31 March 2011

Of Learning

While enjoying our daughter's favorite game of the moment, I glanced over at the Mouse Trap box and noted the recommended ages were 6+.  Inwardly, I scoffed.  Anyone who saw how much our two-year-old enjoys rooting through the box to find the next piece illustrated in the "Plan," and then attaching it as necessary, would see this game is definitely reaching a younger demographic than the intended audience. 

Through this wonderful game my toddler is practicing numbers and colors; she is enhancing her engineering abilities and honing her fine-motor skills.  She rolls the dice, she moves her mice and, much like her elder counterparts, she gets a little antsy toward the end when the trap is all set and we find ourselves circling the cheese wheel while her rules-stickler (when it comes to board games, anyway) mother makes her wait until someone is actually on the aptly-named "Turn Crank" space.

Of course, once the game is done, it would be wrong to simply pack away the trap without turning that crank another time or two (or seven) - that would simply be a waste of all our hard work.  And my precious little girl knows exactly what steps to take to re-set the trap before grasping the green handle to take it for another spin.

6+ my rear.

30 March 2011

Of Seizing the Moment

While rushing along to an impromptu, God-prompted, act of service this morning, I listened, truly listened, to lyrics with which I had sung along countless times:

"I dare you to move;
I dare you to move;
Like today never happened;
Today never happened before."
- Switchfoot

Whether or not the band intended this meaning, it truly hit me.  "Today never happened before."  My translation: Today is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I have never before seen this day and it will never come again.

What will I do with it?  What did I do with it? 

Did I love my children with my every breath?  Did I give all I have to this energy of living, of being a wife, a mother?  Did my heart beat with the rhythm of my Savior?  Did care for others impact my actions, thoughts, time?

I won't have this day back.  When tomorrow is done, it will be done.  Let's pray I don't waste it.

29 March 2011

Of Celebrity

Before we move on, I just wanted to let everyone know that my sister is safe at home.  Apparently the membrane "resealed" so Baby McKenzie is still tucked inside, awaiting her debut when the the time is right.  Thank you to all who were praying.

Between my sister and my sister-in-law, I'm fairly certain I've exceeded my allotted 200 text messages for the month.  While I waited out the drama of my pending niece, I had a more excited dramatist on the other side, living out her fantasy.  As a part of her job (and oh what a rough job it must be), she was asked to act as hostess for her idol (read: celebrity BFF), Ms. Jen Hatmaker.  If you have not heard of her, you need to find one of her books and read it, or, better yet, listen to her speak, you won't regret it.  And I had the pleasure of sharing every moment of giddiness via text (which, as a recent texter was kind of fun).

Part of me wanted to be jealous, until I remembered that I am horrible in the face of celebrity of any kind.  While I prefer to imagine myself the picture of calm at all times, rather than crying all over myself or other such nonsense, the truth is, while I envision myself, for purely hypothetical purposes, walking up to Michael Tait and saying coolly, "Hey, my sister would kill me if I didn't get a picture, would you mind?", in reality, in some kind of out-of-body experience, I find myself shoving a borrowed iPhone in his face and snapping a photo before running away giggling like a twelve-year-old girl.

Not that that's happened.

Especially not within the past two months of my life.

Thus, while I'd love to hang out with Dayla and her new BFF, Jen, I realize that for the sake of my dignity and that of my calm and collected sis-in-law, it's best that she can't come enjoy some home-made lasagna.

Thus, while they giggled over sweet tea at McCalister's, chatting it up like life-long friends, I was thrilled to be playing Micaiah's version of Twister (read: hopping along rows of colored dots) and causing endless giggles in my son via claps and tickles.

Believe me, it was safer this way, for everyone.

28 March 2011

Of Playing with My Emotions

Watching "Life as We Know It".


We haven't finished it yet, but simply watching a baby whose parents are gone as she wails, just wanting her Mommy.  Rip my mothering heart out, why don't you?  Can we just get to the comedic romance part of this, please?

Then I check my phone for the umpteenth time.  My sister is giving birth to her third child today - a joy we didn't expect for another month.


With tears still in my eyes.

It wasn't supposed to be an emotional day.

I was supposed to clean the mess naturally created by returning from a trip (check), fold some clothes (check), and play MouseTrap with my daughter while our happy son acted as cheerleader nearby (check, check). 

Contemplating what our children would endure "in the unlikely event" we both pass and praying my baby niece arrives in this world safely were not precisely on my to-do list.

