Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent musings

I am having nightly dreams about either giving birth or nursing now . . . reading a couple books on those topics surely contribute to this. We're getting very excited to meet this little person, and we're especially enjoying anticipating his birth as we anticipate HIS birth during the season of Advent. This is a precious season and we're soaking it in.

Plenty of happenings and musings and Karis-isms since I 've last written:


Karis: "What are we doing in the morning?:

Me: "We're going to go vote!"

Karis: "Where are we going on the boat?!"



- "I hear you!"
- "That sounds like a good plan!"
- "Baby sweet pea is crabby. That means she's strong"
- "I have a lot of grandmas!"
- "This is the most special day of my life"
- "Is it bubble water or regular water?"
- "I'm wearing fancy!"
- "So, um, mommy? How was the bank?"
- "These are the words that tell the pictures of the story"
- "Is daddy looking for an elk? Are you going to pull up a map?"
- "It happens. It was an accident"
- "Mommy, don't say 'pooh'! Say 'Winnie the Pooh'"
- "I have something to tell you: it's almost Christmas, after Thanksgiving" (in a whispered voice, as taught by uncle Taylor)
- "Can we see the lights of Hopkins?" (driving back to MN after being in Bis, where we make a big deal about the lights of Bismarck)
- "We had a chipmunk in the backyard one time. Uncle Drew put it in a bag" (said after reading a story with a chipmunk . . . and good memory she has, Drew did shovel a chipmunk into a bag this past summer)
- "My shirt is tucked in like daddy's!"
- "Mommy, do you need a back rub?" (um, sure!)
- "It's the star from 'Hark the Herald Angels'!" (lots of stars in Christmas books)
- "I'm going to teach Santa Claus how to sing 'Jesus Loves Me'" (I swear I didn't suggest this, came out of nowhere!)
- "Should we go in the living room in chat?" (followed by going to the living room and her showing me where to sit, how to cross my legs, and then asking me about my day)

Elk Hunting

Trevor embarked with my dad and brother for a 9 day trip to CO to "look for Elk" (according to Karis).  Our freezer if full of meat with more on the way, the great success of the trip was perhaps the adventure  & exploration of gorgeous creation they were able to share. I enjoyed a trek back to Bis with Karis to celebrate my cousin's wedding, my mom & grandma's birthdays, Karis's cousin's basketball game, a ride on the train at the mall, and just lots of hanging out and visiting - oh, and getting snowed in by a blizzard for the weekend. Cozy.


Trev got home from CO on a Monday and we left the next day for Thanksgiving in Bismarck. We always love our time there, it's a treat to show up and to receive abundant love (not to mention they plan the big celebrations and host it all - a gift). We always treasure our time at the Turkey Trot race Thanksgiving morning, Karis thinks she ran in it because she was running around the inside of the building. Trev DID run it, and I just socialized and sat as much as possible. Turkey dinner, a photo shoot for Karis compliments her fabulous aunt Cassie, pizza by candlelight . . . and then a weekend with extended family and more food and festivities. We are so blessed.

New Job

We returned from Thanksgiving and the next day Trev started a new job. I'm so thankful he handles transitions with ease, he's had a lot of them this month. So far, so good and we're grateful for this new opportunity he's getting. Selfishly, I'm excited that there will be less travel AND there is a Christmas party that spouses are welcome to attend. I've missed getting to know his coworkers, and so this sense of community feels like a gift.

Bond, James Bond (a.k.a. "last date")

As I did when pregnant with Karis, there's a mental list of things I want to do before this little guy enters into the physical daily reality of our family. One of them was seeing the new Bond movie (interestingly, the last Bond movie was one of my faves around the time we learned about Karis. Love full circle things like that). So, Karis got a special night with Uncle Drew & M while Trev and I went on what I fatalistically termed "our last date". You know, for a while at least. Well, at least the longest date that we'll probably have in a while. It was bliss. Love Bond. Love my husband even more.

First Sunday of Advent

My words to try to practice during Advent this year: Simplify. Savor. Slow down. I'm savoring some memories from Sunday, when Karis carried the cross to the altar during the processional ("I can do it all by myself!"). Trevor and I were in the processional and got to bow to our daughter on our way past the altar. Trevor then lit the candle for Hope and we stood together as a family to recite the readings from Genesis that started the service - I want to remember always watching Karis wander around at the front while she watched us read and then go excitedly to join the children at the front before they all walked up to Sunday School together. These are truly precious moments. We later made Advent wreaths and we're enjoying the liturgy provided to read each night: "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light . . .come, Lord Jesus, come".  This is a remarkable time for us to anticipate the birth of two babies, one that is the Hope of the world, and one that was/is a hope for our family. One of our new favorite seasonal books is Little One, We Knew You'd Come, when reading it to Karis I can't help but think of our baby boy:  "We hoped, we dreamed, we watched for you. We counted the days till you were due. We waited how we longed for you".

Simplifying . . . sorry, no Christmas cookies here . . . or Christmas letters or clean floors or uncluttered toys.

Slowing down. Well, that's just kind of naturally happening, I'm not moving as quickly these days and we're doing our best to keep evenings calm.

Keeping it Real

Baby boy is kicking away and consuming most of my waking thoughts, and even some of my sleeping ones with dreams about birth and nursing. I get weepy when we read Christmas books - seeing Mary's "baby belly" and then baby Jesus . . . thinking of her courage to carry the Prince of Peace, to give birth in a manger, to "treasure all the moments in her heart".  What a brave woman! You know how they say "you forget how it all was which is why you go ahead and have more children"? Well, I'm remembering how it was, and it's making me scared. Control-lover that I am, the unknown aspects that just a few weeks ago felt so exciting and liberating to me are this week feeling a bit overwhelming: "What will labor and birth be like? WHEN will it be? Please let it be after Christmas! But God, you're in control. But really, please. How will Karis transition?" 

However, I have been gently reminded that I'm fearing the future - but WHY? The unknown can drive me crazy. When I'm rational, the fear is ridiculous and I'm actually truly excited to begin this next chapter, and feel immeasurably blessed  that our family is growing (although please let's let it grow in my belly for a couple more weeks). But I have also been gently reminded that fear is a legitimate feeling and one that when faced can be released and placed with peace . . . these reminders have come from reading Karis the Christmas narratives. I've been so struck by the normal-ness of fear, yet the freedom I can have to "fear not". 

Zachariah had fear about his son's upcoming birth. Luke 1:13 - "But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard."

Mary was fearful about Jesus' birth. Luke 1:29 - "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God."

Even the shepherds were afraid! Luke 2:9 & 10 -  "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.'"

