Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Letters To My Little Ones

Dear Aria,

You change every day. Your little personality has stayed very much the same, it just seems to show more as you get older. Right now we are outside and you are crawling around in our neighbor's grass since we have nothing but dirt. I figured they don't mind since they don't have any kids to really enjoy it. Grass is meant to be enjoyed.

You are cautious and sensitive yet easy going and fun loving. I'm always amazed at how well and how fast you crawl. It makes me wonder if you won't walk for a while because you seem so content to crawl. You also don't like to stand up. I was concerned at first but the doctor assured me that if you can support your weight (which you can do just fine) that it's okay. You just choose not to. You seem to be kind of particular at times. You don't like to be bounced except when you are ready for it. You are very sensitive to other people and how they hold you and touch you. I can tell you like me best. I didn't think I would like that and Levi definitely wasn't like that, but I kind of take some pride in being your favorite. I know exactly how you like to be held, kissed, put to bed. I get to be a source of comfort and security in your life and I am thankful for that.

My main frustration with you right now is that you refuse to hold still for your diaper changes. I mean RE-FUSE. You always try to turn over and then sit up. You have never attempted to crawl off your changing table, I have watched how you are good about ledges. The only way I can get you to be still is to make you laugh by blowing raspberries on your belly. It can be tiring and difficult, especially with the poopy diapers. I'm sure someday I'll look back on these days and think that they are easy in comparison to what is ahead.

Levi likes to call you "Aria baby" pronounced Aw-wee-ya. He tries to get your attention by grabbing your cheeks and saying "wook a me!" you don't like that very much. A good portion of my day is spent protecting you from him. However, I think that you are starting to cry even when he approaches you. I'm not sure how that's going to fly.

I love you my sweet little girl. You are my sweetsy pie, my little munchkin, my snookums, my bitsy boo and you are your daddy's little darling. I haven't settled on a nickname for you, but currently it's just whatever sounds cute that pops into my mind. You fit them all.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Letters To My Little Ones

Dear Levi,

I wanted you to nap so badly today. But you didn't. I'm assuming you will read this when you are much older, right now you are three. At this moment you are playing next to me on the couch with your very well-loved red car. This is the car you got for Christmas and you refused to open any other presents afterwards. I don't think you could have imagined it getting any better than this red car. Your daddy tells me it's a Dodge Viper. I wouldn't know otherwise.

The thing about this car is that we've had it almost a year now and I will be amazed if it lasts. With all the love and playing time this car gets it has had a few casualties. Both side view mirrors, the rear view mirror, the doors don't close right, the windshield is gone, it lost both of the seats, only one little tail light is still in place and now the inside paneling in a door is gone. I love that you have so much love for this car. I love that when you first opened it you did nothing but lay on the floor and watch it's wheels move for a good 30 minutes while the chaos of cousins opening presents ensued all around you. Again, I am amazed at your ability to focus.

Today I was thinking about your brown eyes and the look you get when you wake up from your nap and you ask me, "What shoul' my do tuh-day?" Then you smile when I tell you that you should go outside and play in the dirt. I definitely want to make you an excavator cake for your soon approaching third birthday. I don't think that you get the idea that soon you won't "be" two. I'm struggling to explain to you what a year is and what age is. How do you explain this stuff who a small child who has no concept of time? The days just are. You wake up and play and then you eat and then you play ... time just isn't important in your world. How wonderful would that be to live in a world without the boundaries of time? You will understand this concept someday, I'm sure.

The other day you brought me a round lid (your steering wheel) and asked me if I wanted to go for a car ride. It is so hard for me to pull away from my chores in the kitchen sometimes, but I decided I needed a break. You drove us to Mimi's house and Deedee's house and to the grocery store. I was so proud of your imagination and how you took things and made them something else. I can't wait to see where else your imagination takes you.

One last thing: this afternoon Daddy was standing outside your door and listening while you were supposed to be taking your nap. He said you were telling your stuffed doggies to "cwose your eyes and way down on da bed!" I'm glad you take such good care of them and want to make sure they take their little naps. Cranky doggies are just no fun.

I love you my little man,


Sunday's Psalm

The best days are when I wake up early in the morning and read the living and active Word of God. I don't know how, but it fills my soul. It is refreshing. It is pure. It is good.

I want to focus my heart in worship this morning before I go and meet with other believers at church. I want to begin my worship now. Yes, it means a sacrifice of sleep, but after I get some good wake-up coffee I find that the Word of God never leaves me unsatisfied. Sleep I can do another time. This is holy ground right now. 

