sport and pretended not to notice.  Wandering into the bedrooms he yelled, "Where's Micaiah?" To which we both heard, "I coming, Daddy!" and the pitter patter of little feet running out of the hall closet.

She's the best.  (But maybe we'll have to save hide-and-seek for a little while.)

12 December 2010

Of Being Naughty or Nice


Tonight, before laying Emmett down for bed, Philip and I prayed over him as we do every night.  During the prayer, however, I tried to sneak a little baby kiss.  Lips puckered, I leaned toward Emmett's chubby cheek.  And my not-quite-six-month-old son pulled away and ducked his head against his daddy's neck.  And here I thought I surely had a good five years at least before my son was too old for mommy kisses.  Sad day.


While visiting the potty at a friend's birthday party this afternoon, I tried to keep Micaiah entertained by watching her in the full-length mirror across from the toilet (seriously?  who designs something like that?!).  I pointed to her reflection and said, "Who's that pretty girl?"  Her response: "Mommy!"

We can clearly see who won the favorite child competition today.

11 December 2010

Of Our Wonderful Life

The best moment of my day: all four of us cuddling on the couch watching "It's a Wonderful Life." Now, the kids didn't quite make it to the 10 p.m. conclusion, but Philip, who was seeing the whole thing for the first time he can actually remember, finished with, "Why don't we own this one?"

A marvelous aspect to this movie is that it shows life is a series of ups and downs.  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).  This verse means that when we put our trust in God and seek to glorify Him, we can know that every "down" in our life has a purpose and will be followed by an "up" which is typically greater than we would have even asked for.

Now, George Bailey is not necessarily the most theologically sound example of the above principle, but I've seen this happen in my own life (on a MUCH smaller scale) just within the past couple of days.

Thursday was the worst day I can remember having in quite awhile - a day where it seemed everything I did was bound to fail and the world wanted nothing more than for me to just give up and go back to bed (all without bringing about any truly devastating events which would have actually mattered).  It started by waking up to a home-done haircut which had failed miserably.  The lack of style was rectified only with the use of a ponytail holder, but did a number on my attitude for the day (as much as I hate to admit).  I spent the day whining to Philip about every small thing and yelling at my Little Girl for simply wanting to be held (and being very persistent about it).  There were a few uplifting moments with some quality time with my sister-in-law and, later, our small group, but the following shopping trip failed entirely and the day ended with my dropping a small, yet important, piece of machinery on my toe which had been aching for two days as it was and, in the process, rendering said machinery absolutely useless.

Wait, I take that back, my day ended after said moment of clumsiness with my crying into Philip's shoulder that I just wanted this day to not exist.

Friday, though, was the complete anti-thesis of the day before.  I started with prayer before I even emerged from under the covers.  I stopped myself as my inner voice complained that the kids were waking earlier than I'd like, but remembered, instead, to give thanks for the healthy children who wanted nothing but my love (and some breakfast).  I took the kids shopping and found everything I needed (and had the money to pay for it!).  I received an e-mail that the replacement part I needed to fix aforementioned currently-useless machine was in the mail and by the end of the day I was able to pull the elastic band out of my hair, look myself in the mirror and say, "It's not that bad" (that's not to say the hair issue wasn't fixed today, because it was - thank you, Kut n' Up!).

And there you have it, George Bailey - it's about perspective.  It's about handing it over to God and remembering that the hair, the electronics, the in-store deals - they don't matter.  What matters is our attitude and the joy we find in every situation - no matter what happens.  And most importantly, it's about Who we're choosing to glorify with every denied opportunity to whine, complain, pout and stamp our feet.

It's not about me.

10 December 2010

Of Enrichment

In recognition of the fact that at age 26, despite having two small children who seem to dictate how I spend my every moment, my life is not yet over and I, in theory, have a lot of living left to do . . . a list of all the things I've wanted to do but have yet to learn (or just do) . . .