Yet, there is grace in knowing all is in the hands of my Heavenly Father - the unknowns of the future and the here and nows.  All is under control - His control.

Thank you, Lord, for grace.

27 March 2011

Of Careful Wishing

Philip and I enjoyed our first ever weekend away - or night away, even - from the kids.  It was a big step, but we were pretty stoked to have a little us-time.  And Grandma and Grandpa were happy to have a little grandkid-time, too.  See how nicely these things work out?

Our destination was Silver Dollar City.  Thanks to season passes from Nenaw and Papaw, we have made this kind of trip on more than a couple of occasions.  Unfortunately for me, having never experienced this down-home theme park until after tying the knot, the unique circumstances behind every visit have simply not been conducive to my getting full enjoyment out of the typical offerings of an amusement park. 

Don't get me wrong, the shopping at SDC is great (and you better believe I brought home some Strawberry Rhubarb jam - yummy), but what is an amusement park without the thrills, the speed, the jerky motions of a car along a track?

In the past, large crowds, pregnancy and cold weather have all, at one time or another, contributed to my inability to ride anything beyond the benches.  This trip, heading out at the end of March, but just after most spring breaks, we were crossing our fingers for a low population of visitors and short lines.  We had to make the most of this time we could hop on roller coasters without wondering who would stay with the stroller.

Well, we got our wish.  The park was virtually empty. 

But somehow we forgot to specify that rain/mist and temperatures hovering in the 30's (at the end of March!), leading to the shutting down of most rides and shops, were not conducive to our aforementioned goal.  Thanks, anyway.

No worries, though.  Philip and I are best friends, after all.  And what's a friend if not someone you can have the most fun with even in un-fun circumstances.  We bundled up and took advantage of what we could - such as shooting each other with air guns in the kiddie play area (the one that's usually so bustling with children, but was shockingly empty) and trying to one-up each other by shooting targets in The Flooded Mine.  And by the end of the day, all but two rides (sadly, Philip's top choices) had opened up for the wind-weary masses (or, less-than-masses).

In the end, it was a pretty great day, cold, wet, and all.  And we're excited to take the kids next time - but we'll be adding more specific wishes for warm weather.

26 March 2011

Of a Cleanie in Progress

While Philip and I enjoy a weekend away, my parents have made the trip to Oklahoma to watch our children.  Being that they are currently sleeping in our room, I found myself cleaning crevices I rarely see.  You know, those places you shove things because you know no one will really be looking there?  Or is that just me?

I was excited to have this motivation to clear out those "secret" places in my bedroom - the one I never offer when giving tours as it rarely gets much attention other than sleeping - because I've been wanting to get this room taken care of since beginning the Cleanie process.

In the time I spent clearing the clutter, I found a small box of odds and ends which had been cleared off a dresser when it needed to be moved about a year and a half ago (or longer).  I kid you not, that six-inch-cube of junk has sat in the corner of our room for eighteen+ months.  Because I was afraid I wouldn't know what to do with the tidbits tossed in there.

A year and a half of putting off five minutes of work.


25 March 2011

Of Mommy Panic

Including yesterday, I can count on one finger the amount of times I have called my mother in a panic about my children.  This is what happens, though, when your child, out of nowhere, begins screaming and, upon inspection, you see blood pooling on his lips. 

After checking for the source of the blood - not his lips, not the corner of his mouth, not his tongue - I finally pinpointed the location as his top gum, in the precise place in which one of his newer teeth is beginning to appear.  My only explanation for myself was, while chewing on a toy he had found next to him, he must have chomped down harder than normal and caused the new-ish tooth to break through the gum.  But can that happen?  Is this normal?

Thus, the phone call to my mother.  I figured she'd seen three kids teething, maybe she had witnessed something similar.  She had not.

Fortunately, as I spoke with her on the phone, the bleeding was no more and he was happy once again.  We chalked it up to a freak tooth incident and went on with our days. 

Babies: stopping their momma's hearts since the beginning of time.

24 March 2011

Of Creative Impulses

Today, while preparing Emmett for his morning nap, I began to unbutton his p.j.'s and noticed a strange yellowing along his feet and up his legs.  It was too bright and dry to be diaper leakage.  Puzzled, I followed the trail of yellow up his body and noticed a similar coloring to his hands.  Then, alarmed, I saw the same sunshine yellow encircling his mouth.  Frantic, having no idea what kind of brightly-hued substance he could have obtained for swallowing, I finally saw a tiny chunk of this pervasive color attached to his tiny bottom tooth.  A crayon! 