Psalm 24

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters. 

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, 
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty
The LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in. 
Who is this King of glory? 
The Lord Almighty -- 
he is the King of glory. 

Lord, your Word, your laws are good. To live uprightly and with you is better than anything else on this earth. Please help my feeble feet to follow. Teach me to walk in your ways because your ways are better than life itself. Help me to move and breathe and walk in you today.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Letters to My Little Ones

Dear Levi,

You are almost three years old. How did you get this big? You won't believe kids grow fast until you're an adult, but I'm still going to say it anyways, time flies.

Your main interests are cars and trucks... and excavators. Anything involving construction "struction" or with a motor really. You seem to be fascinated with machines that have eyes. Your favorite characters right now are Thomas the Tank "tanken" Engine and Lightning "BaQueen" McQueen. I hope I always remember the little things you say, but I probably shouldn't have that much confidence in my memory and truly should be writing them down. You usually talk about these characters like this, "I want the one with the eyes!" Maybe it's because they can sit and watch you while you eat or go to the bathroom. Or sometimes we set them up so they can watch you do really cool stuff like jump on the couch. Basically, you love an audience. I'm wondering if you're a little like me. :)

The hardest part of the day for you (and consequently me) is getting ready for nap time. Every day you tell me, "no nap tuh-day." I tell you that yes, we will have a nap. Every day we have naps. You hold up a finger in response, "not tuh-day." You learned this phrase from me. Sometimes we have to talk about who is the mommy and who gets to call the shots. I think you will be a good leader someday because you are very skilled at ordering me and Daddy around.

My favorite times are evenings when you are trying to stay up later. You tell Daddy that you need a kiss from me so he comes and gets me before tucking you in. Sometimes I dilly dally with it and just talk to you about your day. On Sunday I asked if you had a good time at church and you said, "I take da toy." You did? Why did you take the toy? "I took da toy out of a boy's hands." Really? That is so sad. Did he cry? "Yes." And then, probably to take the spotlight off of your own sin you told me about how another little boy threw a rock at a little girl. I don't know why I think this story is hilarious, but it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. The rational mother in me is telling me to hold it in because we shouldn't take toys or throw rocks. But maybe it's just the simplicity of your honesty that just gets to me every time.

You are excellent at sitting and reading books. It makes me so proud to walk by a room and you are sitting there and reading or playing quietly with your cars. I know that you have a good attention span. Last Thanksgiving (you were barely two years old) you played with your cousin Trey's train set for hours. The doctor was so surprised to hear it because most two year olds only have a two minute attention span. Maybe it's because you were in train heaven.

You are very shy when first meeting people. Once you get to know them you do much better and even are kind of a show off. I'm trying to figure out how to teach you to be polite and at least say hello. Hopefully as you get older I can explain this to you.

Levi, watching you change and grow these past three years, I can't even imagine life without you. You are precious to me and I am excited about the years to come.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Letters to My Little Ones

I have been seeing other blogs write letters to their children. So I think I will try it.

Dear Aria,

I haven't written as much on the blog about you (except for your epic birth story). I have been wanting to write, but sometimes it's difficult to think in terms of communication with such a small person. I am very sorry about that. I will do my best to remedy that.

I honestly didn't expect I would ever have a little girl. I thought the Lord would give me boys because I was such a tomboy growing up. I'm pretty silly to think that aren't I? One thing I love about you is seeing how much of a girl you are. Your movements are so dainty. Even as a little baby you are able to pick up the smallest thing with your tiny little fingers. You are persistent. Yesterday I watched you try to put a ball in your brothers toy gun. The ball was slightly too big, but that didn't deter you. You knew it needed to get in there. You were never frustrated, you just kept trying. Honestly, you probably tried for about 15 minutes, which is like forever when you are just a little baby.

You love your daddy. That's for sure. And you love me too but that's kind of a given since we hang out like ALL THE TIME. It's good. I like it that way. Your daddy provides so well that I get to be at home with you and your brother all the time. I get to be that underlying security in your life and I am thankful for that. My favorite part of the day is when I am about to take you to bed and I say, "Let's say night-night to daddy!" Your face lights up with the hugest smile and we go over to him. You reach towards him and hug him while he kisses you and then you reach back and bury your head in my shoulder as if you are suddenly bashful. As we walk away you watch him from my shoulder until we turn the corner to your room.