- Ballet (thank you, Julie, for inspiring this post!)
- Play the Drums
- Play the Piano
- Paint a Landscape from Real Life (not from a photo)
- Knit a Hat
- Write a Book
- Horseback Riding on the Beach
- Zip-Line in the Rainforest
- Salsa
- Swing Dance
- Touch a Squirrel (it's been a goal since college)

There are so many others (travel to more countries, learn more languages) but I fear my list would outrun anyone's interest, so I'll stop there.

Off I go to dream.  Good night ;)

09 December 2010

Of Nature

If you know anything of child development of all, you know of the debate on Nature vs. Nurture - how much of our personality is learned and how much is ingrained in our DNA?  As I watch my children develop, I am continually amazed at the ways their tiny personalities shine through and just how often I find myself thinking, "Where did they learn that?!"

Certainly there are times (such as the moments when Little Girl asserts her opinion: "I say no!") when I see myself in her and I hear the words she's heard come out of my mouth.  Thankfully there have not been any horror stories in those situations yet.

But there seem to be just as many moments when I cannot pinpoint an action I've seen any adult in her life perform and, yet, she instinctively knows to do it.

For example, when did Micaiah figure out that if she doesn't want to do something she should simply walk slower, delaying the inevitable?  I certainly haven't acted this way since I was a child myself.  It's just pure logic she has developed all on her own. Or when she stands on her stool to yell at the dogs out the window?  I certainly know of no dictators she's personally observed and yet somewhere inside her she knows that standing taller gives her more prominence.

And on a different scale, when did Emmett learn that when he spits out his paci, and it somehow lands behind his head as he lays on the ground, that if he twists his little body and stretches his arm as far as it will go he might have a chance at getting it back (now actually succeeding - that's another story, but the fact that he tries never ceases to amaze me)?  He's not exactly watching Mom and Dad struggling with similar issues. 

It just seems there are certain things inscribed in our blood as human beings - our bodies know how to develop and our brains like to keep up pace.  And that logic?  It's just human nature.

08 December 2010

Of Negotiations

I'm not sure where my daughter learned it, but apparently she's training to be a negotiator.

Scene:  Sitting on the potty while Mommy waits for Little Girl do something
Micaiah:  Cookies?
Mommy:  You need to go potty if you want cookies.
Micaiah:  Canees? 
Mommy:  Probably not candy, but you can have a cookie if you go potty.
Micaiah:  . . . . Cookies . . . and canees?

Now you'd have to see the face that accompanied that last line.  The look that clearly indicated she wanted to see how far she could go with this refusing to potty business.  When I stayed firm and replied with, "No, no candy, just cookies.  Actually, it'll just be one cookie, no 's'."  I got back a simple, "Oookay."

Sigh.  We're going to have to invest in Advil by the time the teenage years roll around.

07 December 2010

Of Decisions

Without being able to share more details, I will tell you that today was a day that left my head spinning with choices, BIG decisions to be made and the realization that sometimes options only make life more complicated (and a little difficult).  Good things are good, but they sometimes lead to tough choices.

I'm reminded of what it felt like when I was younger. 

I always wanted to be a teacher.  Always.  But I also thought I would double major (and when you're eight, knowing about the concept of double majoring makes you feel SO intelligent) and also get a veterinary degree because then I could work in the nursery at the zoo during the summer time.  It was such a perfect plan (until I realized zoos only make me sad - the animals always seem so depressed).  Oh, and I also thought I'd go to Harvard to accomplish all of this.  I didn't know this was a school best known for its legal coursework.  I only knew it was where the smart people went.  And, clearly, I was smart.

And then one day it occurred to me that there was a world of options out there!  I could be just about anything!  A marine biologist?  Sure!  An architect?  Maybe.  There was an unlimited number of options.  And when I truly contemplated it, the mind-blowing amount of choices scared me.  So I decided not to think about it and stick with the plan - I had a pretty distinct feeling this was what God wanted for me (well, you know, once I ditched the zoo-nursery thing) and I was glad I knew.  I didn't know how anyone could make a big decision like that without Him.

