Monday, August 30, 2010

Seasons change…

It’s been a beautiful day in my neighborhood. August here is awfully hot, but something subtle has shifted in the last few days. It’s still hot, but there’s a breeze, and the dreadful humidity has lifted. Evenings are getting a bit cooler, and its pleasant again to walk on our local trails then.

This morning was full of simple goodness for us. We all slept in, and while Evan napped, Seth and I played outside with his bean box. I read “A Charlotte Mason Companion” while he scooped and shoveled and told me all about his building activities.

I got lots of hugs and snuggles and rejoiced in watching Evan try new, non baby food options for lunch. He’s not a picky eater at this point, and its great to see him taste sharp cheddar without wincing. =) Seth helped me with the grocery shopping, and he even got a cookie from the deli for himself and his brother. (He’s sharing cookies. My work here is done.)

I’ve been thinking about how God has changed me as I’ve gone through different seasons of being a mom. When Seth was born, we lived in a high rise in D.C., and we were constantly on the go. We even had a baby tent I got pitch anywhere, and he would nap wherever he happened to be.

Things didn’t change much with that when we moved here. I still liked to be on the go. We’d run around town, checking out all the new parks and play areas and shopping centers. When he moved to one nap a day, I felt like I’d really gained some freedom. We were busy, and though home was our base, we were out a lot. We loved exploring, just me and Seth.

But things have shifted subtly for me. Those days of loving to be out a lot most days are over, I think. Evan still takes a morning nap, and I don’t want him to miss it too much, so we’re sticking around here in part for him. But… its not just for him, either.

I increasingly like being here with just my boys. I like having short, spur of the moment adventures, like running to the park for 1/2 an hour or an hour, and then spending the rest of the day building blocks or baking brownies or playing in the pool. I’m not the big “playdater” I used to be. Don’t get me wrong; I like playdates and people and being out. They’re just not quite as necessary as they used to seem.

I have a friend who seems happiest when she’s with other people and out of her house. I used to identify with that. I don’t anymore. I don’t know when that changed exactly. I just know that it did. I have found more contentment within my own walls. And I love that my children just get more interesting every day.

Could be that I have one that talks and makes up stories now. Hmmm… maybe that explains everything. =)

Anyway, I noticed a couple of days ago that I’m not really looking forward that much to a busier fall schedule. This is the first summer since I’ve had children that I could say that. From fall through spring, I have a couple of hours two mornings a week when I’m in either MOPs or CBS that I’m not with my boys. I used to really appreciate the break. Now the thought makes me a little sad.

It’s been a good summer. We’ve created a good routine for us. I kinda hate to say goodbye to that. Oh well, the beautiful thing about this life I have is that we can change these things up if they aren’t working…

Friday, August 27, 2010

Getaway weekend…


Can you tell we were really missing our kids? =) 


The view from the front porch of my parent’s cabin. This was taken on a lovely afternoon… sunny, light breeze to blow away all the bugs, sun sparkling on the water. We got to just sit and talk and read… together. And nobody woke up and started crying because they had a poopy diaper or wanted some “Juice! JUICE!” Awesome…. that lack of diapers and juice.


As we were leaving, David ushered me out of the front door, and he pointed to our ride. That’s not our car. David swapped cars with the college student we’ve adopted through our church. Poor Josh got the respectable yuppie-mobile, and we got his sporty ride. It had a sun roof and bucket seats and smelled like college student. The smell was a good thing. I can’t put my finger on what the combination was, but it reminded me of ye old college days… the good ones, not the ones when I had an exam or something.

So we drove through town with the top open and the engine powerfully thrumming. It was great. And Josh only got one ticket for improperly parking on a residential street near the beach. Don’t worry; we told him about it. =)

I’m going to put down this down for posterity. On our last evening there, we decided to take a nighttime walk on the beach. It was so romantic, the cool sand between our toes, the moon shining on the water… until the moon went behind the clouds, and it started to rain.

