Our New Happy Place

I am a planner…a five-year plan is my happy place. Well, it used to be. Life has a way of humbling us…and the thought of mapping out where I think we should be in five years has become a bit comical. Take the month of May, for example. Today is April 22. Within the next thirty days we will either say goodbye to our Peas; say hello forever to our Peas; just hang out with the Peas a bit longer (til the next court date); perhaps take on a additional Pea…as one is cooking and is due in May; AND welcome a new family member for a spell. So, uh, plans are really…not…ummm…conducive to our current way of life.

This kind of “uncertainty” is our new normal. And though it is true for all of us, we are keenly aware that we have no idea what the future holds. But our hope for our future is secure…because it now rests on the unchangeable shoulders of a good God. And that space of faith is our new happy place. Trusting the One who is immovable, unchangeable…and good. We feel such certainty that all will be well. All will be well. This place of peace beats the pants off a five-year plan.

D is for…oh…Dang!

We do a weekly memory verse from the Bible. Recently I got some ABC Bible verse cards. They are très cute! AND ABC’s? Come on…perfection for this current age.

Well, this morning I pulled out D. For my own amusement, I try to guess the verse and then do a grand reveal. I had settled comfortably on “Delight yourself in the Lord,” when BOOM! I was hit with “Do everything without complaining or arguing,” (Philippians 2:14.) And if you can’t tell by my complaining about drawing this winner, I’ll say it clearly. I speak fluent complaint. No? Not clear? I complain. A lot. It is a sensitive area of weakness for me. I despise my complaining…and yet I persist. I have a lot to say about this struggle…about embracing myself as is…as Jesus does. Accepting my limitation…without condemning myself…while hoping for better. But that is another post.

And so, I’m a bit panicked. This will be an interesting week, and I hope to write through this struggle…speaking the gospel to both my children and to myself. The gospel here…I am a broken woman and God has asked me to raise children…and teach them stuff about behaving as decent human beings. I am a broken woman…both beautiful and terrible…full of love and compassion…and venom and judgement. I get some things right and some things wrong. And God asks me to teach…to teach my kids “to do everything without complaining or arguing” though I am the chief complainer. The gospel? I am loved. And I cannot keep this command. But I am loved. And I will teach them. And my girls will not be able to keep this command. And they will be loved. 

Now, Jesus…help me keep a straight face as I introduce my girls to this verse. Open up the discussion of my inability to do this non-complaint thing…and my comfort and hope. You are making me new. You are making my heart new. You forgive my failures, and though You call me to a standard I cannot keep, You adore me. Thanks, buddy.

 

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Sweet Pea — Eight Months

The girl is on fire! She wants to get up and go, go, go with her older sisters. On top of that, I highly suspect she…much like her beloved Eden…is an extrovert. Though my snuggly-wuggly wee babe has been replaced with this go-getter, Sweet Pea has retained her sweet, gentle, contented yumminess. Everything she does feeds my soul with such peace and joy.

At eight months, Sweet Pea:

  • sits up. All on her own. Just like she’s been doing it her whole life. Oy.
  • wants to play ALL day. She down to only two good naps a day. And so it begins…or rather, ends.
  • holds her own bottle.
  • experienced her first camping trip. She happily played out in the “woods,” mouthing sticks, rocks…any bit of nature she could grasp in those beautifully chubby hands.
  • eats crackers. Sniff, sniff. Crackers. There’s no turning back now.
  • takes a bath in the bathtub now. Oh, this girl! Soooo fast! She’s growing up so fast!!
  • says “dah-dah-dah,” which is great and all. And to be fair, it was her first utterance. But hearing “muh-muh-muh-muh” makes me giddy. Giddy.
  • is everywhere! She is officially crawling. And nothing is beyond her. Sigh.
  • can drink from a sippy cup.
  • lights up the room…not only with her smile, but with her sweet spirit.

