Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Flurry of Events

I did not ever post wintery pictures, or Christmas shots. We PNW folks have certainly all seen enough "Valley Floor snow" to last us the entire season. But for posterity sake, I must-must-must sneak one or two in here.
Above: The view out one of our family room windows. The barn is not ours, but we enjoy looking at it. And the icicles were 12-18" long SPEARS!
Above: Just two shots of the backyard. In case you can't tell, that first picture is of the creek covered in snow and ice!

And I cannot pass up this opportunity to throw in shots of the kids opening gifts and making gingerbread houses at my folks house.
I wanted to include a video of the kids opening up presents but it is a little long and is a huge file. Instead, a simple description of one scene. Weston is oohing and aaahhing over a book, while the big boys are opening up downhill skis in the background. I just love the excitement you see and hear from each boy at the gift. In the foreground is little 2yo Weston, who is absolutely THRILLED with the farm animal book he received (and I mean thrilled... you hear him squacking about in the background when the attention turns away from him and onto his brothers). And in the background is Davis, super excited about the set of awesome (used) skis he received - oh, and they are way cool looking... thanks Grandpa and Grandma! Jackson receives a pair, too, and upon seeing the present's shape my 4yo - smart as a tack - says, "Well, I already KNOW they are ski's, Daddy."

This Christmas will be known to us as "The One With All The Hats." Each boy received a total of 4 hats. That's 16 new hats floating around the house right now. My oh my. The photo above is the boys wearing stocking caps that Ryan and his two sisters wore some 25 years ago. I think they are the coolest!

And then (below) you see us melting snow by our fireplace. What would possess my husband to do such a crazy thing? How about not having running water in our house for more than 24 hours. That's WAY FUN with an infant, let me tell you! We were very thankful to learn that it turns out we did not have frozen pipes but rather a neighbor(?) turned our water supply off by mistake inside our neighborhood pump house for the shared well.

Thanks for peeking in at the fun we had in these past several days!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Simple Request, Unsatisfied.

With a cheerful smile and pleasant tone, Jackson came to me asking, "Tie this string on my (stuffed) kitty's tail, please."

"Sure I will. But, on his tail? How about around his neck."

"No. On his tail. and make one side of the string short and one side long so that I can swing-swing-swing him around and smack people's faces. Smack! Smack! Smack!"

Needless to say, the string did not make it on the kitty's tail.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Parenting Re-Run

One thing I really enjoy about keeping a blog is that I can go back to things I have written and remind myself of things. I had an opportunity to be reminded of something I wrote back in February that was really great for me to read again (I needed a nudge in the right direction).

February 16, 2008
Some days I wake up and I feel like I've fallen behind before my feet hit the floor. Like I hit the snooze button one too many times and I've missed the window for my shower, and the whole day is shot. I will never catch up. The kids argue with each other and I don't know how I will handle the conflict -- but no sense dealing with that one, because another one is fast on its heels. And the picky-eater-teething-feverish-toddler won't ... read more and comment here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Don't tell Tiffany, please

Please don't tell Tiffany, but for Ryan's Christmas present I caved. I totally and completely caved. And now I am "the best wife ever." So, I am sorry. I hope she will still be my friend. And yes, Andrew, you and the fam can come and play. Anytime. If your wife can forgive me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Little Curious George

I have blogged enough about Weston's lack of words over the past several months for most to know that our little two-year-old is mostly without expressive language. But I made an interesting and fun discovery about our little Weston that I thought might bring a smile to my snowed in friends this week.

So Weston's most favorite character is Curious George. He carries the book, "Curious George and the Bunny" around to look at often. he was delighted when Daddy came home one day with a Curious George stuffed animal (he now sleeps every night with it). And BY FAR his favorite TV show is PBS's Curious George.

It dawned on me that our little Weston expresses himself a lot like old CG. Lots of pointing and "uh-uh" grunts, with big laughter or tears. To tell us he is thirsty, he points to his mouth, makes a gulp-fulp sound and then whispers, "aaahhh" as though he just took a big, satisying drink. If you have ever watched the little TV show you are aware that, though George does not speak, you always know exactly what he is thinking (thanks, in part, to the help of the narrator, I suppose).

Here is a short video of Weston watching a little bit of Basketball with Daddy.

I bet you can figure out that he is retelling Daddy what he just saw on the TV.

Anyway, the other day I said to Weston, "You talk like Curious George, don't you?" to which he excitedly and emphatically answered,


He seemed thrilled to be understeood in a new and more complex way. It was quite a moment.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fact Check

A little reminder for moms, or a little TMI for the rest of the world...

FACT: Thinking about needng to feed a newborn WILL cause your milk to let down.

FACT: Wondering when the last time it was you fed your newborn WILL cause your milk to let down.

FACT: Showering, even immediately after nursing your infant, WILL make your milk let down.

FACT: The process of changing out of your day bra and into your sleeping bra WILL make your milk let down.

FACT: Blogging about your milk letting down WILL make your milk let down.

FACT: That's too much letting down. Where is my pump?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First Grade Writing

For those of you who have yet to have kids enter into school, let me just tell you that Kindergarten is fun and exciting, but First Grade is AMAZING. I mean, they walk into first grade generally not knowing how to read or write much at all, and before Christmas they are reading and writing sentences you will be astounded at.

It is just so much fun. Really. Really. Fun.

Here are a few examples of Davis' writing. Mrs. Baker encourages the kids to write about real things, and his little stories are the making of an elementary school blog:

I playd socr. We wun 3to8.

I korvd my pumpkin. It wus sceree. It was mad (made) wot uv triagles. Frst we brot in the pumpkin and thean we wosht theam. We got sum newspaper and poot it on a table. We poot the pumpkin on the table. Dad cut the top off and we rethe into the pumpkin.

SO much happens in just six weeks!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A "Crackin' Down" Update

Ever wonder how its going with someones Newest Resolution To Change Their World? I thought I would let you in on mine (mostly because it is a successful one thus far and therefore not embarrassing to mention again). In the first post I told you I was not going to give warnings any longer. Do as you are asked the first time I ask (and all-the-way-complete the request) or suffer the consequences.

And the update is that it is working AMAZINGLY. I use the technique throughout the day, but the one area it has impacted me the most is getting ready for bed. The two oldest boys have responded in earnest, knowing (via a stinging bun or two) that they must heed my request. It comes at them with kindness and patience (oooh! its so easy to be that way when you only have to ask once!), and they delight to show me they can get it all done without being hounded ("Come on!! Get those jammies on! Did you brush your teeth? Are your clothes put away??"). Really, with two other kids to tend to (ages 2, and 2 weeks) I can't- CAN'T - spend a half hour tending to what should take seven minutes.

And thanks to The Crack Down I don't need to.

And now it is time to crack down on little Weston. He totally gets the notion of obeying. And he is actually pretty good at it... but he currently is testing the waters of non-compliance (read: ignoring Mommy completely). So The Crack Down trickles down to my baby, who is no longer the baby. And the area of obedience I will concentrate on for him is getting from the car to the house. We park the minivan in a carport and getting his outdoor-loving tooshie into the house with a baby carrier and diaper bag weighing down my upper extremities is no small feat. So I will use this scenario to teach and train him to Obey Mommy The First Time.

This should be fun!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Playdate Planned

My good friend Lori was chatting with her three boys (ages 7, 5, and 3) about our new addition to the family. She was sweet enough to be directing the conversation to how the boys could help us in our transition. A playdate was suggested by one of them and five year old Carter (squeaky, sweet, missing his two front teeth, Carter) said with all the enthusiasm inside his little body, "YEAH! And we could have Baby Drake come, too!"
"Well, He needs to be with his Mommy all the time right now," Lori responded. "And besides, he sleeps pretty much all day long."
To which Caleb (the 7yo) responded: "Is that because he is NOCTURNAL?!?"

