Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ten Months and Counting

Dear Boy,

I don't know. I just don't know how you managed to crawl your way to ten months old. It boggles the mind. I can't figure out how you were just staring at me with your body stuck inside your birth mother and your eyes locked with your mama's and now you're stepping all over the place and feeding yourself fist fulls of food. I try to wrap my brain around the swiftness of it all but I fail every single time.

Your first Christmas was...interesting. I've decided that nearly ten months old is the worst possible age to be on Christmas morning. You were only slightly interested in anything you got but you made it your mission in life to squawk at everyone else when it was their turn. Eventually we decided to open all of your gifts first and then we plopped you down in the middle of your crib with all your new toys. You squealed and clamored and played while the rest of us enjoyed a slow Christmas.

Nothing about you is slow. Each and every waking moment is go go go. If you stopped for a fraction of a minute, well, you might miss something. Everything is high speed and I suspect that is how we've gotten to ten months. It's just that you've managed to crash through every month leading up to this.

You've added "dada" to your list of vocabulary words. I feed you a bottle in our bed every morning and if your brother comes into the room, you look around as if to make sure that everyone is accounted for. If daddy isn't there you stare at the door and scream his name until he appears or I convince you that he isn't home.

Grandma and Grandpa are here visiting and you've been having so much fun playing with them. In fact, we haven't slowed down enough for me to blog which is why this is a day overdue. It's late and all the house is quiet except for my clicking away in an attempt to capture you at ten months. I don't want to forget the way your hands sound when they clap together, the way your tongue pokes out from between your lips all the time, or the adorable stink bug position your were in when I just went to cover you up. I want to remember the way your brother and you started playing together this month and the way he calls you, "Buddy Ole Pal" and "Buckaroo" and they somehow seem to fit you perfectly. I don't want to forget what it felt like to be a family on your first Christmas and how you are never, ever, full and how good it feels to snuggle you in my arms.

I love you. I've loved you for ten months--much longer, really. I'll love you forever--and really, much longer, even, than that.

Monday, December 28, 2009

13 Things About Wii

1. My parents brought their Wii.
2. The Rock Star thinks Mario Kart is hysterical and I just heard him beg my dad to let him play WiiWii. (Yes, just as if the fifth little pig was going all the way home.)
3. They got Wii fit for Christmas.
4. It said I was 46. I did it over again on account of the fact that I did not fully comprehend the object of the balance game it made me do. And by "did not fully comprehend" I mean, of course, that I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing at all until my time was up.
5. I did it over again.
6. It gave me a new game and I was 44 on account of the fact that I have no idea how to properly work a Wii controller. Our money can't afford a Wii. Correction: We have no money with which to purchase a Wii.
7. I did it over again.
8. Horrible (HORRIBLE!) things happened while I was attempting to master the balance game and also I was getting incredibly frustrated which was making matters worse. My husband and parents kept telling me it was because I was 46. They called me awesome things like, "Old Lady." In the end I was 53. Their laughter knew no bounds.
9. They told me, through their guffawing, to do it again.
10. I conquered. I was 21. I will take my 21 and I will pretend that the average of my four attempts is not 41. I'm not a Wii day over 21. Even if, in reality, I'm barrelling toward 30 at an alarming speed.
11. According to Wii, I am underweight. Apparently I need to gain 28 pounds to reach my ideal weight. This is why I am not putting a great deal of stock in the fact that, at one point, it said my fitness age was 53. I think, maybe, the Wii is crazy. Trust me. If I gained 28 pounds I would only be 2 pounds lighter than I was on the day I delivered my son.
12. What we've learned is that (at one point in the evening) Wii considered me to be a 53 year old anorexic. I am neither.
13. Just, you know, in the event that you were concerned.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Family Visit

My son said that his Papa is a superhero. And he wants to marry Grandma. Forgive me if I'm missing in action this week. We've got a couple months of family time to catch up on.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Step One

On Christmas Eve afternoon there were two. They were followed by the soft thud of a diaper clad bottom hitting the floor. This morning there was just one. Tonight there were four. Then one. Then seven or eight.

Merry Christmas. My baby is taking steps.

I wouldn't call it walking. It's certainly more of a glorified falling sort of activity. But it is definitely stepping and he does it with the biggest grin on his face. He shows me his two pearly whites and his eyes light up as if to say, "Look! Look at me! I'm doing it just like the rest of you."

Even though it kills me, even though he has no business stepping at three days shy of ten months old, even though I want to put a brick on his head and remind him that life will wait and growing up is overrated, I can't help but grin right back. That gummy smile is simply infectious, his pride, communicable. I love that tiny boy with the bitty feet and the stutter steps.

And I wonder. How deeply did Mary love? When those ten perfect toes--the ones belonging to the boy who once slept soundly in a manger--started stepping, how intensely did her heart swell? Did it cross her mind that he was all grown up already? Did she see, all at once, the man he would become?

He was the Savior. Sinless. Salvation. But he was born in a barn to a girl whose heart, undoubtedly, soared with love and adoration. He learned to roll and scoot and crawl and step. Then he walked. First, perhaps, into his mother's waiting arms, then on water and, later, straight to the cross without rebelling. Fully God. Fully man.

Once upon a time Mary told someone that Jesus took his first steps. Once upon a time he was simply her son.

Matthew is my son. And he is stepping.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nothing

Several weeks ago, The Rock Star caught me wrapping one his daddy's presents. I was trying to do it behind his back because, while he's getting better at keeping secrets, he can't be trusted not to blab. He was excited about it and I instructed him, over and over, that he could not tell his daddy what was inside. Troy absolutely, positively, without a doubt, really, truly hates to know what his presents are.

I instructed Garrett that he had to keep it a secret and that if his daddy ever asked him what was inside (when pigs learned how to waltz with lions or something) he should say, "Nothing."

Me: So what's inside?
G: It's a _____________. (He told me exactly what is was.)
Me: No. Forget what's in there. It's nothing.
G: It's a ____________. (He told me again. I'd tell you but what with my husband reading this blog and all...)
Me: No. It's nothing. (pause) What is it?
G: It's nothing. But it's really a ___________.
Me: Garrett. You cannot tell daddy what it is.
G: Okay. It's nothing.

Well, the gift remained down in the basement for many days and I brought it up about ten days ago. I was wrapping other gifts and The Rock Star was being the little elf who deposited them under the tree. At one point he came back upstairs and smiled proudly.

Me: Did you put it under the tree?
G: (whispering as though he had the best secret in the whole wide world) Yes. I put it right by daddy's nothing.

He has since said hysterical things like, "I can't wait until daddy opens his nothing." So, this Christmas will be remembered as the year where Troy got nothing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fastest Ice on Earth

We live a short distance from The Fastest Ice on Earth.

Last night we decided to commune with our inner Apolo Anton Ohno. We headed over to the Olympic Oval and took the boys ice skating for the very first time. Let's just say it was a very good thing that they gave us a helmet and a training device for The Rock Star. He spent a lot of time on his back. At one point, his helmet clad head ricocheted right off the ice. But boy did he have fun.

When we told him we were going somewhere and that it was a surprise, he insisted on badgering me until I informed him that we were taking him to be eaten by alligators. Would you believe that the kid took me seriously and started crying buckets? Would you believe that he sobbed over the fact that alligators have sharp teeth? I think he decided that going ice skating was exponentially more fun than being eaten by a gator.

How do you take a nine-month-old skating? Especially a nine-month-old who doesn't walk? It looks something like this...
The bar around the stroller is Garrett's training device. He needed to use the bathroom so I put it in front of Matthew so that I could continue to skate around. I didn't think I could skate very well pushing a stroller and carrying a walker.
I've never seen Little Buddy so happy. By the time we got to the rink it was almost his bedtime. He tapped his leg the entire time, as if keeping beat. He wore a giant grin and if I stopped he twisted his head up to stare at me, as if to say, "Hey, lady, get moving."We took turns skating fast with Matthew and creeping at a turtle's speed with Garrett. Whether creeping or speeding, both boys had a great time!

