Friday, April 22, 2011

Cousins Week, Part 1

This week we had the pleasure of having my sister's big kids in town while she and her husband packed up their house and prepared for a big move. Dave and the kids and I drove down to meet Jacque and Asher at a halfway point on Monday. And look who we got to meet there, right smack dab in Pole Green, Virginia!
Judah Eliot! He was a perfect little bundle of sleepiness for the too-short time that I got to hold him. Jacqua says that he's gaining weight well, sleeping well, and generally being the great baby they very much need in the extreme busyness of their current season. Thank you, Lord!

It was very sweet: Jacque had warned us that Aylenne might be emotional about leaving her mommy and daddy, so we were prepared for tears, fits, or come-what-may. But as we pulled away with our van loaded full of five occupied car seats, and I encouraged Ari and his little sister to wave and call goodbye to their folks, all that little Aylenne did was crane her neck to see her family's car and sweetly call, "'Bye, Judah! 'Bye, Judah!"

Well, we made it back to my mom's house, where Ari and Aylenne were to spend the night, and the kids enjoyed some water play in the shadows and sunlight of late afternoon.












Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why is the toaster smoking?

Hm, well, maybe because there's a crayon in there along with one of the slices of bread.
Toast anyone? We have butter, jam, or chartreuse wax.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sister Pix






Sunday, April 17, 2011

Matthew Says...

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Q: What do all of these words have in common? (Beside the fact that spell-check doesn't recognize them.)


A: They share a preliminary "L," which our son does not pronounce. In fact, he doesn't even seem to realize that he's omitting an often-critical consonant. Dave regularly gets a laugh out of Matthew's oblivion by baiting him shamelessly...

Matthew: Daddy, my eg hurts.

Dave: Your egg hurts?

Matthew: Yeah. No, my eg.

Dave: Where is your egg, buddy?

Matthew: Right here. My eg.

Dave: Shouldn't you keep your egg in the refrigerator?

Matthew: (now on the verge of tears, violently gesturing to his thigh) Nooooo, my EEEEG!

One of our long standing favorites from Matthew's vocabulary is the way he pronounces a certain animated race car's name. Ladies and gentlemen, "Ightning Umpeen!"

Or how about "girl," which features that tricky "L" right at the end of the word? Matthew does his best, but his version sounds almost nothing at all like the original, as he ends up with something like "Goo-er."

I find that there's an irrepressible smile on my face as I sit here typing. Oh, how we love our funny little man! And the surge of affection that I'm experiencing right now is one of the primary reasons I maintain this blog.

Honestly, friends, it's challenging for me to love and serve my Matthew much of the time. He's three. He bounces off the walls. He's whiny. He's waaaaay overly emotional. And he's all boy, a phenomenon to which this brotherless mama is still getting accustomed. But sitting here and capturing these sweet, fleeting aspects of his personality and speech stirs up my heart and rekindles my love for him. To me, that's why it's worth doing! It is well worth doing!

Ohhh, but I really need to do an extended video interview with him soon so that some of these cute verbal idiosyncrasies get captured on video as well as on the blog. Because I know that, as soon as I blink a couple of times, he'll be several inches taller than me and using words that I don't even know...

And it won't be because he can't pronounce the letter "L."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Photographic Anomaly

This is a picture of me and my children:

Shocking, right? When do you ever see a picture of Cara and all the kids on this blog? I'm wondering if this is the first picture taken of the four of us since this one:

Anyway, back to the first picture: we went to the zoo on Monday, and when I asked if I could take a picture of everyone just before we left, Dave put me in front of the lens instead. And I didn't object. So there you have it!

Friday, April 08, 2011

A Shoe Story

From an email I sent to my dear mother-in-law earlier this week:

I'm still learning about the vast discrepancies in children's shoe sizes--depending on the brand, your kid might wear any number of shoe sizes at the same time!