"Helping" at the turkey trot

Bismarck Blizzard

Rocking out after a fabulous "Friend Thanksgiving" - a dinner we shared with our small group

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The best for first, recent Karisms:

- "Are you guys still talking about God?" (said during our recent small group meeting)
- "Is this for my baby brother? Can I have it?" (pulling out bib from a bag, proceeded to wear it and wanted to dine in the high chair)
- "I'm so glad of you"
- "Can I go wake up daddy?" (usually Saturday mornings, then she brings him books - and I  bring him coffee)
- "The little boy won't be there, mommy chased him away" (we think there are some dreams based on the pictures of bonneted girls on her quilt)
- "Lucky!" (said in a hilariously gruff voice, taught to her by uncles as a mimic of a local sports-radio personality)
- "I ate a cheeseburger at Cracker Barrel. They don't have crackers or barrels there" (ha!)
- "Mommy, you can have the sucker after you finish all your lunch"
- "I don't want Madeline to say 'pooh-pooh'. That's privacy. We'll save that for later " (as in, Madeline in a book says "pooh-pooh")
- "Mommy! Remember, you have stay right by me!"
- "Am I as big as you yet?" (she will also often stand in front of a mirror and exclaim, "I'm bigger!")
- "Want to come look at pictures with me?" (a favorite activity, looking at herself in photo albums while talking about herself in the third person)
- "Daddy, did you went to see a Hobbit? Was the Hobbit friendly?" (can you tell someone in the house is excited for an upcoming movie release?)
- "Baby Eliza is getting baptized! Pastor Christian is going to put water on her head!"
- "That was a little tough for you, wasn't it?" (said to Uncle T while he put her on her diaper before bedtime)

A few happenings (and maybe hormones?) recently have prompted many emotions, some of which have caused some smeared mascara and confused looks from Trevor. There was a recent tragedy on a college campus here, the loss of a beautiful woman's life (whose family happen to be dear friends of Trev's aunt and uncle). The whole story sent my heart and mind spinning with thoughts about all the uncertainties of life - I had feelings of fear for the future, for Karis's future. Wanting to hold her so close, to protect her, to make sure she always knows love and safety and security and health. I came to remember (with the help of some perceptive people who pointed out the fear in the first place) that there really is no reason to fear. So much more I could say on this, but I'm at a loss to articulate at the moment, or maybe it's too close and deep to express. All this to say, I am thankful. Life is not perfect. God is. How will we react to the bumps in the road? Where will we seek comfort? How will we let experiences shape us, change us, grow us?

We've had the great gift of having Trev's brother live with us the past couple months, and it's been illuminating to watch him navigate a new stage of life as he settles into life here after a year spent in China. His trust for the future and deep questions about life have offered a new filter to process events/thoughts/fears/hopes. We're grateful for this season.

Today we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Karis's baptism, a beautiful reminder to Whom she belongs and from Whom we have received the miraculous gift of her life and precious spirit. We light a candle, we show her pictures, we pray. It is beyond humbling to love and care for and shepherd this little heart. She often shows us glimpses of how much God loves us. She teaches us how to love others with innocence and pure joy.

Psalm 139

Yesterday we partook in our now-annual Halloween tradition: face the crazy-ness at Chipotle, donning lame costumes, consuming our reduced-rate food (that this year ended up benefitting the Chipotle charity fund). This year we welcomed a dear friend who was in town, B, as well as uncle T. Karis loved pointing out the costumes: "Mommy, she has braids! Mommy, her coat matches your's! Mommy, she has pink hair!". Then we went to our church's bonfire, Karis ran around with her friends, drank cider, ate candy, downed a hot dog. A gorgeous evening and a refreshing way to pass the evening.

Some baby boy updates: 30 weeks and counting! Hard to believe, we can't wait to meet this little guy. I'm already picturing a mini Trevor. This little guy is doing lots of dance moves, I treasure this stage of getting to know him through movements and rhythms and hiccups. I'm really eager to welcome him into the world and into our family. I'm starting to have dreams about labor, must be on my mind?!

I think one of his favorite times of day (which happens to also be one of my favorite times of day) is right after Karis's nap - all three of us very cozily (read: barely) fit into the rocker and read stories. Little boy moves, Karis rubs my stomach, and we all savor some quiet before heading into the evening hours.

Karis reading a card that came for her in the mail . . . chomping an apple

Monday, October 15, 2012

Milestones and (1/2) marathons

Are you all savoring the fall season? The favorites around here are red leaves, gourds, apples, and pumpkin butterscotch cookies. Such a delightful and delicious time of year, fresh air and crunching leaves and pink cheeks (sometimes because it's chilly, sometimes because it's warm). Fall, please stay for a long time this year.

Our little family has been enjoying some memorable events the past many weeks (I've been writing this for at least, um, 2 weeks):

Half Marathon:

Trevor and his running buddy finished the "Surly Loppit" a few weeks ago - what a rush! I told Trev I think he should do more races, it's so much fun to watch (I like running as a spectator sport at this time of life. And Karis had a blast, waiting on a blanket with her little friend waiting for their daddies to run by).

Half marathoner - no small feat, I'm proud of this guy

Toddler bed and paci-freezing:

The big transition here lately was taking down the crib (finally, I know) and giving Karis free reign in her room as she sleeps in a cute little toddler bed. I was holding my breath about it all, but it all went wonderfully well. The same night we did that, we also wrapped up her paci, put in a special jewelry box and stuck it in the freezer "for her little brother". Again, wasn't sure how that would go . . . but no problem! Karis is a champ. I was relieved. She even requested Trevor put her to bed, which hasn't happened in months. It was kind of beautiful.
First night in big girl bed

Karis also started praying by herself, melt this momma's heart. She squints her eyes intensely, folds her hands forcefully and says something to the effect of: "Thank you for safe travels. Thank you that mommy is feeling better. Thank you for my friends Julia and Lauren. In Jesus' name, Amen".

Some Karis-isms these days:
- "Are you feeling okay? Are you tired?"
- "Thank you for being so polite! Thank you for asking nicely!"
- "I want Jordan!" (and then snuggled up in a blanket with Uncle Jordan in front of the fire - the first of the fall season, so refreshing)
- "It's my baby brother!"
- "Is it a man or a lady?"
- "Is it outside our inside?"
- "Is this lunch or dinner?"
- "Is this nappers or bedtime?"
- "Good morning, baby brother!"
- "I'm going to save this for my baby brother" (books, socks, anything she can find)
- "Are we there yet?!"
- "All aboard!"
- "I'm going to teach you a game!" (and then proceeds to run around with interesting steps or throw things or whatever it is she's inventing at the moment)
- "Look it! Watch what I do!" (and then moves in some funny way, or dances, or throws something)
- "Mommy, I have to finish my work in the living room" (which is tearing paper into small pieces and putting stickers on them - I love her creativity)
- "Let's read books in bed" (this is her favorite thing to do after waking Trevor up for the day. Also love love love this)
- "Did you know you're precious, too?" (after my telling her she's precious - ah! beautiful)

We just returned from the all-important holiday of Duck Hunting in Bismarck. We fit a lot into a short amount of time: Karis got to go for donuts and the Heritage Center, a big cousin pizza party, train riding at the mall, pumpkin patch with many of her favorite people. I even got a date with MY daddy, went to the Steer, Inc. banquet where we saw many familiar faces, had good chats, and got to hear Lee Strobel share his faith story. The whole weekend was a wonderful whirlwind. Karis has been talking about the "Indians talking the buffalos", running on haybales at the pumpkin patch . . . and she's busily working in making mail for all her cousins - that's my girl!