I dashed to the living room to be sure part of the offending coloring utensil had survived and was not, at that moment, festering in my son's belly.  Relieved, I noted a small round crayon laying innocently on the floor, torn and chewed wrapper resting nearby.  I confirmed with my daughter that this, in fact, had been what her brother had been chewing, then I plopped him in the bath to de-colorize him, and put him down for his nap.

Hours later, Micaiah sat happily on the living room floor scrawling with her markers - her medium of choice lately.  I briefly registered that her quick-moving brother should not be so close by, but dismissed the thought.  Until I noticed a little boy quickly squirming toward, of course, the only uncapped marker sitting next to his sister.  Just before I got my hand to his wrist, the blue tip went straight in his mouth, leaving a beautiful streak of color along his tongue and lips.  Fortunately, he had been sucking on the "world's most washable marker" (and it is - Crayola Pipsqueaks - highly recommended!).

However, before washing, I decided to document this little boys escapades.  And as I flashed the photo, I noticed, once again, the tell-tale signs of yellow smudging my son's chin.

How could I NOT have picked up the crayon?!

Apparently this boy has creative impulses he just has to get out.  And, as his mommy, I, sadly, have to stifle them.  At least until he stops trying to eat the media, rather than apply it to paper.  Sorry, buddy.

23 March 2011

Of Teething

After spending a week or so with Gram and Grandy, I was entirely ready to chalk up Emmett's new-found fussiness to the spoiling which naturally occurs when spending any amount of time with relatives with which one has infrequent opportunities to visit.  Ten days consisting of a constant parade of pat-a-cake, cuddles and tickles would certainly turn a child cranky at the sudden slow-down of attention. 

It has come to my attention, however, that there are other reasons for little mister's sour attitude.  After four months of scouting, his bottom two teeth have apparently returned a favorable report and others are beginning to emerge.  The top two, which have been swelling his gums for a couple of weeks now, are finally making their way to the surface.  And little guy is not exactly thrilled.

To top it all off, his army crawl, while doing an amazing job at enabling his mobility, has not yet blossomed to a full-fledged, hands-and-knees crawl yet.  I think his inability to get where he wants to be in a timely fashion tends to nip at his nerves as well.

Such a rough time for our little nine-month-old.

22 March 2011

Of Teaching the Value of Money

One of my favorite things to do with Micaiah is allowing her the privilege of mounting the mechanical horse at Wal-Mart - a thrill I always dreamed of, but don't ever recall actually getting to do.  Yes, I'm living vicariously through my daughter.  I do this quite frequently.  She rarely complains.

The last time she rode the horsey, I allowed her to carry the two shiny coins from the checkout to the exit and deposit them to start the animal all by herself.  Later, amidst the cries of "Hee-haw!" and "Gee-up!" she paused to say, "I want my monies back."  Upon dis-mounting, she noticed the nearby quarter machines and desperately desired to attain any of the tiny trinkets or candies.  A plan formed in my mind.

Who says two years old is too young to learn about the value of a dollar (or, in this case, a quarter)?

Thus, tonight, after an impromptu visit to the Super-Store, Philip dug into his wallet to give Micaiah her precious fifty cents.  She was so excited about riding the horsey, she had to hold herself back from running ahead of Mommy and Daddy.  But when we got there, stooped down to her level, I carefully explained her options. 

Feeling like a too-formally-attired version of Let's Make a Deal, I showed her the line of machines carrying cheap necklaces coated in metallic paints, minuscule rubber duckies, and rubber bracelets in the shapes of dinosaurs and other child-friendly forms.  She could have any one of those.  Or she could have the horsey.  She chose a bracelet.  Only having spent half of her money, she had another choice: one more bracelet or getting to keep the final quarter.  Lacking the crowd shouting their own opinions, she, like a brave and short-sighted toddler, pronounced, "I want bracelet!" 

And, thus it was, she departed the store carrying two tiny, clear, plastic domes filled with her new treasures.  She didn't even give the horsey a second glance.  What a big girl.

21 March 2011

Of a Sneaky Miss

A few days ago, while we were visiting Gram and Grandy, Micaiah and I played a little game of hide-and-seek, a favorite of hers.  It's typically not very fair for the hider because Micaiah tends to give up her counting after only two.  Ducking behind whatever furniture which happens to be nearby must be done quickly and quietly.

Apparently, though, Little Girl has realized we don't tend to give up our location as easily as she enjoys doing.  Thus, she came up with a solution, that crafty little girl.

As Gram busied herself in the kitchen preparing pizzas, Micaiah had an idea.

