Monday, March 19, 2018

Except February, that has 28

The shortest month started with . . . the Super Moon
Trev called me outside (literal phone call) in the darkness of morning, to watch the blue/super/blood moon, along with neighbor Joan. Stunning!

Greatest Showman
That's all. A random Saturday noon viewing with a kindred spirit - tears flowing at various parts, snow swirling outside. Sweet memory that lives on as the kids and I blast the songs and Karis asks a million questions about the movie (might take her to see it).

Furniture and Finish
Trevor found a steal of a craigs-list-deal. I wasn't excited AND I trust him with these things. It's comfy to settle into our roles: Trev's a change agent, and I can follow his lead. He has vision and helps me grasp the outlook, and then I can help get him there (I hope).

Superbowl and Big Questions
Our kids are full of wonder - wonderings, questions.
Questions about football. Karis wanted to know it all, such an eager mind.
On the way home, watching the dark starry sky, she wondered big questions about God, we shared and wondered alongside.
Before it all, big questions about big adult things and so we started the big conversations, setting her down with coloring and knowing we can talk about these things at the kitchen table or wherever she asks.
The big q's continue with Judah: "I wonder if we could ever see God's face?" and "Mommy how to babies come out of mommies?". It's good

Ding Dong, Fish 2 is Dead
"I just now realized that my fish is really dead" (cue, sobs)
"What's the use of it? He's DEAD!" (sob sob sob) when I offered to help write a poem.

These memorable moments may have been after Trev and I joked that we could have sushi for dinner. Oops, forgot to save those jokes for our own enjoyment.

Discount Flowers bring . . . cuteness
Judah reminded me to live in the moment, he asked to buy some discounted flowers at a checkout line one day. These kids teach us, always.

Men's Retreat/Sleepover/mommy fun day
Trev went on the yearly men's retreat followed by a work trip, kids and I found our rhythm: Karis and I had a sleepover in my room the whole time, it was the best. She moved in with joy, loved that time with her. Friday night dear fam and friends shared Jets here with us, a treat in all ways. Simple things wow these littles: library, Michael's, a movie on the couch. Culver's with cousins, messing up the house, loving these days. Trev had fun too and his calls home radiated joy and refreshment, good for all.

Hamburger Allergy
During said mommy days, we ended with quarter pounders at McDonald's for the kids - which ended with Judah writhing at bedtime, "Give me medicine to help my tummy, it hurts so bad!". By some act of God I whisked him downstairs just in time for the major splat to happen on the kitchen floor. Phew. Poor guy, he hasn't thrown up for years and we had a good chat - about stories from my childhood (ahem, Uncle Drew). He's still talking about it and has informed us, "So, I have a hamburger allergy".

We hear them at night and early morning sometimes,  they feel like my dawn-of-the-day friends. Creation is a wonder.

Valentine's in the Ashes
We enjoyed a carpool date the day before - Judah and his sweet friend Poppy. So dear!
The day of we did it all . . . pink pancakes, heart jigglers, heart noodles, Barnes and Noble (tradition, thanks Gma and Gpa!), read Bear Hugs and St. Valentine, Qdoba. Oh yeah, and Ash Wednesday service in the middle, during which we were all so tired we may have closed our eyes for a few minutes.

Footie Pajamies
Judah's been "shopping" in his closet (boxes of hand me downs). During rest time one day he called me in, "Mommy, oh mommy!" (happens several times per rest time) and I will never forget this most precious sight: footie jammies laid out on the floor (one pair on his person) and the exclamation, "I found footie pajamies!" Oh heart melt. My little big boy.

Birthday Bash & Hotel Hooligans
Oh the Pandolfo's know how to party, such a gift. My parents took the kids overnight in their sweet-suite hotel. Bless them, as the arrangements put them each in bed with a child. Adorbes, and I joined them in the morning for waterslides and a day of hanging before . . . the cousin birthday party at Buca. Such fun, how can L & C be two already? Celebrating their lives, a gift to us all, and watching them take in the love (and L taking in the cheesecake), precious. Grateful.

Snow Houses/Sunday Flows
For a couple weeks, Karis and I came home from church alone to eat lunch in front of a show. The best! One Sunday she spent hours making a house, oh the imagination and energy.