I am so thankful for these past nine months with you. You are so beautiful, so precious. You are living up to your name in being a fresh new song in our house.



Monday, October 22, 2012

Skin Deep

It's 9:54 on a Monday night. Why do I suddenly feel so inspired to blog?

Maybe it's because I'm home by myself tonight.
Maybe it's because I just ate a big bowl of ice cream.

Too many of my posts include ice cream. Geez.

Ben went out to play games with the guys. I think it's really great because his opportunities to fellowship with other men seem to be fewer than mine. I am glad he can do that. The only problem is the when he is going to be gone I'm like, "Yes! I'll have some ice cream! And a big bowl of it. And no one will be there to raise any eyebrows!" ... Actually, Ben would probably be fine with me having a big ole bowl of ice cream. We might watch a television show together and eat it.

But these thoughts bring me back to my old days.

[I used to look forward to being alone so that I could just eat whatever and however much I wanted to eat. The sad part is that I didn't need to eat those things. I thought they would make me happy, but they didn't.]

It makes me wonder if I'm healed and free and whole in that area.

Will I ever be healed and free on this earth? Maybe not.

I had to go in and comfort Aria a few minutes ago and as I did I was thinking about my body. Thinking about how I might never be satisfied with it. I was thinking about how once I feel like I've lost enough weight I'll probably get pregnant again and then as you get older your metabolism gets worse and ... before I reach panic mode I just want to remind myself that it's not important. What I look like is not important.

Whether or not people see me and say, "You look so great!" doesn't matter. Lord, help me with that, I get so caught up in what I look like and how I appear to others, I forget that You are more concerned with my heart.

As I was sitting there with Aria I thought about how in different moments throughout the day (depending on how I feel and what mood I'm in) I will resolve to starve myself skinny, no matter what. At other parts of the day I will think, who the heck cares?? I will just eat and be happy. I was thinking about how my heart is so fickle. I can be so easily swayed.

The foolish man built his house upon the sand. The wise man built his house on the rock.

Lord, help me to flee from the sands of this world. You are my rock and my fortress. Help me to see the things that matter. Help me not to pursue the things that don't.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Levi Stories

I've got to take a minute before I attack what can commonly be known as the Laundry Monster. It's a big scary beast of a thing that threatens to eat your laundry room alive if you do not tame it.
[I haven't done ANY laundry from Thursday until Monday ... yikes!!]

Anyways, I'm discovering that the more Levi learns to talk the better life gets. Yes, he does impose his will and has learned to say the word "No" as a complete sentence, but I think the cuteness of what he says far outweighs all that negative. That's just my opinion.

Levi is very good at knowing where we are in town. Last night I realized just how good he was when I turned down Fair Park to go to International Friendship Outreach's Conversation Club. We go to eat dinner with and talk to international students on Monday nights. Levi's favorite part is the brownie table. The table is just low enough for an almost three year old to reach the brownies quite nicely. Most of the time he asks for a brownie before he takes one. Most of the time. Anyways, we had just turned down the road to Conversation Club when he asked, "Whur (where) we going?" and immediately followed it with, "We gonna have a brownie?" I realized he knew EXACTLY where we were going.

Another funny part of the evening for me was when I took him to the restroom. We were in there and overheard some girls talking in Chinese. When we stepped out of the stall he went right up to one and asked, "What yer talkin' about?" He knew they were communicating, he just couldn't understand. They probably couldn't understand him either.

Levi takes a nap every day and EVERY DAY he tries to convince me that we don't go night night until it's dark outside. Every day. Every day we finish lunch and he starts to tell me, "when it's dark outside, that's when we go to sleep. We don't go to sleep when the sun is still up." No buddy, I'm really sorry, but we are going to take a nap. Today we are going to take a nap just like yesterday and the day before. Every day he says, "I don' wan go nigh nigh." (It's usually all blurred together in what sounds like one word.

We are also working on the difference between yesterday and a while back.

"Yeserday, I got my hand in the door at Deedee's house and it was ouch!"

Yep. That was about a month ago.

After making Levi a peanut butter and jelly sandwich last night he looked up and said, "Thank you for makin' this for me mommy."
Oh Levi, for that I could make you a thousand more.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The struggle.

[Serious post alert.]

As long as I'm in this flesh and these bones life will just be hard.

That's what I've come to realize.

I don't know what it is about today and how I'm feeling ... maybe it's hormones, maybe it's lack of sleep. Maybe it's something else. Maybe it's that I asked for prayer yesterday at church.

