Thursday, January 29, 2009

Date Night

It's amazing how healing it can be to just go out with one of your children for an evening.

Finny was having a particularly hard day today, and though I do not have it in my to go into details here, I will say that I gathered from him that he has not been feeling very well loved lately. By me, that is. He has not felt loved by me.

So, aside from breaking my mother's heart, I felt compelled to go out of my way to make special time for just Finny. My husband was kind enough to come home a little early from work this afternoon and happily kept the other three kiddos home so that I could take my dear, sweet, sad Finny out for a Mommy Date.

We went to the local craft store and he spent his birthday money on a fun craft. He also spent his own money to get small gifts for each of his brothers. He is such a sweet boy.

Then we went to the restaurant of his choice, which was of course Red Robin. I must admit that I am really quite sick of good ol' American food... but it was his choice, so Red Robin it was. He delighted in choosing his seat and getting me all to himself. He did lament the lack of Punky in particular a few times - but that just makes for a better day tomorrow after having missed one another tonight, I figure.

So, I got to carry my five year old boy through parking lots and have completely uninterrupted conversations with my little guy.

Did you ever notice before that that the crescent shape of the waxing or waning moon looks remarkably similar to a flying banana? No. I hadn't noticed that before tonight, either. But that Finny is one observant and imaginative fellow.

So the night was good. The day was salvaged.

Thank you Lord for good friends who are there to talk me back from hysterical fits of depression over what must surely be my complete lack of competency in parenting. Thank you for a husband who, despite his faults, knows when his wife really needs him. Thank you for an almost seven year old big brother who didn't even bat an eye when told his little brother was going out on a Mommy Date, even though he himself had just been pining for one just last week. Thank you for a two year old little brother who lavished a very sad Finny with kisses at his lowest point today. Thank you for a baby girl who managed to need me just little enough today that I was able to pour just that much more into a five year old boy who just needed me. In short, Thank you Lord for blessing me with all that I need to accomplish the tasks you have set before me.

And thank you for flying bananas. I needed that tonight - that little reminder that my sweet, funny, happy boy is still in there, somewhere.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Award

Well... how fun was it to sneak a peek at one of the blogs I really enjoy following - only to find that my blogger "friend" Meghann had listed me as a recipient of a really sweet blog award! So the fun gets to be passed along to a few other blogs that I enjoy reading, too.

So thank you Meghann for the smile and the encouraging words. And I pass this along to a few blogs that bless me and encourage me, too.

Congratulations. I hereby give the "One Lovely Blog Award" to...

Mary Grace at Books and Bairns
Anne at Grumps or Giggles?
Ellajac at Aspiring to Simplicity

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Too cute for words...

Have you ever heard a two year old sing Peter, Paul and Mary's Leaving on a Jet Plane?

Well. If you haven't, I highly reccomend it as a very entertaining past time. There isn't much that I can think of at the moment that rivals that one for cuteness.

Just imagine the first few parts of the song sung in the cutest little husky mini-man voice. Try to read all the random typos as the cute toddlerisms that they are meant to be.

"uh bags uh pack. Uh weddy to go. I standin' he-uh, owside uh door. I hate uh wake you up uh say GOODBYE! But a don is bwakin, is ully mone. A taxi's waitin', he's bwowin' his hown. Weddy I so woooo I uh cwyyyy. So kiss me, smile fow me. Tell me at you wait uh me. hold like uh.. uh.. wet me GOOOOOO! I uh weevin' on a jet pwane. I dunno when i'w be back again. Oh babe I hate uh goooooo...."

Man. That Goose just cracks me up!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Worth revisiting

There are some books that are good to read. Plenty of books out there really are enjoyable and bring good stories to your mind that can fill your world for the hours, days or even weeks you spend reading them.

Many of those books though – in fact I’d go so far as to say most of those “good” books – are really only worth reading once. Most of the time, when you pick up a good book the second time through, it’s just kind of old news. You’ve lived the adventure. You know how it ends. It’s just not the same.

And then there are the GREAT books. I know there must be thousands of GREAT books out there, and I am not going to claim that I have read even a fraction of them. But I just felt I must just give my two cents’ worth on a particularly GREAT series of books.

So here you go. My opinion.

The Chronicles of Narnia.

There. I have put it out there. I have a hunch that it may be a series that is condemned by many Christians, since it is hard to deny its magical content. But, if you can look past the word “magic” and really just read it with a little grace, it is well worth anything you must overlook, in my humble opinion.