I'll leave you with a little video of the beat keeping baby.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

He Has Lofty Goals

Our church has the tradition of calling the children forward during the advent season. Troy chooses one of them to light the candles and he talks about different parts of the Christmas story. It's interactive and, usually, someone says something ridiculous. Today Troy asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. Someone wanted to be a police man. One of the girls in my play wanted to be a fashion model. Garrett looked me squarely in the eye and whispered, "I want to be Jesus." Then he shot his little arm up in the air.

Troy: Garrett, what do you want to be?
Me: (whispering quickly) Maybe...something else.
Garrett: (loudly) Um. I want to be a fire fighter and a doctor and an airplane guy!

When I sat down, one man leaned forward and suggested that we start dumping money into the college fund.

I can hear him now, "Sorry I'm late, Captain. After I landed from my flight home from La Guardia I had to perform an emergency appendectomy."

Friday, December 18, 2009

He Gave Everything

I serve a big God.

He came in a really small package.

He challenges me to do really big things.

Even though I'm a really small, unworthy, scrap of a human being. I have to remind myself all the time to keep persevering.

Today Troy was on the phone with our lawyer and I had my head pressed up to the outside of it so that I could hear. He said a lot of words. Hundreds probably and most were related to our case. Then he said a sentence that wasn't. "I'll be up at court next week. I've got several clients who want their adoptions finalized by Christmas." My stomach dropped. We were in the living room, on the couch, and when he said it I was staring at the tree--at Matthew's first Christmas ornament, to be exact. It was like someone turned on the tap. Tears were silently rolling down my face. I want my son's adoption finalized by Christmas. You can't always get what you want.

God spoke to me, sometime in mid March, when I learned that Matthew's birth father did intend to fight for custody. It wasn't audible but it was God. I had just finished a sobbing, flailing, gut wrenching tirade about how we needed to give the baby back because we just couldn't afford to do this--emotionally, physically, and for heaven's sake, financially--and lose. I couldn't lose him a month, six months, a year down the road. It would break me. It would break us all. I fell fitfully into bed. God gently asked me what I would be willing to spend--emotionally, physically, and for heaven's sake, financially, if I found out that Garrett was deathly ill.

Well, of course, I glared at heaven, everything. Of course I would spend everything to save my son.

God asked if I would regret spending all that energy and money to save Garrett if he ultimately died anyway.

Well, of course not! My glare softened because I sensed where we were headed. Of course I wouldn't regret spending it all to save Garrett's life. His life is worth everything to me. He is my son!

Pressing upon my heart and very soul was the feeling that God was saying, "Right. Exactly. And I've called you to be Matthew's mom. I've placed him in your home. Maybe you'll win and maybe you won't and only time will reveal my plan. But I've made you his mother. What are you willing to spend to fight for your son?"

I bit my lip and whispered, Everything.

And if you lose him, will you regret the time, energy and money you spent trying to save him?

As tears welled in my eyes I knew that I would give everything for this child. I knew that I would fight for him with all I had--and a whole lot that I didn't. I thought we were finished. God had made his point. But he didn't stop there.

"What did I give to save you?"

I let the word hang on the precipice of silence, Everything.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

He gave his one and only. He gave the very thing that I would give everything for--my son. He sent him down here and he was born in a stable. It was smelly and dirty and then he was placed in a feeding trough because there was no room at the inn. The cattle were lowing. The earthly father, undoubtedly feeling overwhelmed by such a small Savior--and the responsibility of raising him. The mother in pain, in fatigue...in awe. The shepherds came, filthy, unworthy, carrying, perhaps, a tiny lamb--too small to be left with the flock just yet. Too tiny to know what a Lamb is supposed to do. The baby, a small package, slept peacefully until he was startled and begged for his mother. The manger, a far cry from the throne. The first Christmas.

I find myself hoping that Matthew's adoption is finalized at all. It certainly won't be by this Christmas. We won't know on Christmas morning that he will be ours forever but we will know that Christ is on his throne. And we will tell our sons--both of them--about the baby in the manger. We'll remember the trough but look ahead to the cross and then to the empty tomb. It is the God of that empty tomb who has called us to fight. He's asked us to persevere through the frustration, through the pain, through the financial devastation, through whatever overgrown path less traveled. He's told us to stay the course because we can wait just a little longer. We can give just a little more. Because he gave it all. He gave his son who, in turn, gave his life.

He gave everything.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Tale of a UPS Worker Who Saw What the Stork Saw

It started with a diaper change.

The baby felt squishy so I sent The Rock Star up to get a diaper for me. Is it slave labor if the kid likes to run little errands for his brother? I laid Matthew down on top of a Christmas blanket covered chest in our living room. I pulled off the boy's pants and realized that there was poop squashing out of the leg holes. Garrett appeared and I asked him to run up and bring the wipes back down. I held Matthew's legs up above his body like a raw chicken I planned to defrost and waited for the wipes. The Rock Star returned with a tiny pack that was unopened and would have definitely involved two hands. I only had one free hand. Truth be told, I had no free hands. One was completing the task of holding him like a dead chicken and the other was pressed against his chest in the hopeful prevention of the otherwise inevitable rolling that would commence the moment I let go. I really didn't want feces smeared all over my Christmas blanket. I instructed The Rock Star to go get the opened package of wipes that were, likely, on top of my bed. "And hurry!" I added with urgency. Matthew giggled, arched his back, and tried to escape my chicken hold.

Garrett was halfway down the stairs when the doorbell rang. I had to get it. UPS came by yesterday while I was in the shower and left a note saying they needed a signature and would be back the next day. The next day was today at the precise moment that I was wrangling my son like he was poultry. "The door!" Garrett screamed while he chucked the wipes at me and ran to look out the window and see who it was. The dog, who loses all ability to behave when he hears the doorbell, came screeching into the living room and barely stopped to sniff the baby's dirty, naked buttocks. I didn't know what to do. Do I set my poopy child on the floor and clean it up later? Do I ignore the door and burn another delivery attempt? And what does it say about me that I lost control over my decision making process and simply started thinking about what a great blog it would make when I finally decided what to do?

"Hold on just a second," I yelled at the unopened door. I picked Matthew up, like a pig on the spit, with his feet and hands gathered in one of mine, and unlocked the door with my other hand. "Hi there. Sorry. I'm in the middle of changing a diaper."

"No problem. I just need your signature."

I know. Could you maybe turn your little board toward me and give me the pen and I'll provide you with my autograph? He held the board out to me. There was no way I could take it and maneuver Filthy Butt so as not to get poop on my walls. Especially given the fact that Filthy Butt was attempting to get loose from the grip of death I had on his wrists and ankles. I shifted my body several times, including one where UPS worker got a glimpse of full frontal nudity from my little man, in an attempt to brace the baby against the wall. Yeah. UPS guy saw what the stork saw--and he saw it covered in poop. I'm sure he doesn't get paid enough for that.

"Do you need a second?" He asked.

"Please."

I darted inside and wiped Little Buddy's bum in lightening speed. I could hear the UPS guy yelling things back to his truck. I didn't know they traveled in pairs. I thought they worked alone. "Hold on!" He called out. "She's gonna be just a minute." After a short pause. "Hold on, dude, she's changing a diaper." I deposited the naked (but no longer poop covered) baby on the floor, returned to the door where my older son was chatting off the UPS guy's ear (go figure) and signed the board. Matthew crawled up, naked as a jaybird, twisted onto his newly cleaned behind, and laughed at the UPS guy. "Have a good day," he smiled as he walked away.

Oh, I will. I thought. But I'm sure that was an image you won't soon get out of your head.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chatty One

Yesterday I had a conversation with one of The Rock Star's preschool teachers. It went a lot like this...

