Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our Last Few Days

This is just a collection of mostly disconnected thoughts and pictures from the last week or so.

First, I would like to note that I recently read Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I... I... I'm just genuinely flabbergasted that Disney took this one on. Now in fairness, I haven't seen the animated version. I've read that it's quite good. But, listen folks, the original Hunchback is not a children's tale, and (SPOILER ALERT) I'm not just saying that because everyone dies at the end. (Yes, everyone. Every single character that I cared about--dead. Except the goat. And Phoebus, but I'd have been happier if he had died.) We're talking adult themes here, people. And I don't know for certain, but I do strongly suspect, that the only way Disney could successfully make this into an animated musical is to make it a different story with different themes and a drastically different outcome. (Not that that should come as a big surprise. Ever read Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid?)

* * *

Onto lighter topics...

I know I already posted a version of this picture, but I had to show you again. Look at this boy's profile, will you?
Matthew Profile
Is that not adorable? Look at that big round cheek, so chubby it almost hides his lips! Look at that little turned up nose, at that knob of a chin with an extra fold underneath, at that fringe of dark lashes! Matthew is growing up fast, but every now and again I'm reminded of how much baby is still mixed up with the big boy. This picture captures the lingering baby side, and I think that's why I love it.

I'm so grateful God made kids cute!

* * *

One morning last week Meg and Matthew got hold of the camera at breakfast time, while I was upstairs with Esme. These next few pics are the result.

Meg's portrait of Matthew, with cereal bowl:
Kiddie Portrait 1

Matthew's portrait of Meg, with balloon:
Kiddie Potrait 2

Matthew's portrait of himself, super extra close-up version:
Kiddie Portrair 4

Matthew's forearm:
Kiddie Portrait 3

* * *

Peek-a-boo, little smiley thing.
Esme High Chair

* * *

Matthew, after a good ol' pb&j:
PB&J Boy

* * *

Baths have been a real gift this winter and spring, to Meg and Matthew and to me. The days and weeks when we've been cooped up in the house have been punctuated with nice, long soaks in the tub. I'm talking about baths that are as much about recreation as cleanliness, baths that are about Mommy's sanity and having my children contained and self-occupied without the employment of a screen. I'm not saying that baths are a perfect solution; I break up a lot of fights over squirt toys and rubber ducks. But they're something a little different in our every day routine. And sometimes, variety is priceless.

Bubbles are fun too. Here, Meg and Matthew demonstrate the apply-your-own-beard technique:
M&M Bathtime 2

M&M Bathtime 1

If you click on this one, you may be able to see that Matthew's mouth is full of bubbles. They both eat them by the handful. Sigh. I've also given up on trying to keep them from drinking the bathwater.
M&M Bathtime 3

* * *

While we're on the subject of baths, I always want to take a picture of Esme when she comes out of the tub. She is so, so sweet and tiny, all bundled up in her pink towel and nestled in my arms, and I want to capture the image of her cuteness forever! Trouble is, Dave is not usually home at bath time. So yesterday, I asked Meg to try her hand at getting a shot.
Esme Bathtime
The back of the high chair seemed to get higher billing than baby and mama, but that's ok. It's something, at least.

(By the way, do I look ridiculously Nalle-ish in this picture, or is it my imagination?)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cool, Cool, Cool

In the midst of Dave's crazy schedule (which is a result of this--go CLC youth!) the two of us squeezed in a breakfast date this morning (insert ethereal angel voices here). We drove with the sunroof open. It meant we had to shout at each other to be heard but, oh... so worth it. It seems like everyone in America has gone plum crazy for spring! And I think you can count me among their number.

If you don't happen to follow my husband's Twitter feed (I presume this is the majority of readers here) and haven't yet seen this, you should. Because it's a cool picture. Because my guy's got cool wheels. And mostly because my David is one cool fella. (And fine too!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baby Love

It's been much too long since I shared news about our Esme girl. Hopefully I'll have a fifth-and-sixth months update coming soon but, in the meantime, I thought this...
...might tide us over. Is she scrumptious or what?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Our New Cousin

Shortly after Christmas, we got an email from my Uncle Rob, Aunt Julia, and their boys, Ben and Elijah. It was long. (They're not usually long-email people.) It was surprising. And it was--IS--completely wonderful.

