Saturday, September 10, 2011

inquiring minds

Rachel: Mimi, do all firefighters love Jesus?

Mimi: No, not all firefighters.

Rachel: Well if they don't love Jesus, than why do they go into fires and save people?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

the birthday--the big ONE

My baby boy turned one last weekend. It's a little hard to take when people start remarking, "He's not really a baby anymore, is he?" "YES HE IS," screams my soul--but I know he isn't. I sure do love this kid.

Since I've failed to post more than, oh, say, twice regarding my third-born, here are a few milestones and things-I-wanna-remember:

  • True to form for our Giles babies, he took his first steps at 9 months, and really started walking well quickly.
  • Unlike his sisters, who had only their 2 bottom teeth at their first birthday, this kid had 7.
  • He ate baby food for a brief few weeks before he began to refuse it, demanding--in a very communicative fashion--table food. The girls did not care a thing about any of that, and continued to eat baby food for a few weeks even after their first birthdays. He also LOVES meat, which the girls still don't care much about.
  • "Mama" was James's first word, which is a nice contrast to the "Dada" I never heard the end of with the girls (hehe). HOWEVER, he seems to have forgotten that sweet-sounding word. He now says "Dada" aaaaall the time, but he calls me "AAAHHHHHH!" Yes, he yells at me. And I suppose I respond, and so that's why he keeps doing it, but whatinthaworld should I do? Anyway, like Carly, he has swiftly figured out how to get his point across by pointing, yelling, grunting, and generally making his wishes known. And, like his sisters, he is a tough one to convince when my ideas conflict with his.
  • He disobeys a little more readily than I remember his sisters doing. He turns "no touch" into a big game of "dodge-the-swat," which he finds hilarious.
  • He's bigger than his sisters. Although he's been in size 12 month clothes since the age of 6 months, he's still adequately taller--as in, he can reach things that I never remember worrying about Baby Rachel or Baby Carly reaching.
  • Rachel and Carly's first pairs of shoes were size 3. James's little sandals are size 5. And his toes already hang off the ends.
  • He is content and quiet as long as he is walking around carrying something he thinks he shouldn't have.
  • James likes Rachel well enough, but he is most interested in Carly. Carly didn't pay James much attention for many months--until he started walking. I guess he became a peer at that point, and she suddenly fell in love. He thinks she's so funny, and he knows exactly how to push her buttons and make her squawk, and he does it ALL day long.
  • He's lovey, and he offers a forehead-bump and a coo to anything with a cute face (stuffed animal, doll, Carly). Sometimes he offers these sweet exchanges to me and to others, and I cherish those sweet little moments.
  • He's not much into snuggling now that he's a big one-year-old. I used to rock him every night, but now he just squirms and fusses when I try, until I finally just toss him in his crib and bid him farewell. He goes to sleep without a hitch, thankfully, and he sleeps quite well all night.
  • He takes two He WAS taking two great naps, but for the last month (and I've been in denial about the trend, but anyway), he has had more one-nap days than two-nap days. I don't know what he's thinking, but he plays/sings/yells through one of his naps at least 3-4 days EVERY week now. HOW could he POSSIBLY be even THINKING of dropping a nap. I won't have it. :)
  • He also seems to be disinterested in nursing, which is earlier than either of the girls. Sad.

That's all I can think of for now. This boy sure does make our days more fun, and I can't wait to see the man he turns out to be. In the meantime, I'll keep babying my baby boy!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

breakfast chatter

At the breakfast table this morning with Rachel (5yo) and Carly (2.5yo)...
  • Mommy: The Bible says we should do everything "as unto the Lord." How can we do that?
  • Rachel: Praise God!

  • Mommy: How can we praise God in everything we do?

  • Rachel: Pray and read the Bible.

  • Mommy: How about when we do other things? How do you play when you play with your sister?

  • Rachel: Be kind!

  • Mommy: YES! That's one way we can do everything "as unto the Lord." When we are kind to each other, God feels that we love Him, and we always want God to feel that we love Him, right?

  • Rachel: But we can't always be kind. We can't always make good choices.

  • Mommy: Why not?

  • Rachel: Well, because, we always sin just a little bit. I can't always make good choices.

  • Mommy: That's true! But we can always try, can't we.

  • Carly: But someone taked away our bad choices. Someone did.

  • Mommy: Yeah? Who did?