So here is the thing about the Narnia books. Every single time I have read them in my life, and it must be at least four times I’ve gone through them now, I get something new out of them.
When I was a little girl and my dad read them to me, I was completely enchanted by the stories themselves. I loved the characters. I loved the idea that there were worlds outside our own. I was so excited by the thought that one might actually just stumble into such a world by mistake. What a lovely thought for an imaginative and lonely only child… that I might just walk into a room and fall out into a beautiful land of green grass and friendly mythical creatures. Oh how I dreamed the dreams of Narnia as a little girl.

And then when I was a young adult, still not a committed Christian but aware of the idea that there was some allusion to God in there, I did get that little glimpse into the real STORY beneath the story. But it was most definitely vague at that time. Really what I got out of it was just a deeper understanding of the characters and a renewed excitement for adventure.

But the more times I have read the books, the deeper I seem to go. The first time or two as a Christian that I read them, I noticed how obvious the Christ message was in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. How could I have missed that? And wow. The simple, childlike way in which C.S. Lewis brings that message home is really amazing. Self sacrifice. Willingly giving innocent blood in place of a sinner’s. I was really amazed. And that was just the one book that started it all.

Really, in hindsight, I saw God in that particular book even in my young readings. But the thing that has gotten me as I have read the other books a few more times as a believer is how much wisdom can be gleaned from them, and how scriptural the ideas are even though there aren’t any direct scriptural references cited.

I’ll spare you a rewrite of the entire series here, but I feel compelled to at least list a few of the really meaningful parts of the books that have really hit me hard this last time reading them through.

In A Horse and His Boy, I really like when Aslan makes the point, more than once mind you, to Shasta and to Aravis that their story is their own, and what happens to another is not for them to know. He also makes it clear that no one is to know “what might have been” when they ask Him if things might have gone differently had they made other choices. I also felt God’s spirit in the underlying meaning all throughout the book that no matter how bad things looked, no matter how much Shasta in particular wondered why he had all the bad luck, Aslan was orchestrating it all. And in the end each and every event in Shasta’s life was planned perfectly. Each difficulty was meant for a purpose. Each trial made him stronger. Many fearful moments were actually forcing him into situations that in the end were helpful and necessary. And the funny thing is, that is one of the books that really hardly even stood out in my memory when I thought back on the series.

I love in Prince Caspian the part when Aslan calls Lucy to follow Him, but since no one else sees Him or believes her she chooses to follow the others instead, going the opposite direction from which Aslan had told her to go. And when she finally speaks to Him and asks why she didn’t follow, she explains that no one believed her so she couldn’t go with Him. Then He makes it clear to her that it made no difference what the others said. She knew He was telling her to follow, and that should have been enough. How much do we need that reminder in our own daily lives? I know I need to remember that more often than I care to admit.

I was also taken aback this time reading through The Magician’s Nephew. Again, this is one of the books in the series that never really meant much to me. Mostly, I am just peeved that they put it at the front of the series now when I still think The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe should be the first book of the series one ever reads.

But I digress.

This time while reading it, what struck me was Lewis’ telling of the creation of Narnia. I had never before noticed how similar it must be to God’s own creation of our world. What must His voice have sounded like as He called plants to life and brought forth the creature of the earth? It is not something that I have taken the time to really ponder when reading it in actual scripture, but when mixed with the fancy and beauty of a fictional telling, it just sparked my imagination like wildfire to make me really want to know what those six days of creation must have been like. Oh, to have been there… the beauty, the wonder of it all. The colors, the lights… so much from nothing… all from the one Voice that existed before all time or matter existed at all. If a complete work of fiction can make me look to our Creator with such awe and wonder, well, I think it just goes to show that God can work through anything he chooses. And I feel like, at least for me, He has used these children’s stories to really speak to my heart and to call me closer to Him… to really help me to see some of His creative self.