It feels weird because the sun is shining so beautifully outside. The temperature is absolutely perfect. I don't normally feel... depressed on days like this.

I don't want to be led by my emotions. They are kind of a roller coaster and I don't want to just ride them up and down.

Been thinking a lot about how I feel and how feelings are so fleeting. Good feelings seem to be the most fleeting. Depressing feelings tend to hang on like tar and just pull you down into themselves. As a mom it makes me more irritable, takes me longer to do things than normal. Today has felt like it has dragged by.

Lord, You are my portion. I don't want this day to just pass by me. I want to live in You. O lifter up of my soul, please strengthen me with Your Word. I am in desperate need of You Lord.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Baby Superstion

I am not superstitious.

I laugh in the face of superstition. I think it's ridiculous the things people will do or avoid because they think that the fates of the universe will have it out for them. I wore the number 13 in high school basketball because I refused to think that anything could be wrong with that number. It's silliness. I was listening to a conversation on a plane about a month ago about these guys talking about what they would do for a football game and superstition. One would chain smoke, another would clean his house while watching the game, every time he cleaned a room his team would score, another would always bring his girlfriend... I thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever heard.

I laugh at superstition.

I am a Christian and I don't believe in fates, I believe in God. He is in control, those silly things are just well... silly.

And now I digress. ... (sad face).

Babies have changed my life. Babies know something. They are in cahoots with things like the internet, facebook, blogs... Their little ears hear if you tell your husband, "Well, (insert child's name) went down really easy tonight." and they immediately pop out of bed or start crying. As soon as you post on facebook that your child is sleeping through the night you can count on it being OVER. As soon as you post on your blog or even start to post about how awesome potty training is going just count it as OVER. No way, no how can you ever brag on that stuff on the internet. Baby ESP will be out to get you.

I have no idea how this works. I can't ever believe I'm writing about it, but believe me, it's true.

Theory: Pride comes before the fall. I want to say that's in Proverbs. As soon as I become prideful about something enough to post it somewhere then I'm destined for a downfall. Again, this is only my theory.

It's amazing how life works sometimes.

I'm still not superstitious. Someday, when I get to heaven I'm going to ask God about all this. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Preparing for DST... mommy style

If it were up to young moms we would not have Daylight Savings Time. Maybe if it were up to me we would never have it off. I much prefer it to be light outside when my husband comes home. I don't mind it being dark for so long in the mornings... but alas, I am not the DST moderator or the president or anything like that. So I suppose I just have to go with the flow.

Calling all moms: DST is November 4th this year.

Some of you may be asking, "Why is this important?"

Let me just explain. If you are asking this question you probably have a child less than a year old. That's what I had when I experienced my first "Fall Back" DST.  Levi was probably about 11 months old. I don't remember the Spring Forward one because in that case your child ends up waking an hour later, but in the case of the fall, just watch out!
Your sweet little baby that used to wake up at 6:30 -7 every morning will now for some reason wake up at 5:30, maybe even earlier because the universe is cruel. They didn't get the memo about how we are going to sleep an hour later now.

If you have not struggled with this before and you have kids then you can count yourself blessed.

My first year was quite a shock and it took a good week to get used to this new schedule.

So I guess I just wanted to post about what I do for my babies this time of year. I'm posting about a month beforehand cause sometimes this process takes a while. I'm also posting with the full knowledge that things will probably not go according to my little "plan" with my kids. I really need to post about babies and superstition. I'm not superstitious, I promise... except when it comes to babies.

Well, it's really simple actually. I just start pushing things back. I start to push bedtimes back just a bit, maybe ten or fifteen minutes. Then I start to push naptimes back just a bit, and I keep working my way back and back. If by the time DST rolls around and I have only pushed things back by 30 mins then at least I'm 30 mins ahead of the curve.

I also don't like to immediately go get my kids out of their crib in the morning. Unless they sound like they are in serious pain or something (This is especially good when they are old enough to sit up, crawl around a bit or entertain themselves. You know as a mom when they are trying to manipulate and when they seriously need to be gotten up). I feel like it's important for them to be able to entertain themselves. Now, I have to make sure that I don't altogether forget about them (one time I did forget about poor Levi and didn't go get him for like an hour and a half, I felt really terrible about that).

Anyways, sometimes those things can be pushed back. The thing is that you don't want to go doing it all at once. You want it to be almost unnoticeable. Also, it depends on how rigid the child's schedule is. Levi's schedule was very clear but Aria's is more up in the air, a little more free. I'll have to write something about post DST this year with a two year old and a ten month old and let you know how it went.

