Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Escapee

At first I thought it was a fluke. There was a big cardboard car next to the crib, so I thought it emboldened him and that it wouldn't happen again. Even after 2 or 3 times of him joining me after his nap, just coming on downstairs . . . I still thought it wasn't really happening. Maybe. Then I thought I'd put him in and TELL him to get out. Here's what I saw:

He's my first crib-climber-outer. I guess it's time to move him into a twin bed. WAH! My baby's growing up!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The One Thing

Last night was a very silly night at AWANA - Potato Head night. The kids, as you can see, all decorated a potato and brought it to club. Caris did hers as Daddy, and it's 2-sided - a happy side and a mad side. How hard did I laugh at Alif? Ha! Caris assured him that he displays the happy side much more than the angry one. (Still laughing.) Malachi carved his like a pumpkin and didn't like it, so Graham came to the rescue, decorating a red potato for him. Malachi was thrilled when his friend Daniel declared red potatoes the most delicious potatoes in the world. Graham's top-hat-with-rock-hair potato wins the prize in my mind. LOVE it.

I'm the T&T Girls Director in our club, and last night was my night to teach. I was excited about the lesson and hoping my enthusiasm would shine through my tiredness. I was praying for this when we started worship. The first two songs were active and fun - perfect! The last song was a slow, beautiful one, and I thought - uh oh, energy's gonna go doooooowwwwwnnn . . .

Then I heard the kids' voices. Amazing grace . . . how sweet the sound . . . amazing love . . . comes flowing down . . . I saw their eyes closed, focusing away from each other and the potatoes and everything else and zoning in on their Lord. From hands and feet . . . that were nailed to the tree . . . your grace flows down and covers me . . .

I'll admit it. I had a moment. A Mom moment. And you know what? I didn't even keep it private. Worship ended and I took my place in front of the kids, and I just let my mushy moment rip.

I told the kids that when a Christian Mom or Dad (or Grandma or Grandpa) finds out they're going to be a parent, there's one thing they think of more than anything else. Yes, we daydream about their tiny little fingernails and soft hair and sweet, tiny noses. We can't wait to snuggle their bitty tummies and tickle their toes. But there's something so much bigger than all of that: we want them to know Jesus.

We long for the day they will ask what it means to trust in Him. To hear their voices acknowledge Him, seek Him, love him.

Let me tell you, there isn't a lot that can move a Mama to tears quicker than hearing her babies praising the Lord. Those voices that aren't even fully developed, totally abandoned to loving their Maker - oh, it touches a place deep, deep inside.

I am so, so blessed!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I didn't want to go to Weight Watchers this morning. Really really didn't want to go. I knew I'd gained, and I was right: 3.4 pounds. Why is it so much easier to pack it on than to take it off?? I'm still down overall by about 13 pounds but dang, I could be nearing 30 by now if I'd get on the ball and quit this back & forth stuff. I just told Alif about it and he said, "That's ok, we've been eating vigorously this week." Ha!

About a month ago, maybe 5 weeks, I brought my Bible downstairs during quiet time with the intention of doing a Bible study while the kids napped. I didn't, and also I never took it back upstairs where I read before falling asleep at night. I have noticed that I'm really missing my nightly Bible reading, and I also think it's having a big impact on my daily living. God tells us in that His Word is living, that it's good for all sorts of things, and clearly one of them is keeping me on the right track.

In other divulging-too-much-info news, Alif & I are facing some real parenting dilemmas. We are glad to be on the Dave Ramsey plan, to be turning our financial life into a successful one. Note that I say we're glad about it and not that we find it easy. There are things we have totally taken for granted over the years that we are now having to really think about. Two of those things are the kids' sports and camps.

There are four sports/activities coming up: baseball, indoor soccer, swimming lessons and outdoor soccer. How much would it cost to enroll all three big kids in all of these activities? Let me bust out the calculator and do a little guesstimate . . . ok, around $1750. Camp will cost around $900, not including fundraisers but including things like spending money and supplies. This is a lot of money!

Tonight we're going to have a little pow-wow with the family, get their input, get God's input, and then hammer out what we think we should actually try to fit into our budget and what will just have to wait. I can see how we have gotten into debt to begin with - all these things feel so important that they don't seem optional. Well, they're just going to have to be, or we're going to have to figure out a way that we can pay our bills and still afford all the extras - in cash. Wish us luck!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Today's blah-blah

Let's see if I can fill you in on what all has happened since yesterday.

We went to FPU, and Alif wasn't running late for once so we all rode together. Yippee! How many of you drive the car when the whole family's in it? Our family car used to be MY Toyota Corolla, and I guess since it was mine long before we got married, it was just habit that I always drove it. Except when we would go out of town, and then Alif usually drove. Suddenly when we bought my van, he became the family driver probably 75% of the time. How strange, isn't that?

FPU was most excellent as always. Have I told you the drama surrounding Canaan and FPU? I don't really want to go back through old posts so I will tell you the very short story just in case I haven't.
Week 1: Little mister literally RAN right in, had a ball, didn't cry a bit.
Week 2: He cried the entire time. I didn't know this until I picked him up. They were too busy to page me. I wasn't super happy about that but they held him and he was being loved so I wasn't too traumatized.
Week 3: He cried when I dropped him off so I peeked back in a few minutes later to see how it was going, and my 2-year-old-literally-on-that-day was walking around the room sobbing, and the workers were not tending to him. My blood pressure went up and I got him out immediately. The children's director ended up taking care of him personally that night.
Week 4: He cried on and off and they held him and loved him.