And, since it is so fresh in my mind from reading it out loud to Punky these last couple of weeks, I cannot believe how much I missed the first several times reading through The Silver Chair! I won’t put each and every detail here, but the one that sticks out the most to me as I sit here tonight is in chapter twelve when Jill, Eustace, Puddleglum and the prince are in the castle with the evil witch who has held the prince a captive under an enchanted spell for the past ten years. They are deep in the bowels of the earth, miles and miles below the earth’s surface with no natural light to be seen… nothing but darkness and eerie silence… and when they confront the witch (who appears to the observer to be a beautiful and charming young queen) and demand to be released, she calmly and quietly puts some sweet smelling powder in the fire and begins playing a simple, lovely and rhythmic tune on a small instrument. They try to tell her to let them go home to the Overworld and she turns all their words around on them. She convinces them all with simple, soft words, spoken from a beautiful woman with a lovely and kind voice that none of the things they speak of ever really existed. With her alluring and deceptive ways, she begins to convince them that her world, this dark Underworld, is really and truly the only world that ever was. I was so struck as I read this (and believe me, Lewis writes it so much better than I can retell it here in short) that Satan uses such similar tactics to lull so many people into believing that life here, the things of this dark world, are all that are really important. Heaven, God’s beautiful paradise, really must not exist at all except for in the imagination of man. So many of us are tempted into loving and longing for the things of this life. So many people who do not know God feel no need to even search for Him, because they have been so misled by Satan’s lies. And though some may think that his lies are big, ugly and obvious… I was really reminded by this part of the book how alluring and lovely his lies can really be.

Anyway. I cannot do justice to The Chronicles of Narnia in my own short and broken examples here. But for almost a year now Punky and I have been reading through them together for his first time, my 4th or 5th. And as I read through the books yet again, I am touched by Punky’s fresh love for the story, the characters, the excitement and the adventure. And I am thrilled to see that he actually has a decent understanding of the STORY beneath the story – much more of a grasp than I had at 6 or 7 years old. And as a woman who has willingly offered her heart and life to Christ for the past 4 years, I have just been amazed time and time again how much I have gotten out of these stories, yet again.

So maybe you have never read them. Maybe you have, but not since you were a kid. Or heck, maybe you read them a few years back when you were already a believer but it’s just been a while.

Might I suggest that it may be worth your time to pick them up again?

Maybe one of your kids is ready to begin the adventure with you for the first time. Or maybe you can just carve out a little time each week to enjoy them yourself. Or, like my husband and I did 7 or 8 (or was it 9 or 10?) years ago, maybe you can read the series aloud to each other before bed for a bit each night. Whichever way you do it, I think that you may very well find it well worth your time. And you never know what new little sub-story you might find this time through. There are treasures to be found hidden in those pages, no doubt. I really think this is one of those GREAT books (series of seven books, no less!) that you can’t go wrong when re-reading. I have yet to read it through without finding something that really filled me up in one way or another.

So there you go. My opinion on some books that I really like. I am just thankful to God that, no matter what hand He had in the author’s efforts of writing the story, He has clearly used these stories to speak truth to my heart in a way that has brought me closer to Him.

And that, my friends, is the sign of a book worth reading (again).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What a day

Girly Pie is a crawling, pulling up wild thing! It is so unbelievably cute and fun. I forgot how CUTE this stage and age are! I could eat that girl alive right now.

Goose sings songs with the cutest little toddler voice and grammatically incorrect toddler-isms. I love that! And he can't give Girly Pie enough kisses, which is super sweet, too.

Finny has had a great attitude with his occupational therapy exercises this week and has been very much "himself" more often than not. He's even doing his morning chores with a smile and is remembering them with very little prodding from me. That's a small miracle in and of itself.

Punky is just a shining star and so cute and funny at a month shy of seven. I can't believe what an amazing young man I see unfolding in him already. Wow. It just boggles the mind how quickly you see your baby becomes a young man with such maturity and wisdom (relatively speaking, of course).

My husband is the sweetest guy on earth and even stopped to pick up my library holds without my even mentioning it, just because. I guess he knows that when left to my own devices, I never leave the house and my holds go stale and get pulled before I venture the 3 miles to the library.

God is good. I watched a blessing pour down today onto a friend who blesses others continually and never asks anything in return... and I was in awe at how our God works to help His children.

My best friend and her kiddos were able to stay for a short visit today, which is a luxury I feel I do not get to enjoy as often as I would choose, so I relished it today.

AND I won the majority of the rounds of Uno I made my husband play with me tonight before we head up for bed. How cool is that!?

So life is sweet. I am just happy to be in a place where all I can see when I look around me is God's good grace and His love, and the beauty in this life that I have been so blessed to live.