Example: on Monday I pulled out a pair of unworn size 11's that someone had given us for Meg.
These 11's
have always been much too big for her, but the day before I noticed that her black Sunday shoes
are also an 11 and are actually beginning to get a bit tight!

So I pulled out these new size 11's,
which Meg eagerly put on, and they seemed fine at home. But by the time we got to Great Falls, we noticed she was walking very slowly and awkwardly to keep them on her feet; they were actually too large and kept sliding off her heels. So we stuffed some toilet paper in the toes and made due for that day!

Today I took her shopping for some spring sneakers. (She left the house wearing her brown Sunday shoes
that I bought her last fall--they are a size 10 and still fit her perfectly.) I had the lady at the shoe store measure her foot, and according to that black, metal measuring thingy with the slider, she should clearly be wearing a size 12 or 12.5! She tried on several pairs of shoes, and the Nikes that we ended up buying (Nikes run a half-size small, according to the shoe lady) were a 12.5!

Meanwhile, those size-11 hand-me-downs
that she tried on Monday will go back on the closet's top shelf until the fall!

And while we're on shoes... look who learned to tie her laces in the 24 hours since we brought these babies home?
Shall we take a closer look at that handiwork?
Great job, Meggers! Mommy's proud of you, Love!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Glorious Great Falls Family Day

Monday we got to have David all to ourselves for an entire day, and the weather proved absolutely gorgeous. We headed for "The Great Falls," as Meg would say...




I don't think I've ever been there before in early spring. The water was ferocious. Majestic, but scary. I watched my babies very carefully when they ventured near the guardrails to survey the falls.

But actually, all three of them were happiest climbing around on the rocks at the first overlook. It was a 100% natural playground, I tell ya! Miss Esme was feeling extremely independent.

(Matthew was so active we didn't even get a decent picture of him on the rocks! He doesn't stop to pose, like some other people we could mention.)


Okay, so he does pose sometimes...


Here, just to prove that I really was there, is one Matthew took of me.

In this one you can see one of Meg's interesting physical features; she's double jointed in her elbows.


All in all, it was a perfectly lovely, memorable, gift of a family day, and full of promise for many spring and summer days to come!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Meg: An Essay

I have a little girl. She'll be six on her next birthday. Yesterday I noticed that her cheeks aren't round any more--not even a little bit.

My friend Anne, sitting on our front stoop with me and watching Meg prance around our miniature yard, aptly pronounced: "She's all legs." It's true. Where is the stubby baby who stumbled her first steps into my lap at 15 months? Where is the sweet, pudgy two-year old who went all over the house on tippy-toe? Where has that child gone? She's all gone to legs, ma'am--she's all legs now.

She's also all energy. She likes to sit and read but, man, tell her something just the teeniest bit exciting, and she'll go from 10 to 90 mph in 2 seconds flat. She has no brakes--at least, none that easily can be applied externally. She is out of bed at exactly 6:00 am every morning and--sploosh--head first into the day.

She's physical--so physical. I see signs of the sweet, docile"girlie girl" in her--mostly when there's a book or a coloring project or a game to focus on. That is, she can sit still. But mostly, she doesn't. And that's an understatement.

When we're lying on the guest bed together for our afternoon reading time, and I read her something happy from the life of Laura Ingalls, she writhes, kicks or lunges with pleasure. Sometimes she hurts herself. She couldn't hide her emotions if you threatened her life. We're working on self-control. But I hope she never loses the spark of visceral sympathy that literally makes her heart leap over someone else's joy.

She talks kinda funny. I guess she gets it from me. She says things like, "Mommy, your hair looks a little odd," and "Look, that tree is bursting into bloom!" She uses words like "perhaps" in every day conversation. I could definitely be wrong, but I don't think most other five-year olds do.

Sometimes, if she can't think of the precise word she'd like to use, she just makes one up. You might observe her break off a sentence, then narrow her eyes in thought. "That seems a little... that seems a little sploogie." She'll keep a straight face as she intones her originality, but if you can catch her eye, she'll probably burst out laughing.