I sat crouched behind an easy chair, a few paces from where she stood calling out, "Mommy?  Mooooommmy!" 

That's when it hit her, a sure-fire to lure her play-mate out of hiding, "Mommy!  Dinner ready!"

Sneaky little firecracker.

20 March 2011

Of Our Little Copycat

Emmett is learning so quickly these days.  Watching him go from laying down to sitting up all on his own any time he wants just gives me a little thrill - he's growing up!  And while usually that's sad, when he conquers another physical challenge all by his little self, it just makes a momma proud. 

A few weeks ago, after observing Emmett applauding any time he heard the sound of a crowd on television doing the same, or saw Mommy or Daddy clapping from excitement, it occurred to me, remembering his big sister doing so as well, that the simple clap is really our baby's first true interaction with the world around them.  Their first intentional response, or attempt to assimilate.  Before language and the ability to answer questions, they can see the joy in others and they want to join in, too, so their little hands go.  It's the first indication that they want to be involved.  I simply find that sweet.

And our little man, as mentioned, has been joining the crowd with his applause for a little while now.  But this evening, as I did a mock cheer after "tackling" his sister to adorn her feet in the regulatory socks before bedtime, I pumped my fist in the air and, lo and behold, Emmett, huge grin on his face, lifted his hand from his daddy's chest to do the same.  So I clapped.  And he clapped.  And I cheered with my fist again, and he did so as well.

It's such a joy to see him beginning to emulate the "big kids" rather than just doing his own thing, chewing on blocks in the corner and whatnot.  Love him.

19 March 2011

Of (Not-So) Tiny Emotions

I love how children wear their hearts on their sleeves. Ours are no exception.

Emmett, of course, having no words, has little choice but to allow his emotions to do the talking. When he's tickled, the room fills with giggles. Hunger (not surprisingly) leads to tears. There is little guessing how he is feeling at any given moment.

What butters my bread, though, is hearing how Micaiah uses her budding language skills to do the same. Often, lately, I hear, muttered through pouted lips, "I'm mad!". The cute thing is, I'm sure she doesn't understand exactly what that should mean. Thus, she spouts out the phrase any time she doesn't want to eat or is dragging her feet to bed. Either way, I know she's in a bad mood. Conversely, this evening at the game night sponsored by Gram & Grandy's church, she spent a good deal of time running about the room, shouting, "Mommy! I'm having fun!". As if I couldn't tell.

Yeah, they're pretty adorable little buckets of feelings.

18 March 2011

Of Rewarding Experiences

Our daughter, surprisingly enough, is still not perfectly potty-trained. As such, she still receives rewards for doing her duty. Cookies and candy seem to do the trick quite nicely.

Therefore, today, when she finished in the potty, she declared, "I want two M&M's, three M&M's.". And my teachable-moment Mommy brain went on high alert. I decided she could have as many pieces of cocolate as she could count. Was I ever surprised when she made it to nine with no hesitation!

We didn't do this trick every time and even when we did, she wasn't always perfect (once she only earned herself one M&M, but, while disappointed, she seemed to understand and didn't even cry), but for her last reward of the day she earned herself a whopping thirteen pieces of candy. We didn't even know she was aware of twelve or thirteen, let alone their order!

Just goes to show: never under-estimate a motivated two-year-old.

Of My Early Bird

Please forgive my lack of posting yesterday evening. While spending the week with Gram and Grandy (also known as Philip's parents), I have been tapping into the creative brain of the world's craftiest woman as she aids me in finally piecing together some fabrics with which I have been desiring to build a quilt for Emmett for quite some time. We were on a roll last night, pushing through the home stretch on the front of our project and, thus, I opted not to take the time out to blog. I'm sure you understand.

Never you worry, though. My son decided to wake me up bright and early this morning (a.k.a. 5:45am), because he was clearly concerned all of you might be worried if you didn't wake up to a new post this morning.

He's thougtful like that.

16 March 2011

Of Traumatic Experiences

Our daughter, who once adored bath-time and got a kick out of splashing with her brother, has, for some reason, done an entire 180 on her feelings toward getting clean.  Her last couple of experiences in the tub have led to screaming, crying and begging to snuggle into a warm towel.  This evening, she didn't flinch at the idea of going to her "think spot" (a time-out she generally avoids at all costs) and, I'm fairly certain, she would have taken any number of spankings over climbing into the water.