We savored a recent fall day by going to a nearby nature center, here's Karis exploring. We ended up on a gorgeous, marshy, boardwalk path - that ended up taking us far from our car. Since my bathroom radar is on high alert these days (thank you, baby boy!), I had a painful walk back. Still a fabulous memory, Karis walked and talked to herself about having a family coffee date and all the friends she was going to meet.
Exploring Westwood Hills Nature Center

Very randomly: I came across a couple quotes from a recent quick read, Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls:

"Anyone who things he's too small to make a difference has never been bit by a mosquito" (in context, she was talking about voting - so I thought this was time appropriate)

"The place where you live - your home - is one of the most important things in a body's life" (I just kind of liked that). 

Deep thoughts: none to be expressed at this moment, need to stop and think for a while . . .  maybe someday? Maybe. Loving life on the go for now.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A dream to me . . . a dream to me

Everyone knows and can sing/hum the Cranberries' song, "Dreams", right? I have it going through my head today. All after a most wild dream came true . . .

Karis and I just got back from a long weekend with my mom (aka, grandma - the more important and identifying label whenever Karis is around). I can't even remember when the idea sprouted, but the idea grew into an all-girls adventure to somewhere I've always dreamed visiting: Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Isn't it such a wonderful mom thing to continue to want to see your children's dreams come true? I'm so humbled and thankful that my mom would even consider making such a trip happen - such a gift, one that will keep on giving in memories.

It may sound trite, but I seriously can't think of anything that could've made the trip better . . . we were blessed with safe and smooth travel, health, rest, beautiful creation, refreshment, relationship deepening, adventure. I'm reminiscing with much gratitude. I'm also reminded that I am a big believer in getting away - I came back ready to tackle things I'd been putting off, which is a great feeling. (I started this post a couple days after we got back . . . and now as I continue to piece it together I will admit my post-vacation-adrenaline-rush is wearing off)

For our record (and for your reading, if you wish). We enjoyed:

Delightful daytrips . . . 
- Day 1:Well, first, we made it, after a smooth day of travel (a layover at JFK in NYC). Phew! We enjoyed arriving in the quaint PEI airport around 10pm, walking across the tarmac in the breezy darkness to enter the customs station. A well suited man was even there to greet us, so hospitable. We found the rental car, and it only took us a little longer than expected to find the hotel (no GPS to guide us!)

- Day 2: we settled in, enjoyed the view of the water from the big window in our hotel room, and spent the day afoot. We were pleased to find that we were staying in the heart of Charlottetown and had fun exploring shops, walking to dinner and beyond. We lunched at high tables at Ristorante Diem, warmed up with delicious decaf, and all got naps (Karis loved taking her nap in her pack-n-play in the bathroom). We stumbled on a huge field, and Karis spontaneously invited (insisted?) that grandma play ring around the rosie with her, and then chase her around. Hilarious. Dinner was at Lobster on the Wharf, we felt adventurous as we worked for our food: grandma with her full lobster, me with my entire baby halibut with bone in and skin on. More ring around the rosie as we walked to COWS for cowberry ice cream and then back to the room for the evening.

- Day 3: We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Casa Mia, then perused the local farmer's market that was right in the neighborhood. We bought some fresh blueberries, then hit the road for Cavendish, home of all things Lucy Maude Montgomery. Grandma found some fabulous "music of the sea" that provided the soundtrack for the gorgeous drive through the countryside. The tour of Green Gables was refreshing and inspiring, it's not hard to imagine why LM might be inspired by her surroundings. We walked through Lover's Lane, toured the house, the barns, trekked through the Haunted Wood, and I left feeling like I would be back there someday. Karis did, after all, seem enamored by the Anne doll grandma got her. Surely after she falls in love with the books and movies she'll need to see it all again.

We lunched at KIDDS, a "tasty freeze-esque" restaurant that overlooked the ocean, with fields and haybales part of the seascape. Breathtaking.  A short winding drive along the coast led us to a  beach where Karis had the time of her life running and rolling in the soft sand. There is something so powerful in the rhythm of the ocean, I'm not surprised Karis is captivated by its surroundings. We found ice cream and then hit the road back to C-town, K napped all the way back and through our stop at a grocery store (to stock up on Canadian chocolate, of course). Pizza Delight restaurant fed us well and ended our day of adventure (well, what really ended the day was gma painting K's toenails, giving her a bath, and K talking on the phone).

- Day 4: Tim Horton's donuts was our first stop on our way out of town. We meandered to Victoria, a sea-side town southwest of Charlottetown. Our mission was to find a lighthouse, which we did, in addition to a refreshing walk around the quaint town - we stumbled upon charming shops, including a B&B that had a teahouse. We took a seat there for lunch, to sip tea, and try on hats. Such a sweet surprise and a real highlight of the trip. We drove back to C-town (K konked out again) and pulled up to the Hippopatobus tour bus just in time to climb aboard. We sat on the top and enjoyed the hour long tour of the city (Karis enjoyed sitting on gma's lap and chewing gum). We found a nice dinner at Merchantman Pub, played more ring around the rosie and walked the boardwalk, and wrapped up our outings with another trip to COWS (and had our nightly routine of roaming the hotel halls with K in her pj's - precious).

- Day 5: The night was short . . . interrupted by wrong phone calls,  right phone calls, some insomnia, and an early morning to head to the airport. We made a last stop to visit good old Tim Horton, and upon checking in for our flight were informed it was delayed. Oh well, compensatory breakfast vouchers led to some snacks (and more chocolate purchases). The connecting flight in NYC added some drama to keep us alert - by the time we ran through customs, re-checked our bags, stopped at a bathroom ("Mommy, I have to go really bad!" Oh, poor girl!), and went through security, we made it to our gate at the final boarding call. Phew! Fresca, coffee, treats, and naps brought us safely back to MN (sans luggage and carseat, but understandably so. We're thankful for loaner carseats and luggage delivery via Delta).

Fascinating "friends". . . 

I so appreciate how Karis calls everyone she meets a friend. Through her, we met some fabulous ones during our trip.