Last night he seemed pretty excited about class. "Puzzles, toys, HI MOMMY! HI DADDY!" We were practicing how it would all go and he seemed ok. This church has a fancy drop-off system that involves printing off a paper with photos on it to prove who you are and everything, and he was holding his little paper as we approached his classroom. I cheerfully asked if he'd like to give the teacher his paper and he did - with his arm stretched waaaaay out and his body as far around the corner as it would go. Ha! He cried as I nudged him in, but settled quickly. His favorite teacher said he shadowed her all night but didn't cry. When I picked him up he was coloring a puppet. Someone had drawn big, brown eyes on it. I can relax. A little.

So I guess that's about the biggest thing that's happened since we spoke last. Have a great Thursday!

Wait, I almost forgot! Alif and I are going to cut up our credit cards! Can you imagine? We have tons of them. Tons. We are still on baby step #1, which is to save up a baby emergency fund of $1,000, and we're not gonna cut our cards until that is established. Once it is though, adios credit cards! We will need to keep the Home Depot and Lowe's cards until we save up some money for Alif's construction business, and once we do that those will be gone too. No credit cards - REVOLUTIONARY!! I did our debt snowball (debt repayment) plan and it has us paid completely out of debt, including the truck (my van is paid for) in 3 years. That's not including any extra payments above & beyond what we currently pay on our debt. There's hope! There's light at the end of this tunnel!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nothing to write about

I've had blogger's block lately - had you noticed? I think of things I'd like to say, but by the time I get in front of the computer whatever was on my mind has vanished. I'm just gonna do a little rambling today, if you don't mind.

A couple nights ago Canaan was sleeping with Alif and I. He woke up at 5:45 and asked to nurse, but said it was ok for me to go potty first (ha). When I came back to the bed, I started to climb in and he said, "ahh, thank you!" :-D

We women all love our labor stories. They're so much a part of who we are that we can't help telling them over and over to anyone who will listen (or pretend to). I'm surprised how much I feel this way about the births of my two nieces in the last week! I could write a whole blog entry about each of them, but I feel kind of weird doing so since that's THEIR mommy's story. If I'm going to be a birth photographer, I'm certainly going to have to learn how to integrate others' birth stories into my own life without it throwing me for an emotional loop each time! I almost feel like my own hormones are going through a shift similar to when I had my own kids. I guess it's the huge buildup and letdown of waiting and waiting and waiting, then attending (!) each birth, and then leaving them to live in my own home with my own life. It doesn't make a lot of sense to feel this way but since when did feelings make any sense anyway?

So Olivia and Kate are both doing so well. Olivia is a major sleeper which is new to John & Lynette. I dare say they are enjoying it. Kate has changed so much even since I last saw her on Sunday. My Mom texted me a picture of her yesterday and she was looking like the spitting image of my gorgeous sister.

Oh, I love babies!! I saw someone pregnant last week and told Alif, "Oh look, she's pregnant! Lucky!" He didn't respond.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Caris and the Missing Tooth, and Babies galore

As dictated by Caris:

I was at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and I was eating a hamburger. And I was like, "what is that in my mouth?" and then I felt it, and then I tried to pull it out, and I thought it was something stuck between the tooth. And I finally pulled it out and dropped it out of my finger. And then I finally knew it was a tooth. And I thought, that's cool! Then we put it in a baggie. Later I told Grandma that I didn't have anything to do and she said, "go play with your tooth!"
So there it is - my baby girl lost her first tooth! And she did it while I was out of town, the little stinker!! I warned her before I left that I would be mad at her if she lost it while I was gone, and she wasn't sure if I was kidding or not so she said, "Will you really be mad, or will you just be sad?" LOL I assured her all would be well if she lost it while I was gone. ;-)

Pictures to come when I FIND MY CAMERA. How does one LOSE a camera??

Also? I have not one but TWO new nieces.
Olivia Katherine was born to Lynette and John on 2/10, and she's not my bio niece but close enough.

Katherine "Kate" Rebecca was born to Megan and Jason on 2/14.
Both girls are gorgeous!!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Meltdowns & Miracles

Every year as my kids' birthdays approach, I prepare myself. More than a month ago I began to rehearse in my mind that Canaan would be turning two. A couple times I even referred to him as a 2-year-old. Just to try it on for size, you know? Ease in?
That's all fine until the actual day comes. February 4, 2009. My baby is two. Two! Can't I remember so clearly calling those needed to come to my home and attend my labor? Wasn't it only moments ago that LaMonica laid my 10 pound, 2 ounce son in my arms, insisting that yes I could hold him even though I was exhausted and my hands were numb from propping myself up in my bathtub?
We have celebrated this boy every day of his life. How very special each of his milestones have been with not only a doting mother and a proud father, but the biggest cheerleaders of all - his siblings - applauding him! How we've adored him and his sparkling eyes, his easy grin, his cute little sayings!
We have spent countless hours on the floor with him, seeing the world through his eyes. We've knelt in the sand and really felt it between our toes. We've seen the little birds hopping to and fro and appreciated their delicate nature.
I couldn't begin to calculate the number of hours I have spent nursing this little one, holding him as tightly as wiggly toddlerhood allows, kissing his rosy lips, smoothing the silkiest hair, caressing the softest little legs.

I have remembered the weeks of early pregnancy when we weren't sure at all that this baby was going to stay put. The months we spent searching for the right medical practitioner for my pregnancy and delivery. The peace and joy we felt when we finally decided to have him at home. The unbelievable experience it actually was, far surpassing my wildest expectations of how wonderful a labor and delivery could be.

We have, in short, fallen absolutely, head-over-heels, completely in love with our magical little son. Alif spoke correctly this morning when he came upon our smiling boy: "It doesn't matter what day it is, you're just happy!" Happy indeed, and oh - we are so, so blessed.

In case you weren't sure, Canaan, we love you. So very much.