Thankfully, Caleb, he is no longer nocturnal.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Several Piles and a Panic

A couple of nights ago... Little Drake had peed out of his diaper so many times the night before that i had zero bundling blankets or easy-zip jammies left. So I was destined to do a load of laundry in the morning.

It took all day long to get the single load of laundry done (shocker!) so that evening after all the kids had gone to bed I was folding it. It just so happened that this laundry load was the first ever containing clothes belonging to all four boys. I don't usually do the big boys' laundry, but I needed to add to the relatively small load so the big boys got spoiled, I guess.

ANYWAY, I was struggling to keep the piles straight ("Let's see... this is Jackson's shirt, and this one is Weston's shirt - no wait, these are both Weston's shirts... and this pile I started is who's? Oh, Davis'. Right. Now where is the Drake pile? Here - no, HERE it is. Oh. I guess he has TWO piles..." And so on and so on). It was during the laundry folding/pile sorting process that it really sunk in: I HAVE FOUR KIDS.


And I tried not to panic.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quote of the Day

Jackson said (quite out of the blue), "Awww! I wish I was a girl!"
Really, son? Why?
"Because that way I wouldn't have to work so late."

Boy did I feel conflicted. On the one hand I thought, Yeah. Working all day long, every day is no longer my idea of a fun way to spend my week. Boy am I glad Ryan does that instead. And then pretty much before I even had the chance to finish that thought it occurred to me, WAIT! I work all day long, too, and all night right now, too. Jackson, dude, I think you might be ok being a boy. The grass sure is greener on the other side at times.

But boy or girl, we sure do work. And hopefully it is to the glory of the Lord.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sister

Now it is time to pause from my family being the center of attention and focus a moment on the wonderful woman who is my sister.

Happy Birthday, Megan!

I love you with all my heart. I am so blessed to have you in my life, in my town, and around my kids. I am thankful for our differences and thankful for our similarities.

Have a wonderful birthday, sis!

p.s. can we count it as an extra bonus birthday gift that Weston's seventh (or is it ninth?) word, said yesterday, is "Mingy?" It was a gift to me, that is certain.

p.p.s. Isn't this picture fun? It is from her junior high days... or maybe early high school? I am not sure now that I type it. Megan, you will have to correct me. Anyway, once a year, in December, we ladies: Megan, Mom and I, get all dolled up and go to a fancy restaurant and see a play. What a fun tradition it is. Hopefully we will resume this tradition (and include Jenna and Elsie) soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pictures, Pictures, and More Pictures

At the risk of great personal embarrassment, I start this post with a "Before" shot. I still can't believe how far that kid stuck out! Whew - glad he's on the outside.

And "After." Labor went very smoothly. (I will spare the bloggy-world the details.)Here he is!

The boys came and visited at the hospital. They were all so sweet and excited.

Davis has been Davis: Excited and sweet, and anxious to hold him and introspective and mature and contemplative... he is the best biggest brother a baby could hope for.
Jackson could hardly put the little guy down. And the questions he has asked are so cute. Like, "Can he live with US?" and "Does he have ears?" and "Why is his cheeks so soft?" jackson's big brown eyes were just HUGE all day. I LOVED watching him with Baby Drake. What a treat.

Weston wanted to hold the baby a ton, too. He was extremely gentle and tender. He kept pointing to Baby Drake and then looking up at me to make sure I saw that he had a baby.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pictures of Baby Drake

Drake Robert Glover
9 lbs 9 oz
19 inches

He's precious!! 
(For a few more pictures, you can come to my site by clicking here.) 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baby Glover has Arrived!!

Drake Robert Glover was born today at 3:27pm.  He weighed in at 9 lbs 9 oz!!  Baby and mom are doing GREAT.  I was talking to Jenne on the phone at 3:15 and right when we got off she started to deliver!  Nice and quick :)  I will post some pictures tonight after I get to go meet my new nephew!!

Baby Day Post #4

Dilated to an 8, they called the doctor, and she has been 'happy' for about an hour now (you know, happily drugged with an epidural).  The next post should be an announcement!!

Baby Day Post #3

At about 12:30pm, Jenne was dilated to 5 cm.  As many who have labored before know, this number could mean that the baby will come soon, or that it will still be a long time!  I share this because I thought some inquiring minds out there would want to know :)

Baby Day Post #2

The doctor broke Jen's water at 10:30am...

Baby Day Post #1

As of right now, Jenne is at the hospital.  They haven't started any medicine yet, but as of right now it looks like they will keep her and be able to induce today!   

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Please stand by for developing news

No baby yet, but the plan is to arrive at the hospital Monday morning at 6:45 to begin the induction process. My wonderful sister will give updates on my behalf (thank you Ming!).

Davis asked this evening, "I know you don't KNOW when the baby will get here, but what is your prediction?" (I love it when he uses grown-up words.) And I told him that my prediction is 5pm. So, we shall see how close I come to being right. Believe-you-me, I hope it happens sooner.

You can join me in praying that the hospital has room to keep me (you know how they do that annoying thing of turning non-laboring women away in order to accommodate those pesky women who go into labor all by themselves). And I am also praying that the baby comes through the delivery safe and sound.

Hopefully the next post you read from me will be from my sister!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

False Alarm

We went to and then were sent home from the hospital last night. I really thought it was time. But no so. Baby is still cooking.

Funny thing... as my husband's stomach is tied up in knots and he is saying, "Come on, Jenne, let's just get to the hospital," I actually paused by my computer for a moment, wondering if I might take a quick moment to blog. I would have, had Ryan not been so anxious to get us there. He would have killed me if he had to deliver this child on the side of the road because I insisted on first posting a "little something" about labor.

And as it turns out, I would have had to retract my post anyway. Oh well.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Disgust

I feel for retailers this year. Really I do. The economy is going to impact their bottom line in significant ways this year and that will ultimately result in more people not working. It is not a good year for many businesses. But the excitement that most of the major retailers tried to drum up this year has made me ill and so has the greed-crazed crowds that rushed stores at O-Dark-Thirty, when the stores opened their doors.

These retailers planned, strategized and concocted ways to entice crowds of people to come shop at their store on Black Friday. They advertise amazing deals with amazingly small quantities to drum up a frenzy in the hearts of shoppers. But its a two-way street, isn't it. Those retailers KNOW that when it comes down to it, ugly greed will course through the veins of their fellow humans. They will do anything to beat out their neighbor and grab up that deal before someone else does.

This 37 second video is an example of the store-opening-rush:

At Walmart in Long Island New York, a greeter was killed as crowds rushed in. A Toys R Us in Palm Beach had a shooting that resulted in two deaths. All for some Must Have Thing.

I am utterly disgusted.

No need to feel bad if you got up at 4:00 AM and made it to the 1/2 off sock sale at Freddies or whatever. Chances are that YOU TOO were disgusted by the bahavior you may have witnessed in your fellow man. I don't like to make big statements that have the words "always" or "never" in them because they tend to come back to haunt you, but I am completely turned off of Black Friday Shopping. I'd rather pay full price with a clear head and no gunfire.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Post

It is Thanksgiving. Time to mention some of the things I am thankful for. Post your list, too! It feels good to spend a moment thinking about this.

In no super-particular order, I am thankful for...
1. My sister. I am so blessed by her in so many countless ways all throughout the year.
2. My husband. He has graciously put up with my raging, unpredictable mood swings for these last 9 months.
3. My oldest son, Davis. His kind and tender heart is quick to forgive and patient with his brothers.
4. My middle son, Jackson. His constant supply of hugs and kisses, plus his spunky take on life make me smile.
5. My youngest, Weston. (He won't hold the title of "youngest" for much longer.) His sweet little demeanor keeps me laughing, smiling, and guessing!
6. My baby. Come out, little one! It's just about time, and you would make Thanksgiving a REALLY, REALLY WONDERFUL DAY if you picked this one to make your appearance...
7. Naps. enough said.
8. My kids' Grandparents. They love on our kids to no end.
9. Barry, our pastor. I am grateful for how he (together with our elders) leads our congregation and loves us. And that he plays guitar for our Family Sunday School.
10. My fellowship group. Those ladies mean more to me every time we meet.