Miss J: Okay. Can I just tell you that he says the funniest things?
Me: Uh oh.
Miss J: This morning he came back from the bathroom and informed me that his potty was stuck inside.
Me: Oh. Great.
Miss J: He's soooo cute.
Me: Thank you. (pause) Does he behave? (The look on Miss J's face changed a little and I'd be lying if I said it didn't make my heart fall about three inches in my chest cavity. I blasted right through...) I mean, does he have to spend a lot of time in timeout?
Miss J: OH! No. I don't think I've ever put him in timeout.
Me: Okay. Good. I ask him each day if he had to sit in timeout and he always emphatically screams, "NO! NEVER!" I was starting to worry that he was lying.
Miss J: No. He's never gone to timeout. (pause) He does, uh, well, um, get a little chatty sometimes. (As I knowingly nod she continues) We have to say, "Garrett, it is Miss J's turn to talk and your turn to listen."
Me: (patting Garrett's head) Oh, I'm sorry. We'll have to work on that, won't we, Garrett?
G: Uh huh.
Me: His father talks for a living and I really don't stop talking so I'm not overly surprised.
Miss J: (laughing) Oh really?
Me: Oh yeah. It was a good day in school if I didn't get asked at least twice to stop talking.

Chatty? My son? You have GOT to be kidding me. I'm utterly shocked. I've been blind sided completely. I may need to rethink my entire world view.

Monday, December 14, 2009

On Becoming Those People

Do you remember what I said about how I am now one of those people? It was only like three posts ago. It was a busy week. Anyway. I've continued on my quest not to be late. Even if my arrival time is negotiable, I set a time in my head and vow to be out of the house by that time. Take, for example, yesterday. Sunday school hour starts at 9:30. Usually Troy and I take one car and try to leave by 8:45 so that we can be to church a half hour early. In the fall, when I am running rehearsals after church, we take two cars. I generally still try to get to church a half hour early. Technically, I'm not late until 9:31 but, in my mind, the pastor's family arrives at 9:00. It's just what we've always done. 9:01, therefore, is late.

At 8:42 I pulled Little Buddy out of his high chair. I was going to strap him into his car seat, brush The Rock Star's teeth, and then load the boys in the car and take off. I was on schedule, man. I'm telling ya. But, when I pulled Matthew out, I smelled sewage. Diaper sewage.

I darted upstairs with him and quickly started changing him. I instructed The Rock Star to brush his own teeth--a task we rarely attempt. Garrett's idea of a "dab" of toothpaste is usually about half the tube. He went toodling off to the bathroom while I used about six wipes to accomplish the task of removing waste from the bum of a certain nine-month-old. Suddenly there was screaming and moaning and general groaning coming from the bathroom.

Me: What the heck is wrong?
G: MyheadmyheadIhitmyheadImightdierightthisveryinstant!!!

Luckily I'm very aware that I passed on my melodramatic tendencies to my offspring. "Hang on," I called out, "I don't think you'll die just yet."

Twenty seconds later the crying had stopped and the attempts to use an entire tube of toothpaste on a child's size toothbrush had commenced. The baby was changed so I went in to make sure my firstborn wasn't lying dead on the bathroom floor. He was mid brush so I went back to pick up the baby. He was crawling through a pile of spit up. Awesome.

Me: 0. The Boys: 1

I've decided to get up an additional 15 minutes early just to allot some time for incidentals.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Motherhood

I hope motherhood is like a fine wine. I hope I get better with age. I definitely need the aging process to help me in my journey.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Up To My Ears In Cookies!

Mom! has evolved. On occasion it's still Mom! but now it usually sounds like mama or simply, ma. I've been trying to catch it on video but whenever I pull out the camera the kid turns into this giant eyed child with a dumbfounded look somewhat reminiscent of a deer caught in headlights. I finally got it--sort of. But I've been trying to load it all afternoon and it isn't working. :-(

In other news, I am participating in a cookie exchange tomorrow and I had to bake 9 dozen cookies. Nine. Dozen. You try making nine dozen cookies with a three-year-old and a nine-month-old. Especially when the three-year-old decides you absolutely have to use a garlic press when making cookies. Yeah.
Good times.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Am Those People

For the record, our marriage wouldn't have dissolved over a Christmas letter.

This morning was no good. Ever since Matthew, we've turned into those people. Those people that are perpetually ten minutes late. Those people who drive me crazy with their blatant disregard for schedules. Those people that we have, apparently, turned into. At best we are right on time. Rarely are we early anymore. And I don't mean to say that it's all Matthew's fault but, well, it just seems that adding an extra human being has made it next to impossible to get out of here on time. It doesn't matter if I get up early. It doesn't matter because two minutes before we are supposed to leave there will, inevitably, be a sudden rush of regurgitated formula that covers the child and the car seat and leaves me unable to get out of the house 120 seconds later. Or there will be a blow out diaper. Or Garrett will suddenly have to go poop which, I realize, has nothing to do with the baby but still. The kid sometimes poops like an adult male who needs a magazine rack to do his business.

So, last night I told Troy that I would not be late to bible study this morning. I had a resolution. We were through being ten minutes late. He responded, "Why not wait three weeks? That way you have your New Year's resolution." But I've never been good at keeping New Year's resolution and it was driving me nuts so I opted to start today.

I should have listened to my husband.

I set my alarm for fifteen minutes earlier than normal. I was going to be out of the house at 8:45 and get to the church at 9:00 for a 9:15 bible study. At 8:45, I walked out the door. I'd even remembered to turn on the car a few minutes before hand so that we didn't all freeze to death.

Last night Troy took the Santa Fe to the car wash because he planned to take it today for it's smog and safety inspection. Our registration is due in December. I know. What a horrid month for registration to come due. Anyway. He wanted it to be clean and pretty and all ready for its inspection so he had it washed. We knew it was cold but we didn't know that it was -1. My brain can't even comprehend the words "negative" and "one" in reference to weather. That's just crazy talk.

So this morning I tried to leave. On time. And my car would go no where. I tried to back it up and it simply wouldn't go. It was like I was trying to run over a bull mastiff. I stood in the 20 degree weather and tried to figure out the problem. There were blocks of ice attached to the metal thingies that connect the wheels to the car. Neat. Moral of this particular story: It's maybe not a great idea to wash your car in -1 degree weather.

I was late to bible study. I was grumpy. It set the tone for a great morning that culminated in Troy and I sitting in his office attempting to make our Christmas letter fit on the page. I have a rule that my letter has to fit on the front of one page. I just don't think anyone wants to read anything longer than that. I mean, it is our crazy family. One page is plenty. Anyway, Matthew was being grumpy, Garrett wasn't behaving, Troy's phone kept ringing, Garrett kept threatening to wreck one of the Christmas play props, and my entire family was standing on each other's very last nerve. It's not their fault. I was standing on nerves, too. And I was attempting to do the mambo. Finally after tweaking and cutting and rearranging, we made it work. In size eleven font. It's miniscule. Tiny. We went with it anyway.

The secretary suggested that it was, maybe, just possibly, in case I hadn't noticed, pretty, uh, little. To which I replied that we were going to go with it anyway, on account of the fact that I didn't want my marriage to dissolve.

But, like I said, it would take a lot more than that for our marriage to dissolve. And, hopefully, the recipients of our Christmas letter own microscopes or magnifying glasses.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Today is our seven year dateversary and our four year I'mpregnantversary. Seven years ago Troy asked me out to dinner and the rest is history. Four years ago I got the best Christmas present of all time...a stick with a plus sign on it. We celebrated the day by visiting Santa and getting our Christmas tree.

We love the Santa at one of the malls near our house. He is the Santa we visited last year and I wanted Garrett to see him again. He's really nice. Initially we sat both boys on Santa's lap. Little Buddy took one look at the jolly bearded man and decided he is a serial killer. His one goal in life is to dismember babies everywhere and feed their digits and limbs to his rabid reindeer. Suffice it to say, he was not impressed with Mr. Claus. He screamed. Santa bounced him, rocked him, winked at him. Nothing but shrieking that could wake Jack Frost in July. I picked him up while Garrett and Santa chatted.