- Italy gal: a friendly Italian woman with a fabulous accent struck up a conversation with us shortly after arriving to JFK. Poor gal had been stuck in the airport all night, she was truly sweet and engaging to Karis. Maybe we'll have to go visit her homeland someday . . .
- Friendly flight attendant: the "nice man" on the small flight to PIE handed us a huge bag of peanut m&m's minutes after we sat down.  It's the little things that really make a day
- Native-to-PEI woman on airplane: my mom sat by a lovely woman, Diane, on our final flight to PEI. She had a gorgeous accent, and was so friendly and passionate about her home island. She really got us pumped up for our time there, and by the end of our time we could agree with everything she said: PEI is laid back, genuine, friendly, beautiful
- Greeter: when we arrived (in the dark) to the island, we got to walk down stairs from the airplane and across the tarmac to customs. There was a kind gentleman in a spiffy suit greeting us (only 25 passengers) as we arrived. Later we saw him again near where we retrieved our rental car.
- Melanie: from the wool store (I mean, I can still smell the sheep, seriously. They were literally making things in the back with old fashioned machines). This sweet store clerk was so engaging with Karis, and even remembered us a few days later when we re-visited the shop. She also had a fabulous accent
- Howard: a friendly local at Tim Horton's donut shop. He saw Karis with her bottle of OJ and went to get her a straw.
- Orlando man: met this random guy while Karis and I swung on a porch swing outside a shop in Victoria. Had a nice visit, and then hilariously ended up on a tour bus with him an hour later back in Charlottetown. Small Island!

Marvelous meals . . . 
- We enjoyed a long layover lunch at Stone Rose . . . there was spilled milk, roasted squash soup, and chicken sliders
- We savored sandwiches, breakfasts & coffee at some local cafes
- The culinary highlight was our first night's dinner at Lobster on the Wharf
- Donuts, bacon/egg sandwiches, and OJ were the fare at the all-over chain Tim Hortons (Karis is still talking about this one, must have been a highlight for her)
- COWS. COWS, the ice cream shop, seems to be all over and we were repeat customers for the "cowberry" ice cream. Karis just wanted the chocolate/sprinkle dipped waffle cone - a good split, I just wanted the ice cream
- Our final meal was at a pub across the street from our hotel. Although family friendly, this was the only place we visited that didn't offer a kids' menu - I really was amazed and blessed by how child/family centric the whole area is

Karisisms . . . 

- "It's a helicopter!" (took a while to figure this one out - I never did figure it out, grandma did! Karis was pointing to mom's lobster while saying "helicopter" . . . kind of sounds similar?)
- Talking on the phone in the room, often to my dad, sometimes to no one at all. It was part of her nightly routine, and so precious
- Chattering in her pack-n-play for  a very long time before falling asleep
-  "Is the airplane getting ready for me? Are they putting Fresca on it?!" (Karis's favorite food of the whole trip was the Fresca and peanuts on the plane)
- "We're at Princesser Island!" By the end of the trip, we were almost calling it that also
- "I'm drinking purple tea!" (at the quaint tea shop)
- "I made a lighthouse!" (this, before even seeing one in person - she made a little lighthouse structure out of empty coffee creamer and butter containers at Cafe Mia)
- "Can we go talk to the nice man? Can we go get directions?" (our nightly routine, going to see the consierge to get directions, in her Rainbow Brite pajamas, of course)
- If you want to hear a funny story about Karis and a mermaid, you'll have to get in touch with me personally

Monday, August 20, 2012

Children raising (and praying for) parents

Last week Karis came with me to a meeting at church, she soaked in the time playing with her friends . . . interestingly, though, for the first part of the time she sat right by me, completely attentive to the adults and everything they were saying. Sometimes I feel like I have an "old" young girl, and I appreciate the various situations to watch her personality and thoughts evolve. After each person gave their little update, we prayed for each other - which included standing up and putting our hands on that prayed-for-person's shoulders. Karis would come over and join the prayer-ers, and I was so blessed when she laid her hand on my shoulder and joined the others in praying for me. When we were all done, she asked that we pray for her, and made sure that we stood the exact same way. Ah! It was precious.

I recently saw a book title to the effect of "how children raise their parents" - suggesting that children really shape parents' characters and personal growth. How very, very true. And now I am reminded that  children also pray for parents. I find it easy to think that such things are so one-sided, filtering from parent to child. Not so. Our (amazing) Children's Pastor said something to me that I will remember for a long time - she was saying how sweet it was when Karis prayed, but that it's more than just sweet. We forget that they can be very sincere at this young age as well . . . a humbling reminder of the beauty & purity of the child's heart.

Anyway, Karis is definitely still a young girl, she did go play with her friends during much of the meeting and around the 60 minute mark started parroting the other children with chants of "mommy, can we goooooo?". And don't get me wrong, our moments aren't all sweet - you just get to read about the good ones here.

Speaking of book titles, I recently finished Raising Your Spirited Child. And speaking of children teaching parents, the pages and thoughts of this volume reminded me that I am a spirited adult! I told Trevor he should really read this book as much for marriage as for parenting . . .

In other fun news, we had our 20 week ultrasound today. It was fabulous to be there as a family, Karis did well sitting on Trevor's lap and her favorite question was, "What is the lady doing?" to which Trevor always replied, "Taking pictures of the baby". She also wondered often, "Does it tickle, mommy?" She was curious where the baby's eyes were, that made me laugh - she finally did get to see them, probably not quite the look she was expecting.

The miracle of seeing this baby was just as astounding as it was with Karis (we even had the same tech, so it was a bit deja-vu-ish). This baby is truly "knit together in its mother's womb" . . . little feet, hands, spine, organs. Creation leaves me breathless and in awe. We love this little being to its very core, and it's thrilling to think that soon we will be family of four.

Just like Karis at that stage, this little bean was snug as a bug, comfortable to remain in a curled up (and frustratingly modest) position . . . I went in knowing that we might not get to find out the sex, and really when I saw the beauty of its form I realized that would be okay. However, the tricky tech got a good view at the very last minute (JUST like with Karis - maybe she's a tricky tech who likes to keep people in suspense?!). Clear as day, we could see that Karis has a little BROTHER! WOW. We would have been thrilled either way, of course, but it's beyond wonderful to start talking about and envisioning our SON. WOW.

As Karis and I were driving home after the ultrasound, I heard this radio blurb about "what the unborn tells its mother". Check it out - fascinating. And such perfect timing for our day, a gift. I really loved this quote from the article: "How wise of God to design the process so that when the baby is ready to be born, the mother's convenience must give way to the baby's need. Nor does the baby's birth time depend on the mother's limited understanding of the developing infant."  True, true. 