Denver — Two and Ten

Oh Denver! She is so funny and fun and absolutely infuriating…all rolled into a jumpy, squirmy, giggly girl. Currently, she loves to tell people, “I’m two!” And boy, is she. But not for long…which makes my heart ache a bit. She’s not a baby…or a toddler. She is a little girl…so full of fun. This one, she’s our party waiting to happen. Whew.

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At two years and ten months, Denver:

  • talks and talks and talks. I just love it. Granted, her “monologues” are often a combination of fact and fantasy…I love the way she weaves the two together seamlessly. However, this often makes it tough to get the gist of her message. Is she just talking…or is she trying to communicate?
  • cries so very, very, very much. It is the age of her emotions being so much bigger than her ability to cope. Anyhoo, we work on identifying her feelings. The one she has down…no problemo…is “I am so FRUST-ER-RATED!!” And she is. The girl passes in and out of frustration all day almost as much as her mama.
  • dresses herself. Her clothing preferences include anything that is Eden’s. And so it starts.
  • she is the first one “out” in the quiet game. Every. Single. Time. She cannot seem to help shouting out, “Ready, set, quiet” after the game has started. This one!
  • call lipstick “chap stick,” and the girl loves her chap stick! Her favorite it to apply “chap stick” and then give kisses.
  • is not shy about voicing her likes and dislikes, “I do NOT like spit up!”
  • has become quite the fish. She “swims” for hours in inflatable pool. She likes to jump in and shout “Cannon Bob!” Cute. I will never, ever call it a cannon ball ever again. Swoon.
  • thinks that fishing is “yucky!” Still, I think she got a thrill out of reeling in a fish…she just did not want to see the fish…nor touch it.
  • cried and cried and cried and cried when her cousin, Kyser had to return home. She kinda likes him.
  • called Kyser a penis. Yep. I will not say that Ky was completely innocent in this endeavor…he found it…ummmm…funny that we encourage our girls to openly discuss body parts. So he took FULL advantage in getting Denver to say penis, penis, penis…culminating in her calling him a penis (which he found hilarious. It was pretty hilarious)…which lead to “We do not call people names.” Whew. Slippery slope…why? Why no names? Why is calling someone a penis not kind? (What if she had called him an elbow? Is THAT unkind?) Needless to say, I was waaaay in over my head.
  • identified every character in her David and Goliath storybook by genitalia. “He has a penis. And so does he. And he has a penis, too.” Yep, all but the poor guy with the long hair had a penis. Long-hair dude had a vulva. Eh.
  • wants her back tickled as she falls asleep.
  • loves the ABC song and wants me to sing it to her as a lullaby at night.
  • learned to play Memory. And Eden taught her. Hil. Arious. I must say this for our girl, she is exuberant in her efforts…joyful and completely unaware of…uh…interrupting others who “follow the rules” (Eden’s words…following the rules!)
  • plays so well with Eden these days. Yes, still plenty of fighting…but oh the moments of giggles…as they have imaginary adventures. Such a delight!

Eden — Four and Seven

Oh, my girl. She has reached an age I just adore. Granted, they’ve all been pretty nifty, but this four-and-a-half stage is delicious. She’s funny…with fewer tantrums. She’s helpful…with fewer meltdowns. She’s sweet…with a fiery temper. She’s just the type of girl I’d pick to be my best buddy. So, once we’re through with the whole growing up thing, I think I’ll have a great gal to hang with.

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Landon...her soul mate.
Landon…her soul mate.
Yes. Yes those are what you think they are. A whole box of them. Yea.
Yes. Yes those are what you think they are. A whole box of them. Yea.

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Makeup applied by Eden.
Makeup applied by Eden.

