Sunday, January 31, 2010

Prayer List

Here are just a few precious people who need our prayers.

Little Anna Grace

Heather (Her brain surgury is tomorrow Feb 1st. Prayers for her husband and daughter too.)



The Wilson Family (little Josiah has been in heaven for a week now.)

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:14-16 NIV)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dance Training at its Best

As I washed her paint crusted hands in warm soapy water this afternoon my daughter succumbed to a nice long yawn followed by a deep breath. I know she's still getting over a cough and could use a nap but I haven't successfully accomplished such a thing in this house yet this year.

Now scrubbing a glittered glob off the counter I hear another nice long yawn from the one who is right underfoot. I was just about to declare quiet time anyway so I see if I can help her to sleep.

My kids always need my help for naps, or else that of a car seat in motion. Up we go. Guiding her brother into his room to his box of spilled tiny legos, their domain already spread over a third of the room. "Find something to do that's quiet, sitting and playing with legos or reading books." The look on both of our faces as he smirks and says, "yes, mommy" reveals that similar words are uttered every day at this time.

Sitting down in my baby's room,  I grab my book and get her settled in to nurse.  As I open up my book I pause to dig through the corners of my brain forcing my memory to remember the last time we successfully sat here.  When was the last time we did this and she gave into sweet repose. I honestly can't find it.  I didn't burn it into my memory, sometime after Thanksgiving, I think. Well before Christmas.

Letting go of the memories of the many attempts since that last unknown nap, I look at her. She lets go looking up, "which sizes" she says and smiles, "pleasssse."  Holding on to the word while dancing her legs as I obligingly switch her long body around. I smile at her encouraging softly and gently for her to close her eyes. She relaxes and almost goes but returns to fight a bit more.

She sheds a few tears before she settles back in as I hum Silent Night. She hums it with me for the first verse the edges of her mouth turned up in a smile, eyes closed. When I begin the second verse I am unaccompanied and I slow down a bit as I hear her breathing slow. By the end of the third verse, she is far off in her mind, sleep has over taken. I slowly and carefully stand up as I have hundreds of times before with both my children.

I chuckle to myself as I turn to her crib. You'd think after nearly five and a half years at this mommy thing I would look into the crib before I had the sleeping baby (or toddler as the case is today) in my arms. Blankets strewn haphazardly along with a doll and stuffed bear. Nowhere without bumps or wrinkles for a sleeping toddler to snuggle in.

Grateful that at least this time the crib side was lowered I walk close to the crib and angle my body slightly. Taking a second to get my balance as I have before, I lift my right leg behind and to the side in a grand rond de jambe motion eventually into the crib. Delicate, controlled, smooth. No sudden or jerking movements keeping nice and fluid so as not to wake sleeping beauty. My socked foot scoots the blankets and toys down making a place for my baby. Once again steadying myself, I circle my leg from the front up and out of the crib while still holding tight my precious one.

Gently covered with a Nana blanket I grab my book and leave her room, looking back for a moment at her peaceful face and lowered eyelids.

I may not be using my "talent" or my degree according to some.  Some might think I gave up on a dream or on myself.  Me.  I know the truth is much more than that.  I use it every day.  A tap rhythm on the dining room floor has a hard time going unnoticed by even the most stubborn child.  As babies they would giggle as I pirouetted.  I sometimes think it is unusual how everything in life just overlaps.  I’m not sure why I find it unusual, it’s my life so past joins present.

Being Mom has been a natural fit for me. Not without trial and learning curves and hard work and striving for unattainable perfection.  Heidi and Mommy overlap at this place and it is safe to say I use my training on a daily basis and for the best purpose ever.  This audience is so sweet, they paint me flowers and always demand an encore!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Ray

January usually finds me aching for the outside air in my lungs and warm sunshine on my face turning my heart from grey to bright. With weather forecasts like much of the rest of the northern states (overcast and windy, chance of rain, chance of snow/rain mix and partly cloudy) it's no wonder.

This year my daughter's personality is blooming from baby and toddler to Miss Totally Independent and she is our very own glimpse of sunshine. A single ray of all that is happiness, tea, princesses, baby dolls, spinning, giggles, skipping and every abiding love.