What's YOUR list?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cracking Down

Hopefully it does not surprise anyone reading this when they hear that since being pregnant and especially being in my third trimester, the discipline in the household has slipped "a bit." There are certain times of day when I have unwittingly trained my big kids to require much too much supervision in order for them to follow through with tasks. Getting ready for bed is a big one. So is getting socks, shoes and coats on and getting in the car.

So I informed the kids Saturday night that a new order was in place. With a calm, patient voice I explained that I will ask them once to get ready for bed and that I will not ask again. If I see disobedience, they should expect a spank rather than a reminder. The reality is that both my older kids are more than capable of getting themselves totally ready for bed but I have allowed them to be distracted, goof around, and take three times longer than necessary to get the job done. The end result, of course, is that I end up frustrated, exhausted, and raising my voice. It is generally a terrible way to end an otherwise lovely day.

And thinking forward a week or so, I know that I am not going to have "the luxury" of such close monitoring. I will be nursing, or bopping, or whatever, a little one. I will need my kids to be responsive to my voice at the first call. And I really need them to understand that non-responsiveness will not go well for them.

The really good news is that these past couple of nights have gone amazingly well. I remind them of the new way things are, give them their instructions and then ask little distractable Jackson (4 1/2) to repeat back to me what I have asked him to do. Both evenings he has been unable to repeat it so I feed him the words, "Jackson, say, 'I am going to go straight upstairs and getting all-the-way-ready for bed.'" I know he knows what his task is, and that gives me the freedom to follow through with the discipline if needed. And so far, it has not been needed (proof of their competence!).

It feels great to regain some control and expect of my kids what I KNOW they are capable of. With only days to go before delivery day, its about time!!

The answer, unfortunately, is No.

No, no baby yet. But you will be the first to know if I head in to the hospital. Induction date is still set for December 1st. Acupuncture today hopefully will help ripen my cervix (TMI??).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Poopy Morning

So technically my morning started at 2am, when I woke up and was unable to fall back asleep. But then I did, at 5AM, and my loving husband let me sleep in until 8AM. And therefore, technically, the first thing I got to do this morning was sleep. That automatically makes it a good morning.

Thirty minutes before 8AM, I vaguely heard Ryan put Weston in the tub (a favorite activity of this toddler). I fell back asleep and awoke at 8AM to Weston half-yelling, "Uh-Oh" and "Nayah!" Those two words in succession are a good clue that something must be addressed in short order. I got up and found Weston standing in the tub, pointing to the water.

You already know what I found. The question is, was is solid or not? The unfortunate answer is "not." Floating in and amongst our modest supply of bath toys was a copious amount of poo. While Ryan hosed Weston off in the other bathroom's shower, I spent the next little portion of my morning scrubbing, bleaching, and sanitizing the toys and tub. Of course any toy that had cracks or crevices automatically earned a one-way ticket to the garbage can. So now our bath toy collection includes only cups. All the cute little fish that, when you pull the cord make a swimming motion have been sacrificed in favor of poop-less-ness.

I easily return my thoughts to the part of the morning where I was sleeping and can say that the morning - despite the poopy tub - was a good one. Thanks, Ryan, for letting me catch those extra Zzzz's.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Davis came home today with a Guatemalan Worry Doll. Have you heard of them? They are very small dolls originally made in Guatamala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep.
According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person's place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night.

With the doll came a little piece of paper with typed text explaining all this. "Where did you get this?" I ask with as much non-chalantness as I could muster up. Mrs. Otto, apparently. (Who is that? A mom? A school employee? I am not sure.)

So here is where the rubber meets the road. One significant reason for allowing our kids to go to public school is to expose them to the world and walk with them as they synthesize what they are seeing. The theory is that we process with them the beliefs of our broken world in tiny chunks as they grow up. In the process - again, so the theory goes - we help them understand better why we believe what we believe, and show them just how much the world needs a savior.

I sort of wanted to get angry that the "pagen public school" distributed some crazy idea, but instead I grabbed up the opportunity and we chatted about the whole notion. Here is what he had to tell me:

"It is pretend, mom, but I think that it does help kids if they THINK it will help them. The dolls don't really take worries away." Yeah, you are right Davis. I know only One who can do THAT. "Yeah, yeah, I do too, Mom." (Too preachy, Davis? Dare I insult your intelligence and faith?)

It was clear pretty quickly that he knew what the Truth was (he has a solid head of faith on his shoulders), but I imagine that there will be other opportunities to discuss to Whom we can bring our worries.
(Matthew 6:34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Psalm 54:4 & 7) Behold, God is my helper ; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. ...For He has delivered me from all trouble...

This is the kind of stuff I knew would be coming. I just pray the Lord would give me wisdom to know how to answer, and the discernment to know if or when too much exposure is too much.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This One's Just For Ming

Somehow my boys and I got talking about what my name "used to be."
"I used to be Jenne Snodgrass, but now I am Jenne Glover," I tell my kids. They snicker, like every kid I grew up with did when they learned my last name. In almost defense of my proud heritage, I added: "And Megan's last name used to be Snodgrass, too."

Davis replied with a puffed up I-know-I-am-about-to-be-right, "Yeah, but now her name is Ming-y Wood!"

Meg, I guess it is official now. You might as well change your birth certificate.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Evidence and a Diaper

Story 1: Evidence
Many people ask me if my kids are excited for the baby to come. Yes, my two "big boys" are. But Weston is a little young to be excited. Their next question is "do you think he understands that there is a baby coming?" Always I reply that he is clueless. Well, today he gave his first hint that he understands (at least in part) that a baby is growing in my tummy. During our family Sunday School he lifted up my shirt - luckily I had a fitted tank underneath that he did not grab - he lifted my outer shirt up just enough, pulled his binki out of his mouth and poked the binki into my 37-week pregnant belly. So, he gets it that there is a baby in there. The question remains as to whether or not it has occurred to him that the baby will actually eventually be on the other side of my skin. I will break that news to him gently, in about three weeks.

Story 2: a Diaper
So my husband is enjoying a day trip up to Seattle with a bunch of great guys to watch the Seahawks play a game. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it has shaped up to be a great day to watch football. To pass the day more quickly, I brought all the kids to my parents house directly after church to play and relax.

So, when it was time to put Weston down for his nap, I set up our travel bed, which is a Peapod Plus (the best travel bed in the history of kid gear - see picture). It gets hot inside that little tent when it is all zipped up so I decided to keep him in his shirt, but remove his pants. About 15 minutes later I hear him really hollering for me, "Nayah, nayah! NAYAH!!!" (That's what he yells when he wants me to come get him from his bed. What it means, I don't know. For a while I thought it was my name, but last night he pointed at me and said in a sing-songy voice, "MaaaAAaammaa." So "Nayah" is apparently some other word.. "I up," perhaps??)

I digress - my apologies. So, I come into the room he is in, notice immediately that he has unzipped the Peapod entry/exit flap - but has not yet ventured out. I pull open the flap and he immediately holds out his diaper to me, which he has removed completely from his body. Let's all take a moment and imagine the possibilities at this point, and then praise God with me for big blessings (and small miracles): The diaper is completely clean and dry. No horrible mess to deal with. But what I will say is that he was MIGHTY PROUD to have disrobed himself. Once I took from him the diaper he was handing me, he darted out of the room in a gleeful escape and ran (bare-bottomed) into the kitchen to greet his Grandma. It was pretty cute. Needless to say, I had him in a diaper AND PANTS upon the second attempt at a nap for the little cutie. Thankfully, the second attempt was a quick success. He was sawing logs in moments.