Santa: What do you want for Christmas?
Garrett: A toy trash truck.
Santa: Alright. Anything else?
Garrett: A nummy.
Santa: Okay. Anything else?
Me: (To myself) What? Don't ask my three-year-old what else he wants!
Garrett: (stares, awestruck at Santa)
Santa: Can I bring you anything else?
Me: (again, to self) You're killing me Santa!
Garrett: (having been told that Santa brings ONE thing...and a nummy, er, candy cane...replies in the sweetest voice) Um. Could I maybe have a book?
Santa: SURE!
Me: (to self) Okay. Let's be done now, Santa. We're poor!
Santa: That's a good idea, anything else?
Me: (to self) Shut it, Santa!
Garrett: (pause. And then, in the same adorably sweet voice.) No, thank you.
Santa: So just the truck and the book. (Garrett nods) What about your brother?
Garrett: He would like a new toy. (In the car Garrett was insistent that Matthew wanted a little spider for Christmas. Thankfully we convinced him not to ask Santa for that.)

At this point I decided to try putting Matthew back in his lap because, you know, I didn't want Santa prompting Garrett to ask for a speed boat or recreational vehicle on his brother's behalf. I set Matthew down and the tears were instant. Santa suggested, since they weren't very busy, that we take him away for ten minutes, calm him down, and try again.

The candy cane was my idea. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. If You Give a Moose a Muffin. If You Give a Nine-Month-Old a Candy Cane. I know it wasn't my finest moment but I wanted a picture of my sons with St. Nick. To say that Matthew loved a few licks on that candy cane would be the understatement of his life. But it didn't matter. "Garrett, just sit on Santa's lap and smile. Don't stop smiling. Maybe we can get your brother to smile for a second." I plopped Matthew down and he instantly broke into one of those giant, no air, wait for it, screams to end all screams. I snatched him up and told Garrett we'd just pay for a picture of him and Santa. Little Buddy didn't need to torture Santa anymore and vice versa.


So because we paid for the picture of The Rock Star, who seriously loves himself some Mall Santa, I asked if we could snap a picture with our camera of the baby, screaming, on Santa's lap. For the scrapbook. Or just to prove he'd been there. Or proof of what terrible, awful, no good, very bad parents we really are. Thankfully, they agreed. Poor Santa.


Poor Matthew. That right there was a silent, shaking cry. I think I had him back in my arms before he ever actually made noise. And for the rest of the day, he wouldn't let me get more than an inch away from him.

Then we had lunch together and went in search of the perfect tree. The Rock Star was bouncing off the walls with excitement. He kept gravitating toward these three feet trees with giant holes. We actually considered getting a teeny tree and putting it on a table because he was so dead set on it.
When we actually picked out our tree, which is about six feet tall, he flipped his lid when they trimmed the bottom. "WHY ARE THEY MAKING IS SHORTER?" I explained to him that it was still three feet taller than all the trees he was looking at.

Daddy strung the lights while Matthew napped and Garrett looked at all the ornaments. He fell in love with anything that was a penguin and anything my late grandma had made. Then we let The Rock Star put the angel on the top of the tree--after we convinced him that we only had an angel and we are very sorry that we don't have a star since, according to him, the only thing in the whole world fit to sit on top of a tree is a star.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Have Santa's Home Number

When my father-in-law was here, The Rock Star bit him. Now, I'll be honest. For about 30 seconds I just kind of thought Troy's dad was being a weenie. When Garrett was little we would play bite him all the time. I pretended to gnaw off one of his ears and he'd laugh hysterically when I acted like I'd accidentally swallowed it. When The Rock Star got a little older, he started pretending to bite off our ears. At first, he bit a little harder than he should have so we instructed him on the important differences between play biting and channeling your inner Mike Tyson. He breezed through the lesson and we have never had biting problems with him. So, when my father-in-law yelped in pain and scolded Garrett for biting, I thought maybe he was overreacting. I asked him if Garrett might have been play biting. My father-in-law looked at me like I was one of those crazy mothers who's child can do no wrong and informed me that, no, it was a real bite and it did not feel good. I reported to Troy and we lectured The Rock Star about never ever biting people ever again. Ever.

A couple nights ago I asked Garrett if he wanted to run down to the mailbox with me in the freezing cold frigid temperatures. He said he wanted to and I informed him that it would be really cold and we needed to go really fast. I sprinted down to the mailbox with my three-year-old hot on my heels. I reached the box, inserted the key and felt an excruciating pain in my left butt cheek. I screamed. In fact, I screamed, "Holy crap!" At the top of my lungs. On a street where the neighbors know that Troy is a pastor and know that crap is nothing close to holy. Realizing that I'd just been bit, I wheeled on my son and commanded him back into the house. He dissolved instantly into the Niagara Falls of tears. I knew he didn't mean to hurt me. I knew he wasn't trying to inflict pain upon me. But I had no idea why he had done it. When I got in the house and asked him what possessed him to do such a terrible thing he replied, through hiccuping sobs, "I was trying to get you." And I had made a giant game about him racing me to the mailbox and for some reason--in his mind, all in fun--he'd decided that making it to the mailbox in the freezing temperatures should be followed by a good, old fashioned, bite on the rump. I wasn't mad at him. I knew he didn't know that it would hurt me. But, I also knew that I couldn't have him doing this at preschool or Sunday school or...anywhere. Biting--especially on the butt, especially when you're three--is completely inappropriate no matter what. I made an extra big deal about it in hopes that he would get the point. "Mommy. It was an accident." He told me.

"No it wasn't, Garrett. You might not have meant to do it so hard but it wasn't an accident. My bottom didn't jump into your mouth." I replied.

Garrett is obsessed with Christmas this year. (Stay with me folks, it all ties in.) He knows that it is about Jesus's birthday and he is very excited! He's also pretty in to the Santa thing. I know that not everyone agrees with the Santa thing but this is something that Troy and I are on the same page about. We both got to believe in Santa and we turned out pretty okay, right? Don't answer that. Anyway. Moving on. He keeps asking questions about Santa and the North pole and reindeer and elves. Earlier on the butt biting day he told me he couldn't wait to get his trash truck from Santa. I had explained to him that only good little boys and girls get presents and the naughty ones get coal. "Have you been good this year, Garrett?" I'd asked. And he had replied that he had, indeed, been very good.

SO....after I said the sentence about my butt jumping into my son's mouth, I called my mom. "I just said another sentence I never thought I'd say." Then I proceeded to tell her the story of my naughty bum biting boy. Garrett, who was sitting at the table, turned to me with wide eyes. For a few minutes he sat very still and very quiet. I hung up the phone and he swallowed slowly. "Mommy," he began with his little voice quivering, "was that Santa?"

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Hearing

Well, we didn't quite get the miracle we were hoping and praying for. But we praise the Lord anyway! We don't know how he is choosing to work in our case but we do know that he loves us and cares deeply about Matthew's best interest.

Today, like almost all the other hearings, not much happened. Our trial is still scheduled for the end of April. There is still a slight chance it will be moved up to March or early April but we wouldn't know that until the next hearing on February 4th. Between now and then we have to have another visitation with the birth father. The court granted him permission to come here and see Matthew, spend the night, and see him again the next day. They asked it to happen during the week after Christmas but as we have Christmas plans that week, we are hoping that we'll be able to do it the following week. Our attorney would like us to go to the hearing on February 4th in hopes that we can all sit down and talk about possible movement.

We appreciate your prayers more than words can express. Please continue to pray that God would miraculously intervene and the birth father would change his mind. Please pray for our financial situation as we are the only party that pays for these court hearings that seemingly accomplish nothing. Please pray for our family. Thank you. God Bless!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prayer Warriors

You guys (and my women's bible study) are awesome! Out of 36 time slots, only one isn't filled. Some are doubled up and I know that others will be praying for a minute here or there throughout the day. We are so blessed by all of you volunteering to go before the Lord on our behalf. We don't know what God will ultimately do and we don't know how He will choose to answer our prayers. What we know is that He will answer them. Change is coming. I can feel it in my soul. I can't quite put a finger on what that means, exactly, I just feel change blowing in like the next winter storm. I'm hoping for something positive. I'm praying for a miracle. Thank you for joining us in prayer.