  • Carly: Jesus did.

  • Mommy: And how did He do that?

  • Carly: He died on the cross.

  • Mommy: Yes He did! And He rose from the dead so that we can have eternal life!

Thank you, God, for these precious children and their sweet faith. Thank you for the simplicity of your Gospel--that my children can know it and understand it. I pray that they own it and know that it was for THEM that you sent your Son--that you, Jesus, died for Rachel and for Carly and for James. What good news!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

oh the wonder of my wandering and wondering mind

I am 30 years old. I've birthed 3 babies in the last five years. The clothes that I keep shrinking back into are out of style now, and too young for me anyway. And I can't imagine a day when I will ever be alone and not preoccupied with the whereabouts and goings-on of my family. Life is different.

I catch myself thinking that my best days are behind me--that my window of opportunity to do the fun things in life is gone. I have been realizing lately that there is a list of things I long to do. I miss playing team sports: basketball and soccer. I wish I had had the opportunity to roller derby when I was freer to do that kind of thing. I want to go to an open mic and play my guitar and sing my heart out; I didn't do it enough when I had the chance, and I want to get better at it, too. I wish I had learned to dance.

But there's a duality here. I miss those things and I want to do them. On the other hand, I know full well that if I step onto a soccer field tomorrow, it would not be fun--at least not the fun I remember it being. I know that I could not compete well enough in basketball to make myself happy. I know that roller derby would ache my aging body. And I could go to open mic, but my mind would be racing with all the things being neglected at home, not to mention the fact that I had not had time to practice my singing/playing, which would also render it not-as-fun. And I just feel too old to learn to dance.

How did I get here?? Maybe it's true--that my best days are behind me. Or maybe I am moving to a new stage of life. Hmmm... Maybe I should be finding new things from which to derive pleasure and enjoyment. Is it sewing? Maybe sewing is my new fun-thing-to-do. It's just not the same, though. I like it, but it's just not the same.

My firstborn, Rachel, just turned 5 years old. I've never wished her to be involved in any organized sports or activities until recently. She suddenly seems old enough--ready. Where should we go with this? Tae Kwon Do would teach her self control and spacial awareness, which she definitely needs. So would dance or gymnastics. She would love a team sport, because she's so social. I look online for dance studios nearby, and I find one that seems great. Even greater, is that they have a horrible website, so I begin thinking that Jarrad might possibly be able to work out a barter with them so it's not so expensive. There are some youtube videos on their site, and WOW there are some dancers doing some amazing things! They look so athletic and precise. I watch the same video several times, and show Jarrad.

The images from that video stay in my mind, and as I daydream in the following days, I suddenly realize that I'm not wishing I could do that. I'm not imagining myself in that studio, learning choreography and excelling as a dancer. My daydream is not of myself, but of Rachel.

And then it hits me like a gust of wind that takes my breath away: my new fun-thing-to-do is to watch my children grow, learn, mature, achieve, and excel. My new best enjoyment is their enjoyment. I will henceforth be most delighted when they are delighted.

I can see now that my best days are ahead. And as my fun will be their fun, I anticipate that my heartbreak will come when their hearts break. My saddest moments will be when they are sad and I can't fix it.

And so I stay tuned for a richness of life I have not yet experienced. I imagine that the happiness and pleasure and enjoyment that I experienced in my youth might pale in comparison to the happiness and pleasure and enjoyment I derive from my children's experiences. I know I have already learned so much more from these little ones than I could possibly have learned as a student--even when I was at the pinnacle of my formal education. All of those lessons now have flesh, and they teach me and re-teach me every single day.

I'm a mommy now. And suddenly I feel freer than ever to embrace my new(er) role in life. Thank you, Jesus. My freedom is in you, and you alone. I know my selfish pursuits will leave me empty. Thank you for giving me new joy every day. Thank you for the reminder that I am not made to live forever or to be stuck in the same place forever. Thank you God for your promise to make me whole again--the perfect version of me--when you redeem me to glory one day, to sit with you and to sing praises to Jesus forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

i like my kids part deux

I have thought many many times over the last few months about how much I'm missing out on recording memories. Right now, the kids are all sound asleep, the hubs, who is usually burning the midnight oil doing work, is also sound asleep, and I have the quiet house. So here goes:

Rachel. This girl drives me nuts, no doubt. From the time she was a tiny little thing, she has been so intense. As soon as she figured out the whole language thing, she was talking. Nonstop. But I don't need to recount that, because I used to write a blog post every. single. day. But, hey, that's how it is with the first, right?!? Anyway, I was entirely hopeful that she would snap into some reasonable level of maturity when she turned four, but this last year has had its own trying times. But by and by, I see glimpses of that big girl I've been hoping for. She's definitely not a baby anymore, and we've had to cross bridges of unchartered waters this year--like explaining that she can't be lovey dovey with every man she meets (only family, please), and that it's just not cute when she fake laughs or acts wild around new people. Seems like common sense stuff, but I suppose we were taught it once, too (thanks, mom and dad...seriously). She's growing up. But wasn't she just a baby??

There are two things about Rachel that I am fascinated to watch and encourage. One thing is that she loves--and I mean LOVES--to do things with her hands. If it's a craft, she's all over it. Glue, scissors, stamps, stickers, markers, paint, fabric, beads--these things are not safe if she's around. A few weeks ago, Jarrad gave me flowers (I know--sweet, right?). I cut them down a bit and pulled off some of the leaves so they would look nice in my vase. Before I had a chance to clean up after myself, Rachel had created a picture for each kid in her preschool class using those discarded items. She glued one leaf and one stem to each piece of paper, colored a little, and wrote her friends' names. She was sure to take them to school the next day and handed them out so proudly.

And that brings me to the second fascinating-thing-about-Rachel. The girl loves loves loves giving gifts. Oddly, "gifts" is one of my love languages, which is quite handy (they say you speak your own language easiest, so I assume that the fact that Rachel loves to give gifts reflects that that's how she also feels loved). Last week, she came into my room one morning before school, and she asked if she could please give each of her friends an animal. Bear in mind that Rachel loves her stuffed animals and dolls. She plays with them more than any other type of toy. But I will be the first to admit that sometimes I feel like the stuffed animals might attempt a coup d'etat and completely take over, and so I did not object to her idea. I had no hand in the process whatsoever (I had my hand in other daily preparations), and she took it upon herself to find a bag and loaded up ten of her favorites. I was aghast at which ones she chose, and [sadly] I had to repress the urge to talk her out of some of them (why would I do that?? but I was still oddly bothered that she wanted to get rid of some of those animals that she loves so much). I reasoned in my head, though, that our friends and family who have gifted her with so many lovely toys and animals do so because they think those things will bring her joy, and, well, if they will bring her joy by giving them away, then I most certainly should not stand in her way, and I most certainly should encourage her. Do not hold onto things of this world, Child. And so she happily took all of the animals to school and handed them out, one-by-one, each child receiving the particular animal Rachel picked out for him/her. She was so happy. "Do you know why I want to do that, Mommy? Because I love people." She really said that. And I was so proud and thankful. And it's so odd, too, because she really has trouble (like any kid) sharing her toys when friends come over, or even especially with her sister. I guess that's different, somehow.

I really can't wait to see how these things grow with Rachel. Will she always love to craft? Will giving always come so naturally to her, or will she become jaded? Maybe we were all like that once, who knows?

Well, that's Rachel. I think I'll end here and join the rest of my family's snooze time. The next chance I have to sit and ramble, I'll spill all about Carly--the sweet-faced one. That little girl definitely keeps me on my toes..

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

i like my kids

I mean, ain't they cute?? :)

from the other night

Carly (holding a toy stethoscope to my heart): I'm gon check you email, Mommy.

Mommy: um...okay...

Carly (listening intently in the apparatus): You got chocolate milk, orrrr oatmeal?

Mommy: I...uh...well...oatmeal?

Carly (pretending to use the end of the stethoscope as a spoon and scooping imaginary oatmeal): Here you go, Mommy.

Mommy: I am so confused.

Monday, May 2, 2011

death and a caricature [Osama Bin Laden]

the man is dead
caricature that he was
distorted version of creation

justice has won
historical murder
let the parades begin

questions of sadness
a human being slain
from life to death--done

the man is dead
vanity to party
vanity to grieve

you cannot kill a caricature.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

thoughts on the Resurrection

I woke up today, excited. Today is EASTER. It is the best day of the year. I felt a big sense of accomplishment and relief. The anticipation of this day has been building, and here it is.