Friday, November 14, 2008

All Things Kids

Things around here have been pretty normal lately. I have just enjoyed my kids in the many things they have been up to. I thought I would share some random but fun pictures of the crew.

Thumbs up, Jackson draws his pumpkin face design.

I love it when all three boys find something to do together. Even Weston got in on this little game of badmitten by being the cheering section

The lovely Jenna - cousin and best playmate in town!

Toothless Joe, here, lost a tooth at school. Its a good thing, too, because I am squeemish when it comes to wiggley teeth.

And here is the happy two year old. A language update: he is up to 5 words now. In other words, no update necessary. We are utilizing some MESD services to get this kid some expressive language!! Despite his lack of words, he is not a frustrated kid. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Response...

If you have not checked my blog in a day or so (!!Oh the Horror!!), you will want to skip down to November 9th's post so that this will make sense.

A comment like that might provoke a couple of answers:
1. something modest, like “well, they are really good kids”
2. something insulting to the kids but tongue-in-cheek, like “this is unusual – they are usually monsters”
3. something more helpful, like “I just try to be as consistent in my parenting as possible and expect a lot from them…and read lots of good parenting books. My favorite these days is…”
4. something “godly” that may come back to bite me in the bum the NEXT time that person sees me, like “I spend lots of time with my kids, bring them to church, and we memorize lots of scripture, and when you do all those good parenting things, that’s just what happens…” (you know that the next time that person sees you, your kids WILL embarrass you).

I have probably used each of these answers in the past - granted, I had many more opportunities when I only had 2 kids to manage. Fewer complements have come since adding #3, and even fewer since being pregnant. (smile)

So, I thought about it and if I EVER receive a complement like that again, I think I would like to have some sort of better answer ready… And the truth is that sometimes my kids are really good, and sometimes they are really hard. Sometimes I look like a mom who has it all together, and sometimes I am a laughing stock. The truth is that parenting is really, really hard. How do I do it? Honestly, I cling every day to the promises of my God - especially on the harder days. And because of that, I have hope. And because of that hope, I can do another day. Even when the day ends in a blizzard of tears and yelling, I wake up the next day with a renewed hope (God’s promises are new every morning!). Without my God and my Hope, I couldn’t do it.

That’s a long answer to someone who might just be looking for a quick “thanks” from me. What’s the shorter answer that might still give God the credit? Maybe something like, “How do I do it? With the help of my God and the husband he has blessed me with!”

Did you think about it? What would YOUR answer be?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How would YOU answer?

My good friend, Ginger, asked me a GREAT question inside the following email:

You know my kids are FAR from perfect. But today we were at the end of the soccer season pizza party, and my kids were being really good. (for a nice change.) They were staying seated where I asked, they were eating with their utensils, etc... in stark contrast to MANY of the other kids who were running around like TV stars from "Nanny 911". One of the Moms said to me, "I don't know how you do it." Soooooooo, My question is.... What do you say to that?

I was REALLY blessed to think about this overnight, so before I give my answer, I thought I would give you the same opportunity. I would love your comments, of course, but at the very least, give this some thought and then come back in a day or so if you want to hear how I answered (I don't promise it to be life-changing or anything, just something to read).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Great Listen!

On my sidebar (as of this writing) you can see that I am listening to a sermon series called The Fulfilled Family. It is by John Macarthur of "Grace to You" radio broadcast. I just have to put in a quick plug for the one I listened to today, called God's Pattern for Parents, part 1.

The sermon, a little more than an hour long (seems long, but really that's just two episodes of The Office), is primarily about the process of leading your child to Christ. He is big on NOT having a formula, so if it is a formula you are looking for you will be disappointed. What he does do is answer tons of questions about the process of leading your child to Christ. Questions like How young is too young and how old is old enough? and Is it ok to allow my child to ask Jesus into his heart multiple times? and How much information do I offer into those young ears? and Where do I start?

Really, this is a must-hear for all of us parents. There were so many times while I was listening that I was assured that I was doing alright, and many times when I thought to myself, "I am SO GLAD to know THAT!!"

You will be encouraged by this sermon, so I hope you consider listening. And if you do, come back and comment. I would love to hear you listened and maybe what you appreciated about it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack at Breakfast

It was an interesting conversation at the breakfast table with Davis when I told him that Obama won the election. We do not talk much politics (or any at all, yet) around the kids but Davis was aware of the election because a few small conversations happened at school yesterday and plus they had a chance to vote at school yesterday. (Obama won that election, too.)

It really is an interesting line to walk with the kids, when we do not like the authority placed above us… a new kind of example to set, a new layer of life’s complexities to reveal. If you would permit me to look on the bright side for a moment, these next four to eight years should be full of good parenting opportunities.

The Lord has allowed this man to be in authority over us whether we like it or not. It is important that we not praise this man and it is important - I believe - that we not show outright disrespect for him either. Even more critical, it is appropriate that our school-aged kid understand a small bit of why we did not vote for him. He will, afterall, be in the position to defend his beliefs at school today and in the future as well (he revealed to me that he voted for McCain because "he doesn't think killing babies is ok, and Naddy voted for him because she felt sorry for him because he was a soldier prisoner"). I tried my best to prepare him for conversations he might have at school that could lead him to show respectful disagreement. We talked about one good thing (first black president and the significance of that) and one bad thing (supportive of abortion) about Barack being our next president.

A seven-year-old mind can only grasp so much when it comes to politics but one thing he can grasp onto with great strength is how we, as parents, respond to an authority over our lives with which we disagree strongly. He can watch us pray for this man, he can watch what it looks like to disagree with an authority yet still show him respect, and he can watch us distinguish when we are to go against human authority (when that human authority asks or demands us to sin against God) and when it is appropriate to obey that authority.

I ended the conversation, telling him that "Two things are for sure, Davis:
  • God knew a long time ago that Obama would be our President. God was not the least bit surprised at the election results.
  • And God is still God. He is still in total control. So we can trust Him no matter what."

"I KNEW you were going to say that!" He responded.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Oh Beautiful Sleep

Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.
~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002

If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters.
~Author unknown, attributed to Jim Davis
The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more.
~Wilson Mizener
The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can't get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.
~Edgar Watson Howe
Daylight savings time with children is not an extra hour of sleep. No, it is an extra hour of morning.

I have not slept well for some time now. My belly, back and bladder wake me many times at night. Couple that with my almost two-year-old who often thinks 1:14 AM and then again 4:35 AM is morning and you can imagine how frustrated and hopeless I can let myself feel on any given morning.

Being awoken at 4:30 AM has too often lead to the complete end of my night's sleep as my body is just too sore to lay down any longer. And so I have prayed many times that the Lord would give me uninterrupted sleep. I tell you the truth: I cannot function without beautiful sleep: "Lord, just let Weston start sleeping every night through the night. Please! Before the baby comes at least! And, Lord, give me a couple nights in a row just to catch up so I can be the mom you want me to be." But on one of those prayerful, sleepless mornings the Lord allowed me to see something new: Sleep had become my idol. I had begun to believe that no amount of God would help me become the mom during the day that I knew I needed to be - only beautiful sleep could do that. God wanted me to trust in HIM and what HE can do more than I trusted in SLEEP.

Upon being shown this, my prayer quickly changed, asking instead that regardless of how much sleep the night brought me, that I would depend wholly and solely upon the only One who could get me through my day to His glory.

I wish I could say that after this epiphany - this lesson that God was trying to teach me - that He then gave me night after night of sleep (since, after all, I had finally learned what God was trying to reveal to me). No. He has not. I now am being asked to live in this new understanding, testing my faith and providing me many opportunities to trust in Him for what I need in a day.

