Friday, February 27, 2009

The Blessing of Children (part II)

For me, raising my children brings me innumerable blessings.

There are the things any mom will tell you: the messy kisses, the sticky hugs, the smell of a new baby. Those are a part of my blessings too.

There’s also the drive to know God’s word (and a little something about everything in His creation) because my three-year-old questions everything and wants an answer.

There’s the closeness of God through prayer, because all day long my patience is being tried and I need more strength. He keeps me from going off the deep end in a land far from “home” with little adult interaction each week, with two tiny girls who want to be just like me.

There is the delight of looking at things through fresh eyes. Who knew that sticks make great paint brushes? And mud is the best paint ever.

There is the joy in the smallest things: like a fort of blankets, hot cocoa, and playing outside.

There is a blessing in knowing that I can raise my children to love God, so that they will love Him always (Prov. 22:6).

There is the bitter sweet excitement of each new stage and phase. As they grow taller, wiser, and stronger, they move to become less and less dependant on me. This means I also have to learn to start letting them go by baby steps too.

I have gained a lot of practice in trying (and failing) to be patient.

I have learned that sometimes things aren’t perfect and that’s okay. That too is a blessing. I don’t think God cares that our laundry hamper sometimes over flows or that I didn’t get the dusting done (again). My family sure doesn’t. They want me to be present. That’s why I hear, “Come play with me!”

Life as a mother isn’t easy. It’s often filled with discipline issues, kids up in the middle of the night, cleaning up puke and poop, and balancing a lot of things at once, but it is full of blessings too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Blessing of Children (part I)

Recently Justin and I have been hearing quite a few negatives about large families (not from everyone of course). And I’m not talking about octuplets. I’m talking about three kids. What?! Since when is that big? My dad was one of six and my best friend growing up was one of six too (her parents had brothers and sisters that they didn’t even know because there were so many of them and they were so spread out).

We prayed for many years before we were granted Kate. Then Gabby came quickly there after. Through out the Bible there are examples of women, once barren who were given one or more children: Sarah, Rebeka, Hannah, and Elizabeth. We are grateful to have one child and overjoyed to have been granted two children to love and raise. We love children and hope to see our family grow at least one more time. Why would such a blessing from God been seen as a bad thing?

We know we aren’t alone. Some of our dear friends are having their third child, and they are often asked if they decided to try for that boy (they have two little beautiful, intelligent girls too). And it’s assumed that this is their last “chance.” It makes them (and me) frustrated. They don’t think three is too many, nor do they try to have more children, just so they can have a certain gender. They love children and believe that they are a blessing!

We had a negative comment when I was expecting our second child, now one of Justin’s colleagues was pressing him because we have “reached our replacement value” by having two. In his mind that meant we shouldn’t even consider adding to our family. We don’t believe that families should be based on “replacing ourselves.” But if we did, do we get to have the extra credits for the fact his parents only had one child and my sister doesn’t plan to have any? Who gets to decide?

What does God say? Well, if you read the Levitical code, the instructions for relations between a husband and wife pretty well set them up to conceive more children. If you’ve ever studied natural family planning, the instructions in Leviticus are written to wait to have relations until the woman is at her most fertile time. He wanted lots of Israelites. More people to worship Him, do things His way, care for others, live according to His laws. If Christians are continually out populated, how can we reach the hurting? We can’t!

My children are a blessing and a gift. I'm not saying everyone needs to have lots (or any) children, but I will be joyful in my blessings--2 or 15.

Support Verses:

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate. –Psalm 127:3-5

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. –Matthew 19:13-15

Leviticus 15:19-28

Besides, when your kids are this cute, how can you stop at just two?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gabby: A Pictoral Personality Sketch

She's been finding her voice here lately. She's still, by far, the more quiet of the girls, but she's starting to share her opinions about things. Her favorite opinion is that everything belongs to her and that Mama has to drop everything to pick her up when ever she wants.

Do you think she liked it? She is very funny.

What can I say? The girl loves to eat. Plus she's getting so much better at it. She's gaining independence in everything. Walking, talking, and she's trying to put her socks on, just like sis.

Can she get any cuter?

She's a happy, content little gal.

I love this gal!

Kate: A Pictoral Personality Sketch

There's nothing like hot cocoa on a cold morning. Of course she calls it coffee. We must pretend to be grown up!