Karis holding the shirt she picked out on clearance for her baby brother - such a shopper, this one. Ha. 
At the Carver County Fair. Karis's favorite part was the dum-dum sucker she got in a commercial building.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Birthday Bash(es)

How can you possibly celebrate a 3 year old birthday in one day? Especially when the  mother of the 3 year old comes for a line of thinking where every conceivable activity in one's birthday month is "for your birthday"? We started the party-ing on August 3rd and we're still going strong . . . I think I am having as much or more fun than anyone involved! 

I feel like memories really start at 3, especially when jogged by pictures and videos. Karis's delight in daily things and her wide eyed discoveries are so amazing now, it's been delightful to introduce her to some new adventures on her birthday week. 

We started on a Friday morning with a first-ever (well, since she was a napping-all-time-time-in-the-car-seat infant) trip to the Mall of America. I'll always remember walking around the first floor (after finding awesomely on sale replacement crocs), she would turn to me once in a while and say, "Mommy, we're at the Mall of AMERICA!" Legoland left her speechless. The amusement park rides, courtesy of Trev's coworkers, left her completely enthralled (and left Trevor a bit green, such a sport of a dad!).

We planned out the whole "actual birthday" and Karis seemed to enjoy every minute . . . a brunch of bacon, donut muffins, and watermelon star-shaped cutouts fueled us all (my parents, brother and his girlfriend joined the whole day) for our first stop: Hyland Park, aka "Chutes and Ladders". She walked up over the hill and said, "It's HUGE!". She got played out and soaked, just in time to head to Chipotle for lunch. Then nappers (of course), grandma painted her toenails, and then we headed to Snuffy's for burgers. The evening ended at gma and gpa's hotel with some pool time and then popcorn in bed while watching the olympics and playing with her new dollhouse. Whoa, life is good.

The party continued the next day with parents and my bro's girlfriend's family, we had a blast at M's pool with her 2 nieces and 2 nephews and their families - Karis is still talking about it every day. They even put candles in her post-pizza brownie. The most exciting part of that evening for Karis was sitting by her friend Maize, they stayed at the table for over an hour! 

Monday found us at the hotel again with popcorn in bed, and that evening included pizza again courtesy of our amazing neighbors. Tuesday was a neighborhood block party, Wed. a birthday-ish bbq with friends. Thursday really "cut the cake" as they say: we went to an outdoor concert in downtown Hopkins that was an Elvis impersonator. Karis: "There are a LOT of people here!" Indeed, and many of them were donning Elvis t-shirts. Karis got comfortable after a while and got up to dance a bit - priceless! Friday found us driving to Carver County Fair (love fairs, brings back such good memories of the ND State Fair). Karis was surprisingly not interested in the animal barns ("go back out"), but loved her 10 minute turn on the bouncy house . . . and the ostrich burger we shared for dinner. Yes, ostrich. Oh, and the highlight was perhaps the dum-dum sucker she got in a commercial building. Oh, if only it would always be this simple. Soon she will be asking for the cowgirl hat and to play the games where you spend silly amounts of money to try and win stuffed gorillas. 

This weekend we kept the party going with Trev's family who came to town . . . bodies in motion stay in motion . . . we are still going . . . 

I definitely had some emotional moments, just thinking about the miracle of life and that we have this gift of intricately watching Karis's unfold. 

Psalm 139: 13 - 16
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderful made; 
your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place, 
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
before one of them came to be.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

How can it be August 2nd?! How is it that I will have a three year old in 2 days?! We've had great fun anticipating the "Happy Day", and have squeezed in some more summer fun the past couple weeks. 

Last weekend we had the first birthday party - a combined one for Trevor, and Karis's b-day buddy, uncle Steve. Karis was thrilled to sit right between her birthday buddy and Aunt Debbie for dinner, it doesn't take much to get her into a celebratory mood. 

On Saturday we had a morning adventure . . . we three walked to the nearest bus stop (not far) and hopped on for a buzz to a fun area close by. Got off, had breakfast outside, took a walk, visited a park, hopped back on the bus for home. Karis has been interested in buses for some time, and it was hilarious to watch her eyes widen with elation as we lumbered down the streets. Her favorite phrases on the short trip: "What color is the bus? Mommy, the man is driving us!" A great memory. 

More mothering musings:

- When she knows Trevor is going to grill, she gets her little froggy fold-up lawn chair, unfolds it right under our sugar maple tree and waits for Trevor to grill. Oh, and don't forget the beverages! She has to have a little pink cup of water that fits into the chair's cup holder. Love it!

- "Thank you, mommy, for the ______ (meal, breakfast, taking me potty, anything)". Oh goodness, melts my heart - can three year olds really know gratitude? I'm reminded that habits start so early and sometimes feelings follow word or action choices.

- "Mommy, is it going to be my birthday?! I'm going to be three years old! On August 4th!"

- "Are the raspberries getting bigger, mommy?": said every time we drive by neighbor Bonnie's raspberries - because you know, we can't eat the raspberries until they get bigger!

- We took Karis to Kids Games (our church's VBS) last night. It is amazingly open to pre-schoolers . . . and it took me a full month to get her there after I realized KARIS IS A PRESCHOOLER. What?! Anyways. It was such a joy to watch her in a new environment . . . singing, dancing, running, mingling, praying, listening. The leader asked Karis if she would like to sing. Karis thought for a bit, and replied, "I think not".  Ha! Someone asked if she's been watching a lot of Downton Abbey.

- Karis continues to ask about our day's agenda (many times a day): "Where are we going in the morning? Where are we going after nappers? Where are we going after dinner? Who are we going to meet there?" We've had fun exploring new parks (including a behemoth indoor one with a bouncy house - about gave me a panic attach, so many tubes and twists there is no way to keep track of your child in such a place - not to mention every day camper within 10 miles was there that rainy day). Karis finds friends wherever we go: "What's your name? Mommy, she has earrings!" 

- Karis has these purple crocs shoes that she wears Everywhere, seriously. They are the most comfortable, she can run like the wind, put them on herself, kick them off quickly. I discovered a hole in the bottom yesterday! So, Happy Day Karis, we're off this morning to find their replacement.

We have much to be grateful for. Last night Trevor said how excited he is for #2, his phrase was "Double the fun". I agree . . . 

The grilling chair. Not sure what kind of face she's making?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hot fun in the summer time . . .

Sometimes I start books, and I drag through the first pages and think, “I’m not gonna get through this one.” And then sometimes I plug through, and by the middle I think, “Oh my word, what if I would’ve stopped? This is amazing!”. I just had that happen last night with Acedia and Me, by Kathleen Norris. She is a poet, she is deep, raw, honest - and this work is somewhat a an autobiography of sorts as she explores her own “acedia” (one definition: spiritual torpor and apathy) in different areas of her life.
I read a passage this morning that inspired me to finally sit down and write a bit . . .
“Beginnings can be trying for anyone (who is goal oriented). I want to make quick progress and am tempted to take shortcuts . . . “

So true, and she goes on to explain how this can affect her as a writer.