While I do still love sleep, that is not a bad place to be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Simple Task, Gone Awry

The task was simple: clean up the playroom. I, in my office adjacent to the playroom, was overhearing Jackson and Lindy work on this task and it was not going well. Lindy, of course, was being perfectly patient with Jackson but he was speaking biligerantly to her. Though I usually let Lindy handle everything (she is, afterall, very good at it), I had to intervene upon hearing such disrespect of his elder.

Up to his room for a timeout, he sat on his bed with these words from me in his ears: "You are in a time out because you were treating Lindy so unkindly. You may not treat people unkindly. When you are ready to treat her with kindness (and apologize!), and when you are ready to clean with a cheerful heart, you may return to the task of cleaning the playroom."

A good number of minutes later, I went back to finish what I started with him. He informed me that he was ready to move on. But he said these words that made me thankful, so thankful, that I intervened: "Yes, I am ready (to treat Lindy kindly and clean with a cheerful heart), but my heart is still black."

So upon HIS prompting, we were praying together for his sins to be forgiven. A real repentance, from my view. And then answering his next question actually brought tears to my eyes, "But what if my heart is ALWAYS black?" Oh, sweet child. That is the beauty of the work of the cross. "That is the best part, Jackson. Our hearts need never stay black. God will ALWAYS forgive us when we ask. THAT'S why Jesus died on the cross for you. We can go to him whenever we need to and ask him to clean our heart and he is GLAD to do it."
"Is God mad?"
"When we sin it makes God's heart very sad. But when we ask him to forgive us, it makes him very, very glad." He wants to forgive you! You just need to ask!

Just yesterday I was reading this post on Angie's blog about her "difficult child" (if you have one of these, I encourage you to read her post. It is so encouraging). This was the comment I left on that blog:

It is discouraging to see little progress in areas all the other children moved past quickly. But how right you are: these (difficult children) are the children who will be leaders, who will be passionate, who will do great things (our other children will do great things, too, of course). But these little guys do need a totally different kind of parenting, don't they!!!

I know the the Lord will do a great work of grace in this child's life. He will understand grace better than your other children. While our other children who are "followers of all rules and laws" struggle with pride and even understanding what the significance of the work of the cross is to them (since they rarely do the wrong thing), these passionate children of ours will have a stronger grip on this area of faith. And while the process to get there puts trepidation in my bones, I know that God will redeem and bless our efforts to properly, faithfully parent them.

What a wonderful grace God offered me today in seeing a deeper piece on my son's heart, like a glimpse of a promise fulfulled. I pray you encounter some encouragement in your parenting like I did today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chaos Eliminator #15 & 16

I love chaos eliminators. Anything that dims life's chaos is a good thing. Last Saturday night we were at a wedding and reception with all three of our boys. It was the 4th reception we had brought the boys to at this particular location and so they all were feeling MUCH TOO COMFORTABLE in the environment. And you KNOW that comfortability in children breeds: trouble. My children are not an exception. Ryan and I hardly knew what hit us, as we were trying to contain the boys to the room we were assigned to, prevent them from dumping the coffee creamer and sugar on the floor, keep their fingers out of the not-yet-cut cake, slam into fellow guests, and wrestle on the middle of the dance floor. The trouble was that they had nothing constructive to do while we all waited "patiently" for the food to be served. And then once the food was served, my children were done eating in approximately 8.7 seconds so the boredom was quick to return. The cutting of the cake (which they literally did laps around) was still 75 minutes away.

I, of course, had nothing to entertain them with, hardly any way to contain them, and was honestly more interested in shoving food in my own mouth than chasing them. No chaos elimination up my sleeve. (I did have a helpful husband who did his best while chatting with old college friends.)

At one point, the people we shared a table with, bless their heart, said, "They are not bad, just 'active.'" Ok, you can't fool this mama: "active" is nothing more than code words for "rambuntious" and "you should have left them at home."

It was at that moment that I felt the embarassment. There were other kids in the room doing much the same things as my kids, but that mattered little to me because I had nothing up my sleeve to prevent things from spinning further out of control. (In all fairness, they were not out of control, but I felt a serious lack of control with my big-pregnant belly and massive fatigue... pregnancy is not known to cause a woman to think more clearly, you know.)

So anyway, my chaos eliminator #15 & 16 comes out of my failure to plan on that night and it is this:
  • Always, always, have a plan, and
  • never, never, go to a wedding and reception with three young boys while you are in your third trimester.
How is that for helpful information?!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quote of the Weekend

Said by Davis, the eldest of my three (almost four) boys:

"Never trust a younger brother... or an older girl. They are always trying to trick you."

Amen, child (at least to that second part)! Words to live by.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Clarity, compared to my 2-year-old

I really enjoy this right-before-two-years-old age that Weston is in. At this blessed age, the true notion of logic is beyond conception. There is a slight understanding of "if-than" logic, but not too much beyond that. And such logic does not hold much water for this age because the overwhelming reasoning brooding in these two-year-old minds is "me, my, mine, I..." Self-satisfacton is of the highest concern and there is no runner up. From this we get everything from belly flops onto carpetted floors to back-of-the-head-slams on the linoleum (and every once in a while, a goose egg from hitting the wall corner on the way down).

Did I say I enjoy this age?

Yes, I did, and yes I do (well, at least in these cerebral moments of reflection I do). Because while my little guy is throwing his share of tantrums, it is in the tantrums that I often get a picture of how God parents us.

Example 1
Two days ago Weston bee-lined for the west end of our creek where there is a great supply of rocks. He loves throwing rocks into the water (what boy doesn't?), but alas, he does not swim. And being by a creek by yourself at the ripe old age of two is not a wise thing. But he doesn't know that. All he knows is that he is having a grand ol' time - or he was, until that meanie Mommy came and scooped him up and carried him kicking and screaming to the upper lawn. There is really no amount of logic that I could pour on him that would calm him down enough to say, "Oh, I see. That is dangerous. And danger is not the best for me. Thank you for saving me from a potentially dreadful situation." No, he will not be saying that any time soon.

Example 2
Today and yesterday he suffered from probably the worst diaper rash of his life so far. I had to carefully, gently wipe every last stubborn smear of poo off his bottom (torture for the both of us) so that I could smear a hefty load of Butt Cream on his swollen, red little cheeks (so the torture continues). You have never heard a child scream such a miserable, distressed cry. And all the time I kept thinking, I know this is so painful. I know you would prefer me to leave it alone and avoid the pain. But if I left it alone the end result would be so much worse... pain that is immeasurably greater and long lasting than you can imagine. I also know that he sees me as the source of his pain, not the ultimate healer of it.

Example 3
Just last week when I decided that he could eat a still-warm chocolate chip cookie (like, the chocolate was still super gooey and messy), I called him over to me for the delicious treat only to use the phrase, "Mommy do," which means that I would be inserting the morsel into his mouth on his behalf. The instant he heard that phrase he opened his mouth wide, but not to submit to my request. He opened wide to yell at me, "ARRRRRG!!" and walk off, not having tasted the good thing I had for him.

In every scenario, I see the bigger picture and he sees barely to the end of his nose. Every time I know what is best for him and he sees me as preventing him from experiencing pleasure. And every time he has the choice to submit his will to mine - whether he understands the reason behind it or not - or push away from me. Though I have proven my faithfulness, care and concern for him since the day he was born, his tendancy and first urge is to assume that this time I will not be faithful, I will not care, and I am not concerned.

You can understand better now why parenting a child this age is so enjoyable. I learn more about how my Lord cares for me and shows his faithfulness. So rich a time I have with the Lord in this season when I have the chance to reflect upon how well my heavenly father parents me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My November 4th "ah ha" Moment

Still stricken with grief over McCain winning the Republican nomination over Mike Huckabee, I have wondered often what a "good prolife voter" ought to do:
  • Abstain from voting (i.e. turn off my brain on this one)
  • Write in Huckabee (would it be throwing away my vote or standing on principle - or both?)
  • Vote for Palin/McCain (I do generally like her politics from top to bottom - experienced or not)
  • Vote for Obama (at least he will end the war and maybe protect us from our country's devastating financial practices, so he says)
Tonight, after reading a very informative and helpful post by Randy Alcorn, I now know what I am going to do. I encourage you to spend a minute looking over this post, especially if you have found yourself, like me, struggling with what is the right thing to do in this election.