Don't you just love days like that?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Finny's Birthday

Just a quick update for anyone who was following my birthday letter and wondering how Finny’s birthday went and how he is doing:

He had a wonderful birthday which was truly an answer to my prayers. He was happy all morning, thrilled to open his gifts (all Swiss Family Robinson themed) and super-dee-duper excited to dig into his specifically requested and artfully decorated Batman cake (thank you Jo for all your help with that!). We then had most of Mary Grace’s family over for lunch and cake by Finny’s special request and he happily played with the other kids, which is not always the case.

After the midday gathering, we packed up and headed out to an evening spent with all four of his grandparents which was also his particular birthday wish. He was gifted with new outfits for his special bear (He named his bear Toothpaste. What a funny kid!) at Build a Bear (if you have them near you then you know how addicting they can be to kids… If you don’t than I probably sound crazy) and then enjoyed a lovely dinner out to his favorite restaurant to eat his favorite dinner and receive a loud birthday song from the wait staff as they handed him a very exciting birthday sundae.

The grandparents were happy to be there. Finny was excited to see them all. The brothers and Girly Pie were super cooperative and accommodating to him on his special day, and I don’t think he had one single major meltdown.

So there is a quick glimpse at our Finny’s fifth birthday. Thank you for your prayers in our direction. They are so very much appreciated.

Oh, and one cute side note… Finny has been eager to try many new foods since his birthday. He keeps saying, “Well, I’ll TRY it. I didn’t like it when I was four. But maybe now that I’m five I will like it.”

How cute is that? ;o)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Birthday Letter

Dear Finny,

I tucked you in tonight, your last night as a four year old. The next time I see you awake you will be five. And Finny, I just don’t know how I feel about that. Normally I have a bit of a down time right before one of you guys ahs a birthday in general. Another year gone by. Another age behind us and a new one beginning. That’s just me. And when Punky turned five I went through it too. Five somehow seems so big. Somehow, the little boy you have been up until now just does not seem ready to fill the shoes of a FIVE YEAR OLD.

And with you in particular, my little Finny William, I just do not know how those five year old shoes will ever fit you quite right.
When I first saw you, five years ago at 3:27am on January 11, 2004, it was love at first sight. You came swiftly in the night, my first home birth with only 3 ½ hours of total labor. I had hardly gained any weight in my pregnancy and looked so small compared to my pregnancy with your big brother that I was positive you would be a petite little sister… there was no way I could possibly have been hiding anything over 6 pounds or so in that oh-so-small nine month belly of mine. So when you came and I first saw you, so round, so chunky, so long and with SUCH big hands, I was shocked. Your hair was thicker and longer than many one year olds, and jet black – though if I looked closely I could already see the silver blond color at the roots. You looked nothing at all like Punky had looked, nothing like the carbon copy of your Daddy that he was (and still is). You looked just like my baby pictures, in fact. And oh how sweet you were. By far the happiest, smiliest, funniest baby I have ever met. Never has another baby stolen my heart the way you did. Now don’t get me wrong, I do so love my children, each and every one of you… and I can say with all honesty that I do not love any of you more than another. You just have this way with me that I cannot resist. Your charm, your quirks, your smile… your carefree nature… you just always made being a baby, or a toddler, or even an early pre-schooler just look like so much fun.

As a baby you just smiled through everything. As a toddler, you just laughed it all off. I remember one day when you were about 18 months old. I had finally gotten you dressed again (you were naked more often than not) and mostly cleaned up after a nice, sunny summer day in our new construction yard full of dirt. I went around the corner of our driveway to water the plants and when I came back, there you were naked yet again… showering in the dripping water from the hanging plant I had just watered. You just stood there, buck naked, running your fingers through your white shoulder-length mop of hair as you let the cold water run all down your body. You looked like a grown up enjoying a long, hot shower. I couldn’t help but laugh at you. You were the one who walked around with a blanket over your head and bumping into walls, just to see what it felt like. You were the boy who rolled naked in dirt, refusing to wear clothes, and when you would wear them you usually chose jammies. You luxuriated in meal times, often smearing your food in your hair or all over your (again, usually naked) body. You climbed everything, more often than not falling off of whatever great height you reached. You rarely cried when you fell, usually just dusting yourself off and looking for the next adventure. Suffering from years of chronic ear fluid, infections and many a month of a wheat restricted diet in an effort to ward off the threat of ear tubes, you really never seemed to get bogged down by it all.