We’d already turned around to head back to the pier, but we weren’t nearly close enough. The bottom fell out of the sky. I’ve never been that sopping wet in my life. I told David that if he’d just entered me in a wet t-shirt contest, at least I could’ve kept something dry. I was wiping the water back over my head with my hands just so I could see.

We made it back to the car, wrung ourselves out, and headed home. That was when Josh’s AC decided to have a minor malfunction. This meant that the defrost wasn’t working.

So here we are, soaked to the skin, can’t open the windows ‘cause it’s still pouring, trying to drive home. David can’t see, and there’s nowhere to pull over. Finally I find a place, and we do, and David gets the idea to take off his sopping wet shirt and have me wipe the interior of the windshield, hoping we can make it home that way. Well, we make it another 100 feet or so, and pull over again. Surprise… the wet shirt isn’t much help. That’s when David realizes we can use the heat to defrost the car. Unusual choice for the beach in August, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

We made it back, and we didn’t wreck Josh’s car. And then we laughed about it. =)

We’ll have to do this again more often than once every two years, honey. I can’t wait to see what happens next time we get away together. =)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kumar and Alfred…

This title isn’t the same of a buddy sidekick movie, though it might sound like it at first. =) These are the names of our sponsored children through Compassion International. Both are 4 years old. Kumar lives in India, and Alfred lives in Uganda.

We started sponsoring these children this year, and it’s already been an interesting experience. We’ve gotten letters already from each of the children, and Alfred dictated his. He’s got quite the little personality, and he was even able to write his own name!

Christ calls us to look out for the poor, but this has been my first direct experience of doing so. It is a good thing to see their little faces staring at me on my fridge door. 

I know there may be some of you out there who’ve had good intentions to do this in the past, but you just haven’t taken that step. Well, now’s as good a day as any. =)

When you go on the website to select a child, it can be totally overwhelming. There are soooo many. How can you pick just one or two? The need can burden you into paralysis. Well, if it does, and if you’re not feeling a specific leading from the Holy Spirit toward a certain little face, you can try to narrow it down a bit.

Here’s how we did that: We picked two boys whose birthdays were very close or identical to our boys. We tried to get the ages close as well, but that wasn’t terribly important. We figure that this way, we’ll have more to talk about with the boys in our letters, and we’ll be able to remember their birthdays more easily. It’ll be easier for our boys to relate to them when we get letters, and they can pray for them about some of the things that they all have in common.

Compassion is a very reputable agency that has been around for many years. They get directly involved in the lives of the children they sponsor by sending them to local church schools and checking in on their families to find out their needs. And they make it easy to sponsor. You can do direct deposit of your sponsorship money each month…

And here’s my favorite feature: You can email your sponsored child! The email is printed off and translated for them. If you’re horrible at writing regular letters and actually getting them in the mail, this doesn’t have to hold you back any longer.

Now, if any of you actually go out and sponsor a child because of my 5 minute plug here, please let me know in the comments. It’ll make my year. =)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010



Today you got up from your toast and eggs, put your plate in the sink, and headed in the playroom. A minute later, you called me. When I came in, you were sitting on the floor, and you said, “Mama, I just want some attention.” And that’s what you got. I smothered my laughter. You are the coolest.

And then there was that time the other day when you opened the pantry door, and you just stood there, looking. I said, “What are you doing, Seth?” And you said, “I just want everything that I want.” You don’t want much, my handsome man….

We have this thing that we do in the mornings, you and I. I come downstairs with Evan, and then we look up and wait for you to come down. I call out, “It’s King Seth, and his Royal Giraffe!” and then I start da dumming what I think is probably the theme to Masterpiece Theatre. You smile, and then you start dancing right there on the steps. You bend your knees down and up, you grin, and you flail your arms slowly. It’s a total trip.

Today, on your way down the concrete steps at the pediatrician’s office, you said, “Mama, can you sing the song you sing at home when I come down the steps?” So I did… in front of God and everybody. And I didn’t even care how crazy I must’ve looked.