So, here is a beginning to catching up on the happenings, deep thoughts, and Karisms of this summer.

Weddings, weddings, weddings. We’ve had a blast traveling to some special wedding celebrations this summer.

1 - My cousin’s wedding in Bowbells, ND (which I deemed a “destination wedding” because it is 10 hours from where we live!). We began that trip with a b-day party for Trev’s dad, then a visit to my birth-town, Minot, for breakfast at an old fave restaurant The Homesteaders. The wedding was gorgeous, and as always for this momma, Karis was a highlight, a hoot, and a blast. She was enamored by the ceremony, loved engaging with all the people, devoured spaghetti noodles, and cut a rug on the dance floor. I mean, the girl can DANCE. However, she is picky about her partners: only other little girls and my brother’s girlfriend were suitable for this occasion.

We wrapped up that trip celebrating Father’s Day, a maiden voyage to Cherry Berry frozen yogurt, and then getting to welcome Trev’s brother home from China. All blessed and beautiful events. And honestly, Karis was a traveling champ, the long drives were a fun chance to listen to her chatter and sing.

2 - THE wedding, the anticipated event of the summer . . . Trev’s brother and our new sister . . . this all began a full week before the wedding with Trev going to a bachelor party weekend and me welcoming my mom and grandma for a girls’ weekend in the cities. We fit in: IKEA, a trip to Excelsior, Potbelly’s, Yo Yo Donuts & Lone Lake Park, the American Swedish Institute and Mill Valley Kitchen. We loved every minute.

Then I ended up being away from Karis the longest I ever have, I rode to SD with my brothers to get to SD in time for the bachelorette party. A blast all around, and I even got a generous hotel room to stay in for the night. An odd feeling! Refreshing at first, and then felt empty at bedtime. The rehearsal was gorgeous, the groom’s dinner meaningful, the wedding day magical. It was an honor to stand up for my new sister, to walk with Karis down the aisle and share that memory with her, to walk by Sylvan Lake for pictures, to watch two sincere people exchange vows and enter the covenant of marriage - it was an emotional ceremony, and I find my eyes welling a bit even now as I bring back the memories. Congratulations, Jordan and Cassie!

Karis had two cupcakes for dinner (you read correctly: for dinner, not after dinner) and then completely whooped it up on the dance floor - I mean, at one point she had everyone circled around her clapping in time while she grooved to “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night” by the Black Eyed Peas. I will always remember watching her in all her flower girl glory! And the way she tried to sneak in every dance with Aunt Cassie, she is clearly enamored by her aunt.

That night as K was trying to fall asleep around midnight it was quiet for a good 20 minutes, and then out of nowhere, I hear her whisper, “Jordan and Cassie” . . . and then drifted soundlessly off to sleep. A precious memory, like she was breathing a prayer for them. 

The next morning found my brother and I up hours before everyone else, sipping coffee on a rock patio overlooking the black hills. Breathtaking, and accentuated by a heartfelt conversation - the kind that you can’t plan and treasure in memory for a lifetime.

We hit up Mount Rushmore before the trek back to Mpls, and left feeling immeasurably grateful for our stellar family and friends. Life feels rich and full.

A Karism from returning home: I hear her from the kitchen as she played in the living room and exclaimed, “I’m so excited to be home!” I guess we all know where we hang our hats.

3 - Our final summer wedding was this past weekend in Grand Forks: Trev’s cousin and his new bride. The 5 hour drive felt like a breeze compared to the other destinations! The hotel was a blast and time with family was precious

In between 2 & 3 we had a jubilant fourth of July - convinced Karis to get wet at a splash pad, got free Starbucks coffee (although it was about 100 degrees that day), napped, and then crashed a dinner party at Maynards in Excelsior before going to Dierkers for dessert. Phew, we packed it in. Karis loved wearing her stars and stripes.

Also amidst all this hustle and bustle, we enjoyed having my bro live with us for about 5 weeks. Such a memorable time and we miss him - he would play catch and hide and seek with Karis every day and we just generally savored the time of seeing him more often. We had a fun visit from my best friend from college and her friend, to more college friends dropping by for morning iced tea, and now . . . we have one of our favorite houseguests here for a week and I can tell Trev is soaking up having a buddy to “talk shop” with, go to Pizza Luce with, & accompany him and Karis to the park. Summer fun! 

Oh, and Trev had a birthday in there somewhere! We snuck in some mini-parties - one really mini, just us at Uptown Cafeteria for dinner, another one on the actual day at Chipotle with my bro and his girlfriend. Happy Birthday to you, Trev - you know how to make life fun and meaningful, you are simply the best.

Deep(ish) thoughts: 

Can be summed up with an email-ish journal entry I sent this week to some people on a prayer chain . . . I will include here (clearly this blog is for me and posterity, feel free to skim!) I think I need to read it every day to remind myself to think about and do important - not “urgent” - things:

Did you wake up this morning ready for the week, hopping out out bed before your alarm, ready to tackle all the to-dos of the days ahead?

I did not. =) But here we are, right? Something I'm thinking about this morning is the continual need to live with great intentionality. There are various intentions we carry with us in our day: to do lists, goals to pursue, ways we hope to act and react to various situations. I'm thinking about this because my mind is spinning with all the things I hope to accomplish this week - but to what end? The phrase ringing in my mind today is: "Begin with the end in mind". What goals am I pursuing this week, what are all my "lists" going to really accomplish, what is the "end" I'm looking towards? Is it things or is it people? Is it a spic and span house or is it time spent on the floor playing with Karis?!

Without God, without the leading of His Spirit, without the love of Jesus - anything I do today or tomorrow or the next will be done in vain. I'm writing this to myself as much as to you, I need this reminder today (well, every day)! What will bring joy to the heart of My Father this week? I am thinking right now of how I will love and serve my family, my friends - how will I be in tune to their needs, their dreams, to who God has made them. We have a houseguest this week . . . what atmosphere would God have me help create in my home of hospitality and peace (not performance of meals and entertainment!). Lord, help me (us) to remember that glorifying You is the end we are looking towards, and teach us what this means and how to do it - by Your strength.

Thanks for reading this "journal" today . . . writing it somehow holds me accountable and makes things look clearer for the moment.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 (from The Message)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

So yes, that’s what’s on my mind and heart this week. Settling down after a lot of traveling has me trying to find my bearings and focus again.

To end with another Norris quote that I laughed at while nodding my head in solidarity:
“If I am not going full-tilt, I’m likely to collapse”

So true. I haven’t collapsed - yet (or at least, not for a while). Full tilt is feeling okay right now . . .