These have been my feelings for the past couple of years at Easter. It has gradually become a realization that today, Resurrection Sunday, is by far the biggest reason to celebrate--my only reason for joy. I know, Christmas is big--I mean, it's Jesus's birthday and all. But today--TODAY--we celebrate that He yet LIVES!

You know that feeling you get after a big exam that you've studied for and anticipated? That feeling that you are FREE? That's how I felt today. Jesus's life built up to THIS day. His 3 1/2 years of ministry was for THIS.

He worked hard. He did not rest. He taught deep spiritual Truths. He loved the unloveable. He toiled, and He sweated. He shifted the paradigm. He was hated. He was spat upon. He was mocked, tortured, beaten, stabbed, and rioted against. He was HATED. He was killed. He was forsaken. He was innocent.

But three days later--TODAY [as we celebrate it]--today, he lives. Today His tomb was empty. Today darkness and sin and evil and death were defeated once and for all. ONCE AND FOR ALL.

This was the end that began the HOPE that lives because of Christ. Because Christ Himself LIVES.

"Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

carly kaboom

I couldn't NOT record this conversation with my {ahem} stinker of a 2-year-old, Carly...

Backstory: Historically, we have never allowed the children to take things with them into their class at church--no toys, no blankies, no lovies--nothing. And they have really handled that just fine. Neither of the girls have ever been attached to any particular thing, so I that certainly helps. However, a few weeks ago, Carly's teacher hunted me down and asked for Carly's "ducky," the one she was begging for over and over and saying was in her mommy's bag. So I relented. "After all," her teacher (who happens to be a dear friend of mine) reasoned, "a lot of the kids bring their lovies in, and she was seeing them all with their things..." Her teachers told me that she never set Ducky down even once, and, sure enough, he was wholly intact and in her grip when I picked her up. Since then (it's been a few weeks), I have allowed her to take something with her every Sunday, provided that her something is a small something.

So this morning, as we were all getting ourselves ready for church, she was on the hunt. "I'm looking for something wittle," she said. She decided on several options, but her favorite choice was a [large] pink doggy/lovey blanket. Half-engaged in her decision-making process, and half-focused on my own preparations, I reminded her that she needed something little. I believe I remarked several times, "No, honey, he's not little," as she repeatedly requested to take the dog.

Continuing in my own tasks, I didn't pay much attention to her. I was only half-listening [again] a few minutes later, when she said about her dog, "Mommy, I want to name him 'Little.'"

"Oh, good, honey. That's a good name for a dog," I mumbled.

"Mommy?" she said.

"Yes Carly?"

"I wanna take him to chuuurch."

"No honey," I sighed, "remember, he's not lii..." :|

She got me. She got me good. She just looked at me and blinked those big blue eyes, as if to say, "Was there something you wanted to say, Mommy?" I grinned to myself but tried not to let her see, and I ignored the conversation. That stinker knew what I was saying, and I need not say it again.

Is it foolish for me to hope she won't get any more clever than this?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's day

I haven't seen fit to post on here since November--until today. Apparently, I have strong feelings about this day.

Valentine's Day. I know there are significant lessons to be learned if we take the time to look at the history of this day, and of St. Valentine, etc etc etc, blahblahblah. But really, I think this day in our culture is just fun. FOR THE KIDS. I love Valentine's Day because we encourage our children to show a little love and appreciation for their peers by giving them a VERY small gift. We ask them to think about their friends and what will delight their friends. And I love that.

Rachel is finally to the age where Valentine's Day is fun. She's in preschool, with eight classmates. I had so much fun helping her make customized, homemade valentines for each of her little friends. We bought little buttons instead of candy, and Rachel thought through each child, and which button each child would like best, and then she used colors she thought that child would like to decorate his/her valentine. Very special.

And I love hearts, and the idea that pink and red and white MATCH for a day. I had a lot of fun making some little Valentine-inspired clothes for the girlies, and just generally anticipated this day for the pure fun of it.

ON THE OTHER HAND, Jarrad and I celebrated Valentine's Day only once in our own 12-year history, and it was when we had been dating a mere four months. It was fun, but we swore it off the following year, and every year since (after all, we reason, there are PLENTY of other gift-giving opportunities in the year without adding this one). Don't get me wrong--I appreciate romance. Just give me romance on some day when Hallmark is least suggesting it. But I do enjoy half-price chocolate day, which falls on February 15th! I'll take a day-old Valentine's box o' chocolates anytime!