This guys says thank you as well. It sounds more like, "MOM MOM MOM!" But he means thank you.

That's right. I knew, "Mama," was right on the tip of his tongue. Two days after I wrote his 9 month letter, he blurted it out. Of course, it sounded a lot more like "mom" and a lot less like "mama" but oh did it melt my heart. He says it when he sees me in the morning. He says it when he wants another bite of food. He says it when he wants me to pick him up. "Mom!" Change is coming. Pray that we don't lose this precious boy. Pray that he doesn't lose his Mom.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nine Hours of Prayer

We have a hearing on Friday. Other than the possible changing of the trial date, I don't expect much to happen. I suspect that Matthew's attorney will still think he belongs with the birth father. I suspect the birth father will still think he belongs with him. I also know that my God is bigger than minor's counsel and I know that my God is bigger than the birth father. I don't know if it is the Spirit of the Christmas season or just my own restlessness, but I want a miracle. I want something really big to happen that sways things in our direction. Maybe it won't, but I don't want to underestimate that my God can do something amazing.

Back in August, I was dreading meeting the birth father and I had people sign up to pray in 15 minute increments. It was incredible how at peace we felt knowing that we were being prayed for every second. The meeting went so well that there was simply no way we could deny the presence of the Lord--not that we would have tried to. I've decided to ask you to lift us up in prayer in the same way.

Only this time I would love it if the entire day could be covered in your prayers. I don't know what time our hearing is and it often doesn't happen exactly when it is supposed to anyway. So I am calling on my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us for nine hours on Friday--in 15 minute increments, of course. If you are available to pray for us--for just 15 minutes--we would be incredibly thankful. Feel free to sign up for more than 15 minutes if you feel led.

Things to pray for: Our lawyer thinks the judge favors our side, please pray that he would continue to feel this way. Prayer that minor's counsel would do his job--so far he has been a biased, prejudiced, thorn in our side. Prayer that the birth father would see that signing away his rights is not abandoning his son, but giving him the best life he can have. Prayer that the birth father's counsel would not continuously leave the courtroom and that he would make this a priority. Prayer that if the trial date is moved up, it is moved to a week that works well for us. If you want to, pray for a miracle.

As I said last time, "If you are interested in being a part of this prayer time, please leave a comment and tell me what time(s) you would like me to put you down for. I will fill in the time slots by updating this blog entry. If you want to pray but someone has already signed up for the time you wanted, please sign up to pray then anyway. Truly this is a "the more the merrier" kind of situation. If you do not know how to comment, click on the bottom of this entry where it says "comments". Then, select anonymous. Please put the time slot you will be praying and then your name so that I know who you are. If you want to pray anonymously that is fine but I'd really love to know who you are. If, after this lesson, you still can't figure out how to comment, please email me with your time and I will add it onto my blog." Again, please remember that the times are Mountain Standard Time and adjust accordingly for your time zone.

When God's people pray
And take the pains of earth to the doors of heaven
When God's people pray
There is hope reborn, there is sin forgiven
And miracles you can't explain away
When God's people pray
-Wayne Watson

Nine Hours of Prayer
9:00 MST- Sandy, Joanna
9:15 MST- Laurie
9:30 MST- Donna
9:45 MST- Arthea
10:00 MST- Sandy
10:15 MST- Joyce
10:30 MST- Donna
10:45 MST- Renate
11:00 MST- Sandy
11:15 MST- Kelli, Jessica, Mom & Dad
11:30 MST- Judy
11:45 MST- Ashby
12:00 MST- Sherrie
12:15 MST- Sally
12:30 MST- Judy
12:45 MST- Jamie
1:00 MST- Jamie, Christy
1:15 MST- Jamie
1:30- MST- Sabrina
1:45 MST- Heidi
2:00 MST- Michelle E.
2:15 MST- Jenn
2:30 MST- Michelle T.
2:45 MST- Jon
3:00 MST- Stephanie
3:15 MST- Stephanie
3:30 MST- Stephanie, Mary Lou
3:45 MST- Sara
4:00 MST- Heather, Abi
4:15 MST- Karen, Sarah
4:30 MST- Jo
4:45 MST- Piper & Marcus
5:00 MST- Sherrie
5:15 MST- Maritza
5:30 MST- Keisha
5:45 MST- Doris

Monday, November 30, 2009

Adios NaBloPoMo

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. Most days it wasn't too much of a challenge to get my act together and put a blog together. There were days where I forgot until evening but most days I was okay. Then there were Sundays. Sundays are like insane Energizer Bunny days for me. I contemplate coffee just because I know it would help me get through the day. I have a pretty much hate-hate relationship with caffeine though so, in the end, I don't go with coffee. Sundays look like this: sundayschoolhourfollowedbyservicefollowedbyrehearsalfollowedbyalittlefootballbreakbeforeIhavesmallgroupbiblestudy. Whew. So yeah. You got Simple Sundays. I hope that was alright with you.

Farewell NaBloPoMo.

I'm just glad I didn't have to move during the month of November this year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Simple Sunday

My inlaws are here for a visit...


The girl in the background with the alien face, that's me. Yeah.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nine Months

Dear Matthew,

I know you aren't a 309 pound offensive lineman. I know you probably won't grow up to be 6' 4" and I know you're not from the other side of Memphis. But yesterday, when I was watching The Blind Side, I couldn't help but think of you. I couldn't wait to get home to listen to your squeal. I couldn't help but wish and hope and pray that one day we could be just a little something like that family.

It's hard for me to believe that you are nine months old. Hard to believe that you've been with me as long as you were with her. That's not to disqualify all that she did, not to minimize her pain--both physical and emotional--in any way, not to forget the immeasurable love she has for you because she carried you and cared for you for nine long months. And because while she carried you, you grew in my heart but now that you are with me, you grow in hers. But to know that you have been being loved and cared for and carried in my arms for nine months gives me a sense of peace and confidence that when you finally spit out what's on the tip of your tongue, when you finally say, Mama, you'll mean it.

I won't forget the way you smile with your whole entire face and that grin--and those eyes--remind me of her in such a good way. I'll never fail to remember the way your two teeth peer over the rim of your bottom lip and your bubble gum tongue suctions to the roof of your mouth before you let out a series of squeals and your body rumbles with an all encompassing giggle. You crawl with your right hand in a fist and no one has any idea why. It's as though you're hiding a prize inside but when we pry your fingers up from your palm, we find nothing. Still, you crawl along with your left hand wide open and your right hand balled into a tight fist. Maybe it's indicative of your personality. Perhaps you'll be open and honest but always ready to sucker punch someone who crosses you. Or maybe, maybe it's nothing at all...

You're letting go of things and standing now for several seconds at a time. And you do it with this ridiculously nonchalant look like, Yeah. I'm standing. Jealous? And we're all, "Not really. Go ahead, walk. You know you want to." And you respond with this sudden fall to your butt bottom and a grin, Not right now. I'll walk when you aren't looking for it. So expect the unexpected. So I raise an eyebrow and say, "Kind of like the past nine or ten months?"

Oh are you ever a mama's boy. This month, suddenly, your sun started to rise and set because I tell it to. Your world spins because I think it should. You are glued to my hip, my legs, my lap, you'll take whatever you can get. It's incredibly annoying. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I adore you. I'm glad the feeling is mutual. You really like to kiss me. You're idea of kissing is opening your mouth as wide as you can, slamming it onto my lips, and drooling like a St. Bernard. Your kisses are the sweetest, sloppiest, heart melting smooches ever.

Just a couple of days ago you celebrated your very first Thanksgiving. You slept through our meal because we ate around 2:30 and you sleep from 1:30-5:00. You love your crib and even if you aren't sleeping for that amount of time, you're perfectly content to play with blankets and toys and hoot and holler and babble. But Thanksgiving. When you got up you ate mashed potatoes and yams and I didn't even care that all you had was starch. I wasn't even worried about how it was all going to go straight to your hips. Happy Thanksgiving--live a little.