And no, I am not going to tell you how I am voting. But jumping over to Randy's blog will be all the hint you need, if curiosity gets the better of you!!

They Grow Up So Fast

Yesterday jackson learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. It was quite an event, as we have attempted a couple of times already and each previous time it ended in frustration and giving up (of the child, not the mother). But for two days in a row he insisted that he could ride his bike without training wheels and was asking me to remove the excess baggage so he could do it. I, being in the stage of my pregnancy where walking is challenging, much less running beside a wobbly biker, was not about to repeat the previous experiences. In comes my hero: my husband. And together they fought through the scrapes, falls and wobbles to come out the other side a two-wheel rider!!

Jackson was not the only one to grow up right in front of my eyes yesterday. While the lesson was in full swing, the phone rang for Davis. His first female caller. His slightly sheepish grin, coupled with the fact that he did not understand a word she said in the 45 second conversation they had took me by surprise. Little love notes from another girl have come home in his backpack this month... back off ladies, he won't be dating until another couple of decades pass... Twenty-seven seems reasonable to me, don't ya think?

And we must also mention little Weston, who doubled his near-two-year-old vocabulary this week with the addition of "plop" and "pop" (distinguishable to the discerning ear only). Oh, and he began jumping off the second step of our staircase, and walking up the stairs without his hands.

They all grow up SO FAST!

Monday, October 20, 2008

"What's For Dinner Tonight, Mom?"

"We are having Tostada Casserole, Jackson."

Without skipping a beat and with a smirk to one side, he replies: "Oh, you mean cotton candy?!?"

"Yes. That is what I mean when I say Tostada Casserole."

I hope he is not too disappointed...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I am not a Sitter

When I say I am not a "sitter" I don't mean like "babysitter," I mean like "one who sits." Not only do I always have much, much, much to do, when I find myself with (quite suddenly and shockingly) nothing to do, I go on a desperate search for something to busy me up.

It is a very intentional thing I have to force myself to do when I sit and watch my kids play. And it is even a very forced thing to me when I "play with" my kids. I mean, I read to them and hug them, and teach them, and talk with them and interact with them on all sorts of levels, but I don't often sit and run the cars over the carpet, or stack the blocks, or build the train tracks.

I have marvelled numerous times at how GOOD the woman who takes care of my kids while I work is at playing with my kids. She thoroughly enjoys getting down on the ground and pushing those cars. The woman reached sainthood, as far as I am concerned, when she played Monopoly with my four-year-old who, by the way, understands nothing about money or property or purchases or anything much beyond moving pieces around a board and taking turns at a game. And little Jackson's eyes light up with delight at the notion of playing another round of the never-ending-game-that-he-doesn't-even-understand.

A part of me knows that I am not alone in this: that plenty of moms stink at that part of mothering. And the other part of me wishes that I could be excellent at everything mommy-related to all my kids. I can't, of course. None of us can be everything to every child we bear. We can try and do the things that do not come naturally to us - we must try. We are never excused from doing "the hard work of mothering," but I think it is also worth noting that we are not designed to meet every need our children have and that living in the context of the body of Christ means we can feel the freedom to search out others to come alongside us and help get those needs more fully met. And we can do this without feeling guilty or like a failure.

Librarians, teachers, coaches, grandmas, nannies, aunts, counselors, pastors, friends. No particular order of importance in that list. It is just good to recognize our limitations and our children's needs and seek out others to help. I hope there is some level of encouragement here for you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Back from Legoland!

I've been up since 3am and am fading FAST!! The trip was great. we stayed with Ryan's folks, who spoiled us in every way possible. I can't hardly form two consecutive sentences so i will just post a few pictures of all the fun and call it good.

Monday, October 6, 2008

46 months

Walking (PREGNANTLY SLOW) to a San Diego 7-11 this evening, Ryan and I were marveling at the fact that our marriage has endured four pregnancies ("How on earth did we do it?" I asked. "You married a man of steel, Jenne"). Ryan did a little bit of math and I was horrified to learn that counting up all miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and live births, I have been pregnant for 46 months of our marriage. When it is all said and done, it will have been 48 months. FORTY-EIGHT MONTHS OF PREGNANCY.

I think I would have been better off not having that realization.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Funny Jackson

Jackson usually pipes up in the car, when Davis is not around to fill the air with his sound-waves. And when he pipes up, it usually is in the form of questions. And the questions are so strange - so bizarre - that I am at a loss to even know how to answer them. You know how some kids will ask questions that may not make sense to anyone else but because you are mom and have so much context and are familiar with so much of their world, you can usually work your way through the maze that is their brain to answer their question.

Not so with Jackson. He is a thinker, I think. And he processes a ton in his head before anything makes it out of his gums. (He gets this from me - poor Ryan suffers in our marriage because of this trait of mine.) For a while now I have been trying to collect a handful of my little Jackson's crazy questions. I had a really nice list of them and then - sadly - lost that list. I only have two now. And of course Jackson seems to be in a phase of asking fewer-than-normal questions so I have not been able to start a new list. But I will treat you to the two I do remember:

"Are cars better than rocks?"

"Can you still walk when you are flat?"

Even if I have a hint of context (which i usually do not), HOW ON EARTH do you go about answering him? I usually say something brilliant like, "I don't know, what do YOU think?" or, "Hummm...GOOD QUESTION."

And then, to change the subject but still focusing on my middlest son, he contracted Shingles this week. After the bumps had shown up, but before the pain was severe he showed me the bumps saying, "I think maybe its leprosy." Leprosy, huh? We laughed about it but then later the pain hit. Poor guy. This is not a fun one to get. We went to the doctor on Tuesday to check it out. Before I go on, i just have to say that I am not one to take my kids to the doctor (I know, I know, we earn a living off the medical field). The last time he was at the doctor was easily a year ago. I pretty much assume that whatever ailment is circulating, it will blow over. "Here, drink a couple glasses of water. That will help. And soak in a hot bath to get your pores to sweat out toxins." That's pretty much my solution to everything. But Jackson - active, playful Jackson - did not unbend his little leg all morning. Did not even attempt to walk, for the pain was too great. After four hours of this non-activity and strict adherence to the no-leg-straightening routine, I figured he was not exaggerating the pain and I took him in.

Thanks Lori and Lindy for encouraging me to do that.

I gave him his first dose of antiviral medicine, he licked his lips, looked up at me and, with his big brown eyes filling with tears, said, "My leg STILL hurts!!" A little earlier in the day he asked if we could pray to God to heal him (I was ashamed that I had not been the one to suggest prayer of some sort). We hugged as we prayed and when we said our Amen's he was TERRIBLY disappointed that his leg was still so painful. What a tough thing to try and explain to a tender and trusting heart.

Today he is finally back to his usual self (only with 500% more energy than usual since he has laid low for so many days). "My shingles are going out of me!! God is healed-ing me!!"

Thank you God, for "healed-ing" Jackson, and for making the people that came up with that marvelous antiviral for my little boy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It Really is a Privilege...

... to play unsupervised. This is just some food for thought, but it has been percolating in my brain for quite a while now. As we raise our kids - especially when they are in these early training, preschool years - we take an enormous amount of time to teach our kids how they should respond and react to other humans (and animals, too, I suppose!). When a child up and smacks his brother you have yourself a bonafide training opportunity to teach the offending child how to properly behave. And when little Susy can't seem to share even one dolly in a pile of dollies and Emily responds by swiping one out of selfish Susy's arms, you again have happened upon an excellent opportunity to teach Susy about generosity and Emily about patience. The scenarios will undoubtedly resurface numerous times and your training and teaching will repeat itself. (Prepare to learn a new level of patience!)