"Mommy, give me a big squeeze" she'll say "me miss you so much today." Drinking in every last drop of the liquid gold squeezie hugs I push the questioning thought out of my head, 'when did you have time to miss me? When I was in the shower?'

She's won the heart of many a bigger girl at church, even on New Year's Eve some of them played with her until midnight bless their hearts. A few days ago little girl at the park (my son's age) latched onto her and kept trying to get her to go down the tunnel slide. (My little sunshine doesn't particularly like the tunnel slide yet.) This little girl was offering everything she could think of, "I'll push you in the swings/ you can sit on my lap..." but my little girl wasn't swayed by the pressure of this big girl. Not to mention her big brother (who was slightly perturbed that the girl wasn't playing with him) used this as his opportunity to defend his smaller and younger sunbeam as well as join into the playing.

This journey of life for my daughter is still new and I pray that she holds onto this gift. It is easy to let life snuff out the daylight and I hope that God will foster this gift in her and she will hold onto it. This gift of putting people at ease, holding them close and shining love on them. It is something I treasure about her daily and am grateful for her heart that is so much bigger than she.

Encore, encore.  One of her favorite things to say as we are getting ready to go is, "Me never get cold. No, me not need gloves, me never get cold."  Perhaps, it is true.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The honesty of it, straight to my heart

This morning on our way home from the gym my five year old decided to have a really horrible attitude.  It began as soon as he got into the truck and worsened with each fastening seatbelt.  Each click making the doom and gloom inescapable.

One sad choice followed by another sad action followed by lots of sad words. I did what I could; before I even pulled out of the parking lot he had lost his water and toy.  That's when the hurtful words began. "I don't have you guys in my heart anymore."  God please give me wisdom. I never know what to do when he says this; nothing I am doing is working please help.

I have told him before that my love can never be taken away from him, it is a forever.  My love.  I’ve said always, 'I will always love you.  I will always love you.'  Still he is fickle with his words about love.

In the car stopped at a light, unsure of what to do (Please God give me wisdom) I tell him his words are hurtful to both me and his sister.  His sister then generously hands him a batman that she's playing with exclaiming, "Me give Nathan Batman, me nice, me nice, me share."  She is obviously more forgiving than I. Perhaps trying to stay on my good side.

Nathan then replies, "Gabi you are back in my heart."  Love isn't something earned or purchased with gifts.  Some giggles begin and I was about to let the whole thing go as I accelerated the car to the speed limit eager to get home, out of my sweaty clothes and showered.  Thankful for deoderant.

More sad words and his consequence is handing over batman to me.  Please God give me wisdom, I'm not being an effective parent and I can feel it.  You have to give me the wisdom; I can't find it on my own.

Batman snuggled in my purse I hear his voice begin timid growing more intense with each word, "Mommy, you are not in my heart and I do NOT love you AND I want to go live with another family."

Really. I pause (for a long time I pause) eventually to calmly reply, almost comatose, "You hurt my feelings and I'm not going to be able to talk right now."  Can the light turn green so we can make the next few turns and be home already?

Wisdom Lord, where is the wisdom, please, I am begging.  He starts to talk and I actually tune him out. I turn into the driveway and pull into the garage.

Can I leave him buckled in his car seat until he has a change of heart?  As I get out of the driver's door, I open my daughter's door greeting her with a cheerful smile.  Unclicking and hugging her as I turn to my much loved son politely saying, "I will give you five minutes here, and then if your heart is grateful and happy and loving I will unbuckle you."  Guess there is a perk that his car seat is difficult to unbuckle after all.

I shut the door not wanting to hear any response.  Because I love him.  Because God loves him and created him to be a special little boy.  Because he cannot treat the woman who's done everything for him for nearly five and a half years this way, I am a great Mom.

Soap bubbles scrub tiny fingers (though not so tiny as they once were) and then long fingers.  "Dry, dry, dry" we sing.  Peanut butter and raspberry jam is smeared on the last few slices of bread.  Triangles are his favorite.  Sitting my daughter on a stool, I place two triangles in front of her and two in front of the empty stool next to her. We pray. I kiss her head telling her mommy will be right back.