You can't wait until you're big enough to play with your brother. Literally. You can't wait. So you don't. You climb him, yank him, slobber on him, grab him, mush him, mash him, spit up on him and hassle him. Sometimes it drives him crazy. Sometimes he wishes you were two months old or two years old but nothing in between. But always, always, he kisses you on the head before your nap and says, "Good night, Brother Man, see you next time." Or, "See you soon, Little Buddy." And always, always, he wants to be reassured that you'll be here forever.

And always, always, I want to be reassured that you'll be here forever. Your brother wants bunk beds. He wants to have to climb a ladder to get to his bed. I told him that if you get to be with us forever, if you get to stay in the very place that you belong, the two of you could have bunk beds when you get a little bigger. Matthew, I know that you can't choose. I know that you don't get to tell the judge that you want to stay with your brother and your daddy and your mommy and your doggie and the cat you want so desperately to touch but who eludes you. I know it isn't up to you. But I want those bunk beds, too. I want to come in late at night, climb the ladder and kiss your brother. Then I want to kiss your beautiful face, the one that smiles all the way from your mouth up to your eyes and back again. Always. Always. I want to be reassured that you'll be here forever...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Because I Love My Husband

Last night my mother-in-law took our Christmas card picture and my father-in-law danced around her like a big dork in the hopes that he could get both boys to smile at the same time. We got several pictures that we liked and we narrowed it down to three.

We asked them their opinion. We emailed my mom and asked her for her opinion. We decided I would put it to a vote on my blog. Then, after we worked on our photo online at Costco and added two other pictures to the layout, we ordered it with one of the family pictures. And completely forgot to wait for my mom's opinion. And completely forgot to put it to a vote.

Tonight I started blogging about something else and Troy had a conniption. "I thought you were putting it to a vote on your blog." I was confused. On account of the fact that we already ordered it. Apparently, he just really wants you all to vote. Which is totally cool with me except for the part where, if you choose one that we didn't go with, my heart might break a little. But I'm willing to risk it because I love Troy and it seems that he's got his set on a vote.

So, we have Picture A:


And Picture B:And Picture C:





Alright. Obviously we weren't considering the third one. We just, you know, thought it was funny. But anyway...please vote. My husband has his heart set on it. And I love him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

I'm thankful.

I'm thankful for spending 28,000 (and counting) because you can't put a price on a nearly nine month old. I'm thankful for his babbling and his giggling. I'm thankful that he started standing on his own two days ago because, even though that makes him one step closer to walking, it means he's growing and developing and thriving. I'm thankful that he's a mama's boy and he actually wants to be with me all the time.

I'm thankful that it takes me twice as long to make dinner because I have a constant little helper. I'm thankful that he wants to help me. I'm even thankful for the constant, "Can I stir that? Can I help wash that? Can I help with that, too?" At least he's helpful. I'm thankful for my three-year-old. Thankful for his tender heart. Thankful that he adores his family. Thankful, so thankful, that he's been fully potty/poop trained since the summer. Now to start teaching Matthew how to use the toilet. Just kidding.

I'm thankful for my husband. I'm so thankful that he does the dishes every night. Thankful that he loves his boys. Thankful that he often spends nights at a meeting or visiting with someone because his heart is on the things eternal. Thankful that he loves me without condition. I'm especially thankful that he remembers to put the toilet seat down every. single. time.

What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tagging

I've been painstakingly going through all my posts and updating their tags. Though it's been out of control time consuming, it's been hysterical. I love reading the things Garrett tried to pull when he was younger. I found this post. The video at the very end serves as a reminder of how much The Rock Star could speak when he was almost two. Let me tell you that the difference between the conversational skills of 23 month old Garrett and 40 month old Garrett is approximately 180 degrees.

My favorite part of this post is the following sentence. I know adoption isn't easy. I know that I'll hit a lot bigger bumps than this along the way but come on already, give a girl a break. I wrote that on June 26, 2008. There had been a weird mix up in our paperwork. It took like a day and absolutely no money to fix. So, when I read that I knew I'd hit bigger bumps along the way, I burst out laughing hysterically--maniacally, even. Oh Lori...if only you'd known.

Anyway, it's been interesting going back through them all. And organizational. I love me some good ole organization.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Needle Boys

Yesterday I took the boys to get their H1N1 booster. I'm not entirely convinced that it was necessary since, you know, they've already had it but whatever. A month ago, when I took them, I thought that all hell was going to break loose when a needle so much as thought about approaching The Rock Star. I didn't warn him. I didn't mumble a single, solitary word about what was going to happen. I merely pointed at Garrett discreetly and told the nurse to do his first. I plopped him down on my lap, turned his attention to a Clifford book that was hanging on the back of the door, and gripped him tightly around his middle. He's already apprehensive about the doctor and given the fact that his mother is a recovering needlephob and his dad won't even consider therapy for his own irrational fear of being pricked, he would certainly come by his own fear honestly.

She came in from the side as I kept his attention on the wall. When she pricked him, he didn't even flinch. She put a Band-Aid on and it was then that I said, "Garrett you just got a shot." He dissolved instantly into a puddle of tears.

He wailed, "I did?!?!?!"

"Hey," I replied, "Stop crying. You already got the shot. Now you have a cool Band-Aid."

He stopped as quickly as he'd started, laughed hysterically, and said, "I do?"

Of course, Little Buddy yowled like a wounded coyote when he got his which prompted The Rock Star to ask, "Why does it hurt Buddy and not me?" I replied with some nonsense about how shots hurt babies because they are little but they don't hurt big boys.

When I called yesterday to see if they had the vaccine in, Garrett heard my conversation with the nurse. I hung up the phone and he asked, "Does Little Buddy need a shot?" I said yes. "Do I need a shot, too?"

Me: Do you want one?
G: No!
Me: But it doesn't hurt and you'd get a cool Band-Aid.
G: Oh. Okay.

We walked in and as we sat waiting a much bigger boy pitched a royal fit when he found out he was getting a shot. It sounded something like, "NONONONONONONONOIdon'twantashot!Mommynonononononononodon'tmakemewahahahahhahahahahaha!" The Rock Star turned his attention away from the fish and toward the boy. I could see the wheels turning. I could tell he was trying to figure out why he was making such a scene. Just as the boy began to scream, "I DON'T WANT A SHOT THEY HURT SO BAD--" I spoke loudly over the top of him.

"Come here, bud." Garrett climbed up on my lap and I made him say his abc's and count to nineteen and anything else to keep his attention away from the much bigger boy screaming about how much his shot would hurt. I figured if Garrett really heard him, it would throw my ridiculous fib about shots only hurting babies right out the window. I kept his attention on me as the much bigger boy's mother declared, for all the waiting room to hear, that kids that get shots also get ice cream. I kept his attention as all the other mothers shot her dirty looks and as all the other kids began pleading with their moms for the same reward. Thankfully, we were called back right after that.

The Rock Star sat on my lap, we flipped through the same Clifford book we'd seen a month ago. His sleeve was pulled up. The nurse moved toward him with the needle. She punctured his perfectly chubby little arm. He didn't even look up from his book. Not even for a second. "You're all done."

"Okay." He said.

Troy told him how proud he was and said, "See, they don't hurt."

Garrett retorted, "Well, it did hurt a little."

Huh. Really? Coulda fooled me. I'm sure this won't last long. I'm sure kindergarten shots will send him right into a fear of needles that is somehow lying dormant in his DNA. For now though, we are so proud of our little trooper. Matthew, however, wailed like he was being dismembered by a pack of rabid wolves. Ah well, you win some and you lose some.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Visitors

My father-in-law will be here from today until next Tuesday. My mother-in-law comes in on Thursday and leaves with my father-in-law. I think. That's what my mom told me anyway. After I told her the completely wrong dates and she referenced an email from my mother-in-law that said otherwise. I blame my husband. As long as days are approximate, he's good. This isn't the first time it's happened although the last time it happened a friend of Troy's called to make sure he was going to be at the airport to get him. I had to run around the house like a crazy person because I thought he was coming like two weeks later. I'm going to bypass my husband from now on. I thought my mother-in-law was coming Wednesday and that they were both leaving next Monday. I did have today's date right. 25% isn't so great though. Although, as Troy pointed out, it's a decent batting average.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brothers

We tried to do a jammie photo shoot with the boys the other day. Let me just say how utterly impossible it is to get a three-year-old to stop making goofy faces long enough to snap a picture in the fraction of a nanosecond that an eight month old is actually sitting still.