Oh, and I neglected Karis-isms here. Too many, needs another post altogether, another beginning to start.

(Well, okay, just one from this morning: "I have boogers in my nose. Yeah, I think I do.")

post-dancing at wedding number 3

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nature walks and baby talks

It's been an eventful week here, full of fresh air and parks and nature explorations. Some highlights were:

- going to graduation parties. It only took Karis one such party experience to ask when we were ready to leave for the next one, "What are we gonna eat there,  momma?" One even had a bouncy house, which, combined with the crazy hot day made for one red-cheeked little girl. We escorted her to the basement when we got home to cool off.
- examining huge green caterpillars perched on a neighbors' bush . . . it'll be interesting to see if they remain there to cocoon
- seeing baby birds in their nests in another neighbors backyard
- discovering a mulberry bush down the street and picking the berries, singing "here we go round the mulberry bush"

Notice, not much is happening in OUR back yard. And that's okay, we enjoy the fruits in other places for sure. I can't imagine that Karis will EVER have a graduation party!

We had the joy of having our first midwife appointment yesterday. Trev got to join and we sat in awe at hearing this baby's heartbeat for the first time. Life is a miracle. A crazy thing happened in the waiting room: Trev stepped out to take a phone call, and shortly after this beautiful and very pregnant woman approached me and asked if my daughter's name is Karis. I was so taken aback and my mind was racing trying to think of where I might know her from. She explained that she saw my husband step out, and she recently met him and Karis at a nearby park. Well, once she told me her name (Maryama, a memorable name for sure) I was completely floored! Trevor and Karis have been talking about her and we've been praying for her at night, for her and her baby who is close to being born. It was so random and bizarre and wonderful to have that chance encounter. I hope we meet them again, I'm so curious and prayerful today about their baby (she was being induced yesterday). I appreciate how this big city can feel so small (like when I ran into a neighbor today at the grocery store - love it).

Not 2 hours after that appointment, I was at the park with Karis and started chatting with a mom . . . turns out her due date is just a few days later than mine. It was special to have those connections to make the day memorable.

To top off the day, last night Trevor and I went out to celebrate our 8 year wedding anniversary. We grabbed some hot food from Whole Foods and took it for a picnic at Lake of the Isles. We enjoyed sitting on our fluorescent beach towels and watching everyone else exercise while we ate. We did not go for a walk afterward, we instead packed up and went to YUM for decaf and cookies - a good night, hopefully memorable (we can't seem to remember from one year to next how we celebrated the previous year. We finally remembered that last year was Chipotle and Dairy Queen ice cream cake with my bro and his girlfriend - I know, we're so fancy, right?!). Tonight for the "actual anniversary" we're including Karis in a run to get some "Old McDonald's ice cream". Again, fancy. We might actually wear jeans instead of sweatpants, but that's yet to be determined. Anyways, I'm so thankful for the past 8 years of marriage with Trevor - you're the best, Trev. To top off the day, he even ran an errand to Target for just 3 things . . . while I sat in the car and closed my eyes. It was great. I wonder where we will be next year? Hopefully fondly remembering this one.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

That's Modesty

(most of below written a full two weeks ago . . . )

The story of the month is about trying to teach the lesson of modesty to Karis. Karis has a dress that is, in fact, not modest. She loves to wear it and then take her arms out of it, leaving her top unclothed. So in an effort to start some deep lessons early, I tell her to leave her dress on, and that it's called modesty. Now when she takes her arms out of the dress she says, "That's not modesty!". I  hid the dress until it fits correctly, however on its way to the appropriate 'for later' closet (yes, we have one of those - this little body has her things crammed into many nooks and crannies in this home) she spotted it and exclaimed, "The modesty dress! Wear it?!". So, the dress is back. I'm happy to report that she now leaves her arms in.

Recent Karisms:
- Singing "One spirit . . . one body . . . ", then saying, "We sing that at church"
- At a restauarant, we were kept telling her "when the man comes back you can have more milk", so she kept saying, "The man is back!"
- "Uncle Drewey, Grandpa Kirkey" funny new names for some family members
- "I'm sick". Something she's never said before. I soon realized that she was simply repeating what she's been hearing me say. Oops.
 - "That's your stomach? Mommy's gonna get a baby belly like momma Beth?"
- "Is that the right foot, mommy?" when putting on her shoes
- "You can read the Laura book, grandma" (I love how she gives people permission for what she wants people to do, cracks me up). Other such directives: "You can do that", "You can stand right here", etc.
- "I have choices" (as in, choices for outfits of the day)
- Karis is adjusting to our summer schedule of morning outings. Within minutes of waking she asks: "Where are we going, momma? Who's gonna be there, momma?"
- "I like your haircut, momma" (said correctly after I got a haircut, and unprompted from Trevor. So sweet!)
- "Where's the owie chipmunk?" (we had a no-longer-living chipmunk in our yard . . . she saw my bro and I clean it up)
- Social as ever, Karis will walk up to anyone and say, "What's your name?", immediately followed by, "Look at my nails!" while stretching out her fingers and showing the remnants of fingernail polish on her digits
- New favorite songs: "Pop, goes the weasel", "Skip to My Lou", "Whole World in His Hands"
- Latest favorite books,: All the World, Knuffle Bunny Too, Let it Shine, Morning Has Broken 

Perhaps you caught our news from some of the quotes above . . . I'm assuming that if you read this, you already know that Karis is going to be a big sister. We're quite excited, I'm so thrilled and thankful that Karis will have a sibling. The way she adores babies and wants to give them blankets and help in any way is so precious. I know I adore my brother and am so thankful to have a sibling, we're just in awe of God's creation. Also why I've been saying "I'm sick" a little too often (and really, I'm not terribly sick, just kind of enough to whine about it more than I should). I am reminded that not too long ago, proclaiming news like this in a public setting would not be modest! Times have changed, now we touch women's growing bellies and share all sorts of details that would probably make our great-great-grandmother's gasp if they could hear.

A recent memory I'll treasure was sitting in church, Karis cuddled on my lap for most of the sermon. I rarely get cuddles these days, and they are precious! Karis has started saying "I want a hug", and I feel like I could hear that a million times a day.

We had our fair share of drama the past week, we're hoping for this next one to be very boring: - Thursday evening before dinner, Karis fell all the way down the stairs. She was fine, thank God. A little crying and some cuddles, within ten minutes she was re-telling the story and didn't seem traumatized. Trevor said he fell down the stairs a lot as a kid, I said I didn't remember ever falling down stairs. Hmmm.

That same night I also took a tumble, of the fainting kind. It could be a long story, but I'll just say I didn't realize how exhausted I was and I now know not to push my limits. The ER visit was interesting, I had the same doc who treated my burned arm years ago from an incident while working at Caribou. I'm thankful to have learned the limit lesson while my parents were here and able to be with Karis AND help me slow down.