Speaking of grown up. She looks so grown up with her hair like this. I was looking for clips for Gabby's fine, but more full hair (to no avail) when Kate saw these clips. She asked for them and promised she'd let me put her hair up in them, so I can keep it out of her face.

Why is it our sister's toys are always the best?

Here's who she is...full of spunk.

Gotta love this kid!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I didn’t give the baby a cup of water without a lid to see how she would do. She, of course, didn’t spill water all over herself because I didn’t give her the cup. And I did not take her shirt off and just let her go without because it was after dinner already.

I did not let the girls help make brownies. Those wouldn’t be good for us!

I didn’t let the (not) half naked baby (see above) take a turn at mixing. She didn’t throw batter everywhere, including on her not naked chest or on her sister.

I didn’t have a bad headache on Friday and didn't let Kate watch PBS while I took a thirty minute nap in my chair during Gabby’s nap. She didn’t tell her Daddy when he got home either.

I did not drink four cups of coffee on Friday to try to stay awake. Not me!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Old Faithful

It’s been cold, so responsible home owner that I am, I went in and turned on the space heater in the bathroom to be sure the pipes didn’t freeze.

About twenty minutes later Kate and I heard a loud thump. Uh-oh. I go in expecting the pipes to be leaking. Instead it appears that the toilet turned into a geyser briefly. Weird, but I figured it was because I heated it up.

I sneak upstairs to get cleaner and paper towels (the baby was napping—miracles never cease). When I get back down, I hear a sound that I can only describe as a mix between a growl and the noise of a garbage disposal. Then the shower erupted!

I did what any self respecting house wife would do, and I called my husband. He listened to the growling and the water undulating in the toilet over the phone. He told me to turn on the shower, hopefully melting this “ice.” He’d be right home.

Meanwhile I start to search the internet for what having Old Faithful in our downstairs bathroom could mean.

When he came in the door he announced he’d found the problem. I knew he was good (he did learn from my Daddy), but he hadn't even seen the bathroom. As he drove up, he saw that Rotorooter is up the street. Turns out they were pulling negative pressure to clear a grease clog and it caused sewage to be forcefully expelled into our house.

The guy Justin talked to shared this little gem of wisdom: “I wouldn’t sit on the can, if I were you.” Wow.

At least it’s not our pipes. I’ll be thankful for small favors. It’s all cleaned up now.

So, when your toilet is expelling sewage forcefully don't take a seat. That's my public service announcement for today.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baby Stuff

I love babies and all the cute little things that go with them. I like to make baby quilts. Their cute and they go together relatively quickly, since they’re small. Plus they are cute. Oh, I already said that? It’s worth repeating. Not only are they small, which automatically gives them a push on the cuteness meter, but they has the sweetest subjects—baby dresses, little baby animals, teddy bears. I could go on.

Kate's Baby quilt (sweet little dresses):

Gabby's Baby quilt (little embroidered blocks--flowers, hearts, animals, a Star of David with a cross inside, and other simple designs free handed ala Kristy):

detail of Gabby's Quilt:

My Baby Quilt (I didn't make this one--it was from my great aunt):

Gabby is showing you how one might use it. She's helpful that way!

A bear quilt for if Gabby had been William or Thaddeus or some other male (we didn't know gender--and, obviously didn't have a name picked out):

A picture of Kate with my dear friend in front of a quilt I made (not a baby quilt, but it represented each of the students we had worked with together):

And the first of the baby quilts, I made this for us, before I was even pregnant. It's a Noah's Ark theme and it's a nice big size for the floor:

Anyway, since Justin and I aren’t planning on having any more babies in the near future, I have to enjoy the baby stuff for my friends. One of my two friends that is expecting this summer emailed yesterday. She hadn’t had a nursery theme, but decided yesterday she wanted to do owls. Could I help her make curtains? Now I get to sew cute baby stuff and I don’t even have to buy the materials.

We sent a few emails back and forth and I found some examples online. We chatted a bit on the phone. We’ll probably make a simple panel curtain (like the one I made for Kate’s room) and put owls on the valance. She liked a cute sleepy looking owl, so I drew up a pattern, got out some scraps and played with my sewing machine after the girls went to bed.

What do you think?

Our Valentine's Day

So, we had Valentine’s Day over the weekend.

First we had these:

The children approved:

In the afternoon, they played and I caught these pictures:

This was our romantic candle lit dinner, complete with a sippy and princess cups!

