29 January 2014

apple pie

Drinking "appa pie jue."
It's no secret to me that our baby is no longer a baby.  I mean, he's just shy of 22 months old- the Big Two birthday is in sight.  He's running and talking up a storm and attempting all kinds of feats of strength.

He does many things his brother and sister did not do at his age.  Eating peanut butter, for instance.  The others had to wait longer for that.  On the other side of the mom score card, he still sits rear facing in his convertible car seat.  His siblings were forward facing within a week of turning one.  I'd like to take credit for that, as if I were all crunchy-granola- high achiever mom, but in truth it's because it lets him face his brother and sister in the van and that makes him incredibly happy.  Or at least, occupied.

And I thought he was turning out differently from his brother and sister in one other way, which I am now second guessing.  It occurred to me the other day that he was past the "dreaded 18 month season." My olders did not suffer from the "terrible twos," rather, their monstrous phases hit at 18 months and three years.  Mostly their twos were cruise-y. (By comparison.  Although wonderful and and beloved, they were no cherubs at any age.) And I was just thinking that maybe Little C was going to buck the trend, and be easy until sometime after his birthday.

Then this week hit.  And although he has not displayed the full-on tantrums and completely maddening illogical tyrannical demands that I remember (and I know will come!) this week has blindsided me.  Maybe. Just a little.  Dumped out garlic salt forming snowy peaks on his plate and the floor.  Pencil and crayon slashed across the cupboards and floor. Yogurt brought onto the carpet and spilled, although he clearly understands the rule that no food comes onto the carpet.  Running away with a screaming giggle when he is told to come.  And opening the fridge twenty times in the span of the morning. That one pushes my buttons pretty efficiently.

Still, he reimburses for those transgressions will all sorts of cute.  He loves to care for F's baby dolls, feeding them and covering them with blankets.  He blows adorable kisses.  When he does something wrong, like hitting, and he comes in for a hug and says "Haw-wee" right away.  (He doesn't make "s" or "f" sounds yet.) And perhaps my favorite of all: he kept babbling about apple pie one week, and I realized after a couple of confusing days that it was his way of saying "pineapple", which was the kind of juice he had just experienced for the first time. He still asks for "apple pie" juice. All the time.

I'm as ready as I can be, mentally at least, for the high energy stage he has entered.  And since he's kid number three, I won't be surprised at his transformations from innocent angel to naughty rugrat and back again within moments, repeated all day. I like this ride, and look forward to seeing the personal twists he puts on it. I just hope the surfaces in our home are as ready.

* Editing this post to add that I was just rereading things I wrote back in June... when I was complaining that C had just entered a "high maintenance phase." Ha! Somethings never change.

28 January 2014

this, too

Sometimes I blog to record the sweet details of daily life that slip from my memory each 24 hours.  Sometimes I blog because I think and build my understanding of the deep things in life through words- talking and writing.  And bless him, my husband cannot handle me verbally running through five drafts of my thoughts about every. little. thing. So sometimes I come here.

Tonight those two purposes intersect.  My heart is aching with the burden of- how do I put it?  The junk of life?  The just plain sad sin and its consequences that plague us all? The fact that yuck in the culture brings out not our best as believers, but more... yuck?  I found out news about a person I know- secret news, disappointing news, news that knocks me back a little.  And it's one of those things where the news is a rodent in my brain, scrambling around in my neurons, forcing me to pay attention to its nibbling and scratching.  But I can't talk to anyone about it, even though it's filling my head, because it's "of a confidential nature."

Plus there's a friend with a legal issue.  And another who is seeing a counselor for this thing in their past.  And a marriage- that covenant cord that ties two into one- that is fraying.  Which is ironic because I know someone else who is feeling the pain of a long season of desperate singleness.  And when I inventory the list I gotta be honest- I want to put my head down and have a good cry.  And I'm an introvert, a stay-at-home-mom; I don't even know that many people.  But you don't have to know many people to have a reason to taste tears, it turns out.


Tonight I experienced redemption in a painful situation with which I am well aquainted: my own sin.  And it was not a result of my grueling efforts, or my own clever skills at sin-management.  There was no adherence to a 4-part acronym.  Instead, after a week of unbelievable selfishness where the smallest chore sent me to facebook to hide, and the wreck piled up around me, and the sound of my children's voices asking things of me made me want to yell and fume- and I did- after this week, I had a moment of grace.  My beautiful daughter was helping me in the kitchen.  We were unloading dishes, drying them as we put them away. The Rich Mullins song "Calling Out Your Name" came on Pandora. My four year old girl started swaying and spinning and twirling her dish towel around her.  My favorite part of the song came on, the warm lights of the kitchen glowed out the window into the night, and I sang along as she danced and twirled. And we laughed, and talked about how working together was making the job fun and fast.  And I lifted her into a hug as the song ended and held her there, for a moment.  It was all I had hated- my failures as a parent, housekeeper, person- disappearing under a flood of love and worship. And I kid you not, I felt God kick me in the pants, saying, "Get it? I love you. I've got this.  Don't miss how beautiful this is.  This is what is real." I didn't miss the moment because He wouldn't let me.  He was right there, in the music of Rich Mullins and a dish towel.

So I have the Rend Collective Pandora station playing now.  And when the deep sad things come to mind tonight, I am choosing to remember that God's got those things too.  And I don't know how- it's a mystery.  Tomorrow I'll clean and make pipe cleaner animals, and clean again, and probably cry at some point. But for now it's enough to sing along quietly to the words:

It is well with my soul.

20 January 2014

hello, my love

Um, yeah, this is not a post about Valentine's Day, or my husband (although I love him too. Hey, hon!)  And this is not some poetic post about my love for God.

This post is about my other love: my camera.

Sometimes I go through seasons where my creative energy is low.  Where I need to store up a little motivation, inspiration, and whatever other -ations get me to pick up my camera and click away.  This has been one of those seasons.

Blame it on the month we were sick.  Blame it on the fact that we are mostly stuck indoors (windchill anyone?) and I am a natural light photographer.  Blame it on the fact that it is the off-season for me, professionally, so the drive to "stay on top of my game" is low.  But for whatever reason, my pattern of adding thousands of photo files to our computer hard drive at an alarming rate is- on hold.

Even at Christmas, I left the big camera mostly put away.  Took a couple pics, but did not document our holidays moment-by-moment.  Any perhaps that is okay?  That I was so busy living in the moment that I didn't stop to capture it for posterity?  Even my I-phone camera has had a little breather.  And I think that is healthy.  I would be worried about my fickle self, if I hadn't lived through this same thing last year.  I know that in a short while, I'll be a camera-toting quick draw again, snapping pictures and staying up late to edit them like some kind of addict.  You know that spring is the season of love.  And my love, my Canon 40D, and I will be cheek to cheek again.

In the meantime, here is evidence that I haven't completely left it lonely in the cold.

18 January 2014

all i want for Christmas is...

G did not receive from Santa any of the teeth I asked for, for him.  Because evidently the length of time between losing teeth, and growing in the replacements, can be a long time. I did not really understand that previous to this winter. Someday looking back at these pictures is going to make me grin.   But for now, they make me break out into a nervous sweat, a little bit.  Because... his new teeth are big, and gappy, and-- where are the missing ones going to fit!?

Is it too late for me to go to school to become an orthodontist? Because right now, I see his big beautiful Chick-let gum smile, and I hear the faint sound of- "ca-ching!"

Hold me.

We were very proud of our new little bff, Mr. Snowman.  Note the leaf G stuck in there, to represent the corn cob pipe.  nice touch, don't you think?