Never too Late . . . to Laugh at Ourselves
A sleep update, it's just so much better, and I want to keep a grip on gratitude. Also, a grip on humor. Because while better, our sleeping arrangements still probably look wonky to the world. I went to see Karis one morning, she was on a cozy nest by her door. Trev was on his own nest by our door. I had spent the night in our bed. Judah doesn't even have a bed (a tent, he has a tent). And I just laughed with Karis. I love her laugh.

The Books
Lately with Karis: Ronia the Robber's Daughter (so good!), Magician's Nephew, Lemony Snicket, Nancy Drew Diaries
Lately with Judah: No One Likes a Goblin, Dragons Love Tacos
Andrea: Whole Brained Child, Loving Each One Best, Laurus, Sacred Enneagram, Rare Bird, Reliving the Passion

- "Mom, I got a RARE Hatchimal!"
- "I'm not asking you to prove it, just WHY do we believe that God is our God?"
- "Ah-MAZE-ing" (everything is amazing, it's so fun!)
- "omg" (oops, I think I need to stop saying this if I don't want her to . . .)
- "Momma, our new read aloud is Five Little Peppers and How They Grew! At first I thought it was about a garden and peppers and I thought that sounded kinda boring"
- "I detect something that tastes like thieves" (as in, the oil, it was cake spice in waffles)
- "Wow, Judah and Poppy have an awesome relationship" (when she saw a picture she drew for him)

Judah Jabbers:
- "My eyes are watering. Does that mean I'm crying? I'm not crying"
- "Mom, when I want the pepper, I can just sprinkle it on myself 'cuz I'm a BIG boy!"
- "Karisee, I dreamed about princesses last night. What are you going to dream about?"
- "I'm gonna try to dream about the monster truck jam show tonight"
- "Karisee really needs a play buddy, I'm going out to play with her!"
- "Mommy can I use the tooter balloon with Karisee?" (the whoopie cushion they got in the mail)
- "The rule in my room is you have to suck your thumb"
- "Make sure you let the sunshine in!" (wanting me to pull up his shades during rest time)
- "Mom! I dreamed about REAL fire trucks last night!" (first words as he popped out of his tent one Sunday morning)
- "Daddy, how was Black Panther? Tell me about it!"
- "I can't believe I'm Judah"
- "Mom, can you show me allllllll the places?" (on our world map)
- "Please stop singing. It's too beautiful"
- "Which Drew is it? Is it the Drew that goes with the Melanie?"
- "I believe in you, you can do it!" (while carrying him upstairs)
- "I wanna be a transformer when I grow up!"
- "Don't tell Caleb I suck my thumb. Night is my favorite time to suck my thumb"
- "I'm gonna give daddy a pootsie so he can have pootsie power just like me!"
- "I'm gonna go say some bathroom talk" (as he heads to the bathroom, where he's allowed to do such things)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Remember. Receive. Reflect. These are the words shaping the year so far - especially with the lens of love - remembering, receiving, reflecting. Filling each other up, pouring out. Rinse, wash, repeat.

So, to the remembering . . .

Joy to the World
Well, Epiphany is a real deal in our home (Karis anticipates the 3 gifts). This year we lit the Christ candle (Epiphany = light) and shouted out Joy to the World, deciding it's a new tradition for sure. Followed by the disrobing the house of its festive wear. And, we celebrated by getting a new Christmas Tree (artificial, of course).

The yearly work gathering was at a new place and with triple the people this year . . . I always miss my family, and it's always a meaningful time and well spent. Brainstorming, praying, wondering, dining, laughing, cozying up in corners for chats.

While I was away, my girl grew up by about 5 years by getting bangs. So sweet!

Especially moving this year, watching part of the "Dream speech" with the kids, as well as the "Kid President" video. Meeting with our life group that night, eating pecan pie (thank you M fam!) and hearing a couple's memories of visiting the hotel/museum where he died. Much to ponder.

We're so thankful for a family adventure to Arizona, wonderful in all ways (thanks for welcoming us to crash your vacation K&N!). Zoo, Aquarium, hiking Superstition Mountain, dining al fresco, hiking the neighborhood, Organ Pizza . . . a day in the airport getting on and off the plane twice (!!!) until the flight was finally canceled (weather shut-down for MSP) and then staying two extra nights to savor the sunshine and tour an olive farm and stay in a hotel with G & G. Savoring the warm memories already.

Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
We went through a hard sleep season (reminiscent of her 4th year when we moved/Judah was 2 months old). And my fear about the last hard sleep season re-occurring was fierce, and so the thing isn't always the thing -  digging in to some of those feelings, making some mistakes, going forward in new ways. In it all, I've felt God's great attention - I don't know why He cares to pay attention to this journey, I'm learning to receive His  direction/correction/grace. Karis and I have had some highs and lows together in it - the highs have been talks about struggles in life, that God really does work all things together for the good. That we're together. She's never alone. About safety and comfort. Rocking and praying and singing "Silent Night" and praying common prayer night time words and psalms. The lows, when I was tired and frustrated and scared it would be like this for years (again). And then, Darius Rucker came on the radio and brought me to tears: "It won't be like this for long". The struggles ebb and flow and won't be like this for long. Also, Karis won't be here for long (relatively). Sniff! So many Psalms peppered my mornings with redeeming words about no shame, radiant faces. Others about sleep, so many about peaceful sleep. The Ferber sleep book confirmed in a comforting way what my ponderings had concluded: the important things for our fam are that she feels supported and understood, and that we get the best sleep we can. Which means our sleeping arrangements certainly look odd to the world . . . and, there is peace. Trev likes to joke that he is "ferberizing us both". And, this will be a blip on the screen, AND it will be part of our family's story.

Simple, true. That phrase has come up a couple times lately and I LOVE it so much.

Friend that's a Girl Play Date
A first, Judah's little bestie from preschool came over, along with her brother and mom. So dear, and also a treat to learn more about her family and share stories. Grateful for this stage in the game, Judah still here and yet reaching out and all the things.

Basement - BOOM
It happened, carpet laid and now just finishing work. It's like a good dream. The kids run and make shadow shows and hide in their hobbit hole and strew their toys across the open space. Trevor works in his office and uses his bathroom for his haircut ritual. Dream!

- "Daddy, what are we going to have for breakfast and lunch and dinner when mommy's gone?" Trev: "Whatever you make me!" K: look of panic
- "Thankfully Grandma and Grandpa are rescuing us"
- "Can you imagine not having a TV? I can't imagine life without my shows!"
- "I wish I could just squeeze you here like a doll" (putting her to bed)
- "Did she have a sea infection?" (she meant c-section!)
- "I just miss Arizona so much!"

Judah Jabbers:
- "Mom did you get a new purse? Wow, that is so cool! I love your new purse"
- "I'm gonna go pack too! I'm gonna make a pile for Arizona and mom can put it in the suitcase!"
- "Praisee the Lord, I found my crocs!"
- "I wish we could have a sleepover"
- "No, these are the rules! You can't do that in my room!"
- "You're breaking my heart!"
- "Oh, you're in your pajamas! I'm happy to see you like that Karisee!"
- "Mom, are you a bibliomaniac?" (yes! From the book Big Words for Little Geniuses)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Birthday Boy

Oh this boy. I don't even know where to start . . .  so, the facts of celebrating Judah will begin the gush.

Festivities started the day after Christmas, thanks to Gma N - we were in Fargo at a fun hotel and it was subzero and so cozy. Swimming, Space Aliens brought in, and a party in their room with lego plates and cupcakes and ice cream and presents and singing. He clearly was feeling the love.

Celebrations continued at home in a unique way, dear Karis got what seemed to be influenza and was on the couch for Judah's birthday. Which in its own way, gave Judah reign of the house and put him in charge of whatever he wanted to do: play with all his new toys! It fit his personality and I'm grateful, his expectations are sweet and small. We did the special plate, Ps. 139, long weird balloons (inappropriate picture not included of how he very innocently put them in his pants and walked around), cinnamon rolls . . . looking at old pictures and telling stories, tried to make a nice dinner and he didn't eat it, because . . . flu hit him the next day. Mercy be, spared on his actual birthday, a gift.

For the first year, Judah's been to some super birthday parties and so for the first time a friend party was gonna happen (I know, 5! Post Christmas baby, what can be said). What he wanted for his party:
- Watch "Mater Tall Tales"
- Eat cookies
- With: Ted, Mitchell, Leif, Josh

Sweet and easy! So we also picked up Wendy's for the crew, which they watched during Mater. Some punch balloons, remote control cars, gifts . . . the time was wild and wonderful.

And then preschool honored his day with a crown, prayer, singing, "lighting" a birthday cake, and having Trevor read a story (Pig in a Wig).

Trev's parents were in town shortly after and kept the party going with donuts and monster truck movies (with encouraging messages, who knew?)