It breaks my heart.  As much as I want to tell my little girl that she does not have to endure this one thing that so clearly terrifies her, I know not cleaning her is not a viable option - and something tells me hosing her down in the backyard would be an even worse choice.

How do I do this?  How do I convince this toddler that what she fears so much is not only safe, it's good for her? 

Am I this stubborn with God?

Something tells me yes.

Praying for us both.

15 March 2011

Of Needing Our Sleep

Last night was the best night's sleep I've had in a few days - after two nights of children waking earlier than necessary and a third sharing a bed with a wigglesome infant, having a large bed to myself, ear plugs firmly in place and a little boy happily sleeping in his pack-n'-play - until 7:30! - sleep was deep.  And wonderful.

It would appear the same could be said for my lovely daughter who, minus the earplugs and the nearby nine(ish)-month-old, enjoyed her sleeping experience to a similar extent - nice big bed and all.  And it definitely showed today.

My oft-ornery two-year-old suddenly began demanding lovin' from her Momma, even laying her head upon my shoulder at dinner.  When she received a kiss on the forehead, being told, "You're sweet."  I received an air kiss in my direction with an insistent, "No, you sweet."

This is how it's supposed to be.

Who needs beauty sleep?  I say bring on the happy sleep.

14 March 2011

Of His Plans

"His plan is bigger than my pain."

This is the lesson God has spoken to me within the past couple of days. I am grateful to say, thus far, this has not been an object lesson. But I know someday it will be. The further I walk in this life, the closer I get to an unknown life-shattering event. These occurances are inevitable. My only choice is in what to do when I meet them.

I pray I will remember His plan is bigger than my pain.

I know too many people who have endured the unthinkable and, yet, through this door, which, in its opening, has bruised and battered their souls, have come some of the richest blessings and opportunities for a fuller, more meaningful, God-honoring life. Would they have chosen this path beforehand? Probably not. Are they grateful for how God brings beauty from ashes and provides joy in mourning? Absolutely.

Because these people have come to understand that His plans are bigger than our pain.

13 March 2011

Of Daylight Savings

Remember how we discussed Emmett's propensity for waking around 6:30 in the morning? It would appear his internal clock subscribes to Daylight Savings Time. By logical means, Little Guy should have slept until 7:30am in accordance with springing forward. Instead, we heard his happy self-talk breaking the still-dark silence at 6:10am new time.

Really, Little Man, really?

So, after a rough night's sleep, I was awake only a few hours later with my guy (at what felt like 5 o'clock in the morning).  After playing with a giggly baby for a little bit, he started rubbing his eyes and I resorted to the easy chair.  As I rocked him back and forth, wishing someone else was available to watch him so I could sleep, I realized, this was a treasured moment. 

I'll be able to sleep tonight.  And tomorrow night and ten years from now and twenty years from now.  There will always be more sleep.  But rocking my son as he rubs his eyes and I try to convince him to rest?  This window is so short.  A fleeting moment.  Who am I to trade the priceless for the ordinary?

And what a book-ended day.

Fifteen hours later, after a terrifying 50 miles on the road through snow shooting at the windshield (as my sister-in-law, the driver, put it, it felt as though we were driving at warp speed by the effect of the white flakes creating tunnel-like vision), we finally settled into a hotel half-way to our intended destination.  Not having toted along a pack n' play for Little Man, I find myself sharing my queen bed with a tiny person who occupies an inordinate amount of bed space.  And once again, his head rested on my shoulder as he attempted to sleep in a roomful of people, his soft, fuzzy hair brushing lightly against my cheek.


Treasured, priceless moments.

12 March 2011

Of Boundless Energy

Somehow my children managed to survive the day on half the amount of sleep on which they typically thrive.  While my lovely children tend to sleep a good dozen hours a night - settling in around 7:30 or 8pm and awakening around the same time in the am (ok, Micaiah does; Emmett, lately, has enjoyed rousing his parents at the blessed 6:30 hour - we love it), last night, after enduring a rather hectic (and lengthened) drive to Nenaw & Papaw's home, they were put to bed around 9:30.  An hour later, they seemed to be under the impression that this was a slumber party, as I entered the room to see Micaiah out of bed and Emmett laying on his belly giggling at her.  Really?  How is a Mom supposed to scold in this moment?

So, we didn't.  We let the laughing duo return to the lower level to spend some time with extended family.  Micaiah didn't even make it to bed until midnight.  Surely, we thought, they will finally let us sleep in a little.

You think we'd know better by now.

Instead, in the wee dawn hours, sunlight barely radiating the room, I hear the rustle of a blanket and see a head bobbing at the foot of the bed.  I look at the time.  6:36am.  Sigh.