Okay, those are my thoughts about DST. Does anyone have any other suggestions or thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Am I Being Too Critical?

Okay so I'm struggling.

This is not a post about mothering or weight loss or anything like that. This is about something I probably don't talk about much on here but is very much a part of my life. So, humor me if you will.

This is a post about my faith. More specifically about worship, worship styles, worship leadership and my struggles for a desire to see others genuinely worship God.

As a preface I recently learned this about myself: I have a hard time with people not doing things just as I would do them. I have this filter, this grid for how things should be done rightly and if it's not just so, if it's not absolutely right then it must be wrong. This is good when it comes to things that need to have hard lines on them such as believing in Jesus, theology, things like that.

Lord help me to explain myself in a way that honors You... and not me.

Someone emailed me and asked if I knew a certain song so I looked it up on You Tube. I watched a video that I will not name and was... well... saddened I guess. Don't ever look at video comments, they are stupid.

I guess I struggle, not necessarily with the lights and the concert feel of modern day ... I can't think of a word, worship venues? I don't know. I maybe struggle more with the person that I am watching behind the microphone. Or I am struggling with the musician. Maybe I am just being judgmental. I'm just going to come out and say it, I am judgmental. I'm really sorry about that.

I am a worship leader. ... Can I run and hide now? Am I the pot calling the kettle black? Maybe I am too afraid (I keep typing and deleting here) of offending someone (honestly, I'm not afraid of offending someone, I just don't want to feel like I'm offending someone, geez I hate my life).

Okay, maybe what I'm trying to say here is that it has a disengenuious feel to it. This whole "worship music" thing. It feels like a performance. It feels like man is singing more for himself than for God. It feels like we are all trying to look and sound cool and sound and act just like the world.

Why does something in my spirit just get a twinge of uneasiness when I hear lyrics like, "I know you love me" or "come into my heart" or "you've got a plan for me" ... is God someone who can be told what to do? I don't know, it feels like this big, touchy-feely kind of love song thing. Now, there's nothing wrong with us telling God we love him and those lyrics are true, but it feels strange when those are the only lyrics sung over and over and over again.

Lord, am I wrongly frustrated? Am I overly critical? I genuinely want to know. Are we dumbing down lyrics because we don't know the whole truth? Are we shallow in our Christianity?

All these things are my struggles. I need help Lord.

Monday, October 1, 2012


I need to call a friend back, but my phone died so I guess I'll just blog.


Today is just one of those days where the weather is perfect outside. The windows are open, the sun is streaming through. The kids are napping, I even fell asleep for a bit while trying to lay Levi down. (yeah, remember how I wasn't going to do that? Well, things have been thrown out the window lately.)

The kitchen floor was clean this morning. Do you know how amazing that was? To wake up and the floor be clean? To go to bed with the floor clean? Can I also just take a second to brag on my husband? He has started a prayer group of getting together with other men to pray on Monday morning. He makes pancakes and coffee and I don't know what else they do because I stay in the bedroom with Levi, but Ben tells me they talk struggles and the Lord and they pray. I can't tell you how much this means to me. I can't tell you how proud I am of my husband, who diligently cleaned the kitchen with me last night and made pancakes and we just hung out and talked and listened to music...  I don't know.

I mean, I guess if you had come to our house a few hours earlier you would have seen a wreck, kids screaming, making messes, Ben working on painting the baseboards (another things I am proud of him for) and just utter chaos. Just before bedtime he said to me, "I'm about done with kids today." And yes, even though we only have two sometimes it feels like we have kids coming out of our ears. (Some of you are laughing right now because you know that we have NO IDEA what a lot of kids is like, but it's hard okay? Gimme a break).

I just feel like things between Ben and I have been good lately. You know what it is? It's the Lord. God has shown me where I have been selfish in my thinking. Ben has died to himself and led in service. We have been seeking God together now more than ever.

I love being a mom next to him. I love how he interacts with our children. I love doing things with him, going places and serving people. I love talking things through with him and hearing his perspective (which is always very different than mine).

Thank You Lord. I never thought I could have this. I didn't think I ever would get married, but You had other plans. Thank You that we have You to guide us. Thank You for these good times right now, I'm not naive in thinking that it will only get better, I know that hard times are ahead, but I pray that Ben and I would pull closer together in those times and you would grow us, knit us together. Lord, we need You. Every step of the way we are in need of You. Help us to depend on You.