It is time; I have to do this right. I am a fabulous Mom, he is a fabulous boy.  God please let me say the words that will mean something to him please let me speak to his heart.  Feet reluctantly stepping back out to the garage and around to his side of the truck.  Deep breath, fighting back welling tears.

I open his door, look him in the eye, it's no use fighting and a lone tear slowly slides down my cheek. "Hi. Are you ready to be grateful and happy?"

He looks at me and looking away again responds with a defeated, "yes."

Again finding his eyes I say delicately, "You told me you didn't love me" –pause- "and that hurt my feelings and makes me sad."  Tears are racing down now and my eyes close for a second to try to compose myself.  A cold little hand touches my left cheek and then another on my right. My eyes open and we hug repairing the hurt between us.


"Your words have power and meaning.  Words can hurt.  Words should not be chosen for hurting but for loving. I love you and I love the special place you have in our family.  You are a special boy and God gave you to our family.  We love you very much and thank God for you."

"I love you Mommy."

A sparkle came back to his eyes that I hadn't seen in awhile so I continued, "You are a gift from God and I do my best (so far from perfect) but I don't think I've been telling you lately how special you are to me and what a special place you have in my heart.  In this family, you are the one who keeps us laughing and playing, you are the one who makes us belly laugh and smile and you are the one who loves, giggles, cries, teaches, yells and sings.  You are special to me."

I don't remember much of the rest of the conversation as we headed back into the house.  I used to be a yeller, get angry and use my emotions and words as a sword but now, with God to help me maybe I can breath, talk, remain calm, shed a tear and maybe, just maybe break the cycle of anger.  Because my kids, they deserve to be lifted up.

Words can be like little pins poking just under the surface of our skin. Where our self-confidence meets our insecurities they travel, each letter of every word reaching further in threatening our very heart.

The world hurts us, thicker skin, remember for next time, and don’t let those letters in so deep. Don't feel so much pain, don't let them past this part, make it tougher.  It is easy to become hardened by the world sometimes by those in the world closest to us.  They are the ones we hurt the most because we know just where to send those pointy words, just where to shoot the letters to get in.

I'm hoping that God can make my skin softer for my family. A thick skin toward the world and its harsh opinions can be a good thing, but for my family I am asking to be softer, gentler keeping strong as mother, wife and woman. Softer and open so I can feel the effects of both my words and those of the ones I love. All the way into my heart.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

John 8:7

John 8:7
This morning, between my Turkey and my little Goose.

Setting: Turkey and Goose both running upstairs arguing and talking over one another. (you did, did not, yes did, nuh uhhh, did too, mommy, mommyyyyy) they enter my bed room.

Turkey: Mommy, Goose keeps hitting me on the hand

Goose: You hit MY hand

Turkey: No I didn't, I pinched you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Home Learning

My son made the cutoff for kindergarten this year by nine days. For many reasons Adam and I decided that official kindergarten wasn't going to start until next September. The biggest reasons are that he would be one of the youngest in his class and we want him to be 18 when he graduates not when he's already on his way into a dorm room.

I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to try our hand at homeschooling. I like everything about schooling my kids. Still I find myself very intrigued by the idea of unschooling but I'm not a fan of that term because to some it sounds the same as not schooling or not learning. (Even though that is not the case.) 

Last August I picked a couple of curriculum books that work on both pre-reading and pre-writing skills as well as a set of pattern blocks.I did get all excited at first and schedule out a curriculum of what we were to do on which day (generally three days a week) and had success with that but now we seem to just find things that he is interested in and take those on as they come. We make sure to do letter sounds and sight words often and math with legos and just try to make it fun for all of us, two year old included.

So far so good. It's possible that my son is just making this easy for me because he's very eager to read and is a motivated learner at the moment. He does it on his own for the most part. Yesterday, he really read to me, really reading the words! He loves playing with his calculator and enjoys finding numbers that he can add up to make the same number. Like 4+5 and 8+1.

It's funny because I notice most of the learning happening not from anything I'm doing or teaching but mostly from his initiation. All I do is provide an environment that encourages learning and attempts to make it fun.