At four years and seven months, Eden:

  • likes to cut her own hair. Granted, she just snips bits and pieces, so it’s not really noticeable. I wouldn’t even know if not for the trail of golden tendrils she leaves here and there.
  • attended her first VBS…and adored it. Yea! (Jury is still out for the mama…were the four days worth all the blood, sweat, and tears? Eh, a definite maybe.)
  • is da boss of her little sisters: “Denver, you should ask before using Mama’s shampoo.” Hmph.
  • offered to help Denver get her shirt one. Swoon. Such a helpful girl.
  • likes to play Mom and Daughter with Denver. They take turns being the mama. Here is Eden’s rendition of…well…me: “Denver! How many times do I have to tell you??” (Damn it! I’m that mom.)
  • is very, very, VERY fancy these days. Our blessed Sadie (ten-year-old mother’s helper) gave Eden some hand-me-downs. Lots of glitter. Lots of sparkle. Eden is one happy girl.
  • notices and complements girls…and guys…on their wardrobe choices…necklaces especially…but also shirts…skirts. She walks right up to strangers because she MUST, MUST, MUST let them know how much she enjoys their outfits.
  • attended her first wedding. She wore a princess dress and sneakers. Classy.
  • has fallen in love with the Disney Short “John Henry.” It has captured her heart and mind. Ummmm, delving into slavery was…interesting. Gotta start somewhere. Right? I just wasn’t prepared. Too soon! Too soon!
  • calls John Henry, John Hickman. When I asked who John Hickman was, she said, “He’s the brown man with the hammer.”
  • got a hold of a dry erase marker…and went to town…table, TV, floor, door…nice shade of black. Grrrr.
  • is queen of the Quiet Game. Ironic. My non-stop talker is a master of the Quiet Game. Ahhhh. Sweet, sweet peace for da mama.
  • enjoys listening to K-Love (Christian Music). Eden and Denver are learning some of the songs…which is super sweet.They were belting out, “He’s making diamonds out of us.” Indeed.
  • calls Goo Gone “Gone Junk”. Yep. That’s about right.
  • knows our address! How does she know our address??? The discovery:
    • Eden: “I know our house number!”
    • Dad: “What is it?”
    • Eden: “One, three, four, one, four.”
    • Dad: “How did you know that?????”
    • Eden: “I see it when we leave the house.”
  • got a surprise visit from her BFF, Landon! (He moved away in May…sniff, sniff.) She was beside herself with joy.
  • is a delight to raise. An absolute delight. Thank you, Jesus, for this precious girl!

Eden — Four and Six

This big sister is a keeper! Eden is a master at keeping her ducks…or sisters…in a row. And boy, does the girl have a mind of her own! Though this is an excellent quality in life…it is hell on a mama. Yes, Eden knows her mind and continually pursues the art of the sway…”encouraging” others to see things her way. Eden is a bold as she is sweet…rough and tumble as she is gentle…serious as she is funny. Oh this girl…I love her so.

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At four years and six months, Eden:

  • thinks she can speak Spanish…fluently…and often does so.
  • can become overwhelmed with the loudness of three younger siblings, “They won’t leave me alone with their mouths.” I feel ya, sister. I feel ya.
  • has created a variation on the “Hello, my name is Inigo” bit. It goes something like this. “Hello. My name is Chloe. You did not kill my father. Prepare to not die.” Eh. Not too shabby. I believe I have mentioned, Chloe is Eden’s alias.
  • has “discovered” a third mother. There is me, of course. And there is Rosemary…her first and clearly most awesome mom…the one who let her do pretty much anything she wanted. Well, there is now Lucille. Lucille does not get much air time. I don’t know much about her…but she came after the beloved Rosemary, but before me. So there you have it.
  • bites her toenails. Gross. But impressive.
  • uses movie lines at every opportunity. I could not be more proud. This little scene is a takeoff of Megamind:
    • Phil: “What if the answer is no, Eden.”
    • Eden: “You don’t know what’s good for no!”
  • told Denver, “I am NOT being your friend anymore,” in a fit of frustration. Oh, the drama.
  • flew, like a boss, to Denver, Colorado. Not only was she a big help on the flight, she entertained folks around us. Tooooo fast! She is growing up too fast.
  • adored spending time with Papa, Lulu, Aunt Shea-Shea, Kyser, Uncle Greg, Celis, and Kilian.
  • is a BIG fan of Papa’s cinnamon toast. Who isn’t? Lots o’ butter…lots o’ sugar…what’s not to like?`
  • leaps before she looks. Gotta say, I love this little trait of hers. It reminds me so of…who is that? Oh yes, me. Here’s to the leapers in life!