We got this.
And this.
And then the goofy faces started.

And Matthew crawled away. So we took a picture of Garrett.
He came back looking like he was humoring us.
Then we lost them both and they started acting like, well, brothers.

The little one climbed all over the big one. The big one giggled. The little one looked proud that he'd pinned his brother in a fit of laughter.

They wrestled some more.

The little one had no idea that the big one could throw him off in an instant. The big one didn't because he loves his baby brother. And because he was having fun.

That's the way with brothers.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bottom

There are so many things I miss about The Rock Star's baby speak. I miss that he used to call juice (or any other liquid in his cup) Biss and that even that evolved into Bissy Biss. I miss the way he said ceblahblahblah for cereal. I miss that he used to say Hockit Tockit instead of hot chocolate. I can't believe I'm saying this but I even miss the way he said, "What dat noise?" I miss the way he used to call my mother "Gigi" even though he said it like a Frenchman running a brothel.

Nothing, however--nothing--could prepare me for what my son did this morning. He said bottom. Maybe you remember that I treasured the fact that he was hanging on to his baby word for his bum. Seemingly nothing gave me greater pleasure than when he said boggin. I could lie and say I didn't feel my heart break a little tiny bit in my chest. I didn't cry simply because I want to encourage the development of his language skills and he was looking right at me. I asked him to repeat it, hoping and praying that he would cling to the baby word just to pacify me. "Bottom," he declared.

Bottom. My baby is all grown up. Bottom.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sentences

I often find myself saying sentences I know I've never said before. Sentences I didn't think I'd ever say. For example, last Sunday at my rehearsal, I said, "Stop hiding toys on the ladder and stop taking baby dolls to the bathroom!" A combination of words I doubt I'll ever (and hope I never) say again.

Just this morning I chastised The Rock Star. "Don't throw bugs at your brother!" It's not that this is a sentence I thought I'd never say--I have boys after all--it's just that I didn't think I'd say it until the boys were considerably older. I have an image of them, seven and just ten maybe, throwing dead spiders at one another. The little one gets mad because he's losing at Battle of the Bugs and he throws a punch. The older one, still slightly bigger--though not for long--flies at his little brother with both fists. The smaller ones runs into the house for safety. When I question what happened the sentence starts with, "We were throwing bugs at each other." And I reply, "Don't throw bugs at your brother!"

But at 40 months (to the day) and nearly nine months, I didn't think it was a sentence I'd say. Of course, the bug in question was a giant plastic lady bug but still.

No, I will certainly not endorse fist fights between my two sons. It's just that I'm also not stupid. Wrestling matches and the occasional punch are inevitable.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More pictures

I've been meaning to show you all this onesie that my friend, Michelle, gave Matthew back in September. Giraffe. It's cute right? What you probably can't see is the writing underneath the giraffe.
Let's take a closer look...Priceless! I absolutely couldn't have possibly put it any better. When I put him in it I am reminded that there isn't a price tag hanging off of Matthew's arm. It doesn't matter. I'm also reminded of Kevin, Michelle & Karsie and I say a prayer. Sometimes they sound like what Garrett prayed this morning.

G: (climbing into the car after preschool) Mommy, is baby Tarsie still in the hospital? (He asks a lot.)
Me: Yes. She is.
G: Is she getting a shot right now?
Me: Probably not right now.
G: Is the doctor making her better?
Me: Yep. Do you want to say a prayer for her?
G: Uh-huh. (pause) Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for Tarsie. Thank you that something is going on in her tummy. Please put your hands on her and make her all better. Amen.

Um. I didn't pick up the phone and called Michelle right then to relay the prayer to her. I'm not that proud of my son's prayer and his tender heart. I certainly wouldn't have felt the need to share it with Michelle. Oh, okay, I did.

So, in other The Rock Star news, he's decided that he is completely independent in the bathroom. Regardless of what kind of business he does, he doesn't want any help. Problem is, when he does serious business, he takes his clothes completely off. Often his pants end up on backwards. It's not a big deal. Except when I forget to fix them and we go out in public like this. It might be worse when I don't realize it until we get home.

And then, finally, a poll. Please watch this video and then tell me if he appears to be happy. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell...






Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Wednesday

I'm down on our desktop computer, which is buried in the recesses of the basement, because I can't get our wireless Internet to work upstairs. So I started looking at pictures that we have stored on this computer. We didn't use the laptop at home until we moved to Utah so all pictures prior to that are on the one in the office. I've selected a few random shots, for your viewing pleasure or...whatever.

Three years and three days ago, this is what my firstborn looked like.
Um. I've had several people at our church tell me that they cannot imagine what I looked like pregnant. Well, this is what I looked like just seconds before we walked out the door to deliver our baby. I felt gigantic and, really, I was. For me. I mean nine months of gestating a son was certainly the biggest I'd ever been. But I look at it now and I see why so very many people hated me.

I get it now. I'm issuing my formal apology. Back then, I swore to everyone that I'd be huge with the next one. Well, the day Matthew was born I was quite a lot smaller than this. If there is ever another biological one, I promise to be bigger. I also kind of sort of maybe promise that there won't be another biological one.

This is what I looked like two days after Garrett was born. You know, in case people at the church were wondering what I looked like just after giving birth. I'm smiling because I'd had the good sense to get an epidural.

This is our cat when he was just a little kitty and we were all, What the doo da day? How the heck do we have a cat? What do you even do with a cat? We hate cats. Don't we? I think this was still when we were calling him a her. Because, yes, we were just that stupid when it came to cats. I mean, it was pretty obvious when we got our dog that he had...ahem...some business. With Oliver it was just so hard to tell. We felt pretty dumb when the vet said, slowly, as though that was what we needed, "This is actually a male."


And to wrap up this completely random slathering of photos, I urge you to tell me how any home is complete without one of these. No really. Go ahead and try. I'm fairly confident I won't believe you.

I think it might be as futile as if someone attempted to convince me that the Obama Administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other Al Qaeda terrorists in the civilian justice system in Manhattan is a good idea.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Names

The Rock Star has preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00-11:00. He pretty much loves it and he's learning sooooo much. Today, when he climbed into the car and I dug through his bag to see what kind of papers he'd brought to me, I found a little piece with a drawing of an animal on it. Above it read: My Indian Name.

Not very politically correct but I still laughed.

Me: Garrett, did you pick your name or did your teachers give it to you?
G: I picked it.
Me: Did they give you a few choices or did you just come up with it off the top of your head?
G: I dust come up wit it off the top of my head.
Me: (laughing) Okay Happy Monkey.

I called Troy to tell him that our son's Native American name was Happy Monkey. He asked me to have Garrett give Little Buddy his own name.

Me: What is Matthew's Indian name?
G: Um. Quiet Spider!
Me: (into the phone) Matthew's name is Quiet Spider.
Troy: Quiet Spider?
Me: Yeah. I think it should be Noisy Spider but whatever.
Troy: Or Barking Spider.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mouse In The House

The other day our cat left us a gift. When Troy went to let the dog out in the morning, he saw a dead mouse waiting for us at the bottom of the stairs. Neat.

Fast forward a couple of days. Troy was up at men's retreat when I saw a mouse skitter across the floor and underneath my refrigerator. Double neat.

I shoveled the boys into the car and went straight to WalMart to get traps. I have a serious fear of setting those cheap wooden ones. It's not that I'm a total girl, it's just that I like all of my fingers and I don't really feel like losing one in the process of setting a trap. Oh, okay, I'm a total girl. So I splurged and got two slightly more expensive traps that advertised in big red letters that they were easy to set. The traps had teeth that resembled ferocious jaws. These will be effective, I thought.