There are a lot of teachers in my family and I know that a public school education is good, even great. I turned out decent and everything! If we choose not to go this route for our children we are by no means saying it is not good. We are making choices based on our family and individual child’s needs as their parents. I like to see his motivation, determination and even frustration. Scratch that, I LOVE it!

Is it going to be more work? Yes. Am I sacrificing me time while my kids are at school? Possibly. Are my kids going to have gaps in their education? Probably, there certainly are in my own. Am I going to regret it? Absolutely not!

We may not make the decision to homeschool every year and we plan to keep our options open to what the future may hold. Honestly, I'm not going to miss the lack of me time. In 16 or so years I'll have more of that than I want!

No longer will I say that we are sort of homeschooling or just trying it out, we are on this ship and ready for the next adventure.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

word play, bird stay

My son loves rhymes, and I do mean LOVES, like hugs. He has loved them for a long time now, yes, go ahead and take a bow. Finding words that rhyme, (really it is just sublime) real or silly is quite fun. Yup, a ton of fun. Usually I'm all on board, but first you must put down that sword. I love fun, a ton. Rhyming is fun, yeah like playing in the sun. Therefore I love rhymes. (I even eat limes.) Easy peasy.

The day came he said a rhyme that took the fun and made it done. He latched on to comm*e mommy. It happened one day a month or so ago and now he cannot let it go. I need to let it go today it's not a word I like to say. I didn't make a big deal back then, I thought with a blink it would be gone, had no idea it would stay so long. Once in awhile popping out of my tiny child’s mouth.

He's lucky that his Mommy's sadness never turned to full blown madness.....or maybe this is proof that it has!

Pardon my silliness. :D

The rhyme irks me just under the point of fighting the battle. You know, and then it becomes another word that is BIG in his mind. Like stupid and damn are words he'll get attention for. I plan to just see where it goes, surely it will get dropped in a blink. 

It's so hard to fight every battle as a parent. Knowing which ones are the big ones and which ones we can pick and choose through are hard. Knowing what is just a phase and what is here to stay is a challenge. Not to mention (the most important part) being consistent in the battle, using each day as an opportunity to re-teach, re-speak and re-love our children.

I’m loved, he’s loved and I’m trying to be consistent where it matters.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lost and Found

There is a rumor going around that it's delurking week in blogland so if you are stopping by take a second to leave a comment to let me know you were here. K? Pretty please?

In the past week I have cleaned out both our car and my purse. My random findings include...

• Adam's tie clip (missing > 1 year)
• lip gloss tube (lost last February)
• Enough change to fill a yogurt cup more than halfway (sticky, crumb covered and now rinsed in my strainer.)
• marker caps
• wads of stickers
• 6 matchbox cars vehicles (Mr. 5yearoldknowitall says several are not cars, one's an SUV even)
• Many miniature firemen accompanied by Spiderman, wolverine and batman figures. (quite a defense arsenal)
• a Wal-Mart sized bag of random receipts, old artwork, and trash
• a diaper pin

Have you found anything that's been missing lately? Care to share?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I sat down to write silly, but my heart wasn't in it.

My heart is aching for the people of Haiti. 

This is not something that began with the news of today, though it does.  My heart has ached for Haiti ever since I found out the average Haitian eats 3-4 meals a week. I ate that many meals today.

They now suffer a catastrophe, a huge catastrophe. Already poor, already hungry and now incredible grief.

It is impossible for us to see through God's eyes. He sees all those people, he knows them all down to the number of hairs on their heads, and now more than ever, he holds them up. May he squeeze the people of Haiti even tighter today, helping them come together in rescue efforts, giving them guidance, direction, aid, strength and the knowledge that while we sit and feel helpless to do for them, we do what we can, we will pray.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Music in life

If you still are in doubt that one person can change the outlook of many take a look at Josh Wilson singing during massive delays at Newark airport last week.

My kids got a kick out of it because they sing Hey Jude around the piano with their of these day's I'll figure out how to convert our videos... not today though.  Interesting to see everyone all bummed at the beginning and many people more relaxed and smiling as he went on.

Is there a quote about a pebble? Where it is thrown into a pond and the effect of the ripples extends vastly beyond the size of the small pebble.  Or am I making this up? The hardest part, is actually picking up the pebble.