You’ve started telling great stories to me in the car. You’ll just get on a roll, and you’ll tell me all about it. All the way home from Trader Joe’s today you spun me a tale, made up of many parts of your favorite books and some parts of your everyday life. The story was full of things like, “And then the giraffe jumped in the water and swam and swam and swam. And then I said, “Come out, giraffe!” And then he did, and then a shark came and BIT him! And then I cried and cried. And then I said, “Stop, shark, or I’ll SHOOT you.” Your stories are wonderful. I could listen to them all day.

I love how you like to talk to everyone you meet. You always have something you want them to know about you. “Did you know that I have big muscles?” “Did you know that I have a big boy car seat?” “Did you know that I sleep with my giraffe?” These are perfect things to share. I wish we all did a little more of that innocent, excited sharing.

And I love 3 1/2. I wish it would never end…

Back porch dreaming…


Helloooo, all. So… remember my love of screened in porches? =) The picture above is from the darling rental that I cried my eyes out over leaving. And one of the main things I cried about was leaving that porch. Oh, the warm evenings on that swing, drinking a cold D.P., bare feet dangling, listening to crickets. Oh, the mornings when I opened the kitchen door and listened to the birds as I got baby Seth’s cereal ready…

So, we left that house, and I left the porch behind, and I sighed and resigned myself to the fact that screened in porches cost, like, a bazillion dollars, and hello, there are lots of totally not sexy house up keep stuff we should do at some point, and then don’t forget about nasty emergencies like the broken water line and the new sidewalk ‘cause they bashed in the old one getting to the broken water line… etc.

But the 22-year-old deck on the back of the house is rotting. So I called someone to come and see if it could be saved. Nope. It’s too rotten. We have to do something about it so termites don’t start eating our house. He quoted me a price for a new deck exactly like the old deck. It was surprisingly not as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t even wince.

I tell David about it when he comes home, and he nods thoughtfully, asks thoughtful questions, and then asks if it would be possible to screen in a section of the porch. What? We weren’t going to do that, right? “Well, just ask him to give you a quote.” I did. It wasn’t that bad. I didn’t wince again. Interesting…

And then I start beating myself up over this. How many more Compassion children could we sponsor for that amount of cash? And I’m the main person who wants this porch, right? Isn’t it decadent to do something like this mainly for me? Yeah, I know there are mosquitos, and this would help, and we could all use it.. but it’s not technically necessary.

There are so many times when I wish God would make things a little more clear for me on the discretionary decisions of life. There isn’t anything sinful about having a screened in porch. I know that. But what does He want us to do with the money He’s entrusted to us? We know we’re supposed to take care of our family and tithe to Him, and we know we’re supposed to take care of the house He’s given us and not let it fall apart. It’s the extras that I wonder about…

Don’t know if any of you have had some similar decisions to make that you’d like to share. As for us, we’re going to pray about it some more and do some more research for now…

Thursday, August 12, 2010


It’s about 11:30, and I’m not terribly sleepy for whatever reason. No nap for me today, so that can’t be it. Oh well, I’ll go to bed in a minute.

Evan has been sick this week and last. He has some sort of stomach bug. The munchkin is happy as a lark for the most part, but he’s thrown up once a day just about every day for a week now. Since I had a stomach bug that lasted that long recently, I have assumed that that’s what it is. If he’s not better by Monday, I’ll take him in to the doctor. I sort of wish he had some other mildly alarming symptoms instead of the cheerful hurling. Then I would be more sure whether or not to take him to the doctor.

I’m not a parent who likes to go to the doctor unless we have to. So much of the time, they just have a run of the mill virus, and the doctor can’t do anything. I also fear catching something in the waiting room. I think we’ve done that at least once. =)

Other than that, summer days slip by like warm pool water through our fingers… Man, its hot. At least we have a pool we can go to around here. I think we’ll head there again tomorrow.