I filled the food wells with peanut butter and I put one trap behind the refrigerator and the other on the floor of the pantry behind my big, heavy, wonderful KitchenAid mixer. You try finding two spots in your kitchen where it's safe to have a mouse trap. Two spots where your curiously stupid but lovable golden retriever won't wander for a tasty lick of peanut butter thus amputating a chunk of his tongue. Two spots where your cat won't reach his tiny little paw and retract it with a trap hanging off. Two spots where your eight month old won't grab at the interesting new toy thus losing a few digits in the process. And two spots where your three-year-old won't step for the sole purpose of getting a cool new shoe--and losing his big toe.

I checked the traps constantly. Nothing. Late that night, as I sat watching the end of a movie, I heard the snap of a trap. I waited several minutes and then checked the trap behind the refrigerator. It was still set. I opened the door to the pantry. The trap was sprung and lying on its side. Shining a flashlight into the small darkened area I saw a little mouse jerk its head.

It's not dead! I said, audibly. Loudly. Apparently, easy to set does not necessarily mean easy to kill.

Using tongs I pulled the trap out. The mouse was frantically thrusting its upper body around in an attempt to free itself. It was pinched in half but I couldn't detect any blood. It stared at me. "Help me!" It seemed to cry. And all I could think about--all I could think about--was Remy from Ratatouille. This wasn't a rat (thank heaven!) it was just a little mouse but still. When it looked at me with those little eyes and wriggled its nose it very well may have opened its mouth and whispered, "Why? Why have you done this to me?"

Again with the audible part, I said, You have to kill it. You have to end its suffering. And I began to sweat uncontrollably. I considered leaving it for my husband to deal with but then it wiggled its nose at me again. I used the tongs to carry the trap out to the garage and I got a gardening tool. Okay. You just have to hit it. Hard. And fast. You can do this. But then the logistics of the trap confused me. There was a big plastic piece in the way of my clean shot to the mouse's skull. I was afraid I'd hit the plastic piece and the trap would go flying with a live mouse still inside. I decided to take the trap outside, open it (with the gardening tool) and see what happened. If the mouse ran away I would just cross my fingers that it didn't end up back in my house. If it was paralyzed, I would have easy access to the entire mouse and I would hit it, quickly, with a hoe.

I released the trap. That mouse ran faster than a speeding bullet and I'm not even kidding you. It was as though those stupid jaws had somehow managed to miss its spinal column entirely and all it did was merely pinch the dumb mouse for awhile. Into the snow it ran and then disappeared into the dark. Au revoir, little mouse. Please don't come back into my house.

It's been two days and we haven't caught another one. But I think I'll let the cat take care of them in the future. He does a much better job than the traps.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Simple Sunday

Hi. These are my two teeth...
Hi again. It's me, mommy's little truffle.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Camping Out

My husband went up to men's retreat this weekend. Even though they are staying in the same posh lodge that the women stay in, Troy kept referring to it as "men's camp". The Rock Star was devastated that he couldn't go. To try to keep him from bawling his eyes out, I promised him a camp out of our own. He ran outside to show me where we would pitch the tent. But, uh, it was 28 degrees last night the baby monitor needs to be plugged in.
I pushed our love seat across the hardwood floor and draped a blanket over the top. In no time at all we had ourselves a tent or, as my brother and I used to call the ones we made, a fort.

I asked him what he wanted to do on our camp out. He wanted hot dogs and he wanted to roast marshmallows. This involved a trip to the store. When we returned we had hot dogs, pickles and potato chips. I certainly realize that this isn't a well balanced meal but it's not often that The Rock Star and I have camp outs while daddy is gone.

He requested marshmallows. But I decided to take it a step further.

We have a gas fireplace. We don't have a fire pit or any other good way to roast marshmallows. A candle had to suffice.

They didn't work quite as well as I'd hoped. Either they didn't brown or they caught on fire. I quickly learned that the best way to "roast" them was to let them burn for a very short amount of time. They were going inside of s'mores anyway so I wasn't terribly concerned. The only time I actually allowed him to hold the stick by himself was for the two seconds it took me to take this picture. I was slightly worried that the sugary puff would catch on fire and he'd shake it like mad and send it flying.

Nothing much better than when your brother goes to bed and you get to eat s'mores with mommy.

Yum. What's not to like? Graham crackers. Good. Chocolate. Good. Marshmallows. Good!

When the s'mores were gone and our tummies were full of sugar, we brushed our teeth and The Rock Star headed into the tent. I turned out the lights and read him books by flashlight. He was out cold by 8:45--over an hour after his bedtime. But sometimes--sometimes--bedtimes are meant to be broken.

Then I snuck out and watched TV with the volume turned way down low. I don't think he knew. ;-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Prayer

I remember lying in our bed. My fists tightly clenched the pillow my face was buried in. I sobbed, baptizing it in anguish and despair and expectation. I remember begging God for my baby. Father, hear thy child's call! I cried out in grief filled distress. Humbly at thy feet I fall. My body ached and I acknowledged my sin. I recognized anything and everything that might have been standing in the way of blessing. Prodigal confessing all. Eventually, sleep washed over my afflicted soul. I beseech thee, hear me!

I remember because it was a night of wrestling, confession, and confusion. My tears, it seemed, could have flooded the earth. I cannot adequately describe the emotion that exploded that night--but I remember. How could I forget being on the losing end (always) of a wrestling match with the Lord?

Last night Garrett woke up before I ever crawled into bed. It was 10:30 and I was watching TV. Troy was in the office working on something for church. Suddenly I heard Garrett crying in his room. I flew up the stairs and opened his door. He stood, disoriented, blanket sleeper clad, in the middle of the bedroom. I scooped him into my arms and quickly closed the door so as not to wake the sleeping baby. He put his head on my shoulder and I carried him down with me so that I could finish the show. I flicked off the light and, as I collapsed onto the couch, he cuddled into my body. When the show was over I shut off the television. Moonlight poured in through the open blinds on the back door. Tree branches, raped of their leaves by the autumn, swayed in the wind and cast their shadows across the carpet. My son breathed heavy, his chest bumping into mine as he slept. So much bigger than yesterday. So much bigger than the day before. So much bigger than the tiny baby they put into my arms after a 25 hour labor. So much bigger, wiser, better than the baby I beseeched the Lord for.

It was peaceful, quiet, and late. The fire, and my child, warmed me and kept the chilly fall air at bay. Leaves swirled outside the door and Garrett sighed with content--safe in his mother's arms. I sighed with content--safe in my Father's arms, soaking in the joy of answered prayer.

Psalm 6:9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hope's Fulfillment

Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety, so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security...We shall have no enemies in heaven, we shall never lose a friend. God's praises are sung both there and here, but here they are sung by those destined to die, there, by those destined to live forever; here they are sung in hope, there in hope's fulfillment; here, they are sung by wayfarers, there, by those living in their own country. So then...let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten our labors. You should sing as wayfarers do--sing, but continue your journey...Sing then, but keep going. -Augustine of Hippo

I came across this quote this morning while I was reading part of Kathleen Norris's Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. I was first introduced to Norris in college and, while I hardly agree with all her theology, I can't read her without being riveted to her words and moved by her poetry--and I've only ever read her prose. And I agree with enough of her theology to wholeheartedly recommend her books--at least The Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. Especially (especially!) The Cloister Walk. I think the former is a much easier read than the latter although, my life is certainly richer for having read them both.

But the quote. I keep trying to pick out my most favorite part but I'm having a tough time. All of it is pregnant with words of peace. I think that this is the line that captivates me the most: here they are sung in hope, there in hope's fulfillment...

As I watch friends (both real life friends and those I call friends because they share their life with me through this thing called blogging) go through horrible trials and as we wait in hope for a positive end to our own situation, I sing Hallelujah and I long for eternity in hope's fulfillment. I long for an everlasting life spent in the presence of my redeemer.

Hebrews 12:2-3 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.