Now, I still don't know how people do it, but sometimes it's still not so easy for those of us trusting His direction.  I know which way I want to go.  But is it the way I need to go?  And what's more important here is that it's not just me anymore.  There's a whole family along with me.  We're kind of a packaged deal.  And I'm not the only one making decisions - in fact, I'm not making any decisions by myself.  Which, again, only seems to make it harder sometimes.

When did life get so complicated?

PS You may not have followed any of this, but trust me, if you knew what I was talking about, this would make so much more sense.

06 December 2010

Of Compassion

My daughter has such a compassionate heart.  Every time Philip or I make an exclamation of any form we're immediately met with the question, "You ok?"  "You ok, Mommy?" "You ok, Daddy?" And if you look in her face at that very moment you will see wide, inquisitive eyes earnestly waiting to hear confirmation that everything is, indeed, ok.

Thus, you can imagine her distress upon viewing Home Alone for the first time last night.  In scene after scene she witnessed these poor men being injured by that mean little blonde-haired boy.  When Harry runs to thrust his flaming head in a pile of snow we heard, "He hurting!"  When Marv struggles to gain his balance on an icy stairway - "He stuck!"  But when he finally gains control of his feet: "All better!"  And when both men wriggle along a suspended rope which is then cut by the mischievous Kevin we hear, "They fall!"  The whole time her eyes barely leave the screen as she looks for assurance that everyone will be ok.

I decided we'll watch the sequel after she goes to sleep.  I'm just not sure her tender little heart can handle it.

05 December 2010

A Prayer Request

My official post for today precedes this, so if you haven't seen it, you can scroll down after reading this urgent prayer request.

As I know many of you were faithful to pray for Baby Ella (who, by the way, is doing marvelously, but has her next procedure scheduled for the middle of January, so you can continue to lift she and her parents, Amy and Jon, in prayer), I wanted to bring before you another family dear to our hearts. 

There is a woman in our class whose older sister (will be 29 at the beginning of next year) was born with a heart defect.  It is a miracle she has survived this long (she's outlived anyone else with her condition), but she has taken a downhill turn.  She will need another experimental open-heart surgery within the next couple of weeks, but the doctors are not optimistic.  Please pray for Adrian and for a further miracle in her heart.  Also, please pray for her family during this very difficult time as they are not sure if she will live to see her 29th birthday.

Thank you all for being such faithful prayer partners!

Of Soaking it In

I realized today that at least once a week my son falls asleep in the arms of a nursery worker at church.  My daughter did the same.  The amount of times I've allowed them to fall asleep in my arms other than the natural effect of nursing can be counted on one hand. 

I've always been so focused on scheduling and not permitting myself to be a sleep aid so my children will fall asleep on their own without needing momma in the room or being held in the rocking chair that they never sleep anywhere but their cribs when we're at home.  Truly, I am thankful that my children sleep well and that I can put them in their beds and know they'll fall asleep swiftly and stay in that state for a solid amount of time.  But at the same time, I almost want to cry when I realize how often I've denied myself a privilege that so many others are allowed to enjoy weekly and, even more so, that I only just today noticed.
Thus, today, while Micaiah napped in her room and Daddy in his, I lay on the couch, Emmett on my chest, stroking his fuzzy head, wiggling ever so slightly to give him the rocking motion that's always sure to put him to sleep (it works in the car!), the soft sounds of Christmas music streaming from the laptop and we both went to sleep.  And it was blissful.  And in the time that he took to settle down I mourned for the days I allowed to slip by when he was so tiny all he wanted to do was sleep on my chest and all I did was lay him on his tummy on the couch while I washed dishes, folded clothes, cooked dinner or checked e-mail. 

I pray I will not forget this feeling and I will allow myself many more of these priceless moments for any children to come in the future.

It's days like today when I pray the thoughts of this poem would be my mantra:

Babies Don’t Keep
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

04 December 2010

Of Domestication

I felt so domesticated today.  This is what happens every time I either spend the day baking or try a new recipe.  But when I spend the entire day (intermittently) baking a new recipe?  Well, that's super domestication right there.

