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.

video

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