I’m also noticing how a few more of things that I used to struggle with are getting gradually easier. Evan is 14 months, and while not walking, he gets around pretty quickly. He and Seth play together a lot more, and its really darling to watch. And the talking… oh, the talking. He’s got about 50 words, and he uses them. It’s adorable…

Seth is able to “help” me with the grocery shopping now, so I’m not stuck doing it at night all the time anymore. He takes his little mini shopping cart, and he follows me around the local Food Lion. I let him choose things to put in the cart, and when we reach the checkout, he puts his items on the belt and then puts the cart back. He also loves to stop and tell random shoppers that “I’m shopping!” or “Did you know that I have a big boy car seat?” or “I sleep with my giraffe!” A sweet older lady told him today that he made her day. You should’ve seen his grin.

Getting a meal on the table isn’t nearly the grouch inducing endeavor that it’s been for about a year now. I’m excited about making muffins and desserts again, and the thought of actually chopping something up isn’t odious to me. =) Yay for increased energy and excitement about daily chores!

David and I are going away next weekend for a long weekend. My parents are taking the boys. We realized today that we haven’t gone away together since Seth was a year and a half. He wasn’t even walking the last time we went on a trip together! Wow! I realized that we are super excited to get to do things like go to a movie alone or be at the beach during nap time. I was wondering why that was, and then I realized that we didn’t relish a break nearly as much back then because daily life with one wasn’t nearly as chaotic as daily life with two active, spunky, tiny boys.

Ok, losing steam. My soft sheets are calling me. G’night.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

warring parent gangs or the cribs vs. the beds….

Hat tip to Sallie at a Quiet Simple Life for this one…

I am a member of the Cribs, with a smattering of Bed thrown in from time to time just to keep it interesting.

Monday, August 02, 2010

the small pleasures of a mall play place…

It’s 5 minutes from our house. We go there around 9:00 a.m., before the mall is really open. Seth struts around, pleased to the oldest for once, calling out to me, “ I did it, Mommy!" as he scales a giant plastic log. Evan crawls through another, squealing with delight. He’s found a friend, a motherly little girl who calls after him, “Come back, baby boy!” There is a wonderland of plastic cars, trucks, and motorcycles, all freely and joyfully ridden, if you don’t know that they move when coins are inserted. A penny will buy you a wish in the fountain. There is a lawnmower to be sat upon by eager little boys.

Who needs Disneyworld? =)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

random musings…

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m still a little dazed from my afternoon nap. Love the afternoon nap on Sundays. Can’t live without it. Going to bake cookies in a few minutes because…

We’ve got a busy week coming up. We mentor a newly married couple through a program at church, and they’re coming over, so I wanted to have something on hand. And then I have a MOPs leader training this Friday, and I’m bringing a dessert. One batch of cookie dough, nicely frozen, should hopefully handle both of these…. at least I don’t have to go back to the grocery store! =)

We went to a fellowship for Sunday School teachers at our church last night. It was a great chance to get to know some of the other workers. We teach a 2’s class on Sunday mornings with another couple, and we’ve been considering whether or not we’ll teach again next year. At a church the size of ours, the best way to get connected is to join an adult Sunday School class, and we’d been starting to feel a bit disconnected from the larger church body because of being out of one. Well, we’re not the only ones. That was the point of the social… to make the step of trying to build community among the teachers so we won’t feel so isolated.

It’s important to have a group of fellow believers who know when you’re sick or bring you a meal when you have a new baby or you can email when you need to borrow a space heater because your heat went out. The Sunday School teachers shouldn’t have to miss out on that just because they’re teaching the church’s children week in and week out. Hmmm, now to find a good and constructive way to accomplish this…

I did think as we were going over there that this was a group of people who have hugged and cuddled and changed and sang a million choruses of the B-I-B-L-E to my children faithfully and selflessly for years now. I almost got misty eyed over the thought. They have laid their lives down in practical and tough ways regularly for the good of the Body of Christ. That’s more than can be said for many members of Sunday School classes, me included. It’s an honor to get to know them better, and it’s a warm feeling to know how much they love my children.

One of the 1’s teachers snagged Evan right away and fed him bits of hot dog. I got to eat my dinner with both hands. That contributes to the warm fuzzies, I’m sure. =)

Well, those cookies aren’t going to bake themselves. And who knows how much time I left left before a couple of little somebodies wakes up from their naps…