Friday, April 24, 2009

to my son

img_4113Today is your 11th birthday, Stephen.   You'll get presents and a special night out at Cheesecake Factory but do you know what this means for me?  I have a middle-schooler.  Can you pinch me and tell me this is a joke? Where did my chunky little blonde-haired boy with the soccer-cut go?  How is it at age 11 you can fit into my socks and shoes?

Everyone says it.  Everyone does.  But that's because it hits you like a ton of bricks on a morning like this: Time goes by so fast!

Since you are eleven, I decided to list 11 things that I absolutely love about you.  

Here is my TOP 11:

1.  I love that you love to read.  When I see you nestled comfortably on a chair, with a big book in your lap, I get excited.  

2.  I love how you are often the first one to hug me when I am crying or when I am simply sad, without any tears at all.  Showing compassion is something I have seen you grow in!

3.  I love how you help Abbie with things - how you hold the doors for her - how you comfort her when she is upset - and how you talk and giggle with her when you are supposed to be in bed, sleeping.  

4.  I love your creative mind and how you can build/create all sorts of things out of a simple shoe box.

5.  I love how generous you are.  You rarely go to a store to pick out something for yourself without also buying me, Daddy and Abbie a little something too.  

6.  I love your olive green eyes.  

7.  I love how you have an eye for detail and a near perfect memory regarding directions.  Even when you were just a few years old, you could tell me the way to Mimi and Pop-Pop's house.  When we drive through the night to Myrtle Beach, you are up with a light and map to follow our route on 95.

8.  I love how you love your grandparents.  Your eyes light up when you know you are going to spend time with them.

9.  I love how you can figure out how to do just about anything on the iMac.  And I do mean anything.

10.  I love how thankful you are.  You don't just say "thank you" once or shower us with thanks - even for the little things.

11.  I love how you want to use your gifts to serve the Lord and His church.   


Happy Birthday, Stephen!   I love you all the way to the third heavens and back again!  

Through happy tears, I thank God for giving me YOU as a son.

Friday, April 10, 2009

just out of reach

Do you ever feel like something good that you really, really want is just out of your reach?











When you don't get it, do you ever feel like this?











Remember what Psalm 84:11-12 says and make a choice to anchor your hope and trust in the promises of God.
"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.  O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!"

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

learning to post

This is a short segment of Abbie's 4th riding lesson. The week prior she began to post and this week she continued practicing....but this time without any hands!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

24: the actual observations

logo1.  when facing the long stretch of having both kids up at the same time, i decided i needed to seize the opportunity to get out of the house and kill some time.  this is how i found myself pushing a double stroller through the neighborhood at 9:30 am on a brisk saturday morning.  i hadn't showered (see #3), so I had greasy hair and was in my gym pants and still wearing glasses.  normally, at 9:30 on saturday, i am still in bed.  but i had been up for hours and it was my only chance to take a walk before naps.  and yes, i was thinking through the day like that.

2.  i should have thought twice about trying out fiber cereal for breakfast.  because, you know, when you're alone with two little kids, you can't just get to the bathroom when you need to.

3.  speaking of that, it's not so easy to get a shower.  both kids have to be safely confined somewhere.  and i was trying to have them not screaming.  i stuck d in the play yard with a dvd and some toys, and when the baby fell asleep for her morning nap i moved her to the crib.  she doesn't sleep long in the crib, but that's where i needed her, so i was hoping against hope that she would stay asleep for half an hour (this is how long it takes me to shower, dress, and dry my hair).  she did, just barely... when i turned off the hair dryer she was crying.  i guess i would learn to be faster if this was my normal life.

4.  it seems like you're always feeding someone or changing someone's diaper.  it's a self-perpetuating cycle i suppose.

5.  amidst all of that, my own eating schedule became quite irregular.  you don't eat when you're hungry, or at normal meal times.  you eat when you have a chance.  and hopefully there's something already made, because the last thing you feel like doing is making more food.  and this is coming from someone who loves to eat.

6.  i hate when the wipes in the box aren't sticking up through the little opening.  i don't have time to deal with that when there is an un-diapered child on the floor trying to get to the nearest toy.

7.  i got several scratches on my face and neck from the baby (playfully) clawing and grabbing at me.  i also got rug burn on my elbow from diving on the floor and playing with them.  this is on top of the odd muscle soreness from trying to get from sitting on the floor to standing while holding a 22 pound baby.

8.  i used to think it seemed un-romantic for my friends to have all this baby stuff in their bedroom.  as i walked upstairs to bed with wipes, two sizes of diapers, an empty bottle, formula, and a bib... i understood.

9.  tantrums are ridiculous, and so are the tactics that kids use to avoid punishment.  no, don't come and hug me when i told you to do something else.  how humbling to realize that my sin is as obvious to God as these kids' manipulations are to me.

10.  it's better for me not to plan what i would like to do with the "free" time when the kids are sleeping.  it's probably not really free time, because something else probably needs to be cleaned, etc - if they even sleep when they are supposed to.  free time is an illusion.  and if you really do have it, you'll probably fall asleep.

11.  God help you if you aren't feeling well or get sick during any of this.

12.  i know this all probably makes it sound hard.  and it is, in a way.  the challenges are very different than the challenges i am used to.  but there are also a LOT of simple pleasures, and the satisfaction of serving others.  it's very fulfilling, in a selfless way.  but - my respect for all you parents (which i already had before) has certainly increased.

24: my prelude to a single person's observations after watching two little kids for 24 hours

Allyson is a close friend of mine and practically part of our family.  When it comes to helping us out with childcare, she takes the cake.

We broke her in when Stephen was only 7 and Abbie was just a 4-year old peanut.  I'm sure there were challenges with my two rascals too, but this past year since we've had Diamonte (2) and Azariyah (11 months) in our care, the stakes have been raised.  And let's be honest:  watching 4 kids in most cases is going to be tougher than watching 2 kids.

A few weeks ago, Matt and I joined the other pastors and wives on a marriage retreat.  Stephen and Abbie happily morphed into Dubell's and Allyson offered to watch the little ones at our house.  Then, just this past weekend, Matt and I took just Stephen and Abbie away for a surprise overnight trip (to bless them for their sacrifice regarding becoming a foster family for almost a year now).  Once again, Al had the little ones for another 24 hour period.

As a Mom, when you are away and you get a text from the friend watching your kids that reads:  "You have my respect", you know something must be up!

When I get back from getaways or dates, Al is the queen of debrief.  I get the full scoop on who did what and why and what could have happened and what almost happened. She is very thorough.  Because many of her stories were funny and insightful, I asked her to post them in this blog.


And thank you Al, for being our child-care champion!