But the only way to grab up these critical opportunities is to keep those kids in your sight. (It is hard to effectively teach when you are not certain of what caused the problem in the first place. Does Susy really need to learn generosity, or is it that Emily was using her brawn instead of her words.) If you have a good suspicion that leaving siblings or friends alone in a room to play together will result in some traumatic tear-filled episode, then one or both of those kids have not earned the privilege of unsupervised play. There is more teaching and training to do!

But the payoff is incredible, when you can leave a room and trust that the child or children left there will do the right thing most all the time.

When Jackson and Jenna were going through a stage where they got into naughty mischief whenever they were together (something not normally in either of their patterns of behavior) we had to rescind their privilege of unsupervised play and watch them carefully to correct them. The last thing we wanted was the two of them to establish bad habits of play that would stick around! After a relatively short amount of time of supervision we were able to re-establish the privilege. (Whew!)

The bottom line is that we humans have the responsibility to treat others in a certain way, and the big bad world teaches us that when we don't, we lose friends, freedoms, jobs, relationships (i.e. privileges). It is a grace we give to our kids when we apply that same real-world principle in our homes. Correct me if I am wrong, Tiffany, but that is a classic example of doling out logical consequences.

One little kiddo-caveat: When my boys were between 18 and 30 mos or so, I did a lot of "protecting and preserving" of sibling relationships. It is REALLY HARD when you are three or four years old to play with a two year old. They are destructive and lack an incredible amount of understanding. So in the interest of staving off the terrible and innumerable negative interactions between siblings, I frequently saved the older child from "the wrath of the two-year-old." And when that two year old does play with the four-year-old brother, they play under my close supervision. I can teach my older child patience and kindness when reasonable, but then when the younger one tries to trash the entire train track that the older one pain-stakingly built, I can quickly mitigate that situation by swooping in to the rescue. And as far as the 7 year-old interacting with the two-year-old, he has matured enough so that those two CAN play unsupervised. It is a beautiful thing.

Anyway, I encourage you to keep your kids close. Be close by so you can teach them over and over again what godly responses look like. It can be tedious and exhausting at times but you will not be sorry you took the time early on to train your kids in these character qualities.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I just read a friend's blog. She is making chocolate truffles, which reminded me that this week I took up crochet. What's the connection, you say?

I needed something that would do two things: force me to sit down and also keep my hands busy. In other words, I snack-snack-snack every chance i get when i sit down (bad habit that started in childhood), so the way to usually avoid snacking is to keep moving, but I HAVE to spend more time sitting and resting because of the big-belly thing I have got going.

And can I just be honest for a moment and say that I have already gained all the weight i care to gain in this pregnancy but sadly, more will come no matter what i do from this point forth. (Plenty past the "twenty-five pounds" they estimate one ought to gain. PLEASE! Good for you if you stuck pretty close to that number.)

So at the very least, i will avoid sabotaging myself and CROCHET EVERY CHANCE I GET. And then when the baby is born and I am burning more calories just sitting and breastfeeding that i could do in an hour-long spin class, I will enjoy one-too-many helpings of Tapioca Pudding (can you believe THAT is what I crave immediately after giving birth? Random. I know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The test results did not show a smaller mass or same-sized mass. Instead, the mass has completely disappeared. It is gone. For whatever reason, the Lord has allowed this one to pass us by.

Praise Him! Praise Him! He is merciful and mighty to save.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for us today. I needed to be held up in prayer.

Focusing on The Promises

Today is a big day, to again determine if there will be Chemotherapy in our family's future. I am filled with more emotion, trepidition, and sadness than last time we had to do these tests. I blame the pregnancy.

So today I am focusing HARD on the promises and truth of God because my heart is a deceitful thing.

Ah Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
Oh great and powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. -Jeremiah 32: 17, 18b-19

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. -Psalm 56:3-4

He is sovereign. He knows my fear. He hears my cry. He is faithful to show mercy. I need not be afraid. He is my rock and my hiding place.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Simple conversations

Out of the silent, silent blue...

Jackson: Mommy, is Jesus for pur-tends?
Me: Oh no. Jesus is not for pretends at all. Everything you know about Jesus really, really happened.
Jackson: Oh. I just thought he was a book.
Me: No. He was really a man that lived on earth a long time ago.
Jackson: Oh. I never knew that.

Really, it is in the spaces that life is lived and parenting is done.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just a Link

This is purely for the couple of people who asked to listen to the talk I gave at a local Mom's ministry. So here you go, Mom and Tiffany. You can click here and scroll down to listen. I had to download Internet Explorer 8 in order to view the little podcast window. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Little Jackson has taken to wanting me to wipe him again. He has been potty trained for over 2 years and is fully capable of performing all functions quite well (well, decently at least). And its a good thing, too, since kindergarten looms in a little less than a year. So this new request to be wiped was fine for a couple of toilet episodes but I could see the writing on the wall: it was not going to end anytime soon and with a baby on the way and a nearly two-year old still in diapers, I will be dealing with my fair share of poop with the unable-to-wipe-themselves variety of children. This convenience needed to be nipped in the bud.

So I used a little tid bit from Tiffany and started wiping him with a bit more vigor and intensity than necessary. Nothing torturous or painful, just a bit harder than that sensitive area prefers. "OW-OW-OW! Mom, why are you doing it too hard?" Because that's how a mom wipes a four-and-a-half-year-old that already knows how to wipe himself, sweetie.

And let me tell you, it did the trick. The very next day I asked him, Do you want me to wipe you, Jackson? I'd be glad to!! "YES! Wait. Are you going to do it hard? No, nevermind. I can do it, Mommy."

Yes, you can. You are such a big boy!! Independence is a very good thing, my love!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Rhetorical Morsel

One thing that can really trip up us moms is when our kids do things that bug us but we don't necessarily have a name for it. Its just those annoying things that they do that you know they shouldn't but you can't identify the underlying character issue. Like a sibling that constantly does things to purposely annoy another sibling. The thing they are doing is not overtly wrong but you want the behavior to stop and the best you can come up with to say is something eloquent like, "Stop annoying your sister!" Another area similar to this is when kids ask the same question over and over again, hoping to get a different, more favorable, answer from mom.

In most cases of nagging, it is very difficult to deal calmly with a child that is wearing you down. One way I have found to get the nagging to stop (aside from giving in) is to raise my voice, get angry and make my kids sorry they asked for the eleventh time. But ah-ha! I have found another rhetorical option. In this approach, you calmly give them a point of obedience, and if they disobey you, you can enforce it as you would enforce any other obedience issue.

Kids, at 9:30AM: "Can we have a treat?"
Mom: "Yes, you may. AFTER lunch."
(two minutes later...)
"Mommmmeeeee, can we have a treeeeeeeet?"
"I already answered that question. Do you remember what the answer was?"

  • If they don't, then repeat the answer and then ask them to tell you what you just said (having them repeat the answer will cement it in their brain and give you the assurance that they have heard and will likely remember the answer next time they ask).
  • If they do remember, have them tell you what the answer was and then praise them for remembering.
And then when they ask again (as my kids do) say something like, "I already answered that question, didn't I? Now please don't ask again." And a follow-up answer could be along the lines of, "I told you that you may not ask me that question again. Will you choose now to obey or disobey?"

Using these words takes a behavior that is otherwise just annoying and tiresome and difficult to discipline for and turns it around into a very simple obedience issue. Sneaky, huh?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Eleven Years!

Saturday was our Wedding Anniversary. Eleven years. A year out of the single-digits and into the forever world of double digits.