Speaking of laughs, she has the loudest, loudest, LOUDEST laugh I know. (Even louder than Lindy Funk from high school. Now that's loud.) There's no mute button. And once she's started a good laughing spree, just try getting her settled down. Really, go ahead and try. I dare you.

She loves people. Oh, how could I even begin to name the people she loves, the ones whose names make her light up and jump up with delighted anticipation? Her family: Nana and Grandpop, Aunt Lena, Grandma Dawn and Grandpa Tom, Grandpa Don and Grandma Jan, Aunt Dacia, Aunt Jacqua, Ari and Aylenne and Baby Judah, cousins Ben, Elijah and Aaron... Her neighbors: Big Jack, Mr. Tim, Gregory, Jasmine, Taylor, the Gruner family, Jessica, Emily, Brian and their grandma, Aurie and Maya, Leah, Noodle the dog... Her parents' friends: Aunt Jessie and Uncle Kris and Uncle Brandon and Aunt Annie and Uncle Spitz and Aunt Mari, and of course all their kids--Jack and Emma and Baby Sammy and Baby Nate and Baby Mateo and... you see why I can't go on with specifics in this vein, but, trust me: if she knows you, she probably adores you, and it would make her day to see you and be able to hug you. That's just who she is.

She loves her Daddy. In the morning when he takes his shower, she sits outside the door and plays, waiting. Once he's decent, she goes into the bathroom and talks with him as he puts in his contacts, shaves, brushes his teeth, etc. Every morning. Sometimes they talk about deep things--God things. Sometimes they talk about silly little girl things. But all of the time, Meg cherishes her mornings with Daddy. And I know that her Daddy does too.

She loves her baby sister. "Awwww!" she says, about a dozen times a day, after Esme does or says something newish, be it ever so small an achievement. "She's so cute!" Of course, I always heartily agree. "Mommy, I love everything about Esme," she's said more than once. May it always be so, my daughter!

She loves her little brother, too. It's different, you know, this love between a sister and a brother. They don't talk about it much. And they certainly aren't always kind to one another. But when they find their rhythm and are playing happily together--ahhhh, Meg is never happier than she is at those times. And no one enjoys more of Meg's laughter--or enjoys Meg's laughter more--than Matthew.

I know she loves me too. It's harder for me to see, for some reason, but it is there--I know it is. It's there when she wriggles with delight when I praise her. It's there when she wants to help me around the house. It's there when she pleads, "Mommy, will you play with us?" Oh, and Meggie, I too often say no, holding cheaply your loving desire for my time, my presence! Oh, Father, don't let me squander the precious, short time I have with this little girl! Don't let me waste it on things that seem urgent and aren't.

See what a treasure she is! A gift from God Himself--a reward, the Psalmist says! Stroking her satin-smooth, no-longer chubby cheek this afternoon, I saw it. I knew it.

Oh, let me not forget.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Daddy Time

We've been a little short on David around here lately, due to his involvement in our church's youth production of Godspell. Or "God Spells," as my daughter would say. (Come if you can! It'll be Godspell like you've never seen it before! And it's likely to beat the pants off any other high school production you've seen. Or at least, any other high school production that I've seen.)

But we have gotten a few special moments with Dave over the last week or so, and they've been so sweet that I had to capture them.

Here are Daddy and the boy at Cheeburger Cheeburger last Friday. Are my guys handsome, or what?

Post-Cheeburger horsey rides at our place:


Watching a Veggie Tales song on Dave's iPhone yesterday morning (it was funny--hence all the smiles):

My Beloved, you are missed here, but we so appreciate your service to our family and to our church this week! May God continue to be glorified in and through you!

Pictures of Judah

Jacque and Asher couldn't get pictures of their new boy out right away due to technical difficulties, but I finally have some to share! Just look at this beautiful, little man!

This one totally melts my heart. What a wee, squishy, rolled-up little bundle of preciousness!

I think I love him!