In case you couldn't guess, we did, in fact, have quite the cranky toddler on our hands for a little while until, after breakfast, she was coaxed into a mini-morning-nap.  And, yet, even after only an extra 45 minutes or so of sleep, our daughter survived the day. 

I just don't know where this energy comes from.  It's sure not a learned behavior, I'll tell you that.

11 March 2011

Of Settling In

As alluded to yesterday, milestones seem to settle in so quickly.  It was just last night our son moved from his belly to sitting up on his bottom for the very first time (that I noticed, anyway).  And yet, by today, he was sitting up happily in his crib each time he awoke.  Like he's been doing this all along.

I seem to remember the same occurring with Micaiah.  Once she learned how to get her feet under her it seemed she never stayed on the ground for long.  And even now I almost can't remember what life was like before she could move.  It's like she's been running around our house (or, on bad days, dragging her feet sluggishly toward wherever it is Mommy has asked her to be) since the day she was born. 

Oh how quickly we forget.

10 March 2011

Of Counting and Growing

The scene: We're playing board games in the hall while hoping the colorful cards and cardboard pieces will be enough to tempt our son toward us from the other side of the walkway (while he never actually gets his belly off the ground in a forward motion, he does somehow manage to sit himself up - for the first time ever).  It's Micaiah's turn in Hi-Ho Cherry-O.  I had my eye on Emmett when suddenly I realize my daughter, out of the corner of my other eye, just counted cherries into her basket.

"One . . . Toooo . . . Treee."
"You spun four; don't forget the fourth one."  Her daddy says as he waits patiently for her.
"Oh, four."

Sure enough.  When we pull out the video camera, she hems and haws for a few minutes, but once again, it's straight through five.  She missed six and ten, but the rest were right there, in order, from her own mouth.

I love my amazing kids.  Growing up so fast.

Just this evening, even before any of the above, I pondered just how it happens.  That they can go from being this tiny, helpless being in our arms to being a stubborn two-year-old who will chew, but not swallow, her broccoli.  And we never even saw it happen.  We were here every day and somehow she grew up right in front of us - each day marking one more change that we somehow missed.  When did she get this tall?  Her hair so long?  Her limbs losing their baby fat.  When did it all happen? 

And now she's counting.  And her brother is pulling himself to sitting.  And he'll be crawling, walking, running, skipping, before we even know what's happened.

Sometimes I wish it would all just slow down.  And, yet, I'm so proud.  So proud of how wonderful they are and the progress they've made.

I suppose that's the dichotomy of life: loving the progress, but missing the time.

09 March 2011

Of Crawling on Up

I've been afraid that our subsequent children (as in, not the first) will get slightly less attention than their eldest counterpart.  But then I've been afraid that I might get so obsessed with making everything even that I will simply end up stressing myself out.  Yet, somehow, in my endeavors to enjoy a life of gratitude, appreciating the small moments, little joys and secret beauties of life, I have come to appreciate the tiny nuances of Emmett to the same extent as his sister.  He is not lost on me.

This evening Philip and I spent some quality time encouraging little man in his mobile pursuits - being that Philip would like to witness the event before he spends a week away from his son.  We did the whole bit.  Video camera; tantalizing toys; forbidden pleasures (as in grocery sacks and water bills - our little guy loves anything paper); Daddy doing a demonstration; Mommy on hands and knees, coaxing her son to her; big sister in the other room, enjoying Care Bears (in CG - what's up with that?!) on Netflix; just our tentative crawler and us.

There were definitely a few moments of a knee moving forward just before a hand did the same and then the belly hit the floor.  Daddy said it counts.  I'll agree - for his sake. 

I am hoping, though, that our little Emmett Bug doesn't pick up speed too quickly - as excited as I am for the milestone, the keeping up with a jet-setting nine-month-old makes me a little nervous.  But I guess we've done this all before.

08 March 2011

Of a Night at the Movies

Little Miss has had a very slight fever off and on for the past 24 hours-ish.  Other than a warm glow and a change in eating habits, she seems to be doing remarkably well.  Thus, we decided to continue with our plans to have another family date this evening (much less expensive than the last).  Taking into consideration that the kids and I will be leaving Philip all by his lonesome for the entirety of next week as we road-trip with his sister to Nebraska (the Spring Break destination of choice for all young hipsters, of course) to visit Gram and Grandy, passing up an evening of family togetherness (which involved "Tangled" - only the single greatest work of animation released in quite some time) would have taken a lot. 