Judah continues to be tender (can also be tough - "I'm okay I'm okay!" he assures us when he gets hurt). He is hilarious and makes us laugh by hiking up his pants and running around. He loves to cuddle and read books. He adores his friends and school, and also needs his alone time (ahem, like his mom). He's wise and reflective, curious and attentive. If he doesn't know people, he hides behind my legs (or puts his hood over his head). He pushes his "SEEster's" (how we say that word around here) buttons (read: for a while was hiding her toys and watching her be miserable trying to find them, before days later confessing). He has a quirky and hilarious sense of humor. Sometimes he puts on ALL his socks at one time, and lately also tried to put on ALL his pants and underwear (partially succeeded). He's content, and I've noticed how happy he is for others in their joys. Salty stories will wait for another day.

I feel less emotional than usual about Judah growing up - savoring the memories and treasuring his growth in so many ways this year. Or, just in denial. He's a delightful buddy and getting to know him is a gift.

Judah's fave things: 
Friends (Poppy, Ted, Mitchell - most talked about)
School ("Do I go to Calvary after this day?)
Monster trucks, hot wheels, mad matter (so fun), markers, paint
Books (esp. Shirley Hughes' Alfie books right now, Yak and Gnu, Snip Snap & Snur, That's Not a Hippopotamus!, Mr. Magee books, Comic Bible)
Still likes to eat lunch in my lap while I read to him
Cheesy peas, biscuits (belvita!), McDonald's ice cream, banana snack cake, hot chocolate, pannekuchen, candy
Sleeping in his tent
Playing "tickle monster" and hide and seek with me during the days
Making forts - everywhere. Even out of luggage in airport terminals
"snuggle forts" (lots of blankets piled up anywhere, esp. behind the couch)
Tractor shirt and Grandma Nancy pants (lays them out at night for the next day)

Judah's birthday jabbers: 

"I'm five years old!"
"Is it my friend party today?"
"My cough is all better for my friend party!"
"My favorite clothes are CLEAN!"
"You and Santa are besties!"
"Did I gulp the words out of your mouth?"
"Mommy when I'm as big as Goliath, I'll like fruit"
"Fat chubby professor!" (no idea where this came from, he hikes up his jammy pants and walks around like Urkel - remember Urkel?)
"Fat chubby books"
"I'm happy for you too!"
"I can help!"
"You are breaking my heart!"
"I don't really know" (the answer to many of my questions)
"Me and Caleb made fire muffins!" (he loves preschool)
"Or you can pull the red cord when you need to be in the arms of your grown up" (said while in the bathroom with Trev at the nursing home . . . big heart melter)
"I'm gonna fill you up with love!" (what we say when we hug)
"Can we go home and you can fill me up with love?"
"Sure I can!"
"Isn't it neat how everyone was five? I didn't know YOU were five Mommy!"

The Louise Ames Bates/Gessell Institute developmental books I read every year for both K & J have some wonderful things to say (and I agree to) about 5 (the book title: Your 5 Year Old: Sunny & Serene):
- "'My own best mommy' is what he often calls her" (seriously, he will run up to me and say this and of course it's the best! How do these people know these things?)
- "They like to hear how much their parents love them" (well, who doesn't, right?)
- "They sometimes overestimate her ability to read their minds, often quick and impatient and don't always give the necessary clues as to what they're talking about. Then they get angry if she doesn't pick up on their story at once. It takes a quick wit to be a mother" (well, yeah)
- "And admittedly, if things go wrong, children will sometimes take things out on mother" (sometimes? Try, always)
- "Most fives are very fond of their fathers, proud of them, and love their company . . . it is more likely that the five will take an outburst of temper out against his mother than his father. And in the insecurity of the night, it is mother whom he wants" (of course)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Let it Happen

Rose Colored Glasses rememberings of December . . . stay tuned for other stuff in January

Pre Advent Indulgences
Literally the day before Advent, we got all our wild out, boys/girls style:
Karis and I went for a haircut and donuts, and that afternoon hit the mall (walked away empty handed, Michaels is more our speed so that was the next stop), Chipotle, home to watch Cinderella and play a game and read.
Whilst the boys . . .
Hit the Monster Truck Jam show (happy early birthday, Judah!).
Just so epic and memorable.