You, Finny, were my Sunshine Boy. Nothing seemed able to dim the glow that just seemed to emanate from your whole self.

And now, my sweet, Sunny boy, I sit here on the eve of your fifth birthday and fight off the tears as I think of you now. Trapped in a body that just does not seem able to handle all the troubles life throws at you. Frustrated at just about every step you stumble over. I can still see that sunshine in there. You still have days, weeks even, when you are all sunshine and roses, goodness and light. You still can make some of the tougher struggles in life just seem like fun anyway. But it seems that much too often now, you make even the simplest of feats seem like more than a soul can bear.

It’s called SPD. Sensory Processing Disorder. It’s something I had never heard of before in my life until Mare Grace mentioned it with her sons. And even then, it was just a thing her kids suffered from. Just some odd part of life that came from, I figured, being born a few weeks prematurely and that her kids would work through and outgrow eventually. It was never, ever something that even flickered on my radar as your mom. You were perfect. You were happy. Nothing bothered you. Sure you had quirks. But man, it was those quirks that made you such a happy baby. Such a dynamic and high spirited toddler. Such a goofy and delightful three year old.

But then, just a few months shy of your fifth birthday, all those quirks, those cute, babyish ways of yours that seemed so endearing and that I so delighted in for so many years, were just not going away. Suddenly, they weren’t so cute anymore. And you weren’t so happy anymore, either.
Now in hindsight, it all makes a little more sense. I know now that you were seeking sensory input for all those years when you climbed, jumped, fell, rolled, hung, wiggled and squirmed your way through the throes of toddlerhood. I can see that all those messy mealtimes of a silly boy painting himself in syrup or spaghetti sauce were actually deeply satisfying sensory experiences for a boy who was craving them from somewhere deep inside his body. I know that the oblivion in which you lived was just fine for a little boy. A baby.

But now as you approach an age that most children seem so suddenly grown up in, you just aren’t quite there yet. You still want to be that baby. You still want to do the messy, goofy, quirky things that one, two and three year olds can do. You still choose to speak in a baby voice and often back down from any form of responsibility. Any frustration that comes your way seems to be life altering to a boy who struggles just to get through a day full of sensory attacks.

I just don’t know what to do, Finny. Tonight you had a complete breakdown before bed. You stubbornly refused to do even the simple task of climbing the stairs and fought tooth and nail the things we asked of you. You went to bed howling and yelling at the top of your lungs. You cried and cried and cried for what seemed to the rest of us to be no reason at all. And I fought so hard to hold back my own tears. When you finally calmed down enough to talk your voice was hoarse from the yelling and you seemed so small, so frail and helpless. You were my little baby again. And it was just hard, Finny, to know that you are not that baby today. I can’t let you stay in this safe and warm world of mine, the world of Mommy. As your Mommy, I want to hold you and make it all better. I want to tell you it will all be OK and give you anything you want to make it be alright.

But I can’t.

I can’t make it all better. I can’t save you from your troubles. I can’t make your choices for you. I want to Baby, I really do. But I can’t do it.

And I pray for you so much. I know the Lord has made you perfectly and that He doesn’t make mistakes. I know that He will make something beautiful and strong out of your weakness and your struggles. I believe He has led us to a therapist who can really help you and can show us ways to help you grow and feel better. I know that one of the many reasons that he brought Mary Grace and her family into our lives is so that I could learn about SPD and knowhow to find the right people to help you, to help our whole family.

And I do have faith that everything will be alright someday.

But tonight, as I prepare the house to be just right for you to wake up to your fifth birthday, I admit that I am just a little bummed that it isn’t as easy or as fun as it once was. It is hard for me to see your sunny disposition replaced by an often sour and glum frustration at all of life’s troubles, whether those troubles are real or just perceived. It’s hard for me to see you struggle so. It seems hard for us both to let you grow up, Finny.

That’s a new one on me. Of course I always joke that I’d love my babies to stay babies forever. I do love babies, after all. But I delight in your growth, your maturing and discovering the world, the life God has prepared for you all. And Punky has always seemed more than ready to embrace the bigger world that lies ahead of him. He is ready to get big and go for it. So to see you struggling with it… well, I just don’t know what to do.