While I'll admit, I'm not quite a novice in the kitchen, I still find myself often feeling lost when pondering things such as the difference between cake flour and all-purpose (which, one would think, given the name, would be the catch-all - apparently the moniker can be misleading).  It's days like today when I wonder how any woman ever learned to cook without the internet. 

How would I know, for example, that my all-purpose flour could work in the absence of its counterpart, but only if I replace two tablespoons with cornstarch?  Or how would I know that what I know of as a cookie sheet is, in fact, a jelly roll pan designed to make the precise type of cake I was aiming toward?

Yes, my friends, the internet is the wanna-be chef's best friend.

But those "stiff peaks" forming in my well-beaten egg whites?  That's all me.  Beat that, Google.

03 December 2010

Of Animals

When I entered Micaiah's room to retrieve her from her nap this afternoon I heard a distinct "Moo".  This is the conversation that followed:

Me: "Did you just moo at me?"
Micaiah: "Cow - Mooo.  Annie [this is our cat] - Nyow, Nyow.  Puppy - Arf, Arf.  (Grunt) Pig - (Grunt, Grunt [she's very good at an authentic oink])."
Me [seeing the stuffed monkey in her bed]: "What does a monkey say?"
Micaiah: . . .
Me: "A monkey says 'ooh, ooh'."
[Emmett babbles in the other room]
Micaiah: "Emmett!"
Me: "What does Emmett say?"
Micaiah: . . . "Emmett Monkey - Oooh, ooh!"

So there you have it - Emmett is a monkey.  I knew he must have been some sort of animal because I still have three distinct sets of teeth marks in my arm (just two tiny red dashes for each set - like an adorable little vampire) that indicate he is gaining an affinity for human flesh.  I just had no idea he was some sort of carnivorous primate.  Oh the things my children teach me.

PS I'm very excited today to know that the Family Force 5 Christmas album is currently on its way to my mailbox thanks to a free CD I had stored up with my music club (yes, I know I'm about the only person in this country still purchasing CD's).  Which means soon I will be listening to the following as I cruise around town with my windows open in our near 70 degree December weather:

Now if that doesn't just say Christmas Spirit, I don't know what does.

02 December 2010

Of Christmasy Moments

This evening was the annual Shawnee Christmas Parade (one of the largest night-time parades in the state - a fact they proudly boast which makes the parade seem much more exciting than it actually is).  I knew it would be most likely cheesy but as I've always wanted to go and never have and now spend my days entertaining a toddler, I knew this would be right up her alley.

And so it was. 

While Emmett slept in the stroller, Micaiah sat on my lap right on Main Street and enjoyed seeing the trucks adorned with lights, covering her ears (or her cheeks at first - I had to adjust her hands a little for her) when the motorcycles went roaring by, waving to the tractor riders and saying, "Hi, Farmer!"  She was too happy to even notice the candy was passing her right by.  While the parade of pick-ups and waving boy scouts may not have been television-worthy, it was a priceless moment with our little one.

Afterward we capped off the evening with ice cream (a Holiday Spice Sugar Cookie Blast from Sonic - yum!) and watching the first half of Elmo Saves Christmas.  A good night indeed.

And as for Little Man, he may have slept through the parade, but having his first taste of baby cereal today seems to make him believe that anything on a spoon belongs in his mouth - a belief that is difficult to work with when trying to eat one's ice cream with a greedy baby in the lap.  Maybe next year, Baby Boy!

01 December 2010

Of Sleeping In

It never fails.

Thanksgiving weekend would have been the perfect time for our family to have the opportunity to sleep in.  What time did my children wake up every morning?  7:15am. 


Today, Wednesday, the only day of the week I actually have somewhere to be so I actually need to be up at 7:15am, what time does Micaiah wake up?  8:50 - 10 minutes before I'm supposed to be at Bible Study.  Sigh.

Someday we'll sync up but for now I'm convinced she does this just to taunt me.