The Advent theme that arose around here was "Let it Happen". Intentionally plan little, seek quiet, be flexible and flowing. Basement work (yay!) and coughs (boo!) started at the same time, and I knew it would be a loud season, so we created quiet in any ways we could.
Flavors of the days:
- Rebel Donut bar with friends, a hot sauce store next door lent Christmas gifts and inspiration (the guy's story, so great)

- Simple Gifts concert for Aunt Debbie's 60th
- Well/sick days. One weekend that helped us put on the breaks
- Making gingerbread cookies
- Annual RiverTree Festival of Lessons and Carols. Watching the children (and yes, my eyes gravitate to Karis) sing with pure joy, contagious. Once in David's Royal City was the song that made me tear up this year
- STAR WARS! Trev reminded me many times, "You know I'm going to Star Wars Saturday night?"
- Life Group party. This group is so chill, snacks and gift exchange (rule: can't buy anything, have to wrap up something from your house that is smaller than a coffee table)

New Traditions
- Lively Hope . . . a dear friend wrote a beautiful, meaningful book for Advent and it colored our weeks

- Dec. 6 St. Nicolas Day (toothpaste in stockings the night before . . . sweet crocheted stockings hanging from their room closet doors)
- Old Fashioned Christmas in Plymouth (reindeer, s'mores, carolers, Santa, snowy/icy playground)

- Dec. 13 St. Lucia Day (pop-the-can cinnamon rolls in the morning, served by garland wearing Karis)

- Letters from Father Christmas (Tolkien!) in bed with daddy

- A stop at Pizza Corner on our way to ND (DO THIS if you can. Call ahead! Kids area! Yummy pizza!)

- Mad Libs and fried steaks and oldies and watching Samantha's Christmas on New Year's Eve

Christmas in Bis
Older kids = more chill momma. I felt more present this year than some past (when wrapped up in naps and other silly mom mode things). Watching their wonder, excitement, delight. Light in everyone's eyes, laughs, chats. Some memories that rise to the top right now are watching the Crown with my parents, Lila's 2nd birthday party, GG Warren & Eileen's birthday party, presents (!!! watching the kids especially), watching Santa Clause (Tim Allen) with kids and my parents, nativity pageant, Fargo hilarity (Karis and Judah playing "Watch ya Mouth"), hotel stay with parents/GG Carole/brother's fam (Gma Nancy did a sweet party for Judah, playing with all the cousins. Sweet Karis ended up pretty sick and was such a cuddly trooper)

This is my favorite week of the year, between Christmas and New Year's, the world slows down. Jeans stay in the closet. Toys keep the kids busy. Movies (Samantha's Christmas, Cars 2) and popcorn and hot chocolate and cookies and cuddles are flowing. Playing with all the new toys. This year Karis and Judah got what must've been influenza, fever/chills/aches/cough/congestion. Sweet littles were quite the troopers and with medicine stayed content enough to enjoy being cooped up at home (which we might've been anyway with subzero temps). Karis and I started reading Little Women (joy!), Judah got into a new "comic book Bible". Quality couch time. Broke out eventually to pick out paint, and a carpet guy came to our house, adding just a touch of spice to the days.

Advent readings: Advent for Everyone, A Christmas Carol, The 24 Days Before Christmas, Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey . . .  Hidden Figures, Babette's Feast, The Dog Knew Papa and the Angel, God in the Sink, (finished 11/22/63. So. Long.), Adventures in Waffles (with Karis)

From Recent Readings
Hidden Figures: 
"Serendipity happens when a well-trained mind looking for one thing encounters something else: the unexpected. . ."

Memorable convo:
Karis: "I had a dream where Drew Prest was really mad at me but I wasn't able to run away"
Judah: "Next time you just need to run away really fast and get some weapons. Then you hit him in the dirty place. And he will get all dirty. And then you get a hammer and hammer him. But that's just silly. Just pretend"
(should we be concerned?!)

- "I think I made up my mind, I like marvel more than dc"
- "I can tell he's cold, he just doesn't wanna admit it"
- "You should prune your plant, it's dying"
- "Mom, you're my favorite woman in the world. I've realized that I look like my dad, and act like you!"

Judah Jabbers:
- "It's called fake love. Fake is because you can't see it all the time. Except it's real"
- "Did you just fill me up with love?" (after giving him a hug)
- "Well people without enough money can still be happy, right?"
- "Hey, how you doing down there sister?" (when Karis had a fever and was having dinner in the toy room)
- "I'm five years old!"
- "Mommy, will you cuddle with me?"
- "Can we go home and hav you fill me up with love?"
- "I'm so glad we're kids"
- "Please don't ever get me rollerskates again"
- "It's not a puzzle, it's not rollerskates, it's not legos" (guessing what was in a present)