I tell my kids (because they occasionaly tire of my singing) that singing makes people happy and we all want Mommy to be happy right?  This just further solidifies my opinion that life needs to be a bit more like a musical.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


You may have heard this before, but I just heard it this past Wednesday at a bible study I've been going to since September. I searched a bit, found many different versions, but could not find anyone to give credit to.
A little boy approaches a pastor and politely says “Excuse me, sir?"  To which the pastor replied, "Yes?" Then bent down to the boys level on one knee. "You said everyone should have Jesus in their hearts, right?" The boy asked, uncomfortably playing with his untucked shirt.

"That's right, son." The pastor replied "Does He live in your heart?"

"Well, I'd like Him to," the boy said, nervously. "But I keep thinking Jesus is a big tall man and I'm so little, He's just too big – He's just gonna stick out all over!"

On to the second week of 2010 (anyone else writing '010) we go, one day at a time. Taking the time each day to let Jesus out of us to touch one another, something simple, something that shows we care, we've been there or a simple prayer.
It's possible I've been reading too much Dr. Seuss this year already. :) Really, Jesus is too big to stay captive in our hearts, lets let him burst out of us this year and shine His blessings.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

We've been staged!

A friend of ours became a certified interior designer and home stager last year. While her business is new, her artful talent screams years of experience and her sweetness really brings truth to her business name, Graceful Designs. Check out her portfolio on the link, and if you are local she is fantastic!
Here are a few before and after shots of what she conquered in our home! Becky was so willing to dive into this room, this isn't even the real before shot, my Christmas tree was still up and she was incredible about rolling up her sleeves and helping me out - totally above and beyond, thank you!

So, living room before...
Living room after...

Dining room before...

Dining room after...

Kitchen before...

Kitchen after...

Family room before...

Family room after...

Master bath before...

Master bath after...

What a blessing this has been for us, I'm sure it will show off our home better to perspective buyers! My work is not yet done, I have one room to tackle diligently this week especially, but that is another long post! Thanks Becky, we have been blessed by you and your talent!

Photo credits: Becky Wilson, Graceful Designs

Monday, January 04, 2010

As Random as a MacGyver Style Stethoscope

So how's twenty-ten starting for you? Good?Great?Happy?Blah?Busy?Boring? Boring.....I wonder if I remember that feeling.

So far so good here. I generally don't do resolutions but this year I'd like to exercise more, (original, yeah, I know!) read more for myself and not nag so much. I'll take it one day at a time, grateful that each day is a chance to start anew, being the mom/wife/teacher/homemaker/daughter/sister/woman that I want to be.

This morning I took my first step-aerobics class in ages and you and your next belly laugh wish there was a video camera in there. I was SO off, turning the wrong way, even tripping over my step a couple times. It was fun but more so funny, made me grateful that I have a sense of humor about myself. Checking off an extra hour of exercise after which my Pilates class (who made fun of my beet red face) felt very good.

We eased into school this afternoon. I figured writing 'thank you' and 'love, Nathan' a bunch of times was a good way for my son to learn the importance of thanking loved ones for gifts as well as a lesson in handwriting. It was just the right amount of time for both of our attention spans, while my baby colored on the stool next to him. (Take that to mean both she sat on the stool coloring and she colored on the stool.)

Our next craft I had seen in a magazine and wanted to see if it would really work. We took a paper towel tube, wrapped it in aluminum foil, added some stickers for fun and held it to each other's chests. Sure enough it worked; it was much fainter that the real thing but you could most definitely hear the beat. Then we were to run in place for one minute and observe the difference. Really fun! If we ever need a stethoscope in a pinch, MacGyver style (I know I'm totally dating myself here) now we've got that in reserve!

Another random note: We've found the Three Cousins Detective Club series by Elsbeth Campbell Murphy and they are a hit! I've been reading them every day, my son really loves to be read to, and they are fun. Neither one of us wants to stop reading until they've solved their case! Along with another series we found at the library, Nate the Great, we may never make it off the couch this winter!
It is true READING IS FUN!

More about our current schooling choices to follow shortly.