So that is what is on my heart tonight, my boy. I would love to sit here and tell you all about all the wonderful things you are doing and about how great a five year old you will be. I’d love to say that everything in life excites you and that everything is hunky dory. But instead, I sit here with a bit of a heavy heart. I sit here, wondering just how hard this year of growth, therapy, home exercises and increased discipline will be for you. I want to go on and on about what a wonderful artist you are, but I am nagged by the thought of how many times you sit down to draw only for it to end in a flood of tears and frustration that it’s not turning out right. I’d love to say how great you get along with your brothers and your sister. But instead I am sad to think of how many arguments have come from your rigidity with the boys, or about how you are limited in your time with Girly Pie because you cannot seem to control yourself when you are near her. I want to talk about your friends, but it breaks my heart to see you on the outside of most social circumstances.

I want so badly to have some great silver lining to offer. But tonight, I just don’t have it in me. Tonight I let go of one more year with my baby boy, not knowing what is to come as he becomes just that much more of a young man, a young man who is struggling and confused, both physically and emotionally.

But I will pray for peace and strength. I will pray for healing for you and for understanding for us all. I will pray for His will to be made just clear enough that I can know the part I am to play in your life right now. And I will pray and work to stay in today, not longing for the Finny that was, not worrying too terribly much over the Finny that will come.

And know this, my dear Finny William. I love you so very much. You do still light up my heart when you smile and when you are happy. And it breaks my heart so to see you hurting and sad. I rejoice with your cheers and I cry with your pain. And I want you to know that for as long as I am here and as long as God wills me to, I will walk this walk with you. I know someday you may be called to walk on this road alone. But for now, and for as long as I can, I will be here to carry you through it and hold your hand. And then, when God calls me to step back, I will hopefully have done my job and will put your hand in His and He will take you the rest of the way.

So goodnight, my sweet boy. I do hope you sleep well. And when you awake in the morning, you will be five years old. You have been counting down the days, and can hardly contain your excitement for the day that is to come. I do hope that you will enjoy it as much as you intend to. I hope that, at least for the day, your frustrations can cease and you can just let your light shine and feel the blessings of the day.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wow. That was fast.

So my sweet little Girly Pie is eight months old today.

Yes, the same little Girly Pie that I swear I just gave birth to last month. Seriously, wasn't I just in the midwife's office for my weekly prenatal visit, packing up to head out the door with three little boys, a big belly and four centimeters dilated? Didn't I just call my Mary Grace and E. at 2am to come over and hang out for the +/- hour in the middle of the night before this mystery baby came so smoothly into the world? Wasn't it just yesterday that my husband said those words I will never in all my life forget... "It's a little girl."? I know for sure that in utter awe I held this little girl in my arms for the first time just moments ago, no name picked but there she was regardless, beautiful and pink and small and perfect.

But no. It really and truly has been eight entire months... my little baby is a big baby.

And just in case the physical age wasn't enough for me to just know she is heading out of all those new little baby months and moments and hurtling towards that bigger still-kind-of-a-baby-but-soon-to-be-toddler (thanks for the reminder, MG!) part of life, she decided to prove it outright last night and today.

My baby girl has been scooting in that cute army crawl/inchworm/alligator type way for weeks. She's been mobile for what seems like ages with just rolling and wriggling around. She’s been fast for a couple of weeks now. And she's been toying with crawling and pulling up on things.

And last night for the first time she full out crawled. Hand over knee and off she went.

It was not a fluke, either, because this morning she was right back at it. And then, just to really rub it in just that little bit more, she also threw just one more big-baby milestone at me, too. When she crawled to me as I beamed at her and cheered her on, she caught onto my enthusiasm and decided that was the moment to sit up on her knees and try out her first clap, too.

So my sweet little baby girl... that newborn teeny tiny little thing of mine... is getting bigger.

And she is oh so sweet. And she is adorable and eager. Her smile is so engaging and endearing. She loves people and is so sweet to always want to reach out and touch the face of any person willing to take a moment to engage her in conversation. Her eyes are so bright and that girl so wants to get moving and explore this world of hers – just as long as she still has her Momma in sight. She adores her big brothers with a passion that just delights my mother's heart. I love how she heads straight for the dog food bowl and grabs handfuls of it in lightening fast speed and then throws them wildly to the floor so she can get yet another handful dumped out before I get to her and ruin all the fun. It's so dang cute, too, how she does that sweet little baby bird thing when I am feeding her. She just patiently sits there with her mouth wide open, a serious look of communication on her face as she stares me down, willing me to pop the next spoonful in there as I take just that little bit too long in between all the distraction of life with a few big brothers around. It’s so darling when she sings into her little blue kazoo. And we all love hearing her little sing-song voice as she babbles the day away.