And little girl was definitely in the mood for a movie.

This was her fourth time to visit a theater; Emmett's second.  And though we did leave before the end of the movie due to Little Man's chatterbox tendencies when bored and Micaiah's antsy-ness which tends to settle in after about a half hour of sitting still, the few precious minutes of glancing over to see my son resting in the arms of his Daddy, eyes glued intently to the screen, while his sister sat next to them happily munching on popcorn and entirely enthralled in the scenes unfolding before her (even laughing at the right moments and squealing in fright when appropriate) were definitely worth the price of admission (which, fortunately, totaled $3). 

And heading for home while all parties involved were still happy?  I'd call that a win for everyone.

07 March 2011

Of Mondays

Every Monday, my husband spends at least an hour of his evening recording a podcast (over a topic much too nerdy for me to try to explain, but as you'll die of curiosity otherwise, it mostly focuses on a strategy game involving miniature monsters - see? I told you).  This leaves me at least an hour of time spent on my own endeavors, but only in so much as I make absolutely no noise in the vicinity of his overly-sensitive microphone.

Past Monday activities have included folding laundry on my bed while watching chick-flicks via Netflix on the iPad, performing my weekly "deals" run to CVS and Walgreens or simply clicking around on my laptop, while hoping the clacking of the buttons does not read too high on the decibel meter.

Tonight, after chatting it up with the girls of his family, I'm blogging for you - don't you feel special?  But don't worry, he has the laptop in the other room, so he's out of range of the highly obnoxious level of sound this keyboard creates. 

Now isn't that fascinating?  Just another exciting Monday in Shawnee, America.

06 March 2011

Of Thinking

Just in case you didn't know, I like to talk.  And that mouth can get me into trouble.  Sometimes my words come out harsher than I intend.  Sometimes they come out exactly as I intended, but I regret them instantaneously (or at least after I've cooled down some).  Either way, I've been regretting my words a lot recently.  God is clearly still working on me.

The same friends who taught us our nightly ritual of sharing our day with each other also tout what they call the "T.H.I.N.K." test.  Before we open our mouths, we need to test our words.

- Is it T rue?
- Is it H elpful?
- Is it I nspiring?
- Is it N ecessary?
- Is it K ind?

This test sounds like an excellent way to honor God with my speech.  But I will be honest, my mouth tends to run ahead of my mind at times.  Thus, I often don't take the opportunity to actually hold my thoughts against the light before they are shared. 

Here is my goal for tomorrow:  I will slow the engine of my tongue and think before I speak.  Don't laugh.  I can at least try, right?

05 March 2011

Of an Unhealthy Bathing Obsession

Emmett has had three baths in two days.  Not going to lie, he generally averages about once a week.  So this recent bathing rate is most definitely an anomaly.

I think he's doing it on purpose.

I was concerned when he awoke in a pool of banana-scented vomit yesterday afternoon, but as soon as I set him in the bath (his second for the day after his typical morning washing), his face lit up and his hands and feet went to work flinging water all about.  Later, he had a blow-out in his diaper and I think he was vying for another bath - that one was a no-go - he got wiped up and sent on his way (which means he was set on a blanket to play - he doesn't really "go on his way" quite yet - though he's working hard).

This evening he went to work again.  When his first attempt of eliminating excess stomach contents on Mommy succeeded in awarding her a shower, but failed in earning his own, he tried again.  After the second endeavor, Gram went to the shower and Emmett got his very own bath.  And his feet bobbed happily up and down.  He's a splasher.

With no fever and a happy countenance both before and after his episodes, a love for the bath-tub is really the only explanation, right?

Perhaps not, but if you have any better ideas, let me know.  Because this Momma really is rather concerned for her upchucking little man.  And she's running out of Aveeno Baby Wash.

04 March 2011

Of Growth

Yesterday morning I went grocery shopping. 

Through the first store I had to give my son a toothpaste box (which I was purchasing) to chew on in order to keep him from focusing on the fact that he could not play with my grocery list.  My daughter, meanwhile, fussed that she didn't want to be in the cart - out of the cart she wanted to touch everything she saw.

Through the second store, my son screamed.  Between gnawing on the cardboard box of pasta (which, again, was purchased) and staring at kind-hearted strangers who tried to make him happy, he screamed.  My daughter continued her streak of fussing and touching.

Life was rough.

My response was not. 

Somehow I was able to call my husband on the way home and, after breathing a sigh of frustration, laugh about the whole thing and simply rejoice that I was done.  I was frustrated, but not angry.