Hope you had a great one too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To Nap or Not to Nap

The past two days Kate's nap times have been, well, not very restful for her or me. She's been day time potty trained for quite some time now, but she was showing signs that she would benefit from access to the bathroom at night, so we took the door knob covers off for her so she could let herself out and go to the bathroom at will.

Evidently yesterday she did just that at nap time. I must have been in the kitchen working, because I can hear her door open if I'm in the living room. I went up to check on Gabby and found Kate's door ajar. I walked over to the bathroom, where she stood, covered in toothpaste, atop the toilet lid, leaning precariously to reach inside the medicine cabinet. Thankfully we removed all medication from that cabinet (and the entire bathroom) a few months ago because she's always interested in it.

Today I heard a thud, which is, unfortunately, not uncommon. I didn't even make a move to go upstairs until I heard her scream. When I got up there she stood, physically unhurt, crying, and looking mournfully at her overturned mattress. It was laying on its side, the guard rail dangling, and blankets everywhere.

I righted the bed, put her in it, and threatened no outside play time if she was loud again. She went off to dream land for a full thirty minutes, until someone of "unknown name" called and hung up. Then she screamed. And woke up Gabby.

It would be easier if she didn't honestly need the nap, but she does. After naps like this Mama does too!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

In the grocery store today when a little girl was annoying her mother by asking, “What?” over and over. I didn’t laugh when Kate started doing it. I also would never join this silliness and add in all sorts of other questions like, “Who, when, where, how, and why?” in a sing song voice. Not ever, and especially not on President’s Day when the store was busier than normal.

I didn’t wait until the last minute to get Valentine’s Cards done. Then I didn’t realize that I didn’t have envelopes that they would fit into, so I didn't have to go out and buy some, of course not delaying them by yet another day. Not me!

I didn’t find my three year old playing in the bathroom upstairs when she was supposed to be napping. My child would never do that and I would have of course heard the commotion, because I have Mommy sensors.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh how I love thee…let me count the ways.

1. You make me coffee, even though you’re the one who has to get ready for work.
2. You love me in spite of because of my neurosis.
3. You give the girls a bath so I have time to myself every night.
4. You pray for our family.
5. You taught Kate how to pray.
6. You trust me implicitly and I know I can always trust you.
7. You listen to me.
8. You make breakfast on Sunday morning.
9. You try to let me sleep in when I’m sick.
10. You love to learn and push me to keep learning too.
11. You don’t give up even when it is difficult.
12. You believe in me even when I have a hard time believing in myself.
13. You held my hand when I was in labor (twice) even when all you wanted to do was stay in the waiting room.
14. You love our girls.
15. You don’t make fun of me too much, even when I make stupid mistakes.
16. You make me laugh.
17. You live ethically, even when it’s not the easy thing to do.
18. You work harder than you are required to because you believe your job is important.
19. You play in the floor with the girls and let them climb all over you.
20. You drive so I don’t have to.
21. You can quote everything you’ve ever read, heard, or seen.
22. You do complex equations in your head, but you can’t add and it makes me giggle.
23. You share my hopes and dreams for our future.
24. You want to get old and gray with me.
25. You love the same God that I love and you show me His grace and mercy in our family.

I am my beloved’s, and he is mine… (Song of Songs 6:3a)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Missing Miss Pink

This time of year I always think of a student of mine who passed away. She had a January birthday and she died in February (five years ago today), so winter always conjures memories. She was as stubborn as could be and I loved her. She was funny and her favorite color was pink. She loved Disney characters, jewelry, and pink socks.

She missed a lot of school, so I often saw her for home bound services at her grandmothers’ homes. She would stay with one or the other of them while her parents were at work and they were both so warm and kind, letting this stranger come in and commandeer their table and granddaughter for a couple of hours a few times a week.

Through all that I got to know and love her more. I have a few things to remember her by, photos (that I won’t show for her and her family’s privacy), a picture she drew, a ring (we had matching ones, so I think of her whenever I see it), and a ribbon (from a fundraiser some of my peer tutors did to raise money to donate to a place that helped her when she was small). She’ll always have a place in my heart and her name is oft spoken in our home, as we named one of our girls after her.

My Littlest Valentines

Aw. What are they looking at?

A telephone.

This was the best one. Really.

See. I told you.

Baby don't want no bows! Ouch!