 

Good Friday 2016

Whew. This was one for the record books. Thought I would capture it in all it’s hilariously horrible glory. Hopefully…no, prayerfully…no, just please God NO more Good Fridays like this one…well…or any days. No more days like this one!

Let back up a bit. This week I have purposely crammed our schedule with friends…lots and lots of play dates…lots and lots of distraction from and for the mama. Oddly, I can find rest for my introvertedness in a crowd better than at home where I am the star of the Mama show. Anyhoo, I was beginning to see the wear and tear on my two “bigs” who just needed more mama time. And so, I set aside most of Good Friday to be at home…lots of time to huddle and cuddle as a family…to talk about the meaning of the day…blah, blah, blah.

Oh, and speaking of Holy Week and Maundy Thursday and all the great lessons we would engage in as a fam…the foot-washing. Nada. None of it happened. Every once in a while I’d throw out something like, “So, this is a big week historically…with Jesus…and love…and God’s redemption…blah, blah, blah.” I’m sure my words buried deep within their spirits…or not at all…cause “Snacks! We need more snacks!” and “Esperanza pinched me. AGAIN!”

So…Good Friday. It began sweetly! The girls and I volunteered to do registration for Good Friday Day Camp. We’d be done and home by 11:00. And we were. And that’s when all hell broke loose.

Little ones were napping. Big ones…well…were likely just craving more of me than will ever be available. Ever. Milk spilled. Doors were slammed. (Big no-no…fingers and all that.) And so…I put both of my darlings…after yelling like a crazed…well, Mama who is in over her head…out of the house “Until your mother can behave herself!” Yep. Put it on them. Put the consequences of my behavior and my bad choices…on my kids. Eh. It was a tense moment.

And I locked them out of the house. In the backyard. For…probably too long. So, if you are following along with the story, this day was intended for reconnecting as a family. And I threw my kids out of the house. Ahem.

So, once I gained my perspective…I ventured outside…to pull them close and explain…THIS, this is why Mama needs Jesus. And to ask for their forgiveness. And all was sweet and hugs and kisses. For a good thirty minutes.

And honestly, I don’t know what set me off…but as I was shooshing my two bigs out the back door…again…Eden called out, “You need to say you’re sorry for yelling,” to which I quickly retorted, “NO! Get outside and PLAY.” Door slammed. Did I mention that was a big no no? I wonder where these kids get it.

So, take a breath…or 500, and after…too long…I went outside again…and this time I was just moved to tears at my…well…my need for a redeemer. If I have Jesus…WHY…why don’t I let HIM live and move in my spirit when my kids push every button in my entire body? Anyhoo, I tried…again…to tell them…it is not because of them or their behavior that mommy is insane. It is because Mama gets overwhelmed and scared and just doesn’t know what to do…so she yells…cause it seems to release all that pent up feeling of inadequacy.

Of course, they sweetly forgave. Of course, in the back of my head I am counting up the thousands….maybe millions…these girls will spend on counseling. Eh. I love counseling. Everyone should get counseling. (Truly.) I’m just making sure my kids have to have counseling. That’s all.

And so…Phil comes home…with Bailey’s ashes. Great day to spread ashes. Right? Good Friday. Discuss death. Our bodies. The earth. Eternal life. New bodies. Blah, blah, blah.

Phil did give a quick spiel on Adam…being created from the dirt…and we lost ’em there. So, Bailey’s ashes…this Saturday…after Good Friday…are still on the piano. Awaiting their auspicious return to the earth.

And Good Friday? We put that baby to BED. Early.

That, my friends….that is why we need Jesus in this house.