So, we went away for a little less than 24 hours (thank you Maryann and Lindy for making this possible by We went to the beach. Romantic balcony room on the water. Jacuzzi Spa in the room. (This post will remain rated G, readers.) Suffice to say that we had a marvelous time alone together.

In the weeks leading up to our anniversary I would have to say that we have been in a season of nit-picking. I think I have done 87-92% of the picking. I am pregnant, after all, and have lost my mind. I have KNOWN in these nit-picking weeks that if I would just LET STUFF GO that we would both be so much happier, but alas, I had not the self control to make this happen. And when a man is being hen-pecked 92% of the time, what husband would be motivated to change his behavior either? So we were driving each other crazy for days and days, weeks and weeks on end choosing to fight every battle, all for the sake of simply being right.


But in the 36 hours before we went away (we argued about every detail of going away, by the way), we were both sweet like sugar to each other. And it was not a fake sugar. No aspartame or splenda here. We were both choosing to NOT fight battles that did not matter (something that my un-pregnant self can do usually much better, and something my unprovoked husband is GREAT at). In those glorious 36 hours, life around here was so nice.

I pray that in the next three months before this baby comes, and in the weeks following birth when my hormones REALLY wreak havoc on my mind and body (gotta love waking up drenched in postpartum night-sweats) that the Lord would comfort my husband who might just need it. More than that, though, I pray that I would not fight every battle, that I would find ways to build him up often, and that he would be blessed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Transitions, Galore!

All of you on-top-of-it Moms posted your kid's first day(s) of school within moments of kissing them good-bye. I, on the other hand, am slightly more neglectful. But in my defense (since you must think me a terrible mom, I therefore defend myself) we had several transitions going on at the same time.
Transition #1: "Binki on a Hook"
My binki boy is constantly sneaking his binki out of his crib and sucking on it during non-sleep moments. And this pregnant mom is tired of the battle. Thank you, O Brilliant Ginger, for the idea of putting the binki on a hook high above his reach. Upon waking up, he puts the binki on the hook and we wave good-bye to it until the next sleep period. And the transition away from the binki completely has now begun, as he associates it only with sleep. (And car trips. And diaper changes. But that's it. Really.)

Transition #2: "Operation Make Room for Baby"

While we were unraveling poor Weston's world, we thought we may as well move him to a big boy bed. Shall we potty train him this week too?? We'll give him a month or so, then maybe... Here you see night one and night two of the transition. His sleeping positions were a crack up.

It has been a rough adjustment, mostly because I chose to start him sleeping on a toddler mattress on the floor. It was just too easy to slink off to sneak a toy or book. He already takes FOREVER to fall asleep so this added temptation did not help. I have spent many hours so far sitting in his room while he tries to fall asleep. I finally moved him to a twin bed and box springs but before I could do that I had to break down and buy a bed rail (I had previously just borrowed them but that dear friend gave hers away leaving me high and dry - just kidding Lori!). Sleep since then has been improving.

Transition #3: Davis Goes to First Grade

Far more sentimental than I, Davis said: "Be sure and take a picture of me in my backpack, Mom. And then put it in my baby book, alright?" It took some convincing before he was willing to turn all the way around and face me for even one picture. And then the school bus wisked him away for SIX WHOLE HOURS.

Upon arriving home, I asked him how his day was. Unlike most all kids in the world, his answer was more than the standard one or two word answer. No, this boy is his father's son (believe it or not, Ryan talks more than I do). How was school? "It was good. My classroom is small. We have play centers. I know four kids in my class already. Mrs. Baker is nice. I ate everything in my lunch...." I should not have been surprised to get so much information, but I was.

Transition #4: Jackson's Playmate is Gone All Day

This transition was much more dificult than I expected. Poor little guy was at a loss, missed his brother so much, and was generally an emotional mess. He had a regular scream-fest nearly every day. Everything was a travesty, all day long. Everything was a defiance. Now, the end of week two, he has made the transition and a delightful bi-product of Davis' absence has surfaced: a brand new relationship between big brother Jackson and little brother Westen. So endearing. Here are the two boys, spontaneously reading side-by-side. I look forward to watching Jackson step up to the plate as "the biggest brother in the house," and the development and growth of this friendship.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Thanks to everyone who prayed for me in preparation for the talk I gave today. I slept incredibly well the night before (better than I have in about a year, I would say). The points I wanted to cover I feel like I covered. I did not run over-time. People smiled me through the entire 50 minutes. And I HAD A BLAST! And if you were there and one of the ones smiling at me, THANKS!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Picks: Best Books for Parenting, Compiled

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. If sleep is a struggle, or if you are afraid that sleep might become a struggle, read up on this book for sound research and (hopefully) great results. Great for a mom with an infant, or a mom with a child of any age that does not sleep through the night, has trouble going to sleep, or is not adjusting to their own bed, or any number of sleep-related issues going all the way up to the teen years.
Raising Godly Tomatoes by Elizabeth Krueger. The best book out there for godly instruction on the yearly years of child training. It is an excellent book for a mom with an 18-24 month old and beyond. One caveat that must be mentioned: She advocates keeping your children isolated from the world. The decision to do or not do this while your children are young is one that must be left up to how God leads your family. Regardless of what your family chooses, the help in this book is unmatched for its parenting advice.
Parenting the Heart of Your Child by Diane Moore. Great book for getting a big picture of the various stages your kids will need you to coach them through, as well as some tips for where you are now. Good for mom’s with 3-4 year olds and beyond.
“Don’t Make Me Count to Three!” by Ginger Plowman. An excellent resource for learning how to biblically teach, train and discipline our kids. Great for Mom’s with kids around 4-5 years old and beyond.

What are YOUR top picks?!?

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Roller Coaster Way, and other small annoyances

We can arrive to our driveway going one of two ways: the regular way, or what my husband once called The Roller Coaster Way. Either way gets us home in equally short times, one just has a series of small up and downs while the other is quite flat and straight.

Jackson loves The Roller Coaster Way. Loves it. He excitedly asks for it whenever we near the intersection to turn onto it. Davis, on the other hand, has developed a distain for going this way. In my opinion, he has no reason to hate it other than to annoy his little brother. (Let me add, in all fairness, that this is such an unusual position for Davis to take on an issue.) As Jackson is yipping "turn! turn! turn!" Davis is yelling, "NO! We ALWAYS go that way and I HATE THAT WAY!"

What a predicament I find myself in. I can please only one in the car. If I am to ever get home, I must choose one way or another and no matter what I choose, one of my boys is completely devastated (no exaggeration, here). What is a mother to do? I suppose I could keep track and go straight one day and turn the next day. Or I could listen to the first voice I heard and go that way, or I could even use my popsicle stick method...

Instead, I have solved this dilemna with this phrase: "Davis, it is my good pleasure to do this small thing for Jackson and I delight to give him this simple thing each and every time he asks kindly."

"BUT THAT'S NOT FAIR! YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE IT!!" He says through tears.

"Yes, you have made it very clear how much you hate it. And I understand that it even is not "fair" to you. But this decision is not about you, my love. It is about Jackson. There are many times when I base desicions purely upon the fact that I delight to please you, and this is one decision that I make based purely upon my delight to please Jackson."

Of course, before I could say this to him, I had to come up with an example of this that applied to Davis. I actually had to wrack my brain a bit but came up with a perfect example: Every night (well, not EVERY night) after I read to D and J, I send Jackson off to bed. Then I pull out a chapter book that is right at Davis' level and read only to him - this is a routine I do purely because I know how it pleases Davis. In fact, it means the world to him. And even when he has been a pill and does not deserve it, and even when he really should go to bed early that night, I still do this small thing for him.

And upon explaining that to him, he settled down a bit about The Roller Coaster Way.

It reminds me of the verse that tells us how good a gift-giver our God is, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Mt 7:11). And it encourages me to seek God's wisdom in parenting rather than our own limited "wisdom." I hope you are equally encouraged.