To make a long story short, my uncle's family has decided to adopt a little boy from the Ukraine. His name is Aaron, and if you are looking at our actual blog page (and not a feeder read), you can see his sweet face in our sidebar. Aaron is five years old, and he suffers from a condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his hands. In Eastern European countries, when a special-needs orphan reaches the age of four or five, he or she is transferred from the orphanage to a mental institution. This transfer is often the equivalent of a death-sentence because of the lack of care in these facilities. Little Aaron is in such an institution right now. God laid it on the hearts of my aunt and uncle to rescue this little guy from his current life and make him a part of their family... and hence ours as well!

I am wonderfully provoked by observing my Aunt Julia's passion for her new son. Yes, he is her son, even though he doesn't know that he has a family fighting for him in the far-away States. As I read Julia's blog, it becomes clearer and clearer that God has already made her Aaron's mom in the heart realm. If she could somehow complete all of the paperwork and vault all of the legal and financial hurdles right now, she'd be banging down the door of that Ukrainian institution tomorrow. Scratch that--tonight! What a picture of God's love for us and His passion to rescue us through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. What lengths He went to to bring us into His family, to make us His children! I know that these are truths that strengthen Julia, Rob and the boys as they walk through the arduous process of claiming their boy.

To read the complete story of how God brought Aaron this wonderful family, you'll want to start here, with the text of the email that Rob and Julia sent our family back in January. You can then follow the Nalles' blog to learn more about Aaron and the ups-and-downs of this tremendous thing called adoption. Please pray with us for my family and for Aaron. And if God lays it on your heart, would you consider giving financially to help bring my new cousin home?

Thanks, dear friends.

I Love...

...these three:
My Three

and this one:
Dave Headshot 2

Just in case you weren't sure.

(Photo credit for Dave's pic: Megan Russell.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Under Construction

Pardon our dust... (Don't you love it when they post that in your local Target or grocery?)

I made the mistake of messing around with my blog layout last night. I've been wanting to switch things up for a while, so my mistake had to do with timing rather than intent. See, this is my husband's busiest time of year. He's working some loooong hours right now, every day, with no days off for a bit. This means, among other things, that he can't really bail me out when it comes to making change to my html code. And that in turn means that you'll have to bear with me until I can a) learn how to make these desired changes myself, or b) find an appropriate moment to ask my David for his help. Because while he, being brilliant, can take care of text color, font and other fancy stuff in .5 seconds flat, I, being... um, decidedly less brilliant... will have to employ my buddy Google before I can manage any such thing.

So thanks for your patience.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Potty Training Update: What Big Girls Do


My poor, dear neglected blog. As the days slip by without any fresh posts and my mental list of future posts continues to grow, I often remind myself of words my friend Kia recently shared: "Living life is better than blogging about it." And if, by sometimes setting my blog aside, I can live a life that honors God more and elevates the real priorities He has given me, so much the better.

Before I tackle anything else on that future-posts list I mentioned, I feel that I owe whatever readers remain a brief update on the topic of my last post. According to Meg's sticker chart, a piece of yellow poster board that resides behind our kitchen trash can, she has now done "wet-wet," as we call it here (don't ask why), on the potty over 80 times. The other stuff she's done at least 22 times.

The rewards she's earned for her labors include: a new dolly (this was the great hope that got us through the first few, very tough attempts at #2), a Twix bar (shared with her brother), several headbands, and a Starbucks date with Daddy. She's been loving all of the stickers and the prizes, as you can imagine. I'm not sure she fully understands that both will soon be at an end...

We are now to the point where I would consider her fully potty-trained. She needs little assistance from us except at night. We get her out of bed every evening before our own bedtime, set her on the toilet, and give her the chance to go, which is what gets her through the night without wetting the bed. Earlier in the game we learned that she can sleep right through wet jammies and a soaked bed. Or take off her jammies and underwear, dump them on the floor, scootch the wet towel under her out of the way, and settle back in, all without ever really coming to. At the beginning we also had several instances where she left us a nice surprise in her undies rather than attempting the potty (or sometimes she would wake up having done this in her sleep), but that stage passed rather quickly. (Hallelujah.)

In short, I am delightedly shocked that we now have one self-service kid and are back to just two in diapers. The other day, when I again remarked to Meg how amazed I am that she just jumps up, does what she needs to do by herself, and comes back to tell me about it, she replied casually, "Yup. That's what big girls do." As if it had been years rather than weeks since she acquired this skill, and as if we hadn't been through an epic struggle to get there! Ah, well. We are proud of our little conqueror, and grateful to God.