So, always reluctant to embrace change, I sit here with that bitter-sweet feeling as I see change coming none the less. I am so thrilled to see her reach these milestones and to be thriving and alive and so full of excitement and joy. I love to watch her grow and to get to know each little bit of her. She’s this mystery to me. A daughter. My daughter. A young woman in the making. I know so little about this world, and I really am in awe as I watch this world unfold in her. I know nothing of who she will be, who God created her to be, and really, who she was before is already fading. She just is who she is today. And I just love her, every little bit of her. I’m a little sad to think that today will not last forever. But not too sad.

Does that even make sense? I don’t know. I am just enjoying the bejeebers out of this little girl.

But it is going wildly fast this time around.

So my Girly Pie is officially crawling now. She also began pulling up on furniture today and even decided to try and cruise around the coffee table this evening. That girl is gonna be a fun one to watch. I can’t even imagine the adventures that are on the way with her.

So now we move on… to the next stage, the newest adventure. Soon it will be real talking and walking, running, jumping and defying. Soon enough she’ll be the crazy two year old and Goose will be the mellow four year old. Finny will be six and Punky will be eight. It’ll all happen in the blink of an eye, just as the last almost seven years have happened already.

But today I have the cutest little crawling baby girl on the entire planet. My babies are all tucked snug in their beds. And I’ve got a picture to paint. So I’m a happy woman. (no one but Mary Grace will know what that last part means… but MG, I know you’re chuckling at me!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Silly Goose

Well Goose has been at it again. That little man is about the funniest thing on the planet right now.

Two year olds. Ya gotta love 'em.

Last night at dinner he was super tired from a busy week and several skipped naps and/or late nights. But instead of being his usual I-missed-my-nap-so-I'll-be-loud-and-miserable tired self, he was in an uncharacteristically subdued mood.

So as Hubby and I quizzed Punky and Finny with math facts (a common dinner practice for us... not sure why, just the way we work) Goose sat quietly at his place eating his dinner.

It made us all giggle when we looked over and noticed he had taken two pieces of crust from his homemade bread slice and had crossed them to make an airplane... and he was zooming his crust-plane all through the air around him making little airplane zooming noises. It was pretty cute.

A couple of minutes later, he delighted us all again with yet another creative use of bread crusts.

With one crust scrap in his right hand and one in his left, we all looked over just in time to hear, "Marks. Get set. GO!!!" And they were off, those two crust pieces, racing for the all their worth.

I think I can safely say that is the first time I have ever watched a bread-crust race across a dinner plate.

So there is your two year old moment for the day. That kid just cracks me up.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Catching up

We had a wonderful Christmas. Happy kids. A wonderful husband leading our family in a prayer of thanks before a single gift was opened. Lots of gorgeous white snow all around us. No packing up and heading out. Great friends for a lovely evening of food, food, games, gifts, more food, pies, and a rousing game of Life. Happy sighs as delighted and exhausted children fell into bed. Four little ones to share the day with this year for the first time. Really a wonderful day.

And now I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. Our first birthday of the year is in a week and I've gotten ALMOST all of the Christmas decor down. I'll hopefully get the rest out tonight or tomorrow. I like to have it as clear as possible so my boy feels a little more special for his day and it's not so cluttered with Christmas stuff still around. And my poor husband is helping drag furniture all around. I'm just ready for a clean house and a new arrangement of stuff. It'll be good to get back to normal(-ish).

The holidays are so fun. It's so nice to spend the month anticipating the celebration of our Lord's birth. I even like a lot of the plain old fun stuff that is not particularly Holy. It's nice to have a change of pace and some fun events, activities and outings.

But it's also really nice to put all that away and just get back to life as we know it. School each day. A more open, clutter free house. A husband back to work for the most part (I love him being around, but is it just me or does having your man home for much longer than a weekend just make everything a little bit crazy and chaotic?) and four kids ready to have back their routine.

So that was all. A little update. Now if I can just clear this room out to move the dog's kennel in here so I can feel like our family room isn't such a zoo... then I can plan out a bit of school for this week. My oh my. I am so terribly disorganized this year! I didn't even attempt to make a resolution to reorganize. I'm just doomed to fail again, after all.

But I digress.

So Happy New Year! I'm off to tidy, move, clean and plan.