On Saturday, Karis got nail polish in her eye. Again, thank God, no damage done beside some stinging and crying and she is happily retelling that "daddy got in the bath. We went swooosh on my eye. Mommy and daddy fixed it".

Some more recent highlights (the following written the day I'm finally getting around to posting this!)
- We spent last weekend in Park Rapids at a  lake with some of Trev's extended family. So beautiful in every way! We celebrated his grandparents 60th wedding anniversary, had a bridal shower for my new sister, took lots of walks, had quality conversations, ate wonderfully and came home encouraged.
- Last week our dear friends (practically family) welcomed their little girl to the world. Welcome, Eliza! She is too precious, and we couldn't be more thankful for her life. Every baby is such a miracle.
- Last night we had a wonderful surprise when my dad's flight was overbooked and he got to stay here through this morning. So fun!

I found this troll the morning after we found out about the new baby. CRAZY. It was in a random box where I was looking for old picture frames . . . it was mine when I was growing up. It was like this huge (if not seemingly silly) affirmation that yes, we are indeed going to have a baby (we both kept thinking "no way, this can't really be true"). So, Karis got to announce the news to many people, even though she was the last to know.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

I feel like there are a lot of unexpressed expectations for Mother's Day . . . and always so much to think about. The "Prayers of the People" this morning acknowledged that the day is a blessing to celebrate and yet for so many can be one of grief. So many who want to be moms, or have lost their mothers, or have a disrepaired relationship . . . well, there are a range of emotions for many.

The closing of the prayers this morning was this:
"O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire"

Loved that. I think Mother's Day for many can bring to the surface some hearts' desires. I love the reminder that God's promises fulfill all of them (although maybe not in the way or timing we would choose).

Something else I've been talking about with friends and seems to be a theme is the thought of expectations on Mother's Day (I think expectations for any "holiday" can be an good thing to explore and discuss). I want to not expect much, but there is still this weight of expecting . . . something. Except, I don't always even know what? Just a thought to throw out there.

One more Mother's Day comment: I adored this blog post, it made these feelings of "YES" rise up in my soul and I have to record it here if only so I can come back and look at it from time to time. This mother thing can feel weight-y if I let it . . . such a precious child of God entrusted to my care, such responsibility.  And yet, we are both God's.

Karis is keeping things light and busy around here, I'm so thankful to be able to learn more about who she is every day. She is a character! I'm learning that she loves to explore wherever we are, and one sure way to do that is to wield the phrase: "I have to go potty". That way, she knows she can at least check out the bathroom. Nine times out of ten, she'll just sit there and giggle and survey her surroundings without a single tinkle. It cracks me up.

I love the way she says, out of the blue, in a deep and drawn out voice, "Mommmmmaaaaa". Still my heart.

I treasure the way she adores Trevor, follows him around in the yard, came in one night because she needed "garden gloves" (pink winter gloves) to match his (his were not pink).

I enjoy watching when she sees people she loves, she gets so excited that she can't contain herself and has to run all over the place and put on a little show.

Out of nowhere today she said to Lukas, "Bless your heart!". ! Oh my goodness, I melted! Seeing what a good reaction the phrase got, she starting "Bless your heart" to everything: me, her shoes, her dresses . . .

Picture from Easter, close enough to Mother's Day . . . 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Day

May Day, defined (by wikipedia):
1 - an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications
2 - an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures

I have some great memories of filling up (and receiving) dixie cups full of sugar-y stuff on sunshine-y May 1sts. Karis and I had fun ringing a few bells today.  

Last week we had a hosting high as we welcomed some dear people into our home. First, M & C joined us for a weekend that ended up feeling like a staycation to us: walks, bakeries, coffee, bookstores, simple meals, and neglected housework. Staying up past our bedtime, talking, laughing, encouraging. A beautiful boost to our routine days. 

Then my dad was here for a couple days, and we had a refreshing time with him: a dinner of "small plate" offerings from Trader Joes, he chased Karis around "the field", chatting till bedtime in the basement, lunch on the patio of a favorite cafe. It was sweet, when we dropped him off for the meetings that brought him to this area, Karis said, "Grandpa has to go back to grandma." Yes, Karis, indeed.  

Switching gears to random reflections: 

Trevor and I love to tell people about Karis's elaborate bedtime routine. It's about twenty steps long and at least that many minutes. However, we just realized that when one of us is gone, bedtime is lickity split. I had this moment of realization that her long bed-time is really created  by Trevor and me, we really savor that time of connection among the three of us and I think we prolong the event ourselves and Karis just goes along with it. It's precious that we can create routines together and make memories in the daily-ness of life.

We came across a verse this week that I thought was so appropriate: "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). BE STILL. Lately, Trevor and I have been talking about how hard it is for us to just stop. We like to be busy, get things done, see people, go places. Mostly we're okay, but we're both trying to examine what balance looks like in our family.

Our Reading Rainbow lately:
Karis's latest faves are Animal Babies, Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, A is for Annabel, Nursery Rhymes, Ferdinand the Bull, Blueberries for Sal

I've been enjoying some riveting reads that leave much to contemplate: The Gifts of Imperfection, Anna Karenina, China Road, My Life With the Saints, Dallas & The Spitfire, Simplicity Parenting.

Things you might hear Karis say this week:
- "Ohhhh yeahhhh" (said just like Trevor says it, hilarious every time)
- "No mommy do morning devotions! No mommy read Rhyming Bible" (what is it that is so intrinsic to want to do anything but read the Bible sometimes?! I'm trying to make it as fun as possible!)
- "No mommy ________" (talking, putting my hair up, putting on a sweatshirt . . . anything.)
- "What IS that one?"
- "No way!"
- "Mommy sit RIGHT HERE!" (I am mandated to do many things throughout the day)
- "You so goofy girl" (a rendition of what when we call her a goofy girl)
- "Watch ride in an automobile?" (latest fave youtube Sesame Street video)
- "Go to lake! Be so tall!" (referencing walking on a block wall on a trail by a lake last weekend)
- "Actually. Exactly" (two of her new favorite words)
- " (insert name of any of Karis's friends coming over) NOT gonna take the bike away" (um, a little possessive of her bike!)
- "Bye ______, say hi to _________!" (she knows who goes in pairs and if one person is missing she makes sure to tell the present person to say hi to the absent one. She is a parrot, I didn't realize how often Trevor and I do this until Karis picked up on it. It's way cuter to hear it from her than us!)
- "Keep in my bed a little longer" (I've said it before, this family enjoys their sleep)

Assembly required

Karis picked out her outfit this morning and said, "My May Day dress!"