This is new for me.

About a month ago if any of the above had happened on my weekly outing, the rest of my day would have reflected the morning.  I would have spent the afternoon on a short fuse, only exacerbating the situation, wallowing in my annoyance and dragging my whole family down with me.

Yesterday afternoon, I read my daughter a story before her nap, happily counting her toes and delighting in the feeling of my forehead resting against hers as our noses lightly kissed - the difficulties of our morning nothing but a wisp in the memory.

Only God could take this once-hardened heart and mold it into a heart of peace, reflecting his love and patience for His children.  I am grateful to be deemed worth the effort.  He has not given up on me.  And He hasn't given up on you.

What an awesome God we serve.

03 March 2011

Of Black Eyes

My son has his first shiner.  And Mommy just about cried.

I did one of many things all parents are told to never, ever, ever (ha, ha, ha!!!) do.  I left Emmett alone sitting on the couch.  And I knew it was a bad idea, I did.  But it was just going to be for a minute (as always), while I put the pizza in the oven.  Which also turned into putting some folded clothes away and stopping to play with his sister who was making her own wooden pizza and wanted help with toppings.  I knew I needed to get back to him, but I decided a couple more minutes wouldn't hurt.

He now begs to differ.  It hurt.  A lot.

There was a thud, which I knew could only mean one thing and the ensuing cry confirmed my fear.  Of course, both parents rushed to his side and he spent the next quarter of an hour snuggling with Daddy and about ten minutes after that, while he sat next to Mommy, he was his happy, giggling self, chewing on a wooden train.

So now, when you see our son's first black eye, you'll know the truth.  We don't beat him, we're just negligent (apparently).

02 March 2011

Of Anger and Giggles

As a parent, you do not actually have your eyes on your child every moment of every day.  At times they are in the care of others and at other times, though they may be under your watchful eye, they are taking in more than you are even aware of.  And so it comes to be that they produce actions or phrases which just confound you, leaving you asking yourself, as you chuckle silently, "Where did she learn that?!"

So it is with Micaiah's catch-phrase of choice when in a particularly angry or ornery mood.  When adamant about disliking an action, food, or command, she always underlines her negative words of choice with, "Never, ever, ever!!!" - which, in and of itself, is humorous to me because I'm not sure where she picked up this repetitive exclamation, other than possibly when she's performing a dangerous action which I am quick to forbid.

What gets me most, though, is how she follows the aforementioned cry.  This is what we hear on her bad days, "Never, ever, ever!!!  HA, HA, HA!!!"  Almost as if she's picked up the maniacal laughter of some cartoon villain.  Only she doesn't realize it.  To her, the final three syllables are only a strong punctuation on the severity of her anger, cried out with the most stubborn of pouts as she stomps away, foot to the ground with each "HA".

And it kind of cracks us up every time.

Of course her strong will is a force with which to be reckoned, and we're working on it, but we still enjoy a secret giggle over the fact that our daughter is unwittingly pulling the rug out from under her own very intense, emotional moments.  Poor girl ;)

01 March 2011

Of Trust

I've mentioned before: I tend to envision a God of loopholes. Or, rather, lately, it's a fear that I'm being set up.

Life is going beautifully at the moment. I'm learning to be aware of life's little blessings - expressing gratitude in all moments. And yet, every direction which I turn tends to set me face-to-face with a lesson on the "hard gratitude", as Ann Voskamp calls it, the giving of thanks in the most difficult of life's circumstances - those precious minutes when it is nearly impossible to breathe, let alone breathe gratitude.

I'm hearing this lesson, masked behind various words, but always the same meaning, multiple times a day. And I hold my breath in fear - perhaps I am being reminded because this is a concept to which I will find myself clinging in coming days, weeks or months.

I tend to believe, somewhere deep inside, behind the locked doors of my soul, the ones I fear to even admit exist, that God is somehow waiting on his Heavenly throne with the shoe in his hand, dangling, waiting to let it fall simply to see how closely I'll hold to all I say I believe.

Is this really the God I worship? The one in my mind, licking His lips, cackling to Himself in anticipation of my fall?

Or could it be, more likely, that He knows what I do not: though the trial may be around the bend, I needn't fear, knowing all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). More importantly, I can trust that though I may not understand this higher purpose, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and my very lungs which draw breath knows the outcome and His plan, painful as it may be is always greater than any design my feeble human mind can develop.


This is what I shall choose. Trust, joy, and gratitude. Always gratitude.